SEO Case Studies

Hey everyone, this is Matthew Schoenherr of Levaire.

Let’s look at SEO from the standpoint of actually getting results—what it looks like when you are the top of and what to expect when you get there.

What We’ll Cover in this Presentation

  1. Why does your rank matter? Why should you care about being at the top of the Google search results?
  2. Then we will look at some case studies (better stated, results) and finally,
  3. we will cover what the next steps might look like if you’re interested in learning more about search engine marketing and what it can do for you.

Now, there is this beast out there—maybe you’ve heard of it. For those of you that have never heard of it, Google happens to be the planet’s most popular search engine. A search engine is a website where you can type in your search criteria to find what you’re looking for, whether it is a local business, a recipe, website, etc.

recycling the yellow pages
Dear Bell & Yellow Pages.
We all have a thing called “the Internet.”
Please stop wasting stuff.

If you’re looking for a local company to do some service—say your furnace goes out—how do you find a service professional? Do you turn to Yellow Pages? Not likely. These days it is unlikely for someone to turn to the hard copy of their local phone book first, rather than try to find what they’re looking for online. This is why the Yellow Pages had go online; they’re trying their best to keep up. It’s not going so well for them right now, so the Yellow Pages publication is a dying marketing avenue.

Why focus on Google? Google possesses 83-88% of the search volume available across the planet. That’s huge. There are few outliers out there who might say they prefer Bing or some homegrown search engine, but primarily it’s Google right now. Bing has something like 7.3%, so Google and Bing together take up 95% of the search, and everybody else has the last five percent. If you are going to invest your SEO dollars somewhere, I would recommend you look at Google first.

So, why is it important to get to the top of the search results?

What you’re looking at right now is called a heat map and this shows us the eye movement of the participants; where on the screen, they are looking. Both Google and third parties have conducted this experiment and they all found the same results. This is what is called ‘the golden triangle’ and it’s here, where the topmost links seem to be the hottest. This is where the eye settles the longest and usually it’s through that area that you’re going to find your clicks.

You’ll also notice there are local listings and maps that capture the eyes.

In this next example, if you were Huntington Bank showing up here near the top, or Key Bank, or if you go a little lower you will see PNC, Charter One—it will be one of these banks up around in this area, who are going to be getting the most clicks.

heat map insignificant

In this example below, again, we have the golden triangle—you know they call it golden triangle because this is where the gold is made. In this case, the search was “holiday villa Spain.”

heat map serp eye tracking

Notice the sponsored links at the top and in the right sidebar. It is important to see that while, sponsored links are at the top of the page, they do not get as much attention as the first organic listing. Even over in the right sidebar, notice the pay-per click campaigns that you could be paying thousands and thousands of dollars into. If you cancel a pay-per-click campaign (PPC)—as in the Google universe, it’s AdWords; in the Facebook advertising world, it’s Facebook Advertising; Bing has their owns ads—a lot of these search engines have their own sponsored listings. This is one of the ways in which they monetize, especially for a company like Google, who monetizes big, making millions and billions of dollars in AdWords. It is in Google’s best interest to make sure the search results match up with the user’s intent. Google also wants to make sure that their sponsored ads match up, so they place them in the premium spots at the top of the page and down the side.

But what you’ll notice is still the organic listing here seems to get the most love.


Because we know these jokers up in the sponsored links PAID to be there! How can you trust them 100%? You can’t!

Notice, top spots 1, 2, 3—even position 4 is getting a little love. Position 5, not so much.

Our last heat map showed the same thing. You’ve got this F-shaped triangle up at the top, where we have one sponsored ad (a tiny little link) then you have the sponsored links on the right.

heat map F pattern

As you can recognize now, your hottest item in the list is your first organic listing. The “warmth” tapers off from there until you get to the very bottom of the page where there’s nothing.

(By the way, this also holds true for page 2 and 3. You’ll have the same pattern happening on those pages. After page 3, the search results become a cold, desolate place.)

Page 2 and Beyond

Obviously, you know is it a great thing to be on page one! If you are down at the bottom of the page, however, that’s not necessarily true, right? After all, the top of page two will typically get you more traffic than the bottom of page one.

