Case Studies

[SEO Case Study]How an E-Filing Online Platform Went from 0 to 1000 in just 3 Months

had a bunch of keywords, 

It was time for a Content Audit 

At the time, the blog section had about 4 articles and there were 4 service pages with 2 major issues plaguing them all.

The content wasn’t keyword-focussed: From the titles to the body, it lacked direction. For example, For the service, GST Registration Online, it never mentioned the word online. And since this was a service based in Mumbai, it should have mentioned Mumbai as well.

The content was thin: The blog articles were just 400 words whereas the service pages were about 200 words and were more like words put together without any focus on SEO or conversions. 

Apart from that, the homepage also needed some changes and better CTAs also had to be put in place (something, we’d only pick after weeks of testing).

Furthermore, the site did not have any schema implemented and neither was there any plugin for meta descriptions and titles.

In short, we had a mountain to climb and the first campsite was,

Setting up Writer Guidelines

At Parigh Technologies, we do not rely on freelancers to get the job done. We have our dedicated team of writers out of which we assign 2-3 for a particular project so they can churn out well-researched, conversion- and-SEO-optimized content in a particular niche.

Here’s what their guidelines looked like for this site.

Writer Guidelines

  • Keep each paragraph limited to 3-4 lines so it is easier to read and digest.
  • Insert any kind of graphs, charts, videos, infographics, etc. wherever possible as they increase shares and user engagement.
  • Avoid using generic stock photos. They distract users and have little to no value in terms of SEO.
  • Pick topics that are easier to rank. These are keywords with low KD, higher clicks, and a SERP with websites that have lower DR (KD was added to the writer’s sheet and keywords were color-coded with green being the easiest).
  • Guidelines were provided along with some subheadings and to be followed to the T (no removing topics unless communicated before).
  • Keep the article in Active Voice wherever possible.
  • Always write with user intent in mind. With these articles, it was going to be businesses and individuals looking for tax returns, filing GST, etc.  The tone had to be a mix of friendly and professional.
  • No fluffing. Do not make up things or add stats without backing it up from credible sources.
  • Use custom formatting (pro tips can be in bold, include internal links.) when possible.
  • After completion, do check the article via Hemingway and Grammarly for any spelling for grammatical errors.
  • Both the blog content and service pages had to be around 1000+ words

Remember, whether you are creating a content writing team for your agency or looking to hire someone of Upwork and other freelancer sites, always create writer guidelines first so they know exactly the kind of content you expect them to deliver. 

Trust us, it will save you both time and money (because who wants to spend hundreds of dollars overhauling the same content over and over again).

Once the guidelines were set, we moved on to deciding the,

Structure of the sales pages 

With the sales pages, we didn’t want them to just be promotional but help readers out.

This is why the services pages like the GST Registration page also covered details like What is GST, How to do the registration in Mumbai via the GST portal, the challenges you might face when doing it on your own, how our clients can help, documents needed, and an FAQ section with 10+ questions, etc.

This was the structure for other service pages as well.

Now that the writers had their guidelines, we created our own set of guidelines to keep in mind while posting the new pages/editing previously posted content.

On-Page Guidelines

To make sure all the pages and articles were keyword focussed we,  

  • Included the keywords in the H1
  • Added H2 titles with the keywords
  • Longtail and focus keywords were also added in the content (as relevant)
  • Optimized meta descriptions and titles to include keywords

As for the homepage, we categorized each service. For example, all the GST related services were added under the Goods & Service Tax Heading. 

Similarly, other categories pages like Income Tax, Incorporation, etc. were also created to make navigation easy for the customer and send to the exact service page they were looking for.

Furthermore, we also added a small about section with a link to the about page along with a detailed section on the 3-step process our clients had to make taxation easy for the potential customers.

At the bottom was some trust-building exercise. This included adding multiple customer reviews along with a section that highlighted the address, phone number, email, working hours so potential customers can get in touch accordingly.

An about page that emphasized the benefits of working with our clients, their background, and their vision was created along with a contact page with a form and email addresses.

