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Stick a Fork in Them; They’re Done



Stick a Fork in Them; They're Done

In 2012, Google’s Matt Cutt published his now-infamous post proclaiming that guest blogging for SEO was “done” because it had “just gotten too spammy.”

In 2022, I think you can say the same thing about expert roundups.

I’ll explain why below. But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page…

What are expert roundups?

Expert roundups are blog posts that feature quotes from industry experts about a specific topic.

For example, below is a roundup of SEO tips. You can see that it features quotes from 30+ experts, including some extremely well-known faces like Glen Allsopp and our very own Tim Soulo:

Expert roundup example

Why do people create expert roundups?

In my opinion, there are three main reasons:

  1. Exposure
  2. Backlinks
  3. Relationships

But rather than just share my opinion on the matter, I polled my Twitter followers.

Here are the results of the poll:

Let’s take a look at the results in more detail.


According to my poll, backlinks are the top reason for creating an expert roundup—with 43.9% of folks citing it as their primary aim.

The idea here is simple: If an “expert” is willing to contribute to your roundup, perhaps they’ll also be willing to link to it. This is good for SEO because backlinks are one of Google’s top-ranking factors.

Building relationships

Building relationships is the second most popular reason for creating an expert roundup, with 36.8% citing it as their primary aim.

This makes sense, as building relationships with influential and well-connected industry experts can open all kinds of doors. It’s how I managed to get a backlink from Glen Allsopp (Detailed) back in the day, and it’s kind of how I landed my job at Ahrefs.


Exposure is the least popular reason for creating an expert roundup, with only 19.3% of respondents citing it as their primary aim.

People tend to share content that paints them in a positive light. So the idea with expert roundups is that, once published, many of the featured “experts” will share the post on social media and your blog will get some nice exposure.

It’s basically egobait. You’re literally referring to these people as experts in your content, so why wouldn’t they want to share it?

I also got a reply to my tweet from Jeremy Rivera, who gave a fourth reason for creating expert roundups: crafting expert-supported content:

This makes sense. But personally, I’m not convinced the “expert roundup” format is usually the best way to do this. (More on this later.)

Why do “experts” contribute to expert roundups?

Given that most “experts” are already well connected, they’re probably not contributing to roundups to build relationships. They’re almost certainly doing it for backlinks.

But again, let’s not trust my opinion…

I polled my Twitter followers. Here are the results:

No prizes for guessing the outcome here. I think it’s pretty much what we all expected.


This poll attracted fewer votes than my first, so take the results with a pinch of salt. However, in my opinion, backlinks are the number one reason to get involved in expert roundups. 

What’s the issue with expert roundups?

Expert roundups have no real downsides for contributors. It rarely takes more than a few minutes to answer the creator’s question and, in return, they get exposure, a backlink, and a nice egoboost.

For example, here’s my contribution to an expert roundup. I was asked to name my top three keyword research tools:

Joshua Hardwick featured in an expert roundup

In this case, replying to an email with six words landed me a mention and backlink on a DR71 site. The post I’m featured in now gets an estimated 284 organic monthly visits:

Traffic to expert roundup

But for the creators and readers of roundups, there are a few issues…

1. It can be hard to get enough actual experts to contribute

In the early days of expert roundups, someone reaching out and asking for your contribution made you feel special because it didn’t happen often. Now, everyone is creating expert roundups, and genuine experts are inundated with requests.

This means they have to pick and choose which ones to contribute to, making things harder for publishers to get the quotes they need.

As a result, some publishers seem willing to accept quotes from, well, pretty much anyone.

Just look at this expert quote in a recent roundup I found about link building tactics:

Bad expert roundup contribution

Really? The best strategy for building backlinks is blog commenting, where 99% of links are nofollowed and almost certainly won’t pass much “authority” either way?

I can’t imagine anyone close to being a link building expert saying this in the last 10 years.


I changed the wording of the quote above slightly, but the gist is the same. I did this because I don’t want to pick on anyone, and I know you savvy SEOs can easily find the exact quote. 

Now, I hold no grudges against the person who gave this quote. They were clearly asked and thought “why not?” But the reality is that including these kinds of quotes leads to a deterioration in the perceived quality of expert roundups over time—which further dissuades experts from contributing.

It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s why expert roundups have (in my opinion) become so spammy in recent years.

2. The format rarely aligns with search intent

People are typically looking to do one of three things when they type something into Google:

  • Buy something
  • Learn something
  • Get somewhere (i.e., a specific website)

You may think that an expert roundup matches search intent when the searcher is looking to learn, but let me ask you this: How often do you really want a list of hundreds of random and potentially opposing opinions when you’re just trying to find the answer to something?

