How a Small E-Commerce Grew a Site from $0 to Over $4k in Revenue per Month: Case Study

Dorron Shapow
November 16, 2020

Inside this article:

Who is Dorron Shapow “100 Percent Organic SEO”, The Authority Detective?

My name is Dorron, and I'm also known as the “Authority Detective.” For over a decade-plus, I have tested and tried just about every SEO technique out there. I graduated with a marketing and medical degree when the Internet hadn’t yet existed.

During my university education, I was given a thesis to create a new approach to market research and analysis, mainly focus groups. With a clinical mind combined with the knowledge of symptoms to diagnosis analysis, it dawned on me that the approach of market testing was inaccurate. We needed to really understand our target market and their DNA. 

Where do they live, where do they get their information, what’s their socioeconomic status, color, font preferences, what do they do with their free time, worries, and inspiration?

Preface that with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest hasn’t existed yet!

We needed a lens into their lives to make data-based decisions on product design and marketing. I came up with my own methodology.

This is how DNA marketing was born. Fast forward, Ford had hired me in cooperation with their marketing department to launch the DNA marketing program. From this, the ford focus was established in the USA and was a big success. Later I was hired by R.J Reynolds tobacco, Tommy Hilfiger, and Pepsi. After much success, I sold my program to a grassroots marketing company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and continued with my medical career. 

Getting into the world of organic traffic

In 2007, I was starting to learn WordPress design and created a couple of e-commerce websites. One day, I was surfing through YouTube. I came across a professor and former product director from Google, Alberto Savoia, talking about this idea of prototyping and mock testing ideas before investing in them. He used this approach to creating products for Google.

I was inspired. I asked myself, what if I could take this approach to search engine optimization?

I became a student reading everything I could and created several e-commerce websites to test what I learned. Some failed, but those that did succeed I sold. I was hooked and wanted to do this for a living. I quickly became passionate about organic search engine marketing.

I followed and read everything I could and implemented everything I learned from industry thought leaders, such as Kyle Roof, Matt Diggity, Roger Monte, Barry Swartz, and Steve Toth.

To be honest, I'm not about the hype or standing out of the crowd; I'm happy in my little corner of the world finding quick wins and revenue for my clients.

My ethos is quite simple. Let the data speak for itself; my assumptions mean nothing if they cannot be verified by statistical data. "If you can quantify, you can qualify."

When you know how to identify why some pages are loved by Google so much (because they rank high), you can replicate their success.

And nope, it's not all about backlinks or domain authority!

Simply put: when you think like a site visitor, you think like a search engine. They both want to have the best and highest quality search results to match a query. As Google started implementing NLP (Natural Language Processing) and AI within its algo to understand queries better, I needed a better way of working because it’s all about revenue over rankings and driving ROI!

NLP optimization with Surfer

This is where Surfer has become a critical component of my process. The reason behind it is simple. It saves time and money and gives you a target to reach.

Google search has become extremely intelligent and understanding relevance within the content, so it wasn’t enough to inject keywords in the content anymore; I needed to inject a fundamental, core understanding of the subject.

Here’s a test: Google this (sugar, flour, eggs, and butter). These are four individual keywords, but Google understands that’s a cookie, and you’re looking for a cookie recipe. You need to approach your content the same way and weave the words so that Google understands what your topic is to match it to the right query.

google results for "sugar flour eggs butter" query showing cookie recipesr

That is where Surfer shines! With NLP in Content Editor and Audit, I know exactly which words I should incorporate into my writing.

Plus, Instead of writing multiple long-form articles, I know approximately how many words to write. It’s much better than paying a content writer for hundreds of words that I don't need. 

My clients save money, get better content that performs, and prove what I say doesn't matter. It’s. I will let the data speak for itself….it’s all in the data, so let’s go over a case study.

NatureZedge's road from zero to hero (with a little help from Surfer)

NatureZedge is a veteran-owned, small family e-commerce website selling Non-GMO, open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower seeds and more sourced in the USA. It was founded in 2019, when my client launched a side business on Amazon to supplement his disability income.

He built a two-page website as per Amazon’s guidelines and grew his Amazon sales to roughly 50k per month. 

Starting point: simple Amazon seller site with no sales

As many sellers know, selling on Amazon is a real pain: the logistics, the headaches that come with running a business, and the fees.

He wanted another way to leverage his success. My client found me after following my comments within a few Facebook groups and wanted to meet. We met in January 2020; the website was horrible and wasn't driving any traffic; he blogged mindlessly and got absolutely no sales.

He wasn't just in a sandbox. He was in quicksand and couldn't get out.

My recommendation was that SEO wasn't a good investment at the time. The ROI wasn't there until he grew some traffic and traction; however, I told him I am working with this new method of optimizing content.

We could start with a limited content strategy and authority detection campaign, and while I am at it, redesign the site.

No social media marketing, no PPC, no backlink generation, basically no domain authority, no SEM. Just content strategy, Surfer optimization, and basic data from Google Search Console.

Three phases to $4k in revenue from a site

Phase 1: Site redesign

I rebooted the site design based on competition analysis and applied basic SEO to make sure it’s optimized for high conversion rates. I relaunched the website in January 2020.

Phase 2: Content strategy and authority detection

I researched organic gardening to complement his product line and created a content strategy based on the hub and spoke pattern. Hub topics and spoke topics were interlinked. I then prepared a content schedule and sent off the topics after SERP analysis with Surfer.

With the Content Editor and the one-on-one advice, I am deeply appreciative of Michal Suski. His accessibility and willingness to teach his subscribers how to use the tool was simply amazing!

Phase 3: Ongoing content creation and optimization

This is where we are currently at. You could call it to rinse and repeat.

The revenue growth starting date is January 2020, $0 per month gross. The current average revenue is about 4K per month gross. That is ROI!

Where are we now after 30 posts curated and published: GSC data 

Total click growth

NatureZedge total click growth overview

The total click count has been growing exponentially, proving that the higher position in SERPs go in-line with higher CTRs.

Total impressions

NatureZedge total impressions overview

Total impressions rose from zero to 331K, meaning the content started rapidly climbing up the SERPs.

Average position

NatureZedge average position in SERP overview

Sure, this isn’t a straightforward growing line like the two before, but let me explain while it still signifies positive changes.

As the number of keywords grows, the average position begins fluctuating. But now, after some time in the SERPs, the growth turned stable and consistent despite algorithm updates that happened along the way. That’s a sign that the content strategy is sustainable.

Organic traffic overview

NatureZedge organic traffic overview

Organic traffic has been steadily rising, and we can observe a HUGE growth compared to January 2020. Note the low bounce rate and the number of pages visited per session. It signifies that the traffic is relevant!

The future’s bright for NatureZedge

As you can clearly see from the data, NatureZedge grew revenue by 4000% thanks to organic traffic alone.

And they got the organic traffic thanks to content strategy powered by Surfer. No off-page SEO required!

Right now, the growth is steady, without significant drops that need fixing. 

The accuracy of Surfer’s NLP suggestions allowed for the content to be so relevant it doesn’t just bring people in. It actually sells! No vanity metrics in sight.

Surfer turned out to be a perfect fit for small e-commerce with no website authority at all and managed to make it a successful store in a mere couple of months.

If you want to see if Surfer will be a great match for your store or your SEO business as well—sign up now and see what it can do for you.

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