Connect with us

SEO

I Wrote 100+ Blog Posts for the Ahrefs Blog. Here’s What I Learned.

Published

on

I Wrote 100+ Blog Posts for the Ahrefs Blog. Here's What I Learned.

I’ve finally hit the milestone: 100 blog posts for the Ahrefs blog.

So, I decided to reflect on my journey. I did two Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions to see what people wanted to know: one on Twitter X and another on LinkedIn. I was pleasantly surprised that so many people were interested, so thank you to everyone for the kind questions.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned from crossing this milestone.

When a student approaches a mentor with problems, the mentor doesn’t lay out 200+ suggestions. It’s not helpful and causes decision paralysis. Instead, the mentor points out the exact problem and offers one or two specific pieces of advice to help the student get over the hurdle.

Advertisement

I think our content should do the same thing: identify our reader’s exact problem and offer the best advice—not the entirety of all advice.

For example, I could have listed every potential link-building strategy in my post on white hat link-building. While that might have been useful for some, it would have been overwhelming for most. Not to mention, there would have been no indication of what works in real life.

So, I kept it simple and focused only on the tactics that SEOs vouched for.

An excerpt from my post on white-hat link-buildingAn excerpt from my post on white-hat link-building

My best-performing article is my post on affiliate marketing. I didn’t “write” it; all I did was repurpose Sam’s video.

My worst-performing article is… I have too many to count. I put a lot of work into some of them. My post on Quora marketing had me spending time on the platform, but it never got any strong traction. I had to sign up and prompt 39 AI writing tools for my post on AI writing tools, but the joke never landed. My favorite post—marketing skills—was written from my six years of experience as a digital marketer but got nowhere either.

I think that’s the nature of content creation. Most things just don’t work, and for those that do, you can never predict prior.

Advertisement

I’m not saying to stop putting effort into your content. I’m just saying there’s no correlation between how long you work on something versus its “success.”

But at the end of the day, if you want to create unique content or offer a unique viewpoint, you still need to put in the work. You need to be an operator (see next point) or do hard things.

Great writing should feel hard. If you can crank out an article by opening a few browser tabs, so can everyone else. But interview someone, read a book, find an esoteric research paper, or collect some data… and your willingness to do something difficult gives you an edge.

Ryan LawRyan Law

Rankings don’t last forever. That’s why refreshing content is an integral part of our SEO content strategy.

How often we republish content via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerHow often we republish content via Ahrefs' Content Explorer
You can see how often we update our content via Content Explorer

For example, I’ve updated the post on affiliate marketing twice. I’ve also updated alternative search engines twice, SEO statistics twice (and counting), evergreen content twice, and top Google searches countless times.

Each time we update our posts, traffic spikes.

Traffic spikes aligning with content updates. Data via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTraffic spikes aligning with content updates. Data via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

But it isn’t all about SEO and gaining more organic traffic. If you’ve learned something new about the topic, you’re doing your audience a disservice by not telling them about it. So, make sure you’re consistently renewing and refreshing your existing content.

Your readers are not dumb. They can tell when an article is a mishmash of scraped “theoretical” advice or written from experience.

Advertisement

Someone writing from experience can pinpoint challenges and obstacles. They will identify nuances and spot specifics. They will have strong opinions. They will be able to provide evidence.

In short: They are believable.

If you want to be believable, you need to have skin in the game and test things against reality.

For example, I’ve done several guest posts myself. That’s how I could offer plenty of unique tips when I wrote my post on guest blogging. I even presented plenty of evidence of my guest posts, my interactions with publishers, and more.

In fact, one of the blogs I wrote for even broke down my pitch email to them—evidence that I knew what I was talking about:

Advertisement

I once heard bestselling author Ramit Sethi say that he spent 80% of his book-writing time on the table of contents.

I believe him. Because I struggle the most trying to organize each article I write. Case in point: I took way too long trying to come up with the best “architecture” for this post. Eventually, I settled on this.

But once I’m satisfied with the structure, the writing just flows.

