What can an online store selling contact lenses do to improve their website SEO? Our #semrushchat community recently conducted a live-site audit of Visiondirect.co.uk to find out. During the latest chat, they discussed various aspects that could be hindering this site’s ranking and gave suggestions on how to rectify it.

Although the discussion focused on a specific site, the points discussed can be useful to your site as well. So, in case you missed it, read on to see if your site has these issues as well:

Q1. After the first glance, what is one thing you would definitely change about visiondirect.co.uk?

At first glance, the site is clear, has made good use of white space, and also has https, which checks all the right boxes. However, no site is perfect, and our community looked beyond first impressions to see what can be improved. Here is what they found:

There is an immediate hard sell.

The website directly jumps into selling their product, without defining their value proposition to the user and the carousel at the top is the perfect example. It distracts the user and doesn’t provide enough of background on who VisionDirect is or why you may want to buy from them.

In order to fix that, they could move up the customer reviews which will help them to build credibility with the reader and encourage them to convert. 

Their UI and UX isn’t conversion centric.

Although the UI/UX isn’t bad, our chat participants agreed that it could be made more conversion centric. One idea they had was to redesign the navigation to improve the on-site search to help the users find what they are looking for. Also, the homepage could be made more powerful by pushing popular products and new arrivals in order to catch the viewer’s attention. 

They are not using the right keywords on the homepage.

During the chat, our participants did a little digging to see which keywords VisionDirect ranked for; they found that they rank number one for “contact lenses.” However, there is a strong chance that the home page and the contact lenses page could be competing and because of this, the content for at least one of the two pages could be changed.

They need better branding.

Most of the products on their site were branded as being the cheapest option, and while this could be a major factor in someone’s buying decision; not all buyers will want to put something cheap into their eyes. 

Site Speed.

Site speed is extremely important, and this site’s load speed was not up to par. The page load was choppy and had too much animation.


Q2. Which technical issues should the site owner fix first, out of the ones SEMrush has identified on visiondirect.co.uk?

To identify where the site was falling short on technical SEO requirements, we used SEMrush’s Site Audit to see which issues VisionDirect should fix first.


Here is what our chat participants thought had to be fixed ASAP:

Hreflang Issues:

Hreflang tags tell Google which language the user is using so that the website and the results can be served in that particular language. For a UK based company that is doing business across Europe, having Hreflang issues can result in an international SEO disaster and even duplication issues. Because of this, fixing these issues should be their number one priority. 

Page load time.

According to Marketing Strategies - @mktngstrategy, "broken link and slow page speeds are [an important fix]. If the first page someone lands on takes too long to load, they could instantly bounce."

Error 404 and broken links.

404 errors on the pages and the broken links lead to poor UX, which is why it is important for them to fix this. If a broken link appears on a landing page, it needs to be fixed quickly. 

As a site owner, it is definitely your call on which issues to tackle first. All three of these particular issues affect bounce rates and conversions, so you need to choose which would work best for your website.


Which issue do you think they should tackle first? Let us know in the comments!

Q3. What purpose should their blog have? Does the existing blog match it?

No site audit is complete without taking a look at a site's content strategy, which is why we asked our chat participants about it. Here are some of their ideas for VisionDirect to fine-tune their blog strategy:

Make it easier to find.

The blog is hidden way below in the navigation bar, and it took many of our chat participants some time to spot it. If they put it in a more prominent position such as the menu, rather than buried away at the bottom of the page, it would be easier for visitors to find it. 

Content Quality.

Currently, their blog content is hit or miss, it focuses on seasonal trends rather than solid information about eye-care. If a user is looking for educational content, they won’t be able to find it on the blog.

It is also clear that a lot of the related items are listed more for SEO benefits rather than helping the user find what exactly they are looking for.

Reassess their content strategy.

VisionDirect UK could use the Topic Research tool so that they could create a content strategy that engages, inspires, informs, and most importantly, converts. They should go back to the drawing board, do more research on their customer personas, and come up with a clear target audience segment.

Most of the content they have around contact lenses are not questions that are typically asked. Instead, they should focus on informative and educative content that will showcase the products, compare, and help users make a buying decision. If coming up with topic ideas or content strategies is a struggle, SEMrush put together a list on how to create content ideas which can help to simplify that process.

Focus on quality, not quantity.

Although there are a lot of posts, the majority of them are short. Instead of trying to put out as many blog posts as possible, they should focus on the quality of their posts. The SEMrush writing assistant can help create SEO-friendly content.

Our chat participants also came up with a few ideas that would complement the content strategy:

Highlight testimonials and personalize the page.

By highlighting user experience and testimonials, this increases your credibility and social proof. By having legitimate personalization, without using stock photos, will also make a difference with your audience. 

Collaborate with other businesses. 

