Tag Archive for: technical seo

seo results

Small Pivot, BIG Results: How We Generated a 659% Increase in Non-Branded Organic Site Traffic for AKKO

seo results

In most true SEO stories involving newer websites, results don’t come quickly. Sure, there was that one time we increased organic traffic by 117% in just 90 days, but this wasn’t one of those times. 

As a newer website with few blog posts and an average domain authority, we stumbled in the dark a bit before we found our footing. But once those results began trickling in, it started to downpour. Here’s the story of how we increased AKKO’s non-branded organic traffic by 659% in just 6 months, after months of lackluster SEO performance. 

non branded organic search

Overview 

First, let me explain what AKKO does and what industry they’re in. AKKO specializes in gadget protection a.k.a insurance. They cover your phone, laptop, electronics, and other vital personal items against costly damage and theft – all for just $15 a month.

“Great people and team to work with who produce top notch quality and results!” – Eric Schneider, Co-Founder at AKKO  (see all Google Reviews here)

When we first started working with AKKO, their past SEO efforts were heavily focused on cell phone insurance keywords. Those were just about the only non-branded keywords driving organic traffic to their website. And while their branded keywords were driving a few hundreds clicks per month from search engines, it wasn’t a match for the industry behemoths that they were up against – Verizon, AT&T, and Apple to name a few. 

Technical SEO

technical seo dashboard

Fortunately, AKKO’s website didn’t have a ton of technical SEO issues when we began working with them. 

With just a few small fixes, we were able to get their overall site health to over 90% in SEMrush. Once that was done, we found additional ways to improve the technical SEO by adding structured data where possible, improving internal linking, and improving the CRO on AKKO’s core pages.

Now we could move on to the next step in our SEO strategy, keyword research, and planning. 

Keyword Research

Just like all great SEO content strategies, it begins with keyword research. We do this by conducting competitive analysis on industry leaders, direct competitors, and search competitors. We see which strategies are working for them, what their top pages and keywords are, what they’re doing well and what they’re not doing well. We then conduct a topic and keyword gap analysis to find our biggest areas of opportunity. 

Once equipped with all of this data, we map it back to our partner’s website and determine what makes the most sense for them and what we have the best chances of ranking for. 

We look at a lot of different metrics when determining what are the most appropriate keywords to target. The most common ones are monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, and searcher intent. Then we ask ourselves, will this keyword drive conversions if we rank in position 1?

Along with those metrics, we analyze the existing website content, search competitors, and domain authority to see if it’s the right fit for us. No one metric in itself is enough to determine the quality of a keyword, so it’s important to look at several different metrics when choosing your focus keywords. 

More than 90% of AKKO’s organic traffic was coming from branded searches. Of the less than 10% of non-branded traffic, the majority of it was coming from cell phone insurance keywords. I took a closer look and noticed that almost 100% of this non-branded traffic was going to two places: the homepage and one particular blog post.

In the initial research phase, I identified this as an opportunity and began working on ways to leverage AKKO’s brand recognition for cell phone coverage while expanding to other products that they cover.

Building our SEO Content Strategy

Our initial SEO content strategy began with strengthening AKKO’s existing rankings by building comprehensive coverage around their cell phone protection service. They had some non-branded keyword rankings on pages two and three of SERPs that I identified as low-hanging fruit. 

I worked with our dev, UX, and CRO teams to build a few targeted high-quality landing pages that would give us a better chance of ranking for these high keyword difficulty terms. We also build comparison landing pages that compare AKKO against all of their top competitors – Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and more. 

Unfortunately, in such a competitive industry, these keywords were extremely difficult to rank in the top 3 for and they weren’t driving as much organic traffic as I had hoped. 

After our initial organic efforts didn’t get the results that I had hoped for, I spent some time going through all of the pages on the website and making some changes to the on-page SEO. AKKO only had a few pages on their website when we began, so we didn’t build a full keyword mapping spreadsheet as we typically do for larger partners.

Our main goal was to improve the internal linking throughout the website, especially to the new pages we had just created. 

We did this by including all of our comparison pages in the footer of the website so that they were readily accessible and properly linked.

Content Creation

Once we had pillar pages built for our focus keywords, we used blog posts to create topical relevance around secondary and tertiary keywords and create a cluster strategy of knowledgeable informative content. 

I quickly expanded from cell phone insurance keywords to laptop insurance, camera insurance, tablet insurance, and many others. 

After a few months of tracking our SEO performance, I knew that we needed to pivot. Overall organic traffic had increased but it was mainly due to our other marketing efforts from our social and PPC campaigns. 

Search queries related to gadget insurance were proving extremely difficult to rank for, even though this wasn’t apparent in the keyword data, and we were up against industry behemoths every which way we looked. If it wasn’t Apple or AT&T we were competing against it was AllState or Progressive with their homeowners insurance. 

Content Strategy Pivot

It had been almost 5 months since we began our SEO strategy at this point and I was getting antsy for some good results. I was checking Google Search Console and other performance reports but the SEO impact was minimal no matter how I looked at it. Branded terms still seemed to be dominating our organic search traffic. 

Then I tried something new. 

When conducting new keyword research, I noticed that there were thousands of monthly searches for Xbox warranty but hardly any searches around Xbox insurance. Not only that, but the keyword difficulty was much lower than the keywords I had been targeting previously. 

I did some Google searches to understand searcher intent and noticed that other than Xbox’s own manufacturer warranty pages, which were written in very high-level legal jargon that very few understand, there wasn’t much competition. 

