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New approach to optimization helps Rock Bottom Golf tee up more sales

Doing a better job with site optimization helped Rock Bottom Golf keep web sales out of the rough in the fourth quarter.

Though Rock Bottom Golf, No. 308 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, won’t disclose specific numbers, web sales in the fourth quarter grew year over year primarily because the company spent the last six months working to improve its natural search rankings. “Sales attributed to search engine optimization grew 100% in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the fourth quarter of 2007,” says Rock Bottom Golf director of marketing Brian Schwank. “In comparison, sales attributed to our paid search program grew by only 25%.”

To better optimize its web site, Rock Bottom Golf worked with McDougall Interactive, a Gloucester, MA, web site design and interactive marketing firm, to improve its natural rankings on major search engines, particularly Google, Schwank says.

McDougall conducted an analysis of the golf and golf manufacturing keywords that produced the highest rankings and generated the best click-through rate on various Google pages. McDougall then worked with Rock Bottom Golf to add more spider-friendly content to its home and category pages.

Specifically, Rock Bottom Golf created a blog and added more specific golfing-related product keywords such as “Nike Golf Sasquatch Sumo” and “Callaway Golf X 460 Graphite Driver” to its category and merchandise pages. “Where we used to appear on the third and fourth pages of a Google search, now we’re getting higher up on the first page,” Schwank says. “We added a lot more text and the site is better optimized as a result. We added specific keywords that generated the best click-through rate and conversion.”

In addition to improving site optimization, Rock Bottom Golf in early 2009 will add an affiliate marketing program and use an application from ChannelAdvisor Corp. to place products on comparison shopping sites.