Connect with us

SEO

How To Dominate SERPs By Focusing On Topics Instead Of Keywords

Published

on

How To Dominate SERPs By Focusing On Topics Instead Of Keywords


Over the last few years, Google has made several changes to the way their crawlers understand how content answers queries.

Most recently, those changes have included more algorithm updates that include sophisticated enhancements to natural language processing and machine learning models like BERT and MUM.

These updates help Google better understand how people are searching for topics and what type of content the user is actually looking for to meet the needs of their query, then how pieces of content across a site can best match those needs.

The end goal being to serve the best content possible for the user to enhance their search experience.

With this in mind, it is even more important now to focus on creating a topic structure that meets the needs of a user’s various stages of the buyer’s journey instead of just what keywords are being used on a page.

How Are Topics Different From Keywords?

You may be asking yourself at this point what is the difference between a topic and a keyword, especially considering I just mentioned that keywords are still an important piece to the SEO puzzle.

In my way of thinking, a topic is a more holistic approach to “keyword research.”

A topic can be made up of several relevant terms and queries that can fall into different areas of the buyer’s journey.

The types of content you can create around a given topic is a bit dependent on the vertical your site falls into.

Some sites would require:

  • Content that covers early-journey learn topics.
  • Content on the business’ point-of-view on the subject.
  • Possibly their product offering that solves this problem.

Smaller sites, especially local businesses, might only require a piece of educational/early-funnel content that also points to content that outlines the services or products offered to solve the problem or need the customer/user may be facing.

1. Start With A Strategy

The most important thing you can do for your site when either building it or rethinking its structure is to take a step back and strategize the topics you need to focus on.

By looking at the broader aspects of your offerings and identifying a top-level topic for that offering, you will have a better understanding of your needs.

After you have an idea of what your main topic focuses need to be you can follow the standard keyword research process.

The main catch is that you want to expand that research to encompass more semantically relevant terms related to the topic, not just the main keyword.

Take a look at the areas surrounding the topic that need to be covered to satisfy the searcher’s various needs. Ask yourself what questions might be asked regarding the topic and do research on those terms.

If possible, don’t be afraid to get out into the real world and ask people in your target demographics what they might search for or what related questions they might have.

2. Research Your Competitors

Once you understand what content you need to have to perform well for a topic, start looking into who ranks well in these spaces.

If they are performing well in this space already, then it’s safe to say they are doing something right. There are exceptions to this so make sure you continue to monitor the competition in the space you are targeting.

Once a competitor is identified, I like to run their site through a tool to see how they have performed for relevant terms over an extended period.

This will give me some base info on if these results are lasting or if it is a recent jump to determine if it is even worth researching them further at this point.

Once you understand what your actual competitors are doing in the space you are targeting, take a look at how they structure their content.

Look at how they are delivering their content and what the site structure looks like surrounding that topic. This information will give you a baseline blueprint when working on your site.

Now, with that being said, do not copy your competitor’s content. Use it as a guide, but plagiarizing content will do nothing but hurt you in the end.

As cliche as it may sound, you are looking to identify what your competitors are doing well and then do it better.

3. Consider Intent

As search engines have evolved over the years, especially with the recent rollout of BERT by Google, it is important to understand the intent behind the queries you are creating content around to target.

While there are many tools out there in the SEO world to identify topics and keywords, I’ve always found one of the best ways to identify the intent behind a query is to simply search for it within an incognito window.

You may surprise yourself.

You may search for something as simple as a single-word query and notice that the results are returning more educational content around the term – like a “what is…” result.

This will help you determine what content needs to be created (or even reworked) to fit the needs of the search.

4. Don’t Forget Site Structure

Creating content around a topic isn’t the only piece of the puzzle.

It is important to organize your content in a way that makes sense to crawlers and show that you are an authority in a given subject.

If search engines see that you are creating more relevant content around a given subject, you should see more improved results around these terms.

One of the best ways to demonstrate this authority is by using breadcrumbs to show the flow of your site.

Not only does this act as a second layer of navigation for users, but it also helps crawlers understand how to get from point A of your site to point B.

Breadcrumbs can also help you shift the structure of your site without having to make changes to URLs, which can be incredibly dangerous for SEO.

Don’t forget to take a look at your competitors that are performing well to see if there are any insights you can glean from their site structure.

No need to reinvent the wheel and you might gain some more info on how to expand your coverage of a topic in the process.

5. Time To Dominate

As Google has implemented more intelligent ways to process and return content to match user queries, it’s important to create a logical topical structure on your site to make it easier to process this content.

This gives your content creators a north star to guide their writing efforts.

Ensure that your content answers the promise made to the reader completely and with clarity. Avoid fluff, jargon, and wasted words.

Remember, it’s all about quality over quantity!

