Case Study: Organic Growth for Lighthouse Labs
Gated Content Downloads
Lighthouse Labs was created in 2013 by a group of Canadian software developers. They provide students, graduates, and professionals with industry-driven, career-oriented technical education. They offer part-time and full-time programs specialized in web development and data science.
JENNIFER DI MARIA
Director, Growth Marketing
“For the past 2 years, Lighthouse Labs has depended on Flywheel as not only our digital agency of choice, but as a trusted partner and reliable constant in the ever-changing adult education and digital landscape. We partnered with them with the intent to increase organic traffic, push reach of our content for download and essentially drive applications for our courses. The results observed in such a short amount of time have exceeded our projections… Lighthouse Labs is in an exciting stage of growth currently, as we navigate through this pandemic, and we wouldn’t be nearly as excited about it if it weren’t for our confidence in our ability to grow and scale with Flywheel as a digital agency and partner.”
Between March and June 2020, Lighthouse 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.
Lighthouse engaged Flywheel in August 2020, tasked with increasing organic traffic and driving conversions of student applications and gated content downloads.
Lighthouse Labs already had a strong domain authority, ranking for transactional 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
Our methodology included: 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 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:
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:
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:
Learning How To Code In Canada – A Comprehensive Guide (Top 5 SERP ranking in Canada for: ‘online coding school’, ‘coding canada’, ‘online coding courses’)
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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