Toni Malt Academy SEO Case Study

by James Reynolds • Updated: August 4, 2019

Toni Malt Academy Logo

The TONI MALT ACADEMY is a newly opened makeup school established in Dubai in July 2018. The academy offers the highest level of editorial makeup education taught by working freelance makeup artists at the forefront of their industry.

As a newly opened business, the TONI MALT ACADEMY had a limited budget, prohibiting a PPC campaign. 2 months after the launch of the business, the TONI MALT ACADEMY approached SEO Sherpa, signing up for the SEO Sherpa Basic package. Within 8-months of working with SEO Sherpa, Toni Malt experienced:

  • 225% growth in monthly organic impressions.
  • 128% increase in organic clicks to the website per month.
  • Estimated $45 for every $1 invested in SEO.


Based in Dubai’s buzzing arts and culture district, the TONI MALT ACADEMY is housed in a 2,000 sq/ft loft, providing the perfect creative space for aspiring and experienced makeup artists to take control of their makeup career.

Toni Malt Academy in Al Quoz Dubai

Owned and operated by beauty visionary Toni Malt, had been operating as a freelance makeup artist for several years, being featured in coveted publications like Vogue Arabia, Savoir Flair, and Elle Arabia. The TONI MALT ACADEMY is Toni’s first venture into teaching makeup courses.

Toni approached us in September 2018, 2-months after the launch of her business and set us the task of driving new enrolments through her website from Google. Since Toni had a limited budget (which prohibited PPC) and was intent on marketing her business exclusively online, we faced the considerable challenge of producing results quickly using SEO on a brand new domain.

A lot rested on our ability to win new customers, given the company was young, self-financed and required cash flow to survive and grow.

The Campaign Objectives

The primary objective of this campaign was two-fold. The first was to build authority fast and establish TONI MALT ACADEMY for relevant keyword terms such as “makeup course” and “makeup academy” against already established competitors. The second was to drive course enrolments via the website.

As the business and website were new, and we were operating on a limited budget, we faced the considerable challenge of producing results quickly using SEO. We were starting from scratch and negotiating the “Google Sandbox.”

To quickly drive up rankings, traffic, and conversions to generate course registrations and profit, we had to:

  • Quickly grow referring domains count
  • Increase search engine visibility
  • Improve organic traffic to the website
  • Increase enquiries through

The Campaign Strategy

Our objective was to leverage Toni Malt’s reputation in the market and relationships with the fashion press to build links and coverage for the new academy site. By winning placements on credible domains, we believed we could bypass the sandbox and climb the search engines fast.

To outrank established websites with a brand-new domain, we realised we must win inbound links from highly-reputable sites the competition could not easily access. We identified Toni Malt’s reputation and relationships as being a leverage point for us.

Once we’d optimised the fundamentals; technical SEO, content and Google My Business, we set about implementing a three-pronged promotion strategy.

First, we’d identify non-attributed mentions of Toni Malt online, and conduct outreach to claim links from those citations back to the new TONI MALT ACADEMY website. Next, we would utilise Toni’s relationships with the fashion press to encourage features and content partnerships where Toni could mention the new academy site. Lastly, we would use guest post link building to develop Toni’s brand further while carefully sculpting the link profile with targeted backlinks to the site.

The Execution – Technical SEO

We fixed slow site speed caused by heavy image files typical on a visual site.

Here’s how we went about doing it:

  • Fixed duplicate content issues through canonical tag implementation and 301 redirects.
  • Implemented an XML sitemap and organised it to focus on priority pages and site sections.
  • Improved slow page speed by using a Content Delivery Network and image compression to aid faster loading.
  • Implemented markup throughout the site focussed on geo-location, sales, and contact types.
  • Conducted internal linking to channel link juice to the websites most important and rankable pages.

The Execution – Content

Used content marketing to establish Toni Malt as an industry leader. In partnership with Toni, we focussed on:

  • Researched hot topics in the makeup industry using BuzzSumo and Best of Blogs lists, adding those topics to our content calendar.
  • Used content marketing via the website’s blog to reinforce Toni Malt as a Makeup industry leader.
    Optimised the content for all core service pages at the start of the campaign using data-driven keyword research, TF-IDF and LSI keyword analysis.
  • Acquired data in the first 90-days then conducted a content audit using GA and GSC metrics to identify low-performing pages then re-optimised them.
  • After 180 days, we isolated pages with lower than mean CTR for their average ranking position then rewrote page titles and descriptions to drive higher click-through-rates and in-turn rankings.
    Focussed mainly on pages ranking between positions 6-20 since they received the largest impression count but fewer clicks.

Blog Optimised for SEO

The Execution – Digital PR

Leveraged existing content assets and client’s relationships with leading publications to win high profile placements (and links):

  • Contacted websites carrying content and features about Toni Malt and requested attribution of mentions with a link to
  • Toni Malt maximised the use of video partnerships to fully leverage vertical search and the high volume of queries on YouTube for makeup tips and tutorials.
Toni Malt Digital PR

Toni leveraged existing relationships which resulted in features on prominent sites like Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and Grazia aiding SEO performance.

The Execution – Guest Post Outreach

Despite a low monthly budget for outreach, we grew referring domain count to 55 in 9-months. Here’s how we did it:

  • We targeted mainly fashion, beauty and makeup blogs with guest post pitches to leverage Toni Malt’s credibility in the beauty industry.
  • The link acquisition process was conducted via email outreach. We used an email account set up in Toni Malt’s name to leverage her authority and maximise pitch to conversion ratios.
  • All guest post content is written by the SEO Sherpa team with minor edits by Toni Malt. This allowed us to maximise efficiency and budget and maintain the highest level of quality and expertise.
  • Researched and wrote more than 30,000 words of unique beauty and makeup-based content for the guest post opportunities we won on Toni Malt’s behalf.

Referring Domain Growth

Toni Malt Campaign Results

Our strategy of using content marketing, PR outreach, and guest post features were met with incredible success. Despite being a brand-new domain, we were able to achieve dozens of page-one rankings in just 8-months.

Toni Malt Academy Keyword Rankings

Our approach resulted in a 225% growth in organic impressions and a 128% growth in clicks. But what was most satisfying is that the growth in organic search traffic and increased visibility directly impacted inquiries, sales and profit.

Toni Malt Academy Organic Impressions

By May 2019, we delivered a 30% conversion rate on organic traffic sources and an estimated $45 in course revenue for every $1 invested in SEO.

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James Reynolds

About the author: James Reynolds is passionate about helping you get more traffic and sales from search engines.


About the author: Karl Tablante is the Inbound Marketing Manager for SEO Sherpa, a top-rated organic SEO agency that lives and breathes all things search.

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