Tag Archive for: organic traffic

A person reviewing data on google search console

How to Increase Your Organic Traffic by 117% in 90 Days: The Inside Story of Salam’s SEO Strategy

A person reviewing data on google search console

When it comes to driving traffic and revenue from organic search, it’s typically a long-term solution and not a quick fix. Organic traffic, in general, is high-quality, intent-driven with higher conversion rates than direct or paid, making it incredibly valuable to almost any acquisition strategy. It’s why, even though it can take longer than a Facebook campaign or YouTube ad, as a growth marketing agency, we almost always recommend it as a core growth tactic.  

In October of 2021, Salams reached out to Tuff, asking our team to run a quick SEO audit and see what the organic growth potential was like for their market. Salams is an online dating app for Muslims that dominates the US market and is growing in the UK and other countries. Their growth, to date, has primarily relied on mobile install campaigns, meaning their website had very little content and their SEO strategy had never been a focal point for growth. 

After working on an organic acquisition strategy with Salams in November and then implementing SEO tactics in December and January, the results were staggering and immediate. Here’s the data from the last three months compared to the previous three months: 

  • Impressions are up 130% 
  • Organic traffic is up 117%

google search console results

And when it comes to keyword movement, here’s what we are looking at today: 

  • From #12 to #1 for Muslim dating (Our #1 target keyword)
  • NEW: Ranking #2 for Muslim man
  • From #68 to #1 for Muslim dating rules
  • NEW: Ranking #2 for walima
  • NEW: Ranking #1 for dating a Muslim girl
  • NEW: Ranking #1 for dating a Muslim man
  • From #20 to #4 for Muslim dating site
  • From #35 to #1 for dating a Muslim
  • NEW: Ranking #1 for Islam dating rules
  • NEW: Ranking #1 for dating a Muslim guy
  • NEW: Ranking #3 for what is Nikah

In this blog post, we’re going to outline the steps we took to get these results and explain how you can replicate this strategy. While your results will vary depending on the competition, search volume, your existing traction, and the search landscape, there are elements of this process that can be applied to drive organic traffic and revenue for almost any business. 

  1. Start with foundational research and let this inform your strategy 
  2. Fix any and all technical SEO issues 
  3. Identify your list of focus keywords in a spreadsheet 
  4. Leverage on-page SEO to optimize all current pages for target keywords
  5. Use your focus keywords to build an SEO content plan that includes blog posts, landing pages, programmatic efforts, and onsite remediation 
  6. Publish new content that maps back to your focus keywords 
  7. Ensure all SEO updates are amplified with strong UX 

Foundational Research 

First things first, you have to know where you are starting from and what the search landscape is for your market. This will help you set realistic organic growth projections, as well as outline the right strategy to get there. 

For Salams, we wanted to answer two questions with our foundational research: 

  • Are people searching for a Muslim dating app? 
  • If so, how do we make sure Salams shows up when they are searching so we can capture that demand and grow our organic traffic and revenue? 

In order to understand the answer to the above, we conducted initial foundational research in three ways: 

  • We ran a technical SEO audit using SEMRush (What’s the foundation like now?) 
  • We audited the primary search competitors (Who is the big player and can we compete?) 
  • We reviewed Salam’s existing rankings and current performance (Where are we starting from and how far do we need to go?) 

The combination of the information and data above, helped us identify where the biggest opportunities were, how competitive the space was going to be, and what realistic organic traffic and revenue predictions could look like for Salams. If you’re going to invest time and resources into something, you want to know how it might impact your growth so you can prioritize it accordingly. 

Technical SEO Fixes 

When we ran our SEO audit, the Salams site had the issues and warnings found below, with an overall site health ranking of 75%. 

Errors

  • 52 issues with duplicate title tags
  • 8 pages had duplicate content issues
  • 2 pages had duplicate meta descriptions
  • 1 pages returned a 4XX status code

Warnings

  • 63 pages had no hreflang and lang attributes
  • 63 issues with unminified JavaScript and CSS files
  • 59 pages didn’t have meta descriptions
  • 56 pages didn’t have enough text within the title tags
  • 53 external links were broken
  • 17 pages had low text-HTML ratio
  • 15 pages had a low word count
  • 5 links on HTTPS pages led to HTTP page
  • 5 pages didn’t have an h1 heading

technical seo audit in SEMrush

Technical SEO is often the “tiebreaker” for sites aiming for Google’s first page so the first thing we did in October was fix as many of these 63 errors as possible. Implementing technical SEO basics is essential if you want to ensure that your web pages are structured for both humans and crawlers – and is something you need to fix before producing more content. 

