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#1 03-01-11 17:26:40

VIKING
Member
Registered: 17-02-09
Posts: 20

SEO. Best way forward??

Hello again everyone. Since my last post over a year ago I've been fairly happy with the performance of my website. I took the advice of registering the site to many free directories and even figured out that if I googled say 'driving schools Winsford' (Cheshire) ,I could add my site to the top free listings that came up. That was ok whilst I was part time but in July this year I was made redundant and so am now full time.(Hurray 8-))
Started looking at ways of getting my website listed in its own right but apart from altering the title key words Ive not had too much success. My site is listed on page 2 of a search for 'driving schools Middlewich' (An area where I still work) but I've now moved to Winsford so I'm only in the directories.
So here's the thing. Do I bite the bullet and have someone do it for me. Ive had a quote of £180 a month for 3 months min off a local expert but I'm not sure about shelling out £540 if either I can do it myself or I can get it done cheaper. My host easily.co.uk have an offer of submitting the site to seach engines for £69/year but I dont know if that will give the same result.
Anyway,certainly enjoying the new challenge and have learnt more in the past 6 months than I was previously. My site is www.petepass.com. Thanks for any advice. neutral

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03-01-11 17:26:40

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Re: SEO. Best way forward??




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#2 04-01-11 09:18:28

golfball13
Verified Member
From: Chelmsford, Brentwood, Essex
Registered: 22-08-07
Posts: 244
Website

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Hi,

I'm sure others will be on, but SEO is a very long process. Submitting to search engines and directories is only a small part of what is needed. You need to look at the way you write the text on your website so that the search engines recognise it as relevant to the keywords people are searching.

Then there's the links. Links from other related websites, again keeping in mind the text used, helps with your rankings.

What your host is offering I wouldn't expect to make much difference. A quick look at google, bing and yahoo shows that only yahoo doesn't know you are there. Signing up to the webmaster tools of these 3 search engines and submitting sitemaps (list of the pages on your website) should help a bit.

What might be worth a look is the free version of Web CEO. It's a program that looks at your website and makes suggestions on how to improve it. Fairly basic, but it's a good place to start.

I hope this helps.

Rob


RPL Driving
Driving lessons in Chelmsford, Brentwood, Billericay and other areas of Essex

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#3 04-01-11 11:09:23

chrisbakeradi
Verified Member
From: Southampton
Registered: 23-09-07
Posts: 51
Website

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Hi viking I use easily as well and there is a section labelled as I think seo where you can add things like a title and description and keywords. There are many aspects to seo but this is something you could do quite easily and quickly. Also good advice above about keywords on your page it would be good to have "driving lessons ....... Town" in the text.
I'm pretty sure that the areas of text where you have selected "heading" rather than standard text is seen as a picture rather than text so search engines wouldnt see your title as text.
There are many more things you can do but I would suggest that as a start. I hope this makes sense.
Regards chris

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#4 04-01-11 14:50:09

Colin Martin
Verified Member
From: Southsea
Registered: 21-01-05
Posts: 2,465
Website

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

As has been said SEO is a massive topic and a lot has changed with Google in the last few months. Google is by far the most used engine so worth concentrating on. If you are doing a search to check your position log out of any Google logins, this includes you tube, picassa, Google Calendar etc. If you don't it's serving up a personal result for you which doesn't represent a base line result.

Google results are now a lot more personal to the user. Some things you might want to consider:

1) Google now tracks the search history on your computer and will use this in a search. So if a pupil has done loads of searching on Ford Focus websites it will find driving schools that mention Ford Focuses. Having Google keep your web history sounds sinister but you can turn it off, I have.

2) The location of a searchers computer is known (or estimated) so somebody at the end of your road is more likely to get you in a good result than somebody else 5 miles away.

3) Google instants now favours searches on much more competitive keywords. It used to be the case that you would type "driving lessons mytown" and a result was shown based on websites with your town name in. Now with Google Instants it will work on the "driving lessons" bit and serve up results based on other geographic information before the searcher finishes typing the search text. A good Google places entry helps with this. So you need to optimise for the more general terms and this is competitive.

The 2 biggest factors for a good search result are quality of content and adherence to standards so bots understand your site. So You could spend a fortune doing a load of stuff but if the robots don't like what they find when they get there then you will never get a good result. So the only thing to do is rewrite the site.

My advice would be don't spend a fortune on SEO because search results are getting more personal to the user so a consistent position for every search user is getting more difficult. Google might say it's to improve search results for the user, a cynic might say it's to make sure you use Adwords.

If you are going to pay money then use Adwords anyway. You may have to bid about £1.50 per click for a good position and will end up paying about £1.00 a click. You can set maximum spend per day and monitor results. The amount of clicks you do get will only be a few. If you don't understand Adwords get a dummies book about it they are well written and explain concepts in an easily understood way.

Finally before you do spend a lot of money on anything make sure your website calls people to action and encourages them to contact you easily. If you can't answer your phone all of the time put an incentive to make them leave a message and want to hear back from you. If you don't do this they will click the back on their browser, go to the next website on their list and either call them or use their online booking. If the next school answers the phone or books dates and times on line they will grab them before you even have a chance to get back to them.

Whatever you do be wary of people taking money for SEO. There is no real need to submit a site to a search engine on a good host the robots will find it anyway. We had over 1,000 visits from Yahoo last month and over 500 from Google to our domain. Your site is currently being visited by Googlebots and was last indexed on 2 Dec 2010 00:53:44 GMT. They know you are there and are reading your site so now it's quality and robot accessibility of content that will improve rankings.

