SEO Case Study Summary & Results
Before we dive into the nits and grits, here’s a quick summary of the entire project.
The client, as we mentioned before, was a SaaS company in the BPM niche (think, something like a project management tool). They’d already done some SEO.
They had an active blog, some published content, and a team of writers.
Their existing content, however, was delivering exactly zero results.
- 0 to 200,000 monthly organic traffic in <2 years.
- CPC value of over $369,000 per month (meaning, if the client was running ads to the keywords we were ranking for organically, they’d be spending over $369,000 per month).
- Top 3 rankings for extremely competitive keywords. E.g. Business automation software (25 USD CPC), BPM solutions (20 USD CPC), and others.
- All this was done with zero link-building – all we did was publish high-quality content.
Auditing Existing Keyword Strategy
First thing’s first – we started off by auditing the client’s keyword research.
The client already had a list of 300 keywords they wanted to target across several different niches.
- Project management
- Process management
- Workflow management
Others, not so much:
- Content marketing
- Computer science
So, the first thing we did was to root out all irrelevant keywords. Anything that wasn’t associated with process management had to go.
When getting started with SEO, we always recommend our clients to stick to 1-2 niches at most.
Sure, ranking on SEO topics could get our client SOME relevant traffic, but the chances of ranking on these target keywords are extremely slim.
Google keeps your website’s niche in mind. Are you writing a lot about project management (PM)? You’re probably a project management blog.
Your PM articles might rank extremely well, but if you, out of nowhere, publish a post about SEO, it won’t rank.
Here’s what we mean by that.
The client had 3-4 different variations of the keyword “process management,” each with a different article.
- Business process management
- Process management
All 3 of these keywords mean literally the same thing, and Google knows this.
So when the Google Bot crawls the website, it gets confused – which of these 3 articles is the MAIN article? Which one should it rank?
So, for all such cases, we combined the different keywords into one main keyword.
As we mentioned before, when we stepped in, they already had a writing team creating content.
They had approximately 100 published blog posts, and the writers were pumping out new content on a weekly basis.
So, the next step was to audit all existing content and see if we were going in the right direction.
We discovered that the main issues with existing content were…
- Content wasn’t aligned with the keyword search intent. For example, the keyword was “business process management,” and the article was about the benefits of process management (and not about business process management in general).
- Some content were opinion pieces (instead of educational). More often than not, opinion pieces don’t rank on Google. For example – let’s say you want to rank on the keyword “Resume.” What WOULD rank is either a resume builder or a guide on how to make a resume. What would NOT rank is an opinion piece on how The Resume is Dead (Use This Instead).
So, our next step was to figure out what to do with all this content (and get the most out of them).
We went through all the published blog posts and divided them into the following categories:
- Great – These articles are pretty spot-on, they might just need a couple of edits.
- Salvageable – The article probably won’t rank for the keyword, but it can be refactored into something better (and parts of the existing content piece can be reused).
- Unsalvageable – The content piece really misses the mark, and can’t be reused.
We kept all the “great” content pieces, and eventually revamped everything that was “salvageable.”
As for “unsalvageable” content pieces, we either rewrote them, or 301 redirected them to better content pieces.
New Content Marketing Direction
After we’d audited all existing content, we had to make sure that our client’s writing team would create better content from then on.
So, to give them a push in the right direction, we implemented 2 strategies:
- Creating content outlines. For each article assigned to a writer, we gave them an outline that covered all the main info they had to cover in the article.
- Established writer guidelines that explained all the main requirements for writing good SEO content.
Here’s how we did each…
Creating Content Outlines
The main difference between SEO content and generic content is that the first is written with user search intent in mind.
You need to keep in mind what the Googler is looking for when they search for any given keyword. Then, you create content based on that intent.
Most writers who aren’t that experienced with SEO mess up here. They create content that THEY think should rank, without considering what the Googler is actually looking for.
At the time, the client’s writing team was making this exact mistake.
To fix this, we started creating outlines for each keyword. The outline had info on EXACTLY what topics the writer was supposed to cover in order for this article to rank.
Proper interlinking is an essential part of any SEO strategy.
New to SEO?
An internal link is a link from one page on a given domain to another. Think, backlinks, but from your website to your website.
“How important can THAT be,” you might ask.
So, our task was:
- Ensure that new content links to existing posts
- Improving internal linking for existing pages and posts
- Making sure that new posts are linked to from older content pieces
The 1st was easy enough to accomplish – we added a clause in the writer guidelines…
“For each new content piece, link to other relevant existing articles. I.e. You’re writing about BPM, you’d link to all associated topics:
- Business process improvement
- Bpm tools
- Process mapping
- and so on…“
To make sure that the writers did this right, we also started giving them a list of keywords they needed to mention (and link to) in each article.
Now, we had to deal with task #2 – interlinking all existing web pages. Here’s the exact step-by-step process we followed…
1. Pick an article to interlink. For example, let’s take “business process improvement.”
2. Google its keyword on your domain with the following query: