Case Study: Organic Growth for Lighthouse Labs
Gated Content Downloads
When Lighthouse Labs pivoted from in-person to online learning during COVID, they could no longer rely on local events for marketing.
We employed a full-funnel organic growth strategy to make up the difference, using SEO to reach new audiences across Canada and increase student enrolment.
This work lead to our award for Search Engine Land’s Boutique SEO Agency of the Year.
JENNIFER DI MARIA
Director, Growth Marketing
“Lighthouse Labs has depended on Flywheel as not only our digital agency of choice but as a trusted, reliable partner in the ever-changing education and digital landscape. The results we’ve observed in such a short amount of time have exceeded our projections. We wouldn’t be nearly as excited about our next stage of growth if it weren’t for our confidence in our ability to scale with Flywheel as a digital agency and partner.”
Between March and June 2020, Lighthouse Labs pivoted their in-person-based education model online due to COVID-19—which meant they could no longer rely on their previous local event-based marketing. This opened Lighthouse’s target audience to students all over Canada, but they had a reduced number of channels (and budget) to reach them.
As a result, Lighthouse engaged Flywheel in August 2020 to increase organic traffic and conversions.
Our work together resulted in a 356% increase in student applications for Lighthouse Labs’ courses.
Lighthouse Labs already had a strong SEO foundation, ranking highly for high-intent searches like “Canada coding bootcamp”. To grow organically, we needed to capture new, high-converting keywords. We achieved our goals with 3 key elements:
- Three-tier Content Strategy
- Technical Localization Fixes
- CTA Updates
1. Three-tier Content Strategy
We identifying three types of search-driven content: localized career content, niche-intent technical education, and hero pieces.
Localized Career Content
Due to the vast differences across Canadian markets and speed of industry change, we identified that Canadians were searching for recent, localized tech career information.
We focused on tech career salaries in specific cities and sectors, targeting localized searches for ‘best tech startups’, ‘best tech jobs’, and guides for working in Canadian tech hubs. Lighthouse used to pay thousands of dollars monthly to sponsor local, career-related events in tech. Now, they reach that same interested audience consistently—for a fraction of the cost.
Here are some examples of this localized content:
Key Rankings Earned:
#1, ‘vancouver tech companies’ (Best Tech Companies in Vancouver in 2021)
#1, ‘data analyst job salary’ (Data Analyst Salary In Toronto 2021)
#3, ‘startups in montreal’ (Best Startups In Montreal 2021)
Niche-Intent Educational Content
Because Lighthouse was no longer local, we saw an opportunity to rank for a wider range of searches from people learning to code in Canada with niche technical education.
To address this, we specifically targeted entry-level queries for those learning to code, finding a sweet spot for volume, intent, and difficulty between people interested in coding who weren’t quite professionals yet—our niche.
Here are some examples of this niche content:
Key Rankings Earned:
#4, ‘data analysis steps’ (5 Stages of Data Analytics)
#3, ‘python automation’ (How Python Is Used In Automation)
Finally, we created and updated hero guides for those looking to transition to a tech career. Creating valuable, comprehensive content and interlinking it with our niche blogs helped these guides climb rankings for key competitive terms.
Here is an example of a hero guide:
Keys Ranking Earned:
#1, ‘online coding school’, ‘coding canada’ (Learning How To Code In Canada – A Comprehensive Guide)
2. Technical Localization Fixes
Lighthouse has a custom-coded site with English and French versions. While all landing pages were translated in French, blog articles on the French site were duplicated from the English site with no translation. This created high duplicate content risk and a poor user experience.
We implemented hreflang tags to establish a clear indication to Google of the relationship between the English and French sites. We also implemented canonical tags on duplicate English blog posts on the French site to indicate that the English version was the master page. This eliminated the duplicate content issue, boosting growth to the English posts.
3. CTA Updates
To improve our SEO efforts’ impact on Lighthouse’s business goals, we reviewed Lighthouse’s blog CTAs. We noticed that existing CTAs were often generic and didn’t match the reader’s intent. We replanned all Lighthouse Labs’ CTAs, updating CTA copy, links, and locations on the page—interlacing 3 relevant CTAs throughout the post: free mini-courses, student salary report, and free curriculum preview.
We also implemented a mobile pop-up CTA to Lighthouse’s Skills Gap Quiz (which we developed), further engaging top-of-funnel visitors with value-add content.
In the one-year period after implementing our strategies, Lighthouse Labs saw the following results:
Our three-tier content strategy and technical fixes led to a 428% increase in organic traffic
Our CRO recommendations and CTA updates led to a 38% increase in gated content downloads.
This all resulted in a 356% increase in student applications for Lighthouse Labs’ courses.
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