Noodle Case Study


Noodle is an education search engine looking to help parents, students, and teachers find the right school for their needs. Noodle was founded by John Katzman, the founder and owner of Princeton Review. As a start-up in the edtech community, Noodle is a highly competitive landscape that needed to match up to brands like,, and Big Future.

With big goals to grow traffic, search, and revenue to 1.4 million unique visitors in 12 months, Noodle need a growth strategy, specifically in organic visits.

To help reach our target of 58% increased organic visits in 12 months, I developed a strategy for organic growth that utilized channels that offered little to no cost.


First things first, I ran Noodle through an in-depth site audit to address what the top priorities. We needed to tackle the site architecture to allow Google to properly crawl and index So, we broke down the millions of pages of Noodle into buckets in order to attempt to fix one section of the site at a time while also offering site wide advice. After a site wide inspection, Noodle faced a few technical SEO issues that needed to be fixed immediately.

Here’s a sampling of the problems and solutions we implemented:

Problem 1

Duplicate content was being scraped from public data and inserted into school profiles.


As a band-aid, we added theto all of the profile pages. This helped us allocate the crawl budget to our main category pages and avoid a Panda penalty. As a long-term solution, we began a partnership with a content development agency to write original content for each of these profile pages. And, we added more questions and answers from the forum for each profile page.

Problem 2

Heavy internal linking to low priority content on main category pages.


We removed the internal links in the footer to increase flow of equity to important pages.

Problem 3

No pagination on main category pages causing duplicate content.


We added the pagination code rel=”next” and rel=”prev” to the main category pages to reduce duplicate content issues and increase crawl depth.

In addition to the above, I also cleaned up 404 errors, shared schema markup language code and breadcrumbs with developers to implement, and created a content gap analysis.

While addressing technical SEO issues, I also created a local PR outreach campaign to the top 10 DMAs, launch content syndication with key partners (Fatherly, CNN, and Forbes) utilizing Outbrain and Taboola, restructured the affiliate marketing campaigns, and build email marketing campaigns to increase registrations on the site.

In addition, as a result of our content gap analysis in our content strategy, we developed an editorial calendar to create long-form ego bait articles every two months that coupled nicely with our manual outreach link building strategies. We also added a rewrite of competitor articles to the editorial calendar every two months to capitalize on our competitors top performing articles and keyword searches.


In 6 months, we were able to achieve the following:

            • Increased overall traffic by 47%
            • Increased organic traffic by 25%. This was 177% increase in year-over-year organic traffic.
            • Increased profile claim rate of schools and unique visits from those top DMA markets.
            • Increased affiliate engagement by 6%.
            • Achieved a 5% increase in subscriber rate from the email campaigns.
            • Increased organic clicks from 87,745 to 140,314 as a result of our blog posts and manual outreach efforts.
            • Increased our domain authority from 60 to 64 in 4 months.
            • Averaged 30 new links per month from our new blog posts and manual link building efforts.
      As a result of our content marketing strategy, we were able to build long-form original articles. Below are some highlights:
ArticleTotal SharesLinking Domains
41 Most Innovative K–12 Schools in America7.3K Shares94
67 Influential Educators Who Are Changing the Way We Learn in 20153.1K Shares41
The 32 Most Innovative Online Educational Tools to Use in 20153.2K Shares80

Disclaimer: As a result of lack of funding, Noodle is no longer developing marketing or editorial efforts. The information stated above is from the year 2014 to 2015.

Sign-up for my exclusive monthly newsletter for SEO insights & personal advice.