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How to Fit SEO Into Your Marketing Strategy



How to Fit SEO Into Your Marketing Strategy

As digital marketing specialists, it’s easy to “have the blinkers on” and focus solely on the channel or channels nearest to your heart.

In my case, this is SEO. Having worked with several businesses and top brands over the past few years, I’ve learned that some specialists and marketing generalists are:

  • Cannibalizing efforts between channels.
  • Undervaluing organic search as a channel.
  • Failing to align SEO with other disciplines effectively.

In this guide, I’ll explain why you should include SEO in your marketing strategy. I’ll also explain how you can align SEO with other disciplines—from PPC to brand building.

How SEO helps you achieve strategic marketing objectives

Getting the “buy-in” for SEO investment can be tricky. In some businesses, this can lead to SEO being underutilized through a lack of investment and implementation. Here are four reasons why SEO should receive the focus it deserves.

You don’t have to pay per click

SEO is seen by many as an “always on” channel. It can take substantial investment to get going and some patience to see a return. However, once you build up your rankings, you’ll receive traffic essentially for “free” (no additional cost per click).

With SEO, a drop in spending won’t lead to losing all your traffic overnight. Paid advertising, on the other hand, is seen as a tap because you can switch the spending (and subsequently the traffic you receive) on and off.

Organic traffic is relatively sustainable

In SEO, you have to be in it for the long game. Unless you hold the brand authority of Wikipedia or Amazon, it’s hard to gain quality traffic overnight. 

Once you build up your rankings through a solid SEO strategy, the rewards are often here to stay without the need for continuous spending and reinvestment. This makes SEO more like a waterfall than a tap.

Organic traffic is continuous like a waterfall; traffic acquired via PPC can be turned on and off like a water tap

Building a sustainable stream of high-quality organic traffic to your website could be the difference between your business surviving or not surviving economic uncertainties. In challenging financial periods such as recessions, marketing budgets often get slashed, leaving channels like PPC stranded. With solid SEO foundations, however, you’ll continue to acquire users organically, even if you decide to tighten your budget for a short while.

That said, I don’t recommend making cuts to SEO budgets. Continuing your SEO efforts will ensure you are in the best position to steal an edge over your competitors.

SEO is targeted

Results served via organic search are inherently relevant to the query that is searched for by the user. This means you are serving your users a piece of content they want to see through organic search. The algorithm isn’t always 100% perfect, but it’s fair to say that Google does a great job ranking relevant organic search results.

The keyword also tells us a lot of information about what the user is looking to find. This allows us to target potential customers looking for our product or service.

Let’s say, for example, you run an online shop selling discounted football kits. Among several other search terms, you’ll be very interested in attracting potential customers searching for “cheap football kits.”

From this search term alone, we know that the users who search for this keyword want what we sell. Using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, we can also see that the keyword “cheap football kits” attracts 6,300 searches per month (globally).

Overview of "cheap football kits," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Alternative channels, on the other hand, are a lot less straightforward. In paid search, there are instances where Google may place your result for unwanted search terms.

From 2018, targeting paid keywords via “exact match” means you will appear for other search terms that Google decides have the “same meaning” as the targeted term. Therefore, “exact match” targeting isn’t really an exact match anymore. And it gets worse with broader targeting options.

Ability to target users at various stages in the funnel

In SEO, you’re not just limited to targeting users at one stage of the marketing funnel. The ability to target potential customers through informational blog content and transactional product/service-focused landing pages is what makes SEO both exciting and lucrative.

People use Google regularly to search for:

  • Answers to questions (informational search).
  • Solutions to problems (informational or transactional search).
  • Products or services (transactional search).
  • A specific website (navigational search).

SEOs can target all of the above by creating different types of content to suit the users’ needs determined by the keywords they are searching for.

Let’s say, for example, I run an online store selling kayaks. Here’s how we can target customers at various funnel stages through different types of content. 

