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8 Secrets From Popular Blogs

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8 Secrets From Popular Blogs

How do you get more traffic to your blog or website? There are plenty of ways to increase web traffic, but some methods are better than others.

If you look at popular blogs, you can see what they are doing right, providing insight into different strategies or tactics you can take for your content strategy.

Now let’s break down the eight ways you can increase website traffic with insights from popular blogs and brands:

1. Get The Story First

Business Insider is one of the world’s fastest-growing financial, media, and tech blogs.

As it generates more than 49 million website visitors per month, there’s no doubt there’s some golden knowledge to uncover about its content strategy.

The key takeaway from this high-performing website include:

Creating Great Digital Content Fast

The news site was before its time because it focused primarily on digital content from the beginning. Not print content. Not broadcasting content.

They knew where their target audience was heading and got ahead of the curve.

Today, the need to create digital content is a no-brainer. So, what makes their existing content strategy different?

Timeliness

Business Insider always gets the inside scoop first. They stay ahead of the latest news stories, constantly chase leads, and update their articles with new facts as quickly as possible.

They don’t thrive on evergreen content, and that works for them. Instead, they aim to get the story first, attract the first clicks, and circulate trending content quickly.

This means that you, too, can have an ever-present content strategy by creating timely content and circulating it to the right platforms.

While having evergreen content is fantastic, there’s something to be said for creating fresh, “trending” content.

That’s because users not only look for answers to age-old questions but also for content relevant to what’s happening worldwide.

2. Publish With Purpose

Arianna Huffington’s namesake blog, Huffington Post or HuffPost, was never meant to be a business. Yet, since its start in 2005, the site quickly climbed the ranks to being one of the most popular blogs in the world.

The Huffington Post has become a massive success in web traffic and notoriety – bringing in thousands of daily visitors and becoming a household name as a political blog.

So, what made Huffington Post a traffic success? They publish with a purpose.

The Huffington Post originally started as a political news site to inform the public about critical global issues. It was the founder’s direct response to the corporate-controlled, money-hungry news sites. This resonated with people.

Finally, a website offered unbiased news stories and opinion pieces from both sides of the aisle. It fulfilled the public’s need for honest and raw political dialogue.

Avoiding Burnout

The Huffington Post’s shift from purpose to profit is a somewhat cautionary tale. Burnout is inevitable if you lose track of what value you aim to provide your audience.

Huffington experienced this when her site quickly grew far beyond what she originally envisioned. It became too much of a business.

Many content creators get into this predicament.

They create content focused on keywords, conversion rates, and click costs. But unfortunately, they forget that traffic and conversions are often proportional to the amount of interest their audience has in the content.

Before you create content, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I asked my audience directly what they are interested in reading?
  • Do I know their pain points, fears, needs, and desires?
  • Do I have the data to support this, or am I assuming this is what they want?
  • What is the primary purpose of this content?
  • What is the ultimate goal that I want to achieve with this content?
  • What action do I want users to take when they read this content?

Don’t veer too far away from the purpose of your content. Focusing on pleasing Google or optimizing for clicks will get you part of the way, but it won’t be enough to keep users interested in and engaging with your content.

3. Attract Reliable Sources

If Business Insider is the king of world news, then TMZ is the drama queen of Hollywood news.

TMZ is known for breaking the biggest stories in celebrity gossip and entertainment.

While TMZ hasn’t graced us with much insight into their traffic stats or strategy, a little detective work reveals a big secret about their success.

The Secret: ‘Tipsters’

As a content creator and writer, I was curious about where TMZ sources its writers (and how they find the juiciest stories).

Their website only uncovered that they hire a few “field reporters” and “researchers.” But, I wondered, who tips them off to the hottest celebrity gossip?

The answer, I discovered, is “tipsters.” Tipsters are their people “on the ground.” People who go digging for the inside scoop.

These people don’t work directly for TMZ but are incentivized to offer expert knowledge or reveal sensitive information to the magazine. As a result, they typically receive payment or notoriety.

The concept of “tipsters” sounds unsurprisingly similar to another type of content strategy: expert-generated content. TMZ has created a low-cost, consistent content creation model based on incentivization. And you can do the same.

Expert-Generated Content

This can take the form of expert interviews, roundup posts, webinars, podcasts, guest posts, and video content.

The idea is to incentivize industry experts to create content for your site, tip you off to new content ideas, and then share your content with their audiences.

You can hack this strategy for your site by inviting experts to create content for you or to participate in a piece of content you are making.

Open your site to guest posts, video contributions, exclusive interviews, or expert quotes. This will help you create a greater volume of content and broaden your reach.

In addition, a little ego boost can go a long way.

4. Boost Referral Traffic

The Verge is a “Jack of all trades” publication covering everything from entertainment to tech to science and product reviews.

Launched in 2011, they publish a combination of new articles, guidebooks, podcasts, and feature interviews. A common marketing saying is, “The riches are in the niches.”

Since The Verge doesn’t have a clear niche, it begs the question: How do they get their content to rank and generate so much traffic?

Verge’s traffic comes in via referral sites. The sites primarily reference the blog’s product reviews.

Not only do these referral sites send traffic to The Verge via external links from their content, but they boost the blog’s authority as well.

Affiliate Marketing

Verge’s content strategy reveals an excellent opportunity for websites to generate traffic from sources beyond organic search. This is especially the case for affiliate websites.

Suppose the purpose of your website is to promote affiliate products. In that case, your traffic strategy will benefit greatly from you creating content that draws attention from other industry-leading websites.

Not only will users venturing from these websites be interested in your content and products (making them more likely to convert), but high authority backlinks could give your site that added SEO boost.

What this looks like is creating content that provides value to your preferred referral sites – content that:

  • Reviews their products.
  • Offers comparisons of their products over competitors.
  • References other articles on their website.

By publishing content that provides value to other sites in your industry, you have the opportunity to create a whole additional traffic source beyond organic search.

5. Publish User-Generated Content

Lifehacker’s tagline “Do everything better” is a bold assertion that users can hack their way to success in life. (Ironic, perhaps, that we are doing the same regarding your content strategy here.)

The blog offers helpful, often time-saving and money-saving tips for how to work better, live longer, and lead a happier life.

Many of their articles are bite-sized posts that reveal one or two hacks or a bulleted list of tips.

Lifehacker doesn’t rely on keywords to come up with click-worthy content ideas. Instead, they generate a treasure trove of blog topics by asking their audience what they want to read.

How Do I Come Up With Blog Post Ideas?

Despite countless SEO and idea-generating tools, website owners still have difficulty finding topics that draw in traffic and keep their audience engaged.

That’s because we – myself included – often overcomplicate the process.

We try to guess what our readers want. First, we dig into the search data to see which keywords get the most volume. Then, we try to imitate the content our competitors are creating.

Your readers will often tell you exactly what they want. All you need to do is ask.

If you have an existing presence on social media, you can easily reach out to your target audience to get their input on what topics they are interested in.

You can also source ideas from the comments section, email responses, reviews, or feedback from past clients or customers.

Don’t overcomplicate. Start with your audience and generate a list of topics they want to read about. Then, use SEO tools to identify the appropriate keywords to target in that content.

6. Check Your Facts

VeryWell Health was founded in 2016 and quickly became a reliable source for health enthusiasts and trainers. They exceed at multiple aspects of establishing a popular blog, but none more than creating well-researched and accurate blogs.

The first step when writing any article is to check facts. It’s the foundation of creating a blog that people rely on and trust.

This includes checking your resources and spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Just think when you’re reading a blog, and there are grammar errors, links to outdated or broken resources, or purely incorrect facts. Unfortunately, this makes it all too easy to stop getting return visitors.

But there’s a simple fix. Between tools like Grammarly or having another set of eyes fact-check and copyedit your work, you can easily avoid these pitfalls.

And remember, providing reliable tools and resources for your readers is a reliable way to keep people coming back.

7. Establish Editorial Guidelines

Treehugger is an excellent example of establishing editorial guidelines.

With the structure created by founder Graham Hill and their growing team, they established a foundation for research, making it easier for their consumers to get the information they need quickly.

Creating a vigorous and thorough standard operating procedure (SOP) can help brands avoid the previously discussed difficulties and streamline the editorial process.

