You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to SEO. Thousands of businesses have gone through the same challenges and have come out the other side with a winning SEO strategy.
While these case studies don’t guarantee success, they serve as a good starting point for learning and building the foundation of your own SEO strategy.
What’s an SEO Case Study?
An SEO case study is a detailed analysis of SEO tactics and strategies that companies or agencies have successfully used to improve their organic search rankings. The case study takes an in-depth look at the goals, strategies, tactics, and results.
SEO case studies can be a great source of inspiration for developing your own SEO strategy. They provide insight into how similar companies have succeeded and can help you create a roadmap that considers the same tactics and strategies.
Why Study SEO Case Studies?
SEO case studies provide great insight into other companies’ successful strategies and tactics. They can help you identify what works, what doesn’t, and where you should focus your efforts.
Also, case studies give you unique opportunities to discover new and innovative strategies you may not have considered. Plus, they often provide actionable steps you can implement in your SEO campaign.
Lastly, case studies can give you the confidence to invest in more advanced SEO techniques. They allow you to test the waters without risking too much of your budget or resources.
Ultimately, they should help you develop something even better than what’s been done before.
Case Study #1. Backlinko
Backlinko is a popular SEO resource blog created by Brian Dean.
Brain Dean has been kind enough to share the strategy he used to propel his blog to the top of Google results.
He calls it the Skyscraper Technique 2.0.
And yes, it only took him seven days to grow his website traffic by 652%.
Let’s find out what he did to get there:
The case study dates to April 18th, 2013.
Brian Dean published one of the most-read blog posts ever to grace the world-wide-web, Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete list.
The number of backlinks to that page shot almost instantaneously, and the site’s organic traffic doubled in less than two weeks.
And at the time of this publication, the blog has attracted more than 2 million referral visitors.
The Skyscraper technique isn’t complicated. Brian breaks everything into three steps:
Step #1: You find a link-worthy blog post in your niche
Step #2: You write something even better than that
Step #3: Reach out to the right people and ask them to link to you
So, why does this strategy work this well?
Think of a skyscraper.
Ever walked by a tall building and said to yourself:
But now imagine what the 3rd, 4th, or 5th tallest buildings in the world feel like.
A tall building might fascinate you until you come across an even taller building.
That’s the idea behind the Skyscrapper content technique.
Since humans are attracted to the best, you find the best content in your niche and then try to create something even better (ten times better, to be precise).
You find the skyscraper in your niche and slap ten or more stories on top of it.
Now, that’s the content everyone will be dazed off.
Let’s go through the steps and add some flesh to them:
Step #1: Proven Linkable Assets
A linkable asset isn’t just a piece of content but one that’s considered link-worthy.
It’s a high-value page that you can leverage for clicks over and over again.
We’re not talking link baits, such as “12 Tried-and-tested Tricks You Can Use to Catapult Your Site to the First Search Engine Page,” or anything of the sort.
We’re talking about something so incredible, helpful, and awesome that other successful bloggers can’t help sharing it with their audience.
So, how do you come up with such content?
Well, Dean shows us how.
He suggests using Ahrefs.
The idea is to find a popular site in your niche that has generated a lot of links to their content.
Next, you want to enter the site into Ahrefs and click on the “top pages” button. Now, you want to look at the content with at least 25 different sites linking to it.
You want to study that piece of content and see if you can create something even better.
Next, Use Buzzsumo.
Go to Buzzsumo and find heavily shared content in your niche.
It’s simple, just enter your primary or any other niche-related keyword into the tool and let it work its magic.
Choose the “past year.” The tool will list highly shared content from the last year.
Choose from the list and recreate something ten times better.
Make Use of the Good Ol’ Google Search
If you’re new and not ready to shell out your hard-earned cash for any of the tools above, then Google should be your friend.
The idea is quite self-explanatory. Just search Google and take note of the highest-ranking blog posts.
What makes them so special that Google would want to rank them? What do they cover? What’s the angle?
Step #2: Create Something Better
The next step is to take the content you find and “blow it out of the water,” Dean’s words.
You want to take it to the next level by doing the following:
- Make it Longer
If you find an article listing “50 Workout Routines that You Can Do at Home,” recreate the list but with 150 workout routines.
Trawl the internet for every possible workout routine and take the content to the next level with video illustrations and detailed step-by-step guides.
- Make it Up-to-date
The article was written a couple of months before. It’s probably outdated or no longer the talk of the town.
You’d have gotten yourself a winner if you could spruce the article up and add more fresh and relevant content.
You can cover many of the same points, but you want to update it with more cutting-edge content that other bloggers would find irresistible.
- Better Design
It goes beyond the content itself to how appealing the entire page is.
A page could generate a lot of buzz for just looking good.
You can start by creating a nice featured image or banner.
Next, you want to throw in some animated illustrations and infographics and probably, break the text to make it easy on the eyes.
- More Thorough
The article might be listing items without getting into the detailed bits of it. That’s the opportunity you want to jump on.
