Lighting Up Organic Performance for A Major e-Commerce Retail Brand

Lighting specialists Festive Lights came to us with clear aims to be the leading name in festive and occasion lighting in the UK. With a huge website in need of optimisation, this was no easy task.

As you’d expect, Festive Lights are heavily influenced by seasonality. Peak season begins in the build up to Halloween, and spans over the remainder of Q4 until Christmas, with post-Christmas and January sales also seeing high levels of traffic.

Bronco have consistently delivered strong organic performance figures during this key time:

As an ongoing strategy, the Festive Lights campaign utilises a huge array of digital marketing channels with a predominant focus on SEO. Below we detail some of the technical aspects we have covered for their large ecommerce site.

A Cross Agency Collaboration To Deliver Spectacular Site Speed Results

In early 2017 Festive Lights launched their stunning new website,but following launch, we discovered that site speed had become a real issue for them. Although this launch was more aesthetically pleasing, page load times were compromised, and poor user experience plagued the website, impacting both search and sales.

To quote Google from way back in 2010…

“You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.”

By mid March 2017, the Google Page Speed score on desktop was sitting bleak at 41/100, customers and internal teams noticed that the website was getting slower and slower. Back and forth communications between our SEO team and the client’s development agency had begun.

When we think of site speed issues, poor image optimisation, or from an ecommerce point of view, perhaps too many products per page are issues that spring to mind initially. In this case, rectifying standard issues like these did not fully rectify the issue. Although the Google Page Speed score was now sitting at 63/100 – a marginal improvement, it was still insufficient for such a popular ecommerce store that relies so heavily on website performance.

Server Logs

Festive Lights Case Study - Server Log 1
Festive Lights Case Study - Server Log 2

Once server logs were requested by our SEO team, it became very clear what the issue was. The extremity of this is shown in the above image. Overnight, Google had navigated its way into the Festive Lights’ faceted search, and had begun to index all of their filter page URLs.

The impact of the amount of pages crawled became pretty severe, particularly in June, and required further action:

Festive Lights Case Study - Crawl Stats Pre Change

It was time to involve Festive Lights’ server agency to help solve the issue. Their data showed that the Festive Lights server started being put under a constant 70% load, which would explain why the time to first byte was over 5 seconds, and why pages were taking around 20s on average to fully load.

Festive Lights Case Study - Server Log 3

Controlling Google’s Crawl Rate

It was time time to put the shackles on Google’s crawl rate and reduce the server load. We did this by completing the following:

Google’s Caffeine Indexer = Tamed.

Festive Lights Case Study - Server Log 4
Festive Lights Case Study - Crawl Stats After

A Full Content Overhaul

Of course, SEO strategies are more than just site speed. Our flexible, holistic approach means carrying out the essentials elements that deliver the best results and ROI. For Festive Lights, another key element of the strategy has been a full content overhaul.

Following the execution of the technical SEO audit on the Festive Lights website, the next phase of our strategy was to perform a rewrite of content to ensure we open up the exposure within the search engines. This started off with in-depth keyword research, familiarising ourselves with the industry, before setting out to review competitors and new opportunities. Keyword implementation followed, re-working the content to ensure we had all bases covered.

Off the back of the new keyword optimised content on-site, we enhanced the internal linking where appropriate, utilising exact match anchor text to pass both Google and the user to the most relevant pages. This coupled with the keyword implementation led to a significant increase in rankings and engagement for the site
Now a case of enticing users to the site, we set out to review the click through rates for all category pages, using variations of wording, dates, prices and more. Data from Google’s Search Console was thrown into the mix alongside keyword relevance, competitor analysis and “buzz words” to find the happy balance.

An SEO Strategy Built To Last

The Festive Lights strategy is on-going, as we continue to push organic search performance to the next level, surpassing our successes year on year.

Festive Lights Case Study - Visibility

Festive Lights Ranking Achievements

Keyword Festive Lights Start Date Ranking Best Ranking
Christmas Lights111
Fairy Lights723
Christmas Lighting81
Halloween Lighting111
Festoon Lights82
Outdoor Christmas Lights83
Micro Fairy Lights100+2
Christmas Tree Lights171
Net Lights113
Wedding Lights135

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