Target keywords across the marketing funnel (stages include awareness, research, service or product, and brand)

For keywords such as “how to store a kayak” and “what size kayak do I need,” we are best suited to rank for these queries by providing dedicated informational content. 

Sure, the user may not be in a position to purchase a kayak right away. But now that we’ve helped them out, they may come back to us when they are ready to make a purchase.

For users searching “kayaks for sale,” we know from the search term that they are potentially looking to make a purchase right away. In this case, a product page best suits their needs, allowing users to make a swift purchase. 

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming the type of content based on the query alone, though. Remember that Google is a bot, and your idea of a page that meets the users’ needs and Google’s idea could be completely different.

This is why you should always manually check Google’s search results to confirm the best page type (or page template) that Google likes to serve for your targeted keyword.

Using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, simply enter your keyword and scroll down to the “SERP overview” to see what kind of pages are ranking. This method is great for seeing the search results alongside useful backlink and keyword data. 

SERP overview for the keyword "kayaks for sale," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Aligning SEO with other disciplines

Specialists can be guilty of becoming isolated from other channels. Often, you’ll hear debates about one discipline versus another, such as SEO vs. PPC. The reality is that having multiple strong-performing channels is vital for business success, and there’s often more opportunity to align than most specialists realize.

SEO and brand building/traditional advertising

Traditional advertising, such as TV, radio, and billboard advertising, can create a lot of search demand. How often within a TV advert are we prompted to “search” for a brand name or a product? 

The SEO team can ensure you are maximizing “SERP real estate” by being an entity in the Knowledge Graph and targeting search features such as People Also Ask. Furthermore, the SEO team can ensure all applicable content is up to date and well optimized.

Another area where the SEO department can help out traditional marketers is by using organic search to assist in market share calculations. Calculating market share is tricky, and the SEO team can help you calculate it through a metric called “share of search.”

At the EffWorks Global 2020 event hosted by IPA (a U.K. trade body), effectiveness guru Les Binet shared how he was experimenting with “share of search” to predict market share “sometimes up to a year ahead.” Les described the metric as a fast and predictive measure for short- and long-term ad effects. 

This metric looks specifically at branded, organic search volume data. To calculate your “share of search,” you divide the total search volume of your brand against the total search volume of all brands in your niche (including your own).

Equation of Les Binet's "share of search"

For example, I’ve taken five popular U.S. donut brands and put them into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Respective search volumes of five major U.S. donut brands, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

We can see that Dunkin Donuts is by far and away the most popular, with a 69% market share across these five brands (8.3 million/12 million).

Of course, there are more than five big donut brands in the U.S. The more expansive you go with your list, the more accurate your calculation will be.

SEO and paid search

Both SEO and paid search teams work with keywords a lot. This provides the perfect opportunity for sharing resources, particularly those keyword research files that often take hours to compile. But it’s not just about the keyword data. Sharing analytics data between teams is also useful, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and other metrics.

As highlighted earlier in this article, PPC is instant, whereas SEO requires more of a “runway” to achieve results. This is the exact reason that these two teams should align on strategy. 

Let’s say you have identified some top new keywords to target and want to gain traffic via these keywords right away. While you wait for your optimized content to be crawled by Google, to mature, and to subsequently rank, the PPC team can immediately acquire traffic for these keywords.

Acquire traffic instantly via PPC during the "SEO runway" period

Once you are through the “SEO runway” and generating organic traffic for these keywords, the PPC team may then consider moving the spending to alternative keywords to generate organic traffic.

A common question is, “Should PPC target keywords that already perform well in SEO?” There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as all approaches have pros and cons.

By targeting the same keywords through SEO and PPC, you are holding two results competing against each other. Many believe this is a good thing, as it leads to more SERP “real estate,” which ultimately leads to more clicks overall. 

That said, you will inevitably be paying for some clicks you would have already received for free through the organic result. This leads to a drop in organic traffic for the respective keywords.

