A leading scientific association came to Bluetext with a unique challenge. The association’s goal was to drive higher click-through-rates (CTRs) for its core web properties without altering the front-end design of each site before 2016. Built on a custom, legacy CMS, these sites featured an aged look and were not built responsively. The Bluetext team knew immediately that there was one way to boost traffic to these properties in an effective, long-term fashion that would simultaneously increase conversion rates to purchase, and grow overall engagement with the association’s premium content. Bluetext mapped out a highly-detailed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy for each of these properties and executed it methodically through the first half of 2015.
Our team ran a series of detailed reports on these web properties’ performance in search, analyzing every factor that could possibly be weighing the site down. When assessing SEO rankings, it is key to remember that a website’s “domain authority” is impacted by two main audiences: the search bots crawling the website, and the people searching it and reviewing its content.
Bluetext crafted a multi-phase plan that aimed to improve perceptions of the web properties among both audiences, making sure that any changes made to appeal to crawler bots also suited the needs and expectations of live searchers. Bluetext made recommendations for highly-relevant short and long-tail keywords to include in meta data and content across the site. We then pointed out specific pages on the site that housed meta data (titles, descriptions, URLs) that was too short or too long- and harmed the sites’ search “scores” by breaking structural rules. Bluetext collaborated with the association to rewrite meta data so that it fit Google and Bing’s structural guidelines, and also incorporated keywords that would draw the right searchers to relevant pages, thus boosting overall search authority.
Our next step was to assess website speed and load, and to point out specific tactics to improve these metrics and optimize the user experience. In comparing these web properties to competitors, we found specific referring domains that the client could form relationships with to gain backlinks and grow trustworthiness. Our team explored the client’s social media activity in-depth on platforms that could be used to strengthen relationships with their target audience. We sat with the association’s marketing team and pointed out opportunities to broaden awareness of events and useful materials, and to stimulate engagement among members with posts that ask questions or offer a short piece of valuable information. And since we are a digital design agency and we couldn’t quite help ourselves, we offered design insight on how to effectively rearrange the homepage to improve CTRs to interior pages and display timely, relevant content without drastically changing the current design.
After receiving a green light from the association to make the recommended changes to their web properties, we got straight to work. Using Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to identify pages that served as the top 75 “entry points” to the organization’s largest domain, we recreated meta titles and descriptions for these pages so that they fit structural guidelines and utilized keywords that are heavily searched on a monthly basis.
To grow breadth and depth of keyword usage on the sites, our team filled in “Alt Tag” descriptions for images. We looked back at periods where web traffic sharply declined or increased, pinpointing dates when the search algorithm changed and caused these fluctuations. Since the overall quality of a business or association’s Wikipedia profile plays a strong role in search rankings, we combed through the client’s Wikipedia properties and elegantly filled them with high-volume, specific keywords. To draw a closer relationship between the pages across a large site, we created a highly-detailed internal linking strategy that mapped many high-volume keywords on interior pages to particularly relevant interior pages in other areas of the site.
We extended our recommendations to the client’s properties in other countries, identifying ebbs and flows in traffic to these other sites and noting vital changes that should be made to site structures. We also compiled a set of recommendations for the client to manipulate the current mobile design without making major changes so that mobile and tablet users could have a more pleasant user experience.
The time and effort spent by Bluetext to optimize search for this association’s web properties made a drastic impact. Total traffic to the largest site in early June was 13X larger than original average traffic to the site. This same domain saw 12X the number of users visiting the site by early June, alongside a 500% growth in the number of users visiting the property on mobile and tablet devices since project inception. User engagement with website content also increased through project conclusion, with users visiting each page for 20 seconds longer than before. This association is now getting the website CTRs that it deserves with a design that remains almost entirely untouched.