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Choose Your Words Wisely

Anyone can get themself listed on the top of the search engines. Just come up with something that no one else is competing for. For example, put the phrase "2 legged home inspector" all over your website and you'll come up first when someone searches for "2 legged home inspector." The problem is, who the hell is going to search for that?

The goal of optimizing your website is not just to be at the top of the search rankings, but to be at the top for phrases that people will REALLY type into a search engine. This is not always an easy question to answer. If you live in a small state like Maine, are people going to search for 'Home Inspector in Maine' or 'Home Inspector in Augusta'? If you're in California, it's pretty easy to guess people aren't searching for 'Home Inspector in California' because everyone realizes that the state spreads across thousands of square miles, thousands of cities, and millions of people.

I see lots of inspectors optimize their site with county names. If you were looking for a local pizza joint would you type into google 'Pizza in San Bernardino County' or would you type in 'Pizza in Riverside' (Riverside being a city). If no one ever types in the county name, then it's worthless on your site in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You need to think long and hard about how people in your area refer to themselves.

Kevin Richardson and I had a discussion earlier in the week about this. Out here in California it's much better to optimize for city names. He pointed out that in Maryland he feels people are more likely to search using state names as the states are so small. So when I helped him optimize his site I used States (he targets 3) as well as cities.

Now, the next tip. Do NOT stick 500 city names into your keywords, description and page title. Search engines look at the percentage of the search term to its occurance on your page. If you type in 500 cities and someone searches for one of them, your percentage is 1/500 or .002%. Not very efficient. You need to pick the top 5 cities you service, probably the 5 largest and use them the post. On individual pages within your sites content you can go ahead and list the other cities. But this way your main features, the page title and description have a 20% occurance rate. If you only work in one city (maybe your a Los Angeles home inspector), you're set as you have a 100% occurance. Higher percentage = better match = higher rankings.

Optimize your site for these 5 cities. Include them in lots of areas. If you're in a small state and feel people will use the state name (remember, would you search for Pizza in your state), then include that too.

Look through your logs, post the top 5 phrases people end up at your site from. You could probably do better if you changed them. Post them and let others comment.

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