In a Rut? Try Our Pivot Method to Lift Traffic By 30%

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Repotting helps remove dead roots and gives your plants more nutrients and space to grow. If you don't repot your growing plant, it will struggle to survive. I'm not a horticulturist, but I do know that a content strategy pivot is like repotting a plant. A content strategy pivot consists of switching topics, audiences, or content-types you're using in order to improve performance. Pivots are necessary for maintaining healthy growth, especially when you're seeing signs of stagnancy or content decay.

In this article, I'll cover all the above, minus how to repot a plant. You can go somewhere else for that.

I work with a human-safe cleaning brand called Branch Basics, and after seeing signs of slowed growth, we decided to pivot our content strategy. This pivot led to a 30% increase in Y/Y blog traffic, and contributed to a 12% lift in total site traffic. I'll use our pivot as an example of how to approach content pivots proactively, along with tips on how to spot the need for them. 

Recognizing the Rut 

We saw the need for a content pivot with Branch Basics after we started to see blog traffic begin to trough. Through a competitive analysis, we noticed that we were not helping them reach their full potential by publishing higher funnel topics. 

Analyze the Content Lifecycle

Animalz has my favorite example of what the lifecycle of content looks like. By studying top performing articles across a variety of sites, they were able to spot a general pattern in blog performance. According to their study, there are five phases: spike, trough, growth, plateau, and decay. 

Using these five phases to proactively analyze the performance of your content can help you assess when it’s time to make tweaks to your strategy. 

We began our content work with Branch Basics in 2022, and the growth phase took off. But, later in the year we noticed a decline in traffic and revenue. We had hit the plateau phase. 

By taking a zoomed-out perspective on performance, we recognized that we couldn’t stick with our current strategy if we wanted to help Branch Basics reach their goals. Once we knew we were entering a decay phase, we analyzed what was happening to help form our next steps. More on that next!

Research Algorithm Updates

Let me first clarify: an algorithm update should never derail your strategy. Rather, algorithm updates should be used to monitor and assess performance, and make adjustments as needed. 

That’s exactly what happened with Branch Basics. Around the same time as performance slowed, a few algorithm updates rolled out. By analyzing traffic, we noticed that the same higher-funnel articles continued to get hit. 

These articles were not closely related to the brand. While they were previous top-traffic earners, they didn’t drive revenue. We addressed this with our client and made a plan to deprioritize updating these articles, and instead focus on what was working.

Focus on What’s Working 

If you notice your organic performance isn’t where you want it to be, you should single out what is and isn’t working for you. Finding what is working can sometimes reap even bigger rewards because it gives you a starting point for your pivot and next steps.

After identifying article topics to deprioritize with Branch Basics, we analyzed which topic groups were serving us well. Here’s what we found: 

  • 45% of the blogs that converted that year were bottom-funnel 
  • 57% of assisted conversions were driven by bottom-funnel articles 

Even while we were previously focused on publishing mid-top funnel topics, existing bottom-funnel topics were doing the work for us. We quickly realized we were only scratching the surface of opportunity. 

Creating the Pivot Strategy

Once you recognize the need for a pivot, it’s time to start building your plan of attack. 

Conduct Competitor Analysis 

Analyzing direct competitor performance is an important way to assess what’s working for others, and it can help you understand what you can be doing better. 

We started by singling out two direct competitors for analysis. We found that both were publishing product-specific topics and absolutely dominating search results for relevant product keywords as a result. 

TopicTraffic/moKW RankingsAvg. PositionEst. Conversions
How to Get X out of Y20,2557,5958203
Best Natural [Product]190,97529,66151,910

Using this data we did some napkin math to create an opportunity forecast. We used our conversion data to estimate the revenue potential for the new content categories. 

Build Topic Pillars

After analyzing competitors, we paired our findings with what we found was working well on the Branch Basics site. These categories shaped our pivot strategy. We proposed doubling content production and publishing one topic per category each month. 

Consider Your Audience

Google documentation says that its algorithms are designed to show people content that presents helpful and reliable information. If you notice your content is on a plateau, ask yourself – is my content meeting my audience’s questions and needs? If the answer is no, or not sure, use that as a sign to dig deeper into what your audience is searching for. Some of my favorite ways to do this are through: 

A content strategy pivot should be intentional. Give yourself time to truly get to know the product so that you can ensure you’re creating content that matters to your audience. 

"Uproer identified the need for a pivot and presented us with content pillars that aligned with our brand while propelling us into new search territory. Their ability to adapt and refocus our content has led to impressive growth." - Julia Ziegler, Senior Brand Manager

Take the Proactive Approach for Sustained Growth

By pivoting to a bottom-funnel focus we’ve been able to drive sustained traffic and revenue growth on the Branch Basics blog. While our blog strategy is conversion-focused, we have still been able to reach new heights in visibility, with some blogs driving over one million impressions in a year. 

Growth is not linear, especially in the ever-changing world of search marketing. Using the content lifecycle to analyze content performance is a great way to identify opportunities for pivots and content refreshing. 

Just like plants, your site’s content needs intentional care! Want to learn more about how we build content strategies for long-lasting growth? Book an intro call, let’s chat! 

Skye Sonnega

Skye Sonnega

Skye got her start in SEO and digital marketing while interning for a startup in 2020. At Uproer, she pioneered the SEO Analyst + Copywriter position and is the company’s first internal copywriter. After transitioning to a more SEO-focused position, she is passionate about finding ways to improve the way Uproer approaches content production.

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In a Rut? Try Our Pivot Method to Lift Traffic By 30%

Repotting helps remove dead roots and gives your plants more nutrients and space to grow. If you don't repot your growing plant, it will struggle to survive. I'm not a horticulturist, but I do know that a content strategy pivot is like repotting a plant. A content strategy pivot consists

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Dave Sewich

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Dave made an accidental foray into digital marketing after graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth and hasn’t looked back. Having spent the first part of his marketing journey brand-side, he now works with the Uproer team to help clients realize their goals through the lens of search.

When not at work, you’ll find Dave staying active and living a healthy lifestyle, listening to podcasts, and enjoying live music. A Minnesotan born and raised, his favorite sport is hockey and he still finds time to skate once in a while.

Dave’s DiSC style is C. He enjoys getting things done deliberately and systematically without sacrificing speed and efficiency. When it comes to evaluating new ideas and plans, he prefers to take a logical approach, always sprinkling on a bit of healthy skepticism for good measure. At work, Dave’s happiest when he has a chance to dive deep into a single project for hours at a time. He loves contributing to Uproer and being a part of a supportive team but is most productive when working solo.

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Griffin’s DiSC style is D. He’s driven to set and achieve goals quickly, which helps explain why he’s built his career in the fast-paced agency business. Griffin’s most valuable contributions to the workplace include his motivation to make progress, his tendency towards bold action, and his willingness to challenge assumptions.