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22 Smart Google SEO Tips for 2022

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22 Smart Google SEO Tips for 2022


The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with a brand new season of Whiteboard Friday episodes for your viewing pleasure. First up: SEO expert Cyrus Shepard shares his top 22 tips for successful Google SEO in 2022. Watch to find out what to prioritize and what to look out for in the year ahead!

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday, a very special edition, our annual SEO tips of the year edition. This year it is 22 smart SEO tips for 2022. I’m going to be talking about some of the most talked about things in the SEO industry over the past year plus a few tips from last year that we wanted to pull over because they were just that important.

Because we’ve got 22 of them and we don’t want this video to take forever, we’re going to be going through these pretty quick, but for you we’ve linked to some resources in the transcript below so you can explore all of these topics further if you want. All right. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

On-page SEO tips for 2022

1. A/B testing

I’m going to start with some on-page topics. Tip number one, A/B testing or simply testing.

We’ve seen a lot more testing tools pop up in the last couple of years, which is awesome because SEO is not make a decision and implement it and you’re done. SEO is implement, evaluate, and then make decisions or sometimes course corrections.

Is this something we need to pull back? Did C perform better than D? Which one would we choose? All the tips we’re talking about today can apply to this testing mentality. SEO is incredibly complex, and the old-school idea of best practices just doesn’t cut it anymore. So in ’22, develop a testing mentality with your SEO.

2. Author pages

Number two, author pages. I really love this because Google this year updated some of their advice around author pages and their schema markup. It’s an important part of my strategy and a lot of websites that I use. A good quality author page helps Google evaluate your authors, which can be used for E-A-T and other things, and helps link them with their expertise.

So linking your articles to a good author page usually includes links to other websites, author profiles, links to the articles they wrote, some biographical information. It can help establish your authors as expertise in a certain space. So take a look at your author pages and try to improve them and make this a task. 

3. Google title rewrites

Google title rewrites, number three. I don’t think there is any topic more discussed in 2022 than Google rewriting titles. A lot of studies, including one I did, showing Google rewriting 60%, 70% or 80% of a site’s titles. It can be frustrating. But what we’re finding is a lot of people aren’t evaluating those Google title rewrites. When you do, you can learn a lot about your own titles.

Why is Google rewriting it? Is my title too long? Am I missing important keywords? Do I have fluff in there that Google doesn’t like? Or in some cases you can go back and try to correct the title that Google rewrote if they’re doing just a terrible job. So Google title rewriting, do an audit of those Google titles and learn what you can do.

5. Nuke the “fluff”

Speaking of fluff, this may be the year that you want to nuke the SEO fluff. You know what I’m talking about with SEO fluff. It’s those flowery keywords. It’s those descriptions and it’s recipe pages. “Oh, I was walking along the Irish countryside thinking about my bread and biscuits.” That is your fluff. We’re finding that it may not be necessary, and it may even be detrimental to your SEO.

Glenn Gabe wrote a great case study where they reduced a lot of their fluff on category descriptions and they actually saw an increase. Google is removing fluff from title tags. So this marketing, flowery, SEO writing stuff, it may not be helping you, and, in fact, it may be hurting you. Today Google is rewarding sites or seems to be rewarding sites that provide quick answers and more direct engagement.

Better engagement, it’s usually better for your customers as well. So experiment with losing the fluff in 2022. 

5. FAQ schema

Number five, FAQ schema. So last year we talked a lot about different schema types, how-to schema, FAQ scheme, different things. If there was a clear winner in 2022, it was FAQ. The reason FAQ is the winner is because so many sites can qualify for it, it’s easy to implement, and if you win a FAQ schema in SERPs, you can gain a lot of Google real estate.

So there are a lot of articles that talk about how to optimize for FAQs. You can get links, deep links in FAQs. There are a lot of things you can do. We’ll link to those in the transcript below. But take a look at your FAQ schema if you’re not currently using it: 

6. Tabbed content

Last year we talked about tabbed content, bringing your content that is in tabs, in navigation and bringing it out. This year, we’re getting a little more advanced.

Our friends at Merj did a study about types of tabbed content and how easily Google can extract and render and index different tabbed content. So if you still have content in tabs, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take everything out, but you should research if Google is able to index and rank those appropriately. There are better resources this year to try to do that.

So take a look at your tabbed content. 

