X

Content marketing is complex, and it requires a lot of strategy, consistency, and high quality articles in order to deliver the pay off that you want. And sometimes, content itself just isn’t quite enough to get you over the finish line of top-ranking positions in the SERPs… in those cases, you typically can only excel with the power of backlinks.

That’s something we’re going to look at today in this Mos and uSERP case study: How well-placed and well-timed backlinks can take your ranking to the next level (and higher positions!). 

About Mos 

Mos started out as a financial aid resource for students, primarily focused on services like connecting students to financial aid advisors and helping them to find and apply for scholarships and grants. They’ve since pivoted, and now also offer student-focused banking solutions like debit cards. 

Mos’ services happen through their mobile app, but they have a strong website with an FAQ about the brand and— of course—a “Learn” section with great content. 

The challenge 

When Mos first came to our sister company, Codeless,in July 2022, they were primarily interested in a massive library of content. They knew that this would be needed in order to connect with potential app users in their demographic, and that it would be valuable to their user base. 

They needed high-quality, authoritative, and industry-compliant content. They couldn’t afford to offer less-than-ideal (or even slightly incorrect) advice when it came to students looking for ways to pay for college, and any businesses in the financial industry must abide by certain compliance requirements

The strategy 

Mos started working with us in July of 2022, and we got to work, creating around 40,000 words of content per month. In November, they also started an engagement with uSERP, during which time backlinks went live to their content.

Let’s take a look at the strategy we followed. 

We conducted keyword research

Conducting keyword research is always the vital first step in our process here at Codeless and uSERP.

The client wanted content that would offer informational resources to students who were looking into financial topics relevant to them, with posts on everything from debit cards for students to how to apply for scholarships.

We conducted keyword research through Ahrefs, combing for relevant keywords and topics that would be well-suited for the client’s site. Since we were going to be creating 40,000 words of content a month, we knew we’d need a strong list of topics to get us started.

We created detailed briefs for our writers

At Codeless, we always work with specialist writers when it comes to niche industries like finance writing, and we used that same approach for Mos. We only pulled writers onto the project who had strong and demonstrated experience with financial writing.

After selecting the team of writers, we created detailed briefs for each post that we’d create. The briefs included information like the following:

  • A link to a brand style guide
  • A link to a list of rules that writers needed to follow to create compliant content
  • Approved resources for links and research
  • Keywords to include in the post
  • Outlines and any details that needed to be included in each post 

We created a large volume of quality, compliant content 

Working together with the client and our team of expert writers, we created around 40,000 words of content each month that would go on to be published on Mos’s blog.

The goal was to create high-quality, high-compliance content that would serve the company well. Each blog post we received from our writers was painstakingly reviewed by an expert team of editors with in-depth knowledge about the financial industry who were exceptionally familiar with the project.

Before long, the client started seeing the content we produced for them climbing high in the rankings, often landing on the first page (or near the first page) of the SERPs. But in a such a high-competition industry and targeting so many high-competition keywords, it was tough to get any higher than slots 7, 8, 9, and 10 in the SERPs. That’s where the backlinking strategy came in. 

We elevated the content results with backlinks from uSERP

While continued effort with high-quality content can often lead to higher rankings in a long-term effort, many brands don’t necessarily want to wait a year or more to see if that will happen.

So, in November of 2022, Mos decided to go beyond their exclusively-content contract and signed a contract with our link-building company uSERP

uSERP is closely aligned with Codeless.io, so we strongly recommended that Mos consider working with our team at uSERP to achieve their ambitious goals more quickly.

Backlinks are a crucial part of increasing ranking potential, but also not something that brands have historically been able to control. 

You create outstanding content and hope that people find it and link to it, or you can work with a reputable agency. You have to be careful, though, because too many “link building services” use what we’ll call “black hat” methods that Google can spot a mile away, and which can ultimately hurt your SEO

uSERP works differently, helping you get earned, quality backlinks on diverse and high-authority sites. 

uSERP was able to add strong backlinks linking back to core, high-value blog posts on Mos’ site, like “best student bank accounts,” “bank accounts for teenagers,” and “best student debit cards.” 

