Client Gets 24.5% Keyword Boost in 1 Month (5 SEO Tweaks)

Top 5 Easy SEO Tweaks and Strategies to Consider When Giving a Website Makeover

  1. Remove Bad and Outdated Content
  2. Improve Navigation
  3. Add Correct Titles and Meta Descriptions
  4. Properly Size Images
  5. Clarify Home Page Header

Written by Jonathan Richter

In 2022, websites don’t need to be super complex to be effective. In fact, our latest web project involved migrating a website for a Chicago optometrist named Tanvi Mago, owner of The Eye Society.

Like many business owners with an outdated website, Mago was frustrated with the overall look and confusing navigation of her company’s website.

But that was only the tip of the iceberg.

When looking closer I found dozens of pages with duplicate, confusing, or unhelpful content. These are all the things you want to avoid when creating SEO-friendly content!

Within just a couple of months, Mago and I worked closely together to apply our 3-C Framework.

The result?

She got a fresh looking website with better UX, and a content structure that boosted organic keyword rankings by 24.5% in just one month.

Eye Society Organic Keyword Traffic Increase – Semrush

In this case study, you’ll learn the top 5 easy strategies I used to improve this website and get better results without adding significant amounts of new page content.

And the best part is, many of these strategies are things you can implement on your website right now!

Let’s dive in.

Dr. Tanvi Mago Eye Care

“Great company that I would highly recommend to everyone. Jonathan was amazing to work with, we had a couple conversations in detail about what I was needing in a new and updated website and he delivered it in very little time.

The communication was easy, changes that I wanted made were done right away and he understood the concept of what I wanted to achieve. He also assured me there would be good traffic/visibility to the site and I trust what he is saying works.

I am going to continue working with the company for work on my content and am very happy we switched over to them.”

– Dr. Tanvi Mago, Doctor and Founder of the Eye Society

1. Remove bad and outdated content

Quality over quantity

When it comes to improving your SEO and increasing organic web traffic on Google search, one of the first things people think is that they simply need more content.

But posting effective website content is very different from posting on updates on social media, where typically the more often you post the better.

Instead, it’s less about the quantity of posts on your website and more about the quality of those posts.

So while it’s true that more content can bring in more traffic, that’s only going to happen if the content you post is a high quality experience for website viewers.

What is quality website content?

Simply put, quality website content is content that’s both useful to the reader, informative, and easy to understand.

If you’re wondering if a page is ‘useful’ to the reader, ask yourself this: “does this page thoroughly answer the most important questions my audience has?“.

Think about it, when people are searching for something on Google, it’s typically because they have a question or are looking for something specific.

Google’s algorithm understands this user intent, or the purpose for why someone is conducting a search in the first place. Therefore, Google wants to present clear and useful search results to people based on what they’re looking for, and why they’re looking for it.

This is why FAQ pages, while not the most ‘exciting’ pages on a website, tend to perform well when it comes to bringing in organic search traffic.

How long and specific do your topic pages need to be for good SEO?

The answer depends on the topic you’re covering. In a 2020 study, a study by Backlinko discovered that “the average Google first page result contains 1,447 words.” People sometimes call these ‘power pages’ or ‘pillar pages’.

In my experience, I’ve also found that power pages with long form content are the most effective. In fact, my best performing articles all fall in the 1,300-2,500 word range.

Basically, the more content you can include on a single page the better–as long as it provides value to the reader!

And when you think about it, this makes perfect sense. The more content you have on a page, the more potential keywords and information there is for Google to crawl!

Just make sure that the content you create is clear, and easy to understand (like 6th-8th grade reading level easy). If you use short sentences and simple words, then you’ll be in good shape!

Underperforming pages

Now that we know what high quality web content is, it’s easier to understand how to classify “bad” website content.

Why is removing bad pages important?

Every website has a DA Score (Domain Authority). DA is a scoring system from 0 to 100 that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).

The DA score was first developed by Moz, but since then many other services attempt to calculate their own version of the score. Typically, the DA of root domains that link to your site and total number of links to your site are important factors for calculating the score.

However, because your website DA is allocated across all of the pages on your site, you should only include high performing pages in your sitemap if they’re useful to your audience and have potential to get traffic.

Otherwise, you might be diluting your DA across pages that are old, low quality, or serve little purpose.

How do you know which underperforming pages to remove from your website?

Consider removing pages from your website and instead setting up permanent 301 redirects if those pages:

  • Are less than 300 words and bring in 0 organic search traffic
  • Have content that’s poorly written and unclear
  • Do not provide any value or satisfy a users intent
  • Have 0 backlinks
  • Are archive pages (Tags, Categories, Authors etc)
  • Have duplicate content that you can find elsewhere on your website

Fortunately, the Eye Society website already had a decent amount of pages with lots of long form content. This meant that those pages were already ranking pretty well on organic Google search for certain terms.

But there were also dozens of pages with issues like the ones listed above that I knew we should remove right away.

