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19 Easy (But Effective) Digital Marketing Tips

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19 Easy (But Effective) Digital Marketing Tips

Looking for some simple yet effective digital marketing tips? You’re in the right place.

Get ready to implement the tips below, which will improve your business:

  1. Set SMART marketing objectives
  2. Track the right KPIs
  3. Design a simple, logical website structure
  4. Create a clear positioning statement
  5. Create a Google Business Profile
  6. Target low-competition topics
  7. Build a following on one social network
  8. Build a damn email list
  9. Target topics with search traffic potential
  10. Steal” your competitors’ keywords
  11. Create a versus page
  12. Make a statistics page
  13. Use HARO
  14. Capture featured snippets
  15. Rank videos on Google
  16. Run ads on less popular platforms
  17. Outsource boring tasks
  18. Double down on what’s working
  19. Be different

1. Set one to two SMART marketing objectives for the year

What is the first thing you do when you begin planning for a vacation? You decide where to go, aka the destination.

It’s the same for marketing. To head somewhere, you must first decide where you want to go. You can’t know if you’ve reached your destination if you don’t set one in the first place. 

That means knowing what marketing objectives you’re trying to achieve.

You can’t be vague too. “Increase sales by 30%” inspires no one. Instead, you should create objectives that fit the SMART criteria:

  • Specific – Clearly state the desirable outcome and explain who, what, when, how much, etc.
  • Measurable – Track progress with key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Achievable – Set bold goals, but also be realistic; use the current growth as a benchmark.
  • Relevant – Does the objective align with your overall marketing and business strategy?
  • Timely – Set up a time frame for achieving the goal.

For example, if we were to create a marketing objective for our blog, it might be something like this:

Grow organic traffic from 300K to 700K by the end of 2022.

Recommended reading: Marketing Objectives: How to Set Them Right (With Examples)

2. Track the right marketing KPIs for your marketing objectives

Your GPS tells you if you’re going the right way when traveling. But what’s the GPS for your marketing?

Those are your marketing KPIs. After you’ve decided on your objectives (i.e., your destination), these KPIs tell you if you’re going in the right direction.

But not all KPIs are equal. You likely don’t care about how many kilometers you’ve traveled. You just want to know if you’re getting closer or farther away. Same goes for marketing. There are many KPIs you can track, but most are simply vanity metrics.

You only need to track a few to know if you’re going in the right direction. Read the article below to find out which KPIs are worth your time.

Recommended reading: 7 Marketing KPIs Actually Worth Tracking

3. Design a simple and logical website structure

People and search engines may struggle to find pages on a disorganized website. So it’s usually best to use a flat website structure where all pages are no more than a few clicks away from the homepage.

Respective flow charts of flat and deep site structures. One shows homepage dropping down to a few layers; the other shows homepage dropping down to many layers

If you’re launching a new website, plan your structure something like this:

Flow chart showing ideal way to organize website structure

Credit: Backlinko.

We recommend that most of your pages should be no more than four clicks from the homepage. If there are pages more than six clicks away, consider bringing them closer to your homepage to make it easier for visitors and search engines to find them.

Recommended reading: Website Structure: How to Build Your SEO Foundation

4. Create a clear positioning statement for your business

Even in tiny Singapore, there are hundreds of gyms and fitness centers. Why should someone choose your business over the others?

They won’t—unless you tell them why.

This is called positioning. And in your positioning statement, you must clearly explain what your product or service is, why it’s different, and why it matters to your target customers.

It is impossible to teach you how to create one in a blog post (it’d take a book!), so I highly recommend that you read April Dunford’s “Obviously Awesome”—a step-by-step guide to creating a positioning statement.

Here’s a quick Cliffs Note:

  • Understand who your best customers are
  • List your competitive alternatives
  • Figure out the attributes and features that make your product/service unique
  • Figure out what these attributes and features do for your customers
  • Find a target market that cares about these values

5. Create a Google Business Profile

If you’re a local business serving local customers, you’ll need a Google Business Profile. Claiming this profile helps you rank better on relevant Google searches—both on web search and Google Maps.

Optimizing this is easy with Google My Business and takes only 30 minutes of your time. It’s a low-hanging fruit you should pick.

Follow the guide below to learn how to create an optimized profile.

Recommended reading: How to Optimize Google My Business in 30 Minutes

6. Target low-competition topics

Finance writer Morgan Housel writes:

The key is recognizing that the long run is just a collection of short runs, and capturing long-term growth means managing the short run effectively enough to ensure you can stick around for a long time.

