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How to Do Keyword Optimization for SEO (3 Steps)

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How to Do Keyword Optimization for SEO (3 Steps)

Keyword optimization is the process of increasing the relevance of a webpage’s content to a given search query.

It’s a fundamental process in SEO because Google aims to serve the most relevant content to its users.

In this post, you’ll learn how to optimize your new and existing content for any keyword.

Step 1. Make sure you’re optimizing for the right keyword 

Whether you’re optimizing existing or new content, you need to make sure that keyword optimization is worth the effort and that your chances of ranking are good. 

This step is arguably the hardest part of the process, so here are some considerations to think about right from the start. 

Search traffic potential

Measuring the potential of a keyword to bring you traffic can be tricky. Most SEO tools try to solve this with search volume, but that’s not enough:

  • Some searches don’t result in clicks on pages For example, clicks on ads or searches that provide sufficient answers right on the SERP. 
  • Pages can rank for hundreds of keywords while being optimized just for one – So you can actually get more traffic than the search volume indicates. 

A better way is to estimate the traffic that the ranking pages get. In Ahrefs, this is automatically calculated with the Traffic Potential (TP) metric. 

The TP metric sums up traffic estimations from all keywords that the top-ranking page for your target keyword ranks for. This shows you how much traffic you could be looking at if you outranked this page.

Traffic Potential metric in Ahrefs
The TP for the keyword “submit website to search engines” is almost 10 times higher than the search volume.

Value to your website 

Optimize for keywords that can bring you valuable traffic. 

When picking a target keyword, ask yourself what is the practical use of attracting searchers. Is it direct sales, or maybe brand awareness, or building a readership? 

You can map each keyword on a scale that matches your overall goal. For example, your strategy may be to create content that helps the reader solve their problems using your product (aka product-led content). Then, your scale can look something like this: 

Business potential score

So while there will be no harm in generating traffic with 0 business value from time to time, you may want to focus on optimizing content with a high business potential score. 

Keyword difficulty 

Some keywords will be harder to rank for than others. 

To get a quick overview of the ranking difficulty of a keyword, look at the number of unique domains linking the top 10 ranking pages. The more linking domains, the harder it will likely be to rank because backlinks are still one of the most impactful ranking signals for Google.

In Ahrefs, Keyword Difficulty (KD) is calculated automatically based on backlinks on a scale of 0 to 100. 

Keywords with shoes, different keyword difficulty

So for example, if your website is new and doesn’t have a strong backlink profile yet, you may want to focus on low-competition keywords below KD 20.

There may be other factors that can come into play, such as familiarity with the brand. Learn more about estimating keyword difficulty här

Search intent 

Search intent is the reason behind the search. Usually, searchers either want to learn something, buy something, or find a specific website. 

Search intent matters for keyword optimization because Google tends to rank content that matches the dominating intent behind the query. 

Your task here is to identify what searchers are after and decide whether you can offer that and whether it’s worth it for you. 

To illustrate, it could be tough for a “non e-commerce” website to break the mold for a query like “women’s shoes.” It’s product pages from top to bottom. 

Top-ranking pages with the same search intent
The entire first page for “women’s shoes” shows product pages.

We’ll talk about search intent more in the next step of this guide. 

Your expertise 

In Google Search, the messenger is at least as important as the message. 

Google expressed philosophy on that through E-A-T principles (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). E-A-T is known to have a significant impact on queries in the Your Money or Your Life domain (i.e., health, financial topics, safety, etc.).

Google further emphasized the role of the authority of the website (maybe even gave it more significance) in the recent “helpful content” core update:

Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?

Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?

Google wants to show quality content to its users. Knowing that something comes from a trusted source simply makes it easier for a search engine to recognize quality content. 

So for example, a blog on health should ideally be written or at least reviewed by someone with formal medical training. Also, it should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. 

Health article reviewed by an expert

Sidenote.

If you’d like to learn more about finding, choosing, and prioritizing your keywords, we’ve got a full guide on that.

Step 2. Align with the search intent 

Let’s ask Google what kind of content searchers want to see. We call this analyzing the three Cs of search intent. 

Content type

Content type refers to the goal the searcher is after. The content type will usually be one of the following:

  • Blog post/article
  • Product page
  • Category page
  • Landing page

The task here is to take top-ranking pages for your keyword and look for the dominating type of content among them. The top three ranking pages and SERP features (People Also Ask box, featured snippet) will be most impactful here. Then match that with your content. 

For example, for “best all season car tires,” we see almost only articles (except for the #1 result). So if you were to compete for this keyword, your best chance to do so would be with an article too because that’s the dominating content type.

SERP for "best all season car tires"
9/10 results are articles.

Content format 

Content format refers to how users seemingly prefer information served to them. The content type will usually be one of the following:

  • "How-to” guide
  • Step-by-step tutorial
  • List post
  • Opinion piece
  • Review
  • Comparison
  • Product page (homepage or subpage)

For example, “home decor tips” is dominated by listicles; most of them have numbers in titles and/or the main content is structured in ordered lists. 

SERP for "home decor tips"

Analogically to the other Cs of search intent, the idea is to identify what content format dominates the SERPs and use it for your page. 

TIP

Note: SERPs are not always this obvious. Sometimes, Google ranks different types and formats of content. 

One reason for this may be that Google moves to serve search journeys rather than search queries. 

In SEO, this is called mixed or fractured search intent. See what you can do in such a situation: 

You may come across a chance to rank a different type of content from the dominating one. This usually happens in broad terms where people can look for different things. Indications of this can be found in:

  • Questions in the PAA box.
  • Presence of certain rich search results, such as the “Things to know.” 

There’s an interesting analysis of the “coffee” keyword by Kayle Larkin. I highly recommend it if you want to get a hint on how to spot these kinds of opportunities. A bet on that tactic, however, may be riskier.

Content angle 

Content angle is the unique selling point of a page. It should catch the attention of the searcher and indicate what is special about the page.

To illustrate, consider the query “how to become rich.” Some angles for this query are:

  • Before 30
  • In a smart way
  • Fast 
  • According to experts
  • Best
  • From nothing 
  • In five years
SERP for query "how to become rich"

Makes sense, right? That’s why the content angle should be tightly matched with the topic. A topic may require the freshest view of said topic, while another may require a list of free online tools. SERPs are again the best place to look for that information.

For example, it won’t make sense to use “before 30” or “in five years” for a query like “how to peel a banana.” We can see on the SERPs that what seems to be valuable to users is learning how to do it the right way (i.e., like a monkey).

SERP for "how to peel a banana"

Step 3. Follow on-page SEO best practices 

Once we have picked our target keyword and identified the search intent for it, it’s time to write our content with SEO in mind. 

For this, we need the so-called on-page SEO. In other words, tried and tested things that you can do on the page itself to help Google and searchers better understand and digest your content. 

If you’re optimizing old content, it’s a good idea to go through the process with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Audit (also available for free in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools). It will help you catch all the missing tags, unoptimized images, and more.

All issues from the Content report in Site Audit

Give searchers what they want 

You may have a completely unique opinion on your topic. You may want to approach it in an unconventional fashion. That’s all fine because Google wants unique content. But if you want your content to rank, you need to meet searchers’ expectations too. Google is quite clear about it

Provide an appropriate amount of content for your subject … . So, for example, if you describe your page as a recipe, provide a complete recipe that is easy to follow, rather than just a set of ingredients or a basic description of the dish.

You can get a pretty good idea of what searchers want by looking at the topics covered by the top-ranking pages. The more commonalities between pages, the higher the probability that a given subtopic is important to the searchers.

You can automate this process using Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool. Simply enter the URLs of top-ranking pages and get the keywords that they rank for. The keywords will indicate subtopics that you should consider including in your content. 

Content Gap tool in Ahrefs
Step 1. Make sure to leave the last input blank.
Results from Content Gap tool
Step 2. Look at the keywords to spot topics and patterns.

You can then also adjust the “Intersect” settings to pick only the biggest commonalities. 

