We started working with Yalantis when the search traffic was 2,000 a month. Now the search traffic is one of the main ways of attracting new leads and customers for Yalantis.
Yalantis is a leading Ukrainian web and mobile app development company. Now, their team counts more than 150 people.
We started with around 2,000 visitors per month. In 3 years, Livepage managed to increase the number of site visitors to 70,000 per month and leads to more than 100 per month.
High competition and a huge cost of getting the lead are fears preventing IT companies and software houses from using internet marketing and particularly content-marketing for growing their businesses.
Are they right?
In this article, we will tell about efficient growth strategies for IT software houses using content marketing and search engine optimization.
The case is based on 36 months of cooperation between Livepage team and Yalantis (Ukrainian Software house).
As a result, search traffic became the main source of lead and customer generation for Yalantis.
Results for February 2016
August 2017 [the case was updated 18 months after its publication]
Results for August 2017 prove the relevance of the chosen strategy, about which we will tell you below.
We will also show the examples of why some companies fail to repeat the case and why SEO for technology companies is so important.
The digital marketing strategy for Yalantis works in 2020.
Important! The first step towards the result was to set a specific goal. The goal of Yalantis marketing team was as follows:
«To get 50 leads monthly for mobile app development with the help of content marketing and SEO».
Our first mistake
We didn’t think through which articles have the highest conversion potential. The reason is a weak study of a potential customer portrait. As a result, we created the content like a comparison of Swift and Objective-C, which converted badly.
Which strategy we offered
Important! Find that 20 % of actions, which give 80% of the result.
It is possible to get 50 monthly leads only through a lot of content solving the readers’ problems.
We developed topics of interest to the target audience, for example — «The case of integrating Google Maps API into iOS application».
In other words, we decided:
Promoting the content through low-requested and niche-specific business solutions in mobile app development targeted at C-level managers and entrepreneurs. This strategy is great for SEO for IT companies.
Why have we chosen this strategy and why do most companies fail to repeat our result — you will read below.
The main step that many marketing managers and business owners miss is the research of the potential customers pain points in the target market.
Before engage in content marketing, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and create customers pathways. You must understand what content (a set of articles) will be of interest to potential clients, why, and how they will make decisions.
If you do not prepare for system content marketing, you may not get leads and waste time and money.
SEO for low volume search queries (specific solutions for business) can be easily made with the help of useful niche content.
An example of the article created for Yalantis — How much does it cost to create an app. It covers all difficulties faced by a potential client and tells about all possible costs.
But the content itself is not enough.
Below you’ll see additional methods that helped the website get higher search ranking for every piece of content.
To write a high-quality task for copywriter, you should research and:
Tools for competitor analysis and search of keywords allow to collect most of the required information.
A step-by-step guide for developing a content requirements document:
1. Understanding the subject.
To understand the material:
2. Collecting keyword phrases.
Export of data from Semrush is the main phase of making the list of key phrases the users use.
For example — kitchen glass splashbacks for the UK region.
Choose the required region, example — UK:
Open the whole list of phrases:
Research all keywords choosing suitable ones:
Analyze the whole list and write out all keywords with their volume.
3. Competitors research in Semrush and lookup for low-tail search queries.
Additional words are a very important factor for getting high-quality low-frequency traffic to the articles.
Previously posted articles on the website are a real well of lost opportunities for growing search traffic and getting leads.
1. Content reoptimization.
According to Hubspot, updating blog posts gives 106% growth of search traffic on average.
What articles to improve:
To update the articles, you need to:
An example of traffic growth after enhancing the article for key queries on Yalantis website:
2. Pushing lead generating articles to the top of search engine results.
The strategy is to get more traffic from high converting articles, and thus to get more leads.
You should analyze which pages have brought the majority of conversions for several months and push them to top 1–3 positions in Google by the key search queries.
For this purpose, you may do as follows:
It is worth using this strategy after 6–8 months from starting the content marketing strategy.
In addition, read the article of Neil Patel about how to make your content rank high in Google Search.
A technically optimized website will give you an advantage against young competitors or help you to quickly catch up with «elders» in the niche.
For technical optimization you need to do as follows:
1. Check the website for content and page duplication.
Having not unique «borrowed» content is one of the reasons why your website search ranking is not growing.
