Agency Case Study: Monitoring SEO Performance

pen pad monitoring seo performance

Monitoring SEO performance should be done by any business that cares about their website and their brand’s digital presence.

Search engine optimization isn’t the only way to get traffic to your website but it’s a damn good one when it’s done properly.

Like social media, it’s become too big of a potential traffic source for many businesses to ignore.

I’ll cover how I’ve gone about handling SEO for the agency website since I joined earlier this year and teach some concepts related to SEO strategy and monitoring SEO performance.

A bit of background

I joined the BRDG team earlier this year to help with providing SEO and content strategy. 

In the middle of the year, I also agreed to start managing the blog and the organic growth of the website. 

Before I started working on the site there was barely any website traffic and the SEO had fallen off.

Comparing the last 6 months to the 6 months prior

I started handling the SEO in Late May/Early June for BRDG. As you can see before that timeframe there were 0 clicks and 12 impressions over 6 months so basically no real organic search activity.

Since then I’ve helped to drive much more organic search traffic to the site including over 100 clicks and over 5000 impressions.

My SEO process can be broken down into:

  • Technical SEO
  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Link building

Challenges in optimizing the site: 

Moving to a new domain

When I decided to take over the SEO on the website, BRDG was in the middle of changing the domain name from Brdg.social to Brdg.agency.

Anytime you have a new domain you’re basically setting your domain metrics back to zero.

Google also doesn’t trust domains that are under 6 months old which means it’s very difficult to rank the pages.

Even when taking all the proper steps to migrate properly, SEO can still take a hit.

Not only did I have to set up an account on Google Analytics, but I also had to set up a new domain in Google Search Console and submit a change of address request from the old domain to the new one.

Thankfully the developers did a great job at migrating the site and to be blunt, there wasn’t much traffic to worry about losing anyway at that point.

Better to move sooner than later anytime it comes to moving a domain so I figured since we were making a bunch of changes and overhauling the site, it made sense.

Changing CRMs

We ended up deciding to switch our CRM from HubSpot to ActiveCampaign so that was another challenge involved with the SEO process.

Certain plugins and forms on the site had to be updated and changed because of this.

The landing page builder I was using was through HubSpot as well so that work got disregarded and started from scratch.

Eventually, we adopted Instapage and integrated it with WordPress and our new CRM.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO consists of things that need to be addressed on a site like website loading speed, link health of your website, meta titles and alt tags, thin/duplicate content, unoptimized URLs, and more.

For BRDG I had a few things I had to do to make sure the technical SEO was up to par.

Especially with moving to a new domain and changing CRMs, I made sure all the redirects were done properly, made sure the right apps and plugins were installed or deleted, and ran a few audits to check if there were any broken links or issues that needed addressing.

I also no-indexed the non-essential pages like the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy pages that I didn’t want to be indexed and show up in Google search results.

It’s important to address the technical SEO on a website before getting into any content creation.

Keyword Research

Keyword research in ahrefs

For keyword research, I wanted to focus on keywords related to our main service categories: social media marketing, SEO, website optimization, and marketing automation.

I also did some keyword research on local SEO for a landing page to integrate with the Google My Business listing I created.

The two main metrics I focus on when analyzing keywords for a website with lower authority are KD and volume.

With a new domain or a website that doesn’t have much authority, it’s best to focus on keywords with a low KD (keyword difficulty), keywords with lower competition and as high a volume as possible.

Websites that have been around longer and established more domain authority can target more competitive keywords.

Even if the volume isn’t very high, it’s better to rank very well for a low difficulty keyword than to be stuck at the bottom for a higher volume, but a more competitive keyword.

Content creation

Before I got started on new pages the first thing I did was optimize the existing content.

I did this by reviewing the current pages and either improving them or deleting them completely. I ended up deleting a majority of the content and editing the pages I thought were salvageable.

It’s important when approaching a website from an SEO perspective to make sure every page serves a purpose and meets a certain standard of quality.

It’s vital that all your pages:

  • Fulfill the user’s search intent
  • Is easy for people to read and digest
  • Contains factual, useful and relevant information

The URLs and headlines were based on the keywords I discovered during the research phase and targeted with mainly blog posts and a few landing pages.

I wrote multiple blog posts that were 1100-1800 words including infographics with some of them. I internally linked between them whenever appropriate and distributed the posts on social media as well.

Almost all of the posts are gaining impressions from Google and some are getting clicks as well.

I expect to see the posts improve in their position on the SERP gradually over the next 3-12 months.

Quality content is one of the most important aspects of a successful SEO campaign because if your content isn’t made to help real people, the algorithm won’t favor it.

Link building

You can see from these graphs that around May of 2020 we started picking up more backlinks from different pages and domains.

I’ve done mainly organic link building so far but paid certainly isn’t out of the question. It’s just not a priority at this current time.

I’m of the opinion that newer and less established websites should focus on building a strong content library of at least 50-60 high-quality pieces of content before worrying too much about paid linkbuilding.

Sites that are more established can incorporate more aggressive link building into their strategy. Of course, this all depends.

For BRDG I set up accounts on a number of platforms by connecting our Google my Business listing information to them. These were foundational backlinks on citation and listing websites.

I used it to do some organic link building on citation websites I saw competitors using.

I also did link building with contextual backlinks I included in blog posts I wrote on other sites.

A great tool from ahrefs that lets you see what websites your competitors are getting backlinks from is called Link Lntersect.

I used it to see what sites competitors were getting backlinks from and ended up establishing links on some of those same websites.

Ahref’s Link Intersect function

You can see the domain rating of the site, the ahrefs rank, and how many actual links are coming from the domain.

This can give you some insights into where competitors are getting their most valuable backlinks.

Interpreting the data

One of the challenges for many non-SEO professionals is interpreting the data that analytics and reporting tools provide.

Let’s break down the above graphic which compares the last 3 months to the 3 months prior.

Remember I started working on the site at the end of May and before that time there were zero clicks.

The number of clicks went up from 46 to 60.

The impressions almost tripled from 1.39k to 4.06k meaning there was much more visibility of our content.

But why did the click through ratio (CTR) go down?

When you publish new content on a website and you have very little domain authority established or it’s a new domain, your content is at the bottom of the list on search results.

Click rates go up the closer you get to the top result and go down exponentially once you go past the top result.

So as a website is consistently publishing new content, their average position will increase (ours went from 17 to 35) because the newer content is weighing the average down.

You want your position to be as close to 1 as possible.

But as your website grows, it’s natural that your average position will fluctuate as your content takes time to increase in position.

Age matters to the Google algorithm.

The average top result on Google is 2.5 years old and SEO is a long-term game.

Agency case study summary

Monitoring SEO performance on any website, and especially a new domain can be tricky for people who aren’t sure what to look for or how gauge their progress.

The progress that the website has made so far is very encouraging.

Even though I want to run the numbers up much higher, for a domain that is barely 6 months from being transferred and where I started the content library over almost from scratch, lots of progress has been made.

By sticking to the proper process and addressing technical SEO, keyword research, content creation, and link building in a methodical and intentional way, any website can see results from SEO.

The thing about SEO is that it takes time. But early trends and results can tell you a lot about the future growth you can expect.

I can already see from the trajectory and growth now, which pages will be getting us a lot of our traffic in the future.

The rate of growth of our traffic is also increasing every month as we constantly capture new keywords and increase our positions.

That’s the beauty of SEO is the compounding growth in traffic and the potential for limitless reach.

Shameen is an SEO consultant and content strategy expert with a focus on organic growth marketing. Other interests include independent journalism and fitness.

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