Andrew Shum
Posted by Andrew Shum

From 20K to 200K: How We Boosted the Monthly Traffic of a Software Product Website by 10X

13 min read
From 20 to 200k in the Software Product Niche

2020: Starting Point

Domain Age 17 years
Niche/Market File converter software
Target Language EN
Daily Organic Traffic 900
Backlink profile 3.1K referring domains
Pages 1.5K
Monthly Budget $3500


The client had an outdated website that started losing traffic rapidly after two Google updates in 2020, the January 2020 Core Update and the May 2020 Core Update. The client reached out to us because they couldn’t fix the site by themselves. We started our cooperation in October 2020.

October 2020 results

Our main task was to recover lost traffic, attract new visitors, and generate leads for software product purchases. Thus, the traffic had to be targeted.

We created a strategy for the next 24 months, with plans to perform reviews and adjustments every 6 months to ensure the effectiveness and relevance of the plan.

Main Issues

At the beginning of our cooperation, we detected the following issues on the website:

Technical Optimization

  • Outdated website; the design remained practically unchanged from the mid-2000s
  • “Hreflang” attribute not set up despite the fact that the website had four different language versions
  • Duplicated pages with slashes in URLs
  • Issues with canonicals in the blog section
  • Pages with the 404 error code

Content Issues

  • Duplicated content on different language versions
  • Duplicated H1 subheadings, several H1s on some pages
  • Lack of meta titles, descriptions, or H1 subheadings on some pages — no clear understanding of the importance of quality meta tags
  • Content cannibalization

Link Building

  • Backlinks acquired by the client without a clear plan or strategy, which led to chaotic and unstable results.

Project Strategy Creation

First, we performed a detailed competitor analysis and a full technical audit of the website.

Niche Analysis

We researched the client’s business niche and determined five main competitors to analyze. As we compared the client’s website to the top performers, we identified the following problems:

  • Stagnation of the main high-priority pages
  • Lack of pages that were necessary for attracting traffic
  • Not enough quality content on existing high-priority pages
  • Wrong prioritization of pages for optimization, which resulted in an imbalanced backlink profile
  • Pages that targeted the wrong search intent
  • Numerous broken backlinks.

Technical SEO Audit

At the same time, we analyzed the technical aspects of the website, which also showed a range of issues, including:

  • Duplicated pages
  • Canonicals not set up correctly for most pages
  • Poorly configured pagination
  • Illogical site structure
  • Low-content pages
  • Pages with extra slashes in the URLs that returned the 200 status code and didn’t have proper canonical attributes
  • Many pages with the 404 error code
  • Orphan pages that only had inbound links from the sitemap
  • Duplicated title/H1 tags or the lack thereof on many pages
  • Mostly empty meta descriptions
  • No alt texts for most images
  • Lack of proper internal linking.

Action Plan

With the insights from the niche analysis and technical audit on hand, we developed an SEO strategy for the project. The strategy involved a significant amount of work, so we had to prioritize the tasks. The right priorities allowed us to start implementing changes and seeing positive shifts in search rankings and organic traffic sooner.


At first, the project had a limited budget that did not allow for quick results. We were only able to implement a small amount of changes that were not enough to achieve the necessary results. The cooperation started in October 2020, and this was the organic traffic in 2021:

seo case study from 20k to 200k

As you can see, in 2021, the website showed a negative trend. The first year of cooperation was not very successful due to the low budget that did not allow for enough working hours to implement the necessary changes. At the same time, the list of problems was quite extensive. This was the reason the client decided to increase the budget for link building and other services in May 2022.

Budget Increase

In May 2022, we revised the strategy based on the new budget. Now, we were able to increase the number of working hours and other expenses, which allowed us to do more and deliver results sooner. This way, we were able to speed up the process of achieving the project goals. Here’s how the organic traffic growth looked in 2022:

from 20k to 200k seo case study

After scaling the project, focusing more on high-quality link building, and fixing critical issues, we saw the metrics increase just three months after the budget revision.

Strategy Adjustments

To achieve those positive changes, we adjusted the strategy and changed the prioritization of tasks. We divided all technical issues into three categories: high-, medium-, and low-priority, depending on how critical they were. According to the priority, we set a timeline for implementing fixes.

Our revised strategy focused on these tasks:

  • Building links more intensively
  • Removing duplicated pages
  • Fixing cannibalization
  • Improving website structure
  • Writing quality content for the most important pages
  • Removing pages that targeted the wrong intent
  • Removing pages with the 404 status code.

Pages with the 404 Status Code

We fixed more than 240 links pointing to pages with the 404 (page not found) status code. Such internal links were either deleted from the content or redirected to relevant pages with the 200 status code.

Language Versions

The website had four language versions (English, German, Spanish, and Russian), but these versions were not connected with each other in any way and had poor internal linking. In order to configure them correctly, we set up the “hreflang” attributes as follows:

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”en” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”es” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”de” />

<link rel=”alternate” href=”” hreflang=”ru” />

The site’s logo was linked to the home page of the English version, regardless of the version it was included in. For example, the logo on this page: was linked to and not We resolved this issue.

We also implemented additional interlinking with the help of flags that were linked to the relevant language version of the page:

Language Versions

Although English-speaking countries were and still are the main target of the website, the proper use of “hreflang” was an important step for better SEO.

Redirects & Canonicals

Redirects for URLs with extra slashes in the middle or the end of the address were not set up properly. For example, the following pages all had the 200 status code, were open for indexation, and created a serious technical issue with the potential for duplicate pages:

We also found that canonicals were configured poorly for most pages. Here is an example:


<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

There were also other variants in which the canonical attributes were not self-referencing.

Once we fixed these issues, we started noticing organic traffic growth. To speed up the process, the pages were submitted for indexation through Google Indexing API.

organic traffic growth

Website Structure & Internal Linking

As mentioned above, the website was not structured well. Many pages had no internal linking, or it wasn’t done properly.

Due to the website being in the file converter software niche, there were many pages for different converters that had numerous associated pages explaining the nuances of the product’s functionality. However, these pages were random, not linked to relevant products, and often didn’t correspond to the intent and keywords of the main product pages.

For example:


These pages cannibalized each other due to the careless distribution of keywords related to the product in their content.

Here is what we did to solve these problems:

  • Improved the URL structure so that it followed SEO best practices and set up appropriate 301 redirects:

  • Introduced correct internal linking in the content so that pages were linked to each other according to keyword clusters and site hierarchy
  • Added breadcrumbs and structured data markup for them to the website
  • Implemented SoftwareApplication structured data markup for the product pages and Article markup for informational content SoftwareApplication structured data markup
  • Optimized the content to avoid cannibalization.

Website Design & Mobile Friendliness

The design of this site was objectively outdated and didn’t work properly on mobile devices. The client started implementing the recommended changes (which is still an ongoing process). The home page and the main product pages were updated first, which contributed to their performance improvement in 2022.

from 20k to 200k case study

This also resulted in an increase in visitors from mobile devices. Previously, the desktop-to-mobile ratio was 95%/5%. After the changes, the website started attracting more mobile users:

google analytics 4 devices

Pages with Wrong Intent

The website had numerous pages for term definitions — informational pages that did not contribute to sales and were more like a glossary of terms. They didn’t help in converting visitors and were similar to Wiki pages, for example:

It looked like an attempt to attract cheap traffic with the help of file format names. Such queries had very high competition, so there was no point in focusing on these keywords.

Pages with Wrong Intent

These queries had an informational intent, which did not convert to sales. Thus, we removed these pages, significantly decreasing the number of pages on the website.


Content optimization encompassed a wide range of tasks. First, we fixed the cannibalization issue. Our writer optimized content on pages associated with product pages to remove irrelevant keywords. For the main product pages, we created new high-quality content. We also added unique, quality meta tags optimized with keywords and matching the intent of the pages.

Most of the content was created by our copywriter, who is still working on the project. Although we developed detailed instructions for the pages, it was still important to work with a writer who understood the topic.

Here is what we did to achieve the best results:

  • Created comprehensive content briefs with the necessary keywords, LSI, and subheadings for the pages
  • Ensured that the content was unique
  • Included unique images, logical internal linking, and high-authority external links
  • Involved other writers from time to time so that our writer didn’t burn out and could keep creating top-notch content.

We kept working with high-priority pages, constantly monitoring their performance and updating the content.

