Like Me? Follow Me.
Every day businesses are bombarded with offers from companies hoping to help them acquire links to boost their site's performance on Google.
We'd be the last people to suggest that links don't have an effect, but as has been discussed previously on this blog you have to be careful how you use them.
As a business we always start our work with what's on the page itself, because unless it aligns with the listings you're trying to achieve you are unlikely to have long term success.
I thought it might be useful to provide a bit of a case study on how we might approach the site of someone who's not a client but has visited our site recently. Superstarsceilings.info is a site whose owner has a bit of an interest in SEO, Manchester-based Mark Watts.
The site promotes his business of creating cosmic ceiling murals, glow in the dark representations of the night sky that appear when the lights are turned out. The idea is great and looks fantastic on chidren's bedroom ceilings.
In terms of his site we can see that the market for his services is quite focussed and so it's critically important that he should achieve good listings for the key phrases. From our limited research we'd be focussing on the phrases "ceiling murals" and "cosmic ceilings". "Ceiling Murals" is a more general search phrase and the site will have to compete against sites describing the Sistine Chapel, amongst others. "Cosmic Ceilings" is a more specific term used by people who know what they're looking for and should be easier to achieve good listings. At the moment the site is not in the first 100 listings on Google.co.uk for "ceiling murals" and sits at number 39 for "cosmic ceilings".
We think that achieving better rankings for both of these search terms can be addressed by the site's homepage and that implementation of the following changes to meta could have a positive effect:
This is currently too long and the structure could be improved. It also refers to parts of the business that aren't really covered on the homepage (sale of UV paints, etc) which should be targetted on the relevant subpages of the site.
We'd recommend changing the title tage to something like, "Glow in the Dark Cosmic Ceiling Murals - Superstars Ceilings" this includes all of the key words in the correct order.
Some people might argue that the title tag should include some geo-targetting, however, in this instance we believe that because the listing competition and search volumes are relatively low it's better to keep things generic. To get focussed results from SEO, Manchester or other targetted areas could simply be included in the body copy.
Again the existing description on the site is probably too long and not focussed enough. We'd recommend changing it to something like "Unique glow in the dark cosmic ceiling murals. Give your ceilings the wow factor. Our cosmic ceilings make the stars come out at night in your bedroom."
These changes, if implemented, could also result in an improved listing that would be more likely to convert, looking something like:
Headers and Body Copy
This is not the place to re-write the homepage, as we may run into duplicate content isssues, we'll send a separate email to Mark with advice. Suffice to say, the copy could be made more compelling and the headers used more effectively. At the moment the main header (h1) is "What do I do?" we'd change it to something that includes our target phrases but also answers very clearly the main questions that visitors might ask.
The key thing to remember with all re-writes though is to ensure the copy reads well, including your key phrases but not stuffing the content so that it's obvious you're trying to manipulate results.
Hopefully this blog provides a little practical advice for small business owners to help themselves improve their listings and avoid the tricks of the SEO cowboys that can provide short term results but long term issues for sites.
There are no easy answers, good search results are all about hard work and making sure the site gives the searcher what they're looking for