Surveillance Company SEO Case Study
+116% Organic Traffic Growth, +115% Increased Conversion Rate, & +367% Increased Goal Completions!
We doubled a surveillance company’s organic traffic, doubled their conversion rate, and tripled their number of organic leads in just 3 short months!
Want to know how we did it? Of course you do!
Let’s jump right in.
This surveillance company was a small business based out of N. Texas that had been struggling to make the jump from a local business to nationwide for some time.
They tried a number of different SEO strategies over the years to make the leap, but none ever quite came to fruition. These strategies may have been considered a “best practice” at some point in their previous 12 years of operation. However, that time was long gone which left this company with a bit of a checkered past.
There wasn’t a lot of inbound organic traffic (400 – 600 per week) and they heavily relied on it so the 50% loss they just experienced was a huge blow to their bottom line. They needed this fixed and fast or they were worried they would be forced to shut their doors.
Results of our SEO Audit
All of our new SEO clients get a comprehensive site audit right off the bat so we can fully understand the site’s history, where it stands now, and how they got from A to B.
The site was not in good shape and there was a lot of work that needed to be done.
To name a few:
- There were major keyword targeting and keyword stuffing issues.
- The content on main site was sub-par.
- Blog article content was sub-par and getting zero traction.
- Slow site and page load speeds.
- Their inbound link profile did not look completely natural.
- A quarter of their site had been updated in a re-platform while the rest looked like the old site.
- There were major conversion rate optimization (CRO) issues.
- WordPress was 20+ updates behind the latest version.
- All of their plugins were out of date.
- And much, much more.
However, these problems had been on their site for years before the drop. There wasn’t anything major enough or recent enough to account for the ~50% drop in traffic.
We needed to find the cause for this so we dug into the organic traffic to their website on a URL by URL basis. This ended up being 926 pages. The majority of which were regional pages they used to target specific geographics.
Now, these were doorway pages and Google hates doorway pages (so do we), but that wouldn’t cause an abrupt change. It would be a long, slow drop in traffic.
What we uncovered was that when a previous employee was let go, they took everything offline. Site hosting, the FTP servers, the Outlook 365 accounts, everything. They brought it all down and crippled the company for a few weeks.
When it was finally brought back online, the regional pages didn’t come back with the site since they were stored in a dedicated FTP server that stayed offline. It took Google roughly 6 months to see that those pages were now missing and stop serving them up for relevant search queries.
We found one of the culprits for the major traffic loss.
This client was very concerned about their ability to operate in the short term so time was of the essence.
We organized and prioritized the work into phases so we could hit the low hanging fruit and most important issues in phase 1.
Initial Focus Areas
- Update WordPress & plugins to help with load times.
- Get those regional pages back online.
- File all of the 301 redirects from the old pages to the new pages.
- Deal with the doorway page problem and rest of issues later.
This would allow us to solve the glaring issues first while Google crawled the website and saw that said problems were fixed while we worked on the long term priorities, i.e. updating content, fine tuning site / page load speeds, etc.
In order to accomplish that, we:
- Pulled a full list of URLs that received organic traffic on 1) the old site, 2) after the re-platform, and 3) after the site outage was restored.
- Cross checked 1st and 2nd lists with 3rd to see which pages were unaccounted for.
- Compile those pages into a 4th list for ones that needed to be recovered / rebuilt.
- Get pages in 4th list recovered / rebuilt, published, and forward facing.
- Verify that all pages had a current version live and on the website.
- Pulled existing 301 redirects from the htaccess file.
- Scrubbed that list to verify that there wouldn’t be any redirect loops or unnecessary redirects.
- Filed 301 redirects for remaining pages.
After all was said and done, we ended up with over 1,000x 301 redirects for the ~950 pages we had to rebuild from scratch. That’s right, from scratch. We couldn’t get access to that old FTP server and the client did not want to open any doors with their ex-employee.
So, we had to go to the Wayback Machine and pull the content from the last cached version and copy / paste it all manually.
We were very pleased with the results, as was the client. We were able to reclaim all of the lost traffic by the two month mark and we exceeded it by month 3.
- +116% organic traffic
- +115% conversion rate
- +366% quote requests
Unfortunately, the client opted to not move forward past phase 1 since they were satisfied with the results we got them and the direction they were going.
Even though we weren’t able to complete our full SEO strategy, we were still able to carve out some amazing gains considering the circumstances. There are some key takeaways to not overlook.
- Never, and we mean NEVER, give someone who is not in upper management full control of your website / IT infrastructure. This includes us, but we’ll never ask you for it in the first place or try to twist your arm to get it. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been with the company or how good of friends they are with whomever. Do. Not. Do. This.
- If a site or hosting outage happens, do a full site audit to make sure everything is back online. Even if it’s just for a minute or two, do yourself a favor and complete a quick 5 minute sanity check of your website. The amount of potential business this company lost in the 6 months that these pages were down make me speechless.
- Verify your 301 redirects after a re-platform. Every single URL that existing on your old platform should have a new destination URL on your new platform. There are no exceptions to this statement. You can, and will, lose a huge portion of your inbound traffic and lead / sales generation if you ignore it.
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