SEO has changed, but it's also very much the same.
Confused? Well, in this video, I'm going to show youwhat's working today and helping us grow our organic traffic exponentially.
[music] What's up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche.
As I'm sure you know, there have been quitea few algorithm updates in the past 12 months and as a result, a ton of sites were affected.
Now, we only know of certain industries likehealth that got hit.
But the truth is that no one knows exactlywhat happened except Google themselves.
So for that reason, I'm not going to bother making predictions.
Instead, I'm going to show you the SEO strategiesand tips that are working right now based on our own experiences and those of respected members in the SEO community.
Let's get to it.
The first SEO tip is an obvious one, and that'sto have a mobile optimized website.
Let's zip through this one.
At the end of 2018, Google announced thatafter two-years of work, over half of the pages shown in search results use mobile-first indexing.
This means that Google will predominantlyuse the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.
So long story short, if your website isn't mobile optimized, do it.
Next up is to start with topical research.
We all know what keyword research is, butdon't confuse it with topical research.
Today, more than ever, targeting individualkeywords is the wrong way to approach SEO.
In our study of over 3 million search queries, we found that on average, the number one ranking page also ranks for nearly a thousand additional keywords.
This can lead to a single page getting tensor even hundreds of thousands of search visitors across all its keywords.
My favorite example of this is an article from Healthline.
com, which gets nearly half a million search visits each month and ranks for around 30, 000 keywords.
Looking at their organic keyword rankings, you'llsee they also rank for popular search queries like: “how to lose weight, ” “best way to lose weight, ” “weight loss, ” and “lose weight fast.
” All of these queries are essentially lookingfor the same solution to the same problem and Google recognizes this as being in thesame topical umbrella.
So if you want to get more search trafficfrom a single page, you'll want to find topics that have breadth.
And the easiest way to find topics with highsearch traffic potential is to see what's working for your competitors.
So let's go to Ahrefs' Site Explorer and startby entering a competitors' domain, in this case, healthline.
Next, I'll go to the Top pages report, whichranks their pages by the ones that generate the most search traffic.
And since we're interested in worldwide traffic, I'll set this filter to show traffic from all countries.
For a quick eyeball test, just look at these columns: Traffic, Top keyword, and the Top keyword's volume.
Generally speaking, the greater discrepancy between the search traffic and the top keyword's volume, the greater the total traffic potential will be.
The next tip is to build topical authority.
Now, the best way to explain this is with an example.
Let's say you were building a shed in your backyard.
Would you rather have a bricklayer for thatjob or an architect? They both work with buildings, but their areas, or topics of specialty, are different.
The same goes for websites.
Google understands which websites are “authoritative” over a niche.
For example, if we look at the top 10 resultsfor “best antivirus software, ” you'll see that they're dominated by mega computer publications and antivirus companies.
Now, looking at the 6th result, you'll seea page from toptenreviews.
Now, if you'll look carefully, they have significantlymore links from unique websites, yet they can't seem to penetrate the top 5 positions.
After analyzing the content, one possibility is thatthe other results are topically stronger websites pushing down toptenreviews.
com, which covers a wide range of topics.
So how do you create topical authority in your niche? Two things: First is to get links from topically relevantand authoritative websites.
In the case of antivirus software, links fromsites like Norton, PC mag or other relevant sites would be the holy grail of relevant links.
The second is to create contextual relevanceon your website through internal linking.
A great strategy is to create content silos.
Basically, you have a top-level page whichis usually used to rank for big head terms.
You then create subtopics underneath them, where they all link internally to each other creating relevance for users and search engines.
For example, let's say you have a websiteon coffee and want to build a silo around the head term, “coffee beans.
” Let's type that into Ahrefs' Keywords Exploreras our seed.
Next, I'll go to the Phrase match report to find keyword ideas that would make good subtopics.
Now, a quick way to find subtopics is to lookat the Parent topic, which represents the broader topic or subtopic to the target.
For example, you can see that by targeting”coffee beans” as the main keyword, you could also rank for “best coffee beans, ” which wouldbe good to know when creating your top-level page.
Subtopics to your main topic could be keywords like “types of coffee beans” and “how to roast coffee beans.
” The next technique is probably the most importantwhen it comes to SEO today, and that's matching search intent.
Search intent basically means the reason behinda searcher's query.
And Google's job is to match the best resultsto any given query.
So no matter how many links you have.
No matter how good your technical and on-pageSEO is, if you're not matching search intent, then you're not going to rank.
The easiest way to identify search intentis to just Google the keyword you want to rank for, and look at the types of pages thatare ranking.
These will generally fall into the 3 C's ofsearch intent.
Content Type Content Format and Content angle.
Content type can usually be categorized into blog posts, product, category, and landing pages.
Content format applies more to blog postsand landing pages.
A few common blog formats you'll see are “how-tos”, step-by-step tutorials, list posts, and opinion editorials.
For a landing page, that might be somethinglike a tool or calculator.
Content angle is often depicted in the title as the “benefit.
” It's basically your hook as to why someoneshould click and read your article.
Just by matching search intent alone, we'veseen ranking boosts from position 40 to position 6 in just 4 days.
