SEO Case Study: The EXACT method to go from Zero to 100,000+ visitors in 12 months

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Frederic Cottart from strasdesign.eu shows us the exact process he used to successfully increase the traffic for a brand-new website in a highly competitive niche (life insurance) — without using hacks.

Traffic is the lifeblood of any website. 

If you can get people to visit your page, it’s going to mean so much to you. They will navigate through your site. They will sign up and subscribe. They will buy into your product or service. All of these will translate into revenues for you.

But, how do you catch the attention of billions of people in the world amidst 200 million active websites?  How do you compete with other pages? What will make your site show up when a person hits the search button?

This is where an SEO strategy comes in.

We developed a way for Siege Media to increase their visibility on the web and shore up traffic to their website. This is based on a complete case study done for the group and we are sharing the results with you.

Work on quality content

When you examine SERPs or search engine results pages and look for those with low link counts, outdated or low-quality content, absence of big brands or bad exact match domains, you will find out that they do exist in several searches. 

For instance, SERPs for “life insurance quotes in California” showed big names in the ranking such as Geico and State Farm. 

However, some pages are a bad match to the search though the domain matched the keywords. Upon clicking on them, we find poor quality content.

So as we can see from the example, although big brands do rank in the search, and there is an exact match in the domains, some of them are of low quality as far as the content is concerned. This means that if we do things right, we can compete with them if we make up for what they lack – excellent content. We build what searchers are looking for.

How do we accomplish this?

We use the best possible formatting (column width, font size, scannable text, etc.), original photos, crisp, succinct and persuasive content, and unique graphics. If we use the content on our page that addresses the exact needs of those who search, we will be successful in SERPs.

Obtain enough links to important pages

Though it makes sense to provide as many links on your page as possible to drive traffic, search engines today have evolved to determine quality links and not just sheer numbers. The case study showed that pages that are considered in the lowermost ranks in searches need only a few valuable links to improve their rank. If you choose your links right, positive engagement will validate your page and will signal search engines to grant you authority as a legitimate website.

However, to secure links from other pages is quite a challenging task. If they don’t find your page link-worthy, they have no reason to connect with you. Bottom-of-the-funnel pages are usually linking to create conversions, and this is not a good enough reason for other sites to link.

Link opportunities show up when you offer direct value on your website that is congruent with the goals of some other websites. These create hyper-focused connections that are appropriate to your site content.

For example, if you are a website that talks about pet-friendly insurance companies, you can connect your page to companies that offer insurance to dogs of all sizes and breeds. 

The list that you will provide will contain hyper-relevant links that your visitors can click to obtain pet insurance.

Though this strategy is only viable in the near-term because situations like hyper-focused links are limited, they can still be a huge help for your site to rank higher.

There are other opportunities for you to climb up in ranks through the following methods: 1) Link with review pages for your product offering, 2) Link with exclusive local resource providers, 3) Provide promotions or exclusive discounts to the audience of the page you’re linking with, 4) Link with a site that has a unique offering, 5) Mention a specific brand or person or product offering in your site (ego bait). These may not be sustainable in the long-term, but it may be enough to obtain a handful of quality links and attract first-timers to your website.

Create a passive method for link acquisition

As Googler Matt Cutts would say, link building is sweat plus creativity. Link acquisition is a process that you will engage in for a very long time to continually drive traffic to your website. Because it’s a difficult process, you need to make sure that you exhaust all ways to secure them. One way is to establish channels by which you can obtain links via a passive method. 

One content strategy you can use is to put high-definition original pictures on your website. Instead of copyrighting your photos or watermarking them, you can use a license for Creative Commons to allow others to grab your photos if they link back to the source, which is your site.

For instance, huge publications need excellent photos for their editors and writers and they often go to Creative Commons or other similar pages to get them. 

