One of the absolute joys owning J&K Online Development is is the opportunity to collaborate with extraordinary, trailblazing women who are on a mission to change the world. Today, I am going to talk about my experience as an SEO Consultant with a client: Rhonda Sciortino.
Back in winter of 2021, Rhonda reached out to me through Wix Marketplace. She was in search of a guiding light to unravel the mystery of her website's dwindling traffic. After successfully running her website for about two decades without a hitch, this sudden drop was more than just a technical glitch – it was silencing her influential voice. The dip in website traffic was not only puzzling but was also costing her valuable speaking opportunities, and more importantly, the chance to reach and uplift the people she dedicated her life to help.
Background about Rhonda Sciortino
Rhonda Sciortino, a vibrant and multi-published author, is not just any public speaker – she's a dynamo when it comes to advocating for mental health in the U.S. foster care system. Having walked the path of a foster child herself, Rhonda doesn't just talk the talk; she truly understands the nuances and struggles of these children and has dedicated her life to being their champion.
Spend just a minute listening to Rhonda, and you'll be swept up by her passion and commitment. It's not just a job for her; it's a heartfelt mission that she pours her soul into. You can't help but feel inspired and, quite frankly, eager to join her in making a difference. Besides her writing and speaking engagements, Rhonda also plays a crucial role as a board member of Successful Survivors Foundation, where she extends her support to people grappling with trafficking, homelessness, and abusive relationships. Her energy and dedication are truly infectious!
Summary of the Project
During our initial discovery call with Rhonda, she shared valuable insights about her website's SEO history and its progression over time. She has been managing her website for several years, experiencing a steady traffic flow of several hundred visitors daily. However, in the summer of 2021, she noticed a significant drop in her website traffic, dwindling to just a handful of visitors each day. This decline coincided with Google's launch of a major update, known as the New Page Experience. This update, one of Google's most significant in recent times, drastically altered their algorithm. It was estimated that over 95% of websites experienced a dramatic shift in their rankings as a result, with many previously first-page websites being relegated to the second page or lower. You can delve deeper into this topic in our detailed blog post about the New Page Experience.
The latter part of 2021 saw a surge in business for us, primarily because navigating the intricacies of this specific update required specialized expertise. Initially, most SEO tools weren't equipped with the updated beta bot necessary to scan for these latest changes. This situation evolved by January 2022, with most SEO tools, including Google's own PageSpeed tool, incorporating features to assess website vitals in line with the new update.
Once Rhonda outlined her marketing budget, we developed a feasible project plan that aligned with her financial constraints. Given the considerable size of her website, we were able to devise a strategy focusing on the on-page SEO cleanup of 50 of her most high-performing pages. This comprehensive plan included a range of crucial tasks such as meta data cleanup, H1 tag optimization, targeted keyword research, and sitemap refinement.
Technical SEO: Common Challenges and Solutions
Let's get into the meat of the issue. After completing a website audit of the top 50 pages of rhonda.org, I identified quite a few opportunities to fix. From this point forward, I am not going to be referencing Rhonda's project, I will be discussing 3 issues that I see the most often with my clients including Rhonda: Meta Data, Alt Text, and non-optimized images or videos.
Meta data: Missing, duplicate or too much text
Meta data is comprised of meta titles, meta description and URL slugs. This plays a crucial role in how search engines, like Google, can identify what the topic of the page is and more information about it. This is also what users will see in the Search Engine Result Pages like the one below.
Green 👉 Website title
Red 👉 Meta Title
Purple 👉 Meta Description
Pink 👉 Page Picture
Why is this one of the most missed items? Honestly, it's a little hard to find if you aren't looking for it or if you don't know what the term "SEO" means when creating the website and it is usually filled out automatically by the H1 tag and the first sentence of the paragraph of your website.
How can you improve this? My first piece of advice for any new website is to create a topic taxonomy chart. You will write down the main topic of a website, for example for my health care people it can be "Anxiety" and then you further break that down into at least 6 subtopics: Symptoms of Anxiety, Inheriting Anxiety, How does environment impact Anxiety, Tools to help with Anxiety, Resources for people with Chronic Anxiety, and How to help a family member with Anxiety.
After you do this, you can use the topic as your meta title and your subtopics in your meta description. Make sure that you brand your meta title and stay within the recommended character allotment for both meta data.
I would also change the url slug to a long-tail keyword within your main topic.
Missing Alt text: How is Google going to know what your photo is about?
Most people do not do their alt text, it is sitting buddy buddy with the meta data, however I do see alt text as less of a priority as it isn't the biggest ranking factor. That being said, it is still quite important or why would I be talking about it then?
Alt text is a way for you to tell Google what an image or video is about so it can rank correctly in Google Images or Videos. How many times have you gone onto Google Images and looked up something and didn't get exactly what you wanted? Hardly ever? That's right, that's because the people on the first page know how to tag their images with the appropriate alt text and Google grants them the gift of ranking. All hail the all mighty Google!
How can you fix this? It's pretty easy. Next time you go through your website on Wix, click on an image or video and then find the settings button. Within that pop up will lie the alt text, if you are on Wix.com the video below is how to do it on there.
Non-optimized Images and Videos
Let's talk a little more about images and videos. Have you ever been on a website and you sat there for what felt like an eternity for a video to load? Well Google says that doesn't align with their new Page Experience update so you need to make sure that your images and videos load within the 2 sec allotted page load time.
How do you do this? I recommend all videos to be added from Vimeo or YouTube, do not directly upload a video onto your website. That does not make any sense with the tools we have right now. For example, the video above is on Vimeo and will only load as a HTML until you click the play button. This allows for quick loading speed and a happy Google. Now images are a bit different, you will have to load them onto your website but first I would run it through an image optimizer like tinypng.com. You want to keep your quality of your photo while compressing it for quicker loading.
Addressing these technical SEO elements is a crucial for any website. One of the biggest leaders of my project types are technical SEO or on-page SEO clean up one shots. My clients will come to me to make sure that their website is completely up to date.