This SEO case study describes a small business owner’s search engine optimization (SEO) journey with Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing, Inc.
SEO is a series of web best practices that enable websites to be crawled and indexed by Google and other search engines. It helps companies to get found on the internet.
In mid-November 2018, Dan Podgorny of Kids Kustom Parties in Palatine, Illinois, called Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing. Dan was worried.
He had hired his website development company for his search engine optimization (SEO) activities, paying $600 a month on an ongoing basis. He was not pleased with the level of service that he had gotten. Nor was he happy with the results. With a recent decrease in Yelp leads, his phone was ringing less frequently. Business had slowed.
Our Actions: Conducting an SEO Audit
The SEO Process
To start, we did a thorough SEO audit. This involved:
- Setting up Google Search Console and sifting through the data
- Setting up Google Analytics and reviewing the metrics
- Conducting keyword research
- Running the website through powerful local and national SEO software
- Looking “under the hood” in the content management system (CMS) to see how pages were set up for some of the technical aspects of SEO
- Analyzing competitor data
Some of the metrics we reviewed included:
- Website traffic sources
- Page load times
- Links to the site (called backlinks)
- Citations (where the client was found in local directories and listings)
- Keywords that were already getting traffic—and those that weren’t
- Quality of the content both on the page and behind the scenes
- Ranking (in what position they were found on Google)
- Reviews (what type of reputation the company had)
These activities not only established baseline data, but also provided direction for what the client needed.
The SEO Strategic Plan
Best Practices in SEO
Some parts of the client’s SEO revealed best practices. The client had a good reputation on Yelp and Google Business Profile with many five-star reviews. Fortunately, it was responding to these reviews on social media. What’s more, its site was secure, an (SSL) site. In other words, its URL began with https:// rather than http://.
Missing the SEO Mark
However, the small business had the following SEO issues:
- Its directory listings had many inconsistencies in its name, address, and phone number (NAP) for SEO.
- The business needed additional local directory listings.
- Its website lacked a keyword focus.
- Only one page of the website had robust content.
- The site lacked the proper meta descriptions, title tags, heads and subheadings.
- It lacked schema markup, a type of coding that helps Google and other search engines understand what the page is about.
- The site was not a responsive design. (It wasn’t rendering well on a smart phone.)
- A few page load speeds were extremely slow.
- The site was in need of internal links between pages.
- We found technical SEO issues: 41 title tag problems, 36 pages with very sparse content, and 20 meta description issues. It also needed alt text on images.
The site had 50 clicks for just 26 keyword phrases in 3 months–3/5 from branded keyword phrases.
We also found that nearly 3/5 of the website’s 50 organic (coming naturally from Google) traffic clicks were based solely on its brand name. In other words, the person searching on the internet already needs to know the name of the company to get it to appear on a search engine return page (SERP).
Furthermore, the site was not organized from the customer’s point of view, making the buyer’s journey difficult. Dan noted that his customers often reported that they could not find what they were looking for.
SEO Activities: Plan and Implementation
What We Did
The client needed results quickly. Therefore, Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing Inc. undertook an ambitious plan. We did the following:
- Presented the SEO audit results and provided SEO education within days.
- Wrote 60+ pages of robust, optimized website copy based on appropriate keywords in only weeks.
- Created the correct title tags, image alt tags, headings, subheads, and meta descriptions with the appropriate length. (In this case, the small business owner opted to put these in the CMS )
- Reviewed and corrected errors and removed keyword stuffing in the CMS.
- Developed and implemented new navigation to facilitate the buyer’s journey.
- Recommended that the web company make the site a responsive design site.
Within 4-6 weeks of SEO implementation, the client began to see results. The phone was ringing, and bookings were filling.
Here are some of client’s results today. For his top 5 keywords, he is ranking first in local search, and on the first page in all desktop Google searches and 4 of 5 mobile Google searches. (He is in spot 13 for 1 of the keyword phrases.)
Furthermore, the small business boasts a nearly 200% increase in organic traffic, and six times the clicks after it engaged our SEO services.
Google is showing the client’s site much more often (called impressions). Clicks are up. Traffic is up. The phone continues to ring. Additionally, customers report that they are now able to find what they are looking for on the robust small business website.
The next two tables show data results before and after the implementation of the SEO plan.
Before SEO Plan
After SEO Plan
|Keyword Phrases With Traffic (for 3 months)||
|Organic Clicks (for 3 months)||
|All Website Visitors (per day by month 4)||
|Organic Website Visitors (per day by month 4)||
|Impressions*(November vs April)||
Other SEO Metrics
Before SEO Plan
After SEO Plan
|Linking Domains (Total)||
|Citation Score (goal=100)||
|Mobile Site Speed (out of 100)||
SEO Final Analysis
This business is seeing excellent results. Results vary for each client’s unique offering, how competitive their business arena is, and how long it may take to rank. At Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing Inc., we never tell you absurd SEO lies. Instead, we strive to optimize sites as quickly as possible following these 15 Tips for SEO. In that way small and medium size business (SMB) owners can generate optimal results as soon as possible.