Connect with us


The Ultimate SEO Guide to Follow in 2020



Ahrefs is one of the most powerful SEO tools on the market.

Today, I’m going to show you how you can use it to your organic traffic advantage (and start getting better SEO results). I love this tool and don’t know how I could function as an SEO without it.

That’s why I’m going to show you everything you need to know about using this incredible tool. Let’s jump in.

What is Ahrefs SEO Tool?

Perform Backlink Audits

Auditing your existing link profile is a good first step for any new SEO campaign.

Ahrefs will give you the data you need to make an informed decision about your link profile.

Find Link Prospects

Extracting link opportunities from your competitors is one of my favorite functions of Ahrefs.

I’ll be showing you how to not only find these link opportunities but also how you actually land links that your competitors have.

Perform Keyword Research

Most people don’t think of Ahrefs as a keyword research tool, but these people are missing out!

Ahrefs keywords explorer and the content explorer SEO tools have become one of my “go-to’s” for finding keywords and content ideas. I will show you how to do exactly that later on in this guide.

Validate Qualify and Analyze Competitors

Ahrefs keywords explorer makes Finding keywords easy, but the real magic happens when you understand how to qualify your keyword ideas.

Ahrefs can help you achieve this goal. I’ll show you how to validate keywords in this guide.

Track Individual Keywords

Ahrefs keyword research tools are excellent for rank tracking. SEO professionals can always stay updated on tracked keywords search results.

I’ll show you how to set it up later in this post.

Track Total Organic Visibility

Only tracking individual keywords is an outdated strategy. The most important KPI in SEO is your organic traffic data inside Google Analytics.

But in addition to Google Analytics, you should leverage the “Total Organic Keywords” data inside Ahrefs. More on this later.

SEO Professional Brand Management

Ahrefs allows you to set up alerts for keywords or branded keywords. You just need to provide your email address to stay up-to-date. This is a powerful site explorer function for relationship building and brand management. I’ll get deeper into the tools alerts function in this guide.

Site Audit Feature

Lastly, Ahrefs now has a site audit tool.

This tool can help your technical SEO performance.

Ahrefs Terminology

Here is the Ahrefs terminology that you need to understand before using the tool:

Ahrefs Domain Rank

Ahrefs rank is their version of Alexa rank. In essence, it’s an attempt to rank websites based on their estimated search traffic volume.

The lower your Ahrefs Rank, the higher they believe your estimated traffic is. Take this metric with a grain of salt. Ahrefs doesn’t have access to your internal traffic numbers, so it’s not possible for their “Rank” to be 100% accurate.

URL Rating (UR)

URL Rating (or sometimes called URL Ranking on different parts of their site) is Ahrefs’ metric for measuring the authority and strength of a single web page.

For example, my backlinks article has a ~ 44 UR. The concept of UR is similar to Moz’s Page Authority (PA) metric. Ahrefs has a much better crawler, so UR is probably more reliable.

Traffic Value

Ahrefs’ “Traffic Value” metric is the rank tracker of a website’s organic traffic value in terms of dollars. This is determined based on Google Ads cost-per-click (CPC) data. This is a useful metric for marketing professionals because there is a correlation between CPC and search results competition.

Meaning, if businesses are willing to pay a “high” (what’s considered to be high or low CPC is relative to the industry, the business model, etc.) CPC, there’s a good chance they are investing heavily in SEO as well. The only difference is that throwing more money at SEO doesn’t guarantee better results.

If you really want to see how hard high CPC niches are from an SEO perspective, just attempt to rank for “city + personal injury lawyer”.

How to Do Keyword Research Using Ahrefs

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Ahrefs?

I’m willing to bet that it isn’t “keyword research”.

Most people know Ahrefs for its backlink analysis capabilities SEO tools, but you are missing out if you aren’t using its keyword research.

That’s why I’m going to show you several ways you can use Ahrefs to find keywords. I’ll even show you one trick I use to find “untapped” keyword opportunities.

Let’s jump in:

1. Analyze Competitor URL in Site Explorer

The first step of this process is for you to analyze a competitor’s URL. After you have chosen a competitor, go to the “Site Explorer” section, and enter the URL.

After the analysis is complete, it’s time to move onto step two, competitor’s keyword research.

2. Go to Organic Keywords

The second step is to click on “Organic keywords” under the “Organic search” section.

This where your keyword research goldmine will be. Now, this section alone can give you tons of ideas, but to take your keyword research to another level, you need to filter these ideas. That brings me to step three.

3. Play with Filters

Using the filters is where the magic happens, but before you begin, you need to establish one thing:

What is your website actually capable of ranking for?

Meaning, do you have a firm grasp on the authority of your website?

The reason why you need to is that your site’s authority will determine what keywords you should target.

For example, if you have a brand new website, then you need to target longer tail keywords. If you have an authoritative website (relative to the competitor you are analyzing), then you can target more competitive keywords.

For this example, I’m going to assume you have a new website. The first step of is to filter your results based on one of the most important SEO metrics – keyword “Volume”, or in other words, the average search volume per month.

I’ve found that SEO strategies of targeting keywords in the 100 – 1,000 search volume range is a good target for new websites. That’s because keyword rankings in that range are going to be less competitive (and longer tail).

Keep in mind:

This doesn’t mean you should target this search volume range forever. You should step into new higher search volume ranges when your website begins to build authority.

The next step is to mess around with is the “Words” filter. So, if you only want to see long-tail keywords, then you should set the “From” keyword data field

You could stop your initial keyword research at this point because of how much you’ve narrowed the results.

But I also like to use the “Position” filter as well. This filter will show where your competitor is ranking in Google for each keyword in your set. I like setting this filter from position 11 and to position 20.

