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Over $200K Spent. Here’s What I Learned

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Over $200K Spent. Here's What I Learned

While it’s relatively easy to learn advertising on Quora, it takes a lot of trial and error to find out what works best. A few tricks can make your work more efficient and your campaigns more effective.

I’ve been using Quora Ads since it began in 2017, spent over $200K advertising for three global brands, and given lectures on how to succeed in it. I’ve managed campaigns on Facebook and Twitter too, so I have a fair comparison of what makes Quora Ads good or bad.

We’ll go through eight valuable Quora Ads takeaways that will save you tens of thousands of dollars in both ad spend and work hours. 

Let’s dive in.

1. It’s generally cheaper compared to other PPC platforms

The days of super cheap clicks and impressions on Quora are long gone, but it can still be significantly cheaper compared to mainstream platforms like Google, Facebook, or Twitter.

I disclosed some data with the Quora team via a success story and a podcast episode based on my experience from previous employment. I was comparing this to search and display campaigns in Google Ads because the intent of Quora users isn’t far from that.

So back then on Quora Ads, we had:

  • 65% lower CPC than comparable Google search campaigns.
  • 46% lower CPA than comparable Google search campaigns.

As of now in Ahrefs, I can share the following numbers for comparable campaigns, which are:

  • 40–50% cheaper CPC than Facebook.
  • 60–95% cheaper CPC than Google’s search campaigns (yes, the difference can be that huge).

These are the cases where Quora is significantly cheaper than other main advertising platforms.

Quora has more expensive CPCs and CPMs (2–6 times) than Google Display Network campaigns, but it still seems like a great deal considering the intent and engagement of Quora visitors. More on this later.

2. You need to carefully structure your campaigns to optimize ad delivery

Two main factors that determine how to best structure campaigns on Quora are budget and bid settings. The unfortunate thing is that the budget is set at campaign level, while bidding comes at the ad set level.

Here’s a problem that you can easily run into because of this:

Ad sets in Quora Ads

All ad sets were running side by side, with each having an estimated potential reach in the lower millions weekly. As you can see, the CTR of the most pushed ad set isn’t the highest, so engagement signals don’t play a huge role in Quora’s delivery algorithm.

It’s the bid size that makes the biggest difference. 

Based on my experience, Quora’s delivery algorithms heavily favor ad sets with higher bids. Running multiple ad sets within one campaign becomes a challenge to optimize the ad delivery.

One solution is to bid the same across all running ad sets within one campaign. But that could create more problems if the targeting differs. It also doesn’t ensure balanced delivery.

I’ve always leaned toward the second solution: run just one ad set per campaign at a given time. It also has its downs, as you have to create and manage many campaigns at once. But it’s the best I could do. Here’s a sneak peek at Ahrefs’ blog promotion campaigns structure:

Campaign structure in Quora Ads

As you can see, I grouped campaigns by their geo-targeting and device type. This is the only structure that allowed me to properly manage the campaign budget allocation and ad distribution.

I generally recommend creating a separate campaign for each country and device. But I bundled together four countries to make the account easier to manage. The reasons for this were similar CPCs across all those grouped countries, confirming that impressions were being distributed proportionally to each country’s population.

PRO TIP

If you decide to experiment with your ads delivery and there are multiple variables involved, you probably won’t be able to get any insightful data by yourself. In my case, country or device type segmentation data wasn’t available in the Quora Ads UI.

Fortunately, my Quora account managers were always helpful and dug into such data for me. It’s worth trying to get in touch with them should you ever need data you can’t get yourself.

3. Quora provides some great targeting options

Quora Ads offers four different types of primary targeting:

Contextual targeting in Quora Ads

Audience targeting and broad targeting are things we can encounter on other platforms too. Nothing too groundbreaking there, so let’s focus on the other two primary targeting types: contextual and behavioral targeting.

You can read what it’s about in the screenshots, so let me jump straight to the best use cases.

In Ahrefs, I most often went for the Contextual -> Topics targeting shown above. It gives us solid control over where the ads are shown. But it pays off to learn how Quora assigns topics to its questions, as that’s far from perfect.