Having written all of this I have just looked at the source HTML for your site. I would suggest improving your meta tags and content to give the search engine bots some more meat to chew on first. The word driving only appears once lesson 7 times and lessons 3 times (bots consider them 2 different words and I would say lessons is more important than lesson). If you want to see how this works use view source in your browser, in what appears there is not a lot about driving lessons in that text and an awful lot of programming stuff. Do the same on our website (link below) you will see lines near the top with 'description =........", "keywords =......." and "description =......." then there is a lot of readable text about what we do. Improve your content and results will improve.


Colin Martin
The Bright Red L http://thebrightredl.com
Instructor Apps http://drivinginstructorapps.co.uk
Apps Video channel https://www.youtube.com/colinbythesea

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#5 04-01-11 21:04:48

VIKING
Member
Registered: 17-02-09
Posts: 20

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Once again you guys have saved me from myself so thankyou very much. I have been trying to get my head around this stuff for a while now and thats how I came across this lady- carrie-annsudlow.co.uk who happens to be local. Very helpfull emails recieved from her but at £180/month??
Also although web ads are the future, I have managed to get new pupils the old fashioned way and even had an enquiry today from a woman I gave a flyer to at the car wash last September.
That said, I'll print all your advice off and start working on it. I'll probably be back soon with some dumb questions but in the meantime thanks again.

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#6 05-01-11 09:54:09

Colin Martin
Verified Member
From: Southsea
Registered: 21-01-05
Posts: 2,465
Website

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Our first professional website cost £1,000 five years ago. It was a lot of money then and not many people were selling exclusively on the internet then. The web designer hosted it and added reciprocal links to all of the other sites they did. Made page 1 within 6 months and stayed there. All we paid them was £30 a year hosting. We have now become a software business ourselves and the same domain name can now produce a good result for any pages we add because it's been around a long time.

The scary thing is when you get very clever sites that do things, which is where we are now, then it costs tens of thousands - gulp.


Colin Martin
The Bright Red L http://thebrightredl.com
Instructor Apps http://drivinginstructorapps.co.uk
Apps Video channel https://www.youtube.com/colinbythesea

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#7 05-01-11 22:00:57

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,696
Website

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Like your site ... and your first-lesson philosophy which is similar to mine.

Have a look at: http://seowebsite.ie/blog/2011/01/high- … checklist/


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#8 06-01-11 18:40:12

VIKING
Member
Registered: 17-02-09
Posts: 20

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Like your site ... and your first-lesson philosophy which is similar to mine.

Have a look at: http://seowebsite.ie/blog/2011/01/high- … checklist/

Cheers mate,set me up for the day when I read this. Nice of you to say and thanks for the link to the info.

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#9 08-01-11 22:39:35

mspl
Member
Registered: 30-09-09
Posts: 207

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Like your site ... and your first-lesson philosophy which is similar to mine.

Have a look at: http://seowebsite.ie/blog/2011/01/high- … checklist/

What is your idea behind lessons lasting 1 hr 15 mins ?
This gives you an hourly rate of £ 15, seems a bit on the low side ?

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#10 09-01-11 17:58:26

VIKING
Member
Registered: 17-02-09
Posts: 20

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Some pupils of mine were getting ripped off by their instructors. 10mins late then finishing 5mins early.
I split the 15mins into brief/debrief then give them a full hours instuction. It works ok for the number of pupils I have at the moment. When they are queuing down the street I may have to reconsider. Thats why I'm asking about SEO so that I can attract more customers.

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#11 09-01-11 22:05:14

mspl
Member
Registered: 30-09-09
Posts: 207

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

Some pupils of mine were getting ripped off by their instructors. 10mins late then finishing 5mins early.
I split the 15mins into brief/debrief then give them a full hours instuction. It works ok for the number of pupils I have at the moment. When they are queuing down the street I may have to reconsider. Thats why I'm asking about SEO so that I can attract more customers.

Viking while I admire your desire to give value to your pupils,how are you going to drop this length of lesson once you get busy.
If you carry on as you are,on a week where you are working @ 20 1hr 15 mins lessons,you are giving away 5 hrs
which is equal to £ 100 a week on a normal £ 20 hr lesson.
I think you are creating a rod for your own back,in the politest way I can say.

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#12 15-01-11 02:36:46

GIDriver
Member
Registered: 26-12-10
Posts: 8
Website

Re: SEO. Best way forward??

just thought i'd add to some of the points raised on here! I'm in the process of writing a E-book for SEO for driving schools so hopefully i'll be able to share some tips with you over the next few months.

SEO can be VERY expensive and you have to ask yourself what are you trying to accomplish! Ultimately the answer is more traffic to your website, one of the ways to do this is by improving the layout, content and coding of your website through SEO but there are LOADS of other methods too.

Depending on the value you put on your time I suggest reading around on the internet, you'll save yourself a fortune and whilst you may not achieve the same results as a professional SEOer there are some quick and easy changes you can make to get a decent increase in traffic.

As mentioned yes, your website should be valid (or as valid as can be); you can check how valid your website is by using the W3 validator here:
http://validator.w3.org/

You need to create a sitemap and a robots.txt file.

You can register for a free google webmaster account here which can be great to monitor your progress;
http://www.google.com/webmasters/

Make sure your internal link structure is good (no broken links and all your pages linked together in an easy to use way)

You should add fresh, relevant and useful content to your site whenever you can.

Make the most of social media (Facebook / twitter)

Build links, get backlinks from other driving schools or relevant businesses. You'll get natural traffic from click throughs and the search engine spiders will also pick up on these links.

Depending on how confident you are with coding make sure you make the most of your HTML. Use meta tags, keywords in your body text and heading.

This is all pretty general advice but like anything you do, if you invest the time, you'll see the results!


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