Do You Know Your Webpage Response Codes?

Busy, busy, busy here at Summit Online Marketing/SEO Liverpool. We’re currently working on a large project that requires the use 301 redirects to new webpages.

So we thought a good post would be to run over the rest of the response codes. I feel this will be of particular benefit, if like me you’ve approached SEO from a marketing background rather than coding or a webdesign perspective.

200 OK

How Is It Used - You request page X and then page X is shown. Gives you the page you’ve requested.

Who Uses It - You probably thought you’d never seen this one! Well you’re wrong, this is the status code of a return a good page. Everybody uses it.

301 Moved Permanently

How Is It Used - We know you want page X, Page X has been moved and I’ll take you to the new location.

Who Uses It  - This is probably most used with SEO. We do so as it’s a good way to keep the value associated with a URL and its content.

302 Found Moved Temporarily

How Is It UsedPage X requested, we’ve temporarily moved page X here, let us take you its temporary.

Who Uses It – It’s useful if you’re temporarily moving a webpage around a site. If you have a product under ‘new’ or it’s seasonal and will move back in the near future.

401 Unauthorised

How Is It UsedPage X is password protected. You haven’t entered your login or you’re trying to move past a protected page…. So you can’t

Who Uses It - Useful if you have restricted access content that you only want to serve to select visitors. Remember, content beyond this page will not be indexed.

403 Forbidden

How Is It UsedYou’ve requested page X. You don’t have permission for page X, under any circumstance, so no!

Who Uses It - This page is for special people, usually administration or very limited to a few people

404 Not Found

How Is It UsedPage X has been requested, but page X is not available to you.

Who Uses It – The page usually doesn’t exist. These pages are mainly roadblocks for users and Google. Create a custom 404 and add some links back to the key-pages and you may keep hold of the visitor or two.

410 Gone

How Is It UsedPage X. We know page X but we’ve taken it down permanently.

Who Uses It – SEO’s use it to remove penalised pages. It’s a good page to say we’ve removed this page deliberately and forever.

500 Internal Server Error

How Is It UsedRequest for page X, but we’re not sure what has happened to page X.

Who Uses It – Nobody, this is an error.

503 Service Unavailable

How Is It Used -Page X is requested, response when trying to find X is ‘We have a big problem not going to show anything to anyone today’.

Who Uses It – The website is down. Who knows why.

Thanks for reading and I hope the response codes are clear.

We’ve put a little SEO spin the explanations of those you’ll commonly need. 301 is a great SEO tool. We use this as a way to transfer value from one URL to the newly constructed replacement. Personally, I wouldn’t use a redirect unless it’s an absolute necessity. You’ll always initially take a hit, but if you’ve done everything right, you’ll get almost all the value back.

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More Quick Hits

At SEO Liverpool we like to answer as many questions from our readers and clients as possible… so here goes.

In general, what should I concentrate on with SEO to get the most value out of my time?

The golden rule is that content is king! This will never change. Content shows the search engine that a website is still alive. You’re very much mistaken if you think Google is all knowing.  Just because you’ve registered a domain name for a year or so, Google has no idea if the company is still trading or the information on site is still valid? Remember Google is essentially an academic tool. It’s core belief is to deliver the most valuable and up to date information to the searcher, therefore, having fresh content on valuable pages is essential. I’d always suggest a blog, with snippets around a paragraph long on a websites key-pages.

Depending on the content, this is also how you generate links. Good/valuable content is natural link bait, which is arguably the second most important SEO consideration. Viral content, or content that is easily shared, fun, interesting or even provocative (polarising) is also great for links. The Daily Mail are the masters of the universe on this one.

New content is also a great way to include keywords and back-links. You don’t want to spam your regular content with lots of keywords you’d like to be associated with, but a regular blog can help reinforce the keywords you already have. Just create a hyperlink to a particular site page using the keyword as the ‘anchor text’.

e.g. type the words ‘click here’ into Google. This illustrates the power of a link, as almost every site that has an adobe download uses ‘click here’ as its anchor text.