To do this, look up the topic in the search bar and go through the results:

Looking up PPC topic on Quora

Switch to the “Answer” tab to only see questions, then check the list and inspect all the labels under a few questions after clicking “View question log” to better understand how good or bad of a job Quora does in your niche:

Viewing Quora's questions log

Here’s an example of how broad or irrelevant Quora can go sometimes:

Quora sometimes doesn't use relevant labels for certain questions

However, in my experience, going a bit more broad with the choice of topics usually performed better than trying to be very specific.

Then we have Behavioral -> Interests targeting:

Behavioral targeting in Quora Ads

This type of targeting resembles what we’re used to from Facebook or Google. Quora models the interests of each user and then tries to show them relevant ads.

You get a higher potential reach at the cost of relying on a black box. That generally results in lower engagement but also in lower CPCs since the much more relevant contextual targeting comes with a slightly higher price.

Now that you’re more familiar with the primary targeting types, we can visualize the competitive advantage of Quora Ads:

Behavioral and contextual targeting in Quora Ads compared to other common targeting options

Both Topics and Interests sub-targeting types are the broadest ones in each category. This is desirable for the purpose of most Ahrefs campaigns. 

But my previous company needed much more granular targeting.

The possibility to target each Question (technically individual Quora URLs) was at the top of our targeting arsenal.

4. Questions (re)targeting deserves the spotlight

Choosing specific questions to bid on with your ads may be the biggest advantage of Quora Ads. You can show your ads to Quora visitors who are thinking about problems your product can solve at that exact moment as they read answers to that question.

Highly relevant ad on Quora

You also have complete control over the ad placement, which comes in handy when all the topic labels are too broad for your needs.

But how do we find the right questions to target?

Given that Quora drives an estimated ~114M non-branded clicks from organic search a month, it only makes sense to incorporate some SEO processes into this questions mining task.

Quora gets 114.4M monthly organic traffic from non-branded keywords

There are multiple paths to getting an exhaustive list of Quora question URLs. I’d recommend starting with the most efficient one: using Quora’s own questions suggestion feature after you click on “Bulk add” here:

"Bulk add" option for questions targeting in Quora Ads

Then write down at least 10 keywords that best describe your business, products, or problems your audience is trying to solve. The more, the better. Add your competitor brands and products too. If you’ve already done some keyword research for SEO in the past, then this is a piece of cake.

Adding seed keywords for questions targeting in Quora Ads
The questions suggestion tool has its flaws. At the time of writing, it worked up to 17 keywords or fewer, so you’ll have to split up the work if this doesn’t get fixed.

You’ll get a list of questions sorted by weekly views. As you can see in the list below, the matching isn’t perfect, as it shows “stock market” questions based on my “marketing” keyword input. On the other hand, you don’t need to worry about including exact match keywords.

Question suggestions in Quora Ads

You can select the most relevant questions to target and end the questions research here. But I like to take this one step further and gather organic traffic data for each question. It helps with question prioritization that we’ll discuss in the next point.

So while you’re in the “Questions to target” window, open up Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar and head over to “Outgoing links” since all the questions in the list are linked through.

Exporting Quora questions URLs from its suggestion tool with Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar

Click on the export button, and you’ll get a list of all the URLs there. All that’s left is to filter the list for relevant questions, copy-paste it into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool, and sort the table by organic traffic:

Getting organic traffic data for Quora questions with Ahrefs' Batch Analysis tool

There you have it—organic traffic estimations on top of Quora’s traffic data. I’ll always prioritize questions that get solid organic traffic over what’s currently trending on Quora, as Google tends to be a more sustainable traffic source.

You can now run highly relevant and engaging campaigns, including those that retarget Quora users based on questions they visited in the past. Just copy-paste the input window between Contextual – Questions and Behavioral – Question history.