This way, businesses can get blogs out quickly and efficiently.

8. Incorporate Interactivity

If you engage on social media, you’ve most likely taken a Buzzfeed quiz or read one of their engaging articles.

The amount of interaction they see with their content and through comments on social media or reactions on their site is unparalleled.

They are a prime example of creating an interactive space for readers and consumers. Through their site, you can have an inclusive and fun experience.

In addition, they allow their followers to rate articles with relatable themes such as “LOL” and “Win.” This helps readers feel like they are engaging in a like-minded community.

We can learn from Buzzfeed. For example, creating an interactive capability for a blog can help develop a sense of community.

You can accomplish this by properly organizing your information and leaving options to add comments or questions to your blog posts.

Final Takeaways

Regarding increasing website traffic, bloggers have been doing it right for years.

Taking time to understand why popular blogs perform well can give you ideas about what you need to do to improve your blogs.

Using these insights for your blogs can provide a steady stream of eager visitors to read what you produce.

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Featured Images: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock



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The 10 Best Website Builders To Consider 2024

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The 10 Best Website Builders To Consider 2024

Choosing the right website builder may depend on your goals. They have a variety of features, and some platforms excel in areas that others don’t.

Not all builders will fit if you need advanced SEO or ecommerce capabilities.

We compared 10 website builders based on price, data limits, core use cases, and whether they provide domains.

The 10 Best Website Builders Compared

Website Builder Starting Price Free Option Premium Content Gates Limits Free Domain Great For Extras We Like
WordPress.com $9/month Yes Yes 1-50 GB Yes (annual plans only) Blogging and text-based sites
  • Easily work between the .com and self-hosted sites.
  • Customizability.
Wix $17/month Yes Yes 2 GB-Unlimited Yes Small businesses & entrepreneurs
  • Educational programs and support.
  • Scheduling.
  • Ad management.
  • Email campaigns.
Duda $25/month 14 days Yes 1-4 sites No Getting started
  • Excellent help and support.
  • Zapier integration.
  • Multiple language sites.
  • Content library and free assets.
HubSpot $15/month Yes Yes Up to 30 pages on the free plan No Scaling
  • Conversational bots.
  • Wide range of free tools for sales, marketing, and services.
  • Extensive site and business owner education.
  • Mobile app.
Squarespace $25/month 14 days Yes Unlimited bandwidth, 30 minutes of video storage Yes (annual plans only) Quick, no-fuss sites
  • Custom product creation without worrying about fulfillment and shipping.
  • Integrated ecommerce on larger plans.
Webflow $18/month Yes Yes Starts with 1 GB bandwidth and 50 CMS items Yes Designers & Agencies
  • Schema markup and structured search support.
  • Pre-built interactions.
IONOS $6/month No No 50-75 GB Yes Small businesses on a budget
  • Affordable.
  • Competitor tracking.
  • Online booking included.
  • Built-in privacy and SSL.
Shopify $5/month 3 days No Unlimited products, bandwidth, and online storage No Ecommerce
  • Wide range of ecommerce features.
  • Large app store for extensions.
Weebly $12/month Yes No Unlimited storage Yes Beginners
  • Ease of use.
  • Built-in SEO tools.
Hostinger $2.99/month No No 25,000 visits,
100 GB SSD storage,
400,000 files
Yes Budget sites
  • Very affordable plans.
  • 24/7 customer support.

10 Best Website Builders For 2024

1. WordPress.com

Screenshot from WordPress.com, June 2024

With 62.7% of the market share held between WordPress.com and .org, WordPress is the largest and most prominent website builder.

Key Features

  • Over 50,000 plugins and 8,000 themes for customization.
  • Ability to transition between hosted and self-hosted options.
  • With paid plans, custom domains, site security, and advanced features are available.

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • User-friendly interface suitable for beginners.
  • Flexibility to create various types of websites.
  • Built-in SEO tools and options to optimize your site for search engines.

Cost

  • $0-$70/month ($0-$45/month, billed annually), plus custom options.

2. Wix

Wix webpageScreenshot from Wix.com, June 2024

Wix controls only 4% of the CMS market, but that small number translates into hundreds of millions of users and makes it one of the most popular website builders.