Having this intel is important for a few reasons:

1. There’s a good chance that your competitor isn’t targeting that specific keyword phrase. The competitor is probably showing up for those long-tail keywords just because of their page authority. Not because they are specifically targeting them.

2. Many long tails ranking on the second or even third page are going to be loosely relevant to your competitor’s primary keyword. That leaves an opportunity for you to step in and dominate that targeted long-tail keyword.

Make sure to set up the proper location for your website target offer. Keywords that are popular in the United States might be completely irrelevant in other locations.

Now, I want to show you how you can monitor your competitor’s new keywords.

4. Monitor Your Competitor’s “New” Keywords

Click on “New” under the “Organic keywords” section.

So, you might be wondering why should you care about your competitor’s “New” keywords?

The first reason why you should use a rank tracker for keywords that are new is that you don’t want them to get too much momentum.

As pages and blog posts age, they will acquire more social signals, backlinks, and user signals. All of these signals will not only help your competitor rank but will also solidify their rankings. And

I’ve noticed many times that there is a “snowball” effect when you hit the first page of Google. That’s because most people will not go beyond the first page when they are looking for resources to link to.

The key takeaway is that you don’t want your competitors to build too strong of a foundation.

You need to monitor what new keywords they are targeting and then make a concentrated effort to compete with them on those keywords. That means you need to create a page that is more valuable than theirs. Keep an eye on their trending content with the content explorer tool. This will give you an idea of how well tracked keyword engage on social media and a search engine like Google.

Now I want to show you how to find your competitor’s top-performing pages.

5. See Your Competitor’s Best Pages

To find a competitor’s best-performing pages and explorer content (from an organic search traffic perspective), go to “Organic Search” and click on “Top pages”.

This is one of the favorite sections within Ahrefs because you will topics that have already been validated by your competitors.

Backlinks and social signals are validation that the topic has value.

It’s also validation that your competitor picked an attractive content angle for that topic.

Lastly, your competitor’s strong individual keywords rankings are validation from Google that they have fulfilled searcher intent the right way.

This section will give you the ability to create content and pages that your industry actually cares about.

You will also see what type of content you need to create to fulfill searcher intent (the way that Google wants).

Take advantage of the data in this section because it will eliminate a lot of guesswork from your keyword targeting.

Now I want to show you a quick way to find other competitors in your industry.

6. Find Other Competitors

To find your other competitors click on “Competing domains” under the “Organic search” section.

I recommend you go through the process above to extract even more keywords from your other competitors as well.

The next tactic I want to show you is the Content Gap Tool (love this tool).

7. Use the Content Gap Tool

Click on “Content gap” under the “Organic search” section to access this amazing tool.

This is an amazing tool because it’s another method of competitors’ keyword research. It will show what keywords you are NOT ranking for, but your competitors ARE ranking for. All you need to do is put your competitor’s domain name into the “Show keywords that any of the below targets rank for” section. You can add more than one competitor, but in this domain comparison example, I’ll only be using one.

Then, put your URL into the “But the following target doesn’t rank for” section and click “Show keywords”.

Now you will have access to keywords and content ideas that you aren’t currently targeting.

It’s your responsibility to compete for these search terms. That means you need to create pages that are much more valuable (and different) than your competitors for these keywords. Do not allow your competitors to have smooth sailing!

With Ahrefs’ Link Intersect marketing tool, you can find new opportunities to build backlinks. It’s one of the link profile comparison features that shows sites that link to your competitors’ web pages but don’t link to you. You can estimate traffic potential through a specific keyword performance report and its search volumes and add this opportunity to your link building strategies.

Another great SEO tool to do keyword research is Ahrefs “Content Explorer”. It helps you find keyword suggestions for new content creation.

When using content explorer Ahrefs for your content management, it provides you with competitor research to find new seed keywords and content topics for your website blog or a guest blog. Content explorer user interface indicates popular content, number of keyword searches, keyword suggestions, and other important keyword metrics.

You don’t need a lot of time to find trending content topics and analyze its performance in terms of rank tracking, social shares, outgoing links and even to find affiliate links opportunities. Use SEO tools like Ahrefs “Content Explorer” or Ahrefs site audit to run a backlinks research, and make sure how many backlink opportunities you will need to find to rank for the target keyword. If you need additional keywords or anchor texts ideas use the “search suggestions” tab or a “parent topic” of the search term you are going after.

The last keyword research tactics I want to show you in Ahrefs is leveraging their Keywords Explorer tool to build your keyword list.

8. Leverage the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

To access this tool, click on “Keywords explorer” in the navigation.

All you need to do now is enter some prospective keyword ideas into the field. In this case, I’m going to use a very general keyword “fitness”.

After the analysis is complete, Ahrefs is going to expose you to all kinds of data about this keyword. This tool is excellent for qualifying your prospective keywords, but in this case, we are only going to use it for identifying more keyword ideas. To achieve this goal, go down to the “Keyword ideas” section.

This section of the keywords explorer is going to show all kinds of great keywords related to the original seed keyword.

How you go about leveraging these keyword ideas will largely depend on the authority of your website.

For example, it would difficult to rank for a broad head keyword like “fitness” unless you had a super website. Most websites online are not capable of ranking for such a keyword.

That’s why it’s good to target longer tail keywords like the ones that Ahrefs is providing in this section.

Now you have a firm grasp on how to find keywords using Ahrefs, let me show you how you can qualify your list of keywords.

How to Qualify Keywords Using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Building a big list of prospective keyword targets is an important first step. However, the real magic happens when you qualify your list of keyword targets.

What does it mean to “qualify” your keywords?

It means you’re going to narrow your list by running your keywords through a vetting process. The end result will be a set of keywords that have “qualified”.

Here’s how to get started:

The first step of the keyword validation process is to click on the “Keywords Explorer” option in the Ahrefs’ navigation.