7. Faceted navigation

Along the same lines, faceted navigation. We’ve been talking about faceted navigation for years, but this is the year to get a little more strategic with it. In certain ways, faceted navigation has always been like a set of rules, like if it has green dress, we are not going to index this or crawl it, but if it is size 12 or higher, we will index it.

Today, smart SEOs are getting a lot more savvy about what they index, don’t index, and crawl with faceted navigation, and these tools are becoming increasingly available for sites like WordPress and things like that, where you can actually look at the traffic each page receives and index, crawl, faceted navigation on a page by page level, and these broad rules aren’t necessarily as necessary.

You can get down to the nitty-gritty and increase your traffic that way, with fine-grained tools. So both tabbed content and faceted navigation, old-school concepts, but we’re getting much more sophisticated with them in 2022. 

Link building tips for 2022

All right, let’s talk about everybody’s favorite subject, links, because you need links to rank in SEO. But what a lot of smart SEOs know and talk about is you need links to rank in SEO, but you probably don’t need as many as you think.

8. Internal link optimization

If you only have a few good external links, one of the best ways to leverage that is optimize your internal link optimization. We’ve seen a number of new tools and processes talking about internal link optimization. We’re talking about pages that have too few links, under optimized anchor text, pages that have great opportunities that aren’t ranking that should.

So if you haven’t done an internal link optimization audit in a while, this is the year to do it and this is the way to leverage those internal links that you’re getting. 

9. Deep linking

Speaking of which, deep linking. In the old days, if you linked to a page, you just linked to the URL. But we’re seeing an increase in deep linking, linking to specific passages, text fragments, things like that, navigation, jump links.

This is increasingly becoming a popular strategy to get people deeper into the page and give Google and other search engines signals about very specific parts of pages. This seems relevant as Google has recently introduced passage ranking, where they’re not just evaluating the whole page. They can understand individual passages as well.

So making deep linking part of your strategy, as opposed to just linking to the URL, seems to be a great way of moving forward. 

10. High ROI link building

High ROI link building. I watched a great presentation from Ross Simmonds this year, the Coolest Cool, on link building with assets and determining the ROI of each of them, because everything you build links with, whether it be a tool, a blog post, a free PDF, it has a cost and that cost has an ROI.

Ross found that certain things have higher ROIs than others. Tools have an incredibly high ROI, but they’re also expensive to create. Pages with stats on them, not that expensive to create, but also a really high ROI. 

I’m going to link to that video. It might be a paid subscription. I apologize about that. But it’s awesome. It was voted number one at MozCon. If you do link building, it’s definitely worth watching and definitely worth the cost. High ROI link building, know the cost of everything you’re producing and how much value you’re getting out of it.

11. Reduce redirects

Let’s go old school again. Our friend Nick LeRoy tweeted not too long ago about reducing redirects. This is really old school, but a lot of people are forgetting it these days. If you have a large site and you have thousands or millions of redirects all sending confusing signals, 301 jumps to a 302 jumps to a 404, what is that? 

Looking at your redirect chains and reducing them to a single redirect with a clear directive can help reduce canonicalization errors. It can improve crawling efficiency, and at scale it can influence your rankings. So if you have a large site or even a small site with a lot of redirects, this is the year you want to do a redirect audit. Get on it. Audit, on it.

12. SEO for affiliate links

How about SEO for affiliate links? We don’t talk a lot about affiliate links here at Moz, and Google traditionally hasn’t talked a lot about it either.

But this year we saw Google introduce specific guidance for affiliate sites, which is something they really haven’t done before. Specifically for review sites, Google talking about what a good review looks like, talking about the good and the bad part of the product, the fact that you should link to multiple merchants so consumers have a choice.

We haven’t seen this from Google before. So if you do SEO for affiliate sites, you do review sites, this is the year to review those Google documentations and make sure you’re creating sites that Google rewards and actually following Google’s guidance on it, which is something in past years I didn’t think I would be able to say about that. So it’s awesome to see.

Google SEO tips for 2022

13. Reputation research

All right, moving on to different topics, reputation research. My friend Lily Ray talks about reputation research a lot in terms of E-A-T. The idea that Google can evaluate your site based on what other people say about you. So if you’re Dr. Mercola and an anti-vaxxer and everybody is saying all these terrible things about you on other websites, Google can disappear you from search.