The results 

As a quick recap, Mos began working with Codeless in July 2022, and began their engagement with uSERP so that backlinks began going live in November. The contract in January 2023.

In that time, we created a strong library of content, plenty of which ranked on the first page of the SERPs… but what we really want to look at is a few niche examples of the power of the backlinks from uSERP. 

Take a look at the ranking analysis for their primary target keyphrase “student bank accounts,” which was a high-value keyword (and also an exceptionally high competition one) for its associated blog post

You can see that the position history moved up and down from July to around December; when the backlinks for this post went live, there was a clear upturn where you can see the position continually climbing all the way up the SERPs. 

Associated keywords saw drastic changes in position, with some ranking for new keywords and others increasing their position by as much as 26 points up. 

The traffic changes aren’t insignificant, with all associated keywords driving well over 150 more new users to their site monthly than they did before the backlinks went live. 

Let’s look at the post written for the keyword “banking for teenagers.” You can see the same trend here, where you can see the position start climbing consistently when the backlinks went live in November.

Associated keywords for this blog post, including high competition keywords (with keyword difficulty ratings of 39-54) saw positional changes by an average of around six points.

The traffic increases from these changes were substantial; Mos saw a 36% increase in traffic monthly from the “banking for teenagers” keyword alone.

Since working together, Mos also saw their DR increase from 40 to 63. 

And one more final example: The blog post “Best Student Debit Cards.” 

Once again, the trend we’ve seen so far shows up again here. The blog post held fairly steady in position, but saw a consistent uptick in ranking once the backlinks went live. 

In the time since the backlinks went live, associated keywords for the blog post increased by as much as 17 points, and the primary keyword “student debit card” increased four positions, so that it’s now ranking fourth. All high-value associated keywords that were targeted are ranking in the top 10 positions. 

Final thoughts

Great content is a good start, but even with a solid strategy and outstanding posts, sometimes you need a little more oomph to rank well in a hyper-competitive industry where many of your competitors are already well-established.

That’s where crucial backlink strategies and services come into play, which is why we’ll recommend uSERP to our clients who need that extra boost to dominate in the SERPs. 

It’s like going through the work of getting a degree and having great job experience, but still needing a referral from someone already in the company to get in front of someone for a legitimate interview when you’re trying to land a job. You’ve got all the right pieces in place, and you just need a little help to get that end result.

We can help you create strong content that gets results, and we can help you determine when a backlink service is the right call. Learn more about what we can do for you here.  

Scale organicgrowth with authority backlinks and performance-driven SEO.

As brands invest in content marketing, the first most significant struggle they face is to generate enough high-quality content that is also well-optimized and relevant to their audience. Without this, there’s little chance of seeing substantial results. 

The second most common challenge they’ll face is that, once they have outstanding content (thanks to hard work and major investment) it doesn’t rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Which is where backlinks come in.

The power of backlinks is real and substantial, and that’s what we’re going to look at in this TradeZella and uSERP case study today. 

About TradeZella 

TradeZella is a new business that has only been around since June of 2022. They offer trade journaling online so you can clearly see where you’re investing your money and what it’s doing once it’s been invested. 

It’s designed to give you in-depth insights into where you’re losing and gaining money (and why) so you can make improved buying and trading decisions moving forward. You can focus on the right data so you can grow your investments significantly over time. 

The challenge 

TradeZella came out of nowhere in 2022, and were jumping into a particularly competitive space (finance and stock trading). They were writing great content, but they were too new for Google to rank them without a backlink foundation.

So they had a well-designed site that was created when their business launched and solid content, but no significant ranking positions in the SERPs. 

They were caught in that vicious SEO circle: You need ranking positions and traffic to increase your organic backlink profile and drive domain authority, but you need a backlink profile and high domain authority to drive ranking positions and traffic.

So they were struggling to rank much at all and came to work with us here at uSERP from October 1st, 2022 in order to help them build the backlink foundation to start driving organic traffic and those rankings they needed in the search results pages.

