SEO Strategy: How These Pinterest Bloggers Increased Their Google Traffic By 1153%
Today I’m going to show you how Kelan and Brittany used SEO strategies to increase Google traffic to their blog by 1153%.
In just seven months.
The best part?
It didn’t involve any complex tactics, expensive software, or time-consuming "hacks".
Just hard work, an eagerness to learn, and a step-by-step SEO process to follow.
Let’s get started.
Wanna learn the SEO strategies Kelan and Brittany used to explode their Google traffic and rankings? Sign up for my free SEO Starter Pack, a 5-day email series that walks you through why SEO is so important, the best way to do keyword research, and how to create epic content that ranks in Google.
SEO: A Blog Promotion Strategy That Gets Results
SEO is a great driver of traffic to your blog for one main reason:
It gives you the framework to create and optimize content that people are actively looking for in Google.
And by working hard on their SEO, Kelan and Brittany saw their organic traffic skyrocket from 4,544 visitors in June to 57,379 visitors in January ... a ridiculous increase of 1153%.
Yes, they did an 12x increase in Google traffic in half a year.
Not only that, but because of their SEO efforts, Kelan and Brittany are now ranking #1 in Google for the keyword budget template—which gets over 20,000 searches per month—outranking huge authority sites like Mint.com, Smartsheet, and The Balance.
Does SEO sound like something you’d like to implement on your blog?
Then keep reading.
Meet Kelan and Brittany (aka The Savvy Couple)
In July 2016, Kelan and Brittany started their blog, The Savvy Couple, to help families organize their finances, take control of their lives, and find their freedom.
Like many lifestyle bloggers, Kelan and Brittany immediately turned their focus to Pinterest as their main source of driving traffic.
“We put a lot of time into promoting our content on Pinterest,” Kelan told me. “We found that Pinterest was great for driving lots of free traffic in a quick amount of time.”
But with all of the craziness going on with Pinterest’s algorithm updates, their banning of accounts, and issues of stolen pins, Kelan knew that for The Savvy Couple blog to take the next step, they had to diversify and find another traffic stream.
“When you have traffic coming in from multiple sources, your blogging business is on much more stable footing,” Kelan said.
Kelan and Brittany decided to dedicate themselves to learning SEO and following a process to increase their organic traffic.
Fortunately, all the hard work paid off—while Google accounted for only 3% of their total traffic in June 2018, that number shot all the way up to 20% just seven months later.
And a big reason their organic traffic has increased so much is because the number of keywords that they’re ranking for in Google has also skyrocketed.
Here’s a screenshot from Ahrefs showing The Savvy Couple ranking for 15,854 keywords in June 2, 2018:
And just seven months later, Kelan and Brittany are ranking for an nearly 70,000 keywords in Google:
Not only that, but Kelan and Brittany have been working on their outreach efforts and building high-quality backlinks—the #1 ranking factor in Google—and as a result, have picked up some amazing links from The Penny Hoarder, CreditCards.com, and Bankrate.
Not bad for a couple of bloggers who almost didn’t even give SEO a try because they thought it was too hard.
Now I obviously can’t guarantee that you’ll get the same results as Kelan and Brittany.
But it should give you an idea of the power of SEO and driving targeted traffic to your blog.
With that out of the way, it’s time for me to walk you through a few specific tactics that delivered two big SEO wins for The Savvy Couple.
How Kelan and Brittany Ranked #1 for "Budget Template"
If you want to have success with SEO, it all starts with identifying the right keywords to rank for.
And if you don’t have a process for doing keyword research, you’re not going to get very far.
“We had no real method of doing keyword research before,” Kelan said. “It was just me searching randomly for keywords to see if they were easy to rank for and fit into our niche”
Fast forward seven months later, and The Savvy Couple is now ranking #1 for the keyword “budget template”—which gets 21,000 searches per month and is pretty damn competitive:
Just how competitive is the keyword budget template?
Take a look at some of the sites—and their Domain Ratings—that Kelan and Brittany are outranking in Google:
Being able to outrank Microsoft Office, Mint.com, SmartSheet, and The Balance is seriously impressive.
But how did they do it?
Finding “Rankable” Keywords With Proper Competitor Research
If you’re a student in my course or you’re on my email list, you know I have a preferred method of doing keyword research.
No, it doesn’t involve tapping random keywords into a keyword tool and then hoping to find something that you think you might be able to rank for.
