This is a case study of an old project that I worked on 2 years ago and I decided to write a case study of the project now because I recently talked to them and the recent stats just blew me away.
I will try my best to explain everything about the project — from how I landed the project to what results was I able to achieve.
Let’s start from the beginning
Please understand that I won’t be able to tell you the site’s name or share even a single screenshot because of the NDA that I signed. Yeah, I hear you scream, “it’s not even a case study if there are no real screenshots”. But it is what it is, please bear with me.
2 years ago, I was active in a few SEO-related Facebook groups like SEO Signals, The Proper SEO Group, Learn Digital Marketing, etc. I would post interesting insights as per my understanding of SEO on a regular basis. My goal was just to learn from and contribute to the community.
One day, a person from one of the Facebook groups messaged me asking if I would do SEO for his ed-tech startup. I don’t know why he contacted me, but he did. And guess what, initially, I replied that I am mainly into affiliate marketing and do not provide any kinds of SEO services to the client.
However, we talked casually over a call about how the business operates. He also told me that he liked one of my posts and that was the reason he reached out. I thought it could be an interesting project and there would be a lot to learn.
Fast forward, I decided to work on the project and the deal was to help him create tons of content around the niche. I would just do the research part and he already had a few in-house writers.
The deal was finalized at $900 per month as a 6 months contract.
How I planned everything
First, I tried to understand what his goals were, where he aimed to see himself in the future. We held multiple calls casually talking about things like:
- what his business is all about
- how does it work
- what results he is trying to achieve
- who is the target audience
- where do they hang out, etc.
And, after understanding these things well enough, I started making a publishing plan.
Their in-house writing team was able to produce 30 articles of 1000 words each month, which means 30,000 words per month.
I planned to publish 15 articles of 1000 words each and 5 articles of 3000 words each per month straight for 6 months. Still, 30,000 words per month, see the math below.
15 articles x 1000 words = 15,000 words
5 articles x 3000 words = 15,000 words
i.e. 30,000 words each month
To elaborate, 5 long articles were going to be the pillar articles and 15 short articles would be the ones supporting them. Please note that I’m not very aggressive with the word count, articles could be ± 500 words.
In the first month, I decided to go with the long-tail keywords and questions that their audience was asking in forums like Quora and Reddit. Because these long-tail keywords are easier to rank and bring very targeted visitors.
I created a Google Sheets document and noted down all the possible topics, not to mention, manually. I also got a few amazing topic ideas from tools Answer the Public and Ahrefs.
Then I started to create a detailed outline for all the writing topics and to assign those topics to suitable writers.
And, I used Notion for all that. I invited all the writers to a Notion workspace and created a database where I would outline the article topics and assign the piece to the one who had some experience on the topic.
Most of them wrote directly in the Notion app and I could see the progress anytime I wanted. However, some of them used Microsoft Word to write, and then they would upload the
.docx file to the corresponding Notion page.
Then a person would find the relevant and suitable images for the articles and publish them.
Let me go a bit technical here:
I kept the permalink structure of the posts as
site.com/category/post-name/ instead of just
site.com/post-name/ and that created excellent topic clusters that I believe certainly helped in the SEO. I also came up with probably the best internal linking strategy for the site.
I also had one person who would break the blog posts into small chunks and post them into forums like Reddit and Quora where their audience hung out the most. So there was at least 2 forum post for each of the blog posts.
And, we all kept doing the same thing for the next six months — nothing more, nothing less. Of course, in the later months, we started to target some difficult keywords too.
Before I started, they had a total of 13 blog posts and were getting 7-10 visitors per day i.e. 210-300 per month.
And after the end of 6 months, the site had 133 articles (I helped create 120 of them) and they were getting more than 45,000 visitors per month.
The 6 months contract ended in Nov 2019 (or maybe Dec) and, after that, they have only created 5 more blog posts in the last 2 years (i.e. from Nov 2019 to Nov 2021).
I talked to the person (the one that had contacted me on Facebook) recently and he told me that now the site is getting more than 170,000 monthly visitors, organically.
And, we did not create a single backlink for the site — neither them, nor me. Yes, it has acquired a few ones naturally, though.
Yes, I haven’t yet mentioned if the revenue actually increased because the deal wasn’t to increase revenue, it was just to bring more and more visitors to the site. But… I am sure it must have increased, considerably.
Update — Nov 20, 2021
I published a shortened version of the article on Reddit and received a tremendous response from r/SEO. You can see the number of upvotes, comments, and awards that it got.
Kindly let me know your thoughts on this. Could I have done it in a better way?
Also, kindly share the case study with your friends who you think might be interested in reading it.