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It’s Christmas at DadShop.com.au

The online gift store case study illustrating a best practice search engine marketing strategy in the lead up to the festive season

The DadShop.com.au experience commenced 18 months ago when the business entered the online space with their store Dad Shop.com.au – selling an extensive range of gifts for men applicable to every occasion. The store targets the sophisticated male market and moves away from the traditional “sex starved”, sports maniac themes that have previously dominated the space.

Traditional retail businesses invest in foot traffic; whilst  DadShop.com.au recognised the market opportunity to invest in online traffic, as an increasing percentage of Australians utilise the Internet, not only for research purposes but to make online purchases.

Questioning the “ 1 Stop Shop” in the Web World

A significant investment was made in the online store, from technical infrastructure to developing a smooth & secure payment gateway. However, the initial web development company experience was poor as DadShop.com.au quickly learnt that very few companies have the appropriate skills across all web areas. This was evidenced by an interface that was difficult to navigate and initial search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts that provided limited results.

In today’s online market, with few barriers to entry, there are many IT companies that excel in technical development but have little to no marketing expertise, which often means that the ‘business case’ of the online project is lost. Projects are implemented without a marketing strategy, resulting in functional websites but with poor online brand positioning and no long term strategies in place.

Step 1 – The low hanging fruit: Paid search & improved website conversion

In late 2006, roi.com.au stepped in and developed a paid search campaign to deliver profitable results by implementing a targeted campaign to drive increased traffic to the website. The paid search was then used to test the online market potential by identifying key areas for potential growth and the most valuable terms for SEO efforts. Google Analytics was also utilised to understand exactly how the user navigates the website, and this highlighted areas of weakness within the site which were appropriately altered in a home page redesign. The result was a significant increase in website conversion rates.

Step 2 – Reducing customer acquisition costs, shifting from paid to organic search traffic

To minimise customer acquisition costs and protect against rising click costs in seasonal peaks, roi.com.au implemented a search engine optimisation strategy in early August 2007. The first area of focus was on the online “male gift/present” and “gift ideas” market, with a targeted strategy for Father’s Day. The latest SEO drive has been on the lead up to Christmas with the following results after 3 months of targeted efforts:

Top 5 Organic Traffic Terms to www.dadshop.com.au between 4 November – 4 December 2007

Term

Organic Traffic Hits

Google Australia Ranking

christmas gift ideas

1,195

No. 2

christmas gifts

795

No. 3

christmas presents

732

No. 2

christmas gifts for dad

649

No. 1

christmas present ideas

456

No. 2

 

Table 1: Top 5 Major Traffic Terms

The table above shows the volume of traffic alone from Google organic traffic for the top tier Christmas related search terms.

The value of long tail keyword traffic

Many website owners make the mistake of only focusing on the achievement of high rankings across a small number of key phrases. However, DadShop.com.au is the perfect example of the value of targeting a large number of key phrases through search engine optimisation which enables your website to capitalise on search traffic from a large number of long tail keyword searchers.

To clarify this point in more detail the 5 major traffic phrases highlighted in Table 1 above only account for 16% of the total natural search traffic generated to the DadShop.com.au website.  This means that 84% of DadShop.com.au’s natural search traffic is generated from a large number of additional keyword searchers.

In their own right long tail keyword searchers are not significant, however, as you can see from the DadShop.com.au example the sum total of long tail keyword searchers can actually generate significantly more traffic than a small number of popular high traffic phrases.

Before SEO campaign – 2,047 monthly unique visits

The DadShop.com.au case further emphasises the level of traffic that strong organic search results can drive to a website in comparison to even the strongest paid search campaign.

Between 1 June and 1 July 2007, prior to the implementation of the search engine optimisation strategy, it was the paid search campaign which served as the primary driver of traffic to the website.

After SEO campaign – 20, 500 monthly unique visits and climbing

Between 4 November and 4 December 2007, Google organic traffic delivered 63% of 20, 500 unique visitors (220,000 pageviews), compared to only 9.5% from the paid search campaign.

The above result, when compared to the level of traffic between 1 June and 1 July 2007 highlights the sheer volume of Christmas gift related search in the lead up to Christmas that online retailers can take advantage of when strategic positioning is implemented online, while the proportion of organic vs. paid traffic clearly indicates that the long term results of search engine optimisation deliver much stronger returns at an overall significantly lower cost than a paid search campaign.

As the Christmas rush enters its last 3 weeks, DadShop.com.au is perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the growing market of online buyers during the festive season. With an online ‘shopfront’ accessible at all hours of the day, no queues, chaos or foot traffic capacity.

DadShop.com.au is the hassle free gift store for men that never closes and is the ideal choice for buying gifts for the men in your life this Christmas.