Znak - case study

+2 million

in 6 months

Bookstore eCommerce SEO

Client goals


Generate more organic traffic

Even though the bookstore generated organic traffic, it wasn’t sufficiently high. While designing a customized SEO strategy for Znak, we had to bear in mind the seasonality of the book industry: new releases, sudden increase in popularity of some writers and seasonal sales.


Increase website visibility

Despite being one of the biggest bookstores in Poland, Znak struggled to get noticed by Google robots. Their official website wasn’t ranked high, and therefore hindered building visibility.

SEO Team

Due to a custom CMS, there were plenty of technical SEO issues that the developer team must have dealt with. We had to find smart solutions to deliver lasting effects.

Milena Fietko
Milena Fietko SEO Strategy Manager

On-Site Strategy

Replacing Vague Category Names

Too vague category names are not a good choice for both SEO and UX reasons. We needed to take care of it replacing current names on client’s website with more descriptive ones.

Why we did it

One of the basic white-hat SEO tactics is using keywords in category names. This way, the categories become more descriptive, conveying the products included in this section. This solution has a positive effect on website rank and UX.

While inspecting the website, we noticed that the category names were t . They were barely related to products a shopper could find after clicking on the very button. This served neither crawlers nor people searching for a book of a particular genre. To fix this issue, we designed a new menu, putting some of the focus keywords into the category names.

Here are some exemplary changes we implemented:

  • Romance Romance books
  • With humour Humour books
  • Closer to nature Books about nature
  • Travel Travel books

Fixing Incomplete URLs

Another issue discovered during our initial SEO audit of Znak’s website were incorrect URLs. We rolled up our sleeves to give pages new, both Google robots and user-friendly addresses.

Why we did it

URLs need to be short and descriptive to help Google understand the content of a page. That’s why URLs should contain keywords instead of some randomly generated strings of characters that carry no meaning. It’s also important to use the right separators – hyphens.

The structure of URL addresses was a major issue that needed to be handled right at the beginning. Instead of hyphens, the words were separated with commas which clearly confused crawlers. Oftentimes, the URLs didn’t feature one of the major keywords – the writers’ names.

We changed the structure completely, adding the right separators and keywords to URLs. Later, we asked the developer team to implement 301 redirection.

Here are some exemplary changes we implemented:


Old address: https://www.znak.com.pl/kartoteka,ksiazka,48590,Jak-wytlumaczyc-Marsjaninowi-co-to-znaczy-pies-czy

New address: https://www.znak.com.pl/ksiazka/jak-wytlumaczyc-marsjaninowi-co-to-znaczy-pies-czy-leszek-korzeniowski-48590


Old address: https://www.znak.com.pl/kartoteka,ksiazka,121352,Nie-daj-sie-rakowi-Wsparcie-zywieniowe-w-chorobie

New address: https://www.znak.com.pl/ksiazka/nie-daj-sie-rakowi-wsparcie-zywieniowe-w-chorobie-brzegowy-maria-maciejewska-cebulak-magdalena-121352

Adding Keywords to H1 & Web Content

Even when a website has so many pages as our clients did – without keywords, the content on those pages won’t perform. We needed to choose adequate keyword phrases list and optimize the content accordingly.

Why we did it

Placing keywords in H1 gives the crawlers a clear idea about the main topic a page covers . This also shows to the robots the main keyword a page is optimized for. Since H1 is always at the top of the page (above the fold), the crawler finds it immediately, thus requiring less time to index the page.

Even though we added more keywords to categories, their visibility was far from satisfactory.

There were two main reasons for that:

REASON 1: there was no text displayed on category pages

REASON 2:  no page had H1 headings

Together with the developer team, we worked on implementing the correct H1 headers. We also kept uploading new content to category pages.

Here’s an exemplary header we added to Religion books (PL książki religijne) category:

headers optimization

Here is a fragment of content added on History books (PL książki historyczne) page:

Heading optimization seo case study

Breaking Up the Large Sitemap

With such a complex domain as Znak, the sitemap was also of an impressive size. We decided to break it up into multiple sitemaps.

Why we did it

A sitemap can include no more than 50,000 URLs. When a website is bigger than that, or when it has over 50MB, it must be splitted into smaller sitemaps.

There were two issues with the sitemap. First, we had to update it after modifying the URLs for improved SEO. The other issue was that the Znak website had more than 50,000 pages. Therefore, we asked the developer team to create separate sitemaps, e.g. for images. This way we were sure every single page would be finally crawled and indexed.

At present, there are 4 Znak sitemaps uploaded to Google Search Console:

multiple sitemaps solution seo case study

Fixing Internal Linking

Equally important for the general effectiveness of SEO strategy as external backlinks, internal linking on Znak’s website required our optimizations.

Why we did it

Internal linking plays a key role in showing to Googlebots the hierarchy of pages. It also helps the bots and users see the connection between pages, and navigate through the website easily.

On the Znak website, the links on the homepage that were leading to the product pages didn’t include book titles. That had to be changed, otherwise crawlers may not have seen connections between the linked pages. This fix also helped users tremendously. They could finally see that after clicking on the title, they would be redirected to the product page.

