Tag Archive for: content strategy

kids bike

“Bikes:” How We Helped Cleary Rank on Page 1 And Snag a Slice of the 135k Monthly Search Volume

kids bike

Cleary Bikes is not just any kids bike brand. The company—based out of Oakland, CA—makes among the highest-quality kids bikes out there. Their philosophy: instead of giving your kid training wheels and a rickety frame as they’re taking their first pedal strokes on their own, give them a sized-down experience of what it’s really like to be on trail, in the air, or at the park. That way, they’ll be building real, transferable skills from the get-go. It’s a perspective that resonates. That’s among the reasons that, when we first met the folks at Cleary, we learned their organic revenue was already booming! 

The health of their organic traffic was one of the reasons we were eager to partner with them. We knew that continuing to put in the work to improve Google search results while layering on other acquisition channles would help us build a holistic, long-term, and scalable path to growth. 

When we look at partnering with a brand at Tuff, really any brand, but especially eCommerce, we examine their current traction to help us understand how we plan to craft our Growth Marketing Strategy to help them reach their goals.

For Cleary, our minds were blown (literally), when we saw that organic revenue was the largest sector of their overall revenue d2c eCommerce makeup. 

Here’s how their traffic looked prior to April when we started our partnership: 

organic traffic results

Of their organic traffic, a large percentage of it converted due to Cleary’s success in showcasing the benefits of their bikes, the high quality of their messaging, and the overall praise from their customer base. 

From a growth perspective, we could see that a great formula for growing Cleary’s revenue would be to increase the volume of quality organic traffic to the site. 

This step by step guide lays out how we were able to develop an SEO Growth Content Strategy to increase Cleary’s organic traffic by getting them to rank on page one on Google for keywords specific to their business. 

Step 1: Lay The Technical SEO Content Foundation

No matter what you’re selling – SaaS, physical products, or a service – having the correct Technical SEO foundation for your performance content to work from is the most important thing you can do. 

With Cleary, they happened to be in the middle of a website overhaul so making some of our big changes was a no-brainer for their website and easy to implement. 

Step one was identifying tactics and updates we could implement to help us earn a website health score over 90%. A high health score helps our performance content rank faster and more efficiently. To get to the bottom of what was keeping us from better site heath, we first needed to run a SEO site audit

The results of this audit showed us what to change and included information about page errors, broken links, and more. The site audit also shows us how to fix those errors. 

In addition to the website audit solutions, we also provided Cleary with information about how best to migrate their website. 

Our biggest fear with their website migration and with any website migration is that we’ll lose our organic traction and need to rebuild from square one. This is not a great scenario to confront, so the only way to keep that from happening was to make sure the website migration process was accompanied by a strong SEO perspective.

Here are some of the suggestions we made: 

  • Setting up redirects on the server side for product pages, collections, etc. 
  • Switching to WP Engine servers. 
  • Using a third party migration tool like Cart2Cart

The final suggestions we made addressed Cleary’s product page descriptions and collection page descriptions. We noticed that most of Cleary’s rankings were coming from their home page. To help diversify the high-ranking pages as well as lead high-intent users further into the funnel, we worked with their team to develop SEO-focused copy for the mentioned page descriptions. 

Step 2: Develop A Strategic Content Strategy

As the decade-old saying goes “Content is King!” 

Yes that’s true, but not if the content itself is total garbage 💩

To develop an informed content strategy, it’s imperative to do some research. A great place to start is to first run a keyword gap audit against your brand’s competitors. Here’s the one we did for Cleary to show us where we were weak against their competitor Guardian Bikes. 

seo comparison chart

As you can see in the above “Missing” category, Cleary didn’t have any ranking keywords (KWs) related to bike sizing. Therefore, we determined that our first piece of content needed to be related to sizing. 

Step 3: Produce Content, Publish, Repeat 

This first piece of content wasn’t just a normal article, instead, we created a main hub page, which we called Kids Bike Sizing Guide. This is designed to be a sort of center around which all of our following sizing content could sit. This clustered approach—essentially similar to a whike wheel hub and its spokes—helps communicate to search engine algorithms that Cleary truly is an expert in this topic and therefore should appear at the top of search results.

Leveraging this one hub page, we were able to help Cleary rank for multiple KWs related to kids bike sizing, which tied back into the data we saw in our Competitor Keyword Gap Analysis. Examples of our focus KWs for this hub page were: kids bike sizing guide, bike size guide, bike wheel size chart, bike size chart.

