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on December 14, 2022 (last modified on December 6, 2022) • 4 minute read
Learn how Brendan Hufford (founder of Growth Sprints) grew ActiveCampaign’s traffic by 20% (in just 30 days).
1. Improving internal linking
This one sounds obvious, but even the best companies miss opportunities here. At a prior agency, Brendan got to work with AllState Insurance, and his team noticed they didn’t have great internal linking.
The agency found 250 instances where the Allstate team had used the word “car insurance”, and created links to their product page on car insurance. Almost immediately, they ranked #1 for “car insurance” and “auto insurance” (after that 1 step).
Here’s how Brendan did it at ActiveCampaign:
First, he worked with the team to identify the most important pages they wanted to rank. Next, he did a filtered “site:” search of the blog (since that’s what he had control over). He took the top 100 results (Google’s view of the most influential pages they had around that keyword) and used Ahrefs to export them. He made sure each had any relevant keyword phrases (e.g. “marketing automation”) linking to a corresponding product page they wanted to rank.
2. Addressing “decaying content”
This can happen for a number of reasons, but one of the primary ones is that the content itself is still great, but it says it’s old (i.e. publish date is from 5+ years ago). Think about it this way:
You’re searching for an answer, and you’re evaluating two top results. The first is dated this year. The other is from 5 years ago. Most people have an inherent bias that makes them say “I want the most updated information, the newer date is better”. Brendan has also run experiments and found that, at least with WordPress, Google seems to prefer using the “Publish Date” over the “Update Date”. So when he performs these updates, he’s always updating the date the article was published.
3. Improving a robust glossary
Brendan had seen glossaries perform extremely well with other clients in the past. Typically, these are large indexes of technical information. One company he worked with had a robust glossary that was worth $200k in paid traffic.
One misconception is that “what is ____?” type searches don’t yield ROI. But if your audience is technical, or looking for technical answers related to what your product does, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In this case, ActiveCampaign already had a well-built, well-designed, well-internal linked glossary.
But the entries were thin, and needed to offer more value. So Brendan added “people also ask” questions for them. He would perform searches to find what else people were searching for, then add answers to those questions on each page of the glossary. He did this for each individual glossary page, 95~ in total.
4. Updating blog CTAs
Most articles had fairly generic CTAs, e.g. “sign up for a free trial”. So Brendan decided to experiment with making the voice, and the CTA, a bit more punchy, silly, or irreverent, to stop people’s scroll and grab their attention. And rather than apply a “one size fits all” CTA across all articles, he tried to choose the one he thought would be more relevant, by asking what transformation the reader was likely seeking.
If, on one particular article, he felt the reader was most interested in continuing their learning experience, the CTA would be set to something like “join the newsletter”. On the other hand, if the article was about a pain that the product solved, and he felt the reader’s natural inclination would be to give the product a try, then he’d promote a free trial signup.
He believes more marketers need to imagine a reader reaching the end of a given blog post, and ask: “what do you want?” In other words, identify the journey the customer is on, and provide the next logical step in that journey.
5. Added entities w/ a unique point of view
Brendan used a tool to identify what entities other top-ranking content was covering, and tried to cover those same entities with a unique perspective or POV.
The idea here is that Google looks at the top 20~ ranking pages, to see what they’re talking about for a given topic. And they might not value your content as highly if you aren’t talking about the same things.
The problem is, most people just spit out copycat content to cover those entities. Writers see that the top 5 articles cover a series of topics, or answer a set of questions, and they merely say the same things, the same way as everyone else. So after Brendan identified the entities that competitors would cover, he asked himself what point of view, or opinions ActiveCampaign could hold – that was different than everyone else.
When Brendan started, Active Campaign was getting 200k sessions/mo.
After these changes, they saw:
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