We are always proud to be awarded new SEO projects, normally its due to our track record and huge amount of success stories / highly ranked websites, we walk the walk as well as talking the talk, 5 years ago we completed a SEO project for this company that is now ranked number 1 for their key search term and have grown visitor numbers year on year for 5 years.
Hi, we’re a home builder / construction company company based in Essex. We’re looking to improve our online presence. We’ve put a fair amount of money into building our website as well as advertising including AdWords etc. but I feel we’ve fallen off track somewhere along the way.
Within the last year we’ve changed from different providers, each promising a better result than the last but none have been able to keep up with the promises. In all honesty – We had better results from doing the AdWords ourselves. One of the main problems we’ve had is the lack of data we received about our campaigns, everyone could talk a big game but we weren’t seeing the figures, not only that there simply weren’t any conversions.
We were strictly a building company but we’ve recently merged so there’s now no limit to the work we can produce on houses, so we’re looking to find a company who can match our ambitions and help take us to the next level digitally.
We’re looking for someone to take over the SEO on our website as we don’t think it’s been set up correctly, I believe our domain has a fairly high rank but I feel we’re losing a lot of potential clients as a result of this.
We would also be looking for someone to take over our AdWords Campaign eventually, but after the last few experiences we’ve had there definitely isn’t a rush on that one.
We started to hit problems with the team who was running our AdWords campaign, so we would have been ad free from around that time and with no one to look over the SEO I can imagine it would start to drop quite rapidly.
Truth be told since the last email we have decided there’s a few more areas we would need taken care of so if we could get them all under the same name, I’m sure that would be beneficial to all.
We’ve sorted out our advertisements, we’re trying a different revenue for now. We’re looking for someone to take over the general running of the website, the SEO and we would also like to change our host / server. We’ve noticed our current designer has too many conflicts of interest and has almost completely replicated our website and logo for our a competitive rival building company with a near identical name to ours.
We started out with our website designer (also based in Essex) doing our SEO / Adwords but it soon became apparent that they wasn’t very good at this and not really interested in doing so. From there we moved onto a big named company to do our Adwords only which was going fairly well (As far as results / conversions are concerned) but after several months we realised the money we was paying simply wasn’t worth the return.
The latest company was where it all went wrong, we went with them for just AdWords. Within the first few months we had less conversions but had spent more money than ever before on Ads. They were also located in Manchester so we couldn’t really get down to see them, that’s why I’m making sure the next digital marketing company we use will have to be local.
That is very much the intention, we’ve got a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the building game and in specific loft conversions and extensions. We’ve handled every different style building project as you can imagine and the project range / cost and size range tremendously. Essex is the starting point, but there’s not many places we won’t work. We currently have a contract with a major builder which requires us to do all the building projects in Essex so distance is not a problem.(Although I understand it would be harder to target an ‘Audience’).
As of now we don’t have a budget, we was hoping you would be able to guide us on that one. Money is definitely not an issue if we’re seeing results, the building projects we take on can be very generous in the right hands. We can provide work for the whole building now (complete house). We was previously strictly Extension Specialists, we have now merged with a company who can do full house builds.
Again, we didn’t really have any budget in place, we was just being told what to pay and when to pay it but hardly receiving any data or calls for that matter. Our previous experiences have left us very cautious about this. If we are seeing conversions again there is no ‘true budget’. Is our rating good? – Should we be looking to improve it?
I can understand that, there’s no reason that our website pages URLs should be long when it isn’t necessary. Also could having more links including ‘Areas in Essex’ cause Google to downgrade us? As for the similar pages I have no idea where they link to. Are these all things our website designer needs to fix?
Our AdWords account has been moved around so many times I no longer know which is the main account it runs from, I have some Google Analytics information I could send to you? We’ve worked out through our own experiences that AdWords only really works for ourselves when we get lucky. No one is in any sort of a rush for a builder unless they have a big project in mind. It’s mainly the SEO we’re looking to get right and as you’ve explained that’s no an overnight process.
We’re trying to narrow it down so we can find the company that’s right us and that can match our ambitions, from all the information you’ve provided in this introductory email it fills me with confidence that we could be on to a good thing.
SEO Company Reply 1
Firstly, did you know that you’ve copied in to this message lots of SEO companies that either do website design, or some form of SEO?
To go through 3 companies in a year is something that concerns me, especially with regards to SEO. Unfortunately, as SEO experts we’re governed by the all powerful Google – it’s they who decide the rules! 3-4 years ago we could have told clients we can get you rankings at the top of page 1 within about 2-4 months for local Keywords (such as ‘Builders In Essex’). But over the past year, Google has decided to slow rankings down dramatically. They’ve also changed the way each niche/industry is going to be ranking in their SERPSs (Search Engine Ranking Positions).
