HANDLE THE HEAT

Who they are:

Handle The Heat are a worldwide baking blog based in Arizona.
Focusing on a range of sweet treats most of all, not only does “The Cookie Queen” Tessa Arias offer up great recipes for her users, but every recipe has a scientific aspect to it and explains the reasons why and how different ingredients and different temperatures affect the end result.

With her successful “Science of Baking” series of articles, Tessa has been running her website for over 10 years and in 2013 launched her first cookbook through the success of her website.

Our goal for Handle The Heat

Our primary goal for Handle The Heat, as a monetized website running ads and affiliate marketing, was increasing traffic to the website, as this then directly leads to increased revenue.

Commencing in May 2021, we conducted in-depth keyword research and analysis of the website and planned accordingly from there. The website was receiving good amounts of traffic when we began, but we found opportunities to expand rankings out to additional general keywords to cover broad categories of food.

The challenges we overcame

Building a large website with vast amounts of quality content is not an easy task, so while our competitors were creating content at a faster pace, there was just no way that we could compromise the quality of the content already being produced.

During the beginning of COVID, there was a huge spike in people searching for baking terms, which set our goals incredibly high, however, we were fighting against a 17% decrease in searches from Christmas 2020 to Christmas 2021. With this in mind, without SEO work, we should expect to see a 17% drop in traffic, but through extensive planning and implementation during this time, we saw improvements across the board.

In January 2021 the website was relaunched with a different website structure, which meant during our work for a number of months we were also seeing Google deindexing and reindexing new pages, adding another minor challenge to this campaign.

Rankings

To bring more people to the website, we needed to see more keywords on page 1. With a huge amount of content on the website, this meant that we started with a number of keywords that were ranking, but not quite on page 1. Without ranking on page 1, we were just not going to get those additional clicks in.

In May 2021 when we began, there were ~7800 keywords ranking on page 1, and with work throughout the year, we saw this increase to ~10,500 keywords ranking on page 1 – a 35% increase.
More importantly, we pushed 443 more keywords – a 19% increase – into the top 3 search results, which are much more likely to garner a click.

Pictured: Organic keywords past 12 months in the top 20

Handle the Heat Organic traffic Progress

Pictured: Organic keywords past 12 months in the top 10

Handle the Heat Organic keywords Trend

Pictured: Organic keywords past 12 months in the top 20

Handle The Heat Progress graph
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Pictured: Organic traffic 6 months on 6 months

Handle the Heat Organic traffic Progress

Traffic

Despite the challenges listed above, the hard work paid off, and over the past 6 months we can see both the challenges and success, with a strong increase in total clicks while at the same time competing with fewer searches in the space (search impressions).
In the past 6 months we’ve seen organic users increase by 23% and organic sessions increase by a very respectable 30%.
In line with this, we’ve seen clicks increase by 24% compared with the previous 6 month period, while search impressions dropped 8% in this period.

Pictured: Google Search Console – Clicks vs. Impressions 6 months on 6 months.

Handle The Heat – Clicks vs. Impressions 6 months on 6 months.

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