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How to Get Backlinks for a New Site with No Money

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Learning how to get backlinks can help you jumpstart your brand, with no investment upfront.

The idea is simple: just ask a site for a backlink.

However, sometimes these requests get lost in a flood of emails. The average person receives 88 emails a day alone. Other times, requests gets ignored or flat-out denied because they aren’t high priority.

What do you do?

You have to create a backlink request that is impossible to ignore or turn down.

Why Is It Important to Know How to Get Backlinks?

You’ve probably heard backlinks can benefit SEO.

They are a component of how Google ranks websites. The number of backlinks you actually need to land on the first page of Google results is enough to make most marketers give up.

how to get backlinks - google rankings vs backlinks

Even the ninth and tenth positions have an average of over 30,000 backlinks.

That’s why you should get started right away.

15 Tips to Get Backlinks

It’s time to get strategic and create a backlink request plan that gets into the mind of other site owners. Here are some tips to get you closer to more yesses. Here are 15 effective tips for getting more backlinks for your website:

1. Understand What Site Owners Are Looking For

Some sites get links just because they pitch themselves well. On the flip side, even sites with amazing content that can’t pitch themselves well don’t get backlinks.

This is why you have to nail this part of your request.

Like every part of marketing, it’s about knowing what your audience is looking for and speaking to that in your request. If you only talk about how amazing you are and miss the key points of what they are looking for, you’re likely to be overlooked.

The next few tips will cover some of those things site owners look for.

2. Emphasize What Benefits the Site Gets

The reason why any blog accepts backlinks is ultimately to help themselves. To get a link, you have to tell the site owner what benefits they will get.

Here’s a little secret: Most sites are looking for the same benefits, such as:

  • content relevant to their site
  • detailed content
  • well-written content
  • a legitimate site

3. Write Relevant and Competitive Content

If you don’t have content worth linking to, no one will link to you. At the heart of generating backlinks is creating great content, and it needs to be better than other content in your industry.

Here’s a simple way to do that. Type the topic of the keyword you’re looking to target into Ubersuggest and click “Search.”

Click on these titles to browse the articles, looking for:

  • How many images does the blog post have?
  • What is the word count of the blog post?
  • What is the title?
  • What is the featured image?
  • What is the title tag and meta description?

Follow up with these tactics in your article:

  • Include higher quality images than any of the competition.
  • Have a higher word count on your blog post—or at least make every word matter.
  • Write a more compelling title.
  • Use an interesting featured image.
  • Write a title tag and meta description that is more focused.

Essentially, your goal is to analyze the competition, then do everything better.

4. Keep the Content Detailed and Deep

We talk a lot about long-form content, but comprehensive content might be even more important.

You can have a 6,000-word article that’s trash, or a 1,000-word article that hits it out of the park.

The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. If you write long content, it will naturally have to be detailed. Longer content gets more links and usually has higher SERP rankings.

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Readers love long-form content (and search engines do too).

All of that said, if you have to choose either detail or length, go with detail.

5. Make Sure the Content Is Well-Written and Well-Produced

Your content has to tell readers something clearly.

Seth Godin’s blog is a great example of this. He posts every day in a voice that’s casual and often breaks the rules of grammar.

People love Seth’s blog because it brings a unique perspective to the table. The improper use of a semicolon isn’t going to turn readers away from that.

Don’t ignore grammar, but don’t get obsessed with it.

The same goes for content that isn’t text-based, like videos and infographics. Share knowledge that’s worth your readers’ time.

6. Prove Your Site Is Legitimate

You don’t have to have a custom design theme to appear legit, but make sure that the sites you’re pitching know you’re the real deal.

Linking to your social profiles can help with that.

If your site is new, you won’t have much clout. You’ll have to be even more persuasive. Put in the hard work to create top-tier content, and you might very well be rewarded.

7. Sell Your Value

It sounds pretty simple, right? Yet, this step can often be overlooked. Your link request needs to sell your article or page as an invaluable resource, and you need to make the benefits crystal clear.

Here’s a good example:

How to Get Backlinks - Request template

How can you communicate benefits in your pitch?

