I like to go on record saying I wasn’t in any way paid to do a case study on this site. This is purely what I was shocked by and felt I wanted to share with you.
Alright, so most of the US audience should be familiar with Esurance. They are a relatively new but big Automotive Insurance company. They seem to be in a huge rush to gather as many clients as possible. In fact, I hear their ad every 5 minutes on one of my favorite radio stations. One thing that I find exciting is their total lack of SEO on their own website. Last I checked, that was a significant factor in getting better placement online and even driving traffic to pages that aren’t just the home page.
As I like to do when I’m in between work, I stumbled onto this Esurance page. http://www.esurance.com/home/tv.asp So what did I find but the entire page loads with one massive image in the background. I felt I needed to investigate further how Esurance handles their SEO. So I took a screencap for those of you who are too lazy to check out the link and further illustrate my point.
Let’s start with the down to earth basics—the title of the page, “Erin Cam – Page 1″. When I last looked at web standards in general, the page’s title was supposed to relate directly to the content and entice the reader to explore the website further. Erin Cam – Page 1 doesn’t tell me anything other than someone named Erin running a Cam? Catch my drift. Then next, we take a look at the description Meta tag. Well, I would look there, but there is a lack of anything to look at. So what will the search engine bots naturally look at? The on-page text, which if you look at our fancy picture, there is barely anything. Here is a quote of the first 30 characters on the site how a search engine bot would see it: “Home > Erin’s World > Erin’s Cam Page 1 2 3 Privacy and Security”. This sentence, in general, really doesn’t grab anyone’s attention. In fact, I wouldn’t know what to make of it if I were to see this on a search engine results page.
Let’s take a quick look at the code of this page. Would it validate in the W3C validator? No, in fact, we find 105 errors on the page itself. Without proper code usage, the pages would stand less of a chance of getting correctly interpreted by the search engine bots and less chance of getting placed correctly in the search engine results.
Now I would look to see how the keyword usage is on this page, but there is a total lack of keywords to be used. This is a huge flaw in the overall page optimization. I would assume that the page is getting ranked for the words “Erin Cam,” seeing as that’s the first set used in the title. The results that those words would produce would be ultimately off compared to what Esurance would like to see.
Now that we have the problems let’s come up with some viable solutions for this setup. First and foremost, get some valid code. It takes about 10 minutes to accomplish, and the code itself will be easier to read for both you and the search engines. Keywords will need to be considered, and I would go with the standard “auto insurance” or something within their needs. The title and description tags should be given some attention especially considering the necessary keywords in their campaign.
The adamant part comes with the page itself as it stands its one big background image with some pictures laid on top of it. My first thought would be to drop the description text for each video off of the background. With some creative writing, this could quickly increase the on-page SEO and keyword density. The next would be to make those videos interactive on the page itself (youtube embedded videos or some homegrown solution). This would increase the click-throughs from an external site and give something interactive for the users to enjoy instead of each video loading in a new window. Pop-up windows are a commonly hated problem on the worldwide web. Every user dislikes dealing with them. The final piece would be to add the rel=”no-follow” tag to all of the links used on the bottom of the page. This is wasted link authority on pages that don’t need to be seen in the search engines. The only one I would possibly consider leaving is the sitemap link.
Overall this is one page of many that Esurance needs to take a much closer look at. It’s obvious why they may rank for 3+ keyword phrases, just mainly due to the amount of advertising they are doing. For them to do well in a long-term sense on the search engines, Esurance will have to start paying more attention to how they code their pages and what kind of keywords they are using.