Focus on your nicheIt’s as true in business as in life: you can’t be all things to all people. Your business is focused on a specific service or services, or a certain product or set of products. Your target customer is probably fairly specific too, and probably lives in a specific geographic area. Chances are that your business serves some type of niche, and the narrower your niche, the better your chances for success.

Then why isn’t your website similarly focused?

Do you really want 10,000 visitors to hit your website every week only to immediately bounce or would you like 100 visitors every week who found you because you’re an exact match to what they’re looking for and they are ready to buy or hire you? How many hot leads does your website provide to you today? Are you tracking and measuring that?

Many small business websites make the mistake of trying to rank for highly competitive, general keywords like “Dallas plumber” or “Los Angeles personal injury attorney”. Those keywords aren’t completely impossible to rank for, but they are so broad and so highly competitive that they require a major coordinated SEO and SEM effort and can end up being a waste of time and money. Why? Because even if you succeed at ranking for a general keyword like that, most of the traffic you get probably isn’t going to be from buyers ready to make a purchase or hiring decision.

So what to do?

Narrow your geographic service area

It may seem trivial or obvious, but be sure to specifically include text throughout your website that describes the city(ies) and state that you service. Now, I don’t mean you should list every single town in every single county in a three-state area. That’s overkill and looks spammy to the search engines. But a specific description like “Serving all of Dallas and Tarrant Counties” with your address, including state and ZIP code is good. Or “Our agents cover the entire Los Angeles area from Glendale to Long Beach.” Or list the top 3 major cities/towns in your service area “Serving Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington”. You get the point.

Just be sure to tie your business to your geographic location so you’re sure to only be targeting people who could actually become customers.

Zero in on specific services/products

Chances are that when someone is looking for a plumber for an emergency leak on a Sunday, they will search using more specific language than “plumber in Dallas”. Why? Because that search phrase will net them all kinds of general results that may not be helpful. So they’re more likely to be looking for something like “emergency weekend plumber north dallas”. And that’s probably going to be easier for your website to rank for. How, you ask?

Use terminology your customers use

A little keyword research will reveal to you the types of searches people are doing to find businesses like yours. Once you know what these more specific search phrases are, be sure to prominently include them on your website. Devote a page to “emergency weekend plumber north dallas” and chances are that everyone who finds your page is ready to call. Write about how your team works on weekends and handles plumbing emergencies 24/7 in the North Dallas area. List the specific types of emergencies you typically see like “clogged shower drains” or “kitchen disposal backed up”. This detailed content not only helps the customer, but it tells the search engines specifically what you do and where you do it.

If your typical customer is searching for “help with itemized tax return” they won’t find you if you don’t mention that on your website. If all you say is “tax specialist” or worse, “accounting services” and don’t even mention tax services, you’re ignoring most of your potential customers.

Keep adding fresh, relevant content

To attract consumers to your website at the decision-making moment, you have to show up in the search results for the specific thing they’re looking for in their specific geographic area. And the way you do that is to make sure you have plenty of specifically relevant content on your website. Even if your human visitors don’t read all of the content on your site (and they won’t) the search engines will. And the more detailed information you give the search engines, the easier it is for them to know which searches your business is related to, and the more visibility your website will have.