How To Succeed With Content Marketing – Lessons From An 8 Figure Business with Tim Soulo
In the podcast:
00:39 – Episode & Guest Overview
02:30 – What is Ahrefs
05:01 – Why Most Businesses Fail At Content Marketing
11:31 – Determining Keywords In Terms of Intent
14:35 – Viewing Search Results On A Different Country
16:27 – Strategies in Growing A Blog
20:30 – His Thoughts About Publish Frequency
23:55 – How To Be Strategic With Topics
27:42 – Tips in Developing Content Ideas
35:38 – Getting Quality Backlinks
39:01 – Tim Soulo’s Advice Based on His Experiences
42:00 – Learn More About Tim Soulo
Episode & Guest Overview
Welcome back to another episode of TeachTraffic. I’m your host, Ilana Wechsler. And in today’s episode, we’re going to shift gears a little bit. I’m going to talk about generating free traffic for your website.
So normally, as you probably know, I like to talk all about paid traffic channels that are working paid traffic strategies, and Google ads and Facebook ads and all that interesting paid traffic stuff.
But as I said, today, we’re going to be talking about how to generate free traffic or SEO traffic through content marketing. And I recently heard a guy called Tim Soulo speak at a conference, all about how he helped Ahrefs, which is a software as a service company, you know, really grow to exponential heights, primarily through content marketing.
And it’s a really interesting episode because many people talk about content marketing and blogging for their business and all that kind of stuff. But many people fail at it.
So I thought I’d interview Tim because he has been incredibly successful at it. And he reveals In this episode, why he’s been successful, what actually does work and obviously how you can apply that to your own business.
We’ve got lots of show notes available to you. You can just head on over to teach traffic.com and get the show notes there.
And if you want my help with paid traffic campaigns, then, by all means, you can visit our teach traffic membership at teachtraffic.com/training and I can personally help you with your paid campaigns. All right, let’s get stuck in today’s episode.
Thanks a lot for having me, Ilana. It’s a pleasure.
What is Ahrefs
Awesome. So you and I briefly met at an in-person event in Sydney called superfast business where I was talking about my paid traffic puzzle.
But interestingly, you were talking all about content marketing and the lessons that you personally learned from helping Ahrefs grow into what is now an eight-figure business, which is an amazing achievement.
But I really enjoyed your presentation because you talked all about it, I guess why most people fail at content, how to choose the right keywords, traffic potential, and all this really, really useful stuff, which I thought my listeners could gain a lot of insights from you on.
So that’s why I invited you on. So do you want to maybe briefly touch on what h refs does for those people who don’t know? And yet how long has it been in business, sort of very briefly, like what Ahrefs does and who they serve in the market?
Sure. So Ahrefs is an SEO tool for search engine optimization. And if you’re looking to grow your traffic from Google, we try to supply you with all the tools and data you need to make the right decisions and to get more traffic from Google. So that’s Ahrefs.
Okay. How would you say it is different from SEMrush or SEMrush which is what I understand to be Similar software in the market?
Yeah, this is a very good question, then I am afraid I’m not in a position to answer it because being the CMO of Ahrefs, I’m clearly biased. And I’m going to talk about all the benefits of Ahrefs, which would be unfair for a SEMrush not having their representative on the call.
But in our marketing, I kind of found a way out of it. By writing an article that is titled, I think it’s certain things that only Ahrefs can do, which doesn’t focus on differences between Ahrefs and SEMrush, but it tried to look at all the competing tools and all the similar tools in the market and come up with use cases that can only be found in a trance.
So if people are interested in some unique use cases that would be different from SEMrush, Moz, or pretty much any other similar tools just Google for only Ahrefs can do and you’ll find that article.
Why Most Businesses Fail At Content Marketing
Okay, cool. Awesome. So you have primarily used content marketing to help grow that business. And that’s what I’m specifically like to talk to you about today.
And you know, content marketing is not you. It’s new. It’s been around for a really long time. Why do you think Firstly, most businesses fail at content marketing?
Yeah, the reason most businesses fail and the reason I was failing at content marketing before joining Ahrefs is, I didn’t understand the mechanics of it.
I didn’t understand how the person went from reading a blog to becoming a customer of some business or software or whatever.
And once I realized that, it’s actually a very simple process, but people usually get very in like day to day stuff or we need to publish the article. We need to share it on Twitter. We need to promote it on Facebook, we need to reach out blah, blah, blah.
And they don’t think about this simple kind of funnel, which goes like this: people search in Google for something for some problem related to your business that your business can help them with.
They find, they discover an article on your blog. They click on it in Google search results, they start reading this article that talks about their problem and how to solve it.
And this article, it pitches their service to your business as a great solution to their problem. And so from there are from this article that we found on Google, they go and buy your product and become your customer. So this is very simple.
But a lot of people, myself included five years ago, don’t think of it and they think of the blog as means of getting traffic. So they want to open their Google Analytics and see that their traffic is growing, that people are tweeting their content while they go.
Think about the actual conversions, they don’t think about attracting the kinds of traffic that would be relevant that would eventually become their customers. So I think this is the fundamental principle that people who are starting to do content marketing should think about in the first place.
Okay, so can we touch on that a little bit?
So let’s say we’re sort of getting to the point where we’re crafting a content piece, what would you say are some of the critical elements that need to be in that content in order for it to perform what we would like it to perform, which is, you know, getting the sale?
Yeah. There are two fundamental components. The first component is that people in the world should actually search for whatever you’re going to write about, because you might write an article about what you had today for breakfast, and no one would be searching for something like: “What did Tim have for breakfast today?” No one is searching for that.
So there is no reason for me to write an article about that. Because if we publish it on my personal blog, even, I won’t get consistent traffic from Google. People around the world won’t be searching for this every week or every month, as opposed to, for example, “How to Get Traffic to My Website”.
Tons of people all around the world have this problem every day. And they go to Google and they search for it. So whoever ranks for how to get traffic to my website, whoever ranks in Google at the top of Google for this phrase, they get consistent traffic every day, every week, every month, every year.
So that’s the first principle you have to make sure that whatever you want to write about people around the world consistently search for it. So this is the first thing.
The second thing is that I think…..
I was just gonna say, I mean, this is an indicator of intent, basically.
I call it surge demand. So there’s surge demand for For the thing that you want to write about,
Oh, okay, so you might mean like, traffic volumes.
Yes. So there are people in the world who are interested in what you want to write about, they have this kind of problem or this kind of question.
So if you answer this question and rank high in Google, you will get consistent traffic because someone in the world at any point in time would search for it.
And the second thing is, you can find a massively popular topic that gets a ton of traffic because a ton of people are searching for it. But there is no way to talk about your business.
While writing this article while covering this topic. For example, a lot of people around the world like to search for, you know, celebrity names or like celebrity networks, or like what Kim Kardashian had for breakfast or like, what she’s wearing, and all these kinds of things.
But if you’re a dentist, there’s no reason for you to write on your blog about Kim Kardashian and get a lot of traffic about Kim Kardashian. Because those people are not looking for dental services.
So the second principle is the topics that you want to write about on your blog should be as highly related to your business as possible. Because you have like when those people search for something on Google and they land on your blog, they land on your article, this is your chance to educate them about your business about your product.
And this is your chance to persuade them that whatever problem they were searching for in Google, you can solve it for them with their product or the service the business.
So two fundamental principles: first one you have to make sure that people search for something and second, you have to make sure that this something that people search for can be tied to your business.
Okay, got it, so with the first point then of assessing some form of traffic volume, obviously, Ahrefs is one of the many tools after which provides such traffic volume information.
Google’s keyword planner is another one, even though I’m not such a massive fan of it. Moz as you say, there are lots of options out there.
So if people search for free keyword research tools, they will find quite some tools that they can use for free and see how many searches per month, each phrase each keyword in the search query gets.
Determining Keywords In Terms of Intent
Yeah, okay. Having someone like myself, who’s done search marketing for a very, very long time, I’m of the belief that not all cliques are created equal due to intent.
So how do you determine which keywords you think are the best to go for in terms of intent?
Yeah, this is a great question. And the first thing to understand what exactly people mean what exactly people want when they search for something is to actually open the search results for this kind of thing and see what is already ranking better.
Because Google is quite smart. I believe they have some technology too, to see how people behave when they click on certain search results.
So for example, when people search for headphone reviews, and they may get a review website, like some general review website, for example, in the wire cutter or whatever, some big brands, or they can get a single blogger doing a review of their favorite headphones.
And Google might identify that okay, people are more likely click, for example, on an individual blogger or someone who has a lot of authority in the music world out audio world, as opposed to I don’t know, an article published in the New York Times, so Google can see These kinds of things and by actually searching for things that you want to write about, by searching for things that you want to have on your blog, and seeing who ranks there, and what kind of content than produce, sometimes people would favor video over audio.
So, videos or articles. So if you write an article about something, and when people search for it, they want to video you won’t be able to write the article.
So you have to make sure that the type of content you create, the angle that you’re taking, is in line with what is already ranking there. And then there’s another side to intent and that is how close someone’s query is to like the actual purchase.
So people like there’s this thing called the buyer journey where people go from realizing they have a problem and then researching options and then picking one specific option and trying to buy it. So these are different keywords. They’re called like top of the funnel middle of the funnel bottom of the funnel.
But essentially for us, if we trust, it comes down to one simple principle, if we can squeeze some mentions of our product within the article, so we don’t really try to classify keywords as top of the funnel, bottom of the funnel, middle of the funnel, we just try to classify keywords as can we promote our product while writing this article? Can we showcase our product? Can we show people some use cases some examples of how our product can help them with what they were searching for? So yeah, these are things related to search intent.
Viewing Search Results On A Different Country
So that ties into your second point of, can we tie the topic to our business, obviously, where you mentioned before that you actually do a Google search yourself and have a look at the results.
I’m located in Australia, you’re in Singapore, let’s say you’re trying to rank for a term in the United States or for a different country. Is there a way that you can view the results if you were in a different country?
Yeah, a lot of keyword research tools allow that. So in each is in Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, when you enter a search query, and you want to get data about it, you want to see who ranks you want to see what’s the search volume, you actually have to pick a country, because even the search volume, how many times per month people search for this search query in Google would be different from country to country.
So in Ukraine, where I’m from, people don’t even search in English, mostly they search in Russian or Ukrainian.
So this is why you like it, you won’t get a lot of traffic, English content from Ukraine. And in the US, most people search in English, maybe some in Spanish. So yeah, search, search volume, and the search results will be different from country to country. At the same time, it also depends on the topic.
So some topics have more local intent. So for example, if someone is looking to hire a carpet cleaner. Google understands that this is a local thing. So if you are searching for a carpet cleaner in Australia, they will give you local results. And they will give you websites of carpet cleaners around you.
If I would search from Singapore, they would give me some results from Singapore. So yeah, it also depends on the query. But it again goes back to actually putting the query into Google and seeing what ranks there.
Strategies in Growing A Blog
Okay, cool. In your presentation, you spoke a little about the few distinct strategies for growing a blog if you want to maybe touch on them a bit.
You might need a bit of prompting if you don’t remember cuz it was a little while ago. (laughs)
I do remember of course. So. Like, I kind of came up with a concept that there are three ways to run the blog.
Fundamentally, one of them is a news blog. So a good example is TechCrunch if people are into tech or something like New York Times, BBC or whatever.
So if you’re in an industry that is moving forward fast, where a lot of things are happening, and people want to keep up with things, you might want to have the kind of blog that would cover news.
And this kind of blog gets a lot of traction on social media, because if you’re the first one to cover news, a lot of other publications will republish you, a lot of people would share your Twitter as the source of the news, etc.
But most of the time, most small businesses are not in a position to launch news blogs. So most people can actually forget about covering news and go to other types.
The second type is a story blog, where you have some kind of story. Now that kind of connects all the blog articles that you’re publishing on your blog. It could be a personal story, it could be a story of a business.
A good example is for example blog of Tim Ferriss or blog of Pat Flynn, where their blog is focused around them around their journey in life, in business, in relationship, shapes, whatever.
So people subscribe to this blog via email because they want to get updates from the person that they’re following or from the business that they’re following.
So some businesses for example, Basecamp is quite a famous blog, where they share how their understanding of business how their business practices evolve over time, and people subscribe to their blog to keep in touch with what’s happening at their company.
So this is a story blog where there’s some kind of plotline that connects your logs together. And this is perfect actually for personal blogs. So if you’re growing your personal brand, if you’re developing as a specialist in some industry, a story blog is one way to go.