Apart from that, we also want to focus on the following:

  • Adding ALT Tags to the images on the site
  • Repairing/removing any broken links on the site
  • Redirecting all 404 error pages
  • Implementing schema 

As the content started rolling in it was now time to focus on the internal linking 

Internal Linking: The Backbone of any site

What if I told you that good internal linking can increase your organic traffic by a whopping 40%? Yup, NinjaOutreach did an entire case study on it that you can read here.

And increasing traffic is just one of the pros. These are DoFollow links that don’t cost you a penny and you can even go aggressive with the anchor texts.

Furthermore, if done right, it will also lower the bounce rate, increase dwell time, and even conversions.

For us, creating a good on-page structure is even more important than backlinks. Do it right and it will halve the number of backlinks you need to create.

The main focus for internal linking was the blog and the individual service pages. When choosing keywords for the blog section, finding keywords relevant to the sales pages was also an important goal.

For example, the service page was GST registration Online, we decided to pick 5-6 blog articles around GST/GST registration and link it to the service page.  

Similarly, the services that were relevant to each other were also internally linked while the homepage link was also added wherever it fit.

We decided to go a little aggressive on the internal anchors, thus mainly relying on exact match and partial match anchors along with the occasional random or branded anchor. The reason being, we planned on going easy on the anchors used for backlinks.

Internal linking was an ongoing process but at least we now had a strong foundation and a clear direction. So we jumped to the next part.

Improving readability and visual flair

To improve readability the first step was to make sure the font on the site was large (hint: 15 to 16px is the right size).

We also want to declutter the site and add a section along with headers and bullet points (wherever relevant). Also, keeping a paragraph limited to 2-3 lines was an important part of this.

We also chose a color tone that was easy on the eye.

As far as adding some visual flair goes, we decided to call upon a graphics team, and here’s what they did, 

A business’s logo is their identity, it is what people connect almost immediately to and thus it is important to create eye-catching yet relevant logos (because there’s more to logos than just fancy lines and strokes).

Want to know how we went about creating the logo? Find out the details on our [mention post]

Once the logo was approved and posted, we didn’t stop there. We want to go the extra mile so we started creating other graphics as well. This included custom-made featured images for the blog posts as well as images to be posted in the articles like the ones below.

Oh, and did we mention these images made great linkable assets as well? (do not underestimate the power of image backlinks).

As we started posting content to the blog and the landing pages with images, graphics, etc we knew the site speed had to be optimized as well. 

Why? 

Well, in SEO, Slow and Steady Doesn’t Win the Race

And we aren’t the ones saying it. Hear it from the horse’s mouth yourself at the Webcaster Central Blog.

Initially, the site took about ____ seconds to load and it was clear we had to get it down.

[insert screenshot]

The first step was to remove all unwanted plugins. These included some of the plugins that the hosting installs by default and also those that come with the theme import data. 

Apart from that, we were also able to remove the Google Analytics plugin by installing it directly into the theme header.

We also installed RankMatch using which sitemaps were also generated thus eliminating the need for a sitemap plugin. 

Furthermore we,

  • Minified CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • Compressed images with ShortPixel 
  • Switched to asynchronous loading for CSS and JavaScript files
  • Enabled caching
  • Enabled lazy loading of images
  • Installed a faster theme 

[mention if any plugin was used to increase speed]

Lastly, we migrated to a faster server and thus managed to reduce load time to a whopping __

[insert screenshot]

Now that the on-page structure was on track, there was content coming in at regular intervals and the site had also been optimized for speed, 

It was time to build some backlinks

For the next few weeks, our main focus was building links. Since this was a new site and barely had any links we needed to plan how many links to create on the service pages, blog articles, and the homepage.  

Our thorough competitor research gave us an idea about it as well as the keywords to use for the links.

Remember, this niche is quite a tough one, and to rank and sustain it, high-quality, relevant white-hat links were needed.

To get those links we took a 4-pronged approach.

Press Releases

Since this was a new site, we couldn’t jump the gun and build high-quality links straightaway (it is an outright red flag).

