In April 2019, we launched TopLine Film, a new brand for our video production company. That meant a brand new website that needed to start generating leads fast.
The B2B SEO objectives
- Get the new site up and running quickly.
- Get that new site to rank on Google for keywords that a client might use when looking for a video company.
- Generate organic search traffic and leads.
Some things we didn’t do
This B2B SEO case study needs to highlight some of the most common website launch mistakes we actively avoided, including:
- Expecting our web development agency to handle SEO. We knew that generating organic leads was crucial to our success as a business, so we didn’t leave this important task to people whose specialism is building websites.
- Get caught up in aesthetics. We knew that the site needed to look great (and we think it does), but we really cared that the site should function as a lead gen machine and so our CEO’s personal preference for minimalism took a back seat: from a B2B SEO perspective, it had to host a lot of written as well as visual content.
- Do the design first and then worry about SEO later. That’s kind of like building a house first and then choosing where the rooms will go. It wastes so much time.
- Kill the pages on the old site and then start a new one. Nope, instead we forwarded and redirected URLs to make sure we didn’t lose any traffic, link equity or a single potential lead.
The things we did do
This B2B SEO case study shows the importance of following a really clear process. We started with detailed keyword research, looking for keywords that:
- Suggested the searcher needed to make a video or animation (e.g. “video animation company” i.e. in the buying phase) and wasn’t just looking for more information on the subject (e.g. “video animation” i.e. in the research phase).
- Were actually being searched for – sounds obvious but you’d be surprised by how many times SEO agencies show off first place rankings for keywords with no search volume.
- We thought we could rank for – for this we checked out the competition to see who we had to outrank.
We then had a long list of 266 keywords we wanted to target. We took this list, and used it to guide us in deciding which pages we needed to create – resulting in 44 core pages and over 100 blog topics – and where they would sit in the new site’s directory structure i.e. our corporate video page would be the parent page for lots of different types of corporate videos (otherwise known as the child pages e.g. a child page specially about testimonial videos), thus ensuring Google recognises TopLine Film as a corporate video production expert.
We then set about producing our web copy. We knew that we needed a fair bit of copy on each page, and so we came up with a process for deciding what needed to be included. This process covered:
- Highlighting our USPs – we interviewed our production team on this.
- Researching the competition – to make sure our content was more comprehensive and engaging.
- Using Google’s Keyword Planner and the Moz keyword suggestion tool to identify which additional keywords to use on each page.
- Ensuring we included trust signals, like testimonials, client logos and award wins.
- Making it very easy to figure out how to contact us.
- Using our target keywords and synonyms naturally throughout the text.
- Structuring content to target available featured snippets we uncovered during the keyword research process.
- Drafting dedicated machine readable structured data for each page, to be exclusively consumed by search engines and uploaded in the backend of the CMS. It contained information on TopLine Film’s brand details (logo, address, contract details, social profiles etc.) and the service highlighted on each page: its name and description (e.g. corporate video production); the target audience it was intended for (e.g. CMOs); who was providing the service (us!); and other services we offered it was related to (e.g. case study videos, HR videos, internal comms videos, recruitment videos, testimonial videos and training videos)in order to build relevance for that particular type of video production.
- Strategically linking to other pages on our site using optimised anchor text.
We had three people proof the copy for each page to make sure we were doing our best work. All the while, our web developers were working on the look and feel of the site, and our graphic designers were choosing imagery.
We tested the new site and verified it in Search Console
Prior to the site going live we crawled it in the testing environment with our web crawling software to identify any technical issues or orphan pages. We also set our technical SEO attack dogs on it to look for any technical SEO problems ranging from errant canonical tags to problems with mobile/desktop content parity. We ensured it was hidden from search engines while we did this to avoid any duplicate content headaches – something that would have truly hindered the success of this B2B SEO case study.
We migrated and redirected popular video content
We’d previously created video content on the TopLine Comms site in the form of blogs and landing pages which attracted a lot of monthly traffic and offsite links. To ensure we kept as much of this traffic and PageRank as possible we identified these assets and then planned where they would live on the new site. This enabled us to create redirects in advance which took visitors, and search engines, to TopLine Film instead, as soon as they were activated.
We took care of offsite signals…
To ensure Google understood TopLine Film was an ‘entity’ in itself we had to create an online presence – this included creating its own Google My Business and social profiles, while also ensuring staff updated their professional social profiles. We also commissioned research to run a PR campaign for initial brand and link building purposes.
We populated the site with the content
When all the text and imagery was ready, we populated the site with content and published it. We submitted a sitemap to Search Console containing all of the new pages and individually requested Google crawled each of our important lead generation landing pages. We also kept an eye on the Index Coverage report in Search Console to ensure Google wasn’t struggling to reach any parts of the new site.
Then we started blogging
We kept the site up to date with regular blogs. But we made sure our blog content had a purpose. We were guided by:
- Long tail keywords from the keyword research exercise.
- Campaigns like why not to use whiteboard animations.
- Company news like our EVCOM video production award.
- The priority keywords we wanted to rank for – Google has said sites should hone in on their subject matter expertise because what “…you’re essentially doing is… building out your reputation of knowledge on that specific topic area.”
And we started link building (and brand building)
We’re fortunate to have the backing of our B2B PR agency team, who worked with us on link building and brand building. We provided comments on marketing blogs, produced surveys that we pitched in to the media, encouraged our teams to develop profiles on networking sites and offered thought leadership articles to industry titles.
Want to replicate the success of this B2B SEO case study? Check out our B2B SEO agency page for everything you need.
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