HatchHouse SEO Journey: Foundations of SEO Success

Matthew O'Sullivan

Marketing agencies love talking about the results they can create for their clients. However, they don’t demonstrate their own results.

At HatchHouse, we believe that the proof is in the pudding.  

Since we are building our agency from the ground up, we’re going to report on our SEO journey and results in the coming months.  

Here’s what you can expect to learn from us:

1. What’s More Effective - Organic or Paid Traffic?

Every month, we’ll be reporting on our organic vs paid traffic figures.


Some agencies claim that there’s nothing like organic traffic, others think that paid advertising is the way to go.

We say: both, both is good!

In general, organic SEO is best for long-term results. With constant optimisation, you can get a steady stream of (technically free) visitors from Google.  

However, paid traffic is vital for targeting bottom-of-the-funnel prospects, and generating traction in the beginning.  

On average, it takes a few months to rank for top spots in SERPs (search engine results pages). Paid traffic can help you bridge that gap when you’re starting out (or starting your SEO efforts).  

What We’ll Analyse:

We’ll report on traffic figures, but we’ll also put them in context:  

  • What were our methods for each approach?
  • How many leads did we get?  
  • What was our lead quality?  

And more!

We’ll also discuss general takeaways that you can learn from.  

2. Who Leaves More - Organic Leads or Paid Leads?

Another important metric for us is going to be organic vs paid bounce rate.

When someone “bounces,” that means they come to your website from SERPs, and then leave it.  


Now, that’s a mystery we can’t wait to look into. ;)

Why Are We Monitoring Organic vs Paid Bounce Rate?

The general appeal of search engine optimisation lies in attracting inbound customers.  

They’re already looking for solutions like yours, so your conversion rate is higher than with traditional disruptive advertising.

However, paid ads can help you target search intent more accurately.  

Organic vs Paid Conversion Rate

Which leads convert more: those you’ve acquired through ads, or those who have organically found you in the SERPs?  

It’s time to find out.

One of the key metrics we’ll be reporting on monthly is our organic vs paid conversion rate.

Why Are We Monitoring Organic vs Paid Conversion Rate?

When your pages appear organically in the SERPs, you don’t get to choose what the searchers see.  

Instead, Google chooses what it will display. That normally includes meta descriptions, as well. This can significantly affect your click-through rate, and consequently, your conversion rate.

However, when you launch a paid advertising campaign, you can carefully craft your ad creative to satisfy searcher’s intent.

Keeping the (dis)advantages of both formats in mind, we’ll evaluate the efficacy of each method, and help you understand how to apply best practices to your business.

3. Are We Ranking for the Right Keywords?

Keywords and search queries are the main way of monitoring visibility. Our potential customers use keywords to find the solutions they need - and that includes our business, as well as yours.  

Now, keyword rankings aren’t the first metric we’ll monitor. They aren’t as indicative of results.  

But they can show us if we’re going in the right direction.

We’ll be taking a look at all the keywords in our mix, as well as other keywords that we rank for (according to Google Search Console).

You can often rank for keywords you hadn’t targeted because Google uses context and topics to understand content.  

4. Local Visibility

We’re working out of Dublin, and our entire team is proud to be a local endeavour. Our target audience are businesses in Ireland, so monitoring local visibility is a priority.  

Google Search Console and Google Analytics are going to be major assets!

What We’ll Analyse

Firstly, we’ll analyse long-tail keywords that include our area.  

Another important factor for local visibility are local 3-packs.  

For example, if your target audience searches for “bakeries near me,” your goal should be to appear in the top 3 results and Google Maps.

And, of course, we’ll explain what went right and what went wrong so you can apply the insights to your business.

5. Click-Through Rate Is One of the Most Important SEO Metrics

... and so it’s natural that our SEO wizards told us we had to include it in this list.

Joking aside, CTR is incredibly important for evaluating whether you’re ranking for the right keywords, and meeting the searcher intent with your content and meta descriptions.

Why Are We Monitoring CTR?

Every search query comes with a particular intent.  

For example, someone searching “how to bake bread at home” wants to see a tutorial in the results.  

They want to know that, by clicking through on a search result, they’ll learn what they’ve set out to learn.

If our CTR is good, that means we described our content accurately. When they see our page in SERPs, the searcher should say: “Yep, that’s the right post for me!” and click through.

CTR also shows whether our content is useful to searchers.  

If our CTR isn’t satisfactory, we either need to make our meta descriptions and title tags more enticing, or we need to switch up our content strategy.  

6. Domain Authority

First things first: Domain Authority isn’t an official metric. Google won’t tell you how to optimise for it. Moz came up with it.  

However, SEO experts everywhere have decided to use DA as a way of describing a website’s relevance within a particular industry.

And DA relies on links.

Why Domain Authority Matters

When a website has a good link profile (AKA: a lot of high-quality websites link to it), Google will perceive that as votes of confidence.  

Consequently, it will place our results much higher in the SERPs.  

However, Domain Authority is not a passive metric.

In order to see DA increases, we’ll have to improve our link-building efforts. This includes pitching to other websites to get links, improving our social signals, and more.

Other important DA factors are expertise and content quality. This is why we’re putting our experience forward. There are thousands of generic articles out there. We’re going to show you what marketing looks like in the trenches.

(And you can bet that will improve our DA! ;) )

Every month, we’ll tell you exactly what we did, how that affected our link profile and, consequently, our Domain Authority.  

7. Backlinks Are the Key to SEO Success

Content may be half of the success, but backlinks are the second - very important - half.

We already said that Google perceives backlinks as votes of confidence.

So in order to give our rankings a boost, we’ll have to double-down on creating useful content that satisfies searcher (and customer) intent, as well as our outreach efforts.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get backlinks. We’ll discuss them in our upcoming posts so make sure you stay tuned.  

At the end of the month, we’ll evaluate how improving our link profile helped us improve our rankings.  

8. Technical Talk: What Are Crawl Errors?

Crawl errors mean that search engine bots tried to reach our page, but failed to do so.  

In the long term, crawl errors can render some of your most optimised pages invisible.  

It’s definitely something we want to avoid.

However, crawl errors do happen. They are largely in the domain of technical SEO, it’s not as easy to optimise for them.

Fortunately, our experts love the technical side of SEO, so we’ll show you how to completely eradicate crawl errors.

9. Why Does Site Speed Matter for SEO?

Last but not least, we’re going to monitor our site speed.

If your site is slow, your user experience (UX) suffers.  

Visitors bounce (leave your website) more often, and that sends a clear signal to Google: your site shouldn’t rank so highly.

Site speed optimisation is an ongoing process.

The more images, documents, and pages you add to your website, the slower it will get.

With this final metric, we’ll show you how site speed changes as you grow, and how you can make sure that your user experience doesn’t suffer.

Join Our Journey!

Even though our team has gone down this road many, many times, we want to show you what it looks like to start a site from scratch.

The SEO game changes constantly, but we’ll give you the freshest insights.

Are you ready to join our journey?  

Hop on board!

Related Blogs

May 13, 2020

HatchHouse SEO Journey: Foundations of SEO Success

An all-access and honest diary of our digital marketing efforts!

read more

March 14, 2020

5 Basic SEO Concepts for Absolute Beginners in 2020

Search engine optimisation is certainly one of the most cost-effective ways to attract new customers.

read more
HatchHouse Digital icon