With so many tips and tricks nowadays on how to make sure your visitors will find your site, SEO has become nothing short than brain surgery. The internet is overflowing with video tutorials, guides, and online courses that will turn you into an SEO expert overnight. It doesn’t come as a surprise: starting your own online presence nowadays is like adding a grain of sand to the desert – you do need to do everything to attract new visitors and, ultimately, customers.
Working on your SEO at all times and improving existing strategies is a must. You have to be prepared to create content for both Google and your visitors. Bringing value to your readers and having them coming back for more is as equally important as any other SEO trick you implement.
This stands true even for big names in any industry. Just because your website is first in Google’s Search Results, it doesn’t mean that you are safe and that you can sit back and relax when it comes to your SEO. On the contrary, all it takes is a slight change in Google’s algorithm or a new kid on the block with a delightful coming soon page and a better SEO strategy to get you off the throne in no time.
If you have an established site, and your stats are not so great, it is where the Cocktail Technique can help tremendously. Let’s get down to it and see how that works.
What is Cocktail Technique?
The Cocktail Technique is a term coined by Ahref’s team in their blog post and has nothing to do with alcohol or beverages, for that matter. The Cocktail Technique is a great way to make your content perform better on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), without spending too much time and energy on making it happen.
What you are doing using the Cocktail Technique is merging two mediocre articles with the similar or same topic that are not getting enough traffic into one, by having a 301 redirect set in place.
Sounds simple, right? The truth is, the Cocktail Technique has many benefits, but it has to be done right. Otherwise, you could just go ahead and keyword-stuff all your posts. To be able to explain how the Cocktail Technique works and how to get it right, we’ll get to some explaining. If you are an expert and feel like you know the background, feel free to skip.
Backlinks and Authority
This is one of the basics of SEO. Let’s put it out this way: If you start your business and create an online presence, your online presence will have no authority. Simply – it’s just a grain of sand in the desert. No one will be able to find it (maybe Google will, but it will surely present it on the last page of its search results).
However, if Indiana Jones told the world that under that very specific grain of sand lies a billion-dollar worth of treasure, the situation might change. Someone with authority said that you are important – Google tends to trust Indiana Jones because he knows his stuff. Add a couple of other famous people, and voila. Next time someone Googles “billion-dollar worth of treasure”, you show up on SERP’s first page.
The same goes for websites. If an authority website in your field says that you are good at what you do by adding a link to your site in a piece of their content, Google will recognize your value, and bump your authority on the topic up. This is why backlinks are super important and are like Pokemons: You need to get as many quality links as you possibly can, to make sure your site has the needed authority for Google, and for your visitors to notice it in the desert.
Where do the 301 redirects stand?
Let’s get down to the basics here: the basic definition is that “301 Redirects indicate the permanent moving of a web page from one location to another”.
There are many reasons why you would need to do this: You moved your website to another domain and you need the traffic to get there instead, or you could be trying to rebrand. A piece of your site is outdated? You don’t want your visitors to see the old piece of your website. In any case, you want to keep your valuable backlinks, authority, and your visitors with you.
Still, until 2016, redirecting your content had a huge drawback: by redirecting one page to another, it “leaks” some of the existing authority the original page had. Horrible. You’ve been working hard to get the authority in the first place, and now you are losing it for no reason.
However, once Google announced that redirects no longer leak the authority, a new opportunity presented itself. Merging of two pieces of content meant that the new piece has the same authority as both pieces combined! Now, both the piece that was approved by Indiana Jones and the one explaining Pharaoh’s treasure is pointing to a single particular grain of sand!
That’s how handy the Cocktail Technique is, as it creates quite a bump up on the SERP!
Doing it right
Of course, just merging anything into one article won’t do the trick: Google will consider them as soft 404s, and you will get nowhere. So, there are some pre-requirements the articles need to fulfill for this strategy to work.
- Ensure that they are targeting the same keywords
If you just went ahead and merged an article that talks about ice cream and the one with the send in the desert, you won’t get far. Make sure that both of the articles are targeting the same keywords, and are the same, or similar in content.
- They have to have some quality backlinks and traffic beforehand
This is rather obvious but important to point out: You need to combine at least two delicious things for the cocktail to work. Otherwise, it’s not a cocktail!
Now that you have found your ingredients, you want to create the content. The basics still apply here: Your content needs to be of high quality, relevant, and bring value to your audience. Take the best of both worlds and incorporate them into your new article. See who linked to those articles and what they used as anchors. That should give you some insight into which part of the content performed well with your audience.
Once you have the new piece, see if you could reuse one of the old URLs. If any of them match your new piece, use it to publish it, and redirect the other one to it. If not, just create a new one, and set up redirects on both of the old ones, you’ll still be doing good.
Of course, you can always take this to another level: by using the cocktail technique on two different websites! Do not get greedy, though, and make sure that the pieces you are merging are fulfilling the above-mentioned criteria, or you will be punished by Google.
How to create 301 redirects?
Now, to the fun part. If you are running your site on WordPress, there is an extremely simple way to do this – by installing a plugin, of course. 301 Redirects plugin is the plugin to do this, just as its name suggests.
Once you install and activate the plugin, all you have to do is copy and paste the URL of the article you need to redirect, and then select from either the dropdown menu or again, by pasting, the URL to which you want it to redirect. Piece of cake! After all the struggle figuring out the keywords, which articles to merge, how to create a great new post, this plugin is a relief.
When the redirect is created, it is time to sit back and enjoy the cocktail. Thanks to the bump up the SERP, as the authority on the new piece is much higher, you can expect to see quite many new visitors dropping by and checking your new piece out!
When it comes to SEO, it essentially boils down to creating something of value for your visitors. Google is quick to catch up: if your visitors are happy, then Google will be happy, too.
Redirects play an important role in this, as they help in providing your visitors with what they were searching for in the first place. Nobody wants to end up on 404 pages, or on a website that explains how to use the VHS recorder when they are trying to find a movie to stream. Make sure your content is valuable to them, and use redirects to set it up.
The Cocktail Technique, apart from the Google technicalities mentioned above, does the same. Instead of providing your visitors with two different articles explaining the same thing, you will be presenting them with one – with the best parts of both of them in it.
As long as you keep in mind that your main goal is to keep the visitors happy, the brain surgery that stands behind SEO is not so complicated after all!