Contents

Choosing a Domain Name

Business owners In most cases, SEO professionals cannot do much about the domain name. You are
hired by a customer and they already have a website, and your job is to improve that website and get
better rankings. However, on some occasions, you will be asked about your input on choosing a domain
name for a new website. When recommending a new domain, you have to keep the following in mind:

  • Choosing a domain name with exact match keywords may or may not affect your rankings, but it gives you a chance for a better click-through rate and better conversion rate on the website
  • While it is a good idea to include exact match keywords in the domain name, make sure the name is short and easy to remember
  • Register different variations of the domain name, such as its singular and plural variations as well as common top level domains

Purchasing an Old Domain or a New Domain

Domain age used to be a tried and tested ranking factor up until a few years ago. And when I say tried and tested, I mean SEOs were unanimously in favor of purchasing older domains and repurposing them as opposed to purchasing new ones. The idea was – older domains have a pre-existing link profile, which gives them a better domain authority/rank, which results in a better platform. However, we now know that Google does not take domain authority into account so purchasing an older domain does not give you any advantages.

Using Top Level Domains

A top level domain (TLD) is what follows after the dot after your domain name, for example, in www.yoursitehere.com, the ‘.com’ is the top level domain. Some of the most commonly used top level
domains include .com, .org, .net, .gov, .edu, .biz. There are location based top level domains such as .uk, .eu, .ru etc. From an SEO perspective, .com is the ideal and
obvious choice for a top level domain. That being said, other TLDs have their uses. Mostly, nonprofit organizations and NGOs use .org, educational institutions use .edu, government organizations use .gov and so on. When purchasing a domain, if it is possible you should purchase other variants of your domain in terms of TLDs, i.e. also purchase the .net, .biz, .org versions of your domain.

Using Subdomains

One of the most common examples of subdomains vs new domains is blog.yoursite.com vs www.yoursite.com/blog. In this example, the SEO who decided to go for blog.yoursite.com did so because they wanted to tackle all content ideas related to the website without taking the user’s focus away from the main site. Other reasons to use a subdomain may include the following:

  • Subdomains have their own link profiles and are treated as a separate entity by search engines, this provides the SEO with additional link building and ranking opportunities
  • Subdomains are very useful when it comes to promoting a different set of products on your website. For example, sites like Cracked and Buzzfeed have a ton of content and traffic. They do not use their main site to sell merchandize and other products; however, they use shop.cracked.com and shop.buzzfeed.com to do the selling.
  • You can also use multiple subdomains to cater to multiple categories or niches relevant to your website.

Pretty much all web hosting services offer a dashboard that you can log into and set up a sub domain from there.

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Google Ads’ keyword planner is one of the most commonly used and trend setting keyword research tool out there. Go to adwords.google.com, sign in with your gmail account, click on ‘tools’ and then ‘keyword planner’.

Keyword Research Basics

There are multiple variables that are displayed in front of you by Google’s keyword planner. Most of them are self-explanatory, for example, location, the time range you can set for the data, the language selection etc. are all very user friendly.

  • Choosing a domain name with exact match keywords may or may not affect your rankings, but it gives you a chance for a better click-through rate and better conversion rate on the website
  • While it is a good idea to include exact match keywords in the domain name, make sure the name is short and easy to remember
  • Register different variations of the domain name, such as its singular and plural variations as well as common top level domains

Average Monthly Searches/Search Volume

This is displayed in the range of 0-100, 100-1k, 1k to 10k, and so on. The average monthly searches tell you how many times the keyword was searched by users in a month, so you can form a general idea about the popularity of the keyword. As you can see, the search range gets ridiculously vague as the volume increases, 0-100 gives you a good idea but 1k to 10k can be any number between 1001 to 9999. Google displays more accurate numbers if you are advertising with them and have a currently running paid ad campaign.

The search volume is really important when it comes to choosing a keyword to target. Low volume keywords may be easy to rank for (on account of no one targeting them), but you will not get a lot of traffic for them. For example, if you optimize for a keyword that only 10 people search for every month, you will probably end with 1 user per month even if you rank number one on the SERPs. High volume keywords will get you more traffic if you rank higher for them, but usually there are a lot of people optimizing for them, so it may take a while for you to get to the first page.

