Graphic design Edinburgh and keyword search ranking

Pantone color

It can make all the difference if your company is on the first page of Google.

If you search for David Airey I’m at the number one spot, but what good is that? No-one’s looking for my name (except me and a vanity search).

People who look locally for the service I offer are much more likely to search for “graphic design edinburgh” or “edinburgh graphic designer”. These are the queries I want to rank for.

How can you tell how many people are searching for your keywords?

It’s helpful to know how many people are actually typing those terms into search engines because that indicates how many potential clients I’m currently missing out on by not appearing high in the results.

There’s an excellent Keyword Suggestion Tool from Aaron on SEO Book that tells you just that.

SEO Book logo

I entered “graphic design edinburgh” into the keyword suggestion tool (choosing ‘UK’ in the drop-down country list) and discovered the following:

Graphic design Edinburgh

An estimated 364 people search each month in the UK for graphic design edinburgh — about 12 people per day, right on my doorstep, that I could potentially attract as a client.

Nate Whitehill, with his post ‘How To Rank for Specific Keywords‘, gives some helpful hints about checking out your competition for specific keywords.

You should copy the URL of the number one search result for your keywords, then paste it into this link popularity tool. That will give you an idea of what you’re up against, as it lists both the page rank of the website and how many inbound links it currently has.

One of my competitors is Graphic Partners (broken link removed, 2014). I pasted their URL into the link popularity tool and found out the following:

Edinburgh graphic design

So their website has a Google page rank of 5/10. My current page rank is 4/10 but it was 5/10 before I changed my blog URL, so that’s matchable. Graphic Partners have 102 backlinks to their site. When I ran through the link popularity tool I discovered that I have 2,220 backlinks, so that isn’t where I’m falling behind.

I know that my anchor text is most likely the cause of not ranking highly.

About anchor text (from Wikipedia):

“The objective of search engines is to provide highly relevant search results; this is where anchor text helps, as the tendency is, more often than not, to hyperlink words relevant to the landing page.”

Incorrect anchor text use

To visit the graphic design edinburgh website, click here.

Correct anchor text use

Vist the graphic design edinburgh site.

Matt Coddington at Net Business Blog wrote an interesting article titled, “Make money online” is not the only keyword out there (broken link removed, 2014).

What happens if you place your own chosen keywords in the comment name field? E.g. Ben Yoskovitz (although he does so much more) might choose web design canada (there are over 2,000 searches for this per month) or Andy Beard (who likewise offers a lot more) might choose affiliate marketing tip (there are around 1,500 searches for this every month).

What do you do to improve your keyword rankings?

I’ve read that by making certain words in your articles bold, search engines will give them a higher significance.

Andy Beard had this to say when referring to the two most important factors for blog ranking In google blog search:

“This is actually very simple: How fresh your content is, and exact keywords in the title. Without the exact keyword in the title, you are going nowhere fast.”

Read the post.

Is this the same for a normal Google search? Does your title hold the same weight? You’ll notice that I’ve added ‘graphic design edinburgh’ to the title here. I’ve also read, although I couldn’t find where, that the order in which your title words appear has an effect e.g. graphic design edinburgh and keyword search ranking is more effective for my goal than keyword search ranking and graphic design edinburgh. Do you know?

38 responses

  1. Great post, David, with lots of worthwhile insight. It’s always interesting when people use themselves as a case study, which you’ve done here.

    For me, the biggest question is “what do I WANT to rank for?”

    Since Instigator Blog is more about me and less about business or web design or anything else, I waver on what keywords I really do want to target.

    Most links coming back are for “Instigator Blog” – so now I’m 3rd in Google for the term “instigator” … which isn’t terribly helpful.

    Truth be told, “Canadian entrepreneur” or “Montreal entrepreneur” might be more interesting, or even “Montreal tech startup” or something of the sort.

    I think people often have a hard time knowing what keywords they WANT to be targeting…

  2. Doesn’t surprise me that no one searches for that.

    Really there are two questions:

    1. What would I like to be known for, and therefore what do I want to rank highly for in search engines?

    2. What search terms are people actually using?

    It’s the combination of both that matters, not just one or the other.