Semrush screenshot of a list of webpage URLs with metrics highlighting 0 backlinks
Under performing pages with no backlinks – Data by Semrush

After evaluating all of these factors, Dr. Mago and I came up with a game plan for which pages were good enough to keep and which ones needed permanent 301 redirects set up.

As a result, we were able to cut the number of pages down from 72 to 59. By removing 18% of underperforming pages, we were able to make an overall better experience for website visitors and Google crawlers alike!

2. Improve Navigation

Navigation is arguably the most important thing to consider on your website.

Can people easily find what they’re looking for? Or, are they able to find the things you want them to find? Do you have strong CTAs?

These are the types of questions you should ask at any stage in the web development process:

That said, when you’re doing a website overhaul, it’s an excellent opportunity to revisit how your website navigation is organized and presented.

Header Navigation

For example, when I looked at the old Eye Society website’s header menu, I saw there was a huge opportunity to simplify the services list:

Screenshot comparing eye society website navigation menu before and after the website makeover and simplification by Winnona Partners
Eye Society Website Navigation Menu – Before and After Website Makeover and SEO Tweaks

As you can see in the image above, the list of services on the old site were overwhelming and confusing. But all it took was a few tweaks to make the site much easier to navigate.

First, I found the subpages that had very little content, such as the “Glaucoma FAQs” page. Then, I simply transferred the relevant content from the FAQ page onto the top level “Glaucoma Management and Treatment” page.

Second, I removed the number of options that a visitor sees when they click on the menu. Dr. Mago mentioned that she really wanted to focus on three main services. So I removed all the other distracting services and instead made them accessible from a prominent “All Services” menu item.

As a result, people have a much easier time accessing the services from the menu. And as a bonus, people visiting her site now know that these are the three services that Eye Society specializes in!

On-Page Navigation

I mentioned that the Eye Society had a decent amount of content already. However, once you have a lot of content you need to make it easier for people to jump to sections that they’re most interested in.

That brings us to another easy SEO navigation strategy you can quickly implement: On-Page Navigation.

In other words, you make menus at the top of your blog post or articles that link to HTML anchor text for the most important sections.

Here’s an example of one I created on the Eye Society website:

screenshot of Eye Society Aesthetics and Radio Frequency webpage with a red arrow pointing to the on-page navigation menu
On-Page Navigation Menu for Easy Content Access and SEO Boost

So does adding text anchor matter for SEO? The answer is yes! Anchor text helps both your audience AND search engines understand and navigate through the content of your page.

In fact, the original Google paper has an entire section that describes how anchor text receives special treatment, and why it’s important.

Check out this helpful article by Semrush for more information and tips about how to use anchor text!

3. Add Correct Titles and Meta Descriptions

The third tip is to add proper titles and meta descriptions for all of your webpages. This is really straightforward, but it honestly blows my mind how many people neglect to do this.

Here’s how long your title and meta descriptions should be in order to display fully on most screen sizes in search results in 2022:

  • Title: 60 Characters
    • Note: In 2022, Google increased title character display on mobile devices to 78 characters
  • Meta Description: 150-160 characters
    • Note: Only about 120 characters will display on mobile search results

Therefore, the consensus is to always try to keep your webpage titles around 60 characters, and your meta descriptions around 160 characters.

When it comes to choosing titles, try to come up with a short title that describes exactly what the page is about.

Try to only include your target keyword once in the title, and if you can use it at the beginning of the title that’s even better.

As for meta descriptions, I like to add the most important details in a concise way.

If the point of the article is to answer a specific question, I’ll even provide a short answer right in the meta description. In my experience, answering a simple question in the meta description can also help you rank for a Featured Snippet SERP.

After all, what better way to demonstrate value to your reader than by answering their question as quickly and clearly as possible?!

For instance, here’s one of my classical guitar articles that answered a common question in the meta description. As a result, it also appears as a Featured Snippet on Google Search!

screenshot of a Richter Guitar featured snippet on Google Search for classical guitar question
Google Featured Snippet Example

Similar to the title, try to include your target keyword only once in the meta description.

If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll already be in good standing from an SEO standpoint.

4. Properly Size Images

Another easy SEO win is to use proper image sizes consistently across your website.

According to Google’s image documentation: “Images are often the largest contributor to overall page size, which can make pages slow and expensive to load.”

Therefore, you definitely want to make sure that your website images are optimized, and that they provide a positive experience for website visitors!

What do people mean by ‘proper image size’ for websites? Proper image size refers to both the file size (usually in kb) and the dimensions of the image (usually in px).

In other words, you want your images to be an appropriate width and height in terms of pixels (px). You also want to make sure the file size isn’t so large that it slows down your page loading speed.

