Following September 11, 2001, AmericanFlags.com was born to meet the growing demand to purchase American Flags online. It then became one of the largest distributors of flags online. Unfortunately, over time keyword rankings started to decline and Visiture was called upon for assistance. We had the arduous task of recovering highly sought after keyword rankings, such as “American Flags,” Military Flags,” and “US Flags.” It was determined that keyword rankings had declined for numerous reasons, and Visiture worked with AmericanFlags.com to solve this issues quickly in order to recover the series of webpages rankings for these keyword rankings.
Numerous issues existed, such as over-optimization of keyword phrases in the meta information and body content. Old SEO tactics that had been performed previously on AmericanFlags.com had begun to hurt their organic search visibility instead of helping them. The website was also suffering from both the Penguin and Panda updates in Google’s algorithm. None of this was their fault, but it was still seriously crippling their results. Ironically, they had the best content, products, and prices on the web, but due to over-optimization, Google had pushed them down the SERPs (search engine ranking positions.)
What We Did
We knew this was going to be a difficult project since both major Google algorithm updates, Penguin and Panda, were culprits in the gradual decline of organic search visibility. We executed a full on-page optimization and off-page optimization campaign for AmericanFlags.com and the results were outstanding.
Please note – all data in this case study are provided by SEMRush and Ahrefs which is available to the public at semrush.com & ahrefs.com. No confidential data or information is shared in this study.
Increase in Keyword Rankings
Increase in Top 3 Positions in Google
Increase in Top 4-10 Positions in Google
On Page Strategy & Execution.
When Visiture started our on-page optimization, we quickly realized that the meta information was far too over-optimized. Instead of imploring the best modern SEO practices, we could see keyword repetitions and over-optimization. For example, we found (Main Keyword Phrase) + (Secondary Keyword Phrase) + (Brand Name) being used on titles, which triggered Panda negative penalties.
Once we identified this problem, our on-page optimization specialists went through and worked on each category page to find the correct keywords to target, the right meta information to use, and finally the right body content to under-optimize. Once implemented, we could see fair results from these efforts.
CTAs & Audits
Lastly, we executed a full technical audit and backlink audit to correct any technical flaws and disavow any low quality links that were hurting AmericanFlags.com. We also introduced call to actions, such as “shop,” “buy,” and “#1,” on top of the meta information to increase click through rates.
Off Page Strategy & Execution.
The larger issues facing AmericanFlags.com was that they were losing good quality links overtime and the links that they used to have were counting for less due to the Google algorithm updates. With a few good quality organic links, we were able to see extraordinary results from a keyword ranking perspective. In the graphic below, we can see a large number of links achieved, but a large number of links and referring domains were lost along the way (organic is a lost link/referring domain while blue is a link/referring domain gained.)
Below Is What We Did To Reverse The Trend.
Content Research, Creation, And Promotion
Our goal simply was to get quality signals to AmericanFlags.com through high quality organic links and/or social media signals. Our first initiative was to do a thorough research of the industry and identify the best content centered around “flags.” Once our research was complete and we had a better grasp of the industry, we developed high quality content through editorial content and blog content. After this content was created, we designed it and pitched it to key websites with high keyword relevance, domain authority and social media influence. We were able to achieve high quality backlinks and social media shares, which Google in turned valued more as they did pre-2012 and the Penguin update.
Resource Building & Reverse Engineering
The second off-page initiative, in which we saw a good deal of success, was resource building and reverse engineering. Through looking at various “American Flag” content and websites, we identified several exceptional websites with high keyword relevance, domain authority, and an established social media following. These websites were the perfect entities to build relationships with and acquire high quality backlinks from. We were also able to find resources which list American Flags, but do not link to a source, which was another great place to build relationships.
The results for AmericanFlags.com were exceptional and we were able to see much traction with regards to organic keyword rankings in the Google search engine. Through our backlinks and our on-page optimization, we were able to see tangible results at each level. We started our on-page optimization initiatives in October 2015, and our off-page optimization really hit its stride after a couple months of diligent work in February 2016. After the links were indexed and had time to build authority, we were able to see very positive increases in organic keyword rankings for the keyword phrases we targeted with our content. Most importantly, we went from #5 for “American Flags” to #1, which according to Google has over 12,5000 monthly searches.
Overall, the keyword rankings for AmericanFlags.com increases dramatically across the board. Both graphs were screenshots taken from SEMRush & Ahrefs. The shot from SEMRush shows a score of keyword rankings overall (700% increase in value) and the shot from Ahrefs shows how many additional keyword rankings were achieved (45% more keyword rankings.) Across the board, we saw a gradual decline before Visiture’s SEO team came on board, and after a few months of hard work, we saw large increases.
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