Yi Mandarin, a Chinese language school in Chinatown, Singapore had been off to a good start with marketing their courses online. For many searches related to learning Mandarin in Singapore, the site showed up on page 1 of the Google organic search results. This led to enquiries, and eventually new students joining.
Then, rather suddenly, rankings dropped to the middle of page 2. Business dried up. Yi Mandarin had one just one classroom at that time. But they couldn’t afford to have it remain empty, all the same.
Getting started: On-page optimisation
We kick off every SEO campaign with a website audit. To achieve good rankings, it’s important that the website content is structured correctly and nothing is blocking search engines from crawling the website properly. On-page optimisation often provides the opportunity for “quick wins”. It turned out that Yi Mandarin’s rankings had dropped because they had added many blog posts to the website, but hadn’t planned which keywords to emphasise, and which pages to prioritise.
As a result, the website had many pages, all competing to rank for the same or similar keywords. The site’s ranking power was spread out rather than focused. You could think of the website as a well trained swimmer with huge muscles, who was wasting most of his energy due to a faulty technique, and not winning any races.
Once we streamlined the website and ironed out all the issues, keyword rankings jumped by a full page, from the middle of page 2 to the middle of page 1 on Google. As you can see in the graph, once Yi Mandarin was visible in the first page of Google again, the enquiries came back.
The worst pain was over.
Steady improvement: Authority building
With enquiries flowing again, we set to the task of further improving the rankings, from the 6th position on page 1, to the top position.
Now that the website setup was optimised for rankings, the way to make the site move up involves off-page authority building. Through activities such as publishing articles, videos and other quality content about Yi Mandarin around the web, we signal to Google that this website is an authoritative source of information on the subject of learning Mandarin in Singapore.
When we started authority building, Yi Mandarin was the 6th website to show up for “learn mandarin singapore”. This process is slower; and it took 3 months before we saw the first signs of progress. After that, the ranking started to climb up gradually to the #1 spot, and has stayed there ever since.
What did SEO mean for the business?
Ever since Yi Mandarin reached the top ranking for “learn mandarin singapore” and many related queries, we have helped them maintain this ranking. As a result, Yi Mandarin receives a steady flow of enquiries for its Chinese classes, and is able to fill classes with new students every month.
To cope with increased demand, Yi Mandarin has expanded from 1 to 7 classrooms, and opened a new branch in the CBD.
The steady flow of high quality leads has not just grown the business, it has also increased predictability and profitability. If you run a school or offer courses of any kind, you’ll know that it’s a major challenge to get enough people to fill a class up to (or close to) its maximum. If there is too little interest, you’re often forced to open a few classes to accommodate different schedules of the students; but not be able to fill any of these classes.
The predictability that the people will continue to be able find them, has enabled Yi Mandarin to hire a number of full-time teachers instead of relying mostly on part-timers. This in turn helps to improve the quality of teaching.
We didn’t stop at SEO, and have also worked on the following with Yi Mandarin:
Web design: Build trust from the first visit. Drastically lowering the bounce rate and increase the website conversion rate
Google Adwords: Further increasing exposure for Yi Mandarin in the search engines
Facebook marketing: Staying top of mind and building trust over time
In business, one thing always depends on the next. SEO can drive a lot of traffic, but if the website doesn’t build enough trust, it’s not going to bring its maximum potential. That’s why we take a step-by-step approach and always look for the quickest way to improve results at any given moment, and make the different tactics work together.
What can we do for you?
This is just one success story. You may have different challenges than Yi Mandarin, but also wish to dramatically increase your course enrollments and/or cut marketing cost. To explore how we can partner, get in touch!