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How a Family Bookstore Grew Site Traffic by 9,180% in 3 Months
SEO case study of Diane's Books.


942 to 87.4K Monthly Visits





Reporting Date

December 2023

Independent bookstores have faced many challenges over the past several years.

From grappling with the impact of eBooks and price-cutting competitors to COVID shutdowns, it isn’t enough to merely weather the storm.

Adapting to these changes has become necessary for survival.

In this SEO case study, we’ll explore how a cherished neighborhood bookstore leveraged its website to connect with a digital audience.

They made a big change in 2023 and got exceptional results—9,180% growth in just 3 months.

Join us as we reveal how they did it and tips for replicating their success on your website.

About Diane’s Books of Greenwich

Diane’s Books is a family bookstore in Greenwich, Connecticut.

It was opened in 1990 by Canadian-born Diane Garrett.

Influenced by fond memories of her father reading to her during childhood, Diane’s love for books flourished. She became a devoted reader and obtained a Master of Library Science from the University of Toronto.

After moving to Greenwich, Connecticut, Diane set out to open the town’s first independent bookstore for children.

Diane’s Books quickly became a neighborhood staple.

In its 34 years of operation, Diane’s Books continues to win the love and support of the Greenwich community.

It carries over 35,000 books, providing literary options for all ages.

In 2000, the brick-and-mortar store launched its website:

Diane's Books' homepage, a local family bookstore in Greenwich Connecticut.

On the site, users can discover upcoming events and learn about the store’s history.

As of 2023, site visitors can also explore and shop the store’s extensive book collection. This addition will be where we focus our attention for the rest of the article.

Historical Performance

When we look at the last decade’s organic performance in Semrush, most years don’t even register as a blip on the graph.

Diane's Books 10-year organic traffic with traffic spike at the end of 2023.

From 2012 to 2017, Diane’s Books averaged 83 monthly organic visits.

This average grew to 386 monthly visits for the next 3 years.

Then, in January 2021, Diane’s Books broke 1,000 visits. They averaged 1.1K visits from 2021 to October 2023.

While these metrics are honorable for a small local business, the year-end traffic made this website case-study-worthy.

September marks the beginning of growth, with a dramatic increase in traffic by December 2023.

Diane's Books 2-year organic traffic growth with huge increase between September and December 2023.

They closed out the year with 87,422 organic visits—an all-time high.

To put that number into perspective, this month had more traffic than the entire period from January 2012 to October 2023.

And it beat it by far.

Those 10 years generated 57.4K total visits, whereas December alone made 87.4K.

That’s incredible growth. And in a very short amount of time.

So, how’d they do it?

And is this rate of growth achievable on your website?

Let’s find out.

The Catalyst: How Diane’s Books Grew Traffic 9,180% in 3 Months grew its organic traffic by performing the following:

  1. Adding thousands of new product pages
  2. Automating content creation with programmatic SEO
  3. Implementing book schema markup
  4. Obtaining more backlinks

Let’s dissect each strategy to understand how it contributed to Diane’s Books’ recent organic success.

1. Adding Thousands of New Product Pages

For most of the site’s lifetime, Diane’s Books had around 30-80 URLs at any given time.

This number fluctuated as pages were added and deleted to highlight new book arrivals.

However, in the latter half of 2023, Diane’s Books completely revamped its content strategy.

Instead of focusing on creating pages for new arrivals to only delete them as they aged, Diane’s Books took a more sustainable approach.

The strategy: to make their entire book collection available online all the time.

The chart below shows the last 6 months of the year and the increase in pages on the site. It also demonstrates the organic traffic of each month.

Worldwide Traffic80176494223,02135,47887,422

Users get all the essential information regarding a specific book on these new pages.

Additionally, they enjoy a convenient shopping experience. Users can see the in-store stock availability or shop online by adding to cart.

Diane's Books allows users to shop online or see in-store availability.

Users can also continue scrolling to find the Description and About the Author sections.

