Today I’m going to show you how we increased the client’s organic traffic in the fire truck sales niche from 100 to almost 15000 visitors per week.
Working for more than 1.5 years with this client, we were able to achieve leadership not only in a commercial segment but as an informational resource too.
Domain age: 12.5 years
Niche: Fire Truck Sales
GEO: Primary region – Russian Federation
Organic traffic: 100 visitors per week at the start of the project
At the start of the project, there were plenty of errors:
- Sitemap.xml contained pages that gave 4xx and 3xx server responses;
- A lot of URLs contained dynamic parameters, which created duplicate pages;
- Images weren’t optimized;
- Missing Schema markup;
- Website was hacked and junk pages were uploaded;
- Duplicated meta-tags;
- Images were not optimized and missing alt tags;
- Catalog filter was broken;
- Spam links pointing to doorway pages;
Content: Lack of content on the main pages. No blog at all.
We’ve decided to divide the project into two stages.
- Niche research
- Technical optimization
- Disavowing links
- Keyword research
- New unique content writing
- New filter pages
- Optimization of landing pages
- Link building
As you can see the project had a lot of issues and my main goal was to fix them as quickly as possible.
We’ve decided to start by clearing the doorway.
This was a major task because search engines (SE) have already indexed a lot of pages and it doesn’t add value to the website in SE eyes 😉
Together with the developer, we fixed security holes on the server to prevent getting hacked in the future and swiped out all the junk hackers put on it. After fixing the server, we started fixing the SERP. This took a while but eventually, we’ve got rid of all doorway pages that got indexed.
As usual, I’ve set up a 404 response for these pages and continued to work on the project. Days went by, and to my surprise, pages didn’t want to fell off the Google index. After several weeks from ~170 pages only ~15 got deindexed. I didn’t like it at all, so I researched this topic a little bit and found out that it’s better to set up a 410 response to get pages deleted from the index quicker. And as you can guess, it’s really working like a charm! It took Google maybe 5 or 6 days to delete doorway pages from its index! 🙂
The next to-do thing was disavowing external links, which were placed to spam hacked pages. Armed with Ahrefs and Google Search Console, we’ve collected all spam (all we could find :D) and submitted it using Google Disavow Tool.
Now, when all external problems are fixed, we’ve taken on internal technical issues. Here is what we’ve done:
- Fixed website URLs. Some pages had uppercase letters in their URLs; some contained dynamic parameters.
- Set up redirects. The server didn’t process URLs without “/” at the end correctly and I’ve set up redirects to the URLs with “/”. Also, the website was accessible from both WWW and non-WWW versions.
- Sitemap.xml. After fixing and setting up the correct URL structure, we’ve got a bunch of new pages (they were the same but technically had different URLs) which were absent in the sitemap.xml file. CMS of the website have a built-in module and with proper settings it automatically generates a new Sitemap with correct URLs.
- Catalog filter. This was more of a coding issue, so I’ve written a short brief and gave it to the website developer. Also I’ve decided to improve filter pages and make them static. After this fix filter URLs change from this “site.com/?filter=parameter” to this “site.com/filter/normal-looking-url/”. We’ll talk about it a little bit in the Stage 2 section.
There were some minor works during this stage but I don’t think it’s necessary to mention them here.
Let’s get into Stage 2.
Niche of our client is very specific.
It’s not like selling smartphones or curtains for shower. The price of the products is huge, it takes a lot of time to produce one truck, and the demand is not that high.
Let’s take a look at the work we’ve done on this stage to make sure we’ll get good results in SERP.
- Competitors research. The client’s company is pretty old. In the offline world it has its weight and reputation. But when it comes to the Internet, things are changed. Other companies were dominating here and my main goal was to find such companies and their websites to analyze and create a proper strategy for conquering the SERP 🙂
- Keyword research. It’s the biggest piece of work (together with competitors research) on almost every project I have because 80% of success depends on it. Having competitors in front of uss, we’re able to create a draft of the site structure and find key topics/points from where you’ll grow. Using Serpstat, Ahrefs and KeyCollector, we’ve collected tons of keywords and after some sorting out, the client got grouped keywords for assessment.
- Working on landing pages. When it’s all said and done with the research, it’s time to make the website better. Based on the keyword groups, we optimized existing landing pages (content optimization, meta-tags) and started to create new ones. Proper research on the previous steps allows creating correct and complete website structure, fully covering niche keywords.Remember filter improvements from Stage 1?With this fix we are able to get additional commercial traffic because instead of dynamic, unoptimized pages we’ve got pages with static URLs, correct meta-tags and SEO content. You can see the traffic chart in the result section.
- Link building. Actually, there was not a lot of it. Thanks to the blog content and overall brand of the company, we’ve got a decent amount of links naturally without spending too much budget on it.
- Blog. This point is especially interesting. After we’ve made it to the TOP for the main commercial keywords, we’ve decided to start a niche blog to get even more traffic and some conversions. Thanks to the client’s expertise, we can write great detailed content on the topic and generate organic traffic with it. Within a year, blog content generated four sales!Not so impressive, you’ll say?Don’t forget that we’re talking about big fire trucks, which are expensive and are not bought in a day. So I think it’s a great result for non-commercial content.
Thanks to organic traffic, the number of orders was so high that our client was forced to reject some of them to complete the previous ones in time and avoid any penalties.
But numbers speak better than words 😉
Let’s look at the graphs.
Organic Traffic on Filter Pages
Why Images are Important
And here is the reason why you MUST work with images on your website. By “work” I mean using high-quality images and proper alt tags. This is how much traffic client get from Image Search:
There is no rocket science here.
In a lot of cases, all you have to do is fix all (or at least major) technical issues, conduct in-depth keyword research, accurately determine the intent of keyword groups and make sure that all of your contact forms are working properly 😉
Of course, there are plenty of niches where you must build links more aggressively, combine SEO with other marketing sources (Email, PPC, SMM), use unusual and tricky methods, and do tons of other stuff to get your website on so desirable TOP-1 in Google. But this case didn’t require any of it.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments or write us directly via contact form.