If you have a lighting business, whether it be outdoor lighting, landscape lighting, lighting design or even if lighting is just one of your many services, you need to have a website that communicates the value of what you offer. Having such a website, however, will not drive new customers to your business unless people find it quickly and easily. To do that, you need to impress Google. In a sense, Google is your most important customer – they will provide you with more referrals than any of your other clients. You must convince Google that your company has value.
CAST Lighting works closely with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts to learn how to best design and market websites to the lighting industry. The CAST Lighting website ranks very high in Google, and we work with CAST-trained contractors and architects to advise them on getting their sites up in the rankings as well.
Google’s primary goal is to connect individuals with websites (and companies) that closely match what they seek. Google determines this using a complex (and secret) algorithm that includes over 200 factors that analyze the design, content, and history of a website, as well as such factors as popularity and linking from other sites to yours.
While much of this seems daunting (even unfair) to the small business with a simple website, Google actually offers help to the enterprising business person in many ways - most of them free! Here are some very effective (free)steps to get your website higher in the Google rankings.
- Google Local Business Center.This free listing service can immediately bring your business to the top of page one in Google. If a customer searches for ‘Landscape Lighting Boston’, and your business is in the region, then your business is displayed. Clicking onto your business name opens more information about your business including a link to your website. You can even post a coupon for your services for free. Another little known fact is that Google monitors a person’s browsing history and may know where you live. A person living near Springfield, MA can enter “Landscape Lighting” in their browser and see the same local listing.
To sign up for this free service, go to the Google Local Business Center.
- Images and Videos. For many common search terms, Google will display ‘Image Results’ and/or ‘Video Results’. These results always appear on page one and may also be tied in with the user’s locality. To make best use of this service, be sure to attach ‘Alt text’ to every image and video. The ‘alt text’ should contain regional names, such as “Illumiscape landscape lighting in Springfield, MA”. ‘Alt text’ is entered manually when you upload an image to your website.
- Google Webmaster Tools. While this Google service is primarily aimed at web designers to help them improve rankings for their sites, business owners can sign up for the free service and get a good reality check on how well their site is doing according to Google. These tools help you to select relevent keywords, find out how people are finding (or not finding) your site, track links from other sites to yours, and diagnose possible problems with your content.
Go to Google Webmaster Central.
For the full range of free and paid business services offered by Google, go to “Google Business Solutions“.
To address how lighting companies need to specifically fine tune their search engine strategy, the following should be considered:
- The most relevant and popular search terms for a landscape lighting business are, in order of popularity: Outdoor lighting, landscape lighting, garden lighting, low voltage lighting. All of these terms should appear in the text of your site. Note that headlines (H1 code) are weighted more heavily than normal text. Bolded text may weigh more heavily than non-bolded (but don’t overdo it).
- Most homeowners include their locality when searching for landscape lighting, include these locality names in the content of your site. Always put your physical address in the footer of every page. Include towns, cities, counties, and states that you service (but don’t go wild with this – you may be penalized for very long lists of localities).
- Use important keywords often in the content of your site but not more than 4 to 5 times per page.
- Use the names of manufacturers in the text of your site and include their logos and links back to their sites. Many homeowners search with the manufacturer’s name. CAST Lighting provides the CAST Logos and other images to all businesses who install or specify our products. Learn how to obtain CAST Landscape Lighting Images.