The strategy: Using backlinks to increase ranking keywords & positions 

As TradeZella was a new brand in a fiercely competitive industry that already had a large library of high-value content from much more established brands, it’s no surprise that they were struggling to rank for high value keywords like “trading journal”— even with great content of their own.

A large number of factors ultimately go into how well your content can rank in the search results pages. The content does need to be outstanding, but that’s not always enough. Even perfectly-optimized and well-written content is typically going to struggle against content that comes from established sites already dominating in a space, or content with a large number of backlinks.

While nothing can change the age of a site, backlinks are a surefire way to show Google that your content is valuable enough (and trusted enough) to consider your content high-authority. 

Why backlinks matter

There are, as we mentioned, a large number of ranking factors that determine which sites are placed higher in the SERPs. Some are significant, and some only have a small impact, and some are confirmed while others are rumored or assumed. 

Backlinks are a confirmed important ranking factor for a few reasons.

First, they show that the content is good quality and relevant to the keywords that you’ve targeted. Organic backlinking happens when other people find your post, think it’s a great resource, and link to it on their own. 

Second, they build trust. If other high-authority domains are linking to your site, it’s a good indication that they trust your site and find it valuable. Trust and authoritativeness are huge factors in Google’s algorithms, because they want to link to the best content first. 

Finally, they can also provide Google’s crawl bots with a little more added context. How are high-authority sites linking to you, and in what context? 

And while internal linking is great to drive traffic around your site, it won’t have many SEO benefits aside from strategic contextual backlinking. What you need is external backlinks, and you need them from high-authority sites. 

Why all backlinks aren’t created equal  

It’s essential to address that not all backlinks are created equal.

There are a large number of self-proclaimed backlinking services that are little more than scam artists (or “spam artists,” as it were). 

They’ll promise to get links to your site, but they may drop your links in comments sections of a site. Or they may use private blogging networks (PBNs), which essentially will sell you sites on a list of websites that were exclusively created for backlink purposes. Both of these are “black hat” practices that can result in penalties from Google.  

Some may be more authentic, but they’re only able to get you backlinks to low-quality sites that will accept almost anyone and who may want a backlink in exchange.

What brands truly need if they want to give their ranking potential a boost, however, is a real backlinks from high-authority sites that Google already trusts and that are already ranking well. 

While domain authority is not a ranking factor, it is calculated with many of the factors that Google looks at when determining ranking positions, so it’s a good indicator of the quality of the backlinks you’re getting. 

Our engagement started at the end of September 2022, during which we’ve increased their Ahrefs domain rating from 0 to 25 in 6 months.

How uSERP gets results with quality backlinks

Here at uSERP, we work with our clients to increase the number of high-authority backlinks to their site, including mentions from strong and well-established publications.

With TradeZella, we started by conducting a thorough site analysis to determine the fastest way to increase organic visibility in front of their target audience, while considering factors like their existing backlink profile (which was pretty much zero) and the overall competitive landscape. 

Next was placing their links. The financial space is a competitive one, but also (fortunately) one relevant to a significant number of the partners and publications we work with. As a result, we felt confident in delivering relevant and high-DR backlinks.

We identified the target keyphrase “trading journal,” and made recommendations for the target URL’s optimizations. Once live, we began driving high-DR backlinks via relevant partner publications (in blog content) to the target URL. 

This is the part of backlinking which, in all honesty, is so incredibly difficult for non-agency teams to handle. We’ve spent years building the relationships we have, and have a team of a dozen people continually doing outreach to find more — enabling us to deliver relevant and high-DR backlinks to sites like TradeZella. 

We learned about TradeZella’s brand image so that we could only generate backlinks that enhanced that image and their SEO presence. We were able to create a diverse and extensive backlink profile over a period of just three months, while providing KPI reports, video analysis, and strategy calls along the way.

The results 

As a quick recap, TradeZella has only been around since June of 2022, and they were up against tough competition in the SERPs. 

We were able to help them go from almost no ranking positions to ranking for major, high-value keywords in their business. After uSERP’s backlinks, they rose to rank incredibly well for keywords affiliated with “trading journal.” 

