We not only embarked on an aggressive a/b testing schedule, but we constantly reached out to our users for feedback.We asked tough questions, ranging from what users’ liked and disliked (colors, fonts, and layouts) but also the specific components of the website they found to be less than ideal or even ‘sub-par.’ We took the responses seriously, making changes as they came in, trying to take something constructive from every piece of feedback, and pushing as many as 10 deployments a week. Once we saw the needle begin to move on our user engagement metrics; time on site, pages per visit, and direct or branded traffic, we moved onto the next phase of our strategy; analyzing our audience. I can honestly say from the experience of working on this project it is almost never as it seems.A perfect example of this is local sitelinks for popular categories; tertiary directories with the most links and content which cause their upstream sub-directories to receive authority translating into higher rankings and local sitelinks. What I mean is to build your prospect list well in advance of pulling the trigger to go live.John Doherty wrote a great post on Pro Blogger that talks about the power of leveraging list-building pre-launch pages.So let’s say I had an SEO consulting firm with locations in several cities across the U.S., I would design an architecture that would allow for location-specific information to feed upwards through my directories.
My largest successful SEO projects have come due to a variety of factors, but tend to come down to 3 core components of architecture: Scalable architecture is an obvious one; you need a system that can grow as large as you want/need it to.
By building a list of users before publishing your full website you are essentially guaranteeing traffic immediately upon launch.
Our pre-launch is how we were able to generate over 2,000 visitors within the first 30 days of taking the website live.
For example, if I wanted to build authority around a core concept, I would focus my domain on that concept.
If I then wanted to build relevance around specific locations for that concept, I would structure my URL’s so that all relevant content for that location fed upwards to a location specific directory.