You need to have real benefits to offer.

The most important benefit is relevant content. You need to have something that will add more value to the resource you’re inquiring about. Having a relevant article is all you really need, but if you can offer more, that’s even better.

Specifically, if you have an established audience you can promote to, that’s gold. That’s what every site owner dreams of.

8. Make Your Pitches Short

Brevity matters a lot. Take a look at an example of a pitch:

How to Get Backlinks - Example request

There are lots of single lines, and it’s easy to find and click on the links. It’s to the point, and there’s no question what the email is about.

9. Leverage Public Relations

Building relationships is one of the best ways to build backlinks. When people don’t know who you are, they won’t link to your website.

One great way to start building relationships and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry is by being active on social media.

Here’s a post from Michaela Alexis, for instance.

How to Get Backlinks - Leverage Public Relations

What does she do well here? She keeps her personality intact.

Avoid sounding boring and bland. Rather, insert a bit of yourself into each statement.

As you stay active on social media, you’ll start interacting with a variety of people. You’ll have the opportunity to meet others in your industry and maybe even guest blog for them or hop on a video call. When the opportunity comes, don’t pass it up.

Guest blogging can quickly turn into a backlink, and establishing yourself as an expert can do the same when people ask you for a quote on a particular topic.

10. Do an Original Study

If you have data no one else has, that makes you a valuable resource. When others want to reference your study, they have to link to where they got it.

That means you’ll get a backlink. Doing your own study may seem like a massive amount of work.

Google Forms has the answer. You can create a custom survey, copy the link, and send it out. This is a simple way to create an original study, collect your own data, publish it, and encourage backlinks.

See also  Google: Linking To Lesser Websites Doesn't Make Your Site Less Relevant

After all, you’re the only one with the data.

11. Create an Infographic or Original Image

Since infographics are visual and easy to scan, readers love to browse them. That means content marketers love to share them.

If you create an infographic for your website and someone shares it on their site, they have to link to your website. You can create an infographic for free or a small price (depending on the graphics you choose) with tools like Venngage. Once you create and publish your own infographic, you can also reach out to other blog spaces in your niche and ask them to share it if it’s pertinent.

12. Write Testimonials for Other Websites

Writing testimonials or reviews for others might sound counterintuitive, but doing so could be good for your SEO and backlinking strategy.

When you do, the website may include a spot for a backlink or link to your website.

While it feels like you’re helping the other business generate leads, you’re also helping your own website’s rankings. That’s well worth the small contribution.

13. Link Externally and Then Reach Out

Why would you spend time linking to other people’s websites?

Think about this: You link to another website and then reach out to let them know you enjoyed their article so much you shared it on your own website.

Since you gave them a backlink, it’s not unlikely they’ll give you a backlink in the future.

Here’s what you could say:

Hello, [name]!

I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your [blog post you linked to]. You’ve been creating content for quite a while, and I’ve always found your information valuable to my business.

In fact, I enjoyed the particular article so much that I linked to it in [the article you wrote]. Let me know what you think of the piece!

I’ll keep doing what I can to share your remarkable content with my audience in the future.

Thanks again for all the awesome insight.

[your name]

14. Comment on Other Relevant Blog Posts

Before you go off and start passionately commenting on other blog posts and throwing out backlinks every which way, let me explain something.

While you might occasionally have an opportunity to tactfully include a backlink in your comment, more often than not, the comment needs to be for the primary purpose of building a mutual relationship with the author:

  • If you don’t know what to say, make the author’s day.
  • If you want to share a bit more, you can add some meaningful insight into the topic at hand.
  • If you want to craft a comment that merits a response from the author and helps build the relationship, add your own commentary to the discussion.

That’s a recipe for relationship building, which is a recipe for backlink building.

15. Align Social Signals

If you’re serious about building out your backlinking strategy and rising through the ranks, then aligning social signals is a must.

Social signals communicate to search engines how active and updated your website is. The more active your website, the better your rankings.

You may not have the time to leverage every single social platform. In that case, choose one or two that you can keep up with, and post at least once a day on the platforms you’ve chosen.

