Sharing my mental processes for my SEO strategy is incredibly daunting, but I am a strong believer of there being enough space at the table for all of us.
Today I wanted to share a case study about a piece of seasonal content with “no” search volume, and how I increased pageviews of the content by 222% in just one year.
Many SEO professionals have told me not to do what I am about to tell you. If you are new here, take everything we say with a grain of salt. SEO is dynamic, rapidly changing, and each of us has our view of what it is and how to use it. Personally, I believe part of SEO is anticipating the needs or wants of your audience even before they do.
For this case study, I am going to talk about an article I wrote for my travel blog called “Pust: A Guide to Slovenian Carnival“. The reason for choosing this piece is that I believe in the power of content marketing and that anyone can achieve thess results regardless of their size.
This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission on purchases made through the links. This is at no additional cost to you and helps keep the site running.
Looking for inspiration for your seasonal content marketing? Check out the latest post: April Content Ideas for Small Businesses
The problem: low to no search volume for keywords
Keyword research is a delicate balance between search volume and competition. The aim is to find the right keywords that your target audience would be using in a search query and the goal is to rank on the first page so you get all of the clicks!
What do you do when a keyword has 0 search volume.
Do you skip over it? Maybe.
Did I? No.
Just because a keyword may show a search volume of 0 there may be context to that 0. In this case study, the reason for such low volume is because it is a seasonal keyword.
That means it is primarily used during a specific season, and thus the average of monthly searches shows low to no volume.
I knew that my audience would be interested in learning about this festival or at least seeing the photos. It is a unique and fascinating practice that is even protected by UNESCO.
Above you will see some of the potential keywords for this article, and that their volume is quite low as well as their competitive score. Note: these numbers were lower one year ago before I wrote the article!
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The solution: create original and engaging content
Admittedly, I was feeling very apprehensive. The search volumes were low, but I knew my audience would be interested so a plan was needed.
As always, I began at Google, and start testing the first things that came to mind about my topic. This included things like ‘Pust in Slovenia’, ‘Slovenian carnival’, ‘what is Pust?’, or ‘how to experience Slovenian Carnival’.
Doing this exercise will help you understand
- how Google understands the keyword or phrase.
- the user intent, as Google interprets it.
- your competition.
- how best to create content worthy of the first page.
Afterwards, I utlized my favorite keyword research tool, Keysearch. From here I examined various phrases around this topic to inspire my strategy and see what are some ranking possibilities.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness and was created by Google as part of their Search Quality Rater Guidelines. The point of E-A-T is to have guidelines to help create quality content.
The most important thing to be aware of is that the content you have on your website is factually true and that is backed by the author or source’s expertise.
In this case, I am an Anthropologist that studies culture, I have lived in Slovenia for a few years, and I have attended the event dicussed in the article. Because of the wealth of content around Slovenia on the website, that signals to Google that I might have some expertise on the topic. Also, in the article I linked to authoritative sources – including my competitors!
The results: ranking #1 and 222% increase in pageviews
I published the article Feb. 18th, 2020, a bit later than initially anticipated, but still before Carnival took place in Slovenia. I promoted the article as I usually do through social media, and especially in Facebook groups that are interested in Slovenia and its culture.
I shared the article, the holiday passed, and thought nothing of it again.
A year later, there was a significant rise in traffic and a rise in rankings for this article.
This is the point where I get to toot my own horn and do a little dance at my desk. SEO can be slow. It is not for instant gratification. It is for the patient and stubborn.
After one year, my article was now ranking on the first page for various keywords and even reached the first spot for one of them.
Keyword: Pust in Slovenia
I am ranking #1 for this search term. My content is outranking the Slovenian tourism board, National Geographic, In Your Pocket, and Wikipedia!
This keyword is not in my URL, title tag, H1, or meta description (I know, what a rule breaker). I clearly have less links and much lower numbers than the other pages. My assumption for why I did well was that my article was the most recently updated with never before seen photos and gifs of the festival, as well as being a niche site with authority on this topic.
Keyword: Kurenti slovenia
This keyword was not in my strategy as I was saving it for an article that was produced this year, but due to it being such a specific query with low volume of content my article moved up the ranks.
Keyword: Slovenian carnival
This was actually my target keyword which means I have room for improvement to get even better results next year! I will talk more about that in a later section.
Let’s take a look at numbers.
I have slightly different dates here for a reason. In 2020, the holiday fell between Feb. 21-26th, and in 2021 it was between Feb 12-17th. Therefore, the active times for these pages varied a bit but they are both a 30 day period.
|Dates||Pageviews||Avg. Time on Page|
|Feb 18 – Mar 25 (2020)||207||5:07|
|Jan 26 – Feb 25 (2021)||667||6:58|
These numbers even surprised me! Over 600 pageviews for a very niche subject is not bad at all. Even better is that my blog is focused heavily around this niche so it was an opportunity to gain new readers.
In one year…
increase in traffic to a single page.
increase in average time on page.
first page ranking keywords gained
Why it succeeded?
Wandering Helene has become a trusted authority for presenting Slovenian culture in English language. I’m active in expat and immigrant Facebook groups where I shared relevant content.
Also, the article had original photos and gifs which better showcase the vibrance of the event. The Ljubljana Dragon Parade is an often overlooked event, but it allows visitors to experience a slice of the festivities from various corners of the country in Ljubljana. Filling in the content gaps is a great way to outrank your competitors.
An SEO’s work is never done.
Because this is a seasonal piece of content, I have to wait a year to collect new data, but in the meantime improvements can take place.
One data point to improve is the exit rate. By checking the behavior flow in Google Analytics you can see where people click through and how many pages they visit before leaving.
This particular page, while it was capturing lots of new traffic, 98% of it left immediately after reading that post. This was a missed opportunity.
Here are some ideas to improve the click-through rates:
- Include more internal links (links to other pages of the website)
- Add a call to action (CTA) to encourage readers to subscribe to my mailing list or click through to other articles
- Create more content around the topic (I did this one already!)
Another strategy for improving the success of this article is gaining relevant backlinks. This can be done through various techniques such as speaking about the topic on a podcast, writing a post for a larger publication, or reaching out to relevant sites that could add value to their content by adding my link.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first SEO case study. I’d love to hear if it helped you improve upon a piece of content or create something new!
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