How to implement a video SEO strategy

We all know that content is king when it comes to SEO. However, winning SEO strategies today demand more than just good textual content.

Good content today also includes video. A video SEO strategy is no longer optional to driving growth — it’s absolutely necessary.

So what’s an SEO strategist to do? How do you nail down a comprehensive strategy that will impress your boss and get results beyond your client’s expectations?

Video drives traffic and leads

Let’s get down to the basics for a second. Digital consumption is growing at an ever faster clip. People have access to more information than they ever did before, which has led to an inundation of content. Because content is plentiful, people don’t take that long to decide whether your content is worthy of their time.

One of the fastest ways to get people to notice your content is through video. In fact, the human brain processes images tens of thousands of times faster than text, and viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video compared to 10% when reading it.

Users, and Google, expect more than just a keyword; they want an experience.

What’s more, studies have shown that video consumption is not just for entertainment and amusing pet videos — 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Not only is it effective as a marketing tool, it also drives traffic and leads — 86% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website. The primary source of that additional traffic is, of course, Google search.

Getting a sustained jump in web traffic is every SEO strategist’s dream, and video is no-brainer way to do it. Take a look at what happened when we placed high-quality, relevant videos on a client’s website:

Image Credits: Nuvolum

Why is video good for SEO?

These days, SEO is so much more than matching search queries to keywords on a page. Google aims to deliver content that best satisfies the user’s needs and considers the entire user experience. Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines place importance on the following when determining the quality of a website:

  • The purpose of a page.
  • E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness).
  • Main content.

Considering these points is essential to creating a good user experience with good content.

How to implement a video SEO strategy

The right video SEO strategy for you will largely be determined by the type of content you currently create for your user base. It’s worth taking the time to perform a content audit and determine the type of content you have. This can be the basis for your video content strategy.

This is also a great way to identify where you might have any gaps in your current strategy. Video can help fill that gap as well.

Watch out: A common mistake when implementing video SEO is creating a video that isn’t in line with your strategy at all. Instead, the video becomes something you do simply because you think you should. Whatever your growth goals, ensure the video(s) you create are a part of the greater strategy.

Different types of videos include:

How to implement a video SEO strategy by Ram Iyer originally published on TechCrunch

To boost early-stage growth, adopt a jobs-to-be-done approach to marketing

The jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) approach provides a framework for defining, categorizing, capturing and organizing all your customers’ needs.

It teaches us to think about users’ needs and develop a product to meet those needs. The framework also lets us communicate with the user through the lens of the tasks they seek to do, and stay focused on developing features that align with what they need.

Here are three ways an early-stage startup can use the JTBD framework for marketing:

  • Get initial organic traffic for the website.
  • Increase conversion of information pages.
  • Increase product virality.

How to employ JTBD at an early-stage SAAS

The startup I’m building aims to develop an ecosystem of apps for sales and accounting automation, each of which can solve a specific problem. These apps are integrated under the hood to enable customers to use other apps for related tasks.

For example, when a customer uses our invoice maker app, we’ll automatically extract the income and account receivables information into our personal finance app, should they opt-in. And if in the user needs to track mileage in the future, they can just download our Mileage Tracker app, and all their information will already be in there.

We employ the same approach to our marketing.

Optimize your website with JTBD keywords for SEO

To get traffic with a small budget, you should first analyze what your prospective users need to do, discover how they search for ways to do these tasks, and use those keywords on your website.

For example, instead of fighting for the “best invoice maker” keyword on SEO for our invoice maker app, we could use more direct search terms like “printable blank invoice” or “medical records invoice template.”

Applying the JTBD framework for search queries, we hypothesized that many people want to find an invoice template for specific services, such as plumbing or medical records. These search terms are all very similar, but this is how people look for solutions.

So we created simple landing pages with templates of invoices for different industries and tasks. We have hundreds of these templates now, and they generate 80% of our new incoming traffic.

After doing this for six months, we saw:

  • 300,000 website views via search per month.
  • 25% conversion of inbound traffic into views of our templates.
  • Landing pages made with the JTBD framework converted more than 15% visitors to registration.