Probably not very often, which is why expert roundups are rarely an optimal content format if you want to rank high on Google.

3. Experts rarely link to roundups they’re featured in

If you’re publishing an expert roundup with the aim of attracting backlinks from contributors’ websites, I have bad news: Most experts probably aren’t going to link to your roundup.

How do I know? I cross-referenced the external links and referring domains to an expert roundup we published in 2015 to see how many of the featured experts linked to the roundup. I found the result to be 21%—or roughly 1 in 5.

That may not sound too shabby, but you have to remember a few things:

  1. We published this post when expert roundups were arguably at the height of their popularity.
  2. Pretty much everyone in the SEO industry wants to be featured on the Ahrefs blog, so being featured in our roundup is something to shout about.
  3. We already had relationships with many of the people who linked to us.

In other words, in 2022, unless you’re a well-known brand, this number is almost certainly going to be much lower.

My opinion: You may get 1 in 10 contributors to link to you—if you’re lucky.

4. Experts rarely share roundups they’re featured in

You’d think that sharing the roundup on Twitter would be a no-brainer for those featured. But it seems that very few do this either. I checked Twitter, and only a handful of those featured in our expert roundup appear to have shared it.

Even if they do, the reality is that their share is unlikely to send much (if any) traffic our way.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the number of link clicks a recent tweet of mine got:

Dire performance on Twitter

Again, the numbers may not look too bad. But here’s what it took to get those clicks:

  • 8,000+ followers
  • Retweets from the official Ahrefs account and two of my colleagues, which exposed my tweet to a further 135,000+ people.

Of course, true experts tend to have lots of followers too, but they rarely have the amplification of big brands like Ahrefs behind them.

All in all, it’s unlikely that you’ll get more than a handful of clicks from experts sharing your post on social media.

Three better alternatives to expert roundups

Expert roundups may have had their day, but there are still ways to utilize expert contributions to improve content and SEO. You just need to be a little more creative and put in more effort. Let’s look at a few ideas.

1. Interview an expert and write up their insights

If you want to write about a topic but lack the expertise to do so, consider interviewing an expert and writing up their insights.

This is precisely what we did for our post about Google penalties.

Interview format is often better than an expert roundup

Having limited experience with Google penalties ourselves, we interviewed three experts on the topic, including Marie Haynes. We then compiled their knowledge and insights into a guide.

There are a few benefits to this approach:

  1. You can still match search intent – As you’re writing up expert insights, you’re free to use any content format you like. If search intent calls for a list of tips, you can write a list of tips. If it calls for a guide, you can write a guide.
  2. You improve E‑A-T – E‑A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It’s what Google’s human quality raters use to assess the quality of search results. It’s not a direct ranking factor, but improving and demonstrating E‑A-T can lead to many SEO benefits.
  3. Your expert is arguably more likely to share the content – Being included in an expert roundup among dozens of others may give you a bit of an egoboost, but having a piece centered almost entirely around your knowledge and insights will surely give you a bigger one. This will, thus, increase the chances of experts sharing the content.

If you’re not sure who to interview for your piece, run a search in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

The tool is a searchable database of over 9 billion pages, and it has authorship information for some of them. This means you can run a search to find prolific writers on a topic.

For example, if we want to write a piece about Google’s Knowledge Graph, we can search Content Explorer for the pages with “knowledge graph” in their titles.

Search in Content Explorer

If we then go to the “Authors” tab, we’ll see the names of authors who’ve published the most pages matching our search.

Here, we can see that Aaron Bradley has authored 12 pages with “knowledge graph” in each page’s title:

Searching for experts in Content Explorer

If we click on the number of pages, we can see everything he’s written on the topic:

Content Explorer results

This guy clearly knows his stuff, so he is a fantastic person to interview for our article.

2. Poll experts for interesting stats

People often cite statistics and link to the source. If you don’t believe us, just look at the anchors and surrounding texts of backlinks to our search traffic study:

Cited statistics leading to links, via Ahrefs Site Explorer

You can see that pretty much all of the links are from folks citing statistics on our page.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to unique data and insights as we are, publishing content laden with statistics is easy—and you’ll naturally earn backlinks as a result. But if you don’t have in-house data, a good way to create unique statistics is to poll experts.

This is precisely what Paddy Moogan did for Aira’s annual “state of link building” report.

He polled 250 digital marketing professionals and consolidated their responses into graphs like this:

Aira state of link building report

The result? Backlinks from 346 referring domains and counting.

Aira state of link building report backlinks

If you’re wondering who to poll for this kind of content, use Content Explorer to find experts who’ve already written about your topic.

