Originally published by Resources Online.
The search engine optimization (SEO) process helps to ensure that your content is accessible to search engines and that your topics match your audience’s search terms. Having someone available, whether a consultant or a staff member, to advocate for SEO as part of your production process will reap rewards such as more visits to your website from people actually interested in your products, services, or organization.
The marketing manager for a product at global technology company, henceforth referred to as Brand X, engaged with Resources Online to improve the product’s visibility in Google search results for very competitive terms and to increase the percentage of traffic coming from organic search. (Organic search is the results the search engine delivers based on relevance versus results listed because they were paid for, i.e. ads. Users trust organic search results more than paid results.) The company’s content development processes at that time did not include SEO considerations. Content was marketing-driven and lacked keywords. The details of basic on-page optimization—including metadata, image optimization, and other considerations—were left up to the developers who didn’t have SEO training or, worse, to nobody. The company’s website structure was also not search-engine friendly.
Resources Online started off by conducting keyword research on the product to understand how customers were searching for similar products and services, using generic terms, synonyms, and related terms. We then updated the webpages to include the most popular terms. This helped to ensure that the actual page content matched searchers’ queries. Throughout the process, our SEO specialists educated the Brand X marketing team about what search engines look for in terms of content length, topics, and substance, and we explored how to best meet those needs.
With a scheduled site redesign in the works, we also took the time to remove spider barriers and to make the site search-engine friendly. Spiders are code the search engines use to check pages on a website and identify and pull information that is then used by the search engine algorithms to deliver search results. If the spiders can’t effectively crawl your website and find key information, it negatively affects your site’s rankings.
Search engine results
Ranking. By knowing which high-volume keywords were important to track, we were able to refine and re-focus tracking of search rank. Year over year, the number of tracked business-critical generic keywords showed improvement in Google search results as follows:
- 100%: The number of keywords in position #1 doubled.
- 39%: Keywords on page 1
- 35%: Keywords on pages 1 and 2
- 20%: Average position of all tracked keywords
Organic traffic. By revising metadata to make it more compelling and user-focused and by adding keywords, Brand X experienced the following traffic improvements:
- 30%: The number of sessions from organic search engines
- 25%: The number of new users coming to the site
Conversions. Better keyword targeting brought more qualified searchers to the site:
- 54%: Purchase page clicks
- 98%: Product trial sign-up page completions
- 150%: Demo sign-up completions from organic
Configuration. We worked with the development team to:
- Ensure that international content was delivered to the correct country or region, by applying hreflang tags.
- Eliminate duplicate content, through the use of canonical URLs.
- Capture link equity, by converting unnecessary 302 redirects to 301s.
Indexation. We added sitemap.xml files and removed spider barriers, thus allowing more pages to be indexed and found through search.
Building a strong SEO foundation and doing the ongoing SEO work takes time, persistence, and education, but the impact on traffic, discoverability, and conversions can be enormous. Ultimately drawing the right traffic to your site can result in the downloads or sales that directly impact your bottom line.