What better way to exemplify what I do than presenting my own site as the first SEO case study? I founded Echo Freelance in 2009 and within a short span of time many other freelance professionals joined me. Together my team offers services to clients from around the globe. My team and I developed an SEO-friendly website, wrote optimized content, worked on flat web design concept, tweaked the structure to improve the SEO Friendliness of URLs and then launched a massive SEO campaign. The primary goal of this SEO case study was to help my website echofreelance.com rank among top search results in Google whenever someone searches for freelance web designers, programmers or SEO freelancers.
Off-Page SEO & Link-Building Efforts
When it comes to off-page SEO and link building efforts, Echo Freelance post already have been quality links in place. Not only have we all already created quality inbound links and relevant websites, but we are continuing to create them through white-hat efforts in addition to an online community and real contributions. Once the new website is launched, I utilize link analysis to determine the value and quality of any links pointing to my website.
The creation of quality back-links is the most often discussed subject in each of my SEO case studies.
Strategic Link Building
If you want to entice other sites to create relevant back links, the best way to accomplish this is by creating relevant and unique content. By doing so you can gain not only popularity, but useful content that will increase your chances of someone finding your website. Doing so will add value to your readers, as well. Because of this, I have created in-depth content based on my near decade of experience, and as such my website became more popular, especially on the topics of web design and SEO. The end result is having more link backs to my website from other sites.
Guest Blogging Outreach
One of the most popular tools for increasing visits to my website and attracting a new audience is as a guest blogging. I used this technique for my this SEO case study. I believe when you are a guest blogger, you can use your post for link building when you engage your audiences in such a way that your content serves them. This will surely improve your SEO rankings, as long as your content is relevant to the audience.
Social media marketing
Social media played an outstanding role for my this SEO case study. We all know by now that social media marketing is touted as an effective tool to increase visits to a website. When used effectively, social media can create customer loyalty, brand identity, and an improved wrap each nation. For example, my Google+ page boasts over 6,000 +1 (Plus Ones), whereas the typical Google plus user has over 50 followers. Do the math, and is translates to our page being exposed to over point 3 million people. Facebook and Twitter can have the same type of impact, when used properly.
Website Redesign & Optimization
Below are 2 screenshots, old website is on the left and on the right is the screenshot of our new website:
Test # 01:
The most obvious difference is that the redesigned page is about five times longer than the original one.
The new design is completely responsive and based on a flat web design concept. In order to determine which of the two versions were more effective in enticing visitors and translating them to customers, I performed an A/B split-test by using Google's split-testing tool. The results were fascinating. As it turns out, the new website outperformed the old one by 57%.
What's interesting is that we have been trained to believe that people have short attention spans. While this may be true, this A/B split-past indicates that they website of length, as long as it's interesting and informative, outshines a short but less interesting site. At the end of the day, we answered questions that are visitors wanted answers to, and that's why it was successful.
Test # 02:
The new website contains content that is well-written and highly SEO-optimized and is made up of 400% more images and text. By utilizing long-tail keywords, rather than short generic keywords, as was the case with the old site, the content was richer. In order to determine which of the two versions more readily persuaded search engines, especially Google, and to positioning our website on the first page, traffic statistics were analyzed and monitored.
I wasn't too surprised to discover that the new website ranks on the first page of search results. What was interesting, is that it ranked on the first page for over 50 unique keywords, some of which included approximately 10 shorter, generic ones. This is 10 times more than the old site. How the content was written?
As I discovered, “Content is the king” when it comes to improving any website’s visibility. The day my website was complete, including both design and coding, I found the largest task in terms of time was writing the quality content optimized to satisfy both readers and search engines.
At the start of this seo case study, I comprised a list of target keywords each of which were based upon search engines that were important to me and were likely to result in an increased number of relevant and sustainable visits. I discovered through testing and analysis of the search engines of both Google and bang treat different variables in different ways. Based on this finding, I was able to create content that was centered on strong off-and-on-page optimization. The result was generating the best results possible.
