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Training & Professional Development Tips For Remote-First SEO Teams



Training & Professional Development Tips For Remote-First SEO Teams

People management is critical to the success of your remote-first SEO team.

You may never meet in person, and many of the verbal and visual cues inherent to working in the same physical space are gone.

This is the final part of a three-part series on building your remote SEO team, whether in-house or at your own agency or freelance business.

We first examined how to structure your remote team, then explored legal implications and important communication issues remote SEO teams face.

Now, you’ll learn how to structure your remote SEO training and development program and find helpful tips for onboarding, team building, mentoring, work-life balance, and more.

Building A Success Remote SEO Team Culture

The most important consideration when building a fully remote SEO team is how each member is thriving within the team.

Help Members Feel Settled

You can help your team perform well individually in several ways.

First, we should look at helping each member feel settled in the role.


Joining a team is daunting. Walking into the office for the first time can be overwhelming.

Joining a remote-only team is similarly nerve-wracking.

The only thing that will change for some team members between the Friday at their last job and their first Monday with you is the laptop on their desk.

For others, it may be the first time in a remote role.

Onboarding colleagues is crucial for setting them up for success.

There are many ways to help your new team member feel settled, but in those first few weeks, you should consider:

  • Offering (not mandating!) a catch-up before they start once they have accepted the role to meet you again as their line manager so they can ask any questions and get to know you.
  • Creating a structured first week and sharing the plan with them before they join so they know what is expected of them and the hours they will be needed for their first few days.
  • Sending over any equipment before they join to set up in time for their first day.
  • Sending them information about their colleagues, even if it’s just names and their job titles, to get familiar before they join.
  • Do not use this as an excuse to get them to start working for you before they have officially joined the company. Anything you send should be for their benefit and not yours. This is not an opportunity to get their “thoughts” on a client pitch or take a “quick look” at an audit.

Team Building

You might be building a team from scratch or inheriting and growing a team.

If it’s the former, the members may not be familiar with working together. You will need to spend time up-front helping the team become efficient.

This may mean scheduling “ways of working” discussions and “getting to know you” sessions upfront.

If your team has been working together for a while, and you’re the new one on the team, take the opportunity to learn their current cadence of things like meetings and retros, and find out what’s already working well.

Helping your team gel together remotely doesn’t always require a lot of face-to-face time.

It goes beyond organizing a few virtual escape rooms or drinks over Zoom after work.

Look at the personalities and skillsets within your team.

Where are they working well together?

Where are they not?

Assess the weaker points in their teamwork and create a plan to address them.

For example, it may be that they all have very disparate ways of approaching common SEO tasks.

This might be an issue when handing overwork or working together on a project.

Getting the team to discuss their approaches and agree on a standard output would be one way of facing this challenge.

Team building can be part social, part operations-focused.

But do not make the mistake of thinking weekly virtual quizzes will solve these challenges.

Regular Check-ins

A crucial part of your role in leading a remote SEO team is making sure you are checking in with your team members regularly.

You will need to assess their happiness, productivity, and how you can help remove obstacles to either.

You will know from your own experiences that there is a fine line between being a supportive manager and an overbearing one.

It is worth discussing with each team member how they work best.

Would a weekly 15-minute chat reviewing what they are working on that week help?

Would they prefer to keep you updated with an email each week and a more in-depth face-to-face review once a month?

Whatever you decide on, make sure you keep it in the diary.

Your team needs an opportunity to voice any concerns or wins.

You also need regular touchpoints to see what support you should be giving.

One significant difference between an in-office and remote role is that it is a lot easier to miss the signs that your colleagues are struggling.

These regular check-ins go some way to addressing that.

Training & Professional Development Tips

High-profile digital marketing agencies have recently commented how they would never want to go remote-first.

The comments centered on the need for junior staff to be around more experienced staff to grow and learn.

Remote-first SEO teams simply don’t have this set-up.

That’s not to say that the opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues isn’t there. It’s just not going to be through overhearing a conversation from across the desk.

Training must be more thoughtfully considered and planned with remote teams.

Guides And Mentors

A great way to make sure your new team member feels welcomed and settled onto the team is by assigning them a “guide.”

This is someone, not their line manager, to who they can ask questions.

This way, they have a point of contact where they can find out information about the company, logins, and the history of SEO on the websites without worrying they are bothering the wrong people or looking silly in front of their manager.

