Improve SEO: How we increased search traffic by 2600%

 
Improve Your SEO

Improve SEO

This is a graph of the organic search traffic for my startup, Tint. Copied straight from google webmaster tools.

In January, our splash page was getting 602 monthly visits from search. In March, it had grown to 15746 visits. An SEO improvement of 2600%! What happened in between?

If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering “what ingenious way to increase traffic did he use?” That’s exactly the kind of mindset I had when I tried to increase the traffic for our previous product, Hypemarks. Want to see the results from trying to find an ingenious way?

Sad graph of bad SEO

Sad.

We tried virality loops, open graph actions, publicity stunts, and press pushes. All of these techniques provided spikes, but the next day traffic would always fall to the same low levels. The graphs speak louder than words:

The truth is that the most “ingenious” way to get traffic is actually to stick to the boring basics.

How did I go from the second graph to the first graph? By creating a multi-faceted long-term SEO strategy and taking the time and effort to spend about an hour a day executing it. What was my boring, yet ingenious SEO strategy? Keep reading to find out!

Organic Search Traffic

The orange line is the organic search traffic to our splash page. The Blue line is the total. As you can see, organic search has been a major component of our growth.

Search Traffic vs Referral and Direct Traffic

We started out barely ranking for the name of our company, and ended up with high rankings on important keywords, and healthy inbound traffic from blog posts like this!

 

4 Steps to Improve SEO

Here are the steps I ran through to improve Tint’s SEO.

Step 0: Do the homework.

  • If you have no experience with SEO, I highly recommend taking a couple days to immerse yourself in basic SEO concepts and techniques as a prerequisite to everything else. There are many SEO myths that continue to spread as there is no definitive formula to ranking highly. Arm yourself with knowledge.
  • Check out SEOmoz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. A highly recommended guide for beginners that breaks down key SEO concepts in an easily digestible format.
  • Google provides an SEO Starter Guide that demystifies what Google looks at when ranking pages.

Step 1: Find keywords.

  • Pretend you’re a customer for your own service. Which keywords will you search for? This is a question that could be considered even before naming your business, but assuming that your business is already named, start by asking yourself what keywords you would search for, and get in the habit of asking your customers how they found your site.
  • Find out what keywords your competitors are using. Some good tools for this are SpyFu, Alexa, and OpenSiteExplorer.
  • Write them all down in a big list and then use the Keyword Explorer tool to figure out which ones are high in volume and low in competition. Selecting the keywords that you should target is more of an art than a science and will require enough customer feedback to give you an intuition as to how “ready to buy” customers will be who are searching for certain terms.
  • Search for the keywords you are targeting and see how you stack up against the competition. Only choose keywords that you think you can actually rank highly for. You must look for weak competition. Weak pages usually don’t have the keyword in the title, are from a untrustworthy domain, or the content doesn’t exactly relate to your keyword. Strong pages include easily recognizable brands/domains, keyword optimized landing pages, and pages with great content / social validation (articles with lots of tweets/shares).

Step 2: Optimize site for keywords.

  • If possible, start by putting keywords in the name of your business or in the url of your site. For example, if I’m selling Dog Food in Dover, your domain could be doverdogfood.com.
  • Tailor your title and description of your pages to contain these keywords. Don’t be overzealous, as Google can sense when content is too stuffed with keywords, so sprinkle them into your content so that it is still easy to understand as a customer and doesn’t look spammy.
  • For keywords that are very valuable to your business, build landing pages that target those keywords specifically and then build backlinks to them to push those pages as high as possible in the ranking for those keywords. For example, if I wanted to promote Tint for Events, I build a landing page tailored to customers who would be searching “social media for events“.

Step 3: Set up and commit to a long-term SEO strategy.

  • Learn about content marketing. Start a blog for your business, but keep in mind that your blog should be catered to your customers! So put some effort into your content! Google tracks how long users spent on your page in order to determine how useful the page was to them, so the better your content is, the higher you rank. Many businesses make the common mistake of using their blog as a place to dump their boring press releases. Your customers don’t care!
  • Great examples of company blogs include SproutSocial Insights, SEOMoz’s blog, and the Mint blog. These companies are doing it right!
  • Also, check community sites like Quora, StackOverflow, and Reddit for questions or topics that you can contribute to, especially questions regarding problems that your customers often have. (protip: Use the content from your blog posts to answer their questions.)
  • Other ways of generating backlinks are getting press, guest blogging, and conducting webinars.
  • If you’re a regional business, closely track your regional competitors’ rankings and keyword targeting efforts. For regional keywords, you don’t have to have the best Italian restaurant SEO ranking in the world, just the best one in town.
SEO Referral Graph

A long-term strategy for SEO should include a diverse selection of inbound traffic from a number of sources including social media, blogs, and Q&A sites.

