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In this post, I'm going to show you how we grew traffic to Mailshake’s existing blog posts by up to 117% in one month– without publishing any new posts.
How'd we do it?
The magic of content updates.
Here’s how we pulled this off, step by step, and how you can get these same results.
The 7 Steps We Took to Grow Mailshake's Blog Traffic
We’ll walk you through exactly how we refreshed Mailshake’s posts. This is the structure we use to refresh any blog posts, including our own on the Single Grain blog.
We used ClickFlow (our content optimization tool) for this entire process.
Step 1: Check the Blog for Content Decay
First, we had the Mailshake team connect their ClickFlow account with Google Search Console. This lets our software surface quick wins from their SEO data for refreshing old posts. We easily found five articles that were perfect for a refresh according to their Content Decay report.
Generally, your pages could be losing traffic (“content decay”) because the competition is putting out great new content on the same topic. You’ll want to update your article at least once a year so the post won’t be considered outdated because you haven’t changed the critical info.
So, we chose two posts that had been decaying:
- Meeting Request Email Templates + Subject Lines
- 8 Subject Lines That Will Get That Networking Email Opened
We then picked three posts that were “within striking distance” of ranking on page 1 for their target keywords:
- How to Generate Leads Yourself as a Sales Rep (3 Can't-Fail Tactics)
- How to Write a Follow-up Email After No Response
- How to Cold Call: 5-Step Cold-Calling Technique to Close More Deals
Takeaway: Content decay is what happens to your older blog posts when you stop giving them attention and, instead, focus only on your exciting new content. Monitor which blog posts are losing traffic regularly with a tool like ClickFlow and create a process/schedule for updating these.
Dive Deeper: What Is Content Decay and How It Affects Your SEO
Step 2: Optimize Each Blog Post for User Intent
Our writer pasted the original article into the Content Editor and saw that it got a “B-” grade – a mark I would have been overjoyed to get in school, but for ranking purposes, your content should get an “A+”.
The writer took stock of the relevant keywords from the right-hand column that were missing from the article and started naturally adding them. The tool indicates not only which keywords you should use, but also how often you have to include them. Once you get that right, you get a green checkmark:
Some ways of improving your content’s grade include rewriting a sentence so that it includes the keyword, adding new paragraphs to mention the keyword in context, and cutting repetitive or non-valuable text.
This moved the post up to a higher grade that could compete with other posts' ranking for the target keyword.
Takeaway: Because you’re refreshing the content and not revamping it, most of the changes you make are going to be minor. Try adding a few sentences or paragraphs here and there with relevant keywords to provide more detail, linking to updated sources, adding new stats, improving headers to incorporate the keyword and be more descriptive, etc.
Step 3: Build Internal Links to the Post from Other Pages
Including internal links – i.e. linking to another of your blog’s posts – helps Google rank your site better. Along with suitable anchor text, it tells the search engine which of your web pages are relevant to this keyword.
As Moz relays: “While there is no definite answer as to how many internal links on a page are too many, Google has indicated they can crawl 100s of links per page.”
We didn’t add anywhere near 100 as the post already had some internal links. Instead, we included 2-4 additional contextual internal links where it was most helpful for the reader:
Takeaway: There are two ways to add internal links. Choose an appropriate anchor text and hyperlink it to another post, or add a “Related Content” or “Learn More” line with the full name of the article hyperlinked. Using both formats is ideal, as readers won’t necessarily click on the anchor text. Sometimes they need to see the title of the post. 👇
Step 4: Embed a YouTube Video Where Appropriate
Having a video embedded in the blog post increases dwell time, so we chose a relevant video from Mailshake’s YouTube channel.
A video keeps people on the page longer, helps potential customers understand your product or service better, and generates more leads. Embedding a video also makes reading the article easier by breaking up the text.
A video called How to Customize Cold Email Templates was perfect under the “How to Use Email Templates” subhead:
Takeaway: If you don’t already have a YouTube channel, now would be a good time to create one. Try making different kinds of videos, like explainer videos for your product or service, product demos, software tutorials, vlogs, etc.