And finally, there’s a resource blog. This blog is something that we have at Ahrefs so we don’t share any news from the internet marketing or a sales page on our blog, and we don’t really share the story of our business, like what changes in our business, what kind of revelations we’re having, etc, etc.
We don’t really share any of our personal stories. So I’m not sharing kind of Tim Ferriss style, what is happening in my understanding of the marketing of the world, and our blog.
All we’re doing is we’re finding topics related to SEO and marketing that people search for in Google. And we create resources on those topics. So our articles are not connected by some plotline.
So we’re not sharing like, what we were, what HS was doing as a company in 2019. What we’re doing now as the crisis kicked in, etc, etc. We don’t share this kind of stuff.
We only focus on things that people are searching for, and they search for how to do keyword research, what is SEO, how to audit my website for SEO issues. So we tried to create resources to rank for these kinds of things and get consistent traffic.
So there are these three types of blogs and three ways to run the blog. The news covering the news, having a story that people would follow and creating resources that would rank in Google. All in all, you can kind of mix and match those types.
But still, you have to understand what’s your position? Are you in the best position to be covering the news? Or are you in the best position to create a story around your business or your personal brand?
Or are you in a position where your industry has a lot of topics, individual topics that people search for in Google, and you can rank for these topics and get a lot of consistent traffic?
His Thoughts About Publish Frequency
Yeah, cool. Awesome. There’s a common, I guess, the mantra in the market that you need to be publishing consistent content frequently of a certain length, in sort of word count. What would you say is your experience with that?
Do you agree with the people who say that so I guess in terms of, you know, you’re really experienced in content marketing, you’ve been successful at growing Ahrefs, through your content marketing, would you agree with that statement? And yeah….
Yeah, this is a great question. And this is a common misconception. Because if you go back to three types of blogs, the news blog, historic blog and the resource blog.
Two of them are the news blog and the story blog rely on publishing frequently. Because if you don’t have any news to write about, you’re not going to get traffic, you have to come up with something new every day, you have to impress people every day with something new and fresh to get traffic to your website.
Similarly, with a story blog, you have to publish updates on how your business is doing, how your personal life is doing, or whatever your blog is about to get people to get your audience coming back and reading what’s new is happening to your business for yourself.
So this is where the mantra the advice to publish more often than publish consistently and publish a lot comes from because these two kinds of blog rely on a high frequency.
But if you look at the resource blog, it doesn’t require high frequency because once you publish something, and it ranks at the top of Google, you get traffic on autopilot.
So it already ranks there at the top of Google. So whenever people around the world search for it, if this search query if this topic has consistent search demand, if people every day if new people everyday search for this kind of thing, you get new people every single day every single week to your website without having to do anything.
So you publish one article and even if the search demand is small, and this article only brings you 100 people per month, if you publish another article, and it also brings you 100 people per month, that’s 200 people per month total without you having to do anything.
10 articles, it’s 1000 people without you having to do anything so it can it’s it has compounding returns, which is the beauty of it. So at Ahrefs with a very small team. So a lot of people think that Ahrefs is like 300 people.
For example, you asked about SEMrush. I believe they have 800 people right now in their team. So they have a huge marketing team. At Ahrefs, the total headcount is 50.
And our marketing team is 10. And if you compare the search traffic of SEMrush.com, and Ahrefs.com, we are getting more search traffic than them. And our blog has more search traffic than them. So it’s not about headcount.
It’s not about the people. It’s not about resources. It’s about the strategic choice of topics. And it’s about the rule of compounding returns, where each subsequent article that you publish if it ranks in Google and brings consistent traffic.
Your traffic is growing without you having to hustle extra for this.
How To Be Strategic With Topics
Okay, so you mentioned strategic choice of topics. So say one of our listeners Is embarking for the beginning and the beginning of the content marketing journey, and it probably feels like they’re looking up at the mountain of Everest, then they’re in their head at the bottom.
Looking at the lofty heights that are Mount Everest, what would you say would be the best way that they’re strategic with this?
Because as I said, you mentioned the strategic strategic choice of topics. And yeah, I think that’s an important point because rather than trying to combat all the high traffic terms, I guess I want your opinion on this.
So how would you say that you start and be strategic with your topics?
