SEO For YMYL Websites by Amanda Walls of Cedarwood Digital
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Amanda Walls, founder of Cedarwood Digital, joined us for a webinar on how to build an SEO strategy for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites.
Amanda shared on-site and off-site optimizations for YMYL websites.
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About Amanda Walls:
Amanda is the founder and Director of Cedarwood Digital, an award-winning Digital Marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC and Digital PR.
With 12 years of Digital Marketing experience under her belt, Amanda founded the business seven years ago which was recently named Best Small Integrated Agency at the European Search Awards 2022 and Best SEO Agency (Silver) at the UK Search Awards.
She’s a frequent conference speaker and thought leadership contributor and her talks and digital expertise have been showcased at events including Brighton SEO, Digital DNA, MissingLink LIVE, Sheffield DM, SME 2019, Natwest Content LIVE, Get Online Week, Retail Right, Cardiff Business Expo, Digital Lancashire and the Digital Shift Summit.
Follow Amanda on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandajwalls
Read the transcript
Amanda: Thank you very much, Travis, and lovely to meet everyone today. Hope you've all had a lovely morning or afternoon depending on where you are. Really excited to talk to you guys about this topic today. So we're gonna be focusing very much around SEO for your money, your life websites. The talk is designed to give you an insight into how we can optimize our websites, particularly those that fall into that sector.
But even if you have a website that doesn't fall into your money or life, there's still an awful lot of good takeaways from an SEO and a digital PR perspective. So I hope you get a lot out of it, and I'm looking forward to going through the presentation today. So let's get started just to kind of give you an agenda and run through what we're gonna be talking about.
So first off, some background. So we'll have a look at how Google has been in the last couple of years, changes, algorithm updates, what the landscape looks like, and how we as SEOs have had to adapt to that. We're then gonna move into talking specifically about your money or life. So we're gonna look at what it is, how it works.
And what Google's really looking for in websites that fall into that category to optimize them from an SEO perspective. We're then gonna break it into two sections. So the first one that we're gonna start with is onsite website optimization. So that is optimizing your website itself. For your money or life.
And then once we've done that, we're then gonna look at offsite optimization. So we're gonna look at things like digit O P R and links, and how we can start building those external trust signals to really make sure we're getting that really well-rounded package. So let's have a look at some background.
So first off, as many of you will know, 2022 was a pretty turbulent year for updates and changes in the land of Google. We had loads. So we used to kind of have a standard core algorithm update every sort of three to six months. But last year, Google threw so much at us. So we had the March, 2022 product review updates.
We had a broad update in May. We had the page experience updates. We had another product review update in July, and then towards the end of the year in October, just when we thought we'd had enough, we also had a SPAN update. So lots of different updates, targeting lots of different things. Really kind of keeping SEOs on our toes and making sure that everything that we're doing is adhering to best practice, that we're creating great user experience, great content, great links for our clients.
And Google really in 2022, took it very seriously to make sure that we were adhering to exactly what we should have been. And if you're anything like me, you spent your year a bit like this. Reading, learning, understanding, buried in books, buried in paperwork trying to work out what was going on and how to deal with it in the best possible way.
But in addition to the algorithm updates towards the end of the year, the Google Quality Rater guidelines, which is essentially a book or a P D F that Google publishes online. It's a couple of hundred pages if you haven't come across it before, and it's the guidelines that they give to their quality raters.
So that is their staff. Who manually go through and look at websites to determine the quality of them. They gave it a makeover. So we'd had a pretty standard set of quality rater guidelines for a period of time, but towards the end of 2022, they made some changes to it and these particularly pertained to the way they viewed and analyzed your money A life websites.
So in addition to dealing with all the algorithm updates and trying to keep up to date with them, we also then had the additional changes to the quality rater guidelines, which looked at how websites were viewed and interpreted. In addition to this, we have the introduction of an extra E in E A T. So E A T stands for expertise, authority, and trust.
This is something that we see a lot through Google's rater guidelines, but they added in another E experience. It was a very big update to the guidelines, and it made us really start to understand that in addition to expertise, authority, and trust, Google really wanted us to showcase experience, to showcase that we were the right people, to be able to give information, to deliver a service, to deliver a product, to really showcase how trustworthy we were and to really align with our customers who were searching for that particular product or service at the time.
Now, as I mentioned, this concept of E E A T goes hand in hand. So they want experience. So someone that maybe experienced the product or has experienced utilizing it, or the service expertise, very much what it says on the tin. So showcasing you are an expert and that when someone comes to your website, they're gonna be getting the right kind of information and guidance that they need to make an informed decision.
Authorit. So ensuring that your website is an authority on a particular topic, and this is where it comes to combining that concept of kind of onsite and offsites. And then finally, trust. So trust is how much someone trusts your website? We're looking at things like product reviews, things that people are saying externally about your website, so reputation signals, et cetera.
And we also got a bit of a reminder of how much Google values these kinds of key principles of E E A T, by the fact that they had updated the quality rater guidelines to take them into consideration. So what was it that we needed to do? Well, firstly, we need to showcase our expertise. We need to make it clear through our website, both onsite and offsite, where our expertise lies and why people should come to our website.