Best practices

Here’s some of the best practices we use for image optimization on websites:

  • File Size: The optimal file size for images on your website is 200kb.
  • File types:
    • WebP
    • JPEG
  • Common Image Sizes:
    • Full Width Images: 2400px by 1600px (3:2 aspect ratio)
    • Header Images: 1024px by 768px (4:3 aspect ratio)
    • Background Images: 1920px by 1080px (16:9 aspect ratio)
    • Logo Images: 250px by 100px (5:2 aspect ratio)
    • Square Images: 1080px by 1080px (1:1 aspect ratio)

There’s a lot of confusing and contradicting information online when it comes to image sizes, breakpoints, and screen resolution. So I recommend you try any of the above dimensions and explore how it looks on various screen sizes.

If your website is on WordPress, I recommend you install the Imageify plugin to optimize your images.

Screenshot of Imagify plugin for WordPress.
Imagify Plugin for WordPress

This plugin greatly reduced my image sizes without sacrificing image quality and converted my images to the .WebP file type. You can even decide how extreme you want the image optimization to be!

Standardizing all the image sizes on the Eye Society was one of my big goals with this website makeover. As a result, website visitors can enjoy a cohesive and fast browsing experience!

5. Clarify Home Page Header

The last SEO tweak is a little less obvious than the others, but it’s one that I think is extremely important. In fact, that’s why Clarity is one of the three Cs in our 3-C Framework for web development.

Why is having a simple home page header important?

When someone lands on your home page for the first time, they want to determine whether or not your product or service is for them–fast.

How fast are we talking? In 2022, you only 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention.

Social media advertising statistics are part of what’s indicating this drastic change in people’s behavior.

One benchmark was set by YouTube with their 5 second ad method. Now, according to this TikTok User Stats for 2022 report, 63% of all successful ads on TikTok convey their main campaign message clearly in the first three seconds of their video.

This data proves that Gen Z isn’t going to just sit around patiently and wait for you to get to the point. People want to know what you offer and why it’s important immediately.

When you get the home page header content right, website visitors will:

  1. Be more likely to click your CTA
  2. Spend more time on your site, either by scrolling or exploring other pages to learn more.

Here’s what you need in order to have an effective home page header:

Clarify your header text

Most businesses try to be way too fancy with their home page header text. Specifically, they might use ‘clever’ text or slang, rather than just describing exactly what the business does.

For instance, take a look at the home page header text below. Do you have any idea what this business does?

Instead of trying to be obtuse, mysterious, or clever, just tell people what you do!

What’s the first text you read when you visit our Home page?

Jonathan Richter and Chris Waterbury smiling, strategizing and writing in book with text overlay.
Screenshot of Winnona Partners Home Page Header – Mobile, 2022

“Custom software development that fits your business process”. There it is, plain and simple.

Even if someone doesn’t remember the “business process” part, that’s ok. I’m confident that they have at least a decent understand of what we do, because the first thing they read was “custom software development”. That’s what people remember.

Keep the text static

Another thing that makes home pages unclear and hard to follow is when headers use both slideshow images AND changing text.

I’ll admit, for a long time our website fell victim to this. We had different images fading in and out and had part of the header text change with every image.

Did this look cool? Sort of. Was it a strong message that helped people understand exactly what we do and who we serve? No way!

In 2022, we don’t recommend using image sliders that change automatically on websites. We find that they either change too quickly for people to understand the message they’re trying to convey, or they’re just too cumbersome to use.

Think about it: when’s the last time you actually enjoyed clicking on one of those tiny little circles to change the content because the info you actually wanted to see flew by too quickly?

Sure enough, the old Eye Society website was using these awful rapid sliders with strange images, and text that changed with every swap.

Check out this before and after to see how much our header tweak was able to improve the home page experience!

Screenshots comparing the eye society home page before and after the website makeover by Winnona Partners
Screenshots comparing the Eye Society Home page before and after the website makeover

As you can see, the Eye Society header went from a crowded mess with a sketchy looking James Bond character to a much more pleasant image with simpler text and navigation.

The best part? People can get a better idea of exactly what this business is the moment they land on the home page!

Conclusion

When a new client wants you to help them with a website makeover, it’s a great opportunity to consider making some easy, but important SEO tweaks.

In this article you’ve seen the exact strategies I used to help improve the overall website experience for an optometrist in Chicago without adding or significantly changing the website content. This led to an incredible 24.5% keyword ranking boost within the first month!

The more of these SEO strategies you can put to use, the better. But if you’re not sure which strategies to use then I suggest you start by removing or improving bad or outdated content.

Next, clean up your header and on-page navigation. If nothing else, those two things alone can have a dramatic effect on your website’s SEO performance and keyword rankings!

Ultimately, creating a better user experience is one of the best things you can do to help your website’s SEO. If you follow the best practices and create great content that’s useful and engaging, the organic SEO improvements will follow!

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By Jonathan Richter

Jonathan is CEO of Winnona Partners, a custom software development company that specializes in helping business owners navigate the digital transformation process. He's also a classical guitarist, and has studied Chinese language, music and culture extensively. Learn more at https://www.winnonapartners.com

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