So I tested out a few warranty keywords. We wrote content about the Xbox and Playstation warranty along with the controller warranties and the advantages of having AKKO coverage. 

The results were amazing. 

organic search position

In just a few weeks we had the Featured Snippet and the #1 rank in Google for Xbox warranty and a few keyword variants. A few more weeks later and we were ranking #1 for more than twenty Xbox warranty keywords.

For the first time, we were driving non-branded organic traffic from keywords with high search volume.

I wasn’t sure if this was just a fluke though or if this was enough to build our content strategy around. We also saw some good results for PlayStation (PS5) warranty keywords, but it wasn’t until a few months later that they started driving significant traffic. 

organic keyword movement

I also knew that I couldn’t rely on just these keywords alone to drive quality organic conversions so I build out a list of other high-volume, low-keyword-difficulty warranty keywords and took stock of just how large the playing field was. 

To my surprise, there are a lot of people searching for these warranty keywords and there wasn’t much content out there other than the manufacturer’s legal pages. 

After seeing those initial results and building out the keyword list of other devices with high search volume that AKKO covers, I decided to pivot from insurance keywords to warranty keywords. 

This was a game changer. 

New Content

In the next few months, we wrote content on all of the top gadgets and devices and saw results similar to what we saw with our Xbox warranty keywords. 

We were ranking much quicker than I ever expected, we were driving more traffic than ever before, and non-branded keywords are now accounting for about 70% of all organic traffic, up from less than 10%.

branded vs nonbranded search traffic

Below are just a few of the more than 4,000 non-branded keywords that we’re ranking for today along with the monthly search volume and the position that we’re ranking in. Maybe you’ll be as surprised as I was at the amount of monthly search volume these keywords receive. 

seo keyword rankings

This has helped us create comprehensive coverage on our website and ultimately improve our rankings for the very difficult insurance keywords. Here are a few of our current page one rankings for some insurance keywords. 

top keyword rankings

How we measure branded vs non-branded organic traffic

Tracking branded and non-branded organic keywords

Tracking branded and non-branded organic keywords and traffic is something that I was doing from the beginning and this was the first time that non-branded traffic started to gain traction on branded organic traffic and direct traffic. 

We use a few different SEO tools to periodically pull a performance report and accurately pinpoint how our SEO campaign is performing. The tools we use the most for this are Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and SEMrush

SEMrush gives us daily updates on keyword movement and estimated monthly organic traffic but it’s not as accurate as Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Using Google Search Console and Google Analytics, we’re able to filter strictly for clicks from branded traffic and non-branded traffic.

In the screenshot below from Google Search Console, you can see the number of monthly clicks and impressions received from non-branded keywords in December 2021 compared to the number of monthly clicks and impressions from non-branded keywords in June 2022. 

search console performance results

In 6 months, we were able to increase non-branded traffic by 659% with 648 organic conversions (sign-ups) and a CVR of 2.72% in June 2022.

We were able to do this for a few reasons. 

One of the biggest reasons is that we have a partner that understands the value of SEO and fully trusts us to do what we do best. They could have given up after the first few months of lackluster performance and shifted their budget to paid campaigns but they didn’t. 

I also have to thank the rest of my growth marketing team for providing exceptional results across multiple different channels and buying me some time to put together a fully optimized search strategy that not only drives traffic but also new customers.

Another huge reason is that our partner has a truly amazing product offering that beats the competition no matter where you look. I was able to write content on just about any popular gadget or device because AKKO covers it. Not only that but no matter how good the manufacturer warranty is, it doesn’t beat AKKO’s pricing when you consider that you can insure up to 20 devices. We were able to add this CTA to all of our blog posts and increase organic sign-ups exponentially. 

Conclusion and Next Steps

Our next steps are to continue to double down on warranty keywords while improving CVR and expanding to B2B search terms.

We’ve had such great success with warranty keywords and there is still so much more to write about that there is no reason to stop. At the same time, we want to make sure we’re constantly optimizing and increasing our CVR and expanding into new territory. 

AKKO’s business is increasing and I know it will be a new challenge to try and dominate search results for B2B keywords and I welcome that challenge. 

How (and Why) You Should Use Internal Link Optimization

If you’re working to improve your website’s structure and search engine optimization you’ve likely focused on publishing great content and building backlinks to that content. However, one aspect of SEO that is easily overlooked is optimizing your internal links as well. Internal link optimization can drive long-term wins for your organic rankings and site traffic. 

First of all, What Are Internal Links?

Internal links are links on your website that point to other pages on your site. These types of links are useful to both users navigating your site and search engines crawling the pages on your site.

The Different Types of Internal Links

  • Contextual Links: These are text links embedded within your content. You may add these to a blog post to link to another post on a specific topic that you think your readers will find valuable or interesting. For example, if we were discussing on-page vs. off-page SEO (← this is a contextual link) in a blog post we could include a link to another one of our blog posts on that topic.
  • Navigational Links: Navigational links are intended to make it easier for visitors to your site to find other pages on your site. These links could be in the header bar of your site, or included on longer pages to take users to specific points on the page.
  • Footer Links: Footer links are any links you add to the footer of your website. These links can be powerful SEO tools because they show up on every page on your website. Adding footer links to your most important pages can help give them an SEO boost by letting search engines know which pages are the most important on your site.
  • Calls To Action: Call to action (CTA) links are typically included on your site’s landing pages and within blog posts to encourage users to convert, which could be buying a product, signing up for your email list, or downloading a lead magnet.