The traffic from search engines to our templates is growing much faster than from our blogs, since the template pages have excellent characteristics in terms of view time and interactions on page.

Scammers snatch up expired domains, vexing Google

The web is a living thing — ever-evolving, ever-changing. This goes beyond just the content on websites; whole domains can expire and be taken over, allowing corners of the internet to become a little like your hometown: Wait, wasn’t there a Dairy Queen here?

For example, if TechCrunch forgets to pay its domain registrar, would eventually expire (on June 10, to be exact). At that point, some enterprising human could snap up the domain and do nefarious things with it. Now, if was suddenly red instead of green and sold penis enhancement pills instead of dicking around with great news and awful puns in equal measure, you’d probably figure out that something is up. But black-hat SEO tricksters are subtler than that.

When they seize a domain, they’ll often point the web domain to a new IP address, resurrect the site, and restore it to as close as it can to the original, and leave it for a while. When the IP address changes, SEO experts claim that Google temporarily “punishes” the domain by dropping it in the rankings.

This is called “sandboxing,” or “the sandbox period,” and during this time, Google puts the domain on notice. Once Google determines — sometimes erroneously —  that the IP address change underneath the domain was just part of a move from one web host to another, the theory is that the domain will start climbing in the rankings again. That’s when the new owner of the domain can start their sneaky business: Updating links to send traffic to new places for example, or keeping the traffic as it is and adding affiliate links to make money off its visitors. At the far end of the scamming spectrum, they can use the good name and reputation of the original business to scam or trick users.

Since the invention of PageRank in 1996, Google has been relying in part on the transferability of trust to determine what makes a good website. A site that is linked to by a lot of high-trust websites can, generally, be trusted. Links from that page can, in turn, be used as a measure of trust as well. Massively simplified, it boils down to this: The more links from high-quality sites a page has, the more it is trusted, and the better it ranks in the search engines.

You don’t have to dig deep to find examples of domains that, at first glance, look legitimate, but that have been sneakily shifted to another purpose.

While bad actors can take advantage of this fact, it’s also just something that happens on the internet — sites move from one host to another all the time for perfectly legitimate reasons. As Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, pointed out when I talked to him about expired domains last week, TechCrunch itself has had a few changes of owners over the years, from AOL, to Oath, to Verizon Media, to Yahoo, which itself was bought by Apollo Global Management last year. Every time that that happens, there’s a chance that the new corporate overlords want to move stuff to new servers or new technology, which means that the IP addresses will change.

“If you were to purchase a site — even TechCrunch; I think it was AOL who bought you guys — the domain registry would have changed, but the site itself didn’t change the nature of what it was doing, the content that it was presenting, or the way that it was operating. [Google] can understand if domain names change ownership,” Sullivan said, pointing out that it’s also possible for the content to change without the underlying architecture or network topography shifting. “The site could rebrand, but just because it rebranded itself doesn’t mean that the basic functions of what it was doing had changed.”

The buying and selling of expired domains

You don’t have to look far to find places to buy expired domains. Serp.Domains, Odys, Spamzilla, and Juice Market are some of the most active in the business. (As a side note, I stuck a rel="nofollow" on all three of those links in the HTML of this article. They ain’t getting TechCrunch’s sweet, sweet link juice on my watch; as Google notes in its developer documentation; “Use the nofollow value when … you’d rather Google not associate your site with … the linked page.”)

A screenshot from Serp Domains, which lists around a hundred sites for sale, noting that “aged expired domains are not affected by the sandbox effect.” The company lists prices from $350 to $5,500, with original registration years ranging from 1998 to 2018.

“Get expired domains that have naturally gained (almost impossible to get) authoritative backlinks since they were actual businesses,” Odys advertises on its site, adding that they “are aged and out of the sandbox period by a mile, [and] already have organic, referral & direct, type-in traffic.”

These domains are listed for sale for anything from a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars. Seeing the sites disappear from the “for sale” list and then pop up on the internet shows that some of these domains end up ethically dubious at best and scams at worst.