"Intersect" settings to filter Content Gap report results

This report also makes it easier to optimize existing content. You can add your page in the last field to see keywords that your content doesn’t rank for compared to your competitors. 

Content Gap tool, comparing to existing content

Recommendation

Sometimes, you can smell an “optimized” text from a mile through keywords shoehorned into every second sentence. This kind of quasi-optimization is something you should avoid, as it’s based on two SEO myths: LSI och TF-IDF keywords. 

Here’s the thing. You don’t need to tactically sprinkle closely related keywords (the idea behind LSI), nor do you need to repeat them a certain number of times (TF-IDF). 

But mentioning related keywords, phrases, and entities in your text can boost your SEO. It has nothing to do with gaming the system. Rather, it’s about understanding what type of information searchers may be looking for. The difference may sound subtle, so feel free to learn more here.

Make your content easy to digest 

Easy-to-digest content in the SEO world means these three things:

  1. Writing in simple words, avoiding complex sentences – Of course, you can and probably should use technical terms when the topics require them. 
  2. Making content skimmable Two reasons: (1) Most people aren’t here for the whole thing—just specific info, and (2) people skim content to decide whether it’s worth their time.
  3. Using images They make content more comprehensive and break walls of text. 

Imagine Google serving results that most people can’t digest. If you were Google, that’s the kind of results you’d like to avoid. 

Learn more: Flesch Reading Ease: Does It Matter for SEO? (Data Study) 

Optimize page title 

Both searchers and Google use the title of the page to understand the context of the page. So you need to optimize the page title for both parties:

  • Make your target keyword part of the title – Just to be clear, Google is advanced enough to rank relevant pages that don’t use the search query in the title. But including the keyword in the title tag is your best bet here. 
  • Make the title informative yet attractive to the reader 
  • Not too short, not too long – Use a tool like SERPsim to check your titles before you publish. 

Learn more: How to Craft the Perfect SEO Title Tag (Our 4-Step Process) 

Match the H1 tag with the title tag

The consensus among SEOs seems to be that your H1 tag should be consistent with the title tag. This means two things.

First, these tags can be slightly different. However, it’s best if the H1 also contains the target keyword. 

For example, a product page can have a title tag that describes the value proposition of the product, while the H1 tag can be just a heading for the content that follows below. 

Similar title and H1 shown by Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar

But it’s perfectly fine if both the H1 and title tag are the same. This is a rule you may want to go with for blog posts. 

Write a compelling meta description

In case you’re wondering, what you put inside the meta description tag most probably won’t impact rankings. 

But it’s still a good idea to give that little piece of content some thought because it may entice readers to choose your page among others on the SERP.

Here are a few tips on crafting your meta descriptions:

  • Think about what searchers expect from a page found on the #1 page of Google – This comes back to search intent. It helps if you check your meta description on a mobile device. It’s more prominent there, so you’ll instantly know if the meta is enticing and helpful.
  • Mind the length – Use something like SERPsim. 
  • Write in newspaper headlines – For instance, compare this “TireHeaven has a wide variety of tires and wheels in stock. We have all of the top brands of passenger and truck tires, along with lawn, trailer, and tire …” to “Tires and wheels for all vehicles. Top brands. Fast and free shipping to an installer near you.” 
  • Take cues from descriptions on search ads – Marketers actually spend a lot of time tweaking those. 
  • Have a unique meta description for each page

Learn more: How to Write the Perfect Meta Description 

Sidenote.

Google may still replace your title tag (study) and meta description (study) with something that, according to the system, fits the search query better. But writing your own title and meta is your best bet for displaying what you want and not what Google wants.

Use H2–H6 tags for subheadings

Here, the solution is straightforward: The best use you can make of tags H2–H6 is for subheadings. 

Subheadings are good for creating a skimmable hierarchy in a document. A good hierarchy should allow the reader to understand what they can find in the text just by skimming through the page. 

Create a user-friendly URL

Although John Mueller said not to worry about URLs, I think Google said it all with this in its SEO guide: 

Quote from Google's SEO guide

Bad URLs are a slant against Google’s grand design of serving helpful results. 