What is the Purpose of Internal Linking?

Internal links can serve a number of purposes – from making your site more user-friendly to making it easier for search engines to crawl your content. Internal link optimization should also accomplish the following two things:  

Give your site structure.

When you add internal links to your existing content in new pages or posts on your site you improve your site’s structure. Adding internal links to your site helps reduce the crawl depth (or the number of clicks it takes to reach a URL) for your content. 

In addition to reducing crawl depth, internal links are another way of grouping related pages on your site. If you have a blog post on a certain topic, it makes sense to add internal links to that post to any other pages on your site that discuss that topic.

Improve User-Experiences

UX and SEO are actually closely related. Higher quality content is more likely to keep users on your site longer. This can be an indication to Google that your site is worthy of ranking for a given keyword. Adding internal links to your site can make it easy for users to visit multiple pages on your site, which will help increase the average time users spend on your site.

Internal Linking Strategy Works Together with Your Content Strategy 

To truly crush your internal link optimization strategy, you need to have a range of pages and blog posts on your site to add those links to. If your goal is to get more organic traffic to your site, you need to focus on content strategy first, and then focus on building internal links into that strategy.

Internal Links Work How People Assume Backlinks Work

Internal links tell Google which pages to prioritize and which to ignore. The more internal links a given page has, the easier it will be for you to rank. The opposite is also true. The fewer internal links a page has, the harder it will be for that page to rank.

Google confirms in its Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide that internal links are a ranking signal that Google uses when crawling and indexing your content. 

How To Improve Your Internal Linking

1. Use Natural Links and Anchor Text

When adding internal links to your pages, it’s important to optimize your anchor text so your links have the maximum impact. You shouldn’t over-optimize your anchor text to the point that it hurts user experiences.

The anchor text should align with the target keyword of the page you’re linking to – and should make it clear to users what the page is about. Having vague or nondescript anchor text will make users less likely to click on your links.

2. Link to Deeper Pages

You can use internal links to deeper pages on your site to make them easier for users to find. For example, if you have a high value blog post on your site but it’s buried deep on your site people may not be able to easily find it. Adding internal links can keep users visiting your old content, and can also make it easier for search engines to crawl your site.

Adding internal links that go to your homepage doesn’t provide much value, because people can already find that page easily. Your homepage is likely already linked from your header and footer, so adding additional links to your content isn’t necessary.

3. Make Links Useful

Including useful links that people will actually be interested in will help maximize the impact of your links. If you’re able to strategically include links within your blog posts, for example, rather than people bouncing off your site – they will continue reading the next article. This will keep users on your site for longer and will give them more opportunities to convert to become customers.

4. Use Follow Links

When adding links to external sites, sometimes it can make sense to add ‘nofollow’ tags to those links. For internal links though, you should use ‘follow’ links. This allows you to pass on the “link juice” to the pages you’re linking to, and allows search engines to crawl those links. 

5. Don’t Use An Unreasonable Amount of Internal Links

All this being said, more internal links doesn’t necessarily mean that your site will be more SEO friendly. A page that has tons of internal links stuffed in won’t provide much value. Too many links could be distracting for users, make it difficult for search engines to know which pages to prioritize, and can make your site look spammy.

Another thing to consider is that adding too many links in your footer can have negative effects. If every page on your site has hundreds of links in the footer, it can cause your site to look spammy, and can even lead to Google penalizing your site.

How We’ve Used Internal Linking To Improve Tuff’s Organic Results

Over the past couple years at Tuff, we’ve placed a strong emphasis on growing our organic traffic. Internal link optimization has played a strong role in contributing to our organic growth, as we’ve continued to publish new content on the site.

We’ve Implemented a Pillar and Cluster Content Strategy

As we develop content strategies for our website, and for our partners, we spend a lot of time on keyword research. If we find a keyword that is especially relevant and high-value to our business and organic goals, we will create a landing page that specifically targets that keyword. That landing page is a “pillar page” – which provides in-depth coverage of the page’s topic, and includes links to more specific pages or blog posts on our site. 

These specific pages targeting more specific keyword variations are known as “cluster pages”. In addition to targeting more long-tail keywords, cluster pages also provide internal links back to our pillar page.

We Implemented a Site-Wide Footer

Part of our internal linking strategy was adding a footer to our site with links back to our key pages. We included links to our key landing pages that are valuable from an organic search perspective, and that are valuable for visitors to our site looking for specific services.

Example of Site Footer Structure from Tuff Site

Footer links are especially powerful because they show up on all the pages on our website. So adding a page link to the footer is a quick way to build hundreds of internal links quickly.

All of Our Blog Posts Include Internal Links to Our Existing Pages

We consistently publish new posts on the Tuff website, and every one of those blog posts includes internal links back to other pages on our site. 

For example, if we’re writing a blog post about growth marketing strategies, we’ll likely include links back to our Growth Marketing Agency landing page. Not only does this improve our site structure and make it easy for Google to crawl our site, it also helps our pillar pages rank for their target keyword.

SEO Doesn’t Have to Be a Mystery

Whether it’s technical SEO improvements, a strong on-page strategy, or marrying a good user experience with traffic-driving content, you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re stuck in the weeds with your content strategy and SEO work, let’s talk!

planning the blog structure for seo

Subdomain vs Subdirectory for Your Blog: Which is Better for SEO?

planning the blog structure for seo

When adding a blog to your website it’s often much easier to integrate your content management system (CMS) on a subdomain, but often this isn’t the best-case scenario. 

