- 2 times growth of SEO traffic in 2 years
- increase in conversions with SEO by 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 account for 33 hectares of coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs, there are more than 1000 varieties of various plants in the assortment, and a large selection of garden tools. They are the official representatives of more than 20 world brands.
In this niche, there is a pronounced seasonality, which must be taken into account when promoting.
The client contacted 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 engine at the same time as the move to https.
We were given the task of returning traffic, identifying points of further project growth, and drawing up a long-term strategy.
Due to the previous negative experience of promotion, the client had a distrust of SEO specialists at the start. Therefore, it was decided to divide the work into 3 stages:
- Solution of all technical problems of the site (technical audit, formation of technical specifications for programmers, implementation support. After 1-2 months – analysis of changes)
- Optimization of the main categories (collecting the semantic core, writing meta tags and optimized texts).
- Full cycle of SEO work, including link building
After the onset of positive dynamics for each stage, the transition to the next one.
Start of work: 09.2017
Stage 1. Technical audit
The initial task was to identify systemic technical problems due to which the client’s online store lost about 60% of traffic.
1. When changing the engine, the url was changed, while the page-by-page 301 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 indexed new pages. Despite the fact that he considered the new pages to be duplicates of the old ones, which led to the pessimization of the site.
What they did: Since quite a long time has passed, there was no point in making a redirect map. Therefore, we set up a page-by-page 301 redirect only from those pages where there were external links.
2. The search engine index contains a copy of the site on the developers’ subdomain, which was not closed from indexing.
What they did: We removed the duplicate of the site from the index via the webmaster. Also closed the general access to the subdomain.
3. It was found that for each page of the site (product / category) a copy was made for a specific city (in the header of the site there was a switch for cities).
Example: https://plants-club.ua/ru/<product name>/region/kharkov
Even though the meta tags were regionally unique, the content was the same everywhere. It was difficult for Google to determine the relevance within the site of each group of requests, because relevance was eroded – in connection with which such pages did not generate traffic and, in general, pessimized the site in the “eyes” of Google.
What they did: 301 redirects from all cities were configured to 1 canonical page without a city.
4. Template problems with 301 redirects were found: they worked through 2-3 intermediate redirects – as a result, part of the link weight went nowhere.
What they did: Set up redirects through one.
5. 301-redirect from http to https – only worked for the main page. In this connection, the index contained partially 2 versions.
6. The site had about 2000 broken internal links to old products – they made a map for fixing
7. Closed from indexing pages with get-parameters that are useless for Google (sorting, search, service pages …)
8. Implemented the markup of language versions via the rel = ”alternate” tag
9. Found many pages without meta tags, as well as duplicated or irrelevant meta tags and titles. We wrote template meta tags for different types of pages
10. The Sitemap file contained pages that were giving 404 errors. Removed such pages from the sitemap.
11. We wrote a technical task to improve the speed of the site
12. A thorough technical analysis was carried out on a huge check-list, as a result of which a technical task was written for a programmer with a description of the problems, examples and specific solutions.
13. When analyzing the links, we noticed that earlier there was another domain budyak.net, from all pages of which a redirect to the main plants-club.ua was configured, as a result of which the link weight to specific categories was not transferred.
What they did: Analyzed the best links and compiled a page-by-page redirect file for the budyak.net site.
14. 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 laid the foundation for further growth
Stage 2. Semantics and Onpage Optimization
Previously, the client’s copywriters were quite active in writing content and texts were already written on many categories and products. Due to this, the client already received good traffic before the sinking.
When searching in Google for pieces of text in broad correspondence, the client’s texts were often not in 1st place in the search results, which indicated the pessimization of the site (we wrote down the reasons in detail at the beginning of the case).
What was done:
We have compiled a register of all categories and subcategories of the site and divided the semantics into 3 months of work, taking into account priorities.
For each page, the following list of works was made:
- collection of the semantic core
- analysis of current positions
- writing meta tags
- checking texts for uniqueness
- the need for texts in additional optimization.
Unfortunately, it did not work to expand the structure, since there was a binding to 1C and this required large additional resources.
The client’s copywriters with our support wrote or finalized all the basic texts for the site that were necessary in 4 months.
Duration of the second stage: 3 months
The results of the second stage: the formed semantic core, written meta-tags and written TK for texts for the entire site, according to which the copywriter will subsequently write texts.
Stage 3. Full cycle of SEO website promotion
1. The client was constantly working on improving and changing the site, and as a result, programming errors appeared. Therefore, every month we did a technical SEO audit: mistakes from the Screaming Frog spider, Search console and prepared the corresponding technical specifications for programmers.
The structure was partially changed and new pages were added for individual query clusters. The client’s copywriters wrote texts for all product categories.
2. At the first stage of building the link mass, we placed mainly non-anchor links on thematic and trust news resources, focusing not on the number of links, but on the quality. Links were obtained through exchanges and direct receipt – outreach.
Also, every month they posted links on forums and under articles where you could leave a comment with links.
On the client’s website, there are groups of products that have different seasonal demand. The task is to bring the main groups to the TOP by the beginning of the season. Therefore, pages for buying links were selected 4 months before a particular season. Priority categories (on-page) were carefully worked out and the receipt of links (eternal + crowd) to these pages was included.
- SEO traffic doubled in 2 years of work
- Increase in conversions from SEO traffic by 2.4 times
1. The main reason for the traffic drop is the uncoordinated work of the programmer and SEO specialist. After changing the structure of the site, moving to https, the work on “gluing” the pages was not carried out in a timely manner, the old methods of getting traffic were also applied (pages by city)
As a result:
- a bunch of duplicates appeared, which pessimized the site in the eyes of the search engine
- most of the texts became non-unique
- many texts rank very poorly
Therefore, it is necessary not to forget to make redirects when moving and changing URLs.
2. Thanks to the well-coordinated work of the client and the agency, good results were achieved
What can be emphasized from this case?
- When changing the site engine, it is important to set up a 301 page redirect for all pages on the site. Make this document old url-new url BEFORE moving.
- When moving to https, in order to minimize the risks of losing traffic, you need to take into account SEO requirements
- An excellent result can be achieved only in synergy between the client and the contractor – when there is a “green light” on both sides, decisions are made and implemented quickly
- It makes sense to increase the link mass only after full technical optimization of the site on-page optimization of a specific page