Digital Marketing

Sweet SEO Case Study!



How SEO Can Enhance a PR Campaign and Take Home Two Four Awards for Excellent Results

By Jason Poulos (@TheSaganaki)

As digital marketing strategies evolve it’s not a bad idea to see if your PR content or PR campaign goals can integrate with other marketing channels. Traditionally you wouldn’t associate search engine marketing with PR but SEO has grown into a legit marketing channel over the years. With so many searches happening on Google we wanted to make sure that our PR message for our Maple Syrup client was getting exposure through search engines.

We did a full on-site SEO audit and execution for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers back in early 2011. With the optimized site fully up and running we started to see some rather favorable results for the site. Seeing these increases in traffic from Google we thought we had a good case study on our hands for some award submissions. We submitted and won:

  1. Virginia Public Relations Awards
  2. PR News Digital PR Awards
  3. Bulldog Digital/Social PR Awards
  4. PR Daily’s Digital and Social Media Awards

Here’s how we did it:

PR Campaign Goal

Our goal was to raise awareness of pure Canadian maple syrup, showcase the product as versatile and innovative in cooking, and finally demonstrate that maple syrup is a healthy, natural sweetener and a good substitute for simple sugar.

Website Overview

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers’ website was beautiful, consumer-focused and communicated its message about the health and culinary benefits of pure Canadian maple syrup. Though rich in content with an extensive recipe database and mouth-watering photographs for the maple lover, the website was nowhere to be found when searching for relevant terms on Google. While Canada accounts for 80% of the maple syrup production worldwide, the client’s website and our message was all but invisible. As the Federation entered a year with significant news to announce, We knew the website needed to be restructured, infused with a cross link strategy, married to the client’s Facebook and Twitter pages and optimized for strategic search terms.

Research

In auditing the website’s content, we learned the site’s content, while informative, was not keyword rich making the site hard to find in Google. Not only was content not optimized for searches but some technical aspects of the site were not catering to the search engine either. Knowing that Google ranks web pages based on keyword relevance and popularity, we set out to align and restructure the content around keywords to enhance the website’s Google presence.

Planning

The first phase of planning was to determine which specific keywords should be used on the site. Google’s AdWords tool as well as Wordtracker was used to understand search volume and the strength and opportunity of particular keywords. Our goal was to raise awareness of pure Canadian maple syrup, showcase the product as versatile and innovative in cooking, and finally demonstrate that maple syrup is a healthy, natural sweetener and a good substitute for simple sugar. We targeted keywords that were relative to our content goals but had a high search volume and low competition.

Execution

With our keyword research in place it was time to think of how these keywords would influence our content and site structure.

  • Restructured the site’s architecture and navigation to cater to specific keywords
  • Rewrote the site’s content, page titles, urls, heading tags and page descriptions to be keyword rich
  • Redesigned the homepage to feature more content and act more like a “dashboard”
  • Restructured the interior page sidebars to highlight and cross link deep content
  • Integrated social share functionality for Facebook and Twitter in order to grow our social backlink profile

SEO Results

With our plan fully executed and the site redesigned, www.purecanadamaple.com was re-launched on March 1, 2011. The results below compare the optimized site (March 1, 2011 to Feb 28, 2012) to the non-optimized site of 2010 (March 1, 2010 – Feb 28, 2011):

  • Unique Visits increased by 355%
  • Page views increased by 415%
  • Pages per Visit increased by 18%
  • Bounce rate decreased by 20%
  • Visits to our site directly from Google searches increased by 485%
  • Because of our keyword research and website restructuring, there are now 50 search terms that place the website on page one of Google

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About Jason Poulos:

With a degree in communication design from VCU as well as experience in web development and digital marketing, Jason brings a unique blend of assets to PadillaCRT. In 2012 Jason helped win 4 awards for his SEO work on PureCanadaMaple.com. Outside of his digital work, Jason enjoys brewing his own beer and restoring his1970 Chevrolet Nova. Jason is a new father and enjoys spending time with his family and his 150-pound English Mastiff.

6 Comments on “Sweet SEO Case Study!

  1.  by  Jason Poulos
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    Exactly! Having clear goals should be the first step for any campaign… unfortunately that’s not always the case…

  2.  by  Molly Monihan
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    It is always inspirational to read a successful case study. I appreciate seeing what positive effects PR professionals can have on any kind of company, even maple syrup companies in this case. I was wondering if there were any concrete goals or objectives when planning the campaign to re-do the website for the client. For example, was it a goal to increase page views by 200 percent? Or was it just a goal to raise awareness? I have learned in the past that it is important to make concrete goals when planning a campaign like this, but maybe there was a different tactic to this study.

  3.  by  Jason Poulos
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    Hi Molly, Thanks for the comment. Our overall goal for SEO was just to increase awareness through search. No hard percentage figure was tied to our SEO imitative.

    However, I would advise against throwing out an arbitrary “we will increase visits by 200%” etc. As it’s almost impossible to calculate any increases like this in the planning phases of a campaign.

    If you are looking to predict increases I would first do some basic keyword research so you can calculate potential visits from Google. If you have a website that ranks on page one of Google, that result will receive about a 7% click through rate. So, if one of the keywords you are targeting has 10,000 monthly searches and through optimization you get the site on page one you can guesstimate that you will get an additional 700 visits/month from that one term…

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