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data science Machine Learning Generative AI Search Engine Marketing Entity SEO SEO Optimization Semantic Graph

Achieving 132% Growth Thru Entity-Based SEO: Wain.cr success case + Data-Driven SEO Audit & Optimization Plan for Your Business

In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, businesses must continuously adapt their SEO strategies to stay competitive: Organic Search remains a crucial avenue for growth in both B2B and B2C contexts. Embracing new strategies, tools, and techniques alongside the evolving search engine algorithms is essential for sustained success. The case of Wain.cr, an innovative online platform specializing in international wines and champagnes, serves as a prime example of how a strategic SEO audit, utilizing cutting-edge tools and current best practices, can significantly boost user engagement and drive sales. Through my role in overseeing the development of brand experiences for Wine and Spirits S.A. via Wain.cr and its digital channels, we experienced an impressive 132% increase in Average Revenue Per Active User (ARPU) and a 119% rise in Purchaser Conversion in 1Q'24 compared to 4Q'23. This remarkable growth was largely attributed to the thorough SEO audit and optimization process, which I outline in detail in the article below.

IMPORTANT: Not a single platform mentioned in this article is sponsoring or paying me for referals. These are tools I have used and suggest in a professional manner for your own business benefit.
 

I. The Wain.cr Case

Screenshot 2024-05-26 171032Wain.cr’s SEO transformation began in September 2023, primarily motivated by its reliance in organic search as a business driver (2023 First User Default Channel Group segmented breakdown shown). A key result of the Initial Assessment phase of the optimization plan described in this article allowed Wain.cr to identify untapped organic search demand for the champagne product category. By optimizing Wain's search engine marketing processes accordingly, we then saw immediate substantial growth as shown in the snapshots shown below (taken from Wain.cr's DragonMetrics and GA4 accounts), namely: a strong growth in traffic index and in ranking keyword volume across the months that followed, and a remarkable 132% increase in Average Revenue Per Active User (ARPU) and a 119% increase in Purchaser Conversion within 1Q'24 compared to 4Q'23. The impact this process generated for Wain.cr is underscored when considering that the yearly 1Q period for any business related to commercializing liquors -a.k.a. the dry-spell season, normally presents a lull across all business KPIs.  

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This article details the comprehensive SEO audit plan that made the results for Wain.cr possible, providing you with a powerful toolbox which will help your business optimize its SEO practices and achieve similar and hopefully even better search engine successes soon.


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II. An Audit & Optimization Plan for an Ever-Changing SEO Landscape

Firstly, you must understand that recent advancements in AI and rich SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) have significantly altered SEO practices. AI-enhanced search results now include featured snippets, generative AI content, and rich media, making it important not to only focus on traditional keyword optimization practices but also execute tasks related to structured data, entities, and user intent to achieve the intended goals. My suggested plan that follows considers a combination of on-page and off-page strategies, that leverage tools which utilize AI to better understand and implement these concepts.


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III. SEO Audit & Optimization Plan

A. INITIAL ASSESSMENT

  1. INDENTIFY KEY ISSUES: Review the current performance of the web pages using tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to identify underperforming pages and the current associated keywords.
  2. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Analyze competitor websites to understand what they are doing right. Tools like Ahrefs, DragonMetrics, and SpyFu can be very helpful here. SEMRush is ok, but  honestly, it does not cover the required depth and breath of tasks described across this article. My advise is to approach tackling your SEO endeavors with a TOOLSET made up of various specialized tools.


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B. ON-PAGE SEO OPTIMIZATION

  1. KEYWORD RESEARCH AND MAPPING: Use tools like Ahrefs, DragonMetrics, and Moz to identify relevant keywords and map them to specific pages across your website; focusing on long-tail keywords and user intent to capture more specific queries.
  2. CONTENT OPTIMIZATION: Ensure your site has high-quality content which is informative, and aligns with user search intent across each stage in their shopping journey. Incorporate targeted keywords naturally within the content, headings, meta tags, and alt attributes of images. Of course you can also help yourself by using any of the mirriad generative tools now available to speed up your content creation endeavors: InLinks is a technical one which I highly recommend, but your can also go directly to ChatGPT, Gemini and Claude, or use any of the many SEO Content tools available at AIPRM 
  3. ENTITY & TOPIC CLUSTERS
    • ENTITY SEO: In SEO terms, an Entity refers to a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined, and distinguishable. For example, "Apple Inc." and "Steve Jobs" are entities. Entity SEO is the practice of optimizing your website around these target Entities. This involves creating content that provides valuable information about your target Entities, linking to relevant pages, and using appropriate keywords.
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      In this context, the Semantic Graph plays a crucial role in Entity SEO. The semantic graph (shown right, processed using InLinks) is a network that uses nodes and edges to represent the meanings of entities and how they relate to each other. In SEO, a semantic graph helps search engines understand the context and relationships between different entities on your website. For example, if your website has pages about "Apple Inc.", "Steve Jobs", and "iPhone", a semantic graph can help search engines understand that these entities are related.

      Modern search engines analyze the relationships between entities and their attributes to build a semantic understanding of the web. This understanding helps search engines connect relevant entities to provide more accurate and contextually relevant search results. Therefore, optimizing content around well-defined entities relevant to your product is crucial. Use tools like WordLift and InLinks to help with entity recognition and optimization.

    • TOPIC CLUSTERS: A topic cluster is a method of organizing a website's content using a clean and easy-to-follow site architecture. The main topic (pillar content) links to related pages (cluster content). Each cluster discusses a specific subtopic under the main topic. While entities are unique concepts or things that the content on your website is about, topic clusters help search engines understand the structure of your website and how your content is related. 

      Topic clusters complement Entity SEO by creating a logical content structure that search engines can follow. This strategy improves the overall visibility of your website by covering a broader range of related topics and providing a better user experience. By organizing your website's content into clusters, you can enhance its structure and relevance. Tools like InLinks and WordLift can assist in structuring and optimizing topic clusters.
  4. SEMANTIC MARKUP: Implement structured data using Schema.org to help search engines better understand the content. Tools like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper can assist with this and InLinks provides an automated way of implementing required/desired adjustments across your current website's content.


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C. TECHNICAL SEO

  1. SITE CRAWL & INDEXATION: Use tools like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb to perform a comprehensive site crawl, this will help identify and fix issues like broken links, duplicate content, and missing meta tags.
  2. MOBILE OPTIMIZATION: Ensure the site is fully responsive and performs well on mobile devices. Google’s Lighthouse, SiteChecker and Cloudflare can help identify and resolve issues.
  3. PAGE SPEED OPTIMIZATION: Use tools like Cloudflare, Google PageSpeed Insights, and GTmetrix to analyze and improve page loading times.
  4. URL STRUCTURE: Ensure URLs are clean, descriptive, and include targeted keywords where appropriate; InLinks and NeilPatel's Ubersuggest are great to track and enrich this process.


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D. OFF-PAGE SEO OPTIMIZATION

    1. LINK BUILDING
        • CONTENT PROMOTION: Create and share high-quality content across social media and relevant online communities to attract backlinks. To identify the content opportunities at hand InLinks, DragonMetrics and NeilPatel's Ubersuggest are fantastic!!  

        • OUTREACH: Build relationships with bloggers, influencers, and industry websites to gain backlinks. Utilize networks such as GetLinko, Postaga, and Skimlinks for these endeavors but each industry has its own platforms for doing the match between a business and content writers. You can do a search directly on Google, or discuss the possible options at hand directly with ChatGPT, Gemini and Claude.

        • GUEST POSTING: Write guest posts for reputable sites in your industry; to find the key places to do this follow the same suggested steps as in the previous point.
    2. PAGERANK OPTIMIZATION
      • HIGH-QUALITY CONTENT: Continually create valuable content that naturally attracts backlinks. InLinks provides a segmentation of your target personas based on your knowledge graph mapping, and this in turn will provide an excellent content creation agenda to structure a plan that aligns well with each target persona and their lifecycle stages (these will determine the intent focus on your keyword sets).

      • ENTITIES AND CONTEXT: Center content around relevant entities to improve PageRank through contextually relevant backlinks. Again, InLinks and WordLift are highly recommended during this process.

