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The Only 29 Free SEO Tools You Need

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The Only 29 Free SEO Tools You Need

Looking for a list of free, useful SEO tools? Then look no further.

You don’t need every free SEO tool under the sun. You just need enough of them to cover your use cases.

After a few years in SEO and content marketing, I’ve found these free SEO tools are all you need.

Monitor your website’s SEO health, see who’s linking to your website, and learn what your website is ranking for on Google 

Except of AWT's page

Before you hire an interior designer to beautify your house, the foundation of your house needs to be rock-solid. The same goes for your website. Before you go about optimizing your website, you need to make sure its technical health is strong.

Run a comprehensive crawl of your website with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) to check for over 100 common SEO issues.

You’ll also be able to see who’s linking to your website and learn what keywords you’re currently ranking for.

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This tool doesn’t just tell you what problems your site has. It’ll also tell you why a particular thing is a problem and how you can fix it.

Page showing the issue and how to fix itPage showing the issue and how to fix it

See the top 100 keyword ideas for any seed keyword, as well as related search data

Ahrefs' free keyword generator toolAhrefs' free keyword generator tool

Our free keyword research tool shows you the top 100 keyword ideas for any keyword or phrase, plus the top 50 related questions. It also shows you important keyword data, such as search volume and keyword difficulty.

List of keyword ideas for "coffee"List of keyword ideas for "coffee"

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Besides Google, you can see keywords for other important search engines like YouTube, Bing, and Amazon. Just select the search engine you want data for:

Ahrefs' free keyword generator toolAhrefs' free keyword generator tool

Google’s keyword research tool

Google's GKP: table showing list of keywords with corresponding dataGoogle's GKP: table showing list of keywords with corresponding data

Designed for keyword research for Google Ads, Google Keyword Planner (GKP) is an invaluable tool in an SEO’s toolbox. This is mainly because the tool is from Google itself, and many SEOs believe its data is the most accurate.

But in our experiment, we found that GKP almost always overestimates “true” search volume and is only roughly accurate 45.22% of the time.

Another limitation is that GKP doesn’t show absolute search volumes—only a range (as you can see in the screenshot above). Nevertheless, it’s still a useful tool if you want to cover all your bases when it comes to keyword research.

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Most keyword research tools show you ideas based on the seed keyword you entered. For example, if you search for “coffee,” you’ll get ideas like “coffee bean,” “coffee near me,” “coffee shops,” “keurig coffee maker,” etc.

GKP, on the other hand, can show you relevant keywords based on semantics. For example, you can see that GKP suggests keywords like “cappuccino,” “espresso,” “barista,” and “french press” even though they don’t contain the word “coffee.”

List of keywords and corresponding average monthly searchesList of keywords and corresponding average monthly searches

Recommended reading: How to Use Google Keyword Planner (Actionable Guide)

Find People Also Ask questions

AlsoAsked toolAlsoAsked tool

For almost every query you search for on Google, you’ll see a SERP feature known as People Also Ask (PAA).

PPA box with list of questionsPPA box with list of questions

AlsoAsked scrapes them and shows you the PAA questions related to the topic you’ve entered. Use these to find subtopics and questions that may be worth answering in your article.

For example, if you are writing an article about “how to clean a coffee maker using vinegar,” you may want to answer these questions:

Hierarchy of questions connected by flowlinesHierarchy of questions connected by flowlines

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When you click on a PAA question in Google, more PAA questions pop up:

More questions in PAA boxMore questions in PAA box

AlsoAsked allows you to go deeper into this research (but you’ll have to sign up for a paid plan):

Drop-down showing options "Standard search depth" and "Deep search"Drop-down showing options "Standard search depth" and "Deep search"

Recommended reading: How to Rank in ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes and If You Should

Do keyword research on Reddit

Keyworddit research tool Keyworddit research tool

Keyword research is about finding the topics your audience is looking for. So what better way than to find the topics people are discussing on one of the internet’s largest “forums,” aka Reddit?

Enter the name of a subreddit your audience is participating in. Keyworddit will then extract keywords from that community.

For example, here’s a list of keywords it grabbed from the r/bodyweightfitness subreddit:

List of keywords with corresponding dataList of keywords with corresponding data

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Keyworddit also shows you the context where the keyword appeared:

Gif showing that clicking on "Context" shows where the keyword appeared Gif showing that clicking on "Context" shows where the keyword appeared

See search trends from all around the world

Google Trends tool Google Trends tool

Google Trends shows the popularity of a topic over time.

Use it to catch and capitalize on trending topics, as well as avoid creating content about those with waning interest.

Line graph showing interest trend for "one piece"Line graph showing interest trend for "one piece"

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Google Trends also shows you related topics and queries that are rising in popularity:

List of related topics and corresponding data on percentage change in interest trends; on its right, the same format for list of related queriesList of related topics and corresponding data on percentage change in interest trends; on its right, the same format for list of related queries

Cover these topics before other sites do.

Recommended reading: How to Use Google Trends for Keyword Research: 7 Effective Ways

WordPress SEO plugin for on-page and technical SEO

Excerpt of RankMath's pageExcerpt of RankMath's page

Imagine if you had to add your title tags, meta descriptions, OG tags, and other meta tags by yourself using code for every post you publish. You’d flip out, wouldn’t you?

But if you’re using WordPress, you don’t have to do that. RankMath helps you add all of those easily:

RankMath showing added title, permalink, etcRankMath showing added title, permalink, etc

Besides that, RankMath also helps with:

And more.

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RankMath has a comprehensive schema markup library that you can add to your posts:

List of schema typesList of schema types

See how your page will look like on the SERPs

Google's SERP snippet optimization toolGoogle's SERP snippet optimization tool

Enter your proposed title, meta description, and URL. This tool will then show you what your webpage will potentially look like in the search results.

Preview of how webpage looks like on the SERPPreview of how webpage looks like on the SERP

You can already do this if you’re using a WordPress plugin like RankMath. But it’s useful if you’re not using WordPress.

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Check the Rich Snippet and Date radio buttons to see what they look like on the SERPs:

Preview of how webpage looks like on the SERPs with ratingsPreview of how webpage looks like on the SERPs with ratings

Create structured data markup in the JSON-LD format

Schema markup generator for JSON-LD formatSchema markup generator for JSON-LD format

Schema markup helps search engines better understand your content. It also powers rich snippets, which often have higher click-through rates than “regular” search results.

Merkle’s Schema Markup Generator helps you create the right schema code. Select the type of schema markup you want to generate, e.g., local business, FAQ, product, etc., fill in the form, then copy and paste the generated markup onto your site.

You can do this if you’re already using a WordPress plugin like RankMath. But if you aren’t, this is a good tool to use.

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This is not a specific feature of the tool. But once you’ve generated your schema markup, you can check its validity using Schema.org’s Markup Validator.

Recommended reading: What Is Structured Data? And Why Should You Implement It?

Multi-feature browser extension that provides SEO data about the pages and websites you visit

Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar showing meta info, dates published, etc., for a webpageAhrefs' SEO Toolbar showing meta info, dates published, etc., for a webpage

With Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar, you can see the valuable SEO data of any webpage you visit. These include the following:

  • Page’s title
  • Meta description
  • Dates when page was published and modified
  • Word count
  • Headings
  • Hreflang tags
  • Canonicals
  • OG tags

And more.

Besides that, the tool also:

  • Checks for broken links.
  • Traces redirect chains (full path).
  • Highlights nofollow links.

And much more.

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If you have an Ahrefs subscription, you can see our metrics within the SERPs themselves:

Toolbar showing metrics on a Google SERPToolbar showing metrics on a Google SERP

See the top 100 backlinks to any website or webpage

Ahrefs' free backlink checker toolAhrefs' free backlink checker tool

One of the most common activities in link building is to pursue your competitors’ links. By that, we mean looking at your competitors’ links and figuring out how they’ve been acquiring theirs. Then you can potentially mirror their tactics.

To do that, you’ll need to see who’s linking to them in the first place. What you can do is enter the URL of the page you’re competing with into our free backlink checker.

You’ll see the top 100 backlinks pointing to that page:

List of backlinks and corresponding dataList of backlinks and corresponding data

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This tool also shows you the five most linked pages, most common anchor texts, the total number of backlinks and referring domains, and our proprietary Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) scores.

These are all important information that can help you formulate your link building strategy.

Recommended reading: 7 Actionable Ways to Loot Your Competitors’ Backlinks 

Find email addresses

Hunter.io toolHunter.io tool

Most link building tactics involve reaching out and persuading someone to link to your page. For that to happen, you’ll need their email address.

Hunter.io allows you to find anyone’s professional email address. Just enter the domain of the email address you’re looking for, and the tool will show you the list of email addresses it’s found:

Search term "ahrefs.com" entered; below, list of email addresses Search term "ahrefs.com" entered; below, list of email addresses

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If you’re doing link building at scale, you can use Hunter.io’s bulk email finder to find and verify email addresses in one shot.

Learn how to do this in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovu2ZYWgOJQ

Recommended reading: 6 Ways To Find Anyone’s Email Address (Tried & Tested) 

Free service that connects news sources with journalists looking for expertise

Excerpt of Haro's pageExcerpt of Haro's page

Here’s how this works:

  1. Journalists have questions and need experts to answer them.
  2. HARO sends emails with those questions to their subscribers.
  3. Anyone can respond and potentially become a source for the journalists’ publications.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out or have an established site; this is a great way to build authoritative links.

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This is not a HARO feature. But signing up for HARO means you’ll begin receiving many emails from HARO a day. You’ll want to narrow down all the emails you receive from HARO to only those that are relevant to your work.

