SEO + Content Case Study

High-authority media drives client to Page 1

How one data-driven content campaign earned placements in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, NBC News, CNBC, and 20 other major media outlets.


  • 137

    media placements

  • 35

    percent increase
    organic traffic, YOY

  • 450

    percent increase in
    Page 1 keywords


Waterstone Management Group (now West Monroe Partners) is an advisory firm for private equity firms and Fortune 500 companies, serving on boards and management teams of more than 100 technology businesses.


Improve monthly organic traffic and website visibility for highly competitive keywords in the financial sector.


Create a content campaign featuring a newsworthy study of Americans’ awareness of monthly spending habits related to tech-based subscription services. By earning widespread media attention and high-authority links to Waterstone’s website, we aim to improve Waterstone’s performance in organic search rankings and increase their organic traffic.

We surveyed 2,000 Americans to gauge their awareness of monthly spending habits related to subscription services. Each respondent was asked to quickly estimate how much they spend each month on things like cable television, mobile phone service, media streaming services, subscription boxes, etc. We then took each participant through a detailed inventory of their subscription-based expenditures, to assess the accuracy of people’s estimates.

Media Placements

From July 2018 to June 2019, “America’s Relationship with Subscription Services” earned a total of 137 media placements and 129 backlinks to Waterstone’s website, with highlights including The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, NBC News, Forbes and Business Insider. Alongside digitally published articles, Waterstone and their study were also featured in three TV segments, two radio broadcasts, and on the front page of the Money section in a nationally syndicated print edition of USA Today.

A total of 129 links were earned from various media websites to the landing page containing the originally published study (the study was also featured on TV, radio and in print, most notably on the front page of the Money section in USA Today). The distribution of link types was consistent with what we see from other high-performing campaigns. Our work began by amassing a core of “Direct” links, meaning those we could trace to specific media pitches originating from our team. Then we watched coverage amplify through syndication and “Organic” links, which are links generated from instances where a journalist finds our study and chooses to write about it without getting a direct pitch from us.

SEO Results & Analysis

This enviable press translated to highly-value SEO outcomes. At the beginning of the campaign, Waterstone ranked on Page 1 for two core keywords. By the end, Waterstone ranked for 11 core keywords, and compared with their foremost competitor—an entrenched industry leader dozens of times larger—Waterstone ended up with a higher average ranking for all keywords targeted and tracked by the two firms.

Over the course of 12 months of on-site SEO work and this digital PR link building campaign, the client’s website experienced an average of 9% month-over-month growth in organic traffic and a 35% increase in organic traffic year-over-year.

By the end of the campaign, Waterstone bested its primary competitor in terms of average rank for all keywords targeted and tracked.


Lyndsey Maddox

Director of Business Development

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