Do you know who my favorite clients to work with are?
Ecommerce brand owners who are already taking advantage of Google Ads.
When Google Ads data is present, SEO is pretty easy.
You already know which keywords are going to generate results — Google Ads gives you that data if you’ve run an effective campaign long enough — you just need to rank for those keywords organically.
This case study is the perfect example of why that’s the case.
In this case study:
I’m going to show you how I used Google Ads data to find keyword opportunities, how I ranked the store for those keywords, and — ultimately — how I increased the store’s organic traffic by 1,555%.
About this Client
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the campaign, I want to give you a high level overview of this client:
- They sell custom apparel in bulk, mostly to other businesses
- They don’t have an add-to-cart button and checkout sequence; since they sell custom apparel, potential customers have to submit an inquiry and work with the business directly to get their apparel designed (I wouldn’t call this a 100% traditional ecommerce brand, but they still sold products online)
- Most of their customers were generated from Google Ads
- They had never experimented with SEO
Here’s a look at their organic traffic a month prior to working with us:
In January, they saw 121 total visitors from Google, eight of which inquired about ordering their custom apparel.
Our objective for this brand is simple:
Increase organic traffic, such that the business generates more inquiries for their custom apparel.
Our SEO Process
Our SEO process breaks down into four primary phases:
- Keyword Research
- Technical SEO
- Content Creation
- Link Building
I say this a lot, but I’ll say it again: each phase of the SEO process works off one another, so it’s crucial that you don’t take any shortcuts to try and expedite the process for the sake of checking off a box.
Bad initial keyword research and technical SEO will make link building vastly ineffective, and vice versa.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.
Typically when it comes to keyword research, you use a tool like Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner to identify keyword opportunities.
You also analyze competitors, and pull keyword ideas off of them.
For this client, our process was a bit different.
Remember how I said having Google Ads data present makes SEO easier?
Here’s what I mean:
This client had already generated clicks and conversions using Google Ads. They already had data on which keywords generated an ROI for their business.
All we needed to do was take a quick peek at their Google Ads dashboard and determine which ones were worth targeting in an SEO campaign.
The main factor I took into account when determining which keywords were worth targeting was conversion rate.
If a keyword had a high conversion rate — anything over 5% — it was worth investing the time and resources into ranking for it organically.
After digging through their Google Ads dashboard, I found 25 total keywords that fit the criteria.
The question now was:
What areas of the site would we optimize the keywords for?
I categorized the keywords as two types:
- Primary Keywords
- Secondary Keywords
Primary keywords were keywords that represented the idea of the brand as a whole, whereas secondary keywords were keywords that dove into the more specific types of custom apparel the brand sold.
Let’s go over an example:
Let’s say the brand sold custom t-shirts.
A keyword like “custom t-shirts” would be a primary keyword, whereas a more specific keyword like “custom short-sleeve t-shirts” would be a secondary keyword.
I decided to optimize the home page for the primary keywords, and build out separate landing pages for the secondary keywords overtime.
This worked out well because the primary keywords were significantly more competitive than the secondary keywords, making them a good fit for the homepage since a website’s homepage typically is the most authoritative page on a website.
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing a website for search engines; it includes the fixing of technical issues that would keep Google from properly indexing and ranking a website’s pages in their search results.
The most common technical issues include:
- Slow website loading speed
- Broken links
- Thin content
- Duplicate content
- Unoptimized meta titles and descriptions
- Ineffective Website Architecture
- Missing alt-tags
Some technical issues we fixed for this website included:
1. Slow Website Loading Speed
One of the biggest contributing factors to slow website loading speed is the usage of a poor hosting provider.
This client’s website was originally hosted on GoDaddy, which isn’t a high quality hosting provider.
We switched them over to SiteGround, and their loading speed over-doubled.
We also used a plugin to reduce the size of the website’s images, so they were easier to load.
2. Thin Content
Their homepage — which was the page we were using to rank for our Primary Keywords — was extremely thin in word count.
Ideally, we want to have 1,000+ words on pages we’re attempting to rank.
That said, we constructed 1,000 words of keyword-optimized content and strategically placed it throughout the homepage in such a way that conversions would not be affected.
3. Broken Links
The website had a number of broken links. Broken links leak website authority and are terrible for user experience.
We resolved them by applying a 301 redirect that redirected each broken link to its most relevant page on the website.
4. Unoptimized Meta Titles and Descriptions
Most of the meta titles and descriptions were too long, resulting in them being cut off in Google’s search results. They also didn’t include any of the keywords we were planning on targeting.
We reoptimized each page’s meta title and description to resolve them of both of those issues.
The bulk of the content creation for this particular client came down to publishing new landing pages to target Secondary Keywords.
Each of the landing pages were keyword-optimized and content-rich, housing 1,000 or more words to give as much detail about individual custom apparel offered.
Outside of the landing pages, we did publish several blog posts.
However, the purpose of the blog posts was to build topically-relevant content that we could use to internally link to the homepage and relevant landing pages.
Internally linking topically-relevant content is a great way to help Google better understand the linked page and rank it accordingly.
Building links from other relevant, high-authority websites is how you improve the authority of a website and rank it for more competitive keywords.
Our process for link building involves reaching out to relevant bloggers and pitching a guest post for their website.
This is a strategy that we’ve used for years, and it still gets great results to this day.
We started off slow with the link building, but ramped it up as we got more landing pages built out over time.
6-months into our campaign, this client saw incredible organic growth.
There was a 1,555% increase in organic traffic and a 1,562% increase in inquiries about their custom apparel.
Not bad, huh?
Now let’s let’s take a look at their keyword rankings:
When we got started with this client in February, they didn’t have any first-page keyword rankings.
Six months into our campaign, they had over 200 first-page keyword rankings — and nearly 100 of those were in the top-3 spots.
Now, let’s compare the SEO results to the Google Ads results in the same period:
SEO produced over double the volume of business that Google Ads produced, making it their new best source for business overall.
So what’s the plan going forward?
Believe it or not, this is just the beginning for this brand.
There are still so many more keywords we can rank for, and so many keywords we can further increase rankings for.
Things are only going to get better and better as we continue finding new keyword opportunities, building new landing pages and securing more relevant backlinks.
We’re going to scale this brand to the moon, using the highest-quality source of traffic out there: organic traffic.