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Retainer client: how Path approaches ongoing SEO (8/17-present)

Ongoing SEO takes time and commitment – but for SOME small to midsize businesses, it makes the best fiscal sense.

(Lots of) Opportunity

Business: find a solution-driven SEO expert to audit their large WordPress site for issues affecting their presence on Google – and both identify and implement solutions across all facets of search engine optimization
Technical & onsite SEO: locate, explain and solve the myriad of technical issues that were affecting this site’s Google index including lots of broken pages, keyword cannibalization, junk in the index, more. I also helped improve the site’s structure with navigational changes (avoiding redirects for the most part)
Offsite & local SEO: add & optimize offsite directories, local listings (including GMB), targeting onsite emphasis around their two Missouri locations
SEM (paid search) strategy: I don’t offer this service to clients anymore, but I delivered a complete AdWords strategy when we started – campaign & ad group input, keyword targeting, ad copy and more
Redesign & branding: I led MO Great Dane’s WordPress redesign, selected & customized the theme, working over 4 months along with two developers (leading development tasks) to build out a brand-new site with new Inventory content. The Basecamp project management tool is what really made this effort possible
Migration SEO: oversee site migration efforts from TWO old domains to the current domain. Ensure Google recognized the connection between sites (using Google Search Console)

The Way Forward

August 2017–present: When trailer company MO Great Dane sought a reliable search optimization professional, we initially contracted together mainly to resolve their technical SEO issues that they had accumulated over the years simply by having an older, large WordPress site and lots of trailer inventory & custom trailer pages.

We started working together in 2017, and from there established a great relationship with SEO work being delivered on request – including offsite SEO strategy, paid search strategy (which I no longer offer), migration SEO input on redirecting the other domains they owned, and lots more. By fixing technical SEO issues and addressing other aspects of organic & paid search, I was able to show proof of value in their SEO investment right off the bat, so that was huge.

From there, in August 2018 the business owner decided she wanted to look at a site redesign – and I pitched her on staying with the WordPress platform (since the bulk of their content was not e-commerce) and finding the right WP theme that would give them the biggest experience boost and improve look & feel with minimal customization. We had two developers available to help with the customization we did need; and the redesign effort, like most redesigns, ended up taking a LOT of effort and time, but the payoff was worth it. Basecamp is what really made this redesign effort possible – for any project that involves development and/or design work with many simultaneous tasks to juggle, I’d recommend it hands down over any other project management tool. Simple = good. 🙂

I also knew that the flexibility of the WordPress platform would be a huge advantage for this client’s scenario, both to be able to utilize plugins ( for SEO and otherwise), and to make the staging environment and redesign process as simple as we could. In this phase with MO Great Dane, the redesign took precedence over everything, but I knew with the user experience boost and onsite emphasis on reviews, among other things, the indirect benefit for SEO would be huge and we would see the needle jump up.

And if you look at the Search Console data from end of May 2019 (screenshot above), that’s exactly what happened. Yes, it took a LONG time for Google to respond to the new design but I do think that improved time on site and other engagement metrics finally paid off, in addition to getting Google to completely recognize the change on the technical side. We also redirected two different old domains they had starting in mid-January 2020 – see second screenshot – and that helped boost organic performance further.

I’ll continue adding to this case study as we go along, but overall want to show the range of what my digital consultancy can offer– not limited just to SEO – to clients where there’s a good fit for the ongoing retainer format.

9/20 UPDATE: I’ve added more complete Search Console “snapshots” – 1) 2017-present, 2) spring/summer 2020) – to show how we’ve grown this retainer client’s visibility exponentially – using the available data I have from this tool. Google Search Console data, not Analytics or other tools, is what you want to look at for the simplest, most accurate picture of organic performance.

Client Feedback

“It has been a pleasure to work with Nate. His SEO services have proven to be helpful for our website. We have seen improvements in webpage visitors, which has led to increased sales. I would highly recommend Nate. He is professional, responsive, and technically proficient.
★★★★★ ~ Laura J., Aug 11, 2018 

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Path Digital Services & Consulting