URLs do appear in the search results, and some users may read them to make sure they’re clicking on legit pages. But since Google doesn’t always show the full URL on the SERPs, I guess this is not something to ponder too much about. Just a clear, simple, and human-readable structure is all you need. 

So do this:

/how-to-peel-a-banana

Instead of this:

/how-to-peel-a-banana-like-a-monkey-the-right-way-10-2022 

Optimize images (filenames and alt tags)

It isn’t just text that’s important for keyword optimization. Images help Google understand what a page is about too. 

Makes sense if you think about it. If Google finds a lot of images about dogs on a page, it has a very good reason to think that the page is about dogs. 

Moreover, images can rank in Google Image Search. Additionally, your images may show up as previews in Search or in Google Discover

Google looks at a number of things when it comes to images. You can find the entire list här. In short: 

  • Use relevant images – It’s best if they’re original. 
  • Use descriptive, succinct filenames and alt tags – Avoid generic names, and don’t make them too long. Something like “house-on-a-hill.jpg” is better than “image1.jpg”.
  • Place your images close to relevant text 

Learn more: Alt Text for SEO: How to Optimize Your Images 

Link to relevant internal and external resources

When the content demands a link to some other page, don’t hold back. Both internal and external links help Google understand the context, and that’s a good thing for keyword optimization. They can also help establish E-A-T—just make sure you link to pages that you trust. 

Healthline linking to sources

But where you link to is not just about the context. Internal links can be used tactically to boost rankings because they are known to pass link equity. 

Learn more: Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide

Optimize for featured snippets 

Featured snippets are bits of content that Google pulls from pages to answer search queries. 

Featured snippet example

Basically, when Google thinks there is a short and sweet answer to the question, it tends to show it right on the SERPs without making people click on anything. 

Optimizing for featured snippets is basically about:

  1. Providing the answer to the main question early in the text. 
  2. Making the answer succinct.
  3. Structuring your content in an organized, clear way.
  4. Using easy-to-understand language (avoiding jargon too). 

If you plug in your target keyword in Google, you will see right away if there’s a featured snippet you can optimize for. But if you’re working with a bigger list of keywords, you may want to use a tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Simply enter all your keywords and set the “SERP features” filter to “Featured snippet.” You can do the same with your existing content and Ahrefs’ Site Explorer

 "Featured snippet" filter in Ahrefs

Learn more: How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets 

Optimize for rich results 

Rich result is any type of visually enhanced search result with information pulled from relevant structured data. It likely doesn’t impact rankings. But it can make your page more eye-catching. 

Rich results example

Some content formats are eligible for special types of search results, such as this recipe carousel.

Rich results carousel

To make a page eligible for rich results, you need to add some simple code called schema markup. Each content format that supports rich results has its own set of markup properties. 

Here’s the process. You should: 

  1. Check available properties for your content in Google’s documentation.
  2. Deploy the code. Use a markup generator or write it yourself.
  3. Test the code using this Rich Results Test tool.
  4. Use the URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console to see if the site looks OK. If there are no issues, Google recommends using the request indexing tool to let it know about changes.

Slutgiltiga tankar 

Keep in mind that the aim of keyword optimization is not to game the system in some cyberpunk fashion. The goal is to help Google and searchers find and understand your content.

So once you’re done with all the points from this guide, it’s a good idea to circle back and take this self-assessment test to make sure your content is “helpful, reliable and people-first.”

Once your content is live, here are two things you can do next:

  1. Build links to your content to boost rankings. Check our guide to link building to start off on the right foot. 
  2. Monitor your ranking progress to check if your tactics are working or when to update the content. But don’t do it manually on Google; rather, use a rank tracker. Here’s why.

Har du frågor? Pinga mig på Twitter



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SEO

From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

Conductor, a leading enterprise organic marketing platform, has acquired European-based competitor, Searchmetrics, to accelerate its expansion in the European market.

After acquiring ContentKing in 2022, the acquisition of Searchmetrics continues to strengthen Conductor’s position in the industry.

