International SEO Case Study: How to Generate More Than 2 Million Sessions Without Spending a Cent on Ads

International SEO Case Study: How to Generate More Than 2 Million Sessions Without Spending a Cent on Ads

One thing I’ve been learning ever since I began my SEO journey is how this strategy stands out in achieving permanent and organic long term results.

This was difficult to understand when I first started to study. But when I embraced a new opportunity as editor of one of our blogs, these concepts soon came into focus.

I say this based on the results we achieved with our Spanish-language content, focused on the international market.

Through constant growth, the blog became the best place to prove our Content Marketing knowledge daily.

After all, this is the same specialty we offer to our customers. Thus, we must position Rock Content as a strong example of the value we add to the market.

And this is only possible thanks to our committed team:

LatAm team

We can’t forget to mention our international network of copywriters, proofreaders, translators, and designers. They continuously strive to produce incredible materials for Rock Content’s blogs, as well as for our clients.

Without the skills of this talent pool, we would not see the constant improvements we have achieved as a company.

In reaching this goal, I need to share an important detail about our Spanish blog that makes it even more special.

In five years of history, we have not run any ad campaigns through Google or social networks to promote the content we publish.

In other words, all our brand’s online relevance in the Spanish-language was built through organic authority.

We reached the top results on Google through valuable ranked content that respects the best SEO practices and our own digital content production.

To wrap up this introduction, I invite you to join me on a deep dive into this international SEO success case that led to our blog reaching over 2 million sessions without spending anything on ads.

Come on this journey with me!

A little history for context

Our first digital ranking efforts for Hispanic markets began in mid-2015 when we launched our “Marketing de Contenidos” blog.

This was the channel where we published articles on advertising, Digital Marketing, and content production for the web.

In May 2016, blog posts became more frequent and of higher quality, thanks to the arrival of Valentina Giraldo, my great mentor in this universe.

The content created during this period allowed us to start building natural authority by indexing our first keywords on Google. Growth continued to gradually increase throughout 2019, as you can see in this graph:

google analytics spanish

Why the huge drop in traffic in early 2019? Find out what happened below!

Domain migration: the blow that launched our growth

After some market studies and projections, Rock Content decided to incorporate all managed domains, including the Spanish-language blog, into the company’s root domain: rockcontent.com.

This change sought to strengthen the main domain, with an eye on plans for global growth.

In February 2019, the technical migration of the blog address was complete, moving our content from the old domain (marketingdecontenidos.com) to our current virtual home (rockcontent.com/es/blog/), as you can see below:

migration of our spanish blog

This type of structural change generally has significant impacts on a site’s visibility and page crawl by algorithms from Google and other search engines.

This is because it takes time for search engines to understand that the old pages still exist and that they were just moved to another site.

With a drop in the number of blog visitors and the loss of important keywords on Google, we started our recovery process.

We executed a series of techniques and strategies to earn back our organic blog traffic — which had always been our main competitive advantage.

In a bit, we’ll detail all of these actions and how they led us to the 2 million sessions we celebrated in 2020.

In November 2019, after eight months focused on resuming growth, we once more outperformed the previous year, as shown in this graph:

comparison between 2019 and 2018 traffic

By February, the blog still featured an excellent organic presence, leading us to the fantastic milestone of 1 million sessions!

Even better, in March, we exceeded 1.5 million sessions, then in April more than 2 million, so it was no one-off event!

One incredible data point about our growth trajectory: 87% of our total traffic through February came from pages ranked organically on Google.

sources of traffic

When comparing traffic sources, the “Paid search” option doesn’t even show up. This hasn’t changed over time, as seen in our blog’s Ahrefs traffic report from February 2020:

ahrefs account showing that we don't use ads

Another interesting factor in this journey is the number of countries that were frequently accessing our blog.

We want to communicate with all marketing professionals in Latin America, and this is reflected in the traffic locations from our millionaire month:

different countries audience

Having shared with you our achievements, I think we’re ready to dive into the ocean of strategies that brought us here.

As I said at the beginning of this post, Content Marketing requires patience. So, initiatives can reap future rewards.

Let’s continue!

11 strategies we implemented to achieve these results

Content Marketing depends on several factors to generate positive results in the long run.

There is no point in producing posts that give you all green dots in your Yoast SEO WordPress plugin if they’re not providing real value to the user.

Moreover, it’s not enough to get many backlinks from a single website, as Google’s algorithm values the diversity of domains that link to a page.

As a result, we hit our seven-digit number only through a combination of different strategies, allowing us to consolidate the organic authority that we enjoy today.

Here are the details of this entire plan!

1. Production of relevant content for users

This is the basic premise for success that every company must keep in mind for any strategy to obtain a good ranking on Google.

Increasingly, search engine algorithms weigh the fluidity of the user’s reading experience, the diversity of content formats, in addition to the main one: the user’s question is answered with qualified, accurate, and well-structured information.

When searching for a keyword, the user always has a specific intention behind it, revealing what they want to find.

With in-depth data analysis, we can extract ideas to structure the content we produce, thereby directing it to meet our audience’s needs. This effort is called keyword research.

As part of this strategy, it’s essential to carefully observe the Google results page (SERP) in which we want to rank our content. That gives us a better idea of ​​which groups of information should be present in our article.

Take, for example, the blog post that we produced about “target audience” (in Spanish, mercado meta), which today is located in the featured snippet.

Analyzing other sites that appeared on Google for this keyword, it was clear that the user wanted to find content that explored the concept and its practical applications well.

This intention is also observable through the “Related searches”, which appear at the bottom of the page:

related searches for "mercado meta"

With this information in hand, we were able to define our article’s subheadings, which, as you can see below, are directly related to the user’s questions from the SERP.

subtitles of the mercado meta text

This way, we filled out each subheading with the most qualified information for the subject. 

Additionally, we proposed a conceptual definition for the term “mercado meta” that seemed to be the best answer for the user.

This caused the Google algorithm to include us in the featured snippet, which increased our visibility in the search engine.

mercado meta got the feature snippet

We routinely repeat this process to prepare our articles, which lifted us to Google’s top and the millions of sessions we celebrate today.

2. Frequently published content

Another important point for the results we achieved is the volume of new content that we published over our traffic recovery months.

Consider what would happen if you published an article every three months on your blog.

Google’s algorithm would understand that there is no coordinated and committed work behind its channel. That would lead to prioritizing alternative sites that deliver relevant new content to users more consistently.

That’s why we improved the agility of our content production workflow with the help of our strong and qualified base of copywriters, proofreaders, and translators.

The most interesting thing is that, just like with our blog, this base also allows our customers to maximize their publications’ frequency!

Our publishing rate was also driven by the fact that we used the Rock Studio platform to automate steps such as:

  • organizing references for producing articles;
  • documenting information about the buyer persona;
  • keeping track of the duration of each production stage, such as writing, proofreading, and final review;
  • integrating with free image banks;
  • displaying a Kanban-style task panel, which allows you to quickly identify whether an article is open, in production, or completed;
  • analyzing keywords and competitors.

3. Complete user journey on the blog

It’s great to attract 2 million users to the blog, but:

  • What pages do they access when they arrive?
  • Do they leave the blog after only seeing a single page?
  • Do they leave any personal information for future contact?
  • Do they return to the blog regularly to find new information?

These questions are very important because they help us understand users’ next steps after arriving at the blog.

After all, we don’t want them to access just one page and leave right away.

To encourage the user to provide their contact information at some point and subsequently become a customer, we need to create content that serves them across all stages of the sales funnel:

  • recognizing the problem;
  • considering solutions;
  • purchase decision.

Through our blog, we’re not looking to create content just to reach a position on Google and attract visitors.

We approach each topic in depth, providing a variety of navigation routes, and gradually educate users on the concepts we present in our material.

For example, since SEO is a pillar of our value proposition, we have over 50 articles on our blog on the subject.

