No one has ever accused me of being a conservative, yet I find myself becoming more conservative in my chosen career! One of those acts of moderation for me happens in the middle of SEO (search engine optimization).
I recently got a new client whose site was well-positioned in the search engines for his chosen keywords. He had hired an SEO expert to put him there and it worked like a charm. The only problem was that he wasn’t getting the business he assumed would be forthcoming.
When I evaluated his site, I found 2 glaring problems.
The site did not look professional or high-end.
This was in an industry and a local area where high-end is standard. The SEO expert was either no design expert or else he just took the original (old) design and used it. I didn’t ask which one was the case because it didn’t matter.
So his site visitors arrived and left, quickly I imagine. I find myself telling customers that just redoing the site design will not improve sales but in this case it just might! So a quick spiff-up was in order.
There was little content but plenty of keywords.
There was plenty of repetition of the keywords but little substance. I see this frequently – sometimes the content doesn’t even make sense. On this site there was logic so that it made sense but there was so little content that I almost felt like saying let’s just get rid of these extra pages.
The plan combined both content and design.
I took the index content and rearranged it, keeping all those sweet little keywords in the header tags and not removing any keywords from the text. As a writer I know what needs to be put in front of a reader to catch his or her interest. As a consumer I’m quite sure I know what I want to know about a provider of home services.
So the content was rearranged to visually highlight the important things. Sometimes all you need to do is reduce the size of the header text to bring it more in line with the body content. It doesn’t have to stick out like a sore thumb in need of a hammer; it only needs to have those header tags. Reduce the size and take out the bottom margin to bring it closer to the content so that it becomes a bold line only.
For example, some of the content the client and I thought was important (like 24/7 service) was buried at the bottom of the page because it wasn’t SEO worthy. I brought that content up in a side column so that it was more visible and even included some of those keywords (bolded, of course) at the top of that column.
Add real content
Adding more content about the services offered and in this case additional content about techniques used or materials or… Well, you get my drift! Add in content a site visitor will be interested in. It can add new keywords and more searchability if done right and creates that holy grail of “stickiness”. Give the visitors something to get their teeth into!
Add some pictures?
Whoa, I’m always trying to restrain the client tendency of putting large images everywhere. This client was worried about load time (cool!) but the pictures that were used were too tiny to be of any use.
So we added more larger pictures. This was extremely important on the index page. You know that saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, in this industry the visual results matter. Images become proof positive of the client’s area of expertise. Adding one reasonable-sized good photo (max 300 width) that is well optimized made those pages sparkle without much affect on load time. Eye catchers work!
Other techniques that can be used include one fantastic pic in the header or adding some jQuery slide shows – a way to add more pics but with preloading added in. Nothing fancy – just a slowly changing set of pictures to illustrate the job or process. No arrows or thumbnails necessary.
What is the traffic result from the chosen keywords?
One interesting fact that also arose during this project was that the number of searches from the keyword sets was only 10 or so a month. The site was frequently number one in the search results but if there are only 10 searches in a month, well, then there won’t be much response.
Was this customer wrong in his choice of keywords? I don’t think so at all. It’s an industry where competition is fierce but websites will not generate much online response. That’s partially due to the late arrival of these small companies to the internet but also due to how most sales leads are generated for a local client in the building trades – word of mouth and contacts.
So his online presence is now optimal and he can get on to putting his efforts into generating his sales leads in other, possibly more productive ways.
Author: Delia Wilson Lunsford, Founder & CEO, WizTech, Inc.