Case study: 324% surge in search traffic with On Page SEO

This is how I helped a budget constrained small business owner boost search traffic by over 300% by focusing on solving critical on page SEO problems.

Client background

This client that hired me last year. My responsibility was to find out how to improve the search visibility of the client’s website, and work with his in-house team to rectify problems.

The client is in the private alternative education industry, in business for over 10 years. He has an in-house developer/web designer, and he handles content himself.

He did not have enough budget for prolonged SEO campaign, so we opted for short 3 month SEO consultation period.

Key problems identified

Broken links. There was quite a significant amount of broken links on the site. Some were pointing to pages that have moved, some of them were generated poorly by the CMS, and the rest were just input errors by the webmaster.

Site-wide broken links were the reason for the large number. Though the broken links represented only 1.6% of all links, some of those links were crucial to the site.

This meant PR link juice was wasted, and the large number of broken links can cause bad user experience.

broken links

404 error pages. Due to the broken internal links, a number of 404 error pages turned up.

crawl availability

These pages are what users see when they click on a broken internal link. They aren’t useful, and will harm user experience. In fact, the home page rotating slider had links to 404 pages… which was bad.

Terrible On Page SEO. The site had a myriad of On page SEO problems. Title tags, headings, meta tags were not keyword optimized.

structure problems

Worse, the CMS caused huge duplicate content issues. That’s why there was so many pages with duplicate page titles. Many pages could be reached via 2-3 different URLs.

Many URLs were a direct copy of page titles, which meant URLs were quite unsightly, and even contained funny characters due to mandarin page titles.

The www and non-www versions of the site could be reached separately. Another potential duplicate content problem. Links were also pointing to both versions of the site, so there was definitely a loss in link PR authority.

Site structure and layout.

Overall, the site structure was messy, and the home page design was cluttered without a logical flow. There were too many links to unimportant pages of the site. The animated sliders on the homepage could not be controlled, and pointed to relatively unimportant pages. (Also some links on the slider were broken)

Priority solutions

Minor website redesign

Due to budget constraints, the client could not undergo a total site revamp. Instead, we focused on changing the home page layout, and took away distractions from the home page.

Following my suggestion, the site was structured into themes. Each main course types became the main themes, and each main themes were supported by the various sub courses and lessons. This created a neat website silo structure.

Navigation

To improve the navigation and internal linking of the site, I recommended breadcrumb links.

Other recommendations I made was to improve the main menu. We removed unimportant links, and added dropdowns to inner pages.

Broken links and 404 errors

I gave the developer the entire list of broken links: where the links originated, and what broken pages they were linking to. We manually hunted down all the broken links, and either corrected the hyperlinks or 301 redirected old pages to the new ones.

Duplicate content

We did a site-wide 301 redirect to redirect all non-www versions of the site to the www version. This solved much of all the duplicate content issue. Anything not meant to be redirected were “canonicalized” to the correct pages.

Other On Page SEO factors

This took a lot of man hours. We had to manually rewrite page titles, headings, meta descriptions, permalinks, and different copy all over the site. This could not be done without extensive keyword research. I provided them with a naming protocol so they only have to follow the guidelines the next time they upload something.

Off Page SEO

Although less focus was placed on link building this time around, efforts to build links were fruitful.

1. By researching competitor’s links, we were able to find outreach targets to send requests to sites that linked to competitors but not the client.

2. The client had a number of unlinked mentions on the internet, through press stories about the business, or interviews that the client gave. We reached out and requested links for articles that did not link back.

3. Identified other websites, web properties, and profiles that the client owned, and built links from there.

Results

Once all the improvements were completed, we saw pretty good results the following month .

The client did not have Google Analytics installed initially, so we compared raw traffic data from the client’s web server. We compared the current data against the traffic from the same month last year.

One month

One month after my consultation ended, the number of monthly unique Visits (compared to the same period a year ago) increased by 23%. The number of Pageviews increased by an astonishing 114%.

One year

Now with Google Analytics installed, we can compare the latest monthly traffic figures compared to the monthly traffic before I was hired to help them a year ago.

324.58% increase in Sessions from search traffic, almost 300% rise in the number of Users, and 324.90% increase in Pageviews.

324 percent increase search traffic

That’s mighty impressive, considering everything was done under low budget conditions, and without investing too much in off-page SEO marketing. Thus is the importance of having good On-Page SEO, and a good website structure.

