SEO Case Study: From 920 to 13,503 Visitors Per Month

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I am going to show you how we increased our client’s organic search traffic by 1,367%.

In real numbers that means we went from 920 to 13,503 visitors per month-

google analytics organic traffic

Not bad for a young affiliate site!

Which has shown consistent growth across the board this year-

google search console results

I am going to break down the full strategy for you below…

…but first, let’s take a closer look at the case study site.

A Closer Look At The Case Study

case studyThe site is in a very competitive affiliate category targeting terms with high commerical intent.

They post a mix of content including product roundups and product comparisons – it is a truly hardcore affiliate site through and through.

Our main goal was to increase organic search traffic by: 

  • Fortifying the clients most important pages
  • Building a healthy backlink profile (download the checklist)
  • Fixing content issues
  • Building trust and authority with Google

All of which was much easier said than done because of the many challenges we faced…

The Biggest Challenges We Had to Overcome

Every SEO strategy that we build has to overcome a different set of core challenges.

When we 14x search traffic in the health niche, we had to overcome big brands with big budgets. When we tripled ecommerce revenue, we had to navigate through a range of technical problems.

And despite our case study site being relatively young – we had to overcome both technical problems AND big brands with big budgets this time around.

After analysing the site we realised that-

  • There was tons of outdated content even though the site was only a couple of years old and we all know how much Google loves “fresh content”.
  • We also found the client had built an super spammy unnatural link profile with keyword-heavy anchors to affiliate pages.
  • And if that wasn’t enough the site was also missing key trust signals throughout so it looked like a spammy anonymous affiliate site, because it was.

So we built a custom strategy to build a foundation that both Google & humans love.

Create A Plan Of Attack

It’s fair to say we had quite the battle ahead of us.

So we broke down our plan of attack into 6 key parts that would allow us to win the war-

Step #1 – Boosting Key Pages

To help bolster the key affiliates pages, we built a new website silo dedicated to individually reviewing all products listed in the key roundup pages.

The purpose of this was to build satellite product review articles that we could use to internal link to the key product roundup pages with exact match anchor text.

This video explains why internal linking is important-

YouTube video

I assure you that internal link building is the most powerful tactic you’re not taking full advantage of and if you only take one thing from this case study, let it be that.

Step #2 – Updating Old Content

Even though the site was relatively young, there was a ton of outdated content.

This can often be an expensive and lengthy process but in this case, we deployed a quick win solution

All we did was use the “site:” command in Google and quoted 2018 and 2019.

finding outdated content

Then we just went through each result from the SERPs and did some brief updates like updating dates along with fixing broken images, links or product recommendations.


Step #3 – Backlinks Analysis

In our inital assessment of the site we knew that the existing backlink profile was a problem because-

  • The relevance of the pages linking to our client was poor
  • The quality of the linking sites was poor
  • They used exact match anchors aggressively

All of which are the exact kind of problems you do not want to find.

So first we disavowed (learn how to disavow backlinks) all links that were-

  • Coming from irrelevant content
  • Sites that we deemed as spammy
  • Sites that Google had deindexed

Which also helped us to regain partial control of the anchor text breakdowns because most of these sites used exact match anchors.

Then we deployed a specific link building strategy to create new links which I will talk you through in a moment.

search logistics

Step #4 – Building Authority & Trust

One of the first things we do with client sites is to see if they have built authority and trust with Google.

Quite often we find affiliate sites that are struggling to rank but also don’t publish-

  • Company information
  • An address
  • A phone number

Or anything about who is actually behind the site, despite the fact that an affiliate site is a real business just like an ecommerce site is a real business.

So for this client, we took care of all of that by-

  • Creating an about page
  • Creating 2 topically relevant author profiles
  • Adding article and organization structured data with RankMath

social meta rank math

We also noted that the site lacked any social presence which is a problem long term as Google is tending to rank more “brands” and less affiliate sites in the SERPs.

So we built out high-quality social profiles which we then incorporated into the site’s structured data.

Step #5 – Shifting Focus

The first few months of the campaign were purely focused on “increasing Google compatibility” through site structure, technical SEO, content and backlinks.

Now that the site had a solid foundation to build on, we decided to shift our focus.

So in month 5, we focused all resources on building as many high-quality links as possible to provide the best ROI moving forward.

That means we spent next to no time worrying about on-page SEO or content and put 100% of the budget into building high-quality links every single month.

Step #6 – Link Building

link buildingEarlier in the campaign we took care of the bad links through disavow.

Now we shifted focus to link building, we started to build high quality branded links to the homepage.

We did this until there was 50/50 parity between the number of homepage links and links to the remainder of the site.

From there, we began building links to the core affiliate pages, however with a careful selection of branded anchors and mixed target anchors.

We made sure that we only built links from-

  • Relevant sites
  • With current search traffic
  • And high quality content

This was done with manual outreach to secure guest post placements where we could control the content and the anchor text.

The anchor text strategy leaned conservatively towards branded links, with a few mixed anchors and a few keyword anchors. 

This was both to:

  • Establish authority
  • Offset potential risk in a rapid link building strategy

We also made sure we were building links to each of the “review” satellite pages along with the key pages themselves.

We sustained that balance throughout the campaign and continue to build links in line with the strategy above.

Need help fixing your SEO issues? Check out my 45+ steps SEO checklist to help you get rid of your most important SEO issues.

The Results Are In

Our client’s organic search traffic grew by 1,367%

google analytics search traffic comparison

That means we took them from 920 visitors per month to 13,503.

And that’s if you ignore the fact that search traffic continues to grow-

google search console results
google analytics organic traffic

Not bad for a young affiliate site in a highly competitive niche.

If you want help increasing your organic search traffic… click here or check out my list of the best ecommerce SEO services.

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it…

…the challenges we faced, the strategy we built and the results we delivered.

It wasn’t that easy given that the website was young and the competition was strong but it’s not the first time we faced this problems nor will it be the last time.

To recap, in this case study we focused on-

  • Giving Google what it wants
  • Establishing a solid SEO foundation
  • Building trust and authority
  • In combination with high quality relevant links (download the checklist)

And if you’re struggling to increase your search traffic I suggest doing a full SEO audit and fixing those problems before anything else.

If you need help with your site, feel free to check out these SEO packages or, please, contact my team and submit an enquiry now.

Otherwise please feel free to check out some of our other SEO case studies-