There are many best practices for SEO, including those provided by Google.
Here are 17 tips that can help one develop a better search presence.
What Do Best Practices For SEO Even Mean?
Best practices for SEO are generally regarded as those that abide within Google’s evolving guidelines and are not explicitly listed by Google as manipulative.
But best practices are more than just what Google considers manipulative and what is not.
For example, Google’s guidelines don’t tell you how to choose hosting, how to optimize a WordPress site, or whether a website builder makes the most sense for a specific situation.
Those are the kinds of best practices this guide will cover.
1. Choose The Best Platform For Your Situation
A good place to begin is at the point before any code is uploaded to the web.
Understanding the technology that underlies a web presence is important to making the best choice for SEO.
Get this part right, and the site will be well positioned for sprinting toward first place.
Why Choose Self-Hosted
Today’s choices are between a CMS (content management system) hosted on a publisher’s server, and site builder platforms where the technology is hosted and managed by the provider.
Many people choose self-hosted open source solutions (like WordPress) because of the extensive support and development network, which provides complete freedom to build custom sites that users can optimize without limits other than their own skill level.
The downside of self-hosted solutions is the need for technical skills for optimizing templates, dealing with constant updates, and acquiring the necessary knowledge to create a strong security posture against hacking.
Examples of a self-hosted CMS:
Why SaaS Platforms Make Sense
Many businesses prefer to focus on doing business, not maintaining website technology.
An attorney’s skill is litigating, not learning how to switch to a System Font Stack on their self-hosted CMS.
For businesses that prefer a high-performance website without having to deal with technology, the SaaS (software as a service) website builder platform is increasingly considered the best choice for many small to medium-sized businesses.
Examples of Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms:
The best practice, then, is to audit what the company needs for transacting business online and then see which technology works best – a self-hosted CMS or a SaaS website builder platform.
2. WordPress SEO
There are many CMSs to choose from.
WordPress is arguably the most popular open-source, free system with a huge global community of developers supporting it, including for SEO.
It’s possible for anyone with a moderate understanding of how to use WordPress to create an entire website and pay almost nothing.
That includes free templates and free SEO plugins, plus any other plugins to extend the functionality, like the WooCommerce plugin for creating ecommerce stores on a $0 budget.
Web Development and SEO expert Adam J. Humphreys of digital agency Making 8 Inc. shared his thoughts on WordPress SEO best practices.
“With WordPress, something as simple as the default theme will attain site-speed goals without much of any work.
Add in a good host with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), compression plugin like WP Rocket & ShortPixel, and the result is a screaming fast website. We’re talking 0.5-second load times, and that’s not going to happen on some paid solutions.
My favorite SEO plugin is RankMath Pro because it allows me to generate schema, generate local SEO page content, create video site maps, and do things that other plugins just don’t do at all.
A plugin like this allows me to highlight content for search engines in ways I have never seen any paid solutions outside of WordPress do.
A builder for WordPress like Bricks Builder is a templating system that allows you to create SEO-optimized bespoke themes that load webpages in a fraction of a second out of the box before even compression.
These days I think dentists using WordPress have better websites than a lot of the Fortune 500 companies, and I know this because I’ve done technical SEO audits for them.
WordPress can be best for SEO and security, assuming you have a simple maintenance plan and you have someone to click update a couple times a month (yes, it’s really that simple).
A completed site using WordPress is basically set. There’s no need to have a full time developer to keep up with the basic security updates anymore.”
Matt offered the following insights:
“Folks who build websites with WordPress and want to focus on Web Core Vitals often start with caching plugins and whatnot. That’s a mistake.
The two biggest needle movers that will make your site faster are: (1) excellent hosting, and (2) clean markup.
Throwing a lot of caching at your WordPress website might help some on really slow hosts, but it’s never going to give you the performance you really want. So start at the foundation with fast hosting.
The biggest factor that impacts your markup is the combination of your theme and, most often, a page builder.
Most sites that perform really well use a minimal theme that works well with WordPress’[‘s] built-in content editor (aka Gutenberg). Page Builders very often are the biggest factor in slowing down a website. You either have to do a lot of custom code to minimize their impact.
So my biggest recommendation for small businesses that don’t want to fuss over their site too much and keep it lean and functional is to invest in highly performant hosting, keep your theme very minimal, and use the WordPress editor instead of a page builder.
Once you scale your business enough to hire talent, hire a great web developer and digital marketing specialist to make your site gorgeous and fast.”
“We see a lot of sites using tons of web fonts – these can really slow things down if they’re not implemented well.
They’re especially challenging because they need to load early in the process (so the page can render properly), and when they load, they may cause layout shifts as the text that was first display[ed] changes the typeface.
Switching to a System Font Stack (which uses the default/system font of whatever device the user is on) can make an enormous difference in performance.”
3. Website Builder Platforms For Easy SEO
Understanding how to choose the best way to create an online presence is a best practice for SEO.
One of the ways to create an online presence is with a SaaS website builder platform.
Not too long ago, SaaS website builder platforms were great for building attractive websites but not so great at site speed and SEO.
But that’s no longer the case.
Today, the major website builders match or surpass the traditional CMS in terms of site speed and SEO.
