Flipsnack is a unique publishing platform used by people all over the world to create interactive documents for personal use as well as for their businesses. Their easy-to-use online design tool allows users to create beautiful flipping books that improve the appearance of their business. Since 2011, Flipsnack’s flipbook making capabilities have made it easy for everyone to create online catalogs, magazines, newspapers and much more.
Business Challenge: maintain SEO health, grow organic traffic by expanding keywords portfolio, grow sales volume
As Flipsnack was continuing to grow steadily in terms of product features and possible uses for customers, in early 2020 they decided to change their strategy. It was decided to pursue the growth of organic traffic by developing content to target specific new keywords that would bring in potential customers interested in their newly developed features, such as catalog automation, accessibility and multiple workspaces for large companies.
While implementing this strategy, with the continuous development of the website and the increasing volume of user-generated content (published flipbooks) along with their own significant amounts of content published, they’ve started seeing SEO health issues more often than before.
Although at the start of the year the main challenge was to grow, they soon faced a second challenge: maintaining their site’s SEO health while keeping up the pace of expansion.
Solution: technical SEO, keyword and content research, link building
Flipsnack’s focus was on expanding their portfolio by targeting new keywords. Using the Keyword Gap tool made them aware that they were not exploiting the potential of keywords that they already had content for. So they added a secondary goal: to improve positions for those pages, and include them in their general strategy of growing their organic traffic.
“What we’ve learnt during this analysis was that our content team already had published great content that we could have used better, by targeting keywords that our competitors were ranking for. It was like winning a nice pot at the lottery!” says Radu Mirea, SEO Manager at Flipsnack.
Below are Flipsnack’s Keyword Gap stats for January 2020:
Here’s what the Keyword Gap looked like in November 2020, after Flipsnack updated the existing content with the newly discovered competitor keywords:
As can be seen in the screenshots above, in January 2020, Flipsnack had 389 shared keywords and 123 missing, compared to their competitors. For the rest of the year they were able to gain competitive advantage, and in November the situation looked like this: 647 shared keywords and only 99 missing. This proved that their strategy actually brought the results they were expecting.
The Keyword Gap data was so insightful that the Flipsnack team immediately went to the Organic Research tool, where they analyzed the keyword portfolios of every competitor.
Next, the team:
- ordered the results based on keyword volume;
- added a number of advanced filters to exclude branded keywords and other generic search terms that were not of interest;
- downloaded extensive lists of keywords which were great material for analysis.
A very important stage in their process was analyzing the data acquired in the previous steps. Flipsnack started doing specific research for each of the main topics identified using the Keyword Magic Tool. This is how they found niches and keywords that were just a perfect fit for their product capabilities. The search intent of each keyword was at the core of their decision-making on what to target next.
Below is a sample of one of the niches/topics and a handful of keywords they chose to target:
Managing quite a complex site with millions of pages is definitely not an easy job. For Flipsnack, dealing with a lot of user-generated content means many daily challenges in terms of maintaining site health and making sure the team squeezes all the potential out of every page.
During this endeavor to expand their keyword portfolio and organic traffic, Flipsnack faced quite a few issues. The most common were related to the new implementations, as well as the growing amount of user-generated content (published flipbooks): 5xx errors, 4xx errors, missing meta titles and meta descriptions, blocked from crawling or language mismatch issues.
Flipsnack also produces high-quality content for their audience. They are committed to providing not only the most relevant information but also the best user experience. They are big fans of innovation, but often this can lead to technical SEO issues. That’s where Site Audit comes into play and helps in spotting any issues in a timely manner which allows for fast fixing.
One of Flipsnack’s ongoing goals is to maintain their site within Google’s best practice guidelines. The Internal Linking section of the tool helped them explore new improvement possibilities for the most important landing pages. It was used throughout 2020 and kept improving the site’s internal linking system and practices. As a result, Flipsnack’s new landing pages appeared in the top 20-50 positions for dozens of keywords without any external links.
Site Audit can definitely be called one of the most valuable Semrush tools for Flipsnack. Here’s a comparison of site audit results at the beginning of 2020 and close to the end of 2020:
The Flipsnack team fixes any issues related to the core pages immediately after regular crawls. While they couldn’t do much to resolve user-generated page issues (typically, duplicate meta titles, meta descriptions or content), they came up with a plan that improved the UGC page performance.
Flipsnack implemented changes to the user management area by offering tips on how to optimize their work. While there are still a lot of users who publish their flipbooks without giving due attention to that, a noticeable improvement happened as the number of issues started dropping steadily.
“Our users publish beautiful flipbooks and it seemed a bit sad not to get more exposure for their work. We’ve decided to do some backend work to update the functionalities that would allow them to work a bit on the basic SEO for their flipbook pages. We’ve also made sure we offer on the spot, easy to understand instructions on how that could be done!” explains Radu.
While they are confident that content is still king and gets them lots of valuable natural links, the Flipsnack team does put effort into building links themselves as well. The Backlink Analytics tool proves to be extremely useful when it comes to analyzing competitor backlink profiles as it uncovers their strategies. In addition, by doing backlink research, they get inspired with new content ideas based on the web pages that link to their competitors. This is definitely recommended to everyone who lacks content ideas and is looking to build a strong content strategy.
The step above offers a starting point for compiling lists of relevant backlink resources. Once this is done, the next step is to check each of those resources to see what their organic trends are. The Semrush Domain Overview tool really comes in handy here. The team runs the potential link sources through the tool to see how they perform in terms of organic traffic and organic keywords. Below is an example of a resource they’d pursue:
Semrush makes it very easy to create dedicated projects on specific keywords. Flipsnack has different types of content and differentiates their groups of keywords accordingly.
Once the projects have been created, Position Tracking is a very important tool the team uses every day for each project.
“I love Position Tracking because it allows us to easily supervise the rankings overview and see which keywords vary the most. It also provides a series of valuable insights that are very easy to track: Flipsnack’s visibility in Google on the most valuable keywords, positive and negative impact on keywords, as well as our top competitors. All this information available in a single dashboard!” says Naomi, SEO Specialist at Flipsnack.
Being able to track keyword groups in different projects offers the team the opportunity to see how different types of content/pages perform. It often happens that they can easily spot a group of pages as having issues while others are growing.
This allows for a clear overview of keywords’ evolution over time, offering a more specific understanding of the actions on which they should focus more in the next period.
- +49% keywords ranking in Google’s top 100 in 9 months.
- Flipsnack’s keywords portfolio expanded from ~53k ranking keywords in January 2020 to ~79k ranking keywords at the end of November 2020. In this period, the number of keywords ranking in the top 3 positions grew by 34%.
- +80% organic traffic in 9 months
- 2020 was a good year for Flipsnack, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. They managed to steadily improve many aspects of their website and presence. This led to an important increase of over 80% in organic traffic between January and November, as can be seen in the screenshot below:
- Consistently good site health
- During 2020, Flipsnack managed to maintain their site’s SEO health at a good level by quickly intervening whenever a crawl result signaled an issue and by reducing the overall number of issues for user-generated content: