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Katelyn Staaben

Digital Marketing Strategist

Katelyn is a social media strategist and digital marketer with a background in developing strategy for B2B organizations. Certified in conversion writing through Conversion XL and Google Analytics, she supports the Northwoods digital marketing and account teams by contributing ideas to web design projects, social media, SEO, digital strategy consulting, and content management implementation.

B2B Content Marketing That Drives Results

A Case Study

August 31, 2020 | Katelyn Staaben, Digital Marketing Strategist

4 Minute Read

All content marketers have been here: There’s that one keyword or phrase that you’re dying to rank for on SERPs, and you’ve finally started to rank on the first page for it. Great! But you’re consistently stuck ranking toward the bottom of the page results. Not so great.

Although frustrating, this is a really good start! Those first page rankings may lead to higher first page rankings later on. But as they stand now, those low first page rankings aren’t going to drive a substantial amount of traffic. What can you do to boost your rankings up to the top of the first page?

One of Northwoods’ B2B clients faced this very dilemma. Our client was regularly ranking for several specific target keywords on the first page of SERPs, but averaged bottom-of-the-page rankings. Our solution involved an optimized content marketing strategy that increased the client’s rankings for its target generic term from sixth to first, and helped the manufacturer gain rankings for related terms, as well.

Here’s an overview of how we achieved these results, and how you can use our strategies to improve your own rankings.

The Situation

In fall 2019, one of our manufacturing clients came to us with a need: They had just purchased a new piece of machinery for thread grinding  - a key service  - and wanted to increase search engine rankings for the pages related to that service on their website.

The client’s current thread grinding pages included a page explaining its services and several older blog posts. Those pages did rank on the first page of SERPs for several keywords, but little traffic was being generated from those terms. On average, the services page ranked sixth for the generic term “thread grinding” and eighth for “precision thread grinding.”

The Solution

It was clear that, while the manufacturer had some domain authority on that topic, it lacked the digital reputation of its competitors. Several competitors that were outranking them had more content on their sites about thread grinding, and that content was often longer than our client’s content.

The solution was clear: The manufacturer needed to develop more thread grinding content on its website, so that it would be on par with that of its competitors. Northwoods developed a plan to write several new blogs for the site that would highlight these services and related topics. The blog topics were focused on keywords that the client had not written about yet, and on which many competitors had also published little content.

Our content and SEO team also took a closer look at the client’s existing pages and blogs and developed a plan to optimize that content further. The plan included adding additional keywords, as well as using Natural Language Processing to ensure that the content accurately demonstrated the manufacturer’s services to both website visitors and search engines.

The Outcome

Over the course of several months, our team worked with industry experts at the manufacturer to develop new content and optimize current content to best showcase its services. After first optimizing existing content, we noticed movement in keyword rankings. Specifically:

  • Rankings for “thread grinding” began to improve slightly, moving up to the fourth position on average.
  • The client began to rank for several additional terms, such as “thread grinding services,” although these rankings were typically several pages deep in the results. Eventually, two new blogs were written, two existing blogs written, and the service landing page was further optimized.


One month after the final blog was posted to the site, we had our results:

  • The manufacturer’s SERP rankings for “thread grinding” had jumped, and they now held both the first and second positions for the term. The first ranking was to the services page, and the second was to a new blog post written on the topic. In addition, the client now ranked fourth for “precision thread grinding” and had gained rankings for a variety of related terms, including “ball screw grinding” and other terms specific to related services it provides.

Why Did Our Strategies Work?

To some, our solution may seem very straightforward: If you have more content about a topic on your site, it’s more likely that you’ll show up in search results for that content. Essentially, if you write it, they will come. This does seem simple, but there’s a little more to it than that.

It’s not enough to just have content on your site. It has to be the right content.

In this client’s case, each page had to be optimized to best suit what searchers were looking for. The right keywords had to be included within the content, but the content also had to be written in a way that was easy for both readers and search engines to understand. You have to answer the questions that people are looking for online.

And it takes research and strategy to develop content topics that fall directly in line with the needs of those looking for that content. It’s critical to know which keywords are worth targeting for a specific type of query and which ones will likely not generate the results you want.

Strategically developing a lot of content around specific topics can be a great way to signal to both search engines and your web visitors that you’re an expert. When successful, this process generates big results,  - not just in rankings, but also in conversions and customer relationships.

With a solid strategy, good content, and sometimes even a little bit of luck, content optimization can be a great way to amp up the results of your content marketing.

Looking to improve your own search engine rankings and need some expert advice? Request a complimentary digital marketing consultation. We’re happy to help!