Firstly, just to cut through the jargon, let me explain what keywords and SEO are.
SEO is search engine optimisation. SEO is a huge subject (with many different opinions) but at its simplest level (which is all we need to concentrate on right now) it’s the technique of making sure your website uses words that people search for. This in turn should give your salon website the opportunity to appear in search engine results when someone looks for what you offer, because it is more relevant and the search engine can see/understand what you do.
Keywords are the words (in fact they are usually phrases) that people search for specifically that you are trying to match. For example, you could say that people look for a “beauty salon in Manchester” so at a basic level, you need to make sure these ‘key’ words are in your content so that the search engines can match specific search queries with your website.
The Basic Idea of SEO
One of the biggest problems I find with beauty salon websites (in fact many small business websites) is that they are too busy being vague – using fluffy marketing words – in a world where people search using specific words – keywords.
In fact, with so many websites online, it’s becoming so hard to find things that these words are no longer words, but phrases and sentences.
When push comes to shove, good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is about creating a connection with people, whilst giving a search engine a good understanding of what you do and where you are.
On one hand, you need to be intriguing and inviting so that someone reads (or at the very least skim-reads) your content, and on the other hand you must use specific phrases so that a search engine can read your page, understand your content and index you with the other sites saying the same thing.
If you did nothing else to your website SEO, making sure your content is more specific is the 20% of the work that gets the 80% results.
If you take note and implement the following advice, you will see a difference to the traffic your website gets.
Spreading Your Keywords
Firstly, bear this mind. Every page on your website needs to work hard for itself. Your home page needs to be about your salon, your waxing page needs to be about waxing, your manicures pages needs to be about manicures, etc. This creates immediate engagement because some people will be looking for specific services, eg.
Someone looks for “manicures in Manchester” – you want these people to land directly on the manicures page – not your home page. For the person looking for “thai massage in Manchester”, you want them to land directly on the Thai Massage page. This approach is so much better because you create a match for search engines to get your specific page closer to the top of the listings for specific searches.
So, don’t think you have to cover all bases on every single page. Simply focus on what each page is selling.
What Keywords Have You Got Now?
On a web page, there is an invisible tag called “Meta Keywords” – ignore it. Google does. The keywords we are talking about are just generic phrases that are found within your content. Different elements of your web page offer different value in terms of SEO, but lets simply focus on content in general and make sure you have the right words on your web pages somewhere.
When I was at my old company, we built an SEO keyword analyzer tool that strips through the content of any web page online to see what words the page focuses on in its content. It’s simplistic, but very good for crafting your text. Give it a go on one of your web pages. Give it a go on your competitors!
(this tool is now defunct and I use this SEOBOOK keyword density tool.)
What we are trying to do here is increase the number of times certain phrases appear on your page to create relevance.
Also, by removing (or refining) other vague text, we can also increase the amount of times our chosen keywords appear as a percentage of the entire content. Here’s an example for a page on our website promoting our beauty salon in Fleet. This, for example, shows me (two highlighted words) that “Fleet” appears 17 times, which is 4.2% of all the content on the page and “beauty salon” appears 5 times, which is 1.2% of all of the page content.
Bear in mind, this page has been optimised. I always say to people, if these words on this chart do not give a clear picture of what that page is about, there is work to do.
So, Which Keywords To Choose?
There are free keyword tools that help you discover what people search for and the most important ingredient to add that you will not get from keyword research is location. Wordtracker do a free keyword research tool and if you have a Google Adwords account, they have Keyword Planner, but these will only give you generic phrases, rather than specific phrases that relate to your salon in your town.
Personally, I think there is nothing like a bit of common sense and a thesaurus and it’s where I always start.
And, remember, just because the industry (or you) don’t use certain phrases for what you do, it doesn’t mean that your clients won’t. For example… Beauty salon, beauty therapist, beautician, beauty parlour – these are all the same thing to some people.
For what it’s worth these are my top keywords to focus on for your main home page, where (town) is your location:
- Beauty salon town
- Beauty salons town
- Beauty salon in town
- Town beauty salons
So, all you have to do is make sure these words (and arguably they do not all need to be together (see my example above) need to be on your home page.
How To Implement Your Keywords
There are some key aspects of your web page that need keywords adding to. Some are more obvious than others, and others offer you the opportunity to get creative. You will need to access your website back-end (either your web programmer or via your website control panel) to implement these but here are my five top tips.
1. Meta Title and Description of Your Page
These meta tags are not seen by a website visitor on the web page but are a key aspect for your page to be more relevant for a search engine. They are also (most of the time) the bit of text that is displayed in a Google search result. Eg. Example of Fleet page mentioned above looks like this in Google:
You have around 70 characters for your Meta Title and 160 for your description. Use them wisely.
And remember… these tags need to include your keywords AND they also need to be crafted in a way where they are enticing IF your website appears in the search engine results. Otherwise you will get no click throughs to your website.
2. Page Heading
Every page on your website should have a page heading (sometimes referred to as H1). It needs to be clear and define the page – it’s the heading of the page so needs to describe what’s coming next. The Heading of our example page is simply “Fleet Beauty Salon“. Remember, if your website is built well, every page on your could possibly be the first one someone sees. So, don’t feel over the top if you place headings on each page that are more descriptive. eg. Manicures in Manchester, Thai Massage In Manchester.
The words you write to describe something need to be engaging enough for a visitor to take the next step, eg. Book a treatment or get in touch. But, they also need to be succinct enough for a search engine to understand what you are promoting (as per our keyword chart example above).
Too many web pages are vague… Replace the traditional “Welcome to our luxurious salon where you can relax and be treated blah blah blah blah” with something like “We are a beauty salon in (town) offering beauty treatments for men and women”.
In that one small sentence you have got your keywords in “beauty salon in (town)” and “beauty treatments”. Don’t get too repetitive but read through your content and you will be amazing by how many extra descriptive words you can get into your content.
The same concept applies to images when you load them up to your salon website. If you use a web programmer or a good content management system, you should be able to place ALT text behind your images. ALT text is a tag that is designed to describe the image in words. Many people leave these blank or put vague text in but it’s an opportunity to add keywords – especially ones that you may not get away with in text.
If you upload a photo of your salon, why call it “salon” when it could be “beauty salon (town)” – adding another keyword.
If you upload the logo of one of the brands you use in your salon, it can be “We are a (brand) beauty salon in (town)” .
5. Your Footer
The footer area of your website is a great place to hammer home specifics about your message. You can add your address to each page in the footer of your website. (You can go one step further and use micro formats if you are technical enough). You can add your logo again with descriptive text behind it. All of these things allow for some added extras to your page. Your address for instance, no doubt offers town, county, postcode and telephone number. Each of these are very relevant to Google as it understands places.
Ultimately, I really believe SEO is not rocket-science for your and me – it’s simply a case of stating the obvious about what you do and where you are. Just remembering that people searching using words, phrases and sentences and that your website needs to contain them is the key.
Making different pages that sell different things is also important. It might seem like hard work, but it’s important. It could also save you money because you will attract more traffic to your website, which in turn you can work hard to turn into enquiries and new clients.
The next step can also be to add value added content, such as advice and tips, as you can get even more specific with what you do and the problems that may result in someone needing you.