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How to Drive High-Quality Leads Using Product-Led Content

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How to Drive High-Quality Leads Using Product-Led Content

The beauty of SEO is that searchers are actively looking for your product/service or the problem you solve.

This usually means higher-quality leads, which makes SEO a fantastic lead-generation channel. 

However, it doesn’t mean you can create any piece of content, gate it, and hope that you drive thousands of leads to your business. 

Neither can you send these leads to a dedicated autoresponder sequence, and they’ll suddenly be “nurtured” and “ready to buy.”

The buyer’s journey doesn’t work like that in the real world:

  • The buyer’s journey is not linear – Nobody’s searching for a problem, discovering the solution, immediately jumping on a demo call, and converting into a customer. 
  • If you’re creating top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content, your “leads” are early in the marketing funnel – They probably don’t know they have a problem or just discovered it. So while they can technically be considered “marketing-qualified,” the sales development representatives (SDRs) are going to find them of poor quality and a waste of time. (And these leads will wonder why SDRs are calling them!)

That’s why, in this post, we’re going to explore a better way to generate leads via SEO. 

How to use product-led content to generate leads via SEO

Product-led content weaves your product into the narrative to help solve a problem. It’s not a hard sell. You’re not trying to aggressively pitch your product. You’re still trying to provide helpful advice, with the exception of presenting your product or service as the best solution.

Product-led content is the main way we generate leads and customers at Ahrefs. And it works:

Number of users who signed up for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools in the past seven days

It works well as lead generation because:

  • For most businesses, there is a group of people who are looking for solutions or ready to buy. These people make great leads. You’d want to target them first before going up the funnel. Our process of creating product-led content mainly targets such keywords.
  • Product-led content shows your product or service in action. It encourages a simple next step for them to sign up for a trial, demo call, or more.

So how do you create product-led content that generates leads? Here’s how:

1. Do keyword research

Product-led or not, you need a way for people to discover your content. Given that 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search, Google’s a good place to start.

But if you want to get search traffic from Google, you need to target topics that people are searching for. That’s where keyword research comes in. 

Keyword research is the process of discovering valuable search queries that your target customers type into search engines to look for products, services, and information. 

The easiest way to begin is to use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer:

  1. Go to Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter one or a few relevant keywords
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Look through the report and pick out the keywords that are relevant to your site. 

Don’t think about whether you can create product-led content for those keywords yet. We’ll do that in the next step. For now, focus on collecting as many relevant keywords as possible.

2. Assign each keyword a “business potential” score

To make product-led content work, the best way is to target keywords with high buying intent. 

The way we identify these keywords is to assign all of the keywords we discovered in step one with a “business potential “ score. 

How to score a topic's business potential

By prioritizing only topics that score at least a “2,” we make sure that every mention of our product is natural.

3. Create product-led content that ranks

This is the most difficult part of the process. That’s because creating a great piece of product-led content isn’t simply whipping up a 1,000-word blog post and adding a link back to your trial or consultation call. 

It often requires deep product knowledge, creativity, and smart copywriting. Essentially, the writer needs to: 

  • Understand what Google and searchers are looking for—and match it.
  • Understand the product or service so well that they can weave in use cases naturally.
  • Add unique nuggets of information so that the post not only stands out on the SERPs but also encourages people to link to it.
  • Make sure the content is engaging and not “oversell” the product.

Let’s look at what’s involved:

Match search intent

If you want to rank high on Google, you need to understand why the searcher is looking for a particular topic. This is known as search intent and you can figure it out by analyzing the SERPs for the three Cs:

  • Content type – Are they blog posts, product pages, landing pages, or something else?
  • Content format – Are they tutorials, listicles, how-to guides, recipes, free tools, or something else?
  • Content angle – Is there a dominant selling point, like low prices or how easy it is?

For example, if we’re targeting the keyword “inbound marketing,” the three Cs will be:

SERP overview for "inbound marketing"
  • Content type – They’re all blog posts.
  • Content format – They’re all definition-style guides.
  • Content angle – No particular standout angle for this keyword.

So if you want to rank for this keyword, it’s likely you’ll have to create a definition-style blog post. 

