SEMrush Real-Time Site Analysis of VisionDirect

What can an online store selling contact lenses do to improve their website SEO? Our #semrushchat community recently conducted a live-site audit of 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...
SEMrush Real-Time Site Analysis of VisionDirect

What can an online store selling contact lenses do to improve their website SEO? Our #semrushchat community recently conducted a live-site audit of 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

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.

A1: Whoa. You load the page and BOOM -- products in your FACE. How about you buy me a drink first???#semrushchat

— ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM) May 2, 2018

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.

A1) At first glance I would drop the slider, but that's just me. It would be nice to know WHO Vision Direct is and not try to sell immediately#SEMrushchat

— Nathan Driver (@natedriver) May 2, 2018

A1: I never thought I'd be so put off by a carousel banner before.

Or is it just me?#SEMRushChat

— Narmadhaa (@s_narmadhaa) May 2, 2018

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. 

A1: I would definitely put the great reviews higher up the page. Give people a strong vote of confidence before they even start shopping #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) May 2, 2018

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. 

A1: Well it's not bad, I would apply a new UI/UX, redesign the navigation to improve search and use the homepage to push popular products and new arrivals. I would also be in favor of removing a few the chat plugins as well. #semrushchat

— Danny Ray Lima (@dannyraylima) May 2, 2018

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.

A1) Scrap that. They're ranking no. 1 for 'contact lenses' but I'd still be taking a look at that as it might be external link graph holding that up and brand association with 'product'. Maybe test some things on it #SEMrushchat

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) May 2, 2018

A1/3: I would be tempted to change the homepage title as well. There is a strong chance the homepage and Contact Lenses page could be competing #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) May 2, 2018

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. 

A1) 'Cheap' branding. I'd never want to put anything cheap on my eyeballs!#semrushchat

— David Rosam (@davidrosam) May 2, 2018

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.

A1) Could definitely benefit from some speed optimisation. Particularly around some of the static images and some maybe prefetching -> GTMetrix reports a D which could be improved quite easily #semrushchat

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) May 2, 2018


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

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. 

A2. For a site that's focusing on multiple countries and several different languages, solving the hreflang issues can help save you from a potential international SEO disaster. - M #semrushchat

— CallRail (@CallRail) May 2, 2018

A2: Fix the hreflang conflicts first and foremost, this will have a direct effect on SEO value. After that, take a look at increasing the speed, use a CDN when possible, improve the 404 LP, this can help reduce the exit rate, and bounce users back into your funnel. #semrushchat

— Danny Ray Lima (@dannyraylima) May 2, 2018

A2: I personally would look at the hreflang issues. These can often lead to duplication issues if they have not been formed correctly #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) May 2, 2018

A2 #semrushchat I would recommend that they attack the hreflang issues. If they site is showing the wrong pages to the wrong audiences, they're risking increased bounces, lost prospects & even geo-specific violations in terms of wording/offers

— John Rasco (@refreshweb) May 2, 2018

A2) Incorrect HRef Lang links since they need to be reciprocal between sites to actually work. If these are incorrect they're likely invalid altogether. #semrushchat

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) May 2, 2018

A2: The most pressing concerns would be the Hreflang issues (given that it's a UK site that does business with other European countries), along with the duplicate meta descriptions. #SEMRushChat

— Marccx Media (@marccxmedia) May 2, 2018

A2: Fix the hreflang conflicts first and foremost, this will have a direct effect on SEO value. After that, take a look at increasing the speed, use a CDN when possible, improve the 404 LP, this can help reduce the exit rate, and bounce users back into your funnel. #semrushchat

— Danny Ray Lima (@dannyraylima) May 2, 2018

A2: Definitely hreflang issues ... followed by taking a closer look at that slow loading page to see if it is a site issue or just a heavy image #semrushchat

— Jake Bohall (@jakebohall) May 2, 2018

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."

A2) Speed. It's ploddy, and @GTmetrix has a number of suggestions for speeding it up.#semrushchat

— David Rosam (@davidrosam) May 2, 2018

A2: Slow load speed first and foremost -- that's huge for both a) visitors and b) search engines!#semrushchat

— ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM) May 2, 2018

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. 

A2/2: I would then look at the 404 and broken internal link. Both of these could have an impact on usability and even as much as directing page signals (internal link) #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) May 2, 2018

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. 

