How to improve website ranking in the search and increase traffic: 5 stages of search engine optimization
- Technical optimization.
- Semantic kernel collection.
- Internal optimization.
- Working on behavioral factors.
- External optimization.
A technical audit should be carried out before the launch of the project, after a change in its structure, moving to another domain or redesign. We also recommend analyzing the website for errors at least once every 1-2 months, even if everything seems visually fine in terms of technical optimization.
Why is it important? Technical audits identify weaknesses and problems that interfere with website optimization. You may have a page that fully answers the user's query and is optimized according to all the canons of SEO, but what is the use of it if it is closed from indexing?
You should necessarily check:
- accessibility of pages for search engines;
- loading speed and adaptability for mobile devices;
- correct internal redirects;
- internal linking;
- whether there are there any duplicate pages.
Next, we will look at how to find errors and what to fix first.
This is the main tool for webmasters. We recommend adding websites to it immediately after creation.
In the Google Search Console you can see:
- how Google evaluates pages, that is, their accessibility for robots and users;
- the quality of optimization for mobile devices;
- whether there are any security problems and if sanctions were imposed on a website;
- how the internal weight is distributed; the search engine considers the pages to which the most internal links go most priority;
- the correctness of micromarkup.
A parser is a program that is used to automatically collect and process the information on a given criterion. Then it saves the data to its database, converts them and produces the result in a user-friendly shape.
The most understandable example of a parser is the work of a search engine with a website. Search robots crawl pages → add them to their database (index) → show them to users in the search results.
After collecting the data, we proceed to their analysis and sorting. Then we prepare instructions for fixing errors. We recommend dividing all recommendations into three priorities for easy implementation:
- The error affects optimization; you need to fix it as soon as possible; a website or a page is closed from indexing, there are problems with the server, etc;
- The error affects the optimization of a single page, but not of the whole resource, fix in the second place; for example, they may be Title duplicates, blank Description, no Sitemap;
- The error that will not affect the optimization, or a recommendation: the website region is not specified (for information resources), online chat has not been added in the search.
Semantic kernel collection
Defining key phrases is the main and most important stage of website optimization. It depends on what search queries users type to see your website. Search queries reflect the demand for the service.
If you skip collecting the semantic kernel, you miss demand. Well-worked out semantic kernel makes it possible to compete with large aggregators.
Collecting the semantic kernel includes:
Markers are common phrases that most accurately reflect what's on the pages that you optimize.
Brainstorm to collect a complete list of basic keywords. Write down all variations of words and phrases that are associated with your product. Be sure to think about what phrases, wordings, synonyms people use. For example, a microwave oven can be searched in the following way: "microwave", "micro wave oven".
You can also use the structure of your website or a competitor's website to identify markers. The basic phrases are normally category names. They can be found in the product catalog.
For example, here are markers in the side menu of an online store that sells household appliances:
To solve this problem, we use keyword collection tools.
If you optimize a website in Google, use Google Ads to expand the semantic kernel. Add markers to the Keyword Planner and specify your region.
As a result, we get a file with a list of search phrases for each marker. Then, remove duplicate words and inappropriate queries. For example, keywords with such "negative keywords" are inappropriate for an informational website: "buy", "cheap" or indicating a toponym (for example, "in New York").
After that, you can proceed to the distribution of key queries on the pages of the website.
To understand which phrases to distribute and on which pages, you need to group them. To do this, semantic clusters are created; they are groups of queries that are similar in meaning. They are drawn up in a multi-level structure and form the website structure.
The right structure offers these benefits for optimization:
- helps the user to find the pages they need;
- allows search engines to understand the website better;
- allows you to correctly identify priority pages;
- plays an important role in the distribution of internal weight on the pages.
Based on the grouping, queries are distributed on the website pages.
At the end of this step, you should get a list of queries distributed across pages. Note: each group of the last level should correspond to one need ("intention") of a user.
For a detailed algorithm for collecting markers, expanding the semantic core, and grouping queries, see the article "5 simple ways to find keywords for online store".
This is the longest stage. We need to work on internal optimization throughout the lifetime of the resource.
Major steps are the following:
- optimization of Title, Description, H1;
- content optimization;
- internal page linking tasks;
- image optimization;
- working on commercial factors.
