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14 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

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14 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Feeling overwhelmed by the infinite options for driving traffic to your website? You’re not alone.

This article doesn’t list every traffic strategy under the sun. Instead, it lists the tactics we’ve used at Ahrefs. 

Let’s get to it.

1. Target topics people are searching for

The Ahrefs blog gets over 427,000 monthly organic visitors.

Amount of organic traffic the Ahrefs blog is receiving, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

No doubt, search engine optimization (SEO) can work. For as long as you rank high on Google, you’ll be able to generate consistent organic traffic to your site. 

To do this, you need to write about topics people are searching for. Here’s how to find them:

  1. Enter one or a few relevant keywords into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Switch the tab to Questions
The Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Here, you’ll see >46,000 potential topics you can target. That’s probably too many, so you’ll want to narrow the list down by looking for keywords that are:

  1. High in Traffic Potential (TP) – TP is the estimated amount of search traffic you can potentially gain if you rank #1 for that topic. We calculate it by estimating the amount of search traffic the #1 page currently gets.
  2. Low in Keyword Difficulty (KD)KD is how difficult it is to rank for the keyword in the top 10 organic search results. 

Use the filters to reduce the list down to something manageable.

Then pick out those keywords that are relevant to your site. 

Recommended reading: Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs 

2. Fill “missing” content gaps

A piece of content can rank for thousands of keywords

Chart showing the average number of keywords the top 20 ranking pages also rank for

Most of them will be different ways of looking for the same thing, but some will be important subtopics you need to cover in your content. 

If you can cover these “content gaps”—subtopics you’re currently missing—you can potentially rank higher for your target keyword and get more search traffic.

Here’s how to find these “content gaps”:

  1. Enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap tool
  3. In the top section, enter a few competing pages
  4. In the bottom section, enter the URL of the page you want to fill content gaps for
  5. Hit Show keywords
The Content Gap tool

Eyeball the list and see if there are any subtopics you can cover on your page.

Results from the Content Gap tool

For example, if we wanted to update our post on evergreen content, we’d likely have to fill in two subtopics:

  • Evergreen ads
  • Evergreen content on social media

Guest blogging is where you write for other blogs. In return, the owner/editor will allow you to link back to your site. 

The benefits include:

Here’s an example of a guest post I wrote for SmartBlogger:

A guest post for SmartBlogger

How do you find relevant guest blogging opportunities? Here’s how:

  1. Enter a relevant keyword into Ahrefs’ Content Explorer (set it to In title)
  2. Filter for One page per domain, Exclude homepages, and Exclude subdomains
  3. Filter for Explicit results
  4. Add a Language filter for the language you write in
  5. Add a Domain Rating filter for 30–70 to weed out low-authority sites (and remove “ultra high authority” sites that you probably won’t be able to pitch to… for now)
  6. Add a Website traffic filter for 5000+ to weed out websites with little or no traffic
  7. Add a Published filter for the Last 90 days to weed out websites that haven’t published content recently
Results shown after applying a set of filters, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Look through the results to find relevant sites you can potentially guest blog for. 

Don’t worry if they don’t have a “write for us” page or are not advertising for guest posts. Most sites are willing to accept guest posts, even if they’re not explicit about it. After all, free content is free content—especially if it’s good.

Recommended reading: Guest Blogging for SEO: How to Build High-Quality Links at Scale

4. Refresh “outdated” content

I recently updated my post on free SEO tools, and traffic shot up:

The spike in organic traffic for a blog post after it was refreshed

A major SEO mistake is thinking that SEO is a set-it-and-forget-it task. Even if you’re ranking high for your target keyword, that status is not permanent. Competitors may try and “steal” your spot, or Google may lower your rankings when your content becomes outdated. 

So you need to keep your content up to date to maintain your rankings. 

The easiest way to find out which content you should refresh is to install our free WordPress SEO plugin and run an audit. The audit will tell you which articles you should be updating. 

