09 Oct Philadelphia SEO Results
Philadelphia SEO Results
To some extent, the cat is out of the bag. UpCity named the Matson Group one of the Top Philadelphia SEO companies in the greater Philadelphia region. To be sure, we were honored. We pride ourselves on the amazing value we generate for our clients – typically delivering better than big agency results at a fraction of the price of in-house staff.
And while we very much enjoy servicing our bigger national clients, some times we take even greater pride when we can deliver big results for other local companies. So we decided to try a little experiment on ourselves. This page is meant to document the journey of this page from obscurity to hopefully being found by someone somewhere (first page on Google). We’ll also be sharing lessons from one of our clients that we helped develop from relative obscurity to tens-of-thousands of weekly visits and a nice passive income stream in addition to their core business offering.
Unlike a normal business we have a lot of tools to measure and optimize but our goal is to keep this page usable by businesses of all sizes and resources. Let’s get started.
The Lay of the Land & Quick Wins
I wanted to give you an idea of what we inherited when we took this client on. The client provides a valuable service to the community. That’s why we decided to work with them.
They had a train wreck of a website. It had been ‘redesigned’ fairly recently but was barely functional on mobile. It did a poor job of telling the business’s story and an even worse job of converting traffic. The site used every color in the Crayola box – the big one. But the client did not have the budget to invest in a new site.
Luckily, Google came to the rescue and a few weeks after starting our work with them, they introduced call-only ad types. These are the perfect ads if your business recalls on inbound calls for new business. Google announced on Friday and we went live that Saturday morning, beating the competition to the punch for at least 12 weeks. That strategy allowed us to generate the money we needed for further investment even without a decent useable website.
The lesson here is that SEO is not always your best investment. You need to consider your time, budget, competition. In this case, we advised the client to wait on building a new website and to wait on focusing on SEO until the competition caught on to our local mobile strategies.
Building an SEO Optimized Website
When You Should Try a Local SEO Strategy
I wanted to take a second to talk about when SEO is a good strategy for your business. I’ve spent more time talking people out of focusing on SEO than I’ve spent trying to sell my SEO services. The fact of the matter is that SEO is seldom the best technique for a business to focus on.
Here are some businesses that should almost always focus on other sales channels:
- Considered B2B purchases
- Products or Services that no one knows they need
- Start Ups
- Highly competitive spaces where the competition has lots of content. That’s me!
If you don’t fall into any of the above categories, Local SEO could be a good fit for you. However, you should know that SEO takes time. Plan on a 6 to 12 month investment to see results. Any faster route will get you in trouble with the search engines eventually.
So what do you need first. You need a good website and great content that people are searching for. If you need help figuring out what people are searching for then check out our article on SEO Keyword Research.
Next, the search engines (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc…) are not going to feature you if your website is not technically sound. But what does that mean exactly?
Basically, you need to make sure you’re telling the search engines about your great content. Tell them where it is by creating a sitemap. Let their spiders know how to find your good content and not find your private content with a file called robot.txt. Make sure your site is easy to use on mobile and fast to load pages. Next – make your listing more engaging by adding title- and meta-description tags to each page.
It sound like a lot but it’s not too bad. We’ll also create a little index here of the tools you need to set up to do each of the following.
Local SEO Website Checklist
- Title and metadescription tags
- Mobile friendly website
- Quick Website
Here’s a list of tools that can help with your local SEO:
- Sitemap – There are some builders online but it’s best to have it automatically updated. This should be part of your website CMS. Or if you use WordPress, it will be part of you SEO plugin like Yoast or All-in-One SEO.
- Robots.txt. You can put this file on your website and let the search engines know what parts of your website to review. The plugins above should be able to generate one for you. It’s important to exclude internal documents and admin pages.
- Once you have a site map you should submit it to Google Search Console and Bing! Webmaster tools. You’ll have to claim your site first which shouldn’t be that difficult if you have access to your dns records or can put a little script in the header of your pages. These tools will also alert you to many kinds of common technical mistakes.
- Mobile and Speed – Both Google and Bing! provide tools within their consoles to test your mobile experience and your site speed.
Name Address Phone – NAP Listings
If you read anything about local SEO – Philadelphia or otherwise – you’ll inevitably come about on articles touting the benefits of NAP or Name, Address, Phone listings. The idea is that there are about 6 dozen or so sources of independent information about your business. These websites and services are the yellow pages of the internet.
To be honest, as a consumer I’ve barely, if ever, used or even heard of them. They are indexes like elocal and yellowpages.com. However, lumped into these as well are most of the car navigation systems like Apple Nav and Tom Tom. You also have sites like Yelp that review local businesses, maybe a few industry specific directories – like topmechanics.com (if that exists?!?!).
Increasingly, social media sites have played into this space as well like Facebook Places and Instagram locations.
The core idea is simple. If your name, address, and phone number is consistent across all of these properties then the search engines are more confident in presenting your local information. They can also have influence on people being able to find your location. Ever seen a website that says – use this address for navigation? They have an NAP problem.
How do you keep all of these consistent? It’s pretty much impossible. We use a third-party tool called yext for many of our clients. It’s expensive in my humble opinion but it is usually ROI positive. It’s crucial for a local business, but it may be out of reach for a small local business that is trying to keep costs down.
Philadelphia SEO Results – The Update
So what were the results for our client? Well, you remember how I told you that SEO was a slow building strategy. This case was no different. We launched a new technically sound website and we built one single page of additional content – an FAQ.
Now practically every site has an FAQ but most miss an important ingredient. They lack empathy for the person who is trying to find out answers. What does that mean? It means they FAQ doesn’t speak the user’s language and often doesn’t provide a solution. The search engines are measuring how many people come to your site then go back and search again or visit another site.
So from a single well-structured page and a technically sound site, we were able to achieve the following results in about 6 months.
Traffic grow slow and steady. No new content was launched, no incoming links sought. Just the search engines slowly gaining trust in the site and beginning to deliver this page for more and more search terms. Six months of week over week growth culminating in a 2000% gain. But that’s when things began to slow down, so we advised the client on a new strategy and some additional content.
We published a couple of targeted blog articles each quarter and each time we did our organic traffic changed its velocity. It was a pretty awesome experience for us and this very local client. Now – with a small storefront on main street USA, they also had one of the most visited sites in their industry in the entire country.