How I Grew my Traffic 3x by Un-gating My Content

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Inbound Professor

Google now processes over 5.4 billion searches per day (source: Search Engine Land). That's a lot of people looking for information to problems they're trying to solve.

 

The role search engines play in this transaction is to connect people with the most relevant and valuable content based on their search query.

So, how do you attract relevant traffic from search engines? You have to produce high-quality content that solves for both the search engine and the website visitor, not one or the other.

 

During January of this year, I hosted a content experiment with the goal of helping people create content that solves for both search engines and the website visitor. As search engines evolve, we must adapt if we want to be found online. And search engines are evolving, all the time.

 

During this experiment, I used my personal adventure brand, Wild We Wander, to test a new content strategy framework by deconstructing a 76-page DIY truck camper guide that my wife, Ariele, and I wrote last year into an ungated website page with a relevant conversion point.

 

The result? In less than four months, our non-paid, organic traffic coming from search engines went up 329%.

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Yeah, buddy! Instead of shoving all this valuable information behind a landing page, we opened it up for search engines to find, which also gives website visitors the opportunity of viewing our content before downloading it.

 

Yes, I just said un-gate your downloadable content. People are more willing to give you their information if they find value in your content. It's the same reason why Barnes & Noble lets you browse their store to peruse their books and magazines before deciding on which one you want to take with you out of the store. Additionally, HubSpot did a study and found that 90% of our website visitors prefer to read lengthy content from a PDF, as opposed to a website page.

 

Wild We Wander wasn't the only website to receive results like this. For example, a HubSpot customer I shared this tactic with saw a 4x increase in quality leads in less than two months of launching their un-gated website page with a relevant conversion point.

8 Replies
Community Thought Leader | Diamond Partner

Hi @Champion

 

Thanks for sharing this great piece of work. Exciting stuff. A few questions if I may:

 

  • You mention that HubSpot research found that visitors prefer to read long format content in PDF rather than on the page. I read that too. How do you balance that with the increases seen from ungating the content?
  • Thinking specifically about lead generation - whats your advice about conversion offer? The same content in PDF format or something else? I can see from your example you offer the PDF above the web version
  • Was the majortiy of the traffic increase seen in traffic to the specific landing page or elsewhere in the site?
  • The HubSpot customer you mention, were they B2C or B2B? Services or product? 

Thanks again, Phil.


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Phil Vallender

Inbound marketing for B2B technology companies
Diamond HubSpot Partner

Inbound Professor

Thanks for the question, Phil. Below is a list of answers to your questiuons in red:

 

  • You mention that HubSpot research found that visitors prefer to read long format content in PDF rather than on the page. I read that too. How do you balance that with the increases seen from ungating the content? It all comes back to the experience and testing. If youre going to ungate content, then make sure you make it easy for people to consume. HubSpot released free pillar page templates on hubspot.com/resource (just type in 'pillar page').
  • Thinking specifically about lead generation - whats your advice about conversion offer? The same content in PDF format or something else? I can see from your example you offer the PDF above the web version I've seen high conversion rates for the same content on the page packaged in a PDF. This actually makes it easier to push content out there. One thing I recommend is having a hovering CTA on the sidebar to let people convert whenever the 'ah-ha' value moment happens where they want to take it with them.
  • Was the majortiy of the traffic increase seen in traffic to the specific landing page or elsewhere in the site? The majority of traffic was to the pillar page. For me, I'm ranking between the first and second page for 'DIY truck camper' which helps. Once you're able to get visibility for a broad term on Google, it'll lead to an increase in traffic.
  • The HubSpot customer you mention, were they B2C or B2B? Services or product? B2B. Etuma.com sells to businesses that are looking to organize their survey data. 

Thanks again!

Justin

Regular Contributor

Hi @Champion,

 

I noticed your pillar page is top-level ("domain.com/yourpage"), which matches some of the other advice for how to approach pillar pages, including pepperlandmarketing.

 

My question is do you feel the pillar MUST be top-level, and does it matter if it's a landing page, blog post or regular webpage?

 

I'm planning to ungate an eBook offer and publish it opening on our website. But the existing page we want to repurpose for this (currently the most authoritative page on the topic) is a regular webpage and is a 2nd-level one ("domain.com/level1/thispage"). If we need to set up a new landing page to be the pillar, we might lose that accrued SEO value associated with the existing older page.

Inbound Professor

Hi John,

 

Great question. While it's a best practice to use a shorter URL for pillar pages, you can definitely make it longer. If the content is quality, then it'll definitely find it's way to the top of the search listing pages. 

 

Thanks,

Justin

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Occasional Contributor

Creating content pillars. Should I use a landing page as the pillar and then content blogs etc as the cluster topics? Does it matter?

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Regular Contributor

Hi Anne,

 

A landing page in HubSpot could work really well for a Pillar Page... especially if you're going for the 10x Pillar type referenced in HubSpot's training on pillars/topic clusters, and you're hoping to capture leads from a PDF companion to the on-page text.

 

You would then link out to your various blog posts, which would also link back to the pillar, creating the topic cluster.

 

It doesn't HAVE to work that way though. You could take a blog post and transform it into a pillar. You could also do this with a resource library page, service page, etc.. depends on your exact need (we wrote about this a bit here.) 

 

Sean

Regular Contributor

Hey there,

 

I actually attended your Boston HUG yesterday. Great presentation, thanks!

 

Question: Can I post my subtopics as articles on my blog and also separately list out the full article within my pillar page? Are there any negative ramifications SEO-wise for doing that (having the same content in two places online)?

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Inbound Professor

Hey There,

 

Happy to hear you enjoyed the workshop!

 

When recycing content, try not to copy and paste. Make an effort to either expand or use snippets of the content in a new way. If you copy and paste, that can have SEO implcations and lead to a poor user experience. 

 

Keep up the good work!

Justin

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