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SEO Experiment: Ranking for “Affordable Web Design”

This blog post is part of a search engine optimization (SEO) experiment. We’re testing what it takes for a new site to rank in the top 10 results in Google, in this case for the search phrase “affordable web design.” The goal here is to see what web marketing tactics work. We want to test and share simple tactics you can do yourself to get more traffic to your website through your door. (After all, that’s why we’re here: Our mission.) The tactics are listed below. But we should note that we saved some of the best ideas for the Secret SEO Tactics download at the right of this post (at the bottom if you’re on a mobile device). If you found us on Google, it’s probably because of the tactics outlined in that free download. 

Affordable web design vs. cheap web design vs. web design firm

We started out by doing some basic keyword research. The objective was to find keyword phrases in our space that have a relatively low level of competition for the amount of search volume they generate. (More on this later!) We landed on the search terms affordable web designcheap web design and web design firm. Now, I should note: We don’t just design websites. But the visitors we want are the folks who are using these search terms. And interestingly enough, we think we would compete favorably against the websites that rank in the top 10 for these terms. If I might be so bold, the packages we offer are better and more affordable. Our current competitive disadvantage is simply visibility. People aren’t yet finding us when they search for “affordable web design.”

affordable web design

Why are we sharing this?

In the first few months since starting Mercadotec, we’ve proven the concept that businesses are looking for affordable website design. But we did so exclusively by hitting the phones and pavement. Now that we’ve proven the business model, we’re interested in generating organic search traffic. This is something our clients are very interested in. So, I thought it would be fun to turn this into a little experiment and share our results. The thing about scientific experiments is that they must be repeatable to be valid. Our goal with this experiment is to provide ideas you can try out and results you can replicate. I’m also a big believer in transparency. I think it builds trust, which is what we want. Now, let’s get to the good stuff… SEO tactics you can use for your small business website

SEO tactics you can use for your small business website

Objective: We want to find out exactly what it takes for a new website to rank in the top 10 results in Google. And we’re using ourselves as the guinea pig with the search term “affordable web design.” (We have some of these tactics in play already with a few clients, and we’re seeing early returns. Once they’re ready to share their results, we’re happy to post them here.)

Current state: We currently do not have any content indexed by Google for the terms “affordable web design.” This means we currently do not show up when people search for that phrase terms. (Let’s fix that, right?!) Additionally, our domain authority, according to Moz, is 1 out of 100, with zero backlinks. (We are a the perfect new website to test these tactics on!!!) This experiment will literally be like taking a new website and getting it to compete with websites that have a domain authority of 50 to 60.

Tactic #1: Use awesome tools so you don’t have to code!

You may be wondering how a non-technical person might legitimately execute a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign, especially with a business to run on the side. We’re big fans of making websites simple. Our clients tend not to be tremendously technical. And if we couldn’t help non-technical small business owners use the Internet to get traffic in the door, then what the heck are we here for. Right? …. That’s why we use Yoast SEO with all of our websites. It’s an easy to use WordPress plugin. And yes, it’s the tool we’re using to execute Tactic #2 in our experiment to rank for “affordable web design.” SEO Page Analysis

Tactic #2: Write for both humans AND bots

We’re actually writing this blog post for two audiences: humans who visit this website and search engine bots that crawl the web to index all the pages. We aim to please both audiences. Pleasing the humans can be a bit more intuitive for most folks. Just give them something they find valuable in a way that entertains. But pleasing the bots sometimes seems trickier. This is what we’re doing with this post to make sure the bots stay happy. (Note: These are the things we have seen work for clients already, so we’re pretty confident they’re important.)

  1. We made sure to include the “affordable web design” in the page title for this post. The page title is what shows up in the headline at the top of the page. We’re also including “affordable web design” in the subheadlines and body text. This communicates to the bots what this post is about.
  2. We massaged the meta description for this page as well, making sure to include “affordable web design.” The meta description is the little teaser that Google displays below the link in search results. It’s another hint to the bots about the topic of this post.
  3. We’re making sure this page is included in our site index, which is a list of all the pages we invite Google bots to read. We also will re-submit the site index to Google using Webmaster Tools once this is published. This will let the bots know there’s something new to read.
  4. We make sure the page doesn’t take forever to load. Believe it or not, this can be an important factor in search rankings. For this page in particular, we do have a number of images. So we’re just making sure they aren’t any larger than they need to be (less thank 200kb). The larger the image, the longer they take to load.
  5. We’re making sure to add alt tags to the images on this page, including the phrase “affordable web design” to encourage the bots to list the images in image search results. Like before, the alt tags let Google bots know what the images are about.
  6. We’ve updated the site title — note just the title of this page — from “Mercadotec” to “Mercadotec | Affordable Web Design.” We also updated the meta description for the homepage to include the phrase “affordable web design.”

Tactic #3: Design the page to foster engagement

Google wants to make sure that the search results visitors see are actually providing value. My tactical goal within this post is to get you to click a link on this page or scrolling down to the bottom of the page. These actions indicate to Google bots that visitors who searched for “affordable web design” found this content valuable, or at least engaging enough to not click the back button immediately.

  1. We’re making the content skimable by putting a subheadline with each paragraph.
  2. We’re including images throughout the page to make it skimable and encouraging you to scroll through the post.
  3. We’ve made two key tactics in this experiment available only by downloading the Secret SEO Tactics at the right of the page (at the bottom if you’re on a mobile device). And we’re teasing to it repeatedly throughout this blog post to encourage you to click a link while you’re here.

Tactics #4 and 5: The reasons you probably found this on Google

There are two key tactics to this experiment. And if you found us on Google, we’re pretty sure they played a big role. The best part, they’re easy for folks who don’t code to execute, or even outsource if you’re time is valuable. >> Download the Secret SEO Tactics for free to find out what they are.

Keyword research for small business websites

As I mentioned above, we have a set of keyword research tactics to share as well in our next blog post. If you have any questions or there are things you’d like us to address in the next post, please let us know in the comments below or by emailing me: nolan@mercadotec.com.


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