Connect with us

SEO

What It Is & How It Works

Published

on

What It Is & How It Works

The AARRR metrics framework, also called pirate metrics or the AARRR funnel, is a set of metrics used to track and influence critical user behavior that can lead to business growth. The acronym stands for acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue.

Startups all around the world have been using this framework to learn whether they are on a growth track and what specific stages of the funnel need optimization. And investors watched those closely too. For many years, AARRR was the golden standard of metrics until someone proposed to flip the script.

In this article, you will learn:

Who is the AARRR metrics framework for?

The AARRR framework was devised by investor and entrepreneur Dave McClure (founder of 500 Startups) out of necessity for a simple, universal solution that any startup can use to:

  • Develop a model of customer behavior that leads to business growth.
  • Improve marketing and development efforts by focusing on metrics that really matter.

Naturally, the pirate association is just a coincidence, stemming from how the metrics are pronounced. It has nothing to do with running a startup like a pirate ship. The goal of using this metrics framework is to create a sustainable and scalable business by leaving all the vanity metrics behind and focusing on what makes a business grow.

Therefore, the pirate metrics are not only for marketers. CEOs, entrepreneurs, product managers, and investors can use them too.

How does the AARRR metrics framework work?

As I mentioned earlier, this framework is often referred to as a type of marketing funnel. This is because acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue are proposed here as subsequent stages of a simplified buyer’s journey.

Potential customers ideally start at the acquisition stage. Some of them are activated through experiencing the product, and only a percentage of those initial visitors will arrive at the revenue stage and become customers.

As in any marketing funnel, the idea is to move people from the first stage to the last. Therefore, these stages become steps you need to take in order to make your business grow. Let’s illustrate that:

AARRR funnel. From top to bottom (acquisition, activation, retention, referral, revenue). Arrow pointing from referral to acquisition

So in this section, we’re going to talk about how we can engage each stage of the funnel, plus how to measure each stage of the funnel.

1. Acquisition

Or, in other words, how to attract people to your business? How to make them find your message (or have your message find them) and visit your website or your app? And lastly, how to measure all that?

Without people learning of your existence and coming to you to discover what you offer, your business won’t make any money—no matter how great it is. That’s why you need to think about the marketing tactics and channels that will carry your message to your target audience.

Generally, the more people you attract in the acquisition stage, the more paying customers you will have in the last stage of this funnel.

For this stage, you will likely use a lot of different marketing tactics, spanning various marketing channels. To show you what I mean, let me list a couple of things we do to attract visitors to Ahrefs:

  • Product-led articles for our blog
  • Product-led videos for our YouTube channel
  • Free tools 
  • Social media
  • Partnerships with influencers in our niche
  • Advertising on Twitter, Quora, Google Ads, etc
  • PR

In choosing your tactics and channels, it’s important to know who your target audience is and where you can reach them.

For example, our target audience consists of people who do SEO: professional SEOs, content marketers, business owners, and bloggers, among others. Knowing what they are interested in and the search demand for those topics, we can decide what content we should create to leverage search demand on Google and finally attract them to our website.

Matching terms report results

Using a tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, you can automatically generate thousands of keyword ideas by just knowing a few topics your target audience is interested in.

This technique is called SEO content: creating content that’s designed to rank on search engines like Google.

Furthermore, we can measure the performance of that content by looking at the organic search traffic:

Site Explorer overview of beginner's guide on keyword research

An acquisition metric can be anything that informs you of people coming in from “the outside” to your business. So your metrics for this stage will depend on your channels and your business model. These can be referral traffic from reviews, affiliate links from partners, app store visits, app downloads, and more.

Key data that helps track acquisition in the form of bar graphs, line graphs, and table

Tracking acquisition is fairly easy in analytics tools like Google Analytics 4. You can get a breakdown of your highest volume and best-performing channels and track specific campaigns, mediums, and sources.

Measuring acquisition doesn’t necessarily mean tracking homepage visits. You can keep track of visits to any landing page/screen that, in your opinion, acts as a gateway to your business—for example, various landing pages used in your PPC campaigns.

Recommended reading: How to Use & Reduce Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)         

2. Activation

The activation stage is about determining, engaging, and measuring the actions you want people to take to experience your product or service. These include signing up for a free trial or a free tool, filling out a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, watching a product demo, etc.

Page about AWT

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a free SEO tool that we often promote in our content. It’s a great way to activate our visitors because they can use some of the product features for free as long as they want. And if at some point they need more, they have the option to upgrade that same account they’ve been used to.

