The Kayak Case

March 11, 2015

Client: Rowing Dock
About Rowing Dock: Rowing Dock is a kayak rental and boating company based in Austin, TX. They not only provide a unique kayaking experience, they are a fun group that we really enjoyed working with.

The Goal:
Rowing Dock was undergoing a major site redesign and needed to ensure that no search traction was lost. In addition, they wanted to enhance their website by also applying the latest SEO best practices. The following objectives were established:

  • Keeping current rankings in the search results for primary terms
  • Helping the site appear for more keywords and gain greater visibility
  • Increasing their local visibility in Google as well as local directories
  • Benchmarking the start and outcome of the site’s organic performance

What We Did:
In order to preserve and enhance the site’s organic performance, we did the following before launching the new site:

Technical Optimization – This involved behind the scene items (things visitors don’t usually see) that give search engines the ability to easily access a site’s content and begin showing a site in the search results. Technical optimization included:

  • Properly installing 301 redirects and canonicals to the right pages.
  • Ensuring proper lead tracking codes were installed.
  • Making sure the website’s robots.txt was accessible to search engines.
  • Setting up Google Webmaster Tools to address any preexisting errors.
  • Conducing our full 20-point Technical Optimization Inspection.

On-site Optimization – We examined visitor-facing items (things users can see on a website) that help search engines understand the topic of a site and its pages. These on-site optimization items included:

  • Conducting keyword research to discover which terms people were using to find services that Rowing Dock offered.
  • Identifying and implementing SEO methods that would not compromise the new site design.
  • Applying keywords strategically throughout the site to help search engines determine the topic of each page.

Local Online PR – The PR portion of the strategy included finding local resource sites where we could list the company’s local business information. Local resources help in two major ways:

  • Helping drive additional traffic to the site.
  • Providing local signals to search engines.

Together these two factors help sites show up in search engine result pages for more locally focused searches.

Why We Did What We Did:
Search engines influence commerce and traffic. In order for any site to compete in search engines, they need to follow ‘The Rules of the Web.’ These are rules or standards that are set by search engines and help websites perform better in the search results. When one of the online marketing goals is to drive traffic from search engines, which was the case for Rowing Dock, then certain technical, on-site and online PR tactics are essential for growth.

The Results:
By helping evolve Rowing Dock’s keyword and PR strategy we were able to expand their reach and user interaction on the site. Technical optimization also aided in improving search ranking, which helped generate an increase in traffic. Notable results include:

  • 122.04% increase in non-branded organic traffic*
  • 123.06% increase in new users
  • 2.08% increase in how much longer organic visitors stayed on the site
  • 9.83% performance increase in organic visitors who visited other pages once arriving on the website

*Non-branded organic traffic indicates visitors who reached the website used a keyword in a search engine that did not include the name of the brand or company URL.

What We Learned:
A site overhaul with built in SEO elements, when done correctly, can have a significant improvement in a site’s organic performance. In this case Rowing Dock’s improved SEO and design worked together to improve the site’s organic visibility and user experience. From this and other cases we’ve learned that the older the domain is, the better the site will perform in the search results. However, updates that improve the user experience must be considered in order to both engage the visitor once they click through from the SERPs and continuously improve ranking.