Difficulty/Competition

This is where Google faces a lot of criticism. With the passage of time, more and more SEOs have noticed that the keyword planner tool is become more and more inclined towards PPC as opposed to SEO. One of the biggest indicators of this fact is the keyword competition/difficulty column, which tells you whether the keyword difficulty/competition is high, medium, or low. However, the competition metrics is exclusively about ad placement. As someone working on SEO, you want to know how difficult it would be to rank for a certain keyword, and for that you will need to do your own research.

Bid Range (low and high)

The bid range is all about PPC ad placement. As someone trying to optimize the website for different keywords, the bid range gives you some idea about the monetary value of the keywords you are choosing. Later on, when you start getting traffic against certain keywords, you can go and see the bid range and put a dollar value on the traffic you are bringing to the website through SEO.

For example, if the bid range on a keyword is between $2 to $4 and you manage to get 50 unique visitors from it per month, you are bring in traffic that would have cost you $100 to $400 (if done via PPC).

Creating a shortlist

This is the most important part of doing keyword research. You need to have some criteria to build a shortlist of keywords to go after. Usually, SEOs first build a list of high search volume keywords and then pick all the low competition keywords from said list. That being said, we already discussed that keyword difficulty usually tells you about PPC difficulty, so creating a shortlist of keywords based on this criteria can be a bit tricky.

We recommend building a shortlist of all high search volume and then creating keyword groups with one primary keyword and a number of secondary keywords that support it. For example:

  • Let’s say you started with a seed keyword ‘home gym’
  • Google’s keyword planner tells you it has average monthly searches of 100K – 1M
  • It also shows you that the keyword ‘exercise equipments’ also has average monthly searches of 100K – 1M
  • Furthermore, it shows you keyword ideas such as gym equipment, home gym equipment, workout equipment, best home gym equipment, best home gym and so on. All of these have average monthly searches of 10K – 100K.

Now this gives you some idea of what people are searching for when it comes to home gym and related keywords. As I write this, Google’s keyword planner is showing me 1326 keyword ideas based on ‘home gym’, with short tail keywords having higher search volumes and long tail keywords having progressively lower search volumes. Given that the keyword I started with (home gym) is a category keyword, I should start with using that as a primary keyword and make sure that all other 100K – 1M keywords are used as secondary keyword in the content of the page. While this is an oversimplified version of how to go about it, hopefully it gives you some idea of how to go about creating a shortlist of keywords.

Once you have a shortlist, you need to decide which keywords get their own page (let’s call them primary keywords) and which keywords will play a secondary role to the primary keywords. Creating keyword groups and understanding how they support your website’s structure will go a long way in making sure you get the rankings you want.

Creating keyword groups

Intent based grouping

There are several classifications of user intent on the internet. At Rank Genie, we like to stick with the
simpler classification of user intent:

  • Top of the funnel: Keywords that indicate the user is not ready to buy and only informed about the product/service at a surface level (for example: best cardio workout at home to lose weight)
  • Middle of the funnel: Keywords that indicate that the user is not ready to buy yet but knows enough about the product/service to make a decision soon (for example: best home gym equipment)
  • Bottom of the funnel: Purchase intent keywords that indicate that the user is ready to buy (the bowflex revolution)

In the example I have used, at first the user doesn’t know any of the home gym equipment brands by name, and is interested in losing weight. When they search for this information, they stumble upon a number of websites. They click on a few of them and gain more information, read/watch tutorials, and realize that they need home gym equipment. They then search for ‘best home gym equipment’ go through multiple pages and decide that ‘the bowflex revolution’ is what they needed.

When creating keyword groups, you need to understand the way the customers go from one stage to another and what happens in between. Each keyword group is focused on one primary keyword and multiple secondary keyword, and each keyword group needs to have its own dedicated landing page. So if I was planning an SEO strategy for an ecommerce website selling ‘the bowflex revolution’ home gym, I would first build a plan around landing pages with specific intent based keyword groups all leading to my final landing page where the user can make the ecommerce transaction and buy the bowflex revolution home gym. It would look something like this:

In this diagram, I have planned six landing pages in total. Three being top of the funnel pages, two middle of the funnel pages, and one bottom of the funnel page (where the transaction is supposed to happen).

