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In this series of posts, I’m looking at what you need to think about to get your website to the top of Google, which mainly involves improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This article is about how to structure a top-ranking website to enhance your SEO for business growth.
- How to get to the top of google for free
- The first steps to create a website for your small business
- Why Is SEO important for small businesses
- How to rank in Google – what is SEO and how it works
- SEO for business growth – how to structure your website
- How to get your website on Google’s first page creating relevant content
- How to find the best keywords for your website
- Website content ideas – how to create good website content
What does a top-ranking website mean?
When you do a Google search for something, the returned results are a list of web pages from many different websites that Google deems relevant to the search.
Sometimes these results include adverts, shopping pages or just straight organic results.
Google also has other areas on its page where you can display. I cover these slots in more detail in How to get to the top of google for free.
A business would pay Google to appear in the adverts and shopping sections, so we do not include these results as part of the ranking in this context.
A top-ranking website is a website that appears at the top of the organic search results for a specific search term.
The higher up the search results, the higher the website’s ranking.
Google has placed the web pages in the order it does because it has found enough information on that web page to determine that it is relevant to the search and therefore deserves its position (rank) in the organic search.
SEO for business growth
Content is king if you want to feature at the top of Google organic searches.
If you hadn’t yet realised why SEO and the content on your website are important, this article in our SEO series, why is SEO important for small businesses, might explain it more.
No one gets to the top of Google by sheer good luck unless you deal with a tiny niche or non-competitive topics. It takes a strategy, effort and consistency to become a top-ranking website in your field.
And to stay a top-ranking website, I’m sorry to say it’s generally not just a do it once and leave it deal either.
That said, if you plan it right in the first place, some things can enhance your website and will stand you in good stead for future SEO.
And why is this important?
The amount of organic traffic you get to your website will depend on the position you reach in the search results. Being first in the organic search results means the difference between 37% and 18.7% in visitors. And that is just between the top two positions. So by the time you get to the second page of search results, you are already under 2% of clicks.
As you can see, getting more potential customers to your site is vital to your business growth. This, in turn, means improving your SEO for business growth is essential.
Any attempt to increase the ranking of your website should start with your website itself.
If your website is lacking in content, badly structured, poorly written, slow, not mobile-friendly, then no matter how many good links referring to your website you have, you will always struggle to get to the top of the search results.
A well-optimised website will include some of the following aspects:
- well structured for easy navigation
- sufficient text on each page to determine what the page is about
- well defined titles and meta descriptions to support the content text
- speedy so that people don’t bounce off because they are sick of waiting
- 50% of users now look at websites on mobile devices, so they must be mobile-friendly
All of these factors can significantly impact a website’s ranking with SEO for business growth. So let’s start looking at how to make your website Google friendly.
How vital are domain names
The domain name is the part between www and .com in your web address (www.yourdomain.com). This is the address of your website and, more than likely, what your business emails refer to.
In the past, having a domain name that used significant keywords relevant to your business helped you rank. These are known as Exact Matched Domains (EMD). EMD mean they match exactly what the searcher is looking for.
Good times were had by many businesses that nabbed themselves a good domain name. I’m sure you are all familiar with business names like “Oxford bathrooms”, “Wrexham florist”. You could set these up and watch the money roll in because the domain name was significant in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case anymore, and EMD no longer provides a ranking benefit.
However, having a name that clearly states what you do, or includes your location, can be helpful to someone searching for a particular service. If the name matches a searcher’s search, that website would seem relevant to them.
Does the structure of your website matter?
Once you have your domain name figured out, the URLs to get to a specific page are essential in SEO.
A URL is the web address (yes, I know another technical term) that you type in to get to a page.
Using keywords in your URLs helps you rank. For example, if you are looking for someone to do some catering for your child’s party in Wigan, which URL do you think the search engine will prefer?
No contest from both a search engine and end-user, right? (you did pick the second one, didn’t you?)
The title of your page or post should include the keyword you are targeting.
In this example, we have used a long-tailed keyword which means the keyword is something particular, e.g. “catering for childrens’ parties in Wigan”, rather than the more broad term of “childrens’ parties catering” or the even more broad keyword of “catering”.
As you can see in this URL, we cover the long-tailed keyword in the page section, but we also cover the broad keyword in the category section.
Because long-tail keywords are so specific, there is less competition and fewer searches. But, whilst there may be fewer searches for this exact search term, there may be more searches with slightly different word combinations. Over time, Google may decide that you are also relevant to other similar search results. This is the beauty of long-tail keyword targeting; you can rank easier and build on that success automatically.
What structure is best?
The structure of your website is essential not only for making sure your visitors can navigate your website easily but also helps improve your ranking to a small extent.
Any page accessed directly from the top navigation menu is a top-level page. Any options in a menu displayed from the top-level pages are known as sub-pages or second-level pages. Subsequent menus from the sub-page options are third-level pages and so on.
Referencing the top-level page in your URL gives you an extra opportunity to reference broad keywords. This also tells Google that the “catering” page is the parent of the sub-page and is more important. This increases the chances of this top-level page ranking for the broad phrase “catering”.
Including your category structure in your URL gives you one more opportunity to tell Google what your site is all about.
How many pages should you create?
The number of web pages you should have on your website is an interesting question.
The more time you can spend creating content that targets specific relevant keywords, the more chance you have for Google to find you and rank you. Most of your competitors may not be bothered, making it an easy target for you to jump in the ranking.
That said, it does take a lot of effort to create the content, but the effort will pay you back in dividends.
How should local businesses structure their content?
For localised businesses, it makes sense to have pages that target specific areas in the region you cover.
Searchers tend to add their location at the end of a search.
This means creating pages with titles with the structure :<keyword> <location>, e.g. Party Catering Wrexham.
The content of the pages should then include details about the specific service and the location area.
How should businesses with multiple services structure their content?
Similar to the location pages, a business often has more than one service or sub-service.
Many businesses tend to group all their services on one page, but Google has to use the same content for many different keywords. This makes it difficult for Google to decide what is relevant. Creating a sub-page for each service or sub-service is better to focus the content accordingly.
Creating a page for each service, location or whatever else is appropriate means you can break the information down. You can give visitors as much information as they need to explain what you do and how they can move onto the next step of their journey, confident in the knowledge that you are offering what they need. And you can ensure that you have optimised each page by peppering the content with relevant specific keywords.
How to define your structure?
When you are first thinking about creating your website, it is helpful to map out the navigation to structure your pages.
Here I have used indented bullet points to show the page structure. Each indent indicates the next level of content.
- Party Catering
- Funeral Catering
- Wedding Catering
- Corporate Catering
This gives you a good starting point on what pages you need to start thinking about creating content for.
Remember to always use your keyword analysis to guide your website structure. In the above example, each event page could be further broken down to focus on specific location areas if appropriate. Or you could have one page covering all of the different event types but have specific pages concentrating on particular locations. The choice is yours, but the decision should be driven by your keyword analysis.
If you want to improve your website’s SEO for business growth or would like us to take a look at your website to see if we can help improve your SEO, please feel free to get in touch.