Next, simply paste a prospective keyword in the keywords explorer field. In this example, I’m going to use the keyword phrase “what is creatine”.

As the analysis is complete, you will be taken to a page that looks like this:

Ahrefs’ Keyword explorer is a great SEO tool to show some useful data in this section. The first data point that’s worth looking at is the “Keyword

This a decent gauge of keyword competition.

However, you need to remember that this metric is based on Ahrefs’ internal data. It’s not perfect.

That’s why you need to always conduct your own manual research. But if you’re doing a quick analysis, the Keyword difficulty score will suffice in most cases.

The next metric that you should consider is the number of searches that result in a click.

According to Ahrefs, the search phrase “what is creatine” produces 50% organic clicks.

That means that out of the approximate 14,000 searches per month, only 7,000 of those result in a click. This is often the result of featured snippets or other SERP features that answer the search query without a searcher needing to conduct any additional research.

Another area in the Keyword explorer that you should analyze is the Paid vs. Organic results for your prospective keyword phrase.

This is important for the same results above because more paid results will push the organic results further down the page. That will reduce organic CTR. So, you need to keep that in mind when you are doing your research.

Now that understand some of these 30,000-foot view metrics inside the Keyword explorer, I’m going to make this process a little deeper.

To start the SERP analysis, scroll down to the “SERP overview” section and click on the “Export” button in the right-hand corner.

Open up the Excel sheet and delete every column of your SERP analysis report, except for “URL”, “Backlinks”, number of “Referring Domains”, “URL Rating”, “Domain Rating”, and “Facebook”. Your sheet should look like this after you’re done:

The next step is to go column-by-column and average out the numbers. Highlight the cells/numbers that need to be averaged and click on the dropdown arrow on the autosum button and select “Average”.

Here’s what it should look like after you have successfully averaged the column:

Repeat this process for all the columns. The next step is to paste your domain or target URL in the “URL” column. Then paste your Domain Rating (DR) in the appropriate column like so:

In this example, I am making the assumption that you do NOT have a page already targeting the keyword phrase. The distinction is important because comparing DR is the only option in this scenario.

On the other hand, if you already had a page targeting “what is creatine”, then you would need to add data for every column to get a proper comparison.

So, in this scenario, Greatist.com has enough authority (DR) to compete for this keyword phrase. It wouldn’t be easy, but there are some obvious weaknesses in these results.

First, there is a YouTube video ranking.

That’s a good sign.

Second, both Blonyx.com and MyProtein.com have one or zero total linking root domains. That’s an indication that these pages are ranking well because they are fulfilling searcher intent the right way. But the biggest force driving their rankings is their overall website authority.

So, in the case of Greatist.com, this would be an attractive keyword to target because their domain is stronger than three of the ranking pages.

Also, Bloynx.com has the lowest DR but is ranking almost in the top five.

So, this brief analysis is just the first stage of the process.

After you have confirmed that your website can compete (at least at a 30,000-foot view), you then need to analyze each ranking page.

This is critical because SEO isn’t just simply a game of metrics.

On the surface, Greatist should have no problem ranking for this keyword phrase.

However, that confidence can change like the wind when you analyze the ranking URLs on a deeper level. The biggest factor being the quality of the pages.

The main question you have to ask is:

Can you create a page that is MORE valuable and DIFFERENT than what is ranking?

Think about this question every time you want to target a keyword.

Now that you understand how to find and validate keywords using Ahrefs, it’s time for me to show you how to use this tool for technical SEO.

Technical SEO Toolset

Link Building Opportunities: How to Find Broken Backlinks with Ahrefs

Run site audits to Find broken links is one of the easiest ways to acquire backlinks. That’s because you already HAD the backlink. Plus, the “linker” has already made the decision to link to you.

That means you can skip right past the relationship-building stage of the outreach process.

Ahrefs has the best backlinks index with the biggest backlink data. Here’s how you can do broken backlink research using Ahrefs backlink database:

The first step is to open up the “Site Explorer” tool and enter YOUR domain.

Now go to the “Backlink” section and click on “Broken”.

Now you need to go through each result, find contact information (Hunter), and then send each prospect a template similar to this:

“Hey [NAME], love your blog!
I blog over at [your blog] and I saw that you are linking to my article about [topic] (thank you).

I noticed that the link is actually broken. It looks like [insert issue].

When you get the chance, do you think you could change that link to this URL: [your correct URL] – I would be so incredibly grateful.

Thank you!”

Link Building with Ahrefs

How to “Steal” Your Competitor’s Links Using Ahrefs (SEO pro tip)

There are many ways to find link opportunities, but one of the best methods is to extract them from your competitors. The key to acquiring your competitor’s backlink is to have an effective outreach process.

Anyone can find link opportunities, but it takes a tested and refined system to acquire backlinks at scale.

That’s the focus on the video below:

The first step of this process is to open Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and paste a competitor’s URL in the search bar.

After the analysis is complete, go to the “Backlink profile” section and click on “Backlinks”.

Now that you can see all of your competitor’s backlinks, it’s time to begin the link acquisition process. I’m going to give you a framework you can take action on today.

But here’s an important point:

You MUST test, refine, and improve your outreach process overtime. No outreach process is perfect. All you can do is test the process and improve it.

Here’s what my link acquisition process looks like (at a 30,000-foot view):

Your success in SEO efforts (and digital marketing in general) is dependent on your ability to build relationships with the individuals who have influence (and established audiences) in your industry. It all begins with outreach.

The first part of this process that you need to understand is that your outreach process will vary based on the type of backlinking opportunities you are trying to acquire. For example, SEO operations of acquiring a backlink through a guest post is much different than trying to acquire a backlink through broken link building.

Here’s how you can find contact information using Voila Norbert:
Here’s how you can find contact information using Hunter.io:

The next stage is to begin the process of getting “your name out there” and building relationships with your prospects.

