Many business owners just want a simple answer to the question – ‘How can I make sure my micropigmentation clinic is found on Google?’. Answering this question with actionable steps is the purpose of this article, as SEO is a critical part of your overall marketing strategy.
For clarity, we’re talking about getting to the top of the natural, organic search results on Google. Paid search is a different topic for another day. As for Yahoo and Bing, all search engines work in a similar way. Optimise for Google, and you’ll tick 90% of Yahoo/Bing’s boxes too.
The most important question
Before we go any further, please be aware of the following. Let this sink in because these truths impact our approach at every step:
- You cannot ‘beat’ Google. Don’t try to game the system.
- You cannot buy your way to the top. Organic search doesn’t work like that.
- There are NO guarantees.
- Most of what the average SEO agency will tell you is BS. There are good and bad agencies of course, but the industry as a whole is far from perfect.
So, you can’t beat Google, or pay your way in, so-called experts are unreliable and success is not guaranteed. So what should you do? The answer is refreshingly simple – consider why Google ranks websites the way they do, and configure your website accordingly. It’s really not that complicated when you get the hang of it.
So what does Google want?
Consider what Google is for. Google wants to be everyone’s favorite search engine. The more people use Google, the more often their pay per click (PPC) ads get clicked. That’s how Google gets paid. People only use Google because Google gives them what they want. They search for something, maybe information or a product, and Google gives them a list of websites that perfectly match what the user is searching for.
So Google must ensure that when a user searches for something, whatever it is, that the results displayed are useful and relevant to the person running the search.
There are billions of websites, so how does Google do that?
Relevance, authority and user experience
When you strip away all the jargon, these three things are all that really matter to Google. Get these right, and you’ll be well on your way to higher rankings.
- Relevance – If the customer is searching for a scalp micropigmentation company in Seattle, how relevant is your website? Have you proven to Google that you’re a real, legitimate business, specializing in scalp micropigmentation, based in Seattle? Is this made clear in your website content?
- Authority – Does Google trust your website? How old is your website? Do you offer comprehensive, unique and useful information to customers? Do other websites link to your website? Is your business actively shared and discussed on social media? Have customers reviewed your business? Are you breaking any of Google’s rules?
- User experience – How long are customers spending on your website? Are they getting the information they came for? Do you make it easy for customers (and Google) to find your content? Does your website load quickly, and work well on mobile devices?
The step by step checklist
I promised I’d make it easy for you guys, so here it is. A minimal jargon to-do list. This list covers 90% of what should be done, without getting into the really geeky stuff. Use this list and you will almost certainly notice improvements.
Please note:- The same rules apply, no matter which content management system (CMS) you are using to build your website. I have based these guidelines on WordPress as WP is the most widely used platform in the world. If you’re using Squarespace, WIX or even building from scratch, it doesn’t change any of my recommendations. You may need to find where/how you change some of your website settings, but the rules remain the same whatever you are using.
So here it is:
- What do you want to rank for?
- How are you ranking now?
- Your website template
- Plan your website pages
- Page title and META description
- Page content
- Internal linking and linking out
- Optimizing images
- XML Sitemap
- Duplicate content
- Link building
- Social signals and reviews
- Google Webmaster Tools
Not sure what all these mean? Don’t worry, it’s easy when you know how so lets make a start. Prefer a ‘done for you’ service? Drop a line to my team.
What do you want to rank for?
There is no point ranking for ‘scalp micropigmentation in wichita’, if no-one is using that search term. Equally, trying to rank for ‘scalp micropigmentation’ is futile in the short term as it’s just too competitive a search unless your website has built some authority.
Eventually, as is the case with Team Micro.com, you can rank for pretty much anything just by adding a relevant page. But this takes time and patience, so right now, decide which rankings are super important to your business.
Let’s say you’re based in Miami – these are almost certainly top of your list of desired rankings:
- scalp micropigmentation miami
- hair tattoo miami
- scalp micropigmentation florida
- hair tattoo florida
- etc etc…
Medium term, when your SEO is stronger and you’re feeling confident, you can start shooting for keywords like these:
- scalp micropigmentation cost
- scalp micropigmentation reviews
- scalp micropigmentation before and after
- etc etc…
Long term, you might want to target terms like these:
- hair transplant alternative
- hair loss in men
- hair loss treatments
- etc etc…
The first set of location-based keywords should be your first target, because even if search volumes are very low, even a handful of visits to your website per month from searches like these are likely to result in some treatment bookings. These are searches with intent, or ‘buying keywords’.
