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Everything You Need to Know

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Everything You Need to Know

Guest blogging is the third most popular link building strategy, according to Aira’s State of Link Building report

Not only is guest blogging well and alive, it’s still highly effective. In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about guest blogging. 

But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.

Guest blogging is the practice of writing and publishing a blog post on another person’s or company’s website.

For example, I wrote a guest post for Grow & Convert several years ago:

SQ's guest post for Grow & Convert

What are the benefits of guest blogging?

Guest blogging is a win-win for both the writer and the publisher.

Benefits for the writer:

  • Build links back to their site
  • Develop relationships with editors and publishers
  • Expose their brand to a new audience
  • Build their reputation and position themselves as a thought leader

Benefit for the publisher:

  • Leverage the expertise and experience of writers. For example, we couldn’t have written about Zapier or Pet Keen’s firsthand SEO experience without guest writers.

How to start guest blogging

Getting your first guest post published can be daunting. I’ve been there. Following the steps below will make the process easier and maximize your chances of success.

1. Find guest blogging opportunities

Most people use Google search operators to find blogs with “write for us” pages. However, if everyone’s following this tactic, then everyone’s finding the same opportunities. Competition will be rife, and publishers may ignore your pitch. 

You don’t have to limit yourself to this small pool of blogs. Even if they do not advertise it, most blogs will be happy to publish a guest post as long as it’s good.

So here’s how to find relevant blogs to pitch:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Enter a broad keyword or phrase related to your niche
  3. Select In title from the drop-down menu
  4. Run the search
Finding guest post opportunities using Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Here, you can see more than 2 million potential opportunities. That’s too many, so let’s narrow the list down by applying these filters:

  1. Domain Rating (DR) from 30 to 60
  2. Click the One page per domain filter
  3. Click the Exclude homepages filter
  4. Click the Exclude subdomains filter
Narrowing down Content Explorer's results using filters

Then click on the Websites tab. 

Using the "Websites" tab to find the best guest blogging opportunities

These are the potential websites you could pitch.

2. Develop guest post ideas

The blogs you pitch will want winning content ideas. So how can you come up with good guest post ideas? 

Here are some techniques you can use:

Copycat Technique

Three things are true:

  1. Every blog wants more search traffic.
  2. To get search traffic, you need to target topics people are searching for.
  3. Every blog has more topics to write than resources to cover them.

So why not help your target blogs out? Find topics they should be ranking for and pitch them those topics.

Here’s how to find them:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Competitive Analysis tool
  2. Enter the domain of your target blog in the Target section
  3. Add the first three suggested competing domains in the Competitors section
  4. Click Compare
Ahrefs' Competitive Analysis tool
Finding content gaps you could cover for your target blog

This report shows you the keywords the competing domains are ranking for, but your target blog isn’t. 

Go through the report and look for keywords that are relevant to your target blog. For example, this seems like a potential topic to pitch:

Potential guest post topic to pitch DietDoctor

Refresh Technique

Refreshing outdated content can provide a huge traffic boost, as seen when we updated our post about free SEO tools:

A boost in search traffic after an update

Your target blog will likely have outdated content that has declined in search traffic. Pitch them an update.

Here’s how to find pages with declining traffic:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter the domain of your target blog
  3. Go to the Top pages report
  4. Set the Compare filter to Previous year
  5. Sort the Traffic change column from lowest to highest
Using Ahrefs' Site Explorer to find declines in traffic for your target blog so you can pitch it an update

This will show you pages on your target blog that have the largest decline in search traffic since the previous year. Go through the report and look out for suitable topics, especially those with declines in traffic and keyword positions.

For example, SmartBlogger’s post on membership sites has dropped in both keyword positions and search traffic:

SmartBlogger’s post on membership sites has dropped in both keyword positions and search traffic

If you were writing for SmartBlogger, this would be a good topic to pitch.

Robin Hood Technique

Popular blogs are popular for one reason: They have great content. Lesser-known blogs are lesser-known for the opposite reason: They have yet to publish tons of great content.

So why not take content ideas from the top blogs and offer them to lesser-known ones? 

We call this the Robin Hood Technique, named after the English folk hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

Here’s how to execute the Robin Hood Technique:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter the domain of a high-DR blog in your niche
  3. Go to the Top pages report
  4. Toggle SERP titles on
Finding opportunities to gain topic inspiration from, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Look through the report and see if there is any idea that resonates. Put a unique spin and pitch it to a lesser-known blog.

