There are many people out there who no bits of SEO here and there. Optimise title tags, write great content, get some links, you know that kind of thing. Do you really know how to go about SEO campaigns though? Where to start, how to analyse data and ultimately how to best action your results.
I wanted to take a little time today to show you how we go through an SEO campaign here at SEO wizz. As always I love to use real life examples to demonstrate points, so I have picked a site and a target keyword to look at, to show you how we run through a basic campaign.
This is a very basic run through put together for the purposes of a post, reports we generate for clients usually take weeks to put together
The keyword I picked is a local term “estate agents leeds”, it is pretty competitive and receives a good amount of search traffic. The site I decided to look at was Morfitt Shaw an estate agents in Leeds.
They sit half way down the first page for the choosen keyword, a place where it is difficult to move from due to the heavy competition above, nevertheless it is a position that can be improved on, especially on specific keyword terms.
Anyway this is how I would start out the campaign:-
This is the first step to any campaign, some clients know them others are clueless. I am not going to go over how to pick your keywords, for more details on this see Think Like a Buyer and Better Keyword Research. These will give you the basics of choosing your keywords with simple straight forward techniques.
One other thing we need to take care of as part of keyword research is the difficulty level. In order to be able to assess our chances of ranking we need to know how many people are targeting it. SEOMoz have a great tool for assessing keyword difficulty, but if you don’t want to spend any money here is a less accurate, free way:-
- Go to the Google Keyword Tool.
- Type in your search phrase making sure your location is correct.
- Type in your keyword and search, once your results appear change the settings to exact match from the drop down menu.
- You should now have a set of results that look like this;
- The greenbar before the keyword shows how competitive the keyword is with advertisers. This is also a strong indication of how well optimised the sites are in the organic results. The more people targeting it in adwords means the more people target it in organic search.
- If you want an accurate cost per click for your keyword, highlight the keyword and the green bar (trust me) and copy it into the search box. This will give you the max cost per click being paid. Neat trick I think.
You should obviously continue your keyword research finding relevant variations and taking note of the competition. For now we will go down the “estate agents leeds” keyword line.
In my opinion this is the most important part of an SEO campaign. It involves you investigating which sites are targeting the same key phrase, what they do well and where you can beat them.
When I look at the search results for “estate agents leeds” immediately alarm bells ring. Mannington Stainton sit at the top for this result and straight away I am thinking “is this down to Google’s brand emphasis”? If so it is going to be harder to knock off the top spot.
Let’s take a closer look at the site.
This site is in no way optimised for the keyword “estate agents leeds”, no real optimisation efforts have been made on page, with only a few variations exisiting. The only thing to note about the on page elements is that the footer is filled with internal anchored links which looks a little spammy.
197 links pointing to the site passing average link juice, none of which are anchored with the keyword. I think this ranking is definitley the result of branding, but let’s work with it anyway. On the face of it, this site should be knocked off the top spot pretty easily.
When conducting competitive analysis, you should be looking at the types and quality of links, also the amount of links, on page optimisation efforts, content structure and internal linking structure, just to name a few. All these will help you focus your own campaign.
On Page Changes
OK let’s look at Morfitt Shaw to see what changes we should make on page and some suggestions about optimising content.
The obvious elements are the title tag, meta tags, headings, alt attributes, body content and bold keywords. All small things but ones that make an overall difference.
Morfitt’s is pretty poorly optimised on page and it is a surprise it is ranking so high.
- The title tag is spammy and needs chaning to look more professional. I personally like to use 2 to 3 keywords seperated by the hyphen (-). I would personally change the title tag to:
Estate Agents Leeds – Leeds Letting Agency – Morfitt Shaw Estate Agency
This is just preference but keyword stuffing is always going to have a detrimental effect.
- Meta description is ok but I like to use the keyword variation twice.
- The headings and alt attributes need to be used and more content needs adding to the homepage.
The following are some possible suggestions:-
The homepage needs more content, 400 – 600 words describing the business, the location and the services broadly. The keyword should be implemented at least 5 – 9 times. Bolding the keyword once can also be effective.
Get a blog
A blog is needed to add relevant and up to date content to the domain, this will help ranking power and allow the targeting of longtail keywords. Every business needs a blog.
Off Page Changes
The things we focus on off page are relevance, popularity, authority and anchor text. Morfitt’s needs work on all of it.
- Article marketing to increase link popularity and anchor text
- Local business directories to increase relevance and authority
- Offer career services in order to get links from .gov or .edu domains
- Use new blog to create relevant internal links pointing to your homepage
Morfitt’s really needs some quality link partners as only a handful of the links pass juice and have relevant anchors.
It took me 30mins to find the following:-
- freeindex directory (good for authority)
- agentquote.co.uk (good for authority, relevance)
- rooftoplets.com (good for relevance)
- touchleeds.com (authority and relevance)
A days link scouting and you should be able to find 100 with the right tools.
This is fundamental to SEO, your site must be crawlable and free from anomolies that can lead to Google penalties.
Duplicate title, meta data and urls are the most common, but broken links and redirects also effect rankings.
Morfitt’s needs canonicalisation work on the homepage due to multiple urls and also should consider using Google webmaster tools to set a preferential url. Apart from this the site is pretty clean.
This was a very basic analysis of how to run through an SEO campaign but it is a question I get a lot of emails about. A fully paid campaign involves a more indepth analysis and obvious link building assistance as well as consulting, but following this model should keep you on the right track. So to sum up:-
- Keyword Research – Focusing on relevance and competition
- Competition Analyisis – Looking for holes in op and off page optimisation
- On Page Optimisation – Ensure you have the relevant areas optimised naturally.
- Off page optimisation – Think authority, relevance, link juice and anchor text
- Crawlability – Duplicate tags, content, broken link and redirects
Hope you enjoyed
Author: Tim (292 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.