Creating a search engine optimisation strategy is one of the most important long term tasks in any digital plan. There are several major considerations for electrical businesses to address when planning an SEO strategy including:

Technical Processes
Working with a specialist
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEO Strategies
Tips for the electrical industry
SEO Strategies for small business
Unethical SEO

Technical Processes


There are several technical elements to consider when creating an SEO strategy, including:

Content

Recent SEO algorithms have updated search processes to not only search for keywords, but also for quality content. Quality content is considered content that is useful to web users. Stick to your key messages and incorporate your key words into your writing, but be sure not to “stuff” your website with excessive amounts of content. SEO is about quality, not quantity.

Text Based Design

The search-bots that crawl the web for keywords cannot read text contained in images, so be sure to add appropriate Alt-Text to your images or flash designs. Alt-Text, or alternative text, describes the image you have used in basic terms. You should aim to include your keywords in Alt-Text.

Meta Tags/Metadata

Metadata is “data about data”. Your websites meta tags describe the information contained in your web pages. They allows you to give your pages a title, description and keywords specific to that page, to assist the crawlers as they match queries.

Headers and Links

Try to keep your headlines and links consistent with your keywords, and aim to use descriptive text as well. Using web standard HTML tags for your headlines (e.g. h1 and h2) will also assist the crawlers as they move through your HTML code.

HTML Coding

Maintaining web standard coding can assist the crawling process and help crawlers identify key words. The World Wide Web Consortium provides a validator service for checking for coding errors.

Links from other websites

Attracting back links from other reputable websites can assist with giving your website an authoritative voice, by suggesting it contains quality content. This is generally the hardest SEO technique to master, however you could foster your offline relationships to help with the process. The process is however, gradually decreasing in importance to search engines, so it is best not to invest too much time in this practice, and allow it to grow organically.

Working with a specialist


Search engine optimisation is not an exact science, and results can take months or even years to be seen. The process will take some trial and error before establishing what does and doesn’t work, and to attract rankings for popular keywords – such as electrician, electrical contractor or electricity repairs – can be a full time job in itself. You do have the option to outsource your SEO activities to a specialist organisation, who can work to achieve your desired result, by improving your current practices. Specialists take the time to correct coding errors, remove error messages, and research what keywords could be effective for your business. As an added bonus, their specialisation ensures they stay up to date with an algorithm advancements by search engines. You should however, be mindful of those who promise “first place ranking” or “improved rankings in just one week”. Promises such as these are likely going to be delivered through black hat SEO strategies; that is, by using SEO practices deemed “illegal” by search engines, such as keyword stuffing, paying for back links, or using invisible text. All of these practices are known to search engines, who have developed crawlers to seek out their presence in a website’s HTML code. The result can be a ranking penalty for your website, or even a crawler ban, which removes you from rankings all together. A reputable SEO specialist will avoid such activities, and instead work with you on improving your website’s meta tags, HTML code, content and keywords. It is recommended that when using a specialist organisation, you contact some of their previous clients and ask for feedback. You may like to take a look at their website and social media presence and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are they blogging about SEO? Regular blog updates show they are heavily involved in the SEO industry
  • Do they seem familiar with algorithm updates? Search engines update their algorithms regularly, and although the exact equation is not posted online, they will inform the community of the changes and their general effect on web practices. A good specialist will be aware of these, and inform their strategy based on the update
  • Do they have a proven track record with generating first page rankings for their current clients? This will involve a bit of research of your own, but will be beneficial in securing work with a reliable specialist. Simply search for their clients, and see where they currently rank.

Find out more about how to choose a specialist in our SEO Case Studies with McIntosh Electrical and NQ Power Up Electrical

Search Engine Marketing


Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to the purchasing of ad space on search engines. The promotional activity places your website in the ad space near the top of search engines by matching your chosen key words with a users search query. SEM is sometimes referred to as Pay Per Click advertising, however this terminology can also be applied to ad space on websites. Search Engine Marketing can be simplified into the following steps:

  1. Prepare a short, text based ad that links to part of your website.
  2. Select and buy keywords to match your ad; this requires some research into which terms people are using when searching for your advertised product or service.
  3. When people search for those keywords, your ad will appear in the search engines ad space, typically to the right of the screen. You then pay for the ad when someone clicks on the link it contains.

There are several benefits of search engine marketing. Firstly, the practice is able to be modified to fit your budget, with maximum campaign spends removing the ad once you have reached your desired spend. This can be daily, or for the life of the campaign. Secondly, it enables you to associate your brand with certain keywords, building brand awareness in the mind of the user, even if they don’t follow your link. Thirdly, unlike many invasive traditional marketing activities, the style of advertising allows you to target a desired audience at a time they are actively seeking your product or service.

