Cover Story: Weird Science
"Someone said, 'I'd love this for my kids, but I'm not a teacher. Do you have to be a teacher to be on the site?'" Spangler recalls. "As soon as we heard that, we knew our marketing was completely wrong. The message we were conveying was that the brand was only for teachers. Once we got out of that mind-set and said, 'This isn't just for teachers,' the entire market opened up."
SEO Powers Web Growth
Taking advantage of the unique products and free content it offers, Steve Spangler Science has optimized its website for search engines. This process started at the beginning, with all pages of the site (homepage, product, category, subcategory) addressed. Keywords were analyzed and added, Spangler started a regular blog, and videos featuring Spangler conducting wacky science experiments were added, among other things.
Referring to them as "link baiting" campaigns, Steve Spangler Science offers interesting and engaging content that other bloggers, journalists and webmasters frequently link to, helping drive up the company's rankings. For example, Steve Spangler Science created a widget for its Science Experiment of the Week, a free newsletter sent to subscribers with a new science experiment showcased each week. The widget has been viewed nearly 750,000 times, which builds brand awareness, traffic and links.
A recent test of Google revealed that Steve Spangler Science ranked No. 1 for "science experiments," No. 2 for "science experiment" and No. 4 for "science toys."
"To a large extent, SEO has been the engine powering the company's online growth," says Stephan Spencer, vice president of SEO strategies for Covario, who's worked extensively with Steve Spangler Science to develop its site. "A top ranking in Google's organic listings acts like an implied endorsement from Google. It gives searchers the impression that Steve Spangler Science is in the same league as companies 10 times larger."