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How SwellPath Grew Nike Golf’s Organic Traffic by 250%+

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swellSwellPath is a data driven measurement and digital marketing company focusing on providing the best SEO, analytics and digital marketing services for clients in the digital space, Which founded in 2008. They help brands of all sizes use data to make the best decisions about their business and surpass their marketing and sales goals year over year.

Partnered With Nike

Nike Golf is the golf-specific retail branch of Nike. The sub-brand is perhaps best known for decking out Tiger Woods for every-tournament: from his golf balls and clubs, to his polos, and footwear. SwellPath partnered with the digital marketing team at NikeGolf to maximize the site’s organic potential and provide analysis of performance in search.

Objective

This case study shows how Nike Golf’s increased traffic by adopting right SEO methodology.

The Challenge

The SEO challenge that they faced at the beginning of their engagement was the lack of a focused keyword strategy and a site built in a way that was very difficult for search engines to crawl for content. The lack of a focused keyword strategy resulted in a situation in which the few SEO elements that could have potentially aided the site (page titles, meta descriptions, internal links from blogposts)  they are far from effective. In order to develop a solution for both problems, their  team collaborated to simultaneously perform deep keyword research and look into advanced technical solutions.

What users saw (left) and what search engines saw (right).

nike-golf-before

SEO Keyword Research

On the keyword side, they analyzed terminology used in Nike Golf’s inaccessible content, dug into large volumes of keyword data, and analyzed search/industry trends. And research helped them make decisions like whether they should target “golf apparel”, “golf clothing”, “golf clothes”, or “golf sportswear”. In that specific case, Nike found through their data, testing, and analysis of the search landscape that Google and Bing were treating these different variants as more or less distinct, that “golf apparel” was more frequently searched in the US, and that visitors who landed on the Nike Golf site through “golf apparel” searches stayed longer, dug deeper, and were more likely to convert. From there they developed a thorough keyword that would allow our team and the Nike Golf team to strategically work high opportunity keywords into specific pages.

Strategy Implemented By SwellPath

As with any Enterprise, implementing large code change across their platform required a proposal, approval, collaboration with the development team, and of course, budget. That required them to wait for a new fiscal year, yet they were able to use that time to prepare the HTML-based alternate content they planned to deliver with SWFObject2.

With perfect timing, the revised site launched and the corresponding research-informed alternated content just before the start of the 2012 golf season. With a week, Nike noticed large jumps in rankings for the site’s most important non-branded keywords. These rankings had been relatively stable for months, seeing only small gains every once in a while. For many keyword rankings, the launch of their solution correlated with ranking jumps of more than an entire page of results.

What users see now (left) and what search engines see now (right).

nike-golf-after

The Results

Compared to the 2010 golf season, the 2011 golf season saw a 169% in total increase in organic search traffic. This includes both branded search (searches for “Nike” related terms) and non-branded. Between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the site saw an additional 67% gain. In total, that’s a 348% gain in 2012 over the 2010 golf season.

However, gains in total organic can be deceiving, since increased brand activity, influence, and attention can lead to big increases in branded search traffic. To truly assess an SEO campaign’s effectiveness, Nike prefer to look primarily at search traffic from nonbranded keywords.

Between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, non-branded traffic actually slipped by 17% as they were making their way through the process of resolving Nike Golf’s challenges. However, once our plan was implemented, they saw significant growth. Between the 2011 and2012 golf seasons, the site saw a 250% gain in traffic from non-branded searches.

The Reaction

The Nike Golf team was incredibly impressed by the magnitude of our SEO gains, month-over-month and year-over-year, during the 2012 golf season. Throughout this process, we’ve demonstrated the importance of both research-driven content optimization and search engine accessibility as a means of achieving business goals. These lessons were applied when Nike Golf 360 launched on a highly accessible HTML5-based platform.

Learnings

1.They decided to change the strategy of SEO.

2.Implemented with the perfect timings.

3.They focus more on customer retention as well as acquisition

Image Credits: Swellpath

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