Our client, an e-commerce giant with over 11,000 pages dedicated to equine supplies, faced a twofold challenge: a gradual decline in website traffic and severe indexing issues that emerged after launching their US store. These issues resulted in incorrect content being served to both UK and US audiences, and the UK homepage was completely de-indexed from search results.

To address this complex situation, we conducted an in-depth website audit, including a thorough analysis of server logs. This meticulous investigation enabled us to identify the root causes of the indexing problems and implement targeted solutions. As a result, we successfully resolved the indexing issues, ensuring that the correct content was served to the right audiences and restoring the UK homepage’s visibility in search results.

This case study highlights our ability to tackle complex technical challenges and restore website health for e-commerce businesses.


Shires Equestrian is a renowned provider of high-quality equestrian supplies, catering to the needs of horse enthusiasts worldwide. With a rich heritage spanning over five decades, Shires has established itself as a trusted source for riding apparel, horse equipment, and a vast array of equestrian accessories.

The company’s extensive online store, featuring over 11,000 products, serves as a one-stop destination for riders of all levels. However, in the fiercely competitive e-commerce landscape, Shires faced a persistent challenge: increasing organic traffic and driving e-commerce revenue. This challenge directly impacted their ability to attract new customers, expand their market share, and achieve their ambitious growth goals.


Shires Equestrian‘s massive e-commerce site, while extensive in its product offerings, was plagued by a multitude of technical issues. These issues stemmed from a poorly constructed website infrastructure, resulting in a range of detrimental consequences:

Duplicate Content: The site suffered from widespread duplication of content, confusing search engines and diluting the overall quality of the site’s content.

Broken Links: Numerous broken links littered the site, creating a frustrating user experience and hindering search engine crawlers from effectively navigating the site.

Indexing Issues: The site’s indexing was severely compromised, with incorrect pages being served to users in different regions. The UK homepage, a critical entry point for UK customers, was completely de-indexed from search results.

Poor Core Web Vital Scores: The site’s Core Web Vitals, crucial metrics that assess user experience, were abysmally low, indicating slow loading times, unresponsive elements, and layout shifts that disrupted user interactions.

As a result of these compounding issues, organic traffic levels had plummeted, significantly reducing the number of potential customers reaching Shires Equestrian’s online store. This decline in traffic directly impacted the company’s ability to generate e-commerce revenue and achieve its growth objectives.


To address the myriad of technical issues plaguing Shires Equestrian’s e-commerce site, our digital marketing team at Citizen embarked on a comprehensive website audit, utilising Google Search Console and SEMRush tools to uncover the root causes of the problems. While the audit revealed several issues, the de-indexing of the UK homepage remained a perplexing mystery.

To unravel this enigma, we delved into the server logs, meticulously analysing the interactions between Googlebot and the website. This in-depth analysis revealed a startling discovery: a rogue plugin, incorrectly configured, was redirecting several key pages from the UK site, effectively removing them from search engine indexes.

With this revelation, we swiftly implemented a multi-pronged solution:

  • Rogue Plugin Correction: The rogue plugin was identified and its configuration was rectified, ensuring that key UK pages were no longer being redirected and could be properly indexed by search engines.
  • International SEO Strategy: To ensure that the correct content was served to users in different regions, a comprehensive international SEO strategy was implemented. This strategy involved:
    • Hreflang Markup: The correct hreflang markup was added to the site, explicitly indicating to search engines which content should be indexed for each region, eliminating any ambiguity.
    • Location Schema Markup: Location schema markup, including addresses and geo coordinates, was added to each site, providing search engines with clear signals about the intended audience for each version of the site.
    • Postal Address Display: Postal addresses for each region were prominently displayed in the footer section of each site, further reinforcing the regional distinction.
    • Unique US About Us Page: A unique “About Us” page was created for the US site, providing distinct content tailored to the US audience.
    • IP-Based Popup Redirect: To address any lingering instances of users landing on the wrong site for their region, an IP-based popup was implemented. This popup, triggered by the user’s IP address, would redirect them to the correct store, ensuring a seamless user experience.
  • Core Web Vitals Optimisation: To address the dismal Core Web Vitals scores, our developers embarked on a site-wide optimisation effort, focusing on improving loading speed and enhancing user experience. This involved:
    • Image Optimisation: Images were meticulously optimised, reducing their file sizes without compromising quality. This optimisation reduced page load times, ensuring a faster visual experience for users.
      Script Optimisation: Scripts were carefully analysed and streamlined, removing unnecessary code and optimising execution. This optimisation reduced the burden on browsers, leading to faster page rendering and improved responsiveness.

These comprehensive measures effectively addressed the indexing issues, improved Shires Equestrian’s Core Web Vitals scores and restored the UK homepage’s visibility, and ensured that users were directed to the appropriate site for their region. Shires Equestrian’s e-commerce platform was revitalised, paving the way for improved organic traffic and increased revenue.


This project has delivered huge improvements in organic traffic since the beginning of July 2023.

Organic traffic has increased by 650% since 1st July 2023

Graph showing organic traffic increases for Shires Equestrian

Clicks increased by 268% and impressions increased by 286% from the beginning of July 2023 for non branded search terms.

Search console data

In the coming months we will be focusing on the duplicate content issues and creating a robust url and naming convention structure for the site.