How we got #1 SERP positions, +1353% organic traffic and more

MSB project was challenging and truly rewarding. The tremendous outcomes of the project are really something to be jealous of. With Smarketa, they are realistic to reach. Don’t you want it, too?
Go ahead and take the first step – start with an ecommerce SEO audit.

Posted on 06.03.2019 | by Susan M.

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Back in 2016 Smarketa took a massive digital marketing project for Mobile Signal Boosters (MSB) – an eStore founded in 2009.
This case study is meant to dive deeper into details of the search engine optimization done for the project and how we got here in the first place position.

Launched in the UK, MSB had a great potential for dominating its niche and rank in the first position: the absolute majority of UK households use mobile phones (95%) and almost 40% experience mobile signal issues. Just imagine, that’s almost tens of millions of potential customers! But… Would they ever find the MSB website while researching the issue solutions without proper optimization? No.


Challenges and solutions

The results of thorough research and a comprehensive audit showed that the MSB website had multi-level performance issues. A bunch of elements at all levels needed to be fixed, corrected, changed and optimized, starting from the low page load speed up to irrelevant content and broken links.
The website content analysis made it clear that MSB hasn’t had any content development strategy at all, so all we saw was no structure of keywords to develop the text on, and messages directed to no specific target to drive traffic to eCommerce site.

Soon it became obvious that the absence of backlinks was among the reasons why MSB website couldn’t get to ranking higher. High-authority websites that link to yours dramatically increase ranking opportunities. The only issue is: link-building is a constant process and needs to be taken care of all the time, as very often backlinks get lost and “decay” over time. So, in this case, we had to start from the absolute ground zero.

In addition, the MSB website had multiple technical issues like duplicate or missing tags, improper meta descriptions, poor mobile optimization, and low resolution and heavy images.  

So, to fix all of this, MSB needed a strategic booting plan of optimization for search engines. The optimization would lead to organic traffic growth, result in better conversions and more sales.

Committing to such a large-scale project was challenging and promising at the same time. All the painstaking efforts and the patience with which all the actions were implemented step by step turned out truly rewarding. Here is how to drive traffic to your site and how we did it with MSB.


For MSB, we reached impressive results in:

organic search traffic + 1353%

Our SEO strategy plan worked pretty well with organic search traffic. As stated above, the potential was impressively great and the initial 1,100 was turned to 13,800 monthly visits.

total keywords in top 100 + 551%

First, there were 510 keywords ranking within the scope of the top 100, SEO strategies resulted in increasing this number by more than 5 times! At the moment MSB has 2,811 keywords that rank in the top 100 results.

keywords in top 10 + 3130%
218 in Top 3

From the initial 13 keywords in Top 10, we got to amazing 407 keywords. And that’s a jaw-dropping 3130% increase! And hey, more than half of them in Top 3!

ROI For Organic Traffic + 1200%

With 1200% ROI MSB is now getting about 40% of all its revenue from SEO.

The outcomes were absolutely tremendous and we’re going to review the action plan step by step. But before, hey, did you know your eCommerce could have such impressive growth, too? So let’s dive into what to do and how to drive traffic to your eCommerce store.

I wish such results too!


1) Audit: The Starting Point in SEO

Search engine optimization should always start with an audit. That’s the first step also in the case of MSB. In our SEO blog, we have a detailed and informative post on why and how to do an SEO audit.

Performing audit reveals the pre-existing reasons for site malfunctioning and gives a road map to why a website doesn’t perform to its fullest. In simple words, this all-level analysis is the core data that will later help fix the elements harming the website ranking and as a result, increase eCommerce traffic. Also, it’s the base on which further SEO strategy and action plan are developed.
To perform the SEO audit we used the eCommerce SEO audit checklist we had developed earlier combining it with the best SEO tools in the industry. The checklist is completely free and has a guide attached and it’s an accessible source for the ones who want to try to complete it themselves.

But mind it, completing the audit is not an easy task. It will take days and weeks and there will still be an enormous amount of things you’ll miss because of the lack of expertise

Of course, you can always choose to stick with the DIY version, quickly change some basic stuff on the website… But don’t even dream of magical results from the next day on.
Usually, for an agency, a complete, comprehensive eCommerce SEO audit takes around 3-5 days to complete, depending on the number of website pages. MSB website audit took us quite a while to perform and identify all the weak points.

Don’t you want such tremendous results?

Click on the first step to start your growth journey! 

START WITH AN SEO AUDIT

2) Know Your Rivals! Competitor Analysis


Competitor analysis can become a source of huge amounts of information. Here the primary goal is to find out the strong and weak points of the competition to be able to develop well-planned, strong strategies

At this point, we implemented analyses in regard to SEO strategy, content, and presence on social media.

Competition in the digital media, i.e. reviews, feedback, social shares and comments by customers and interested entities on products and pages of the top competitors in our list gave us a clearer insight of the amount of work to be done.

By researching Mobile Signal Boosters’ competitors we were able to evaluate the organic traffic potential for that specific business aspect; identify the main strategies and key terms that worked for competitors in driving organic traffic.


3) Pick Your Terms Right: Analyze Keywords


Finding and researching the actual terms people enter into search engines when they have signal issues and want to find solutions was necessary to evaluate the website’s overall relevance to the people’s needs reflected in search histories.

Mobile Signal Boosters needed a comprehensive keyword analysis. First, the eStore’s current SEO position, current page rankings, and page keyword relevance were analysed.

Then it was time to start ranking for the hottest, most relevant keywords. 

We separated keywords for the homepage and those for the category pages. The main sales-pulling keywords we “hit” were: 


4) SEO Strategy Development


Development of search engine optimization strategy always requires careful planning. Different approaches usually depend on what particular sphere the project belongs to, and what are the weakest points. In the case of eCommerce SEO, the market with its needs and requirements comes to higher relevance.

Mobile Signal Boosters’ strategy development was based on the audit and research results. All the approaches were designed in accordance with the project goals and transferred to paper as action plans distributed among reachable and reasonable milestones.

The strategy we made up had 4 large pillars:

It was possible to estimate the approximate results this strategy would bring, so it was discussed in details with the marketing manager of Mobile Signal Boosters and started off immediately after the confirmation.


Technical SEO


Have you ever thought that a website wouldn’t be able to work to its fullest because of technical issues which are sometimes not even visible?! Load speed, crawl, and responsiveness issues were the main technical problems the MSB website had.


Mobile Optimization


First, let’s go back to 2016, the year of the dramatical rise in the number of mobile phone users. By then, eCommerce has been there for long, but mobile commerce (aka M-commerce) became the new stage of eCommerce development.  

According to some statistics, 86% of UK shoppers have purchased items through their mobile phone and more than half of sellers generate 10% more sales on mobile. 

And it’s absolutely unthinkable how an eCommerce website can still not have proper mobile optimization, isn’t it? Right, and MSB also had the issue, like many other eCommerce websites operating on the web long before the M-commerce rise.

For better mobile user experience, we had to turn the MSB e-store into a fast-loading, light and responsive one, improve interactivity and content visibility. And the results didn’t take long to show.

Mobile Friendliness can be checked straight from your search engine page through Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. The tool not only shows friendliness results but also delivers suggestions on how to optimize the website. Here’s the recent result we got:

MSB website Mobile Friendliness checked on March 4, 2019



World Wide Wait: World Wide What? Loading speed!


Would you give up and leave a website if the loading took 3 seconds or longer? Seems a tricky question: all the red traffic light, endless scrolling, and traffic jam situations come to your mind, right? Well, it appears, we don’t have so much patience in relation to web content. Around 40% of the visitors do abandon the website loading 3+ seconds. The industry sets benchmarks and we have to catch up.


At first, MSB overall site speed was around 14-16 seconds. That was an obvious reason for high bounce rates. There are many website speed checking tools out there which also give a hint on what can be done to reduce it.


We made a list of actions to decrease loading speed: code optimization (minification of HTML, CSS, JavaScript), shrinking images, reducing redirects, and using cache. Step by step we reached an average speed optimal for a visitor’s experience, around 3-5 seconds. And here is the result of a recent check with Pingdom:

MSB website loading speed checked in March, 2019


Content Optimisation


Smarketa believes in the power of proper content. That’s why we always make sure the content is first and foremost useful. By getting here, we had already researched topics about poor signal issues and signal boosters which were very likely to interest MSB website visitors. 

We hired a writer specialized in the same area as the article topic to make sure to deliver the highest-quality content written by a person who really knows the sphere and the topic and can deliver the content in the way comprehensible for the target audience. 

This way we received an interesting, useful content that resulted in many visits and was shared many times. This is a fruitful approach by marketing agencies who don’t have the needed level of knowledge and skills to provide the best possible content, especially to very specific target markets.

Our strategy envisaged creating additional content for outreaching niche-related blogs, and influencers to get backlinks, guest posts, for instance. Read about this in the section about Backlinks.


On-Page SEO


This practice lays in the frames of the website pages which need to be optimized to rank higher. The rule relates not only to the website as a whole system but also to individual pages as important cells of the system. 


The image represents the template which we used for more effective and regulated on-page optimisation. It has all the pages with the relevant content, meta descriptions, titles, URLs and additional information. With the help of the template, optimisation is usually easier.


Images

Image optimisation guide from Google


Mobile Signal Boosters’ website images were replaced with ones of higher resolutionbetter quality and transmitting the idea of the products better. Also, we made sure the images were not too heavy and can load fast to improve overall user experience.

