CVCLAVOZ.com is one of the world’s highest-ranking websites according to analytics firm Alexa. But in many ways, it was the result of a painful 18-month turn-around journey that made CVCLAVOZ an online hub for Christians in Latin America.
It was the spring of 2016 when I checked to see what our ranking was for CVCLAVOZ.com. I was shocked – it was way lower than we expected! I had to refresh the page several times because I could not believe how far our level of traffic had dropped from the previous count. We had worked very hard just a few years prior to grow our site traffic to a point that we were in the top websites in the world. What happened? After some digging, the causes started to emerge.
For one, we had stopped paying for a promotional partnership with two of the most visited Spanish Christian sites on the web. We now had less exposure. But the other was self-induced: we weren’t giving visitors a reason to stay. As we couldn’t rely on advertising to continue driving those high visitor numbers, we decided to scrutinize our approach to ensure we got back on the right track. The result was a change in our methodology. The following are three key areas of learning that helped CVCLAVOZ over a span of 18 months return to a key position as one of the most visited Spanish Christian sites in the world, this time from organic growth rather than ad spend:
Deconstructing a false reality
Simply put, we had too much reliance on traffic generated from advertising. When we were growing and increasing in our website ranking using a partnership promotional strategy through advertising, it created an unhealthy reliance that blinded us to the need for relevant and timely content to our audience. Naturally, once we stopped our advertising partnership, our traffic plummeted. Without intending to, we accepted the incredible flow of traffic as a sign of successful impact and the meeting of people’s needs but, sadly, content that would engage them in an ongoing conversation and not just a once-off visit to our site, become secondary. In the analogy of a department store, we could bring people to our shop, but they wouldn’t come back to shop on a regular basis. This made us wonder how truly impactful our work was. While at first, it was very deflating and discouraging, this insight turned out to be one of the best things that happened to us. It forced us to see that those who were being drawn to our site through advertising were not looking for the same things that they were receiving from another site they visited regularly. What could we learn from this? We were on a new path!
Returning to basics by focusing on our audience’s actual interests
Now that we had no ability to drive traffic through promotional partnerships or ads, we were forced to really look at who our target audience was, what they were looking for, and how we could connect with them in the places they visited. How could we provide content that would be relevant and impact them with the message of Jesus? Here’s what we changed:
Creating text content that matches search queries with high traffic but low adword competition. An example for us was: musica cristiana and versiculos biblicos.
Eliminating errors from the website core code.
Eliminating old, faulty or irrelevant pages which might receive unwanted traffic.
Optimising the platform for mobile delivery, including graphics and usability features.
Updating keywords, meta-tags and descriptions for all pages.
Upgrading the hosting server to deliver the website at a faster speed and to more people.
Upgrading the CDN feature to deliver cached sites from hosts closer to the visitors’ location, for speed.
Keeping up with Google’s standards for best practices, e.g. upgrading to a secure https site.
Linking to related internal CV content, including every article published in the last three years.
Publishing new articles regularly and consistently.
Enhancing all our social media influencers through true multi-platform integration.
Quality, not quantity
In some months our most visited pages were to articles from over two years ago. In these cases, the individual’s search query matched with our content, which has little to do with frequency or date of posts. ‘It isn’t that we didn’t have enough content before,’ shared Jaziel Exposito, CV LATAM’s Marketing Manager, ‘but that the content wasn’t targeting what people were already searching for. It was us sharing what we wanted people to know, and this approach doesn’t always generate traffic or encourage return visits.’ Publishing regularly is key to ensure the Google algorithm deems us worthy of sending people our way, but so is publishing content related to the search! By aligning our themes and topics to our target audience’s search terms, focusing on quality descriptions and paragraph text, and including links to other CV articles on the same subject, we started seeing a turnaround in our return visitor numbers. If content is King, the Queen is to publish the right content, to the right audience, in the right place!
CVCLAVOZ started as an evangelistic radio ministry in 1998 and has developed over time to become the largest multi-platform content provider in the Christian Hispanic world, working closely with affiliate radio stations in over 25 Latin American countries. CVCLAVOZ produces interactive, presenter-led content that is high on social media engagement and delivered through both online platforms and traditional radio.
To see what they are doing today, visit www.cvclavoz.com (site in Spanish).