If you’ve ever felt like there was no way your business could ever really compete with the big brands, you’re not alone.
It’s human to have doubts. It can even be smart, sometimes, to be cautious. And it’s natural to look to your competition and wonder how the heck they got to be so successful (and how you can get there, too).
We’ve all heard the stories of the world’s most dominant brands emerging from garages and dorm rooms. These stories resonate with us because of a simple truth:
Great success stories often start with humble beginnings.
I’m about to dive into a very special case study. It may be our most exciting yet. Because, it proves that it’s not about where or how you begin, and it’s certainly not about who your competition is.
Our HOTH client, Kickscrew, has more than proven that with the right team, the right tools, and the right strategy, anything is possible.
The best part? There’s no “trade secret” behind their success, just super solid SEM that virtually any company can use to launch themselves into the stratosphere.
In this case study, we’ll dive into how it started, how it’s going, and exactly what The HOTH did to help a vintage ecommerce sneaker company 100xed their business and compete with the likes of Nike and Footlocker.
Kickscrew in 2019 (How it Started)
Gary Hui, cofounder and current Chief Growth Officer of Kickscrew, came to The HOTH in 2019.
We’ve actually worked with Gary before on other projects. The relationship and trust were there, and Gary was confident in our ability to get results.
This made us the easy choice when it came to picking an SEO team to partner with.
Kickscrew.com is an online ecommerce company that sells vintage sneakers.
At the time, they were averaging a moderate amount of sales per day. They weren’t bad for an ecommerce shoe company, but the Kickscrew team knew that with the right digital marketing strategies, they could do more.
(We knew that, too.)
To be clear, all of these numbers are super impressive, especially when you consider that they hadn’t done much in the way in digital marketing before.
So, imagine how far they could go with the right SEO strategy?
(Spoiler alert: they went far.)
But, let’s begin at the beginning. As with all our HOTH X clients, we kicked off (sorry not sorry for the pun) our Kickscrew marketing strategy with an SEO Audit.
The Kickscrew SEO Audit
As mentioned, every new HOTH client gets a complete site audit by one of our SEO consultants.
SEO audits are the foundation of any solid strategy. You need to know what your current wins are and your challenges in order to most effectively “boost” your SEO.
Here’s a baseline of what our initial audits examine:
- Organic traffic
- Number of ranking organic keywords (spots 1-100 in the SERPs)
- “Easy win” keyword opportunities
- Competitor research
Of course, that’s not the entire audit, but it’s the base of our initial strategy development.
Since I already spoke to their organic traffic (10,000 visitors on average each month) and keywords (approximately 40,000), I’ll jump right to the “easy win” keyword opportunities.
Identifying Kickscrew’s “easy win” keywords
Not everything in SEO has to be difficult or drawn out.
The HOTH defines “easy win” keywords as the ones your site’s already ranking for in positions 4-30 (AKA, the first three pages of the SERPs).
These are incredibly useful, because they show that Google already sees your site as relevant for these key phrases. You’ve already established some authority, so there’s no need to “fight” for a brand new position.
Instead, you can capitalize on these existing keywords by using them and variations of them in more blogs and web pages.
Here are some of the major things we do with your “easy win” keywords:
- Make sure your on-page SEO features these keywords or phrases
- Add additional, keyword-related content to your site
- Build links to these pages from high quality, high authority, relevant sites
The beauty here is that these keywords aren’t tough to identify (you can even use our free keyword tool to do this), but are a huge help when increasing your site’s overall rankings.
This strategy also works well with more competitive keywords to bump a site into Google’s coveted top 3 spots.
Kickscrew’s competitive gap analysis
After we find the easy wins, the next step in an SEO audit is to perform a competitive gap analysis (you can do this using our free tool here).
This is where we check in on the competition. Any SEO will tell you that competitor research is crucial for SEO.
Essentially, we take a peek behind your competition’s curtain as part of your keyword strategy. What key terms are they ranking for that you aren’t? Which opportunities are you missing?
When we did Kickscrew’s competitive gap analysis, we found thousands of keywords up for grabs, including:
- Yeezy supply
- Kicks on fire
We’ll share in this post what we did to make sure Kickscrew.com started ranking for these terms (and many more).
The Kickscrew SEO Campaign
After the initial SEO audit comes the strategy (AKA, what the heck we’re going to do with this list of keywords?).
