Ruler Analytics: ‘How SEO became our best acquisition channel’
Laura Caveney, Head of Marketing at Ruler Analytics, has over six years of experience in digital marketing, working across digital content and SEO. She has worked in a variety of sectors, from the charity sector to the travel industry. Laura settled into Ruler in 2020 mid-pandemic to support the marketing team build on their current marketing strategy.
Here, she explains how SEO has become their best acquisition channel over the past couple of years.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! We love seeing examples of SEO becoming the best acquisition channel for businesses. Tell us why you decided to make this your main focus?
When I first joined Ruler, we were getting the majority of our inbound leads via partner referrals. While it was fantastic to have this resource and strong relationships with our agency partners, content and SEO felt like a huge opportunity to improve results.
The first job was assessing what we currently had and what was missing. Ruler had a small number of really high intent, middle-of-the-funnel blogs that were working well to drive demo enquiries.
When we looked over the content we had and compared it to the marketing funnel, we found we were missing content from the top and from bottom of the funnel. We know that many marketers aren’t aware of attribution or that it could be a solution to their problem. As such, there was a huge untapped opportunity there with keywords we could use to kickstart customer journeys.
Conversely, at the bottom of the funnel, we wanted to support current customers as well as those in the decision-making stage of the process to fully understand what Ruler was capable of and why it’s a better product than our competitors.
While we knew building our SEO would take a lot of time and effort, it was clear even just from the handful of blogs we already had driving demos, that it would be worth it.
How long have you been focusing on this?
Organic search has always been a priority for us and we have been making small waves of improvement incrementally. But, we really saw a shift after we realigned our strategy in January 2021. That’s where we found our feet in terms of content and SEO and started seeing amazing results.
Now, we regularly assess our content and our strategy and shift to ensure that organic traffic grows month on month.
Talk us through your strategy over the years. Has anything shifted through trial and testing?
When I first joined Ruler, the aim of the game was to just write more content. We got through a lot of blogs, and while traffic went up, there wasn’t a huge shift in traffic.
We assessed what we had done and looked critically at what types of content we were creating and who they were aimed at. We found that a lot of our content was very top-of-the-funnel heavy. And, we were popping in demo CTAs left, right and centre and hoping they would stick.
So, we decided to split out our content strategy into three funnel stages and we defined six content pillars. We went through all of our current blogs and applied each to the relevant stage and pillar.
This exercise left us with clear gaps in our content that made it easy for us to see what was missing. From there, we researched keywords and titles that would fit the gaps that were left and got to work.
While we created huge numbers of new blogs, we also capitalised on the SEO goodness of existing content. It took a year to get through our rewrites but we’re now in a position where we can do short, snappy updates and get our content into top rankings with much less effort.
Our final focus for content in 2021 was creating data-driven pieces of content. We found highly relevant keyword opportunities and created our own data. Whether that was using the data from our product or tapping into our community, we were able to create strong, relevant statistics that other marketers would find interesting.
This helped in two ways. First, we were creating highly-optimised content that was ranking well. And second, users were landing on our data and linking back to it. As such, our domain rating increased from 55 to 69 in a year with very minimal work on backlinking.
Now, for 2022, we’re shifting again. We’ve nailed our SEO process, but now, we want to expand out into thought leadership. While our SEO content is working great at driving new inbound traffic, what we’re missing is the key to getting more people to stay.
So this year, we’re going to share more data still. Our own tests and successes as marketers, plus insights to what we’ve learned during our time in marketing. I’m excited to see where this latest shift takes us.
How have you found the process so far?
The process has been a long slog but our traffic has increased by nearly 300% from December 2020 to January 2022. And that year of hard work has put us in good stead to diversify our traffic while knowing that we can expect fairly consistent levels of organic traffic month on month.
Some months we were writing 20 blogs between just two of us and at the time, it was hard to believe that that hard work would be worth it. And while getting through that big push of content was difficult, it’s got us to a really good base of organic traffic now that we can improve on and optimise.
SEO is definitely a long-term game, but the rewards are so worth it. What advice would you give to others in a similar position in terms of timeline expectations?
Stick at it. The hard work is worth it in the end. There were times in 2020 when I felt like I couldn’t write another word. But, by getting through a big content shift like that, you just don’t know where you could end up. And just know, while it feels like all that effort is futile in the moment, in three to six months it’ll pay dividends.
Do you have any future plans for increasing SEO focuses, or perhaps focusing on other areas?
Yes, we’re looking to continue creating data that is useful and valuable. And we’ll always keep our ear to the ground. We’re very lucky to be able to use an attribution tool as part of our regular reporting.
With it, we can see the levels of traffic blogs are getting and how that’s translating into leads and sales. Even better is that we can see how organic search is informing customer journeys. Whether it’s from a first-click view of a blog or last-click conversion, we can definitively prove the impact of our content. This insight helps us understand a blog’s role in the customer journey, better plan for future content, plus tweak existing content.
It’s been particularly useful from a CRO perspective too as it shows us if a blog is getting high traffic but low conversions, or vice versa. That gives us clear actions when it comes to rewriting and updating existing content.
Ahead, we want to use this inbound traffic to develop our email offering. We love the idea of creating a community and want to use our success in dominating niche keywords to better support marketers with attribution, lead tracking and more.