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Variety of information for contractors from marketing to sales to SEO.

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Contractor Websites - URL's

Posted by Andrew on November 29, 2012 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

URL selection can have a significant impact on search engine rankings.  There is a trend and it is effective of including top keywords in the domain name.  Here is an example for a Tampa air conditioning company.  The drawback of this is that there is no brand association.  It takes a little bit longer or more effort to learn the company name.  Although many company names will not help as far as domain/search match, there are other methods to get search engine help from your url.  One could use a product type such as this Wesley Chapel residential contractor.  Another effective route would included indexed urls that include the towns serviced i.e.  www.accompany.com/tampa or www.accompany.com/orlando for example.  All towns should be included especially smaller ones.  These are much less likely to be targeted but subarbs of major cities still receive significant searches.  Often times consumers prefer a very local company as well.  Each of the indexed pages should include some general information on the town.  A simple description will get the job done even.  Customer testimonials received from matching towns could also be posted here.  This would be an effective way of repeated the town keywords without appearing spammy.  

In summary, significant weight is given to url/search matches in search engine results.  Towns, products and other unique items should be in their own indexed webpage.

Contractor Website Review

Posted by Andrew on November 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I met with an air conditioning company in Wesley Chapel, Florida named Absolute Zero last week.  He mentioned he was getting leads off online business profile sites such as Google places but no his actual website.  One of the main reasons his website was not being found in his local market is that it contained no text whatsoever as to their location.  The contact page had only email and phone number information.  Search engines likely had a difficult time locating them and without help from business profile sites could be lost entirely.  We recommended to talk a little bit about the city that he lives in.  Good information would also include any organization he is a member of.  Other than that the content was a faily decent start and could go a long way with the addition of a blog.


We were also not fond of the links page which was only accessible from the homepage.  Although it has some related industries, for the most part has many unrelated and are likely to cause harm in search engine rankings.


This contractor is somewhat active on Facebook and should probably add some social media influence.  More pictures of the employees and more personal touch would go a long ways with converting the traffic into a lead.

November 8th Google Pagerank update

Posted by Andrew on November 9, 2012 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (0)

It appears that last nigh on the 8th Google updated pagerank

Web Directory Submission and SEO for contractor websites

Posted by Andrew on October 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

A good way to begin building links to your website is through web directories.  The strength of these listings have been downgraded since the penguin updates, but it is still a powerful tool for optimization.  The process of submitting shouldn't be taken lightly and is a thorough procedure.  I'm not sure that submissions into poorly structured directories hurts rankings but it certainly won't help them any.  Large amounts of dollars can be wasted unless some research is done.  It complicated matters further when a directory will claim to be a pagerank 5 or 6, which they are, but where they are going to list you isn't even indexed nor does it have a pagerank.  This listing won't do much for you.  One thing that must be done is checking to see that the listings in the category you select are actually related.  Directories lure spammers and many don't review or edit their directories.  You can easily find lawyer or gambling websites in a "home improvement" folder.  These should be avoided.  Next think you want to do is compare listing on options on the directory.  Often times a "free link" will have you placed on the same page as a "premium listing".  Some directories will allow you to submit to top level categories while others do not.  Top level categories often carry a higher pagerank but you can run the risk of being listed alongside unrelated businesses.  Many directories also have multiple areas within their website that it would make sense to list a business.  Top level "Business" folders generally rank high or you may go deeper into sub categories.  Once you have found a directory, before listing or investing, the page rankings should be checked.  I suggest using the SEO Quake toolbar.  This will give you all the vital information including: pagerank, cache dates, backlinks, alexa traffic rankings etc.  Below is an illustration of how two $10 premium websites on the same directory can have wildly different results.  The first illustration is an appliance directory on SMSweb.org.  We can see that this listing page has a pagerank of 3.  Among other data, SEO Quake will show us some important information when we determine if the link is valuable or not.

URL:http://www.smsweb.org/Home/Appliances/

Title:Smart Web Directory - Home > Appliances


PR: 3 Cached: n/a Tw: 6 l: 3 +1: 0

Domain:

 

I: n/a I: n/a Dir: 1 Rank: 22403 Age: December 5, 1998 whois Rank: 1621413 Traffic: 78 Costs: 90 C: n/a

Backlinks:

 

L: n/a L: 0 LD: 380 LD2: 534

Others:

 

I: 51 Dir: 0 I: n/a source CY: 0 I: n/a YCat: n/a I: 2 L: 753

Keywords density:

Within the same directory, there is another appliance section that is located in the "shopping" folder instead of "home".  This url has no pagerank, what a big difference the $10 investment can make with a little research

URL:http://www.smsweb.org/Shopping/Home-and-Garden/Appliances/

Title:Smart Web Directory - Shopping > Home & Garden > Appliances

 

PR: n/a Cached: n/a Tw: 6 l: 3 +1: 0

Domain:

I: n/a I: n/a Dir: 1 Rank: 22403 Age: December 5, 1998 whois Rank: 1621413 Traffic: 78 Costs: 90 C: n/a

Backlinks:

L: n/a L: 0 LD: 380 LD2: 534

Others:

I: 51 Dir: 0 I: n/a source CY: 0 I: n/a YCat: n/a I: 2 L: 72

 


I would recommend staying away from free listings as on most directories they will have you buried deep.  Featured or premium lifetime listings are the way to go.  They will often give you the top level option and you are ensured your link will remain on the 1st page results in that selected category or subcategory.



Small Business Website Design (Layout & Content) Part 1

Posted by Andrew on October 24, 2012 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (1)

This article covers what information should be included in a small business website or contractor website as well as an ideal layout for search engine optimization.  The design of this website where you can buy AC units online provides a good example of how a website should be structured.  My fascination with Wikipedia is unending.  I think I realized how powerful Wikipedia was when Josh Hamilton of the Washington Nationals had his monster round in the 2008 home run derby.  I went to look into his story some more and his performance in the derby had already been documented by Wikipedia, minutes later. I decided to attempt to create my sites similar to their.  Starting with the homepage, you will notice high traffic bullet points on the left column.  As well as providing the engines with a clear direction through the website, it also reads well on mobile devices.  There are also some other high traffic bullet points and tabs located on the bullet page.  There isn't overwhelming content.  Despite everything Wikipedia has to say, there is not much screen scroll on the homepage.  You can also identify where the internal linking structure is.  There is nearly a link for every line of text to another page within the site.  All of the information is also cited and nicely documented for credibility.  Next section will discuss more of the content behind the homepage.

Contractor Web Design (Homepages)

Posted by Andrew on October 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

A contractor website should have some thought put into it.  I think people do this and they think it all should be on the homepage.  Too much information on a homepage is a turnoff for many and will earn a bounce from me.  Home pages absolutely need some text.  It should be very targeted to what your goals are.  Make use a bullet points and link out to more information.  Darren Slaughter said it good, Your Website is a Billboard and not Hamlet!  


Let's not go stuffing but think of keywords your browsers are likely to use to find your products.  Get them on the homepage and do not include pricing with it there.  Contractor websites should be short and sweet with many internal links.

Contractor Websites as lead generation

Posted by Andrew on October 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Small business and contractor websites can be powerful marketing and lead generation tools.  They can also be very costly and frustrating.  It is easy to see how this happens because so much of the information on search engine rankings is all over the place.  Firms will use very loosely the term "optimization".  Other than avoiding firms that are not willing to make changes to the website itself, I have created a list of what to look for in a  bonafide webmaster that knows optimization.

1.  He/She should have a good understanding of social medias.  They should encourage use of a Facebook page.

2.  They would strategize around the content.  They would not only ask for specific content related items but understand how it should be structured along with internal and outbound linking.

3.  They should have an understanding of web directories and business profile sites and should make suggestions about them.

4.  The webmaster should encourage the client to use and update the website often to encourage crawlers.  He should strategize with them on what type of content this could be.

