Published May 30th, 2019 by Jennifer Thorp

6 Innovative SEO Campaigns (and What You Can Learn from them)

Search engine optimization (SEO) has seen a lot of growth since its inception in the 90s. It’s one of the most progressive digital strategies out there in terms of innovation and updates. It has evolved from search engine visibility to something more holistic, as it encourages webmasters and bloggers to develop an architecturally-sound webpage with educational content.

Search engines have also taken measures in ensuring that SEO is more rewarding for practitioners. Google is perhaps the most famous example for this, as they regularly roll out algorithm updates to weed out black hat practitioners. They even released Search Quality Guidelines that webmasters can frequently review.

One of the most significant changes to their algorithms is the Penguin update, which effectively stopped all spammy link building habits and encouraged users to focus on creating expert content to organically build authority in their industry.

There’s also mobile-first indexing, which means web pages that are optimized for mobile devices will rank higher in SERPs, while those that do not will be ranked lower.

One of the more recent examples of this is the Fred update, which penalizes content riddled with affiliate links and ads with seemingly no value.

Why Do SEO Trends Matter?

SEO is not a one-time thing. Some strategies that were working out for you a couple of years back may not produce the same results right now. Thus, it’s critical to stay in the know so that you can strengthen the backbone of your strategy and formulate better tactics.

A multitude of factors affect the SEO strategy you may want to implement for your business, and an oversight on your part could lead to a sanction from Google. Once you get penalized, it will take harder work to earn back the search engine’s trust again.

Since the digital stratosphere is continuously changing, it only makes sense that the people offering SEO services keep pace with these changes. But from time to time, it’s also nice to revisit the best campaigns that SEO agencies have launched in the past to successfully promote a brand online.

Plenty of thought leaders and SEO experts willingly share their strategies so that other companies can implement these steps into their own brand.

Here are some of the most innovative SEO campaigns—touching everything from image SEO to voice search—and what we can learn from them.

6 Best SEO Campaign Case Studies

#1 - Ranking Images to the Top

Campaign achievements: Used Google Images to rank photos at the top of the search engine page results.

No SEO case study list is complete without the iconic Like a Boss search ad campaign by Volkswagen.

When SEO comes to mind, users usually think of webpage rankings on the main Google SERP. While Volkswagen used the same concept, they tweaked it a bit by applying it on the Google Images SERP. This creative SEO campaign is the brainchild of Gus ter Beek.

The campaign launched in 2013 and succeeded in impressing the public, as well as seasoned SEO practitioners. Volkswagen managed to rank consecutively for top five images in Google Images for the keyphrase “ultimate business car.” How did they do it?

The ad worked in Volkswagen’s favor because of their keyword choice. Most SEO strategies aim to go for the top keywords in your industry. It’s not common to enter the search phrase “ultimate business car” on your search engine, as people would search “best company cars” or “cars for business.”

Next, they applied SEO image tactics such as fixing the URLs, alt text, and ascribing the correct order so that they would be indexed consecutively. This resulted in creating an organic ad by optimizing five different URLs.

Many SEO and tech news outlets reported on the campaign, which further increased the traffic and footprint of Volkswagen on the internet. Though released six years ago, this stunt continues to be a prime example of creative strategies you can implement with SEO.

Bottom line: Keywords are the heart and soul of SEO, but don’t forget image SEO!

#2 - A Massive Increase in Organic Traffic

Campaign achievements: Increased organic traffic of a website by 11,065% in 18 months.

One of SEO’s primary functions is to help websites get organic traction online. This case study was conducted for the UAV Coach, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The company aims to train pilots in the commercial drone industry.

Michael Karp spearheaded the project for UAV Coach to rank #1 in their niche. He created a 6-step process that involved a lot of SEO tools and analysis before proceeding with a final action plan. After 18 months, the strategy generated 152,732 visits, hundreds of new email subscribers, affiliate commissions, and business leads.

His process went as follows:

• Thorough keyword research to uncover evergreen topics targeted to their main buyer persona, beginner pilots. Characteristics such as monthly search volume and potential for organic footprint were primarily considered.

• Selecting prime keywords and writing rich, long-form content that trumps the competition. In this case, Karp created a quadcopter buying guide with close to 5,000 words. He included an interactive table of contents guide at the beginning called “jump links,” which also shows up on the SERPs.

• On-page optimization via title and header tags, anchor links, and sprinkling LSI keywords on subheadings and URLs.

• Building landing pages to create an email list, and eventually working toward conversions. Lead magnet content and email marketing tools were set up.

• The content promotion was done through social media, forums, and discussion threads for a combination of organic and paid efforts.

• Link building tactics with high DR websites using competitor analysis data. Link gaps were identified and leveraged for optimization.

Here’s a quick rundown of the tools they used:

- SEMRush
- Google Analytics
- Ahrefs
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Thrive Leads
- Sumo
- ConvertKit

Bottom line: The extensive work done on the content and link building promotions boosted this website’s credibility and ranking in its industry.

# 3 – Increased Number of Visitors in Less than a Year

Campaign achievements: Increased number of visitors by over 85% in less than a year; the number of visitors who revisited the site also increased.

This next SEO strategy outlines the efforts of TKG SEO for the company Belden Brick Company, a B2C business, which mainly sells products through distributors. Their website has a massive page count due to the products they offer.

The SEO strategist for this project already had experience in the same industry, but their efforts were not met without challenges. Their goal was to optimize the company’s website and create a better user experience for clients and users.

To implement the changes they had in their vision, they also consulted with their in-house digital marketing experts and web marketing strategists. Some of their notable efforts included:

• Designing a header and footer for the company. This on-page SEO tactic made sure that their visitors always knew the product catalog that Belden Brick offered and keep their website looking updated and cohesive.

• Creating a new lead generation campaign. This involved both on-page and off-page efforts, along with creating attractive landing pages and product pages that deliver complete information. This provided better overall site usability.

Bottom line: On-page optimization and website audits were the focus of the SEO strategy of this extensive website. This was so they could create an exceptional user experience for the visitors and encourage them to stay on the pages longer and perform actions such as email opt-ins or purchases.

#4 – Hitting One Million Pageviews in Just One Year

Campaign achievements: Hitting six figures for total page views on the first year of launch.

If you’re new to the scene, it’s going to take a lot of time before you see your results bear any fruit that’s why it’s interesting when we see companies who defy the odds. SaaS startup, Buildfire, takes center stage for this SEO case study created by Matthew Barby.

The company is a DIY app-building platform aimed at pushing small businesses to create interactive and mobile solutions for their clients. Barby began his process doing the following:

• Thorough competitor analysis to get a bird’s eye view of the industry. He picked the top five companies to beat using the following factors: estimated search traffic, domain authority, trust flow, number of external links, number of linking domains, and monthly branded searches.

• Assessed traffic opportunity by creating a list of keywords and themes for content that can seamlessly integrate said keywords. The monthly search volume of each keyword was analyzed, as well as the difficulty score.

• A complete website audit was implemented. Any broken links, low-res images, and old posts were fixed to make sure that they demonstrate professionalism. The attention to detail signals Google that the webpage is of high quality.

• The last step is the industry content analysis. Barby made it a point to check the top-performing posts of competitors, as well as which ones are heavily shared. He took inspiration from these posts so that he could get clued in with the kinds of content that the industry’s audience is likely to read.

• Outreach and promotions for content were done, which included tapping influencers for social media content, sponsorship deals, and link building techniques. The partnerships and widened business contacts helped their name get out there fast.

Here are some of the tools they used:

- BuzzSumo
- Google Analytics
- Hello Bar

Bottom line: Your competition matters, but they’re not meant for you to copy. Use them as a springboard or inspiration for your approach and find out their weak links. Know all the players in the game before strategizing your move.

#5 – Creating Content 10X Better Than the Rest

Campaign achievements: Create content 10x better than existing ones online to outrank them.

The primary focus of this strategy is to create content based on keywords that are highly relevant to your business. These posts should be evergreen, genuinely informative and educational, distinctly over other articles of the same topic, highly linkable, and easy to promote (whether via organic or paid methods).

This technique is currently being used by plenty of brands across different industries. For instance, BEE Free dominates the freemium tools niche with the keyword “free email templates” while Smarter Travel ranks number one for the keyword “packing list.”

These industries are highly competitive, and outstanding content is an excellent factor for their high rankings.

The process for this strategy is as follows:

• Determining pertinent keywords in your industry with a medium or high search volume. These will be the backbone of your content ideas.

• Verifying if the titles in your topics list are linkable. This can be validated by checking the number of links of top-ranking pages for the query.

• Reviewing your closest competitors’ approach to content ideation.

• Adding a twist and making sure that it’s better than what you currently see online.

• Reaching out to reputable outlets, including those who have referenced your competitor’s content, for link building.

• Promoting content via guest posting, link gap building, resource link building, and social media efforts.

Bottom line: Content is an integral part of your SEO strategy. You can’t implement your tactics without building a great content pool for your website that other sites would be willing to promote or link to.

#6 – Leveraging the Featured Snippet on SERPs

Campaign achievements: Targeted “Rank 0” in Google SERPs, otherwise known as featured snippets.

A featured snippet shows an excerpt of the answer to a search query, typically in a paragraph or list form. It outranks the first result on SERPs. How do you get to this spot?

1. Create a list of search queries or keywords you’re already ranking for between position 1 to 20. While there’s no concrete basis yet as to how Google chooses the featured snippet result, they are usually part of the top ten pages ranking for a query.

It’s also more common for these types of results to show up for people using voice search, assuming they are handling a device hands-free and need quick information.

(Note: This is a good idea for voice search optimization.)

2. From your pool, identify the keywords that display featured snippets. List down your web pages that are ranking for those terms as well.

3. Restructure your content format to compete for the featured snippet result.

4. Optimize on-page tactics for better engagement such as improved user experience, design, page speed, and so on.

5. Provide direct and accurate answers for the search query. A standard format is building a list. This section should be obvious to readers so that Google won’t have a hard time extracting the excerpt, too.

6. If there’s already an existing snippet for a particular query, write better copy than what’s currently shown.

7. Consider link building tactics to strengthen your website’s credibility and domain authority by using partial match anchor texts.

Bottom line: It’s not enough to reach the first spot of the SERPs! Featured snippets will change the game soon, and it has already caught the attention of various practitioners out there. Strive to tailor your content to a featured snippet-friendly format.

Don’t Fall Behind—Update Your SEO Strategies

The world has gone digital, and the white noise is just getting louder and louder. Keeping your SEO strategy fresh is critical for achieving the results you want for your brand.

If you’re overwhelmed about starting these yourself, there’s no need to fret. Various SEO agencies and experts can help you tap the maximum potential of your website or product online.

The case studies mentioned above are only some of the effective strategies that delivered results to various industries and company sizes. Before you start with your SEO venture, you have to be clear with your goal. Do you want to take a creative approach or are you aiming to increase your website visitors? Understanding your needs before proceeding with strategy implementation is the key.

One thing’s for sure: SEO is not going anywhere soon. If you’re not focusing on your SEO efforts, the health of your online presence will be compromised.
 
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