Roofing SEO Case Study: 4,342% Traffic Increase
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) still rules! This local SEO case study will prove how we move from nothing to increase organic traffic in just six (6) months. It features one of our clients, a roofing company. Currently, we can see that RoofCrafters have gained about 4,342.44% more organic traffic and a decreasing bounce rate compared to the previous period.
Furthermore, increasing organic traffic implies that the site has top keywords. These keywords are ranking on the first page of search engines. Below is an example of topping as number one (1) in local search results (Rank 1 in Local 3-Pack):
How did it happen?
We started out with facing 13 ultimate site issues…
- Increasing Bounce Rate. At the start of the campaign, RoofCrafters had about 79.09% bounce rate on its main landing page, which was the homepage.
- Non-Secure Site. The site had a fill-in form to be accomplished by users in order to get a free quote, but the site was under HTTP (it seems like users are not safe to share information).
- Empty Landing Page. The homepage was identified as the main landing page. The landing page is the initial page where users have to start, yet this page looks empty. If you landed on an empty landing page, what do you do?
- HTML Improvements. This includes meta titles, descriptions, and headings. Using the Google search console, it showed that this site truly needed huge changes since those elements are not optimized, actually this site does not have headings.
- No sitemap. From the beginning of this campaign, the site started with no sitemap, which gave birth to crawling issues. As per initial check, most of the pages were not indexed.
- Missing Alt Tag on Images. Based on the initial check, some of the site images didn’t have alternate text or alt text which describes what is in the image and its function on the site.
- Non-Responsive website. In this digital era, it’s truly hard to have a site that is not mobile friendly. It ends up with high bounce rates, like what happened to this site.
- Slower Loading Speed. Initial loading speed of this site was about 5.02 seconds, which is much slower compared to other sites.
- No Microdata Schema. Having structured data is essential, especially if you are targeting locally. The search engine needs to know more data about the site. This can also help increase the search results click-through rate (CTR).
- Site errors. Who wants to be landed on a broken page or a 404? Initially, this site has about 1000+ not found pages.
- Internal Links not Optimized. Internal links are links pointing to the relevant pages of the same site. It helps in the main navigation of the site by leading the user to a relevant page. In the case of this site, it didn’t use valuable pages to connect with relevant pages.
- Low Offsite Links. The site had initial backlinks of 23. That’s one of the reasons why it didn’t maximize its rankings on the first page.
- Unlisted in Local Citation. If a site wants to rank locally, it should not ignore local SEO. And this site is not ranking locally. Additionally, it does not claim or include its site in local citation sources i.e. Google Business.
How we solve the issues and leverage the website?
As a result of initial site analysis using search console, SEMRUSH, Screaming Frog and SEOSiteChecker, those ultimate issues resurfaced and we started to optimize the site with the following:
Ranking Locally on Google
Owning a business locally means that you’re fully aware that more and more people are turning to Google to search for services they need (in this case, roofing services). And when we speak about ranking for Google’s local search, experts mean two places:
- Map listings: where you can get 33% of clicks on any type of search.
- Organic listings: where the first page of the results gets 44%.
Fortunately, most of the work that gets done in the map listings also carries over to how well you succeed in the organic listings.
For this reason, we had our eyes set on optimizing the two correctly, so Roof Crafters can be easily found on both the map listings and the organic listings.
Proximity: Google ranks and displays your local business depending on how close your services are to a particular searcher. [insert screenshot]
Google My Business Optimization: The first step was to make sure that Roof Crafters Google My Business Account didn’t already exist, because Google relies on user-submitted information. If you find none, you should go ahead and claim your Google My Business listing.
Citations: These are mentions of a company’s brand anywhere on the internet. They usually come in:
- Directory listings (for Roof Crafters, we made use of White Spark)
- Social media profiles
- Relevant post comments, etc.
Major Site Redesign
It was identified through A/B testing that users have a hard time navigating and using the site. Furthermore, it needs to leverage the power of its website for conversion and be competitive in its industry. As a result of analysis and experimentation, a major website redesign was proposed and implemented.
Below is the comparison of the old and new website design.
The new site is totally different. It’s not empty anymore. The homepage which was considered as the landing page now welcomes you with the technology and the modern superheroes of RoofCrafters which depicts the authenticity and reliability of their offers.