It’s pretty easy to determine why so-called “black hat SEO” folks are willing to go through all the trouble: Building a domain from scratch, filling it with high-quality content, waiting for people to link to it, and doing everything by the book takes for-flippin’-ever. Finding a shortcut that shaves months, if not years, off the process and adds the ability to make a quick buck? There will always be people who are willing to go for that sort of thing.

“Google has named inbound links as one of their top three ranking factors,” explained Patrick Stox, a product adviser at Ahrefs. “Content is going to be the most important, but your relevant links will provide a strength metric for them.”

What the spammers are doing

The spammers buy a domain that was recently expired and use a search engine optimization (SEO) tool like Ahrefs to gauge how valuable the site is; it checks how many links are going to the site and how valuable those links are. A link from TechCrunch or the BBC or would be highly valuable, for example. A link from a random blog post on is probably less so.

Once they’ve found and bought a domain, they’ll use something like the WayBack Machine to copy an old version of the site, stick it on a server somewhere, and — voila! — the site is back. Obviously, that’s both trademark and copyright infringement, but if you’re in the market of spamming or scamming, that’s probably the least of your crimes against human decency, never mind the letter of the law.

Over time — sometimes weeks, sometimes months — Google un-sandboxes the domain and is effectively tricked into accepting the domain as the original. Traffic will start picking up, and black-hat SEO wizards are ready for the next phase of their plan: selling stuff or tricking people. There are whole guides for what to do next in order to use these domains, including checking whether there are trademarks registered and redirecting either the full domain or specific pages on the domain using a so-called 301 redirect (“moved permanently”).

“When a site drops off the internet [Google is] just going to drop all the signals from the links. That typically happens anyway when a page expires. Where it’s more complicated is going to be whether any of those signals will come back for a new owner. I don’t think [Google has] ever really answered this in a very clear way,” Stox explained. “But if the same site with the same type of content — or very similar content — comes back, it is more than likely the links are going to start counting again. If you were a site about technology and now suddenly you’re a food blog, all of the previous stuff will likely be ignored.”

As with all things in SEO, however, not everything is cut and dried; it turns out that negative signals continue on expired domains, so it stands to reason that positive signals do, too.

“It’s interesting because sometimes penalties will still carry over, regardless of the content of the new site,” Stox said. “So certain things may still factor in. There’s a giant list of Google penalties — such as backlink spam, content spam, paid links, etc. They can carry on to the new site, and sometimes people will buy … an expired domain and put a new site up. Nothing is ranking, and on closer inspection, they’ll find a penalty set in inside Google Search Console.”

Sullivan reassured us that the search engine giant knows what’s going on and that it has a handle on things.

“It’s not just fair to say that all purchased sites are spam and that they, therefore, should be treated as spam,” said Sullivan, pointing out that the company’s robust spam filters are there to protect searchers. “When actual spam happens, we have a whole ton of spam-fighting systems we have in place. There are millions and millions, if not hundreds of millions of [pages and sites] that we’re constantly keeping out of the top search results. One metaphor I like to use for people to understand just how much work we do on spam is this: If you go into your email spam folder, you go, ‘Wow, I didn’t see all these emails.’ That is stuff that existed but didn’t show up because your system said, ‘No, this isn’t really relevant for you. This is spam.’ That’s what’s happening on search all the time. If we didn’t have robust spam filters in place, our search results would look like what you see in your spam folder. There’s so much spam and our systems are in place to catch it.”

There’s no doubt that Google does a lot to defend us from spam, and yet there’s a thriving industry for high-value expired domains that are available, whether for honest attempts at corner-cutting or more nefarious deeds.

A thriving industry

You don’t have to dig very deep to find examples of domains that, at first glance, look legitimate, but that have been sneakily shifted to another purpose. Here are a few I came across.

One example is the Paid Leave Project, which used to live on, but moved its site to at some point. Unfortunately, someone at the org didn’t renew and/or redirect the old domain, and the site that used to work hard to ensure that workers in the U.S. can get paid family leave is now, well … helping families grow in different ways:

A screenshot of, which now appears to be some sort of affiliate site for erectile dysfunction pills.