Seth Besmertnik, Conductor’s CEO and co-founder, said that the acquisition would bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and its shared customers:

“Searchmetrics has been a competitor almost since we started Conductor, with a strong data foundation and a powerful presence in the European market. We are excited to bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and to our now shared customers. Our goal is for customers to greatly benefit from this acquisition through delivery of more product value on a global scale.”

 

Matt Colebourne, the CEO of Searchmetrics, expressed his excitement for the company to join Conductor, calling it the “definitive global leader”:

“Conductor is indisputably the SEO space market leader. For years, we’ve admired their commitment to innovation for customers and their efforts to foster a dynamic and rewarding workplace culture for employees. By joining Conductor, we bring the best of what we do along with a large European customer base—solidifying Conductor as the definitive global leader. We cannot wait to build more for customers going forward.”

 

Ken Ogenbratt, Searchmetrics’s Chief Financial Officer, said the acquisition is a “pivotal step” for the SEO industry as the two companies move forward as partners with the opportunity to drive even greater value to customers.

With this acquisition, Conductor continues its commitment to creating a single, global platform that integrates all parts of the SEO workflow.

With Searchmetrics’ strong European presence and solid customer base, the acquisition will significantly accelerate Conductor’s growth in Europe.

Conductor has completed its second acquisition in a year with the purchase of Searchmetrics, which follows the company’s significant funding round from Bregal Sagemount in 2021.

This acquisition is seen as a sign of Conductor’s recent growth. It is expected to solidify its position as a leading player in the SEO space by incorporating the strengths of both companies for their shared customers.


Featured Image: dotshock/Shutterstock



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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

In 2015, Brian Dean revealed a brand-new link building strategy. He called it the Skyscraper Technique.

With over 10,000 backlinks since the post was published, it’s fair to say that the Skyscraper Technique took the world by storm in 2015. But what is it exactly, how can you implement it, and can you still get results with this technique in 2023?

Låt oss börja.

What is the Skyscraper Technique?

The Skyscraper Technique is a link building strategy where you improve existing popular content and replicate the backlinks. 

Brian named it so because in his words, “It’s human nature to be attracted to the best. And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest ‘skyscraper’ in your space… and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.”

Here’s how the technique works:

Three steps of the Skyscraper Technique

How to implement the Skyscraper Technique

Follow these three steps to execute the Skyscraper Technique.

1. Find relevant content with lots of backlinks

There are three methods to find relevant pages with plenty of links:

Use Site Explorer

Enter a popular site into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Next, go to the Best by backlinks report.

Best pages by backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows you a list of pages from the site with the highest number of referring domains. If there are content pieces with more than 50 referring domains, they’re likely to be good potential targets.

Sidenote.

Ignore homepages and other irrelevant content when eyeballing this report.

Use Content Explorer

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is a searchable database of 10 billion pages. You can use it to find mentions of any word or phrase.

Let’s start by entering a broad topic related to your niche into Content Explorer. Next, set a Referring domains filter to a minimum of 50. 

We can also add:

  • Language filter to get only pages in our target language.
  • Exclude homepages to remove homepages from the results.
Ahrefs' Content Explorer search for "gardening," with filters

Eyeball the results to see if there are any potential pieces of content you could beat.

Use Keywords Explorer

Enter a broad keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Next, go to the Matching terms report and set a Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to a minimum of 40.

Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Why filter for KD? 

The reason is due to the method we use at Ahrefs to calculate KD. Our KD score is calculated from a trimmed mean of referring domains (RDs) to the top 10 ranking pages. 

In other words, the top-ranking pages for keywords with high KD scores have lots of backlinks on average.

From here, you’ll want to go through the report to find potential topics you could build a better piece of content around. 

2. Make it better

The core idea (or assumption) behind the Skyscraper Technique is that people want to see the best. 

Once you’ve found the content you want to beat, the next step is to make something even better

According to Brian, there are four aspects worth improving:

  1. Length – If the post has 25 tips, list more.
  2. Freshness – Update any outdated parts of the original article with new images, screenshots, information, stats, etc.
  3. Design – Make it stand out with a custom design. You could even make it interactive.
  4. Depth – Don’t just list things. Fill in the details and make them actionable.