By following the steps above you can begin your journey from SEO Zero to SEO Hero, the boring way.

Ranking high is hard work. It requires significant long-term effort that can take months, and unfortunately it’s not as easy to track SEO performance as it is to track the performance of other aspects of your business. However, it really can be the difference between life and death for businesses depending on search customers. If you follow the steps above I guarantee you’ll start seeing incremental improvements in your SEO. Keep putting in consistent effort in getting quality backlinks and providing quality content, and the results will compound!

Let us know if you have any other SEO tips in the comments below, we’d love to hear how other people are finding ways to grow.

-Ryo, Dev

  • Great insight Ryo. Thanks for sharing your SEO strategy.

  • Love the blog post

  • Some really good advice, thanks much.

  • Thank you for such good advice. SEO is something I am not utilizing to it’s full potential. Thank you for the wonderful links to resources so I can do my homework! Krista @ A Handful of Everything

    • Krista, glad we were able to help. Hope your long-term SEO efforts help boost your traffic!

  • Stylish gal

    Thanks for sharing. Will pass along to the folks at http://www.forAnima.com (vegan marketplace) who I am helping. Great tips.

  • Brandon Swenson

    This right here is 100% accurate! Literally, stick to the basics, keep things consistent, and watch your competition. Nice advice Ryo*

  • Terungwa

    Thanks Ryo. As the new webmaster of http://www.notopoverty.com, your suggestions remain prized. Thanks once again!

  • MarieAnn Abellon

    I just started my own online clothing store http://www.prettydollrock.com and its a real handwork. Your advice is a big help! Thanks for sharing!

  • jitendra vaswani

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful news

  • Great post, very useful information will definitely implement these on http://linktons.com

  • cody49

    Very informative page here and with real time examples its great to see the results after you have applied your campaign. I have a website that has unfortunately been wiped of most links from the last Google Tsunami and it can be very demoralising to start again from the bottom after all the hard work has been applied. We are now standing back looking at the blank canvas and trying to think out the box! We participate in PR Web articles and now actively embarking on contributing to good blogs. I think you have given importance on the ‘on site’ blogs and building them up and this is part of the campaign that we really need to focus on. We have seen a number of competitors who are relishing from good content blogs and after much research I have found that we would need at least 90 blogs on the site for Google to stand up and take notice.

    Your comments here give good food for thought and thank you for sharing

  • Monarch Jewelry and Art

    Really useful tips.. thanks a lot..

  • Avish Kumar

    Very Nice Post , Thanks a Lot by giving excellent information

  • The key: Set up and commit to a long-term SEO strategy :)

    • teamtint

      Exactly :). The long-term, old school strategy never fails.

  • OVOMO

    Love it. Thank you!

    • teamtint

      You’re very welcome! Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter to keep getting more free, practical advice straight to your email list.

  • Thankyou for these easy tips . will apply them on my blog

  • 2600% in just two months. Thats insane. I am curious about when you actually started working on SEO. Was it Jan or way before that?

    • Ryo Chiba

      It was around the last week of January where we decided that we would start trying to get more traffic organically rather than through paid ads. Before then, we ran a small AdWords campaign for a couple hundred dollars and the results were disappointing. So, we started this blog and also set up a few of our landing pages the first week of February. For example, the first blog post on this blog is on Feb 4th. From then on, we’ve been following the steps above and slowly gathering inbound links from both our customers and from press/bloggers trying our service to get to where we are today. SEO is something our entire team is now familiar with, and we all agree that it is something no team should brush aside.

      • Thanks Ryo for the info. This is really impressive and disciplined approach. Btw: Tintup is great idea :-)

  • nilesh dhamapurkar

    Hello,

    I have done on page for website one month before .

    my two or three keyword are reflected but haven’t received traffic. how much time take for generate traffice new website

  • Thanks for sharing, these are really simple and effective tips and yet people make it way more complicated then it should be. This is really helpful and straight to the point. Thanks.

  • Ambika Wilson

    thanks for share this informative post…

  • rellimnitsuj

    What about the TINT app itself; since it’s an embedded app as opposed to permanent content on my page, does it still get indexed by Google and contribute positively to my SEO?

  • Great tips, I think you put a thousand SEO ‘gurus’ out of business!

  • Alfred

    Great Post. I’m slowly learning that onsite blogs are the way to go to get higher rankings. I was just wonder what the process is after your guys create a blog post. For example, do you ping your blog, do you do any socially bookmark your blog post, do you email blast your blog post, etc…

    • Ryo Chiba

      We have various ways of distribution. We share our blog out on our social channels as well as finding the right places where our blog content would be useful (quora, reddit, hacker news, etc.) or the right people who would be interested in tweeting it out. We also distribute blog posts through our newsletters. When it comes to distribution, there is no one right answer, a lot of the times you have to be creative and understand your audience and where they would be.