Another tragic story is Genome Mag, which ran from 2013 to 2016, expired, and then came back online as a different magazine that the original owner doesn’t have control over.

Experts Weekly: Recruiting recruiters, crypto marketing, earned media 101

Do you have recent experience recruiting talent for pre-revenue startups?

If this describes you — or someone you know — please read this important announcement.

Growth marketing

(TechCrunch+) Create a social media punch list for cryptocurrency marketing: Facebook began allowing crypto companies to advertise on its platform last December, but marketers should be aware of the limitations. Reporter John Biggs walks readers through the basics and shares a social media punch list.

(TechCrunch+) Transform your startup investors into growth marketers without them noticing: Miles Jennings, founder and COO of, share tips on how founders can subtly encourage investors to become more effective advocates. For example: if you’re trying to hire an important role, ask one of your backers if they can share your job posting with their network.

(TechCrunch+) How to grow your organic traffic with earned media: Amanda Milligan, head of marketing at Stacker Studio, dives into an analysis of the short-term impact of earned media, then shares tips for pitch timing, promoting content and incorporating internal linking.

Software consulting

How to grow your organic traffic with earned media

Earned media carries a ton of value, but not everyone understands how to measure its impact or grasp its full effect on your organic growth.

While it immediately provides increased brand awareness, earned media can also be an excellent vehicle for building brand authority as well as dramatically improving your off-page SEO.

Here at Stacker Studio, we’ve seen it work wonders with our brand partners, for whom we create newsworthy articles and syndicate them to our newswire.

To determine the short-term impact of earned media, we conducted an analysis of organic performance of 11 new brand partners across the first 90 days of their partnerships with us.

Here’s what we found:

Ahrefs metric: Average growth: Median growth:
Domain Rating +5 +2
Referring domains +4,099 +184
Pos. 1-3 ranking keywords +411 +77
Organic clicks per month +8,622 +600

Domain ratings rose by 5 points over 90 days

Domain ratings rose by 5 points over 90 days. Image Credits: Stacker Studio

Referring domains rose by over 4,000

Referring domains rose by over 4,000. Image Credits: Stacker Studio

Growth for ranking keywords rose to 400 keywords

Growth for ranking keywords rose to 400 keywords. Image Credits: Stacker Studio

Organic clicks rose by over 8,600 in 90 days

Organic clicks rose by over 8,600 in 90 days. Image Credits: Stacker Studio

I’m going to explain the entire process we used with examples so you can utilize similar strategies for your own content, SEO and digital PR efforts.

Tips for creating newsworthy content

Our goal is to create articles the publishers in our newswire want to run because they’re confident it’ll help them gain visits, clicks, subscriptions and more. We get a lot of feedback from our publisher partners that has informed our content strategy.


Here are a few of the insights we’ve gained after publishing more than 10,000 stories over the last four years.

Events and news pegs continue to drive high interest from our partners. For example, one of the largest local TV groups in the country has regularly published entertainment and lifestyles content tied to holidays, e.g. “Best Christmas movies of all time, according to critics,” and “50 cute baby names with holiday meanings.”

10 growth marketing experts share their 2022 predictions and New Year’s resolutions

This is a quiet period for marketing: End-of-year campaigns are already underway, teams are on holiday vacations and there’s little to do until after the new year.

Setting aside the holiday spirit, this has been a difficult year for growth professionals. Most are still adapting to pandemic-driven changes to consumer habits, but Apple’s new privacy options and the impending death of the browser cookie are making it more difficult to reach the right consumers. Growth marketers have a wide variety of tools available, but which ones do the pros use?

We reached out to 10 growth marketing experts to find how they were preparing for 2022 and to ask they had any New Year’s resolutions to share.

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The answers and advice we received were as varied as the people we polled, but nearly all of them indicated that learning — e.g. analytics training, getting started with AI tools, etc. — was high on their to-do list. “Google Analytics 4 is the new default in 2022 and beyond, so get ready to relearn how to configure your analytics reporting in a way that makes sense for your organization,” said Richard Meyer of Tuff.

