"There is a direct correlation between using SEMrush, being focused on SEO, and the sheer growth that we’ve had. Our organic traffic was up by 230% in 2019. Literally every day we are getting the highest traffic ever on our website. Almost every day is a record.”
Eric Bogard, VP of Marketing, Arkadium
Arkadium is a creator of premium gaming content designed specifically for grown-up players worldwide. The company’s games, which deliver hundreds of millions of annual gameplays, can be found on its own site, Arkadium.com, as well as the websites of the world’s biggest publishers and brands, including USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and MSN.
Today, Arkadium.com is recognized as one of the leading gaming sites on the internet, but it hasn’t always been this way. Back in mid-2018, the company’s key challenge was search visibility: “Once we acquire users our retention rate is high. People love our content, it’s gaming visibility we were lacking,” explains Eric Bogard, VP of Marketing at Arkadium. “As an example, we were competing with literally hundreds of solitaire sites and games of questionable quality.”
The company’s marketing team of three inherited a website that dated back to Arkadium’s foundation: “Our domain is 19 years old and it has supported a business that has naturally evolved,'' says Eric. “Our traffic was actually declining, and there were a lot of improvements and optimizations that we needed to do.”
In 2018, Arkadium chose SEMrush as a comprehensive solution that supported all of the goals the company was trying to achieve. Here's how Eric describes his experience with SEMrush:
“We started from a very foundational level, almost like a Maslow hierarchy of needs, until we finally reached the top by implementing schema markups and international SEO,” says Eric. “We didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, we just followed the way a campaign should be managed and the best practices.
With the help of Site Audit, we assessed the domain’s health and made the required technical updates: we were dealing with a fair number of 404s and redirects that should have been put in place.
The Keyword Analytics report helped us understand the size of the search market and the content types - be it games or categories - that we might want to develop. We used monthly search volume as a proxy to understand demand for the games and categories, and the size of this potential opportunity.
“One interesting discovery was that spelling Mahjong with one ‘G’ had almost a 14x volume compared to ‘Mahjongg’, which we had been using before. We started to build that game category with a single ‘G’ and did the same with the games to take advantage of that opportunity.
“Another example: our standard Solitaire game, we called it Klondike Solitaire. While exploring it in SEMrush, we uncovered that Classic Solitaire – it’s the same game – had a significantly higher search volume. Instead of renaming it, we kept Klondike to retain visibility on those keywords and essentially cloned it and named it ‘Classic Solitaire’; we have been able to take advantage of the Classic traffic without losing or diminishing the Klondike traffic.
“Based on the collected data, we implemented categories which we didn’t have before, because we saw that there were game categories that we had games for which received a lot of monthly searches, but for which we were not ranking well. The categories you see on our website now were built very intentionally.
Next, for each category type and game that had adequate search volume, we performed a keyword analysis to understand what people searched for, and we leveraged this information to build our content strategy, which is centered around providing value to our players. For example, games may include playing instructions, the history of the game or interesting facts about it.
Our games team wants to develop titles that have an established demand, and one input used is the monthly search volume potential games receive. What we have done is distribute the API for SEMrush, so that anyone at Arkadium can type in the games or keywords they are thinking about and get quick results: is this a viable opportunity or not? When you layer this data on what people search for on our site, the two go hand in hand in terms of providing directional insights, so it’s an added layer of verification.
We use Domain Analytics to get a 360 degree view of our competitors. Getting competitive intelligence has been really helpful – we’ve implemented the most effective competitor strategies that we found. We are aware of competitors’ keywords, we intentionally create content to rank for them and we see success there.
The last step for us was Schema markup and international SEO implementation.
“Little things like that allowed us to dramatically increase the number of keywords that we have and our presence in the search engines, and to be able to convert searchers into returning fans.
“Today, we get the most utility with Keyword Analytics, particularly its overview. To get a bird’s eye view of our health and rankings, I always turn to Position Tracking. It gives me a directional sense of how things are performing and what’s happening.
“When we got SEMrush in Q3 of 2018 I expected we would be able to scale it out but I didn’t expect the results to be this impressive. In the first quarter alone, we saw an explosion of growth. It was a big milestone and that growth trajectory has only continued. The games market is bigger than TV. Bigger than Hollywood. Being recognized as the preeminent gaming destination on the internet - we’re ranking #1 for ‘games’ - is pretty awesome and a testament to our team.
“Around 70% of our traffic comes from organic. People love our content, they bookmark and come direct, so the growth lines of organic and direct mirror each other. When you see the trendlines of our growth, we started using the tool Q3 of 2018 and that’s when you see our traffic increase, so there’s a direct correlation between using the tool, being focused on SEO, and the sheer growth that we’ve had. Our organic traffic was up by 230% in 2019. Literally every day we are getting the highest traffic ever on our website. Almost every day is a record.”
850% increase in organic sessions since starting using SEMrush
Thanks to SEMrush and the team’s strategies, Arkadium was able to leverage additional ranking and keyword opportunities for the website, implement best practices both from a development standpoint and on-site experience, and scale traffic very quickly.
361% increase in Mobile + Tablet organic sessions
From first integrating SEMrush into their SEO strategy, the company started to see strong increases in mobile and tablet organic traffic. Following this success, Arkadium built AMP pages to improve their user experience and continue this strong, positive trajectory.
Data-based game creation
SEMrush API allows easy idea validation for anyone in the company and results in data-based decisions.