Searchers are sick of every blog post being the length of a Tolstoy book. They don’t want to see content with the typical “SEO” stuff: what is X and why is X important. They can get those answers from AI now.

If you want your content to stand out and be unique in this new world of generative AI, you need to break out of the mindset of being an SEO.

Don’t simply copy what the top-ranking pages are writing about or fill content gaps. Think about how you can add, improve, or reframe the conversation around the topic you’re writing about.

Advertisement

For example, our post on long-tail keywords tried to correct the misconception that long-tail keywords are long (i.e., 3+ words) keywords. In reality, they are long-tail due to their position on the search demand curve.

Our definition of long-tail keywordsOur definition of long-tail keywords

It’s a similar story for my post on creating an SEO campaign. Most guides on that topic were simply a masquerade for another “beginner’s guide to SEO.” I tried to focus specifically on what a “campaign” was and the three major steps to setting one up.

My first few posts on the Ahrefs blog were long. Too long, in fact. They were rambly and meandering. This was partly because I believed that long = good. Skyscraper, right?

But the truth is, I was wasteful—I used too many words to say something. Nobody wants to slog through 5,000 words to learn something. As author Morgan Housel says, “Writing is an efficiency game. Whoever says the most stuff in the fewest words wins.”

These days, I try to keep my posts as short as possible. I’ve even seen 20-30% decreases in length after rewrites. As a writer, you have to be ruthless and cut out sections that don’t work.

Advertisement

I got so many questions during the AMA about how long I take to write each blog post and the average length. Some even wanted to know the breakdown of each section (researching, writing, editing).

I don’t think I gave great answers because I’ve never tracked that. And I’m not sure my answers would even be helpful anyway.

So what if I took two hours to write a blog post? Does that mean you’re better or worse than me if you took more or less time? I don’t think so—and frankly, I don’t see how that improves my work as a content writer or marketer.

Details do matter. But not all details are made equal. Accuracy, uniqueness, word choice, and phrasing are important. Not article length or how much time someone took.

I don’t think I could have created my best content without peer feedback. It’s one of the best things we introduced into our content marketing workflow. Knowing that someone will point out and challenge you on the inaccuracies, logical loopholes, phrasing, and more really makes your work better.

Advertisement

Case in point: my first draft of this very post. I wrote about one more lesson, but Joshua’s feedback was that it was convoluted and confusing.

Joshua's comment on my recent draftJoshua's comment on my recent draft

It was hard to hear, but I agreed. So, I removed the point.

Final thoughts

Some people asked me how they can be good at writing. I’m not sure I have the best advice here, because I’m far from being good. But I believe one thing: If you want to be good, you must aim to be prolific.

100 seems a lot, but I’m just getting started. There’s more to explore, more to learn, and more to improve. I’ll aim to write 200, then 300, maybe even a thousand.

If you want to improve your writing and content marketing, why not join me on the same journey to write 100 and more?



Source link

Advertisement
Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

Published

on

By

WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

Advertisement

The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

Advertisement

See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

Advertisement

How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

Advertisement

See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Published

on

By

10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Whether you are new to paid media or reevaluating your efforts, it’s critical to review your performance and best practices for your overall PPC marketing program, accounts, and campaigns.

Revisiting your paid media plan is an opportunity to ensure your strategy aligns with your current goals.

Reviewing best practices for pay-per-click is also a great way to keep up with trends and improve performance with newly released ad technologies.

As you review, you’ll find new strategies and features to incorporate into your paid search program, too.

Here are 10 PPC best practices to help you adjust and plan for the months ahead.

Advertisement

1. Goals

When planning, it is best practice to define goals for the overall marketing program, ad platforms, and at the campaign level.

Defining primary and secondary goals guides the entire PPC program. For example, your primary conversion may be to generate leads from your ads.

You’ll also want to look at secondary goals, such as brand awareness that is higher in the sales funnel and can drive interest to ultimately get the sales lead-in.

2. Budget Review & Optimization

Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their paid media budgets.

