Bikepacking Resource 'Feral Rides' Needed an SEO Plan

Feral Rides, a bikepackers resource. There's an image of a cabin in winter that overlooks Big Donna Lake in Alaska.
Feral Rides will be an educational and inspirational resource for bikepacking.

This week I chose to create a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan for a website I want to develop as a resource for beginner bikepackers. The website is called Feral Rides, and is still in the developmental stage. The intention of this site is to be a resource that both educates and inspires all who want to explore bikepacking.

As previously stated, this site is intended for beginner bikepackers. This does not necessarily mean beginner riders, but instead will focus on riders of all skill levels wanting to get into bikepacking.

My Process

Developing this plan was informative. Originally, I based everything off personal familiarization within the discourse community and gave little consideration to the effects of SEO. Working through this plan showed me several spots where I needed to improve upon for greater success. These major areas are:

  • Keywords
  • Technical SEO

Keywords

I started by using Google Keyword Planner. This process was both interesting and difficult because I began with words that were too specific. These only garnered a minimal number of searches.

After reworking my list with better keywords, I applied the following questions Chris Barr discusses in The Yahoo! Style Guide to those words:

  • Does the list contain sites that are in a totally different category from yours?
  • Do the sites deserve to rank above yours?
  • Does the list include major brand names that I couldn’t compete with offline?
  • Do any of the domain names of these sites end in .gov, .org, or .edu?

This process narrowed that list down to ten keywords, with most of these words having low to medium competition. This narrowing will help the website succeed due to the possibilities it will be displayed first.

Screenshot of the keywords for Feral Rides using Google Keyword Planner.
Screenshot of the keywords for Feral Rides using Google Keyword Planner.

Technical SEO

During the design process, I considered the viewing capabilities on a mobile device but had not considered the speed a page loads. I ran the website through PageSpeed Insights to see how well my initial design fared. The results weren't stellar. The mobile performance scored 56 and the desktop performance, which was slightly better, had a score of 78.

Screen shot of the mobile score according to PageSpeed Insights. The performance score is 56.
Screen shot of the mobile score according to PageSpeed Insights.

According to Sakshi Pandey’s article, A Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Responsive Design, “…the Mobile market share is far greater than the desktop or tablet market shares combined.”

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Platform Comparison Market Share

Given my results and understanding the comparison chart above, I need to do more research in how to improve both scores, especially the mobile one. This may require me to better understand HTML coding language or hire someone with that familiarization.

Final Thoughts on the Process and Application

All the topics outlined in Dr. Lucas's SEO checklist are equally important for a successful website. In relation to my project, understanding keywords with high search rates and how to improve page speed will be my biggest hurdles.

Looking at this project from this perspective has been insightful. Not only will improve the overall design of the site, but it has given me clearer direction when I create the content.

Nate Cole

Nate Cole

I work for an airline as the Publications and Records Manager. When I'm not working, I can be found either hanging out with my family or on a bike tooling around...preferably both!
Fairbanks, Alaska