This company came to Serendipity Marketing via one of the many Marketing agencies that we work for, as they wanted more traffic to the new site that was being developed. In this instance the agency did tell the customers of SOM’s involvement, so we can reveal the company name (sometimes we can’t).
As with all customers we carried out a check on where the site is on ‘it’s journey to better Google rankings’, this telling us what is wrong with the (old) site and thus what needs (or sometimes does not need) to be fixed / improved for the new one.
The Free Initial SEO Survey
Our research showed that site (in common with so many we check) was not using enough words on the page to impress Google, only some 360 being used. Note: There is no set minimum limit, but word on the SEO street is that 1,000 or more is best), and that the Titles and Descriptions for the pages were, whilst being good in some parts were not being used correctly.
There was also the issue with the use of the Header tags (the H1 – H6), these not being used to highlight important keywords. Note: Here there is some discussion at the moment in that Google no longer just checks the Header tags, but also looks at the size of the font (presumably by looking at the CSS styles used) on the page, taking anything that is larger than normal as important. This is however unconfirmed at the moment.
Besides the format of the pages, the content was also a bit ‘thin’ in that it did not ‘say’ very much. This is not good news if you want to impress Google. The bad news continued with the fact that the linking structure was poor both in numbers and power, with a lot of links, some 6,000 being it seemed lost in the last 5 years.
What SEO works were carried out?
In this instance only a limited level of keyword research was carried out, the customer being sure of their target phrases.
With the target phrases chosen the site was optimised and more importantly the content was improved by the marketing agency for the new WordPress site, but it was not really possible, with the limited budget available for the marketing agency to make the site as good as it needed to be. It was no longer totally short and ‘thin’, but was not as full of interesting information as it should have been.
The linking structure was also worked on, this being a much more difficult project and one that could not be done overnight. Note, creating too many links at once is yet another way of annoying Google.
Besides the lack of good text on the site, there were however quite a few issues with this site that did not help with the SEO of the site. First the web designers did not create the correct 301 redirects from the old site to the new, and then hackers attacked the site and took it off line for many days. Things were made even worse as the site for some reason also was very slow for a time. All of these issues affect SEO and will not have helped the site’s gain in rankings.
How to Measure The Results
The real measure of any SEO works is the level of increased sales or leads, however in many cases, it is not possible to truly measure such improvement. However, there are several ways that the results can be measured, these being:-
- The rise in the number of clicks to the site
- The rise in the number of times a website is included in Google’s Search Results
- The number of different phrases (Queries) the site is associated with
- The improvements in the rankings for the selected keywords
Most of this data is obtained is supplied by Google Analytics and Google’s Search Console (the new name for WebMasterTools) , whilst the rankings are also monitored via separate systems. Note: any ranking report checking system cannot give a truly accurate rank report as everyone’s search results are slightly different, as they are skewed by their geographic position and if logged on, also their previous search history and what they and their friends are known to be interested in.
Improvement in Google Rankings from August to October and beyond
What Improvements Were Seen?
The rankings for the site gained better rankings quickly, the number of good placements increasing from 2 to 20 in just two months. The number of clicks rose (Google Search Console data) from 57 in June to 94 in October.
The number of times the site was included in Google’s results stayed about the same, but the number of phrases associated with the site did rise from 117 to 204.
Google Search Console Data June 2015
Google Search Console Data Oct/Nov 2015
This rate of increase is less than we normally see, and can only consider that the problems with the site has for some reason ‘upset’ Google. More time would be needed to on this project.
Why did it work?
The site did indeed enjoy an increase in traffic, the organic clicks also having a much higher conversion rate than Adwords.
This is just one case study of the works SOM has carried out, more will be following over the next few weeks.