Gator Chef: Veterans in the Optimization World
So You Think You Know How to SEO?
Three-Part Series: Part 2
For the second installment of our three-part SEO case study series, we bring you Gator Chef. Gator Chef is an online seller of both new and used commercial restaurant equipment and supplies. Back in 2016, Gator Chef reached out to 1Digital Agency after finding us on Volusion’s Preferred Partner’s page. What they needed was a digital agency to help with design and development. They chose one of our design templates, which was then customized to fit their needs.
Less than a year later, Gator Chef reached out to 1Digital® about help with their SEO. When they first started working on it, they had someone in-house dedicated to SEO. Eventually, they became shorthanded and were unable to handle SEO on their own. So, they started looking to outsource their SEO work.
They did some research online and looked into various agencies that could assist, ultimately deciding on 1Digital Agency for their SEO team. “Since we had built a relationship and the template project went well,” Joe, our SEO lead at Gator Chef, said, “that helped in our decision-making process.”
The Process – At the Start of the Campaign
Whenever we start an eCommerce SEO campaign with a new client, we like to make it clear from the very beginning that SEO is not a one-and-done type of project. SEO is an on-going project that takes time and patience in order for it to go the way it should.
As soon as we partner with a client, we immediately ask them to fill out an SEO Questionnaire. After we receive the SEO Questionnaire, we conduct a keyword selection process. As soon as we have made our list, we then schedule a kick-off call with both our team and the client where we go through our keyword list. Once we have finalized the list, we are ready to begin the campaign. We start by optimizing the back-end of your website and then move on to creating content.
When I spoke with Joe at Gator Chef and asked him about the quality of our content, he said, “It’s really good quality writing. Even when we had a person dedicated to doing it before, I don’t know that he was as structured as you guys are doing it. As far as effectiveness, you guys were very effective as far as technique and writing style.”
Another thing that we at 1Digital® are proud of is the fact that we are very transparent. We like to keep our clients in the loop and informed so that we can not only build successful campaigns, but also successful relationships.
One of the ways in which we do this for our SEO campaigns is with our SEO Project Reports, which we create and share with each client. In these reports, we include a list of the finalized keywords, on page optimization that was done to the site, and monthly tabs for the duration of the campaign that lists how the offsite content was used and where it was published. This allows both the client and 1Digital® to keep track of everything happening throughout the campaign.
Another way in which we do this is with monthly SEO meetings with each client. During these meetings, we look at the client’s SEO dashboard and Google Analytics to track the rankings of each keyword, organic traffic coming to the site, and goal completion. We compare the results month by month to see where the client is improving and where they need more work. After the initial six months of any campaign, we look at each keyword to see where the client is standing and consider switching out some lower volume keywords. We make these changes to keywords we believe the client will not lose ranking for, in order to start targeting higher volume keywords that might lead more traffic to the website and drive more sales. During these meetings, we also give the clients the opportunity to discuss what is happening on their side of the business so that we can combine our efforts to create the best possible results.
This brings me to…
The Results – Month 1
Before starting an SEO campaign with 1Digital®, Joe at Gator Chef said, “ Our SEO was not as good as what we are seeing today. It is not as extensive as far as the outreach to various blogs and locations where you post offsite. We did not have this capability before… 1Digital® is more dedicated and strategic. Consistent.”
When Gator Chef was doing their own SEO, they focused primarily on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter and concentrated on onsite fixes and improvements in addition to the occasional blog post. They were not active with any type of backlinking and they produced no offsite content that would assist with link-building and drive traffic back to their website. According to Joe at Gator Chef, “we had some broad stroke keywords that we were attracted to, but it was not as focused or broken down. We were more generic and now we are working on a core list.”
Looking into Gator Chef’s personalized SEO Dashboard, I can compare their keyword ranking results after the 1st month to when they started SEO with 1Digital®.
This first image is the very first scan that was conducted. I am only showing you a snippet as the list is lengthy; however, as you can see, they are not ranking in the top 100 for any of the targeted keywords.
