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Here’s How We Do It

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Here’s How We Do It

I’ve managed Ahrefs’ social media accounts for nine months now—and it’s been a journey, from experimenting with content formats to figuring out what engages people the most.

To keep things succinct, I’ll be focusing on our primary social media platform: Twitter.

I’ll also make it clear now that I won’t cover my content creation process in too much depth, since many people expressed more interest in learning about our growth strategy and how we measure engagement.

Twitter’s a convenient way to build camaraderie, lead conversations, get immediate feedback, as well as respond quickly to mentions and/or related news. Mind-blowing, right?

Now let’s get to the reasons for Ahrefs’ focus on the social media platform:

It’s the place for marketers to be

If you’ve been in the SEO space for a while, you’ll know that many prominent marketers and influencers spend their time on the platform, including Lily Ray, Rand Fishkin, Amanda Natividad, and scores more.

It “humanizes” us 

We get to interact with our followers closely and in a more casual manner. This reminds people that we’re actively listening to their concerns and engaged in the SEO space.

Brand-building 

In all, 47% of people who visit a Twitter profile also visit the website linked in that profile. In our case, we get an average of 113 link clicks per day across our tweets.

Graph showing link clicks

For versatility’s sake

We’ve got a wide variety of content and resources: product updates, blog posts, videos on Ahrefs TV, free courses in Ahrefs Academy, and free tools like Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

Twitter allows us to amplify all of these in fresh formats, plus cover them in both breadth and depth. They’re also easily shareable (e.g., via RTs and quote tweets).

And because it’s impossible for us to cover everything within our own content, we sometimes create threads based on others’ content—I’ll get to this later.

Cracking the Twitter algorithm

It’s common knowledge that as long as you use a social media platform, you’re at the mercy of its algorithm. So how to crack it? Is there a formula to win the game?

Unless you go the Google Sheets hacks route, the answer’s… no. (Were you really surprised?)

The Twitter algorithm is constantly evolving, just like our social media strategy. So your best playing cards are experimentation and gathering feedback from your followers.

For instance, I try to publish each blog post in at least two formats on Twitter and stagger their publishing dates to reduce content fatigue.

Take these examples that are based off a blog post on promoting your website for free.

As you can see, numbered lists are one format that consistently gets a decent number of likes and RTs. That’s one measure of success in our books. 

Still, the secret isn’t to stick to one formula that works. Rather, it’s to keep finding new formulas over and over. That’s because repeatedly using the same format could tire out your followers by making you seem uninventive and boring. (Fight me on this one!)

In fact, some of my biggest hurdles include two key things.

First, finding a way to tell effective stories through tweets and threads. Capturing an audience’s attention once or twice is good, but getting them to view Ahrefs’ Twitter account as a go-to for SEO-related topics is the bigger challenge.

Second, not pandering to trends. Memes aren’t really our thing, and neither are snarky tweets. My colleagues, Si Quan Ong and Rebekah Bek, set the tone for Ahrefs’ social media pages early on—and ultimately, we’ve kind of stuck to it. 

That isn’t to say things won’t change, though. Our CMO, Tim Soulo, and I have discussed adopting a more casual tone of voice in the coming months and possibly experimenting with non-educational tweets. It’s all about trying things out to see what sticks.

(I kinda like some of what Shopify is doing on Twitter. Would you be averse to that if we took cues from it? Our DMs are open to suggestions. 👀)

Still, these realizations armed me with some lessons that will help you to sharpen your Twitter marketing strategy.

Lesson 1. Develop a thick skin

I originally joined Ahrefs as a content marketer, with a focus on producing and peer-reviewing content for our blog. Sure, I did things on the side—like run our Instagram accounts—but my knowledge of Twitter best practices was embarrassingly paltry.

After all, I hadn’t been active on Twitter since 2016 and only had a basic foundation of SEO to get things rolling.

So when I transitioned into looking after all of our social media pages, it was daunting—especially when it came to responding to our users, seasoned SEOs and, sometimes, trolls. 🥲

If you can relate to this, I’ll encourage you to speak with people who’ve been in the industry for some time. 

That may include reaching out to your colleagues or marketers whom you admire or even putting out a tweet (#DidABraveThing).

Make it clear you’re looking to learn and then build out your network from there. And ask questions, because no question is silly.

I also get regular feedback from the team about my published tweets—including from Tim.

Tim's feedback about a tweet

When writing threads based off blog posts, I share my drafts with the respective authors via Typefully too; then I refine them accordingly.

Mateusz's feedback about a tweet

Keeping a tight feedback loop helps me learn more quickly.

