About the eCommerce brand
Zen Medicinal is an eCommerce brand that started selling products online in late May of 2019.
They’re a holistic health brand that sells a natural herbal supplement called ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha has multiple physical and mental health benefits that help with things like muscle growth, sleep quality, hormone levels, sexual performance, low energy, feeling depressed, and experiencing anxiety.
The goal of the SEO campaign was simple.
To build brand awareness and drive traffic to their website with keywords related to their sole product, their ashwagandha capsules.
- It was a brand new website so Google didn’t trust the authority of the site
- The site sells an ingestible herbal supplement that has health implications. Health websites, in particular, have additional changes to be ranked highly in Google thanks to the “Medic” update and FDA regulations on anything labeled a “supplement, cosmetic, or a food”
- The store is built on Shopify which is a CMS where there are limitations on the customizability of the URL structure
My job was to take the website from zero search traffic to something noteworthy.
My SEO campaign
My SEO process is pretty straightforward and and mainly involves:
- Keyword research
- Technical SEO
- Content creation
For this brand, I did several months of SEO work, mostly between August and December of 2019.
I optimized all the pages on their website in addition to publishing 10 blog posts.
No further content creation or optimization was done for the website between January and October of 2020 so the results from this case study are all from the initial SEO campaign.
These are the results for the top 10 pages on the site for the last 12 months:
I started off my keyword research with this brand a bit differently than I usually do. They were pretty active on Twitter so I took a look at their social activity and social activity around the keywords I was interested in and looked at the actual thoughts, concerns, and questions people had about the herb.
I then used those details to help me come up with different long term phrases around the main keywords itself.
Since the website was brand new, I focused on terms with lower keyword difficulty (competition factor) than other terms. It’s almost impossible for sites that are brand new or have very low authority to rank well for high competition keywords.
Technical SEO is a critical aspect of getting a website to rank well on Google that many companies neglect.
Without your technical SEO in order, your content strategy is already doomed to fail.
It’s a prerequisite to having a website that’s successful on Google search engine results.
Improving the website speed
The first thing I did for the website was check the template/theme and make sure that it wasn’t bogging down the site too much.
I used the Shopify app ‘Crush.pics’ image optimizer to optimize all the images on the website. Not having images at the right sizes could can hurt website speed.
I also used GTMetrix to check the website speed and see any glaring errors or issues affecting the speed.
Fixing broken links and no-indexing
I used the Shopify apps ‘Sitemap & NoIndex Manager’ and ‘SEO Manager’ to address any issues with broken links by detecting them and making the proper changes.
I was able to set up redirects as well as no-index unnecessary pages. Things like FAQs, Terms of Service, and Privacy Policies should be no-indexed so they don’t get indexed.
You want Google to focus on high-value pages that fulfill people’s search intent, not miscellaneous and thin pages like the ones mentioned above.
Optimizing existing pages
Based on the keyword research done earlier on, you want to audit the current pages on your website and optimize them.
Depending on the analytics available, you can look at what terms a page is naturally ranking for in Google Search Console in addition to keyword research using tools like ahrefs or SEMrush.
This doesn’t just mean blog posts but also includes any landing pages, the homepage, and the product pages.
I made sure every page was optimized for:
- Meta title and meta description
- H1 tag (title) and H2 tag (subheading)
- Product image alt-text
- Keyword spread throughout the content on the page
The actual content creation was my typical process for blogging. I already had the keyword research done and part of that is to look at competitor results on the first page of Google and review their content.
It gives me an idea of the level my content needs to be at or surpass to rank well.
After publishing the articles I distributed them on social media and then gave them time to do their work.
The first article was published in May of 2019 and articles were written regularly a couple times a month after that until January.
The site had some quick wins with receiving its first sales form organic search but the real progress didn’t come til months after I started publishing the content.
You can see from the Google Analytics results that the initial results didn’t even start to come in until January going into February.
Between February and October of 2020, the 10 articles I wrote brought in a combined 10,796 users from organic search results.
These results are an example of the nature of SEO when it’s done properly. It truly compounds and gains value over time.
The numbers also offer a couple of other insights:
- It took a few months to really start seeing noteworthy results. SEO is not a quick fix or a magic bullet
- Despite no new content being published after January of 2020, the website continued to get traffic and grow organically off the strength of the content itself
Imagine if the content creation and search optimization had continued on a further and more consistent basis?
The compounding growth that search optimized content can provide is extremely powerful.
If you’re interested in finding out how to to get SEO results for your website, contact me for a free consultation.