To find out exactly what aspects you need to refresh, look at the search results to see what the top-ranking posts have that you don’t. Often, ranking drops occur because certain parts of your content are outdated. For example:

  • Screenshots
  • Process
  • Stats
  • Links (broken, etc)
  • Year in the title

Depending on the target keyword, sometimes refreshing the outdated sections will suffice. In other cases, you may find that you need to do a full rewrite of the article. (Don’t worry, we do this often too!)

Recommended reading: Republishing Content: How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO

From new-ish podcasts to a top 100 business podcast, our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, has appeared on them all. 

Tim Soulo's appearance on Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income podcast

There are currently 850,000 active podcasts. And many podcasts need guests. So why not pitch to be one of them? Share your knowledge and, in return, you get brand exposure, referral traffic, links, and more. 

The simplest way to find podcast opportunities is to search for “top [your niche] podcasts” in Google. 

The SERP for the query "top marketing podcasts"

However, some of them may be out of your reach (for now). So here’s how to find podcasts that are likely within your wheelhouse:

  1. Find someone in your industry who has been a guest on many podcasts
  2. Enter their domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  3. Go to the Backlinks report
  4. Set the search to Referring page title and search for their name
The Backlinks report showing referring pages that contain "Laura Roeder" in their title, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the results and pick out those that are relevant podcast opportunities. Then find the host’s email and pitch yourself as a guest. 

6. Collaborate with other brands to tap into their audience

For most businesses, there are plenty of non-competing brands with the same or similar target audience. So why not work together to cross-promote to each other’s audience?

That’s what we did with Buffer, a social media scheduling tool. 

We arranged a joint webinar titled “How to Build Your Website Traffic With Evergreen Content and Social Media.” Then both brands heavily promoted the webinar on social media leading up to day zero. 

Post-webinar, Buffer created a blog post summarizing the presentation, while we posted the recording on YouTube and uploaded the presentation slides on SlideShare.

Takeaway: look for opportunities to partner with brands that solve different problems for a similar audience. That way, you can each gain access to an entirely new user base.

7. Share barebones posts on Reddit

With over 330 million monthly active users, it seems a no-brainer to promote on Reddit. 

With one exception: Reddit hates marketing. 

If Redditors catch even a whiff of self-promotion, they will not hesitate to downvote your post, delete it, or even ban you from the subreddit. They may even blacklist your domain.

Yet, Tim managed to successfully “promote” his link building post:

Tim Soulo's post on the subreddit, r/bigSEO

Reddit enjoys helpful and valuable content. Its users are only antagonistic to spammers. So to promote on Reddit, you can replicate what Tim did:

Take one of your blog posts, strip away all internal and external links, format it in markdown, and share it on a relevant subreddit. Only at the end do you leave a link back to your original blog post.

Notice that even though it was a “tl;dr,” it was still meaty with tons of helpful information for Redditors. The post was valuable on its own, whether or not people clicked through the link. That’s what you should be aiming for. 

Sidenote.

Don’t promote every new post you publish on Reddit. That makes you a spammer. Choose only the ones you’re truly proud of. 

Recommended reading: Reddit Marketing: How to Self Promote on Reddit and Get More Traffic

People usually have tons of related questions when researching a topic. While you should strive to answer most of them, sometimes it’s just impossible to weave them naturally into your content.

You can solve this by adding an FAQ section at the end of your article. That can potentially help your content rank for more long-tail keywords and get more search traffic. 

The FAQ section in an Ahrefs blog post on H1 tags

The easiest way to find these questions is to Google your target keyword and look for the People Also Ask (PAA) questions that appear. 

People Also Ask questions for the query "improve gut health"

You can also look at the Questions report in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

The Questions report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

9. Create Twitter threads

Threads get a lot of engagement on Twitter. Take, for example, this thread from our head of content, Joshua Hardwick: 

He hardly even tweets!

You don’t have to do this from scratch. Just take one of your existing blog posts and repurpose it. Paste your content into a tool like Typefully and edit from there.

An example of a Twitter thread on Typefully

Then add a link back to your blog post at the end of the thread.

