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What Is Link Bait? 7 Successful Examples

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Not every page on your website will earn you backlinks.

That is one of the many reasons why link building is hard. Pages need links to rank. Yet not all pages will earn them.

But there is a certain type of page you can create that will naturally earn links better than others. In the SEO world, we call them “link bait.”

Knowing why and how link bait works will help you create more “link magnets” so you can get more links to your website.

But first, let’s start with the basics:

Link bait is content designed to attract backlinks. It’s something so valuable and interesting that bloggers and journalists want to link to it.

What is the purpose of link bait?

Link bait helps you rank higher on Google and get more organic traffic to your website.

There are two reasons why this is so.

First, because links are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, pages with more links tend to rank higher and get more traffic. Our study of over 1 billion pages confirms this.

Line graph showing the higher the median number of referring domains, the more organic search traffic

If you create a piece of link bait about a topic people are searching for, the links it attracts should result in more traffic to the page itself.

Second, you can distribute some of the “authority” your link bait attracts to other pages on your website using internal links. This can help boost the pages’ rankings in organic search.

Flowchart showing more "linkable" webpage can transfer link authority to product page through internal linksFlowchart showing more "linkable" webpage can transfer link authority to product page through internal links

Why does link bait work?

Link bait works because it takes advantage of psychological principles that make people want to link to it. These principles are called “share triggers” and were coined by marketing professor Jonah Berger in his book “Contagious.”

They are:

  1. Social currency – People share things that make them look good to others.
  2. Triggers – People share things that are top of mind.
  3. Emotion – People need to feel something to share something.
  4. Public – People tend to imitate others’ behavior if they can see or observe it.
  5. Practical value – People like to pass along practical, useful information.
  6. Stories – People don’t just share information—they share stories too.

Best practices for creating link bait

Here are some best practices for creating link bait that “takes advantage” of share triggers.

Try to incorporate at least one or two into your link bait so it stands the highest chance of success.

1. Make your link bait practical

Making your content practical means creating something that the reader can use right away. Examples include tools, calculators, templates, checklists, and cheat sheets. For example, at Ahrefs, we created a whole bunch of free tools.

List of free Ahrefs toolsList of free Ahrefs tools

Each of them has a significant number of backlinks:

Table showing each free tool's page has lots of referring domains and backlinksTable showing each free tool's page has lots of referring domains and backlinks

2. Make your link bait opinionated

Another way to make your link bait valuable is to give the reader something new to think about. This can be done by tackling a topic from a unique angle and adding something unique to the conversation. 

Here’s an example: A few years ago, our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, published a “rant” about bad email outreach.

It was incredibly opinionated and born entirely out of his own experience. But people loved it.

This resulted in over 2,500 backlinks from 533 websites:

Site Explorer overview of Tim's post on bad email outreachSite Explorer overview of Tim's post on bad email outreach

3. Make sure your link bait evokes emotion

If you’re as old as me, you may remember the glorious days of Upworthy. During its peak, it was as if every single one of the site’s articles went viral. (Although I’ve not seen anyone share Upworthy’s content in recent years.)

Upworthy is a website dedicated to positive stories. People kept sharing its articles because each one was engineered to make people feel awe, surprise, happiness, and a general sentiment that the world was not as bad as it seemed to be.

Of course, the content worked incredibly well as link bait too:

Site Explorer overview of a positive, inspirational Upworthy articleSite Explorer overview of a positive, inspirational Upworthy article

Positivity is just one aspect. There are tons of emotions you can try appealing to, such as anger, excitement, sadness, joy, etc. See if you can incorporate them in your link bait too.

4. Make your link bait visual

For someone to link to a piece of content, a four-step process has to occur:

  1. See – The potential “linker” stumbles upon your link bait for the first time.
  2. Consume – They click and consume it.
  3. Enjoy – The content makes a lasting impression on their mind.
  4. Link – They take the “bait” and link to it.

If your link bait isn’t visually appealing, this process gets cut off between “Consume” and “Enjoy.” This is because visuals help people to consume content quicker and easier, thereby increasing the likelihood that someone will enjoy the said content and, thus, link to it.

