Improving SEO score: My guide and roadmap

By applying effective SEO strategies, you can increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your site, improve the user experience and strengthen your online presence. This article dives into the core aspects of SEO, including technical SEO, content quality, off-page SEO and optimization techniques, to help you improve your improve your SEO score and reach your target audience more effectively.

What is an SEO score?

SEO stands for search engine optimization.(1) It is the process of optimizing your website and content to appear higher in the search results of search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. This includes modifying various elements of your website, such as structure, content, and technology.

Some tools use a score (SEO score) to indicate the overall state of these components. The ultimate goal of SEO, of course, is to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. Not necessarily to increase this SEO score. Don’t forget that during your optimizations.

Why is a good SEO score important for websites?

The majority of online experiences begin with a search, which means your website’s position in search results can have a significant impact on your reach and ability to attract potential customers.

Websites that rank high in search results receive more relevant visitors, leading to more leads, conversions and sales. Moreover, a good SEO strategy increases not only the quantity of traffic, but also the quality, by attracting visitors who are actively searching for the products, services or information you offer.

Improving a website’s SEO score in a nutshell

No time for a long article? No problem. Watch the video below for a summary of this article.

Improving a website’s SEO score (video).

The SEO score for technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the optimization processes that address the technical aspects of a website so that search engines can crawl and index it efficiently.(2) These technical optimizations are essential for improving organic search rankings.

Technical SEO covers several important areas, including website speed, mobile-friendliness and the use of a secure connection (HTTPS). In general, I distinguish between two forms of technical SEO:

  1. Technical SEO for the user.
  2. Technical SEO for GoogleBot.

Website speed

The loading speed of your website is crucial for both user experience and SEO. Slow load times can lead to a high bounce rate, with visitors leaving your site before they’ve seen anything at all. This can negatively affect your search engine rankings.

SEO score: A key KPI for website speed is the Time to First Byte (TTFB), which measures how quickly a website’s server sends the first byte of information to the visitor’s browser. Another valuable KPI is the full page load time, ideally less than 3 seconds.

Mobile-friendly

With an increasing number of searches conducted from mobile devices, it is essential that your website be mobile-friendly. Websites that work well on mobile devices are given priority in the search results of Google and other search engines.

SEO score: A good KPI for mobile-friendliness is the percentage of pages that are fully readable and usable on mobile devices without zooming or horizontal scrolling. The Google Mobile-Friendly Test score, which indicates whether your website meets Google’s criteria for mobile-friendliness, is also a useful KPI.

Secure connection (HTTPS)

A secure connection is not only important for the security of your website and user trust, but it is also a ranking factor for Google. Websites using HTTPS are given slight preference over non-secure sites in search results.

SEO score: A direct KPI for this aspect is the percentage of your web pages served via HTTPS. A score of 100% means that all pages of your website are secured with HTTPS. Additionally, you can look at the impact of migrating to HTTPS on your rankings and traffic as an additional KPI.

Content quality

The quality of the content on your website is critical for both users and search engines. High-quality, relevant content can help you rank higher in search results, attract more traffic, and ultimately serve your target audience better.

The quality of content is evaluated based on several criteria, including originality, relevance to the target audience, and the readability and structure of the content(see also this link above).

Originality of content

Originality refers to unique, uncopied content that provides valuable information not found elsewhere. Unique content not only helps you stand out from the competition, but is also better rated by search engines.

SEO score: A possible KPI for originality is the percentage of your content that is considered unique by plagiarism detection tools. Another valuable metric is user engagement with your content, measured by comments, shares and mentions on social media, which can indicate the uniqueness and value of your content.

Relevance to the target audience

Content must be relevant to the target audience to be effective. This means that it must match your target audience’s interests, needs and search intentions.

SEO score: A KPI for relevance can be the number of visits coming from targeted keywords, indicating that your content matches what your target audience is looking for. Time spent on the page and conversion rate are also important indicators; they can show the extent to which visitors view the content as relevant and valuable.

Readability and structure

Well-structured and easy-to-read content improves the user experience and keeps visitors on your page longer. This not only has a positive impact on your SEO, but also on the overall satisfaction of your users.

SEO score: A KPI for readability can be the Flesch Reading Ease score, which indicates how easy your content is to understand for a broad audience. Structure can be measured by bounce rate and average time on the page; lower bounce rates and longer read times can indicate well-structured and engaging content.

SEO score for off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is anything you do about SEO outside of your own website. These techniques are crucial to building your website’s reputation and authority, which directly affects how search engines rate your site. The key elements of off-page SEO include backlinks, social media signals, and online mentions.

Backlinks

Backlinks, also called inbound links or external links, are links from other websites to your website. They are seen by search engines as votes of confidence and can contribute significantly to your website’s authority and credibility.

SEO score: A key KPI for backlinks is the number of unique domains linking to your website. A higher number indicates wider recognition and trust in your content. Another valuable KPI is the quality of the backlinks, often measured by the Domain Authority (DA) or Page Authority (PA) of the linking websites. Ideally, you want links from websites with high authority.

