Just throwing together a website without careful attention to the details may not be worth the effort. Lance Bachmann, president of Local Internet Traffic and its soon-to-be-launched subsidiary, 1seo, explains that if a website does not appear on the first page of an Internet search, its chance of attracting visitors is drastically reduced.
“Ninety percent of all traffic goes to the first pages of Google, Yahoo, and Bing,” says Bachmann, who is based in Oakford, Pa. “If you go to the seventh or eighth page, you’re going to get no traffic so you might as well not even be there.”
To move up in the ranking, a website must be optimized, and Bachmann was scheduled to discuss this process in his talk “Increase Website Traffic with Search Engine Optimization” on Wednesday, March 31, at 9 a.m. at the Small Business Development Center at the College of New Jersey in Ewing. For more information visit www.sbdcnj.com.
After making sure a website is built around a company’s core competencies, which is what search engines are looking for, Bachmann says it is time to get into the details.
Keywords. Keywords are the words users enter in a search engine to find the information they need. Keywords vary in how competitive they need to be to achieve a high search engine ranking.
“Every single keyword has a certain amount of competitiveness in terms of how many people are competing for it,” says Bachmann. Since there are more lawyers than roofers in Philadelphia, for example, it is more difficult and more expensive for lawyers to get top billing. Similarly, insurance is more competitive than mattresses or new furniture.
To determine how competitive particular keywords are and to select keywords, many tools are available, says Bachmann, for example, Google’s AdWords, Market Samurai, and Web CEO.
Metadescription. This is a list of keywords ranging from 75 to 105 characters used to rank the website. The metadescription does not include the company name and appears in the back end of the website in a markup language like html. “It is what allows the search engines to understand what you’re trying to do, what keywords you’re trying to rank for on the first page of the search engine,” says Bachmann. “It should be what your website is about.”
An example of a metadescription might be “plumbing company Philadelphia, plumbing supply company Philadelphia, plumbing supply company New Jersey.”
Page titles. Make sure that the title is different on each page of the website. The title of an individual page should be the main keyword people are likely to use to find it. A title for a home page should begin with this keyword and be followed by the name of the firm and its location; an example is “Personal Injury Lawyer, ABC Associates, Trenton, NJ.”
Keyword density. Make sure that five to seven percent of the content on every page of the website is made up of the keywords used on the back end.
Link building. To boost the ranking of a website, a company must create backlinks to its website. That is, it must link from other credible websites. “These back links,” says Bachmann, “must say that you are an authority on the subject matter.”
Creating relevant links that point to your site can be accomplished by way of articles, blogs, and press releases and by exchanging links with other companies. Bachmann’s company, for example, creates such backlinks and tracks monthly the links gained and the page ranks for each one.
Page rank. Once effectively optimized, a website’s page rank should improve. Google assigns a number from 0 to 10 to every website. The higher the number, the better. Website owners can find out a website’s ranking using Google’s website grader, which also offers some opportunities for improving the assigned rank.
Legitimate content. Follow the rules and make sure all content makes sense. Sometimes people try to sneak information like lists of towns and keywords onto a webpage by using “invisible text.” Bachmann advises strongly against this. “If you get caught doing that, your website will be banned,” he says. “Once you are banned from Google, Yahoo, and Bing, who are you going to complain to? They own the companies, and if you don’t play by their rules, they don’t care.”
Bachmann is a native of Philadelphia, where his single mother was a tax auditor for the state of Pennsylvania for 30 years. He earned a bachelor’s in education, focusing on special education, at Temple University, where he later got an executive MBA.
Bachmann started his sales management career at the Donnelley Directory, where he was account manager, account representative, and sales training manager. From 2002 to 2005 he worked at Verizon Yellow Pages as district sales manager, account executive, and account representative. In 2005 he founded yellowpages-.com, where he had more than 750 people working for him.
About two years ago Bachmann started his current business, Local Internet Traffic, where, he says, “we have about 20 nerds working for us right now.” He has also purchased the website 1seo.com (standing for “No. 1 in search engine optimization”), which will be part of a subsidiary created primarily for branding the search engine optimization function of the business. As compared to the large number of employees at yellowpages.com, he says, “Twenty people is kind of small, but it is a lot more enjoyable.”
Bachmann still sees himself as a teacher in his role as advertiser, but in a different context. “I think what separates me from most people is I can talk to people and make them understand that this is what your return on investment should be,” he says. “I love the fact that I can make people’s businesses grow.”