Focus Keyword List 

Once the technical SEO audit was done and the issues were fixed (site health increased to 96%), we built a focus keyword list –  these were terms we wanted to rank for because they were relevant to Salams and would bring us more quality organic traffic. For Salams, we identified 15 focus keywords using the below criteria: 

  • Does it get enough search volume while still being relevant and intent-driven? You don’t want to pick a search term that only gets 10 searches a month because the volume isn’t large enough to have an impact. You also don’t want to pick a search term with a million searches a month either, because it’s likely so generic that even if you could rank for it, you’d get a bunch of low-quality traffic. For Salams, the average search volume for our keyword list was 1,238 search per month per term. 
  • What’s the competition like? We reviewed the competition on each search term we were evaluating. We wanted to know how likely we could rank for that term if we focused on it for 1-3 months. You should know, the more competition, the harder it is going to be – but it’s likely competitive because it’s a lucrative term. For Salams, we wanted a mix. We wanted search terms that we had an actual chance of ranking for that were also relevant to the business. 
  • Is it relevant for the audience? There is no point in ranking for a search term your audience isn’t actively searching for. 
  • Are there any pages that are currently ranking for that search term? This helped us understand if we could gain traction more quickly for terms that we were already ranking for but just weren’t on page one yet. We wanted to know where we stood and if there were any we could give a quick “boost” to. We wanted to move from page 2 to page 1 in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken to get something that wasn’t ranking at all yet, to rank. For example, Salams was ranking on page two already for “Muslim dating” — a key search term. We knew that if we focused on this term initially, it would be easier to get it on page one than a term that wasn’t ranking at all. 

On-page SEO

After analyzing the existing content on Salams’ website, we built a keyword mapping spreadsheet to tie every single page to a target keyword and sift out pages that should be removed from SERPs. 

Salams had several pages indexed in Google that didn’t provide an optimal user experience for organic visitors if they landed on that page.  A few of these pages were their Privacy Policy and T&C pages as well as their blog category pages. You should understand that Google considers a blog category page a SERP and a poor user experience so it’s best to no-index those pages. 

After no-indexing several pages, we mapped every landing page and blog post to a target keyword and then optimized the SEO title and meta description to perform for that target keyword. 

We also noticed that Salams broke up a few of their blog posts into multiple and different URLs. We combined them into more lengthy blog posts to give us a better chance of ranking.  

SEO Content Plan 

Using our focus keyword list, we put together a comprehensive SEO content strategy. Too often, companies produce content (and a lot of it) but never see any significant traction because their strategy doesn’t map back to a list of focus keywords.  When you have a focus keyword list, you can cluster your content and keep it focused on ranking for a select set of terms, increasing your chances of ranking more quickly. 

For this SEO Content plan, we had three core components: 

  • Programmatic pages: These were local-specific pages we could replicate at scale for very specific keywords like “Muslim dating Chicago” or “Muslim dating Houston”. We published 18 different pages on Webflow in the first 30 days and anchored each one to the footer. 
  • Glossary/terms pages: We created landing pages with rich content that focused exclusively on a focus keyword and topic. These were more in-depth than a blog post and typically 2x the length. 

SEO + UX 

SEO design example

In addition to writing new SEO content and optimizing existing pages and content, SEO design played a big role in helping us achieve our results and actually execute on the strategy. For this partnership, we tapped the Tuff creative team to help us mockup and execute SEO landing pages, footer optimizations, and category pages. When doing this for your own company, it’s important to remember that not only do you need copy that is relevant, high-quality, and focused on a select group of keywords, but you also need the user experience to deliver. 

Here are some examples of how we took SEO content and then leveraged strong UX design for the actual implementation: 

We have to admit that there was a time when we thought SEO was all about keywords and link building. Even though these are core components to any organic strategy, SEO goes far beyond them and definitely includes User Experience. It’s now very common for our SEO and Design teams to work closely together to make the site website architecture more streamlined and to elevate the overall user experience with design. 

Disclaimer: 

These results happened FAST – this isn’t often the case with organic acquisition. 

