How To Grow Traffic 90.97% With A Custom SEO Plan (Case Study)

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

If you aren’t keeping every aspect of your website’s SEO performance in tip-top shape, you’ll struggle to see much organic growth. Every SEO campaign is different – some websites require more focus on just one or two of the core components of SEO (content, backlinks, and technical factors) whereas others may require optimization and improvements across the board. These SEO issues can be discovered by carrying out an SEO audit of your website which can uncover a whole range of action points that need to be addressed. That’s why it’s always essential to audit, analyze and optimize what’s already on your site. In this case study, you’ll learn the exact steps that my team at The Search Initiative took to increase our client’s organic traffic by 90.97%. In this article, you’ll learn how to: Before that, let’s find out a bit more about the website’s goals and the main challenges faced during the campaign. The Challenge Before joining The Search Initiative, the site was struggling to break into the first page of the search results for many important keywords. Therefore, the main goal of this campaign was to grow the site’s organic traffic with a focus on optimizing the editorial content. The client is a real estate website targeting people who want to rent and/or buy properties in Southeast Asia. This site saw a spike in referring domains. This was an attempted negative SEO attack, which is when a competitor intentionally attempts to sabotage your SEO efforts by building many poor-quality backlinks. If you believe your site has been deliberately attacked in this way, it’s best to audit and tidy up your link profile – read on to learn how to do this. The website had a lot of content, with many articles that were 10k+ words long. However, there were lots of keywords that these pieces of content were struggling to rank for. In cases like this, you should carry out a content optimization strategy that focuses on improving these long-form pieces for low-hanging keywords that were ranking just outside of the first page. Finally, we identified two core technical drawbacks facing the website: hundreds of internal redirects and missing breadcrumb navigation. As a real estate website with hundreds of listings across multiple cities and locales, missing breadcrumb navigation resulted in unnecessarily poor user experience as it made it much more difficult for visitors to navigate the website. Find out how you can overcome these challenges for your website by following the steps below. Pruning Your Link Profile With A Backlink Audit Your backlink profile is like a tree. Now and then, you want to snip off and prune a few faulty branches (low-quality backlinks) to ensure that the rest of the tree (link profile) is healthy. I.e., There are no spammy backlinks. This is a procedure you should carry out periodically by only checking the most recent links pointing to your site. But sometimes, the number of backlinks may suddenly shoot up, which could signify foul play. Google is able to ignore these spammy links in “most cases” but that means that some might slip through. If you get 1000 spam links, how many of these weren’t ignored? 50? 100? It’s not worth the risk, you need to take action. You’ll find out how to analyze the quality of a backlink pointing to your website later, but first, let’s see how you can identify whether your site’s link profile has seen unnatural growth, as described above. Identifying A Negative SEO Attack What Is A Negative SEO Attack? Your backlink profile may be the victim of a hostile SEO attack where your competitors (or another entity) purposely build hundreds, if not thousands, of unnatural, poor-quality links towards your site. Such an attack aims to trigger a Google penalty (or manual action) so that you lose rankings. If this happens to you, you will want to conduct a backlink audit to identify and disavow (ask google to ignore) these malicious links. How To Identify A Potential Negative SEO Attack To manually identify a potential negative SEO attack on your website’s backlink profile, you can use the Ahrefs Site Explorer tool. If you see a sharp spike like the one above, your site’s likely had a damaging SEO attack. As mentioned above, Google’s algorithms are getting better at identifying and ignoring poor-quality backlinks – but they aren’t perfect, so you’ll still need to cover your bases to make sure that your tree doesn’t have any faulty branches. This unnatural link velocity isn’t ideal – so it’s still worth seeing which links you can preemptively tell Google to ignore by disavowing them. Top tip: you can set up alerts on Ahrefs to automatically monitor new (and lost) referring domains to your website. This will enable you to quickly spot any unnatural increases (or decreases) within your backlink profile and allow you to act sooner to prevent any potential SEO damage to your site’s performance. Head over to: Alerts > Backlinks > New alert > Enter domain > New backlinks > Set email interval > Add Once you’ve identified that your site’s seen an unnatural links spike, the next step is to identify the bad links. It’s also worth noting that the spike may actually be a good thing. For example, one of your articles may have gone viral, so you may have naturally received a bunch of links. Either way, here’s how to identify whether these links are good or bad for your SEO. Investigating A Potential Negative SEO Attack Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to investigate a potential negative SEO attack using Ahrefs Site Explorer: When filtering these results, you’ll likely see some patterns cropping up. Let’s go through some of the most common culprits regarding links-based negative SEO attacks and how to spot them. Patterns To Look Out For: The Usual Suspects When identifying faulty backlinks from a negative SEO attack, there are a few usual suspects that you can look out for as giveaways for potential foul play. Why? Because these types of links are extremely cheap and easy to get in large quantities – meaning they aren’t too sophisticated. Remember, most of these websites aren’t legitimate. They’re often built especially for these tactics and won’t have any SEO value. Blogspot Domains  Blogspot domains are incredibly cheap and easy to build. This makes them perfect for webmasters to exploit and use to build spammy links to your domain. You can identify these quickly by clicking on “More filters” on the top right of the Backlinks report. Select Domain name and type in “blogspot”. Click Apply and Show results. You’ll now see all backlinks from Blogspot domains. In this example, there are 66 poor-quality Blogspot domains pointing to this website within the specified timeframe. Web Directories In most cases, adding a listing to a web directory is free. Again, this makes it easy for spammers to build hundreds, if not thousands, of links on irrelevant and/or suspicious-looking directories. They generally look something like this: Find potential spammy web directories by filtering the backlinks using the same method above, but instead, search for domains that contain “directory”. Comment Spam Comment spam usually results from automated software being used to place lots and lots of comments on blogs or forums towards a particular website. These links generally use exact match anchors, i.e. the clickable text of the links are keywords you are likely targeting. This can be problematic because a high number of keyword-rich anchor texts within your link profile will likely raise some flags in Google’s eyes as being unnatural, which could lead to your website being penalized via a manual links-based penalty. Here’s an example of a forum link taken directly from Google’s guide on Link Schemes. Scroll down to the Anchors report right at the bottom of the Site Explorer tool on Ahrefs – this shows you an overview of the most commonly used anchor texts to link to your website. If you spot lots of exact match (keyword-rich) anchor texts linking to you, it’s likely that these could be comment or forum spam links. In some cases, you may even find some extremely unnatural or even suspicious anchors used to link towards you. These are much easier to spot as they’ll likely have nothing to do with your website. Next, click on “View full report” to dig a little deeper. This is because the report only shows you the top 10 most common anchors (see screenshot below) – and there may be lots more! Here, you want to order by “/ dofollow” links because dofollow links are the kind that specifically instructs search engine bots to “follow” the link. Whereas sites that link to you using a nofollow link, are highly devalued by Google’s crawlers. Click on Details, then Referring domains, to explore further. In most cases, a website will only link to you once – so if you see that a site is linking to you a lot, it’s a strong indicator that something’s not quite Read More Read More

The post How To Grow Traffic 90.97% With A Custom SEO Plan (Case Study) first appeared on Diggity Marketing.

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