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"The Mover" new global Industry magazine

19th April 2011

FEATURE

Movers missing out on enquiries

Nobody in the moving industry has had a particularly happy time over the last two years. Enquiries have been sparse and profit margins subdued. However recent research does seem to suggest that moving companies are missing out on a few tricks when it comes to maximising enquiries over the Internet.

For the past three years OpenSEO has been working closely with many removal and storage companies, helping them to make more of the Internet. As part of this work OpenSEO has reviewed 438 moving company websites* and David Miller from the company shares the information in the following article. Read and weep!

OpenSEO has researched three core aspects of the sites studied:

1. What does Google think of them?

2. Are they optimised for the search engines?

3. Does the content of the website work for search engines and visitors?

Google

Google ranks every page of every website it finds out of ten; zero is the lowest.

Google rank is probably the most important factor in determining a website's position in Google's search results.

Google ranks the home page of almost 10% of the sites researched at zero. Google knows these websites exist, but thinks little of them. These websites are unlikely to attract many visitors through Google. Only 23 websites rank four out of ten or better*. The average rank of all the sites was two out of ten. The 'bedroom broker' companies such as Removals Group, Really Moving and Move Me all have websites that rank well. The top five broker websites rank four or better.

Google Rank Websites studied
Unranked/None 37
0 38
1 54
2 149
3 137
4 3
5 9
6 1

Search Engine Optimisation

In order for Google to rank every page, it has to be able to find them. Every page also has to clearly explain to Google what it is about. If the pages are not easily found or do not describe their content well, Google is unlikely to list them in its results.

This is an area that movers must improve. Just ten websites received an OpenSEO 'Good' rating for their ability to let Google know what they offer.

OpenSEO score
Websites studied

None
49

Poor
256

OK
123

Good
10




OpenSEO rated 256 websites as 'Poor' for their search engine optimisation. Add to that the 49 websites with no optimisation and we have 70% of the sites studied that fail at this elementary level.

Website content

Google favours websites with more pages and websites that are updated regularly. Visitors also like to browse around a website to get a feel for the company, its products and services. In this rating exercise OpenSEO also considered how the website looks its appeal.

OpenSEO rating
Websites studied

No website
10

Error page
24

Basic
299

Reasonable
92

Good
13




OpenSEO classed 299 websites as 'Basic'. These websites offer little more than a few sentences about their services over just a handful of pages. Their design tends to be amateur and they offer little or no opportunity for potential customers to engage with them.

Ten companies studied have no website and 24 web addresses produced error pages. If we add to this the websites which are unranked or rank 0, that means 17% of the sample are missing out hugely. There were 66,000 searches in January alone so 17% represents over 11,000 missed opportunities in one month!

Very few of the companies surveyed present their business well online. However, there are some companies that deserve a special mention for what they are doing:

Britannia Lanes www.britannialanes.co.uk - Instant quote, return loads, FAQ

MG Transport www.moverandstorers.co.uk - Blog, team page

Pretloves www.pretloves.com - Quote request, area moving guides

Reddaways www.reddawaysremovals.co.uk - Facebook, Twitter

Robinsons www.robinsonsrelo.com - Content depth

Sargents www.sargents.co.uk - Case studies

What can you do to improve?

Moving companies will see improvements by applying some basic search engine optimisation. It is very easy to 'label' a website so that Google knows what each page is about and even easier to help Google index the entire site. Call OpenSEO or ask around for a reputable search engine optimisation company.

The next step is to update your website regularly. You have a lot more information suitable for putting on your website than you might think! All that you need is an easy way to get it online and a few minutes every week to do it.

If movers optimise their pages and start adding content to their websites, Google will respond favourably.

OpenSEO has developed a package of tools that make removals and storage websites more interactive and engaging for visitors, significantly helping with search engine optimisation, and helping to combat the quote broker websites. Contact David Miller 01732 740894 david@openseo.co.uk.

*David researched all the BAR member companies. As BAR includes many of the largest and most professional companies in the industry it would be reasonable to assume that the results present a somewhat rosy picture of the nation as a whole.


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