Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by Scott Charleboix
I’m quite the SEO Enthusiast and that’s why I like this free course so much that it goes into details on how you can grow your blog if you follow the strategies that are laid out in the course.
Blogging for business is a free tutorial from Ahrefs covering 40 lessons that has a duration of 4 hours, 50 minutes and is very insightful for bloggers. A benefit that you’ll get out of this post is that I’ve included snapshots of some of the key elements discussed in the course that when you’re taking it, you can look at the video and focus on the timestamp of the video to get directly to that point of the video.
At the end of this post are pins that you can use to help grow your blog past the 100,000 monthly viewers mark that are from the Ahrefs course.
This post contains affiliate links, I’ll make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase.
Blogging for business review
I took the Ahrefs course called Blogging for Business which I “briefly” discussed in my last post called Free Ahrefs to improve your SEO which is a post about how to improve your SEO by examining how you can use the free alternative to get just as good results from Ahrefs in their free alternative program called Ahrefs Webmaster tools.
The usual requirements of SEO are that you should break a big post like this one into smaller sections. Because for SEO, people typically don’t like reading a lot of information in a post.
However, the other thing about SEO is that you need to write posts for people and I’m not writing this post for the sake of getting a good SEO score, it’s for you so that you can increase the chances of your blog getting ranked higher for it’s posts and thus getting a lot more monthly visitors.
By not breaking this post up into smaller sections, we’ll have a very nice note taking device to augment and provide a nice compliment for the Ahrefs course.
My free online-course (SEO Hurdle for Bloggers) will help you to develop the strategy that you need to improve your SEO.
With the aid of my online course, you’ll learn how to use the four pillars of SEO that they refer to in the quote below:
“Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies need to be implemented, monitored and consistently updated. There needs to be an on-page, off-page or on-page and off-page technical SEO strategy set in place to help reach those goals originally set in place.” The Creative Monsters
Another compelling reason for not breaking this post into smaller parts is that with SEO you shouldn’t be redundant with your usage of words from one post to another. I felt that if I did break it up, it would be too repetitious. I hope that you’ll appreciate the post in this format.
Trying to write this post so that you must go one from one post to another is an overwhelming task that I didn’t want to take on (for the reasons mentioned above). I “thought” about the possibility of breaking this post into smaller parts, but for the sake of continuity I thought it would be better to keep everything all intact.
What I’d like to do in this post is to share some of the salient things from the Blogging for Business Course created by Tim Soulo, the CMO at Ahrefs that really stood out. This is going to require that I watch the course at least two times to ensure that I get things in the right respective areas.
The thing that I like about this course is that I feel that Tim Soulo is talking to us as if we were on the Ahrefs team and that we were getting ready to write articles specifically for the Ahrefs blog.
That’s what makes this course one of the best free courses that I’ve ever seen on how to blog, how to make a profit, and how to use SEO to improve your traffic. And more importantly how to master keyword research which is a tricky animal.
I feel that this course is so worthwhile that it’s worth going through a second time. By providing you with some of the most important things that stood out to me in the course, it’s my hope that you won’t have to take copious notes from the course like so many bloggers ahead of us probably already have.
When I was taking the course, I wrote down nearly six pages of notes; however, I didn’t write from which section I was pulling the information.
And I was only into the third or fourth lesson that I decided that I would start writing this post to help my fellow bloggers so that we can all grow together and shoot for the moon to reach that 100,000 monthly visitors prestigious mark. But more importantly that we’re able to turn our readers into “paying” customers.
At this point in the game, I’ve put down my notebook, and I’m returning to the start of the lesson all over again so that I can share with you all the valuable notes that I have learned by taking the Blogging for Business Course.
Note: At the end of each lesson is the amount of time it takes to finish each lesson.
If you go to the top of the post, you’ll be able to see the Table of Contents which nicely arranges all the headings so that you can quickly go to the topic that you’re searching on. If you’re a new blogger I suggest that you start from the beginning of the course, because in a course that covers nearly five hours of material, we’re going to cover a lot of ground in this post.
Lesson 1: The compound effect of content marketing
In lesson 1 (called The compound effect of content marketing), there are three principal lessons:
- The primary goal of blogging for business – 2:20
- Three main customer acquisition channels – 4:16
- The main reason why most blogs fail – 6:47
1. The primary goal of blogging for business:
Traffic is a vanity metric. A primary goal that you should establish is acquiring new customers to grow your business. If you have a blog and you’re bringing a lot of traffic, but people aren’t converting (buying from your site) that’s not productive in terms of putting money into your bank account.