To do this, you’ll need to create a Gmail filter. Here’s how:

  1. Hit the caret on the right side of the search bar
  2. Paste [email protected] (or another feed) into the “from” field
  3. Add your keywords (using the OR separator) to the “Includes the words” field and use quotation marks to consider multiple words as one keyword
Options to customize Gmail filterOptions to customize Gmail filter

Recommended reading: 9 Great Public Relations Tactics With Campaign Examples

Free tool from Google that helps you monitor and troubleshoot your website’s appearance on the SERPs

GSC overview page for Ahrefs' blogGSC overview page for Ahrefs' blog

Use Google Search Console to find and fix technical errors on your website, submit sitemaps, see structured data issues, check your Core Web Vitals, and more.

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The URL Inspection tool provides information about Google’s indexed version of a specific page. Enter any URL and see if there are issues with it:

URL Inspection tool showing all's OK for a specific page on Ahrefs' blogURL Inspection tool showing all's OK for a specific page on Ahrefs' blog

If you’re advanced enough, you can even use the URL Inspection API to bulk-check your data.

Recommended reading: How to Use Google Search Console to Improve SEO (Beginner’s Guide) 

Free global CDN

Except of Cloudflare's pageExcept of Cloudflare's page

A content delivery network (CDN) is a globally distributed server network that makes it quicker for users to access your website. It caches static content across its servers so that it can get content to load faster by serving it from a location near the visitor.

Use Cloudflare to speed up your website and protect it from malicious attacks.

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Cloudflare automatically provides a free SSL certificate for your website. This is important because HTTPS protects your site and is a Google ranking factor.

Analyze the loading speed of your webpages

Excerpt of GTmetrix's pageExcerpt of GTmetrix's page

Page speed has been a Google ranking factor since 2010. So if your site is extremely slow, this may be a reason why it’s not ranking as well as it can be.

Use GTmetrix to check your page speed and see how the page is performing:

Results of page speed test showing GTmetrix grade and CWV dataResults of page speed test showing GTmetrix grade and CWV data

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GTmetrix also shows you the top issues affecting your site, plus recommendations on how to improve them:

Top issue and recommendation to solve said issueTop issue and recommendation to solve said issue

Recommended reading: How to Improve Page Speed From Start to Finish (Advanced Guide)

Optimize your images

Except of ShortPixel's page; on right, "before compression" and "after compression" versions of a picture of a bird Except of ShortPixel's page; on right, "before compression" and "after compression" versions of a picture of a bird

Large images (in terms of file sizes) can take a longer time to load and, therefore, impact your page speed. Google even has extensive documentation on how to optimize your images for the web:

For best results, experiment with various quality settings for your images, and don’t be afraid to dial down the quality—the visual results are often very good and the filesize savings can be quite large.

You can use ShortPixel to compress, optimize, and resize your images.

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ShortPixel automatically optimizes your media library:

Message stating all pictures have been optimizedMessage stating all pictures have been optimized

Recommended reading: Image SEO: 12 Actionable Tips (For More Organic Traffic) 

Create a properly formatted robots.txt file

Excerpt of Robots.txt Generator's pageExcerpt of Robots.txt Generator's page

A robots.txt file tells search engines where they can and can’t go on your site. Primarily, it lists all the content you want to lock away from search engines like Google.

If you don’t yet have a robots.txt file on your website, use this tool to quickly create one.

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If you’re an advanced user, choose “Customize” to create individual rules for various bots, subdirectories, etc.:

Page to create individual rules Page to create individual rules

Recommended reading: Robots.txt and SEO: Everything You Need to Know 

Generate hreflang tags to specify the language and geographical targeting of a webpage

Page showing hreflang tag generatorPage showing hreflang tag generator

Hreflang is an HTML attribute used to specify the language and geographical targeting of a webpage.

If you have multiple versions of the same page in different languages, you can use the hreflang tag to tell search engines like Google about these variations. This helps them to serve the correct version to their users.

Use this tool to generate the correct hreflang tags for your website. Just add your desired URLs, select your target country and language, then click “Generate.”

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You can bulk-upload URLs (max: 50) onto the tool. Just click “Choose file” and upload your CSV file.

Recommended reading: Hreflang: The Easy Guide for Beginners 

See how the browser renders a page

Page showing three columns: raw HTML, rendered HTML, and what the differences arePage showing three columns: raw HTML, rendered HTML, and what the differences are

This shows how the browser has rendered a page’s original HTML into the DOM, including modifications made by JavaScript.

It’s a great tool for those who need to audit or troubleshoot JavaScript issues.

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View Rendered Source shows the differences between the raw version of your code and what is rendered.

Page showing three columns: raw HTML, rendered HTML, and what the differences arePage showing three columns: raw HTML, rendered HTML, and what the differences are

Recommended reading: JavaScript SEO: What You Need to Know 

See the top 10 ranking pages for any keyword

Ahrefs' free SERP checkerAhrefs' free SERP checker

Google personalizes search results based on factors such as your location, language, and search history. As such, search results may differ widely, depending on the location you search from.

