This Ecommerce Brand Had Another Record-Breaking Year Post-Pandemic Boom

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It's no secret that ecommerce sales absolutely skyrocketed during the pandemic. We were doing our best. When we couldn't see our friends, or shop in person, we found therapy in shopping online. In return, we gave ecommerce brands a record breaking year.

The catch? When the world slowly shifted towards a new normal, ecommerce sales began to plateau. It's a trend we saw continuously across ecommerce clients at Uproer. We got questions like, "Are we ever going to get back to where we were?" or "Is SEO still relevant?"

These questions were valid. In fact, the answers were not always clear to begin with. Setting expectations became a crucial step in building long-term growth partnerships with our ecommerce clients. In this blog, I'll walk through how we did this with a company that had a record-breaking year in 2020. After a year or two of decline, we were able to rebound their traffic and revenue. In 2023, they had another record-breaking year. 

Setting the Stage: What the Hell Happened in 2020? 

Our client designs high-quality insulated drinkware. Signing their contract at the end of 2019, they began their SEO strategy at just the right time. Executing some technical and on-page cleanup, and beginning a blog strategy, was enough to put them in a prime position to drive organic sales in 2020. Paired with the launch of a viral can cooler product, they saw a 280% increase in organic revenue Y/Y, driving over $6 million in sales. 

2021 was a different story. While they continued to see organic growth, it simply wasn’t at the same mark as 2020. By 2022, we were having conversations about pivots, and whether or not SEO was still a priority channel. 

Instead of cutting their SEO budget and saying goodbye, the team decided to stick with our strategy, ultimately leading to the skyrocketing results they’ve seen over the past year. But, this did not come overnight. Here’s what we did to keep everyone focused on long-term opportunity: 

Frame the Strategy in Annual Phases 

After reporting on continued downspirals in traffic and revenue month to month, we saw that something needed to change in the way we presented our strategy. Month to month reporting is not bad, but it can easily cause people to lose sight of the actual progress that’s happening. 

To tell a better story of what happened, we began reporting only year over year, and we held a “reset” meeting where we assigned “phases” to each year. 2020 was obviously the pandemic, when sales were highest. 2021 was a “learning” year, many other websites were seeing the same decline that our client was. There was data we used to support this. 2022 was the “rebuilding” year. We started several new tactics in 2022 that we believed would set us up for success in 2023. Sneak peek: it did! 

Framing our strategy in annual phases allowed us to shape our strategy with storytelling. When we clearly laid out what happened with industry and site data, we were able to quickly get buy-in from our client on the ideas we had in store for 2022 and 2023. 

Lean into Brand Presence 

Our client has excellent brand awareness due to its viral products and presence on social platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. While our non-brand traffic continues to grow, they rely heavily on organic branded searches as well. 

It’s not every day that you optimize a site for branded terms, but that became a part of our strategy in 2022 and beyond. We used tactics like Brand Indent Boosting, where we published branded blog content that indented below our product listings in both brand and non-brand search results. 

We also worked with the brand team to understand the technical aspects of new products, and made sure we were hitting those key points in category content and product page FAQ’s. 

Collection page traffic Y/Y

Our branded blogs began to drive revenue quickly, and the content we added to shopping pages gave them the lift they needed to maintain competitive rankings in search results. We slowly became integrated into our client’s brand team, and as a result, were able to get more long-term buy-in. 

Take Advantage of CMS Capabilities 

Near the end of 2022, the company migrated to a Headless CMS. In retrospect, there likely was more we could’ve done to prepare for this. But, we spent several hours across several months learning about its capabilities and understanding it from a technical perspective. It turned out to have its own technical implications for SEO, many of which we caught quickly and flagged in bi-weekly meetings. 

The CMS had its upsides too. We worked with their merchandising team to create product carousel modules that could be added to any page to enhance the shopping experience. This became a key part of our blog strategy as we pivoted to a new bottom-funnel focus. 

By becoming an expert in their new CMS, we were able to build trust with their team. They knew that we were able to catch mistakes quickly and advocate for SEO recommendations that would benefit the entire site. 

Pivot to Repurposable Product-Focused Topic Clusters

Our blog strategy in 2020-2021 leaned heavily on top-funnel, awareness topics. During our rebuild phase we decided we could no longer rely on these topics to drive sustained traffic and revenue growth. With the SERPs growing more competitive by the second, we needed to pivot to topics that we knew our client was an expert in. Enter, the product-focused bottom-funnel content strategy. 

Alongside our branded blog content we built topic clusters around our client’s key product categories. These topic clusters included questions about the products, like “what is a tumbler used for?” along with “verses” topics like “stainless steel vs. plastic water bottles.” This section of blog content quickly became the highest revenue driving topic category on the blog. 

Starting in 2022, we held quarterly content brainstorms with the brand team. This allowed us to easily sync up on topics that were important from a brand POV. The articles that we created for the site were also repurposed across different campaigns and emails. We also used press review quotes and links throughout our articles. Every marketing channel became incorporated into our blog strategy. 

Opt for Proactive vs. Reactive SEO 

Kudos to Chris Long for a killer MozCon talk on this very topic. When things are on the decline, it’s easy to slip into the mindset of reacting to issues as they emerge. This can result in slapping a bandaid on things that might actually need a more thorough rework. 

Because the future of ecommerce was foggy, we consciously shifted to a proactive approach. We had time, and we took advantage of it. Every project we took on, and every recommendation we made, had the future in mind. We wanted to set up our client’s site for success in the long run by nipping small issues in the bud, and finding opportunities to stay one step ahead of competitors. 

This approach doesn’t produce “same day” results, but it does produce big-time long-term ones. Check this out: 

Our rebuilding phrase in 2022 allowed us to hit the ground running in 2023. 

They Aren’t Kidding, SEO is a Long Game

The pandemic was a special year for ecommerce shopping, but it wasn’t unrepeatable. Post-pandemic winners have been able to stay nimble to changes in their industry and the digital marketing landscape. Declines aren’t fun to see, but taking the proactive, long-game approach will help any brand hit their goals. 

Want to learn more about our ecommerce SEO approaches? Book a 30-minute intro call today!

Skye Sonnega

Skye Sonnega

Skye got her start in SEO and digital marketing while interning for a startup in 2020. At Uproer, she pioneered the SEO Analyst + Copywriter position and is the company’s first internal copywriter. After transitioning to a more SEO-focused position, she is passionate about finding ways to improve the way Uproer approaches content production.

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Sr. Manager, SEO & Operations

Dave Sewich

Dave made an accidental foray into digital marketing after graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth and hasn’t looked back. Having spent the first part of his marketing journey brand-side, he now works with the Uproer team to help clients realize their goals through the lens of search.

When not at work, you’ll find Dave staying active and living a healthy lifestyle, listening to podcasts, and enjoying live music. A Minnesotan born and raised, his favorite sport is hockey and he still finds time to skate once in a while.

Dave’s DiSC style is C. He enjoys getting things done deliberately and systematically without sacrificing speed and efficiency. When it comes to evaluating new ideas and plans, he prefers to take a logical approach, always sprinkling on a bit of healthy skepticism for good measure. At work, Dave’s happiest when he has a chance to dive deep into a single project for hours at a time. He loves contributing to Uproer and being a part of a supportive team but is most productive when working solo.

Founder & CEO

Griffin Roer

Griffin discovered SEO in 2012 during a self-taught web development course and hasn’t looked back. After years of working as an SEO consultant to some of the country’s largest retail and tech brands, Griffin pursued his entrepreneurial calling of starting an agency in May of 2017.

Outside of work, Griffin enjoys going to concerts and spending time with his wife, two kids, and four pets.

Griffin’s DiSC style is D. He’s driven to set and achieve goals quickly, which helps explain why he’s built his career in the fast-paced agency business. Griffin’s most valuable contributions to the workplace include his motivation to make progress, his tendency towards bold action, and his willingness to challenge assumptions.