A3: If this site is going to have a blog, they need to add it to the menu, instead of burying it in the nav bar. The blog needs to be informative and educative. They should use the blog to showcase products, compare them, and provide lifestyle tips for their users. #semrushchat

— Danny Ray Lima (@dannyraylima) May 2, 2018

A3: They have a blog? Oh, there it is -- had to dig to find it :) I think their blog posts actually would be something I would read.#semrushchat

— ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM) May 2, 2018

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.

A3: They have a blog? Oh, there it is -- had to dig to find it :) I think their blog posts actually would be something I would read.#semrushchat

— ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM) May 2, 2018

A3: Their blog topics look a bit hit & miss. Some are relevant, others appear to be an attempt at jumping on board seasonal trends but their titles wouldn't entice you to read them if you were looking for additional information on eye care/ contact lenses etc.#SEMrushchat

— Heather Harvey (@Fizzle_Up) May 2, 2018

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.

A3) Some of the 'related's' are clearly there for internal linking to home page / categories. e.g. 'related' (our range of contact lenses'). Not saying this is necessarily bad but it's obvious (to an SEO ;P) #SEMrushchat

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) May 2, 2018

A3) Yes. I see what's going on. It's in parts a progressive connection in the relateds 'Hayfever hacks' -> 'Spring cleaning hacks'. Lolz. I get it #semrushchat

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) May 2, 2018

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.

A3) So, for the blog, they should really consider the content marketing matrix which is a good model. A combination of engage, inspire, inform and convince. Engage (seasonal stuff), inspire (ideas / images / galleries), inform (industry & so forth), 'convince' #SEMrushchat

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) May 2, 2018

A3: They could probably do with sitting down & reassessing their content strategy. It seems like they don't have a clear goal/ are unsure as to what their audience wants to read. Some work on customer personas would help them too.#SEMrushchat

— Heather Harvey (@Fizzle_Up) May 2, 2018

A3 the scope of their blog need to be narrowed and refined #semrushchat

— Julia Bourbois 📚 (@JuliaBourbois) May 2, 2018

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.

A3: It's all over the place. I feel like they are "spraying & praying" with the content. Maybe they need to define their brand voice and guidelines to figure out how and what to communicate to their audience. I've never heard anyone ask these things about contacts. #semrushchat

— Daniel Henderson (@ppcwontletmebe) May 2, 2018

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.

A3: I would use that blog to get some strong internal signals sent to key hub pages around the site. At the moment, they aren't really doing that.

I would also try and focus on quality rather than quantity. They posts are quite short and could be a lot better #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) May 2, 2018

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. 

A3: great opportunity to create a narrative around users of contact lenses or potential users = from doing interviews, turn this into a content offering. Build the content on the blog and repurpose through other channels eg social, PR, links #semrushchat

— Simon Swan (@Swanny_s) May 2, 2018

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.

A3) Maybe do some stuff with schools since it looks like quite a bit of target audience is children perhaps wanting to switch to contact lenses (for life). Education collaborations e.g. #semrushchat

— Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) May 2, 2018


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.

A4: I know it's "only" eye drops and contact lenses but the site just isn't exciting or friendly to use.
The buying process is a bit confused also. #semrushchat

— Kieran Ledger (@KJLedger) May 2, 2018

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.

A4 As site search developers, we definitely see some room for improvement 😜 Ex. using enriched search suggestions. If I look for eye drops, how am I supposed to choose what to click here?🤷‍♀️ #semrushchat

— Site Search 360 (@sitesearch360) May 2, 2018

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.

A4/2 Another point it to focus on tuning in their search dictionary. "Daily" should go as a synonym for their "Dailies" brand which should show up in this search:#semrushchat

— Site Search 360 (@sitesearch360) May 2, 2018

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.

A4. The drop-down options take a few seconds to appear when you hover over the menu - makes it confusing whether to click straight on the parent options or wait for the drop down to appear #SEMrushchat

— Marketing Strategies (@MktngStrategy) May 2, 2018

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.

A4: The major setback is the homepage design and the nav bar. The homepage should be inviting and minimal, avoid overloading with sub nav bars & plugins. Also, external links (glasses & Sunglasses) should be not housed in the nav bar. #semrushchat

— Danny Ray Lima (@dannyraylima) May 2, 2018

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.

A4: #semrushchat As I mouse around the homepage, things change so it's hard to find where to click. I would last about 10 seconds on that site. Too many submenus, no real explanation content. Who are they? Why should I buy from them?

