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How to Find Influencers

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How to Find Influencers

Do you want to find the right influencers for your business?

In this blog post, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to find the best influencers for your brand. We’ll cover everything from defining your goals to tracking the progress of your campaign.

Define your goals

The first step in finding the right influencers is defining your goals. Here are some questions to answer:

  • Why do I want to work with influencers?
  • What am I hoping to achieve?
  • Do they align with the goals I have set up in my marketing plan?
  • How much are we willing to spend for this collaboration?

quarterly marketing plan landing page

Download: Quarterly Marketing Plan

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By answering these questions, you ensure that it is crystal clear what your goals are and what role they play in your overall marketing plan, how the influencers can help you achieve them, and what you can offer in return for a fair collaboration.

For example, let’s say you’re in the health and fitness niche and your target audience are moms. Let’s answer the questions above.

  • Why do I want to work with influencers?

The health and fitness niche is competitive and most of our competitors offer supplements or vegan alternatives. I offer a monthly subscription service where the customer will get a supply of vegan frozen meals every week. This can break into the market faster if I tap the right people to test and review them.

  • What am I hoping to achieve?

Greater visibility and word-of-mouth marketing for my business.

  • Do they align with the goals I have set up in my marketing plan?

Yes. I aim to sell at least 50 subscriptions for the first month to break even. Influencer marketing plays a significant role in achieving this goal.

  • How much are we willing to spend for this collaboration?

$350 for a YouTube review with additional fees for Instagram and Tiktok posts depending on engagement and follower count.

Check industry pricing

Before you even start looking for influencers, you need to understand how the fees work. Fee structures for influencers may differ from country to country.

For example, a fee structure (or rate card) can look like this:

influencer rate card

Or you can check industry rates and how they’re computed such as this guide by Get Hyped if you’re in the US.

Then edit your answer to the last question (How much are we willing to spend for this collaboration?) based on your findings.

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This ensures that:

  • You understand the type of influencer you can afford to collaborate with (nano, micro, etc.) so you can narrow down your research.
  • Negotiations can be smoother because you already have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend and you understand how the fees work—haggling prices isn’t a good look for your brand because these influencers work hard to build and engage their audience base.

Research to find relevant influencers in your niche

Once you have defined your goals and checked the pricing, it’s time to find influencers.

Use social media listening tools

Social media listening tools are a great way to find relevant influencers. These platforms allow you to track mentions of competitor brands so you can see who they’re working with. You can then look for influencers in that circle.

You can also use social media listening tools to track relevant hashtags. This is a great way to find influencers who are talking about topics that are important to your business.

Some of the most popular social media listening tools include Cloohawk and Buzzsumo.

Further reading: Social Listening vs Social Monitoring

Identify relevant hashtags

As mentioned, you can find relevant influencers by identifying relevant hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to find people who are talking about specific topics.

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Here’s a trick: find a famous influencer in your niche that’s out of your budget and check their hashtags. Then enter that hashtag into a free tool like Social Searcher to see who is using the same hashtag.

Social Searcher landing page

You can also opt to go on the platform you want to have the most visibility in and manually search the hashtags there. For example, you can go on Instagram and use #veganmom or #veganphilippines to narrow your search.

Use tools to find their contact details

There are various ways to contact influencers, and it usually is pretty easy to reach out to them.

More often than not, they are looking for opportunities to collaborate with brands, so their DMs are open, or their emails are in their bio or video description.

It’s a bit tedious to manually reach out to a bunch of influencers though especially if you’re trying to work with a lot of them.

NinjaOutreach

For that issue, check out NinjaOutreach.

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NinjaOutreach

NinjaOutreach is an outreach software used by digital marketing agencies, bloggers, and small businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

What’s great about this tool is that with a simple keyword search, you can find online influencers in your niche and see valuable information about them at the same time.

In this way, you can easily partner with influencers who are interested in promoting your brand to their audiences.

Although NinjaOutreach has a number of interesting features, we’re going to focus on two for this post:

Social media influencers finder

Interestingly, here’s what NinjaOutreach’s dashboard looks like when you log in:

NinjaOutreach search

On the left side of the dashboard, you will find Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube Influencers.

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When you click on the Instagram Influencers tab, you can start searching for Instagram influencers by their username or keywords.

You can use the filter or sorting feature found on the left side of the dashboard if you want to narrow down your search.

Email Finder

Another NinjaOutreach’s cool feature is the email finder, where you can find someone’s email address by searching for a specific person and domain.

Use this feature if you’re looking to do any of the following:

  • Guest post outreach
  • Product review outreach
  • Instagram influencer sponsorship
  • Link building outreach
  • Sponsored post outreach
  • Expert roundup post outreach
  • Podcast/Interview outreach

But what if the influencer you’re eyeing doesn’t have their contact information on their social media or website?

Here are other options you can look into:

Findthat.Email

Findthat.Email is a straightforward service. You enter an influencer’s name and their company or website and the email finder will give you their contact details. I can’t emphasize enough how easy it is to use.

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The best part about this is the website allows you a few free sample searches on the main page.

find that email landing page

This screenshot was taken directly from their homepage and the sample person I tried to find was Bill Gates of Microsoft.

While Bill Gates may not exactly be the ideal example of a hard-to-find person, the example is still a good enough one to demonstrate what Findthat.Email’s service is all about.

I tried looking for other less exposed influencers and I was impressed. The website gave me what I wanted. It does have its limitations, such as needing the domain or website so you can perform search. If you don’t have that info, it would be better to use another tool.

Here are the tool’s features:

Search/Verify

Findthat.Email sifts through a huge chunk of data freely available on the internet and delivers results—all in a matter of seconds.

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Bulk Search

Another nifty feature is having the ability to search in bulk. Simply upload a list of people and the service will look through their database and will simply notify you when the search is done. No limit was ever explicitly specified but we did try at least 10 at one point and the search was done in a matter of minutes.

Chrome Extension

One of the best features of Findthat.Email is the ability to have it installed on Google Chrome. It makes finding prospects on any social platform easy and in an instant.

Integrations

This is frankly my favorite feature. I’m all about using a lot of tools and Findthat.Email allows you to sync your contacts with your other tools such as Salesforce, MailChimp, Zoho CRM and PipeDrive to name a few.

Hunter

Hunter.io is another popular email tool that lets you find professional email addresses from domains or companies.

What makes Hunter popular among marketers, business owners, and recruiters is that it’s straightforward, which makes it a very easy tool to use.

Hunter landing page

When you sign up for their free account, you will have access to Hunter’s following features:

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Hunter search bar

Domain Search

The domain search lets you find email addresses using one given domain (example: “seo-hacker.com”) and other publicly available email addresses.

You can use up to 25 searches per month with a free account. This number applies to other Hunter’s features as well.

Email Finder

This feature lets you find email addresses using the full name and the domain name used for email by the company or organization. When you enter the company name into the Email finder, Hunter will automatically suggest the closest domain name.

Author Finder

This feature is found right next to the Email Finder tab. It allows you to find the author of an article and their professional email address.

To find the author’s email address, simply provide the article URL and you’re good to go.

Email Verifier

If you want to check whether the email address exists and can receive emails, you can use this feature.

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This feature is extremely helpful especially if you want to verify an email address, so you can protect your sender’s reputation and avoid bounces at the same time.

Instant Checkmate

Coming out of left field, but a surprisingly useful tool for those in the US—Instant Checkmate.

Instant Checkmate

Instant Checkmate is an online background check service that lets you instantly search public records. They have four search themes you can use:

  • People Search
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Criminal Records
  • Inmate Search

But for our purposes I want to focus on the first one—People Search.

Instant Checkmate People Search

According to their website, “Some of the information that you can find with Instant Checkmate includes addresses, criminal and traffic records, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, and much more.”

So you can use it not just to perform background checks on the influencers (who reside in the US) you want to connect with, but also to find their contact information if they aren’t posted on their social media accounts or website.

Important: Make sure to add your influencers to a spreadsheet for easier tracking.

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Craft your pitch

Before you reach out to your influencer list, make sure you craft your pitch. Write down their deliverables and project timeframe, and ask for their rate card so you can confirm with your budget.

Don’t forget to personalize your messages. Mention something that you liked about their content, and explain how it would fit with your brand. Be friendly and genuine, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Here’s a sample pitch you can edit:

Hello, <INFLUENCER>!

This is <YOUR NAME> from <COMPANY>, the <POSITION> for this project. I’m happy to report that <COMPANY> wants to collaborate with you as one of their influencers for <PROJECT>.

We have checked your profile and we’re genuinely interested in working with you. 🙂

Here are the deliverables:
<PROJECT>: <DELIVERABLE>
Timeline: <INSERT TIMELINE>

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As for a sample execution, kindly refer to the attached brief.

Kindly submit your rate card so we can make our offer. Once we’ve confirmed our partnership, we will send another email asking for your details so we can send the free premium items that will be featured in the deliverables.

Feel free to reach out to me through this email or via <CONTACT DETAILS> if you have any questions.