Description and about the author of the book A Garden A Day.

In December, these book pages make up 99.1% of all the website’s URLs.

They also generate 98.5% of the month’s organic traffic.

Why this matters:

New pages come with new keyword ranking opportunities.

And it didn’t take long for search engines to start rewarding Diane’s Books content efforts.

While the first half of the year averaged 510 rankings per month, Diane’s Books saw an immediate jump as early as October, with 24.3K rankings.

December is even more impressive, multiplying this number by almost tenfold for 219.5K keyword rankings.

Ranking keywords growth for Diane's Books with increase in last quarter of 2023.

How to identify new ranking opportunities for your site:

For Diane’s Books, adding an online catalog of their book collection was a natural next step.

The fact that it’s shopable makes it even better. (Although archived versions on Wayback Machine revealed prior online shopping features. This indicates that Diane’s Books had eCommerce capabilities before expanding their book catalog.)

For your website, a new category may not be as obvious.

In this case, you’ll want to perform keyword research.

Keyword research reveals new ranking opportunities by showing you what users are looking for.

You can then use these discoveries to tailor your content.

This tutorial shows you how to do keyword research using popular SEO tools.

Tools for keyword research:

Did you know you can do keyword research in WordPress?

All in One SEO (AIOSEO) makes this possible by connecting to your Semrush account.

The Keyphrase Suggestions tool uses your focus keyphrase to fetch relevant terms from Semrush. You can then access these keywords from the WordPress editor.

Here’s an example:

Example keyphrase suggestions in AIOSEO.

See a keyword you want to rank for?

Click Add Keyphrase, make your optimizations, and then TruSEO will check your content for the new keyword. You’ll get actionable tips for improving your optimizations to increase your chances of ranking.

Next, let’s look at how Diane’s Books used programmatic SEO to generate this number of pages in just a few months.

2. Automating Content Creation With Programmatic SEO

Growing Diane’s Books’ website from 43 to 43.7K pages in just a few months isn’t achieved by human effort alone.

The integration of programmatic SEO was a key player in this incredible growth.

Programmatic SEO harnesses the power of automation to streamline the content creation process. It’s a data-driven approach that uses a template, database, and algorithms to generate new pages.

It’s only as good as the data you give it, so it’s far from being a quick and easy win.

But, when you get it right, it can greatly impact your site’s traffic.

Diane’s Books created a comprehensive template to make the most out of its programmatic SEO.

Here we see the earlier page for the book “A Garden a Day”:

A PDP shows the template used for programmatic SEO.

And here we see that template in action on another page:

Same PDP template used for programmatic SEO.

Overall, these pages are clear, descriptive, and fulfill search intent. Some also include additional information like praise from publishers.

Why this matters:

By creating a user-focused template, Diane’s Books was able to maximize the impact of its programmatic SEO.

Ultimately, it provides a valuable lesson for those prepared to put in the work.

If you develop a strong template and database, programmatic SEO can be a powerful tool for growing your content and traffic.

How to do programmatic SEO on your site:

This Zapier tutorial demonstrates how to do programmatic SEO step by step.

It’s also important to note that you don’t have to automate your entire content creation process with programmatic SEO.

Instead, you can automate specific SEO processes while maintaining hand-written content.

Some ways of doing this are:

Tools for automating content creation:

You can use AIOSEO to automate certain steps and make your optimizations more efficient.

AIOSEO has a tool for each task in the above bullet point list:

  • Metadata – AI Title/Description Generator crafts unique and compelling meta titles and descriptions in just 1 click.
  • Image SEO – Turn on Image SEO to add variables and customize image attributes automatically.
  • 404 Redirects – Redirection Manager makes it easy for users and search engines to navigate your site and avoid page not found errors.
  • Internal Linking – Link Assistant provides internal linking suggesting in the WordPress editor.

Next, let’s look at how Diane’s Books uses schema markup to stand out on the search engine results page (SERP.)