Instead of trying to concentrate on trying to generate as much traffic as you could, Ahrefs didn’t focus on growing traffic, they focused on the leads per month to bring money to their business.
Some “bad” KPI’s (key performance indicators – things that you should measure) are:
- Number of published articles per week
- Number of blog visitors per month (yeah, I’m guilty of tracking this one myself)
- Number of e-mail subscribers per month
What you should focus on instead is the number of orders/sales per month. This is the primary KPI that you should care about. You should treat your blog as a customer acquisition channel not a traffic acquisition channel.
The Blogging for Business Course is about How to create a blog that brings you customers. In this course, Tim Soulo shares all their tactics and strategies to help bring you customers. This concludes the first lesson and now we’re moving to the second step in the Compound effect of content marketing called the three main customer acquisition channels.
2. Three main customer acquisition channels
There are three principal ways that visitors discover products that they want to buy which are:
- Word of Mouth [Blog]
- Search [+ Blog]
- Advertising [+ Blog]
Creating a blog can massively expand your reach on all three major customer acquisition channels.
Content marketing can drive traffic to your blog, and this is how content brings customers to your site from Google:
- Find article
- They read and enoy it
- They dig deeper into your website
- They buy
3. The main reason why most blogs fail
In lesson 1.3 it covers the #1 reason why most blogs fail.
Don’t copy what other bloggers are doing. Be yourself.
Tim provides recommendations in this part on how your blog can get traction. In this section and the next he’ll be discussing the spike of hope. One of the best ways to get traction is to follow the advice of you should publish new content regularly.
As soon as you stop providing regular new content the results of traffic might start getting noticed instantly.
Here’s one of the important pieces of advice from this part of the lesson. If your content marketing efforts don’t add up over time, you’re doing it wrong.
Here’s an important takeaway in this lesson: Passive consistent traffic is the key!
The rest of the course has two principal goals which are:
1) How to create articles that bring consistent targeted traffic that doesn’t fade and
2) How to convert that traffic into leads and sales.
Further reading on the compound effect of content marketing:
- The Two Hedgehog Model, Perfect for Marketing Early Stage Startups
- The Compounding Returns Of Content Marketing
Lesson 2: Two major strategies of growing a blog
In lesson 2 (called Two major strategies of growing a blog), there are four principal lessons:
- The anatomy of the “Spike of hope” – 4:41
- Two major strategies of growing a blog – 5:09
- Busting the “publish more often” myth – 3:37
- How to convert visitors into subscribers – 2:36
1. The anatomy of the “Spike of hope”
I personally didn’t get too much out of this lesson other than if you have a blog, it’s necessary to promote your blog and one of the best ways to do just that is via word of mouth.
An important point that I got out of this section is regarding the use of word of mouth and that is that passive word of mouth (reaching out to others to help promote your content, (i. e., Pinterest, Facebook, etc.) can account for 10 – 20% more traffic.
2. Two major strategies of growing a blog
This lesson discusses the two strategies of growing a blog and which one of them is more effective. The two major strategies are Viral Traffic vs. SEO Traffic.
Here are the recommendations to improve both strategies:
The first two items listed in viral traffic are not easy to achieve and that’s why Tim Soulo says that he prefers SEO Traffic over Viral Traffic which when you take the lessons, you’ll easy tell that he prefers SEO traffic over viral traffic.
How can you improve your SEO Traffic? Enroll in the SEO Hurdle for Bloggers Course. An effective SEO strategy makes a night and difference to your organic traffic. Learn how you can improve your SEO for free with the SEO Hurdle for Blogger’s Course. It’s a considerable savings over the Create & Go Course called SEO Blueprint for Bloggers which costs $197.00. With nearly just as much information for free.
For further information on the topic of virality here’s some suggested reading:
- How Stuff Spreads #2: How Videos Go Viral
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On — by Jonah Berger
- What Do People Tweet About & The Surprising Truth About What Drives Them
In the next lesson we’ll look at busting the “publish more often” myth. This is something that is going to knock your socks off, that in order to grow you actually don’t have to publish quite that often.
Matthew Woodward, an SEO expert suggests that you should only write two 2,500 high-quality posts twice per month to grow your blog. Here I’m anticipating that you’ll see a similar approach that your blog posts don’t have to be frequently close together.
3. Busting the “publish more often” myth
As I expected this is how the lesson starts right at the beginning: “You don’t have to publish a lot of content but still can get tons of traffic every month.” On the Ahrefs blog, they rarely publish more than one blog post per week.