Once we had our hub page developed we began developing auxiliary content pages that were related to our hub page and would help us boost its ranking through internal linking. 

Examples of these auxiliary content pages included a “Bike For X-Year Old Series” that featured more than four content pieces related to kids bike sizes that we could use to support our hub page. 

From there, we were in a great position to begin supporting our other hub pages like our product and collection pages using high volume KWs related to Cleary’s industry, missing and weak topics (from Keyword Gap Analysis), and full-funnel strategy content. 

Step 4: Improve Google Search Results  

Within 60 days, we started to see encouraging results with our Growth Content Strategy for Cleary. 

seo results conversation

Step 5: Keep Repeating The Formula

Just because you land on page one for specific terms doesn’t mean you’ll stay on it forever. Similarly, if you haven’t gotten onto page one for a specific KW, that doesn’t mean you won’t. 

Growth content is a long-term solution, not a quick fix, but you’ll see key indicators of growth like higher search rankings and new traffic within 30-60 days of publishing in most cases. Typically, within four to five months you should see significant traction toward your goals.

Excited about growing your organic traffic but not quite sure where to start? We’ve got your back. Let’s talk about how to level up your site traffic and land you on page one. 

A "Google" sign on top of a building in front of a blue sky

A Two-Step Guide to Identifying Your Competitors

A "Google" sign on top of a building in front of a blue sky

So you’ve determined that a growth-focused content strategy has definitively moved up your priority list. We wholeheartedly approve. A holistic SEO content strategy really pulls its weight in the acquisition department. It’s a great compliment to a paid strategy, and although it doesn’t drive immediate wins like a Facebook or Google Ads campaign can, the power it has to be an integral pillar of real, sustainable growth makes it an important strategy for almost any company serious about growing over time.

Before you jump in both feet, though, it’s important to lay the groundwork. And a super important part of that is identifying the right competitors.

Here at Tuff when we’re creating a content strategy for one of our clients, we’ll think of competitors in two different ways. 

  1. An organization that directly competes with you; your customer or clients might consistently pitch you against them. 
  2. The competitor that ranks high on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 

Step One: Define Your Market Competitors

A market competitor is an organization that directly competes with you in your market or industry; your customer or clients might consistently pitch you against them.

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you should be familiar with your market competitors. You likely performed competitive research about your market and industry before you even started your business and incorporated it into your business plan. 

Why is it so essential to research your market competitors? There are tons of reasons, including:

  • Differentiating yourself from the competition
  • Replicating their strengths
  • Leveraging their weaknesses to your advantage
  • Honing in the market your product or service
  • Staying ahead of trends in your industry

It’s also important for us at Tuff to know. It’s a foundational part of our onboarding process and helps guide our strategic recommendations. We’ll lean on you to bring us juicy information here – so if you haven’t identified these organizations yet, here’s how to get started.

Interview customers and clients

Competitive research can seem overwhelming – where do you even start? Reaching out to your clients and customers is a great first step. Interview both new and long-time customers to determine not only what brought them to your company, but what keeps them coming back

Phone calls and email are reliable ways to gather this type of information. You can also incorporate social media by asking your followers to fill out a survey. Both qualitative (descriptive) and quantitative (numerical) information will be useful to inform your business and marketing strategies

Talk to your sales and customer service teams 

You need more than external data to create a well-rounded competitive analysis. Don’t ignore your internal teams – they have a wealth of information about your competitors that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. You especially need to talk to your sales and customer service teams. 

Your sales team will have great insights from pitches and discovery calls, where they’re sure to hear a lot about what’s great and not-so-great about your competitors. And your customer service team has probably gotten an earful about what your competitors do better than you. Make sure you create an environment of trust and confidentiality so they feel comfortable being honest.

Find the right tools

There’s never a shortage of tools in the marketing industry, and that’s true of competitive research, too. Which one (or more) is right for you?

  • Klue: Research and track your competitors through a combination of news tracking and internal data, then track them so you know when they change their website, update their products or get new customer reviews. 
  • Crayon: Capture data from hundreds of millions of sources and use AI to filter it down into key insights. Identify and follow market trends to stay ahead of the competition. 
  • FirstRain: Get high-quality and relevant information that’s categorized, prioritized and ready to be put into action. Stay up-to-date on current information like management changes, M&A and industry trends.
  • Kompyte: Differentiate your product or service with information about your competition’s features, pricing and messaging, learn what works for them and discover how it all fits into a high-level view of your market.

