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People tend to connect with news sources they trust. As an author, you could be that news source.
However, building a large following is not easy in a world where so many voices are clamoring for attention. That’s why you need to leverage all resources available for you to stand out from the crowd.
One way is to claim your Google News author knowledge panel.
Google News author knowledge panels are information boxes Google displays at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user searches for an entity. An entity can be a person, business, organization, or event.
Information that appears in your author knowledge panel is pulled from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
This is Google’s data bank, which features a system designed to understand facts about entities on the web and how they relate to each other. Knowledge Graph gets information from several different sources across the web, including (among others), reputable websites, Google My Business (GMB) profiles, Wikipedia, and social media.
Whenever source information changes, Google also automatically updates the author knowledge panel. To display the knowledge panel, search engines:
A knowledge panel features content such as:
Giving users a quick glimpse of who you are and what you do is essential in helping you build a solid online presence.
Verifying your author panel account is one way that can help you reach your marketing goals. Here are a few reasons why you should invest time and effort in verifying it:
One of the most significant reasons you should invest time and effort in verifying and managing your author knowledge panel account is that it helps boost SEO. When people search for a query related to you or your brand, the first thing they’ll see on the SERPs is a knowledge graph featuring information about you and your business. Of course, increased search visibility results in increased traffic to your site and, ultimately, an uptick in revenue.
Another reason to verify your author panel is that it’s a great way to increase brand visibility. Because knowledge panels occupy a significant portion of SERP real estate, they offer unmatched brand visibility. Knowledge panels display all kinds of media, giving you incredible branding opportunities. From your name to your social media handles to key website pages, you have an opportunity to present searchers with all branding assets in one place.
Reviews play a crucial role in establishing your online currency. Unfortunately, not everyone will leave positive reviews about your brand or products. Negative reviews can tarnish your image. This is where an author knowledge panel comes to the rescue. Since it appears right at the top of SERPs, it helps establish trust with users, helping you with your reputation management.
Search engines are all about providing users with the best possible user experience (UX). Verifying your author knowledge panel helps do this. Fortunately, you also get to benefit from the positive UX as it helps drive traffic to your website.
Now that you know what an author knowledge panel is and the many advantages of verifying yours, you need to know how to verify it. Claiming your knowledge graph is critical as it gives you more control of the information displayed in your panel. Let’s dive into how you can authorize yours.
To verify your author knowledge panel, you first need to create a Google account if you don’t have one. To do this:
A Google account is one of the ways Google uses to verify your identity and your association with the entity whose knowledge panel you want to manage.
The next step in claiming your author knowledge panel is to search for the entity whose knowledge panel you want to claim. This could be yours as an individual or an organization’s knowledge panel.
The knowledge panel will appear at the top of the SERPs.
Once a knowledge panel featuring you or your organization is displayed, scroll down to the bottom of the panel. If no one has claimed that particular knowledge panel, you’ll find a “Claim this knowledge panel” button.
This will take you to a window where you will be asked to verify your author knowledge panel.
Clicking “Get Verified” will take you to a page where you’re asked to verify your identity using one of your social media profiles.
After successfully signing in, you can now start managing your author knowledge panel.
What happens when you search for your entity, and you don’t appear in a knowledge panel?
This usually happens when there isn’t enough factual information on the internet for Google to verify and add to its Knowledge Graph. As a result, it can’t generate an author knowledge panel.
You now might be wondering, “How do you build enough critical mass in Google’s Knowledge Graph for Google to recognize your entity?”
Wikipedia is one of the trusted sources Google turns to when gathering information for its Knowledge Graph. One reason for this is the strict guidelines Wikipedia has put in place to ensure all pages published on the platform are accurate and contain no bias. Therefore, being featured on the platform hooks you up to one of the most reliable sources of information on the internet.
One of the best ways to be featured is to build Wikipedia backlinks. The easiest way to do this is by looking for and fixing broken links on Wikipedia. Use a tool like WikiGrabber to find pages that have broken links or need a reference.
Another way is to reach out to an independent Wikipedia editor to create a page for you or mention you on other pages.
Granted, getting featured on Wikipedia can be quite an uphill task. If you want an easier route, you can consider Wikidata. This is a data bank that feeds structured data to Wikimedia projects. Since Google shut down Freebase, their open-source repository that powered the Knowledge Graph, it also relies on data from Wikidata.
Knowledge Graph also pulls information from websites. To leverage your website for building the necessary critical mass you’ll need, you must:
Investing in an optimized website and well-structured content is an essential step to getting information about yourself pulled into the Knowledge Graph.
Another way to build up enough critical mass to give search engines enough factual knowledge about you is to get featured in reputable publications. A few effective ways to do this is by:
The more you appear on the web, particularly on reputable and relevant sites, the higher your chances of appearing in a knowledge panel.
Social media has become more than just a way to keep in touch with family and friends. It has become one of the ways you can prove your identity online. That’s why optimizing your social media profiles and being active is a great way to increase your Knowledge Graph.
Creating content that your audience will interact with and share will help boost your online presence, powering your Knowledge Graph.
Getting into the Knowledge Graph is essential to the generation of your author knowledge panel. Do everything you can to ensure you give search engines enough factual data about yourself.
Doing so will ensure that you are recognized as an entity worthy of a knowledge panel. Also, make sure to keep “feeding” the Knowledge Graph with updated information. This is essential in ensuring your knowledge panel is populated with the latest data on you.
Before we wrap up this post, let’s briefly answer some of your burning questions concerning author knowledge panels.
While you can’t create an author knowledge panel for yourself, you can get one by being recognized as an entity by Google. You do this by increasing your Knowledge Graph on Google.
To find your knowledge panel, search for yourself on Google. A knowledge panel featuring all kinds of media and information on you will be generated.
Managing your knowledge panel involves you claiming and verifying your knowledge panel. Doing this grants you access and the right to manage your knowledge panel.
Once you have claimed your knowledge panel, you can edit the information it displays by clicking on the “Suggest edits” link. Note, however, that you can only do this when you’re logged into your Google account.
The author knowledge panel is a great feature that makes it easy for users to find what they’re looking for on the internet. If you can harness its power, it’s also a great way to power your marketing strategy. From driving traffic to your website to brand awareness, claiming your author knowledge panel is a great business move you can’t ignore.
Remember, keep creating content on various reputable platforms to provide Google’s Knowledge Graph with current information to display in your author knowledge panel.
What has your experience with claiming your author knowledge panel been like?
One of the most frustrating things about SEO is getting everything to work together as it should.
If you’ve done SEO, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There are so many little elements in SEO that sometimes it seems impossible for everything to work out perfectly.
Even today! I know I talk a lot about how “smart” the search algorithms are and how it’s virtually impossible to game the system.
However, there are still a lot of elements you need to pay attention to for your SEO to succeed.
Case in point: Page title tags.
Before you yawn and find some more sexy SEO topic to jam on, hear me out.
Title tags are one of the cornerstones of SEO. They always have been, and as far as we can tell, they always will be.
Moz explains, “Title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content.”
When it comes to low effort/big results, title tags take the cake. It’s such a small element, but has such a massive impact!
You know it’s important to create eye-catching headlines, but optimizing your titles also matters for SEO.
That’s where page title tags come in. They’re how your titles are relayed to search engines, and they’re an important part of any SEO strategy.
This is one of the few times when you need to write for both people and search engines, and that can be tricky. (Especially with headlines.)
In short, you have to create a clickable headline that also makes search engines happy.
Here’s the challenge: People have to like it. Search engines have to like it. Yikes!
Does that sound difficult?
Yes, it can be if you don’t know what to do. That’s why I’m going to break down my process step-by-step.
We’ll go through that process, but first, let’s look at why title tags are important for SEO.
If you’ve ever used a search engine before (and I’m guessing you have), you’ve seen a page title tag whether you’ve realized it or not.
It’s simply the headline on the SERP (search engine results page).
For example, if you Google “kitchen appliances,” you’ll see that one of the top results is from IKEA.
In this case, the page title tag is “Kitchen Appliances – IKEA.”
This is what both people and search engines will see as the title of your page. Often, this is the first thing they’ll see, and that’s a big reason why it’s so crucial to put time and effort into your title tags.
The point you need to remember is this: real people are reading your title tag.
They are going to respond to it. They will judge it. They will be compelled by it. They will be put off by it. They will learn from it.
Basically, the title tag is your page’s message to the world!
Title tags work with the meta description (the text below the title). In the case of the IKEA search result above, this is the meta description — a sentence or phrase that adds more information about the page.
I’ve written about meta descriptions before, but title tags are even more important.
Both the title and the meta description together give a brief idea of what your content is about, but the title tag stands out more.
There are two big reasons why page title tags are so important.
First, if you have a clear title that’s relevant to your page, both humans and search engines will see that as a sign of a good page.
If your title tag isn’t optimized, then people could skip right over your content, and search engines may determine that your page isn’t as good as it could be.
A second reason why title tags are important is they show up in browser tabs:
So when someone wants to find your page out of all their browser tabs, they’ll look for your title tag.
Title tags are often what people will see if your page is shared on social media. For example, here’s an example of a title tag on Facebook:
Can you see why title tags are so important? A good title tag means maximum visibility, while a bad title tag can sink your page.
There are three important steps to take to optimize your title tags.
Let’s dive into all three.
You might be wondering how writing a title tag is any different from writing a headline.
In some cases, your headline and title tag will be the same exact title. But there are some cases where they won’t be.
Check out this SERP result from Copyblogger:
It seems like the title for the page would be “How Content Marketing Builds Your Business,” right?
But when you go to the page, you’ll see a different title:
The title shown on the page is longer and more descriptive.
So why would Copyblogger do this? It’s most likely because the shorter title tag looks better on the SERP, and it takes less time to read.
The actual title that you see on the page goes into more detail, and that’s probably why they used it. They get the benefits of having both a streamlined title tag and a descriptive page title.
