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RebelMouse's Proprietary Editorial SEO Tools Create Continuous Organic Growth

Finally experience a search strategy that delivers.

When websites and publishers first started strategizing around search results in the early days of search engines, there were a number of ways to slip your article onto page one of the search engine results page (SERP). Some publishers practiced methods such as keyword stuffing and writing for SEO specifically, which often resulted in robotic and stilted copy. But over the past 20+ years, Google has figured out how to better understand a user's search for solutions, and has catered results based on finding the right answer — not just the most optimized-for-search article page.


In recent years, search made a comeback after the explosion of social began to simmer. With Facebook's fake news fallout and coinciding controversial algorithm change at the beginning of 2018, Google seized upon the opening in Facebook's armor and inched ahead of the social platform for referral traffic. This reversal in leaders not only gives sites another chance at control over their content and pageviews, but it also illustrates that users are willing to diversify from the platforms as well.

Our unique SEO infrastructure and feature set is designed to secure a search win with every publish. One of these tools allows you to select highly relevant links to add as related content to the end of your articles. We call these Around the Web (ATW) links. Our tool allows you to pick the best links from your own site as well as from around the web, leading to truly amazing traffic boosts.

We've also done the math, and the data is clear: Adding ATW links to the end of your articles can increase traffic coming to your posts from Google by over 300%!

Methodology

Here's how we collected and analyzed the data. First, we selected five RebelMouse sites that range from being highly localized content, to environmental content, to political and general topic content. Our idea was to select the five sites based on both their usage of ATW links, and to have a large representative sample of different flavors of sites and content.

We then analyzed the data from a two-week period to compare content that fell into one of four categories:

  • Used internal and external ATW links (recirculation and link outs)
  • Used external ATW links only (link outs)
  • Used internal ATW links only (recirculation)
  • Used no ATW links (none)

We compared the number of users that came to articles from Google Search that fell into each of the above categories, and then divided the total number of users by the total number of articles that each site had with either of the four categories.

Results

By analyzing the percent increase of users to the articles, we can see just how dramatic these numbers are. Starting with average users per article as the baseline, we can see just how much of an increase having the ATW links actually confers. Articles with both ATW recirculation and link outs saw a 372% increase in users over the baseline, while using either recirculation or link outs conferred an approximate 100% increase.

Our analysis showed that using both recirculation and link outs ATW links increased the number of users coming to the sites from Google. Articles using both recirculation and link outs saw an increase in users from Google, compared to those using only link outs or recirculation links, and a dramatic, near five-fold increase compared to traffic with no ATW links.

These numbers clearly illustrate the power these links have on incoming user traffic from Google. It should be noted that since these are SEO-specific tools, we have analyzed the traffic coming to pages only from Google as a source. We did this to conclusively show that the benefits of these links and tools are clearly driving search traffic.

Case Study

We recently had a client, IEEE Spectrum, begin to use ATW links, and the data we've seen from them completely mirrors the large-scale study. When their editorial team started to use our SEO tools, full usage wasn't adopted during the first couple of weeks. That gave us a live view into how ATW links affect pageviews, and what we found was amazing!

We looked at the content they produced over the first two weeks that they were semi-consistently using ATW links, and then analyzed the traffic. Fortunately, there was almost a perfect 50-50 split between articles that used the links and articles that didn't.

We found that in general, having ATW links in place was highly predictive of having higher pageviews per article. In fact, the average pageviews for posts using ATW links was more than four times greater when compared to articles not using them. Consistent with the averages, the total pageviews for all of the articles combined (optimized vs. not optimized) were more than four times greater for optimized posts, at the time of the analysis. You can see the data in the graph below:

It also became apparent that while articles with ATW links generally performed better, there were outliers that essentially prove the rule. In the following scatter chart, you can see the amount of raw pageviews that each article had. Each dot represents an individual article (blue for optimized and gray for not optimized).

