The Covid-19 pandemic came as a shock to businesses around the world at the beginning of 2020. Commercial activities halted along with travel, people were released from their jobs, and marketing budgets saw what is probably the biggest mass cuts in a decade.
At SEMrush, we decided to extend a helping hand to a couple of our customers who found themselves in a tight corner. Two e-commerce companies were eager to collaborate: a motivational stationery retailer BestSelf Co. and an online dancewear store Capezio. We granted them three months of free SEMrush subscription and SEO consultant services in the hopes of helping them thrive in challenging times.
The Challenge: growing organic traffic and organic leads
Both Capezio and BestSelf Co. saw a significant drop in organic traffic at the start of the pandemic in February and March 2020. With branded keywords as the main organic source, the modest numbers dropped even lower.
Solution: full technical audit and semantic keyword core implementation
With three months total for the project, we allocated one month to technical SEO audit and keyword research and two months to their implementation.
The SEMrush Site Audit showed a lot of technical errors for both sites, including:
- Duplicate H1 and title tags;
- Duplicate meta descriptions;
- Server response codes;
- Duplicates of the home page;
- Robots.txt and sitemap problems;
- High toxic score;
- Slow loading speed and others.
Links with low Authority Score and high Toxic Score were found with the SEMrush Backlink Audit tool and disavowed.
Keyword core creation and implementation
To start collecting keywords effectively, the SEO specialist defined the page groups that generated the most sales for both sites: product pages, category pages, the home page, and the online course pages for BestSelf.
The new keyword core comprised:
- the words both websites already ranked for, collected with SEMrush Organic Research and Google Search Console;
- the words their competitors ranked for but they didn’t, collected with the Keyword Gap tool;
- new keywords collected with the Keyword Magic tool.
The keywords were collected according to the search intent: for example, the keywords for online courses had to correspond with the theme of each course and have a question form. Although the course pages compete with informational resources, it’s possible to generate sales by answering the question and calling users to action.
The rest of the keywords were distributed among the principal pages. For example, all the general, broad terms like “gifts” and “dancewear” were attributed to the home page. Category and page keywords were matched with commercial keywords like “buy” to attract hot leads.
Titles, descriptions, and H1’s for all important pages were placed on both websites using the collected keywords.
Unfortunately, many problems, such as duplicates of the home page, were not resolved for BestSelf due to the limitations of Shopify as a platform.
- BestsSelf’s organic traffic increased by 40% compared to the previous 3 months.
- Leads from organic traffic grew by 17%.
- Average position grew from 48 to 33.
- 74 keywords first made it to the TOP 10. The positions of many keywords have improved significantly.
- Capezio’s organic traffic started to recover and increased by nearly 22% compared to the last 2 months.
- Average position grew from 34 to 21.
- Keyword positions have improved significantly.