Duplicated internal pages prevent search engines from correctly defining the relevant page, which also causes trouble with getting to the top of search results.
2. Check website speed.
3. Check for 404 errors and 301, 302 URL redirects.
4. Check for server errors.
You can read how to do a more detailed technical test of all parameters in the Moz article.
To develop an efficient marketing strategy, you need to research 5–10 competitors and make conclusions.
Similarweb will be of help, it will show how the traffic is distributed between the channels and what is its absolute value.
The chart shows about 61% of all website traffic is search traffic.
Important! The figures shown may differ from those in reality but after checking 3–5 websites you will understand a common pattern and traffic arrangement on competitor websites.
This information will allow predicting what amount of traffic you can get.
Search for pages bringing traffic
To show that content marketing is the main source of search traffic generation and it makes sense to use the same strategy, it is necessary to check competitors through Semrush.
Export the list of top pages by search traffic:
The examples show that about 40–80% of competitors’ search traffic comes from the blog articles. This means you should turn to content marketing.
Important! Do not write only traffic articles. This is a trap — read further in section «General articles = low conversion».
The analysis is necessary to understand what effort your competitors make for outbound marketing, determine which methods bring the best result, and try to make them the basis of your strategy.
With the help of Ahrefs.com you should deeply study:
This information will help you choose the right strategies for getting links to outrun your competitors in terms of link quantity and quality.
After analyzing the links of competitors, we have realized that it is worth chasing not after the quantity of links but after their quality, and enhance the work with related websites like Dribble and GitHub.
Analysis of competitors’ links has shown that the most useful links for traffic growth are guest articles on field-specific traffic websites.
Advice! If nobody wants your content, you should check how interesting are the topics you offer.
Imagine that a person with an article on how to display «Hello World» on C++ is applying for guest post.
Examples of high quality guest articles:
Apart from links, these articles will increase the brand awareness, referral traffic and get leads.
By the example of Smashing Magazine over 2 years:
We published the articles which brought 350 visitors each over 2 years and 30 visitors from each turned to Contacts — it’s a very high conversion. And now imagine you have at least 20 such articles.
Our recommendation: to focus on creating 2–5 articles of such quality monthly.
The aim of crowd marketing is to get links from forums, Q/A websites and thematic communities.
A distinctive feature of this method is that first of all you should help in answer, and, as a second priority, add the link to the site where visitors can learn additional details.
The main websites for crowd marketing can be:
Important! It is better to organize this process in cooperation with the client employees. Depending on the answer quality it can be considered either as a link spam or useful material.
To raise recognition and authority of the company, it is recommended to work with social networks:
When creating an account in a social network, you should fill in the user profile in full (photo, profession, company website).
When you share the content owned by the company, always give the link to its website.
Important! It was difficult for us to work with topical social networks and websites as to do that you must be highly competent in the subject matter.
As a solution, we presented a guide for Yalantis team explaining how to work on social networks.
Over 18 months (until February 2016) we achieved a growth of search traffic from 0 to 15 000 monthly visitors.
The result was achieved owing to:
The first traffic results were achieved owing to well-done internal optimization and regularly posted content.
Over the next 18 months of cooperation traffic increased by 300% — to 45 000 monthly visitors from the search traffic channel.
The focus was made on:
This amount of search traffic allows Yalantis to get over 70 leads monthly.
Search engine optimization and content marketing are the main channels of the company lead generation at the moment.
A key to successful content marketing for software house is the work of two teams together.
Without the Yalantis marketing manager and editors, we could not achieve such a result in the content quality. Without our work, they could not choose traffic subjects of the articles.
If you are unable to invest into your team, do not expect great results.
When growing business through content marketing it is important to understand that the content quality (expertise) is a critical parameter for getting to the top results of search engines.
It is not the best way in the long term to outsource the content creation.
You will not manage to get the required volumes of high-quality content. You will see a clear example proving our conclusion in the section «Weak content = weak conversion».
The aim is to build as many as possible points for entering the website from all possible sources.
Examples of entry points:
Research of competitors or related business models may suggest you ideas for creating microservices or satellite websites.
In the field of mobile app development, you can start sending iOS and Android development news every week. After growing popular, this newsletter will become a source of visitors to the main business website.
