The topic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short) is one of huge interest. In short, it is the process of getting a web site to rank higher in search engine results. Particularly, it is focused on getting a particular site to appear high in google.
Here at EH Design & Consulting, we’ve been working with many companies on the process of SEO. And, I thought it would be interesting to give a case study of sorts – AN IN PROGRESS story.
Just recently, we started working with the Family Care Center. The Family Care Center is a Christian Counseling organization located on the North East side of Fort Wayne. The Executive Director of the center, Denny Howard, contacted us at EH Design & Consulting, hoping to get his web site to appear higher in google search results.
So, we began the process of working with him. Here are some of the steps we followed and some of the preliminary results:
STEP 1: Identify Keywords
Often times, this can be the most difficult part of the journey – deciding on exactly what you expect and want people to type in to find you.
For Family Care Center, we came up with the following terms:
- Christian Counseling Fort Wayne
- Marriage Counseling Fort Wayne
- Christian Counselor Fort Wayne
- Marriage Counselor Fort Wayne
Originally, the client had include the word “OF’ and “IN” – i.e Christian Counseling IN fort Wayne / Christian Counseling OF Fort Wayne.
But, we realized the these words are commonly called STOP WORDS – meaning that Google almost always ignores these words (there are a few exceptions).
After deciding on these terms, we did a little more research and learned the the terms “Christian Counseling Fort Wayne” and “Marriage Counseling Fort Wayne” we much more commonly used terms on Google. Together, there are over 300 searches a month for these two terms. While not a huge audience on a national scale, to be able to capture even a majority of these searches would be a huge win for Family Care Center.
STEP 2: Benchmark Current Rankings
After having identified some of the critical keywords for Family Care Center, our next step was to evaluate their current search engine rankings. Typically, we try to create benchmarks on three major search engines:
- Google – with approximately 85% of the search engine market
- Bing – with approximately 4% of the search engine market
- Yahoo – with approximately 7% of the search engine market
We created some benchmarks for Family Care Center. In this particular it wasn’t difficult. Family Care Center did not appear in the top 10 pages on any of the three search engines.
So, our benchmarks were that Family Care Center’s site was non-existant on the search engines. Nowhere to go but up, right?
STEP 3: On Page Changes
Now that e have keywords addressed and have benchmarked our current standings, it is time to make some changes. The first step in this case was to begin with “on page” changes.
This involves updating things such at the TITLE tag (what appears in the blue bar for Internet Explorer), META tags, H1 tags, etc.
These are changes you can see. Changes to content.
So, for Family Care Center – we updated all the title to be keyword rich titles – unique titles that included all their keywords.
In addition, we went through each page and added keyword rich H1 tags, Meta tags (stuff you don’t see and not terribly important – but still worth the time).
Also, we went through images and checked things such as ALT tags and TITLE tags to make sure they were keyword rich as well.
STEP 4: Create Links
After making updates to on page items, the next phase of Search Engine Optimization involves creating links to the Family Care’s web site. Google sees every incoming link as a “vote” from that website that Family Care’s site is “important”. The important you are, the higher you appear.
For Family Care Center, we submitted them to numerous directories, created links on our own site, added links on facebook, google local, and other places. This phase is often (and in this case is) an ongoing phase. New links are created on a regular basis.
STEP 5: Wait 20-30 Days and Evaluate
Once on page factors are updated and links have been created, it’s now time to wait for Google (and others) to re-index and then evaluate.
In Family Care’s case, we waited about 20 days and then did a new evaluation (just a week ago).
The new results were MUCH more impressive:
- Google – bottom of page 1 (Number 10)
- Bing – top of page 1 (Number 3)
- Yahoo – top of page 1 (Number 1)
Not a bad result
STEP 6: Repeat
The sixth and final step is to repeat. We do further on page updates (tweak our titles, update images, rename directories to be more SEO friendly), create more incoming links, etc.
After all this SEO, the real question becomes – can we measure the payoff? DO we have new leads, new contacts, new appointments, etc.?
Interested, want to know more? CONTACT US at EH Design & Consulting to learn more.