I have a friend from a while back who’s recently become an in-house SEO for a niche retailer who has asked if i could help provide an independent eye on the project with the view to creating some workable actions because he’s been thrown in at the deep end and can’t see the wood for the trees. Always eager to spread the knowledge, I took a few hours the other night to go through the site and produce some ideas for him, a list that I think might be useful for someone else who’s site is stuck in a rut.
Note: I’m having to be ambiguous as I haven’t had the go-ahead to promote the domain and I hope the genericness of this post will help broaden its reach and help you identify with the issues without the relevancy to a foreign product.
This site ranks for many of its niche terms however there are some big hitters that could help drive more traffic, namely the use of “[keyword] equipment”. In addition the home page was wasting one of the title terms having targeted the term “[keyword] wear” when this should be “[keyword] jacket” which should attract 500% visitors and should help with conversion as its more niche. These terms should be adopted as the default names for these sections and as a result the clothing section of the site should be brought to the front, putting these titles as category headings on the sites global menu system.
The site has lots and lots of completely off topic content accessed through globally available ‘Help’ pages etc. These pages need re-working to at the bare minimum contain descriptive text, possibly in the form of prompts and user guides, to help with relevancy. Also consider changing the access structure to a more wiki style menu (in content links) which will:
It would also be advisable to try removing these from the sites navigation and/or META noindex,follow the content (as opposed to using robots.txt) to see if this will improve relevancy.
Look through each page of the site with a view to the first link rule. This is the rule that Google only uses the first link to a pages anchor text when indexing a site. so second and third links to the target page on the same source page are irrelevant. In this case, the first link rule was applicable to menus and out of content links> I suggested re-working the site so that the HTML was re-formatted to put the in-content links first resulting in more relevant anchors.
The site has a number of links from the home page that target filter/search pages. These target pages have loooooong querystrings that are nonsensical. These need cropping back or better URL rewritten using .htaccess to still pass the same values but be more search engine friendly. In addition the title tags of these pages repeats the search query, it would be better if these were more keyword rich.
The site is an old one, created by a developer who didn’t fully understand SEO and worse, has become an obstruction to the sites ongoing development stating that the code is in escrow and that my friend cannot have access via FTP to make changes. The site had many usability issues and a management team that are reluctant to move from the current system for fear of losing their existing rankings. As it’s my friends new job I suggested creating some micro sites aimed at niches with a view for these to out-rank the main site. not only will this demonstrate his ability unhindered, but also provide additional revenue stream and most importantly show what can be done quite quickly when your hands aren’t tied behind your back. To make these as effective as possible buy on-topic domains, get them hosted on different servers and registered under different names and addresses and use something like Magento as an ecommerce solution which already has some attractive templates and is reasonably SEO optimised.
The site is hosted in the USA. I suggest moving it to a UK based host which should further help improve download speed.
The site sells goods overseas but has no multilingual presence. I’ve suggested adding in key multilingual landing pages to the site targeting non English languages and providing information on what users can expect.
Throughout the site and the micro sites being used the anchor/alt text/attributes should be optimised to help focus the sites home page on its target terms. Don’t foerget to apply the First Link rule here too!