SEO for Gaming Wikipedia
How we achieved traffic growth from 12,000 to 2,200,000 visits per month
Case promotion of the content project – Game Wikipedia.
Target market: 15 countries – USA, Europe, and Asia
Domain age: 4 years
Traffic at the start of promotion: 12,000
Backlinks to the beginning of work: up to 150 links from 12 domains
Internal website optimization: from scratch
The site is an information portal for the gaming community. For players, the opportunity is available to buy and sell pumped characters, game items, etc. There is also a forum to enable community members to communicate with each other.
The main task set by the client was the growth of targeted traffic to the site. The United States was originally the relevant market. In the process, the target market was expanded to 15 more countries (Western Europe, Asia).
The Google analytics on the site already stood, but was actually not configured. Since this site is of an informational nature, an important point was the involvement of the target audience and the identification of problematic pages of the site that users leave. After Google Analytics metrics were set up, it was immediately possible to track the click map through the hotjar.com service.
It was not difficult to outline the target audience: game participants who want to understand how to pump their characters, what properties objects possess, etc. That is users who need information.
Also, the second target audience is the participants in this game who want to buy or sell characters or items.
After the Discovery phase, we began to understand the competitors, the sources of their traffic, and the links in which communities they are members, how they are promoting themselves.
A brand website development strategy was formed
There were already well-established leaders in this niche with very strong indicators on the link profile. And the gaming community already knew them. We had to pump not only the site itself, but, relatively speaking, the “brand”
Now, in more detail about each of the directions.
Internal website optimization
Since the site is written in a self-written CMS, all implementations to the site took place through the programmer. Our task was to identify the problem, formulate a technical task for the programmer, and monitor the completed task.
We identified the following problems on the site:
- Missing robots.txt file.
- Very weak XML sitemap with extremely few pages.
- The site map was overloaded with links – up to 100,000 URLs contained each map.
- Missing h1 on 90% of the site’s pages.
- 100% pages missing meta description.
- Mass duplicates of meta titles.
- Homepage Dubbing.
- Filter Dubbing.
- Incorrectly spelled canonical links.
- The site was not optimized for mobile devices and did not comply with Google Mobile-friendly test.
- Google did not want to index pages by defining a Soft 404 status.
- And many other mistakes.
Errors were fixed in several iterations. Let us dwell on the most important, key points of optimization.
Meta Tags optimization
To optimize metadata, semantics have been compiled. We unloaded the semantics of several competitors and cleaned it of garbage.
Then we automatically clustered and worked in semi-automatic mode (we have internally developed services in the campaign for clustering semantics in semi-automatic mode).
Since the site is voluminous, we developed many templates for optimizing metadata, according to which the programmer generated unique optimized metadata.
Next, it was necessary to index all the pages of the site.
Site map fix
The algorithm for generating a site map has been fundamentally changed. Instead of 30 maps, 180 site maps were generated, limited by the number of URLs each map contains. This had a positive effect on the growth of indexed pages since the search bot was fed with cards that it could pass and scan qualitatively. So we drove most pages into the index.
We faced a new complexity: Google identified about 500,000 pages as SOFT 404, i.e. soft 404, and threw them out of the index
After analyzing the causes of this error and analyzing similar situations described on the Google community forum, we made the assumption that the main reason is that Google does not recognize the contents of pages of items, recipes, and other information was formed by a script.
The text output was redone, and we developed a text generation algorithm for one section and tested it. Our hypothesis turned out to be true: SOFT 404 error disappeared on test pages.
We scaled this experience to the whole site and developed more than a hundred variants of algorithms for generating texts.
After reindexing the site, traffic began to grow very rapidly. The arrow indicates the stage when growth began – here shows the growth of traffic in the USA.
At the time the promotion began, 12 domains were referred to the site (about 150 links), but all of them were relevant, which, of course, is a plus.
After the Discovery phase, it was clear to us that most of the competitors ’links were forum and some of the links were a blog. We started to work on forums.
But they didn’t come primarily from the usual crowd marketing but decided to agree on the placement with the forum administrators. We have collected all the forums on this topic and contacted the administration. Since the customer’s site was not commercial and had real benefits for the community of players (we managed to convince them of the usefulness of the site for the game community), the administration of the forums was very active in contacting, and we were able to get thousands of links from each of them for free. At the same time, we were able to greatly save the reference budget to the customer.
Also, forum administrators have been actively promoting our client’s site among the community, acting as brand ambassadors.
We also added information with backlinks to all major social groups and community forums and actively promoted the client’s brand.
At the same time, we worked on classic crowd marketing and provided links to the customer’s website on relevant topics. All links are marked with UTM tags to understand which topics and forums work best.
How competitors fought with us
Our activity was noticed by competitors – leaders of the subject at that time. And they began to buy links from prohibited topics to the customer’s website.
We regularly monitor link activity and immediately noticed an increase in harmful links.
Through the Google Disallow Link tool, we sent bundles of harmful links, and, after some time, competitors stopped their attempts to flood the site.
Nevertheless, in order to strengthen its link profile, work was launched on the classic link outreach promotion (Guest Post and Sponsored Post).
Scaling to 15 countries
At first, the client was interested in traffic from the USA. However, it was noticed that traffic from other countries is very active.
When creating the site, scaling to other countries was immediately laid down, but was not implemented in practice. Having justified this to the client, it was decided to translate the site into 15 languages.
We have written a new algorithm for generating metadata in other languages. Now only partially implemented translation – the text content of the pages is all translated, and metadata only partially. This task is in process and is carried out in parts.
Those, in 15 countries, the site was mainly found by English-speaking users. After translating the metadata and headings into the entire language of the page, we expect a good influx of targeted traffic from the local countries to which the site is oriented.
The Result of website promotion
- Every month on the site 2,200,000 sessions (from all 15 countries)
- We got a high quality of generated metadata (Title, Description) – CTR 20.3%
- Semantic core average position 7.9
- For 1 week, traffic grows by an average of 17.63% and growth continues.
- The site is ranked by 147,000 keywords and their number is constantly growing.
Now there is a phase of active translation of metadata into 15 languages according to our algorithm. Translation takes place in several stages, but this already has a very positive effect on traffic growth.
- We started the promotion with Discovery Phase and determined how the leaders of the topic, their strategies, are progressing.
- The right choice of promotion strategy through the administration of forums and other communities where our CA lives in large numbers, to obtain links and fame with minimal cost to the customer.
- Timely detection of malicious links from our competitors and competent actions to clean them.
- High-quality work on the generation of unique texts.
- Quality work on generating metadata that has such a high clickthrough rate.
- Well-coordinated systemic work on link building.
- Timely and correctly found and fixed the cause of SOFT 404.
P.S. We monitor the rapid further growth of the project and the next stage in the development of the site will be its promotion on the Chinese market. To do this, it will be optimized for Baidu. Later we will share with you the results in the updated case.