They do not have a goal that says they must publish x amount of articles per week. Instead their goal is: Create content around specific keywords & make it rank in Google.
Your goal in writing your articles should be to: Publish a few articles and make them rank in Google which equals a passive source of new customers.
The reason that SEO traffic is highly preferred over Viral traffic is summed up as follows:
- Viral traffic is a gamble
- SEO Traffic is predictable
In the next lesson (before diving deep into SEO) we’ll look at how to convert visitors into subscribers.
4. How to convert visitors into subscribers
In this part of the lesson, you’ll learn tips to get e-mail subscribers so that you can convert your visitors into subscribers that will grow your e-mail list.
Here’s why it is so important that you convert your visitors into subscribers. By not subscribing there are three things that you won’t be able to accomplish.
You won’t be able to:
Promote new articles Launch new products and show it to them Generate word of mouth
This lesson is a quick big picture of growing your blog. In the remaining lessons you’ll learn specific strategies that will teach you how to get traffic from Google.
Lesson 3: How to analyze the traffic potential and ranking difficulty of a keyword
- How to test your article ideas for “search demand – 4:06
- How to determine the full traffic potential of a keyword – 5:49
- How to find the best keyword to target – 3:51
- How to determine your chances to rank in Google – 6:36
- How to use Keyword Difficulty metric in Ahrefs – 5:23
When you blog, what you need to practice is that you “Blog about things that your potential readers are actually searching for.”
The reason behind this is so that visitors can: 1) Find you, 2) Follow you, and/or 3) Buy from you.
Writing about things that no one is searching for (results in failure of traffic). Instead!
Write about things that people are searching for = a Win situation!
2. How to determine the full traffic potential of a keyword
An important thing that you need to remember about any keyword research program is that volumes are “estimates”. Hence that’s why earlier there was a comment that SEO is predictable based on the volume of traffic that certain keywords “might” bring.
Here’s how the number of clicks are associated with how your position is in the Google SERPs. Position #1, 30%; Position #2, 15%; and Position #3, 10%.
In this lesson, it’s suggested to: “Don’t make content marketing decisions based on the search volume of a single keyword.”
Instead, Look at the total search traffic of top-ranking pages.
Out of sheer curiosity, I didn’t think that Ubersuggest has a field for traffic so I did on a random search on how to get traffic from Google so I could see if there was a column for “traffic” (see below). Nope, I didn’t see one. So now I’m going to check to see what shows up in one of my other favorite keyword research program called Keysearch.
Cool, I just learned something interesting, we should be able to get more traffic if we look at the traffic results which are located in Keysearch. Let’s get a closer look at the field so you can see what it is you need to be focusing on in that is available in Keysearch that’s in the tab called Rankings/Traffic. I’m sure it’s also available in Ahrefs but I don’t have the program?
Note: If you want to purchase the keyword research program Keysearch, please use the
20% Discount code of KSDISC on your order to save 20% off of the purchase price.
I thought it might be available to look it up in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, but it appears that requires an actual subscription plan to Ahrefs to use the keywords feature.
- Here’s why you can’t blindly trust keyword search volume for traffic estimations
- How many keywords can you rank for with one page? (Ahrefs’ study of 3M searches)
A better title for this lesson is the one that’s at the beginning of the lesson called: How to Target the “Right” keyword. Two techniques that he uses are depicted in the image below:
- Long Tail Keywords: how to get TONS of traffic from ‘unpopular’ search queries
- How Low-Volume Keyword Strategy Can Get You High-Value Clients [Case Study]
4. How to determine your chances to rank in Google
A better title for this lesson is the one that’s at the beginning of the lesson called: How Hard is it to Rank in Google?
Search traffic potential is simple. But Ranking difficulty is not simple and is a bigger challenge. One of the principal reasons is nobody knows for certain how the Google Algorithm works (which based on research) to rank pages which is based on a wide number of factors.
What you have at your disposal to help your chances of getting ranked in Google is to get clues from top-ranking pages. I wrote about this in a prior post that you’ll want to read in the further reading at the bottom of this section.
There are two sources of information pertaining to Ranking Difficulty which are On-Page factors + incoming links (backlinks).
Here are the On-Page factors that will help your blog post get ranked:
One of the items in that list are loads fast. To get your website so that it loads fast, has great performance, speed, and functionality I highly recommend WPRocket. Please check out my video below on how you can get the most out of WPRocket and vastly improve your speed.
Here’s a very important fact that I’m presenting to you that’s mentioned in the Ahrefs lesson that you’ll want to read my post mentioned in the further reading on how to create a link.
