Con­trib­u­tor Eric Enge offers an insight­ful case study on the pos­i­tive effects SEO-focused con­tent cre­at­ed by local influ­encers can have on dri­ving tar­get­ed traf­fic.

I encounter many peo­ple who believe the basic block­ing and tack­ling of search engine opti­miza­tion (SEO) exe­cu­tion is los­ing its val­ue, but I find doing this basic hard work still works incred­i­bly well.

In today’s post, I’m going to share a case study of a trav­el site whose busi­ness plan incor­po­rates a straight­for­ward approach to cre­at­ing high­ly dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed con­tent on their site and then pro­mot­ing that con­tent effec­tive­ly. They believe in build­ing and mar­ket­ing con­tent with a high focus on the end user, and as you will see, the results are impres­sive.

Dis­clo­sure: The com­pa­ny dis­cussed in this post, kimkim, is a client of my com­pa­ny.

Business overview

kimkim is an online trav­el com­pa­ny found­ed by a team of expe­ri­enced entre­pre­neurs and engi­neers who played key roles at com­pa­nies includ­ing Tri­pAd­vi­sor and Every­Trail. Their mis­sion is to push the trav­el indus­try toward a more authen­tic and local expe­ri­ence while still main­tain­ing high qual­i­ty and con­sumer trust. This is achieved by part­ner­ing with local trav­el guides, who cre­ate use­ful insights and infor­ma­tion aim­ing to offer a unique cus­tom trav­el expe­ri­ence for their cus­tomers. These trips often take users off the beat­en path, to places your trav­el agent might not think to send you.

This approach cer­tain­ly does not pro­vide glob­al cov­er­age, but it allows the com­pa­ny to focus on deliv­er­ing supe­ri­or con­tent for each loca­tion they do address. My belief is that this phi­los­o­phy is a big dri­ver in the scope of this suc­cess sto­ry. In SEO, it is bet­ter to be excel­lent at a few things instead of mediocre at many.

The SEO plan and execution

The archi­tec­ture for the site was designed to allow for the con­tent to start small and then scale over time. As new coun­tries are added to the site, it starts with iden­ti­fy­ing local experts that live “in-coun­try” and hav­ing them dri­ve the cre­ation of the con­tent for that coun­try. This enables each new coun­try sec­tion to rapid­ly devel­op a deep port­fo­lio of con­tent with an insight­ful local per­spec­tive.

Once their site was up and run­ning, an exhaus­tive audit of the site was done, includ­ing the use of crawl­ing tools, and min­ing and ana­lyz­ing data from Google Ana­lyt­ics and Google Search Con­sole. These audits are repeat­ed on a reg­u­lar basis to ensure that the site remains easy for search engines to crawl and parse so that prob­lems don’t begin to appear on the site and pro­lif­er­ate.

From a pro­mo­tion­al per­spec­tive, the local experts also help devel­op vis­i­bil­i­ty for the site in-coun­try, and this often helps attract a lot of local links to the par­tic­u­lar coun­try sec­tion of the site. An impor­tant part of the SEO plan was to devel­op and exe­cute against a thor­ough con­tent plan for each coun­try, lever­ag­ing the local guides and ensur­ing that a deep, broad mix of con­tent is cre­at­ed.

This task of man­ag­ing the diverse set of con­tent cre­ators, for many of whom Eng­lish is not their first lan­guage, was not easy. How­ev­er, it was worth it as it was key to cre­at­ing a robust con­tent port­fo­lio for each giv­en coun­try.

Out­reach was then per­formed at a local, in-coun­try lev­el to sites to let them know what kimkim was offer­ing from both a ser­vice and a con­tent per­spec­tive. Many of them chose to link to the con­tent, which helped pro­vide vis­i­bil­i­ty to the ser­vice; the local guides were a big help in the over­all process.

Fur­ther out­reach was done to local hotels, and many of the venues were ref­er­enced in the con­tent as well to make sure that all the infor­ma­tion was accu­rate and up to date. This out­reach drove some great vis­i­bil­i­ty with­in the local mar­kets and also result­ed in many links to the rel­e­vant coun­try sec­tions on the site.


kimkim has seen steady growth in their organ­ic traf­fic ever since their site launch. The site now ranks in the top five results for many high-val­ue terms, such as “Nepal trav­el expert” and “Man­aslu trek.” They have achieved amaz­ing traf­fic growth, as shown here:

kimkim traffic from organic search rosy

Cur­rent­ly, traf­fic con­tin­ues to grow steadi­ly, with the occa­sion­al large bump, as you see in Jan­u­ary of 2018. Jan­u­ary is a month that typ­i­cal­ly offers a sea­son­al uplift, but when you com­pare Jan­u­ary 2018 to Jan­u­ary 2017, you see quite a siz­able dif­fer­ence.

It just goes to show that the basic SEO block­ing and tack­ling approach works. It just takes a com­mit­ment to offer­ing a supe­ri­or user expe­ri­ence with­in a sound site archi­tec­ture, and then pro­mot­ing that con­tent effec­tive­ly.