HB Sports: Hitting It out of the Park with SEO - 1Digital® Agency
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HeadBanger Sports, also known as HB sports, is a medium-sized online retailer of sporting goods. They make a name for themselves by offering some of the best baseball and softball gear on the web for everyone from youth players to adults. Some of their big names are Rawlings, Louisville Slugger, Easton, Wilson, and Miken. They offer excellent prices and stellar customer service that only comes with the territory as part of years of experience serving the industry.

The thing is, you might not know about the last two points if you aren’t a current customer of HB Sports. Have you heard of other retailers that offer Rawlings, Louisville Slugger, Easton, Wilson, and Miken? If so – and we assume so – then you can start to understand some of the problems faced by HB Sports with respect to advertising and being positioned in front of the right customers.

The online marketplace is competitive. That’s another unsurprising fact. HB Sports had to figure out a strategy to get in front of their customers. A sustainable strategy, that could evolve over time. One that would deliver results and be economically viable at the same time.

Chris Bastien, Director of Operations at HB Sports, explained some of the greatest challenges for his organization, “The biggest challenge is always financial. As a medium-sized business we do well, but need to ensure we utilize our spending in the best way possible. Our goal is to not waste money.”

Yet, HB Sports still needed to find a solution to bring in more customers. A sustainable solution, that was cost-effective and would build over time.

HB Sports knew that taking steps toward improving their search engine optimization by seeking eCommerce SEO services would bring them long term, sustainable growth, improve their rankings and generate higher rates of organic traffic, but they needed a holistic approach, one that was transparent and upfront about processes and results.

“We tried to do it ourselves and with multiple other SEO companies but didn’t feel as if we were getting the most efficient results. Using a company like 1Digital allowed us to get the best and most transparent results,” Chris said.

The market for sporting equipment is heavily saturated with suppliers, although there is no shortage of consumers looking for those goods. For HB Sports, the solution to invest in eCommerce SEO services was a wise one. Unlike many forms of advertising that deliver results while the campaign is active but fall off sharply after they end, the increase in traffic to HB Sports store as a result of their SEO project with 1Digital is continuous – and promises to continue long into the future.

Here’s how we made it happen.

Taking a Multi-Faceted Approach

As with any 1Digital project, we account for as many variables as possible when we take on an SEO campaign. In the case of HB Sports, we were dealing with a multitude of high volume keywords when we began our keyword research and started developing a strategy that would be implemented in our technical on-page optimization as well as in our onsite and off-page content production.

Because the keywords were so high volume and competitive, we knew that our efforts would have to be thorough in order to make their website as appealing as possible to search engines. Beginning with an SEO audit, we found their site structure acceptable and found no duplicate content – both of which were promising results at the outset of the project.

From there, we removed toxic and broken links. We optimized images on their website to improve site speed and updated several page meta titles pursuant to the keyword strategy that we developed during our research. We could take no chances in such a competitive market if we were going to see results, and we refreshed several meta titles with better target keywords to gain more attention in searches.

On-page and technical SEO is only only one aspect of our SEO process here at 1Digital, and as part of their ongoing campaign, our team of content producers created a slew of keyword-rich content to replace, refresh and augment their current website content while, at the same time, working to generate backlinks to HeadBangerSports.com in order to increase their authority.

The 1Digital team had several goals to meet.

First, we had to provide fresh category page content that was rich in keywords while at the same time being original and informative enough to provide value on product pages to both search engines and visitors.

Next, we had to create content for the website’s blog for the same purposes while also increasing the readership to engage users.

Finally, 1Digital generated a constant stream of offsite posts indicating HeadBangerSports.com as an authority in their industry through high-quality, trustworthy backlinks.

Through careful analysis of site structure and layout, with careful recommendations for changes to pages and structure, and through a constant flow of fresh content, 1Digital’s SEO process drives traffic to online stores – even online stores in markets as competitive as the sporting goods industry. That’s all good on paper – but the results speak for themselves.

Higher Traffic, Increased Sales, Despite the Competition

While processes can be argued on the grounds of their merits, there’s not much use in arguing with cold, hard data, especially with a little insight on the market trends from the customer himself.

“Our busiest time of the year is in the Spring when baseball and softball season begins. We also have a huge influx during Black Friday and Christmas time,” Chris explained.

In the period from early December 2018 through the end of February 2020, impressions and clicks were up, most drastically in the months immediately following the beginning of their project with us in November 2019. While SEO results generally take time to ramp up, HB Sports saw a fairly rapid increase in traffic due to our comprehensive efforts, despite the intense competition in its industry.

As far as traffic to their online store, consider the following data comparing December 2019 through February 2020 (blue line) to December 2018 through February 2019 (orange line).

It could hardly be more clear that there has been a steady increase in traffic to their online store over the past year. What’s more significant is the noteworthy spike in late November and early December of 2019, which was less pronounced the previous year.

In the period from October 1, 2019 through the end of February 2020 compared to October 1, 2018 through the end of February 2019, HB Sports saw a marked increase in sessions and users, with organic traffic in new users up over 50% from the same period of time the previous year, and over a 10% increase in sessions from the previous year as well.

It’s clear from the following that the increase in impressions and the increase in traffic to their site were indisputably correlative, with a nearly twofold increase in clicks between January 2019 to March 2019 and January 2020 to March 2020.

The results in traffic are conclusive, but what about more concrete figures? Regarding the performance of the business, there was little doubt as to the interrelationship between high impressions and traffic and higher sales.

“Our online sales have increased 10% from last year [during] this time,” remarked Chris. The link between higher impressions, greater traffic, and higher sales is clear. “We’ve even had some affiliates asking to sell our products. I don’t think they would have seen our website without the SEO work.”

In other words, not only were their sales up, but HB Sports also scored additional opportunities for selling channels as a result of our SEO campaign.

As far as working with the team, Chris remarked, “Our experience with 1Digital has been nothing but awesome, we have recommended this company to numerous different companies and friends. Honesty and ability to trust is very important to us as that’s how we run HeadBanger Sports.”

While in the case of HB Sports, one of the main hurdles to overcome was the stiff competition surrounding their market, the truth is that every business has a unique situation with challenges of its own. Our consultative approach to uncovering HB Sports’ challenges and goals is what enabled us to create a crafty solution to meet those goals in an SEO campaign. It’s what we do with every one of our clients since no two are the same, and it’s one of the keys to success.

If your business faces stiff competition, if your market is saturated, or even if your site structure is standing in the way of better search engine rankings and higher traffic that would lead to greater sales, 1Digital Agency’s eCommerce SEO services can make a huge difference, just like it did with HB Sports.

If you’re weighing the potential benefits of an SEO campaign as an avenue for higher traffic, start out with a free SEO audit from our team. We’ll give you some insight into the current performance of your site and help you decide how to proceed. Reach out to us at info@1DigitalAgency.com or at 888-982-8269 to get started.

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Michael Esposito

Mike Esposito is a professional SEO copywriter spurned by a love of language and creativity. When he's not at the keyboard, you may be able to catch a rare glimpse of him enjoying the outdoors or sipping fine literature.

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