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Do They Help Or Hurt?

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Do They Help Or Hurt?

Local SEO can be a winner for so many types of businesses.

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar or a service-based business, you know that many of your potential customers will begin their journey with search.

And if you want their business, you have to show up.

To get started, you’ll (hopefully) run a local SEO audit on your site which will help you create your local strategy.

This will be your roadmap to ensure that you have checked all the boxes and are well on your way to attracting those customers near you.

During this process, one of the things you may realize is that there are specific content types targeted to increase your visibility to those users looking for your product or service in their area.

This also means to truly show up in the right place at the right time, you will need quite a bit of content.

This can lead to questions such as:

  • How can I create so much unique content on the same exact subject?
  • Can I just copy and paste the same information and change the city name?
  • What is the best way to target my customers and not get penalized for duplicate content?

Well, let’s look at six different types of content that you may be tempted to duplicate and whether you should make it unique or just rinse and reuse it.

1. Service Area Pages

Service area pages are prime real estate for your local-based keywords including city, state, region, and metro.

As a service-based business, these pages tell your customers the exact area where you conduct business.

If you are a brick and mortar, location pages may be a suitable alternative.

As a business that services a large area or if you have multiple locations, it may be very tempting to use the same template for each page.

Don’t do it.

This is your opportunity to speak directly to your customer’s needs and tell the search engines exactly where you want to live in the map results.

Take advantage of this prime opportunity to differentiate yourself.  By having the same information on every page, you are sending conflicting signals to the search engines on which page is really important.

Make it extremely clear that if a user is searching for a specific term in this area, you are the best website to help them fulfill that need or answer a specific question.

Unique content tips:

  • Talk about how the service you provide in each specific service area is unique for that customer.
  • Think about the problem that you are solving for your customer that lives in that area.
  • If your service mix changes based on location, this is the place to highlight those changes. Having your services on this page also adds in the head terms or short-tail keywords you are targeting with the location.
  • Use this page as an opportunity to link to a specific city and metro landing pages, which we will talk about in a moment.
  • Be sure to add local schema to make sure the search engines understand all of the important information about your business including your name, location, business hours, coordinates of the area you serve, services, and linked social accounts. If you have more than one location, be sure to write a unique schema for each location and place it on the appropriate service area page.
  • Include a Google map linked to your Google Business Profile.  This will send the signal that this website services the targeted area referenced on this page with a direct link.
  • Don’t forget information about your business including your NAP, hours of operation, email address, and relevant images. Bonus points if those images are geotagged.

2. City Specific Landing Pages

Screenshot from Groundworks.com metro page, February 2022

We briefly mentioned city-specific landing pages in the last section.

This type of page gives you the opportunity to target a metro area or city in which you provide services.

This is particularly useful if you don’t have a physical location within that area.

Since the intent of this page is to drive organic traffic from a specific city or metro area, you definitely want to make sure the content is unique and targeted to the keywords that you defined in your strategic plan.

This can be as specific as [your service] + [city].

As the search engines are looking for the best site to serve their customer with the most relevant search results, you want this content to scream, “I am that business!”.

Unique content tips:

  • Speak about the individual services or products you offer in this area and why they are important.
  • Be sure to include surrounding cities and suburbs in the content.  This will help expand your local reach.
  • Local landmarks will help validate your knowledge of the area.
  • Don’t forget to include the address of the office or location that services the targeted city.
  • Local reviews, testimonials, and job stories help to build your credibility.
  • Don’t forget your focus. Treat this as the landing page for your customers within the targeted city. This may be your one shot to convert a customer or keep them on your site.

3. Articles And Blogs

In the current social culture, everyone loves a good article or blog, especially if it is relevant to a situation that they are experiencing at that moment.

The resources section of your site is a great place to speak directly to that specific need of a customer while displaying that you are the authority in your space.

The best part about having articles and blogs as part of your strategy is the flexibility to really dig deep into any topic and make it applicable to your service or product.

Don’t make it boring by just reusing the same thing over and over again.

Shake off that creative hat and have some fun.

Unique content tips:

  • Get hyperlocal! Talk about what is happening in your neighborhood or region.
  • Be relevant and timely. Create content that your users will care about at the moment. This can range from social issues to events and promotions. Listen to what your customers care about.
  • Deploy your long-tail keyword strategy here. Use your resource pages to create content for those super-targeted keywords that may not fit in the main areas of your site.
  • Be creative and utilize checklists, top 10 lists, infographics, and video content to engage your local audience.
  • Not sure what to create? Use your keyword research tools or Google Trends what is popular in the area you are targeting.
Google Trends snapshot of bicycle repairScreenshot from Google Trends, February 2022

4. NAP Information

While your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) may not be a full page of content, it is extremely important for local SEO.

