Honestly, we get it...talking about SEO and website tracking can be a bit like talking about the plumbing in a house. We all know it’s necessary- vital! But, who has time when it’s so much fun to pore over Pinterest boards about decor. Here’s a story that will make you turn a loving eye towards your digital plumbing and ensure your marketing designs don’t get soaked by a burst pipe.
Shortly after Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2014 website redesign, our partnership with them expanded to include work on their site analytics. We dove into their site data and noticed an alarming trend- their organic search traffic was plummeting.
A launch of a new website naturally leads to a moderate dip in search traffic due to a lag while search engines re-index and re-crawl the site. But the decline for Jazz was beyond what you’d expect to see, raising a red flag that crucial SEO infrastructure had “broken” during the transition to the new site.
Here’s why this matters:
1. It steals packages off the front porch.
If you lose people who’d arrive to your site via organic search it causes a direct decline in conversions and subsequent revenue. Ouch!
2. It short-circuits your marketing.
If SEO infrastructure is broken, it means some of the elements that make your SEM succeed are broken, too. That makes it more expensive to compete and leads to another source of lost conversions and revenue.
It impacts other channels, too. We know a lot of your marketing efforts result in “view through” conversions- patrons see your Facebook content or your display ads but don’t click through, instead searching for you later online and converting...unless they can’t find you (see #1).
3. It turns off the porch light for new patrons.
SEO is the most cost-effective acquisition vehicle out there- while you should always “own” your branded keywords (like when someone searches for your organization’s name in #2), SEO can also deliver relevant searchers of non-branded keywords. For Jazz, that might be someone looking for “jazz concerts this weekend” or “music in nyc.”
Fixing Jazz’s Broken Pipes
Like many organizations, Jazz didn’t know what questions to ask of their website vendor during the rebuild and, as a result, analytics and SEO weren’t strategically addressed. This is an issue for organizations with sites that have been in place for a while, too, since content changes on sites and SEO best practices shift over time.
SEO is a long game, and it took Jazz awhile to implement changes we outlined in a guidance document for them- but, organic search session growth has been monumental.
Here’s a trend line that shows the return to strong SEO performance (note: June-Aug 2016 dip reflects a seasonal norm)
As time goes on and Jazz maintains a strong SEO practice, they continues to see incredible growth- compare the organic search sessions for 2017 to those from 2014 (above).
The takeaway here is that SEO strategy needs to evolve and that a bit of maintenance goes a long way. Just like your website isn’t a “set it and forget it” channel when it comes to content, SEO and analytics are ongoing efforts that need consistent attention from someone on your team. But, like your plumbing, it’s not reasonable to expect that you can roll up your sleeves and handle it without some expert help.