Well, it’s almost all about quality – it’s about discoverability, too. Make sure you’re using the keywords and phrases searchers will use to find solutions to the issues they’re experiencing.

Then, make sure you’re tracking performance – both yours and that of competitors. Establish benchmarks and always strive to be better.

Do this, and you should begin to dominate your competition with lasting results.

More Resources:


Featured Image: kentoh/Shutterstock





Source link

SEO

Indirect Marketing: Definition, Types, & Examples

Published

on

Indirect Marketing: Definition, Types, & Examples

Indirect marketing is marketing where you’re not trying to explicitly sell a product or service.

Instead, it focuses on activities that generate brand awareness, build relationships with potential customers, and nurture them to eventually buy from you.

Indirect marketing relies on the assumption that potential customers will not purchase your product or service immediately, but over time. 

And if we look at our buying behavior, that’s probably true. For example, if we need a new pair of headphones, we’ll probably first do some online research, browse forums, ask our friends, and get familiar with available brands and models—all before buying.

In contrast, direct marketing is marketing where you’re explicitly trying to get potential customers to buy right now. Channels include cold email, direct mail, and ads.

Types of indirect marketing

Here are some types of indirect marketing:

1. Public relations (PR)

PR is the practice of positively influencing a brand’s perception by managing communications with the media and the general public.

Common tactics include being newsworthy, responding to media inquiries (e.g., HARO), creating press releases, building relationships with journalists, and creating PR stunts. 

For example, Ahrefs was featured on TechCrunch in 2022.

Ahrefs is featured in a TechCrunch article

This was possible because we had:

  1. A newsworthy event (“we’re making a search engine”).
  2. Relationships with the right people (all thanks to the hard work of my colleague, Daria Samokish).

2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is the practice of optimizing your website and its pages to rank higher in search engines like Google. You’d want to make sure your important pages appear on Google for relevant keywords. For example, if someone is searching for your brand, your website should appear:

Google search results for keyword "ahrefs"

But nobody will search for your brand if they do not know it exists. So beyond optimizing your homepage, you should also target keywords your customers are searching for.

At Ahrefs, we create content targeting problems our potential customers have. For example, 14,000 people per month search for “link building” in the U.S.  

14,000 people per month search for “link building” in the U.S.

This is a problem our toolset helps with, so we created a piece of content targeting that topic.

Ahrefs' link building guide

Whenever someone is searching for that keyword on Google, they’ll discover our content and, in the process, our product and brand. 

Repeat this ad infinitum and you’ll expose hundreds, if not thousands, of people to your brand (in our case, an estimated 3.4 million).

Estimated amount of search traffic Ahrefs receives every month, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Recommended reading: SEO: The Complete Guide for Beginners 

3. Social media

Creating valuable content that persuades people to follow you on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok is a great way to generate brand awareness and build relationships with your audience.

For example, our Twitter account has 128,000 followers, and we regularly share SEO and marketing tips with our audience:

Indirect marketing: pros and cons

Should you invest in indirect marketing? Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros

Here are the advantages of indirect marketing.

1. Indirect marketing builds demand and awareness

Why is it important to build brand awareness and demand? 

Simple: There are only so many people who are ready to buy right now. Most of your potential customers are still unaware they have a problem, unaware of solutions, or unaware of your particular product or service. 

So if you’re using direct marketing, you’re only focusing on a small pool of people. Not only that, but you could actually just be reaching out to people who are already primed to buy in the first place.

Eventually, you’ll still need a way to open up a pool of potential customers. And you can do that with indirect marketing tactics. 

2. Indirect marketing is less intrusive and non-pushy

Prospects purposely seek out content that helps them solve problems. Not only that, but indirect marketing tactics also rarely involve reaching out to people. 

Cons

Here are some downsides to indirect marketing.

1. Indirect marketing takes time

You can’t build a brand overnight. Neither can you amass 100,000 followers in one day. Relationships with journalists take time to build. And ranking on Google takes time too.

Results for a poll on how long SEO takes

Recognizing that customers need time to buy also means recognizing that nurturing the relationship takes time.

2. Indirect marketing is less trackable

Life gets in everyone’s way. You must have had the experience of researching for something to buy, only for you to give it up for a few years before suddenly returning to purchase it. Your customers are the same too. 

As a result, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which indirect marketing tactic contributed to the success. But it doesn’t mean that indirect marketing doesn’t work, just that it’s not attributable. 

Direct marketing: pros and cons

Should you invest in direct marketing? Here are the pros and cons.

Pros

What are some advantages of direct marketing?

1. Direct marketing is measurable

Direct marketing tactics are usually trackable—how many opens, how many clicks, how many conversions, and so on. You can see these metrics on ad platforms and email marketing software.

2. Direct marketing is fast

Since it’s intended to elicit a response or purchase, direct marketing tactics can have an immediate impact on a business’s bottom line. 

Cons

Direct marketing is not all sunshine and roses. There are some downsides.

1. Direct marketing is intrusive

Direct marketing tactics like cold email and ads are generally seen as interruptive. That is because the prospect did not request them and yet is still served a sales message.

An unwanted ad from Emirates on the Twitter timeline

2. Direct marketing has a smaller reach

As mentioned earlier, there are only so many people who are ready and willing to buy. Direct marketing merely converts these people, but it cannot generate purchases among people who don’t even know you exist. 

3. Direct marketing can be blocked

CAN-SPAM, GDPR, ad-blockers—they exist to prevent unwanted sales messages from reaching consumers.

Examples of successful indirect marketing

Looking for successful examples of how companies have used indirect marketing? Here are three to be inspired by.

1. Ahrefs – Blog

The main marketing type we use is SEO-driven content marketing. It can be summarized into one sentence:

We create and maintain high-quality, search-focused content about topics with business potential, search traffic potential, and ranking potential.

To break it down:

  1. We research topics our customers are searching for on Google.
  2. We filter them by checking their business potential—how easy it will be to pitch our product while tackling these keywords.
  3. We prioritize by analyzing their ranking potential—how viable it is for us to rank in the top three with our available resources.
  4. We create content targeting those topics.
  5. We update or rewrite them if they don’t rank or are out of date.

This strategy means customers are always discovering us whenever they’re searching for solutions to their problems on Google. 

Ahrefs customers mentioning that they found out about our product from Google

Our strategy is simple. No fancy tactics or the latest hot trend. But this deliberate simplicity makes the strategy easy to follow and is the driving force behind our eight-figure annual recurring revenue (ARR).

Learn how to replicate our strategy in the guide below.

Recommended reading: How to Create an SEO Content Strategy (Follow the Ahrefs’ Framework) 

2. Wendy’s – Twitter

Wendy’s is a fast-food restaurant chain. Yet, you might not be able to tell from its tweets:

If you’re out of the loop, Wendy’s basically revolutionized how brands can use social media and communicate with their customers. Rather than post boring bureaucratic tweets in “corporatese,” it decided to do a 180° by sharing memes, roasting rival companies, and posting in a sassy tone. And it rarely has a call to action to visit a Wendy’s restaurant.

But this indirect marketing works for it. In a highly competitive fast-food scene, this social media strategy puts its brand top of mind. 

Not only do its tweets gain attention on the network itself, but it also spreads virally across other channels. Memes, anime parodies, and YouTube videos—the list goes on. 

Since 2012, Wendy’s has overtaken Burger King to become the #3 U.S. fast-food chain.

3. Slidebean – YouTube

Slidebean is a pitch deck design platform for startups and small businesses. It has >400,000 subscribers on YouTube. Many of its videos aren’t about pitch decks or pitch deck design; instead, they’re about startups, marketing, and business.

This is deliberate. It initially started out with topics related to its product. But it found that it exhausted those topics in a short amount of time. So it decided to move up the marketing funnel into broader topics.

Since we had found a “YouTube formula,” we decided to apply it to other kinds of content, and one of them was this idea of exploring failed companies. The first one was WeWork, which was just the right bridge between a startup-focused company and a widely known brand. At this stage, the series was called “Startup Forensics.”

However, there were only so many tech startups to explore, so we quickly opened that up to “Company Forensics” to broaden our horizons.

Jose Cayasso

This allowed Slidebean to get as many eyeballs as possible on YouTube, which puts its brand top of mind. The company hit $1.5 million in revenue with 3,000 customers in 2022. 

Final thoughts

The best companies use both indirect and direct marketing. They don’t discriminate between strategies. If you want to improve your business, you should use both. 

Any questions? Hit me up on Twitter



Source link

Continue Reading

SEO

What Businesses Need To Know

Published

on

What Businesses Need To Know

Google has announced that Google Optimize and Optimize 360 will no longer be available after September 30. All experiments will continue to run until that date.

Google launched Optimize over five years ago to help businesses test and improve their user experiences.

Many companies have widely used the tool to optimize their website, landing pages, and other online properties.

While the discontinuation of Google Optimize and Optimize 360 may disappoint, Google says it’s committed to providing a new solution in GA4.

Users are encouraged to download their data before it becomes unavailable at the end of September.

Google Optimize will go down in marketing history as a short-lived but beloved tool. Businesses that rely on it for their experimentation needs will have to find a new solution.

The History Of Google Optimize

Avid users of Google Optimize may be interested in this story from Krista Seiden, a former employee on the team since its early days.

In a 20-part Twitter thread, Seiden recounts her time on the Google Optimize team and describes how the tool came to be.

She says the idea for Google Optimize came after finding that content experiments in Google Analytics couldn’t scale to her team’s needs.

