A Case Study - SEO in action

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Before reading further, make sure you've read Chapter 4 of Quirk's eMarketing 101 guide.

Client: City Lofts Group PLC
Digital Agency: Reflector Interactive
URL: http://www.citylofts.co.uk
Category: Real-estate/Investment Property

The Problem

Despite being online for more than six years, the City Lofts website was suffering from a number of fairly common problems:

  • Lack of visibility on Search Engines
  • Too little traffic, mostly due to being pretty much "invisible" to web searchers
  • This resulted in an insufficient return on website creation costs, since a website that cannot be found, cannot add value

The Solution

With a site redesign already in the pipeline, the client was made aware of the importance of Search Engine Optimisation. As such, it was felt that the new site's development should include a comprehensive SEO component.

An analysis of the initial situation, with concerns relating to search engine visibility and overall traffic statistics laid the foundation for an effective SEO strategy:

  • Analyse initial website, find problems with Spiderability and areas where basic SEO techniques should be put in place
  • Identification of barriers

Development process

Mock-ups of the new site design were sent through from the client's designers to the SEO strategist so that he could:

  • Analyse mock-up designs and compile a complete SEO Recommendations Document to act as a directive medium for the developers and designers of the website
  • This SEO Document provided information and instructions with regard to:
    • Removal of JavaScript coding from a webpage and moving it to an external .js file
      <script type="text/javascript" src="javascript_file.js></script>
    • Implementing robots.txt file
      Add a file to your root folder named robots.txt. The URL of this file should be www.yoururl.com/robots.txt Add the following to your robots.txt file to allow all crawlers to crawl all your pages
      User-agent: *
    • Setting up initial redirects of previous URL's to new URL's.
      For Apache servers, add this to your .htaccess file:
      Code below applies for redirecting individual pages. This code should be implemented for EACH page you are looking to redirect permanently
      "redirect 301 /html/oldPageName.htm
    • Setting up initial canonical redirects. URL Canonicalisation is an essential part of ensuring that content duplication issues are circumvented. Simply put, canonicalisation is the process of defaulting to a particular URL when there are a number of alternatives
      For example,
      are technically all different URLs, but need to be treated as a single URL to avoid content duplication penalties.
      Example code that should be added to your .htaccess file (for Apache servers)
      "RewriteEngine on
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.yoururl\.com [NC]
      RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yoururl.com/$1 [R=301,L] "
    • Creating a Google XML sitemap
      Recommended site for automated XML sitemap creation:
    • Ensuring that all links are static HTML links
    • Improving naming conventions of pages to make for improved URL's
    • Use of HTML tags that puts emphasis on targeted key phrases.
    • Website coding, based on mock-up designs, geared towards providing maximum SEO benefit
    • Ensuring that SEO best-practice is adhered and avoiding all intentional or unintentional "Blackhat" SEO techniques with concerns to coding, example – Hidden Text
      Example of hidden text code:
      <body bgcolor="white"><font color="white">This is an example of hidden text</font>
    • Implementation of an on-site sitemap

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