SEO For Spas and Waxing: Case Study Exhale Spa to Increase Bookings

Whether you are one of the top spas in the US trying to increase bookings for your massage, waxing, pedicure, or manicure services at each local franchise location; or a smaller spa, massage parlor, or waxing center in a local market trying to gain clients, the challenges that spas have with SEO, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc), and content strategy is consistent.

Challenges Spas Have With Digital Marketing


  • Capturing Share of Voice Within the Organic Search Results
  • Optimizing Video and Image Assets
  • Local SEO
  • Franchise Digital Marketing Management and Brand Consistency
  • Local Listings Optimization and Management
  • Call Tracking
  • Managing Reviews
  • Difficulty Building Links to Services Pages
  • Social Profile Creation
  • Community Growth Within Social Channels
  • Reputation Management
  • Marketing Budgets Skew Towards Traditional Advertising
  • Websites Lack In-depth Content
  • Creation of High-Value Content

Exhale Spa merges the paths of mind and body well being and fulfilling the need for an experience that improves and transforms lives in one environment.

Exhale currently operates spa and studios upscale locations in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Turks + Caicos, with many new locations coming soon.

exhale spa locations

 

Technical SEO Audit of Exhalespa.com: Outline and Concerns


Images: It looks as though Exhalespa.com has upwards of 260 images (gif, bmp and jpg image files) across its website. The key is to utilize these images to influence the on-page SEO.

  • Make sure they all have alt text attributes for example each locations page should have the actual location outlined in the alt text of the images as a modifier to the image
  • Add title attributes for accessibility
  • Ensure the image name is optimized to represent the image (instead of image.jpg for a picture of your New York location, use new-york-spa.jpg)

HTML Pages: the following is a breakdown of the 896 crawlable pages on Exhalespa.com and the HTML header status code they return.

  • Approximately 790 pages that return a 200 header. This is the standard response for successful HTTP requests.
  • 1 page has a 301 header which still has links to it throughout the website (http://www.exhalespa.com/locations). This means the page has been permanently moved to a new URL. This is the correct redirect response to return when a page has been moved.
  • One of the biggest issues we found on Exhalespa.com was the extensive use of 302 redirects. Approximately 95 page returns a 302 header. 302 redirects do not allow ranking metrics to pass through the page and onto the pages that these redirect to. With access to their Google Webmaster Tools I am sure we would find many more cases of links that are offsite pointing to quality pages which have been redirected utilizing the wrong redirect. This is a huge loss of an opportunity to gain ranking metrics. We would suggest checking the server side settings to make sure they are set to default to a 301 redirect. This is a major technical concern and should be fixed as soon as possible.
  • Approximately 12 pages return a 404 error. This is a missed opportunity to capture the ranking metrics that those pages have gained from external links or social metrics. These links should be fixed in the internal link structure, and there should also be a 301 redirect mapping put in place to capture any off-site metrics.
  • The URL structure of the website is not optimal either. Matt Cutts at Google has said that Google has a hard time parsing out words that are combined like those of Exhalespa.com. The urls should also be all lower case and not camel case or contain upper case letters. For example a URL such as http://www.exhalespa.com/Locations/MABoston/Healing/HealingPrograms.aspx should be written something like http://www.exhalespa.com/locations/ma-boston/healing/healing-programs.aspx.

If a site is going to rewrite their URLs, they need to make sure to 301 the old URLs to the new URLs in a 1 to 1 mapping structure to ensure traffic consistency and minimize initial traffic loss. Read more about URL structure for SEO here

Title Tags: Title Tags are a primary factor in the onsite variables group that Google focuses on to gain insight into the content of a page.

  • There are multiple instances throughout Exhalespa.com pages where different pages have the same Title Tags. This can cause Google filter those pages which can cause an opportunity loss for ranking for keywords associated with those pages.
  • The Title Tags hold a lot of opportunity to be optimized to concentrate on head, mid, and tail terms which will help Exhale Spa capture more targeted traffic. Their structure should be optimized as well, moving the brand to the end and primary keywords to the front.

Tip: I would suggest optimizing the Title Tag structure of most pages such as (primary keyword: secondary keyword | Exhale Spa [location])

Description Tags: Description Tags help click through rates (CTR) from the search results and can also be a signal to Google to help them distinguish between pages that could possibly have duplicate content.

  • Exhalespa.com’s site seems to be missing description tags on its pages.