That’s when they decided to build their own server-side A/B testing solution, which eventually became Google Optimize.

Seiden stayed on the Optimize core team until she left Google in early 2019.

During her time on the team, she made dozens of educational videos and how-to’s for Google Optimize and consulted on many of its features.

Seiden’s story, worth reading in full, shows that Google Optimize was not only a valuable tool but also had a passionate team behind it.

When Google Optimize ends its service on September 30, it will leave a significant gap in the market for affordable and beginner-friendly A/B testing options.

According to Seiden, Google plans to expand A/B testing capabilities in GA4. However, it’s unlikely that the features will be available by September 30.

Lastly, she adds that Google is working on integrating with other A/B testing partners, which means that businesses who are using a third-party tool may be able to transfer their testing data to GA4.

Comment From Search Engine Journal’s Director Of Marketing

Heather Campbell, Search Engine Journal’s Director of Marketing, gives her take on the sunsetting of Google Optimize and what it means for others in the field:

I’m not surprised this day has come. It was only a matter of time before Optimize / 360 would no longer function since Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics in July.

Google is investing in GA4 and wants you to do the same.

It’s still frustrating when Google moves our marketing cheese, but don’t lose hope. This could be your opportunity to find a platform better suited to your needs.

What does this mean for now?

It would be best if you started researching alternatives. And there’s plenty out there. The first place to start, though, is with GA4.

Hopefully, you’ve already started implementing GA4, as that’s where the next iteration of Optimize will live. And if you haven’t, you should probably stop reading this and get started.

Make sure you pull down any data from past campaigns. You can still run campaigns thru September 30, but if you rely on testing and personalization (like any good marketer does), you may need a backup.


Source: Google

Featured Image: Aa Amie/Shutterstock



Source link

Continue Reading

SEO

“Every App Is Going To Be An AI App”

Published

on

"Every App Is Going To Be An AI App"

During a recent earnings call with shareholders, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, stated that artificial intelligence would eventually be included in all of the company’s applications.

After discussing Microsoft’s financial performance for the last quarter, Nadella answered questions about AI and its expected integration into more products.

Given Microsoft’s commitment to expanding its partnership with OpenAI, it makes sense that shareholders would have questions about when Microsoft plans to use the technology it’s investing in.

Although Nadella wasn’t willing to give a specific date, he stated that AI would be integrated into all of Microsoft’s applications in the future.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Nadella’s statements regarding AI and briefly summarize the relevant highlights from Microsoft’s earnings report.

Nadella Says Every Microsoft App Will Be An AI App

Tyler Radke, the Lead Analyst at Citi, asked Nadella about the extent to which AI will be employed throughout Microsoft Azure, which is the cloud computing platform that runs its applications.

This was Nadella’s response:

“I think it’s too early to sort of start somehow separating out AI from the rest of the workload. I mean, even the workloads themselves, AI is just going to be a core part of a workload in Azure versus just AI alone. In other words, if you have an application that’s using a bunch of inference, let’s say, it’s also going to have a bunch of storage, and it’s going to have a bunch of other compute beyond GPU inferencing, if you will. I think over time, obviously, I think every app is going to be an AI app. That’s, I think, the best way to think about this transformation.”

Nadella is saying it’s too early to separate AI into its own category because it’s becoming a core part of all products.

He believes AI will be integrated into all apps over time and will also be integrated with storage and other forms of computing beyond just GPU inferencing.

In response to a question from Keith Weiss of Morgan Stanley, Nadella expressed a similar sentiment, saying investors should expect AI to be included in everything.

“I think the way for our investors to see this is we fundamentally believe that the next big platform wave, as I said, is going to be AI. And we strongly also believe a lot of the enterprise value gets created by just being able to catch these waves, and then have those waves impact every part of our tech stack, and also create new solutions and new opportunities…

And so, we fully expect us to sort of incorporate AI in every layer of the stack, whether it’s in productivity, whether it’s in our consumer services.”

Other Highlights From Microsoft’s Earnings Call

Microsoft announced that in the last quarter of 2022, it made $52.7 billion in revenue, which is 2% more than the year before.

However, the company’s profit is down due to decreases in operating income, net income, and earnings per share.

Advertising spending declined slightly more than expected, impacting search and news advertising and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

One of the most notable highlights is the increase in LinkedIn revenue by 10%. This indicates the professional networking platform is performing well and that businesses can feel confident investing their time in it.

Another highlight from the report is the increase in revenue for server products and cloud services by 20%. This growth was driven by the revenue of Azure and other cloud services, which increased by 31%.

This indicates that Microsoft’s cloud services are becoming increasingly popular in the market, which bodes well for the future of the company’s partnership with OpenAI.

Despite a slight decrease in profit, the company’s overall financial performance remains strong.


Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: ThomasAFink/Shutterstock



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish