SEO case study: 12x search traffic increase in 12 months

Our team worked to bring a significant increase in relevant traffic to transtempo.ua, bus company site, in 12 months. 

We achieved:

  • 12x search traffic increase
  • getting 25% out of the commercial search queries (from created semantic core) in Google top-3, and 73% – in top-10

Unfortunately, access to the first Google Analytics account was lost, and therefore we can only compare the current traffic with the data for the summer of 2019, but not since the beginning of work.

However, the first recorded traffic for this project was 3403 visitors per monthsee proof here.

Project start

The first stage of our work was October 2018 – July 2019. During that period, most of the keywords got to the top, and further growth was limited by an inability to implement several critical revisions.

The company returned to the second stage of promotion with a new website in December 2020. Unfortunately, in 3 months the work had to be paused, coronavirus travel regulations completely paralyzed the client’s business. The company resumed SEO promotion in June 2021.

Client: Transtempo is a carrier specializing in the international carriage of passengers. It primarily operates in the countries closest to Ukraine – Poland, Czech Republic, Baltic countries, etc.

On their website, you can select the required route and immediately buy tickets.

And even though this business is smaller than its competitors (EcoLine, Flixbus, Busfor, and others), the possibility to order the ticket directly from the website and good route coverage allowed this platform to compete with larger enterprises.

The goals of the project

  1. Get top of Google search engine rankings in prioritized areas.
  2. SEO traffic growth.

Biggest challenges faced in the field

  1. International competitors cover more routes and have well-known brands.
  2. This brand has websites on multiple domains with separate Ukrainian-language versions. Thus, we had to find a way to link all different language versions of these sites and construct hreflang tags.
  3. The site has a massive and complex backend because of booking functionality, so it was problematic and time-consuming to implement some technical changes.

Internal optimization

During the first month of work, we conducted a technical audit and prepared the terms of reference. 

The scope defined:

  • moving language versions located on the http protocol to https and gluing them together;
  • finding and eliminating all duplicates of the home page;
  • finding empty pages with no value, preparing terms of reference for the update, setting up redirects;
  • listing pages that give a 404 server response, setting up redirects to existing pages;
  • closing tagged pages in the blog from indexing;
  • building landing pages for new semantic clusters;
  • creating a new content structure for landing pages;
  • preparing terms of reference for the optimization of different language versions. It included subfolder transferring, language switch ​​and urls match checking, hreflang tags adding;
  • setting appropriate navigational breadcrumbs ;
  • creating micro-markup;
  • fixing sitemap errors and robots.txt files;
  • adding meta tags, both custom for priority pages, and template ones for the rest;
  • fixing errors in headers h1-h3. Initially, this tag defined content incorrectly, headers were not optimized, the hierarchy was broken on some pages and several headers had the same value;
  • optimizing website loading speed;
  • implementing a link scheme;
  • adding automatic alt text for images;
  • defining logic and rules for leaving customer reviews on the pages;
  • optimizing categories in the menu, highlighting popular directions, removing duplicates and unimportant links from the top menu, etc.

Semantic core and content

During the first 3 months of work, we collected complete semantic core for all directions, routes, and additional services, starting from the priority ones.

Then, and after analyzing competitors, we:

  • finalized the website structure and added new pages. New pages were added for specific routes (e.g., ‘Kyiv-Prague’) and also for the cases when only the destination is defined (e.g., ‘Tickets to Krakow’);
  • added new meta tags for prioritized pages, and created templates for others;
  • finalized landing pages structure, added new blocks helpful for visitors;
  • optimized texts, wrote new ones for some pages.

Working with a blog

After we finished collecting keywords and on-page optimization of commercial pages, we started to work with a blog. Every month, we prepared the terms of reference for writing 5 blog articles. The content included:

  • semantic core for the article;
  • required text volume;
  • comments on structure and content.

External optimization

Before our project, the site already had a few links with low-quality indicators. Thus, our task was to build up high-quality links, taking into account a limited budget.

Therefore, we chose the following link building tactics:

  • concentrate link building on 3-4 priority areas. After reaching the top by positions, we carried on with the next pages;
  • place links on pages close to the top rankings (e.g. on 20th position). As a result, they gradually got to the top 10 with a relatively small link mass;
  • choose different types of donor websites – from thematic forums to high-quality article ones. Thus, the link mass was as diverse as possible.

However, during the second stage of work, we noticed the disadvantages of this strategy. For example, most of the forum links ‘disappeared’ when the work was paused, and the volume of the link mass decreased to almost the initial level. Nevertheless, high-quality article links remained in the index, so this did not lead to a drop in positions.

Result

After 12 months of work on the SEO of this site, traffic increased twelvefold – from 3.4 thousand visitors per month to 43.8 thousand. 25% of requests got to top-3 and 73% – to top-10.

It is important to mention that such a significant result of this project wouldn’t be possible without the client’s work on business development. Throughout the project, the client worked on PR, used other channels of increasing brand awareness, created a new convenient website, and expanded services.

Therefore, the collaborative efforts of our SEO team and the client lead to great results!

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