From 0 to 100k visitors in 6 months on a website with low DR- A surprising case study

From 0 to 100k visitors in 6 months on a website with low DR- A surprising case study

In the year 2019, I was advising a media client. They already had a large offline presence, but their website was just getting started as a website with a low DR (Domain Rating).

The goal was to generate content that would inspire international designers, illustrators, and architects. The USP?

These articles were produced by industry specialists and were based on their personal opinions.

They’d also discuss key industry events and provide their opinions on them.

The most amazing aspect of this customer (which we’ll refer to as Website from now on) was how well-defined their positioning was.

website with low DR

They had picked a niche, had a solid team, and a clear vision.

They also decided which road they intended to take to begin generating revenue as soon as possible.

They had the support of other early adopters as well.

Overall, the product was exciting, and everyone was hopeful that it would be successful.

Statement of the Problem

They had a low DAU (Daily Active Users) and a high bounce rate despite the high quality content and early adopters.

They felt as if they were drowning in a soup. (I’m guessing your issue is identical to mine.)

Now, let me explain how media websites function. Sponsorships are obtained by using a website’s DAU, bounce rate, and average session time.

Sponsorships could take the following forms:

  • Articles of interest
  • Web banners Listicles
  • CTAs and shout-outs
  • Posts on social media with a link in the bio

In most cases, media websites guarantee impressions across all of these venues.

This is a pretty common occurrence.

It was critical that the website maintain a benchmark readership to ensure that brand partnerships and sponsorships were continuously knocking on the door.

Resolving the problem

website with low DR

As I previously stated, content felt like the ideal fit for our growth path.

We didn’t start seeing results until we focused our SEO content strategy on solving client pain points.

Isn’t it fascinating? Immensely.

Taking on the underlying assumptions

The website proprietors were making some assumptions, and early investigation confirmed their conclusions.

These were some of the assumptions:

  • Everyone in this industry will benefit from the information provided.
  • We should place a greater emphasis on viewpoint and opinion rather than trends.
  • Google will rank the material if it is worthwhile.
  • When we boost rank-ability, DR, or Domain Rating, will fall in line.
  • The importance of keyword density is overstated by the industry.
  • In the later stages of product launch, general/user input might be collected.
  • It’s a waste of time to bet on a competitor’s high-traffic articles.
  • It is not essential to nest content.
  • The structure of a URL isn’t as significant as it’s made out to be.

These beliefs were deeply ingrained. And the digital team had to go all out with research and projections on several occasions to get things rolling.

When did things start to change?

There is always a battle between the development and marketing teams in any early-stage firm.

The problem comes frequently because when the development team produces an MVP, they often overlook the fact that it must be marketable.

I recall this day as if it were yesterday.

I was performing a website audit, and the results were astounding.

Keep in mind that my knowledge of SEO at the time was pretty basic, and technical SEO was not a skill I was proud of.

The audit covered the following topics:

  • Website speed (web + mobile) is slow.
  • depth of URL
  • Meta Keyword placements that are incorrect

This was all the proof we needed to persuade the C-Team to allow us to make some significant adjustments.

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Going forward, I’ll describe the steps we took to get everything in order and finally grow this website’s monthly traffic from 0 to 100K.


The journey to 100K monthly traffic


  • On-page SEO and technical optimization
  • Pro-technical SEO and page speed optimization
  • Approaching the source of the problem SEO
  • Content strategy vs. thin content 
  • Backlinks & DR

I’ll go over each of these in detail in the sections below.

However, keep in mind that what worked for this website may or may not work for you.

It’s not about performing a 100 things in SEO. It’s about doing 10 things over and over again.

On-page SEO and technical optimization

website with low DR

Getting the technical SEO set up will be the first stage in the SEO endeavor.

(Because this piece is a little technical, you might want to pass it on to your engineers and go on to the next.)

Sitemap.xml

Sitemaps are difficult to create in JavaScript apps since they must be generated by the server or a tool.