3. Reach out to the right people

The key to successfully executing the Skyscraper Technique is email outreach. But instead of spamming everyone you know, you reach out to those who have already linked to the specific content you have improved. 

The assumption: Since they’ve already linked to a similar article, they’re more likely to link to one that’s better.

You can find these people by pasting the URL of the original piece into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and then going to the Backlinks report.

Backlinks report for ResumeGenius' how to write a resume, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows all the backlinks to the page. In this case, there are 441 groups of links.

But not all of these links will make good prospects. So you’ll likely need to add some filters to clean them up. For example, you can:

  • Add a Language filter for the language you’re targeting (e.g., English).
  • Switch the tab to Dofollow for equity-passing links.
Backlinks report, with filters, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Does the Skyscraper Technique still work?

It’s been roughly eight years since Brian shared this link building strategy. Honestly speaking, the technique has been oversaturated. Given its widespread use, its effectiveness may even be limited. 

Some SEOs even say they wouldn’t recommend it.

So we asked our Twitter och LinkedIn following this question and received 1,242 votes. Here are the results:

Pie chart showing 61% of respondents feel the Skyscraper Technique still works

Clearly, many SEOs and marketers still believe the technique works.

Sidenote.

According to Aira’s annual State of Link Building report, only 18% of SEOs still use the Skyscraper Technique. It’s not a go-to for many SEOs, as it ranks #20 among the list of tactics. I suspect its popularity has waned because (1) it’s old and SEOs are looking for newer stuff and (2) SEOs believe that content is more important than links these days.

Why the Skyscraper Technique fails and how to improve your chances of success

Fundamentally, it makes sense that the Skyscraper Technique still works. After all, the principles are the same behind (almost) any link building strategy:

  1. Create great content
  2. Reach out to people and promote it

But why do people think it’s no longer effective? There are a few reasons why and knowing them will help you improve your chances of success with the Skyscraper Technique.

Let’s start with:

1. Sending only Brian’s email template

In Brian’s original post, he suggested an email template for his readers to use:

Hey, I found your post: http://post1

<generic compliment>

It links to this post: http://post2

I made something better: http://post3

Please swap out the link for mine.

Unfortunately, many SEOs decided to use this exact template word for word. 

Link building doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If everyone in your niche decides to send this exact template to every possible website, it’ll burn out real fast. And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, if a website owner sees this template, chances are they’ll delete it right away. 

Sidenote.

Judging by my inbox, there are still people using this exact template. And, like everyone else, I delete the email immediately.

I’m not saying this to disparage templated emails. If you’re sending something at scale, templating is necessary. But move away from this template. Write your own, personalize it as much as possible, and follow the outreach principles here.

Even better, ask yourself:

"What makes my content unique and link-worthy?”

2. Not segmenting your prospects

People link for different reasons, so you shouldn’t send everyone the same pitch. 

Consider dividing your list of prospects into segments according to the context in which they linked. You can do this by checking the Anchors report in Site Explorer.

Anchors report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can clearly see people are linking to different statistics from our SEO statistics post. So, for example, if we were doing outreach for a hypothetical post, we might want to mention to the first group that we have a new statistic for “Over 90% of content gets no traffic from Google.”

Then, to the second group, we’ll mention that we have new statistics for “68% of online experiences.” And so on. 

In fact, that’s exactly what we did when we built links to this post. Check out the case study here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

3. Not reaching out to enough people

Ultimately, link building is still a numbers game. If you don’t reach out to enough people, you won’t get enough links. 

Simply put: You need to curate a larger list of link prospects.

So rather than limiting yourself to only replicating the backlinks of the original content, you should replicate the backlinks from other top-ranking pages covering the same topic too.

To find these pages, enter the target keyword into Keywords Explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview.

SERP overview for "how to write a resume," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

In this example, most top-ranking pages have tons of links, and all of them (after filtering, of course) could be potential link prospects.

Pro tip

Looking for even more prospects? Use Content Explorer.

Search for your keyword, set a Referring domains filter, and you’ll see relevant pages where you can “mine” for more skyscraper prospects.