Jamie’s verdict

I always review this on a case-by-case basis. More often than not, my recommendation is not to target the same keywords through both SEO and PPC. It’s impossible to rank in position #1 organically for all relevant keywords to your business. So I find it more effective to avoid the overlap and ensure PPC teams are using their budget to target keywords that are yet to rank or are underperforming in SEO. 

That said, if certain keywords are critical to a business, then there is certainly a business case to go for “SERP dominance” and target through both SEO and PPC.

Successful PPC campaigns can also indirectly have a positive impact on SEO. Backlinks are a key ranking factor in SEO. The more visibility your content receives, the more likely people are to link to your site. In the video below, Ahrefs’ Sam Oh explains how PPC advertising can help build those all-important links.

SEO and UX

SEOs and user experience teams have been prone to the odd fallout over strategy. In modern SEO, however, the two teams should be more aligned than ever.

Shady tactics that game the algorithm and offer a poor experience no longer work in SEO. Google’s algorithm is now much more advanced and looks to reward high-quality websites that provide a good experience to their users.

There are several user experience factors that influence SEO. Mobile optimization is one of the more prominent examples.

Most web users now use a mobile device instead of a desktop or tablet. This is reflected in Google’s algorithm, with mobile usability being an important ranking factor. Google will also predominantly crawl the mobile version of your website.

Another UX optimization, which is also a ranking signal in SEO, is page speed.

Page speed, albeit more of a minor ranking signal, is used in the algorithm and is more important than ever in SEO following the introduction of Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor in 2021. Core Web Vitals focus on three key metrics that have a big impact on the experience of the user. Largest Contentful Paint (loading), First Input Delay (interactivity), and Cumulative Layout Shift (visual stability).

Both Core Web Vitals and mobile friendliness fall under Google’s “Page Experience” set of ranking signals. This also includes site security via SSL certification (HTTPS over HTTP) and not displaying intrusive interstitials (pop-ups).

Google's search signals for Page Experience

A third key optimization used in both UX and SEO is site structure. Ensuring your content is organized and internally linked helps users and bots discover your content.

Keen to hear more about the importance of site structure for both UX and SEO? Be sure to check out our Michal Pecánek’s guide to website structure.

Bonus tip

Breadcrumbs are great for user experience. They allow users (and bots) to navigate through the site’s structure easily.

Breadcrumb linking is an aspect of internal linking that is undervalued. Breadcrumb links are highly effective at passing PageRank due to their prominent on-page location.

SEO and PR

Public relations (PR) can have a significant influence on SEO performance. So much so that SEOs have formed digital PR (DPR or sometimes “SEO PR”), a spin-off of traditional PR designed to focus on the areas that benefit SEO the most. 

While similar to traditional PR, DPR is more focused on building backlinks and growing brand awareness through online publications.

Pie chart showing differences and overlapping aspect of traditional PR and digital PR

Link building is one of three key pillars in SEO. What sets DPR link building apart from the rest is that you build links from authoritative publications in a natural, “white hat,” and high-quality way.

SEOs, PRs, or DPRs can align with traditional PR teams by sharing media lists (often journalist contacts) and data. This allows for more efficiency as they work toward their respective goals.

Bonus tip

Be aware that PR experts can be territorial when it comes to outreach, but this is perfectly understandable. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. They won’t want us to dive in and ruin relationships they have spent a lot of time building.

So how can we go about this? My colleague, Charlotte Crowther, who is the digital PR manager at Kaizen, shares her top three tips to ease this situation:

  1. Remind traditional PRs of the shared interests Although we may have slightly different KPIs, we are working toward the same goal: getting the best coverage for our business.
  2. Give them more of an understanding of our process – Being transparent about processes can help ease concerns. Despite having PR in the name, DPRs approach things quite differently from traditional PRs.
  3. Set out the rules from the very beginning Starting the relationship with strong communication from the very beginning will help create any required workarounds, avoiding potential bumps in the road at every turn caused by a lack of communication.

Here’s an example of how you can build natural, high-quality backlinks through exciting digital PR campaigns.