Let’s get one thing straight:

No bloggers like cold outreach. In fact, it’s borderline disrespectful to reach out to a blogger who has an established audience and ask them for something. Why? Because you basically saying: “Hey, can I have all the benefits of your established audience that you probably spent years building without any work on my side?

Moral of the story:

Don’t cold outreach in your SEO strategy. It’s a dangerous game to play if you are trying to become a serious player in your industry. You do NOT want to burn bridges or repel the people who have the influence. I think you get the point.

So, you’re probably wondering:

HOW do you start the process of building relationships with your link prospects? The best way to hit the prospect on multiple fronts.

Some easy methods include:
  • Leaving insightful and well-thought out blog comments
  • Retweeting their content
  • Replying and engaging with them on their Tweets, Facebook posts, etc.
  • Sending them a complimentary email
  • Asking them a question (that requires their expertise) via email

I recommend using most of these strategies. The key is avoid being creepy and overbearing.

Spread these actions out over the course of weeks.

Otherwise, it becomes obvious that you are only engaging for selfish motives.

All that you need to remember is that effective relationship building and outreach is like how you build relationships in real life.

Take your time and be patient.

Also, always be thinking about how you can add value before asking for anything.

After you have spent some time building relationships with your prospects, it’s time to “test the waters”.

Here are a few templates you can use to “test the waters”:

Broken Link Building

“Hey [NAME], love your blog!

I blog over at {your blog}.

I was reading one of your articles and noticed that you had a few broken links. Would you like me to send the URL over?”

Guest Posting

“Hey [NAME], love your blog!

I blog over at {your blog}.

I was wondering if you are accepting guest contribution at the moment?
I have 3 ideas that I think would be perfect for your blog if are.
Please let me know, thanks!”

Replace or Complement

“Hey [NAME], love your blog!

I blog over at {your blog}.

I noticed that you are linking to {brand’s article about topic}.

I created a similar piece of content except it takes an entirely different angle.
In fact, it {argues|proves|disproves} that {insert why it’s different}.
Would you be interested in reading it?
Just let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you it over.

All you need to do now is wait for responses (~1-2 weeks). Send your offer/pitch to those that respond and follow up with the non-responders. If you landed a guest post, write the guest post. If you are “paying to play”, then send the dough.

Now that you know how to find link opportunities, let me show you how to qualify them.

How to Qualify Link Opportunities Using Ahrefs

As I mentioned in the Ahrefs review above, finding link opportunities is the easiest step of the link acquisition process. The next most important step is knowing what link opportunities are actually worth pursuing.

Here’s what you need to do to qualify your link opportunities (at scale):

The first part of qualifying your link opportunities is to go to the “More” drop-down in the navigation and click on “Batch Analysis”.

Then all you need to do is paste your list of link prospects’ URLs into the box. In this example, I’m going to analyze a list of guest post opportunities in the “fitness” niche.

After you have pasted the URLs, click the dropdown and select the “domain with all its subdomains” option.

This is important because we are qualifying the link prospect’s website as a whole (not just a single page). So, after the analysis is complete you will be presented with a large set of data like this:

The question is… what do you do with all of this information?

The first thing that needs to happen is to understand what we are trying to achieve during this process.

The first objective of this process is to eliminate opportunities that are low quality or do not meet your minimum criteria standards. After that, you then need to prioritize your prospects.

This is possible through the data that Ahrefs provides, but I also recommend using The Relevancy Pyramid as well.

You just need to figure out if you want to focus on the more challenging opportunities or the lower hanging fruits.

Websites are higher authority and traffic is harder to get link placements on, but they have a huge impact when you do successfully land one.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can focus on lower authority websites with a quantity focus.

Either way works, but I prefer focusing on the “harder” opportunities because they always seem to perform better (in my experience).

To begin the process of prioritizing these link prospects, you need to sort them by “Keywords”.

“Keywords” are how many estimated organic keywords the website is ranking for based on Ahrefs’ data. This is important for qualifying link opportunities because if a website is performing well in Google, it’s an indication that Google’s algorithm “trusts” this website.

Higher trust = better (and usually more impactful) link opportunity

The opposite is also true.

You should be concerned about websites that are NOT performing well in Google. All you need to do is sort your list in ascending order to find this type of link prospect:

Keep this in mind:

Just because a website doesn’t have great SEO performance, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad opportunity.

You have to remember that Google is just one website and one marketing channel.

The “value” of a link opportunity can’t be based on one channel.

There are a few ways to determine the “value” of a link opportunity outside of organic search traffic such as examining their audience size across multiple channels, examining the quality of their link profile, examining their social media shares and engagement, and even examining their blog posts engagement.

I’ll get deeper into this process in a future blog post, but for now, the key takeaway is that a link opportunity isn’t “BAD” just because it doesn’t perform well in Google.

But let’s be honest… what I just explained is an optimistic viewpoint.

That’s because many of the opportunities you will encounter WILL be low quality and should be avoided.

All you need to do is examine the websites that have weak SEO performance and see if there is any way that these websites can add value to yours.

If you’re struggling to find any value in a link opportunity, then remove it from your list.

It makes much more sense to focus your time on the prospects that are clearly valuable.

The next step is to sort your list by DR (Domain Rating).

The validation step is simple:

Getting backlinks from websites with higher DR is going to be more impactful (in most cases). They are also harder to get placements on, so you need to keep that in mind as well.

You can then sort your list by Total Referring Domains (the number of unique websites that are linking to yours).

DR and Total Referring Domains are going to be correlated. For example, websites with many Total Referring Domains will usually have a high DR as well.

You can qualify or eliminate most opportunities just based on Total Organic Keywords, DR, and Total Referring Domains.