To best utilize budgets, consider the following:

  • Reconcile your planned vs. spend for each account or campaign on a regular basis. Depending on the budget size, monthly, quarterly, or semiannually will work as long as you can hit budget numbers.
  • Determine if there are any campaigns that should be eliminated at this time to free up the budget for other campaigns.
  • Is there additional traffic available to capture and grow results for successful campaigns? The ad platforms often include a tool that will provide an estimated daily budget with clicks and costs. This is just an estimate to show more click potential if you are interested.
  • If other paid media channels perform mediocrely, does it make sense to shift those budgets to another?
  • For the overall paid search and paid social budget, can your company invest more in the positive campaign results?

3. Consider New Ad Platforms

If you can shift or increase your budgets, why not test out a new ad platform? Knowing your audience and where they spend time online will help inform your decision when choosing ad platforms.

Go beyond your comfort zone in Google, Microsoft, and Meta Ads.

Advertisement

Here are a few other advertising platforms to consider testing:

  • LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting. LinkedIn audiences can also be reached through Microsoft Ads.
  • TikTok: Younger Gen Z audience (16 to 24), video.
  • Pinterest: Products, services, and consumer goods with a female-focused target.
  • Snapchat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.

Need more detailed information and even more ideas? Read more about the 5 Best Google Ads Alternatives.

4. Top Topics in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Recently, trends in search and social ad platforms have presented opportunities to connect with prospects more precisely, creatively, and effectively.

Don’t overlook newer targeting and campaign types you may not have tried yet.

  • Video: Incorporating video into your PPC accounts takes some planning for the goals, ad creative, targeting, and ad types. There is a lot of opportunity here as you can simply include video in responsive display ads or get in-depth in YouTube targeting.
  • Performance Max: This automated campaign type serves across all of Google’s ad inventory. Microsoft Ads recently released PMAX so you can plan for consistency in campaign types across platforms. Do you want to allocate budget to PMax campaigns? Learn more about how PMax compares to search.
  • Automation: While AI can’t replace human strategy and creativity, it can help manage your campaigns more easily. During planning, identify which elements you want to automate, such as automatically created assets and/or how to successfully guide the AI in the Performance Max campaigns.

While exploring new features, check out some hidden PPC features you probably don’t know about.

5. Revisit Keywords

The role of keywords has evolved over the past several years with match types being less precise and loosening up to consider searcher intent.

For example, [exact match] keywords previously would literally match with the exact keyword search query. Now, ads can be triggered by search queries with the same meaning or intent.

A great planning exercise is to lay out keyword groups and evaluate if they are still accurately representing your brand and product/service.

Advertisement

Review search term queries triggering ads to discover trends and behavior you may not have considered. It’s possible this has impacted performance and conversions over time.

Critical to your strategy:

  • Review the current keyword rules and determine if this may impact your account in terms of close variants or shifts in traffic volume.
  • Brush up on how keywords work in each platform because the differences really matter!
  • Review search term reports more frequently for irrelevant keywords that may pop up from match type changes. Incorporate these into match type changes or negative keywords lists as appropriate.

6. Revisit Your Audiences

Review the audiences you selected in the past, especially given so many campaign types that are intent-driven.

Automated features that expand your audience could be helpful, but keep an eye out for performance metrics and behavior on-site post-click.

Remember, an audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.

Therefore, there are unlimited ways to mix and match those audiences and target per the sales funnel.

Here are a few opportunities to explore and test:

Advertisement
  • LinkedIn user targeting: Besides LinkedIn, this can be found exclusively in Microsoft Ads.
  • Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home ownership, education, household income.
  • In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
  • Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors, interactions with ads, and video/ YouTube.

Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.

7. Organize Data Sources

You will likely be running campaigns on different platforms with combinations of search, display, video, etc.

Looking back at your goals, what is the important data, and which platforms will you use to review and report? Can you get the majority of data in one analytics platform to compare and share?

Millions of companies use Google Analytics, which is a good option for centralized viewing of advertising performance, website behavior, and conversions.

8. Reevaluate How You Report

Have you been using the same performance report for years?

It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data to your reports.

