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How We Broke a Year-long Traffic Plateau by Upending Our Editorial Strategy.

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How We Broke a Year-long Traffic Plateau by Upending Our Editorial Strategy.

Keynote by Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of marketing at Hubspot from SaaStock on Tour New York, June 20th, 2018, At KnockDown Center, Maspeth, NYC.

Keynote by Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of marketing at Hubspot from SaaStock on Tour New York, June 20th, 2018, At KnockDown Center, Maspeth, NYC.

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How We Broke a Year-long Traffic Plateau by Upending Our Editorial Strategy.

  1. 1. How We Broke a Year-Long Traffic Plateau by Upending Our Editorial Strategy Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of Marketing, HubSpot @MeghKeaney
  2. 2. Be cool. Panic. Find your cool again.
  3. 3. Timeframe elongated To demonstrate Precisely how long this period freaking felt.
  4. 4. Timeframe elongated To demonstrate Precisely how long this period freaking felt.
  5. 5. Crap.
  6. 6. Something is wrong On the internet XKCD – modified under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. I can’t. This is important. Are you coming to bed? What?
  7. 7. GOOG and FB now have direct influence over 70%+ of internet traffic.
  8. 8. Their priorities (and they way they function) have changed.
  9. 9. Cut your content strategy in two
  10. 10. Content that works for this Does not work for this.
  11. 11. You need one strategy for discovery.
  12. 12. Driving factors for Offsite content consumption And one strategy for search.
  13. 13. And both have to change.
  14. 14. Eliminate Free Radicals (Alternate title: Clean House)
  15. 15. Structure Matters. (like, a lot.)
  16. 16. Identify Broad Topics Cluster Related Posts Clean Out Internal Links Consolidate Content Update and Optimize Remove all internal links except those that link to the pillar or other posts within the content cluster. , We had 15 posts about how managers can encourage social selling on their teams. Find posts with high traffic and low conversion and visa-versa. MSV – 15000 or above on topics that matter to our organization. MSV – 15000 or above on topics that matter to our organization.
  17. 17. •Sales Process: •Sales Forecasting: •Sales Funnel: •Sales Pipeline Review •Sales Prospecting: •Sales Qualification: •Sales Playbook: Identified Broad Topics (Pillars) Identified Related Post (Clusters)
  18. 18. This seems like a lot of work.
  19. 19. Capture the Snippet
  20. 20. A Snippet Ate My Traffic
  21. 21. A Snippet Ate My Traffic
  22. 22. CTR to our website for high volume Keywords increased by more than 114%, even when we ranked #1. So let's say we rank #1 (but we don't appear in the featured snippet) on page 1 for a keyword that's searched for 10,000 times. We could expect around 1,700 visits for that content. BUT if we ranked within the featured snippet for the same content we could expect just over 3,700 - and that's just 1 keyword.
  23. 23. How to Capture the Snippet
  24. 24. Format Matters. (like, a lot.)
  25. 25. The Simple Answer Definition Snippets: write a 54-58 word explainer paragraph at the top of the post under a super obvious subhed (What Is X?). How To Snippets: Include at least three <h2> subheads in the style "Step #," and provide a one-sentence explanation of each step right at the beginning.
  26. 26. The Advanced Answer
  27. 27. Clean up your HTML
  28. 28. Worried you won’t remember any of this?
  29. 29. Know when to Stop Creating New Content
  30. 30. 70% of Our Traffic Comes From Old Content
  31. 31. Existing Content Matters. (like, a lot.)
  32. 32. Why the <expletive> are 100% of our content creators focused on new stuff?
  33. 33. We more than doubled the number of monthly leads generated by the old posts we've optimized. We increased the number of monthly organic search views of old posts we've optimized by an average of 106%.
  34. 34. More views with less content
  35. 35. So, where are we now?
  36. 36. We’ve turned our plateau into a hammock.
  37. 37. Not to scale (But you get the idea)
  38. 38. Thank you. Here are those resource links: http://bit.ly/hubspot-structure http://bit.ly/hubspot-snippet https://www.hubspot.com/startups @MeghKeaney

Editor's Notes

  • Hi everyone! Welcome to Grow with HubSpot!

    My name is [your name] and I’ll be your host for today.

