SEO. The mysterious 3 letters that are often either over-complicated or over-simplified, rarely understood, and almost always misunderstood by those not "in the know". So what is SEO and why is it important?
What is SEO?
According to Google (who might actually know what they are talking about here, SEO means:
The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
"Simply" put, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's how your website communicates with search engines and tells them that your website is a valuable resource when people are searching for whatever it is that you do. For example, if you are a concrete cutter, then it would make sense that you would want your website to show up when people are searching for a concrete cutter.
But what if they are searching for information about concrete in general, or home improvement tips, or renovation ideas? Couldn't it be valuable to show up then too? For sure! You never know when those people are going to need a concrete cutter to help them with their upcoming projects. So, while SEO is certainly about understanding how search engines work, it's also about understanding human behavior, why people search for the things they search for, and how your website might be able to insert itself into their buying cycles at just the right time.
Climbing to the top of Google search results
Affordable Concrete is one of the leading concrete cutters in New England. When they came to us looking for a new site they already had a very comprehensive SEO strategy on their website. They were showing up in the top 1-3 search results in many of the towns they served for a variety of search terms. But there were a number of issues that were starting to hurt their ranking. For starters, increased competition was making it harder to rank well. Their site was old, non-responsive, meaning it did not change automatically to match different screen sizes, and it was difficult to update which meant ongoing SEO updates were difficult to make. In today's market, if you cannot keep up with your competition, then you will lose, plain and simple.
Naturally, they searched for an SEO provider in their town, and who might you think came up as the #1 listing? Let's just say, if you guessed anyone other than Scaler Marketing you'd be wrong (consider that a free marketing tip).
Anyway, I digress. Correct, they found us, picked up the phone, and gave us a call to lay out their goals. And those goals were to rebuild their site, modernize it, clean it up, and make sure that all of the hard work they put into their site up until now didn't disappear because they hired someone who didn't know what they were doing. In other words, they wanted to make sure their new site worked at least as well as the old one, if not better. Figuring that if we could show up #1 in their town for SEO then we must know a thing or two, a contract was written up and we kicked things off.
Here's where the fun starts:
What you are looking at here is Affordable Concrete's Google search impressions over a 12 months period. Can you guess when the new site launched? I'll give you a hint: August 2020. What you see before that is more or less a flat line, and what you see after that is consistent growth over time.
So what changed you ask?
How to make sure your website ranks well on Google
Remember, the website was ranking well before we ever did anything to it, and there were a number of reasons for that.
Lots of keyword related content
The website was packed with articles, resources, and blog posts about everything imaginable having to do with concrete cutting and home improvement. They were not leaving nothing to chance. If someone was searching for information about home improvement, they were providing information, and Google knew it.
Town specific pages
Numerous pages on the site were designed specifically to target towns in their areas of service to make sure that if someone in one of those towns were searching for a concrete cutter then Google would know to list the site.
There were many links to their site scattered around the internet. If other websites point to your site, that tells search engines that your site is legit and worth listing.
Google likes video. For whatever reason video tells Google that your website has something valuable to offer.
And for all these reasons, the site was performing well. But there were issues, and that's where we came in.
It all comes down to User Experience. Google wants to know that not only is your website filled with the right valuable information, it also wants to make sure that users will enjoy their experience on your site. If you were frustrated every time you visited a site that Google recommended for you, how often would you come back to Google?
In order to create the best possible use experience, we focused in primarily on the following areas:
- Site Structure
- SEO Descriptions
In addition to video, Google loves images, especially relevant images. The old Affordable Concrete site was packed with resourceful pages, but most of them had no images. So we changed that. And make sure your images are relevant, and tagged properly so Google knows they are there. By the way, guess what we're going to show you now. That's correct, an image!
How your site is structured helps Google interpret its contents. This is not an in depth SEO tutorial, but things like sections, headers, and understanding the parts and sections of a web page are important. If everything links directly from the homepage, Google gets confused. It needs structure. "Breadcrumbs" also help Google understand how everything fits together.
If your website looks the same on a mobile phone as it does on a desktop computer you are going to have some problems. Google wants to provide its users with the best possible experience, so it doesn't want to show you sites that are difficult to view. All other things being equal, a responsive website will always outrank a non-responsive website.
This is one of the main ways you can tell Google what a page is all about. The SEO description should be about 150-160 characters long, yes including spaces, and should use keywords that are relevant to the page content and desired audience. If you don't build these descriptions into the site, Google will make them up for you and that's rarely a good thing.
The overall design of a site can have a drastic impact on how enjoyable it is to use. Not only to all of the factors above help make the site easier to use and digest, but Google has developed ways to know if a site is designed well, and will rank sites higher accordingly. A good design is both structural and aesthetic. It's easy to navigate, it's clear and understandable, and let's face it, it's easy on the eyes.
For more on why design is so important, check out our blog post on Why First Impressions Matter To Your Business.
Better Traffic Means More Leads
If you want to own your market you need to own search results. If you do not show up in search, let's face it, you simply don't exist. Affordable Concrete Cutting understood this, and they took the necessary steps to make sure they remained on top. Is it easy? Well, depends who you ask. But if you don't know how to do it yourself, or you simply have no desire to figure it all out on your own, then you need to make sure you get in touch with someone who does.
Leads are the lifeblood of your business. Without them you die. Don't leave lead generation to chance. Get your SEO in order and give your website the power it needs to truly be the driving force of your business that it absolutely should be, and if done properly, then one day your inbox might also look like this:
Scaler Marketing creates bold, foundational websites that stand out from the competition, achieve measurable success, and are super easy to manage on the back-end. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help you achieve your business goals.