The trust-building strategy LottieFiles used to attract 94.000 backlinks in four years.
In the first quarter of 2017, Google did not trust LottieFiles.
Their traffic was non-existent. There weren't any organic leads from Google and the website had 0 links pointing at it.
By January of 2021, the company has attracted 92.000 backlinks, ranked for 26.100 keywords, and receives 300.000 visitors each month to their website. They also became one of the four investments from Adobe's $10M fund for emerging companies and closed a seed round from the global venture capital firm 500 Startups.
This article is a case study LottieFiles's search engine growth through partnerships and trust-building. You will learn key knowledge pieces that will increase your likeliness to rank on Google in the short and long-term:
- The consequence of building relationships.
- Borrowing credibility reduces publishing frequency.
- How being featured by industry giants can solve your ranking problems.
- The compound benefits of partnerships.
- The influence that events can have on your brand.
These are the principles that made them relevant, trustworthy, and capable of generating thousands of organic leads in less than three years.
How LottieFiles's earned trust through targeted partnerships.
LottieFiles is a set of animations designed for Lottie: An animation file that anyone looking to animate can use. With LottieFiles, you can test, edit, and share Lottie animations without writing a single line of code.
Without running a user profile or buyer persona definition, I can think of a few positions that might be interested in LottieFiles:
- Developers that do not know animation.
- Designers that do not know how to code.
- Agencies and individuals building websites.
- Businesses who care about website speed since Lottie provides small file sizes at high-quality.
LottieFiles partnered with brands with a presence in each of these profiles. They did it through integrations, sponsorships, and collaborations.
While the format changed, the result was the same. These companies told the world what LottieFiles did, why they should care, and how their partnership benefitted their lives.
Partnership with the #1 selling theme of all time.
Most people who have searched for a WordPress template know about Avada. It is the #1 selling theme of all time and has 23k+ average 5-Star reviews, 650k customers, and over 400+ pre-built web pages.
Avada added a Lottie animation element to their template. It is lightweight and runs at 60 FPS, but more importantly, it presents LottieFiles as the go-to library for Lottie animations.
Being showcased by the most famous WordPress theme positions the company as a reliable solution and not as the new kid on the block. From an SEO standpoint, it increases the site's likelihood to rank on Google because of how trustworthy Avada's site is.
Sponsor an event where your customers hang out.
Adobe Max reunites the biggest brands and thought-leaders from the creative space.
It is where designers, creative agencies, and people interested in balancing design and user experience hang out. These are part of LottieFiles's target market. Being part of this event exposes their brand to potential customers who can use or share the platform with like-minded individuals. They did it by sponsoring the event just like The Futur did as part of their audience-building efforts.
Besides being acknowledged during the event and sponsors page, LottieFiles keeps benefitting from this partnership. Because of Google's algorithm, LottieFiles receives 256 potential users each month just from online searches.
The event might be over in real-time. But because of SEO, the benefits keep coming months after it is over.
To make things better for the brand, being featured also increased its domain rating and the number of links pointing to its website. While you should always focus on having an outstanding product, service, and content strategy, backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors.
Each backlink you receive from an industry-relevant website is a positive vote for you.
The more positive votes you receive, the easier it is to outrank your competitors. So far, LottieFiles receives positive votes from the #1 selling theme of all time and from one of the most important brands of the creative space. And they didn't stop there.
Pair yourself with companies that generate buzz.
Webflow offers design functionalities that are either unfound in other solutions or only obtainable through code.
Because of its functionalities, speed, and relative ease of use, it has become the go-to website builder and CMS for the creative space. And also for people helping the creative industry such as me.
Both companies value speed, visuals and have an interest in website builders from the creative sector. A relationship between the two is mutually beneficial.
Webflow's integration with LottieFiles allowed their users to easily add Adobe After Effects animations to IOS, Android, and websites. There is no need to code. And unlike other animation formats available, it runs smooth.
In the case of Lottie Files, three events benefitted them. First, they were added to Webflow university's asset gallery.
That is the first positive vote towards Google.
Later, Webflow introduced them as the integration that made animation possible.
Last but not least, they were part of Webflow's Meetup in Pittsburgh. The goal of the meetup was to showcase what you can create with Lottie Files.
Each of these moments increased their recognition, their "Google score", and their likeliness to rank.
Networking and credibility have a limit.
As someone who builds content strategies that increase traffic, readers, and sales, I'd love to say that Google content is the fuel of Lottie File's organic traffic. However, their blog does not attract an important level of people.
In the US, its homepage attracts 44.6% of its total traffic. In India, the largest source of traffic for Lottie Files, their homepage receives 5061 monthly visitors. Those are 86.6% of their possible users (leads).
While there is some level of content, Readers mostly reach their website because they know the brand. This does not mean that LottieFiles failed:
- Their efforts have connected them with positioned industry giants.
- 69% percent of websites that link to Lottie trust them.
- Their company is known by most Lottie users.
It means that there is room to leverage the search engine trust they have received from guest appearances, integrations, and their social media presence.
How LottieFiles is underappreciating their domain authority.
According to Ahrefs, LottieFiles has a domain rating of 75. To keep it short, it means that their backlink profile is composed of high-quality pages. They could use this rating to rank for all sorts of topics around web design, coding alternatives, Adobe After Effects, and website building.
The reason to do this is to leverage the power of search engines like Google: Exponential growth based on articles you published months or even years ago.
Tell the world about your partners.
We are all allied with someone or something:
- Big brands bring agencies to do specialized work.
- Individuals leverage the credibility of certifications.
- Freelancers partner with companies that can't fulfil demand.
- Software companies mention the businesses that use them.
Think about your partners. Figure out the reasons for their success, credibility, or fame. And then connect them with your work, ask for features, or offer help in their upcoming workshop.
This will lead to future collaborations, but also in the number of websites pointing to your website. The more you receive, the easier it will be to passively attract traffic, leads, and customers.
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