Sites & Stuff is a new brand. The team behind the company have been building great websites and undertaking search optimisation for a long time but we were under no illusions how difficult becoming visible on Google, as a new business, would be. Prior to the Sites & Stuff website launch, in February 2021, Google didn’t know we existed. Our domain (www.sitesandstuff.com) is brand new, and with no prior history we are truly starting from a blank canvas.
We know many of our customers begin in this exact position so we decided this would be a great opportunity to showcase our skills and write a blog post or two about our own journey. We have previously achieved page one and even position one, with different businesses in this sector, so let’s see if we can do it again!
Every business has different needs when it comes to getting found and some are more complex than others. It’s worth noting we are most experienced at local targeting, which is a significantly easier job than targeting nationally or internationally. We target locally by referring to the target location on page, and ensure the specific area is also a factor in our off page activity. We would always advise those who need a wider scope work to link up with dedicated SEO specialists, as it takes long-term strategy and regular activity to achieve more complex goals.
We are no magicians, what we do is get the basics of search optimisation right and then we build upon them. The first of these basics is choosing the right keywords to optimise for. Keywords or key phrases are the snippets of text people write in the search box. For our personal example we will use the keyword search: ‘logo design swindon’. We love creating logos and it would be awesome to be one of the first design studios that show up in the search results when someone types it in.
But how do we know it’s worth it? Are people really searching for logo designers in Swindon? Well we can find out! Google’s Adwords keyword planner has a keyword volume tool that tells you this exact information and there are also various 3rd party tools available to give you this info, one of our favourites is Wordtracker. We found that our example, ‘logo design swindon’ gets a modest 10-20 hits a month. Nothing ground breaking but we’d still like that traffic as it’s very specific to some of the stuff we do.
We start by creating a page dedicated to capturing this audience. Ensuring our page name, meta data, headings, urls, body text, image alts and titles all feature the words ‘logo design swindon’. A basic formula but effective none the less. When we know the page is communicating what it’s supposed to we let Google know it exists by submitting it in a site map and asking it to crawl the page for indexing. This is done via Google Search Console.
We then set about finding opportunities to talk about our logo design services elsewhere on the web, linking back to the page if we can. I mentioned before Sites & Stuff have no history on Google so we got about creating some. Some of the places you can do this are as follows: Local news sites, directories, industry websites and social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. The more the merrier! Google sees all of this activity as an indicator of your validity in the marketplace. I must also add, gone are the days of spammy ‘link building’; the activity you conduct must appear natural, rather than forced, and you will need to invest time in finding good opportunities and creating high quality content.
A great way to do this is to create a blog, or news feed on your website and sharing that content wherever possible. The reason you have to invest time and produce quality is because you want people to share and like that content. That normally comes down to delivering value to the reader. There is no bigger indictor to Google of your validity than 3rd party endorsements.
When it comes to local search there is no better place to be listed than Google My Business. This free service is run by Google supplementary to their search results. The Google My Business results sit at the top of the search results when you make a local search and when someone specifically searches for your business it presents a little business profile, giving far greater impact than search results alone.
Talk to Yell (but try not to spend). Gone are the days of their Yellow Pages but they are now the UK’s biggest digital marketing company. In submitting a free directory listing, via their website, they will follow up with a call to see if they can sell you marketing services. Part of this is a free review of your website and online profile, very useful in identifying gaps in your optimisation. It takes around 30 mins and you are under no obligation to buy anything, even we found their inner workings insightful.
Create fresh content. No-one, particularly Google likes stale old content. We mentioned the importance of a regular blog or news feed but don’t limit yourself to this and make sure you are reviewing all of your web content regularly. Examples of work, products or services, client endorsements etc can be easy, regular additions to your site.
Please check out the following search, it’s for our example ‘logo design swindon’. When we wrote this we were on page two of Google’s organic search – not too shabby after two months of the site existing. How are we doing now?
Google: ‘logo design swindon‘