362.2% Increase of Organic traffic within 6 months
In this case study, I’m going to break down the exact SEO strategy we used to help a local business climb up top rankings in Google, and increase organic traffic by over 360% in just 6 months.
Let's get started and break down this case
Binh Minh Leather is an E-commerce store that sells crocodile leather products and that prides themselves in leading the movement for all the genuine leather lovers in the area.
- The website got a poor and obsolete design. Not even a logo was designed properly. No brand identity.
- The business is getting stuck to gain momentum for growing sales. The owner has tried running several online advertising platforms but nothing seems to bring any good results.
What do we plan to do next? Here is the exact process
This is the very first step in creating targets for every SEO plan. We're not just looking for what people are searching on the internet, but we want to know what exact keywords or phrases are the most valuable in the industry.
In fact, my client didn't have that big budget to rank #1 for every keyword on Google. That said, we were supposed to put our major focus on key phrases that are the most profitable for my client and pay less attention to others.
We use Ahrefs and some other tools to collect most keywords related to the industry and the local area. All of them are segmented into these 3 groups below:
- Primary keywords --- [Short & High volume]
Searched by people looking to find providers for leather products in the local area. These keywords are the very competitive because of its high search volume and people may already have the intention to make a purchase.
Page to rank: homepage
E.g. leather + city leather shops + city
- Secondary keywords --- [Short & High/Medium volume]
Quite similar to primary keywords, but with lower search volume. Still it's significant to have major pages ranked for those.
Pages to rank: sub-pages, product categories
E.g. product + city leather wallet + city leather belt + city
- Information/Longtail keywords --- [Long & low volume]
Searched by people trying to find information on a specific topic. These keywords are various but very low search volume.
Pages to rank: articles or blog posts
E.g. how to distinguish fake and real leather leather product care tips price range of leather products
Without the keyword research phase, I would have no idea to map out the overall strategy and end up burning all my client's budget into nothing valuable. This extremely matters to what's going to happen next.
As mentioned above, we have pages handling each group of keywords. Having a streamlined architecture arranging these pages would let Google understand what content has priority.
This also helps me implement links strategy to navigate the power juice all over the website.
You can notice how the power flows from Home page to tier-1 pages and less to the next tiers.
As it's going like this, I only need to focus most on primary keywords with the Homepage. Because the power will be shared with sub-pages and passively help to rank secondary & longtail keywords.
Web design actually makes a difference on how your target audience views your business vs your competitors.
I want my client to have the best looking, professional and modern website among the shops in the area. So that we don't waste a single customer visiting the site, and to maximize the conversion rate for growing sales.
66% of people would prefer to read something beautifully designed than simple and plain. Source: Adobe's report
We determined that the main color scheme would be (light brown + white) which accompanied the experience of fresh, genuine products that users can sense of throughout the website.
Understanding user behavior in UX design is going to help us increase the user engagement and encourage them to take actions.
52.2% of all website traffic worldwide is shifting towards mobile phone use, responsive design is an absolute must-have.
We make sure the website is accessible and looks good through all kinds of devices: laptop, desktop, tablet, mobile.
Basically, the more relevant and excellent information you're giving to users, the easier it will be to rank higher on the search result.
To help Google know that, the site must be well optimized for some factors.
Here are a few key areas that we put our efforts on:
- H1 tag is the main title of every page. Each page is allowed to have only one H1 tag. It should be looking natural and no need to stuff exact keywords here.
E.g. Homepage H1: "High quality & genuine leather products in City"
- H2, H3, H4... tags are used for sub-heading or lower level titles. One page can have many of these tags.
SEO meta tags
- Title tag is one of the major ranking factors. The closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it has with search engines.
- Meta description won't contribute anything for SEO. But it's still good for Click-through Rate. So I optimized it with interesting content to make users curious and encourage them to click on to read more.
- HTTP sites have been labeled as Insecure in many browsers, to warn the users that the connection is not secure.
- HTTPS sites load faster and it encrypts the website's data to protect user information.
Google has also announced that HTTPS is a signal in Google's ranking algorithm.
- Avoid all ugly URLs:
- Make it short & clear and have keyword included:
- A famous study has found that longer content tends to rank significantly higher on Google's first page.
- We like to add more than 500 words on each page, and at least 1000 words per article. Therefore, this will get users more helpful information, and also boost ranking for multiple keywords.
- Google couldn't fully understand the content of images. So it's recommended to add some information indicating the meaning of images.
- Make sure image file names and Alt texts include the target keyword (e.g. black-leather-bag.jpg) if possible.
- Internal links are clickable links that help users navigate from a page to one another on the same website.
- This is an extremely important ranking factor. Not only good for user flow, but it also helps establish information hierarchy and spread link equity (ranking power) around the website.
- The best practice for internal linking is that we get all the pages and articles naturally linked to each other. And have most of them linked back to the Homepage, in order to centralize the overall ranking power to it.
Google My Business (GMB) is essentially a local business listings service from Google. It's a must-have tool for businesses, unless you don't want to be found on Google map or have an advantage in ranking local keywords.
Take a look at what we've done for our client:
- Get verified - The obvious first step. Unfortunately, my client and many businesses out there didn't know the existence of this tool.
If you're struggling with this step, learn more here.
- Leverage Title with the keyword - This subtle adjustment could help you get better ranking for both Google Map and local keywords. Not recommended to put the keyword at the beginning of the title.
E.g. "Binh Minh - Crocodile Leather Shop"
- Publish and get all questions answered - This fascinating feature which enables local business owners and the public to answer consumer questions.
I asked my client to answer all the questions here. Even if there aren't many questions, we'd make up some.
Building massive citations
- Register on all business listing sites - There're countless platforms out there: GMB, Neustar, Yelp, directory sites, etc.
- Make sure NAPs are all identical - NAP (Name, Address, Phone of the business) is the core component of each citation.
The consistency of NAPs proves the physical existence of my client's business. Hence we earn trusts from search engines and that sure is a big advantage over the competitors.
Backlinks are links from external websites to your website. This a huge ranking factor that search engines use to estimate your site's trust and relevancy to keywords.
Basically, the more backlinks we have from other high quality & relevant websites, the easier it is for Google to recognize that "this site is trustworthy and useful for users, it should be on the top results".
There are tons of ways to get backlinks. But the real question is:
What is the backlink strategy that actually works?
I'm not allowed to reveal the detailed strategy of how we build backlinks for my client's site. But here are some critical types of backlink that would work for any industry:
Citations & Social links
When we register the business on directories and social media, usually those sites would give us free backlinks to our site.
Most of the time, these links are nofollow links. It's still helpful for passing trust rank to the site.
Links are able to get from local press or even nation press (harder to have).
It shows that the business is geo-relevant and also boost trust rank.
This will be helpful in increasing the diversity of overall backlink types.
Please do not over-spam comments and avoid general comments like "me too", "this is very good"...
Try to contribute something beneficial or well-thought out to the blog.
Guest posting is still a powerful method. But keep in mind that Google hates spammy posts.
To be effective, it's needed to contribute lots of value in the content and make sure readers could be converted into referral traffic to our site.
To get this kind of link, it requires to have relationships with bloggers.
My agency has the ability to build connections and get many high authority backlinks from them.
Niche relevant sites
In general, any quality websites relevant to the industry are all good to have backlinks.
There are numerous backlink sources out there. Remember that the mindset is to diversify and make it look as natural as possible.
Climbing up over time
SEO is about long-term — going slow and steady up. The minimum time is 3-6 months to achieve the goals, which is ranking for #1 (or #2 #3) results for primary + secondary keywords.
- Any websites rank top 1 with only one month must do something suspicious with their methods (unless they are a phenomenon). And it's not going to last long.
Because Google's algorithms take time to consider the best results for users and they will filter out all low-quality sites.
- As your business improves visibility in search, you start to attract more visitors — and if you satisfy the needs of those visitors, they will keep coming back and potentially turn into your actual customers.
- The end goal here is to grow the business, NOT short-term income.
After tons of work and effort Let's review the result
The final numbers
Avg. Time on Site
2m 25s↑ 405.6%
You can already see how many visitors come from search engines and how effectively our web design improves user experience on site.
- Organic traffic has increased by 362.2%. We brought nearly x5 visitors/month to the website. And this number is going to keep growing over time.
- Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. The lower the better.
We reduced this number by 35.3% which implies users want to seek out more information on the website.
- Average TIme on Site was only around 29s before this project. Now it raises to 2m25s. People are really interested in spending more time with the new face of my client's business.
Above all, how much does my client get in return from this investment?The project's ROI was >400%. Again, I can't reveal the exact number. But you have my word, my client got over x5 in return for what he invested in this project. Any premier SEO agencies would tell you the similar or even higher numbers.
And this is just a small value product retail. Imagine if we can do the same thing for high-value businesses.
Here are some words from the client:
I spent months looking for ways of getting leads. Robert reached out to me with a detailed strategic plan. Took the shot to work with him and months later, it started to bring amazing results and kept getting better. Definitely recommend Robert and his team to anyone who is serious about growing their business. Jay N, Binh Minh Leather