For example, if you’re writing for a personal finance blog, this seems like a good topic to be inspired by:

Potential topic to pitch a personal finance blog

A potential idea to pitch can be “free (or cheap) things to do on a date.”

Splintering Technique

Our link building guide is so comprehensive it spans five chapters:

Table of contents for our link building guide

Each chapter could be a post on its own. 

So we can break this post into “splinters” and create standalone articles. Each of these splintered articles can be pitched as a guest post.

The Splintering Technique

Since we already did the research by creating the original piece, the “splintered” articles would likely not take much time to write. 

Perspective Technique

You can easily reuse a topic by switching up the perspective. 

For example, let’s say we wrote a guest post titled “Best Remote Jobs for Students.” We can cover the same topic for different publications via multiple perspectives:

The Perspective Technique

3. Pitch the blogs

This step is both the easiest and the most nerve-wracking. It’s easy because it’s simply an email you send. It’s nerve-wracking because your fate is in the other party’s hands.

It doesn’t have to be that anxiety-inducing, though. Here are some tips to improve your chances of getting your pitch accepted:

Read the guidelines

If the site you’re pitching has a “write for us” page or writing guidelines, read and follow them. For example, this is what CoSchedule expects:

CoSchedule's guest post guidelines

Find the correct email

If the publication has a “write for us” page, then it’s likely it’ll provide either an email address or a form. 

How to submit a guest post pitch to CoSchedule's blog

Otherwise, you’ll need to find it.

Publications and blogs are typically managed by a managing editor, head of content or, if they’re a small site, the owner themself. So you want to first make sure you identify who that person is. 

You can usually find them by visiting the “teams” or “about” page. For example, a quick scroll on our “team” page shows you should pitch to our head of content, Joshua Hardwick:

Joshua Hardwick's bio on our "team" page

If the “team” page is uninformative, then a search on LinkedIn or Twitter usually suffices.

Searching for our head of content on LinkedIn
Searching for our head of content on Twitter

Once you’ve identified that person, use an email discovery tool like Hunter to find their email. Add their name and website, and Hunter will do its magic:

Finding Joshua Hardwick's email on Hunter

Write an amazing outreach email

Several years ago, I wrote a guest post for Grow & Convert. Benji Hyam, the co-founder, was so impressed with my outreach email that he did an analysis.

Publications get a lot of emails. You have to stand out; otherwise, your email will be ignored.

Rather than look for a template that you can copy-paste, you want to understand the principles behind what makes a good outreach email.

You can look at Benji’s analysis of my email to see what publications are expecting. You’d also do well to read the post below and follow the principles it lays out.

4. Write the guest post

If your pitch is accepted, then it’s time to write.

I recommend starting first with the outline. Some sites may request this. But even if they don’t, an outline will help flesh out your thoughts, organize the post, and prevent blank page syndrome. 

To create an outline, you need to know what subtopics to cover. The easiest way to find these subtopics is to look at the common keyword rankings among top-ranking pages and eyeball the list for subtopics.

Here’s how:

  1. Enter your target keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Scroll down to the SERP overview
  3. Select the top-ranking pages you want to analyze
  4. Click Open in and choose Content gap
Open in Content gap, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

For example, if we analyze the topic “affiliate marketing,” we’ll see that the top-ranking pages also rank for:

  • what is affiliate marketing
  • how to become an affiliate marketer
  • how to do affiliate marketing
Common keyword rankings for the top-ranking posts for "affiliate marketing"

These would make good H2s for a blog post on “affiliate marketing.”

Once you’ve created your outline, all that’s left is to fill in the “gaps,” i.e., write the actual post. If they have one, make sure you go back to the guidelines, read it carefully, and follow it to a T.

CoSchedule's editorial guidelines

Where relevant, don’t forget to include links back to your own content. Don’t overdo it, though; one to two links should suffice.

5. Promote your guest post

You should expect some back-and-forth as the publisher edits and sends feedback about your draft. Once they’re satisfied, they’ll inform you of a publishing date.

SmartBlogger's editor letting SQ know when the guest post will be published

Don’t just disappear when the post is published. Follow up! Thank the editor. And if there’s a comment section, stay around and reply.