Aside from answering the usage and navigation issues. Its newer face helps in answering the increasing bounce rate issues. It totally showcases what RoofCrafters stand for through adding vital content, i.e. an introductory text about the company and its unique offers.
From HTTP to HTTPS
The site has a form that gathers user information and yet it was not secured. And this is alarming in our part. Additionally, we all know that Google has campaigned on HTTPS and it can boost ranking. To answer security or future website attacks, moving to HTTPS is truly a must. And that’s what was done on this site.
The positive gains that we have is proof that switching to HTTPS contributes in increasing the rankings. If you are still believing that switching can cause lots of troubles, like destroying all your SEO efforts and causing duplicates, then you are truly now behind the competition.
And in the end, it can leave your website prone to attacks. So, don’t believe in myths, move on to HTTPS now.
Aside from redesign and https, we also worked on onsite optimization.
A straightforward question will go this way: “Why do you have a website for if it’s not visible in the search engine?” or “How can a website attract users if it’s not ranking on search engines?” Typically, answers will go this way: “I can set up ads to promote my website.”, “I can promote it through social media”, I can send it through prospects customers “, or there are lots of ways. There are many ways to gain traffic, but did you know that the most effective way is through SEO?
This is not just about gaining backlinks, it also involves onsite optimization which is fixing and maximizing the internal elements of a website. A website redesign or securing the site is not enough to maximize a website’s worth.
We definitely made a move in improving the following: HTML improvements, adding site-maps, putting an alt-tag on images, fixing the site errors and working on its internal links.
For HTML improvements, we make sure that we have convincing meta titles and descriptions. One main ultimate secret in creating an awesome copy: “think that it will be read by humans and not by bots”.
It is also essential to do an audit if all of the pages have unique and compelling titles and descriptions. Don’t forget to structure the website content by adding significant headings. This is not just for SEO purposes only, but it works as “elements of persuasion”.
Don’t Forget the Sitemap
At this phase, we also make sure that the site has a sitemap. Why do we need a sitemap? It’s simple. It makes your website more visible on Google along with other search engines. A website’s sitemap serves as the table of contents. A sitemap is especially necessary if your site:
- Contains dynamic pages
- Lacks a concrete internal link structure
- Is new or has very few external links
- Has lots of pages and other archived content that isn’t well-liked.
Adding the Missing Alt Tag
It was also identified that some of the images have missing alt-tags. So, we made sure that it has appropriate alt tags.
Alt tags are image descriptions. These are the words that Google bots pick up, and thanks to the coding that surrounds them, these bots can recognize what the image is about and rank them accordingly.
Images that appear on Google’s search engine results are ranked based off of the alt tags assigned to them. Also, Alt tags are what are shows to a site visitor if the browser fails to render the image completely, for some reason.
Just always remember that in adding an alt tag, it must describe what the image is all about and its function in the site.
Fixing the Site Errors
Aside from missing alt-tags, it was also identified that the site had ‘not found’ or 404 pages. Simply answer the question: “Would you want your visitors to land on an empty page?”.
We have added a 301 redirect here, moving a 404 page into a relevant (alike) page. Emphasis on ‘relevant.’ A 404 page cannot be simply redirected immediately to the homepage, we should find a similar page. If you’re a user and you’re searching about SEO and you’ve landed on a social media redirected page, would it make sense?
Adding Internal Links…
We also worked on the internal connections within the site, the internal links. This is like fixing the wires within your house or a building. We want to want to make sure that a user can easily go to a relevant page.
Aside from helping in navigation, it also defines the hierarchical structure of a website. It also supports the page authority and ranking power distribution within the site. And one major tip for adding this: just add it naturally.
Using Schema Markup
Who wouldn’t want to have an accurate representation? All websites aim to be acknowledged correctly. With schema markup, you can send the appropriate signals about your website. It includes the basics: what’s the website all about, and vital information — like contact numbers.
From 5s to 1s
With the aim of decreasing the bounce rate, we make sure that the site can load within a second or less. And that’s what we did with this site.
Working with responsive web design is not just about setting trends. It conveys the accessibility of your website on all platforms and that’s what we did with RoofCrafters.