This is an instance where consistency matters and you want it to be the same across the board.

The level of detail required goes as deep as if you use “St.” or “Street” in your address.

This is important because it is how the search engines validate your existence across the internet.

If they can match your Name, Address, and Phone Number to other sources of information, it shows the connection between your website and other mentions of your company.

You should have this information in the footer of your website, on metro pages, and about us pages.

Help your customer and the search engine connect the dots.

5. Reviews And Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials build trust and credibility with your customers.

According to BrightLocal, 77% of users always or regularly read reviews when browsing for a local business.

Don’t be afraid to use the same reviews and testimonials across different pages on your site.

The key here will be to refresh this content periodically.

This can be done manually or through plugins that pull reviews directly from the source.

6. Directory Listings

Web directories are still very relevant to local SEO.

We have all heard of the most common directories such as Google Business Profile and Bing Places, however, there are a plethora of others that are used often and just may not be on your radar.

These include local search directories, map sites, affiliate/review sites, and Chambers of Commerce.

Each directory may give you the opportunity to have a profile that includes your NAP information as well as a listing of your services and a description of the business.

It is not necessary to create a new description or listing of services for each directory.

Similar to the NAP, consistency matters.

You want the search engines to be able to connect the dots from the directory sites to your website and determine, without a doubt, that you are the same business.

To save a bit of time, you can sign up for a listing service that pushes your business information to the most popular directories for you.

As you experiment with these different types of content, you will find ways to begin to integrate your other marketing efforts such as social and video content into your local SEO strategy.

Consistency across platforms will further connect the dots across your entire marketing portfolio and create a comprehensive user journey.

Don’t just duplicate this content.

Use the bite-snack-meal model, in giving them a bit more information with each step.

Get Started

Planning content for your local SEO efforts may seem daunting when you first begin, with the right plan in place, it will be worth the effort.

Check out SEJ’s Local SEO Guide to get started on this journey.

This will get you on track to creating your strategy, planning the right content, driving traffic, and increasing rankings.

More resources:


Featured Image: limeart/Shutterstock




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Meta AI Introduces AI-Generated Photos to All Platforms

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Meta AI Adds AI-Generated Images to Social and Messaging Platforms and Expands Availability to More Languages and Countries

Meta just released multiple updates to Meta AI which brings advanced image generation and editing capabilities directly to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp feeds, plus availability in more countries and languages.

New Meta AI Creative Tools

Meta AI is bringing AI generated and AI Edited photography that can be generated at the moment a user is making a post or sending a message with a new tool called Imagine Me.

Imagine Me is a prompt that can be used to transform an uploaded image that can be shared. This new feature is first rolling out as a beta in the United States.

Meta explains:

“Imagine yourself creates images based on a photo of you and a prompt like ‘Imagine me surfing’ or ‘Imagine me on a beach vacation’ using our new state-of-the-art personalization model. Simply type “Imagine me” in your Meta AI chat to get started, and then you can add a prompt like “Imagine me as royalty” or “Imagine me in a surrealist painting.” From there, you can share the images with friends and family, giving you the perfect response or funny sidebar to entertain your group chat.”

New Editing Features

Meta products like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram now have advanced editing capabilities that allow users to add or remove objects from images, to change them in virtually any manner, such as their example of turning a cat in an image into a dog. A new Edit With AI button is forthcoming in a month that will unlock even more AI editing power.

Adding AI generated images to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp within feed, posts, stories, comments and messages is rolling out this week in English and coming later to other languages.

Screenshot of a Facebook user adding an AI generated image into their post

Meta AI In More Countries And Languages

Meta AI is now available in seven additional countries, bringing the total countries to to 22. It is also available in seven more languages.

List of Seven Additional Countries:

  1. Argentina
  2. Cameroon
  3. Chile
  4. Colombia
  5. Ecuador
  6. Mexico
  7. Peru

Meta AI is now also available in the following seven additional languages:

  1. French
  2. German
  3. Hindi
  4. Hindi-Romanized Script
  5. Italian
  6. Portuguese
  7. Spanish

Advanced Math And Coding

Meta AI is making their most advanced model, Llama 405B, available for users to take advantage of its advanced reasoning abilities that can answer complex answers and excells at math and coding.

Meta AI writes:

“You can get help on your math homework with step-by-step explanations and feedback, write code faster with debugging support and optimization suggestions, and master complex technical and scientific concepts with expert instruction.”

Read the official announcement:

Meta AI Is Now Multilingual, More Creative and Smarter

Featured Image by Shutterstock/QubixStudio

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System Builders – How AI Changes The Work Of SEO

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Kevin Indig's Growth Memo for SEJ

AI is terraforming tech. The content and SEO ecosystem is undergoing a massive structural change.

Human-written content gains value faster for LLM training than for end consumers as the pure profit licensing deals between LLM developers and publishers show.

Publishers struggle to survive from digital subscriptions but get millions that go straight to their bottom line for providing training data.

Content platforms, social networks, SaaS companies and consumer apps coat their products with AI. A few examples:

  • Spotify DJ (AI-generated playlist).
  • AI Overview (AI answers in Google Search).
  • Instagram AI personas (celebrity AI chatbots).
  • Ebay’s magical listing (turn a photo into a listing).
  • Redfin Redesign (try interior designs on real house pictures).
Image Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality of machine-generated content (MGC) challenges human-generated content (HGC). I ran an experiment with my Twitter and LinkedIn followers: I asked them to choose which of two articles was written by a human and which by a machine – and they had to explain their answer.

Only a handful of people figured out that AI wrote both pieces. I intentionally framed the question in a leading way to see if people would challenge the setting or believe that one piece was written by a human if told so.

  • Not an isolated experiment: A survey of 1,900 Americans found that 63.5% of people can’t distinguish between AI content and human content.1
  • People seek help: Google search demand for [ai checker] has reached 100,000 in May 2024 (Glimpse).
  • Dark side: scammers use MGC to make money, as 77% of AI scam victims lost money.2
Search demand for AI checkerImage Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality level of LLMs pushes SEO work towards automating workflows and learning with AI, while writers will take content from good to great instead of zero to one.

Boost your skills with Growth Memo’s weekly expert insights. Subscribe for free!

How AI Changes The Work Of SEOImage Credit: Lyna ™

System Builders

Clients, podcasters and panel hosts often ask me what skills SEOs need to build for the AI future. For a long time, my answer was to learn, stay open-minded and gain as much practical experience with AI as possible.

Now, my answer is SEOs should learn how to build AI agents and workflows that automate tasks. AI changes the way search works but also the way SEOs work.

AI + No-code Allows SEOs To Automate Workflows

A few examples:

1/ Cannibalization

  • Old world: SEOs download search console data and create pivot tables to spot keyword cannibalization.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI workflow that sends alters, identifies true keyword cannibalization, makes content suggestions to fix the problem, and monitors the improvement.

2/ Site Crawling

  • Old world: SEOs crawl websites to find inefficiencies in internal linking, status code errors, duplicate content, etc.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI agent that regularly crawls the site and automatically suggests new internal links that are shipped after human approval, fixes broken canonical tags and excludes soft 404 errors in the robots.txt.

3/ Content Creation

  • Old world: SEOs do keyword research and write content briefs. Writers create the content.
  • New world: SEOs automate keyword research with AI and create hundreds of relevant articles as a foundation for writers to build on.

All of this is already possible today with AI workflow tools like AirOps or Apify, which chain agents and LLMs together to scrape, analyze, transform data or create content.

Moving forward, we’ll spend much more time building automated systems instead of wasting time on point analyses and catalogs of recommendations. The SEO work will be defining logic, setting rules, prompting and coding.

building automated systems Building workflows with AirOps (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

You Can Learn (Almost) Anything With AI

I never made the time to really learn Python or R, but with the help of Chat GPT and Gemini in Colab, I can write any script with natural language prompts.

When the script doesn’t work, I can paste a screenshot into Chat GPT and describe the issue to get a solution. AI helps with Regex, Google Sheets/Excel, R, Python, etc. Nothing is off-limits.

Being able to write scripts can solve problems like data analysis, a/b testing and using APIs. As an SEO, I’m no longer dependent on engineers, data scientists or writers to perform certain tasks. I can act faster and on my own account.

I’m not the only one to figure this out. People are learning to code, write and many other skills with AI. We can learn to build AI workflows by asking AI to teach us.

Search demand for coding with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for write with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for learn with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig

When you can learn almost anything, the only limit is time.

The Work Of Writers Changes

Against common belief, writers won’t be crossed out of this equation but will play the critical role of editing, directing and curating.

In any automated process, humans QA the output. Think of car assembling lines. Even though AI content leaps in quality, spot checks reduce the risk of errors. Caught issues, such as wrong facts, weird phrasing or off-brand wording, will be critical feedback to fine-tune models to improve their output.

Instead of leg work like writing drafts, writers will bring AI content from good to great. In the concept of information gain, writers will spend most of their time making a piece outstanding.

The rising quality work spans from blog content to programmatic content, where writers will add curated content when searches have a desire for human experience, such as in travel.

A mini guide to Los AngelesTripadvisor’s attraction pages feature human-curated sections. (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

Unfair Advantage

As often with new technology, a few first-mover people and companies get exponential value until the rest catch up. My worry is that a few fast-moving companies will grab massive land with AI.

And yet, this jump in progress will allow newcomers to challenge incumbents and get a fair chance to compete on the field.

AI might be a bigger game changer for SEOs than for Google. The raw power of AI might help us overcome challenges from AI Overviews and machine learning-driven algorithm updates.

But the biggest win might be that SEOs can finally make something instead of delivering recommendations. The whole value contribution of SEOs changes because my output can drive results faster.

Survey: ChatGPT and AI Content – Can people tell the difference?

Artificial Intelligence Voice Scams on the Rise with 1 in 4 Adults Impacted


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

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12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

Want to meet other people interested in SEO offline? Give an SEO meetup a go.

In my experience, it’s one of the best ways to meet like-minded people and provides a more relaxed, informal setting than a bustling SEO conference. Who knows—you could make new friends at a meetup or even land new SEO clients.

But with so many events worldwide, it’s impossible to mention them all. So, here are some of the most talked-about SEO meet-ups I think you should have on your radar.

Okay—so I may be a little biased, but I wanted to start by sharing our Ahrefs’ SEO Events. We’ve run five Beer and Snacks Meetups in Singapore. We’ve also hosted an SEO Workshop and Networking meetup the day before BrightonSEO, and we just launched our London Meetup.

Tickets to the London Meetup sold out in a day and a half—it was our fastest-selling ticketed event ever.

Tim Soulo, Joshua Hardwick, and Ryan Law will speak at our inaugural event, covering topics such as improving your rankings, competitor research, and content marketing. To stay informed about our next event, follow our events page.

Sidenote.

Missed our meetups but still want to catch up with the Ahrefs team and a host of world-class speakers? Get Ahrefs Evolve tickets ✨

London SEO XL MeetupLondon SEO XL Meetup

The LondonSEO Meetup hosts an evening of networking with industry peers and leading experts featuring SEO speakers like Itamar Blauer, Steph Hugman, Reina Hanada, and many more.

The bigger XL event has even hosted prolific search engine news chronicler Barry Schwartz in 2023.

Search London Meetup PhotoSearch London Meetup Photo

With over 2,800 members, Search London is a popular meetup that has been around for over a decade.

Events are organized every 8-12 weeks, and members are from a mixture of agency, client-side, and start-up businesses.

The meet-up is open to anyone in SEO, PPC, or social media—and offers marketing professionals and first-time speakers a safe, supportive space to share their industry knowledge and experiences.

Search 'n Stuff Meetup PhotoSearch 'n Stuff Meetup Photo

Search ‘n Stuff meetups are an energetic and all-embracing community tailored to empower digital marketers, startups, in-house teams, and professionals. Expect sharings centered on strategies, campaigns, and other relevant SEO topics.

Neurodivergents In SEO Meetup PhotoNeurodivergents In SEO Meetup Photo

Neurodivergents in SEO provide a safe space for neurodivergent SEOs to network and learn.

The group holds in-person meetups at BrightonSEO, both in the UK and the US, and monthly pub quizzes with great prizes.

If you’re an SEO or marketer and identify as neurodivergent, you’re more than welcome to join the community. You can do so by signing up here.

Search Norwich PhotoSearch Norwich Photo

Search Norwich launched in 2018 as a free marketing meetup event. It often features top industry speakers who share their knowledge, tips, and advice with the search marketing community. At Search Norwich there are no sales agendas, fluff, or pitches—just valuable insights.

SEOFOMO Meetup PhotoSEOFOMO Meetup Photo

The SEOFOMO meetups are run by SEO superstar Aleyda Solis, who is a well-known SEO speaker and founder of SEO consultancy Orainti. She’ll also be the headline speaker for our first Ahrefs Evolve Conference.

SEOFOMO is a laid-back, free event perfect for learning, connecting, and sharing with other SEOs.

SEO Mastermind PhotoSEO Mastermind Photo

SEO Mastermind is a supportive, free, and friendly SEO community where you can grow your skills, meet like-minded people, and get answers to all your organic marketing questions.

