July 21, 2011, 10:47 AM

Sam Ash strikes the right note for search

The music instrument retailer builds up site content to encourage links from consumers’ own sites.

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Sam Ash, with operates a 10-year-old e-commerce site where consumers can buy musical instruments and related products, was frustrated that it was not ranking higher in search engines when consumers shopped for the merchandise it features. So the retailer, which also has 46 retail stores across the United States, turned to link building to boost its online profile.

The idea is to persuade enough operators of other web sites, such as bloggers and musicians, to link to pages on SamAsh.com in order to make that site more prominent in the eyes of Google and Bing; their search algorithms take into account how often sites such as blogs that the search engines consider trustworthy, reputable and popular link back to e-commerce sites. Those links convey coveted “link juice” that raises a retailer’s site in search engine results.

Employing the services of digital marketing agency Rocket Clicks, as well as link-building technology from AdGooroo, Sam Ash overhauled the content at SamAsh.com, creating buyers’ guides, how-to articles and information “hubs” that focused on such areas as electric guitars, home recording and specific brands like Fender and Gibson. By helping to guide site visitors through their purchasing decisions, Sam Ash hoped to make musicians trust the e-commerce site more, which would lead to links from blogs and other web sites operated by shoppers interested in buying gear.

The emphasis on content appears to have worked. Organic traffic to the Sam Ash site has increased at least 15%. And in April, the retailer enjoyed a 30% increase in web sales compared with the same month in 2010.  “I was surprised by the speed of the results we’ve seen,” says David Ash, the retailer’s CEO. “Rocket Clicks have been very effective in improving our site content, making us more prominent in natural search and making it easier for customers to find us and make a purchase.”

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