Simply put, if you can’t survive now, you can’t exist in the long term. So even if you want to rank for the most valuable keywords for your business, that’ll take time. Meanwhile, start ranking for low-competition keywords.

These are keywords you can rank for without much effort. You usually won’t have to build many links or have high website authority to rank for them and get organic traffic for your website.

How do you find these keywords? Watch this video to learn how:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7hR-i6Go4c

Recommended reading: How to Find Low-Competition Keywords for SEO

7. Build a following on one social network

Should you start shimmying on TikTok or go old-school and stick with Instagram? Perhaps you should create multiple 🧵 on Twitter or write broetry on LinkedIn. Or maybe you should take a punt on that new, upcoming social platform.

Whatever it is, just choose one. Don’t join a platform just because it’s the latest, shiny tool.

The allure to be present on multiple social media platforms is huge. But don’t give in to that temptation. Doing well on each platform means creating content that fits in natively. That is a lot of time, effort, and resources.

It takes work, even if you’re repurposing content. Sure, Gary Vee may make it look easy, but that’s because he has a team behind him. If you’re a one-person operation, you can’t replicate his efforts overnight.

Which social network should you choose? Well, that goes all the way back to your marketing objective (tip #1). If your target audience is on Twitter and it moves you closer to your goal, then that’s the platform you want.

After you’ve built a strong following, expand to other social media platforms. For example, Instagram has been around since 2010, but we’ve only recently started our Instagram account.

8. Build a damn email list

Even though we recommend building a following on one platform, you should remember that you’ll never own that audience. You’re “borrowing,” which means you’re always at the mercy of the platform.

If it wants to limit your reach one day, it can. But email is different—you own the list. Nobody can limit your reach. So even though building an email list seems like digital marketing advice from 2005, it’s not bad advice.

Every business should have an email list.

The simplest way to build one is to offer potential subscribers something in exchange for joining the list. This can be anything: an eBook, a course, a discount, or more.

For us at Ahrefs, we have a simple “subscribe” opt-in:

Text field for people to enter email address

9. Target topics with search traffic potential

If you want to rank on Google, the topic you’re targeting should be one that people are searching for. That makes sense, right? Yet, most businesses begin blogging by creating an article and praying that it ranks.

Hope is not a strategy. We want to get intentional. We want our articles to rank. To do that, we need to target topics with search traffic potential.

How do you find such topics? Here’s how:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a relevant topic
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Switch the tab to Questions
Matching terms report results for "basketball"

As you can see, there are over 197K topics you could potentially target. Eyeball the list and pick out topics that are relevant.

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

10. “Steal” your competitors’ keywords

What if you could figure out which keywords your competitors rank for so that you could replicate their strategy?

Good news: you can. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter a competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Top pages report
Top pages report results

Here, all your competitor’s pages are ranked by the amount of organic traffic they receive, plus the keyword that sends each page the most traffic.

Look through the list and tackle the ones that are most relevant to your business.

Your customers want the biggest bang for their buck. So they’ll compare you and your competitors. Once again, rather than leave it to chance, you should take the initiative.

Create a versus page where you compare the pros and cons between your business and a competitor’s.

How do you know who your customers are comparing you with? Here’s how to find out:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter your brand name
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Under the Terms menu, choose “vs” (or some other term that signifies comparison)
Matching terms report results. Sidebar showing "vs" selected

Doing this for our own brand shows that people are comparing us with Moz, SEMRush, and Majestic.

At this point, most businesses will create separate comparison pages for each competitor. However, we decided to do something different and created a versus page that tackled all of them at once.

Excerpt of Ahrefs' "versus" page

One page or a few—the choice is yours.

12. Make a statistics page

Journalists often need to back up their arguments with data. However, they don’t always have access to this information. So they’ll look for data online, then mention and link to that source of data.

For example, in 2020, Ahrefs was mentioned in Bloomberg because of our top Google searches data.

Excerpt of Bloomberg article mentioning Ahrefs

But not everyone has access to unique data. So one way to get around this is to curate a list of statistics for your industry.

That’s what we did when we created our SEO statistics page. Since then, we’ve ranked #1 for the query “SEO statistics” and have accumulated ~2.4K links from ~1.1K unique websites.

SERP overview for "seo statistics"

Learn how we did it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTF6OBwidhc&list=PLvJ_dXFSpd2u_ABxIRO6RVK3ucKyzn96Y

Recommended reading: Link Building Case Study: How We Built Backlinks With a ‘Stats’ Page

Not only do journalists need data, but they also need expert insights. And Help a Reporter Out (HARO) exists to connect journalists to experts.

