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15 Tips To Increase Your Brand Awareness

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15 Tips To Increase Your Brand Awareness

Guest posting could rightly be called the black sheep of SEO strategies.

Its very name conjures up images of black hats and spammy link tactics the industry has long left behind.

Does this mean guest posting should be trashed?

In my experience, guest posting has created dozens of business opportunities and leads my company has been able to exploit for profit.

Instead of focusing on guest posting as a link-building strategy, we need to shift our focus to a brand-building strategy.

In this article, you’ll learn guest posting tips to not only provide your site SEO value but to help build your brand, too.

Benefits of Guest Posting: Is It Still Worth It?

SEO practitioners have been “beating a dead horse” for so long that they should rank #1 for the term.

However, like link building and all of the other things in SEO we think are dead, guest posting is still a viable opportunity for thought leadership and awareness PR.

While links from guest posting are largely treated as nofollow links, I find that the business opportunities and brand exposure from posting on sites like SEJ and other prominent blogs are sufficient to warrant the effort.

I would list the benefits of guest posting as follows:

  • Increased brand awareness.
  • Viable backlinking opportunities (even if they are nofollow).
  • Thought leadership.
  • Increased site traffic.
  • Increased leads and business opportunities.

Furthermore, having your authorship spread across different publications develops your trust and authority more than a hyperlink back to your blog on someone else’s website.

Of course, if you want to engage in guest posting, you need to have the proper focus and expectations in place.

That’s why I’ve listed 15 tips to maximize your guest posting campaign and increase your brand awareness.

1. Stick To Your Niche & Exploit Your Expertise

If you’re a digital marketer that focuses on content in your business, write about content.

Exclusive to video marketing? Offer guest content about video marketing.

True experts have a narrow focus and tend to stay in their lane.

The key to expertise is pretty simple: You should actually be an expert in whatever you are writing about.

If you write professionally about multiple subjects, you risk muddying your brand and confusing search engine evaluation of your content.

For example, my main focuses for guest posting are content creation (such as this post), productivity, and time management.

I’m also an editor for a popular motorcycle publication, but I don’t guest post in that industry.

That’s a different story because it’s like being a staff writer at Search Engine Journal. You likely won’t find full-time staffers guest posting on other digital marketing publications.

There may be certain circumstances where you’ll write about something that’s not your full focus.

The odd exception is OK. But in general, stick to your area of expertise when guest posting.

2. Create All The Evergreen Content You Can

You want your work to stick around for as long as possible, so focus on creating evergreen content.

Experts are often approached for opinions about newsworthy items.

Don’t deny those opportunities, but remember that guest posting is different. You aren’t necessarily going for a big splash, but longevity.

Create content that will have the same relevancy 10 years from now as it does today.

That may be challenging for ever-changing industries such as technology – but try to create as much evergreen content as possible.

Because I mostly write about creating content and productivity, much of my content can remain evergreen.

My personal rule is to aim for guest post content that is 90% evergreen and 10% newsworthy or trending.

3. Target Relevant, Strong Websites

Many SEO professionals focus on the domain authority (DA) of a website. But that single element doesn’t tell the entire story of a website’s strength.

You’ll still see a lot of websites with higher DAs but thin web page copy. These may be loaded with external links that are irrelevant to the core focus of the website.

Mistaking a high DA for a good, relevant website can derail your guest posting efforts.

Don’t chase just a strong DA.

Look for high-quality websites loaded with reputable content written by experts.

Two things to ask upfront are for traffic metrics and whether the site buys links (or “exchanges” them for money, as the case may be).

You should check their link profile or have an SEO pro do this for you before even pitching to a publication.

If the website links to irrelevant domains with unworthy content, save your energy and move on to the next target website.

Remember, once again, to concentrate on brand building first and link acquisition second.

If it’s not good for your brand, keep moving.

This will save you much energy as you wade through the web, searching for the best online outlet to amplify your content.

If you suspect anything scammy, especially with link building, let your fingers run and find you another prospective website.

4. Build Your Relationship With Good Publications

When you find a strong website and your guest posts resonate with its audience, do as much as possible for that website.

Some SEO professionals don’t like this idea due to the diminishing value of more links.

Most guest posts only feature a link (make sure it’s followed!) in the bio to the contributor’s home page.

This typically means that the first link is the strongest, and each one afterward has a diminishing return on value.

However, if the publication is strong and you’re influencing its audience, forget about the link value. Focus on building your brand here instead.

Many have this backward, and they end up providing invaluable content that doesn’t resonate well with the audience just to get a link.

5. Optimize Your Bio

Many websites will restrict your ability to link to personal websites throughout your blog, so focus on making your bio as strong as possible.

Most bios allow for a standard headshot, a link to your website, and a one to two-sentence description.

Use your bio to link to a website that will benefit most from it and will be most relevant to your audience. Then, create a description that best captures your brand and appeals to that audience.

You may not realize it, but your bio will often be the thing people click on when they want to learn more about you, so do your best to maximize its potential.

6. Never Forget About SEO

Some guest contributors forget about SEO when creating a guest post (even those within the digital marketing space).

I’ve written multiple articles here about SEO writing if you want to dig in, but the absolute basics include:

  • Target one or two keywords per guest blog.
  • Use target keywords in an approximately 55-character title.
  • Use numbers; headlines with numbers are typically popular with readers.
  • Use of brackets or parentheses in the title; Research by HubSpot and Outbrain showed that headlines with bracketed clarifications performed 38% better than those without them.
  • Use target keywords in meta descriptions of about 150 characters, with a marketing message and clear call to action (CTA).
  • Use related keywords naturally infused into the content.
  • Properly use header tags with keywords (related keywords work nicely here).
  • Use bold, italics, and bullet points judiciously to make reading easier, improving UX and increasing on-page reading time.
  • Offer internal/external linking recommendations.

Again, don’t forget about SEO.

You don’t want to sabotage the chances of that guest post actually being discovered.

7. Go Long And Mention Other Relevant & Link-Worthy Sources

Don’t skimp on length.

Search engines want to represent articles with serious value, and it’s much easier to provide value with longer posts.

That doesn’t mean anything fluffy, but well thought out and written.

Our in-house evaluation of clients’ blog content (Disclosure: I’m the founder of ContentMender) showed that a minimum word count of 1,200 words was required, though most guest posts we do are around 1,500 words.

I recommend going even longer at 2,500 words per piece, which is, on average, what I do here at Search Engine Journal.

Quote other experts within your article, especially if they write for the publication where you’re guest posting.

Want to get even better results?

Try to get a direct, unique quote from an author or expert within your industry.

8. Remember To Amplify

Like writing without SEO in mind, not exploiting a guest post is another huge problem.

Once a story goes live, push it out on all of your social channels and try to influence others to share further. Make sure to tag the publication and every person mentioned.

Another tactic that works well is linking to the article on your main website. I do this through an “In The Media” page on my WordPress website that uses a Nooz plugin.

Beyond this, I recommend fairly traditional strategies, even sharing posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and appropriate Reddit communities that could benefit.

9. Refer To Your Other Published Guest Posts

If you have more than one guest post published in the same niche, try to link to the other articles as much as possible.

Sometimes the publications won’t allow links, especially if they are directed toward a competitor, but most times, you will get them linked.

This creates synergy between all of your guest posts across the web and helps search engines connect all of your guest posting efforts.

10. Find Guest Post Opportunities & Perfect Your Pitch

Finding opportunities online is easy.

Simply Google the following, preceded by your industry keyword (e.g., “SEO guest post guidelines”):

  • Guest post submissions.
  • Accepting guest posts.
  • Guest post guidelines.
  • Submit a guest post.

Once you find the ideal publication, the next challenge is the pitch.

Here are a few points to consider when pitching as a guest poster:

  • Make each pitch personal. Find out who the managing person is and call them by their first name. Research that person to get a feel of their language. Do they use big words? Small words? Hobbies? Etc.
  • Talk informally. You do not want them to feel like they are reading a script.
  • Keep your initial email short and to the point.
  • Provide a list of topics you are proposing.
  • Provide some credentials of work you had published online (the more relevant to the publication, the better).
  • Let them know you understand how to create search-friendly content.
  • If a previous post is ranking highly on Google for a target keyword, share that info within the pitch. Say something like, “If you search Google for content writing trends 2021, you’ll see how my latest guest post is doing.”

Though I don’t see the author tag becoming a relevant ranking factor , the more mentions you have online, the stronger your brand and associated businesses will grow.

Remember, links are the added benefit to the work of guest posting – so make sure you’ve also planned a proper link building strategy by focusing on higher return on investment (ROI) pages on your website(s).

11. Protect Your Guest Posts

Guest posting is a portion of an overall awareness PR strategy that should also involve other means of brand exposure.

Remember that although you have contributed the guest post, you don’t own that asset.

Publications can fold or change their content marketing strategies quickly, and poof – your work can disappear.

The solution is two-fold.

First, always keep a final copy of your guest posts saved somewhere.

I did work for a publication over a decade ago and found out a few years ago that the publication ran out of funds and disappeared from the web. Thankfully, I had all of my original stories and was able to refresh and reuse them without the penalty of duplicate content.

Make sure you search the article to ensure it wasn’t scraped and used on other websites.

Secondly, put more effort into your “home base” content. This is content you own that is published on your own platforms: books, ebooks, and your web pages/blogs.

12. Engage With Posts

Cultivate greater engagement on your posts by reacting to comments on the post itself and on social media.

Similar to reviews, be sure to track your posts across social media and engage with all comments to generate a buzz.

Even though that post is being used on another person’s website, it’s your brand that is getting most of the recognition.

13. Track Your Posts

Tracking your guest posts can be a helpful way to organize your project management and see what leads and results you are getting.

SEMrush provides a Post Tracking tool that tracks social media engagement, links, and keyword rankings of various guest posts.

It’s never a bad idea to link to posts you’ve written on other sites on your own blog – or other sites!

Creating a flourishing ecosystem and breadcrumb trail of thought leadership will help you develop your brand and authority.

14. Stay On The Right Side Of Google’s Guidelines

One word of caution: Google released some guidelines to be aware of when contributing content to other online publications.

Here’s what Google is against:

  • Stuffing keyword-rich links to your site in your articles.
  • Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing about.
  • Using the same or similar content across these articles.
  • Duplicating the full content of articles found on your own site (in which case use of rel=”canonical,” in addition to rel=”nofollow,” is advised).

Search Engine Journal’s Roger Montti wrote a great piece about Google penalizing websites that accept guest posts, which has some insight into why you must do your due diligence before pitching content to a publication.

Adam Riemer has also written about when you should mark guest posts as sponsored. In short, if you are paying for a guest post spot, you probably should.

Do your homework!

15. Continue To Leverage Guest Posting

With that said, I recommend improving your guest posting strategy by doing it more frequently.

The more publications you can spread your authorship to, the more awareness you’ll generate.

Implement consistent guest posting into your marketing strategy to increase your thought leadership and site traffic.

In Conclusion

Guest posts can offer great value to your link-building and branding strategies if you are willing to invest the time.

While the links may not be that valuable from an SEO perspective, they are invaluable from an overall marketing and brand perspective.

More resources:


Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock



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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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