Cover Story: Growing Leads
One of the key undertakings for improving Spring-Green's Web presence was SEO—specifically, developing 85 microsites that had content relevant to each franchisee market and could be found naturally by search engines.
"So it wasn't just about casting this national net, if you will, for search engine optimization," explains Young. "It started there, but then we had to refine it very quickly, much like a paid campaign where you can target it based on some geo-code parameters. We needed to figure out how to do something very similar in our search engine optimization strategy. Otherwise, we had a lot of unique visitors, but our conversion rates weren't all that good."
A variety of strategies contributed to a positive shift in those conversion rates. In 2008, Spring-Green saw a 29 percent increase in total SEO leads from the previous year and another 2 percent increase in 2009. The marketer also experienced a 71 percent increase in unique visitors due to natural search efforts in 2008, and the number climbed an additional 30 percent in 2009. In terms of overall visibility, there was a 68 percent increase in 2008 of natural search terms used to visit the site and a further 36 percent increase in 2009.
One strategy that contributed to these promising statistics was building and optimizing unique content at the local level to drive more traffic and improve Spring-Green's rankings in local searches for lawn care services. This included considering what people search for in each market and using town names, ZIP codes, metatags and other keywords specific to the respective markets. "We said we already have a [franchisee] in Marietta, Ohio, [so] we'd better figure out how to generate more traffic there and make sure that we capture the lion's share of search engine traffic," says Young.