SQ's thank-you email to the editor of SmartBlogger
SQ staying around to reply to comments after his guest post was published

Help promote the post by sharing it on social media too:

You can even go the extra mile by promoting the post in relevant communities. In my case, Benji did it for me by submitting it to GrowthHackers. But I stayed around to answer comments.

SQ staying around to answer comments after the guest post was posted on GrowthHackers

It was likely the reason why it got so much engagement:

SQ's guest post got a ton of upvotes and engagement on GrowthHackers

It was even the #2 post in that year’s year-end roundup: 

Everything above will get you 90% of the way. But guest blogging is not a bed of roses. So I’m sharing the tips below to help you overcome some of the common roadblocks.

1. Pitch more blogs than you can handle

The cruel reality of guest blogging is that even if they’re good, your emails can be rejected or ignored. That’s no fault of yours—publications are just too busy.

So here’s a controversial tip: pitch the same topics to multiple blogs. Then offer the article to whoever replies first or has a higher authority (if you get lots of replies).

This way, you’re never lacking for guest posts. You won’t even need to be worried about rejection, for there will be another blog willing to accept your ideas.

If you get more than one reply, simply tell the truth:

Sorry, you weren’t responding for a few days, so another blog took this idea. I’ll be in touch with more article ideas that’ll be just as good.

2. Write for blogs that have never linked to you before

Our study of 1 billion pages shows a strong correlation between organic traffic and the number of backlinks from unique websites (referring domains).

Chart showing the correlation between search traffic and referring domains

That may be one reason why you want to write for blogs that have never linked to you before.

To find unique websites, hit the Highlight unlinked dropdown and add your website as you’re following step #1:

"Highlight unlinked" feature on Ahrefs

These tools will make your guest blogging process more efficient:

  1. Ahrefs – Research guest post opportunities, find content gaps to pitch blogs, build your outlines, check backlinks from guest posts, and track your guest post rankings.
  2. Hunter – Find the email addresses of website owners and editors.
  3. Pitchbox – Send outreach emails at scale.
  4. Ahrefs’ free AI writing tools – Generate outlines, titles, and proofread your drafts.
  5. ChatGPT – Generate guest post ideas, create outlines, flesh out posts, proofread your work, and more.

Here are some frequently asked questions about guest blogging:

How does guest blogging help SEO?

Links are an important Google ranking factor. By writing a guest post, you can build links back to your pages and, therefore, boost their performance in search engines.

Is guest blogging bad for SEO?

In 2014, Google’s former head of web spam, Matt Cutts, published a blog post proclaiming that “guest blogging is done.” However, he was primarily referring to low-quality guest blogging published on low-quality sites for links. 

Writing a valuable blog post for an established site with a relevant audience will still help your SEO and is unlikely to hurt it.

Can I get referral traffic from guest blogging?

Several years ago, our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, asked 500+ bloggers how much traffic they got from their guest articles.

Average referral traffic from a guest article

The average referral traffic across 239 guest articles was only 50 visits.

So yes, you can get referral traffic from guest blogging—but don’t set your expectations too high.

Final thoughts

This guide contains everything our team has learned about guest blogging over the past few years. I hope it will help take your skills to a new level. 

Did I miss out on anything? Let me know on Twitter or Threads.



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Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

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Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.



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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

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New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

A keynote at Google’s Marketing Live event showed a new AI-powered visual search results that feature advertisements that engage users within the context of an AI-Assisted search, blurring the line between AI-generated search results and advertisements.

Google Lens is a truly helpful app but it becomes unconventional where it blurs the line between an assistant helping users and being led to a shopping cart. This new way of engaging potential customers with AI is so far out there that the presenter doesn’t even call it advertising, he doesn’t even use the word.

Visual Search Traffic Opportunity?

Google’s Group Product Manager Sylvanus Bent, begins the presentation with an overview of the next version of Google Lens visual search that will be useful for surfacing information and for help finding where to buy them.

Sylvanus explained how it will be an opportunity for websites to receive traffic from this new way to search.

“…whether you’re snapping a photo with lens or circling to search something on your social feed, visual search unlocks new ways to explore whatever catches your eye, and we recently announced a newly redesigned results page for Visual search.

Soon, instead of just visual matches, you’ll see a wide range of results, from images to video, web links, and facts about the knowledge graph. It gets people the helpful information they need and creates new opportunities for sites to be discovered.”

It’s hard to say whether or not this will bring search traffic to websites and what the quality of that traffic will be. Will they stick around to read an article? Will they engage with a product review?