Kate Adams, SVP of marketing at Validity, said it’s important to keep honing one’s skills, but growth marketers shouldn’t feel compelled to become experts at everything: “Overall, there’s more value in being able to articulate what your problems are and develop strategies to fix them than to be a technology savant gobbling up whatever solution you can get your hands on.”

Our questions also addressed the future of influencer marketing, which automation tools they’re working with and recommending to clients and whether they’re continuing to invest in short-form videos.

Here’s the full list of who we spoke to:

Jonathan Martinez, founder, JMStrategy

What are your 2022 growth marketing resolutions?

In 2022, the companies that come out on top will be those that unlock iOS 14 and leverage influencers. My goal is to continue testing everything on iOS 14, such as optimal account structures, bidding, flows and more. I’m really interested to see how channels/MMPs/etc. evolve and what types of measurement betas they all roll out.

Equally as important to me is to continue leveraging the power of influencers. I think we’re still less than 10% of the way there on how impactful influencers will be in the next decade. Utilizing TikTok’s creator marketplace, platforms such as Billo for UGC content, etc., are all tactics that I’ll be employing.

There was a lot of discussion about influencer marketing in 2021, but is it a fad or a requirement? If it is a must, what types of companies need to invest in this area?

While influencer marketing may have been discussed in magnitudes over the last year, I believe we’re still at the infancy of this tactic. We’ll see channels start to create influencer marketplaces (akin to TikTok’s creator marketplace), which will remove barriers to working with influencers. The pandemic has accelerated people watching even more content from influencers on various channels. These same people are becoming more responsive to ads from a personal voice and increasingly numb to typical brand ads.

Where does AI marketing fall on your list of priorities for 2022? Should marketing teams be leaning into this, or is it industry/customer-specific?

As growth marketers, we should always be on the hunt for tools that’ll either help solve monotonous tasks or increase our analysis throughput. The creative AI space is something I’m keeping a close eye on because I think this is where there’s huge room for advancement. As targeting and bidding become increasingly channel automated, creative is an area that I believe still needs the human touch. If AI platforms can help speed learnings and provide useful insights on creative launches, it’ll be immensely helpful.

Which marketing automation tools do you think are poised to take off in 2022? Should growth marketers plan to become more technical in the coming year?

Growth marketing has always been a nice blend of analytics + creativity, with distribution being dependent on the stage of the company. As data becomes less clear with industrywide privacy changes, growth marketers are being forced to be more analytical and technical than ever. Running incrementality tests, applying scalars to channels and validating data across tools will be paramount in 2022 to understanding growth efforts.

Kate Adams, SVP of marketing, Validity

What are your 2022 growth marketing resolutions?

In 2022 marketers can expect to see a resurgence of product-led growth models, which have historically centered on creating free products that are appealing, easy to use and accessible. For so long, we’ve held this notion that growth models have to incorporate a trial period to succeed with consumers. What if that wasn’t the case? With the convergence of product-led growth strategies and the elimination of friction, it doesn’t have to be.

This year, marketers should resolve to embrace this resurgence, but in a modern, differentiated way. Let’s rethink how we approach growth models; maybe we don’t have to include a trial or free version of our products — especially when not every company is able to sustain the investment and resources required for trial products.

Another resolution is to not let yourselves fall in the trap of believing that everything is back to normal — COVID is still disrupting in-person events as well as entire industries and will continue to do so. So as marketers we have to resolve to pivot early and often to ensure our larger campaigns and investments are able to succeed regardless of the status of the pandemic.

There was a lot of discussion about influencer marketing in 2021, but is it a fad or a requirement? If it is a must, what types of companies need to invest in this area?

Influencers have their time and place — we all saw the “Just Like That” Peloton ad and that was cool and will stay with us for a week, maybe a month. But the reality is that no matter how much you pay or what influencer your brand snags, these are passing moments in time.

As a B2B marketer, I’m much more interested in making customers part of a community and giving them a platform to share their success stories of which we play a part. Instead of going for one person with 10 million followers via a flashy influencer program, why not invite 1,000 people with 10,000 followers to talk about your product? Not every industry has a Kim Kardashian for the moment, and even if they do, it’s not a sustainable model. It’s much more impactful, especially in the B2B world, to have a steady, ongoing drumbeat of customers telling their stories about your brand than investing heavily in one mega influencer.