Reviews, what are other websites saying about you in terms of reviews? Google quality raters often look at other websites to get reputation research, and it’s supposedly believed that Google can do the same thing algorithmically. So making reputation research part of your SEO audit process, what are other sites saying about you, is it incredibly positive, is it incredibly negative, this is especially important for your money or your life sites, sites that are going to be more impacted by E-A-T algorithms.

So if you sell things or dispense medical advice, reputation research is a little bit more important for those sites. 

14. Core Web Vitals — minimums

Boy, last year we talked about Core Web Vitals a lot. One of my happiest things is that we are talking about it much less. Google announced a big update. It was a big hooplala. It didn’t quite work out the way Google kind of explained that it might.

What happened was Google released Core Web Vitals, and some sites saw a boost, other sites saw a decrease, but it wasn’t as intense as we thought it might be. A lot of sites did improve. But we’re finding in 2022 maybe we don’t need to worry about it as much as we thought.

My colleague Tom Capper did a study that showed that slow sites were still ranking and fast sites were ranking even higher, but the effect wasn’t as much. The one thing Tom did find though, that was important, was sites that failed all three Core Web Vital requirements were definitely in the dumps. So we should optimize for speed always, but perhaps in 2022 we don’t need to obsess over it as much as possible, based on Google advice.

Speed is awesome. You should make your sites as fast as you can. But Core Web Vitals, don’t sweat it as much as we were in 2021.

15. Ditch AMP?

Other things we might want to consider not sweating, AMP. 2021 was the year that we’ve seen a lot sites start to ditch their AMP. This is because Google no longer requires it as a ranking factor in their top stories. It does provide some speed benefits. It’s kind of a neat technology. We know people who work on it. It’s really cool. But a lot of companies were stressing out trying to maintain two different versions of their website to get that ranking boost. A lot of sites are starting to like, “Well, we don’t want to have two different versions. It’s a lot of overhead. It’s a lot of engineers. What if we just got rid of it?”

They’re finding it really doesn’t make a difference. They can just work with one platform and still get as much rankings as they want. So if your company is struggling with AMP, this might be a year to experiment with ditching it. Or keep it if you like. It’s great, but a lot of people seem to be walking away. 

16. Google Discover

On the flipside, a lot of people are flocking to Google Discover.

Google Discover is interesting. It’s not traditional SEO traffic, where you research a keyword and people are converting. It’s a little bit more like social media traffic. In fact, social media sharing seems to be one of the ranking factors that can influence how much traffic you get from Google Discover. 

But what we’ve seen in the last year is some publishers are optimizing for Google Discover, publishing those stories, and seeing huge amounts of traffic for that. Great for like news sites, blogs, popular things, things that talk about popular topics. 

We’ve gotten some Google Discover traffic here at Moz. We’re going to link to a couple of articles to show you how to optimize for Google Discover. But if you haven’t tried it yet, it may be a channel for you to explore in 2022. 

17. Local SEO GBP categories

We’ve got to squeeze in one local SEO tip. We’re doing this for our friend Darren Shaw, who publishes the Local Search SEO Ranking Factors every year, doing an awesome job at it. If you have a local site and you just have five minutes to do one thing, the number one SEO tip for 2022, get your GBP categories in order. Ranking factors studies show that it is the number one thing that can influence rankings.

Do an audit of your Google Business Profile categories. Darren has a lot of tips over there with that Local SEO Ranking Factors. I would encourage you to look at it. Also Joy Hawkins is doing a lot with experimentations. I’d encourage you to look at her site as well. 

18. Favicon review

My tip, the tip that I’m going to die on this hill — favicon optimization. Why favicon optimization?

I talked about this last year, but I don’t think people took me seriously enough. Over 50% of search results take place on a mobile phone where your favicon shows, and people are not optimizing those favicons. A good favicon can draw attention. It can zero you in on a very busy SERP, and it does it with just a few pixels.

A good favicon can raise your click-through conversion rate one or two percent, which is awesome. How does it work? What do you notice on this screen? You notice the tip with a favicon. A good favicon is usually bright, it’s usually high contrast, and it draws your attention to your search results. So optimize your favicon, folks. I’m dying on that hill.

SEO career tips for 2022

All right. So I want to spend a few tips on talking about your SEO career, because I don’t think we talk about this enough. What should you be learning this year, aside from Python because everybody loves Python? 

