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How Improving User Experience Helped Double Organic Traffic: A SEO Case Study

industry
tools

Google Search Consols

Ahrefs
Screaming Frog SEO Spider

GTmetrix

PageSpeed Insights

industry
tools

Google Search Consols

Ahrefs
Screaming Frog SEO Spider

GTmetrix

PageSpeed Insights

content

The Client 

apteka24.ua is an online service for the sale and delivery of certified medicines. An order can be placed with home delivery, as well as self-pickup in one of the brand's 20 pharmacies or 1,500 partner pharmacies.

The Challenge

Double the organic traffic to your website in 6 months using search engine optimization tools and improving customer service on the website.

Initial Data 

We have a successful long-term cooperation experience with the apteka24.ua team. Previously, we have already had a case on how together we took the site out of the filter, completely changed the approach to content creation and reached + 80% growth in organic traffic.

For the first half of 2021, the teams had a new goal - to double the results. As in 2020, we planned to achieve this through user care: we continued to improve the quality of content and the convenience of the website.


“Although we did not get the desired result immediately, it was obvious that this was a matter of time. We decided a long time ago that the most important thing for us is customer experience. It is impossible to win against an algorithm that is constantly learning. Now a SEO expert first of all thinks about how to improve customer experience each day by at least 1%. The better your service, the more loyal your customers. The more loyal the customers, the more clicks you get on your links. The more often users click on your links, the better the behavioral factors, and therefore more traffic.”

Yurii Goncharov
CEO apteka24.ua

“Guys, it seems that we have been working together for a decade already. Although in fact we started at the beginning of 2020 - the beginning of the pandemic and the first quarantine. Together we were able not only to get out from under the sanctions, but also regularly set records for our website traffic. Here is another record - and another case. And how many more to come!”

Aleksandr Kirillov
CMO apteka24.ua

Solution

Before the start of the project, we understood that the final results may depend on factors that we can’t influence, for example Google updates. However, for our part, we could make the site convenient, useful and of high quality both for our users and search engines.

1. Internal site optimization

Together with the apteka24.ua team, we carried out the following work to optimize the website:

  • implemented new page types, taking into account the requirements of YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) and E-A-T (Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness);
Search for medicines by active substance

  • added a search by active substance, which allows you to select a medicine that contains the desired substance;
  • created portal pages for drug trade names;

Example of an optimized portal page

  • created a drug guide for pregnant and lactating mothers, as they are the ones with the most severe restrictions;
  •  the apteka24.ua team analyzed questions from search engine users and added doctors' answers to the most popular questions;
  • almost completely implemented the Ukrainian version of the site;
  • completely redesigned the reviews page: now users have the opportunity to leave real reviews with photos/videos and ratings. Created a special motivation system for comments.

*E-A-T is criteria for assessing the quality of the site in the guide for assessors in Google. (Google assessor is an employee who takes part in evaluating the quality of the site and its compliance with user requests. The assessment of the assessor affects the ranking of the site in search results). According to Google, pages or sites may be considered YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) if they "have the potential to affect an individual's future happiness, health, financial stability, or security." Google has extremely high quality standards for YMYL pages (and sites). The most important criterion for evaluating YMYL pages is E-A-T. The E-A-T rating is introduced by Google to prevent the spread of misinformation, inaccurate or malicious content.

To encourage users to leave reviews, the apteka24.ua team has developed a special motivation system where they give bonus points - “carrots” for each comment. So on the pages of the project new unique user-generated content began to appear on an ongoing basis.

We optimized product cards:

  • highlighted the main properties of substances;
  • added links to the pages of active substances and pages of trade names;
  • expanded the description;
  • improved the usability of pages by adding the content of the instruction with the ability to jump to the part of interest;

In addition, we analyzed both Ukrainian players and the leading brands of the Western market. We analyzed the key queries that have the greatest traffic potential. That helped us identify the types of pages with high traffic potential (all categories, product pages, portal pages).

An example of pages with high traffic potential:

  1. Dexamethasone - frequency 135000;
  2. Azithromycin - frequency 74000;
  3. Paracetamol -  frequency 74000;
  4. Ibuprofen - frequency 60500;

We worked out the content, made it more useful for users and relevant for search engines. The main task was not just to attract more traffic to the site, we needed to make it even more informative and user-friendly.

An example of an optimized high-traffic page "Antipyretics for children"

2. Improvement of customer service

Customer service plays one of the most significant roles for apteka24.ua. And since customer care is based solely on the human factor, the client paid great attention to the team: 90% of the staff of the call center was updated, the requirements for the selection and adaptation of personnel were changed, the motivation system was improved, a new CRM system and transparent dashboards for employees were developed.

To improve the client experience of interacting with the site, the apteka24.ua team carried out a large amount of work:

• added a free chat with an experienced pharmacist;

• redesigned the checkout page and removed the purchase in 1-click. Through experience, the client's team determined that it was this button that created a useless load on the call center and did not allow quick confirmation of orders;

• made a strategic decision not to call customers. The call center contacts the client only if they themself asked for it on the checkout page;

• improved the relevance of search results on the site (finalized the dictionary of synonyms, processing of typos, etc.);

• expanded the range of products for the loyalty program, now there are more than 4,000 items.

3. Taking into account Google Core Web Vitals Update Ranking Factors

While working on the project, we took into account Google updates and their possible consequences. The Core Web Vitals update included the introduction of new resource quality assessment factors and was scheduled for May 2021. It was important for us to have time to implement all the planned changes before the update takes effect.

The Core Web Vitals score is based on three metrics:

LCP - main content download speed (Largest Contentful Paint);

FID - waiting time before the first interaction with the content (First Input Delay);

CLS - stability of layout and elements that do not interfere with interaction with content (Cumulative Layout Shift).

That's why, along with the scheduled tasks, we also worked to increase the site loading speed.

By May 2021, we managed to implement almost all the changes and continued to work on the convenience of functionality and improvement of behavioral factors.

4. Intermediate results

For 7 months of work on the project, we failed to achieve the long-awaited x2 growth in organic traffic. The reason for not achieving the desired performance was that Google was postponing the update, and, as a result, launched it in two stages. The first part was rolled out in June, and the second in July and August 2021.

PageSpeed Insights loading speed after Google Core Web Vitals Update

Traffic dynamics after the first update

We continued to work hard on the chosen strategy. We have done a lot of work to improve customer service. In the meantime, the guys from Promodo worked on optimizing the content on the priority types of pages: they added a FAQ page and expanded the description. And, of course, we built up a high-quality link profile. These are not all tasks. But they perfectly show what SEO is in our understanding.

Yurii Goncharov
CEO apteka24.ua

Dynamics of building a link profile for 11 months

5. Impact of Google November Core Update on promotion results

On November 17, 2021, Google released a core update, and on November 18, we got an instant +60% increase in organic traffic. Within a week, the desired results were achieved, and the project received record traffic figures per day.

Traffic dynamics after the update in November

6. Results

As a result of the well-coordinated work of the teams and adherence to the strategic plan, we managed to achieve the desired indicators - to double the organic traffic to the site in 10 months. We were able to improve the visibility of the site across the main page types in the following ways:

• categories: for positions in the TOP-1, an increase of 38%;

• analogues: for positions in the TOP-1, an increase of 8% and TOP-3 by 31%;

• review pages: for positions in the TOP-1, an increase of 21%;

• product cards: for positions in the TOP-5, an increase of 11%.

Website visibility dynamics at positions in TOP 1-3, TOP 4-10

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