I always thought SEO studies with this kind of title were written by snake oil salesmen. After all, stating you raised someone’s organic traffic by 600% can’t be real, right and especially when that person is a multiple-time New York Times best-selling author who already had a lot of traffic.
I didn’t think it could have been several years ago.
Back then, I tried every SEO technique I could that is known to man in hopes, thinking if any of it could work.
What Did I Do:
- Was sending hundreds of link outreach emails every week
- Creating relevant, valuable & in-depth content compromising of around 2500 words
- Fixing site’s loading speed
- Working on every technical issue I was finding
- Adding internal links post by post
Sad reality? The majority of my efforts went in vain.
But I didn’t sit idle. I kept chugging along, and very soon I found such strategies & tricks that resulted in some real traction. And I doubled down on these. Guess what happened next?
Yeah, these few things helped me in gaining surprising results. And I’m here to share the main areas on which I focused to finally gain better results and which helped my biggest client that the massive success with SEO so that you can also use these strategies.
Keep in mind this is a single case study on SEO
One important thing before we dive in: I’m not suggesting that what I’ll be sharing here is the only way to succeed with SEO. Some strategies that worked great for me might not work for you at all as every campaign & niche will have different nuances.
That said, there are numerous ideas in this case study that can be applied to almost every campaign you’ll ever run.
The Starting Point:
When I started working for this client, he was generating 20,000 visitors every month from search. Pretty much solid.
His webpage ranked for a few competitive keywords as well that had between 1,000 to 5,000 monthly search volume & also received hundreds of email subscribers every month from SEO.
However, there was a lot more possibility.
He had genuinely amazing content and, since he had so many years of experience and results, the capability to produce incredible content on pretty much any topic in his niche, it was apparent that he had a chance of ranking for nearly any keyword in his niche over time.
However, he had a major issue: his content was not optimized, and he required a lot more high-quality links.
4 Strategies That Worked in Gaining More Traffic
- Conducting a comprehensive content audit
I began by identifying all of his blog’s greatest content assets in terms of traffic (with Google Analytics and Google Search Console). He had hundreds of blog posts, but just 10 out of them received regular traffic.
And hence I took down 90% of the content on his blogs.
What exactly did I do with it? I categorized each post in one of the two buckets.
- Redesign, optimize, and republish:
Any existing content with untapped potential was placed in this bucket. Content would be placed in this bucket if it:
* It wasn’t ranking well for some great keyword opportunities (high search volume and minimal organic competition)
* Had unique insights & practical steps for the users that could be elaborated on
And only five of the posts fell under this category. I had the author add a lot of information and new sections based on long-tail keywords to each of these posts.
After finishing, I updated the publish date in WordPress, and without changing the URL, promoting this as a new post.
- Redirecting and leaving the post as an unpublished draft: This bucket was for the content that didn’t satisfy any SEO potential.
The majority of these posts were either written on extremely specialized topics with little search volume or contained content that was relevant to one of the content assets we kept.
I unpublished all the posts which didn’t have any SEO potential and set up a 301 redirect to the homepage or to the relevant content asset. I kept these as unpublished drafts so that the content could be used for future posts.
If a post’s content was substantially similar to one of our content assets, we 301 redirected the post to the asset.
He only had approximately 30 blog posts left at the end of the content audit (including those we revamped). But, within a few months, he was generating more traffic than he had ever received before as every blog was extremely helpful, valuable, and SEO-driven.
Not just did this content audit lead us to gain 600% more traffic, we required more links.
- Ongoing outreach to build links
To compete in organic search results, you already know that you need to develop high-quality links. I tried as well, however it didn’t help me acquire those links at first. I was sending hundreds of outreach emails each week and getting just a 1% conversion rate at best… until I rethought my outreach strategy.
Even after following the tactics experts told me to work on in the blog posts I read, I didn’t get results. And when these strategies on which I was working on didn’t work, I started looking for some new angles.
