The state of the website when we began work
The company was the clear leader in its space, which resulted in a great affinity and brand presence amongst its customers and industry professionals. The website had a large volume of content to work with. The content was well-written and well-structured, in addition to much of it being long form.
For being the major player in its space, the website ranked for very few niche-relevant keywords in its niche. As such, it received very little organic search traffic for these types of queries. As a result, the website had a very low number of conversions for organic traffic.
While the website had a lot of valuable content, very little of it was SEO optimized to rank well for organic traffic. As a result, the website generated very little organic traffic, especially when you compared it to the number articles it had published.
The primary goal was to increase both traffic and conversions from organic search traffic. Month over month and year over year increases to Ranking Keywords, Organic Traffic Sessions, and Conversions would be the primary KPI’s.
The Plan of Action to Achieve the Goal
We needed the website to rank highly for niche-relevant keywords at every stage of the buyer journey (top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel). Higher conversions would come with ranking highly for bottom of the funnel content, but top of the funnel and middle of the funnel content was needed to establish expertise, authority, and trust with Google for this topic.
In other words, we needed to start with broad content that solidified the brand’s authority in Google’s eyes. Then, we needed to work on highly converting content to increase customers from organic traffic.
This is the strategic plan we followed:
- Update Homepage
- Establish a Pillar and Silo Model for Content
- Internally Link Content
- Develop Content Plan to Create Authority
- Publish Keyword Optimized Content
- Build Links to Attractive and Informative Content
- Update Old Content for Higher Rankings
Step by step process for implementing the strategy
Step 1: Update Home Page
Before any keyword optimization or links could be added to the site, updates were made to improve the website’s home page. The website would be the primary driver for the domain’s authority, and needed to be updated.
The company’s home page only had 100 words or so of content, as it was primarily nothing more than a landing page to funnel visitors to the sales page.
We added roughly 1,500 words of content, focused on establishing the company’s expertise and authoritativeness in their niche.
This included company history, testimonials from clients, and links to relevant, long form content that the company produced.
Step 2: Establish Pillar & Silo Model for Content
Beyond updating the home page to help establish expertise, the company needed content focused around the different service areas they offered. To take advantage of all of the content the website already had, a Pillar and Silo model was chosen.
Under this model, we published 5 long-form, in-depth content pieces, each one targeting a top of the funnel keyword in the brand’s niche. These articles were extremely informative and helpful, designed to be the very best resource on the topic.
We then created Silo’s for each of these Pillar Posts, and assigned all past content to a Silo. Where we didn’t have enough content in a particular Silo, we made a note to produce more of this content in the future.
In total, we published 5 pillar articles, and properly categorized all articles into the new Silo structure.
Step 3: Internally Link Content
Internal linking is a fantastic strategy to utilize for brand’s that already have a lot of published content. We went through all of the posts in each Silo, and internally liked back up to the Pillar page. This would funnel each page’s Page Rank to the Pillar post and help to further establish expertise.
We added over 100 internal links, pointing up to the 5 Pillar articles we had published.
RECAP OF STEPS 1-3
At this point, we had set the website up for success through:
- Updating home page and adding content
- Publishing 5 long form Pillar articles
- Organizing site architecture of posts through Silo method
- Internally linked content to Pillar articles
Step by step process for implementing the strategy
Step 4: Develop Content Plan to Create Authority
It was now time to develop a content plan to publish new content. While the home page now had relevant content that established authority, and there were 5 large articles doing the same, the site needed support content that related to its niche.
Thorough keyword research was performed to find niche relevant topics to write about with low competitiveness.
Step 5: Publish Keyword Optimized Content
With the keyword research complete, long form educational articles were published over the course of several months. Each of these articles was 2,000 words or longer, giving it the depth necessary to rank highly. We targeted keywords that were both low in competition and closely aligned with the brand.
Not only did we want these articles to rank and send organic traffic, but we wanted to publish a bulk of content that was highly focused on the company’s core competency. This would increase Google’s trust while raising the company’s authority in their niche, which would lead to higher rankings for key pages down the road.
In total, we published 32 long form articles over several months. These articles were written and published over the course of several months on the site.
Step 6: Build Links To Attractive And Informative Content
With long form, highly informative content published, we moved on to building links to several of these articles. We reached out to a multitude of other websites in the space, working with those interested to include a link to one of our articles.
We built links to informational articles that were helpful to others in the niche. These links are typically easier to build, and then we would funnel the SEO equity gained to our target pages.
Many of the secured links were from domains with high authority (high Domain Rating), along with being highly relevant to the company’s niche.
We were very successful with this link building campaign, building 178 contextual links to the company’s website over 6 months.
Step 7: Update Old Content For Higher Rankings
With site architecture, new content, and link building taken care of, the final step was to update past articles. As we mentioned at the outset, the website had a lot of older articles that were very high quality, but had never been SEO optimized.
We identified previous articles that might rank and gain organic traffic with an update. We then added new content, restructured the layout and headers, and keyword optimized each article on the list.
In total, we updated roughly 30 older articles.
RECAP OF STEPS 4-7
We had completely executed our content and link building strategy:
- Keyword research to identify new content opportunities
- Long form content published
- Links build to attractive content
- Updates to old content
End results from project, based on KPIs
Keyword growth started almost immediately, but it was very slow in the beginning. This made sense, as a lot of our preliminary work was working on site structure and preparing for new content.
Even so, the site grew in total ranking keywords by 50% through the first 7 months. At the 8 month mark, the site started rapidly growing in terms of ranking keywords. At the end of 12 months, the site had grown in total ranking keywords by 408%. In other words, the site experienced over 5X growth in total ranking keywords.
Since the project was completed, the site continued to grow in keywords, which is to be expected. At the 18 month mark, the site had experienced total keyword growth of 667%, or almost 8x growth.
Similar to the keyword growth, organic traffic growth started slowly, but had a large spike during the second half of the project. That upward trajectory continued after the work was completed.
At the end of 12 months, the site had grown in organic traffic by 385%, or almost 5X growth. Just as it did with keywords, the site continued to grow in organic traffic after the project was complete.
In order to evaluate conversions from organic traffic, we had to factor in seasonality. We looked at the final 6 months of the 12 month project, and compared it to the same 6 month period from the year prior.
Conversions went up by 56% over the final 6 month period, when compared year over year.
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