Testing the effectiveness of various SEO tactics is part of what we do at AIMBIZ, and it’s something anyone can do using free tools such as the Google Keyword Adwords tool, Twitter, HootSuite and a WordPress website. Recently, we began a test to optimize several posts for two of our top markets, Kent, Washington, where many of our clients are located and Issaquah, where we are located and where our business is growing. Clearly there’s value for us to appear in the search results for relevant web design-related terms in these locations. With our new website and domain at AIMBIZ.com, we have the perfect opportunity to track the real-time progress of our search results starting from a clean slate. If you want to skip straight to the results, pop down to the bottom of the page. Between here and there we describe how we ran the test and how you can do the same thing for your business website.

Searching for Web Design Issaquah and Web Design Kent, WA

We began by researching the top keyword terms that people use regarding web development. The term “Web design” ranked best. The obvious test for this was to see what keywords got the most local traffic for Seattle, and Seattle web design won. So it makes sense that people searching for web design services in Kent, WA and Issaquah would use the same local search strategy. It also makes sense for us to test local strategies because most of our clients sell to a local market. But even if your business serves a non-geographic base, the same lessons apply to other specialized terms, such as brands and model names or specific industry terms. This long-tail or niche keyword strategy makes up more than 90% of all Internet search, and people who are searching with long-tail keywords already have narrowed their focus to what you offer, so they are ideal potential customers.

Adding our keywords to the post content

I recently posted an article about using keywords in post content, so you might want to check that out for more detail. The gist of our test was to create a post that featured a recent client website design from each of our two target markets. We chose the Good Sense Accounting firm in Issaquah and Sweet Themes Bakery in Kent, WA. Within the post, we used our seed keyword “web design” and niche keyword for each location in specific places; in the title and title metatag, in the content, in a link, and in the alt text for the post’s related image. Each post is fairly short—about 200 to 300 words—and each shares some of the useful or fun features of the respective websites. The same tactic could be used in describing company events, new products, customer testimonials and other topics that are specific to your business. When it comes to creating a blogging strategy, you need to think about frequency—how often you will have an opportunity to post a story about a topic. In our case, showcasing our client’s websites is a natural opportunity to talk about what we do and the special value we bring.  You should look for the same types of opportunities when devising your own blogging strategy.

Leveraging Twitter to kick-start traffic

Most of our clients are pretty skeptical about using Twitter as part of their online marketing program. It’s little wonder, since most of the press Twitter gets is about how celebrities Tweet about what they’re having for lunch or how the service is co-opted for political movements. But the real power of Twitter isn’t in learning where to get a great BLT, but in sharing something of interest or value to your Twitter following. It’s about sharing, not selling. So we automatically send out a Tweet with every blog post we make on AIMBIZ.com. The reason for this is to drive traffic to the post. Even though Twitter uses the no-follow anti-spam tag so the link itself doesn’t give us any value, the traffic generated by the link does have value. A percentage of our Twitter followers will see the Tweet, link through to the blog post, read it, sometimes share it, sometimes visit other pages on our website, and all of that is valuable. So I’d like to thank our Twitter community with a big, virtual hug.

The search results so far

I’ve set up this post at length so that you can understand the basis of the test, but our plan is to follow up periodically with further results. Our initial results, however, are pretty interesting.

For the search for “web design Kent, WA”—which was the post about the web design for the bakery in Kent—the initial result was almost immediate. After one Tweet and a dozen views, the site appeared on page four of Google results. A day later and with 26 views, it had moved to the middle of page two. At the time of this post on day three, the site is at the top position for page two of Google with 47 views.

Screenshot of Google page 2 showing results for a keyword search for Kent WA web design

For the search for “web design Issaquah”—the post about the accounting firm website—the initial result didn’t happen for almost one day. (Depending on the indexing by Google, results can often take a while to show up, but the more frequently you post, the more frequently Google’s bots will crawl your page. Another good reason to blog frequently.) After one day and one Tweet, the post showed up on page seven with 25 views, and after two days and two more Tweets, the post rose to page five and 41 views.

Each post took about half an hour to write, and the initial Tweets were automatic. Setting up a schedule of follow up Tweets using HootSuite took about 15 minutes. So after spending less than two hours of invested time, we’re very close to achieving page one results for one of our major markets and moving up in the second test market. That’s time well spent, I think.