This is particularly important for remote roles where it isn’t possible for a new colleague to just ask a question of someone who is passing by.

A mentor can be particularly helpful for junior team members.

Their role is to help with training and development needs.

As a line manager, you will likely have helped identify skills gaps.

The mentor can be someone who has a strength in those skills and can be a sounding board, or signpost, for your team member.

For example, if your new junior SEO wants to learn more about technical SEO, you can pair them up with your senior tech SEO, and they can arrange one-to-one training or coaching.

Team Workshops

Getting the whole SEO team together for regular workshops can aid in both building team support and sharing knowledge.

A workshop can be as simple as looking over recent developments in the SEO industry together, like Google Analytics 4, or working on a problem such as a Javascript rendering issue.

By coming together as a team, you have the opportunity to learn from each other and build a culture of solving problems together.

Knowledge Shares

Similar to team workshops, knowledge shares will build a culture of looking to colleagues for help rather than going it alone.

Knowledge shares can be sessions once a week, or month, where the whole team talks about developments in the SEO industry, such as sharing a recently read article or conference notes.

Group Conference Trips

Bringing the whole team together to attend an in-person, or virtual conference can help with upskilling and team building.

Remember to make sure it’s accessible for everyone.

Virtual might be the better way to go if your team is spread across a large geography.

Pooling Training Budgets

You might like to encourage your team to share any training budgets they are afforded.

Pooling together their budget might allow them to hire a specific trainer or coach.

It could give them access to a resource portal or back-catalog of videos from a conference.

By sharing their budget, they will have a unified development opportunity to talk about as a group and increase the scope of what they can afford.

Internal Seminars

You may want to empower your team to give their own training sessions.

Chances are you have hired team members with strengths in certain areas where others are lacking.

If they are up for sharing that knowledge, you can suggest a training seminar.

Alternatively, you may have identified other people in the business to share their knowledge on a certain topic, for example, a developer running through the latest Javascript framework for the new website.

Respect Why People Have Chosen Remote Working

There are many reasons your team may have chosen to work fully remote.

It is a good idea to find out why they’ve chosen remote work and make sure you are helping them get the most out of the opportunity.

Outside Of Work Commitments

Many of us chose to work remotely because of our commitments outside of work.

Working remotely reduces the need for a lengthy commute and keeps us closer to our homes, hobbies, and families.

Be mindful that just because a team member is already at home and does not need to rush off to beat the traffic doesn’t mean they don’t need to clock out on time each evening.

Those outside-of-work commitments might be during lunch breaks or before work starts.

Your team working from home does not give you access 24 hours a day.

Their work hours are when you should expect them to work.

Child And Elder Care

Some of these out-of-work commitments might well be looking after family members.

Be prepared for kids on video calls and parents walking past your colleague’s desk as they’re talking to you.

Your team’s offices are in their homes.

It is unreasonable for us to expect other people in those homes to work to our company’s schedule.

It is reasonable for you to expect your team to keep distractions to a minimum where possible.

However, likely, family members popping on screen or an emergency trip to the doctor likely causes your colleague far more stress than the company.

Help to normalize a healthy work/life balance.

Let your team know that it is OK to prioritize family when emergencies happen.

Flexibility And Work/Life Balance

Another reason employees choose to work fully remote is the flexibility that it brings them.

There is the freedom to pick the kids up from school or take the dog for a walk.

It is important to realize that if this flexibility is a core driver for your team member working from home, frequent infringement on that might be why they look for another role.

Make sure you and your team understand what is required of them in terms of working hours, and don’t be the one to break that agreement.

Conferences And Meet-ups

If work-life balance, commitments outside of work, and the desire for a short commute motivate your remote team, be very careful not to over-index on meet-ups and in-person conferences.

Remote first businesses often want to gather their team together once or twice a year for face-to-face meet-ups with a view to team building.

This might already be the limit of what your team can commit to.

Consider the additional toll it takes on employees.

You may not be aware of the additional steps they need to take to be present at the in-person events; for example, the single parent arranging childcare during their time away.

The extra effort of staying overnight in an unfamiliar place can be for someone with health conditions.

The desire to not be away from family members.

Be prepared not to expect too much in-person attendance from your fully-remote team.