Terms like ‘scalp micropigmentation reviews’ offer bigger traffic, but have less buying intent. That’s why at Team Micro.com, we target both location-based and information-based keywords.
The important thing is to have realistic expectations and a structured approach. Start with a short and achievable list of keywords, maybe 4-5 location-based phrases, and build from there.
For keyword research including volume and competition data, we highly recommend SEMRush. Used by industry insiders for years, SEMRush takes the guesswork out of SEO and there’s a free trial available.
How are you ranking now?
To get to where you want to be, you need to know where you’re starting from. In SEO terms, that means knowing how you’re ranking right now for the terms you want to target.
You could keep a list or a spreadsheet, but take it from me – tracking rankings over time is a pain and you’ll quickly lose discipline. There are plenty of cheap tools on the market that do the job for you.
Your website template
If you don’t already have a website (or even if you do), it is essential to ensure your site is built on the right foundations. At Team Micro we use and thoroughly recommend WordPress, however others are pretty good too, like Wix. What is most important is the design you choose.
Note:- unless you have deep pockets, it’s really not worth having a website custom built nowadays. Almost every small business website is based on a template, out of the box or customized, but the use of a template makes life easier and development a lot more cost efficient. There are literally thousands of templates available, especially for WordPress, so you can easily find something reasonably unique to your business that suits your needs.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Buy a domain name and hosting package. I’ve used almost every major hosting company over the years, and been let down by slow speed and poor service many times. Team Micro is hosted by Siteground. They’re not the cheapest, but they’re by far the best I’ve found. 24 hour support via live chat is incredibly valuable and being able to speak to a real person, wherever, whenever, is a real bonus.
- Install WordPress on your account. Most hosting companies can do this for you, and its dead easy. If you choose to use Siteground, just hit them up on live chat and they’ll do it for you.
- Choose a design theme for your website. We have bought literally hundreds of templates for several businesses and clients, and had our fingers burned more than once. We recommend Themeforest. They have the biggest selection by far and every theme is rated and reviewed so you know what you’re getting.
- PRO TIP: Before buying any template, go to the live demo (all Themeforest templates have live demos), copy the URL (the https://www. address in the top bar of your browser) and paste it into the Google Pagespeed tool. This measures the speed of the template and is an important ranking factor. Anything over 60/100 is fine and can be improved upon later.
- Install your chosen template. This is done within WordPress in just a couple of clicks. An explanation can be found here.
- Use the options available within the template to customize to your requirements. Most themes have a ‘Panel’ built-in that enables fast and easy changes with no technical knowledge required.
Plan your website pages
Quite simply, this means getting a piece of paper and working out what content you want on your website, then matching each page with one of the keywords you want to rank for. One page = one primary keyword.
Imagine you’re building your main navigation menu at the top of your website. What pages do you want to see there? What information is useful to prospective customers, and will showcase your business the way you want to?
Obviously you can really go to town on this and create a ton of useful pages, but I would advise keeping your website small to start. Focus on creating a small number of high quality pages, rather than a large number of poorly constructed, rushed pages with thin content.
Page title and META description
Your page title is the single most important factor in your on-page SEO. Your title appears within the code of your page as <title>Your Title Here</title> and is often displayed prominently within Google search results. A META description appears within your site code as <meta name=”description” content=”Your description here”/>.
Whilst your META description does not directly influence your rankings, they are often displayed within search results (as shown below), so a good description WILL improve your click-through rate, and this has a significant impact on your rankings. Therefore, all SEO-optimized pages should have one. All major website building programs like WordPress, Joomla and Wix provide the option to modify your page title and META description. If you’re using WordPress, as most scalp micropigmentation companies do, we recommend the free WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
Your page content
This is why your website visitors are here. The actual content of your page is critical to your success on any search engine, especially Google. Users want useful, engaging content that satisfies their needs. Unsurprisingly, Google’s ranking algorithm is set up with this in mind.
Let’s talk about structure, text content and additional media.
Newspapers contain a lot of text content and photographs. To make their articles easier to navigate and digest, they use headlines to break up the content into logical portions. Every article gets a main headline, a few sub-headlines and perhaps some bulletpoints too, depending on the best format to present that particular story.
Websites are no different, and therefore should also use headlines. Not only do headlines and other formatted content (like bullets, emboldened text etc) make the content easier to read, they also help Google to understand what your page is all about, which is essential for good search engine rankings.
