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Blogging for Business - Ahrefs



Key Takeaways

Write based on what prospects are searching for - perform keyword research within topics of interest.
Always be targeting new audiences - it's the only way to expand your reach and capture new referrals
'viral' is a diminishing return
Your aim should be to build a hysteresis of residue traffic - your blogging efforts should return a background level of traffic that remains even when you stop blogging


Action - Steps

Create a list of themes you want to target in your niche
Create a spreadsheet of: 'keyword/topic' ; 'search volume' ; 'best articles' ; traffic ; linking domains
Discover Keyword ideas - use keyword research
competitor sites, reddit, forums etc.
Assess competitor content and performance



1.1 Primary Goals

traffic is a vanity metric
the main KPI should be - making money! Number of sales/month
Think: customer acquisition
not
traffic acquisition

1.2 Customer Acquisition Channels

word of mouth
search
Ads

Do you need a blog? - no

You can layer on blog SEO to expand reach and engagment for customers, increasing ROI and retention


1.3 Why most blogs fail

There's so many tactics for blogs - but, you need to create a solid strategy

(in GA)
'spike of hope'
you see a spike in traffic around blog release date, but no results.
'flatline of hope'
interest falls off, the content is stale

You should be seeing some passive growth over time - ROI on your blogs
There's a
compounding effect
of posting regularly and getting people to return.

2 -3 articles per month could be a sweet spot.

Growth = traffic doesn't fade over time.

Making sure each article hits hard and converts.


2.1 Spike of Hope


Anatomy of 'spike of hope'
instant gratification, false feeling of security

You share with your existing audience.
If you're just starting out there's not going to be a large volume of new subscribers - you need to find ways to reach a new and bigger audience.

New channels are effective when starting out - but, organic channels will fatigue

The Anatomy of the “Spike of Hope”  2 1  - YouTube (1).png

You need to be reaching new audiences ALL THE TIME.

2.2 Strategies that work


Viral traffic vs. SEO traffic

Viral
create 'sticky' content
pitch influencers
publish regularly

SEO
Create useful content
Get backlinks
publish regularly

Viral does not pick up over time, it
decays

Some Tactics to try:
Add a decent quality infographic
Share in the right place (right channel eg. reddit)
an emotive and current topic
a little controversy

2.3 the 'publish more' myth

You need to focus on building articles that focus on SEO keywords
Viral traffic is a gamble - SEO traffic is data-driven and predictable.

build an audience (email list) to send content for word-of-mouth
Tricks/hacks:
pop-ups, slide-ins, welcome mats, hello-bars, content upgrades, lead magnets
attractive characters, social proof, personal stories

3.1 - 3.5 Testing ideas for 'search demand'

Using Ahrefs for keyword research

Headlines - SEO keyword focused

Make sure blog post headlines contain keywords people are actually searching for; eg.
"games like... [Pokemon]"

Think about queries people are actually entering into
search
engines.

Researching Keywords
Use Ahrefs '
keyword explorer
' to enter and test new KW ideas
Brainstorm search queries → put them in '
keyword explorer
'
Assess keyword volumes (US/UK) (just a guide - dig in deeper!)
Use the '
SERP
' button to find exact search results and assess if there's opportunity for you to create content.
Assess '
traffic
' (clicks per month - more accurate guide than volumes)
Check the top ranking articles for their monthly traffic - this is a better indicator. Generate more ideas from their content and be prepared to copy.
Click '
KW
' column to see what keywords are in the search results - generate more ideas.
filter for
'3
' in '
position
' to see what's getting the most traffic & clicks (top 3 SERP results)
be aware that the
"
quote marks mean this keyword is in a snippet on Google
Also, 'search volume' for a single keyword is not a good indicator, as most articles rank for multiple KWs - dig into the SERP → top ranking articles, to make sure you understand the depth of the keywords and what other keywords you'd need to include.
Look at '
top keyword
'
dig into what people are actually searching for to find these articles - these are the
real
keywords you want to target
save the top articles into a doc. (see below - create a
spreadsheet
)
dissect what makes them good.
What KWs and topics are in there.


Search ranking data for a single keyword isn't accurate, you need to dig a layer deeper and look at the SERP for long terms and actual searches.

Keywords Explorer.png

Backlinks
The more websites that link to your page, the better SERP rank you'll get.
If you have the same keywords and keyword density - google will use 'backlinks' as a top-trump to decide who gets the #1 position.
Although, this is not a linear correlation

Lesson 3 4  How to determine your chances to rank in Google.png

You want to look for topics with high search traffic and low backlinks - so you can position yourself in the SERP

Keyword Difficulty
avg. number of links to a website (linking domains)

Use '
KD
' to assess how difficult it would be to get backlinks to the blog content you're building.
eg.
To compete with

Ahrefs → Google keywords + clickstream

Resources:




4.1 - 4.5 Finding content ideas


Study your niche
niche forums
online communities
groups: facebook, reddit, slack, linkedin etc.
review sites
physical : magazines, newspapers, trade shows, white papers etc.

If any of the above is missing - create your own and ensure your content is on there first.

Generate Keyword Ideas -
: Keyword Research


Google Keyword Planner
Ahrefs
Clickstream



Competitor Analysis

study competitors,
find their best content,
beat them

use Ahrefs 'top pages' and 'competitor analysis'

Content Ideas
Use Ahrefs 'content explorer' to target: competitor pages and topics for content ideas.
Filter searches for domains with '0' backlinks to find places with high traffic, but low backlinks (opportunities/ low-hanging fruit)

Use the 'details' tab and find organic keywords that piece of content ranks for

Be careful of Domain Rating - you can only outrank these with strong backlinks.

Combine with:
SEMRush
Spyfu



5.1 - 5.4 Optimize for: target keyword and searcher's intent


When building a piece of content and finding keywords that fit the article, remember what the '
intent
' of a searcher may be.

Don't just target the highest volume 'generic' keyword because you see that as low-hanging fruit, find areas with low competition but some search volume (100/mo gives 1200/year) so that you can build a niche for yourself.

After producing an article, ask your friends: "
what is this about?
"

If you don't have an article formed yet, ask yurself:

Lesson 5 1  What is “searcher intent” and how to match it.png

Optimising Search Traffic

80% of optimisation is making sure the 'searcher intent' matches the theme of your content.

10% of ranking is URL/title/headline/content

This is the last 10% (for pros)


Audit
existing content
Published articles likely already have some backlinks
Competitors probably don't bother updating content or optimising (you can beat them)
Past articles may be targeting the wrong keywords and need adjusting

Go through all your content and catagorise them into three groups:
Update
These articles already bring some traffic, but could do with an update
Refresh content etc.
Merge
having multiple articles on the same topic is nowhere near as good as 1 hard hitting piece that ranks #1
merge duplicates or use 301 redirects
Delete
any totally out of date articles that are pulling down your ranking
this (maybe) a ranking signal for google




6.1 - 6.3 Creating great content that promotes itself




Quality of content determines your success. Think:
quality
uniqueness
authority

Quality
Learn to write well:
read copywriting and great authored books
google: "how to improve your writing"

Improve how your content looks:
the layout and design of your blog & website
quality images
short paragraphs
subheadings
quotes
lists

(look at other good blogs and blogging sites)

Headlines:
The headline is what's going to be shared and lure people to click in.
make sure you have at least 5 different headline ideas for each piece of content

Uniqueness

Be careful of the trap of replicating what you've already read.

Research what 'research' is being done
What are new ideas of the space
How can you find a new angle or relate the issues in a more digestible format

Information you own that others don't is worth sharing - we live in the 'information age'
industry data
insights that people don't have yet (pull people into your world, educate them)


Authority

Why should I read your piece vs. someone with more authority?
How can you create this authority?

Use great sources and quote/ link them in your article.
Be a great journalist

Reach out to people in the space, ask them questions and quote them directly.




7.1 - 7.3 - Link building


You NEED backlinks to rank - its a big signal that your site is worth people's time.

You need to make your readers '
want
' to share it - it's hard to force it

Things people enjoy sharing:
Emotion
news, entertainment, controversy
Utility
tutorials, guides, how-tos
Numbers
research, data, statistics
Stories
Case studies, examples

Think: NLP

Analyse competitor pieces to see what people are linking to

How to Create Content That Attracts Backlinks  7 2  - YouTube.png




Backlink strategies

personal outreach email
guest newsletter
organic posts: tweets etc.
paid ads - for reach

Until you have a large audience, you'll need to build backlinks manually


8.1 - 8.3 - Promoting content



Tactics:
Newsletter to subscribers
post on social
submit to reddit and relevant forums
submit to relevant FB groups, linkedin and Google+
Mention on slack & discord channels
repurpose content into different formats and syndicate
publish guest articles
reach out to everyone mentioned in the article
outreach: to linked articles on the same topic
outreach: published articles mentioning that topic

Don't stop promoting your article just because you ticked off your promotion tactics.
Do not abandon old content! - put your assets to work.

Do not stop until you rank the piece of content:
work hard on producing quality content
work hard on promotion

Update your content:
make sure visitors have up to date information that's useful
sends a positive signal to Google for ranking
allows us to promote content again

(disclose that it's not new, but updated)

Paid promotion
Don't let the 'i can't afford it' limiting belief restrict you here!

