Connect with us
Cloak And Track Your Affiliate Links With Our User-Friendly Link Cloaking Tool, Try It Free

SEO

What It Is & Why It Matters For SEO

Published

on

What It Is & Why It Matters For SEO

You may have run across the W3C in your web development and SEO travels.

The W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium, and it was founded by the creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee.

This web standards body creates coding specifications for web standards worldwide.

It also offers a validator service to ensure that your HTML (among other code) is valid and error-free.

Making sure that your page validates is one of the most important things one can do to achieve cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility and provide an accessible online experience to all.

Invalid code can result in glitches, rendering errors, and long processing or loading times.

Simply put, if your code doesn’t do what it was intended to do across all major web browsers, this can negatively impact user experience and SEO.

WC3 Validation: How It Works & Supports SEO

Web standards are important because they give web developers a standard set of rules for writing code.

If all code used by your company is created using the same protocols, it will be much easier for you to maintain and update this code in the future.

This is especially important when working with other people’s code.

If your pages adhere to web standards, they will validate correctly against W3C validation tools.

When you use web standards as the basis for your code creation, you ensure that your code is user-friendly with built-in accessibility.

When it comes to SEO, validated code is always better than poorly written code.

According to John Mueller, Google doesn’t care how your code is written. That means a WC3 validation error won’t cause your rankings to drop.

You won’t rank better with validated code, either.

But there are indirect SEO benefits to well-formatted markup:

  • Eliminates Code Bloat: Validating code means that you tend to avoid code bloat. Validated code is generally leaner, better, and more compact than its counterpart.
  • Faster Rendering Times: This could potentially translate to better render times as the browser needs less processing, and we know that page speed is a ranking factor.
  • Indirect Contributions to Core Web Vitals Scores: When you pay attention to coding standards, such as adding the width and height attribute to your images, you eliminate steps that the browser must take in order to render the page. Faster rendering times can contribute to your Core Web Vitals scores, improving these important metrics overall.

Roger Montti compiled these six reasons Google still recommends code validation, because it:

  1. Could affect crawl rate.
  2. Affects browser compatibility.
  3. Encourages a good user experience.
  4. Ensures that pages function everywhere.
  5. Useful for Google Shopping Ads.
  6. Invalid HTML in head section breaks Hreflang.

Multiple Device Accessibility

Valid code also helps translate into better cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility because it conforms to the latest in W3C standards, and the browser will know better how to process that code.

This leads to an improved user experience for people who access your sites from different devices.

If you have a site that’s been validated, it will render correctly regardless of the device or platform being used to view it.

That is not to say that all code doesn’t conform across multiple browsers and platforms without validating, but there can be deviations in rendering across various applications.

Common Reasons Code Doesn’t Validate

Of course, validating your web pages won’t solve all problems with rendering your site as desired across all platforms and all browsing options. But it does go a long way toward solving those problems.

In the event that something does go wrong with validation on your part, you now have a baseline from which to begin troubleshooting.

You can go into your code and see what is making it fail.

It will be easier to find these problems and troubleshoot them with a validated site because you know where to start looking.

Having said that, there are several reasons pages may not validate.

Browser Specific Issues

It may be that something in your code will only work on one browser or platform, but not another.

This problem would then need to be addressed by the developer of the offending script.

This would mean having to actually edit the code itself in order for it to validate on all platforms/browsers instead of just some of them.

You Are Using Outdated Code

The W3C only started rendering validation tests over the course of the past couple of decades.

If your page was created to validate in a browser that predates this time (IE 6 or earlier, for example), it will not pass these new standards because it was written with older technologies and formats in mind.

While this is a relatively rare issue, it still happens.

This problem can be fixed by reworking code to make it W3C compliant, but if you want to maintain compatibility with older browsers, you may need to continue using code that works, and thus forego passing 100% complete validation.

Both problems could potentially be solved with a little trial and error.

With some work and effort, both types of sites can validate across multiple devices and platforms without issue – hopefully!