Lesson 2. Normalize making mistakes

Sometimes, you will inevitably stuff up. Think about it: The more you post, the higher your chances of making a mistake… but that’s part of the process. 

Here’s a tweet I put out that divided our followers—yet gained plenty of engagement.

Regardless, it was a mistake on my part because I left out some context when writing it. My intention hadn’t been to be divisive for the sake of it.

Lesson 3. Talk to people outside your circle

I also began lurking in marketing communities to have a look-see at what people were discussing and looked at top tweets for relevant hashtags (e.g., #SEO).

After doing this for some time, I noticed some patterns.

People love:

  • Relevant recommended reads.
  • The “I’ve been a [marketer/SEO] for XX years. Here are XX lessons I’ve learnt” format.
  • Infographics and clean charts/visuals.
  • Google updates—these are almost always a talking point.
  • To read things that reaffirm their points of view or are so grossly contrasting that they are irked enough to leave a response.

In fact, the latter observation holds true regardless of the topic you’re broaching. But don’t do it just for the sake of it.

You need to add value to the conversation, like this tweet by SparkToro’s Amanda.

It takes discipline to remain active in communities—and guts to reach out to seasoned marketers! But keep at it, and you’ll soon see how much you’ve learned from moving beyond your comfort zone.

You may even start your own marketing community, like what I did. (Drop me a DM via Twitter for invite details!)

My content planning process 

And now to the fun part!

If you’re setting up a Twitter page from scratch or are fresh into your role as a social media manager, you may wonder: How to get traction?

That’s a loaded question, but I’ll attempt to guide you by sharing my workflow.

At the start of each week, I plan the content schedule for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Doing this weekly instead of monthly makes more sense, as things move so quickly at Ahrefs and in the SEO space.

As part of my research, I look at:

  • Our upcoming publishing schedules for Ahrefs TV and the Ahrefs Blog.
  • Product updates and announcements (in Slack).
  • The most recent edition of our newsletter, Ahrefs Digest.
  • Brand mentions on Twitter.
  • Top-performing tweets on our account.
  • Past Ahrefs blog posts and other pieces of content that may be worth sharing.

In my opinion, you’d be remiss to keep all social content on-brand. Sharing content from others is a win-win: You can amplify other voices while introducing your followers to new ideas. (Obviously, use your discretion when doing this!)

This is why I also look into promoting external content, including:

A content calendar isn’t a necessity

I’d initially maintained a content calendar in a spreadsheet but soon found it to be needlessly time-consuming.

My current process involves writing and scheduling content directly in scheduling tool Hypefury—then adapting my tweet for LinkedIn and Facebook. Much of the content is mirrored, albeit in different formats. 

Example of content planning spreadsheet
Contentious opinion: I ditched my content calendar because keeping it updated was hampering my productivity.

If it feels counterintuitive to neglect maintaining a content calendar, you’re right to have your doubts. Still, my current system works better for me.

My advice: Do this only after you’ve figured out how often to publish content and at what times of day.

I established these by studying Ahrefs’ Twitter analytics. Our weekly organic impressions tend to peak on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so I try to queue at least five (or more!) pieces of content on each of those days.

Graph showing data on impressions

Refine the process

Speaking of giving my content calendar a wide berth—I’m working on an SOP document to improve my workflow.

My aim is to iterate each step of the process (plan → write → schedule → update Notion cards with copy → promote → track engagement) so that, eventually, I’ll have a leaner and more efficient system for planning our socials.

Many of you showed curiosity about how we analyze performance.

Our main goal is to maintain steady growth to our Twitter page. A larger audience means we get to showcase the utility of our toolset, content, and ideas to a wider pool of marketers.

The end goal will then be conversions. For instance: get people to try Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, install our SEO Toolbar and, eventually, convert into a paying customer of our toolset.

Here’s the thing, though:

We don’t measure our goals or track conversions

(Phew, that deserved a subheading in itself!)

We don’t track any of these goals. These include click-through rates to blog posts or YouTube videos which, frankly, is a great load off of the marketing team. This allows us to focus on consistently creating quality content that resonates with our audience.

Tim elaborates on the rationale behind this process:

We do, however, try to identify successful posts—tweets that get >100 likes or more RTs/comments/quote tweets than the average post. But we don’t obsess over numbers. 

This brings me to my next point.

Vanity metrics aren’t our final source of truth

Likes,” follower numbers, and impressions are useful indicators of what our followers and potential followers (literally) like, but they still are vanity metrics. So they aren’t our only markers of success.

Not all your content can or will resonate with all of your followers at any given time. Relinquish the heavy obsession with numbers and focus on sharing valuable yet unique content instead.

