SEO Case Study: How We Increased SEO Traffic By 13365% In 4 Months
Let’s see how we increased organic traffic of one of our client’s affiliate websites ― by 13365%, I know what you are thinking that how it’s even possible to increase the organic traffic by 13365% It can’t be true, right?
Back then, we were frantically trying every SEO technique known to man in hopes that we had finally find something that worked.
- Sending hundreds of link outreach emails per week.
- Improving site load speed.
- Writing incredibly valuable, in-depth content, often around 3000 words.
- Fixing every technical issue that we could find.
- Going post by post adding the internal links.
The sad reality? Most of my efforts didn’t move the needle at all.
But we kept chugging along, and soon our team found a few specific strategies and tactics that got some real traction. I doubled down on these. Can you guess what happened next?
Yep―those few things helped us see ridiculous results. And we are here to share the four main areas we focused on to finally breakthrough and help our biggest client see massive results with SEO so that you can use these strategies, too.
Remember, this is a single SEO case study
One important caveat before we jump in: we are not suggesting that what we are about to tell you is the only way to succeed with SEO. Every campaign and niche will have different nuances, and some strategies that might work great for us might not work great for you.
That being said, there are several principles throughout this case study that you can apply to pretty much any campaign you’ll ever run.
The starting point
When we started working with this client, he was generating about 121 visitors per month from search, which is pretty low right!
He ranked for a few competitive keywords that had between 1,00 and 200 monthly search volume.
He had some truly content ― and the ability to write incredible content on pretty much any topic in his niche since he had so many years of experience and results―so it was clear he had a shot of ranking for almost any keyword in his niche over time.
He had a big problem, though: His content was unoptimized, and he needed a lot more quality links.
4 techniques that helped traffic explode
1. Implementing an in-depth content audit
We started by identifying all the best content assets on his blog from a traffic standpoint (with Google Analytics and Google Search Console). He had hundreds of blog posts, but most of them was a piece of garbage, so what we did, we find top-notch keywords that have good potential in terms of volume.
So We unpublished 90% of the content on his blog.
What did we do with it? I put each post in one of two buckets.
- Revamp, optimize, and republish: This bucket was for any existing content that had untapped potential. Content made it into this bucket if it:
- Had great keyword opportunities (high search volume and low organic competition) that it wasn’t ranking well for (if at all).
- We had unique insights and actionable steps for readers that could be expanded upon.
Only five posts fell in this category. I had the author add tons of content to each of these posts, along with new sections based on long-tail keywords.
Once we finished, We updated the publish date in WordPress and promoted it as a new post (but kept the same URL).
- Leave the post as an unpublished draft and redirect: This bucket was for content that didn’t have much if any, SEO potential.
Most of these posts were either written on very specific topics without much search volume or had content related to one of the content assets we kept.
If there wasn’t SEO potential for a post, I unpublished it and set up a 301 redirect to either a relevant content asset or the homepage. We kept these as unpublished drafts in WordPress so we could use the content for future posts. If the content of a post was very similar to one of our content assets, we added the content to the content asset and 301 redirected the post to the asset.
By the end of the content audit, he only had about 30 blog posts left (including those we revamped). But within a few months he was generating MORE traffic than he ever had before because every post on his blog that we added was incredibly valuable and SEO-driven.
Of course, the content audit by itself didn’t get us to a 13325% traffic increase.
We needed more links.
2. Ongoing link building outreach
You already know you have to build high-quality links to compete in organic search results. So did we, but that didn’t help us actually get those links at first. we sent hundreds of outreach emails per week but only got a 1% conversion rate at best … until we rethought my outreach strategy.
At first, I followed exactly what experts told us. We even used their pre-written templates. When that didn’t work, we started testing new angles.
We even started offering free access to courses and membership, regardless of whether someone added my link or not. And over time, I realized something: If you have outstanding content, reach out to someone who’s already linked to or written similar content, and offer them exceptional value, you’ll see incredible conversion rates.
