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How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]

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How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]

A strong SEO game doesn’t have to be complicated.

It’s really all about nailing the basics.

This is exactly what we at FOX Sports did for our Super Bowl marketing landing page (MLP) this year.

The page was live from December 19, 2019 through February 3, 2020.

Within this 46-day window, we were able to earn 4,000 keyword rankings and 800 backlinks to this page.

Above-the-fold content on FOX Sports' Super Bowl MLP.Above-the-fold content on FOX Sports’ Super Bowl MLP.

As the network broadcasting the Super Bowl this year, we were undoubtedly working at an SEO advantage.

That said, this was the first year that we created an MLP specially designed to be a resource/answer questions about the big game.

For this reason, I still maintain that our targeted success with this new page had much to do with our commitment to eight, well-established SEO best practices – which I will share with you here.

Best Practice 1: Thorough Keyword Research

By using established keyword research tools and performing an informal competitor audit (read: CBS Network, which broadcasted the 2019 Super Bowl) we were able to map out to our graphic designers exactly what, where, and how content should go on the MLP.

We organized our insights into a Google Sheets document, which helped us to field questions from higher-ups the SEO benefit of having certain information included within the page. Such as:

  • “Does ‘4k’ really have more search volume than ‘HDR/UHD?'” (Yes! Thanks, Google Trends).
  • “Should we add content about super bowl half time show performers?” (Also yes! Thanks, UberSuggest).

We made sure to include both 2019 “predictive 2020” keywords as well as “general, non-date” keywords data – as sometimes this fluctuated the CTR of the term dramatically.

How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]

Select portions of our Google Sheets keyword data.Select portions of our Google Sheets keyword data.

Best Practice 2: Build Page Authority as Early As Possible

The earlier into an SEO campaign that you get your landing page up, the earlier it can start building page authority in the search engines.

And because FOX was hosting the event this year, we especially wanted to capture as much traffic, keyword rankings, and backlinks to the page as possible.

We pushed the initial version of the page live with some general Super Bowl FAQs on December 19, 2019. And thank goodness we did – because a few days days later we started seeing our first backlinks to the page.

initial backlinks pointing to fox sports mlp pageScreenshot from Ahrefs – illustrating the dates that we first started seeing backlinks pointing to the MLP.

Best Practice 3: Clean URL Structure

Any SEO worth their salt knows the value of a well-optimized URL.

FOX Sports’ MLP utilized a strong URL structure by following the following, well-established best practices:

  • The page nested under the NFL sub-directory.
  • The page utilizes primary target keyword, “super bowl 2020” separated by dashes.
  • The page avoids the use of parameters, underscores, or jumbled characters.
fox sports super bowl mlp urlThe MLP URL.

Best Practice #4: Optimized Title Tag + Meta Description

Title tags and meta descriptions play a huge influence on keyword rankings. Which is why we made sure to follow these best practices:

  • Keep metadata within certain lengths, to avoid truncation in SERPs.
    • ~40-60 characters for title tags
    • ~140-160 characters for descriptions
  • Use target keywords within metadata
    • Formula: [target keywords] + [company branding] separated by a pipe.
  • Don’t Shy Away From Updates:
    • As the event got closer and more information became available (such as teams playing in the Super Bowl), we noticed search trends shifting. So, we re-optimized the page’s metadata accordingly.
How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]Final title tag + meta description used on the MLP.
 

Best Practice 5: Use of Headings + Subheadings

Optimized H1 and H2 tags help Google bots better understand the content of your page.

So we made sure to include both H1 and H2s where appropriate.

How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]
Screenshots of H1 and H2 tags used on the MLP.H1 and H2 tags used on the MLP.

Best Practice 6: Descriptive Alt Text

To bolster the page’s image keyword rankings, all important graphics were given descriptive alt text.

Hero image alt text of FOX Sports’ Super Bowl MLP.MLP’s hero image alt text.

Best Practice 7: FAQ Structured Data

We created an FAQ section at the bottom of FOX Sports’ MLP that answered some top questions surrounding the game.

We then used this schema markup generator to translate it into JSON.

The end result was that these questions appeared as FAQ rich results on Search:

How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]MLP’s FAQ rich results on Search.

Best Practice 8: Link Building Outreach

Link building is the least favorite task for many SEO professionals, but it has become my favorite.

The two strategies I’ve found to work best for me is:

  • Lean on my on my network of peers to make introductions.
  • LinkedIn message the webmasters and SEOs for publications I want a backlink from.

Through a mutual connection, I was able to connect with the VP of Product at NFL Media.

Within a week, he had updated the NFL site to link to us at the bottom of several pages (see “FOX Broadcast Info”).

Screenshot of backlink earned from NFL.com, with keyword-optimized anchor text: "FOX Broadcast Info".Screenshot of backlink earned from NFL.com, with keyword-optimized anchor text: “FOX Broadcast Info.”

The End Result, By the Numbers

Keywords + Backlinks

Data pulled from Ahrefs for Super Bowl MLPData pulled from Ahrefs for Super Bowl MLP
  • 4,000 organic keyword rankings
  • 802 backlinks, from 198 domains

Clicks + Impressions

How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]

How FOX Sports’ Super Bowl Page Earned 4K Keyword Rankings + 800 Backlinks [CASE STUDY]Data pulled from Google Search Console for Super Bowl MLP. Date range: 12/19/19 – 02/03/20.
  • 207,023 clicks to the page, and 16,017,321 impressions.
  • 19,551 clicks on FAQ rich results, and 6,066,185 impressions.
  • 2,194 clicks on rich results, and 21,713 impressions.

Closing Thoughts

I feel that it’s necessary to once more acknowledge the advantage that FOX Sports had this year in driving organic traffic.

That said, these results weren’t for the site as a whole – but rather our brand new, MLP – specifically created to rank for Super Bowl queries.

Here’s what I hope you take away from this post:

Regardless of the size of your company, ensuring that you dutifully stick to SEO basics will always be worth the effort.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, February 2020

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Elizabeth Lefelstein

SEO Lead at FOX Networks

Elizabeth Lefelstein is the SEO Lead at FOX Networks - including FOX News, Sports, and Entertainment. She also has a ... [Read full bio]

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