Case Study: Great Prayer Project – March 2010

Discover how I was able to increase traffic to a website by 264%, the Google Page Ranking from 1 to 4, and the time spend on the website by over 1 minute.

About five months ago a friend of mine approached me with an interesting idea for a website. The website goal was to unite individuals in one voice, in one prayer, a prayer to end abortion. His idea was to set up time slots, with each time slot lasting 20 minutes. That would make 72 time slots a day and for the entire year a total of 26,280. Realizing it was going to be no easy feat to find enough individuals to fill that many time slots, I figure this was going to be a project that would take my SEO skills to the max.

The Great Prayer Project – End Abortion (this is what we decided to refer to this project as) officially started March 25, 2010. The project started off strong, with the first two and half days completely filled with individuals praying for an end to abortion. Since then, things have slowed down. I know I still have a great deal of work to increase the amount of traffic to our website and have the rest of the time slots filled, but as you will see below, I have been able to put our website in a great position to do just that.

Here is how I was able to get this website from having a Google Page Rank of 1 in January to a Page Rank of a 4 at the start of April (I checked our Google Page Rank on April 3rd, 2010). I do believe at the rate we are going, our website will have a Google Page Rank of a 5 by the end of May. This would roughly equate to increasing our page ranking by 1 each month that we have had the full website up and running (January 1st, 2010).

First, I want to give some statistics for the website.

As you can see, if we compare the number of total visitors from January (515) to the number of total visitors from March (1362), we have had an increase of 264%. That is a very impress increase within this short of a time period. Unique visitors for those months were 358 and 961 respectively, an increase of 268%.

Our website traffic breaks down like this:

Jan Feb Mar
Total Direct 215 172 525
Total Search 94 113 200
Total Referrals 206 235 637

Our Top Five Sources for website traffic for the month of March were:

  1. Direct – 525
  2. Google – 165
  3. Facebook – 106
  4. – 49
  5. – 30

The top five keywords individuals used in search engines to find our website were:

  1. Prayers to End Abortion – 59
  2. The Great Prayer Project – 17
  3. Abortion Prayer – 11
  4. Luke 18 – 8
  5. Great Prayer Project – 6

Now that I have shown you what I feel are the most important statistics from an SEO standpoint, I’m going to share with you how I have been able to increase total visitor traffic to our website by 264% and saw an increase of our Google Page Ranking from a 1 to a 4 in that short of a time period.

Understanding the importance of having other websites linking to ours, I started a campaign to find other sites that were focused on two things, those being Pro-Life and/or Christianity. The reason I focused just on websites that about these two topics was simply the target audience of our website would be Pro-Life Christians. Asking a website that was focused on providing resources for video games was not a good match to partner with in order to increase the traffic to our website.

I actually started this campaign by exchanging links. I did not focus on major pro-life or Christianity websites because in January, we still had two months until the start date for praying. Plus these websites most likely would not have seen a benefit to exchanging links with us because we had low traffic to our website (in December we had a total of 186 people visit our website). The reason we were able to have that number of visitors was because while I was developing the website (pre launch of our fully functional website), I did manage to find several websites to place links to our site on. Starting in January, I started focusing my efforts on lower traffic websites that were in my focus group. These Pro-Life and Christianity websites I figured would be more likely to exchange links with us. I have found this method has been successful for this project and was able to help to increase our Google Page Ranking and website traffic. With these numbers increased, we now have more options on how we can market our website and mention these numbers when we contact other websites that have higher Page Ranking and traffic to their site.

I have found that when I have contacted other websites owners or individuals running these websites, I usually heard back from about 5% of them. This may seem like a low number, but after looking at the result of increase our website traffic by 264%, you can see that this effort does pay off. The important thing to remember is the website you ask to exchange links with should be focused a similar topic as your site. Also remember that you do not want your link page to have too many links on it. I have read in several articles related to this topic that you should have no more than 100 links on you’re a web page, this includes any internal links (such as to your home page). I try not to exceed 70 links on any page that I manage.

Another technique I have used was including in the emails I sent out asking to link to our website is asking for that individual to also mention us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or a blog they write (I know just ask that a website links to ours, I do not ask to exchange links). You will find that not all website exchange links, but if the individual that runs that website has a Facebook, Twitter, or a blog (most people that run a website has at least one of these) and like what you provide on your website, they will mention your site on one of these three outlets. If you noticed, Facebook is number 3 on the websites that provides traffic to our website. Many of these visitors come from others mentioning us on Facebook, not from our Facebook page. Twitter should be on that list at number 4, but because of some techniques I use with Twitter (see my Making the Most of Twitter) the data collected from visitors from Twitter show up as two or three referring sites. I prefer to keep them separate due to being able to better determine how I can better use these tools to increase traffic from Twitter.

A third technique has been to use a monthly newsletter to email subscribers about what is happening on our website. I have found that after we send out a newsletter, nearly 50% of those on our mailing list visit our website within 24 hours of receiving that email. Our mailing has been growing by nearly 50 people a month and I would predict that ratio would say better much the same as more people sign up to receive our newsletter.

Now that I have gone over some of the techniques I have used to increase this website traffic by 264%, I would like to share with you other techniques I will be using in the upcoming months to keep the number of total visitors to our website increasing.

  • Modify Titles – Right now every web page includes the words “The Great Prayer Project” somewhere in it. I am going to remove this, except on the homepage. The remaining web pages will have a title that just relates to what is on that page. I will be looking at keywords for each of these pages and creating web page titles that include those keywords. (Find more about keywords on my Five Simple Free SEO Tips page)
  • Change the wording on our promote page that provides individuals with the code to link to our website. Right now the anchor keywords I have set up are “The Great Prayer Project – End Abortion”. I will be changing it to “Pro-Life Prayer Movement – The Great Prayer Project”. The reason for this is I want to focus on the keywords Pro-Life and Prayer. Right now we do not rank in either of these. I feel these are the two most important keywords that we need to focus on to attract the type of visitors that will join in the prayer.
  • I am planning on writing several articles for a few online magazines on the topic of prolife and why it is important to pray. I will include a link to The Great Prayer Project website within each of these articles and use anchor text in those links that I feel will benefit our website within the search engines.
  • I am also planning on asking Pro-Life bloggers to write about our website. I will continue asking other website owners that are prolife and/or Christian focused to link to our website.
  • I am hoping by the end of this week to have a Spanish version of the website complete. A very kind lady from Spain is working on translating the entire website into Spanish. This will allow our website to reach a much greater audience around the world.

As you can see, the number of visitors to this website has increased considerably within the last few months. If I can continue to increase the website traffic at the rate it has been, we will be able to fill the remaining time slots and how we have improved on the keywords I have mentioned above.

I do understand that the website that I am focusing on increasing the traffic too is about joining in a prayer, but you can easily use these techniques in other ways to help increase your website traffic for a e-commerce website, a business website or just your own personal site.

I am planning on writing about the progress of this website ever months on this blog, so please check back every month to find out how the progress has been going. If you have any ideas or would like to help in increasing our search results with the search engines, please leave a comment below. It’s not far for others who read this to be left out on the techniques used to increase our traffic to this website. Just like when you rented a VHS tape, you were reminded to “Be Kind, Rewind”. On this blog, I have a similar model, “Be Kind, Share”. Thanks for reading.

About Joe

Hi. I am a web designer and front end developer located in Muskegon Mi. I specialize in helping small and medium size businesses succeed online.
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