Collaborating with other organizations can help you to get access to their target audience. For this site’s particular audience, it seems like they are interested in targeting children who want to start using contact lenses. They could partner with a school to increase their audience.


Q4. What features/UX issues/content mistakes could be setting them back?

Our chat participants agreed that their site was not exciting or fun to use, plus, the buying path is confusing which can lead to higher bounce rates and lower conversions.

Here are some ways they can change that:

Enhance the site’s search options.

Our chat participants experimented with their on-site search engine and found that it doesn’t really help the user find the product they want. They noticed that it shows a list of products for each search, with no additional data. Therefore, having an enriched site search, with more structured data, can help.

Also, the site search could include synonyms and different spellings for words, for example, whether you search for “color” or “colour”, you would get the same results. To learn more about on-site search, check out last week’s #semrushchat recap with JP Sherman.

Improve the navigation menu.

There is no indication that the navigation menu appears when you hover over it. In fact, it takes time to appear, which many of our participants found confusing.

Have a better homepage design.

Although the homepage has enough white space, it is neither inviting nor minimal. Instead, it is overloaded with sub-navigation bars and plug-ins, which is very distracting.

Once the user gets over the confusion as to where to click, they still find that there is no real information about the brand or their value proposition.

There are also no social buttons at the bottom of the site to encourage visitors to connect and spread the brand on social media, which is very important.

Add alt tags for images.

Currently, there are no alt-tags for the images, which adds SEO value. They should be further optimized to improve load time and in turn, improve bounce rates.


These are just a few of the suggestions our chat participants had. Have you had a chance to look at the site, which suggestions would you have for them? Let us know in the comments!

Q5. Which creative link building/earning techniques should VisionDirect UK use?

All link building strategies should start with a solid content strategy and improving the quality of a site’s content should be a priority if you want some new link building techniques.

The content created should also be relevant, meaningful and add value to the audience. Our chat participants brainstormed certain ideas that can help improve their content quality:

In-depth articles

These articles could address the questions shoppers face while they are buying; it can be in a question/answer format to share on social media. Since fashion is one of the main themes of their blog, they can also focus on fashion articles that include contact lenses. Above all, their content should be aimed towards them being a trusted eye-care source to build their brand image.


These days, video content cannot be ignored, it can be used for better engagement and help you to get more shares on social.


Testimonials and recommendations from previous customers can also improve credibility and build trust among target audiences.

The content strategy is just the beginning of improving your link profile. Another suggestion our chat participants had is to do a competitor analysis, using tools like SEMrush identify the backlink profile of your competitors, analyzing what works for them, and seeing if it can be used for you as well.


What are some of your most creative link earning techniques? Let us know in the comments!

Q6. What website features do you like and suggest that Visiondirect utilize more?

As mentioned earlier, VisionDirect already has a good site, with plenty of good elements working for it. Here is what our chat participants liked:

Good Reviews.

How to utilize this more: However, the reviews can be made prominent and have real images from customers that their audience can relate to. This will help them to personalize the site more and build credibility.

They are easy to contact.

Whether it is through social media or the contact us page on their website, they can be easily reached out to.

Their blog is constantly updated.

How to utilize this more: They should ensure that their content strategy is audited regularly and irrelevant posts are removed. They can also interlink within their site or blog posts to improve their SEO.

They offer consultation.

Having a reliable eye care center is important to customers. So, the fact that they offer consultation works in their favor. However, this is completely lost in the “hard-sell” of the website. Their consultation offers can be highlighted to show how customer-centric the business is.

Apart from this, our chat participants also highlighted a few more points that VisionDirect can work on to improve conversion/site traffic:

Bring the site up to date and make it more engaging-while it may cost a bit more, it will ultimately be worth it if it makes people want to stay and explore the site.

This could involve video testimonials, virtually trying out contact lenses or a more interesting slideshow of their products.

Smooth out the buying journey - when products are added to the cart, the estimated dispatch date is not displayed, this should be fixed. They could even show a timeline of when the customer will actually receive the product (instead of just the dispatch date - which may not be of value to them).

Similarly, free shipping is something customers will look for. If you offer them a promo, such as free shipping on a certain number of items, they may be more inclined to purchase more. 

No lead capture form on the site - they should have an inquiry form or a newsletter pop up with the latest updates which can increase the lead database and nurture leads to conversion.


Are these SEO elements up-to-date for your website? If not, you may want to check out the most common technical SEO mistakes. Not only will it give you a handy list to work with on your next site audit, but, will also cover the most important factors that have the maximum impact on ranking.

That’s all for today! Make sure you join us this week for a very special chat with Larry Kim on “How chatbots can improve your marketing strategy.”

Author Photo
Maria KalyadinaMaria is the Social Media Marketing Manager at SEMrush and the host of the weekly #SEMrushchat. You can always connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter! Join the #SEMrushChat every Wednesday at 11 am ET/ 4 pm BST!
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