Some other metrics that you may want to consider are the number of .edu and .gov backlinks because this is an indication of trust.

Also, take a look at the Total “Linked” Domains (the total number of outbound links on a prospect’s website).

If there is a high number of outbound links, it can sometimes mean that the website is selling backlinks. It’s worth investigating if you see an alarming number of outbound links.

But, before you jump in, you need to understand how to optimize your anchor text.

How to Optimize Anchor Text Using Ahrefs

Understanding how to optimize your anchor text can improve your SEO results and keep your website safe from penalties. In the training video below, I show you how you leverage my Ahrefs review to optimize your anchor text the right way:

Let’s say I wanted to rank for the keyword phrase “healthy breakfast”.

In the example, below I found this keyword phrase while looking through Greatist’s organic keywords. You do an immediate examination, just click the SERP dropdown button.

From here, just click on the down arrow next to each competitor’s URL and open their “Anchors” in a new tab. I recommend doing at least the first five competitors, but ten isn’t a bad idea either. So, now all you’re going to do is get an average of exact match anchor text for this keyword.

This is important because you will be able to see what the “ceiling” is for exact match anchor text.

I usually cut the average anchor text in half and make that my ceiling just be safe.

For example, if the average exact match anchor text is ~10%, I would choose 5% as my ceiling. And as I’ve recommended since the first Penguin update, you should usually stay below 1% exact match anchor text.

This recommendation can change based on the scale.

One other important factor to consider when averaging exact match anchor text (and using it as a guide) is the competition. The reason is that higher authority websites can usually get away with more aggressive anchor text practices.

That’s why it’s a good idea to look at the EMA for the competitors that are in a similar authority range as your website.

You can go through the averaging process for a partial match anchor as well.

So, at this point, you know how to find and validate keywords, how to find and fix technical SEO issues, how to find and validate link prospects, and how to optimize your anchor text using Ahrefs.

Now, I want to show you how you can monitor your SEO campaigns using this awesome tool.

How to Monitor Your SEO Campaign with Ahrefs

There are countless rank tracker tools out there, but Ahrefs gives you more than enough functionality to track individual keywords, track your overall organic visibility, and track your link profile. In the video below, I show you how you can use Ahrefs to manage your SEO campaigns:

Is Ahrefs SEO Tool Worth its Price?

If you are serious about SEO you should totally give it a try. They don’t offer a completely free trial, but you can do your own review of Ahrefs lite plan or even a standard plan for as much as 7$ for 7 days. It will give you access to the top 10 Ahrefs content management tools. You will also get an idea of which Ahrefs plan fits your content marketer needs. If you have a small business the lite plan version might be more than enough.

Try Ahrefs keywords explorer tool to run keyword research, find great keyword suggestions, and track seed keywords. Take advantage of the content explorer SEO tool to leverage top pages for your content marketing.

Ahrefs site explorer will provide you with an accurate site audit and make the backlink profile picture clear in terms of the number of backlinks and competing domains.

That’s It!

I hope this Ahrefs review helped you learn how to use Ahrefs to improve your SEO performance. Ahrefs is well worth the investment if you are serious about getting better SEO results.

Also, if you enjoyed the videos, please subscribe to my YouTube channel because I will be producing an incredible amount of actionable SEO training this year.

Latest posts by Nathan Gotch (see all)

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


40 + AMAZING Email Marketing Statistics (for 2020)



Do you want to get an overview of what is happening in email marketing right now? Do you yearn to discover what types of emails are most successful, and what the future holds for this marketing type?

Well, then you have come to the right place. Indeed, below you will find statistics on each of the following categories:

  • Email marketing and customer engagement
  • The impact of emails on conversion rates
  • The use of emails in customer support
  • Whether customers prefer email to other forms of communications
  • The future of email marketing

You’ll also find a brief introduction and summary on each section and a final summing up at the end. So what are you waiting for? Roll your sleeves up, crack your brain open, and get into some seriously sexy email stats!

1. Email Usage & Engagement

Anyone telling you that social media has killed off email marketing is sorely mistaken. Indeed, with so much potential to nurture relationships with customers and acquire new ones, email marketing is most definitely still alive and kicking.

Oh, and did you know that email marking is one of the most cost-effective kinds there is? Something that makes it pretty much vital to any successful and on-budget marketing campaign. Yep, that’s right email most definitely still holds its own in the world of marketing, and you can see there are plenty of stats to prove it below:

  1. 3.9 billion globally used email in 2019 (Statista).
  2. Global email users will grow to 4.3 billion by 2023 (Statista).
  3. In only 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received per day. (Statista).
  4. It is expected that the number of sent and received emails will grow to over 347.3 billion daily emails in 2022 (Statista).
  5. Welcome emails get opened 82% on average (GetResponse).
  6. You can boost orders by 69% by sending three abandoned cart emails. (Omnisend).
  7. 35% of marketers send customers between 3-5 emails every week. (Not Another State of Marketing)
  8. Over the last year, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement (Not Another State of Marketing, 2020)
  9. 31% of B2B marketers report email newsletters are the top way to nurture leads. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)
  10. Over 350 million dollars was spent on email advertising in the US in 2019. (Statista, 2019)

2. Email & Customer Support

There is plenty of noise about live chat and chatbots in the customer service sector right now. However, before you swap all of your customer service provision across to these tools, it may be worth taking a pause. The reason being that the stats show users still want to communicate, interact, and solve their problems via email. Indeed, email is an essential part of the customer service process. Just check out the stats below that prove it!