It offers ease of use and flexibility, making it suitable for creating professional websites with expanded functionality.

Key Features

  • Customizable templates with drag-and-drop editing.
  • Wide range of elements and third-party apps for added functionality.
  • Comprehensive business solutions, including ecommerce and marketing tools.

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Suitable for beginners and those needing advanced features.
  • SEO Wiz tool for optimizing your site’s SEO settings.
  • Extensive help, resources, and guides for website creation and promotion.

Cost

  • $0-$159/month, plus custom options.

3. Duda

Duda.coScreenshot from Duda.co, June 2024

Duda is a website builder that balances ease of use with advanced customization options, making it popular among designers and developers.

Key Features

  • Drag-and-drop interface and customizable templates.
  • Widgets and add-ons for expanded functionality, including ecommerce.
  • Mobile editor for creating mobile-friendly versions of your site

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Suitable for businesses and individuals seeking a professional website.
  • Built-in SEO optimization features, including meta descriptions and sitemaps.
  • Excellent customer support with live chat, email, and resources.

Cost:

  • $25-$199/month ($19-$149/month, billed annually), plus custom options.

4. HubSpot

HubSpot webpageScreenshot from HubSpot.com, June 2024

HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing, sales, and customer service platform with a powerful website builder.

Key Features

  • Drag-and-drop interface and customizable templates.
  • Pre-built modules for forms, CTAs, and social media integration.
  • Integrated CMS, marketing automation, and sales tools.

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Ideal for businesses seeking a comprehensive solution.
  • Built-in SEO tools for keyword research, on-page optimization, and analytics.
  • Scalable platform that grows.

Cost

  • $0-$450/month, plus custom options.

5. Squarespace

SquarespaceScreenshot from Squarespace, June 2024

Squarespace is a website builder that offers beautifully designed templates and powerful ecommerce features.

Key Features

  • Customizable templates that work across devices.
  • Ecommerce tools for inventory management, order tracking, and payment processing.
  • Marketing tools for SEO, video, and audience management

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Ideal for businesses focusing on ecommerce and brand promotion.
  • Built-in SEO features and integration with Google Analytics.
  • Mobile app for managing your site on the go.

Cost

  • $25-$72/month ($16-$52/month, billed annually), and enterprise plans.

6. Webflow

Homepage of webflow.comScreenshot from webflow.com, May 2024

Webflow is a website builder offering advanced design and development features suitable for users of all skill levels.

Key Features

  • Free plan for getting started with basic features.
  • Ecommerce plan with advanced tools for selling products and managing orders.
  • Team plan with collaboration features and client billing.

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Suitable for individuals and teams looking for advanced customization options.
  • Advanced SEO features, including schema and Open Graph.
  • Unique features like scheduled publishing, logic flows, and animations.

Cost

  • $0-$235/month ($0-$212/month, billed annually), including enterprise plans.

7. IONOS

Homepage of ionos.comScreenshot from: ionos.com, May 2024.

IONOS is an affordable and simple website builder that offers all the essential features for creating a functional and beautiful site.

Key Features

  • Three-step site design process: choosing a design, adding content, and promoting.
  • Search engine-optimized templates built for performance.
  • Presence Suite for managing and promoting your site

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Ideal for quick website setups, test projects, and DIYers.
  • Templates are pre-optimized for search engines.
  • Affordable pricing plans with essential features.

Cost

  • $6-$15/month ($4-$8/month billed three years in advance).

8. Shopify

1721393763 166 The 10 Best Website Builders To Consider 2024Screenshot from: Shopify.com, June 2024.

Shopify is a comprehensive ecommerce platform that enables businesses to create online stores and sell products easily.

Key Features

  • Customizable templates and drag-and-drop editing.
  • Powerful ecommerce tools for inventory management, payment processing, and shipping.
  • The app store has thousands of apps to extend functionality.

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Ideal for businesses of all sizes looking to create an online store.
  • Built-in SEO features and the ability to edit meta tags, URLs, and site structure.
  • 24/7 customer support and extensive documentation.

Cost

  • $19-$399/month ($29-$299/month billed annually).

9. Weebly

1721393763 174 The 10 Best Website Builders To Consider 2024Screenshot from: weebly.com, June 2024.

Weebly is a user-friendly website builder that offers a wide range of features for creating professional websites and online stores.

Key Features

  • Drag-and-drop interface and customizable templates.
  • Ecommerce functionality with inventory management and payment processing.
  • Blogging platform and app center for additional features.

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Suitable for beginners and small businesses.
  • Built-in SEO tools, including meta descriptions, alt tags, and sitemaps.
  • Responsive customer support and community forum.

Cost

  • $$0-$29/month ($10-$26/month billed annually).

10. Hostinger

1721393763 885 The 10 Best Website Builders To Consider 2024Screenshot from hostinger.com, June 2024.

Hostinger offers an easy-to-use website-building tool in its web hosting plans, designed to help users get sites up and running fast.

Key Features

  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface.
  • Suitable for beginners and those needing a website up and running quickly.
  • Free domain, website migration, email, and SSL are included in the hosting package.

Benefits & SEO Highlights

  • Optimized for speed using LiteSpeed Web Server technology, advanced cache solutions, and Object Cache for WordPress.
  • Advanced security features, including unlimited SSL certificates, DDoS protection, automatic backups, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Cost

  • $2.99-$9.99 for the first month ($7.99-$19.99/month on renewal).

Find The Right Website Builder For Your Needs

When choosing a website builder, consider your needs, budget, and skill level.

  • WordPress.com offers flexibility and customization for bloggers and content-heavy sites.
  • Small businesses and entrepreneurs may prefer all-in-one solutions like Wix or HubSpot for marketing integration.
  • Ecommerce stores should evaluate dedicated platforms like Shopify for robust selling tools.
  • Beginners can start with user-friendly builders like Weebly, while designers and agencies may prefer more advanced options like Webflow.

With the variety of website builders available, there’s a solution for every need.

More resources:


Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

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How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

Getting to the top of Google can be quite slow. Especially so for small, new websites. And the competition can often be too strong, which makes it quite unlikely for you to outrank your rivals in the first place.

Well… if you can’t win, change the rules.

There’s a very simple trick for getting search traffic for the keywords that you want to rank for—without actually ranking for them.

Enter…

One of the most common pieces of marketing advice is to “go fish where the fish are.” Whatever product or service you want to sell, you have to follow three simple steps:

  1. Figure out who your ideal customers are.
  2. Find the places where those people are hanging out online.
  3. Go to those places and find ways to promote your product.

Quick example: if you want to sell fitness gear, it would be good to figure out how to tap into the r/Fitness community on Reddit, which has over 12M members.

What does it have to do with SEO though?

Well, whatever search traffic you want to drive to your own website… someone is already getting it to theirs, right? And their website is not necessarily your direct competitor.

If you own a bagel joint in Singapore, you definitely want your website to rank in Google for “best bagels in Singapore.” But the pages that actually rank for this keyword are listicles, which give readers a bunch of different suggestions. So your job is to get featured in as many of those top-ranking listicles as possible.

Ranking for a keyword with your own website isn’t the only way to get customers from Google. Getting featured on other pages that rank for this keyword is incredibly effective too.

I call this tactic “second-hand search traffic”.

The underlying idea is not new though.

You might have heard of the concept called “Barnacle SEO,” shared by Rand Fishkin back in 2014. There’s also a concept called “Surround Sound,” coined by Alex Birkett. And another one called “SERP Monopoly strategy” by Nick Eubanks. There’s also a reverse concept, called “Rank & Rent.”

The idea behind all of these tactics is practically the same: if a page gets a lot of relevant search traffic from Google—you have to try and get your business mentioned there.

1721330765 614 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330765 614 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything
Source

But that’s easier said than done, right?

Why would anyone bother to feature your business on their website?

Well, one simple answer is money.

If a website owner can make money from mentioning your business on their page, there’s a good chance they’ll do it. This money could come in the form of an affiliate commission or a flat fee for an annual or permanent placement. Sometimes these things can also happen as part of a broader partnership deal.