So this is a great question. And the only right answer really is it depends because everyone has different resources. Everyone is in a different industry. So everything is different for every single person out there.
But what people need to know in terms of writing articles on certain topics and getting traffic to their website, if they’re only starting out, we can divide all topics into two categories.
The first category is extremely hard to rank for, and very broad.
So usually so if you don’t know, if you have a blog about parenting, and you want to rank for parenting tips, it is a pretty broad topic.
And the chances are someone has already published a great article with parenting tips, and that is on a trusted resource, so for you to outrank it, it would be quite hard.
On the other hand, there are so-called longtail topics, the topics that are not as popular that won’t bring you that much traffic, but the chances that someone has already written an article about these are not as high.
So if you write an article about something more specific let’s say I don’t know which toy is the best to develop the cognitive abilities of a three year old. So this is a very focused, very specific topic.
And if you write a decent article about this, you, you’re going to get a little bit of traffic. So your content marketing strategy should be about understanding where you are and balancing between the hard topics and the easy topics.
So with easy topics, you can write an article about this and rank quite fast and quite easily. But at the same time, your end goal is to rank for bigger topics, you actually do want to rank for parenting tips.
And the thing is the earlier you write your article about parenting tips, the better because then you can update it, you can improve it and Google likes when some piece of content exists for a long time.
And it is constantly being updated and Google rewards that piece of content. So There should be a balance between trying to write articles on insanely competitive terms on the most competitive terms, the most competitive search queries in your industry.
While understanding that you’re not going to rank for them this year, you’re probably not going to rank for the next year, but three or four years later, as you keep updating your article as you keep improving it and as you keep re-promoting it, republish it, you’ll be able to eventually rank for it.
So this is the first strategy and the second strategy is to keep writing articles on easier topics, knowing that there is a chance to rank for them like within a week or two from that article being published. So yeah, there’s a balance.
Tips in Developing Content Ideas
Okay, cool. So starting out, how would you develop content ideas, let’s say, you know, let’s say you’re trying to, as you say, with parenting, where would you start to develop and your best build upon your content ideas?
Yeah, the two best strategies that I have is, I would just search for some broad terms that come up in my mind, like parenting, parenting tips, parenting advice.
And I will just make a list of all the websites that already rank in Google for these terms that I can come up with just from the top of my head. And in actually, if you are experienced in the industry, there are quite a few terms that you should be able to sync up.
So you’re going to end up with a huge list of competitors, the website that you’re up against. And then you can use a tool like Ahrefs to plug those competitors into Ahrefs and see all their top pages, all the pages that bring the most search traffic to these competitors and what those pages are about. So this is called competitor research.
And you can see how your competitors are getting traffic from Google which keywords they’re ranking for and which pages are bringing traffic from search and how much and by creating a big list of those pages that your competitors get traffic with, you can then make decisions.
Okay, this topic is easy to cover, I know a lot of interesting ideas. So I can write an article about this, this would be harder for me, so I can put it down later, etc, etc. So this is called competitor research.
And this is the first way to create a huge list of content ideas and start prioritizing them.
The second way. So the main problem with the first way with competitor research is that with every piece of content that you’re about to write, you’re going to face a lot of competition, because, by definition, they already published articles about this.
But what you want to do you want to also find search queries that no one has yet targeted.
And this you can do by using keyword research tools. And the general workflow is you take a very general word like power Anything, you put it into keyword research tools, and a keyword research tool will speak all the search queries from all around the world that contain the word parenting, or whatever, whatever word defines the industry.
And then you can go through all these search queries, you can see the search results for them. And you can make a decision if, if there’s any good content for this search query or not.
And if there’s not, there is a great opportunity for you to write the first piece of content and get all the traffic to the search query to yourself. So to recap, two ways to come up with topics.
First one is doing competitor research, where you’re going to go against the articles that already exist, so it would be a little bit harder. And second is keyword research where you can find untapped opportunities, some cons, some topic ideas, some search queries that no one has addressed yet, so there’s a good chance for you to be the first one to address them and get traffic almost instantly.
Yeah, nice. I particularly like your second (laughs)
Okay, I mean, I’ve been in this. I mean, I certainly am no expert in SEO. But I know enough about SEO that writing the content is one part of it.
But then the second part of SEO and ranking for keywords is getting people to link to your content, which is this whole concept called link building.