Your time is worth money:
eg.
10 hrs x £50/hr = £500

Why not take 10% of that (£50) and spend on FB ads? Google ads?

The ads may have a better ROI than your time.

Paid promotion is an excellent test of the business goals of your article - why did you create it if not to get more customers/money ??

Common Mistakes
Focusing on short-term traffic over backlink building (outreach and shares!)
Giving up on content promotion too early (keep going!)
Abandoning old content (put your assets to work! )
Not spending money on paid promotion (your time is money; make your content fly!)



Reach your existing audience:
email newsletters,
slack channels etc.

Reaching relevant communities:
be careful of self-promotion
slide your content in a natural way

Action
:
start joining key communities and contributing so people won't mind you mentioning your content.

Content repurposing and 'syndication':
audio
video
slides
images

Answer quora questions
Leave comments on relevant articles (inc. link) - be careful
Pitch yourself to podcasts


Competing with 'big guys':
no matter what industry you're in, there's certainly someone who is already ranking.


9.1 - 9.4 - Link building strategies



Strategies:
leaving comments
Replicating your competitors backlinks
Guest blogging
Outreach


Comments
Use Quora and Reddit type forums where you can post comments and increase your 'authority'
These commments will get 1,000's of views / month
You can input images or quotes and add your link as a 'source'

Avoid spamming at all costs - it could cost you the account.

Add value!

'nofollow' links - don't worry about untrackable or crawlable links - you'll get some natural links from the people who have come to your content.


'steal' your competitors backlinks:

find their 'superfans'
referring domains in Ahrefs
'best pages by backlinks' + filter: HTTP code = '200 ok'
take 10 of these pages and insert into '
link intersect
'
add 'prefix' setting
Identify where the main domains that are linking to your competitor
(you can exclude your site so existing backlinks aren't shown)
you can change the search setting from 'all' to 'any'

You can also enter competitor or popular sites in your industry in '
link intersect
' and see where there are sites that cover all these

2. Find the 'power linkers'
target using the 'new backlinks'

Guest content

Fundamental rule: "you need quality content - content is king"

Finding blogs to target:
Use 'content explorer' and enter the topic you want to find
check 'one article per domain'
check 'english' in language
use a domain rating of '20-50'
target these blogs with your guest blog post

Qualify: "do I think this blog will be around for the next 3 years? "

Look for a 'write for us' page
But, never mind if they don't have one - email them! Reach out social

Keep searching and don't let 'no's stop you!

Go back to writing smart, insightful comments on their blog, then offer to write a guest blog post.


Finding Blog Post Topics

Techniques:
Take a big piece of content and break it into several 'chapters' - this way you're creating different resources that cover a single overall topic

'splintering'

You can take any idea and add variations by applying the idea to different situations.

Guest post hacking:
Pitch more blogs than you can handle (they'll take time to get back to you or say 'no')
Don't put more than 2 self-promotion links per article
Reach out to people you're linking to
Pitch blogs who haven't linked to your site yet... (no point asking for repeat links)


10.1 - 10.3 Outreach and promotion



Outreach for content marketing
outreach is just a tool to facilitate digital strategy
'outreach' is just a way of saying there's tools for connecting with people and asking them to help you out/let you add value to them

There's a
fine line
between 'outreach' and spam.
You want to build a long-term strategy that will pay off over a year+

You need to be outcome in-dependant (ie. NOT outcome dependant, but, strategy focused.)
Your outreach and tactics may be the perfect types, but, there are factors outside of your control.
Your tactics and strategies should evolve to focus on the areas and KPIs that you can attack.

Target:
people who have linked to articles on the same topic (eg. in the NFT industry)
people who have already published articles on the same topic

Go through the 'referring domains' process and find people who have pointed to similar articles.
Target and reach out to them

2. Use content explorer to find similar articles, then look at what domains are referring to them
use:
Domain rating, language, 1 result per domain, people who have
not
linked to our site

3. Tweet content - weak strategy, but its a bit lame. People tweet and forget.

Writing effective outreach emails

have a good excuse or reason to reach out - focus on them and their site (focus on recipient)

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use seduction techniques to get them to take action - use subtle requests not direct



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Blackhat:

brief freelancers on content topics & keywords
create a piece of content
supplement with canva / designs for viral sharing

check plagiarism
link content

identify backlink sharing houses (’advertise with us’ script)
task a VA to negotiate deals <$100 ~$50 is ideal
budget ~$1000 to increase article backlinks from launch


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