We now have to tell potential clients SEO is the long-term (minimum 6+ months to start seeing a positive return) approach for marketing on the internet and that Adwords will yield far quicker results and returns for websites in the short to medium term.
When I mention that the way in which they’ve changed the SERPs, this is niche/industry dependent. What I mean by this is specifically relevant to the building trade niches –
If you search for any of these niches and location (for instance, “builder in Stanford-le-Hope”, or any other location that you service), you will find that they are heavily dominated by large authority websites in Google’s eyes
This seems to be the case for trade industries more so than say Lawyers / air conditioning installers / accountants. What this means is that Google either deems the bigger authority websites as more important with regards to providing information to potential searchers of those services, OR those niches haven’t had months powerful link building to raise the authority of a website in Google’s eyes to be comparable to large authority websites. Either way, to rank within these industries will take considerably more time and effort when compared to other niches and 4 months (3 companies in 12 months) isn’t significant time to assessing progress in your particular niche. (But that is how things have been for the past 18 months in these niches, Google might change though!)
To get a better understanding of our clients needs, we need to find out more information about a potential client.
From your email it states that you want to grow and dominate roofing throughout Essex, this is good as we too want to work with growing companies that are already established.
Are we correct in that you’re wanting to dominate across Essex and EVERY town in Essex?
What budget range do you have for SEO marketing? (To tackle the whole of Essex, page 1 for every location would take considerable effort and time given the issue above)
What is the average revenue generated for a house project (am guessing £10-20k)?
Do you provide all forms of roofing services?
What is your current budget for Adwords (monthly) and how is that set-up, multiple campaigns, do you use all the Extensions Options?
I’ll try not to go into too much technical details, but SEO consists of what you have as on-page and what links are heading to your website.
I’ll try to keep this straight forward, without going into too much technical This does seem to match some of the pages on your website, but they aren’t set-up in best practice.
As you have phrase ‘Essex’ ‘ within your domain name, which is very good from Google’s perspective, so simply by adding a location within Essex as an inner page will greatly increase the authority of that page as it’s not 3 files deep on your website directly.
You also have a few odd pages when I’ve conducted a brief Audit. It confuses me looking at which page you want to rank for…so no doubt it confuses the Google Bots!
There is a of work required to change your anchor text ratios for the website – there have been too many anchor links and not enough branded links and naked url links.
I hope this makes sense and wasn’t too technical? I try to keep it as straightforward as possible initially.
Overall, there is considerable on-page work that needs to get rectified (removal of unnecessary pages, as well as several 301 redirects to shorten and make each landing page clearer) as well as a lot of branded and naked URL external links to reduce the amount of anchors used in your current external links.
I don’t know what the other companies will say, but in honesty if we made the changes with each landing page today, and all other changes to remove unnecessary pages then, the results of that work along will be noticed 3 months later (Google is very slow). And the way you notice this is through the increased number of phrases your website is listed for in Webmaster Tools.
It is the back links that will raise the website higher in the SERPs, if you started diluting the current anchors for the first 3 months the results will be noticed between months 3-6 and during months 3-6 you would be building stronger links with specific anchors, which won’t yield results (positive return on investment) until months 6-9 really. The longer you do SEO, the bigger return you’ll get.
That’s for SEO (organic listings), that doesn’t include additional map listings for multiple locations.
You mentioned that you currently use Adwords, I would be interested to see the data that has been captured in there and how you set this up (I would not change anything, I can be set-up as read only).
If you can answer the above questions, I would be able to provide a monthly quote going forward. At the moment, I have no idea what your budget is for marketing and therefore am unable to give you any expectations into what you can achieve with that budget. It’s the same as me asking for a loft conversion to a builder and not telling them what I want to be build, nor advising how much money I have for the build.
We get asked all the time how much SEO costs, the best answer we can give is ‘it depends’.
I look forward to hearing from you.
SEO Company Reply 2
It really was good speaking to you yesterday and finding out a bit more about your business. Below is a little more about our business and how we work: Our Approach
One of the big things that sets us apart from other SEO agencies is the fact we are very upfront with our link building methods. We appreciate that SEO is hard to quantify and the industry as a whole can be a bit murky at best, which is why we also encourage our clients to get actively involved in their campaign on a monthly basis.
Through being very transparent and adopting a distinctively consultative approach, we can help your company understand the work we are carrying out so that you feel more comfortable with the optimisation process and understand the return you’re getting from your investment.
