How a Japanese Digital Agency Helped a Local Company Grow Traffic by 316%

Written by
Stasia Avetysian
Oct 05, 2021
8 min read

The agency

Cosmic Engine, a full-cycle digital marketing agency that offers its clients all kinds of digital support: from website design, content planning and development, to creation of promotional strategy, both in organic and paid search. 

The client

Shugakuin (朱学院) – an astrology school and fortune-telling school.

The goal

  • to increase search visibility of the client’s website (with an emphasis on the astrology course landing page) 
  • to boost organic traffic. 

Steps to reach the goal 

  • analyse technical health of the client’s website to understand the scope of work needed to be done regarding technical SEO 
  • research the market and get an idea of what competitors do to get high rankings 
  • identify keywords that reflect customers’ demand in this niche, find the possibilities to expand the semantics of the client’s website 
  • create content optimized for the target keywords to get the website visible for the people potentially interested in its services

Getting the job done

1. Website auditing 

The Cosmic Engine agency started with checking the general technical condition of their client’s website using SE Ranking’s Website Audit tool. The tool helped in several ways. First, it made it possible to estimate the technical health of the website against 120 parameters within minutes. If there were any problems with basic SEO settings like page indexing, duplicated content, 4xx pages, or wrong redirects, the Website Audit reported them.

Secondly, the auditing helped the team show the client what was going wrong and how much they needed to fix. Later, upon fixing the problems spotted by the tool, the agency was able to show the progress of their work in the reports from the Website Audit. The capability to show the difference between “before” and “after”, as well as a clear report on the website’s current problems, helped the agency to explain to the client the importance of certain SEO procedures and technical operations.

As the head of the agency, Akihito Watanabe claims, one of the hardest parts of their job — is to show clients the significance of SEO for their website. 

“Our clients are, of course, high-level professionals in the area of their business, however, they rarely understand that creating a website is not enough to actually benefit from it”.  

The Website Audit report not only helped find all the critical errors blocking the performance of the website in SERPs, but also allowed the agency to communicate the importance of their actions. 

Furthermore, lots of pages were out of the index, meaning that search engines didn’t even know about them. There were many pages without title tags, and those that had a title tag often had it duplicated with other pages. 

2. Competition analysis 

Researching the market and competitors turned out to be the most effective strategy for identifying the possibilities overlooked by the market rivals. 

Using the Competitive Research tool, the Cosmic Engine agency performed in-depth analysis of the client’s competitors and  discovered the following: 

  • most of the traffic to their websites was coming from the brand queries. 
  • they created some content, however, very little. Even the content that was not bad wasn’t targeting any keywords, it simply was not optimized. 
  • In general, the client’s competitors weren’t taking advantage of SEO or paid promotions. Nearly the only targeted keywords besides the brand queries were the ones identifying the main services + the word “free”

How did they manage to get all of this information via the Competitive Research tool? 

  1. First, it was enough to simply enter the domain’s name into the search box of the Competitive Research tool to get a full report on its estimated traffic, keywords that the domain was ranking for (both in paid and organic search), a list of its pages that attracted the most traffic, and the list of the domain’s closest competition.
Analyzing competitors' parameters with SE Ranking

This first-stage analysis helped to determine that very few competitors were relying on paid search as the source of the traffic. It also explained how the SEO-wise competitive domains could do a much better job. 

2. Upon getting the list of keywords used in organic search, the agency could sort out the results by different metrics — from keyword search volume and traffic it could potentially sort out the particular words it contained. That’s how they figured out that most of the traffic was coming from the brand queries and keywords containing the word “free” or “for free”. 

Analyzing competitor's keywords on SE Ranking platform

3. Keywords analysis — expanding the target keyword list 

After coming to a conclusion that competitors use the queries with “free” add-on (getting quite a bit of traffic with them) it was decided to include such keywords in the client’s target keyword list. To define what case the keywords with “free” are promising for optimization the Cosmic Engine professionals were using the Keyword Research tool

Collecting keywords with the help of SE Ranking's Keyword Research tool

Besides, since the competitors were giving quite a bit of space in terms of using keywords with high search volume, they started collecting keywords using similar and related keywords data within the tool. 

On top of that, the agency figured out that there’s a lot of potential in queries mentioning specific classes. So as well as the general transactional keywords like ‘free fortune telling’ (Japanese: 算命学 無料) or ‘Chinese fortune telling school’ (算命学 学校 ) they’ve started optimizing landing for the keywords indicating particular courses, like ‘Four Pillars of Destiny school’ (Jp.: 四柱推命, a popular Chinese fortune telling method).

Finally, they started promoting pages for these keywords in paid search as well, since competitors were rarely relying on the PPC results. It all has paid off. 

In general, the website’s pages started getting optimized not only for transactional keywords but also for informational ones. This required creating a big pull of new content pages that became a whole new challenge in itself, but the company managed. 

The main challenge at this stage was to convince the client that investing in content creation is as important as renovating the classes, revising the course curriculum, and training teachers. It is crucial for the business: creating new optimized content would lead to attracting more visitors → more visitors could turn into more customers that would lead to → more sales and revenue.

Were the agency people right? The answer is below. 

The results 

The first results were seen after just four months of intensive work on fixing the technical problems on the website, optimizing main landing pages, and creating content for the targeted keywords. For the most important keywords, the pages started ranking among the top-10 results. After 9 months — among the top-3. 

Over the first year of the SEO implementation the traffic doubled, and over the next two years, it grew by 316% (comparing July 2017 when the agency just took over the website and the mid-2020 results).

Cosmic Engine obtained results

Delivering interim results to the client 

The most challenging thing about providing SEO services is that they don’t give immediate results. PPC does, but not the organic optimization. That is why communicating intermediate results and the progress of work is so important  for both the agency and its clients. This case of the Cosmic Engine wasn’t an exception. 

To show the scope of the work needed to be done in the first place and to report the progress provided by the team, they used the Report Builder tool. 

With the help of the Report Builder tool, the team was able to build a comprehensive report on their work progress for the client in just minutes, whereas previously, without the help of the tool, it would have taken them up to three days. And then, of course, it took a couple of hours to add comments to each section to explain to the clients what particular indicators show.

The tool makes it possible to create branded documents, manually sort out the information, and accompany every section with explanatory comments. Along with the SE Ranking data, the Cosmic Agency team could present information from Google Analytics in the same report, providing a multidimensional perspective of the current situation to the clients. 

Thus, the Report Builder tool was valuable not only for the internal communication within the team (for reporting the results to the supervisors), but also for delivering results in a time-efficient and professional manner to the clients. 

As you can see, even fortune tellers need SE Ranking to gather SEO data. Try it yourself! 

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