The Challenge

In efforts to reestablish the brand after divesting its SSL Encryption Service and moving headquarters from California to Northern Virginia in 2010, Verisign wanted to improve its ROI for SEO, paid search and digital advertising. The decision was made to move search marketing in-house and appoint a dedicated SEM manager.

The Director of Marketing asked that budgets be properly allocated, campaigns set up and optimized as well as ROI projected for paid search. Additionally, an SEO audit, external link audit, competitive analysis and tailored SEO strategy were requested.

The Solution

  • All irrelevant, broad match and high-cost/low-conversion phrases were removed from campaings. Keywords were replaced with those that were discovered using a 30-point scoring method which focused on the factors of relevance, search volume and competition.
  • Using web optimization software and the AdWords Keyword Planning Tool, headlines, body text, CTA and URL were A/B split tested.
  • Negative keywords were placed in all campaigns at the ad group level.
  • Daily spending was adjusted in line with an increased budget, ads were set to rotate and the delivery method was changed from standard to accelerated.
  • Ad scheduling was adjusted to run at optimal times of the day that would produce the highest number of clicks at the lowest CPC.
  • Landing pages were split tested, focusing on CTA (blue vs. green button, white vs. grey button text color), copy (text vs. text w/video) headline (shock and awe vs. question driven headlines).
  • Collaborated with social media team to develop best practices and recommendations.
  • Made title tag, heading, body copy, meta description and anchor text changes to Verisign product pages.


  • My SEO strategy increased web traffic by 169.23% from 08/2011 -12/2011.
  • Verisign ranked on page 1 of Google SERPs for 54% of its target keywords.
  • Google AdWords quality scores increased drastically.
  • Average conversion rate rose 275%.
  • 10,000 additional impressions and 300 additional clicks resulted each week.
  • Average CTR showed a 311.57% increase.
  • Ad spend was reduced by 54% while conversions increased by 42.20%.
  • Enterprise-level product suite was named as a result of my keyword research brief.