And it was also the main way we were able to rank#1 for the keyword “backlink checker.
” If you want the details on how we were able to do this, I'll leave a link to our video on how ranking #1 on Google is overrated, where you'll see exactly what we did to get these fast gains in traffic and rankings.
The next thing you can do is to keep your content fresh.
It's generally accepted in the SEO communitythat Google uses a “freshness” factor in their ranking algorithm.
If you look at the publishing history forAhrefs blog, you can see that we republish content, which is represented in the dark blue bars.
Now, to prove my point, I'm going to set acouple of filters, the first being to only show pages that have been republished.
Next, I'll set another filter to only showpages that were published this year.
And finally, I'll set the Trends graph to show the past 6 months of data in the table below.
If you'll look at the organic traffic graphs, you'll see that a good chunk of these pages had increases in organic traffic after they were republished.
And I can tell you that for all of these pagesshown here, we didn't run any link building campaigns, nor did search intent change for these.
To identify which pages you should update, ask yourself these questions.
Is the page older than 6 – 12 months? If the answer is “no, ” then you should giveit more time to rank.
Does the page have enough links to competeagainst the top ranking results? If you haven't spent time building links, yet the top ranking pages have hundreds of backlinks, then it's more likely an authority issue over a “freshness” one.
Are you matching search intent? Like I mentioned before, if you can't matchsearch intent, then you probably can't rank.
Did your page once have a good amount of organic traffic, but it's declining? If the answer is “yes, ” then the last questionis going to help you make your final decision.
And that's, is your content outdated? This one is a little more subjective and requiresa bit of research and common sense.
“Best of” posts are a great example of whenfreshness may be an issue.
For example, if you haven't updated your 2017guide that used to rank for “best headphones, ” then it makes sense why you're not ranking.
Manufacturers are always releasing new models, and people are looking for today's technology.
To get a better idea, just go to Google andsearch for your target keyword.
And if you see that a good chunk of the postshave the current year in the titles and yours is out of date, then it's time for a refresh.
The next thing you should focus on in 2019are links that move the needle.
Not all links are created equal.
And as a general rule of thumb, the harder the link is to get, the more valuable it'll be to your SEO success.
Without overcomplicating things, think ofgood links in 3 layers.
The more criteria it matches, the better.
First is topical authority of the referring domain.
Getting links from websites that are highly-related to your content will likely add more weight than ones that are wide spread.
For example, if your page is on the best headphonesin 2019 and you get links from places like Cnet, Techradar, and Bose, these would be ideal links to acquire.
Compare that to a link from a travel blogwho had a one-off post where they mentioned something about shopping for headphones.
When you're prospecting for links, you can usually gauge a website's niche by just the domain name.
Second is the relevance of the link.
Let's use that example of “best headphones”again, but this time at the page level.
Getting a link from another page on the sametopic would be ideal.
It's obviously super-relevant to your content.
As for the travel blogger, he or she may havewritten a personal post about their travels to Spain.
And as they were documenting their journey, they happened to mention that they bought Bose QC35s because of your guide.
But that doesn't change the fact that thetopic of the post is actually about traveling to Spain.
Clearly, link #1 is more relevant, and will almost certainly provide more value to your page.
Third is the referring page's “link authority.
” Google still uses PageRank today in their ranking algorithm.
In general, the more quality links a referringpage has, the more link juice it can pass on to both internal and external links on that page.
An easy way to measure this is to look at the URL rating.
This is an Ahrefs' metric, which representsthe overall strength of a page's backlink profile.
And you'll see it in numerous reports throughoutAhrefs' SEO toolset.
The higher the UR, the more authority it can pass.
If you're looking for link building strategiesthat often fulfill these requirements, then the two that I recommend are the Skyscraper technique and guest posting.
With Skyscraper style prospects you'll oftenfind more mature pages where they've had time to get links and build PageRank.
So getting links from some of these pagescan very well move the needle.
And the second is guest posting, which isgreat since you can handpick sites you want to get links from.
We have a video on executing both of thesetactics at scale, so I'll leave links to those in the description below.
The next thing I highly recommend focusingon is YouTube SEO.
In the past year, we've grown our subscribers3X and increased views by 10X.
Most importantly, it's helped us generatethousands of new customers.
Now, this video isn't about video SEO.
We're focusing on Google SEO today so staywith me for a second.
I'm sure you've noticed a massive increasein video results in Google's search results.
And the proof is in the pudding.
The traffic we get from Google to our YouTubevideos has increased consistently and I don't see it getting any smaller.
By creating engaging videos with some on-pagework, we've been able to rank for competitive terms in Google like “SEO tutorial, ” “YouTubeSEO, ” and “search engine optimization.
” Since Google is giving more real estate to videos, this is something that I highly recommend tapping into if you haven't already started.
I'll link up a video on exactly how we doYouTube SEO to rank in both YouTube and Google, so make sure to check that out.
Now, these are strategies that have been workingfor us and other respected SEOs in our community.
But I want to hear from you.
What has or has not been working for your SEO growth? Leave a comment and make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials.
So keep grinding away, repeat what's workinginstead of chasing shiny tactics, and I'll see you in the next tutorial.