Getting listed for free is very, very hard. Especially so if you’re not already a big and respected business that people naturally want to feature on their website.

And yet—it’s not completely impossible to get listed for free.

Case in point, we just published our own “best SEO conferences” post, in order to rank for relevant search queries and promote our upcoming event, Ahrefs Evolve Singapore.

And then we went ahead and reached out to all websites that rank for the “best SEO conferences” keyword and asked them to add Ahrefs Evolve to their listicles. So far 10 out of 17 featured us on their pages, without asking for any payment whatsoever.

1721330766 734 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330766 734 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

The most straightforward way to execute this strategy is to compile a list of highly relevant keywords (with high business potential scores), pull all the top-ranking pages for each of them into a spreadsheet, and start your outreach.

But there’s one other fruitful source of pages to get second-hand search traffic from. These are pages that are linking to your competitors, while getting a decent amount of search traffic themselves.

Here’s how to find these pages in 3 simple steps:

  1. Put the website of your competitor in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the Backlinks report.
  3. Apply the “Referring page > Traffic” filter.
How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for AnythingHow to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

Here’s an example of a page I found while trying this out for the ConvertKit website:

1721330766 665 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330766 665 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

As you can see, this page is not about “email marketing” (the primary topic you’d go for, if you wanted to promote an email marketing tool). And yet, this page is receiving 2.6k visitors per month from Google (as estimated by Ahrefs), and it recommends a bunch of email marketing tools to its readers.

So if you own an email marketing tool—like ConvertKit—you definitely want to get mentioned on that page alongside your competitors.

The moral of this story is that you should look outside of the topics that are immediately relevant to your business. Any page that gets traffic and mentions a competitor of yours should become your target.

And Ahrefs makes it super easy to find such pages.

That’s it.

I hope you found this tactic useful. Don’t sleep on it, because there’s a good chance that your competitors won’t.

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What SEO Should Know About Brand Marketing With Mordy Oberstein

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What SEO Should Know About Brand Marketing With Mordy Oberstein

For the SEO industry, the Google documents leak offered an important view behind the scenes. Although the leak was not a blueprint of how the algorithm worked, there was considerable confirmation that SEO professionals were right about many elements of the algorithm.

From all the analysis and discussion following the leak, the one insight that got my attention was how important the brand is.

Rand Fishkin, who broke the leak, said this:

“Brand matters more than anything else … If there was one universal piece of advice I had for marketers seeking to broadly improve their organic search rankings and traffic, it would be: “Build a notable, popular, well-recognized brand in your space, outside of Google search.”

Mike King echoed this statement with the following observation:

“All these potential demotions can inform a strategy, but it boils down to making stellar content with strong user experience and building a brand, if we’re being honest.”

Mordy Oberstein, who is an advocate for building a brand online, posted on X (Twitter):

“I am SO happy that the SEO conversation has shifted to thinking about “brand.”

It’s not the first time that “brand” has been mentioned in SEO. We began to talk about this around 2012 after the impact of Panda and Penguin when it first became apparent that Google’s aim was to put more emphasis on brand.

Compounding this is the introduction of AI, which has accelerated the importance of taking a more holistic approach to online marketing with less reliance on Google SERPs.

When I spoke to Pedro Dias, he said, “We need to focus more than ever on building our own communities with users aligned to our brands.”

As someone who had 15 years of offline experience in marketing, design, and business before moving into SEO, I have always said that having this wide knowledge allows me to take a holistic view of SEO. So, I welcome the mindset shift towards building a brand online.

As part of his X/Twitter post, Mordy also said:

“I am SO happy that the SEO conversation has shifted to thinking about “brand” (a lot of which is the direct result of @randfish’s & @iPullRank’s great advice following the “Google leaks”).

As someone who has straddled the brand marketing and SEO world for the better part of 10 years – branding is A LOT harder than many SEOs would think and will be a HUGE adjustment for many SEOs.”

Following his X/Twitter post, I reached out to Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Brand at Wix, to have a conversation about branding and SEO.

What Do SEO Pros Need To Know About ‘Brand’ To Make The Mindset Shift?

I asked Mordy, “In your opinion, what does brand and building a brand mean, and can SEO pros make this mindset shift?”

