Shooting Over the Top of Paid Search Restrictions
Sarco, Inc., that is, Steen Armaments Research Company, operates a gun shop in Easton, PA, but to call it simply that would be an understatement. It is the area’s largest collection of firearms, both historical and contemporary, ammunition, firearm parts, kits, and accessories, along with military collectibles, some of which are very hard to find. For a competitive shooter, hunter, collector, or gun enthusiast, it is a candy shop.
Their retail operation is supported by an eCommerce venture, SarcoInc.com, built on BigCommerce. Sarco’s team provides the same excellent customer service and profound historical knowledge to customers of their online store, along with a variety of the products, including firearms, ammunition, accessories, reproductions, and more. Again, their collection is vast. Enumerating it in text here would be pointless.
Other companies in the same niche have historically been faced with paid search restrictions. Google places restrictions on certain categories of goods. Sarco’s market fits their descriptors and is impacted by these restrictions. Being PPC restricted, Sarco pursued other channels, which brought them to 1DigitalⓇ Agency and SEO.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, however, remained a viable avenue for increasing online growth, attracting new customers, and serving as a lead generation tool for their online store. They just needed the right partner to provide BigCommerce SEO services to increase their website rankings to get their eCommerce site in front of more customers.
The First Round of SEO Services
Originally, Sarco Inc., partnered with 1DigitalⓇ Agency for a 35 keyword campaign back in October 2019. The process, even for a smaller campaign focusing on fewer keywords such as this, mirrors the efforts of our larger campaigns. Though we were only targeting 35 keywords, we still provided a thorough website audit to uncover the overall SEO health of the website.
We checked for duplicate content, optimized website images, determined that the site structure was acceptable, and uncovered and disavowed a number of toxic links.
After we had uncovered the most profitable set of keywords to target, we optimized headers and meta descriptions on key target pages while our content team started providing a variety of keyword-optimized, original content for their category pages and their blog. In addition to the onsite optimization efforts, we also published content to third-party websites for the purpose of building links to SarcoInc.com.
After having made a variety of improvements to their website and optimizing the site with fresh content, Sarco Inc. started seeing steady gains in website traffic. You can get an impression of the growth they experienced through this first portion of their campaign via the image below, which shows organic traffic to their website from February 1st, 2020 to June 3rd, 2020, superimposed over the period from September 30th, 2019 to January 31st, 2020.
Search engine optimization is a long-term game, so steady growth is more typical than rapid growth. You can see that traffic steadily increased to their website during this period, which is a good indicator of increasing website rankings and a more prominent online presence higher on search engine results pages. The quantified figures below show that organic users increased by nearly 50% during this period.
However impressive these gains are, Sarco’s Project Manager knew there was potential left on the table that would open the door for even more impressive growth. With such a large volume of potential short and long-tail keywords and so many relevant products on Sarco Inc.’s website, they could attain much larger gains with a campaign targeting additional keywords.
Uncovering eCommerce SEO Potential
With 1DigitalⓇ as their BigCommerce partner, Sarco Inc. had some of the finest minds in the industry at work on their project. Our BigCommerce SEO experts worked alongside Sarco Inc.’s team to uncover a list of potential keywords for a larger, 75 keyword campaign to generate even greater results.
By October 2020, 1DigitalⓇ Agency was armed with a fresh list of 75 keywords to ramp up Sarco Inc.’s digital marketing strategy to bring in even more traffic to their BigCommerce store. With this new list of keywords, we proceeded with on-page optimization efforts as before, optimizing title tags, metadata, and more, removing broken and toxic links, and monitoring Sarco Inc.’s Google Search Console for undue changes.
The new, larger campaign involved a similarly-scaled up content production effort. 1DigitalⓇ’s content team began aggressively producing a variety of blogs and website content, as before, but targeting more keywords and at an accelerated rate. The publication of offsite content for the value of their backlinks continued and was scaled up as well.
It did not take long for results to start presenting themselves, and they can be best displayed by comparing the first few months of Sarco Inc.’s progress to the period a year before. Below, you can see the change in organic traffic to sarcoinc.com from the period between December 2020 to March 2021 laid over the period from September 2019 to December 2019. These are roughly corresponding lengths of time and show the year-over-year change to Sarco’s organic traffic.
The visual representation of the shift in organic traffic is impressive enough, but the numbers are even more impressive. As you can see below, organic traffic and new users to sarcoinc.com improved significantly between the two periods.
Both organic users and new users grew impressively, but it only shows a portion of the picture. Naturally, any eCommerce business is interested in the bottom line. For the period displayed above, Sarco’s website also saw a marked uptick in transactions and revenue. Both figures saw big increases:
Organic traffic also reveals a lot of the success of an SEO campaign, and as of a report that was run at the beginning of March, you can see just how much of SarcoInc.com’s traffic was organic:
You can also see some of the dramatic shifts in keyword movement that Sarco Inc. has experienced as a result of the bump in their campaign. The image below shows the significant movement that Sarco Inc. experienced for some of the competitive keywords that we targeted in their project.
It only shows a small cross-section of the keywords we targeted, but you can see that many of them have large search volumes, experienced dramatic shifts in ranking, and have come to rank on page one of search results. Many of them also increased dramatically, jumping up 52, 63, even 90 positions to get to the first page. Getting Sarco Inc. to rank on the first page for such competitive keywords has been instrumental in driving new traffic to their website and bringing them new customers, even in the face of paid search restrictions.
Facing the Same Restrictions?
If, after reading this, you feel that hope is on the horizon for your own PPC-restricted online business, you’re right. We’ve achieved great results for a variety of clients in eCommerce PPC-restricted industries. For some of them we’ve even published case studies; check out our recent eCommerce case studies on our clients Cyclone Pods and MiR Tactical to see the results, among our other eCommerce case studies.
It helps to have the best SEO experts in your camp when you’re facing challenges like paid search restrictions or stiff online competition, but we’ve done it for many clients in the past and we can do it for your organization. All it takes is for us to get familiar with your goals and the unique circumstances surrounding your organization.
It also starts with a call. Whether you’re looking for an obligate eCommerce SEO agency or an SEO company that also offers eCommerce web design and eCommerce development services, we can help you out. We provide a little of everything that eCommerce businesses require, which is why there may be many digital agencies, but There’s Only 1Digital®.