Digital marketing firm Babbl dialed in its approach to SEO – with dramatic results.
Babbl had a whopping 1400% increase in clicks over just three months!
That looks like going from 100 clicks to over 1500 clicks in that short time frame.
A total game changer for Babbl’s organic visibility.
Importantly, most of this is business-relevant traffic coming to Babbl’s website via carefully selected keywords – which are now starting to rank.
The Babbl SEO story is simple, but it’s a testament to the amazing results that even basic optimization work can bring.
The Babbl Story
Babbl is an award-winning UK boutique social media and digital marketing agency, the brainchild of friends and business partners Nicola Read and James Austin.
Nicola and James wanted to continue writing company blog posts themselves, in keeping with Babbl’s authentic, friendly, and down-to-earth brand image.
They just needed to know how to do so in the right way to get seen in organic search.
Babbl’s major goals:
- To move away from referrals as main traffic channels, and build up organic traffic instead
- To improve visibility of the Babbl website and increase searchability for the right phrases
- To shift away from the previous focus on childcare clients
Background and Results
Babbl hired me to conduct a Website Quality Audit, which included a technical audit of the website, plus an audit of the existing content and building an SEO strategy (based on keyword research).
I also delivered a comprehensive SEO training session on Zoom for Nicola and James.
Here, I guided them through every detail of the audit, answered all their questions, and made sure they understood everything necessary to hit the ground running with their new SEO strategy.
4 Lessons From Babbl’s Story
Let’s now take a look at some key SEO takeaways from Babbl’s story.
- How to find great keywords – using competitor analysis to guide you
- The importance of getting the right heading hierarchy
- Why URL slugs matter in SEO (and best practices)
- The perils of thin content (and how to spruce it up with ease)
#1. How to find great keywords via competitors
Your competitors are one of the best places to start finding awesome keywords for your blog posts.
By “competitors”, I don’t necessarily mean your real-life competitors, but those who compete with you to rank high in Google search results.
And, they may not be the ones you expected.
For Babbl, I first asked Nicola and James to tell me which companies they saw as their main competitors.
I analyzed those websites as a starting point. Some were strong in SEO, while others were practically invisible.
I reverse-engineered the strong sites to identify keywords that had suitable levels of volume, competition, and relevance to make sense for Babbl to go after.
The main goal was to focus on “how-to” informational intent keywords around topics tied directly to Babbl’s core business offerings – aiming to build expertise that would translate well to increased trust and eventually to new leads.
During this process (in which I mainly used Ahrefs), I also discovered new competitors vying for important keywords, such as “how to optimize facebook ads”.
#2. The importance of heading hierarchy
On-page SEO is crucial for ranking – and structuring your headings in the correct order will make sure Google’s bots don’t have to guess at what your post is about.
I ran a bulk analysis of Babbl’s existing content, finding that some pages had multiple H1 headings showing up. This can be misleading for bots, because each page should only ever have a single H1 header (which is usually the title). I flagged all affected pages so the Babbl team could easily fix them.
Note: you can use multiple H2s on a page (usually best for giving the page structure), followed by H3s (usually good for listing out a series of steps or key points).
After that, H4s, H5s, and H6s are available if needed (although I personally rarely use them). Don’t forget to always use them in hierarchical order – from H1 down to H6.
#3. Why URL slugs matter in SEO
URL slugs are easy to get wrong. I see it all the time.
And Babbl’s site was no exception.
For example, some blog post URLs contained the original publication date (e.g. /2017/07/01). This should be avoided for two reasons:
- It ties the post to a specific date (and users prefer fresh, evergreen content)
- It’s tricky to update the URL slug each time you update the post (that would require 301 redirects each time = bad idea)
But you can easily follow specific best practices to make sure you get them right, every time.
For best SEO results, make sure your site’s URL structure ticks the following boxes:
- Contains no dates, numbers, or special characters
- Uses just the exact match keyword that you’re targeting
- Is as short as possible (you can remove filler words like ‘the’ and ‘a’ from the target keyword)
- Doesn’t include too many categories (I recommend a maximum of one)
Fortunately, Babbl only had a handful of posts containing the date, so it was a simple task to fix the structure and set up 301 redirects.
#4. The perils of thin content (and how to spruce it up with ease)
Thin content used to be ok back in the early days of SEO.
But nowadays, internet searchers usually want in-depth, insightful, top-quality content.
That’s pretty difficult to achieve in just 500 words (at least for expertise-building posts such as how-to guides).
Babbl had several instances of thin content on the site that didn’t have much chance of ranking in its current state. To fix them, I did the following:
- Chose a target keyword that fitted the overall goal of the post
- Analyzed competitors to understand the typical structure that Google was ranking on page one
- Showed the Babbl team how to build out the thin posts using additional headings and fresh content, while following good on-page SEO practices.
“Samantha first asked all the right questions to understand our business goals with SEO. She then created a really detailed SEO strategy that gave us so much incredibly valuable guidance, while not being overwhelming. This report not only gave us quick fixes for existing content to get fast results, but also an in-depth plan for moving forward. We’d recommend Samantha without hesitation!! “
Nicola Read, Co-Founder, Babbl
You can improve your blog’s basic SEO with just a few steps.
In a nutshell, here they are:
- Make sure every blog post you publish has one main target keyword
- Optimize the post for that keyword (without going overboard)
- Make sure your heading hierarchy is correctly structured (only ever use a single H1)
- Analyze your competition before writing each post, then use those insights as a guide for your own (but don’t forget to add your own unique value too)
To help you optimize your posts, grab a copy of my comprehensive on-page SEO checklist, which I use every time I publish a new blog post. I’ve used this to grow sites to over 100K monthly visitors and tens of thousands in revenue.