Findability Makeover: ScottishHomeImprovements.com In Focus

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Consumers and prospects are looking for your products and services. They must be able to find it easily and quickly, and their expectations must be met after landing on your page.

In each issue of Website Magazine, I will examine a business’ website and give recommendations that will increase their search engine presence with little or no cost. Even better, I’ll give readers the same easy, low-cost tactical suggestions I gave these businesses. In addition to attacking the issues surrounding a website’s visibility, we will also incorporate specific tactics to help consumers find the company’s purpose and convert browsers into loyal readers, buyers and brand evangelists.

Our first subject is Scottish Home Improvements, in business since 2004 and on the Web since 2005. They provide quality siding, windows and window film products and services to homeowners in Colorado. Owner Martin Faith understood his website was not fulfilling its potential and the company was missing out on valuable opportunities to extend their brand and drive revenue. Our job was to uncover ways that Scottish Home Improvements could gain exposure with its prospects by making the site easier to find and to establish the business as a trusted industry leader.

Problem
Scottish Home Improvements has plenty to offer consumers, but prospects simply didn’t know the business existed — the website had almost no search visibility under key local terms, from either a SEO or a PPC position. “My biggest frustration was the small number of conversions from our Ad- Words campaign and the fact that other sites of much smaller companies were ranking higher than ours,” says Martin Faith, owner, Scottish Home Improvements.

The website had a water-themed header that looked like it was promoting a plumbing company. There was too much boring, empty white space with no graphics, a phone number that was hard to find and a home page paragraph that talked more about the sister company than itself. From a technical standpoint there was also no way for the owner to update the site without outsourcing it to an expensive, non-time sensitive designer.

Clearly there was much to be gained. Not only did the website need to rank higher in search results, but prospects needed a chance to get familiar with the brand.

I gave pre-makeover www.ScottishHomeImprovements.com a 22 percent for Findability.

Action Plan: Three Big Tips for Scottish Home Improvements

TIP #1: Always Start with Research — Gain Quick Visibility with Pay-Per-Click Advertising

To get Scottish Home Improvements to page one in Google quickly, as well as help them connect with their best keywords, we provided some recommendations to put their PPC accounts back on track.

1. Build Negative Keyword Lists
Figure out ways you don’t want Google to associate with your company (i.e. free, wholesale, or perhaps plumbing in this case) and add them as negative keywords to your PPC account. “Eighty percent of our budget was being wasted on clicks from the wrong target audience,” Faith says. “The simple act of adding negative keywords saved us thousands of dollars.”

2. Research
Conduct preliminary research on your keywords to see how consumers search for you online. Google’s External Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) is a great, free resource to find appropriate and highlysearched keywords to target.

TIP #2: Time to Embrace 2009 — New Site Design with Increased Conversion Opportunity

Next, we recommended Scottish Home Improvements consider a new look and feel with a more appealing layout, warmer color palette and more calls-to-action.

1. Color Counts
Find a professional color palate that works for your product, but never sacrifice the readability of the text on your site. Changing colors and images focused on the structural, earthy elements of siding and windows.

2. Don’t make users think
Never make it hard for the customer to take action. Also, give consumers options. Some consumers like to contact businesses with a phone call, whereas others like to send an email or use a form. After their Findability makeover, Scottish Home Improvements features an easy-to-find phone number and a prominent contact form.

3. Engage
Give consumers more opportunities to engage your website. Photo galleries, YouTube videos and testimonials help customers get to know you and your products.

TIP #3: Social Media Setup

To help Scottish Home Improvements start to dominate under their keywords, we recommended they take advantage of free social media sites.

1. Blogging is the king of social media
It positions you as an expert in your field, keeps your website fresh (which Google search spiders love), and it offers many opportunities to optimize for certain keywords. Scottish Home Improvements features a highly visible link to their blog, which they use to announce industry news, publish testimonials, announce business news and promote a key element of their windows business — energy savings.

