Written on: 08/05/2012 by giantcod
I started Giantcod in 2007. I have some SEO understanding, (or did back then) and got my site kicked off by doing my own onsite work and by building some links by contacting similar websites and doing a link exchange. This took time, but by August 2007 I got up to about 130 unique visitors a day, not bad – enough to justify the purchase of more stock and a small unit. My link building efforts were getting me about 10 – 20 good links a month, depending on how hard I hit it – problem is, as anyone knows that has tried to do this themselves whilst running a business, it takes a lot of time. By Early 2008 I was up to around 250 unique visitors a day, mostly from Google and spending around £500 a month on pay per click – not sure how many visitors were from the organic listings and how many from PPC though.
I actually got a call from Simon at Smart Traffic and we kept in contact for about 3 months before I committed! It turned out that I was not getting a huge conversion on the pay per click, probably my fault as I have not tweaked the campaign since setting it up and I decided to switch the budget from PPC and try some SEO – starting on a small budget.
Smart Traffic worked on my website first – optimising it for my target keyphrases. After around 3 weeks after the work started I had a noticeable increase in enquiries and noticed that quite a few secondary keyphrases were starting to rank in Google – these very specific keyphrases seemed to convert far better into actual sales than the main ones – which at that point had not shifted much, although they were being targeted by the campaign.
Even at that time, smart traffic were not cheap – there were PLENTY of other companies offering to do my SEO far cheaper, albeit with more wooley targets and with hindsite, I think a lot of what I was being offered back them by other random SEO companies was just smoke and mirrors. Being a small business, a had to fight for every pound earned– my spend with Smart Traffic was a major expense for me and I did think about pulling out every other week but with encouragement from Simon M. just about stuck it out.
One thing led to another, by 2009 my spend with ST was pretty big, but I had binned all my other marketing and I was getting good traffic and ranking well for a decent number of keywords. Virtually all my traffic and inbounds were coming from Google organic listings. 2010 was a good year 2011 was even better – I was ranking in top position for 2 of the top 5 keywords and high positions for the others – with scores of secondary keyphrases ranking, many top, and orders were coming in thick and fast. Then, I was slapped by the Google Panda update and lost my rankings overnight. The business took a big hit and Simon M took a huge amount of grief. He invited me to see their operation and I must admit I was impressed. Over 170 staff, they seemed to working pretty hard and I remembered the days when I was doing my own SEO, would not want to go back to that – but at least I could see some justification for the costs, which made it feel better in my head! We had hoped to get the rankings back in a month, in reality it took 6! I dont blame ST, plenty of websites got hit hard to the update and Simon was pretty good when the S*** hit the fan. 9 Months after the update, I was back to where I was – plus some. I have now out competed my competitors, survived the recession and paid off my mortgage. Most is down to slogging my guts out, but – recognition where its due, my SEO campaign and Simon were a big part. I have seen a couple negative reviews and find it hard to believe they are talking about the same company. I don't work for smart traffic and have not been paid to write nice things about them, but I found them to be a decent company that get results through hard work and proper SEO. Any SEO campaign has to be long term – give it time to work guys, I know if I had baled out too early, my SEO campaign would have probably failed.
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