Unlocking 69% more conversions with Organic Search

John Barnes SEO Case Study title image
Unlocking 69% more conversions with Organic Search
Time to read: 9 minutes

Here’s how we’ve helped a door hardware and locksmith services team open their door to 69% more conversions with SEO.

John Barnes are experts in everything to do with doors and locks. With more than 30% of their team with the business for more than 15 years, they have boundless knowledge and expertise when it comes to their specialty area, but needed a little bit of help with their SEO.

That’s where we came in. You could say that our SEO experts were the key to this organic success…

Spoiler alert: Here’s the TLDR 📚

We’ll get more into the details of the challenges we faced and how we did it shortly, but if you’re looking for the TLDR (summarised) version, here it is.

Core challenges: Site content

Key wins — in just 5 months of active SEO efforts

Want to know about these awesome results and how we did it? Of course you do! We’re happy to oblige with all the details.

john barnes website screenshot showing UX work

The background 📜

John Barnes is an Australian family-owned locksmith business that has grown over the years, from a humble key-cutting store in 1966, to today being one of the leaders in locksmithing services and security products. They provide a range of high-quality locksmith services, and are a trusted provider of locksmith supplies, like door and gate hardware, home security solutions and various other products.

They provide their services to the construction industry, Government sectors and everyday people.

They signed on with us for SEO to kick off in March 2023, after they had some problems with low SEO results. Unfortunately, when they came to us, their website wasn’t set up ideal for SEO (which we’ll get to later), and their organic search results dropped significantly as a result. They weren’t sure how much we could help, but were after fast results to fix the state of their organic search results — which we are happy to report we were able to get for them.

While SEO results traditionally take a while to see their full results (as consistent SEO efforts build results over time), we’ve already seen some excellent results and huge improvements in the first five months of active SEO, which the John Barnes team is happy about.

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The challenges 💪

Challenge #1: Site structure & content

The primary challenge that we faced initially with the SEO for John Barnes was their sitemap, and some missed opportunities for important keywords within their site structure.

For example, their old sitemap had a general Locksmith Services page, but they offered:

All of these specific types of locksmith services that they specialised in each had very decent search volume and demand from users.

Challenge #2:

They are up against really big locksmith companies that have long relationships with customers, so relationship building is key in their industry. SEO and increasing brand awareness is key to first capture attention, and then build trust with potential customers in order to build those relationships.

The solutions 🤝

John Barnes specialised in the areas that were being searched for, but they were missing valuable opportunities to rank better for those and capture the traffic looking for some of the specific things they offer.

So, we recommended these pages be split out.

Solution #1: Splitting out the services into dedicated pages

We knew that splitting out these into their own dedicated service pages would help in the following ways:

Solution #2: Tidying up the sitemap and menu

We also wanted to clean up the various individual pages that were originally Level 1 on the sitemap and menu, making the menu bar really stressful to look at.

So, we grouped together related pages, and improved the site structure & sitemap in general.

screenshot of mobile phone with residential locksmith website

Our goals 🥅

Our goals for John Barnes SEO were to:

  1. Improve their rankings
  2. Bring in more traffic
  3. Convert users into customers for their products and services
  4. Improve the sitemap and UX (User Experience) of the menu structure and site structure.

Our tactics and approach ♟️

John Barnes began their SEO journey with us with an already really well-established client base, so it wasn’t necessarily a matter of competing against a specific competitor, like the case often is. It was more of a ‘what do we need to do to keep our current client base happy and reach new clients with our full range of services, and show up better for relevant searches’. The sitemap was a huge part of that, and a big job that needed doing.

Our approach to the sitemap

The approach to tackling the challenging sitemap was to work through each individual page and determine:

There were a lot of different ‘about’ pages that were great background for prospecting clients, but weren’t going to be pages searchers would click on to find services or products (i.e., no commercial intent).

We then determined with the John Barnes team, which key locksmith service pages we needed to create, and organised those into Level 2s under a parent ‘Locksmith Services’ page.

A draft sitemap revision was sent over to the John Barnes team, and after some minor changes to page titles and placement, we implemented it on-site.

Our keyword approach

We’re targeting a number of keywords that are highly relevant to the services and products that John Barnes offers.

These include:



We’ve seen great results from these efforts 🏆

Our sitemap fixes and SEO efforts are already paying off

It’s not been that long at all since our SEO efforts for John Barnes started, and not long since we finished splitting out those new service pages and fixing up the sitemap. We’ve already begun ranking for keywords related to their new service pages, and we’re continuing to optimise for their core focus keywords on these new pages.