The reason why you need to “activate” your visitors is that mere visits to your website are not enough to make someone buy from you. Without encouraging your visitors to learn more about or experience your product, they will remain just that—visitors who never become customers.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to activate 100% of your newly acquired visitors. This study revealed that the average conversion rate on landing pages in the SaaS industry in 2021 was 3%.

Some people will just leave for various reasons (not the right time, just browsing, etc.). This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong. You can precisely target the most relevant keywords, advertise to niche audiences, or be an expert in ad targeting. But you’ll still be visited by people who aren’t ready to buy from you. It’s just part of the game.

Effectiveness in converting people from the acquisition stage to the activation stage depends on factors like:

  • How “qualified” are your visitors when they first come to your site? Do they already know your brand? Are they just learning about the solution, or are they ready to make a purchase?
  • How compelling is your value proposition?
  • How much friction is there before you can activate your visitors? Have you set the bar too high/too low?
  • The UX and UI of your website, e.g., aesthetics, site speed, and information architecture.

3. Retention

This part of the AARRR framework is about encouraging activated users to come back.

The idea behind this is if people repeatedly visit your business, it’s a sign that they want more of what you offer—possibly even enough to buy from you. Conversely, if people don’t come back after activation, it’s likely they’ve lost interest in making a purchase.

You can also look at it this way. If you’re activating users through a free trial of your product and your users come back to actually use the product, they are showing a behavioral pattern similar to that of paying customers: coming back multiple times to use the product.

So by encouraging people to come back, you are fostering that behavioral change. And by measuring this stage, you can more easily forecast which users/cohorts are likely to become customers.

Here are some factors that can influence this stage of the funnel:

  • Expectations vs. reality – If you’re overpromising in the previous stages of the funnel and underdelivering here, people will drop off massively.
  • Low value for the money – Sometimes, there is no other way to see if something is worth the money until you try it. In some cases, people find the value of their purchase doesn’t match the money they spent.
  • Product education – If people don’t know how to use your product or where to find certain features, they will feel confused or even frustrated.
  • Lack of a use case – It’s one thing to show people how they can do something or where they can find some function, and it’s another to inspire. Your customers may need a product like yours, but they may not know what to use it for or how to fit it into their workflow.
  • Tire-kickers and hitchhikers – Some people whom you have successfully activated never meant to buy your product. Some people may just want to browse around, and that’s it. Others may sign up for that one particular thing you offered in your free trial without the need to use it regularly.

With some theory out of the way, let’s look at an example of influencing the retention stage.

At Ahrefs, we use product education as a way to keep our users informed and engaged. So when people sign up for an Ahrefs account, we send them three onboarding emails with an overview video of our toolset and some tips on how to get around the interface.

Ahrefs' "welcome" email with introductory video and list of our 5 main tools, each linked to more resources

It’s a good way to deliver product education in your first email because people actually expect those. (On average, welcome emails get a 91.43% open rate.)

Essentially, that email provides a shortcut to all the product education we serve in other places: this blog, Ahrefs Academy, Ahrefs Insider group on Facebook, and educational videos on YouTube.

As you may have noticed in the screenshot above, we also provide support contextually right inside the product. Every metric that users find inside the toolset has a hint explaining what it is for, and all reports are accompanied by tutorials.

When it comes to measuring retention, the best way to do it is by measuring product engagement (of course, if you’re offering some kind of free trial). For example, you can track how many users log in at least three times in a seven-day period. (You can use tools like Mixpanel or Heap.)

On a side note, if you discover a unique pattern of product usage among your paying customers, you can later use that to modify your retention metrics to better identify users who are most likely to upgrade their accounts.

If you’re not offering a direct product experience in the activation stage, you can reach for other metrics like:

  • Repeated visits to your website (or certain pages in it).
  • Newsletters being opened.
  • A continued conversation with your sales team.

Pro tip

 As far as I’m concerned, the AARRR framework doesn’t say anything about encouraging your inactivated users to come back. It focuses only on repeated visits from activated users.

In fact, in this talk about the pirate metrics, Dave says that “people bounce off your site because they didn’t mean to come there. … Those aren’t the folks that you’re really looking at.”

This isn’t entirely accurate.

First of all, the “bounce rate” metric most often paints a skewed picture of user engagement. That’s why it has been quite recently replaced in Google Analytics 4 by another more universal and more “sensitive” metric.

Second, it may take several touchpoints for a new user to be interested in your product.

So despite the original theory, you may want to consider tactics that will encourage your inactivated users to come back, e.g., retargeting, blogging, being active on social media.

4. Referral

The referral stage in your AARRR metrics should answer the question, “How do we know people like us enough to recommend us, and how can we influence that?”