It’s a sneaky and useful tactic that’s the sort of SEO stuff I love.
With that in mind, here’s how to write a great title tag.
There are a few elements of title tags:
Shorter titles are easier for people to read and for search engines to crawl.
But there’s a better reason for shorter title tags.
If your title tag is too long, search engines will cut off your title with an ellipsis (…):
Ideally, your readers and search engines should be able to see the entire title tag so they get the best idea of what the content is about.
Google typically shows no more than 60 characters of the title tag. So if your title tag is 60 characters or less, you can generally expect that the entire title will show.
If you want to make sure, Moz has a handy preview tool:
This is a great feature that I recommend you use. Remember, keep it short if possible.
You probably expected to see something about keywords in an article about SEO.
For best results, try to put your focus keyword as close to the beginning of your title as possible. That’s so search engines (and people) will see the keyword early on.
Here’s a title tag with the keyword right up front:
Contrast that with this result that has the keyword closer to the end of the title tag:
One tip: Make sure the keyword placement is organic. It’s preferable that the keyword is close to the beginning, but it’s not necessary for great SEO.
Much like a headline, a title tag needs to communicate a benefit to stand out.
This is one of many reasons Google warns against keyword stuffing and boilerplate titles.
Your title tags are representatives of your pages, and you want people and search engines to know that your pages have unique, valuable content.
Make sure your title tag is related to your content. It should read naturally and grab the reader’s attention.
Keep in mind, you’re not trying to trick people. All you need to do is clearly explain the benefit of clicking on the page.
Often, the “benefit” is nothing more than telling them what the page is about! At this point, you’re not trying to sell anything. You’re simply giving them information.
Here’s an example that clearly expresses a benefit (ignore the jargon-filled, not-so-great meta description).
On the other hand, this title tag is plain and doesn’t explicitly state a benefit (they did a nice job with the meta description, though).
(Sure, Amazon probably doesn’t need to state a benefit, but your site probably does.)
Stating a benefit probably won’t do anything for search engines, but it goes a long way for human users who come across your site with a search.
Once you have your page title tag written, you need to set it as the title for your page.
The way you’ll do this will depend on what powers your website.
If you have a custom site, you’ll need to edit the HTML directly. (And it’s super easy to do.)
If you use WordPress, it’s also super easy.
If you use another CMS or host, it might look a little bit different for you.
Let’s take a look at each of these three different cases and how to create a title tag for each scenario.
If your site isn’t hosted on a CMS, you can edit your HTML to add titles.
First, you access the HTML for your specific page. I recommend checking with your hosting service on how to do this.
Once you’ve found the editable HTML, make sure you’re between the <head> tags.
(Note: This is an example code using Editpad.org. Your code will probably look different, and there might be extra code here. That’s okay––just make sure you’re only between the <head> tags and not any others.)
To create the title, use <title> tags. For example:
That’s it! Save your code, and your title will now show up correctly.
If you use WordPress, you’ll be happy to know there’s a super simple solution — it’s actually way easier than editing the HTML.
In fact, this method uses something you’re probably already using: the well-loved Yoast SEO plugin.
This is a powerful plugin that you can get a lot out of. And it’s great for editing your title tags.
First, if you don’t have Yoast installed, go to Plugins > Add New.
Type “Yoast” into the plugin search bar.
Look for “Yoast SEO.”
Click “Install Now.”
Next, click “Activate.”
Now the plugin is up and running.
To edit the title tag for a page or post, navigate to that content and open the editor.
Scroll down to the bottom of your post or page, and you’ll see the Yoast box, where you can edit the title tag and meta description.
It’ll also give you a nice preview of both your title and meta description:
If your title tag (or meta description) turns out to display differently on the actual SERPs, you can always go back and edit it in this section.
I know not all of you fall under these categories.
You might use a completely different kind of CMS, or your web host might have a different setup.
In those cases, I recommend contacting your CMS company or web host to find out how to access your HTML to edit your page title tags.
This is really a case-by-case scenario, so it will probably look different for a lot of you. However, you should be able to get an answer with a quick email to your web host’s support email.
So far, you’re two-thirds of the way done! Now you just need to make sure your title tag is the most SEO-friendly it can be.
We’ve talked a little bit about this already, but there are a few more steps you can take to make sure your title tag is optimized.
This is the step that most people miss entirely!
They think, “Yay. I’m done with my title tag!” But they forget that one of the primary methods of marketing and promotion is through social sharing!
Here are my best tips for optimizing your title tags for social.
The title tag can be a great place to include your brand, but if you overdo it, you could face some consequences.
Google suggests using your homepage title tag to include the most branding. Their example: “ExampleSocialSite, a place for people to meet and mingle.”
For most of your pages, adding your brand to the end of the title tag will suffice (if there’s room, that is).
Here’s how I do that:
You read that right: Sometimes Google will rewrite your title tags.
It’s crazy, I know! But why the heck would this happen?
According to Silkstream, “Google will automatically change how your title is displayed in the SERPs if their algorithm is under the impression that the page title doesn’t accurately represent the content on that page.”
So if your title tags don’t look good to Google, they’ll consider other factors, including:
Take a look at this title tag:
If you go to the homepage and view the source code (right-click and select “View Source” or “View Page Source”), you’ll see the company set the title to be something else:
Google rewrote it because they felt their revised title tag would help people more than the original.
The good news: If you follow the steps outlined in this article, Google should keep your title tags as they are.
If you do see your title tags showing up differently, revisit them and try to identify how you can further optimize them.
This is exactly like the Copyblogger example from earlier.
You can use two different sets of keywords in your title tag and H1, which organically enhances your SEO. Search engines will count the title tag as the “heading.” (Just make sure it’s optimized.)
Google explicitly says that “it’s important to have distinct, descriptive titles for each page on your site.” So don’t copy and paste your title tags.
If you’ve done everything so far, you should now have an optimized title tag! Finalize it and send it out into the world.
Title tags are the title of a page users see in the search results. They serve as a first impression and can encourage — or deter– people from clicking on your pages.
Title tags are shorter and appear first in the SERPs.
Pay attention to the length, use the main keyword the page targets, and explain what benefit the user will get by clicking.
Between 50 and 50 characters. Any longer than that and Google may truncate your title.
Generally just one. You can add a second if it is closely related and makes sense. Don’t keyword stuff; the goal of the title tag is to explain what users can expect if they click.
I know first-hand that SEO can be a headache., but it doesn’t have to be.
I’m all about demystifying SEO because I know it’s something anyone can do. Even if you’re a technophobe, you can do this!
It doesn’t take years of experience in digital marketing to get SEO right. You just have to learn the ropes and get used to it.
For example, creating page title tags is pretty simple. It might seem complicated at first, but once you take a peek behind the scenes, you see how easy it is.
If you’re not currently leveraging the power of optimized title tags, use this article to start doing that. It can be a game-changer and help your visibility on the SERPs.
Best of all, it only takes a few minutes.
What tips do you have for using title tags for maximum SEO power?
Internal links are a crucial part of a successful SEO strategy.
Small but mighty, simple yet complex, internal links help navigate users through your digital content and give search engine crawlers information about how your website works.
Internal links are found on almost every page on the internet. You’re probably already using them, even if you don’t know it. (Hint: there’s a few included in this intro,)
If you want to optimize your content for SEO, you need to understand how internal links work, where to place them, and why they matter.
In this post, we’ll dive into internal linking and cover best practices.
Internal links are links from one page to another within a single domain.
These are different from external links, which point to pages on a different website.
Every website with more than one page should be connected through internal linking.
Think of your website’s home page. In the top navigation, you likely have a menu that links to other internal pages. This could be your About, Shop, and Contact pages.
This internal linking structure is essential for SEO because it establishes a site architecture and improves your link equity.
Having multiple web pages attached to a singular domain improves your chances of being ranked by allowing search engine crawlers to index more content.
Internal linking is a simple issue of site design and architecture, and the search engines expect it. All websites have a design and architecture that keeps them structured logically, such as this common silo model.
Of course, site architecture and structuring can get far more complex.
But as long as you have a strong internal linking structure, your website will be crawled, indexed, and ranked by search engines.
Internal linking is one of SEO’s most valuable weapons.
Why? Because it works.
Google’s machine-learning algorithm has come a long way since the early days of SEO. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to game the system.
As advanced as the algorithm is, there are still simple changes that will give you an immediate boost in SEO without gaming the search engines.
Internal linking is one of them. It’s not a trick or a gimmick, and it’s certainly not hard to do.
Here are some of the benefits.
Google’s crawler follows link paths throughout the internet to find and index websites.
If your website has strong internal linking, the Google crawler has an easier time finding new content you publish.
Google’s bots regularly crawl the web for fresh content. If your content is woven together with multiple internal links, crawling happens a lot faster.
As a result, your content will get indexed faster, too.
Improved crawling and indexing can boost your SEO.
Take a look at where most of your website’s backlinks are coming from. You’ll probably see a lot of links that send users to your homepage.
When you compare the homepage backlinks to deep page backlinks, this is what you usually see:
Unfortunately, too many home page backlinks are bad for SEO. We call this over-optimizing, and it should be avoided.
What you want to see is the pie chart reversed. The majority of your external links should point at deep internal pages, not your home page. That’s because the homepage doesn’t generally include the type of detailed information users search for.
When a website doesn’t actively publish and promote new content, its link profile looks like this:
Most of the links on the website go to social profiles or standard pages such as “About” or “Contact.”
This provides very little SEO value to the site.
If you create a strong internal linking structure, you can boost the link juice earning potential of the internal pages, by creating clear click paths and indexation throughout the website.
Why? Because you are increasing the overall crawl priority throughout the site with better distribution of your links.
When your website receives a link to the homepage, some of the link value is passed on to internal pages.
This is often referred to as “link juice.”
