A common misconception in the sphere of internet marketing is that SEO is all about "getting the top spot in Google." While ranking well in search engine results is essentially the whole goal of search engine optimization, there's more to it than getting "the top spot."
Focus on the Right Keywords
The first question, of course, would be "top spot for what search terms?" If you're an energy auditor in San Antonio, Texas, you don't want to be the first result when people search for "locksmith in san antonio." That may be too obvious, but it illustrates the point that you don't want to rank for the wrong keywords. You want to focus on ranking well for search terms that are relevant to your business (insulation, high energy bills, wet basement, energy audit, etc), and that have a decent amount of search volume. If you're ranking number one for a search term that's gotten one or two searches in the past year, don't expect a ton of leads. If your page ranks second or third for a high volume, relevant search term, you'll be in better shape.
The Right Copy (Write for Humans)
It doesn't do a lot of good to show up at the top of search results if nobody clicks the link. So what links do people click?
Check out the following search results, screen-grabbed from a search for "energy audits brunswick maine":
You may notice that the first result, which points to Complete Home Evaluations, has a good succinct description of the business in one sentence. It's no-nonsense, and it reads like a statement. The URL is also clearly a home page, so you know that you're headed for a homepage of a small local business owned by some guy named DeWitt Kimball.
The next result is Service Magic. It's a directory, and there's likely to be another barrier there before you find who you're looking for. That's a pain if you just want to get a hold of an energy auditor. The following results are similar -- Angie's List is another directory, the result talking about a "NRCM Member Discount" is likely to be skipped by anyone other than NRCM members, and the Efficiency Maine result (Become a Home Energy Savings Program) is truncated so that it doesn't even make any sense.
So while Complete Home Evaluations happens to be the first result here, it's likely that it would be clicked whether it was the second, third, or even fourth or fifth result, because it was written for humans, its length is appropriate, and it appears trustworthy.
Focus on the Right Page Ranking Well
So you want a page on your site to rank well, you want people to click on it. But what then? You want to be sure that the page they're getting to is the page you want them to get to.
What page do you want them to get to? It could be any number of pages on your site -- a landing page custom built for a specific campaign, the home page of your site, a service page dedicated exclusively to the search term you're hoping to rank for ("spray foam," for example), or even a blog post or educational piece. It depends.
What You Do With the Traffic You Get is More Important than Getting More Traffic
If you're looking for leads, you should put some thought into the page that you're hoping to optimize for search engines for a specific term. If you get a ton of traffic but nobody does anything (they just look at the page and leave), it doesn't do your business much good. If you get a slow and steady flow of traffic, and each of those visitors fills out a form with their contact info, or calls your phone, you're in much better shape.
So how do you turn visitors into leads? Start with the fundamentals:
- Have a strong call-to-action
- Be sure to clearly state the information those visitors are probably looking for. (If you offer energy audits, for example, say "We offer energy audits in the __ area." Assume that these potential customers don't already know that, because they probably don't.
- Your contact info should be prominent -- if you want people to call, make sure your phone number is front and center. If you want people to email, make sure your email is front and center. Etc.
Want to Learn More about SEO and Web Marketing for Home Performance?
Interested in learning more about SEO and web marketing in the home performance industry? Check out our free white paper, "Putting Your Website to Work," and feel free to chime in in the comments with any questions, tips, comments, etc.