Focusing on SEO, the main advantage of website builder platforms is that they take care of the technology, integrate directly with Google Business Profile, produce valid structured data, output on-page SEO that conforms to Google’s guidelines, and excel in site speed and performance.
A platform like Wix makes it easy for businesses to get online and start competing with excellent SEO.
A platform like Duda is easy to use for business owners. Still, it is designed to meet the needs of digital agencies and service providers who can leverage Duda’s platform to quickly roll out attractive and fast-performing websites that are flexible for customizations and SEO.
Duda’s platform handles the underlying technology, for example, optimizing the site for speed, integrating with a CDN (content delivery network), and semantic tagging such as in-section elements.
That allows agencies and developers to focus on what matters: content, promotion, and SEO.
Anton Shulke, Duda’s Head of Influencer Marketing, explained:
“The SEO settings Duda offers website builders are very user friendly and really help to differentiate their website from others.
Outside of providing users with Site SEO settings in our builder, we provide users with educational materials not only about our platform but about what SEO is and why it’s important.
Duda has created technology that optimizes our users’ websites for SEO in the background so that our clients can focus on their site design.
Duda takes care of complex optimization like code optimization for Core Web Vitals, generating robots.txt files, sitemaps, and even submitting websites to be immediately crawled upon publish.
Duda’s platform not only focuses on providing excellent out-of-the-box site optimization, it also provides clients with the opportunity to optimize their business listings with options like Local Business Schema and app integrations with Uberall and Localeze, making Duda an excellent choice for both web designers and business owners.”
4. Fast Web Hosting
Using a fast web hosting environment is a top SEO best practice – as is choosing the most appropriate web hosting platform.
Examples of different kinds of web hosting:
- Shared Hosting.
- Premium Shared Hosting.
- Virtual Private Server.
- Managed WordPress Hosting.
- Cloud Hosting.
- Dedicated Server.
The SEO best practice for hosting is to choose the fastest web hosting possible that also makes sense economically.
Optimizing for site speed depends on at least four factors:
- Fast hosting.
- Fast website.
- Fast user Internet access.
- Fast user mobile device.
Of those four, the first two (hosting and a fast website) are under a business’ control.
And of those two, fast hosting is arguably the most important — because a slow web host can make even a fast website perform slowly.
Shared hosting is the easiest way to deploy a website (or multiple websites).
The downside to shared hosting is that the least expensive plans place thousands of websites on a single server, so all of the sites have to share the limited resources of that one server.
That can result in slower websites, especially if any of the other sites on the server experience a heavy load.
Sites that are popular and use “too many resources” may have their traffic slowed down (a.k.a, “throttled”).
Some might say it’s a good way to begin, then scale up once the site becomes more popular.
Once a site becomes popular, the traffic will be throttled, which may slow a website’s popularity – because slow websites drive away site visitors who would have otherwise become customers or frequent visitors.
Many SEO pros may agree that a shared hosting environment is fine for a hobby site, but not for a site with monetary goals.
Premium Shared Hosting
Some premium shared hosting environments aren’t necessarily cheap, but are generally less expensive than renting an entire server.
The value of premium shared hosting is that it’s easy to deploy websites and access more server RAM and CPU resources.
Prices can range from $40 to over $100 per month.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is a specialized server environment specifically tunedfor WordPress websites.
These hosting environments only run WordPress sites and offer features that offload tasks from the website, enabling the WordPress sites to perform at a higher level.
The benefits of managed WordPress hosting are faster performance, better security, and less effort managing the technology side of WordPress.
David Vogelpohl, VP of Growth at WPEngine, shared:
“Unlike generalist hosts, which also have to try to optimize their platform & caching for any kind of site, managed WordPress hosts focus on one type of site, WordPress.
By focusing on one kind of site, managed WordPress hosts can optimize their networks, caching, and infrastructure to a much greater degree than what is possible in generalist hosting environments.
The result of this focus is often a much faster site for you when hosting on a managed hosting provider.
Managed hosting providers like WP Engine will often deliver faster speeds for your website by offering proprietary and advanced caching for your site, a global content distribution network (CDN), a low ratio of sites-to-servers on shared hosting, and highly-optimized infrastructure that is specific to the kind of websites they host.
In WP Engine’s case, we offer a free & global CDN through Cloudflare to all customers and include a proprietary caching layer called EverCache, which includes WordPress and WooCommerce specific optimizations which help make sites faster than off-the-shelf caching solutions built for any kind of site.”
Website security is an SEO issue because website rankings begin to drop once a site is hacked.
I asked David about WordPress security on a managed WordPress hosting service.
“Managed hosting providers like WP Engine can be a powerful part of your security toolkit, offering support for managing malware and virus threats by helping you prevent malware before it becomes a problem, detect & remediate malware when it is present, and recover from malware infections that have affected your site.
Managed hosting providers often help with preventing malware threats by offering Web Application Firewalls (WAF), forcing strong passwords, supporting enterprise-grade SSO, and forcing security updates to key software used on your website (WordPress, PHP, MySQL, etc.).
For example, 37% of WordPress sites are on versions of PHP 7.3 or under, which are not supported with security updates, whereas 100% of WP Engine’s customers are on patched versions of WordPress and PHP.
Providers will also include network and server level threat detection and blocking capabilities which can help prevent some attacks before they even start, stop active attacks, or alert you to malware present on your site.