At Kaizen, we worked with the folks at the startup, DirectlyApply. They tasked us with a link building campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enter Susan, the future of the remote worker. Susan is a shocking 3D model of a remote worker’s appearance after staying at home for 25 years.

Visualization of Susan, the future remote worker alongside examples of media coverage

Susan was the talk of the U.K., with several media outlets talking about the physical impacts of working from home. The campaign resulted in over 200 backlinks and over 400 pieces of coverage.

Graph showing backlinks built following email outreach; initial spike in backlinks acquired is followed by a stable increase
Image from the Overview report, via Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Not only did this campaign generate those all-important backlinks, but it also drove huge traction on social media. Susan generated over 60,000 shares, raising brand awareness even further.

SEO and social media

You might assume that SEO and social media teams have little in common. But there are tons of ways these teams should work together.

Social media is a great way to get eyes on your site, whether it be traditional social media sites (such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) or video marketing sites (such as YouTube and TikTok). Similarly to all channels, the more people we have reading our content, the more likely we will naturally build relevant backlinks.

Social media is great for generating that initial “buzz” around new content and directing traffic to our pages. Rand Fishkin calls this the “spike of hope.” After a short while, however, this excitement wanes and clicks dry up, leading to the “flatline of nope.”

The initial spike in traffic is followed by an immediate drop-off

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s how social media marketing works. You focus on one piece of content and move on to the next exciting piece of content quickly.

That’s precisely why these two channels should be working together to avoid the “spike of hope, flatline of nope” scenario. The social media team is on hand to deliver that instant boost in traffic for new content. Then the SEO team is on hand to provide consistent traffic.

Initial spike in traffic is followed by a consistent stream of traffic that's acquired organically

Not all content intended for SEO will instantly be guaranteed success on socials. Campaigns led by DPRs, however, are often exciting, engaging, and shareable. Keeping DPRs involved in this relationship is beneficial for social media teams, as they can boost these campaigns through social media and reformat future content for social channels.

Looking to acquire traffic through Google Discover? In Michal’s blog on this topic, he discusses the correlation between posts that get traction on social media and those that perform well on Google Discover.

In a quirky social media test, JR Oakes encouraged his followers to engage in a low-quality post, receiving over 100 retweets, 50+ likes, and many replies. The result? JR’s article indeed landed in Google Discover.

Correlation does not equal causation, of course. That said, there’s no harm in giving your SEO content that extra boost through social media.

Final thoughts

We’ve seen how SEO can interact and work with other marketing channels and how important strong alignment is in today’s omnichannel marketing world.

It’s important to remember that all channels are working toward driving growth for your business. So working together well will bring out the best in each channel for optimal growth.

Key takeaways:

  • Align your SEO efforts with your strategic objectives
  • Use “share of search” as a predictive metric to calculate market share
  • Lean on PPC and social media to generate traffic during the “SEO runway” period
  • SEO and UX teams have a lot more in common in modern times
  • Ensure traditional PR and DPR teams are on the same page

Have any questions? Ping me on Twitter and let me know.

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4 Tactics for High-Quality Backlinks That Move the Needle [+ Examples]



Many popular link building tactics produce low-quality links that don’t improve SEO performance.

Even if these techniques make an impact, it’s often for a short time, and Google can easily devalue them down the line. 

Here are four tactics for building high-quality links that help you stay ahead of your competition, expose your brand to new audiences, and are less likely to be devalued in future algorithm updates. 

Digital PR is the process of creating content that appeals to journalists and promoting it to them. 

If they like the content, they’ll write a feature about it or include it in a piece they’re writing. This can land you many high-quality backlinks from big sites and news publications for free.


In the months following ChatGPT’s release, Fery Kaszoni and his team at Search Intelligence compiled statistics about Open AI’s popularity since launching ChatGPT and compared it to other popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

The result? 60+ free link placements, including mentions on Yahoo News (DR 92), The Wrap (DR 84), and Time magazine (DR 92). 