5.  Be able to talk about further web development.  Why wouldn't a webmaster want to hang onto a customer?  

6.  The webmaster must have business and marketing knowledge.  He has to know how consumers are shopping and what makes them buy.  Websites should have a purpose and a strategy, all too often the content is just thrown around anywhere.

If your webmaster can cover these, he/she should do a good job with a small business or contractor website that is certain to rank high in search engines.





What Information should be contained in a small business or contractor blog and the benefits for their websites

Posted by Andrew on October 6, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

What is so fantastic about doing this for your small business or contractor website is that many of you are already doing this to a certain extent via some social medias....Facebook and Twitter specifically.  It would be easy for you to implement a system in your website that would require very little effort and have maximum impact.  Many people don't realize that they have to work their website for them to be effective in search engine rankings.  All you do is write a little about your daily activites.  Could you contribute any technical information?  A situation where you displayed some good customer service skills?  Anything that is funny or out of the ordinary with picture or video?  Could you then link that content to related and credible content?  This is partly how wikipedia achieved nearly top rankings for every word searched.  The content updated rapidly and it was verifiable.  It is important that when you do these things that you include with your timestamp a location.  You will then be able to effectively "complete the loop" so to speak for the search engines.  Search Engine Optimization is more about internal linking and linking outwardly than inbound, link building and content quality or quantity.  This is how SEO's need to approach their work and if one is not willing to revamp the entire design so that the site and its pages encourage linking, they should not be hired to optimize your small business or contractor website.

Anchor Text vs Content how the major search engines interpret information

Posted by Andrew on September 26, 2012 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

For any SEO there will be a considerable challenge when trying to optimize keywords for all three search engines.  Many of the same rules and Google, Bing & Yahoo will interpret the information we give it very differently.  We often analyze anchor text versus content, the relevancy search engines give to them and if they actually understand what we are trying to tell them.  For this illustration I have selected a line of anchor text that I surely thought would be unique.  I used, "Ocala AC Contractor" which is located on our homepage within the full anchor text "sample site for an ocala ac contractor:

We are obviously trying to point the engines towards a new customers of ours we want to be indexed quickly.  We are also able to see below how important anchor text is versus content and the impact it would have in rankings.  This helps give us direction as we proceed with link-building.  Google did exactly what we wanted it to do and ranked our contractor on page 3 of the search results for  "ocala ac contractor".  We cleared our cache and history to ensure clean search results:

Here we can see that Google took our signals as instructed and ranked the site we pointed towards accoringly.

Let's take a look at Yahoo.  They did not take our cue or point towards our air conditioning contractor's site in Ocala but instead ranked our homepage on page 7 of their search results while our contractor's website was further buried in the results.  Yahoo deemed the content on our website as more valuable information, even though it was wrapped in anchor text and pointing towards another website.


Bing search results were similar to that of Yahoo in they valued the content on our homepage as more important even though we were attempting to point them towards another website.


As we can see, information is received and weighted differently depending on the engines.  It is important for your SEO's to know what their cause and effect are on other engines when attempting to achieve rankings for particular keywords.  Content and anchor text should be carefully planned out and as we can see, may not have intended results.

Why Small Business or Contractors Should Have 2 Websites Part 2

Posted by Andrew on September 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Google has made clear that they penalize selling, promotion, coupons and advertisements on a website.  How then is it possible for the small business or contractor to create action items on their website?  One good option is to have a second website.  It would be a good idea to use a separate, promotional website as the one used for a Google Adwords Account.  This way, you can have a prominent "selling" website to go with your strong organic ranking site.  You can then keep to educational, informational content on your main website and not risk being penalized for selling.  One could get away with a small link on the main site which points them towards the promotional site.  It could read "click here for special offers."  Another good option would be to take people away from your site to a Facebook page where coupons and other deals are available.  I don't like this option as much because you are directing your customer to a completely different domain and lose some control.  Facebook can also easily distract someone.  A separate website will also give you more flexibility with what you can do than would Facebook. 


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