It’s also helpful to augment security benefits from your host by using solutions like WordFence or Sucuri to fully scan your site’s code for malware on a regular basis.
If your site has already been compromised by malware, managed hosts may offer support for remediation (fixing the vulnerability/removing the malware) depending on the nature of the malware and vulnerability that may have led to the malware being present.
Once malware has been removed from your site, you can use daily backups often provided for free by managed platforms like WP Engine to recover your site.
Coupled with a healthy security culture and practice in your own organization, choosing a managed host is a great foundation for keeping your site safe and secure.”
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A VPS is the next step up that offers fast performance, but at significantly higher prices than shared servers.
The value of a VPS is more control over the server environment.
The downside is that many VPS hosting environments require more technical ability to manage successfully. However, some VPS offerings have a managed option where the host provider will manage the server at an extra cost.
Cloud hosting is a specialized form of hosting.
In general, a cloud hosting environment is one in which the hosted data and processes are spread across multiple servers and feature redundancy, so losing data is nearly impossible.
The benefit of cloud hosting is that it’s scalable and is priced according to the resources used.
A site that experiences a sudden surge of traffic can quickly scale through the cloud hosting environment at a higher cost.
One of the downsides of cloud hosting is that it can require more technical skills to manage.
Managing a dedicated server isn’t as difficult as it used to be, but there is still a learning curve.
Even with a relatively easy-to-use control panel like Plesk Onyx, while it’s intuitive to use, it helps to know about PHP settings, firewall settings, NGINX, and Apache.
In general, there are no guardrails to protect you from errors on a shared server, so one needs to know their way around.
5. Title Element (AKA Title Tags)
What’s in the title element is important because that’s what is (usually) shown as a Title Link in the search results.
As a result of that knowledge, SEO pros have often used the title tag as a place to write the targeted keyword. That’s a 20+ year SEO tradition.
But times have changed, and Google rewrites the title link if it’s not descriptive or contains repetitive boilerplate.
That means the best practice for Title Tags has changed.
Today, the best practice for the title element is to be descriptive, concise, and non-boilerplate.
Adding a keyword phrase in there is still useful, but it’s important to be descriptive.
That means when someone reads the title tag, they should be able to know what the web page is about.
If the title tag doesn’t pass that test, it’s probably not good enough.
The best practice today is to target the user intent of the keyword phrase in the content and then target that user intent in the title tag.
For example, since 2000, the standard practice was that if you’re trying to rank for the keyword phrase “fishing flies,” you must use the phrase “fishing flies” in the title tag.
That’s no longer the case because that keyword phrase is vague, so Google will first identify the user intents behind that keyword phrase, and then rank sites that match the user intent – not the keyword in the title tag.
The best way to write a title tag is to understand the user intent of the keyword phrase and try to match the intent in your title tag.
Here are the search results for the keyword phrase “fishing flies”:
What’s notable about the title links in the above search results is that none of the top four search results have the keyword phrase “fishing flies” by itself.
The phrase or partial phrase is always in the context of a phrase that signals the user’s intent.
The number one search result doesn’t even have an exact match to the keyword phrase.
What those search results – and pretty much any search result – will show is that it’s not just the keyword in the title that is important, but rather, it’s important to tell what the topic of the webpage is in a way that also signals the user intent.
That, in my opinion, is a best practice for title tags: Optimize the title tag for the user intent topic, and don’t just dump the exact-match keyword phrase in the title element.
6. Alt Text
The alt text (aka alt tag or alt image attribute) is an HTML attribute of the image HTML element.
The purpose of the alt text is to describe what the image is about.
- Screen readers read the alt text to site visitors with vision impairment.
- The text in the alt attribute becomes visible when the image doesn’t download.
- Google uses the alt text for understanding the image in the context of showing it in Google Images.
The SEO best practice for using the alt text is to describe what the image is about.
Casey Markee, Founder of MediaWyse, offers a useful way to think about alt text:
“Ask yourself, if someone with a visual disability was sitting next to you, how would you describe a photo to them on your computer screen?
Alternative Text (Alt Text) exists to describe a photo to someone who cannot see it.
It does not exist to stuff with keywords, marketing jargon, or other nonsense.
Finally, make sure to add a ‘period’ to the end of your Alt Text. That’s an indicator to screen readers that the Alt Text has completed.”
7. URL Structure
Many in the search industry mistakenly believe that Google uses the words in the URL structure to understand what a page is about.
But that’s not necessarily the case today.
Google has a long history of minimizing the importance of using keywords in the URL. As recently as 2017, Google’s John Mueller said that keywords in the URL as a ranking factor are overrated.
Keywords in URLs are overrated for Google SEO. Make URLs for users. Also, on mobile you usually don’t even see them.
— johnmu of switzerland (personal) (@JohnMu) March 8, 2017
And in 2018, Mueller again minimized the importance of keywords in URLs for SEO:
I wouldn’t worry about keywords or words in a URL. In many cases, URLs aren’t seen by users anyway.
— johnmu of switzerland (personal) (@JohnMu) December 6, 2018
The best practice for URLs is to keep them short but descriptive.
That will help signal to a potential site visitor what the webpage is about (if they can see the URL), and help them to decide whether to click through to the webpage.
When in doubt, you can’t lose by asking how it will impact a potential site visitor.
So if you have the two main words relevant to the topic in the URL structure, that’s going to be just fine.
If you return to the example of the “fishing flies” search results, you’ll see that the number one result doesn’t have the keywords in the URL.
However, at position number one, Google still ranked it as the most relevant for that keyword phrase.
8. Best Way To Use Headings For SEO
Headings are like the title tags in that the role they play is to describe what the web page is about and what a webpage section is about.
John Mueller explained the best way to use headings:
“…what we use these headings for is well we have this big chunk of text or we have this big image and there’s a heading above that, therefore maybe this heading applies to this chunk of text or to this image.
So it’s not so much like there are five keywords in these headings, therefore this page will rank for these keywords but more, here’s some more information about that piece of text or about that image on that page.”
The best practice for using headings is to describe what the page is about or what a page section is about.
Casey Markee had this to say about optimizing heading elements:
“Headings on a page provide a road map for users and crawlers to navigate a piece of content.
Headings have been horribly abused over the years to the point they have targeted algorithmically by Google to be rewritten.
Focus on writing clear, concise headings that are not keyword-heavy, use Title-Case or Sentence-case, and follow clear Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Always use headings sequentially (never jump from a H2 to a H4 just because), don’t keyword stuff every heading with your focus keyword, and never use CAPITAL-CASE in headings since some screen readers can confuse those with acronyms.”
9. Google Discover
She shared these tips for Google Discover SEO:
“Google Discover is natively included on all Android phones and in the Chrome app for iOS. Because there are so many users, Discover can be a significant driver of traffic. It’s a big way to reach enthusiastic and loyal site visitors.
Content is shown to users who are interested in a topic and not because of keyword queries, which can make it challenging to report it as directly attributable to SEO efforts.
But Google has to know what a web page is about in order to show it to users who have expressed an interest in specific topics. That means on-page SEO is important.
To get more exposure there, it is important for pages to have high resolution images, and to pass all the checks for Google’s mobile ‘Page Experience’ evaluation in Search Console.
It also helps if pages have a fast load time because the context of where Google Discover content is shown is mobile devices.”
A common mistake I see people make with regard to their featured image is to use one that’s too small, or that is not rectangular.
To ensure that Google surfaces your content in Google Discover, use an image at least 1200 pixels wide.
A rectangular image has the option to be displayed in its entirety. A square image will only be displayed as a smaller thumbnail, which won’t stand out as much.
Speaking of standing out, be sure to use featured images that are colorful.
Images with bright colors call attention to themselves in Google Discover and can help encourage clickthroughs.
Also, use the max image preview robots meta set to large:
<meta name="robots" content="max-image-preview:large">
10. AI For Content
Marketers commonly think of AI as a way to produce a lot of content faster.
(And often not-so-good content.)
The SEO best practice for AI is not in generating content, but in using AI to automate the entire process of creating content.
Jeff Coyle, Chief Strategy Officer of AI content automation company MarketMuse, explained the SEO best practices for AI-based content:
“Evaluate the entire content creation and management lifecycle at your company in order to identify stages in the process that are manual and inefficient.
AI can improve each stage of content creation:
Finally, automation can be used in the promotion and optimization phases of the content lifecycle.
It’s possible to improve on each of those critical stages when refining a business content machine.
AI solutions for content can improve decision-making and research processes by making them faster and more successful.”
Jeff finished by sharing this best practice for getting the most out of automation:
“Make sure that any speed improvement and automation has checks and balances for quality and performance so that you can have breakthroughs in volume, quality, and content engagement/performance with AI while growing trust in the technology throughout your organization.”
11. SEO For Images
Images should ideally be colorful but also low weight, under 100kb (and ideally under 50kb).
I know that sounds unrealistic, but the truth is that image editing software like Photoshop can help create the smallest possible image that still looks great.
Images within the body of an article are great for breaking up the content and helping readers make it to the end of the article.
But make sure the image is relevant to the content because, in that way, it will help communicate the topic or message of the content.
12. SEO For Product Pages
Cindy Krum is also an expert on optimizing product pages for SEO and conversions on mobile-sized webpages.
She had much to share about best practices for optimizing product pages.
“Mobile product pages are a significant opportunity for SEO, but it can be different from what most SEOs are used to.
We are seeing more and more of an emphasis from Google on Merchant Center Listings, so when you are optimizing product pages for SEO, it is essential to know if those are ranking for your mobile shopping query.
If there is a Free Product Listing module ranking for your keyword, it could be hard to outrank that; it would be a bit like outranking a Knowledge Graph result.
We think that users like Merchant Center packs in the search results because they function as a quick price comparison, so it seems likely that Google will maintain these.
In this case, especially for broad queries like this, the strategy for ranking product pages is all about ranking in the Free Merchant Center Listings – which is a whole new game!”
13. Best Practices For Category Pages
There’s a longstanding idea in the search community that category pages aren’t useful, so they add a noindex, follow robots meta tag to the pages.
But that’s a big mistake — because then, Google will not index the category pages (as requested), and because of that, Google won’t follow the links, because the page is not indexed.
So, the best practice is always to allow search engines to crawl the product pages.
