This is Why I Love SEO

SEO Results Week-on-Week

SEO is hard work – period! It is complicated and volatile, you never know when you will be negatively impacted by a Google update.  Just yesterday Google’s Matt Cutts announced the release of Penguin 3.  Read more about it at Search Engine Land.

 

 

This post is not about the latest Penguin update. In this post I am going to share with you a case study and the reason why I love my job, why I love SEO.

SEO is Hard Work

When I first started out in the game, it was easy to get a website ranking and drive organic traffic. Back in the day, stuffing the meta keywords tag and submitting the website to directories were sufficient to achieve page 1 rankings. Not anymore, the game has changed. Google has made it harder and tougher – you can’t blame them. They are obligated to make sure that the search user experience is free of spam and of high quality.

If SEO was easy, SEO agencies and people like me would not exist. Businesses would just spend their precious marketing dollars on Fiverr, if it was easy.

Now to the case study…

Hard Work Pays Off

This client (a personal friend) came to me in May 2011 concerned that their organic traffic to the website has plateaued. They are in the home improvement business. The objective was simple, they wanted to drive more traffic to the website and capture more leads.

Here is what I did for them:

Keyword Research

This is a no brainer, before diving knee-deep in to optimising the website I did some thorough research on the vertical and their competitors. Using tools like the Google Keyword Tool, I identified relevant keywords that had decent search volumes. I also looked at some of their competitors to see what keywords they were actively optimising for.

Keyword popularity fluctuates from time to time. With this in mind, I made sure that I double-checked that the keywords that we chose to target were still accurate on a monthly basis.

Technical Audit

I spent a good amount of time analysing the website, picking the website apart to find any issues that were affecting the crawlability and indexability of pages. Detailed all my findings and recommendations in to a document for the web developers to implement. I had a long list of issues that needed to be addressed, I like to group issues based their effort and impact. By doing so, we were able to determine what was a quick win and what required a little more effort and development time to implement.

Keyword Mapping

Taking findings from the keyword research, I then mapped those keywords to the relevant pages on the website. Keywords that had no relevant page or a page that is strong enough to support the keyword were classified as content gaps. These were keywords that we needed to create content for.

On-Site

It goes without saying that optimising the title, meta description, heading tags and internal links on the website is critical. I made sure that every page on the website has a clear keyword focus and that the on-site elements were all unique and had no duplicates. Because the client had a PPC campaign live, I incorporated the best performing call-to-action to the meta description to ensure we capitalise on CTR.

Content Development

It took me a while to convince the client that we had to develop more content for the website. Firstly to address the content gaps and secondly to ensure that the website’s content is useful to users and the search engines. I ran a series of workshops with the client to educate them on the importance of content and how to write for the web. It was relatively easy for them to generate content given that they were in the home improvement vertical. We brainstormed ideas for DIY guides, buying guides, product information, etc. Because we had a long list of content ideas for the website, implementation had to be phased over 6 months.

Link Building

Before any link building activity takes place, I always like to do conduct a link profile analysis of the client’s website and their competitors. Once we understood where they were and what it would take to influence rankings, we began actively acquiring links. The main tactic that was the most effective was leveraging their sponsorship deals and local business directories. The client was sponsoring sporting clubs and local charity events, it was a no brainer there to ask for link and negotiate contributing content to their websites. A lot of businesses don’t realise that local councils and local chamber of commerce have websites and online directories. Council websites tend to be on .gov domain names, which have great domain authority.

Measure, Tweak & Repeat

Measurement is very important, because generating leads was one of the main objective, I helped the client setup goals in Google Analytics. I analysed their organic traffic on a weekly basis and had monthly deep analysis. Some of the tools that I used to measure and monitor our SEO efforts: Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools, Advanced Web Rankings and Open Site Explorer. Based on insights found, we made tweaks accordingly.

The Results

Here are the results, this is why I bloody love what I do:

Background:

SEO Results Week-on-Week

  1. Organic traffic to the website plateaued
  2. SEO engagement started
  3. Results of SEO implementation kicking in
  4. Spike in January is seasonality, higher interest for home improvement services

Growth in Total Organic Traffic:

Growth in Organic Traffic

  • 14% average month-on-month growth (June 11 – Sep 12)
  • 70% year-on-year growth (Jan – Sep)

Growth in Non-Brand Organic Traffic:

Brand vs Non-Brand Organic Traffic

  • 18% average month-on-month growth (June 11 – Sep 12)
  • 66% year-on-year growth (Jan – Sep)

Increased Page 1 Visibility:

Increased page 1 visibility

  • Keyword rankings on page 1 improved
  • Page 1 visibility improved

Conversions / Leads:

  • Goal conversions from form submissions fluctuates month-on-month
  • Majority of their leads are phone inquiries
  • I am now working with them to implement a phone tracking solution to better understand the impact of SEO on their business – watch this space

Unaffected by Algorithm Updates:

Organic Traffic Overlay with Algo Updates

  • By adding great content on to the website and building good quality links, the website was unaffected by nasty black-and-white animals

Conclusion

Now you know why I LOVE SEO! =)

  • SEO is a long term strategy – give yourself a few months before you see the rewards
  • Don’t take short-cuts (link schemes) – don’t risk getting hit by algo updates
  • Invest in content that satisfies your users’ needs
  • Think outside the box with your link building tactics

If you have a passion for SEO, I would like to be friends with you. Connect with me on Twitter or Google+.

About The Author

Jason Mun

Melbourne based independent SEO consultant with 7 years experience in search engine marketing. Absolutely obsessed with optimising eCommerce websites. Loves all adrenalin fueled activities.

  • Pingback: This is Why I Love SEO - Jason Mun - Inbound.org()

  • Great post. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Paul

    Great read. I always enjoy a good case study.

  • Rusty Nash

    This is great Jason – am not surprised at the results with your methodology and am pleased my own approach looks very similar!

  • jasonmun

    Thanks for all your kind words

  • donegalcottages

    Picked this article via Rand Fishkins tweet – your methodology is excellent and I’m sure the hard work has paid off.

  • Awesome article. Those look like some great results. What are your plans for phone tracking?

  • Great and simple methodology. I like the emphasis on the fact that quality SEO work is a long-term investment that can result in always being on the good side of the SE algorithm updates…

    Keep up the good work… Cheers.

  • This is why it love seo.

  • Abeerah

    “A lot of businesses don’t realise that local councils and local chamber of commerce have websites and online directories.”

    Can you put here some examples please?

  • what tool did you use for the page 1 rankings picture under increased page 1 visibility? please tweet me @seohop

    • Daniel

      Yes I would love to know the same. Is this done with AWR or serpbook or something like that?

      • jasonmun

        Hi Daniel,

        AWR data with some basic excel charts.

  • Pingback: SearchCap: The Day In Search, October 8, 2012()

  • Nice post Jason, good too see you are starting to blog, I remember 18 months ago Shai said you were a switched on SEO he was right nice work mate.

  • Pingback: SearchCap: The Day In Search, October 8, 2012 | | IntoxicativeIntoxicative()

  • Pingback: SearchCap: The Day In Search, October 8, 2012 | Internet Marketing Magazine | Your Daily IM Resource()

  • Pingback: SearchCap: The Day In Search, October 8, 2012 | tecBird()

  • Pingback: SearchCap: The Day In Search, October 8, 2012 | Search Engine Marketing & Website Optimization()

  • Pingback: The Inbound Wrap-Up » Week Ending October 12th - Slingshot SEO()

  • Pingback: We love SEO and here is Why()

  • interesting to see the Panda/Penguin timelined effect on the results.

  • Mitch

    So useful and interesting article Jason. I love to read it again and again and I too love SEO.

  • This one’s bookmarked! Thanks Jason.

  • Thanks for the post Jason! Quick question – how did you graph first page of Google results? I’d love to try that!

    • jasonmun

      No worries. For this case study, we were targeting and tracking about 30 keywords. So, using any keyword rankings tools (Advance Web Rankings is my preference) you can run monthly ranking checks.

      In AWR, it is extremely easy to export the data in to CSV. Next, use Excel and chart the data up. Voila!

      Hope that helps..

  • Terry Potter

    Great post Jason. Would like to discuss hiring you for our site analysis. Your contact info other than Twitter?

    • jasonmun

      You can hit me up on jason.mun at gmail dot com

  • Jared Reed

    Jason,

    Great post!!! I feel exactly the same way you do. It’s such a rush to take a client to the next level with SEO.

    Thanks for sharing this one.

    JR

  • Wendy Chamier

    Hi Jason – a great case study, thanks! I too love SEO. A client came to me end last week and said ‘its working – can we have some more!’ It took 3 months for it to kick in though like you demonstrate – some clients still struggle with this despite knowing it takes time …

    • jasonmun

      Hi Wendy, congrats on kicking goals with your client! Spread the SEO love all round. Client education is extremely important. Critical to get clients across the SEO strategy and set realistic expectations upfront.

  • Congrats Jason. What a great post and how comforting it is for all of us SEO nerds to know we’re not alone! Some people just don’t get it.

  • Concise and easy to read article. I share your enthusiasm for SEO, though I’m sure we all have days where we want to scream somewhat! Thanks Jason.

  • Nice article Jason. Love organic seo. But sometimes it is hard for client to understand, why SEO activities take so long to generate results.

  • Michael

    Hi all interested in website promotion and SEO!
    I would like to agree with the author – SEO is a hard and not fast process. Sometimes one of the pages doesn’t want to achieve TOP 10 in spite of the fact that you do all necessary steps.
    Moreover you should study how to analyse your site completely as well as your competitors’ websites. Without good deep analysis you have all chances to do wrong steps, waste your time and efforts!

  • Katherine_Andes

    Great post, Jason. It’s rare to find clients who will invest in ALL aspects of a good SEO project: analysis, planning, development, tracking, etc. It’s wonderful when you get a client who lets you do a project thoroughly well … Congrats!

  • Mitch

    I find the biggest challenge is finding the right clients to begin with. There are a lot of clients out there that are confused about SEO and need the right education and mind set to push their business forward.

    Looks like you have a great approach to SEO. I like your approach to getting links from local chambers of commerce.