360Learning is a unique collaborative learning startup that was created in 2010. Like many new startups, 360Learning did not experience exponential SEO growth in the beginning, but all of that began to change in 2020.
Many marketers might know 360Learning from the docu-series, Onboarding Joei – the new company blog that was launched during the recording of the show.
From late 2020 to 2022, 360Learning experienced 3x organic traffic growth. And 70% of the content success has been due to SEO distribution channels.
The graphs below show 360Learning’s SEO growth in the past few years.
This post is based on a webinar with Viola Eva, founder of Flow SEO, and Rebecca Bowden, senior SEO manager at Flow SEO. Don’t forget to check it out for some extra tips and tricks.
Table of Contents
B2B Marketing Framework
Here is the thing with selling B2B tech: Only a small percentage of your total addressable market is currently actively looking for the product you are offering
In order to capture this demand, you should utilize PPC Ads, Outbound marketing, and Purchase Intent-Keyword SEO.
The large majority of your addressable market is not looking to buy your product – right now – but may be looking to buy in the future.
This is where content marketing and SEO support sales in the future. You do this through two methods:
- Work towards building mental availability so you come to mind when they are ready to purchase your product.
- Engineer and create more triggers to remind them that they need your product.
(Framework from The Growth Report).
In this table, you can see that people searching for the product know there may be a challenge with transferring knowledge and development.
They are aware that a Learning Management System (LMS) is the answer to the issues they face, and are undergoing a commercial investigation and research to find the best provider or solution.
You can capture that demand by ranking for that set of very specific keywords.
Category Design vs. Search Demand
Even though 360Learning has created a brand around collaborative learning, they have also focused greatly on the keyword “LMS.”
The reason for this is that while collaborative learning has 2,400 searches per month, LMS has over 110,000 keyword searches per month.
Hence it would be a big missed opportunity not to try to rank for where people are focused – even if you want to educate them on why they need to rethink the way they utilize traditional LMS.
Mental Availability and Triggers
This is where you need to target the market that could buy your product in the future.
These are typically middle and top-of-funnel topics. 360Learning excels at this by ranking for keywords with a high number of searches.
360Learningʼs Content Performance
360Learning’s blog exploded in the past two years. On the website, there are over 400 English blog posts, over 130 French posts, and around 80 German posts.
This is a lot considering the fact that when the web series, Onboarding Joei, was done, they had just started discussing the blog’s launch.
When thinking about the competitive landscape and the keywords you are ranking for, there are two types of competitors going after the same keywords as you:
- Product competitors
- SEO competitors: Someone might offer a different solution but still rank Page 1 for your keywords. Make sure to track them – not just the competitors in your category.
To make useful comparisons, you need to take into consideration the type of competitor as well as how long they have been doing SEO and content marketing: It makes no sense to directly compare a startup that recently began implementing SEO with a company that has used SEO for a long time.
A part of developing a good content implementation strategy is learning the right ways to make useful comparisons.
These charts compare the content volume of close product competitors.
When we talk about content and content performance, it is not just about putting out many pieces of content and blog posts. The actual “type” of content is crucial.
SEO content typically requires long-form, evergreen articles like blog posts, pillar pages or guides. These pages generate huge volumes of traffic that then is internally funneled towards podcasts, ebooks and events where education about the product is deepened and trust generated.
Pillar Content Strategy for Competitive Keywords
360Learning also strategically built out content pillars. Pillar content is important when trying to increase topic authority.
Pillar pages are pages that cover a particular topic extensively and that link to other content for more in-depth information. Together, they form content silos. While the pillar page will cover all aspects of a topic broadly, the content it links to is more specific, with each post or page covering a subtopic and linking back to the pillar page.
For example, one of 360Learning’s pillar content is performance management. The main page covers this core topic and then links out to other pages like incentive management, performance appraisal or performance management cycle.
All of these topics link back and forth to each other, providing high relevance and context to search engines.
When looking at examples, it is interesting to see that 360Learning has two different types of pillar content.
Pillar Content 1: Long-Form Blogs
Long form blogs are an easy way to generate pillar content because no extended resources for design or layouts are needed. One example is 360Learning Ultimate Guide to Starting a Successful Employee Training Program.
These blog posts typically contain thousands of words (3.091 words in the body content, ranking Position 3) and are often framed as an “Ultimate guide” or “Playbook”.
Pillar Content 2: Designated Hubs
If you do not want to flood your blog with SEO and pillar content, building out a designated hub is the way to go. This will require you to create a new page template and design but then you can basically endlessly scale your content.
From this page, you can easily access other sections and subtopics. They all follow the same URL path, and some of the pros of this include:
- Easier analytics for the pillar topic
- Better user experience
- Easier navigation
Choosing Topics and Rethinking Keyword Difficulty
As we are discussing very top of funnel terms of the pillar pages, you might wonder about keyword difficulty and how to evaluate it as you choose topics.
In short: Should you start with “easy” long-tail keywords or target high difficulty key terms?
Most people say you should start with easy long-tail keywords rather than difficult keywords, but we don’t think it should be one or the other. It’s a matter of balancing both approaches.
360Learning created its hub page and pillar content early on even though the keywords were difficult. It may take time, but these pages help to build topic authority and provide structure to the site.
Opportunity: Blog Migration
An interesting thing about the 360Learning blog is that it isn’t entirely new. There is an old blog that is still indexed. The old blog does not redirect to the new blog, and there is a significant amount of content on the older version.
New blog performance: Ahrefs Data
Old blog performance: Ahrefs Data
There is an opportunity to merge, migrate or remove old content.
Should You Remove Old Content? YES!
Especially when it is unhelpful, outdated or repeats a topic covered in another article on your site.
4 Steps for Successful Content Clean-Ups
- Create a Keyword Map: Here you need to map out the keywords for each page.
- Map Action Items
- Delete/Unpublish topics that are no longer relevant
- Redirect/Merge topics that may still be relevant but may not be generating a lot of traffic on the old blog
- Keep and update
- Quality control to ensure that you are not linking new articles to deleted or unpublished content
360Learning experienced 3x organic traffic growth from late 2020 to 2022, with 70% of the content success due to SEO distribution channels.
Our webinar provided you with the B2B marketing framework, the importance of targeting both active and potential buyers, the significance of pillar content strategy for competitive keywords, rethinking keyword difficulty, and the opportunity for blog migration. We hope that you can get inspired for your own content strategy.