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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Vector worked closely with HMH on all aspects of their marketing campaign. As an ongoing client, we continue to work with them to ensure that every part of their site brings them the best SEO and PPC results.
Launch Site

At A Glance Impressive Statistical Results

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is a leading educational publisher and long-term Vector Client. Our partnership’s success can be seen in the numbers—From the February before we started to the one after, HMH witnessed a 57.33% increase in users and a 40% increase in revenue. They also saw a 46% increase in their number of transactions. We have helped them make essential keyword gains, with ‘pre-k curriculum’ rising from its former ranking of 9 to a ranking of 3. Similarly, ‘common core reading curriculum’ rose from ranking number 4 all the way to ranking number 1. In the first three months of us working with HMH, they experienced an incredible 470% increase in conversions while simultaneously experiencing a 43% cost reduction in conversions. Prior to working with Vector, HMH had a ROI of about 170%. After working working with Vector their ROI increased to almost 400%.

Process Making Critical Decisions

HMH is the company behind Carmen Sandiego, Curious George, and Oregon Trail. HMH’s primary focus is on textbooks and curriculum packages. Their main client base consists of schools, educators, and department heads. With HMH’s audience in mind, Vector began revamping their marketing strategy from both an SEO and a PPC perspective. When HMH brought on Vector, they were about to begin their peak back-to-school season. We were immediately tested in managing their large campaigns right when it mattered the most.

We successfully met this initial challenge as we created nearly 2,000 new campaigns within the first two weeks of working with HMH. Previously, HMH had been working with another agency. Once Vector came into the picture they saw a drastic improvement in results as a function of our technology and strategy.

Improving HMH’s results has become an ongoing process as we continue to work with them weekly in order to adapt and improve their site, which due to its size and content, is constantly changing and evolving. We run weekly technical crawls which aim to catch any development changes on their side that could have cause our optimizations to be lost.

SEO Optimizing Categories and Keywords

In terms of SEO, our team began by conducting a technical audit where we identified any factors that could be blocking search. Once these factors were highlighted, we worked with HMH’s development and technical teams in order to correct the issues. Next, a QA audit was conducted to make sure everything was working as it should. We then took inventory of all of the site’s category and subcategory pages and assigned keywords to each category based on our research. We then crafted on-page copy based on the approved keywords.

We separated the site into two distinct sections—consumer and educational—and optimized headers, title tags, and product SKUs. We worked to ensure that if a customer searched for a product SKU they would be taken directly to the HMH site rather than to a competitor site. When HMH adds categories or shifts how the site’s navigation works, we use data points to help them make decisions such as what a category should be named or where in the site the new category should fall.

PPC Strategic Spending

On the paid search (PPC) side, we had to be smart about where they placed their money in search engines. By way of our team aligning keywords and strategically creating new campaigns and keywords for their top products we were able to reduce costs, increase conversions, and drastically improve their ROI. We integrated our cutting-edge proprietary technology that makes changes to campaign bids and budgets in real time, every 30 minutes. This technology automatically shifts our client's budget to the campaigns that are working best for them. With recalibration occurring every 30 minutes, this innovative approach enabled HMH to prioritize and reprioritize their campaigns more efficiently.

Our work with HMH is a great example of how closely monitoring any and all changes to a client’s site, being strategic when spending money on paid ads, and combining the benefits of SEO and PPC can work to dramatically improve the results a client can achieve from their website.

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