  1. Email remains the most used digital customer service channel, with 54% of customers using email customer service in 2019. (Forrester) 
  2. Response within the hour is what customers expect when they send an email to a business. (Toister Performance Solution).
  3. 62% of customers want to use email to communicate with a business. Beating phone, live chat, and contact forms (HubSpot Research)
  4. 57% of customers prefer to contact companies via digital media such as email or social media rather than use voice-based customer support. (Ameyo)
  5. 45% of executives with web or mobile self-service capabilities report noticeable reductions in phone inquiries, and 39% report less email traffic. (Information Today)
  6. 81% of retail businesses say reply on email for customer acquisition (Emarsys)
  7. 80% of retail businesses depend on email for customer retention. (Emarsys)

3. Email & Conversion Rates

While conversion rates for email marketing may not be quite as high as in 2018, the figures and the ROIs show that the email approach is still successful, a great deal of the time. Of course, a more targeted approach is preferable here, with triggered and segmented emails doing best.

  1. The average email conversion rate was highest in 2018 at 18.49%. (Barilliance)
  2. In 2020, the average email conversion rate remains high at 15.11% conversion in 2020. (Barilliance)
  3. Emails accounted for 19.8% of all transactions. Only paid search (19.9%) and organic traffic (21.8%) did better. (Custora E-Commerce Pulse)
  4. 306% higher click-through rate is what you can expect from Triggered Email Campaigns– vs. non-triggered emails. (Barilliance)
  5. 36% of total email revenue comes from segmented emails. (Barilliance)
  6. For every $1 invested, you can expect an average email ROI of $38. That is a 3,800% increase. (Barilliance)
  7. B2C marketers using automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. – (eMarketer)
  8. Conversion rates are used by 60% of marketers to evaluate an email’s effectiveness. – (DMA)
  9. Click-through rates can be raised by an average of 14% (and conversions by an average of 10%) by using personalized email messages – (Aberdeen.)
  10. Email has the highest conversion rate (66%) for purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message – (DMA)
  11. Conversion rates rise by 28% when a call to action button rather than a text link is included in an email. (Campaign Monitor)

4.Consumer Preferences With Email

Do customers like emails from your business? That is the critical question here. After all, you won’t want to send them if they will do more harm than good. Of course, the stats show that emails are still a very welcome form of communication from the users’ point of view and that they are associated with a range of other benefits as well, as you can see from the info below.

  1. 80% of respondents said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)
  2. The type of email with the best customer response rate is Email My Cart at 22.64%. (Barilliance)
  3. 43% of consumers will choose whether to open an email based on who sends it. (MailChimp)
  4. 43% of email users will report spam if they don’t recognize the senders’ name or email address. (MailChimp)
  5. First thing in the morning is the most popular time for consumers to check their emails, with a whopping 58% doing so. (Optinmonster)
  6. 60% of consumers prefer email over any other promotional channel. (Optinmonster)
  7. Users check their emails for deals from brands at a rate of 44%. (Optinmonster)
  8. After receiving a marketing email, 60% of consumers have made a purchase. (Optinmonster)
  9. Consumers hope for rewards when signing up for marketing emails at a rate of 85%. (Disruptive Advertising)
  10.  Users open 40% of all cart abandonment (SaleCycle)

5. Email Forecasts & Predictions

What does the future hold for email marketing? Well, the answer, as you can see from the numbers below, is many things, including an overall rise in email daily usage. More personalization and better targeting are likely too. At the same time, marketers are likely to show more respect for customer privacy. Perhaps most notably, email marketing shows the potential further to increase business ROI by a massive 22%!

  1. By the end of 2022, over 347 billion emails per day will be sent and received. by the end of 2022. (Statista)
  2. By 2023 global email use is predicted to reach 4.4 billion. (Statista)
  3. By 2021 email clients such as Gmail will readily accept video, and it will be commonly used for email marketing. (Jarrang)
  4. Expect to see an increase of personalized images in emails in 2021, such as live-data weather reports. (Jarrang)
  5. Hyper-targeted emails will become the norm. (Campaignmonitor)
  6. Interactivity and animation are set to become the next significant trend in email marketing. Designmodo
  7. In the coming years, marketers will focus more on subscribers’ privacy, embracing privacy laws like GDPR or CCPA (Litmus)
  8. In 2020 and beyond, email personalization and segmentation will be increased and boost ROI up to 22%. (Litmus)

Final Thoughts

Despite the rise of newer forms of marketing, emails still have an essential role to play. Indeed, they continue to promote engagement in healthy numbers. Not to mention that they help to foster quality connections with potential customers.

Customers also prefer email contact when it comes to customer service, which is, of course, a massively important aspect of customer retention that shouldn’t be ignored. Indeed, providing the most positive experience for your customers by communicating with them in the form they choose is just good business. The reason being that you are much more likely to be able to present them with additional buying opportunities later on.

Target and segmented email continue to show excellent promise for high rates of conversions too. This means that if it’s an effective marketing strategy you are looking for, email is the answer.

Customers also continue to like emails over most other forms of communications. That they continue to open and respond to them, and they enjoy deals and rewards delivered via email. However, privacy is a significant concern for most users, and businesses need to respect this if they are to optimize their email marketing results.

Finally, things seem bright regarding what we can expect from email marketing in the future. Indeed, we can expect developments such as integrated video and personalized images to be commonplace, which will only make email marketing even more effective than it already is!

Latest posts by Nathan Gotch (see all)

Source link

Continue Reading


Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost



30-second summary:

  • Featured snippets account for a 35.1% share of all clicks.
  • The featured snippet and knowledge panel SERP give a better click-through rate together.
  • Users click on featured snippets that seem “informative”.
  • Users who prefer the regular search results listings don’t click on featured snippets.
  • “People also ask” boxes are an unpopular choice showing the lowest amount of clicks.
  • 24% of users consider a featured snippet as an ‘Ad’ and don’t click on it.

Featured snippets are probably the first thing people see when they perform a search query. Acquiring the position ‘zero’ on the SERPs, the featured snippets dominate the page and immediately capture the attention of the viewer. 

