Case Study for an Education Client

Project Background

Category
Education
Project Duration
Mar-May'21 (3months)
Client Goal
Increase Website traffic

We started working with the client in late October, and audited a 1400+ page site. They had 3 CMSs: one for their Content team, One for the Business team, and the last for their Support team.


The biggest challenge was getting everybody on the same ground, educating them with what we wanted to do, and making them realize that this will help the company as a whole. We also had to ensure that we achieved the right mix of pages across the board.


The Content Lead was somebody who had started in an SEO agency more than 10 years ago, and therefore he jumped into the project and gave us all the access we needed. The Support team, while unsure, was supportive. However, the Business team was hostile, and always took a negative approach towards the work, with their fear of "What if we lose our leads?" coming into every single meeting we held. Finally, after the audit, and some rough estimates, we started the project with a 50(Content):34(Support):16(Business) ratio of the pages to work with.
Now, if you are thinking that 100 pages out of 1400+ are too little a number, we introduce you to the Pareto principle where we focused on a smaller number to showcase a much bigger impact. We realized, that nearly 160 pages on their website, contributed 91% of their entire traffic. However, getting our hands on all those pages was tricky since 107 were in the hands of the Support and Business team.

In the end, we were able to get a majority of those pages to work with, minus the Home page and the top Product pages.

Work

We started off with a distinction of how we wanted to optimize the pages. So, we made a calendar of 5 months for the 100 pages, and we went ahead with the following activities every month:

  • 20 pages for that month would be optimized on a deep level (converting every page into a resource page):

 In order to improve these pages, we looked at the top pages in our niche for the specific set of top keywords for that page, and map out where we were lagging in terms of content. Pick up all the headings, sub-headings, tables, any non-linear content that your pages doesn't have and add them to a list. Based on that, create a topic-wise structure of what's missing, including how many potential featured snippets you would want to add, and then update the content. Per page, this took about 3 days and saw us adding 30-50 keywords per page.

  • Creating relevant Internal Links with proper anchor text:

When we started, there was no strategy behind linking. Either entire sentences were being used to link to pages, or simply a generic block of text. For the 20 pages for that month, we focused on linking to almost all pages that had relevant content on the website.

  • Trying to rank on Featured Snippets:

Remaining 80 pages would see us adding 1 para each, and adding 3 potential featured snippets per page, if possible. The idea was to ensure that since these pages were ranking near Page 1 and 2 on certain keywords, it would be easier to get them to rank for featured snippets.

  • Building quality backlinks extensively:

Building backlinks on all the chosen 20 (at least 10 backlinks per page) pages for the month, with most of them coming in with a branded anchor text, and with 5-10 links being naturally built with localized outreach.

 

  • Removing 50 pages per month: 

This was something we were clear about. We wanted to get to about 700-800 pages in total, as we realized that the bottom half were pages that had thin content, were serving very little purpose and were simply bloating the rest of the site. We ended up with 703 pages by May end, and are planning to remove about 100 more. 

 

  • Optimizing Meta Elements:

Optimizing the metas of 50 pages per month out of the pages that weren't a part of the top 170 for us. We only optimized the Meta Title, Description, and H1, and changed absolutely nothing else for these pages.

Results

From the result perspective, there are pages that have dropped by nearly 40%, and then there are pages that have seen an increment by nearly 350%, with an average increment of nearly 35% traffic year on year over the last 3 months .

 Broadly though, the results stand like this:

  • 67 pages ended up with a net gain of more than 10% during this 6-month period, compared to the previous year, including pages that doubled and tripled their traffic compared to the previous year
  • 14 pages ended up in the range of +- 10%
  • 19 pages ended up with a traffic drop of up to 40%, with 11 of those being down by at least 20%
  • Overall, an increase of traffic of 53% traffic, and 41% business leads over the course of 6 months.

Conclusion:

The idea with optimization is to add value according to what consumers of your industry want today. Unless you are focusing on creating or updating content, that is actually helpful and engaging, the number of keywords, really won't matter much. However, focus on including the content that the rankers have, and your coverage would automatically be good, if not great. Simply provide it with an exhaustive structure, and you will be good to go.

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