Instead, it works like this:
- 1Compile a list of competitors in your niche with similar domain authority
- 2Use an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to extract your competitors’ top ranking pages
This will give you a list of keyword ideas that should be perfect for you to target — you know your competitors are ranking for them, and since they have a similar domain authority as your own, you should have a decent chance to rank for them to.
And that’s exactly how Kelan and Brittany found the keyword budget template as a potential post idea.
But what gave them the confidence that they should push ahead with this keyword and write a post that would hopefully rank well in Google?
Two words: user intent.
User intent just means that when someone is on Google looking for something, you need to create a piece of content giving them the exact answer they’re looking for in the exact format they expect to see.
And with the keyword budget template, Kelan and Brittany saw their opening.
“After doing our research we realized it was a pretty difficult keyword to rank for due to big-name sites ranking for it,” Kelan said. “But we saw what the user intent was and many of the sites that were ranking were not delivering what a searcher was looking for.”
If you think about it, when someone is searching for budget template in Google, they probably want to see a list post of different budget templates that they can use on their own.
And that's exactly what Kelan and Brittany created:
Simple as that!
Now compare that to some of the other posts that are ranking lower in Google, and you’ll see how the competition is missing the mark on user intent.
For example, this post also ranks for budget template but it’s trying to do way too much and is not focused enough on the user’s intent—while it does provide a list of budget templates, the formatting doesn’t provide a great user experience, it’s really difficult to navigate, and to be honest it's a little ... ugly.
So by studying their competitors’ content and understanding the importance of user intent, Kelan and Brittany were able to find their “hook” to guide them along to creating a great piece of content.
Creating Epic Content That Google Loves
Now that Kelan and Brittany identified a juicy keyword and figured out that they could take advantage of a mismatched user intent by some other sites already ranking, it was time to get to work and actually create a piece of content that deserved to rank high in Google.
“We had a previous post talking about budget templates and knew we could add content, visuals, keywords, and answer questions to it to make it more user-friendly,” Kelan said. “We made sure to see what type of content Google was ranking on page one and made ours the best article possible for that keyword.”
What I love about their post is how much the visuals stand out. As Kelan told me, “We made sure to make it visually appealing for the reader so they are more likely to read the entire post.”
And if I’m searching on Google for budget template, this makes sense: I want to be able to visualize what the templates actually look like before deciding if one might be a good fit for me.
Kelan and Brittany’s post captures this perfectly:
Compare that to the uninspiring visuals from one of their competitors and you’ll start to see how they were able to make their content stand out:
Other than the visuals, what else did they do to make sure this was an epic piece of content worthy of ranking #1?
“We did some of the basic stuff like placing the keyword in the title, slug, H2 headers,” Kelan said. “And we answered questions people might have about budget templates.”
How long did take for the budget template post to hit the #1 spot?
In this screenshot from Ahrefs, Google started ranking it in the 40s at the beginning of October 2018, it then hit the middle of page 2 about a week later, and then a week after that it hit the bottom of page 1.
It bounced around there for another month before hitting the top 3 in Google, and then a month after that it hit the coveted #1 spot.
For Kelan and Brittany, the key was having a process to identify evergreen topics that they’d have a chance of ranking for.
“Before, we didn’t know what we were doing when it came to creating evergreen SEO content,” Kelan said. “We would randomly select a topic to write for the week and publish it without much thought.”
How Kelan & Brittany Built High-Quality Backlinks With An Expert Roundup
Here’s the thing about SEO: you can target the perfect keyword and write the most epic piece of content, but at the end of the day you’re still going to need high quality backlinks to rank in Google.
Backlinks are still the #1 most important ranking factor in Google, so if you want to hit the top spot for a competitive keyword like Kelan and Brittany did with budget template, it’s going to require a plan for landing those links.
In this section I want to walk you through one specific strategy that Kelan and Brittany used to not only attract quality links, but also build relationships with other bloggers in their nice. (Because at the end of the day, building links is all about building those relationships).
That strategy? The expert roundup.
Here’s a quick overview of how an expert roundup works:
How Kelan and Brittany Decided On Their Topic
So what topic did Kelan and Brittany decide to go with?
They reached out to a bunch of bloggers and asked them to talk about their worst blogging mistakes.
“We decided on this topic because I’ve always been fascinated by learning from our failures,” Kelan said. “I think it’s that fastest most impactful way to learn: take action and adjust as you go.”
