Worth the Premium: An SEO Case Study

We understand how marketing can be a struggle for many small businesses.

There are limited resources. No business has deep enough pockets to throw endless spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. You need to know that your dollars are well-spent.

You need to know what marketing tactics will bring in more business for your company and what won’t.

That’s why, when we see that our clients are seeing good results from the work we do for them, we want to share it with you. We want to share with you not only what worked but why it worked.

For this client, we saw a 40% average yearly increase in website visitors. Each year, the portion of those visitors that came from search engines increased 78% over the year before.

After one whole year of SEO services, they were receiving 357% as many requests for quotes through their website than the year before.

Who was this client and what did we do to grow their online marketing?

(**Before we get started, we cannot stress enough how results will vary based on factors outside of our control. Your industry, local competition and offline word of mouth are huge factors that we can’t change. More about this at the end.)

Meet the Best Car Wash Pit Cleaning Company We Know

Pit Crew doesn’t just clean car wash pits like any cheap, fly-by-night company with a field to illegally bury the waste in. They process the pit waste in a dedicated processing center in Suffolk County, Virginia.

They also don’t process any other type of waste besides car wash pit waste. This makes them more efficient, (and therefore more affordable) than environmental companies that provide the same service.

Better quality without costing a whole lot more than the cheap options– it was a business model that needed to be shared with the world.

When Pit Crew came to us, they didn’t have a website. We built them a custom-coded WordPress website and then offered a Premium SEO Plan that would include:

In general, the leap from no website to an active online presence contributed heavily to their growth. But more than that, each line item in their Premium SEO Plan showed good return on their investment.

Website Optimization Put Them on the Map

Pit Crew’s new website launched in mid-2017 with initial SEO included in the launch. This means that the website was designed with SEO standards in mind from the very beginning.

The web design blended a good looking website with good content. The site structure included services pages for the three main types of car washes they service. The text included keywords that car wash owners use. The meta descriptions and title tags were filled out. The website was made to be easy for search engines to crawl and index.

Everything was set up for success. In the matter of a few months, the website ranked 1st for very specific search queries like “car wash waste removal service” and was on the first page of Google for broader queries like “car wash tank cleaning” and “car wash pit cleaning.”

In late 2017, the website averaged 287 visitors per month. On average, 32% (86 sessions) of this traffic came from search engines.

Ongoing Search Engine Optimization Kept Them On Top

The initial website optimizations were enough to get the website on the map but we didn’t stop there. All of our monthly SEO plans include time each month to look at the website analytics and determine where to optimize further.

We keep a close eye on how websites rank in top search engines for important keywords and key phrases. We also watch how other competitors are ranking and whether there is anything we should do to keep up. We also notice how visitors are behaving on websites and look for ways to help them find what they’re looking for.

For example, the process page began as a short description of what Pit Crew does for its customers and why Pit Crew does it better than the competition. After looking at the pages that are typically read on the website, we saw that the process page was a bridge between the home page and the contact page. It was an important link between landing on the homepage and deciding to get in touch with Pit Crew.

We rewrote and lengthened the process page. After a phone call with Pit Crew’s owner, we had enough details to be more persuasive. We included details about what Pit Crew does differently and even embedded Pit Crew’s promotional YouTube video.

The result? More website visitors stuck around on the page to read everything it said. A month after the process page was rewritten, the number of page views increased by 39% and the average time on the page increased by 47%.

Because more visitors read about what made Pit Crew such a good choice, 3 times as many went on to visit the contact page to see how they could get in touch.

It’s research like this that makes a monthly search engine optimization plan worth it.

But the monthly research we do for our websites goes even further than that. Because we see what typical searches bring visitors to your website, we can figure out what else they are searching for. We can see what other questions they could be asking.

And then we ask ourselves: how can we answer these questions?

Blog Posts Attracted More Traffic

A website is like a book. If there isn’t a whole lot to see or read, you can flip through it and toss it to the side.

When a website doesn’t have a lot of content on it, there isn’t a lot to see or read. Search engines like Google have fewer pages to show to searchers. Visitors have fewer pages to read and generally get less out of your website. They click around a bit and then leave.

Writing blog posts, however, opens up a world of resources for your website visitors.