19. Learn GA4

This might be the year that you want to finally familiarize yourself with GA4. GA4 is the product that’s replacing traditional Google Analytics.

You’re going to see it in a lot more client accounts. It can be a little confusing to people. Some of the metrics aren’t there. It’s got some cool things in it admittedly, like they basically got rid of bounce rate and replaced it with engagement metrics, which is great because a lot of SEOs are a little too focused on bounce rate and engagement may be more representative, a holistic way that Google views your website.

Our friend Dana DiTomaso has a course on LinkedIn that you can check out. But familiarize yourself with GA4 so you can walk into those meetings and you can present those reports and know what you are talking about. 

20. Attend virtual conferences

Conferences. COVID moved a lot of conferences virtually online. People attended them.

A lot of people are getting burnt out on virtual conferences. But looking back at all the virtual conferences of 2021, there’s some great value there. Here at Moz, we had MozCon. We had some tremendous speeches. It also makes it more affordable for people all over the world. Traditional conferences, you pay $1,000 to $2,000 just to attend the conference plus travel and all that.

But with virtual conferences, oftentimes they’re free or just $100 or $200. You can attend virtually and focus on the content and the learning and advance your career, and do the networking, reach out to the speakers. There are lots of opportunities there. So I would commit in 2022 to attending two or three virtual conferences and make that part of your career advancement.

21. Charge more

Finally, the last tip on the career, charge more. 2022 is the year to charge more for your SEO services. Our friend John Doherty at Get Credo publishes his annual salary report or agency fee report. If you’re an independent consultant or agent, you can check to see what you’re charging compared to your peers.

But, in general, SEO services are in high demand all over the world, especially high-quality SEO services. The power is in your hands to charge what you are worth, not undermining yourself. If you’re working in-house, it might be time to evaluate your salary and make sure you’re getting paid what you deserve, especially if you’re not getting paid as much as your colleagues or you’re part of an underrepresented group.

Charge more in 2022. Make more money. 

And finally…

22. Be the last click

Final tip of 2022, this was the final tip of 2021. It’s my favorite SEO tip of all time. Be the last click. That means satisfy your users. When someone is searching Google or any other search engine and they’re presented with a list of results, they’re clicking around, looking for what they want to be, make sure you are the last site that they click.

Why? Because when they clicked to your site, they found what they were looking for. You satisfied them so much that when they see your site again, you’re going to be the first one that they click on because you gave them the answer. Provide awesome experiences for your users. Think of them first. Give them everything they want. Give Google no excuse not to rank you number one in the search result.

All right, 22 tips for 2022. That’s all I’ve got. I would love to hear your tips. Please leave them in the comments below. Reach out to me on social media. If you liked this video, please share it. Thanks, everybody. It’s been fun.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com





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MARKETING

Ascend | DigitalMarketer

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.



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2023 Facebook Algorithm Guide: Overview & Best Practices

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2023 Facebook Algorithm Guide: Overview & Best Practices

Every month, 2.7 billion people use Facebook, Meta’s globe-dominating social network. For marketers, this is an un-ignorable audience. However, reaching that audience isn’t always easy – to get content in front of a relevant user, they need to make the Facebook algorithm work in their favor.

Unfortunately, the algorithm can feel very mysterious. Why do some posts go viral with engagement while others wither and disappear without so much as a few courtesy likes?

The good news is that while the technical rules governing Facebook’s algorithm may be in a black box, there are plenty of guidelines and common-sense tips that can help ensure your content gets prioritized and seen. Facebook has published many explainers and tutorials over the past few years to break down how its algorithm ranks and distributes content to users’ Feeds.

Here’s how Facebook’s algorithm works in 2023 with ten expert tips on increasing the impact, performance and lifecycle of your Facebook content.
 

Table of Contents

 

  • What is the Facebook Algorithm?
  • A Recent History of the Facebook Algorithm 
  • How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2023
  • 10 Best Practices for Working with Facebook’s Algorithm
  • Final Takeaway

 

What is the Facebook Algorithm?

 
The Facebook algorithm is the set of rules and formulas that determine what content users see in their Feeds. Its goal is to make the posts that “matter most to the user” highly visible to that user. To do this, it analyzes each piece of content eligible to be displayed and ranks them according to a set of criteria.