Are their any legitimate spam techniques?

Nope, spam is spam is spam. If it hasn’t already got a penalty attached, the likelihood is that it will. Inappropriate link spamming is the most recent aspect to get webmasters and SEO’s into trouble. Put yourselves in the situation of consumer and the search engine, if it looks dodgy, then it probably is. If you’ve been getting away with it so far, then the chances are you’ll fall foul in the future.

Case in point  – purchasing lot’s of Page Rank 3 links. If your link profile (the types of links you have) looks artificial, then the search engine will penalise you! If you think about it, how can any business regularly get 25 Page Rank 3 links month after month. Well they can’t, you’re more likely to get rubbish links than good ones.

What is the best tool you’ve got for SEO?

I had a really good think about this one. It’s a dead heat between Firebug and my back-link checker. I’ve done this purely based on the amount of value I get out of an hour or so.

Firebug

This is a plugin for Firefox that lets you easily see the HTML of website whilst the website is still visual in the browser. It has an inspector tool which is vital in checking over your own sites and those of your competition. You can check for various things such as H1 tags, alt image tags, frames, java and sometimes the dreaded hidden text.

Back-link Checker

If you want to investigate a site for links, then a back-link checker is a great tool. You can quickly look at competitors to see who links to them, the value of the link, the anchor text and even the value of the root domain it has come from. Any SEO worth his or her salt is using this on a regular basis.

How do I become an SEO?

If you wanted to become an SEO in Liverpool I’d recommend this is how you should start. Read the basic books on search engines and SEO, then move on to more advanced books on search. You’ll need to understand a little about webdesign and a lot about UX (user experience) design.

The next stage is to take on a project, something small and local, that you can’t do too much damage with. So I wouldn’t mess with anyone who relies on a passive web income that you could potentially jeopardise. Local is good, work for free and give it time. The best way to learn is to give it a try, understand why something worked and why something didn’t.

Start learning Google Analytics and have a regular set of daily blogs that you can read keeping you on the straight and narrow.

How do we prevent being penalised in the future, as we have done with the Panda and Penguin updates

You can’t! You need to be proactive, practical and quickly adapt to change. If you spam, you will get caught, but if you’re static you’ll get left behind.

Hope everyone found this useful.

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Getting SEO Support In House Part 3

The final part of our SEO Liverpool post on In House SEO.

This approach won’t work in every instance, so what do you do to keep everyone honest and enforce the need for your suggestions to be followed?

Use some of that influence you have at the executive level. This one goes way back to your days in the sandbox. Not Google’s, but that of your childhood school yard. The threat of “telling the teacher” was pretty powerful back then. These days, it’s not really cool to tattle, but creating metrics that show a company’s level of compliance to SEO rules across its products has value. The executive can clearly see how the various areas of the company/website are doing with regards to the investment in the area of SEO, and let’s face it, no product manager wants their product/area of responsibility shown in red on the chart.

It’s important that you use some of the influence you have with the executives who’ve gave the green light to the project. This one goes way back to your days in the school yard. The threat of highlighting to your teachers was pretty powerful back then. These days, it’s not really cool to tattle, but creating metrics that show a company’s level of compliance to SEO rules across its products has value.

This tactic can convert even the staunchest of hold-outs to rabid fans of your service. As an SEO agency Liverpool we know that even in the worst case scenario, they’ll listen to you and think about doing what you ask.

Unless you have direct control over implementing the changes that need to happen, setting up a responsibility grid might be your next best bet. You can clearly list each item that needs work, who it’s been assigned to, and when they think it’ll be done. Put those points on a PowerPoint deck destined for executive review and folks will do their best to look their best.

The final point here is that you, SEO project leader, needs to be confident enough in your direction and directives to pull the trigger on with this course of action. You won’t earn many friends in the short term, but long term, when everything is moving forward as planned, and the kudos are being handed out to those who did the work, they won’t forget that their success in reaching their goals was directly helped by your team.