“The more websites that link to your page, the higher it will rank in Google.” – Ahrefs
The main focus for this post (How to create a link?) is to understand what makes a good link and that by the conclusion of the post you should know how to write a good link and you’ll know how to get good “natural” backlinks.
Throughout the post you’ll be provided with several blogging tips for backlinks building and several examples of internal links that are set up the right way.
- On Page SEO: A (2M Keyword) Data Driven Analysis
- What we learned about “Long Tail” by analyzing 1.4 Billion keywords
- 3 Steps to get 10,000 Visitors in 3 months
- How to create a link?
5. How to use Keyword Difficulty metric in Ahrefs
In Ahrefs there’s a metric called Keyword Difficulty (abbreviated as KD). I don’t have access to Ahrefs; however, I use a similar tool called Ubersuggest that will provide you with the same type of information that was described in the lesson.
For this example, I searched for: “How to target the right keyword” and Ubersuggest that in order to rank in the Top 10 for the average web page that you need 1,344 backlinks and a domain authority of 73 (for that particular keyword).
To make your decision on the keyword that you use you should always review the top-ranking pages.
Ubersuggest uses a field like Ahrefs KD called the SEO Difficulty Score (abbreviated as SD in other reports). It just depends on your matter of preference.
I personally skimmed past this part of the lesson because I don’t have Ahrefs and I alternately use Ubersuggest and Keysearch to look up my keyword research.
If you’re still reading this post, I challenge you on your next post that we’ll go out of our comfort zone, use Keysearch to look up the traffic, and then determine which focus keyword to use for the article based on the highest traffic results for “targeted” keywords.
For example, I’ve written nearly 1/3 of this post already. But to truly get a better ranking potential for our posts it’s necessary to do keyword research.
We’re done with Lesson #3 and we’ll moving to the next lesson How to find great content ideas with high business value. So far I’ve gotten a lot out of these lessons and I hope that you are too. I’ve skimmed the contents for lesson 4 and I’m already excited about what lays ahead to help grow our blogs.
This is the 2nd day that I’ve been working on this post. Considering that the length of the course has ten (10) lessons and I haven’t even started on lesson #4 I’m taking a much needed break before I continue with the rest of the lessons. That way you’re getting the best of my input and today I’ve already invested five hours into updating post (just for one additional lesson).
The thing I’m walking away from with the lessons in this course is that you don’t have to publish often, so I’m taking that to the bank and taking the necessary time to properly write this post and then promote it on Facebook and Pinterest. Creating Pinterest pins is the fun part for me and this course will be inundated with a plethora of pins that I can create.
Lesson 4: How to find great content ideas with high business value
In lesson 4, there are five principal lessons:
- How to discover great content ideas by studying your niche
- How to generate keyword ideas using keyword research tools – 5:12
- How to find keywords that your competitors are ranking for – 4:46
- How to find low-hanging content ideas from all over the web – 2:58
- How to prioritize your list of content ideas – 4:18
1. How to discover great content ideas by studying your niche
In this lesson, you’re provided with four great sources of content to last a year or so. In addition, there will be a discussion about prioritizing your blogging ideas.
I personally didn’t enjoy this lesson and I want to be able to take away at least one thing from all of the lessons. So, the one takeaway from this lesson is that for your niche you should:
- Find niche communities
- Browse those niche communities for relevant content ideas
- Research your ideas for search traffic potential
The challenge provided to you in this lesson from the creator of the post is to look for at least 3 cool article ideas before you move to the next lesson.
2. How to generate keyword ideas using keyword research tools
There are tools to help you study what people are searching for in Google. I was very surprised that the go to answer is not what I was expecting. I had expected to see something like Keysearch or Ubersuggest. In it’s place was Answer the Public. I’ve used this before and it does give a lot of information but it’s extremely hard to read so I was surprised that it was one of their top recommendations of the lesson.
The main difference between Ubersuggest (that I like to use) and Answer the Public is that Ubersuggest does not focus on questions (whereas Answer the Public does). Another keyword research program that provides questions and is usually the #1 program that turn to for advice is Keysearch.
I like to use CanIRank but the CanIRank AI program is better suited for when you’ve already published your post (not prior). So, in that respect, CanIRank can help you get better Google rankings.
I really like the Ahrefs keyword research platform; however, with already having two keyword programs and Ahrefs at a cost of $99.00/mo. for the low-end plan there’s a lot of programs out there on the Internet to generate getting keyword ideas.
