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Key results

Organic revenue up
94% and conversion rate
increased 15% YoY

Direct revenue up
150% and conversion rate
increased 58% YoY

Non-brand search
impressions increased by
253% over two years

The Challenge

Established in 1876 in Maine, USA, G.H. Bass & Co., are a heritage footwear brand, well-known in the US, but with less of a presence in other territories.

Expansion into the UK and Europe began in late 2014 with a Head Office located in London. The ecommerce website went live in June 2015 with a handful of men’s and women’s styles. 2016 saw the product range expand by 30% in SS16 and then by an additional 30% in AW16. The first store opened in London in June 2016.

Cobb Digital was appointed in 2015 to help grow the website’s natural search visibility, increase brand awareness and support the business in international expansion from an outlet to premium retailer. The focus was initially on the UK, with longer-term plans for wider European growth. As the website was new, it had very little authority and visibility in search engines. In addition, the brand was not well-known in the UK and Europe so awareness was low. Essentially, the site was starting from scratch, in a competitive market, and they had a tight digital marketing budget.

International Expansion

Following initial optimisation of the site for the UK, the next phase involved helping the business expand further in Europe. In order to work out costs, and therefore budget required by G.H. Bass & Co., we outlined tasks required to launch successfully. We listed logistical considerations for the business and provided different solutions for expansion, from an interim solution (to add localised landing pages) to fully translated websites.

A translated French site was agreed upon and we advised on the technical set-up of the site, including domain strategy, URL structure, internal linking, country and language tagging, sitemaps and bespoke tracking to understand performance. We have also supported an in-house French speaker in optimising the site for French search queries.

To support this work further, we have worked with the G.H. Bass & Co. team in developing a social media presence to engage with the French market and increase brand awareness.

Our Solution

  • On-site optimisation and identifying opportunities to increase natural visibility for longer-tail search as an initial focus
  • Dedicated social media and content campaigns to get the brand in front of a new (but highly targeted) audience
  • International expansion to support the wider business needs of growing the European presence beyond the UK

On-site optimisation

A technical and optimisation review allowed us to improve site speed and internal linking, remove duplicate content, improve search functionality, refine the checkout process, add review functionality and mark up pages.

Search term analysis, copywriting and optimisation of meta tags supported SEO, improved user experience and helped to increase conversion rates. We later implemented a Magneto extension to allow us to add optimised product filtered pages to each category to optimise the site for long-tail queries, e.g. [black leather penny loafers].

Ongoing technical and optimisation support has allowed us to further optimise the site and advise on new developments, such as enhanced ecommerce tracking and improved page mark-up.

Dedicated social media and content campaigns

We audited social accounts and provided content guidelines to help G.H. Bass & Co. grow their audience and better engage with it. We unified style and messaging across channels, but kept creative specific and targeted per channel.

Content themes were established in close collaboration with key stakeholders, informed by a search term analysis to identify the most relevant search intent. Tone of voice was developed to support consistent, high-quality content, and key influencers were also identified to bolster link-building and get in front of a wider audience.

The Outcome

Since working with G.H. Bass & Co. we have:

In two years, natural search visibility on Google has improved as follows (Sept 17 vs. Sept 15):

  • Total impressions in search results increased by 110%
  • Total clicks to the website increased by 210%
  • Non-brand impressions increased 253%

YOY Comparison (Oct 16-Sept 17 vs. Oct 15-Sept 16):

  • Organic traffic is up 71%
  • Direct traffic is up 43%

In addition, engagement metrics have improved across both channels (including improved session duration and pageviews per visit and reduced bounce rates).

YOY Comparison (Oct 16-Sept 17 vs. Oct 15-Sept 16):

  • Organic revenue is up 94%
  • Direct revenue is up 150%
  • Organic conversion rate is up 15%
  • Direct conversion rate is up 58%

Europe

YOY performance since launch of the French site (Mar 17-Sept 17 vs. Mar 16-Sept 16):

  • Traffic from Europe is up 180%
  • Traffic from France is up 213%
  • Revenue from Europe is up 168%
  • Revenue from France is up 273%