— John Rasco (@refreshweb) May 2, 2018

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.

A4: Social links need to be add at the bottom of the home page. Easy to navigate the users to view the page and to brand the products. Need improvement in landing page design. #semrushchat

— Veeraeswari (@VeeraeswariS) May 2, 2018

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.

A4: My initial impression is accessibility. Give your images ALTs. This is a site about vision with no accessibility for those with vision issues. #semrushchat

— Carolyn Lyden (@Carolyn_Lyden) May 2, 2018

A4. Agreed! Image optimization is crucial for e-commerce. Not only adding alt text, but compressing the existing images to improve load time and therefore, improve bounce rate. - M #semrushchat

— CallRail (@CallRail) May 2, 2018


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.

A5: They should be concentrating on their blog pages and write really in-depth articles, share them socially and then perform outreach. There are dozens of ideas I can think of around how they could win at this #SEMrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) May 2, 2018

A5: Focus on the followings:
1. Infographics
2. update your old post (top performing post in past)
3. share video content #semrushchat

— Ashok Sharma (@Ashok83) May 2, 2018

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.

A5: #semrushchat Relevant blog posts that answer shopper/user questions w/ social media sharing, longer form articles/posts on area fashion/look sites, content establishing them as trusted medical partner, again well shared via social

— John Rasco (@refreshweb) May 2, 2018


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

A5: Live social visual challenges. Kind of like a digital marketing chat, ya know? What do you see in the picture?! #semrushchat

— Daniel Henderson (@ppcwontletmebe) May 2, 2018


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

A5: Improving the blog quality and sharing their work on social will improve their exposire. Focus on website content and look at getting recommended by the manufacturers for the service and quality of your work. Being valued and respected goes a long way.#SEMrushchat

— Kieran Ledger (@KJLedger) May 2, 2018

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.

A5: complete a competitor link audit, see what’s working for them and what they could provide differently? #semrushchat

— Simon Swan (@Swanny_s) May 2, 2018


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.

A6: I like that they have good reviews. They should consider making the reviews more prominent and link to their page on the review site. #SEMRushChat

— Narmadhaa (@s_narmadhaa) May 2, 2018

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.

A6: Personalise the site more. Use images of real people alongside the testimonials & in the blog posts. Reduce the sales talk & talk more about the benefits to the users.#SEMrushchat

— Heather Harvey (@Fizzle_Up) May 2, 2018

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.

A6: Keep going with what they've started doing with their blog topics. They can still have fun topics, but keep it eyewear & vision related. Also, they need to not hide their blog. In addition, a blog content audit might help them remove some the irrelevant posts. #SEMrushchat

— Annette Sugden (@Annette_Sugden) May 2, 2018

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.

A6: 1 Use interlinking in blog post
2. Fix Menu so that Google can crawl #semrushchat

— Ashok Sharma (@Ashok83) May 2, 2018

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.

A6: They offer consultation. Put that up front, and tell visitors you've got their back. Having a reliable eye care centre is important to customers. #SEMRushChat

— Narmadhaa (@s_narmadhaa) May 2, 2018

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.

A6: Bring the site up to date. Spend a bit of that marketing budget on making a more interesting and engaging site that people want to stay on and explore #SEMrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) May 2, 2018

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


1. Videos of testimonials in homepage.
2. Make interesting features like trying out the lenses using image of the visitor.
3. Slideshow of products.
4. Navigation should be made easier.
5. Payment gateways should be smooth.#SEMrushchat

— Krishna Rg🚀 (@krishnarg22) May 2, 2018

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).

A6. Estimated dispatch date seems to say n/a no matter what I try to add to cart. Also, might be more useful to tell customers when the product will arrive, not get dispatched. #semrushchat

— Yosef Silver 📨 (@ysilver) May 2, 2018

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. 

A6. Make it clear how much you need to spend for free shipping with verbiage like "Spend an additional £7.89 for free delivery", or one step further, put this in terms of additonal boxes needed to get free delivery. #semrushchat

— Yosef Silver 📨 (@ysilver) May 2, 2018

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.

A6. Estimated dispatch date seems to say n/a no matter what I try to add to cart. Also, might be more useful to tell customers when the product will arrive, not get dispatched. #semrushchat

— Yosef Silver 📨 (@ysilver) May 2, 2018


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.”