Content Matters: An SEO Case Study

By now, you shouldn’t need proof that content matters for SEO.

But, in case you do, we have a story to share.

We’ve been doing ongoing search engine optimization for the Incline Railway for the past couple of years. A lot of our work has been content based, and we’ve focused on improving the quality of a couple of landing pages on the site. We took some bare-bones pages and worked to make the content more comprehensive and engaging.

The result? SEO magic.

Curious about the changes we made and the success we’ve seen? Let’s jump in.


The Up Top Page

The Incline’s Up Top page was our first target. Here’s a screenshot of what it looked like when we got our hands on it. One word: boring. And yes, that was the whole page. Womp womp.

The page was in a world of hurt. There was nothing there that explained all of the fun attractions you can experience atop Lookout Mountain after you ride the Incline. Nothing in the copy made us want to click that bright yellow ticket button and plan a visit.

We started our work like we always do – with keyword research. Based on the content we knew we wanted the page to contain and search volume from our keyword tools, we decided to target “Lookout Mountain attractions.”

Next, we wrote a new headline and intro text that contained my target keyword and compiled a list of attractions to highlight. Each attraction included a description, its address, its distance from the Incline, a link to its website, a link to a map, and a photo. Pretty simple, right?

Here’s a shot of that same page after we completed our work. There’s a world of difference.

The Up Top Results

These few basic changes have brought big gains for the Incline’s site. The page is ranking in the top 10 on Google for “Lookout Mountain attractions,” a huge feat when you consider it’s competing against and TripAdvisor. Since the page was updated, it has become the #5 organic landing page on the site and has a conversion rate of 5%. Here’s a graph of traffic growth over time:

It’s not just organic traffic, though. The page is also the #5 landing page on the site for all forms of traffic, with a 4.77% conversion rate. It’s brought in 490 conversions since it was updated. Not too shabby.


The History Page

Same song, different verse. The Incline’s history is varied and fascinating, including everything from feuds with property owners to Civil War battles, but the old page only told a fraction of the story. The copy was long with no visual interest, meaning it was highly unlikely that anyone would actually read it. Here’s what it looked like before:

We wanted to freshen it up to include some more information about the Incline’s history, as well as some profiles about historic hotels on Lookout Mountain (we knew from our research that there was search volume around this).

We conducted a little research from RootsRated and articles by David Moon (both of which are credited on the page) and compiled some new content. We added headlines for visual interest and borrowed some historic photos with permission from Picnooga. Here’s the new page:

The content is now more comprehensive and digestible, so site visitors can read the whole page or hone in on the areas that interest them. Because it’s more in depth, its ranking potential has been boosted tremendously.


The History Results

Speaking of ranking potential… The page now ranks #4 on Google for “Lookout Mountain history.” Pretty good.

The updated page is still pretty new (launched in late June), but we’ve already seen some impressive gains. Comparing stats for July 2017 to last year, organic traffic to the page has increased 81.16%. That’s just the start, though. The conversion rate for the page has increased a whopping 249.60%, and the total number of conversions on the page has increased 533.33%. Incredible!

Engagement metrics also look great. Bounce rate has improved 14.49%, changing from 73.91% in 2016 to 63.20% in 2017. Average session duration increased by 60.19% and pages per session increased by 15.18%. All this leads us to believe that people are loving this content, which is exactly what we hoped for.


It’s Not Rocket Science

Some people still think that SEO is a combination of mystical tricks that rocket your site to #1 on Google. It really isn’t, and you don’t have to be some kind of genius to improve a site’s search engine optimization. Figure out how to make your content better and more interesting to your audience, and you’ll win, even if you’re not ranking #1.