How important is it to be on Page 1 of Google? According to Moz, Page 1 of Google receives 71% of clicks, Page 2 achieves only 6%!
Although not comprehensive, I hope this post will be useful to clients, and readers managing their own website whilst hoping to be better ranked on Google.
Page 1, all website owners want it. But the internet is full of competition, so how did we do it in less than 6 months? And with no local citations!
Before I get into the good stuff, I must say that local citations are one of the most cost efficient ways to rank highly in a local region, don’t avoid it, unless like us you are between locations. So we were forced to grow the domain www.inspiredworks.co.uk to Page 1, from nothing, with no local listings.
Domain Rating – An accurate representation of the authority a website carries, particularly with search engines. A domain (web-address) that has been live for 10 years will have more authority than one that has just been created. A domain with thousands of regular readers will have more authority than one never visited, for example.
Backlinks – A link from one website to another. This can be in reference or as a referral.
Plug-ins – Like mini-applications that can be downloaded into a WordPress website to increase its functionality.
The domain www.inspiredworks.co.uk was started 19th March 2020, at this time the Domain had a Domain Authority of precisely 0/100, it of course also had no backlinks from referring websites.
We began targeting two keyword phrases, those being:
How do we now rank for these terms?
As with all new sites we had a few SEO issues to begin with:
1. We have a non-specific domain, something like www.inspired-webdesign.co.uk could have helped.
2. Our DR (Domain Rating) was absolutely zero, Google had never heard of us and had no trust.
3. Websites build trust over time with Google, most SEO specialists agree that good results come after a year or more of existing.
4. We are not competing with mechanics and builders, our competition for page 1 are professionals at hitting page 1 themselves.
5. We were prepared to invest only the minimum amount Inspired Works recommend is invested to grow through SEO. We did all this for less than £450…just £75 per month!
Finally, before I get into the detail of the SEO strategy, let me tell you the average Domain Rating and Backlink count of companies ranking Page 1 and 2 for the term ‘Web Design in Weston-super-Mare’.
Average Domain Authority = 40 / 100
Average number of Backlinks = 7,500
And us as of 19th September (6 months after launch):
Inspired Works Domain Authority = 9 / 100
Inspired Works number of Backlinks = 29
The steps we took.
DIY builders like SquareSpace or Wix are great for appearance, but behind the scenes they are incredibly limiting. They are super simple to develop, very low-maintenance, but have the potential to stunt growth through lack of flexiblilty.
Webflow and WordPress (WP) are our favourites, but I’d personally go Webflow for any site owner that is prepared for the investment (and of course, we were).
More fluid than WP which works from themes, restricting design.
- Load Speed
Webflow’s clean code produces a website with a fast loading speed. I wanted custom animations, if I did this through WP the bulk of the plug-ins would have slowed things down...Not acceptable!
A key factor for speed also. Webflow sites are hosted on AWS (Amazon WebServers) and facilitated by a global content delivery network (CDN), ultimately, for speed in different locations I’d argue you cannot get much better.
33% of sites on the internet are WordPress, yet WordPress also has 90% of hacked sites to it's name. Not an issue if constantly updated (as we do for our clients), but I didn’t want the hassle for our own site.
Much more fun to design with freedom, and that’s what Webflow gives. Super!
I wanted three things on the site build
1. Make it attractive
2. Implement a CMS
3. Make it load fast.
I went for a design that would make people see we know how to excel at web development. I installed a content management system to help with portfolio and blog updates, keeping everything standardised with a simple map for Google to follow. Finally, I ensured the website had minimal pictures, instead choosing to use animations for a WOW factor, they are less memory intensive and will decrease load time. On top of this I ensured all images were optimised by using Image Compressor, a free tool to crunch the megabites.
