Company: WhiteHat Security
With more than 15 years of data and analytics at its fingertips, WhiteHat Security offers a number of solutions to help protect your digital business. The WhiteHat Application Security Platform provides the services required to secure the entire software development lifecycle, while WhiteHat Sentinel Dynamic can find and fix vulnerabilities before the bad guys do.
As news about data breaches inundated the public in 2017, WhiteHat Security saw a chance to capitalize on it and build a reputation as a trusted source for security-related topics as people searched for answers. The company decided to create a Knowledge Center to help confused information seekers find the answers they needed, but it had to have help making sure its strategy was sound.
Vendor of Choice: BrightEdge
According to BrightEdge’s website, it “transforms online content into tangible business results, like traffic, engagement, and revenue. BrightEdge’s SEO platform is powered by a sophisticated AI and machine learning engine. Because it crawls the web and collects first-party data, it is the only company capable of web-wide, real-time measurement of digital content engagement across all digital channels, including search, social, and mobile.”
The Problem In-Depth
Cybersecurity is on the mind of every CEO. You don’t even need to be a traditional digital business to be worried about this threat. Big-box stores such as Target and The Home Depot have been in the crosshairs of hackers that are after shoppers’ personal information. When Equifax announced it had been breached in September 2017, more than 145 million customers found out their information had been compromised. The big news of 2018 has revolved around Russian exploitation of Facebook’s data to help skew the 2016 election and the fallout from that. Never has the need to protect your digital business been more evident.
WhiteHat Security picked up on this pattern back in 2017 when it seemed as if hardly a day went by when there wasn’t a big data breach in the news. The marketing team saw an opportunity to establish the company as a thought leader in the space by developing a Knowledge Center glossary for its audience to access quick answers on topics, such as security breaches. But the company’s small marketing team needed some help perfecting its content marketing and SEO strategy.
“The original challenge we had from a content marketing perspective was that we had a limited number of resources,” says WhiteHat’s senior director of digital strategy, Avi Bhatnagar. But the only barrier to success wasn’t just about manpower. The company provides application security. “It’s complex in nature,” says Bhatnagar. “We also had to think about what that right content is going to look like.”
Back in 2016, WhiteHat Security started working with BrightEdge during a website redesign. In an effort to provide users with a better digital experience—that included rolling WhiteHat’s blog content into its website and a fully responsive design—the company moved to a modern CMS that could integrate with its marketing technologies. But it was also thinking about “how we can start having better presence on organic search results,” according to Bhatnagar. Enter BrightEdge’s SEO platform.
“We chose BrightEdge because of some of our pain points,” says Bhatnagar. WhiteHat wanted to implement more automation for on-page SEO. It wanted more actionable insights and a partnership that would “build an extension of our marketing team through a third-party vendor.”
BrightEdge’s SEO platform is powered by a sophisticated AI and machine learning engine, and it fit the bill for WhiteHat. However, by 2017, WhiteHat was moving beyond basic SEO and looking to leverage BrightEdge’s Smart Content framework to take its content marketing a step further.
According to BrightEdge’s website, “The Smart Content framework provides something akin to a fast lane: it packs enough SEO and mobile-friendliness best practices into the content from the moment it is published so that it gets to the top of the SERP [search engine results page] in a relatively shorter amount of time, offering strong organic search success.”
Kevin Bobowski, SVP of marketing at BrightEdge, says the company—founded by Jim Yu and Lemuel Park in 2007—was created to address demands that were unmet in the marketplace and provide recommendations about improving the website to improve SEO. Today, BrightEdge claims more than 1,650 global customers, including brands such as 3M, Adobe, Microsoft, VMWare, Nike, Macy’s, TIME, Wyndham, Marriott, Groupon, and Audi.
“How do we sharpen our content strategy?” was the question WhiteHat was looking to answer when it turned to BrightEdge for help, according to Bhatnagar. The company wanted to branch out from its typical day-to-day content and do something to capitalize on Google’s micro-moments, which Google describes as “those moments, consumers expect brands to address their needs with real-time relevance.”
Education is traditionally very important for sales at the top of the funnel, says Bhatnagar, but it’s become more important throughout the entire journey. With a sales cycle of 8–10 months or even longer, WhiteHat needs to keep its potential customers informed all along the way.
“We started using Smart Content,” says Bhatnagar. “That was an opportunity to think about expanding our horizons.” That’s when the idea of a Knowledge Center came about, primarily focused on quick answers that align with Google micro-moments. The Knowledge Center provides definitions and vocabulary and also answers questions, such as “What is application security?” and “What is dev ops?” Central to successfully completing this task was the enterprise organic search and content performance platform, BrightEdge, which combines SEO and content marketing practices to create Smart Content, which is self-aware and self-adjusting, improving content discovery and engagement.
Leveraging Smart Content bore impressive results for WhiteHat. “We’ve been on this journey for over a year now,” says Bhatnagar. In that time, “our organic presence on Google has literally doubled”—WhiteHat has seen 100% growth in organic impressions. Meanwhile, the amount of traffic the website gets from organic has increased about 60%. According to Bhatnagar, “one of our biggest achievements with BrightEdge has been around website leads,” which have increased 150%.
This success has inspired the WhiteHat team to experiment more. Now, the company aligns SEO and organic search with other initiatives. In many ways, the content that WhiteHat and other BrightEdge customers create is only limited by the imagination of the marketers receiving the insights. Bobowski says, “One of our DIY hobby retailer sites … is using the actual questions people pose in search in its email marketing campaigns.”
He adds, “If you understand the customer … and build content for that, it can sit on your website and perform, but can also do all this other stuff.” For instance, the Society of Theater in London created content answering questions about which shows to see in London over the holidays. That content was also published on social media because the content is automatically optimized for those channels as well. Once you know what your customers want, it only makes sense to deliver that content to them on all their favorites channels.