Polyglot Documents

Polyglot documents include any document that may have been transferred from an older version of code, and never re-worked to be compatible with the new version.

In other words, it’s a combination of documents with a different code type than what the current document was coded for (say an HTML 4.01 transitional document type compared to an XHTML document type).

Make no mistake: Even though both may be “HTML” per se, they are very different languages and need to be treated as such.

You can’t copy and paste one over and expect things to be all fine and dandy.

What does this mean?

For example, you may have seen situations where you may validate code, but nearly every single line of a document has something wrong with it on the W3C validator.

This could be due to somebody transferring over code from another version of the site, and not updating it to reflect new coding standards.

Either way, the only way to repair this is to either rework the code line by line (an extraordinarily tedious process).

How WC3 Validation Works

The W3C validator is this author’s validator of choice for making sure that your code validates across a wide variety of platforms and systems.

The W3C validator is free to use, and you can access it here.

With the W3C validator, it’s possible to validate your pages by page URL, file upload, and Direct Input.

  • Validate Your Pages by URL: This is relatively simple. Just copy and paste the URL into the Address field, and you can click on the check button in order to validate your code.
  • Validate Your Pages by File Upload: When you validate by file upload, you will upload the html files of your choice one file at a time. Caution: if you’re using Internet Explorer or certain versions Windows XP, this option may not work for you.
  • Validate Your Pages by Direct Input: With this option, all you have to do is copy and paste the code you want to validate into the editor, and the W3C validator will do the rest.

While some professionals claim that some W3C errors have no rhyme or reason, in 99.9% of cases, there is a rhyme and reason.

If there isn’t a rhyme and reason throughout the entire document, then you may want to refer to our section on polyglot documents below as a potential problem.

HTML Syntax

Let’s start at the top with HTML syntax. Because it’s the backbone of the World Wide Web, this is the most common coding that you will run into as an SEO professional.

The W3C has created a specification for HTML 5 called “the HTML5 Standard”.

This document explains how HTML should be written on an ideal level for processing by popular browsers.

If you go to their site, you can utilize their validator to make sure that your code is valid according to this spec.

They even give examples of some of the rules that they look for when it comes to standards compliance.

This makes it easier than ever to check your work before you publish it!

Validators For Other Languages

Now let’s move on to some of the other languages that you may be using online.

For example, you may have heard of CSS3.

The W3C has standards documentation for CSS 3 as well called “the CSS3 Standard.”

This means that there is even more opportunity for validation!

You can validate your HTML against their standard and then validate your CSS against the same standard to ensure conformity across platforms.

While it may seem like overkill to validate your code against so many different standards at once, remember that this means that there are more chances than ever to ensure conformity across platforms.

And for those of you who only work in one language, you now have the opportunity to expand your horizons!

It can be incredibly difficult if not impossible to align everything perfectly, so you will need to pick your battles.

You may also just need something checked quickly online without having the time or resources available locally.

Common Validation Errors

You will need to be aware of the most common validation errors as you go through the validation process, and it’s also a good idea to know what those errors mean.

This way, if your page does not validate, you will know exactly where to start looking for possible problems.

Some of the most common validation errors (and their meanings) include:

  • Type Mismatch: When your code is trying to make one kind of data object appear like another data object (e.g., submitting a number as text), you run the risk of getting this message. This error usually signals that some kind of coding mistake has been made. The solution would be to figure out exactly where that mistake was made and fix it so that the code validates successfully.
  • Parse Error: This error tells you that there was a mistake in the coding somewhere, but it does not tell you where that mistake is. If this happens, you will have to do some serious sleuthing in order to find where your code went wrong.
  • Syntax Errors: These types of errors involve (mostly) careless mistakes in coding syntax. Either the syntax is typed incorrectly, or its context is incorrect. Either way, these errors will show up in the W3C validator.

The above are just some examples of errors that you may see when you’re validating your page.

Unfortunately, the list goes on and on – as does the time spent trying to fix these problems!