Note that while the articles using ATW links had greater traffic overall, there were articles using ATW links that had low traffic, as well as articles not using ATW links that had high traffic. You can clearly see that the vast majority of articles that were optimized had greater pageviews than those that were not. It's also important to note that there is no specific comparison between the individual dots — they are simply semi-randomly selected data points plotted to visualize the overall effect of optimizing content with ATW links.

Update: While writing this article, the IEEE Spectrum team has continued and increased their usage of ATW links, and the data continues to follow the exact same patterns. In general, most of the articles that are optimized for SEO following our best practices are seeing much greater traffic than those that are not.

How to Add ATW Links

We have a very simple, straightforward setup in our Entry Editor to select these links. First you select your search phrase that you want to win for a particular post, and our API will bring back the highest ranking links from Google as well as the related articles from your own posts. From there, you simply select the links that are appropriate for your article and the system will add them to the post!

Once you select the posts you want to add, you'll see them marked at the bottom of the field in Entry Editor. You can also set your breadcrumb title and add your SEO metadata from this interface.

Lastly, once a post has been live for a few days and the data has come in, we're able to show you if you are successfully winning the search phrase that you optimized for. With our connection to Google Search Console, we are able to show you if you've had success with your selected phrase, as well as show you if you've won any other, related search phrases. From there, if you find you've been winning a different phrase, you can simply select that phrase and reoptimize the post to go after that phrase further instead.

You can see in this particular example that they are winning perfectly for the search phrase that they were going for: "vegan instant pot recipes." So in this case, there would be no need to reoptimize the post since we're already winning the phrase we're going for!

ATW Links in Action

This is an example of a post that is using the ATW links from both internal and external sources. You can see that we style these so that the internal recirculation links are more prominently displayed than the external links. By adding both links, you get the added benefit of an SEO boost from the external links, as well as creating a vast network of cross-linked posts on your site. In fact, each article that you add as a recirculation link will also add the original post as a related article on the recirculation post!

Styling Around the Web Links

While you can style these elements as you please, we have a few key elements to recommend for all sites. Remember that these apply to regular post pages and AMP styling as well, each needs to be considered!

  • Links from your own site should always come before the links from around the web in order on the page.
  • Links from your site should be larger than the links of related articles from around the web. This draws attention from readers to the links on the same site, while still providing the around the web links for reference and for SEO benefits.
  • Here's an example post from Brit&Co that shows how great this can look in your post! https://www.brit.co/how-to-really-wash-your-face/
How to turn these links on for post pages from the Layout and Design tools:
  • Navigate to the Layout and Design tools from the Hamburger Menu, and select Post page.
  • Select your main post page element, and scroll down on the right side of the interface until you see Show SEO articles from Around the Web:
  • Select the check box and save the page

Please note that you need to turn this on for your regular post pages as well as your AMP pages. The process is generally the same, with the exception that you will be selecting the AMP layout from the Layout and Design tools, and turning it on for those posts.

You may need to do some extra styling to make sure that your links look as great as possible. If you need any help, please contact your account manager or support@rebelmouse.com!

Learn more about our robust, proprietary search technology using the following links.

SEO on RebelMouse: The Basics

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that helps you understand and optimize your site's performance on Google's search results. When Google visits your website for tracking purposes, it performs what's called crawling and indexing, a process of adding webpages into its search results.

The console will allow you to add or remove certain content from Google Search's results. The tool will also help you learn which keywords trigger your site to appear in Google's rankings, and which third-party sites are linking to yours. It also allows you to monitor your site's performance on search, including locating any errors on your pages.

  • Click here to set up your Google Search Console.
  • Click here to submit a site map to Google Search Console.
  • Click here to learn more about our SEO Keyword Win feature, which shows what keywords you've won in the search engines so you can adjust your URL slug and related articles to improve SEO even further.

Inside the World of Search

Start Ranking on Google Search's Page One

Not on RebelMouse yet? Start reading our strategy articles on search engine optimization, and request a proposal today if you want to start leveraging our proprietary technology to propel your SEO efforts ahead of your competition.

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