When marketing your green industry services—whether you own a landscaping, lawn care, or related business– there is a lot of confusion in the digital marketing space on the “how to” and “best practices.” Digital marketing continues to change and the ability to keep up as a small business owner can be a challenge. In the next several blog posts, we will try and outline the things that matter to a green industry business as it relates to digital marketing strategies and the management of your digital footprint so customers can find your business and services online.
The assumption is that as a business owner, you are not starting from scratch on understanding the basics of using a search engine. Additionally, the assumption is that at you understand the difference between an organic result and a paid advertisement. If not, click here for a more thorough explanation.
Part 1 – The mystery behind Search Engine Optimization, aka “SEO”
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a set of best practices that digital marketers and webmasters follow in order to help them achieve a higher ranking in organic search engine results such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. For example, when a customer searches for “landscaping” or “lawn care” in a search engine, there is an algorithm behind what results are presented and in what order they are presented to the searching customer. These algorithms change frequently, so we’ve included some basics to help you get started on understanding what can improve your SEO visibility for your lawn care business or other green industry company.
For additional information, there are many online resources like Moz that offer in-depth online SEO guides, providing step-by-step processes to better your efforts when using a CMS (Content Management Systems) such as WordPress.
A title tag is the main text that describes your webpage. Your title is what shows up on the search results, so this is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. Title tags should include relevant keywords in regards to the body copy or the page it is representing. It is important to note that you cannot simply have your most relevant words as title tags without any association to the body copy on the page. Search engines analyze your webpages by deploying web spiders, or bots, that crawl your site and index your information. They are very aware of those who try and cheat the system, so as a general rule, be as clear and transparent with your efforts and you will be rewarded.
A meta description is a brief description of the web page. This is your chance to distinguish your lawn care or landscaping company’s website from other search results, such as your competitors. Think of your meta description as your billboard copy; it should be compelling and draw attention to your text. Meta descriptions will not affect your search engine rankings, but users will be scanning several results in order to find the most relevant information in regards to what they were searching for. When writing a meta description, make it brief and specific. Include keywords, as Google will bold these in the search results, drawing more attention to your search result.
An HTML alt tag, or alt text, is a piece of code that provides “alternative text” for an image that is posted online. Search engine spiders “crawl” alt text all over the internet, looking for keywords that will provide the best results for searchers. For example, if you type “Bermuda grass” into Google Images, all of these images likely have “Bermuda grass”, “Bermuda”, or “grass” within their alt text. Keep in mind that spiders cannot see images, so they rely on text. Be sure to include these for every image on your website to accelerate traffic to your site and boost your search engine rankings.
The three points above referred to how your search engine result looks, but you must not neglect keywords being placed within your website content itself. Your website content will be crawled by search engine spiders in order to generate the best possible search results for users, so placing keywords relating to the products and services you offer, locations you serve, etc., within the content throughout your site will benefit you in the long run. Again, be transparent and simple. Think like your customers would.
For example, Spring-Green offers lawn care services, so we sprinkle “lawn care services” and other specific services we offer, such as “grub control,” frequently throughout our site. This will ensure that search engines will recognize that we’re a lawn care service provider and use our site to populate users’ search results.
Ready to learn more marketing strategies and ideas for your lawn care company or other green business? Stay tuned for Part 2: The Basics of Search Engine Marketing, aka “SEM”.