How to improve Google E-A-T

Some actionable tips from a Clearscope webinar on how to establish E-A-T in the eyes of Google. This is an outtake from a Clearscope webinar.

Reference authoritative sources:

  • .org, .gov, .edu
  • sites with long-term authority (10+ years)
  • only update content if nature of the content lends itself to that (don’t just make minor tweaks and update the publishing date)
  • have trusted authors & trusted reviewers (especially in medical topics, money topics, etc)
    • e.g. author who has degree in that subject matter
    • have a author page that showcases authority, expertise and credibility
    • advisory board that lends credibility

Ahrefs Site Explorer Overview improvements + Titlepocalypse tracking

There’s a number of improvements Ahrefs rolled out last month, but my favorite is the new features you find in the Site Explorer overview.

For example, you can now see estimated paid traffic, referring domains, and number of pages in the top 100 SERPs, rather than just organic traffic.

Ahrefs’ new Site Explorer overview graph

In addition to that, you can also compare different domains.

Google Title Changes Now Tracked in Ahrefs

Google started rewriting page titles in their SERPs, which in the SEO community has come to be lovingly called the Titlepocalypse (yup, it’s mostly site owners who’ve seen traffic decline due to these changes that refer to it this way). Ahrefs will now monitor these changes and show when Google rewrites the titles. (I’m not sure how exactly they’ll do this since Google seems to be rewriting the titles also not just based on the page itself, but also on the query the user searched for, and other dynamic factors, but I’m assuming they’ll go with the most common one.)

Increased Search Traffic Estimations

They also did updates to the keyword database, the one I found most noteworthy is that they’ve reverse-engineered more broad matches, which helps make keyword estimates more accurate. You’ll notice increases in Ahrefs search traffic estimations.

Here’s a full roundup of their updates:

Free until 2022: Semrush’s new Backlinks Analytics

Semrush just launched a new Backlinks Analytics tool that they’re making available for everyone to use completely free until 2022.

Their backlink database is winning the market:

With their new backlinks analyzer, you can check out what backlinks your competitors are getting, find linkbuilding opportunities, and apply filters to slice and dice the backlink data based on any criteria that will be most insightful and actionable to your needs.

What’s more, you can export all that data into XSLX, CSV or PDF

My favorite tactic:

Check your competitors’ content that got the most backlinks and consider covering these topics on your site.

There’s a lot more I could say about this, but the best advice I can give you is:

Head over there and get started right away.

MarketMuse How To: Measuring Information Density

You’ve created a piece of content and want to gauge its information density? Here’s one way to do this in MarketMuse:

Take the word count of your piece of content.

Take MarketMuse’s Content Score.

Relate the two together.

If you find that content ranking in the top 20 spots in Google has 1500 words on average, and has an average MarketMuse Content Score of 40, you want to get your Content Score to 45 or higher (for the same number of words).

How to prepare for the AI-content world

AI tools are definitely moving aggressively into the content world, and there’s no doubt that soon, AI-generated content will saturate the web.

Right now the quality of that content is… well, nothing to worry about. But this will change as the technology improves. Ryan Law from Animalz shared an insightful article:

His take:

For many people, this next iteration of AI-enabled writing represents a potential process improvement, a way to speed up the content marketing workflow and get to a finished draft faster. For others, it’s an overhyped gimmick with limited real-world application, another marketing buzzword in the vein of Clubhouse and VR.

The truth is neither. AI writing tools mean that the marginal cost of a blog post is nosediving from multiple skilled person-hours to minutes spent in a freemium SaaS product. In the near future, any company with a modest budget and a functioning internet connection will be able to pump out truly mind-numbing volumes of content.

AI-assisted vs AI-generated content

There’s an important distinctin when it comes to AI content:

  • AI-assisted content is when you use AI tools as a jumping-off point.
  • AI-generated content is content where you push a button, take what the AI gives you and publish it.

Other interesting predictions:

Off-page ranking factors will become disproportionately important in response to every article containing the same remixed information as every other.

He then addresses the argument that “AI-content isn’t good content”:

I agree—but this is also how the vast majority of the web’s SEO content is currently written. Read through the top ten search results for virtually any keyword, and the chances are good that these “top-performing” articles are rife with the same problems that plague AI-generated content. No narrative. Repetitive information. Unoriginal formats.

Next comes my favorite section of the article:

How to win in the area of infinite content

If you open yourself to the idea that we’re on the cusp of a staggering uptick in AI-fueled content creation, most of which will be functional but unremarkable, one clear realization emerges: Quality is a powerful differentiator today, but it’s about to become vastly more important.

One by one, information asymmetries and operational moats have been eroded. It’s harder than ever to be first or faster, but the incentive to be better is the greatest it’s ever been. Your job is to create a vast gulf of quality between AI-generated content and your content.

So how do you do this?

