- traffic has doubled in 2 years
- increase in conversions from google organic traffic in 2.4 times
The Plants Club group of companies offers complex solutions for gardens, landscape groups, and garden centers. The company has been on the market for 11 years, they work with 33 hectares of coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs, there are more than 1000 varieties of plants in the assortment, and a large assortment of garden tools. They are the official representatives of more than 20 world brands.
This niche has a great seasonality, which must be taken into account in promotion strategy.
The client contacted us in the summer of 2017. Search traffic and sales have dropped significantly over the past six months. One of the main reasons is the unsuccessful move to another CMS at the same time as the move to https.
We got a task to return traffic, find points for further traffic growth, and develop a long-term SEO strategy.
Due to the previous negative experience of site promotion, the client had a distrust of SEO specialists at the start. So we decided to divide the work into 3 stages:
- Solution of all technical site problems (technical audit, formation of technical specifications for programmers, implementation support. After 1-2 months – analysis of changes)
- The main categories optimization (collecting the semantic core, writing meta tags, and optimized texts).
- Full cycle of SEO work, including link building
After the receiving of positive dynamics for each stage, we can go to the next one.
Start of work: 09.2017
Stage 1. Technical audit
- After changing the CMS, the urls were changed too, but the 301 page redirects were not configured. As a result, many texts lost their uniqueness, since when the search bot crawled the pages, they gave a 404 response from the server, and only after some time it indexed new pages. It considered the new pages were duplicates of the old ones, which led to the pessimization of the site.
What we did: Since quite a long time has passed, there was no reason to make a redirect map. So we set up a page-by-page 301 redirect only from pages that have external links.
- The search engine index contains a copy of the site on the developers’ subdomain, which was not closed from indexing.
What we did: We removed the duplicate of the site from the index via the webmaster. Also, we closed the general access to the subdomain.
- We found that every site page (product / category) has a copy for a specific city (in the header of the site there was a switch for cities).
Even though the meta tags were regionally unique, the content was the same everywhere. It was difficult for Google to determine the relevance of each group of keywords inside the site because relevance was blurred. Such pages did not generate traffic and, in general, pessimized the site for Google.
What we did: we configured 301 redirects from all cities to 1 canonical page without a city.
- Were found template problems with 301 redirects: they worked through 2-3 intermediate redirects – as a result, the site lost part of the link weight.
What we did: Set up correct redirects.
- 301-redirect from http to https – only had worked for the main page. For this reason, there were partially 2 versions in the google index.
- The site had about 2000 broken internal links to old products – we made a map to fix it
- We closed pages with get-parameters that are useless for Google (sorting, search, service pages …) from indexing
- Implemented the markup of language versions via the rel=”alternate” tag
- Found many pages without meta tags, and duplicated or irrelevant meta tags and titles. We wrote template meta tags for different types of pages
- The Sitemap file contained pages that were giving 404 errors. Removed such pages from the sitemap.
- We wrote a technical task to improve the speed of the site
- We conduct SEO tech audit with a huge check-list, as a result, we wrote a technical task for a programmer with a list of the problems, examples, and specific solutions.
- We found that earlier there was another domain budyak.net. All his pages were redirected to the main plants-club.ua, and link weight was not transferred to specific categories.
What we did: Analyzed the best links and compiled a page-by-page redirect file for the budyak.net site.
- When analyzing backlinks, we found a lot of low-quality links. This list was rejected via the search console – sent to disavow links.
Duration of the first stage: 1 month
Results of the 1st stage: written technical specification for technical optimization, optimization of the link profile. This gave the foundation for further growth
Stage 2. Semantic core and Onpage Optimization
- Previously, the client’s copywriters wrote content quite actively. Texts were already written on many categories and products. Due to this, the client already received good traffic before the decrease.
Searching in Google for pieces of text in broad match, the client’s texts were often not in 1st place in the search results, which indicated the pessimization of the site (we wrote the reasons at the beginning of the case in detail).
What we did:
We have compiled a register of all categories and subcategories of the site and divided the semantics into 3 months of work, taking priorities into account.
For each page, the following task list was made:
- collection of the semantic core
- analysis of current positions
- writing meta tags
- checking texts for uniqueness
- text improvement task.
Unfortunately, we were unable to expand the structure, since the site was working with 1C, and this required large additional resources.
The client’s copywriters with our support wrote or finalized all the basic texts for the site in 4 months.
Duration of the second stage: 3 months
Results of the 2nd stage: the formed semantic core, written meta-tags, and written technical task for texts for the entire site, according to it the copywriter wrote all texts.
Stage 3. Full cycle of SEO website promotion
- The client was constantly working on site improvement, and as a result, SEO errors appeared constantly. So every month we did a technical SEO audit: mistakes from the Screaming Frog spider, Search console, and prepared the technical specifications for programmers.
The structure was partially changed and new pages were added for individual keywords clusters. The client’s copywriters wrote texts for all product categories.
- At the first stage of link building, we placed mostly non-anchor links on thematic and trust news resources, focusing on the quality of inbound links. Links were got through link services and outreach.
Also, every month they posted links on the forums and on comments under articles, where it was possible.
The site has product groups with different seasonal demands. The task is to get the Google top by the beginning of the season for the main groups. So pages for linkbuilding were selected 4 months before a particular season. Priority categories were optimized carefully by on-page parameters and the linkbuilding to these pages was included too.
- SEO traffic doubled in 2 years of work
- Increase in conversions from SEO traffic by 2.4 times
- The main reason for the traffic drop was the uncoordinated work of the programmer and previous SEO specialist. After changing the structure of the site, moving to https, the work on “gluing” the pages was not done in a time. The old methods of getting traffic were also applied (different pages for category+every city)
As a result:
- a lot of duplicate pages appeared, that pessimized the site for the search engine
- most of the texts became non-unique
- many texts are ranked very poorly
It is critically important to make redirects when moving to other CMS and changing URLs.
- Thanks to the well-coordinated work of the client and the agency, good results were achieved