Our ethos is this: SEO doesn’t need to cost the earth and our clients should be able to see us as an extension of their business; we’re committed to becoming your marketing partner, not simply a marketing supplier.
Our consultants can also provide help and advice on all aspects of your search marketing campaign, including blogging and content marketing, paid search strategies, social media management and conversion optimization techniques – these are all areas will be vital to the success of your website
I look forward to hearing from you.
As promised, please find attached a proposal which outlines our costs and the work we would carry out if we were to take over your website SEO. Take your time to have a look through this proposal and do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or queries regarding anything.
The good news is that having looked over your website in some detail I can see some clear areas that just haven’t been addressed for one reason or another in the past.
I did manage to have a good look at your website and can see that it’s a WordPress website that is optimized using the Yoast (WordPress) SEO plugin which is good news as WordPress can be very responsive to the right SEO strategies. I also had a look at your websites current rankings and noticed that there seems to have been a dramatic dip in indexing & rankings since July this year? I did some quick research but there wasn’t no obvious reason for this that I could see without having access to the CMS or search console account.
The attached organic report lists all of the keywords your website currently ranks for and the image at the top shows the dramatic drop of since July. Take your time to have a look through this report and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or queries regarding anything.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback at some point next week.
Thank you for considering Freelance SEO Essex to manage your search engine marketing campaign. The purpose of this document is to outline our recommendations and explain the exact level of service you can expect should you choose to come on board with us.
Our primary objective is to push your domain higher up the listings within Google.co.ukfor your targeted search terms. This will result in more exposure for your business and ultimately drive more traffic to your site, which is then likely to convert into enquiries and/or sales. To do so, we need to develop a clear strategy that will build your online presence naturally and ethically whilst still achieving tangible results within an agreed timeframe. This strategy will include extensive competitor analysis, keyword research and both onsite and offsite optimisation elements
Using data that has been collated from arrange of analysis tools, and drawing upon our own understanding of your business and market sector, we have carried out research into the most appropriate keywords for
Onsite optimisation will ensure that your website itself is compliant with Google’s strict search engine algorithms. Our typical onsite service includes:
40 Point Onsite Health check
First of all, we will assess the site within the framework of our 40 Point Health check comprehensive checklist that helps us identify any issues with the website’s coding, structure, design and/or content that could prevent it from performing well in search. We will then present you with a list of actionable recommendations that can be addressed either by your own developer or our in-house team.
Some additional development work may be chargeable; please speak to your consultant for more information. Content and Meta Data Optimisation After agreeing a list of keywords to target within the campaign,we will create fully optimised copy to embed your chosen search terms into each targeted page.
We’ll develop the content so that it continues to engage your users yet also appeals to search engine bots as they crawl your page for relevancy.
There are a number of different onsite factors we will take into consideration, including:
Meta data (specifically titles, descriptions, keyword tags)
What You Need to Know
All of our onsite recommendations will be presented to you within a Word document.
No changes will be made to your website until they have been approved by your company.
We will require CMS and FTP login details in order to access the site and implement the changes. In some cases, we may require assistance from your developer.
Offsite Optimisation The reputation of your site depends on the quality and number of its back links, so your link building strategy will ultimately determine the progression of your campaign. Link Building We’ll build links to your site from a variety of sources, using only white hat techniques that will ensure a gradual path to success.
We have curated a comprehensive list of link opportunities for clients from all market sectors, and we continually inspect our third party providers to ensure we are only working with the highest quality websites. Your bespoke link package will be outlined at the end of this proposal.
Content Creation and Placement Writing and placing relevant, interesting content on external websites is one of the most effective ways of generating high authority backlinks.
Our content team is highly adept at creating high standard copy that will grab the attention of virtually any online audience. When it comes to coming up with suitable topics and ideas for content, we welcome your input; we prefer to work with you directly to ensure your editorial needs are met. Additionally, you will be offered the opportunity to approve the content we have created on your behalf before it is published on the web. Please note that most webmasters do charge for content placements; we incorporate expected costs into your quoted monthly fee.
Where necessary, we will also analyse the link profiles of your main online competitors to gain an understanding of where they are acquiring their links from. This will help us understand why they are performing so well in organic search.
This process often brings new, industry-specific opportunities to light and allows us to develop more tailored and impactful campaigns for each of our clients.
Ongoing Consultancy & Monthly Reporting
Working With You
Ongoing access to our team of search consultants is included in your package price. Our staff are on hand to answer all and any queries via phone and email; if you are local, we are also happy to arrange regular face-to-face meetings if you would prefer to discuss your campaign in person.
