Optimising a website for the most important keywords is as relevant as ever. Local businesses such as trades and services are increasingly launching websites with all the usual optimisations of page title, meta description, sub title, alt text and descriptive content. Though that is unlikely to be sufficient to compete in a city where there are already a dozen or more well ranked competitors in Google.
There are many ways to increase the popularity of a website such as directory listings, links from suppliers, cited articles, social media, industry websites and more. What I’d like to dig into here though are two of the most effective ways to get more positions in Google search through the use of blog posts and portfolio pages.
Chasing the long tail of keywords
Long tail is simply a phrase we use to describe the multi keyword phrase that people search for, think of it as any search term of 4 or more words, even up to an entire question or sentence.
An example of why you might work on the long tail
When looking for a service like solar power, understandably many people search for just that. They search for solar power in Google. Ranking a website for simply solar power is not an easy proposition. However there thousands of related searches about solar power and many of them will be much easier to rank for on the first page of Google.
Short tail keywords vs long tail keywords
Using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, if we take a search query of solar panels, you can see there are about 22,000 searches a month in Australia, and about 27,000/mo for solar systems.
Logically these are frequently searched because home owners generally understand that if you want to get rooftop solar then the product they are seeking are known as solar panels or solar systems.
However there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of other keywords and phrases that people might use when they are researching solar power systems and through the use of blogs and portfolio pages we can easily target this long tail of keywords.
Illustrating keyword difficulty comparison with Moz
Here is simple stark comparison of ranking difficulty using Moz an SEO keyword analytics tool.
The difficulty score ranges from 0…100 with 0 being easiest and 100 being most difficult.
Solar power has a difficulty score of 54 and opportunity of 64.
That is, it’s pretty competitive and a fair bit of the click through is to paid Google Ads.
Whereas how much does rooftop solar power cost has a difficulty of only 34 and opportunity of 100.
A higher opportunity score means that you are more likely to get a click through from the general search results because there are fewer Google Ads for that search.
So if we wrote two blog posts, one titled solar power and another titled how much does rooftop solar power cost it’s much more likely that the second one with its specific long tail title will show up prominently in Google.
Think beyond the most obvious keywords
It’s really helpful and potentially quite profitable to be found for a short tail keyword like Newcastle roofing or even Newcastle roof repairs but there may also be people searching for quite specific topics like colorbond roof repainting contractor Lake Macquarie or replacing roof screws newcastle.
So, the question is, how best to tackle these long tail keywords without detracting from the simplicity and structure of a well built website.
How can we rank in Google for long tail keyword phrases
It’s unlikely that a business homepage is going to rank for every keyword you might wish it to. Hence creating many more pages within a website that focus on a range of keywords.
Herein lies the power of the blog and portfolio. It gives us an opportunity to obtain Google rankings for an array of related search results without messing up the main sales and service pages of the website or cluttering the menu.
Here is a screenshot showing an example where one of our portfolio pages is ranking for a 4 word search term.
Blog posts that rank well in Google
Here are some examples of blog posts we have written as part of ongoing optimisation work.
Each of these blog posts is on the first page of the Google search results for one or more phrases.
Blog title: The Right Placement for Dome Safety Mirrors
Example ranking for: placement of dome safety mirrors
In this example the website also ranks for the product page and some of the images so they get multiple placements on the page and there is only one advertiser in the Google ads.
Blog title: Can I Use Taubmans Roof Paint For Cement Tiles?
Example ranking for: use taubmans roof paint on cement tiles
The websites that rank in front of the blog post are pages on the taubmans and dulux sites which understandably Google has decided to give prominent placement for this topic.
Blog title: What not to put in a skip bin?
Example ranking for: what not to put in a skip bin
The blog post gets top position in the general Google search results.
Why blog posts instead of other pages
Whilst you want the main pages of a website to be easy to find in the menu and specific to products or services the blog is a handy place to put other topical pages. The blog of a website is convenient and easy to add to.
Below is a screenshot of the blog summary page of Lake Macquarie Skips.
We’re not overly concerned about someone arriving on the homepage and going to the blog but we would like them to arrive from Google on the blog page.
Think of each blog post as another fishing hook in Google just waiting for the right searcher.
The blog is a convenient place to publish topical categorised articles.
Below is a screenshot of the blog summary page of Verge Safety Barriers.
Using portfolio pages for more positions in Google
A portfolio page can have much the same qualities as a blog post but it has the added advantage of being an example of completed work and a testimonial which can inspire authentic trust in a visitor.
Here is an example of a simple page about a solar installation in Wurtulla by Solahart Sunshine Coast, www.solahartsc.com.au/project/wurtulla-2
It would be even better if there was more text content on the page and we could further optimise the title but for the purposes of illustrating this idea you can see how even a quite basic portfolio page can appear in Google.
For example it might be found for a phrase like solar power hot water Wurtulla.
Ideally the portfolio pages need at least a few hundred words to describe the job if you are going to maximise the potential for having it show up in Google search engine results pages (SERPs).
Capturing examples of completed jobs
This is one part of the process that an SEO consultant is going to need the input of the business owner.
You can call this part of a website completed jobs, portfolio, our work, case studies, projects or whatever suits the business type, creating a portfolio of jobs is a really sensible way of growing a website.
Gathering the words, images and videos for the portfolio:
- words, photos and videos may be created as part of the job workflow
- capturing before and after photos with a phone is quick and easy
- most people have a phone on them that takes good photos
- descriptive text might be repurposed from quotes or invoices
- ideas can be extracted from social media posts
- text can be transcribed from audio or video
Whether you are painting roofs, installing solar panels, fabricating gates, repairing radiators, laying pavers there are plenty of photo opportunities. If you can’t be there yourself how about some incentives for the employee that takes the best photos each month?
Creating portfolio pages that are titled like; suburb name + job type is a simple way of expanding your local keyword footprint in Google and it is a quite sensible and authentic way of promoting a business.
Saving and collecting images to use in the portfolio
The best way of collecting the images is either saving them to dropbox or google drive folders or uploading them to facebook or instagram. Where possible name the folders, files and or comment on the photos to explain what they are depicting.
Dropbox has a simple to use app for phones that make adding folders and files to the cloud storage fairly easy.
Most businesses won’t bother to do this
Since most won’t do it, if you do, then you can stand out and be found in google more often.
As Marcus Miller wrote on Search Engine Land: When executed well, your portfolio content will widen the search terms you can be found for and attract more local search engine users while simultaneously demonstrating your credibility for an SEO and marketing win-win.
It’s still a lot of work to do this consistently though. Which is why we and many other web marketing agencies offer seo and blog writing services to help businesses get their website into Google for the long tail keywords.