Background information

 

The Client

Since its origins as a property blog in 2001, PropertyUpdate.com.au has grown to become the destination for commentary and articles by Michael Yardney, Louise Bedford, Tom Corley as well as many other experts specialising in wealth creation, investment and success. With at least eight articles published daily and close to 1.5 million visitors per year, PropertyUpdate.com.au has been rated Feedspot’s Number One property blog in the world, even beating the UK Guardian and the UK Financial Times!

 

The Challenge

In our ongoing monitoring of the traffic generated on the PropertyUpdate.com website, a sudden decline in organic traffic was noticed in March 2017. The challenge faced involved finding the cause of the decline and the sources affected.

With over 20,000 URLs and the knowledge that our client relies on organic traffic as a major source of overall traffic, it was important to undertake further investigation and isolate the problem before approaching our client to provide tailored recommendations, something more than a mere a short-term fix.

 

Here’s what we delivered…

 

1. A Comprehensive Content Audit

A detailed Content Audit was undertaken of the PropertyUpdate website using metrics such as wordcount, duplicate content, existing traffic, existing key word ranking, and time spent on-site. From this, three main issues were identified: a 35% decline in weekly organic search visits, a potential issue with duplicate content and keyword cannibalisation of “property investment” over thousands of pages.

2. Detailed Analysis and Categorisation of Findings

Upon closer inspection, using a variety of tools and sources such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Screaming Frog, it was realised that the 35% decline in organic traffic was attributable to the Google “Fred” update – a change in a Google’s algorithm that rolled out on 7 March 2017, affecting Google ranking based on the quality of a website’s content.

The aim was therefore to increase organic search results and thus gain more organic traffic through increasing the quality score of the PropertyUpdate website. Large efforts were accordingly used to categorise and prioritise the 20,000 URLs to develop recommendations and advise on the timing of execution.

3. Development of Recommendations

As this client has a large inventory of existing pages, we needed to develop recommendations which we could implement immediately, as well as establish a body of works that we could fit into an ongoing plan. The recommendations were as follows:

• To immediately implement the bulk actions relating to category, author and tag pages –leaving the category pages and tags receiving higher levels organic clicks and impressions and removing the sub-category pages and tags with less than 10 organic clicks as these provide little value

  • To remove content that has been flagged as duplicate content and provide no impressions or clicks
  • Optimisation of existing pages according to current best practice and available time/budget
  • To publish “evergreen” articles to fill in content gaps
  • Update the keyword matrix, providing a framework for ongoing content marketing efforts

These changes were advised to be actioned over several months, and would not materially affect the existing publishing process from the user’s perspective, but would relate to how Google would rank the content. As such, search results would be optimised, rankings improved and traffic increased. The updated keyword matrix also provided the client with structure to assist with their content marketing schedule.

 

Outcome

After completing the bulk action, we observed a steady increase in levels of organic traffic over the next 12 months, not only reversing the drop, but increasing traffic by more than 400% – the result of a thorough, ongoing process and quick action post-Google Fred. Success!