To show that your content is going viral and people are willing to link to it, you need to take a realistic approach thus we started with press releases and social media shares.

For press releases, we got in touch with popular media outlets in India while our content team got to work on finding the right topic and creating some eye-catching headlines.

The site was around taxes, thus finding a topic was relatively easy. We relied on the latest news, Google Trends, etc. for it.

As content pieces were ready, we shared them with these media outlets. One of the most important things to keep in mind was the anchor text when linking from the press releases. 

We wanted to keep it 100% white-hat and natural thus stayed away from using SEO-fueled anchors like exact match or partial match anchors and turned to branded anchors (when it doubt, always go with branded anchors).

We got around 8 press releases. All emails for them were sent manually rather than with automated techniques.

Social Shares, Comments, and Forums

To create a sense of virality around the content, social media was important

Thus, we set up FaceBook, Instagram, and other social media accounts, and started sharing all the blog articles, the new graphics, etc. 

We also asked the owners to share the articles on their respective social media pages and send a request to their friends, family, etc. to like the page. 

Next up, we also made a few blog comments. It doesn’t provide much link juice and overdoing can be spammy (it is a black-hat technique after all) but to create a realistic link profile you need a little bit of everything.

Then there were forum comments, directories, and some profile links that we relied on as well. Profile links and directory links were targeted to the homepage whereas forum links were based on the question.

As the likes started coming in and we had a few forum links we turned to more effective link building strategies like:

Blogger Outreach 

Once the site was out of the Sandbox phase and into the trustworthy phase it was time to step up the link building process. This is when we turned to guest posts.

When making backlinks via a guest post, once again anchor text ratio was a major concern.

Our strategy was to create most of the links on the homepage with branded anchors while relying on a mix of the exact, partial match and branded anchors for the service pages and blog articles. 

We also picked up a few anchors our competitors had been using it.

After the trustworthy phase comes authority mode and this is the best time to get in some niche edits while scaling up a guest posts. Our goal now was to build at least 2-3 links per week.

Like with the outreach for press releases, even here it was completely manual with each email being customized based on the blogger we reached out.

This maximizes the chances of a response and also helps build a stronger relationship with them rather than having an automated, spammy looking email being dumped in the trash.

When sending emails make sure you put in a catchy subject line to improve your open rate. Apart from that, keep the email subtle and make conversation rather than blatantly asking for a sponsored post.

Our average price for a guest post was $75. We looking for sites, don’t just rely on DR. Take into account, its history, backlinks, anchors, etc.

Lastly, remember SEO never ends

Ask anyone that has been in the game long enough and they’ll tell you the same, that SEO is an ongoing process.

Succeeding doesn’t mean following a bunch of rules but constantly experimenting in and finding the right blend with internal links, CTAs, and so on.

And for that, it is important to constantly track results so here’s how we tracked pretty much everything. 

To track, we had a bunch of questions that we aimed to answer:

Q1: Is the content detailed enough or are there more sub-topics that we can add? 

If not, edits were made to the article. These revolved around adding more visual components and other relevant details like an FAQ section.

Q2: Are keywords being used sufficiently throughout the article?

We wanted to maintain a keyword density of around 1%. This included a mix of LSI keywords, long-tail keywords, and exact matches. Also, keywords were included in the H1 titles, H2 titles, H3 titles, the body.

Q3: Have articles been internally linked keeping in mind relevancy?

If not, articles were linked while keeping in mind anchor text ratios. To track that, a sheet was maintained. 

Q4: Does the title and meta description grab user attention?

If not, then change it. We used text like September Update, Must Read, etc. in the headlines and meta and yes, they work like a charm.

Q5: Does a page/post have the right amount of backlinks and word count?

We wanted to keep the pages and posts longer than our competitors and have the same number of links (if not more) as them.

Conclusion

Well, that’s a wrap!

We hope you were able to pick a few tips and tricks from this case study

If you have been doing SEO or have read about it, you know we haven’t done something too complicated but rather followed and tweaked basic rules 

All of the above-mentioned SEO best practices are still relevant even in 2020 and have been used by experts for years.