Integration Of Videos To Boost Conversions
Same message + different medium = 64% more conversions During this seo case study I came to know that people have different learning styles, some of which overlap within the same person. Visual learning is one of the most popular methods, and yet most websites are heavily text driven. Keeping in mind the number of visual learners out there, I created relevant videos for my website to see if the conversion rate would increase. I will say that I did not cut corners, and I made an effort to create quality videos. There is no point in trying to engage people with poor quality videos. To start with, I wrote a few short scripts that spoke to the key points of the services offered by my team and me at Echo Freelance. After that, I converted the script into a video song. In addition, we had clients record video testimonials, which was a great addition. Below are a few examples of the videos:
Once again, the end result was a positive one. By having videos in the split-test of the new site, we discovered that videos generated an increase of 64% conversions compared to the old site.
Page Load Time
The terms "document complete" time or "fully rendered" time, speak to what people often refer to as "page load time" for a website. Document complete time is essentially how long it takes a page to load before you can click on the link or begin typing and data. As you may have experienced, that doesn't mean all of the content has loaded yet. On the other hand, fully rendered time speaks to how long it takes to download and display everything on the website, including images and advertisements.
Come to find out, Google has indicated that page load time can determine quite a bit in search ranking. Because they were not clear on their definition of page load, I took it upon myself to examine the effects of both on SEO.
In order to do this, I optimized the source code and images on my website. Prior to adding images, I ensured that they did not impact loading time. I set expire header for some resources, such as JPEG images, that the browser stores in its cache. What this means, is that when you return to page, it loads faster if you have been there because it is held in the cache.
The seo case study proved to be hugely successful on both counts. Direct traffic data increase has shown below:
This test also provided terrific results and was very successful. As a result, there was direct traffic data increase, as shown below.
- 300% increase in total Google Page views over the same period
- 30% reduction in Bounce Rate
- 400% increase in impressions
- 300% increase in clicks
- Page 1 keywords increased from 5 to over 50
Part of the results included certain key words ranking on the first and second page of Google globally.
My team and I consider this a great success, and it wasn't long before I started receiving inquiries from new clients. At the end of this one-year testing, not only did my quality traffic increase, but the conversions did as well.
Note: A conversion was defined as a lead, received by the use of Questionnaire form on my website. My SEO Case Studies are meant to help you understand how we work before you hire me to run an SEO campaign for your business.
Altus Lift Trucks LLC Altus Lift, LLC served as our second campaign in our SEO case studies. They are a full service material handling company located in New Jersey who already have an online presence with a website built by another developer. However, they weren't satisfied with their search rankings, and came to me to design a new website, which went live in 2012. As part of the project, I ended up developing all of the features on their site, including a shopping cart. When that was complete, they approached me to implement quality SEO content and keywords to increase the number of visitors to their website and their rankings.
On-Page optimization, Content and Keywords
As I often do, the seo case study started by utilizing a questionnaire to determine the appropriate keyword phrases. By working closely with the client, I discovered the core of their business, including key products that they wanted to be emphasized from sales perspective. When I was complete, I use those keywords to create quality content on their home page and key product pages. After a few tweaks, I tracked the rankings for keyword phrases based on prior knowledge.
Landing pages with keywords: Once I had the list of keywords, I was able to include that in the on-page optimization by creating content on landing pages that included the keywords in an organic way. This way, it was targeted to visitors who were likely to convert to being clients as well as resulting in 100% SEO compliant guidelines. In addition to this seo case study, meta data and Google Authorship or updated to provide the best possible click through from the search engine results page.
Responsive Website Layout: In my company, we know and believe that responsive web design has the best results when it comes to SEO optimization. Just like other SEO case studies, We focus on using code that will translate in all browsers and mobile devices so that our clients experience the best results possible. In addition, their visitors will have a beautifully aesthetic experience on the site whether they are on their smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Optimizing the checkout gave 90% more orders:What we've discovered is that sometimes the most straightforward methods end up improving profits greatly. As an example, I turned the table and considered what visitors were experiencing during checkout. When I found was that potential customers can be turned away when finalizing the purchase if it's not smooth and easy.
As you’ll see in the following screenshot, several things were optimized:
Inbound Link Building Campaign
Link Analysis: In order to assess the quality and value of links on other websites that pointed back to Altus Lift, I performed an analysis for this SEO case study. It turns out that it had been ranking low on major search engines, such as Google and Bing, due to the lack of quality keywords and backlinks.