You can see this in the graph from Ahrefs below, which shows their progress in February of 2023 compared to August of 2022 before our engagement started. 

Some of the most notable things here include:

  • Many keywords moving from the second, third, or fourth page of the SERPs to the top five ranking positions
  • Ranking third for “trading journal” and fourth for both “trading journals” and “trader journal”
  • Increasing the “trading journal” keyword by 375 ranking positions 
  • DR increase from 0 to 25 in 6 months
  • 12 total high-DR & high quality backlinks built
  • 1407 new keywords plus another 107 already ranking that improved within 6 months
  • Increasing the rank of many high-value keywords by more than ten or twenty positions consistently

These results were fast, as the first high domain authority backlink went live on October 12th. You can see how quickly their rank increased for their primary target keyphrase “trading journal” here: 

Since “trading journal” is their primary service, this is a massive change in ranking that had very real and very significant results on relevant traffic coming to their site. The importance of this can’t be overstated, as it was able to drive high-intent users to their site who had a higher chance of becoming customers faster than other lower-value keywords. 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, TradeZella only worked with uSERP for a short time period and on an incredibly focused campaign. The results we were able to help them generate during that short engagement were significant and truly shows the power of authoritative, relevant backlinks— especially considering this was a brand-new brand with a brand-new site. 

With a continued content and backlinking engagement, we can only imagine what the results would be like long-term. 

This shows that if you have a new business and want to be competitive quickly (and of course you do!), backlinking needs to be a crucial part of that strategy. It’s the only way to gain an edge on more-established sites that already have an abundance of content, giving you a fast boost so that you can get results quickly instead of waiting a year or more to see them.

Ready to make SEO and content marketing a primary sales driver for your business? Learn how we can help you here. 

 

Scale organicgrowth with authority backlinks and performance-driven SEO.

Copy.ai is a revolutionary ai-driven software that helps you write better marketing copy in seconds.

And they came to us looking to put fuel on the fire for their SEO-driven user growth. In the 5 months prior to working together, they generated 167,000 organic clicks to key pages.

After 5 months of working with uSERP, they 6x’d their traffic to over 1,000,000 in the next 5 months, with no signs of slowing down:

The best part? This organic traffic isn’t targeting top of the funnel, generic content that results in high bounce rates. It’s targeting high-value, bottom of the funnel pages that drive users directly into the product, producing signups every single second of the day.

Here’s a look at the keywords and pages we’ve taken from 3rd page rankings to #1 in the last year:

That’s 263+ keywords with a #1 ranking position. Going up against some of the biggest AI companies in the space, we’ve put a lean budget to work that is now producing $98,500+ worth of traffic per month.

That means you’d have to spend $98,500 in paid search ads per month to get their traffic volume. How’s that for ROI?

With Copy.ai, we drove a full-scale strategy on SEO from keywords to target, on-page optimizations, technical foundations, and earning high authority backlinks from the best marketing, tech, and business sites in the world.

This full-scale strategy continues to dominate search results on a daily basis, reducing their reliance on paid spend, dramatically increasing their traffic potential.

Results

  • 1,000,000 clicks in 5 months (6x increase)
  • 2.1x CTR increase
  • 9,000,000+ impressions (3x increase)
  • $98,500 per month in traffic value (the amount you’d have to spend in paid ad campaigns, on a monthly basis, to drive the same amount of organic traffic)
  • #1 ranking for 263 organic keywords (excluding branded searches)
  • 1,760 first page rankings for non-branded keywords

Scale organicgrowth with authority backlinks and performance-driven SEO.

"We were very pleased with uSERP's work."

"They were knowledgable, reliable, highly competent, and trustworthy. Unlike some other SEO agencies I've worked with, I felt right away that they were up to date with modern SEO practices and understood where they fit in to the broader growth needs of the business."

Bo Herlin
Growth Marketing Manager at Canopy

As part of a multi-channel growth push, Canopy hired uSERP to improve their domain ranking and increase organic search traffic to an existing library of blog content.

“Our engagement began with a kickoff call where we outlines our goals and discussed strategy. Much of the actual day-to-day work involved placing quality backlinks to improve out domain ranking. uSERP reported on progress weekly, with ad hoc update calls.”