SEO Mastermind meets around eight times a year, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium—but they also occasionally have meetups in other locations, for instance, at Brighton SEO and ISS Barcelona.

Organizer Jeroen Stikkelorum told me that SEO Mastermind is on a mission to build the most valuable Dutch-spoken SEO and organic marketing community in The Netherlands and Belgium. So if you’re local, give it a go.

SEO Lager Fest Meetup PhotoSEO Lager Fest Meetup Photo

SEO Lager Fest is a fun SEO meetup that (apart from drinking) enables you to network with like-minded folks in the SEO industry. They hold an SEO quiz, run case study competitions, do AMAs, and even do SEO charades.

SEOnerd Switzerland Meetup PhotoSEOnerd Switzerland Meetup Photo

SEOnerdSwitzerland is a volunteer-run association that organizes events for SEOs in Switzerland and beyond.

Dedicated to fair opportunities and diversity, they provide training and coaching for people wanting to break through as a public speaker in the SEO industry.

SEOnerdSwitzerland also offers training and coaching for speakers, aiming for a diverse and inclusive panel.

WebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, AustriaWebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, Austria

WebSchrona is a free monthly meetup for SEO and online marketing professionals in Salzburg, Austria. They meet every second Thursday at 6 p.m.

There’s no fixed agenda, so discussions are often unplanned and spontaneous and often involve a drink of some description.

Organizer Alexander Außermayr tells me that everyone is welcome to join their SEO meetups. The aim is to provide a regular, uncomplicated meetup in an open space—often a beer garden, if the weather is good.

SEO Benelux Meetup PhotoSEO Benelux Meetup Photo

SEO Benelux started in 2018 as a Facebook community for Dutch and Belgian SEO specialists. The meetup grew into the largest in the Benelux region, with more than 3,000 members.

There are four meetups each year, two in Belgium (Ghent and Antwerp) and one in the Netherlands (mostly Amsterdam). Each meetup attracts 70–90 people and features three speakers.

If you don’t live in a big city, it may be difficult to find a good meetup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any in your local area.

Here are my tips to help you find new meetups near you.

Tip 1 – Use Google’s advanced search operators to uncover new meetups

As new meetups pop up all the time and often without notice, it’s worth doing some digging to see what’s out there.

You can just do a regular ol’ Google search, but we’re SEOs—so let’s use some advanced search operators and spice it up a bit.

In this example, I searched for the phrase “meetup” in the title, plus my location and my favorite SEO tool, and it managed to uncover Tim’s tweet on our London Meetup.

Advanced Google Search Operators ExampleAdvanced Google Search Operators Example

This is just a very basic example, and you could use any website or location, but it shows how you can uncover information about new meetups with a little research.

Tip 2 – Trigger the Events SERP feature

By searching for events or events near me, you can trigger the Events SERP feature. In the example below, I found a few SEO-related events by prepending “SEO” to the search.

Triggering the Events SERP Feature ExampleTriggering the Events SERP Feature Example

Once you’ve triggered the feature, scroll down until you find an SEO meetup that catches your eye.

Tip 3 – Use Meetup to find an SEO meetup

If you can’t find anything on Google then it’s a good idea to run a quick check on a specialist community platform.

One of the most popular platforms is Meetup. It allows you to find events near your location on any topic.

Meetup.com screenshotMeetup.com screenshot

Over the years, I’ve attended a lot of smaller meetups through this website, and they have always been interesting and a place to make new connections.

Tip 4 – No SEO meetup in your area? Start your own!

I started my own mini-meetup in 2018 on WhatsApp with some former colleagues, imaginatively titled #seodrinks.

#SEOdrinks meetup logo#SEOdrinks meetup logo

It started from humble beginnings in a room in a small pub in London, and it’s still in a room in a small pub—somewhere in London. (If you want an invite, let me know on LinkedIn.)

We only have semi-regular meetups in London and a small group, but every meetup has to start somewhere.

If you want to start your own SEO meetup, platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram are the best free places to start, but if you want a more specialized paid option, you could try Meetup or another similar platform.

Final thoughts

You don’t always have to attend a big SEO conference to meet other amazing people in the industry. Some of the smaller meetups I’ve been to have resulted in making more contacts than the bigger conferences.

As such, SEO meet-ups are one of my favorite ways to meet people who are just as interested in SEO and marketing as much as you are.

Did I miss an SEO meetup? Add your SEO meetup here, or let me know on LinkedIn.



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