Use our free SERP checker to see real-time search results so that you can get the most accurate SERPs in the location you want to rank for.

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For the first three search results, you’ll also see important SEO metrics like the number of referring domains, number of backlinks, estimated search traffic, etc.

This is helpful for assessing the top-ranking pages and understanding why these pages are ranking where they are.

SERP overview for "french press"SERP overview for "french press"

See search results from any location

BrightLocal's local SERP checker toolBrightLocal's local SERP checker tool

If you’re doing local SEO, you’ll want to see even more granular search results—right down to the city, town, or even ZIP level. You can use BrightLocal’s Local SERP Checker for that.

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Depending on the country, you can even specify the language:

Drop-down to choose language Drop-down to choose language

Google’s analytics tool

"Home" page of Google's analytics tool"Home" page of Google's analytics tool

Google Analytics is quite likely the most used analytics tool out there. It’s no wonder—not only is it free, but it’s also powerful. It gives you a whole range of data for your website, which you can parse and dissect to improve almost every aspect of your marketing.

So rather than pinpoint a particular feature I like (which seems almost impossible), read the article recommended below to see how you can use Google Analytics to improve your SEO performance.

Recommended reading: How to Use Google Analytics to Improve SEO Performance 

Create interactive dashboards and reports

Interactive dashboards: on left, a line graph; on right, a mapInteractive dashboards: on left, a line graph; on right, a map

Whether you’re an in-house SEO or an SEO agency, you’re probably creating SEO reports for your clients, managers, and bosses. Google Data Studio helps make such reporting easier.

Since it integrates with Google’s suite of tools, it is relatively easy to merge data from places like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, etc.

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You can even add data from SEO tools like Ahrefs.

Recommended reading: Steal Our SEO Report Template (Inspired by SEO Experts) 

Run a content audit of your website

Page showing results of content audit. On left, performance score with explanation below; on right, pie chart showing no. of pages that are performing well, not performing well, etcPage showing results of content audit. On left, performance score with explanation below; on right, pie chart showing no. of pages that are performing well, not performing well, etc

Not every piece of content you publish will be successful. That’s OK. You can always revisit it, figure out what went wrong, and take action to improve its performance.

But to do that, you’ll need to find the underperforming pages. That’s when you do a content audit.

Our SEO WordPress plugin automates the content audit process and kicks back recommendations to you.

List of pages and corresponding data that shows who the author is, categories, recommendations, etcList of pages and corresponding data that shows who the author is, categories, recommendations, etc

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Click the suggestions, and we’ll give you a recommendation on what to do next:

List of recommended actions with explanation below each actionList of recommended actions with explanation below each action

Recommended reading: How to Do a Content Audit in 2022 

Manage how your local business appears on Google Search and Maps

Except of GBP's pageExcept of GBP's page

According to BrightLocal’s survey, 36% of SEOs think a Google Business Profile is the most important ranking factor for the map pack. And 6% believe that it’s important for the “regular” organic results.

Bar graph showing percentage of SEOs who think GBP is most important ranking factor for "map pack" and "regular" results, respectivelyBar graph showing percentage of SEOs who think GBP is most important ranking factor for "map pack" and "regular" results, respectively

So if you’re running a local business, make sure you have your Google Business Profile set up.

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BrightLocal’s 2021 study shows that 17% of SEOs deem reviews the most important ranking factor for “map pack” rankings.

Use your Google Business Profile to create and share review links so that you can get more reviews for your local business.

Recommended reading: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing in 30 Minutes 

See how pages looked like in the past

Except of Wayback Machine's pageExcept of Wayback Machine's page

The Wayback Machine takes historical screenshots of pages and stores them in its database. You can then enter any URL to see those webpages’ previous versions (even currently broken ones).

This is useful for a variety of tasks. For example, if you’re doing broken link building, it is helpful to see what was originally on the dead page so that you can replicate it.

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If your competitors are constantly making changes or updating their pages (and, in the process, outranking you), you can also enter their URL into the Wayback Machine to see what sections or subtopics they’ve added.

Recommended reading: 5 Ways to Use the Wayback Machine for SEO

Monitor mentions of your name or business online

Text field to enter term to create an alert aboutText field to enter term to create an alert about

Use this tool to set up mentions of your name or business. Depending on the frequency you choose, Google Alerts will then send you an email with all the pages that have mentioned the term you’re tracking.

Page to set up alertsPage to set up alerts

You can also use it to monitor your competitors.

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Use Google Alerts to monitor unlinked mentions. Unlinked mentions are mentions of your brand, products, or services that don’t link to you. Those are wasted opportunities.

Set up multiple Google Alerts for all your brand-related terms. For example, we can track:

Sidenote.

You can consider setting up Google Alerts for common misspellings too! One of our examples is “aherfs.”

When you receive the email from Google Alerts, check out the pages, view the source code (right-click > view page source), and search for yourdomain.com using CTRL/CMD+F. If there are no results, that means there are no links back to you.

