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In the previous chapter, we discussed how to design a website, but what good is your site if you need help finding it when looking for pest control? SEO is essential if you want to win, compete, and dominate your local service area. To achieve results, you need a clear understanding of how Google works. Fortunately, we speak Google fluently! Don’t worry if you can handle spiders and mice; this will be a cinch!
The Purpose Of Google
Google has one purpose as it relates to its search engine: To give their users the best information for their queries. A query is the words or terms they enter into the search bar. Google has always been very user-friendly.
For years, SEOs and digital marketers have tried to crack the code to find out what the most important ranking factors are to land a front-row seat where all the action occurs…until in 2016, Google came right out and told everyone: links, content, and Rank Brain are the three primary factors for how web pages are ranked in search engine result pages (SERP’S)
Search Engine Land published the above-pictured in March of 2016, covering Google’s announcement of the top 3 ranking factors it evaluates when it comes to ranking web pages in organic search. The full video where the announcement happened can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8VnZCcl9J4
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Top 3 Ranking Factors To Succeed At SEO
#1 Inbound Links
Inbound links where one website refers back to another have always been a part of Google’s algorithm from the start, and both the number and quality of links your site has still matter today.
In the eyes of Google, each link pointing at a page is like casting a vote for that piece of content.
The more votes your site has from other reputable websites, the more trustworthy it appears to Google and the higher it will rank in search results (all else being equal).
We like to use the following analogy: If you’re trying to win an election, you want to get as many votes as possible, and a few endorsements don’t hurt. If you’re trying to “win” leads, you need to be on the front page, and to do this, you want to get links, but the more popular the endorsement is, the more credit Google gives you. Make sense?
What makes a high-quality link?
No one really knows but having studied Google here are a few warning signs and suggestions:
1. The most valuable backlinks are those placed within the content (i.e., not in the footer or sidebar). If website owners refer to your page voluntarily, they give you a valuable vote of confidence. Google places more value on these inbound links because they are deliberate and prominent on the page.
2. Authority of the linking page/site. You can determine how much “link juice” you’re getting from a given backlink by the authority of a particular page that links to you — its URL Rating (UR), which you can use tools such as AAhrefs to find out what the URL rating your competitors have.
As a general rule, a link from a high authority site will be more powerful than a link from a low authority one. We at Ahrefs use the Domain Rating (DR) metric to measure an overall website authority.
3. Besides DR and UR metrics, what also matters is the number of outgoing links a website has. A backlink from a website (domain) or a web page that links to hundreds of other URLs will be less valuable than one from a website with just a few outgoing links.
4. “Do-follow” links are preferable. At the same time, the search engine optimization community hasn’t agreed on whether no-follow links help you rank or not. Basically, if you have a chance to get a no-follow link from a high-quality website, then by all means, you should go for it.
By default, all links are configured as do-follow. By adding the rel=”nofollow” attribute, Google is instructed not to pass PageRank to the target domain.
5. Our research has shown that anchor text also impacts the quality and relevancy of an inbound link. It’s essential for search engines to be able to choose the right keywords to rank your content for; that’s why the anchor text, as well as the text that surrounds it, should be relevant. For example, pest control SEO, SEO for pest control, and SEO for pest control companies have the same meaning. However, if we only used one of these three words, we would miss out on hundreds of visitors who enter keywords differently.
#2 Pest Control SEO Content
The structure and substance of the content are vital to making it rank well in Google searches.
Topically relevant: A web page or blog post needs to be appropriate for its audience (that is, it should matter to them). If someone comes to your site looking for a solution to their pest problem, then giving them information about another topic disappoints the reader and Google. Instead, you want to give your visitor the information they need to know so they can make an educated decision about whom they choose to hire.
Target keyword placement: The target keyword phrase the page is meant to rank for needs to be placed in the title, the headings, the body, the anchor text of internal and inbound links, and the image alt tags of the page. This SEO tactic for pest control companies will allow your content to be easily found.
Authoritative resource: The content should be an authoritative resource that provides value to the reader and answers their intent.
Supporting sources: The content should link to other essential resources (e.g., authoritative articles and supporting documents) that visitors may find helpful.
Usability: Long-form content should be formatted in a way that makes it easy to consume (i.e., bulleted lists, headings, and images that break up content, navigation, etc.)
#3 – Rank Brain
Rank Brain is a machine learning algorithm used by Google. Based on information gleaned from analyzing search results, it helps weight certain ranking factors to deliver the most relevant results to searchers. Through Rank Brain, Google is attempting to more accurately predict or interpret searcher intent rather than organize web pages using signals as the core algorithm does.
The Rank Brain algorithm is complex and occurs behind the scenes but to win at search, you need to optimize for it. Start looking for keyword phrases and parent topics, then include similar terms throughout the content on the same page rather than creating a single page for each keyword phrase. Each page should have at most two keywords, or Google may deem your content as keyword stuffed, which will negatively reflect and drop you in the page ranking.
Click-through rates: Write compelling titles and meta descriptions to capture a click-through.
Contact info: Only use your contact info (phone number, email) in titles and meta descriptions if you are running a paid advertising campaign: using this information when doing pest control SEO can discourage visitors from coming to your site as they already have the information, they need without visiting your site. If Google sees that searchers don’t click through to a given result, Google can deem your content not useful and drop you in their ratings.
Dwell time: Don’t neglect dwell time (i.e., the time a visitor spends on a given page). You can improve the time a visitor stays on your site by using media such as video and long-form content and easy-to-navigate formatting.
Pest Control SEO The Best Investment
While SEO’s growth potential is typically more gradual, its value compounds, pay-per-click, and lead generator sites such as Home Advisor or Thumbtack Can drive more immediate traffic. Still, their added value is fleeting and based on your budget. Search engine optimization is an investment, and PPC is a cost, the same way that a healthy diet is an investment vs. the cost of eating fast food.
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