As you can see, one of the top of the funnel landing pages will be about ‘best cardio workout at home to lose weight’. This is a long tail keyword that was one of the 1326 results shown to me by Google’s keyword planner. Since this keyword is luckily a topic in itself, it was an easy choice to make for one of my three top of the funnel landing pages. Now I need a few secondary keywords that support this primary keyword as well as a way to link it to the middle of the funnel keyword. A quick way to do this would be to go back to keyword planner and use this as the seed keyword. Here are the results:

And here we have our first keyword group as well as some really good topics to cover on the landing page. Usually, blog posts can serve as really good top of the funnel assets. I would plan a blog post around these keywords and try to made it as informative and educational as possible.

To link this blog to my middle of the funnel landing page, I will simply mention exercise equipment at some point and link it. Additionally, the middle of the funnel landing page can be promoted via pop-ups and/or strategically placed banners. Rinse and repeat the same process for the middle of the funnel page and finally for the bottom of the funnel page. By doing this, you will get six unique keyword groups for six unique pages. Think of it as a simplified but scalable model which will work really well for products and services alike. By grouping keywords based on user intent, you are creating a 360 degree plan that covers all the basis and will feed into the marketing efforts of channels other than SEO as well. In this model, you have six primary keywords and as many secondary keywords as you want. You can choose to track all of them with Rank Genie’s keyword rank tracker to keep an eye on how your pages are doing on SERPs.

Relevance/Product based grouping

If you are working on an ecommerce website or a website that offers hundreds or may be thousands of products, you will probably want to start with relevance/product based grouping. To understand this, think of a dental clinic’s website that lists all of their services. Before you can do
any type of keyword research, you will have to separate the categories from the sub-categories. For example, ‘cosmetic dentistry’ will be a category which will have teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental bonding, dental crown etc as its sub- categories/services on offer.

To create keyword groups, you will have to do separate keyword research for all types of services. Entering ‘teeth whitening’ as the seed keyword in Google’s keyword planner gives you 605 results alone.

Here, ‘teeth whitening’ is your primary keyword and you can choose multiple secondary keywords from the 605 results you have. Keywords are ‘best teeth whitening’, ‘teeth bleaching’ and ‘teeth whitening near me’ are obvious choices to me because of relevance. However, you may choose keywords based on information available to you.

You can follow the same process for other products such as dental veneers, dental bonding, and dental crown. When doing keyword research for the category – cosmetic dentistry – you can follow the same process but make sure you don’t use product related keywords here. Some SEOs may be in favor of using such keywords, but you run the risk of multiple pages competing for the same keyword.

Creating a content plan

Creating a content plan is the next natural step after keyword research. By this time, you have a list of landing pages that you want to create, a list of primary keywords, and a list of secondary keywords as well. You should first plan the assets you will create and match them with the different stages of the funnel:

Searching for topics

This is the fun part. We have already discussed how to search for long tail keywords using Google’s keyword planner. Some other ways to look for relevant topics is to Google long tail keywords and:

  • Look in Google’s ‘people also ask’ section
  • Look at the top 10 results and find relevant topics there
  • Look for h2s on top ranking pages
  • See if you can do a listicle based on the long tail keyword
  • Look for new topics in the ‘people also searched for’ section

You can also do the following:

  • Search for topics on social media
  • Search for topics on Q/A forums
  • Search for topics on reddit
  • Use online seo tools to search for topics
  • Take a look at some of your competitor’s blogs and search for topics ideas

Let’s stick with the example of ‘best cardio for weight loss at home’. We have established that this is a secondary keyword with a decent search volume and we should try to rank for it. Now let’s Google it:

When I Google it, I am getting a featured snippet from healthline.com. Almost immediately I can see two topics:

  • 4 cardio exercises for weight loss
  • 9 best exercises to lose weight and stay active

If I scroll down a bit, I can see the people also ask’ section:

Scrolling further down, the page is just chock-full of ideas:

And if you scroll down further, you have video and the people also search for section:

You can take some of these ideas, mix and match, and come up with a unique topic. You can also do something along the line of a guide or step by step instruction, take two ideas and combine them, do a better listicle than 9 best exercises and so on. Just the first page of Google SERPs alone is full of content ideas when you know which keywords you are targeting.

Having a planner

You can maintain a record of your monthly content plan in a spreadsheet – it can look something like this:

Making realistic plans

You should assess the resources available to you and make a realistic content plan that caters to all three stages of the user’s journey. When making the plan, you should know exactly how the plan will be implemented. For example, if you are planning four long form blog posts and one webinar, you should know exactly how much that’s going to cost you and how much time it would take for the resources you hire to get the job done. You can hire writers from websites like Upwork and Fiverr, you can hire someone full time, or you can do it yourself.