More Specific Errors (And Their Solutions)

You may find more specific errors that apply to your site. They may include errors that reference “type attribute used in tag.”

This refers to some tags like JavaScript declaration tags, such as the following: <script type=”text/javascript”>.

The type attribute of this tag is not needed anymore and is now considered legacy coding.

If you use that kind of coding now, you may end up unintentionally throwing validation errors all over the place in certain validators.

Did you know that not using alternative text (alt text) – also called alt tags by some – is a W3C issue? It does not conform to the W3C rules for accessibility.

Alternative text is the text that is coded into images.

It is primarily used by screen readers for the blind.

If a blind person visits your site, and you do not have alternative text (or meaningful alternative text) in your images, then they will be unable to use your site effectively.

The way these screen readers work is that they speak aloud the words that are coded into images, so the blind can use their sense of hearing to understand what’s on your web page.

If your page is not very accessible in this regard, this could potentially lead to another sticky issue: that of accessibility lawsuits.

This is why it pays to pay attention to your accessibility standards and validate your code against these standards.

Other types of common errors include using tags out of context.

For code context errors, you will need to make sure they are repaired according to the W3C documentation so these errors are no longer thrown by the validator.

Preventing Errors From Impacting Your Site Experience

The best way to prevent validation errors from happening is by making sure your site validates before launch.

It’s also useful to validate your pages regularly after they’re launched so that new errors do not crop up unexpectedly over time.

If you think about it, validation errors are the equivalent of spelling mistakes in an essay – once they’re there, they’re difficult (if not impossible) to erase, and they need to be fixed as soon as humanly possible.

If you adopt the habit of always using the W3C validator in order to validate your code, then you can, in essence, stop these coding mistakes from ever happening in the first place.

Heads Up: There Is More Than One Way To Do It

Sometimes validation won’t go as planned according to all standards.

And there is more than one way to accomplish the same goal.

For example, if you use <button> to create a button and then give it an href tag inside of it using the <a> element, this doesn’t seem to be possible according to W3C standards.

But is perfectly acceptable in JavaScript because there are actually ways to do this within the language itself.

This is an example of how we create this particular code and insert it into the direct input of the W3C validator:

Screenshot from W3C validator, February 2022

In the next step, during validation, as discussed above we find that there are at least 4 errors just within this particular code alone, indicating that this is not exactly a particularly well-coded line:

Screenshot showing errors in the W3C validator tool.Screenshot from W3C validator, February 2022

While validation, on the whole, can help you immensely, it is not always going to be 100% complete.

This is why it’s important to familiarize yourself by coding with the validator as much as you can.

Some adaptation will be needed. But it takes experience to achieve the best possible cross-platform compatibility while also remaining compliant with today’s browsers.

The ultimate goal here is improving accessibility and achieving compatibility with all browsers, operating systems, and devices.

Not all browsers and devices are created equal, and validation achieves a cohesive set of instructions and standards that can accomplish the goal of making your page equal enough for all browsers and devices.

When in doubt, always err on the side of proper code validation.

By making sure that you work to include the absolute best practices in your coding, you can ensure that your code is as accessible as it possibly can be for all types of users.

On top of that, validating your HTML against W3C standards helps you achieve cross-platform compatibility between different browsers and devices.

By working to always ensure that your code validates, you are on your way to making sure that your site is as safe, accessible, and efficient as possible.

More resources: 


Featured Image: graphicwithart/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

SEO

System Builders – How AI Changes The Work Of SEO

Published

on

By

Kevin Indig's Growth Memo for SEJ

AI is terraforming tech. The content and SEO ecosystem is undergoing a massive structural change.

Human-written content gains value faster for LLM training than for end consumers as the pure profit licensing deals between LLM developers and publishers show.

Publishers struggle to survive from digital subscriptions but get millions that go straight to their bottom line for providing training data.

