Optimising your site for search


One of the hardest parts of my work is describing to the client that most of what I do can’t be seen. I guess that’s probably another reason the search industry can get a bad name. I mean, if the client isn’t computer savvy then how can they be expected to check what backend work has actually been done?

Unfortunately that makes them easy prey for search cowboys.


Where I start with your SEO


When I take on a new client one of the first things I check is the raw traffic data on the server. I like to login to the backend and check exactly what is happening with their traffic – more specifically what pages are popular on your site, how they arrived at your site and where they are geographically located, among other things. Often clients are surprised to find they’ve been paying for traffic that’s arriving from a country they’re not even targeting, or the page they thought was popular is rarely visited!

I’m quite happy to ignore the search report provided by their existing digital marketer at this point. Those search reports are easy to manipulate and are often stuffed with pointless metrics. The raw data on the server is another story – that can’t be faked and that’s why it’s my first port of call!




After checking the raw data, I like to see if there’s any correlation between it and the and paid traffic campaigns or any Search Engine Optimsation (SEO) work that’s been done. For example, has any paid advertising (PPC) or SEO work shown a genuine rise in traffic and even more importantly has any PPC or SEO corresponded in an actual increase in sales to the business?


Defining the message and User Experience (UX)


Early on, I also like to look at a site and work out how the business is trying to engage with its visitors. What are they selling or what is the service they are providing, and would a new visitor understand the process of doing business with them? If I can’t understand it or I don’t understand the steps I need to take in order to purchase from the business then usually someone else won’t understand it either.

Falling under the umbrella of UX is buyer confusion. I can’t tell you how many sites I’ve worked on where the message just isn’t clear and in some cases, particularly service businesses, a visitor would be unable to tell you what business offering they’ve just looked at.

Overuse of euphemisms, industry-only language (one trap I have to personally watch out for) and pie in the sky promises are all contributors to buyer confusion. If you are guilty of these heinous digital crimes then I’ll politely ask you to drop them from your site and go about re-framing your message in the the right way.

It sounds simple but I show my clients how to offer their product , service and processes in a way that is spelled out to potential new customers. Guess-work is a conversion killer.

You’d be surprised how often this happens. Businesses can get so caught up in their own industry that they forget consumers often visit without any pre-conceived ideas about the business or its products and services. Never just assume  your potential consumers know as much about your business as you think they do.


Digging deeper


Technically speaking, I go right through the code of your site. I look at the obvious items such as meta tags and written content but I also look at your xml sitemap, your alt image tags and so on. I also take a look at speed, which is a ranking factor, and how the site works on mobiles and tablets.


Off-page SEO


Moving off the site I then go into backlinks and discover where they actually exist. I also look at potential sites where we could place even more. On this point you would be surprised how many basic oversights can occur with linking. I’ve had a client who had multiple off-site links to his site that were broken. These were major suppliers to his business with the wrong link address and contact address. After identifying those links and advising his suppliers his referred traffic increased considerably!


Reviews and “My Business”


Finally I look at reviews and testimonials. These are vitally important in creating trust in your business. If you deal with me you can be sure I’ll ask you for your customer reviews and testimonials. If you don’t have any then I would suggest starting as soon as possible! On this point, I’ll also ask you to create your Google My Business account if you don’t have one. It’s one of the best ways to increase your local rank visibility, and makes sharing links for reviews a piece of cake.


Like to know more or get started?


So as you can see, there’s quite a lot to having your site optimised for search and not a lot of it is highly visible to the client. My goal is to make a real change in your site traffic which is where you’ll notice the change.

If you’d like to know more about my SEO service then  why not give me a call or  email or complete the online form on this page. I promise you it will be worth your while.

Thanks for reading

Lee McCarthy

Xflow Marketing & Consulting – Perth