How important do you think link building is with your general content marketing?
Or I guess, where I’m kind of going with this question is, let’s say you write your article, you write a fantastic resource based article that you suggested you plant the seed of your product really well. And now you’ve got to try and rank for this.
What are some of the ways that you try to rank that piece of content that you’ve written so beautifully, but is now the best kept secret on the internet?
So first of all, you clearly know enough about SEO because content and backlinks are the main fundamental pirates and a lot of people don’t even need to know anything, anything past this.
And they can enjoy a ton of traffic and they can be successful with SEO. So a lot of people think that it’s always some dark magic that it’s very technical, etc, etc.
But on a fundamental level, you don’t need to be super technical. I am not super technical myself. So content and backlinks is really everything you need to know in SEO to get started.
And yeah, backlinks are insanely important. So if your website if your website overall doesn’t have any links from other websites, and you can check this two ways, the first way, if you have Google Search Console, which is a free tool by Google, if you sign up with Google Search Console and plug your website there, you’ll see if anyone from all around the web is linking to a website and what these websites are.
So you have to have backlinks to your website. If you want to get traffic from Google because backlinks is how Google knows that your website is not worth it that your website is worthless. ranking in the top of the search results. And the second way to know if you have any backlinks from other websites, or if your competitors have backlinks from other websites is by using a tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz and any other they’re called link indexes.
So you can search for a link index or backlink tool, and you’ll find the one you like. So yeah, in terms of content, marketing and backlinks, it again comes down to the competition for your topic.
So like we just discussed, if you’re piggybacking from existing content of your competitors, you have to account for how many backlinks the page, the article that you want to outrank in Google has.
So if you’re doing a research of your competitors, and you see that there’s a great article on a great topic, and you’re confident that you can create an amazing piece of content on the same topic, check how many backlinks that article has on your competitors website because if there are 100 websites linking to it.
You have a problem because you have to get more or less as many backlinks as they have to rank next to them. And if you want to outrank them, you have to get either more backlinks or better backlinks from like better websites than they have.
But if we’re talking about content content ideas that don’t have a lot of competition where no one has bothered to create a good resource, you can rank almost without any backlinks, sometimes really even zero backlinks. And if the topic is not competitive, if no one has created a good piece of content you’re able to rank for.
So yeah, backlinks are insanely important. That is insane. It is very important when you’re planning your content strategy when you’re planning your content. To account for how many backlinks, you’ll need to rank for a specific topic that you want to rank about.
We actually have a nice proxy for this. It’s a metric called Keyword Difficulty. It’s a score from zero to 100 where we look at how many backlinks, the top ranking pages for whatever you want to write about health.
We look at top 10 search results, we take the average of how many backlinks they have, and we turn it into a score from zero to 100. So like for example, if Keyword Difficulty is 30, you’ll need to build quite a few backlinks to rank for this.
But if Keyword Difficulty is five, it means that you will need like one or two backlinks and you’ll be able to rank so Keyword Difficulty in href is a nice proxy to how many backlinks the top ranking results have. And it also shows you if there’s competition for whatever phrase you want to rank for.
Getting Quality Backlinks
Awesome. Do you want to maybe touch on? Let’s say you’re starting out and you think okay, “Yep, Tim, you’re 100% right. I’ve got to get some people linking to my newly created best kept secret content”.
What are some easy ways that people can get some initial backlinks?
Let’s say the key word that they’re going for is quite Easy as you said, the Keyword Difficulty is only five. What are some easy ways that they could easily get more backlinks than the low competitor that they’ve got to outrank them?
Yeah, link building strategies actually vary depending on where you are in your content marketing journey or business journey.
So right now at href, we do nothing to build links, other than…
Yeah. We don’t make any deliberate effort to get backlinks other than publish a great piece of content, invest some money into ads to promote it.
And the thing is, we have such a large audience already and we have such a reputable brand that people naturally link to our content, because like we have a large audience so every article we publish, it reaches like a couple thousand people.
And the chances are that like three to five to 10 of these couple thousand people will link to that article from their website. So we don’t have to do anything. Not so much.
I just gotta say that it’s a testament to the quality of the content you’re producing.
Yeah, over the years. That’s a testament to like the hard work we’ve been putting in over the years. And in the first few years, that wasn’t the case.
