SEO Case Study: How To 6x Search Traffic [Gambling Niche]

Everyone says it’s impossible to rank in competitive markets.

They say:

  • “This niche is saturated!”
  • “There are too many big players!”
  • “I don’t have the budget to do that!”

But the people who say this are DEAD wrong.

And I have the data to prove it.

In fact, my SEO agency took a website competing in 2x of the world’s most hyper-competitive markets…

 And took their search traffic from 5,156 to 30,347 per month-

seo case study search traffic results

And this isn’t junk traffic from Pinterest.

It’s highly targeted traffic that matches the commercial intent of the site-

ecommerce conversion metrics

Better still:

We did it using 3x basic strategies available to everyone.

In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how we did it…

The Case Study Site

The website in this case study is Brazilian.

It operates at the intersection of 2x the world’s most competitive niches:

  • Sports betting
  • Cryptocurrency

It’s a pretty simple website:

the site

But, sports betting has recently been made legal in Brazil…

 …and currently reaches over 200 million people.

When we took on the website they were struggling to bring in 300x unique visitors a day.

Which is where we came in to support…

How To 6x Search Traffic

We used 3x simple methods to grow the site that you’ve probably heard about before

  1. Homepage optimisation
  2. Keyword research
  3. Link building

All through the lens of international SEO.

There’s nothing mind-blowing about this approach. But it’s proof that if you get the basics right and do a little out-of-the-box thinking…

You can achieve EPIC results.

The Great International SEO Opportunity

Let’s face it:

Everyone wants to rank in English-speaking markets.

But there is an entire world out there using search engines.

Google alone:

  • Operates in 219x countries
  • Supports 46x languages
  • Has 80% market share in 12x top markets

Making international SEO a great opportunity.

And you might not know this, but outside of work – I spend 95% of my time speaking Spanish so I’ve always got my eyes open.

We also knew that gambling and cryptocurrency aren’t just for English-speaking audiences.

People all over the world want to place bets and use their cryptocurrency to do it!

This differentiated the site away from core betting keywords enough to carve out a profitable niche which we’ll delve into in the next section.

So we dug into the website’s Geo-location traffic to see what countries were already driving traffic to the site.

We found Brazil had an unusually high amount of traffic which was converting well.

So we figured we’d start by increasing the traffic from this source-

search traffic comparison

And as you can see – we had great success!

Finding Our Unique Angle

Our client’s website operates in a sub-niche at the intersection of two MASSIVE niches:

sports-better-seo-case-study-diagram

This gave us:

  • 2x big pools of high-volume keywords
  • 1x small pool of niche-relevant keywords

To build our keyword strategy.

This might sound counterintuitive, but having 2x hyper-competitive niches to take keywords from gave us a competitive advantage.

Why?

Because there’s lots of low-hanging fruit keywords that can be used to easily increase relevance.

(Low-hanging fruit = keywords with solid search volumes and low difficulty.)

This was a quick way to get some easy results.

All we had to do was go to the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and find them:

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer results

Once we had found these juicy keywords we then used some simple techniques to signal relevance toward the site.

Much of this was simple on-page SEO stuff.

We-

  • Increased keyword density
  • Added keywords to header tags and metadata
  • Added relevant keywords from Surfer SEO
  • Reworked our internal linking to use relevant anchor text
  • Added (or extended) relevant content to use keywords
  • And most importantly optimised backlink anchor text (more on that soon)

We knew this approach was working when Google Search Console started suggesting other niche-relevant keywords to us.

This set the foundation for our two-pronged keyword strategy

Keyword Research: A Two-Pronged Approach

We focused on 2x elements of keyword research:

  1. Long tail keywords
  2. Keyword conversion rate

Although many of the keywords were in Brazilian Portuguese, we were able to use search data and translations to find the correct keywords to use.

Thankfully, many of the terms were English-language nouns that could be used for our domestic and international markets.

Here’s a closer look at the process…

The Long Tail Keyword Strategy

Even with an international focus we knew we couldn’t compete with the big players for the big money keywords.

This meant we needed to focus on long tail keywords.

what are longtail keywords
 
We started by excluding keywords like:

  • Bitcoin
  • Betting
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Gambling

And began to dig into the lower-traffic – but often more profitable – keywords in these niches.

We did this by using tools like:

To generate keyword lists we could gather data on in Ahrefs and SEMRush.

Keywords list

This gave us a workable list of keywords that we could use for new content or to optimise existing pages for.

The Conversion Focused Keyword Strategy

The second part of our keyword research strategy was to focus on conversion rates.