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Getting SEO Support In House Part 2

Continuing our the SEO Liverpool post on In House SEO.

In reality it maybe simpler, in fact so simple you may have overlooked it.

Most of the time, employees are simply busy! This could mean a couple of things

  1. People do not take kindly to new work being added to their work flow.
  2. People may not wish to be told they’ve got to learn new things.
  3. People have their own goals which measure performance, they want to meet their own targets and goals, not yours.

So what is the simple solution? Well, it’s a combination of listening, clear thinking and detailed planning.

Listening

This relates to goals, everybody needs their own goals to meet. In your case, you rely on others to perform tasks to meet your own goals. The likelihood is you’re not the person updating code or delivering and changing content. So through the goal may be stated simply enough (increasing inbound traffic) getting to it is absolutely a team effort.

In my experience the best way is to listen to people and help them achieve their goals. Then plan a way that shows how your effort will help them reach or exceed them. e.g. How the marketing mangers support will result in them exceeding targets and tapping into more markets, or using online marketing to gather data that will prove invaluable in offline campaigns.  This type of motivational approach won’t work in every instance, so what do you do to influence the rest of the teams, and make sure your tasks are undertaken?

So, we’ve covered the listening and we’ve touched on motivating others to implement your suggestions. We’ll cover the more in Part 3

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Getting SEO Support In House Part 1

Here at SEO Liverpool, we provide SEO training to small and medium sized company’s with the resources in-house to implement a home grown SEO campaign.

If you’ve started, or considering the same…

You’ve decided, quite sensibly to start your in-house SEO programme. It was probably a very tough sell to convince the directors, line managers and other associated company directors to take on board your idea. Firstly, they probably didn’t understand the requirements first time round. You’ve been asked to provide your projected return on investment, which as every full time SEO understands, is very difficult. Factors outside of your control, such as algorithmic updates and other companies that already have a robust SEO strategy and varying budgets, dictate that you can’t stress any rewards against definitive time scales. You may have only been given a meeting or even a couple of slides to really engage the teams. Everybody was probably really shocked when you spoke in terms of years instead of months, regarding investment.

… It was a very tough sell—but you did it!

You’re project gets the green light and you’ve been busy stressing the benefits and long-term returns. It’s consumed you since you came up with your SEO plans. You’re basically a 24/7 SEO strategist, you live the successes and bang your head against the wall when you hit the barriers. But you’ve done it, it’s up and running, people in the company no longer thinks SEO is a fallacy, and things are going well.

Or are they?

In recent months you’ve been feeling that things aren’t moving. Your bosses are inevitably looking for results, even more so since the substantial investment of time and money you’ve put in. You’ve hit a serious bump in the road, but with your superiors and department heads making the right noises you convince yourself you’re past the worst.

Now you’re seeing the reality of the situation, the support is nice, but those who implement your suggestions are slow to respond. The planned work, the prioritisation based on the projected R.O.I is not making it into the work flow. You hear that everybody wants to do the work but it’s a matter of resources.

What Do You Do?

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More Viral Marketing Tips

At Summit Online Marketing we want to give our readers tips, we know that some business don’t need to pay for SEO Packages, they just need a little helping hand. On that basis some information in a recent survey from Nielson shows that recommendations from consumers are most powerful. On the web, this translates into thousands of people.

As a Google SEO have a look at this frankly salient advice

Case Study – Starbucks announced closure of stores. Stock price dipped. At the same time there was a huge spike in the blogosphere regarding Starbucks.

More Stats. 7/10 Brits use the net for news. If your in that space, you have a huge opportunity. 97% of journalists go online to find stories on the web. 79% find stories on the news wires.

Budget – How many people have a viral marketing budget? Not too many. This is a definite issue.

Myth – Web and viral marketing costs a fortune. If you’re writing a white paper get an interview in the Times and other industry related magazines. This approach can take time, but their isn’t much cost involved.

Basic Elements – Free is really good, like a white paper, if you give away your expertise you will reap the rewards.

Make it easy for your content to spread and share

  • Make sure it scales easily from small to large. Don’t crash your server! Use Youtube to host your content if need be.
  • Social media takes advantage of common motivations and behaviours. People are generally social.
  • Utilise existing communication networks like the news wires such as PR Web. Can you put news or podcast or video on there. Take advantage of these resources.
  • The key is great quality content! There many different strategies. Great tip is adding an RSS feed.
  • To blog or not to blog? Need a strategy. Who is going to say it? How often? You really need a plan. Don’t start a “me too” blog.
  • Basic techniques: Forward to friend, bookmark features, etc. “Addthis.com” is a great tool to enable sharing.
  • Youtube – Setup your own branded channel – create simple videos that are fun and quirky. Tell your clients and friends. Optimise your channel. Link from your website. Get a Flip Video Camera!
  • Tubemogul is a free service that distributes your videos across the major channels. Can check the stats and pull reports.

Measuring success – Links – We know that links are gold for organic rankings. In our early days, we had a page on our website with lots of new free emoticons. From this we generated over 2,000 links within a couple of weeks

The best SEO advice is to make sure you have a plan to create the right connections.

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How Do You Tell Your Client about the SEO Work You’re Doing?

A common question from a small business SEO

How does one who may sell SEO services for their SEO company in the future give away information without giving away too much information (and fearing that the client will run away with the proposed strategies and implement them himself/herself?)

That’s a difficult situation and one I think a lot of people find themselves in. They are compelled to sell themselves by proposing a strategy but are afraid it can backfire. However, many clients who solicit the advice of SEO services are doing it because they cannot execute that detailed plan.

A great analogy that should make you feel a little bit better about providing that information:

Here’s an example: We were recently at an arts festival watching an artist scultping a log with a chainsaw. Suppose that artist were to spend time with me explaining his technique and showing me how to do it – even what he was thinking when he applied his technique. Then suppose he handed me the chainsaw and told me to do it myself. I couldn’t do it. Because I would lack the basic understanding of the skills of using a chainsaw. And even though he explained the technique…I couldn’t do it. It’s a combination art, technical ability, and experience that I don’t have with a chainsaw.

That should alleviate those fears you have about giving away SEO ideas (unless the client is well versed in this area of marketing). Most people can hear your suggestions but have no idea about how to execute. In the end, giving out more information does seem to show that you have the expertise and indicates that you’re willing to help.

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What do we need to think about when we hire an SEO?

SEO Liverpool have initiated pub-based discussions over the Christmas period with our SEO Manchester colleagues. A couple of days ago we got into the hiring in-house or SEO outsourcing services, and the competencies you should look out for. For example, when choosing an SEO, you might want to ask some questions like these:

* Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
* Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
* Do you offer any web marketing services to complement your organic search business?
* What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe?
* What’s your experience in my industry?
* How long have you been in business?

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site.

Can’t remember anything else about that night!

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6 common website mistakes that could be costing you money

As an SEO Company we’re always dealing with clients who seem to have a little bit of SEO PPC or online marketing knowledge. Here we’ve put together 6 really common website mistakes and get they could be costing you money.

1. JavaScript or other crawler-unfriendly navigation that may impede indexing. Most newer sites don’t have this problem, but there’s almost always at least 1 site we review in every class that has its main navigation pretty much invisible to the search engines. If your navigation basically doesn’t exist as far as Google is concerned, then it’s very difficult to get all of the pages of your website indexed.

2. Navigation that buries important pages within the site architecture. The deeper that pages are buried within the website, the less importance they are given. For SEO, as well as usability purposes, it’s often helpful to showcase important sections of the website up an additional level in the site’s hierarchy. This can usually be achieved via a search-friendly CSS mouse-over menu.

3. Duplicate “pages” getting indexed under multiple URLs. While Google has, for the most part, worked out many of their canonical issues of the past and now generally realize that www.example.com/index.php is the same as www.example.com, many content management systems (CMS) take things a step further and provide a whole array of URLs for any one particular page of content. Sometimes this is done purposely for tracking reasons, as with session ids or tracking links appended to the end of URLs; but other times, it’s simply done because the CMS was never designed with search engines in mind. This is not a good thing, as it can cause the spiders to be so busy indexing the same content that they miss the more important stuff.

