Discover How This Company Conquers The US & UK Content Marketing World

content marketing UK services webiste analysis Brafton logo

We first came across Brafton in an SEO Competitor Analysis for the UK keyword “Content Marketing Services”.

Evidently, Brafton is a heavy hitter when it comes to the keyword, “content marketing services”. But their success travels over the pond too. Because they rank for content marketing in both the UK and the US!

And Google even highlights Brafton as their source for the featured snippet. Because it links to Brafton’s Content Marketing Services landing page. In fact, both the UK and US versions are featured snippets.

google content marketing

If you click on the blue title link, Google sends you through to the following page:

contentmarketing

The featured snippet is actually the page title’s supporting text (yellow highlight above). 

But we didn’t highlight that. Because that’s what Google does when you click-through to a featured snippet page.

However, it may surprise you to learn an interesting fact about this page. Namely, it only ranks for one keyword: “content marketing services”. Despite the fact it’s Google’s featured snippet!

Furthermore, all the other website’s in the top 10 results for “content marketing services” have more keywords. In fact, they have an average of 9 keywords.

Okay, so let’s get stuck into the meat and potatoes of this website analysis.

But first, who or what exactly is Brafton?

About Brafton

content marketing example

Visit the Brafton website

First, a bit of a caveat.

Overall, throughout this report, we will be mainly focusing on brafton.co.uk, the brands UK content marketing service.

However, we will be frequently mentioning brafton.com – the US version of the website.

“Brafton is a leading digital content marketing agency in America with offices in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco”.

And that’s brafton.com’s meta description. But it needs an update because they are much bigger than that. 

Because they are actually present in the US, the UK and Australia.

multiple locations for content company

However, you can navigate to the Australia and the UK site-versions from the menu on the US site.

Australia site

In fact, rather bizarrely, this is the same for all versions of the website. Which includes brafton.co.uk, brafton.com and brafton.com.au.

Which in itself isn’t a problem in itself as such. But it’s identical on the Australian and UK sites too.

Surely, for example, the Australia website should point to the UK and US versions and not to itself. And the UK version should point to the Australian and US site versions?

Perhaps it’s a design flaw? Either way, it’s a potential opportunity to improve.

But back to brafton.co.uk.

The UK site domain name was registered in 2005.

domain info

But, get this, the parent company Brafton Ltd was registered in November 2019.

And this is just over one year ago!

In addition, this lines up with an almighty takeover of the content marketing space in the UK.

For instance, take a look at this…

marketing graph 2

Holy crap!

From Zero to Hero

Clearly they were doing something right. Because the start of that mountain was 15 November 2019. Not to mention it began with just 5 website visitors.

Which is exactly three days after Brafton Ltd was incorporated.

However, just over one year later, on the last day of November 2020, brafton.co.uk had 7,469 website visits.

And this is an astounding 149,280% increase!

It’s clear why we made the decision to cover them in this website analysis!

Altogether, in this report we will be put Brafton through the following analysis:

  • Backlinks
  • Keywords
  • Content
  • Social Shares
  • Paid Traffic

Backlink Profile

Overall, Brafton.co.uk has 21,763 backlinks. And a record 99% of those backlinks are dofollow backlinks.

And these backlinks come from 127 referring domains.

Have a look at their backlink growth…

marketing graph 1

Similar to brafton.co.uk’s traffic growth, right?

However, they obtained their first backlink at the end of November 2019.

And, it was from a blog post on earnest-agency.com.

Which is a blog post with a ridiculously large hero banner:

Content marketing example

This blog post asks and answers around seven questions and references statistics from across the web.

And about a third of the way down the page is this link:

Backlinking success

Which leads to a blog post entitled: Brafton 2017 Content Marketing Benchmark Report.

Reporting and reports as backlinking strategy

The referring domain earnest-agency.com has a domain authority of 48.

Despite this, earnest-agency.com isn’t even in Brafton’s top 10 referring domains. But have a look who is:

Referring DomainDomain Rating
moz.com91
pardot.com90
jobvite.com86
futurelearn.com83
visme.co82
brafton.com77
siteprice.org73
marketscale.com70
bluewhalemedia.co.uk70
minutehack.com67

Brafton.com is a copy of brafton.co.uk.

Reporting as example of how to get links

Or, maybe brafton.co.uk is a copy of brafton.com.

But as we saw earlier, the UK domain was registered in 2005.

registered company screenshot 2

Yet, the website only seems to gain any traffic in November 2019.

However, on closer inspection, the US site was registered at the same time.

registered company screenshot

Next, let’s take a look at brafton.com’s traffic growth to investigate further. We love to solve a mystery!

Traffic Growth

graph 5 br

Aha!

Evidently, it appears that brafton.co.uk is a copy of brafton.com.

However, as we can see from this graph, brafton.com’s first website visits occurred way back in May 2015. With just 15 visits.

Naturally, this isn’t the first time we have seen this; two or more identical versions of a website.

In fact, most of the time it looks like a lazy attempt at SEO fudgery. But in this case it could be a very smart SEO strategy. Which uses and targets ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domains) like:

  • http://www.example.fr (France)
  • http://www.example.co.uk (United Kingdom)

“…ccTLDs are the single strongest way to show search engines and users that site content is specifically targeted to a certain country or region — but, importantly, NOT specifically a certain language. When a site uses a ccTLD, Google assumes that site (and all the content on it) is specifically relevant to the geographic area targeted by the ccTLD and should appear on SERPs in that area.”

What are ccTLDs?

So…

First there was brafton.com which is owned by Brafton, Inc.

Then there was brafton.co.uk which is owned by Brafton Ltd.

Mystery solved!

Okay, let’s return our focus to Brafton’s UK domain and look at its organic keywords.

Organic Keywords

Overall, Brafton.co.uk ranks for 3,284 keywords.

And 146 of those keywords (0.04%) rank in the top 3 ranking positions. However, just 67 keywords of those keywords (0.02%) rank at number 1.

In comparison, let’s look at the US site:

BRAFTON.COM (US)
Total KeywordsKeywords in Top 1 to 3Keywords at Number 1
34,3941,019477

These are the top 10 keywords for brafton.co.uk:

KeywordVolumeKDCPCTrafficPosition
content marketing agency8006$17.005051
affordable seo1,20012$9.002421
local seo agency6009$19.002341
content marketing services6003$17.002121
how to end an email6,90045$3.001899
copywriting services25012$6.001571
facebook top fan badge6000N/A1451
top fan1,0002$0.001311
branding services2502$4.001171
digital marketing services90019$12.001152

Top 10 Keywords Stats

Total Search Volume13,100
Average Keyword Difficulty11
Average CPC$9.67
Total Traffic From Top 10 Pages2,047
Percentage of Overall Website Traffic27.11%

Clearly, the top 5 keywords are all linked to content marketing and SEO.

And this was not the case 12 months previous.

However, here are the top 5 keywords from November 2019:

  1. marketing blogs
  2. target audience example
  3. brand tone of voice examples
  4. marketing copy
  5. unethical marketing

Altogether, this illustrates that there was a definite progression in the type of content creation.

Next, let’s examine the top pages for brafton.co.uk.

Top Pages

Altogether, brafton.co.uk has 16,968 pages.

And the website is 4 times smaller than the US version.

BRAFTON.CO.UK (UK)BRAFTON.COM (US)
Number of PagesNumber of Pages
16,96871,805

Overall, 709 of the website’s 16,968 pages (0.04%) rank in Google’s Top 100 search positions.

Interestingly, only 176 pages receive any traffic.  

And these 176 pages generate around 7,400 website visits at the end of November 2020.

Furthermore 78 of those pages rank in the top 1 to 3 positions. And 51 pages rank in the number one position.

But, here are the 10 top pages that generate the most traffic for brafton.co.uk (November 2020):

URLTrafficKeywords
https://www.brafton.co.uk/67744
https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/social-media/what-is-a-top-fan-on-facebook/54133
https://www.brafton.co.uk/content-strategy/51553
https://www.brafton.co.uk/services/local-seo-services/45342
https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/seo/the-most-affordable-seo-services-for-small-business/43426
https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/email-marketing/how-to-end-an-email/27074
https://www.brafton.co.uk/consulting/26727
https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/creation/4-brand-tone-of-voice-examples-to-use-when-building-your-own/26433
https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/strategy/6-real-life-target-audience-examples-to-help-you-define-your-own-b2b-and-b2c/s263137
https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/creation/how-to-write-a-testimonial-some-of-our-favorite-examples/22338

And this is the 10 top pages 12 months earlier in November 2019:

POSITIONTOP 10 PAGES IN NOVEMBER 2019
1https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/content-writing/10-top-marketing-blogs-worth-following/
2https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/strategy/6-real-life-target-audience-examples-to-help-you-define-your-own-b2b-and-b2c/
3https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/creation/4-brand-tone-of-voice-examples-to-use-when-building-your-own/
4https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/content-marketing/content-to-click-through-the-best-email-newsletters-of-2016/
5https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/creation/the-keys-to-writing-amazing-marketing-copy/
6https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/content-marketing/are-you-guilty-of-unethical-marketing/
7https://www.brafton.co.uk/glossary/business-to-consumer-b2c-marketing/
8https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/strategy/persona-examples-from-around-the-web-and-why-they-work/
9https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/strategy/how-to-create-a-strategic-marketing-process-5-steps-for-success/
10https://www.brafton.co.uk/blog/strategy/which-marketing-kpis-are-the-most-important/

In total, 90% of the top pages in November 2019 were blog posts.  Which decreases slightly to 60% in November 2020.

However, sitewide, 388 pages are blog pages (56%).  And these blog pages generate a total traffic of around 4,100.

Which means that blog pages account for 54% of the total website traffic.

Remaining category pages (in order of traffic generation):

  • /services – 34 pages – Total traffic: 915
  • /writing – 4 pages – Total traffic: 178
  • /glossary – 17 pages – Total traffic: 69
  • /news – 194 pages – Total traffic: 52 
  • /clients – 9 pages – Total traffic: 4
  • /support – 5 pages – Total traffic: 0 
  • /ebooks – 2 pages – Total traffic: 0   

And the remaining 59 pages that generate traffic are a mix of miscellaneous landing pages.

In summary, the pages that bring in the most traffic are blog pages and service pages.

Top Blog Page

In November 2020, the blog post that generated the most traffic was entitled: “Facebook top fan badge: How to give, how to get”.

Overall, the page generated 540 website visits. 

And it was published in August 2020. But has around 1200 words and ranks for 33 keywords.

The top keyword for the page was “facebook top fan badge”. Which had a monthly search volume of 600.

As we’d expect for the page with most monthly traffic, it ranked first for the keyword “facebook top fan badge”.

example article ideas

Top Service Page

In November 2020, the service page that generated the most traffic was entitled: “Local SEO Services”.

And it has around 1400 words and ranks for 42 keywords.

However, unsurprisingly, the top keyword for the page was “local seo agency”. Which has a monthly search volume of 600.

Yet again, the page ranks number 1 for its respective keyword, “local seo agency”.

Contact form example of good content marketing and email growth strategy

Blog Analysis

Next, let’s take a deeper look at the blog pages.

However, keep in mind that the site only began to generate traffic in November 2019.

And the very first blog post on the website was in April 2010.

At the time of this report, the last blog post was on 30 November 2020.

Furthermore, between April 2010 and November 2020, brafton.co.uk published 6,669 blog posts.

Which is an average of approximately 69 blog posts per month for just over 8 years.

What?!

Clearly, when we look at the relationship between the UK and US domains, there are few things that are apparent:

  1. It is very likely that blog content was copied over from the US version of the website. For instance:

Brafton.com

com. and co.uk

Brafton.co.uk

co.uk and .com

2. The blog is made up of two main categories: /blog and /news.

sitemap br

3. Only 580 (0.07%) of the 6,669 blog posts on brafton.co.uk rank in Google

4. And 122 of the 580 blog posts that rank in Google generate traffic

Top Content

Clearly, Brafton has a ton of content. As such, this has helped the website climb to the top of the ranking charts. 

But how does their audience respond to that content?

Let’s take a look at the content pages on brafton.co.uk. As based on total shares across Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

example of good content marketing

Altogether, it doesn’t look like brafton.co.uk gets lots of shares on social media.

In fact, the piece of content with the most shares is: “10 content marketing ideas for the coronavirus lockdown”. Which has 17 shares since its publication in March 2020.

In comparison, let’s see how their US counterpart does for content shares:

popular pages example of good content marketing

Oh, wow!

It’s like night and day.  Which gives us an indication of where brafton.co.uk could get to.

Overall, the top 5 pieces of content have average total social shares of 162. And as we can see 4 out of 5 pieces of content are from 2017.

And the other 20% is from 2013.

Which suggests that social media shares can grow over time.

However, what is interesting is that the platforms vary in location. For example, the most popular social media platform in the UK is Facebook. Compared to Twitter in the US.

One thing is for sure, list posts or listicles still work very well as a content marketing tactic. In fact, 80% of the top pieces of content are in this category.

Paid Traffic

We were surprised to see that neither brafton.co.uk nor brafton.com have spent any pounds or dollars on paid advertising.

Zip. zero. Nada!

And it goes to show that you can achieve content marketing success in the UK. As well as other major markets, without ad spend. 

Okay, time to wrap this up.

Conclusion

Overall, brafton.co.uk’s top competitor and cheerleader is brafton.com.  

However, we conclude that brafton.com is more cheerleader than competitor.

As a result, Brafton is a major player in the content marketing agency space. And that’s in at least two countries.

They rank in number one for content marketing services in the UK and rank in 2nd position in the US.

And they pump out content. Literally!

Not only that, but they appear to be masters of conversion. In fact, the art of traffic to lead conversions comes easy to Brafton. At least when it comes to email subscribers.

Because, brafton.co.uk is full of opt-in forms.

And there are service pages with multiple call-to-actions that compel and entice visitors.

For example, the Local SEO service page:

Content marketing guides and CTAs

Naturally, we suspect that there are a lot more golden nuggets to be found. Especially if we were to conduct a deeper analysis.

However, it is clear that brafton.com precedes its UK sister site. And it was integral to the rapid success of brafton.co.uk.

Of course, it is still early days. After all, Brafton.co.uk is little over a year old. But we have seen their website is backed by a pretty intricate and comprehensive strategy. And one that includes at the very least:

  • Content. Lots and lots of content ( 6,669 blog posts!)
  • 90%+ dofollow backlinks
  • Robust traffic conversion systems

Can Brafton Be Beat?

Short answer. Yes.

But fortunately for you, here’s our long answer…

Naturally, it would be remiss of us to suggest that all that you need to do to beat Brafton is to create tons of content.

Remember…

  • Only 388 blog posts out of the 6,669 blog post on brafton.co.uk generate any traffic
  • And out of those 388 blog posts, only 8 blog posts generate over 100 monthly website visits
  • Not to mentions, there’s a lot more to their strategy than purely content creation
  • And there is definitely something to be said for their deft use of ccTLDs

Overall, it seems that brafton.com has been built into a massive content machine with a lot of SEO juice. And then distributes said juice to their other global entities.

In fact, we have clear signs of global expansion beginning in 2019.

And it is pretty astounding to see two sites, just over a year old, go from single digit website visits to 10s of thousands.

BRAFTON.COM – Traffic begins in May 2015

graph 3

BRAFTON.COM.AU – Traffic begins in August 2019

graph 2

BRAFTON.CO.UK – Traffic begins in November 2019

graph

So…can UK content marketing service Brafton be beat?

Overall, we think so, yes! 

However, with enough resources and purpose Brafton could definitely be beat

On the whole, it seems that Brafton’s future success is as longtail as some of their keywords! And it is clear that they are only getting started.

In conclusion, the overall plan for any business looking to beat Brafton is to find the keys to catch up. Then, to aim to surpass and stay in front of them…forever!

Because it is clear that Brafton do not intend to cede their position as conquerors…yet!

Need help with your own content?

If you’re looking for some expert content creation or marketing consultancy, get in touch. Altogether, our team has over a decade of experience. And we know that while content is worthwhile, it’s a long-term strategy that takes time. 

As such, why not outsource your content to us. As a result you can focus efforts on your business growth. Contact us for an obligation-free chat

Alternatively, we can create a bespoke website analysis or competitor analysis for your business.

    About Murray Dare

    Murray Dare is a Marketing Consultant, Strategist and Director at Dare Media. Murray helps UK businesses find better ways to connect with their audiences through targeted content marketing strategies. Please follow Murray on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.


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