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

Brafton not too long ago turned 13. Thanks for the playing cards and birthday punches.

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

Our weblog particularly not too long ago made it to 12 months 13 – it launched April 1, 2010. Just like our website redesigns, our weblog has undergone its fair proportion of adjustments by way of technique, phrase rely necessities, structural formatting and UX.

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

Brafton’s inaugural weblog publish, titled “search engine optimisation ninjas infiltrate firm web site, truly 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 “search engine marketing (search engine optimisation)” was used thrice in ways in which appeared a tad pressured. Moreover, there are not any outbound hyperlinks, pictures, calls-to-action or evaluation: only a few hundred phrases and a bit of bit of sunshine humor.

brafton blog on seo

Yep, that’s the whole 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 optimisation required on the time: quantity, pace and high-level key phrase matching.

A bit later within the 12 months, we moved into extra clickbaity type, cultural touchstones, writing about TV, social media and tech giants – by means of the lens of promoting. Right here’s a pattern:

brafton blog

Outbound hyperlinks and inventory pictures quickly made their means into our weblog.

2011: Increasing Our Topical Attain

In due time, our weblog writing ventured into extra related matters 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.

Tendencies 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 concept of “high quality over amount” hit {the marketplace}, and we represented that on our weblog, a transition that continues to today.

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 — even our very personal survey-based content material. 

The occasions had been certainly a-changin’.

On the whole, weblog articles grew barely longer in size and there was a refined 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 was not solely outlined by written copy; it was video, graphics, paid advertisements, information insights and social promotion.

Within the survey, titled “Brafton’s content material advertising ballot outcomes: Entrepreneurs discover frequent, high-quality web site content material drives lead era,” you’ll be able to 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 means.

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 may higher index our pages.

brafton blog video example

You too can inform we had been massive into informing readers of the particular sort of data they might eat 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 Inner Insights

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

We dove into publishing extra worker options and different company-culture content material. Right here’s one in every of our firsts, a highlight on Nick Kakolowski, one in every of 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 Higher Content material Range

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

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

As an {industry}, we took a deep breath, took a step again and reassessed the advertising panorama. Like we stated, although, lots of this recalibration was pressured 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 ideas.
  • Sources focused at sure verticals, like finance, way of life and tech.

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

2016: Multimedia Hits the Airwaves

We printed much less in 2016, possibly a few times every week. The matters had been consultant of fixing advertising 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 parts like Twitter and Instagram embeds, customized memes and gifs, hi-res inventory pictures and branded movies.

brafton blog meme parks and recreation https

Our linking technique additionally was extra intentional, with every story typically linking out to 5 or extra sources, on high of together with a number of inner hyperlinks. Lastly, we upped our CTA recreation – only a hair. We now had devoted CTAs in every publish, and, look ahead to it, there was daring font and focused hyperlinks to kind 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 wished a weblog that did greater than generate visitors. We wished a weblog that drove gross sales conversations, fueled e mail advertising campaigns and dominated SERPs for high-value natural key phrases.

And that’s what occurred.

The matters we wrote on had been dictated not by whim or normal curiosity. They had been all rooted in SERP information, aggressive evaluation and relevance to our business targets.

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

We dual-released eBooks as gated and ungated content material in order that we may generate leads (by way of kind fill) and rank in SERPs. This technique paid off handsomely; we received 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 an alternative, on our blogs and e mail to do the heavy lifting. Quickly, our gross sales staff was receiving calls from prospects commending our work and requesting extra property.

We’d be remiss to say that 2017 was additionally the 12 months we pivoted to customized illustrations and a bigger overhaul of our model picture. We killed inventory pictures and we had been pleased with it. We celebrated it with this publish.

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

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

brafton blogs

From this level on, all the pieces we produced was customized and user-focused.

2018: The Yr of Re-optimization

By this level in our historical past, Brafton had generated practically 10,000 weblog posts, they usually lived all around the web. However it wasn’t all the time straightforward to inform whether or not content material at that scale was price it, particularly if posts from 2010 had been 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, quite than writing all the pieces from scratch like we had been doing for practically a decade.

brafton blog gif

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

One other large win for our Brafton weblog in 2018 was the standardization of our weekly information roundup below the title “Content material Advertising Weekly.” We publish these each Friday, they usually assist add timeliness and {industry} relevance to our e mail newsletters, too. You’ll find the whole collection right here.

2019: Increasing Into Extra Kinds 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 e mail advertising, and we use it to advertise inner progress and new workers, too.

The quantity of pageviews we’ve acquired to our website over time has various fairly dramatically, some years spiking, others falling significantly. Seen under is the common month-to-month visitors our website generated by 12 months. 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 in recent times, our inner business 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.

The visitors we acquired was rather more certified, intent-driven and sales-ready. And that translated to extra publication subscriptions, content material downloads, e mail lists and prospects.

That’s a helpful takeaway.

Our blogs centered on analysis that our clients would discover helpful in their very own content material creation journey. From headline recommendation to the variety of sources to make use of in a weblog, our perspective shifted solely towards our clients.

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

We additionally received a bit reflective on our tenth weblog anniversary. We’re devoted to watching the years cross 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 12 months thus far, however we tried to make the perfect of it. 

Whereas we had been caught indoors throughout 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 nicely. 

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

Regardless of these powerful occasions, extra folks than ever had been on-line, attempting to develop, be taught, learn and broaden. 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 a further p.c 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 means for readers to assemble data, however they are often repurposed on our Instagram and LinkedIn — providing extra probabilities to succeed in extra folks. 

2022 – Is This a Crossover Episode?

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

Consider the thrill you are feeling whenever you see a star cameo in your favourite present. Not solely does that episode get extra views, but it surely’s publicity for the movie star as nicely. It demonstrates their vary as an actor, whereas showcasing the present’s attain in inviting them for an episode. 

This sort of win-win relationship is vital for blogs and insights as nicely. The possibility to succeed in throughout the web aisle and share concepts is an efficient approach to interact readers on either side, quite than simply sourcing their analysis. 

These expanded our attain & introduced new folks to the Brafton weblog as nicely.

2023 – Doubling Down on Authentic Analysis

Performing your due diligence as a author and researching matters you won’t be conversant in or updated on is crucial. Nevertheless, when you’ll be able to conduct your individual analysis and glean insights your readers will admire, that’s one thing else solely. 

This 12 months, 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 broaden what we find out about content material advertising. 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 exists to generate new enterprise, and our weblog has come a good distance towards conducting simply that.

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

Editor’s Be aware: Up to date March 2023.