If Page 1 then links to Page 2, the “link juice” flows from Page 1 to Page 2, helping it rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP).
The more tightly-knit a website’s structure (through internal linking), the better the overall site will perform in search.
An internal link is a simple string of HTML that links one website page to another. It looks like this:
<A HREF = “http://www.example.com/internalpage“> an article on cat food </A>
When you create an internal link with anchor text, as opposed to with an image or navigational text, however, the value of the internal link goes up.
Anchor text improves the value of the link by adding keywords and content to the linking process. Google isn’t just looking at an A HREF tag. They are also looking at the anchor text that is part of that link.
The days of keyword stuffing anchor texts are long gone. But, there is value in optimizing your internal anchor text.
Anchor text that flows well with the overall content, versus over-optimized anchor text, is best.
This is the most important point of all. Internal linking is an SEO technique, yes. But, it’s more than that.
Ultimately, internal linking is useful for users.
Think about it this way: When you’re researching a topic, do you check one source or multiple?
Do you enjoy exploring other content that reinforces your understanding of the topic?
Maybe, you just like the writing style of the article you’re reading and want to read more work by the same author.
Internal linking on a site increases the value of each piece of content by backing up claims and leading the user to related information.
While it may not drive conversions directly, internal linking does have a place within the marketing funnel—carrying people to a target destination.
As an added bonus, you can help readers stay on your site longer and increase their trust in you by using internal linking.
SEO is about user optimization, not just technical tweaks and sneaky tricks.
Even if you don’t care about the technical value of internal linking, at least do it for your users.
Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. How do you do internal linking? What’s the best method for creating the biggest value with links?
There are two things you need in place first:
Okay, let’s get into it.
The best internal links are those that connect one article to another. This creates a strong internal linking structure deep within the site.
If you have good site architecture, you’ll have enough links to the site’s main pages, such as the homepage, About page, Contact page, etc.
You don’t need more links to these pages.
Obviously, if you’re trying to drive conversions using a squeeze page or sales page and the opportunity is right, link to it.
For the most part, I recommend creating links in and among long-form articles. This automatically spreads your internal linking naturally.
What kind of internal links work best?
It’s simple: Links with descriptive anchor text.
What do we mean by descriptive anchor text?
You’re familiar with anchor text, right? An anchor text is the word or words that link to another page. They typically appear as blue text to the reader.
Your internal links should use anchor text, but not just any anchor text will do. Include phrases that describe what the target link is about.
Here are some examples of strong anchor text:
If you wanted to link to an article about the 10 most important SEO techniques, you could do it this way:
Here are a few important SEO techniques you should be using.
If you wanted to link to an article about Google Hummingbird, you could do it this way:
Google’s algorithm has been updated with new machine learning capabilities.
Each of those examples is associating the subject of the link with relevant phrases. The first anchor text contains “10 most important SEO techniques,” which is the subject matter of the article you’re linking to. The second anchor text has the phrase, “Google’s algorithm has been updated,” and the linked article contains information about Google, Hummingbird, algorithms, and updates.
Here are three things not to do with your internal linking:
When you write a new piece of content, you should include five or more links to old articles. This is really important to your internal linking strategy and how the search engines review and rank your content.
Websites have a “freshness value” that Google detects and uses as part of its ranking algorithm.
According to Cyrus Shepard, “links from fresh sites [or pages] pass fresh value.”
Pinging old pages with a new link helps to boost its likelihood of increasing rank in the SERPs. In the eyes of the search engines, readers who follow your internal links are actually “refreshing” your older content by showing it’s still relevant.
However, be careful not to over-stuff your content with links.
According to Moz, search engine crawlers have a limit of 150 links per page. After that, they stop spidering.
Overstuffing your page with links could negatively impact your SEO.
Be sure to link, but don’t overdo it. This will help both the search crawlers and your user experience.
You’ll get the most power from internal linking if you combine it with another SEO technique—updating old content.
When you update old content, Google’s crawler sees it again, indexes it again, and may increase its ranking in the SERPs.
We always recommend updating your old articles regularly. Here is a good process to follow on your old blog articles:
Remember, internal linking isn’t only about linking new content to older content. It’s also about circling back to older content and creating internal links that connect to your newer work.
You’re accomplishing two things by doing this.
Now that you’ve learned so much about internal linking, you’re probably wondering where you should put your internal links?
It’s tempting to get lazy and throw them in at the end of an article: “For more awesome content, click here!”
Don’t do that, please. Or at least, don’t do just that.
Instead, look for areas in the content where the subject matter overlaps. These are logical points of connection to create an internal link. For example, you can add links to define complex terms or explain a related topic.
Think of internal links as a reference point that improves the experience of the reader.
Don’t add a nofollow tag to your internal links. Nofollow links do not have any impact on the search engine rankings of the destination site.
On top of that, Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across nofollow links. It won’t even crawl them.
While some data from Ahrefs has shown nofollow links can be useful when used externally, there is no reason to use them in your internal linking strategy.
Do you have pages on your website that convert visitors more than other pages?
If so, link to these pages.
Some articles in our blog have super high conversion rates. The content is compelling, and the CTAs are so powerful that users convert in droves.
We always make sure to link internally to these pages.
This is where internal linking has more than just SEO value. It can have revenue value, too. The more visitors you can drive to a high-converting page, the more conversions you’ll have.
Site navigation and internal linking go hand in hand.
Internal links define site architecture and hierarchy by creating funnels that direct users through your website.
Ultimately, this is an important part of your UX/UI and will impact how long people stay on your web pages and how often they come back.
When building an internal linking strategy, consider the most important content on your site and how you’re promoting it.
If you have a piece of cornerstone content that you want more eyes on, point more internal links to it.
The best way to have a healthy internal linking structure is to have lots of internal pages.
When you create lots of content, you’ll have lots of linkable content. The more links to the more places, the better your internal linking strategy will be.
Remember, simply having a lot of web pages doesn’t equal a robust internal linking strategy.
While internal links are essential to your website navigation, repeatedly linking to your homepage won’t move the needle on your SEO score.
Whatever your strategy, do it well and do it often.
Now that you know how to use internal linking correctly, let’s review some of the practices to avoid.
Adding too many links to your content can be detrimental to your score. Remember, Google does not crawl pages that have more than 150 links. It’s also important to note that your header, footer, and menu links are included in your on-page link count.
Don’t overdo it!
Keyword stuffing in anchor text is another internal linking practice to avoid. This black hat tactic was popular in the past, as SEO’s thought it would improve their chances of ranking.
These days, sophisticated search algorithms penalize keyword stuffing in anchor text. So, don’t do it.
Using internal links in header text should also be avoided. Links in headers signal spam to Google crawlers and can negatively impact your SEO.
Finally, be sure to check all of your internal links before posting them. Broken links don’t spread any link juice and signal to Google that your website is low quality.
There’s no set number, but 5-10 for every 2,000 words is a good best practice. Remember, Google won’t crawl pages with more than ~150 links, so be careful about overstuffing your content.
According to Databox, internal links can spread link juice from low-traffic web pages to high-traffic ones. That being said, it’s also important to point as many links as possible to your cornerstone content so it benefits from increased traffic.
Internal linking is a link that points to another page within the same domain. Internal links show up as hyperlinks, like this: Tips for building better evergreen links.
No, internal links stay within your website domain, they do not come from an external source. Backlinks are external links that point to your domain.
Internal linking is a core part of a solid SEO strategy. When done right, it enhances the user experience and can help you rank higher in the SERPs.
While internal links are part of any strong website design, it’s important to find ways to include internal links in your content to ensure you’re getting the most out of your content. Make sure to use optimized (but not over-optimized) anchor tags, and add internal links that provide users with more information about a topic they’re interested in.
What internal linking practices have you found to be the most effective?
In the past, link building focused on quantity, not quality.
Today? Link building is a different ball game.
If you’re building a link building strategy, it’s important to know that it won’t be instant. It’s a gradual process—at least, if you do it right.
The pages where you build links, specifically the quality and authority of those pages, play a key role in determining how high you’ll rank in search engine results.
This is where blogging comes in. You’ll get 434 percent more indexed pages when you blog consistently, and your inbound links will grow by 97 percent.
Beyond blogging, though, there are other proven ways to build the best links and raise your ranking in the SERPs.
This blog post will show you 13 fool-proof link building strategies you can put to work today. They’re especially helpful for busy marketers who have a lot on their plate and want to stay mindful of their standing with search engines.
Link building is important for search engine optimization (SEO). It’s one of the major factors search engines use to determine rankings, meaning who gets the first-page search result.
When deciding how to rank your website, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines look at how many links lead to your site (and the quality of those links).
The more high-quality, trustworthy, and authoritative sites linking to you, the higher your blog posts and sales pages will appear on search result pages.
Beyond that, links to your website help users find your site and can increase traffic and trust. After all, users are more likely to trust you if other sites think you know what you are talking about.
So, how do you get high-quality links from other websites? By following my link building strategies.
These are the strategies I’ve used over the last ten years to build up Neil Patel Digital and become an authority in the digital marketing space.
Experiment and find a strategy or strategies that work best for you and your business.
Is guest blogging dead? Yes and no.
The old way of mass guest blogging just for links is dead. You don’t want to post an article on a site that’s not relevant to your niche and has zero authority just to get a backlink.
That style of guest blogging won’t cut it. The search engines are smart and can see you’re not guest blogging to add value.
If you want to reap the rewards of guest blogging, you need to be strategic and authentic. Make sure you’re creating a unique piece of content for the other site (for example, a case study) and that the site is relevant, authoritative, and attracts your audience.
When you guest blog selectively, you’ll reap the rewards of higher rankings, increased traffic, and qualified leads.
Infographics still work today and can play a vital role in your link building strategy.
The good thing about infographics is you’ll continually generate organic traffic to your blog and earn quality links without even asking for them.
