In September 2009, the folks at Kirk Marketing engaged Eight Leaves Marketing to revamp the functionality of their website and to perform organic search engine optimization. Kirk Marketing is a provider of direct marketing, printing, and mailing services in Vancouver, Canada. The company began as a small, family-owned business and has grown to become one of the largest independent printing and direct mail houses in Western Canada serving clients across North America.
Kirk Marketing enrolled in the Eight Leaves Marketing Greenhouse Program. Greenhouse is all about creating effective websites that attract and convert new customers. The program builds new business for our clients. In addition to an initial site review and upgrade, Kirk asked us to perform follow-on SEO work to boost the company’s rankings on key search terms.
Kirk Marketing operates in a competitive industry and, as a company, it offers clients a variety of services. Clients can choose to work with Kirk in just one area (e.g., printing) or across the company’s integrated service portfolio. We identified two major areas of Kirk’s business that we felt could best benefit from SEO efforts: direct mail and printing services. We researched and ranked keywords in each of these categories using sophisticated text-mining algorithms. From our findings, we created extensive keyword portfolios to target for each category. We then focused on building specific, keyword-rich landing pages that would appeal to searchers and search engines. This systematic approach helped us take advantage of many on-page SEO factors, and it enabled us to focus on a smaller keyword portfolio that promised the most benefit to the business.
- Content Management System: We migrated Kirk Marketing’s existing design into an open source content management system (CMS). Kirk could then easily add and update new content to their website, which allowed the company to commit to providing customers with valuable news and information on an ongoing basis. Active sites attract return traffic; and returning traffic tends to convert better than first-time traffic.
- Keyword Research & Development: We researched Kirk’s industry and its main competitors both online and offline. This helped us understand the language used in the industry and to then develop a list of target keywords for our SEO efforts. We cross referenced this list with monthly search volumes reported on Google to help set priorities.
- Content Optimization: We edited the site content to incorporate the target keywords most likely to be used by potential customers who were searching for services offered by Kirk.
- Local Listings: We submitted Kirk’s website to all major listing sites as well as niche sites that focus on their industry. We defined and managed the content, presentation, and analytics for these listings sites.
- Analytics: Prior to our involvement, Kirk wasn’t actively measuring the effectiveness of their website: there were no defined site goals or conversion funnels. We corrected this by setting up and configuring Google Analytics so that they could easily track performance and conduct periodic rank analysis of keyword traffic coming from Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
- Social Media: To kick-start the customer conversation, we developed an integrated blog for Kirk based on the same CMS. The focus of the blog was to both post pertinent corporate announcements and tips and information that would benefit their clients. We also set up Kirk on Twitter so that blog posts would be automatically tweeted from their account.
- 301 Redirects: We monitored and fixed all broken links (due to legacy site changes) in order to make sure that Kirk didn’t lose any link strength.
- Link Building: We developed a go-forward strategy for the Kirk Marketing team to participate in the social sphere online and to build valuable links from and to their suppliers and customers.
Results and Next Steps
After our initial work, we monitored the rankings of the Kirk website on our entire target keyword portfolio in Google, Bing & Yahoo search results pages (SERPs). The table below highlights Kirk’s ranking over time on a few example keywords on Google Canada.
|Keyword/ Rank in Google Canada||Sep 1||Oct 15||Nov 17||Jan 20||Mar 13|
|direct mail vancouver||Not in Top 50||12||13||7||7|
|direct marketing service||Not in Top 50||8||7||2||2|
|marketing services||Not in Top 50||8||9||5||7|
|mailing and printing services||Not in Top 50||7||9||5||2|
Moving forward, Kirk plans to continue to post relevant, quality content that informs and educates current and prospective clients. Kirk also plans to release monthly newsletters as part of their overall communication strategy.
Kirk Marketing, like all our clients, built its success by valuing customers and working hard on relationships. Our SEO efforts simply highlighted these strengths. What we made possible was for the company to approach online marketing as a new and effective way to continue to build relationships and grow their business.