However, does it make an impact on the visitor? Do the featured snippets get more clicks when compared to the top results? How does the audience perceive them?

To answer these questions and more, we at Engine Scout recently conducted a study and analyzed how featured snippets influence searchers’ behavior and overall experience. 

The methodology applied for the featured snippet study

In our study on featured snippets, we collected data from 3552 testers, who were asked to look at four different SERPs with snippets. They were required to make a search on Google related to a specific keyword and make a selection from the results.

To collect an unbiased opinion, featured snippets were not mentioned anywhere in the survey.

There were three choices for the testers to choose from: Ads, featured snippets, and regular result listing.

They were later asked which section they clicked on to estimate the Click-through rate (CTR). 

Featured snippets - sections

What is a featured snippet and how does it boost website traffic?

The featured snippet is a summarized extract from a post that answers the user’s ‘search query‘ most accurately. It is placed above all the Google search result listings, occupying position zero.

This means no matter what your website’s ranking for a certain post if Google chooses a featured snippet from your post, it will appear on the top.

According to Ahrefs, it is 99.58% true that Google will only consider your content for a featured snippet if it is already ranking on Page #1. The other 0.42% pages that Google considers account for their ‘People also ask’ box SERP feature. This feature only receives a total of 6% click shares, for the same reason.

The ‘concise and direct‘ nature of these featured snippets motivates users to click on them. According to our study, they account for 35.1% of all clicks which translates to getting ‘extra traffic‘ to your website. 

Optimizing a post to rank for a featured snippet can be tricky. Any content can be worthy of becoming a ‘Featured-Snippet,’ including a paragraph, a list, table, or even a video.

Try these three quick strategies to win more featured snippets that get clicks to your website.

1. Include direct answers to a search query in a paragraph snippet

Paragraph snippets account for 82% of the total featured snippets.

These snippets give the most relevant response to a query in a paragraph form. They usually also display a pertinent image alongside or above the text.

Here is an example of how Google shows a paragraph snippet when asked about ‘What is SERP?

2. Make the best use of keywords in your paragraph

Attaining the first rank in Google for a keyword requires quite an effort. 

Enriching your optimized content for featured snippets with the right keywords increases your chances of that ‘Position Zero‘ in the SERP.

Try to include question-oriented keywords in your content. People find search results with keywords resonating with their question as “trustworthy” and “informative.” This is the primary reason why they prefer a featured snippet over all other organic results.

Take a close look at your competitor’s featured snippets for some inspiration. Make a list of keywords that have triggered a featured snippet for them, and make your content surrounded by these keywords.

Several online tools can lessen your workload by retrieving information and keywords from the competition’s snippets. You can use them if you find it time-consuming to manually optimize your content for featured snippets.

3. Include a knowledge panel in your content marketing strategy

A box with information relevant to a search query appearing on SERP’s right panel is called a Knowledge Panel

It only appears when the search is about an entity, for example, business, person, or location. The information inside this box lets the reader know about the entity and gives them a way to reach out to it.

Featured snippet alone offers a close competition to the organic listing for the total click share. 

But pages ranking for both the featured snippet and the knowledge panel outperform the organic listings for the CTR. A double featured snippet leaves behind the CTR of organic listings, getting 42.1% of the total click share.

Therefore, it is an added benefit if you strategize your featured snippet to trigger a knowledge panel. 

For reference, check out this post to see how Gennaro Cuofano structured his featured snippet with his Amazon author page reference. Google considered this reference and used it to display a knowledge panel alongside his featured snippet.

The other side of the story

Featured snippets can sometimes work opposite to their intent.

According to our study, 24% of users confuse featured snippets for Ads.

Featured snippets and how people confuse them for an ad

Therefore, merely optimizing content to target the featured snippet doesn’t ensure a high CTR.

Google keeps altering its interface to make the Ad label on the paid search results barely noticeable. 

As featured snippets also acquire the top position on SERPs, it is very natural for someone to get confused and not click them.

According to Dr. Pete Meyers, the Marketing Scientist at Moz:

“The lesson for SEOs is that we can’t just target a feature — we need to understand query intent, what our buyers expect from that feature, and how they perceive that feature.”

Try to make your content look like a straightforward, quick answer to a query with images for references to appear very different from an ad.

Wrap up

Google introduced the featured snippet to make it easy for searchers to find relevant answers quickly. With voice search technology becoming a common search tool for half of the smartphone users,  featured snippets catered to the trend and enabled users to read the answer out loud.

To make Google identify your content worthy to pick snippets from, you have to optimize your content so it’s relevant and appropriate for voice search SEO, so it helps to bring in more traffic to your site. 

Jonathan Gorham is Co-Founder at Engine Scout Digital Marketing. He can be found on LinkedIn.

Source link

Continue Reading


What you need to know and five steps to prepare for 2021



30-second summary:

  • Google page experience metric goes live in 2021.
  • Rewarding pages that offer a better user experience.
  • The signal measures a site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness.
  • To prepare for 2021, get a fast web hosting service, optimize your content for mobile users, and install security measures (firewall, SSL, etc.).
  • Avoid pop-ups and whole screen banners that restrict the visitors’ access to content.

The newest search ranking benchmark that’s cooking in Google’s development lab is the Google page experience metric. 

In short, this upcoming metric aims to measure (and rank) the overall responsiveness and user experience of websites that show up in Google’s search results.

Google plans to introduce this metric alongside the current ranking factors. However, there isn’t an exact date announced when this metric goes live.

As Google’s developers officially state in their blog:

“The ranking changes [Google page experience] described in this post will not happen before next year [2021], and we will provide at least six months notice before they’re rolled out.”

You still have plenty of time to react. However, we suggest planning ahead and implementing some of the best practices as soon as possible.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this ranking update and how you can prepare your site from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.