  3. I have spent a lot of time lately learning the ways of SEO and there are a TON of factors. SEOMoz has a great article that lists 103 SEO factors and has industry experts comment on them. Since algorithms are not published none of it is gospel but it’s a good place to start. What I took from this that the largest factors seem to be: keywords in your title, number of inbound links from quality sites, link text IN those links to your site.

    My business is WebKit and recently my business partner and I have started offering our photography services. We are only targetting local jobs and have determined that ‘denver photographer’ is our most valuable keyword search to target. Looking at my summary above I made a decision to attempt to saturate the inbound anchor text with that phrase…. but how?

    Typically people link to your site using the NAME of your site. Let’s look at the name of the business. “Dan and Pete’s Photography” would get photography listed and both of our first names, but no Denver. After contemplating Google stop words (that don’t get indexed) I came up with the domain, calling the site “A Denver Photographer“. Wow. Now I have a domain with keyword density but _more importantly_ is that every time someone links to our site (using the title of our site) they will be linking with a phrase that completely matches our target search phrase (after stop words like ‘A’ are removed). We haven’t actually finished the site yet (this weekend!) and we haven’t done any link building but after examining our competitors for the same keywords I’m pretty confident that this approach will be money for us….

  4. Thanks for the post – some useful links there.

    I’ve been experimenting quite a bit, and the single most weighty factor I’ve found is the page title. Which is what Andy says.

    For instance I now include my name in my blog title “Aaron Russell on new media, design and technology”

    Within a couple of weeks of adding my name I appear in the top 3 search results for the big three search engines when you search “Aaron Russell”.

    Now as you’ve said, very few people are going to search my name, but it was an experiment and it worked. Unfortunately if you search “new media design” there is far too much competition – I’m nowhere to be seen.

    Soon though I will tweak my title again using different keywords.

  5. Absolutlely Ben, those two go hand in hand. As well as no-one searching, it can affect your keywords just as much if you’re up against a host of big guns. It’s like a newcomer trying to rank number 1 for ‘make money online’. It’d be much easier to target the ‘graphic design’ keywords, and over 500,000 people search for that term every month.

    Dan, thanks for the link to SEOmoz. That’s a great solution with I’d be interested to know how you get on with it after a while of the site going live.

    Aaron, you’re very welcome. I’m looking forward to seeing your site top of the list when I search for ‘new media design’.

  6. Hi Graphic Design Edinburgh

    Some good tips there, thanks. I’m not sure if I have done what you said right? Do I insert my Search term instead of my name (like I have done here?)

    Kevin at Blogging Tips gave me a similar tip, when I use forums I was previously using my url as my signature, he suggested instead to literally use the words “graphic design blog” as the link instead as it would be far more effective for google.

    Although like you say this is great for SEO its not so great for connecting with people, if you only know them by their search term is it?

  7. Hi Tara,

    Your post was spammed for the URL, sorry for not replying sooner. I wasn’t ignoring you!

    I know what you mean about how it’s not the best solution for connecting with people (using your keywords rather than your actual name).

    Maybe you could just add your name at the bottom of the comment? I’m not sure. I think it’s too much to have my comment name as David Airey – graphic design Edinburgh

  8. I think some of the hardcore millitant blogger types would frown on you for adding you name to the end of blog comments. I’ve seen people flamed for this before.

    I think there’s a balance here to be struck. Sure we all want to boost our SERP positions but theres a spammy line that can get crossed.

    Personally I like to know the name of people commenting.

  9. I agree with you, Aaron.

    I don’t think it’s right to add self-promoting hyperlinks inside comment boxes. When the thought of adding a name to the end of a comment crossed my mind I was referring to a simple…


    (to help the reader know the name of the commenter)

    Personally I reckon I’d get tired of that pretty quickly though. It was just one of the thoughts floating around in here.