Cover important subtopics

If there are subtopics that most of the top-ranking pages cover, it’s likely they’re important and searchers expect to see them.

We can find out what these subtopics are by looking at common keyword rankings:

  1. Enter your keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Scroll down to the SERP overview
  3. Select three to five top-ranking articles (make sure they’re similar)
  4. Click Open in and choose Content gap
"Open in Content Gap" feature in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

We’ll then select the Intersection dropdown and choose “4, 5” to see only the most relevant subtopics:

Content Gap report

In this example, it’s likely we’ll have to cover these:

  • What inbound marketing is
  • Examples of inbound marketing
  • Inbound marketing strategies

They will make good subheadings for the post.

Insert unique nuggets of information

Links are a confirmed Google ranking factor

Backlinks help pages rank higher in Google's search results

But if you want people to link to your content, you need to give them a reason to. Here are some reasons why people link:

  1. Data – You have original data, numbers, or statistics. This can be from your company’s internal data, surveys, or polls. For example, we studied our database to discover that 66.5% of links to sites in the last nine years are dead.
  2. Expert analysis and insights – You have insights from industry experts that no one else has access to. These can be in-house or external. For example, our post on ChatGPT use cases for SEO is based on our understanding of how the AI tool can and cannot help.
  3. Personal experience – You have a unique set of experiences that no one can replicate. For example, our post on what an SEO agency does was written based on Chris Haines’ 10-year experience working in an agency.
  4. Strong opinions – You have a set of opinions that is contrarian, alternative, or simply different from other experts. For example, Patrick Stox’s post about how going viral doesn’t help with SEO generated some debate and controversy.
  5. New and unique products or services – You’ve created a product or service that is uncommon, unique, or solves an important problem. For example, our beta launch of our search engine garnered quite a few media mentions.

You’ll have to find ways to insert such unique nuggets of information into your content. 

Weave your product naturally into the content

Wherever it makes sense within the content, include your product use cases. With step-by-step details (using screenshots, GIFs, and videos), show your readers how to solve problems with your product.

There is no “right” way to do this nor is there a “correct” number of use cases you should include. It depends on your product, the problem you’re solving in particular, and your copywriting skills.

You’ve seen how I’ve naturally included many Ahrefs use cases in this post. Here’s another example where Chris has integrated Ahrefs use cases into his post. 

How to weave your product naturally into your content

It’s natural because of the topic—it’s difficult to do competitor analysis without Ahrefs.

Final thoughts

Does this mean that you should not create TOFU content?

No. TOFU content still has its place.

I asked Bryan Casey, the director of digital at IBM, and this is what he has to say:

B2B buyers aren’t in the market for products 95% of the time but they’re in the market to get better at their job 100% of the time. So, that traffic is not looking to be routed to a sales rep the next week. 

But if you can make the audience “sticky” by getting them more connected to the brand so you can reach them perpetually, you’re top-of-mind and that’s a great outcome.

The goal of TOFU content is not to generate leads. It’s for brand awareness and building a relationship with them. You can still encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, but this is not a sales play. You’re simply getting your brand to be top of mind for them.

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.



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Google Analytics 4 Features To Prepare For Third-Party Cookie Depreciation

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Google Analytics 4 Features To Prepare For Third-Party Cookie Depreciation

Google will roll out new features and integrations for Google Analytics 4 (GA4) for first-party data, enhanced conversions, and durable ad performance metrics.

Beginning in Q1 2024, Chrome will gradually phase out third-party cookies for a percentage of users, allowing for testing and transition.

Third-party cookies, which have been central to cross-site tracking, are being restricted or phased out by major browsers, including Chrome, as part of its Privacy Sandbox project.

The following features should help advertisers “unlock durable performance” while preserving user privacy.

Support For Protected Audience API In GA4

A key feature of recent updates to Google Analytics 4 is the integration of Protected Audience API, a Privacy Sandbox technology that is set to become widely available in early 2024.

This API allows advertisers to continue reaching their audiences after the third-party cookie phase-out.

What Is The Protected Audience API?

The Protected Audience API offers a novel approach to remarketing, which involves reminding users about sites and products they have shown interest in without relying on third-party cookies.