For small business owners, I always recommend creating the content yourself and running it by a good editor for quality assurance. By doing it yourself, you will be able to:

  1. Share your expertise with the world
  2. Save some money by putting in sweat equity

There are some downsides to doing this. Since you are not a professional writer or vlogger, it will take you longer to write a blog post or record that video. Also, you will be spending valuable time on this activity – time that you could be spending on improving other aspects of your business. If you choose to hire professional writers, you will get that script or that blog written by the deadline you decide. However, it will cost you money and it is difficult to find writers who will have adequate knowledge of your industry. In short, you have to make an educated decision on how much money or sweat equity you are willing spend on your content creation activities and create a content plan accordingly.

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HTTPs (instead of http)

Having https at the beginning of your url means that you have an SSL certification installed. SSL stands for secure sockets layer. It allows secure decryption, encryption, and authentication of data being sent from servers to web browsers and vice versa.

You can get your SSL certificate from your web host. Most of them allow you to log into a dashboard and follow step by step instructions to go from http to https.

Having an SSL certificate is one of the best practices of managing a website. It instills a lot of confidence in the user that their interaction with your website is secure. It speaks well for your brand, and it is more commons now than ever before. In fact, you will rarely find a website that does not have an SSL certificate. That being said, SSL certificates expire so you need to keep an eye on your expiry date and renew it from time to time.

Having a user-friendly layout/Page experience

In 2020, Google announced that page experience would play a very important role in terms of rankings. There are pages out there that trick people into performing an action they do not necessarily want to perform, i.e. the user experience is designed in a way that an element on a page pops up, expands, or
moves in a way that you end up clicking on something you did not intend to click.

Google has addressed page experience in detail and has lumped loading, interactivity, and visual stability together as core web vitals. By using page experience as a signal, Google wants to encourage SEOs and developers to create pages that make for a great user experience.

When working a page’s wireframe or design, most SEOs and marketers want to focus on conversion optimization, which means that they want to collect a lead or want the user to perform an ecommerce transaction or subscribe to something.

Conversion optimization can be achieved by using multiple well placed call to actions on a page, by placing the lead-capture form in an area where it’s visible, by encouraging users to perform an action that you want them to perform (subscribe to your newsletter, call you on the phone, chat with you etc.). When optimizing for conversion, marketers figured out that pop-ups, modals and banners helped improve the number of leads being captured on the page, even though all of these techniques can be disruptive of the user experience. This lead to further manipulation of interactive elements on the page, and several marketers started using tactics where a page element moves or expands in a way that you end up clicking somewhere you did not mean to click and subscribe to or buy something you didn’t mean to buy.

Now that Google has decided to penalize this kind of behavior, you have to revisit your page experience and make sure there are no elements that move in a way that manipulates the user’s behavior.

Sitemap.xml

The sitemap.xml tells Google how many pages are on your websites and makes it easier for the bots to find them and index them. This file also lives at the root directory, i.e. www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml, the file can contain up to 50,000 urls and has a size limit of 50MB (uncompressed). If you have more than 50,000 pages on your website, you can make multiple sitemap files each dedicated to a different category.

If you do not have a sitemap, you are relying on Google to find all the pages you want indexed on its own. Google finds your web pages from other websites that link to them and through internal links on your website. In some cases, your internal linking structure may be a little weak and some pages may be either hard to find or entirely left out. With a sitemap, you avoid this problem altogether. Furthermore, by listing pages that are relevant for SEO and avoiding all other pages, you further manage your crawl budget. You can create a sitemap yourself or by using any of the free online tools out there.

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This is one of the most talked about aspects of SEO and for multiple good reasons. The content on your page has to deliver what’s promised in the title. It has to be detailed enough to deliver value to your customers. It has to be easy to understand for the readers as well as Google’s quality raters. You should check the content of the page for the following:

Content Quality

High quality content achieves what it is supposed to achieve, i.e. if it’s a listicle meant to entertain, it entertains, if it’s a how-to article meant to teach the reader a new skill, it teaches them a new skill. The quality of the content has nothing to do with the writing style and everything to do with its ability to deliver what you mean to deliver.

Content Structure

The content should be structured in a way that adds to its readability. To improve readability, you need to use shorter sentences, make sure the transition from one idea to another is smooth, and the content is broken down into smaller paragraphs. To add structure, you need headings, subheadings, and bullets.