A screenshot from Klue, a market research company, showcasing how their software works

Enlist help from the pros 

Don’t have the time to perform competitive research yourself? We’re not afraid to tell you that this isn’t necessarily our expertise. But there are companies out there that focus specifically on digging into this type of information – and hiring one can be a smart move for enterprise-level businesses.

If you have the resources to spend, getting help from the pros can actually be more efficient than doing it yourself. Just make sure the company you choose is fluent in your industry and check their references.

Step Two: Hone in On Your SEO Competitors

An SEO competitor is an organization that ranks highly on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 

Your SEO competitors are the businesses you’ll be directly competing with in order to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). While SEO competitors sometimes overlap with market competitors this list will likely shorter than the first. It could also be composed of businesses that aren’t direct competitors, for example one that is within your industry but has a different product or service than you. 

Once you identify your competitors, you can create a plan of attack to understand what content is generating their strong results, and how you can do better. 

This all starts with focused competitive research. And the benefits of doing so go far beyond the satisfaction of unseating your competitor from the number one spot.

What are the benefits of SEO competitive research? There are tons of reasons, including:

  • Increasing organic website traffic
  • Driving high-quality traffic to your site
  • Improving conversions by providing value to potential customers
  • Earning more revenue and grow your business

This is Tuff’s wheelhouse; our bread and butter. We’ll perform and leverage SEO competitive research to create content strategies that outrank your competitors and win on critical keywords. Here’s how we identify your SEO competitors. 

Identify your keywords 

Your SEO competitors are only your competitors because they have keywords you want. To identify competitors through keywords, you must know what keywords you want! What are the keywords that your best customer is most likely to use to find your service? What are related keywords and longtail keywords?

Now narrow down your list using the following criteria:

  • Relevance. Will this keyword bring you the type of traffic you want? Is it highly relevant to your business goals?
  • Business strength. Is your business strong in this area or topic? Will a search engine believe that you’re an expert?
  • Current rankings. Are you currently ranking on page two or three for a keyword? That will make it easier for you to reach page one. 
  • Volume. Monthly volume isn’t the end-all, be-all (in fact, sometimes you may want to choose lower volume keywords). But it does give you an idea of what people are searching for. 

A graphic showcasing what keyword research looks like in Semrush.

Find your competitors

Now you can identify your competitors for your chosen keywords. You can choose the free way: manually searching Google by typing in each keyword and taking note of the businesses that show up on page one – but that can be time-consuming. It’s much more efficient to use a tool like Semrush to see who is ranking for each keyword.

The best way is to have someone do it for you. Tuff will conduct a full on-page SEO analysis, including choosing the keywords that are right for you, identifying your competitors and building you a strategy that can beat them!

Think you’re ready to fire up your content engine with Tuff? Let’s talk!

What Does a Holistic SEO Content Strategy Look Like?

ceramic letters spelling out SEO

SEO is a fast-paced world. It seems like every day there’s an update, a new best practice or a new tool to learn. As soon as you get down the basics of technical SEO, you learn there’s a whole different side to it: content strategy. 

A holistic SEO strategy that includes technical SEO as well as on-page growth content is essential to increasing organic traffic – and helping to improve lead generation, acquisition, and revenue. It’s also highly personalized to your business and involves a lot of moving pieces. Here’s how to ensure your SEO content strategy is effective and efficient.

What is growth content?

Growth content includes landing pages, blogs, product pages, and so on that are designed to rank in Google. When you appear at the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), people who are searching for the particular topics you are targeting will discover your brand, click through to your website, and – if your growth content strategy does its job – stay there and make a purchase.

So how do you make a successful growth content strategy? At Tuff, we use site traffic analysis, competitive review, and keyword gap analysis to create a strategy for building content that’s always helpful, engaging, informative, and that gives you a timeline and projections that put the future in focus. 

Do I need a growth content strategy?

Got your eye on long-term growth? Chances are you need a content strategy. True, paid ads drive quick wins, but real staying power and long-term revenue growth comes from a content strategy designed to drive (and keep!) stronger, more engaged traffic over time. 

Some content strategies work more quickly than others – for example, refreshing existing content and filling gaps in your buyer funnel are both “low-hanging fruit.” But overall, a holistic SEO content strategy isn’t meant to be a quick fix. It’s a series of actions and content pieces that build up your credibility over time until you’re outranking your competition and bringing more customers to your site.