I’ll wait for your acknowledgement. Thank you and have a great day, <INFLUENCER>!

Sincerely,
<YOUR NAME>

Reach out to your influencer list and pitch your product or service

Once you’re done with your pitch, it’s time to start reaching out. Again, don’t forget to personalize your message!

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Move your way down your spreadsheet and indicate if you’ve already reached out to the influencer, then start noting the following:

  • If they responded to your pitch
  • What their rates are
  • If they have any requests
  • If you’ve sent them the partnership confirmation email
  • If the deal is sealed

This helps ensure that you’re on top of everything and you have all the information you need in one document.

Negotiate a deal that benefits both parties

When it comes to working with influencers, the key is to negotiate a partnership that is mutually beneficial. After all, both parties are looking to achieve specific goals and objectives.

When you get a response to your pitch, be sure to listen carefully to their feedback and ideas. Once you have a good understanding of what they are looking for, it’s time to negotiate the terms of the partnership.

Be sure to be clear about what you can offer in terms of compensation and creative freedom. By taking the time to negotiate a fair and balanced partnership, you can ensure that everyone involved walks away happy.

Track the progress of your campaign and analyze the results

Finally, once you’ve found a few influencers who are a good fit for your brand, it’s important to keep track of your progress.

Make sure to measure the results of your campaigns, so you can see what’s working and what isn’t. This will help you adjust your strategy moving forward, and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your influencer partnerships.

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Don’t forget to acknowledge your influencer partners for their hard work. A little relationship building always goes a long way.

Key takeaway

Have you tried finding influencers before? Let me know how this works for you! To get the most out of an influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to do your research and put in the effort to find relevant contacts.

Luckily, we’ve outlined all of the steps you need to take to find and secure a successful partnership with an influencer. By following these guidelines, you can maximize your chances of reaching your target audience and achieving your business goals.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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2024 WordPress Vulnerability Report Shows Errors Sites Keep Making

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2024 Annual WordPress security report by WPScan

WordPress security scanner WPScan’s 2024 WordPress vulnerability report calls attention to WordPress vulnerability trends and suggests the kinds of things website publishers (and SEOs) should be looking out for.

Some of the key findings from the report were that just over 20% of vulnerabilities were rated as high or critical level threats, with medium severity threats, at 67% of reported vulnerabilities, making up the majority. Many regard medium level vulnerabilities as if they are low-level threats and that’s a mistake because they’re not low level and should be regarded as deserving attention.

The WPScan report advised:

“While severity doesn’t translate directly to the risk of exploitation, it’s an important guideline for website owners to make an educated decision about when to disable or update the extension.”

WordPress Vulnerability Severity Distribution

Critical level vulnerabilities, the highest level of threat, represented only 2.38% of vulnerabilities, which is essentially good news for WordPress publishers. Yet as mentioned earlier, when combined with the percentages of high level threats (17.68%) the number or concerning vulnerabilities rises to almost 20%.

Here are the percentages by severity ratings:

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  • Critical 2.38%
  • Low 12.83%
  • High 17.68%
  • Medium 67.12%

Authenticated Versus Unauthenticated

Authenticated vulnerabilities are those that require an attacker to first attain user credentials and their accompanying permission levels in order to exploit a particular vulnerability. Exploits that require subscriber-level authentication are the most exploitable of the authenticated exploits and those that require administrator level access present the least risk (although not always a low risk for a variety of reasons).

Unauthenticated attacks are generally the easiest to exploit because anyone can launch an attack without having to first acquire a user credential.

The WPScan vulnerability report found that about 22% of reported vulnerabilities required subscriber level or no authentication at all, representing the most exploitable vulnerabilities. On the other end of the scale of the exploitability are vulnerabilities requiring admin permission levels representing a total of 30.71% of reported vulnerabilities.

Permission Levels Required For Exploits

Vulnerabilities requiring administrator level credentials represented the highest percentage of exploits, followed by Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) with 24.74% of vulnerabilities. This is interesting because CSRF is an attack that uses social engineering to get a victim to click a link from which the user’s permission levels are acquired. This is a mistake that WordPress publishers should be aware of because all it takes is for an admin level user to follow a link which then enables the hacker to assume admin level privileges to the WordPress website.

The following is the percentages of exploits ordered by roles necessary to launch an attack.

Ascending Order Of User Roles For Vulnerabilities

  • Author 2.19%
  • Subscriber 10.4%
  • Unauthenticated 12.35%
  • Contributor 19.62%
  • CSRF 24.74%
  • Admin 30.71%

Most Common Vulnerability Types Requiring Minimal Authentication

Broken Access Control in the context of WordPress refers to a security failure that can allow an attacker without necessary permission credentials to gain access to higher credential permissions.

