New Jersey Small Business Guide To Search Engine Optimization
In the small business digital marketing sector, search engine optimization seems to be a topic that’s on every New Jersey business owners mind. That’s because more and more consumers are using search engines like Google, Bing and other search engines to find businesses, products and services that they need most. Small business owners are smart to start SEO marketing campaigns, so they get found online.
So how do you go about increasing your businesses search engine optimization results in New Jersey?
There are several factors involved in your search engine ranking. And improving your ranking is no simple task. It takes time, money and/or both.
That’s why Contractor Marketing Network has put together this SEO guide on how to increase search engine optimization results for New Jersey small businesses.
Use the helpful tips below to get started with improving your reach and website rankings.
How long before I can see any return on my SEO budget?
This is one of the first question we get asked. “How long will it take to increase search engine optimization results?” Although it is a good question, it is hard to answer.
There are a lot of different factors in successfully ranking your business with SEO. Here are just a few of the elements that can affect the time it takes for you to improve your Google ranking.
SEO Skills and Knowledge
- Do you have the digital skills to improve your SEO?
- Do you even know what you need to do to get started?
- Your SEO skills play an important role in how quickly you can improve your search ranking.
What kind of budget are you working with?
The larger the budget, the more you can do up-front to increase search engine optimization results. If you’re working with a limited budget, you’ll need to be more strategic about which steps you take.
Think small SEO ranking wins. That way you recover your SEO budget quicker and move on to the next SEO task to conquer.
The SEO Competition You Have New Jersey
The more competition you have in your marketing area in New Jersey, the longer it may take for you to increase search engine optimization results. How well your competition is doing with their own SEO will also play a role. If your business has a service area. It would be smart to focus on less competitive towns first. If you are a roofing contractor in Cumberland County and want to rank on Google. You may be better working on the smaller fringe towns first, instead of Vineland or Millville.
The State of Your Current Website
What condition is your website in? The more work you have to do to improve the unique elements of your site, the longer it might take you to see changes in your search engine rankings.
Keep this in mind.
No matter where you are in the optimization process, seeing a change in your search engine results page (SERP) rankings will take time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Sorry to say.
That being said, there are some tasks that you can take to increase search engine optimization results faster. (We will cover these in depth in the next section.)
You may still wonder, how long does it take to rank on Google?
Studies that found that on average, pages that rank in the top 10 results were over 2 years old with the average age of number 1 ranking pages being about 3 years old.
This study also found that 6% of the first page websites could get there in 2-6 months with good SEO practices. So, there is hope for new websites.
That is great news for New Jersey small businesses who are just starting their SEO efforts from zero! It is also good for those who have never performed SEO on their aging websites too.
No matter where you are starting from, you can increase search engine optimization results with a little strategy and a lot of work.
10 Ways to Increase Search Engine Optimization Results and Visibility for New Jersey Small Businesses
#1 Start with an SEO website audit.
If you want to find out the best ways to increase search engine optimization for your website, you’ll want to start with an SEO website audit. An audit will help you identify your site’s strengths and weaknesses.
That way, you will be able to play to your strengths while making strategic improvements to the weaker areas of your SEO.
An SEO website audit involves looking at:
- Your website structures
- Digital information
- Existing content
- Competitive landscape
The point of the audit is to identify areas that need attention so that you can begin to develop a strategic plan for improvement.
Though the audit itself won’t help you improve SEO, it’s a vital first step in effectively and efficiently boosting your SEO efforts.
A technical SEO audit requires you to use a number of digital marketing SEO tools to help identify how different areas of your site are contributing to your SEO.
The average small business doesn’t have access to these types of search engine tools or the experience in-house to run them and interpret the results.
Contractor Marketing Network offers a full website SEO audit for FREE. We perform a full and complete audit so you know where you stand and how to go about improving your website.
Find out more by fill out the contact form.
#2 Improve website navigation.
Google wants to provide the best possible search engine experience for its users. For this reason, the search engines reward sites that provide a positive user experience (UX). Part of offering a positive UX is making sure that your site is easy to navigate.
If site visitors cannot find what they are looking for, they will most likely leave your site.
This impacts your bounce rate and time visitors spend on your site as well as the number of pages they view. All of this impacts your search engine rankings.