3. Implementing Book Schema Markup

Diane’s Books uses a popular technical SEO element called schema markup.

Schema markup is specialized code within the backend of your website. It communicates details about your page to search engines.

In turn, search engines can use this information to generate a rich result on the SERP.

A rich result, or rich snippet, is a search listing with more information than standard search results.

For example, the rich snippet below shows an image, breadcrumbs (the URL trail), and the book price.

Book snippet in Google's search results for tress and the emerald sea.

Diane’s Books implements book schema on all its new product pages. This allows it to share details like the book title, description, image, and more.

Here are what some of these attributes look like on the web page’s schema markup:

Book schema markup on Diane's Books for Tress of the Emerald Sea.

Book schema can also help you win rich snippets like the one below.

Get book search results for Tress of the Emerald Sea.

Why this matters:

Rich results have an impressive 58% clickthrough rate (CTR).

That’s significantly higher than standard search listings, which have a 41% CTR.

Due to high user engagement, website owners should prioritize rich results in their SEO strategy.

How to implement book schema (and other types) on your site:

This tutorial shows three ways to add schema markup to WordPress without a plugin.

You’ll need some coding knowledge since each method uses JSON–LD.

Tools for implementing book schema:

Working with code can be intimidating, but the good news is that a WordPress SEO plugin can do the work for you.

AIOSEO’s Schema Generator makes using structured data on your site easier than ever.

Our expanding catalog of schema types allows you to pick the one you want; then, we’ll format it for search engines.

Below are some of the available schema types, including book:

Book schema markup in AIOSEO's schema catalog.

In 2023, Diane’s Books experienced steady growth for its backlink profile.

They started the year at 18.7K backlinks and more than doubled them by year’s end.

Diane’s Books had 42.2K backlinks in December.

Backlinks growth at Diane's Books with 41,159 backlinks in December 2023.

Most of these backlinks come from the publishing company, HarperCollins.

We also noticed some backlinks from local Greenwich websites.

Why this matters:

Backlinks act like votes of confidence for your website.

They tell search engines your site is trustworthy and reliable.

Quality over quantity is the best approach to growing your backlink profile.

In the case of Diane’s Books, their backlinks are relevant (publisher and local businesses) and natural, making them a good example of quality backlinks.

This guide shows you how to get backlinks.

However, a robust linking strategy should also optimize for the following links:

  • Internal links (from one page on your site to another page on your site)
  • Outbound links (from your site to another external site)

This link-building guide shares how to optimize for all three types of links.

Link Assistant can help you find internal linking opportunities quickly. With suggestions that populate directly in the WordPress editor, it’s as easy as clicking Add Link.

Inbound internal link suggestions in Link Asssistant.

Standout SEO Wins

Before we conclude, there’s an additional technique worth highlighting at

1. They optimize image alt text.

Image alt text is written copy that describes an image. Screen-reading tools use this text to describe images to visually impaired users. Search engines also use it to understand the context of your image.

Furthermore, it can also help you win rich snippets with images or rank in Google Images.

Both are great ways to drive more organic traffic to your site.

Diane’s Books uses clear and straightforward alt text. Most of their images are of the book covers, with alt text being the title.

This strategy proved effective.

Diane’s Books won 25.3K image rich snippets in December 2023.

Image rich results for Diane's Books grew at the end of 2023.

Alt text is just one facet of image SEO, but there are several ways to optimize your graphics.

Explore these 18 image SEO tips to learn more.

Tool: You can customize and generate alt text automatically with the AIOSEO image SEO tool. Simply select the variables you want the tool to use, and it will write the alt text for you.

It can also generate image titles, captions, and descriptions.

Image SEO settings allow you to customize and automate image alt text.


In our analysis of, we’ve uncovered the strategies that led to their unprecedented growth in 2023.

Now, let’s recap which strategies you can use to grow your website’s traffic and others to reconsider.

Top 3 Strategies to Emulate

  1. Build out product pages for more ranking opportunities (and sales.) Diane’s Books added over 43K pages to its online book collection in just a few months. This addition brought thousands of new ranking opportunities and wins. For eCommerce owners, you’ll want to ensure you have a product detail page (PDP) for every product you sell. You can also build out your content by performing keyword research. This process will help you identify relevant topics to your niche.
  2. Streamline your content creation with automation. Programmatic SEO can help you create content at the same rate as Diane’s Books. However, handing over the entire content creation process to automation isn’t ideal for all businesses. (And to reiterate, it still requires work.) Instead, you can streamline certain processes with automation tools. This will help you create content faster while still upholding handwritten, high-quality content.
  3. Implement schema markup to win rich snippets. Schema markup provides search engines with important details about your web page. Search engines can then use this information to generate eye-catching rich snippets. Rich results have a high CTR, winning you more clicks and traffic for your site.

Bottom 3 Strategies to Reconsider

  1. Not crafting SEO-friendly URLs. Instead of using the book title in the URL, Diane’s Books uses the ISBN. While search engines may be able to decipher this 13-digit number, it’s not search-friendly. It’s also not helpful for users. URLs should aid both users and search engines in understanding your page. You can achieve this by including the keyword in your URL. TruSEO helps you with this process by checking your URL for your keyword automatically.
  2. Missing meta descriptions. Every indexable page of your site should have a meta description. This text appears on the SERP and gives users a preview of what’s to come in your content. The more compelling it is, the more clicks your page will receive. You can optimize this valuable SERP real estate with a meta description generator. This tool automates the task for you.
  3. Exceeding character limits for meta descriptions. Diane’s Books automates writing the meta description for its book pages. It pulls the PDP description and uses the same text for the meta description. The problem is that this text exceeds character limits on the SERP. Meta descriptions should be under 160 characters, or else they get truncated. A SERP snippet tool can preview your text and check its formatting before publishing.

Steal Our SEO Winning Strategy: A Checklist for Your Website

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With this SEO Checklist, you’ll get everything you need to win more organic traffic.

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Streamline SEO for Higher Rankings With AIOSEO

What about skipping some legwork and letting an SEO plugin do the heavy lifting for you?

All in One SEO (AIOSEO) was designed to do just that.

All in One SEO homepage, the best WordPress SEO plugin.

All in One SEO is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market. It streamlines your optimizations so you can make the most out of your SEO efforts and time. You’ll get a suite of tools, reports, and actionable insights, empowering you to boost your site’s organic performance.

Here are some of our favorite features:

  • Semrush Keyphrase Suggestions: Find new keywords without having to leave WordPress. AIOSEO pulls keyphrase suggestions from Semrush and serves them to you directly in the editor.
  • AI Title & Description Generator: This time-saving tool creates compelling metadata for any page on your site. With the click of a button, you’ll harness the power of AI and get options for unique meta titles and descriptions.
  • Image SEO: Save time on manual optimizations by turning on automatic image alt text and title attribute. It only takes 1 click.
  • Redirection Manager: Create a seamless user navigation experience that prevents humans and bots from getting lost when you move or delete content. Our Redirection Manager helps you easily choose and implement the best redirect type.
  • Link Assistant: Apply internal linking best practices with easy linking suggestions and reports. These tools help boost content discovery and prevent orphan pages.
  • Rich Snippets Schema: Choose from various schema types to win more rich results on the SERP. You pick it; we implement the code for search engines.
  • SERP Snippet: See how your metadata looks before publishing with the help of a SERP snippet preview. You’ll see if your content is the optimal length or needs tweaking.
author avatar
Gabriela Jhean SEO Specialist
Gabriela is a creative and results-driven SEO specialist dedicated to helping small businesses stand out online. She contributes in-depth SEO case studies at AIOSEO Trends to reveal the winning strategies of top-ranking websites. In her downtime, Gabriela enjoys treasure hunting for antique jewelry.