For example, check out this post on the most popular beer in every country. Instead of a simple listicle, the information is actually conveyed in a map:

World map with logos of different beer brands on various areasWorld map with logos of different beer brands on various areas

With over 533 backlinks from 179 websites, it did pretty well.

Site Explorer overview of VinePair's article on the most popular beer in every countrySite Explorer overview of VinePair's article on the most popular beer in every country

5. Make your link bait newsworthy

If there is one thing that is top of mind for most people, it’s the news. And journalists and bloggers are constantly on the lookout for stories to cover.

For example, the biggest news story of the past two years is logically the pandemic and the resulting changes it created. In 2020, Nulab ran a series of surveys regarding remote work and published them in a post.

Not only did the post earn 103 backlinks from 80 unique websites…

Site Explorer overview of Nulab's post about remote work during COVID-19Site Explorer overview of Nulab's post about remote work during COVID-19

… but it also received links from major publications like Huffington Post, Yahoo, ZDNet, Refinery29, and more:

List of domains and corresponding DRList of domains and corresponding DR

So if you want big news publications to link to you, your content will need to incorporate some newsworthy elements. Here’s a great list to look through and apply to your own content.

Another strategy to make your content newsworthy is to do newsjacking. Newsjacking is about monitoring live news and spotting opportunities to put your brand in the center of conversations by reacting with expert commentary and thought leadership pieces.

We interviewed Will Hobson, the PR director at Rise at Seven, to share tips on how to successfully execute newsjacking. You can read his tips in the post below.

Recommended reading: 9 Great Public Relations Tactics With Campaign Examples 

6. Make your link bait a story

Bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari wrote:

Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better.

Humans are storytelling animals. It’s how we function as a society. So it’s surprising to no one that we share and link to stories.

For example, rather than bash people over the head with logic and reasoning about why debt is bad, Wealth Simple decided to go with a story angle.

Excerpt of Wealth Simple's article where a couple shares their experiences dealing with debtExcerpt of Wealth Simple's article where a couple shares their experiences dealing with debt

It earned a respectable 85 backlinks from 62 referring domains:

Site Explorer overview of Wealth Simple's article about debtSite Explorer overview of Wealth Simple's article about debt

Plenty of which came from large websites like Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Slate, and more:

List of domains with corresponding DRList of domains with corresponding DR

Telling a good story is difficult. But if you can do so with your link bait, it may be worth a shot.

7. Include what other people are already linking to

If people are linking because of certain reasons in competing pages, it is logical to assume that the particular reason is important to that topic.

So before you create your link bait, you should look for common link reasons in a similar page’s backlink profile.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Search for a topic you’re writing about
  3. Look at the SERP overview
  4. Find a similar article with lots of referring domains
  5. Click on the number in the Backlinks column
  6. Skim the Anchor and target URL column for commonalities

For example, if we do this for Greatist’s post on the perfect kettlebell swing, we see quite a few people linking because the post mentioned the benefits:

Keywords Explorer resultsKeywords Explorer results

If you’re writing about the same topic, mentioning benefits may give your link bait a chance to get more links.

Seven successful link bait examples

Here are seven of our favorite pieces of link bait, each of which attracted tons of links, shares, and attention.

We also reached out to their creator(s) and asked, “What do you think made your particular piece so successful/popular?”

Their thoughts are included below.

1. 13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics

Picture of a brain with the article titlePicture of a brain with the article title

This piece earned 75,300 backlinks from 1,500 referring domains.

Site Explorer overview of NeoMam's article about why the human brain craves infographics Site Explorer overview of NeoMam's article about why the human brain craves infographics

Here’s what Danny Ashton, founder of NeoMam Studios, had to say:

I believe timing played a big part here; we published it when infographics were a hot topic in 2013. I think the interactive format also helped—a lot of people hadn’t seen anything like it back then.

I also made sure we only used scientific studies to support each point, as most other stuff out there was a mix of pseudo-science and opinion.

And the fact that we promoted the hell out of it helped too!

