Two weeks since I started to work on Search Engine Optimization for one of my friend’s website, the result was inspiring and the organic traffic improved by over 100%.
The Background – http://www.imgup.io is a free image hosting website that lets user upload and share images with the friends. Since this was image sharing website, the majority of traffic came socially as the users uploaded their images and shared with their friends. However my friend Calin, who owned the website wanted some search traffic to his website and then we started working on it.
The Result – So as we were concerned about optimizing the website for Search Engine, the organic traffic started to increase and gradually increased to double in just two weeks. This was great achievement to share. Although we have not hit our target for our primary keyword, which we have assumed to rank in six months(this is our target and may vary), we have been improving and the organic traffic has started to flow.
What Actions Did we take to Improve SEO ?
The result was inspiring, so I wanted to show you exactly what we did in order to improve the search engine traffic. The most of the major actions were on-page.
1. Changing Preferred domain – This is one of the basic things I check when I start optimizing. Google and other search engines think www version and non-www version of your website as different pages and could end up as a duplicate content issue. What I noticed with imgup was that search engines crawled both WWW and non WWW version of the website. So I selected the preferred domain through Google webmaster tool and then made a 301 permanent redirect from www.imgup.io to imgup.io. The 301 redirect means search engine passes all the backlinks and SEO values along with redirect. This redirection is exactly the one that Moz.com used to transfer from SEOmoz.com to moz.com , that is why moz got all the SEO value SEOmoz previously had with a permanent redirection.
This is one of the main thing you need to take care of.
2. Increased Backlinks – Backlinks are still number one factor for ranking and this has been proved every now and then for me. So I added some efforts to get some backlinks in order to increase the organic traffic. This was one of the main thing I prioritized in order to get rank for our primary keywords, however the result was good for overall organic traffic.
I added reviews to some of my own blogs to get links, bought some links from fiverr(this one is what I give for 5$ in fiverr), asked some of the bloggers to get me links and paid them. Usually I never paid for links, but we wanted to get some results quickly, so I used shortcuts to get links.
Alongside, I added the websites to some web directories and bookmarkings to get some links. Although people say that the links from bookmarking sites and web directories are not as much important as it used to be, every backlink has some value, high or low, until you make it natural.
I have already mentioned in my previous blog post on easy ways to build backlinks. I have also discussed some cautions we need to take care of while link building. So I made links in a way that looked natural to search engines.
Eventually the ranking started to show up. From 66th position, we moved to 44th position in Google for our primary keyword.
3. Install a Blog and Use it : Every successful business uses blog and content marketing and that was exactly what I suggested. I asked Calin to add a blog for imgup and he did so. Although he has not started to write for his blog, we will be updating unique and quality contents in the blog in future. Search Engines loves frequently updating sites and quality content. So we could earn some great reputation in the process and improve organic traffic eventually. We will also focus on long tail keywords that would drive traffic to the blog. This way we could enjoy some more organic traffc. Blogs for website has great value for Search Engines and on getting organic traffics. Blog marketing is one of the successful marketing strategy for business.
4. Eradicate Duplicate Titles and Descriptions: We have not taken enough actions to work on this but some minor steps has improved the performance. Although there are 800+ messages to take care of from Google Webmaster, we will work on it gradually. It suggests we make certain HTML changes to remove duplicate descriptions and titles. The script in the website does not support editing the title and description for each individual pages, so as soon as we upgrade to the latest version, we will manually look into these things and change everything manually(for over 800 pages). This would take some time, however the result would be overwhelming.
5. Act wisely with 404 pages – 404 pages are usually a not found pages in the website that are crawled by the search engines. The result could be seen under crawl>crawl error in webmaster account. So how do you think you will deal with the 404 errors? This is how we dealt.
Basically there are three different ways we could deal with a 404 error pages:
a) 301 redirect for all 404 error pages to homepage or categories – This would certainly pass the link juice, however this would not pass exact message to the users. If the not found page
b) DeIndex 404 pages – You can go into Google Index>Remove URL from webmaster tools to deindex pages that are indexed and does not exist in your server. This way would Google would no longer crawl your non existing pages.
c) A mixture of both- This is what I prefer and what I have done. Basically you would not want to avoid all those link juice you have on your pages. You can check for external links, if you have any links into your not found pages, make a 301 redirect for those 404 pages, and for remaining which does not have good link juice, you could just de-index them.
6. Improving the Bounce Rate – This action is what we are preparing to do but have not done yet. The website is image hosting website, so we get a lot of hits through Google images. So the people get the images, use the bandwidth and just go away. This increase the bounce rate, which is over 90% and is very high bounce rate. So we plan to add a tweak in htaccess in a way that when a user gets through the images, will be redirected to its respective page. This way, even the people who are in the images will stay bit longer in the website.
Additionally we will be showing some popular images in every pages, so the people would navigate to those pages and the bounce rate would improve and could eventually lead to improve search engine rankings.
7. Social Signals – Social shares do have direct impact in traffic and majority of traffic for imgup is social. However the shares also had some benefits in search engine ranking. This is why it was a plus point for our effort.
The main aim of the case was to improve the ranking and get into first page in Google for its primary keyword. Although we have moved to 44th position from 63rd in two weeks time, we have also seen improve in organic traffic which is inspiring.
Mainly we focused on the on-page factors of the website, did some html improvements, worked with duplicate contents issues and 404 error pages along with some backlinks and that saw a lot of improvement in organic traffic.
I will be sharing the result for our main keyword in a while. Please share your views in the comment box below.