Content platforms, social networks, SaaS companies and consumer apps coat their products with AI. A few examples:

  • Spotify DJ (AI-generated playlist).
  • AI Overview (AI answers in Google Search).
  • Instagram AI personas (celebrity AI chatbots).
  • Ebay’s magical listing (turn a photo into a listing).
  • Redfin Redesign (try interior designs on real house pictures).
Image Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality of machine-generated content (MGC) challenges human-generated content (HGC). I ran an experiment with my Twitter and LinkedIn followers: I asked them to choose which of two articles was written by a human and which by a machine – and they had to explain their answer.

Only a handful of people figured out that AI wrote both pieces. I intentionally framed the question in a leading way to see if people would challenge the setting or believe that one piece was written by a human if told so.

  • Not an isolated experiment: A survey of 1,900 Americans found that 63.5% of people can’t distinguish between AI content and human content.1
  • People seek help: Google search demand for [ai checker] has reached 100,000 in May 2024 (Glimpse).
  • Dark side: scammers use MGC to make money, as 77% of AI scam victims lost money.2
Search demand for AI checkerImage Credit: Kevin Indig

The quality level of LLMs pushes SEO work towards automating workflows and learning with AI, while writers will take content from good to great instead of zero to one.

Boost your skills with Growth Memo’s weekly expert insights. Subscribe for free!

How AI Changes The Work Of SEOImage Credit: Lyna ™

System Builders

Clients, podcasters and panel hosts often ask me what skills SEOs need to build for the AI future. For a long time, my answer was to learn, stay open-minded and gain as much practical experience with AI as possible.

Now, my answer is SEOs should learn how to build AI agents and workflows that automate tasks. AI changes the way search works but also the way SEOs work.

AI + No-code Allows SEOs To Automate Workflows

A few examples:

1/ Cannibalization

  • Old world: SEOs download search console data and create pivot tables to spot keyword cannibalization.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI workflow that sends alters, identifies true keyword cannibalization, makes content suggestions to fix the problem, and monitors the improvement.

2/ Site Crawling

  • Old world: SEOs crawl websites to find inefficiencies in internal linking, status code errors, duplicate content, etc.
  • New world: SEOs build an AI agent that regularly crawls the site and automatically suggests new internal links that are shipped after human approval, fixes broken canonical tags and excludes soft 404 errors in the robots.txt.

3/ Content Creation

  • Old world: SEOs do keyword research and write content briefs. Writers create the content.
  • New world: SEOs automate keyword research with AI and create hundreds of relevant articles as a foundation for writers to build on.

All of this is already possible today with AI workflow tools like AirOps or Apify, which chain agents and LLMs together to scrape, analyze, transform data or create content.

Moving forward, we’ll spend much more time building automated systems instead of wasting time on point analyses and catalogs of recommendations. The SEO work will be defining logic, setting rules, prompting and coding.

building automated systems Building workflows with AirOps (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

You Can Learn (Almost) Anything With AI

I never made the time to really learn Python or R, but with the help of Chat GPT and Gemini in Colab, I can write any script with natural language prompts.

When the script doesn’t work, I can paste a screenshot into Chat GPT and describe the issue to get a solution. AI helps with Regex, Google Sheets/Excel, R, Python, etc. Nothing is off-limits.

Being able to write scripts can solve problems like data analysis, a/b testing and using APIs. As an SEO, I’m no longer dependent on engineers, data scientists or writers to perform certain tasks. I can act faster and on my own account.

I’m not the only one to figure this out. People are learning to code, write and many other skills with AI. We can learn to build AI workflows by asking AI to teach us.

Search demand for coding with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for write with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig
Search demand for learn with AI is explodingImage Credit: Kevin Indig

When you can learn almost anything, the only limit is time.

The Work Of Writers Changes

Against common belief, writers won’t be crossed out of this equation but will play the critical role of editing, directing and curating.

In any automated process, humans QA the output. Think of car assembling lines. Even though AI content leaps in quality, spot checks reduce the risk of errors. Caught issues, such as wrong facts, weird phrasing or off-brand wording, will be critical feedback to fine-tune models to improve their output.

Instead of leg work like writing drafts, writers will bring AI content from good to great. In the concept of information gain, writers will spend most of their time making a piece outstanding.

