Over the past years, we have reviewed more than 1,700 websites (!). In this article, I’d like to show you how our reviews helped website by highlighting some of the recommendations and how the follow-up on that resulted in increased traffic and sales. Bully Max is a very loyal customer of ours, that is using a lot of our products. Let me demonstrate how our reviews have helped them grow their business.
Please note that we don’t offer the website reviews mentioned here anymore. We do offer SEO courses and plugins to help you optimize your website! If you’re interested in more real-life examples of SEO in practice, check out our Ask Yoast Case Studies!
The website review
It all started when our friends over at Bully Max ordered a website review from us in June 2013. Their website homepage looked something like this (this is a screenshot directly from our review):
The website had a lot of potential, with the company being in a clear niche market and having a very passionate team that was willing to go the extra mile. As there is always room for improvement, they asked us to do a website review for them.
Some of the things that just had to be improved
The website had a slider, which we disliked then as much as we do now. Sliders often cause distraction from the main element of your (home)page. This could lead to a very noticeable lack of focus. There was simply too much going on.
At the moment, Bully Max’s homepage looks like this:
Create trust, great call-to-action. Remember that these vitamins for pitbulls are a rather emotional product. We’re talking about your pet here and you only want the best for your pet! Once the website has convinced you about the products, there is a clear call-to-action to go shop for your dog’s vitamins. No doubt about what the visitors should do here. Much improvement when it comes to focus.
Please note that Bully Max shifted the main product area to bullymax.com, where we reviewed the original domain of vitaminsforpitbulls.com. That website still exists, but links to the brand domain for products and more. Activities shifted from one to another website, visibility still increased for the old domain (nice job).
Of course we found more on the initial website. Looking at their product pages, we found the product descriptions were all duplicate. If you own an online shop and you’re selling products that others are selling as well, here’s an invaluable tip: write your own content. No matter how awesome your website is, you just won’t rank for your product descriptions if there are 500 other online shops with an exact copy of that description. Store owners often simply use a manufacturer’s description, for instance. This inevitably leads to duplicate content.
As I bet some of you know, we were unforgiving in our review. The final report consisted of almost 6000 words of critique. And Bully Max was ecstatic. They simply understood the value of all that we had to say and got to work. You just got to love customers like that!
The results in ranking
Bully Max considers their website an ongoing work in progress, and have told us multiple times they’re using our reviews almost on a daily basis. So, to us, the results they’re seeing isn’t much of a surprise. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make us proud. I mean, just look at it:
The traffic on their website almost tripled over that period! And that’s just traffic. Look at this Searchmetrics.com visibility chart I took today (vitaminsforpitbulls.com):
An extra to that is the chart for the new website bullymax.com (launched around the second quarter of 2015):
The increasing visibility for both websites, and the extra traffic that comes along with that, is the result of hard work on the side of Bully Max. And the willingness to take on our advice and trust what we had to say.
Bully Max asked us to dig a little deeper
We offered reviews in different flavors. The Gold review was the first step in optimizing your website. Bully Max also had us do a second, more extensive review to find even more things to improve: the Platinum review.
Here’s what their website looked like then, after a number of initial changes they did following our first review:
Bully Max added loads of content. They did a great job improving the website, and we noticed. As I mentioned earlier, there is always room for improvement, there are always some things that can be better. Their main conversion issue, which was most probably costing them sales, was their website’s responsiveness. Their website was less suited for a mobile device and to be honest, their mobile website just didn’t work at all. And that’s a big flaw, if you consider the fact that almost 50% of their traffic came from mobile.
These days, with Accelerated Mobile Pages being a hot topic, most website owners understand the need for a great mobile/responsive website. That has changed a lot over the past two years. Having said that, we still see our share of websites that are just not optimized (enough) for mobile users. If a theme is responsive, that doesn’t mean all your content is. Videos or images that just don’t scale are rather common. Don’t just believe your web developer created a mobile website, but visit your website from a mobile device from time to time, to check if all of your content nicely scales as well.
As I said, Bully Max continues to improve their website. The current design is already a lot different from the orange and black improvements they made back then, but just look at what their homepage looked like in April of 2014:
What I really like about Bully Max, is that while a design improvement is rather easy to do (switch theme, change some CSS and images, things like that), the Searchmetrics.com chart above shows that Bully Max continued to focus on content as well.
Looking at their long tail keywords, I found that vitaminsforpitbulls.com is ranking very well for specific long tail keywords:
That just means they kept a lot of focus on (new) content, while continuously testing and improving their design as well. Meanwhile, bullymax.com nails the brand-related keywords:
The homepage ranks for these keywords, but well, that is just what we mentioned in our post about branding.
The results in sales
Of course we won’t be publishing any hard numbers, but we do have approval to show you some nice percentages (March 2014). Let me show you why BullyMax is so happy with our review:
These are the increases and decreases in percentages. I’m already hearing you say: “but the average order value went down!”. Yes, it did. And that’s the only thing that went down, and not even significantly so. For the non-believers out there: the sales weren’t low to begin with, so these percentages really do mean something.
“As you can see your reviews have paid off big-time for us. Your reviews continue to inspire us daily at Bully Max. Also, your blog is now what I consider written by the dream team of SEO and internet marketing. You guys have sure put together a great team of which we read every chance we can. Sometimes I see a new awesome educating article and have to email it to Matt.”
Todd Jirecek, Director of SEO, Bully Max Inc.
As we’ve tried to show you in this post, our website reviews have had a major impact on Bully Max’s business. Please note this doesn’t just happen like that. We can’t emphasize this enough: you have to work really hard at it.
By the way, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that SEO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, is a ‘trick’. There are no settings you need to tick or untick to make your website rank or sell better. It requires genuine effort. And the payoff will taste all the sweeter for it, so go optimize!
What do you think? Are you ready to optimize?