  • Oleksandr Ivanov

    Great post, but can you be more specific on how you really hot the links, so how many press releases did you got, how many guest blogs did you write or how many weekly at least or how often do you make a webinar(are those unique every time or same every time)? This would be really interesting since we are in a similar situation now and this would bring real value to the article!

    Thanks in advance!

  • wsierocione

    Thanks for tips! I use Metrics11 to discover profitable keyword niches

  • Tom Wilkinson

    Awesome article, it has cured my brain farting. It would be great however if you could include an extra section on backlinks, how to create them/maintain them etc

  • Great article Ryo. Can’t agree more, since we have made a tool to help with this exact strategy. Perhaps it might be worth checking -> https://colibri.io

  • Bill Franklin

    Awesome advice. Thanks for writing. :)

  • I fully agree with sticking to the basics and keeping to a consistent plan no matter what, being patient of course and never giving up and then you will get SEO results that is unimagined.

  • MJ Ces

    Nothing beats going back to the basics. Thanks for sharing your case study!

  • yes pretty simmple but efective

  • Finally some sensible advice here and some great information. Thanks!

    • teamtint

      You’re welcome and thanks for the kind words!

  • Srinivasan T

    SEO – it’s all about practice. Thanks for share :)

  • byronbaywebhosting.com.au

    Thanks for sharing this article..

  • happysus

    How about website speed?

  • thanks, it is really useful knowledge ..

  • thanks for this information it is a useful information ………

  • Arthur Wilson

    That is a crazy improvement in just two months! I would be interested to know more about your linkbuilding strategy and how many new and optimised landing pages you used?

  • belansus

    Great post and sound advice, what ways are there to get press releases?

    • teamtint

      Yes, here is our blog post on how to get free press releases :). Feel free to subscribe to our social media newsletter below to stay up to date!

      http://www.tintup.com/blog/how-to-get-free-press-for-your-startup/

      Hope that helps,
      Tim

      • belansus

        Thanks :) to anyone interested, the recommended post on Press Releases is defo worth a read.

        • teamtint

          You’re welcome, and thanks for the kind recommendation. You rock!

  • Thanks for sharing good SEO strategies, I really like it.

  • guptaabhijit318

    I think the best things to increase organic traffic of a website are on page, off
    page and unique content. You have written in this blog all these things and
    others also very clearly. It’s really a great post.

  • thank you… I will try some of these strategies

  • willywater88

    This was very informative. Just curious, can you give us an estimate on the time and costs associated with the effort you used to build up Tint’s SEO?

  • This right here is 100% accurate! Literally, stick to the basics, keep
    things consistent, and watch your competition. Nice advice Ryo

  • Thank you for the Professional Technique, I love Traffic Strategy much more than Ranking Positions.

    Quality Text Base Always Win.

  • It is a great bit of information you have given. Thanks for sharing.

  • lovisa alva

    Very interesting. Thanks to share this post.

  • Fantastic results here Ryo and certainly goes to show the benefits of A Knowing your market and B Sticking to a strategy.
    Outstanding improvement

  • Good solid advice and also ways to get it done. You’re right, good SEO is old school and is a continuing process, it’s hard work!

  • Tara

    Basic, yet very good suggestions and thank you for sharing in such a clear way.

  • saba naaz

    thanks for sharing…www.bestwishes4u.com

  • ThatPascale

    Thanks. Perfect recap to get started. You’re right about the difficulty of tracking SEO performance, just reading google analytics right is still tough for me. I’ll rework my two websites with the info here (it’s the right time of year for website makeovers in my field). Looking forward to the blog posts, I’ve subscribed to your newsletter. Have a great day.

    • Ryo Chiba

      Thanks for the kind words. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post here, I try to answer as many questions as possible in the comments.

  • Great Thanks for the advice. I will start updating my website more regularly. Short, simple and crispy information…Cool! I think that measurement of SEO activities is very important things – it shows you the proper way. This is what we are all in the process of doing. Total SEO revamp of our web design website.

    I think this information will help me to improve the SEO of my blog. Simple and to the point. SEO = Quality content, competitive & realistic KW or key phrases, optimize your links and avoid spamming – simply the key to getting good rankings. Keeping the content fresh is really key. Also remembering to gain inbound links for specific pages and articles can really help…

    It’s clear to me that SEO does not only drive results but has the highest conversion rate when compared to other forms of online marketing. Keep the great articles coming, and I’ll keep coming back! :)

  • Thanks for all the tips.

  • Thanks for good sharing. I will try your SEO strategy for my blog.