Danny AshtonDanny Ashton

2. Inception Explained

The word "Inception" in all caps and subheader of the article below itThe word "Inception" in all caps and subheader of the article below it

This piece earned 714 backlinks from 324 referring domains.

Site Explorer overview of article "Inception Explained"Site Explorer overview of article "Inception Explained"

Here’s what the creator, Matt Dempsey, had to say:

I think it was successful because it paired a subject matter people were interested in with a new medium people were delighted by.

The site tapped into a film millions of people knew and loved but most didn’t completely understand—you just had to check the Google search trends for ‘Inception explained,’ etc., beforehand to see the demand for a succinct explanation.

I also used parallax scrolling, which was a very new technique at the time. I think this was the most complicated and intricate implementation of it, so it resonated well with the tech/design community.

Matt DempseyMatt Dempsey

3. How a Car Engine Works

Sketch of parts of a car engine and text surrounding the sketchSketch of parts of a car engine and text surrounding the sketch

This piece earned 2,100 backlinks from 400 referring domains.

Site Explorer overview of Animagraffs' article on how a car engine worksSite Explorer overview of Animagraffs' article on how a car engine works

Here’s what Jacob O’Neal, the CEO of Animagraffs, had to say:

Personally, I think there are four main reasons the content performed well:

  • It’s ‘evergreen’: It will stay relevant for a very, very long time.
  • It’s a fresh new format: It’s a media format no one’s really done before that delivers learning super fast. It’s a combination of moving images and text, but not a video. Videos require audio and some wait time for things to be explained, speakers/headphones, etc. The learning process can be encumbered or a bit inefficient. With Animagraffs, text is right there if you want to read/learn what the text is pointing to, right this instant.
  • It’s well organized: The big, bold, moving illustrations catch your attention first, then supporting illustrations, and then the fine print of a particular point that really interests you. It appeals to all age groups and all levels of interest and intelligence.
  • We didn’t fake it: We didn’t hold back on the ‘smart, boring’ stuff. We design for the toughest crowd first. For example, if we’ve impressed seasoned auto mechanics, we’ve done the job right. No sacrificing quality for cheap views. This is in pretty stark contrast to a lot of marketing that focuses outward first and then inward. No one recommends trying to get friends by pretending to like what others like… why is marketing done this way? It’s better to lead with real, quality work, no matter how tempting it may be to invert the process for a quick buck.
Jacob O'NealJacob O'Neal

4. 90.63% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. And How to Be in the Other 9.37%

Drawing of a traffic light and article title below itDrawing of a traffic light and article title below it

This piece earned 6,600 backlinks from 2,600 referring domains.

Site Explorer overview of Ahrefs' data study Site Explorer overview of Ahrefs' data study

Here’s what our CMO, Tim, had to say:

First of all, I didn’t know that it would perform better than any other study I did. Otherwise, I would only publish the studies that do well and never publish anything that flopped.

As for why this particular one performed so well, in my opinion, it’s because it provided people from the SEO industry with a striking stat that helped them pitch the importance of SEO.

90% of content gets no traffic from Google—that’s a killer argument to audit your own content and decide if you were investing enough in SEO for the past few years.

Bottom line: People love data-backed claims. So if you can do some form of industry research, there’s a good chance people from your industry will reference your work.

Tim SouloTim Soulo

5. Why Do I Procrastinate?

First page explaining what the "Why Do I Procrastinate" quiz is aboutFirst page explaining what the "Why Do I Procrastinate" quiz is about

This piece earned 201 backlinks from 52 referring domains.