A few examples of backlinks earned by a piece of content about Open AI’s popularity since launching ChatGPT

In another campaign, Fery and his team calculated how much money beloved video characters would earn in real life. This campaign earned 20+ free links including a DR89 link from British newspaper, The Daily Express. 

Example of a high-DR like from Daily ExpressExample of a high-DR like from Daily Express

How to do it 

Successful Digital PR requires some creativity, but this is the process in a nutshell: 

  1. Find a trending topic 
  2. Create relevant newsworthy content around that topic 
  3. Tell journalists about it 

For example, AI has been a major topic of conversation in all industries since it launched. Any new data or insights about it would go well in news cycles while it remains a topic of interest. 

Once you have a topic, you need to come up with interesting content ideas that are relevant to your business.

The best topics for digital PRThe best topics for digital PR

This is the hard part. It’s really a case of brainstorming ideas until you land on something you think could be interesting. 

For example, here are a few random content ideas for a company that sells furniture online: 

  • Have AI refurnish rooms from popular TV shows in new styles. 
  • Have AI design a new item of furniture, create it, and sell it. 
  • Ask 100 interior designers if they’re worried about AI taking their jobs, share the data. 

After you find your winning idea, create the content, give it an attention-grabbing headline, and write a press release about the most interesting insights. 

Then, promote your content to journalists. You can try services like Roxhill or Muck Rack to find journalists who might be interested in your content. 

You can also use a tool like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to find sites that have recently published content about your topic and reach out to them. 

Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Enter your topic into Content Explorer 
  2. Filter for pages published in the last 90 days 
  3. Filter for pages on DR70+ websites (big sites that you probably want links from) 

For example, if we do this for the topic of “chatgpt,” we see thousands of well-known websites that have recently published about ChatGPT including Business Insider, Tech Republic, and Wired. 

Finding websites that recently published about a topic with Content ExplorerFinding websites that recently published about a topic with Content Explorer

Data journalism is a way of enhancing or creating newsworthy content by analyzing unique data sets. It can fall under digital PR, though it typically requires more detailed research. 

This technique works because reporters love a good statistic they can either quote or write an opinion piece about. Be the source of such data, and you can earn many high-quality links anytime your data becomes relevant to trending news topics. 


Data journalism can be quite simple. For example, in another case study from Search Intelligence, Fery’s team used Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer as a data source for a cybersecurity PR campaign. 

The study reveals the top UK banks where customers seek help with fraud, allowing journalists to report on which banks are more secure than others. 

The data fuelling these insights is keyword search volume. That’s it. 

Ahrefs' data that fuelled a cybersecurity PR campaignAhrefs' data that fuelled a cybersecurity PR campaign

This method doesn’t take very long, doesn’t need a data scientist and can very easily be replicated in other industries where search popularity can unearth interesting insights. 

In another example (and perhaps one of our all time favorites), marketing firm Yard created a data study comparing the CO2 emissions of various celebrities and ranking the worst offenders. 

Data study on the C02 emissions of celebritiesData study on the C02 emissions of celebrities

If you follow celebrity news, there’s no way you missed reports of Taylor Swift’s private jet emissions being among the highest compared to other celebrities. 

Just a few of the thousands of posts about Taylor Swift's jet emissions following a successful data journalism campaignJust a few of the thousands of posts about Taylor Swift's jet emissions following a successful data journalism campaign

Every single one of these news stories originated from the data study. 

When the study was first released, it went viral and earned links from almost 2,000 referring domains within the first month. 

But that’s not all. 

This topic trended in news cycles again when rumours spread that Taylor Swift attended a Jets game to bury the original negative publicity about her private jet usage, earning Yard a well-deserved second round of links. 

Google Trends data for "taylor swift jet" Google Trends data for "taylor swift jet"

Today, this post has 1,861 links from 1,155 referring domains, 77% of them are dofollow, and 38.4% are higher than DR 60. 

DR distribution of backlinks to the celebrity C02 emissions content pieceDR distribution of backlinks to the celebrity C02 emissions content piece

Talk about drool-worthy results! That’s high-quality link building done right. 