There are two great resources to kick off this exercise:

Advertisement

Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:

  • Are we still using this data? Is it still relevant?
  • Is the data we are viewing actionable?
  • What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
  • How often do we need to see this data?
  • Do the stakeholders receiving the report understand what they are looking at (aka data visualization)?

Adding new data should be purposeful, actionable, and helpful in making decisions for the marketing plan. It’s also helpful to decide what type of data is good to see as “deep dives” as needed.

9. Consider Using Scripts

The current ad platforms have plenty of AI recommendations and automated rules, and there is no shortage of third-party tools that can help with optimizations.

Scripts is another method for advertisers with large accounts or some scripting skills to automate report generation and repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts.

Navigating the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal that provides use cases and resources to get started with scripts.

Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science — there are plenty of resources online with free or templated scripts.

10. Seek Collaboration

Another effective planning tactic is to seek out friendly resources and second opinions.

Advertisement

Much of the skill and science of PPC management is unique to the individual or agency, so there is no shortage of ideas to share between you.

You can visit the Paid Search Association, a resource for paid ad managers worldwide, to make new connections and find industry events.

Preparing For Paid Media Success

Strategies should be based on clear and measurable business goals. Then, you can evaluate the current status of your campaigns based on those new targets.

Your paid media strategy should also be built with an eye for both past performance and future opportunities. Look backward and reevaluate your existing assumptions and systems while investigating new platforms, topics, audiences, and technologies.

Also, stay current with trends and keep learning. Check out ebooks, social media experts, and industry publications for resources and motivational tips.

More resources: 

Advertisement

Featured Image: Vanatchanan/Shutterstock

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

Google Limits News Links In California Over Proposed ‘Link Tax’ Law

Published

on

By

A brown cardboard price tag with a twine string and a black dollar sign symbol, influenced by the Link Tax Law, set against a dark gray background.

Google announced that it plans to reduce access to California news websites for a portion of users in the state.

The decision comes as Google prepares for the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content.

What Is The California Journalism Preservation Act?

The CJPA, introduced in the California State Legislature, aims to support local journalism by creating what Google refers to as a “link tax.”

If passed, the Act would force companies like Google to pay media outlets when sending readers to news articles.

However, Google believes this approach needs to be revised and could harm rather than help the news industry.

Advertisement

Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, stated in a blog post:

“It would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds—who’ve been lobbying for this bill—and could use funds from CJPA to continue to buy up local California newspapers, strip them of journalists, and create more ghost papers that operate with a skeleton crew to produce only low-cost, and often low-quality, content.”

Google’s Response

To assess the potential impact of the CJPA on its services, Google is running a test with a percentage of California users.

During this test, Google will remove links to California news websites that the proposed legislation could cover.

Zaidi states:

“To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

Google Claims Only 2% of Search Queries Are News-Related

Zaidi highlighted peoples’ changing news consumption habits and its effect on Google search queries (emphasis mine):

“It’s well known that people are getting news from sources like short-form videos, topical newsletters, social media, and curated podcasts, and many are avoiding the news entirely. In line with those trends, just 2% of queries on Google Search are news-related.”

Despite the low percentage of news queries, Google wants to continue helping news publishers gain visibility on its platforms.

Advertisement

However, the “CJPA as currently constructed would end these investments,” Zaidi says.

A Call For A Different Approach

In its current form, Google maintains that the CJPA undermines news in California and could leave all parties worse off.

The company urges lawmakers to consider alternative approaches supporting the news industry without harming smaller local outlets.

Google argues that, over the past two decades, it’s done plenty to help news publishers innovate:

“We’ve rolled out Google News Showcase, which operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., and has more than 2,500 participating publications. Through the Google News Initiative we’ve partnered with more than 7,000 news publishers around the world, including 200 news organizations and 6,000 journalists in California alone.”

Zaidi suggested that a healthy news industry in California requires support from the state government and a broad base of private companies.

As the legislative process continues, Google is willing to cooperate with California publishers and lawmakers to explore alternative paths that would allow it to continue linking to news.

Advertisement

Featured Image:Ismael Juan/Shutterstock

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending

Follow by Email
RSS