Google is a powerhouse of a search engine; a huge volume of searches take place daily on Google, and many of these come from consumers looking to make online purchases. This couldn’t be any more true in the present day when eCommerce has only grown faster in response to shutdowns that have placed a temporary lid on brick-and-mortar operations.
This is a blessing and a curse because, while eCommerce sales are growing and only continue to grow, the competition for online visibility has stepped up as well.
One of the greatest ways to achieve visibility and draw traffic to an eCommerce website is via search engines, like Google, by way of paid advertising or organic rankings. Many businesses capitalize on both paid advertising channels like PPC while engaging in SEO best-practices in order to maximize their returns.
Yet, for some businesses, paid advertising channels are restricted. For example, Google places restrictions on certain categories they believe to be harmful to users in order to ensure a safe and positive experience. Some of these restricted categories are weapons like firearms and bladed tools, others are categories that many would consider much more innocuous, like airsoft guns. You can see a snippet from their list of restricted categories in a screenshot from their policy page below.
However, innocuous or not, the restrictions remain in place, presenting a serious challenge for businesses like MiR Tactical, an online store that sells airsoft guns and tactical equipment, to increase their online visibility. Mir Tactical couldn’t capitalize on most channels of advertising due to the restrictions that were in place so they needed another solution. Restrictions, however, weren’t the only challenge facing their ability to grow online.
Balancing the Odds
Alex Paterakis, the wonder of MiR Tactical, was aware of the restrictions that were in place, but he also knew there were other challenges to address if he was going to ramp up visibility, traffic and sales online. He wasn’t just dealing with the restrictions on advertising surrounding his business. He was dealing with a delicate balance between the awareness customers had through exposure to some of his products at some big-box retailers combined with the competition they provided.
He reflected on the consequences of big-box retailers withdrawing from the space, “a lot of mass-merchants have gotten out of the space, but that has hurt and helped us. It helped because people can no longer get airsoft products at these retailers anymore, but at the same time, visibility dropped.” It was as if one of MiR Tactical’s passive channels of advertisement was drying up.
At the same time, there was more on Alex’s plate than the fact that some big-box retailers were exiting his space. The competition came in other forms, too, especially online, and that’s where the restrictions on advertising really stung.
Alex knew SEO was a potentially viable option for gaining better visibility online, noting that MiR Tactical was “competing against regular airsoft stores that had been established for a long time. We were competing against Amazon and eBay. [MiR Tactical] needed SEO to get over the hump, to get more relevant, and to hone in on the work that we did to sharpen up our BigCommerce platform to drive more traffic.”
The stage was set; all that was needed was for the right expert to come to the aid of MiR Tactical, and that’s precisely what we were able to do, despite the roadblocks present.
Stiff Competition? Advertising Restriction? No Problem
For the team of specialists at 1Digital, working around advertising restrictions and circumventing competition is a piece of cake. We’ve done it many times before and we knew just what to do to help turn the tables in favor of MiR Tactical.
Our process for developing and delivering a successful SEO project is complex and multifaceted, even more so when one considers that we develop a custom approach to each client. In the case of MiR Tactical, we first had to get familiar with the market for airsoft guns, attachments, and tactical accessories. Only by addressing the efforts of top competitors could we then begin to develop a keyword strategy that would outperform the competition.
Our SEO analysts take plenty of time to become thoroughly familiar with the products and services that airsoft players use, what they search for, and why. We take into account the analytical data we can find from Google to determine the volume of a search for a given set of keywords as well as its specific relevance to the category or to the industry.
Once we developed a set of competitive keywords – including high-volume short-tail and high specificity long-tail keywords – that we knew were relevant to MiR Tactical’s customer base and product selection, we began in-depth efforts to improve their eCommerce site for SEO.
The initial onsite audit of their website produced some helpful and promising results that we were able to apply to their benefit. For example, we discovered that their URL structure was already SEO friendly and that there was no duplicate content found on any major pages. However, several key pages were lacking in optimized content, which accounts for a portion of our efforts and represented a significant area for improvement. Because our initial audit process is so comprehensive, it sets the groundwork for success. MiR Tactical’s campaign, like every campaign, entails a custom solution, and we hit every base we can.