What to Expect
We aim to make it as easy as possible for our clients to track their progress at every stage of their campaign. You will receive a comprehensive ranking report at the end of every month that will display your current and previous positions within your preferred Google search engine for each of your targeted keywords.
Tracking Traffic and Activity
If we are provided with access to your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts, we will be able to provide you with month-on-month reports that provide you with insightful data on user activity.
We can also provide you with regular link reports on request. These documents display all recent links that have been built to and from your site.
Agreement & Payment Terms
Our SEO Agreement contains more information on our contract and payment terms. We will require you to return a signed copy of this Agreement before we start work on your campaign. To summarise, we operate our SEO services on a rolling monthly basis. Due to pre-planned link arrangements, should you wish to pause or cancel the campaign at any point, we require 30 days’ paid notice. We kindly ask that all SEO invoices are settled immediately upon receipt. This ensures we have adequate resources to acquire the necessary links.
Please note that all fees are subject to the current rate of VAT (20%). Onsite Optimisation Fee: £200 one off
30 Point Onsite Healthcheck Optimisation of content and meta data on ALL targeted pages
Recommended Monthly SEO Budget:£350-£400 per month(Final budget to be based on targeted keywords and campaign size)
Please don’t hesitate to contact your consultant if you’d like to discuss any aspect of this proposal in greater detail.We look forward to hearing your though
SEO Company Reply 3
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch.
Do you have any analytical data you can share with regards to your traffic? I can currently see you are on the 1st page for obvious terms, but I would like to investigate your traffic levels both organically and paid.
We would then like to run a full website audit (free of charge) and before looking to advise and discuss further.
Some initial points to note:
There is lacking a clear call to action above the fold. This includes an obvious point of contact via email form for a quick call-back request.
You telephone number should be much more prominent, and also click-to-call.
The images on the website are low quality – showing of the quality is important and the first thing seen on the site.
The layout above the fold also, needs some attention.
While these are not SEO specific issues, they are important factors that may be reducing call / email volumes. As your website is built on the WordPress CMS platform, these issues are easily fixed.
The website also has a few other small issues that I would like to discuss with you.
Also on a side note the website link in your email signature is broken.
No problem at all, thank you for getting back to us.
Any data I could collect for you that would help please let me know and I’ll try to locate it for you, we’re trying to get a bit more of a grip of things as the companies we’ve used in the past have left us in the dark and wanted to have full control.
Here are our statistics from the start of the year through to today
Here are the statistics with no SEO or AdWords.
Here are the statistics, when we had our AdWords campaign outsourced.
Also see attached PDF for full data including organic/paid reach, I wasn’t aware I could just save this data rather than copying, pasting and editing until after.
One of the main issues with our last providers was exactly what you have pointed out, several companies had advised us to make sure there was a clear call to action or at the very least a contact form on the landing page but the company insisted it wouldn’t make a difference.
As for the low quality images again we was advised that our website wouldn’t be able to run efficiently unless we used extremely compressed images, we don’t agree with this. I’m guessing we would need to run from our own server or at least not on our current server (Website designers own server) to allow space for high resolution images?
As I mentioned in the previous email we’re in the middle of merging companies so we’re looking to create a separate site for all building work, we want one landing page that will allow you to reach your target destination. So eventually there will be more than the one campaign.
Where in Essex are you based? We’re looking for a company who we could have regular meetings with to make sure everything’s running smoothly, our previous digital marketing team was located in Manchester so it just wasn’t able to work out and we really did feel like they was just taking our money.
Thank you for your advice and for getting back to us so promptly, we look forward to hearing from you.
Also I believe I’ve fixed the broken link from my signature, if you could let me know it would be much appreciated.
It certainly looks like you have been ill-advised on a number of points.
Moving forward we do believe the first call should be to address the issues with the website. While you are getting a fair amount of traffic and there is definitely room for improvement, it would be a waste of money to direct any more until the site is aesthetic and effective.
After this is done, you can evaluate the click-through and bounce rates to see if there is any improvement on visitor retention. At this point we can build an SEO and marketing strategy.
If you are interested in discussing this further, let us know when would be a convenient time for a conference call. We are based in Essex so would be happy to arrange meetings as required.
SEO Company Reply 4
I’ll go through each query in sections…
When you send out emails to anyone, you have 3 options to place an email address.
‘To’ – this is the primary person you want to send an email to.
‘Cc’ – this is called ‘Carbon Copy’. This is when you want to make sure a person is copied into to know about a subject but it is not intentionally for that person. Using a ‘Cc’ means that everyone can see who has been copied into an email.
