SEO Shifts Reputation, Boosts New Memberships by 124%

Our digital agency delivered a content-focused SEO strategy to enhance the online reputation and authority of NSHSS and provide more value to its membership base.

Key Objectives

Improve Brand Reputation & Perception

Generate New Organic Users

Increase New Member Acquisition

Enhance Member Value

The Project Background

Part reputation management, part new member acquisition — the SEO program for the National Society of High School Scholars spans back to 2014 when the organization recruited Captivate to help grow its search visibility and social media presence.

Along with paid search advertising, the organic SEO program focused on taking ownership of branded queries and occupying greater real estate in search results for reputation-sensitive keywords.

Additionally, NSHSS would leverage Captivate’s Search First® approach to generate organic, non-branded search traffic to help grow its organization. This effort was largely fueled by an SEO-driven content marketing strategy focused on frequently published posts on the NSHSS blog.

Captivate Project Background

The Project Challenge

One of the biggest challenges with NSHSS was its online reputation, primarily in Google’s search results. Given the organization’s similarities to other honor societies — namely the prominent National Honor Society, or “NHS,” — many students are skeptical of the organization’s legitimacy and credibility.

Both NSHSS and NHS offer valuable academic resources for high-achieving students. However, NHS offers free membership to qualified students and NSHSS requires a one-time membership fee. Obviously, this can cause an eyebrow raise. Moreover, the membership fee also causes skeptics to publish conflicting content about NSHSS’ legitimacy online, some of which ranks on page one for branded search queries.

Although NSHSS offers many different benefits that go beyond most other honors student organizations (i.e., exclusive scholarships, internships, study abroad opportunities, etc.), the membership fee caused concern to the point of being dismissed as a “scam.”

Key Issues

Negative Brand Perception

Fee-Based Membership

Brand Confusion with other Membership Honor Societies

Low Domain Authority

The ROI Focused Solution

Faced with scrutiny and skepticism regarding its credibility and validity, NSHSS needed to improve their organic search presence and online sentiment. Enter Captivate.

With the goal of protecting the brand’s reputation in Google Search (particularly for intense queries like “NSHSS worth it,” “NSHSS benefits,” and “NSHSS legit”), we developed an SEO strategy focused on publishing blog content that would help the organization occupy top rankings for brand queries while also facilitating new member growth.

For over three years, Captivate developed an annual content calendar that consisted of weekly blog posts, bolstering the brand and the member value it delivers. The content strategy, which included a social media component, focused on the latter objectives of online reputation management and generating more qualified organic traffic to the site. And with Featured Snippets becoming more and more prevalent in Google Search, content needed to be properly optimized to occupy these snippets whenever possible, especially for long-tail keywords.

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The Results

Captivate’s SEO and content marketing services grew organic performance by leaps and bounds. Through our collaboration, NSHSS achieved several new year-over-year performance milestones.



Site-wide Organic Search Traffic

Total organic traffic growth Y/Y across all pages of the website.



Blog Traffic From SEO Content Strategy

Blog posts increased to nearly 41% of the site's organic traffic.



New Membership Joins

Society more than doubled its New Membership signups Y/Y.



New Membership Conversion Rate

Increased from 1.95% to 3.44% across all channels.



New Organic Keywords

Organic growth of ranking keywords from content strategy.



New Referring Domains

Link building efforts increased domain authority from 57 to 62.

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