Let's consider each of them in more detail.
Optimization of Title, Description, and the H1 heading
Here are basic requirements for the elements:
- they contain the main queries of a page;
- they correctly display the contents of the document;
- they are readable;
- they contain no spam;
- they are unique in relation to other elements of the website.
There are no strict requirements for the number of characters and keywords per page. You can determine approximate indicators as a result of the analysis of competitors. At the same time, remember that you, first of all, write the text not for search engines, but for users; they must find the answer to their question in the description because of which they came to your website from the search results.
Pay special attention to the structure of the description. Break it into paragraphs, add lists, subtitles. Pictures and videos will be an additional advantage.
Working on navigation and internal page interlinking
Here is an example of interlinking in the product card of an online clothing store:
1 — breadcrumbs;
2 — a link to brand characteristics;
3 — promoted keywords in the product card name.
It is important to remember that the main weight should be transferred to the promoted pages. In online stores, these are normally categories.
We recommend optimizing the structure so that it takes no more than 3 clicks for you to get from the main page to any page.
Pay attention to the "Alt" and "Title" attributes of the images for successful optimization.
Alt is an alternative text. It will appear if the user's browser cannot load the image. This text is taken into account by search engines.
Title is a description of the image. The user sees it when they hover their mouse to the image. This text is not taken into account by search engines.
With proper image optimization, your website will receive additional traffic from image search.
Working on commercial factors
Alternatively, you can add the "Related articles", "People also buy" blocks, a table with prices, the "One-click order" button, etc.
For example, here is a commercial block on the page of a hookah accessories store:
Working on behavioral factors
Behavioral factors can be divided into external which occur in the SERP (this is the click-through rate of the snippet) and internal which are on the website.
The latter factors are:
- time spent on the website (average session duration);
- the number of pages the user viewed (average page depth);
- bounce rate, that is, how many users closed the website immediately after they got to the page;
- the number of repeated contacts.
Snippet click-through rate
You should pay special attention to this item when you have finished internal page optimization and your pages are in the top 10. Because, according to the data of Advanced Web Ranking, most organic traffic goes to pages from the top 3. The click-through rate of the pages that are beyond the top 10 is almost zero.
For example, this is how the clickthrough rate (CTR) was distributed in Google in April 2019.
1. The blue line shows desktop clicks.
2. The red line shows mobile clicks.
Add micromarkup to make your snippet more attractive.
Here is an example of a rich snippet in Google:
Working on behavioral factors on a website
This will help you to understand which elements of the page users click more often and where they stay longer. Based on the information received, you can make pages more convenient for users and, therefore, improve behavioral metrics such as average session duration, bounce rate, etc.
Links are especially important when optimizing a website in Google. For this search engine, this is one of the factors without which a website normally cannot take a top position.
Optimization no longer depends on the number of links but on their quality. Google rejects low-quality links using a special algorithm, they are no longer taken into account.
Before proceeding to build link mass, conduct a link audit of the website, compare your link profile with one of your competitors. This can be done using Ahrefs.
Based on this, draw up a link strategy, that is, how many and which links to buy for a specific period.
Next, we'll look at popular link building techniques.
You can get a link from an article on another website in two ways:
- buying it in a marketplace.
The article can be placed both on a paid and on a free basis. It all depends on the arrangements.
You can also get an article link using special marketplaces. In this case, you will need to register your account, prepare an article and select the resource on which you want to place it.
Here are basic requirements for links in the comments:
- the article or discussion should be thematic;
- the link should be appropriate;
- you cannot use spam anchors.
Registration in catalogs/directories
Networks: PBN, WEB 2.0
Drop is a subject-related website with history and backlinks whose domain was not renewed on time and is now available for new registration.
Web 2.0 is a blog network hosted on free subdomains (for example, sites.google.com).
Building links using blog networks is a complex and time-consuming process. In the case of PBN, it's also expensive.
However, as a result, you will get a fully controlled link mass: you can change anchors, put additional links or remove them.
In the future, website works will be more of a targeted than massive character.
You need to:
- constantly monitor the technical condition of the website and fix errors;
- update the semantic kernel: remove queries that users stop typing and add those that have become more popular;
- update information on the pages;
- improve behavioral factors;
- build your link profile.
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