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The Top 5 Link Building Strategies (With Examples)

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The Top 5 Link Building Strategies (With Examples)

Link building has always been a search engine optimization (SEO) staple.

However, in the 23 years that Google has existed, link building strategies have evolved into sophisticated practices.

At first, link quantity was the name of the game.

The more links your site had, the higher it ranked on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Today, Google focuses on quality links vs. quantity to ensure that websites providing valuable content are ranked higher.

This shift in focus has made link building a lengthy but vital process.

Websites need quality links to rank, but site editors no longer link to a page “just because.”

Now, link builders must focus on finding relevant sites for backlinks and providing valuable content for that audience.

Link builders must put time, thought, and energy into building sustainable link building strategies to help rank their websites in the SERPs.

How To Create Your Link Building Strategy

Link building strategies take a bit of upfront leg work, but once you’ve laid the groundwork, you’ve set yourself up for considerable success.

To create your link building strategy, consider the following steps.

Analyze your site.

Before you determine which sites to pursue or how many links to get, you must know what your site does well and doesn’t do well.

Determine whether you should focus on backlinks or keyword research (or both). Once you know what your site lacks, you can build assets to help aid your strategy.

Determine your target audience.

By understanding your audience, you can create a list of other sites they may be visiting.

Start by looking at demographics, behaviors, and interests.

What does your audience care about?

How do they search for answers?

What are they interested in that pertains to your product or services?

Audit your existing content.

Look for blog posts and other pages to which other sites might want to link.

Consider that most site owners do not link to product pages, as the practice appears spammy and advertorial.

Instead, look for top-funnel pages that are educational. Then, look at your competitor’s content.

Are there any content gaps?

If so, spend some time creating these pages so you can compete in search.

Create a list of target sites.

These sites should align with your content, business, and target audience. Prioritize the sites by relevance and authority – that way, you can be sure you’re hitting the most important sites first.

The critical thing to remember is that link building is a long process.

Therefore, your strategy must include long-term goals to see progress.

Link Building Strategies vs. Tactics

Before jumping into strategies, it’s imperative to go over the difference between tactics and strategies.

So often, people confuse the two, thinking they are the same thing. While they are closely related, they do have their differences.

A strategy is defined as an action plan. It typically involves a long-term goal and how you’re going to achieve it.

For example, say your company aims to increase organic traffic to the website.

One strategy you could have is to increase your social media presence.

The strategy, in this case, is not the end goal, but it is a way to meet the end goal.

A tactic is defined as the step to achieving a strategy.

Tactics have much shorter timelines than strategies and have a precise purpose.

Continuing with the social media strategy example, a tactic would be to post three times a week on specific social media platforms.

Another tactic example would be to create more social videos to increase engagement.

Now that the difference between strategy and tactics has been explained let’s dive into link building strategies.

Top Link Building Strategies

As with all strategies, it’s essential to build one with your end goal in mind. Link building takes time, effort, and patience.

As your campaign goes on, you must re-evaluate your strategies to understand what’s working and not working.

Below are five link building strategies that you can implement right now.

1. Publish Link-Worthy Content

You must create content that people want to build links to. Link-worthy content has broad appeal and most likely sits at the top of the marketing funnel.

Most editors want to link to pages relevant to their audience, so the more relevant your page is to their audience, the higher the likelihood they will link to it.

Link-worthy content is also educational and informational. It solves a common problem or answers common questions an audience might have.

However, many SEO experts build link-worthy content by answering common queries.

That is to say, to gain backlinks, not only does your content have to answer questions and solve problems, and it also has to do it in a unique way.

Examples of link-worthy content include:

  • How-to articles.
  • Data and trends.
  • Research that benefits your industry.
  • Educational content.
  • Entertainment.
  • Inspirational content.
  • Evergreen content.

If your strategy is to create more link-worthy content, you could audit your existing content to understand where you have gaps.

Then, by going through the different tactics listed above, you can plan which content to start with and how much you’ll need.

2. Outreach

Outreach is the act of asking a site for a backlink.

When you create link-worthy content, it’s essential to share that content with sites you think would benefit from it.

Gaining a backlink from high-authority sites is one way to tell Google that your site is an authority on a subject.

These backlinks act as “votes of confidence” from one site to another.

Additionally, backlinks from different sites can help expand your target audience, bringing new potential customers to your website.

Often, outreach consists of SEO specialists sending articles to a site editor explaining why they would benefit from their article.

However, there are many different tactics that outreach can accomplish, including:

  • Press releases to obtain links from relevant sites.
  • Promote new content.
  • Seek links in existing content.
  • Fix unlinked mentions.

