SEO? Say what?
Most consultants already know having your website pop up on the first page of Google is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website and get new clients.
But the process of optimizing your website for Google – known as search engine optimization (SEO) – can be a bit intimidating. SEO nerds like myself like to throw around a lot of technical jargon like this:
- Have you optimized all of your meta descriptions?
- Don’t forget to do 301 redirects for all your old URLs!
- Sorry, you don’t have the appropriate schema markup for a local business.
SEO is complex and ever-changing, no doubt. And there are dozens of factors that go into the algorithm of sorting out who ranks first, second, third, etc. on Google and other search engines.
But the good news is, there are many things you can do on your website to improve your chances of being on the first page of Google for important keywords.
The first step in search engine optimization is understanding what keywords people are typing into Google that are relevant to your business. The process of doing this discovery is called keyword research. There are many fancy tools like https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest where you find out how many people are typing what phrases into Google every day.
But even without using keyword research software, many of these keywords are terms you would expect. For example, if you’re a consultant who helps companies with sales, a keyword phrase that you might want to rank for is “hire a sales consultant.” These types of juicy keywords represent transactional user intent (meaning someone is ready to spend some cold hard cash) and, therefore, are the most competitive.
The Cinderella of SEO
But there is one “Cinderella” keyword phrase that is often neglected and overlooked by business owners. The diamond in the rough of many search engine strategies is none other than your own business name!
For every single consultant, I would argue that either their business name or their first and last name (it’s a close tie) is the most valuable SEO keyword phrase.
Now you may be musing, “Why are people Googling my business? I’m not running ads during the Super Bowl or anything.”
True. It’s likely you don’t have 20,000 people searching for your business name on Google every day. But guess what? There also aren’t 5,000 other consulting companies trying to rank for your name, which means it is low-hanging fruit!
So why ARE people Googling you?
Well, the fact is that many consultants rely on referrals and networking to get business. Imagine you go out networking at an industry conference and meet someone who is interested in hiring you. But, inevitably your business card ends up in the hotel room trash can along with 20 others. So how do they find you when they are ready to make a deal? They Google you, of course! (Sidenote: having a memorable brand name is also essential, but that’s another lesson for another day).
This type of “branded” Google search means the user isn’t shopping around. They are looking for YOU. If your own website doesn’t rank for your name or your business name, it might be difficult for them to find you, resulting in losing a hot lead!
How to Fix Your Website
If you’re one of those consultants having trouble ranking on Google for your own business name, don’t fret! There are some easy things you can do!
Actually Use the Words!
Search engine optimization is a very complex industry that is constantly changing. But one thing has been true since Google was born in 2006. You must actually use the keyword phrases you want to rank for on your website in “live text.” Live text just means the words are typed out for a user to see – and importantly, not a part of an image embedded in the site.
The problem is that many times the only place a business owner’s name appears on the website is in the form of a logo, which is an image, not live text. To fix this problem:
- Write your business name in the text on your home page. Instead of just saying “I” or “We,” say “At [my business name], we help clients…”
- Add your name to the about page title. “For example, “About Tania Sanchez” instead of just “About Us” or “My Story.”
- Add your name or business name to your contact page.
- Add your name and business name to the footer of your website, which typically shows on every page.
What About Common Names?
Doing these things should be quick and easy and give you a better chance of ranking for your own name and business name. But what happens if you have a very common name such as Acuity Consulting? If there are a lot of other businesses with your same business name or something similar, you will have a harder time ranking on Google on the first page or in the first few positions.
In this case, you’ll also want to make sure to optimize your website for your location. This means if you are in the Madison area, you want to make sure the word “Madison” is listed in at least a couple of places on your website so that Google knows where you are located. Even if you are a global company, you can say something like “Based in Madison, WI. Serving the world!”
That way, if someone Googles “Acuity Consulting Madison,” Google will show them your result instead of Acuity Consulting located in Rhode Island.
When it comes to optimizing your website for Google, use common sense. If you find yourself trying to mention your business name 6 times in one paragraph, you’ve gone too far. Remember, Google serves real humans, so remember to imagine yourself as a potential client and always write for readers before robots!