Referring domains filters selected in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

4. Thinking bigger equals better

Someone creates a list with 15 tools. The next person ups it to 30. Another “skyscrapers” it to 50, and the next increases it to 100.

Not only is it a never-ending arms race, there’s also no value for the reader. 

No one wants to skim through 5,000 words or hundreds of items just to find what they need. Curation is where the value is.

When considering the four aspects mentioned by Brian, don’t improve things for the sake of improving them. Adding 25 mediocre tips to an existing list of 25 doesn’t make it “better.” Likewise for changing the publish date or adding a few low-quality illustrations. 

Example: My colleague, Chris Haines, recently published a post on the best niche site ideas. Even though he only included 10, he has already outperformed the other “skyscraper” articles:

Our blog post ranking #3 for the query, "niche site ideas," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

He differentiated himself through his knowledge and expertise. After all, Chris has 10 years of experience in SEO. 

So when you’re creating your article, always look at any improvement through the lens of value:

Are you giving more value to the reader? 

5. Not considering brand

As Ross Hudgens says, “Better does not occur in a branding vacuum.”

Most of the time, content isn’t judged solely on its quality. It’s also judged by who it comes from. We discovered this ourselves too when we tried to build links to our keyword research guide.

Most of the time, people didn’t read the article. They linked to us because of our brand and reputation—they knew we were publishing great content consistently, and they had confidence that the article we were pitching was great too.

In other words, there are times where no matter how hard you “skyscraper” your content, people just won’t link to it because they don’t know who you are. 

Having your own personal brand is important these days. But think about it: What is a “strong brand” if not a consistent output of high-quality work that people enjoy? One lone skyscraper doesn’t make a city; many of them together do.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t be discouraged if your “skyscraper” article gets no results. And don’t be discouraged just because you don’t have a brand right now—you can work on that over time.

Keep on making great content—skyscraper or not—and results will come if you trust the process.

"Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” 

Slutgiltiga tankar

The Skyscraper Technique is a legitimate link building tactic that works. But that can only happen if you:

Any questions or comments? Let me know på Twitter.



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13 Best High Ticket Affiliate Marketing Programs 2023

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13 Best High Ticket Affiliate Marketing Programs 2023

Are you looking for more ways to generate income for yourself or your business this year?

With high-ticket affiliate marketing programs, you earn money by recommending your favorite products or services to those who need them.

Affiliate marketers promote products through emails, blog posts, social media updates, YouTube videos, podcasts, and other forms of content with proper disclosure.

While not all affiliate marketers make enough to quit their 9-to-5, any additional income in the current economy can come in handy for individuals and businesses.

How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

Here’s a simple summary of how to get started with affiliate marketing.

  • Build an audience. You need websites with traffic, email lists with subscribers, or social media accounts with followers to promote a product – or ideally, a combination of all three.
  • Find products and services you can passionately promote to the audience you have built. The more you love something and believe in its efficacy, the easier it will be to convince someone else to buy it.
  • Sign up for affiliate and referral programs. These will be offered directly through the company selling the product or service, or a third-party affiliate platform.
  • Fill out your application and affiliate profile completely. Include your niche, monthly website traffic, number of email subscribers, and social media audience size. Companies will use that information to approve or reject your application.
  • Get your custom affiliate or referral link and share it with your audience, or the segment of your audience that would benefit most from the product you are promoting.
  • Look for opportunities to recommend products to new people. You can be helpful, make a new acquaintance, and earn a commission.
  • Monitor your affiliate dashboard and website analytics for insights into your clicks and commissions.
  • Adjust your affiliate marketing tactics based on the promotions that generate the most revenue.

Now, continue reading about the best high-ticket affiliate programs you can sign up for in 2023. They offer a high one-time payout, recurring commissions, or both.

The Best High-Ticket Affiliate Marketing Programs

What makes them these affiliate marketing programs the “best” is subjective, but I chose these programs based on their payout amounts, number of customers, and average customer ratings. Customer ratings help determine whether a product is worth recommending. You can also use customer reviews to help you market the products or services when you highlight impressive results customers gain from using the product or service, and the features customers love most.