Keyword Density and Placement

There’s the keyword you want to rank for and then there are keywords that are related to it and belong in the same group. You need to use them where they fit and make sure they are mentioned in the h1 and h2 of the page as well as the first and last paragraph.

Duplicate content and plagiarism

The content that you put on your page should be original. The internet is full of duplicate content and most people do not think twice before copying someone else’s content. However, you cannot go far with duplicate content and risk penalization by Google if you do that. Make sure the content is original and give credit when referring to other people’s work.

Image Optimization

The images you upload on your page can help you get a lot of traffic if they rank for the right keywords. You should make sure all the images are named correctly and have an alt text. A caption and an image description can also help if it goes with the content you are posting.

Internal Links

The internal links on your page can help Google understand the structure of your website. Your links can link back to blogs (if you are trying to create a cluster),
link to a category or subcategory, and even a product or a service page. It is tempting to fill your page with internal links but make sure all the links are relevant. For example, if a blog is doing really well and getting a lot of traffic, as an SEO you will be tempted to place links on that blog to other pages that are not doing so well. Do not put links on a page that you wouldn’t put there if the page was not getting any traffic.

External Links

The external links on your page serve as the backlinks to other websites. You should have external links to back up any statistics you mention, any bold claims made on the page, and to give credit in case you are mentioning someone else’s work. You should also link to useful resources that are relevant to the page. Google does not discourage you to have sponsored links or your page, but it is good to declare them in the html version of the page. There are four types of external links you can have on your page:

Do-Follow Links

This is you telling Google that you do not endorse the page you are linking to, but the link is relevant to your content so you are placing it here. Here’s the syntax to a no follow link:

No-Follow Links

This is you telling Google that you do not endorse the page you are linking to, but the link is relevant to your content so you are placing it here. Here’s the syntax to a no follow link:

UGC Links

These are user generated links. These will only appear on websites where users have the option to add to the content of the page.

Sponsored Links

In some cases you may have sponsored links on your website. It is a good idea to declare these links with the following code:

Broken Links

Having too many broken links on your website is bad for SEO. There are many tools out there that can help you detect broken links, which you should then proceed to remove from the page. You can also replace broken external links with links to better websites. As for internal links that are broken, you can do a 301 redirect and send the user to a different page or you can make sure the page being linked is up and running.

Title tag

Your title tag (or meta title) is an a small html script that tells Google what your page is about. It is the first thing that appears along with the meta description on your search results.

You can add a title tag to the html version of your page like this:

If your website is built on WordPress, SquareSpace or a similar tool, there are always options to enter the title tag without using html.

Your title tags should ideally start with the keyword, and if that’s not possible, it should at least contain the keyword that you are targeting. Using a title tag, you can provide an alternate title to your page that somewhat differs from your h1 but has the same meaning and a different variation of the keyword you are targeting.

Meta Description

This is a fun thing to have on an SEO checklist because Google rewrites meta descriptions 70% of the time. That being said, it is still a good idea to write a sentence long meta description that explains what’s on the page and contains your primary keyword. When I say it should be a sentence long, I mean up to 160 characters.

Robots.txt

This is a fun thing to have on an SEO checklist because Google rewrites meta descriptions 70% of the time. That being said, it is still a good idea to write a sentence long meta description that explains what’s on the page and contains your primary keyword. When I say it should be a sentence long, I mean up to 160 characters.

With this little line of code, you can stop all bots from indexing a page.

You will want to disallow pages on your website if:

1. There are multiple pages competing for the same keyword
2. There are pages on your website that are not for public use
3. You want to prioritize some pages and categories more than others

Schema Markup

Mobile Friendliness

More than a decade ago, responsive web design was introduced. Before that, SEOs recognized the importance of catering to mobile users and always recommended having a .mobi version of your website. Almost 48% of online traffic is coming through mobile devices. Even if you don’t get much traffic from mobile users, Google uses mobile-first indexing to index and rank websites. Not having a mobile friendly design will hurt your rankings.

So what is responsive web design? It is a type of design that behaves according to the user’s screen size. The images, the spacing, the font, the forms, and all other design elements re-adjust for users based on the device they are using and the size of their screen.