Copy-pasting questions between Quora ad sets

5. Combining paid and organic efforts is the way to go

Organic growth on Quora isn’t easy. But still without putting in too much effort, some of my answers got tens, even hundreds of thousands of views and rank among the top answers:

Overview of Quora's user dashboard

OK, I cheated a bit. The easiest way to get such numbers is to simply boost your answers with Quora Ads. It provides a unique ad format called Promoted Answers:

Promote an answer ad format in Quora Ads

Just feed the system with any answer URL, and it will show the answer as an ad throughout the platform based on your targeting:

Promoting a specific answer throughout Quora

The best thing about this is the ability to promote any answer. And since we just went through sourcing a list of the most relevant Quora questions, we can leverage it here too. Just go through the answers in the most promising questions and note all answer URLs that positively mention your brand or product. 

If you decide to skip the Questions targeting, you can also do a simple search in Google using search operators to filter Quora URLs that mention your brand or product:

Using Google search operators to find brand and product mentions on Quora

I haven’t run these Promoted Answers in a while. But back then, I was getting a cheap CPM at around $1. It seemed to work well for brand awareness campaigns. I’m also convinced that it has an influence on how Quora ranks the answers for a certain question, as you get much more views and upvotes compared to the rest.

To sum it up: Quora is no different than other platforms, and you get the best results if you properly combine both organic and paid marketing. Promoted Answers are an interesting ad format worth experimenting with for increasing brand awareness.

You can learn more about succeeding with your organic efforts in a guide by my colleague, SQ, who took over marketing topics on Quora by storm a few years ago.

6. 10–30% impression shares bring the best cost-performance ratio

One of the earlier points is about Quora Ads being cheaper than other platforms. This, of course, depends on how well managed and optimized your campaigns are because, sometimes, the suggested CPCs are anything but cheap:

High CPC suggestion in Quora Ads

First of all, besides brand awareness campaigns, I always go for bidding on the CPC basis. I found it cheaper than bidding on CPM. Also, I have no data about CPA bids, as we don’t use tracking pixels in Ahrefs.

In terms of CPCs, I usually stick to the lower range of the suggested bid. I then readjust the bids based on the impression share it gets. My rule of thumb is keeping the impression share between 10% and 30%, which I found to be the best balance between solid ad delivery and reasonable prices.

Checking impression share in Quora Ads

I still kept some of my more expensive ad sets below 10% impression share if they easily managed to spend the daily budget, thanks to broader targeting and reach.

7. You need broader targeting to scale up

Speaking of reach, I found Quora to sometimes report weirdly overestimated potential weekly impressions:

Checking potential weekly impressions in Quora Ads

I wrote down a specific case where it kept showing 3,500–15,000 potential weekly impressions in an ad set that only received 400 impressions with 12.5% impression share over six months. It fixed the reach estimation in this case already, so I’m only left with a written note and no screenshot.

But considering we can trust the numbers in most cases, let’s do some quick math with relevant numbers based on Ahrefs’ advertising on Quora.

A campaign with a $50 daily budget and an average CPM of $2.5 will spend the budget after 20,000 daily impressions. That equals 140,000 impressions weekly. A 15% impression share means that our running ad set(s) will need to have potential weekly impressions of at least ~930K, let’s say a million.

That said, Quora claims 300 million+ monthly visitors, but it’s sometimes rather difficult to put together targeting that results in a big enough estimated potential reach. At least in our SEO and marketing niche.

All in all, the vast majority of ad sets I ran recently had a weekly potential reach between 500K and 10M. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to achieve the desired performance. You can easily run into a situation where you need to decide what makes the most sense for you:

  • Increase bids for higher impression shares
  • Broaden targeting for higher reach at the cost of a potentially lower ad relevance
  • Keep your campaigns hitting the ceiling and allocate the rest of the budget elsewhere

And this is just the beginning when it comes to scaling up your campaigns.

8. Scaling up your campaigns can be tiresome

As explained earlier, the best structured account for optimal ad delivery and effectiveness comes at the cost of being more difficult to manage. Creating new ad sets and running new ads involve a lot of clicking around. There’s no duplicating and controlling ad sets at scale. You have to do them one by one.

Duplicating ad sets in Quora Ads

Once you get the hang of it, it takes a matter of a few minutes. But it’s still annoying.

Should you only require duplicating, uploading, or editing ads in multiple ad sets at once, then Quora’s ad editor comes in handy.