Outreach can help forge professional relationships between SEOs and site editors.

While outreach may seem like a straightforward practice, there are outreach best practices that you should be aware of:

  • Personalize all your outreach. You don’t want to send generic messages.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Site editors don’t have much time to scroll through a long email.
  • Explain why linking to your site or article is beneficial for them.
  • Provide the anchor text for them. The easier you make it on them, the better.

3. Do News-Worthy Things

This strategy may seem vague, but there are many benefits to earning links from a news site.

For instance, many publications have a large audience, some of which are driven to your site.

Additionally, many publications are authorities in their space, and a backlink from them can go a long way with Google.

While you may think anything your company does could be considered newsworthy, it’s essential to consider what is relevant for your business and your target publication.

Consider the following tactics:

  • Host an event.
  • Donate to a cause.
  • Launch a nonprofit.
  • Create a new product or solution.
  • Announce a new partnership.
  • Offer a scholarship.

After you’ve decided on your news-worthy tactics, you must pitch your idea to contributors, publications, and other relevant media contacts.

Then, it would help if you convinced them why your story is essential to them and their audience.

4. Technical SEO

One way to gain links is to perform a technical audit on your backlinks.

Sometimes links break.

Pages go down.

And site editors are unaware that links to your site are no longer working.

By performing a backlink analysis on your site, you can stay in the loop on how your backlinks function.

Some tactics in this strategy include:

  • Finding broken links: You may email the site editor with the correct link, stating the value it adds to their site.
  • Fixing 404s: You may provide a brand new link to a similar page.
  • Removing redirects: Make sure any redirects are linking to the final destination. Whenever possible, remove redirect chains.
  • HTTP vs. HTTPS: If you recently migrated to HTTPS, ensure all links are updated from HTTP.

Fixing these problems helps to re-establish the connection from one site to another.

A redirect link or a link to a 404 page has almost no value; it’s important to reclaim these links to boost organic traffic to your site.

Additionally, fixing these links makes it easier for bots to crawl and index your site.

5. Thought Leadership

A thought leader is someone in an industry who is considered an expert. They consistently publish new content and bring up new ideas concerning their industry.

As a result, many people are likely to trust them and use their content as proof. So as you can see, being a thought leader in your industry can have many benefits.

Thought leadership content can also help your rankings in Google. The more people that point toward your content as a resource, the more Google will look at you as an authority.

Google wants to serve its users helpful content and thought leadership content is right up that alley.

To be successful a successful thought leader, consider the following tactics:

  • Guest blogging on relevant sites.
  • Posting answers on Q+A sites.
  • Creating content on social media.
  • Creating online classes or certifications.
  • Updating readers on the news in the industry.
  • Hosting a webinar or a podcast.

Remember that thought leadership starts with original research, building a solid presence, and keeping up-to-date on industry news.

Link Building Strategy To Avoid

If we talk about link building strategies that work, it’s only fair to go over the link building strategy you should avoid briefly.

Trying to get all the links you possibly could is neither sustainable nor organic.

The tactics this strategy employs are looked at as spammy practices by Google, and if you use them, your site could be penalized.

These black hat tactics include:

  • Buying links.
  • Bribing others for links.
  • Spamming links in comment fields.
  • Link schemes.
  • Misleading redirects.

While you may think, “the more links, the better,” it’s important to remember that Google prioritizes relevance between links.

Instead of going for a certain amount of links, try to find authoritative and relevant links to your site.

As stated before, link building takes time and patience. It is not a “set and forget” task.

However, with a well-thought-out strategy from the list above and the implementation of tactics to support it, your site can be on its way to earning many backlinks in the months to come.

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Image from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.

1. Writer.com

For the first prompt’s answer, Writer.com fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated.

Writer.com resultsScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content.

Writer.com test resultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, Writer.com did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. Contentatscale.ai

Contentatscale.ai did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from Contentscale.ai, January 2023

4. Originality.ai

Originality.ai did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from Originality.ai, January 2023

You will notice that Originality.ai doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.

Conclusion

Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

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Five things you need to know about content optimization in 2023

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5 Things You Need To Know About Optimizing Content in 2023

30-second summary:

  • As the content battleground goes through tremendous upheaval, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance
  • ChatGPT can help content marketers get an edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content
  • Making sure your content rank high enough to engage the target audience requires strategic planning and implementation

Google is constantly testing and updating its algorithms in pursuit of the best possible searcher experience. As the search giant explains in its ‘How Search Works’ documentation, that means understanding the intent behind the query and bringing back results that are relevant, high-quality, and accessible for consumers.