I found that articles with infographics earn 178 percent more links. This makes creating infographics a link building tactic that you can’t afford to ignore.
If you’re ready to create and promote your infographic, see the links below:
Social media networks have revolutionized marketing and can be a huge boon for your link building plan and guest post efforts. If you’re not active on social media, then you’re doing your brand a disservice.
Become active by sharing new posts, images, and updates. Help your fans find what they want to see by sharing it in more places using social media.
When you get active on social media, you can easily boost engagement, even if you’re new to it. Consequently, you’ll expose your brand and site to more people who could share your best posts with their target audience.
This will improve your link profile and bolster your visibility overall.
It’s time to start using resource links from trusted sites. A resource is like a guide that you create or compile for your target audience.
Some authority sites and blogs like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Jeff Bullas, Social Media Examiner, and Copyblogger have resource pages that you could tap into as you’re creating yours.
If a leading site in your niche has compiled a list of blogs in your industry, their visitors can more easily find what they’re looking for.
Here’s an example from Copyblogger.
If you can create an even bigger resource article than the one above, you’ll get more backlinks. You can expand yours to 25, 50, or more.
Here are some fresh headline ideas that you can model for your resource:
This kind of resource can be a great tool for a marketing team. After it’s written, get links through email outreach. Send a simple email to all of the people whose blogs you included.
I once sent emails to 30 bloggers whom I referenced in my resource post. Twelve of them linked to my resource page within ten days, and I got lots of social love.
Email outreach tends to work better than the typical broken link or link request email because you’ve linked to them first.
You’ve established a certain level of trust, and you’ve shown some appreciation to them as well. They’ll be more inclined to reciprocate your generosity by linking to your web page.
The broken link strategy may be the best way to go if you’re too busy to write content for your blog or a guest post.
As a busy marketer, I know you’ve got limited time to write content. That’s one reason why a large number of B2C content marketers struggle to create engaging content for their customers.
How does broken link building work?
This link building strategy is simple: Find pages on blogs with dead links (links that no longer work) and suggest replacing the broken link with a link to similar content on your own site.
If I linked to a particular web page from my Neil Patel blog and found the links to be dead, I could easily replace it with another relevant and high-value resource. If that high-value page belongs to you, that’s both search engine optimization juice and a valuable link.
There are several in-depth guides to help you understand the concept of broken link building and how to get it right the first time. You’ll find these resources really helpful:
One of the top link building strategies is growing your brand. Your brand evolves from your thoughts, then begins to express itself externally.
When it comes to link building that works, recognize that people will naturally link to you as your personal brand grows.
What do I mean by that? Let’s pause for a moment here.
While different definitions might circle through the marketing world, a natural link is a link that’s a) editorially earned, and b) organic in the context it appears.
It’s not part of a sponsorship or paid in any way. Often, a natural link gives credit where credit’s due, and it’s something every pro blogger should be after.
I’ve watched how powerful a natural link can be. Whenever I publish a new blog post, within 24 hours, I usually see new links from authority blogs.
Earning that comes back to the quality of your content and your brand. In a sense, your brand represents you. My definition of a brand is “your representative when you’re not there.”
I’ve been marketing online for over a decade. Throughout this time, one of the most effective strategies I used to grow my personal brand was consistent blogging. When you blog consistently, you get more attention.
If your competitors are ranking higher than you in the search engines, they may be on the right track. You can be there, too.
There’s nothing as powerful as spying on your competitors to know where their links are coming from.
Spying on your competitors helps you see what keywords they’re ranking for, where their best links are coming from, and what they’re currently doing that helps them succeed is called “competitive analysis.”
So how do you check your competitor’s backlinks?
Follow these steps:
When you know which sites your competitors are generating their backlinks from, you’ve won half the battle—now you can focus on sites that are yielding results instead of reinventing the wheel.
Now that you know where your competitors got their links, you need to answer the next question: How can you replicate their success?
For example, if you find several links are from related blogs, especially on the author profile, it’s obvious that guest blogging is working for them.
If their links are from corporate sites, your competitors are probably getting links through outreach and networking.
On the other hand, if their links are from high-value sites such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, CNN, Huffington Post, and the like, then you should know that a columnist or editor is likely involved, and this might be a paid placement.
Use Ubersuggest to help you focus on the links with a high domain and page authority. You want natural links from websites that Google (and the rest of your industry) already view as a thought leader.
If you want the right links, you’ve got to give first. Don’t be selfish with your posts by linking to your internal pages only. Learn to link out to other useful blog posts.
Link roundups are a powerful method of networking and a great link building strategy. All you need to do is create a list of blog posts from other bloggers.
How do you create link roundups?
First, find blog posts that are relevant to your topic. For example, if you want to compile a list of 50 blogs that deal with headline writing, you’d simply go to Google and try this search string:
intitle: roundup “YOUR KEYWORD”
You also want to pay attention to your traffic and current link profile. More blogs in your industry may be linking to your posts. When writing your roundup posts, start with the blogs that have sent you traffic.
Remember when you do a roundup post, don’t link solely to your internal pages. Site owners may not be inspired to link back to you because you didn’t use the principle of reciprocity.
Link to their posts, and they’ll be more likely to reciprocate by linking to your resource page.
Most people spend time and money to get new links, but they don’t track their status.
If you don’t track your backlinks, how will you know whether to build more or pause? You may have over 800 links pointing to your web pages right now, but when you check it after 30 to 60 days, some of the links might be gone.
You don’t have control over the blogs and authority sites that link to you. The site owners can easily remove your link from their post or resource page without notifying you.
This is why it’s important to monitor your backlinks.
If you’re not sure of the number of backlinks your site currently has, here’s how to find out.
Besides seeing who is linking to you, the backlinks tool also shows each site’s anchor text, DA, and page authority.
There’s also a graph showing your backlinks over time. This is useful to see if your link building strategies are paying off or if it’s time to try something new.
If you want people to take your content seriously, then you’ve got to write things that make people think. Create useful content, content that actually helps them do something, and the links will follow.
Content is the lifeblood of your online business. Whether you’re selling information products, like e-books or software, or you’re into physical products, like digital cameras and hard copy books, you’ve got to give people a reason to publicize you.
The challenge of creating content is frequency.
How often should you publish new content for your target audience?
Constantly bombarding them with one blog post after another may not be helpful, as it generally leads to information overload.
The real challenge is when and how often you need to publish new content for your prospects and customers. Some customers don’t mind if you posted daily, but it seems like a boatload of work to others.
This leaves you with two options:
You’ll likely get different responses from your email subscribers, blog readers, prospects, and customers if you follow the first option. This ends up complicating things.
The second option is a lot better. Instead of regularly creating and publishing new content, you can save yourself the hassle and create pillar content regularly.
What is pillar content?
According to Yaro Starak it is:
“A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice…This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight.”
When you start creating pillar content, you’ll no longer struggle to write and publish new posts every day of the week, yet your traffic will grow.
Instead, you’ll bring in traffic from users and other sites that are interested in the valuable content you’ve created.
If you want to increase conversion rate, generate organic and referral traffic and improve your search rankings, spend more time creating pillar content. It’s a great way to improve your link profile.
You could format your content pillar using the “how-to” style, as in this example from Yaro Starak:
Alternatively, you could make your post a top list, like this one from Wordtracker.com:
Link reclamation is a popular topic in search engine optimization and the social media world. You can reclaim broken 404 links and name drops that don’t link to your blog.
Check your Google Analytics for 404 pages that people link to, then point them to another active and relevant page while you fix the 404 pages.
Alternatively, you could just go ahead and fix your broken page to reclaim your links.
However, we’re particularly concerned about link reclamation through social mentions.
If you’ve been monitoring your brand and social media mentions using Google Alerts and not taking advantage of those mentions, then you’ve been making a mistake.
When you publish infographics with an attribution code below the graphic, your goal is to get people to embed the code on their blogs and link back to you.
How many of these people use your code or link back to the primary source?
I design and promote lots of helpful infographics. A lot of sites may decide to publish my infographics for their readers to enjoy.
They’re supposed to credit my blog, but what if they saved the graphic and just uploaded it to their blog post? How do I reclaim what rightfully belongs to me, the link?
Follow these simple steps:
You can see that Tomer Harel linked to my infographic page on QuickSprout.
Beyond infographics, you may want to know who is mentioning your blog URL. You can ask for the link once you discover that your name or URL was mentioned but not linked to your web page.
Editorial links don’t happen by chance. You create them by providing value. This is what Google has been after since the first Google Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and Mobile-geddon updates.
Editorial links are the most valuable and sought-after links because they’re freely given by sites that aren’t looking for anything in return.
The nature of editorial links is this: your content must be compelling before people link to it.
If all of your links are acquired or built manually, you’ll struggle to retain all of them, and Google may penalize you because you can’t be that careful all of the time. To avoid wasting time and effort, why not focus on producing great content?
Yes, I know that I’ve said it over 50 times in the past 30 days, but if it weren’t important, I’d have ignored it. I create high-quality content every day, and thousands of people link to it. My link profile thanks me for it.
To earn editorial links, you can start blogging with a strategy. Write content that will help people move from Point A to Point B. Create more tutorials and pillar content and make sure that you include accurate data in all of your content.
Read this guide on how to create better content that will earn you editorial links.
No. It’s changed from focusing on the number of backlinks to the quality of backlinks.
The practice of gaining links back to your website to improve your authority and search engine rankings. Common link building strategies include creating infographics and guest posting.
No, you do not need permission to link to another site.
Guest blogging is one of the most popular link building strategies. It’s all about creating quality content people want to link back to.
Use a tool like Ubersuggest to find the Domain Authority for websites that give you backlinks.
Your website’s link profile is one of the most crucial factors in ranking in search engine results. Remember, Google doesn’t care so much about how many links point to your pages, but rather about the experience you create for users.
Be smart and strategic about blogging, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and any other marketing techniques you use to build links.