One of the highlights for Canopy was how different uSERP operates in comparison to other SEO agencies.

Instead of passing off clients to random account managers, senior operators with real SEO experience work directly with clients.

“We worked with four people from their team. Two were senior and helped manage the engagement and set strategy; the other two were junior and provided support and weekly updates.”

Canopy saw incredible results across the board, from leading indicators like Domain Rating (DR) to actual traffic increases from qualified users, converting to more app downloads.

“Since beginning the project, our domain ranking has improved significantly. We’ve seen a significant corresponding increase in organic search traffic to our site. We were very pleased with uSERP’s work and felt that we could trust them to delivery results without much oversight.”

Canopy felt extremely confident in the ability of the uSERP team to deliver results that weren’t in a silo, and matched up the growth goals company-wide:

“They were knowledgable, reliable, highly competent, and trustworthy. Unlike some other SEO agencies I’ve worked with, I felt right away that they were up to date with modern SEO practices and understood where they fit in to the broader growth needs of the business.”

In working together, Canopy saw impactful results from traffic to revenue.

Results

  • 14 point Domain Rating increase
  • 71.42% increase in monthly traffic from ideal customer profile
  • First page rankings for 62+ unique keywords
  • #1 rankings for product-led SEO content

Scale organicgrowth with authority backlinks and performance-driven SEO.

“They are growth-minded operators.”

“uSERP has helped us achieve huge organic growth across our affiliate blog and our SEO tool sets. Working with them is like having a scrappy extension of your team. These guys are growth-minded operators.”

Mark Spera
Founder of Growth Marketing Pro

We worked with Growth Marketing Pro to produce a high-intent SEO strategy revolving around their ideal clients: software companies.

Our goal was simple: don’t drive traffic for the sake of traffic. Instead, be a growth-minded operator of the business, and only focus on high-intent traffic that would turn into real business value, sales qualified leads, and closed contracts.

The Solution: high-intent SEO strategy

High-intent SEO is all about creating a growth strategy centered around sales qualified leads and revenue.

Working with GMP, this was our main focus.

Rather than increasing traffic at all costs, we started by identifying their target audience the typical keywords they search, as well as the publications they read frequently.

This enabled us to capture existing demand and position Growth Marketing Pro directly in front of readers in ideal publications.

All of this resulted in a 78% increase in qualified organic traffic:

The business impact has been nothing short of astounding, driving converting deals worth $60,000+ each, from brands like Minted, Cube, Almanac, and dozens more.

Results

  • 78% increase in organic traffic
  • Reached over 30,000 organic visits per month from ideal customers
  • 150%+ increase in sales qualified leads with high contract value
  • 220+ #1 position ranking keywords

Scale organicgrowth with authority backlinks and performance-driven SEO.

“uSERP handles the most difficult part of SEO: quality backlinks”

“Working with uSERP is as simple as handing off the most difficult aspect of SEO – getting great backlinks, and watching results explode.”

Hailey Friedman
CEO at GrowthBar

GrowthBar is an SEO software tool in the most competitive space for online content: SEO.

Ranking organically for keywords in this space is hyper-competitive and often takes years.

Instead of waiting years to rank organically, we took a different approach: targeted link building to get GrowthBar listed on the best SEO tool roundups and websites, capitalizing on other websites’ existing rankings to drive 4,000+ signups in months, not years.

Here’s how.

The Solution: Targeted Link Building

With GrowthBar, we had to think outside of the box. Instead of traditional SEO where we create great content on site, we focused entirely off-site, pitching GrowthBar to the biggest websites in the space.

In doing so, we landed 100s of backlinks, press mentions, and brand features on hyper-relevant articles:

This drove both authority and traffic back to GrowthBar, resulting in thousands of new users acquired one the course of the year.

Results

  • 4,000+ users / customers acquired from organic search
  • Organic traffic hit 34,000 per month, increasing month over month
  • First page rankings secured for 46+ keywords and counting

Scale organicgrowth with authority backlinks and performance-driven SEO.