For instance, I dug into Ahrefs’ past tweets to identify content formats and topics that were worth pursuing.

Example of past tweets that performed well
Researching top-performing tweets on Ahrefs’ account using the highlighted search operators.

I then categorized them in a spreadsheet and repurposed some of them accordingly:

Spreadsheet of content that could be repurposed

Reporting on performance

Every four weeks, Tim and I review the past month’s tweets and their engagement. Our discussions center around content formats that worked, what didn’t work (and why), and the types of topics that got traction.

Example report to Tim
Here’s how I open a typical report. You don’t need a fancy deck to get the job done.

The third section (“tweets”) is further categorized into:

  • Repurposed blog posts.
  • Monthly content picks (a thread).
  • Ahrefs TV + product updates.
  • Quick SEO tips/did-you-knows.
  • Question tweets/Ahrefs trivia.
  • Guest tweets/threads (external content sourced from newsletters and Twitter).
Tim's suggestion of creating a simple visual
Tl;dr: try everything at least once (within reason).

Many of you also asked about running ads on Twitter and how much they contribute to our growth.

Hold your hats, because I’m about to deliver yet another disappointing kicker: We don’t track ad performance all that closely.

(Breathe! Let that sink in, then read on.)

Amplification is only a part of the process, and it helps in raising awareness about the value we can bring to the user. But just like vanity metrics, we don’t rely purely on ads for growth.

Every three weeks or so, I study our ad performance. Then I revisit promoted tweets that achieved an engagement rate of 20% or higher.

Table showing engagement rates

Doing this has helped me develop a better understanding of what our audience wants.

Of course, this method may change in the near future—but for now, it’s what we’re rolling with.

Frequency

We also promote each of our blog posts and YouTube videos at least once, regardless of how well the original tweet performed organically. Each ad typically runs for at least three weekdays.

If something performs astronomically poorly (e.g., 10 likes or fewer after multiple RTs from our account), I rewrite it in a new format and track its performance before running an ad for it.

We’ve also got a slightly higher budget for running ads for product updates and feature releases. Unlike our content, I try to promote each announcement at least twice (once with a static image and another time with a screencast video).

Tracking the future

I’ve also begun looking into:

  • Studying marketers’ top tweets. 
  • Brand mentions (via Sprout Social).
  • Responding more actively to users’ tweets, including technical questions and negative feedback. (This is a team effort! Some questions continue to baffle me, which is where Tim and the marketing team help to fill the gaps.)

Bonus: Our Twitter toolkit 

If you’re curious, these are some of the tools to make my workflow a little bit easier.

Hypefury 

Hypefury is great for writing and scheduling tweets and threads. Also includes an auto-RT function.

Writing and scheduling tweets on Hypefury
Hypefury lets me craft and preview tweets and threads easily, as well as view my publishing schedule at a glance.

Typefully 

This lets you create, preview, and share draft tweets and threads. Typefully is especially useful if you’re looking to get internal feedback.

Drafting tweet thread on Typefully

Loom 

Loom is useful for screencast recordings (with or without audio). You can also trim your clips. I use these mainly to create simple product tip videos and to highlight product features.

Others 

I’m tinkering with Sprout Social and Napoleon Cat to track brand mentions (especially when we aren’t tagged directly on Twitter).

Recommended reading: 13 Top Digital Marketing Tools (Incl. Tips on Using Them)

Closing thoughts

By the time this blog post is published, our strategy will likely have shapeshifted in some way. No Twitter marketing strategy is foolproof after all.

Once you’ve found a formula that seems to resonate with your audience, you need to keep experimenting to find more formulas that work. Iteration will yield results.

If you show that you value your followers—and can offer them value and solutions through your content and product—you’ll have a far better chance at success.

Have questions or thoughts? Ping me on Twitter.



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How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher

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How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher

How To Measure The Largest Contentful Paint Of Your Website

Run a free website speed test to find out. Your LCP speed will be displayed immediately.

The results of your speed test will tell you if:

  • The LCP threshold is met.
  • You need to optimize any other Core Web Vital.

How Is The Largest Contentful Paint Calculated?

Google looks at the 75th percentile of experiences – that means 25% of real website visitors experience LCP load times of 3.09 seconds or higher, while for 75% of users the LCP is below 3.09 seconds.

In this example, the real-user LCP is shown as 3.09 seconds.

Screenshot of a Core Web Vitals data of DebugBear.com, November 2022

What Are The Lab Test Results On My Core Web Vitals Data?