Consider reaching out to the writer or webmaster and see if they can add a link back to your site.

Recommended reading: How to Set Up Google Alerts (And Use It to Grow Your Business) 

World’s most used search engine

Google's page to key in search termGoogle's page to key in search term

Even with so many free SEO tools available, you can’t forget about Google—arguably the most powerful SEO tool.

You can use Google to do a variety of SEO tasks. For example, you can use Google to figure out what the search intent is so that you can align your page with it.

Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “best french press.” If we search for the term on Google, we’ll see that searchers want to learn, not buy. Specifically, they want to see comparisons of all the best and most up-to-date French presses:

Google SERP for "best French press"Google SERP for "best French press"

If you run a coffee blog and want to rank for this keyword, it’s likely you’ll have to follow suit.

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You can use Google search operators to find guest post opportunities, internal linking opportunities, link prospects, and more.

Learn about some powerful ways to use Google for SEO in our extensive guide to Google search operators.

Learn more

Still looking for more SEO tools? Check out some of these articles:

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SEO

How Do I Get A Job With A PPC Agency

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Conversion Tracking In PPC Campaigns

This month’s “Ask A PPC” question is particularly significant because the job market has been quite volatile.

“How do I get a job with a PPC agency when I have only worked in-house. What experience would they want?” – Karl Toronto

It’s understandable that people want to know which skills employers seek when hiring for a PPC team. There can be a disparity between what people think they need and what the market actually demands.

We’ll delve into some data and commentary to explain why various traits are valued.

It’s crucial to understand that the ideal candidates will be versatile and have an aptitude for all aspects of digital marketing.

However, no one can excel at everything, so leveraging your strengths or preferences is beneficial.

Ensure that you’re securing the best role for yourself while the company hiring you finds the best fit for them.

Here Are The Essential Skills

  • Analytics.
  • Creativity.
  • Ad network knowledge.
  • Willingness to test/learn.
  • Culture fit.

Discrepancy Between Market Demands And Perceived Needs

I conducted a poll on my LinkedIn to gauge the skills desired by current employers and practitioners.

Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Analytical skills emerged as the most sought-after trait. Employers seek individuals who can interpret numbers and discern the story behind them.

However, relying solely on analytical prowess may overlook the importance of creativity.

Creative skills are vital in today’s ad networks, especially emphasizing visual content like videos and campaign types that force visual content (Performace Max/Demand Gen). Neglecting creativity can hinder a company’s branding efforts.

Unexpectedly, ad network skills and cultural fit were deemed far less critical than analytical skills. Brands should prioritize team cohesion for long-term success, yet this aspect is often undervalued.

The disparity between job descriptions and actual skill requirements contributes to the difficulty in the job market.

Agencies that hire for how PPC used to work will be left wanting. Practitioners who only focus on popular skills instead of needed ones will be made obsolete by the privacy-first era obscuring data and AI owning creative.

Analytical Skills

Analytical abilities involve knowing where to find relevant data sources and understanding how they contribute to success.

While PPC historically relied on measurable outcomes, the landscape is evolving, necessitating adaptability in data analysis. Technical proficiency and strategic acumen are crucial for navigating different data sources.

These include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
  • Ecommerce platforms.
  • Content management platforms (CMS).

Empathy for various ad channels improves your candidacy, and knowing how to work with post-click data will give you an edge over those who can only work with ad platform data.

While being highly technical isn’t required, having empathy for coding and scripts will give you a better chance to stay current with evolving data mechanics (especially as APIs become even more important for accessing data blocked by privacy-first regulations).

Here are some takes from PPC experts on why analytics is the most important:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn comment by Georgi Zayakov, who describes himself as analytical Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A LinkedIn post by Kathryn B., a paid media specialist at a PPC agencyScreenshot from LinkedIn, April 2024
Screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Nikolaos B., discussing how marketers must become data-savvyScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Creativity

Creativity is essential for crafting compelling ad content, yet many PPC agencies struggle in this area.

Clients are often tasked with providing creative materials due to cost or complexity constraints.

You’ll get a competitive edge if you have these skills:

  • Video Editing: With the rise of PMax, as well as many ad networks leaning heavily into connected TV, having video editing chops will be a huge asset for any team. If you’re not comfortable using conventional editing tools, AI tools like Descript are a great way to take on those tasks.
  • Graphic Design: No matter the ad network your potential employer is hiring for, you will need some ability to design static images. Whether you use stock photos or AI-generated images or come up with the creative yourself, the days of purely text ads are over. Tools like Canva can help bridge the gap for less technical designers, but don’t discount ad network AI.
  • Content Creation: While the first two categories leaned toward visual content, written content is still important (i.e., most ad formats include some text). Having the ability to understand how diverse audiences prefer to be addressed while respecting the specific requirements of each format is a great skill to hone.

While some roles may prioritize analytics or ad network knowledge, emphasizing creative abilities can distinguish you during the hiring process.

Here are some experts who value creativity:

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Erik PetersonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a Linkedin post by Amy HebdonScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Ad Network Knowledge

Ad network expertise is valuable, but adaptability is paramount as platforms evolve rapidly.

Some agencies will have specialists, while others hire folks they expect to be passable at every network they service. It’s important to understand what workflow will enable you to succeed.

If you’re happy working with all platforms, then don’t shy away from it. However, if you do better in focusing on one aspect of PPC, that’s totally valid. Just know it might limit your ability to get hired into smaller “familyesque” agencies.

Understanding auction dynamics and bidding strategies is crucial.

Many of us who entered the industry when manual bidding was more popular have an unfair advantage over those who came in during the Smart Bidding era (i.e., anything from 2020).

This is because manual bidding requires you to think about the mechanics of each ad platform’s auction and how you could use those mechanics to your advantage in building account structure.

Knowing what to track and allocating appropriate budgets are key considerations.

Understanding that some networks require more conversions than others to run (e.g., Meta Ads’ 50 in a 7-day period vs. Google Ads’ 15 in a 30-day period) should influence what you choose to track, as well as how you report the data.

Additionally, if you are under or over budget, you’ll set yourself up to fail. Knowing which channels require a big investment upfront and what the breaking point for each network is (either on underspending or spending too much) is critical.

Awareness of potential pitfalls, such as false positives or negatives, enhances campaign effectiveness. For example, it’s important to know how to check if automatically applying recommendations is on and what tasks it’s on for.

It’s worth noting that none of the experts who chimed in on the poll made a clear case for ad network knowledge specifically.

Willingness To Test

Success in PPC requires openness to experimentation and a willingness to adapt. While this wasn’t one of the criteria in the poll, it was one of the most popular traits experts look for in hiring.

Perfectionism can hinder progress in a fast-changing environment. Testing new ideas and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth are essential.

While analytical skills aid in test design, empathy and creativity are equally vital for devising effective experiments.

Here is an expert who favors a willingness to test:

Screenshot of a social media post by Mike RhodesScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Cultural Fit

Cultural alignment with an agency fosters productivity and job satisfaction. However, you can only achieve that by being honest with yourself about what you want and the mechanics of how you work.

Agencies demand intense effort and collaboration, making compatibility with colleagues crucial.

Anyone looking to make the shift from in-house to agency needs to be prepared for a much faster pace of work and a lot more agency.

Open communication with leadership regarding preferred management and learning styles will ensure a positive working relationship.

Respect for peers and a supportive atmosphere contribute to a fulfilling work environment.

Here are a few thoughts on cultural fit from polled experts:

The image shows a LinkedIn post by David Zebrout containing text discussing the importance of integrating PPC network knowledge with intertimed optimizations in generating profitable growth.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
LinkedIn post by Lisa Erschbamer discussing the importance of cultural fit and individual personality in team dynamics for effective performance at a PPC Agency.Screenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024
A screenshot of a LinkedIn post by Aaron Davies discussing the importance of cultural fit, individual skills, and team communication in marketing for a PPC agency. The post has reactions and a question comment by NavahScreenshot from author, LinkedIn, April 2024

Final Thoughts

Navigating the current job market can be challenging, but understanding industry needs and honing relevant skills increases your chances of success.

Balancing technical proficiency with creativity and cultural fit is essential for thriving in a PPC role. By aligning with market demands and showcasing your strengths, you can secure rewarding opportunities in the field.

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

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Why Every Marketer Should Be On Reddit

In its nearly 20 years of existence, Reddit has built a robust, dynamic, and highly engaged community.

It has cemented itself as not only one of the key influencers for the internet culture we have come to know today, but also as one of the top 10 social media sites in the world, with more than 500,000 monthly visitors across more than 100,000 active communities.

Despite its size and influence, marketers have long avoided, overlooked, and failed to establish a presence on what is arguably one of the most influential social media sites today.

To be fair, Reddit has always been known as one of the hardest communities to have marketing success with, requiring months (if not years) of dedicated commitment to actually being a part of the community and engaging with your audience through meaningful, genuine, and honest interactions.

To many, that is just too much risk and too much work, but let’s be honest – most amazing things take risk and hard work. And for all of you who put in that work to be successful on Reddit, you already see the payoff it brings.

Regardless of the reasons, marketers who continue to overlook Reddit’s potential are missing out on an extremely influential community with ideal targeted demographics, where authenticity and genuine connections lead to valuable information, positive branding, and marketing success.

Not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at Reddit!

Reddit Stats You Cannot Ignore

Reddit users are dedicated to their use of the platform, with a reported 82 million (16.4%) of its 500 million users visiting the site daily, sharing over 1 billion posts, with over 16 billion comments across 100,000+ active communities, making it easily one of the top visited and most active sites in the United States today.

The user base is so loyal that they spend, on average, 20 minutes on the platform each day (and over 45 minutes a day for long-time users of more than 7 years) and, in many cases, are inactive on other social platforms.

