The global online education market is poised to earn over $166 billion by the end of 2023. We've seen an influx of online learning material as new mediums replace traditional means of education.
This SEO case study combines 2 large industries - music and online education.
DK Music Business Academy, an online platform helps educate musicians and artists on building their personal brand and growing their online presence in the industry. The membership to the academy includes access to a course library, live sessions and a community of music industry professionals.
Also called DK MBA for short, the company hired Joey Burdon, an SEO strategist to help them attract visitors from organic search results. Although they had been fairly active on social media platforms and Youtube, the company wasn't familiar with search engine optimization.
As a result, they had put no efforts towards organic search traffic and were only attracting about 5-10 branded searches per month.
Joey faced a couple of challenges when he started working on DK's music website:
- DK MBA was a relatively new domain
- The site didn't have any SEO content at the time Joey took over
- DK MBA didn't have an in-house SEO team
- Music is a challenging industry for SEO
Realizing the size of the task that lay ahead of him and limited by resources, Joey simplified his SEO strategy to focus on what was already working for DK Music Business Academy. Instead of attempting several tasks, he zeroed down on the most important levers for DK MBA's SEO performance.
As a result, Joey was able to take this site from zero to over 20,000 clicks from organic traffic using Surfer's tools. What's even more impressive is that he did it with just 35 articles that he wrote himself.
Here is how he did it.
Editor’s note: The data in this article has been provided by Joey who led DK Music Business Academy’s SEO strategy during the timeframe of this study. The screenshots and claims have been verified by our team at Surfer.
1. Picking proven keywords
Limited by time and resources, Joey realized that he didn't have the luxury of starting keyword research from scratch and waiting for the site pages to rank.
Instead, he focussed on picking keywords that were already performing well for the academy's online presence on Youtube and social media.
It was looking at what videos had performed well. And I knew that if we wrote a blog which was as good, then we'd have just as good a chance of getting traffic.
Because DK was doing pretty well on Youtube, Joey had a significant amount of data that he could take advantage of.
He studied Youtube Analytics to find keywords that were leading visitors to DK's videos, and used SEO tools to check if they had sufficient search volume in Google.
He used this to prioritize which blog posts to write first.
Take this video for example. It's one of the most popular videos on the Damian Keyes Music Business Academy Youtube channel.
"How to make money from music" has 166,000 views in total.
Plugging this into Google reveals a monthly search volume of 1000 searches in the US alone.
That is an impressive number in itself but take into account all the related searches for the topic, and you will find that the monthly search volume quickly exceeds a 1000 queries.
A CPC of $8.72 reveals that this is a keyword in high demand that advertisers are willing to pay upto $9 per click for.
Looks like a great idea for a blog post.
And that's exactly what Joey did. He repurposed the video to write an article on "How to make money from music."
As of today, this blog post brings in over 2500 visitors every month to the DK MBA website.
This is just one example of how DK MBA was able to repurpose successful content into blog posts that brought in organic search traffic with just 35 articles.
This step was repeated over and over again to create successful blog posts for the website.
Although unconventional, this is a powerful keyword strategy because a strong presence on Youtube, the world's second largest search engine indicates E-EAT signals to Google that can demonstrate authority.
If some of DK's videos were already ranking in Google's results, the search engine would be likely to prefer blog posts from the same authority.
The blog post was added to the video's description and in a pinned comment to help viewers who wanted to read more.
Including the video inside the blog post as well created a kind of growth loop benefitting both the blog post, and the video content.
Joey also used his own experience as a musician to discard keywords that wouldn't translate well to search.
For example, there was keyword volume for how to grow your band on Facebook but musicians don't really do that anymore. They use Tik Tok or Instagram now.
How can you recreate DK MBA's keyword research strategy?
Joey benefitted from DK's strong presence on social media and Youtube, and was able to use that to his advantage in SEO. If you have similar authority on these channels, log into your analytics and learn which keywords are leading to your videos.
Prioritize the most successful keywords while considering search volume and keyword difficulty.
The truth is that most folks won't have that sort of data easily available to them.
However, you can still use Surfer Keyword Research to identify topics to help your pages rank even if you don't have a strong social presence.
Log into Surfer Keyword Research and enter your website's primary topic. Here's a snippet of 90 suggested blog posts for a topic "become a musician."
Clicking on any of the ideas will reveal more information about that particular keyword, including search volume, keyword difficulty and related keyword phrases.
It's a good idea to connect your Google Search Console data to Surfer so you can assess the relative keyword difficulty for your website, instead of a general suggestion.
You can use all this available information to decide which articles you want to write.
2. Writing articles that rank
Joey was able to deliver results for DK MBA with just 35 articles.
He researched and wrote all of them himself so it was important that he choose the most relevant keywords. Being a musician himself, he was able to create high quality content using his own experience and insights.
Joey used Surfer's Content Editor to write his articles so that they would include semantically relevant keywords that indicate topical depth to search engines.
Instead of having to manually research and incorporate these keywords, Surfer's Content Editor provided a list of suggested keywords that were associated with the article's main topic.
This not only streamlined the writing process but also ensured that the content was optimized for search engine algorithms, increasing the likelihood of the articles ranking higher in search results.
This allowed Joey to focus on the quality of the content allowing for a more efficient content writing workflow.
As of today, the DK MBA blog ranks for almost 18000 keywords.
He emphasized quality content in the articles to ensure that the blog matched DK's high production value on Youtube, even bringing in experts where he felt he lacked the necessary knowledge.
You. can see that as a result, the articles on DK MBA's blog are actionable and have plenty of examples to demonstrate talking points.
Joey was able to write almost all 35 articles himself using his own research and experience as a musician. As a result, his content feels authentic and has resonated with professionals from the music industry.
However, you may find yourself in a niche that you don't know a lot about. Or don't have the time and resources to dedicate writing for.
Depending on your needs, you can outsource content writing, or hire writers both of which are fairly expensive, time-consuming affairs.
In contrast, Surfer AI can generate high quality search engine friendly articles in under 20 minutes at a fraction of the price a decent writer will charge.
You can also generate or write your own article outline, and choose a tone of voice for your brand.
Unlike other AI writing tools that only create content, Surfer AI writes articles that are search engine optimized.
You could quickly generate tens of articles per week with Surfer AI, and an editor to fact check and review the content.
If you are providing content writing services, Surfer AI includes an anti AI feature that will pass AI detection tools.
3. Internally linking topic clusters
Joey's last step was to create topical clusters by internally linking relevant pages with proper anchor text. Internal linking can build virtual silos and help bring up other pages that you want to rank well in the SERPs.
You can easily map out topical clusters in Surfer Keyword Research by connecting your domain and enabling the Topical Map feature.
The categories in the left column are recommended clusters for your domain.
Selecting any one of them will give you article ideas for a pillar, and supporting pages to complete that topical cluster.
In this example, I selected the "write SEO content" hub to reveal a pillar page and several supporting pages under it. Here's a snippet of what that looks like.
You will also find associated keyword metrics that can help you decide which articles to write first.
Creating topical clusters can be an aeffective SEO strategy but requires precision and updates, especially if you're publishing articles frequently.
Between October 2021 and October 2022, DK Music Business Academy went from a couple of branded searches per month to over 20,000 organic clicks per month, with just 35 published articles.
In the Google Search Console report below, you can see that although Joey was publishing content, it wasn't until January 2022 when things started picking up.
Organic search continues to grow at a steady pace until October 2022.
In fact when I spoke with Joey, he said the site was still averaging between 20,000 to 30,000 visits from organic traffic without really adding more content.
SEO can often seem overwhelming and complex so Joey's approach for DK MBA stands out in its simplicity while still being so effective.
He went against widely held beliefs that SEO requires a lot of content, and extensive keyword research to implement fundamentally sound principles.
His strategy was to basically identify what is already working and double down on it with helpful actionable pages that were relevant to each other.
You can recreate DK MBA's success by covering topical clusters in your niche with high quality well written articles.
If you have any questions, or want to reach out about a case study, feel free to reach out on Twitter or X.