How I Used SEO to Drive to 5 Million Visitors to Gawker Media
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The Gawker Media network approached me for an SEO consultation because it was clear that – despite their tremendous brand recognition amongst consumers and the shear volume of incoming links to their properties – they weren’t getting the share of natural search traffic they deserved. There was something off with their on-page SEO and they couldn’t figure out what it was.
In just 3 months, I was able to drive an extra 5 million visitors to Gawker Media’s web properties through natural search alone. When compared to the PPC ad spend necessary to recruit this number of new visitors, it’s estimated that it would have cost them over a $1,000,000.
- 11%More Page Views
- 24%More Search Traffic
Technique #1 Implement On-site Optimization Best Practices
Creating New Sitemaps
Gawker Media’s existing sitemaps weren’t up to current SEO best practice standards, which led to improper indexation by the search engines. By creating new sitemaps that prioritized the appropriate pages, we were better able to control how the search engines crawled and reported Gawker Media pages.
Best Practices for Page Management
Pagination issues were limiting many of Gawker’s pages from being indexed appropriately by the search engine spiders. By implementing page management best practices, my team was able to improve site crawling and, consequently, natural search presence.
Rethinking Keywords for Title Tags
Removing branded keywords from the internal page title tags across all Gawker Media properties enabled our team to reinforce the unique content found on each page, preventing portions of this vital SEO text from being filtered out as potential duplicate content.
Crafting Keyword-rich Headings
By custom crafting keyword-rich headings for each page on Gawker network sites, we were able to capture the full SEO value of <h1> tags, contributing to stronger placements in the natural search results.
Technique #2 Leveraged Cross Linking
Use of Internal Links
Instead of simply linking articles within individual network properties, my team magnified the SEO potential of the breadth of Gawker Media network sites through the use of internal links between individual blog posts and other brands found across the company’s web presence.
Throughout the site, we identified opportunities to code related blog posts and stories into individual Gawker Media sites, in order to improve the flow of site authority across Gawker properties and provide additional chances to use keyword-rich anchor text via internal links.
Training Company’s Writers
To ensure that the value of these link profile improvements continue beyond our limited engagement, we also trained the company’s writers on how to correctly identify and insert internal links into future blog posts to bring about the benefits described above.
Technique #3 Reduce Instances of Duplicate Content Filtering
Individually Crafted Meta Descriptions
In some cases, we found that Google was incorrectly pulling site slogans as meta descriptions for each page, resulting in a large number of duplicate pages. By correcting this issue with individually crafted, content-rich meta descriptions, we were able to eliminate a significant number of duplicate content errors.
“No Follow” for Unimportant Links
In addition to crafting custom meta descriptions, we added “no follow” tags to unimportant site page links. By telling the search engines not to pass PageRank to account pages, comment pages and other insignificant items, we were able to better control the flow of authority (and, as a result, proper indexation) throughout the company’s sites.
Technique #4 Boost Search Traffic Through Image Results
Image ALT Tags
We added ALT tags to each image that reflected both targeted SEO keywords and helpful information for users browsing the web via accessibility devices. By tailoring these text items to both users and the search engines, we were able to improve on-site SEO while at the same time minimizing the risk of over-optimization penalties.
Additional Image Optimization
Beyond enhancing the site’s existing image ALT tags, we implemented additional image optimization best practices to maximize the network’s potential for natural image search traffic by renaming image files to reflect target keywords and adding long image description attributes to all website pictures.
Good Image Compression
To improve the Gawker Media network’s image optimization, we compressed image file sizes to a level that didn’t impair the user experience, but still minimized the amount of resources needed to load the company’s sites quickly and correctly.
Technique #5 Improve Site Load Times for Proper SEO
Enabling Proper Caching
By enabling proper caching on the company’s sites, our team was able to maximize the content stored on readers’ computers and reduce the amount of new resources that must be loaded on launch. This technique is a “must do” for all websites that are concerned about site speed.
Cleaning Up the HTML/CSS
To further improve site load times, my team cleaned up Gawker’s HTML and CSS codes, in addition to optimizing database tables. Doing so should provide substantial load time improvements that enhanced the viewing experience for both users and the search engines.
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I have driven over 800,000,000 “wallet-out, ready-to-buy” visitors to my clients’ websites, and I’d like to see if I can do the same for you.