Case Study: How to 4x Affiliate SEO Traffic in 2 Months

Two months ago I partnered on a high-potential affiliate website in the home furnishing niche.

The site reviews one of the most competitive and expensive pieces of furniture that a person can buy for their home.

As expected… competition is fierce.

In a little over 2 months, we were able to quadruple traffic to the site by dramatically increasing rankings from the middle of page 2 to the top of page 1.  In addition, we increased conversion nearly 2x by optimizing both design and call-to-actions (CTAs).

As a result, profit doubled.

What did I do to make this happen?

You are about to get the exact playbook on how I increased rankings and conversions, so you can apply these steps to your site as well.

Meet Josh

As you might have already guessed, this is a LeadSpring LaunchPad case study – similar to the previous affiliate case study that was performed here.

At LeadSpring, we partner with affiliate SEOs with the goal of growing income to maximum levels and sharing the additional profits.

(More on this later…)

josh kellyFor this case study, I partnered with Josh Kelly from Hammerhead Domains.

Josh is a busy guy.  Under his list of responsibilities, he…

  • Owns 40 affiliate websites
  • Maintains a PBN network of over 1500 sites
  • Serves over 5000 happy customers at Hammerhead
  • Visits over 7 countries each year (first world problems)

A couple of months ago Josh approached me about a JV opportunity on the site we’ll be discussing in this article.

This is how LaunchPad partnerships work:

At the time of partnering, you don’t have to do any more SEO on the site.  No new content, no PBNs… nada!  LeadSpring takes over everything.

Any additional profit added to the site is split 50-50.

Why did Josh decide to partner with LeadSpring?

Let’s ask him…

josh circle cutWell basically it just seemed like good ROI to me. I can focus on building new sites and you guys can focus on taking them to the next level.

The other thing is that you guys are working on stuff that’s not really on my radar. Improving the monetization and email list building are two things that particularly stood out to me.

For this site in particular, I also had been building new links to it for a while and wasn’t seeing any movement. So I figured if you guys can get it to move in the SERPs, that’s a win-win.

I too thought it was a win-win, and thus, a partnership was forged.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the site’s growth over these short two months…

Growth Metrics over the Past Two Months

metrics

The Testcase

Enough jibber-jabber.  Let’s get into the details.

While I can’t reveal the exact site or niche, Josh has basically given me the green light to discuss everything else.

Here are the stats:

  • amazon associatesMonetization:
    • Before Partnering: Amazon affiliate 100%
    • After Partnering: Amazon affiliate + private deals
  • Niche: Home furniture
  • Size: 17 Indexed Pages
  • Site age: 1 year 6 months
  • Ranking methodology: PBN and press release
  • Daily traffic:
    • Before partnering: 118 unique visitors
    • After two months: 501 unique visitors

How we Shot the Site up the SERPs and Tripled Rankings in 2 Months

Onsite SEO Wins

1. Added highly-optimized fresh content to ranking pages

We noticed a couple of weaknesses in the content on some of the pages.

  • The content hadn’t been updated in months.
  • Some of the main target keyword phrases hadn’t been mentioned in a sequential string.

Essentially, we added over 3000 words of content across all ranking pages in order to satisfy the fresh content algorithm.

In addition, we made sure that each page’s main keywords had their exact string explicitly mentioned in the content at least once.

For example, if the page’s main keywords were “dog training tips”, “guide for training your dog”, and “how to train a dog”, we made sure that these exact strings were written on the page.

optimize metas2. Optimized SEO Title Tags and H1’s

We performed an audit of SEO title tags and H1s and took note of which pages had entries that were…

  • Repeating words
  • Lacking their main keywords towards the front

These small changes resulted in some very quick wins.

Download my onsite SEO guide for more information on how to optimize key onsite fixtures such as titles and other metas.

3. 301’d a dead URL

At some point, the URL was changed for one of the main pages.

The old URL still had some nice links pointing to it so we simply repurposed that link juice by 301’ing that dead URL to the newly changed URL.

Easy-breezy.

4. De-optimized Alt Tags

Certain pages had a very high keyword density.

This was not because there were too many instances of the keywords in the content, but because there were over 10 images that had used the keywords in the alt tags.

By de-optimizing these alt tags, we brought the density down to a reasonable amount.

(Bet-cha didn’t know this was a “thing”)

5. Added outbound authority links

For critical pages that we wanted to rank, we made sure they had outbound authority links.

Daily Traffic Increase over 2 Months

2 month daily traffic

Offsite SEO Wins

6. Adjusted anchor text distributions

We performed niche-specific target anchor text analysis on the competition to determine the ideal anchor text distribution.

The result showed that many URLs required some pillowing so we sent a few URL and misc anchors using…

7. Links from traffic-generating PBNs

cat explosion

We diagnosed which pages were lacking link juice and hit them with niche-specific PBNs that were already ranking and generating traffic themselves.

Overall we sent 11 links to the site.

These dramatically increased rankings in an average of 10 days.

When Matt started sending links, that’s when traffic and earnings really increased. One page in particular that’s targeting two 5-6k/month keywords popped from the bottom of page 2 to the middle of page 1. – Josh

8. Balanced the distribution of homepage versus inner page links

The homepage for this site isn’t optimized for any keywords.  It merely serves as a portal to the many silo pages which indeed rank.

Because of this, the homepage had a lack of links going to it.

We balanced out the believability and naturalness of the link profile by sending more links to the homepage.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Wins

9. Created a brand new theme design from scratch

This site needed a makeover.  We took it from “pretty ugly” to “damn pretty”.

Using Thrive Themes, we custom built our own theme, which included:

  • A lighter, more visually-friendly color scheme
  • Beautiful graphics
  • A new custom logo
  • A minimal but functional navigation bar menu instead of a sidebar

Note: In affiliate marketing, pretty doesn’t always equal more sales.  A lot of times, ugly converts better as it is more believable as being an honest, 3rd party review site.  In this case, since the price of the items being sold is so high, conversions shot up when we brought sexy back.

justin

10. Optimized Call-To-Actions (CTA)

We changed the CTA textual links and buttons to display our prized, highly split-tested, best-converting button.

You’ll have to buy me a beer sometime to get this from me.

11. Improved readability and time-on-site

We kicked off each article with a custom introduction image, each with an attractive cursive font, which gently whispered to the reader, “Hey there.  You’ve landed on the right page.  Stay and have a read, my friend.”

In addition, we broke up walls-of-text with images so people wouldn’t be intimidated into thinking they might actually have to read.

12. Optimized comparison tables for conversion

First, we reorganized tables to have products listed horizontally (i.e. by row) and thus friendlier for stealing the featured snippet.

Next, we clearly numbered each of the table’s products as #1, #2, and #3 to quickly inform the reader which product is the best.


Conclusion

In just over two months, I think we’re safe to say this this project has been a success.

Here’s what Josh had to say about the Leadspring experience:

josh circle cutBy the end of the second month they had almost doubled the revenue from the site, giving me a 50% increase in earnings with zero work.

Overall, I’ve been very happy with the experience. They’ve added a ton of value to the site while allowing me to be completely hands off.

Personally, I also want to give a special shoutout to LeadSpring team members Jay and Ken for their valuable contributions on this site.

What do we have planned for the future of this project?

One of our specialties at LeadSpring is creative monetization.

We’re currently in discussions with manufacturers and have negotiated much higher affiliate payouts than what’s currently offered by Amazon.  This is especially important in this niche with Amazon’s payment structure changes.

Those should go live next month and allow us to jump from a 2x profit increase to a 6x increase.

There is no doubt in my mind that, in due time, this site can break 5-figures per month.

If you believe that you have a site that has untapped potential and might be a candidate for LeadSpring, apply now.

For everyone else…

Thanks for reading.  Stay tuned for more case studies like this to come in the near future.

 

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