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In August 2022, we began a partnership with Messente, a leading SMS gateway provider, with a singular mission: to significantly boost their digital visibility, performance and online sales.
Through a focused strategy blending SEO and Digital PR, we set about transforming Messente’s online landscape. The fruits of our labour became evident in an astounding 246.68% increase in their lead acquisition rate.
This B2B SEO case study outlines our shared journey toward such an impressive outcome. Comparing two nine-month periods – before and after our collaboration started – we saw a phenomenal 269% surge in traffic, propelling the monthly average close to an impressive 90,000 visitors.
Brief Project Overview
Messente is the go-to business messaging partner for fast-growing and demanding companies. They help deliver time-critical PIN codes, one-time passwords, and notifications securely – and at scale. Yet, despite their robust offerings and broad reach, Messente recognized a need for further growth and enhancement of their digital presence with the help of Ethical SEO.
Statement of objectives
Our mission was clear from the start: to elevate Messente’s digital visibility and performance, as well as boost their online sales.
Specifically, we aimed to:
- Significantly increase website traffic
- improve search engine rankings
- bolster the number of quality backlinks
- most importantly, amplify their lead acquisition rate
The main challenges we faced in our mission were:
TOUGH GLOBAL COMPETITION: The digital marketplace is crowded and constantly evolving. To distinguish Messente from its competitors and capture a greater share of online visibility was a significant task considering that competitors have invested 6x more into content marketing and SEO.
LEAD CONVERSION: While Messente was already attracting a considerable amount of traffic, the conversion of these visitors into paid leads needed improvement. The strategy needed to focus not only on driving more traffic but ensuring that this traffic had a high potential for conversion.
CONTENT OPTIMIZATION: We identified a lack of strategy in utilizing commercial intent keywords, especially in landing pages and high-intent articles. An effective SEO strategy needed to address this gap to boost conversion rates.
These challenges formed the foundation of our strategic approach to transforming Messente’s online landscape. The subsequent sections of this case study will explore in detail the tactics employed and the results achieved.
We compared 9 months of Messente performance before us starting our collaboration, and after. Here’s a summary of the results.
- Lead acquisition from organic traffic has increased by 246.88%
- Nine-month period traffic increased by 269%, reaching close to 90,000 organic visits per month.
- Improving old articles doubled the number of people visiting them, on average.
Messente Traffic Growth. Data Source: Ahrefs*
*Please note that Ahrefs data differs from the actual Google Analytics data, but due to data privacy, we cant share the original screenshot.
How it all started
“Digital PR is very time-consuming, so it made sense to outsource it.”
– Taavi Rebane, Head of Marketing, Messente
The CMO of Messente Taavi Rebane agreed to start a test collaboration project with our team in August 2022. Before teaming up with us, Messente has been working with two other SEO agencies for a couple of years. Some things were not perfect, and Messente needed some extra help.
Our team defined several key priorities related to demand capture and sales through organic traffic and suggested a plan for improving online visibility.
Our relationship quickly expanded as both of our teams felt comfortable with the collaboration.
As mentioned later by Taavi,
“I am happy that things are handled professionally and I can focus on other priorities.”
– Taavi Rebane
SEO Strategy Development and Execution
This section goes into specific details of the project execution.
1. Topical research and commercial pages
“The problem is that customers rarely convert directly through articles with informational intent keywords. You need to tackle them with commercial keywords using landing pages or high-intent listicle articles.”
– Konstantin Sadekov, CEO Ethical SEO
As a starting point, we developed a comprehensive organic SEO strategy centered on exploiting commercial intent keywords. By focusing on semantically relevant clusters around landing pages, we aimed to increase traffic with a high conversion potential.
Informational vs commercial intent
We realised pretty quickly that this was an opportunity we could use. We suggested developing nine additional landing pages to tackle money keywords. Some examples included “sms verification service” and “text blast service”.
But just tackling commercial pages is not enough. You need to establish topical authority – in other words, you need to cover the topic from all angles. This is one way of telling Google that you are an expert in the field. And for that purpose, you create content clusters – a structure of semantically related topics.
Content cluster example
And so we did. Each of the landing pages is now supported by a substantial amount of semantically related topics, providing Google with a clear signal of Messente’s comprehensive expertise in the field.
2. Boosting content creation velocity and SEO quality
Based on the output of step 1, we created a detailed content plan with around 80 confirmed topics to cover different stages of the customer journey. The goal was to create 8 articles per month.
At this step, it was crucial to set up an efficient process between our teams to ensure smooth and fast communication as well as high quality standards. So per each of the steps, we created a standard operating procedure (SOP), operated in Airtable.
We provided detailed content briefs each month to speed up content creation while ensuring alignment with Messente’s brand messaging, SEO strategy, and audience preferences. From an SEO point of view, it was necessary to help the writer with the right internal links and ensure the right content structure.
“Content briefs also give the writer an idea about the specific direction that they should take a given topic in, which is important. Because most topics can be quite open-ended, and you want to write about each topic within a very specific context.”
– Umama Rahman, Content Manager, Ethical SEO
As soon as an article had been written, we would double-check that it aligned with our SEO strategy and that the internal links were correct. After it was published, we worked on getting internal links from other published articles.
3. Digital PR strategy
Much like academic citations, where the reputation of a work is reinforced by references from trusted authors, backlinks play a crucial role in SEO. The more quality backlinks a website has, the higher its perceived authority and trustworthiness.
