Written by Adrian Ignacio, Journalist
Anyone in the field of digital marketing and communications knows that SEO is one of the most sustainable ways to attract traffic and potential business today. However, optimizing websites for organic searches is tricky because it comes with various technical issues that, if not identified or addressed properly, can also drastically reduce a website’s Google search performance. We recently interviewed a seasoned SEO expert, Mark, who shared with us one technical SEO challenge he’s dealt with in his career using an original method he invented and its implications.
Prior to joining Dotdash Meredith, America’s largest print and digital publisher, as Head of Growth for the organization’s travel, technology and sustainability sectors, Marco led SEO at The Company Store, a leading textile and home goods retailer with a successful online business. In 2017, the company was acquired by The Home Depot, looking to expand and improve its e-commerce and online platform.
During Marc’s venture at The Company Store, he created an original “no index and canonical” strategy to solve the problem of index bloat on the brand’s website. Index bloat occurs when hundreds of thousands of low-value pages, such as those with thin or duplicate content, are indexed, consuming Google’s allocated indexing budget that could be better spent indexing business-critical pages such as product pages or blog posts. Index bloat can be detrimental to search engine rankings because it lowers a website’s quality score in the eyes of Google’s algorithm. Google uses what is allowed to be indexed to assess the quality of any web page. As a result of this effort, the website’s organic traffic increased from 342,000 to over 411,000 in two months.
While Marco couldn’t share the details of the strategy with us, he hinted that it includes canonical and non-indexed tags, two HTML elements that mark Google’s main products and their relationship to color and size variations, which are pages that can be indexed. caused problems. This process is extremely complicated and involves months of planning and implementation. Also, the organic search potential of product variations should be measured through extensive keyword research to ensure that the site does not miss any opportunities by canonicalizing or not indexing. Companies like Adorama and J.Crew later used this strategy to improve their searchability and organic performance and find success.
Marc’s success at The Company Store wasn’t limited to solving a bloated website index. He also used tools such as Ahrefs and SEMRush to identify content gaps, mapped out the ideal structure of each by analyzing search engine results pages (SERPs), and collaborated with design and editing teams to make updates or produce new content. As a result, the brand’s organic traffic increased by nearly 4,000 sessions per month, with just three published pages. “It’s a very time-consuming and manual process, but the amount of traffic, in the end, makes it all worth it,” Marco said.
In addition to his corporate activities, Marco created and established his own website, MarcoFeng.com, which has become one of the top travel resources, with over 3 million annual readers in just a few years. He also created unique formats for his website, including grouping long-form content by geography, type and genre for greater readability, and used ratings and reviews from various local directories to create an editorially original overview. Although Marco no longer manages the site, his articles still attract massive attention. Awards? Marco has racked up a lot in the first half of the year alone, including dotCOMM, Hermes Creative Awards, CSS Design Awards, WebAwards 2022 for “Best Publishing Website” and more.
In 2021, the site also launched faceted navigation that allows readers to search destinations and guides using filters such as “best time to visit,” “located in,” “great for,” “price,” and “visa and vaccination requirements “, acting as a one-stop shop for travel planning. While such a feature is common in e-commerce, this is the first time it has been used in publishing, offering readers a whole new way to find and consume content. Another highlight of Marc’s site that we love is the use of children’s storybook-style illustrations, which make the site attractive and accessible.
Marko is a well-known SEO expert whose personal and professional work has won many awards and caused comments and coverage in large and small publications. If you have any SEO questions for him, below is his contact information.
Hailun (Marco) Fenghttps://www.marcofeng.com[email protected]