Kickscrew’s consistently ordered HOTH Blogger posts since they started with us 2 years ago, and decided to ramp their content up even further by upgrading to Blogger Pro last year (Blogger Pro is our even more leveled-up HOTH Blogger product– the writers who curate your content already have a ton of experience working and writing in your niche).
They also decided to take us up on our free offer to upload the blogs to their site, which is a great set-and-forget option for businesses or marketers who’d rather not have to worry about formatting, adding images, and optimizing the blog page itself for SEO.
HOTH Blogger and HOTH Blogger Pro are designed to accomplish the following:
- Hit your audience at all stages of the sales funnel
- Get your site to rank for a ton of longtail, intentional keywords
- Establish legitimacy and credibility as an expert in your niche
- Create “linkable assets” resulting in even more backlinks to your site
For instance, some of the posts we published for Kickscrew were built around the following topics that drove a ton of traffic to the site:
- Sneaker care
- How to wear various sneaker styles
- How to resell sneakers
HOTH Guest Posts
Guest posts are a huge part of the Kickscrew SEO campaign, and make up the majority of their orders.
We use guest posts to target high-intent, bottom-funnel keywords that users are generally plugging in when they’re ready to buy.
HOTH clients can choose from a variety of guest post options– want to go by a high Domain Authority? We got you. Want backlinks from sites that generate a ton of traffic? Got you covered there, too. Want guest posts on sites with a high DA and a ton of traffic? We have that option as well.
Kickscrew decided to diversify their orders. They ordered guest posts from every DA type, traffic option, and combinations of the two (smart).
They also boosted their guest post orders with HOTH Syndication, which redistributes high-performing content to over 300 high-authority sites like news organizations and major publishers.
Syndication is great for building authority and brand awareness, and also, in itself, can earn new links.
In short, Kickscrew didn’t hold back. And the results were incredible.
Kickscrew in 2022 (How It’s Going)
First, sales increased. Not by a little. Not by a medium. Their sales literally increased by 100x in 2 years.
And their sales are projected to increase by another 100% in the next 2 years.
In general, their keyword reach basically exploded. I mentioned that in 2019, they were ranking for around 40,000 keywords.
They’re now ranking for almost 200,000. With a significant increase in keywords ranking in first-page and top 3 positions.
Of course, this had an incredible impact on traffic. You can check the graph below:
They went from 10,000 monthly visitors to over 650,000.
Great SEM strategies take time, but they’re so worth it. You can see when and how their site’s traffic exploded.
Because links are such an important SEO ranking factor, in Google’s eyes, the guest posts we wrote for them made the site more authoritative. This drove traffic, which, in turn, resulted in more links from other websites.
Check out how much their referring domains increased:
Here’s the David and Goliath moment I teased at the start of this post.
Kickscrew is now ranking in the No. 1 position for the keyword “authentic air jordan 1.”
That’s higher than Nike. Higher than most of the major brands. And that particular keyword has a traffic potential of almost 35,000.
Kickscrew is now ranked No. 5 for the keyword “yeezys.”
Besides appearing on the first page of SERPs with this keyword, they also earned a traffic potential of 1.1 million people.
A few of our high domain authority guest posts used exact match keywords but many used variations, ie: “cost of yeezys,” “authentic yeezys,” “finding yeezys,” etc.
SEO builds on itself. Keep investing and it will continue to get easier and easier to make massive gains in authority, which results in more clicks and conversions.
Every business requires a curated SEO strategy.
That’s why when you come to The HOTH you get a crafted SEO or SEM campaign specifically designed for you so you can reach your ultimate goals.
This Kickscrew.com case study highlights one of our most successful clients. They not only increased sales by 100 times, are projected to increase sales by another 100% in the next 2 years.
Kickscrew beat some of the world’s biggest sneaker retailers by targeting, and ranking for, specific keywords. And they weren’t shy about going after some of the industry’s most competitive.
It paid off.
I said in the beginning of this post that there weren’t any trade secrets here. These results come from the kinds of solid SEO practices that every single person who signs up for HOTH X gets as part of our managed service.
If you’ve ever doubted that you can have a David vs. Goliath story like Kickscrew, don’t.
And then give us a call. We’re here to help. And we love to see you win.