Victoria BC
[optinform]

Let me first preface this with the fact that these kinds of results aren’t ordinary.  Usually we’d be very happy with single digit growth in one month.

In this case there were several factors which helped us achieve 50% growth in search traffic in one month including a niche with low competition and a website with good domain authority that hadn’t been optimized for any keywords.

The client we are working with (Jane Stafford Textiles) had never done any SEO on their site, but had created a lot of content and a lot of backlinks (without knowing they were).

The Strategy

Every niche is different and the same SEO strategy won’t work for every niche.  So, the first thing we needed to do was come up with a strategy tailored specifically for Jane Stafford Textiles.

Step 1 – Before doing any on-page optimization we looked for search terms with good volume, clear intent and low competition.  One great tool for doing this is Ahrefs.

Step 2 – Then we began optimizing important pages for these keywords.

Step 3 – We then began working on improving the site speed because the site was a little slow.  Slow load times can lead to worse search engine rankings so this was an important step.  A great tool we use for testing a website’s speed is Pingdom’s Website Speed Test.

Step 4 – We then started building internal links to pass “link juice” to important pages we wanted to rank for certain keywords.

Step 5 – Finally we made important pages more content rich.

Keyword Targeting

First thing we needed to do was find which keywords people were using when searching for the types of products this client was offering.  One great way of doing this is going to ahrefs.com and plugging in a competitor’s URL.  You can then look at all of the organic search terms they’re ranking for along with the search volume and competition.

After a brief competitor analysis we identified several keywords with good volume, low competition and good intent.  We identified good intent by looking at which keywords were being bid on in Google Adwords and how much was being spent on each click.

On Page Optimization

Next we took these keywords and made sure they were used in important pages.  We’d optimize one page for one keyword, with the exception being the homepage.

The homepage targeted some of the best keywords and many categories were renamed so they’d rank better in the search results.

Best practices were used such as including the keywords in h1 tags, sub headers, page titles, in the content and so on.  We also made sure to make good use of synonyms as Google is now getting better at identifying these.

Site Speed

Google doesn’t like slow sites and janestaffordtextiles.com was a bit slow.  We went through all of the usual steps of minifying and combining CSS and Javascript, caching certain resources, reducing image sizes and so on.

There are still several improvements to be made.  The WordPress theme they chose to use long before we came along is extremely bloated and adds 1 second of load time to their website.  At some point it would  be a good idea to write a custom lightweight theme which could probably cut close to a second off their website’s load times.

Internal Link Building

Next we began building some internal links.  Internal links are links from a website to pages on the same website.  These links can pass “link juice” to internal pages, thus helping move these pages up the search results.

Links were built from the homepage to top level categories, from FAQ pages to category pages and so on.

More Content

Google likes content.  In fact, the average content length in the top 10 search results is over 2000 words.

Many category pages had little to no content other than images, so keyword rich descriptions were added to important categories.  It didn’t make sense to have category descriptions over 2000 words, in fact 2 to 3 hundred was sufficient.  It’s important to put users first and never write a bunch of content only for search engines.  On a categories page, users are trying to find products, not long winded category descriptions.

At some point it may be a good idea to build landing pages that target certain niche keywords, but there’s only so much time in a month and rounding out the categories pages seemed like the best short-term solution.

The Result

I think the screenshot below from Google Analytics speaks for itself.

search-traffic-jane-stafford

Conclusion

There’s still a lot of work to be done, but a 50% increase in search traffic in one month was pretty amazing!

Thanks for reading and let us know if you have any questions in the comments section.