Evergreen Backcountry Guides – SEO Web Design

Evergreen Backcountry Guides Homepage

About Evergreen Backcountry Guides

Evergreen Backcountry Guides is a branch of Evergreen Outdoor Center in Hakuba, Japan. Evergreen is an incredible company, delivering amazing outdoor experiences to clients from across the globe.

The Evergreen Outdoor Center site was redesigned by Flick Digital in 2015 to get the company mobile, with the plan of developing new, uniquely branded sites in 2016. Evergreen Backcountry Guides was the first stage of this.

The part of the business that operates Backcountry Tours, Snowshoe Tours, Cross Country Tours and Avalanche Training was rebranded and given it’s own site. Once the site was live, the “mother” site was updated so that all links would redirect to the new site, with the plan to redesign the Evergreen Outdoor Center site once the new site was established.

The Design & Build

The site was built using similar elements as the original site (top bar, menu, layout and fonts) using Evergreen’s brand colors throughout.

Images were chosen to best reflect what clients would experience, and to put the potential client’s “in the boots” – to give them a feel for what they’d experience, provide them enough (but not too much) info, and to get them pumped to go out touring with the guides.

I performed keyword research and used semantic search terms throughout the pages in order to give Evergreen the best chance to gain ranking and receive organic traffic over time.

As is the Flick Digital way, the client was given full access to view the site being developed live and was able to give crucial input along the way. This helps us create something completely in line with the client’s vision and avoids multiple design revisions in the end stage.

As with all Flick Digital sites, Evergreen Backcountry Guides has been built using X-Theme and the Cornerstone Visual Editor. This gives an incredibly simple way to edit and add content to the site which is appreciated by all my clients. And of course it is completely responsive, mobile friendly, optimized to load quickly, and built to pass the majority of technical SEO checks.

The Evergreen Backcountry Guides homepage - 2016

The Techy Stuff

The first step to building a website that ranks and converts is to have great content, clean code and strong SEO fundamentals. Great design and content is a given. What follows is a quick rundown of how the site stacks up technically.

  • Mobile friendly
  • Responsive
  • Speed optimized
  • Optimized for search engines

In terms of speed optimization, you can read more about exactly what was done in the Site Speed Optimisation post here.

The GT Metrix speed performance report for Evergreen Backcountry Guides with a page load time of 1.3 seconds

With regards to the technical build of the site from an SEO perspective, the site ticks nearly all boxes. It loses some marks for not having HTTPS, and it fails the canonicalization test due to being hosted on a CDN and the tool not reading that, but all said and done the result is pretty good.

The SEOSiteCheckup Score for Evergreen Backcountry Guides

That’s it! Prior to going live the site was tested by a bunch of people, heat maps were added so we could see how users were responding and make tweaks where necessary, analytics were setup, and the site was sent out into the world to get people stoked to visit Hakuba and get on a tour with Evergreen.

I lived in Hakuba for nearly 10 years, my wife is from there, and I absolutely love the place. If you like skiing powder I highly recommend you make a trip to Hakuba. And if you make the trip happen, check these guys out.


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  1. Pingback: Evergreen Backcountry Guides: WP Site Speed Optimization | Flick Digital

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