Marlow Ropes Case Study


International SEO For Global Rope Manufacturer

Written by Ben Keeley. Published on December 9, 2020.

At the start of this SEO project, we specified and agreed the following targets with the client, Marlow Ropes.

  1. Increase the number of backlinks to the website, particularly US backlinks.
  2. Increase US organic traffic to the website from 25% of all visitors.
  3. Lower the bounce rate from 64% to 54% (avg. bounce rate) or lower.
  4. Deliver more conversions from the US on the website, improving the conversion rate from 1.9% to 2.77% (avg. conversion rate) or higher.
  5. Increase the number of monthly conversions from the US from 86/month.
  6. To attain overall better average positions in Google.com search results pages for searches occurring within the US.
  7. Achieve better brand awareness for relevant searches in the US, including impressions, clicks, CTR and avg. position in Google.com (for US searches).

Our method was to emulate Teufelberger’s backlink profile, and their strategy of a more diverse backlink profile in the US, so that we attain better results from less overall backlinks but of a higher quality and authority.

Website traffic

To view the website performance over the past year of SEO, compared to the previous period, please see the table below: 


Overall, website visitors have not changed much year on year, with a very stable weekly performance. No real sign of growth, other than in January where there was a huge spike in performance, around +250%. This proved to be an unidentified bot that was not being filtered out of the Google Analytics stats (despite know bots and spiders being removed automatically from the stats). This bot originated in Hong Kong. We did not identify what this bot was doing, but did report it to the Marlow Ropes team.

The filter removing C Language, effectively shows the website stats for users. C Language is used by bots.

At the beginning of the SEO project, website traffic from the US was:

  • 25% of all visitors
  • 64% bounce rate
  • 1.81% conversion rate
  • 86 conversions were occurring per month from US visitors

This year, we’ve recorded the following stats from the US:

  • 26% of all website visitors (+1%)
  • 64% bounce rate
  • 1.83% conversion rate (+0.02%)
  • 88 conversions/month (+2/month)

Google searches in the US

Google searches wobbled in March this year, likely due to the coronavirus pandemic, stabilizing quickly but with little sign of growth throughout the year.

The obvious trend being the regular peaks and troughs of weekly searches, peaking during weekdays, and dipping during the weekends.


If we open up the analysis to include all countries, we can see that the US is the second most important source of clicks to the website, behind the UK. But the potential is obvious, as you can clearly see much more impressions occurring in the US compared to the UK, indicating greater demand for the clients product.


At the beginning of the SEO project, across a sample three month period, we recorded:

  • 249k searches in the US where Marlow Ropes was currently ranking
  • An average position of 13.9
  • Google was attributed to 9.7k clicks to the website

Towards the end of 2020, over a six month sample period, we’ve recorded:

  • 923k searches in the US where Marlow Ropes is currently ranking
  • An average position of 17.1
  • Google is attributed to 31.5k clicks to the website

vs overall Google searches where Marlow Ropes featured

The US still only represented around 25% of all clicks and impressions, as it also did at the start of the project.

Keyword ranking positions compared to baselines

Keyword rankings comparing to baselines, and measuring against the local competition in the US.

NOTE: these keyword rankings are for the US, searches on Google.com for pages in the US (not UK .co.uk)

  • Arboriculture search terms (no change)
  • Commercial Marine search terms (+1%)
  • Defense Ropes search terms (+3%)
  • Leisure Marine search terms (-7%)
  • Rope Access search terms (no change)
  • Utility and Industrial search terms (+7%)
  • Vehicle Recovery search terms (-24%)

Backlink progress

  

At the start of the project, the root domain marlowropes.com had:

  • 53k backlinks
  • 434 linking domains
  • 370 different IP addresses

As a result of the link building work we undertook, we significantly increased the depth and breath of Marlow Ropes backlink profile:

  • 266k backlinks (+400%)
  • 848 linking domains (+95%)
  • 748 different IP addresses (+102%)

Link building progress can be viewed here:


Domain comparison

We identified that Teufelberger had the better of Marlow Ropes in the US at the start of the project. Despite less backlinks, they had double the amount of linking domains than Marlow Ropes, and a more diverse backlink profile using more IP addresses and C-blocks.

Baseline domain stats at the start of the project:

  • Domain strength: 6.47
  • InLink Rank: 84
  • Marlow Ropes achieved a 2/5 rating in comparison to Teufelberger’s 4/5 star rating

Domain stats now:

  • Domain strength: 6.47
  • InLink Rank: 84
  • Star rating: 4/5 compared to Teufelberger’s 2/5

Baseline domain comparison vs Yale Cordage and Teufelberger

This table shows the domain comparison at the start of the project:


New domain comparison

Marlow Ropes now had the most backlinks, linking domains, IP addresses and c-blocks, as well as linked pages – giving Marlow a 4/5 star rating.


By country

Marlow Ropes now has a significant US backlink profile, arguably the most competitive in the US against their top competition.


Summary

In brief, the link building project has successfully used the blueprint of their competitors’ backlink profiles to improve the SEO authority of their website in the US, overtaking Teufelberger and Yale Cordage across a number of key metrics.

Despite the improved backlink performance, an important SEO metric, there does not appear to have been much change in the website performance over the last several months, with visits from the US and conversions in the US staying around the same as the year before.

Rankings have been up and down in the US, with gains in some areas, and losses in others. Defense, for example, showed some growth, whereas vehicle recovery ropes seemed to drastically reduce.

Overall, Marlow Ropes performed better than the competition, but it’s been a strange year for rankings, clicks, and searches on Google due to covid-19 pandemic affecting demand in an unprecedented way.