SEO Case Study: SPOTBOT

Creating a household name is a tall order. It’s a bit like writing history.

We were approached for SEO by the creators of SPOTBOT. They were already working with an outbound marketer, Brandmill, and their brief for us both was ambitious: for SPOTBOT to become a household name in South Africa, in the same way that the word “to Google” has become the international everyday term for “to use a search engine.”

Image of SPOTBOT for SEO case study
The SPOTBOT device

What is SPOTBOT?

SPOTBOT is a revolutionary product, a true game-changer. SPOTBOT is a highly accurate intruder-detection device that plugs into existing CCTV systems. It eradicates upward of 99% of false alarms triggered by conventional motion sensors.

SPOTBOT works by detecting the actual human form, so it’s vastly more accurate than a simple motion sensor. Once a human has been detected, SPOTBOT sends an alert with an image of the camera’s output with the human circled to the owner’s phone via the Telegram app.

A SPOTBOT alert on the Telegram app

Political sensitivity of “security” in South Africa

Issues around crime have become problematic in South Africa, as they are often aligned with racist fearmongering. 

We were happy to discover that the creators of SPOTBOT were intent on avoiding fear mongering and focussing instead on the accuracy and usefulness of their invention. The device did indeed merit this approach, and we felt it could actually decrease, rather than increase, false accusations made in the name of “security” in South Africa.

Exploratory chats with the customer

In initial discussions, the creators of SPOTBOT were keen on trying SEO, but not clear about what it could do for them. They were concerned that SPOTBOT could not be found online. South African customers who “Googled” the name SPOTBOT came up with an American carpet cleaner. They were also struggling to get any traffic to their website.

SEO strategy

Before getting started with writing articles for any SEO campaign, a lot of preliminary research is needed and the campaign strategy must be defined. This section covers how we performed this research and strategy for SPOTBOT.

SEO audience analysis

We identified two types of possible customers:

  1. Those who already know about SPOTBOT and are either looking for the product’s website, or looking for more information about the product;
  2. And those who do not about the product and are looking for CCTV systems, intruder detection systems, or motion detection systems.

The first group – those who already know about SPOTBOT – could be fairly easily targeted by exploring all their possible questions and answering them.

The second group – those who do not know about SPOTBOT – are a little trickier to target. They would need to be targeted for secondary keywords such as CCTV, security cameras, alarm system, intruder detection, motion detection etc., which is more difficult for the following reasons:

  • The “CCTV” keyword space has very high search volume, has medium relevance, but is much more competitive than the SPOTBOT keyword space.
  • The “intruder detection” keyword space is not very competitive, has good relevance in theory, however search volumes are very low. In any case the term is mostly used to refer to computer network intrusions, not actual intrusions in physical spaces, meaning that relevant search volumes are even lower.
  • The “motion detection” keyword space has medium relevance, medium difficulty, but very low search volumes.
  • It is well-known in SEO that you can’t create an audience that does not already exist*. We had to take into consideration the fact that people using CCTV-type keywords are not necessarily looking for devices to add to CCTV systems.
* Traditional outbound (non-SEO) marketing targets people via intrusive ads, whereas inbound marketing (SEO) only targets people who start with an intention.

Therefore to target the second group – those who do not know about SPOTBOT – we are left with no choice but to target the CCTV (and related terms) keyword spaces. This requires a long term, fairly intensive strategy, but the rewards will be very great.

As for the problem of relevance for the CCTV keyword, we ascertained that at least some people searching for CCTV cameras would be interested in learning about systems which made their cameras much more efficient at detecting intrusions, seeing as false alarms are a huge problem.

Keyword research

Our first step was to do an exhaustive keyword study following our trusted methodology as outlined in this article on keyword research. We recommended a two-stage strategy:

  1. The first stage was to get SPOTBOT found by South Africans searching for it online.
  2. The second stage would be to bring other search traffic to SPOTBOT. We found a high search volume for CCTV cameras, and recommended that we target this market for SPOTBOT.

Competitor analysis

Thankfully SPOTBOT, being a unique, groundbreaking product, has no direct product or SEO competitors anywhere in the world.

They did, however, have a competitor for their name: a vacuum cleaner sold mostly in the United States with the same name. But this was a relatively minor issue, especially in South Africa where the vacuum cleaner doesn’t show up at all.

In the CCTV, alarm system, and security camera keyword space there are several well-established competitors. However they are mostly online shops with no apparent SEO strategy. In fact none of them appeared to offer good consumer advice for local audiences, a clear gap in the market.

While some of these websites are very large we are confident that with a sustained content schedule of well-written articles these competitors can be beaten.

Campaign value

In the CCTV, alarm system etc. keyword spaces, search volumes are extremely high. Hence we estimate an extremely high potential for SEO.

The figures below are determined via an exhaustive research into each keyword area. For example “CCTV” covers around 250 permutation of the CCTV search term, such as “cctv camera”, “cctv cameras”, “cctv”, “cctv cameras for sale”, “cctv camera for sale”, “cctv installations” etc. and the search volumes are added together to arrive at the numbers below. Hence for the general topic of CCTV there are around 35000 searches per month in South Africa.

cctv35000
alarm system35000
security camera20000
surveillance10000
wifi camera10000
security system8000
ip camera6500

Kicking off the SEO campaign

Stage 1: Getting SPOTBOT found by people searching for it

To do this, we initiated an exhaustive FAQ list, in which the brand name SPOTBOT was linked with a vast range of customer queries. The creators of SPOTBOT understood exactly what we were doing, and helped by supplying even more typical questions, along with technically accurate answers.

Here is proof that Stage 1 worked. Clicks became aligned with impressions ie. people searching for SPOTBOT-related search terms started actually clicking on SERP results because those results ranked much higher.

Google Search Console for SPOTBOT: 19 August to 19 November 2021

Given that this stage was so successful we were able to safely file this task as “DONE” 😎👍

Stage 2: Build a campaign around the CCTV keyword space

As mentioned before, the space for CCTV and related terms has a high search volume, has medium relevance, but is difficult to rank for, although by no means impossible.

To target users searching for CCTV, alarm systems, security cameras etc. we decided to further sub-divide this stage into two parts:

  1. Primary strategy (perhaps 90% of articles): Write articles directly linking CCTV to the product. For example articles about best CCTV cameras to use with SPOTBOT, best placement of CCTV cameras for SPOTBOT etc.
  2. Secondary strategy (10% of articles): Write articles about CCTV, not necessarily linked to the product. For example articles about the advantages of using CCTV system, best CCTV cameras for low lighting conditions etc.

This strategy gives us quite a wide range of high-to-medium relevance articles that can be written over time. Given that SEO is a slow-but-robust process, we’ve given the project around 8 months to gain traction, with a possible duration of, say, 2 years depending of course on how far SPOTBOT wants to take this.

Given the high search volumes for CCTV in South Africa, the sky is the limit. By following the secondary strategy the SPOTBOT website could, in theory, become a source of information for all things CCTV, which is something lacking in South Africa.

Our first article following the primary strategy is Best CCTV Cameras to use with SPOTBOT. At the time of writing it’s still early days. SEO is a slow, robust process and we will be seeing results in around 6 months. This article is a living document and results will be posted as things progress. Watch this space..

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