You can write about your business and what’s new with your services. You can educate them on why they need your services. You can talk to them about topics that they are interested in.

With time in an SEO plan to write blog posts, we can have four concentric circles of topics on the website instead of just one:

  1. Information about your business (already included in other web pages)
  2. What’s new with your services (blog posts)
  3. Why your customers need services like yours (blog posts)
  4. Other topics your customers are interested in (blog posts)

Sharing Updates in Blog Posts

To share updates about Pit Crew, we wrote blog posts like:

  • “NEW Facebook Page for Pit Crew”
  • “Brand New Vacuum Truck for Pit Crew”
  • “Industry-Leading Car Washes Choose Pit Crew”

Altogether, these blog posts received 307 views in the past 2 years. While it’s always good to share updates about your business, this relatively low view count shows why talking entirely about yourself isn’t the most interesting topic for others to read. The casual website visitor doesn’t randomly wonder what your business is up to these days while they go about their day.

Pie chart of blog post pageviews by category with Update blog post category highlighted in green as 5% of total pageviews

So what are Pit Crew’s website visitors really asking themselves?

Educating Why Your Services Are Necessary

A car wash owner often disposes of their pit waste themselves. While they do this, the thought strikes them, “is the sludge from car wash pits hazardous?”

How do we know this?

Well, thanks to our monthly SEO Plan, we have time to do the research. We talk with our clients. We use time on social media to join forums where car wash owners are asking these questions. We see the data that shows how much traffic volume specific keywords get.

That’s why we wrote these blog posts:

  • “Is the Sludge from Car Wash Pits Hazardous?”
  • “Car Wash Owners are Responsible for Pit Debris”
  • “5 Things You Don’t Know about Pit Cleaning.”
  • “Should I Clean My Own Car Wash Pits?”

They answer the questions Pit Crew’s clients are already asking themselves (and asking Google). No, sludge from car wash pits is not hazardous but yes, car wash owners are responsible for the debris and yes, there are 5 things that, if a car wash owner knew, they would think twice about cleaning their pits themselves and immediately hire Pit Crew.

Unsurprisingly, these blog posts and others like them have received 1,951 views in total over the life of the website. By sharing a wealth of knowledge with their website visitors, Pit Crew put their name in front of hundreds of car wash owners.

Pie chart of blog post pageviews by category with Education blog post category highlighted in blue as 29% of total pageviews

While these blog posts answer the questions that Pit Crew’s website visitors are asking themselves, how often do they really ask? Once every few months, they might wonder why they are cleaning smelly car wash pits themselves. Maybe once a year, they wonder how the process could be improved. It probably doesn’t keep them up at night.

So what keeps Pit Crew’s website visitors up at night?

Talking About What Car Wash Owners Talk About

Car wash owners might sometimes think about how they dispose of pit waste but you know what they think of all the time? How their car wash business can be profitable.

How do we know this?

You guessed it! We see the traffic every month. We see the search engine data. We saw that questions like “is a car wash profitable?” and “are car wash subscriptions worth it?” were being searched on a daily basis.

That’s why we wrote blog posts about topics that are related to the car wash industry like:

  • 5 Business Tips for New Car Wash Owners
  • Calculating Cash Flow for Your Car Wash Business
  • Winter Marketing Strategies for Your Car Wash

Some of the information could be read by just about anyone interested in car washes. Some of it would only pique the interest of someone who owned a car wash. It was blog posts like that that put Pit Crew on the same level as the car wash industry magazines that car wash owners are reading in their free time.

We paid special attention to the blog posts that only car wash owners would read.

Take, for instance, the blog post “Calculating Cash Flow for Your Car Wash Business.” There were a lot of scattered articles on the web about how to figure out if your car wash business is profitable. Very few of them tied everything together with a step-by-step guide, research on industry average and screenshots of an excel spreadsheet a car wash owner could make at home.

So that’s what we did.

This 1611-word behemoth is 8 times as long as the next ranking blog post when you search for “car wash cash flow” (which was written by a car wash industry magazine). It describes and links to resources about a topic that is unlikely to be read by anyone besides car wash business owners. It builds awareness for Pit Crew and puts their business name in front of potential customers. It builds trust in Pit Crew as a resource that helps business owners, even if it doesn’t directly contribute to Pit Crew’s bottom line.