The rising quality work spans from blog content to programmatic content, where writers will add curated content when searches have a desire for human experience, such as in travel.

A mini guide to Los AngelesTripadvisor’s attraction pages feature human-curated sections. (Image Credit: Kevin Indig)

Unfair Advantage

As often with new technology, a few first-mover people and companies get exponential value until the rest catch up. My worry is that a few fast-moving companies will grab massive land with AI.

And yet, this jump in progress will allow newcomers to challenge incumbents and get a fair chance to compete on the field.

AI might be a bigger game changer for SEOs than for Google. The raw power of AI might help us overcome challenges from AI Overviews and machine learning-driven algorithm updates.

But the biggest win might be that SEOs can finally make something instead of delivering recommendations. The whole value contribution of SEOs changes because my output can drive results faster.

Survey: ChatGPT and AI Content – Can people tell the difference?

Artificial Intelligence Voice Scams on the Rise with 1 in 4 Adults Impacted


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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

12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

Published

on

12 SEO Meetups You Should Have On Your Radar

Want to meet other people interested in SEO offline? Give an SEO meetup a go.

In my experience, it’s one of the best ways to meet like-minded people and provides a more relaxed, informal setting than a bustling SEO conference. Who knows—you could make new friends at a meetup or even land new SEO clients.

But with so many events worldwide, it’s impossible to mention them all. So, here are some of the most talked-about SEO meet-ups I think you should have on your radar.

Okay—so I may be a little biased, but I wanted to start by sharing our Ahrefs’ SEO Events. We’ve run five Beer and Snacks Meetups in Singapore. We’ve also hosted an SEO Workshop and Networking meetup the day before BrightonSEO, and we just launched our London Meetup.

Tickets to the London Meetup sold out in a day and a half—it was our fastest-selling ticketed event ever.

Tim Soulo, Joshua Hardwick, and Ryan Law will speak at our inaugural event, covering topics such as improving your rankings, competitor research, and content marketing. To stay informed about our next event, follow our events page.

Sidenote.

Missed our meetups but still want to catch up with the Ahrefs team and a host of world-class speakers? Get Ahrefs Evolve tickets ✨

London SEO XL MeetupLondon SEO XL Meetup

The LondonSEO Meetup hosts an evening of networking with industry peers and leading experts featuring SEO speakers like Itamar Blauer, Steph Hugman, Reina Hanada, and many more.

The bigger XL event has even hosted prolific search engine news chronicler Barry Schwartz in 2023.

Search London Meetup PhotoSearch London Meetup Photo

With over 2,800 members, Search London is a popular meetup that has been around for over a decade.

Events are organized every 8-12 weeks, and members are from a mixture of agency, client-side, and start-up businesses.

The meet-up is open to anyone in SEO, PPC, or social media—and offers marketing professionals and first-time speakers a safe, supportive space to share their industry knowledge and experiences.

Search 'n Stuff Meetup PhotoSearch 'n Stuff Meetup Photo

Search ‘n Stuff meetups are an energetic and all-embracing community tailored to empower digital marketers, startups, in-house teams, and professionals. Expect sharings centered on strategies, campaigns, and other relevant SEO topics.

Neurodivergents In SEO Meetup PhotoNeurodivergents In SEO Meetup Photo

Neurodivergents in SEO provide a safe space for neurodivergent SEOs to network and learn.

The group holds in-person meetups at BrightonSEO, both in the UK and the US, and monthly pub quizzes with great prizes.

If you’re an SEO or marketer and identify as neurodivergent, you’re more than welcome to join the community. You can do so by signing up here.

Search Norwich PhotoSearch Norwich Photo

Search Norwich launched in 2018 as a free marketing meetup event. It often features top industry speakers who share their knowledge, tips, and advice with the search marketing community. At Search Norwich there are no sales agendas, fluff, or pitches—just valuable insights.