Check that all of the information on your social profiles matches your website’s information. Things such as company name, address, and phone number need to be aligned to communicate to search engines that your website is up to date.

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This is a simple but effective way to build your rankings with very little extra work.

Writing the Pitch to Get Your Backlink

First, think about your subject line. You need to spend more time on your subject line than any other part of your request because it might determine whether or not someone will click on it. There are no wrong answers here, but you do want to write something compelling.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but keep in mind that it’s super important to use your natural voice:

  • [Name], are you interested in partnering up?
  • I’d like to give you something for free.
  • It’s time to take your content to the next level.
  • Your article is missing something!

Next, you’ll need to write the actual body of the pitch. Be friendly and approachable, and don’t forget to state the benefits you’re giving the recipient.

Reach out to other sites that have linked to that resource, and let them know you have a better version. This works like a charm for getting links, and it also establishes your site as an authority.

The basic idea here is to offer suggestions on someone’s site and politely ask them to return the favor.

This is powerful because it hits upon a social trigger called reciprocity. The person you send this template to will already be willing to help you.

FAQs about How to Get Backlinks

How do beginner’s get backlinks?

People who are new to SEO and are just starting to build their website’s backlink profile can use strategies like researching competitor backlinks and approaching the same sources, using tools to search for brand mentions and asking for URLs for mentions that do not have them, and reaching out to influencers in their industry to request brand mentions and links.

How do you get valued links to a website?

First, identify high-quality, relevant links. Your goal is to get links from pages with high page authority (PA), and from websites with high domain authority (DA). You can use tools like Ubersuggest to find these scores.

Search for websites with .gov or .edu domains, as these typically have more authority. Otherwise, look for trade journals, well-respected organizations in your industry, etc.

Once you have a list of targets, use the templates and tips provided in this guide to reach out and request backlinks.

Conclusion on How to Get Backlinks

You don’t need a lot of money or celebrity status to learn how to get backlinks. Backlinks are an important ingredient in your SEO strategy, but they don’t happen by accident. Rather than sitting around and waiting for them to happen, be proactive and start asking for them.

Creating content that others want to link to and developing relationships with the real people behind other websites across the internet can help you bump up your backlink game and start seeing real improvements in your SEO rankings.

How do you reach out for backlinks?

See How My Agency Can Drive Massive Amounts of Traffic to Your Website

  • SEO – unlock massive amounts of SEO traffic. See real results.
  • Content Marketing – our team creates epic content that will get shared, get links, and attract traffic.
  • Paid Media – effective paid strategies with clear ROI.

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How SEO Works in Digital Marketing

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of digital marketing.

SEO helps with brand discoverability. When done right, SEO can create the most consistent and by far the highest-quality traffic source which doesn’t require on-going maintenance.

Yet, SEO is usually the most isolated part of the marketing. Whether it is an in-house team or a third-party service that’s delivering your SEO campaigns, it usually exists on its own without really communicating goals, progress or results to the whole company.

This creates silos that can lead to poor results and even reputation crises.

How does SEO work in digital marketing and how can a business make it work better?

What is SEO?

SEO is a collection of tactics (content, technical, link building, even website security and usability) that ensures that your website is easy to understand for search engines.

Basically, it ensures a machine knows that your page will be easy to find to a human being who is looking to solve a related problem.

Search engine traffic is one of the highest-quality traffic for many reasons:

  • Unlike PPC (paid) traffic, it doesn’t require an ongoing investment to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic,  it doesn’t require an ongoing work to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic, you are not interrupting people’s browsing. Instead you give them what they were actually searching for.

In other words, it is consistent and it converts well. No other digital marketing tactic beats that.

Apart from driving direct traffic, search engine optimization helps build brand awareness by increasing your brand’s organic findability.

Keep Your Whole Team Aware of Why SEO is Important

The great thing about today is that everyone understands the value of ranking high on Google! Sadly, however, many folks only know that they “need SEO” without having really understood what that means. 

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SEO these days is too hard for a digital marketer to do alone. Many SEOs find themselves in situations where an executive will simply come down and go “Why are we not ranking well for ‘dingwobble’?” 

Keep working hard with teams for them to understand how they contribute to the SEO process:

  • Product Marketers who are responsible for the business, personas and messaging understand that SEO is critical to driving the bottom line revenue numbers they are looking at. Part of the persona developing process should be the development of the “digital persona” – what websites and search terms are these people looking for? This helps the product marketer when it comes time to develop messaging, as that is going to be critical for developing the content, so the right search terms better be there!
  • Field Marketers responsible for the campaigns need to know how SEO fits within their campaign, how it in fact is core to our demand generation, and how to make sure to keep the campaigns integrated.
  • Marketing Communications is creating the content, so SEO should very well be top of mind for them, as the content itself will be critical in impacting how successful SEO will be.
  • But that’s not all! Often, other groups are creating content (Press Releases, Blog Posts, Presentations, etc.) that also end up on the web and impact SEO. Whether it’s Corporate Communications, Investor Relations or even Legal teams, working with them is critical.
  • IT manages the infrastructure and can be very critical to the technical aspects of SEO.
  • Sales and customer support teams are at the forefront of marketing talking to your future and current customers, so they need to be involved in the SEO strategy. Creating relevant content goes beyond keywords. It needs to address real problems and answer actual people’s questions, and your client-facing teams will be your best source of inspiration here.  
  • Executives also care! While they can’t often influence the day-to-day of SEO, they will care a lot about the bottom line, to which SEO contributes.
See also  5 Trends to Know in SEO & Content Marketing

Educating all of these people about SEO helps empower them, as well as position yourself, the SEO, as the subject matter expert who is not just someone back-office who gives very little visibility into the black box of SEO, but someone who is actively educating and contributing to the organization’s success.

Review and discuss common KPIs early and often to make sure everyone knows what victory looks like to the team.

Additionally, SEO should be a solid part of any project launch as it impacts every stage of product positioning. From choosing a business name to choosing a website builder, your initial efforts should be driven by SEO best practices.

What is the key to SEO success in a constantly changing environment?

As a practitioner of SEO, I believe that you need to look to ensure you are looking at both developing yourself in both depth and breadth of knowledge. A key danger in the name of being informed or being a part of the SEO community is spending all your time debating tactics and practices rather than testing them. 

Additionally, SEOs as with all employees need to look outside their field to stretch and learn how to be more well rounded. This could mean learning to code, or educating yourself in some other area of the business you work for.  This will expose you to ideas others may not have.

As a manager of people, success is really about diversity of expertise. Who you hire and the kind of people you hire will be far more valuable than much of what people invest in with regards to SEO programs. You have to have people who can roll with the punches and develop a skill for self-management and personal growth. 

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Finally, I think knowing what your real goals are in having an SEO program are the key to long term success. The reality is you may get more traffic, but if that traffic is not from qualified leads and generates real revenue then the benefit may be very little. Having well defined goals and metrics will also help you avoid chasing algorithm changes and focus on the big picture.

Conclusion

SEO is the most essential long-term digital marketing strategy but to make it really effective, you need a knowledge team that is well-integrated into the company’s life. Good luck!

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the brand NINJA at Internet Marketing Ninjas as well as the founder of numerous startups including MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU, ViralContentBee, TwChat and many more.

Ann Smarty has been an online marketing consultant for 10 years providing high-quality digital marketing consulting through her services and courses (both free and paid).

Ann Smarty’s content marketing ideas have been featured in NYtimes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Land and many more. She is known for her indepth tool reviews, innovative content marketing advice and actionable digital marketing ideas.

Source: Ann Smarty

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3 Effective Ways to Quickly Identify Your SaaS Brand’s Top SEO Competitors

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The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

There are over 22,600 software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies in the world right now, according to Crunchbase.

On Capterra, there are more than 800 software categories.

Research by Statista indicates that the market size of the SaaS industry has grown from $5.56 billion in 2008 to over $156 billion in 2020.

What do these figures show? It’s simple. The SaaS industry landscape is becoming more competitive by the day.

