On the SEO Traffic ShowTristam Jarman, Co-Founders of Purple Smudge, and Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube. Pro, hosted Travelpayouts and selected three travel partner websites to show best practices for search optimization and turning a website into a traffic magnet on the examples of Bonjour La France, Find me here and Mark my adventure.
For simplicity, the following tips are divided into three main categories: Navigating the Header Menu, Page Speed, and Thin Content.
Header menu navigation
Navigating the header menu helps both users and search engines understand what your website is about. Here are some tips on how to organize it logically:
- Relevance. The menu should be relevant to the content of the website. It often happens that the latter grows over time, and the menu no longer corresponds to the content. Therefore it should also be updated. You can either add more sections to the existing menu or create it from scratch in such a case.
- Quick access. Make sure all posts are just a few clicks away from the home page and easy to find. You can create an excel spreadsheet and map the contents of your website to check its accessibility.
- Easy navigation. Sometimes users need to use a search box to find a specific category of posts, which clearly indicates a navigation problem. To check this, go to Google Analytics, go to Behavioral Site Search Terms. All search terms that are used on your website are displayed there. If you haven’t collected any search data yet, connect your website to Google Analytics and add the “s” to the query parameter.
Think about the user and try to create different scenarios of how they will explore your website. For example, which pages do a customer look for when they just want to read about the destination you have presented and, on the contrary, when they are ready to buy tickets? Then structure your menu to answer users’ questions.
- Common vocabulary. If your menu items and page names contain only industry-standard terms, it will make it easier for users and Google to navigate your site. For example, it makes sense to rename the “Accommodation” section to “Accommodation,” “Do It, See It and Enjoy” to “Eat and Drink,” and so on. Unspecific menu items like “Random” don’t look appealing at all.
- Url structure. Don’t leave posts at the root level and organize them by geolocation. It will help Google crawl your website’s content as the search engine will understand things in the context of their location. Here is an example of such a URL structure: location name / department name / city name / attraction type. Note that your menu does not have to conform to the URL structure.
- Invalid pages. Check to see if any invalid or deleted pages are still ranking on Google and fix them. You can do this with tools like SEMrush. Open the dashboard, link Google Search Console, and Google Analytics and define crawls. This will give you an overview of how your website is being displayed by search engines.
- Dropdown menu. This makes it easier for users to find the content they need.
- Keywords. Use keywords in your menu as this will make it easier for both Google and users to navigate. Instead of writing “photography equipment,” name the section “photography equipment for city walks” or “photography equipment for underwater photography,” etc.
Page speed is an essential ranking factor determining whether your visitor stays on the page or leaves it. Ideally, a site should load within two seconds.
According to a study, a one-second delay in loading time results in fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a possible 7% loss in conversions. 40% of consumers expect websites to load in less than two seconds, and 40% leave a page when it takes three seconds or more to load. So every second count!
Here are some suggestions to improve your page speed.
- Contrary to what many webmasters think, your website should load quickly not only on mobile 4G or ADSL but also on 3G connection as it is still common in different countries, and Google thinks globally.
- You can speed up the site using special tools such as Pingdom, GTmetrix, PageSpeedInsights. It is recommended that you run various tools to get an average of your site parameters. Save these results for future reference and compare the numbers. The tools also give you a list of optimization suggestions. Some of them are easy to fix. Others may require contacting your programmer.
- Check the content size for each content type, e.g., B. Scripts and Images. You can speed up page loading by compressing images and serving scripts through Google Tag Manager. It can reduce a large piece of code and turn it into something beautiful and small. You can also move the code around so it doesn’t load until after the page has been viewed, which will speed up the initial loading significantly.
- Do speed checks frequently – at least once a month. As your content grows, the speed of the website is likely to suffer. So don’t overlook this problem.
- Check the server response time. It is common for webmasters to go for the cheapest or even free hosting. Still, you will be sharing such servers with other websites, and it is possible that at some point, the server may not be able to provide you with the resources to host your pages to provide. Hosting isn’t that expensive, but it’s imperative to your website’s performance. So look for a good host with a fast server.
- Check the speed of the theme before installing it. Free themes are usually slower than commercial ones.
- Plugins slow down your website like giant pictures. You don’t have any plugins you don’t need and always update the ones you are using.
- Of course, the speed of the home page is critical to search engine optimization. However, it is better to make sure the entire website loads quickly or your most popular posts. Take the top five or ten pages that work organically in Google Analytics and check their speed.
Thin content is basically any page devoid of useful information, so visitors who come across it won’t find an answer to their question. Below is an example of a thin one-sentence content page.
Thin pages are usually created for search engines rather than users. However, they do not offer very little value to anyone and only degrade the site’s SEO. Here are some troubleshooting tips.
- Always make sure you write between two and three hundred meaningful words on a page to avoid thin content. You can create the context for Google to understand what the page is actually saying.
- How long should your content be? While some marketers advise opting for long reads, Tristan and Jason recommend scaling your content’s size based on the complexity of the topic. When the user wants to know what color the sun is? You don’t need 1,000 words to answer that.
- Check if you need all of the content on your website. The more pages a website has, the longer Google has to crawl. Are all of your pages valid and relevant?
- Consider adding cross-sectional content to help users better understand what each section of your website is about. It can be a small block of text in the sidebar or at the end of each article.
- Build on the content you already have. Find topics related to those you covered and create blog posts for them by linking them together. This way, you create a wonderful ecosystem that both Google and the users like.
- SEMrush is a great tool for checking blog posts for issues. For example, you will receive errors, warnings, and advice on how to improve your content. For example, it will ask questions about your topic that you can use to expand your blog posts. But don’t add irrelevant content just for content reasons. For example, if you blog about travel, it does not make sense to publish a post via a web browser. Try to write on the same topic, so your readers know what to expect from your blog.
In summary, search engine optimization is a complex problem that involves various website elements. First, pay attention to the header menu navigation, page speed, and content value. In the next episode of the SEO Traffic Show, our SEO experts will cover even more aspects of website optimization.