Social media signals

Social media signals refer to the interactions on social media platforms that can indicate the popularity and relevance of your content, such as likes, shares, and comments. While the direct effect of social media signals on SEO rankings is subject to debate, they undoubtedly help increase the visibility and reach of your content.

SEO score: For social media signals, KPIs can include the total number of mentions, shares, likes, and comments on social media platforms. Another useful KPI is the reach of your posts, or how many unique users have seen or interacted with your content.

Online listings

Online mentions, or times your brand or website is mentioned on other websites, blogs, or in the media, can increase your website’s awareness and authority. This includes not only backlinks, but also nofollow links and pure listings without links.

SEO score: A simple KPI for online mentions is the number of times your brand or website is mentioned over a period of time. Tools such as Google Alerts or more advanced media monitoring tools can help you track these mentions. Sentiment analysis of these mentions can also be a valuable KPI, assessing whether the context of the mention is positive, neutral, or negative.

Tools and techniques to improve your SEO score

Improving your SEO score requires a strategic approach and using the right tools. There are several tools and techniques available that can help analyze your website performance, identify areas for improvement, and implement effective SEO strategies.

Below I discuss some of the most popular SEO analytics tools: Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. These tools provide valuable insights that can help you optimize your SEO efforts.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an essential tool for any SEO specialist. It provides detailed information about website traffic, user behavior, and conversions. With Google Analytics, you can see how visitors find and use your website, what content is most popular, and how different traffic sources contribute to your goals.

KPIs to track with Google Analytics:

  • Organic traffic: The number of visitors who reach your site through search engines. An increase in this indicates improved SEO performance.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing just one page. A lower bounce rate may indicate more relevant content or a better user experience.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of traffic that performs a desired action, such as filling out a contact form. This indicates the effectiveness of your website in achieving business goals.

SEMrush

SEMrush is a versatile tool used for both SEO and digital marketing analytics. It provides features for keyword research, site audits, competitive analysis, and more. SEMrush helps identify keywords for which you can rank, analyze competitors’ strategies, and detect technical SEO problems on your website.

KPIs to track with SEMrush:

  • Keyword positions: The ranking of your website for specific keywords. Improvements in keyword positions can lead to more organic traffic.
  • Site Health: A score based on the technical and on-page SEO audit of your site. A higher score indicates fewer SEO problems.
  • Backlink profile: The number and quality of backlinks to your website. A strong backlink profile is crucial for a high SEO score.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is known for its powerful backlink analysis and keyword research tools. It provides comprehensive data on your website’s backlink profile, helps find keywords with which to generate organic traffic, and analyzes competitors’ SEO performance.

KPIs to track with Ahrefs:

  • Domain Rating (DR): A measure of the strength of a website’s backlink profile. A higher DR may indicate greater authority and a better chance of ranking high.
  • Organic traffic: The estimated amount of traffic coming to your website through search engines. Increases in this indicate successful SEO efforts.
  • Content gap: Identifies keywords for which competitors rank but your website does not. This provides opportunities for new content or optimization.

By using and tracking these tools and their associated KPIs, you can gain a thorough understanding of your current SEO performance, identify areas in need of improvement, and implement strategies that will increase your SEO score and your website’s overall online visibility.

Optimization techniques

To improve your SEO score and rank higher in search engine results, it is crucial to apply a series of optimization techniques. These techniques include keyword research, link building strategies, and technical optimizations. Each of these areas plays an important role in how search engines rate your Web site and how users perceive your content.

Content scores:

  • Search volume: The number of times a keyword is searched for each month. Higher volumes indicate greater popularity and potential traffic.
  • Competition: The difficulty of ranking for a keyword. Lower competition can provide opportunities for ranking.
  • Relevance: How closely a keyword connects to your website’s content and offerings. Higher relevance improves the chances of conversion.

Link building scores:

  • Number of backlinks: The total number of links pointing to your website. More quality backlinks can improve SEO scores.
  • Quality of backlinks: The authority of the linking websites. High-quality links (sites with high Domain Authority) are more valuable.
  • Link diversity: The variety of sources linking to your Web site. Broader diversity indicates a more natural and robust link profile.

Technical scores:

  • Load speed: The time it takes for your page to fully load. Faster load times improve user experience and SEO rankings.
  • Mobile-friendliness: The usability of your website on mobile devices. A higher score in Google’s mobile-friendliness test indicates better optimization.
  • SSL certificate: The presence of a secure HTTPS connection. Websites with HTTPS are considered more secure and may have an SEO advantage.

By strategically applying and regularly reviewing these optimization techniques, you can improve your website’s SEO performance, increase visibility in search engines, and ultimately drive more targeted traffic to your site.

Summary

Improving your SEO score is an ongoing process that requires attention to various aspects of your website, from technical infrastructure and content quality to off-page signals and optimization techniques. By using the right tools and strategies, you can optimize your website for search engines and users. Regularly analyzing your performance and adjusting your strategies based on these analyses are crucial for long-term success. With patience, dedication and a proactive approach, you can build a strong online presence that supports the growth of your website and business.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 23 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 12 June 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.