Hotbed’s Marketing Objective: Get found on the search engines and still be cool.
Hotbed didn’t want to sacrifice look and feel for the sake of SEO. Do you really want your website found if it looks bad? In the agency world, that’s the kiss of death. I knew it had to retain the vibe of their old website. In addition to being found via the search engines, Hotbed wanted to keep viewers on their website longer, so they could view more videos. They had a lot of great content and just waiting to be discovered. My goals were to generate a massive increase in traffic and keep them there.
The Process: Switch from Flash to HTML and write logical, strategic, edgy copy.
A big reason Hotbed didn’t rank well was due to Flash. Their Flash websight was designed in 2002 with no emphasis on search engine optimization. This is pretty common in creative fields. While there are work-arounds available for Flash websites, Stokes opted for a re-design in straight HTML. This allowed us the flexibility to examine each milestone to make sure that it captured the Hotbed vibe, worked well for users, and ranked well with the search engines. We performed extensive keyword research to discover the words and phrases Hotbed wanted to rank well for within their industry. Stokes has a very creative, cutting edge writing style that I didn’t want to dilute. So I didn’t. I made keyword suggestions, but let his writing roam free. We then optimized keyword phrases for titles, descriptions, sub-page titles, images, and videos based on our research. We also optimized their videos for video search.
The Results: Hot, Hotter, Hottest.
Hotbed’s first job as a direct result of search engine optimization came just weeks after the new website was launched. A producer at an advertising agency in Phoenix typed “commercial film production” in a Google search, saw Hotbed listed second on page one of Google, asked for a reel, and hired them two weeks later to produce a six figure commercial project. Not a bad return on investment. That’s what it’s all about; getting found by potential customers, connecting with them, and generating revenue. But, it’s also important to look at the data. Especially when it’s this smokin’ hot. Here’s a quick glance at their Google organic results. I started the project on August 10th. The number of organic searches that led to Hotbed in July of 2007 was 75. By February it was over 500.
Keyword + Location Rankings
San Francisco CA Film Production
Film Production Company San Francisco
Film Companies San Francisco CA
Production Company San Francisco
It’s important to note that not only did the number of relevant keywords used to find www.hotbed.com increased dramatically, but a number of other metrics improved as well. Relevant traffic, because it generates the right traffic (read: your target audience), also increased time on site, page views and lowered the bounce rate. It’s important to look beyond the general traffic increases, however, to determine if your audience is being reached. By cross referencing your organic keyword traffic with your existng relevant keyword list (which should be a fluid and ever growing list based on your audience search terms) you can determine your relevant keyword search data. Here is the increase May 2008 vs. May 2007
Time on site increase: 385%
Pages per visit increase: 250%
Organic search increase: 685%
Relevant keyword search increase: 1,248%