XL Feet: Stepping Into A Fitting SEO Strategy
XLFeet is a footwear business that caters to individuals with big and wide feet. The founder and CEO of XLFeet started this business as a one-man show in 2009 in the back room of his house. Growing up with ever-growing feet and facing the threat of having to go to school barefoot because his feet grew three sizes in two months, Adrian knew what it was like to grow up without any appealing footwear. Three years after starting the company, XLFeet moved into a storefront. Shortly after, XLFeet outgrew that first storefront and moved into another location. Ten years later, XLFeet is yet again outgrowing its current storefront and has an online store that sells all over the world.
In 2019, after having grown exponentially since its inception, XLFeet accepted the fact that their online store platform, Volusion, could not offer them the functionality they needed at the optimal performance level that was required. So, they decided to migrate to another online store platform that was able to offer them the customization and functionality they needed: Magento.
This migration, however, almost cost them their business. The development company that XLFeet hired for this migration fell short of expectation. After the platform migration was complete, XLFeet realized that the 301-redirects that were needed to keep their site performing seamlessly had not been properly implemented. The detailed and thorough performance that was needed for XLFeet to thrive through this migration was seriously lacking.
As a result, XLFeet saw a massive drop in traffic to their site. Their new goal was to restore that traffic. So, Adrian Coulter, CEO and founder of XLFeet, started looking for an SEO company to help with this. When he started googling SEO companies, he was looking for an agency that was not only ranking highly in his search results but one that also had a visually appealing website. That’s when Adrian found 1DigitalⓇ Agency.
What drew Adrian to ultimately join forces with 1DigitalⓇ was the fact that we were not only familiar with Magento, but we had also done a lot of work on other Magento websites. As he dug deeper into 1DigitalⓇ, he found that our SEO process was more thorough, detailed, and granular than other SEO companies he came across. “I liked the organization of your process and how detailed it got. [Another company I looked at] was not anywhere in the universe of being as detailed as you guys were,” Adrian said.
There are a lot of things that go into an SEO campaign. The SEO process at 1DigitalⓇ starts with discovery, project setup, and keyword selection. After this initial stage, it moves into on-page optimization, content creation, and reporting. The process for XLFeet began with keyword research and a full site audit to find any duplicate content, toxic backlinks, broken links, and any other issues. Throughout the campaign, we monitor any onsite and offsite issues, optimize meta titles with target keywords, and follow a content creation plan that allows us to build high-quality backlinks and improve on-page SEO.
When we bring any client on-board, we not only give them access to their own private workspace in our CRM where they have access to see the daily, weekly, and monthly work that goes into the campaign, but we also give them credentials to a proprietary dashboard that tracks keyword rankings and pulls from Google Analytics and Google Search Console. The on-boarding set-up for XLFeet was no different.
Within the first month of SEO with XLFeet, SEO experts at 1DigitalⓇ narrowed down a list of keywords to start targeting in this campaign, disavowed all toxic links that came up in the initial technical SEO audit, optimized meta titles for all target pages, and revitalized and optimized the on-page SEO content on those same target pages.
3 Months In
After that significant dip in traffic, the main goal for XLFeet was to bring those numbers back up. To do that, XLFeet needed to improve their keyword rankings and link building. To get them started, we put XLFeet on a 50 keyword SEO campaign. Because their rankings were already relatively strong, we decided to target those keywords that were already ranking in the top few pages to bring them into top position rankings on the first page of Google.
Three months into an SEO campaign with 1DigitalⓇ, XLFeet improved in rankings for 37 of their 50 target keywords.
- One of the metrics we track in our proprietary SEO dashboard is the Average Ranking Position Trend. This tells us where xlfeet.com is ranking based on the keywords we are targeting and tracking in our dashboard. Three months into the campaign, XLFeet went from an average ranking of 10 to an average ranking of 7. This means that the keywords being targeted were starting to gain traction and beat competitor rankings in just three months.
So, keyword rankings improved, but what about traffic? What about sales?
If we take a look at the first three months of the campaign and compare the first month and a half to the second month and a half, we see that organic search traffic alone increased over 14%. This increase in traffic and target keyword strategy resulted in a 22% increase in organic search conversion rate, a 43% increase in transactions, and a 45% increase in revenue!
This image below shows the traffic comparing the first half of the campaign to the second.
If we take a look at user behavior for the same time period, we see that many of the target pages in the XLFeet SEO campaign increased in both acquisition and conversion within the first 3 months.
In the image below, one of the pages being targeted saw a 21% increase in organic sessions but over a 200% increase in organic transactions and a 179% increase in conversion rate.
One keyword being targeted in this SEO campaign increased in rankings and is currently ranking on the first page of Google search results, second only to Amazon. Within the first three months of this campaign, the target page for this keyword saw a steady incline in sessions until a sudden jump only 2 months into the campaign.
Within the first three months, users coming to xlfeet.com on a daily basis via organic search doubled.
6 Months In
Six months into the campaign, organic search traffic was steadily increasing. There was still a long way to go to get the traffic back up to where it was before the migration occurred, but XLFeet was heading in the right direction. If we look at months 4-6 of the campaign and compare them with months 1-3, we see organic search traffic increase around 7% but we see much higher increases in conversions. eCommerce conversion rate from organic search increased by almost 43% and transactions doubled!
Not even halfway into 2020, the entire world experienced, first-hand, the effects of a fast-spreading pandemic: COVID-19. This pandemic started to really hit the United States in mid-March and, almost overnight, the effects of this pandemic could be seen internet-wide. While some industries thrived, others started to see their traffic and sales head down a steep decline.
While more and more people were stocking up on essentials, fewer purchases were being made in industries that weren’t considered essential. XLFeet saw this reflected via their business almost immediately. “In the week surrounding St. Patrick’s Day, it was the worst week in the history of my company,” Adrian said.
Traffic and conversions for xlfeet.com dipped right around mid-March and stayed relatively low for about a month until around mid-April when things started to pick back up again. In light of this crisis, Adrian said, “Just, accidentally, being a footwear company where 95% of our business happens online, we’re really, really fortunate.”
Where They Are Now
Currently, XLFeet is continuing to climb in organic metrics and overall growth. Throughout the course of the campaign, organic search has been bringing in the most traffic and the most transactions.
The image below shows users and transactions for each channel over the course of 10 months.
Due to their current status, XLFeet is starting to expand into strategic social media growth to broaden their reach and supercharge their online business.
“This is exciting,” Adrian said. “When I first brought you guys on board…the future was very uncertain and even though we’re in the midst of this crisis here, things are now more certain than ever for us and you guys played a huge role in that.”
Today, XLFeet is making around 70% of the revenue they were making before the migration pitfall with half the traffic they had. “Things are looking better than ever,” Adrian said.
For a company that sells big shoes to big men, you wouldn’t expect there to be a lot of competition for an SEO campaign to be warranted. But SEO isn’t just for businesses with a lot of competition. To gain any sort of traction online, you need to first be visible to your target audience, and SEO is an essential part of getting there. Whether you’re a supplier of books or a specialty supplier of extra-large shoes for men, SEO is important to getting you in front of the right audience that will convert.
To learn more about what SEO can do for you, visit our eCommerce SEO page or read our case studies for insight into what makes an SEO campaign effective and see how SEO experts can transform your online business with strategic SEO strategies. Give us a call at 888-982-8269 to get started or to speak with an SEO professional today!