I have changed the content so many times, in fact it’s almost unrecognisable now compared to the 19th of March when the site was created. I have gradually introduced more and more of the relevant keywords. Not wanting to stuff my website full of the phrases I was looking to rank for in the beginning as Google could penalise my site for clear content keyword manipulation. To avoid this I wasn’t even mentioning Weston-super-Mare at the beginning and purposely was trying to build Googles understanding of Inspired Works as a general Web Designer and SEO’er.
I actually left it until month 4 before using the exact Keyword phrases I was hoping to hit page 1 on.
Not as important as they used to be, Meta Tags are still the most effective way to quickly tell the Google bots what your site does. My most impactful Meta Tag for Inspired Works is:
#1 For Web Design & SEO in Weston-super-Mare | Inspired Works
I confess, someone, in some article recommended to have a number in the Title. I don’t know if this actually helps, however it certainly hasn't hurt…So rightly or wrongly it stuck with me. I made sure to include the location to rank for, and ensured the services were mentioned as close to the start of the title as possible. Now truthfully this Title and Description are both longer than recommended, only just, but still longer. I used shorter versions before, on this site and others, using my Inspired Works site as a guinea pig for testing long phrases, and again it doesn't seem to have done any harm.
Title Tags stand out as one of the most important contributing factors to Search Position, and I must have changed and check this title a dozen times to maximise the impact it was having on search position. Description Tags (seen directly under the Title on a Google search) have an indirect contribution through increasing the CTR (click through rate). They DO NOT directly impact search position.
Content can sit in the website itself, and in the subpages such as blogs. I started a blog in June, you can read more about why here: posts/google-seo
I took my own advice and started building keyword rich content as often as possible. Not scrimping on article length, I recommend 750+ words to maximise results on Google. Actually, we will shortly be releasing an article with great advice on how to correctly structure a blog post. Follow us on Facebook and stay tuned for that.
I have a real enthusiasm around content at the moment, content is a fundamental part of an SEO strategy. I have brought in content writers to Inspired Works, and have ensured that we have interesting articles. The more Google scans this content and understands our niche, the more it’s going to consider our site an authority in the sector… helping our overall search page positioning.
Many SEO professionals say internal linking is one of the most under-used forms of SEO out there. Linking one page to another within my own site is free, and important to Google, so I started doing this around month 3, only after I was confident the content on pages throughout our site was strong enough for me to add extra attention to it.
Backlinks are thought to account for circa 50% of a website's search engine position, they build credibility and authority, which is why it’s such a good result to be on Page 1 with 0.4% of the average backlink count.
I wanted to build and grow the website with as little help from the outside as possible, but the truth is, if you’ve only got 6 months to hit Page 1, you cannot generate the links from organic traffic alone. For this reason I acquired 4 links through reaching out to sector specific blogs. What is sector specific? Marketing, Digital, and Business oriented. These backlinks were placed on Websites that had a domain authority of 30+. Actually, the business blog that made the largest impact was situated on a domain of 50+ authority, and boy did it grow the traffic for my page, if you’re interested the link is here : Business Case Studies
There are many, many link building specialists in the market today, many will get you hundreds of links for very little investment. However, my strategy for link-building is few, but high-quality. I cannot guarantee it, but I am confident this is a major reason for Inspired Works ranking well. Not only this, the practice of buying hundreds of links is more than a little frowned upon by Google, it could mean penalisation in the search results...So I make sure to stay away from the mass link tactics.
Local SEO, Local Citations. Our address is changing to The Hive in Weston-super-Mare. The change will mean we can be more aggressive in targeting local citations, registering an address on GMB (Google My Business), listing on Yell, Yelp, Thompson Local etc. These are awesome ways to generate free links to the Inspired Works website, not only that, every single link will cite Weston-super-Mare. It will give us a better chance of ranking for local keywords and take us to the next stage.
For any business that is trying to grow online, Local Citations and Local SEO is among the best value and most efficient ways to increase traffic, search position, and trust quickly. I highly advise you do it.
Years spent in Sales, Business Consultancy, and Digital Marketing led to the founding of Inspired Works.