How to Increase Website Traffic by 1,070% (SEO Case Study)


Gotch SEO Academy is now open! Learn how to get more consistent first page rankings and free traffic from Google (step-by-step).

Today I’m going to show you how to increase website traffic by 1,070%.

This growth is from a B2C niche website we launched in 2018.

Let’s dive right in.


1. Ignore Search Volume (Sometimes)

There is an untapped and uncompetitive world for keywords with no search volume.

You have to remember that search volume is a lagging indicator.

Source

Meaning, you’re catching the “trend” after it’s already picked up steam.

In fact:

Did you know that 15% of Google searches every day are completely new?

That means Google must process those queries, calculate search volume, and then update the Google Keyword Planner. And then to take that another step further, Ahrefs and SEMRush data is even later to the party because they pull data from Google.

So does that mean you shouldn’t target keywords with search volume?

Absolutely not.

80% of your keywords should have search volume, but the other 20% is where you can use your intuition.

For example, the page below has generated 755 clicks and 20,489 impressions in the last three months, according to Google Search Console.

According to Ahrefs, the primary keyword for this page has 50 searches per month.

Most people would avoid this keyword on the search volume alone.

However, I used basic logic to deduce that people would search for a particular product even if these tools weren’t showing volume. I was right.

Now the best part is that low volume keywords are also stupidly uncompetitive. I didn’t need a single direct backlink to that page to rank.

These types of keywords are EVERYWHERE in your every vertical.

But you should consider the 20% intuition strategy as a gamble. Sometimes it pays off big time. Other times, it won’t.

That’s why I recommend thinking about it as if you were an investor.

If you invest in 100 companies, you know that 95% of those won’t work out. But, if only 5 have explosive growth, it should make up for all the others.

Think of your keyword targeting the same way.

Now the question is:

How can you find these untapped keywords?

You need to live and breathe in your vertical. Subscribe to newsletters, lurk in Subreddits, and follow the leaders.

And my last point about keyword targeting is to TAKE A RISK.

What’s the worst that can happen if a keyword doesn’t work out? Stop playing it safe with your SEO campaigns.


2. Create a “Start Here” Page

“Start here” pages are the ultimate weapon for optimizing site architecture, user experience, and conversions.

In short, a “Start Here” page is a page where you should link to critical silos on your website.

For example, take a look at my “Learn SEO” post.

This post’s goal isn’t to rank for “Learn SEO” (although I wouldn’t mind).

The real goal is to drive link equity, relevance, and users to my other important pages. As a result, you’ll improve crawling and indexing for those pages.

“Start Here” pages are also a great place to drive backlinks.

That’s because A) each internal link on the page should use exact match anchor text and B) that link equity will spread to your important pages.

That means those pages can improve their SEO performance without needing as many direct backlinks.

I often title these pages as “Start Here,” but the title doesn’t matter.

Create a dedicated resource page that links to the most critical SEO-driven pages on your site.

Then place this page high in your site architecture. I usually put it in the navigation. In the case of the “Learn SEO” page, I stickied the post on my blog category page (which means it’s only 1-click away from the homepage).


3. Become Addicted to Speed

It’s no secret that website loading speed is critical for SEO and conversions.

Google said in 2018:

“Speed is now a landing page factor for Google Search and Ads.”

Google has specified mobile loading speed as being the most important.

However, you should apply this concept to ALL versions of your website, including desktop.

To put it in perspective, I recently improved the website loading speed for one of our sites, and it increased organic search traffic by 61% in only a few weeks.

Then I did the same with another website of ours, and it increased organic search traffic by 30%:

It’s no joke. You need to become addicted to improving your website loading speed.

So here’s how to do it:

1. Benchmark your current website loading speed

Use Pingdom, GTmetrix, and Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get an average.

I recommend benchmarking your scores from Google’s PageSpeed Insights on both desktop and mobile.

2. Go through all recommendations from PageSpeed Insights, GT Metrix, and Pingdom

In some cases, you may need to hire a developer to make these changes.

3. Consider using AMP

Moving your website to AMP is not a smooth operation, and it comes with many hurdles. If you want to try it, I recommend building an AMP-friendly website on a test server before making it live.

4. Use a caching plugin (if you’re on WordPress)

Install a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, or WP Rocket.

5. Annotate all changes you’ve made in Google Analytics

This is the only way to see if your changes have been effective.


4. Always Use SEO Content Briefs

You’ve probably heard this quote from Abraham Lincoln:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

While there’s some debate on whether he said it or not, it’s still a powerful lesson.

I apply this concept to many facets of an SEO campaign, but especially creating SEO content.

Nothing can save you more time, capital, and headaches than creating detailed SEO content strategy briefs.

These simple briefs force you to think about every prospective keyword differently.

So what is it?

Every effective SEO content strategy brief will have the following components (and much more):

  • What’s the primary goal of targeting the keyword?
  • What’s the estimated value of the keyword? Multiply estimated clicks (from Ahrefs) by CPC.
  • What’s the difficulty of the keyword?
  • Are there SERP features?
  • What’s the search intent?
  • What’s the ideal word count?
  • Will you need an SME (Subject Matter Expert)?
  • How many backlinks will we need?

And much more!

I share my company’s internal SEO content strategy brief within Gotch SEO Academy if you’re interested.


5. Use The Merger Technique 2.0

If you’ve been following me for any time, you know it’s no secret that I love using expired domains for link building.

That’s because expired domains are the fastest way to grow your site’s authority.

The key is to think about them the right way.

When I’m considering purchasing an expired domain, I’m looking at that domain as a business.

So the question becomes:

Would I buy this business?

That’s why I call this The Merger Technique.

Think of yourself as an investor who is acquiring a company so you can consolidate it with yours.

So here’s a quick process for finding and acquiring expired domains:

1. Use SpamZilla to find and vet expired domains

2. Create a dedicated page on your website for the redirect

Now, this is the part where many people get confused. In 99.9% of cases, you should NOT do a homepage redirect.

You’ll send a ton of irrelevant links and anchor text to an undeserving page.

A better approach is to create a dedicated page for the 301 redirects.

For example, if you acquired the hypothetical domain: “bigburgerjoint.com” and you’re a restaurant that sells burgers.

It would be best to create a page title: “What is Big Burger Joint?” or “Big Burger Joint: All You Need to Know.”

You will then create a dedicated piece of content about the expired domain/business. Then you can complete the final step, which is:

3. Redirect the domain

I will mention one nuance here. You need to analyze the expired domain’s link profile to see where most of its links are pointing.

For example, if most of the backlinks are hitting the homepage, the strategy I explained will work well.

However, if most of the links are hitting subpages like blog posts, then you’ll want to find relevant pages, only your website for each redirect.

This process is more time-intensive, but necessary if you want the redirect to be effective and safe.

In some cases, you’ll need to create new content assets to support some of the redirects.

That also means that you’ll need to get dedicated hosting for the expired domain because you’ll be doing redirects on the page-level, not the domain level.

Of course, you can avoid this altogether by only focusing on domains that mainly have homepage links in your vetting process.


6. STOP Creating New Content!

Listen:

There is no point in creating new content if you aren’t actively acquiring new backlinks.

More content does NOT produce more traffic. More content and more backlinks do.

And this is coming from a big content guy like myself.

It’s foolish to invest more time and resources into content when your website lacks authority.

A better approach is to build out your base of content and then spend the rest of your time:

A) acquiring backlinks and B) optimizing what you already have through on-page SEO (use Surfer SEO to streamline it).

Often, the push to create new content is nothing more than a way to avoid doing points A) and B).

It “feels” like the right thing to do. But it isn’t.

You need to focus on making your existing content successful. Once that happens, then you should move onto creating new assets.


7. Stay the Course

Take a look at this graph:

As you can see, getting more organic search traffic takes time.

You need to be patient, and you need to trust in the process. Of course, if you don’t have a proven process to follow, it’s more nerve-wracking.

The truth is, most people give up on SEO campaigns way too early.

SEO takes longer than ever. Especially with new websites.

However, if you use a proven SEO process and stay the course, you’ll get the results you want.

If you need a proven SEO process to consistently increase traffic for any website, join over 1,000 other SEO experts inside Gotch SEO Academy.

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