A code freeze is an important stage in the development of a website, where all changes are put on hold until they can be implemented without any issues. This is usually when SEO efforts should shift their focus to more long-term strategies like content marketing and link building.
1. Optimisation of keywords and content
One of the easiest gains is optimizing your landing pages for targeted keywords, which usually doesn’t need any more effort from your development staff. There are numerous approaches you may use to guarantee that resources are prioritized for the correct pages:
The most profitable pages are those that have a high return on investment.
Start by picking the top converts and income producers in Google Analytics to determine which landing pages will provide the best return on investment. You should also pay attention to those seasonal sites that are nearing peak season.
Questions about low-hanging fruit
Examine questions that are now at the bottom of page 1 or at the top of page 2. These only need a little additional push to attain more profitable SERP rankings, and in some situations, modest modifications like optimizing the H1 or meta title may be all that is required to optimize the URL. Others, such as changing the content structure, may need more significant adjustments, so prioritize them based on the degree of work required, as well as search traffic and current ranking position.
Pages for each season
If you have holiday-specific pages, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or other sales sites that are nearing peak season, make sure they are optimized ahead of time. When doing so, be sure to integrate seasonal keywords and message in appropriate spots across the website.
2. Internal hyperlinks
Internal links may be added to your site in a variety of ways, all of which will help to distribute link equity and enhance contextual relevance across pages. It’s one of the most effective techniques to improve the performance of your landing pages.
Internally, connect relevant goods.
Certain attributes will be shared by all of the goods on your site, such as the brand, color, size, product category, and so on. Taxonomies are pages on your website that have similar significance despite being in various categories or URL structures. Internal links should be increased across these sorts of sites since they are often deeper in the site architecture, crawled less frequently, and earn less link equity.
Begin by identifying a group of your most profitable items and mapping them to other products with similar taxonomies. After that, you can start employing keyword rich anchor text to create internal connections between them in the body. It’s a good idea to start with the product description, which may typically be altered easily.
These connections will increase the average order value by enhancing the contextual relevance across the sites. They will also assist consumers in finding relevant goods they may be interested in buying (AOV).
Breadcrumb navigation links should be implemented.
(This one may need a developer, but depending on your setup, you may be able to apply it without changing your code, so I’ll include it anyway.)
Breadcrumb links are also a wonderful method to create a strong link between crucial, relevant sites – and at a large scale! You’ll develop contextual relevance and help Google better comprehend your page hierarchy by having these sorts of connections, from deep product pages all the way up to their top-level hub page.
It also helps customers navigate the customer journey by guiding them back to category pages and other goods if they can’t find what they’re searching for. This is particularly handy when they’ve gone on the incorrect page due to a content gap, ineffective keyword targeting, or cannibalization concerns, such as a user searching for ‘yellow jackets’ arriving on a ‘yellow jacket’ product page rather than a product listing page with a list of ‘yellow jackets.’
You should take advantage of breadcrumb navigation links since they might have a direct beneficial influence on SEO. Make sure to set up Breadcrumb Schema Mark after you’ve got them in place. You may do that using this schema generator and Google’s Rich Results Test to make sure it’s correct.
Anchor text links that are an exact match
When it comes to keyword targeting, these sorts of links may be really useful since they can help your website rank better for the desired query. The major targeted term mapped to the destination URL should be utilized as anchor text in the link. Money Saving Expert, for example, uses keyword-rich anchor text to connect to their sites for young drivers and multicar insurance:
Using the improper anchor text to link to your sites, such as a keyword targeted by another URL, may be harmful since it sends confusing signals to search engines and results in cannibalism. Run a Screaming Frog crawl and utilize the ‘links’ bulk outputs in the tool to audit the status of your anchor texts. You may also utilize custom extractions to extract text from various components of your page templates, then modify the data in excel and search for particular instances of your desired keywords. If you’re not sure how to do it, consult the Screaming Frog’s tutorial.
3. Repair any broken connections
Broken internal connections
Because broken link equity is not sent via 404s, all authority signals are lost and will not be propagated to following pages through internal links if you have broken links. Running a Screaming Frog crawl and exporting a ‘All Inlinks’ report will show you if there are any internal links on your site that are referring to 404s that you can correct.
Broken external connections
You may also see whether any external inbound links are heading to 404 pages on your website using a backlink analyzer like Ahrefs or Majestic. You don’t want high-quality backlinks leading to 404 pages since the value of these connections won’t be passed on to your site.
As previously said, you have the option of redirecting the 404 page (where appropriate) or attempting to realign them by contacting the referring website. While this may be a time-consuming procedure, it’s a worthwhile one, and while the advantages are unlikely to be apparent during the code freeze, it’s worth gathering this information to get the process started.
You can also utilize Kerboo to bring in your old domains with your current domain to guarantee you’re creating a comprehensive list of backlinks. For a more in-depth look at how to use Kerboo to realign your backlinks, see this tutorial.
4. Make changes to your meta data.
Updating your meta data is a simple technique to boost keyword optimisation and see immediate results. While Google doesn’t always respect titles, it’s still a good idea to use them since they’re a useful keyword targeting tool.
Similarly, although descriptions aren’t a ranking component per se, they may boost CTR, resulting in more visitors. Incorporating your major emphasis keyword into the page title is a wonderful method to inform Google that your page and its content are related to that query and to enhance that.
First, concentrate on your high-revenue and high-seasonality sites, which will likely provide higher returns during the code freeze, and contain money terms that attract eager purchasers looking for a transaction. By include these phrases in the meta data of category pages you’ve created to specifically target holidays like ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday,’ you may drive more traffic to them.
Another suggestion is to collaborate with your PPC team to figure out what meta data is effective and repeat it in the organic channel. However, change title tags of sites that currently have a high-volume priority keyword with caution, since this title is likely assisting your ranking for that query. Make a judgment decision on whether the query in the title’s ranking position is high enough to merit maintaining it.
To guarantee that your titles and descriptions fit inside the pixel count, utilize a meta data checker. Simply run it through a Screaming Frog spider crawl to accomplish it at scale.
5. Get rid of low-quality material
Getting rid of low-quality information benefits search in a number of ways.
For starters, based on the ratio of high- to low-quality content, it assures that the high-value sites get a higher share of link equity. Second, having huge archives of low-value sites, such as old blogs or news stories, reduces the discoverability of higher-value pages because crawling agents may get trapped in a loop attempting to reach the low-value pages. By deleting them, you may make better use of your crawl budget.
Export page click and impression data from GSC for the previous 16 months and cross-reference it with a Screaming Frog crawl to locate these pages on your site. Any pages with no clicks, very few impressions, or a poor quality of content should be flagged. These may be deleted using redirects (if the page has any external links pointing to it) or 410/404-error codes, which indicate that the page has been removed.
Tip: While evaluating these sites, you could identify possibilities to enhance the content on URLs with minimal click/impression statistics but the potential to rank for highly sought-after keywords. Set these pages aside for later optimization!
For additional information on improving your website’s crawl performance, check out these tried-and-true strategies for optimizing faceted navigation.
Get to work on it!
As you can see, even during a code freeze, there’s a lot you can do to improve SEO, from on-page text changes to off-page link realignment. These may immediately lead to more traffic, higher CTRs, and increased revenues, which are all important metrics at this time of year, so it makes sense to keep working on this and take advantage of the forthcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekends.
The major Christmas season begins in two weeks; time is of the matter now, so read the articles below or contact us for further information.