Optimizing Your Site for Search with Juliette van Rooyen
In this episode of the B2B Lead Gen Podcast, search optimization expert Juliette van Rooyen talks about how to get internal linking right, how to deal with keyword cannibalization, the easiest way to crawl one’s own site, some pointers in hiring the best developers for your website, and more.
Juliette is the founder and head of SEO services at VR Squared, and has worked within client-side and agency environments in London and Cape Town for the past 15 years.
As part of her SEO consulting in extremely competitive industries, she creates global SEO strategies that involve local SEO strategies for over 50 regions and more than ten languages and also solves technical SEO issues that affect key page performance.
While Juliette didn’t initially plan to get into SEO consulting, she naturally gravitated toward that path. Originally a developer, she felt that trying something different would be a breath of fresh air. “Given that I was used to working with code, over time, I've kind of naturally transitioned towards the more technical side of SEO, where utilizing code and understanding how it all works is a massive asset,” she shares.
On the topic of internal or contextual linking, Juliette mentions that it begins with your main navigation section. According to her, it can go both ways. Some businesses only link to their top-level pages, which doesn’t help people who want to navigate to more valuable content assets on the site. On the other hand, it’s also possible to overwhelm your audience with too many links.
“One of the big things that help to ensure that you're getting it (SEO) right on an ongoing basis,” says Juliette, “is to crawl your sites.” The easiest way to do this is using a site crawler like Screaming Frog, which Juliette has used for over a decade. A deep crawl would be particularly useful for enterprise-level sites.
In terms of finding and hiring the right developer for SEO projects, Juliette had this piece of advice: “Honestly, the best way to find someone good is to reach out to other people who are your connections in the industry; everybody knows someone else who's doing what they do.”
She added that word-of-mouth recommendations have been efficient when looking for a developer. And while the really high-end developers may be out of reach for small businesses with limited budgets, plenty of excellent developers work specifically with WordPress. ”Having professionals to do what they do best frees you up to do what you do best — and to actually sell your products.”
Keyword Cannibalization and Web Page Quality
Juliette also talks about how to deal with keyword cannibalization on your website. Keyword cannibalization is what happens when there are multiple pages on your website trying to rank for the same keyword.
With resources such as SEO Tools for Excel, Juliette and her team can discover and manage keyword cannibalization with ease. “It doesn't matter how big or small your site is; there are often ways for you to consolidate that you've not considered,” she says. “Keyword cannibalization is a great signpost to say, ‘Guys, you've got a lot here.”
Naturally, improving webpage quality is another significant concern for SEO consultants. Juliette follows a simple process for dealing with subpar-quality websites with keyword-rich blog posts of little to no substance.
She starts by cataloging the existing blog posts and keywords and then pulling them together thematically. In doing this, she doesn’t go through every single blog (nor does she need to), instead pulling out core elements to assess and consolidate where each post belongs. “I would rather have 20 great pieces that are factual, rich, and decent-size than 500 pieces of fluff.”
Despite the long-perpetuated notion that “Content is king,” Juliette strongly advises against doing digital marketing just for the content's sake. Rather, content creators must be mindful of how each piece of content helps them get closer to whatever goals they set for their sites and small businesses. Some important questions to ask: “How does this particular piece of content lead someone who lands on the site towards buying a piece of our products? What is the aim of the piece, and how does it fit into our plan?”
As for following versus not following, Juliette mentioned that Google updated its algorithm specifically to handle link-building and prevent people from paying for links. “I think that for a lot of people, especially large sites with a lot of user-generated content and the ability for people to influence what links might be on there, nofollow tends to be utilized quite widely.”
To hear more of Juliette’s insights, including the best way to track progress in attracting inbound links to your blog, know if your keyword strategy is correct and working, and the proper implementation of schema, make sure to listen to the full episode.
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