From Invisible to Position 3 on Google: An SEO Case Study

Many businesses face the challenge of ranking highly on Google, especially in competitive industries. However, in this SEO case study, we’re going to show you how we helped a new website in the car rentals and leasing industry go from being virtually invisible to securing position 3 on Google in just six months.

Why This Case Study Matters

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details of our SEO strategy, let’s understand why this case study is significant. First and foremost, it’s all about speed. Our campaign achieved rapid organic growth, and that’s something every business craves. Even more impressive, we accomplished this for a brand-new website, which often faces the toughest uphill battle in the SEO world.

Here’s why this case study matters:

1. Speed of Results

This point emphasises the remarkable speed at which the SEO campaign delivered results. In the world of search engine optimisation, it’s not uncommon for organic growth to be a slow and gradual process. However, in this case, the results were achieved at an impressively rapid pace. This is significant because it means that businesses looking for quick wins and tangible improvements in their online visibility can draw inspiration from this case study.

2. Key Learnings

Key learnings refer to the valuable insights gained from the SEO campaign. These insights are crucial because they provide actionable information for future strategies. In the context of this case study, the learnings are specific to certain activities and actions taken during the campaign. Understanding what worked and what didn’t is essential for refining and optimising SEO strategies in the future.

3. Establishing a Startup

Launching a new business in a competitive market can be incredibly challenging. This point highlights how the SEO strategy helped a start-up establish itself as a significant player in its industry. Establishing a strong online presence from the outset is vital for start-ups, as it sets the stage for future growth and success.

4. Applicability

This point underscores the fact that the strategies and tactics used in this case study are not limited to a specific industry. They can be applied to virtually any website seeking rapid organic growth. It’s a testament to the versatility and effectiveness of the SEO approach employed in this campaign. Businesses in various sectors can take inspiration from these methods to improve their own online visibility.

5. Avoiding the Google Sandbox

The Google Sandbox is a term used to describe a phenomenon where new websites may experience a delay in achieving high search engine rankings. It’s a challenging hurdle for new websites to overcome. This point highlights the fact that the campaign successfully navigated this obstacle, achieving impressive results despite being a new website. Avoiding the Google Sandbox is a significant achievement in the world of SEO.

The Brief: Overcoming Challenges in a Competitive Market

Our client was in the car rentals and leasing business, operating in the highly competitive B2C market. They had lofty goals:

  • To take their brand-new website from launch to 75,000+ organic sessions.
  • To achieve 3,500+ organic conversions in just 12 months.

However, they faced several challenges:

1. A New Brand

Starting with a new brand means there is no established online reputation or recognition. This can be a challenge because building brand awareness and trust among online audiences takes time and effort.

2. A New Website

A “good enough” website implies that the initial version of the site was launched with the minimum features and functionality required. It may not have had all the bells and whistles that established competitors’ websites had.

3. Limited Development Resource

Limited development resources indicate budget constraints and a shortage of personnel dedicated to website development and improvement. This limitation can impact the ability to make significant technical enhancements to the website.

4. Seasonality Difficulties

Understanding seasonality in the context of this industry is challenging because the website was new and lacked historical data. Seasonal trends can greatly affect user behaviour and search patterns.

5. An Incredibly Competitive Market

The competitive nature of the car rentals and leasing industry implies that many established players with well-established online presences are vying for top positions on search engine results pages (SERPs). Breaking through this competition can be daunting.

The Winning Strategy: A Six-Step Approach

Our strategy was crafted with precision to overcome these challenges and achieve rapid organic growth. Here’s how we did it:

1. Discovery

Discovery involves thoroughly understanding the business, brand, and goals. It ensures that the SEO strategy aligns with the broader business strategy, increasing the likelihood of success. This phase typically includes extensive research, data gathering, and stakeholder interviews.

2. Competitor Research

Competitor research involves analysing the websites and strategies of competitors in the same industry. It helps identify what competitors are doing well and where opportunities for improvement exist. This information informs the SEO strategy.

