It’s case study time and I’m fired up about it.
A few reasons really.
First, this one worked, and continues to work.
Second, it’s easy to implement and takes the idea of “SEO” – a term which sounds technical and scary – and makes it easy to work with.
Third, this is a case study that applies to artists, print studios and art galleries alike, so everyone reading this can immediately use this technique to grow your traffic.
Before I jump into this, let’s set the table and introduce our case study procedure.
We generate an idea to test, we contact an ASF customer ( aka the guinea pig ) and pitch them on it. We state the goals and the timeline, then we implement it. We report back here on the blog, whether its a failure and or success, with hard numbers and the actual steps taken.
This time, I got in touch with a photographer named Michael Winsor.
Michael Winsor is a Newfoundland based fine art photographer. In addition to having a funny accent (I kid, I kid) and being a great photographer, he is quite remarkable at driving traffic to his site with Facebook…but that’s a post for another day.
Like most artists out there, Michael had not done any SEO to his site.
I mean not even the basics.
For Mike, and many others, the whole concept of SEO was and is daunting and understandably so. SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of optimizing one’s website via page titles, descriptions and keywords, and it can get really complicated.
Yet, like any other discipline, once you have a basic understanding and break it down a bit it’s not so tough.
My hypothesis was simple:
Doing basic SEO to Michael’s site will result in a big improvement to organic search traffic.
We are going to do basic keyword research, optimize all of his pages, and then measure how those changes effect his organic traffic over time. More specifically, I was hoping to see a 50% increase in his overall organic traffic measured over a period of three months.
We are going to be looking specifically at organic traffic, which means search traffic. Not from your Facebook page, not from links you promoted in your marketing emails, but that traffic that comes from folks searching Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines and finding your site as a result of those searches.
Let’s pull up Google Analytics and take a look at a few ways to view and track this traffic.
So, that’s the idea of the experiment and how we’ll measure our results. Let’s see what happens to Michael’s organic traffic after we implement the site changes.
First, I did some basic keyword research and in Mike’s case, this was easy as he has a focused niche.
In Michael’s case, he is landscape photographer from Newfoundland and Labrador. All of his images are feature Newfoundland and Labrador.
I just ran some Google searches with his desired keywords – “Newfoundland and Labrador,” “Fine art photography,” “Landscape photography,” etc. and took a look at the results.
I also paid attention to the autocomplete searches that popped up when I began typing these keywords into Google.
Well, that was it. We picked some keywords that had some traction already (read: that return many search results) and went for it.
Wait…That’s it? You literally kept it that simple?
But, but, I thought keyword research was a SCIENCE! Something you should pay a professional to do, or spend weeks reading in-depth articles to get to the bottom of!
Let me be the first to tell you.
It certainly is!!!! And it very well might be worth investing your time and energy in doing so.
Yet that’s not what I am doing here today. We are not setting out to win the Super Bowl today, or even make the playoffs (playoffs?!), we are just trying to win a regular season game.
Let’s get the first win and then move up from there. The important part is to get something done and see how you do. Even doing basic keyword research, thinking logically about what somebody looking to buy art, or print services, etc might search and then going for it will do.
Alright… back to what we did.
It was time to implement the keywords we researched. As for the “how,” we’ve already blogged about how to do it on your ASF site, and it’s the same steps regardless of what site you have, so check out that post for the full walkthrough.
What page titles and meta descriptions did we use for his site?
Sorry, but I’m not going to tell you.
Instead, I am going to show you a handy little app that enable you to see for yourself! This is an app that you should use, and it’s one that we use to study how others have optimized their pages.
It’s called the Moz Bar, and it works as a browser extension with both Chrome and Firefox. While there’s certainly other applications like it out there, this is the one we use and love.
Let me show you how this thing works in action.
So go download it, and use it during your keyword research to study the competition and get creative ideas of what others are doing. Remember to keep it simple, and aim to win the first game, not the playoffs. You can always do crazier keyword research down the line.
So, Michael and I did the research, and implemented all of our keywords and meta descriptions. Next we had to wait. You’ll want to give your optimized pages a bit of time to gain some traction, but then comes the fun part.
A couple of months down the road, let’s see how we did.
All of the SEO changes outlined in this post were made on September 15th, 2015, so we are only about 2.5 months into this test at the time of publishing this post. Here’s what happened. (You can click the below image to enlarge it).
Okay, so in the image above, you will notice our traffic source is filtered to organic only – this is the trick I showed you with the first video up top – and that first arrow on the left marks the day we implemented the changes. Out of respect of the artist, I have blurred out his conversions and sales from the report.
We got a nice little bump on this, right? Let’s dive deeper into the numbers.
139 to 537 and climbing? I would say we did better than 50% increase here! (More like 286%, but who’s counting.)
Let’s put those results into real numbers to give them some teeth.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that organic traffic on Mike’s site converts at 2%. Let’s also say that the average sale is $125 and that the rest of the year organic traffic will stay at what it was for Nov. Grab a napkin and pen for some quick math…
139 session a month x 12 months = 1668 sessions x 2% conversion rate x average sale amount = $4,170.00 (pre-SEO)
537 session a month x 12 months = 6444 sessions x 2% conversion rate x average sale amount = $16,110.00 (post-SEO)
Organic was worth $4,170 in sales for the year and now its worth $16,110.00 per year? And it really only took a few hours of work?
…It’s probably a good idea to implement these changes.
What’s better still, is that as Google takes time to crawl these pages further, that 537 number of November will likely only grow. Perhaps I should have titled the post “5 hours or work for an additional 11k in revenue per year. Are you in?”
Seriously though, this is a basic task to complete. Anybody can do it.
It will increase your organic traffic, and if you have a site properly setup for conversions (If you’re an ASF customer, you do), then you will convert at a decent clip on your new traffic.
Moreover, as general rule of thumb, organic traffic is a much higher-converting source of traffic than others sources out there.
In the example above Mike has done really well here. He might look at the increase in retail sales and say its worth bringing in an SEO specialist to really take things to the next level. An investment he can now feel comfortable in making.