So, instead of just listing items and throwing in a one or two-liner description, you can go the extra mile and flesh it up a lot more.
Add some references, and examples, break down the steps, and so forth.
Step #3: Reach Out to the Right People
Email outreach is what gives the skyscraper technique its life. Otherwise, you’d end up with one of the greatest content pieces ever written resting on your website or blog, with no one hardly noticing it.
The idea isn’t to spam other bloggers but to request them to link to you now that they have linked to a similar blog.
Here’s what you want to do:
Take the original article or page you remodelled your content from. Enter the post’s URL into Ahrefs and click “site explorer.”
Next, go o backlink.
You’ll find a list of all the websites linking to the page.
You want to filter the websites to eliminate spam, directories, or forum links.
You also want to filter them to remove no-follow links.
Here are the filters we suggest you add:
- Language: English
- Platform: Blogs
- Link Type: Dofollow
- One link per domain
You might only wind up with a few dozen from hundreds of backlinks after filtering them through.
These are the blogger you want to reach out to via email and see if they can link back to you.
Here’s what you want to include in your outreach email:
- Why are you reaching out to them? You noticed that they were linking to a blog post similar to yours. See if they can consider linking to your blog post instead.
- Why should they link to you? What does your content have that the other doesn’t? Is it updated with fresh, more relevant points? Have you expanded the list to include more points and ideas?
Have you included illustrations or other graphic elements that make it more appealing? Reasons abound, and you want to ensure the other blogger knows why they should be linking to you and not the other blog post.
Dean says he sent out 232 emails and ended up with 15 sites linking back to him. That’s a 6.5% success rate.
Even better, the links catapulted his blog post to the second page, not the first as he had envisioned.
Looking at the Keyword difficulty score, we notice that he needed at least 66 more backlinks to make it to the top 10.
Still, the strategy can be considered successful.
Case Study #2: Gadget Flow
Gadget flow is a product discovery platform that updates you on the latest gear, tech, and incredible crowdfunding campaigns.
More than 31 million people interact with the platform monthly on the web, Android, and iOS devices.
When the platform started, it was the only one of its kind. It had no competition. But as the internet grew, they went out on a hunt for organic traffic, boosting their visibility on the SERPs.
To do this, they had to come up with innovative SEO solutions.
They settled on content relevancy.
They decided they would supply their readers with the most relevant, helpful content they could find online.
Using WordLift, they devised a knowledge graph to guide their site-wide content model to enhance their overall SEO.
As part of their growth strategy, they created structured data comprised of product reviews, posts, blog posts, and videos.
After implementing this content strategy, Gadget Flow grew its organic traffic significantly:
- Their video clicks grew by 185%
- The traffic on their news articles increased by 198%
- Their reviews traffic also rose, gaining 100% clicks
Gadget flow employed one of the most sophisticated, entity-based content models. They used the advanced features of WordLift, including WordLift Mappings, VideoObject markup, text summarization, and all entity types support.
They would add structured data to their product reviews, videos, blog posts, and categories.
They also experimented with innovative content approaches like implementing automatically generated web stories.
Their teams continued experimenting with new ideas to keep their users engaged and maintain a steady flow of organic traffic.
Case Study #3: Gotch SEO
Gotch SEO strategy is another one to be studied.
A well-decorated SEO expert owns the agency. His name is Nathan Gotch.
He used squeezed pages to propel his website to where it is now.
For the uninitiated, squeeze pages are designed to convince readers to give their contact information. They’re incredible for building an email list.
So, how do you create these pages?
Well, Gotch devised a plan that worked for them.
They devised a nine-step process for designing squeeze pages that generate up to a 74.5% conversion rate – not an easy feat for those who know how these pages work.
Their process included the following:
- First, they were to produce high-quality content that adds value to the reader. The idea was to first work on building trust and rapport and then send those visitors to their squeeze pages.
- Their squeeze pages would also have some lead magnets, such as an eBook, worksheet, or something along those lines.
- Make sure their squeeze pages are highly focused and straightforward
- Utilize benefit-driven headlines to get the reader hooked and interest
- Keep the pages free of any distractions
- Include a minimal amount of form fields. They were only to collect necessary information and nothing else
- Provide detailed directions
- Add a distinct CTA and make sure it stands out
- Include trust signals, such as disclaimers and brand logos, and make sure their website is GDP compliant.
Case Study #4: Still on GotchSEO (639% More Traffic for 2023)
Not a case study but a game plan for the year 2023.
GotchSEO documented its SEO strategy for the year not long ago. They plan to use SEO to drive consistent results and were kind enough to share it with us.
They’ll replicate the same strategy they used to grow the organic traffic of a dead fashion blog on their blog.
With the strategy, they grew the site’s traffic by a whopping 638%.
The strategy consists of 4 steps:
Step #1: Audit
They’ll begin by auditing their website. The idea is to clean up their house and see what they’re working with.
They’ll audit not only their website but offsite signals as well. That’s what most audits consist of, anyway.
