In this SEO Case Study we look at how we took Robin Storey's author site, Storey Lines, turned it into a ghostwriter site, and in 12 months increased traffic by over 500%.
How To Create A Traffic Explosion In 12 Months
"My traffic went from mediocre to magnificent simply by correcting the most basic of mistakes"
The domain authority moved from just 16 to 27 in less than 12 months, a 68% increase.
TOP 5 KEYWORDS
The Challenge: Converting An Author Site Into A Ghostwriter Site.
Robin Storey is an author of 7 books in the crime/comedy genre and 1 memoir of her own experience of breast cancer.
Over time, Robin's writing moved from fiction to fact and soon she realised that her strengths, and her ability to best serve people, lay in the role of a ghostwriter.
That is, writing other people's life stories.
This led to a decision to change the direction of her website. It also led to discovering that the overall site structure, SEO and existing content was..."not so hot".
Note: The original site was built on Thrive Themes so a decision was made to stick with this but update the theme used to take advantage of better site design options.
The biggest threat was losing the existing audience and traffic.
The Solution: Re-Designing The Entire Structure, SEO And Content
The main problem with the website was that it didn't drive conversions, and that all content was 'stand-alone' and didn't link to create a user funnel.
The first step was to update the theme to the latest Rise theme available from Thrive Themes.
Next, came the in-depth analysis of all existing pages to determine whether they stayed, got updated or archived.
Lastly, came the design and implementation of 2 silo pages, breaking down the content into fiction and non-fiction books and creating post grids related to individual genre keywords, like Thriller Fiction and Memoir for example.
After conducting a site audit, every single page and post (left over after the clean-out) was updated to include all the basic SEO elements such as keyword driven headlines, sections, links and meta descriptions.
SEO is not an author's strong suit and so a lot of work was done here but it was also the factor that created the most immediate gains in traffic.
Particular attention was paid to the link structure, both internally and externally and using appropriate anchor texts.
This was another long process but it was also another winner in terms of traffic and especially metrics like time on site.
Robin's site still suffers from a relatively high bounce rate but we were able to get this down considerably just by keeping people engaged with the content.
Making the content longer was also a big benefit as was the inter-linking.
Turning traffic into subscribers and then ultimately ghostwrting clients was obviously high on the agenda, so a main ghostwriter sales page was created (outlining Robin's services).
Numerous blog posts related to ghostwriting, both from a writing perspective and from a client needs perspective were written and released over time.
This kept some of the existing fiction book subscribers from leaving the list (although that was and still is inevitable), but it helped to create the new ghostwriter client audience.
After reviewing the site and making the "right" kind of changes, I saw real progress in the ranking and also a huge increase in traffic. I now hold the number one (or at least top 2 or 3) spot for all my main keywords and best of all, I'm getting more clients.
SEO Case Study Results: How The Changes Stacked Up
The initial site re-design took about 4 months in total, combined with updating and adding in extra social sites and implementing a dedicated content plan.
That plan ran for about another 6 months and combined regular blog posts, continual existing page/blog updates and testing and tracking of keywords.
Site stats were gathered through various programs, Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
As you can see from the semrush.com search below, organic traffic increased exponentially after the April-May 2020 project start, dropped off as the site "settled" and then took off again as the content started to attract visitors.
It reached a peak of over 4,500 visitors in June 2021 and has since reduced, mainly due to a slow-down in content creation (because Robin is actually spending more time with clients).
One or two Google updates affected the site, although that can't be blamed entirely. It's really a content issue more than anything.
You can see however, that the organic keyword volume has continually increased from 834 total in May 2020 to 2,072 in October 2021. Impressive.
The table below shows the current status of Moz and Majestic rankings and scores taken from serped.net.
Before the project began, the Moz Rank was 1.4, Domain Authority 16, Page Authority 20, Citation Flow 2, and Trust Flow 0.
These improving metrics have played a big part is Robin's site acheiving its impressive ranking where she currently holds 21 positions in the top 10 for high traffic keywords.
SEO Case Study Conclusion
There's a lot more that can be done to Storey Lines to make it an even better site. In fact, it will be going through another iteration of the SEO audit process later this year.
We'll be re-designing the home page to move away from the author books listed and more toward an actual ghostwriter look and feel.
Watch for a new SEO case study in 2022.
It's been a "gentle" process to transition this list to people interested in non-fiction material and away from purely fiction readers.
Now that this is almost complete, the home page can be changed.
There are basically two main takeaways that have come from this project and not surprisingly, they are old-school tactics:
1. Take the time to do a complete site SEO and content audit to determine what needs to be done immediately, what needs to follow that and what can be left for a later date. The key is get quick wins without sacrificing the integrity of the site.
2. The old but trusted method of siloing is still going strong from an SEO perspective and should be used wherever possible on a wesbite to help create content authority. Google loves it when you make it easy for them to understand your site.
What did you think of this case study?
Did we cover everything? Did we miss anything?
Let us know in the comments below.