Screaming Frog SEO
Google Search Console
ARS is a chain of home improvement & furniture stores.
By 2021, the ARS company had two online stores, divided by construction and furniture topics. They received a total of 12,000 sessions per month.
The sites were not optimized, and there was confusion in the language versions: a user who came from Google with a Ukrainian-language query ended up on a page with Russian-language content, and vice versa, a user coming from a Russian-language query landed on a Ukrainian-language page. Additionally, the site was not mobile-friendly.
Considering the situation, the brand team started to work on a new online store using the latest technologies and approached us for SEO support.
Since the new site had to be more functional, it took time to develop. During this period, together with the client's team, we created an MVP (minimum viable product) in order to start generating at least minimal sales as soon as possible.
For the creation of the MVP and further development, we prepared keyword research and catalog structure. We divided all technical tasks into three stages:
Mandatory Steps for Release
In addition, it was important to work on the redirect map from the old sites. All pages that had organic visitors were redirected to similar thematic pages on the new resource. We also enabled the site migration procedure from subdomains in Google Search Console.
The MVP release took place a few days before the New Year. By that time, the ARS team had formed its own eCommerce department. They had inconsiderable experience in eCommerce but had the opportunity to learn through practice.
The most important task was to fill the online store with products quickly.
In the existing conditions, creating a comprehensive SEO strategy that would provide the maximum result in the shortest possible time was necessary.
Firstly, we created template metadata for categories and products, as they have the greatest impact on search engine rankings.
Secondly, we implemented the ability to optimize filters in the catalog. Now we could work on categories one by one, starting with the highest priority ones.
We manually added metadata, allowed useful filters for indexing, and blocked unnecessary ones. We filled priority pages with content for search engine optimization.
In parallel with the developers, we worked on fixing technical issues.
The results: Within the first three months, organic traffic increased to 21,000 sessions. In February, we launched paid advertising channels, with Google Shopping campaigns becoming the main channel for promotion.
Before the start of our project, the ars.ua website was operating on the Magento platform, which had a significant drawback in terms of speed. Loading a single page took 8–10 seconds. This slow speed not only impacted the user experience but also had a negative effect on the site's search engine rankings.
The developers promptly addressed this issue by optimizing database queries and server configurations, resulting in a page load time of 5 seconds. While this result was not ideal, it was satisfactory at that time.
This was a critical issue that raised a logical question from the client: "Visitors are good, but where are the sales?" The conversion rate was 0.17%, while the optimal range for a construction online store is considered to be 0.4-1%. To address this situation, we analyzed the catalog, product pages, and the ordering process, and decided to make certain changes to improve the situation.
These changes allowed us to increase the conversion rate to a satisfactory level within a short period of time.
In the spring of 2020, all offline stores were closed, and most products could only be purchased online. Furthermore, at the beginning of the lockdown, Ukrainians were buying only essential items. However, the feeling of uncertainty passed in just a few weeks, and sales gradually started to increase. In such circumstances, the revamped online store saved the client's situation.
The brand quickly adapted to the new conditions and launched an informational campaign in target regions, encouraging customers to order products online. As a result, the brand's organic traffic to the website increased tenfold and maintained high levels until the end of May, when offline stores reopened.
Branded traffic refers to conversions from the Organic channel to the main page, the contact page, and the pages with store addresses.
Quarantine became the impetus that allowed to quickly increase knowledge about the ARS brand online.
We deliberately postponed work with links to the site, as we wanted to see the results of the site release first. Subsequently, they selected promising pages that could quickly get to the TOP-3 and began to strengthen them with links. The result was almost instantaneous. For example, the client's site was already in the TOP-1 in May, based on the high-frequency request "wallpaper".
External links can help the site get to the top positions. However, they will not be able to move the page from the 50th position to the first.
Micro-markup is one of the trends of 2019, which helped to increase the CTR of the site and improve the positions by increasing the textual relevance.
Together with the ARS team, we regularly monitor the position of the site and highlight pages that have the potential to grow in search results. We carefully analyze and refine the published content, metadata, FAQ section, link profile, etc.
Such a thorough analysis should be done manually only for selected pages with high demand. It is unprofitable for all pages. After all, the specialist's time can cost more than the potential profit from the page.
Over the year, organic traffic to the ars.ua website grew fivefold. The Organic channel became profitable, and the profit from the channel exceeded the costs of SEO.
Key Success Factors
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