3. Search Market Analysis

Keyword Research:

Effective SEO begins with precise keyword research. Consider keyword intent to understand why users are searching and what they expect to find. Analyze SERP intent to align your content with Google’s ranking preferences. Assess keyword difficulty and rankability, and keep an eye on cost-per-click to gauge competitiveness. While search volumes are estimates, don’t overlook low-volume terms; they can be valuable. Stay updated with trending and declining keywords to remain competitive.

Funnel and Intent Mapping:

Understanding the user journey is paramount. In the top of the funnel (TOFU), your aim is awareness. Create content like expert guides and blogs to attract potential customers and help them learn. As users move to the middle of the funnel (MOFU), focus on engagement. Provide evaluation-focused content such as leasing guides and comparisons to assist users in making informed choices. In the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), it’s all about conversion. Tailor your pages to target users who are ready to decide, showcasing various car categories and deal types. By aligning your strategy with user intent and the sales funnel, you can maximise your SEO effectiveness.

4. Content Strategy

A content strategy serves as the blueprint for your website’s content creation and publication. It’s the roadmap that guides you towards achieving your SEO and business goals. Within this strategy, several crucial elements come into play:

  1. Content Types: One of the primary considerations in a content strategy is the variety of content types you’ll produce. These could include blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, and more. The choice of content types depends on your target audience’s preferences and the nature of your industry.
  2. Topics: Deciding what topics to cover is equally vital. Your content should align with your business niche and the interests of your audience. Effective keyword research plays a significant role here, as it helps you identify the specific topics and themes that are relevant to your target audience and have the potential to rank well on search engines.
  1. Goals: Every piece of content should have a purpose. Some content is designed to educate, some to entertain, and others to convert visitors into customers. Defining clear goals for each piece of content ensures that it contributes to your broader SEO and marketing objectives.
  2. Pillar and Cluster Approach: To organise your content for maximum SEO impact, the pillar and cluster approach is a highly effective strategy. In this model, you create a comprehensive, in-depth “pillar” content piece that covers a broad topic in detail. Then, you create “cluster” content pieces that dive deeper into specific subtopics related to the pillar content. This interlinked structure not only provides a logical flow for users but also signals to search engines that your website is an authoritative resource on the subject.

5. Links

Links, particularly backlinks from other reputable websites, play a critical role in SEO. This phase involves assessing the quality and quantity of links pointing to the website, as well as strategies for acquiring new links. Techniques like linkable assets and newsjacking may be employed.

6. Technical Optimisation

Technical optimisation focuses on the technical aspects of the website that impact search engine crawling and user experience. This includes ensuring that the website is easy for search engines to index, loads quickly, has a user-friendly design, and maintains a logical site structure.

The Results: From Invisible to Position 3 in 6 Months

The moment of truth—what were the outcomes of our SEO strategy?

Organic Visibility

After six months of diligent work, here’s how our ranked keywords looked:

  • 1 – 3: 17*
  • 4 – 10: 42
  • 11 – 20: 71
  • 21 – 50: 139
  • 51 – 100: 144

*Including the head term

And let’s talk about the head term rankings:

  • Month 1: 100
  • Month 2: 35
  • Month 3: 36
  • Month 4: 32
  • Month 5: 18
  • Month 6: 3

Organic Traffic

Key Learnings

This section summarises the valuable insights gained from the SEO campaign. It identifies areas where the strategy excelled and where adjustments were necessary for continued improvement. These insights provide guidance for future SEO efforts and emphasise the importance of adaptability and ongoing optimisation.

Key Takeaways

From invisible to position 3 on Google in just six months—it’s a remarkable journey that demonstrates the power of a well-crafted SEO strategy. While the car rentals and leasing market is competitive, the lessons learned from this case study can be applied to any industry. If you’re ready to boost your organic growth and climb the Google ranks, take inspiration from this success story.

Are you eager to learn more about how we achieved these results? Take a look at what we can offer today. It’s time to make your website visible, and we’re here to show you the way.

Head of Digital

Shane O'Hare

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