This offers many opportunities to prove to users that we are specialists in search engine optimization, encouraging them to consider us when they are ready to execute this strategy in their companies.

Also, the time visitors spend on a blog is an important ranking factor for Google and your digital presence in general.

If the average duration of visits to your blog is 15 minutes, while your competitors’ is 5 minutes, the algorithms will consider your content to be more relevant to the user than that of other sites.

The following factors are essential to creating an engaging browsing experience for your potential customers:

  • attractive CTAs (calls to action) that encourage users to access other blog pages;
  • internal links to pages with related content, for users to follow the intended steps;
  • content across different formats, such as videos, infographics, images, and podcasts.

4. Deep keyword research

As I already mentioned, choosing the right keywords in a Content Marketing strategy is essential for success.

This is especially true as it makes no sense to invest time, effort, and resources to reach the top of Google with pages that don’t attract qualified organic traffic to our sales processes via Inbound Marketing.

In addition, being among the top 3 Google results generates technical authority in the market.

After all, if we are a Digital Marketing company, we wouldn’t want to be the first hit for a keyword like “amusement parks in Orlando”. 

With our knowledge of SEO, we could do it, but it’d be a huge waste of time and energy.

So, how to choose the best terms for your strategy? Here are two factors that we always take into account.

Balancing head-tails and long-tails

According to data collected by Brian Dean, 75% of clicks on Google’s SERP are given to the first three results.

With that in mind, it’d be great to rank among the top 3 for the most requested keywords, such as “marketing”, “advertising”, or “sales”, right? No one could complain about ranking so high.

However, as you can imagine, many sites are competing for these terms, which makes winning them super difficult — although not impossible.

These great terms are referred to as head-tails. They have high competition and low specifications.

Someone looking for “sales” may want to find many factors related to the topic, so it’s not so easy to identify their intention right away.

On the other hand, there is a category of terms with a lower volume of searches, which indicates a more qualified visitor. These are called long-tails.

For example, the keyword “hire a content marketing strategy” has 20 monthly searches in Mexico, so it’s unlikely to bring a massive amount of traffic.

However, it is convenient to be in the first position for the term, so we consider it when producing our content.

In our experience, the balance between these two types of keywords worked well. Our content on marketing is in the top position in Mexico for that term, as you can see:

we have the 1st position for "marketing" in mexico

And the traffic that this content generated for us in February was very significant since it receives more than 40 thousand monthly searches in the country:

analytics on our marketing post

On the other hand, the keyword “interactive marketing” has only 320 Google searches in Mexico, measured here by SEMrush.

interactive marketing search volume

However, we must position ourselves well, as one of our products — Ion — is directly linked to the term, and our content on the topic brings us a significant number of sessions.

interactive marketing analytics

Increasing the performance of existing content

Another area where keyword research is very important is updating content.

When we need to decide which changes we’re going to make on each page, one of the goals is to get this content classified correctly on Google for more keywords.

For example, take our article on software types, currently the featured snippet for Mexico’s SERP.

software types post

Initially, this post contained only information about each type of software. When we decided to update the article, we ran an investigation in SEMrush to discover new keywords that we could add.

We found that, for each type of software, there was a good monthly search volume for the subtypes — 1,300, 880, and 590.

search volume for related keywords

So, we used this data and updated the article, including information about each software type: application, programming, and system.

our text on software types

After a while, we reached first place for the broadest keyword — “tipos de software” — and second place for the terms:

  • software de aplicación;
  • software de programación;
  • software de sistema.

This was a fantastic result because it allowed us to greatly increase the performance of content that we had already produced.

5. International SEO techniques

This is a very peculiar feature of our content strategy. Spanish speakers — native or not — know that there are many variations in the use of words among Hispanic countries, and even within a single one.

It turns out that these linguistic peculiarities cannot be ignored when setting up an SEO strategy.

Google’s algorithm sorts pages according to the terms that users in each country or region use for their searches.

That’s why there is a set of international SEO techniques. We apply them daily to our blog so that our articles appear organically on Google for different Spanish-speaking countries.

