What if I told you there was a way to send traffic to your website that converts at a higher percentage than Facebook ads — but for free?
Would that grab your attention?
Would that relieve you of the stress that Facebook’s volatile ad network has inflicted upon you in recent months?
Then it’s time you learn about how SEO changed our client’s business forever.
SEO is the process of ranking web pages at the top of Google’s search results for specific search queries.
What makes SEO so powerful is the intent of the traffic it delivers.
Depending on what search queries you target, you can send an incredibly high volume of users to a website who are ready to buy now; users who convert at rates of up to 20%.
This is much different from the cold traffic ad networks send to your website, that often convert at a lowly 1-5%.
The owner of a supplement shop recognized this fact, and came to us to reap the rewards of organic search traffic.
Here are some fast facts about the client we worked with:
- They started working with Inbound Pursuit on June 28th, 2019
- They sold supplements to improve overall wellness
- They had never done SEO
- They generated most of their sales through Facebook and Instagram ads
Their website was built off of the Squarespace platform, and their sales from organic search were incredibly low.
In the month-period prior to us beginning work, May 29th – June 28th, they had made only $40 from organic search traffic.
Needless to say, they needed significant improvement in that area.
Our SEO Strategy
When devising an SEO strategy for this client, we knew we needed to take a ground up approach.
Squarespace isn’t an ideal platform to maximize SEO performance. So the first step we needed to take was rebuilding their website on a more suitable platform — like Shopify.
After, we would need to run the newly-built website through our typical SEO protocol:
- Keyword Research
- Technical SEO
- Content Creation
- Link Building
If all was done correctly, we’d have their supplement products ranking on the first page of Google for a number of “buying” keywords that generate sales.
As mentioned, Squarespace isn’t a great content management system (CMS) for SEO, let alone for an Ecommerce business.
Shopify, on the other hand, is.
During our first two weeks on the account, we spent time migrating the Squarespace website over to Shopify
We re-worked the design on Shopify to improve user experience, migrated all existing pages and images over, and added 301 redirects from all Squarespace URLs to new Shopify URLs.
The 301 redirects are added so that any Squarespace URLs that exist in Google or on external websites (blog, forums, etc) take users to the new website rather than a dead page.
We also used the tool GTMetrix to analyze the site’s speed and make improvements as suggested, since website speed is a factor Google takes into account when ranking websites.
Once their website was set up, it was time to dive into the core SEO process.
Keyword research is the most important phase of any new SEO effort.
It’s the process of identifying keywords to optimize existing pages for, such that Google is able to understand the purpose/topic of the page.
Without proper keyword research, you can’t rank your pages in Google’s search results for relevant search queries.
Our client had 23 product pages that all needed to be optimized for keywords, such that any search traffic was relevant enough to convert into sales.
The keyword research for these products was fairly straightforward, since they were herbal supplements and we simply needed to rank for their names.
Still, I needed to confirm that each product’s name was what customers were searching for when looking to purchase that product.
In order to do this, I turned to Ahrefs’ keyword explorer and searched each product’s name to make sure they had a relatively high search volume.
Once I identified keyword variations of each product name that had a high search volume, I turned my focus to identifying long-tail variations of each of those keywords.
Long-tail keywords are keywords that have four or more words. Because they are longer in word count, they tend to be less competitive.
The logic behind targeting a long-tail variation of a keyword is that you can rank for the long-tail keyword variation in the short-term — since it’s less competitive — then rank for the primary keyword overtime in the long run as your page gains authority.
Let’s go over an example:
Say you want to rank for the keyword: blue sneakers.
Blue sneakers is a fairly competitive term that will take quite a bit of time and resources to rank for.
However, there are long-tail variations of that keyword that you’d be able to rank for in the short-run so that the page gets search traffic as quickly as possible.
One long-tail variation is: men’s navy blue sneakers.
The trick with these long-tail keywords is by targeting “men’s navy blue sneakers”, you’re still targeting “blue sneakers” since that phrase is in the long-tail variation — so you’d rank for both keywords.
In the short-term, you’ll receive traffic from the long-tail variation “men’s navy blue sneakers”, whereas in the long-run — as you build authority to the page — you’ll receive traffic from the primary keyword “blue sneakers”.
So in a sense, you get the best of both worlds.
For this particular client, one thing I noticed during my keyword research is that users often searched the names of each product + “capsule” — since most of these supplements were encapsulated.
“Capsule” acted as a modifier that made the name-based keyword more specific, or long-tail.
Therefore, all of the keywords I decided to target ended up being: [product name] + “capsule”.
[product name] was the primary keyword I would target in the long-run, whereas [product name] + “capsule” was the long-tail variation I would target in the short-run.
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing a website for search engines.
During this phase, you optimize your pages for their target keyword, while resolving any technical errors that could be hindering its performance.
Here are some common technical errors I fix during this phase:
- Slow website loading speed
- Non-mobile friendly pages
- Broken links
- Redirect chains
- Duplicate content
- Thin content
- Missing meta data
- Ineffective internal linking
- Harmful backlinks
For this particular client, the first thing I did was optimize the website’s product pages for their target keyword.