Your real challenge isn’t link building, but earning quality, trusted, and natural links. That’s because it’s no longer about the number of links—it’s the quality that matters.
Follow these fool-proof link building strategies, and you’ll be on your way to building a successful blog that both users and Google will love.
Which of these link building best practices have you used?
You can get thousands of clicks to your site from Google News.
And, you don’t even have to be a journalist.
Smart bloggers, news publishers, and digital content marketers are already tapping into this huge resource for targeted traffic and better search engine visibility.
Google News is reserved for sites and blogs that publish timely, topical articles. You don’t necessarily need to be a news site but if you are consistently posting newsworthy content it’s possible to get accepted.
Danny Sullivan once said: If you aren’t a news site, Google News and its web crawlers won’t likely show you love.
But that isn’t a guarantee.
A major search engine like Google defines news as “newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events.”
If you’re at the forefront of your industry and reporting information that’d be of interest to your audience on a timely basis, then you’re a news publisher.
Google News is a content syndication platform that Google introduced to help organize the world’s news in many ways and to make it more accessible to its users, like a news XML.
Google News sends 6 billion clicks per month to publishers all over the world. Even if you get just 0.0001% of these clicks to your web site, that’s huge. Do the math.
That said, it’s a challenge in many ways to get your website indexed as a news publisher by the Google News sitemap file crawler and your articles indexed and ranked in Google News.
Let’s look at some of the best practices for getting added to Google News XML sitemap and how you can get real-time traffic.
If you look at recent additions to the Google News sitemap syndication platform, you’ll notice that Google, for the first time, is no longer 100% focused on news-related “current events”- type content. You can tell that just from looking at the meta tags.
It’s evolved over the years as a news sitemap, leveling the playing field for bloggers, content creators, and news publishing experts. This evolution may not be obvious from the search term headlines but the content reveals this expansion.
However, the principles of good journalism haven’t been discarded by this major search engine. Google still cares about the style and substance of articles, especially as part of its XML. Good journalism is all about being honest and as objective as possible.
Why do you think the Google XML sitemap crawls, indexes, and publishes third party website content from CNN, BBC, Techcrunch, The Wall Street Journal and others in its search results?
One of the reasons is because these sites are true news publishers and adhere to strict standard journalism practices. They’re transparent and they adhere to the same professional standard. Just take a look at their search history and you can see they take their news seriously.
To be included in news XML’s your reporting must be original, honest, and well-structured with quality anchor texts, meta tags, and an authoritative voice.
Standard journalism is all about investigation and not just about search engine optimization. So, you should be able and ready to investigate a story and authenticate it, before reporting it.
For your story to strike a chord with editors, who will in turn syndicate it at Google News, PBS recommends that you present information from the most to the least important content points.
There’s an established application process to get your stories featured on the XML sitemap of Google News. But, before you apply, follow these guidelines:
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your stories are original.
A major search engine like Google doesn’t want to syndicate the same piece of content verbatim and it’s search algorithm will pull you up. You’ve got to make your story original with accurate data points from credible sources. Wherever you got your information from, whether it’s trawling through search history, sitemap files, or exploring web pages – make sure your sources are trustworthy.
Take a look at the Google News homepage. All of the featured stories are original content with credible sources. And, no site is ranked more than once for its stories.
Google is a credible company, a major search engine that is trusted by millions all around the world. Imagine Google reporting a story that’s false, it would be a metasearch engine disaster!
What do you think would happen to its credibility?
And, speaking of credibility, Google is equally concerned with Author Rank.
There’s no better way to become a reputable author than to write for other news and magazine sites. If you’ve never written for trusted news web sites, such as Forbes, Inc. or Business Insider, you need to begin.
Google knows that reputable authors and columnists don’t copy news stories from other sources which is why they get included in their XML sitemaps.
Instead, they go all out to get an original story. Famous authors who publish original stories over a period of time are given credit so that they can build “rank” and improve their reputation, no matter what online publication they choose to write for.
One way to get your story added to Google News quickly is to use a co-author who has a high Author Rank.
In Google’s view and when looking for inclusions on their news XML sitemap file, such an author brings a higher level of authority to your site and the resulting story is more likely to be original and credible.
To get started reporting news, you need original stories. The resource guide below will give you more guidance:
Your headline makes a promise to the reader. If you get it right, your news story will likely be picked up by Google and other journalists who can amplify the content’s reach.
According to Poynter, you should “try to keep your headlines straightforward and unadorned. Use concise and familiar words, if possible.”
You may be tempted to use numbers in your news story headlines. After all, users love numbers. But, if you’re going to use a “listicle” headline type, it should provide specific insights and steer clear of “linkbait” territory. There is no way that linkbait and lousy anchor texts are going to get you placed on Googles news XML sitemap file.
I’ve noticed that authority sites that report stories daily rarely use the listicle format or “numbered” headlines.
They simply write an accurate, clear and compelling headline. Let’s take a cue from Search Engine Land.
Just like blog posts, your news story headline determines whether your story will be syndicated by Google or not.
Here are some tips to help you write newsworthy headlines that are sure to appear in the search results and remember the same approach can be taken with your meta tags:
i). Don’t repeat words: The purpose of getting your website or story added to Google News XML sitemap is to get clicks and views from the huge user base. You don’t have to repeat words or keywords in the headline, as though you’re actively doing search engine optimization.
Here’s a weak news headline:
“How experienced investors can mentor about-to-quit investors”
Avoid this repetition of words like the plague.
ii). Use active voice: A news headline is a quick way to demonstrate what’s inside the story and will catch the eye of the search engine.
Don’t bore users or discourage journalists from picking your story. Avoid using a passive voice.
In the passive voice, the subject is receiving the verb. For example:
An active voice starts with the subject. With an active voice, you can say more with fewer words from the very first time. Brevity is an essential news publisher tactic that captivates the audience.
Using active voice in your news headline also helps to trim down unnecessary words. If you check Digg’s homepage, you’ll see that most of the syndicated stories have headlines written with an active voice.
Here’s an example:
The passive-voice version of the above news headline is obviously weaker:
iii). Write in the present tense: This is another important point to keep in mind when writing a story headline with the hope of getting it syndicated on the Google News XML sitemap file.
Even if the story itself or content is written in the past tense, the headline should indicate what’s happening right now. After all, that’s why it’s called “news”, and that’s what the XML sitemap is looking for.
Several stories on the Google News homepage are written in the present tense. Take a look:
iv). Know which words to capitalize: Have you noticed that not all words in a news story headline are capitalized? As a rule of thumb, capitalize the first word of the headline. You must also capitalize proper nouns.
On the Google News homepage, both title case and first word/proper noun capitalization standards are used.
If you use title case, don’t capitalize articles. So, for example, “Judge Rejects Kesha’s Last Effort to Free Herself From Dr. Luke” is correct, but if “to” were capitalized as well, that would be incorrect.
In adding sites to Google News, remember that a major search engine like Google can only include sites that follow their Webmasters Tool Guidelines.
If there’s nothing timely about your topic or story, it’s not news. It’s as simple as that. In journalism, “timing is everything.” Timely content makes it to the top, others get lost in the pages of the search history.
For your site to be accepted, you’ve got to write news-related articles consistently. Evergreen content just won’t work with Google News.
Aside from that, the major search engine Google also has specific types of content that they accept. In Google’s words:
“We generally do not include how-to articles, advice columns, job postings or strictly informational content such as weather forecasts and stock data.”
In the world of blogging, creating evergreen content is your guarantee for sustainable organic traffic. And Google rewards such content in its organic results.
But, that kind of content isn’t news, so a search engine like Google won’t syndicate it.
When you look at the Google News homepage, you’ll notice that the stories are timely – mostly as the events unfold:
Are you the only one managing your site? If you want to get added to Google News, you may need to make a change.
The majority of the news media sites that are syndicated on Google News are multi-authored. In other words, more than one person writes for the site.
Think about CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, New York Times, Huffington Post, and so forth.
These sites are updated every minute of the day, by a crop of prolific writers who are transparent and accurate in their reporting, it’s why they are so popular in the search engines.
You need more writers who can source for fresh stories, write about them and submit them within hours.
You may find you have to train good writers. You could start by hiring freelance writers, then train them on the journalistic approach that Google News and other media platforms and search engines require for every story.
You should also work to teach your writers how to follow your brand guidelines, especially if they are writing for you for the first time. Let them know the elements that should be present in a news story – the headline, the appropriate voice, the requirement for sources and the rules of citation.
Ideally, create an author page on your site, where you introduce each writer on your team.
Google will ask you for a list of authors who report stories on your site. In fact, you’ll be required to submit contact details for each author, when you apply.
Google is understandably strict about the content it considers to be news. Not every article is news-related.
Most of the time, it’s not about the story, but the context or angle by which the author covered it, this is why lamestream media can be so popular.
Since Google is passionate about timely, up-to-date stories, you need a way to prove to Google that you’ve adhered to its guidelines.
You need to establish authority with your blog. Authority, on the web, boils down to how many user-friendly sites and web pages link back to yours. Webmasters tool can help you check where you stand.
Let’s say that your 3-month old blog has been reporting timely, up-to-date stories as they unfold.
Another site (say, Mashable) has more authority than your blog and established search history.
Now answer this question:
If your blog reported the same trending story as Mashable, and both news stories followed the news-writing standard, which of the stories do you think that Google would crawl first, index, and offer a high pagerank?
Did I hear Mashable?
You’re 100% correct.
The reason why is obvious: Mashable has more authority in the search engines than your 3-month old blog.
Mashable publishes more timely content because it’s got the budget for a sufficient number of authors. If you’re a small business, you can’t beat that.
Building authority with your blog isn’t a straightforward thing. And, it definitely will not happen overnight.
You need to get off of your site. You should be everywhere.
While you’re building your Author Rank, by contributing to other trustworthy sites, always reference your story in a natural way. Ideally, use your branded keyword or story headline as anchor text to link back to your site.