As Facebook explains, the algorithm is actually “not just one single algorithm; it’s multiple layers of [machine learning] models and rankings that we apply to predict the most relevant and meaningful content for each user.”

If that sounds complex, that’s because of the sheer volume of content on the Facebook platform. There are over 2 billion Facebook users and trillions of posts they can see; the algorithm needs to be sophisticated to sort through all that content in an instant between launching the Facebook application and the population of each user’s Feed. 

 

A Recent History of the Facebook Algorithm

 

Since 2017, Facebook has been increasingly transparent about significant changes in how it ranks and distributes content. That also means the algorithm is constantly evolving. In general, those updates have favored user input, posts friends and family over publishers, and content personalized to a user’s interests… all geared toward generating more “meaningful interactions.”  These updates include:

 

  • Meaningful Interactions Update (2018) – This update signaled that the algorithm would predict which posts a user might want to interact with their friends about and show these posts higher in Feed. These posts inspire discussion in the comments and posts that users might want to share and react to. 
  • Updates to Video Rankings (2019) – This update boosted the rankings of video posts that users sought out and returned to, watched for more than one minute at a time, and were original creations and not repurposed content. 
  • Addressing Sensational Health Claims (2019) – This update applied some of the existing “clickbait” rules specifically to posts making medical or health claims in an effort to reduce misinformation. Exaggerated or sensational claims were deprioritized, as were posts promoting products that advertised “miracle” cures.

 

The past three years have seen additional updates, and since they’re more recent, they deserve closer examination.

 

2020: Key takeaway from 2020

 

In 2020, Facebook modified its algorithm again to give more weight to original, credible news sources and create more personalized advertising encounters for users based on their interactions. Additional updates this year included changes designed to comply with Apple’s iOS 14’s privacy guidelines. 

 

  • Prioritizing Original Sources: In response to users continually reporting a preference for “news stories that are credible and informative,” Facebook announced that it would make ongoing updates that “prioritize articles in News Feed that we identify as original reporting on a developing story or topic.”
  • Personalized Ads: The Facebook algorithm serves advertisements to a user’s Feed based on the posts and pages they have engaged with previously. Businesses are also given the option to share information about the actions that users take on their websites and apps so they can show the most relevant content in users’ Facebook Feeds. To balance this process of information gathering and sharing, which also lays the foundation for personalized advertising on the platform, Facebook instituted the “Why am I seeing this ad” feature and the “Ad Preferences” dashboard for users (and to address privacy concerns).
  • Retargeting Limitations: Even with expanded personalization, Facebook had to respond to the significant privacy and permissioning guidelines i=within the Apple iOS 14 update released in 2020 (Tinuiti’s Liz Emery takes a more detailed look at this topic here). When Apple users install or update to iOS 14, they will be prompted to opt-in or opt out of data sharing. While Facebook has other variables that can be used to identify devices, such as the associated email address and phone number, targeting that depends on users sharing their data at the device level is restricted based on this update.

 

2021: Machine Learning and User Control

 

In 2021, Facebook released new details about how the algorithm governing users’ Feeds works and increased the amount of control users have over what they see. 

 

  • Favorites: A new tool where users can control and prioritize posts in their Feeds from the friends and Pages they choose. By selecting up to 30 friends and Pages to include in Favorites, their posts will appear higher in ranked and can also be viewed as a separate filter.
  • Revealing the algorithm’s machine learning mechanics: In 2021, Facebook published an in-depth post explaining how the Feed predicts what users want to see. For the first time, it detailed the machine learning processes behind predicting what users see in their Feeds based on various factors, including what and whom they’ve followed, liked, or engaged with recently. These mechanics are largely still in place today.

 

Source: Facebook

 

2022: From ML to AI

 

Last year, the Facebook algorithm evolved further in the direction of user control and augmented its use of machine learning tools with more sophisticated artificial intelligence systems. These two updates went hand-in-hand. Users were given a new function on each post they saw, the “Show More/Show Less” feature. Selecting “Show More” would increase the ranking score for that post, increasing the likelihood of a similar post or a similar user appearing in the user’s Feed. The inverse would happen when “Show Less” is selected.

These per-post user inputs are simultaneously helping the AI system generalize how relevant future content will be for that user. Or as Facebook puts it, “by offering more ways to incorporate direct feedback into Feed ranking, we’re making our artificial intelligence systems smarter and more responsive.”

