A high school buddy of mine, Vince, called me up a couple of weeks ago and asked about helping get a website up for his new business – Junk Pro Oregon in the Portland metro area [Note: 2012 – Vince has shut down his business and went to work as a long haul driver – but these tips and this case study are still valid]. After our conversation, he decided to get the website itself going on his own, through a ‘website tonight’ interface. I told him to give me a call if he wanted some help marketing it, and he did. His question… common for many… was:
How can I get my brand new website to rank high in the search engines?
Case Study: JunkProOregon
Before: JPO came online in early February 2010. A google search on “junk haulers portland oregon” landed JPO somewhere over page 10. Ugh. A search on “junkprooregon.com” (if you know their name already – which most new customers won’t) brings up the site #1, but the page titles show “Main Navigation” and “About Us.” Not particularly useful or descriptive.
During:Working with an online ‘create a website’ service has its specific challenges. For one, the true page source code is often not fully available. In JPO’s case, the interface allows SOME alteration of headers and titles, so this is what I did:
- Researched the competition – looked at the sites that are getting the top spots and trying to figure out why
- Changed the page titles away from “Home” and “Main Navigation” to use keywords like: “Junk Hauling / Trash, Debris, Appliance, Auto removal – Junk Pro – Portland Oregon”
- Google Adwords: While I often don’t recommend the paid Adwords service off the bat (I focus my efforts on the “organic” listings), Vince had activated this service. So, I verified the best keywords for the site – he had gotten most of them himself, but I tweaked them a little and gave him some strategies to follow once he sees some of the stats for the site.
- Activated Google’s Webmaster tools, submitted a sitemap.xml, and validated the site
- Changed some internal site navigation to links containing keywords
- Looked at site overall and presented one or two content / design suggestions
- Suggested cross-media promotion and low-tech marketing ideas
- Wrote about it on this blog! 🙂
The caveat: Patience. A brand new site takes a while to ‘rate.’ A site that only was registered for one year looks less stable than something registered or renewed for 2, 5 or 10 years. Google itself says give it a few days if not weeks for organic listings to rise up.
After: March 2, 2010: Wow, this even beat my own expectations, but search google for “junk hauling portland” and JunkPro Oregon occasionally shows up in the #1 spot!!! Trust me, search engine results are ever-changing… but this was a nice surprise. Beware, NO ONE can guarantee 100% top placement, 100% of the time in the organic listings – especially in a competitive business, such as junk hauling. If they try to promise it, RUN!!!
So, if you need some junk hauled in the Portland, OR metro area, give Vince at JunkPro Oregon a call. If you’re lucky, maybe you can get him to sing or play you a little something — Vince is quite an accomplished musician as well! [Note: 2012 – Vince is no longer hauling junk, but these tips are still valid!]