Case Study: Graphic of a magnifying glass hovered over a traffic graph

Case Study: Outranking X-Rated Sites for a Sexual Wellness App

Sexual health was never meant to be X-rated. And yet, when a sexual wellness brand centered on education, empowerment, and inclusivity wanted to build brand awareness, they found their content buried in the SERPs under explicit sites.

The brand, a feminist audio erotica app, aimed to scale web traffic and ultimately convert readers into paying customers. They wanted to provide educational content directly related to customer pain points: Helping women and non-binary people explore pleasure and sexuality in a healthy, joyful way.

But with a niche in erotica, the brand faced one distinct problem: Many potential topics would be flagged by Google as X-rated content.

The brand partnered with Growth Machine to devise an effective SEO content plan centered on sexual wellness and exploration. Averaging just 750 organic weekly sessions in August 2021, the brand saw results almost immediately, hitting 845 organic weekly sessions in September. In a mere three months, the website hit an all-time high of 1,332 weekly sessions.

Here’s how we did it.

The Business Problem: Trying to Build Brand Awareness While Competing Against Explicit Content 

Founded in the late 2010s, the brand attracted praise from The New Yorker, Vogue, Marie Claire, and Vox for empowering listeners to explore their sexuality and learn what they like. Four years into business, the brand aimed to raise awareness of their app and convert blog readers into paying customers. 

While the brand was crystal-clear on their personality and tone of voice — always empowering, always inclusive, never shaming — their site and app struggled for search visibility due to the nature of their niche.

Translation: In order to move up the ranks in Google, they would need to outrank explicit content. Therefore, the brand’s objectives were twofold:

  1. Increase site traffic and paying customers: The brand wanted to attract readers (and future listeners) by publishing topics directly related to their product and broader topics on sexual wellness.
  2. Outrank explicit sites while publishing high-quality content: The brand needed a unique content plan with the power to outrank X-rated sites while maintaining their empowering, inclusive, and educational values.

The Strategy: Publish Well-Researched Content and Stay On-Brand

The brand partnered with Growth Machine to provide content strategy, SEO, and link building support to attract new customers in a complex industry. As the client chartered new territory — story-driven feminist audio erotica — we had to be incredibly mindful when designing the content plan, recruiting writers, and partnering with sites for link building.

The Keywords: Build Domain Authority Through High-Volume Content

Growth Machine aimed to drive brand awareness in a challenging space while sticking to the client’s brand voice. To build web traffic, Growth Machine targeted high-volume, low-difficulty keywords that related to the client’s mission and offering. The content plan followed an eight-posts-per-month cadence, all written from the client’s unique perspective.

Within the seven-month contract, Growth Machine targeted keywords ranging from very adult topics to those centered on health and relationships. All topics were handled with care, providing valuable, informative content that helped solve customer pain points.

The Writers: Recruit Writers to Write Highly Researched, Joyful Articles

The brand was founded to fill a gap in the erotica industry. They sought to empower and celebrate all genders, all sexualities, all types of sex, and all types of seeking pleasure — and were vigilant in how this information was presented.

From the initial kickoff survey through multiple iterations of the client style guide, the brand was crystal clear on their mission, brand voice, tone, and competitors. Growth Machine and the client worked together to expand the style guidelines to ensure all genders and sexualities felt seen, even for more G-rated content. All sexual tips included instructions for use with partners or solo. We used inclusive, anatomy-based terminology instead of gender-based, heteronormative language. 

When recruiting writers, Growth Machine hired those who could 1) write female-centered, consent-focused, research-based content and 2) understand that small details in articles make a big impact for readers. Writing empowering thought leadership articles allowed the client to build a pool of potential paying customers while scaling traffic.

The Link Building: Building Domain Authority in a Few Short Months

Due to budget constraints, the brand’s partnership with Growth Machine was relatively short (lasting just seven months). And yet, the site saw results within a mere 30 days thanks to the content, SEO, and link building strategy.

The client invested in link building for the entirety of the project, building up their domain authority. We focused on increasing their legitimacy in Google’s eyes by placing links on health and wellness sites. This helped the brand’s newly published, well-researched, and informative articles to eventually outrank the virus-inducing sites populating the search engine results pages.

The Results: A 39% Increase in Web Traffic in 3 Months While Staying On-Brand 

Growth Machine’s content, SEO, and link building strategy scaled the client’s traffic almost immediately. Within a mere three months, the site experienced a 39% increase in traffic — all while staying true to who they are. 

With the client experiencing a modest 750 weekly sessions at the beginning of the contract (August 2021), Growth Machine scaled traffic to 845 weekly sessions in a single month — a 13% increase in just 30 days. Within three months, the site hit an all-time high of 1,044 weekly sessions. Even when experiencing an expected dip in readership during the holidays, the client still saw higher traffic than the summer months, hitting between 868-1,036 weekly sessions in November and December.

Own Your Voice, Own Your Niche 

Whatever industry you’re in, you deserve a shot at reaching #1 on Google for your desired topics. People are googling sexual wellness topics, and our client wanted to be there when they did.

Growth Machine’s custom content strategy grew the client’s traffic 13% in one month and 39% in three. Even within the short seven months of our relationship, Growth Machine established lasting brand authority and incoming traffic for the site. What’s more, Growth Machine exclusively published highly researched, sex-positive articles, allowing them to provide thought leadership within an industry inundated with spammy content.

At Growth Machine, we write SEO-optimized, on-message content for even the most niche brands. To see how we can design and execute a unique SEO plan to help you move up the ranks in Google, contact us today

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