Poor website navigation often leaves your visitors with a negative view of your business. Which leads them to click to your competitor’s website to get what they are searching for.
Designing a clear navigational structure is a crucial first step to helping visitors find what they are looking for on your website. The 3 click rule is a good standard to follow. Meaning that every page on your site, even at the deepest points, should be reachable in just 3 clicks.
Also, your website menu should be labeled in a logical way for site visitors. Visitors to your site shouldn’t have to search around to find what they searched for.
Instead, every webpage should be found from the home page.
#3 Finding and fixing duplicate content.
Google penalizes websites that have duplicate content. These issues can negatively affect your search engine optimization efforts. Search engines want to reward sites that have exclusive, distinct content. It’s important to regularly check your website for duplicate site content. You don’t want duplicates to bring down your search rankings.
A common issue with duplicate site content are portions of your content that are too similar to other site pages. This can happen for a number of reasons.
Perhaps the copywriter of your website copy wasn’t careful as they should have been in writing content.
What the case may be, you will need to locate and fix this content to ensure that it does not penalize your SERP rankings.
Tools like Copyscape are great for helping you identify duplicate content. Once you’ve used the tool to find content matches, you can fix these issues before they start to impact your SEO.
As with any thing that is build, a website is no different. When we design a website, we start with a content infrastructure on a spreadsheet
#4 Mobile responsive website.
Because over 55% of all searches come from mobile devices. Google now penalizes sites that are not optimized for mobile devices. So, if you created your website before 2015, chances are it is not optimized for mobile devices.
Consumers are using sites such as Google maps to identify local businesses that can serve their needs on the go.
Mobile site optimization will become more important in the years to come as more people use their smartphones and other similar devices. Technology is moving fast, just look at what an Apple watch can do.
Mobile optimization is a must from now on with any web project. All you have to do is look at how you use your mobile device.
The number of mobile users has surpassed desktop users.
At Contractor Marketing Network, we are a WordPress web design services that emphasize mobile optimization to ensure that your new site is accessible to those on all devices, including mobile.
If your site is not mobile friendly, you’ll want to consult with our web design expert to see if your site design is mobile friendly. Stop losing that valuable mobile traffic!
#5 Optimizing slow loading websites
Site speed is important for Google algorithms when ranking your site on its SERP.
The longer it takes for the page to load, the greater the chance a viewer will click away. Leaving your site and go to a competitor’s.
People’s attention span is short these days. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing up to half of your site visitors.
To improve bounce rates which helps your SERP ranking, you’ll need to improve site speed. Here are some things that slows load time:
- Image File Size – Larger image files take longer to load, impacting your site speed. Compress and optimize your image files.
- Browser Caching – When a browser loads a site page, it is loading a number of resources. Browser caching stores these resources locally on the users’ computer so they don’t need to be loaded again – making pages load faster.
- Web Scripts – JS and CSS files can slow down your site speed, so make sure that you actually need these extras to enhance your site before using them. (If you don’t know what we’re talking about, ask the person who designs your site.)
When you improve your site speed, you’re not only providing a better user experience [UX]. But you’re boosting conversion rates as well. Google loves user friendly websites and ranks them accordingly.
#6 Understanding content gaps and easy to rank for keywords or locations.
When we do an audit of your website, we look at easy-wins for your SEO strategy. If you own a business that serves a few towns in New Jersey, for instance, we look at the smaller towns first.
So, if you are trying to rank your contracting company in Gloucester County, New Jersey, we look at the smaller towns first to rank in. As your competition most likely is targeting the more populated towns like West Deptford.
You need to plan on quick wins with SEO, that way the revenue it generates supports an ongoing budget for more SEO work on those harder to rank areas.
We like to look at location SEO and industry specific search topics.
If you have a small café’ that you want to rank on Google Maps in Cape May, New Jersey for tourist and travelers, we concentrate our content efforts on the byproducts of your small business. Like the beach, Bed & Breakfast, and other beach type topics.
#7 High-quality content that answers the context of the searchers question.
First rate, unique content plays an important part to increase your business in search engine optimization results. Consistent, well planned content is key to increasing your SERP ranking.
Content should be planned, researched, well-written and be useful to your target audience. Think of it like this.
