Ranking Recovery Case Study

‘Phil got to the bottom of the problem pretty quickly and explained it to me. It then took just a few weeks to get the work done and for the rankings to recover. Just what I wanted. Sometimes you need a little outside help to keep things on track.’ James Barber

Specialist Tobacco Merchant

James Barber is a specialist tobacco merchant based in Harrogate. One of the largest pipe and handmade cigar retailers outside of London.The business has a fascinating story. James Barber's great grandfather Joseph founded the
business in Otley in 1867. He travelled from England to the USA as a carpet bagger and obtained two parcels of land in Virginia and Kentucky after tending the land for five years. Joseph put the land to use as tobacco plantations, and ran a successful business. He crossed the Atlantic over thirty times visiting his plantations and importing tobacco to England.

Joseph had a factory in Otley manufacturing twist pipe tobacco and a tobacco shop, sadly the factory burnt down in 1938. The shop relocated a few doors down the street and continued to do well under the ownership of James' father, Jack and his brother Fred. The business relocated to larger premises across the road in the 1960s. Today they are located in the spa town of Harrogate.

Rankings Recovery

In October 1997 James began trading on the internet, supplying customers all over the world including royalty and celebrities. In fact, he had established himself as one of the most prominent tobacconists on line, almost always at the top of search list for his chosen categories. But then, in 2019, his rankings began to slip to position eight, or lower at times, and he asked us for some help. We quite often get customers coming to us saying that their ranking have changed, normally for the worse.

This is sometimes because Google has made changes to its algorithm and that affects them. This can mean that the way pages are tagged, laid put, and populated doesn’t quite work as well as it did and rankings suffer. We looked at this and several technical SEO issues, particularly improving the quality of the copy of the most important pages, and this made a big impact. James was back in the number one or two slots and there he has remained.

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