This is a case study of how I helped a friend’s company reverse a downward traffic trend and double their organic traffic within 6 months.
I’m going to give you an overview of how we did it, and hopefully you can learn a thing or two you can apply on your website.
The client website SEO was fairly successful in the past. Organic search had been their main marketing channel that grew their eCommerce SaaS company from a 0 to 7 figure.
Their main strengths were the quality of their content, their participation in the communities related to their industry, and the fact that they are just cool guys/gals.
With the growing competition in SERPs, their traffic started to decline. In the span of 11 months, they had lost nearly 40% of their organic traffic.
Their attempts at reversing the trend were unfortunately not working.
In a last attempt, they redesigned their website and put a lot of effort into their site speed thinking it would “do it”.
This is when my friend gave me a call and said:
“Charles, we REALLY need your help”.
From SEO strategy to execution, this is the work that took place in the following months…
1. Initial Analysis
The first priority was to understand where the traffic was declining so we can start getting clues as to why and what to do.
I reviewed every change that was made to the website in the last year alongside the traffic trend.
With this analysis, I came up with 4 observations:
- The traffic decline was global, more than 90% of their pages were losing traffic
- The decline was slow and steady with no sudden big drops
- A specific set of product pages had lost 33% of their traffic following the redesign migration
- Their current content strategy was not performing well
2. Technical Audit
In the span of two days, I did a complete technical audit in which I identified 18 issues that needed to be resolved.
I prioritized them in order of importance with the quick wins first.
Their marketing specialist and I had a meeting with the developers to review each one and assign them between us.
Here are a some of the things we addressed within 1-2 months:
- Switched some menu links and content from client-side rendering to server-side
- Removed tags that were creating hundreds of low-quality pages
- Reorganized the blog categories so they are more SEO and user friendly
- Added contextual internal links (especially to pages with keywords on page 2)
- Cleaned up unnecessary internal 301’s
- Fixed canonical issues on a specific group of pages
In parallel, we were working on the 2nd of the third important pillar of SEO…
3. Content Editorial: Planning and Revision
On top of the existing page traffic decline, the new articles were not attracting enough traffic to reverse the trend.
The topics and keywords selected were too narrow. They didn’t have enough search volume.
We set a goal to get a minimum of 1,000 visits per month per article and kept the existing pace of one article per week.
I then did a content gap analysis and keyword research to identify keywords that met these criteria.
Because the site already had authority, we were able to target keywords with much higher search volumes as well.
In addition, we added one article optimization per week with the same traffic goal.
In five months, we published 20 new articles and 20 optimized articles.
The process for each article was:
- Determine a primary keyword, search intent, and article angle
- Prepare a detailed brief for each article including an outline and ideas to make our article stand out
- Revision of each article to make it as good as possible
As is often the case, the revisions were key to success. They allowed us to get the article’s quality up to the level we were looking for.
Here’s how the content calendar looked:
4. Link Building
We were able to get these results with minimal link building for 3 reasons:
- They already had a high-quality backlink profile
- They are attracting links naturally
- We prioritized content quality so we didn’t need as many backlinks
In addition, they were not big fans of link building.
But I was able to convince them to do just a little in ethical and non-spammy ways.
With the help of my email templates, they acquired some pretty great links with a combination of HARO, link inserts, and guest posting.
There was also a great opportunity for a link asset that they didn’t have the resources to do, unfortunately.
5. SEO Mentoring
Throughout the project and in the last month, I mentored their digital marketer in all aspects of SEO. Here is what he had to say about his experience:
“Charles taught me how to properly choose keywords that will bring in valuable traffic, helped me learn to create efficient content briefs for content writers to ensure our content would perform on the SERP, and showed me how to edit content so it is optimized for the readers and search engines too. Charles provided me with a wealth of knowledge on technical maintenance and audits that I use on a regular basis. Our weekly sessions during my apprenticeship helped me acquire all the skills I needed in order to continue increasing our organic traffic.“
Results rarely happen by chance. As I always do at the start of a project, we had set goals on key metrics.
Goal 1: Stop the downward trend as soon as possible
We stopped the downward trends in 3 months with a slight traffic increase of 4% on month 3. It was the first month in almost a year that the traffic was up.
Goal 2: A conservative 30% increase in traffic within 3 months
Three months later, the monthly traffic is almost double what it was at its lowest month.
Goal 3: Keep the same conversion rate as we increase traffic
This one unfortunately we didn’t meet. While the traffic doubled, the conversions only increased by 50%. But hey, +110 additional signups per month isn’t nothing.
Sustainable SEO is hard work.
But it’s also a lot of fun when you work with passionate people who care about their customers.
The key is to optimize for both search engines and users. That’s exactly what we did and the results speak for themselves.
Here’s an excerpt from the testimonial I received with my favorite part (emphasis mine):
“[…] I highly recommend working working with Charles, he provides great results and it’s easy and fun working with him.”
If you liked this case study, feel free to share it and connect on LinkedIn for more SEO tips.
Or you can book a call to discuss a potential project.