Strategic Link Building: In order to increase traffic to the website, we performed a comprehensive link building campaign for this SEO Case study. Included was a strategic approach to connecting with local directories, blogs, and material handling forums and utilizing them for guest posts.
Social media marketing: Social Media playing an excellent role in for succeeding my SEO case studies. I created Altus Lift Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts included them in their new website. This helped to enable a stronger SEO strategy that was more effective in generating increased traffic flow while also building a community of followers and customers.
Guest Blogging Outreach: The secret to ranking on Google's first page comes down to utilizing proven link building and contents keywords as techniques. In this case , I provided a guest post to several blogs that were interesting and industry relevant but also included graphics. This is one of the easiest ways to help increase the number of quality backlinks to a website.
Custom WordPress Blog
The trick is that the more links that take readers back to your website, the more prominent it will be in the search bots.
In the case of Altus Lift's website, my team and I designed a WordPress blog for them. We wrote fresh content every third day with quality keywords and the results were improved SEO rankings and traffic.
In order to ensure visibility for Altus Lift, I utilized Google Local in the New Jersey area. Altus local SEO optimization plan included 3 key objectives:
- Ensure full exposure across all local search channels
- Fix any incorrect business information throughout the web & online directories
- Increase local and organic search rankings
Due to this SEO campaign, Altus Lift has come a long way since we first started working with them. They now boast first page ranking on Google for a variety of long-tail and short-tail keywords.
- Toyota Hybrid Forklift - 7
- Hyster Sit Down - 8
- Pneumatic Sit Down -6
- Hybrid Lift Trucks – 4
- Choosing Forklift Tires - 5
Prior to when we started to work with them, I created a baseline sample of their website traffic. Just one year later, we did another analysis that focused on the same time period, which also allowed for ample time to let the search engine optimization efforts work. Here are the results after one year:
- 654% increase in site visits
- 740% increase in total Google Page views
- Consistent Bounce Rate of 50%
- Consistent 50:50 split between new and returning visitors
In order to review "search" traffic, we eliminated links and direct traffic from the website statistics. By doing so we were better able to analyze how many people were new to the Altus site by having come through search engines. It’s comparison of traffic coming via search engines before the launch of SEO campaign (1000 visits/mo) and traffic coming after the success of this SEO case study (almost 7000 visits/mo):
The primary goal of this campaign was to drive increased traffic from America, and as a result there was an 85% increase. We were extremely happy with these results.
Lastly, altuslift.com and their owners were great to work with. It's always rewarding to help small businesses shine by building visibility to their site that creates traction and customer conversions. It was a great accomplishment, and rewarding for everyone involved.
Clear White Teeth, the leading supplier of dentist approved home teeth whitening products, became our next case study for SEO optimization. Based in the UK, they provided me with their history and requested a review of their current website to include levels of optimization and visitor data. Like every company, they wanted to convert their visitors to sales in the most effective way possible.
Design and Development
The first thing I did was recommend a website overhaul because their current vision had poor navigation. This made it difficult for visitors to find their way around the website. To add to it, the site design had poor interactivity which made it difficult or nearly impossible for site users to interact with the website or with Clear White Teeth.
Through the redesign, we provided them with the new inmates in terms of website and branding. We created high quality content that related to their core products and keywords utilizing targeted meta-titles in order to gain the results of a high search engine ranking.
My approach was to create and implement an optimization strategy that would apply to their homepage, product page, and other relevant pages. In addition, I created keyword rich content on the homepage and higher-level pages. I implemented a global menu structure that was SEO-friendly through a global CSS drop-down menu. Once completed, internal pages that were more difficult to find were now readily accessible through search engines, which of course means the end-user. Each of these efforts continued throughout the campaign by use of a variety of linking services.
Optimizing the checkout gave 116% more sign-ups
Some websites have the tendency to drive away customers rather than attract them, let alone entice them to buy. Often times, this happens in the final moments of a transaction. Sadly, there are a lot of designs that don't take the shopping experience into consideration enough. Because of this, and for this SEO case study, I developed a richer shopping experience for their visitors. With a five step process, and self-explanatory graphics, the shopping experience was now simple, clear and user-friendly. Since Google gives ranking preference to user-friendly sites, this was a win-win for both the client and the company.