2. Other sites
In addition to blogging, we recommended profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter. These profiles helped Scottish Home Improvements take control over search engine results, and gives them a point-of-contact on websites popular with consumers and other businesses.

The Result
Implementing these social media tips allowed Scottish Home Improvements to increase their Findability Score from 22 percent to 72 percent. They are now seeing more qualified leads and are continually updating their social media pages to keep their customers engaged.

“Our improved Findability has made us rise organically in Google rankings and we now have a steady stream of website conversions at an acceptable cost per conversion,” Faith says. By improving their Findability, Scottish Home Improvements truly added an entire salesperson to their staff without increasing payroll. Their business is easier to find, the website is more engaging and consumers have more ways to connect.

Do you know a website that could use a facelift, or have you tried out any of these suggestions on your site? Send your suggestions to findability@websitemagazine.com for consideration in our next Findability makeove.

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.” by Wiley & Sons. She is a Marketing Speaker and runs a Denver Internet Marketing agency. Visit FindabilityFormula.com for tools and resources to increase your site’s findability.

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6 comments

07-15-2009 1:39 PM

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Mr. Anderson 07-19-2009 4:28 PM

I read Lutze's book, The Findability Formula, and found it a help guide to Search Engine Advertising and was happy to discover her new column in WEBSITE.

But...

This column could be improved if the author and editors would sharpen their focus on the topics Ms. Lutze has expertise in, and avoids drifting into topics where she does not.

Even after framing the "Problem" with the subject website, Lutze fails to explain why the business owner should care if they "had almost no visability under key local terms," or explain how an SEO professional would determine this, or even make recommendations about how one could change the fact.

She goes as far as to quote the business owner's "biggest frustration" and then doesn't even comment on whether the size of a company has any bearing on the ranking of search engine results. A question I'm confident she could answer, and apparently a myth that still needs "busting".

Instead, Lutze digresses into an uninformed discussion of graphic design. Does Lutze have any education, training or experience in the graphic design field? Her advice to use a "more appealing layout, warmer color pallette and more calls-to-action" suggest that she does not.

A professional graphic designer would know that it's impossible to predict which layout will be "appealing" until after thoroughly researching the target customers, and the tasks they expect to complete by visiting the website.

A design pro would also know that any color pallette, whether "warm" or "cool" can be appealing -- it really depends on who is marketing what to whom.

A graphic designer would also make a clear distinction between DESIGN and CONTENT such as "calls to action", and unlike Ms. Lutze, recognize that having the education and training to make an informed decision about one, does not qualify you to judge the other.

Is Ms. Lutze prepared to explain how white space functions in graphic design, and how she determined the subject site had "too much boring, empty white space" (sic)?

While we're digressing, perhaps someone should explain what makes a designer "expensive" and "non-time sensitive"?

(I'm guessing Ms. Lutze finds SEO consultants "valuable" and "the quickest way to improve results"?)

And how would ANY editor miss this:

Ms. Lutze states that she initially scores the website "22  percent for Findability" and the revised site a "Findability Score (of) 72 percent". Nowhere in the article is there a discussion of what is measured and how scores are formulated.

I think Ms. Lutze should decide whether her column is intended to help web professionals improve the "findability" of their site, and the editors of WEBSITE should decide whether their magazine is targeted web professionals or DIY business owners.

Ms. Lutze knows enough about "findability", search engine optimization, and search engine advertising to write at least 12 monthly columns.

Please don't waste this opportunity by drifting of into less-well-informed opinions about disciplines like graphic design and marketing communications strategy.

07-23-2009 12:32 PM

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07-23-2009 12:33 PM

Pingback from  August Website Magazine | My Elite Affiliate

07-24-2009 11:05 PM

Pingback from  Wholistic Is The New Black | NxT LvL MrktnG :: Raising Your Brand To The NxT Lvl

JulianD 08-12-2009 5:17 AM

its good information

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