SEO Case Study

This SEO case study is based on a client who approached us for help in growing his site’s traffic and authority in the financial niche. Being an incredibly tough vertical, we determined that in order to effectively market the site, we would need to utilize all of our skills to achieve the client’s goals.

From the outset we recommended a site revamp, as the old version had poor navigation, making it incredibly hard for site visitors to find the information they were looking for.  Not only that, but it also had poor interactivity, making it impossible for site users to interact with the site and our client.

We started SEO concurrently as we began developing the new site, with SEO kicking off September, 2011.  The new version of the site went live October 1st, and as can be witnessed below, the site hasn’t looked back since.

 

UPDATED June 2013 – New Screenshots to show ongoing increases, despite “Panda” and “Penguin” algorithm updates by Google.

Click on images to view them full size.

 

Overall Traffic Improvement

Fig 1. Overall traffic stats

 Fig 1. Overall traffic stats shows traffic has more than doubled per month since the SEO campaign started. 

 

Obviously it’s one thing to show “overall” traffic, but that doesn’t mean anything unless we have reference points, so here is a screenshot showing the comparison with site traffic in the period immediately prior to SEO starting:

Fig 2. Overall traffic, compared with the period immediately prior

Fig 2. Overall traffic, compared with the period immediately prior to SEO starting.

Although the traffic increases look impressive, we must put in the disclaimer that comparing traffic stats on a “period on period” basis is inherently statistically flawed, due to forces outside the scope of influence, such as rising search trends and socioeconomic impacts.  However, we believe it still serves as a good illustration in overall site health:

  • Visits increased by 407.57%
  • Unique Visitors increased by 300.53%
  • Pageviews increased by 458.26%
  • Pages per visit increased by 9.99%
  • Average visit duration increased by 35.83%
  • Bounce rate decreased by 4.76%
  • Percentage of new visits decreased by 20.81%

Although that last one would appear “negative” at first glance, we’d like to point out that due to the higher level of engagement the site experienced, it would be only natural that repeat visits would outweigh growing new traffic.

 

SEO Specific Traffic Improvements

Obviously overall traffic includes traffic from paid sources, referral traffic from other sites as well as direct visits, so lets look specifically at how the site fared, purely on search engine traffic.  This is the ultimate measure in SEO effectiveness.

Fig 3. Overall non paid search traffic

Fig 3. Overall non paid search traffic shows traffic has doubled per month since the SEO campaign started

and if that is compared with the period immediately prior:

Fig 4. Overall non paid search traffic compared to period prior

Fig 4. Overall non paid search traffic compared to period prior to starting SEO. Traffic has more than doubled per month compared to when the campaign started.

The comparison results in the following improvements:

  • Visits increased by 254.87%
  • Unique Visitors increased by 187.26%
  • Pageviews increased by 370.39%
  • Pages per visit increased by 32.56%
  • Average visit duration increased by 55.50%
  • Bounce rate decreased by 17.66%
  • Percentage of new visits decreased by 22.52%

 

Getting Social

Aside from improving the site and working on SEO, we discussed with the client the need to also focus on the social interaction aspect of the site.  This would help spread the word about the site naturally.  The screenshot below illustrates the success of this strategy.

Fig 5. Referral traffic in comparison to period prior

Fig 5. Referral traffic in comparison to period prior to starting SEO. Traffic has multiplied nearly 20x per month compared to when the campaign started.

The result of the referral traffic has had a massive impact on the overall traffic levels of the site, with the following numbers:

  • Visits increased by 729.48%
  • Unique Visitors increased by 550.49%
  • Pageviews increased by 704.25%
  • Pages per visit decreased by 3.04%
  • Average visit duration increased by 25.13%
  • Bounce rate increased by 11.64%
  • Percentage of new visits decreased by 18.49%

The drops in pages per visit and percentage of new visits ties in with the fact that many social users are visiting the site multiple times, and therefore don’t need to visit other pages they’ve already viewed. This results in the 3rd negative point – that the bounce rate increased by more than 10%.  Once again this is because users who are familiar with the site will simply read the page they were referred to, before leaving, as they have no need to browser for further information.

 

Summary

With traffic doubling, tripling and quadrupling in the period of a year, despite the much feared “Panda” and “Penguin” updates by Google, it’s no wonder our client saw fit to retain our services. We have successfully run the campaign for nearly 2 years – we look forward to what the next years will bring!

 

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