Visual Search Results

Sylvanus shares a hypothetical example of someone at an airport baggage claim who falls in like with someone else’s bag. He explains that all the person needs to do is snap a photo of the luggage bag and Google Lens will take them directly to shopping options.

He explains:

“No words, no problem. Just open Lens, take a quick picture and immediately you’ll see options to purchase.

And for the first time, shopping ads will appear at the very top of the results on linked searches, where a business can offer what a consumer is looking for.

This will help them easily purchase something that catches their eye.”

These are image-heavy shopping ads at the top of the search results and as annoying as that may be it’s nowhere near the “next level” advertising that is coming to Google’s search ads where Google presents a paid promotion within the context of an AI Assistant.

Interactive Search Shopping

Sylvanus next describes an AI-powered form advertising that happens directly within search. But he doesn’t call it advertising. He doesn’t even use the word advertising. He suggests this new form of AI search experience is more than offer, saying that, “it’s an experience.”

He’s right to not use the word advertisement because what he describes goes far beyond advertising and blurs the boundaries between search and advertising within the context of AI-powered suggestions, paid suggestions.

Sylvanus explains how this new form of shopping experience works:

“And next, imagine a world where every search ad is more than an offer. It’s an experience. It’s a new way for you to engage more directly with your customers. And we’re exploring search ads with AI powered recommendations across different verticals. So I want to show you an example that’s going live soon and you’ll see even more when we get to shopping.”

He uses the example of someone who needs to store their furniture for a few months and who turns to Google to find short term storage. What he describes is a query for local short term storage that turns into a “dynamic ad experience” that leads the searcher into throwing packing supplies into their shopping cart.

He narrated how it works:

“You search for short term storage and you see an ad for extra space storage. Now you can click into a new dynamic ad experience.

You can select and upload photos of the different rooms in your house, showing how much furniture you have, and then extra space storage with help from Google, AI generates a description of all your belongings for you to verify. You get a recommendation for the right size and type of storage unit and even how much packing supplies you need to get the job done. Then you just go to the website to complete the transaction.

And this is taking the definition of a helpful ad to the next level. It does everything but physically pick up your stuff and move it, and that is cool.”

Step 1: Search For Short Term Storage

1716722762 15 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows an advertisement that when clicked takes the user to what looks like an AI-assisted search but is really an interactive advertisement.

Step 2: Upload Photos For “AI Assistance”

1716722762 242 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above image is a screenshot of an advertisement that is presented in the context of AI-assisted search.  Masking an advertisement within a different context is the same principal behind an advertorial where an advertisement is hidden in the form of an article. The phrases “Let AI do the heavy lifting” and “AI-powered recommendations” create the context of AI-search that masks the true context of an advertisement.

Step 3: Images Chosen For Uploading

1716722762 187 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows how a user uploads an image to the AI-powered advertisement within the context of an AI-powered search app.

The Word “App” Masks That This Is An Ad

Screenshot of interactive advertisement for that identifies itself as an app with the words

Above is a screenshot of how a user uploads a photo to the AI-powered interactive advertisement within the context of a visual search engine, using the word “app” to further the illusion that the user is interacting with an app and not an advertisement.

Upload Process Masks The Advertising Context

Screenshot of interactive advertisement that uses the context of an AI Assistant to mask that this is an advertisement

The phrase “Generative AI is experimental” contributes to the illusion that this is an AI-assisted search.

Step 4: Upload Confirmation

1716722762 395 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

In step 4 the “app” advertisement is for confirming that the AI correctly identified the furniture that needs to be put into storage.

Step 5: AI “Recommendations”

1716722762 588 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

The above screenshot shows “AI recommendations” that look like search results.

The Recommendations Are Ad Units

1716722762 751 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Those recommendations are actually ad units that when clicked takes the user to the “Extra Space Storage” shopping website.

Step 6: Searcher Visits Advertiser Website

1716722762 929 New Google Search Ads Resemble AI Assistant App

Blurring The Boundaries

What the Google keynote speaker describes is the integration of paid product suggestions into an AI assisted search. This kind of advertising is so far out there that the Googler doesn’t even call it advertising and rightfully so because what this does is blur the line between AI assisted search and advertising. At what point does a helpful AI search become just a platform for using AI to offer paid suggestions?

Watch The Keynote At The 32 Minute Mark

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

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How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency

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Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Creativity

Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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