While we’re proud of Salams’ results and the contribution organic traffic is now having in the overall traffic mix, I can’t say the timeline is typical or repeatable for more websites. Organic acquisition is a long-term, compounding solution (6-9 months), not a quick fix. Salams had a trusted brand and a strong reputation. Even though they weren’t optimizing the website or prioritizing organic growth before engaging Tuff, they had a credible brand that Google (and people!) trusted. This existing reputation was definitely a factor that allowed these results to surface so quickly. 

Whether it takes a few months or a full year, you’ll find the Tuff team invested in organic growth for almost all our partners. It’s a true game-changer when it comes together and drives real revenue growth for businesses at nearly any stage. 

google search on mobile

Keyword Ranking Fluctuations: Why Does it Happen, What Can I Do About It?

google search on mobile

You have worked hard and finally rank first overall in SERPs for that specific keyword you’ve been targeting. 

Your site is gaining more traffic organically, and you are starting to see conversion rates increase. 

Now that you rank highly,  your authority increases, and you can start targeting more competitive keywords. 

One day you check your traffic in Google Analytics to look for more non-branded keyword opportunities and notice that your traffic has started to decrease. Panicking— you look for reasons why you are no longer the top rank in SERPs. 

You aren’t even on the first page anymore! 

What have you done to deserve this? Why are you no longer ranking in SERPs when you were just a few days ago? 

You didn’t change anything about the article, and the information is still all relevant, so what gives? 

This is a common problem many marketers face— keyword ranking fluctuation

What is Keyword Ranking Fluctuation? 

Keyword ranking fluctuation is when the SERPs change for a keyword you are targeting. Google, like most companies, wants to provide as much value to the end user as possible. To do this, they roll out new algorithm updates, altering the search engine results page to find out which articles are best for the reader. 

keyword rankings example

These tests can last from a few days to a few weeks. Most companies who see a change in their SERP position will return to their natural position once the tests are over. At the same time, some companies may see a more permanent change in their position. 

When companies start to see a change in their rank, they begin to panic and change their article that already ranks highly. Sometimes for the worst. 

Keyword ranking fluctuation is natural, temporary, and should be expected. However, the most important thing is not to panic and make an impulsive decision. 

So why did Google choose your article to move down in position, and when should you start to care or panic? 

What Causes Keyword Ranking Fluctuations?

Websites that recently started ranking for a keyword are much more susceptible to keyword ranking fluctuations. The longer you’ve ranked for a keyword, the less likely you will see a change in position. 

However, how long your content has been published and providing value to the end user is not the only cause of keyword ranking fluctuation. 

Google has a variety of factors they consider when they shake up the positions in SERPs. Here are a few of the most common causes of keyword ranking fluctuations. 

Google Algorithm Updates

It is very common for Google to change its algorithm. It’s Google. They are always innovating and trying to be better.  

Often, Google will roll out an algorithm update without telling anyone and will make the information public months later after testing and perfecting the changes.

Algorithm updates try to weed out content stuffed with keywords and is more focused on SEO tactics than actually providing value to the reader. 

It’s always important to stay updated with Google algorithm updates to gain a competitive edge. 

At Tuff, we always explain to clients that Google is going to rank the content that provides the most value to the reader the highest. Regardless of keywords and vanity metrics.

To keep it simple, write to provide value for the reader. Use natural language when talking about a subject, don’t stuff it with keywords. 

Issues with the Platform You Are Using

There are a ton of great SEO tools to analyze your traffic and ranking in SERPs. Unfortunately, although they can be extremely helpful and provide valuable insights, they aren’t always 100% accurate. 

Issues with the platform you are using are a common cause that companies see their keyword ranking fluctuate. 

SEMrush is one of the best tools on the market, but it uses third party data that may not be up to date. The metrics they provide aren’t completely accurate. Your traffic could be higher or lower than what their data says, and the same goes for your ranking positions for certain keywords. 

Don’t panic. Take the information with a grain of salt and give it some time to become more accurate before you make any changes. 

Loss of Important Backlinks

Backlinks are essential in your page ranking. If other websites are linking to your content, it shows that you’re a thought leader and have authority in the space. 

If you start to lose those backlinks because companies are linking to competing articles instead of yours, you may see your backlinks and ranking decrease. 

You can analyze your backlinks with a variety of SEO tools, like SEMrush, and ahrefs

backlink audit

Google Penalty

Google penalizes websites for a variety of red flags they find when crawling your pages. For example, you can be penalized for duplicate content, keyword stuffing, hidden links, or not being easily accessible for all users. Some of these are automatic, but others occur when Google pushes updates and recognizes something negative in your site.  