This second image is comparing results after the first month of SEO work to when they started. Within just one month of SEO work done by 1Digital®, Gator Chef has moved from not ranking at all to ranking on the first, second, and third pages of Google’s SERP (search engine results pages). If you take a closer look, you’ll see that there are both Main Keywords and Secondary Keywords in that list. Main keywords are the specific keywords that Gator Chef has decided to target based off of the list that 1Digital® created. Secondary keywords are keywords that rose in rankings in relation to the work being done on the main keywords.
The thing with SEO is that while it does take time and effort to get to where you want to be, you will see positive results if you continue to stay on track and on top of the work. In addition to the positive results you will see with the main keywords you are targeting, you will also start to see results for related “secondary” keywords, which will only be beneficial to your campaign and won’t cost you any additional time.
The Results – Month 3
Now, let’s take a look at what we see after month 3 of the Gator Chef and 1Digital® SEO partnership.
In this image, I am comparing month 3 of SEO work to our very first scan conducted in which we saw that Gator Chef was not ranking at all. As you can see, the first keyword made no changes; however, it maintained its ranking of number 4 on the first page of Google. The second keyword dropped from number 8 to number 9. Some people might see this and think that not enough work is being done for this keyword. How can we allow it to drop? It is important to note, that while we at 1Digital® are continuously working on this keyword (and all others), we are not the only ones. Gator Chef is not the only online business that sells commercial kitchenware and restaurant supplies. They have a number of competitors who are doing the same thing we are, and while we are working on ranking for this keyword, so is everyone else. This level of competition is perfectly normal and to be expected, especially on the first page where everyone in the industry is jockeying for position.
Keywords 3, 4, and 5 have made significant jumps from 26 to 16, 12 to 1 (!), and 16 to 8. Pretty impressive, if I may say so myself.
The Results – Month 6
Now things are starting to get interesting…
This image compares results after 6 months of SEO work to our initial scan where they were not ranking at all.
As you can see, every main keyword has improved in rankings. In the previous images, you may have even noticed that the last keyword you see in those images, “Ice machine Rentals,” was not ranking at all. After month 6, however, Gator Chef is now ranking on the 3rd page of Google.
Aside from simply tracking keyword ranking in our SEO Dashboard, we also take a look at the client’s Google Analytics where we look at the traffic resulting from organic search and goal completion. Goal completion can be anything. It can be time spent on a page, number of pages visited, number of videos click on and watched, signing up for a newsletter, adding products to a shopping cart, etc. While all of these are important in gauging where a website is working and where it needs improvement, one of the most important things we like to look at is conversions.
As with anything in life when it comes to purchasing, there is no guarantee. Just because somebody visits your site doesn’t mean they are going to buy something and just because you are doing SEO doesn’t mean your sales are going to go through the roof. What SEO does is bring more awareness to your business and your website by ranking you higher on search engine result pages. By ranking higher, you are gaining traction, becoming an authority in your industry, gaining trust from Google, and gaining an advantage over your competitors.
In the images below, I am comparing the conversions from the month of May in 2018 to the month of May in 2017, when 1Digital® first started doing SEO for Gator Chef.
I am comparing these results so that you can see a one year difference. In the top chart, May 2017 is the orange line and May 2018 is the blue line. As you can see, the lines are close in some parts; however, for the most part, conversions in 2018 are significantly higher than conversions in 2017. The biggest increase happened mid-May with 79 conversions in 2017 and 208 in 2018; that’s a 163.29% increase! In the bottom chart, you can see that graph at the top includes three different channels: organic, direct, and paid search. However, organic takes up the bulk at almost 78%.
Everything that I have shown you in this blog is just a snippet of information. Gator Chef has been doing eCommerce SEO with 1Digital® for over two years now so there is a lot more information that I could go into to show you as to why SEO matters and what it can do for your business.
If you agree and want to see more positive results for your eCommerce business or want to know more about SEO and what we can do for you, reach out to us and we’ll help you get to where you want to be.