  • Focus on information gain.
    • do primary research,
    • interview people,
    • conduct surveys,
    • gather expert quotes,
    • find find information gaps (information gain: How much new information does this article provide over other articles covering the same topic? An article that adds something new to a discussion or theme will rank higher than an article that simply repeats what other articles already cover)
  • Diversify beyond search and invest in thought leadership.
    • Counter-narrative opinions (exploring why the status quo is wrong or flawed)
    • Personal narrative (sharing your own lived experiences)
    • Network connections (sharing the experiences of people within your network)
    • Industry analysis (using our knowledge to add context to industry events)
    • Data storytelling (revealing the insights hidden within data—yours, or publicly available data)
    • Remember: How-to guides and standard processes are easy to replicate. Opinion and narrative are not.
  • Share the same information but create a new experience.
    • The same information can be shared in a way that’s either punchy and concise or eloquent and laden with story. You can focus on metaphor or real-world example. You can highlight the opinion and personality of a single person or strive for an ultra-authoritative Wiki-style tone of voice.
    • Even if you’re forced to compete with a dozen other articles, each sharing the same information, you can still create a unique experience that will appeal to your target audience.
    • Think Hamlet. It’s a story that has been told in hundreds of different ways, from the 15-minute Hamlet to the Klingon Hamlet to the Puppet Players’ Hamlet.

AI-tools for content marketers

Copy.ai can be a great brainstorming counterpart, flesh out bullet point outlines and get to the first draft faster

Writer helps to seamlessly implement your company style guide, and functions as a tone-of-voice editor

Clearscope – structure and search-optimize articles

MarketMuse helps to identify gaps in subject matter knowledge

Tim Soulo’s Link Building Outreach Learnings

Tim Soulo recently tweeted some of his learnings from a quick link building outreach experiment.

Let’s talk about “Link Building Outreach.”

I recently tried to acquire some links to one of my blog posts..

So I reviewed ~200 link prospects (collected by a contractor) and sent ~90 emails.

…and it was quite a learning experience to be honest.

Tim Soulo

This got him 13 backlinks, which is quite good.

Interesting takeaways:

  • content quality didn’t matter much (the same amount of people would probably have linked to him if his content was of lower quality)
  • AHREFs brand helped him a lot
  • people want something in exchange for fulfilling a link request
  • outreach template didn’t matter much, main reason for people fulfilling your request is they’re already open to review it
  • follow-ups work
  • he gave pitchbox a shoutout – an infuencer outreach and content marketing platform
  • prioritize fresh/recent content in your outreach (use AHREFs content explorer, filter by content published in last 30 days, DR: 50+
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Another way to get recent content is to look for recent links to your competitors from ahrefs:

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New internal linkbuilding tool from ahrefs

My favorite SEO tool now has a new featured called Link Opportunities.

Here’s a quick 4 minute walkthrough of the new feature:

I tested this on some of our sites and it’s working quite well.

When you’re launching a new page and want to build backlinks, a site:domain.com “keyword phrase” search usually does the job well enough.

But when you want to build new backlinks to a page that’s already been around for a while, one of the most mindnumbing tasks of a project like this is to check whether a relevant page is already linking to your target page. True, it’s just a quick viewing of the page source code and searching for the URL, but even spending 8 minutes on a task like this is 8 minutes too much in my book.

What makes Ahref’s Link Opportunities tool cool is that:

  • it checks whether there already exists a link between the pages, and if yes, it won’t suggest placing a link
  • it looks at the top 10 keyword phrases of your target page and crawls your site for these. (rather than just going for the main keyword phrase, or manually looking up what the top keyword phrases for the page are, and then requiring you to type them in a convoluted boolean search string into Google.

One more reason to give Ahrefs some love.

INK – AI-powered text editor with SEO optimization tips

If you’re writing a lot of content and have a firm grip on SEO fundamentals, this won’t be a game-changer, but it still can be a useful tool to streamline your content creation process a bit.

INK is basically a SEO-friendly text editor with a distraction-free mode. (And btw, it also checks your grammar and spelling.)

If you’ve been toying around with a few SEO-writing tools in the past and they all failed to impress you, this is one tool worth checking out, because it definitely is above and beyond any of the text editors with built-in SEO features that have been available on the market so far.

Here’s how INK works:

  1. You write content.
  2. You enter the main keyword phrase you’re going for.
  3. INK analyses the best-performing content piece for that keyword phrase and reverse-engineers what’s working.
  4. It then uses the analysis to score your content and provide suggestions on how to improve your score, thus improving your chances for ranking in the SERPs
  5. You can even integrate it with your publishing platform (e.g. WordPress), and publish straight from INK.

It’s clear that the makers of this tool intent to solve a problem that is worth solving: if you’re creating web content that aims to rank in Google and capture organic search traffic, currently you’re probably using different tools for different parts of the process. INK aims to create one unified platform for you, so you don’t have to switch between different tools to get the job done anymore.

It definitely has a beautiful UI/UX, which is great to see as well, since tools in the SEO space oftentimes are pretty atrociously designed.

Is INK the right tool for you?

If you have an advanced understanding of SEO, and tools like AHREFs, SEMrush, and others in that category already at your disposal, this tool won’t be able to replace your current toolset. At best, it’ll be an option to consider when you just want to crank out some quick content without having to go through the entire laborious process of researching and optimizing a piece of content from scratch. If you’re not going after a hyper-competitive keyword phrase, INK could be a valid option to say goodbye to hours of SEO research and optimization, and just keep things simple.

But if you’d self-identify as beginner or intermediate level SEO-writer, then this is definitely worth a try—not just because it’s free to use.

And if you have a team of content writers that aren’t SEO wizards, INK could be a great option to elevate the work product your team delivers.