Vivint Solar is a brand that needs no introduction — mostly because they’ve been introducing themselves from our doorways for years. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are a multi-billion dollar, door knocking solar juggernaut, but it wasn’t always this way.
Their street presence had never been stronger, they came to 97th Floor with an online presence that was lackluster. Their success in the neighborhoods had left smaller shops eating their digital lunch. They’d seen the gap in their strategy and had a desire to translate their success from the streets to the internet — and in the process, open the door to the even wider audience to be found online.
At the start, we had hardly anything to go on. Vivint Solar hadn’t put a deep SEO plan in place before, and while they organically dominated branded searches, they hadn’t turned any attention to non-branded search terms. So, we began from square one. Not that we minded, we always love painting on a blank canvas.
Step 1: Know the market
Vivint Solar needed a clear, intentional SEO strategy. And, because all SEO measures take time to bring in results, it also needed to be enacted soon so that they could establish themselves. With that in mind, we got right to work.
We began as we always do, with market research to reveal the strengths and weaknesses in the strategies of Vivint Solar’s competitors. This kind of research is essential because it identifies gaps that our client can fill — as well as places where they can step up their game in order to keep up.
In Vivint Solar’s case, we discovered that many of their competitors’ ranking pages had great domain authority, and they had already targeted many non-branded terms. With this information, we were armed to take the next step and conduct informed keyword research.
Step 2: Use keyword research to drive strategy
Our keyword research revealed crystal-clear opportunities for optimization and new content. As Vivint Solar was already a known brand — and already bringing in traffic from branded searches — we focused all attention to increase our share of voice via non-branded terms. Our keyword research quickly uncovered non-branded keyword opportunities that would aid consumers along their buyer’s journey. We launched a comprehensive blogging strategy with the intent of attracting inbound traffic through these non-branded terms and increasing on-page conversion through compelling CTAs and copy.
As we mentioned, time was of the essence. We needed to get Vivint Solar’s new blog pages ranking quickly, and link building was an essential part of that race against time. Links build the authority of a page in little time, allowing the page to rank much more quickly than it would on its own.
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Step 3: Work with offline efforts
Our strategy didn’t end there. While our ultimate goal was to increase Vivint Solar’s presence online so they would not be totally reliant on door-knocking, what if there was a way to take advantage of those prolific efforts? Using localized SEO, we launched pages for every locale where Vivint Solar is active, over 100 (but we’ll get to that later). This provided pages tailored to the needs and offers of various states and cities, connecting door-knockers and potential customers quickly and effectively.
Step 4: Start pounding the (digital) pavement
With these strategies in place, and a thorough technical audit completed, we put our plans into action — starting with content creation. Together with the Vivint Solar team, we researched, outlined, and produced over 200 articles targeting our various non-branded keywords.
Once article creation was underway, we turned our focus to link building. Our competitive research informed this strategy from the beginning, including the frequency of our backlinks and their quality. After the first month of outreach, we were able to gain over 30 backlinks each month to the Vivint Solar site, each one obtained naturally on quality websites. Not to mention, each link was optimized for a specific page and corresponding keyword. This aided our content in ranking quickly for our intended keywords.
Additionally, we helped Vivint Solar build out robust versions of their local pages, which at the time included 23 states with additional locales within each state. By the time we were done, we had over 100. We built out and optimized local pages and search terms in each of these respective markets.
Step 5: Pay attention to the rest of the funnel
While the above components are critical to any digital transformation, we knew it was important to look even deeper into Vivint Solar’s funnel than simply awareness-level content. We analyzed the conversion path for Vivint Solar, and identified potential weaknesses or misalignment of message. We then added resources to optimize the user’s experience once they’d entered the funnel, and throughout their journey. We fully audited and optimized email messaging, and created valuable content by breaking down complex industry topics and making them more digestible through quality UX design.
Step 6: Analyze the results
Here at 97th Floor, we love working with remarkable partners like Vivint Solar. Together we moved quickly to not only meet, but exceed the goals we set at the onset of the project.
Before 97th Floor began working with Vivint Solar, only 5% of their organic traffic was non-branded, and today 33% of all visitors are coming from non-branded keywords. Additionally, total organic traffic has increased by an incredible 45% year over year. This was accompanied by a comparable rise in revenue, and a 40% increase in new users. This increase in traffic and conversions has manifested in hundreds of thousands of dollars in recurring revenue brought in from digital channels.
Today Vivint Solar has a shining reputation in residential solar on the streets and on the web — a true physical to digital transformation. Their prospective customers used to have to wait to be found. Now they are able to find Vivint Solar on their own. Through our combined efforts the two methods work together, making Vivint Solar an unstoppable force with a good reputation on the streets and online.