Recommended reading: How to Write a Tweetstorm 

10. Post regularly on LinkedIn

Our posts on LinkedIn generate a ton of engagement and clicks. 

A post on Ahrefs' LinkedIn page

Yes, LinkedIn may not be the sexiest social media platform. But don’t sleep on it. More and more people are rediscovering LinkedIn’s ability to send tons of traffic.

The good news is that you don’t have to create content from scratch. Simply repurpose your existing content, which is what we do.

Even better: repost what you’re already posting on Twitter. It works really well.

11. Reach out to amplifiers

Amplifiers are people with a large audience on email, social, and more. Most importantly, they have the ability to share your content with their audience and send tons of traffic to your site. 

The easiest way to find amplifiers in your niche is to use SparkToro. The free version allows you to run up to five searches a month, which should be enough to get started.

An example of a query on the tool, SparkToro

From there, you can look at who these amplifiers are following—and pursue the trail to find more amplifiers. 

However, it’s not as simple as sending them an email and asking them to promote your website. Not only are they not obliged to do so, but they also get no benefits. 

This means you need to give them a reason. 

There are two ways to do this. 

One, show them something new and valuable. If you have something that’s truly unique (e.g., original data), then they may appreciate a heads-up. For example, Rand Fishkin tweeted about our Google Search Console study (even though we didn’t ask him to!).

Compare that to his response a few years ago, when Tim asked Rand to check out his blog post that was, in hindsight, not unique:

Rand Fishkin's reply to Tim's pitch in 2015

How do you create something unique? Here are some ideas:

  1. Do you have personal experience with something? If not, can you test or experience it yourself?
  2. Do you have access to data? Alternatively, you can find someone who has and work with them. Then analyze the data and present your findings. 
  3. Can you interview experts? You can talk to thought leaders in your field and share their expertise and knowledge. 

Two, feature them. If your content featured one of their quotes, articles, or even themselves, then it’s a legit reason to tell them. 

A Twitter DM conversation

They’ll be delighted to know they’ve been featured. 

One final tip: Don’t expect that they’ll share your content with their following. If they do, it’s cool. If they don’t, it’s cool too.

Focus on building the relationship. It may eventually lead to something more: a link, a partnership, or even a future business collaboration. 

Recommended reading: Who Will Amplify This? And Why?

At Ahrefs, we offer plenty of free SEO tools.

Ahrefs' Free SEO Tools page

Combined, they generate almost 400,000 monthly search visits.

The amount of organic traffic Ahrefs' free SEO tools get in total

Don’t write this off as a tactic only for software businesses. Other businesses can do it too. For example, Crunch provides accounting services and offers a free “take home pay” calculator.

Crunch's free take-home-pay calculator

However, don’t simply go and create any tool. If you’re going to invest time, effort, and money into this endeavor, you want it to do well. So you should create tools that actually have demand.

Here’s how to find such opportunities:

  1. Enter a relevant keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. In the Include box, search for terms like tool, tools, calculator, checker, template, report, etc (choose Any word)
The results after filtering for words like calculator, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Look through the list to find the most relevant free tool you can create that will send you traffic and business. 

13. Rank videos on Google

Meet Sam Oh, our YouTube master. Not only did he help build our YouTube channel to 330,000 subscribers, but he also managed to drive traffic to our videos from Google.

The amount of views Ahrefs' YouTube channel is receiving from Google search

How did he do that?

Simple: YouTube videos rank on Google too. 

The Video SERP results for the query "how to make kefir at home"

To rank your videos on Google, you need to find topics that people prefer to watch videos about. Here’s how to find them:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Run this search: site:youtube.com inurl:watch title:topic
  3. Sort the results by Page traffic
Results in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

This will give you a list of YouTube videos that currently get search traffic from Google. Look through the list to find relevant topics you can cover.

Follow our resource below to create a video that’ll rank for these topics:

If you have the budget and are willing to invest, don’t forget that you can always buy paid traffic from platforms like Google and Facebook. 

In fact, that’s what we do at Ahrefs.

An example of a Facebook Ad from Ahrefs

However, you’re not only limited to just Google and Facebook. Given how popular they are—and therefore expensive—you can always consider running ads on other social platforms like Pinterest, Quora, YouTube, or even TikTok. 

For example, we run search ads on YouTube, and they only cost us $0.01/min.

We also run ads on Quora and are getting relatively cheap(er) clicks.

Examples of Quora ads from Ahrefs

Expand your view, consider other platforms, and you’ll realize that online advertising may not be as expensive as you thought.

Final thoughts

Experiment with the above traffic strategies and start generating traffic to your website.

Did I miss out on any cool tactics? Let me know on Twitter



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Keyword Mapping. A Practical Guide for the Curious

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Keyword Mapping. A Practical Guide for the Curious

Deciding whether a keyword should be targeted by a separate page or clustered with other keywords is a common problem in SEO. Keyword mapping is a process aimed at solving this.

Keyword mapping is popularly defined as assigning keywords to pages. But what you really need to solve the problem is assigning topics to content types

In this article, I’ll explain the benefits of this approach and, more importantly, I’ll show you the process. No templates required.

Benefits of keyword mapping (the alternative way) 

Fact 1. Google may see seemingly different keywords as the same topic.

For example, we rank for these keywords in the top 10 with a single page: 

  • seo basics”
  • how to use seo” 
  • beginner’s guide to seo”
  • getting started with seo”
  • seo knowledge”

Fact 2. Conversely, Google may see seemingly similar keywords as different topics. 

For example, let’s compare “digital marketing” with “online marketing.” I’d say those two keywords are pretty close to each other. Google disagrees. 

Low SERP similarity score signals potentially different topics
Everywhere you look, the same story. Top-ranking pages and our SERP similarity score (100-point scale; the more, the higher similarity) say that these are completely different topics SEO-wise.

The above two facts are also reasons why keyword mapping by just relying on keywords is not the optimal way. You won’t know whether you’re wasting your time targeting the same topic with different keywords or just “confusing” Google. 

But why content types instead of pages or even URLs? Because before you decide what page will be used to target the keyword, you’ll need to identify the search intent of the keyword. And a good starting point for that is identifying the dominating type of content on the first page of Google. 

To sum up, the benefits of keyword mapping using topics and content types are: 

  • Seeing keywords the same way Google sees them: as topics and subtopics. 
  • Incorporating search intent into the process. 
  • Keeping an organized list of topics, which also helps to prevent duplicating content.

Note

Keyword mapping can’t substitute keyword research. While keyword mapping is basically a form of organizing keywords, keyword research provides you the keywords and the confidence that: 

  • Your keywords have traffic potential.
  • You can match the search intent behind your keywords.
  • Your keywords will bring valuable traffic. 
  • You can rank for those keywords. 

Learn how to choose the right keywords with our full guide.

Going further, we’ll look at two levels of using this method: the fast lane and the more thorough one. 

Learn more: What Is Semantic Search? How It Impacts SEO 

Level 1 – Fast, reasonable job

You’ll need a keyword research tool that can do keyword grouping based on what’s on the SERP, such as Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. In the case of this tool: 

  1. Enter your keywords
  2. Open Matching terms report
  3. Go to the Parent topics tab 
Three steps to find Parent Topics via Keywords Explorer

If you click on a Parent Topic, you will find separate topics “distilled” from your keywords. So for example, you will see keywords like “can babies get covid” and “babies and covid” grouped under the same topic. 

Keywords grouped under the same Parent Topic

Sidenote.

To identify the Parent Topic, we take the #1 ranking page for your keyword and find the keyword responsible for sending the most traffic to that page.

At this level of keyword mapping, your target keyword is the Parent Topic (not the keywords inside that Parent Topic). 

The next step is to identify the content type. The easiest way to do this is to see what kind of content dominates the first three to five results in Google. 

Typical content types are:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Product pages
  • Product category pages
  • Landing pages 
Top-ranking pages with a dominating content type
For example, the dominating content type for “teething symptoms” is the article.

As a result, assigning topics to content types will give you a super simple yet highly actionable database.

Topic Content type
Teething symptoms Article
When do babies roll over Article
Baby formula Mixed (product pages on top)
When can babies have water Article

Sidenote.

What about secondary keywords or supporting keywords? We recommend picking them in the content creation phase as subtopics needed to cover a topic in full. Learn a few ways you can find them here.

So this is the fast method. The great thing about it is that it automates keyword grouping by using real SERP data (and not just semantics). 

However, it has its downsides too. Sometimes, it “hides” less popular topics that could potentially be targeted with a separate page. Here’s why. 

The parent keyword is derived from the top-ranking page on the SERP. If Google thinks that the best answer to the query is found on a page that is targeting a broader topic, it will still use it. This may result in a confusing SERP like this one: 

Confusing SERP example
The top result is a featured snippet taken from a page with a broader topic. Hence, the Parent Topic (here seen as “Top keyword”) in Ahrefs. But pretty much every other page on the SERP targets the keywords directly.

This kind of situation probably won’t happen too often. But if you want to squeeze everything out of your keyword mapping process, you need to go to level 2. 

Level 2 – Thorough but time consuming

In level 2, we’re going to take a closer look at the Parent Topics to see what’s in them. 

  1. First, you should pick a Parent Topic.
  2. Sort keywords inside the topic by KD (Keyword Difficulty). Big differences in KD will be an indication of a different set of pages on the SERP.
  3. If you see a keyword with a significantly different KD than the Parent Topic, click on the SERP button.
  4. See if the top-ranking pages, excluding the first result, talk about the keyword instead of the Parent Topic. You can use the Compare with feature for a quick overview of the situation. The lower the SERP similarity score, the higher the probability you’re looking at two different topics. 
How to investigate Parent Topics

Let’s look at a couple of examples. 

In the first example, we’ve got a keyword with a KD score that’s 20 higher than the Parent Topic. Upon investigating, we see that we may be dealing with two separate topics: The SERP similarity is quite low. Also, there is only one common result, while other pages target the keyword directly. 

Keywords grouped under the same topic but have dissimilar SERPs

Next example. Here we have “teething symptoms” (KD 65) and “when do babies get molars” (KD 28). Looking at SERP similarity, we see that this, again, may be a case of two topics. 

Low SERP similarity between two keywords

But there’s more. Only the bottom results target the keyword directly. Others talk about teething timelines, stages, charts, etc. This is a hint for yet another way to rank for the keyword. 

Only bottom results target the keyword directly

Generally speaking, when you see that you’re dealing with a separate topic “in disguise,” the decision comes down to:

  1. Targeting the Parent Topic anyway. For example, if the top result is a featured snippet, you may be able to win it with a page on a relevant broader topic. 
  2. Marking the keyword as a separate topic and targeting it directly with a separate page. In this case, add that keyword as a topic to target and note down the content type. 
  3. Turning to SERP analysis in tougher cases (like our example above). 

Final thoughts 

Feel free to customize the process and add your own data points. If you feel like going a step further and assigning URLs, your website folders, or introducing some kind of prioritization (e.g., business potential), this won’t hurt. 

However, keep in mind that keyword mapping is not a good way to design your entire website structure. Most often than not, not all pages on your site should be search-based. 

What are the next steps after keyword mapping? 

Got comments or questions? Ping me on Twitter or Mastodon



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Everything You Need To Know

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Of all the many, many functions available in Google Ads, I have a few that are my favorites. And sitelink assets – previously known as sitelink extensions – are at the top of my list.

Why? Because they’re so versatile. You can do almost anything with them if you think through your strategy carefully.

For example, you can use the mighty sitelink in your advertising to:

  • Promote low search volume themes.
  • Push lagging products out the door.
  • Maximize hot sellers.
  • Highlight certain product categories.
  • Answer common questions.
  • Handle PR problems.

And that’s just a start! Sitelink assets can almost do it all.

