We are about to share with you some seriously confidential stuff about how we conduct our business and deliver SEO success to our clients.
In the past we have given you free online lessons – which have been tremendously useful to our readers – (see the recent unsolicited comment below one of our readers)
Now, we are going to share with you all the tools, techniques, tricks, tips and processes we have learned over the past 10 years about how to do SEO really effectively.
We intend to take you through the entire process with one of our customers on a week by week basis. We will expose everthing we do, the highpoints and lowpoints (God forbid!) – a real warts and all SEO project.
Each week we’ll post what we do and we’ll share the results with you.
I would suggest if you want to optimise your site successfully you follow the posts closely between now and Christmas so you go into 2013 looking forward to SEO success and the increased sales it brings.
As a starting point I’d like to introduce you to the company at the centre of this process. The company is called Seasoned Pioneers Ltd and here’s an interview between Matt Webster, the business owner, and me to set the scene for you.
Jan: So Matt tell me a bit about your business – why and when it was set up and what its mission is?
Matt: Seasoned Pioneers’s vision is “Helping adventurous souls achieve culinary inspiration”. We became a limited company in 2000. Our founder returned from a backpacking trip mainly around India, with bags of spices as he is a keen cook. He found on his return to the UK that he could not replace the wonderful spice mixes he had found and thought that fellow travellers with an interest in cooking would have the same problem. Hence Seasoned Pioneers was born and was initially set up in his small flat in Liverpool not far from the banks of the River Mersey (historically where spices were first shipped to in years gone by).
We dry roasted whole spices in his kitchen oven, ground and mixed them together and packed them into resealable foil pouches. The packaging is fundamental as light and air are detrimental to these ingredients so glass jars were not an option.
Jan: What has been your biggest single challenge over the past couple of years?
Matt: Probably finding the right people to work with. We are quite a labour intensive operation as we still hand pack every item. Product knowledge is also vital as we have approximately 300 different product lines. We hope that we offer good old-fashioned customer service where nothing is ever too much trouble and a human will answer the phone rather than a machine. Even if the company grows from 7 employees this philosophy will never change.
Jan: Can you think of a highpoint or big success you had over the recent past?
Matt: In 2008 we were fortunate enough to have 10 products mentioned by Delia Smith in her How to Cheat at Cooking book. No other company had this many items mentioned and we saw a massive increase in interest with sales increasing about 500% for these items. Delia came and filmed at the factory for part of her BBC2 programme linked to the book and we managed to be interviewed for several news channels, BBC Breakfast and Sky. Delia wasn’t the first to discover us though as we have had mentions in many different cook books including big names such as Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein, Antony Worrall Thompson to mention a few.
Jan: What do you believe differentiates you from your competitors?
Matt: Innovation I think has been the key to our success. We do things differently, the product quality comes first and our innovative packaging in particular. We dry roast our whole ingredients, grind them and blend them to traditional recipes. We remain flexible and adaptable and aim to lead the market rather than follow it.
Jan: Where do you see your biggest challenges coming from over the next couple of years?
Matt: Trying to stay in front of the competition with our new ideas, as they have big budgets and mass market exposure. We see our online offering and website as a key part of our future growth. We are also working hard to increase our product distribution via the independent retailers, farmshops, garden centres and butchers.
Jan: How do you go about generating and increasing your business?
Matt: We have spent a lot of time attending consumer and trade exhibitions including the BBC Good Food Shows for example. More recently we have looked to enhance our direct marketing capabilities especially via email newsletters but have also undertaken direct postal mail shots. A small amount of advertising is undertaken but we have a limited budget and have had limited financial return. PR has had a major impact for us with some amazing (free) support and endorsements from major food writers as mentioned previously. All of this has generated increased business via the website, which is integral to our online presence.
Jan: How successful has your online marketing been and what specifically have you done?
Matt: We have tried PPC via Google but have had limited conversions and we have found this to be costly. More recently we have been proactive on Facebook and have run a couple of adverts which seem to be helping to recruit new likes and increasing spend via the website. Ultimately we will look to build a new site, but in the meantime have made a few SEO changes, but more is required.
Jan: What would you think would be reasonable objectives regarding online marketing improvements over the next 12 months?
Matt: I would like to see a good increase in visitor traffic, newsletter retention and a significant increase in order conversions.
Please find all other relevant posts here:-
Post 2: SEO Process and Objectives
Post 3: Technical Analysis and Audit
Post 4: Keyphrase and Traffic Analysis
Post 5: SEO Blueprint report
Post 6: Implementation programme
Post 7: SEO Results