Think of it this way…

  • “Bitcoin” receives 3.9x million searches a month, but has zero intent
  • “How to invest in Bitcoin” only gets 31,000x but is full of intent

We looked at the bounce rate data on our client’s site and found this theory to be true:

Bounce rate data

People bounce from these pages at an alarming rate.

It’s the SEO equivalent of this:

Hi, thank you. goodbye

This gave us the opportunity to look for high-converting keywords on the client’s site and optimize around them.

If it didn’t convert, it went.

Take these 2 keywords for example:

“betting”: global volume = 61k global

betting keyword analysis

“bitcoin betting” volume = 2.3k

bitcoin betting keyword

A normal betting site would be over the moon to be ranking for the keyword “ betting”

However, in this case…

The traffic that lower volume “bitcoin betting” and {cryptocurrency} {betting} type keywords would bring is more valuable than the higher volume “betting” keywords.

And why is that?

Because the {cryptocurrency} {betting} keywords hone down exactly on our target audience.

Keywords that users are searching tell us a lot about them.

By searching {bitcoin} {betting} we know:

  1. The user likely has access to bitcoin
  2. They likely want to place bets using bitcoin

And that is exactly what our site provides.

We are matching the user intent of the search exactly – which means they convert and bring in revenue for the site-

ecommerce conversion metrics

As you can see, these lower competition keywords are extremely profitable especially when you take customer lifetime value into account.

So it made perfect sense to focus our keyword strategy after these lower-volume, high-converting keywords.

Because what’s better than less competition and more money?!

The Link Building Strategy

Link building is where we saw the biggest impact of international SEO.

Because search is less “advanced” in Brazil, link building opportunities were:

  • Easier
  • Faster
  • Cheaper

To find than in markets like the USA.

We could also get access to sites with higher domain authority and overall quality with much much less effort (I can’t stress this enough!).

Brazilian websites have not been bombarded with outreach emails as much as UK/US sites meaning that the response rates were much higher!

And the best part is…

Getting mentions from popular sites in Brazil is a huge thumbs up to Google that they should be ranking your site for that country.

So all we needed to do, was hire a Portuguese-language freelancer to write:

  • Outreach emails
  • Blog posts

 And we had access to a market with limitless link building potential.

Here’s how we took advantage of this…

The Anchor Text Strategy

More link opportunities meant we could create a more diverse anchor text profile.

After all:

Going overboard on keyword-specific anchor text is the fastest way to get a penalty.

So, we wanted a good mix of branded and targeted anchor texts to ensure we had a rich profile.

There are 5x different types of anchor texts we used:

  1. Exact match: the specific target keyword
  2. Phrase match: expanded variations of the target keyword
  3. Brand name: that exactly match our client’s brand name
  4. Branded: variations of brand keywords
  5. Keyword branded: a mix of our target keyword with our brand

Tiered Link Building – Pay The Link Juice Forward!

We also took advantage of some modern day tiered link building methods by building links, to our links.

These links increase the authority of the pages that are linking to your content.

OK, I get that sounds confusing.

It’s easier to explain with a picture, so here’s how that process looks:

SEO Case Study Tiered Structure

Basically:

  • You create a page
  • You gain a backlink from a third-party page
  • You create backlinks to that third-party page

This increases the number of link signals the third-party page receives, meaning…

 The link you originally got is now more powerful.

You can perform Tier 2 link building by using any type of link, like:

  • Guest posts
  • Blog comments
  • Social media
  • Paid links

That will improve the authority of that page.

It’s just link building, but to a site that’s not your own.

Make sense?

To implement this strategy ourselves we:

  1. Choose the most powerful backlinks
  2. Outreached to relevant bloggers in our existing network
  3. Asked them to link to 1x of the existing backlinks

This gave us a lot more link juice to work with and improved our entire link building “ecosystem”.

The Results: A Closer Look

In the end my team were able to 6x search traffic.

Take a closer look:

seo case study search traffic results

google search console

But here are the real headlines:

  • Starting traffic: ~300 organics per day
  • Current traffic: ~3,400 organics per day

If you need help increasing your search traffic, click here.

click here now

2 Responses

  1. Koscelic
    11.11.2019

    Letter ‘x’ that follows numbers throughout this article, does it have any serious role, apart from confusing an average reader like me?

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 12th, 2019 at 1:09 am

      X = times. So ‘6x Search Traffic’ makes sense whereas ‘6 Search Traffic’ doesn’t.

What are your thoughts?

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
1 Shares
Share1
Tweet
Pin
Share