Case Study: From Startup to SEO Ranking #1 in 18 Months
Among many challenges startups face in building a marketing strategy is competing against older, more established competitors. This problem is especially pronounced in SEO, where the age, trust, and overall authority of a domain are major ranking factors. Starting a new website and business in a field of established incumbents means playing SEO catch-up and often waiting years for results.
This was exactly the challenge OpenMoves faced in working with Total Dealer Compliance, an automotive consulting startup entering a landscape of mature competitors. TDC was forced to compete with a new domain and website against businesses with 10+ years of online history.
To tackle this challenge, TDC needed an aggressive content strategy, strong technical SEO, the support of effective PPC and PR programs, and a consistent on-page optimization program. Roughly 18 months since the SEO program started, TDC ranks #1 on Google for more than 100 targeted terms.
Speaking about the SEO project, TDC founder and CEO Max Zanan said, “OpenMoves has been an extremely effective partner in online marketing, and in particular SEO. We went from a brand new website to top ranked on Google faster than I thought possible. When an automotive professional is searching Google for issues about car dealer compliance, TDC almost always shows up on top.”
The SEO Strategy
- Expanding Keywords and Content. When the SEO project began, the TDC website was well designed, but thin on content, with only a few general pages describing the TDC business. Working with TDC, OpenMoves wrote many pages of unique content, hugely growing rankings potential and keyword diversity as well as making the website more useful to prospects.
- Creating SEO Assets. We knew that to outrank more established competitors, the SEO strategy needed to work towards making the TDC website fundamentally more informative. To meet this goal OpenMoves worked together with TDC to create numerous assets like downloadable checklists, case studies, and more.
- Getting the Details Right. Partnering with WebGuyNy, a local web development firm, OpenMoves implemented an effective and detail-oriented technical and on-page SEO strategy. Part of the strategy was to ensure that TDC would have the best technical SEO in the competitive landscape, including effective use of keyword targeting, error management and redirection, URL structure, and more.
- Supporting Channels. In addition to the SEO program, OpenMoves operated a small but tightly targeted PPC program, including search ads, remarketing, and a new Facebook ads program. We were also fortunate to partner with local PR firm N6A, whose media outreach created strong market visibility and inbound links for TDC.
- Effective Client Support. Like most successful SEO projects, OpenMoves was fortunate to work with an effective management team on the client side at TDC. Working with founder Max Zanan, the SEO team received extensive support in understanding a complex business model, planning content strategy, arranging for assets and vendor support, and more.
The SEO project for TDC was a major success. The SEO work started on a website that had just recently been launched, for a business that had only been formed a few months prior. Since launch,
- Over 100 non-brand tracked keywords rank #1 on Google.com
- Over 300 non-brand tracked keywords rank on Google.com’s first page
- Over 90% of initially targeted keywords have first-page rankings
- Organic traffic is up 250% YoY in 2017
- Organic traffic drives 25% of total website traffic and 50% of total website conversions
When taking on an SEO project for a startup, it’s important to move quickly, assess the competitive landscape effectively, and produce a content strategy that stands out in the market. Combined with effective technical SEO, a supportive client and strong multi-channel partners, even a new business can succeed against incumbents and capture #1 rankings.