The traffic hitting page two is going to be a lot less because folks are in a hurry. Usually their furnace died, toilets are overflowing, they are getting sued… whatever.

So, they’re going to go with personal referrals, word-of-mouth, or they will turn to Google and they will look for a local company to represent them. This is where they are going to land so this is where they are going.

People don’t like to read, right? We know this. People do not like to read so they are going to end up going with the top spot search results.

SEO Results! (The SEO Case Studies, Volume 1)

Results! It’s all about the results, and so.. enter the whole notion for these SEO case studies.

This next section here is all about results that we’ve been able to get our clients here at Levaire, when it comes to search engine marketing. This is just an example of where you can be if you make the investment.

(By the way, we blurred out some of this material because we don’t want any negative SEO occurring to our clients but we still want to able to share this success stories, but you’ll have enough here to get the idea.)

Taxi + City

taxi city

Any taxicab company in a city is going to want to be at the top spot. With this particular client, their budget was minimal. They could only afford about one month’s worth of SEO work, so while we placed backlinks out into the wild for them, we also optimized their website.

After they had us build their website, their budget was such that they didn’t really want to spend a lot on SEO at the time. After a while, they began noticing their competitors were beating them in the rankings. They got serious and said “What can you do for us for X amount?”

We said, “Your dollar will be best spent [here]” and so they went ahead with a very small one-month burst. It was years ago that we did this work! So, you know, you don’t have to necessarily continue your program for more after month after month, over and over and over.

Obviously, their competitors in town aren’t terribly SEO-savvy.

Some of the higher PR links we put out there are still there so you know this work has really been working well for them.

Jeweler + City

jeweler city

In this case, there was no exact domain match with the customer’s name so we used a domain like jeweler(city).com and stood up a second website for them in this case. This is the client second website (some folks have two separate websites, did you know that?)

Also notice how the local listings and the map show up around their listing. They actually have ranked over the Google local listings. Here’s another local listing; they actually split the local listings. Don’t be defeated if you’ve been trying for years to get over the local listings; it is possible, as long as you’ve got the right links going back to your website.

Lumber + State + Lumber

state lumber

Now we have a lumber company in this next example. This company wanted to go statewide, so they asked us for help. We put them on a 6-month canned plan and here they are for their target state and the keyword ‘lumber’ and they’ve come up at the second position.

That’s great, right?

What we were actually targeting was ‘lumber’ and the state, so in this case they’re actually coming up for a key phrase we never targeted for them. For ‘lumber’ and the state, here they are at the very top position and they have all these fat juicy links right here, so what? Eight links under a single sponsored ad and above everybody else for a major keyword ‘lumber’ and the state.

Fantastic! This was an awesome success story. They have seen a 55% increase in their web traffic. They’re getting calls all the time at this point.

Kitchen Cabinets + City

kitchen cabinets city

Alright, the same company wanted to target their own city for kitchen cabinetry work. They wanted to do more interior work. Here they are ranking their kitchen and bath cabinets, next to a Google Shopping display, Google Local listings and a sponsored link. We have them in the first natural position for ‘kitchen cabinets’ + city.

Fantastic! Again, they’re getting calls.

Niche Industrial Service + State

niche service state

For this one, we ended up having to hide this almost entirely because this was too easy to tell who it was based on the key phrase. There are two or three other competitors in the state, but by the time we were done for this particular key phrase they dominate, and so here they are at the top looking pretty good.

City + Staffing

city staffing

Here’s a staffing agency, also a client of ours, they are in second position, above the local listing, so they are doing well. We did some work for them a year ago. This is a lower-budget company; they weren’t able to go after as many key phrases as they would have liked. They didn’t have the bigger budget to continue pursuing other key phrases, but getting up to a higher priority spot in the search engine results is still getting them calls every week.

City + Insulation

city insulation

Here is one where we used an exact match domain, and this one is at the top of the search results. So again, we set up page that was dedicated to insulation and in this case we set up a page of our own and we’re providing pure lead generation. So we’ve got the phone number already set up, and it’s driving phone calls through to the client, and the email inquiry contact form on the site that we set up sends directly to the client. So it’s not the client’s website, it’s one that we built and are directing towards them. That’s something we can do as well; it reduces the client’s hosting costs, and yet allows us to build an asset and direct it at them.

City + Furnace Service

city furnace service

Here is the same client, however, now it’s their site that is the one that’s ranked. In this case, they are ranking above Google, below the sponsored ads —there was no way we’d be able to get above the sponsored link, since Google doesn’t allow that— but here they are, above all the other Google local places, which is something a lot of SEO companies don’t even try to do.

City + Floor Cleaning

city floor cleaning

Here is another industry; floor cleaning. This is a site—like a couple examples ago— this particular person, they were a small business, one-man show, and just a wanted to put a little extra love into his site. He understood the value of search engine marketing, he understood the value of placing, and in this case he wanted to target “city” + floor cleaning. Here we are, above the local listings again, and we haven’t done any work on this particular site in two years. This is why it doesn’t necessarily pay to do the sponsored ads, because as soon as you stop that campaign, it’s gone —all that work is gone. Here is an example of work that was done two years ago, and this client is still at the top of the search results, getting phone calls for this page. Fantastic!

Brand Archetypes

brand archetypes

Here’s one we didn’t hide; this is me here, and we went after a large global key phrase— in this case, “brand archetypes” there are fewer searches for this because it’s very niche. You know what you are looking for when you are looking for brand archetypes information. This is, with little effort we were able to get a very good post—it’s got to be over thousand words, maybe closer to a 2-3,000 word post—here, on “brand archetypes,” (the 12 brand archetypes recommended by Carl Jung,) and we are—in the second position, just below the images. Not too shabby.

So, what have we learned?

Why must we rank on the top three search results? That’s where the money is made. If you’re down at the bottom of those search results—even on the front page—you will not be getting the phone calls, the email inquiries, the knocking on the door you want; that your competitors (who are at the top) are getting.

So you’ve got to be near the top. Your preferred spot is somewhere in position one (obviously,) but two and three are pretty good, too. Really, you want to be near the top spot on that first page; that will be the best place for your return on investment.

Then we saw a bunch of examples of what it looks like to be at the top and we learned that natural search engine placement is going to be more valuable over the long haul than dorking around with pay-per-click —which is still valuable, don’t get me wrong. If you can’t get to the first page of Google—maybe you’ve tried, or you hired a bzillion SEO companies, and none of them can get you up there—or maybe you’re ranking for something national or international—yeah, sure, pour money into that pay-per-click until you can get your own site up in the international search engine results.

Once you get up to the top, you may consider canceling your pay-per-click campaign, if you like. Or, maybe you’re getting that one-two punch and your pay-per-click campaign is still working for you, you’re certainly making money at that point, maybe you keep going!

We usually counsel folks, especially small-business owners and non-profits who want to rank higher. What we counsel them is to go after the natural search engine marketing; the organic listings. Again, if they don’t have the budget to maintain longevity, then we can usually do a lot in the first six months or so, on an SEO program, and if they continue at that point, great; that means we’re doing our job.

Maybe their model doesn’t allow them to particularly monetize well. We will certainly counsel them on that front, and it depends on your niche, it depends on a lot of things.

For instance, it depends on your backlink quality and quantity. It depends on the niche competition that you have around you, site structure and whole bunch of other factors. Ultimately, that’s where we would prefer to put people, is in those natural search engine results, high up. Once you get there—depending on your niche—you can stay there for a while, just hovering. If your niche is about smarter search engine marketing and they’re a little more clued-in, therefore they do more of it, you’ll see your results erode more quickly. Depending on what route you take, if you’ve been working on a SEO company worth their salt for six months, it may take your competitors a long time to catch up with you (if they ever do.) It just depends on the search engine marketing firm you hire.

P.S.– We’ve done presentation here: How To Know If You Are Ready To Hire an SEO Company. You are welcome to click here and go view that one. In this talk, we look at the questions to ask yourself to determine if you are ready to move into search engine marketing. How do you know if you are ready? You’ll discover how.

Again, my name is Matthew Schoenherr and I represent Levaire. We are a marketing company serving Christian churches and non-profit organizations, and this is what we do; we get people rankings in the search results and we help them to grow awareness and impact.

If you have any questions you can reach us by email. Thanks.