To indulge or to trust that expertise. We needed to show that we really knew our product and service, and that the product or service that we were offering would add a lot of value to the user. We needed to give things like product specifications and really outline what that service was. In addition to answering any questions a user might have potentially an a q.
We needed to show that we could be trusted. And this has been a common concept, you know, throughout the, all the time really with Google of how important trust has been. Because as a search engine, Google wants to send users to a website that has good trust. It wants to know that when it's sending a user to a particular destination, or when a user's searching for a specific query and they're getting an answer to it, that that is an answer they can trust.
And that's particularly important if they're gonna be parting with money, that's something that relates to their health or their financial well being because it can have a very significant impact on their life or their wellbeing if the information is incorrect. So showing that we can be trusted was not only reiterated through this algorithm updates, but also through the changes that were made to the quality rater guidelines at the end of the year.
And finally, they were looking for us to prove that we are experts in our field. After all, when it comes to sending someone to a website, they want to understand that we have the right expertise to showcase and answer the user query and deliver the right answer to that particular search result. But there were some websites where we needed to do this more than others, and this is where the concept of your money, your life comes in.
So in addition to regular websites, showcasing a good level of E E A T, For websites that fall into the Your, your Life category, Google states in its quality rate guidelines, section 5.3, that actually needs to see an even higher level of E A T. Things like formal expertise is very important for these topics because it needs to understand if something's going to have an impact on your user's money, financial situation, or their life, that when it's sending a user to that particular search result, that it's gonna have a good outcome for the user.
It doesn't, the negatives are quite substantial. So let's move on and take a look at what Y M Y L is. So in its most basic form, the concept of your money, your life was created by Google to designate websites that fall into a specific category. So very much what it says on the tin, either websites, which impact your money.
Or your life. And because these websites are deemed to have such a substantial impact on a person, the pages on the website and that website as a whole is held to a much higher standard by Google than a traditional website, which doesn't have as much of an impact on someone's money or life. And the reason that this is the case, It's because if there is an issue with that particular website, then it can have much more of a detrimental impact on that individual.
So Google chooses to hold any websites that fall into your money or life category in a much sort of much higher level of impact from a quality rate or guidelines perspective, let's say. And in 2022, this was taken more seriously because the concept was updated to include the word significantly impact.
So Google really recognized how much of a substantial impact a website could have or your money or life website if it was or wasn't set up correctly. And there were two main reasons why this was done. One, they wanted to avoid any topics that were harmful or dangerous. And two, they wanted to avoid any topics which could cause harm if the content wasn't accurate or trustworthy.
And that ties back to that concept of E E A T where we're looking to deliver expertise. So essentially accurate content and also trust or trustworthy content. So your money in life is now predominantly broken down into four different segments. So the first one that we have is your money or life, health or safety.
So these are topics that can harm physical, emotional, or mental health or anything that is like physical safety or safety online. So any website that is designed to impact someone's health or safety falls into your money or life category. The second category is financial security. So this is where you find a lot of money or finance-based websites, or even e-commerce websites can fall into this category because you are partying with money to buy a gift or a product.
And if there's a problem with that, obviously it could leave you in a, a, you know, a precarious financial situation. So these are topics that could damage a person's ability to support themselves and their family, or really anything that could have a financial impact on an individual. Your money, your life, society.
So topics which could negatively impact groups of people trust in public institutions, issues of public interest, et cetera. And then finally they group everything else into one kind of other, so any topic that could hurt people or like negatively impact welfare or wellbeing of society as a whole. So you can see that the y and well category is perhaps more broader than we initially considered, and it can take into account a lot of different topics.
So when we're considering looking at SEO and optimization both onsite and offsite, we often find there's quite a lot of websites that can fall into this category that would be held to that higher standard. So now that we have an understanding of what your money or life is, Let's have a look at how we can actually optimize our websites from a, your money, your life perspective.
And the way we're gonna break this down is initially we're going to look at onsite content, and then we're gonna move to look at how we do it offsite. So reputation building and digital, PR link acquisition, that type of thing. So first off, when we look at onsite content, section 4.2 of the quality rater guidelines states that the quality of the main content is one of the most important criteria in page quality rating, and it informs the e a t of the page.
So Google has highlighted how important it is. That the content on the page is effective because when it looks at the content, it's using that as its guide to understand how much expertise, authority, and trust your website has, and the content is the main way that Google can find that out. So having really good content on your website is very important.
So how do we create great content? Well, the first thing that we asked to do in, in the quality rate guidelines is create a satisfying amount of high quality content. Factual accuracy is absolutely key. So we saw a couple of slides back. Google was talking about how important it is that content is trustworthy and factually accurate.
This is really important because when we are getting information to a user, that expertise and that trust and even that authority comes from having content that is factually correct. And it's not just a case of having content that is factually correct, but it also needs to be regularly refreshed and updated.
And this is particularly important if you are in a sector like perhaps finance or medical, where guidelines are changing. So if you are in a sector where things are constantly changing, guidance is changing, maybe you are in the tax sector and taxes are changing. Then it's really important that the content you have on your website isn't outdated, and that you regularly refresh it as much as it can to ensure that content stays in date.
The second way that you build on that factual accuracy is ensuring that you're supporting it with trust. Sources. So there's a couple of ways that you can do this. The first way is by putting external links into your content. So linking out to another trusted resource that backs up what you're saying on your site.