After identifying the key landing pages, we conducted a link gap analysis. This allowed us to spot the low-hanging fruits and determine which pages had the potential to yield the quickest results. Link gap analysis is a method used to compare your backlink profile with that of your competitors. It helps identify the difference, or ‘gap’, in the number and quality of backlinks, providing insight into potential opportunities for improvement.
Link Gap Example
Following that, we executed a comprehensive digital PR campaign, securing natural backlinks from other reputable websites.
Some of the links that we landed included:
- g2.com – DR 90 – 5,600,000 organic visits per month
- sleekflow.io – DR 68 – 1,000,000 organic visits per month
- teamwork.com – DR 81 – 271,000 organic visits per month
- venngage.com – DR 85 – 2,400,000 visits per month
How we do the Digital PR and link building
In our work, we employ a variety of link-building strategies. Here’s a simplified overview of what it typically looks like.
Suppose you have an article about SMS marketing. Our approach involves finding 1,000 websites that have covered a similar topic. We then filter this list based on various quality criteria to ensure the organizations are genuine and relevant to your niche. The next step involves reaching out to these organizations with personalized emails, suggesting they might find our insights interesting and worth incorporating into their articles.
“In the essence of our organization lies the philosophy of ethics, especially when it comes to digital PR and link building. We take care of our clients’ brand reputation. We help companies get natural backlinks by building relationships with other organizations. We never buy backlinks!”
This approach leans more towards digital PR than traditional link-building – it’s about broadcasting your content to the world. However, at the heart of this strategy is the creation and promotion of high-quality content that is genuinely worthy of being linked to.
4. SEO audit and content updates
“It is always easier to improve your existing content than write a new one.”
We conducted an extensive audit of Messente’s existing content, using tools like Screaming Frog to scrape all the website data, Google Analytics to query basic user data like average spend time and goals, Google PageSpeed Insights for technical website performance and speed issues, Google Search Console for organic data, and Ahrefs for backlink data.
We identified keyword SEO optimization opportunities, keyword cannibalization (when several pages rank for the same keyword), poor keyword usage, and missed internal linking opportunities.
“Content updates also give you a great opportunity to check for outdated content, such as research that’s no longer relevant, or obsolete statistics. It’s good practice to keep refreshing your content for quality and accuracy.”
– Umama Rahman
Why do you need to perform content audits?
Well, first of all, updating your existing content can bring much faster traffic gains.
Secondly, Google has a set crawling budget, which limits the number of pages its bot can scan within a certain time frame. If a website has a lot of low-performing content, it risks some of its pages not being indexed by Google. However, this is usually only a concern for larger websites with 5000+ pages.
We improved 28 pieces of underperforming content using SurferSEO, doubling their average monthly visits. The work included article rewriting, SEO optimization, and work on internal links.
SEO Results and Business Impact
Quantitative results: Increases in website traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and conversions:
- Website traffic experienced a remarkable surge by 269%, elevating the monthly visitor count to nearly 90,000.
- By updating old articles, we managed to double the traffic they were originally bringing in.
- Through targeted SEO strategies, we boosted keyword rankings, effectively augmenting Messente’s online visibility.
- An increase in backlink count strengthened Messente’s online authority and reputation.
- Notably, these collective efforts led to an impressive 246.68% increase in lead acquisition.
And, of course, the most pleasant words describing some of the wins were from Taavi.
These words really warm our hearts and motivate us to move forward. Of course, it is also important to note that Taavi was doing a good job before we started our collaboration as well, and things were quite positive, so credit where credit’s due. We believe team Messente and the previous SEO agencies they worked with also made a notable contribution.
Lessons Learned and Future Steps
During our work, we gained some valuable knowledge.
- Listicle articles are really awesome for converting high-quality leads.
- When prioritising your content updates, start with articles that are already ranking (positions 6-20), as their improvement will drive better and faster results, rather than updating articles that do not drive any clicks or impressions.
- When your pages start to rank naturally, start supporting them with digital PR and build links, because otherwise, you might lose your rankings.
- Don’t build links to a page until you have data signals. When you publish an article, the best practice is to wait some time (a month or two) and see how it reacts. If it starts generating impressions and gets some clicks, it will rank for various keywords. If the content is good and matches the search intent, only then should you prioritize it for link-building.
And don’t build links just for the sake of it. Link building is not a magic wand, and not everything depends on it.
We continue our collaboration with Messente and work on ranking for transactional keywords. SEO is a long game, especially in a very competitive industry, so you have to be patient and manage your expectations. We are experimenting with some other strategies and content types too, but now is not the right time to speak about that, so follow us on LinkedIn to stay in the loop!
This case study demonstrates the transformative power of a strategic SEO and digital PR campaign. When we partnered with Messente, a global SMS gateway provider, we set out to increase their online visibility, boost performance, and enhance sales. This mission resulted in a remarkable 246.68% increase in their lead acquisition rate, marking a significant milestone in Messente’s digital journey.
With meticulous planning and execution, we faced challenges head-on, resulting in a 269% surge in traffic and double the visitation for old articles that we improved. Notably, this success was due to the perfect blend of technical expertise, creative strategy, and a focus on ethical link-building and content optimization. And, of course, credit to the previous teams working on SEO and Taavi and team Messente for support.
Through this journey, we gleaned invaluable insights about the effectiveness of SEO and digital PR strategies, fostering a solid foundation for Messente’s future growth.
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