The good thing is that almost all web designers have adopted a mobile first approach, so if you have a new website you don’t have to worry about it too much. However, it is a good idea to use your mobile to visit your website and see if it is functioning properly. It is also a good idea to track your top keywords for both desktop and mobile to see if there’s a significant difference between the rankings.

A quick way to check whether your website is mobile friendly or not is to run it through Rank Genie’s website audit tool. If the site is not mobile friendly, you will have to get in touch with your designer/developer and make sure they fix all the design elements.

Page Load Speed

Page load speed is a known ranking factor among SEOs. How quickly your page loads impacts the user experience in a massive way, because most users expect your web page to load in two seconds, and will leave if the page does not load in four seconds. This means you have a very small window to retain the user. Having a slow loading website is bad for the user and also your rankings – here are some factors that affect page load speed:

  • Heavy images and big file sizes
  • Clunky code
  • Heavy JavaScript and CSS files
  • APIs
  • Too many widgets and plugins
  • Hosting and CDNs

You can run your website through Rank Genie’s page website audit tool and check your page load time. If the load time is more than three seconds, you should start evaluating everything from your images to your web host and see what’s slowing down the load speed.

Image compressor: https://kraken.io/web-interface

Code compressor: http://yui.github.io/yuicompressor/

https://www.crockford.com/jsmin.html

These additional optimizations are not known SEO ranking factors, but Google is always keeping an eye on user behavior on your website and these can help

CTR Optimization

Once you optimize your page and build enough links, you will start ranking for your target keywords and start getting some organic traffic. You can use Rank Genie’s keyword rank tracker to see where you are ranking on the SERPs and keep track of how your rank changes week after week. The idea is, the higher you rank, the more traffic you get. However, another key factor you should keep an eye on is your organic impressions vs your click0through rate (CTR). To check impressions:

1. Go to analytics.google.com
2. Click on Acquisition on the left column
3. Click ‘Search Console’
4. Click ‘Landing Pages’

You can see which of your landing pages are getting the highest impressions, the clicks they are getting, and their CTR.

When I Google Zumba classes, I get a bunch of results:

The two results from zumba.com have multiple elements – it contains:

1. page url
2. meta title of the page
3. meta description

While you should put in a meta description when optimizing a page, Google rewrites meta descriptions for pages that rank for low search volume keywords. This means that you have very little control over what you can do for CTR optimization. However, there are a few things you can do to improve the click through rate on your page:

  • Click on each landing page to see the group of keywords you are ranking for
  • Make sure those are the keywords that you want to rank for (i.e. sometimes google will index you for keywords that you did not intend to rank for)
  • Make sure the user intent for the keyword matches the type of page
  • Think of ways to edit the meta title to improve your click through rate

Even if Google has rewritten your meta description, they do so by taking content from your page, so you still have some control over it and can always change said content.

CTR optimization is usually considered a part of PPC activities, because in a PPC campaign you have complete control of which keywords the page is displayed for and the meta title and description that’s displayed with it. However, SEOs should also focus on CTR optimization because that can help you turn impressions into clicks thus improving your organic traffic.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization is another thing that you don’t expect SEOs to do. It is usually the digital marketing manager, the PPC guy, or anyone running a lead gen or ecommerce campaign. However, you need to optimize your page for conversion to make sure you give yourself a chance to score leads and revenue.

How to define conversion?

Every time a user performs an action on a page that you want them to perform, you get a conversion. The definition of conversion varies from campaign to campaign, but the following are generally considered conversions in the marketing world:

The user purchases something from your ecommerce page

  • The user fills out a form
  • The user subscribes to your newsletter
  • The user clicks on a link you want them to
  • The user calls a number you want them to
  • The user downloads something you want them to

Conversion optimization from a design perspective

If you want the user to fill out a form on any page, that form should be visible to everyone who visits. Similarly, if you want them to purchase something, the user experience should be designed in a way that the product details and purchase buttons are easy to find and use.

You can do A/B testing with different design elements, such as the placement of the form, the size, shape, and color of a button and so on. You can use tools like
hotjar to record user behavior on your page and see how users are engaging with the different interactive elements on your page.

Conversion optimization from a keyword and content perspective

We have talked about understanding keyword intent and matching it with the content of the page in detail in previous sections. If you want your page to have a higher conversion rate for users that came through organic searches, the keywords you rank for need to match the content of the page in terms of the user’s stage in the conversion funnel.

