The Initial Digital Marketing Challenge
In 2019 the client came to us, unhappy with how their website was performing. They had moved to a new website design company the previous year and experienced a huge drop in sales of consumables and visitor traffic.
They were also unhappy at the prospect of returning to the previous provider.
We had worked with another similar technology company and this client was sufficiently convinced by their improved visibility, to ask us (Newton’s Cradle as we were then: a joint venture between ClimbHigh SEO and Light Bulb Web Design) to come up with a website redesign and marketing plan that would get their visibility back to somewhere near the dominant position they had once enjoyed within their area. However, there was no Google Analytics or Search Console data to back up this notion.
First we gleaned what information we could from SEO tools (mainly SEMrush’s Domain Overview tool which allows us to get an idea of how the subject domain compares with other competitors).
There was a clear picture of the rise and fall of the company’s web presence in terms of estimated organic traffic.
- Original brand and ecommerce website established
- Website taken over by design company and rebuilt traffic plunges.
- Our involvement starts with setting up listings.
- Current website launched
- Around January 2022 we started a second phase of marketing which raised the client’s profile and since that campaign came to an end there has been a steady fall off in traffic.
The pattern is similar for mobile search except the original high traffic interval between 2017 and 2018 is absent.
The SEO and Digital Marketing Treatment Phase 1
- A thorough review of the keywords being used within that office technology industry.
- Google Analytics and Search Console attached to old website to gain a benchmark for reporting.
- Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors locally and regionally.
- Comprehensive planning of the new content.
- Compilation of writing guidance for the copywriter (Sally Seed of Stoneleigh Communications) to write copy around the SEO parameters as well as the client’s messaging.
- Reviewing and editing of copy from the Search perspective.
- The current website was launched re-designed and built with a limited amount of that content (Chris Wilcox of Light Bulb Web Design).
- Externally, the initial campaign included a review of the business listings and citations for the client. these were found to be inconsistent and often contained inaccurate data.
- Google Business Profile, Bing Places and 30 more listings were cleaned up or created to widen the digital footprint of the client.
At point 4 on the chart above, it is clear when the visibility of the client’s website began to improve again. Unfortunately… that was in the run-up to the pandemic, lockdowns, and people trying to work out how to keep businesses functioning through that crisis. The dip was drastic. Most marketing work ceased for this client and sure enough there was only a modest recovery in visitor traffic as the demand for printers, signage and other office tech started to return.
SEO and Digital Marketing Treatment Phase 2
- Copywriting and publishing of planned content resumes.
- Local Brand Authority (LBA) service deployed and begins to re-establish a strong presence in Carlisle.
- Local Brand Authority (LBA) service also used to build visibility outwards from Carlisle to other towns in the region (Dozens of brand mentions and articles begin to appear in results further out from the centre)
- Unanticipated sales begin to come in from Penrith and towns further out in West Cumbria.
- A series of landing pages is deployed to target specific clients in specific areas. (These landing pages do rank for many searches and did boost visibility in map searches. Unfortunately they do not seem to generate any useful visitor traffic over the course of a year and are closed down at the end of the campaign).
The lifetime overview above gives a clear indication of the success of the second phase. And, as can be seen below, business remains good for this client.
While trying to corroborate this description with Google Analytics data, we hit a reporting problem. When we tried to examine the longer term data from the client’s Google Analytics account, it had been spoiled by several spikes of ghost traffic from traffic bots.
This meant we had to do some data cleanup in Excel. Once the data was cleaned up in Excel it revealed a couple of interesting patterns.
Digital Marketing Takeaways
The case study looks backwards a year at a time from June ’23 to November ’19. In the short period from November 2019 – Jun 2020 (pale grey dotted trace) when we first began work, updating and correcting listings while the old website was still live, there was some improvement that quickly settled back. With the launch of the new website and gradual addition of fresh content, there is a gradual improvement (2020-2021 pale grey dashed trace). There was however a sharp drop off in visits as people came to terms with lockdown and new working patterns.
There was very little marketing work done after that until January 2022 and the 21-22 trace shows a fairly sudden drop off in numbers (blue). The following year saw additional content added to the website and significant external content designed to generate backlinks and local coverage in media channels. That work returned visitor numbers back to their earlier numbers, despite several local competitors investing quite heavily in ads.
Key SEO Stat: Jun 2022 – June 2023 visitor numbers improved more than 400% following the resumption of marketing efforts. It goes to show, that very little can be seen as “set and forget” in local SEO.
A note on the data cleanup process: This was simply a matter of downloading the Analytics data to Excel. I grabbed this as a single daily visitor count covering approximately 3 1/2 years. the spikes were isolated in the google Analytics dashboard and it was very easy to identify the numbers of ghost visitors that had been attributed to the account. These were subtracted from the daily numbers with a note on the original data. Daily totals were compiled into week and month summaries.