    Before we get started I always like to cover a few quick housekeeping items to get us settled. Housekeeping should take less than 2 minutes and then we’ll dig into the content for today. Sound good?
  • Hi everyone! Welcome to Grow with HubSpot!

    My name is [your name] and I’ll be your host for today.

    Before we get started I always like to cover a few quick housekeeping items to get us settled. Housekeeping should take less than 2 minutes and then we’ll dig into the content for today. Sound good?
  • The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.

    Staltz – the web began dying in 2014
  • Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks.
  • Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks.
  • The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.

    Staltz – the web began dying in 2014
  • The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.

    Staltz – the web began dying in 2014
  • The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.

    Staltz – the web began dying in 2014
  • Last housekeeping item, we have a bunch of HubSpot growth experts here today from our sales team and our customer success team. They’re here to answer any questions you might have about today’s presentation, about organizational changes in marketing, sales, services, about HubSpot, you name it.

    This team talks with customers and companies evaluating HubSpot every day. They’re incredible resources for anything you need.
  • A free radical can be defined as any molecular species capable of independent existence that contains an unpaired electron in an atomic orbital. The presence of an unpaired electron results in certain common properties that are shared by most radicals. Many radicals are unstable and highly reactive.
  • We used to structure our editorial strategy like this. We chased the long tail. Everything we could write about we did. Our answer to everything was: Put a blog on it. And all these blogs were just thrown into the mix. Before long we had a library worth of disconnected, but often overlapping content. What we didn’t realize was how – left to float alone – that posts competed with each other.

    What we didn’t realize is that STRUCTURE matters more than keywords in SEO today.
  • We created a number of large pillars that are geared around ranking for very broad, highly competitive search terms, for example, "content marketing", "SEO", etc. and then we create a flurry of cluster content that talks about varying subtopics related to the pillar piece.
  • we change the approach we have for ranking for competitive keywords.
  • For every piece of existing content, we have three options:
    Internal link: The important thing about content clusters is that their internal linking must be self-contained. That means each post within a cluster should really only link to two things on the hubspot.com domain:
    The pillar content
    Other posts within the content cluster
    Consolidate: A post or group of posts that is essentially a duplicate of existing content or one part of a larger story. For example, we have probably 15 posts about how managers can encourage social selling on their teams. These posts can be redirected to the one post in that group that’s already performing the best and could use the combined SEO juice, or editorially combined into one canonical “ultimate guide.” We’d strip out the existing content from the best-performing URL, replace it with the new master post, then redirect the other URLs to that post. This is also what we’ll be doing to syndicated posts (blog posts initially published on one section and then republished to another section, something we used to do for weekend posts), which will redirect back to the original post except in cases where the syndicated post makes more sense on the new domain.
    Update: Posts that are just starting to rank for a keyword or have a ton of organic traffic but terrible conversion are ripe for an update. The refreshed content and attention to optimization will push it up the rankings. H/T to Pamela Vaughan for cracking the code on historical optimization as it’s going to be a huge part of making this project successful.

  • Promisint – 100+ monthly searches / 300+ for the sales blog.
  • We created a number of large pillars that are geared around ranking for very broad, highly competitive search terms, for example, "content marketing", "SEO", etc. and then we create a flurry of cluster content that talks about varying subtopics related to the pillar piece.
  • We created a number of large pillars that are geared around ranking for very broad, highly competitive search terms, for example, "content marketing", "SEO", etc. and then we create a flurry of cluster content that talks about varying subtopics related to the pillar piece.
  • Last housekeeping item, we have a bunch of HubSpot growth experts here today from our sales team and our customer success team. They’re here to answer any questions you might have about today’s presentation, about organizational changes in marketing, sales, services, about HubSpot, you name it.

