Ask Betty about website design and search engine optimization.

Dear Betty is a website design and search engine optimization column written by InterNACHI's SEO expert, Roberta Dulay.  Anyone (InterNACHI members and non-members) can submit questions for to Dear Betty at  Most recent questions and replies will be published on the top of this page.
Dear Betty,

Congrats on your new InterNACHI position.  Is there some standard information you distribute with regard to improved website search and engine results?  My sight never comes up in a random search.  It won't even come up listing the company name.  It only shows up when I enter "Progressive Inspection Service", even then the site is number five or six on the list.  Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

This is the website to compete with in Southern California.  This guy pops up everywhere and on everything.  Is one of the secrets, the listing of all the cities and "Home Inspection" over and over in the text and tags?  I thought it might be interesting to look at. 
Thanks again,
Will Handley
Progressive Inspection Service
Hi Will,
The site you sent me (
is a classic example of the old search engine trick where you create doorway pages to your main site and load them up with keywords.  While this trick can get you banned from some search engines, if you’re not caught or reported it can help your short term rankings.

Here are some of the reasons why this particular site is ranking well for home inspection in Southern California:

Longevity – the site was created in April 2002 which means it’s been around awhile. Search engines like that.

Keywords – if you view the html code on the site, you’ll see that the site is liberally using Southern California keywords in its metatags and content

Domain Name – one of the best ways to be found on “home inspection” is to include the words “home inspection” in your domain name.   Even better, put in your city or state, followed by the words “home inspection” if you wish to be found in a location search.

When in Rome…
Ok, so you do a search in Google and you’re find some other home inspector is on the top of the list and you’re not. What to do?  First of all, take a look at his site (and view his site’s source code) to see what he might be doing right.  Is he utilizing keywords? Metatags?  Is he linking with other home inspectors?  Who is linking to him?

One thing you can do in Google is actually check who is linking to your site (or to a competitor’s web site) by typing in link: into Google’s search box. This will return all sites who are linking to your web site.  Exchanging links with other home inspectors is a great way of getting more relevance for your site.  When you exchange links, be sure to make your link title relevant to your area and industry (for example, “Colorado Home Inspections” or “Miami Home Inspections”). Repeat the title you choose liberally on your home page, in your page title, metatags and content.


Dear Betty,

Ok, I've got my web site set up the way I want it. What are things I can do myself to enhance it's exposure? What things can I have someone else do for me?
Craig Lambert
Green Side Up Home Services
Livingston, MT

Hi Craig,

Thank you for writing. First of all, I strongly recommend that you take advantage of the free search engine submission service that we offer to all InterNACHI members – we will review your web site’s ranking and code, make recommendations on how you can make  your web site more search-engine friendly, and then submit your web site to literally hundreds of search engines, directories and link sites.  Second, and I can’t emphasize this enough, make sure you’re not being a  “boy in a plastic bubble” when it comes to your web site and how it relates to others on the web. Linking with other home inspection web sites, and having them link to you is one of the most important things you can do to improve your search engine relevance on Google and other directories.  Submit your site to Yahoo and Google’s Local Listings, and be sure to link to it from InterNACHI (especially from the message boards).  I recommend that you get your web site listed on every FREE real estate and home inspection web site directory you can find, and submit your site to the Open Directory Project and Joe Ant (both of  these sites prefer non-commercial web sites but will consider listing you if your site has good content).  While you’re at it, think about beefing up your content.  InterNACHI now offers dozens of consumer-interest articles on topics ranging from home safety to construction to mold and other home issues.  Including relevant content on your web site will not only make it deeper (which search engines love!), it will reinforce the value of your metatags. 


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