Semalt: Blog Audit In 6 Steps Before Starting Cooperation With An Influencer
There are many ways to choose the right blog influencers to work with. Most often, we pay attention to their recognition, the number of visits to the blog, reach or the number of fans, and their engagement. Less often do we focus on technical or SEO issues, while these will often tell us much more about the blogger than he or she does.
Below are 6 practical tips for auditing your blog before you start working with a particular influencer. If one of the objectives of the campaign is to publish content on a blog, it is worth checking in advance how the blogger is ranking in organic search results.
Before requesting data from Google Analytics, you can analyze the existing content on the blog in a few simple steps. Does this make sense? Yes, and a very big one. If the analysis shows that the published content has high visibility in organic search results and scores high for difficult key phrases, you can then assume that your content will also reach the expected organic traffic.
How to find the right influencers?
How do you choose which blogs have a real "power" following from the mass of blogs? Of course, the easiest way would be to choose the blogs that have been at the forefront of the blogosphere for many years. However, for many reasons, this solution often does not work.
The most common obstacles are a small budget for the campaign, a blog profile or topic that does not match exactly, or campaigns with a given blogger that have already been carried out. Agencies usually pay attention to the blogger's recognition, his / her reach, and how he/she works on social media.
They are less likely to focus on how the blogger is doing in organic search results. Such knowledge can be very helpful in choosing the right person for the campaign. So how to analyze the available data to find a blog that - regardless of its seniority or recognition - will bring tangible benefits to your campaign, not only material benefits?
Thanks to the analysis of the blog's visibility and its linking profile, you will get answers to the following questions:
- Does the blogger provide valuable content?
- Is the blog kept systematically?
- What key phrases is the blog visible for?
- Are these phrases surely relevant to the topic of the blog?
- Hasn't the blog seen sudden drops in visibility?
- How seasonal is the topic of the posted content?
- Is the blogger not cheating in the organic traffic statistics?
- What does a blog's linking profile look like?
- Do others write about the blogger in a positive light?
You will conduct a full analysis, such as the one described below, using tools such as the Dedicated SEO Dashboard (visibility analysis, keyword database, seasonality, backlink analysis, number of valuable incoming links)
Blog audit in 6 steps
1. Check the visibility chart
If the visibility graph is evenly distributed over time, it suggests that the blogger is systematically delivering valuable content, which is important for the website's reputation.
Sudden drops may be the result of subsequent updates of the Google algorithm, but may also indicate, for example, poor optimization changes or that the blogger did not systematically add new content. The Dedicated SEO Dashboard's visibility chart allows you to compare several blogs at the same time on the same preview, which can help in choosing a blogger to collaborate with. It is enough to enter one or more domains under the graph that you want to compare with the studied blog.
When talking to the blogger later, mention any visibility anomalies you notice - perhaps he/she will be able to tell you more about them.
2. Check the number of key phrases
The estimated number of key phrases with a potential for more than 10 monthly searches will give you an idea of whether a blogger is capable of delivering content that can attract the reader from organic search results through a wide range of phrases. To better interpret the received data, you can divide it into groups of phrases in the search results in positions 1-3, 1-10, and 1-50.
All you need to do is export the DSD data to any spreadsheet. You will receive a maximum of 100, 1000, 10000, or 100000 key phrases. If the analysis shows a small number of key phrases, which also have a low average monthly search rate and low keyword difficulty, and the blogger boasts of high numbers from organic traffic, you should see a red warning light.
"Twisting" a lot of traffic from a small number of key phrases is practically impossible unless we enter the sphere of various unethical plays. In this case, ask the blogger for Google Analytics data for verification.
A too low value of phrases in the range of 1-3 may (but does not have to) indicate a low authority of the website. In some cases, it may even suggest a penalty imposed on the site. If your site has one of the twelve manual actions, you'll find out by logging into the Google Search Console panel. Select "Safety and Manual Actions" in the menu, then look at the "Manual Actions" tab.
3. Check which phrases the blog ranks for
An important element that shows how the overall work is perceived by Google's algorithms is the phrases on which the blog ranks. Are these phrases strongly related to the topic of the blog or individual entries? Does the range of key phrases ranked by a given entry exhaust the discussed issue as much as possible? It happens that the phrases that potentially get the most traffic deviate significantly from the main topic of the blog. This state of affairs may lead to a misinterpretation of the main subject category.
Thanks to the analysis of key phrases on which the blog ranks with the DSD, you will initially check if the blogger is not "poking" organic traffic with phrases not related to his / her topic. If the ratio of phrases that generate the most traffic and are not closely related to the main topic of your blog to related phrases is small, you have nothing to worry about. If not, an investigation will be needed.
4. Check the share of phrases with high search potential
High potential keywords are those that have a high approximate average monthly number of searches. The relevant data can be found in the keyword planner in Google Ads or, for example, in the Dedicated SEO Dashboard.
Keyword Difficulty in the Dedicated SEO Dashboard is a metric that helps you gauge how hard it will be to rank a domain for a given keyword on a scale of 1 to 100 (1 = very easy, 100 = very hard). The algorithm takes into account, among others, the following factors: the length of the keyword, the number of searches for a given keyword, CPC, and the visibility of the top 10 URLs for a specific keyword.
It often happens that pages with a high proportion of key phrases with high search potential also have a higher reputation. Colloquially speaking, Google looks at such websites more favorably. The high reputation of the website translates into a more efficient gaining of position for the newly added phrases, and this argument is not without significance for the future campaign.
Depending on the subject of the blog, this potential may vary significantly. Therefore, additional analysis of the key phrase base for competing blogs will be necessary to compare the results. During the analysis, one must not forget about long tail phrases, which - with low search potential - may have a high conversion rate.
5. Check the seasonality of the site
The seasonality of the site is an important parameter in the case of a campaign whose promotion period is limited to a narrow time frame. The seasonality chart used in the Dedicated SEO Dashboard is a tool that estimates the range of changes in organic traffic during a given month. It happens that the expected traffic on the blog is highly seasonal. So it may turn out that your "winter" campaign will not work for a blog where a significant percentage of all traffic occurs in summer.
How to analyze a blog
To avoid misinterpreting the seasonality graph, remember that if a blog does not have evenly distributed traffic throughout the year, it does not mean that it has a bad reputation and should be deleted. High seasonality is particularly noticeable in the case of blogs describing narrow topics (in travel blogs, for example, a single country).
6. Check inbound links
The link profile not only tells you whether the blogger has resorted to illegal doping, such as buying links, often of poor quality. More importantly, it also tells you how many, how often, and where the blogger and their blog are mentioned. You can check the linking profile with the Dedicated SEO Dashboard tool.
The time over which the blog under test gets new inbound links can also be of great importance. The steadier the increase in link domains, the more likely it is that the whole link acquisition process is natural. A sudden jump - even of several hundred links in a few days - may or may not be evidence that the blogger is acquiring links unnaturally, for example, by buying them.
An important factor is also the thematic linking of the pages that link to the blog. A site with inbound links from thematically related pages is often ranked higher than pages that have many more links but come from off-topic pages. It's quality that counts, not quantity.
A blogger's reputation also matters a lot. Check whether the blogger is presented in a positive light on the linking pages or on the contrary.
The 6 steps of the blog audit above allow you to choose even better the right people for cooperation. You can combine the data obtained with standard data and draw appropriate conclusions on this basis.