Another best practice is to use unique excerpts for every page.
Those excerpts are what will be shown on the category pages. Using a snippet from the first few sentences of a webpage for the excerpt is a missed opportunity.
Category pages are a great way to present a general page about a topic.
14. Best Practices For Review Websites
Google wants to rank product reviews that are real and not just product summaries; Familiarize yourself with Google’s product reviews content guidelines.
When writing reviews, make sure to show images of the product and use as many as a shopper may need.
If it’s useful, show images of the product used to illustrate a review section.
The key focus of Google’s guidelines is to encourage product reviews that are helpful to users.
The product review guideline ends with this:
“When writing reviews, focus on the quality and originality of your reviews, not the length… This will deliver the most value to shoppers reading your reviews.”
The best practice for SEO on review websites is to provide guidance about a product and to help shoppers make better decisions.
15. Structured Data For SEO
Joost De Valk, Founder of Yoast SEO Plugin, shared his tip for structured data best practices.
“When optimizing your site, make sure you have all the important information not just in human readable text form but also in machine readable structured data.
Whether it’s your store’s opening hours, the (sale) price of a product on a web shop, or the title and author of a news article on a news site: there’s a schema.org structured data for everything.
As Google’s structured data guidelines are constantly evolving, I’d highly recommend using a plugin for such work, as that shifts the burden of updating that schema on the plugin developer, instead of you.
Of course, that does mean you have to trust the plugin developer to actually do a good job for you as well as to understand the SEO impact.”
I agree with Joost that using a plugin for managing structured data is a best practice for SEO. Google’s structured data guidelines are constantly updated.
By using a plugin, one no longer has to devote time to keeping up with changes to the structured data guidelines and taking the time to update the structured data sitewide.
16. Best Way To Do Internal Linking
Internal linking is a way to keep crawlers indexing content and to help Google better understand which content is important.
Scott Hendison, CEO of Search Commander, Inc., offers some useful ideas about internal linking:
“I’m currently auditing a giant website that was migrated by someone, where they did (at least) include all of the 301 redirects, but they did not fix the internal linking structure.
I’m simply using the better search replace plugin in WordPress to change tens of thousands of redirects and redirect chains to show the final URL destination. I guess I would call this tactic, ‘reclaiming your own internal link equity.’
It’s pretty basic, but I never fail to get a ranking bump when I do that to sites, which is quite often.
There are always redirects in place, but nobody bothers to fix the links within the content itself.
The 301’s of course, need to be left in place, for old bookmarks and external links, but finalizing the internal linking structure to have no redirects is something I’ve strongly believed in for a long, long time, and seen improvements after doing so – especially when there are redirect chains.
Some SEO tools will list redirects as a minor issue, but over time, these kinds of issues add up, particularly with chained redirects, and become bigger issues.
I strongly encourage clients in favor of the fixes. They’re easy to find and fix and can result in significant improvements.”
Joost had this to say about internal linking:
“When optimizing a site, one of the first things to do is making sure you improve the internal links between pages.
Very often, sites will have very little to no internal links in their content, relying entirely on large navigation menu’s to get people to move around.
In the interest of helping both your visitors and search engines, you should link related content to each other from within that content.
This can often have dramatic effects on your rankings. There are tools and plugins out there that can help you find internal links easily, so you don’t have to know all the content on a site (I know I often don’t for sites I’ve written tons of content for).”
SEO consultant Chris Labbate offered more best practices for internal linking:
“When it comes to internal linking, I like to say that ‘Context is King.’
Here is what I believe is a best practice for creating internal links, with Semantic SEO in mind:
Try not to build links at the start of a paragraph.
We all know Google crawls internal links, but it also looks at the surrounding text around each link, as well.
This is especially true if the anchor text is too generic, like ‘click here’ or ‘follow me,’ Google is almost forced in this situation to look at the surrounding words to pick up extra relevance.
What it also means is that you can use that approach for better internal linking.
Always pay extra attention to the surrounding text of the internal anchor text.
If you give Google some good context around your links, this can help provide the crawlers with some good information about the link, but also improve your rankings by explaining what the link can do for them and any other user intent-related data.”
17. Read Patents Carefully
An important best practice for SEO is investigating every best practice to see if it holds true.
What sometimes happens is that patents and research papers are misunderstood, and subsequently, those misunderstandings become a false best practice.
Those kinds of false best practices are often based on a misinterpretation of what a Googler said, or of what was published in a patent or research paper.
For example, a common SEO myth is that Google uses “brand mentions” as some kind of ranking signal that is similar to a link.
This myth came about in a patent that was about using branded search queries as a type of citation signal, similar to a link.
The idea of the patent was that if users are searching with the name of a website plus keywords, then that could be considered as a form of a citation, though not as a link, but implied as one.
The entire patent, from the opening paragraphs to the end of the patent, was explicitly focused on search queries that contain a URL or website name plus the keyword phrase.
Somewhere smack in the middle of that patent was one paragraph that used the phrase “implied link.”
This is the paragraph from the Google patent:
The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302).
A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target.
Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource.
An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource.
Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.
The SEO community removed that sentence from the context of the entire patent and then used that one sentence to create the idea that an implied link is when a URL is written but without it being a link.
This idea was further extended to the mention of a brand’s name.
