I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
SEO doesn’t have to be complicated.
One of the things I notice as a popular SEO blog owner is that people are always looking for the “secret ingredient”
But truth be told:
If you want to increase your search traffic it is as simple as-
That is the exact approach we used to 14x organic search traffic in today’s case study!
We took traffic from 2,732 visitors per month to 38,420 in just 8x months-
How did we do it?
Well it was simple really…
What Will I Learn?
This is an affiliate focused website that reviews weight loss supplements targeting the USA & United Kingdom.
Our client’s website provides a platform for users to access trustworthy, specialist reviews and decide which diet supplement is best suited for them.
The main focuses of the campaign were to-
It sounds simple when you write it out like that, right?
That’s because it is!
Except one tiny detail…
The weight loss supplements niche is one of the most competitive niches in SEO (to say the least!)
Most search results are dominated by huge brands like Holland & Barrett-
Or massive content-based sites like HealthLine-
Those are some pretty terrifying metrics.
Just take a look at some of the top results for one of our target keywords-
If you click on the image above you’ll also see that we are up against-
And those kind of results are common across this niche.
But if you pay close attention to the green boxes in the image above…
Because many of the top 10 results are ranking purely out of domain authority rather than individual page level metrics.
That means we have a solid chance of competing with the big boys.
And I am sure you have seen results just like that in your niche right?
When forming your SEO strategy, there is one thing to keep in mind.
People tend to over complicate SEO.
Our strategy was broken down into 3x stages-
But of all of that is easier said than done, right?
So let me show you how that translates into the real world…
To help you understand our process:
I am going to step you through the core SEO strategy and precisely what we did.
The strategy was broken down into a number of pieces-
And it is the combination of these pieces that were responsible for 14x traffic in 8 months.
Often when clients come to us:
They are completely obsessed with link building.
They say things like-
“Yeah but how many links will you build per month?”
But link building is just 1x component of a complete SEO strategy.
Let me ask you this:
76x links to take this sites traffic from 2,732 visitors per month to 38,420–
By addressing all of the moving parts of SEO rather than only focusing on the number of links we build.
(I’ll share the link-building strategy with you later)
You have to get the basics right-
The first thing we do with any new client is conduct detailed keyword research.
First, we asked our client for a list of seed keywords that are important to them.
Then used the KeywordShitter tool to expand on them-
Once we pulled all the keywords from there…
…we expanded on them further with AnswerThePublic:
Once we had a large list of keywords we started to filter them down-
These were the types of keyword we were looking for-
We also paid close attention to search intent when selecting our final keywords.
It’s important to avoid keywords that return different user intent than the site can satisfy.
The final spreadsheet included additional data pulled from Google Keyword Planner and our rank tracker-
Whilst you’re doing keyword research, make sure to take a look at the SERPS for each one.
Pay attention to the sites that popup and make a list of common competitors.
We will be using that list to our advantage later in the case study!
If your site has any level of existing search traffic…
…I have a great keyword research tip for you.
With this tip you’ll be able to find all of the low hanging easy to rank keywords in a couple of clicks with Ahrefs.
Just head over to Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and paste in your domain and head to the Organic Keywords report-
Then use the filters to show the keywords currently ranking in positions 11-30-
This just returns a list of keywords that you already rank on page 2 & 3 for…
…which are super easy to bump to the top 10-
Targeting these keywords are a great starting point for any SEO strategy.
At the moment we have a good list of keywords that are-
Now we need to take a closer look at who our SERP competitors are.
Do some searches and pay close attention to the first page of results.
You want to look at things like-
Just by looking at the results, you can get a good idea of the type of SEO elements, structure, intent and content you need to create.
Here’s an example of a competitor site’s review my agency sends to clients:
It’s not everything:
But you can see what kind of signals we’re looking at.
Why is this important?
Because Google have been using machine learning algorithms since 2015.
And by looking at the search results we can see what the machine learning algorithm is expecting to see.
You might not realize this:
But every time you search this is what is happening behind the scenes-
Here’s a shot from Rad Paluszak’s Chiang Mai 2018 presentation to help visualize that-
But what is most important here is the final step of the process…
Because this is the machine learning part that is automatically analyzing the efficiency of the results and tweaking the algorithm.
What’s that got to do with competitors?
We just have to look for those things…
Do a search for your target keyword and look at the top 5 results.
First look for commonalities in the results such as-
Then make a note of what you like and don’t like about each result.
This will become the outline for each new piece of content.
Now we know where we want to go with the SEO campaign…
..It’s time to figure out where we are starting from.
To do that we conducted a comprehensive onsite audit that typically spans about 30 pages.
The goal of this is to identify any issues that might hold it back from performing at its full potential.
It includes things like-
This site had a range of problems that we needed to address.
Here’s how we fixed some of them-
One of the main problems with the site was that it had almost no page speed optimisation.
The site was loading very slowly in our tests.
We use 2 plugins to fix that-
Or you can checkout my full WP Rocket review which takes a deep dive into how to get the most out of it.
Wordpress is a great platform to build a website.