Facebook’s AI model generates what the company calls user and content embeddings, which help predict the types of content a person wants to see more of or less of in their Feed. Another Facebook blog post from 2022 explains that a “user embedding captures a person’s tastes, while the content embedding captures the essence of what a post is about.” 

One last update from 2022 – what was once called the Facebook News Feed is now just the “Feed.” That’s how we refer to it throughout this article, except where relevant due to historical discussion.

 

How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2023

 
That’s the state of the Facebook algorithm in 2023 – it has evolved to become an AI-powered, user-centric model designed to present users with relevant, welcome content in their Feeds. Even though Meta will admit that the algorithm isn’t perfect (and may never be), Facebook has demonstrated a willingness to modify its processes to give users what they want.

Despite the Facebook algorithm’s complexity and integration of new technologies like AI and machine learning, understanding its core functionality boils down to four ranking factors.

The Four Ranking Factors Fueling the Facebook Feed Algorithm

 
Prioritizing what “matters” to users has been one of the most consistent purposes of the Feed and all of its previous iterations. The goal of Facebook’s algorithm is to “show stories that matter to users,” according to Adam Mosseri, VP of Facebook’s News Feed Management. That aim is reflected across the platform’s many updates and tweaks to its algorithm, from more user control to increased personalization on advertisements. 

With that in mind, you should know how Facebook’s different algorithm factors work together to determine which stories “matter” to a user. And Facebook made these factors easy to understand in its published help center post.  
 

1. Inventory

 
Inventory represents the stock of all content that can display to a user on Facebook’s News Feed, which fluctuates based on user activity once scrolling has begun. This includes everything posted by friends and publishers.
 

2. Signals

 
Signals represent the information that Facebook can gather about a piece of content. Signals are the single factor that you have control over.

These are your inputs that Facebook interprets; type of content, the publisher, its age, purpose, and more.

You want your content to signal to Facebook that it’s meaningful and relevant to your target audience.
 

3. Predictions

 
Predictions represent a user’s behavior and how likely they are to engage with a content piece. Will a user watch a video to completion? Will they select the “Show More” feature on the post?

Predictions take authentic engagement like comments, likes, and shares from real profiles into account.
 

4. Relevancy Score

 
Relevancy Score is the final number assigned to a piece of content based on the likelihood that the user will respond positively to it. It also accounts for whether a post is “clickbait,” whether it links to a low-quality webpage, or if it’s misinformative in some way.
 

10 Best Practices for Working with Facebook’s Algorithm

 
So how can you tailor your content to ensure a high Relevancy Score and a strong enough ranking to appear in your target audience’s Feeds? Most of the following tips will be common sense if you currently produce content for social audiences, but many are specific to the sophisticated Facebook algorithm. 

Here are some guidelines and best practices for keeping your content meaningful in Facebook’s eyes, based on our research, Facebook’s recommendations, and Matt Navara and Paul Armstrong’s coverage of Facebook’s News Feed webinar
 

1. Keep posts relevant to your audience

 
Your content should always be relevant to your core audience — the people you want to build a community around. If your content is relevant to a user, the Facebook algorithm is likely to interpret that content as “meaningful,” a key consideration in ranking. 

Stories should be compelling enough for a user to want to share with family and friends. Content should be informative and interesting… and, of course, accurate. 

Products, education and lifestyle imagery, should reinforce your post’s meaningful and informative nature and build on your identity as a brand answering to a specific audience.

 

2. Engage readers and encourage interaction

 
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm favors content that fosters positive interactions between your followers and others.

Any piece of content, from products to education to entertainment — should provoke conversation. Remember that conversations can’t be one-sided; you want your audience to respond, but you must also respond to them when possible. 

You want your content to prompt people to stop their scroll, interact, and share. Interaction is a crucial weighting factor for the Facebook algorithm, so all your content should be tailored to maximize engagement.
 

3. But don’t use clickbait or engagement bait

 
 
Remember all those “like if…” and “share if you are…” posts?

This is considered engagement baiting; it doesn’t add value or interaction for users. It may not entirely be clickbait, but the Facebook algorithm will penalize it as though it were. 

Avoid asking people to “please comment, like, and share.” Your content should inspire them to engage without having to ask.

