When Jasper Boyschau and two friends established Brisbane-based No Yelling Driving School (www.noyelling.com.au), they knew next to nothing about search engine optimisation (SEO). Six months later, they learned through trial and error what works – and what doesn’t.
“We read all the major SEO blogs and thought ‘this can’t be too hard’,” Boyschau recalls. “At the beginning, a lot of it was just posting to forums and getting submitted to as many directories as we could. Optimising our Google listing was very important so we did a lot of that, and a bit later on we realised that guest posting on blogs was effective.”
Time showed, however, that the best results came when the guest blogs were posted on sites that were directly related to driving or schools. This perception reflects Google PageRank’s reputation-based design, which focuses on relevance over quantity.
“Initially we settled for whatever we could find,” Boyschau says. “But now we’ve gotten to the point where we’re very good at it – and we’re very stingy about who we write for. We look at the page authority and domain authority of each website we consider, and if it doesn’t fit in with our strategy we won’t get involved.”
As well as its organic growth, the team has had massive success trying different approaches. For example, they recently developed an iPhone and Android smartphone app called Learners Practice Test that supports its brand, is getting over 1,500 downloads per week, and has tripled traffic to the school’s website.
Another posting – a seemingly-unrelated Google Docs tip that was picked up by global media giant TechCrunch – brought more than 5,000 extra visitors within three days. “We had to change web servers because we got so much traffic,” Boyschau laughs.
The key, Boyschau says, has been to find a niche and stick to it. “If you can create free content that everyone wants, it’s much more link-worthy than something that’s not,” he explains.
“Trial and error is important; you’ve got to find something that works for you, and something quite specific for your niche. Our demographic is 17-year-olds, and if they’re not going to look for driving schools through Google I don’t know where they’re going.”