How can you get your website to show up higher in the Google search results?

That’s a question that painting contractors across the country ask themselves semi-regularly and that website providers like us ask ourselves on a daily basis. While only a handful of people at Google truly know the answer, search engine optimization (SEO) experts from across the world recently came together to participate in the 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey. The results of the survey are highly likely the best guide available on what you can focus on to improve your search rankings.

For this article we are going to focus on the Top 10 Local Organic Search Factors. (We’ll write a follow up blog diving into factors 11 through 20.) These are factors that the experts see as the most important in helping your website search well. Let’s take a look at the results:

#1 Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain

The number one factor by a pretty large margin is the quality/authority of the inbound links to your website. (When you see “Domain” think website.) What this means is that Google looks at the quality and authority of websites that have links to your domain. For example, a link to your website from the New York Times would carry much more weight than a link to your website from a local blog. Multiple links from websites that Google sees as authoritative would help you search better then another painting contractor’s website that had a couple links from websites that Google doesn’t see as authoritative at all.

How to Improve
The important word here is quality. Don’t fall for misleading emails from bad actors who promise to get you hundreds of links. These usually get tied into link farms that will hurt, not help, your search results. Quality links can from organizations you are a part of – PCA (Painting Contractors Association), other industry organizations, Chambers of Commerce and not-for-profit organizations. They can come from business partners. The media can also be a good source. Reach out to your local media outlets and let them know you’d be happy to be quoted and/or included in stories on local business owners. Industry publication websites like American Painting Contractor and inPAINT are a great source of quality links.

#2 Volume of Quality Content on Entire Website

The second most important factor is the amount of quality content on your website.

How to Improve
Build out your website to include more quality content. Create additional service pages. Get more specific about those services and include more detail. Tell the story of your business. Share more images and descriptions of the work you’ve done. Start writing a blog.

#3 Internal Linking Across Entire Website

This is something that has been taken for granted for a while but is fundamentally important. The better linking structure and more internal links you have across your website, the more likely your website is to search well.

How to Improve
Create links to other pages of your website within your internal pages. Most every painting contractor is going to have a significant number of links on their home page to internal pages. But many stop there and don’t include links to other pages on those internal pages. Add links on your service pages to your gallery. Add links in your gallery to the specific services that are highlighted in the photos. Look for additional connections and create more links.

#4 Topical (Product/Service) Keyword Relevance Across Entire Website

Now we are starting to get more specific to the search. How relevant is your website to the specific keyword the user searched for and other related keywords?

How to Improve
The best way to improve is to understand what your target audience searches for when they are looking for the services that you provide and then making sure you’ve got those keywords and their related keywords sprinkled throughout your website. So if you are targeting residential, you are looking at house painting, house painters, painting contractor, home interior painting, cabinet painters, etc.

#5 Geographic (City/Neighborhood) Keyword Relevance of Domain Content

This is very similar to #4, just focused on location instead of services. If somebody is searching for a painting contractor in Raleigh, North Carolina Google doesn’t want to serve up painting contractor websites from Omaha, Nebraska.

How to Improve
Make sure the cities, towns and areas that you serve are included all over your website. Include them in your service pages, testimonials/reviews and gallery if you can. When doing this you want to make the inclusion natural – make sure it doesn’t look like you are just keyword stuffing.

#6 Keywords in GMB Landing Page Title

Every page of your website has a title. If you don’t actively create one, your website provider or platform will do it automatically. If you are using a provider, you likely have nothing to worry about. If you are managing your own website then you want to pay special attention to make sure your pages have appropriate titles. This factor specifically applies to the page title of the page you have linked to your Google Business Profile.

How to Improve
Make sure that whatever page you have linked to your Google Business Profile has a keyword or two in the page title. For most painting contractors this will be your home page. But there are reasons to use other pages.

#7 Website’s Degree of Focus on a Specific Niche

This should not be an issue for most painting contractors. Painting is enough of a niche. However, if you have three distinct businesses that don’t tie into each other at all on one website – let’s say house painting, a pet day camp and a cake-making business – then Google will be all types of confused.

How to Improve
If that last sentence describes your website you’ll want to split your site up into three distinct and separate websites.

#8 Keywords in Anchor Text of Inbound Links to Domain

This is not something you will likely have any control over. This references the actual text that is used on other websites in the link to your website.

How to Improve
If you have a close connection with somebody who is posting a link to your website you may be able to make the request. Or you could call somebody after the fact to ask them to change the anchor text. If you have the option you want to go for keywords and location, for example – house painting in Cary, NC.

#9 Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain from Locally-Relevant Domains

Two key points to pay attention to on this one – quantity and locally-relevant. This is the number of links you have coming into your website from other local websites.

How to Improve
Some of this was covered up in #1, but you want to get as many links as you can from local entities – chambers of commerce, organizations, other businesses, media, events, etc.

#10 Domain Authority of Website

Think of Domain Authority as the reputation of your website. It can take a lifetime to build it and a minute to ruin it.

How to Improve
By doing all of the other things on the Top 20 list you will improve your Domain Authority. Don’t do anything that Google really dislikes like buying bad links or using manipulation tactics like invisible text to keyword stuff.

This is part one of our two part effort to cover the Top 20. Look for part two in the next couple of weeks.

If you want a website that searches well and brings in new customers, we can help! Please call us at 919-424-6121 or schedule a meeting for a day and time that is convenient for you.