Often times a case study is built around showing dramatic improvement. What better way to showcase the success of a client, campaign or product than to clearly show a marked increase in results and/or a positive return on investment? But what happens when the opposite is true?

We have been working with a company to improve their search engine optimization results for five years (since December of 2015). We originally pulled this client from a company that was charging too much, had little to no results, and forced companies to sign annual contracts which they could auto-renew without client approval. This is a big company, which currently has an F-ranking with the Better Business Bureau, and is subject to a class-action lawsuit for shady business practices.

Due to a miscommunication, one of the owners signed a new agreement with the above company. This meant that the client migrated their services away from our hosting and SEO management and they are now seeing the results of this decision.

During the time we managed the client’s search engine optimization we saw extraordinary results–we managed to get all our target keywords onto the 1st page and in the top three results in Google for some incredibly competitive phrases.

In 2020, the traffic results in analytics showed year over year growth of 22% (during a pandemic year) with organic traffic accounting for almost 60% of total traffic to the site.

Within days of the new company taking over both the website and the search engine optimization, the results we saw showed catastrophic results. Four of the five keywords that were ranked on the first page and in the top three results were no longer ranked in the top 500 results or top 50 pages of Google.

Even more shocking are the basic mistakes our team was able to detect as the new company migrated the site.

These included:

1. Not transferring the analytics code (this means the client can no longer compare the new site traffic results with any of the old/historic data they have collected for half a decade).

2. The migrated site setup didn’t transfer the target landing pages’ on-site optimization including meta tags which resulted in the loss of rankings.

3. The migrated site is plagued by issues that most competent developers would have fixed prior to going live. This includes missing header tags, image ALT tags, W3C errors, and sitemaps.

As with any business, losing customers is always hard and we want the very best for our clients … even if that means not being their service provider. Perhaps the grass is not always greener on the other side. This is also a cautionary tale of contracts and caveat emptor, as the client is now locked into a one-year agreement.