To stay on top of your game as a SaaS business, you must identify the companies you’re competing with from an SEO standpoint. That way, you’ll know the content strategies to focus on, the keywords to target, and the type of backlinks to acquire. In this post, you’ll learn three effective ways to do this quickly.

Why care about your SEO competitors as a SaaS brand?

If you don’t know your SEO competitors, you’re leaving so much on the table, while they occupy the top spots on the SERPs.

1. You can identify the top keywords they’re targeting and how they’re acquiring backlinks to help your own strategies.

By identifying the companies competing against your SaaS brand, you’ll know the top keywords they’re targeting. That way, you can focus on those keywords that can generate qualified traffic and drive user signups for your SaaS. This streamlines your keyword research process.

Knowing your top SEO competitors is also a great way to perform a link gap analysis. That way, you can know the type of backlinks they’re acquiring and where they’re getting them from. This helps you to identify relevant websites that are more likely to link to you.

2. You can figure out the competitive edge you have over them

If you don’t know who your top competitors are, you won’t be able to find the SEO opportunities to focus on to drive growth for your business.

Take, for instance, if they focus more on high-volume, top-of-the-funnel keywords. If you then go after middle- and bottom-funnel keywords, it could give you a competitive edge.

3. You can understand their biggest drivers of growth and conversion.

Most SaaS companies optimize their blog posts, landing pages, and product pages for conversions. This is because they measure growth by the number of signups and paying customers that they have.

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By identifying your SEO competitors, you can know the kind of CTAs and buttons that work well in your niche. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of the conversion strategies that can drive growth for your SaaS business.

Three ways to identify the SEO competitors of your SaaS brand

Here are three tactics you can try today to identify your SaaS brand’s top SEO competitors.

1. Use SEO tools

SEO tools have access to large amounts of data for different websites and niches — and they’ve analyzed and categorized this information for your own use.

For example, SEMrush has the Market Explorer tool, which helps you to find potential competitors for your business. Ahrefs also has a competing domains report in the Site Explorer tool. This helps you to identify the websites competing with your SaaS, based on the kind of keywords you’re ranking for.

You can also use the Moz Pro True Competitor tool to identify the top SEO competitors for your SaaS brand. Here’s how it works: Let’s say you want to identify the top SEO competitors of Moz. With this tool, you can find that information within a few seconds.

The first thing you need to do is enter the following details in the tool:

  • Preferred market: The specific location you’re targeting
  • Domain type: The type of domain
  • Domain name: Your website URL

Once you enter this information and hit the “Find Competitors” button, you’ll get a list of top 25 competitors:

As you can see, websites competing with Moz on the SERPs aren’t limited to software brands alone. They include others such as:

  • Google
  • Search Engine Journal
  • Hubspot
  • Search Engine Land
  • Wordstream
  • Backlinko.

This tool also has the Overlap and Rivalry metrics, to filter your top competitors.

The Overlap metric filters your top competitors based on the shared keywords you both rank for on the first page of Google. The Rivalry metric uses factors like CTR, DA score, the volume of shared keywords, etc. to identify the most relevant competitors for your SaaS.

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After identifying your top SEO competitors, you can perform an in-depth analysis of at most 2 of them, to know the keywords they’re targeting.

2. Survey or interview your new and existing customers

If someone signs up for your SaaS product, chances are that they’ve demoed or tried out other options before deciding to go with yours. It’s also possible that they’ve just churned from one of your competitors to become a customer.

This shows that they have an idea of who your direct and indirect competitors are. To get this information, all you need to do is reach out and interview them one after the other. This could be by talking to them via a quick call, sending a short survey for them to fill out, or asking them during the onboarding process.

Here are some questions you can ask customers to identify your top competitors:

  • What tools were you using to [solve X problem] before trying out our product?
  • If you’ve never used any tool before, how were you able to solve this problem before now?
  • What made you interested in trying out our product?
  • When did you realize that a tool​ like ours is what you need right now?
  • How much research did you do to decide on our product? What are some other, similar tools you discovered during the research process?

3. Perform a Google search targeting your SaaS use cases and features

Performing a Google search for the use cases, features, and problems your software solves is a great way to identify your top SEO competitors. This is effective because most companies ranking high on Google are investing in SEO.

Use the “related:website” advanced search feature

This search operator shows you other websites related to the one you search for on Google.

Let’s say you want to find websites like salesforce.com. You can search for “related:salesforce.com” on Google. The results on page one are some of SalesForce’s top SERP competitors:

Search for the use cases of your software

If your software helps SaaS companies onboard and activate new users, one of your core use cases is “user onboarding”.

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If you search “user onboarding software” on Google, you’ll unlock competitors who are either bidding for or ranking organically for the keyword.

Some of the websites targeting this use case on Google include:

  • Appcues
  • Userpilot
  • Apty
  • Userflow

Aside from that, there are SaaS brands paying to rank on the first page of Google for this keyword.

Search for your SaaS features

One of the core features of the Moz tool is the “rank tracking” feature. To identify the websites that have a similar feature, you can input that keyword on the Google search bar.

Here’s the result it returns:

As you can see, aside from Moz, other competing websites for this feature include:

  • Link-Assistant
  • Ahrefs
  • Rank Tracker
  • Spyfu
  • SEMrush

Search for your SaaS jobs-to-be-done (JTBD)

Let’s say you run an online video editing software, one of the problems that your audience most likely have is “how to add an image to video”.

By performing a Google search for this query, you’ll see a result that looks like this:

This shows that some of the top SEO competitors in the online video editing space include:

  • Kapwing
  • Veed
  • Online Video Cutter
  • Flixier
  • Movavi

Conclusion

If you don’t know the SaaS companies you’re competing with, they’ll leave you behind and dominate your niche.

In this post, you’ve learned three effective ways to identify your top SEO competitors as a SaaS brand:

  1. You can use an SEO software such as the Moz True Competitor tool to find your competitors and know the keywords they’re targeting.
  2. You can reach out to new and existing customers, to find out the solutions they’re comparing you with.
  3. You can search Google for your SaaS product’s features and use cases. This shows you the companies likely competing with your brand on the SERPs.

Ever tried any of these tactics before? Kindly share which of them worked really well for your SaaS brand in the Q&A.

Source: AbdulGaniy Shehu

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Picking SEO Keywords: An Expert’s Guide

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Without SEO, publishing content online is like sending a rocket to space without a destination.

If you don’t tell that rocket which direction to head (the moon or Mars?), you’re stuck crossing your fingers and hoping things work out. That’s not good marketing. Good marketing comes with predictability, data, and then some crossed fingers.

And that’s the perfect way to describe search engine optimization, SEO, in 2022.

SEO is part of the search engine algorithm:

Input = Keywords

Output = Content

For every keyword, there are thousands of pages of search results and plenty of content to choose from (outputs). But, page 1,000 isn’t nearly as useful as page 1. Even page 2 of search results can feel like no man’s land.

That’s why marketers care about SEO. Because all search engine pages are not equal. The power of ranking top 3 on page 1 of a search engine beats out ranking first on page 2 by 100x (honestly, maybe even 1,000x). 

How do you land a coveted spot on page 1 of the search results?

By picking the right SEO keywords through these three steps.

3 Steps SEO Experts Use to Pick Keywords

SEO has been around long enough that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. A new, innovative, never-before-seen SEO strategy that takes you months to implement and even longer to see results is the opposite of what SEO experts are doing.

The SEO experts writing high-quality content, landing on page 1 for relevant searches, and seeing results from their content are the ones following this tried-and-true SEO strategy.

#1: Ideate Keywords

There are two types of advertising: interruption-based and intent-based. Interruption-based advertising is an ad on your social media newsfeed. It’s the ads between paragraphs on the news article you’re trying to read. It’s a search engine ad strategically placed before the organic results. This isn’t your focus in organic SEO marketing, but this IS your focus in paid SEO advertising.

In SEO marketing, you’re focused on intent-based advertising. When somebody chooses to search for an answer to their question—that’s intent-based advertising. A search for “olive green cotton blanket” is an example of intent-based advertising.

And the search engine results are a mix of interruption (paid ads) and intent-based advertising (organic results).