Referral is just one of the many acquisition channels. However, when someone likes your product enough to tell others, that can’t be a better sign that you’ve created something of great value and people are ready to pay for it. In startup lingo, this means you’re getting traction.

Another reason why you need to take user recommendations seriously is it’s one of the most effective ways to acquire new customers. According to a Nielsen study, 83% of people trust recommendations from friends and family, and 66% of people trust consumer opinions posted online.

As a result of referrals from your happy users, you get more prospects to “fuel” the acquisition stage of the funnel (hence the arrow pointing from referral to acquisition in our illustration of this framework).

But how to make users recommend your product to others? Well, there is no other way around it than to build something truly valuable and provide a great user experience. How? Start with researching your market to understand what the market needs and how well the competition serves that demand. Next, make sure your business idea can achieve product-market fit.

You can look for signs of positive (and negative) word of mouth about your product or service in:

  • Social media shares and conversations.
  • Industry surveys.
  • Review sites.
  • Communities in your market segment.
Poll showing majority of people chose Ahrefs as their go-to SEO toolset

Receiving positive word of mouth organically is the absolute foundation. But not all of your users will be willing to share their experiences, and that’s completely normal. But there are some ways you can influence word of mouth to give it an additional push:

  • Referral programs
  • PR
  • Helpful content that solves your users’ problems
  • Encouraging users to share their experiences on review sites like G2 or Capterra
  • User-generated content (e.g., pictures with branded hashtags on Instagram)
  • Positive experiences (e.g., sending users free swag)
  • Social sharing widgets

When it comes to measuring this stage of AARRR, one idea is to use social media tools like Brand24 to monitor the web for mentions of your product/brand. You can also keep track of your reviews and look for any significant changes in the average rating scores.

If you want to go even deeper and measure the referral stage more thoroughly, you can gauge how willing people are to recommend you using the NPS score.

Sidenote.

Originally, referral is placed before revenue in the pirate metrics, i.e., before a user becomes a customer. But in reality, referrals also happen (and can be influenced) after a user becomes a customer. One could even argue these types of referrals are more important to business growth.

5. Revenue

And finally, after your visitors become activated users, some of them become paying customers.

A somewhat more technical term for that is “monetization behavior.” Dave advises startups to figure out what part of their product or service should be monetized.

For example, the more you use Ahrefs, the more you pay for it. But you don’t pay for every click you make. This is a poor monetization behavior idea. For us, it makes the most sense to tie the price of our service to certain tiers of data usage and data update frequency.

Table of different pricing tiers with corresponding information

Different data usage for different pricing tiers.

In practice, as the usage of our product grows, so do our costs. But our profit grows proportionally as well.

Of course, monetization behavior for your business can be something completely different. You may even keep your service completely free for users and monetize via ads or in-app purchases (e.g., social media platforms).

When it comes to influencing your revenue, you may have already guessed that revenue is an outcome of all of the previous stages of the funnel. The more visitors you attract and effectively activate, the more sales you get in the end.

Let me give you an example. The more we educate people with product-led content, the more data people use in their accounts. And since that’s the main driver of revenue for us, the more data people use, the more we profit. And it’s a win-win. If people use more data, it means they know how to put our product into practice to improve their SEO.

As for measuring this last stage of the framework, here are some popular revenue metrics:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV or CLTV)
  • Annual or monthly recurring revenue (ARR, MRR)
  • Revenue growth rate

Let’s conclude this section with Dave’s original AARRR dashboard example.

Table of AARRR's stages, along with corresponding info on user state, conversion, and estimated value

A few takeaways from the picture above I’d like to note:

  • Notice how conversion drops as you go down the framework. That’s normal. All marketing funnels are leaky by design. (They probably shouldn’t be called “funnels” in the first place.) But don’t treat those numbers as benchmarks, as they are just examples. 
  • Notice that there are multiple micro stages at each stage. For example, activation consists of these: happy 1st visit, email sign-up, and account sign-up. But you don’t have to frame it this way. You can simplify this dashboard using just one metric per stage. You can also go deeper and use a more granular way of measuring (learn more about marketing KPIs here).

If I haven’t stressed the importance of retention enough, here is an alternative metrics framework that is literally based on this stage.

RARRA is the pirate metrics “remixed” by Thomas Petit and Gabor Papp with mobile startups in mind (but could probably be used by any startup). It goes like this:

  1. Retention – Focus on creating a product that people will want to come back to
  2. Activation – Let people experience the value of your product (aka the “aha moment”) as soon as possible
  3. Referral – Get your users to talk about the app and share it
  4. Revenue – Find ways to monetize the product
  5. Acquisition – Scale and optimize your acquisition channels; do it only after you have clear signals that people are willing to come back to your app (important!)