When I brought this inconvenience up with my account managers, they told me that my approach seemed to be the most efficient indeed. A good thing is that they offered help managing the campaigns if the clicking around ever became too bothersome.

So while account management and scalability in Quora Ads are far from perfect, it at least partially compensates for that with the best customer service I’ve encountered with any advertising platform.

Final thoughts

I’m not a PPC specialist, just a marketer that took the opportunity to learn to run Quora Ads and a few other advertising platforms on the go. I strived to describe only the most important and interesting takeaways that could take a while for even experienced PPC specialists to figure out.

Other than this, there are more similarities to other PPC platforms than differences. That’s why I didn’t even bring up creating ads, for example—there’s nothing special about this on Quora.

So are you going to give it a shot? Do you have any questions? Ping me on Twitter.



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7 Steps to Grow Your Traffic & Sales

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7 Steps to Grow Your Traffic & Sales

Content marketing has become one of the best (and most cost-effective) ways to get traffic to a website. When done right, the traffic keeps coming long after you stop actively promoting it.

If you own an e-commerce website and want to learn how to utilize blogging to grow your brand and increase your sales, this is the guide for you.

I’ve personally grown blogs to over 250,000 monthly visitors, and I’ve worked with dozens of clients in the e-commerce space to help them do the same. Here’s an overview of my seven-step process to starting and growing an e-commerce blog. 

But first…

Why start a blog on your e-commerce site?

Creating a blog has a whole host of benefits for e-commerce websites:

  • It can help you move visitors along your marketing funnel so they eventually buy.
  • You’re able to rank highly for keywords on Google that your product pages could never rank for but that are still important for building brand awareness and finding customers.
  • It can help you grow your email list.
  • You’re able to continue to get traffic without constantly spending money on ads.
  • It provides many opportunities to link to your product and category pages to help them rank better on the SERPs.

If you don’t know what some of these things mean, don’t worry—I’ll explain them along the way. But for now, let’s take a look at some e-commerce blogs that are working well right now so you can see the end goal.

Examples of successful e-commerce blogs

Three of my favorite examples of e-commerce websites using blogging are:

  1. Solo Stove
  2. Flatspot
  3. v-dog

Solo Stove comes in at the top of my list due to its excellent use of videos, photos, and helpful information on the blog. It also does search engine optimization (SEO) really well, bringing in an estimated 329,000 monthly visits from Google (data from Ahrefs’ Site Explorer).

Overview of Solo Stove, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

In fact, it’s grown its brand to such a level of popularity that it even created search demand for keywords that include its brand name in them, then created blog posts to rank for those keywords:

Ahrefs' keyword report for Solo Stove

But that’s not all it did. Its blog posts also rank for other keywords in its marketing funnel, such as how to have a mosquito-free backyard or how to change your fire pit’s colors.

E-commerce blogging keyword examples

Then on its blog posts, it uses pictures of its fire pit:

Solo Stove blog post example

Ranking for these keywords does two things:

  1. It introduces Solo Stove’s brand to people who may eventually purchase a fire pit from it.
  2. It gives the brand the opportunity to promote its products to an audience who may not have even known it existed, such as the “mosquito free backyard” keyword.

Moving on, skater brand Flatspot also does blogging well, with a cool ~80,000 monthly visitors to its blog just from search engines.

Overview of Flatspot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

One of its tactics is to piggie-back on the popularity of new shoe releases from major brands like Nike, then use that traffic to get readers to buy the shoes directly from it:

Flatspot promoting Nike SB shoes in blog post

Finally, let’s look at v-dog—a plant-powered kibble manufacturer that gets ~8,000 visits per month.

Overview of v-dog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

My favorite post it’s done is its guide to making wet dog food at home, which ranks for the featured snippet for “how to make wet dog food”:

Google search results for "how to make wet dog food"

This guide directly promotes v-dog’s product to make wet dog food. So people who search the query will be introduced to its brand and potentially buy its product to make their own wet dog food at home.

And there you have it—three examples of blogging for e-commerce that’s working right now. With that, let’s talk about how you can start your own blog.