  10. I like the info, david.

    I just tried that link popularity tool and i came back with 1,556 in yahoo but nothing in anything else. I was wondering if that was true for you too

  11. Hmm.. I really don’t understand much about SEO. I need to start reading more.

    Btw, nice to see your cool header image back! ;)

  12. You’re welcome for the link, it provided a lot of good insight for me.

    Another way to build good natural links to your site AND increase things like page rank is to provide informative quality articles that people will link to (called “link-baiting”). On the one hand, you’re writing it for links. On the other hand it’s only going to work if you are genuinely providing a service to the web community. If you do it right then a) you get links, b) you get page rank, c) you get a highly linked article with lots of relevant keywords, d) you’re helping provide useful information and e) you are coming across as an intelligent voice in your field.

    Now that I’ve said that I suppose I need to do some of that. While I have been providing SEO-friendly tools (ecommerce, content management) for years I haven’t actually tried my hand at DOING the actual SEO work until just lately. This last month has been a ton of education and theory but only a little practice.

    And the crazy thing is that this terrain seems to shift every day…

  13. I have been giving this quite a bit of thought recently, and I think ‘Online Ethics’ would be my best bet, but I’m not sure.

    I don’t mind a short tagline in the names of my commentators, and I don’t mind the name being left at the end. I highly respect Lorelle, but I read that post when it was first published and I didn’t agree with what it stated.

    Good post Davy ;)

  14. I’d read that about anchor text before, but didn’t really pay any attention to it. However, now that you’ve reminded me of it, it seems pretty obvious that a little more attention to this could improve rankings. After a bit of Googling I found a post by Matt Bailey that I read back in 2005. He says:

    “The next time you go to write “click here” in the text of your page, stop and ask yourself; Why should the user click this link? Does it properly describe the benefit to the user? Think through your strategy and rewrite that link.”

    You can see the full post here:

    Thanks for jogging my memory on this one. I’ve got a lot of work to do if I’m going to replace all those “click here” anchors.

    Some great resources too. Thanks.

  15. Another excellent post David!

    I try and write a couple of posts now again mentioning my location, Mad Edinburgh Driver. Which worked because an Edinburgh blog a link to it. I also try link relevant blogs posts to comments I make on the Scotsman (Scottish National Newspaper).

    Branding is key to winning formula

    We recently change our main Website Title from “IT Business Solutions” to “Computer Support and Services in Edinburgh and Hastings”. Which now means we are on the first/second page of Google, before that we where nowhere.

  16. Dan, I fully agree with the sentiment that great content will help you in so many respects. I’ve been reading through the SEOmoz article. Interesting read!

    Ilker, glad you noticed the header image, and that you prefer it.

    Johno, don’t cry too soon, I rescued your first comment from my spam folder. I’ve known about the whole ‘click here’ issue for some time now.

    It’s fine to have click here providing you tell the reader what happens afterwards (as you’re suggesting) such as, “click here to learn about graphic design” etc.

    Armen, glad you like the post. As Wendy advised, it’s a great idea to use the keyword suggestion tool when deciding on specific terms to rank for.

    Jamie, I wasn’t aware you could comment on The Scotsman articles, so thanks for that link. I’ll look into it, although I wonder how long they keep comments open for.

    Wendy, I’m more than happy to spread some link love for those of you who contribute to my website. I learn a lot from everyone’s participation and I really enjoy the community aspect that comes with blogging. Whatever promotes that is great in my opinion.

  17. @ Armen – Use the SEO Book keyword research tool to determine which phrases get the most searches. Or just type in ‘ethics’ and see what are the most popular keyphrases associated with that word.

    David, it’s good to know that you are willing to allow your readers to do this in your comments. Not all bloggers share your generous attitude, and feel a little bit like it is spamming their site. I don’t mind it as long as it isn’t abused.