Elements of the Google page experience metric

Google is mainly building the new metric upon the Core Web Vitals that their Chrome team launched earlier this year.

The overall goal with Google’s page experience metric is to ensure the Google Search users are getting a mobile-friendly, safe, and straightforward browsing experience.

Let’s look at each element that contributes to the page experience metric.

1. Core Web Vitals

Google developed the Core Web Vitals because the average user enjoys fast and seamless web surfing. They also created a Chrome User Experience Report, which you can use to evaluate your site’s current performance according to these signals.

Google page experience metrics


The Core Web Vitals consist of three separate signals:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – quickness of the largest content piece’s loading time.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – responsiveness to the user’s clicking, scrolling, and typing.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – visual stability of the page.

To tick a box in each of these signals, your pages’ LCP should be below 2.5 seconds, FID below 100ms and the CLS score less than 0.1.

2. Mobile-friendly site

Google already favors sites that are optimized for mobile users, and rightfully so.

Research conducted by Statista reveals that there are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users this year, with this number growing to 3.8 billion in 2021. It’s safe to say that sites that aren’t mobile-optimized will miss a lot of traffic. 

Therefore, it makes sense that Google only wants their search to display mobile-friendly sites.

3. Safe-browsing

Google puts a lot of emphasis on security and weeding out potentially harmful sites from their search results. After all, if the top search results harm users, it won’t look good on Google at all.

One of the signals with the upcoming page experience metric concludes if the indexed site contains any malicious or deceptive content. Some straightforward examples are malware, spyware, social engineering scams, and false information.

To get a sense of how this works, check out Google’s Security Issues report. You can also scan your website to see if any issues pop up at this time.


Following the security topic, Google also prefers secure sites with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Visibly, the difference is between http:// and https:// (where the latter is SSL secured) in the website’s URL.

The SSL certificate’s job is to encrypt any data that travels between the user and the servers. Even if a cyber attack occurs, the hackers are unlikely to make sense of the data.

If you’ve used the Chrome browser, then you might have come across a security warning with a suggestion that the connection is not secure. This is mainly due to the site missing an SSL certificate.

HTTPS - Google page experience


5. No intrusive interstitials

Last but not least, Google aims to punish sites that aggressively keep the visitors away from quickly accessing the content they are looking for in the first place.

The main culprits here are the pop-ups that cover the entire screen, are difficult to dismiss, or keep popping up while consuming the content.

However, disclaimers, cookie usage information, age-sensitive content confirmations, login dialogs, and reasonably sized banners aren’t going to affect your ranking.

Google page experience - Remove interstitials


Five steps to optimize your site for 2021

Google’s new page experience metric isn’t going to substitute the current ranking elements. It becomes an additional ranking factor, but the most essential part from an SEO perspective is still the quality of the content.

Still, since the page experience metric IS going to affect the ranking results, it’s a great idea to know what you can do to prepare.

Here are a few steps you can take to get your site ready for 2021.

1. Get an excellent web hosting service

Your site’s performance is already one of the key ranking factors today. Either you have a server in-house or using a hosting service, it’s wise to make sure your site is fast and responsive.

You can analyze your site’s responsiveness with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or use a website performance monitoring tool such as Pingdom.

Additionally, you can check out sites that gather and share performance data on web hosting providers.

Example website performance data


2. Keep your page’s size lite

Images go hand-in-hand with today’s websites. However, overstuffing your web pages with visual content is going to make your site slow.

There are a few ways to approach this problem, depending on the nature of your site.

You can optimize your images and make them weigh less by using an image compressor such as ImageOptim. If your page is already content-heavy, consider spreading the largest items to multiple pages within your site.

Alternatively, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as CloudFlare to cache your content closer to the visitor’s access point.

3. Optimize your site for mobile

As we proved earlier, the world is heading rapidly to mobile. It’s not enough for your users to access your content with their smartphones; they also expect your site to adjust to the smaller screens.

Therefore, your site needs to be mobile-optimized. 

The good news is that most modern website creation platforms, such as WordPress, already have mobile-friendly templates that don’t require extra coding efforts.

You can quickly test if your site is mobile-responsive by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool.

4. Install security measures

Website security definitely deserves a separate article to cover all the bases, but let’s only focus on Google’s perspective.

First, don’t knowingly add any malicious scripts or deceptive content to your website.

Secondly, protect your site from malware and other hacking attempts by adding a firewall. While it’s not clear yet if Google will check your site for a firewall, you should have one in place either way.

And finally, install an SSL certificate that encrypts your data since Google is already keeping tabs on if a site is secure or not. However, most of the modern hosting services already include an SSL certificate with their plans.

Overall, investing in website security is worth it for peace of mind and from the SEO perspective.

5. Tone down or remove large pop-up banners

Google considers anything that keeps its users from accessing the content they search for as a nuisance.

Therefore, a piece of straightforward advice – don’t put a giant banner on your site. Make the promotion more subtle, and you won’t have any problems with Google.

As a reminder, cookie information, age-restriction policies, and login dialogs are the exceptions. Although, please don’t go overboard with these either for the sake of user experience.

Google page experience - Remove large pop up banners


In conclusion

Google’s page experience metric will become one of the search ranking signals in 2021, but there isn’t an exact launch date yet.

Still, you can start preparing your site for the upcoming changes. Even if it’s unclear how much weight this new metric has on the search results, offering your visitors a great user experience is a substantial value on its own.

Start by testing your site’s performance, security, and mobile-friendliness. The results give you a pretty good idea of what to tweak and add to your site.

However, remember that the most important ranking factor is still the quality of the content.

Gert Svaiko is a professional copywriter and mainly works with digital marketing companies in the US and EU. You can reach him on LinkedIn.

Source link

Continue Reading