Popular platforms such as WordPress and Shopify typically don’t allow you to install a brand new CMS into a subfolder but it is allowed on a subdomain.

For instance, you’ll run into problems if you have an eCommerce store running on Shopify – example.com – and you try to install a WordPress CMS on a subfolder of that domain – example.com/blog. 

It’s easy to accept the alternative and put your SEO blog on a subdomain but this will ultimately lead to technical SEO or organic traffic problems further down the line. As a growth marketing agency we’ve seen this a ton of times and this is usually the #1 reason why webmasters opt for a subdomain rather than a subdirectory; so we’re very familiar with the issues you may run into.

Before deciding whether a subdomain or subdirectory is the best option for you it’s important to understand what the purpose of the blog is for and what subdomains and subdirectories are specially used for.

Subdomain Structure

Subdomains can be beneficial for many reasons but they can also be harmful if used incorrectly. Let’s talk about how and when to use a subdomain. 

Simply put, a subdomain is an add-on to your primary domain. The main takeaway here is that a subdomain doesn’t automatically receive the same domain authority as your primary domain, the way a subdirectory does. 

structure of a subdomain

It’s important to understand that in most cases, a subdomain is treated as an entirely separate domain. That may mean that you need to pay extra to incorporate tools and software from your primary domain to your subdomain. You’ll also have to verify each subdomain separately and set up tracking for each separate subdomain. 

Subdomains are great when you need to separate sections of your website that have enough content to warrant their own website and don’t need the domain authority from your primary domain. Here are a few examples:

Good subdomain uses:

  • An application behind a login that isn’t being indexed in search engines.
  • Support website with troubleshooting and knowledgebase articles or forums.
  • A merch store on a non-eCommerce website. 
  • Any content that is completely different and/or secondary to your primary website.

This is not an exhaustive list and there are always exceptions, for instance, if your website is a single-page web application then it makes sense to have your blog on a subdomain so as not to interfere with the functionality of the application. 

Bad subdomain uses:

  • Translated language versions of your primary website. 
  • Your primary blog that is driving organic traffic. 
  • Core products or features of your primary website.

Subdirectory Structure

A subdirectory is a sub-section of your primary website and is recognized by crawlers as such. This means that you retain all the domain authority that your primary domain has and continue to build on your website’s comprehensive coverage.

Subdirectories are the preferred option if your content strategy revolves around the same topic as your primary domain and is being used to drive high-quality organic traffic. 

How do subdirectories and subdomains affect SEO?

Google is able to crawl both subdomains and subdirectories so you won’t be penalized for either approach as long as you’ve set each up correctly on the backend. With that being said, there is more technical SEO work needed to effectively index and rank pages on your subdomain. Also, crawlers have come a long way at recognizing subdomains and attributing that traffic and rankings to your domain, but they still have a long way to go.

Subdomains should be verified and submitted to Google Search Console with an XML sitemap

Using a subdirectory strategy concentrates your keywords onto a single domain while the subdomain strategy spreads your keywords across multiple distinct domains. This essentially establishes the subdomain as its own website and is treated as such by crawlers. For SEO purposes, this is putting us at a disadvantage compared to a subdirectory, which is treated as a new section added to your primary domain. 

Should you put a blog on a subdomain or subdirectory?

When talking about an SEO blog, the answer is almost always going to be a subdirectory. Building your blog on a subdirectory allows you to build on top of the existing domain authority that your root domain has built up over time. 

For example, if the domain authority (DA) of your root domain is 85 that means that your blog is also starting at a DA of 85. If you were to add a subdomain to a root domain of 85 there is no specific information from Google to figure out exactly what the DA of that subdomain is. For that reason, it’s best to start a new blog on your root domain so that you don’t have to re-build all the authority that you’ve built up over the years. 

Conclusion

If you’re just launching your blog and looking to optimize it for SEO, consider using a subdirectory over a subdomain. Driving more organic traffic to your root domain and increasing your domain authority is something that I’m sure you’re already working on and using a subdirectory strategy will help improve your effectiveness.

If your organic traffic is suffering and some of your top-performing pages are on subdomains you might want to think about migrating them to the root domain. 

testing different desktop landing pages

How Does Site Health Impact SEO?

testing different desktop landing pages

If you’re not familiar with some of the more advanced aspects of SEO, you may not have heard of site health before. However, if you’re trying to get more traffic from Google and other search engines, improving your site health can play a role in getting your site to outrank your competitors.

What is Site Health?

Site health is a metric that SEO tools, like SEMRush and ahrefs, provide to measure your site’s structure, speed, security and technical SEO.

SEO tools provide this metric to give you an idea of how your site compares to other websites from a technical SEO standpoint. If your site is full of broken links, slow-loading pages, and other technical issues, your site will be given a lower site health score than a similar website without those issues.

Site health itself is not a metric that Google looks at to determine whether or not your site ranks, but having an error-filled site could certainly impact your ability to rank for your target keywords. If you want to increase your site’s organic traffic and improve your keyword rankings, improving your technical SEO is a good place to start. Site health is a valuable metric because it allows you to easily monitor the progress you have made over time with your technical SEO changes.

Which Factors Play a Role in Your Site’s Health?

