In this case study, we are going to answer a commonly asked question: does SEO really work over time? There are many ways to use SEO tactics to gain a short-term boost in rankings/traffic/conversions – but what about the longevity of SEO? Just how do you sustain and improve your results over time, week over week, month over month, year over year.
To illustrate that this can be done – and how it can be done – we have selected one of our many long-term clients, who has been working with us for years. This Posirank.com client manages a major site that is in the healthcare operations niche – specifically a specialized type of treatment clinic. We previously published a case study for this client for the year 2018 (and you can request a copy of that case study by contacting us if you want to see a detailed recap).
We thought it would be interesting to compare the 2018 data with data from January-August 2020. You will find a detailed comparison below.
What were the original issue(s) driving this client to contact Posirank?
For this client, this was about increasing rankings and traffic to the most important pages on the site to generate leads for their clinic. Additionally, they were looking for a service to provide custom content for the site, which we have done using the Elite Content service we offer. Also, they routinely use the program for advice on site structure, improving CTR and bounce rates to their secondary pages, link disavow analysis and more.
What were their goals for SEO as they began work on this project with us?
The main goal was to drive traffic and rankings to their site which would convert for the client. Additionally, having used us in the past for other sites, they wanted to have us build out custom content they could use for the site.
As the following screenshot from Google Analytics shows, for 2108, for Q2 compared with Q1, this site saw –
Again, a screenshot of Google Analytics for January-August 31, 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 shows a 113% increase in organic traffic (from 8,600 to 18,344) and a major decrease of over 30% in the bounce rate for the site (the bounce rate was lowered from 0.47% to 0.33% during this time). Finally, the site is still showing a respectable improvement in completed conversions (11.36% improvement overall, from 264 completed conversions to 294 during this period). Overall, this client reports that they have seen a solid increase of 25% in new patient admissions.
What has helped to sustain these rankings? Two things, primarily. The first is continuing to add high-quality pages of relevant content. The second factor has been our work with their web team to relentlessly search out everything that can be evaluated having to do with the sites on-page issues, and seeing to it that those issues, once discovered, are corrected.
When working with SEO clients it is important to note that they may make website changes without informing you. This means that you must never assume that a site is static, and that once identified on-site issues have been corrected, that you are done. On the contrary, you must continue to monitor their site and look for new problems that might crop up over time.
This client did make site changes that resulted in new issues developing: indexing issues with certain pages (especially high-value, high-traffic pages), canonical errors, 4xx server return code errors, issues with proper pagination, stubborn site speed issues (both desktop and mobile). In addition, we discovered, during further deep-diving, internal broken images, pages with missing image ALT tags – not to mention the ever-present need to look for both internal and external broken links. Some issues with external linking (from past SEO work not affiliated with us) were so significant that we had to do an audit of the site and also submit links to Google to be disavowed because they were spam or low-value or duplicates of other links from the same referring domain.
Firstly, beware of SEO that is presented as “set it and forget it.” SEO can never run on auto pilot, and SEO campaigns/tactics can (and must) be changed over time. If you work with clients as an agency, this is a primary reason to encourage them to develop a long-term relationship with you. At the end of the day, churn-and-burn will not work for your clients – or you.
Secondly, despite all the talk to the contrary, SEO can be used to legitimately and safely improve rankings, traffic, and ultimately revenue for any client. It really is possible to secure long-term results, if your client will commit the finances needed and you are past the mindset that SEO is only about giving the client a short boost while you search out the next customer.
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