SEO Case Study
This is an example from within the Winnipeg construction industry; we’ve changed the company name for privacy reasons – we’ll call them ABC Construction. This company handles large commercial construction projects such as building shopping malls.
They wanted to improve their visibility in Google when people are looking for Winnipeg construction companies.
Upon visiting their website, what was immediately clear was that in order to get them to rank more prominently, they were going to need far more than some on-page SEO tweaks or off-page optimizations. They actually needed to start with an entirely new website; failing that, they would remain held down in the search engine results, regardless of what else they did. Why?
Their site was not “mobile-friendly”, otherwise known as “responsive”, meaning that it would not display well on mobile devices and other small screen devices (this is now a huge ranking signal for Google – more on that shortly…). The site was old-school, designed at a time when most people surfed the web on computers, as opposed to now when at least 75% of internet users are surfing the net on mobile devices including small cell phone screens.
Being a non-mobile friendly/ non-responsive website, the site did not have the ability to auto-adjust to different screen sizes in order to display correctly regardless of the size of screen. So people using smaller devices like cell phones would see very small, difficult to read text; the navigation was hard to use; and the site had a myriad of other common problems that created a poor user experience, directly as a result of being non-mobile friendly.
Its already been a few years since Google announced that responsiveness and being mobile-friendly were now factors that were programmed into the Google algorythim as a “signal” they consider when ranking websites in the search results. In other words, sites that are not mobile friendly are going to have great difficulty achieving and maintaining good ranks.
Why does Google care whether a site is mobile friendly or not? Why would they include that as a ranking signal? The answer comes down to “user experience”. Its not good for Google if they send users to websites that end up frustrating the user and providing a poor experience. Certainly sending users on mobile phones to sites with text that does not adjust to the size of the screen, rendering it difficult to read, is not going to satisfy users and will result in frustration. Similarly, sending a user to a site that is very difficult to navigate from a mobile phone is also going to result in user frustration. Google is aware that if they provide search results to sites that a difficult for some searchers to use, they might stop trusting the results in Google and perhaps even stop using Google. So when ranking websites, Google has, for many years now, been taking all kinds of “user experience signals” into account, and a couple of years back, the mobile friendly signal made it into the algorythm. It only makes sense given that today, more than 75% of all internet users access the internet from their mobile phones. Its not something Google could continue to overlook.
So the bottom line is, any site wanting to rank well in Google must be programmed to be mobile friendly/ responsive. Putting any effort into SEO on a site that is not responsive is a complete waste of time and effort – its like renovating a home with a crumbling foundation.
We made this recommendation to ABC, and after a few months of contemplation, they saw the wisdom in our advice and returned to us requesting that we design that new website for them. At the time, we were not taking on new web design clients due to some major site design projects we had in development at that time (we have since expanded our design team to keep up with the increasing demand for our services) and were not able to take on their project for them.
ABC Construction did ultimately follow our advice to have a new, mobile friendly site built for them, and that was certainly a good thing. However, some critical errors were made in the process. While their original site did not have a lot of text (known as “copy”) on their pages, it did at least have more than the new site.
They took one step forward by having a new site designed, but then inadvertently took another step back by removing copy/ text from their site when, in fact, they should have been adding more.
Why? Two very important reasons: 1) To give Google what it wants to see 2) To give prospects what the are coming to the website for.
1) To give Google what it wants to see:
Any good SEO professional is aware that due to the increasingly competitive nature of the internet today, Google is having more and more difficulty wading through all of the information online in trying to determine where a site should rank. Google themselves has said – and SEO experts will tell you – that more relevant text is needed on webpages these days than ever before in order to give Google enough information to clarify what the page is about and give it something to base its ranking on. The more relevant, meaningful text you have on your site describing the products, services, and advantages and benefits offered by your company, the easier it is going to be for you to rank well in search. In fact, the rule of thumb today is that ideally every web page should have roughly 1500 words of text to really give Google what it wants and what it needs for you to see to rank your site. It is a fact that longer web pages containing more relevant text rank higher than pages with less text, all other things being equal. So producing a new website to contain even less text/copy than the original site it was replacing was a huge mistake, especially when you consider that better search engine rankings was the whole objective in the first place. This demonstrates the point that all website designers or agencies are not created equal. Not all web designers (in fact, very few) also bring to the mix a strong level of knowledge of both SEO and marketing, and this can really impact the overall effectiveness of the sites they design. Most website designers are essentially graphic artists for the web. They know how to make sites look pretty, but they don’t always know how to make them most functional and effective (from a sales and business perspective), and they rarely know how to design a site for it to rank well and to market/pre-sell/close well – more on that next….
2) To give prospects what they are coming to the website for.
This next point all comes down to having a solid understanding of marketing. And again, most web designers are really not marketers – they are artists/ designers. Web design is a form of graphic arts. Whereas, marketing is a highly specialized and very different area of expertise all of its own. That’s one of the advantages that sets us apart here at BeSeen Media. When we design a website for a client, we come at it from a marketing perspective, based on 30 years of sales and marketing experience and expertise – its not enough for the site to look amazing. It has to do its job – and that is to be a powerful marketing and selling tool. Your website should quickly capture the prospects interest, generate leads, entice prospects to get in touch with you, answer their questions, inform them of all the benefits and advantages you offer, tell them how you’ll solve their problems… and the list goes on and on. In other words, your website should be pre-selling your potential customer before they even speak to you. Your website has the potential to be your most powerful and cost effective sales asset, at work for you every day of the year, every hour of the day. But websites have to be designed with a marketing strategy in mind. Yet, that is what is missing from so many of the sites that we come across.
At Be Seen Media, you get the advantage of 20 years of experience in website design AND SEO, over 20 years of digital/online marketing experience, and 30 years of broad marketing experience (encompassing both online and offline marketing). All of that goes into every website we develop (and into everything we do!).
Want to chat about your website requirements? Give us a call at 204-951-8122. We’d love to work with you.