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TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what TOMS Shoes is all about. TOMS mission is made possible because they minimize their marketing budget by utilizing an enormous volunteer network across the US. In fact, one of the few areas they have a significant marketing spend is in Search Engine Marketing.

The Business Challenge

Tomsshoes.com had decided to create and launch a new website to promote their business of giving one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. The new design would need to be search friendly, but also user friendly and clearly stay on track for their marketing initiatives. The timeline for the launch was for mid-summer (August 1st, 2009).

Site Launch Pre-Planning Meeting

Wpromote personally met with the site’s designers (the design team flew in from Chicago) to go over the goals of the new site and to determine any possible roadblocks or problems. From an SEO perspective there were many issues that needed to be drawn to the attention of the programmers, such as product pages requiring static links to ensure proper indexing of those pages. As the site uses an overlay, we had to make sure that it did not prevent the pages from being crawled.

Planning an Accelerated Launch Schedule

An opportunity arose for Toms to be involved with an AT&T commercial that featured the company’s CEO, Blake Mycoskie and how his use of the Blackberry on AT&T was pivotal to his communication needs for the company. This meant that the launch had to be pushed up to mid April. This also meant that we had to ensure to include keywords related to this ‘AT&T Shoe Commercial’ on the new website.

Implementation & Rankings Preservation

The team went to great lengths to ensure that any URLs being changed would have appropriate 301 redirects in place to preserve search engine rankings and maintain any current inbound links without returning any 404 error messages, which could cause inbound links to decrease.

Traffic Related Issues

After the site launch, during the high swells of traffic, we had to quickly initiate a plan that would not see the site bogged down or offline if too many visitors were on the site at the same time.

Using newly released techniques directing Google and other search engine spiders to the ‘canonical’ version of the site’s homepage, we were able to successfully offload traffic to other servers without the multiple homepage URLs causing any duplicate content problems.

The Results

On Sunday April 12th, we saw the daily traffic peak at 115,144 unique visitors. This was highly successful. Prior to the new site launch in December 2008 to April 2009, this was an increase from an average of 10,000 daily unique visitors in December 1st, 2009 at a percentage increase of 1100%.


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