3. How to find keywords that your competitors are ranking for
As a blogger you should know who you’re competing against. To see the top performing pages of any competitor you can use the free version of Ahrefs Webmaster Tools and use the feature called Top Pages which I wrote about in my post called Free Ahrefs to improve your SEO – In this post, Free Ahrefs to improve your SEO we’ll be examining how you can use the free alternative to get just as good results from Ahrefs in their free alternative program called Ahrefs Webmaster tools.
That way you’re saving yourself a bunch of money but getting some of the main benefits that Ahrefs a leading SEO report has to provide for your site’s SEO overview and for free.
This is a great free SEO tool that’s only accessible to website owners. Where you get many of the advantages of the premium Ahrefs program to improve your SEO.
In Ahrefs Webmaster Tools you’ll be selecting Organic Search > Top pages.
If you’re using Ubersuggest, I wrote a post that describes how to find your competitors with Ubersuggest that’s called easy link building opportunities in 3 minutes. I was looking around on the Internet for my next SEO blog post to write and this post, easy link building opportunities in 3 minutes was created when I came across one of Neil Patel’s videos that he named, “These are the easiest link building opportunities.”
4. How to find low-hanging content ideas from all over the web
This part of the lesson is good to watch if you own Ahrefs. If you own Ahrefs this is a worthwhile lesson that shows you how to apply filters to narrow down items within a niche to create possible content ideas for your future blog posts.
I’m getting a little off topic here but in this lesson they mention domain rating (which is slightly different than domain authority score). They both serve same the purposes as an indicator to you if your properly using your SEO the correct way. In a post called “Domain Rating vs Domain Authority – What’s The Difference?” you’ll be able to see the difference between the two. Basically, it boils down to Domain Authority (DA) score = Moz and Domain Rating = Ahrefs and there both SEO metrics.
How To Check your DA and DR Scores
- DA – Use MOZ’s Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool. Enter your website’s URL and click on Analyze Domain.
- DR – Use the Ahrefs Website “Authority” Checker. Enter your website’s URL and click on Check website authority. Don’t forget to complete the CAPTCHA.
The metric I currently track is my Domain Authority (DA) Score which doesn’t fluctuate very much because it gets updated on a monthly basis. It’s important to measure your SEO and in this post called 7 Ways for How to Measure your SEO I’ll provide you with some of the best ways to measure your SEO. I’ll also be providing you with SEO metrics and the SEO Tools to measure those important metrics.
I cursory skimmed the rest of the lesson syllabus and didn’t see any mention of setting SEO goals so here’s a good place that I’d also like to introduce that while we’re talking about measuring your SEO you also need to establish SEO goals so that you’re able to measure it in the first place.
In my PinArtwork post called How to set SEO Goals, that particular post is a round up post focusing on setting your SEO Goals. In Step 2 of my post, Ultimate SEO Roadmap to Learning SEO one of the 10 process steps is Learn to Execute an SEO process and within that, there are: setting SEO Goals, Measuring SEO, Reporting SEO and SEO Process Management.
In addition, I want to put a lot of stress on what Ahrefs calls the SEO Goal Pyramid which is more than simply getting more traffic. It’s the SMART way to set your SEO goals. This post will provide you with the SEO goals and objectives and provide SEO SMART goals examples.
5. How to prioritize your list of content ideas
A field that you should add to your blog content spreadsheet (if you use one) is one called business value (so that you can make a profit from your blog). This method is how you can grow your blog monetarily as mentioned before in the three main customer acquisition channels.
You need to ask yourself the following question?
“What are the chances that a person, looking for that thing in Google and reading my article on that topic would become my customer?”
I personally didn’t see a lot of value in tracking yet another field, so I didn’t refer to the scoring mechanism that’s recommended for the four types of business values that are mentioned in the lesson.
Now that I’m taking a second look at the question that you need to ask yourself (see above) that’s how you can take advantage of affiliate links when you write your posts.
Lesson 5: How to optimize your article for a target keyword and generate maximum search traffic with it
- What is “searcher intent” and how to match it – 5:59
- How to optimize your article for a given keyword – 4:46
- How to squeeze maximum search traffic out of your article – 2:58
- How to perform an SEO audit of your published content – 4:18
1. What is “searcher intent” and how to match it
It was difficult for me to wrap my head around this lesson. But one thing that is important to make note of is that when you write your articles and select your keywords, your keywords should be relational to your searcher’s intent.
Don’t try to trick Google and optimize your article for something that isn’t relative to the post (writing in that fashion can easily result in your visitors bouncing and not coming back).
“You should pick the most relevant search query even if the search volume seems low.”