Pursuant to this, one of our first efforts for MiR Tactical was to uncover and remove broken links from their website, while at the same time auditing their website for toxic spam links, which we disavowed. In concert with these efforts, we audited their website for duplicate content that could have proven harmful to our initiatives. With these efforts in the rearview, we could get to work with keyword-centric optimization.
Content Is King
Our specialists created keyword-optimized meta titles and keyword-rich category page content to infuse their website with high-volume keywords for which their customers were searching – and for which Google would be looking, despite its restrictions on advertising.
A significant portion of our successes are attributable to the technical onsite work we perform for our clients, but a large or larger effect can be seen from our content strategy, which piggybacks off of our keyword research and is arguably the largest component of our keyword strategy.
In addition to optimizing client’s websites, including meta titles, title tags, and URLs, we create onsite category page content that is original, descriptive and keyword-rich to help to gain Google’s attention, but we don’t stop there.
Our content creators take a double-barreled approach, which involves the publication of a variety of content destined both for the client’s website as well as third-party publications with backlinks that generate a significant amount of authority.
The process is involved and requires a significant amount of research into the client’s strengths, its competitors as well as the industry at large. For MiR Tactical, our content team had to develop a keen first-person perspective of the popular brands and equipment widely used in airsoft matches, as well as the types of matches in which players partake, strategies, and much more. At that point, we began producing a variety of onsite blog entries for MiR Tactical, as well as a series of offsite publications directing traffic back to their website.
Our onsite and offsite initiatives culminate in a suite of successes for our clients, and MiR Tactical’s campaign, though it was carefully developed, was no different in this respect; SEO projects can take some time to gain traction and generate results, but MiR Tactical began to see the successes after only a few weeks.
Oftentimes, the best way to quantify the success of an SEO campaign is with the gains a client experiences in organic traffic, but this is far from the only way. MiR Tactical’s organic traffic did begin a steady climb shortly after beginning with us, but there are other more telling metrics we can use to build a case for the success of the campaign.
For example, consider the image shown below, which showcases the increase in page views over the period from the end of January to the end of July 2020. This image is included without figures only to give an impression of the significance of the increase of total pageviews their website experienced in the time shortly after they began their campaign with us. Even without figures attached to it, the quantitative increase is visually palpable.
To add some concrete data into the mix, consider this: MiR Tactical’s organic pageviews increased during this period by nearly 70%, or 69.23% to be exact. Organic sessions increased by 80%, and the percentage of new users that came to their website over the same period through organic searches increased by 73.97%.
The figures get even more promising. Looking at the same period as shown above, from January through the end of July 2020, business was on the rise in addition to traffic to their site. Specifically, organic conversions and revenue were up significantly. Traffic, sessions and pageviews are nice, but the idea for eCommerce businesses is to get their visitors to convert to customers. The results were sunny for MiR Tactical.
The conversion rate from organic traffic was up nearly 30%, as you can see from the figure above, and organic transactions increased by over 129% from the previous period. Most importantly, the number of conversions and transactions were not the only figures that were up. Organic revenue was up significantly as well. It had more than doubled, representing an increase of 126.62% over the previous period. In short, not only had traffic increased to their website, indicating the success of our SEO strategy and our targeted keywords, but we had brought them better, more qualified traffic. Their conversions, transactions, and sales figures all show that clearly.
The figures don’t lie, and as you can see, even for businesses that are facing restrictions associated with pay-per-click and other forms of advertising, there are avenues for circumvention. More specifically, there are lucrative, effective avenues for circumvention.
Working with an eCommerce SEO company is one of those ways, and most importantly, it is a solution for long-term growth. The most interesting part about this is, despite the fact that results typically take months to roll in, our eCommerce SEO experts were able to leverage their expertise to kick-start the results.
Alex remarked, “I know SEO takes a long time to generate results for certain keywords. We began to rank quickly for some keywords, which showed that we just needed a little push.”
That little push was actually a complex, comprehensive, and thorough SEO campaign as executed by 1Digital Agency, which has been crafting successful SEO projects for clients in multiple industries for many years – just see our collection of case studies for proof.
We are the digital marketing agency you need, and the success of our digital marketing services is proof. If you want to learn more about how we can grow your eCommerce store’s traffic, revenue, revenue, sales, and conversions – like we did for MiR Tactical – contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or better yet, call us today at 888-421-7042.
- Michael Esposito
- August 14, 2020