SEO. Huh! Yeah! What is it Good For?

Posted by Alec Biedrzycki

Feb 11, 2013, 3:14 PM

Absolutely nothing? Far from it. However, the SEO landscape is changing so rapidly, that's tough to keep track of it (let alone ensure that you're optimized following the most up-to-date best practices). There's a good chance a website that was considered well optimized a year or so ago no longer is (provided nobody has updated it since). But it's frustrating when a relatively new site isn't getting found for the keywords you desire.

Today's post is written for Frank, who's having some SEO struggles.

He asks: "The Amodio & Co. Real Estate website isn't getting found on search engines, even though we included keywords, why is that?" Right off the bat, I'd review some of the things I covered above in Nicole's past SEO example, especially point #4 about picking the right keywords. If you've optimized for keywords that are too difficult to rank for, you're never going to get found for them. I'd recommend using a difficulty measurement tool to see how your current optimized keywords are in terms of ranking competition. If they have a SEMRush rank over 0.7, chances are you're not getting indexed. If this is the case, all is not lost! You can still update your current pages to include keywords.

On that note, here's a quick review of the On-Page elements you should ensure include the keyword you're optimizing a page for:

  1. URL: The most powerful on-page element that should include the keyword. Important note: Never change the URL of an existing page to include a keyword--otherwise you'll de-index the page from Search Engines. Only manipulate when you're publishing a page for the first time or if the page is relatively young (A good rule of thumb here is using the same amount of a time buffer you'd allow before you consider renaming a puppy. So what's that, like a week? But in all seriousness, a week is a good time period).
  2. Title Tag: This is also an important element that needs to include the keyword you're optimizing for. Under 70 characters or else it'll get cut off in search engine results.
  3. Header Tag: Usually the "biggest" text on the page or the copy marked <h1> in the html. Also good to include your keyword here
  4. Body Copy: The body copy should also include the keyword. I recommend a 2% inclusion rate for those good at math. For those who aren't good at math, use good judgment. 1-2 times should do it.
  5. Images: These should be optimized if applicable-- the alt tag should contain the keyword (provided the picture is an accurate representation of the keyword).
  6. Meta Description: While this doesn't impact your search ranking, it serves as an opportunity to create a mini "call to action" for your webpage. This is essentially the blurb someone reads about a page that's in search results. It's a good idea to write a unique meta description for each page, to include the target keyword (search engines will automatically bold it) and keep it under 150 characters so it doesn't get cut off.

To learn more about On-Page SEO optimization best practices, definitely check out SEOMoz's best practices for On Page SEO. But let's get back to the problem at hand. A few things stand out to me when visiting your site and poking around:

  1. Your keywords might be too difficult: Here's a quick screen grab of how "connecticut real estate brokers" stacks up:sem rush screenshotYou'll notice that it's quite difficult (0.8) to rank for. Also...
  2. Your keywords might not have significant search volume: Despite the accurateness of this keyword to your business, it looks to me like the exact volume of this keyword is only 12 searches per month. My advice is to do some additional research and find keywords that are under 0.6 competition and over 100 exact volume.
  3. Incorporating Keywords Into Blogging: So the above observations cover your core website pages. But what about the fresh content the website is rolling out? You're blogging, which is great, but it doesn't look like you're including strategic keywords. I'd recommend following the seven step process I outlined in Nicole's blogging strategy post and begin implementing those best practices into your regiment.
  4. Keyword Analytics Measurement: While it's a section I've include in the seven step process, I think this warrants reiterating. You'll want to be sure you're measuring the progress of your keyword rankings to stay on the right track.

My overall recommendation here is to give the existing keywords a revisit, updating the relevant on page elements with new, less competitive keywords, and then march full steam ahead with blogging. But not just blogging for the sake of blogging--define who your personas are (prospective home owners) and research what they care about. Think about the questions they're asking, the problems they face in the buying process and write content that caters to that. Then, incorporate strategic keywords into these posts to ensure you're getting found.

Bonus Tip!

Lastly, I'd recommend checking out my past blog post on website functionality. I definitely think your home page could be better optimized with a clear value proposition and a well placed call to action:


Hope this was helpful. Anything you would do differently to ensure the pages were optimized better?


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