Donna - This is great information on SEO for your website. Being found on the internet is a huge part of successfully marketing your business. Understanding titles, key words and tags can really make a significant difference in traffic for your business.
Just building a website and having it go ‘live' on the information super highway that is the internet, won't be enough for your customers find you. There is no "build it and they will come" ideal to getting found online. For your home staging or real estate business website to do its job effectively (bring you business) you will need to optimize it (called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in online marketing circles), so that your site doesn't just end up on some kind of lonely planet for long lost websites.
You should know that all businesses invest time into SEO whether they are big or small. You cannot simply say "I'm just a one person small business so I don't worry" and think no more of it. You, more than anyone needs to put effort into SEO. Why? Because nobody will know that your home staging or realtor business exists if you don't.
The single most important element of your website's SEO is the PAGE TITLE. Let's look closely at what a page title is and what a good one should be doing to help get you business.
What and where is the page title?
The page title appears at the very top of the browser window on an individual webpage. It's quite inconspicuous but it's not entirely hidden either. Page titles (called a ‘title tag') are the most important ranking factor for any webpage.
Below is a screen shot of the page title of my website. The page title sits above the address bar.
How page titles work and what they do
As you can see, my page title is made up of 4 keyword phrases separated by commas. That's followed by my business location, then the name of the web browser. Search engines like Google work on keyword prominence. That means that the first word or phrase in the page title carries a great deal more weight than the last word.
The most important phrase in my page title is ‘House Staging'. FYI: I don't use the phrase ‘home staging' because it's hugely competitive, which would make it very hard for my site to rank for this term. Instead, I use a variation on the phrase that is less competitive but I know still enjoys a reasonable number of search queries.
What do you think is missing from my page title? I'll tell you; my name and/or my business name. That's because unless my name happens to be as recognisable as say ‘Nate Berkus' or my business name is ‘HGTV', using my name or business name in the title is of little use in helping a new customer find me. As much as I wish it were the case, my name doesn't appear next to the term 'home staging' in Wikipedia.
Secondly, I'll still rank for my name and business name even if it's not given valuable space in the page title tag. That's because there aren't a whole lot of other sites using the same business name as mine. It means it's better for my site if I use my name and business name in the body of the text on the page. As an example; if I do a worldwide search using just a few words from my business name, I still rank on the first page. This happens even though my business name is not in my page title.
Using a fictitious home staging business, here are a few examples of poor page titles that will do nothing for search engine ranking:
- Jane Smith Home Stager | Home
- A Staged Room | Home
- Introducing A Staged Room | Home
- Welcome to A Staged Room | Home
- Really nice home staging by A Staged Room | Home
- A Staged Room | Home Staging
Google sees the first 30 - 40 characters of the page title as the most important indicator of what the page is about and looks to this title to see if the title words are relevant to the query. Google actually tries to match the query's words to your page title. When Google finds a query match those title words are displayed in the top line. Google even bolds those words in the search results. This bold text is your site's way of waving a flag to get customer attention.
The photo below shows the words used in the search. The top line is the page title of my website.
Looking at the example page titles above, just take a moment to consider how many new customers will do a search query using the words or phrases above. If these words don't show any query relevance (especially those first 30 - 40 characters, including spaces), then the page is overlooked.
Remember most people will not search for a home staging or realtor service by using an individual's name or business name. And they certainly won't use words like "Welcome', 'Introducing' or ‘Home'.
Some may say that they already rank quite well in the search engines. And that may be true. But can you imagine how much more money you're leaving on the table because you've wasted valuable customer attracting space in your page title? You could offer just the service a person is looking for and no one will ever know.
What words should you use in a page title?
So now it comes down to which words should be bestowed with the honour of getting space in your web page title. Based on what we've just discussed we can rule out your name, your business name, the word ‘welcome' , the word ‘introducing', along with your business tag line. We know that the first 30 - 40 characters in the page title are the most important of all.
What you must do to be considered relevant to Google and other search engines is save the page title space for 2 - 4 words or phrases that are related to your services and/or industry.
And because we home stagers and real estate agents offer a localised service, you can add your location to the title tag too. You can see from the screen shot of my page above, that I have done this. Another reason to put your location in the title is that without a location you'll be competing against every other home stager or real estate agent in the world. Add a location and you'll give your website a fighting chance to be found. Don't go overboard on the locations: pick 1 - 2 important locations you'd like to target that are adjacent to each other. Using too many locations, too far apart on a map will weaken your ranking results.
How to fix it
To change your site's title tag, you'll need access to your site's content management system (CMS). If you're able to make changes to your site yourself you'll be able to make your own changes. Thankfully with a site powered by Wordpress I can do this easily at any time. If you rely on your website host to make updates for you then, you can have the changes made to your site on your behalf. There may be a small fee for this. If you have to pay for it to be done, it's worth doing. You will very quickly get your money back when you see your enquiries go up.
If you're a home stager or a real estate agent, the right title tags make a huge difference to your ranking. There's every chance that by changing just this one element you'll see a big improvement to your site's visibility very quickly.
Make some time this week to set this up so you get more enquiries.
Room Remedy Interiors
"Ready, Set, Redecorate in a Day"
Sydney, Central Coast, & Newcastle
Find out more about us at www.roomremedy.com.au
Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging
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For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit StageListSellNEFL.com or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at gmail.com), Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).