    I had a person come and frequently comment *just* to get onto the top commentators list, and used her primary keyword in this manner. It’s easy to detect when people do this because their comments seem to be in context, but not really adding to the conversation. Thankfully, I’ve found that these kind of people don’t hang around for very long. :)

  18. My area of interest and expertise is a little different than the rest of you: genealogy. Specifically, Oregon history, oregon trail history, and more specifically, my cousin William Livingston Holmes who was the first sheriff of Clackamas County, Oregon in 1845. I did a keyword search for ‘oregon history’ and it came back with 3300+ estimated search volume. The words ‘oregon trail’ brought back a whopping 76,000+ ESV. I am in the process of writing a biography of Wm Holmes to put on my blog, and I think it will draw traffic, but I am not sure if I should be “selling” the article (using the PayPal plugin), or if it would just be better to use it as something people might want to link to. Are links more valuable in the long run?

  19. webduck,

    I think your question depends on how new your site is (with regard selling your biographical writing).

    If your site is new then offer it for free as a download (or as a series of posts to entice readers back?). If you have a high level of traffic, and you know that the text is in demand, experiment with sales.

    That’s my initial impression.

  20. Regarding the Scotsman comments I think they keep them on indefinitely, I think they actual get the whole web 2.0 thing! Although, you have to be quick to comment as it seems you only have 24 hours before commenting is disable for that article.


  21. Incoming anchor text is very important to any SEO you’re looking to do but as Matt points out in his article, you’ve got to look at the bigger picture when thinking about the specific term you’re looking to “own”. Try to get into the head of your prospective reader and work out what they’re likely to search for or use a keyword tool like Wordtracker to see what they’re actually searching for.

  22. It looks like you are getting a lot of feedback on the post. I didn’t visit all the links and I am sure it was mentioned but it is worth mentioning again.

    You need to mix up your anchor text some so that you have different KW phrases pointing to your website. You will raise flags if you have say a 1000 links pointing to you with the exact same anchor text and not a lot of other links pointing to you with different anchor text. It’s better to have 500 250 100 100 50 etc.

    Nice blog, keep up the good work.

    I follow as well :)

  23. Mike,

    Working out what your prospective reader will search for is vital. Thanks for stopping by.


    Great point about mixing up your anchor text for a wider reach. Taking me as an example I’d love to rank for ‘print design edinburgh’, ‘graphic designer edinburgh’, .web design scotland’ etc. etc.

  24. You forgot to mention google trends as well. Although not perfect (it can only give you data for google) it can give you some interesting insight into what people are searching for. It also show search density in relation to location.

    So you can see what keywords are searched for most often in your target areas.

    And you can compare different searches to see which is most popular, for example:

  25. If you link to someone with a trackback, and they use dofollow, you can choose your anchor text.

    You also can benefit from site wide linking to your home page using a keyword and not “home”, maybe sites do this from their footer.

    You can use some article marketing, though that is better when you already have a lot of other links to add to the mix.

    One of the most powerful keyword research tools is the Adwords Keyword Suggest tool. That gives you a list of related terms, and those are the terms you should plan your site around.

    p.s. You might have a problem with your dofollow atm, maybe since you did your move.

  26. David,

    It looks like the SEO bug has bitten you :). Email me if you want some targeted keyword phrases that have no or little competition. I will send you something for free since you are a fellow follower ;)

    please contact me at g mail dot com

  27. Aaron,

    Thanks for that link, which I’ll check out shortly.


    I’m not sure why the NoFollow isn’t functioning at the minute. It could well be to do with the URL move. I’ll work on that as soon as I get a chance. Cheers.


    That’s very kind of you. I’ve pinged an email your direction.

  28. Good SEO is just the beginning…. once the visitor arrives, there needs to be great content. You’ve done an excellent job of providing that here.

    Oh, and KUDOS on your offer to be a guest author! I am constantly BEGGING my clients to make such an offer on their blog!

  29. Hi Divva, of course content is vital. Absolutley. Some people might say that with great content SEO takes a back seat, but at the end of the day, if no-one knows about your great content then you’re going nowhere fast. Thanks for the compliments and for stopping by to comment.

  30. David

    just a thought; but is there anything we/I can do to help you out with the “Graphic Design Edinburgh” Google keyword ranking?

  31. Johno, if you can create site-wide links for each of my 10 specific keyword phrases that’d be great. ;)

    Really though, is keyword ranking something your readers would be interested in? If so, why not publish an article, mentioning this post with specific anchor text?

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