Case Studies

SEO Case Study: The Catholic Handbook – Six Month Review

The Goal of the Project

Many, if not most, Catholic websites are old, slow, and ugly. Many of the websites Catholics reference when looking for things like prayers or advice were created over a decade ago. They have not aged well or are difficult to find. The information is spread out over various sites. There is no trusted resource for Catholics who are looking to learn more about prayers and to pray more

The solution was to create a fast and simple website optimized for SEO and readability. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people searching for the information to find the information. With this in mind, we developed The Catholic Handbook. While the Catholic Handbook aims to be a larger brand, It’s initial goal was to provide value to Catholic who were searching to deepen their faith’s.

The Results:

The Catholic Handbook has only existed for six months. We build the first version of the site in June of 2023. The site looked simpler than it does today, because we have been doing regular updates to the design and speed of the site.

Since the creation of The Catholic Handbook, the site has generated Over half a million Google Search impressions and has garnered over thirteen thousand clicks. All of this has lead to an average click through rate of 2.4% and an average search position of 13.1. As you can see, The Catholic Handbook has experienced steady growth. The site is also beginning to experience certain seasonality effects. The big spike comes from the Catholic Holy Days–All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Users were looking for information on those days. And the Catholic Handbook was there to help.

These results far surpassed expectations. It just speaks to the mission of The Catholic Handbook and the latent demand for their services they were trying to provide.

The Strategy:

The strategy was simple. It wasn’t easy, but it was simple. The goal was to make a user-friendly website that was fast and easy to read. We then targeted longtail keywords, so we could begin to rank quickly. the tools and methodology are below.

Keyword Research

We did extensive keyword research using Ahrefs as our main Keyword research tool. Through diligent keyword analysis of competitors and of other prominent Catholic websites, we were able to find keywords that had a relatively high search volume and a relatively low keyword difficulty.

AI Tools

We utilized some of the best AI tools on the market to create high-quality SEO-optimized content. We did NOT use AI tools to write the content for the website. Google and other search engines will eventually be able to detect AI content. So we opted to write all the articles by hand.

That being said, we did use several AI tools to assist us in this.

The first tool was Surfer SEO. Surfer SEO is an invaluable tool to make sure your articles are optimized so that they can compete and out perform the competition. You input the keyword you’re trying to rank for and Surfer SEO will help you craft a superior article by comparing what you write to the top searches.

The second tool was Midjourney. It is my belief that Google dislikes generic stock photography. Free stock photography like what’s found on Unsplash or Pixabay is used all over the internet. We believe that Google prioritize unique images. Right now, one of the best ways to get legal unique images is through AI image makers. Not only can you cheaply make hundreds of images. But with consistent use of prompts, all your images can be part of a cohesive theme.

Midjourney provided us with a cheap stock photography alternative and saved us time because we didn’t need to search for the right image. We could just make an image that was in line with the branding of the site.

Speed

One of the most important components of good SEO is fast page speed load times. This led us to use and customize a theme that was very simple without too many pictures. We wanted to have the fastest Catholic website on earth. To achieve this goal we used the Generate Press theme and adapted one of their templates to meet our needs. We’ve found that Generate Press allows you to make a fast website without sacrificing on key design elements.

Next Steps:

This project is far from done. The Catholic Handbook has shown that it has tapped into an underserved market. This level of fast growth plus the continuing upward trend shows that there is still room for the Catholic Handbook to grow.

The Catholic Handbook will continue to produce15 pieces of content per month. But additionally…

Video

The Catholic Handbook has already begun to integrate video into its posts. Google is pushing SEOs towards having more video content on their sites, and The Catholic Handbook plans to work int hat direction.

By utilizing some video AI tools, it can turn the text in a post into a video rather easily. This has already start on some posts. Like this post in the Novena to St. Lucy. Look for the Catholic Handbook to expand it’s video output. And to test out its viability on YouTube.

Email Capture

The goal of The Catholic Handbook was to provide people with a better Catholic resource. However, given the demand and fast growth. Adding email capture and developing a newsletter would be an excellent way for the Catholic handbook to begin to monetize their audience.

How they plan to do that is still up in the air. Given the Religious nature of the brand, this is a delicate subject.

Nonetheless, it’s never wrong for a brand to want to deepen the conversation with its audience. And email capture is the next step for this brand to do that.

Wrap Up:

We are incredibly pleased by the results we got for The Catholic Handbook. This is one of those rare SEO successes that came quickly. We do not expect future projects to be this successful after six months.

To see what a more normal SEO client looks like, we recommend looking at this SEO Case Study.