Best Practices For Using Sitelink Assets Extensions

If you truly want to get the most out of your sitelinks, you need to think about your intention.

To help you with that, I’m going to lay out a few sitelink guidelines.

1. Get clear on your objectives. Before you start, you need to think about your goals. What are you trying to achieve with these assets? Are you advertising products or services? Will the asset work well with both branded and non-branded keywords? Your answers to these questions will help determine if your sitelinks are versatile and useful to the searcher.

2. Use sitelinks as part of your larger strategy. Don’t think of your sitelinks in isolation. You should also consider the accompanying ad, landing page, and other assets. Make sure they all work together in service to your overarching strategy.

3. Use a mix of sitelinks. Sitelinks can serve multiple purposes, so make sure you’re using a variety. For example, you don’t want to use every sitelink on an ad to promote on-sale products. Instead, use a mix. One could promote an on-sale product, one could generate leads, one could highlight a new product category, and one could direct prospective clients to useful information.

4. Create landing pages for your sitelinks. Ideally, you want to send users to landing pages that tightly correlate with your sitelink instead of just a regular page on your website.

5. Track sitelink performance and adjust. It’s not enough to set up sitelinks. You should also track them to see which links are getting traction and which ones are not. This doesn’t mean that all sitelinks should perform equally (more on this below), but it does mean they should perform well given their type and objectives.

Why it’s Better To Use A Mix Of Sitelink Assets

Let’s dive deeper into this idea of using a mix of sitelinks by looking at an example.

In a new client account, we created four different types of sitelinks:

  • Two sitelinks are product-focused (as requested by the client).
  • One sitelink connects users with an engineer to learn more about the product (“Speak to an Engineer”). It has more of a sales focus.
  • One sitelink allows users to learn more about the products without speaking to an engineer (“What is?”).

The “What is?” sitelink is outperforming the “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink when we measure by CTR. While we need more data before making any changes, I predict we’ll eventually swap out the sales-y “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink for something else.

The fact that the educational link (“What is?”) is performing better than the sales-y link (“Speak to an Engineer”) isn’t too surprising in this case. The product is a new, cutting-edge robot that not many people are aware of, yet. They want more info before talking to someone.

Screenshot by author, January 2023

By using a mix of sitelinks, and assessing the performance of each, we gained a lot of valuable information that is helping to guide our strategy for this account. So going with a mix of sitelinks is always a good idea. You never know what you’ll discover!

Sitelink Assets Examples

Now, let’s look at some specific examples of sitelink assets in Google Ads.

Example 1: Chromatography

Sitelinks extension - Chromatography exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

Application Search: This ad is for a highly technical product that can be used in a wide variety of applications. (Chromatography is a laboratory technique for separating mixtures.) So putting “application search” in a sitelink here might make sense. It helps prospective clients find what they’re looking for.

Sign up and Save Big: A good sitelink for lead generation and potential revenue.

Technical Support: I’m not a big fan of putting technical support in sitelinks. Tech support seems more targeted to current users rather than prospective users. But who knows, maybe they really do want to help current users get tech support via their advertising.

Guides and Posters: Again, this sitelink is a bit unusual, but it might be appropriate for this product. Perhaps people are downloading branded posters and posting them in their workplaces. If so, it’s a great way to build brand awareness.

Example 2: Neuroscience Courses

Sitelink Extensions - Nueroscience courses exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

I love everything about these sitelinks! The advertising is using them to reach people in all phases of the buyer journey.

For people not ready to commit:

  • Study Neuroscience: This sitelink is broad and informational. It’s helpful to people who have just started to explore their options for studying neuroscience.
  • Get Course Brochure: This sitelink is also great for people in the research phase. And while we mostly live in an online world, some people still prefer to consume hard-copy books, brochures, etc. With this sitelink, the school is covering its bases.

For people getting close to committing:

  • Online Short Course: This is the course the school offers. It’s a great sitelink for those almost ready to sign up.

For people ready to sign up:

  • Register Online Now: This is the strongest call to action for those ready to commit. It takes people directly to the signup page.