Remoteness Of Home

Finally, another consideration you should make around why your team might choose to work remotely is their home location.

Some people don’t live near major cities or transport links.

For them, working remotely opens up SEO jobs that would otherwise be physically out of reach.

If you expect them to travel to clients’ premises or a social event, keep this in mind.

Making Sure Remote Is Right

When building your remote-first SEO team, a key consideration is finding candidates suited to remote roles.

The pandemic has led to some people working remotely for the first time.

They may now never want to go back to in-person alternatives.

For others, this might be their first experience working fully from home.

Part of your interview process might include exploring how comfortable they feel with a remote-only role.

Does the candidate appreciate the loneliness or change in the work environment that a fully remote role brings?


However you choose to build your remote SEO team, there are a lot of benefits to doing so.

Being remote-only opens up the possibility of increased diversity in your team.

Your team may include people from across the world, not just in the city where old offices were based.

Embrace that opportunity to build out a diverse and accommodating team.

Your team may experience a greater level of freedom as a remote team.

Make sure they are comfortable with that and understand the boundaries you’ll need to work within.

ICYMI – be sure to read How To Build A Remote Team For SEO: Planning & Structure and Legal Considerations & Communication Tips For Your Remote SEO Team for more on setting your remote SEO team up for success.

More resources:

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock


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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays




GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After 'Unexpected' Delays

OpenAI shares its plans for the GPT Store, enhancements to GPT Builder tools, privacy improvements, and updates coming to ChatGPT.

  • OpenAI has scheduled the launch of the GPT Store for early next year, aligning with its ongoing commitment to developing advanced AI technologies.
  • The GPT Builder tools have received substantial updates, including a more intuitive configuration interface and improved file handling capabilities.
  • Anticipation builds for upcoming updates to ChatGPT, highlighting OpenAI’s responsiveness to community feedback and dedication to AI innovation.

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here’s How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]



96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here's How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

It’s no secret that the web is growing by millions, if not billions of pages per day.

Our Content Explorer tool discovers 10 million new pages every 24 hours while being very picky about the pages that qualify for inclusion. The “main” Ahrefs web crawler crawls that number of pages every two minutes. 

But how much of this content gets organic traffic from Google?

To find out, we took the entire database from our Content Explorer tool (around 14 billion pages) and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and why.

How many web pages get organic search traffic?

96.55% of all pages in our index get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94% get between one and ten monthly visits.

Distribution of pages by traffic from Content Explorer

Before we move on to discussing why the vast majority of pages never get any search traffic from Google (and how to avoid being one of them), it’s important to address two discrepancies with the studied data:

  1. ~14 billion pages may seem like a huge number, but it’s not the most accurate representation of the entire web. Even compared to the size of Site Explorer’s index of 340.8 billion pages, our sample size for this study is quite small and somewhat biased towards the “quality side of the web.”
  2. Our search traffic numbers are estimates. Even though our database of ~651 million keywords in Site Explorer (where our estimates come from) is arguably the largest database of its kind, it doesn’t contain every possible thing people search for in Google. There’s a chance that some of these pages get search traffic from super long-tail keywords that are not popular enough to make it into our database.

That said, these two “inaccuracies” don’t change much in the grand scheme of things: the vast majority of published pages never rank in Google and never get any search traffic. 

But why is this, and how can you be a part of the minority that gets organic search traffic from Google?

Well, there are hundreds of SEO issues that may prevent your pages from ranking well in Google. But if we focus only on the most common scenarios, assuming the page is indexed, there are only three of them.

Reason 1: The topic has no search demand

If nobody is searching for your topic, you won’t get any search traffic—even if you rank #1.

For example, I recently Googled “pull sitemap into google sheets” and clicked the top-ranking page (which solved my problem in seconds, by the way). But if you plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that it gets zero estimated organic search traffic:

The top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demandThe top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demand

This is because hardly anyone else is searching for this, as data from Keywords Explorer confirms:

Keyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demandKeyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demand

This is why it’s so important to do keyword research. You can’t just assume that people are searching for whatever you want to talk about. You need to check the data.

Our Traffic Potential (TP) metric in Keywords Explorer can help with this. It estimates how much organic search traffic the current top-ranking page for a keyword gets from all the queries it ranks for. This is a good indicator of the total search demand for a topic.

