Quality Over Quantity: When Rankings Data Matters Most



Quality Over Quantity: When Rankings Data Matters Most

The Challenge

Not all client goals are the same Datical came to Apogee Results with declining overall traffic. And while we were able to reverse that trend and keep traffic steady, we did not significantly increase it. Instead, we focused on the quality of traffic based on industry-specific terms the client needed to rank for. Because Datical is in such a niche area of database software, traffic quality is much more valuable than traffic quantity. That said, these terms are highly competitive in this software niche and this was no easy challenge. Given the client limitations and resources our efforts rose beyond the client’s expectations.

The Objective

Objective: #1: Increase rankings and get at least 30 of 34 high priority keywords ranking on the first page.

Objective #2: Increase PDF Downloads by at least 50% by the fourth quarter of 2018.

Objective 3: Improve engagement metrics, such as bounce rate, time on site, and pages per visit by 5% year over year.

Winner - Best SEO Campaign of 2019

Target Audience

Database Developers and Administrators, particularly those involved in the application release process. This is an extremely niche space, with a very limited audience for this type of service.


Typically, clients want to see increase in traffic year over year as one main indicator for strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work. However, Datical is in a unique situation: being in a highly-niched market traffic is not the number one goal. SEO efforts could have easily boosted traffic by going after a broad set of queries; however, Datical’s goal was to rank on the first page for as many of their 34 high priority queries as possible. These queries werevery specific to Datical’s extremely-niched space.. In this situation, traffic growth was not the number one goal; instead, boosting qualified traffic, defined as traffic that engages more and fills out forms to download content, was the number 1 goal.

The strategy for 2018 was to more deeply understand and optimize the content on the website in order to better rank for specific qualifying queries. Following this, the team focused on optimizing existing pages in an effort to boost the high-priority queries based on customer behavior and client market research. Some technical tasks were completed at the outset to help Google better understand the website. Additionally, the team focused at the end of the year on building links to internal pages on the website to boost keyword rankings out-of-the-gate in 2019.

Page One Keywords

#1 Ranked Keywords


Increase in PDF Downloads


Decrease in Bounce Rate


Technical Remediation Included:

  • Significant Schema Markup was created and added to the site
  • Site Speed recommendations
    • Fully loaded time improved from 6.8 to 3.6 seconds
    • Time to first byte improved from 444ms to 301ms
  • Implementation of missing canonical tags on 37 pages
  • Internal 3XX & 4XX link remediation
    • 37 internal 3XX redirects fixed
    • 8 internal 4XX errors fixed

Content Restructuring and Subfolder Optimization:

  • The client had a vast amount of content that wasn’t earning much traffic or desired rankings. Datical also had a large amount of highly technical content that needed to be retooled for SEO purposes.
  • The Apogee Results SEO team took the route of revamping content and organizing it into optimized folders to target more “general” or short tail queries because these queries often have large amounts of user “uncertainty”. E.g. database dev-ops vs. database dev-ops automation software.
  • In order to rank well for generic queries which could lead to many places in terms of other questions a user may need answering, Apogee Results restructured related content under short tail keyword buckets and then redirected the new optimized content to subfolders that only contained highly relevant content.
  • From there Apogee Results implemented optimized internal linking from these guide/resource sections that were made from previously underperforming content.


  • 10 articles were written and pitched on topics around database release cycles and automation.
  • This yielded 7 links to client targeted queries in the goal list by using anchor text and contextual linking.
  • The average domain authority (DA) for the earned links was 40.3. While DA is not a ranking factor, it is a decent identifier to determine how trustworthy a site could be.

The Results Were Amazing


  • Objective 1: Get at least 30 of the high priority keywords to rank on the first page of Google.
    • Apogee Results was able to get 32 out of 34 keywords ranking on the first page by the end of 2018. By March of 2019, all 34 keywords were ranking on the first page.
    • When the campaign started, only one search term was ranked number 1- by the end of 2018, 8 terms were ranked number 1. By March of 2019, 11 key terms ranked number 1.

  • Examples of individual keywords ranking #1:
    • Database Continuous Integration Tools: We were able to gain a position 0 featured snippet for this content. We also earned a knowledge graph spot as well. (see above screenshots)
    • Database Release Automation Tools
    • Database Continuous Deployment
    • Database Continuous Integration
    • Database Change Management Tools
    • Database Change Control Tools


  • Objective 2: Increase PDF Downloads by at least 50% for Q4 2018.PDF Downloads increased 69.9% YoY- 124 vs 74
  • Objective 3: Improve engagement metrics, such as bounce rate, time on site, and pages per visit by 5% year over year.
    • We decreased the bounce rate by 9.52% for Organic Traffic
    • We increased the pages per session by 18.21% for Organic Traffic
    • We increased the average session duration by 36.56% for Organic Traffic


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Marketing Integration from Zero to 60



Marketing Integration

from Zero to 60

The Objective

When a top physician’s insurance provider came to Apogee Results, they had no content marketing plan in place. Everything they had tried since launching their website on Hubspot in March of 2014 had been one-off testing with no clear objectives or strategy.

The client’s objectives for this campaign were to create content that converted a lead to a customer, increase the overall site traffic, and increase Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) from 6.21 (historical average) to at least 50 per month. With the implementation of proper data tracking, The client also sought to convert at least 20 Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) each month.

Campaign Activities


  • Content Creation
  • HubSpot Marketing Automation Management
  • Paid Media Distribution (Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, MultiView, and various other Display placements)
  • Technical and Content-Based Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
  • Organic Facebook management.

Winner - 2018 Drum Award for Best Content Marketing Campaign

Nominee - US Search Award for Best Content Marketing Campaign

Content That Closes Business

Target Audience

The target audience for this content is doctors (MDs) and practice administrators for small to medium size practices in the 28 states the client was authorized to write medical malpractice insurance.


The overall strategy was to build awareness and interest among qualified members of the general targeting audience and drive them through a series of website content engagements that would create urgency to fill out a quote form and ultimately end in the issuing of a new malpractice insurance policy. While implementing the traffic building process, the marketing automation processes in Hubspot were concurrently mapped and implemented to track leads through an email and website engagement series that would provide sales ready contacts for the underwriters.


Return on Investment

Marketing Qualified Leads

Sales Qualified Leads

Lifetime Customer Value


Implementation began with the improvement of the technical SEO foundation, including increasing crawlability, fixing site speed issues, mobile optimization, migration to SSL, and solving multiple indexation issues. The content strategy was then built on that strong technical foundation. This strategy included deep keyword research, intent analysis, competitor analysis, and the creation of new content specifically designed to build traffic. The client earned a wide variety of “position zero” featured snippets in a marketplace of big players who had significant budgets and the ability to commoditize their services, thereby increasing qualified traffic and MQLs. That “position zero” validation was leveraged to gain high-quality backlinks to the client content through an ongoing influencer outreach campaign.

The Creative

Carefully crafted resources pages and blog content were written to serve high-intent queries, significantly increasing both traffic and leads.

Social media was tasked with distributing content to highly qualified, top of funnel audiences based on the client’s existing database, site visits collected by social pixels, and layered interest targeting.

We used a blend of Facebook creative to serve video content as a first-touch brand awareness play and then segmented and served retargeted video viewers with blog articles and landing pages to drive them deeper into the customer journey.

The Results Were Amazing

Overall ROI
The total return on the client’s investment (including all management and digital media spends) was 308.31%. The lifetime value from new premiums was $1,307,225, taking into account both the historical retention rate and the time value of money. In 2016 and 2017, the website brought in on average 6.21 MQLs per month. In 2018, the client brought in 71.25 MQLs per month (855 total). It is important to note that due to the length of the client’s sales cycle, numerous new premiums were sold in 2019 due to 2018 efforts, but these numbers are not reflected in this snapshot.

Organic Traffic:
In 2016 and 2017, the average monthly organic traffic was 666.79 sessions. In 2018, traffic increased significantly each month; There were 31,895 total organic sessions, coming out to an average of 2,657.92 organic sessions per month (an increase of nearly 400%). In November of 2018 the client first broke 4,000 sessions (UPDATE: In January of 2019 we broke 5,000 sessions). Organic traffic was also the highest driver of MQLs for top-of-funnel tactics, with 230 Organic MQLs over the course of 2018 (an increase of 535% over 2017).

Paid Search:
Paid Search contributed 529 MQLs at a cost per acquisition (including management) of $364.76 per MQL. The average value of an MQL for the client in 2018 proved to be $1,528.92, which means Paid Search efforts provided a return on investment of 419.2%.

Since starting Facebook marketing, the client has gone from 383 total social media referred visits from March 2014 to December 2017 to 1,029 organic social referrals and 14,543 paid social referrals from December 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Of the increased traffic driven to the site, approximately 1% of social media traffic is converting to leads on that social visit. Lift in both direct and organic correlate closely to social media awareness and engagement.

The medical malpractice industry has become extremely commoditized over the years. Doctors don’t want
medical malpractice insurance – they are legally obligated to carry it. The industry is highly regulated, and
pricing differs little from carrier to carrier. These industry conditions make differentiation incredibly difficult. The
role of marketing is extremely important when attempting to distinguish such a highly commoditized industry.
Despite having tried multiple agencies and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on
marketing over the last few years, we had almost nothing to show for it. We were on the verge of giving
up on marketing through digital means in order to drive business. We decided to give it one more shot, with
a new agency, and learned that when done right, digital marketing can be highly effective, even for medical
malpractice. Through this partnership, we have seen incredible success, and a road map for continued
success in the future.


Chief Marketing Officer, Anonymous Company

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Local Search for Retail

Local Search for Retail- Cavender’s

The Client Story

Cavender’s is a large regional western-wear retailer with 54 physical locations, as well as an Internet Retailer 500-sized web commerce operation. Privately owned, Cavender’s has grown to become the second largest seller of western-wear nationally and are strongly challenging the much larger chain Shepler’s.

Cavender’s worked with Apogee Results and achieved strong success in running profitable SEO and PPC engagements. Our work allowed them to outrank Shepler’s nationally on some incredibly challenging category and industry keywords such as “western wear” despite being outspent more than 5-fold by their larger competitor.

The Challenge

Although Cavender’s core online operations were performing strongly, the individual 50+ retail establishments were not getting visibility within Google Places for keywords other than the Cavender’s brand, therefore missing an opportunity to reach out to the millions of potential customers searching Google for a retail establishment where they could buy products such as “cowboy boots”, “western shirts”, and other similar items without the branded term “Cavenders”.

The Solution

Apogee Results worked with Cavender’s teams, both marketing and retail operations, to reconfigure the Google Places listings for each store, and also worked with the store locator pages on the main Cavender’s web properties. Our work included on-page efforts, link and citation building designed to give the Google search engine the appropriate credibility signals to display Cavender’s more frequently, and also some training materials to help local store operations encourage customer ratings and reviews at the local level, which is an important component of the local search algorithms.

Rapid Results

Cavender’s retail stores, within a very rapid time frame, saw their local listings show up in Google search for a broad range of desired product categories beyond simply the Cavender’s brand. These enhanced listings helped the retail / divisional executives at the company have trust and confidence in the corporate marketing team running the online campaigns, where before there had been a concern that the online group was possibly in competition with, and certainly not in full alignment with, the physical stores.

Agency Fit

Agency Fit- Livestrong Foundation

The Client Story

Late last decade, The Livestrong Foundation had reached the height of its popularity. With the wristbands losing their impact, Lance getting off his bike soon, and most of the free positive press surrounding him leaving as well, all signs pointed toward a plateau – if not shrinkage — in their ability to carry out their charitable missions. Livestrong was prescient enough to understand that their current Agency, which supplied the marketing and branding during the easier years that got them to where they were, might not necessarily be a good fit for them moving forward, in more challenging times.

In order to secure the foundation that had been poured, they needed to bring in a different type of agency to help them. Livestrong realized they could no longer be dependent on the luster from the millions of wristbands being sold. A more digitally focused and data-driven approach was needed in order to make a successful transition from sexy to sustainable.


The Challenge

Livestrong was receiving an acceptable return on investment on their paid media campaigns so it never occurred to them that the campaigns might not be fully optimized. With very low in-house resources for digital, no one was able to tell them that their Google Analytics wasn’t set up in a manner that gave them the correct metrics, or in a way that accurately tied spend to conversion.

They had the $10,000/month Google Grant but didn’t realize that the Grant campaign could be bumped up to GrantsPro status, giving them an extra $30,000/month in free online ads.

Also, many of the events that they were spending high dollars promoting through traditional marketing channels were not being integrated into their digital channels, making their efforts less effective. Basically, The Livestrong Foundation knew that they were not going to be able to move forward with the same type of strategy, but did not know what the barriers or challenges were.

Google Grants

Increase in Brand Awareness

Increase in Website Traffic

The Solution

Apogee’s immediate plan of action was to go in and see if there was any useful historical data in the legacy paid search accounts. After a series of audits, it became apparent that the campaigns had been set up poorly without any real goals, leading to improper conversion tracking and metrics.

After taking over the paid search accounts Apogee was also able to get the Google Grants upgrade into the GrantsPro program, resulting in a large increase in free monthly advertising. In order to bid competitively on higher priced key terms, Apogee was able to justify Livestrong spending an additional $30,000/month in paid media out of pocket by showing that the additional spend could be the driving force behind their three main objectives.

1. Fundraising (donations, e-commerce)

2. Community engagement and education

3. Cancer support

Maximized Google Grants Capacity

Huge Increases in Awareness

The Results Were Amazing

  • Maximized their Google Grants capacity, growing it four-fold to just under $500,000
  • Optimized and integrated their Google Grant spend with their out of pocket paid media to create integrated PPC and online media campaigns that were far more effective in driving a profitable e-commerce presence
  • Triple-digit increases in awareness and participation to all of their race events around the nation as well as double-digit increases in traffic to their website and donations
  • Able to stabilize and secure the foundation of an organization that had experienced an extremely rapid ascent to the top