We recently did an SEO makeover for Bill West Roofing, a roofing contractor in Kansas City. Initially, the company contacted us thinking about PPC or magic behind-the-scenes optimization. They liked their website (see below), which they’d built with the help of a friend, and didn’t really want to change it. They just wanted it to perform better.
The company had received some proposals for SEO work that didn’t require any changes in the content or design, and they thought that might be the best and easiest way to go. However, we were concerned about a number of usability issues, including the light text on a dark background, which is hard for older visitors to read. We figure some people who want their roofs mended are older. We were troubled by the fact that the image at the top of the site wasn’t in the company’s region, though they definitely want to have visitors from that region. The text also didn’t do the company justice. It didn’t focus on the strongest selling points, it had a very prominent “News” section that wasn’t updated regularly, and they were missing a lot of opportunities to gain local search benefits.
Here’s the thing: online marketing with a well-optimized site always works better than attempts to shore up a poor site.
So we gave the client an estimate for making minor changes, but we also sent him a proposal to optimize the site properly. Sensibly, he decided to do it right. Here’s what we did:
- First off, we added Google Analytics to his site so we could see how things were going. We checked his rankings with the search engines, researched his competitors and the patterns of search in his town, and got to know his business. You have to know where you’re going before you set out on the journey.
- Using the results of the research, I rewrote his content. I kept the feel of the original content, but wrote it with search and conversions in mind. I made it scannable and made sure the essential selling points were foremost. Content always includes meta tags, too, so I made sure that those were as they should be.
- Designer Tom Hapgood updated the design and code. We used the same research, plus some testing for usability issues, to inform the changes. The client had lots of input, and Tom tweaked the design to suit. The new design is similar to the old one, with the same colors and a skyline graphic, but it’s more eye-catching, more readable, and more attractive. Search engines don’t care about attractiveness, but human visitors sure do.
- Josepha did a linkbuilding campaign. That’s essential to get the site off on the right foot. She tracked down all the company’s online listings and requested links from the webmasters, cleaned up old information, and identified new sites the company could benefit from, too.
We gave it a couple of weeks to settle in, and compared the results since launch with the same amount of time before launch.
Total visits are up by 87.3%, PageViews are up by 117.53%, the bounce rate is down, time on the site is up, and we’re seeing 90% new visits. Looking just at the company’s service area, Missouri and Kansas, visits have more than doubled. (Wisconsin visits are up by 700%, but that doesn’t do Bill West Roofing much good.) Search traffic is up by 50%, with visitors arriving via 51 different keywords since the launch.
This isn’t just bragging. Of course, I’m excited by these results and happy to share them with you. But this is what I’d like to suggest you take away from this story:
- Good, honest SEO gives good results. You don’t need to look for magic.
- Changes that improve user experience are also likely to improve traffic and rankings.