This kind of mistake is not uncommon.
Some SEO pros still make the mistake of skimming a patent (without trying to understand it), and then stopping at one or two paragraphs that seem to confirm an SEO idea that they have.
That’s not how to read patents.
So, any time someone claims that a patent says Google does something, always look at the patent for yourself.
The best practice for learning about what Google might be doing (according to a patent) is to pay close attention to the opening paragraphs.
It’s in the opening paragraphs that you’ll find the key to understanding what the patent is all about. By doing that, you’ll be better able to avoid false best practices.
The understanding of SEO can be baroque or minimal, depending on the individual.
The most common error is focusing on what Google might be doing.
If there’s a golden rule for SEO best practices, whether researching keywords or evaluating competitors, it’s this: Develop your SEO strategy around how a site visitor or potential customer may react.
Featured image: HBRH/Shutterstock
How SEOs Make the Web Better
SEOs catch flak for ruining the web, but they play a crucial role in the search ecosystem, and actually make the internet better for everyone.
Let’s get the criticism out of the way. There are bad actors in SEO, people who seek to extract money from the internet regardless of the cost to others. There are still scams and snake oil, posers and plagiarists. Many parts of the web have become extremely commercialized, with paid advertising and big brands displacing organic and user-generated content.
But while there are situations where SEOs have made things worse, to fixate on them is to ignore the colossal elephant in the room: in the ways that really matter, the web is the best it’s ever been:
- It’s the easiest it has ever been to find information on the internet. Searchers have a staggering array of tutorials, teardowns, and tips at their fingertips, containing information that is generally accurate and helpful—and this was not always the case.
- Bad actors have a smaller influence over search. Search is less of a Wild West than it used to be. Once-scam-ridden topics are subject to significant scrutiny, and the problems and loopholes in search that need fixing today—like big brands and generic content receiving undue prominence—are smaller and less painful than the problems of the past.
- More people use search to their benefit. Online content is the most accessible it has ever been, and it’s easier than ever to grow a local business or expand into international markets on the back of search.
SEOs have played a crucial role in these improvements, poking and prodding, building and—sometimes—breaking. They are Google power users: the people who push the system to extremes, but in doing so, catalyze the change needed to make search better for everyone.
Let’s explore how.
SEOs are much-needed intermediaries between Google and the rest of the world, helping non-technical people acquire and benefit from search engine traffic.
There is a huge amount of valuable information locked up in the heads of people who have no idea how to build a website or index a blog post. A carpet fitter with a bricks-and-mortar business might have decades of experience solving costly problems with uneven subfloors or poor moisture management, but no understanding of how to share that information online.
SEOs provide little nudges towards topics that people care about and writing that’s accessible to people and robots. They help solve technical problems that would hinder or completely block a site from appearing in search results. They identify opportunities for companies to be rewarded for creating great content.
It’s a win-win: businesses are rewarded with traffic, searchers have their intent satisfied, and the world is made a little richer for the newfound knowledge it contains.
SEOs do many things to actively make the web a better place, tending to their own plot of the Google garden to make sure it flourishes.
Take, for example, the myriad standards and guidelines designed to make the web a more accessible place for users. The implementation of these standards—turning theoretical guidelines into real, concrete parts of the web—often happens because of the SEO team.
Technical SEOs play a big part in adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, a set of principles designed to ensure online content is “perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust” for every user. Every SEO’s fixation with Core Web Vitals fuels a faster, more efficient web. Content teams translate Google’s helpful content guidelines into useful words and images on a page.
(Case in point: check out Aleyda Solis’ Content Helpfulness Analyzer.)
There is a lot of overlap between “things that help users” and “things that improve search performance.” Even if the motive behind these changes is as simple as generating more traffic, a well-optimized website is, generally speaking, one that is also great for real human beings trying to engage with it.
The biggest criticism leveled at SEOs is that they break things. And they do! But that breakage acts as a type of pressure testing that strengthens the system as a whole.
Abuse of spintax and keyword stuffing forced Google to develop a better understanding of on-page content. Today, that loophole is closed, but more importantly, Google is much better at understanding the contents of a page and its relationship to a website as a whole.
Hacks like hiding keywords with white text on a white background (or moving them beyond the visible bounds of the screen) forced Google to expand its understanding of page styling and CSS, and how on-page information interacts with the environment that contains it.
Even today’s deluge of borderline-plagiarised AI content is not without benefit: it creates a very clear incentive for Google to get better at rewarding information gain and prioritizing publishers with solid EEAT credentials. These improvements will make tomorrow’s version of search much better.
This isn’t just Google fixing what SEOs broke: these changes usually leave lasting benefits that extend beyond any single spam tactic and make search better for all of its users.
This is not to argue that blackhat SEO is desirable. It would be better to make these improvements without incurring pain along the way. But Search is huge and complicated, and Google has little incentive to spend money proactively fixing problems and loopholes.
If we can’t solve every issue before it causes pain, we should be grateful for a correction mechanism that prevents it—and more extreme abuse—from happening in the future. SEOs break the system, and in doing so, make future breakages a lot less severe.
Some SEOs take advantage of the loopholes they discover—but many don’t. They choose to raise these issues in public spaces, encourage discussion, and seek out a fix, acting like a proxy quality assurance team.