Before adding book titles:

internal linking optimization publisher seo case study

After adding book titles:

internal linking optimization seo book industry case study

After dealing with the book titles, we noticed another issue connected with product pages. It turned out that one link was implemented to the whole book section (image+title) . We suggested fixing this problem by adding separate links to both elements.

Below is a quick example of the discussed issue: the red frame shows how linking used to be carried out, whereas the green frame represents the new way of separated linking.

internal linking solution seo case study

Fixing Issues Connected with CMS

Each CMS is different and requires an individual SEO approach. Especially, the custom ones. In this case, we also faced some challenges, but where’s a will there’s a way.

Why we did it

The custom CMS our client used didn’t allow us to do all necessary SEO activities. For example, we couldn’t add meta descriptions and titles. We had to find a way to include these crucial elements to the website to improve website visibility.

After changing category names, the titles of all category and pages were set up properly. We also contacted the developer team to suggest introducing all necessary changes in the custom CMS. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to add the missing meta descriptions.

When it comes to product pages, they missed one piece of important information that most people searching for books type into a browser – a book author. To fix that, we asked the developer team to include authors of books in each site title. This element was added globally.

Improving Loading Speed of the Website

No user likes to wait for a website to download – that’s obvious. But so do Google crawlers! The loading speed of Znak’s website needed to be improved.

Why we did it

Loading speed is one of the factors influencing website ranking. It also affects user experience. Since the website took too much time to get displayed on a screen properly, we had to speed up the loading process.

From what we noticed, the Znak website was too complex to load quickly. To change this, we listed steps that had to be taken to improve the loading speed (e.g. web content and image compression).

Before improving the loading speed:

loasing speed before optimization case study

After improving the loading speed:

loading speed after optimization case study

Adding Breadcrumbs

Dealing with a complex domain containing thousands of pages, correct site architecture can’t be left out in the SEO process.

Why we did it

Breadcrumbs improve navigation. When implemented into a website, this element helps the crawlers see the connection between lower- and higher-level pages. Additionally, breadcrumbs encourage users to explore a website, which increases the visit duration.

The Znak website had no breadcrumbs, which was an unfortunate oversight of the web designing process.

Now, the breadcrumbs are added for improved SEO and UX.

breadcrumb navigation implementation

Here’s the result of structured data test that shows the presence of breadcrumbs:

breadcrumbs in structured data case study

The breadcrumbs also appear in search results:

correct breadcrumbs shown in search results
The importance of breadcrumbs and their positive effect on SEO can be noticed in the below screenshot. The red arrow shows the moment of adding this crucial navigation element to the Znak website:

breadcrumbs impact on visibility

I want to work on my ecommerce website!
Off-Site Strategy

We knew that znak.com.pl had a strong link profile. For that reason, we could shift our focus and energy to pursue another goal – increase the number of backlinks. We managed to do so by carrying out quality link building supported by sponsored content. Also, we succeeded at having znak.com.pl placed on stronger domains.

Website parameters before we started implementing our link building strategy:

link building for publishing industry

Website parameters after the process:

link building effects in publishing industry


Undoubtedly, due to its seasonality, the book industry isn’t the easiest one to optimize. December and January are two months that generate a significant revenue income. It’s usually caused by the special offers and discounts that most bookstores offer around the holiday season.

That being said, we’re going to compare the results achieved through a year.

The below graph demonstrates the seasonal changes typical of the book industry:

results of seo for publishing industry

During the first 2 months, we noted a decrease in organic traffic. It was mainly caused by the customers losing their interest in purchasing books.

Here you can compare March 2018 with March 2019:

traffic increase graph seo case study

After those 2 months – so after introducing our SEO strategy – we spotted that our efforts were gradually bringing the looked-for results. In August 2019, the organic traffic increased by 23% (compared to the previous year):

increase in organic traffic seo case study

Even during the low season of July-August, we managed to note a nearly 25% increase in organic traffic:

low season traffic growth

After implementing the major technical SEO fixes in April, we noted a significant increase in website visibility. In 5 months, the number of impressions went over 2 million!

visibility results

Here is how the website visibility was growing month by month:

visibility growth month by month

After fixing the internal linking and uploading more sitemaps, the number of indexed pages also grew:

number of indexed pages

Now, four examples of keyword position change:

  • History books

starting position: 20, final position: 7

  • Religion books

starting position: 10, final position: 4

  • Online bookstore

starting position: 25, final position: 14

  • Books for teens

starting position: 19, final position: 8

The book industry is pretty competitive, and therefore we had to stay focused to maintain the positive results. We needed to stay up to date with the marketing activities done by Znak’s competitors, and react fast.

Luckily, it appears that our efforts paid off. The graph below shows Znak’s website visibility compared to one of its biggest competitors.

Top 10 keyword phrases:

top10 phrases performance

Top 3 keyword phrases:

top3 keywords performance


I want to achieve similar results!

Our Awards

Award - European eCommerce Awards 2022 Award - European Search Awards 2022 Award - Global Agency Awards 2022 Global Search Awards 2020 Award - IPMA Award - US Search Awards 2021

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