I posted a few days back in our Facebook group, offering to do an SEO review on 10 websites belonging to businesses in the scalp micropigmentation industry. In response to requests that followed, this SEO review is for Nic Palmer of www.customculturesmp.com.
During this review, I examined the following:
- On-page SEO elements of a typical page on each website
- The overall structure of each website
- Social proof and reviews
- Internal linking
- Inbound links and spam score
- Speed and security
I won’t explain each of these in detail because I’m hoping their explanations will become clear during the assessment. So here we go!
on page seo elements of a typical page
The first thing I look for are pages specifically targeting keywords for the primary services offered. Your home page is not the place for this. Google wants your home page to act as a gateway to the information pages on your site, and it’s actually quite hard to rank a home page for a big search term.
Nic’s primary service is scalp micropigmentation, so he needs a page that screams relevancy for this keyword. When reviewing the website, it seems Nic has this well covered (visit page), however there are some issues that need to be resolved.
- The title tag and main H1 headline uses the term ‘What Is SMP’. This is not optimal and should be changed to something like ‘What Is Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP)?’.
- There are H2 headlines which is good, but the first sub-headline ‘scalp micropigmentation’ needs to be changed to something more descriptive. If the H1 is changed to include this keyword, using just the primary keyword in the H2 as well will look spammy.
- Aside from that, the rest of the content looks good. There are plenty of images, which increase the relevancy of the page for the term, but they could do with ALT tags to further increase their relevance and show they show up in Google Images.
overall website structure
This is quite a small website and adopts a flat hierarchical structure, but for the purpose of what this website is trying to do, that’s fine. The only thing I noticed is that the home page needs links to the internal pages.
In-content links are more powerful and send better relevancy signals to Google than navigation or footer links. You should still have these, but manually linking from the text on the home page to the internal pages definitely helps to get those pages ranked.
social proof and reviews
The website links to two social media channels: Facebook and Instagram. The Facebook account is fairly active, which sends a signal to Google that this website represents an active business, but the Instagram account is empty. The business is quite new which explains why, but there are ways to obtain content for Instagram other than treatment photos.
What surprised me however is that I can’t find a Google Business profile. This is really important as Google suppresses rankings for websites that are not on Google Business, as they’re unable to verify the legitimacy of the business. Furthermore, Google reviews are a powerful SEO signal.
An internal link is where you link from one page of your website to another page of your website. These are in-content links and do not include links within menus or the footer. Internal links are critical for SEO because they help Google to understand what your website is about, and which are your most important pages.
I didn’t find any internal links on this website, so Nic is missing a trick here. For a good example of internal linking, check out our Sacramento page.
inbound links and spam score
Aside from your website content, inbound links, sometimes called ‘backlinks’, are by far the most important part of your SEO strategy. An inbound link is where another website links to your website, and Google views this as a vote of confidence. Generally speaking, websites do not link to spammy or illegitimate websites, so if someone is linking to you, it reinforces the message that your website is the real deal.
All inbound links are not created equal, in fact, too many poor quality links can actually hurt your site. You should be aiming for links from authoritative websites (local news websites, big blog sites, local business associations etc), or from websites that are highly relevant to our industry (like Team Micro, What Clinic etc). The best links are both authoritative and relevant.
We use Moz to measure your inbound link power. They produce a metric called Domain Authority (DA) which is a score from 1-100. Higher scores are granted to websites with a good number of authoritative links, and a low number of poor quality links from spammy websites.
It is important to note that the scale is not linear…. getting from DA1 to DA10 is relatively easy, but jumping to DA20 is MUCH harder. Most sites never make it past DA15. Team Micro is a DA32 website, but its taken years of diligent SEO to get there.
Your spam score represents the % of websites with similar inbound link profiles that have been penalized or banned by Google. For obvious reasons, you want to keep this low, like less than 2%.
CustomCultureSMP.com has a DA1 score and a spam rating of n/a which is indicative of a brand new website.
You need a paid Moz subscription to see all the data, but you can see the top line stats here, and I’ve included screenshots taken from our Moz account below.
moz overview for customculturesmp.com
moz spam score for customculturesmp.com
speed and security
Your website speed is a huge ranking factor now, as Google now uses mobile-first indexing. This is understandable, especially in the SMP and PMU industry where around 80% of your website visitors are using mobile devices to access your content.
Security is also important, and directly influences rankings. Your website should be on https:// not http:// and this is mandatory if you are processing customer data online.
We use GT Metrix, the industry standard, to measure speed. Nic’s website is getting a speed rating of 71% and takes 4.6 seconds to load, which is acceptable but not great (verify here).
A score of 71% is low enough to have a small impact on Nic’s rankings. The changes that need to be made to improve this score are simple enough for WordPress based websites like this one, but could prove challenging for other websites that are built on other platforms like WIX, Squarespace, GoDaddy etc.
Nic’s website is not secure as it has no SSL certificate. This is a problem for SEO and needs to be resolved.
The following actions should be undertaken as soon as possible to strengthen the SEO of this website:
- The main SMP page needs better keyword targeting.
- The H1 and H2 headline structure needs a rethink.
- Images need to have ALT tags for improved relevance.
- The home page should have in-content links to the internal pages.
- The Instagram account needs some activity with at least 10 posts to start, then at least 2-3 posts per week to keep it active.
- A Google Business account is urgently needed, and Nic should focus on getting a few Google Reviews once this account is live.
- This website is not going to rank for anything meaningful without links. It may rank in Saltash as there is no competition, but realistically in a rural area like Cornwall, Nic needs to spread his net a lot wider and rank for terms that include the words ‘Cornwall’ and ‘South West’. Nic needs some high quality links to raise the DA rating of the site.
- The website needs citations, mentions of the company online. An easy way to do this is to register the business with some UK directories like Yellow Pages, Thomson and Yelp.
- The website needs a caching plugin to improve its speed.
- The website needs to be made secure, so it starts with https:// with no errors.
These are additional steps that every website owner should take. We didn’t verify these, or were unable to, for this specific website, but make sure you have these covered:
- Register and verify your website in Google Search Console.
- Create an XML sitemap and register it with GSC (above).
- If you have a .com domain, register your target country with GSC (above).
- Make sure you have at least 10 citations. These are mentions of your business online including name, address and phone number data (NAP), and may or may not include a link to your website. Good sources are Yelp, Yellow Pages, local business directories etc.
- Disavow any spammy links coming into your website using the Google Disavow Tool.
- Make sure you have at least a few reviews on the most important review sites – Google Business, Facebook and Yelp.
- Ensure your website links to all your social media accounts including (if you have them) Facebook, Instagram, Google Business, Pinterest, YouTube etc.
- You need dedicated pages for each of your key services.
- Your address and contact information needs to be included in full on your contact page, matching the format shown on your Google Business listing.