SEO Case Study for Software Company That Makes Exam Preparation Apps

This SEO case study is for a software company who offers free and pro exam preparation mobile apps to help students practice for over 100 certifications and licenses. The success of this story is how Pocket Prep increased its brand awareness and popularity through keyword research and on-site optimization over an 18 month period of SEO.

When Pocket Prep hired Nord SEO for new White Hat SEO strategies, they quickly learned that the keywords they originally chose were not actually what students were always searching for while looking for resources to study or practice for their exams. This discovery also helped them understand that each exam involved different keyword variations — rather than using the same keywords for all of them. For most certifications and licenses, students searched for “practice tests” while others searched “exam preparation”, “study guide”, or even “question banks” and “data dumps”. Our first task was to accomplish a comprehensive audit to see which keywords they were already appearing for, as well as a top-competitor analysis to find more keywords which Pocket Prep should be appearing for. This provided a starting-list for a keyword discovery cycle and finding content gaps which they needed to fill-in to achieve a better average position among their competitors. This was followed with deep keyword research for over 100 exams — all in various fields and professions such as Medical, Nursing, Computer Hacking, Emergency & Paramedic, Financial, CPAs and even placement tests for the Army. The final tasks of Phase 1 SEO (assessment and research) were to drill-down each Tier 1 keyword — to discover all of the short-tail and long-tail keyword possibilities. These keywords lead to a long list of topics and ideas for content marketing strategies which guided their bloggers, and info-based articles for many months ahead. These short-tail and long-tail keywords also provided insights to numerous questions which students Google’d — asking what kind of salary will they earn, how long it takes to become their desired title, or how to go about earning their certifications or licenses.

The Competitive Aspect

The most challenging aspect of this SEO project was the level of competition they were up against. Their competitors such as,, and had a long run ahead of Pocket Prep with a solid history on Google’s SERPs — dominating all of the exam preparation resources online. This made it very difficult for Pocket Prep to wedge itself into the top 5 positions from its lonely past since 2011 in the 25th average position from which they finally emerged from.

Comparisons — Before and After SEO

Page Rank Distribution Comparison

After 18 months of research and implementation of new keywords in blogs, metas, headlines and content, their page rank distribution of keywords was compared to see the difference in page-1 rankings they previously had on Google. The following screenshots were taken from a report generated by SEO Profiler, which shows the page rank distribution from June 2018 — and again in June 2019. Notice that most of their keyword ranks started on the fifth page of Google, then shifted towards the first page. The difference in CTR between these page rank distributions are as extreme as 0% (5th -2nd page) to 30% or more (1st Page).

Total Rank Change Comparisons

The screenshots here display the total rank differences over the same 12 month period. Before SEO was performed, their website only ranked for 133 total keywords, of-which only 16 of these appeared on the first page of Google. After the SEO was implemented, they gained a significant amount of keyword ranks to a total of 562 keywords, and 162 of those appeared on the first page of Google. Now they have more page 1 rankings than total keyword ranks when they first embarked upon their SEO journey.

This is what you call effective keyword research and “successful SEO”! 🧨

Here are a few of their top competitive Tier 1 keywords with high search volumes which they are now ranking for in the top 10 positions.

KeywordMatch Type (Specificity)Monthly Avg. Search VolumeCheck Position on Google Search
ati testinggeneral match149,
lcswgeneral match44,
hesi a2general match7,
hesi a2 practice testexact match5,
nremt practice testexact match5,

Optimizing for the Right Keywords Doubled Their Traffic

These screenshots were taken from a custom built Google Data Studio with Google Search Console statistics which shows how their traffic doubled in less than 1 year of on-site SEO. At first, when we began to optimize their website for the appropriate keywords, they only were receiving an average of 25K search impressions and 1.2K clicks per day. After implementing SEO, their average increased to over 57K search impressions and 2.1K clicks per day — doubling their traffic and new app installs.

The SEO Effect on Brand Building

While Pocket Prep acquired a vast amount of new organic traffic to their website — our SEO services have also served as a gateway to increase their Brand Awareness. The best way to measure the success of your SEO is to check your brand name popularity with Google Trends. This is pure-proof that our White Hat SEO strategies not only increased fresh traffic from search engines, but more importantly, it created a noticeable change which helped to build their brand. To put it simply, they gained a permanent return on their investment by becoming more popular among their audience. Below we’ve provided a link to a live Google Trends Report of Pocket Prep’s name to prove how their popularity boosted roughly 1,500% in search traffic while using our amazing yet affordable Enterprise SEO packages.

SEO Case Study - Pocket Prep Google Trends Brand Awareness