Case Study: Capturing the #1 Results in Google SERPs

Results in Google SERPs

The ultimate goal of every website is to get maximum traffic on the website which in turn can bring more visitors which means more impressions, more signups, more purchases — more revenue. But how do you capture more traffic from search results that are becoming more crowded, more diverse, and evolving in the way they are delivered? With SEO, of course!

Today, I want to share a process we’ve developed at Asterro Technologies to earn links and visibility and to increase web traffic for our clients. I’m going to walk through how we built a site’s SEO strategy from the ground up — growing from zero visitors to 100,000 — and share key takeaways that you can apply to your own strategy.

The general outline of our strategy was:All Posts

  1. Start slow and take advantage of “easy wins.”
  2. Focus on securing a handful of strategic links to important pages.
  3. Establish passive link acquisition channels to build momentum.
  4. Be intentional about content creation and its impact on search.
  5. Level up over time, and target higher-value opportunities.

Let’s dive into the case study.

Note: We had control over every aspect of the site, making it much easier to accurately attribute organic gains to the SEO work we were implementing, as well as to make SEO recommendations every step of the way.

1. Starting slow with a new site

Starting with a new site, we understood there were limitations.

At the beginning, we focused on opportunities with low competition and decent traffic value. We used SEMrush to determine traffic value and manual research to gauge competition.

Examining the search engine results pages (SERPs), we looked for results with:

  • bad exact-match domains.
  • a lack of big-name brands.
  • low-quality or outdated content.
  • pages with low link counts.

Here is an example of this type of SERP, for “ERP development company” in India:

You can see that although some big brands are ranking, there is also a bad exact-match domain result:

Clicking this link shows the content quality is pretty low / page does not exist:

Finding results with these types of pages would give us confidence that we could easily build something searchers would prefer.

Once we identified potential opportunities, we built best-in-class content targeting those specific SERPs. To separate our content from others in the space we used:

  • custom-built graphics.
  • clear, concise, compelling copy.
  • original photography.
  • optimal formatting — font size, column width, scannable text and so on.

By building content that would best answer searcher intent and needs, we set our pages up to be successful in the SERPs.

2. Securing a handful of links to important pages

Pages need links to rank in search. But the number of links needed to be competitive depends on the page, site, niche, type of query and so on. Furthermore, search engines have become more sophisticated in how they evaluate links, placing more emphasis on quality and less on numbers.

What we learned from doing this project is that bottom-of-the-funnel pages really only need a handful of quality links to rank well, and from there, positive engagement signals would further validate the page as an authority in the eyes of search engines.

Of course, securing links to bottom-of-the-funnel pages is extremely difficult because these pages typically aren’t link-worthy. The purpose of these pages isn’t to inform or entertain; these pages exist to drive conversions, and that doesn’t usually compel other sites to link.

There are a few situations where serving direct value to your site aligns with the goals of other websites, and link opportunities exist. These opportunities involve hyper-focused link pages that are relevant to your content.

3. Establish passive link acquisition channels

Link building is really hard. Link acquisition is a manual process that is ongoing, forever. Because securing links is so difficult — and we knew we needed links to grow traffic — we sought to establish passive link acquisition channels to amplify all our link-building efforts.

Part of our content strategy was to use high-quality, original content, and this provided a perfect opportunity to attract passive links. Rather than copyrighting, we decided to use a Creative Commons license that allowed others to use the content as long as they linked back to their original source (on our site).

Along with having your images cited, other potential ways to earn links organically include:

  • sponsorships and community involvement.
  • compiling original data or research.
  • being interviewed or quoted.
  • building a unique tool.

The key is to create something original, and then make it easy for others to cite (link to) you as the original source.

4. Strategic content creation

Content drives SEO success. It’s possible to secure a few links to bottom-of-the-funnel pages, but you’ll need middle and top-of-the-funnel content to sustainably capture attention and links. Creating useful content for your audience is always a sound strategy, but you can take it a step further by being intentional and strategic about the content you publish. We maintained a relentless focus on SEO — creating every page with search, and the opportunities available to us, in mind.

 

5. Leveling up over time

Momentum is key in SEO. As you build traction with your campaign, SEO tends to have a multiplying effect where your results will build exponentially. As you earn more visibility in search, you begin to attract more visitors — and if you satisfy the needs of those visitors, they will keep coming back (increasing traffic), endorsing your website (links) and sharing how great you are with others (social media, blogs, podcasts and so on).

We recognized our site was building momentum, and after six months of work, we started to raise expectations. We began to target more competitive spaces (which we avoided at the start), and because we had built a strong foundation, we were successful.

Results in Google SERPs

We established a solid baseline of authority and trust with our site, giving us the ability to compete for higher-value terms. Seeing early returns, we began taking even bigger bets on the content we created — not only investing in original design and photography but also adding interactive elements such as custom tools and video. We targeted a medium competitive, high-volume topic in the summer months of this year, and the result is more all-time highs, beating our previous numbers by a significant margin.

Another strategy that was fruitful was updating and improving old content using “Last Updated” post dates. Whether it be updating copy or adding a video, we found that small updates to existing content helped us in a variety of ways — it provided content freshness, increased click-through rate (CTR) and showed readers the post isn’t outdated.

 

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