SEO Strategies


Social Media as a place for back links

One part of search engine optimisation is receiving back links from other websites. As discussed previously, this is generally considered one of the hardest SEO tasks, as there is little you can do to promote back links outside of ensuring your content is of high quality to your users. Back links suggest to search engines that your website is a reputable source, increasing your ranking in search results. Traditionally, it was very hard to gain back links using white hat SEO methods however, the rise in prominence of social media sites has lead search engines to utilise link shares on these platforms when ranking search results. You should ensure that you post links to your website on your social media accounts, and encourage others to share them. The process of sharing provides search engines with the message that your website is a source for quality, reputable content.

Navigation strategies

Although search engines display results on a page by page basis, the navigation structure of your entire website can also impact your ranking. A well formatted website will be favoured by crawlers, as simple navigation generally allows them to move more easily through your website. Additionally, simple and logical navigation allows for a better user experience, as they too can more easily find what they are searching for. A general strategy to follow to enhance both of these processes is to make all information on your website less than three clicks away from your homepage. At times, it will not be possible to do this, but as a general rule, this ensures that content is easily accessible to those who are searching for it.

Optimise images

Using images on your website is a great way to build colour and excitement for your product or service. From an SEO standpoint, it is also a great way to provide keywords for crawlers and internet browsers that do not support images. Simply add Alt-Text to each image. Alt-Text, or alternative text, provides a description that is used in place of the item if it cannot be displayed for some reason. The user will then see a short description of your image. Alt-Text also displays this description to crawler bots, so you should include your keywords where relevant.

Tips for the electrical industry

Keywords such as “electrician” or city names are considered to be of high-demand, in both SEO and SEM terms. This decreases the chance of your ad meeting the search query, as you have increased competition on these keywords. Tools such as Google Adwords can help you find less competitive keywords that your customers are searching for as an alternative to costly high demand keywords. Although they are searched for less often, your ad should appear in more search results.

SEO Strategies for small business


Recent updates to the Google algorithm have created unique circumstances that allows small businesses to improve their ranking. One of the latest updates, labelled Google Penguin, has integrated localised results into organic searches for broad queries such as “coffee”, “cars”, and “food”. Ordinarily, local stores with broad keywords had little chance of ranking against major national or international organisations, but Google seems to be placing higher importance now on local searches. This has lead to specific strategies that can allow small local businesses to compete, including:

Obtaining local citations

The more your business name, phone number and address are listed on websites related to your industry and location, the higher your local ranking will be. It is suggested you list these details on local directories.

Google+ Local Reviews

Google is using more and more information from social media posts in its rankings, in particular its own platform, Google Plus. Create your own Google Plus Local Page, and ask your customers to write a review there for you. Then, create a Testimonials page on your website and use rich snippets from these reviews.

Claim your place

As with Google Plus, Google Maps is becoming more important for SEO, especially for small business. Make sure your Name, Address and Phone Number are correct at your location, and match it to the details listed on your website.

Optimise your website for mobile

Local searches are inevitably performed on a mobile device. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile, and displays incorrectly on a device, you’re missing out on valuable customer queries in local searches.

Unethical SEO


Unethical SEO techniques are those “black hat” techniques that spam search engines with content to improve rankings. Spamming techniques make a website seem reputable by increasing keywords, establishing back links on various websites, or hiding text and links within the website. Search engines are not only aware of these practices, they have also started penalising websites that use them. Although these practices may seem tempting to achieve a page one ranking, the result is often short lived, and once penalised by the search engine it is very hard to return to return to your previous ranking. Some search engines have even taken to banning websites that utilise black hat SEO practices. Practices to avoid include:

Keyword stuffing

Keywords are an important part of SEO, but stuffing your websites meta tags, Alt-tags or copy with them – a practice known as keyword stuffing – should be avoided. Make sure that if you’re using a keyword in a page’s meta tags, that the keyword is actually used in the body copy of your page. These is some debate about whether or not you will be penalised if you bid on your competitors keyword terms. for more on this topic, see our blog post – Should you bid on your competitors keywords?

Hidden text or links

Hiding text or links within your website allows crawler bots to see the content, but not users. For example, a website might use white text on a white background, so that keywords can be seen in the coding, but not in the front end of the website. When search engines become aware of hidden text or links in a website, it inevitably leads to banning the page, if not the entire website.

Mirror Sites or Duplicate Sites

This practice refers to using the same content across many websites, for the sheer purpose of linking these websites to each other.

Link Farms

Link farms are websites that contain many links but no other content. They will list your website link, sometimes for a fee, to create a back link. General search engine standards state that websites should contain no more than 99 links, but link farms can and do exceed these limits.

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