3. Creating new, SEO-driven content on a regular basis
While we were building links regularly, we also worked with the author to create new SEO-driven content.
By SEO-driven, we mean content created based on the best keyword opportunities in his niche. A lot of people write content then find a keyword to “optimize” it for. This is backward if you want your content to rank. Instead of finding great keyword opportunities your site can actually rank for, you’re essentially picking keywords out of a hat with varying levels of competition.
You might get lucky a few times and find a low competition keyword you can rank for with your pre-written content, but most of the time you want, and you’ll have trouble ranking across the board. So, before we created ANY new content, we did in-depth keyword research to find the best opportunities in the author’s niche (I’m talking a Google Sheet with 40000+ keywords in there). Then, I sorted the sheet based on competition and picked medium-to-high traffic keywords with low competition (as it relates to his site’s ability to rank for that keyword) to create content around.
Notice how we said keywords instead of keyword?
Another huge part of creating traffic-driving SEO content is targeting a group of related keywords instead of just one.
Since the Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013, you can rank a single piece of content for 1,000s of keywords. So we created 800 pieces of content in 4 months. Just a few months after each one was published, they all started ranking for hundreds, and some even thousands of different keywords.
One even ranked for 5000 keywords…
Here’s the big thing you can’t miss when it comes to content: It really doesn’t matter how much content you produce and how often you produce it. What really matters is how valuable and optimized your content is, and that you produce it on a somewhat regular basis (whether that’s once a month or even once every other month).
4. Implementing an internal linking strategy
Isn’t it funny how something as simple as adding a link to another page on your site can help your SEO? I mean, it literally takes five seconds, but it really does help (especially on a large scale).
WhenWe first started working with this client, there were a few internal links on most of his pages and posts, but there wasn’t a clear strategy behind them.
That changed real quick.
After we completed the initial content audit, we went through his entire site adding new internal links and optimizing the anchor text of old ones.
The strategy we used was simple. Add about ten internal links to every blog post using anchor text that included either:
- Exact-match, Anchor text
- Partial-match. Anchor text that includes a variation of the keyword
- A brand name used as anchor text. …
- Naked link. …
- Generic. …
- Images. …
- SEO-friendly anchor text
- Or a secondary long-tail keyword
Simple enough, right?
As we did this, I found two options for doing this as fast as possible (because let’s be honest, this takes a whole lot of monotonous screen-staring hours if you’re going through 50+ posts):
- Go through each post in your CMS in order of publication date adding internal links.
If you decide to go this route, it helps to have a spreadsheet open with links to all of your blog posts so you can add internal links as you scan the content. Simply go through each blog post looking for good anchor text opportunities, then copy/paste links as you see fit. If you don’t have great anchor text opportunities, you can always tweak the content.
- Use the search bar in your WordPress admin for certain phrases and add internal links to posts containing those keywords.
Here, you can search target keywords, long-tail keywords, and LSI keywords in your WordPress dashboard to find posts that already have those phrases.
Then, all you have to do is go through those posts and add internal links (repeating this process for every post on your blog).
It’s the SEO strategy, not the SEO tactic, that increases traffic
You’ve probably heard most of the advice in this case study before―just like we had.
We were implementing these strategies just like everyone else was, too, but we weren’t seeing any notable results.
- Sending generic outreach templates that were overused and didn’t offer value
- Creating content that wasn’t unique, compelling, or actionable
- Worried about how often we created content rather than how valuable and SEO-driven it was
- Doing keyword research after receiving an article from the author (instead of the other way around)
So it wasn’t that we were using the wrong tactics; we were simply using the right tactics in the wrong way.
we weren’t focused on helping the author create incredibly valuable content using his unique insights―therefore making his content different from everyone else’s.we weren’t focused on offering incredible value to site owners in my link building outreach. And we wasn’t focused on reaching out to people who’ve already linked to similar resources to mine or wrote content on a similar topic.