As you can see, this framework consists of the same stages that we’ve discussed so far. So the question arises, “How is RARRA different from AARRR?”

In my opinion, the main difference between these two frameworks is that RARRA emphasizes certain metrics, while AARRR is just a model for identifying the critical stages in a buyer’s journey.

Or let’s put it this way. The AARRR framework is simply proposing that activation is the first stage in a buyer’s journey. But reading the RARRA framework the same way is wrong because retention can’t be the first stage in a buyer’s journey.

The remixed framework leads with retention (instead of activation) because it tries to emphasize that mobile startups should build products with retention in mind. The original framework, on the other hand, doesn’t specify that you need to focus more on one stage than the other.

I’d say that RARRA is a good commentary to AARRR that’s made 10 years later. And weirdly enough, you can use both. You should build easy-to-use, valuable products that users will want to come back to, but you should also figure out how to attract those users. And what’s more, you will need to acquire a lot more users at the top of the funnel than you want to have customers at the bottom of the funnel.

Of course, I fully encourage you to develop your own opinion about these two frameworks. Or even develop your own modifications when you’re ready. For more information on RARRA, start with Why Focusing Too Much on Acquisition Will Kill Your Mobile Startup.

Final thoughts

One of the most accurate definitions of a startup comes from Eric Ries: “A human institution designed to bring something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” That element of uncertainty is what makes focusing on the right things absolutely critical for startup success.

And this is what AARRR offers: focusing on the metrics that really matter to build a sustainable business. This framework may not be complete or perfect, as RARRA proponents claim. But it’s a really good start if you use it properly.

As you go along and learn how to build and market a startup, you’ll see a lot of the-only-thing-that-matters type of stuff. Take all that with a grain of salt. I believe you should try things yourself and see where they take you.

Got questions or comments? Ping me on Twitter.




Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

The Complete Guide to Google My Business for Local SEO

Published

on

The Complete Guide to Google My Business

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that business owners can use to manage their online presence across Google Search and Google Maps.

This profile also puts out important business details, such as address, phone number, and operating hours, making it easily accessible to potential customers. 

Google My Business profile shown on Google MapsGoogle My Business profile shown on Google Maps

When you click on a business listing in the search results it will open a detailed sidebar on the right side of the screen, providing comprehensive information about the business. 

This includes popular times, which show when the business is busiest, a Q&A section where potential users can ask questions and receive responses from the business or other customers, and a photos and videos section that showcases products and services. Customer reviews and ratings are also displayed, which are crucial for building trust and credibility.

Business details on Google My Business profileBusiness details on Google My Business profile

Using Google My Business for Local SEO

Having an optimized Google Business Profile ensures that your business is visible, searchable, and can attract potential customers who are looking for your products and services.

  • Increased reliance on online discovery: More consumers are going online to search and find local businesses, making it crucial to have a GMB listing.
  • Be where your customers are searching: GMB ensures your business information is accurate and visible on Google Search and Maps, helping you stay competitive.
  • Connect with customers digitally: GMB allows customers to connect with your business through various channels, including messaging and reviews.
  • Build your online reputation: GMB makes it easy for customers to leave reviews, which can improve your credibility and trustworthiness.
  • Location targeting: GMB enables location-based targeting, showing your ads to people searching for businesses in your exact location.
  • Measurable results: GMB provides actionable analytics, allowing you to track your performance and optimize your listing.

How to Set Up Google My Business

If you already have a profile and need help claiming, verifying, and/or optimizing it, skip to the next sections.

If you’re creating a new Google My Business profile, here’s a step-by-step guide:

Access or Create your Google AccountAccess or Create your Google Account

Step 1: Access or Create your Google Account:

If you don’t already have a Google account, follow these steps to create one:

  • Visit the Google Account Sign-up Page: Go to the Google Account sign-up page and click on “Create an account.”
  • Enter Your Information: Fill in the required fields, including your name, email address, and password.
  • Verify Your Account: Google will send a verification email to your email address. Click on the link in the email to confirm your account.

Step 2:  Access Google My Business

Business name on Google My BusinessBusiness name on Google My Business

Step 3: Enter Your Business Name and Category

  • Type in your exact business name. Google will suggest existing businesses as you type
  • If your business is not listed, fully type out the name as it appears
  • Search for and select your primary business category

Adding business address to Google My Business profileAdding business address to Google My Business profile

Step 4: Provide Your Business Address

  • If you have a physical location where customers can visit, select “Yes” and enter your address.
  • If you are a service area business without a physical location, select “No” and enter your service area.