Have short-form videos (2:30 or less) peaked, or should marketers keep using this tool in 2022?

Video definitely hasn’t peaked — and I don’t believe it will any time soon. There is an entire generation of individuals who essentially grew up on YouTube and TikTok. They know how to get to what they want (information included) faster. These are all the same people that are joining the workforce and suddenly becoming B2B buyers and, if you want to be successful, you have to communicate with them in the way they’re most familiar with. Short-form video content is one big way to do that.

There’s so much more room for video. In our industry, webinars still reign supreme but stopping there is antiquated thinking. Marketing teams should be challenging themselves to come up with ways to address the webinar fatigue happening in really technical industries. For example, taking long-form content (like webinars) and cutting them up into smaller, more readily consumable snippets is a quick and easy way to ensure these learnings live on and reach a broader audience.

Where does AI marketing fall on your list of priorities for 2022? Should marketing teams be leaning into this, or is it industry/customer-specific?

AI is some of the most exciting technology I’ve seen in a really long time. The fact that AI can achieve any number of tasks — whether it’s improving user experience or actually having a conversation with somebody — is truly incredible. But, I think of these things as pendulums. Consumers may experience AI and think, “I just want to talk to a person.” While using AI to mitigate issues with user experience and have it dealt with automatically is an ideal solution, there are instances when you actually need to enable a human being and have a human conversation.

AI is like a house; without the appropriate technology and engineering infrastructure at the foundation, that house is going to crumble. AI is only as good as what you put into it. The minute you try to train your machine based on bad data, it will find faulty trends or just not work at all. Right now too many people are running toward AI as the solution for all their problems without solving for the data decay already taking place in their organization.

Similarly, is the personalization trend overhyped? Which specific tools and platforms do you recommend for non-technical marketers who want to get up to speed?

Too many marketers today are enacting tokenization and claiming that as personalization. They’ll put your name and your company name in their materials and think, “I put these tokens in, and therefore I delivered you a personalized experience.” That’s missing the forest for the trees. From a technology perspective, it’s about the website experiences. We need to deliver a personalized experience based on who you are, how many times you’ve been here and what we know about you.

In terms of tools, I think there’s a ton of folks out there doing really interesting stuff right now — for everything from content personalization to web personalization. The important piece here is the ability to test and understand the impact of your personalization efforts on customers. A lot of ESPs and companies like Adobe are doing an incredible job building out tools to enable marketers to really hone in on the customer journey and demonstrate what the next best action is for each customer. I’m incredibly biased but I also think our solutions Everest and Demandtools can go a long way in providing today’s marketers with the ability to take their campaigns to the next level in terms of personalization and accuracy.

Which marketing automation tools do you think are poised to take off in 2022? Should growth marketers plan to become more technical in the coming year?

Marketing is incredibly difficult; more so than ever before. And there are also more solutions (8,000+ in fact) that claim to be the silver bullet to fix any marketing woes. But those are just claims as often no one solution is the end-all-be-all. While you definitely have to be savvy in technology (and the implementation of that technology) to be a successful marketer, there are many considerations in a marketer’s skillset outside of this technical piece.

For instance, there’s a marketing technologist, a marketing strategist, the marketing execution piece — in today’s market, you have to be all three of those to be a really strong marketer. Mastering all of these skills is difficult for one person, especially because it’s using both sides of the brain. Understanding the analytical aspects of a marketing program, but also how to write the copy that captures people’s attention and portrays the message you want to say is tricky. Overall, there’s more value in being able to articulate what your problems are and develop strategies to fix them, than to be a technology savant gobbling up whatever solution you can get your hands on.

Richard Meyer, growth marketer, Tuff

What are your 2022 growth marketing resolutions?

In 2022, I want to commit to:

  • Taking additional training courses on the new Google Analytics tool, Google Analytics 4.
  • Developing additional attribution reporting cadences that rely on first-touch attribution, instead of Google Analytic’s default “last-click” attribution.
  • Developing additional demand-generating strategies (instead of demand-capturing strategies) for niche-product and service markets, such as fintech, B2B SaaS, etc.

There was a lot of discussion about influencer marketing in 2021, but is it a fad or a requirement? If it is a must, what types of companies need to invest in this area?

Demand Curve: How Ahrefs’ homepage educates prospects to purchase

If you want your homepage to convert, it’s crucial to ensure that there is minimal confusion and friction for the user.

Conversion can be thought of as a formula: Conversion = Desire – Labor – Confusion. Keep this formula in mind when building your website. Your goal is to increase desire while decreasing labor (friction) and confusion. People have short attention spans, so if your homepage is confusing, they’re going to leave.

This post is going to tear down the homepage of Ahrefs, an all-in-one search engine optimization platform that allows marketers to perform competitive analysis, audit their site’s search traffic and find keywords that will allow them to rank better on search engines.

This teardown covers all the key sections of a landing page so that you can apply their conversion tactics and copywriting strategies to your startup’s homepage.

Capture attention with an objection handler

The first section of your website that a visitor will see is your above-the-fold (ATF) section. This section is important, because this is your chance to make a good first impression on visitors when they visit your website. If your ATF section is confusing or uninteresting, you risk the visitors leaving and reading nothing else.

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Ahrefs’ ATF section has four pieces that we’ll dive into individually: the header, call to action, social proof and a subhead.

Ahrefs' above the fold section has four pieces: header, call-to-action, social proof and a sub-header.

Image Credits: Demand Curve

A header that tackles the most common objection

Your header must hook readers with your most compelling feature framed as a bold claim. When you handle your target audience’s biggest objection, it can serve as the bold claim that gets visitors to continue reading.

Ahrefs uses a common header template: Get [benefit] without [problem]. In this case, it’s flipped: With [product] you won’t have [problem] in order to get [benefit].

Ahrefs knows a lot of businesses need SEO but don’t have the time or resources to build expertise. So, Ahrefs tells their visitors you don’t have to be an SEO professional to use its product.

The underlying benefit here is that users will get more search traffic and rank higher on the web while not needing SEO expertise to do so.

Ahrefs tells their visitors you don't have to be an SEO pro to use their product.

Image Credits: Demand Curve

Make your call to action stand out

Calls to action (CTAs) are the only way to move visitors down the relationship funnel. It’s nearly impossible to get someone to sign up without encouraging them to do so. Visitors instinctively don’t want to sign up.

5 common growth marketing mistakes startups make

Having spent time in the trenches with many startups, I’ve been lucky to see why many growth marketing engines don’t work correctly. I say I’m lucky because the issues I’ve seen have taught me an immense amount about what makes a well-oiled, polished growth marketing engine fire on all cylinders. My experience at Postmates taught me more through mistakes than triumphs, and I learned how to correctly scale a growth engine while marching us toward an exit.

A common thread of mistakes connects most startups that try their hand at growth marketing. Some frequent errors include performance metrics not being correctly measured, product and growth teams working in silos, low testing velocity and failure to consider the entire marketing funnel.

This is not to say that there aren’t unique problems at each startup. I’m only saying that there a few that are ubiquitous.

Low testing velocity

The day is far in the future when you’ll be able to flip a switch for paid acquisition, lifecycle, social media and content, and have all of it run automatically. Until that day arrives, the need to continue testing is paramount.

A visualization of how a “rapid testing” framework can accelerate CAC reductions.

A visualization of how a “rapid testing” framework can accelerate CAC reductions. Image Credits: Jonathan Martinez

It’s simple: Test more and the results will come to fruition sooner. While the concept is simple, you will need a proper testing framework — one that defines the number and type of weekly tests that are being deployed. A sample weekly test plan can look something like this:

  • Paid acquisition: Two creative concepts x three copy iterations = six creative assets.
  • Lifecycle: Two copy variations x five emails = 10 email variations.

Create a testing framework and, most importantly, stick to it. The results will follow.