Step 5: Add an FAQ Section to Rank in “PAA” Questions
Next, our writer took a look at the “People Also Ask” questions (also listed on the right-hand column, under the “Research” tab). ClickFlow pulls this data directly from Google’s SERPs, so adding them to your blog post increases searcher intent.
When these can’t be naturally incorporated into the body of the text, it’s a great idea to add them to the bottom of the article as an FAQ section. This is an easy way to include helpful information for the reader:
At this point, we achieved an A+ grade in ClickFlow’s Content Editor, hit the right readability level (more or less), and had the recommended word count.
Takeaway: When creating an FAQ section at the bottom of your blog post, be sure that the questions are taken directly from Google (or, in this case, ClickFlow) because that’s how people are stating their query. Make sure to answer the question in just a few concise sentences. If you have more to say, turn it into a proper section in the body of your content.
Step 6: Run a 30-Day Content Test to Track Our Results
Just before I uploaded the changes to WordPress, I started the content tests in ClickFlow for the five refreshed articles. This took me about five minutes to complete.
We clicked on “New Test,” plugged in the blog post URL, selected “Content Test” (you can do a separate Meta Test for the title and meta description), and clicked “Start Test.” The default time period is 30 days, although you can run the test for 7, 15, 30, 60 or 90 days. We also added a tag so that we could easily find this group of five tests later on.
Step 7: Republish and Request Re-Indexation in Google Search Console
After starting the content tests in ClickFlow, we uploaded the refreshed version to Mailshake’s WordPress, changed the date to the current date, and hit the update button.
We then had Mailshake re-index these five refreshed posts in their Google Search Console.
Requesting re-indexation in Google Search Console for the posts you updated helps Google’s spiders find and crawl your site sooner than if you don’t request it. This helps these refreshed posts gain more visibility in the SERPs faster and, hence, drive more traffic.
The Results: Growing Organic Traffic + Rankings in 30 Days
30 days later, these 5 content refreshes had grown the Mailshake blog's organic search traffic by 117%.
The two posts that had been decaying, as per their Content Decay report, had favorable changes:
1) Meeting Request Email Templates + Subject Lines:
- now ranks #3
- 14% increase in clicks
- 12% increase in CTR
2) 8 Subject Lines That Will Get That Networking Email Opened
- now ranks #1 for “networking email subject line”
- even though there was a decrease in clicks and CTR, it still hit the #1 spot in the SERPs
- the lower clicks and CTR for this post were strictly due to changing intent and search volume (desktop vs. mobile) rates for the topic during the duration of the test
Tip: To get an accurate look at your stats whenever you notice a slight decrease in clicks or CTR, let the test run for at least three months. This will give you the correct data you need to make further content tweaks even with a keyword where intent and demand is constantly changing.
The three posts that were “within striking distance” of ranking on page 1 (hitting spots between 11-20) are all now on page 1 of the SERPs:
3) How to Generate Leads Yourself as a Sales Rep (3 Can't-Fail Tactics)
- ranks on page 1 (#6)
- 117% increase in clicks
- 149% increase in impressions
- even though the CTR decreased a little as a result of changing month-to-month search trends, this post still moved up the SERPs to page 1
4) How to Write a Follow-up Email After No Response
- ranks on page 1 as a featured snippet for their main keyword “follow up emails”
5) How to Cold Call: 5-Step Cold-Calling Technique to Close More Deals
- ranks on page 1 (#3) for main KW “b2b cold calling”
- 66% increase in clicks
- 38% increase in CTR
Want Us to Do This for You?
If you're ready to grow, you can run this playbook yourself using ClickFlow.
Or, you can request our done-for-you B2B SaaS SEO services simply by following the link below.
Ready to publish content that ranks #1 (and stays there)? We've helped VC-backed B2B SaaS companies like Drift, 15Five, and Recurly rank higher and grow faster organically. Click here to request a free SaaS SEO consultation to learn more today.
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the ClickFlow blog.
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