Case Study #1 (Complete)

I was asked to help rank an existing eCommerce site. The site is based on an eCommerce system built for a specific industry. This system’s on-page & on-site SEO is not very good and no content based on-page SEO had been done. Limited improvements can be made given the project’s budget and CMS limitations.

The domain has been registered since 2007 according to whois records. Archive.org has broken snapshots dated in 2004. The eCommerce system was implemented in early 2012 (approximately). Prior to that it advertised the associated brick and mortar store with a 2 page site.

Commencement of project
Pages indexed: ~200
Keywords: Ranked for nothing relevant
Backlinks: (ahrefs) A few quality links from old offline promotions. 6 referring domains, all dofollow.
Traffic: ?? GA install broken

Oct 2012
Keyword analysis established, 1 broad primary keyword and 19 product related secondary.

Primary keyword Stats
CI: 66
Search Volume: 2,900
CPC: $9.69

Secondary keyword Stats (example)
CI: 46
Search Volume: 210
CPC: $7.00

Whitehat, by-hand link building started. Limited to decent free directories and web2.0.

Primary Keyword rank: >1000
Secondary keyword(s): >1000
Backlinks: (ahrefs) Nothing new
Traffic: 149 +5% (month)

Nov 2012
Directory and web2.0 link building augmented with small scale quality, related forum postings and blog commenting. Improvements to on-page SEO.

Primary Keyword rank: 154
Secondary keyword(s): 24, 40 and >1000 remainder
Backlinks: (ahrefs) Nothing new
Site CI: 31
Traffic: 154 (month)

Dec 2013 (close enough)

On-page effect
On-page effect

During the middle of the month someone edited the site and removed the front page on-page optimization. Primary keyword ranking dropped a few days later to >100. Once I noticed I correct it and it jumped back into the serps the next day!

Primary Keyword rank: 40
Secondary keyword(s): >100 (not checked)
Backlinks: (ahrefs) 74 referring domains. 90% dofollow. Anchor diversity is high with only the site url >10% and inbound links going to many pages.
Site CI: 48
Traffic: 187 +21% (month)

One more month to go in this campaign.

Update: May 14, 2013

Ranking History
Ranking History

The last work done for this site was in Feb when social profiles were built for the site and its owner on the 35 most popular social sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc). Final stats for the site:

Primary Keyword rank: 15-20
Backlinks: (ahrefs) 118 referring domains.
Site CI: 52

Traffic: +30-35%

The campaign is complete and has been finished for some time. Rankings are stable but fluctuating between 15-20 for the primary keyword. Steady improvements were made by using simple white hat link building and the results have been lasting. Traffic and sales have increased as a direct result of the work.

I am guessing that the most significant factor holding better ranks back are the poor on-page and on-site SEO.

My conclusion is that building a diverse collection of links by hand is an effective strategy for improving search engine results. Not exactly a shocking revelation but a nice confirmation that *anyone* who is willing to put the time in can rank their medium competition keywords.

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