It can't be stressed enough how important SEO remains in making your website accessible to a wider audience. If you want to rank high, you have to put forth the effort to make it happen.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the key.
But I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on an SEO expert
Good! You don't have to. Sure, there are some extremely complex matters that are a part of SEO strategies, but you can actually vastly improve your site's ranking all on your own. Focus on these aspects of basic SEO to begin to see improved search rankings, without investing thousands of dollars on an expert:
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Blog Posts
- Google My Business page
Think of a title tag as a spine of a book. Customers (and in this case, search engines) browse the spines of thousand of books online to pick the one they think will fulfill their needs. That's why you should take extra care to craft the perfect title tag for each and every page on your website. But what's the perfect title tag?
Well, each page should have a specific focus (such as brake service, oil changes, emergency repairs). Your titles will then use those key terms prominently. And since most auto shops pull most of their business from their surrounding area, be sure to use location in your title tag. A good example is:
"Powerstroke Diesel Specialist in Houston, TX."
This title tag captures all of the key terms someone might use to search on Google. Notice two things:
- The title is short. Try to keep all title tags to less than 65 characters.
- The company name isn't in the title tag. That's because your company name eats up valuable space in the title. Focus on the keywords in the title.
Title tags are an important part of how search engines determine the content of a page, so be sure to make each page focused on a narrowed topic, and sum it all up in the title.
Remember how we said that title tags are the spines of a book? Well, the meta descriptions are like that summary on the back of the book. The title (or spine) piqued the interest of the searcher. But now you have to wow them with the summary.
Your meta description should be less than 160 characters and should be crafted in a way that:
- Key terms are used, since those terms are bolded if the web surfer used them in his search
- Information is given, but the user is forced to click on your link to learn more. Don't give it all away in your meta description. Make it a teaser ... like the summary on the back of a book.
Your business name can be used here, to personalize the entry. A good example is:
"At Business XYZ, our decades of experience have helped us become the premier powerstroke diesel specialists in Houston, TX. Contact us today for a consultation." (note, that's 160 characters exactly).
Keep in mind that search engines no longer use meta descriptions as a factor in ranking pages. That's because too many sites in the past keyword-stuffed these descriptions, and misrepresented what was actually on the page. But don't undervalue the importance of these descriptions. They can be the difference between whether someone clicks on your link or not on Google.
Blog posts are a powerful part of an SEO strategy. Here's why:
- They give your site fresh content, which Google loves
- They give you the opportunity to incorporate long-tail keywords into your site
- They let you offer information/support/advice to your customers
- They help you seem like a person of authority in your niche
But what should you write about? For auto shops, a great source is to do case studies based on unique problems you've seen with cars in your shop. That way, if someone goes online to find out what's wrong with their car, your case study and website might appear high up on Google.
You could pay one of you technicians to write the case study, as he or she is probably the most informed about the problem. But you may also want to pay a professional writer to rewrite it, or clean it up, in case your technician isn't a strong writer.
Google My Business
There are other search engines out there aside from Google, but Google dominates the landscape, so much so that you must do what you can to cater to Google's needs.
Completing your Google My Business is vital toward ranking high on Google's many channels, including:
Who knows what else Google has in store down the line, too? No matter what new channel they introduce in the future, however, you can be sure that they'll use your Google My Business page to harvest vital information, including contact information, location, hours of operation, website and more.
Your Google My Business page is also a place for customers to provide feedback and reviews, so we encourage you to invite your customers to give feedback, which will only help improve your rankings.
Be your own SEO and see the difference
There is great value in working with a seasoned SEO expert. These SEOs can incorporate an entire strategy to help your business grow (including social media, press releases, site structure, etc.) but you can improve your site's ranking on your own, just by following these four tips above.