4. No keyword phrase focus in the content or conversely, keyword phrase stuffing. It never ceases to amaze me when people claim to have optimised a page, but there are no keyword phrases anywhere to be seen within the content. I suppose this might happen because they’ve put them in the keyword meta tag and assume they’ve optimised. (It’s a good thing they’ve come to our class when this is the case!) On the other side of the coin, there are those who seem to think that 4 instances of a keyword phrase in one sentence must certainly be better than just one! The fix, of course, is to provide a balanced focus on the optimised keyword phrases so that a trained SEO would know what the page is optimised for, but the average reader wouldn’t find the copy repetitive.

5. An optimised home page, but that’s it. While optimizing just the home page is better than not optimizing anything, it’s not going to increase the website’s search engine traffic by that much. Without fixing all the issues on inner pages and optimizing a number of them for their own set of keyword phrases, the site will basically be leaving money on the table.

6. Additional domains owned by the company are not properly redirected. In the old days, it was fine to park any additional domains that the company owned as an alias of the main website; however, today it’s much better practice to 301-redirect all additional domains to the main website. This enables the company to control which domain is the one that the search engines index, and avoids any splitting of link popularity between the different domains.

These 6 are by no means the only website mistakes we see. I’m going back through the sites we reviewed, I found tons of additional mistakes which I’ll save for a future article. My hope is that at least one of these may ring a bell to you as something that needs to be fixed on your own website. Once you take the time to correct the issue, you should find that your website will start gaining a lot more targeted search engine traffic, and ideally start making you more money!

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How Consumers Search For A Perfect Meal

Mark Sprague wrote this fantastic post for Search Engine Land Oct 15, 2010

Personally i feel every small business SEO should read this post.

How do consumers find the perfect restaurant? Word of mouth plays a role, but there are other elements at play. How important is your brand? Is value more important than quality? What role does content play in this quest? Here I take a look at the term “restaurant” to show what consumers value when searching for a good place to eat.

In this data set there are eleven distinct high-level categories of behaviour. The categories are sorted by volume (the first number reflects the number of keyword phrases in that group).

* 22 Informational – 65,650,450 searches
* 308 Location based – 13,577,700 searches
* 76 Type of restaurant – 4,261,540 searches
* 51 Quality of restaurant – 1,835,520 searches
* 36 Restaurant business – 1,299,270 searches
* 150 Restaurant by brand – 1,236,530 searches
* 81 Request for content – 850,020 searches
* 42 Value (cost reduction) – 500,660 searches
* 12 Industry events – 376,600 searches
* 4 Restaurant directory – 218,000 searches
* 1 Software tools – 2,400 searches

When you examine these categories you are struck by the specificity of intent here. Generally, there are large numbers of vague informational keyword phrases being used. In this case, there are just 22 of them, but they account for 65M searches a month. The second important item to note are the top three themes that dominate restaurant search behaviour: location, quality and type. From an information architecture perspective these three concepts, which represent almost 30 percent of consumer traffic, should be infused into website copy. The probability that a consumer will construct a [quality] [location] [type] query is very high.

Several of these high-level categories have sub-categories that provide useful information about consumer intent. This expands the unique categories to twenty seven. There are, for example, three categories of behaviour for content, and five categories for the Type of restaurant.

* Information – 65,602,880
* Location – 13,538,000
* Type by nationality – 2,380,480
* Quality using Best – 1,251,600
* Brand – 1,211,340
* Business products – 1,043,370
* Type by food – 901,190
* Type by style – 733,390
* Industry events – 376,600
* Content (reviews) – 352,120
* Quality using Top – 345,720
* Content (guides) – 277,180
* Value (coupons) – 266,790
* Business – 255,900
* Quality – 238,200
* Website directory – 218,000
* Content (menus) – 168,020
* Type – 136,480
* Value (vouchers) – 126,080
* Type for delivery – 110,000
* Value – 107,790
* Content – 52,700
* Information (names) – 44,200
* Location by country – 39,700
* Brand by location – 25,190
* Information by zip codes – 3,370
* Software tools – 2,400

When you look at consumer intent by category, you can make assumptions when developing your website architecture. For example, many more consumers are interested in reviews rather than looking at menus by a two to one margin. Both content types are important, but from a volume perspective restaurant reviews should get top-billing.

Let’s take a look at the categories in a little more detail.

Brand: There are 1,211,340 searches a month for restaurants by brand name alone (no location was specified). Interestingly, the search for a brand by location comes in on the low side at 25,190 searches a month.

Business: As a restaurant business owner these searches are of no value to you. The majority of the traffic is for products and services (1,043,370 searches), while the rest (255,900 searches) are about franchises and for sale opportunities. The majority of the traffic for business products is searched for with just a handful of secondary terms. This makes it straightforward to manage where your ads should not be displayed. These terms in order of importance are:

1. Supply
2. Supplies
3. Equipment
4. Tables
5. Chairs
6. Furniture

Content: These are, for the most part, three very specific content requests. Reviews are the top-dog in terms of volume, but this volume is clustered in just 10 keyword phrases. Guides show up in 53 different queries, most of them city-based. Most of the request for menus is by national cuisine (Chinese, Italian and Mexican). There is very little traffic for menus from brand name restaurants.

* Content – reviews (352,120 searches)
* Content – guides (277,180 searches)
* Content – menus (168,020 searches)
* Content – non specific (52,700 searches)

Events: There are 376,600 searches a month for restaurant week. Coming in at four million searches a year, this looks like a microsite opportunity worth exploring when this event occurs in your city.

Information: Not surprising, the majority of this traffic is on a single term: restaurant(s). It’s hard to divine user intent in this traffic. It could be businesses looking for services, or a mom looking for a birthday party restaurant. There are a number of queries looking for a list of restaurant names by nationality. Are these queries coming from someone looking to start a new restaurant, or is this an unusual way to search for a place to eat? I suppose you could target this traffic to see how it converts.

* Information – vague intent (65,602,880 searches)
* Information – request for list of names (44,200 searches)
* Information – request restaurants by zip code (3,370 searches)

Location: With 13,538,000 monthly searches, these location-based searches are the second largest behaviour category. This group is looking for a restaurant in a city without mentioning any other attributes, such as food type, content or quality.

Quality: Consumers are certainly interested in a quality eating experience, and they use relatively few adjectives to describe the restaurant they are looking for.

* Quality using the term best – (1,251,600 searches)
* Quality using the term top – (345,720 searches)
* Quality, various terms e.g., good, famous, 5 star – (238,200 searches)

Tools: There are just 2,400 searches a month in this data-set for calorie counters. At this level you can’t really be bothered with such a tool. Perhaps if you are offering fast foods this becomes a more useful option.

Type: There is a lot going on in this group, and it provides a restaurant owner the option to construct landing pages with ad copy that reflects the probability that consumers are searching for your restaurant in five different ways. The probability that consumers will search by national cuisine is very high – the probability that they will search by delivery is almost twenty times lower.

* Type by nationality e.g. Chinese, Mexican – 2,380,480 searches
* Type by food e.g. seafood, burger, pizza – 901,190 searches
* Type by style e.g., family, romantic, buffet – 733,390 searches
* Type, various one-off terms e.g., gluten free, waterfront – 136,480 searches
* Type, for delivery – 110,000 searches

Value: Cost is important in this category. The majority of consumers focus on just two terms: coupons and vouchers. When consumers search for coupons, you do see some request for coupons by brand name. When they search for vouchers, none of the consumers specify a brand.

* Value – coupons 266,790 searches
* Value – vouchers 126,080 searches
* Value, various terms – e.g., cheap, kids eat free 107,790 searches

Website directory: 218,000 consumers a month search for directories of restaurants. There is certainly enough traffic here to justify registering your restaurant with every local and hyperlocal directory you can find.

Secondary terms

It’s always useful to look at term density in the dataset, as it provides more insight into what customers value. In this case the top term is best. This would suggest a great landing page opportunity e.g., “the best seafood restaurant in Boston.” In this label you have captured the three main themes identified earlier: location, quality and type.

Stop Words: If you have been around search for a while, you know that stop words (a, in, the, of, for, be) are supposed to be of little value in search relevancy. However, if you look at the list of secondary terms below, you see that the term “in” has the fifth highest density. In this case, it is very valuable because it is a geo-indicator. You see a lot of traffic using the following two forms:

* Best in [your city]
* Restaurants in [your city]

Since the best search result is an exact match with a consumers query, the term “in” becomes important because:

1. It’s used often
2. It’s a geo-indicator
3. It’s important in an exact (word-for-word) query match

By the way, the term “near” plays this roll as well, as in restaurants near Kendal Square.

When you examine the rest of the top 25 secondary terms you see several themes reflected in the list. These are listed roughly in order of value. The first six provide insight into what is valued by consumers, and should govern how you develop your website architecture and page copy.

1. Looking for a quality dinning experience
2. Looking for restaurants by national cuisine
3. Looking for content (reviews and guides)
4. Looking for a restaurant by food type (seafood and vegetarian)
5. Looking for a restaurant by style (family and romantic)
6. Looking for value (coupons and vouchers)
7. Looking for directories (city cheat and table-table)

Some secondary terms are off-topic, and are of no use to you. In fact, if you talk about the state-of-the-art restaurant equipment you have installed in your restaurant, you may well attract traffic looking to buy stoves and chairs.

Summary

So, what does this analysis do for you as a restaurant owner? Let’s list some of the more important items to think about.

* At the highest level, consumers are interested in location, quality and type. These themes should underpin your website copy.

* Consumers are much more interested in quality than value by a three to one margin. The terminology they use (best and top) and the most requested content type i.e., Reviews supports this observation.

* When consumers search by brand, they already know about you. If they have never visited your restaurant before you should support this group with reviews and location information.

* Many consumers are cost-conscious, and search for discount coupons. What was a bit of a surprise in the data was how often the term voucher was used. I think this reflects the relationship that hotels have with the local restaurant community. I don’t think I’ve ever received a coupon from the concierge, vouchers yes, coupons no.

* Last but not least, you have the option to provide potential customers with three distinct ways to find your restaurant. Statistically large numbers of consumers search by nationality, by food type and by the style of the restaurant. This behaviour suggests a multiple landing page strategy.

The last point about the style of restaurant is important. What if you are “family restaurant?” Does search behavior differ when searching for a restaurant when children are factored in? It does and it doesn’t. Many of the categories of behavior are the same, but with dramatically different volume. For example, there is also almost no interest in reading reviews in this group, and brand searches tops the list. Next month I will develop a family restaurant search behavior model, and contrast it to this model to show that behavior can be different depending upon the type of restaurant consumers are looking for.
Advice

This analysis is high-level, and it is very useful to understand what is going on at the industry level—the dominant themes and so on. However, most restaurants are not one-dimensional. They have multiple characteristics such as in this tag line: “Brazilian steakhouse specializing in romantic dining.” My advice here is to go the extra mile to understand the behavior associated with consumers searching for a romantic restaurant. No doubt, the behavior will differ from this analysis.

As in politics, all restaurants are local. If you have not claimed your business in Google’s, Yahoo’s and Bing’s local search services, you should do so. You will not automatically get added to these local search indexes. There are local search requirements for being included. Make sure you understand what they are.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

My Thoughts

So SEO training can only help you to get so far. This article borders on persona training. Which is the complex understanding of user and searcher behaviour around a webpage or places search result .

Sensible online marketing strategies dictate that knowing your audience, alongside searcher decision making and keyword research are absolutely key to any strategic decision

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