When you’re ideating keywords for your products and brand, you’re looking at intent-based words. These are the words somebody needs to use to find your products or brand. For DigitalMarketer, these are words like:

  • Digital marketing training
  • Digital marketing help
  • Content marketing training
  • Copywriting training

These keywords correlate directly to our products. They teach people how to be great digital marketers, either for their own company, their full-time marketing role, marketing consultancy, or their agency clients.

Your customer avatar asks specific questions and uses certain words to describe to search engines what content they want output. Use these questions to make a list of 20+ keywords you could rank for:

  1. What questions do your customers ask surrounding your products or brand?
  2. What single words would your customers use to describe your product or brand?
  3. What phrases would your customers use to describe your product or brand?

These questions will give you a page full of keywords and keyword phrases (several words used in a search query) that you want to rank for.

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Once you have those keywords, go to AnswerThePublic.com and automatically generate a list of questions people have asked search engines related to those keywords. See if there are any other keywords or keyword phrases you missed—and take notes of the questions people are asking. Those questions will be the topics of your content.

For example, if we see people asking “how to pick SEO keywords,” our team knows that content on picking SEO keywords is a great addition to our online library. You don’t want to chase every keyword that looks like a great piece of content, though.

First, you need to research the best keywords to see which are worth spending your time on.

#2: Research the Best Keywords

With your list of keywords and keyword phrases (which should be looooooooong by now), you’re set up to figure out which keywords to put your focus on. Unlike your pets, you’re allowed to play favorites here. You don’t want to choose keywords that are highly saturated and difficult to rank for. You also want to avoid the keywords that will only capture a minuscule part of your audience (at least, at first).

Time to bring in more help from our robot friends. Research the best keywords with tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and seriously, there are so many other awesome SEO tools out there.

Here’s what keyword research for “running shoes” looks like in SEMRush:

A few things to take note of to compare your keywords/phrases and see which are the best option:

  • Volume is key to understanding if this keyword is worth creating content on or if it’s better to choose something with a higher search volume.
  • The keyword difficulty score shows you how hard it will be to organically rank for that keyword (good luck on getting on page 1 for running shoes!).
  • Use Keyword Variations to figure out if there are other keywords you can try to rank for that are similar but less competitive.

You can also use tools like Google Trends to see which times of the year certain searches spike. For example, the keyword phrase “plants for desk” had its highest search volume between July 27th and July 3rd. From October to the end of November, it has the lowest search volume.

This data can tell you what time is the best to push interruption-based search paid ads—and if there’s specific content you can create around the seasons or months where you see these spikes.

Once you know which keywords you’re going all-in on, it’s time for a quick chat with your finance team.

#3: Check Bid Estimates (For Paid Advertising)

If you’re not putting money behind your SEO strategy and aiming to get organic traffic through high-ranking content, skip to the next section. If you’re looking to put your ad budget towards SEO, keep reading.

Once you’ve narrowed down the keywords to prioritize based on factors like search volume and difficulty score, it’s time to run your keywords through their last filter: cost. Every keyword comes at a different cost to win the ad auction. The ad auction is how Google determines which ad trying to rank for the same keyword wins an ad placement depending on the user.

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It’s based on 3 factors:

  1. Your Bid: This is your maximum budget for an ad click.
  2. Ad Quality: Google won’t show your ad to everybody searching for your keyword—they’ll show it to the people most likely to click based on past behavior and data they have on the user.
  3. Extensions and Ad Formats: Google likes when you use extensions, like phone number and other links, as well as the other ad formats you’ve chosen and can boost you in the auction for a lower price.

Understanding how the auction works is necessary to figuring out how much you can afford to spend on ads and what your expected ROI should be. For example, in the SEMRush example for the search “running shoes” the cost-per-click is estimated to be $0.84. This tells you that if you want 10 clicks on your ad per day, you need a minimum $8.40 budget. Of course these numbers are a lot smaller than what you’ll really be working with, but this gives you an idea of how to figure out your SEO budget.