The more authority sites you contribute to and get links from, the more authority your blog will get and the more you will show up in the search results and the search history. Your blog will build momentum gradually. Be patient!
Social media is equally vital, so spread the love. Get active on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
Don’t try to copy or mimic another author’s writing style. Find your own voice. Stick to it. That’s the only way to stand out from the crowd and get your news-related articles added to Google News.
When your content is unique and compelling, more people will click your headline, visit your site and take action.
But, when your news is like everyone else’s, you’re not making an impact. To the audience, there’s nothing in it for them. Consequently, they’ll leave.
Now that you’ve seen the possibility of getting your website and news articles added to Google News, it’s time to take action and apply.
Don’t be too quick to do this. You first need to create a path, on your blog, that a Google News bot or spider can follow to crawl your fresh stories as they’re published.
Google suggests that you add a Google News Sitemap to make this easier. If your blog is hosted on WordPress CMS, you can find Google News sitemap plugins in the WordPress repository.
Once you’ve installed one of the plugins, you can apply to Google News here. This will connect with your Google Console account, thus making it easier to add several of your sites to Google News. Be sure to use the webmaster tool to check your indexing status.
Does your site meet the Google News requirements? If yes, why aren’t you tapping into Google News for real-time traffic?
Google’s search engine is technically complex.
There are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of different factors taken into account so that the search engine can figure out what should go where.
It’s like a mysterious black box, and very few people know exactly what’s inside.
However, the good news is that search engines are actually pretty easy to understand.
We may not know every single factor (out of a hundred or thousand), but we also don’t need to.
I’ll bring it down to the basics with a simple method to please Google, rank higher, and bring in more website traffic.
I’ll also introduce some of the latest developments, like RankBrain, that help Google guess what you’re actually looking for (even if you don’t type it in).
First, I’m going to walk you through exactly how Google’s search engine really works so that you can see that it’s not as difficult to understand as you might think.
Google’s first job is to ‘crawl’ the web with ‘spiders.’
These are little automated programs or bots that scour the net for any and all new information.
The spiders take notes on your website, from the titles you use to the text on each page to learn more about who you are, what you do, and who might be interested in finding you.
That may sound simplistic on the face of it.
Which is no small feat, considering there are more than 1.8 billion websites online today — with thousands of new sites popping up every day.
The first massive challenge is to locate new data, record what it’s about, and then store that information (with some accuracy) in a database.
Google’s next job is to figure out how to best match and display the information in its database when someone types in a search query. Scaling becomes a problem, though.
Google processes over 3.5 billion searches a day, and that number increases every year.
That means the information in its database needs to be categorized correctly, rearranged, and displayed in less than a second after someone expects it.
Time is of the essence here, because speed wins, according to Marissa Mayer back when she worked for Google over a decade ago.
She reported when they were able to speed up Google Maps’ home page (by cutting down on its size), traffic leaped 10 percent within seven days and 25 percent just a few weeks later.
Google won the search engine race because it’s able to:
One of the reasons Google is the front of the pack comes down to the accuracy of its results.
The information it displays is more likely to match what users are actually looking for.
Think about it this way.
When you type something into Google, you’re expecting something. It might be a simple answer, like the weather in your city, or maybe a little more complex, like “how does Google’s search engine really work?”
Google’s results, compared to other search engines, tend to answer those queries better. The information was the best of the best.
This breakthrough came from an initial theory Google’s co-founders actually worked on in college.
Google’s co-founders were still at Stanford in 1998 when they released a paper entitled “The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web.”
Check it out — you can read the whole thing right here!
The PageRank breakthrough was simple.
Academic papers were often ‘ranked’ by the number of citations a paper received. The more they received, the more authoritative they were considered on that topic.
Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, wanted to apply the same ‘grading’ system to the web’s information. They used backlinks as a proxy for votes. The more links a page received, the more authoritative it was perceived on that particular topic.
Of course, they didn’t just look at the number of links. They also factored in quality by considering who was doing the linking.
If you received two links, for example, from two different websites, the one with the more authority on a topic would be worth more.
They also considered relevance to better gauge the ‘quality’ of a link.
For example, if your website talks about “dog food,” links from other pages or sites that talk about things related to “dogs” or “dog food” would be worth more than one talking about “truck tires.”
External links (links from other sites) are also more valuable than internal links (links to different pages on your own site.)
Before we go any further, please understand these concepts are over two decades all.
PageRank may have mattered years ago, but it’s evolved tremendously since then. So don’t worry about it explicitly today.
One of the reasons is because of newer algorithm developments, including RankBrain.
RankBrain was first acknowledged in 2015 by Google engineer Greg Corrado:
RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.
Google’s been working on this technology for years to help the search engine handle the massive increases in volume without losing accuracy.
The RankBrain secret sauce is that it uses artificial intelligence to continually learn how to improve.
So the more it processes new information or new search queries for users, it actually gets more accurate.
For example, in 2010, Google’s algorithm “might have up to 10,000 variations or sub-signals,” according to Search Engine Land. That’s a lot!
As you can imagine, somehow managing all of those on the fly would be incredibly difficult (if not impossible).
That’s where RankBrain comes in.
Generally, the two most important ranking factors are:
RankBrain, however, is still a main component. It helps analyze or understand the connections between those links and content so Google can understand the context behind what someone’s asking. This is often called semantic search.
For example, let’s say you type in the word “engineer salaries.”
Now think about that for a moment. What type of engineer salaries are you looking for?
It could be “civil,” “electrical,” “mechanical,” or even “software.”
That’s why Google needs to use several different factors to figure out exactly what you’re asking for.
Let’s say the following events played out over the past few years:
Google’s able to piece all of these random bits of data together. It’s like a bunch of puzzle pieces suddenly coming together.
So now Google knows what type of “engineer salaries” to show you, even though you never explicitly asked for “software engineer salaries.”
That’s also how Google is now answering your questions before you even ask them.
For example, do a generic search right now for anything, like “pizza.”
Now, what do you see?
You see the typical ad spaces up at the top.
However, the local results below the ads are assuming that you’re asking “where to get pizza.”
The Knowledge Graph on the far right-hand side is serving up almost every fact and figure about pizza imaginable.
RankBrain process and filters all this data to give you answers before you even ask them.
Change your search up a little (like this one for “pizza hut”) and the search engine result page (SERP) changes with new information.
Now you know how Google’s search engine really works.
While you don’t need to be an expert, understanding the basics like this can help you better figure out how to give your prospects exactly what they want (so you get better rankings and more traffic).
Here are a few of the big things to keep an eye on.
People type searches into Google to get an answer to whatever question they’re facing.
If they’re looking for an answer, it means they have a question.
If they have a question, it means they have a problem.
So your primary job is to solve someone’s problem.
In theory, it’s really that simple. If you solve someone’s problem better than anyone else, you’ll get better rankings and more traffic.
Let’s take a look at a few examples so you can see how this works in real life.
Someone comes home from a long day at work. All they’re looking forward to doing is grabbing something to eat fast and hanging out with their family or watching a new show on Netflix.
Before they’re able to throw a meal together, they try to run the kitchen sink and discover that it’s clogged.
It’s already getting late, though, so they don’t want to call a plumber. Instead, they head over to Google and start typing in “how to unclog drain” as their search query.
Then here’s what they see:
Way up at the top is an ad for a plumber (just in case you want to call in a professional).
Next up is an Instant Answer box that contains step-by-step instructions that Google believes has helped other people. So you might already be able to fix your sink without ever leaving this page!
Below that are related questions that other people commonly ask (along with their answers).
So all of this begs the question: How do you create something that can help solve a user’s problem?
I’ll answer that in one second, but here’s what you don’t do for the record:
“Keyword density” used to be an old-school tactic that was once relevant when Google’s algorithm was dumb and static. With RankBrain, Google has become a borderline genius.
So keyword stuffing like it’s 1999 will hurt you in the long run. As you can see, this is a terrible “answer” or “solution” to someone’s problem.
After saying that, there are a few places on a page that you want to pay special attention to.
For example, the Title Tag and Meta Description are used by Google to provide an official answer for what this page is about.
Those are the two elements that will also show up on a SERP when someone types in their query.
It only makes sense, then, that you should use the main topic in those areas so that everyone knows exactly what your page is discussing.
Do you want to see where that text is getting pulled from?
Simply right-click on a website to view the source code. For example, my homepage looks something like this:
You can see the title tag and meta description at the top of the code.
I’m also using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin to help add these extra fields on the backside of WordPress.
That way, all you have to do is write out the specific title and description in plain text (as opposed to getting your hands dirty with code).
Otherwise, the actual page content should be written for humans (as opposed to keyword stuffing to tricks or fool the search engines).
Instead, here’s how your page content should look:
I wrote an in-depth response to help someone figure out a solution to a complex problem (keyword research).
Even though it’s a complex subject, I was trying to give them a simple, step-by-step solution so they could fix that problem ASAP.
Google even takes website usage data into account now to determine how helpful your content is.
For example, let’s say that someone clicks on your website from Google and is turned off by the poor design or hard-to-read content. So they ‘bounce back’ to Google immediately to find a different result.
That’s a bad sign! Google determines you weren’t a happy searcher. So maybe Google will try to find a few other results to swap out with that one to hopefully make everyone happy.
That’s why I also break up the paragraphs and include a lot of images. The goal is to help people quickly find what they’re looking for.
I want them to read the page faster and digest the information more easily so that they’ll stick around longer instead of bouncing away.
That’s the key to ranking well in search engines. Give the people what they want, keep them around or coming back for more, and Google will be happier as a result.
Let’s go back to our clogged drain example to see how this works in another context.
Those are all pretty good results!
In each case, the person who crafted each page provided a detailed answer to a common problem.