We have helped tons of clients get higher rankings with these techniques, some even get traffic close to the 1M mark.

So why should you care?

Well, some of these techniques can help you increase both rankings and conversions without spending too much on backlinks or even hiring SEO agencies.

May 2020 Google Core Update, the aftermath

The May update was a big one, one of the most hard-hitting updates in some time. We’ve been keeping track of our clients and happy to report, so far so good. 

Some of them have seen a huge boost in traffic and rankings while for some the traffic remained consistent (and that’s never a bad thing) but none reported a huge drop.

And thus we are sure the above-mentioned techniques work and are in keeping with the guidelines Google provides for its various ranking factors. 

If you do not have time to focus on SEO or have zero experience then understanding and implementing these steps can be tough, especially if you are in a competitive niche.

And that’s where we come in. It is our goal to help startups and other companies score big wins in SEO. 

You can either hire us to teach your existing marketing team about SEO or get similar results by letting us do it all for you (graphics, content, audits, tracking, we’ll handle every bit).

Get in touch via our contact page and let’s create something big, together.

When the client came to us with their website, their AHREFS data looked something like this.

before-seo-case-study-efiling

Yup, this was a new website with little to no SEO done on it. In fact, they didn’t even have a GSC or Analytics set up.

Considering it was owned by tax experts who knew nothing about SEO, that came as no surprise.

Being an E-Filing website, the competition was fierce. We were up against some heavyweights.  So we got our thinking caps on and came up with a strategy that took it from zero to hero in just 3 months.

seo-case-study-efiling

But how did we do it in such a short space of time? And nope, we didn’t have a mega outreach budget that was used to build hundreds of new backlinks.

We’ll reveal the complete recipe in this case study.

Whether you are looking to hire a new SEO agency or some tips to improve your revenue and traffic, this is for you.

A little about the client

The site is a platform that provides professional Tax Return filing services for businesses and individuals that want to file GSTR, ITR, and other returns. 

Apart from that, they also provide services like License registration, Company Incorporation, and Legal Agreements.

This means we could target pretty much any and every Indian taxpayer. While that opened up doors to a huge market it also puts us and them in direct competition with some of the more established platforms that we mentioned above.

Sites with a ton of backlinks, domain authority, and a pocket full of cash for outreach.

The objective from the client was simple, 

  • Get traffic rolling in 
  • And make sure it converts

The basic setup was decent in terms of the theme but the content needed a complete overhaul as we felt it wasn’t conversion-focused (lacked a certain persuasiveness). 

Our client did not have any content team in place. The little content on the site was through a cheap service on Fiverr.

Then there were other factors to like site speed, on-page SEO, backlinks, mobile-responsiveness, CTAs, etc. that also needed attention.

Bur before we jumped into backlinks, or speed, we knew,

Good SEO always begins with good keyword research

Since this was a fairly new site, keyword research was more important than ever since it would lay the foundation of the site. So here’s how we went about it.

You want your website to rank quickly, really quickly and strong keyword research lays the foundation for that. 

The perfect recipe is a combination of high to medium volume keywords and long-tail keywords with minimal competition. 

But how do you judge that?

Simple, for us, these were keywords with KD less than 5, preferably 0 to 1, and volume 200+.

We found a bunch of keywords using AHREFS and Keywords Everywhere

Once we found the keywords for the various landing pages the next step was to optimize the blog section, and why not.

The blog section provides a great opportunity to answer everyday questions and increase conversions and relevancy of the money pages with internal links.

Oh, and at the same time makes great linkable content (it is like Killing two birds with one stone).

Believe it or not, some of the keywords we came across had search volume up to 10k or more.

Thus, we were pretty darn serious about these articles as well. We wanted them to be well thought out and be around 2-3k words.

Why?

Because posting shallow 500-word articles in your blog section means you will only end up with a ton of ‘dead-weight pages’ that no one cares about, in turn, weighing your site down. 

And it isn’t just us saying this. Here’s what Google Rep Gary Illyes had to say.