One of the tools I use is Qualaroo (the survey tool formerly known as KISSinsights). This is a survey tool that I installed on the page where visitors could register or for a free trial kit. It helps me to analyze the visitors experience on that page. The biggest thing we learn from this was that visitors don't like to hand over their credit card information for a free trial kit. It came across as both a scam and unnecessary. To handle this, I included an explanation box that addressed the reason why a credit card was required right under the free trial sign-up button. The explanation also indicated that Clear White Teeth would not charge their card during the free trial. It also noted that this prevents people from ordering multiple free trial kits.
Another realization that came out of using Qualaroo was that visitors didn't quite understand the discount coupons or how to apply them when making a purchase. Hesitation is the last thing you want when you have a customer ready to buy, so it was imperative that we made it clear that Clear White Teeth were unable to provide discounts on certain products. However, we let them know that they could participate in a Facebook competition to win teeth whitening kits for free.
The Action Plan
Phase I: Identify all listing sources that contained erroneous and outdated information. Coordinate required updates with each channel. These two analyses resulted in the expectation of a significant increase in traffic from the search engines through improved rankings on top level category keywords like “Teeth whitening kits,” “Daily whitening foam” etc. In addition, I concluded that there website would see increased traffic and conversions by targeting keywords in specific verticals like Dental Problems, and Certified teeth whitening. I made the strength of the site, the vast amount of content. My job was to make sure that the spiders indexed the content, improve content best practices for their editorial team, and optimize the code on the page for those keywords.
Phase II: Created new listings on channels that were highly relevant to the Clear White Teeth specialty dental sector, and also ensure strong search engine ranking signal points for both local and organic search results. This process included a variety of phases, such as: blog commenting, guest posting and directory submissions etc.
Phase III: Continually monitored and notified the client of new listings being published, as well as reviews, and social mentions for immediate interaction.
Improve Optimization & Implement Best Practices
The most critical aspect of the optimization was to improve the optimization of the site structure. This was the first thing I consulted with them on. We collaborated to change the URL structure seen by the search engines so that the dynamic pages would have a flat URL structure. The primary page for the “Clear White Teeth” category previously was located on a non SEO-friendly URL. I consulted with them to change this URL structure so that the search engines would see a flat URL, currently http://www.clearwhiteteeth.co.uk/all-products/. My consultation also included several recommendations meant to improve the navigation by incorporating a search engine-friendly use of text links in the navigation and content within the site that would provide better results.
Responsive Website Layout
“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.” – Google
If SEO is a core angle of your digital marketing strategy, creating a mobile–friendly website is essential. Hence, I designed and developed Clear White Teeth website as a responsive layout design. The results were evident within a few months by the increased number of mobile visitors reaching 30%.
Addition of Video at Homepage
An interactive website that includes video creates a much more engaging experience for visitors. The benefits are that people can hear and see you and client testimonials. Having this on the homepage with a balance of critical and content rich text made all the difference with Clear White Teeth. Not too surprisingly, when they added a video, they had a 100.5% increase in traffic.
Social media marketing
In addition, I created a Facebook fan page for Clear White Teeth, which resulted in more visits as part of their overall marketing strategy, branding, and social reach.
As part of the marketing campaign, and to generate interest, the Facebook page held contests where people could win the whitening kits for free. Most certainly, adding social media marketing increased website traffic.
Business Blog to Boost Sales
Besides social media, Blogs are very popular way to get the word out about your products. Articles with industry related information not only establishes you as an authority, but it educates consumers. It's been shown that 61% of U.S. consumers have made purchases based on blog articles they've read. The bottom line is that a Blog article can boost sales significantly. Like other SEO case studies, I personally like to use WordPress to set up a Blog based on the right theme and branding. I wrote content rich articles about their products and posted these articles weekly.
Website Loading Speed Optimization
The results for Clear White Teeth were almost immediate. Compared to their previous non-optimized site, the newly designed website now receives a 150% increase in organic search traffic coming through various keywords.
