Why You’re Not Ranking in Search Engines for All Your Keywords

I received this frantic email from one of my clients last week (he owns a small home improvement company):

“I just Googled builders and I was not on top!!! My company wasn’t even there!!! What can we do??”

My response is as follows (company name and search terms are changed for client privacy):

“Builders” is not one of your website’s search terms. As far as search engines are concerned, “builders” is a different word from “builder” or “building”. So even though you’re ranking for “building contractors” because that’s part of your company name, you won’t automatically rank for the word “builders”.

You provide a lot of services, mostly remodeling. If you search for building contractors [city and state] you’re on page 1 (#3 listing), and your Google Places listing is also in the #1 spot in the Google Places listings. If you search for remodeling [city and state] you’re on page 2. If you search for [more search terms], you’re on page 4. But you’re not ranking for all of your keywords/search terms for the following reasons.

A website with separate pages for each service can rank for the services on each of those separate pages, but your website doesn’t have separate service pages. A typical website without separate service pages will only rank for one, maybe two, services, as well as one or possibly two locations. Search engines read website content, page titles, and page descriptions from left to right and top to bottom, and give priority to the first keyword they see, and second priority to the second word, and so on. By the time you get to the third or fourth word, if your competition is using your fourth word as their first word, they will rank above you. For instance, “architectural design” is around the 10th word in your website description, and is in the middle of the first paragraph of your website. Any of your local competitors that have “architectural design” as their 1st to 9th word in their title, description, or first paragraph, will generally rank above you (all other things equal such as online marketing, social media, website popularity, incoming links, website coding, etc.)

Your website title is:
AAAA Building Contractors – Remodeling [city and state]

And your website description is:
AAAA Building Contractors provides Restoration Renovation Remodeling Additions in [city and state] including Architectural Design & Structural Engineering

You rank for building contractors because that’s the 2nd and 3rd word in both the title and description. Remodeling is the first keyword after the company name in the title, so you’re ranking for that. But it will be difficult for you to rank for Additions, Architectural Design, or Structural Engineering because those terms are at the end of the description. But it’s not that simple… If 20 of your competitors decide that they want to rank for building contractors in your city and state, then you can lose your page 1 ranking, especially if those companies are doing more online marketing and social media than you are. And the next time Google updates its search algorithm, you could also lose your page 1 ranking. This last reason is why tweaking those seo terms on your website occasionally is so important, as it can help maintain and/or improve your search engine ranking (this is a service we provide).

So even if we do everything right with your keywords, title, description, tags, etc., external influences like your competition and search engine algorithm updates can knock you out of your spot, as can lack of ongoing marketing, lack of social media presence, and “stagnation” (no website updates).

If you want to rank specifically for “builders”, I can target “builders” as your main keyword. But keep in mind that you’ll drop in the rankings for “remodeling” and/or “building contractors” if we move “builders” to the front of the line. UNLESS you have separate pages for each service that you want to rank for. I always suggest separate service pages to prospective clients, but that of course increases the cost of your website, and most clients tend to opt for fewer pages to keep the cost down.

Another thing that’s holding you back is lack of social media presence. You have a company Facebook page with no current content. You should be making at least 2 search engine optimized posts per week. Search engines index the posts and can rank your website higher as a result. I do offer a Facebook posting service, which often makes a difference in my clients’ search engine ranking.

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