      • MONITOR BACKLINKS: Use tools like Ahrefs or Moz to monitor backlinks and disavow any harmful ones.


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E. CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION

      1. USER EXPERIENCE (UX): Ensure that the site—and particularly your target Landing Pages —are easy to navigate and provide a seamless user experience (UX). Tools like Hotjar, LuckyOrange, Amplitude and Microsoft Clarity can provide insights into user behavior using user recordings, heatmaps, and scroll-maps.
      2. CALL TO ACTION (CTA), IMAGES, CONTENT LAYOUTS: The use of heatmapping analytics tools such as Microsoft Clarity and LuckyOrange will allow you to analyse and understand better what engages your search-engine audiences as well as spot out elements that may be causing friction in their journey. Optimize call-to-actions (CTA), images and even content layouts in order for you to continuedly better your UX. The ongoing challenge to be clear, compelling, and using an optimal information architecture (i.e. layout) throughout your site never ends. Depending on the platform at hand, you can also use tools for you to A/B Test those key elements and retain the ones that provide the best results for your business; for example: V/Arify, Kameleoon or MixPanel.
      3. GENERATIVE CHATBOT IMPLEMENTATION: Add a chatbot to assist users in finding the new pages quickly and improving engagement. Tools like SiteGPT or Chatling can be used for this purpose.


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F. MONITORING & DATA-DRIVEN OPTIMIZATION USING CLOUD COMPUTING TOOLS

      1. ANALYTICS: Regularly monitor site performance using Google Analytics and Search Console, these are the staple platform options. I would additionally suggest using MixPanel and Amplitude which allow you to establish cohorts of visitors derived from your SEO efforts to monitor their engagement with your content across time. This way you will be able to track and evaluate the long-term effectiveness of your SEO work in terms of QUALITY of users and not only in terms of QUANTITY.
      2. SEO TOOLS: Use tools like DragonMetrics, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to track keyword rankings, traffic, and other important metrics related specifically to the SEO efforts at hand.
      3. DATA-DRIVEN OPTIMIZATION VIA DATAWAREHOUSING & AI: So much as search engines continuedy become more sophisticated, you can rest assured that your target customers's needs and interactions with search mechanisms will also continue to evolve! Therefore, continuously analyze data, experiment with variations and adjust SEO strategies as needed to ensure ongoing improvement (more on SEO project management below).

        Additionaly, consider activating a Google Cloud Platform account, and in it, a Big Query data warehouse instance. It is truly not a complex nor expensive endeavor, and it will allow you to seamlessly integrate both your Google Analytics AND Search Console data in one single location (for starters). From there you will be able to use the aggregate data in at least two valuable broadly-defined use cases: Google Looker Studio for dashboarding your progressive results, and Vertex AI for machine learning and data modelling. The latter use case will allow your business to better understand, predict and thus serve your visitors and customers with more personalized interactions. This is where SEO will truly show its value down the line!


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        G. AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT

I have a strong preference for using Atlassian Jira/Confluence for agile project management, but you can also explore tools like Monday, Asana, or any other agile project management platform to effectively track ongoing requirements, coordinate team tasks, and set flexible goals. Remember, SEO/SEM campaigns are continuous endeavors, so it's essential to ensure that all aspects outlined in this plan are being addressed simultaneously.


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IV. Conclusion

The audit plan described in this article provides a thorough outline of an approach to conducting an SEO audit and the resulting SEO/SEM process, focusing on modern strategies and tools which will allow you to enhance organic search performance for a websites content pages and ensure the highest user engagement possible. At the very least, by following these steps, your business would be able to identify and resolve issues that might be currently impacting your website's search rankings -and upon making the proper tweaks, begin to drive more and better-targeted traffic to your product pages. Wain.cr’s success story is a testament to the power of a well-executed SEO strategy, and with the right tools and techniques, your business can achieve similar or even better results as well.

If you wish to see a different success experience using Entity SEO, albeit as a component within a broader marketing strategy, please read the case of Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge.

Max E. Sequeira Garza
Experienced in successfully implementing data-driven strategies to generate multichannel growth, and deploy effective marketing programs on B2C / B2B contexts.