That's a really great way to kind of validate. The information you have on your site, or alternatively, you can have it reviewed by an expert, so you can implement an author profile or expert led content on there, sort of name them, talk a bit about them, and have it reviewed by someone who is an expert in that sector.
I. The second thing that we need to look at is, does the length of the page give enough information to inform the user and answer their questions? Because when we're talking about a clear and satisfying amount of information, we're not talking about thousands and thousands of words. We're talking about enough content being on the page to accurately answer a question that a user might have.
So when we're looking at the length of the page, there isn't a specific kind of, you know, seven 50 to a thousand words or whatever that might be. We just need to make sure that when we finish creating content on that page, we're happy that the user's question has been answered and that they shouldn't have any more information they should need before they're able to make an informed decision.
In fact, Google even says that posting daily or at any specific frequency for that matter, doesn't help with ranking better in the search results. And the main reason for that is because what it's really looking for is quality over quantity. So it wants to ensure that the content you're putting on the website is answering your user's question.
Sometimes you can do that in a hundred words or 200 words. Sometimes it takes more. So it's very much down to you, understanding your audience to know how much content you need to provide to answer that user question. It's about ensuring that your content that you have is factually correct and that you have enough of that factually correct content to answer the user's questions, purpose and intent.
That is what Google is looking for. When it's looking for that kind of great content, and that's what we want to try and create so factually correct content enough of the factually correct content and making sure that we're addressing the user's questions, purpose and intent. So why did the user come to that page in the first place?
What were they looking for on the site? And are we answering and matching that as best as we possibly can? You also don't always need to create new content. So sometimes it can simply be a case of updating existing content to make sure that you keep it factually correct, so you don't always need to rewrite the wheel.
You might have some great content on your website already. You don't necessarily need to create more. It could just be a case that it needs to be updated or refreshed, or you just need to style it a little bit differently to kind of better match that user intent and purpose. An example here would be on Investopedia.
So Investopedia is an online website that talks about different financial terms and explains and kind of gives information about that. On this particular page we're looking at what is a payday loan. It tells you who the content has been written by, when it has been updated. So again, we know that that content has been updated relatively recently.
It then also adds in additional trust signals. So the first trust signal that we have is that content has been reviewed by. Site, it's been reviewed by a specific individual, and the second trust signal that we have is it's also then been fact checked, so we can have a fairly good understanding that the content that's on this page has not only been updated recently, but it's also been reviewed and fact-check by different individuals.
And if you go through and click on their profiles, you'll be able to find out more about them and why they're qualified to do that. So this is a really, really nice example of a page, which is giving information in that Y and whale sector, but it's giving it really effectively and it's backing up with that lot of trust and expertise.
But remember, keeping your content up to date is very important and a very big part of your money or life is ensuring that your audience has accurate information. So if you are looking to give the most accurate information, you don't always want to be updating your content. Another way that you can do it is through FAQs, and you can either implement these on page directly or you can implement them site wide.
So if your users have questions, you can answer them. Showcase your expertise, and there's lots of different ways that you can understand the kinds of questions that your users are asking. You can use tools like SEMrush, which will give you keyword suggestions. You can scroll to the bottom of Google to understand the kind of similar queries that people are searching for.
You can even just use your own knowledge of the sector to understand what it is that people are looking for. But try and include some FAQs where you can, if you think users will have questions, so that you're giving them enough information on the page to be able to answer any queries that they might have.
You can also mark them up with FAQs schema. And this is something that Google has been trialing, actually taking out of the search results recently. But it is a really nice way to help Google and also the user understand that you're kind of matching that user intent. And up until recently, it also allowed you to display some of those questions in the search results.
So this is one example for one of our clients. It's giving really clearly defined understandings of a particular topic, which is a great way to showcase our expertise and show that we really know what we're talking about and that we're an authority on a particular topic. You can also add in those external links.
So when we first talked about content, we talked about the importance of linking out to other content, which can help validate what you're saying. So adding external links to trusted sources, which backup your information, is a really nice way to showcase that what you're saying is verified by other trusted individuals.
Here on our own website, we wrote a. Piece of content around the Google Me update when we were talking about your money or life. And in order to kind of validate that, we included an external link to the search engine round table, which is a well trusted resource within the SEO space. That just kind of validated what the medic update was.
And the impact that it had on sort of specific health and medical sites. Really, that's what started the whole concept of, you know, this, your money, your life side of things was that medic update that we had years ago that had quite a substantial impact on the sector and when we were creating content about it, we didn't just want it to come from us, we also wanted to back it up from other trusted industry publications to really give weight to what we were saying throughout our content.
That's a really nice way to kind of create and connect your content. To an external provider. And finally, in terms of being able to give great content and make sure you're delivering a good user experience, testing your functionality is very important from a trust perspective. So let's say for example, you're an e-commerce retailer, does your shopping cart function?
You know, all too often we are so busy making optimizations on the website that we're not looking at the actual functionality of our site itself. So does the shopping cart function? Does a video play, does a gameplay, does the website work? How should it work? Does it give a level of interactivity? Does it work effectively?
Does it allow users to, you know, access that additional information, that additional data that might help them to make a decision on the site as best as they could? So we've talked about optimizing content on the site. So now let's have a look at the second section, which is matching your user intent.
And this is quite important for your money or life because we need to think about that user intent and purpose. So firstly, why is a user coming to your website? So give them what they need early on in the content. Make it really, really clear what the purpose of that page is and match their intent.
Sometimes it's as simple as just putting a definition at the top of the page. If a user's got a question, they've got something they wanna ask or find out, then having a really clear definition at the top of the page defining, showcasing that you know about that topic is just a great place to start. So don't be afraid to kind of, don't hold onto that content.
Don't hold onto that answer. Don't try to make them scroll down to find it. Give a user what they need and show that you're matching that intent and that purpose early on, and that'll help to deliver a much better result. An example here is in the medical negligence space here in the uk. So it's a very competitive space and there's a lot of people vying for top positions.
I've taken here the top three search results. And what we can see is a very, very common theme. So again, your money or life sector, medical very much your money or life sector. And each one of these publications started off with a very clearly defined definition. What is medical negligence? What is medical negligence?
And finally, what is medical negligence? And what we can see from this is that each of these websites straight away deems that when a person is searching for it, they want to understand what it is. To understand how they would then proceed. And Google agrees. So when we look at the search results for medical negligence, and this was taken roughly about a month ago, we can see that what it's actually returning in the top positions is websites that are directly answering those questions.
So, you know, what is it? What is clinical negligence? Again, similar. What is medical negligence? And on those pages, the very first thing that they're doing is defining that and showcasing that expertise. So if you're not a hundred percent sure on user intent and purpose, or you're not a hundred percent sure, maybe what Google's looking for in your particular sector, a great place to start is to look at who's ranking really well and pick out those common themes.
Sometimes it can just be a case of moving a chunk of content from the bottom of the page to the top of the page to ensure that you are matching that user intent and purpose better at the top of the page than it was at the bottom of the page. It can be as simple as that. And we've seen examples in the past with clients where simply shifting where content is on a page, so don't have to change it, don't have to sort of, you know, rewrite the wheel with it, but just moving it around and restructuring it to make it a little bit more logical, a little bit more practical has really helped.
To impact the rankings. So that again, is something that I would definitely consider having a look at. The next thing that you want to consider is ensuring that your website has what we would call clear and satisfying website information, and this ties back really nicely to giving off that concept of authority and trust.
Firstly about us. So an about us page means very much what it says on the tin. Tell your audience about you and why they should buy a product or use your service. So if someone's coming onto your website for the first time and they don't know or haven't heard of your brands, they've just found you perhaps through a Google search, they don't know anything about you and you don't have an About us page, there's really no way for them to find out about your brand.
There's no way for them to understand who you are, how many years you've been doing something, what your qualifications are, what your, what awards you've won, what sort of trust signals you have, what accreditations you have. Without this element on the site, it's really, really difficult for someone to understand who you are.
And it's the same for Google. When Google's trying to work out what the reputation of a particular brand is, it's really hard for them if they don't have that concept about us to understand. What you are about. So if the most simple thing, but about this page can make a really big difference to understanding what someone is about, what they're doing, who they are, and why they should be trusted with a particular product or service.
I use this example for one of my clients, Hayes Garden World. So they're our garden center here in the uk. We're talking about our heritage, our background, and why our team are experts. So we've talked about the fact we have over 200 years experience in plants and landscaping. You know, we have over a hundred people, several having over 50 years of experience.
We are using this as a way of showcasing and extolling the virtues of the team. Helping people to understand why they would choose to trust us as a brand. We're then putting some pictures on there, somewhat reluctantly sometimes but we're putting pictures on there anyway. And we are talking a little bit about the individuals behind the brand.
So when we're looking at creating the content, we're talking about the reputation of the brand itself. We're also talking about the reputation of those individuals that are working behind the brand and other people that you might speak to. If you were to, let's say, call up and inquire about a service or a sale.
So it's a really nice way to put a name to a face, but it's also a really nice way to showcase your experience and your expertise and to also kind of build that trust, not only with Google, but this is a great way to build trust with your customers as well. You also need to give your audience the ability to contact you easily, and this is important for your money or life because if something goes wrong or a product doesn't get delivered or there's an issue with the service, users want to know that they can speak to someone and they can resolve it, and it's not gonna leave them out of pocket or in distress, whether it's a phone number, an email, an online chat, or all of the above.
A clearly signposted way to communicate with you is important to ensuring that you're giving them that level of trust and expertise. So here's an example from another client that we have of a Contact us page company called Watches to Use. This is an international watch retailer that we work with.
They have lots of different ways that you can contact them, so telephone. First and foremost with specific sections. So you can have sales inquiries, marketing, customer services, et cetera. Office hours and showrooms. We have an address, so if you need to write or to contact, then you can do that with the address as well.
The social media links there as well. I've just cut 'em off the page Emails. Also price match form, and then failing all of that, you have a contact us form at the bottom of the page, which you can kind of go ahead and fill out if you should need to. So again, multiple touch points, multiple ways to get in touch, but always kind of reassured that if you have a question or a concern, you'll be able to get in touch with someone, and that's really important.
The next thing for onsite is the concept of authoring. Now to tie back to what we were looking at before, when we look at your money or life websites, we have a very high level of E a t, and that EL element of formal expertise is really, really important. In fact, if we look at the five key points in Google's quality guidelines, In two of them, or roughly 40%, we know that when it comes to authoring, this is something that's really important to Google.