How to do it 

Successful data journalism is similar to digital PR but relies on the intriguing, data-backed insights you can unearth. 

In a nutshell, the process looks like this: 

  1. Find a data-driven content angle that gets links and media attention 
  2. Gather data to provide new or updated insights on the topic 
  3. Tell journalists about your findings 

Start by considering “your money or your life” content angles that everyday folk care about. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking too narrow or pitching ideas only a small demographic may understand. 

For instance, cybersecurity is not a sexy topic journalists or their readers will likely care about. There’s also not a high degree of literacy about the topic among the general population. 

But everyone cares about whether their bank is secure and how safe their money is. 

This concept needs no explanation and that’s exactly why data that helps answer the question “how safe is your bank?” worked exceptionally well as a link building tactic in the example above. 

You can also use Content Explorer to gather more ideas like: 

  • Evergreen yet stale topics that you can update with more recent data 
  • Data you can visualize better or repurpose into a different content format 
  • Trending angles in other industries you can apply to your industry 

For example, on the topic of ChatGPT, we found Rand Fishkin’s post claiming usage has declined 29% between May and August 2023 and that 30% of its usage is by programmers. 

Finding content ideas in Content ExplorerFinding content ideas in Content Explorer

You don’t need original ideas to succeed. If you’ve got the data to back it up, you can easily take the angles of a “useage patterns” or “most popular audience segments” and apply them to popular tools in your industry. 

Some decent data sources you can start with include: 

  • Search data: Like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer for uncovering interesting search patterns. 
  • Historical data: Like Google Trends for highlighting growth or decline patterns over time. 
  • Scientific research: Like on Google Scholar or in specific research journals. 
  • Public niche data: For instance, Yard’s study used the CelebrityJets Twitter page. 
  • Proprietary data: From within your (or your client’s) organization. 

When you find an interesting insight or pattern worth sharing, write a press release about it and share it with journalists who frequently report on the topic. 

Statistics pages are curated lists of facts and figures in a particular industry. These pages attract evergreen links for as long as the statistics remain relevant. 

It’s one of our favorite link building tactics. Here’s how we’ve used it quite successfully over the years. 


We first launched a detailed list of SEO statistics in 2020 and it has been naturally earning high-quality links ever since. 

Backlinks over time to our SEO statistics pageBacklinks over time to our SEO statistics page

Currently, the page has: 

  • 5,787 backlinks
  • 2,282 referring domains 
  • 82% “dofollow” links 
  • 37.7% from DR 60+ websites

While we used some outreach techniques in the early days, most of the success has come from the page’s ability to maintain top position rankings for competitive keywords.

Rankings for our SEO statistics pageRankings for our SEO statistics page

Do it right, and this tactic remains wildly effective for earning links naturally for many years. 

How to do it 

Start by entering a few broad topics related to your website into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. For example, we might enter the following for Ahrefs: 

  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Link building

Then navigate to the Matching Terms report and apply the inclusion filter for things like stats, statistics, facts, or figures. Make sure your filter is set to include any of these phrases. 

Then it’s just a matter of checking out the results to find a relevant topic you want to write about. 

We went for “SEO statistics”: 

Finding statistics keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFinding statistics keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Once you pick your topic, it’s a just matter of curating linkworthy stats and publishing them on a page. 

While you can earn some seed links with early outreach efforts, long term success comes down to keeping your content updated with the latest data. That’s the best way to compound performance year on year, earning many high-quality links with no ongoing outreach needed. 

Relationship-based link building prioritizes long-term relationships with journalists, writers, and editors. 

It is an effective addition to digital PR campaigns as you can shortcut the time it takes to find the right people to distribute your content. 

Better yet, you can be a journalist’s first point of call when they write a story on topics you or your clients are experts in. 


Imagine having journalists contact you asking to feature your clients in upcoming stories. That’s exactly what growth marketing firm, EngineRoom, has achieved.

