Its been a while since we posted a case study, we’ve been really busy with, you know…work. 🙂
We just couldn’t resist with this case, however. We started out with this client doing some very basic services but it progressed into a full fledged website development project quickly.
Project Overview: Travel Niche, blog and eCommerce rolled into one. The vision was simple, create a new look and feel for the website while increasing traffic using inbound marketing methods (SEO, social media, email marketing etc.)
Problem: Website lacked clear call to actions, high bounce rate, had a very slow load time, and had an outdated design.
The goal: Reduce the amount of people leaving the site (bounce rate) while increase organic traffic to the website (SEO). We knew that there was huge potential for this website in the search engines, and had loads of untapped content waiting to be ranked.
Assets: This is an amazing website and blog with an incredibly talented founder behind it, that we’ve grown really close to over the last few months. She is committed to quality, and getting her message out there, and that is exactly the type of people we want to align with.
It took a lot of people to get the job done. This was not an easy task, and we wanted to make a big splash with this website to make our client very happy. In any project that involves multiple competencies such as SEO / development and CRO, it is important to have a team that can not only carry out the tasks needed, but that can communicate with each other in a professional way. Most communication was handled face to face (being that we have a small office) but we also utilized phone, email, and Skype.
Team leader: Bruce Breton
Bruce is the man that made it all happen. He had his hands in all aspects of this project from project management, to website development to search engine optimization. Without him, none of this would have happened. Bruce has managed to amass a wicked skillset over the years including but not limited to SEO, development, design, and pure magic.
SEO manager: Antonino Bologna
Nino was in charge of overseeing all aspects of SEO for the site. Anytime you have a new design, even if it is just a new WordPress theme there are many SEO considerations to be made. In addition, he handled all on-page optimization, link building, and semantic markup for this site.
Content Curation: Kelsey Cesar
Kelsey’s role in this project was to make sure all of the copy was on point, and that the content was up to par. The homepage was almost entirely rewritten, so that was quite an endeavor. The site also has a very popular blog, which also needed some attention from a content curation standpoint.
Website Development: Samuel Hollis
Project Management: Elizabeth Hodapp
What most people don’t realize in most website development jobs is that the project manager is the one that makes it all happen. This was certainly true for this case. Elizabeth ensured that clients wishes were carried out via the rest of the team members, organized all of the content, communicated with the client, and even got her hands dirty in the back-end of the website.
One of the first set of metrics that we looked at was the bounce rate. An abnormally large amount of people were leaving the site upon entering, and we had to figure out why. After a number of A/B tests and a lot of tweaking, we finally decided on the winning homepage. As you can see from this image, the new website featured a soft color theme, a “winning” layout, and updated features. The old website had a very strong color scheme, an unfavorable layout, and lacked features of a modern day web 2.0 website.
I remember the day we first really analyzed the numbers after the site went live. It was almost like a party broke out in our office. “Did you see this!” said Bruce, our VP and team leader. He immediately shared the screenshot of the Google Analytics with the rest of us. The traffic spiked, and remained spiked after the site launched and the bounce rate dropped from 60% to 5%. It was one of the most radical shifts we’ve seen in a long time within a short amount of time.
The next metric we analyzed was organic search traffic. Being that this is one of our core services, we put a lot of effort into it. SEO is no longer just about throwing up backlinks and stuffing keywords into title tags. There are many disciplines that make up SEO, and many challenges that are present today including very stiff competition, especially in the travel niche.
This site was loaded with content, but the site framework wasn’t doing any favors. With a fresh SEO plan in place to implement new meta tags, a strong content foundation, proper sitemap, and proper keyword implementation we were confident the website would pop right into position, and it did.
A week after launch, the organic traffic increased by about 50%. A week later another 50%. By the third week it was clear that it wasn’t a fluke or Google dance, but was a steady increase in organic traffic. The image above says 60% traffic increase, which is about what the average came out to be in the weeks after the site launched.