Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Simple SEO Case Study

I decided to create a simple SEO case study to show how some of the simple SEO concepts work. It's not meant to challenge other SEO's or push the limits of SEO, it's just a simple SEO Case Study for those who take the SEO DIY route.

The case study covers a period of one week. The SEO was carried out on Sunday 26th August 2007 and the results collated on Saturday the 1st September 2007, six days later.

There's a saying in Scotland that goes something like 'the cobblers bairns are always the poorest shod'. In short we don't put as much effort into SEO'ing our own site as we should. This case study addresses this.

The first thing we needed to do was research some keywords and phrases. For this exercise we primarily decided to go after our local market - Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire - and then Scotland and we wanted to promote our web design and SEO services.

Our first task was to look for phrases that have appeared in searches and for this we used Wordtracker and Web CEO. Search volumes were never going to be huge and finding key phrases with a high KEI (keyword effectiveness index) was going to be difficult.

For the purpose of this case study we arrived at a list of key phrases for which we would like to feature in Google.

None of these has a high KEI and none of them is going to generate huge amounts of traffic but we do know these phrases are used in searches. The key fact here is we KNOW these phrases are used - we are not simply guessing.

Having established our key phrases we now needed to write some content that incorporates them. To do this we needed to use our imagination as some of the phrases didn't make much sense. For example, to incorporate the key phrase 'Aberdeen Search Engine Promotion' we wrote the following....

"We offer many web related services to companies in and around Aberdeen. Search Engine Promotion is one of the more recent services......."

See how the key phrase spans a full stop? This isn't a problem, search engines ignore punctuation. You can view the SERP's for the key phrases we chose by searching for them to see how we incorporated the others into our website copy.

Next we created three new pages for our website. One for Aberdeen web design, one for Aberdeenshire web design and one for Aberdeen SEO. Each page was given a suitable search engine friendly URL, page title, and associated meta tags. Again you can see these by looking at the pages and viewing the source code.

Next we created the page content making sure we gave the content an H1 tagged title. For this exercise we have kept the tagging simple but we could have sub divided the content using H2 & H3 tags etc. We could also have made the key phrases bold.

Our website now had three new pages, each with a descriptive URL and copy containing the keywords we want to appear on Google for.

As we use a CMS that automatically updates the Google XML site map when new content is added we didn't need to do anything else for our Google Sitemap to be updated. However, rather than leave Google to review our site map at it's next scheduled check, we decided to request the site map be downloaded by resubmitting it in our webmaster tools account.

Google downloaded our new sitemap several hours later.

Through the week we checked for some of our phrases by searching on Google and wrapping some text from our new pages in quotes. This is an easy way of checking if a page has been Googled.

Today, Saturday 1st September these are the Google results for each of the phrases we optimised for.

Aberdeen Search Engine Promotion - top page 1
SEO Scotland - top page 5
Aberdeen SEO - top page 1
ethical SEO Scotland - middle page 2
internet marketing services Scotland - top page 8
search engine optimisation Scotland - middle page 5
website design Aberdeenshire - bottom page 5
Aberdeenshire Web design - top page 6
web designers Aberdeenshire - middle page 3
web design companies Aberdeenshire - bottom page 2
Design companies in Aberdeenshire - top page 2
web designers Aberdeen - bottom page 2
web design companies. Aberdeen - bottom page 1
internet Design companies Aberdeen - bottom page 1
web design Aberdeen companies - middle page 1

Now in some ways this proves nothing. Unless someone uses one of these phrases, finds us and secures our services the exercise has been of no real value. But it does show that doing some research, creating some content, having a well structured site, using freely available tools and applying some common sense can have a positive impact on your website.

I hope some of you find this of some use.

TTFN

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