SEOFOMO Meetup PhotoSEOFOMO Meetup Photo

The SEOFOMO meetups are run by SEO superstar Aleyda Solis, who is a well-known SEO speaker and founder of SEO consultancy Orainti. She’ll also be the headline speaker for our first Ahrefs Evolve Conference.

SEOFOMO is a laid-back, free event perfect for learning, connecting, and sharing with other SEOs.

SEO Mastermind PhotoSEO Mastermind Photo

SEO Mastermind is a supportive, free, and friendly SEO community where you can grow your skills, meet like-minded people, and get answers to all your organic marketing questions.

SEO Mastermind meets around eight times a year, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium—but they also occasionally have meetups in other locations, for instance, at Brighton SEO and ISS Barcelona.

Organizer Jeroen Stikkelorum told me that SEO Mastermind is on a mission to build the most valuable Dutch-spoken SEO and organic marketing community in The Netherlands and Belgium. So if you’re local, give it a go.

SEO Lager Fest Meetup PhotoSEO Lager Fest Meetup Photo

SEO Lager Fest is a fun SEO meetup that (apart from drinking) enables you to network with like-minded folks in the SEO industry. They hold an SEO quiz, run case study competitions, do AMAs, and even do SEO charades.

SEOnerd Switzerland Meetup PhotoSEOnerd Switzerland Meetup Photo

SEOnerdSwitzerland is a volunteer-run association that organizes events for SEOs in Switzerland and beyond.

Dedicated to fair opportunities and diversity, they provide training and coaching for people wanting to break through as a public speaker in the SEO industry.

SEOnerdSwitzerland also offers training and coaching for speakers, aiming for a diverse and inclusive panel.

WebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, AustriaWebSchrona Meetup Photo, Salzburg, Austria

WebSchrona is a free monthly meetup for SEO and online marketing professionals in Salzburg, Austria. They meet every second Thursday at 6 p.m.

There’s no fixed agenda, so discussions are often unplanned and spontaneous and often involve a drink of some description.

Organizer Alexander Außermayr tells me that everyone is welcome to join their SEO meetups. The aim is to provide a regular, uncomplicated meetup in an open space—often a beer garden, if the weather is good.

SEO Benelux Meetup PhotoSEO Benelux Meetup Photo

SEO Benelux started in 2018 as a Facebook community for Dutch and Belgian SEO specialists. The meetup grew into the largest in the Benelux region, with more than 3,000 members.

There are four meetups each year, two in Belgium (Ghent and Antwerp) and one in the Netherlands (mostly Amsterdam). Each meetup attracts 70–90 people and features three speakers.

If you don’t live in a big city, it may be difficult to find a good meetup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any in your local area.

Here are my tips to help you find new meetups near you.

Tip 1 – Use Google’s advanced search operators to uncover new meetups

As new meetups pop up all the time and often without notice, it’s worth doing some digging to see what’s out there.

You can just do a regular ol’ Google search, but we’re SEOs—so let’s use some advanced search operators and spice it up a bit.

In this example, I searched for the phrase “meetup” in the title, plus my location and my favorite SEO tool, and it managed to uncover Tim’s tweet on our London Meetup.

Advanced Google Search Operators ExampleAdvanced Google Search Operators Example

This is just a very basic example, and you could use any website or location, but it shows how you can uncover information about new meetups with a little research.

Tip 2 – Trigger the Events SERP feature

By searching for events or events near me, you can trigger the Events SERP feature. In the example below, I found a few SEO-related events by prepending “SEO” to the search.

Triggering the Events SERP Feature ExampleTriggering the Events SERP Feature Example

Once you’ve triggered the feature, scroll down until you find an SEO meetup that catches your eye.

Tip 3 – Use Meetup to find an SEO meetup

If you can’t find anything on Google then it’s a good idea to run a quick check on a specialist community platform.

One of the most popular platforms is Meetup. It allows you to find events near your location on any topic.

Meetup.com screenshotMeetup.com screenshot

Over the years, I’ve attended a lot of smaller meetups through this website, and they have always been interesting and a place to make new connections.

Tip 4 – No SEO meetup in your area? Start your own!

