This case study is an example of using keyword research and a strategic content plan to create a collection of articles that now consistently get over 10,000 visits per week and so far have reached 40k visits in a month.
Ok so this is a large website already, with millions of visitors but SEO traffic to the whole section of the site that we worked on went up 200% vs previous year!
What I did to get 40,000 monthly visitors in 4 months
I created a content plan based on in-depth keyword research. Keywords were chosen based on a balance between a number of factors:
- Competition – are sites like my client appearing in page 1 of Google for this term?
- Relevance – how relevant is the keyword to my client’s site?
- Keyword volume – how many people really search for this keyword
- Search intent – can we create content that these searchers will find useful
The team wrote 20 articles over 3 months (around 2 per week). We saw traffic gradually increase over time as each article moved into position on page 1. This was also helped by the site’s ability to rank to begin with, so again for smaller business sites I would not expect to see this level of traffic within 3 months.
Another key factor was ensuring internal linking to these articles, as well as reaching out to get links from partner sites and creating a number of relevant, unique links pointing to the content. This might become another case study in itself.
I am obsessive about internal linking and site architecture. If you listen to the Search Relation team at Google this is a tip they’re often heard giving people: improve your internal links and site structure. This is because Google uses links to determine which pages are the best. That is the fundamental basis of the Google algorithm (i.e. the PageRank algorithm).
In this case I did analysis of internal links and had the developers make changes to the site architecture following from this. I also added a number of strategically placed, relevant and useful links to help Googlebot and users to find the great pages we had built.
What I didn’t do
I did not just take shortcuts, use Ahrefs to generate a list of keywords within a certain difficulty score, and send that to writers with a generic on-page SEO checklist with no follow up. Had I done that, this project would not have delivered the same results.
By including reporting, follow ups, and testing things for several months, it also allowed a better understanding of where the site has topical authority, and where it doesn’t. Once this has been established it becomes much easier to plan content that is guaranteed to rank in Google and delivers better ROI.
My recommended approach to content planning for larger publisher sites is to take a test-and-learn approach and create a process that allows flexibility. Many SEO agencies will generate a content plan and then leave you to it. This is cheaper as it requires fewer hours. It works for agencies because they are not accountable for results and will tell you you implemented it incorrectly. I prefer to follow things through and if something is not working. For example by looking at internal links and site architecture as in this case.