Here's how earned media and backlinks resulted in a 23% year-on-year increase in organic traffic for educational toy retailer Learning Resources:

The Problem

Two years ago, Learning Resources were finding it challenging to gain ground on competitors. Their Trust Flow and Citation Flow — two metrics used by Majestic to determine the strength of a domain’s backlink profile — were significantly lower than other brands in the arena. Despite the rising importance of other ranking factors like user signals, backlinks (along with content) still have the most impact on a site’s organic rankings. Having eliminated the possibility that content or technical SEO issues were suppressing their search performance, we focused our attention on link-building.

Learning Resources’ Citation Flow, which indicates how influential a page might be based on the number of sites that link to it, was 23 (while competitors were averaging 35). Their Trust Flow, which indicates how trustworthy a page is likely to be based on the trustworthiness of the sites that link to it, was 14 (when competitors were averaging 45).

This was due to a lack of valuable, high-authority links: while there was a small cluster of bloggers who regularly reviewed products for the brand, and some positive natural coverage, Learning Resources were missing the kind of links that really pack a punch: topically relevant links from strong, trusted domains.

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“I have been very impressed with Selesti and highly recommend them for digital services. They've been a pleasure to work with, showing great attention to detail and always willing to go the extra mile!”

Hannah Gargan, Learning Resources

Our approach

Competitor analysis

First, we looked at competitors’ backlink profiles to take advantage of quick wins — any areas where competitors were finding success that we could easily replicate, like listings on .gov websites or industry supplier directories.

Increasing Trust Flow

We then began creating content for high-power domains like Huffington Post — articles about education and parenting, for example — that positioned Learning Resources as an authority and increased Trust Flow.

A wide spread

With Learning Resources selling to both parents and schools, it was important that we earned them placements on both industry sites and places that parents would visit. We earned content placements on educational sites like Innovate My School, as well as parenting hubs like Tots100.

Collaborations

While increasing rankings was one objective, brand awareness was another — so we prioritised partnerships with well-known sites, getting Learning Resources in front of large, established, and highly targeted audiences.

In collaboration with Lonely Planet Kids, we ran a competition — inviting children to create their own bug — with Learning Resources providing the prize.

We also worked in partnership with craft blogger RedTedArt to create a Christmas crafting project for kids, which was hosted on RedTedArt’s blog and shared with their 2.2M Facebook followers.

Covering more ground

Throughout the process, we kept in close contact with Learning Resources’ in-house team to avoid overlap with their blogger review initiative. While the in-house team arranged product reviews, we supplemented this by organising competitions, long-form content pieces, awards, and news stories to create a diverse, healthy and highly relevant backlink profile.

The results

Year on year — 2017 vs 2016 — from organic traffic alone, we’ve seen:

  • 23% increase in organic sessions
  • Trust Flow has increased from 14 to 26
  • Citation Flow from 23 to 33

“We have been working with Selesti for nearly five years now and I have been continuously impressed with them. The team conduct themselves professionally at all times and are always willing to work within a budget and brief to achieve the best possible results in relation to our business goals.”

Katie Smith, Learning Resources