Here are some guidelines that you should ask yourself:
2. How to optimize your article for a given keyword
This goes back to the previous lesson that talks about using the right searcher intent. If you’ve been following the advice from their lesson and you’re “nailing the searcher intent with your content you automatically do 80% of all optimization work.” Think about it, you wouldn’t have to do that much extra work other than adding your keyword in a few places and you’re done. For effective On-Page SEO you should use the targeted keyword in the: URL, Title, Headline, and Content.
“Further refining your On-Page SEO as mentioned above will move the needle by another 10%.
The foundation of your success in search is the actual content not the SEO enhancements that you apply to it.
To win in the search results today you need to be an authority and expert on the topics on which you are writing.”
3. How to squeeze maximum search traffic out of your article
One important thing that you need to realize is that pages don’t rank in Google for single keywords only.
Creating in-depth content in the long run is a worthwhile goal to bring more traffic to your website.
Now what you don’t want to do is to stuff your articles with every variation of keywords that you can think of (that’s called Keyword stuffing and can get you penalized by Google). Instead, think of natural ways that you can write your article using those keywords within your post.
The gist of this lesson is that you need to study the things that people are searching for. Then expand your article based on the knowledge that you’ve gained by doing keyword research.
4. How to perform an SEO audit of your published content
The last segment of lesson 5 mentions performing an SEO audit on your “published” content. If you’re looking for a quick win the best thing that you can do is audit your content that you already have on your blog.
The reasons behind this are listed below:
- Your published articles may already have some backlinks
- Your competitors probably don’t bother with updating their old content
- This is the prominent one that I’ve shown the most growth in making my blog posts ran because your articles may be targeting the wrong keyword. By slightly changing the primary focus keyword can make a huge difference. Especially if it’s one that has a lot of volume. As mentioned earlier “volume” is an SEO prediction of how much traffic to expect.
How to audit your existing content (according to Ahrefs):
- Go through every published article that you have
- Assign it one of the three groups mentioned below
- Group 1: Update – Articles that already bring you some traffic from search
- Group 2: Merge – It doesn’t make sense to have multiple articles on the same topic. The suggestion is to merge duplicate articles.
- Group 3: Delete – this is the one is optional, and you make be inclined not to delete it.
Articles to delete are the ones that are outdated or don’t bring any search traffic.
A huge mistake that many new bloggers and other bloggers make is that they never bother improving their top performing articles.
We’re not at the halfway point, five lessons have been completed and there are five more lessons to complete. I’m methodically going through each of the lessons so that I can gather all the notes from this course collectively together.
For your information the rest of the course is going to go a lot faster because in the next few lessons most of them consist of three parts.
Lesson 6: How to create great content that promotes itself
In lesson 6, there are three principal lessons:
- Why your content has to be great – 4:50
- How to create content that people will care to read and share with others – 7:15
- How to create unique content that will stand out – 3:45
Much of the prior discussion has been about keyword research (discovering great topics) and we’re starting to move into the promoting content (building backlinks). But there’s something that lies between the two which is creating great content. A quick recap of one of things to learn in this section is that great content promotes itself, but awful content is awfully hard to promote.
It’s necessary to promote your blog and what’s recommended is to be active everywhere where your target audience is hanging out.
The single best way to conquer an audience is to make your content as awesome as possible!
A few ingredients that will make your content great are:
- Uniqueness and
Invest time to put into your headline because you don’t have much of a chance to impress people by a few words that are within your headlines. Those few words are the things that make the difference for people to click on your content.
There’s three things that you can focus on to help learn how to create unique content:
- Say something that hasn’t been said before
- Find a new angle
- Try to explain that topic better
If you want to create great content, you need to be a journalist.
The thing that predominately stands out in this part of the lesson is that people want to learn from authorities.
Lesson 7: How to create link-worthy content (and stop worrying about link building)
- Do you always need backlinks to rank? 7:13
- How to create content that attracts backlinks 5:26
- The rarely mentioned “secret” to acquiring backlinks 3:56
1. Do you always need backlinks to rank?
You necessarily don’t always need backlinks to rank. Some of the factors behind it is are there other websites competing for the same keyword. It’s possible to rank in Google “without backlinks”. In order to do that though 3 (three) requirements should be met which are:
- Lack of pages on that topic in Google
- Top 10 ranking pages should have 0 backlinks pointing at them
- You should have a high Domain Rating
The point is that in the “majority” of cases that you WILL need backlinks pointing directly at your page in order for it to rank in Google.