Tip: Because the Description Tag has opportunity to help click through rate so I would suggest working with the CMS or at a page level to optimize the Description Tag for click-through. A good person in the organization to optimize the Description Tags is someone who handles PPC, as they are familiar with and make a living from optimizing CTR.

Meta Keywords Tag: Where as Google does not use the Meta Keywords tag, Bing recently announced (August 2011) that they have gone back to utilizing it as a minor signal to help them understand a page’s content set. Don’t overdo it as it can actually hurt the page if it looks to spammy.

  • The majority of pages on Exhalespa.com do not currently utilize the Meta Description Tag
  • I would suggest going through the site and adding the Meta Description Tag at a page level, starting with the highest converting pages first.

Tip: I would suggest taking the keywords in the Title Tag and adding those that are in the Description Tag, (minus stop words like “a, the, and”) which should total approximately 10-20 words at most.

Header Tags (H1, H2, H3): Header tags are like the chapter titles in a book, and need to be unique on each page.

  • Currently Exhalespa.com does not utilize header tags on their site. I would strongly suggest they define these on each page and style them accordingly using CSS.

Canonical Tag: This is a great way to minimize duplicate content caused by vanity URLs, poor site structure, or internal tracking perimeters added to the URL string for click tracking. Not all search engines honor this tag, but it is still a best practice. Exhale Spa does not currently utilize this tag, but should to control duplicate content issues that they have with their internal tracking. The Santa Monica page has a couple different URLs, depending on how you navigate to it. Try for yourself, go to the HTML sitemap and click on the Santa Monica page (jot down that URL), then navigate to it from the locations link in the left hand navigation, and you get a different URL, 1 which looks like it has a tracking on it, and one that is clean.

Tip: When utilizing internal tracking on links use the “#”(hash tag) to separate the clean url from the tracking code, which will eliminate the duplicate content issue. (example: http://www.exhalespa.com/Locations/CASantaMonica/default.aspx?LID=122713, would look like http://www.exhalespa.com/Locations/CASantaMonica/default.aspx#LID=122713)

Exhalespa.com Home Page Grade For The Keyword “Spa”


Below you will find a grade for the home page of Exhalespa.com. This grade is a measurement across close to 40 on-page factors that help the search engines determine the value of a page in relation to a keyword. As outlined below Exhalespa.com does a good job of optimizing the on-page factors of their home page to target the keyword “spa”.

exhale.com on page seo grade

Link Analysis of Exhalespa.com


Basic Domain Link Metrics: Currently Exhalespa.com has over 320,000 links coming from about 700 linking root domains.

  • mRank: 5.22/10
  • mTrust: 5.3/10
  • External Followed Links: 3,406
  • Total External Links: 3,847
  • Total Links: 25,663
  • Followed Linking Root Domains: 719
  • Total Linking Root domains: 814
  • Linking C Blocks: 584

Top 10 Anchor Texts: Anchor text is one of the factors Google and the other search engines use to determine what a page should be ranked for. Below are the top 10 anchor text phrases that are being used to link to Exhalespa.com from other blogs and websites outside of their own.

top 10 anchor text phrases

Top 5 Pages: Below you will find the top 5 pages on Exhalespa.com based on metrics such as page authority, linking root domains, inbound links, Facebook Shares, Tweets, and Google +1’s.

top 5 pages on exhalespa.com

Competitive Analysis for Exhalespa.com


Our assumption is that Exhalespa.com’s top keyword is spa or day spa. Below you will find a basic competitive analysis of that keyword and what it will take Exhalespa.com to rank for that keyword. The data is for the entire US, and not local seo.This is one of their primary keywords and can be done across a much larger set of keywords to understand Exhalespa.com’s true online competition and market share in the search engines.
Keyword Ranking and Competitve Analysis for Spa

Social Outline of Exhalespa.com


Exhale Spa has multiple Facebook pages broken out for each of their local locations. They also have a primary Facebook page featured below. Social marketing is one of the primary distribution channels that Exhale Spa could use for marketing and increasing appointments. With the new timeline and map features that Facebook just rolled out, there are many unique uses for local spas and businesses to drive traffic utilizing the new Facebook apps.

exhale spa facebook page

Blog Mentions


This is a general outline of blog mentions for the keywords “exhale spa” and “exhalespa.com”. It seems as though they are lacking in mentions throughout the web. This citation metric could be increased by doing some basic PR or link building which would have positive effects on search engine rankings as well.
blog and site mentions exhale spa