At the small end of the spectrum, SEOs often flag bugs with Google systems, like a recent error in Search Console reporting flagged independently by three separate people, or Tom Anthony famously catching an oversight in Google’s Manual Actions database. While these types of problems don’t always impact the average user’s experience using Google, they help keep search systems working as intended.
At the other end of the scale, this feedback can extend as far as the overarching quality of the search experience, like AJ Kohn writing about Google’s propensity to reward big brands over small brands, or Lily Ray calling out an uptick in spam content in Google Discover.
SEOs are Google’s most passionate users. They interact with it at a scale far beyond the average user, and they can identify trends and changes at a macroscopic level. As a result, they are usually the first to discover problems—but also the people who hold Google to the highest standard. They are a crucial part of the feedback loop that fuels improvements.
Lastly, SEOs act as a check-and-balance, gathering firsthand evidence of how search systems operate, letting us differentiate between useful advice, snake oil, and Google’s PR bluster.
Google shares lots of useful guidance, but it’s important to recognize the limits of their advice. They are a profit-seeking company, and Search requires opacity to work—if everyone understood how it worked, everyone would game it, and it would stop working. Mixed in with the good advice is a healthy portion of omission and misdirection.
Google Search plays a vital role in controlling the flow of the web’s information—it is simply too important for us to leave its mechanics, biases, and imperfections unexplored. We need people who can interrogate the systems just enough to separate fact from fiction and understand how the pieces fit together.
We need people like Mic King, and his insanely detailed write-up of SGE and RAG; Britney Muller and her demystification of LLMs; the late Bill Slawki’s unfaltering patent analysis; or our own Patrick Stox’s efforts in piecing together how search works.
The web has problems. We can and should expect more from Google Search. But the problems we need to solve today are far less severe and painful than the problems that needed solving in the past; and the people who have the highest expectations, and will be most vocal in shaping that positive future, are—you guessed it—SEOs.
To SEOs: the cause of (and solution to) all of the web’s problems.
12 Creative Lead Magnet Ideas For Law Firms
Lead magnets have long been an effective tactic for generating more leads and growing an email list.
Popular in the marketing industry, lead magnets can also be used by independent business owners to attract more clients and build online authority.
This is also true for law firms, which often rely on their content to build trust, increase traffic, and generate more leads.
However, law firms face unique challenges given the complexity of their subject matter and the restrictions regarding soliciting new clients.
That’s why we are sharing some of the most creative (and effective) lead magnet ideas law firms can use to grow their email lists and get more leads.
1. Educational Ebooks
The legal process can be confusing for many clients. They might venture to Google in search of resources, information, services, and tips for their case.
What better way to build your authority and draw in potential clients than to share educational content via ebooks?
Ebooks are generally in-depth guides or reports that cover a particular topic in detail. For law firms, ebooks can provide beginner-friendly insights, case studies, and/or step-by-step guidance regarding legal issues.
Not a designer? No problem! There are tons of free tools you can use to create ebooks. One of the most popular options is Canva.
Here’s how to create an ebook using Canva:
- Select a template: Canva offers a variety of ebook templates for different styles and themes. You can view and decide which pages to keep, discard, or edit to suit your needs.
- Customize the design: Use Canva’s stock photos, illustrations, icons, and graphics, or upload your own images to personalize your ebook. Experiment with colors, backgrounds, fonts, and photo effects.
- Add content: Fill in your design with helpful content. Add a descriptive title. Consider linking to supporting resources, including eye-catching images, adding “bonus tips,” and more to make your ebook engaging.
- Publish and share: Once the ebook is finalized, you can download and save it as a JPEG or PNG. Then, you can upload it to your website and put it behind a subscription wall.
2. Free Legal Templates
Templates are predesigned forms that make it easy for users to create, edit, and save their own documents. Templates can be used to create wills, lease agreements, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, parenting plans, and more.
As an attorney, you have the legal know-how to help clients create detailed and accurate legal documents.
While there are limitations – you should recommend users get their documents reviewed by an attorney – providing templates can help people head in the right direction.
When clients download the template, they can provide their email addresses, allowing your firm to follow up and offer to assist them in completing or reviewing the document.
Some other legal template ideas include:
- Power of attorney.
- Advance healthcare directives.
- Employment contracts.
- Business formation documents.
- Partnership agreements.
- Service agreements.
- Release or waiver forms.
- Prenuptial agreements.
- Intellectual property assignments.
- Demand letters.
- Cease and desist letters.
- Settlement agreements.
- Complaints or petitions.
- Loan agreements.
- Promissory notes.
3. Exclusive Webinars And Interviews
Live or pre-recorded webinars are another great way to offer value to potential clients. People love the interactive nature of live webinars and the ability to re-watch informational videos.
You can host online seminars, interviews, or sessions regarding important legal topics, helping your audience know what steps to take during the legal process.
For example, you can talk about how to navigate the divorce process, how to get started with a will, or what to know about real estate law.
Here are a few examples of titles you can use for your webinar:
- “Understanding Your Rights: [Legal Topic] Explained.”
- “Navigating [Legal Issue]: Your Step-by-Step Guide.”
- “Legal Essentials: How to Protect Your [Assets/Business/Family].”