  • Site Architecture and Crawlability: It’s important to make it easy for search engines to crawl and understand the content on your site.
  • On-Page/Content Structure: Along with making sure that search engines can understand the structure of your site, it’s also important to make sure that the content on individual pages is easy to understand. This means making sure each page only has a H1 header, meta description, and title tag.
  • Core Web Vitals: One of the best ways to improve your site health is to look at Google’s Core Web Vitals. Your site should load quickly and when loading it’s best if the content does not shift around due to slower loading elements on your page.
  • HTTPS Security: If your site isn’t using HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP), now is the time to set that up. People visiting your site could be getting a warning message if you don’t have HTTPS setup with a current SSL certificate.

SEMRush and Ahrefs Both Use Three Categories of Site Health Issues

The two leading SEO tools, SEMRush and Ahrefs both assign issues to one of three categories based on the severity of the issue:

  • Errors: Errors are issues of the highest severity detected on your website during the last audit.
  • Warnings: Warnings are issues of medium severity detected on your website during the last audit.
  • Notices: Notices are not considered severe issues, but we recommend that you fix them.

If you’re working on improving the technical SEO on a website, these dashboards are easy ways to see if the changes you’re making are accomplishing their goal.

SEMRush Site Health Dashboard

SEMRush Site Health Dashboard

Ahrefs Site Health Score Report

Ahrefs Site Health Score Report

What is a Good Site Health Score?

At Tuff, we aim to maintain a site health score of 90% or greater for our website and for our partners. This ensures that we don’t have technical issues preventing us from ranking on Google when we start publishing new content on the site.

According to SEMRush, the top 10% of websites have an average site health of 92%. If you want to be sure your site is healthy from a technical SEO perspective, 90% a good goal to shoot for.

Why You Should Monitor Your Site Health Score

If you are consistently publishing content and adding new pages on your site, it’s important to monitor your site health to keep an eye out for any technical issues with the new posts and pages that you’re publishing.

Site health can be useful for identifying issues that you wouldn’t notice when visiting your site, but that could have an impact on your search rankings. New content on your site could be uploaded without proper meta tags or without an SEO-friendly title tag, and this makes it more difficult for Google to understand what your page is about.

What is Site Health’s Impact on Your Site’s SEO?

Improving your site health can actually provide a sizable lift in traffic and search engine visibility for your site. The search console data below is for one of our partner’s websites that increased its site health from 72% to 95%. 

This site saw a 13% increase in organic clicks and a 27% increase in organic impressions following the site health improvements we made. We’ve seen similar results from other sites that we’ve worked with after improving site health.

Google Search Console Results

Fixing technical SEO errors and improving your site health can actually make a noticeable difference in your search rankings and typically these fixes can be made with just a few hours of backend work on your website.

Poor Site Health Could Be Preventing Your Site from Ranking

If you’re frustrated that your SEO efforts aren’t providing the traffic you were hoping for, we strongly recommend improving your site health as that could be something holding your site back from ranking and getting traffic.

Fixing technical SEO issues can require some knowledge of web content management systems (CMS) and some basic HTML skills. If you work with a web developer these fixes should be simple for them to make. If not, a technical SEO agency can help you make these changes to give your site the best possible chance of ranking for your target keywords.

kids bike

“Bikes:” How We Helped Cleary Rank on Page 1 And Snag a Slice of the 135k Monthly Search Volume

kids bike

Cleary Bikes is not just any kids bike brand. The company—based out of Oakland, CA—makes among the highest-quality kids bikes out there. Their philosophy: instead of giving your kid training wheels and a rickety frame as they’re taking their first pedal strokes on their own, give them a sized-down experience of what it’s really like to be on trail, in the air, or at the park. That way, they’ll be building real, transferable skills from the get-go. It’s a perspective that resonates. That’s among the reasons that, when we first met the folks at Cleary, we learned their organic revenue was already booming! 

The health of their organic traffic was one of the reasons we were eager to partner with them. We knew that continuing to put in the work to improve Google search results while layering on other acquisition channles would help us build a holistic, long-term, and scalable path to growth. 

When we look at partnering with a brand at Tuff, really any brand, but especially eCommerce, we examine their current traction to help us understand how we plan to craft our Growth Marketing Strategy to help them reach their goals.

For Cleary, our minds were blown (literally), when we saw that organic revenue was the largest sector of their overall revenue d2c eCommerce makeup. 

Here’s how their traffic looked prior to April when we started our partnership: 

organic traffic results

Of their organic traffic, a large percentage of it converted due to Cleary’s success in showcasing the benefits of their bikes, the high quality of their messaging, and the overall praise from their customer base. 

From a growth perspective, we could see that a great formula for growing Cleary’s revenue would be to increase the volume of quality organic traffic to the site. 

This step by step guide lays out how we were able to develop an SEO Growth Content Strategy to increase Cleary’s organic traffic by getting them to rank on page one on Google for keywords specific to their business. 

Step 1: Lay The Technical SEO Content Foundation

No matter what you’re selling – SaaS, physical products, or a service – having the correct Technical SEO foundation for your performance content to work from is the most important thing you can do. 

With Cleary, they happened to be in the middle of a website overhaul so making some of our big changes was a no-brainer for their website and easy to implement. 

Step one was identifying tactics and updates we could implement to help us earn a website health score over 90%. A high health score helps our performance content rank faster and more efficiently. To get to the bottom of what was keeping us from better site heath, we first needed to run a SEO site audit

The results of this audit showed us what to change and included information about page errors, broken links, and more. The site audit also shows us how to fix those errors. 

In addition to the website audit solutions, we also provided Cleary with information about how best to migrate their website. 

Our biggest fear with their website migration and with any website migration is that we’ll lose our organic traction and need to rebuild from square one. This is not a great scenario to confront, so the only way to keep that from happening was to make sure the website migration process was accompanied by a strong SEO perspective.

Here are some of the suggestions we made: 

  • Setting up redirects on the server side for product pages, collections, etc. 
  • Switching to WP Engine servers. 
  • Using a third party migration tool like Cart2Cart

The final suggestions we made addressed Cleary’s product page descriptions and collection page descriptions. We noticed that most of Cleary’s rankings were coming from their home page. To help diversify the high-ranking pages as well as lead high-intent users further into the funnel, we worked with their team to develop SEO-focused copy for the mentioned page descriptions. 

Step 2: Develop A Strategic Content Strategy

As the decade-old saying goes “Content is King!” 

Yes that’s true, but not if the content itself is total garbage 💩

To develop an informed content strategy, it’s imperative to do some research. A great place to start is to first run a keyword gap audit against your brand’s competitors. Here’s the one we did for Cleary to show us where we were weak against their competitor Guardian Bikes. 

seo comparison chart

As you can see in the above “Missing” category, Cleary didn’t have any ranking keywords (KWs) related to bike sizing. Therefore, we determined that our first piece of content needed to be related to sizing. 

Step 3: Produce Content, Publish, Repeat 

This first piece of content wasn’t just a normal article, instead, we created a main hub page, which we called Kids Bike Sizing Guide. This is designed to be a sort of center around which all of our following sizing content could sit. This clustered approach—essentially similar to a whike wheel hub and its spokes—helps communicate to search engine algorithms that Cleary truly is an expert in this topic and therefore should appear at the top of search results.

Leveraging this one hub page, we were able to help Cleary rank for multiple KWs related to kids bike sizing, which tied back into the data we saw in our Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis. Examples of our focus KWs for this hub page were: kids bike sizing guide, bike size guide, bike wheel size chart, bike size chart.

Once we had our hub page developed we began developing auxiliary content pages that were related to our hub page and would help us boost its ranking through internal linking. 

Examples of these auxiliary content pages included a “Bike For X-Year Old Series” that featured more than four content pieces related to kids bike sizes that we could use to support our hub page. 

From there, we were in a great position to begin supporting our other hub pages like our product and collection pages using high volume KWs related to Cleary’s industry, missing and weak topics (from Keyword Gap Analysis), and full-funnel strategy content. 

Step 4: Improve Google Search Results  

Within 60 days, we started to see encouraging results with our Growth Content Strategy for Cleary. 

seo results conversation

Step 5: Keep Repeating The Formula

Just because you land on page one for specific terms doesn’t mean you’ll stay on it forever. Similarly, if you haven’t gotten onto page one for a specific KW, that doesn’t mean you won’t. 

Growth content is a long-term solution, not a quick fix, but you’ll see key indicators of growth like higher search rankings and new traffic within 30-60 days of publishing in most cases. Typically, within four to five months you should see significant traction toward your goals.

Excited about growing your organic traffic but not quite sure where to start? We’ve got your back. Let’s talk about how to level up your site traffic and land you on page one. 

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. 

two women looking at a computer

The 30-Minute Technical SEO Audit Anyone Can Do

two women looking at a computer

In the last article, we talked to about technical SEO and what it entails. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how to conduct a technical SEO audit. What to look for? What tools to use? And what to focus on? 

Selecting Your SEO Tools

Unless your website has less than 50 pages or so, you’re going to need an SEO auditing tool to crawl the website. The most popular SEO auditing software tools are SEMrush, ahrefs, and ScreamingFrog. 

Personally, SEMrush is my favorite because they grade your overall site health and provide a comprehensive user-interface for reporting, keyword tracking, and a lot of other features. 

Ahrefs is great for backlink auditing, building backlinks, and anything that has to do with the back links. But it is not ideal for auditing websites.

ScreamingFrog is a great tool and I will sometimes run it in parallel alongside SEMRush. It’s also significantly cheaper than both SEMrush and ahrefs, probably because there is no user interface in the cloud. It’s great to crawl the website and export that data to Google Sheets or Excel but there isn’t a user interface that allows you to run reports and present to clients.

Google Search Console and Google Analytics are also tools that you will want to have set up and connected so that you can accurately track your organic traffic.

For the purpose of this article, I will be using SEMrush and a few other tools for specific things such as site speed.

What to Focus on First

SEM Rush errors.

Another reason why I like SEMrush is that it prioritizes the most important errors, warnings, and notices.

  • Errors are issues of the highest severity and should be fixed first. 
  • Warnings aren’t as important but you should attempt to fix as many as possible. 
  • Notices are not so important and most likely will not be fixed on larger sites. 

These errors may look alarming but it’s important to understand that you’re not going to be fixing every single one. The audit takes into account SEO best practices and this would be the ideal if you are 100% focused on SEO and we’re willing to potentially compromise other aspects of the website to fix all SEO notices. So let’s drill down into the errors and see what to fix first. 

Errors list in SEM Rush.

The above screenshot shows the eight most critical errors that we must fix. You can click on each one and drill down to see exactly which pages the errors occur on. They also do a great job of explaining what the error is and how to fix it.