So these are the page quality rater guidelines, section 3.1, and the two that we're focusing on in particular in this section is four, which is the website information or information about who is responsible for the main content, and five, which is the website reputation or reputation about who is responsible for the main content.
So again, they want to understand who is creating the content and why they are qualified to do so. All through your pages. This will really help Google and users to understand who it is that's creating the content on what the credentials are behind that person so that you can start to understand, okay, they're an expert in this.
This is why we've got authority, this is why we've got trust. So highlighting who the content is written by or reviewed by is a great way to do that. So here's an example from our own website. I wrote a definition piece around what is an SEO agency Content was reviewed and FactCheck by myself. And I also popped in there when the content was updated on my own name.
I put a link through to my own author page, which talks a little bit about my experience in SEO and kind of reassures the user why they would trust me to be an expert in that particular sector. So once you've written the content and you've got your author link in there, build out an author page for that individual to help to kind of showcase that reputation and expertise.
Explain why they've got expertise and why they are the right person to do that. So this was my author page. On it, I've got a number of different things. Talk a bit about my background, any external thought leadership that I've done, and also contributions that I've made to the cedarwood blog. So these are all really nice ways of showcasing why I'm an expert to be able to review or fact check that particular information.
And again, you can do this if you work for a law firm. You can ask lawyers to do it. If you work for a medical firm, an MD to do it, whoever it is in your sector that is the expert, ask them to get on board and do some fact checking and reviewing. It will really help to add weight to the content that you're writing and to kind of bolster that concept of E a T expertise and trust.
The next thing that you wanna do is to check your reputation. So we've talked about onsite authoring, but in the quality rate guidelines, it also talks about the reputation of the brand that is creating the main content. So one of the easiest ways to check your reputation is to Google yourself. So Google your website, take away returns search results to your website, and I'll show you in a sec how to do this.
And then you are actually left with. What other people are saying about your brand or your website, and this is really insightful when it comes to understanding how Google and other people are viewing your brand externally away from the information that you're putting out for yourself. Reputation information plays a very key part in the quality rate of guidelines, but luckily Google gives us guidance on how they evaluate reputation.
So very simply start by identifying the homepage of your website. And this is what you want to have a look at. So when you type into Google, type your brand in, and then you wanna put minus site and your website without the http or the https without the www.as well. Sorry. That will allow you to see what people are saying about your site without it including your site in the search results.
Also worth checking for external reviews because external reviews, whether they're through sort of Trustpilot, fifa, like a trusted resource you might have set up, or whether it's through another website that's been set up, are a really good indicator of what people might be saying about your brand.
Or anything that's kind of come up and it's always really good to just check your reputation and check what other people are saying about it as well. So I would also recommend that you search your brand plus reviews and then again, take the site away to see what people are saying about it. Sometimes it can be a little bit eye-opening for most people. It's fairly sort of run of the mill, but it's always really good to have an understanding of what people are saying.
Because that's essentially what Google and quality raters will be looking at when they're evaluating your website. And Google gives us some kind of guidance as to what positive and negative reputation information can be. So for example, positive would be things like a witch Peter article or a reputable article that's been written about your websites.
Things like, you know, anything that's good that comes out is, is perfect from a positive perspective. From a negative perspective. It can be things like a negative review on a business review site, or a negative news article. It could be an article about a business's criminal behavior. So anything along those lines can give for a more sort of negative reputation.
But that's why it's just really important to check on your reputation to understand. You know what people are saying about you, because that's how people will see science. So we've talked about on-sites we're gonna finish today by talking about offsites. So when we talk about reputation, as we saw in the previous couple of slides, Google and, and people are looking externally to see what people are saying about your business.
And if you are putting really positive PR out there and you're managing your digital PR really well, then people are gonna be saying really positive things. And that is always a great start. Digital PR plays a really big role in building that kind of external credibility because it allows you to show expertise and trust even more.
So if it's shown on websites that aren't your own. It's very easy to sort of say great things on your own website, but if other people are saying great things about you, even better. And that's where it plays such a critical role in enhancing those E E A T signals. So there's three main ways that we would consider doing digital pr.
The first one is thought leadership. The second one is through Newsjacking or jumping onto trends, and the third one is getting people to come to you through reverse digital pr. So let's have a look at them in isolation. So the first one is thought leadership. How do we go about positioning ourselves as a thought leader and building that all important reputation from an external perspective?
So the first thing that you want to do is try and find an expert spokesperson. This could be the owner of the business, it could be the marketing manager. It could be an expert that works within the business that has very specific knowledge. We picked Angela, so going back to a garden center client that we showcased before.
Angela has been working at the Garden Center for many years. She is degree qualified, so she's got a science degree in conservation and environmental land management. She has a keen entrance. In gardening. She has worked at the gardening center for a long time. She's got a small holding. She's very familiar with vegetables and flowers and everything that we would need from her expertise and very much so.
She's a great expert for us. If we are going to the press, To talk about anything to do with gardens or garden centers because she's got the expertise. In addition to that, she's written a number of blogs for the website, showcasing her expertise, so when we're going out to media or publications, we're able to link back to her particular section of the website to showcase how she has that level of expertise really appealing to journalists.
