When OwlGuru.com first launched, we only had 450 visits per month (15 per day).
Today, we have grown to over 11,000 visits/month!
…and we did all that on a $0 marketing budget, a one-man SEO team, and started from nothing.
NOV 2020 UPDATE: We are at 160,000 visits per month.
Guess where was the original 4000% growth?
Yes, that green arrow!
The same techniques and strategy still applies. Nothing much has changed because we focus on evergreen strategies instead of trending tactics.
Part 1: Growing OwlGuru.com by over 4,000% in 9 months
This article will be broken down into 3 sections on what I did for each month:
- Part 1: Everything I did before March
- Part 2: March to April
- Part 3: April to May
How did we grow from 450 visits to over 11,000 in 8 months? Before I forget… we did all that without any link building so if you’re looking for a secret ninja link building tactic that I used, it is not here. Go to blackhatworld.com, you might find one there.
We focused on one thing: Content. We dominated our competition in content.
One of our goals when it comes to SEO is… our content has to be better than our competitors in solving their problem.
Some people call this the Skyscraper Technique which was coined by Brian Dean.
We call it being better than your competition / business 101. Your product has to be better than your competition if not it won’t be able to survive in the market. And when it comes to information, your content is your product.
We made sure our content is 5x better than our competitors
When it comes to SEO, our priority is always content first links second. Content is the lifeblood if you’re running an information website like OwlGuru. If you’re an information-based website and if you don’t have good content, you’re probably dead or getting there. Here is how two of our competitors’ pages look.
See the difference between ours and our competitors?
There are 5 things we did that made us stand out:
- Summary stats for each career right at the top. Users get the key information that they need fast about the career (salary, job satisfaction, difficulty, and ranking)
- Added breadcrumbs that made sense. Home > Career > Accountants > Salary NOT Home > Accountants Salary.
- Table of contents for easy navigation around the page.
- Separated each page into different sections. For e.g: Our career salary page has sections like salary by states, salary by industries, etc.
- Separated each career into 5 different pages. Summary, job description, salary, requirements, and quiz. If we were to put all that into 1 page, it would be a 5,000 word content. We want to make our content really detailed but not too detailed where we might risk increasing our bounce rate.
We made our content detailed yet easy to read
On average, our content length is over 1,100 words. For each career, most of our competitors are only covering job description and salary. For us, we wanted to take ours to the next level.
- Job description
- Pros and cons
- What the job is like
- Is this the right career for me
- Related careers
…and to dominate our competitors, this is only for the summary page. We got 5 pages for each career.
- The summary page
- The job description page
- The salary page
- The requirements page
- The quiz page
So let’s say for an accountant… we got an accountant summary page, what do accountants do, how much do accountants make, how to become an accountant and should you be an accountant.
Another thing we did was added interactive content. In our case, it was video.
For example, in the job description page, we added a video to see what a day of each career looks like, what their work environment is like and what they do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
If they’re going to bring a pistol to an SEO fight, we will bring a machine gun. When our competitors bring text content to the SEO competition, we bring text, image, and videos. This is 1 of the reasons why our bounce rate and pages/sessions are much better when compared to our competitors (based on Google Analytics industry benchmark).
This boosted our page views by 81%
We also used a tab design to make each of these 5 pages accessible to our users.
I still remember the day we added this, our pages/session immediately jumped from around 1.6 to 2.9!
In other words, we boosted our page views by 81% with this one change.
We don’t get our users lost
Since our content is over 1,100 words long, we didn’t want our users to get lost. To solve this issue, we separated our content into sections.
The reason why we did this was because we wanted our users to know what they were reading.
Blue box = The salary section.
Green box = Another section.
We don’t put everything into one clump.
This one change increased our page views by 71%
Another solution we added to prevent our users from getting lost is breadcrumbs.
The orange arrow was the week I added breadcrumbs and the parent-child hierarchy to our money pages. Page views for that week was 2,801.
Two weeks later, it went from 2,801 to 4,796 / 71% growth.
For those of you who’s asking what is that next line that shot straight up at an almost 90 degree angle, I`ll talk about that later.
Before that, it was just Home > Post title.
Now, we got a parent-child hierarchy which allowed our users to easily navigate through our content without getting lost. In our case, the summary page is the parent page and the child pages are the job description, requirements, salary and quiz page.
So it looks like this…
– Job description (Child)
– Salary (Child)
– Requirements (Child)
– Quiz (Child)
We made our content readable by skimmers
80% of all internet users will just skim right through the page. They don’t read each and every word on a page. To solve this, we added data points so even the skimmers will get value from our content.
Guess which is the data point?