Let’s zero in on that second SERP result, “7 Brilliant Ways to Unclog a Drain (Photos)” from Yahoo, to discover what they’re doing so well to hit number two on a big, popular search query like that.
This seems like it might be a good result because it gives us multiple methods to try, along with photos so we can see exactly what’s happening.
Let’s click on that to see what they provide.
Pretty good overall!
It provides the user with good, quality content to help solve a problem. The better your content does that, the more links or ‘upvotes’ it will receive when other people find it useful, too.
Links and other citations or social signals help alert Google. They tell the search engine that your page is on the rise and to start paying attention to your website for these topics.
Your page will get better treatment, move up in the rankings, be exposed to more people, get more links or votes as a result, and continue that upward trend.
That’s where the genius of Google’s process comes into play.
It makes people happy by giving them exactly what they’re looking for. When you do it right, it gives you compounding benefits that can take off all of a sudden, expanding your website traffic as a result.
Google’s search engine is one of the most complex technologies in the world.
It crunches a mind-numbing amount of data at lightning speeds to give people exactly what they’re looking for in seconds.
When you boil it down to the basics, search engines are actually pretty easy to understand.
They want to help people find what they’re looking for.
People use Google to find answers and solutions. They have something on their minds, and they want to find an answer that helps them clear the issue to move on with their day.
How Google finds and delivers that information is the building blocks of SEO, making it crucial to growing your business online.
Now that you know how Google works, how are you going to use this information?
What separates the heavyweights of the search engine rankings from everyone else? That’s a question every good SEO constantly asks themselves as they look to outrank sites that seem to dominate Google for every relevant keyword (like Wikipedia or WebMD).
Unsurprisingly, these sites have more than a few things in common. It’s not just their age or authority either—factors that other sites can’t hope to match. There are plenty of similar qualities that help top sites stand apart from their competitors that you can copy and improve today.
Let’s review five of the most important and surprising factors and explain what you can learn from them and how you can use that to improve your own site.
Let’s get the least surprising commonality out of the way first. The top-ranked sites on Google all have a serious number of backlinks. As we all know, high-quality backlinks almost always mean high rankings.
Research from Backlinko finds the first result on Google has an average of 3.8 times as many backlinks as the rest of the results on the first page.
The big boys have it made when it comes to acquiring more backlinks, too. They continue to get more backlinks over time as a result of their position in Google.
Research by Ahrefs finds that the top three results generate more new referring domains than the rest of the pages on Google. Pages ranked first and second get significantly more new referring domains. Those pages ranking first get between backlinks at a faster rate of between five percent and 14.5 percent per month.
It’s not just a large number of backlinks that are important. They need to be high quality, too. What does a quality backlink look like? It comes from an authoritative domain, is placed within its content, and has topical relevance to your website.
Let’s say you have a car blog. A link from another high-ranking car blog carries more weight and is of higher quality than a link from a major health website because it’s much more relevant to your niche.
You shouldn’t discount internal links, either. The biggest websites (and news outlets in particular) almost always put a lot of effort into making sure every new piece of content links back to several previous posts.
Great internal linking makes it significantly easier for Google to crawl your website and index your information. The easier your site is to crawl, the more likely Google will find and rank your content. They may not have the same power as backlinks, but internal links can still result in higher rankings.
All this is to say that you need to build backlinks in a scalable way if you want your site to compete with the biggest brands in your industry.
Most top-ranking websites are well known for the quality of their content. Okay, some major sites don’t publish high-quality content all of the time, but every high-ranking site does produce exceptional content, at least some of the time.
Don’t forget, high-quality content doesn’t necessarily mean it’s longer or more detailed than everyone else’s. It might contain unique research that other companies can’t hope to copy. Or it could break a story. Or it could be designed better. Or it could go viral. There are lots of ways to create amazing content.
Doing so matters when it comes to SEO because high-quality content helps boost several ranking factors. It’s a magnet for backlinks, it reduces your bounce rate, and it should result in a higher clickthrough rate (CTR).
The top-ranked sites don’t just rely on the objective quality of their content, though. They also take steps to optimize it to perform better in Google. That means including keywords in header tags, throughout the content, in the page title, and in the URL.
Creating high-quality content isn’t easy, especially when there’s no objective way to determine how good your content is. That’s the job of your users. That being said, there are still steps you can take to make it more likely your users think highly of your content.
The first is to make sure it’s written by an expert. This is a pretty simple task for some top-ranking sites like media outlets. Journalists, by default, are experts on certain topics. However, there’s nothing stopping you from writing about your expertise or hiring expert writers, either.
You could even use a strategy adopted by some health websites, where content is written by a professional writer and then fact-checked by a medical professional. Doing so has the double benefit of having content written by an excellent writer while also being medically accurate.
Top-ranking sites on Google put a premium on the user experience and do everything they can to keep customers coming back. This means having a great design, high-quality content as discussed above, an intuitive layout, and a great browsing experience in general. Yes, some of the highest-ranking sites may serve up ads on their pages, but they don’t ruin your browsing experience with them or use intrusive popup ads, either.
A great user experience is one of the reasons these sites are top of Google, after all. Google announced that user experience metrics would be used to rank sites, beginning in 2021. How your site loads, what it looks like, and how users interact with it contribute to your rankings, along with other factors like HTTPS, safe browsing, mobile friendliness, and the presence of interstitials.
Google puts such a big emphasis on your site’s user experience because it aligns with its goal of giving customers the best possible browsing experience. The search giant finds over half (52 percent) of users will be less likely to engage with a brand after a bad mobile experience. So why would it rank you if you have a high bounce rate?
Improving your site’s user experience and aligning it with the experiences provided by the top-ranking sites won’t just improve your rankings; it also makes commercial sense. Ad network Ezoic generated a 186 percent increase in earnings per 1000 visitors by improving the UX of a publisher.
You’ve never had to wait for the New York Times to load, have you? That’s because top-ranking sites know the importance of delivering content as fast as possible. Page load speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010, and Google announced it was also a ranking factor for mobile searches back in 2018.
Say it with me: A slower site means lower rankings.
You need to optimize for page speed if you want to mix it with the highest-ranking sites. It’s not so much about getting the edge over your competitors and making your site 0.1 seconds faster, however. It’s about having a site that’s fast enough to not impact the user experience negatively.
Research by Google finds over half (53 percent) of visitors abandon a mobile site if it doesn’t load in three seconds.
If you have a slow site, you won’t just get penalized for a poor load time. You’ll also get penalized for having a high bounce rate as users get fed up with waiting and choose a different site instead.
The easiest way to check your page speed is by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. It will let you know how fast your site is, give it a score out of 100, and suggest improvements.
If you want to have a seriously fast-loading page, read my advice on getting a perfect score with Google PageSpeed Insights.
Have you noticed how some top-ranking sites have several pieces of content that all seem to approach the same topic from a slightly different angle? That’s because they understand the power of user intent and the value Google places on it.
Google wants to serve up the best and most appropriate content for each query. A big part of that is understanding what the user is trying to achieve from their search. Are they trying to learn something? Research a topic? Make a purchase? Google delivers different results for each intent.
For instance, Google shows e-commerce pages where it thinks the user is trying to make a purchase, but it serves up blog articles for information-related queries.
Knowing what type of content Google thinks users want to see is key to becoming a top-ranked site, because you’re much more likely to get ranked if you create content that matches the user intent for each target keyword. This is why so many top-ranking sites have similar content targeting the same topics: to catch every user intent.
It’s not simply a matter of informational vs. commercial, either. There are dozens of types of informative content that users may want to access. In some cases, it’s a listicle. For other queries, a video may be more appropriate.
Taking time to understand the user intent for each keyword or topic you’re targeting can yield serious results. Marketing SaaS CoSchedule saw a 594 percent increase in search traffic when they aligned content with user intent.
They all have a lot of high-quality backlinks, great content, an excellent user experience, a fast-loading website, and content that matches the user’s intent.
This is partly because of the quality of content but also due to the fact that they sit at the top of Google. This makes them an easy target for people trying to link to an authoritative source.
Better content can improve your rankings in several ways. High-quality content attracts more backlinks, but Google also rewards in-depth content and results in users spending a long time on the page.
Google wants to provide the best experience to its users. Part of that means sending them to sites that are easy to browse. It’s why user experience factors are now ranking factors.
Use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.
Google the keyword you want to rank for and look at the pages that appear in the results. If all of the content has the same format, that’s the type of content you should create.
You can’t turn your website into a top-ranking site overnight. However, you can learn a lot from them and implement tactics they use to improve your site’s Google ranking. There are more than a few things they do in common, as you’ve learned.
Make sure you have a scalable system for generating backlinks, create high-quality content, focus on the user experience, ensure your site loads fast, and consider user intent when you create content.
Do these five things, and you could be well on your way to having a top-ranked site in the future.
What are you going to work on first?
Confused about Google’s core web vitals update? Not sure what it means for your SEO? Join my free live webinar on June 29th at 8 a.m. PST to learn more. I’ll cover what core web vitals are, why they matter, and what changes you need to make to your website.
When Google updates roll out, there are usually a few people who think that SEO is dead and the sky is falling.
The good news about the core web vitals update (and the core update) is the sky isn’t falling. However, there are a few changes you’ll want to make.
If this is the first you’re hearing about the core web vitals update, here’s a quick rundown:
In May 2020, Google announced user experience would become part of their ranking criteria. The factors they’re looking at include:
The goal, according to Google, is to deliver a better user experience, which is crucial to the long-term success of websites.
There’s a good chance you’re already doing most of this. However, the core web vitals gets a bit more complicated than just improving page speed. It also looks at things like the largest contentful paint, the first input, and cumulative layout shift.
These sound complex, but they aren’t.
These features look at how long it takes for your page to start displaying the most important elements, how quickly your site responds to user interactions, and how often layout shifts impact the user experience.
