How Our Weblog Advanced From Quick Information Articles to a SERP Powerhouse


Brafton just lately turned 13. Thanks for the playing cards and birthday punches.

In that span of time, loads has modified about Brafton, about content material advertising and marketing and about client search habits. And we’ve redesigned our web site many occasions over to accommodate these evolutions.

Our weblog specifically just lately made it to yr 13 – it launched April 1, 2010. Much like our web site redesigns, our weblog has undergone its justifiable share of adjustments when it comes to technique, phrase depend necessities, structural formatting and UX.

2010: Weblog No. 1 Is Tremendous Quick, Newsy and CTA-less

Brafton’s inaugural weblog put up, titled “search engine marketing ninjas infiltrate firm web site, really make it extra seen” was a short four-paragraph rehash of a information story.

The one conceivable viewers for this piece can be search bots, because the phrase “SEO (search engine marketing)” was used thrice in ways in which appeared a tad compelled. Moreover, there aren’t any outbound hyperlinks, pictures, calls-to-action or evaluation: just some hundred phrases and a bit bit of sunshine humor.

brafton blog on seo

Yep, that’s all the article.

On this period, we had been publishing a brand new weblog article about three to 5 occasions a day. That’s what search engine marketing required on the time: quantity, velocity and high-level key phrase matching.

A bit later within the yr, we moved into extra clickbaity type, cultural touchstones, writing about TV, social media and tech giants – by means of the lens of selling. Right here’s a pattern:

brafton blog

Outbound hyperlinks and inventory images quickly made their method into our weblog.

2011: Increasing Our Topical Attain

In due time, our weblog writing ventured into extra related subjects for our human readers, not simply search engines like google and yahoo. In addition they represented a shift in how we interacted with prospects and the market at giant.

Developments articles, industry-specific research and Google algorithm updates trickled into our weblog rotation:

We had been nonetheless writing and publishing in bulk, however articles had been now within the 300-word vary, together with in-line imagery, a number of exterior hyperlinks and one or 2 inner hyperlinks.

Moreover, the thought of “high quality over amount” hit {the marketplace}, and we represented that on our weblog, a transition that continues to at the present time.

2012: Introducing a Li’l Extra Tech

As Obama’s second presidential marketing campaign took off, the Brafton weblog constructed upon its 2011 adjustments and launched recurring {industry} information roundups, commentary on video and paid advertising and marketing — even our very personal survey-based content material. 

The occasions had been certainly a-changin’.

Normally, weblog articles grew barely longer in size and there was a delicate shift in how we spoke to our target market. Our service choices had been altering, too. Video and social media had been now a part of our product catalog. Content material advertising and marketing was now not solely outlined by written copy; it was video, graphics, paid advertisements, knowledge insights and social promotion.

Within the survey, titled “Brafton’s content material advertising and marketing ballot outcomes: Entrepreneurs discover frequent, high-quality web site content material drives lead era,” you may see the beginnings of long-form, user-generated content material that addresses ache factors and solutions {industry} questions.

brafton blog example

Embedded on this article had been 6 customized graphs, 2 pull quotes and H2 subheads. Progress had materialized in an enormous method.

2013: Welcome Video Blogs, and Even Extra Research

In 2013, our video weblog product went mainstream for us and our purchasers. These brief 1-2-minute movies turned common information tales into easy-to-follow visible property.

We regularly used video blogs to supply fast {industry} updates, and included the transcript beneath the video in order that search crawlers might higher index our pages.

brafton blog video example

You can even inform we had been large into informing readers of the particular kind of knowledge they’d devour earlier than they clicked — as evidenced by the heavy utilization of brackets in titles. Listed here are three examples all from the identical day, April 23, 2013:

brafton blog example

2014: Extra Occasions, Extra Inside Insights

Brafton ramped up its presence within the content material advertising and marketing {industry} after attending a bevy of nationwide occasions associated to search engine marketing, tech, lead gen and extra.

We dove into publishing extra worker options and different company-culture content material. Right here’s one among our firsts, a highlight on Nick Kakolowski, one among our head writers. Nick was acknowledged for his long-form content material prowess and his astounding report for by no means as soon as receiving a consumer edit for a whole quarter in 2014. 

You learn that proper. Nick’s copy was so pristine, purchasers had nothing so as to add.

2015: Fewer Posts, however Better Content material Range

As content material entrepreneurs noticed the sunshine, and Google algorithms emphasised the purpose, quantity was now not the secret. Our client-facing methods and our personal weblog publication schedule shifted gears for written content material.

Our content material grew longer, generally even cracking 800 phrases! Weblog posts had been revealed each different day, or each two days, slightly than a number of each single day.

