Over the past year I embarked upon a series of SEO experiments. I tested several techniques using numerous keyword phrases to determine how fast I could make a website rise in the organic search engine results (the non advertisement results listed in a Google, Yahoo or Bing search). My primary tests focused on the insurance agency market, and I selected a dozen long-tail keyword phrases germane to this market.
When I began this experiment, my website ranked very low, in some cases as low as page 10 on Google, in other cases my website was simply unranked. My goal was to determine how quickly a small company website could rise in the search rankings for selected long-tail keywords. Google was the key search engine which I analyzed, though I also tracked results for Yahoo and Bing.
As with all SEO projects, organizations should begin with a keyword analysis, to determine which phrases are deemed most valuable and which keyword phrases have less competition. Long-tail keywords are multiword word phrases which and more specific than a simple broad based single or double word keyword. For example, “California Truck Insurance” would be a good example of a long-tail keyword phrase, whereas “Transportation” would be a much broader keyword. “Insurance Agency Leads” would be another long-tail example while “Insurance” is another broad and vague keyword. Interestingly enough, these techniques seem to work whether you are a business selling to insurance agencies, or an insurance agency selling to businesses.
Some of the long-tail keyword phrases I chose included:
· Insurance Agency Leads
· Trucking Agency Leads
· Trucking Agency Marketing
The optimization techniques for improved organic search rankings are fairly extensive. I utilized both on page and off page optimization techniques. The on page techniques included the modification of:
· Page Title
· H1-H4 Tags
· Alt Image Tags
· Keyword Density
· Blog Integration
· Dynamic Content (content which continually changes on your site – like webinars, newsletters or industry updates)
There were many additional on page optimizations used, but the changes noted above are of critical importance. Off page optimization included article directory posting, directory submissions, link building, blog distribution, and social media marketing. There is almost no limit to the amount of content which can be generated outside of your website, but you have to start somewhere and then continue to invest in your content development. Though it may seem obvious, all of the off page optimization requires a link back to your website. More links is one of the many elements the search engines use when deciding which web sites to display in their organic search listings. As noted above, off page optimization includes link building which is achieved through blogging, tweeting, posting on YouTube and Flickr, article directory posting, social media marketing, and directory submissions to mention a few of the many ways to get your website URL noticed.
The progression for these keywords was both interesting and rapid. After executing the SEO techniques listed below, my website jumped from a very low rank, perhaps Google page ten, climbing to page three within 30 days. From day 30 to day 60 I saw my rank change in many cases to page two. And in month three, my website was on Google page one. In fact, as of this writing my website is ranked Google page one for all of these long-tail keywords, and actually appear as the #1 entry for most of them. The optimization was done predominately for Google, though the results were sometimes impressive for Yahoo, and occasionally Bing. Clearly each engine uses significantly different methods for their rankings, but in this case, with Google as my primary target, I measured the results based on that specific engine. Some of these terms are highly focused, with a few hundred searches per year; other keyword phrases we selected are searched thousands or tens of thousands of times per year. There are many nuances to insurance agency SEO, for example, it’s much easier to achieve a high ranking for a search phrase that is only searched a few hundred or a few thousand times a year, as opposed to 100,000 times per year.
These days, it’s all about content, much of which can be done by yourself, though I don’t want to minimize the importance of the keyword density and Meta on your website. If you lack the experience to do all of these techniques on your own, you can outsource all or part of your SEO efforts to a reputable vendor, and when and if ready, bring it back in house.
By Nathan Dean