Example 3: Neuroscience Degrees

Let’s look at another example from the world of neuroscience education: this time for a neuroscience degree program.

Sitelink extensions - neuroscience degree exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

In contrast to the previous two examples, the sitelinks in this ad aren’t as strong.

Academics Overview: This sitelink seems more appropriate for a broad term search, such as a search on the school’s name. If the searcher is looking for a specific degree program (which seems like the intention based on the term and the ad), the sitelinks should be something specific to that particular degree program.

Scholarships: Just as with the above sitelink, “Scholarships” doesn’t seem very helpful either. The topic of scholarships is important—but probably doesn’t need to be addressed until the person determines that this school is a good fit.

Example 4: Code Security

Next, let’s look at two Google search ads for code security products.

Sitelink extensions - code security exampleScreenshot from Google, January 2023

 

The sitelinks in these two ads look like typical assets you’d find for SaaS, cloud-based, or tech companies. They click through to a lot of helpful information, such as product plans and success stories.

I particularly like the Most Common Risks sitelink in the second ad. It leads to a helpful article that would be great for engaging top-of-funnel leads.

On the flip side, I’m not a big fan of the Blog sitelink in the first ad. “Blog” simply isn’t very descriptive or helpful.

Still, there are no right or wrong sitelinks here. And it would be interesting to test my theory that blog content is not a top-performing asset!

Sitelink Assets Are More Than An Afterthought

I hope I’ve convinced you of the usefulness and versatility of sitelinks when created with specific objectives that align with your broader strategy.

So don’t create your sitelink assets as an afterthought.

Because if you give them the careful consideration they deserve, they’ll serve you well.

Note: Google sitelink assets were previously known as sitelink extensions and renamed in September 2022.

More resources:


Featured Image: Thaspol Sangsee/Shutterstock



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AI Content In Search Results

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AI Content In Search Results

Google has released a statement regarding its approach to AI-generated content in search results.

The company has a long-standing policy of rewarding high-quality content, regardless of whether humans or machines produce it.

Above all, Google’s ranking systems aim to identify content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

Google advises creators looking to succeed in search results to produce original, high-quality, people-first content that demonstrates E-E-A-T.

The company has updated its “Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content” help page with guidance on evaluating content in terms of “Who, How, and Why.”

Here’s how AI-generated content fits into Google’s approach to ranking high-quality content in search results.

Quality Over Production Method

Focusing on the quality of content rather than the production method has been a cornerstone of Google’s approach to ranking search results for many years.

A decade ago, there were concerns about the rise in mass-produced human-generated content.

Rather than banning all human-generated content, Google improved its systems to reward quality content.

Google’s focus on rewarding quality content, regardless of production method, continues to this day through its ranking systems and helpful content system introduced last year.

Automation & AI-Generated Content

Using automation, including AI, to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results violates Google’s spam policies.

Google’s spam-fighting efforts, including its SpamBrain system, will continue to combat such practices.

However, Google realizes not all use of automation and AI-generated content is spam.

For example, publishers automate helpful content such as sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts.

Google says it will continue to take a responsible approach toward AI-generated content while maintaining a high bar for information quality and helpfulness in search results.

Google’s Advice For Publishers

For creators considering AI-generated content, here’s what Google advises.

Google’s concept of E-E-A-T is outlined in the “Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content” help page, which has been updated with additional guidance.

The updated help page asks publishers to think about “Who, How, and Why” concerning how content is produced.

“Who” refers to the person who created the content, and it’s important to make this clear by providing a byline or background information about the author.

“How” relates to the method used to create the content, and it’s helpful to readers to know if automation or AI was involved. If AI was involved in the content production process, Google wants you to be transparent and explain why it was used.

“Why” refers to the purpose of creating content, which should be to help people rather than to manipulate search rankings.

Evaluating your content in this way, regardless of whether AI-generated or not, will help you stay in line with what Google’s systems reward.


Featured Image: Alejandro Corral Mena/Shutterstock



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