SEO – Do your shoes match your belt? They need to.

September 10, 2013 Graham Bass permalink

SEO strategy planThere are many other aspects of SEO, including the checklist we served up in A Personal SEO Checklist which focuses on the things that you can do to improve to your search engine rankings. When we build a site we review all of all of these things with our clients as a matter of course. We believe it’s always a good thing to double check your setup. Your business is not an unchanging stone monolith of Spa Awesomeness, so it’s good to review your website periodically and make sure that the information provided in all of your online listings is current and accurate.

Front Page Content

Including Important Keywords

Search engines use the following logic when ranking your site:

If it’s not on the front page, it must not be that important 

And that makes sense right? You wouldn’t talk about oil changes on your front page as a Spa; you’re going to talk about what YOU do. That’s the heart of SEO – talking about yourself in a comprehensive and informative manner. Nowhere is this more important than on your front page.

Okay, so what should you talk about then? The basics of course:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • When do people need you?
  • Where are you and which areas do you serve?
  • Why should people choose you over the competition?
  • (optional) How can I pay?

Most of that is probably pretty straight forward and self-explanatory, but we’re going to go over a few of those just to be sure we’re all on the same page.

What do you do?

If you want people to find you for specific services, they better be on your front page. If you can fit them in twice, thrice, or whatever four is in that word schema, that’s even better. If you’ve got a keyword in a headline that will also help, since that means that you’re putting more emphasis on that keyword. For instance if you are a massage therapist you might have a headline “Massage Modalities Offered,” and then detail your modalities (Hot Stone Massage, Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage) with a short description of each. Since broad keywords are going to always be the most competitive, this allows you to repeat those broad words over and over without throwing up flags in the search engine. See how many times we got “massage” in there while still providing useful information? You can repeat it again in your description as well:

This type of massage will totally blow your mind and leave you in a deep serene pool of liquid relaxation

Speaking of pools… one thing to keep in mind is that you’re not just competing against your obvious competitor down the street, but also businesses in completely different sectors. My wife went to get a massage a few days ago and this particularly skilled therapist was able to make some serious progress on an issue that had an orthopedic surgeon referring her to physical therapy. When writing your content it’s important to keep in mind that to build your business you should target people with problems you can address, not just people looking for the names of your services. So what does that have to do with Pools? Nothing. But let’s talk about a common complaint: back pain.

A potential customer wakes up in the morning and their back hurts. They wonder: “Is it time to get a new mattress? Should I visit a Chiropractor? Since I’ve had surgery should I consult my doctor about Physical Therapy?”

This is where your website content makes a huge difference in attracting a new customer. Optimizing your front page content for both keywords and broad information gives people not only a strong sense of what it is that you do, but also:

When Do People Need You?

Answering when/why people need your services is your opportunity to extend your reach from your core market of people who already love what you do, to people that hadn’t considered it. Even if you’re not in direct competition with a business, that doesn’t mean that consumers aren’t faced with a choice when they choose you over buying a new mattress or seeing a physical therapist. In some cases you may want to encourage people to do both. Many Chiropractors and Physical Therapists suggest massage as complementary services to their own. By doing the same you help to widen your target audience. If you are an aesthetician you might target words associated with salons to offer a complementary service. After all, if someone is updating their look, why should they start and stop with their hair?

Keep your mind open and try to think of the questions someone asks right before they search. Go ask a friend too, they’ll search differently than you. One of the biggest myths about SEO is that you can always come up first, but that’s just not true unless you’re paying the search engines every cent you have. What you have decide is WHEN you want to show up and for WHOM, and work to make sure that you do. Everyone is working hard to show up for their own terms so you have to make sure that you identify who is finding you and how (more on that later), and thus what you should do to expand your reach.

Where Are You and What Areas Do You Serve?

You’ve got your address on your page, that should be enough right? No. Sure, search engines are going to find that, and if you have completed your listings they’ll have a good sense of where you are and help people close to you find you more easily. Of course, not everyone is close to you when they search. Some people are looking for you on their lunch break, others are looking for you from home to visit you on their lunch break. The important thing is that you should include additional info about your location in terms what people will search for. Freeway names, exits, parks, clubs, historic buildings, intersections, neighborhoods and malls are all great landmarks that people might search for when looking for a business. If you’re in the suburbs you might mention your suburb, the neighboring suburbs, the metropolitan area, your local park and your proximity to major commuting routes. Remember that you’re trying to provide helpful content that answers the questions people might ask. Your address isn’t an answer, it’s a location that is one part of the puzzle.

Why Should People Choose You Over The Competition?

This one is trickier and gets more into branding. Ideally you have a target market that successfully generates steady revenue for you. Hopefully your branding already reflects this to some extent. Is your business comfy, clean, inviting, relaxed, or a complex fusion of modernist sensibilities wrapped luxuriously draped in eco-friendly up-cycled sophistication (i.e. you couldn’t decide)? However you think of your business, it’s important that you differentiate your style from everyone else’s. SpaBoom is a young cheeky underdog and we like to have fun. You get that right? Make your style your own as well and don’t lose your tone of voice.

Oh right, I suppose you might also talk about unique features. You’ve got the only albino Yak in all the Sudatenland? That’s fantastic. You won an award for “Best Stylist with a tri-hawk?” Brilliant! Just remember that these distinctions do you no good if you just plop an image on your page. They need to be written in content and/or put into your site’s description. (We’ll discuss this more in an upcoming article.)

Unless you’re a Medi-spa, you don’t want to come off as clean and clinical. If you are a Medi-spa, keep up the clean and clinical thing. No one is going to believe you when you talk about warm welcoming and relaxing Botox injections, so stick to your strengths and embrace what you are.

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