Here is the current ranking of the countries with the most monthly visitors to our Spanish blog, based on February data.

ranking of the countries with the most monthly visitors

Although Mexico and Colombia stand out as our main audiences, we communicate with all markets and don’t want to be invisible anywhere.

This leads to posts we publish conquering the top Google position in several countries simultaneously, like the one we created about “slogan”:

countries that most visit our slogan post

However, we have some priority markets according to our business strategy, reflected in the words and themes we choose for our content. 

Most of the articles we produce are oriented based on user behavior in these markets.

Trying to meet audiences’ needs from different geographic locations, such as across Latin America and Europe, we continue with our content strategy and rank organically on Google.

Here are some of the processes that we carry out to create our distributed presence in the digital realm.

Content for specific national markets

Producing materials directly related to users’ semantic context in your country is a great initiative to generate organic traffic in a market of interest to the company.

We do this with Mexico, for example, in the following content:

list with value of the most relevant brands in Mexico

Here, we try to link a subject that is an essential part of our corporate universe — marketing — with the intention of the local user: to find information about the value of the most relevant brands in Mexico.

By combining these two factors, we achieved a privileged position on the SERP.

Optimization for local keywords

Although they refer to the same concept, the word “marketing” and its translations into Spanish mercadotecnia and mercadeo are used with varying degrees within Spanish-speaking countries.

Transferring this to the universe of SEO, we see many variations for each of these keywords that will only be relevant in local contexts.

We explored this feature on our Spanish blog, producing content for the more common terms on a country-by-country basis in Mexico, Colombia, and other nations.

Consequently, we generate value for a local audience, resulting in new organic traffic to our blog and increased communication opportunities with these national markets.

Check out the traffic on these pages with the keyword “mercadotecnia” produced for our Mexican audience, which constantly uses the term in the corporate world. There were more than 200,000 sessions in February from just these articles!

analytics for mercadotecnia

We certainly wouldn’t have reached that number without our goal to offer the best possible content for each country in our regional audience.

Authoritative backlinks in each national market

A site that receives high-quality links from multiple sites is halfway to the top of Google.

 It’s even better if these backlinks come from very strong domains in a specific market, such as a country.

To achieve this, a great option is to look for content portals that open their publication spaces for invited authors.

As part of our effort, we found portals like Gestiopolis, a news channel that receives a lot of traffic in Colombia and covers business management topics.

rock content's post for Gestiopolis

By publishing content there and on similar sites, through intense research in the digital environment, we have significantly increased our number of qualified backlinks.

backlink traffic

It’s worth mentioning here that it’s not advisable to receive links from sites that send spam, as this may have the opposite effect and incur penalties from Google.

So, before obtaining a new external link, carefully check the site’s credibility.

You will see that the growth curve of the number of domains sending links to our blog is very similar to the increase in sessions that we had through February.

This shows the importance of backlinks in positioning your site to generate a greater organic presence.

Adapting content with local examples

In addition to producing specific content for subjects and keywords of local interest, we try to connect with our readers’ semantic references, including articles that target a wider audience.

For example, in our branding piece, we included success stories from Spanish-language brands, such as Bancolombia.

branding piece mentioning bancolombia

If we had selected only non-Spanish-speaking brand examples from the US or Europe, the algorithm would have less incentive to identify our content relevant to a Colombian audience.

This is a factor that increases our chances of ranking our content in our targeted markets. 

We consider this point for the content we produce from scratch and those we translate from our Portuguese blog.

That’s why we talk about adapted content, not translations. After all, you identify more strongly with material containing references closer to your universe of experience than with material based beyond your sphere of knowledge, right?

Investigate specific SERPs

In international SEO, you must always pay attention to differences in the user’s intention in each country. This analysis is crucial to define how an article will be structured.

For example, I will share what happened to me when I was about to define the skeleton of our article on personal marketing (in Spanish, marketing personal).

Using keyword tools, I found that this term had an average of 590 monthly searches in Mexico. 

