Improving DIY websites with a goal to better rankings
Updated: Apr 5
A quick Intro….
I am asked on a weekly basis what is wrong with my website? By companies or individuals who have either created their websites themselves or have used a ‘friend’ or web developers who don’t look at the search engine optimisation of websites. Beyond this there are also things like ‘calls to action’, clear contact information and conversion tools that may get overlooked or sacrificed for ‘design’ or a simply not thought about.
There are some simple changes you can make, or recommend to your developer that you can research and plan yourselves – even if you aren’t the one who will be adding them to the site.
This guide is just the basics of what you can do to give your websites the best chance of ranking at all, or moving up the rankings and being found when customers are searching for your service.
I have tried to be as clear and helpful as I can, but there is also a wealth of knowledge and advice shared daily on the web, so please also Google to learn more on any element I touch apon below.
Above all, it honestly is not as complicated as it might first appear (despite my 8 page document) just have courage, and do each small thing and I promise it will all make sense in the end, and hopefully make a big difference to your website and business.
Good Luck with everything
MD, Push Start Marketing
Fiona Self. Designed to Sparkle
"I'm busy working on making the changes to my website and can already see some great changes via my Google Analytics account and the ranking of keywords in search. Still more work to do but it's gratifying to see them already making a big difference, so thank you."
Watch this video first, it’s an oldie but a goody.
Google indexes all pages separately and wants to send the ‘searcher’ to the page that seems to answer their question most specifically.
You can help let Google know what you pages are about by adding in ‘key words’ or search terms that will be used in the metadata (how you page is categorised). This is not particularly technical especially if you have used a DIY web building platform like wix.com or WordPress.
Finding the best keywords
Most searched + most relevant + least competition = best keywords for you.
Use google keyword planner to find your best keywords, I am not going to tell you how, as it is easy to use this tool and all you need is a google account (you don’t have to have google mail for this).
You have three options, and we are looking here for search volume data and trends – but if you have no idea on keywords look at the first option. There is also help on the right hand side if you’re completely lost!
Add in the keywords you think people might be searching for and that cover your main services and give the geography of the place you cover if relevant.
Google will return only general results (unless you set up a google AdWords/pay per click account) but it is good enough to see what is worth using.
You can then download those results into an excel file and Bobs-your-uncle you can see the keywords to go for (and what not to bother with as no one, or less than 10 people per month search them).
So my recommended page structure for this website would be
1. Home page
2. Man with a van Oxford (talking about moving round the city and its suburbs) because of the search volume
3. Man with a van Witney (talking about Witney and surrounding areas) because of search volume but less competition for this keyword than Carterton
4. Student removals Oxford
5. Office removals – Oxford, same principles as above
6. Office removals – Witney, same principles as above
8. Testimonials/customer reviews
So 9 pages in all, 6 that you want to optimise the other three are important but you don’t really need to optimise them with a keyword UNLESS people are searching for ‘good’ or recommended’ man with a van, or office removals – then you might like to optimise your testimonials/reviews page
Don’t concern yourself with what the pages will be called in your website’s navigation bar as long as the page structure has been thought through and keywords are implemented as below.
Implementing those keywords to help with on-page SEO (search engine optimisation)
Now you know what keywords you want to target you need to make sure you have a separate page for each keyword so you can optimise that page.
So each of your services needs its own keyword and its own page, to the point that if you really want to have ‘man with a van Witney’ and ‘man with a van Carterton’ you will need a page for each with unique content (not just copied with the town name changed).
So if you want people to find you page when they search man with a van Witney
b. H1 (Header one, or main title) – Andy Jurruso is your man with a van in Witney and surrounding areas
(you can find out if you have H1’s set up by right clicking on your website, go to inspect element, the hot control F (for find) and type H1. It will find you H1 and show it to you in yellow. There is no H1.
You can add an H1 very simply in your website by choosing that option when you’re adding text. Only use one H1 per page though. That’s why there are H2, H3 etc.. for sub headings.
c. Title Tab (max 70 characters) - arjmovers | man with a van Witney
d. Metadescription (max 140 characters) – the text that appears when Google returns its searches (SERPS). Think of it as you chance to advertise you’re the website/page for them
Looking for a man with a van Witney? We are local, reliable and affordable and recommended by many. No job to small. Give us a call today on 0800 move and we’ll get you moved.
e. Images – name all images with the keyword for that page i.e manwithavanwitney.jeg and also where you can and the alt text use the keyword Image of Andrew Jarrusso, man with a van in Witney.