But while most websites start with auditing their onsite signals first and then offsite ones seconds, GotchSEO planned to do theirs in reverse order.
Reason being, they wanted to give backlinks a priority.
That’s because they believe backlinks are the biggest ranking factors. The more referring backlinks a site has, the higher it’s likely to rank.
So, how are they planning to conduct their backlink audit?
- See if they have high-quality backlinks: First, they’ll scan the website for low-quality links. The idea isn’t to completely rid their websites of low-quality links but to keep the percentage low.
Once they find these links, they won’t remove them. That’s because removing backlinks (even low-quality ones) reduces your website’s authority, and they’re not prepared for that.
They’ll save that part for later and instead embark on a journey to load up their site with high-quality backlinks.
Here’s their reason:
Google doesn’t penalize websites for having low-quality backlinks but for lacking high-quality ones.
So, instead of removing the toxic backlinks on their website, they’ll actively be working on acquiring new ones.
- See if the Backlinks are Relevant: GotchSEO will check to see how many of their backlinks are relevant.
They broadly categorize their backlinks into two: geo-targeted backlinks and topic ones.
They are planning to use a method they created, The Relevance Pyramid.
The idea is to first focus on acquiring the links at the top of the pyramid. These are the websites they’re going to prioritize and then work their way down once they have exhausted their opportunities.
Are the Links Targeting the Right Pages?
It’s not just about having backlinks but having them in the right places.
You do not want to concentrate these links on transactional pages.
The thing to keep in mind is that Google views these backlinks as a vote of thanks.
And it’s all common sense that no one will upvote a boring transactional page about some Chicago plumbing service.
It looks unnatural.
So, instead of directing these pages to your sales pages, you want to send them to your informational assets at the top of your sales pages.
That’s the strategy GotchSEO plans to use in its SEO strategy for the year.
Is there a Need to Acquire New Backlinks
Of course, there’s.
But it’s good to know the reasons for acquiring them.
First, you must understand that you’ll lose some of your backlinks. Some websites will be shut down or hacked, or the post will get deleted. Or the owner might decide to do away with the link.
Some of the links will inevitably disappear, and there’s nothing you can do to stop that.
You also want to stop for a minute and think about what might happen to your website if it suddenly stops getting new links.
Google will conclude you’re no longer getting votes and that you might have lost that initial luster.
It might imply that your content is no longer popular or that you’re losing your website’s authority.
Are the Achor Texts Over-optimized?
Next, they’ll go through their anchor texts, checking if there’s anything unnatural about them.
Keyword-rich anchor texts used to be a thing back then, but now they might cut your SEO effort short.
Please read our guide to learn how to optimize your anchor texts right.
Step 2: Optimize
After auditing your website, it’s only natural that you’ll want to optimize it. The auditing phase identifies the hamstring issues holding your website back from excelling in the SERPs.
You’ll find many issues easy fixes, but some might require intelligent logistics.
4 Simple SEO Techniques they’ll Be Using
#1. The Phantom SEO Technique
The phantom technique is straightforward, yet not many businesses take advantage of it.
It’s simple, just add the best or the year onto your title wherever it makes sense.
The idea is to use title modifiers. You’d be surprised how many people are attracted by them.
The small things count, and phantom is one of them.
#2. The Tunnel Vision SEO Technique
A common mistake SEOs make is targeting so many keywords at once. But you know what works even better? Well, having a tunnel vision, where you’re allocating most of your resources to dominating one keyword phrase.
Simple, identify a blog post with great potential and then direct the bulk of your resources to rank that particular post.
- Make sure it’s incredible
- And try to acquire as many backlinks as you possibly can for the post
So, how do you execute a successful tunnel vision SEO strategy?
- Identify a qualifying keyword
- Allocate your resources to dominating that particular keyword
- Keep updating the page and working on it until it gets to the top of the SERPs
#3. Spider Food SEO Technique
If you consider a particular page more important, then let Google know that you’ve prioritized that page.
Give Google crawler a reason to rank that page.
You can start by moving the page up your site architecture. That will make it easier for Google to crawl it.
It also shows Google that that’s one of the most important pages on your website.
Here’s a simple trick you can use:
Create a pillar page that distributes your link equity and authority to all the other blog posts on your website.
#4. Authority Transfer SEO Technique
The authority transfer technique is a strategy SEOs use to distribute link authority to the most important pages on your site.
Here’s how you work it out:
You first have to identify the pages with the highest number of backlinks on your site.
You can use Ahrefs for this.
Simple: log into Ahrefs and enter your domain name. Under pages, click “best by links.” Sort them by RDs.
Next, you want to link those other pages to your most relevant SEO-driven pages.
Don’t just add the links haphazardly. The internal links you add to those pages must be i) topically relevant and ii) directed to the pages you’re trying to rank.
We suggest using exact-match keywords for anchor texts.
Some Final Words
As we said, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel every time you get down to draft an SEO strategy. Not when you can study what others have done and give it your own spin.