I’ve heard folks say they’re not important, but if you want your content to rank in search, they are.

If your website is built on WordPress, you’ve already mastered this skill.

There are a number of plugins available that make creating sitemaps a breeze.

Otherwise, you might utilize one of various online sitemap generators.

Robots.txt

Make sure you have a robots.txt file and that it points to your sitemap.xml as another “simple” technical SEO recommendation.

The robots.txt file notifies search engine crawlers which URLs on your site they can access.

This is mostly intended to prevent your site from becoming overburdened with requests; it is not a strategy for keeping a web page out of Google.

Block indexing with noindex.xml or password-protect the page to keep it out of Google.

Organization of the Website

Deep nesting pages that you want to rank is “never” a good idea.

In an ideal world, each of your sites would only have three layers of page depth.

This not only makes it easier for your customers to use your site, but it also makes it easier for search engines to crawl it.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Images for Serving

There are a number of current image formats that are optimized for compression and minimal file sizes.

This translates to higher-quality photos for the same file size.

These formats are WebP, Jpeg2000, and JpegXR, and they are far superior to JPG, PNG, and other image formats.

If you have access to a plugin or CDN that can optimize these photos for you, I strongly advise you to do so.

Otherwise, there are Photoshop and other software plugins that will allow you to export them yourself.

Pro-Technical SEO

website with low DR

Do you have some technological background? Awesome!

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can pull off if you do.

You should aim for a website that loads in three seconds or less on both desktop and mobile.

You should check your page’s vitals for this.

In fact, stare at them excessively.

To see how those are functioning over time and across devices, I utilize Darwin Analytics.

There are a variety of reasons for sluggish loading times, but here are a few popular ones to consider:

  • Perform a fast audit of your site’s loading speed. This is something I’ve already mentioned. This will assist you in comprehending the difficulties on the ground and in depth.
  • Static assets, such as photos, should be loaded as quickly as possible. Using suitable meta tags, you may typically lazy load or preload them as needed.
  • Verify that compression is turned on. This is something I would strongly suggest.
  • Unnecessary characters, such as spaces, should be removed from assets. This can increase the size by 30%.
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The Google Page Speed dashboard is your friend. Google officially rolled out the “page vitals” update on May 30, 2020

This update compares some key aspects of your page/website to usability-related performance data and considers them when determining your ranking.

The following are the major metrics that are assessed:

  • FID — First Input Delay (less than 100 milliseconds) — How long does it take for your page to become usable?
  • CLS — Cumulative Layout Shift (sub 0.1) — Do you have any adjustments that could make loading awkward?
  • LCP — Largest Contentful Paint (under 2.5s) — This indicates how long your page takes to render.

Approaching the source of the problem SEO

When it comes to SEO-focused content marketing, most people begin by researching keywords and topics that they believe their target clients will be interested in.

The end result is a list of terms that have been prioritized depending on which have the largest search traffic, and they choose the simplest to rank for.

A poor success metric of growing traffic drives this decision – making of traffic potential and difficulties for ranking. This does not include conversions.

Pain-point By identifying difficulties that your potential consumers encounter, SEO is a strategy for driving high-converting traffic to your website.

Following this research, you write content that assists them in resolving their issue.

In a nutshell, it’s about prioritizing content around high-intent keywords over high-volume keywords, and measuring success through conversions rather than traffic.

Many SEO experts advise against using this method.

Especially if their development is linked to it. It’s because, in general, a conversion rate of 1% of total traffic is considered market standard.

However, keep in mind that pain-point SEO is based on the assumption that your best clients have already been educated by someone else, who has created top-of-funnel content, and have gone on to the middle and bottom of the funnel.

Of course, this strategy isn’t revolutionary.

When comparing pain-point SEO to the traditional keyword-driven method, however, the strategy’s back-to-basics genius becomes clear.

Content strategy vs. thin content 

website with low DR

Everyone who reads this will agree that content reigns supreme.

