Designing for SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is all about enhancing a website's visibility on search engines like Google. For small businesses like Lessonpal, strong SEO was a game-changer in driving organic traffic to our platform.

As a product designer working on this project, my goal was to make design enhancements to Lessonpal to make it more discoverable and user-friendly. When I started, SEO was a bit of a mystery to me. I had to dive deep into learning and experimenting, but it was a rewarding journey full of insights and growth.

Phase 1: Understanding SEO

When I first heard about SEO, I knew it had something to do with search engines and getting your website to show up on Google. Beyond that, it was pretty much a foreign concept to me.

To get up to speed, I immersed myself in all things SEO. I read articles and blogs from experts, took online courses, and watched tutorials YouTube and Coursera. I also joined forums and discussion groups to learn from others’ experiences and stay updated on the latest trends and algorithm changes.

These were some of my key learnings:

Understanding SEO

Phase 2: Competitor Research

We needed to understand the SEO strategies of successful online tutoring platforms to help Lessonpal stand out and improve its search rankings.

Competitors effectively used long-tail keywords, well-organized content, strong backlinks, user-friendly and mobile-optimized designs, and programmatic landing pages. These insights informed my design choices to making Lessonpal more competitive and SEO-friendly.

Phase 3: Initial concept and wireframes

I sketched some quick wireframes on my iPad, capturing the sections that I recommended we include on our page. Once the team and I were in alignment, I shared these wireframes with our engineering team so that they could prepare the backend.

Wireframes

Phase 4: Designs & Iterations

I worked with our product manager and growth lead to come up with SEO optimized content (utilizing the correct keywords) to include on the page. I then designed the first version of our subject landing page. We used this as the template for all subjects on Lessonpal.

Iteration 1:

Iteration 1

We were happy to see this version of our pages getting indexed, but unfortunately it wasn't up to the mark. We were seeing a 70% bounce rate, a 2% click-through rate from search results, and a 1 minute average time spent on the page.

I continued iterating on the designs to include dynamic content. I learned that dynamic content can help increase user engagement, freshness, and keyword variation, leading to improved search rankings and user experience. It also encourages longer visits, more shares, and better indexing which can help boost the overall page performance.

Iteration 2: With more dynamic content

Iteration 2

The new iteration of the subject landing page along with efforts from our engineering team to optimize the backend to improve loading times led to a significant improvement on performance compared to the first version. Our bounce rate decreased to 50%, our click-through rate surged to 5%, and the average time spent on the page was now 3 minutes.

In addition to subject landing pages, I designed our sitemap and location, subject & location and tutoring jobs pages. As a team, we submitted 1.52 million pages to be indexed, out of which 1 million got indexed, significantly improving the organic traffic on our platform. From ~10 user sign ups per month, we were seeing ~100 sign ups per month in just the span of 4 months!