Mordy responded, “Brand building basically means creating a connection between one entity and another entity, meaning the company and the audience.

It’s two people meeting, and that convergence is the building of a brand. It’s very much a relationship. And I think that’s what makes it hard for SEOs. It’s a different way of thinking; it’s not linear, and there aren’t always metrics that you can measure it by.

I’m not saying you don’t use data, or you don’t have data, but it’s harder to measure to tell a full story.

You’re trying to pick up on latent signals. A lot of the conversation is unconscious.

It’s all about the micro things that compound. So, you have to think about everything you do, every signal, to ensure that it is aligned with the brand.

For example, a website writes about ‘what is a tax return.’ However, if I’m a professional accountant and I see this on your blog, I might think this isn’t relevant to me because you’re sending me a signal that you’re very basic. I don’t need to know what a tax return is; I have a master’s degree in accounting.

The latent signals that you’re sending can be very subtle, but this is where it is a mindset shift for SEO.”

I recalled a recent conversation with Pedro Dias in which he stressed it was important to put your users front and center and create content that is relevant to them. Targeting high-volume keywords is not going to connect with your audience. Instead, think about what is going to engage, interest, and entertain them.

I went on to say that for some time, the discussion online has been about SEO pros shifting away from the keyword-first approach. However, the consequences of moving away from a focus on traffic and clicks will mean we are likely to experience a temporary decline in performance.

How Does An SEO Professional Sell This To Stakeholders – How Do They Measure Success?

I asked Mordy, “How do you justify this approach to stakeholders – how do they measure success?”

Mordy replied, “I think selling SEO will become harder over time. But, if you don’t consider the brand aspect, then you could be missing the point of what is happening. It’s not about accepting lower volumes of traffic; it’s that traffic will be more targeted.

You might see less traffic right now, but the idea is to gain a digital presence and create digital momentum that will result in more qualified traffic in the long term.”

Mordy went on to say, “It’s going to be a habit to break out of, just like when you have to go on a diet for a long-term health gain.

The ecosystem will change, and it will force change to our approach. SEOs may not have paid attention to the Google leak documents, but I think they will pay attention as the entire ecosystem shifts – they won’t have a choice.

I also think C-level will send a message that they don’t care about overall traffic numbers, but do care about whether a user appreciates what they are producing and that the brand is differentiated in some way.”

How Might The Industry Segment And What Will Be The Important Roles?

I interjected to make the point that it does look a lot like SEO is finally making that shift across marketing.

Technical SEO will always be important, and paid/programmatic will remain important because it is directly attributable.

For the rest of SEO, I anticipate it merges across brand, SEO, and content into a hybrid strategy role that will straddle those disciplines.

What we thought of as “traditional SEO” will fall away, and SEO will become absorbed into marketing.

In response, Mordy agreed and thought that SEO traffic is part of a wider scope or part of a wider paradigm, and it will sit under brand and communications.

An SEO pro that functions as part of the wider marketing and thinks about how we are driving revenue, how we are driving growth, what kind of growth we are driving, and using SEO as a vehicle to that.

The final point I raised was about social media and whether that would become a more combined facet of SEO and overall online marketing.

Mordy likened Google to a moth attracted to the biggest digital light.

He said, “Social media is a huge vehicle for building momentum and the required digital presence.

For example, the more active I am on social media, the more organic branded searches I gain through Google Search. I can see the correlation between that.

I don’t think that Google is ignoring branded searches, and it makes a semantic connection.”

SEO Will Shift To Include Brand And Marketing

The conversation I had with Mordy raised an interesting perspective that SEO will have to make significant shifts to a brand and marketing mindset.

The full impact of AI on Google SERPs and how the industry might change is yet to be realized. But, I strongly recommend that anyone in SEO consider how they can start to take a brand-first approach to their strategy and the content they create.

I suggest building and measuring relationships with audiences based on how they connect with your brand and moving away from any strategy based on chasing high-volume keywords.

Think about what the user will do once you get the click – that is where the real value lies.

Get ahead of the changes that are coming.

Thank you to Mordy Oberstein for offering his opinion and being my guest on IMHO.

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Featured Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock

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