With everyone’s favourite local directory website now offering SEO and marketing for your website, does Yell really have a real world solution or is it style over substance?
In this article I will show you what is needed to SEO any webpage, so you can decide.
Now let’s be clear about the definition of SEO before we begin. SEO is not marketing and SEO is not copywriting. The only purpose of applying SEO is to increase where your listing appears in Google.
Copywriting and Marketing are there to help convert visitors to customers. While it is true that copy can be written that will convert visitors to customers, and will rank well on Google, it is important to decide which is more important for any given page. Is the primary focus to increase visibility on a Search engine on Google or to make use of the natural traffic you already generate.
This article refers to Google, but the methodology used throughout this article can be applied to all search engines.
Exact search phrases are king
Type any set of words into Google and it will bring back a set of search results. Google will try and return results closest to the text you have entered, that is to say it will try and return a set of results that match your query exactly.
As an example type in two separate queries into Google, ‘website banbury ‘ and ‘websites banbury’ and as expected Google has returned two different sets of results.
In each case Google has returned the closest match. What is interesting is that the s in websites has made such a difference in how Google has returned the results. This is down to Google wanting to bring back an exact search. It also looks to match in the order of keywords, that is to say ‘web design london’ will return a different set of results to ‘london web design’.
If you try ‘websites banbury’ and ‘banbury websites’ into Google it brings back results that are different. As there is not much completion for these phrases, there are a lot of entries are the same, but in the real world we need to make sure the SEO is as effective as possible.
The other thing these searches show is that Google looks at the content of each page, this can be used for your advantage.
I want to rank number one for every phrase under the sun
Probably the hardest concept to accept when applying SEO rules to a page is that you can only SEO one phrase per page. The more terms you try and SEO for, the less effective each SEO phrase will be.
It is likely that visitors will find any given page on your website by more than one term, but for useful search terms, trying to optimise for more than one phrase will simply not work. This is down to the competition for each search phrase is different.
If we have three search phrases the first one needs a keyword density of 30% another one needs a density of 50% and the final one needs a density of 35%, this means we have 105%, it just won’t fit.
Now imagine that we have different densities for different areas of the page, and it becomes very clear that you should aim for just one phrase for one page.
On this website I optimise for just three phrases ‘web design carterton’ ‘web design witney’ and ‘web design banbury’. This generates my business enough work. If I had tried to put all three onto a single page, I would not rank well for any of the phrases.
Be a big fish in a little pond!!!!
Research makes things clear
It is important to make sure you are optimising for the right phrases. It is a wasted effort to optimise for a phrase that is never searched on.
There are a number of tools available, but make sure the tool you use will give you figures for an ‘exact search’. Even with Google’s own tool the information can be quite misleading unless you tweak the default settings.
Also if the tool suggests the phrase will produce 100 searches a month, keep in mind the figure will be a lot lower. This is due to a couple of factors.
Search traffic is generated by companies doing research on SEO.
The top 3 search results will take most of the traffic, if you cannot get your page to the front of Google, even if your search phrase is going to generate 100,000 searches a month, there will be virtually no traffic generated to your site.
Engineering in reverse
I am lucky enough to use a tool called IBP (Internet Business Promoter), it is very good at helping you implement SEO that will generate real results.
It’s a simple concept that works well. Type in a search phrase and it will compare a web page against the top 10 web pages for that search term.
The idea is that Google likes these pages, and if we make our page like these ones on a technical level, Google will like our page as well.
I have used the tool many times and it just works.
Once run, it produces a very detailed report on every aspect of a webpage and the software is updated often to keep up to date with changes to search engine algorithms.
Yell sites a real life example
We will now look at the term ‘Yell sites’ and see how we create a webpage that will rank better that Yell for this phrase. It’s a good test as Yell has recently started a radio campaign inviting people to search for this topic.
One aspect when applying SEO is that a webpage, rules not only need to be applied on-page SEO but also off-page. Off-page SEO is simply a term to describe the process of building links from another site to yours.
Even with the best on-page SEO in place many pages will also need off-page SEO. Google uses this to judge if a page is actually useful or just spam in website clothing.
Although not recommended it is possible to find companies who will help to build links to your site. As this work is time consuming, it’s often expensive.
There are smart ways to achieve the same thing yourself. One of the best ways is to encourage your content to be syndicated. This is a term to describe some of your content appearing on a third party site with a link back to the original site. While it is true that you loose some IP control over your copy, you will gain so much more back in the way of direct and in-direct traffic.
The SEO report I work from generate some 52 pages of recommendations, so there will not be a complete breakdown listed here, but I will detail some of the most important elements that make a real effect on the rankings of any webpage.
For clarity of the Methodology I have included the figure breakdown for ‘Keyword use in document title’, for other sections mentioned I have not included this information.
Keyword use in document title
Search term: "yell sites" – Number of times: 0 to 1 – 0% to 22%
Search term: "yell" – Number of times: 0 to 3 – 0% to 30%
Search term: "sites" – Number of times: 0 to 2 – 0% to 18%
Search term: "yell" or "sites" – Number of times: 0 to 4 – 0% to 18%
When implementing the above I would look to hit the upper part of the range, but not go over.
As you can see just for the document title it would take some juggling to try and get your search term to be within the range. Remember these figures are generated from the top 10 pages and Google likes these, therefore this must be the weight of key phrase in your document title you must use. The more you deviate from the advice, the more off-page SEO you will have to undertake to compensate.
Google also looks at the link text of inbound links, so for any links we generate they also need to include our search phrase in the visible text of the link.
The other places to look at implementing SEO rules as a start are:-
Keyword use in body text
Keyword use in H1 headline texts
Keyword use in domain name
Keyword use in page URL
Links from social networks
Keyword use in H2-H6 headline texts
HTML validation of web page to W3C standards
With regards to body copy, this is all copy that can be seen in the source code between the <Body> and </Body> html tags, so remember this include things like image alt text and link title text.
Search Engine Optimisation is not black magic; it’s a rational set of guidelines on how to make any webpage visible to search engines like Google. Although we do not know how Google generates its index, we can look at the effect, look at those doing well from it and try and make our webpage’s as close to the ones doing well.
We can use tools to crunch webpage data, but we require logic and reason to get the best results.
Do not use SEO in place of copyrighting or marketing if you are already generating a large amount of traffic.
Do use SEO if you have no or little amounts of traffic.
Any part tweaked can take months before Google properly shows the result (especially on a new domain), so do not constantly make tweaks, you will go backwards.
Make a change and wait to see the results……