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3 Link Building Methods That Helped Pet Keen Grow to 3M Organic Traffic



3 Link Building Methods That Helped Pet Keen Grow to 3M Organic Traffic

In the past three years, we’ve grown Pet Keen from 0 to nearly 3 million organic visits per month.
Estimated organic search traffic to, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

A big part of this success comes from backlinks. So in this guide, I will show you the link building methods that we used to achieve this massive growth.

Method 1. HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

HARO is a free service that connects journalists and sources. Just sign up, choose the topics that interest you, and you’ll get daily emails with questions from journalists.

Here’s an example of a HARO request:

A HARO email pitch sent to Walkin' Pets

Having our veterinarian reply to this request earned us a link from (DR 69):

Earned link in an article

Let me share a few tips that I think are responsible for our success on this platform.

Tip 1. Hire industry experts to answer

Journalists have a reputation to uphold, so they’re rarely interested in what a regular Joe has to say. They want expert insights.

That’s why we hire veterinarians to respond to HARO requests. 

I don’t think we’d have half as much success with this tactic if we didn’t do this.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to find industry experts:

  • Publish a hiring page for experts We get over 10 emails a week from ours.
  • Ask existing team members for referrals – This works well because industry experts often know other experts within their fields.
  • Post on job boards ProBlogger has worked quite well for us, as has UpWork

Tip 2. Publish author pages for your experts

Your expert may have authority in the industry. But if you’re not showing their expertise, the journalist won’t know, and this will decrease your chances of success.

To solve this, we publish expert author pages and link to them when replying to HARO queries. 

Here’s one of ours:

An author page on that shows the expertise of veterinarian Dr. Jonathan Roberts

Here are the most important things to include in my opinion:

  • Photo – This gives the expert personality.
  • Bio – This explains who they are and where they got their education.
  • Experience – This expands on their bio to further establish their expertise.
  • Publications – This links to notable publications where the expert has been featured. 
  • LinkedIn profile link – We always make sure this is up to date, has a proper profile picture, and has an overview of their education.

Tip 3. Use HARO alternatives too

HARO is pretty saturated these days, so I highly recommend looking for alternative places to find journalists who are looking for sources.

We’ve had great success on JournoLink and on Twitter with the #journorequest hashtag.

Think about your industry: Where do journalists go to find sources and experts to speak with?

Method 2. Industry statistics posts

Journalists often search for statistics to back up their sources and claims. So if you can rank for the terms they use to find these statistics in Google, you’ll often be able to earn backlinks passively over time.

For example, our post about pet industry statistics has attracted links from 164 referring domains and counting: 

The estimated number of referring domains linking to's statistics page, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Many of these are from highly reputable sources like and EcoWatch too: 

Overview of highly reputable domains that link to's statistics page, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This is (at least in part) because the page ranks in the top five for keywords like pet industry statistics:

Top keywords that's statistics page ranks for in Google Search, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Here’s how we found this keyword:

  1. Enter a broad industry topic into Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Filter for keywords with a Keyword Difficulty (KD) score of 50 or more
  4. Add terms like statistics, stats, facts, figures to the Include filter
Pet statistics keywords that have a lot of search volume, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

For example, one keyword we found was pet industry statistics. It has an estimated monthly search volume of 100 per month in the U.S. and a Keyword Difficulty (KD) score of 77: 

The search volume and Keyword Difficulty of the keyword "pet industry statistics," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Because the KD score is high, we know the top-ranking pages have lots of backlinks. This indicates that journalists are probably searching for the keyword and using the top pages as sources, which is exactly what we were looking for.

Method 3. Guest blogging and case studies

Guest blogging is where you write a one-off post for another website.

It’s a tactic that has been around for decades, but it still works very well if done correctly—and that means writing a good pitch.

Here’s an example of a successful pitch I sent to Flippa (DR 82):

Hi [name],

Nice to e-meet you. 🙂

My friend [FriendsName] who has been writing for Flippa recommended that I get in touch with you.

I’m Simon Treulle, and I have been operating online content sites since 2014, and now I run a portfolio of sites that has a total readership of around 48 million users per year.

Our biggest sites are (an eCommerce company making and selling cat furniture), and

I had a cool idea for something that I would love to write, and that I think would be really interesting for your audience. An article about launching a blog (with Display Ads and Affiliate partnerships) on an eCommerce store.

