Findability Makeover 2009 Results

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Happy New Year! Time really does fly when you are having fun and helping businesses find the optimal Findability for their websites.

This is my seventh Website Magazine article and I have enjoyed every minute of work that has gone into each one. Taking the time to talk to each entrepreneur, understanding their frustrations, and giving them some easy and non-technical suggestions to increase their search engine Findability has been a true pleasure. For this month’s feature, I have decided to take a moment to check in with some of our past participants and report back what they have implemented and what changes they have seen as a result of their hard work. We have also re-evaluated their Findability to see if their scores have improved.

Some of the companies experienced challenges in implementing the changes (as expected) and some have had some amazing successes. I have tried report back on the exact suggestions we made and then gathered exact, unedited responses from our past subjects. We heard back from three of our subjects: 1305Dentist.com, BJSpyAssociates. com and MarleyDogSupplies.com. Here are their results and comments.

FINDABILITY RESULTS: 1305Dentist.com

1) Original Findability Recommendation:
Combine blog and website together. When we evaluated 1305Dentist.com, the blog was completely separate from the website. The blog also had much higher Findability, detracting attention from the main website — essentially defeating the purpose of the blog. We recommended joining the website and blog so the website received the benefit of a well-produced blog.

• “As you know we had a blog and attempted to get it to work with the website. The hosting company said that they are unable to create and host a blog on their platform. The best they could do is http://www.1305dental.com/Blog.aspx.”

2) Original Findability Recommendation: Use keyword rich domains.

The original domain of 1305Dentist.com comes from the business’ street address in Fairfield Connecticut. We recommended creating a keyword-rich domain to take advantage of localized searches when the searcher did not already know the address.

• “We have created several niche-based websites that feed to our main site. For example, www.clearbracesfairfield. com,www.dentalimplantsfairfield.com and www.toothwhiteningfairfield.com, plus several others.”

3) Original Findability Recommendation: Use keywords in local listings.

While local listing ads were in place, we recommended an overhaul — including expanding on localized and longtail keywords and the addition of addresses and phone numbers in the ad text.
• “Traffic has stayed steady,” Paul commented. But they have seen significant increases in their local search (Google Maps) “...where we adjusted our keywords for better placement.”

“All in all, I think we are on the right path to dominating our niches and keywords. When people ask ‘how long does it take,’ I compare SEO and optimization to a hangover — there are no quick fixes, it just takes time.”
— Paul Conant

1305Dentist.com had a website grade from http://www.websitegrader.com of 11 percent before their Findability Makeover, and the new grade is now 84 percent. I originally gave them a Findability Score of 54 percent and now their Findability is 65 percent.

Heather’s Comments:
Sometimes, not all of the “best-case scenario” Findability suggestions can be implemented. 1305Dentist.com has done a great job of creating work-arounds by building micro-sites targeted to top-performing keyword phrases and keywordrich domain names. They have also made strides in their local presence — the bread and butter of their business. The blog is effective but needs continuous work. By continuing to blog with high search-volume keywords in post titles and body copy, even higher rankings will be achieved.


FINDABILTY RESULTS: B & J Spy Associates
“I can tell you we have had great results. By implementing just two of Heather's recommendations, we have seen an increase of 400 percent since the middle of October 2009. We will be using an additional recommendation and overhauling the website at the end of the year.”
— Ben Otano, owner, BJSpyAssociates.com.

One of our recommendations centered on the fact that B & J Spy Associates’ competitors were not taking advantage of a visible blog. With a blog in place, BJSpyAssociates. com has a better chance of being found by Internet users. This may be partly responsible for a dramatic increase in the website’s Hubspot grade — from 67 percent to a healthy 90 percent.

Originally I gave B&J Spy Associates a score of 39 percent and now I give them a 50 percent for Findability.

Heather’s Comments:

Ben has a huge project ahead of him in redesigning his site. But with some small improvements, he has seen some incredible gains. I can’t wait to get a report a year from now, after he has launched his new site and finished all the recommendations. I look forward to “spying” on his progress in the future.

2) Original Findability Recommendation: Update the Facebook Fan Page with personality.

MarleyDogSupplies.com had a Facebook Fan Page with more than 870 fans. However, the photos and descriptions of the website were generic and not very engaging. We recommended he take advantage of the Facebook platform by featuring a little more personality, while carrying over Stan’s persona as the expert in the industry.


FINDABILITY RESULTS: Marley Dog Supplies

“The advice [Heather] gave me for my site is really starting to help. I created an AdWords campaign targeting Western Europe on Saturday 11/7/2009, and it is already yielding conversions. Also, I have been able to get my websitegrader.com score up to 88.”

— Stan Cromlish, owner, MarleyDogSupplies.com

1) Original Findability Recommendation: Make your homepage more personable. One way we recommended MarlyDogSupplies.com could stand apart from the competition was to make the website more personable. That included taking advantage of Stan’s expertise in the field, making him the trusted resource and the “face” behind the website.

• Within one week of our original recommendations, Stan had updated his home page with a great picture as well as a mission statement of why his company is different and why he is the “expert resource.”

• Stan updated his Fan Page with a new photo with his dogs and updated the content with his knowledge and experience in the industry. The page continues to gain new Fans. Great picture, Stan!


Read more below....

 

Heather’s Comments:
We ran the Website Grader again and MarleyDogSupplies. com rated a 93 percent. Our new Findability Score has improved from 46 percent to 55 percent. Stan was one of the most interesting and enthusiastic subjects we featured. I knew he was going to run with our advice and that’s exactly what he did. He made our suggestions within weeks of the article publication.

We will continue to report successes and frustrations as we hear back from our other Findability Makeover subjects. We appreciate the time our featured makeover participants took in sharing their results with us. As with most marketing plans, there have been obstacles and issues in implementing all of our recommendations, but I am very proud of the progress so far and look forward to checking in with them again as they continue to rise in the search engines.

Here’s wishing everyone improved Findability in 2010! Never stop learning, never stop seeking better improvements for your website, and never stop reaching for world domination by keyword phrase. Your company deserves it!

About the Author: Heather Lutze has spent the last 10 years helping business owners get their enterprises noticed on the Web by their target audiences. She is the author of “The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non- Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing.” Visit FindabilityFormula.com for tools and resources to increase your site’s findability.

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