Step 1: Do your research

Before you dive in, take a step back and do your research. A truly holistic strategy includes elements of content analysis, audience research, and SEO analysis. 

  • Who are my competitors? You can’t outrank your competitors without identifying them first. We think of competitors in two different ways. One type of competitor is an organization that directly competes with you; agents or sellers might consistently pitch you against them. The other is the competitor that ranks high on the search terms we’d like to rank for. 
  • What are my competitors doing? In addition to performing an SEO competitive analysis, we also take a deep dive into our competitors’ existing content. What does their content look like? How regularly are they publishing? You’ll want to stand out just enough in terms of tone of voice and imagery, while also following established best practices.
  • Who is my target audience? Defining your target audience helps you choose your content topics and build a strategy that answers their questions. That’s why we work so hard to define and understand a target audience for your growth content strategy.
  • What tools do I use? There are many SEO tools out there. We use SEMRush to perform a keyword gap analysis to glean important takeaways.

screen cap of visibility and keyword ranking in semrush

Step 2: Define your strategy

All that research you did in step 1 will reveal the content strategy that will benefit you the most – but you must know where to look. Research will reveal different gaps and goals for everyone, so there’s no real blueprint here. This is where it’s super helpful to have the guidance of an expert that can spot opportunities and overlay a strategy designed to be efficient, effective, and keep goals in sight. 

We have tons of examples of growth marketing strategies we can share with you. Here’s one we compiled for a client with a relatively new business and a site that didn’t have much content:

  • Create content to capture searches that are at the top of the funnel. This means focusing on long-term keywords to grab impressions and clicks at the beginning of the customer journey.
  • Ensure all pieces of content are rich with keywords and, more importantly, that those keywords are followed by useful information for SMEs.
  • Target high-traffic keywords and create content that will capture traffic. We want to go after industry-specific terms that the customers you want are searching for.
  • Ensure your landing pages are working for you. We’ll test your landing pages to ensure they’re answering audience questions and helping to initiate action.
  • Creating guides, how-tos, and informational content for your blog. This will help us construct pillars that we can back link to creating a content web.

Step 3: Determine your focus keywords

No SEO strategy is complete without keywords. As part of on-page SEO, they’re vital to ensuring that whatever is produced is targeted and strategic. Google is clear on how to get your content to rank: Answer your audience’s questions in a concise, authoritative way. But what should your keywords be?

After you perform a keyword gap analysis among your competitors look for opportunities in the 10,000+ keywords where the competition is lower (<75) – lower competition means you’ll have a better chance to rank. Then whittle those down to a more manageable number.

Next hone in on projections. If you start with a pillar piece, you can estimate that if you get on page 1 you can get a piece of the total keyword traffic volume. Do this by taking the total volume of keywords for that piece of content and estimating around 15% of that total.

Sound complicated? It’s just another day on the job for our SEO experts.  

Step 4: Set traffic targets

Growth marketing always comes back to one thing: your goals. And when it comes to SEO content strategy, one of the most important growth marketing metrics is traffic: 60% of marketers say that inbound – which includes SEO and blog content – is their highest quality source of leads. When your traffic goes up, your leads and revenue should follow.

In most cases, you’ll want to see key indicators of growth such as higher search rankings and new traffic within 60–90 days of publishing. Then, within four to five months you’ll want to see significant traction toward your client acquisition goals

Based on your existing organic growth and your growth content plan, benchmark what your organic traffic is like now and set a goal for how much you want it to increase. Then, take the CVR of your current organic traffic and use it to make a projection about how many new customers/clients your new strategy will drive. 

a graph showing different kinds of site traffic in semrush

Step 5: Execute and report

It’s go time. Content is most effective when it’s published consistently over time, so put together your content calendar and get writing. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content, enlist help. You can find freelance writers on Upwork, LinkedIn, Fiverr, and more. 

Provide them with an outline of the topic and keywords, plus guidelines on your brand identity and style. Even though this is performance content designed to generate traffic, it will also serve as an introduction to your brand for many people, so make sure your tone of voice is consistent and on point. 

Creating and managing a holistic SEO content strategy is pretty involved. Use a project management software to stay organized (we use Trello). You’ll also want to keep a simple spreadsheet that showcases performance and helps you understand what’s generating the most traction over time. SEO content strategy is an ongoing process that is always being updated, refined, and improved to get the best results.