Seven steps to start and grow an e-commerce blog

In my 10+ years as a professional SEO and freelance writer, I’ve worked with over a dozen e-commerce stores to help them grow their website traffic. I’ve also run several of my own e-commerce websites.

In that time, I’ve distilled what works into an easy-to-follow seven-step process:

1. Do some keyword research

I never start a blog without first doing keyword research. Not only does this make coming up with blog topic ideas much easier, but it also ensures that every blog post you write has a chance to show up in Google search results and bring you free, recurring traffic.

While we wrote a complete guide to keyword research, here’s a quick and dirty strategy for finding keywords fast:

First, find a competitor who has a blog. Let’s say you’re selling dog food just like v-dog—if I search for “dog food” on Google, I can see some of my competition:

Google search results for "dog food"

At this point, I look for relevant competitors. For example, Chewy and American Kennel Club are good competitors for research. But I’ll skip sites like Amazon and Walmart, as they are just too broad to get relevant data from.

Next, plug the competitor’s URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and click on the Organic keywords report to see the keywords its website ranks for on Google:

Organic keywords report for chewy.com

In this example, it has over 700,000 keywords. That’s way too many to sort through. Let’s add some filters to make things easier:

  • First, set the KD (Keyword Difficulty) score to a maximum of 30 to find easier-to-rank-for keywords.
  • Then we can exclude brand name keywords using the “Keywords” dropdown, set it to “Doesn’t contain,” and type in the brand name.
  • If the website has /blog/ in its blog post URLs, you can also set a filter in the “URL” dropdown to “Contains” and type “blog” in the text field. In Chewy’s case, it doesn’t do that, but it does use a subdomain for its blog, which we can search specifically.

When you’re done, it should look like this:

Ahrefs keyword filters

In the case of chewy.com, this only shaved it down to 619,000 keywords. That’s still a lot—let’s filter it down further. We can apply the following:

  • Minimum monthly search volume of 100
  • Only keywords in positions #1–10
  • Only show keywords containing “dog,” since my example website only sells dog food, not all animal food

Here’s what it looks like with these new filters applied:

Filtering down Ahrefs' Organic keywords report

Now I can find some more related keywords like “what to feed a dog with diarrhea” or “can dogs eat cheese.”

Data for keyword "what to feed a dog with diarrhea"

In addition to picking interesting keywords, you can also get an idea of how to become a topical authority on the topic of dog food by searching “dog food” in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Overview for "dog food," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

This keyword is extremely difficult to rank on page #1 for. However, if we go to the Related terms report and set the KD to a max of 30, we can see keyword ideas that are still relevant but may be easier to rank high in the search results.

List of keywords related to dog food

Go through and click the gray + sign next to any keywords you may want to target to add them to your list of potential article ideas. 

2. Create templates for future blog posts

One of the first things I do when I create a new blog is to establish a repeatable template that I use for every post. Typically, it looks something like this:

Blog post template example

It has breadcrumb navigation to help with SEO and navigation, the article title and the date it was last updated, then a short intro with an image on the right to make the lines shorter (and easier to skim). Finally, I include a clickable table of contents to help with navigation, then get into the article.

Within the article itself, I will use headers (H2s) and subheaders (H3s) to make my content easier to skim and to help Google understand what each section is about.

You can make templates for every kind of post you plan on creating—such as list posts, ultimate guides, tutorials, etc.—and reuse them for every post you ever create. It’s a huge time-saver.

While you’re at it, you should also create a standard operating procedure (SOP) that you go through for every article. This could include writing guidelines, what to do with images, formatting, tone, etc.

3. Outline your article

I never dive into writing an article without outlining it first. An outline ensures the article is well structured and planned before you start writing, and it bakes SEO right into your writing process. It’s another big time-saver.

Typically, you want this outline to include:

  • Potential title or titles of the article
  • Target keyword
  • Brief description of the article angle
  • Links to competing articles on Google for research
  • Headers and subheaders, with brief descriptions of the section as needed

Here’s a look at part of an example outline I’ll either send to my writers or write myself:

Content outline example

I wrote a guide to outlining content, which you can follow here for the full step-by-step process.