You’ll see this metric for every keyword in Keywords Explorer, and you can even filter for keywords that meet your minimum criteria (e.g., 500+ monthly traffic potential): 

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Reason 2: The page has no backlinks

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and its traffic.

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
Pages with more referring domains get more traffic

Same goes for the correlation between a page’s traffic and keyword rankings:

Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywordsPages with more referring domains rank for more keywords
Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywords

Does any of this data prove that backlinks help you rank higher in Google?

No, because correlation does not imply causation. However, most SEO professionals will tell you that it’s almost impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keywords without backlinks—an observation that aligns with the data above.

The key word there is “competitive.” Plenty of pages get organic traffic while having no backlinks…

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
How much traffic pages with no backlinks get

… but from what I can tell, almost all of them are about low-competition topics.

For example, this lyrics page for a Neil Young song gets an estimated 162 monthly visits with no backlinks: 

Example of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerExample of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

But if we check the keywords it ranks for, they almost all have Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores in the single figures:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

It’s the same story for this page selling upholstered headboards:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

You might have noticed two other things about these pages:

  • Neither of them get that much traffic. This is pretty typical. Our index contains ~20 million pages with no referring domains, yet only 2,997 of them get more than 1K search visits per month. That’s roughly 1 in every 6,671 pages with no backlinks.
  • Both of the sites they’re on have high Domain Rating (DR) scores. This metric shows the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile. Stronger sites like these have more PageRank that they can pass to pages with internal links to help them rank. 

Bottom line? If you want your pages to get search traffic, you really only have two options:

  1. Target uncompetitive topics that you can rank for with few or no backlinks.
  2. Target competitive topics and build backlinks to rank.

If you want to find uncompetitive topics, try this:

  1. Enter a topic into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to max. 20
  4. Set the Lowest DR filter to your site’s DR (this will show you keywords with at least one of the same or lower DR ranking in the top 5)
Filtering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

(Remember to keep an eye on the TP column to make sure they have traffic potential.)

To rank for more competitive topics, you’ll need to earn or build high-quality backlinks to your page. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the guides below. Keep in mind that it’ll be practically impossible to get links unless your content adds something to the conversation. 

Reason 3. The page doesn’t match search intent

Google wants to give users the most relevant results for a query. That’s why the top organic results for “best yoga mat” are blog posts with recommendations, not product pages. 

It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"

Basically, Google knows that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.

It’s also why this page selling yoga mats doesn’t show up, despite it having backlinks from more than six times more websites than any of the top-ranking pages:

Page selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinksPage selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinks
Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"

Luckily, the page ranks for thousands of other more relevant keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. So it’s not such a big deal that it doesn’t rank for “best yoga mats.”

Number of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga matsNumber of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga mats

However, if you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic—and they already target a keyword with traffic potential—another quick SEO win is to re-optimize them for search intent.

We did this in 2018 with our free backlink checker.

It was originally nothing but a boring landing page explaining the benefits of our product and offering a 7-day trial: 

Original landing page for our free backlink checkerOriginal landing page for our free backlink checker

After analyzing search intent, we soon realized the issue:

People weren’t looking for a landing page, but rather a free tool they could use right away. 

So, in September 2018, we created a free tool and published it under the same URL. It ranked #1 pretty much overnight, and has remained there ever since. 

Our rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the pageOur rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the page

Organic traffic went through the roof, too. From ~14K monthly organic visits pre-optimization to almost ~200K today. 

Estimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checkerEstimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checker


96.55% of pages get no organic traffic. 

Keep your pages in the other 3.45% by building backlinks, choosing topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent.

Ping me on Twitter if you have any questions. 🙂

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Firefox URL Tracking Removal – Is This A Trend To Watch?




Firefox URL Tracking Removal - Is This A Trend To Watch?

Firefox recently announced that they are offering users a choice on whether or not to include tracking information from copied URLs, which comes on the on the heels of iOS 17 blocking user tracking via URLs. The momentum of removing tracking information from URLs appears to be gaining speed. Where is this all going and should marketers be concerned?

Is it possible that blocking URL tracking parameters in the name of privacy will become a trend industrywide?

Firefox Announcement

Firefox recently announced that beginning in the Firefox Browser version 120.0, users will be able to select whether or not they want URLs that they copied to contain tracking parameters.