Reliance on incorrect measurements

When measuring the success of a campaign, whether on social media for paid acquisition or with a retention series on lifecycle, it’s vital to have the correct metrics before taking action — this is the foundational pillar of any growth marketing stack.

But what if your performance metrics are inaccurate? And if they are, why? I’ve listed the top three reasons for not having correct metrics below:

  • Attribution source.
  • Attribution loss.

Botify raises $55 million to optimize search engine indexing

Botify has raised a $55 million Series C funding round led by InfraVia Growth with Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund also participating. The company has created a search engine optimization (SEO) platform so that your content is better indexed and appears more often in search results.

Existing investors Eurazeo and Ventech are also investing in the startup once again. Nicolas Herschtel from InfraVia and Antoine Izsak from Bpifrance will join the board of directors. Valuation has tripled since the company’s previous funding round.

While there are a ton of good and bad practices in the SEO industry, Botify defines itself as “white-hat company”. They respect the terms of services of search engines, they don’t scrape search results for insights, they don’t create shady backlinks on other websites.

“We’re going to optimize every step of the search funnel from first the quality of the website, how it is designed, how is the content going to be enriched with, etc.” co-founder and CEO Adrien Menard told me.

There are now three different components in the Botify product suite. The startup first released an analytics tool that gives you insights about your website. Basically, it lets you see how a crawler analyzes your site.

The company then released Botify Intelligence, which hands you a prioritized todo list of things you can do to improve your SEO strategy. And now, the company is also working on automation with Botify Activation. When Google’s search engine bot queries your site, Botify can take over and answer requests directly.

“We’re not trying to trick Google’s algorithm. We’re defining Botify as the interface between search engines and our clients’ websites. Search engines are going to access higher quality content. And it’s probably cheaper than with a normal process,” Menard said.

Companies aren’t necessarily using all three tools. They may start with analytics and take it from there. “You can use different products depending on the size of the company,” Menard said.

Over the past few years, Google has increased the number of ad slots on search results. It also promotes its own services, such as YouTube and Google Maps, before you can see the organic search results. I asked Adrien Menard whether that could be a concern for the future of Botify.

“I agree with you that we’re seeing more and more sections of the search results coming from first-party or paid results,” he said. “But the traffic generated by organic results is growing. It represents 30% of the traffic of the websites of our customers and this average is not decreasing.”

According to him, search keeps getting bigger and bigger. When you invest in search, you can see a clear return on investment when it comes to online sales, traffic, etc.

Right now, Botify has 500 customers, such as Expedia, L’Oréal, The New York Times, Groupon, Marriott, Condé Nast, Crate & Barrel, Fnac Darty, Vestiaire Collective and Farfetch.

With today’s funding round, the company wants to improve its automation capabilities, sign partnerships with more tech companies and increase its footprint with new offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

How to land the top spot in Google search with featured snippets in 2021

Search is changing. Most search engines now don’t just bring up a page of 10 search results and two ads at the top when you type in a query. Instead, Google search queries can bring up a whole range of results, and sometimes answer your questions without you ever having to click through to a page.

Take, for example, a search like this: “how many days until halloween.”

Example of a featured snippet

A featured snippet counting down the days to Halloween. Image Credits: Ryan Sammy

You can see that instead of displaying the top result right away, Google answers the question for you in a rich snippet. It also gives you related search queries featuring countdowns for other holidays. On the right is a knowledge panel from Wikipedia about Halloween, and below that, you’ll see the featured snippets section. These snippets will expand when clicked with answers for related questions.

Featured snippets are collections of sentences or words that Google pulls directly from a webpage relevant to the search query.

Finally, after these answers to your queries and any related questions, you get to the first result. At this point, do you even need to visit the website?

Google search is not what it used to be. We all want to be No. 1 on the search results page, but these days, getting to that position isn’t enough. It might be worth your while to instead go after the top featured snippet position.

What’s a featured snippet?

Featured snippets are collections of sentences or words that Google pulls directly from a webpage relevant to the search query. These snippets are displayed right below the search box and are meant to answer search queries quickly. The snippets can appear in the form of lists, how-to steps, tables, short paragraph boxes and other formats.