The trouble with specialist web designers
sometimes they are not that special
Sometimes you are for a quick smart phone diagnosis of a website, in this case that of an underperforming Falkirk based business, and your initial reaction is – “This site looks rather good. I wonder what the problem could be.” Then upon further investigation, or access to a desktop computer and the site is wrong on just about every level.

I was recently asked for help with a Falkirk SEO problem – a friend of a friend, we’ll call him David and for the purpose of this article we’ll say he was a garage owner (names and trades have been changed to protect the innocent).

David had paid rather a lot of money for it and was rather unhappy that, in his words “I can’t get found in Google”.

This wasn’t exactly the case, every site can get found in Google – unless of course you’ve done something horrendous and they’ve removed you from their listings.

What the guy actually meant to say was – “I can’t get found, when people search in the area I serve for the goods and services I provide, high enough in the rankings to get me an acceptable amount of trade.” – Or something to that effect anyway

SEO once over

A quick look at his homepage showed a professional looking, relatively new site. The site had over 100 pages, with very professional images, indexed (stored by) Google, it had a very acceptable PageRank of 2 – PageRank is how Google rates a particular page/site.

Lots of categories – MOT, Servicing, Body Repairs, and Mechanical Repairs etc. all listed on the front page; there even was some video of the garage workshop in action.

The front page showed an index of services with 12 clickable images which brought you to the individual pages.

All in all, a front page which showed money and thought had been spent on a site, made by professionals – in fact David told me the website has been developed by company that specialises in websites for the car trade.

In terms of appearance and number of pages this was a good site, a very good site even.

NOTE: Professional website design doesn’t always mean a SEO professional has been involved – although we think it should.

How to get a broken site working

My first question was of course what did he want to get found for? Havelock Consulting provides, among other things, SEO services in Falkirk, I want to be found by people typing SEO Company Falkirk, and therefore we have put such on our site, we might even put in the rather ungrammatical SEO Falkirk at push. You really will find SEO and Falkirk clearly near each other on this site – I hope you people at the back (or down the rankings) are getting this.

Now David had something of a problem on this score. His number one earner was MOT certificates – the testing and the subsequent repairs needed to pass aforementioned test.

Nowhere in his site did it say – MOT’s Falkirk, MOT Tests, MOT garages in Falkirk, or even cheap MOT’s Falkirk (the last one being rather popular among searchers).

These are all common searches around the term MOT and should have been on a page for MOT, as should the word Falkirk.

I’m afraid this was not the case.

Beware thin content

When we clicked on the MOT image (more on images below) on the front page were brought to a page which consisted entirely of the image and the following sentence

“We provide servicing, auto repairs and Mot’s.”

No headings, sub- headings and precious little (half a line actually) content – this is not good.

Now if we think of it, why would Google return the above page to someone searching for MOT test Falkirk – It wouldn’t. For a start one obvious omission is the word Falkirk.

When you think of it, how could it – while every growing in power and skill Google has not reached the stage whereby it has to ability to read minds – just because you are in Falkirk and you provide MOT’s doesn’t mean Google necessarily knows that’s what you’re up to. You really have to tell the search engines what you are about.

SOLUTION: Each service provided by the garage was given no less than a least 300 words describing the services given. In those 300 words were the keywords which would be typed in by searchers for those services – and where applicable the area covered. Those 300 words should be prefaced by a clear heading using the keywords and sub headings containing variations of those key words.

If you want to be found you must give the poor old search engines a very clear idea what you do and where you do it.

Pictures

This site, as I said earlier used lots of images; images of cars, new cars, old cars, vintage cars in fact it had over 160 first rate images of cars and car repair procedures.

So to the human eye they looked good (pity about the thin or non-existent content) but there was one major flaw.

To Google they were blank, empty and unreadable. You see, Google (and other search engines) can’t read photos.

You can tell the difference…..

 

Grey background

monkey-eats-banana

boris_johnson

…..search engines see exactly the same image

You see the difference the search engine can’t – they can’t read images so it returns a blank unless you tell it what it is seeing. Bad for sites like this with loads of images?

No because search engines give us a way to tell them as to what the image actually is and gives you the site owner, a golden opportunity for some SEO.

These are variously called: alt tag/ alt text/ or alt attribute. They are different names for the same thing.

Correctly filling in the alt tag tells Google what the search engine is seeing – this is an opportunity you should not overlook.

They are not captions, or descriptions (the image title you sometimes see if you hover over an image). They must be placed by someone with access to your site dashboard and for a site with lots of images – like David’s – they are absolutely vital.

SOLUTION: A couple of hours properly tagging all photos with proper, key worded attributes and the site got a huge SEO boost.

Google listings and citations

David and his business were not listed in Google+, were not findable in Google Places or on Google Maps. What exactly is Google+ then?

We’ve all heard about it, many of us may even have ignored it when it first emerged, but now we must pay it attention – some might say homage. Depending on whom you listen to, this free Google Places listing is like a micro website, an online storefront or a free listing in Yellow Pages.

You’ll also get a Google Places listing in the SERPS and more importantly it helps Google locate and promote your business online. Absolutely vital if your business sells goods or services to a specific location, near your physical premises – just like David.

To cut the whole story short – you’ll find the whole story here Local SEO – get a personal Google+ listing. Then open a Google Places listing for your business.

SOLUTION: We created a Google+ account and for David and posted his full range of services, in a keyword rich Google Places listing – describing the full range of services you provide, address, contact details and business hours.

Citations

Get listed with all the online local directories. The more places your details emerge, pointing to your business, the easier it will be for search engines to find you and to pass your details on.

SOLUTION: We made sure the business and its many services were listed with city-visitor.com, qype.com, thomsonlocal.com, localdatasearch.co, to name but a few.

So there you have it

RESULTS: David and his business are now ranking very well, across a wide range of searches, for a variety of keywords, terms and phrases, bringing him lots of business – good quality local business.

You see David was always there at his physical location, in the middle of an area with many people who needed his services, they just didn’t know how to find each other.

Simple SEO like that down above really does work, it works quickly and shows a huge return on investment – people say you receive £7 in return for every pound spent. In this case, like many businesses we work with, we put that figure far higher.

Digital Marketing Specialists

Have any questions about Website Optimisation?

button