Here’s a comprehensive statistical breakdown of Birmingham’s SEO industry in the New Year (week commencing 3rd January 2011). Reports like this are useful for Competition Analysis before launching an SEO campaign in any industry. This particular report was originally produced in the wake of the launch of Studio B’s new SEO Birmingham website, and our summaries highlight lots of examples of key SEO principles in action.
Summary: Who’s in Charge?
QUESTION: When there are only 2 results out of the top 100 which have red (strongest) authority for all 4 authority indicators, and when one of these is at the number 1 spot, why is the other only ranked 8th?
ANSWER: It’s coded in Flash, which means it has poor accessibility of code (all the higher-ranked sites don’t have this rare problem). And it lacks both a .uk domain name extention and a UK-based web server (all higher-ranking sites have at least one of these, to tell Google that they’re especially relevant to UK searchers).
Indeed, as you can see quite clearly when scrolling down this list of Google UK’s top 100 results for SEO Birmingham, when looking for heatspots (mainly red, next best orange, next best yellow)… There are only 2 results (ricemedia.co.uk & clevercherry.com) in the top 100 where both of the linkjuice-based authority indicators (toolbar pagerank and inlink count) and both of the age-based authority indicators (domain registration age and page archive age) are all red (strongest)… And they are both in the top 10 (ricemedia.co.uk, rank 1, and clevercherry.com, rank 8) so you can assume that our quick-check authority indicators are very accurate!
Indeed, these two special results both refer to successful old web design agencies, so it’s quite understandable how they have such linkjuice (their clients’ websites link to them)…
Indeed, seen as they both stand out so clearly from within the top 100 results when checking our simple indications of search engine ranking authority, one might suggest that the main reason clevercherry.com isn’t easily in the top 2 alongside ricemedia.co.uk is because clevercherry.com is a 100%-Flash-encoded website, aweful for accessibility (for search engine spiders and human users alike), and even with the provision of additional accessible formats (as clevercherry.com manages to do) it’s still a major concern when search engines are trying to guess if cloaking (black-hat SEO) is going on.
It’s also a hindrance to have a .com domain name extention when optimising in Google UK search results, and although most (if not all) of this hindrance can be mitigated by having a server based in the UK, the web server of clevercherry.com is based in the USA, so Google can’t be sure that they’re so relevant to the UK.
Proof of this concept can be seen in how the only .com site outranking clevercherry.com (ranked 8th) in Google UK SERPs for SEO Birmingham is essentialmarketer.com (ranked 4th). Essential Marketer unsurprisingly use a UK-based web server, and this enables them to compete with Birmingham’s top SEOs within the local SEO industry itself.
Update, 14th Jan 2011: smemarketing.com jump into top 10 from nowhere
Jan 14th, and we’ve just noticed SME Marketing (screenshot) leaping into the top 10 of Google UK web search results for SEO Birmingham, when just a few days ago they were not in the top 100. At first glance it appears that this is down to shed loads of keyword-rich content (borderline keyword stuffing) optimised for SEO Birmingham, conveniently placed in a discrete place near the bottom of the page (but cleverly not the centre of attention when you’ve scrolled all the way down). And it’s a page within a 10-year-old-domain, so it’s naturally going to climb the rankings much easier than a page on a fresh, new site (thanks to age-based trust & authority).
By the way they’ve blended shed-loads of search engine spider food into their page without compromising on user experience or distracting attention away from the big, bold focal points of the page, this is a highly skilled but risk-laden example of clever SEO copy writing and page layout design. With keyword stuffing toned down and mixed up in a lengthier page with an even more dynamic layout, with a greater variety of content formats (like the nationally-targeted Creare homepage), it could be one of the best examples of single-page on-page SEO you see in a while.