In the section of the report that looks at the occurrences and vulnerabilities underlying unauthenticated or subscriber level vulnerabilities reported (Occurrence vs Vulnerability on Unauthenticated or Subscriber+ reports), WPScan breaks down the percentages for each vulnerability type that is most common for exploits that are the easiest to launch (because they require minimal to no user credential authentication).

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The WPScan threat report noted that Broken Access Control represents a whopping 84.99% followed by SQL injection (20.64%).

The Open Worldwide Application Security Project (OWASP) defines Broken Access Control as:

“Access control, sometimes called authorization, is how a web application grants access to content and functions to some users and not others. These checks are performed after authentication, and govern what ‘authorized’ users are allowed to do.

Access control sounds like a simple problem but is insidiously difficult to implement correctly. A web application’s access control model is closely tied to the content and functions that the site provides. In addition, the users may fall into a number of groups or roles with different abilities or privileges.”

SQL injection, at 20.64% represents the second most prevalent type of vulnerability, which WPScan referred to as both “high severity and risk” in the context of vulnerabilities requiring minimal authentication levels because attackers can access and/or tamper with the database which is the heart of every WordPress website.

These are the percentages:

  • Broken Access Control 84.99%
  • SQL Injection 20.64%
  • Cross-Site Scripting 9.4%
  • Unauthenticated Arbitrary File Upload 5.28%
  • Sensitive Data Disclosure 4.59%
  • Insecure Direct Object Reference (IDOR) 3.67%
  • Remote Code Execution 2.52%
  • Other 14.45%

Vulnerabilities In The WordPress Core Itself

The overwhelming majority of vulnerability issues were reported in third-party plugins and themes. However, there were in 2023 a total of 13 vulnerabilities reported in the WordPress core itself. Out of the thirteen vulnerabilities only one of them was rated as a high severity threat, which is the second highest level, with Critical being the highest level vulnerability threat, a rating scoring system maintained by the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS).

The WordPress core platform itself is held to the highest standards and benefits from a worldwide community that is vigilant in discovering and patching vulnerabilities.

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Website Security Should Be Considered As Technical SEO

Site audits don’t normally cover website security but in my opinion every responsible audit should at least talk about security headers. As I’ve been saying for years, website security quickly becomes an SEO issue once a website’s ranking start disappearing from the search engine results pages (SERPs) due to being compromised by a vulnerability. That’s why it’s critical to be proactive about website security.

According to the WPScan report, the main point of entry for hacked websites were leaked credentials and weak passwords. Ensuring strong password standards plus two-factor authentication is an important part of every website’s security stance.

Using security headers is another way to help protect against Cross-Site Scripting and other kinds of vulnerabilities.

Lastly, a WordPress firewall and website hardening are also useful proactive approaches to website security. I once added a forum to a brand new website I created and it was immediately under attack within minutes. Believe it or not, virtually every website worldwide is under attack 24 hours a day by bots scanning for vulnerabilities.

Read the WPScan Report:

WPScan 2024 Website Threat Report

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Featured Image by Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski

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An In-Depth Guide And Best Practices For Mobile SEO

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Mobile SEO: An In-Depth Guide And Best Practices

Over the years, search engines have encouraged businesses to improve mobile experience on their websites. More than 60% of web traffic comes from mobile, and in some cases based on the industry, mobile traffic can reach up to 90%.

Since Google has completed its switch to mobile-first indexing, the question is no longer “if” your website should be optimized for mobile, but how well it is adapted to meet these criteria. A new challenge has emerged for SEO professionals with the introduction of Interaction to Next Paint (INP), which replaced First Input Delay (FID) starting March, 12 2024.

Thus, understanding mobile SEO’s latest advancements, especially with the shift to INP, is crucial. This guide offers practical steps to optimize your site effectively for today’s mobile-focused SEO requirements.

What Is Mobile SEO And Why Is It Important?

The goal of mobile SEO is to optimize your website to attain better visibility in search engine results specifically tailored for mobile devices.

This form of SEO not only aims to boost search engine rankings, but also prioritizes enhancing mobile user experience through both content and technology.

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While, in many ways, mobile SEO and traditional SEO share similar practices, additional steps related to site rendering and content are required to meet the needs of mobile users and the speed requirements of mobile devices.

Does this need to be a priority for your website? How urgent is it?

Consider this: 58% of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices.

