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14 SEO Tips for More Traffic in 2022

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14 SEO Tips for More Traffic in 2022

Everyone wants to rank higher on Google. But in 2022, it’s arguably more challenging than ever before.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, as you can see from the fact that our blog ranks on the first page for over 11,600 keywords:

Number of keyword rankings for the Ahrefs blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Today, I want to share a few simple SEO tips that helped us get there.

Here are the tips:

  1. Stop focusing on things that don’t matter
  2. Keep search intent top of mind, always
  3. Craft compelling title tags
  4. Refresh declining content
  5. Boost important pages with internal links
  6. Improve page experience signals
  7. Double-dip on mixed intent keywords
  8. Include FAQ sections
  9. Include expert quotes
  10. Optimize for low-hanging featured snippets
  11. Upgrade image backlinks
  12. Fix dead pages with backlinks
  13. Run an annual content audit
  14. Build more backlinks

1. Stop focusing on things that don’t matter

Here’s the reality in 2022: Half of the stuff you read online about SEO is nonsense.

This is hardly surprising given the increasingly noisy world we live in, but it does mean that it’s easy to end up wasting time implementing SEO advice that won’t move the needle.

Let’s go through some of this advice real quick:

  • Use LSI keywords. LSI keywords don’t exist. Google’s John Mueller himself has said so. Learn why in my guide to LSI keywords.
  • Get green lights in Yoast. This won’t hurt anything, but it’s unlikely to help much either. Don’t waste your time.
  • Write long-form content because it ranks better. This is a myth. Learn why (and what to focus on instead) in my guide to long-form vs. short-form content.
  • Use an exact-match domain. This advice is straight from 1999. Branded, memorable domains are better.
  • Get social signals. Google says they’re not important. At best, social engagement can indirectly lead to things that help SEO, as Sam explains in this video.

If you want to take your SEO to the next level in 2022, spend more time focusing on what matters and less on what doesn’t. Leave time-wasting nonsense like “LSI keywords” to your competitors.

2. Keep search intent top of mind, always

If you want to rank on Google, you need to create the kind of content that searchers are looking for. This is known as aligning your content with search intent, and it’s arguably the most important thing to get right in SEO.

For example, let’s say you sell video games online and want to rank for “scary video games.” Your first thought might be to create a product category page listing all the scary video games you sell.

This would be a mistake because it’s not what searchers are looking for.

If you look at the top-ranking pages in Google for this keyword, you’ll see that every single one is a blog post listing scary video games:

Top-ranking pages for 'scary video games' - which are all listicles

Even if you want to rank a product category page, it’s probably never going to happen because Google knows that searchers want to learn, not buy. You’d be much better off writing a blog post and linking to the product pages for the games you sell from there.

Recommended reading: Searcher Intent: The Overlooked ‘Ranking Factor’ You Should Be Optimizing For

In August 2021, Google announced changes to how it generates webpage titles in search results. It now relies less on title tags and more on other text on the page, like H1 tags.

How much less?

Our study shows that Google is now 32.86% more likely to “rewrite” title tags. That might sound like a lot, but we also found that Google rewrites title tags only 33.4% of the time.

Pie-chart showing the percentage of title tags Google rewrites

In other words, the title Google shows in the search results is the same as the page’s title tag two-thirds of the time. For that reason, if you want people to click on your site in the search results, it’s still important to write compelling title tags in 2022.

4. Refresh declining content

Even if your site’s organic traffic went through the roof last year, some of your pages inevitably declined. This is just how things are; rankings rarely last forever, so you need to make a conscious effort to refresh and republish content that starts to decline.

Here’s how to find declining content using Google Search Console:

  1. Go to the Search results report
  2. Click the Date filter and select Compare mode
  3. Choose “Compare last 6 months to previous period”
  4. Hit Apply
  5. Click the “Pages” tab in the table
  6. Sort the results by “Clicks Difference” from low to high
Declining pages in Google Search Console

From here, look for pages that are likely freshness-dependent. In other words, pages that might have deteriorated in value or usefulness since publication.

An example for us is our list of the top Google searches, which has declined massively in the last six months and could do with a refresh.

