Case Study: BigCommerce SEO
About the Client
Niche: Outdoors Gear & Equipment
Goals: Increase Organic Search Traffic & Revenue
Strategy: Technical SEO, On-page Optimization, Content Optimization
About the Campaign
This client* sells outdoor gear & equipment online through a BigCommerce website. They began as a traditional brick and mortar store with one physical location, but expanded into e-commerce a few years ago. Their website had a good start on reputation and authority, but their site structure for categories, products, and some other technical aspects were hurting their organic traffic results from Google.
*We are keeping the client’s business name confidential since we are revealing some revenue numbers.
The website has tens of thousands of product, category, and informational pages. With a site this large, we can’t just jump in and start doing work. It is more important for us to analyze the current state and see if we can find some low-hanging fruit to start a path for strategy.
After a technical audit, we found thousands of errors which were holding them back from ranking in Google searches. Some were easier on-page issues to fix, but for others we needed a developer involved. They also had someone inexperienced in e-commerce SEO working on the site previously. There were classic over optimization and keyword stuffing issues throughout the pages.
We were excited about the project after the audit because we knew some technical cleanup would make a big difference.
With such a large site, it was important for us to take the time to plan and strategize. We budgeted approximately 10 hours to focus on creating and documenting a plan. After sifting through the data we decided to focus on the following:
- Page Structure & Siloing
- On Page Optimization
- Link Building
Page Structure & Siloing
For lack of a better term, the site was a mess before we came along. Sub categories and products had keywords stuffed into the URL, and product categories were not being used properly. Since the site has thousands of pages, we decided to work on one category at a time.
For each category we built out the appropriate sub categories, re-structured the URL strings to form a proper silo, and scrubbed any unnecessary terms in the URL. Not only was this process time consuming, but it required a lot of planning to make sure all redirects were mapped correctly.
Once we completed one main category, we noticed an almost immediate increase in rankings after submitting our changes to Google Search Console.
On Page Optimization
Prior to this client hiring us, they were working with an SEO company that was stuffing an insane amount of keywords on each page. Not only is this extremely spammy, but they used the same 15 keywords to stuff into every page, making it very unclear to search engines what each page was about.
We went into each page, scrubbed the unnecessary keywords and made sure each page had a very clear focus. We also added as much content to each page as possible, including product information and general information related to each product or category.
For us, link building has always been extremely important. Our team started outreach to other outdoors blogs and websites to form partnerships for guest posting. Within each guest post, we would link back to a main category page or product that we wanted to rank.
Since this client’s business changes seasonally, we planned out what keywords and pages we wanted to go after each month to help support the client’s business goals.
After a few months of technical SEO and on-page optimization of this client’s website, we were able to significantly increase revenues. Each month since beginning the campaign, we have noticed continual growth from organic search traffic. April 2019 was a record breaking month for the business, hitting over $80,000 in online sales.
Google organic search rankings significantly increased over the first few months of the campaign. Both category and product pages have increased in rankings and traffic each month. Our team has been focused on optimizing one category silo at a time before moving to the next. Below are the changes in keyword positions on Google searches as we improved the pages. As you can see, their keywords have increased in ranking positions up 1500 spots overall.
What We Learned
The biggest takeaway for our SEO Digital team was that every website and situation is different, even within the same platforms like BigCommerce. We uncovered a few big technical issues within the setting of the platform and in the way their developers set up the website. These issues were having a huge impact on the way Google crawled the website and indexed the pages.
Our team has an audit checklist with over 100 items we review on each technical analysis. It was this list that helped us uncover the top level issues – and we actually found a few new ones to add to our list based on this project and the BigCommerce platform.