Site Explorer overview of the "procrastination" quizSite Explorer overview of the "procrastination" quiz

Here’s what the creator, Manasvini Krishna, had to say:

These are some of the reasons, in my opinion:

  • Popular subject – I think the subject (procrastination) was a common problem that many of us (and definitely our target audience!) struggle with. Knowing we should be doing something but somehow not wanting to do it, or able to do it, is a familiar feeling to most! Most of us can relate.
  • Interactiveness and engaging – I think the fact that it was an interactive quiz designed to specifically identify and isolate your problem at that moment helped. In general, quizzes are great because everybody loves to learn a little bit about themselves. And they’re fun to take!
  • Different take than usual – The quiz gives immediately actionable and non-judgemental suggestions on how to solve your specific problem that you diagnose with the quiz. Many of us are used to viewing procrastination with a lot of guilt and negative feelings associated with it, so a solution based on the ‘procrastination equation,’ which basically just looks at procrastination as an equation, the various parts of which can be increased or decreased to fix the procrastination problem, is refreshing and not very common. (The quiz is based on a book called ‘The Procrastination Equation.’)
Manasvini KrishnaManasvini Krishna

6. Investment Calculator

Options to toggle answers to various questions on left; on right, key data based on what information was providedOptions to toggle answers to various questions on left; on right, key data based on what information was provided

This piece earned 1,100 backlinks from 306 referring domains.

Site Explorer overview of "Investment Calculator" Site Explorer overview of "Investment Calculator"

Here’s what the creator, Caleb Barclay, had to say:

Here are some initial thoughts:

  1. Design as differentiator: Free-to-use tool (no email exploitation), 10X improvement from competitor sites, designer websites linked to us.
  2. Launch with controversial subject: We found a highly opinionated group that kick-started exposure (Hackernews).
  3. Usefulness made it highly shareable: We needed this tool personally and spent a lot of time designing its utility (scratch your own itch).
  4. Personalization: Users participating in generating personalized content make it more sticky.
Caleb BarclayCaleb Barclay

7. The 35 Best Countries to Raise a Family in 2020

Excerpt of "best countries to raise a family" articleExcerpt of "best countries to raise a family" article

This piece earned 529 backlinks from 273 referring domains.

Site Explorer overview of "best countries to raise a family" article Site Explorer overview of "best countries to raise a family" article

Here’s what the creator, Asher Fergusson, had to say:

I think what made my research on the best countries to raise a family in 2020 so popular is that it was original research on a topic that is close to home for a lot of people. And then on top of that, with the USA not ranking so highly, it was very controversial for most Americans. This helped it get on the front page of Reddit and then it went viral in the press, which brought the study countless awesome links and 35,000 hits per day for a while. My biggest error is not updating the study for 2021, but I plan to do an update for 2022, and I imagine it will go viral again and attract a bunch more links.

Asher FergussonAsher Fergusson

How to find good link bait ideas

The simplest method for finding great link bait ideas is to piggyback off what’s working for your competitors.

Here’s how:

  1. Enter your competitor’s domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Best by links report
Best by links report results overwhelmingly show listicles Best by links report results overwhelmingly show listicles

Eyeball the list to see what kind of formats and topics resonate with people in your niche. For example, if we did this for the Hong Kiat blog, we’ll see that listicles are popular in the design niche.

Whereas, if we analyzed our own blog, we’ll see that data studies are the most popular in the SEO space:

Best by links report results overwhelmingly show data studiesBest by links report results overwhelmingly show data studies

Final thoughts

Link bait is more than just creating something unique or visually appealing.

For it to attract links, you’ll need a combination of well-crafted content, a well-defined audience that has the ability to link to you, and a well-executed promotional plan.

It doesn’t matter if you create the greatest piece of content in the world—you won’t get any links if people don’t know it exists.

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.

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Yelp Details Removal Of Paid Review Groups & Lead Generators

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Yelp Details Removal Of Paid Review Groups & Lead Generators

Yelp published its 2022 Trust and Safety Report detailing actions it took against lead generators, fake review groups and businesses incentivizing reviews.

Yelp Cracks Down on Paid Review Groups

The report details the proactive approach to chasing down online review groups and breaking them up.

Among the tactics Yelp used is identifying IP addresses used for fake positive reviews, as well as connecting users to groups that are arranging paid reviews.

Yelp’s Trust and Safety report revealed that it fights online review exchanges by identifying the groups on social media and working together with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to break them up.

In a 2021 blog post about their recommendation software, Yelp wrote that they monitor online groups and even conduct sting operations to catch the fake review rings.

Yelps newly released Trust and Safety report explains:

“Yelp strictly prohibits offering incentives or other compensation in exchange for writing, changing or removing a review.

To combat this on and off our platform, our User Operations team did the following in 2022:

– Issued 415+ warnings to businesses for engaging in compensated or incentivized review behaviors.

– As part of our broader Consumer Alerts program, we placed 88 Compensated Activity Alerts on business pages after receiving evidence someone offered cash or other incentives in exchange for posting, updating or removing a review.

We also placed 405 Suspicious Review Activity Alerts after our systems detected a large number of positive reviews coming from a single IP address, or reviews from users who may be connected to a group that coordinates incentivized reviews.

Made 1,100+ reports to third-party sites, such as Twitter (150 reports were made by Yelp), Facebook (130 reports), Instagram (110 reports) and LinkedIn (70 reports), to warn them of content from more than 900 suspicious groups, posts or individuals we found on their sites participating in online review exchanges.

Third-party platforms took action on content at issue in approximately 77% of our reports.”

Yelp Closes Thousands of Fraudulent Accounts

The Trust and Safety report reports that Yelp closed over 77,000 user accounts for terms of service violations and suspected deceptive and abusive actions.

They also rejected over 32,800 potential new business pages for being associated with spammy activities that violated Yelp’s policies.

An interesting revelation is how they came down hard on lead generation businesses whose business model is to create fake business listings and then sell leads to local businesses.

Yelp writes:

“Nearly 2,000 business pages removed for being associated with lead generators, violating Yelp’s policies.

‘Lead generators’ create fake business pages then take the customer leads generated and auction them to other contractors.

This behavior tricks people into paying exorbitant costs for services, targeting vulnerable consumers who are often allowing service providers into their home (locksmiths, movers, home cleaning, etc.).”

Yelp User Operations Team Content Removals

The report notes that 2% of all Yelp contributions were removed by their user operations  team in 2022. That includes reviews, photos, review up-voting, and other forms of contributions.

Yelp Trust and Safety

The integrity of reviews is important to a recommender ecosystem like Yelp. Yelp uses a recommendation software as their first line of defense against deceptive behavior. The software itself is dynamic in that it keeps tabs on the users and businesses as they engage with the platform.

Yelp writes:

“The recommendation software is entirely automated and applies the same objective rules to every business. The reviews that are recommended for any business can change over time as Yelp’s software learns more about the reviewers and the business.”

It also employs human moderators in their User Operations team to follow up and manually review reports generated by users, businesses or their automated systems.

Read Yelp’s Trust and Safety Report for 2022

Featured image by Shutterstock/II.studio



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7 Steps to Grow Your Traffic & Sales

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7 Steps to Grow Your Traffic & Sales

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

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

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

But first…

Why start a blog on your e-commerce site?

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

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

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

Examples of successful e-commerce blogs

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

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

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

Overview of Solo Stove, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

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

Ahrefs' keyword report for Solo Stove

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

E-commerce blogging keyword examples

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

Solo Stove blog post example

Ranking for these keywords does two things:

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

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

Overview of Flatspot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

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

Flatspot promoting Nike SB shoes in blog post

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

Overview of v-dog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

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

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

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

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

Seven steps to start and grow an e-commerce blog

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

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

1. Do some keyword research

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

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

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

Google search results for "dog food"

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

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

Organic keywords report for chewy.com

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

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

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

Ahrefs keyword filters

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

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

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

Filtering down Ahrefs' Organic keywords report

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

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

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

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

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

List of keywords related to dog food

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

2. Create templates for future blog posts

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

Blog post template example

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

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

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

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

3. Outline your article

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

Typically, you want this outline to include:

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

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

Content outline example

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

4. Write, optimize, and publish your post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to promote your products in a blog post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Promote your content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Scale your efforts

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

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

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The 5-Step Formula To Forecasting Your SEO Campaign Results

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The 5-Step Formula To Forecasting Your SEO Campaign Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to learn how?

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

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

Key Takeaways From This Webinar: 

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

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

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

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



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