Kelan also had a hunch this would be a topic that would resonate with his audience and the bloggers he was reaching out to: “It’s a topic I knew if done correctly would work very well in the blogging community.”
A key part of creating a successful expert roundup post is getting the right type of “experts” to participate. In Kelan and Brittany’s case, they didn’t want to just ask any old blogger about their failures—they wanted to hear specifically from full-time bloggers.
“I wanted bloggers that were making good money from their blog, so we made sure to only ask bloggers making $5,000+ per month to participate,” Kelan told me. “That way we could use the word ‘expert’ in the title” which would make for a more interesting and click-worthy post.
Kelan and Brittany’s Trick For Getting 19 Awesome Bloggers To Participate
I have to hand it to Kelan and Brittany—they came up with a much better process than me for outreaching to bloggers to get a response to their expert roundup question.
And I was intrigued when Kelan told me, “The best part of my outreach is it took almost no time.”
The way that I usually do it—and you can read my full post on how to do an expert roundup—is to create a spreadsheet of all the bloggers you want to reach out to, and add details like their blog URL, name, and email address.
Something like this:
And then you can reach out to them, by email, one-by-one, asking them to participate in your expert roundup.
I do find this to be an effective strategy, but the process itself can be time-consuming if you’re reaching out to 100+ bloggers!
So what did Kelan and Brittany do instead?
“I simply made a shared Google Sheet with the appropriate columns and shared it within a few popular blogging groups,” Kelan explained.
“I gave a quick explanation on what I was putting together and shared that if they participated I would give them a backlink, and I found this method to be much faster than emailing individually.”
Kelan then shared a post on Facebook announcing the roundup and asking for contributors:
How Kelan and Brittany’s Built Backlinks With Their Expert Roundup
Once Kelan and Brittany received the responses from all the bloggers they reached out to, they published their blogging mistakes roundup on their site.
But the key to producing any piece of epic content is that your work does NOT end once you’ve hit “publish”.
Look, I get it:
Nobody likes “promoting” their content to other bloggers. It feels spammy. You’re afraid of getting rejected or worse, ignored. Who even cares about your roundup, anyway, you’re thinking?
And so most bloggers don’t even bother outreaching to other sites about their content, and they never end up building any links—which is why their domain authority is so low and why they’re not ranking for anything.
But Kelan understood the importance of building high-quality links: “Backlinks are a must if you want to rank on Google,” he told me.
The worst part of doing any blogger outreach is when you have to do cold outreach—when you are reaching out completely out of the blue, asking for something.
Here’s the neat thing: with the expert roundup strategy, Kelan didn’t have to do ANY cold outreach when it came to building links. Because he had already done the legwork ahead of time, when he asked all those bloggers to be featured on his site.
In other words, Kelan had already established a bit of a relationship with these bloggers—so when it was time to outreach for links, it wasn’t spammy or awkward at all.
Here’s Kelan describing his process for outreaching for links:
“After the post was live I made sure to email each and every individual blogger. My email was personalized to them with something I had learned about them over the years. I shared a link to the post and thanked them again for participating. I also went to their website and found a few posts that the article would be a good resource for their readers. I made it as easy as possible for them to give us a backlink and then simply asked for one.”
The Savvy Couple
Wondering what one of Kelan’s outreach emails looked like?
Here you go:
What I really like about Kelan’s email is that he took the time to identify three different places on this blogger’s site where it would make sense for them to link to him.
This makes the blogger’s job so much easier and removes a lot of the friction when asking for a link—you’ve already given them links to posts on their site where they can include the link—all they have to do is go in and make a quick update.
But I don’t want you to come away from this thinking it’s only about the backlinks.
When you’re reaching out to other bloggers and getting to know them and asking them to check out your content, it’s also about building real relationships with other people in your niche.
“Expert roundups are amazing for building relationships,” Kelan told me. “It’s a win-win for everyone—we created an epic piece of valuable content and received backlinks, the participants get a backlink and get their name in front of more readers, and our readers got to learn a ton from the experts.”
Kelan makes another great point that I want to leave on—it’s virtually impossible to build links without first adding value and creating great content. The two are directly connected. Great content leads to great links.
Having a strategy going forward
Along with the increased traffic, higher rankings, and bigger income, one of the best parts about Kelan and Brittany’s growth is that they now finally have a handle on SEO from here on out.
“We are very comfortable with SEO now,” Kelan said. “We feel we have an excellent understanding of SEO and have a strategy moving forward to lean on.”