The process of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) confuses a lot of people.
If you are still baffled by “the secrets of SEO”, you don’t need to be. There is nothing “secret” about it.
When you understand the role each of the elements of SEO have, you begin to see how these elements all mesh together to create a “perfect storm” of website performance.
There are a number of key ingredients in getting your website working well in search engines and in this SEO case study I’ll outline exactly what was done to show you how a number of small incremental changes (ongoing) have produced enormous results for a recent business I worked with.
This business had launched a new website about 12 months prior to engaging me to help them with getting their website back on track.
Their internal staff had identified that there were some serious issues that needed fixing and we set about getting the website technically right from an SEO perspective and building on that with a regular content strategy.
Enquiries were slowly declining and sporadic at best, visitor numbers had plateaued and were starting to drop.
Working with their internal team we audited the site, formulated an action plan and implemented some updates designed at getting serious results.
Below is what was uncovered, what was done and the impact it had.
An initial audit of the site revealed over 44,000 errors from an SEO perspective (more than 40,000 of which were image related), 59 High Priority SEO errors, 89 Medium Priority Errors and 40 Low Priority errors.
Although the site looked and worked pretty well, there were some serious technical issues holding it back.
The site had an extremely high number of duplicate pages which meant they were all completing with each other for Google rankings. Inevitably none of them were doing very well as Google couldn’t tell which page was more important than the others.
Not Enough Content
Many of the pages on the site had too little content. Search engines needs a decent amount of unique content on each page to review and rank pages and there just wasn’t enough to have an impact.
Poorly Optimised Images
Image tags were missing the ALT attribute or had poor ALT attribute descriptions – Google uses a snippet of code applied to the images on your site to determine what the image is. These image tag elements are called ALT attributes – short for ALTernative description and are also used for screen readers for the vision impaired.
When using images to illustrate your products and services, it’s imperative that you use descriptive file names for your images. ALT and TITLE attributes tell search engines what the image is about, as search engines can’t see what is in your image like humans can.
Too Little or No “Meta Data” (Titles & Descriptions)
Many of the pages either had too little, no or duplicate “Meta Data”. Your site’s Meta Title and Descriptions (data) are the Heading and two lines of text that appears in the search results and is also used by the search engines to learn what your pages are about:
Step 1: Reduce Duplicate Pages
The first step was to reduce the number of duplicate pages by updating some website code.
Step 2: Add SEO Optimised Page Copy
In the second step, we added more unique text content to each page meaning that most pages now had enough text for Google to rank them well.
Step 3: Update Meta Titles & Descriptions
We optimised and updated the Title tags and Meta descriptions on each page using the most popular keyword phrases searchers were using to find the products and services the business offered. We made sure the descriptions were catchy, drawing the customer to click through from search results to the website.
Step 4: Internal Linking
We improved the usability of the website by adding links between relevant and important areas of the site.
Step 5: Fixing Technical Errors, Broken Links
We fixed a number of technical errors, broken links and incorrect links that were preventing website users from having an enjoyable experience.
Step 6: Content Strategy
We created a blog and started publishing fresh, targeted, regular content that potential customers were searching for and began publishing regularly to social media platforms.
Below is a graph of the decrease in technical and content website errors over the last 3 months since work began (you can see there is still a way to go).
Next is how each of these updates affected the keyword rankings and in-turn the number of website visitors from the organic search results.
You can see how the jumps in visitors correspond almost exactly with the reduction in site errors.
The increasing green and blue bars illustrate the increase in the number of keywords that the site appears in position 1-10 in search results for.
The grey line is the weekly increase in organic visitors clicking through from search results.
Next you can see how this increase in visitor numbers, and reduction in website errors also affected the number of leads the client was receiving through their website.
Leads from website:
A few bonus surprises
Interestingly enough, not only did the client see an increase in visitor numbers and leads, a number of other things happened with the reduction of errors.
The conversion rate (visitor to enquiry ratio) increased. A higher percentage of people were finding what they were looking for and also made an enquiry.
More visitors X increased conversion rate = exponential increase in website leads.
Less visitors leaving:
Put simply, a website “bounce rate” is a metric that measures the number of people who arrive on a site and then leave without clicking any further. After the updates, the bounce rate of the website decreased 4% or in other words 4% more people are staying on the site.
Visitors finding their solution quicker:
While in some instances, visitors spending less time on a site can be seen as a bad thing, in this case a reduced time on site correlates directly with more enquiries. This is another indication that the site is working better and visitors are finding what they are looking for about 1 minute faster than before the updates (in 5 minutes, down from 6 minutes)
You never know how the elements “under the hood” of your website are affecting the performance of your website.
This business’s site looked nice, and you could find what you were looking for relatively easily. But in this competitive age, working okay isn’t good enough – you need to excel. Customers demand more – your website needs to be super easy to use and work seamlessly and stand above your competitors.
Your competitors are only 1 click away and if your site is too hard to use, potential customers will just leave and visit the next site.
Would You Like A Website Review?
I can conduct a website review and audit for your business, outlining everything that needs to be fixed to get more visitors arriving at your site and enquiring online from the search engines.
Simply click below to request an audit of your site.