If you are penalized by Google for duplicated content, it’s time to worry. Plagiarism isn’t acceptable, and neither is unoriginal content. 

Your content should be original and be unique compared to the other search engine results. For example, if your content simply summarizes the top 3 articles for a keyword and doesn’t provide any additional insights or value, you will most likely see your position change.

Backend Site Issues

Common backend site issues that cause your rank to change include slow load times and other backend issues that are inconvenient for users.

Google wants the users to have a seamless experience. If your site has extremely slow load times, users are going to leave. And if users leave your site, that hurts your ranking. 

If you notice a decrease in site traffic, it could be a result of your page speed. A page speed report can show you how fast your site is. Testing competing websites is a great way to gauge where to stand on the spectrum. 

Pro tip: Images typically make up about 75% of total page weight when they aren’t optimized, resulting in longer load times. Optimizing your images is a great way to increase page speed and reduce load times. 

Your Site Has Been Hacked

Site security plays a large role in how Google views and ranks your website. If your website has been hacked and no longer is secure or safe for users to enter, Google will reduce your rank to protect the user. 

When Do You Need to Worry? 

Keyword ranking fluctuations are only temporary for most companies and shouldn’t raise too much concern. It’s common for these changes to stay in place for 3 to 4 weeks. So don’t panic right away and give Google time to adjust. 

If you still see that you are no longer ranking highly after a month or two, that should be a red flag, and changes should be made.

One of the best things to do is to look at competitor sites. 

  • Where are your competitors ranking?
  • How were they affected, if at all? 
  • What are some of the websites that moved up in rank?
  • What are they doing differently than you? 

Odds are, the keyword ranking fluctuations didn’t only affect you. Your competitors should see a change in traffic and rank as well. Unless, as mentioned earlier, they have been the top result for years. 

If you notice that you are the only one affected by these changes and it’s been longer than four weeks since the change, that should raise concern and you should take action. 

What Can You Do About Keyword Fluctuations?

The true answer (the answer that no marketers want to hear) is that all you can do is wait and see. You need to give Google time to gather information and adjust accordingly. But, again, most websites will return to their normal position after 3 to 4 weeks. 

If you don’t return to your normal position, there are a few things that you can do. 

  • Site audit 
  • Backlink audit 
  • Content remediation 
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Learn about the algorithm 

Site Audit

Performing an audit on your own site is an easy way to evaluate your website’s overall performance and search engine friendliness. This is where you learn about page speed, site security, and how user-friendly your website truly is.  

Backlink Audit

Backlink audits are similar to a site audit, but they strictly analyze the external sites that link to your content. Therefore, when performing a backlink audit, you should pay attention to the types of websites linking to your content, the quality of the backlinks, and how often websites link back to your website. 

Content Remediation

Content remediation is something that most websites should do regardless of how high they rank or if their rank has changed. Information changes as time passes, and Google wants to see that websites are keeping up with the times. Your content might be missing key questions that readers have and want answered. Adding new relevant content and improving existing content can help get you back to the top of SERPs. 

Competitor Analysis

A competitor analysis is a great way to discover what Google is looking for. If a competitor jumps above you in SERPs analyze their content. 

  • How does your content stack up to theirs? 
  • What are your competitors doing in their content that you aren’t? 
  • What questions are they asking and answering that you’re missing? 

Competitor analyses are easy to perform and can provide valuable insight into what changes you need to make. 

Learn about Google’s Algorithm Updates

Like we’ve said, Google is constantly innovating and updating its algorithm to provide the most value to the end user. Learning about the algorithm and staying ahead of the curve can give you a better understanding of what Google is looking for. 

This is a lot easier than most people think. Twitter is a great place to gain some valuable insights. Both @RustyBrick and @DannySullivan are great Twitter follows that tweet daily updates on how Google’s algorithm is changing and how it may affect your website. 

Overcoming Keyword Ranking Fluctuations 

With so many different factors affecting your keyword rank, it can be hard to find the specific fault that is causing you to lose traffic and conversions. Therefore, the first step in overcoming keyword ranking fluctuations is knowing where to start and implementing the right strategy to improve results and increase conversions. 

It’s important to remember that keyword ranking fluctuations are typically temporary and shouldn’t raise too much concern right away.

If you find that your SERP positions are falling too low, not returning to your average rank, and you aren’t reaching your goals as a result, our team at Tuff can help. We offer free growth strategy sessions and will analyze your current content strategy/performance to correct any keyword fluctuations you may be suffering from. 

Need help overcoming keyword ranking fluctuations? Let’s talk. 

 

The Difference Between On-Page, Off-Page, and Technical SEO

If you want to really increase your site’s traffic and make that traffic stick, then you’re looking at Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Why? Because prioritizing SEO increases the chances of customers finding your website whenever they research for keywords related to your products or services. According to databox, 70% of marketers find SEO more effective at driving sales. And if that wasn’t enough, compared to other tactics like Pay Per Click (PPC), SEO is cheaper.

So how come every growing business isn’t investing in SEO? Well, like so many twenty-something relationship statuses—it’s complicated. 

At Tuff, we analyze our clients’ websites from home page to blog and from site speed tags to 404 redirects to discover what SEO tactics will positively impact their growth. But did only some of that make sense? Well, probably because we threw some technical SEO jargon in there. That’s right! There are different types of SEO, and they all help optimize a site for search, but they do it differently.

So, to help clear up any confusion, we’ll walk you through the difference between on-page, off-page, and technical SEO and how each helps your growth marketing strategies. 

What is on-page SEO?

On-page or on-site SEO involves optimizing specific elements of your website’s pages, such as content and HTML source codes. On-page optimizations help search engines, like Google and Bing (if you’re into that, we do not judge), interpret page content to understand what it’s about. When the search engines understand the purpose of your page, they can turn around and help visitors searching for the goods or services you sell to find you. 

But for on-page SEO to be effective, it’s now what you tell search engines but how you tell them. And of those ways is through HTML tags. So to understand how on-page SEO works, you need to know a bit about HTML—the basic coding language that websites use.

The source code of most web pages filled with tags that look like this:

<title> What is HTML?</title>

So, if I had that bit of code on the Tuff site, you would see “What is HTML?” in the title bar of your browser. If you were to find this page on a search engine (hopefully in the first position), “What is HTML?” would be the name of the link you’d click.

Search engines use these tags to understand what a web page is about. One method of increasing on-page SEO is to optimize these tags (like using keywords—more on that in a sec) to make the search engines display your page for relevant search queries. If you do it correctly and don’t abuse it by stuffing keywords, you should see some positive organic results. However, nothing in SEO is that easy. 

Targeted keywords

In the good ol’days of SEO, you could have articles filled with search terms for your industry. So if you were a dog food company, most of your pages would be jam-packed with search terms like “best dog food,” “top-rated dog food,” “number one dog food,” etc. This was great for search engines but terrible for people that had to read sentences like “Have you asked yourself, ‘Is there dog food near me?” Now, spamming keywords into your content will not get you rewarded by Google but penalized because you aren’t providing users valuable information but devaluing your site’s expertise, authority, and trust (E.A.T.). 

On-page SEO is about utilizing these targeted keywords to help your site rank higher. But it’s not just going into SEMRush picking the top-ranking keywords. There is a technique to it. First, you want to perform a SEO competitive analysis where you determine the top keywords for your industry and how your competitors rank for these as well. Plus, you want to look for relevant keywords but have low competition. This will help your site build out its expertise and authority, which should have Google start ranking your content higher in the SERPs if your content is deemed valuable to the end-user. So tl;dr:

  • Identify your competitors and compare your keywords
  • Determine how the customers you want search for your goods or services.
  • Research successful pieces of content in your space and determine how they utilized keyword phrases
  • Use online SEO tools like SEMRush to look for keyword opportunities

So that’s it for on-page SEO, right? Well, actually, there’s more!

Title optimization

If you recall, way up there, we mentioned how essential tags were, especially title tags? Well, there is a bit more to it. Every piece of content you produce should have a compelling title that informs what the article should be about and contain the primary keyword you want to rank for. Search engines and users don’t have a lot of time, so if you can tell them what they can expect from the web page in the most concise way possible, you’ll be rewarded.

Title and header tags are also a great way to add your primary and secondary keywords. So if you were writing a piece on say, different types of SEO, your structure would look like this:

H1: The Difference Between On-Page, Off-Page, and Technical SEO

H2: What is On-Page SEO?

H2: What is Off-Page SEO?

H2: What is Technical SEO?

