International SEO Case Study for Journalists – 175% Traffic Increase

About the Client

For this project, I worked directly with the journalists at U.S. Right to Know (USRTK). USRTK is an investigative public health group working globally to expose corporate wrongdoing and government failures that threaten the integrity of our food system, our environment, and our health.

Read more about them at their website,

Client Goals

This client writes and curates journalistic content for The New York Times, BSJ, and several medical journals. Here are some of the primary goals the client came to me with:

  1. Optimizing international SEO
  2. Increasing traffic to specific articles
  3. Utilizing traction from major backlinks

With these goals in mind, I built a strategy that involved a multi-pronged approach towards growing organic traffic in the long-term.

Client Struggles

These are the primary struggles we came across during the SEO campaign:

  1. Technical content makes it difficult to do on-page optimizations
  2. Many articles; takes a while to create structured data
  3. Wasnt spending time doing technical SEO work before

The Strategy

Our strategy was technically-focused and was implemented within 2 weeks. The client decided they would handle the creation of structured data internally once I taught their techs, and this process will always be continued as new articles are put out!

Here was my strategy outline for this client based on their needs:

Structured Data

For this client, I built several types of schema including organization, article, and website. This schema was implemented to target specific rich snippets across Google search. On the right side, you can see an example of a rich snippet we generated using structured data.

Targeting rich snippets is one of my favorite ways to generate high levels of traffic, and moving results from position 2-6 from position 1 can lead to big successes. Before any SEO campaign, we do an in-depth analysis of all rich snippets you are ranking for. This helps us optimize for current snippets, but also target new ones that will bring in more volume.

Domain Translation

Website translation is a key part of any international SEO campaign. In most cases, I work with multiple translators to create effective translations for websites, but I will also use plugins if it works well and fits in the budget. When you translate your website, you create opportunities for your website to generate ranks in multiple countries.

If you are considering translating your site, I do recommend using a CDN software like Cloudflare to help manage bandwidth coming to your site. This will keep you secure as well as provide a better experience for users visiting your website.

Google Search Console Optimization

Many organizations do not pay attention to their Google search console, even though this is your direct window into how Google sees and is displaying your website across search engines. For this client, I analyzed their GSC for on-page errors and room for optimizations. From setting up the sitemaps to monitoring the progress of schema, I believe it’s important to check GSC almost every day you are doing SEO work on a site.

Results of Our Work

With all of this in mind, it took several weeks to build our strategy, and just a couple to implement. Now that we are about a month away, this is always my favorite time to take a step back and see how our work improved the site overall.

Google Search Console – 175% organic traffic increase, 250% organic impressions increase

As we went into September and October of 2020, we started seeing significant increases in Google search console that point to our translated content. On the left side, you will see organic click and impressions from August 22nd, compared to our traction on October 5th.

At this point, I’ll start digging deeper to see exactly where these increases are coming from. You can see from this screenshot, in countries like India where there are many languages we translated into, we are now serving a much larger portion of that population. Before, we were essentially getting 0 clicks & impressions per day, where now we are getting several hundred clicks and thousands of impressions.

From an SEO point of view, this gives my team more room to build strategy, find opportunities, and increase the volume of traffic coming to the site through new languages. Now that we are generating many international searches, we want to spend time analyzing specific keyword phrases and figure out how we can optimize the on-page content for those things.

In this next cap, you can see the success in the Philippines. Even in the past couple of days are seeing significant increases in volume coming to the website.

With the high levels of traction we are seeing in Google search console, it’s always exciting to see how we are doing on other fronts as well. Next, we will be taking a look at SEMRush to look at their crawler and see how our keywords have increased internationally.

SEMRush – 56% Increase in overall organic keywords

In SEMRush, we see a significant increase in keywords just in the United States, but looking internationally, it’s an interesting picture.

Before the translation updates, we were seeing low numbers of keywords across non-English countries. Here is what the picture looks like now.

Awesome! We are seeing thousands of new keywords across all new countries. An increase of about 15,000 keywords.

Final Points

If you are a journalist or are an entity creating journalistic content, it can be very valuable to invest in SEO consulting. We can help you see opportunities for new articles that are on the way, or help you take advantage of some of the major backlinks you are getting from high-level sources. Through effective technical SEO techniques, it can be easy to see increases of 50% all the way up to 300%. Contact us here for a quote today!

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