This blog post was updated with information about Core Web Vitals in June 2021
In this blog post we will discuss five tips that, if enacted, can help a local company dominate their market. We’ll summarize the reasons these five tips are effective and present some pragmatic steps to implement them in your organizations SEO strategy. I’m going to use a real project with a current client as the case study throughout this blog post. The company’s name is Djupeskog Trädfällning.
Digital marketing, SEM, CRO, web design.. It’s all connected to SEO
It’s a great time to be in the advertising world. More companies are going digital, meaning that more people are spending money on these new ways to market their business.
This also means there is an increased demand for those with expertise in areas like social media, content creation / marketing, technical knowledge as a bare minimum. I also think that things like psychology, being able to conduct various tests, A/B-test and user tests to name two different tests. Finally, to call yourself an expert in SEO and digital marketing you need to know a couple of SEO tools, so that way you’re able to use the best tool for each task.
But why do “I” need to know all of that??
Isn’t it enough to purchase a license for Semrush or Ahrefs? Two of the most popular SEO tools currently. As long as you don’t work as an SEO consultant, both will probably be more than enough. They provide a vast amount of tools for on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical audit, back link monitoring.
It seems like every day there is a new way for businesses to market themselves online; this means that to be a successful digital marketer / SEO consultant, it’s an absolute have to keep up with trends, changes made to laws and rules (GDPR is a good example that changed a lot) and finally to follow every change that Google do to their algorithm.
(Disclaimer: I have updated the text about Core Web Vitals during June 2021)
Googles latest algorithm change, “Core Web Vitals”.
Currently, Google are rolling out a change that, according to Google, tries to make the web easier and faster to use no matter what kind of the device the user has.
Read more about the latest Algorithm change Google is implementing here,
On that site Google publishes both blog posts and videos about changes and their thoughts about the current state of internet. You can also test your own site how well it does based on their latest algorithm update which is called Core Web Vitals.
A good rule-of-thumb is to at least try to make each way they measure a site “green”. If you get yellow, there’s room for improvement and it might affect your ranking on Google. If you get red, then you can almost be certain that it affects the ranking of your site negatively.
In this blog post, I’m going to describe five of the most important things that if implemented. I can assure you, if you implement these steps correctly, they will help any site with so called “Local SEO”. Local SEO is optimization to make a website more visible in a specific geographical area. Whether you’re just starting out or have been trying to improve SEO for a business, follow each step and I can almost promise you’ll make that company pleased.
How I used these steps to help a local company go from being invisible to rank #1
Andreas, the owner of Djupeskog Trädfällning, contacted me to ask if I had any ideas about making his business grow. He was struggling to get enough clients (and leads). As many local companies, he had tried various ways to get noticed, newspaper ads, posting ads on public boards and much more.
He already had a good-looking website, a Facebook page, Instagram account… but nothing seemed to help him find new customers.
I began by conducting a visual overview of the site
The website was good looking, better than most of his competitors. But when I inspected the site, the site didn’t assist the visitor (or Google) to find the content they were looking for.
For a potential customer it’s crucial to show that you are a serious company, therefore you need to establish trust.
Perhaps the most important information (even though it’s rarely the most visited page) is to provide the visitor with enough information (both facts and some background story) about the company. Unless “everyone” well known your brand, then your website should strive to convince that the visitor should hire “You”.
In Djupeskog’s case, the website had to show that Andreas is an experienced tree cutter with all education, insurances and knowledge to perform the services he offered on the site.
When needing help to cut down a large tree. It was also hard to find the contact details. Overall, the content was simply too thin and not very SEO friendly.
Why a modern and optimized website is crucial for SEO
The first focus was to make the site more modern looking and easier to navigate through and get information as a visitor. One good way to figure out what a visitor wants (called “search intent” is to study keyword and search phrases used by your visitors in Search Console).
To verify how it is to use a specific page on a certain device is to use
Every service he was offering got its own page to give the visitor all information needed (based on studying the search intent) what Djupeskog Trädfällning offered.
However, to decide on a site structure that’s feels logic don’t only helps the visitor. It also helps Google to get an excellent overview of your website and understand the context for as many of the identified keywords / phrases as possible.
My goal as a digital marketer was to make sure that Djupeskog rank as high on Google as possible for as many keywords as possible as long as it’s a relevant keyword.
Amount of content
A common question in online groups / forums and clients is how many words a page should be. My general opinion is that it depends. For example, what kind of content it is. My no matter the topic, keep the content relevant.
It was easy to see that in this case, more content had to be written. The first thing I did was a SEO audit on both Djupeskogs website and each service he provided and compared to the competing companies. Both companies on the local market and the national market.
Understand the business niche
The reason to look at the national market was to find the best content / websites out there. I use this mainly for two reasons. The first is because it helps me to get familiar with the market / business niche. The second reason is that if I aim to create content that is better than the websites that rank at position 1-3, then chances to rank high should be pretty good.
To be honest, I knew little about wood cutting business before. But the more I looked at the competitors’ information, the more I got a feeling for the business. This is a crucial point, to help a client, you need to understand the market they operating in.
Releasing the new website
After a few weeks, we released the new website, it’s more or less the same website that is up and running today: https://djupeskog.se (at least at the time I’m writing this, 2021-04-19). The previous one had about three pages and not much content.
Nice design and pictures though. And there was nothing wrong with his branding (logo, colors etc.). So I kept everything that was good and did a new modern and SEO-friendly website with the goal to keep the “feeling” the brand communicated.
Things to consider when making a website more user friendly
You have probably heard this before. A website that looks awesome, but that’s hard to use (it can be the navigation, finding what you’re looking for, no easy way to contact the site owner, slow and so on), isn’t an excellent website. Simple as that.
At least when making websites for companies that depend on having a site that help them get new clients. I guess the only exception, sometimes, could be fancy design firms that want to show off what they can do with XX number of JS frameworks and all the latest technology.
But to be honest, there’s way too many designers, at least here in Sweden, that simply haven’t adopted to a modern way to design. One example is a former collaborator to me, that company (I won’t mention any names as this isn’t to trash talk anyone), she still designs websites the same way as for 7-8 years ago.
Meaning, “her desktop/laptop first”-design instead of mobile first. But this company always talks a lot about UX and how important it is with mobile first and that it should be easy to use a website.
Well, it’s easy to mention fancy words like “mobile first”. Another thing to implement a design / website using the techniques behind “mobile first”. I am absolutely not a designer. But thanks to my SEO, CRO and optimization skills I developed during over 20 years in the web business I know at least enough to have an opinion what works and what don’t work. 🙂
The hero and CTA, a way to tell people what they can except from the site
Everyone that works with web knows that it’s crucial to capture the visitors interest immediately. Otherwise the risk of getting a high bounce rate is more or less unavoidable. Therefore, I made it as easy as possible for visitors. As soon as they open the website, they should know what Djupeskog is offering. Also, if the visitor knows what they want (help with cutting down trees as an example), they shouldn’t have to “think” about how to get in contact with Andreas.
This is how the Hero turned out on desktop/laptop and on mobile:
At least for everyone in the web / design business. The theory that when a visitor scans for information it looks like an “F”. Based on that I made sure that no matter how each visitor scanned the page they should see what kind of service Djupeskog Trädfällning is offering.
Make it super obvious what “you” have to offer, the visitor should know within two seconds what the website is about. Usually, a visitor on a “normal” website have attention span of two to eight seconds. Meaning, within that time, you as the site owner need to let the user that your site is worth visiting.
The first thing is the logo, “Trädfällning” means “Wood cutter” in Swedish. That should give the visitor an obvious hint. If the user scans the page to the right first, the menu is easy to read.
Two CTAs on Djupeskogs website, that can’t be good, or…?
Also, there are actually two CTAs, one in the top bar and one in the heading. In the top bar, a phone number written as an ordinary HTML link with the prefix “tel:” make it possible to call immediately with a simple tap. This is mostly to make it really easy for visitors using their smart phone (but it has a positive impact on Google as well as it increases the connection between the website, Google and the actual company).
Look at the other CTA, the orange button, (I used orange throughout the site to make the visitor taking notice on the things that mattered the most). The text on the button is short to the point “Gratis offert” (“Free quote” kind of…).
The reason it works to have two CTAs so close to each other is that don’t attract the same visitor. Of course I couldn’t know that, so it was a theory, now it’s a big chance it actually is so thanks to all tests and analysis of how visitors have used the web during the past year.
When releasing a new website you have to trust your gut feeling, but it’s very important to follow up your theory by observing the usage of the website regularly.
Where, when, what, why and who, the five W-questions (?)
It’s important to place those crucial elements in an area that is not too cluttered.
The first question that I choose to answer was “Where?”. I clearly name areas in which Djupeskog Trädfälling is having his target market.
I had some thoughts of answering “What?” first, most times that’s the right choice. This time I thought it was clear enough what services they could expect from Djupeskog Trädfällning.
But it is such an important question I answered it immediately after. The second sentence. “We help you with X, Y, Z….”, once again using orange and all keywords is a link to the correct page, relevant internal linking is always a good idea.
I then answered the question “Who?” and come up with an unusual way to sort of answering that. This is very specific for this type of business. But many people are having a hard time to separate “arborist” and “sektionsfällning”. Both mean that the person is climbing in trees. So I made sure people didn’t have to hesitate. They can get both by working with Andreas.
Finally, I give the visitor simple instructions on how to act next. “Contact us today to get free consultation and a quote”, I even put an arrow pointing at the form so they could know that it was super easy to get something for free. This form converts best on the site, by far. But every single CTA gets enough clicks to keep them. 🙂
This was part 1 in at least one more blog post about the transformation an excellent strategy combined with a good collaboration is capable of.
(Next up, YouTube, social media, non digital marketing and an app!!??)