Headlines in web pages are categorised as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5> and <h6>. These are actually very easy to understand. <h1> for example, is your main page headline. You should only have one per page, and it should appear at the top of your content, and should contain the main keyword you are targeting. This page for example, uses this h1:
<h1>Getting found on Google: A guide for scalp micropigmentation clinics</h1>
<h2>, <h3> and <h4> sub-headings are then used to structure your content. <h5> and <h6> headlines are rarely used.
Between your headlines lies the most important part of your content – the text. Here are some general guidelines for writing your articles and information pages:
- Grammar and spelling are important. Poorly written content does not tend to rank well on Google.
- Make sure your targeted keyword is included in the first and last paragraph, and a couple of times throughout your content. NEVER stuff your content with keywords as this will get you penalized by Google.
- Use synonyms. For example, if your article is about the cost of a scalp micropigmentation treatment, include words such as:
- hair tattoo
- hair tattooing
- scalp pigmentation
- hair loss treatment
- Longer content is preferred by Google. Aim to write a minimum of 500 words per page. For highly competitive terms, aim for 1500-2000 words. There is no maximum, and longer content will rank for a broader range of keywords.
- Write in US English to rank on Google.com, UK English for Google.co.uk, and Spanish for Google.es. For more complex requirements, for example when you want to target Spanish speakers living in the United States, see this article about the hreflang tag.
Great content needs more than just text. Pictures, graphics and video make information easier and more enjoyable to digest, and send strong quality and relevance signals to Google.
The two most common types of additional media are photographs, and embedded YouTube videos. See information below about how to optimize your images, and view this article to learn how to embed videos in your article pages.
Other types of media include infographics, downloadable PDF’s and audio files. What type of content is appropriate depends on the nature of your article. Just use whatever you believe adds the most value from a readers perspective.
Internal linking and linking out
A great way to demonstrate that a piece of content is highly relevant to a particular keyword, and useful for readers, is to link the article to other high quality related articles. These related articles may be published on your own website, or elsewhere on the internet.
By linking to related content, you are creating a ‘network’ or ‘neighborhood’ of pages that are inter-related. For this reason, make sure the pages you link to are genuinely useful and published by an authoritative source. Obviously linking to other pages on your own website is easy enough, and you should definitely link to other websites too, but remember that each link is essentially a vote for the site you’re linking to. If you want Google to trust your website, you need to link only to other trusted websites.
For example, I will link to a great article on Search Engine Journal about linking to other websites for SEO purposes. To further illustrate my point, I will link to another article about anchor text, this time on Moz.com, about what it is and why anchor text is important.
Don’t be afraid to link to other websites. I know you might be concerned about giving away traffic and losing it from your own site, but this way of thinking is outdated and does not represent how the internet works. Any traffic loss is more than offset by the SEO benefits associated with linking out to authoritative sources.
Although search engines like Google can ‘guess’ what is shown in a photo or graphic, they can only do so with supporting information. Primarily this is the ‘tags’ that are attached to the image (filename, title and ALT tag), and the content that surrounds the image on a web page.
So, if Google finds an article about Daschund puppies, and the article contains an image called something like ‘daschund-puppy.jpg’, and the image title and ALT tag both read ‘daschund puppy’, Google will naturally assume the photo is of a daschund puppy.
Why is this important? Because images add relevance and usefulness to an article, meaning Google is likely to reward that article with higher rankings. Furthermore, the photo itself is likely to be found on Google Images, which in turn drives additional traffic to the article.
Most website softwares enable the user to specify the file name, title and ALT tag of each image. This is made particularly easy within WordPress, our recommended website building platform.
This sounds more complicated than it actually is. Essentially, an XML sitemap is a contents page or ‘map’ of your website, designed to make it super easy for search engines to find all your pages and understand the structure of your website.
The WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast contains this functionality built in. Just activate it within the plugin settings and the sitemap is built for you automatically. All that is left to do is to submit it to Google using Webmaster Tools (more on this below).
Want to see what an XML sitemap looks like? You can view the Team Micro.com XML sitemap here.
Google hates duplicate content. Any content on the web that is deemed non-original is largely filtered out of search results, and can often land a website owner with a ranking penalty. Such penalties are extremely damaging and difficult to remove.
They even created a specific algorithm called Google Panda, designed specifically to hunt for duplicate content and downgrade offending websites. This algorithm made headlines around the world and put thousands of website owners out of business. This is serious stuff.
Duplicate content means anything you haven’t created yourself. Articles and images that are borrowed, stolen or superficially edited from existing content found elsewhere online puts you at risk.
Never copy text content from another website to your own. If you rewrite a piece of content, based on pre-existing content, don’t just change a few words around. Make sure your content is substantially different to stay out of trouble.