Facebook penalizes brands that encourage comments, likes, and shares on organic and ad posts. Keep this in mind when developing content for Instagram and Facebook.

 

4. Expand your post reach with employees and brand advocates

 

Because the Facebook algorithm gives preference to posts from users’ friends, families and the pages they interact with, your company’s Facebook page will have naturally limited reach. This is where enlisting employees and brand advocates can have a real impact. 

Facebook represents your widest audience, but to reach them, you need to engage the audience closest to home. Encouraging your work team to share your brand’s content with their networks broadens the reach of the post or piece of content and your brand. Directly engaging with Facebook users who are already devotees of your brand and asking them to share content with their friends and family can have a similar effect.,
 

5. Or put ad dollars behind content with organic momentum

 
 
The new Facebook algorithm values content that performs well organically, and you can build off that momentum by boosting or promoting that content with ad dollars.

Content that already has strong organic traction means lower CPCs which, combined with ad dollars, can act as a snowball effect for your content.

Identify opportunities for ads based on organic post engagement and tap into Facebook Ads Manager tools by leveraging these posts in ads.

Conversely, don’t waste ad dollars on poor-performing organic content. It will have higher CPCs and cost you more while offering less in return.

“If a post performs well with engagement, likes, and shares, there’s an opportunity to place additional ad dollars to drive that performance even further.”

— Nii Ahene, Chief Strategy Officer at Tinuiti
 
Portrait of Nii Ahene
 

6. Create compelling, original video content

 
 
2019 was the year that Facebook began leaning into its video offering in earnest, and it hasn’t stopped since. Today, the video formats available on Facebook have expanded to include Reels and Stories (shorter clips), Video on Demand and Live video. Reels, in particular, is Facebook’s fastest-growing content format “by far.” s video continues to be the top-performing content type across all social media networks, focusing on video should be a central part of your Facebook marketing strategy.

For your video content to perform best in the Feed, Facebook recommends that it be original, capture the audience’s attention, spark engagement, and inspire users to seek additional video content from the same source. 

To create original and authentic Reels, Stories and full-length videos, make sure they capture your brand’s voice and avoid duplicating content. To retain attention, ensure your creative and copy is optimized towards mobile viewing (i.e., shortened copy, readable overlays, shortened headlines). And to generate engagement, encourage discussion and genuine interactions (but like always, avoid engagement bait).

 

7. Inspire audiences and evoke emotion with storytelling

 

Just as videos should be original, engaging and attention-grabbing, so should any content you post on Facebook. Understand the kinds of stories that resonate with your audience and craft your posts to tell those stories in an exciting way.

You can create connections with your audience through authenticity, interactivity and accuracy. But the surest way is by listening. Ask for feedback. Learn their interests. Take cues from their activity on other platforms. When you know what your audience cares about, you have a better chance of inspiring them… and a better chance of rising to the top of their Feeds.

 

8. Post authentic and truthful content

 

Facebook says that “authentic stories are the ones that resonate most” and that users want to see accurate information. After the controversies surrounding “fake news” and the spread of dis- and misinformation on the platform in recent years, the company has made promoting truthful content central to the Facebook algorithm’s function. 

To signal that your content is genuine and accurate, write clear headlines free from exaggeration or sensationalism. Use well-sourced, reliable information, and avoid sharing content from sources you need clarification on. And above all, don’t lie or try to mislead with your content.

 

9. Schedule content when readers are likely to engage

 

The Facebook Feed is no longer chronological, but timing can still impact post performance within the algorithm. You want to post content when your audience is likely to engage with it, which is likely in the evening or overnight, but it can vary widely by the user. There is some research exploring the objectively ideal time for posting, but the ultimate best practice is understanding your audience and when they are most likely to be on the platform. 

 

10. Learn what works by tracking content performance

 

After you’ve published your content, remember to use Facebook Insights to track the performance of your content. This will help you understand how your different content pieces are performing in terms of engagement, which is the key ranking metric. 

Facebook also offers a variety of tools designed to help you measure both organic content and paid ads. Choose the best tools for your brand, and track performance regularly. Learn from your own Insights data and the tools you use, and optimize your content from there.

Final Takeaway

 
The Facebook algorithm is sophisticated and constantly evolving. There are few shortcuts and no way to “hack” it. But the steps outlined in this article can help make the algorithm work for you and help you get your content in front of the Facebook users who need to see it.