As if the constantly shifting search landscape weren’t difficult enough to navigate, content marketers are also contending with an increasingly technology-charged environment. Competitors are upping the stakes with tools and platforms that generate smarter, real-time insights and even make content optimization and personalization on the fly based on audience behavior, location, and data points.

Set-it-and-forget-it content optimization is a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to know to help your content get found, engage your target audience, and convert searchers to customers in 2023.

AI automation going to be integral for content optimization

Technologies-B2B-organizations-use-to-optimize-content

As the content battleground heats up, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance as a key source of intelligence. We’re optimizing content for humans, not search engines, after all – we had better have a solid understanding of what those people need and want.

While I do not advocate automation for full content creation, I believe next year – as resources become stretched automation will have a bigger impact on helping with content optimization of existing content.

CHATGPT

ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language generation model that leverages the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) architecture to produce realistic human-like text. With Chat GPT’s wide range of capabilities – from completing sentences and answering questions to generating content ideas or powering research initiatives – it can be an invaluable asset for any Natural Language Processing project.

ChatGPT-for-content

The introduction on ChatGPT has caused considerable debate and explosive amounts of content on the web. With ChatGPT, content marketers can achieve an extra edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content. It offers assistance with generating titles for blog posts, summaries of topics or articles, as well as comprehensive campaigns when targeting a specific audience.

However, it is important to remember that this technology should be used to enhance human creativity rather than completely replacing it.

For many years now AI-powered technology has been helping content marketers and SEOs automate repetitive tasks such as data analysis, scanning for technical issues, and reporting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AI also enables real-time analysis of a greater volume of consumer touchpoints and behavioral data points for smarter, more precise predictive analysis, opportunity forecasting, real-time content recommendations, and more.

With so much data in play and recession concerns already impacting 2023 budgets in many organizations, content marketers will have to do more with less this coming year. You’ll need to carefully balance human creative resources with AI assists where they make sense to stay flexible, agile, and ready to respond to the market.

It’s time to look at your body of content as a whole

Google’s Helpful Content update, which rolled out in August, is a sitewide signal targeting a high proportion of thin, unhelpful, low-quality content. That means the exceptional content on your site won’t rank to their greatest potential if they’re lost in a sea of mediocre, outdated assets.

It might be time for a content reboot – but don’t get carried away. Before you start unpublishing and redirecting blog posts, lean on technology for automated site auditing and see what you can fix up first. AI-assisted technology can help sniff out on-page elements, including page titles and H1 tags, and off-page factors like page speed, redirects, and 404 errors that can support your content refreshing strategy.

Focus on your highest trafficked and most visible pages first, i.e.: those linked from the homepage or main menu. Google’s John Mueller confirmed recently that if the important pages on your website are low quality, it’s bad news for the entire site. There’s no percentage by which this is measured, he said, urging content marketers and SEOs to instead think of what the average user would think when they visit your website.

Take advantage of location-based content optimization opportunities

Consumers crave personalized experiences, and location is your low-hanging fruit. Seasonal weather trends, local events, and holidays all impact your search traffic in various ways and present opportunities for location-based optimization.

AI-assisted technology can help you discover these opportunities and evaluate topical keywords at scale so you can plan content campaigns and promotions that tap into this increased demand when it’s happening.

Make the best possible use of content created for locally relevant campaigns by repurposing and promoting it across your website, local landing pages, social media profiles, and Google Business Profiles for each location. Google Posts, for example, are a fantastic and underutilized tool for enhancing your content’s visibility and interactivity right on the search results page.

Optimize content with conversational & high-volume keywords

Look for conversational and trending terms in your keyword research, too. Top-of-funnel keywords that help generate awareness of the topic and spur conversations in social channels offer great opportunities for promotion. Use hashtags organically and target them in paid content promotion campaigns to dramatically expand your audience.

Conversational keywords are a good opportunity for enhancing that content’s visibility in search, too. Check out the ‘People Also Ask’ results and other featured snippets available on the search results page (SERP) for your keyword terms. Incorporate questions and answers in your content to naturally optimize for these and voice search queries.

SEO-and-creating-content-in-2023

It’s important that you utilize SEO insights and real-time data correctly; you don’t want to be targeting what was trending last month and is already over. AI is a great assist here, as well, as an intelligent tool can be scanning and analyzing constantly, sending recommendations for new content opportunities as they arise.

Consider how you optimize content based on intent and experience

The best content comes from a deep, meaningful understanding of the searcher’s intent. What problem were they experiencing or what need did they have that caused them to seek out your content in the first place? And how does your blog post, ebook, or landing page copy enhance their experience?

Look at the search results page as a doorway to your “home”. How’s your curb appeal? What do potential customers see when they encounter one of your pages in search results? What kind of experience do you offer when they step over the threshold and click through to your website?

The best content meets visitors where they are at with relevant, high-quality information presented in a way that is accessible, fast loading, and easy to digest. This is the case for both short and long form SEO content. Ensure your content contains calls to action designed to give people options and help them discover the next step in their journey versus attempting to sell them on something they may not be ready for yet.

2023, the year of SEO: why brands are leaning in and how to prepare

Conclusion

The audience is king, queen, and the entire court as we head into 2023. SEO and content marketing give you countless opportunities to connect with these people but remember they are a means to an end. Keep searcher intent and audience needs at the heart of every piece of content you create and campaign you plan for the coming year.

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Headings With Hierarchical Structure An “Awesome Idea”

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Headings With Hierarchical Structure An "Awesome Idea"

Google’s John Mueller discussed heading elements with a member of the SEO community where he affirmed the usefulness of using hierarchical structure when using heading elements.

Background Context to What Mueller Said

Heading elements <H1> – <H6> are supposed to be used to indicate what a section of a webpage is about.

Furthermore the heading elements have a ranking order, with the <H1> being the highest rank of importance and the <H6> being the lowest level of importance.

The heading element purpose is to label what a section of content is about.

HTML specifications allow the use of multiple <H1> elements. So, technically, using more than one <H1> is perfectly valid.

Section 4.3.11 of the official HTML specifications states:

“h1–h6 elements have a heading level, which is given by the number in the element’s name.

If a document has one or more headings, at least a single heading within the outline should have a heading level of 1.”

Nevertheless, using more than on <H1> is not considered a best practice.

The Mozilla developer reference page about the use of headings recommends:

“The <h1> to <h6> HTML elements represent six levels of section headings. <h1> is the highest section level and <h6> is the lowest.

…Avoid using multiple <h1> elements on one page

While using multiple <h1> elements on one page is allowed by the HTML standard (as long as they are not nested), this is not considered a best practice. A page should generally have a single <h1> element that describes the content of the page (similar to the document’s <title> element).”

John Mueller has previously said that it doesn’t matter if a webpage uses one <H1> or five <H1> headings.

The point of his statement is that the level of the heading isn’t as important as how they are used, with the best practice being the use of  headings for indicating what a section of content is about.

What Mueller Said on Twitter

A member of the SEO community was joking around and gently ribbed Mueller about using more than one H1.

He tweeted:

The SEO followed up by sharing how he preferred using the best practices for heading elements by using only one <H1>, to denote what the page is about and then using the rest of the headings in order of rank, give a webpage a hierarchical structure.

A Hierarchical structure communicates sections of a webpage and any subsections within each section.

He tweeted:

“I’m too traditional with header elements. (HTML 4 for Life! lol)

I’d still recommend using just one H1 element on a page.

I patiently go back to pages to implement header hierarchy for fun.”

John Mueller tweeted his approval in response:

“I think that’s an awesome idea & a great practice.

Header hierarchy is not just useful to Google, it’s also important for accessibility.

(Google still has to deal with whatever weird things people throw up on the web, but being thoughtful in your work always makes sense.)”

Hierarchical Page Structure

In the early days of SEO, <H1> used to be counted as an important ranking factor, one that was more important than an <H2>.

So, back then, one always put their most important keywords in the <H1> in order to signal to Google that the page was relevant for that keyword.

H1 used to have more ranking power so it was essential to use the <H1> to help rankings.

Google’s algorithm was using keywords as a way to “guess” what a webpage was about.

Keywords in the anchor text, keywords in the title tag and keywords in the <H1> helped Google guess what a page was relevant for.

But nowadays, Google doesn’t have to guess.

It is able to understand what sections of a webpage are about, and consequently, what the entire webpage is about.

Despite those advances, many SEOs still believe that using an <H1> is some kind of magic ranking factor.

Headings are no longer about shouting what keyword you want to rank for.

The role of heading elements are now about telling search engines what a section of content is about.

Each section of a content is generally about something specific.

Heading tags make it easier for search engines to know what a page is about.

And that helps them rank the page for the topic.

And according to the official HTML specifications, that’s technically the proper way to use heading elements.

Lastly, Mueller mentioned a quality of the heading element as a way to better communicate for accessibility reasons, like for people who use screen readers.

The official HTML specifications say:

“Descriptive headings are especially helpful for users who have disabilities that make reading slow and for people with limited short-term memory.

These people benefit when section titles make it possible to predict what each section contains.”

So thank you John Mueller for calling attention to the benefits of using headings with a hierarchical structure, for calling attention to how hierarchical structure is useful for Google and for accessibility.

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