Do a local search on Google… how about ‘house painter Augusta Ga’, now, notice how none of the results are actually House Painters in Augusta Ga. (except for the Google Local results).  Ever wonder why that happens?  Does Google have something against house painters or small businesses… not at all.

A big cause for this is actually conventional web design and the ubiquitous use of  the ‘Services’ page. There are 2 big reasons for you to eliminate this page from your website: search engine visibility and conversions. Let’s take at these one at a time.

For starters, I feel quite certain that many web conventions were established before the proliferation of search engines and that sometimes we are slow to question an established way of doing things. The ‘services page’ must be questioned when it comes to your site ranking in search results and here is the reason why.  We didn’t type services, Augusta, Ga when we were searching for a house painter in Augusta, did we? Of course not and no one else would either because that phrase tells us nothing about which service we’re actually looking for and we would get lousy results.

But this is exactly the information you are giving to the search engine when you use a services page. So when it is given a query for a house painter it looks at these sites and “sees” a page about services” instead of house painting…. hmmmm.  No wonder there are no house painters in those results.

The second drawback to using a services page is that it gives your users less information about what they need to make a purchase decision and so will hurt your site’s ability to convert.  When someone goes through the extra trouble to type in a geographic qualifier into a search engine they are probably very near the end of the buying cycle and are looking for something they are about to purchase. So you want to provide them with the *benefits *of choosing you for this service.  Not just a laundry list of everything that you do.

So how do we get along without our services page? Simple. Give each separate product or service that you sell it’s own page.  On it list the features and benefits of doing business with you for that particular service.  And then use descriptive anchor text to help your visitors get to the page they need quickly.  This will also help the search engines identify what your site is truly about and return your page in the search results.

For example, if I were laying out a site for a house painter in August Ga, I would create different pages for interior painting, exterior painting and maybe power washing.  This will allow someone  searching for an interior painter to get the information they need without having to read about power washing, which at this point they care little about.  The other benefit here is that Google may return this page one someone does a search for interior painting August Ga, which is a search term that is deliciously close to the end of the buying cycle.

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Today’s post is from an Internet insider, who would like to remain anonymous at this time. After speaking with him, I must say he has an unique vantage point and can should provide LocalBizBits readers with some timely insights. He has agreed to be a frequent contributor to this blog.
Thanks Mr. X. -Larry