SEO Case Study

Of course this site, Purple Widget, is sort of an SEO case study in itself but I have a specific example of an e-commerce site I’ve done work on that is finally starting to pay off.

The site started from the ground up – new domain name and all in the fall of 2007. It’s built on an e-comm software package that does an OK job of automating SEO but far from great and offers no manual editing of page titles, meta tags on product pages. And changing landing pages takes some HTML coding knowledge and getting under the hood. And since the owner of the site – a one man show – has no ability to do this himself my ability to do a lot of this coding helped out. But still, I was facing (and still face) some challenges from the software. But we shall overcome.

He had no real SEO on the site for the first several months and was literally selling nothing. Tens of thousand of dollars to get the site designed and set up – no sales. Nowhere to go but up. And, by the way he had no budget for SEO. About 4 hours a month for several months (and that including doing a lot of the work with some coding rather than just data entry for key areas of the site) – then even less. That’s part of the reason that this process may seem slow – it was far from an all out full-time effort but it was certainly better than nothing.

I won’t go into extensive details about every step that was done but it started with keyword research of course so the best phrases were being targeted. The next focus was on creating some landing pages and adding some text to the dynamic category pages of an e-comm site. Some improved internal linking with good anchor text put in where appropriate. Next some attention was paid to how product names were entered and how category names were sculpted – with the limitations of the e-comm software these naming conventions were important (this is pretty standard with e-comm sites). We then worked to improve the product descriptions of individual product pages – the site can still do a much better job of this but one area of weakness for many e-comm sites is lack of content on product pages so this is a chance to set this site apart from the competition. Link building has been a part of the process as well as I’ve found industry specific blogs and attempted to at least exchange links (oh no – not link exchanges…..I know, I know but they still have some value if done well and done in moderation) if not get one way links. I submitted to several decent directories early in the process – not sure I’d focus as much on this now but remember this site did not exist less than 2 years ago – directories provide one-way links.

So what has all this led to? Slowly but surely traffic has increased, links have increased (more exposure brings more exposure!), and most importantly conversions have increased quite a bit!

I’ll start with the most important analytics – sales! Remember, 6 months $0 sales when the site launched. In the last 6 weeks (as of this posting of course) the site has generated over $5k in sales – and the owner notes that HALF of his sales start on the website and end with a phone call that analytics doesn’t capture. My advice of the big phone number on every page of the site certainly makes sense now! I’ve talked to him about capturing those sales in analytics but for a variety of reasons, he’s not interested. But just know that the dollar values I discuss here are only about 50% of his sales right now!

So again, from no sales the first 6 months of existence the last 6 months (which of course includes x-mas sales) website analytics saw nearly $14k in sales! So that $5k the last 6 weeks actually is more impressive now! So sales are finally going well!

Now for the more SEO analytics type stats that us SEO Marketing geeks like:

First I’ll compare Jan 1 – Feb 15 ’09 to July 1 – Aug 15 ’08
(6 week periods that don’t include X-Mas)
And all stats are of coures non-paid keywords:

Conversions +26%
Total Transactions +125%
Total Products Sold +196%
So not only are we seeing more traffic, we’re seeing better traffic!

Same periods compared – sales that started with a Google search UP 213% in terms of revenue and up 87% with Yahoo! traffic.

Search engine traffic is up 17% – perhaps the least impressive number but let’s look at another number now.

Compare the first 6 weeks of 2009 to the first 6 weeks of 2008. Year to date comparissions:

Visits up 83% Overall
Search engine traffic up 31%
Google Traffic up 292%
Yahoo Traffic up 108%

So – as is often a question on Purple Widget – what’s my point?

Simple: SEO Works
It may work slowly when the budget is limited, and your website software is far from ideal but it does work. Have patience and keep working on it – SEO does work!

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