I even started providing free access to my author’s courses and membership sites regardless of whether or not someone clicked on my link. And over time, I discovered something: if you have excellent content, go out to someone who has already linked to or produced comparable content, and provide them with tremendous value, you’ll see amazing conversion rates.
- Consistently producing new, SEO-friendly content
Building links regularly, I also coordinated with the author side by side to create new SEO-driven content.
By SEO-driven, I mean content created using the relevant keyword opportunities available in his niche. Many individuals create content and then look for a keyword to “optimize” it for. If you want your content to rank, this is backward. You’re simply choosing keywords out of a hat with various levels of competition, rather than discovering amazing keyword opportunities your site can rank for.
You could get lucky a few times and find a low-competition keyword that you can rank for with your pre-written content, but you won’t be successful most of the time, and you’ll find it difficult to rank for anything. So, before we generated any new material, I conducted extensive keyword research to identify the best chances in the author’s area (I’m talking about a Google Sheet with over 5,000 keywords). After that, I sorted that keyword research sheet 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.
Have you noticed how I used the word keywords instead of keywords?
Another trick to create content that drives traffic is by targeting multiple numbers of related keywords instead of just one. Since the Hummingbird algorithm upgrade in 2013, a single piece of content may now rank for thousands of keywords. So, over two years, we produced 25 pieces of content. They all started ranking within a few months after they were all released.
One even ranked for 12,000 keywords:
And, despite having just 72 articles on his site now (as opposed to the 100+ he used to have), he has over 140,000 monthly visits from search:
When it comes to content, the most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how much or how often you generate it. What counts is that your content is valuable and optimized and that you generate it regularly (whether it’s once a month or once every other month).
- Implementing an internal linking strategy
Isn’t it amazing how simple things like adding a link to another page on your site may boost your SEO? It just takes five seconds, yet it makes a huge difference (especially on a large scale).
When I first started working with this author, most of his pages and articles had a few internal links, but there was no apparent strategy behind them.
That quickly changed.
After completing the initial content audit, I thoroughly examined his website and optimized the anchor text of old ones, and also added some new internal links.
My strategy was quite simple. I added approximately 10 links to each blog post using the anchor text that includes :
- The target keyword of other posts
- A variation of the target keyword
- Or a secondary long-tail keyword
Isn’t it simple enough?
As I was doing this, I discovered two ways for getting this done as quickly as possible (because, let’s be honest, scrolling through 50+ posts takes a lot of tedious screen-staring hours):
- Add internal links to each post in your CMS in order of publishing date.
If you take it this way, keep a spreadsheet open with links to all of your blog articles open so you can add internal links as you go through the content. Simply seek excellent anchor text opportunities in each blog post, then copy/paste links as needed. You can always change the content if you don’t have good anchor text options.
- Search for certain terms in your WordPress admin and add internal links to posts that include those keywords.
In your WordPress dashboard, you may search for target keywords, long-tail keywords, and LSI keywords to locate posts that already include those terms.
Then, all you have to do is to add the internal links by going through those posts. And then repeat this process for every blog post. The SEO strategy, not the SEO tactic, is what drives more visitors to your blog posts). Like me, you’ve undoubtedly heard much of the advice in this case study before. I was using these methods in the same way that everyone else did, but I wasn’t getting any noticeable results.
I was doing:
- Creating content that wasn’t relevant, valuable, unique & actionable
- Sending basic outreach templates that were overused and didn’t provide any value
- More concerned with how frequently I generated content than with how valuable and SEO-friendly it was.
- After getting an article from the author, conducting keyword research (instead of the other way around)
So it wasn’t that I was using useless techniques; instead, I was applying effective strategies in an unproductive manner.
I wasn’t focused on assisting the author in creating really valuable content based on his unique ideas, thereby distinguishing his work from that of others. In my link-building outreach, I wasn’t focused on providing tremendous value to site owners. And I wasn’t concentrating on contacting others who have previously linked to or written about similar resources as mine.
These adjustments enabled me to achieve an SEO breakthrough—not just with one author, but with all of my clients—and they can do the same for you.