‘BCc’ – Known as ‘Blind Carbon Copy’. You would use this option if you wanted to blanket email everyone and make sure that no one else knew they were copied into the email. This is the option you should have chosen in this instance, as we would then be unaware that it has gone out to multiple companies.
Did you use Yell perchance for the 2nd Adword company? I know they charge 30% for Adwords management, I charge 20% and a set-up fee, IF necessary.
I cannot comment on the Adwords that was previously set-up, as I haven’t seen the campaigns or account (see below).
As far as SEO wise, the website will need thorough audit and clean up to make sure there are no real unwanted pages – this is what I would do, as you asked. It’s part of the set-up fee, which includes adding additional content.
As I mentioned previously there is a lot of links that are required to bring your anchor text to more natural levels (external factors).
You mentioned that you would be looking to go anywhere in the UK and want to grow the business? With the domain name of Essex in it then it wouldn’t make sense to then expand on that single website, e.g. Glasgow and Manchester pages?
It does make sense to have multiple towns within Essex added to this domain as inner urls
One of the criteria I look into is ‘what is the user/visitor’ experience like; does their website rank quickly, does it point them in the right direction (contact form – telephone you). I’ve run some tests on the speed and it’s above average. I can get it quicker, but need access to hosting to speed it up.
It’s understandable that you’re now likely to be cautious given that you haven’t been able to see substantial results so far.
Is you rating Good? – in short OK for ‘Essex’ terms (this is solely due to the fact that you have domain that contains Essex and your service, but ‘no’ for others , I’ve also attached another screen shot from SEMrush – this shows you want keywords you rank for and where they rank. This time I’ve added comments.
Yes you can improve it, you can grab all other town related traffic, e.g. builders in Basildon, house extension company in Basildon etc… for every town in Essex. We can also increase the rankings for all the Essex terms. This covers the website, you can have as many websites as you wish. If you plan is to have a business that covers a bigger part of the country, then I would suggest an additional domain, that is more of a ‘Brand’ term. With these names you have the term ‘Builders’ within the domain and this is a massive head start with regards to telling Google what you want to rank for. As you’re in the UK I would prefer to get a .co.uk, or a .uk domain.
Then you can add any additional towns/counties and it would make sense from a Google perspective, whereas adding towns and cities that are not based in Essex doesn’t make logical sense.
NB – even better if you’re able to find a domain that is expiring and has the phrase roofing or roofers in it, but that is another method.
Also could having more links including ‘Areas in essex’ cause google to downgrade us? Nope – this will not downgrade you.
As for the similar pages I have no idea where they link to. Are these all things our website designer needs to fix? Nope, this is part of the on-page that I go through all the pages and determine whether or not they are useful in anyway, if not then remove them provided you see no reason as to why they need to be kept.
Adwords works very well when people in dire need for something, e.g. emergency dentists, emergency locksmiths – people will take the first results Google throws at them when they are in a hurry and not spend much time reading the information in the SERP snippet. So for your example, when there is a big problem with the house you’ll get more clicks for builders needed ASAP.
SEO is a long term method, what I would be keen on doing optimising your Adword campaigns and making sure that is as effective as possible initially.
It’s pretty straightforward to add me as a ‘read only user’. I’ve attached screen shots to help you though this. I would just like to see how you’ve set-up the campaigns, whether or not you’re using the extensions options to increase click though rates and if you’re using a shared library across the campaigns for negative keywords.
Please add this email address as it is linked to my master Adword Account
Rough Costs – Guidelines
If you wanting to rank for the cities/towns that you have on your website including Essex, would be lots of different locations and with the following permutations for Essex:
That’s 22 different keywords in 13 locations a total of 286 KW as well as not location broad terms, well over 300 phrases to move up in Google. (Replace ‘Essex’ with the towns listed on your website)
A rough figure to consider going after all towns in Essex and the county level would be between the two figures I mentioned previousy a month as a monthly retainer. Which should equate to an additional 2-4 new building projects a month, from an ROI perspective. With a set-up fee in month 1, at about £1,500, which includes a full audit of your website additional content written for each page with over a 1,000 words per landing page and an overhaul of the main fields that the Google bot look at when scanning websites – hence the need to have a look at the data from your Adword account.
People do ask what the investment is spent on, and the simple answer is content and links – content to expand your website, content to be used to gain articles on other websites with links to other websites. Very rarely is it free these days! Decent, well written content comes at a cost.
Which will bring in more traffic within the boundaries of the website (Essex).
Hope all this makes sense? Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.