Extreme Makeover , The SEO Edition – London SMX

Extreme Makeover , The SEO Edition – London SMX

17th May 2011

The graveyard session was possibly the best of the day with a challenge in actual SEO.

Rob started the session with the motive of having the session. 4 SEOs proving that the stuff they do actually works. The challenge was to take a website not ranking within the first 5 pages and to get it to rank within 3 months. They couldn’t risk any other blackhat tactics.

David Burgess – Ayima – SHP

Hey chose the single homeless charity the goals were to increase donations and signups. The first step was to crawl the data in the charity sector and this showed that the competitors had a great deal of backlinks with a huge diverse class c IP diversity. SHP links were natural but a lot smaller than the competition.

On site:
• Redirects of old urls and domains particularly the kick start domain that had merged
• Fixed canonicalization issues
• Reviewed WMT for all issues reported particularly crawl errors
• Improved indexation by blocking certain URLs with Robots.txt
• Internal linking
• Page titles
• Installed and customised the link to us plugin to offer optimised alt tags
• Updated framework to remove security flaws

Off site:
• Actively sought links using and SHP email address, the email address has a significant impact
• Converting existing citations into links
• Link re-acquisition
• Customised the drupal plugin to allow users to link to SHP
• Relationship link development allowed existing business relationships to be leveraged
• Successfully created an SHP page on Wikipedia
• High quality directory submissions

Link Tips
• Personalise everything
• Include a connection between the site linked to and from
• Include the page link

General Techniques
1) Google places optimisation
2) Training on link acquisition
3) Content writing and internal linking training
4) Initiated out-reach o businesses for competition prizes to generate buzz
5) Enhanced calls to action which has improved the donations goal
6) Social media outreach using Facebook

59% increase in non brand organic traffic in Google, page 1 rankings for the most competitive keywords. 165% increase in traffic to donations. Achieved a 7 pack listings for “London homeless Charity”. Still ranking at #7 for homeless charity. They were originally outside the top 100.

Richard Baxter – SEOGadget – Helpage.org

They deal with safeguarding and protecting old people during international crises, they are a sister charity to age concern.

What they did
A technical SEO review covering accessibility, on page SEO, technical SEO, CRO Social Media and content strategy. They checked their 302 redirects , 404 errors and more. He had to work with the development team to show what issues they had within the tech environment.

A navigation review was undertaken and a CSS menu was implemented. In the end they went to footer links which isn’t as good but still progress on that front. They weren’t linking to topical even-based pages and this was changed and improved. They submitted them to Google news after reworking the news section. Pagination was a major issue with a ton of duplication due to incorrect pagination practice. Canonicalisation was sorted out which was an issue as previous versions of the website were still active.

They over relied on pdfs all of which had great external links. These are slowly being transferred to html pages. The internal content was IFramed and that was split out to static pages. They worked with them on the CRO performance of the website and found issues with IE which were then fixed. The call to action for donations was optimised and the donation process is being streamlined.

Stephen Pavlovich – Conversion Factory

Stephen is an expert in conversion rate optimisation and was brought in as several SEO agencies didn’t want to take the challenge on. He presented on a lot of dos and don’ts within CRO for a charity.

Choose your battles wisely

You can’t just test the home page because it has the most traffic. Choose a page that will have the most impact on the goal. If you run an e-commerce website you always need to test the entire funnel.

How to optimise a charity’s website
1) Overcome scepticism – people aren’t sure what the money is going to be spent on
2) Spell out the benefits in concrete bite size chunks
3) Make sure that your calls to action are visible
4) Make sure you can make a one off donation explain why and address the objection head on
5) Ensure your persuasive text is present through the checkout process
6) It doesn’t end with the donation try to upsell to a regular donation


Written By
Louis Venter is the founding director and CEO of MediaVision, a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) company specialising in all areas of search. His particular interests are organic search marketing, paid search marketing, conversion strategy and online PR.
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