Digital Project Management & Communications

Tag: SEO

SEO Audit: Step 1

SEO Audit: Day 1

How do I know if I’m doing SEO right? Sure, I know the rules, but am I really practicing what I preach?

After attending the Monday’s Raleigh SEO Meetup on How to Audit Your Site for SEO, I returned home with the motivation to finally kick the tires of’s SEO strategy and see how it’s working. I always update this site with SEO best practices in mind, but (as it’s a personal side project and not my actual work), I’m not always as diligent as I could be, usually in the interest of saving time.

With my SEO vigor renewed, I set out to accomplish Day 1 of Phil Buckley‘s SEO site audit workbook. (It also helps that I spent the rest of the week at home sick, so I had extra free time to devote to the project!)

Day 1

  1. Test my domain at to confirm that all instances of my domain name (,, etc.) all resolve one single canonical page. I added a few basic 301 redirects for different possible versions of my homepage URL that users might type into their browsers, just in case.
  2. Spider my site (I used Screaming Frog) for an inventory of all links to check for 404s, missing meta data, and complicated strings of redirects. I realized I haven’t always been diligent about creating unique page titles and meta descriptions for every tiny piece of content, so I spent plenty of time adding those. Plus, I found and fixed an internal link spelling error and a few external links to pages that had since changed URLs.
  3. Check Google Webmaster Tools, particularly the new Site Health feature, to confirm Google is able to properly access my site. No problems there!
  4. Test my site at For a site like mine, this really didn’t come in handy, especially since I didn’t want to sign up for an account.

Day 1: complete! I’m always invigorated by attending industry events like the Raleigh SEO Meetup, but then other priorities compete for my energy and I fail to follow through on all the ideas and tips I accumulate. I hope to stick with this one and put all 7 days of the SEO Audit plan into practice.

How to Improve Your Bounce Rate

Google Analytics Bounce Rate

March 9, 2010
Written for Newfangled’s Blog

Bounce rate is one of the most important analytics metrics for your website. As Chris once explained it:

The bounce rate measures the number of visitors to a website that leave before a specified amount of time has elapsed (this time period varies among analytics tools, but typically it is 30 minutes). This means that if a user accesses your site and leaves it within 30 minutes or leaves their browser idle for that time, they will be registered as a bounce. The bounce rate for an individual page of a website is determined by the number of users that access a page and leave the site without clicking to another page within the specified time period.

When you‘re looking at specific pages on your site, especially in terms of the search keywords that bring visitors to those pages, bounce rate indicates the number of people who come to one landing page on your website and then leave without viewing any additional pages.

You should constantly strive to lower your bounce rate. The lower your bounce rate, the more people are digging deeper into your site’s content – and the more content they interact with, the more likely they are to convert or engage your company.

During my most recent screencast conversation with Brian, he showed me a great diagram he created that helps visually explain how to improve your bounce rate. Brian first noticed this concept by Avinash Kaushik and then took it one step further – modifying it to factor in “Entire Website Purpose.”

Bounce Rate tends to indicate a mismatch of
Customer Intent and Landing Page Intent

Basically, the best way to keep visitors on your site and stop them from “bouncing” is to make sure that these three elements align:

  1. Customer Intent
  2. Landing Page Purpose
  3. Entire Website Purpose

As an example, Newfangled used to have a popular blog post on “National Donut Day.” It had a high number of visits but an extremely high bounce rate (and it has since been removed because of this). Anyone searching for National Donut Day (#1: customer intent) did find what they were looking for on this page (#2: landing page purpose), but Newfangled’s overall website purpose (#3) has nothing to do with celebrating this tasty holiday – so these users bounced from our site.

On the other hand, if someone searched for “website development” (#1) and landed on our Development page (#2), they would be far more likely to stick around and check out other site content, since their intent and our overall site purpose (#3) are a direct match. When all three elements align, a user is less likely to bounce.

Bringing the Right Visitors to Your Site

February 24, 2010
Written for Newfangled’s Blog

“It’s up to you as a website administrator to carefully craft your meta description, meta title, and the content on the page so that they match the intentions of the users visiting your site.”

This line, from a recent screencast in which l discussed keywords and user intent with Brian Chiou, really stood out for me. It hits the nail on the head an terms of basic things you can do to improve website traffic and user engagement. Accurate keywords in meta data and site content are some of the easiest and most effective tools available to our clients yet so many overlook them!

(Note: Throughout this post, I’m talking about search keywords, not meta keywords Search keywords are words and phrases that a user will most likely search for on a search engine. Meta keywords, a list of words included in your meta data, are a whole other story.)

To fully understand keywords and user intent, you first need to understand the two types of traffic:

  1. Direct: visitors who already know you, and who type your URL directly into their browser or click a direct link
  2. Organic: visitors who find your site through a search engine

Direct visitors are looking specifically for your site, so their user intent will inherently match your content. On the other hand, organic visitors are looking for their search queries. An organic visitor’s search query is his user intent – if he searched how to build a website and your site appears in the results, he expects your site will have the information he’s looking for. The only thing he knows about your site is what search engines have told him, and they get their information by analyzing your content, meta data, etc.

There is a lot of potential to expand your customer base through organic traffic, so you want to make sure you’re targeting organic visitors successfully. However, you don’t want to target any old search engine user. It’s not how many visitors you get; it’s how many of the right visitors you get. You want to attract those users who are actively seeking out, and will benefit from, your site’s offerings. When a visitor’s intent matches your content, he is more likely to be satisfied with your site and to act accordingly – whether it be conversions, referrals, repeat visits, etc.

The easiest way to make sure intent and content match is by using popular and pertinent search phrases, or search keywords, throughout site content and meta data. Our three part screencast series will provide a more in depth review of keywords.

Keywords: Understand, Analyze, and Make Decisions – A Three-Part Screencast Series

February 23, 2009
Created for Newfangled’s Blog

This is a three-part screencast series exploring search keywords and what they mean for you and your website, by Jillian and former coworker Brian Chiou.

Part I: Understanding Keywords

Brian Chiou and Jillian Kuhn talk about Keywords from Brian Chiou on Vimeo.

Part II: Measuring Performance of Keywords

How to measure the performance of keywords from Brian Chiou on Vimeo.

Part III: Making Data-Driven Decisions Using Keywords

Screencast 3 : Data-driven decisions using keywords from Brian Chiou on Vimeo.

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