SEO Strategy Assessment Guide & Tips for Improvement
Navigating SEO is much like navigating through life; you must embrace change. In light of the fact that Google updates its ranking algorithm 500 – 600 times a year, it’s a no-brainer that SEO strategies must constantly adapt too.
But don’t panic! It’s not as drastic as it sounds. You don’t need to change your strategy 500 times a year… but you should be prepared to make multiple adjustments around every 4 months or so.
In this article we are addressing organic SEO services. At Marketalist we have years of tried-and-true experience on this subject and are here to give you guidance. As you may well know, gaining organic SEO results is a much slower and complicated process than paid search.
However, it does pay off in the end, as 70-80% of users prefer organic search results and ignore search ads altogether. Still, you must keep in mind that these two steps – assessing and polishing up your SEO strategy – are your biggest shots at digital success. Follow along to learn the best ways to fine-tune your SEO technique.
Assess and Refine: It Is the Only Way
How are you going to evaluate your SEO performance, without first establishing the metrics?
Spoiler alert: You cannot gain valuable insight without measurable data.
Therefore, the following 12 points will explain which metrics to consider, and how you can properly tweak your strategy.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
Think of your click through rate (CTR) as an indicator of how appealing your content is. However, your rank position will also determine the state of your CTR. Here’s how it works: 68% of all clicks in the SERP go to the top 5 organic results. Also, each website’s CTR will dwindle as you go further down the line.
So, ideally, your CTR will be between 10% and 30% if it ranks in the top 3.
If it’s ranked 4th or 5th then your CTR should be at least 5%. Anything below that will only see a 2% click through rate at most. If you’re not reaching these numbers, it’s time to reevaluate your content and keyword strategies.
Ways to Improve Click Through Rate:
- Look into your content. Is it informative? Is it written in natural language and without error?
- Check out your keywords. Are they relevant? How is the monthly search volume?
- Review Title Tags & Meta descriptions. Are they engaging? Are there calls to action?
Remember, if you are ranked in the top 5 results this is your time to shine! You need to solve the problem as soon as possible. If Google notices that people don’t like your content, you’ll get knocked out of a top spot. How sad!
Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Hold or boost your position in the SERPs by revisiting your titles and meta descriptions. These descriptive devices are what is displayed on the results page, so they are hugely important to SEO.
Both search engines and users rely on these attributes to get a quick idea of what the webpage is about. Therefore, titles and meta descriptions can make or break your strategy.
Ways to Improve Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
- Check the wording. Did you include keywords? Do they accurately describe the page?
- Check the character count. Are titles less than 65 characters? Are meta descriptions under 160 characters?
- Check for individuality. If titles and meta descriptions are too similar, google may penalize you for duplicate content.
Keep an eye on these terms when optimizing your website for search engines. After all, they have a big impact on your conversion rate.
Conversion rates usually refer to the number of users that take action (such as buying something) while on your site, or due to your site. Ideally, your conversion rate, based on SEO, should be around 11.45%.
But don’t fret if its lower than that. Many companies have around a 5% conversion rate. In fact, ¾ of business have a much lower rate. Therefore, a baseline conversion rate of at least 5% is a good place to start. But it’s not where your business should stay; there’s plenty of room for improvement!
Ways to Improve Conversion Rate
- Check your content and include calls to action whenever applicable.
- Check the conversion rates depending on device. Which kind of device do most conversions come from.
- Check your landing pages. Which have higher conversion rates? Why aren’t the others performing as well?
Another way to measure conversion is by considering backlinks. Are your leads coming from somewhere other than SERPs? Take a look at those other sources, to see where else you can improve your SEO strategy.
It’s a well known fact among SEO experts, that link building is just not as easy as it sounds. Still, you need as many inbound links – also known as “backlinks” – that you can get. Why? First of all, the references to your site will gain you more leads.
Secondly, backlinks will cause Google to view your business as more legitimate, which will raise your domain authority. A higher domain authority means a higher page rank and value. That being said, it’s okay to be a bit obsessive and frequently check the status of your backlinks.
Ways to Improve Backlink Technique
- Check where your backlinks are coming from, are they high quality sites? If there are spammy sites, remove the link via Google Search Console.
- What is your methods of checking backlinks? Are you using a tool for thorough scanning?
- Revisit your content quality. Could it be better? The best content will get the most backlinks.
Something else you should pay attention to is whether those web pages are indexed by Google. Because it’s generally not helpful to have backlinks that Google is unaware of.
When Google bots follow links to your page this (preferably from one page of your site to another page within the same site) this is called “crawling”. The ultimate goal of having Google crawl your site, is to have the pages indexed. Essentially, the crawlers are bots that read your page and decides whether or not the information is valuable.
Generally, your target should be for Google to crawl all your chosen pages. Otherwise what would be the point of putting them on the internet? Submitting an XML sitemap of your website is an easy way to quickly get Google’s attention. However, it takes more work and some perseverance to keep that attention or gain more.
Ways to Improve Crawl Rate
- Create lots of content and update older content as well.
- Make sure you have blocked the pages that don’t need to show up in the SERPs.
- Check the Crawl Error section in search console. This will tell you why your pages are not being crawled.
- Use internal linking liberally. The more links you have leading around your website, the more Google will crawl your site.
Now, don’t confuse crawled pages with indexed pages, as these are two entirely different things. Indexed pages are submitted to Google and therefore eligible to be ranked in SERPs. Make sure these pages have quality content, otherwise it may have a negative impact on your bounce rate.
Although Google cannot fully comprehend what is contained within your web page, it takes cues from your users. The algorithm will recognize when a user lands on your page and then exits without navigating through the site. This bounce rate will be viewed negatively, if the percentage is too high.
Conversely, you should also aim for a good dwell time, which describes how long a person is on your website. Longer dwell times and lower bounce rates would indicate that users like your page. However, if you are experiencing an opposite effect, it’s time to reevaluate your SEO strategy.
Ways to Improve Bounce Rate
- Review the content on your landing page. Is it easy to read? Is it the correct spelling and grammar?
- Consider the page speed. The majority of users only wait about 3 seconds for a page to load.
- Revisit the user experience. Is your page easy to navigate? Is it attractive and responsive?
There are tons of other ways to decrease your bounce rate and improve your dwell time. However, among the most important factors is the page loading speed. In fact, when you think about it all these factors are so tightly interconnected, that improving one factor generally involves some upgrading of a few other factors.
A sound SEO technique involves the cohesion of a number of different elements. Furthermore, you must frequently revisit and revamp your SEO strategy to stay successful. Moreover, each function of SEO requires varying amounts of attention, in terms of how often they should be updated.
Keep in mind that there are an unknown number of ranking factors. Google’s Rankbrain algorithm is somewhat of a “secret formula” that is made even more mysterious with its frequent updates. It takes lots of time, consideration and trial-and-error. For this reason, staying properly optimized and up to date, is literally a full time job.
Not everybody has the time for this kind of work, and understandably so. Still, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to conduct a regular cycle of SEO implementation and assessment. So, if you don’t have time for it, find a reputable SEO agency to do it for you. It’s the only way to successfully market online these days.
As a matter of fact, this is exactly what we at Marketalist do. We create a business-specific SEO strategy, we implement it, we evaluate it and then we refine it. And so the cycle repeats.
We offer this service among many others, including Pay per click marketing and social media marketing. With our full array of services, you can experience the full benefits of SEO with a unique strategy. Call us today to learn more.