And then I will actually go back to the years when I was running my personal blog, when I didn’t have a brand behind my back when I didn’t have resources behind my back when I was just a single blogger trying to hustle and get some traffic to my content.
And what I realized is that the best way to get backlinks when you’re starting out almost from scratch, is to start building relationships with other bloggers with other websites in your industry, by manually reaching out to them communicating with them on Twitter, sending them emails, commenting on their articles.
So you have to like how you go to a conference and you network with people, you meet people you change To them, you find some common ground, and then you find ways to partner and be valuable to each other.
This is the same thing but you’re doing it online. When you start out you have to network with other people who have websites in your industry. You network with them, you talk to them, you find some ways to be helpful to each other.
And then eventually, you link to each other. You write guest articles for each other and guest articles is another great way to get backlinks. So yeah, there’s unfortunately there is no hack to this.
There is no shortcut. The best way to get backlinks other than of course, bribing people directly with money, which Google doesn’t like so when they find out your website is doomed, and they do have some ways to find out if the link was paid for.
So if you want to get legitimate links that will keep your website safe. The best way is to start networking within your industry with people who have websites and find ways to be helpful to each other and link to each other and thus bring authority over each other’s website.
Tim Soulo’s Advice Based on His Experiences
Yeah. Also, as you say, there’s no shortcuts, which is interesting to know. Everyone’s always looking for shortcuts out there.
I guess just to wrap up, like you’ve presented amazing content here today. And I think I know myself, I’ve written a whole page of notes, and I’m sure our listeners are taking lots of mental notes as well.
If you could reflect back on your time that you’ve been with Ahrefs, and you’ve, you know, been in the small marketing team, but achieved amazing results.
What would you say to I guess, just when you distill a lot of your experience down into a couple of things that you can attribute to working the best, what would you say, has worked the best for a company like Ahrefs, but really, that you could apply to really any type of business?
Yeah, first of all, let me say that the actual fact that I was working with the greatest product and the amazing team makes things so much easier, easier for me.
So when it came to insurance, the actual product was great already and it was selling itself. So my job as a marketer was made like 10 times easier. And it was easier for me to achieve all that.
But I guess the main takeaway from our marketing strategy in these five years is that we were willing to put more effort into every single piece of content that we were putting out than anyone else in the industry.
So even like, apart from our blog, we launched a YouTube channel. And if you go to YouTube and search for Ahrefs and watch a couple of our videos, I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the quality of production of those videos.
And if you try to compare to any other videos that any other like Ahrefs company or marketing agency or whoever creates content in our space is creating You’ll see that our videos are probably of the best quality all around.
So I guess the the success of our marketing strategy, apart from picking the keywords picking the right keywords, making connections in the community early on to build backlinks to build our reputation is our willingness to put the amount of effort into every individual piece of content that no one else in the industry would be would justify putting it putting in so to say.
So a lot of people, like you said, are looking for shortcuts, they try to, to invest the minimum amount of effort that will take them to the top.
In our case, we were trying to invest more effort than needed to take us to the top to make sure that we were going to reach the top as they say, reach for the stars and you’ll go to the moon or something like this.
Learn More About Tim Soulo
Yeah. Awesome. I will. Thank you so much. You’ve been a wealth of knowledge before we go. Where can people find out a little bit more about you? I know it’s Ahrefs.com. Do you guys run some kind of special offer for people? And I guess you what? Yeah, maybe pitch your business. This is the opportunity. (laughs)
The best way to pitch our business is something that I’ve done already. So people should go to YouTube, search for Ahrefs
and watch our tutorials or they need to search for SEO related things in Google and find our blog.
If you’re not finding our blog when you’re searching for something SEO related, just append our brand name Ahrefs in the search query and if we have an article about this, it should come to the top.
So yeah going to Ahrefs.com the common thing is trying to sign up for our software is not something I recommend people to do unless they consume some of our content first and actually understand what Ahrefs is. How is this helpful?
So yeah, browse our blog, go to YouTube and SEO Tutorials. If you need help with a SEO, just find our content and yeah, see how you can apply that knowledge with the help of Ahrefs.
Awesome. Tim, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day. I really do appreciate it. And yeah. Thanks so much.
Thanks a lot for having me Ilana, I had a great time chatting with you!