Screenshot from Google, December 2023google analytics 4 privacy sandbox protected audience API lifecycle

This method involves advertisers informing the browser directly about their interest in showing ads to users in the future.

The browser then uses an algorithm to determine which ads to display based on the user’s web activity and advertiser inputs.

It enables on-device auctions by the browser, allowing it to choose relevant ads from sites previously visited by the user without tracking their browsing behavior across different sites.

Key Features And Development

Key features of the Protected Audience API include interest groups stored by the browser, on-device bidding and ad selection, and ad rendering in a temporarily relaxed version of Fenced Frames.

The API also supports a key/value service for real-time information retrieval, which can be used by both buyers and sellers for various purposes, such as budget calculation or policy compliance.

The Protected Audience API, initially known as the FLEDGE API, has evolved from an experimental stage to a more mature phase, reflecting its readiness for wider implementation.

This transition is part of Google’s broader efforts to develop privacy-preserving APIs and technologies in collaboration with industry stakeholders and regulatory bodies like the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

The Protected Audience API offers a new way to connect with users while respecting their privacy, necessitating a reevaluation of current advertising strategies and a focus on adapting to these emerging technologies.

Support For Enhanced Conversions

Rolling out in the next few weeks, enhanced conversions is a feature enhancing conversion measurement accuracy.

enhanced conversion for webScreenshot from Google, December 2023enhanced conversion for web

Enhanced conversions for the web cater to advertisers tracking online sales and events. It captures and hashes customer data like email addresses during a conversion on the web, then matches this with Google accounts linked to ad interactions.

This method recovers unmeasured conversions, optimizes bidding, and maintains data privacy.

For leads, enhanced conversions track sales from website leads occurring offline. It uses hashed data from website forms, like email addresses, to measure offline conversions.

Setup options for enhanced conversions include Google Tag Manager, a Google tag, or the Google Ads API, with third-party partner support available.

Advertisers can import offline conversion data for Google Ads from Salesforce, Zapier, and HubSpot with Google Click Identifier (GCLID).

Proper Consent Setup

To effectively use Google’s enhanced privacy features, it’s essential to have proper user consent mechanisms in place, particularly for traffic from the European Economic Area (EEA).

Google’s EU user consent policy mandates consent collection for personal data usage in measurement, ad personalization, and remarketing features. This policy extends to website tags, app SDKs, and data uploads like offline conversion imports.

Google has updated the consent mode API to include parameters for user data consent and personalized advertising.

Advertisers using Google-certified consent management platforms (CMPs) will see automatic updates to the latest consent mode, while those with self-managed banners should upgrade to consent mode v2.

Implementing consent mode allows you to adjust Google tag behavior based on user consent, ensuring compliance and enabling conversion modeling for comprehensive reporting and optimization.

Consent Mode integration with CMPs simplifies managing consent banners and the consent management process, adjusting data collection based on user choices and supporting behavioral modeling for a complete view of consumer performance.

Durable Ad Performance With AI Essentials

To effectively utilize AI, marketers need robust measurement and audience tools for confident decision-making.

Google provided a general checklist of AI essentials for Google advertisers. In it, advertisers are encouraged to adopt AI-powered search and Performance Max campaigns, engage in Smart Bidding, and explore video campaigns on platforms like YouTube.

Google also offers a more in-depth checklist for Google Ads, Display & Video 360, and Campaign Manager 360.

google ads durable performance measurement aiScreenshot from Google, December 2023google ads durable performance measurement ai

More Ways To Prepare For The Third-Party Cookie Phase Out

As third-party cookies are phased out, it’s essential to audit and modify web code, especially focusing on instances of SameSite=None using tools like Chrome DevTools.

Adapting to this change involves understanding and managing both third-party and first-party cookies, ensuring they are set correctly for cross-site contexts and compliance.

Chrome provides solutions like Partitioned cookies with CHIPS and Related Website Sets.

At the same time, the Privacy Sandbox introduces APIs for privacy-centric alternatives, with additional support for enterprise-managed Chrome and ongoing development of tools and trials to assist in the transition.

As Google continues to update resources and documentation to reflect these changes, stakeholders are encouraged to engage and provide feedback, ensuring that the evolution of these technologies aligns with industry needs and user privacy standards.


Featured image: Primakov/Shutterstock

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4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

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4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In a significant leap in large language model (LLM) development, Mistral AI announced the release of its newest model, Mixtral-8x7B.

What Is Mixtral-8x7B?

Mixtral-8x7B from Mistral AI is a Mixture of Experts (MoE) model designed to enhance how machines understand and generate text.

Imagine it as a team of specialized experts, each skilled in a different area, working together to handle various types of information and tasks.

A report published in June reportedly shed light on the intricacies of OpenAI’s GPT-4, highlighting that it employs a similar approach to MoE, utilizing 16 experts, each with around 111 billion parameters, and routes two experts per forward pass to optimize costs.

This approach allows the model to manage diverse and complex data efficiently, making it helpful in creating content, engaging in conversations, or translating languages.

Mixtral-8x7B Performance Metrics

Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, represents a significant step forward from its previous model, Mistral-7B-v0.1.

It’s designed to understand better and create text, a key feature for anyone looking to use AI for writing or communication tasks.

This latest addition to the Mistral family promises to revolutionize the AI landscape with its enhanced performance metrics, as shared by OpenCompass.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

What makes Mixtral-8x7B stand out is not just its improvement over Mistral AI’s previous version, but the way it measures up to models like Llama2-70B and Qwen-72B.

mixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai modelsmixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai models

It’s like having an assistant who can understand complex ideas and express them clearly.

One of the key strengths of the Mixtral-8x7B is its ability to handle specialized tasks.

For example, it performed exceptionally well in specific tests designed to evaluate AI models, indicating that it’s good at general text understanding and generation and excels in more niche areas.

This makes it a valuable tool for marketing professionals and SEO experts who need AI that can adapt to different content and technical requirements.

The Mixtral-8x7B’s ability to deal with complex math and coding problems also suggests it can be a helpful ally for those working in more technical aspects of SEO, where understanding and solving algorithmic challenges are crucial.

This new model could become a versatile and intelligent partner for a wide range of digital content and strategy needs.

How To Try Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Demos

You can experiment with Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, to see how it responds to queries and how it performs compared to other open-source models and OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Please note that, like all generative AI content, platforms running this new model may produce inaccurate information or otherwise unintended results.

User feedback for new models like this one will help companies like Mistral AI improve future versions and models.

1. Perplexity Labs Playground

In Perplexity Labs, you can try Mixtral-8x7B along with Meta AI’s Llama 2, Mistral-7b, and Perplexity’s new online LLMs.

In this example, I ask about the model itself and notice that new instructions are added after the initial response to extend the generated content about my query.

mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playgroundScreenshot from Perplexity, December 2023mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playground

While the answer looks correct, it begins to repeat itself.

mixtral-8x7b errorsScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023mixtral-8x7b errors

The model did provide an over 600-word answer to the question, “What is SEO?”

Again, additional instructions appear as “headers” to seemingly ensure a comprehensive answer.

what is seo by mixtral-8x7bScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023what is seo by mixtral-8x7b

2. Poe

Poe hosts bots for popular LLMs, including OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL·E 3, Meta AI’s Llama 2 and Code Llama, Google’s PaLM 2, Anthropic’s Claude-instant and Claude 2, and StableDiffusionXL.

These bots cover a wide spectrum of capabilities, including text, image, and code generation.

The Mixtral-8x7B-Chat bot is operated by Fireworks AI.

poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebaseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebase

It’s worth noting that the Fireworks page specifies it is an “unofficial implementation” that was fine-tuned for chat.

When asked what the best backlinks for SEO are, it provided a valid answer.

mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks responseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks response

Compare this to the response offered by Google Bard.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIMixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Google Bard, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

3. Vercel

Vercel offers a demo of Mixtral-8x7B that allows users to compare responses from popular Anthropic, Cohere, Meta AI, and OpenAI models.

vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4Screenshot from Vercel, December 2023vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4

It offers an interesting perspective on how each model interprets and responds to user questions.

mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seoScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seo

Like many LLMs, it does occasionally hallucinate.

mixtral-8x7b hallucinationsScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b hallucinations

4. Replicate

The mixtral-8x7b-32 demo on Replicate is based on this source code. It is also noted in the README that “Inference is quite inefficient.”