This makes Reddit one of the only places to actually get in front of this massive audience, with 32% being inactive on Facebook, 37% on Instagram, 41% on TikTok, and 53% on X.

When it comes to demographics, a 2019 survey concluded that the overall Reddit audience was majority male (59%), ranged in age (36% aged 18-29; 25% aged 30-49), and well educated (42% college degree; 31% some college) making them an ideal audience many businesses looking for success.

They also helped Reddit improve revenues by 21% to $804 million in 2023, with a global addressable market for advertising estimated at $1.4 trillion by 2027.

Thought by many to be mostly a North American audience, Reddit claims more than 50% of its traffic comes from international users, a rather impressive climb from its earlier years.

It is important to remember, though, that Reddit is a platform that allows communities to grow and thrive, so those demographics change from subreddit to subreddit.

If that isn’t enough to grab your attention, surveys have found that 75% of users find Reddit a trustworthy source for making purchasing decisions.

For years now, it has been included heavily and prominently in Google search results, which have become even more visible due to reports following their inclusion in SGE results and with Google’s recent $60 million a year deal with Reddit to have real-time access to Reddit content and to use its content to train Google’s future AI models.

Speaking of Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results, let’s take a closer look at why that deal is so important, especially to search marketers.

Reddit In Google Search, SGE, And Google’s Reddit Deal

For years, Reddit results have been prominently displayed in Google’s search results – so much so that users have even started adding the term “reddit” to the end of their search queries.

So often, you will see Google suggest search lines with the term “reddit” prefilled at the end.

Screenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

Even without selecting the query that includes “reddit,” you will notice Reddit’s prominent placement in two places: discussions and forums, and Reddit sitelinks, which are both just below the ads and the first organic result.

Reddit resultsScreenshot by author from search for [are purple mattresses good], Google, May 2024

This was amplified by Google’s recent Helpful Content Update (HCU), which allowed platforms like Reddit and other forums to show up more frequently in search results,

Reddit’s ability to be helpful in satisfying a user’s search for information is so successful – in combination with reported shortages in new content for AI models from all major platforms – it is not surprising Google struck a deal with Reddit to show its content faster in search results and to use the content in training future AI models.

Since news of the deal between Reddit and Google was reported, there has been a lot of additional focus on Reddit’s visibility in Google’s search results.

Experts throughout the search industry report an increase in not only the total visibility of Reddit going up within search but also the speed at which a Reddit post is indexed and shown to users.

Google responded to concerns about Reddit showing up more in search results, saying that “some of the SEO folks who tend to be vocal on this platform (X) really dislike seeing more forum content in our search results. But actual searchers seem to like it. They proactively seek it out. It makes sense for us to be showing it to keep the search results relevant and satisfying for everyone.”

Google responded to concerns of Reddit showing up more in search resultsScreenshot by author from X (Twitter), May 2024

Although disputed by Google, Roger Montii wrote about one report of Reddit content being indexed within five minutes.

ChatGPT to Surface Reddit Content

Adding to the deal Reddit made with Google, it was recently reported that OpenAI has partnered with Reddit to surface their content in ChatGPT, adding to the clear value that both OpenAI and Google see in Reddit’s content today and in the future.

Of course, this has sparked a lot of interest in companies of all sizes. They want to figure out how their brands can participate and succeed on Reddit in hopes of increasing their visibility in Google’s search results, SGE, and ChatGPT and building their brand’s visibility amongst one of the most influential audiences on the internet today.

**Quick warning: Reddit requires genuine, long-term engagement and a strategy for success. So, I would definitely advise individuals and businesses to avoid trying to game, spam, or blindly jump into marketing on Reddit and take the time to really understand the platform, its audience, and your place of value within its communities.

Let’s look at how some major brands have been successful on Reddit in the past.

noosa Yoghurt

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit was a great example of tapping into niche audiences to create engaging, user-driven content.

To capitalize on Reddit’s community of vocal yogurt enthusiasts, noosa launched a Flavor Poll that invited Redditors to upvote their favorite noosa flavors in the comments. This created a sense of community and interactivity around what could have been a standard poll.

Noosa Yoghurt’s 2021 back-to-school campaign on Reddit.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After tallying the upvotes, noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results using a sleek custom infographic, highlighting the community’s favorites while also giving the brand important insight into consumer preferences.

Noosa published a Promoted Post that showcased the results.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • 49% increase in brand recall among Reddit users who were exposed to the campaign.
  • 30% increase in brand favorability.
  • 39% increase in purchase intent (15X the typical lift observed in the food vertical).
  • 50+ billion monthly views.

Sony Pictures Germany

To drum up excitement around the release of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” in Germany, Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign that combined organic and promoted content to engage the platform’s robust fan communities.

The brand created a Reddit account under the protagonist’s name, u/MilesMorales, and used it to share exclusive content directly within Spiderman-related subreddits.

It also organized an AMA with the German voice actor Miles Morales to create a more personal connection with fans and promoted video posts featuring the movie trailer to amplify the excitement.

