4 Minute Mission #2: Turn your automated Google results into persuasive hand-crafted messages that attract customers.
When your website appears in the results of a Google search, Google typically reads your site and uses the page title, your site name, and an exerpt from the start of the page to put together the search result.
The trouble is that your page title may not include the details you want people to see, and the first paragraph may not be the most interesting or relevent part of your page or post. Fortunately you can customise this information to include the message that you want potential customers to see (to attract them to your site), and you can include the keywords that you want Google to pay attention to.
To take this 4 Minute Mission, watch the video and follow my lead. The steps are also repeated below for reference (with screenshots).
Watch the Video
Combined with the last Findability Mission, the steps outlined here are critical for anyone who gets customers via Google (or wants to). So let’s get stuck in for 4 minutes, then you can get on with your day.
First we need to see how Google is currently interpreting our site, then see if we can improve it. Go to Google.com and type in site:yourwebsite.com. So if your site is www.bobstrees.com.au, then type in site:bobstrees.com.au
Check your homepage title and description and note down any changes you’d like to make. Then check the title and description of another page and do the same.
The next step is to implement the changes, and here you have a few options:
- If you have a website developer or administrator that you use, send them an email with a link to this mission. If you want them to do the job however, it’s important you prepare your preferred Title/Description for any pages you want to customise.
- If you have no technical skills, a non-Wordpress site, and no web or IT dude, you can readily get his done by a freelancer online.
- If you have a site built with WordPress, then continue to Step 4 and follow a couple of easy steps.
Login to your WordPress site admin (usually www._______.com/wp-admin). Your homepage title and description are often pulled from your site name and settings by default. So in your WordPress admin dashboard, let’s go to Settings–>General in the left menu.. You’ll likely recognise these from your Google result, and now you can change the tagline and/or site title to say something clearly to potential customers.
Next you need to download and activate a free plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast (see video for instructions).
Once it’s activated you can further customise your homepage title and description useng the left menu again SEO–>Titles and Metas (watch the video above for the full procedure).
To update any other pages, go to All Pages (or All Posts for posts) and choose Edit for the page you want to update. Scroll down to the SEO settings and edit as desired, using the preview to see how it will show up in Google results. Don’t forget to Update/Save/Publish the page when you’re done.
Be patient: Google will have to re-crawl your site before it applies the changes. It could take a week or more. But your work here is done, so get on with your business and your life.
You can seriously hire someone to do this for $50 if you provide them with your preferred titles/descriptions. I do recommend this option because $50 could save you several hours of your own research and trial and error, and more importantly this will help you to adopt the mindset of a business person who leverages the skills of others rather than add to their already too big job list.
The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin can be further used to analyse your post for chosen target keywords if you want to take SEO more seriously, but this initial task we have completed today has been designed to give you the maximum improvement from the tinyest investment. The best step to take next is to repeat this mission for other pages on your website, and to work on writing compelling titles and descriptions for your pages.
You now have the tools to give your pages the best chance in Google, and we’ve done this quickly today, but the most important part of SEO for small business owners lies in writing messages that will attract potential clients/customers. What does your business do and for which group of people, and why should anyone pick you above other similar businesses? Once you sit down and develop short taglines that clearly articulate these points, your SEO efforts will come easily, and all your communications become more effective (emails, signs, website, phone pitches, …) because you can clearly communicate why people should hire you or buy from you. That’s why I feel an urgency to ensure that Clarity is the topic of the next 4 Minute Mission series (stay tuned).
For a comprehensive guide to WordPress SEO read this guide at Yoast.com.
Or you might prefer the The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, which is not specific to WordPress.
To browse for SEO freelancers, visit www.elance.com and search freelancers for SEO.
I’d be glad to feature one or two websites here as case studies, so let me know how you went in the comments below.
See you soon for the next mission (sign up over on the right to make sure you don’t miss it)…
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The existing Missions are here if you want to take a sneak peak at what’s in store for you.