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Replicate, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In the example above, Mixtral-8x7B describes itself as a game.

Conclusion

Mistral AI’s latest release sets a new benchmark in the AI field, offering enhanced performance and versatility. But like many LLMs, it can provide inaccurate and unexpected answers.

As AI continues to evolve, models like the Mixtral-8x7B could become integral in shaping advanced AI tools for marketing and business.


Featured image: T. Schneider/Shutterstock



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OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

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OpenAI Investigates 'Lazy' GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a little over a year ago, has recently taken to social media to address concerns regarding the “lazy” performance of GPT-4 on social media and Google Reviews.

Screenshot from X, December 2023OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

This move comes after growing user feedback online, which even includes a one-star review on the company’s Google Reviews.

OpenAI Gives Insight Into Training Chat Models, Performance Evaluations, And A/B Testing

OpenAI, through its @ChatGPTapp Twitter account, detailed the complexities involved in training chat models.

chatgpt openai a/b testingScreenshot from X, December 2023chatgpt openai a/b testing

The organization highlighted that the process is not a “clean industrial process” and that variations in training runs can lead to noticeable differences in the AI’s personality, creative style, and political bias.

Thorough AI model testing includes offline evaluation metrics and online A/B tests. The final decision to release a new model is based on a data-driven approach to improve the “real” user experience.

OpenAI’s Google Review Score Affected By GPT-4 Performance, Billing Issues

This explanation comes after weeks of user feedback about GPT-4 becoming worse on social media networks like X.

Complaints also appeared in OpenAI’s community forums.

openai community forums gpt-4 user feedbackScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023openai community forums gpt-4 user feedback

The experience led one user to leave a one-star rating for OpenAI via Google Reviews. Other complaints regarded accounts, billing, and the artificial nature of AI.

openai google reviews star rating Screenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023openai google reviews star rating

A recent user on Product Hunt gave OpenAI a rating that also appears to be related to GPT-4 worsening.

openai reviewsScreenshot from Product Hunt, December 2023openai reviews

GPT-4 isn’t the only issue that local reviewers complain about. On Yelp, OpenAI has a one-star rating for ChatGPT 3.5 performance.

The complaint:

yelp openai chatgpt reviewScreenshot from Yelp, December 2023yelp openai chatgpt review

In related OpenAI news, the review with the most likes aligns with recent rumors about a volatile workplace, alleging that OpenAI is a “Cutthroat environment. Not friendly. Toxic workers.”

google review for openai toxic workersScreenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023google review for openai toxic workers

The reviews voted the most helpful on Glassdoor about OpenAI suggested that employee frustration and product development issues stem from the company’s shift in focus on profits.

openai employee review on glassdooropenai employee review on glassdoor

openai employee reviewsScreenshots from Glassdoor, December 2023openai employee reviews

This incident provides a unique outlook on how customer and employee experiences can impact any business through local reviews and business ratings platforms.

openai inc google business profile local serps google reviewsScreenshot from Google, December 2023openai inc google business profile local serps google reviews

Google SGE Highlights Positive Google Reviews

In addition to occasional complaints, Google reviewers acknowledged the revolutionary impact of OpenAI’s technology on various fields.

The most positive review mentions about the company appear in Google SGE (Search Generative Experience).

Google SGE response on OpenAIScreenshot from Google SGE, December 2023Google SGE response on OpenAI

Conclusion

OpenAI’s recent insights into training chat models and response to public feedback about GPT-4 performance illustrate AI technology’s dynamic and evolving nature and its impact on those who depend on the AI platform.

Especially the people who just received an invitation to join ChatGPT Plus after being waitlisted while OpenAI paused new subscriptions and upgrades. Or those developing GPTs for the upcoming GPT Store launch.

As AI advances, professionals in these fields must remain agile, informed, and responsive to technological developments and the public’s reception of these advancements.


Featured image: Tada Images/Shutterstock



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