The SERP indicated users’ interest in learning more about the concept of personal marketing and its strategies. So far, so good.

personal marketing SERP

But when I looked for the same term in the SEMrush report, it showed 110,000 searches per month in Colombia.

At that moment, I thought: “Great! I’ll just direct the content to the Google page in Colombia to get all this massive traffic.”

So, I came across a surprising reality: in Colombia, there is a company — probably well known — called Marketing Personal, with some offices around the country!

personal marketing company

Right away, I understood that it would not be convenient to write the article based on the behavior of Colombian users because we would never win on this results page.

So that’s how I decided to prioritize the Mexican SERP, where the article currently ranks fifth.

Technical localization resources on the website

If our website and blog were not configured to appear in the countries we want to communicate with, the work of SEO and Content Marketing would have very limited results.

It is essential to implement geolocation features on your domain’s pages, so the algorithm can understand where you want to direct your content.

There are many technical parameters related to this subject that we won’t be able to explore in detail now, so I recommend reading these two blog posts:

  • Hreflang Tag — what it is and how to use it to generate real results in international SEO.
  • Technical SEO — complete step by step for you to leverage your website.

6. Link building

I’ve already mentioned the value of obtaining quality backlinks to your blog and how this strategy benefits us until today.

The interesting thing is that there are many ways to increase the number and diversity of sites that link to our pages.

Here are two more link building tactics that allowed us to improve our performance in this context and, as a result, increase the level of our blog’s presence on Google.

Guest posts

A company always has partners to establish friendly relationships with, which is very convenient when it comes to getting backlinks.

This can be done through guest posts, consisting of articles that you produce to post on other blogs.

The idea is to contact companies that develop content related to your market and propose topics and content relevant to their audience. By doing so, you get advantages including:

  • reaching new audiences;
  • getting brand mentions in new spaces;
  • capturing new high quality and valuable backlinks for search engine ranking;
  • educating the market with relevant information about its segment;
  • positioning yourself as an authority.

Below is an example of the guest post we recently published on the Hotmart blog, a reference in Latin America’s digital products market.

guest post with hotmart

Before closing a guest post, make sure that:

  • the company’s domain has a high domain authority — you can see this in tools like MozBar;
  • the company that manages the blog is credible and does not send spam;
  • the associated blog operates in a market similar to yours since links must have a coherent context to be valued by Google’s algorithm.

Content production with viral potential

Well-written material with relevant information for the user is likely to be shared on channels such as social networks and newsletters. Thus, we always try to produce our posts to make them attractive and pleasant for the user.

This is another great opportunity to get natural backlinks to your blog and attract new users. 

Traffic from other sites can be tracked in the “Referral” section of the Google Analytics “Acquisition > Source/Media” report.

As you can see, in February, we had 13 thousand user sessions that visited us from other blogs and websites.

referral traffic

And when you create good content, you are met with wonderful surprises.

A few weeks ago, our post on culture in international marketing was chosen as one of the best articles of the month by the Marketing Association of Spain. Incredible, isn’t it?

our post was choosen as one of the best in the month by the marketing association of spain

7. Topic clusters

The topic clusters methodology was created a few years ago by HubSpot, a worldwide reference in online marketing.

It consists of a semantic structure created to guide the architecture of content and pages for a website or blog to offer search engines a more logical crawling experience.

In other words, the objective is for content based around main themes, which unfold in related subthemes, thus creating “semantic orbits” within the site.

I will offer an example from our blog in Spanish to make it clearer. One of the main themes we explore is SEO, so we have an in-depth and complete article on the concept.

However, in this area, there are many other associated concepts, such as:

In this case, building topic clusters implies creating other specific pages on these subthemes. 

So, when Google’s algorithm tracks each one, such pieces will be understood as revolving around the major theme.

In technical terms, these connections are established by internal links. This means that, in our pillar post about SEO, we need to put links to the secondary pages listed previously.

And the same happens in reverse. On each of these specific pages, there must be an internal link to the main page.

Establishing these two-way streets reinforces the main pages of the blog through many others.