We’ve seen a lot of success by doing this, and initially we had a lot of resistance towards rolling out display ads on our eCommerce site’s blog. Because conventional wisdom says that ‘ads are annoying, and ruin your brand value.’

Having rolled out this blog has allowed us to generate a solid stream of cashflow that we can reinvest into product development. This has been especially helpful since we acquired Hepper in 2021: Right in the middle of the eCommerce supply chain crisis.

This made it hard to get our products manufactured and shipped to our customers. It also took time to build the relationships with manufacturers, and other partners, etc.

It would be exciting to write about our learnings, wins, and reflections on this topic. Here are some of the subtopics I could go over inside the article:

  • Using our display ads and affiliate earnings as a diversified revenue stream to reinvest into product development
  • Conventional wisdom says that you should not put display ads on your eCommerce store’s blog. But why did we end up doing it?
  • A look at other eCommerce stores that have had success with launching a blog

And you can decide not to publish it if you don’t like what I write.

Btw here’s an article I wrote for Amazon: 

Interested in hearing what you think!

Also, my Flippa profile is: (I haven’t bought a site on Flippa YET, but have a call scheduled with a Seller this week. Have bought multiple sites on other marketplaces in the last 2 years.)

Kind regards,

Simon Treulle
CEO at Pangolia

And here’s the resulting guest post:

Guest post published on Flippa

Let me share a few more tips for achieving success with guest posting.

Tip 1. Pitch websites you already have relationships with

People tend to do business with those they already know, so a good starting point is to pitch posts to those you have existing relationships with.

I’m not just talking about people or companies you have deep relationships with either. This isn’t always necessary. Believe it or not, just being a customer is often enough to get their attention and interest. 

Here are a few questions I recommend asking yourself to find places to pitch:

  • Which software and apps do you use? These companies are often interested in hearing about how their software is helping your business succeed.
  • Which online publications do you love? This will help you personalize your pitch.
  • Who do you know in the industry? Maybe they can introduce you to the editor at their company?

You’ll see in my pitch to Flippa that I highlighted how I had been a Flippa user for many years and that I was looking to acquire a site through it. This likely helped make it clear to the editor of Flippa an existing relationship between us.

Tip 2. Pitch medium to high DR sites

You should spend your time where you can make the biggest impact and get in front of most readers.

Therefore, you should be picky about who you pitch. We use Ahrefs’ Domain Rating (DR) as a filter, as it’s an indicator of a site’s authority.

I find that pitching to companies that have a DR higher than 50 is the sweet spot.

Editor’s Note

I’d recommend looking at traffic estimates over DR here. It’s a better judge of the number of eyeballs a site is getting than DR. You can see this number in Site Explorer.

Organic traffic estimate and DR of, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer
Joshua Hardwick

Tip 3. Consider pitching a case study or podcast episode instead of a guest post

Guest posting has unfortunately earned a bad reputation over the years, which is why some publications will reject all pitches without question. So I recommend thinking about other types of content you can create that will provide value to their audience.

We’ve had a lot of success with case studies. Here are a few we’ve published: 

Case studies work well because companies love seeing how they are enabling your success. These reflect positively on the companies and serve as great education for their readers. Also, these make great content for their future marketing efforts.

So try to pitch the creation of a case study if your guest posting pitch is rejected.

We’ve also achieved success with guest appearances on podcasts. This way, you can provide value to their audience, and your site will often receive a link from the podcast notes.

Valuable link building realizations

Here are a few tips I’ve learned from my link building experiences so far:

Tip 1. Link building gets easier when your website is trustworthy and professional

Journalists and webmasters typically quality-check sources before linking to them. So if your site looks to be of low quality and is filled with display ads and pop-ups, there’s likely a good chance that they will just link to another website instead.

For this reason, I highly recommend looking at your site objectively and asking yourself these questions:

  • Does my site have a beautiful, intuitive web design that follows industry best practices for user experience?
  • Does my site have too many intrusive elements like display ads and pop-ups?
  • Do we have a page that shows our editorial guidelines and content integrity?
  • Are our articles the most helpful resources out there for readers?
  • Do we showcase our company’s industry expertise (E-E-A-T)?