Link Building

Considering the age of the domain (it has been active since the 2000s), the website had some backlinks, but they weren’t built systematically. Thus, there were numerous broken links that had not been managed:

broken links report ahrefs

So, our strategy was as follows:

  1. Fix all broken backlinks.
  2. Disavow all spammy/irrelevant links that were acquired over those 20 years.
  3. Build links for high-priority pages.

During the competitor analysis, we determined the 15 most relevant pages that needed a “backlink boost.” Our niche analysis showed that the optimal way to build links was by getting 30% of the links to the home page and allocating the remaining 70% to the high-priority pages. We could also focus on promoting the product pages that were most important to the client from time to time.

Here are the metrics of the top pages in SERPs for one of the keyword clusters we targeted at the beginning of 2023 (our metrics are highlighted in red):

SERP analysis

Similar high-competition clusters required special attention in all aspects of optimization.

For our link building efforts, we selected websites carefully, taking into account different metrics:

  • DR according to Ahrefs: 40+
  • Organic traffic: >5K
  • Countries from which they attracted traffic: English-speaking countries, mainly the US
  • LR/RD ratio: <1.5
  • The quality of referring domains
  • Positive SEO performance
  • Relevance.

This is what the development of the backlink profile over the last two years looks like, according to Ahrefs:

backlink profile ahrefs

We can see a spike in the number of referring domains, which was the result of a spam attack — more about this below.

All the backlinks built by our link builders were monitored in LinkChecker:

linkchecker pro monitor backlinks

We also regularly worked on getting link insertions. To find such opportunities, we analyzed competitors’ backlink profiles looking for high-quality links. We chose articles that included “top” or “best” lists for relevant keyword clusters, already showed results, and had the following:

  • DR: >30
  • Domain traffic: >100+
  • A dofollow link to the competitor in the content.

SEO metrics for link insertion

For these articles, we either wrote content describing the client’s product to be added to the existing text or inserted the client’s link into the relevant existing content of the page.

Drop after a Spam Attack During the August 2023 Core Update

At the end of the summer of 2023, Google introduced the August 2023 Core Update. At the same time, someone launched a spam attack on our client’s website.

Drop after a Spam Attack During

The website traffic dropped from 4-5K clicks/day to about 2.7-3K clicks/day, which we can see in the screenshot below:

website traffic dropped

We noticed the problem quickly. The spike in referring domains, combined with the decrease in traffic, was quite an obvious sign.

As it turned out, the website was under an extensive spam attack that coincided with the August Update. The attack was rather interesting — various low-quality websites used money anchor texts relevant to our keyword clusters and linked them to irrelevant images on our website.

For example, 200 backlinks with the anchor text “convert JPG to PNG” linked to the main image of the product page titled “Convert Word to PDF.” The attackers’ goals were to shift the intent and the relevance of backlinks of the whole website and to make it more difficult to promote our main pages.

Our Solutions

Within several hours, we compiled a list of spammy backlinks to disavow and submitted it to the Google Disavow Tool. We had to repeat this seven times in the following two months until all the spammy backlinks were removed.

This solution proved effective, leading to positive developments in the website’s metrics:

results after spam attack

results after spam attack

After the attack, the metrics started improving, and the amount of organic traffic increased again.


After the first year of our cooperation, we did not achieve impressive results due to budget constraints. However, the client saw our expertise and working processes.

organic traffic 2021

When we started our optimization processes, before the budget increase, the average traffic was 24K per month.

from 20k to 200k seo case study

Our professional approach and effective communication with the client motivated them to make the right decision, which resulted in the website getting almost 10 times more traffic than in 2020.

Google Search Console (Clicks):

google search console clicks


seo results ahrefs

Google Search Console (Last 12 Months):

gsc results

As of April 2024, the website receives 200K in organic traffic per month, on average.

According to Ahrefs, the traffic value is $18.4K:

ahrefs traffic value

After more than three years of productive work, our cooperation with the client is still ongoing. We continue to implement the necessary changes, monitor the results, and update the content.

Check out this case study about how we recovered 50% of organic traffic in a highly competitive niche lost after a Google update. And if you need professional assistance in search engine optimization or recovering lost traffic, contact us — we will help your project reach higher rankings with expert SEO strategies.

Andrew Shum

Andrew is the Head of SEO at SeoProfy. He has been involved in search engine optimization since 2016, gaining practical SEO experience across various niches and countries.

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