I started my own mini-meetup in 2018 on WhatsApp with some former colleagues, imaginatively titled #seodrinks.

#SEOdrinks meetup logo#SEOdrinks meetup logo

It started from humble beginnings in a room in a small pub in London, and it’s still in a room in a small pub—somewhere in London. (If you want an invite, let me know on LinkedIn.)

We only have semi-regular meetups in London and a small group, but every meetup has to start somewhere.

If you want to start your own SEO meetup, platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram are the best free places to start, but if you want a more specialized paid option, you could try Meetup or another similar platform.

Final thoughts

You don’t always have to attend a big SEO conference to meet other amazing people in the industry. Some of the smaller meetups I’ve been to have resulted in making more contacts than the bigger conferences.

As such, SEO meet-ups are one of my favorite ways to meet people who are just as interested in SEO and marketing as much as you are.

Did I miss an SEO meetup? Add your SEO meetup here, or let me know on LinkedIn.



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

How to Combine SEO and Content Marketing (The Ahrefs’ Way)

Published

on

How to Combine SEO and Content Marketing (The Ahrefs’ Way)

SEO and content marketing are different marketing channels. But you don’t have to choose between them. They’re complementary.

In fact, you should combine them for greater effectiveness in your marketing.

Two main reasons:

1. Content marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly—they work well together

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers.

Here’s how SEO helps content marketing:

The web's largest traffic referrersThe web's largest traffic referrers

SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engines to get more traffic.

Here’s how content marketing helps SEO:

  • It helps you get more search traffic — If you want more search traffic, you need to rank for more keywords, which requires you to make more content.
  • It makes SEO more effective — Thought leadership content acquires backlinks, gated content generates leads, and sales enablement converts traffic into sales.

2. The same amount of investment in effort, money, and time can generate results for both content marketing and SEO

We’re the perfect example. Our content ranks high on Google and generates hundreds of thousands of monthly search visitors:

Ahrefs blog trafficAhrefs blog traffic

It also attracts links and shares on social media because we make sure each piece is unique and not just regurgitation or “AI content”.

LinkedIn comment on how we blended an SEO-friendly term with a contrarian point of viewLinkedIn comment on how we blended an SEO-friendly term with a contrarian point of view

Finally, each piece of content introduces visitors to our product and educates them on how to use it to solve their problems. (Keep on reading and you’ll see it in action too!)

Example of how we introduce our product in our contentExample of how we introduce our product in our content

It hits all content marketing and SEO goals at once:

  • Acquires search traffic ✅
  • Builds thought leadership ✅
  • Attracts links ✅
  • Generates sales (over the long-term) ✅

How do we do what we do? Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness. Here’s one line that summarizes our entire SEO content marketing strategy:

We create and maintain high-quality, product-led, search-focused content about topics with business potential and search traffic potential.

Let me break down how we combine SEO and content marketing:

If you want to acquire search traffic, you need to target topics that your potential customers are searching for.

The easiest way to find these keywords is to use a keyword tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer:

  1. Go to Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a few broad keywords related to your site or niche
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Filter for keywords with traffic potential (TP)
Matching terms report in Keywords ExplorerMatching terms report in Keywords Explorer

Sidenote.

Traffic Potential is the estimated monthly organic search traffic to the top-ranking page for a keyword. Since pages tend to rank for many keywords, Traffic Potential is a more reliable estimate than search volume.

Go through the report and pick out the keywords that are relevant to your site. For example, if I were an ecommerce store selling coffee equipment, this could be a potential keyword to target:

The keyword "best coffee grinder"The keyword "best coffee grinder"

A keyword’s business potential is how easy it will be to pitch your product while covering a certain topic. It’s our ‘trade secret’—it’s why we can easily introduce our product and its features in every piece of content we create.

Here’s how to score a topic’s business potential:

Business potential scoring chartBusiness potential scoring chart

So, taking the above example, the topic “best coffee grinder” would score a “3” (provided we sell coffee grinders) whereas a topic like “does decaf coffee have caffeine” would score a “1” or even a “0”.

