Many SEO vendors talk a good game. But who can actually deliver results?
On this page, I am going to show how I have helped business owners just like you increase their ability to close sales by improving their visibility in the SERPs.
Let’s get started.
1. A story of a bridal boutique
Through content and site architecture design, a completely new website and CMS migration, the client achieved page-one visibility for over 50 keywords that has brought consistent sales enquiries even during COVID-19.
Specifically, I have:
- Increased organic traffic visits to the domain by 80%.
- Increased leads by 4x.
About the business
The client is a wedding dress shop with a retail shopfront. The boutique offers ready-to-wear bridal gowns at affordable prices. It has its own label of wedding dresses and is a stockist for other in-demand labels such as Morilee, Ronald Joyce and Justin Alexander.
The business owner had been paying a company $1,000 per month for her SEO, web hosting, domain registration and email hosting. However, conversions were far and few. With business expenses increasing against declining sales and increased competition, things were not looking good.
From my analysis, I found the following issues:
Poor keyword research: The site was ranking for phrases such as off the rack wedding dresses sydney and ready to wear wedding dresses sydney. Both of these keywords have very low search volume.
Secondly, as a result of poor keyword research, no consideration had been put into content and site architecture. As a result, the only page that was ranking for the bulk of the keywords was the homepage and it had very thin content.
The client’s website was using BigCommerce: BigCommerce is not a bad product but for a catalog-online website it made absolutely no sense. This is because BigCommerce requires development resources to add elements to its design templates. The client did not have budget for this. As a result, pages had little to no text.
Low quality links: the previous SEO vendor had built 38 backlinks using the exact match anchor text wedding dresses Parramatta. Secondly, these referring domains were all low quality websites (see below).
PBNs: The previous SEO vendor had use the same exact match anchors on multiple PBNs. These high risk links were not initially discovered by Ahrefs but were easily identifiable via another tool. While PBNs can be extremely effective, they are incredibly risky and are a ticking manual penalty waiting to happen. It is not a question of if but when the site would get a manual penalty.
Low authority and trust: Many of the ranking competitors had strong backlink graphs. The client’s website had very few links from authoritative and industry-relevant sites.
Phase 1 – Proper keyword research: I analysed ranking competitors and crawled their entire sites to see what keywords they were targeting. From this I was able to come up with a list of suitable keywords that I could incorporate into content and site architecture. Specifically, I found out what type of content should be paired with each keyword.
But in order to do this, we had to get away from BigCommerce.
Phase 2 – A new website that was SEO-friendly: It was evident that BigCommerce was the weakest link and had to go. I built a WordPress + Woocommerce site to demonstrate to the client how it was a better option to BigCommerce.
Phase 3 – Migrate across to a faster web host to reduce TTFB: Since the website was getting an overhaul, it was the best time to change web host. I chose a managed WordPress host with Google Cloud servers.
Phase 4 – Content and site architecture: Based on the keyword research, I mapped out the core pages I would need to create to target certain high-value keywords. Then using Clearscope, I wrote keyword optimised content for each of these pages to get them to slowly appear on the SERPs.
Phase 5 – Increasing topical relevance via hub and spoke content silos. Check out this Hubspot guide if you want to learn more about topic clusters.
Phase 6 – High-quality link building campaign: Using the Link Intersect tool in Ahrefs I was able to deduce which competitors were invested in SEO. In particular, I was able to discover each competitor’s link building strategy. It became evident which competitors had competent SEOs working for them which ones. did not.
One of the underlying problems the client had was a lack of authority and trust. The domain lacked links from the usual wedding media outlets. Therefore, I used a number of strategies to achieve backlinks. These included guest posts, reaching out to writers to add the client to an existing web page, and responding to journalist requests via HARO. Links were pointed to key internal pages.
Phase 7 – On-page SEO: Once a page began to show up in positions 20-30, I ran Keyword Density for each page against ranking pages. Using this data, I analysed what type of pages were ranking (e.g., homepage vs product category vs informational blog post) to understand what type of content and intent Google was rewarding. This then flowed into the content and purpose of each page on the client’s website.
Phase 8 – Add FAQ rich results for improved CTR: On top of this, I added internal links to products within the structured data markup.
Phase 9 – Disavow PBN domains: A disavow tool was submitted for 16 suspicious domains.
Organic traffic for our target keywords has almost doubled since August 2019. This has resulted in a consistent number of inbound leads to the business since January 2020. Even during COVID-19 and a core algorithm update, traffic and conversions have continued to improve.
Specifically, the client’s website has seen an increase in organic traffic visits by 80% and since I began working on the account (red arrow – see above), organic traffic has been on an upward trend.
From the below (Ahrefs) screenshot, the left hand side shows organic traffic and keywords at the beginning of the SEO campaign. The right hand side shows organic traffic and keywords at the time of writing (May 2019).
As you can see, the number of ranking keywords have shot right up since August 2019. At the beginning, the client had 16 keywords in positions 1-3 on page one and a total of 64 keywords that corresponded with page one visibility. By early May 2020, it has 57 keywords in positions 1-3 on page one and a total of 226 keywords that corresponding with page one visibility. This indicates that proper keyword research, content and site architecture followed by ongoing on-page optimisation has been effective.
Similarly, when comparing January 1 – May 15, 2019 with January 1 – May 15, 2020 in Google Analaytics, you can see that organic visitors across this 4-month period have increased from 3,597 to 6,453 with an even bigger increase in new visitors to the website.
Because the keyword research was very detailed, the increase in organic traffic has been driven by relevant keywords. This is a critical aspect of success in an SEO campaign as many vendors will claim that they have achieved page one rankings for irrelevant search queries.
At the time of writing, we are on page one for the following keywords:
- wedding dresses
- wedding dresses sydney
- a line wedding dresses / a line wedding dress
- affordable wedding dresses
- ball gown wedding dresses / ball gown wedding dress
The keywords wedding dresses and wedding dresses sydney are highly competitive and have 19,000 and 1,200 monthly searches respectively. At the time of writing, the client has finally crested onto page one for both these keywords.
With regards to FAQ rich results, I have achieved over 1,200 clicks to the website in the past 3 months. From the above screenshot (Search Console), it is evident how the number of clicks from FAQ rich results has increased and this corresponds directly with the rise of page one rankings for campaign’s target keywords.
But most important of all, leads have increased from an average of 1 per week to 4 to 5 per week.
I received this text message from the client recently – “I think our SEO is really strong now ? it’s so amazing seeing so many emails everyday!”
And at the end of the day this is the only SEO KPI that matters.
2. A cautionary tale
3. A story of wedding photographer