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I’m going to show you how my team at Search Logistics increased our client’s monthly organic search traffic by 73%.
As a result of the strategies that we implemented, we increased monthly search traffic from 26,668 to 46,136–
I’ve broken down all of the steps below so that you can apply them to your own sites.
Before we dig into the details though…
…let’s learn a little more about the site at hand.
What Will I Learn?
- A Closer Look At The Case Study
- The Biggest Challenges We Had to Overcome
- Create A Plan Of Attack
- The Results Are In
A Closer Look At The Case Study
This eCommerce site operates within the home maintenance niche.
Apart from targeting keywords that have high commercial intent, the website also has lots of content targeting informational terms.
This way, prospective customers are able to:
- Purchase the products from the online store.
- Learn how to use and fix these items themselves via detailed tutorials on the blog.
When joining my team over at Search Logistics last year, the client’s main objective was to increase their standing in the market, targeting customers in the need of purchasing equipment and parts for their homes.
Our main focus during the campaign was to:
- Make sure that the site was technically sound
- Fix existing content issues
Although we did some light link building, most of our wins came from getting the foundations right.
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The Biggest Challenges We Had to Overcome
Without having a technically sound website and great content that addresses the search intent of the keywords you want to target, your site is going to struggle to rank.
This site had some major issues with both.
Following our analysis of the site at the start of the campaign, we found that the site had…
- Broken product pages that were returning a “HTTP 200 OK” status, but were rendering incorrectly and displaying blank pages
- Numerous warnings with their Product schema markup, which was affecting the ability for these pages to show additional information in the SERP and losing out on the potential to increase CTR as a result
- Mixed content where HTTPS protocol URLs were also loading unsecured HTTP resources, breaking SSL which is a ranking factor
- No breadcrumb navigation was implemented on the site
- Pages that were under optimised with a lack of keyword density and thin content
- Missed out on several important keywords that they could have been ranking for
Because of these issues, the site was not ranking for nearly as many keywords – or as highly – as it had the potential to.
Google was unsure which pages to rank for those facing keyword cannibalisation issues and was not recognising pages with little-to-no keyword density as being worthy of ranking.
Overall, these issues had snowballed into a large buffet of both technical and content related problems that all needed to be addressed in order to help the site reach its full potential in search.
Especially given it already had a solid backlink profile to work with!
Create A Plan Of Attack
When it came to creating a plan of attack, the strategy was relatively simple.
First we completed an SEO audit to find all of the problems and understand where we were starting from.
Then it was mostly fixing the technical problems we found before making sure that the content issues were sorted and structured in the correct way.
Step #1 – Fixed Broken Product Pages
A common occurrence with any site is having pages that are broken or for whatever reason, don’t render correctly.
In our case, the site had over 50 product pages that returned a “200” HTTP status code, were indexed by Google, but were loading as blank “broken” pages.
This is an issue because:
- It wastes precious crawl budget (important for eCommerce sites with lots of products)
- It creates a poor experience for the user
We went through and removed each of these pages from the index by adding a “noindex, nofollow” meta robots tag in the HTML code of each page.
We also added a custom 404 page to let users know that the page no longer exists so that they can revert back to the homepage, or another relevant landing page.
Pro Tips: If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not a page is indexed by Google or not, a simple site: search can do the trick.
Use the “inurl:” operator to search for a specific URL. This is what you will see if the URL is not indexed by Google.
Step #2 – Fixed Structured Data on Product Pages
Structured data (or schema markup) is a way of providing Google with more information about what your web pages are about. Take a look at my FAQ Schema tutorial to learn more.
There’s a Schema markup for pretty much anything and everything-
- Job Listings
In our case, we noticed that the client’s Product schema wasn’t implemented correctly as it had several warnings – we checked this using Google’s Rich Results Test tool.
You can see below that the original implementation was missing several key pieces of information such as the brand, description and the URL of the product.
We went through each of these errors for each product on the site and made sure that the properties were filled out correctly.
In doing so, we increased the chances of the client’s pages showing up with star ratings, pricing and product information in the search results page like this.
This makes your web pages more noticeable in the search results, which in turn increases the click-through rate (CTR).
So if you don’t want to end up with the same issues as our client, don’t forget to test the quality of your schema markup with a schema tester.
Step #3 – Fixed Mixed Content Issues
While the site was running on HTTPS, we found lots of issues with mixed content warnings where they were loading HTTP elements.
This is problematic because it allows the loading of unsecured content on an otherwise secure page, which in turn makes the whole page not secure.
Plus let’s not forget that HTTPS is a confirmed Google ranking factor, so it’s important it works correctly.
You can check your own site using the SSL Check tool–
We found our clients site had this issue across a ton of pages!
So we updated the URLs of the unsecured resources so that they now load over a secure HTTPS connection.
Another change that we made to the client’s site was to implement breadcrumb navigation which was missing when they first joined.
Breadcrumbs are links that allow a visitor to track their path from the page they are currently viewing to the homepage of your website.
They appear close to the top of your page and reflect the hierarchy of your site.
But more importantly:
Breadcrumbs also help search engine bots like Google understand the overall structure of the pages on your site. If you haven’t got breadcrumbs setup, get them setup immediately!
Step #5 – Optimising Existing Content
During our initial SEO audit at the start of the campaign, we noticed that:
- Many of the site’s core landing pages weren’t quite as well optimised as they should be for the keywords they were targeting.
- Many of the pages contained thin content.
It’s important to remember that thin content isn’t just about pages with not enough “words” on them. It’s about understanding the user intent/purpose of your page and providing the right content to address that.
For example, with a collection or category page on an eCommerce site, you don’t want to read large blocks of text.
Instead, you want to see lots of products – this is because the intent of the user here is to buy and/or browse.
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Over the course of several months, we improved the existing content by:
- Optimising the core landing pages for further keywords.
- Addressing the thin content issues by analyzing the user intent of each page.
The quickest way to do this is to do a simple Google search of your primary keyword and take a look at what the top-ranking competitors have included in their pages – simple!
Step #6 – Target New Keywords With New Content
Looking at the keywords that your competitors are ranking for makes creating a content plan so much easier.
You can download my intelligent keyword research template to help you out with this.
We like to use Ahrefs to find new keywords to target based on what your competitors are ranking for, but you aren’t – it’s called the Content Gap tool.
All you have to do is enter your competitor’s domains along with your own and the tool will generate a bunch of terms that you should target.
Using this simple but effective method, we produced many pages of new content for the site which allowed us to target new, long-tail commercially focused keywords.
The Results Are In
Since joining Search Logistics and deploying those fixes, the site’s organic search traffic has grown by 73%-
- The number of users increased from 23,014 to 40,877
- The number of sessions increased from 26,668 to 46,136
Revenue has increased by 28.43%.
On top of this, the client is now ranking for 3,953 keywords in the top 10 positions compared to 1,412 keywords at the start of the campaign.
This represents an increase of 179.96%.
Wrapping It Up
After implementing numerous fixes to both the site’s content and technical facets, our client’s site has seen a significant improvement in revenue.
While we were fixing technical issues, we were building links slowly to support the overall strategy but most of our wins came from fixing the on-page SEO problems.
I should also mention at this stage that we’ve also been building links (download my link building checklist) on a regular basis for the client which will have helped move the needle – but it was by no means a core element of our strategy here.
What this case study shows, however, is the importance of nailing down:
- Your keyword research
- Your technical SEO
- Your content
…Before focusing on links.
Next we are going to turn our attention to optimising the on-page elements of the core pages with a CRO audit while also turning the dial up on link building.
Otherwise please feel free to check out some of our other SEO case studies-