1. Smartproxy

Smartproxy allows customers to access business data worldwide for competitor research, search engine results page (SERP) scraping, price aggregation, and ad verification.

836 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars.

Earn up to $2,000 per customer that you refer to Smartproxy using its affiliate program.

2. Thinkific

Thinkific is an online course creation platform used by over 50,000 instructors in over 100 million courses.

669 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.6 out of five stars.

Earn up to $1,700 per referral per year through the Thinkific affiliate program.

3. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is an ecommerce provider with open SaaS, headless integrations, omnichannel, B2B, and offline-to-online solutions.

648 reviewers gave it an average rating of 8.1 out of ten stars.

Earn up to $1,500 for new enterprise customers, or 200% of the customer’s first payment by signing up for the BigCommerce affiliate program.

4. Teamwork

Teamwork, project management software focused on maximizing billable hours, helps everyone in your organization become more efficient – from the founder to the project managers.

1,022 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.4 out of five stars.

Earn up to $1,000 per new customer referral with the Teamwork affiliate program.

5. Flywheel

Flywheel provides managed WordPress hosting geared towards agencies, ecommerce, and high-traffic websites.

36 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.4 out of five stars.

Earn up to $500 per new referral from the Flywheel affiliate program.

6. Teachable

Teachable is an online course platform used by over 100,000 entrepreneurs, creators, and businesses of all sizes to create engaging online courses and coaching businesses.

150 reviewers gave it a 4.4 out of five stars.

Earn up to $450 (average partner earnings) per month by joining the Teachable affiliate program.

7. Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a global marketplace for sourcing stock photographs, vectors, illustrations, videos, and music.

507 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.4 out of five stars.

Earn up to $300 for new customers by signing up for the Shutterstock affiliate program.

8. HubSpot

HubSpot provides a CRM platform to manage your organization’s marketing, sales, content management, and customer service.

3,616 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.5 out of five stars.

Earn an average payout of $264 per month (based on current affiliate earnings) with the HubSpot affiliate program, or more as a solutions partner.

9. Sucuri

Sucuri is a cloud-based security platform with experienced security analysts offering malware scanning and removal, protection from hacks and attacks, and better site performance.

251 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.6 out of five stars.

Earn up to $210 per new sale by joining Sucuri referral programs for the platform, firewall, and agency products.

10. ADT

ADT is a security systems provider for residences and businesses.

588 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.5 out of five stars.

Earn up to $200 per new customer that you refer through the ADT rewards program.

11. DreamHost

DreamHost web hosting supports WordPress and WooCommerce websites with basic, managed, and VPS solutions.

3,748 reviewers gave it an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars.

Earn up to $200 per referral and recurring monthly commissions with the DreamHost affiliate program.

12. Shopify

Shopify, a top ecommerce solution provider, encourages educators, influencers, review sites, and content creators to participate in its affiliate program. Affiliates can teach others about entrepreneurship and earn a commission for recommending Shopify.

Earn up to $150 per referral and grow your brand as a part of the Shopify affiliate program.

13. Kinsta

Kinsta is a web hosting provider that offers managed WordPress, application, and database hosting.

529 reviewers gave it a 4.3 out of five stars.

Earn $50 – $100 per new customer, plus recurring revenue via the Kinsta affiliate program.

Even More Affiliate Marketing Programs

In addition to the high-ticket affiliate programs listed above, you can find more programs to join with a little research.

  • Search for affiliate or referral programs for all of the products or services you have a positive experience with, personally or professionally.
  • Search for affiliate or referral programs for all of the places you shop online.
  • Search for partner programs for products and services your organization uses or recommends to others.
  • Search for products and services that match your audience’s needs on affiliate platforms like Shareasale, Awin, and CJ.
  • Follow influencers in your niche to see what products and services they recommend. They may have affiliate or referral programs as well.

A key to affiliate marketing success is to diversify the affiliate marketing programs you join.

It will ensure that you continue to generate an affiliate income, regardless of if one company changes or shutters its program.

Fler resurser:


Featured image: Shutterstock/fatmawati achmad zaenuri



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