Ecommerce SEO Case Study: VDB Shoes

May 13, 2024 by Andrew Woods

In this E-Commerce SEO case study, we will go over the results garnered by a Baltimore shoe store and the strategy that got them there!

When Van Dyke & Bacon first came to us looking for SEO and search engine marketing, their organic search presence was low. Despite being an established brand in the Baltimore, MD, area, their site averaged around 50 clicks a day from organic search. 

On top of this, almost all of the searches were branded, meaning the traffic coming to their site was from people already familiar with their brand. While this is not a bad thing per se, it showed an excellent opportunity to improve their presence for non-branded search. 

This means that it was our job to increase traffic to their site for search terms around the products they offered as well as the products themselves. 

In just eight months, we took their site from 50 clicks a day (1,500/mo) to averaging 400 a day (12,000/mo), a 700% increase! In addition, sales from search increased 100% year over year from 30k to 73k with total sales from shopify totaling 125k!

Keep reading this E-Commerce SEO case study to see how we achieved this massive increase in online sales!

Step 1: Google Merchant Center

The first step for any online store looking to increase sales from organic search is to get your products onto the Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center is an online platform hosted by Google that allows online sellers to take advantage of organic shopping results. 

This also helps Google understand what your site is about, boosting your topical authority in whatever industry you operate in. 

Although this will not cause a massive increase in traffic directly from those product listings, it is another channel to show your products on, costs nothing, and helps your site’s overall SEO authority. 

Additionally, if/when you decide to run paid ads (we highly recommend this), Google Merchant Center makes the process exceedingly easy and straightforward. Making the Ad setup process just a few clicks away from being set up and generating revenue!

E-Commerce Optimized Product Page

Step 2: Optimizing Product Pages 

A common issue that we see with E-Commerce sites is unoptimized product pages. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. 

Start with the page’s URL. It should be as descriptive to that specific product without unnecessary information. 

For example, if the page is for Men’s New Balance 990v5’s in grey, the URL should very simply be: 

It is important to avoid overly complicated URL file structures such as “”. This type of file structure tells Google that the page at the end is “less important” and crawlers will have more difficulty reaching it. 

As a rule of thumb, your pages should be a maximum of 3 back slashes deep. So at MOST, you site structure could be 

Anything more than this will just hurt your ability to rank. 

The next step is headers and meta tags.

There should only be one h1 on every page, which tells the user and search crawlers what your page is about. For example, with this product, the h1 is:

“NEW BALANCE 990v5 – Grey with Castlerock – Men’s”. This simple and elegant h1 tells users exactly what is on the page and keeps things simple.

For the Meta description and title, you can be a bit more creative. While the meta title should still contain the product name, add a click-inducing element like “Shop Today” to increase your CTR in search.

In the meta description, be sure to inform users of what the page is about and any other information they need to know, for example: “Shop our selection of New Balance 990v5 for Men. Don’t miss out on our sitewide sale of New Balance shoes, ending January 2024”

By including a call to action, the product name, and a promotion, you are sure to increase your click-through rate!

Content pieces made for a eCommerce SEO Client

Step 3: Content, Content, Content

In SEO, content is the most critical factor. You can have a beautifully optimized site, headers all tagged correctly, schema out the wazoo, a page speed so fast it makes the flash look slow, but none of this matters if you don’t have good content. 

Why? Because content is what drives people from Google to your site. 

When a customer is making a purchase decsion, Google is one of the first places they turn with 47% of users starting on the search engine. They ask questions about sizing, product specifications, if the product can solve x issue, or if it works well for people with x problem. 

It is your responsibility as a site owner to find out what questions they’re asking (using a keyword research tool) and answer them to the best of your ability, usually in the form of a blog post. 

The mechanism here is multi-faceted. 

Firstly, by answering a user question quickly and accurately, you build a relationship with them, making it more likely that they will convert into a customer later on.

Secondly, Google pays attention to how users interact with your content. If Google sees that users spend a lot of time on your site reading content, clicking around, and even converting as a customer, they will be more likely to promote future content published on your site. 

Thirdly, as you publish content on your site, Google will see what topics you are discussing and understand that your site is an “expert” in said industry. 

This helps Google organize its index and provide more accurate information to users, something you’ll be rewarded with increased rankings and more relevant traffic!

For VDB, they have a strong focus on foot health, so our content focused on topics such as “Best Work Boots For Flat Feet” (a keyword we hold the top ranking for). 

This type of content is highly relevant to users and presents a good opportunity for readers to convert as customers. 

So, when it comes to the content strategy for your site, think about what type of content would be valuable for your audience, what your niche is, and how you can monetize this content.

Lastly, a powerful side effect of posting valuable content is backlinks! 

If you have spent any amount of time in the SEO world, you surely will have learned about backlinks. 

Backlinks are when one site links to another; Google views these links as “votes” from one site to another and plays a large role in helping Google’s algorithm decide what content is valuable and what content isn’t.

When you post valuable content, other sites will link to it as they write their own content, boosting your rankings and your site’s reputation. 

Backlinks acquired for VDB over time

Step 4: Backlinks 

As mentioned above, backlinks are an important part of our SEO strategy for E-Commerce. However, it is not just organic backlinks that we work on acquiring. 

We work with a network of blogging and news sites to build backlinks to our client’s sites. 

This involves manually reaching out to hundreds of sites to have reputable and safe websites agree to write articles linking to our blog and collection pages. 

We thoroughly vet each site to ensure that the backlinks we acquire are above board, are non-toxic, and will not hurt our client’s sites. 

Many times you will see backlinks offered at very cheap prices; this is almost always a bad idea as those links come from PBNs or other dangerous strategies that, while may work in the short term, spell disaster in the long term. 

Additionally, it’s very important that the backlinks you do acquire are niche-relevant. This means that the sites they are coming from are directly related to your industry. For VDB, we focused on acquiring backlinks from sites about fashion and dress.


Step 5: Add A Little Spice, With Google Ads

While our strategy is always SEO first, paid ads play an important role in testing strategies and boosting revenue. 

When attempting a site redesign, conversion rate optimization, or trying to discover an interest in a product group, ads are integral.

For example, let’s say our client is interested in promoting a new brand but is unsure of the consumer interest. With paid ads, we can start driving traffic to the products overnight, getting real-time data on engagement & conversion rates. 

If the ad test proves effective, we can dedicate more time and resources to building out the organic profile of that brand. 

Without ads, we would be left to study 3rd party data, possibly making incorrect decisions leading to wasted time and money. 

SEO is good, Paid ads are good, combined? They create a one-two digital marketing punch that leaves you with great results. 

The moral of the story is to do both!


SEO should not be a complicated practice, in fact, it is very straightforward. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is simply misleading you.

Once the technical side of it is set up properly, the strategy is simply well-researched content and backlinks. 

If you are interested in seeing results like those from VDB, contact us today for a free consultation.

Happy Optimizing!