In the next lesson we’re going to be looking at in SEO a specific type of content called “linkable content” which is also referred to as: linkbait, link-worthy pages, or linkable assets. I’ve never heard of these terms before but that’s why we’re learning this stuff to grow our SEO knowledge.
2. How to create content that attracts backlinks
Great content attracts backlinks. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s shared with others. Link acquisition is a hard nut to crack because it usually requires that own a website and not everyone has that at their disposal which makes it hard to attract backlinks.
If you want backlinks here’s what you need to do for your readers (see the image below):
There are four things that people enjoy sharing which are: 1) Emotion, 2) Utility, 3) Numbers, and 4) Stories. Below the four factors that were just discussed are broken down a little further to provide some examples of each of the factors:
By studying your competitors you’ll be able to tell and study what category that they belong to and how they are getting their backlinks. Just plug their site into Ahrefs Site Explorer, go to Best by links report and look for patterns.
Three posts that are recommended to learn how to get backlinks are listed below:
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On — by Jonah Berger
- Deconstructing Linkbait: How to Create Content That Attracts Backlinks
- 6 Linkable Asset Types (And EXACTLY How to Earn Links With Them)
2. The rarely mentioned “secret” to acquiring backlinks
In this lesson you learn that 30% of backlinks are “natural” backlinks by a poll that Ahrefs created on Facebook. Their definition of a “natural” backlink is if “you didn’t make any effort to connect with the linking website or any person, associated with it.
The secret to acquiring tons of backlinks is thus: “You can acquire tons of natural backlinks by broadcasting your content to a big audience of your fans.”
In the next lesson we’ll be examining how to promote your content so that it reaches larger audiences.
Lesson 8: How to promote your content & make it rank high in Google
- Four common mistakes of content promotion 12:25
- The best content promotion strategies reviewed 6:31
- How to compete with the “big guys” in Google search results 3:04
1. Four common mistakes of content promotion
For the vast majority of bloggers if asked the question, What goal do you have in mind when promoting your content? The “usual” vast majority goal is: Get as much traffic as possible to a newly published article. In this course we learn that’s not the ultimate goal. Because that’s the case of focusing on short-term traffic which leads to what was described earlier at the top of the post called the Spike of hope.
As mentioned earlier and bears repeating, if you want your blog to grow – you need to focus your efforts on building passive consistent traffic!
An alarming stat written by Ahrefs is a post called How long does it take to rank in Google? (A study by Ahrefs) is that only 5.7% of the articles reach the front page of Google for at least a single keyword. This means that 94.3% of all newly published pages never reach the front of Google. Part of the reason behind is that most people rely on an approach that Ahrefs refers to as the “Publish & Pray” approach.
Simply put, they publish the page and pray that their pages in Google will rank all by themselves.
Therefore, your primary content promotion goal should be: Build quality backlinks to your content so that it will start ranking in Google.
A “typical” content promotion checklist consists of just these factors:
☒ Send a newsletter to e-mail subscribers
☐ Post on social networks
☐ Submit to Reddit and any relevant forums & communities
☐ Reach out to everyone who was mentioned in the article
I’m not saying everyone stops there, but the mistake of many bloggers is that they finish this part of their promotion checklist and then they move on the “next “ blog post. That’s a big mistake.
You should NOT quit promoting your article just because you’re out of the items in your content promotion checklist
What you need to remember is that:
Your goal is to rank high in Google
and get passive search traffic to your article.
There’s an old saying that 20% of your time should be spent creating content
80% should be spend on promoting content.
The philosophy that Ahrefs recommends promoting your content is a different strategy requiring
110% of your time should be spent creating content
110% should be spend on promoting content
And promoting it super-hard and not quitting
until it reaches the top positions in Google.
Earlier in the checklist we looked at etc. and here are some items to add to your checklist:
- ☐ etc.
- Submit to relevant Groups on Facebook, Linkedin, Google+
- Submit a pin to Pinterest
- Repurpose into different formats and syndicate
- Outreach: linked to articles on the same topic
- Outreach: published articles mentioning that topic
- Publish guest articles
At Ahrefs they only spend 50% of the time and efforts on creating new content. The other remaining 50% goes into updating the old content. Why?
- Make sure that your visitors are getting the most up-to-date information on that topic
- The mere act of updating your article with fresh information sends a positive signal to Google and often leads to better ranking.
2. The best content promotion strategies reviewed
I’m going to wrap this lesson up very shortly (because I want to wrap up this post and publish it) by saying that in this less on it looks at content promotion strategies that can be organized into 6 categories:
- Reaching your existing audience – join between 5 to 10 Facebook Group and become an active member that participates in the conversations. Be careful not to self-promote which can lead to getting banned in most cases if you overdo it.