You should prioritize topics that score high on business potential, i.e. a “2” or a “3”.

What does all of the jargon mean? Let’s break it down.

Search-focused

Part one of being ‘search-focused’ is finding keywords that people are searching for. Part two is to figure out why they’re searching for those particular keywords. This ‘why’ is known as search intent.

Given that Google’s goal is to always rank the most relevant content, we can look at the search engine results (SERPs) to uncover search intent. Take your target keyword, enter it into Keywords Explorer, scroll down to SERP Overview, and click Identify intents:

Identify intents feature in Keywords ExplorerIdentify intents feature in Keywords Explorer

So, we can see that searchers looking for the keyword “best coffee grinders” want detailed reviews and expert recommendations on the best coffee grinders. Not only that, we can also see that searchers want a list that is fresh.

Identified search intent for "best coffee grinder"Identified search intent for "best coffee grinder"

If we’re targeting this topic, making it search-focused means matching this search intent—we’ll need to create a list of the best coffee grinders for the current year.

Product-led

Product-led means ensuring you’re not just creating content for the sake of it; you’re also ‘selling’ your product. You want to be aware of which use case, feature, or service you want to weave into the narrative. Naturally, of course.

Scoring a topic’s business potential would have done 90% of the work here. If you’re creating content about a topic that scored a “3”, then your product pitch would be natural. For example, we could easily add links back to our coffee equipment store after covering the best coffee grinders. Or, if we make our coffee grinders, we could pitch them as one of the best. (That’s why I say the business potential score is our secret ingredient.)

The challenge comes when you’re covering topics that score a “1” or “0”. It’s not impossible, but you’ll need to be creative.

For example, I recently covered the topic “SEO specialist”. It had a business potential of “1” and was tough to include a product pitch. Fortunately, I noticed that some job listings asked for experience with different SEO toolsets (including us.) It was the perfect segue to introduce our product and certification course.

An example of how I managed to pitch Ahrefs in a post with a business potential of 1An example of how I managed to pitch Ahrefs in a post with a business potential of 1

High-quality

This is subjective. Everyone’s standards are different. But here’s how we think of quality:

  • Accurate — No hype, no lying. Every statement we make should be as accurate as possible.
  • Clear — No fluff—delete all unnecessary words and sentences. Use jargon only when needed. When necessary, create illustrations to expand on ideas and concepts.
  • Helpful — Being product-led is important but the content should not just be aimed at pitching. The content should be focused primarily on helping visitors solve their problems, while creatively weaving our product into the context.
  • Unique — One way to make your content unique is to have skin in the game—conduct experiments, run data studies, and write from personal experience. If having skin is difficult, then interview practitioners. Focus on did, not could.

The deterioration of your content is inevitable:

  • Search-focused — Your rankings may drop because of competitors. Or you didn’t even rank the first time round. Or your target topic’s search intent changed (e.g., the word corona’s search intent changed during the void years of 2020-2022.)
  • Product-led — You may have new features, services, or use cases to introduce. Or your team has depreciated certain features or abandoned some services.
  • High-quality — Statements may become inaccurate over time. Or your unique idea was so successful that everyone else copied you (and outranked you.) Or you might have better ways to reword sentences and paragraphs. Or just simply the ideas, screenshots, and content has become outdated.

That’s why you don’t build a train track and disappear. You have to actively maintain it to keep it working. (I’m looking at you London tube.) Same goes for your content.

The way to maintain your content is to conduct regular content audits. We do this every quarter—Each writer on our blog team goes through their portfolio of articles and selects at least three pieces to update. Each writer may also choose a couple to do a full rewrite.

I highly recommend going through our content audit template so you can see what went wrong with your content and what to do with it next.

Final thoughts

SEO and content marketing may be different marketing types, but that doesn’t mean you need to do one to the exclusion of the other.

Both channels are highly compatible and as you see above, can be designed as an entire strategy that hits all important marketing objectives.



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