No value, no increase in search rankings.
If your business doesn’t have a blog, you need one. There is no other way your website will rank without adding more content. You will need to regularly post new blog articles about topics that are relevant to your industry, location and your customers.
To write good content a buyer or customer persona should be created. That way you focus your content on your idea customers.
You’ll need to think about as you perform SEO on your website.
Now you’ll need to write and create the webpage on your site.
You also have the option to work with a digital marketing agency that provides blog writing services, like our company. This saves you from learn proper SEO page formatting and saves you time. Both in creating and ranking faster.
#8 Improve your website metadata.
If you want to rank higher on the Google search engine results page, you’ll need to make sure Google know what the website and its pages are about.
When a small business owner builds their website on a low-quality website builder, they don’t have the option available to doctor up their websites with metadata.
Metadata optimization elements:
- Title – This is the title that will be displayed at the top of the browser window as well as the headline on the SERP. Include your keywords close to the beginning of the title.
- Description – The description is important because it shows up on the SERP and tells users what the page is about. Create a clear and accurate description of the page that’s brief while still emphasizing chosen keywords.
- Alt Tags – Alternative text descriptions, or alt tags, are used to describe any images, videos, or visual media that you use on your pages. This not only tells Google what your images are about but helps the search engine determine when to deliver this content in its image search results.
It takes extra time to create, but it’s an essential to increase your search engine optimization results.
When Google can determine what’s on your pages, it delivers the best search results to the right users. Which reduces your bounce rate and you’ll have better customer conversions.
Have you ever searched for something and an irrelevant website showed in the results page? If you clicked it and quickly clicked off, that website has a high bounce rate and it affects Google rankings for that website.
#9 Linking structure of your website
Linking is another important way to increase search engine optimization results. Backlinking strategies are time consuming, but benefit your website. Internal linking helps lead a viewer to the next step in their search for answers, information and help.
The best and cheapest way to increase links back to your content is to write content that’s worth linking to. The more valuable content you create and share with others, the better your chance of getting a backlink.
Even better when those backlinks are from a relevant site within you market area or industry.
Internal linking is just as important and often overlooked.
Whenever you have the chance to link to a relevant site page or blog post within your own website, go for it. This helps keep people on your website longer, reducing bounce rate and when you guide a viewer with good internal link strategy, you make a digital path for them to convert from viewers to customers when done right.
#10 Your website content needs to be easy to read.
If your content is not easy to read and structured in a way that makes visitors want to read it, they will bounce away. Never getting a chance to read your great content. Increasing bounce rate and lowering your search rankings. Which impacts both SEO and conversion rates.
You need to make the content on you page easy to find. Headings, subheadings and images are great for getting your content read.
Titles break up the content into specific sections. Readers can identify what types of information will be in each section.
This blog post is about 3100 words.
Imagine if I did not have headers, sub-headers and images. It would be a block of text and you would not read very far and you’d bounce off the website.
You will also note, bullet points, white space (blank areas) and other formatting features which make the webpage easier to read and helpful to you.
- bullet point
Number lists also help with content that has an order to be read or to be followed.
Writing elements like bold, italic and underlines are good formatting tactics to draw a reader’s eye to specific or important parts of your webpages.
If you want to emphasize certain elements of the text or make sure that something sticks out to the reader, make a phrase bold or put a word in italics.
These tactics make it easier for busy readers to scan and get the information they need quickly.
People scan in a capital “F” pattern.
So, keep that in mind when designing your website pages and content.
Get Help To Improve Your Search Engine Optimization
If you want to increase your search engine optimization results here in New Jersey, you will need to monitor all the topics we covered above that impact your SEO. As mentioned earlier, search engine optimization is an ongoing process. It starts with a SEO plan, that takes attention, continuous effort to rank among the first few results on Google’s SERP.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to handle your own SEO improvements, call on the SEO experts at Contractor Marketing Network. We specialize in contracting and service type businesses, but work with all New Jersey small businesses.
We offer on-page SEO services and off page and technical SEO.
We’ll start with an SEO audit of your website to identify strengths and weaknesses in your website structure and then move on to other aspects of your SEO such as content. In addition to SEO we also offer content marketing packages for those that do not have the time to write all the content their business needs.
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