Here’s an example of one way we demonstrate our industry expertise on Pet Keen’s “About Us” page—by showing our veterinary review board:

About page on, which shows the expertise of its veterinarian team

Tip 2. Having a great service or product can help you attract a lot of links

People love writing about the things that they like. So if your company has a service or product people rave about, it’s likely to attract links. This often happens in the form of top 10 lists, reviews, and recommendations.

An example of this is our other site,, which sells modern cat furniture products. These products are loved by pet families and received coverage from big media sites such as NYTimes, Latimes, and BuzzFeed.


Don’t expect a lot of media coverage if you’re just selling a generic product that doesn’t excite people. Instead, ask yourself: What product or service can I create that people will rave about?

Tip 3. Your site may attract more passive links as its traffic increases

There’s a theory that as your site’s traffic increases, the chances of someone discovering and linking to it will also increase.

This is what Ahrefs CMO Tim Soulo calls the “vicious cycle of SEO”:

Vicious cycle of SEO

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this other than to focus on building a brand that people love and that ranks in organic search.

Tip 4. It’s better to focus on a handful of link building tactics than to try to do them all

Let’s face it: There are probably hundreds of link building methods to choose from. Now imagine trying to master all of them. You’d get overwhelmed quickly and look like this:

How it feels trying to master too many link building tactics

I’ve come to realize that it’s best to laser-focus on three to five “golden” link building methods than try to do them all. 

This is because if you try to use 100 link building methods at the same time, you’ll probably achieve mediocre results. But if you specialize in a small number of “golden” methods, you’ll likely become a master and get much better results.

However, it’s impossible to say what link building methods work best for you. Some methods work well in certain industries, while others don’t.

To find your “golden” link building methods, I recommend trying as many proven-to-work methods as possible and then evaluating what worked best for you.

Final thoughts

Growing your traffic and attracting links in a competitive industry takes a lot of time, elbow grease, and persistence.

It can seem intimidating at first. But the process often gets easier after you get your first couple of wins and have found the link building methods that work best for your site.

Once you’ve achieved that early momentum, it’s all about continuing to put in the work, scaling up your operations by hiring team members, and documenting processes.

Remember: It’s meant to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would be successful with it!

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4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI




4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In a significant leap in large language model (LLM) development, Mistral AI announced the release of its newest model, Mixtral-8x7B.

What Is Mixtral-8x7B?

Mixtral-8x7B from Mistral AI is a Mixture of Experts (MoE) model designed to enhance how machines understand and generate text.

Imagine it as a team of specialized experts, each skilled in a different area, working together to handle various types of information and tasks.

A report published in June reportedly shed light on the intricacies of OpenAI’s GPT-4, highlighting that it employs a similar approach to MoE, utilizing 16 experts, each with around 111 billion parameters, and routes two experts per forward pass to optimize costs.

This approach allows the model to manage diverse and complex data efficiently, making it helpful in creating content, engaging in conversations, or translating languages.

Mixtral-8x7B Performance Metrics

Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, represents a significant step forward from its previous model, Mistral-7B-v0.1.

It’s designed to understand better and create text, a key feature for anyone looking to use AI for writing or communication tasks.

This latest addition to the Mistral family promises to revolutionize the AI landscape with its enhanced performance metrics, as shared by OpenCompass.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

What makes Mixtral-8x7B stand out is not just its improvement over Mistral AI’s previous version, but the way it measures up to models like Llama2-70B and Qwen-72B.

mixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai modelsmixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai models

It’s like having an assistant who can understand complex ideas and express them clearly.

One of the key strengths of the Mixtral-8x7B is its ability to handle specialized tasks.

For example, it performed exceptionally well in specific tests designed to evaluate AI models, indicating that it’s good at general text understanding and generation and excels in more niche areas.

This makes it a valuable tool for marketing professionals and SEO experts who need AI that can adapt to different content and technical requirements.

The Mixtral-8x7B’s ability to deal with complex math and coding problems also suggests it can be a helpful ally for those working in more technical aspects of SEO, where understanding and solving algorithmic challenges are crucial.

This new model could become a versatile and intelligent partner for a wide range of digital content and strategy needs.

How To Try Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Demos

You can experiment with Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, to see how it responds to queries and how it performs compared to other open-source models and OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Please note that, like all generative AI content, platforms running this new model may produce inaccurate information or otherwise unintended results.

