about the client
Drive Safe Today is an online driving safety service helping drivers in select states across the US fulfill court- and insurance-related vehicle safety courses. Where possible, the website provides enrollment and course content which serves as a stand-in for traditional driving safety classes and leverages the flexibility of on-demand training to help customers complete coursework at their own pace.
The online market for driving courses is highly competitive. While some prospective customers may find their way to a driving safety course through their local department of motor vehicles, many simply turn to search engines for a qualified online safety course.
I was hired to optimize the content for Drive Safe Today’s online product overview and state-centric product pages to boost search engine traffic.
Building an SEO Strategy
The Longtail Strategy
In many ways, you could say that the keyword strategy I implemented with Drive Safe Today was an “inch-by-inch” strategy. We focused primarily on longtail keywords (search terms with more than three or four words) rather than heavily-trafficked but shorter keywords.
In doing this, we were able to more efficiently target our ideal user at the cost of search volume. Instead of seeing 5000 searches per month for some of our ideal keywords, we might see 50 or 200 searches per keyword each month.
That might not sound like much, but those numbers start to add up — and all searchers looking for that term are landing on pages with content geared specifically to serve their needs.
SEO by Location
After meeting with the owner behind Drive Safe Today, it was pretty clear that this wasn’t a typical ranking job. The organization provides a similar service to a variety of different states — but not to all states, because many states don’t allow third-party vendors. Some also impose extremely high approval requirements, for this kind of service, making the qualification process long and tedious.
This meant that trying to rank nationally wouldn’t necessarily get Drive Safe Today to where it needed to be. If I wrote content for a Deleware-based training course and that web page managed to show up in the #1 search engine spot for searchers in Wyoming, the content would miss its intended audience.
Not what we were looking for.
Instead, I used specialized search engine tools to locate the cities and states we planned to target and made absolutely sure that the keywords we planned to utilize matched the phrases that drivers in a specific location were using in order to retrieve their search results.
Writing for Clarity
When I started to review Drive Safe Today’s product text, I noticed immediately that the existing copy was often similar between certain products. By itself, this isn’t an issue unless it interferes with the reader’s understanding of the product and what it is designed to do.
While rewriting the text, I suggested changes both to the order of the offered products (with the most sought-after products placed at the top). I also helped the Drive Safe Today team isolate product options that were so similar that they might have been duplicates of one another.
We also found opportunities to consolidate some products and programs into packages, making the brand more competitive for customers.
Because of Drive Safe Today’s page structure, I often had the opportunity to implement several keywords for each state where the company offers its courses. This improved our chances of being picked up by search engines and gave us additional opportunities to rank for location-based services.
Thus far, Drive Safe Today is ranking well for many driving- and safety-related keywords in states where they offer DMV-approved safety courses. They often outrank competitors and state/local government websites in areas where they compete.
While this nuanced take on localized keyword strategy isn’t something that I would recommend for many businesses, it’s proven highly effective for Drive Safe Today, and I’m happy to have built something that continues to perform so well.