In terms of how to do this, the best starting point is to make sure your page still aligns with search intent (see #2). If nothing looks amiss there, see if your page neglected any important subtopics that searchers might be looking for. Here’s how to do that in Ahrefs:

  1. Paste the URL of your page into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap report
  3. Paste in the URLs of two to three similar top-ranking pages
  4. Click Show keywords

You’ll now see a list of keywords that competing pages rank for but you don’t. Look through them and see if you can pluck out any subtopics.

For example, if we run a content gap analysis for our top Google searches post, we see quite a few keywords related to the most Googled questions:

Content gaps for our top Google searches post

This isn’t something we included in our post, so it might be worth refreshing the content and adding it to make it more complete.

Internal links are links from one page on your website to another. They help visitors get from page to page, distribute PageRank around your site, and help Google to understand your content.

You can find relevant internal linking opportunities in a few ways, but the Link opportunities report in Ahrefs’ Site Audit is arguably the easiest and quickest. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sign up for a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) account
  2. Crawl your site with Site Audit
  3. Go to the Link opportunities report

You’ll see a list of source pages, keywords, and target pages. The source page is where we suggest you link from, the target page is where we suggest you link to, and the keyword is a suggested anchor text.

Internal linking opportunity via Ahrefs' Site Audit

There will likely be a lot of suggestions here, so it’s worth initially focusing on adding internal links to your most important pages. To do this, enter the URL of an important page in the search filter and switch the match type to “Target page.”

For example, we see 140 internal linking opportunities for our beginner’s guide to keyword research:

Internal linking opportunities to our keyword research guide via Ahrefs' Site Audit

6. Improve page experience signals

Google rolled out its page experience update on mobile in 2021. In February 2022, the company began rolling it out on desktop.

Here are the factors it includes for desktop:

  • Core web vitals
  • HTTPS
  • Absence of intrusive interstitials

You’ll probably already know if you have intrusive interstitials (if not, check Google’s advice here), and you should have switched to HTTPS years ago. That leaves Core Web Vitals, which are speed metrics that measure user experience like visual load, visual stability, and interactivity.

To check if your Core Web Vitals need work, use the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console or the Performance report in Ahrefs’ Site Audit.

Page experience signals via the Performance report in Ahrefs' Site Audit

important

Page experience signals like Core Web Vitals are important for SEO, but it’s important to keep a level head. As Patrick Stox notes in his guide to CWV, Core Web Vitals are one of over 200 ranking factors. They’re unlikely to be a particularly strong signal, but it’s always worth improving them if they’re poor to give your visitors a better experience. The SEO benefits are just the icing on the cake.

7. Double-dip on mixed intent keywords

Not all searchers are necessarily looking for the same thing when they type a keyword into Google. For example, if you look at the search results for “on page SEO,” there’s a mix of guides, definitions, and lists.

Example of a mixed intent keyword

This is known as a mixed intent keyword. Some searchers just want to know what on-page SEO is, and others want to learn everything about it.

If you don’t already rank for a mixed intent keyword, our advice is to create content for the dominant intent. In the case of “on-page SEO,” this seems to be a guide. You might have noticed that we already have one of these and currently rank in position #4.

However, if you already rank for a mixed intent keyword, there may be an opportunity to “double dip” to win what effectively amounts to multiple first-page rankings thanks to indented sitelinks.

This is what Yoast managed to do for the keyword “canonical URL”:

Indented sitelinks in the SERP

You can see that its definition post ranks on the first page, but Google shows its ultimate guide to rel=canonical in an indented sitelink below. This gives Yoast more SERP real estate and almost certainly sends it more organic traffic from this keyword.

When researching a topic, you’ll often come across many related questions people are searching for. For example, here’s what we see if we plug “H1 tag” into Keywords Explorer and check the “Questions” report:

Frequently asked questions about the H1 tag, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Unfortunately, it’s usually quite hard to weave answers to all of these questions into a post’s narrative. That’s not ideal because you’re unlikely to rank for questions that you don’t answer, which can cause you to miss out on long-tail traffic.

One way to solve this is to answer any relevant unanswered questions in an FAQ section at the end of your post, as we did in our guide to H1 tags:

FAQs section in our guide to H1 tags

You can see that one of the questions we answered here relates to the length of H1 tags. We included this because we noticed that people are searching for this in various ways in Keywords Explorer:

Queries people are searching for relating to H1 length, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Now we rank on Google when people are searching for this answer:

Our page ranking for the query 'h1 tag length' thanks to including an FAQ section answering this question

Nobody knows everything about everything. So although you should possess knowledge on a topic you’re publishing content about, there are almost certainly still going to be gaps in said knowledge.