Since we have to fix them all we have to decide which one to start with. The easy thing to do is look at which one has the most errors and start there – hreflang conflicts. Another reason why this is a good error to start with is that it can be fixed programmatically. With a few lines of code, we can fix all 1400+ hreflang errors in the span of a few hours.

This is just a personal preference, but it’s always great to come back to your client and say “hey look, we fixed 1400 errors in our first week of implementing SEO fixes”. It’s a quick win and it goes a long way rather than starting with the 900 duplicate meta descriptions, which may take weeks to completely finish and deliver to the client.

After fixing all of the errors to the best of our ability we would then go on and do the same with the warnings and then the notices. My personal goal is to get the site health to 90%. That tends to be very challenging with large websites.

Page Speed

With page speed being so important, there are a dozen different tools we could use to check our page speed. We’re going to rely on the ones that are provided by Google today, specifically Google pagespeed insights.

Google page speed insights report example.

Focusing on the opportunities, we can see that images are significantly slowing down this particular website. So we would click on the errors and find solutions to the problems and present them to the client. 

Mobile Accessibility & Core Web Vitals

The rest of the technical SEO aspects that we’re going to look at today can all be viewed from Google Search Console.

Google search console screenshot.

Fortunately, this particular website doesn’t have any errors but if it did we would click on open report, find the specific hour, and go in and fix it.

Google search console screenshot.

This usually requires working closely with the developer as you can see most of the errors revolve around coding. This is also the same for the core web vitals, which mainly focuses on the speed of the website on desktop and mobile.

Conclusion

This is not an exhaustive list of all technical SEO aspects that you should be focusing on and fixing but it does cover the most critical issues that you should be prioritizing. If you are not experienced with this then I recommend hiring a technical SEO agency to take care of it for you.

The Power of Technical SEO: How Optimizing Your Site Will Increase Organic Performance

Technical SEO is one of the most important elements of your website. It’s also, at times, one of the most confusing. 

You don’t need to be an expert, but a basic technical knowledge will help you optimize your site for search engines and avoid costly mistakes. 

As Tuff’s technical SEO strategist, I work on sites of all sizes. From websites with 5 pages to websites with 5,000 pages, I’ve helped companies make sure their web pages are structured for both crawlers and humans. 

In today’s post, I share my experiences and strategies with you and leverage these learnings to help you get started with technical SEO tactics on your own website. 

Let’s dig in! 

What is technical SEO

Technical SEO covers a variety of different technical optimization techniques and strategies to improve a website’s organic traffic. Some areas are more technical in nature than others. Some borderline on development and some borderline on content SEO, which we’ll touch upon later.

Why is technical SEO important?

Technical SEO is important because it is the foundation of your website, which may also be the foundation of your whole company. If you build a weak foundation, then nothing you do afterwards well give you the results that you’re looking for.

It’s important to start with technical SEO before any other areas of SEO. If you start building high-quality content or high-quality backlinks on a website that is not fundamentally strong then you will not rank well in SERP. 

Most important aspects of technical SEO

Core Web Vitals

Rankings on core website vitals.

Just a few months ago, Google released what is now known as the core web vitals that revolve around loading, interactivity, and visual stability. 

And they describe them as,

“Web Vitals is an initiative by Google to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web…Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Each of the Core Web Vitals represents a distinct facet of the user experience, is measurable in the field, and reflects the real-world experience of a critical user-centric outcome.”

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Speed

From tracking how long it takes before the page visually loads, to how soon you can start interacting with the page, and then if the page moves after you start interacting with the page; the core web vitals all revolve around website speed and usability. 

Google wants its users to have the best experience possible so it’s easy to see why they have such a focus on speed and usability, as well as security.

Mobile Usability

In this mobile-first indexing world it’s necessary to make sure that your website performs well on mobile. 

Security – HTTPS

Having a secure site that runs on HTTPS is certainly a ranking factor that Google looks at. As far back as 2014 they started to penalize websites that were not secure with https. This also includes the sites that you linked to. So if you’re linking to websites that are not secure, I recommend that you update your external links with secure HTTPS links.

Duplicate Content

There are many different types of duplicate content. The most common is duplicate content within your own website. 

This usually happens when you duplicate a page and then forget to change the title and/or meta description on that page. Search engines will penalize you for this, especially if the main body of content on the page is not unique. The reason for this is if both pages are the same how does Google know which one to rank. This is common with archived pages that have the same title and meta description on each paginated page. One way to avoid this is with canonical tags.

Crawlability

One of the most important aspects of technical SEO is making sure that Google and other search engines can crawl your website efficiently.

Depending on how large and complex your website is, this will most likely involve editing your robots.txt file, a well-thought-out XML and HTML sitemap, and the use of noindex tags to save your crawl budget. 

Broken Pages & Links

Having broken pages in broken internal and external links on your website will not only hurt your organic traffic but also your user experience. 

Search engines crawl all of the links on your website and check, amongst other things, if that page is broken or not. if you have a lot of broken pages or broken links on your website then it is seen as a poor user experience and search engines will penalize you for it.

SEO Tracking & Reporting

This is something that I don’t see mentioned much when talking about technical SEO and I believe it is an important piece that needs to be addressed. The famous saying “if you can’t measure it then it doesn’t exist” applies to SEO as well. 

Assuming you’ve got Google Analytics and Google Search Console set up, the first thing to do is connect those two together. This way you can view your organic search traffic in Google Analytics. This gives you the ability to run reports and compare organic to other channels as well as other useful capabilities.

