Many local business owners may think that getting your company website listed in Google, Yahoo or MSN is a mystical process only done by techies, with massive computing power at their disposal. But in reality for most small businesses getting those rankings simply comes down to making sure you have accomplished the basics.

Here are some simple steps to do that will give you a solid return for your business.

1. Always ensure that your ‘Title’ tags are related to the content of the site. What is a title tag? Where do I find that?  Simply put, your title tag is a line of HTML code that specifies the title of an individual web page. If you look in the upper left hand corner of your browser and in the first line of an individual search result, you’ll see the product of a title tag. Specifically, a title tag in HTML looks like this:

<title> San Jose Plumbing | Clean Plumbers, Inc </title>

The more you check around among SEO experts the consensus is that having correct title tags is one of the top three factors that determine where a search engine will rank you. Where many people fail with their title tags is they use the same text for every page on their and they fail to properly describe the page with their title tags. Imagine going to a book store and picking a book up off the shelf with the title “The Untold Story of the Crusades”. However, to your surprise, inside the book is a steamy romance. You, the reader, would want your money back. So spend a few minutes and look at the title tags of every page on your site and see if you have accurately described each of those  pages with your title tags. A good title tag will include the keyword you are trying to rank that page for, and don’t forget to add your company’s name as I’ve done in the example above. However you should note that brevity is a virtue; Google and the other SE’s will truncate your title tags after 65 characters including spaces so make sure the improtant stuff is in the first 65!

2. You Need To Make Your Meta Description Tags Count Too! If your title tags are the cover of your book, your meta description tags are the back cover jacket of the book that tells your reader what’s inside. If you were to look at the search results of any query, the text underneath the link but above the URL of a search result comes from what is in your meta description. (If you don’t have anything in the meta description, the search engines will typically pull a couple lines of text from the page and place it in the results.) To find your meta description tag pop open your site’s code and search for the following:

<META NAME=”Description” CONTENT=”Describe your site with Keyword Rich Text Here.”>

As I indicated in the example above, you should write a couple sentences that describe your site and/or your page. In your meta description, you get a bit more room to talk but you should use no more than 200 characters. Just like with your title tags, every page should have a unique meta description.

3. The URL and File Names You Choose Make a Difference. Which do you think looks better?


You might have noticed I keep talking about keywords. Your URLs and page names matter for the purposes of generating a click to your site as well as improved search rankings. Several studies clearly demonstrate that short, descriptive URLs like example B increase the propensity of a searcher to click on your search result. Former Google search engineer Matt Cutts also says that having short, descriptive URLs is a factor in better rankings. Specifically, this means having a URL that has no more than 5 words after the .com/url extension. One of the best places to look for an example besides what I’ve put above is at Do a search from their homepage for anything and you will see a solidly formed URL.

4. You Have To Let People Know About Your Site. Many business owners don’t leverage their online home, especially after they’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars to have a nice web site created for them. Google is the ultimate democracy and it works by looking at the number of sites and people who link to you. While there are some caveats to this, you can prime the pump a bit. If I were a business owner, I’d take a couple minutes to create profiles on social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Merchant Circle, InLocal, and Google Maps. These will give you a handful of strong links to your site and let the search engines know you exist and start the process of getting your site listed. It is a nudge in the right direction and can be expanded quite a bit with other social media properties added into the mix.

5. Check the Text of Your Site. One of the things I run into all the time are websites with relatively little text, content that says nothing about the business and/or fails to use keywords related to the business. When the search engines visit your site, they download a page and look at the text trying to make a determination of what the website as a whole is about and where it belongs. If you are trying to get ranked for “San Jose Plumber”, you should have at least a page with that keyword in it a couple times. It’s also important that the copy appear natural and be understandable because after all, a website that captures the interest of the search engines but fails to capture the interest of your customers can hardly be justifiable.

Of course there are other things you can do to jump start your ranking in the search engines but these basic steps are a huge fast track to getting it right and going for your business. If you do these simple prcedures now you will see results that get you up in the rankings. If you wait…. Well you will still be in the same place you are in now. No high Search Engine rankings. Fewer customers, and thus you might be leaving revenue on the web page so to speak.