If you aren’t focused on mobile users, there is a good chance you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of traffic.

Mobile-First Indexing

Additionally, as of 2023, Google has switched its crawlers to a mobile-first indexing priority.

This means that the mobile experience of your site is critical to maintaining efficient indexing, which is the step before ranking algorithms come into play.

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Read more: Where We Are Today With Google’s Mobile-First Index

How Much Of Your Traffic Is From Mobile?

How much traffic potential you have with mobile users can depend on various factors, including your industry (B2B sites might attract primarily desktop users, for example) and the search intent your content addresses (users might prefer desktop for larger purchases, for example).

Regardless of where your industry and the search intent of your users might be, the future will demand that you optimize your site experience for mobile devices.

How can you assess your current mix of mobile vs. desktop users?

An easy way to see what percentage of your users is on mobile is to go into Google Analytics 4.

  • Click Reports in the left column.
  • Click on the Insights icon on the right side of the screen.
  • Scroll down to Suggested Questions and click on it.
  • Click on Technology.
  • Click on Top Device model by Users.
  • Then click on Top Device category by Users under Related Results.
  • The breakdown of Top Device category will match the date range selected at the top of GA4.
Screenshot from GA4, March 2024

You can also set up a report in Looker Studio.

  • Add your site to the Data source.
  • Add Device category to the Dimension field.
  • Add 30-day active users to the Metric field.
  • Click on Chart to select the view that works best for you.
A screen capture from Looker Studio showing a pie chart with a breakdown of mobile, desktop, tablet, and Smart TV users for a siteScreenshot from Looker Studio, March 2024

You can add more Dimensions to really dig into the data to see which pages attract which type of users, what the mobile-to-desktop mix is by country, which search engines send the most mobile users, and so much more.

Read more: Why Mobile And Desktop Rankings Are Different

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How To Check If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Now that you know how to build a report on mobile and desktop usage, you need to figure out if your site is optimized for mobile traffic.

While Google removed the mobile-friendly testing tool from Google Search Console in December 2023, there are still a number of useful tools for evaluating your site for mobile users.

Bing still has a mobile-friendly testing tool that will tell you the following:

  • Viewport is configured correctly.
  • Page content fits device width.
  • Text on the page is readable.
  • Links and tap targets are sufficiently large and touch-friendly.
  • Any other issues detected.

Google’s Lighthouse Chrome extension provides you with an evaluation of your site’s performance across several factors, including load times, accessibility, and SEO.

To use, install the Lighthouse Chrome extension.

  • Go to your website in your browser.
  • Click on the orange lighthouse icon in your browser’s address bar.
  • Click Generate Report.
  • A new tab will open and display your scores once the evaluation is complete.
An image showing the Lighthouse Scores for a website.Screenshot from Lighthouse, March 2024

You can also use the Lighthouse report in Developer Tools in Chrome.

  • Simply click on the three dots next to the address bar.
  • Select “More Tools.”
  • Select Developer Tools.
  • Click on the Lighthouse tab.
  • Choose “Mobile” and click the “Analyze page load” button.
An image showing how to get to Lighthouse within Google Chrome Developer Tools.Screenshot from Lighthouse, March 2024

Another option that Google offers is the PageSpeed Insights (PSI) tool. Simply add your URL into the field and click Analyze.

PSI will integrate any Core Web Vitals scores into the resulting view so you can see what your users are experiencing when they come to your site.

An image showing the PageSpeed Insights scores for a website.Screenshot from PageSpeed Insights, March 2024

Other tools, like WebPageTest.org, will graphically display the processes and load times for everything it takes to display your webpages.

With this information, you can see which processes block the loading of your pages, which ones take the longest to load, and how this affects your overall page load times.

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You can also emulate the mobile experience by using Developer Tools in Chrome, which allows you to switch back and forth between a desktop and mobile experience.

An image showing how to change the device emulation for a site within Google Chrome Developer ToolsScreenshot from Google Chrome Developer Tools, March 2024

Lastly, use your own mobile device to load and navigate your website:

  • Does it take forever to load?
  • Are you able to navigate your site to find the most important information?
  • Is it easy to add something to cart?
  • Can you read the text?

Read more: Google PageSpeed Insights Reports: A Technical Guide

How To Optimize Your Site Mobile-First

With all these tools, keep an eye on the Performance and Accessibility scores, as these directly affect mobile users.

Expand each section within the PageSpeed Insights report to see what elements are affecting your score.

These sections can give your developers their marching orders for optimizing the mobile experience.

