8 Months of SEO: Growing Organic Traffic Over 500% at MightyCall

Who would have thought that I'd have to re-publish this blog, originally written by Alex Leventer, three months later...But we have to!!!!

The great work that Alex and the team did has kept on giving. And after growing 300% in 6 months, our pure organic growth now stands at almost 500% after 8 months. All without spending a single dollar on paid marketing. Some of these results are better shared in graphs:

Visitor growth to mightycall.com. All Paid Search (red) was stopped in September leaving mostly Organic (green) and Direct (Blue) traffic. 

Visitor growth to mightycall.com. All Paid Search (red) was stopped in September leaving mostly Organic (green) and Direct (Blue) traffic. 

Most of this organic success was grounded in content that was written in the summer. It was focused on well-defined personas and solid content amplification through relevant influencers. The social outreach was mostly done on networks like disqus, quora, reddit and other higher quality networks.

The rich content (blogs, videos, posts etc.) that was published in July-August started to drive keyword rankings in the fall. By taking good care of traffic coming to the mightycall.com website through  highly relevant landing pages, visitors did not bounce, which lead to more page authority. This helped us rank for more competitive keywords in the winter months.

Once some of the content started to drive high keyword rankings for less competitive keywords, it became easier to rank for others. 

Once some of the content started to drive high keyword rankings for less competitive keywords, it became easier to rank for others. 

 

The team behind this consisted of about six people in the summer months, and has shrunk to only one person in the last month. The rest of the team is helping other SaaS startups achieve similar growth. It's fantastic to see that if you do the right thing and build really relevant content early, without trying to take SEO shortcuts, the results will come. They do. One other factor that helped is that we committed as a team to not do Paid Search early on. SEM/PPC can really make a marketing team lazy and take away from the accountability to create great relevant marketing. Below, you can see how it really "paid" off for us to stop "paid search”.

Paid search was suspended  in September, driving the marketing team to create great content that people would find and google could crawl.

Paid search was suspended  in September, driving the marketing team to create great content that people would find and google could crawl.

To-date, a quick update as to what happened in months 7 and 8. Below, please read an  account by Alex Leventer of  the various other pieces of the puzzle employed by the MightyCall team to kick start their marketing by betting 100% on organic growth.

By Alex Leventer:

MightyCall historically had done very little from a SEO perspective. The small amount of traffic that was driven from Google organic search was entirely branded queries (queries that included the term ‘MightyCall’ or other searches related to the brand). All pages on the website had identical title tags and meta descriptions, there were major duplicate content issues, the list went on...

While our site is in no-way perfect yet and is still a work in progress, we have made some significant progress and tripled organic traffic per month over the past 6 months. Below I’ll outline the steps we took to optimize our site, the tools we use as well as the issues we ran into.

What We Did – Choosing Keywords: 

The first step we took in optimizing our site was figuring out what keywords we wanted to rank for. It’s extremely important that the keywords you optimize your site for are being searched by a large number of people (or have a larger number of monthly searches). So how do you figure out what keywords to optimize your site for? For this we used two tools for keyword research: the Google Keyword Planner (free tool) and SEMRush (paid, more advanced SEO tool).

The Google Keyword Planner:

To use the Google Keyword Planner, you must first create a Google AdWords account, you can create one by clicking this link. It’s then accessible in the Google AdWords interface under “Tools” and then “Keyword Planner”.

 To start, select “Search for new keywords and ad group ideas”. On this screen you have the option to enter keywords or a landing page URL. If you already have some keyword ideas, great! Enter these into the “your product or service” textbox. Have no idea what keywords you should go after? No problem. We had great success pulling keywords off our competitor’s website as well as Wikipedia pages relevant to our industry.

Example:

In the “Your Landing Page” textbox, enter the URL of one of your competitor’s websites.

The Google Keyword Planner then spits out a list of keywords based on the competitor’s website. The “Avg. Monthly Searches” column tells us how many people are searching for these terms each month. At MightyCall we focused on keywords that had between 200 and 2,000 average monthly searches.

Once we determined possible keywords to go after, we’d take these keywords and input them into SEMRush’s Keyword Difficulty Tool:

 The Google Keyword Planner then spits out a list of keywords based on the competitor’s website. The “Avg. Monthly Searches” column tells us how many people are searching for these terms each month. At MightyCall we focused on keywords that had between 200 and 2,000 average monthly searches.

 Once we determined possible keywords to go after, we’d take these keywords and input them into SEMRush’s Keyword Difficulty Tool:

SEMRush’s Keyword Difficulty Tool determines how difficult it would be to rank for certain keywords.  Determined by a 0-100% difficulty.  The higher the difficulty of a term, the more difficult to beat the competition for the tops search spots.

We’d take the entire list created with Google Keyword Planner and input into SEMRush’s Keyword Difficulty Tool, we’d then filter by difficulty and decide on keywords with a high number of average monthly searches and low difficulty.

We also used SEMrush to compile a list of 14,000 search terms that 9 of our top competitors were ranking for to see which terms we may be able to out rank them for, meaning more organic visits.

 For core pages like the homepage, we chose keywords that best described our product but also have a relatively large number of monthly searches (2,000+).

For other pages like specific feature pages, we took a similar approach. Choose keywords that best described our product with decent number of monthly searches. Some of the phrases of product features were based on the number of monthly searches for related terms.

Once we had chosen target keywords for each page, we focused on perfecting on-page SEO elements like:

  • Making sure title and meta descriptions were compelling, had our target keywords in them, are were the right length so they were not truncated by Google.
  • Making sure each page had only one h1 tag, enough content, keyword density and did not contain any duplicate content.
  • Making sure the URL was properly written and contained the keywords.

We use Yoast SEO plugin for this, it’s been EXTREMELY helpful and helps ensure all members of the team are keeping important on-page SEO elements in mind.

 We used WooRank’s website analyzer as well as SEMRush to check if any other improvements could be made from an on-page perspective.

For blog posts, we took a similar approach. We first did the keyword research to make sure the title included a keyword with a high-volume of searches that was not too competitive. In the actual blog post, we made sure to include similar variations of the keyword. We found that activity in the first 24-hours was extremely important for ranking the blog posts for the keywords we selected. For this we put together an amplification plan that included:

  • Sharing the article with those with a large social following to talk them into sharing.
  • Promoting the article via paid social (Twitter + Facebook).
  • Commenting on relevant blogs linking back to the content.
  • }Sharing on link-sharing sites like Growthhackers.com, Inbound.org and Reddit.com.

 TL:DR – SEO Steps to Succeed:

  1. Do the keyword research, make sure your pages utilize keywords that people are actually searching for using tools like SEMRush or Google Keyword Planner.
  2. Make sure your on-page elements are optimized for those keywords including title, meta-description, h1’s and content. Utilize a tool like Yoast to ensure your on-page elements are done correctly.
  3. Have an amplification plan, the first 24-hours are huge, ensure your article is being adequately shared on social, link-sharing sites, forums and more.

 Common issues:

  1. We rank for “X”, isn’t that great? – Are people actually searching for the keywords you’re optimizing your site for? What’s the point of ranking well for a keyword that very few people search or for a term that is so broad it doesn’t convert visitors?  How many monthly global searches does this keyword get? In order to drive serious traffic to your website, it’s crucial you go after keywords with high volume of global searches and specific enough that it converts the visitor into a paying customer.
  2. I have no idea what keywords I should go after or whether people are searching these terms  - At MightyCall we use two tools for Keyword Research, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMRush and Ahrefs. Google Keyword Planner.