This is why Step 3 is so important. If your SEO budget is $100 per day, you don’t want to splurge on keywords with a cost-per-click of $10 each (unless you’re certain they’ll lead to conversions!). Instead, you want to create a broader strategy that encompasses several keywords and keyword phrases that make up your $100 per day budget.

You can use Google Keyword Planner to get suggested bid amounts per keyword: 

You have your keywords, researched and ready to go. There’s only one more thing left to do.

What Do You Do After Picking SEO Keywords?

After you’ve chosen your SEO keywords, it’s time to create the content and ads. There are 3 types of content and ads to create:

  1. Top-of-funnel content
  2. Middle-of-funnel content
  3. Bottom-of-funnel content

Top-of-Funnel Content and Ads

When your customer avatar is first introduced to your brand, show them top-of-funnel content (TOFU). Think of this content as the getting to know you phase relationships (professional, family, friends, or even with your pets!). Every relationship goes through a stage of learning more about someone’s goals, values, and challenges. Your customer avatar wants to know who your brand is, what your goals are, and if your values align with theirs. They’re also looking to see if you understand their challenges.

Here’s an example of TOFU at DigitalMarketer: What is Digital Marketing? In this article, we’re introducing the reader to digital marketing which means we’re not trying to turn them into a customer just yet. It’s not the right time.

And the same applies to paid ads. You’re looking to educate at the top-of-the-funnel. Check out how these productivity apps use the limited amount of space on their ad to educate Google users about their productivity app.

Middle-of-funnel content and ads take things a step further.

Middle-of-Funnel Content and Ads

Middle-of-funnel content (MOFU) and ads are still educating the reader, but they’re *really* hinting at the product. The productivity apps above had to talk about their product in their TOFU content (they didn’t have another choice), but there’s a difference between their TOFU content and their MOFU content.

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At the MOFU level, they’re flaunting their features and actively talking about why the competition isn’t the best option. An example of our MOFU content is this Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing. This guide is LONG, and anybody reading it clearly trusts us as their teacher. This content is designed to build a stronger relationship with this lead and get them to give us their email address (so we can send them even more valuable content).

Notice the “Download as PDF” button? If you click that, a pop-up form appears asking for your First name, last name, email address AND two questions:

  1. Are you an agency or marketing consultant?
  2. Do you manage a sales and/or marketing team?

These two questions help us tag our email subscribers so we know which content, products, and offers are best suited for them. We can build out specific funnels based on their responses and get first-party data that we can continue using in the future (take that iOS 14!).

Bottom-of-Funnel Content and Ads

Bottom-of-funnel content (BOFU) and ads have a direct call-to-action to join, buy, or sign-up. There isn’t any fluff. Think of this as a sales page—there’s only one action to take on that page and it involves contact information or a credit card.

For the search, “mailchimp vs. constant contact vs. sendinblue,” Constant Contact created a BOFU ad. How can you tell?

  • They’re giving you a special offer to sign up now
  • They’re promoting their 60-day full access, free trial
  • Their link extensions are promoting product features

BOFU content cuts straight to the chase.

Every great SEO strategy involves these 3 types of content. 

You’re Ready to Pick Your SEO Keywords

You don’t have to classify yourself as an expert before you choose your keywords. You finished this article which means—you’re ready. You have the 3 steps to follow:

  1. Ideate Keywords
  2. Research the Best Keywords
  3. Check Bid Estimates (For Paid Advertising)

And you know what to do after you’ve chosen them (create TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content and ads). The only thing left to do is put what you’ve learned into practice. Remember that every SEO marketer started where you were, unsure how to use the Google ads platform and scared they’ll run through their marketing budget without an ROI.

Just like we’re not telling you to put your entire life savings into Gamestop stock, putting your entire ad budget into your first SEO strategy is the wrong move. Take a percentage of that budget and start testing out ads, seeing their CTR, and how much each keyword or keyword phrase costs.

Build up from there. If you take this route, you’ll feel comfortable enough with your SEO strategy to add another story on top of it, and another in the future, and eventually you’ll have a solid building on your hands. That’s when you’ll look back at yourself reading this article and think—wow, that was just the beginning.

Source: DigitalMarketer

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