White Hat SEO Case Study: 1,000+ Daily Visitors (In < 6 Months) 

 March 27, 2024

Looking for white hat SEO examples?

You’ve come to the right place!

Today, you’re going to learn how I used white hat SEO techniques to grow my blog from 0 to over 1,000 daily visitors... 

...in less than 6 months.

Take a look:

White hat SEO case study
Organic traffic from white hat SEO

The techniques you’re about to learn allowed me to rank #2 on Google for a highly competitive (and high-converting) keyword: “RV accessories”.

I even used this step-by-step strategy to out-rank huge companies like Amazon and Camping World.

Wanna know how? Keep reading.

Free Bonus: Click here to get a FREE SEO cheat sheet that shows you exactly what to do to rank your website in Google's top 3 in less than 6 months.

What is White Hat SEO? (Click to Reveal)

White Hat SEO Case Study: How I Achieved a #2 Ranking, 1,000+ Daily Blog Visitors, and $36,525.35 in Passive Sales

That’s right. My article on RV accessories now ranks #2 for it’s main keyword (under the ads of course)...
White hat SEO results

...gets over 1,000 daily visitors (most days)...

Organic traffic from white hat SEO

...and generated $36,525.35 in completely passive revenue in a single month.

SEO revenue results

(Sure, it was Amazon’s revenue, not mine - but imagine if I turned my blog into an eCommerce store. Cha-ching!)

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, the post generated 138 backlinks from 31 unique domains and ranks for over 2,000 keywords!

White hat SEO link building

In short: White hat SEO works really freaking well.

Want to learn a repeatable, step-by-step process to see the same results for your website? Whether you just learned how to start a blog or you've been doing SEO for years, this SEO case study is sure to teach you something new.

Fun fact: I also do Airbnb SEO!

Step 1: Find Your Influencers

Ranking a website requires three things...

  1. Great content on proven topics
  2. Promotion
  3. Backlinks directly to the web pages you're trying to rank

That's why the first step to a great SEO campaign is to find the authority figures in your niche.

The people with big followings and high domain authority websites have already tested hundreds, sometimes thousands, of topics. They've found what works.

Plus, by finding these people and including them in your content, you're baking promotion and link building directly into your website. You'll see what I mean in a minute...

For now, head over to our trusty friend Google and look at the search engine results for topics you’re considering writing about.

The top results are influencers/authorities in your niche. These are the people you want to befriend.

How to find influencers

For the RV blog, I searched for things like “how to live in an RV”, “what kind of RV should I buy”, “RV guides”, etc. and saved anything promising.

Pro Tip: If you want to find a lot of influencers at once, just type in “best [topic] blogs”. When I searched “best RV blogs”, I found a list of nearly 100. Goldmine!

Keep a spreadsheet of all the sites you find. Google sheets works wonders for this.

Here’s what mine looked like:

Influencer list

Simple - a column for their name, contact info, website URL, and social profiles.

Keep in mind that you may not be able to find everyone’s email. If that’s the case, get their contact page URL. For help finding emails, check out this guide.

You can also add a column for notes, a column for when you reached out and how, and a column for domain authority (DA), if you’re so inclined. (Links from high DA sites pass more authority to your site.)

Pro Tip: Install the Mozbar browser extension to see a site’s domain authority at a glance!

Now that you have this list, let’s put it to good use.

Want a step-by-step training to learn exactly how SEO works?
Click here to see the Blueprint SEO Training by Ryan Stewart!

Step 2: Choose a Proven Topic


Influencers became influencers by talking about the hottest topics in your niche.

Their thumb is on the pulse of your industry.

So if you want to write about the things people in your industry care about, you should look at what the influencers are talking about.

Literally, go to their site and check out their blog! Do it now, I'll wait.

For example, on Heath and Alyssa’s site (they’re awesome full-time RVers who run a podcast called the RV Entrepreneur), I noticed they blog about guides to RVing and their favorite campgrounds.

Using influencers to choose a topic

When I check other big RV blogs like Less Junk More Journey and Ardent Camper, I notice a similar trend.

More topic ideas

This tells me that it’s a good idea to write a post about campgrounds or RVing guides.

In addition to looking at what the influencers are talking about, you should also check YouTube to see what’s popular in your niche. Just grab a keyword (like “motorhome”, “ecommerce”, or “cooking”) and see what comes up.

Pro Tip: Use YouTube for Content Ideas

In addition to looking at what the influencers are talking about, you should also check YouTube to see what’s popular in your niche.

Just grab a broad keyword around your site's content (like “motorhome”, “ecommerce”, or “cooking”) and see what comes up.

YouTube for SEO

In this case, I see tips and recommendations for living in an RV. Great idea for a post!

(In case you’re wondering, I found a highly popular post that recommended RV accessories, and that’s how I got my topic idea.)

Once you dig up a few good topic ideas, it’s time for...

Step 3: Research Your Keyword

It’s important to pick a kickass keyword for your content campaign.


Because your keyword choice will determine how long it takes to rank, how much traffic you get, and how easily that traffic converts.

So how do you find a good keyword?

For starters, all good keywords have two things in common:

  1. Decent search volume (which varies heavily based on your industry)
  2. Medium-tail length (as in, not a head term like “shoes” or long-tail like “how to clean your shoes with baby oil”)

That’s not to say you should never go after low volume or long-tail keywords. Medium-tails just typically have the best combination of search volume and low(ish) competition.

So how do you find good keywords?

Personally, I use Ahrefs for all my keyword research. But you can also use Google Keyword Planner (it’s just more time-consuming and less effective).

Here’s how:

First, take a broad match head term you think might be a good fit for your article and plug it into the tool.

So if your blog is about woodworking and your topic idea is cool woodworking projects, use a phrase like “woodworking projects”, “woodworking ideas”, “diy woodworking”, or even just “woodworking”.

Since this is an SEO case study, I’ll walk you through what I did...

My topic idea was to write about cool RV accessories and gadgets, so I started with “RV accessories”.

(I do want to point out, however, that you won’t typically end up targeting the first head term you try - I just happened to luck out.)

Once you search your head term on Ahrefs, click the links under “Keyword ideas”. On these pages, filter your keywords to only those with 2-4 words, then sort those by search volume.

Here’s what that looks like:

Ahrefs keyword research

You can also sort based on KD (Keyword Difficulty) and search volume. I like to use a KD of less than 30 and a search volume of at least 200, but this could limit your choices if you’re in a low volume or high difficulty niche.

Don’t forget to check the other tabs (like “Phrase match” or “Having same terms”) if the “All” tab has too many irrelevant ideas.

Pro Tip: Use CPC as an Indicator for Search Intent

The CPC (Cost Per Click) is a good indicator of buyer intent for a keyword. If people are willing to spend a lot of money for a click on a particular keyword, it typically means that keyword converts well for them. 

High CPC = High-Converting (and Sought After) Keyword

Once you’ve chosen a primary keyword that’s a good fit for your content, there’s one more research step you need to take…

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keyword research.

Don’t be scared - LSI is just a fancy way of saying keywords that are related to or synonymous with your primary keyword. When included, they show Google's algorithm that you’re covering the full breadth of subtopics within your main topic.

What do I mean by that?

Well, one of Google’s goals when ranking a search result is to keep the searcher from needing to return to the search results page.

You can do that by answering all the questions a searcher has within your single page. And, typically, LSI keywords include most of the questions or topics a reader would need to know about. Thus, by including them, you rank higher.

To explain this in a different angle, HubSpot uses a similar concept called the “Pillar-Cluster Model”. Think of their “clusters” as the LSI topics you write about within your “pillar” page. (Or, if you can’t fully cover them in one post, use the pillar-cluster method!)

For example, when writing about “RV accessories”, I realized that people were looking for things like wheel covers, water pumps, batteries, etc.

So, since it wasn’t originally included in the content when first published, I added a section discussing these items.

LSI keywords in action

Adding this section with LSI keywords helped boost my post from the bottom of the first page to the middle, then eventually to the top.

Plus, thanks to LSI keywords, you can end up ranking for hundreds or even thousands of additional keywords. (Like how my post is ranking for over 2,000 keywords.)

Of course, it’s always better to add them in from the start. But you can also use them to boost your rankings after a page is already published. (More on that in step 6!)

So how do you find your LSI keywords?

Simple - just type your primary keyword into LSI Graph and it will spit some back for you.

You can also look at the related searches at the bottom of Google, or look at their autosuggestions when you’re typing the keyword into the search box.

Google related searches

Finally, just use some common sense to pick the keywords that are most relevant to your article. Easy!

(FYI the search volume and CPC you see in that screenshot comes from the Keyword Everywhere browser extension. It’s an awesome tool I highly recommend.)

Pro Tip: Use AnswerThePublic to find user's questions

Answer The Public is a tool that determines all the questions people ask around a particular keyword. It works by scouring forums, related searches, and other websites on the given topic.

Answer The Public home page
Answer The Public SEO Tool

So... now you have a list of people to promote your content to, you’ve chosen a solid topic based on what’s hot in your industry, and you’ve done your due diligence with keyword research.

What’s next?

Step 4: Create World-Class Content

World-class content is literally the absolute best content in the world on the given subject.

And you need it if you hope to get white hat backlinks and rankings without bashing your face off a wall or spending boatloads of money.

“But Bill, how the heck do I create world-class content? I’m not an expert writer and I don’t know the first thing about creating content.

Good news: you don’t have to be a great writer or a master content marketer to create great content! 

You just need to follow my step-by-step guide to creating top ranking content.
Guide to creating content

TLDR; Here are some of the key points…

  1. Start with an outline. ALWAYS! (More on that in a second.)
  2. Write like you would talk. It’s one of the best ways to engage your readers.
  3. Use short, clear sentences and only 2-3 sentences per paragraph.
  4. Back up your claims with research, personal experience, and data points. Proof!
  5. Survey or interview experts in your industry. You get more credibility, plus easy promotion. (More on that later too.)
  6. End your post with a single, clear call-to-action. (Even if it’s just asking for a comment.)
  7. Use LOTS of images. Video is even better. Charts, graphs, and screenshots rock.
  8. Bonus: Read Brian Dean’s SEO Copywriting guide.

This post on landscaping is a great example of what you're trying to achieve. It covers EVERYTHING you need to know about the topic, is formatted well, and includes relevant pictures. 

Picking up on point #1, I want to share with you something I’ve never shared with anyone before…

The exact blog outline process I use before I create ANY content, to ensure it has all the best information, great flow, and includes LSI topics. Let’s dive in!

Bonus: How to Create A World-Class Outline

I never start writing before I make an outline. This is because an outline...

  • Makes your content flow and read better
  • Ensures you cover all of the relevant information on a given topic
  • Puts your LSI keywords in subheaders (important for on-page SEO)
  • Allows you the freedom to write one section at a time
  • Enables you to walk away and come back as you please, without losing your flow

Not to mention, having an outline makes you more confident in your ability to create world-class content. It helps to know you have your shit together and organized.

So what should you include in your outline?

Here’s a video walkthrough:

You can copy the content outline template I used in the video and start filling yours in immediately. Just click "File" -> "Make a copy" to make edits.

All I ask is that you share this post and leave a comment about what you think! 🙂

Pro Tip: Reach Out to Influencers First

If you’re going to reach out to influencers/experts for quotes or feedback (and you should!), do it BEFORE you start writing.

That way, you can include their comments in the appropriate section, and you won’t have to go back and awkwardly force it into the content later.

I did this with my RV accessory post.

Influencers in content

Not only does this boost the credibility of your article, it also makes it easier to write (since they’re doing some of the writing for you) and you get what I call “pre-promotion”.

Meaning, you’re setting your content up to have an army of promoters to share it when it goes live.

Plus, it’s always good to build relationships with the big wigs in your niche!

You never know - a lot of these people (like Heath and Alyssa above) have really cool stories and can teach you a thing or two. We sure learned a lot from them when we met up!

Once you’ve created something amazing and published it, you probably want to send it out to the world and relax. After all, it’s amazing! World-class! People should pour in, right?

Wrong. If you stop here and move on, you’re making a HUGE mistake!

It doesn’t matter if your new blog post was forged in Mount Doom and granted control over the 18 greatest articles ever created (kudos if you got the LotR reference) - if you don’t promote your content, no one will see it. Period.

Which is why you should move into the next phase...

Step 5: Promote, Engage, and Build Links

Let's be real...

The majority of your site’s traffic is likely to come from Google.

Don’t just take my word for it! Most of my clients’ traffic comes from Google as well:

Traffic from Google

There’s no doubt about it - Google is a powerful source of free, recurring traffic. And it’s typically the highest converting traffic to boot.

...but Google doesn’t rank your content overnight. And good SEO doesn’t happen without effort.

Which is why, in the meantime, you need to do your own promotion.

A strong promotion campaign can bring you thousands of initial blog visitors to your new content.

In fact, I used this Pinterest promotion strategy, along with promoting my content to targeted Facebook groups, to rake in over 3,000 visitors on launch day.
Social traffic

Problem is, that traffic is gone just as quick as it came. See the massive drop the next day?

But this initial finicky traffic is still important because it generates three things…

  3. And, potentially, backlinks.

Shares and comments are important because they generate social proof that your content is exceptional.

Basically, if people see those big share numbers and lots of comments, they’re more likely to think it’s a good article, and thus are more likely to share, comment, and link to that article themselves.

Plus, user engagement (i.e. comments) are a ranking factor for Google. Comments show Google that a piece is well-written and authoritative. 

Don't believe me? Just ask Rand Fishkin, one of the SEO experts at Moz:

Rand Fishkin Moz

"There are a limited number of variables that search engines can take into account directly, including keywords, links, and site structure.

However, through linking patterns, user engagement metrics, and machine learning, the engines make a considerable number of intuitions about a given site. 

Usability and user experience are second order influences on search engine ranking success.

They provide an indirect but measurable benefit to a site's external popularity, which the engines can then interpret as a signal of higher quality. This is called the "no one likes to link to a crummy site" phenomenon.

Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience helps ensure that visitors to your site perceive it positively, encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits, and inbound links—all signals that trickle down to the search engines and contribute to high rankings.

User engagement influences search rankings. So stop putting UX second! @randfish ‏

Click to Tweet

Pro Tip: If you want more comments, ASK for them! End your article with a question.

Better yet, ask influencers to leave a comment when you reach out to them.

Most importantly, respond to every comment! If people see engagement, they’re more likely to engage themselves.

Now then... besides sharing you post on Facebook and Pinterest, what can you do to promote your new content?

Well, the list is endless. Sumo even published a guide with 134 ways to increase your traffic.

But to get you started, here are a few of my favorite white hat content promotion strategies:

  • Share it on every social channel (duh).
  • Submit your article to Quuu Promote.
  • Email anyone you mentioned OR linked to in the article.
  • Use influencer outreach to promote it and build links.
  • Try pay per click ads by boosting a Facebook post.

I also recommend using Kai Davis’s content promotion checklist. He has some killer, simple tactics you can tick off for max reach.

AFTER you promote your content, it’s time to go for link building.

I say after because once you’ve promoted it you have that social proof I keep talking about! Those social signals really do make it easier to get links.

And links are the key here - without them, your content won't rank. Just listen to Matthew Barby, an SEO expert and director of Hubspot:

Matthew Barby

"A study I did into the HubSpot blog shows huge positive correlation with the number of backlinks a URL had and the volume of organic search traffic it generated.

Backlinks STILL Matter

In short, even for websites that have tons of links pointing to their domain, they still need to earn links to their individual pieces of content to rank well."

Links to your domain aren't enough. You need links to your individual pieces of content to rank. @matthewbarby

Click to Tweet

So how do you build white hat links? Here are my favorite strategies:

For the RV accessories post, I reached out to the people who contributed to the article and got several backlinks that way.

But the real slew of links came from outreach to resource pages. It was a perfect fit! Here's one example:

Resource page white hat linkbuilding

I also got quite a few links through guest posting. Here’s a guide if you’re interested in that.

Once you’re done with your link building campaigns, give yourself a huge pat on the back. All the hard work is behind you!

Of course, getting these links (probably) won’t rank you overnight. Google takes their sweet time ranking anything new, even with authoritative links.

But, when you finally DO hit the bottom of page one, what then?

Let me tell you...

Step 6: Use Minor Tweaks to Boost Your Rankings

Hitting page one is only the beginning...

Over 65% of clicks go to the top two results - and it drops drastically the lower you get.

Percentage of traffic by Google search position

In other words, if you’re in position 10 you’re only going to get 3 clicks for every 100 searches. Not good.

I know this first hand, because when I first hit page one for “RV accessories”, I still only got a few hundred clicks per month (out of 15,000!).

But when I hit position 5, that increased to about 1,000 clicks per month. Now, at rank two, I get over 1,000 clicks per day!

(In case you did the math - those 1,000 clicks are from all the LSI keywords I rank for as well, not just "RV accessories".)

So how do you climb the first page?

First-page ranking changes are less about backlinks and more about user engagement, content fit, and copywriting.

That’s not to say more links won’t increase your rankings once you hit the first page - they certainly can. But Google rewards the search results that drive the most clicks.

In other words, if you’re in position 7 but your article is getting more clicks than the article in position 3, Google will move you above position three.

But how do you get more clicks? Let's take a look.

Metadata Copywriting: Rank Higher on Page One

Getting more clicks on Google is just like getting more clicks on a PPC ad - all it takes is a little copywriting.

Your metadata is the only only thing people see on Google. It’s the title and description of your search result.

Metadata explained

Think of your metadata as a PPC ad. You need to use copywriting tactics to make it more convincing. Here are some tips:

  • Google your keyword and look at the ads. Use similar wording (but don’t make a blog post sound salesy). If there are no ads, look at your competitors.
  • Use numbers when possible. Even if it’s not a list post, you can use numbers with percentages or data, like I did with this post.
  • Add brackets or parentheses if possible. [Brackets] and (Parentheses) make your result stand out.
  • Include trigger words like “free”, “fast”, “step-by-step”, etc. Check out this list of power words for more ideas.
William Harris eCommerce Expert

"There are a limited number of variables that search engines can take into account directly, including keywords, links, and site structure.

However, through linking patterns, user engagement metrics, and machine learning, the engines make a considerable number of intuitions about a given site. 

Usability and user experience are second order influences on search engine ranking success.

They provide an indirect but measurable benefit to a site's external popularity, which the engines can then interpret as a signal of higher quality. This is called the "no one likes to link to a crummy site" phenomenon.

Crafting a thoughtful, empathetic user experience helps ensure that visitors to your site perceive it positively, encouraging sharing, bookmarking, return visits, and inbound links—all signals that trickle down to the search engines and contribute to high rankings.

User engagement influences search rankings. So stop putting UX second! @randfish ‏

Click to Tweet

Back to the case study...

Tweaking my meta title from “40 MUST-HAVE RV Accessories According to 30 Full-Time RVers” to “40 Must-Have RV Accessories Revealed by 30 RV Experts” actually helped push my article from position 7 to position 5.

But copywriting isn’t the only thing you can do to improve your rankings.

Add Smart Internal Links For A Rankings Boost

Internal links are links from one page on your website to another.

