Responsive Web Design + Miva Merchant SEO
Ryan knows everything there is to know about trucks and Jeeps, and he brings his expertise to his customers through his website Carolina Classic Trucks. When he first came to NetBlazon, his site was outdated both visually and in terms of the product lines he carried. In addition to our efforts to improve his site, we’ve also provided training on both Miva and Excel to make his work more efficient.
Mobilegeddon Survival: A New Mobile-Friendly Site
The previous design for Carolina Classic Trucks was functional and well-branded, but it had an old feel to it and it absolutely did not perform well on phones and some tablets. The navigation was confusing, due to one set of categories across a top navigation bar, and a full list of categories down the left side. The homepage provided a little bit of everything without guiding the user toward any particular path. It was easy to see what Ryan’s business offered, but hard for customers to find something specific they were looking for.
As Google’s “Mobilegeddon” loomed large, we knew the site needed to be redone in a responsive format in order to prosper.
Old Fixed-Width Site
We designed a simple but effective new website based on Bootstrap 3 and Miva 9 that performs beautifully on all devices as well as traditional computer screens. The homepage now consists of an introduction to the business, which also serves as SEO-based text content, and it also funnels customers into sections based on best sellers, sale, and new items; specific popular brands; or the shop by truck model section.
A dropdown menu across the top groups products into more logical silos, making products easier to find while maintaining a flatter structure that conforms to SEO best practices.
Using responsive web design (RWD), we provided a change that meets not only the requirements for a Google mobile-friendly website, but uses their recommended technology, too. The new Carolina Classic Trucks website scales for optimal display on phone and tablets, while providing the full experience to desktop/laptop users.
New Responsive Site
In addition to the redesign, Carolina Classic Trucks desperately needed some on-page SEO. We performed keyword research to determine what terms Ryan needed to rank for, and then began to optimize the on-page content for those terms, including title tags, headers, on-page text, and images. We also reduced the depth of the category hierarchy where feasible, so that the important product listing pages were closer to the homepage (in terms of number of clicks).
In April of 2013, the site had also been given a Google manual action (a penalty) and had suffered ranking losses due to both the Penguin and Panda algorithms. The first thing we did to help SEO cleanup was to discover as many of the site’s incoming links as possible, and to determine which ones were hurting the site’s potential to rank in Google. There were a lot of links we had to remove or disavow, which we’re unsure whether they were someone else’s previous black-hat SEO work or a negative SEO attack. Regardless, there were a number of keyword-optimized links within shady blog comments and forum spam. We requested removal of as many as possible and disavowed the rest.
Once that was done, we were able to get the penalty removed. Since then we’ve been working to build new quality links to improve the site’s standing. We’re also continuously generating new content to combat the Panda algorithm issues, including category headers, product descriptions, and blog posts.
As you can see from the graph above, our results are showing good success. (Actual numbers have been removed for privacy reasons.) SEO traffic is up 265% since we first started.