User feedback for new models like this one will help companies like Mistral AI improve future versions and models.

1. Perplexity Labs Playground

In Perplexity Labs, you can try Mixtral-8x7B along with Meta AI’s Llama 2, Mistral-7b, and Perplexity’s new online LLMs.

In this example, I ask about the model itself and notice that new instructions are added after the initial response to extend the generated content about my query.

mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playgroundScreenshot from Perplexity, December 2023mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playground

While the answer looks correct, it begins to repeat itself.

mixtral-8x7b errorsScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023mixtral-8x7b errors

The model did provide an over 600-word answer to the question, “What is SEO?”

Again, additional instructions appear as “headers” to seemingly ensure a comprehensive answer.

what is seo by mixtral-8x7bScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023what is seo by mixtral-8x7b

2. Poe

Poe hosts bots for popular LLMs, including OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL·E 3, Meta AI’s Llama 2 and Code Llama, Google’s PaLM 2, Anthropic’s Claude-instant and Claude 2, and StableDiffusionXL.

These bots cover a wide spectrum of capabilities, including text, image, and code generation.

The Mixtral-8x7B-Chat bot is operated by Fireworks AI.

poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebaseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebase

It’s worth noting that the Fireworks page specifies it is an “unofficial implementation” that was fine-tuned for chat.

When asked what the best backlinks for SEO are, it provided a valid answer.

mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks responseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks response

Compare this to the response offered by Google Bard.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIMixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Google Bard, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

3. Vercel

Vercel offers a demo of Mixtral-8x7B that allows users to compare responses from popular Anthropic, Cohere, Meta AI, and OpenAI models.

vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4Screenshot from Vercel, December 2023vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4

It offers an interesting perspective on how each model interprets and responds to user questions.

mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seoScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seo

Like many LLMs, it does occasionally hallucinate.

mixtral-8x7b hallucinationsScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b hallucinations

4. Replicate

The mixtral-8x7b-32 demo on Replicate is based on this source code. It is also noted in the README that “Inference is quite inefficient.”

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Replicate, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In the example above, Mixtral-8x7B describes itself as a game.


Mistral AI’s latest release sets a new benchmark in the AI field, offering enhanced performance and versatility. But like many LLMs, it can provide inaccurate and unexpected answers.

As AI continues to evolve, models like the Mixtral-8x7B could become integral in shaping advanced AI tools for marketing and business.

Featured image: T. Schneider/Shutterstock

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OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X




OpenAI Investigates 'Lazy' GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a little over a year ago, has recently taken to social media to address concerns regarding the “lazy” performance of GPT-4 on social media and Google Reviews.

Screenshot from X, December 2023OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

This move comes after growing user feedback online, which even includes a one-star review on the company’s Google Reviews.

OpenAI Gives Insight Into Training Chat Models, Performance Evaluations, And A/B Testing

OpenAI, through its @ChatGPTapp Twitter account, detailed the complexities involved in training chat models.

chatgpt openai a/b testingScreenshot from X, December 2023chatgpt openai a/b testing

The organization highlighted that the process is not a “clean industrial process” and that variations in training runs can lead to noticeable differences in the AI’s personality, creative style, and political bias.

Thorough AI model testing includes offline evaluation metrics and online A/B tests. The final decision to release a new model is based on a data-driven approach to improve the “real” user experience.

OpenAI’s Google Review Score Affected By GPT-4 Performance, Billing Issues

This explanation comes after weeks of user feedback about GPT-4 becoming worse on social media networks like X.

Complaints also appeared in OpenAI’s community forums.

openai community forums gpt-4 user feedbackScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023openai community forums gpt-4 user feedback

The experience led one user to leave a one-star rating for OpenAI via Google Reviews. Other complaints regarded accounts, billing, and the artificial nature of AI.

openai google reviews star rating Screenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023openai google reviews star rating

A recent user on Product Hunt gave OpenAI a rating that also appears to be related to GPT-4 worsening.

openai reviewsScreenshot from Product Hunt, December 2023openai reviews

GPT-4 isn’t the only issue that local reviewers complain about. On Yelp, OpenAI has a one-star rating for ChatGPT 3.5 performance.