And when it comes to SEO, they tell Google which pages you think are important.

The more internal links to a page, the more important you’re telling Google that page is. It works like this:

Internal Linking SEO

So whenever you create a new piece of content, be sure to go back to old posts and add internal links to your new post.

As a rule of thumb, try to use some exact-match anchor text, some partial-match anchor text, and some no-match anchor text in your internal links. (Not sure what I mean by that? Read this guide.)

Pro Tip: This also works to rank eCommerce product and category pages! Add a link from your content to the product page you want to rank. Just make sure your product page is optimized for conversions.

I have one more white hat SEO technique for you...

Update and Re-Publish Old Content for Even More Traffic

You probably already have lots of old (yet awesome) content on your website.

You can do one of two things with these dusty tomes…

  1. Delete them to free up your crawl budget.
  2. Update them and promote them like new.

How do you decide?

Easy - if it’s crap, unless you can make it something worthwhile and relevant, junk it. Brian Dean from Backlinko agrees:

Brian Dean from Backlinko

"I love deleting crappy old blog posts.

Because the truth is this:

If a page isn’t bringing in traffic or revenue, its USELESS. So delete it or redirect it to another relevant post.

In fact, Koozai deleted 900 blog posts without any issues."

Don't be afraid to delete crappy old blog posts. @backlinko

Click to Tweet

But if it’s awesome material that’s still relevant? Give it a facelift and re-publish that sucker like brand new content!

Back to the SEO case study; my RV accessory post was written and published in June 2017. In November it was hovering around the fifth position in the search results.

So, I re-created the page to make it mobile friendly, updated the images with higher-resolution versions (while also compressing them to improve page load speeds), and added a few more accessories (like these awesome zip-on bed sheets).

Then, I promoted it to my audience, the influencers who contributed, and anyone else who would listen to me, all over again.

The result? I was pushed to the second position in the search results.

(With a few extra backlinks, of course.)

Moral of the story: Don’t give up. Small tweaks can make a big difference.

Now you’re on the last step!

Step 7: Monitor Your Keywords

Once you start bringing in links and implementing the SEO tips I shared above, the last step is easy…

Watch your rankings soar!

If you bought an Ahrefs account (can you tell I love this tool?), you can use it to track your rankings.

Just go to the “Rank tracker” tab, then click “Add keywords” and add the ones your targeting (including any LSI keywords you used).

Ahrefs Keyword Rank Tracker tool

If you don’t have Ahrefs, you can either look for another keyword monitoring tool (like SEO Keyword Tool) or you can do what I do despite having Ahrefs, and just Google your keyword in an Incognito tab.

Using Incognito (or a “private” browser) stops Google from using your location and search history to skew results.

Pro Tip: Hit Control & F to use the find functionality on the search results page, then start typing in the title of your article or your website URL to find your result quickly.

And that’s all there is to it!

Some Final Words on SEO

White hat SEO strategies are the single best way to drive loads of free, recurring, high-converting leads to your site.

Search engines were deemed the best digital marketing channel by over 21 marketing experts, including Brian Dean from Backlinko and Peep Laja from ConversionXL.

I mean, come on - organic traffic is responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in revenue every single month for people all over the world.

Brian Dean even gets over 300,000 visitors to his site every month through Google alone!

So yea, it works. It’s time-consuming, high effort, and takes a few months to ramp up - but it’s the gift that keeps on giving (if you do it right).

Your SEO efforts will pay off for years to come.

Over to you - Are you going to focus on white hat SEO in 2018? What results have you seen already? Leave a quick comment below right now.

Read Next: SEO for Dummies: A Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Bonus: Click here to get a FREE SEO cheat sheet that shows you exactly what to do to rank your website in Google's top 3 in less than 6 months.

Bill Widmer

Bill has a passion for teaching others how to build and grow their own online business. He's started and grown several sites from $0 to over $10k per month and has worked with many prestigious clients such as Sumo, Shopify, and Single Grain.

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