Case Studies

Digital Marketing Case Study: Island Resort & Casino

W399 Hwy. 2 & 41
Harris, MI 49845

WebRanking Client

Since 2013


Hospitality & Gaming


Island Resort & Casino is the Upper Peninsula’s premier casino, entertainment and golf resort featuring a 314 room hotel, two championship golf courses, full service spa, 1,327 seat theater style showroom, multiple dining venues, a sports bar, convention center and Vegas style casino gaming.

When Susan Harris and the Island Resort & Casino Marketing Team approached WebRanking about a digital marketing campaign, they had not previously worked with an outside online marketing agency. They knew they needed to be more engaged online and generate more traffic to their site, but they were not sure the best ways to accomplish this.

2014 » 2016


Year over Year Increase in Marketing Leads


The objective of the Island Resort & Casino digital marketing campaign was to see an increase in traffic to the site through multiple sources, to expand the Island’s reach through social media, to grow its regional branding, while also increasing conversions on the website.

To accomplish these goals, WebRanking put together an expansive digital marketing plan that included search engine optimization, content development, paid search ads, social media consulting, social media advertising and conversion rate optimization services, along with web development and technical SEO.


As the Island Resort and Casino had not engaged in any online marketing previous to WebRanking we were starting from scratch. Due to the large number of amenities and services provided, WebRanking would need to get a solid understanding of the importance of each and satisfy the needs of the individual departments when formulating our online marketing plan.

This understanding of each department’s needs would translate into the types of conversions we could generate on the site and how best to promote them.

Another challenge was the site was under the control of their web design company, so we did not have direct access to it and all changes had to initially go through them.

Additionally, due to specific advertising laws regarding gambling, we had to ensure that our recommendations and advertising efforts did not fall outside the guidelines provided by the different ad platforms.

The site also was not mobile friendly, was slow and did not provide the best user experience.

Susan K. Harris, Marketing Director

“Our working relationship with WebRanking has exceeded our high expectations and continues to do so. The success we’ve experienced year over year has strengthened our position as the casino/resort total experience choice in a highly competitive market. The numbers speak for themselves.”


Foundation: SEO Campaign

The best way to understand a client is through in-depth keyword research. This research was our first step as it allowed us to see how visitors search for the services and amenities offered by the Island Resort & Casino. Leveraging this keyword data, we created an SEO strategy to optimize the site for the most popular and relevant keyword phrases.

The Island also severed their relationship with their web design firm, allowing WebRanking to set up hosting and make direct changes to the site. Using this access, we updated the site to be mobile friendly and made other changes to increase the speed of the website.

Expanded Content

When we initially began working with the Island website, it didn’t have a way of adding content on a regular basis. A blog was created in order for us to implement regular blog posts to share information on upcoming promotions, musical and comedy acts, headline entertainment and other information regarding events and changes at the Island.

Content was not limited to the new blog, as we put a concerted effort on creating better and more comprehensive copy on the main pages throughout the site. We also added new sections for the Spa, Convention Center and Golf Experience.

Building Authority Through Links, Citations and Expanded Content

Once the initial foundation of the campaign was in place, we turned our attention to building links and citations for the site. As these were very limited in number and scope initially, it was critical that our efforts produced clean, organic and quality inbound links and citations.


Working closely with Susan and the marketing team at the Island Resort and Casino we identified the conversions that were most important to promote. These included items such as Hotel Reservations, Headline Entertainment Ticket Purchases, Menu Downloads, Online Gaming Sign Ups, Newsletter Sign Ups and Island Club Sign Ups.

Based upon these priority conversions, we updated the site with proven Conversion Rate Optimization techniques to put more of a focus on them. We also based our Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising and social media strategies on the best ways promote them.

Getting Social

Increasing the social reach of the Island Resort & Casino was also a priority. We worked closely with them to increase their followers and identify the social media platforms that are most conducive to reaching their customer base as well as new potential customers.

We also worked to create regular social media promotions to increase engagement, followers and online buzz.

Paid Search

The final component was to develop a paid search program focused on branding and conversions. Google AdWords campaign was created to capture visitors whose keyword search intent matched one of the services or amenities offered by the Island.

We coupled this with a Facebook Ads campaign that utilized customer personas, with a focus on promoting social media promotions, headline entertainment, gaming, dining and staying at the hotel.

The Results

Since we started working with the Island in June of 2013, we have achieved the following results in total leads and conversions for the site:

Year over Year Increases in Total Leads & Conversions

2014 » 2015


Year over Year Increase in Online Leads

2015 » 2016


Year over Year Increase in Online Leads

2016 » 2017


Year over Year Increase in Online Leads

We’ve also seen tremendous growth in several other key performance indicators over the years:

Year over Year Increases in Total Traffic

2014 » 2015


Year over Year Increase in Total Traffic

2015 » 2016


Year over Year Increase in Total Traffic

2016 » 2017


Year over Year Increase in Total Traffic

Conversion Rates









Year over Year Increases in Social Media Traffic

2014 » 2015


Year over Year Increase in Social Traffic

2015 » 2016


Year over Year Increase in Social Traffic

2016 » 2017


Year over Year Increase in Social Traffic

In 2017, we turned our attention to leveraging social media channels and refined our SEO efforts to increase and improve organic search traffic. So far, this has led to the following results:


Year over Year Increase in Organic Traffic


Year over Year Increase in Social Traffic

The Island Resort & Casino’s campaign is an example of a program that moves and adjusts to the ever-changing needs of the client, while also looking to build out a solid foundation focused on website conversions.

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