Posted on March 18th, 2009 at 3:19 pm by Cristian Graziano
Last week was the launch of the new website for Blooma Tree Experts. Blooma, owned by Martin Macauley, provides Tree Services in Seattle, Washington and the neighboring area. Blooma came to Ixpleo because they wanted to improve their organic search engine rankings and cut down on their Google Adwords expense. This blog post is an informal case study of the process.
Blooma is targeting a specific geographic region in Washington state – this automatically makes ranking well in the search engines much more likely because it reduces competition. Although Blooma's primary keyword was Seattle Tree Service, they would like to rank well for other major cities and neighborhoods when someone types in Bellevue Tree Service for example. Tree pruning is another top keyword (with a local city or neighborhood attached to it) as is tree removal. This pattern continues for each of their services with less weight.
When I started looking in the search engines, Blooma was not appearing within the first few pages for many of their top keywords. Most of their search traffic was coming through paid results. Blooma had no sitemap. The other interesting thing I noticed – which was a first for me – is that bloomatreeexperts.com was not indexed in the search engines. Rather, Blooma's site was indexed by its IP Address (a set of numbers that identify the website). This hurts search engine performance because tree is a primary part of all of Blooma's primary keywords. The fact that their domain name isn't indexed means they were missing out on a huge opportunity to get the word tree in one of the most important places for search engine traffic. It also creates a duplicate content issue:
I can access Bloma's homepage with any of these URLs:
This means that one single piece of content (the homepage) is represented by six different URLs. The homepage's authority or "weight" could be distributed across as many as six different URLs instead of just one. This same process repeats for each page on the site.
Secondly, Blooma's site was using frames which are not search engine friendly. The filenames did not contain keywords and the page content, page title, and headings were not optimized for search engines. In addition the site needed to improve its internal linking structure.
From a visual perspective, the site was very personable (a great thing) – but lacked a unique look. The site had no online inquiry form to encourage action and did not have website stats to monitor traffic.
To increase search rankings:
- Dropped the frames and replaced the site with a search-engine friendly, XHTML/CSS layout.
- Migrated the site to run on Compass Web Publisher for easy-updating, ability for Blooma to have a blog, and for it's many search engine features (Sitemap, notifying search engines up content updates, etc)
- Ensured page titles, URLs, headings, and page content were all search-engine optimized
- Reworked the information architecture and strengthened the site's internal link structure
- Permanently redirected the IP_ADDRESS url to http://www.bloomatreeexperts.com
- Further removed duplicate content issue by permanently redirecting all URLs to have www before the domain
- Added geolocation meta tags in the site and in Google Webmaster Tools
To improve conversion rates:
- Created a new logo for Blooma that is simple yet visually appealing
- Upgraded the look-and-feel of the site to create a unique and personable impression
- Added an online inquiry form and promoted it as a call-to-action throughout the site
- Simplified the site architecture and improved internal linking
- Added rotating testimonials in the sidebar to help build credibility and emphasize how happy previous customers were with Blooma's excellent work
Using Compass, Blooma can now update the blog and other sections of the site frequently. Search engines place a lot of weight on sites that are frequently being updated, and visitors appreciate seeing up-to-date information that also gets them coming back to the site. Site stats are now available (through Compass) to monitor traffic, search engine performance, and conversion rates.
I've left out some of the changes and left out the specific details for each of the changes to avoid making this post any longer than it already is.
The results will come in later – we have to give Google some time to pick up the changes and assign authority to Blooma's site. But already in a few days, here is what has happened:
- Blooma is ranking #6 for it's primary keyword
- The new site has been almost fully indexed by Google
- The IP_ADDRESS has been removed from Google's index and permanently redirected to the new site
- Ranking #6 and #10 for its secondary keywords
- Showing up on the first page for many of its primary and secondary keywords with other city names or neighborhoods attached to it
- Ranking #1 for Seattle tree experts
I will continue monitoring these – but I expect Blooma to appear very high up in its targeted keywords. Certainly within the top 3 on Google – but hopefully first for many of its keywords. All this done without doing any shady link exchanges or other "gimmicks".
I'll post a follow-up to this post in early summer to give you the final results. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new site!
If you have a site that you'd like me to look at it to see if we can improve search engine performance, get in touch.