Once we've identified who they are or potentially roped them into it, depending which way you look at it, we wanna identify their expertise and market. And we usually do this by sort of breaking it out into a mind map to understand what their areas of expertise might be. Now, in our instance, we looked at it, it was quite broad, gardening is quite a broad topic.
So we looked at content around how to grow tomatoes at home. So we've had a shortage of tomatoes in the uk. Just because the weather's been very bad and you know, how can you grow them at home in a, in a greenhouse? We knew that she had a lot of experience growing plants and vegetables, so very, very topical.
Although I think people say tomato is a fruit, I'll leave that discussion for another day. We also looked at things like removing stubborn loss from paving. So again, sharing like quick hacks that people can pick up and understand more closely linked to the clients to garden seating ideas she can talk about, and also crucial ways to kind of keep houseplants warm over winter.
So lots of different topics that she can cover, that she's an expert on each enabling us to land really good quality links and coverage in. High DR. Publications. So the majority of these publications here in the UK are kind of over 90. So when we're looking at link building, obviously very, very strong links, very high quality domain ranks.
So once we've identified their expert, we've identified what they can talk about when they create those really solid ways of working. So ideation, coming up with the ideas that can be done by your SEO team, your digital PR team, or by the clients creating content. So make sure that you're building out content around the expertise of those individual quotes.
So I would always also recommend that you bank quotes, so there could be something that is evergreen, so you could use it again and again. So don't just select quotes for specific sections. Make sure that you have a range of quotes to go with throughout the year, and then obviously have that really well established sign-off process to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
And then you wanna crack on with your leadership. So from a proactive perspective, color to, to.
From a reactive perspective, we looked at, we have a bit of a cost of living crisis in the UK at the minute. So we looked at ways that people could actually get fined in their garden that they might not be aware of, and basically pulled together an article with our experts to warn people about potential fines that they could come across to help them avoid them because we're already in a cost of living crisis.
We don't wanna be costing people anymore by having fines in the garden that they might not already be aware of. So again, something that's really topical and in the user interest. As a result of this, we generated around 173 links or results in some of the UK's top tier publications, associating our clients with our experts.
And across a range of different topics. So again, looking to find simple and inexpensive ways to give you a garden, a makeover. Lots and lots of different topics that we could cover and really, really insightful. Great way to build those kinds of high quality links back to the website. From an actual success perspective, we increased our organic traffic to the website by roughly 70,000.
So again, we were able to drive substantial volume off the back of that impact. And again, this website falls into the, your money, your life sector, because it's an e-commerce store, so people are able to buy online. We also increased our keyword rankings quite substantially. So they are an independent garden center.
We're up against fairly large national businesses here in the uk. So again, we were able to crack the top 10 rankings for a range of our top keywords by having this really effective on and offsite strategy. But it wasn't just about building links, obviously it helped, it was about building credibility and trust, again, to tie back into our concept of your money or life.
Expertise, relevancy, most importantly, and of course, the all important reputations when we're talking about those offsite trust signals. Reputation is key. So, I talked about thought leadership. Let's have a little look at Newsjacking. So when we come to Newsjacking, this is a really great way to build links into our website and to build reputation.
And it can be quite quick to turn around. We have a very, very simple process to follow if it is something that you're looking to do. And the first thing is listening to the news. So you can use hashtags like joo request and PR request on Twitter to understand what people are looking for. You can use Google Trends to understand what's trending and what's topical.
You can use Google alerts if you have particular keywords or your brand that you want to keep an eye on. This is a really, really nice way to do it. You can use newspaper publications. This is the B B C, so B, B, C, breaking News. But there's a range of different publications that you can follow. You can also use specific industry publications.
So this is from our National Health Service here in the uk. They regularly put out reports so you can analyze data from reports to understand how something is specifically working or to have an opinion on it or to showcase expert opinion. And that's a really nice insight to have. But sometimes it isn't that straightforward and that's where we need to think outside the box.
You can also use fictional storylines. So this is where it comes to thinking outside the box. So we have a soap here in the UK called Coronation Street. It's been going for about 30 years. I've never watched it. I think I might have been forced to watch it when I was a kid, but haven't watched it since.
And that was a long time ago. And essentially we were working with a client that was in the medical sector and they're talking about medical negligence. And there was a storyline that came up on the soap that was talking about it. So we thought, right, we'll jump on this and we'll offer expert opinion on something fictional, but it's still going to showcase our expertise and offer very, very practical advice to an audience.
So we sourced our expert opinion from our clients and we outreached it. And what we did was landed some great links on high, again, high DR publications, looking at eight to nine and 91 where we actually spoke about. Our expertise in relation to a fictional storyline, and this was a really nice way to jump on something that was trending in popular culture that people loved and enjoyed, while also showcasing the seriousness and expertise of our clients.
We got a great piece of coverage here in The Daily Star. Another great piece in the Express that talked about what would actually happen if the situation wasn't fictional and the steps that that individual could take. So this was a really nice way to think outside the box from a Newsjacking perspective.
And what does it do? Well, it built credibility and trust, showcased our expertise, drove relevancy, and again, started to build our reputation. And there's a range of places that you can go to get data sources. We've got a blog on our website actually, which has temporary data sources to help you land links.