Want to work with our team of Facebook experts? Reach out today!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in April 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Five questions for our new CMO, Shafqat Islam

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Five questions for our new CMO, Shafqat Islam



Alex Atzberger: Now that you’ve stepped into the CMO role, what are you looking forward to?   

Shafqat Islam: It’s amazing to take on this role at both a category creator and leader. How many brands can be a leader in almost every category–think Experimentation and CMS–that we play in?  

And we have so much to look forward to and build on. We have an exceptional team of marketing leaders and practitioners. They are fiercely intelligent, optimistic, and care deeply about what our products can *do* for our customers. Not just for the people who will encounter the marketing, retail, and product experiences that we support, but for the people who build them. As somebody who has both built products and been deeply immersed in marketing, I love the perspective that our team has.  

Alex Atzberger: What makes Optimizely unique?   

Shafqat Islam: First off, we’re category creators in experimentation and content management, both CMS and CMP. Marketers know this, and analysts know it, as something like 7 major analyst reports will tell you.  

Martech is a crowded field, so it’s true that there are a lot of firms whose territory overlaps with some of ours. But show me another company that can handle the entire content lifecycle like we can. Or show me another company that can do both feature flagging and experimentation.  

We also have a legendary legacy in the martech world. Before I joined, I knew that A/B testing and Optimizely were synonymous, and that the company’s roots go all the way back to the origins of the practice. And that’s something that is like common folklore in marketing and technology.  

And more than anything, the 1500 people who work here are world-class. 

Alex Atzberger: Being a CMO talking to other CMOs and marketing leaders is an advantage. You know the customer. But you’ve also built tech products. How does that affect your work now?  

Shafqat Islam: I’ve spent the majority of my adult life building products for marketers. So I’ve been lucky to spend so much time talking to CMOs and marketers in almost every type of company all over the world. As the founder/CEO of Welcome, my approach was to solve marketer challenges by building products. But now as CMO, I get to use the products we build.  

We’re practitioners of all of our own solutions, so in addition to the natural empathy I have for marketers, I am also close to the job’s unique challenges every day. There’s nothing like that to keep you sharp and keep you close to the customer.  

As a product builder, I knew we must always speak to business outcomes. But as CMO, I love that we aren’t just talking about the solutions – we’re living them, too.  

Because I was an entrepreneur for so long, I also bring another unique view – my willingness to take smart risks. I love to try things, even if (especially if?) the results are sometimes surprising. When it comes to experimentation, there are no failures, only learnings. 

Alex Atzberger: What are the biggest challenges you’re hearing from our customers, current and future?  

Shafqat Islam: Growth, especially given how tough it is out there for so many industries. The stakes are very high when it comes to creating experiences that will win and retain customers. That’s what all of our customers–especially the retail heavyweights-are thinking about.  

And marketing and technology leaders need to do this with leaner budgets. Efficiency matters a lot right now, and that means not only reducing the costs you can see, like the price tag attached to software, but also the costs you can’t see right away, like how much time and money it takes to manage a set of solutions. With that said, in tough times, I think the strongest brands can not just survive but also thrive. I also think when others are fearful, that may be the time to invest aggressively. 

And in the background of all this, there is still the ever-expanding list of customer touchpoints. This is simultaneously an exciting challenge for marketers and an exciting opportunity. More data means more effective storytelling– if you can use it right.

I also hear marketers when they say there’s a need for a shared space for collaboration among us. The role of the marketer is expansive, and it’s only getting more complicated. Building a community where we can come together and appreciate our shared goals is difficult, but I’m optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction.  

Alex Atzberger: What is next in our space? What will marketing and technology leaders be talking about six months from now?  

Shafqat Islam: Looking around now, it’s clear that 2023 will be the year that AI-generated content goes mainstream. We’re just starting to see the uses and the consequences of this. There’s already buzz about ChatGPT and its capabilities, and platforms are already making space to integrate AI functionality into their offerings. It could be an exciting way for users to become better equipped to create and share high-quality content.  

Customers also have gotten very used to personalization. Every screen they see daily is personalized, whether it’s their Netflix account or social feeds. So, when I see a site that isn’t personalized, I kind of scratch my head and wonder, why? With personalization now the norm, expectations for digital creators are sky-high.

Read the official press release.


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