This is because an internal link conveys the idea that the linked content presents detailed information about the term where the link is located, called the anchor text.

But how do we put this strategy into practice?

Select the main themes and keywords for the blog

The first step is to define the main terms of your content strategy. The idea is to produce a pillar post for each of these terms. So, we concentrate on as much relevant information on the subject as possible.

For example, on our Spanish blog, we produced a complete Digital Marketing guide. It’s a 5,000-word post that provides data and explanations about the most important concepts and terms on the topic.

Thus, we defined “Digital Marketing” as one of the main keywords of the blog.

Before creating the pillar post, we already had in mind the related keywords from an investigation carried out in tools such as SEMrush. These secondary keywords are those we explored in the article.

Another important point when planning topic clusters is your buyer persona.

Remember that the main themes should be based on thematic groups that will attract the ideal customer and not on what we think should appear on the blog.

In this sense, the most effective questions to ask are:

  • With what keywords would I like the user to find me at the top of Google?
  • In what themes and segments my brand is an authority?

Content production

After the keyword analysis process and the choice of the main themes, we start the material execution phase.

A reflection I always make when preparing an article using the topic cluster method is: when the user thinks of this subject, what other terms do they think of?

Next, I make a list of these terms and try to design the best way to explore them in the post, clearly showing how they are interrelated.

Analyzing keyword tools is also a great resource for designing the skeleton of posts.

Here are the main ones I use.

Answer The Public

Answer The Public shows terms that orbit around a chosen concept. In addition, it proposes user searches in the form of questions.

Answer The Public
Google image search

When you enter the SERP images section and search for a keyword, the algorithm’s suggestions about related terms appear at the top of the page.

This is great for generating ideas for concepts that can be explored in the subheadings of a post.

google image search
Keyword Magic Tool

This SEMrush functionality is quite complete and offers more detailed data about the possible variations of a keyword, such as the volume of monthly searches and the difficulty of organic positioning.

Keyword Magic Tool

Another important factor for the success of a pillar post is the presentation of information in different formats.

This increases the user’s time on the page, in addition to the chances of getting a good Google ranking for highly disputed keywords. 

It is a competitive differential concerning other blogs.

Our article on Digital Marketing, for example, has screenshots, videos, and infographics.

Internal link scheme

Once the content is ready, you need to analyze the internal links. As I mentioned above, they allow Google’s algorithm to navigate among pages and understand that there are thematic correlations among them.

A good practice to achieve this is to include the pillar post’s content as the first internal link of the secondary posts.

This is necessary because there is a hierarchy of links on pages. Thus, the first is more important than the second and so on.

You can see that, in our Digital Marketing pillar post, there is an internal link to the content about e-commerce.

internal link building example

At the same time, in the article on e-commerce, the first internal link is directed to the content on Digital Marketing, completing our two-way street.

internal link building example

By applying these techniques, our Marketing Digital post has ranked in the top 3 Google results for Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and other Hispanic countries. In our millionaire month of March, it brought us over 18,000 sessions:

traffic from those pages

8. Content update

The content we produce does not always perform well on SERPs as soon as it’s launched. 

That’s why, from time to time, we need to update the material produced, thinking about how to get them to the top of Google.

Updating content is also very important for preventing our competitors from overtaking us and removing keywords that we already have ranked.

After all, old content loses relevance if it is not improved over time, even if, in essence, it addresses timeless concepts like “marketing”. It is always necessary to keep up with changes.

How do we guide our analysis to know what content should be updated and what modifications they need? There are a few essential processes for this.

Insights from SEO tools

With the countless data generated by users and websites, using SEO software is always a valid option. The information they provide helps us to make better decisions.

Google Search Console

One tool that I usually explore to discover possible updates is Google Search Console.

Although best known for providing reports on technical factors, such as sitemaps, errors, and loading speed, it also provides useful data on how Google sees your blog.

Take a look at the following example of our post on the advantages and disadvantages of social networks.

Although we raised the negative points in the post, we initially optimized it only for the keyword “ventajas de las redes sociales” (advantages of social networks), for which we occupy second place today.

post on advantages of social networks

It turns out that the SEO titles of competitors also covered the disadvantages, while ours highlighted only the advantages — this was before the update; the image above is from the updated version.

When I realized this, I checked to see if the Search Console could shed some light.

Analyzing the data, I realized that the search “ventajas y desventajas de las redes sociales” (advantages and disadvantages of social networks) generated 35,395 impressions (page views on Google) but had a CTR (clickthrough rate) of only 2.3%.

google search console on advantages and disadvantages of social networks

To improve this performance, I changed the SEO title and added the disadvantages, which allowed us to gain new positions in the SERP for the keywords and increase post traffic. In March, this resulted in 5,560 sessions.

SEMrush

Again, it’s worth mentioning the Keyword Magic Tool feature. In the post we made about slogans, the tool showed us that the “creative slogans” variation had 1,600 searches per month in Mexico.

keyword magic tool

We decided to include it in the publication’s SEO title. As a result, it became the keyword’s featured snippet and the top position for the head-tail “slogan” in Mexico.

creative slogans posts

With these and other keywords indexed, the piece brought us incredible 34,000 sessions from all Hispanic countries.

Meeting the user’s intention

In some situations, it is better to rethink old content to identify whether it is responding correctly to the user’s intention with a keyword.

To update our article on newsletters, we have considered all the associated terms below in an attempt to make the page gain positions in new SERPs.

associetes terms for the newsletter post

We’ve also looked closely at the related searches feature:

related searches for newsletter

And finally, we considered questions related to the topic:

questions related to the topic

From there, we updated the article, adding information on:

  • newsletter features;
  • how to make one;
  • examples of newsletters;
  • and other points.

In March, this post reached Google’s top position in Mexico and brought us more than 5,500 sessions.

9. SEO Hacks

Some SEO techniques can be routinely put into practice to increase your organic traffic, as we do on our blog. The following are some of the most common.

Increase CTR

Click-through rate (CTR) can be a great competitive advantage for a blog on Google’s results pages.

After all, you may not reach first place on the SERP, but it is important to be located at the top of the user’s screen and try to win the click with a creative and original title or a relevant meta description.

The Google Search Console tool provides CTR data for all pages on a blog. There, I saw that only 1% of users clicked on our post on Digital Marketing when looking for “online marketing”.

online marketing search console

Analyzing the SERP, I noticed that the other blogs that appeared in the search used the keyword “online marketing” in their SEO titles, an important ranking factor on Google.

I decided to implement it in our post to test if more users would click when viewing the article on SERP. 

Then, we reached 1.5% CTR for “online marketing”. In addition, the total page CTR increased to 2.5%.

This may seem small, but, considering there are more than 150,000 possible clicks per month for that term, the increase is relevant.

online marketing SERP

Acquire Featured Snippets

At the end of January 2020, Google announced that featured snippets would become SERPs’ new first position

Analyses are still being carried out to understand whether this change increased or decreased the organic click rate of blogs located in featured snippets.

However, we know that this fact indicates that the visibility provided by these answer boxes is still quite advantageous.

Since May 2019, we have intensified our efforts to obtain featured snippets by implementing some good practices. 

For example: we currently have an extensive piece on “comercio electrônico” (e-commerce) and a secondary one on “tipos de comércio eletrônico” (types of e-commerce).

However, this last post had a very long definition of e-commerce, which did not make much sense. 

After all, the keyword “types” indicates that the user should already understand the concept.

So, we decided to remove the subheading that explained the concept and transferred it to the main post on e-commerce.

Then, we edited the “types” article to make it more straightforward, with a list of the seven most important e-commerce models and their characteristics.

Thus, when arriving at our article, the algorithm understood more quickly that we are responding appropriately to the user’s intention — in this case, to find a list with several elements.

After a while, we achieved the featured snippet for that keyword.

e-commerce types

Furthermore, with a clear definition of the concept, our main e-commerce post also reached the first position in Mexico’s SERP.

1st position for e-commerce in mexico SERP

In March, the two posts together brought us more than 22,000 sessions.

e-commerce traffic

10. Cleaning the blog

The more a blog grows, the harder it must work to keep up with its maturity level.

This requires checking whether it’s convenient to update all old content since, in many cases, updating the pages may be unnecessary.

It sounds scary, but sometimes, the right thing to do is delete some pages permanently and not reactivate them.

We call this “blog cleaning”, a process we have applied with great attention over the past year and a half. That consists of a few essential steps:

  • identify pages that do not generate high or relevant organic traffic;
  • analyze whether such contents and their respective keywords address issues that make sense for your strategy or not;
  • interpret the causes of their poor performance;
  • define whether pages will be deleted or updated;
  • if they are deleted, redirect the deleted page to the URL of the content you want the user to access;
  • if they are updated, decide whether it’s worth taking advantage of the page’s authority and just change the content or whether it’s better to create a new URL.

The most common situations for deleting a blog’s content happen when:

  • two or more pages conflict because they are very similar;
  • the page is no longer relevant to the buyer persona;
  • the page that generates little traffic takes away the strength of the main page because it is indexed in Google instead;
  • among others.

A few months ago, we undertook a cleaning that brought us very interesting results.

We had two blog posts about storytelling, and the oldest was what Google classified for the keyword “storytelling”, but we wanted our new post to be indexed.

So, we decided to delete the old page and add a 302 redirect for the user to access the most recent content. We requested the page to be reindexed on Google Search Console and then awaited the results.

Over time, the new article started to gain positions on the SERP, and, in February, it reached second place for storytelling in Mexico!

storytelling post

In March, the page brought us 5,600 sessions.

11. Different formats

I’ve already mentioned the importance of including various content formats in your production, but I think it’s worth reinforcing this aspect.

You may often worry too much about the number of words in your text. But the key to success in Content Marketing is to produce for people and optimize for search engines.

There is no point in writing a lot of words, repeating keywords over and over, and hoping it will help you reach the top of Google.

Everything I have shared so far reveals the need to produce quality materials for users so that they want to interact constantly with your blog.

One of the best ways to do this is to convey the same message in different content formats. I’ll show you how we did it.

Screenshots

Screen captures are a great resource to generate value and authority for your content, as they allow you to illustrate the information mentioned.

It is also a creative way of breaking a long string of words, ending up boring the user and making them leave the page.

Remember that scannability is one of the UX (user experience) factors that Googlebot considers when ranking pages.

Screenshots are very useful in content that walks users through a step-by-step to use some software, such as this guide we did on Mailchimp.

images in the posts

Infographics

Paying attention to visual content never hurts in Digital Marketing, especially when using infographics.

This type of material provides relevant information in a pleasant and fun way, catching the user’s attention. 

Also, they have great potential to go viral due to the ease of sharing on social networks.

See this example that we included in our article on buyer personas:

infographic in post

Videos

Cisco’s study projected that 80% of all internet traffic will be generated by videos by 2021. 

It is a format that is increasingly consolidated in the digital environment, so it is very convenient to use in blog posts.

Another point that we must not forget is the time the user stays on the page, which can increase considerably when there is a video.

In our blog, we include videos in several posts, like this one about the most striking advertisements in recent years:

videos in text

This journey has been very special for me, as well as for everyone who collaborates with me on this opportunity, managing our blog for the Hispanic market.

We have a fully committed team who work hard to provide the Latin American Marketing universe with the best possible content.

Likewise, we work to implement on our clients’ blogs the techniques and methodologies that have worked for us.

That’s how we impacted over 2 million sessions in the last few months with our materials!

And we are sure that, if we keep pace, millions more will come organically. This will allow us to keep growing through international SEO without spending on ads, as I laid out over the course of this post.

Throughout this journey, we have collected valuable lessons that consolidate our authority in Content Marketing strategies.

If you want more detail about the processes and factors that make Rock Content the best option to increase your company’s digital presence, come and talk to our team of experts!

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