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My SEO Journey: A Story of Creativity and Common Sense 🚀


previously I wrote about this here 👀

So SEO is a hot topic, isn't it? 😃

I owe you the backstory. Don't look at this & think OK. I am spending 5h tmr & my SEO will skyrocket.

It took 6mo+.

Didn't take a course etc. Only used creativity & common sense. You can do it too.

SEO Journey Story

We've been working on this for 6 mo, adding incremental improvements constantly.

It all started with a noticeable dip in impressions that we correlated with performance.

According to PageSpeed Insights, the score was 35/100.

Moreover, most of the content was client rendered.

Yes, that's still a problem. We've been waiting for decades now for client-side pages to be indexed properly.

They weren't for us. Meta tags wrong, content missing, many pages skipped.

It was a complete mess.

So the first thing I did was to turn on SSR. That was a daunting task, but there was enough determination to push through.

Performance was now 30/100 😆

We could clearly see impressions going down & I think there was a strong correlation (as with most SEO things, hard to prove).

So then came months of removing libraries, changing to dynamic imports, pruning CSS, optimizing static assets, optimizing requests, etc.

This drastically optimized the overall UX too & increased conversion, but that's another story.

We are now at 80/100.

Some months in, lots of effort, and SEO barely got a bump (10-15%). I now recommend consistent content work. At least an article a week.

A good amount of HQ posts were published, but with no immediate effect on SEO.

We add translations for the 4 languages where this particular app has most clients.

In the meantime, we never stop micro-improvements.

  • Performance
  • Content
  • Internal links
  • Sitemaps

Not much SEO change, around 10% extra.

There's a push for generating external links, but my friend doesn't have the appetite for it.

We get a few, but he's in the valley of despair at this point.

But I push him again to continue to write, narrow down keywords & experiment with metas.

DNQ (cc @maximehugodupre)

At this point, he's ready to give up, but I insist on a brainstorm session.

I know from my own sites that programmatically generated pages can perform well and boost authority.

So I look into his product, his user data, and propose a new approach.

Create directory-like pages for user data that is of high interest. Lookup data if you want. Think yellow pages but for his niche (fintech).

We set the format, make the design.
Figure out a way to create internal links to similar pages.

We are maybe 4 mo in now.

It's out but our expectations are low.
We continue to tweak the data, the design. Page titles, meta tags, internal links.

Finally, something happens.
We're blown away.

A 5x spike out of nowhere.

This was the glimmer of hope we needed.
Now it's time to go all in.

More content.
More programmatic pages.

1.6m+ generated pages now.

Indexing & impressions are slowing down, but we know it'll work.

Brainstorm. How to improve.
How to make pSEO pages useful.

  • summaries
  • aggregation
  • nice human-readable text vs hard to digest tabular data

you see where this is going.

Ofc, we used LLMs to generate content.
Not ChatGPT thought, you do the math for the bill. That story's for another time.

At the same time, we've created embeds so new people landing on these pages can link back.

It worked. After 6mo, we got it.

Last 7 days have been wild YoY.

15x increase in impressions.
31x increase in clicks.
2x increase in CTR.

It's just the start. Only 10% of pages were indexed so far.

SEO Journey Story

My job is done, but my friend has work to do 😃
How to convert? How to get these users to come back?
Where will he take his product?

Not bad problems to have.

That's all for now! Thanks for reading 🙏

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