YMYL Recovery Case Study

How SEO Helped an E-Commerce Site Increase Organic Revenue by $200k


Increase in organic sessions in six months, year-over-year


Increase in new organic users in six months, year-over-year


More organic transactions in six months, year-over-year

Understanding E-Commerce SEO

The e-commerce site we worked with is an online retailer that specializes in high-quality dietary supplements. The company was founded in 2015 by Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical doctor, and naturopath who’s published more than 35 books, including “The Magnesium Miracle” which is one of the best-selling Vitamins & Supplements books on Amazon. Dr. Dean’s dietary knowledge and expertise helped the supplement site build an extremely dedicated following. Originally, the company focused heavily on its magnesium products, but now the e-commerce site offers a full lineup of dietary supplements, such as zinc, potassium and calcium, and even probiotics.


Working Through YMYL and EAT Google Penalties

The e-commerce supplement business came to Sure Oak for two reasons:

  1. They felt they had hit a wall with their organic search traffic
  2. They believed they had been hit by a Google penalty for violating Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT) guidelines

That first problem – hitting a wall with organic traffic – is one of the most common reasons businesses partner with an expert SEO agency. But the second problem – being hit by a Google penalty – takes a particularly high level of skill and experience to turn correct.

Oftentimes, when businesses are hit by a penalty, they’re lucky to even recover the traffic they lose as a result of being penalized. With this e-commerce website, we didn’t just recover what was lost; we brought in more traffic, and we increased their year-over-year revenue from organic search by more than $200,000. We also did it in the middle of an unprecedented, global pandemic.

Getting Results During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Our engagement with the company began at the beginning of 2020. We were only three months into the campaign when the coronavirus essentially shut down the entire world.

Fortunately, our client did not rely on brick-and-mortar stores to sell their products. However, dietary supplements are not covered by health insurance. They are, essentially, a luxury that not everyone can afford. And the people who can afford them are dependent on their disposable income to pay for them. But when the world shut down, millions of Americans and others all over the world lost their jobs, and that required them to limit any unnecessary spending.

We not only helped the e-commerce website weather the storm; our e-commerce SEO services helped them continue to grow and generate 1,200 more organic transactions than the previous year over a 6-month period.

Targeting Unbranded Traffic

Dr. Carolyn Dean had name recognition in the holistic medicine and dietary supplement industry long before she ever founded the e-commerce supplement business. So when she did, anyone who saw her name next to the name of the brand instantly trusted them and became a potential customer.

Like all great brands, this worked in their favor, for a while. Eventually, organic traffic flat-lined, and then the website was hit hard because it possibly wasn’t adhering to Google’s YMYL and EAT guidelines. So when we delved in during our initial SEO Game Plan research, we knew right away the website was going to have to target more general keyword phrases, as opposed to branded phrases, in order to achieve long-term results in organic search.

Over the next year, we rolled out an extensive content strategy that included reoptimizing existing product pages, building new pages targeting topics specific to magnesium, and a slew of evergreen pages that users would benefit from forever. The result? Organic sessions increased. Even better, new organic users increased 35 percent year-over-year over a 6-month period.


In order to help the supplement site rebuild the organic traffic they lost due to the suspected Google penalty and continue to grow their business during the coronavirus pandemic, Sure Oak laid out a comprehensive SEO strategy from the beginning. It involved several components:

  • Retargeting general keyword phrases, like “magnesium supplement,” on product pages
  • Creating new content that proved to Google and users they were a credible source of information related to dietary supplements and building out pages to help users learn everything they need to know before buying dietary supplements
  • Developing high-quality backlinks to relevant top-of-funnel pages to not only increase the website’s domain authority but also increase its referral traffic from reputable sites

Impressions and clicks increased across the board, and several pages secured spots on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant and valuable keyword phrases.

Over the course of the engagement, Sure Oak reoptimized and developed a total of 55 pages on the e-commerce website, including a magnesium FAQ hub that acts as a gateway to more granular topics, like nerve pain, as they relate to magnesium.


Focusing heavily on improving existing pages and creating new pages paid off. In less than one year, the number of keyword phrases the website ranked for increased 67 percent.

Number of Keyword Rankings

Year-over-year, the website received 29 percent more organic sessions during a six-month period and performed better nearly every single month.

New Organic Sessions, Year-over-year (6 Months)

Year-over-year, 35 percent more new organic users visited the supplement website via organic search during a 6-month period and performed better nearly every month.

New Organic Users, Year-over-year (6 Months)

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