A journalist from Mamamia (DR 78) made a call out on Sourcebottle, the Australian equivalent of HARO, seeking expert advice on immigration law. EngineRoom’s link building expert, Don Milne, responded and won the story along with a high-quality link. 

Example of a backlink built with relationship-based link buildingExample of a backlink built with relationship-based link building

Then, the real magic started. 

Instead of ending things there, Don also shared a client list with the journalist in case they ever wanted to collaborate on future stories again. 

Sure enough, a few weeks later, the journalist reached out, asking to connect with another client in the drug rehab space to develop a story on heroin addiction. The client is featured in about 30% of the completed article with detailed quotes from the founder and (of course) a link back to their website. 

Example of a backlink built with relationship-based link buildingExample of a backlink built with relationship-based link building

No pitching. No outreach. Just a genuine partnership and collaboration now earning multiple high-quality links for their clients. 

How to do it 

This technique is all about the follow-up after you collaborate on your first story with a journalist. 

If getting the first foot in the door is where you’re stuck, you can check out our detailed guide on relationship-based link building by Irina Maltseva, the former Head of Marketing at Hunter. 

Once you get that first story, make sure you keep the relationship going. 

If you have a list of websites or clients you represent, create a professional document with a mini bio about each client. Make sure it’s also easily searchable for writers in a hurry and makes your contact details clear and easy to access. 

Then, share it with journalists, writers, and editors you collaborate with so they can refer to it in the future if they need an expert on a specific topic for their content. 

Final thoughts

Earning high-quality backlinks can be much easier than many people realize and cheaper too! All the examples shared in this post earned free link placements on high-authority websites and with minimal outreach. 

These techniques have more staying power. They are also far less likely to be seen as “link manipulation” or devalued in future Google updates. 

And, if you get your content angle just right, they also have the potential to be earning links many months, if not years, down the track! 

Got questions? Ping me on LinkedIn.

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Google To Curb Microtargeting In Consumer Finance Ads




Google To Curb Microtargeting In Consumer Finance Ads

Google is updating its policy limiting personalized advertising to include more restrictions on ads related to consumer financial products and services.

Google’s personalized ads policy prohibits targeting users based on sensitive categories like race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Over the years, Google has continued updating the policy to introduce new limitations. The latest update to restrict consumer finance ads is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to refine its ad targeting practices.

What’s Changing?

Google will update its personalized ads policy in February 2024 to prevent advertisers from targeting audiences for credit and banking ads based on sensitive factors like gender, age, parental status, marital status, or zip code.

Google’s current policy prohibiting “Credit in personalized ads” will be renamed “Consumer finance in personalized ads” under the changes.

Google’s new policy will state:

“In the United States and Canada, the following sensitive interest categories cannot be targeted to audiences based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code.

Offers relating to credit or products or services related to credit lending, banking products and services, or certain financial planning and management services.”

Google provided examples, including “credit cards and loans including home loans, car loans, appliance loans, short-term loans,” as well as “banking and checking accounts” and “debt management products.”

When Does The New Policy Take Effect?

The updated limitations on personalized advertising will take effect on February 28, 2024, with full enforcement expected within six weeks.

Google said advertisers in violation will receive a warning at least seven days before any account suspension.

According to Google, the policy change aims to protect users’ privacy better and prevent discrimination in financial services advertising.

However, the company will still allow generalized ads for credit and banking products that do not use sensitive personal data for targeting.

What Do Advertisers Need To Do?

Google will begin enforcing the updated restrictions in late February 2024 but advises advertisers to review their campaigns for compliance issues sooner.

Advertisers should carefully check their ad targeting settings, remove improper personalization based on sensitive categories, and adhere to the revised policy requirements.

Failure to follow the rules could lead to account suspension after an initial warning. Google will work with advertisers to ensure a smooth transition during the ramp-up period over the next six months.