Statista is a really good one. Adds keyword planner for search volume offers for national statistics, Google Trends. There's lots out there. You can even use Instagram hashtags. Find the information and the data that you may want to analyze. But this isn't me by the way. I wish it was, but if you don't wanna have to go out and get the links, then why not try and have people come to you?
So we call it responsive digital pr. And that's essentially where we create content on the website, which journalists need or they want to come and get. They take it and they link back and they credit us with a source. Why would we look to do this? Well, firstly, it allows us to showcase data, which is a great expertise signal.
It allows us to act as an effective source for journalists. It's evergreen, which means that content will last forever, and it's also up to date. We did this with one of our clients by creating a data hub on cosmetic surgery statistics here in the uk. So we had a client that was dealing with cosmetic surgery, and we wanted to look at the data around cosmetic surgery and how it has changed over time.
We also conducted a survey of 2000 participants nationally to understand current attitudes towards it. We published it on the website, we set it up in a really nice way that was easy to digest with bullet points and showcase the information very, very clearly. And then we optimized it from an SEO perspective to get it to rank for, you know, cosmetic surgery statistics and the like.
And it ranked well so quickly for cosmetic surgery statistics, it ranked in position three and for cosmetic surgery data, it ranked in position two. And this meant that when journalists were looking for this information, they knew to come to our website to get it. And then we waited because these things take a little bit of time.
But it worked. So we started to land links from really high quality publications like Refinery 29, which is a DR 90, which actually started taking our data that we'd put on the website with a link back through to our website. So we weren't having to proactively outreach anything. We were undertaking reverse digital PR to essentially get them to come to us.
And it was working really, really well. We landed this link, we landed another link on a DR 84, and we're continuing to land links. So this is the evergreen piece of work. It's kind of like the gift that keeps on giving because it continues to give us links time and time again. So people started to use our survey data in that article, and they link back to our website, which again helped to build our expertise.
So the beauty of this expertise is shown. Relevant links because they were relevant to the content we put on our website, which is why they were using it in the first place. Well-established publications that we perhaps wouldn't have been able to get on otherwise if we were proactively outreaching. And it is, as I said, the gift that keeps on giving because still to this day we are continuing to get links this way.
So to summarize, four main things to look at when you are looking to drive your money or life websites. Optimize your content, create satisfying and useful information, manage your reputation on and offsite, and use digital PR to enhance those all important E E A T signals. Thank you very much. I hope that has been insightful and I look forward to answering any of the questions that you might have.
Travis: Awesome job, Amanda. That was very, very helpful. We did have a couple questions. So kind of kick it off. The first one is, Does Google see? What is it? Does Google see as more helpful for the user? Having an FAQ section at the bottom of a page, or having a site-wide FAQ section.
Amanda: So I think in, in my experience, I would say at the bottom of an individual page, because the FAQs will be relevant to that particular topic that the page is on.
I mean, it's often helpful to have a site-wide F A Q. If you have, let's say you have a product and you wanna sort of say, you know, what is delivery, what is returns? If you've got questions that apply to every single page or every single product, or every single service, then a site wide F AQ is useful from a user perspective.
If you are looking to give really insightful information to an individual, then I would say go for the individual FAQs on the pages and mark them up. And that's what, particularly in why and well, that's where we've seen the most success. Yeah, that makes
Travis: sense. And then April's a question about author pages.
Do they need to be a separate page or would a blurb on the content page suffice?
Amanda: So I think it depends how much content you're going to be writing because in some instances we do see the blurbs, and the blurbs are absolutely fine if you put them across all the pages. But I think if you are. In a sector like medical or finance where we really need to understand the expertise of the individual, then having the individual author pages is much more helpful because you need to sort of list not only their background but also their qualifications.
It's also really nice to kind of cater other content or similar content that they've written. So I think if it's a case where you, when, I guess less of a. Not serious, but less of a, a sort of meaty Y M L sector. I think the blurb would do, or if it's just a handful of articles, then a blurb is absolutely fine.
But I think if you are, you know, if it's like investor appeal, let's say the example that we used here, then having that individual author page will really help to extol the expertise and the, you know, the trust of that person. And the more content that you can write about them, I think the better.
Travis: Yeah, that makes sense. This is a two part question. What are your best tips for differentiating your content for Y M Y L topics that don't have a lot of rapid change, and how can websites stand out from the competition without sacrificing accuracy and comprehensiveness?
Amanda: So I think in terms of the first one, if you don't have a lot of change, you, I assume that means that the topic's fairly static.
So you may not have new rules and regulations coming in. You can still add an update to that content and it could be adding things that are happening in the news. Or something that's topical or something new that's been said about it, or a new perspective on it, or you know, something to just kind of keep it fresh.
Because what we tend to find is that when content has been getting stale, so maybe like 3, 4, 5 years down the line, it's just not quite as relevant anymore. Even if it's not something that's constantly changing, there will have been something that's changed in that time. So I think it's just more about having awareness of what.
It could be adding more supplementary content to it. So maybe adding a related article or pillaring your content out to kind of showcase a, a sort of higher level of expertise around that. In terms of making, sorry, go.
Travis: I say that's interesting. That's a good idea.
Amanda: I think it just, it allows you to add more value.
