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October 16, 2011 / Brandon Raper

Why SEO was wrong

Recently, I’ve been working on the creation of  my first start up.  Over the past 2 years it’s been a vision and is finally becoming a reality.  Thankfully, I had the website created in the beginning and began to utilize social media to build an online conversation about my brand before it was even established.

This brings me to the transition of Search Engine Optimization and how it directly affected my website. I’ll go over how the general rules of SEO applied to my website and the reasons behind my websites current success and what will be done in the future.

First things first, the website URL is http://www.ugandabeads.com.  My company works with a non-profit located in Africa that houses displaced persons.  They’ve taught them how to  self sustain by creating jewelry from recycled newspaper and magazines, planting mushrooms, and establishing their own small businesses.

The Competition

According to Google Analytics, people are searching for these terms when they find our website:

Key Word search for www.ugandabeads.com

Our initial focus was to be top on Google searches for Uganda Beads.  As of now we are doing an amazing job on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.  Our direct competition is neck and neck with us on that search term.  On Google we are the 2nd hit, Bing we are 1st, and Yahoo we are 1st as well.  This doesn’t take into account our other pages when the phrase is searched for.  Our Twitter and other sections of the site show up on the 1st page as well.

According to Google Adwords Keyword Tool, here is the 12 month insight for the phrase:

An average of 52 searches a month for the phrase is good, but not exactly the volume I was looking for.  Using the adword tool and insights there are over 170 keywords that relate to our website directly.  Here are a few keywords that are both low competition and a high volume of searches: Paper Beads, Uganda, How to do beads, Uganda women, and bead s.

There are a million opportunities for growth by using keywords in our website and even by the addition of adwords.  My goal for the company is to become top on the list of many of these keywords, especially bead making, to be able to spread wisdom of Uganda to people who aren’t proactively searching for a goodwill product.

SEO Practices

There are multiple SEO practices that are used and thought of as common, whether it be online of offline SEO.  Our website was outsourced for creation and until recently I wasn’t knowledgeable about the do’s and dont’s of SEO.

Our website doesn’t use META tags at all.  The coding is atrocious.  Our page titles are simply just “HOME, SHOP, ETC”.  There is no direct explanation of the pages for search engines to find.

So how is the website so successful?  How are we beating out almost all of the competition, who have thousands more hits a month, an established shop, and even running blogs with tons of content?  Theorists would most likely say due to the low level of competition it’s an easy market to enter.  We have a lot of keywords spread around our website, links from social media, and have the benefit of time.  We’ve been up for over 2 years, something search engines put an emphasis on.

In the future all of these will be improved.  We will have META tags and titles and expand our keyword interests.  The easiest way to find immediate impact is through additional content.  Through a targeted Blog, Ugandabeads.com should be able to sweep the competition away.  My personal focus is:

1. Take the consumers who are proactively searching for beads from Uganda away from the competition through SEO and Social Media

2. Bring potential consumers into the website who are crafty and wanting to learn how to make paper beads

3. Increase exposure and consumers through goodwill and donations

Do you have any success stories for your own websites with SEO?  What recommendations do you have for a budding start up wanting to improve their SEO efforts?


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2 Comments

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  1. Gem Webb / Oct 20 2011 11:12 AM

    I’ve had my share of nightmares with SEO. The biggest was working with web designers that don’t know SEO practices, don’t believe in them or, are intentionally trying to undermine projects to prove a point. Things like not allowing modifications of title meta tags, or not adding description tags through a website have serious negative impacts to to being found on Google or other Search engines. They need these things to understand what your page content is about. Inbound links from Great Content is only part of the solution to reach your target markets. Don’t let know people slow your journey like i have had in the past. It’s really the clients you serve that suffer which is the saddest part.

  2. Brandon Raper / Oct 20 2011 1:49 PM

    I couldn’t agree more. I feel if you’re a web designer this day and age you should have studied up on SEO so your clients can have a complete product. As a marketer I’m required to know about sales, internet marketing, web design, graphic design, public relations, social media, and anything else you could think of. Now is the time of being good at a lot of things and not an expert in one. If you can’t provide your clients with top quality services then there is always someone waiting right behind you.

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