If you’re an expert in your industry, you can be that source of information too. Sign up, monitor the requests in your category, and respond with valuable information as soon as possible.

My colleague, Michal Pecánek, has tons of experience with HARO. Here are some tips from him:

  • Check the publication – Avoid those that aren’t authoritative.
  • Be picky – Only respond to requests where you can truly provide great information.
  • Respond as fast as possible – Many people are monitoring the same niche as you.
  • Get help – Don’t hesitate to bring colleagues on board if they’re more qualified to answer.
  • Stick to the script – Don’t deviate from the format the author is requesting.

Recommended reading: 9 Great Public Relations Tactics With Campaign Examples

14. Capture featured snippets

If you’ve searched for something in Google and seen this…

Ahrefs' featured snippet on Google SERP of "how to do seo"

… then you’ve seen a featured snippet.

Capturing one means leapfrogging all the other ranking websites and jumping into the first position. And you can do this without having to build links or rewrite your content.

The easiest way to begin is to leverage content you already own. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your own domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report
  4. Filter for featured snippets (where target doesn’t rank for) using the SERP features filter
  5. Filter for positions #2–10 using the Position filter
Organic keywords report results

You’ll get a list of low-hanging opportunities to steal featured snippets from your competitors.

Then, how do you capture these snippets?

We have a step-by-step guide that shows you how you can rework your content so that you stand the best chance of capturing the snippet. Read it below here.

Recommended reading: How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets

15. Rank videos on Google

YouTube videos rank on YouTube. Duh. But did you know YouTube videos rank on Google too?

In fact, our YouTube channel got over 200K views from Google in the past year:

Table showing data on Ahrefs' Youtube channel

To do this, you’ll need to rank for topics that have both:

  1. Search traffic potential – People are searching for these topics on YouTube and Google.
  2. Video intent – People who prefer to watch a video instead of reading. 

Here’s how to find these topics:

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

This should give you a list of relevant YouTube videos that currently get organic search traffic from Google. Eyeball the list for ones that are relevant to your business, then create a video that ranks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BObU_VCwnvY

Recommended reading: Video SEO: How to Rank YouTube Videos on Google

16. Run ads on less popular platforms

Everyone knows Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. Those are the go-tos when it comes to paid advertising. But don’t forget that YouTube, Twitter, Quora, and even TikTok have advertising platforms too. If your target audience is on these platforms and they fit your marketing objectives, then they’re worth considering.

For example, we regularly run ads on YouTube.

We also run ads on Quora:

Ahrefs' ads manager on Quora

17. Outsource boring tasks

There’s a common saying that you should never do the same thing twice. If you find yourself doing something over and over again—and you’re not enjoying it at all—then it’s a task you can outsource.

Some tasks can be easily completed with the right tool. For example, instead of “copy-pasting” drafts to WordPress, we simply upload them by using Wordable.

For other tasks, you may have to hire freelancers or even a full-time staff. Create standard operating procedures (SOPs), hire and train people using those documents, and refine your system.

Learn how to outsource your marketing tasks using the framework below (it’s for SEO but can be generalized across any marketing channels):

Recommended reading: How to Outsource SEO (Simple Framework)

18. Double down on what’s working

As you’re applying the tips from this post, keep a lookout for what’s working. Do the same for the existing channels and tactics you’ve been using.

Then, double down on them. Invest your resources. Make it generate more returns for you.

That’s what we did at Ahrefs. We started with the blog. And when it was working, we scaled it up by hiring more writers, creating SOPs, etc. And since we knew that content marketing was working for us, we invested in creating more content—this time on YouTube.

With an eight-figure annual recurring revenue (ARR), our results speak for themselves.

Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Inspired by this quote, marketers started copying each other. If there was a strategy that worked, countless others would follow suit—sometimes without consideration for their own circumstances.

Sometimes, this idea worked. But most of the time, what happened was that the marketplace was glutted with imitations.

Marketing is about differentiation. That’s why you need a positioning strategy. That’s why you create a comparison page. You want to stand above the competition. But if you are the same as the rest, there’s no reason for others to choose you.

I think there’s nothing wrong with following best practices. But try to add your own twist. For example, look at our homepage and our versus page.

The tactics we used are not unique, but we’ve always tried to be different.

Final thoughts

I hope you’ve walked away from this post with a handful of actionable digital marketing tips you can test for your business.

Did I miss out on any cool tips? If you have any to share, 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.

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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.


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