When users select a link to copy and click to raise the contextual menu for it, Firefox is now giving users a choice as to whether to copy the URL with or without the URL tracking parameters that might be attached to the URL.

Screenshot Of Firefox 120 Contextual Menu

Screenshot of Firefox functionality

According to the Firefox 120 announcement:

“Firefox supports a new “Copy Link Without Site Tracking” feature in the context menu which ensures that copied links no longer contain tracking information.”

Browser Trends For Privacy

All browsers, including Google’s Chrome and Chrome variants, are adding new features that make it harder for websites to track users online through referrer information embedded in a URL when a user clicks from one site and leaves through that click to visit another site.

This trend for privacy has been ongoing for many years but it became more noticeable in 2020 when Chrome made changes to how referrer information was sent when users click links to visit other sites. Firefox and Safari followed with similar referrer behavior.

Whether the current Firefox implementation would be disruptive or if the impact is overblown is kind of besides the point.

What is the point is whether or not what Firefox and Apple did to protect privacy is a trend and if that trend will extend to more blocking of URL parameters that are stronger than what Firefox recently implemented.

I asked Kenny Hyder, CEO of online marketing agency Pixel Main, what his thoughts are about the potential disruptive aspect of what Firefox is doing and whether it’s a trend.

Kenny answered:

“It’s not disruptive from Firefox alone, which only has a 3% market share. If other popular browsers follow suit it could begin to be disruptive to a limited degree, but easily solved from a marketers prospective.

If it became more intrusive and they blocked UTM tags, it would take awhile for them all to catch on if you were to circumvent UTM tags by simply tagging things in a series of sub-directories.. ie.<tag1>/<tag2> etc.

Also, most savvy marketers are already integrating future proof workarounds for these exact scenarios.

A lot can be done with pixel based integrations rather than cookie based or UTM tracking. When set up properly they can actually provide better and more accurate tracking and attribution. Hence the name of my agency, Pixel Main.”

I think most marketers are aware that privacy is the trend. The good ones have already taken steps to keep it from becoming a problem while still respecting user privacy.”

Some URL Parameters Are Already Affected

For those who are on the periphery of what’s going on with browsers and privacy, it may come as a surprise that some tracking parameters are already affected by actions meant to protect user privacy.

Jonathan Cairo, Lead Solutions Engineer at Elevar shared that there is already a limited amount of tracking related information stripped from URLs.

But he also explained that there are limits to how much information can be stripped from URLs because the resulting negative effects would cause important web browsing functionality to fail.

Jonathan explained:

“So far, we’re seeing a selective trend where some URL parameters, like ‘fbclid’ in Safari’s private browsing, are disappearing, while others, such as TikTok’s ‘ttclid’, remain.

UTM parameters are expected to stay since they focus on user segmentation rather than individual tracking, provided they are used as intended.

The idea of completely removing all URL parameters seems improbable, as it would disrupt key functionalities on numerous websites, including banking services and search capabilities.

Such a drastic move could lead users to switch to alternative browsers.

On the other hand, if only some parameters are eliminated, there’s the possibility of marketers exploiting the remaining ones for tracking purposes.

This raises the question of whether companies like Apple will take it upon themselves to prevent such use.

Regardless, even in a scenario where all parameters are lost, there are still alternative ways to convey click IDs and UTM information to websites.”

Brad Redding of Elevar agreed about the disruptive effect from going too far with removing URL tracking information:

“There is still too much basic internet functionality that relies on query parameters, such as logging in, password resets, etc, which are effectively the same as URL parameters in a full URL path.

So we believe the privacy crackdown is going to continue on known trackers by blocking their tracking scripts, cookies generated from them, and their ability to monitor user’s activity through the browser.

As this grows, the reliance on brands to own their first party data collection and bring consent preferences down to a user-level (vs session based) will be critical so they can backfill gaps in conversion data to their advertising partners outside of the browser or device.”

The Future Of Tracking, Privacy And What Marketers Should Expect

Elevar raises good points about how far browsers can go in terms of how much blocking they can do. Their response that it’s down to brands to own their first party data collection and other strategies to accomplish analytics without compromising user privacy.

Given all the laws governing privacy and Internet tracking that have been enacted around the world it looks like privacy will continue to be a trend.

However, at this point it time, the advice is to keep monitoring how far browsers are going but there is no expectation that things will get out of hand.

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