    This team talks with customers and companies evaluating HubSpot every day. They’re incredible resources for anything you need.
  • Here's an example to illustrate this point. The SERP below does not have a featured snippet. On an traditional "10 blue links" SERP like this one, the first result can expect to bring in about 33% of the total clicks, the second result 18%, and the rest 11% or under. So if this SERP got 100 total clicks per day, that means 33 would go to #1, 18 to #2, 11 to #3, and the rest to #4-10.
  • But add a featured snippet to the mix, and the ratio gets out of whack. The increased number of clicks that go to the featured snippet result actually decrease the clicks the rest of the results on page recieve. Sticking with the same 100 total clicks, maybe 50 now go to the snippet, 20 to #1, 10 to #2, and the rest to #3-10. 
  • The number of featured snippets on SERPs has grown 328% since summer 2015. By some estimates, just under 1 in 3 Google searches now returns a featured snippet. And, perhaps most troubling for marketers, almost half of searches today result in no clicks at all according to Moz data – a side effect of serving answers directly on the SERP.
  • From a sample of just under 5,000 queries, we found that the CTR to our website for high volume keywords increased by over 114%, even when we ranked #1.
    So let's say we rank #1 (but we don't appear in the featured snippet) on page 1 for a keyword that's searched for 10,000 times. From the data I've collected, we could expect around 1,700 visits, compared to if we ranked within the featured snippet we could expect just over 3,700 - and that's just 1 keyword.
  • The number of featured snippets on SERPs has grown 328% since summer 2015. By some estimates, just under 1 in 3 Google searches now returns a featured snippet. And, perhaps most troubling for marketers, almost half of searches today result in no clicks at all according to Moz data – a side effect of serving answers directly on the SERP.
  • Last housekeeping item, we have a bunch of HubSpot growth experts here today from our sales team and our customer success team. They’re here to answer any questions you might have about today’s presentation, about organizational changes in marketing, sales, services, about HubSpot, you name it.

    This team talks with customers and companies evaluating HubSpot every day. They’re incredible resources for anything you need.
  • We created a number of large pillars that are geared around ranking for very broad, highly competitive search terms, for example, "content marketing", "SEO", etc. and then we create a flurry of cluster content that talks about varying subtopics related to the pillar piece.
  • Last housekeeping item, we have a bunch of HubSpot growth experts here today from our sales team and our customer success team. They’re here to answer any questions you might have about today’s presentation, about organizational changes in marketing, sales, services, about HubSpot, you name it.

    This team talks with customers and companies evaluating HubSpot every day. They’re incredible resources for anything you need.
  • Make sure post's hierarchy was h1 (overall page title) -> h2 (subheader) -> h3 (list items)
    Google prefers <li> elements for its list snippets, but there’s still more research to be done. 
    We won between 10-15% of the snippets for posts we changed the formatting for. Compared to the normal win rate of 0-5% these results were significant. 
  • Last housekeeping item, we have a bunch of HubSpot growth experts here today from our sales team and our customer success team. They’re here to answer any questions you might have about today’s presentation, about organizational changes in marketing, sales, services, about HubSpot, you name it.

    This team talks with customers and companies evaluating HubSpot every day. They’re incredible resources for anything you need.
  • I get it. None of us sleep. I’ve forgotten my next door neighbor’s name a half a dozen times. We’ve got you covered. HubSpot published a field guide to all of the experiements we ran with code examples to copy. You can find it here:

    https://research.hubspot.com/winning-googles-featured-snippet
  • A free radical can be defined as any molecular species capable of independent existence that contains an unpaired electron in an atomic orbital. The presence of an unpaired electron results in certain common properties that are shared by most radicals. Many radicals are unstable and highly reactive.
  • 80% of our traffic comes from content.
  • We created a number of large pillars that are geared around ranking for very broad, highly competitive search terms, for example, "content marketing", "SEO", etc. and then we create a flurry of cluster content that talks about varying subtopics related to the pillar piece.
  • We created a number of large pillars that are geared around ranking for very broad, highly competitive search terms, for example, "content marketing", "SEO", etc. and then we create a flurry of cluster content that talks about varying subtopics related to the pillar piece.
  • we increased the conversion rate of the post by 240%. In other words, this post generates 3X more leads now than it did before we conversion optimized it. Then we tried it on 12 more of our top-trafficked posts, and we doubled the number of leads we generated from them.
  • A free radical can be defined as any molecular species capable of independent existence that contains an unpaired electron in an atomic orbital. The presence of an unpaired electron results in certain common properties that are shared by most radicals. Many radicals are unstable and highly reactive.
  • Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks.
  • Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks.
  • We’ve had record-breaking months for the last three months crossing a new milestone for the publication. We’re also not stretching the team as much. Getting smarter about our choices and growing better as a result.

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