Like if you have a service page and then off that service like that, your service may stay fairly static, what you're offering, but there might be things that are trending around that service. So you know, things that have been in the news, new topics or, I dunno, just, you know, even guidance, like a how to guide or something along those lines.
So using that supplementary content is a nice way to add something new without something new actually happening. It kind of adds more value from that perspective, I think as well. But in terms of making your website stand out I think particularly in the Y and Y L space, it's just about having the complete package.
So it's very much about having, you know, when a user's coming onto a Y and Y website, making sure they have everything that they need to make a decision then and there. And that doesn't just help you from an e a T perspective. It helps you from a conversion perspective. A lot of the time, particularly in, in y ware sectors, users are shopping around so it, because they, it's a big decision.
Maybe it's a considered purchase or it's something to do with their health, or something along those lines. You know, they're really looking for that reassurance that all different touchpoints. So they're probably going to search results, searching for, you know, four or five different things. You know, clicking on maybe four or five different things and then they may be checking your external reputation.
They might be going on social media, they might be doing, you know, a lot of different things. I think it's just very much about, you know, having everything in order. So making sure that all those touch points that users can access correlate with each other, not just from a sort of consistency perspective, but they're all saying the same thing.
They're all positive. And also that when a user comes onto your website, you're giving them a reason to not have to go somewhere else. That might be that you are answering all of those things then and there you're giving them the reviews, you're giving them the testimonials, you're showcasing, you know, your expertise, your awards, all of that right there.
So you're, you're kind of trying to contain them on the site, if that answers the question.
Travis: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. The next question is, are affiliate links on Y M Y L sites viewed by Google as
So I can't, I can't speak on behalf of Google. I'm not really sure how they see them, but I think what I would say is that it depends, that very much depends on what type of affiliate link they are. So, you know, Where it's going, what it's doing, what kind of product, what kind of service it's for. If it's, you know, sending users to something that is as trustworthy, as expertise driven and as authoritative as your website, then you know, again, you are in a good neighborhood and I don't think there's an issue with it.
I think it would be more of a concern, you know, similar to anything, if you're associating yourself with a website that perhaps doesn't have. A strong way on whale signals or you know, potentially has a negative reputation. That's the only time where I could really see any kind of linking being a concern.
And I think that that's just what I always try to be mindful of is that, you know, I always wanna be in a good neighborhood. I want my website to be seen to be linked to other good websites and have other good websites linking to me. You know, again, positive reputation, really great e a t signals if my website is linking to.
Websites with poorer signals, let's say websites that perhaps aren't as trustworthy. That's when I think that sort of negative impact can occur. So there's a kind of a lot of variables, I think, in that question. But it's very much about where and who you're linking to.
Travis: Cool. Yeah, I think that's helpful.
And then on that reputation front what do you do if you do have a ding to your reputation? Like someone published a negative review or a negative article how do you kind of combat
Amanda: that? So I think there's a couple of ways to do it. If it's a negative review, obviously responding to it, so, you know, making sure that you are, you know, responding to it and addressing whatever it was that happens in a positive light.
If it's a negative piece of pr, I would put out a positive piece of pr, so it could be something slightly unrelated. I would try and get some content in the news results. 'cause I assume, you know, if, if you're sort of seeing something, it's either ranking or it's in the news results. Optimizing your social media profiles, pushing them up and just kind of pushing that content down is a great place to start.
But the best way is responding to it, you know, as best you can, whether that's responding to reviews you know, and explaining what's happened or putting out something positive in the press that addresses it. The issue, whether it's a data piece, whether it's a thought leadership piece, whatever that might be, just trying to combat it with, you know, that positive reputation signals.
'cause when we're looking at reputation signals, one bad article isn't gonna make for a bad website if it's outweighed by, by positive articles at the same time. So I think that's just where that kind of proactive PR approach works. I like that.
Travis: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And this might be the last question, but it's from Benji.
What types of signals would you evaluate when considering a link domain rating (DR)? Like what else would you kinda look at?
Amanda: So I think topical relevancy, I. It's really important to your links. So if you are a health website, let's say for example, or a medical website, then something like Men's Health, Women's Health, Healthline you know, or the health section of a newspaper, the health section of a magazine.
Is the most relevant, you know, followed by obviously then your kind of dailies in your nationals. So, you know, getting a link from a sort of random blog that isn't related regardless of the DR, isn't gonna add a lot of value to your link profile because it's not. It's not relevant to what you're doing.
So the first thing I would look at is relevancy. One link from a really relevant website is far more important in my opinion than, you know, 10 links from 10 random websites that really have nothing to do and, and maybe don't have much user interaction either. Looking at the user interaction of the website again, so, you know, is it a website that's engaged with, is it something that people go to as a, you know, a hub of information or is it a website that's just been built for link's sake?
DR is always a nice, nice metric because normally a high DR website will. Pass good authority. You do have sort of older directories, unfortunately, which have a high Dr but obviously don't pass SEO authority and, and aren't, aren't the right place to be building links. But I think if you focus on relevancy and the quality and you know, and how closely linked that is to your website and you back that up with, you know, software metrics like DR and, and even kind of I guess I would put it like interaction levels.
That's how I would best measure a link. And when we're certainly, when we are looking for the links and the places to place our content, they're the metrics that we're using you know, to, to drive the links in.
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