While mobile speeds for cellular networks have steadily improved around the world (the average speed in the U.S. has jumped to 27.06 Mbps from 11.14 Mbps in just eight years), speed and usability for mobile users are at a premium.

Read more: Top 7 SEO Benefits Of Responsive Web Design

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Best Practices For Mobile Optimization

Unlike traditional SEO, which can focus heavily on ensuring that you are using the language of your users as it relates to the intersection of your products/services and their needs, optimizing for mobile SEO can seem very technical SEO-heavy.

While you still need to be focused on matching your content with the needs of the user, mobile search optimization will require the aid of your developers and designers to be fully effective.

Below are several key factors in mobile SEO to keep in mind as you’re optimizing your site.

Site Rendering

How your site responds to different devices is one of the most important elements in mobile SEO.

The two most common approaches to this are responsive design and dynamic serving.

Responsive design is the most common of the two options.

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Using your site’s cascading style sheets (CSS) and flexible layouts, as well as responsive content delivery networks (CDN) and modern image file types, responsive design allows your site to adjust to a variety of screen sizes, orientations, and resolutions.

With the responsive design, elements on the page adjust in size and location based on the size of the screen.

You can simply resize the window of your desktop browser and see how this works.

An image showing the difference between Web.dev in a full desktop display vs. a mobile display using responsive design.Screenshot from web.dev, March 2024

This is the approach that Google recommends.

Adaptive design, also known as dynamic serving, consists of multiple fixed layouts that are dynamically served to the user based on their device.

Sites can have a separate layout for desktop, smartphone, and tablet users. Each design can be modified to remove functionality that may not make sense for certain device types.

This is a less efficient approach, but it does give sites more control over what each device sees.

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While these will not be covered here, two other options:

  • Progressive Web Apps (PWA), which can seamlessly integrate into a mobile app.
  • Separate mobile site/URL (which is no longer recommended).

Read more: An Introduction To Rendering For SEO

Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

Google has introduced Interaction to Next Paint (INP) as a more comprehensive measure of user experience, succeeding First Input Delay. While FID measures the time from when a user first interacts with your page (e.g., clicking a link, tapping a button) to the time when the browser is actually able to begin processing event handlers in response to that interaction. INP, on the other hand, broadens the scope by measuring the responsiveness of a website throughout the entire lifespan of a page, not just first interaction.

Note that actions such as hovering and scrolling do not influence INP, however, keyboard-driven scrolling or navigational actions are considered keystrokes that may activate events measured by INP but not scrolling which is happeing due to interaction.

Scrolling may indirectly affect INP, for example in scenarios where users scroll through content, and additional content is lazy-loaded from the API. While the act of scrolling itself isn’t included in the INP calculation, the processing, necessary for loading additional content, can create contention on the main thread, thereby increasing interaction latency and adversely affecting the INP score.

What qualifies as an optimal INP score?

  • An INP under 200ms indicates good responsiveness.
  • Between 200ms and 500ms needs improvement.
  • Over 500ms means page has poor responsiveness.

and these are common issues causing poor INP scores:

  1. Long JavaScript Tasks: Heavy JavaScript execution can block the main thread, delaying the browser’s ability to respond to user interactions. Thus break long JS tasks into smaller chunks by using scheduler API.
  2. Large DOM (HTML) Size: A large DOM ( starting from 1500 elements) can severely impact a website’s interactive performance. Every additional DOM element increases the work required to render pages and respond to user interactions.
  3. Inefficient Event Callbacks: Event handlers that execute lengthy or complex operations can significantly affect INP scores. Poorly optimized callbacks attached to user interactions, like clicks, keypress or taps, can block the main thread, delaying the browser’s ability to render visual feedback promptly. For example when handlers perform heavy computations or initiate synchronous network requests such on clicks.

and you can troubleshoot INP issues using free and paid tools.

As a good starting point I would recommend to check your INP scores by geos via treo.sh which will give you a great high level insights where you struggle with most.

INP scores by GeosINP scores by Geos

Read more: How To Improve Interaction To Next Paint (INP)

Image Optimization

Images add a lot of value to the content on your site and can greatly affect the user experience.

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From page speeds to image quality, you could adversely affect the user experience if you haven’t optimized your images.

This is especially true for the mobile experience. Images need to adjust to smaller screens, varying resolutions, and screen orientation.

  • Use responsive images
  • Implement lazy loading
  • Compress your images (use WebP)
  • Add your images into sitemap

Optimizing images is an entire science, and I advise you to read our comprehensive guide on image SEO how to implement the mentioned recommendations.