4. Write, optimize, and publish your post

Next up, it’s time to write your article. As you write more articles, you’ll find what works for you—but you may find it easier to fill in the sections then go back and write the intro once the article is finished.

Here are a few writing tips to help you become a better writer:

  • Ditch the fluff – If a word isn’t needed to bring a point across, cut it.
  • Keep your paragraphs short – Two to three lines per paragraph is plenty, especially for mobile readers where the screen width is shorter.
  • Use active voice over passive voiceHere is a guide for that.
  • Make your content easy to skim – Include photos and videos and make use of headers and bulleted lists to share key points.

Once you’ve written your article, do some basic on-page SEO to help it rank higher in search results:

  • Ensure your article has one H1 tag – The title of the article.
  • Have an SEO-friendly URL – Include the keyword you’re targeting, but keep it short and easy to read.
  • Link to other pages on your site using proper anchor textHere’s a guide for that.
  • Ensure your images have alt text – This is the text Google uses to read what the image is about, as well as what is shown to readers if the image can’t render.

Finally, publish your post and give yourself a pat on the back.

5. Add product promotions, email opt-ins, and internal links

Before you promote your content, there are a few things you can do to squeeze more ROI from it—namely, you should add a way for people to either push them through the funnel toward purchasing a product or subscribe to your email list. I’ll give an example of each.

First, Solo Stove wrote an article titled “Ambiance Is A Girl’s Best Friend,” where it promotes its tiny Solo Stove Mesa as a way of improving a space’s ambiance: 

How to promote your products in a blog post

Beyond directly promoting your products in the articles, you can also add email opt-ins that give people a percentage off their orders. You may lose a little money on the initial order. But once you get someone’s email address, you can promote to them again and get multiple orders from them.

For example, Primary sells kids’ clothing and uses this email pop-up to promote money off its products after you spend a certain amount of time on its website:

Email opt-in pop-up offering a discount on first order

Just make sure your discount code only works once per unique IP address. You can learn more about how to do that here if you use Shopify.

Finally, when you publish an article, you should make it a point to add internal links to your new article from older articles. 

This won’t be as important for your first few because you won’t have a ton of articles. But as your blog grows, it’s an important part of the process to ensure your readers (and Google) can still find your articles and that they aren’t buried deep on your site.

Refer to our guide to internal linking to learn more about this step.

6. Promote your content

At this point, your content is live and optimized for both conversions and search engines. Now it’s time to get some eyeballs on it.

We have an entire guide to content promotion you should read, but here are some highlights:

  • Share the article on all of your social media channels
  • Send the article to your email list if you have one
  • Share your content in relevant communities (such as relevant Reddit forums)
  • Consider running paid ads to your article

There’s a lot more you can do to promote a piece, including reaching out to other blog owners. But I won’t cover all of that here.

The other important piece of promoting your content is getting other website owners to link to your new articles. This is called link building, and it’s a crucial part of SEO.

There are many ways to build links. Some of the most popular include:

Link building is an entire subject on its own. If you’re serious about blogging and getting search traffic, it’s a crucial skill to learn.

7. Scale your efforts

The final step in blogging for e-commerce is scaling up your efforts by creating repeatable processes for each step and hiring people to do the tasks you yourself don’t need to be doing.

You can hire freelance writers, outreach specialists, editors, and more. You can put together a full SEO team for your business.

If you’re not in a place to start hiring, there are still things you can do to squeeze more output from your time, such as creating the SOPs I mentioned earlier.

Final thoughts

Blogging is one of the best ways to increase your e-commerce store’s traffic and sales. It costs less than traditional paid advertising and can continue to provide a return long after a post has been published.

This guide will hopefully help you start your e-commerce blog and publish your first post. But remember that success with blogging doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes three to six months on average to see any results from your SEO efforts. Keep learning and be patient.

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The 5-Step Formula To Forecasting Your SEO Campaign Results

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The 5-Step Formula To Forecasting Your SEO Campaign Results

Looking to launch a successful digital marketing campaign for your business?

How do you select the best SEO keywords to expand your brand’s reach?

What can you do to determine the most effective ways to allocate your marketing budget?

Facing these tough decisions can put you on your heels if you’re not equipped with the right information.

Luckily, there’s a new way to leverage your company’s data to estimate your ROI and take the guesswork out of your next campaign.

With a simple mathematical formula, you can predict the amount of traffic and revenue you’ll generate before even setting your strategy in motion – and you can do it all in just five steps.

Want to learn how?

Join our next webinar with Sabrina Hipps, VP of Partner Development, and Jeremy Rivera, Director of Content Analysis at CopyPress, to find out how to analyze specific keywords and forecast your SEO results.

Not too fond of math? Don’t worry – we’ll provide access to free tools and a downloadable calculator to help automate this process and save you time.

Key Takeaways From This Webinar: 

  • Learn how forecasting your SEO can help you build better campaigns and choose the right keywords.
  • Get step-by-step instructions to predict revenue and website traffic for your next SEO campaign.
  • Access a free handout, resources, and online tools that will save you time and supercharge your content strategy.

In this session, we’ll share real-life examples and provide guidance for the decision-makers within your organization to start getting the most out of your marketing efforts.

By better understanding the market potential of your product or service, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions and effectively maximize your ROI.

Sign up for this webinar and discover how you can secure a sufficient marketing budget and use SEO keywords to forecast the results of your future content campaigns.



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Google SEO Tips For News Articles: Lastmod Tag, Separate Sitemaps

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Google SEO Tips For News Articles: Lastmod Tag, Separate Sitemaps

Google Search Advocate John Mueller and Analyst Gary Illyes share SEO tips for news publishers during a recent office-hours Q&A recording.

Taking turns answering questions, Mueller addresses the correct use of the lastmod tag, while Illyes discusses the benefits of separate sitemaps.

When To Use The Lastmod Tag?

In an XML sitemap file, lastmod is a tag that stores information about the last time a webpage was modified.

Its intended use is to help search engines track and index significant changes to webpages.

Google provides guidelines for using the lastmod tag, which could be used to alter search snippets.

The presence of the lastmod tag may prompt Googlebot to change the publication date in search results, making the content appear more recent and more attractive to click on.

As a result, there may be an inclination to use the lastmod tag even for minor changes to an article so that it appears as if it was recently published.

A news publisher asks whether they should use the lastmod tag to indicate the date of the latest article update or the date of the most recent comment.

Mueller says the date in the lastmod field should reflect the date when the page’s content has changed significantly enough to require re-crawling.

However, using the last comment date is acceptable if comments are a critical part of the page.

He also reminds the publisher to use structured data and ensure the page date is consistent with the lastmod tag.

“Since the site map file is all about finding the right moment to crawl a page based on its changes, the lastmod date should reflect the date when the content has significantly changed enough to merit being re-crawled.

If comments are a critical part of your page, then using that date is fine. Ultimately, this is a decision that you can make. For the date of the article itself, I’d recommend looking at our guidelines on using dates on a page.

In particular, make sure that you use the dates on a page consistently and that you structured data, including the time zone, within the markup.”

Separate Sitemap For News?

A publisher inquires about Google’s stance on having both a news sitemap and a general sitemap on the same website.

They also ask if it’s acceptable for both sitemaps to include duplicate URLs.

Illyes explained that it’s possible to have just one sitemap with the news extension added to the URLs that need it, but it’s simpler to have separate sitemaps for news and general content. URLs older than 30 days should be removed from the news sitemap.

Regarding sitemaps sharing the duplicate URLs, it’s not recommended, but it won’t cause any problems.

Illyes states:

“You can have just one site map, a traditional web sitemap as defined by sitemaps.org, and then add the news extension to the URLs that need it. Just keep in mind that, you’ll need to remove the news extension from URLs that are older than 30 days. For this reason it’s usually simpler to have separate site map for news and for web.

Just remove the URLs altogether from the news site map when they become too old for news. Including the URLs in both site maps, while not very nice, but it will not cause any issues for you.”

These tips from Mueller and Illyes can help news publishers optimize their websites for search engines and improve the visibility and engagement of their articles.


Source: Google Search Central

Featured Image: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock



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