Implementing an effective and well thought out SEO strategy is not an easy task, but e-commerce projects cannot ignore it. Despite many other ways to attract users to your site, there is still nothing that compares to the power inherent in SEO tactics.
In this case, we will tell you how we have tripled the search traffic of a pharmacy network in six months.
Client: federal network of pharmacies. It has offline pharmacies in more than 50 regions of Russia and an online pharmacy. According to the signed NDA, we cannot name the client’s brand, so it will appear in the case under the name “Pharmacy Chain”.
purpose: Increase in search traffic of online pharmacy.
Start of cooperation: July 2020.
The first step is to audit the current situation
When it comes to increasing search traffic, you can’t do without a full SEO audit. That is why we started with him. What was done:
- collection of the semantic core / analysis of positions and site visibility in several regions / identification of the main competitors;
- competitive analysis of leading sites in the subject area;
- technical analysis of the site;
- analysis of the commercial properties of the site and comparison with competitors;
- building the site structure;
- analysis of texts and meta tags;
- link analysis and comparison with competitors.
What is important for search engines
If a site sells goods or offers services, then commercial factors come to the fore for it and become the most important direction in SEO-promotion. There are many commercial factors that affect both user loyalty and search engines’ opinion of the site and the business behind an online project. Among them: information about the company, detailed descriptions of goods, payment methods, reviews, feedback forms, certificates and official documents, ratings, related products, and so on.
During the audit, it was revealed that the client’s site is significantly weaker than its competitors in terms of the commercial component. On the pages of the main sections of the catalog, for example, “Medicines and dietary supplements”, there were no showcases and links to products, there were no blocks with advantages on the main page and on the pages of products, there was no functionality for filtering by product parameters so familiar to users, there was no block with reviews provides information on the availability of goods and on the methods of payment.
Shortcomings in the technical part of the site
In the technical part, the main shortcomings at the time of the audit were:
- the product catalog was placed not on the main domain, but on a third-level subdomain;
- incorrect sitemap.xml file (many broken links and links with redirects);
- a large number of duplicate pages;
- weak internal linking;
- use of SEO texts;
- the presence of blank pages due to the incorrect operation of the mechanism for determining the region.
Accelerating communication with the client
We have prepared the necessary recommendations for finalizing the site, determined what tasks need to be solved, and prioritized them.
To synchronize actions and convenient interaction with the client and its developers, it was decided to conduct all communication in the client’s task manager (the Asana service was used).
This has become one of the most effective solutions. Firstly, in this task manager, the client has already worked with technical support. Secondly, as an SEO contractor, we had the opportunity to communicate directly with the development, recording all recommendations and comments in one place.
The use of the task manager made it possible to promptly answer the client’s questions and check the completed tasks, which accelerated the processes of working with the project.
Start of work
At the time of the beginning of cooperation, the number of clicks from search engines was approximately at the level of 25,000 clicks per day.
According to the collected core of requests, the site had 0% visibility in both search engines in the Moscow region.
Due to low visibility, the site was not included in the rating of the leaders of the topic. Meanwhile, the leaders of the topic had a visibility of 30% to 50% and occupied positions in the TOP-15 of the rating.
In the first three months, duplicate pages were eliminated, broken links and SEO texts from product pages were removed, which could serve as a reason for sanctions from search engines.
The main problem was the lack of a showcase of goods on the pages of the sections, in particular, on the page “Medicines and dietary supplements” there were only links to subsections, for example, to the pages “Allergy” or “Analgesics and antispasmodics”.
Below is an example of how section pages were previously implemented:
One of the main SEO tasks was to place the showcase in the headings of the product catalog.
Products were displayed on the pages, and links to subsections and categories were shifted to the left, as is usually done in most online stores.
Below is an example of a section page after implementing our guidelines:
Despite the fact that due to the internal reasons of the project, we were not able to immediately implement a convenient option for side navigation through the catalog sections, even the introduction of the recommendation in this form gave a significant increase in positions, and this, in turn, influenced the growth of traffic from search engines …
As a result, in the first three months of cooperation, we managed to achieve an almost twofold increase in search traffic from 25,000 to 55,000 hits per day.
Page speed has been considered one of the leading search engine optimization ranking factors for many years. Search engines want to make the Internet more convenient for users, and fast loading pages help in this.
For example, three years ago, Google announced a search engine algorithm update focused on the speed of mobile page loading, which began to affect sites in July 2018. That is why we paid special attention to work on speeding up page loading.
By this time, the robots.txt file was adjusted, which made it possible to get rid of duplicates and service pages, as well as the status of the availability of goods in pharmacies was displayed on the storefront and product pages, and the “Payment” and “Reviews” pages were created.
Moving the directory to the main domain and a new traffic spurt
But still a big problem was that the catalog of goods was placed on a subdomain of the third level, while all the leaders of the topic placed the catalog inside the main domain of the site.
Moving from a subdomain to the main site turned out to be not only a technical challenge for developers, but also a legal one.
After six months of cooperation, when the main recommendations were implemented, work began on transferring the catalog to the main domain. They took place under our supervision. Frankly, we were very worried that something would go wrong, and the achieved results in traffic growth would be lost. But the fears were in vain. All the necessary preparations were implemented and tested in advance. The move went without any problems.
As a result of the transfer of the catalog, there was another increase in positions in both search engines, which allowed the site to approach the TOP-10 in the ranking of the leaders of the subject.
At the end of March 2021, in the Moscow region, the site was in 11th place in the rating of the leaders of the subject.
For six months of work, the site, which had zero visibility in search engines, turned out to be one of the leaders in the “Pharmacy” topic. This proves once again that it is not enough to be a cool business offline, you still need to correctly implement it online.
During the first six months of work, the total visibility of the site in the Moscow region increased from 1% to 19% (visibility was estimated on the semantic core of ~ 7,000 queries).
Search traffic in six months increased from about 25,000 to 74,000 clicks per day, that is, almost three times, and continues to improve to this day.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to enable both search engines and users to solve their problems quickly and easily. Search engines can easily index a site and determine its usefulness for users. And users can find the products they need quickly and conveniently. This goal can only be achieved through the close-knit teamwork of three main players: business, web development, and SEO.