Not this only, various keywords started ranking on the top page of Google results.
- Teeth whitening kits -10
- Premium home teeth whitening -9
- Daily whitening foam -5
- Super White Toothpaste - 10
- Whitening Activator Spray - 12
- Daily White Fusion - 5
In addition, their visibility is greatly increased not only for their homepage, but for their internal pages that were previously difficult to find in search engine rankings. Keywords such as Teeth whitening kits, Daily whitening foam, Super White Toothpaste etc., were now helping visitors find any and all of their pages. They also saw these results:
- Over 331% increase in average monthly non-branded organic search traffic
- 52% increase in non-branded organic search traffic in year 2 vs. year 1
- Over 1,000% increase in Top 10 Rankings
Clear White Teeth has seen a profitable increase in traffic, qualified leads, and overall sales. They are continuing with optimization and linking for the next year and even expect to expand their product line as a continued effort with Echo Freelance to expand their business on both a national and international level.
Red Brick Management, also based in the UK, is a property management service company. Four years ago, I began working with them to increase the number of visitors to their site. Suffering from low search rankings, they contacted me to improve their current website. This is the only SEO campaign in our SEO case studies which is related to real estate industry.
Keywords Research and analysis
I performed an intensive audit of their website rankings and came up with a series of recommendations. The first critical detail was to improve the website content with optimized keywords and relevant key phrases. After working closely with the client, we came up with top quality content and I added titles and Meta descriptions that would improve their search engine optimization. I started by creating a list of relevant keywords based on what potential clients would likely search for based on their business sector.
I started by building a social analytics framework which helped them to recognize the importance of their social media campaigns, create and align their social media objectives with larger goals related to their business, and to answer any remaining questions. We worked with Red Brick to create the following buckets:
Growth: A measure of how many people actively chose to receive a company’s social media marketing messaging.
Reach: A measure of the expansiveness of social media marketing messages. How many users see the content?
Engagement: A measure of how many users actively engage with a company's content.
Influence: A measure of a company's ability to make content go viral, their influence on other users in social media.
Sentiment: The feeling towards a company or brand in social media. What others are saying about them.
Effect: A measure of how social media leads to off-network goals such as website conversions or in-store sales.
How I tackled Algorithm update in this SEO case study
During this search engine optimization campaign, the website was hit by the effects of Google's mid-2012 algorithm updates, with several key word phrases dropping to the bottom of Page 3 whilst managing to hold their rankings. The higher positions were now dominated by well-known property management companies such as Savills and CPM ltd etc. So making the first page of Google for their key phrases a very competitive place.
My search engine optimization team quickly responded to Google's algorithm changes. They focused on several areas, including increasing the amount of top quality content on the website. Combined with a strong social media campaign and some strategic link earning activity, these key phrases that had taken a head began to move their way back up the rankings.
The results have been positive. The website is currently climbing back up in the rankings for most competitive keywords locally, as well as nationwide.
- Property management Stevenage – 4
- Property management UK- 4
Overcoming Accessibility Issues
On a more technical side, I knew that improving search engine optimization rankings would be incredibly difficult for the simple reason that they were still using Flash. So, I weighed my options:
- Completely rebuild the site, which would be much more costly for Red Brick, and was an option that was off the table from the beginning.
- Using the no-script tag (which the developers had included as a “fallback” for older browsers) to deliver SEO-specific content wasn’t working.
- Using a newer technology that would work hand-in-hand with the old site and that wouldn’t necessarily require a ton of upfront investment might be feasible.
This was a time-limited project, over a 3 month period, and yet I began to see positive results almost immediately. In summary, at the end of 3 months:
- 23% increase in impressions
- 36% increase in clicks
- Bounce rate decreased to 35%
- Ranking keywords increased from 2 to 8
- Page 1 keywords increased from 5 to 8
- Position 1-3 rankings increased from 1 to 5
- Google Keyword increased
This performance increase has helped Red Brick reach a more sophisticated and competitive level with their online marketing and advertising. The company is now able to compete hand-in-hand with their toughest competitors in their industry. They can now also offer their customers an engaging and entertaining relationship in social media.