7 Reasons Why Google Hates Your Hair Salon Website
You’ve had a website up for months now but no one ever talks about it. You tried searching for hair salons in your local area and your site won’t even show up. What is going on you think. What are these other sites doing that I haven’t? How are other hair salons constantly getting business online and how on earth does a site like that get ranked on the first page?
The good news is that unlike other industries, the online marketing realm for hair salons isn’t very competitive. It’s no where nearly as difficult to get a website ranked for a hair salon as it would be for lets say a mortgage broker, insurance agent, or real estate agency. By paying attention to a few details, and making some tweaks and changes to your website, you can easily outrank your competitors on Google, Yahoo and Bing. I’ve been able to get some of our customers new business in as quickly two weeks.
Design Related Issues
It’s great to have a website that can showcase your business hours, contact information and address. But to be able to convert a visitor into a new client, you’ll need to do a bit more. Additionally, not all websites are created equally; and how they’re built and designed can directly affect your business.
Lacking a Mobile Friendly Design – This is certainly the most crucial mistake everyone is making online right now. The statistics for mobile phone usage are staggering. Why more people aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity (even beyond the hair and beauty industry) baffles me. Everyone’s eyes are on their phone, and your online presence needs to be right there too! An extremely high percentage of Yelp users are Yelping on their mobile phone. So when they do a search for a hair salon or stylist and come across your name, you don’t want to lose business because your website doesn’t look nice on a smartphone.
A mobile friendly or responsive website is very different than just having a site that looks nice on a tablet or smartphone. They are designed to increase conversion and as such your contact info needs to be immediately visible. When someone finds your website through a phone, they’ve already passed the research phase, and they’re looking to call you or want directions your establishment. That whole pinching the screen to increase the size of a website is now a bit of a joke.
Cheap and Free Template Websites – Usually the decision to get a templated site is due to budget issues. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a website for your hair salon. Choosing the cheapest or easiest solution usually ends up taking more of your time than doing it right the first time. More so then that, the unintended negative consequences it can have surprises most people once it’s pointed out to them. Templates don’t give you the flexibility you need to make important changes that help with search results. Often times templates are cluttered with unnecessary code that just slow things down. Not to mention that many of them have an outdated style.
Slow Loading Websites – Today we live in an environment where no one has any patience. I was laughing while sharing this story with a friend, but I remember putting 30 songs to download before I went to sleep and would be lucky if 3 of them actually finished in the morning. But now, no one wants to wait for anything at all! Your website has 5 seconds to load on a laptop/desktop and 3 seconds to load on a mobile phone. If your site doesn’t load fast, then people are going to click right out and look for something else. Google and other search engines realize this and as a result they do take into consideration how long it takes your hair salon website to load. Especially since salon websites usually have large images, it’s even more crucial to pay attention to the file size of those images and how it can affect loading times. Make sure you compress your images before uploading them to your website. Additionally, one of the ways we’ve overcome this issue is by investing in using solid state hard drives for our servers. A lot of providers won’t do this because it costs more money.
A free tool provided by Google is their Google PageSpeed analyzer that will check your page speeds and what changes you can make to help improve them. It’ll also give you insight into how good the experience of your site is for a mobile user. Keep in mind that it’s near damn impossible to get superbly high scores on their system so don’t get too obsessed over it.
Bad User Experience – How long a person stays on your page, how many more pages they view on your website, and whether or not they come back to your website all reflects a user’s experience and whether they ultimately found the content they were looking for. If your webpage looks ugly, outdated, and has pictures of someone in 90’s jeans, believe me when I say it’ll affect your results. The call to actions need to be very clear (because getting business is the ultimate goal right?), and navigation needs to be straightforward. Pictures that aren’t properly aligned with your content, or broken links all hinder the user’s experience as well.
Content, Social Media and Online Reviews
The content above was focused on creating a strong foundation for you to build the rest of your online business from. The stronger the foundation, the more room you have to build and the further you’ll be able to go in your conquest to rule search engine results and attract new customers. To continue, now you must focus on everything that goes into your website.
Content – Google and other search engines look to see what phrases are frequently repeated on your websites pages. The practice of cramming a bunch of words into your websites died a long time ago. Today, search engines can detect when the content of a website seems unnatural and unreadable. You also have to take into consideration the bounce percentages of your websites pages as well. What does that mean? Let’s say someone at home did a search for “hair salons in Los Angeles”. If the user clicks on a result, lands on the website and only spends a couple seconds there and/or doesn’t go into any additional pages on your website; that usually means they didn’t find what they were looking for, thus making your website seem unrelated to the phrase they searched for. Ranking well takes more than just nailing down one piece of the puzzle. The best thing you can do is to publish great content on your website and always ask yourself; would someone find the information I have on here interesting or usable?
Social Media – How active your hair salon is on Social Media does matter. The number of Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, Instagram interactions, all of these make a difference. It shows the search engines how popular you are on other important platforms. If you have a ton of interaction happening on Facebook and there’s relevant content leading to and from your website, than odds are that you’ll be bumped up a notch in search results. Instead of trying to tackle all the platforms, pick 2 and emphasize most of your focus there. Once you’ve got the ball rolling and you’re comfortable, move onto other platforms. You’ll get much better results and you can be more effective at creating great posts.
Online Reviews – Do online reviews affect how your website ranks on Google? Oh you better believe it. Sites like Yelp or Google Reviews can have a heavy impact in how well you rank on search results. This is even more apparent in service industries where other opinions about the work you do matters. The one thing I can say about online reviews is that they can be great, or they can hurt you real bad. In this day and age, you need to be careful about what you say, the level of service you provide and ensure that there’s proper follow through. If you’re not a people person, you probably shouldn’t be in the industry to begin with. Your actions will reflect the reviews people leave you online which in turn will reflect whether or not people want to do business with you. Make sure your review sites are nice and tidy, and that they also include images. Don’t forget to make sure that you have accurate and updated contact information on there as well.
Each one of the bullet points I’ve mentioned above are items that we can elaborate on with even more details. Heck you can find a book written on each one of them if you really wanted to. But as I work with more and more hair stylists and salon owners, I realize that getting the base fundamentals introduced to you, and gearing you towards the items that will give you the fastest boost in results is by far the best thing we can do. Once you understand the general concept of how everything ties in together, you’ll naturally begin to pickup on deeper concepts and greater details. If you have any questions, make sure you ask them below! Also, if you’ve enjoyed reading our articles, please share them using the social share underneath. Thanks again!
By: Ali Mirdamadi