Session Duration Optimization

Session duration is the amount of time a user stays on the website. A user searches for something online using specific keywords, your website appears up in the rankings and they click on it, and the clock starts ticking. If they leave within two to three seconds, it adds to your bounce rate, i.e. the user bounced. If your bounce rate is too high, you can expect to see a drop in rankings really soon.

Similarly, shorter session duration is normally not a good sign. Google crawl errors Google crawl errors occur when Google tries to crawl and index your website and is unable to do so because of issues on your side. If you have blocked Google’s crawlers in your robots.txt file, or have put the noindex tag on your pages, or there are 404 errors or server errors (5xx), Google Search Console will report url errors. It is a good idea to log into Google Search Console, click on
Coverage, and see how many crawl errors you have. Rank Genie’s website audit With the help of Rank Genie’s website audit tool, you can check for 10 major and multiple minor on-page SEO elements. The tool will provide you with detailed analysis, an on-page SEO score, and will point out things to improve so you can give yourself a better chance to rank higher. Here’s what the tool audits: You want people who visited your site to stay on the site, explore multiple pages, and perform the actions you want them to perform. The longer you have them on your site, the more chances of them doing business with you. Here’s how you can improve session duration on your website:

Page Load Time

Improve your page load time by making sure you use a good web hosting service, the page does not have clunky code, and the images on the page are light and
load easily. If you page loads quickly and the user does not have to wait around for information to load etc., they are likely to stay on the page and may be explore other pages too (since their user experience is going seamlessly with respect to page load speed).

Readability and Design

Another aspect that can help improve session duration is the design of your page as well as the readability of the content that’s on the page.
The page should be designed to facilitate the user’s journey, making the call to action visible.

Make the links to other pages clearly visible

Another way to improve session duration is to include internal links to related pages and make them visible. A good example of this is to include a ‘related articles’ snippet at the end of an article. Site like medium.com do it really well and recommend more articles as you scroll to the bottom of the page. Relevance and a good understanding of the user’s intent is key when pointing them towards other pages on your website.

Include audio and video assets on your page

Having videos on your page is the quickest way to improve session duration. Think of an article that’s a four minute read – a lot of people will skim through it, some will read it in full, and some will click on the links and buttons you want. Now take the same article and embed a couple of related videos between different sections – test it for a bit and see if that improves session duration.

Having audio and video assets on your page can help improve session duration because video content is easy to assume as opposed to written text. Adding an engaging two minute video on a page gives you a chance to add two minutes to every user’s session duration.

You can check session duration for each landing page on Google Analytics.

Google crawl errors

Google crawl errors occur when Google tries to crawl and index your website and is unable to do so because of issues on your side.

If you have blocked Google’s crawlers in your robots.txt file, or have put the noindex tag on your pages, or there are 404 errors or server errors (5xx), Google Search Console will report url errors.

It is a good idea to log into Google Search Console, click on Coverage, and see how many crawl errors you have.

Rich Results Test

You can use google’s rich results testing tool to see how google’s is viewing your structured data. You can see the results for smartphone as well as desktop. The results show you whether or not your page is eligible for rich results such as featured snippets and image carousals. It also shows how Google will categorize your page, for example, if you are testing a blog post, it should be detected as an article. You can also see the rendered html for a deeper dive, and you will be
prompted if there are any other errors on the page too. I strongly recommend using this tool periodically for your blog just to see how google is looking at and indexing your structured data.

Rank Genie’s website audit

With the help of Rank Genie’s website audit tool, you can check for 10 major and multiple minor on-page SEO elements. The tool will provide you with detailed analysis, an on-page SEO score, and will point out things to improve so you can give yourself a better chance to rank higher. Here’s what the tool audits:

  • Domain elements: This checks for canonicalization, href lang tag, ssl expiry, and more
  • Meta tags: This checks your pages for meta titles, descriptions, and keywords
  • URLs: This checks for url best practices and points out things you can improve in your url
  • Internal/External Links: This checks for linking best practices and gives you a complete breakdown of your links
  • Content: This checks for average keyword density, plagiarism, h1, h2 tags, and more
  • HTML: This checks for html errors
  • Search optimization: Checks your sitemap and robots.txt for errors
  • Page Speed: Finds out page load speed as well as mobile optimization
  • Compression: Reviews code comments and formatting, unused code, shorter variable and function names, and so on
  • Google Listing: Deals with your Google listing as well as whether or not Google analytics is installed on your website