- Reaching relevant communities
- Content repurposing & syndication
- Guest blogging (writing articles for other blogs) or HARO
- Outreach (don’t ask for links, simply reach out to everyone who was mentioned in your article) or who has published articles mentioning your topic.
- Paid promotion – (i.e. Facebook ads).
3. How to compete with the “big guys” in Google search results
If they’re a big guy in Google don’t compete with ‘em. Lesson Done!
Lesson 9: How to build backlinks to your blog content
- The best link building strategies for blogs 6:15
- How to get backlink ideas from your competitors 8:05
- How to build links via guest blogging 3:04
- Simple guest blogging “hacks” for better results in less time 4:28
There’s 40 more minutes of lessons to go through within the next two lessons and looking at the topics to be discussed we’ve already reviewed many of theses prior so I’ll be looking for salient points only in the remaining two lessons (9 and 10, that are broken down into 7 parts).
1. The best link building strategies for blogs
To quickly summarize this part of the lesson there are four (4) best link building strategies for blogs:
- Leaving comments (I typically use Facebook to make comments, but one of the new social platforms I’m going to visit periodically is Quora).
- Replicating your competitor’s backlinks
- Guest blogging
2. How to get backlink ideas from your competitors
A good technique that I’m looking forward to trying out when I take Ahrefs out for a 7-day spin is the capability to set up alerts for when a blog or a URL gets new backlinks and automatically sends you an email notification.
3. How to build links via guest blogging
These are advanced blogging techniques to build links through guest blogging. A good feature to use in Ahrefs is Content Explorer and there’s a walkthrough to narrow down to create a list of blogs that offer guest blogging.
4. Simple guest blogging “hacks” for better results in less time
The great idea that resonated really good with me in this part of the lesson for a to do list that you create is:
- Come up with 2 – 3 awesome article ideas
- Then pitch them to 10 – 15 blogs
(just don’t send all your pitches in one day).
Give them a few days to respond and then send the next batch.
If you get the green light to write a guest post, it’s highly suggested that you don’t put more than 2
(self-promotional) links in your guest article.
Wahoo, we got one more lesson (in three parts) and we’re done. But this has been so helpful to provide so many tips. I hope your enjoying this post too.
Lesson 10: How to build links & promote content via blogger outreach
In lesson 10, there are three principal lessons. This is the last lesson, on the Ahrefs video for this course there are three guest interviews. For the sake of wrapping up this post I’m not going to comment on the guest interview comments. Unless I see something that really knocks my socks off.
- How to use “Outreach” for content promotion 7:13
- How to find thousands of high-quality outreach prospects 9:59
- How to write ridiculously effective outreach emails 6:55
1. How to use “Outreach” for content promotion
What it boils down to is that if you want people promote your content and help build links to your site you need to do outreach to them. There are three principal ways to do outreach. The three (3) strategies / tactics are listed below. What all three have in common is that they require outreach to the bloggers.
- Influencer marketing
- Guest blogging
- Broken link building
In this part of the lesson, you’ll be learning about using Outreach for spreading the word about your content and landing high-quality backlinks.
If you theoretically send out 100 e-mails the stats are generally that:
- 80% will have opened your e-mail
- 30% will have clicked your link
- 10% will have e-mailed you back
- 0 tweets or 0 backlinks
These necessarily don’t indicate that you’ve failed in your outreach if they’re bringing traffic to your blog. For the best outreach efforts don’t use a generic outreach template. For the best efforts, you need to personalize an e-mail and tailor it to the blogger you’re contacting.
Outreach doesn’t guarantee results. It’s just the way it is.
For your e-mails don’t use a generic e-mail subject. You should create subject lines in your e-mails that would somehow reflect your outreach excuse.
2. How to find thousands of high-quality outreach prospects
In this section you’ll find how to find people that you can reach out to and use in your outreach efforts.
3. How to write ridiculously effective outreach emails
These are sample outreach e-mail topics s that you can use. But I personally wouldn’t use them. I would recommend using a personalized e-mail approach. The best thing to do is to make sure it feels personal and doesn’t look spammy. If you don’t have a compelling reason than don’t reach out to them. Your outreach e-mail should be focused about them.
Other suggested posts to read:
- Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing
- 7 Ways Businesses Benefit from Blogging
- What is the Purpose of a Blog and Do I Need One?
I hope that you’ve been able to benefit from this massive post. Please be sure to pin one of your favorite pins from this post to one of your SEO boards (if you have one). Thank you.