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Increased Mobile Traffic by 728% for an Educational Website- Mobile SEO Case Study

About the Client

Client is one of the largest student guidance portals. It provides updates and preparation material of school studies, entrance exams, college admissions, government jobs, talent search exams, Olympiads.

Client’s website provides National, state and college level entrance exams and admissions updates, helps with preparation and query solving.

The Challenge

As a popular student portal, the website was already pulling in organic traffic, but in December 2017, with the 2018 admission season (March ‘18 to June ‘18) ahead of them, the client approached us to better their previous years’ traffic numbers and overall website performance. Given that the client had already done a pretty good job of driving traffic the previous admission season in 2017, it was going to be tough to beat the numbers especially with the competition having strengthened as well.

The Solution (Approach)

Not ones to shy away from a tough challenge, we started working in January 2018.

Client’s website is a massive portal with 16,876 pages. Since we had very little lead time before the start of the admission and exam season, we had to be planned and methodical in our approach. We quickly researched the admission and exams calendar and search trends to identify which keywords and landing pages to focus on in which month.

Given that this was a guidance portal with rich content, most visitors came looking for information. And previous year’s data showed that most of the organic traffic came through mobile. We knew immediately that we needed to implement AMP pages to boost organic traffic from mobile even further.

We also realized that we could extract more traffic from keywords by implementing schema that would appear as rich snippets in search results [both desktop and mobile] thereby improving CTRs.

First 2 Months Focus was On-page Optimization: In the 1st 2 months from Jan-Feb ’18 we decided to make big, site wide on-page SEO changes that would have a "big" impact as opposed to focusing on optimizing independent landing pages.

  • Keyword Research and Landing Pages – exhaustive research to identify exam and results announcements dates to identify which keywords to work on in which month. Based on keywords identified, we mapped target landing pages to be optimized on a month to month basis.
  • AMP Pages – Before anything else, we undertook implementation of AMP Pages:
    • Ensured that users can experience the same content and complete the same actions on AMP pages as on the corresponding Desktop pages.
    • Ensured that metadata are equivalent across both versions of site - desktop and AMP.
    This gave us immediate boost in traffic in January 2018 itself. We faced some issues with AMP in the 2nd week of February ’18, but this was fixed before the end of the month. This resulted in a temporary drop in AMP traffic in February, but from March, as the search trends picked up, the AMP traffic went through the roof!
  • Site-wide On-page SEO changes –
    • Header and Footer Optimization to include links to most popular Exams and topics. Added drop down menu to the header to improve navigation.
    • Improved internal linking to drive link juice to relevant landing pages and boost Page Authority.
    • Fixed large number of dead URLs that were going 404 [not found] but were still linked to from the content.
    • Implemented canonicalization (AMP) recommendations for desktop to mobile version and vice versa as crawlers needs clear indications about mobile version of the website.
    • Resolved Mobile Usability Issues

Next 4 months Focus was Content Optimization: From March to June ‘18, our focus was on optimizing keywords and landing pages that were going to be popular in that given month. Most of the effort was around content optimization and link building

  • Content Optimization for Rich Snippets – we optimized content [exam, syllabus, results pages etc.] with proper schema so it would appear in both mobile/ AMP and desktop search results and boost CTRs.
  • Content Optimization for Quick Answer Box – we optimized content in structured data format, so many queries would start appearing in quick answer box, again on both mobile and desktop.
  • Content Syndication - we created content on the basis of the upcoming exams which includes articles, blogs, press releases, guest posting, etc. these were syndicated across the web for brand awareness and backlinks.
  • We undertook a massive link building campaign which included activities like list creation, pdf sharing, Quora submissions, company profile creation and web 2.0 pages creation, microblogging, content curation, social sharing, community sharing, video posting and RSS feed submission.

The Results

Organic Mobile Performance:

We saw an incredible 728% increase in traffic for Mobile Devices from Jan’18 to June’18.

But the even more astonishing number was a 775% increase in organic AMP traffic from Jan’18 to June’18.

Mobile devices [along with AMP pages] contributed 65% of Total Organic Sessions garnered during this 6-month campaign.

While many factors contributed to improvement in mobile performance, the primary reason was the success of the AMP pages.

Month On Month AMP Traffic vs Total Mobile Organic Traffic

Overall Organic Performance:

We saw a whopping increase of 588% in organic search traffic from Jan’18 to June’18. This was an awesome jump by any standards.

The client was thrilled with the performance as they saw a 44% increase in organic sessions for the 6-month period from Jan’18-Jun’18 vs Jan’17-Jun’17. Significantly more than they had expected.

Our strategy of focusing on AMP pages to boost mobile traffic and implementing Schema to boost CTRs delivered fantastic results!

The rich snippets started appearing in Google search results for many high search volume keywords on desktop and mobile which helped increase CTRs dramatically.

Appearance of Rich Snippet Info in SERP:

Avg CTR has improved from 6.2% to 10.1% in Jan.’18 to 9.5% in Jun’18.

We laid great emphasis on the content in this campaign as we saw a clear opportunity in improving Click Through Rates (CTRs) on mobile by updating Schema / Rich Snippets for various sections of content on the website.

We updated content for accuracy and completeness and used Schema for following content types:

  • Exam Pages [exam date, type, duration etc.]
  • Syllabus Pages [number of questions for various subjects etc.]
  • Results Pages [date of exam, date of declaration of results, date from when and where score card can be downloaded etc.]
  • Registration / Application Forms [ Fees for early and late registration, fees for rescheduling and retaking exams]

The content updation and schema implementation was a great hit as we saw significant jump in CTRs from January 18 to July 18 on both desktop and mobile.

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