When a full SEO technical audit is finished, it seems like the entire on-page SEO work is already done, right? No. Reality is, it is far from over. Your work is just about to get more exciting because you’ll now get into the nitty gritty calibrations to further rev up the power of SEO.
Rand Fishkin’s Two Algorithm World speaks about optimizing both ranking inputs and searchers’ outputs. IMHO, it makes sense to me in many ways.
Speaking of a searcher’s output, I may consider it as user-based SEO algorithm factor that provides Google some data to understand if users are happy with what they’ve found and clicked via search. The right titles, meta descriptions, content fit, and gap fulfillment can make search user experience a lot better. In doing so, it sends the right signals for the search engines to reward those pages that made the searcher’s search worthwhile.
Reality is, the list of SEO calibrations is long but let me provide you some high priority SEO checklist that can give you big wins. By focusing on them, it can already bring you huge leap of improvements. If you’ll look at our use case below, the result is awesome!
Okay, Let’s get started then to name some of the highly important SEO calibrations you can make.
1. Integrate Search Queries On Your Title and Meta Description Copies
Goal: Improve Relative CTR
We understand that CTR (Click-Through Rate) is not a ranking factor, however it is a necessary metric to understand if titles and meta descriptions are making users click on your pages. In other words, the relevance of your titles and meta descriptions to search queries are major items that can spell disaster or win moving forward. Even if you have the best quality content there is, if users are not clicking on your pages via search then it is useless.
What Improvements Can You Make?
- Go to your Google Search Console>Search Analytics Tab
- Select Queries, Set the Country Target, and Date Range
- Check Clicks, Impressions, CTR, and Position
- Download the Results as CSV or Google Doc (1000 rows)
- Sort the Impression data from highest to lowest, and highlight those rows with relatively higher impressions and low CTRs.
Once you’ve already identified those queries with low CTRs and high impressions, start crafting better titles and meta descriptions on those specific pages using the queries from your list.
Pro-tip: Include those queries in your titles (if they make sense) with good call-to-action meta descriptions.
2. Mind those Short Clicks and Long Clicks (Remember Dwell Time?)
Goal: Improve Dwell Time
Technically, once you’ve already done your homework on item #1 ( Improve Titles and Meta Descriptions), the weight of your work now goes to understanding how your visitors are consuming your content before they go back to search again. Pay attention to your site’s dwell time!
Let’s first recall some terminologies.
Dwell time is an important signal to look at and be concerned about. It is the actual amount of time a user spends on your site before he goes back to search again. Dwayne Forrester from Bing (now, the VP of Organic Operations in Bruce Clay Inc.) first coined the key term “dwell time” when he wrote about How To Build Quality Content.
Short click happens when a user found your content via search but immediately went back to search again. It would mean your content sucks!
Long click is the exact opposite of short click (obviously). It is the behavior when a user clicks on your content via search and remains for a long time in your site consuming your content. Note: This is what we wanted to get from our visitors.
What Can You Do To Improve Dwell Time?
- Focus on the intent of the query and craft around it your titles and meta descriptions. If there’s a match between a search query and your page’s title and meta description, then you can most likely get the click you needed.
- Make sure that you produce better content that lives up to the “promise” of your titles and meta descriptions once searchers click on your URLs from search. You may want to also use your Google Adwords Search Query Report to Craft Better Content.
- Apply the principle of Quality Score in Google Adwords.
Let’s have a 1:1 equivalence of Adwords’ Quality Score to that of SEO.
Adwords: AD Expected CTR
SEO: Title and Meta Description.
Aim for better copies. Be a good copywriter. If you can’t do it, hire one please.
Adwords: Display URL
SEO: Branded Domain (at least strive to be one)
Brand building matters here. Your Domain URL recall is significant to searchers. The more ubiquitous you are as a brand, the better brand recall you get. And yes, inclusion of query-based terms in your URL is important, too.
Adwords: Quality of Landing Page
SEO: Content relevance and User experience on your pages
We are primarily talking about the relevance of your content related to your title and meta description and better user experience on your pages such as having clear navigational structure and being multi-device compatible (responsive or adaptive). Your content should also connect to the right audience aligned with their search intentions. Moreover, page loading speed also contributes to better user experience.
- Suggest Related Articles and Improve User Engagement
Provide related articles to the content of the page your users are consuming. You can also use pagination or infinite scrolling technique in order for them stay longer. If you are using commonly used CMS like WordPress, there’s a lot of plugins already available for related content that you can use such as Sumome. You can also encourage your users to engage via your comment box or you can integrate good video clips relevant to the content they are consuming for them watch.
At the end of the day, just make sure your users stay longer in your site and you’ll improve your dwell time.
3. Implement High Impact Internal Linking Structure Using Your Home Page
Goal: Boost High Converting Pages
Having a better internal linking structure is similar to having a good information flow since each link improves the overall value of every page. Most of the time, this is taken care of at the onset of planning the information architecture and/or sitemap. But at times, once the linking structure is done, we simply forget about it and we do other SEO tasks. It shouldn’t be the case.
What you need to do is to calibrate your internal linking structure by linking those highly converting pages from the home page. Have an internal linking provision where those performing pages get “nearer to the home page” since the latter normally gets the highest Page Authority (PA) value from search engines.
In doing this technique, you can also increase the PA values of those target pages you wanted to improve on SERP. Well, the more obvious reason why we wanted to get these high converting pages to have a place or section from the home page is more visibility for users to consume.
4. Link Out To Relevant Articles and Authoritative Websites
Links are meant to add value to your content. One best way to increase the trustworthiness of your content is to link/cite relevant articles from high authority websites.
This way, your visitors (humans and robots) will understand the importance of your content by virtue of association and categorization. Its relevance becomes more apparent, having to cite articles to support the validity of your points.
If you are brand person, you will look at this item as some sort of brand association technique where you opt to rub elbows with bigger brands to benefit from them. In return, just by mere association with them, you get noticed, too.
5. Calibrate Your Initial Keywords Set To Match Your High Converting Keywords
It is a usual practice that at every start of an SEO campaign, you perform your advanced keyword research. However, you shouldn’t get too stuck with those initial set of keywords you’ve pulled. It is necessary that you calibrate it once you’ve already gathered the data based on what your users are searching. Your “master list” of keywords should evolve accordingly.
It will be simpler if you can use Google Search Console and pull the search queries that deliver the traffic or conversion you need. If you are also running paid channels like Google Adwords, it would be a treat to find out those low-hanging fruits (keywords) that are already driving you the conversions you need such as traffic, sign-up, product buy, phone inquiry, etc.
Now, it is your turn.
What other SEO calibrations you’ve made so far that you think are highly valuable that contributed to your success? You can use the comment section below to share them with us. I would gladly appreciate it.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.