The complaint:

yelp openai chatgpt reviewScreenshot from Yelp, December 2023yelp openai chatgpt review

In related OpenAI news, the review with the most likes aligns with recent rumors about a volatile workplace, alleging that OpenAI is a “Cutthroat environment. Not friendly. Toxic workers.”

google review for openai toxic workersScreenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023google review for openai toxic workers

The reviews voted the most helpful on Glassdoor about OpenAI suggested that employee frustration and product development issues stem from the company’s shift in focus on profits.

openai employee review on glassdooropenai employee review on glassdoor

openai employee reviewsScreenshots from Glassdoor, December 2023openai employee reviews

This incident provides a unique outlook on how customer and employee experiences can impact any business through local reviews and business ratings platforms.

openai inc google business profile local serps google reviewsScreenshot from Google, December 2023openai inc google business profile local serps google reviews

Google SGE Highlights Positive Google Reviews

In addition to occasional complaints, Google reviewers acknowledged the revolutionary impact of OpenAI’s technology on various fields.

The most positive review mentions about the company appear in Google SGE (Search Generative Experience).

Google SGE response on OpenAIScreenshot from Google SGE, December 2023Google SGE response on OpenAI


OpenAI’s recent insights into training chat models and response to public feedback about GPT-4 performance illustrate AI technology’s dynamic and evolving nature and its impact on those who depend on the AI platform.

Especially the people who just received an invitation to join ChatGPT Plus after being waitlisted while OpenAI paused new subscriptions and upgrades. Or those developing GPTs for the upcoming GPT Store launch.

As AI advances, professionals in these fields must remain agile, informed, and responsive to technological developments and the public’s reception of these advancements.

Featured image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

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ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites




ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

ChatGPT Plus subscriptions and upgrades remain paused after a surge in demand for new features created outages.

Some users who signed up for the waitlist have received invites to join ChatGPT Plus.

Screenshot from Gmail, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

This has resulted in a few shares of the link that is accessible for everyone. For now.

RELATED: GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

In addition to the invites, signs that more people are getting access to GPTs include an introductory screen popping up on free ChatGPT accounts.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Unfortunately, they still aren’t accessible without a Plus subscription.

chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlistScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlist

You can sign up for the waitlist by clicking on the option to upgrade in the left sidebar of ChatGPT on a desktop browser.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

OpenAI also suggests ChatGPT Enterprise for those who need more capabilities, as outlined in the pricing plans below.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Why Are ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Paused?

According to a post on X by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, the recent surge in usage following the DevDay developers conference has led to capacity challenges, resulting in the decision to pause ChatGPT Plus signups.

The decision to pause new ChatGPT signups follows a week where OpenAI services – including ChatGPT and the API – experienced a series of outages related to high-demand and DDoS attacks.

Demand for ChatGPT Plus resulted in eBay listings supposedly offering one or more months of the premium subscription.

When Will ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Resume?

So far, we don’t have any official word on when ChatGPT Plus subscriptions will resume. We know the GPT Store is set to open early next year after recent boardroom drama led to “unexpected delays.”

Therefore, we hope that OpenAI will onboard waitlisted users in time to try out all of the GPTs created by OpenAI and community builders.

What Are GPTs?

GPTs allow users to create one or more personalized ChatGPT experiences based on a specific set of instructions, knowledge files, and actions.

Search marketers with ChatGPT Plus can try GPTs for helpful content assessment and learning SEO.

There are also GPTs for analyzing Google Search Console data.

And GPTs that will let you chat with analytics data from 20 platforms, including Google Ads, GA4, and Facebook.

Google search has indexed hundreds of public GPTs. According to an alleged list of GPT statistics in a GitHub repository, DALL-E, the top GPT from OpenAI, has received 5,620,981 visits since its launch last month. Included in the top 20 GPTs is Canva, with 291,349 views.


Weighing The Benefits Of The Pause

Ideally, this means that developers working on building GPTs and using the API should encounter fewer issues (like being unable to save GPT drafts).

But it could also mean a temporary decrease in new users of GPTs since they are only available to Plus subscribers – including the ones I tested for learning about ranking factors and gaining insights on E-E-A-T from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

custom gpts for seoScreenshot from ChatGPT, November 2023custom gpts for seo

Featured image: Robert Way/Shutterstock

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