*Most of the targeted keywords are now in the first page, and many are in top 5 of Google SG results page (I can’t show you for confidentiality’s sake). To be honest, the actual keywords rankings aren’t important at all.*

Conclusion

Never underestimate what good On Page SEO can do for your site. This particular client’s website had already built up some authority and good links over the years, but was bogged down by poor design, inefficient navigation, and just plain bad on-page optimization.

So before you seek out an SEO consultant to do link building, make sure your site is well optimized to reap the full rewards of a good SEO campaign.

6 EASIEST Ways To Increase Blog Views With Minor SEO

So you want to know how to be the next XiaXue or Dawn Yang?

I mean, they’ve racked up millions of views on their blogs to become Singapore’s top bloggers. It’s like, come on lah, it looks so easy!

Step 1, look presentable. Step 2, blog about your lifestyle. Step 3, bathe in views. And then you tried it yourself. I think it’s not that easy in those beauty niches if you aren’t the most attractive person.

hk actor picking nose
Step 1: Look presentable… Okay I need SEO.

If you haven’t noticed, this article is mainly aimed at bloggers who do not belong to a specific industrial niche. Some know you as lifestyle or personal bloggers. Others call you the bunch of girls (and a few guys) who blog about their everyday life – which includes shopping, beauty, food, travels, and bitching.

We both know you want more views.

Traditionally, this group of bloggers tend to neglect search traffic. Without a doubt, the rise of social media in recent years has helped bloggers like us increase readership. It has made getting traffic to our blog that much easier through shared content. However, what happens if you aren’t exactly a social butterfly, with plenty of fans to count on? (or see picture above)

That is where I come in. We will build up your site’s visits by grabbing traffic from search engines.

Example of increased blog views
My client’s site. Minor SEO, drastic improvement.

 

These are 6 very easy SEO tweaks you can make in your blog to improve the number of views. No need for advanced Search Engine Optimization knowledge, no need for a wide social media circle, and very certainly, no need for hacker-like programming skills. I also included the benefits towards search engine optimization, if you are so inclined to be that nerdy.

SEO Tweak #1: Write descriptive titles – not forgetting keywords!

Increase Views: When you write a post, be sure to always include a descriptive Title.

“OMG, Guess What I Ate Today”, or “Love My New Facial Foam!!” just isn’t very descriptive nor helpful for internet searchers. True, it is your blog, and when it comes to personal posts, you have every right to name it the way you want. Your readers might also identify with that personality of yours.

On the other hand, when your post contains information of value to other readers, you want it to be easily found by them. “Review of XYZ at ABC Restaurant” or “My Thoughts On XYZ Foam” would make much better Post Titles. They describe the main content at a glance, and the keywords in the Title are what people naturally search for.

*Tip: Place the more important keywords to the front of the Title.

SEO Benefit: Search engines generally place a lot of importance in the appearance of keywords in the Title tags. Relevant keywords in the title will help you rank better for people searching for those keyword terms.

Say you want to find out more about the new “Laneige Water Sleeping Pack”, and proceed to Google the terms: “laneige water sleeping pack review“. The results page will show plenty of local bloggers giving their thoughts about the product. These bloggers are by no means “celebrity”, but they will get your clicks. On the other hand, a certain celebrity blogger who also had an article about the very product, fails to land on any of the first few pages of results.

laneige water sleeping pack review   Google Search
My results may differ from yours.

 

You should have noticed the difference in Titles between the above bloggers, and the “bad example”. See, even average bloggers can compete with “celebrity bloggers” if we use little SEO tweaks.

SEO Tweak #2: Write Descriptive Headings – Again, Keywords!

The heading above is an example of a heading. I feel stupid typing that.

Increase Views: These <H1> to <h#> elements help to separate blocks of text, which makes reading easier on the eyes for long posts. They also help to describe the ensuing paragraph, so that there is a neat structure to your blog entries. Similar to your Title, placing your important keywords within the Headings will help your visitors locate main ideas within your post, and will also tell search engines what are the key points of the content. Ease for readers + ease for search engines = MOAR VIEWS!

SEO Benefit:  Compared to blocks of HTML text, search engines usually give more importance to words in Headings when trying to decipher the key points of an article. When your keywords are in headings, search engines can get a clearer “big picture” of your content.

Here’s a great example of proper use of Headings, found in an article talking about the proper use of Headings, within my paragraph of writing descriptive headings. Headingception!

SEO Tweak #3: Optimize Categories and Tags

Increase Views: I’m sure most of you probably already use Categories and Tags to separate your content into various themes. If you aren’t, you should!

Categories are like the broad descriptions of the theme of the content. Tags are less broad than Categories, and act similarly to Indexes in books. They are essentially keywords that describe key topics in the article. For example, if you write a recipe for Chicken Soup, “Recipes” could be the Category, while “Chicken” and “Soup”, could be the Tags.

With proper Categories and Tags, your readers are able to look at all the articles you have written that is relevant to a topic he/she is already interested in. If a visitor stumbles on the archive page for your Category/Tag pages, there are greater chances for the user to read more related articles. Yay more views!

SEO Benefit: The important thing is to use terms that your readers would find useful. Think of them as keywords that could potentially be searched for. Not only will assigning keywords as your Categories/Tags be great for classification, it helps search engines crawl your site efficiently too. Categories/Tags are great for internal site linking. It gives more ways for visitors to reach other parts of your website. Link juice is able to flow easier – so that if one page is deemed important to search engines, internal pages that are linked to that page can benefit too.

Very bad example of tagging
You have to zoom in to see the bad example of tags usage. No offence to the blog owner.

As you can see, you should never spam tags! A post should not be under more than 2 categories in most cases, and tags should be relevant to the topics discussed in the post. Context and relevancy, people!

SEO Tweak #4: Link To Yourself a.k.a Internal Linking

Increase Views: When writing a post, you can link to yourself whenever a group of text has relevance to another page on your own site. You only need to highlight the keywords that you want to act as the link to another page, insert the hyperlink, and point it in the direction of the other page’s URL.

One obvious advantage to this is that readers can follow the link to another page in your site, nabbing you more views. The anchor text (the text used as the link), must be relevant of course. People who want to know the truth about SEO would click that link, expecting a page related to SEO. You can increase views to your lesser viewed articles by linking to them relevantly from newer posts.

SEO Benefit: Internal linking with keyword rich and relevant anchor texts is a great way to improve SEO within the site. It creates more links between pages, which facilitates the passing of link juice around. More relevant internal links tend to lead to greater click through rates within the blog, which helps to reduce bounce rates. Lower bounce rates is mostly always a good thing.

SEO Tweak #5: Link To Others a.k.a External Linking

Increase Views: Yes, linking to others can increase views to yourself. Indirectly so.

The step to take is just the exact opposite of internal linking. You just link out to another website, with an anchor text or URL. Whether talking about a restaurant, something you saw somewhere else, or an article that you read elsewhere, it’s always good to link to the original source. Not only is it good manners to quote from the source directly, it provides better user experience.

*Tip: Remember to use the HTML line target=”_blank” on your links so that they open under a new tab. You do not want your readers to drift away from your site.

SEO Benefit: Linking to informative, high quality sites makes you more credible. Not only that, there is evidence that linking to relevant, authority sites also helps boost your own site’s rankings. Here’s another lesser known secret I will share. When you link to someone else in a positive manner, there is a chance that the other person will notice as well. You might get unexpected benefits, such as a shout-out on Twitter, a link back to you, or even a free promotion.

Would you tell your followers if someone else just complimented you on their blog? I know I would. I hope you get the hint here.

SEO Tweak #6: Use Related Posts

Increase Views: After your reader has finished reading your post, why not offer more related stories to keep the user on your site? You will get more views by offering articles that are related to the article the reader just read.

For Blogger users, you can try LinkWithin. For WordPress.org users, try WordPress Related Posts.

good example of related post seo
A good example of related post being used.

SEO Benefit: Related posts are great for internal linking. It creates a broader link structure that search engines love. When more people click through to another page on your site, it helps to reduce bounce rates. Research also show that as you satisfy the reader’s hunger for information with your own depth of knowledge, conversion rates also improve. That means the reader is more likely to become a subscriber, follower, or consumer.

Last Important Tips

In all honesty, you can go without these tips if you blog consistently and have genuinely interesting topics. There are many bloggers who became successful before the age of Facebook and social media, and certainly without too much SEO know-how.

With these easy tweaks, you can definitely get a leg up on bloggers who do not practice them.

I wish you the very best on your blogging journey, and I hope the next big Singaporean blogger finds her/his roots here. 🙂

If you want more advanced tips on how to get more views on your blog, do comment below to request them. If I get the chance, I will squeeze out some time to write Part 2: Advanced Tips.