They’ve been ranking particularly well for

These pretty much perfectly coincide with some of those dedicated new service pages we recently split out.

High-value, commercial intent keywords are performing well

The organic SEO results are performing well for a bunch of high-value keywords that are commercial in intent, which is absolutely crucial to John Barnes. The screenshot below illustrates this performance.

Check out the results in Ahrefs since March (March-August 2023)

Keyword Starting Position Current Position Improvement
mobile locksmith brisbane 8 4 4
residential locksmith service - 17 83
scec locksmith - 13 87
commercial locksmith - 35 65
industrial locksmith - 32 68
safe locksmith services - 33 67
electronic security - 56 44
electronic security systems - 60 40
locksmith brisbane - 9 91
brisbane locksmith - 10 90
commercial locksmith services - 16 84
residential locksmith - 24 76

The doors our SEO opened for John Barnes 🔑

(Our annoying pun-filled way of saying: here’s the results).

Overall, through our SEO efforts in the first five months for John Barnes, we’ve had:

new users have discovered John Barnes and their services and products, compared to the preceding period.
~ 0
increase in traffic to the website compared to the previous five-month period
0 %
of those were new users
0 %
increase in conversions
0 %

The conversion rate increase of almost 70% is huge for them

The huge results we’ve had in conversions from our SEO efforts in the first five months of active SEO work would be a huge win on any site. It’s particularly important for John Barnes, as the main John Barnes website we’re optimising for SEO for them links directly to their eCommerce site.

13k new users is another key success marker

As a result of our SEO efforts, approximately 13,000 new users have discovered John Barnes, their range of locksmith services and security products, compared to the preceding period.

Engagement metrics have increased significantly

We’re sure there’s a locksmith-related pun here somewhere to do with engaging a lock… but we’ll spare you. You’ve seen enough. The average engagement time on-site has improved by 69% since we started SEO , compared to the preceding period. This tells us that user relevancy has improved — we are successfully appearing for highly relevant people searching for John Barnes’ services and products.
graph showing user growth

This chart shows the GA4 results for Number of Users, New Users, Conversions and Average Engagement Time, from 1 March to 31 July 2023, compared to the preceding period of 1 October 2022 to 28 February 2023.

macbook laptop showing sitemap

The secret to this success? 🤫

SEO is, of course, a multi-faceted effort with many behind-the-scenes actions, as well as the more visible things that we changed.

There’s been a lot involved in the SEO efforts for this site each month, but the huge contributing factors to the relatively fast success of the SEO efforts were:

These changes to the sitemap and service pages were a pretty long process due to the size of the site and the collaboration involved in getting it right, but it’s already seeing great results.

The John Barnes team are so happy, they’ve been passing on the good word to others

We love it when our clients are happy, so we’re stoked that John Barnes are loving the results they’re getting so far with our SEO.

In their words,

“The fact we are now ranking higher on Google (which was the aim) is great. The analytics really speak for themselves”

The John Barnes team rate our work so highly in fact, that they’ve even referred a family member. We know family is super important to this family-run business, so we’re happy about the true trust in us that this demonstrates.

photo of john barnes branded mug

What’s next? Our current focus and next steps 🔮

Our current focus and next steps for John Barnes SEO are:

#1: Content:

Now, we’re looking to work through those key Locksmith Services pages that were split out (Commercial/Residential/Mobile/Automotive/SCEC) and optimising each so that the primary and secondary keywords that were identified in the keyword research appear in the content, as well as optimising internal linking, structured data and alt tags for each page. We’ve also got blogs planned amongst this, based on our content research, and we’re working closely with the John Barnes team to ensure we nail the tone of voice and content, as they are big on publishing helpful, valuable content that is of benefit to readers (an absolute dream to find in a client, and we love that they appreciate the value of valuable content).

#2: Backlinks and citations:

We frequently obtain high-quality backlinks and citations so the business listing appears on directories to further improve the site authority.

#3: Technical SEO:

We consistently check Google Analytics, Search Console, Ahrefs, and our other analytics tools to pick up on any issues before they become an issue, to keep that health score high.

This helps to improve tangible elements of SEO like user experience (fixing broken pages/links) and site speed.

#4: Page optimisations:

Every few months, we’ll look at optimising metadata to include important keywords, alt tags, and internal linking and keyword cannibalisation, given it is such a large site. We don’t want to start competing with ourselves, after all!
Nerida Currey

Nerida Currey

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