To solve that, consider including expert quotes in your content.

Here are two SEO benefits of this:

  1. Improve E‑A-T. This stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. Google reps say this isn’t a direct ranking factor but that they “use a variety of signals as a proxy to tell if content seems to match E‑A-T.”
  2. Can lead to more links. People quoted in your content are likely to share it on social media—especially if you ask them to. This promotion leads to more eyeballs on your content which, in turn, can lead to more backlinks.

Just to prove that this isn’t all hypothetical, our off-page SEO guide included quotes from four well-known SEOs. Two of them shared it on Twitter:

It’s difficult to say whether we earned links directly from this, but the fact that it boosted our post’s E‑A-T likely indirectly led to more links.

Featured snippets are excerpts from top-ranking pages that show up in the search results.

Example of featured snippet in the SERP

If you can win the featured snippet for a high-volume term, you can often shortcut your way to the #1 position and dramatically increase organic traffic to your page.

However, some featured snippets are easier to win than others, so it pays to prioritize low-hanging opportunities. Specifically, the keywords with decent monthly search volumes where you currently rank in the top 10 and Google already shows a featured snippet.

Here’s how to find these keywords in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer:

  1. Enter your domain
  2. Go to the Organic keywords report
  3. Filter for keywords in positions #1–10
  4. Use the SERP features filter to filter for keywords that trigger featured snippets “where target doesn’t rank”
Top 10 rankings where the site doesn't own the featured snippet, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

It’s then a case of looking for featured snippets that contain information you haven’t included on your page. After all, there’s no way Google can pull the snippet from your page if the information it’s looking for isn’t there.

For example, we rank #2 for “google operators” after this snippet:

Our ranking position for 'google search operators'

You can see that the snippet is a definition, which we didn’t include on our page. So winning this snippet could be as simple as writing our own definition and adding it to our page, which would likely take just a few minutes.

If you have custom illustrations or infographics on your site, others may embed them in their content. They’ll usually link back to the image source when doing this, but not always. Sometimes they’ll link to the image file itself.

This isn’t ideal from an SEO perspective because any “authority” from that link doesn’t go anywhere useful. It would likely be better if the link pointed to the source page instead of the image file.

For example, here’s an image from our guide to long-tail keywords embedded in one of Mention’s blog posts:

Example of a backlink pointing to an image file

You can see above that the “source” link points directly to the image file, not the blog post. So it would probably be worth reaching out to the post author and asking them to swap out the link.

But how do you find these issues in the first place?

Here’s how to do it in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer:

  1. Enter your domain
  2. Go to the Backlinks report
  3. Search for .jpg or .png in the Target URL
Image file backlinks via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you spot any links that you’d like to “upgrade,” reach out to the author or site owner.

Backlinks to dead pages are effectively wasted. They’re not helping the page rank because it no longer exists, and they’re probably not helping other pages rank much either.

For that reason, it makes sense to check for dead pages with backlinks and fix them periodically.

Here’s how to find them:

  1. Crawl your site with Ahrefs’ Site Audit
  2. Go to the Internal pages report
  3. Click the “404 page” error (if it’s there)
  4. Add a referring domains column to the report and sort from high to low
Dead pages with backlinks via Ahrefs' Site Audit

Here’s how to fix them:

Flowchart explaining how to deal with broken links

Just make sure to redirect the dead page somewhere that makes sense. Otherwise, Google might see the redirect as a soft 404, and its links won’t count.

13. Run an annual content audit

A content audit is where you analyze the pages on your website to see if they’re performing as intended. You then make decisions about whether to update, consolidate, or delete underperforming pages.

For example, according to Ahrefs, our post about e‑commerce marketing gets no organic traffic:

Example of a blog post getting no organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

To fix that, we need to take action. We either need to improve and update the content, consolidate it by redirecting to another similar post, or delete it and give up on ranking for this topic.

To figure out which action to take, we follow this content audit process.

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between a page’s referring domains (linking websites) and its organic search traffic.

The correlation between referring domains and organic search traffic

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your page needs hundreds or thousands of backlinks to stand a chance at ranking. It depends on how competitive the topic is.

For example, all of the top-ranking posts for “keyword research” have between 500 and 17K referring domains:

Example of a competitive SERP where all of the top-ranking pages have tons of backlinks

If you want to rank for this keyword, the reality is that you’re going to need a lot of backlinks to stand a chance. If your page only has 10 links, getting on the first page will be near-impossible—no matter how great your content is.

Luckily, things aren’t always this extreme. You can often climb a few spots in Google and significantly boost your organic traffic by getting a few more high-quality backlinks. We have tons of resources on this, so check out the resources below if you suspect links are holding you back.

Final thoughts

If you don’t have the time to implement all of the SEO tips above, that’s fine. Just pick one or two that seem the easiest and start there. The people who succeed with SEO are the ones who take action, so anything is usually better than nothing.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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System Builders – How AI Changes The Work Of SEO

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Kevin Indig's Growth Memo for SEJ

AI is terraforming tech. The content and SEO ecosystem is undergoing a massive structural change.

Human-written content gains value faster for LLM training than for end consumers as the pure profit licensing deals between LLM developers and publishers show.

Publishers struggle to survive from digital subscriptions but get millions that go straight to their bottom line for providing training data.

Content platforms, social networks, SaaS companies and consumer apps coat their products with AI. A few examples:

  • Spotify DJ (AI-generated playlist).
  • AI Overview (AI answers in Google Search).
  • Instagram AI personas (celebrity AI chatbots).
  • Ebay’s magical listing (turn a photo into a listing).
  • Redfin Redesign (try interior designs on real house pictures).
Image Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality of machine-generated content (MGC) challenges human-generated content (HGC). I ran an experiment with my Twitter and LinkedIn followers: I asked them to choose which of two articles was written by a human and which by a machine – and they had to explain their answer.

Only a handful of people figured out that AI wrote both pieces. I intentionally framed the question in a leading way to see if people would challenge the setting or believe that one piece was written by a human if told so.

  • Not an isolated experiment: A survey of 1,900 Americans found that 63.5% of people can’t distinguish between AI content and human content.1
  • People seek help: Google search demand for [ai checker] has reached 100,000 in May 2024 (Glimpse).
  • Dark side: scammers use MGC to make money, as 77% of AI scam victims lost money.2
Search demand for AI checkerImage Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality level of LLMs pushes SEO work towards automating workflows and learning with AI, while writers will take content from good to great instead of zero to one.

Boost your skills with Growth Memo’s weekly expert insights. Subscribe for free!

How AI Changes The Work Of SEOImage Credit: Lyna ™

System Builders

Clients, podcasters and panel hosts often ask me what skills SEOs need to build for the AI future. For a long time, my answer was to learn, stay open-minded and gain as much practical experience with AI as possible.

Now, my answer is SEOs should learn how to build AI agents and workflows that automate tasks. AI changes the way search works but also the way SEOs work.

AI + No-code Allows SEOs To Automate Workflows

A few examples:

1/ Cannibalization

  • Old world: SEOs download search console data and create pivot tables to spot keyword cannibalization.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI workflow that sends alters, identifies true keyword cannibalization, makes content suggestions to fix the problem, and monitors the improvement.

2/ Site Crawling

  • Old world: SEOs crawl websites to find inefficiencies in internal linking, status code errors, duplicate content, etc.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI agent that regularly crawls the site and automatically suggests new internal links that are shipped after human approval, fixes broken canonical tags and excludes soft 404 errors in the robots.txt.

3/ Content Creation

  • Old world: SEOs do keyword research and write content briefs. Writers create the content.
  • New world: SEOs automate keyword research with AI and create hundreds of relevant articles as a foundation for writers to build on.

All of this is already possible today with AI workflow tools like AirOps or Apify, which chain agents and LLMs together to scrape, analyze, transform data or create content.

Moving forward, we’ll spend much more time building automated systems instead of wasting time on point analyses and catalogs of recommendations. The SEO work will be defining logic, setting rules, prompting and coding.

building automated systems Building workflows with AirOps (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

You Can Learn (Almost) Anything With AI

I never made the time to really learn Python or R, but with the help of Chat GPT and Gemini in Colab, I can write any script with natural language prompts.

When the script doesn’t work, I can paste a screenshot into Chat GPT and describe the issue to get a solution. AI helps with Regex, Google Sheets/Excel, R, Python, etc. Nothing is off-limits.

Being able to write scripts can solve problems like data analysis, a/b testing and using APIs. As an SEO, I’m no longer dependent on engineers, data scientists or writers to perform certain tasks. I can act faster and on my own account.

I’m not the only one to figure this out. People are learning to code, write and many other skills with AI. We can learn to build AI workflows by asking AI to teach us.

Search demand for coding with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for write with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for learn with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig

When you can learn almost anything, the only limit is time.

The Work Of Writers Changes

Against common belief, writers won’t be crossed out of this equation but will play the critical role of editing, directing and curating.

In any automated process, humans QA the output. Think of car assembling lines. Even though AI content leaps in quality, spot checks reduce the risk of errors. Caught issues, such as wrong facts, weird phrasing or off-brand wording, will be critical feedback to fine-tune models to improve their output.

Instead of leg work like writing drafts, writers will bring AI content from good to great. In the concept of information gain, writers will spend most of their time making a piece outstanding.

The rising quality work spans from blog content to programmatic content, where writers will add curated content when searches have a desire for human experience, such as in travel.

A mini guide to Los AngelesTripadvisor’s attraction pages feature human-curated sections. (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

Unfair Advantage

As often with new technology, a few first-mover people and companies get exponential value until the rest catch up. My worry is that a few fast-moving companies will grab massive land with AI.

And yet, this jump in progress will allow newcomers to challenge incumbents and get a fair chance to compete on the field.

AI might be a bigger game changer for SEOs than for Google. The raw power of AI might help us overcome challenges from AI Overviews and machine learning-driven algorithm updates.

But the biggest win might be that SEOs can finally make something instead of delivering recommendations. The whole value contribution of SEOs changes because my output can drive results faster.

Survey: ChatGPT and AI Content – Can people tell the difference?

Artificial Intelligence Voice Scams on the Rise with 1 in 4 Adults Impacted


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

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12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

Want to meet other people interested in SEO offline? Give an SEO meetup a go.

In my experience, it’s one of the best ways to meet like-minded people and provides a more relaxed, informal setting than a bustling SEO conference. Who knows—you could make new friends at a meetup or even land new SEO clients.

But with so many events worldwide, it’s impossible to mention them all. So, here are some of the most talked-about SEO meet-ups I think you should have on your radar.

Okay—so I may be a little biased, but I wanted to start by sharing our Ahrefs’ SEO Events. We’ve run five Beer and Snacks Meetups in Singapore. We’ve also hosted an SEO Workshop and Networking meetup the day before BrightonSEO, and we just launched our London Meetup.

Tickets to the London Meetup sold out in a day and a half—it was our fastest-selling ticketed event ever.

Tim Soulo, Joshua Hardwick, and Ryan Law will speak at our inaugural event, covering topics such as improving your rankings, competitor research, and content marketing. To stay informed about our next event, follow our events page.

Sidenote.

Missed our meetups but still want to catch up with the Ahrefs team and a host of world-class speakers? Get Ahrefs Evolve tickets ✨

London SEO XL MeetupLondon SEO XL Meetup

The LondonSEO Meetup hosts an evening of networking with industry peers and leading experts featuring SEO speakers like Itamar Blauer, Steph Hugman, Reina Hanada, and many more.

The bigger XL event has even hosted prolific search engine news chronicler Barry Schwartz in 2023.

Search London Meetup PhotoSearch London Meetup Photo

With over 2,800 members, Search London is a popular meetup that has been around for over a decade.

Events are organized every 8-12 weeks, and members are from a mixture of agency, client-side, and start-up businesses.

The meet-up is open to anyone in SEO, PPC, or social media—and offers marketing professionals and first-time speakers a safe, supportive space to share their industry knowledge and experiences.

Search 'n Stuff Meetup PhotoSearch 'n Stuff Meetup Photo

Search ‘n Stuff meetups are an energetic and all-embracing community tailored to empower digital marketers, startups, in-house teams, and professionals. Expect sharings centered on strategies, campaigns, and other relevant SEO topics.

Neurodivergents In SEO Meetup PhotoNeurodivergents In SEO Meetup Photo

Neurodivergents in SEO provide a safe space for neurodivergent SEOs to network and learn.

The group holds in-person meetups at BrightonSEO, both in the UK and the US, and monthly pub quizzes with great prizes.

If you’re an SEO or marketer and identify as neurodivergent, you’re more than welcome to join the community. You can do so by signing up here.

Search Norwich PhotoSearch Norwich Photo

Search Norwich launched in 2018 as a free marketing meetup event. It often features top industry speakers who share their knowledge, tips, and advice with the search marketing community. At Search Norwich there are no sales agendas, fluff, or pitches—just valuable insights.

SEOFOMO Meetup PhotoSEOFOMO Meetup Photo

The SEOFOMO meetups are run by SEO superstar Aleyda Solis, who is a well-known SEO speaker and founder of SEO consultancy Orainti. She’ll also be the headline speaker for our first Ahrefs Evolve Conference.

SEOFOMO is a laid-back, free event perfect for learning, connecting, and sharing with other SEOs.

SEO Mastermind PhotoSEO Mastermind Photo

SEO Mastermind is a supportive, free, and friendly SEO community where you can grow your skills, meet like-minded people, and get answers to all your organic marketing questions.

SEO Mastermind meets around eight times a year, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium—but they also occasionally have meetups in other locations, for instance, at Brighton SEO and ISS Barcelona.

Organizer Jeroen Stikkelorum told me that SEO Mastermind is on a mission to build the most valuable Dutch-spoken SEO and organic marketing community in The Netherlands and Belgium. So if you’re local, give it a go.

SEO Lager Fest Meetup PhotoSEO Lager Fest Meetup Photo

SEO Lager Fest is a fun SEO meetup that (apart from drinking) enables you to network with like-minded folks in the SEO industry. They hold an SEO quiz, run case study competitions, do AMAs, and even do SEO charades.

SEOnerd Switzerland Meetup PhotoSEOnerd Switzerland Meetup Photo

SEOnerdSwitzerland is a volunteer-run association that organizes events for SEOs in Switzerland and beyond.

Dedicated to fair opportunities and diversity, they provide training and coaching for people wanting to break through as a public speaker in the SEO industry.

SEOnerdSwitzerland also offers training and coaching for speakers, aiming for a diverse and inclusive panel.

WebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, AustriaWebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, Austria

WebSchrona is a free monthly meetup for SEO and online marketing professionals in Salzburg, Austria. They meet every second Thursday at 6 p.m.

There’s no fixed agenda, so discussions are often unplanned and spontaneous and often involve a drink of some description.

Organizer Alexander Außermayr tells me that everyone is welcome to join their SEO meetups. The aim is to provide a regular, uncomplicated meetup in an open space—often a beer garden, if the weather is good.

SEO Benelux Meetup PhotoSEO Benelux Meetup Photo

SEO Benelux started in 2018 as a Facebook community for Dutch and Belgian SEO specialists. The meetup grew into the largest in the Benelux region, with more than 3,000 members.

There are four meetups each year, two in Belgium (Ghent and Antwerp) and one in the Netherlands (mostly Amsterdam). Each meetup attracts 70–90 people and features three speakers.

If you don’t live in a big city, it may be difficult to find a good meetup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any in your local area.

Here are my tips to help you find new meetups near you.

Tip 1 – Use Google’s advanced search operators to uncover new meetups

As new meetups pop up all the time and often without notice, it’s worth doing some digging to see what’s out there.

You can just do a regular ol’ Google search, but we’re SEOs—so let’s use some advanced search operators and spice it up a bit.

In this example, I searched for the phrase “meetup” in the title, plus my location and my favorite SEO tool, and it managed to uncover Tim’s tweet on our London Meetup.

Advanced Google Search Operators ExampleAdvanced Google Search Operators Example

This is just a very basic example, and you could use any website or location, but it shows how you can uncover information about new meetups with a little research.

Tip 2 – Trigger the Events SERP feature

By searching for events or events near me, you can trigger the Events SERP feature. In the example below, I found a few SEO-related events by prepending “SEO” to the search.

Triggering the Events SERP Feature ExampleTriggering the Events SERP Feature Example

Once you’ve triggered the feature, scroll down until you find an SEO meetup that catches your eye.

Tip 3 – Use Meetup to find an SEO meetup

If you can’t find anything on Google then it’s a good idea to run a quick check on a specialist community platform.

One of the most popular platforms is Meetup. It allows you to find events near your location on any topic.

Meetup.com screenshotMeetup.com screenshot

Over the years, I’ve attended a lot of smaller meetups through this website, and they have always been interesting and a place to make new connections.

Tip 4 – No SEO meetup in your area? Start your own!

I started my own mini-meetup in 2018 on WhatsApp with some former colleagues, imaginatively titled #seodrinks.

#SEOdrinks meetup logo#SEOdrinks meetup logo

It started from humble beginnings in a room in a small pub in London, and it’s still in a room in a small pub—somewhere in London. (If you want an invite, let me know on LinkedIn.)

We only have semi-regular meetups in London and a small group, but every meetup has to start somewhere.

If you want to start your own SEO meetup, platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram are the best free places to start, but if you want a more specialized paid option, you could try Meetup or another similar platform.

Final thoughts

You don’t always have to attend a big SEO conference to meet other amazing people in the industry. Some of the smaller meetups I’ve been to have resulted in making more contacts than the bigger conferences.

As such, SEO meet-ups are one of my favorite ways to meet people who are just as interested in SEO and marketing as much as you are.

Did I miss an SEO meetup? Add your SEO meetup here, or let me know on LinkedIn.



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How to Combine SEO and Content Marketing (The Ahrefs’ Way)

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How to Combine SEO and Content Marketing (The Ahrefs’ Way)

SEO and content marketing are different marketing channels. But you don’t have to choose between them. They’re complementary.

In fact, you should combine them for greater effectiveness in your marketing.

Two main reasons:

1. Content marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly—they work well together

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers.

Here’s how SEO helps content marketing:

The web's largest traffic referrersThe web's largest traffic referrers

SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engines to get more traffic.

Here’s how content marketing helps SEO:

  • It helps you get more search traffic — If you want more search traffic, you need to rank for more keywords, which requires you to make more content.
  • It makes SEO more effective — Thought leadership content acquires backlinks, gated content generates leads, and sales enablement converts traffic into sales.

2. The same amount of investment in effort, money, and time can generate results for both content marketing and SEO

We’re the perfect example. Our content ranks high on Google and generates hundreds of thousands of monthly search visitors:

Ahrefs blog trafficAhrefs blog traffic

It also attracts links and shares on social media because we make sure each piece is unique and not just regurgitation or “AI content”.

LinkedIn comment on how we blended an SEO-friendly term with a contrarian point of viewLinkedIn comment on how we blended an SEO-friendly term with a contrarian point of view

Finally, each piece of content introduces visitors to our product and educates them on how to use it to solve their problems. (Keep on reading and you’ll see it in action too!)

Example of how we introduce our product in our contentExample of how we introduce our product in our content

It hits all content marketing and SEO goals at once:

  • Acquires search traffic ✅
  • Builds thought leadership ✅
  • Attracts links ✅
  • Generates sales (over the long-term) ✅

How do we do what we do? Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness. Here’s one line that summarizes our entire SEO content marketing strategy:

We create and maintain high-quality, product-led, search-focused content about topics with business potential and search traffic potential.

Let me break down how we combine SEO and content marketing:

If you want to acquire search traffic, you need to target topics that your potential customers are searching for.

The easiest way to find these keywords is to use a keyword tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer:

  1. Go to Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a few broad keywords related to your site or niche
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Filter for keywords with traffic potential (TP)
Matching terms report in Keywords ExplorerMatching terms report in Keywords Explorer

Sidenote.

Traffic Potential is the estimated monthly organic search traffic to the top-ranking page for a keyword. Since pages tend to rank for many keywords, Traffic Potential is a more reliable estimate than search volume.

Go through the report and pick out the keywords that are relevant to your site. For example, if I were an ecommerce store selling coffee equipment, this could be a potential keyword to target:

The keyword "best coffee grinder"The keyword "best coffee grinder"

A keyword’s business potential is how easy it will be to pitch your product while covering a certain topic. It’s our ‘trade secret’—it’s why we can easily introduce our product and its features in every piece of content we create.

Here’s how to score a topic’s business potential:

Business potential scoring chartBusiness potential scoring chart

So, taking the above example, the topic “best coffee grinder” would score a “3” (provided we sell coffee grinders) whereas a topic like “does decaf coffee have caffeine” would score a “1” or even a “0”.

You should prioritize topics that score high on business potential, i.e. a “2” or a “3”.

What does all of the jargon mean? Let’s break it down.

Search-focused

Part one of being ‘search-focused’ is finding keywords that people are searching for. Part two is to figure out why they’re searching for those particular keywords. This ‘why’ is known as search intent.

Given that Google’s goal is to always rank the most relevant content, we can look at the search engine results (SERPs) to uncover search intent. Take your target keyword, enter it into Keywords Explorer, scroll down to SERP Overview, and click Identify intents:

Identify intents feature in Keywords ExplorerIdentify intents feature in Keywords Explorer

So, we can see that searchers looking for the keyword “best coffee grinders” want detailed reviews and expert recommendations on the best coffee grinders. Not only that, we can also see that searchers want a list that is fresh.

Identified search intent for "best coffee grinder"Identified search intent for "best coffee grinder"

If we’re targeting this topic, making it search-focused means matching this search intent—we’ll need to create a list of the best coffee grinders for the current year.

Product-led

Product-led means ensuring you’re not just creating content for the sake of it; you’re also ‘selling’ your product. You want to be aware of which use case, feature, or service you want to weave into the narrative. Naturally, of course.

Scoring a topic’s business potential would have done 90% of the work here. If you’re creating content about a topic that scored a “3”, then your product pitch would be natural. For example, we could easily add links back to our coffee equipment store after covering the best coffee grinders. Or, if we make our coffee grinders, we could pitch them as one of the best. (That’s why I say the business potential score is our secret ingredient.)

The challenge comes when you’re covering topics that score a “1” or “0”. It’s not impossible, but you’ll need to be creative.

For example, I recently covered the topic “SEO specialist”. It had a business potential of “1” and was tough to include a product pitch. Fortunately, I noticed that some job listings asked for experience with different SEO toolsets (including us.) It was the perfect segue to introduce our product and certification course.

An example of how I managed to pitch Ahrefs in a post with a business potential of 1An example of how I managed to pitch Ahrefs in a post with a business potential of 1

High-quality

This is subjective. Everyone’s standards are different. But here’s how we think of quality:

  • Accurate — No hype, no lying. Every statement we make should be as accurate as possible.
  • Clear — No fluff—delete all unnecessary words and sentences. Use jargon only when needed. When necessary, create illustrations to expand on ideas and concepts.
  • Helpful — Being product-led is important but the content should not just be aimed at pitching. The content should be focused primarily on helping visitors solve their problems, while creatively weaving our product into the context.
  • Unique — One way to make your content unique is to have skin in the game—conduct experiments, run data studies, and write from personal experience. If having skin is difficult, then interview practitioners. Focus on did, not could.

The deterioration of your content is inevitable:

  • Search-focused — Your rankings may drop because of competitors. Or you didn’t even rank the first time round. Or your target topic’s search intent changed (e.g., the word corona’s search intent changed during the void years of 2020-2022.)
  • Product-led — You may have new features, services, or use cases to introduce. Or your team has depreciated certain features or abandoned some services.
  • High-quality — Statements may become inaccurate over time. Or your unique idea was so successful that everyone else copied you (and outranked you.) Or you might have better ways to reword sentences and paragraphs. Or just simply the ideas, screenshots, and content has become outdated.

That’s why you don’t build a train track and disappear. You have to actively maintain it to keep it working. (I’m looking at you London tube.) Same goes for your content.

The way to maintain your content is to conduct regular content audits. We do this every quarter—Each writer on our blog team goes through their portfolio of articles and selects at least three pieces to update. Each writer may also choose a couple to do a full rewrite.

I highly recommend going through our content audit template so you can see what went wrong with your content and what to do with it next.

Final thoughts

SEO and content marketing may be different marketing types, but that doesn’t mean you need to do one to the exclusion of the other.

Both channels are highly compatible and as you see above, can be designed as an entire strategy that hits all important marketing objectives.



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