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    Complete site SEO assessment


    I would like a comprehensive evaluation of my site to fine tune and modify things that may be hampering my ranking.

    I've recently made some major changes to my small local business website with lots of help of seochat members. Currently I am consistently ranking in the bottom half of page 1 for several kw variations for one suburb, top of page 2 for another suburb an pages3-4 for two other suburbs. I am reasonably confident my site is better than a lot of my competitors but I am not ranking as well as I could be and would like improve this.

    I'm happy to provide site details and keywords by pm to avoid spamming the forum and also to keep my hard work invisible to my competitors.

    Some things I definitely need checked are site/page structure, proper keyword use, internal links but I'm sure there are other things I may not be aware of.
    Last edited by eclipsed; Aug 2nd, 2017 at 05:51 AM.
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    Tools like Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz can help give you a sense of where you are with your backlinking strategy. Google webmaster tools is also another great way to see where you are currently for SEO, crawl stats and internal linking structure.

    I would suggest running your website through the Google PageSpeed test along with the Mobile Friendly test. Just from checking page source you can also get a sense of your On Page ranking factors.
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    I should probably break down my original question to address specific SEO issues so I'll start with my URLs and page titles.

    Heres a list of my URLs and the H1 title for each page. I'm targeting keywords "driving school" & "driving lessons" + each suburb. Is this the best way for me to structure pages to target these keywords or is there other options that may be more effective?

    URL Page H1 Title
    domain/ Welcome to Domain Name
    domain/driving-school/suburb-1/ Driving School Suburb1
    domain/driving-school/suburb-2/ Driving School Suburb2
    domain/driving-school/suburb-3/ Driving Lessons in Suburb3
    domain/driving-school/suburb-4/ Driving School Suburb4
    domain/driving-school/testimonials/ Driving School Testimonials
    domain/beginner-driving-lessons/ Beginner Driving Lessons Suburb1
    domain/overseas-licence-lessons/ Overseas Licence Conversions
    domain/partly-trained-learners/ Driving Lessons in Suburb1 for Partly Trained Learners
    domain/driving-test-preparation/ PASS your Driving Test the EASY way
    domain/driving-lesson-prices/ Driving Lesson Prices
    domain/free-driving-tips/ Free Driving Tips and Resources
    domain/free-driving-tips/are-you-ready-to-teach-your-learner/ Are You Ready To Teach Your Learner?
    domain/free-driving-tips/hazard-perception-test-preparation/ Hazard Perception Test Preparation
    domain/free-driving-tips/look-where-you-want-to-go/ Look Where You Want To Go
    domain/free-driving-tips/road-solo-driving-handbook/ Road To Solo Driving Handbook
    domain/free-driving-tips/driving-test-criteria/ Driving Test Criteria
  6. #4
  7. Dinosaur
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    Just had another look at the site, its been a while. Working from memory it does appear to have improved a lot so really well done on that. I would expect you have seen some improvements since you first posted.
    I ran screaming frog against the site just to check things, I notice you have 6 pages being 301 redirected. Although this is not a major issue I would fix them.
    The main reason I say that is because it becomes all too easy later to forget about these and do more redirects so you end up with a chain, google do follow a few redirects but will soon give up if it encounters too many. I would post the URL's for you but I know you dont want them visible here so if you have not already done so I would grab a free copy of screaming frog and check out the response code section filtered by 3xx and you will see the pages in question.

    This is just a simple matter of changing your internal links to point to the correct page so the browser is not redirected. All internal links should go directly to the final page as they are within your control.

    You also have 5 pages with no H2 tag, this is fine as its way less important than the H1 tag, but if appropriate I would try and use them.

    I also noticed your logo has the alt text of "Back Home" I would correct that as your descibing its function and not what the image is about. The brand logo is always a good place to reinforce the brand name, I would doubt your trying to rank for the term "back home" so it would make sense to change that to something more meaningful.

    I also noticed your scaling a few images, although this is not a ranking factor I would correct that as serving larger images and using CSS to scale them to size can slow your site down and for mobile users that can be an issue.

    Its nice to see you hanging around and continuing to improve your site we get so many join here wanting a quick fix and some magic pill to shoot them to the top of page 1 only to find out this stuff takes time and a lot of tweaking.

    Hope some of that helps.
    Owner of Page Explorer the page onsite SEO checker
    Useful Tools: Site Statistics: SEM Rush | Site Crawler: Screaming Frog
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  9. Digital Marketing
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    Have all of these changes and improvements increased revenue to the company?
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  11. Dinosaur
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    Have all of these changes and improvements increased revenue to the company?
    You would hope so wouldn't you. bit pointless otherwise unless its to feed someones ego. However brand awareness can sometimes be the long game, you may not see sudden peaks as in ecommerce but a slow and steady growth over time.
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    Originally Posted by KernelPanic
    Have all of these changes and improvements increased revenue to the company?
    Absolutely Kernel. Thanks to the better search presence I am getting a solid amount of phone and online enquiries. Once I have them on the phone I have a reasonably good conversion rate to new business. I used to rely almost entirely on contract work from businesses ranking above mine. Now I am only using them to fill the gaps between my own customers.

    Thanks Chedders for having another look. Maybe there is a bit of ego involved too as a hobby turned into a bit of an obsession but now I'm seeing financial rewards. As a small local service business owner I'm happy with the results so far.

    Just for reference, a couple of your points are already sorted. I'm just learning to understand Screaming Frog. I think I fixed up the 301s but will crawl again shortly to make sure. It is the same pages missing H2s so that is also ok now.

    The "back home" text is an issue I haven't worked out how to solve yet and I know it is lost seo value. Being a wordpress theme it's something thats embedded in the code and isn't simply adding alt text to the uploaded image. Not sure if there is something I can add to the child theme php file or not. I might contact the developer and get some advice if no-one here can suggest a fix. I guess there's always some limitations with wordpress but this one is important and needs correcting.

    I'll check the image resizing but I don't think its having a big impact on loading time. Server initial response time seems more of an issue. Not sure if I've uploaded bad image sizes or if its caused by the worpress theme auto resizing for different devices but I'll see what I can find out there.

    Thanks again for the advice chedders and also for the initial inspiration you gave me several months ago when I first started this project..
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  15. Dinosaur
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    Yeap I can confirm there are now no 301 redirects so that's good. It maybe just me being a little OCD on these things but if its under your control then its something I feel you should do for the general health of the site even if it does not have an impact on ranking. Its more general house keeping but a good well maintained I would have thought google would look at more positive although that's just my personal feeling and not backed up with hard facts.

    As for changing the alt text on your logo, I am not a wordpress developer but I would imagine it requires a child theme and not too difficult to track down, you could add a title element of Go Back as that would be an instruction but personally I would add different text to the alt text as that should be descriptive about what the image is.

    Great to hear you have now increased business, it just proves the little changes do have an effect overall so keep tweaking and improving and try and steer clear of building spammy backlinks which could undo all your hard work.

    The one thing I would suggests you look at, on the suburb pages if you could get some reviews of your services from people who have used your services in that area, literally ask them to write them for you. I would imagine many if they have just passed their test would be only too happy to do so. Why I am saying this is to get more unique content about the service onto these pages and you need to talk about the suburb itself more and not just mention the name over and over again as that is pointless. Maybe show the typical test routes and what roads they use if that applicable. Anything really so that the suburb becomes higher up in priority of the page and look less like a doorway page.
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    I agree with tidying up the 301s as they appear even if theres minimal seo benefit. Not being as experienced at SEO as some others the extra clutter on SFrog and search console makes the unnecessary extra info a distraction from the important stuff I need to keep track of.

    The logo alt text issue was fixed with a small line of code I got from my theme developer added to my child theme php file.

    Happy you brought up suburb pages as they need beefing up a bit and reviews etc are on the agenda. I have a testimonial page with a number of images and quotes linking back to suburb pages. Not sure whether one page for all suburbs testimonials is ok or seperate testimonial page for each suburb. I need to get a few more if I go for the 2nd option.

    I'm also trying to decide whether my use of suburb names in page titles is appropriate. Suburb1 is bigger geographically and almost a parent suburb of the others. Currently suburb1 has the highest search volume for KW combinations(and most competitive) and I'm ranking top half of page 2. Suburb2 is about a third as many searches and I rank bottom of page 1 partly because it is my registered suburb for GMB. Suburb3&4 have a lot less searches. All suburbs perform well in local listings.

    Suburb pages only seem relevant as link juice for G as almost always my homepage is listed regardless of suburb searched. Suburb1 is my ranking priority because of search volume so I was thinking of changing the homepage to suburb1 instead of a separate suburb1 page. Or should I just refer to suburb1 more in H1 and titles of other pages and keep homepage purely for branding and no suburb references? And is referencing suburb1 too much in H1s and titles on other pages watering down its value or improving it? This is the debate I keep having with myself as a different way always seems like it might be better. I know there's no right or wrong one size fits all answer but as I said getting suburb1 enquiries up a few spots onto page one will dramatically increase revenue.
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  19. Dinosaur
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    This is what your trying to avoid https://support.google.com/webmaster.../2721311?hl=en you need to make these pages useful in there own right, maybe even include sub pages where you can.

    Your home page is always the strongest page of your site as all pages tend to return there so pass page rank, plus external links generally link to the home page so simply mentioning the suburbs by name on the home page as you have can get the home page ranking higher. .
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    I get the importance of avoiding doorway pages as you mention and I'm not so sure G cares as much as they suggest. And my goal is to eventually beef up these suburbs pages to avoid future issues. Whilst they specify having multiple locations as landing pages isn't user friendly, there's an arguement that each suburb page IS useful to searchers from each suburb.

    Evidence of their apathy to this shows in the serps I'm targetting. (I think I pointed one out to you a while ago Chedders) There are several businesses here that have identical subpages for every suburb in melbourne (200+ pages of .com/suburb a,b,c etc) who rank high on page 1 for almost every suburb. One also has seperate domains for the highest volume suburbs that also rank highly in most cases (suburb a,b,c, .com). That gives them 2 high ranking pages that are almost identical apart from url for the same query. Fingers crossed these guys will be targetted before me due to their larger scale doorway pages. Hopefully I'll have mine in better shape before that happens.

    The other issue is how directories like yellowpages etc have 2-3 listings on page 1. To me they are genuinely keyword/suburb stuffing to get ranked with little other useful unique content apart from a list of businesses. In some cases I've seen YP listed for their own category+suburbs page AND also listing 1 sometimes 2 businesses from that category PLUS their spinoff directory with similar results on page 1. Thats 4 or 5 YP & associates listings on page 1. Best interests of user experience?

    I know its achievable to eventually rank higher than the doorway rankers and directories with good content but thats along hard road when running my business is a higher priority than regular blog etc updates.

    RANT OVER
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  23. Dinosaur
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    I would never advise creating regular blogs for the sake of it, I have never seen the value in just posting fluff and bloat.
    Yes good content helps but there should be a reason for it and not just because some SEO guy said you must post 5000 words a week, its pointless.
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    Agreed

    So how do I get above the directories and doorway page junkies without heaps of new content????

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