The Farmer’s Harvest Blog

Search Engine Rankings Made Easy

Computer in Kitchen

Every small farm and farmers’ market wants their website to show up at the top of search engine results, like in Google or Bing. If you’ve ever read about this subject before, it may have sounded like a difficult task best left to the experts, but we can assure you it’s an easy item you can tackle in an afternoon.

Consider What You Want to Rank For

Most people strictly consider their business name when thinking about search engine rankings… “As long as I come up at the top of the list when someone searches ‘Maple Shade Acres’, I’m happy.”. While that’s an important consideration, there’s much more than this to be gained! As long as you have a decent website and some social media presence, this shouldn’t be an issue for you – especially if your business has a relatively unique name.

What you should be considering is other terms that people may be searching for: “Local food near Ottawa”, “Organic pastured beef near Kingston” – things of that nature. Make a list of terms that you think people might search for to find you or your products, specifically new customers that haven’t even heard of you yet. It may not be realistic to rank highly for all of the terms you write down, but it’s still worth a shot!

It’s All in the Content

Page Content

There’s no magic to it – search engines like Google and Bing look at your page content to find key words and match them up to searches. Search engines (and Google in particular) aren’t too particular about exact matches – it can match singular to plural, match phrases with words that are out of order, and even match synonyms for words.

The ultimate goal is to create a page or blog post for each of the search terms and phrases you listed in the previous step to really focus on those terms. We want those terms and phrases to be part of the page content, especially the page / blog post title and other headings throughout the page.

If you have a particularly important search term, like the location(s) you serve, these may be good terms to include on every page of your site, like in the footer or banner.

Behind the Scenes

Search Engine Results

There are mystical words in the background of most pages on the internet – they are called “meta tags” and provide information to search engines about the contents of your page and what to show in search results. The only two you need to consider are the meta title and meta description. If you’ve ever seen a search result before, the meta title is the larger text that is a link, and the meta description is smaller unlinked text below the title. Whatever website service you use, you should be able to customize these items, and typically the meta title is taken care of automatically. Take some time to craft the meta description for each page, which should be 1-2 sentences describing the contents and purpose of the page, and should ideally be packed with the keywords and phrases you identified earlier.

Backlinks

Search engines determine the legitimacy of a website by how many other legitimate sites link to it. To dramatically improve your search engine rankings, find some popular and relevant websites that might add a link to your website to their website. Examples might be farmers’ markets that you attend, local agricultural organizations, local food bloggers, or even a local news source that may want to write a piece about your business.

Google Business Profile / Google Maps

Whenever businesses match a search term in Google (the most popular search engine in the world), Google tries to match it up with a Google Business Profile or Google Maps listing. These listings appear above all search results, so if someone searches for your business name, or something like “Farms Near Me”, it’s vital that you have your Google Business Profile set up.

Doing so is easy, and it should only take a few minutes. To get started, go to Google Business Profile and click the “Manage Now” button, then follow the prompts.

Local Food Directories

Local food directories, like Modern Locavore, often have very good search engine presence. Make sure you have a flushed-out listing on every local food directory you come across so that you have an even better chance of being seen in search results.

Sitemap

Most sites should have a sitemap, which is another behind the scenes page that lets search engines know about all of the pages on your website. Ask your website provider to make sure your website’s sitemap has been submitted to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Console.

It Takes Time

Your search engine rankings won’t dramatically improve overnight. Search engines take time to recognize changes, and it’s important to remember that you’re competing with other businesses and websites for real estate in search results. Keep adding quality content to your website, and you’re bound to see positive changes over time.

Farmer’s Harvest Websites

Farmer’s Harvest’s free websites are designed from the ground up to automatically optimize your site for the best search engine rankings possible, and gives you the tools and prompts to make sure everything is just-so. Our websites also form the foundation for our powerful eCommerce software that can help you grow your business. Get started for free.

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