Case Study
Stears’ Organic Traffic Surge Using Live Blogging


“Being a part of the SODP Community has made a real impact on my problem-solving at work. From bouncing off paywalls solution ideas to thinking about an SEO strategy for my paywall, it’s the most value-adding professional community I’m a part of.”

Yvette Dimiri
Director, Stears Insights, Stears Inc
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traffic increase during the presidential election

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traffic increase during the gubernatorial race election compared to the previous election



total users (2x increase) in a 6-week period in the 2023 election compared to the 2019 election

About the Company

Founded in 2017 by Preston Ideh, Abdul Abdulrahim, Foluso Ogunlana, and Michael Famoroti, Stears leverages technology to provide subscription-based data and insight to global businesses and professionals on the disruptive trends, transformations and technologies shaping Africa, the world’s fastest-growing continent.

Stears provides historical and real-time data, indices, reports, whitepapers, and briefs to inform investment and policy decisions.

Stears recruited the SODP Media team to help the business maximize coverage for Nigerians and its diaspora for their widely sought-after elections insights, as well as to develop the organic traffic and structural recommendations for expanding their subscription and B2B insights business units.

Stears Homepage

The Challenge

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Low audience retention rates

Wrong structure

Lack of SEO visibility of paywalled content

Wrong content

Technical issues

Stears approached SODP in September 2033 with several challenges. Some of the most significant issues it faced included:

Lack of SEO visibility of paywalled content
Low audience retention rates
Lack of a content strategy that was tailored to covering the elections
Suboptimal categorization of content
Technical issues

These challenges were hindering Stears’ ability to attract and retain audiences, leading to lower engagement metrics and subscriptions.

Our Approach

We worked on setting up a pillar and cluster content strategy that was geared toward Stears’ premium subscription offering, helping set up an Election Centre section and pivoting the programmatic SEO strategy toward this section, and integrating a live-blogging platform in the content publication and editorial processes.

These three approaches made the content easy to navigate for users and post for the editorial team. The subscription content gained visibility in search engines while avoiding getting scraped, and the live-blogging platform helped channel users toward premium subscription offerings.

Strategy and Execution

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Content Strategy

Stears’s content lacked a coherent structure, which is why the first step was to conduct a content audit to reveal what content and content categories performed the best.

Following the audit, SODP Media conducted a keyword analysis and identified topics that would deliver the highest amount of relevant organic traffic.

Based on the first two steps, SODP Media helped develop a pillar and cluster strategy focused on the lead-in content for Stears’ premium subscription.

SODP Media also included the necessary markup (e.g., accessiblefreee and noarchive) and advised on a front blocking CSS approach to avoid scraping content, which helped increase Stears’ explainer content and maintain users.

Finally, SODP Media assisted Stears in setting up an election center, which outlined the polling numbers and biographies of all the candidates in all regions, essentially helping users learn about the candidates.

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Election Center

Stears was in possession of a large amount of data relating to the 2015 and 2019 elections. However, this data was hosted on separate subdomains.

SODP Media helped Stears move that data onto the main site, creating Elections Center. It also advised Stears on linking and layout that would show how the data produced the content.

As a result, 2,000+ pages were programmatically created. Every single state, election result, etc., had a dedicated page. Since there was large user demand for election results and due to Stears’ new ability to populate relevant pages at scale, the publisher was able to capitalize on the traffic uplift. The Election Center pages consistently ranked at the top of SERPs.


Live Blogs

SODP Media assisted Stears in identifying the right live-blogging solution and integrating it into the editorial workflows and processes. After evaluating various solutions on the market, SODP Media recommended proceeding with Tickaroo – in large, due to this platform’s ability to fetch and insert structured data server side, which strengthened the indexability of the page.

One of our enhancements was adding FAQPage Schema to all pages that had frequently asked questions within the article body. This allowed the pages to rank higher in search results with rich snippets, helping WAE secure more SERP real estate and attract more clicks.

During the election period, Stears set up a 30-minute update schedule for its live blog. This sent signals to Google of the content’s freshness and relevance whilst providing real-time updates to its audience.

This was further aided by ensuring that all posts contained optimized metatags that featured topical keywords and by hard-coding short descriptions that added more context to the blog.

Election-related posts were linked to election data products to channel the organic traffic toward Stears’ premium subscription offers and set up a robust internal linking strategy.

The SEO data was regularly analyzed throughout the elections in order to make the necessary adjustments. This level of agility, combined with pivoting programmatic SEO toward the live-blogging pages, ensured Stears’ continued lead in SERPs.

As a result of these actions, Stears increased its traffic by 1,039% during the presidential election and 1,632% during the gubernatorial races election compared to the previous election, attracting international traffic and the core, Nigeria-based organic traffic—3 million total users across 2 weeks.

Traffic from Google Discover during elections:

Traffic from Google Discover during elections

Traffic from Top Stories + organic during elections:

Traffic from Top Stories + organic during elections

Furthermore, Stears achieved Page 1 visibility across their subscription content and got backlinks from sites like Wikipedia, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

Examples of organic backlinks:

Examples of organic backlinks
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