As an {industry}, we took a deep breath, took a step again and reassessed the advertising and marketing panorama. Like we stated, although, numerous this recalibration was compelled upon entrepreneurs as a result of Google was now prioritizing totally different rating indicators in its ever-evolving RankBrain algorithm. By this juncture, keyword-stuffing was penalized, skinny content material was pruned and black-hat SEOs had been shedding their grip — on the {industry} and their minds.

The Brafton weblog grew to become a one-stop repository for content material varieties spanning:

  • Greatest practices movies.
  • Occasion protection.
  • Evergreen articles.
  • Case research.
  • Writing suggestions.
  • Sources focused at sure verticals, like finance, life-style and tech.

For what it’s value, 2015 noticed the gif enter the Brafton weblog lexicon:

2016: Multimedia Hits the Airwaves

We revealed much less in 2016, perhaps a few times per week. The subjects had been consultant of fixing advertising and marketing channels. Podcasts, internet design, social media distribution, HTTPS and augmented actuality had been now on the scene, and our writers had been fast to adapt.

Our weblog technique expanded to include extra multimedia components like Twitter and Instagram embeds, customized memes and gifs, hi-res inventory images and branded movies.

brafton blog meme parks and recreation https

Our linking technique additionally was extra intentional, with every story usually linking out to 5 or extra sources, on prime of together with a number of inner hyperlinks. Lastly, we upped our CTA sport – only a hair. We now had devoted CTAs in every put up, and, watch for it, there was daring font and focused hyperlinks to type fills, too!

brafton blog example

2017: The Professionalization of Knowledge-led Analysis

In 2017, standard-bearers Jeff Baker and Lauren Fox took possession of the Brafton weblog. We needed a weblog that did greater than generate visitors. We needed a weblog that drove gross sales conversations, fueled electronic mail advertising and marketing campaigns and dominated SERPs for high-value natural key phrases.

And that’s what occurred.

The subjects we wrote on had been dictated not by whim or common curiosity. They had been all rooted in SERP knowledge, aggressive evaluation and relevance to our industrial targets.

In observe, this translated to plenty of prolonged, evergreen guides, how-tos and step-by-step instructionals. It additionally synced with our new method to gated content material, predominantly eBooks.

We dual-released eBooks as gated and ungated content material in order that we might generate leads (through type fill) and rank in SERPs. This technique paid off handsomely; we acquired practically 5 occasions as many pageviews to our eBooks in 2018 than we did in 2017.

Our weblog was now firmly within the driver’s seat of our company-wide inbound gross sales mannequin. 

We dramatically curtailed our cold-calling, and relied, as a substitute, on our blogs and electronic mail to do the heavy lifting. Quickly, our gross sales workforce was receiving calls from prospects commending our work and requesting extra property.

We’d be remiss to say that 2017 was additionally the yr we pivoted to customized illustrations and a bigger overhaul of our model picture. We killed inventory images and we had been happy with it. We celebrated it with this put up.

Using custom content marketing imagery, a Brafton client experienced fantastic results!

And right here’s a snapshot of the sorts of blogs we had been creating and the visuals that accompanied them:

brafton blogs

From this level on, every little thing we produced was customized and user-focused.

2018: The 12 months of Re-optimization

By this level in our historical past, Brafton had generated practically 10,000 weblog posts, they usually lived everywhere in the web. But it surely wasn’t at all times simple to inform whether or not content material at that scale was value it, particularly if posts from 2010 had been now not related.

That’s why we undertook a large motion towards re-optimizing older posts for a contemporary viewers. We had good content material, and it was simpler to make it higher, slightly than writing every little thing from scratch like we had been doing for practically a decade.

brafton blog gif

A few of our prime re-ops had been initially written in 2017 or earlier, like Monetary content material advertising and marketing that works: 5 methods the finance {industry} is profitable at content material. This put up now ranks No. 1 for our goal key phrase “monetary content material advertising and marketing,” and it has stayed on the prime of SERPs month after month.

One other enormous win for our Brafton weblog in 2018 was the standardization of our weekly information roundup below the identify “Content material Advertising and marketing Weekly.” We put up these each Friday, they usually assist add timeliness and {industry} relevance to our electronic mail newsletters, too. You’ll find all the sequence right here.

2019: Increasing Into Extra Varieties of Excessive-powered Content material

Our weblog grew to become an integral a part of our gross sales and lead gen course of. It’s central to our social media and electronic mail advertising and marketing, and we use it to advertise inner progress and new staff, too.

The amount of pageviews we’ve obtained to our web site over time has diverse fairly dramatically, some years spiking, others falling significantly. Seen under is the typical month-to-month visitors our web site generated by yr. As a result of our weblog web page, particularly, has undergone technical and structural adjustments, monitoring its particular person metrics all the way in which again to 2010 isn’t attainable, however sitewide visitors is a good stand-in.

brafton traffic over the years

As our model – and our weblog – grew, so did our visitors. However lately, our inner industrial targets have moved away from uncooked visitors counts. We pivoted extra towards thought management, and developed authentic views on the way forward for content material advertising and marketing.