To do this, I made sure the keyword was placed in the following areas of each product page:
- Meta title
- Meta description
- H1 tag (title)
- H2 tag (subheading)
- Product image alt-text
- Several times throughout the content
Since I had built the website from the ground up, there weren’t too many technical errors that needed resolving. All of the images had been alt-tagged upon upload, there were no broken links, there was no thin or duplicate content that needed auditing (since we didn’t migrate those over), and the website loaded quickly.
Still, there were a few loose ends I needed to take care of:
- I double checked to make sure all meta titles and meta descriptions created for each page weren’t too long. When meta data is too long, it cuts off in Google which doesn’t allow searchers to see the full details of the page. This harms the click-through-rate, which will hurt your SEO.
- I submitted an XML Sitemap. This also helps Google more easily “crawl” the website and index newly added pages.
In the world of SEO, content is king.
Not only does it allow you to target more keywords and bring more traffic to your website, it also allows you to establish your website is a reputable resource within your industry.
But, let’s be honest:
There’s no point in bringing more traffic to your website unless you’re able to convert them into customers.
In order to do that, we created our content strategy around what’s called a content funnel.
A content funnel is a strategically-planned set of blog posts that hit on every stage of the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is broken up into three phases:
- Awareness: Prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem or opportunity. Is doing educational research to clearly understand, frame, and give a name to their problem.
- Consideration: Prospect has now clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity. Is committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches and/or methods to solving the defined problem or opportunity.
- Decision: Prospect has now decided on their solution strategy, method, or approach. Is compiling a long list of available vendors and products in their given solution strategy. Is researching to narrow a long list down to a short list and ultimately make a final purchase decision.
To explain how we constructed content in each phase of the funnel, lets hypothetically assume one of the supplements our client was selling was magnesium.
To hit on the awareness stage of the funnel, we’d target keywords like “benefits of magnesium”, “is magnesium safe to use”, and “side effects of magnesium”.
To hit on the consideration stage of the funnel, we’d target keywords like “magnesium oxide vs magnesium citrate” and “magnesium citrate vs magnesium glycinate.”
To hit on the decision stage of the funnel, we’d target a keyword like “magnesium glycinate capsules” and “magnesium oxide capsules” for our product/sales page.
Each stage of the funnel is designed to inform the searcher and push them into the next stage of the funnel, until they hit the decision phase and are ready to make a purchase.
The goal of a content funnel is to widen your potential customers, such that you convert searchers into customers who may not even know what purpose your product serves.
Link building is the process of securing links from external websites to your own.
Links are an extremely important factor that Google takes into account when determining the rank of pages in their search results.
The more high quality, relevant links you have pointing to your website, the better your pages will rank.
The first set of links we secured are known as foundational links.
These are links from social media profiles, local business directories and niche directories.
We simply signed up for all of the top profiles and directories on the web, and included a link back to the client’s website in the bio.
While these aren’t the most powerful links, they create a ring of trust around your website in the eyes of Google. They tell Google that your website is a reputable brand that they need to include in their search results.
Next, we focused our efforts on securing the most important links: contextual links.
Contextual links are links that exist within the content of a website.
Two qualities that we always look for in a website before securing a contextual link from it are: 1) it’s high in quality and 2) it’s relevant to the client’s website.
It’s imperative that these two qualities hold true, otherwise the link will not be helpful towards our SEO efforts.
Our link building efforts were spread out evenly throughout our clients website, sending links to both product pages and blog posts.
However, on all blog posts we published, we added an internal link to a relevant product page.
This allowed any link equity sent to our blog posts to travel to the linked-to product age as well, meaning no matter where we built a link the product pages — or the “money” pages — were always getting an authority boost and increasing in rank.
After getting the new Shopify website live, we measured analytics for a 30-day period to get a base of search traffic from which we’d improve upon.
During those 30-days, we were able to complete keyword research, technical SEO and build all foundational links. As a result, the website saw 385 organic visitors.
From there, we focused our efforts on rounds of content creation and contextual link building each month.
After three months of that, this client saw a 287% increase in search traffic.
From 385 organic users to 1,490.
As for revenue?
Prior to us working with this client, they had made $40 in revenue from search traffic in a month.
By the fourth month of our services?
They made $2,579.66 during that one month.
A pretty incredible turn around for a website that previously had little-to-no search engine exposure.
The reason this website saw such a large increase in search traffic in such a short period of time is simple:
Our SEO efforts allowed a significant portion of the website’s blog posts and product pages to hit the first page of Google.
Our inclusion of keywords in blog posts and product pages allowed the website to rank for those keywords; our backlinking efforts pushed those ranks to the first page over time.
Now, one thing that’s important to understand about SEO is that results stack over time.
At this point, the website was optimized enough to make at least $2,000 a month from search traffic alone. However, continued SEO efforts would allow for far more in the future.
That’s the power of SEO:
Limitless growth in traffic and revenue — for free.