Getting to the Top
What’s it take to become the most knowledgeable web designer in the state of Missouri? I suppose it would require the same as any other state. It’s one thing to say you’re one of the best website developers in the state, but who is the authority in judging you and accomplishments? Some say it depends on the awards you’ve won during your career as a web designer. Others say it’s all about the number of years you’ve been in business. Maybe it’s your skill set; HTML, CSS, PHP, WordPress, or dozens of other things that make you the chief.
Awards; Big Deal
I’ve never been big on titles, awards, or certifications. I’ve been coding HTML since 1994 and have read dozens of books on writing code and building websites from the ground up. I suppose the most important thing to me is doing an exceptional job at a fair price, and meeting my clients on a level that makes them feel comfortable doing business with me. How does all of this pertain to the title of this post? Very simple, if you want to see your Google rankings or any other search engine rankings change for the better, it’s important to be seen by search engines as the local authority in whatever you do. How is this done? The concept is simple, but it can be a very exhausting task depending on your industry and local competition.
How About Me?
Everyone would love to come up on the first page of Google whenever someone is searching for your products and services. But the truth is, there are only so many spots on that first page and it becomes nothing more than a simple math problem. It’s you against 10 of your possible competitors. If you come in at number 11 with one of your preferred longtail keywords, you’re bumped to the second page.
Becoming The Authority
Let’s say you sell and install tires. And let’s say your store is located in southwest Missouri. Since you need customers from your area, you’re not all that concerned if someone in California finds you on the Internet, right? So, you would probably want to target your local market. We call this geotargeting. We accomplish this by implementing a quality SEO and SMO strategies to ensure the best organic search results. SEO or Search Engine Optimization includes an arsenal of tools and methodologies for moving your website up in the ranks of tire stores. From analytics and longtail keywords to site fortification. SMO or Social Media Optimization covers optimizing the content of your social media platforms. This is just as important as optimizing your website and by using social media, you’re increasing the size of your marketing funnel.
The very best way to climb the organic results ladder is to build content that makes you the resident authority in what you do. Using the tire store example, you would likely want to fortify your site with content that makes you sound like you have a firm understanding of a tire’s class, tread width, aspect ratio, speed rating, construction, wheel diameter, and load index. Your content should also cover information like tire inflation, handling, mounting and balancing, road hazard warranty, and anything else that is tire related.
As you are developing content for your site, write it in such a way that a human can easily read it at a 6th-grade level. Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling as Google’s algorithm is very sophisticated and uses these things when determining the quality of your content and how they will treat your website in the rankings.
Although most visitors probably won’t take the time to read all of your valuable information, search engines will and that is what will help move your site to the top. Therefore, much of the well-written content on your website might find its home on the blog side of your website rather than in the main pages. But you still want to pay close attention to all of the content.
Esthetics over Functionality
Sometimes people shoot themselves in the foot while having their website designed. They choose pretty over rankings. Having a pretty website that is lacking in quality written content is like having a Lamborghini that sits in your garage where no one ever sees it. People don’t “find” your website because it’s pretty; they find it because it ranked well in search engines. Take a look at your site to see if you’ve included quality content with plenty of longtail keywords on your homepage. That is the best place to start. I remember hearing clients saying their website was too wordy. I agree, having beautiful photos on your website with awesome background images and so on make it more enjoyable to look at. But at the end of the day, does it really matter if no one finds it because your site is buried on page 8 of a Google organic search?
In a time of Wix, GoDaddy, and Squarespace do-it-yourself website solutions, it makes for a tough argument hiring a web designer and paying them way more money than you would spend doing it yourself. But what did you sign up for when you started your business? Are you going to be the best tire store on all of southwest Missouri where people drive an hour to have you rotate their tires because you’re that good? Or, are you going to compromise your customer service because you are now a part-time web designer?
I say find a really good, honest, and dependable website design firm and work with them to build the ultimate website that will stand the test of time. Then go back and order more tires, wheel weights, and valve stems to meet the growing demand created by your online presence.