The visitors we obtained was way more certified, intent-driven and sales-ready. And that translated to extra e-newsletter subscriptions, content material downloads, electronic mail lists and prospects.

That’s a worthwhile takeaway.

Our blogs targeted on analysis that our prospects would discover worthwhile in their very own content material creation journey. From headline recommendation to the variety of assets to make use of in a weblog, our perspective shifted totally towards our prospects.

By mid-2019, we attended MozCon, an search engine marketing convention the place we realized extremely worthwhile insights from a number of the leaders within the {industry} — classes we utilized straight away and nonetheless use at this time.

We additionally acquired a bit reflective on our tenth weblog anniversary. We’re devoted to watching the years go and studying from the leaders and classes we’ve encountered alongside the way in which.

2020: Unprecedented Content material That Resonates

This wasn’t anybody’s favourite yr up to now, however we tried to make the very best of it. 

Whereas we had been caught indoors in the course of the COVID-19 lockdowns, our distant groups continued to create attention-grabbing, partaking content material… a few of which was fairly on the nostril to assist our readers make it by means of as effectively. 

Brafton was ready to maintain advertising and marketing methods on the rails — listed here are some examples: 

Regardless of these powerful occasions, extra individuals than ever had been on-line, making an attempt to develop, be taught, learn and increase. Due to this, we broke 1 million guests to the weblog for the primary time.

2021 – For Our Skimmers Out There: Infographics

To make our content material extra engaging, and to pair our authentic pictures with one thing attention-grabbing, we did some analysis on infographics. By including a couple of to pick out blogs, we realized that reader engagement shot by means of the roof: click-through charges went up an extra % and generated 25% of all clicks on our weblog pages. 

2020: Unprecedented Content That Resonates This wasn’t anyone’s favorite year to date, but we tried to make the best of it.   While we were stuck indoors during the COVID-19 lockdowns, our remote teams continued to create interesting, engaging content… some of which was pretty on the nose to help our readers make it through as well.   Brafton was prepared to keep marketing strategies on the rails — here are some examples:   Status check: What should marketers be doing as we start re-opening? 10 Content Marketing Ideas for the Coronavirus Lockdown  Despite these tough times, more people than ever were online, trying to grow, learn, read and expand. Because of this, we broke 1 million visitors to the blog for the first time.  2021 - For Our Skimmers Out There: Infographics To make our content more attractive, and to pair our original images with something interesting, we did some research on infographics. By adding a few to select blogs, we learned that reader engagement shot through the roof: click-through rates went up an additional percent and generated 25% of all clicks on our blog pages.

Not solely are infographics a straightforward method for readers to collect data, however they are often repurposed on our Instagram and LinkedIn — providing extra possibilities to achieve extra individuals. 

2022 – Is This a Crossover Episode?

Who doesn’t love new mates? In 2022, we continued our relationship with search engine marketing chief Moz and we even had the pleasure of writing some authentic content material for his or her weblog:

Consider the joy you’re feeling if you see a star cameo in your favourite present. Not solely does that episode get extra views, nevertheless it’s publicity for the superstar as effectively. It demonstrates their vary as an actor, whereas showcasing the present’s attain in inviting them for an episode. 

Such a win-win relationship is necessary for blogs and insights as effectively. The possibility to achieve throughout the web aisle and share concepts is an efficient solution to have interaction readers on each side, slightly than simply sourcing their analysis. 

These expanded our attain & introduced new individuals to the Brafton weblog as effectively.

2023 – Doubling Down on Authentic Analysis

Performing your due diligence as a author and researching subjects you won’t be conversant in or updated on is important. Nonetheless, when you may conduct your personal analysis and glean insights your readers will admire, that’s one thing else totally. 

blog homepage screenshot anniversary

This yr, we’re nonetheless persevering with to double-down on what we all know works, like infographics, visitor running a blog and high-value content material. However we’re additionally making an effort to conduct our personal analysis to be taught extra about our viewers and the {industry}.

In response, we developed Brafton Labs to additional increase what we learn about content material advertising and marketing. The surveys we’ve performed give us the chance to raised perceive how entrepreneurs assume:

brafton labs surveys

It’s not about amount, however high quality – in your content material, in your visitors and in your leads. On the finish of the day, on-line advertising and marketing exists to generate new enterprise, and our weblog has come a good distance towards carrying out simply that.

In order that’s our advertising and marketing journey, what about yours?

Editor’s Observe: Up to date March 2023.


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