An interesting example is Crew. Facing financial difficulties, they created a project which is not directly related to their business.
Remarketing allows to get back users that have already visited your website but haven’t taken actions you expected.
The aim of remarketing is to show an offer only to those users who are the most interested in services or additional content.
Before setting up remarketing, with the help of Google Analytics it is necessary to:
Important! If goals are not set up in Google Analytics, it won’t be possible to correctly set up remarketing.
Based on these data, we make up a profile of visitors that will most probably be converted. Then the code on the website collects lists of users fitting the chosen criteria.
A final step is to set up and show an advertisement message which may convert them into leads.
The subscribers are the most tolerant audience. These people will spread your content to a wider audience. It is very important to start building the email list as early as possible.
Here are some methods for building the email list:
Example: The ranking of best cities to live from the Economist. They provide 2016 data in exchange for email sign-up, while 2017 data are given on a paid basis.
In the section «Why others fail» you will learn why PPC for broad search queries is usually expensive and not converting.
But you should not disregard this channel — paid ads by very narrow search query segments or audience types is very efficient.
Pay attention to detailed clustering of search queries.
Analyzing Android app development, you can find less competitive queries:
They clearly show the user requirement but are not as general as android app development.
We are intentionally not chasing after expensive queries.
But we collect traffic from cheaper and more specific queries with less impressions and more clear need.
Narrow geographic targeting is also works well. For example, you understand specific aspects of working in Islamic countries and setup targeting only for one country, or even better for a number of cities.
High cost of attracting the lead and its quality is what scares away IT business from promoting business through Internet marketing. In other words, the quality of leads received does not allow to sign contract with most of them.
Why it is so.
Let’s look at the example:
Query — Android App Development
This is exactly what you are doing, isn’t it?
Logically, yes it is.
However, search results by this query include 4 paid advertisements of developers while TOP 10 organic results consist of educational resources.
There are no agency websites among the results. This means promotion by such general queries is ineffective for all channels. Users are looking for tutorials, not for development services.
Let’s check the cost of a click for «Android App Development» in the US region.
Using Semrush data, we see that every click will cost over $30 USD. The broader a query, the higher is click cost and the lower is conversion.
Are you ready to pay so much for a doubtful chance to get a lead? I think no.
Even if there are potential customers among those who want to learn how to develop apps on Android — the quality of such leads will most likely be low. Users asking general questions do not clearly understand what they want. Have you ever experienced it?
Focus your efforts on marketing in those areas which are the strong points of your team.
For example, uber applications.
The cost of click in a narrow area is far lower ($9 instead of $30).
The probability of converting leads into customers here is much higher, though the number of those interested is much lower. Why? Read on.
Let’s look at the analogy.
Which user is closer to a purchase? The one who is searching for «laptops» or «macbook 13 touch bar»? The answer is obvious.
Chasing after traffic, not after conversion, is a common mistake.
Two articles bring about the same amount of monthly traffic. But the number of transitions to Contact differs by 3 times.
The difference is that before writing the second article we asked ourselves — «Will this topic motivate readers to apply for the services»?
Ask this question when choosing the topic and type of the content angle.
If you have time to read few articles in search results for any keyword, tell please to whom would you apply for consultation as a potential customer? Whose content better meets business requirements?
You may see an example that one may get to the search engine top results with the content even without deep expertise.
However, it will have lower conversion rate and that website will rank lower in some time due to worse behavior factors.
Use this comparison in terms of your content and you will understand whether it needs to be improved.
You can skim good content, read it by first sentences or by titles and get the point.
We recommend to check all the content through ContentYoda, a service from field experts.
The service checks a text by many parameters:
Before promoting your business through Internet marketing channels, ask yourself:
«Am I ready to spend at least 6 months investing time and resources to check whether an Internet marketing strategies are working and only then to make a conclusion?».
It doesn’t mean that you will not get a single lead over these 6 months, but you should be ready for this risk. It is often a mistake to make an early conclusion about the work done.
In my experience — many give up earlier.
You should clearly understand what is your team capability.
We often see that a customer is unable to keep up the pace of publications in the blog. On top of that, it is necessary to write high-quality guest articles.
You need at least one person in your team who will be engaged in full-time content creation.