Well, you get the point. Search engines can crawl the page title and headings to help them determine what the content is about, and for a user, it is an excellent way for them to skim the content and get to the answer they want. All that engagement will go a long way into boosting your visitor site time and click-through rate, which will, in turn, increase your organic growth. 

Optimized Content

You want to make sure you use those keywords in your content you worked so hard to discover and ensure that your content talks about the subject you’re telling search engines what the content is about. It’s not enough to just sprinkle keywords throughout the content. On-page SEO will add depth and breadth on a subject for both search engines and your visitors. Plus, you want to use those keywords as naturally as possible. 

Remember our “dog food near me” example? Yeah, that type of content will be penalized because you’re not telling the search engines or your visitors how to find dog food closest to the user’s location. However, search engines, like Google, are getting better at determining user intent, which means content that answers a user’s question with a wealth of information will be rewarded by ranking higher in the SERPs. 

SEO-friendly URL

This one often gets overlooked, but the title should be a simplified summary of what your page is about. It may be tempting to just go with an auto-generated URL, like the ones Shopify and WordPress suggest based on your content, but take a minute to think about it. If you can remove any filler words and ensure that your title contains your primary keywords, you’ll have a greater opportunity to rank higher in the SERPs. So in short, make sure you:

  • Exclude words that don’t add significance to the URL 
  • Add relevant keywords
  • Make it easily readable
  • Use hyphens and underscores
  • Needs to contain your single domain and subdomain
  • Match URLs with your content’s titles as closely as possible

In the end, your URL will look something like this:

https://tuffgrowth.com/seo-competitive-analysis/

Optimized Meta Elements

Unfortunately, it just doesn’t end with a good title tag. In fact, the meta elements can have a more significant impact on your organic growth than the URL. So, again, don’t just go with the auto-generated meta elements from a CMS platform. As Google likes to tell us, you know your content best. So you take a moment to craft a meta title and meta description that stands out from your competitors and utilizes those valuable keywords. 

Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of your title and 155 characters of your meta description. This includes spaces, so you don’t have a lot of room to work with. Let’s drag out our dog food example again. For a page on our made-up Pawsome Dog Food company, we want to tell both the search engines and the reader what it’s about while also encouraging them to click. So it should look something like this:

example of an updated meta description

Optimizing Images

Are images important for on-page SEO? They sure seem to be. According to an article in HubSpot, articles with images get 94% more total views than articles without images. But just like the keywords, the images have to be relevant to the content, and you have to do some on-page optimization to make the images work a little harder for you. This means titling the images using your keywords if possible and adding Alt-text that uses your keywords so the search engines can better categorize the content. 

That was a lot, and there are tons of tweaks and on-page SEO strategies you can implement to make your growth strategy successful.  But now we need to discuss off-page and technical SEO, and how they can also be an important part of your company’s organic growth. 

What is off-page SEO?

So you know what on-page SEO is, but what about everything that happens outside your site? Enter off-page SEO. Typically, Off-page SEO also includes anything that refers back to your site, such as social media, podcast, leaving comments on a guest blog, or anything that happens off your site that influences your site’s authority. Off-page SEO tactics generally fall under the Social Communications Manager or Social Ads Strategist role at your company. 

The most common off-page SEO tactic is link building. In the earlier days of search engines, SEO strategies determined if a page outside of your website linked back to your site, creating a backlink, that it was a signal of the popularity of your content. The more backlinks you had, the higher you would rank. In addition, you got bonus points if the sites linking back to you were also popular. So there was a mad dash of websites linking to each other as much as possible. 

But like that judgemental principle in your middle school, Google judges your site by the company you keep. So if you have too many backlinks that are considered “toxic,” meaning they have a low domain authority or are from just terribly spammy sites, a backlink from these types of sites could actually hurt your on-page SEO. This means you have to be careful who you request a backlink from. 

A big part of off-page SEO is curating your backlinks. Often, you can’t control who links back to your site. In this instance you have to disavow these toxic backlinks. Plus, you could have sites linking to pages that no longer exist on your site. This would require a link reclamation campaign. Off-page SEO is labor intensive, so a lot of companies choose not to do it, and focus on SEO tactics, like on-page and technical, that are more in their control. However, when done right, off-page SEO can have a huge impact on your rankings. 

What is Technical SEO?

Finally! The unsung hero of search optimization. Talk to a technical SEO for a few minutes, and you will most likely not understand a word they said, but we guarantee what they were telling you goes a long way to the health of your site. 