Essentially, Google wants to reward sites that are easy for users to use — which is nothing new. How Google decides which sites are easier to use has changed slightly, which is why marketers are paying attention.
In this webinar, I’ll cover what you need to know about Google’s core web vitals and the core update, including:
I’m really excited to talk about this topic and what it means for the future of SEO. I hope you’ll join me at 8 a.m. PST. Remember, it’s free!
Link building sucks.
It’s time consuming and hard.
But as an SEO, you have no choice but to build links… assuming you want to rank on Google.
So, today I am announcing a new Ubersuggest feature, that makes link building faster and easier.
What if you could only focus your link building efforts on sites that are highly likely to link to you?
Sounds great right…
Well, you can.
Just think of it this way… what are the sites that are most likely to link back to you?
It’s actually the ones that link to your competitors.
For example, if there were 300 sites that linked to 4 of your competitors, but they don’t link to you yet, reaching out to those 300 sites should create a large chunk of new backlinks for you. Because if they are willing to link to your competition, they usually won’t mind linking to you as well.
On the flip side if there are sites that don’t link to you or any of your competitors, if you hit them up, the chances are, they will ignore you and not link to you.
So how do find these easy link opportunities?
I want you to first go here. Then type in your URL and click on “search”.
In the left-hand navigation click on “Backlink Opportunity”.
In this report make sure you put your URL at the top and enter in a few of your popular competitors. As you can see, I put in Moz and Search Engine Journal.
Make sure you click the “+” button when adding each of your competitors and then hit “search”.
Within seconds you’ll see a report of who links to your competitors, but not you.
You’ll then want to drill down on each domain to see the exact URL that links to your competitors.
Some of the links may not be a good fit, such as the Google Maps page linking to Moz… unless you have a physical office location.
But others, such as the W3.org site, could be a great opportunity.
The example above shows you all of the people that link to your competitors but not you.
But it is on a domain level.
With link building, it’s easier to get links when you have a similar blog post to your competition.
For example, let’s say I Google the term “SEO”. Here’s what I see on Google.
Both Moz and Search Engine Land rank above me.
I can take the exact URLs that rank above me and put them into the Backlink Opportunity report.
When adding competing URLs to the Backlink Opportunity report, you’ll want to select “URL” instead of “Domain” so you can see who links that specific URL.
This is important because Moz and Search Engine Land may have articles around topics that I don’t cover. But their articles on SEO that rank above me are about SEO basics. And the article I have that ranks below them is on SEO basics.
For that reason, it is highly relevant to see who links to the pages that rank above me because there is a good shot, I can convince one of those sites to link to me.
Once you have a list of sites you want to outreach to, you are probably wondering… “how do I figure out who to email”, right?
Using Hunter.io you can get the email address for any site for free.
Once you have a person’s email, send them a custom email.
For example, for the people who link to Moz’s SEO beginner guide and Search Engine Land’s beginner’s article, I may send something like this…
You already know SEO is changing fast, hence you wrote an article on up-and-coming SEO trends.
But one thing I noticed is you didn’t talk much about AI and how it is going to impact SEO.
And the articles you linked to on Moz and Search Engine Land don’t cover that either. Yet at conferences, it’s one of the buzzing topics that everyone is curious about.
I actually have a few examples of the use of AI in SEO here [insert link].
If you think it’s valuable feel free and add it to your site. 🙂
Thought it would help your readers.
PS: By the way, I just shared one of your articles on Twitter… you can check it out here.
My outreach emails are very custom. Using generic outreach emails don’t work too well with link building.
When I send out 100 emails based on opportunities from the Backlink Opportunity report, I aim for at least 15% of the sites to link back to me.
Keep in mind I am specifically using the report to see who links to similar competing articles that rank higher than me on Google. It’s very specific, but that is why it works.
If you haven’t, go here and put in your URL. Try out the Backlink Opportunity report and tell me what you think.
Start off by seeing who links to your competition and hit up those sites one by one to see if they are willing to link to you.
It works… just reach out to 10 sites and day and do it for a month. You will see results.
So, what do you think about this new report?
What do backlinks, reverse image search, and your business have in common?
Your bottom line.
Sure, you can blog until you have hundreds of posts on your site, but it takes time.
Can your business afford to wait? Probably not.
This is where a backlinks strategy comes in. Not only can it help with boosting your domain authority (DA), but it could expose your business to a new audience who may want to buy from you if you target the right sites.
How do you find these sites? Reverse image search. When done correctly, you can use it to snoop on your competitors and find the backlinks boosting their DA and profits.
Here’s how to turn their backlink success into yours.
A reverse image search uses an image in place of a text-based query.
All you need to do is upload an image onto a search engine, and you’ll get a list of information. These details usually include:
While many people use reverse image search to check if someone is stealing their content, it’s a powerful tool in the hands of a savvy digital marketer.
I’ve used reverse image search to grow my backlinks by 26 percent, but it can do so much more than find unclaimed backlinks. When done right, it can give you the upper hand over your competitors while growing your authority.
Using reverse image search on your competitors is one of the best link-building strategies most people skip.
Not having any backlinks is a reason more than 90 percent of websites don’t get traffic from Google.
By uploading a photo of a competitor’s headshot or company logo, you can see at a glance where their inbound links are coming from and start building a list of backlink opportunities.
Why is this important?
Backlinks are a valuable Google ranking factor. The search engine uses links from other sites as a vote of confidence.
According to a study by Backlinko, the site holding the #1 spot on Google has, on average, 3.8x more backlinks than those in positions two through 10.
By analyzing where your competitors are getting links, you can determine what sites are helping grow their authority and get a slice of the pie for yourself. Getting those backlinks could help grow your traffic, build your authority, and potentially one-up your competitor.
For example, let’s say you’re competing with me. If you reverse image search my headshot, you’ll see results like these before the fold:
When you scroll down past this, you’ll see a few more pages:
If you continue to scroll through the results, you’ll see I’ve been featured on sites like:
These are all powerful backlinks helping me grow my domain authority, website traffic, and sales.
Ready to uncover those hidden link-building opportunities that lurk behind your competitor’s images? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
What photo should you use for your reverse image search to track your competitors? I’d recommend using a headshot of the person who would be credited as the author.
Use their LinkedIn profile picture. They’ll likely use the same headshot for their guest blogging bylines, just like I do.
In addition to searching for a competitor’s headshot—or if your competitor doesn’t have a “face” attached to it—search for the brand’s logo.
You can’t upload a photo on the standard Google homepage.
Click on “Images” in the top right-hand corner to load the reverse image search feature or go to images.google.com.
Next, click on the camera icon.
Choose the headshot or logo you downloaded in step 1 and click on the blue “Upload an Image” tab. Google will then return a results page that looks like this:
If we use the example of my headshot, you’ll see the first result points back to this blog.
Scroll down further, and you’ll see my author profile for CoSchedule. The blog has a DA of 57 and is a popular tool for content marketers. As a competitor, this is the kind of site you want backlinks from or to write guest posts for.
Having a guest post on a high authority site like CoSchedule could add to your credibility. You can use it to establish yourself as the go-to expert in your niche and get your message in front of your target audience.
Don’t forget to reverse image search your competitor’s logo! It can help you find opportunities to get listed on resource pages or niche directories.
Now that you’ve completed your reverse image search, you should have a master list of websites your competitor uses for backlinks. Now what?
It’s time to come up with guest post ideas, start pitching, and, when a site agrees to your guest post, deliver compelling content to drive traffic back to your business.
You’ll have a much stronger pitch if you have a few blog post ideas. Here’s how to make sure you come with content the website will love.
You don’t want to make the mistake of pitching a blog post that’s already on your target’s website or won’t add value to their audience.
Editors receive an average of 10 pitches per day, and 20 percent of them don’t thoroughly read 90 percent of those pitches because they can tell at a glance they’re not worth the time. Make sure yours is in the 10 percent that the editors read.
How? By thoroughly reviewing the website you’re targeting. After reading the site’s content, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Once you have a few topic ideas in mind, tie everything together with keyword research.
Presenting a unique guest post idea backed with a strong long-tail keyword shows you know how visitors reach the site and, therefore, can write for their audience.
Plus, you want people to read your post. Choosing a keyword with a decent amount of traffic ensures you’re writing a blog your target audience will find and consume.
Use Ubersuggest to find high traffic, low competition keywords. Remember to check your chosen site’s DA so you can target the right keywords.
I have an in-depth guide on becoming a successful guest blogger, but here are the pitching basics to follow every time:
Always check to see if the site has guest posting guidelines. If they do, follow them to make sure your post doesn’t get rejected. According to research by PointVisable, 22 percent of guest posts are rejected for not following the guidelines.
Hop onto LinkedIn or read the “About” page and find the exact person you need to email. If you can address the blog owner by name, you’ll have a higher chance of success than starting an email with “Dear Sir.”
Include your industry expertise, accolades, and link to other places you’ve been published. You want the person to understand you’re not a generalist. You’re an expert with something valuable to add.
Go to images.google.com and click on the camera icon. Upload the image and click on search.
Download or take a screenshot of your chosen image, then open the Google (not the Chrome) app on your phone. Tap the rainbow camera icon, allow any permissions it asks for, then tap the gallery icon. Select an image from your phone, and Google will display the results. You can also use Google Lens to take a photo and search for it.
If you’re using the Chrome browser (again, not the app), you can reverse image search by right-clicking on any picture and selecting “Search Google for an image.”
Yes. It’s a free tool you can access via Chrome.
As you can see, reverse image search is a powerful backlink tool. It can help you identify the best sites to target for backlinks and go after the sites giving your competitors results in their business.
However, searching for an image is only the start. Once you have a list of sites, do your due diligence and pitch blog post ideas to establish your business as the go-to expert.
Only compelling blog posts will get you the backlinks you need to rank higher on search, attract the right people onto your website, and into your sales funnel.
Do you think reverse image search is a good way to gain an advantage over your competitors?