And it paid off. In the past month, this blog post alone has shown up in Google 5,986 times and received 277 clicks from Google.

Blog posts like the cash flow blog post bring more visitors to Pit Crew’s website than either of the two other categories we’ve talked about so far. They resulted in 4,393 views over the lifetime of the website.

Pie chart of blog post pageviews by category with Update blog post category highlighted in yellow as 66% of total pageviews

The Final Tally on Blog Posts

Scatter plot graph with number of blog posts on the x axis and number of monthly sessions on the y axis. The trendline swoops up into the right showing that the monthly sessions increase with the number of blog posts on the website.

The 26 blog posts currently written for the Pit Crew website have a total of 6,651 views over the lifetime of the website.

That’s 6,651 times that a website visitor has read something they find useful. 6,651 times that a website visitor was exposed to the name Pit Crew with the phone number 804-PIT-CREW at the top of their screen. 6,651 times more traffic than a website without a blog section and monthly blog posts.

The blogging portion of the Premium SEO Plan is all about taking a website from being a small booklet without much to read to a colorful magazine that attracts website traffic.

Social Media Reaches the Right Crowd

As we mentioned earlier, talking only about yourself in blog posts doesn’t bring in much traffic. People aren’t as interested in your affairs as you are. You have to talk to them about topics that they are interested in.

Social media is one way to join in the conversation. It gives small businesses an opportunity to go where their customers are every single day.

That’s what we did with Pit Crew. We didn’t just post about Pit Crew’s services over and over again. We used the social media time to follow car wash Facebook pages and react to their posts. This way we were interacting with Pit Crew’s potential customers.

We also joined a Facebook group for car wash owners. This group actively discusses what it takes to run a successful car wash and some of the struggles they have. Car wash owners even talk about how much they hate cleaning their own car wash pits.

By interacting with the group as Pit Crew, we could talk with and ask questions of car wash owners. We could be there to celebrate their successes and sympathize with their struggles. We could use some of their questions as research for our blog posts.

It was only through joining in the conversations that car wash owners were already having that we could occasionally talk about how Pit Crew could be a good fit for them.

After a single, well-timed comment on a post in the Facebook group, three car wash owners immediately requested quotes. We helped Pit Crew go where the right crowd was already gathering and join in the conversation.

In total, social media has resulted in 692 visits to the Pit Crew website.

Was It Worth the Premium?

Each part of Pit Crew’s SEO plan has contributed to attracting more visitors to their website. But what has the real impact been over time?

  • In 2017, the website was averaging 287 visitors per month
  • In 2018, it averaged 320 visitors per month
  • In 2019, it average 530 visitors per month
  • So far in 2020, 962 people visited Pit Crew’s website each month

Although many of the visitors to the website choose to call pit crew directly, a handful submit a contact form on the website.

Between 2018 and 2019, the average number of contact form submissions per month increased by 357%.

That’s all we have to say about that.

So now you have to ask: is your business worth the premium?

Disclaimers About This Case Study

We Can’t Take All the Credit

We can’t take credit for all of the website traffic increase for Pit Crew. In addition to the services that we provide, they are also using a Pay-Per-Click company for paid traffic to the website. According to the website analytics, about 6.14% of the clicks (996 clicks) to the website came from this channel.

Results May Vary

Results will vary. Not all of our SEO clients see this large of an increase in traffic.

Then again, not all of our SEO clients are on our Premium SEO Plan. Not all of our clients choose a custom-coded web design with Key Web. Not all of our clients work with us from the very beginning of their online presence and stay with us for 3 years.

But, most importantly, not all of our clients have the unique corner on their market that Pit Crew has.

Pit Crew isn’t just the largest company that cleans car wash pits. They are the only car wash pit cleaning company on the East Coast that only cleans car wash pits. It’s what they’re best at because it’s all they do.

You may not have a unique position in your market. Competition might be fiercer. The tactics we used with Pit Crew could be like machine guns in a knife fight but, in your industry, everyone else is using nuclear bombs.

Results Vary, But We’re Flexible

Key Web has provided SEO services for dozens of SEO clients. We’ve seen times when one method worked and times when we had to use a different tactic.

We’ll be happy to talk to you about your unique business and see what we can do for you.