The primary reason for creating a mobile-friendly version of RoofCrafters is because of Google’s mobile-first indexing. Official stats have reported that the number of people surfing the internet on their mobile phones has outpaced desktop usage. This was Google’s response.
The mobile version of a website is the starting point for what Google will include in its index. In addition, this serves as the baseline to how they determine rankings.
And even with a responsive website, you need to prioritize your page speed and load time too, along with other visual content.
To get the full potential of the website, it is not enough to work only on the internal side. For this site, we make sure that we can gain valuable links and be included in local listing sites.
To further capture off-site opportunities, we started with backlinks analysis and did a competitive analysis through SEMRUSH.
For the local listings, we made use of Whitespark. Its citation technology is truly awesome. You will have an opportunity to be listed with the top 50 citation sources.
RoofCrafters is a local site that has multiple locations (8 locations). It is essential that the data should be accurate. It’s simply following the NAP (name, address, phone) rule or having the following:
Doing local citation for multiple locations:
- It will have the same business name or company name.
- Use the precise address like: include the suite number, street address, building name, not just encoding a broad city name.
- Have a unique local phone or contact number for each location.
- Each location must have a dedicated page on your website.
- Follow each citation sites guidelines; for example, to be listed on Google they have guidelines for representing your business.
- It’s essential to consistently fill-in accurate data from one location to another.
- Make sure to have complete (100%) details for each location.
Link-building in local citations aren’t the number one ranking factors, but as evidenced in our methods, we acknowledge the importance of it. The other ways of link building we’ve done are:
- Broken link building: Each broken link present in a website presents more than one link opportunity. We reach out to websites, inform the owners, and replace them with equally relevant links that would benefit Roof Crafters.
- Content repurposing: This is an evergreen tactic that we have made use of as well. A single piece of content can be redistributed and repurposed into visual content. They can also be broken down to very specific pieces of content.
- Guest posting: Guest blogging is just as effective as it used to be. We do it with sites that are topically relevant to Roof Crafters. Plus, we created blog posts that are detailed, comprehensive, and high-quality.
Best Key Takeaways
Overall, working with this site was fun and challenging. There were lots of issues at the start, but it makes us face lots of opportunities: from learning to discovering what we can improve within the campaign. And below, we’ve listed the best key takeaways from this campaign.
Starting with this campaign, it is ideal to know what your brand opportunities or website opportunities are. Identifying these opportunities come from defining your business goals, target market, and your business performance.
It is simply answering: “Why do I need a website for my business?”.
Do a Site Audit.
In our SEO process, this is one of the most important actions that need to be done before starting the campaign. At this stage, you will uncover the reasons why the website failed to convert. It basically tackles UX (user experience) issues and other technical challenges.
This can be understood by answering this question: “Why should my website need to meet my goals?”
You can do a competitive analysis through SEMRUSH. Doing a competitive analysis can help you identify your external opportunities (i.e. strategies). Aside from the external opportunities, it can aid you in discovering how competitors are capturing their audiences.
In SEO, when you think of competitive analysis, it’s like answering: “Why are my competitors ranking?”
Make a Feasible Plan.
From the identified opportunities, it’s time to work on a plan. This plan should follow a smart (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time-bound) goals.
In our case, we have a To-do list for the project that identifies the opportunities and improvements to be done, who will do it, and of course, when the deadline will be. We always make sure that we beat these deadlines.
Implement for the Users.
When working on strategy implementation, it is significant to think about the users; even in adding a meta title, thinking about how your targets would react if they read that kind of copy. This is also vital, especially when you are working for the content, always consider how the bots will see your site.
Your target audience is always the priority.
Measure and Analyze.
Either you are using a free tool like Google Analytics or a paid tool in measuring your SEO efforts, this process is always a must. This will tell you if you are on the right track or if you need to change your plan.
In SEO, we believe that Kaizen (a Japanese philosophy which means change for the better), is also applicable. It is not enough to STOP when you have positive results. A website needs continuous improvements. There are still opportunities that need to be discovered.
It is simply not an overnight success. It involves a series of processes.
This local SEO case study is one of the proofs that search engine optimization is still alive. It is not just all about gaining links or rankings. Dealing with SEO is about answering: “What’s the purpose of your site?”
Therefore, I leave this question for you: “Why does your site exist?”
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