Avoid Intrusive Interstitials

Google rarely uses concrete language to state that something is a ranking factor or will result in a penalty, so you know it means business about intrusive interstitials in the mobile experience.

Intrusive interstitials are basically pop-ups on a page that prevent the user from seeing content on the page.

John Mueller, Google’s Senior Search Analyst, stated that they are specifically interested in the first interaction a user has after clicking on a search result.

Examples of intrusive interstitial pop-ups on a mobile site according to Google.

Not all pop-ups are considered bad. Interstitial types that are considered “intrusive” by Google include:

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  • Pop-ups that cover most or all of the page content.
  • Non-responsive interstitials or pop-ups that are impossible for mobile users to close.
  • Pop-ups that are not triggered by a user action, such as a scroll or a click.

Read more: 7 Tips To Keep Pop-Ups From Harming Your SEO

Structured Data

Most of the tips provided in this guide so far are focused on usability and speed and have an additive effect, but there are changes that can directly influence how your site appears in mobile search results.

Search engine results pages (SERPs) haven’t been the “10 blue links” in a very long time.

They now reflect the diversity of search intent, showing a variety of different sections to meet the needs of users. Local Pack, shopping listing ads, video content, and more dominate the mobile search experience.

As a result, it’s more important than ever to provide structured data markup to the search engines, so they can display rich results for users.

In this example, you can see that both Zojirushi and Amazon have included structured data for their rice cookers, and Google is displaying rich results for both.

An image of a search result for Japanese rice cookers that shows rich results for Zojirushi and Amazon.Screenshot from search for [Japanese rice cookers], Google, March 2024

Adding structured data markup to your site can influence how well your site shows up for local searches and product-related searches.

Using JSON-LD, you can mark up the business, product, and services data on your pages in Schema markup.

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If you use WordPress as the content management system for your site, there are several plugins available that will automatically mark up your content with structured data.

Read more: What Structured Data To Use And Where To Use It?

Content Style

When you think about your mobile users and the screens on their devices, this can greatly influence how you write your content.

Rather than long, detailed paragraphs, mobile users prefer concise writing styles for mobile reading.

Each key point in your content should be a single line of text that easily fits on a mobile screen.

Your font sizes should adjust to the screen’s resolution to avoid eye strain for your users.

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If possible, allow for a dark or dim mode for your site to further reduce eye strain.

Headers should be concise and address the searcher’s intent. Rather than lengthy section headers, keep it simple.

Finally, make sure that your text renders in a font size that’s readable.

Read more: 10 Tips For Creating Mobile-Friendly Content

Tap Targets

As important as text size, the tap targets on your pages should be sized and laid out appropriately.

Tap targets include navigation elements, links, form fields, and buttons like “Add to Cart” buttons.

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Targets smaller than 48 pixels by 48 pixels and targets that overlap or are overlapped by other page elements will be called out in the Lighthouse report.

Tap targets are essential to the mobile user experience, especially for ecommerce websites, so optimizing them is vital to the health of your online business.

Read more: Google’s Lighthouse SEO Audit Tool Now Measures Tap Target Spacing

Prioritizing These Tips

If you have delayed making your site mobile-friendly until now, this guide may feel overwhelming. As a result, you may not know what to prioritize first.

As with so many other optimizations in SEO, it’s important to understand which changes will have the greatest impact, and this is just as true for mobile SEO.

Think of SEO as a framework in which your site’s technical aspects are the foundation of your content. Without a solid foundation, even the best content may struggle to rank.

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  • Responsive or Dynamic Rendering: If your site requires the user to zoom and scroll right or left to read the content on your pages, no number of other optimizations can help you. This should be first on your list.
  • Content Style: Rethink how your users will consume your content online. Avoid very long paragraphs. “Brevity is the soul of wit,” to quote Shakespeare.
  • Image Optimization: Begin migrating your images to next-gen image formats and optimize your content display network for speed and responsiveness.
  • Tap Targets: A site that prevents users from navigating or converting into sales won’t be in business long. Make navigation, links, and buttons usable for them.
  • Structured Data: While this element ranks last in priority on this list, rich results can improve your chances of receiving traffic from a search engine, so add this to your to-do list once you’ve completed the other optimizations.

Summary

From How Search Works, “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

If Google’s primary mission is focused on making all the world’s information accessible and useful, then you know they will prefer surfacing sites that align with that vision.

Since a growing percentage of users are on mobile devices, you may want to infer the word “everywhere” added to the end of the mission statement.

Are you missing out on traffic from mobile devices because of a poor mobile experience?

