Content aimed at helping you improve your SEO tends to take one of two approaches – either an obsession with serving the mighty Google (algorithm updates, guesses at algorithm components, etc.) or secrets to trick that foolish Google (AI content, fakery, etc.).
Since those two approaches are well-trodden, we’re taking a third way with today’s article – looking at the strategy behind your peers’ efforts at attracting more organic traffic to spark your own ideas.
Tired of playing catch-up with Google’s whims? Here's how businesses like yours are taking control. Read on to see how a unique value prop helped inform a keyword strategy, link-building pitches attempted to help and not just ask, and (keyword-laden) usability and content changes sought to bring in more organic traffic.
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Desiderate is an online jewelry company in Australia.
The team learned anecdotally that women struggle to find larger ring sizes. The company had larger ring sizes up to size 13 (many retailers only stock up to size 10), but they were not promoted, and it was only by chance that customers found the larger sizes.
So they did a little digging to see what opportunity existed. They identified the total addressable market. “Almost 30% of Australian women are overweight and 30% more are obese (source: Obesity Evidence Hub) and [we] suspected that this group would also prefer larger ring sizes,” said Janine Leghissa, Founder, Desiderate.
And through keyword research – “Using SEMrush to identify that the keyword ‘plus size rings’ had a volume of 260 searches per month with a difficulty rating of ‘very easy,’” Leghissa said – they found that many people were actively searching for terms like 'rings for fat fingers,' 'chubby finger rings,' and 'plus size rings.'
To capitalize on the brand’s strong point-of-difference in the market, as well as the low difficulty keyword ‘plus size rings,’ the team decided to launch a new strategy to proactively attract women searching for larger rings and bangles.
Due to Desiderate’s strong backlink count – over 25,000 backlinks – the team was confident that a blog post targeting ‘plus size rings’ would rank well.
While the term ‘fat’ had a lot of potential when they just looked at the numbers, they realized it’s a negative term and felt ‘plus size’ was a good synonym. “We were careful to be sensitive and respect our customers. We recognized that it's acceptable for individuals to refer to themselves as 'fat' or 'chubby' but potentially hurtful when used by others, so we took a thoughtful approach in our blog content,” she explained.
The team acknowledged various reasons for seeking larger ring and bangle sizes, such as addressing issues like arthritis, occasional bloating, or simply embracing changing body sizes. “By emphasizing the diverse and genuine motivations behind wanting larger sizes, we aimed to create an inclusive and supportive space where our customers felt understood and valued,” she said.
Creative Sample #1: Blog post
They shared what some customers were saying about plus-size rings, so that new customers could relate to others in the same situation.
Creative Sample #2: Example testimonials
To educate potential customers on how to choose the right ring size and reduce the return rate due to size mistakes, the team published advice on choosing the most flattering styles as well as the best fit. A link to this information was added to the blog post as well as on all ring product listings.
Creative Sample #3: Website content explaining how to choose the right ring size
They also offered a ring-sizer tool for sale at a low price with a free shipping code and included the tool as a free gift with the first purchase.
Within four months of the blog post’s publication, it ranked for 80 keywords including:
Sales of larger size rings increased by 8% in the four months since the publication of the blog post.
The rate of returns due to sizing mistakes has been reduced by 80%.
Just like an effective value proposition, a keyword strategy will benefit from appeal and exclusivity.
AIScreen is a digital signage software solution.
The company’s website didn’t have much traffic, and most of their sales came from ads and cold calling.
“We had implemented the best on-page and technical SEO tools and tips. We had the content part covered, but we didn't have a good link profile. That was the big challenge because link building is not easy,” said Nikita Sherbina, Co-Founder & CEO, AIScreen.
The team noticed they had numerous brand mentions without corresponding backlinks, and traditional outreach efforts weren't yielding results.
"We realized the potential of unlinked brand mentions. Using tools like Ahrefs' content explorer, we identified sites that mentioned aiscreen.io without linking back. We knew it wouldn't work if we directly told them to do so; they would either ask for money or completely ignore it. Therefore, we devised a unique approach," Sherbina said.
The team used Ahrefs’s content explorer and listed unlinked brand mentions for each targeted website in individualized spreadsheets. In their outreach emails, they offered to provide the website’s team with the list of unlinked brand mentions on their site.
Here is the email template…
Creative Sample #4: Email template for unlinked brand mentions
Hey [First Name],
As a [website] fan and admirer of your SEO work, I have a favor to ask. I've compiled a list of unlinked brand mentions where people have used your quotes, expertise, and research without giving you proper credit via a link. I thought you might find it useful.
If you could return the favor by providing a link to my site, it would be greatly appreciated.
“It's about adding value to existing mentions by making them more user-friendly, which aligns with Google's emphasis on user-centricity,” Sherbina opined.
In addition to reaching out to websites that mentioned the brand name without a link, the team wanted to come up with a way to get links from sites that hadn’t mentioned their brand name.
The team targeted websites with a Domain Rating (DR) of at least 40 and a minimum of 1,000 monthly traffic. They specifically target commercial websites that sell products or services. “These businesses frequently produce content but may have a backlog of content ideas. To identify them, we conduct outreach to websites within our niche that match these criteria. Our offer is clear: content outsourcing with examples of our best work, demonstrating that we can help them fulfill their content needs effectively,” he said.
They did not want to take the traditional guest posting approach. “The distinction lies in the intent. We aim to assist websites that are overwhelmed with content production but have quality content ideas pending,” he said.
They proposed collaborations via email, offering to complete the content in exchange for a credit and backlink.
Creative Sample #5: Content collaboration email template
Subject Line – Collaboration Offer: Quality Content, Zero Charge
Hi [Website Owner's Name],
My name is [name]. I've been a keen follower of [Website Name] and have truly appreciated the valuable content you consistently bring to your audience.
I understand the challenges of maintaining a steady flow of content, and I'd like to offer my support – completely free of charge.
At [Company Name], we boast a team of exceptional writers who specialize in crafting engaging and SEO-friendly articles that perform well on search engines like Google.
Rather than suggesting specific topics, we'd be delighted to assist you with any content ideas you might have in your pipeline, yet may not have the resources to tackle. Our goal is to help you focus on your core activities while we handle the content creation process.
In return, we kindly ask for your consideration in providing a discreet mention or reference to our work within your content. A simple link to our site from your high-quality content would be greatly appreciated.
To get a sense of the quality of our work, here are some examples:
1. [Link to Work 1]
2. [Link to Work 2]
3. [Link to Work 3]
If this idea resonates with you, please don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to assist in any way we can.
Out of 100 emails sent to websites where they had unlinked mentions, 40 recipients accepted the offer and linked back to their website.
The ‘content completion collaboration’ approach had a 10% conversion rate.
Thanks to these link-building strategies and efficient on-page optimization – “Additionally, we employed Surfer SEO for on-page optimization, allowing us to enhance our website's visibility and ranking on search engines, ultimately leading to a significant boost in user engagement and conversions,” Sherbina said – the website experienced a 40% increase in traffic in the first month. Over the last two months, website traffic has soared by 750%.
“We now receive around 1,800 visitors solely from Google,” Sherbina said. They used to spend an average of $3 to $4 per lead. Now they average of 40-50 leads per month almost ‘for free,’ leading to a 200% increase in revenue.
Just like good marketing, link-building tactics can focus not just on what you are trying to get, but what you can give as well (without going too far, like buying links).
Slide Egg offers PowerPoint and Google Slides templates. Here are a series of steps the team took to increase organic traffic.
Slide Egg’s original website focused on evergreen content and did not have breadcrumbs. “Our visitors often found it challenging to navigate through the vast array of PowerPoint templates and design services we offered,” said Kavitha Laya, Creative Team Lead, Slide Egg.
Creative Sample #6: Top of webpage, before
On August 16th, 2023, the development and design teams implemented breadcrumbs on the entire website.
For example, an OpenAI ChatGPT presentation template had the following breadcrumbs: ‘Home à Collections à Technology à Futuristic à Open AI Chat GPT’
Creative Sample #7: Top of webpage, after
Originally, Slide Egg was focused only on evergreen content topics for its templates, like a multicolor mathematics slideshow template and an organizational chart template.
The team started to create content about trending subjects as well.
For example, when the Indian Space Research Organization became the first to successfully land near the south pole of the moon with its Chandrayaan-3 mission, the team created a template for that space mission.
“The world is constantly evolving, and people want to engage with the subjects the world is discussing today. As a result, one of our action items for the upcoming future is to further expand our offerings to cover trending topics consistently. We believe that this approach will not only keep our audience engaged but also continue to drive organic traffic growth,” Laya said.
The team originally focused on offering downloads of individual slides.
Creative Sample #8: Individual slide download
They realized their content needed more value, so they started offering multi-slide templates. For example, the below template features 15 slides.
Creative Sample #9: Multi-slide template download
As you can see above, the team made several changes. So it’s not easy to attribute a specific set of results to a specific change. However, the closest we can come is looking at results that happened right before and after the changes.
Here’s a look at the website performance before (August 1-15, 2023) and after (August 16-31, 2023) the breadcrumbs were implemented.
For the three days the Chandrayaan-3 mission was trending in the news (August 22-24, 2023), the template page generated an average of 1,231 daily visits, an increase of 940% over the typical organic traffic a page gets on the site (average of 118.4 daily visits).
The multi-slide templates attracted more downloads than the single slide downloads. In the example above, which is an extreme example, the single slide attracted 1 download, and the multi-slide template got 25,400 downloads.
How can you improve on-page SEO while serving the customer. Provide easy and clear usability (that naturally contains keywords), make sure your content offers enough value to attract the action you desire, and occasionally stray from your traditional content approach to include trending topics.
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