Adding contact information to Google My Business profileAdding contact information to Google My Business profile

Step 5: Add Your Contact Information

  • Enter your business phone number and website URL
  • You can also create a free website based on your GMB information

Complete Your ProfileComplete Your Profile

Step 6: Complete Your Profile

To complete your profile, add the following details:

  • Hours of Operation: Enter your business’s operating hours to help customers plan their visits.
  • Services: List the services your business offers to help customers understand what you do.
  • Description: Write a detailed description of your business to help customers understand your offerings.

Now that you know how to set up your Google My Business account, all that’s left is to verify it. 

Verification is essential for you to manage and update business information whenever you need to, and for Google to show your business profile to the right users and for the right search queries. 

If you are someone who wants to claim their business or is currently on the last step of setting up their GMB, this guide will walk you through the verification process to solidify your business’ online credibility and visibility.

How to Verify Google My Business

There are several ways you can verify your business, including:

  • Postcard Verification: Google will send a postcard to your business address with a verification code. Enter the code on your GMB dashboard to verify.
  • Phone Verification: Google will call your business phone number and provide a verification code. Enter the code on your GMB dashboard to verify.
  • Email Verification: If you have a business email address, you can use it to verify your listing.
  • Instant Verification: If you have a Google Analytics account linked to your business, you can use instant verification.

How to Claim & Verify an Existing Google My Business Profile

If your business has an existing Google My Business profile, and you want to claim it, then follow these steps:

Sign in to Google AccountSign in to Google Account

Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business

Access Google My Business: Go to the Google My Business website and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, create one by following the sign-up process.

Search for Your BusinessSearch for Your Business

Step 2: Search for Your Business

Enter your business name in the search bar to find your listing. If your business is already listed, you will see it in the search results.

Request access to existing Google My Business accountRequest access to existing Google My Business account

Step 3: Claim Your Listing

If your business is not already claimed, you will see a “Claim this business” button. Click on this button to start the claiming process.

Editing business information on Google My BusinessEditing business information on Google My Business

Step 4: Complete Your Profile

Once your listing is verified, you can complete your profile by adding essential business information such as:

  • Business Name: Ensure it matches your business name.
  • Address: Enter your business address accurately.
  • Phone Number: Enter your business phone number.
  • Hours of Operation: Specify your business hours.
  • Categories: Choose relevant categories that describe your business.
  • Description: Write a brief description of your business.

Step 5: Manage Your Listing

Regularly check and update your listing to ensure it remains accurate and up-to-date. Respond to customer reviews and use the insights provided by Google Analytics to improve your business.

Unverified Google My Business profileUnverified Google My Business profile

Step 6: Verification 

Verify your business through postcard, email, or phone numbers as stated above. 

Now that you have successfully set up and verified your Google My Business listing, it’s time to optimize it for maximum visibility and effectiveness. By doing this, you can improve your local search rankings, increase customer engagement, and drive more conversions.

How to Optimize Google My Business

Here are the tips that I usually do when I’m optimizing my GMB account: 

    1. Complete Your Profile: Start by ensuring every section applicable to your business is filled out with accurate and up-to-date information. Use your real business name without keyword stuffing to avoid suspension. Ensure your address and phone number are consistent with those on your website and other online directories, and add a link to your website and social media accounts.
    2. Optimize for Keywords: Integrate relevant keywords into your business description, services, and posts. However, avoid stuffing your GMB profile with keywords, as this can appear spammy and reduce readability.
    3. Add Backlinks: Encourage local websites, blogs, and business directories to link to your GMB profile. 
  1. Select Appropriate Categories: Choose the most relevant primary category for your business to help Google understand what your business is about. Additionally, add secondary categories that accurately describe your business’s offerings to capture more relevant search traffic.
  2. Encourage and Manage Reviews: Ask satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your profile, as reviews significantly influence potential customers. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a professional and timely manner. Addressing negative feedback shows that you value customer opinions and are willing to improve.
  3. Add High-Quality Photos and Videos: Use high-quality images for your profile and cover photos that represent your business well. Upload additional photos of your products, services, team, and premises. Adding short, engaging videos can give potential customers a virtual tour or highlight key services, enhancing their interest.

By following this comprehensive guide, you have successfully set up, verified, and optimized your GMB profile. Remember to continuously maintain and update your profile to ensure maximum impact and success.

Key Takeaway: 

With more and more people turning to Google for all their needs, creating, verifying, and optimizing your Google My Business profile is a must if you want your business to be found. 

Follow this guide to Google My Business, and you’re going to see increased online presence across Google Search and Google Maps in no time.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

LinkedIn Rolls Out New Newsletter Tools

Published

on

By

LinkedIn Rolls Out New Newsletter Tools

LinkedIn is launching several new features for people who publish newsletters on its platform.

The professional networking site wants to make it easier for creators to grow their newsletter audiences and engage readers.

More People Publishing Newsletters On LinkedIn

The company says the number of LinkedIn members publishing newsletter articles has increased by 59% over the past year.

Engagement on these creator-hosted newsletters is also up 47%.

With this growing interest, LinkedIn is updating its newsletter tools.

A New Way To View & Comment

One of the main changes is an updated reading experience that displays comments alongside the newsletter articles.

This allows readers to view and participate in discussions more easily while consuming the content.

See an example of the new interface below.

Screenshot from: linkedin.com, June 2024.

Design Your Own Cover Images

You can now use Microsoft’s AI-powered Designer tool to create custom cover images for their newsletters.

The integration provides templates, size options, and suggestions to help design visually appealing covers.

More Subscriber Notifications

LinkedIn is improving the notifications sent to newsletter subscribers to drive more readership.

When a new issue is published, subscribers will receive email alerts and in-app messages. LinkedIn will also prompt your followers to subscribe.

Mention Other Profiles In Articles

You can now embed links to other LinkedIn profiles and pages directly into their newsletter articles.

This lets readers click through and learn more about the individuals or companies mentioned.

In the example below, you can see it’s as easy as adding a link.

1718346362 491 LinkedIn Rolls Out New Newsletter ToolsScreenshot from: linkedin.com, June 2024.

Preview Links Before Publishing

Lastly, LinkedIn allows you to access a staging link that previews the newsletter URL before hitting publish.

This can help you share and distribute their content more effectively.

Why SEJ Cares

As LinkedIn continues to lean into being a publishing platform for creators and thought leaders, updates that enhance the newsletter experience are noteworthy for digital marketers and industry professionals looking to build an audience.

The new tools are part of LinkedIn’s broader effort to court creators publishing original content on its platform amid rising demand for newsletters and knowledge-sharing.

How This Can Help You

If you publish a newsletter on LinkedIn, these new tools can help you design more visually appealing content, grow your subscriber base, interact with your audience through comments, and preview your content before going live.


Featured Image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

The 6 Biggest SEO Challenges You’ll Face in 2024

Published

on

The 6 Biggest SEO Challenges You'll Face in 2024

Seen any stressed-out SEOs recently? If so, that’s because they’ve got their work cut out this year.

Between navigating Google’s never-ending algorithm updates, fighting off competitors, and getting buy-in for projects, there are many significant SEO challenges to consider.

So, which ones should you focus on? Here are the six biggest ones I think you should pay close attention to.

Make no mistake—Google’s algorithm updates can make or break your site.

Core updates, spam updates, helpful content updates—you name it, they can all impact your site’s performance.

As we can see below, the frequency of Google updates has increased in recent years, meaning that the likelihood of being impacted by a Google update has also increased.

How to deal with it:

Recovering from a Google update isn’t easy—and sometimes, websites that get hit by updates may never fully recover.

For the reasons outlined above, most businesses try to stay on the right side of Google and avoid incurring Google’s wrath.

SEOs do this by following Google’s Search Essentials, SEO best practices and avoiding risky black hat SEO tactics. But sadly, even if you think you’ve done this, there is no guarantee that you won’t get hit.

If you suspect a website has been impacted by a Google update, the fastest way to check is to plug the domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Ahrefs Site Explorer screenshotAhrefs Site Explorer screenshot

Here’s an example of a website likely affected by Google’s August 2023 Core Update. The traffic drop started on the update’s start date.

Website impacted by Google's August 2023 Core UpdateWebsite impacted by Google's August 2023 Core Update
Hover over the G circles on the X axis to get information about each update.

From this screen, you can see if a drop in traffic correlates with a Google update. If there is a strong correlation, then that update may have hit the site. To remedy it, you will need to understand the update and take action accordingly.

Follow SEO best practices

It’s important your website follows SEO best practices so you can understand why it has been affected and determine what you need to do to fix things.

For example, you might have missed significant technical SEO issues impacting your website’s traffic. To rule this out, it’s worth using Site Audit to run a technical crawl of your website.

Site Audit screenshot, via Ahrefs Site AuditSite Audit screenshot, via Ahrefs Site Audit

Monitor the latest SEO news

In addition to following best practices, it’s a good idea to monitor the latest SEO news. You can do this through various social media channels like X or LinkedIn, but I find the two websites below to be some of the most reliable sources of SEO news.

Even if you escape Google’s updates unscathed, you’ve still got to deal with your competitors vying to steal your top-ranking keywords from right under your nose.

This may sound grim, but it’s a mistake to underestimate them. Most of the time, they’ll be trying to improve their website’s SEO just as much as you are.

And these days, your competitors will:

How to deal with it:

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to do these two things:

Spy on your competitors and monitor their strategy

Ok, so you don’t have to be James Bond, but by using a tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer and our Google Looker Studio Integration (GLS), you can extract valuable information and keep tabs on your competitors, giving you a competitive advantage in the SERPs.

Using a tool like Site Explorer, you can use the Organic Competitors report to understand the competitor landscape:

Organic competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerOrganic competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can check out their Organic traffic performance across the years:

Year on Year comparison of organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerYear on Year comparison of organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can use Calendar to see which days changes in Positions, Pages, Referring domains Backlinks occurred:

Screenshot of Ahrefs' Calendar, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerScreenshot of Ahrefs' Calendar, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can see their Top pages’ organic traffic and Organic keywords:

Top pages report, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTop pages report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

And much, much more.

If you want to monitor your most important competitors more closely, you can even create a dashboard using Ahrefs’ GLS integration.

Google Looker Studio integration screenshot,Google Looker Studio integration screenshot,

Acquire links and create content that your competitors can’t recreate easily

Once you’ve done enough spying, it’s time to take action.

Links and content are the bread and butter for many SEOs. But a lot of the time the links that are acquired and the content that is created just aren’t that great.

So, to stand the best chance of maintaining your rankings, you need to work on getting high-quality backlinks and producing high-quality content that your competitors can’t easily recreate.

It’s easy to say this, but what does it mean in practice?

The best way to create this type of content is to create deep content.

At Ahrefs, we do this by running surveys, getting quotes from industry experts, running data studies, creating unique illustrations or diagrams, and generally fine-tuning our content until it is the best it can be.

As if competing against your competitors wasn’t enough, you must also compete against Google for clicks.

As Google not-so-subtly transitions from a search engine to an answer engine, it’s becoming more common for it to supply the answer to search queries—rather than the search results themselves.

The result is that even the once top-performing organic search websites have a lower click-through rate (CTR) because they’re further down the page—or not on the first page.

Whether you like it or not, Google is reducing traffic to your website through two mechanisms:

  • AI overviews – Where Google generates an answer based on sources on the internet
  • Zero-click searches – Where Google shows the answer in the search results

With AI overviews, we can see that the traditional organic search results are not visible.

And with zero-click searches, Google supplies the answer directly in the SERP, so the user doesn’t have to click anything unless they want to know more.

Zero Click searches example, via Google.comZero Click searches example, via Google.com

These features have one thing in common: They are pushing the organic results further down the page.

With AI Overviews, even when links are included, Kevin Indig’s AI overviews traffic impact study suggests that AI overviews will reduce organic clicks.

In this example below, shared by Aleyda, we can see that even when you rank organically in the number one position, it doesn’t mean much if there are Ads and an AI overview with the UX with no links in the AI overview answer; it just perpetuates the zero-clicks model through the AI overview format.

How to deal with it:

You can’t control how Google changes the SERPs, but you can do two things:

Make your website the best it can be

If you focus on the latter, your website will naturally become more authoritative over time. This isn’t a guarantee that your website will be included in the AI overview, but it’s better than doing nothing.

Prevent Google from showing your website in an AI Overview

If you want to be excluded from Google’s AI Overviews, Google says you can add no snippet to prevent your content from appearing in AI Overviews.

nosnippet code explanation screemshot, via Google's documentationnosnippet code explanation screemshot, via Google's documentation

One of the reasons marketers gravitated towards Google in the early days was that it was relatively easy to set up a website and get traffic.

Recently, there have been a few high-profile examples of smaller websites that have been impacted by Google:

Apart from the algorithmic changes, I think there are two reasons for this:

  • Large authoritative websites with bigger budgets and SEO teams are more likely to rank well in today’s Google
  • User-generated content sites like Reddit and Quora have been given huge traffic boosts from Google, which has displaced smaller sites from the SERPs that used to rank for these types of keyword queries

Here’s Reddit’s traffic increase over the last year:

Reddit's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site ExplorerReddit's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site Explorer

And here’s Quora’s traffic increase:

Quora's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site ExplorerQuora's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site Explorer

How to deal with it:

There are three key ways I would deal with this issue in 2024:

Focus on targeting the right keywords using keyword research

Knowing which keywords to target is really important for smaller websites. Sadly, you can’t just write about a big term like “SEO” and expect to rank for it in Google.

Use a tool like Keywords Explorer to do a SERP analysis for each keyword you want to target. Use the effort-to-reward ratio to ensure you are picking the right keyword battles:

Effort to reward ratio illustrationEffort to reward ratio illustration

If you’re concerned about Reddit, Quora, or other UGC sites stealing your clicks, you can also use Keywords Explorer to target SERPs where these websites aren’t present.

To do this:

  • Enter your keyword in the search bar and head to the matching terms report
  • Click on the SERP features drop-down box
  • Select Not on SERP and select Discussions and forums
Example of removing big UGC sites from keyword searches using filters in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerExample of removing big UGC sites from keyword searches using filters in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

This method can help you find SERPs where these types of sites are not present.

Build more links to become more authoritative

Another approach you could take is to double down on the SEO basics and start building more high-quality backlinks.

Write deep content

Most SEOs are not churning out 500-word blog posts and hoping for the best; equally, the content they’re creating is often not deep or the best it can possibly be.

This is often due to time restraints, budget and inclination. But to be competitive in the AI era, deep content is exactly what you should be creating.

As your website grows, the challenge of maintaining the performance of your content portfolio gets increasingly more difficult.

And what may have been an “absolute banger” of an article in 2020 might not be such a great article now—so you’ll need to update it to keep the clicks rolling in.

So how can you ensure that your content is the best it can be?

How to deal with it:

Here’s the process I use:

Steal this content updating framework

And here’s a practical example of this in action:

Use Page Inspect with Overview to identify pages that need updating

Here’s an example of an older article Michal Pecánek wrote that I recently updated. Using Page Inspect, we can pinpoint the exact date of the update was on May 10, 2024, with no other major in the last year.

Ahrefs Page Inspect screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerAhrefs Page Inspect screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

According to Ahrefs, this update almost doubled the page’s organic traffic, underlining the value of updating old content. Before the update, the content had reached its lowest performance ever.

Example of a content update and the impact on organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerExample of a content update and the impact on organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

So, what changed to casually double the traffic? Clicking on Page Inspect gives us our answer.

Page Inspect detail screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerPage Inspect detail screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

I was focused on achieving three aims with this update:

  • Keeping Michal’s original framework for the post intact
  • Making the content as concise and readable as it can be
  • Refreshing the template (the main draw of the post) and explaining how to use the updated version in a beginner-friendly way to match the search intent

Getting buy-in for SEO projects has never been easy compared to other channels. Unfortunately, this meme perfectly describes my early days of agency life.

SEO meme, SEO vs PPC budgetsSEO meme, SEO vs PPC budgets

SEO is not an easy sell—either internally or externally to clients.

With companies hiring fewer SEO roles this year, the appetite for risk seems lower than in previous years.

SEO can also be slow to take impact, meaning getting buy-in for projects is harder than other channels.

How long does SEO take illustrationHow long does SEO take illustration

How to deal with it:

My colleague Despina Gavoyannis has written a fantastic article about how to get SEO buy-in, here is a summary of her top tips:

  • Find key influencers and decision-makers within the organization, starting with cross-functional teams before approaching executives. (And don’t forget the people who’ll actually implement your changes—developers.)
  • Adapt your language and communicate the benefits of SEO initiatives in terms that resonate with different stakeholders’ priorities.
  • Highlight the opportunity costs of not investing in SEO by showing the potential traffic and revenue being missed out on using metrics like Ahrefs’ traffic value.
  • Collaborate cross-functionally by showing how SEO can support other teams’ goals, e.g. helping the editorial team create content that ranks for commercial queries.

And perhaps most important of all: build better business cases and SEO opportunity forecasts.

If you just want to show the short-term trend for a keyword, you can use Keywords Explorer:

Forecasting feature for keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerForecasting feature for keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
The forecasted trend is shown in orange as a dotted line.

If you want to show the Traffic potential of a particular keyword, you can use our Traffic potential metric in SERP overview to gauge this:

Traffic potential example, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTraffic potential example, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

And if you want to go the whole hog, you can create an SEO forecast. You can use a third-party tool to create a forecast, but I recommend you use Patrick Stox’s SEO forecasting guide.

Final thoughts

Of all the SEO challenges mentioned above, the one keeping SEOs awake at night is AI.

It’s swept through our industry like a hurricane, presenting SEOs with many new challenges. The SERPs are changing, competitors are using AI tools, and the bar for creating basic content has been lowered, all thanks to AI.

If you want to stay competitive, you need to arm yourself with the best SEO tools and search data on the market—and for me, that always starts with Ahrefs.

Got questions? Ping me on X.



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending