A case about how in 2.5 years of work we have increased SEO traffic 2.4 times on a large project.
- 60% of requests entered the top 10 google
- growth of organic non-branded traffic by 4.2 times
- overall growth of SEO traffic by 2.4 times
In order to be able to publish specific figures and data by agreement with the company’s management, we omit the name of the project and some factual data.
Project: niche of flash-sale clothes and household goods
Working period: July 2015 – November 2017
What was at the entrance:
- site with a lot of branded traffic
- 134.7 thousand branded organic traffic
- 238.6 thousand total organics
- stock pages that quickly go to the archive
What happened at the output:
- static directory pages that collect categorical traffic
- 145.3 thousand brands
- 582.8 thousand total organic traffic
What was the task at the entrance:
At the beginning of the work, the project changed the model of attracting traffic from “fast and short-lived” pages of promotions-sales to a static catalog, like a regular online store, which could constantly generate SEO traffic
The main difficulties of the niche:
In the top are large competitors, who have occupied a niche before us
The main targeted traffic can be obtained by low-frequency queries, for which you need to implement high-quality SEO filter optimization
What has been done during this period:
1. Semantics and content
- Collected full semantics for all product groups
The collection of semantics was carried out iteratively, with the allocation of 20-30 priority areas in each working period. Immediately after collecting semantics, meta tags were made and the process of writing texts was started. In this way, new optimized content was introduced to the site every month and there were no lengthy downtime in implementations.
Also removed or uniqueized duplicate categories.
- Allocated new sections for the site based on the collected semantics and the selection of individual clusters.
For example, if earlier there was only a section for “shoes”, then after a detailed study they made such sections as “loafers”, “slip-ons”, “espadrilles”, etc.
- Optimized and selectively opened for indexing those filters that bring traffic
Filters for colors and brands have been worked out. The rest of the filters remained closed for indexing in order not to waste the crawling budget and dilute the relevance of the site.
- Introduced additional linking.
Now the system independently prompts the user to buy a bag for shoes or a scarf for a hat. And we get an additional distribution of weight on category pages.
- Rewrote or wrote texts for category pages
Experiments have shown that in the clothing niche, texts significantly increase the relevance of site pages and make it possible to reach the top for low-frequency queries. Texts were written for all categories of the site, and due to this they received a significant increase in positions
- Ukrainian version
We have worked out the Ukrainian-language semantics, translated and adapted the meta-tags and texts, and also introduced the markup of the language versions through the hreflang meta-tag.
2. Internal optimization
After a technical audit, we found and fixed a whole list of problems:
- errors in the implementation of the Ukrainian version: setting up hreflang, fixing the implementation through a 302 redirect, identifying incorrectly working language formulas
- search and elimination of 404 pages that constantly appeared due to the peculiarities of the site implementation
- writing technical specifications for the operation of filters, checking the implementation of the task for programmers, identifying emerging errors and writing technical specifications for their elimination
- writing meta-tag templates for different types of filters and their intersections (in total, it was necessary to implement about 30 different meta-tag formulas, depending on the categories, selected filters and language version)
- search for constantly appearing duplicate pages with get-parameters, removing them from indexing through the robots.txt file and the meta-robots tag
- check the download speed (google pagespeed, first byte), check the weight of images and control the elimination of these errors
The main difficulty of this project was that, due to the peculiarities of the technical implementation, each point of SEO optimization had to be constantly monitored and refined, since errors often occurred, edits were not applied on the entire site, some improvements could “disappear” or not work.
Therefore, technical audits often contained new iterations of improvements on the same points. In addition, it was necessary to quickly change the methods of eliminating certain errors on the site, depending on whether programmers could implement just such an item or not.
Working on such a large and complex project requires active and well-established interaction with programmers and the ability to change ways of solving problems.
3. External optimization
Since the project had good PR support, the bulk of the links were built in a natural way due to collaboration with the PR and content department. For our part, we drew up a plan for landing pages for links and anchors, which we passed on to the content department, and also controlled the placement of links in articles and then on donor sites.
We also posted article links on high-quality donors, in the event that we needed to build more links to internal landing pages.
At the very beginning of the work, we also posted links on thematic forums, but later we abandoned this practice, since it was impossible to find high-quality, spam-free sites of sufficient quality.
We did not deal with direct outreach links, since all direct placement was implemented jointly with the PR department.
Conclusions on the project:
The best SEO result can be obtained in projects where there is a productive interaction with the client and where the client’s team develops the website and other marketing channels.
Note that the “formula for success” in this project was:
- active work of the marketing director for project development and connection of all traffic channels, which contributed to an increase in brand traffic and site trust
- well-coordinated work with programmers on the client side
- the ability to embed SEO links in high-quality and interesting informational publications of the client, which could not be obtained with conventional SEO methods
- work on optimizing filters, introducing new categories and linking, which allowed us to create many landing pages that attracted additional SEO traffic
- implementation of the Ukrainian-language version of the site, which with minimal effort allowed to obtain a significant increase in traffic
What did not work out in this project (it is also a development zone for this and similar projects)
- implement a blog and systematically write blog content
- start permanent filming of video content due to expensive production and delayed results
- to implement individual filters for each type of product (for example, skirts – mini, midi, maxi, flared, narrow, etc.), they were only universal for all typical categories.