Case Study: Organic Growth for Lighthouse Labs

Organic Growth For Lighthouse Labs
Flywheel results
0 %

Blog Traffic
Organic, YOY

Flywheel results
0 %

Student Applications
Organic, YOY

Flywheel results
0 %

Gated Content Downloads
Organic, YOY

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

Organic Growth For Lighthouse Labs

Director, Growth Marketing
Lighthouse Labs

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.”

Context

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.

Process

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:

Best Tech Companies in Vancouver in 2021 (#1, ‘vancouver tech companies’)
Data Analyst Salary In Toronto 2021 (#1, ‘data analyst job salary’)
Best Startups In Montreal 2021 (#3, ‘startups in montreal’)

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.

Our goal was for amateur coders to land on Lighthouse’s articles, see their authority in the industry, and consider signing up for a course. However, while there is a massive volume of code-related searches, most of it isn’t relevant to Lighthouse. Searches like “javascript function call”, for example, are mostly done by developers outside Lighthouse’s target market. These SERPs were also dominated by Q&A pages on Stack Overflow or Github, and competing with this UGC would discount the brand’s thought leadership.

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:

10 Popular Websites Built Using Javascript (#1, ‘javascript website examples’)
5 Stages of Data Analytics (#4, ‘how to do data analysis’)
How Python Is Used In Automation (#3, ‘python automation’)

Hero Guides

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.

Organic Growth For Lighthouse Labs
Before
Organic Growth For Lighthouse Labs
After

Result

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

Organic Growth For Lighthouse Labs
Blog organic growth July 2020-August 2021

Our CRO recommendations and CTA updates led to a 38% increase in gated content downloads. 

Organic Growth For Lighthouse Labs

This all resulted in a 356% increase in student applications for Lighthouse Labs’ courses. 

Organic Growth For Lighthouse Labs

Let's Chat!

Reach out to start a conversation about how we can help grow your business online.