We make our users stay longer
On average, each visitor on our site will stay for 4-5 minutes long. Our competitors’ visitors are only staying for 2 mins. We beat them by over 130%.
By the way, these 2 are for both organic visitors and direct visitors. Our organic visitors are staying 150.83% longer than our competitors while our direct visitors are staying 73.76% longer.
Some of you must be asking where did we get these numbers that allow us to compare our stats with our competitors.
Under the “Audience” section in Google Analytics, you can find a section called Benchmarking. You have to let Google know your industry so compare your stats to. For us, it’s Jobs and Education so our stats are being compared to sites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, etc.
Part 2: Growing 80.6% from March to April
In July, we grew from 450 visits to 11,320 visits in March.
From March to April, we grew to 20,444 visits / 80.6% growth in 1 month.
Most of the credit actually went to the things that we completed in March which was the improved content. Google re-crawled our website and it ranked us higher for our target keywords.
In summary, what we did in March which led to this 80.6% growth in 1 month…
- Improved content to be 5x better than our competition
- Increased page load speed
- Increased pages/session by adding breadcrumbs and tabs
Here’s what we did in April.
Continue to improve our content
For those who are waiting for me to reveal a secret link building tactic that I used, it’s not here. I haven’t started any serious link building yet.
In April, we continued to improve our content on our main money pages. If you could only take 1 thing away from this, it would be this…
Your product has to be better than your competition if not it won’t be able to survive in the market. And when it comes to information, your content is your product.
Continue to improve our page load speed
We also kept improving our page load speed. It was a quote by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. I don’t remember the exact quote but it went something like this…
People will always love a fast website. This will never change even in the next 100 years. People don’t just wake up and wish for a slower website.
The quote was basically saying keep improving things in your business that is evergreen and speed is an evergreen metric. Visitors will always love a fast website.
Redirected old websites to OwlGuru
This is a bit of a grey-hat technique. We had a few websites lying around that was also in the education and career industry. After much thought, we decided to 301 redirect all of our education and career websites to OwlGuru.com.
There were 2 main reasons:
- OwlGuru is the most SEO-optimized website in our portfolio.
- The content on OwlGuru was much better than our other websites.
This actually contributed to a huge 93.2% spike in our traffic in May which I`ll talk about later.
Updated disavow list
In February, we actually got hacked. Yes, hacked. A hacker from Japan inserted a few HTML pages into our WordPress content folder. We didn’t find out about this until we started getting a lot of spammy low-quality links.
He was spamming those pages that he created with tons of low-quality spammy links.
We probably disavowed over 1,000 spammy links. Surprisingly, when we check our Google Search Console we didn’t get any penalty or anything like that so these links were flying under the radar of Google.
Part 3: How we grew by 93.2% from April to May
Here’s a summary of our growth so far.
- Launch in July to March: 450 to 11,000 visits (2,415% increase)
- March to April: 11,000 to 20,44 visits (80.6% increase)
- April to May: 20,444 to 39,512 visits (93.2% increase)
We have been growing so fast that I actually expect us to get a traffic dip in June.
I would say the huge growth in May was actually thanks to the 4 main things we did in April which was:
- Continue to improve our content
- Continue to improve our page load speed
- Redirect old websites to OwlGuru
- Disavowed over 1,000 spammy links
Here’s what we did in May.
- Added outbound links to all our money pages
- Got a huge dofollow link from DA 85 website
- Redirected 1 of our old website to OwlGuru
- Added schema to all our money pages
- Improved title CTR to increase CTR in SERPs
- Optimized titles for our target keywords without keyword stuffing
- Continue to improve our content again
- Improved cross-linking within the site
- Added a parent-child hierarchy on some of our upcoming money pages
- Noindex media, page 2+ of archives and date-based archives
- Noindex duplicate and unused categories and tags
- Removed Google Adsense to improve page load speed
If I could attribute only 3 things that led to our huge growth, it would be:
1. We continuously improve our content to beat our competition.
Our goal is to be better than our competition but also we kept improving our content with the mindset of solving our customers’ problems.
Content is the lifeblood of an information website. When they come to OwlGuru, we make sure they get the information they were looking for quickly and efficiently.
2. We structured our site to be very search engine friendly.
We added breadcrumbs, parent-child hierarchy and internal links to make sure our website was crawlable by the spiders and also easy to navigate for our users.
I know this might be very basic on page SEO to some of you but after doing SEO for 4 years, I’ve concluded that a good on page SEO is critical to the SEO success of a website.
3. Not only search engine friendly but user friendly.
This is evident because our pages/sessions, average session duration, and bounce rate are all better than our competition. These 3 key metrics shows that our users like our content, stay longer on our site, and browse more content instead of viewing 1 page for 1 minute and going back to Google.