Sony Pictures Germany crafted a Reddit campaign.Screenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

The results:

  • Sony Pictures Germany achieved a click-through rate (CTR) that was 344% higher than that of its standard paid media.
  • 831 upvotes.
  • 618,000 impressions.
  • The film remained No. 1 on the German movie charts for three consecutive weeks.

It is important to note that promoting your content and your brand on Reddit is definitely not the only value Reddit can bring you and your business.

Reddit is an amazing place to get honest feedback.

Whether you are trying to figure out what your target audience wants from your brand, test out a new feature or concept before investing and launching it openly, or even just to have continued open communication with your customers to support them and keep them connected to your brand, Reddit can help you succeed in an amazing way.

Transamerica Helping Reddit Make Dollars Make Sense

Transamerica’s campaign on Reddit is a great example of a company identifying an opportunity to connect with its target audience on the subreddit /r/finance.

This allows the company to better understand its customers’ needs and focus on content creation and future marketing plans.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

Aligning itself with its audience by demonstrating awareness of the topics around personal finance happening in the subreddit, as well as acknowledging the Redditors working at the company, it asked what topics it could create “specifically for the reddit community” around the topic of finance.

It stayed involved and engaged throughout the campaign, responding to threads and maintaining a lighthearted and sometimes humorous tone.

Transamerica’s campaign on RedditScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

After getting all the feedback it needed, it created content around the more popular requests, going as far as branding and designing them similar to Reddit.

IRA vs 401K venn diagramScreenshot by author from Reddit, May 2024

It even took the time to individually comment a link to the published content on its site, bringing attention back to the overall campaign and the content it created.

This campaign was 10 years ago, and it is still referenced as a core example of engaging on Reddit as a brand in a respectful, thoughtful, and meaningful way.

Why You Should Be On Reddit Wrapup

TL;DR: If your brand has something meaningful to say and is interested in truly connecting with your audience, then yes, you should be on Reddit.

These successful brand campaign examples showcase Reddit’s power when used correctly. With research to understand the specific communities you want to reach, Reddit can have exceptional performance compared to other channels.

The stakes are high to get it right because Reddit communities can be highly negative toward self-serving promotion. But if you put in the effort and solve people’s needs and problems, Reddit has the potential to be a high-performance channel.

Edit: Updated daily active users figure based on Reddit’s Q1 Earnings Report

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No Algorithmic Actions For Site Reputation Abuse Yet

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Looking up at an angle at the Google sign on the Head Office for Canada

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has confirmed that the search engine hasn’t launched algorithmic actions targeting site reputation abuse.

This clarification addresses speculation within the SEO community that recent traffic drops are related to Google’s previously announced policy update.

Sullivan Says No Update Rolled Out

Lily Ray, an SEO professional, shared a screenshot on Twitter showing a significant drop in traffic for the website Groupon starting on May 6.

Ray suggested this was evidence that Google had begun rolling out algorithmic penalties for sites violating the company’s site reputation abuse policy.

However, Sullivan quickly stepped in, stating:

“We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse. I well imagine when we do, we’ll be very clear about that. Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons.”

Sullivan added that when the actions are rolled out, they will only impact specific content, not entire websites.

This is an important distinction, as it suggests that even if a site has some pages manually penalized, the rest of the domain can rank normally.

Background On Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy

Earlier this year, Google announced a new policy to combat what it calls “site reputation abuse.”

This refers to situations where third-party content is published on authoritative domains with little oversight or involvement from the host site.

Examples include sponsored posts, advertorials, and partner content that is loosely related to or unrelated to a site’s primary purpose.

Under the new policy, Google is taking manual action against offending pages and plans to incorporate algorithmic detection.

What This Means For Publishers & SEOs

While Google hasn’t launched any algorithmic updates related to site reputation abuse, the manual actions have publishers on high alert.

Those who rely heavily on sponsored content or partner posts to drive traffic should audit their sites and remove any potential policy violations.

Sullivan’s confirmation that algorithmic changes haven’t occurred may provide temporary relief.

Additionally, his statements also serve as a reminder that significant ranking fluctuations can happen at any time due to various factors, not just specific policy rollouts.


FAQ

Will Google’s future algorithmic actions impact entire websites or specific content?

When Google eventually rolls out algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse, these actions will target specific content rather than the entire website.

This means that if certain pages are found to be in violation, only those pages will be affected, allowing other parts of the site to continue ranking normally.

What should publishers and SEOs do in light of Google’s site reputation abuse policy?

Publishers and SEO professionals should audit their sites to identify and remove any content that may violate Google’s site reputation abuse policy.

This includes sponsored posts and partner content that doesn’t align with the site’s primary purpose. Taking these steps can mitigate the risk of manual penalties from Google.

What is the context of the recent traffic drops seen in the SEO community?

Google claims the recent drops for coupon sites aren’t linked to any algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse. Traffic fluctuations can occur for various reasons and aren’t always linked to a specific algorithm update.


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