We here at Lens Digital are big fans of Matt Giovanisci and his Money Lab. As Matt himself says, “Money Lab is where I challenge myself to make more of what I love: money.” Some of the experiments are about launching new products whilst others seek to improve existing products.
One of his latest ones has caught our eye; The SEO Impossible Experiment where he is attempting to rank on the first page of Google for a highly competitive keyword which is “Affiliate Marketing”. The reason for this is that one of the other experiments was to create an Affiliate plugin for WordPress called Earnist.
This got us thinking about SEO. Most companies set up their titles and descriptions for SEO and then leave them alone. They are never revisited, never tweaked or adjusted.
Inspired by Matt, we are going to undertake our own SEO challenge to seek to improve the ranking of Lens Digital. The terms we are seeking to rank higher on are obviously related to our core business which are;
- Web Design
- Digital Agency
- Lens Digital – well, we need to rank high for our own company name.
As we are, initially, seeking to work with local businesses, we are including our base location of Ascot in those terms. Although Google has over 90% Search Engine market share (Bing 6%, Yahoo 2%), we will be tracking our results across all three search engines.
The Plan – Benchmark Our SEO Ranking
The first stage is to work out where we are at the moment. Using SERPmojo, we can track where we currently are against those search terms. Therefore our benchmark is;
As you can see, we are ranking high on the less used search engines but not at all (in the first ten pages) for Google.
The Plan – Research
At Lens Digital, we understand SEO but are not experts in it. The first port of call is to start to understand the real nuances of SEO and rankings. What factors influence it? How important are the different factors? What is the relevance of the different types of HTML headings (H1, H2)? Once we have a deeper understanding of these elements, we can start to put together a more detailed plan.
The Plan – Document
We plan to document everything we do so we will know what the various elements were when we started and the changes that we have made over time. Not everything we do will be successful so it is important to know what we did and when.
The reason for this challenge is to start to understand in more detail the ‘black art’ of SEO. At Lens Digital, we are always looking at ways of improving ourselves as individuals and growing the business. The lessons we learn from this exercise will then be used for our clients and hopefully, to help them develop and grow as a business.
There are companies out there that claim to be able to get you on the front page of Google for your chosen search term. Some of their methods may be described as dubious at best but we will not be resorting to any of this. Everything we do will be above board and done in a positive way.
The first task at hand was to understand the current SEO setup for the site so out comes a Google Sheet. We used the WordPress Plugin – Export All URLs to enable us to download a list of all of the web pages with their URLs and Titles. We then manually added the descriptions until we had something like this;
As you can see the title for the home page is “Digital Agency For Small Business”
Title vs H1
Before we go any further, its time for a quick explanation. The title is the text that is used for the link in the Google entry;
So “About Us – Lens Digital” is the title for the “About” page.
Also, on this page are a number of headings, in HTML terms, they are H1 through to H6. This is what the user sees. It has an influence on the SEO ranking but we will deal with those at a later date.
As you can see in the spreadsheet, the top entry for the homepage is “Digital Agency for Small Businesses”. It does not contain all of the keywords that we want. The plan is to change it to;
Website Design Agency, Ascot, Berkshire – Lens Digital
and then the other pages, for example, will be changed to;
About Us – Website Design Agency, Ascot, Berkshire – Lens Digital
For the moment, the blog entries will be dealt with separately so they will be left alone for now.
As Google will take some time to update the results, we will do another post with the results. Also, whilst looking at the Google results for our site using “site:wearelens.co.uk”. We can see that Google has been indexing a lot of our demo and test sites. Even sites that have only existed for a day or two.
We plan to address this by creating two new subdomains;
- demo.wearelens.co.uk for showcasing our work
- dev.wearelens.co.uk for our development work and client proposals
“dev” will be set so that it will not be indexed by Google and “demo” will be. We are not sure what effect this will have on the SEO but it will make our Google entries “cleaner”.
Changes So Far
The first stage was to improve the page titles to include some of the main keywords. These have been changed;
As you can see, the entries now have “Website Design Agency, Ascot, Berkshire – Lens Digital” add to them. We have also been doing some work on the Google Search Console to ensure that the site is correctly indexed. As per this article, we now have four versions of the site defined; www (http), www (https), non-www (http) and non-www (https);
The search engine rankings have now gone from;
As you can see quite an improvement, for “Lens Digital Ascot”, we are number 1 for Yahoo and Bing and number 3 for Google. In reality, that is probably as high as we can get for that term. The higher two entries on Google relate to us anyway so that is fine.
We are now appearing on page 3 for “digital agency ascot” across all 3 search engines. Given that we weren’t ranking on two of them previously, that is not bad. However, for some reason, we are still not ranking for “website design ascot”.
The plan is to now start to work on the content beginning with the homepage. In SEO terms, there is not much content on the homepage. We plan to add some more sections so that it becomes a summary page of the services we offer along with links to the pages with the full content on them.
We also want to try and understand the lack of ranking for “website design ascot”. This is going to be a highly competitive term so this one could be harder to rank one.
Since the last installment, a couple of things have happened. Firstly is that we got an amazing Google Review;
This help to give the site social proof and to build trust. For more information on how Google Reviews can help with SEO, have a read of this article.
We have also revamped our home page. The previous version was a simple hero image with a Call To Action. We have now added a section with the founding of the company along with a services section. These are both still work in progress but we now have a foundation to build on.
The results so far are amazing. From a position of not ranking for “website design ascot”, we are now up to sixth on Google – quite comfortably on the first page. For “digital agency ascot”, we are second across the board and for our own company name, we are either first or second.
You may have noticed that we also added so extra search terms to our monitoring. These terms are ones that relate to our core business; “custom website”, “fixed priced website” and “free website audit”. We have already rewritten the Fixed Price Website page which has seen us slot in on the second page.
Given that we have already hit most of our goals, the plan now is to focus on our new keywords. First off though, we will finish off the work on the homepage to adjust the copy there. Alongside that, we will update the copy on the individual service pages. Again, some of these keywords are popular so it will be interesting to see how high we can rank.
We also plan to do some more analysis on the search terms being used to include those in our work.