For example, here are a few top authors who’ve written about link building (you may notice a familiar name there!):

Link building experts via Content Explorer


Maximize the link-earning potential of existing posts by adding insights from your poll. For example, we mentioned a statistic from our search traffic study in our keyword research guide, and it earned a few extra backlinks as a result:

Statistic links via Site Explorer

3. Poll experts for product recommendations

Most affiliate websites make their money by ranking for general comparison keywords, i.e., “best [product category].”

Unfortunately, to create truly useful content for these keywords, you usually have to test and review dozens of products yourself. Not only is this costly, but you’re also basing your recommendations on one person’s opinion—which may not align with the consensus of others.

One solution to this is to poll experts for their recommendations.

This is precisely what Robbie Richards did in his post about the “best link building tools.” He asked 82 link builders to vote for their favorite link building tool, tallied up the results, and recommended their favorite to his audience:


You can use this approach for non-affiliate keywords too.

For example, we polled the 10,000+ SEO professionals in our private Facebook group to compile recommendations for our list of the best free SEO tools.

Expert poll example

Final thoughts

Expert roundups, in the traditional sense, are dead unless you have clout. And even then, these roundups are less effective than they once were. But by creatively using experts to source information, you can still apply some of the same principles to enhance your content, earn more backlinks, and get organic traffic.

Got questions? Disagree? Let me know on Twitter.

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LinkedIn Rolls Out 4 Updates For Business Pages



LinkedIn Rolls Out 4 Updates For Business Pages

LinkedIn is rolling out an array of new features for business pages.

These updates can help you showcase your business’s brand identity, values, and offerings while utilizing advanced publishing and community-building tools.

Learn how these innovative features can enhance your LinkedIn marketing efforts.

1. Update To Scheduled Posts

One of the new features lets you plan your business page posts up to three months ahead for steady interaction with followers.

Screenshot from: LinkedIn, March 2023.

Available now on desktop, this feature will come to mobile soon.

2. Audio Events

LinkedIn is introducing live, audio-only discussions, eliminating reliance on external broadcasting applications.

LinkedIn Rolls Out 4 Updates For Business PagesScreenshot from: LinkedIn, March 2023.

This versatile, casual approach fosters audience connections and can position your organization as an industry authority.

Listeners can engage in the discussion through emojis and request to speak if they wish to contribute verbally.

3. Automatic Job Posting

For businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, LinkedIn now offers an automatic job posting feature.

LinkedIn Rolls Out 4 Updates For Business PagesScreenshot from: LinkedIn, March 2023.

Once activated, the platform will automatically share one open role daily as a pre-scheduled post. The posts can be edited after they’re shared.

The feature excludes what LinkedIn categorizes as “basic jobs.”

4. Following Pages As A Page

LinkedIn Pages can now follow other Pages, making it easier to join chats related to your field with a feed dedicated to content from the businesses you’re following.

This feature aims to help businesses work together, share ideas, and create strong online communities of professionals.

In Summary

LinkedIn’s latest features for business pages offer new options to share content, connect with people, attract new talent, and keep up with industry chatter.

By leveraging these tools, you can improve your B2B marketing efforts and strengthen your online presence.

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Top 3 Ways To Build Authority By Going Beyond Just Link Building



Top 3 Ways To Build Authority By Going Beyond Just Link Building

You want your online business to thrive. One of the best ways to do this is to establish website authority – and the key to successful authority building is to increase trust with your audience.

With the rise of AI tools, you must publish high-quality content that stands out from your competition, who may be using tools like ChatGPT.

On March 15, I moderated a webinar with Sabrina Hipps, VP of Partner Development, and Jeremy Rivera, Director of Content Analysis at CopyPress.

Hipps and Rivera demonstrated how content promotion, link building, and authentic subject matter expertise could help you rank higher on SERPs and elevate your online authority.

Here’s a summary of the webinar. To access the entire presentation, complete the form.

1. Create Unique Content With First-Hand Experience – Avoid AI, The “Fancy Parrot”

In the world of content creation, where good content creators are showing their expertise, there are certain key things AI can’t do.

  • AI can’t have first-person experience. They can’t think for themselves the same way humans can.
  • If the AI follows a generative model, and it can’t yet distinguish the truth. If you fact-check some of the information, you’ll find it doesn’t exist.

The counter to AI content is unique content that shows this truth, expertise, and first-hand experience.

[Learn how this helps build your authority] Instantly access the webinar →

2. Highlight Quality Authorship

High-quality content encompasses everything from accuracy and mistake-free writing to clearly displaying expertise.

Ensure Your Content Is Error-Free

In many cases, low-quality content, or posts with false information and repetitive issues, can lead to being devalued on SERPs or accidentally containing duplicate content.

Image created by CopyPress, March 2023

Add More “E” To EAT – Experience

The Issue: To combat low-quality SERPs, Google seeks first-hand experience.

The Solution: Invite a subject matter expert to review the content, check for factual inaccuracies, and add that extra layer of expertise to the content.

Bridge The Write ≠ Expertise Gap

The Issue: It’s important to recognize that the ability to write is not synonymous with expertise; just because someone can write doesn’t mean they are accurate or a subject matter expert.

The Solution: Try pairing a subject matter expert with a strong writer who can interview and interject quotes helps build better content.

Ask Questions

The Issue: Sometimes, you may not have the in-house subject matter experts you need for a piece of content.

The Solution: Conduct outreach to gather expertise to boost your content quality. First, consider what your audience wants to know. Then, generate three to ten questions to ask a professional.

[Learn a tactic that works] Instantly access the webinar →

Tap Social Media

The Issue: Where do you find the professionals you need to interview for your next piece of high-expertise content?

The Solution: With so many experts creating on social media, it’s a great platform to leverage. Here are essential outreach steps you can do:

  • Observe.
  • Participate.
  • Engage.
  • Network.

Doing this can also be considered link-building in another sense. Because link building is marketing, and marketing is about building relationships.

Find Allies Who Are Also Targeting Your Audience

Combining outreach efforts with the Nexus approach helps you create relationships and connections beyond just the link.

[Learn what the Nexus approach is] Instantly access the webinar →

3. Use Other Authority Builders, In Addition To Links

One way to increase brand queries is through influencers, knowledge panel (which becomes part of a brand’s search results), and mentions.

To increase mentions:

  • Use HARO & Terkel.
  • Publish unique industry data.
  • Do something distinctive that stands out.
  • Connect with publishers with significant traffic, not for links but for visibility & mentions.
  • Leverage influencers and industry experts.

[BONUS: Get a step-by-step branded keyword strategy] Instantly access the webinar →

At the end of the day, when you publish unique, relevant, and authoritative content, it gets referenced and cited by others.

[Slides] Discover The Top 3 Ways To Build Authority By Going Beyond Just Link Building

Here’s the presentation:

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

Google Shopping: 5 Ways AI Can Increase Ecommerce Sales and Profit

Join Malin Blomberg, CEO of Bidbrain and Google Shopping expert, as she shares the best hacks for digital marketers and ecommerce business owners to maximize conversion value.

Image Credits:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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Microsoft Introduces Category-Based Targeting For Search Ads



Microsoft Introduces Category-Based Targeting For Search Ads

Microsoft has unveiled a new approach to search advertising that aims to help businesses more effectively reach their target audiences in the retail media space.

This innovative category-based targeting solution aims to address the limitations of traditional keyword targeting while leveraging the power of keywords to optimize campaign performance.

Moving Beyond Keyword Targeting

Although keyword targeting has been a cornerstone of search advertising for years, it has limitations.

By focusing solely on keyword targeting, advertisers may miss out on valuable opportunities to promote their products, which can negatively impact a campaign’s performance and limit revenue potential.

Retailers and advertisers are beginning to realize that shoppers browse digital aisles on retailer websites rather than solely searching for specific products using keywords.

As a result, strategies limited to keyword targeting don’t adequately address their needs.

Unlocking The Power Of Category-Based Targeting

Microsoft’s new solution targets shoppers based on their browsing categories, utilizing keywords to boost campaign bids.

This approach allows advertisers to capitalize on both audience behaviors, resulting in a stronger performance.

By boosting bids with keywords, advertisers can increase their chances of converting purchase intent into sales.

Retailers can optimize the site experience for shoppers through product taxonomy, making it easier for customers to find what they want.

Microsoft PromoteIQ’s AI-driven algorithms can then deliver more relevant ads by layering keywords as a booster in addition to categories.

This new approach simplifies campaign management for advertisers, as they only need to test and retain a few high-performing keywords.

For retailers, this efficiency translates into increased demand.

Proven Results: Higher CTR & RPM

Tests have shown that this unique solution delivers impressive results.

Campaigns that utilize category-based targeting and boost bids by keywords have a 320% higher click-through rate (CTR) than campaigns without keyword bid boosting.

Retailers also benefit from this approach, achieving 8x higher revenue per thousand impressions (RPM).

The Future Of Search Advertising?

Microsoft PromoteIQ’s new category-based targeting solution is a significant shift in search advertising.

By addressing the limitations of traditional keyword targeting and maximizing the value of both audience behaviors, this innovative approach can potentially improve performance for advertisers and retailers alike.

As the advertising landscape continues to evolve, embracing solutions like this is crucial for staying ahead and delivering an exceptional shopping experience for customers.

Featured Image: sockagphoto/Shutterstock

Source: Microsoft

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