It’s a foolproof technique to pique interest, lengthen average reading time, improve contemplation, and boost conversion.

Content has become such an important aspect of marketing that it now serves as the cornerstone for all major marketing strategies.

However, if content is king, keep in mind that thin content is a traitor.

On-page content with little or no value for the visitor is referred to as thin content.

This includes content that is generated mechanically, useless affiliate content, content stolen from other websites, and content on doorway pages.

What else is there to say? If you write thin material, Google may punish you severely.

The term “good content” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s difficult to tell what a search engine considers to be valuable content and what it considers to be a waste of time.

This, in my opinion, is the most annoying aspect of working as a content marketer or writer.

While we’re on the subject of thin content, it’s also vital to discuss plagiarism.

Google is a rigorous instructor who will severely punish you if you use plagiarized stuff.


Bonus🎁🙊: Recovering from plagiarism and weak content penalties


Here are some measures you may take to improve your site if you’ve been hit with a thin content penalty.

The beautiful thing about content and SEO is that while updating terrible content might help you avoid manual action penalties, going the extra mile and developing outstanding content can help you rank higher.

The following are some of the best practices:

  • Create a helpful, information-rich website, and produce pages that summarize your topic clearly and accurately.
  • Consider the words that users might use to reach your pages, and make sure that your site contains such words. For this, I recommend utilizing Answer The Public.
  • Allow all site assets that would significantly alter page rendering to be crawled to help Google fully understand your site’s contents — CSS, JavaScript, and so on — to help Google fully understand your site’s contents.
  • Make the most important material on your site displayed by default.
  • Make every effort to ensure that advertisement links on your pages have no bearing on search engine rankings.
  • When displaying significant names, content, or links, try to utilize words rather than graphics. If you must use images for textual content, use the alt attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.
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Let’s talk about how we repaired the low domain authority and domain rating now that I’ve discussed everything we did to make the website crawlable.

The Domain Authority (DA) score is a measure of how well a website ranks in search engines.

It was created by Moz and predicts where a website will appear in search engine result pages (SERPs).

This is calculated using dozens of parameters and is based on data from the Link Explorer web index.

For younger sites, the DR and DA are low by default, and you should aim to enhance them as a marketer to help your content rank and get the most out of your efforts.

The first and most important step in improving your DR and DA is to master the technical SEO aspects of your site.

We’ll skip this and go on to the next steps because we’ve already talked about it in depth:

This is an element of your off-page SEO, and we’ll go over it briefly.

If the following applies to your website, it is called to have a strong link profile:

  • It has incoming links from websites with high authority.
  • Incoming links come from websites that are related to yours.
  • It does not have any broken links.
  • It contains links from a variety of different domains.

This is closely tied to the health of your website’s content. Backlinks are attracted to outstanding content.

It is vital to have link-worthy content on your website for this to operate.

In other words, information that is thought-provoking, valuable, and simple to read so that other webmasters will want to link to it in their articles.

You’ll need a lot of help from your editorial team to complete this task.

At least, that’s how I felt.

(c) On-page SEO

The term “on-page optimization” refers to the process of optimizing the page and its content.

I assisted the editing staff in dealing with this by providing assistance with:

  • Titles and descriptions have been improved.
  • Within the content, proper usage of headings (H1 and H2).
  • The URL structure has been optimized for SEO.
  • Image, video, and other media assets should all be optimized for SEO.
  • assisting them in naturally incorporating keywords into their content (no keyword stuffing).
  • Interlinking to aid in the efficient crawling of the website.

So, these were the measures my team and I took to get from zero to one hundred thousand visitors in a few of months.

The most important aspect of this method that I apparently neglected to convey is the importance of remaining patient and optimistic.

SEO positioning isn’t something that can be accomplished in a single day.

However, if you are consistent, you will see benefits quickly.

Thanks for reading…

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Oware
Oware

I am an African from Ghana who loves to read and code. As a result of being on the internet, my life has changed and this blog is about my experience building an online business with free offers and motivating and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.

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