Technical SEO is a catch-all term for optimization improvements that are not on-or off-page. An SEO skilled in this will perform technical SEO optimizations on your site to make sure that you have a solid foundation for all your on-page and off-page SEO tactics. Their behind-the-scenes work can do wonders on your site’s performance and your organic growth. This is because Google not only rewards good content but it also regards a good user experience. If your site is too slow, too hard to crawl, or you have too many dead links, all the great content in the world won’t get you to rank high in the SERPs.

At Tuff, we look into a client’s site health before we make any changes. We know that if the site’s foundation is bad, then all our work for the client won’t help them grow an inch. So technical SEO is just as important as any other SEO tactics, if not more important. So what does technical SEO include? This isn’t the definitive list, but it’s some of the heavy-hitting a technical SEO will perform on a site.

Site Architecture

We mentioned how vital a good foundation was, and a technical SEO can inspect your site and ensure everything is working and linking as it is supposed to be. 

Your site’s architecture makes it easy for search engines and users to find you. With over a trillion pages on the internet, you can see what is important. The search engines’ crawlers need to be able to thoroughly and easily navigate your entire site. A website with an ideal architecture helps crawlers locate anything they’re looking for across all of your pages.

Another reason technical SEO can be so effective is that it flushes out any internal linking issues you may have. Internal linking to high-priority pages gives them greater authority (Remember that whole E.A.T. thing?) These high-priority pages are recognized by Google and receive a higher ranking, which is key for sites like your homepage.

It’s not just for search engines. A good site architecture also helps people find what they need more quickly and keeps them from bouncing too soon. Keeping customers happy lowers your bounce-back rate, which helps your organic rankings. 

Sitemaps

Your site map or XML sitemap is really just what it sounds like. It’s a roadmap for search engines to explore your site. Just like any good map, an XML sitemap will highlight the most critical areas of your sites, like landmarks, so the crawlers know what to check out first. 

xml sitemap example

This is key for extensive sites where the crawlers may not know where to begin; you want to make sure that the search engines prioritize your most important pages, such as landing pages before your crawl budget is used up.

Mobile-first Optimization

With Google prioritizing mobile search over desktop, your site must be mobile-friendly. Technical SEO ensures your site not only looks great but functions as it should when someone accesses it from their phone or tablet. 

If that doesn’t seem too important, consider that mobile search accounted for 52.1% compared to desktop searches of 44.2%. So yeah, how your site functions on mobile is pretty essential.

Duplicate Content

Some things are so important you feel the need to say them multiple times, but too much and Google will ding your rankings. Technical SEO will look into what content or pages have the same message or even the exact same content and devise a plan on what to keep and what to throw out. 

A technical SEO will also look into thin content or what pages are not providing much value from a search standpoint. Remember, Google will penalize you if you throw up a page that offers no value. Google doesn’t like it when you waste its or a user’s time. For large enterprise sites, chances are there are a lot of duplicate or thin pages, and a technical SEO can ferret these issues out to ensure your site is healthy. 

Site Speed

Do you hate sitting in traffic? So does Google, and if your site loads too slow, more than two seconds, then Google is going to have something to say about it. But it’s not just search engines that have a problem with slow site speeds. 

website site speed

Most people will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. But, unfortunately, all this clicking-and-bouncing negatively affects your site rankings. There could be too many redirects, line breaks in your code, Javascript issues, image optimization issues, and more. So having a technical SEO that can determine why your page is loading too slowly can save your business. 

Schema Markup

Schema markup or structured data is a type of code that communicates to search engines how to follow your website and what the data on your site means. Rember, Google isn’t patient, it has a lot to do, so good communication with search engines is key to getting you to rank higher. 

Technical SEO also looks at how your site performs internationally, hreflang tags, and a host of their back-end issues such as canonicals robot text, core web vitals, and assesses how any Google update may affect your site’s overall health.

What kind of SEO is best for your site?

Easy and lazy answer. All of them, and this is true. A holistic SEO strategy will utilize all the strategies that affect your organic growth channels. However, sometimes it’s not realistic to focus on all three. You may not have the expertise or the people to make a serious SEO- impact to grow your site’s organic channels. 

This is where a growth marketing agency like Tuff comes in. We’ll do a deep dive on your site and determine which SEO tactics will have the biggest impact on your business. We’ll determine if on-page, off-page, or technical SEO is going to improve your conversions and website rankings and then come up with a plan and help you execute. Each business model is different, so there is not a one-size fits all approach. If there was, SEO would be easy. However, with a partner like Tuff on your team, on-page, off-page, and technical SEO are a whole lot easier.

If you want to know more about how on-page, off-page, and technical SEO  can be a part of your growth marketing strategies, hit us up. We’d be happy to walk you through our game plan on how we can attract the right traffic to help make your business successful. 

Typing on google search.

Branded and Non-Branded Organic Traffic: What Is It and Why It’s Important to Track It

Typing on google search.

When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), it’s important to be able to track branded and non-branded organic traffic. So what is branded and non-branded organic traffic, why are they important, and how do you measure them? Let’s get into it. 

Simply put, branded organic traffic is any organic traffic that comes from a keyword phrase that contains a branded term. 

For example, QuietKat is a well-known eBike company so they receive a lot of branded searches, but not everyone spells their brand name correctly – or spells out the full name. Some examples of the branded searches that they receive are: 

  • quietkat bike
  • quiet cat bike
  • qk electric bike

Why is tracking branded and non-branded traffic Important?

It’s important to accurately track branded and non-branded organic traffic because it gives you a sense of how well your content and technical SEO is performing and what outside factors are having an effect on it. 

After all, the goal of technical seo and seo content is to help see higher search rankings and new traffic – not just to gain traction with people already looking for your brand. 

There are a lot of factors that lead to an increase or decrease in organic traffic and by tracking branded and non-branded keyword movements you’ll be better able to accurately pinpoint what the cause is. Let’s look at a few scenarios:

  1. You just hired a PR agency a few months ago and are seeing a 30% increase in organic traffic MoM (month over month). Is this increase due to the PR agency’s efforts, your SEO content strategy, or both?  
  2. Your brand reputation took a hit on social media. Organic traffic is steady but conversion rate is dropping. Could it be that non-branded organic traffic is still performing well but branded organic CVR (conversion rate) is decreasing?
  3. Your industry as a whole is growing exponentially and your company is reaping the benefits of this as organic traffic is up 60% MoM. Did your keyword rankings improve or did they stay the same but the monthly volume for those keywords has increased? 

These are just a few reasons why it’s important to track everything you can about your organic traffic and keyword rankings. 

How to track branded and non-branded organic traffic

So now you know why tracking organic keyword movement is important, but how do you track your keywords? There are a few different ways to do so. Let’s discuss the options. 

SEMrush

Report data from SEMRush.

SEMrush is probably the easiest way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic, along with other keyword movements. SEMrush is built for SEO keyword research so it’s no surprise that it’s the number one option. 

With SEMrush, there is no math involved because not only do they calculate branded and non-branded traffic for you, they even plot it on a timeline so that you can see the historic performance as well. 

There are a few caveats with SEMrush’s calculations and you should not completely take this at face value. I suggest taking a look at the keyword rankings and doing some quick math in your head to see if the percentage of organic traffic matches with these calculations. Sometimes SEMrush doesn’t count certain words that are misspelled or contain a space in the brand name, etc.,

Keyword report from SEMRush.

By looking at the keyword rankings, you can filter the keywords by branded and non-branded keywords and focus on the Traffic % column.

Google Analytics & Google Search Console

The second way to track branded and non-branded organic traffic and sales is to use Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 

One advantage of using GA & GSC is that you can view organic sales data as well as other on-page metrics that GA tracks. Another advantage of using GA is that people are generally much more familiar with GA than SEMrush and have more experience working with the data.

In order to track organic keywords in Google Analytics, you’ll need to make sure that Google Search Console is connected to Google Analytics. This takes just a minute and will be worth it in the long run. It’s important that you do this asap because Google only starts tracking data from the date when you connected to two platforms.

Search data from Google Analytics.

From here, we’re able to export this information to a spreadsheet and calculate the percentage of organic traffic from branded and non-branded keywords. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re an agency or a brand, it’s important to understand and measure the difference in traffic, sales, and CVR between branded and non-branded traffic. If you’re running PPC campaigns alongside your organic efforts then you probably know how important it is to track branded and non-branded keywords and the different ROAS you get from each campaign.

Branded vs non-branded organic traffic and sales reports can be a game-changer when reporting on your SEO performance. 

Are you tracking your branded and non-branded organic traffic? What are some trends you’ve noticed? Let us know!