Scaling an SEO Agency to 1.5 Million Words a Month

Our story at Web Asset Builders is pretty straightforward. 

We started out a couple years ago.

We grew very fast.

We had our hiring process nailed, with over 11,000 applicants to-date.

We had a custom hiring app made for hiring and grading writers easily.

We only ever hired only 2.5% of all applicants, not all of which stayed on for long.

The AI Content Challenge

Things went great, until they didn’t – right about the beginning of the year, when using AI for content creation became a mainstream thing.

You would think good AI content would be a dream come true for an SEO content agency, but it was the exact opposite.

See, as far as we were aware, we had everyone doing human written content, and we wanted to keep it that way.

But, we started receiving complaints about us doing AI content – daily. It was always an Originality.ai screenshot saying our content wasn’t human.

We did test Originality.ai for tracking that, and the results were inconsistent to say the least, so we couldn’t point fingers at people when we couldn’t be sure ourselves (but a simple tool could, go figure).

Clients were unhappy about failing Originality.ai scores, and we were unhappy with the constant client complaints.

On top of that, bigger teams didn’t equal more efficiency and we were spending way too much per article, while having to constantly run discounts to stay afloat.

Things weren’t looking good.

We needed a way out. 

We tried using ChatGPT for a while but it didn’t do it for us – all content needed way too much editing, and too much back and forth until a simple article was generated – a few headings at a time.

Content quality on manual writing was also declining as our number of served industries expanded.

As our services expanded, our operations became more complex. The following are the roadblocks we faced:

  • High Running Costs: With manual content, we had to pay over 150 writers per word. When we tried doing ChatGPT-prompted content, we had to pay people an hourly rate, to work with a tool that required extensive tweaking per article section.
  • Unauthorized AI Use: While we had suspicions that some writers used AI, we had no way to tell for sure. It didn’t always go well with clients who used AI detectors – the only thing we could do was fix up the scores for whatever AI checker they were using or offer a rewrite.

  • Satisfying Additional Requirements: Things like Surfer SEO optimization (which also got more expensive) required significant amounts of editor time to satisfy client requirements, and doing NLP optimization quite often produced repetitive and fluffy content. On top of that, we now had to run multiple Originality.ai queries to make sure the content was being scored as “human”.
  • Delayed Deliveries: As we tried to manage all this, our once-streamlined system of content creation, approval, and delivery became bottlenecked. We found ourselves constantly apologizing for missing deadlines.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

  • Compromised Quality and Exhaustive Revisions: 

More and more clients began to ask for multiple revisions, straining our resources further and constantly putting us in crisis mode.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Simply put, the content creation process was becoming a constant struggle to maintain and we needed a game-changer.

While trying to figure all that out, our agency got Early Adaptor access with KWHero. We started using it with clients who had no issue with it, and some of our new offers.

Before I get into details, here are a few things KWHero did for us:

  • Our costs reduced by 66%
  • We reduced our prices by 50%
  • We saw an increase of over 400% in both efficiency and output
  • We shortened TAT from 21 days to a maximum of 7 days per 50k words
  • Client feedback became significantly more positive 

Now, let’s take a deeper look into how we got here.

The KWHero Solution

We began using KWHero in July and here’s how each feature plays a part in our revamped content strategy:

1. SEO/NLP Optimization became MUCH cheaper

We could now do SEO optimization that we used to pay Surfer over $1000 a month, for a fraction of the cost.

I mean, the Free plan with KWHero costs $89 with Surfer.

So, we started using it for NLP optimization by default instead of charging clients for it as an add-on.

2. Competition Research Became Easier

When looking at a keyword, we try to outdo the competition’s content by looking at their optimization scores and trying to aim higher.

Basically, if these underdog websites with low Domain Power can make it mostly with on-page optimization, we can take a page from their playbook and do the same.

3. AI-Optimized Outline Building

Once competitors are shortlisted, KWHero shifts gears to chalk out a detailed content blueprint.

The user-friendly interface (and the best outline builder I’ve ever found) allows for fast outline and instructions tweaking. The additional instructions per heading as well as specifying the word count save A LOT of time.

The tool can also pick products for roundups, make an original roundup based on the competition, and all our editors need to do is make sure products are available on Amazon, if we’re doing Amazon affiliate content.

4. AI Content Writing and Optimization

With the outline and section instructions ready, KWHero’s AI writer takes over, right after we customize it.

5. Simulated Human Writing

This feature must be our agency’s favorite. This is how we got rid of the Originality complaints – AI content written with KWHero shows better human scores than our actual human writers do!

We do the outline, fact check the content and make sure it follows client instructions and reads well.

This way, we can focus more on the things that actually matter in content creation.

Previously, we sometimes literally had to make content worse and less grammatically correct so it passed Originality.ai as “human”.

With KWHero we can do it with the click of a button, and it saves a lot of editing time, not to mention our writers and editors’ mental well-being.

6. Writing Style Customization

Something we’ve always aspired to at Web Asset Builders is for our clients to read our content and think, “This is so on-brand!”.

That’s exactly what we get with KWHero.

With the option to handpick the writing style, KWHero allows us to switch between casual and formal at will, and it lets us add a background about a writer.

7. Additional Instructions for Author Persona

Before we even hit that ‘generate’ button for an article, we can drop in special instructions.

We use this feature to give KWHero a little backstory or a brief persona sketch. This ensures that the content carries the exact vibe, voice, and narrative we need. 

We’re especially seeing positive results with this feature when doing author personas for our DFY niche sites service, as it allows us to satisfy E-E-A-T requirements and help our clients’ sites rank better that way.

8. Sharing and Collaboration Features

You might skim over this feature, thinking it’s just a nice-to-have. But it’s been truly impactful. Before KWHero, getting our team to sync felt like a long-distance call with patchy reception.

We used to rely on Trello and Google Sheets for project management, which gets crowded when you have lots of articles in production at any point in time.

Now? It’s all in one place, instructions are a note inside a content plan, and progress tracking is just a button tick for a keyword inside a content plan:

Fewer hold-ups, more efficiency, and a serious boost in productivity.

The sharing options also allow us to limit the number of AI outlines and articles an editor can create for a keyword, so we can be sure they don’t overuse our credits, causing unexpected costs.

The Outcome

The three months following KWHero’s integration have been phenomenal. Here’s what I mean:

Reduced Cost Per Article

Before KWHero, we had to shell out thousands of dollars monthly to pay 150 team members for several thousand hours of combined work, even in the middle of a downturn. 

After KWHero, that reduced by roughly 66%.

Now, not only have we been able to continue paying our leaner team of writers and editors as agreed with no discomfort, we’ve also been able to pass on those cost savings to customers.

Skyrocketing Client Satisfaction

While our complaints plummet, our client testimonials are going up and many clients appreciate the noticeable shift in content quality and consistency.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Faster Delivery

Our delivery timelines are seeing a dramatic enhancement. Projects that previously took weeks are now being executed in days.

Improved Scalability and Growth

From a low point of struggling with roughly 200,000 words per month, we’ve scaled to roughly 1,500,000 words monthly across different industries while improving content quality.

Operational Efficiency

Here are some interesting stats: 

  • To meet our initial content requirements, we took on roughly 150 writers and editors — a 2.5% selection rate in our hiring process.
  • Eventually, we had to let go of about 70% of our writers and editors, even before KWHero, mostly due to us finding GPT 4 content to be of better quality than what these writers could produce, even though they were in the top 2.5% of applicants to begin with.

Fortunately, KWHero covers that gap and helps us make the most out of our leaner agency. 

Takeaway

Change is inevitable, especially in the fast-paced world of SEO content. With tools like KWHero, agencies like ours don’t just adjust, we excel. 

We were against using AI content at first, but we refused to fail like many other SEO and niche site agencies did, and decided to adjust and strive.

We now produce better content than ever, and are a lot more confident in our ability to deliver on any topic out there.

All things considered, I’d definitely recommend giving KWHero a spin!

Better yet – I have no idea why you wouldn’t use it if you are serious about content creation – it results in a more factually correct, better article, it does NLP optimization, and crafts masterful content and outlines within minutes. There is simply no better option on the market at the moment.

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