Featured Image: SurfsUp/Shutterstock

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Google Discusses Fixing 404 Errors From Inbound Links




Google Discusses Fixing 404 Errors From Inbound Links

Google’s John Mueller responded to a thread in Reddit about finding and fixing inbound broken links, offering a nuanced insight that some broken links are worth finding and fixing and others are not.

Reddit Question About Inbound Broken Links

Someone asked on Reddit if there’s a way to find broken links for free.

This is the question:

“Is it possible to locate broken links in a similar manner to identifying expired domain names?”

The person asking the question clarified if this was a question about an inbound broken link from an external site.

John Mueller Explains How To Find 404 Errors To Fix

John Mueller responded:

“If you want to see which links to your website are broken & “relevant”, you can look at the analytics of your 404 page and check the referrers there, filtering out your domain.

This brings up those which actually get traffic, which is probably a good proxy.

If you have access to your server logs, you could get it in a bit more detail + see which ones search engine bots crawl.

It’s a bit of technical work, but no external tools needed, and likely a better estimation of what’s useful to fix/redirect.”

In his response, John Mueller answers the question on how to find 404 responses caused by broken inbound links and identify what’s “useful to fix” or to “redirect.”

Mueller Advises On When Not To “Fix” 404 Pages

John Mueller next offered advice on when it doesn’t make sense to not fix a 404 page.

Mueller explained:

“Keep in mind that you don’t have to fix 404 pages, having things go away is normal & fine.

The SEO ‘value’ of bringing a 404 back is probably less than the work you put into it.”

Some 404s Should Be Fixed And Some Don’t Need Fixing

John Mueller said that there are situations where a 404 error generated from an inbound link is easy to fix and suggested ways to find those errors and fix them.

Mueller also said that there are some cases where it’s basically a waste of time.

What wasn’t mentioned was what the difference was between the two and this may have caused some confusion.

Inbound Broken Links To Existing Webpages

There are times when another sites links into your site but uses the wrong URL. Traffic from the broken link on the outside site will generate a 404 response code on your site.

These kinds of links are easy to find and useful to fix.

There are other situations when an outside site will link to the correct webpage but the webpage URL changed and the 301 redirect is missing.

Those kinds of inbound broken links are also easy to find and useful to fix. If in doubt, read our guide on when to redirect URLs.

In both of those cases the inbound broken links to the existing webpages will generate a 404 response and this will show up in server logs, Google Search Console and in plugins like the Redirection WordPress plugin.

If the site is on WordPress and it’s using the Redirection plugin, identifying the problem is easy because the Redirection plugin offers a report of all 404 responses with all the necessary information for diagnosing and fixing the problem.

In the case where the Redirection plugin isn’t used one can also hand code an .htaccess rule for handling the redirect.

Lastly, one can contact the other website that’s generating the broken link and ask them to fix it. There’s always a small chance that the other site might decide to remove the link altogether. So it might be easier and faster to just fix it on your side.

Whichever approach is taken to fix the external inbound broken link, finding and fixing these issues is relatively simple.

Inbound Broken Links To Removed Pages

There are other situations where an old webpage was removed for a legitimate reason, like an event passed or a service is no longer offered.

In that case it makes sense to just show a 404 response code because that’s one of the reasons why a 404 response should be shown. It’s not a bad thing to show a 404 response.

Some people might want to get some value from the inbound link and create a new webpage to stand in for the missing page.

But that might not be useful because the link is for something that is irrelevant and of no use because the reason for the page no longer exists.

Even if you create a new reason, it’s possible that some of that link equity might flow to the page but it’s useless because the topic of that inbound link is totally irrelevant to anyting but the expired reason.

Redirecting the missing page to the home page is a strategy that some people use to benefit from the link to a page that no longer exists. But Google treats those links as Soft 404s, which then passes no benefit.

These are the cases that John Mueller was probably referring to when he said:

“…you don’t have to fix 404 pages, having things go away is normal & fine.

The SEO ‘value’ of bringing a 404 back is probably less than the work you put into it.”

Mueller is right, there are some pages that should be gone and totally removed from a website and the proper server response for those pages should be a 404 error response.

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