The Company

Lehman’s has been family owned and operated since 1955. They offer hundreds of simple products that simply work, from planting and preserving to off-grid living. They have over 300 vendors within 45 miles of their store and ship their products to over 85 countries. Their products have been featured in dozens of high profile Hollywood productions, such as The Gangs of New York, Cold Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

The Challenge

Increase Traffic & Increase Revenue

Like many e-commerce companies, Lehman’s’ purpose for pursuing a better understanding of SEO was to increase traffic to their website, which in turn could increase their online sales and revenue. As they stated:

SEO has always been a bit of a mystery for our team. We needed expert advice from someone who could give us low-risk, high-return results to drive qualified traffic to our site.

Lehman’s turned to the Hamlet Batista Group because they were dissatisfied with the amount of organic traffic they were receiving through SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and wanted to increase their SEO revenue.

Our Approach

Our skilled SEO analysts took a technical approach to helping Lehman’s, by doing a thorough audit of the site. As a result, our findings revealed a number of issues that could potentially deter traffic to the site, such as:

  • Internal search result pages, shopping cart, checkout, and order tracking pages not blocked to search engines.
  • Only 45% of pages indexed from submitted sitemaps.
  • Inefficient and/or incorrect sitemap URLs
  • Pagination issues
  • Duplicate content issues
  • Redirect chains were occurring
  • A significant number of 404 (not found) crawl errors.
  • Navigation link issues
  • Issues with mobile site pages and their related desktop pages

We also scrutinized their top competitors through a detailed link analysis and conducted some keyword research.

The Solution

Upon exposing the issues the site was encountering to the Lehman’s team, we provided comprehensive recommendations on how to fix them and walked them through each step of our recommendations. As they took steps to rectify the issues, our team monitored and reported on the progress of the implementations. Some of specific issues and resolutions included:

  • Directives in robots.txt are text case sensitive and one directive was inadvertently allowing shopping cart, checkout, and order tracking pages to be crawled by search bots, due text case issue. Furthermore, robots.txt was not blocking internal search result pages and thousands were crawled and indexed by Google. Any of these indexed pages should have “noindex,nofollow” tags implemented. Once gone from SERPs, correct the robots.txt directive.
  • Nearly 8,000 duplicate URLs were discovered within the sitemaps. Sitemaps were very inefficient, with many sitemaps containing just a few URLs, and many URLs appeared on multiple sitemaps. URLs in sitemaps were HTTP, while the site uses HTTPS canonical links. Update sitemaps using correct canonical tags. We provided sample sitemaps and recommended that they generate sitemaps regularly, including all canonical URLs and using https URLs, as they are canonical.
  • All HTTP pages were 302 redirecting to HTTPS versions; 301 redirects are preferable, as that status will preserve link equity.
  • Paginated pages contained redirect chains with a combination of 302 and 301 redirects from a previous URL scheme to the current one. Pagination tags were present on links, but should be located in page headers. Add view all category pages and canonicalize the paginated pages to that. Otherwise, move prev/next tags to header and add self-referential canonicals. For paginated pages with view parameters, canonicalize to URL without view parameters.
  • Site used relative links in its navigation. Our custom crawl detected far fewer pages than indicated in the discovery questionnaire. This indicated that it could be missing links to some pages. We recommended they change relative links to absolute links, and ensure all available products are included on category pages.
  • A significant number of duplicate meta title and descriptions were discovered. This is a common occurrence and we always recommend that clients create unique titles and compelling descriptions for all pages.
  • Far more internal links to the site were detected than actual pages existed. This was a result of duplicate content & the crawl inefficiency. Rectify sitemaps and utilize consistent linking.
  • Page URLs containing trailing slashes were not redirecting to their canonical pages, which did not contain trailing slashes. Ensure sitemaps and pages contain consistent and correct canonical URLs.
  • Lehman’s mobile site did not contain a Vary: User-Agent header directive, the mobile pages did not contain canonical tags pointing to desktop versions, and desktop pages did not contain alternate tags pointing to mobile versions. Rectify the mobile site headers; add canonical tags to mobile pages and alternate tags to desktop pages.

Additionally, we assisted them with detailed instructions for conducting keyword research, and offered them compelling content ideas.

We then walked Lehman’s through each step of our recommendations and were on hand to answer any questions or to address any arising issues regarding the implementation process.

As they said:

Hamlet patiently and systematically walked us through the entire process, from content, to technical support, to delivery. Perhaps most importantly, he took the time to learn what capabilities and resources we had, and developed a customized approach that was appropriate for our team.

The Results

We are very proud to say that while we have worked with Lehman’s they have seen an increase in organic search revenue as a result of addressing our recommendations. As they state:

In 2014, for the month of February, we saw a 43% increase in revenues from Organic Search compared to January. That monthly growth also strongly contributed to a 45% TYD Organic Search revenue increase over 2013.

We continue to work with Lehman’s and are happy to report that they are still very pleased with their decision to have us assist them with their SEO efforts. The results are evident, as they proclaim:

Taken with all other traffic sources, February website revenues outperformed January by 26.3%, and YTD we’re seeing a 12.8% boost. We have a number of additional items to complete and look forward to continued success with Hamlet and his team.