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B2B Content Marketing: Ahrefs’ Guide

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B2B Content Marketing: Ahrefs’ Guide

B2B content marketing is creating and promoting content to attract other businesses that are your target customers.

Content marketing is essential for B2B businesses because education prospects help them make buying decisions.

According to Statista, 30% of marketers say content marketing offers the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel. Furthermore, in HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Trends 2022, content marketing is one of the top three marketing strategies for B2B brands.

Perceived level of ROI generated by selected digital marketing channels

There are also plenty of real-life examples. Ahrefs, HubSpot, Shopify, Animalz, and Deloitte are some of many that have succeeded with this marketing type

In this guide, I’ll explain how we do content marketing at Ahrefs, a B2B business.

How is B2B content marketing different from B2C content marketing?

There are two main differences between B2B and B2C content marketing.

1. More decision-makers

Generally speaking, there are more decision-makers involved in the B2B buying process. There are plenty of times when the person using the product or service is different from the one buying it. 

For example, an in-house SEO may be the one using our toolset, but the chief marketing officer (CMO) or chief financial officer (CFO) may be the one who approves the purchase. 

As a result, your content will need to target more than just the operator alone. It’ll also have to help the operator convince other relevant stakeholders to purchase your product or service.

Different stakeholders of the buying center

For B2C, the person buying is usually the person making the buying decision.

2. Buying motivation

Most B2B buyers are purchasing for the value you offer, specifically how you help them solve their problems.

So you’ll have to prove that value using your content. You’ll also have to show you are trustworthy, you know your stuff, and that other brands have used your product or service successfully.

On the other hand, the buying motivation for most B2C products can be more impulsive, e.g., food, fashion, games, electronics, etc. 

How to do B2B content marketing, the Ahrefs way

There is no one right way to do content marketing for B2B. Your content marketing will differ depending on what you sell, whom you sell to, and your goals.

As such, it’s impossible to cover every potential variation of the B2B content marketing strategy in this guide. Instead, I’ll focus on how we do B2B content marketing at Ahrefs. Hopefully, that’ll inspire your own.

Our B2B content marketing strategy is simple: We focus on creating content about topics that have search traffic potential, business potential, and ranking potential. 

Here’s how we do it:

1. Find relevant topics with search traffic potential

Your content must be discovered by your target audience for it to be consumed. The best way to do this is for your content to rank high on Google

So rather than treat SEO as an afterthought, we want to build it into our content marketing. We can do this by targeting topics that our target customers are searching for. 

Here’s how to find these topics:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a few broad keywords related to your site or niche (e.g., we can look for keywords like marketing and seo)
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Filter for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP)
The Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Traffic Potential is the estimated monthly organic search traffic to the top-ranking page for a keyword. Since pages tend to rank for many similar keywords and not just one, TP is a more reliable estimate of search traffic than search volume. 

From here, you’ll want to go through the report to find keywords your potential customers are searching for. 

Learn more: Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs 

2. Check its business potential

Cameron Brown, a content strategist at content marketing agency Grow & Convert, writes:

Outside of the most revolutionary, category-creating products and services, almost every B2B business already has a group of people who are at the purchase stage, looking to solve their problems with a product or service like yours.

Even though the ideal end state is to target every topic that can build your brand awareness, you’ll want to prioritize those that can send you actual leads and customers (at least for now).

At Ahrefs, we assign a “business potential” score to each topic. And business potential is how easy it will be to pitch your product while covering a given keyword.

Here’s the “cheat sheet” we use:

The business potential table

Go through each keyword you’ve pulled from step #1 and give them a score from 0 to 3.

3. Analyze each of their ranking potential

Some keywords are harder to rank than others. That’s to be expected because there are only limited “slots” for each keyword on the SERPs. So while that doesn’t mean you completely avoid difficult keywords (especially if they have business value), you should take ranking difficulty into account when targeting them.

For us, a keyword has ranking potential when it’s viable for us to rank in the top three with our available resources. 

How do we know this? We look at the SERPs and assess three things:

Backlinks

Specifically, the quantity and quality of backlinks. 

Backlinks are important because they’re one of Google’s top ranking factors. So if the pages you’re competing with have a lot of high-quality backlinks, it will be difficult to compete.

To see how many backlinks the competing pages have, enter your topic into Keywords Explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview. You’ll see how many referring domains and backlinks each top-ranking page has:

Referring domains and backlinks for the top-ranking pages for "content marketing," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

You can see that the topic content marketing is super competitive, with each page having thousands of backlinks. Compare that to B2B content marketing:

Referring domains and backlinks for the top-ranking pages for "b2b content marketing," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

These numbers, however, only tell you about the quantity of backlinks. To assess quality, click on any of the numbers. This will bring you to each page’s backlink profile.

The Backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Eyeball the report and get a sense of the quality of backlinks the sites have using the guide below.

Learn more: How to Do a Basic Backlink Audit (In Under 30 Minutes)

Authority

Website authority is an SEO concept that refers to the overall “strength” of a domain. In this case, “strength” refers to the likelihood of a domain to rank high on the SERPs. 

Even though Google representatives said Google doesn’t evaluate website authority, many SEOs still believe authoritative websites have an easier time ranking. As such, they typically take a website authority metric, such as Domain Rating (DR), into account when assessing ranking difficulty.

If you’re on that side as well, you can easily see the top-ranking pages’ DR scores in the SERP overview section:

Domain Rating (DR) scores for the top-ranking pages for "b2b content marketing," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Content quality

The best content is one that provides more value in less time (and that includes entertainment value!).

You’ll want to make sure you’re able to deliver on that front too—if you wish to beat the top-ranking pages.

Here are a few questions you can ask while you’re assessing the content quality of the top-ranking pages:

  1. Does it provide accurate and up-to-date information?
  2. Is it written by a subject matter expert?
  3. Does it contain unique information?
  4. Does it cover the topic in full?
  5. Is it well written?
  6. Is it properly formatted?
  7. Is it well designed?

If they’re missing a few of these aspects, it’s your chance to beat them.

Learn more: Keyword Difficulty: How to Estimate Your Chances to Rank 

4. Create content for these topics

You now have a list of topics that have:

  1. Search traffic potential
  2. Business potential
  3. Ranking potential

It’s time to create content that’ll rank for these topics. Here’s how:

Match search intent

Google wants to rank relevant content. It does this by constantly figuring out why the searcher is making that query and then serving content that fulfills that. This is known as search intent. 

If you want to rank high on Google for your target keywords, you have to match search intent. We can do this by analyzing the SERPs for the three Cs:

  1. Content type – Are they blog posts, landing pages, product pages, or something else?
  2. Content format – Are they listicles, how-tos, recipes, tools, or something else?
  3. Content angle – Is there a dominant selling point, like how easy it is?

For example, let’s say we want to target the topic how to drive traffic to your website

SERP overview for "how to drive traffic to your website," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Analyzing the three Cs, we get:

  1. Content type – They’re all blog posts.
  2. Content format – Despite the “how to” modifier, searchers are actually looking for lists.
  3. Content angle – There are a variety of angles here, from “proven” to “free and paid.”

If we’re creating content for this topic, we’ll have to create something similar. (Which we did, and we’re now ranking in position #5.)

Cover the topic in full

The best result for a query usually covers everything the searcher wants to know. 

Here are two ways to find potential subtopics to cover:

  1. Look for common subheadings among top-ranking pages If most of them have a similar subheading, then it’s likely important.
  2. Look for common keyword rankings among top-ranking pages – These are often important subtopics to cover. 

Here’s how to execute the second method:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter your target keyword
  3. Select a few top-ranking pages in the SERP overview
  4. Click “Open in” and choose “Content gap”
Opening the top-ranking pages in Content Gap, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
Content Gap report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

In this example, we’re targeting inbound marketing, and we can see a few subtopics to cover:

  • What is inbound marketing
  • Inbound marketing examples
  • Inbound marketing strategies
  • Inbound marketing tools

And more. 

Make it unique

We want to match search intent and cover the topic in full. But we don’t want to create copycat content that no one wants to read.

How SEO tools lead to copycat content

Not only is copycat content not useful for your readers and your business, it’s also detrimental to your SEO efforts because there’s no incentive to link to it. With Google filing a patent for information gain, unoriginal content may also be deprioritized and rank lower in the future.

To solve this, you need to create something unique. That can be a unique angle or unique ideas within your content. 

For example, we could have created a generic B2B content marketing guide. Instead, we decided our personal experience doing B2B content marketing would be more interesting, helpful, and even stand out amongst the SERPs. (Do you agree? 😁)

If you’re struggling to come up with unique angles or ideas, here are a few prompts that may help:

  • Personal experience – If you’ve successfully (or even unsuccessfully) done something, write about it.
  • Expert interviews – Reach out and interview experts in your field or ask them to contribute an opinion to your piece.
  • Crowdsource – Get multiple people to contribute their opinions, expertise, and ideas.
  • Original research – Add data to your post. You can do this by running a study, survey, or poll.
  • Contrarian – Be the devil’s advocate. Consider an opposing viewpoint. 

Learn more: SEO Content: The Beginner’s Guide 

5. Promote your content

Your content will practically be invisible if you don’t put it in front of people who care. Here are a few ways you can promote your content.

Create a weekly newsletter

At Ahrefs, we send a weekly newsletter to 200,000+ people with our latest content:

An issue of the Ahrefs' Digest

An email list is one of the best ways to distribute your content. You can directly reach people who want to hear more from you. 

Unlike social media platforms, you are less likely to be restricted, prevented, or blocked from accessing your audience. You own the list. 

The best way to grow your email list is to offer something in return for subscribing. This can be an ebook, an email course, a PDF, or more. For example, Intercom offers a free guide for download. This is shown as a sticky opt-in box on the side or at the end of the article:

Intercom offers a free guide in return for subscribing

Learn more: 8 Easy (But Effective) Ways to Grow Your Email List

Build a personal brand on LinkedIn

According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Trends 2022, B2B brands are more likely to use LinkedIn and find it effective. That makes sense—after all, LinkedIn bills itself as the “social network for professionals.”

I asked David Fallarme, a marketing consultant, for his best tips on how to grow a personal brand on LinkedIn. Here’s what he shared:

Most people starting their LinkedIn journey obsess and agonize over what to publish. This takes them hours, if not days (or even weeks) to finally publish something. Then, they barely get any engagement and swear off publishing on LinkedIn.

For most people going from zero to one on LinkedIn, the way to get engagement on your content is to give engagement to other content first. 

Your first job: to find and add people who are relevant to you and your target audience. Add a few influencers in your niche, then use the “People also viewed” function to see who else LinkedIn suggests. These are typically people who post regularly, which means you’ll be exposed to a lot of content in your niche.

After following ~10 – 15 influencers, you should build your LinkedIn writing muscle by commenting on their posts whenever you log on. This does a couple of things: first, it trains your brain that posting on LinkedIn is nothing to be scared of. Two, it gives you new ideas for your own content—every comment you leave is the seed for future posts. Third, when you leave thoughtful comments, and when you reply to others who have left comments, others who also follow that person will visit your profile and respond to your connection requests.

All of these increase the chances that when you post something on LinkedIn, it’s relevant to your target audience and you’re not just yelling into the void. You always have new connections who are exposed to your content.

David Fallarme

Repurpose your content

Make your content go the extra mile by turning it into multiple formats.

For example, we turned our video on holiday SEO into a post. We also turned our post on whether SEO is worth it into a video

Learn more: The Complete Guide to Content Repurposing

Build links with link bait

We’ve established that links are important. But link building is hard. It’s even harder if you don’t have an existing brand or reputation. Worse still, people may even ask you to pay for links—a massive no-no in Google’s eyes.

If links are crucial, but link building is difficult, how do you get links? Well, the simplest answer is to earn it. 

Some pages naturally earn links better than others. In the SEO world, they’re known as “link bait.” Take, for example, our study where we found 90.63% of pages get no search traffic. That article received 6,500 backlinks from 2,900 referring domains:

Links and referring domains pointing at one of our studies, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you can create more link-earning pages, you can add internal links from those pages to your other content, thereby potentially boosting their rankings.

Here’s how to find good link bait ideas:

  1. Enter your competitor’s domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Best by links report
Best by links report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Eyeball the report to see what kind of formats and topics resonate with people in your niche. For example, we can see that the SEO industry loves data studies, which is why we’ve been consistently producing them.

Learn more: What Is Link Bait? 7 Successful Examples 

Run ads

If you have the budget, you can always run ads to promote your content. If the big networks are scary and too expensive, consider smaller networks too. 

For example, we run ads for our content on Quora:

Ahrefs' Quora ads

Learn more: PPC Marketing: Beginner’s Guide to Pay-Per-Click Ads 

Final thoughts

We’ve been following this strategy religiously for the past few years, and it has worked well for us. Hopefully, our content marketing strategy has inspired your B2B content marketing strategy.

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter



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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

User experience is the foundation of a site’s usability, and it’s an aspect of on-page SEO that many people overlook.

If your site lacks the positive user experience and ease of use that end users require to navigate your site, you’ll push visitors to your competitors.

In this guide, you’ll learn what user experience (UX) entails, the types of experiences, the difference between UI and UX, and why it matters to SEO.

What Is User Experience (UX)?

UX is how people interact with your website.

You’ll also find this term used for products, but we’re focusing strictly on websites at the moment.

If you have a, intuitive user interface design, users will have an easier time navigating your site and finding the information they want.

If you do have a digital product, such as a SaaS solution, this interaction will also occur on your digital product.

User experience elicits a couple of things:

In short, user experience can provide a positive experience with your website – or it can lead to frustration among users.

Note: Usability is not UX design. It’s a component of UX that works with design to create the experience your users desire.

What Are The Types Of User Experience?

User experience evaluation must look at the three types of UX design to best understand the needs of the end user.

The three types of UX include:

  • Information: One aspect of a content strategy that goes overlooked is information architecture. Time must be spent on how information on a site is organized and presented. User flows and navigation must be considered for all forms of information you present.
  • Interaction: Your site has an interaction design pattern – or a certain way that users interact with the site. Components of a site that fall under the interaction UX type include buttons, interfaces, and menus.
  • Visual design: Look and feel matter for the end user. You want your website to have cohesion between its color, typography, and images. User interface (UI) will fall under this type of UX, but it’s important to note that UI is not interchangeable with UX.

What Is The Difference Between UI & UX?

Speaking of UX and UI, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the difference between the two to better understand user experience.

User Interface

UI design is your site’s visual elements, including:

Visual elements on your site are part of the user interface.

UI definitely overlaps with UX to an extent, but they’re not the same.

Steve Krug also has a great book on usability, titled “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” It was first published in 2000, and the book is a #1 bestseller today.

Steve’s insight from over 20 years ago (although we’re now on the 3rd edition of the book) provides guidelines on usability that include:

  • Desktop.
  • Mobile.
  • Ease of use.
  • Layouts.
  • Everything UX.

If there’s one thing this book will teach you about usability, it’s to focus on intuitive navigation. Frustrating website users is the exact opposite of a good user experience.

User Experience

UX works on UI and how the user will:

  • Interact with your site.
  • Feel during the interaction.

Think of Google for a moment.

A simple landing page that is visually appealing, but Spartan in nature, is the face of the Internet. In terms of UX, Google is one of the best sites in the world, although it lacks a spectacular UI.

In fact, the UI needs to be functional and appealing, but the UX is what will stand out the most.

Imagine if you tried performing a search on Google and it displayed the wrong results or took one minute for a query to run. In this case, even the nicest UI would not compensate for the poor UX.

Peter Morville’s user experience honeycomb is one of the prime examples of how to move beyond simple usability and focus on UX in new, exciting ways.

The honeycomb includes multiple points that are all combined to maximize the user experience. These facets are:

  • Accessible.
  • Credible.
  • Desirable.
  • Findable.
  • Usable.
  • Useful.
  • Valuable.

When you focus on all of these elements, you’ll improve the user experience dramatically.

Why User Experience Matters To SEO

By this point, you understand that UX is very important to your site’s visitors and audience.

A lot of time, analysis, and refinement must go into UX design. However, there’s another reason to redirect your attention to user experience: SEO.

Google Page Experience Update

When Google’s Page Experience Update was fully rolled out, it had an impact on websites that offered a poor user experience.

The page experience update is now slowly rolling out for desktop. It will be complete by the end of March 2022. Learn more about the update: https://t.co/FQvMx3Ymaf

— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) February 22, 2022

Multiple aspects of UX are part of the ranking factors of the update, including:

  • Intrusive adverts.
  • Core Web Vitals.
  • HTTPS Security.

You can run a Core Web Vitals report here and make corrections to meet these requirements. Additionally, you should know whether your site has intrusive ads that irritate users, and if your site lacks HTTPS.

Page performance works to improve your SEO. Google’s research shows that focusing on UX can:

  • Reduce site abandonment by as much as 24%.
  • Improve web conversions.
  • Increase the average page views per session by as much as 15%.
  • Boost advertising revenue by 18% or more.

When you spend time improving your site’s UX, you benefit from higher rankings, lower page abandonment, improved conversions, and even more revenue.

Plus, many of the practices to improve UX are also crucial components of a site’s on-page SEO, such as:

  • Proper header usage.
  • Adding lists to your content.
  • Making use of images.
  • Optimizing images for faster loading times.
  • Filling content gaps with useful information.
  • Reducing “content fluff.”
  • Using graphs.
  • Testing usability across devices.

When you improve UX, you create a positive experience for users, while also improving many of the on-page SEO foundations of your website.

Final Comments

Customer experience must go beyond simple responsive web design.

Hick’s law dictates that when you present more choices to users, it takes longer to reach a decision. You’ve likely seen this yourself when shopping online and finding hundreds of options.

When people land on your site, they’re looking for answers or knowledge – not confusion.

User research, usability testing, and revisiting user experience design often will help you inch closer to satisfying the SEO requirements of design while keeping your visitors (or customers) happier.

More resources: 


Featured Image: NicoElNino/Shutterstock



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How to Rank for Google’s Helpful Content Update

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How to Rank for Google’s Helpful Content Update

Zero Traffic from Google—that is what more than 50% of online content gets everyday. Ahrefs found this out last 2020.

And yet, countless websites continue to put them out regularly—a problem made even worse with all the AI-powered content tools out there. The result is an endless flood of low-quality blogs and posts that are, ultimately, not useful for anyone who reads them. 

So, what did Google do in response? They put out another addition to their algorithm, called the “Helpful Content Update.” Their goal with this one was to help make sure that valuable content that actually helps their users (a.k.a., people-first content) would be able to rank. 

Much like with every update, SEO professionals like you and I need to revisit our strategies to stay ahead of the game. In this article, I will show you some tactics I use to write content for people first, while maintaining good SEO practices. 

What We Know About Google’s Helpful Content Update

The Helpful Content Update algorithm update by Google was designed to improve user experience by putting high-quality content written for people higher up in the SERPs. 

Here’s how Google put it in their own words

“The system generates a site-wide signal that we consider among many other signals for ranking web pages. Our systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches.

Any content—not just unhelpful content—on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere from the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.”

While this update was first announced back in September 2022, it has now progressed into a global update, impacting all languages. Google also announced that the system will continue to publish new signals over the coming months, helping their site identify more content created primarily for search engines versus people.

What does this mean for your website? Well, there are a lot of changes that others have documented in the last few months, which I summarize for you here: 

  • Purely AI-generated content is considered spam, and Google will be using its machine learning algorithm to detect it.
  • Content made for clicks (i.e., ad monetization) won’t work anymore
  • There may be no manual penalties, but sites have experienced losing organic visibility
  • It seems to affect the overall site performance, rather than hitting specific pages—and Google won’t be telling you which pieces of your content it has deemed as not useful.

Google’s Danny Sullivan also talked about this update possibly working in connection with future updates:

Google’s Danny Sullivan talking about Google

So, like Hummingbird, this update may become fundamental to ranking algorithms—which means that its exact effects could be only observed over the next few years.

Even so, it already puts a stronger emphasis on your content. Writing with a “search engine first” approach should no longer be your angle. 

After all, Google is, primarily, a space for users to learn. So, it makes sense that they’re making no room for unhelpful content.

While this update will undoubtedly be more damaging for poor-quality sites, it also presents an opportunity for well-maintained sites to take a second look at their content strategy. 

How to Optimize Your Content—and Make it More “Helpful”

With this update, we have to start thinking about our content holistically, rather than just trying to gain as many clicks as possible (or maybe even a featured snippet).

To achieve this, you have two main action points to consider: improving your intent and processes, and providing high-quality content.

Let’s go over some tips I’ve come up with in the last two months to better tackle these points (and enhance your writing): 

Review Your Intent and Your Audience

Before you even start on your next blog post, you need to know who your audience is. 

Ask yourself, who are you writing for? What are their needs, and why are they asking these questions? What do they need help with?

These questions will help you tailor your content to help your target audience. Otherwise, it’s likely that whatever you write won’t be considered helpful by Google—and you won’t be able to reap the benefits from your work. 

If you’re having trouble understanding who your audience is, then take a look at your Google Analytics data, under your demographic details report. This is the best place to gain some insight into who is currently looking at your content, as well as other things they might be interested in. 

So, beyond inserting your keyword into your blog post, consider factoring both your intended audience and relevant adjacent content. 

Provide Real Expertise, Insights, and Experiences

When it comes to making helpful, valuable content, it’s a big plus if you have some first-hand expertise to add to your writing. 

Avoid writing on topics that are trending, but you know nothing about. I also highly recommend against simply regurgitating information you’ve seen in other posts. Instead, your insights and experiences with the topic should be the main focus of your writing.

Not an expert on the particular topic you’re currently drafting? That’s okay—not everyone can be one. You can still produce helpful content by doing your due diligence, diving deep into research, and sharing what you’ve learned. 

Remember, readers can see right through you if you’re faking being an expert, so avoid making false claims at all costs. 

Use AI Content Strategically

Though this update may be primarily aimed at reducing the amount of AI-generated content out there, that doesn’t mean your tools no longer have a place in your work. 

AI tools, such as the increasingly popular ChatGPT or our recently-reviewed Content Marketing Platform from SE Ranking, can still be used to improve your work and productivity. The key is to use them strategically. 

Use them to lighten your workload, and avoid depending solely on them. For example, you can use your tools to help you generate better titles or introductions—but always remember to add a human touch to whatever they make. And, make sure that the bulk of the ideas come from you! 

Try to Hit Related Queries (Such as the People Also Ask (PAAs))

I mentioned that we have to start approaching our writing holistically, and that means providing as much valuable information to our readers as possible. 

Now that being helpful is the name of the game, it’s a great time to take a look at all the related queries users have for your intended topic. Here’s what comes up when I google ‘wedding catering:’

PAAs and related searches for the keyword "wedding catering"

Check the PAAs and related searches that pop up when you type in your keyword. These aren’t just generated questions Google thinks people might ask—they’re actually being searched up by real people! These will provide good subheadings to include in your next blog article.

Ask Yourself: Will Readers Be Satisfied After Reading Your Content?

Things like word count and keyword density are now a thing of the past with this update. The most important thing now is that your audience enjoys what they’re reading, or they learn something of value from your article. 

In short, they leave your site feeling satisfied

So, always gauge your writing by asking this question: will people be satisfied after reading this?

For example, if you’re writing an article on how to properly brew specialty coffee, will the reader come away from your article with more knowledge than before? Will they have all their questions answered? Will they know how to properly brew their new coffee beans?

If the answer is yes, then you’re doing great. But, if you’re unsure—or the answer is a resounding no—you must make some changes. 

That said, not every reader that comes across your work will be happy with what you’ve written. It is, after all, impossible to please everyone each time you publish something. However, as long as a majority of your audience is satisfied, then you’re doing something right! 

Revisit Your Old Posts

Lastly, because this update affects you sitewide, it’s a good idea to look at your previous work. 

If you’re like me, then you’ve been blogging for upwards of a decade—and that might mean some of your posts aren’t as valuable to readers today. The content might be outdated, or not up to snuff with newer guidelines, but either way, this bank of legacy content can bring your traffic down.

So, revisit your work and review its ability to provide your readers with the answers and experience they’re looking for. Take the time to check if you need to make some additions to make it useful once again, or redirect them to newer content. I highly recommend prioritizing evergreen content, which is something I covered in my Blog Writing 101 guide.

This is especially important if you’re in any industry that moves fast (think fashion or tech). Content here usually goes from helpful to obsolete in a matter of months! 

Key Takeaway

Google has always favored people-first content, and this recent update is just the latest in many of their attempts to make sure the right content gets to their users. 

The Helpful Content Update will continue to release tweaks to their signals over the coming months, so it’s prime time for us SEO specialists to take a second look at our content and writing strategies.

Luckily, this update could be a win for you—just keep these tips in mind, and you’re on the right track to getting the most value from your content efforts. 

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What Are the Benefits of SEO? (And How to Get Started)

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What Are the Benefits of SEO? (And How to Get Started)

If you are a business owner, you may have heard about how vital search engine optimization (SEO) is. But how can it help fast-track your business’s growth, get more customers, and make a difference to your bottom line?

In more simple terms: Why do SEO? 

1. It increases your organic share of voice

There are an estimated 3.5 billion searches on Google each day. To tap into this audience, you’ll need to do SEO. 

One of the key benefits of SEO is increasing your organic share of voice (SOV). More organic SOV means more traffic, leads, and revenue for your business.

It also means more market share in your industry. We can see from the graph below that there is a strong relationship between SOV and market share

Relationship between SOV and market share graph

At Ahrefs, we calculate organic SOV by dividing the traffic to the site by the total search traffic for all keywords.

In other words, if you only track one keyword and the top 10 positions are occupied by pages of your website, your SOV is 100%.

So how can you measure organic SOV?

We first need to create a new project in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker and add our keywords for the website we want to track.

How to add keywords in Ahrefs' Rank Tracker, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Once you have added a new project and added your keywords, you can go to the dashboard and check your SOV.

It should look something like this:

SOV screenshot, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

If you click through the SOV on the dashboard, you can look at your competitor’s SOV compared to your SOV.

SOV vs. competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

If no competitors are showing in your dashboard, you can change that by: 

  • Going into Settings.
  • Clicking on the Competitors tab.
  • Clicking on + Add competitor.

Enter your competitors manually or press the + to add them from the list below that shows the keyword intersection.

Adding competitors via settings menu, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Once you are happy, click the Save button and return to the dashboard. You should now be able to compare your competitor’s SOV against your website’s SOV. 

Recommendation

Check out Michal Pecánek’s article on SOV to get a detailed guide on how to measure SOV.

2. It’s less intrusive than other types of marketing

Intrusive marketing is annoying.

It may seem obvious. But when our lives are full of adverts, cold calls, and emails from random people trying to sell you their products all the time, it’s very advantageous to be an inbound marketing channel

Intrusive outreach example, via Linkedin.com
An intrusive marketing example sent to me from LinkedIn.

SEO targets people who are actively searching for your services or products. 

Because of this, it’s excellent at converting—all you need to do is focus on what they are searching for.

You can find what your customers are searching for using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Enter a relevant topic and go to the Matching terms report. Here, you’ll see many topics your customers are searching for, which you can target.

Matching terms report example, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

You can search, discover, and analyze keywords using our very own Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

SEO is not just for Christmas.

In all, 45.6% of SEOs say SEO takes about three to six months. It may seem like a long time for the channel to work, but SEO is a long-term marketing channel where growth typically compounds over time. In other words, if you put the time and effort into SEO, the results will likely be well worth it. 

Looking at Ahrefs’ organic traffic graph, most of our rapid growth occurred in the last year or so when our traffic started to compound. 

Ahrefs.com organic traffic performance

Google’s algorithm updates mean that your website’s traffic will fluctuate. But as you can see from the graph, it’s a positive trend in the long term.

Over time, you should be able to rely on SEO to bring in a constant stream of traffic to your site. 

When we asked ~4,300 SEOs how long SEO takes, they gave a variety of responses. But only 16.2% of SEOs said that SEO takes between one and three months.

Pie chart showing percentage breakdown of SEOs responses to how long SEO takes

I agree with the majority of SEOs here. But I would add a qualifier—that it depends on the type of website you are working on.

For example, if you set up a brand-new website, it will have little to no authority. This is because it will have no links pointing to it and will probably have minimal content on the site. 

These elements are just some indicators or ways in which Google judges your website’s authority and decides which top results should be on its SERPs.

Recommendation

If you are improving the SEO of a website that’s been around for a few years, then the SEO will likely take effect faster. This is based on my experience, but you may get different results with your website.

Unlike paying for PPC, organic search traffic is free. 

If Ahrefs used PPC to pay for its organic traffic, Ahrefs’ Site Explorer estimates it would cost an eye-watering $2.3 million per month or $27.6 million per year.

Monetary value of Ahrefs' organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can see from this example why improving SEO and increasing your organic traffic can be a highly valuable investment for your business.

Getting started with SEO doesn’t always mean you have to spend a lot, either. If you are willing to learn about SEO basics, you can do a lot of the work yourself to bring costs down.

Recommendation

When it comes to tools, you don’t have to spend a lot when you are starting out. You can use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools for auditing your site and our free SEO tools to optimize it further.

It’s always on—24/7

Unlike paid marketing, SEO is always on. It continues to work for you while you are asleep. 

You’ll get more overall value from SEO than other marketing channels. It doesn’t cost any extra to have it running all the time.

Another benefit is that once your website is established with good rankings, SEO will maintain them over time and drive consistent traffic to your website. 

The only thing that can stop this is if there is a serious technical issue with your site or you have fallen foul of Google’s search guidelines

Reduce your dependency on PPC 

It’s easy for a business to rely on pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, but it can be expensive to maintain this marketing strategy. 

SEO can help you change this.

Once you have some important keywords ranking number #1 on Google, you can consider turning off some of your PPC marketing, which could result in significant savings for your business.

5. It improves user experience

Many people have high expectations for websites these days. They expect them to be clear, intuitive, and lightning-fast. 

When websites don’t work as people expect, they get frustrated. And if they have a bad experience, this can create a negative perception of the brand. 

To do well in SEO, you’ll need to provide your visitors with the best possible user experience. 

But how can you optimize for user experience in SEO?

SEOs typically divide user experience issues into three categories: 

  • Site speed
  • Core Web Vitals
  • On-site optimization

Let’s take a closer look.

Site speed

Site speed is one of the most critical factors for your visitors. If your website is slow to use, visitors will likely leave your site and probably not return.

A few years ago, Google tested 900,000 websites worldwide. It reported that 53% of people would leave a website if it took three seconds or more to load.

To test your site speed, you can use a tool like webpagespeedtest.org. Let’s take a look at Ahrefs speed metrics using this tool.

Ahrefs' speed performance

We can see above that the speed index is under three seconds for Ahrefs. If your website loads in more than three seconds, then you may want to consider speeding up your website. 

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are Google’s quality signals it introduced to quantify the user experience of your website. 

They are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – For load performance.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – For visual stability.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – For interactivity.

Here’s what Google classifies as good and bad scores for these metrics.

Good Needs improvement Poor
LCP <=2.5s <=4s >4s
FID <=100ms <=300ms >300ms
CLS <=0.1 <=0.25 >0.25

Defining metrics for user experience is a benefit, as website owners can know exactly how their websites perform against Google’s expectations. 

Monitoring Core Web Vitals and site performance may sound technical, but you can keep an eye on them using Ahrefs’ Site Audit

For example, here’s a screenshot from the Performance dashboard highlighting two issues with CLS and LCP. 

Pages with poor CLS and poor LCP, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

As you can see from the above, Site Audit automatically identifies all low-performing pages for you.

On-page optimization

On-page optimization is another area of SEO that can help benefit your website. With on-page optimization, SEOs critically examine your website and audit it for any issues that may impact the user experience.

A good example of on-page optimization is adding subheadings, or heading tags, to your articles. Adding subheadings makes your content easier to read by establishing a visual hierarchy.

Subheadings improve readability by creating visual hierarchy

On-page optimization is less quantifiable than Core Web Vitals, but spending time on it will pay dividends for your website in the long run.

Ahrefs’ Site Audit can monitor headings, image alt text, internal linking, and other on-page optimization factors.

Here’s an example of a scheduled report you can get for heading optimization opportunities.

Heading optimization opportunities, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can use this report to identify many improvement opportunities for your website.

6. It puts your store online

If your business has a physical store, you can add it to a Google Business Profile for free.

Google My Business local listing example for Google San Francisco

Adding your business to Google’s business listings means you will appear on Google Maps when someone searches for your business or related keywords.

It’s a great way to highlight your business locally. For some businesses focused on local trade, this listing can be one of their most crucial organic search assets.

It also gives you a helpful way to communicate your business hours and opening times to your customers—something they will appreciate.

By having a solid organic presence and utilizing tools such as Google Business Profile, you can be sure that your online business will pick up sales even when you can’t open your physical store. 

So how do you set up your own Google Business Profile listing?

Setting up a Google Business Profile is straightforward and a three-step process.

  1. Claim your business profile 
  2. Add your business hours and details 
  3. Manage your profile, share any business updates, and respond to customer reviews

Once you have done this, you can monitor your business profile’s performance with the built-in analytics.

GMB analytics, via Google My Business

Using a Google Business Profile allows you to discover how people are searching for your website and helps you to understand how your business connects with customers online.

Building trust with customers is just as important online as it is offline. You wouldn’t buy something from a physical shop if the shop was run-down and the service was poor. 

The same applies to websites.

Your website should be fully operational and perform well in search engines. It should be secure and provide a great user experience to your customers. 

Having good SEO on your website shows you’re an authority in your industry. It shows you have the information and expertise customers are looking for.

It also means searchers will click on your website in the results because it is more prominent than your competitors—you will get the customers, and they won’t. 

The bottom line here is that by improving your website’s SEO, more visitors will trust your brand, which will drive more traffic and sales.

Learn more

Now you know the key benefits of SEO, you may want to start learning about it in more detail.

I’ve collected some helpful resources below to help you get started, so you can learn about SEO and start to reap the benefits:

Got more questions? Ping me on Twitter. 🙂



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