Case Study: $33k In Monthly Traffic with Alternatives Article

Today we’re reviewing a piece of content that’s performing extremely well…

Yet it doesn’t have the backing or resources of the websites that the my previous 2 case studies featured (NerdWallet and Forbes). 

Instead we have a personal blog, on a very simple theme, that’s racking up some impressive rankings. 

In this case study we’re looking at an article titled, “All 16 of the Best Quicken Alternatives in 2020 (Rated & Reviewed)”.

Here’s how this page is currently performing in organic search (data from Ahrefs):

  • Traffic value of $33,000 / month
  • 10,600 organic visits per month
  • Ranking in Google’s top 100 results for 3,400 keywords
  • 77 referring domains to the page with 182 backlinks

Plus, what’s maybe the most interesting about these numbers:

The Domain Rating (DR) is a more modest 63/100. 

(Compare this to NerdWallet (87/100) and Forbes (93/100) in the previous case studies). 

This should give you hope if your Domain Rating isn’t so high yet!

What we’re covering: 

What can we take away from the article structure? 

Ok so there’s a look at the page structure: 

First thing that jumps out is the page title: 

All 16 of the Best Quicken Alternatives in 2020 (Rated & Reviewed)

Now if you cruise down to the comments section of the post, you’ll see that many of the comments were created in 2017!

This highlights a sneaky (and effective) SEO technique: 

If you have content that’s performing well, update it yearly to keep it relevant. 

Plus, when you put the year in the title, it’s proven to attract more clicks in Google’s search results (as it looks more relevant and up to date). 

Google rewards a high Click Through Rate % (CTR%), so this in turn gets you better rankings and more traffic. 

A couple of other points about the headline copy: 

  • “All the best”: great because it implies the article is comprehensive
  • “(Rated & Reviewed)”: helps because it implies value as someone’s done the hard work for you

What else is great about the page structure: 

  • Intro calls out why the reader is there in the first place to create empathy (“If you’re looking to replace Quicken, you’re in the right place.”).  
  • Intro re-states the problem and tells the reader what they’re going to learn 
  • ‘Best Picks’ section brought to the top to give the reader actionable takeaways first up
  • Strong Call to Action (CTA) buttons linking the user right to Personal Capital and Tiller (notice they are a nice contrasting colour that really stands out)
  • Table of Contents gives users great usability to skip to the tool they want to read about
  • Large headlines breakup the content and make it easy to consume
  • CTA buttons are used at the end of each tool review (great usability)
  • Answers common questions at the end (using common searches / questions from Google’s search results is a great way to align the sections of your content)


All in all, the article delivers a high amount of value in reviewing 16 different platforms, in a very user-friendly format.  

853 keywords driving approx. 10k in monthly traffic

Click here for the data in spreadsheet format.

Here we can see:  

  • The page ranks very high for all types of “quicken alternative” related keywords (many in positions 1-3)
  • The Cost per Click (CPC) of these keywords is not super high – $3.79 average CPC for the top 20 keywords
  • CPC of ~$4 represents moderate competitive difficulty
  • The top 20 ranked keywords, even though not super high CPC, are high volume (represent approx. 6,000 monthly visitors to this article) – $24k/month in traffic value

Also note the article URL:

It’s generally better for SEO performance to use as short a URL as possible, while including the main keyword you’re targeting. 

So, this is an example of an article which delivers great value, and has carved out top rankings in a very high volume niche. 

Why is it doing so well?

What makes this article perform so well in organic search?

Unlike the previous case studies where I featured very high Domain Rating (DR) websites – and the content was boosted due to the strength of their respective domains…

My guess is that it wasn’t the strength of the domain in this case, especially as when this content was first published, the website was just starting out. 

Here’s a chart showing traffic across the whole website: 

(Source: Ahrefs)

So with the WalletHacks domain being less than a year old, it definitely wouldn’t have had a high DR at this point. 

However check out the near immediate traffic from Google after the article was published: 

My hypothesis on this article’s performance: 

If you read my previous case studies, you’ll know that Google is using AI and machine learning in their ranking algorithms. 

Basically their goal is to serve up the best, most helpful content to the top of their search results for any given search term. 

So that’s the goal of the algorithm. 

Next, the algorithm is allowed to access a range of variables which help it assess which content is best.

Some of these include: 

  • Click Through Rate (CTR)% from search results page (hence why the article title is SO important) 
  • Time Spent on Page (they have this data from Google Analytics and logged in Google users)
  • Scroll depth (the more users read of the page, the better it is)
  • Whether users ‘bounce’ back to search results and look at other pages in the search results (this would be a negative signal)

In short, Google is using this ‘usability’ data to assess which pages deliver the best experience and deserve to be ranked high. 

So judging by the social shares and the very engaged comments section, this page is really hitting the mark in the above metrics. 

What’s the takeaway from this analysis? 

If you’re targeting a keyword or topic, forget about technical SEO and simply try to create the best possible content on your given topic!


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