With this specific web speed test, you’ll also see lab metrics that were collected in a controlled test environment. While these metrics don’t directly impact Google rankings, there are two advantages of this data:

  1. The metrics update as soon as you improve your website, while Google’s real-time data will take 28 days to fully update.
  2. You get detailed reports in addition to the metrics, which can help you optimize your website.

Additionally, PageSpeed Insights also provides lab data, but keep in mind that the data it reports can sometimes be misleading due to the simulated throttling it uses to emulate a slower network connection.

How Do You Find Your Largest Contentful Paint Element?

When you run a page speed test with DebugBear, the LCP element is highlighted in the test result.

Sometimes, the LCP element may be a large image, and other times, it could be a large portion of text.

Regardless of whether your LCP element is an image or a piece of text, the LCP content won’t appear until your page starts rendering.

For example, on the page below, a background image is responsible for the largest paint.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

In contrast, this page’s LCP is a paragraph of text.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

To improve the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) of your website you need to ensure that the HTML element responsible for the LCP appears quickly.

How To Improve The Largest Contentful Paint

To improve the LCP you need to:

  1. Find out what resources are necessary to make the LCP element appear.
  2. See how you can load those resources faster (or not at all).

For example, if the LCP element is a photo, you could reduce the file size of the image.

After running a DebugBear speed test, you can click on each performance metric to view more information on how it could be optimized.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a detailed Largest Contentful Paint analysis in DebugBear.com, November 2022

Common resources that affect the LCP are:

  • Render-blocking resources.
  • Images that are not optimized.
  • Outdated image formats.
  • Fonts that are not optimized.

How To Reduce Render-Blocking Resources

Render-blocking resources are files that need to be downloaded before the browser can start drawing page content on the screen. CSS stylesheets are typically render-blocking, as are many script tags.

To reduce the performance impact of render-blocking resources you can:

  1. Identify what resources are render-blocking.
  2. Review if the resource is necessary.
  3. Review if the resource needs to block rendering.
  4. See if the resource can be loaded more quickly up, for example using compression.

The Easy Way: In the DebugBear request waterfall, requests for render-blocking resources are marked with a “Blocking” tag.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

How To Prioritize & Speed Up LCP Image Requests

For this section, we’re going to leverage the new “fetchpriority” attribute on images to help your visitor’s browsers quickly identify what image should load first.

Use this attribute on your LCP element.

Why?

When just looking at the HTML, browsers often can’t immediately tell what images are important. One image might end up being a large background image, while another one might be a small part of the website footer.

Accordingly, all images are initially considered low priority, until the page has been rendered and the browser knows where the image appears.

However, that can mean that the browser only starts downloading the LCP image fairly late.

The new Priority Hints web standard allows website owners to provide more information to help browsers prioritize images and other resources.

In the example below, we can see that the browser spends a lot of time waiting, as indicated by the gray bar.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a low-priority LCP image on DebugBear.com, November 2022

We would choose this LCP image to add the “fetchpriority” attribute to.

How To Add The “FetchPriority” Attribute To Images

Simply adding the fetchpriority=”high” attribute to an HTML img tag will the browser will prioritize downloading that image as quickly as possible.

<img src="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/optimize-largest-contentful-paint-debugbear-spcs/471883/photo.jpg" fetchpriority="high" />

How To Use Modern Image Formats & Size Images Appropriately

High-resolution images can often have a large file size, which means they take a long time to download.

In the speed test result below you can see that by looking at the dark blue shaded areas. Each line indicates a chunk of the image arriving in the browser.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a large LCP image on DebugBear.com, November 2022

There are two approaches to reducing image sizes:

  1. Ensure the image resolution is as low as possible. Consider serving images at different resolutions depending on the size of the user’s device.
  2. Use a modern image format like WebP, which can store images of the same quality at a lower file size.

How To Optimize Font Loading Times

If the LCP element is an HTML heading or paragraph, then it’s important to load the font for this chunk of text quickly.

One way to achieve this would be to use preload tags that can tell the browser to load the fonts early.

The font-display: swap CSS rule can also ensure sped-up rendering, as the browser will immediately render the text with a default font before switching to the web font later on.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of web fonts delaying the LCP on DebugBear.com, November 2022

Monitor Your Website To Keep The LCP Fast

Continuously monitoring your website not only lets you verify that your LCP optimizations are working, but also makes sure you get alerted if your LCP gets worse.

DebugBear can monitor the Core Web Vitals and other site speed metrics over time. In addition to running in-depth lab-based tests, the product also keeps track of the real-user metrics from Google.

Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of site speed monitoring data on DebugBear.com, November 2022



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