Case study: On-page + off-page SEO working together = success

Contributor Eric Enge offers an insightful case study on the positive effects SEO-focused content created by local influencers can have on driving targeted traffic.

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I encounter many people who believe the basic blocking and tackling of search engine optimization (SEO) execution is losing its value, but I find doing this basic hard work still works incredibly well.

In today’s post, I’m going to share a case study of a travel site whose business plan incorporates a straightforward approach to creating highly differentiated content on their site and then promoting that content effectively. They believe in building and marketing content with a high focus on the end user, and as you will see, the results are impressive.

Disclosure: The company discussed in this post, kimkim, is a client of my company.

Business overview

kimkim is an online travel company founded by a team of experienced entrepreneurs and engineers who played key roles at companies including TripAdvisor and EveryTrail. Their mission is to push the travel industry toward a more authentic and local experience while still maintaining high quality and consumer trust. This is achieved by partnering with local travel guides, who create useful insights and information aiming to offer a unique custom travel experience for their customers. These trips often take users off the beaten path, to places your travel agent might not think to send you.

This approach certainly does not provide global coverage, but it allows the company to focus on delivering superior content for each location they do address. My belief is that this philosophy is a big driver in the scope of this success story. In SEO, it is better to be excellent at a few things instead of mediocre at many.

The SEO plan and execution

The architecture for the site was designed to allow for the content to start small and then scale over time. As new countries are added to the site, it starts with identifying local experts that live “in-country” and having them drive the creation of the content for that country. This enables each new country section to rapidly develop a deep portfolio of content with an insightful local perspective.

Once their site was up and running, an exhaustive audit of the site was done, including the use of crawling tools, and mining and analyzing data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These audits are repeated on a regular basis to ensure that the site remains easy for search engines to crawl and parse so that problems don’t begin to appear on the site and proliferate.

From a promotional perspective, the local experts also help develop visibility for the site in-country, and this often helps attract a lot of local links to the particular country section of the site. An important part of the SEO plan was to develop and execute against a thorough content plan for each country, leveraging the local guides and ensuring that a deep, broad mix of content is created.

This task of managing the diverse set of content creators, for many of whom English is not their first language, was not easy. However, it was worth it as it was key to creating a robust content portfolio for each given country.

Outreach was then performed at a local, in-country level to sites to let them know what kimkim was offering from both a service and a content perspective. Many of them chose to link to the content, which helped provide visibility to the service; the local guides were a big help in the overall process.

Further outreach was done to local hotels, and many of the venues were referenced in the content as well to make sure that all the information was accurate and up to date. This outreach drove some great visibility within the local markets and also resulted in many links to the relevant country sections on the site.


kimkim has seen steady growth in their organic traffic ever since their site launch. The site now ranks in the top five results for many high-value terms, such as “Nepal travel expert” and “Manaslu trek.” They have achieved amazing traffic growth, as shown here:

kimkim's organic traffic growth is strong

Currently, traffic continues to grow steadily, with the occasional large bump, as you see in January of 2018. January is a month that typically offers a seasonal uplift, but when you compare January 2018 to January 2017, you see quite a sizable difference.

It just goes to show that the basic SEO blocking and tackling approach works. It just takes a commitment to offering a superior user experience within a sound site architecture, and then promoting that content effectively.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Eric Enge
Eric Enge is President of Pilot Holding. Previously, Eric was the founder and CEO of Stone Temple, an award-winning digital marketing agency, which was acquired by Perficient in July 2018. He is the lead co-author of The Art of SEO, a 900+ page book that’s known in the industry as “the bible of SEO.” In 2016, Enge was awarded Search Engine Land’s Landy Award for Search Marketer of the Year, and US Search Awards Search Personality of the Year. He is a prolific writer, researcher, teacher and a sought-after keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences.

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