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HomeStars. Driving revenue growth with long-term vision

Client Success Story: HomeStars

Services: Display Advertising, Landing Page Design, Paid Search, SEO, Website Development

Nancy Peterson had a vision for Canadian homeowners – to find the perfect contractor with the click of a mouse. In 2006, she launched HomeStars, now Canada’s leading online resource for home improvement services.

Nancy came to Page Zero with a general hope that effective marketing spend could accelerate the tiny company’s growth. Andrew countered with the idea that the project wasn’t far enough along for marketing dollars to be effective, and what it really needed was to be developed more fully. He promised to check in regularly to provide friendly advice.

Friendly advice turned into an obsession with reaching the full potential of this project. Andrew joined as a co-founder of HomeStars in 2007, and remains on the Board of Directors. After years of strategy meetings, investor pitches, and several versions of the website, HomeStars’ audience has come into its own… but the long-term goals of world domination have yet to be achieved!

Building the right foundation

“What I liked about Page Zero was that they were focused on building the right foundation for the site and for the future of our business,” says Nancy. “We were advised to stay away from gimmicks to try and improve our rankings. Instead Page Zero helped us see how to earn the trust of the main search engines.”

Page Zero collaborated with HomeStars CTO Jodi Showers on complex work like building a site architecture that would enable HomeStars to scale widely to multiple cities. Page Zero also uses a proprietary audit methodology to convince clients to invest in fundamental improvements (such as site performance and speed) that lead to improved user satisfaction, and only indirectly contribute to search engine love. “Today our site traffic is exploding because of Page Zero’s approach,” says Nancy. “Unpaid search referrals visits have increased 500% in four years.” More importantly, visits from unpaid search referrals are up 50% year-over year (2011 to 2012), despite a challenging year for many content-driven companies (Penguin, Panda, and other updates in the Google algorithmic zoo). After a recent round of fundraising and plans to roll out to more cities, the growth is expected to be even faster than that.

SEO strategy pays off

HomeStars (similar to Yelp) allows free listing clients (contractors, home improvement companies) to upgrade to enhanced listings. The revenue growth has been robust of late. HomeStars has reached Profit magazine’s Hot 50 list twice and has recently made the Chatelaine W100, the list of the top 100 women-founded startups in Canada.

A knowledgeable & passionate team

Nancy says she chose Page Zero because of its founder’s reputation for being a top authority in “white hat” SEM. “What I like about Andrew is that he is honest,” says Nancy. “He never promises anything that can’t be delivered.”

“I also like the way everything is transparent with Page Zero. We work with them as a team, which means that they implement the recommendations with us so we learn along the way.  They are passionate, knowledgeable and they have great ideas. Page Zero is one of the main reasons we are where we are today.”