The next thing to do is get a keyword tracking tool such as SEMrush or ahrefs so that you can track your organic progress month-over-month

Conclusion

The above is a non-exhaustive list of the most important technical SEO aspects to optimize. 

In my next article, I will describe more in-depth how to conduct a technical SEO audit. With that being said, in order to efficiently conduct a full technical SEO audit of your web properties, you will need an experienced SEO or technical SEO agency.

Implementing technical SEO fixes generally require going into the code and/or advising a developer on what changes to make. 

Though technical SEO is the first aspect of SEO that you should focus on, it is still only one piece of the puzzle.

Google search console results.

How to do SEO Link Building in 2020 [Free Email Template]

Google search console results.

Behind only quality content, content is always king, high quality link building is arguably the most important SEO ranking factor. So it’s no surprise that companies and SEOs put a lot of effort into building backlinks. I stress the term high quality, because the majority of link building that goes on is not high quality in my opinion. So what exactly does link building entail?

Link building can be both technical SEO and content SEO. It usually involves public relations, partnerships, and communication. In simple terms, link building is the process of getting another website to link to your website. This can be done naturally or it can be done strategically. 

Why is link building important?

Link building is important because one of the most important ranking factors that Google uses to determine how and where to rank your page in Google search results. Acquiring backlinks from authoritative domains can be very beneficial for your company. 

For SEO purposes, search engines crawl two different types of backlinks. A dofollow link and a nofollow link. A dofollow link simply tells the search engine crawler to follow that link, whereas a nofollow link does the opposite. So if you’re receiving a backlink from another website, a dofollow link is preferred, since a nofollow may not be crawled at all, though Google has recently announced that using nofollow is now seen as a hint, not a directive.

Beyond just getting a link from a high-quality website, there are a lot of additional factors that Google is looking at to determine how high quality that link is. The links that appear in the body of content with related anchor text are some of the highest quality backlinks you can get. For instance, if a news outlet covers a story on your company and links to your web page with text that is related to your core business, that is seen as a high quality backlink.

Link building research

When crafting a link building strategy, research is one of the most important factors. You’ll want to know exactly what type of link building you’re going to be doing, what websites and blogs you’re going to be focusing on, how you’re going to reach out, and what you’re going to offer.

Link building is certainly not easy. If you’re asking someone to insert a link to your website you better have a good reason why they should do so.

Let’s look at some different types of Link building strategies.

Link Building Strategies

This is not an exhaustive list but rather some of the most common link building strategies.

Mentions – using a tool such as Mention to find all mentions of your brand name and then reaching out to that webmaster and asking if they will link to your website because it will be beneficial to their readers.this has a higher success rate since they are already talking about your brand name and are familiar with your company.

Lost backlinks – this technique involves using a tool such as SEMrush or ahrefs to find backlinks that you have lost, for whatever reason, reaching out to the particular website or blog owner and asking if they can add back the backlink. This has varying degrees of success because maybe they removed the link on their own or maybe the link was broken, which takes us to our next method.

Partnership building – This is the most common form of link building. General outreach to bloggers and webmasters in your industry. Just like any other outreach, its success depends on how targeted the outreach is, how enticing your offer is, how relevant your content is to their audience, and so on. NinjaOutreach and BuzzStream can be great tools for mass outreach, though I’ve always chosen to do it manually.

Since I’ve had pretty good success with this method in the past, I’m going to share with you some things that have worked well for me in the next section. 

Broken links – this method is very tedious and has a lower success rate than the previous methods. For this method, you use a tool such as ScreamingFrog to crawl a website with related content and find broken links. Once you find a broken link that is linking out to a piece of content that is similar to a piece of content on your website, you reach out to the blog owner and ask him/her if they want to replace the broken link with your new link.

HAROHARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and provides writers with daily opportunities to be featured in high quality articles. Each day you receive an email with stories that reporters are working on and if you are an expert on any of the topics, you respond and have a chance to be featured in the article. This doesn’t always guarantee a backlink, but they usually make it clear whether or not they will link to you.

Guest posting – guest posting is one of the most common forms of backlinking and involves writing a guest post to be featured on another website. Within that guest post you will ideally link a few times to specific pages on your website. This is okay as long as you’re not paying to post the guest. Google has recently said selling paid links on blogs is against its webmaster guidelines.

Partnership Building Outreach Template

Here is an email template that has worked well for me in the past. One important thing to note is that you usually need to offer a link swap, or a way to drive traffic back to their website as well. Nobody wants to do anything for you for free. Before I include the template, lets talk about the steps that lead up to it.

  1. Build a spreadsheet of 5 target pages that you want to build link to and save it in Sheet 1
  2. On Sheet 2 (if doing manual outreach) build a list of target blogs and keep track of the URL, website name, DA, contact’s name, and contact’s email.
  3. Once you have that information, you can create a mail merge directly in Google Sheets.

Email template

Hi,

My name is Derek, and I’m reaching out on behalf of [Your Company].

I wanted to see if you’d be interested in exploring ways we can collaborate on content sharing between your blog and [Your Company]. I’ve been reading [WEBSITE/BLOG] for some time and have noticed a lot of content overlap. I think we could benefit from driving our audiences back to relevant content where applicable.

Let me know if you’re interested in discussing further.

Thanks,

Conclusion

These are just a few link building strategies but the best strategy is always to create high-quality content and share it with an interested audience so that they will naturally build backlinks for you.