Hive Digital provided SEO for a training hospital for over 10 years on a website with over 40,000 pages. The team worked on special campaigns to increase the visibility of specific programs and offerings.
There was a huge increase in site visitors once Hive Digital began to work on SEO. The team had high-up connections in the field through which they were able to get results. They were knowledgeable on new tools and techniques to help with SEO, although did not upsell their ideas enough.
"I think the thing that makes Hive Digital stand out is that they are 100 percent focused on SEO."
Please describe your company.
I work for a major training hospital run by a state university. We treat patients for every disease and have specialists for many hard-to-treat ailments.
What is your role and responsibilities, please?
I am the director of digital marketing. I am responsible for the website and online marketing.
What was your goal for working with Hive Digital?
We used them for about 10 years, so we had many projects in that timeframe, but I was essentially looking for a very highly qualified partner who could help us with search engine optimization for the long term. We used them for general search engine optimization techniques that could apply to our website across all 40,000 pages of content and then we used them for very specific campaigns where we needed to get higher visibility for very specific programs and services that we offer.
Please describe the scope of their work.
We wanted to get more patients in our hospitals who had particular conditions because we have certain specialists that might be the best in the country for treating certain conditions. Some doctors are focused on these very small, narrow categories of conditions, so we are incentivized to make sure these doctors are getting the right patients to them. That’s where having a good search engine marketing company comes into play; they can help to draw people with specific illnesses to the right doctors.
What was your process for selecting Hive Digital with which to work?
I love this story. When I was looking for SEO [Search Engine Optimization] companies back when Hive Digital was called Virante, I came across this blog post. It showed how Virante had gotten six subdomains listed in the top four spots on Google and their URLs wrote out you.virante.com, should.virante.com, use.virante.com, us.virante.com. I was blown away. It demonstrated to me that there was a group of guys who actually understood, in a very real way, how to do search engine optimization. That’s when we started talking to them. We had them managing our AdWords accounts for many years and it was consistent month over month, our expenses stayed the same, but our cost per click went down and the number of clicks we got went up. I really can't ask for anything more.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they've done for you?
Our overall search engine marketing budget was around $250,000 a year, and they managed the budget. A large portion of the money was for the ongoing management of several thousand Google AdWords and hundreds of different groups and accounts. They charged a management fee based on the amount of money we were spending with Google.
What were the results of the project?
We ended the engagement about a year ago for a variety of reasons. We wanted to move the management of the SEO to a company that handles other aspects of digital marketing for us.
Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?
On some pages, we went from one or two visitors a month coming to our website because they found us on Google for that keyword to 20 or 30 visitors coming to our site and that would be a success. Even getting one or two of those patients a month would more than cover our expenses with Hive Digital in that case, so it's a very different mindset when that's your end game.
Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
I think the thing that makes Hive Digital stand out is that they are 100 percent focused on SEO. That’s their laser beam focus. They do lots of other stuff, but that's their true focus.
These guys are laser beam focused and they have important contacts in the industry. They could reach out to Matt Cutts [head of Google's Webspam team] and ask a question and get an answer from him. It's not something they use all the time, but when we saw something very unusual happen, they were able to get an answer from Cutts.
They pointed me to cutting-edge tools and techniques that I was able to use for my website years before anybody else was using them.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?
I think that they weren't good at doing a lot of the proactive upsells. You know, a real sales company is going to keep coming to you with all sorts of add-ons and ideas and things like that. They were so focused on executing the stuff that they do really well. Months would go by, and I wouldn’t really hear from them. That's one area they could have been a more professional in.
Hive Digital could be the perfect complement to a person like me who is always being proactive with their web presence. They might not be the best company if you have no in-house knowledge of the Web.