It can also make Google index a lot of rubbish.
All this indexed bloat decreases the overall SEO value of the site-
Not only do you risk duplicate content problems but you also waste valuable crawl budget…
To put it simply:
If you have 50 pages indexed, but only 5 that Google should pay attention to…
…you should consider pruning the site.
If the remaining 45 pages are not useful for your users, get rid of them.
When we conducted the technical SEO audit, we spotted a few problems with internal redirects.
This was caused by a variety of things-
All of this was wasting significant crawl budget.
It’s all pretty simple to fix!
With HTTP -> HTTPS URLs, we just tracked all of them down and changed all http:// to https:// manually.
In our case study site for example:
We could fix a lot of the errors by updating hardcoded links in the menus and sidebars.
But every site is different!
Whilst conudcting the audit, we found a BIG issue with thin content.
Over 50% of the website pages had under 500 words.
Every niche is different!
But after looking at search results and competitor sites…
…It was clear this is a content heavy niche.
Google rewards fresh, long form content that addresses user intent. So we adjusted our content strategy to support the main campaign goal.
With that in mind:
We increased the length of the homepage from 1,500 words to 10,911 words by answering over 20 of the most popular questions around the main affiliate product.
Following the same strategy:
We increased the average word count per page from ~500 words to 2,216 words per page.
In addition to expanding the website’s copy, we also reviewed and optimised-
All of which worked in harmony with each other to pull the sites pages up the search rankings.
It’s important to create a healthy website architecture.
The website should follow a logical structure (flat structure or silo structure) with a clear with your core pages located within 3x clicks from the homepage.
We can check this easily in Screaming Frog using the Crawl Depth report.
Here is an example of bad crawl depth–
And here is what it should look like-
If you wanted to dig deeper…
…You can also use Screaming Frogs Visualization tools-
But what are we looking for here?
Well this is an example of a bad site structure–
And when you do things right…
…it looks like this-
So with the case study site in mind, we overhauled the site structure so everything was within 3x clicks of the homepage.
We did this by-
A lot of people don’t pay attention to site structure.
But trust me:
As soon as you have a keyword strategy and healthy site foundation to build on…
…It’s time to get your hands dirty with content!
You should start crafting the content as soon as possible because this is often a bottleneck for many businesses.
This is how we approached it-
Based on what we had learned about the thin content issues during the SEO audit…
…we made sure that all new pieces of content were at least 2,500 words.
We continued to produce 2x new pieces of content per month throughout the campaign.
Once we developed our killer content and restructure strategy…
We needed to help Google navigate the website easier to discover all the pages we updated/created.
The goal of our internal link building strategy was to distribute link value throughout the site, from pages with authority to others with less authority.
We used a balanced combination of targeted, branded and generic anchors to help Google determine the relationship between them-
Along with links we placed manually, we also installed and tested a number of plugins to help place internal links-
The one we ended up using is Yuzo Related Posts:
We chose this because it helped us customise the display on the front end of the site-
This meant we could cross-link key pages across the site structure automatically.
Need help fixing your SEO issues? Check out my 45+ steps SEO checklist to get rid of your most important SEO issues.
There is no doubt about it:
But that is amplified 10x when you have built a good site structure backed with solid content.
With all of that in place we started to build the overall domain authority using links from relevant websites in the fitness, health and lifestyle niche.
We took the backlink profile from 27x referring domains to 374x referring domains–
How did we do that?
By keeping things simple!
First we scraped a huge list of relevant websites with SEO value, traffic & authority.
Then we published high quality content targeted at their audience to secure a backlink where possible.
We didn’t do anything beyond that.
This is the exact link building strategy and schedule we used to meet the clients budget-
The strategy was simple-
And that’s all we did.
In month 7+ we didn’t build any additional links to the site.
Once the site started to rank it was picking up links naturally and rankings have continued to improve.
Do You Struggle With Link Building?
Take a look at some of these free resources to help you build awesome links-
- LinksThatRank: The only link building service you need.
- Link Building Strategies: A collection of my favourite link building strategies.
The site has had 8x months of amazing growth.
Traffic has grown from 2,732 visitors per month to 38,420.
Let me put that in different words…
If we take a closer look at things…
…we managed to increase-
Metrics – Start of the Campaign
Metrics – End of the Campaign
That increased domain authority also increased keyword visibility.
At the start of the campaign there were-
But at the end of the campaign…
There are now 637x keywords in the top 3 positions!
And 2,221 keywords in the top 10-
Although throughout the campaign we were only monitoring 48x core keywords…
..they had a net increase of 894x positions in Google–
And a number of those keywords…
…had high search volumes and were dropping into the #1 positions-
With a number of other high volume search keywords breaking into the top 10.
All of which made for some really pretty Google Search Console data-
Not bad right?
Especially in such a competitive niche (more on that soon).
If you want help ranking your website…
So there you have it:
It really isn’t that difficult to do – you just need to follow the 3x stages of SEO-
And the best is that you can use free seo tools to help you out!
Or if you want to do it the easy way:
If you have any questions about the case study, please ask below!
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