Some other ways you can naturally earn potential links, apart from your images being cited are through: 1) unique tools that you build, 2) interviews with you or when you’re quoted, 3) original research or data, and 4) community involvement or sponsorship.

The bottom line is to produce anything original and make others easily cite you (or link to you) as the source.

Focus on creating strategic content

The success of SEO leans heavily on content. The quality content discussed earlier will help create initial engagement with your page. To sustain link acquisition and further attention, though, you have to be strategic and purposeful in the content that you publish in your site. You have to identify opportunities where you can create better content compared to pages of your competitors.

In the study, we compared the traffic values of several pages using SEMrush. 

For instance, we checked out a pet insurance website that ranks number 1 and took note of its traffic value. Upon checking the competition for this particular SERP, we found out that it’s quite high with big names such as Nerd Wallet, Consumer Report, Consumers Advocate and Canine Journal.

We then tried a less competitive SERP and search for exotic pet insurance. 

Nationwide ranked number 1 and its traffic value in SEMrush is high. 

However, if you check the SERPs, bad exact match domains exist and upon further investigation, you will see that these pages are bad results. 

This, then, is an opportunity for others to create better content and gain rank.

Although doing a manual search on the SERPs help identify opportunities, you can employ tools such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer to get estimates of your competition and the difficulties searchers face in using phrases and terms.

Creating strategic content will require you to make costly investments but if you are deliberate and tactical about the kind of content you publish on your website, you will be successful in creating SEO impact. 

Build momentum over time

When you are successful in the previous steps, slowly building traction into your website, your small successes with SEO will multiply over time. That is the effect of SEO, it causes your results to build up at an exponential rate if you keep on doing things right.

When you gain rank in SERPs, you become more and more visible and you attract growing traffic to your website. If you build great content that truly addresses the needs of searchers, they will revisit your site many times over. They may also share your website with other people, and you get a free endorsement in the process. If they endorse your website via links on social media, podcasts, blogs and other platforms, you broaden your scope. Your site will then gain authority with search engines and will assist you in your link acquisition. 

Case Study Results

In our case study, by using the strategies mentioned earlier, we saw our site building momentum over 6 months. We, then, tried to level up by targeting spaces that we avoided at the beginning until we have established a solid groundwork. We moved towards more competitive areas on the web and we succeeded because of the strong foundation which we have built from the very start.

It’s very important to establish authority and trust in your website so you can compete for better and better values as your page grows. When you reap returns early, you get to invest in even better content and other tools that you can use to evaluate your website and work on ways to improve. You can create original designs on your website, put more high-quality pictures, and add some interactive features like videos and other tools.

Leveling Up

Upon building momentum on the site in the case study, we tried to target highly competitive and high-ranking topics during the summer months and our numbers peaked at record highs, beating previous levels significantly. 

Updating Content

Another successful strategy which we used was to improve or update older content by simply adding a video or revising an article and using post dates to show when your content was last updated. This shows visitors to your website that your content is always new and that you do not post outdated materials. This will have a huge impact on your click-through rate (CTR), which will bid well for your page in the long haul.

At the end of 12 months, we have seen a substantial increase in traffic reaching 120,000 visitors. This is due to the effort to aim for better competitive terms and to continue growing visibility in the ranks. 

Recap

It’s important to note that there was no need to use covert tricks or prohibited hacks to increase your site traffic. The key is to invest in establishing high-quality content, using creative strategies for link acquisition, and growing your goals and expectations alongside the growth of your site.

To summarize, here’s the strategy for building site traffic: 

  1. Work on quality content to rise in SERP ranks.
  2. Secure some valuable links to your website to drive initial site engagement and gain authority across search engines.
  3. Find creative and passive ways for link acquisition
  4. Use important tools to study your competition and create strategic content to surpass them, 
  5. Build momentum by continuously finding ways to improve your website and increasing visitors to your page over time.

This process is something that you can try to do and test out for your page. You can adjust here and there, to fit your precise needs and circumstance. 

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