Since the advent of the Internet, it’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to attract new customers by leveraging the power of the Internet. Small businesses and new websites often attract thousands of new customers within months of their launch. More website traffic means new visitors, more impressions, more purchases, and increased revenue.

On the other hand, it’s also true that capturing more traffic from search engines is becoming increasingly difficult. It’s getting complicated because search results are getting more crowded with competition making top rankings in Google a far-fetched goal, particularly for new websites.

Although the online marketplace has fierce competition, new businesses can still produce an impact through meticulous planning and hard work. Here is a case study that will guide new companies to rank their website in search engines, earn quality backlinks, and attract targeted traffic.

This is the exact case study columnist Andrew Dennis used to grow his website visitors from zero visitors to 100,000 within 12 months, and here is how you can do it too.

Following is the general outline of the strategy:

  1. Start slow and aim for “easy wins.”
  2. Focus on securing a few strategic links to relevant pages.
  3. Establish passive link acquisition channels to create momentum.
  4. Pay close attention to content creation and its impact on search results.
  5. Focus on a 1% improvement every day.

1. Start slowly

Certain limitations come with every new website. For instance, low competition and high searched keywords are often challenging to find; however, with patience and thorough research, anyone can find such keywords and capitalize on it.

For instance, we used Spyfu to gauge traffic value and Google keyword planner tool to determine competition. Using these two tools, anyone can find low competition and high traffic keywords to use.

Another tool that comes handy is Google search engine results (SERP). Using Google, our main objective was to evaluate if such keywords can offer opportunities to rank on the first page of Google. The webmaster looked for:

  • Poor exact-match domains.
  • A lack of recognizable brands.
  • Low-quality content.
  • Pages with few backlinks

For instance, a quick Google search will reveal that the keyword “life insurance quotes in California” displays some big brands like AIG Direct and State Farm. However, search results also contain some poor exact-match domain results such as lifeinsurancequotes.net that contained unbranded names, low-quality content, and pages with few backlinks.

The second page also brought similar results.

Once a business can poor-exact match keywords, it will give them the confidence to build a website that has the potential to be ranked on Google’s first page.

After identifying potential opportunities in the keywords, you can start building quality content targeting those specific search results. To differentiate ourselves from competitors in the market space, the SEO case study used:

  • Visually appealing graphics.
  • Clear and compelling copy.
  • High definition images.
  • Optimal formatting — appropriate font size, column width, scannable text, and so on.

By building content around the needs of the Internet audience, which would best answer their concerns, the SEO case study propelled their web pages up to be successful in the search results.

It also means that a new business can become #1 in keywords rankings provided they play their cards right.

According to Google, the main strength of a web page is derived mostly from the quality of its backlinks. To avoid spam and low-quality links on websites, Google tightened its backlink policy by introducing the no-follow rule. The no-follow attribute allows the webpage owner not to pass the Link Juice to the other website. As a result, acquiring backlinks may not be the best strategy because you’re not likely to get the required Juice Link for your website.

Nowadays, search engines focus more on the quality of the backlinks rather than quantity. It means that a few high-quality backlinks can offer more Link Juice and authority to a website instead of hundreds of “no-follow” irrelevant links.

In light of the theory, the SEO case study focused exclusively on getting a handful of quality backlinks to rank. Gradually, positive audience engagement signals validated the page as an authority in the eyes of search engines.

Accordingly, the SEO case study also highlighted the fact that relevant industry links can prove very beneficial for link building. Using the previous example, links from an insurance website is the best link for an insurance business. Links from similar companies such as a mortgage, commercial sites, and loan providers are also useful in securing quality backlinks.

It is pertinent to suggest that this strategy can not be sustained for the long-term because these link building opportunities are limited. Still, it is evident that you only need to work on a select few of these opportunities to be successful in Google.

Other opportunities for beginners include:

Personality Bait – Mention a famous person, product, or service on your page.

Unique product or service – Contact list of the handful of vendors available.

Mention Discounts – Give exclusive discounts or promotions to the website providing links.

Reviews – Pitch proposition to websites that will review your product or service.

While these tactics are not sustainable for long-term link acquisition, but they can help in securing a few high-quality links needed to propel the website and help derive the initial engagement.

Acquiring quality links can be tough. So, link acquisition is an ongoing process that will carry on forever.

Securing links is tricky — and new businesses require connections to grow traffic — SEO should establish passive link acquisition channels to magnify all our link-building efforts.

A practical and highly effective link-building strategy used in the case study was to use high definition, original photographs, which led to a perfect opportunity to attract passive backlinks. Rather than copyrighting the pictures, website owners should allow re-use of their images under Creative Commons license. This will allow other website owners to use the photos as long as they provided a link back to the original website.

Even reputable companies need excellent photos, and they often resort to royalty-free photography websites to get the work done.

Apart from this “picture technique,” other possible ways to earn backlinks include:

  • Offer sponsorships to the local community
  • Provide new research or compelling data.
  • Give interviews to be quoted.

The key is to create something creative and engaging, making it easier for others to link back to you as an authoritative source.

4. Build a content creation strategy

Quality content is the lifeblood of SEO. While it’s possible to secure a couple of backlinks from previously mentioned methods, but ultimately a business will need to rely on quality content to capture attention and links sustainably.

According to the result of the case study, webmasters should try to maintain a persistent focus on SEO by creating content around every search result available to them. One way to do this is to compare Spyfu’s traffic values against the competition level. Using the keyword “life insurance rates in California” example, researchers analyzed potential opportunities.

The initial results of the SEO case study revealed a high competition for keywords.

To find something less competitive, the team tried other variations of the original keyword that would offer less competition. Once you are satisfied that another relevant keyword can provide low competition and high traffic, it is an opportunity to create content around a similar keyword to increase the chance of ranking.

You can also use the Moz Keyword Explorer tool to review the keywords manually. This is another practical tool used in the case study to find less competitive high-traffic keywords.

Just remember that creating quality content is essential, but the content creation method requires a strategy. Keep an open mind when conducting keyword research to build the surrounding content because it will help you find the neglected and overlooked “Golden Nuggets.”

5. Focus on 1% improvements

The key to great SEO is momentum. As you build traction with your campaign, SEO begins to have a compounding effect where the results will grow exponentially. As your business website becomes more visible in search results, you start attracting more visitors — and if you can answer the queries of visitors, then they will become repeat website visitors leading to an exponential growth in the website traffic.

Eventually, visitors will start spreading a positive word of mouth through social media, blogs, and so on. It ‘s what some experts call the “snowball effect.”

Most websites, as evident by the SEO case study, will likely build momentum after six months of work. At this point, after six months, you can raise your expectations by targeting more competitive spaces for securing links. By that time, hopefully, you would build an influential audience that will help new website owners reach 100k visitors’ mark within 12 months.

After 12 months, you would likely establish an authority website garnering the trust of your visitors and giving you the ability to compete for bigger goals.

Going back to the SEO case study, Andrew Dennis and his team targeted very competitive-high volume keywords earlier this year, and results were unprecedented, beating their previous results by a significant margin.

Finally, another fruitful strategy worth highlighting was improving the old content, which included either updating headlines or adding new pictures. Results revealed that small updates to existing content increased click-through rate (CTR) and offered up-to-date content inline with Google’s policies.