If you hope to remain relevant, make mobile SEO a priority now.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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SEO

HARO Has Been Dead for a While

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HARO Has Been Dead for a While

Every SEO’s favorite link-building collaboration tool, HARO, was officially killed off for good last week by Cision. It’s now been wrapped into a new product: Connectively.

I know nothing about the new tool. I haven’t tried it. But after trying to use HARO recently, I can’t say I’m surprised or saddened by its death. It’s been a walking corpse for a while. 

I used HARO way back in the day to build links. It worked. But a couple of months ago, I experienced the platform from the other side when I decided to try to source some “expert” insights for our posts. 

After just a few minutes of work, I got hundreds of pitches: 

So, I grabbed a cup of coffee and began to work through them. It didn’t take long before I lost the will to live. Every other pitch seemed like nothing more than lazy AI-generated nonsense from someone who definitely wasn’t an expert. 

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Here’s one of them: 

Example of an AI-generated pitch in HAROExample of an AI-generated pitch in HARO

Seriously. Who writes like that? I’m a self-confessed dullard (any fellow Dull Men’s Club members here?), and even I’m not that dull… 

I don’t think I looked through more than 30-40 of the responses. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It felt like having a conversation with ChatGPT… and not a very good one! 

Despite only reviewing a few dozen of the many pitches I received, one stood out to me: 

Example HARO pitch that caught my attentionExample HARO pitch that caught my attention

Believe it or not, this response came from a past client of mine who runs an SEO agency in the UK. Given how knowledgeable and experienced he is (he actually taught me a lot about SEO back in the day when I used to hassle him with questions on Skype), this pitch rang alarm bells for two reasons: 

  1. I truly doubt he spends his time replying to HARO queries
  2. I know for a fact he’s no fan of Neil Patel (sorry, Neil, but I’m sure you’re aware of your reputation at this point!)

So… I decided to confront him 😉 

Here’s what he said: 

Hunch, confirmed ;)Hunch, confirmed ;)

Shocker. 

I pressed him for more details: 

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I’m getting a really good deal and paying per link rather than the typical £xxxx per month for X number of pitches. […] The responses as you’ve seen are not ideal but that’s a risk I’m prepared to take as realistically I dont have the time to do it myself. He’s not native english, but I have had to have a word with him a few times about clearly using AI. On the low cost ones I don’t care but on authority sites it needs to be more refined.

I think this pretty much sums up the state of HARO before its death. Most “pitches” were just AI answers from SEOs trying to build links for their clients. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not throwing shade here. I know that good links are hard to come by, so you have to do what works. And the reality is that HARO did work. Just look at the example below. You can tell from the anchor and surrounding text in Ahrefs that these links were almost certainly built with HARO: 

Example of links build with HARO, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerExample of links build with HARO, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

But this was the problem. HARO worked so well back in the day that it was only a matter of time before spammers and the #scale crew ruined it for everyone. That’s what happened, and now HARO is no more. So… 

If you’re a link builder, I think it’s time to admit that HARO link building is dead and move on. 

No tactic works well forever. It’s the law of sh**ty clickthroughs. This is why you don’t see SEOs having huge success with tactics like broken link building anymore. They’ve moved on to more innovative tactics or, dare I say it, are just buying links.

Sidenote.

Talking of buying links, here’s something to ponder: if Connectively charges for pitches, are links built through those pitches technically paid? If so, do they violate Google’s spam policies? It’s a murky old world this SEO lark, eh?

If you’re a journalist, Connectively might be worth a shot. But with experts being charged for pitches, you probably won’t get as many responses. That might be a good thing. You might get less spam. Or you might just get spammed by SEOs with deep pockets. The jury’s out for now. 

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My advice? Look for alternative methods like finding and reaching out to experts directly. You can easily use tools like Content Explorer to find folks who’ve written lots of content about the topic and are likely to be experts. 

For example, if you look for content with “backlinks” in the title and go to the Authors tab, you might see a familiar name. 😉 

Finding people to request insights from in Ahrefs' Content ExplorerFinding people to request insights from in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

I don’t know if I’d call myself an expert, but I’d be happy to give you a quote if you reached out on social media or emailed me (here’s how to find my email address).

Alternatively, you can bait your audience into giving you their insights on social media. I did this recently with a poll on X and included many of the responses in my guide to toxic backlinks.

Me, indirectly sourcing insights on social mediaMe, indirectly sourcing insights on social media

Either of these options is quicker than using HARO because you don’t have to sift through hundreds of responses looking for a needle in a haystack. If you disagree with me and still love HARO, feel free to tell me why on X 😉



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