This is a practical step that allows the website to gain a better reputation with Google.

Relevant, attractive descriptions and “alt-texts” were at the centre of our focus as they help search engines find products and features easier.


Metadata


Among many issues, the MSB website also had problems with metadata. That’s the language of search engines. And having broken links, poor keywords, not optimized meta titles and descriptions can lead to being dismissed.  

We had a lot of things to do to replace meta titles and descriptions with ones not only SEO optimized but also attractive. And after numerous tests, we found out that adding at least 1 highly-relevant keyword at the beginning of the meta titles and descriptions increase rankings and beef up the website’s rating for search engines.


Interlinking


It’s been known for long that interlinking (the process of placing links on pages to other relevant pages within the website) improves rankings with search engines and can boost up the engagement.

Along with this, we all know that search engines navigate the web and use spiders to crawl website from page to page. And to understand the website structure the crawlers analyze the authority of a page in relevance to another, aka the hierarchy of internal links. So, if the website is structured well, the “link-juice” (the authority flowing from one page to another) helps search engines define higher ranks for the page that the link takes to.


The same works with written and visual content, resources, materials, and articles. MSB internal link system was a mess. We constructed the system so that the link-juice flowed in a bottom-up direction. That’s to say, products linked to the Category page, the Categories to the Homepage. This became our message to search engines that the most important page on the website was the homepage.

MSB internal links


Outgoing links


It is important (SEO-wise) to include links leading to the relevant content on other high-authority websites. For example, to further increase MSB’s rankings we included links in articles to several BBC’s and CNN’s articles about poor signal issues. BBC’s and CNN’s articles about poor signal issues
High authority content as an outgoing link helps improve overall SEO health. It also makes the website more user-friendly and gives value to the reader, as other sources of information on the same or related topic are helpful.

As another trick, we put outgoing links leading to high-authority sites on Category pages.

MSB website external links


Off-Page SEO


Backlinks


The search engines constantly crawl and scan pages to find links between websites. The number of valuable, important links helps Google algorithm define the value of the website for the customer. The links that come from high-authority websites are considered valuable backlinks.


Here at Smarketa, we search for and select websites manually to be sure there’s no mistake. We reach out to the world’s top outlets and electronics niche influencers for multiple times. For getting backlinks we designed a special content creation scheme.


There are many IT blogs, websites that accept guest posts and, as a rule, the host site/blog must include a link to the initial blog, and that’s what we needed. This way, we managed to provide MSB with backlinks, from several IT blogs and from… yeah, also Wikipedia. And the thing is, even one backlink can become also a source of highly-targeted, additional monthly visitors for some amount of time.

But remember, backlinks are not like wine: over time, they go bad. There are a bunch of reasons for a backlink to get lost or lose its impact on website ranking. For these cases, there are tools on the web to check its freshness, impact or even if it’s really still there or not. So, making efforts to get backlinks should be a constant process. It will pay back, as in MSB’s case, don’t worry.


5) SEO Maintenance


SEO is never a one-time success story. Achieving results and getting to milestones is just an intro episode of a long-running series. Even when done thoroughly, SEO needs ongoing maintenance

Search engines regularly change and improve their algorithms, introduce new ones; old and new competitors keep growing and optimizing their online business to outrank you. That’s why every eCommerce needs to catch up with the rest, adapt to new rules and adjust the online platform in accordance with them.

MSB marketing team was clearly aware of this must-perform process which would maintain and improve the results achieved. Not underestimating the importance of ongoing SEO maintenance, MSB decided to keep working with us. We committed to continuing the partnership for sustainable growth and constant improvement.

To maintain SEO results we are performing regular audits, checks, we keep making efforts to get backlinks, we study search engine algorithm changes and test new techniques to adapt to remodeled measurement formula.


The whole project was about carving all the aspects of digital marketing for MSB. The larger-scale case study can be found here.


Conclusion


Mobile Signal Boosters’ website optimization for search engines was a long, hard work, with satisfying results in small slices, step by step. The overall results are tremendous and prove the triumphal success we achieved. 

  • Organic search traffic  increased by 1353%
  • Increase in keywords in top 100 by 551%
  • Increase in keywords in top 10 by 3130
  • 218 keywords ranked in top 3
  • ROI for organic traffic +1200%
  • 45% of all sales come from SEO
  • About 8000 visitors per month only in the UK


Mobile Signal Boosters is the absolute dominant in the niche. Expanding to other continents and having gone global, now it has more than 20,000 customers all over the world. The once failing business is on the rise in all its glory.


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Susan M.

SEO is both a science and art. With the right SEO agencies, you will get rankings and full strategy in a short time-period.