Google is looking for pages that are content rich, have good content that answers the specific search question that was written by humans for humans (as opposed to robots or spam generators). It is clever enough to understand synonyms and other phrases which will be similar to your keywords but it is good to include your keyword in the most natural way possible in your first paragraph.
e.g: ARJ Movers is run by Andrew Jurrusso, the man with a van in Oxford to call on for……
If you are looking to move accommodation or take all your stuff home and have no car, call ARJ Movers who are a specialist student removals company in Oxford, with smaller vans and a personal service we are more affordable than larger companies, perfect for the student (or parent) budget…
You will need at least 350 words of copy per page, and it needs to be unique, don’t lift it from somewhere else, and even another page of your site.
If you want to enrich you page still further –
1. Keywords in all your pages metadata (as described above)
2. 350+ words of copy with key words and synonyms
3. Images and alt text labelled with keywords
4. Embedded video that is hosted on YouTube and whose description includes keywords
Letting Google know you’re there: Google Analytics and Webmaster
You have now all the elements on your pages, which are the first building blocks. You need to let Google know those pages are there so their spiders will come and crawl your site. The advantage of this is that you can then use analytics to see how many people are visiting your site, and whole load of useful information.
Go to www.analytics.google.com and sign in – it’s your Google account sign in you’ll have used for keyword planner, or any of your google services, and then follow the instructions to get your analytics code.
Copy the code and paste it in either into the code of your website, or the place your website provider tells you to.
Google Webmasters – Search Console – Submitting a site map
Similar to Google Analytics, log in to www.google.com/webmasters and follow the instructions to add the code to the website, there are several alternate options on doing this so it depends what you/your developer are comfortable doing.
Once you have set this up you can submit a site map to Google – all the pages you want google to crawl and index.
1. On your Search Console home page, select your site.
2. In the left sidebar, click Site configuration and then Sitemaps.
3. Click the Add/Test Sitemap button in the top right.
4. Enter /system/feeds/sitemap into the text box that appears.
5. Click Submit Sitemap.
So you have the keywords sorted, the metadata and copy optimised for the search engines and you have told Google what pages you want it to index and crawl.
You can also now complete similar tasks with the other major search engines, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.
Here is someone else’s how-to on those, it is worth doing.
Layouts – headers and footers
Have a look at your headers and footers, these are perfect places for strong calls to action. They also need to let your visitors know exactly what you do and where in the first 2 seconds of them landing on your site. Coupled with a strong call to action ‘Get a quote today’ Book an appointment’ Give us a call now’ they are very effective tools beyond just hosting images and contact details.
Remember that layout is important in your website pages, people don’t want to see masses of text which is not broken up with sub headers and images.
Think about the sites you like and why you like them, how you use them in terms of scanning for the info you need, and apply that to your website pages.
Testimonials and reviews
Testimonials and reviews are not only great for conversion, in terms of inspiring new customers to use you but Google will rate your pages higher if you are collecting reviews, especially through them.
Visit www.google.co.uk/business/ to learn more about how Google business can help you.
Otherwise make sure you are updating your reviews and testimonials and if you can make them as rich as possible, giving a name to a face, or a logo to a company – it will again improve conversion rates.
Put a few on you home page and have a dedicated testimonials page.
Encourage all your clients to leave reviews for you on which ever platform works best for you (Facebook or Google) or email them to you.
Updating Content – blogs
Googles spiders will come and crawl your pages periodically, if they come and discover new content, a new page or new blog, they will come back more often. If they continually return to your pages and there is nothing new they will return less often. So it is important to keeping adding blogs.
Blogs are also in effect additional pages and you can use the same optimising rules as any new page
You can write a blog with a keyword ‘man with a van Carterton or Burford and give an example of a job you did there with a testimonial from the client. You can use google keyword planner to help with blog key word ideas.
Google adds your popularity signals in its algorithms, if people are liking and sharing your content it will see you are producing good content people and enjoy and this will help your rankings.
Organic reach on social media is not what it once was, and so if you’ve some advertising budget it is worth spending a small amount on very targeted campaigns to get people to your website if you’re not posting regularly or promote the page if you are very active.
Google AdWords Pay per click (PPC)
Setting up a targeted PPC campaign with limited budget is a good way of getting more exact information from Google on search terms – for example it may tell you what college specific searches are happening for ‘student removals’ so you can target these on Facebook and with PPC.
There is a wealth of how-tos on the internet for all these tools I have mentioned above, and I have really just scratched the surface on all these things. BUT if you start with the basic building blocks and grow from there you will improve the performance of your website.
Most importantly you need to make note of what works, monitor the progress of your rankings for search terms, look at your analytics on your website to see if traffic is improving and what pages people are going to.
Push Start Marketing is always happy to spend time talking you through all of these elements specific to your own website. This type of consultation is charged at an hourly rate of £75 and is most effective if you have all passwords for everything (website admin, domain, social media, google account) so we can really get a lot of research and planning done if not actual implementation.