- “How to Avoid Legal Pitfalls in [Scenario/Situation].”
- “[Legal Topic]: A Lawyer’s Tips for Success.”
- “Legal Questions Answered: [Topic] Q&A Session.”
- “What Every [Entrepreneur/Parent/Homeowner] Should Know About [Legal Topic].”
- “What Every [Person/Business Owner] Should Know About [Legal Topic].”
Once you have your idea for your webinar or interview, you can promote your session on social media, your website, or via your email list.
Then, people can register for the webinar by providing their contact information and expressing their interest in the topic.
This will allow you to follow up with them after the session, opening the door to them becoming new clients.
4. Downloadable Checklists
Simplify complex legal topics and processes with easy-to-follow checklists.
Checklists help prospective clients organize their tasks, prepare for their cases, and remember important details regarding legal proceedings.
Checklists provide a ton of value, making them a smart pick for a potential lead magnet.
Say, for example, that you’re a will and probate attorney. You could create a checklist titled “X-Step Checklist for Estate Planning.”
You could design this document to include helpful resources, tasks, and graphics that support people navigating the estate planning process.
Some steps on this type of checklist might include:
- Download our free Estate Plan Template.
- Create a list of your family members and other beneficiaries.
- Take inventory of your assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, and investments.
- Take inventory of your liabilities, such as debts, mortgages, and loans.
- Record the information from your insurance policies (life, health, and property).
- Choose your power of attorney designation.
- Hire a will and probate attorney to help you draft your last will and testament.
- Schedule for reviewing and updating the estate plan.
You can offer checklists as downloadable content in exchange for contact information, which will help you build a database of potential clients.
Plus, a necessary step in the checklist could be for someone to contact an attorney (i.e., you) for more support; you can then provide your direct contact information.
5. Actionable Worksheets
Similar to checklists, worksheets are interactive tools that help potential clients understand the legal process, assess their situation, prepare for a legal consultation, and even calculate estimated attorney costs.
Worksheets can be particularly helpful if you are used to getting new clients who don’t yet have their information or documents in order.
People can opt into using the worksheet, which provides value to them and makes them a better client for you!
You could even have people fill out the worksheets in exchange for personalized feedback or consultation offers, creating an opportunity for you to engage with them directly.
6. Tools And Resource Lists
If you have the technical skills to create web applications (or the resources to hire someone to do this for you), digital tools are a great way to garner user interest and generate leads.
Resource lists are perhaps the simplest version of this. You can design and publish a list of relevant resources someone might need and then host this list on your website.
For example, some resources might include document templates, links to government websites, links to case studies, and links to helpful videos.
Another approach is to create online tools such as calculators or apps. Some ideas include:
- As an interactive “checkup” tool that evaluates users’ legal needs.
- A cost calculator that estimates the costs for certain proceedings (like starting a business, filing for divorce, hiring an attorney, etc.) based on the user’s specifications.
- An e-document generator, which creates basic legal documents like non-disclosure agreements or letters of intent.
- Visual timeline “maps” that show the typical timeline of various legal processes.
- Case studies, where users can input different variables to see the possible legal outcomes for their situation.
There may be many more ideas that we haven’t been able to think of here, so get creative and consider what might be most relevant to your audience!
Remember that the key is to capture users’ information so you can follow up with them later as a possible lead.
7. Video Tutorials
Unlike webinars, video tutorials are usually pre-recorded videos in which you instruct users on a particular process from start to finish. This usually includes detailed steps and examples instead of interviews or sound bites.
Consider some scenarios in which clients might need help navigating a task, such as filing a small claims case or trademarking their logo.
Then, create an outline for your video, detailing the steps you want people to take.
Finally, record your video, edit the content, and then host the video – likely as a private video on YouTube (which can be sent to subscribers via email) or behind an opt-in wall on your website.
8. Legal Case Studies
Case studies are common lead magnets for the legal industry. This is because potential clients want to see examples of when you have succeeded in a case and what the outcome was for your client.
Case studies can build trust and convince people that you are the attorney to work with.
In your case study, explain the problem the client was facing, how the case was handled, what the outcome was, and (ideally) your client’s review of your services.
Highlight the benefits of your client working with an attorney to get the guidance and support they need to navigate this stressful and challenging situation.
You can put these case studies behind an opt-in wall or have them express interest via social media, with you sending them the case study in exchange for their email address.
Interested readers can then request more information or a consultation, becoming a potential lead!
9. Interactive Quizzes
Quizzes are usually used to prompt users to answer questions and receive a “score.”
But in their application to the legal field, quizzes can be used to help people assess their legal situation and receive answers, next steps, or considerations from a trusted legal professional.
These “answers” could be auto-generated based on certain criteria or (most effectively) crafted by your legal team and sent to the recipient via email.
The user receives their personalized assessment, with recommendations and/or precautions for their case, and you generate a potential new lead.
Keep in mind that there are limits to what degree you can provide legal counsel to someone who is not yet a client. Your “answers” might need to include more general advice and a recommendation to seek out legal counsel.
Similar to tutorials, courses can be used to help people understand their rights, learn how to navigate the legal process, or know the steps they need to take to hire an attorney.
A course does not necessarily need to be on video but could consist of an email series, downloadable PDF, or a series of worksheets.
You can publish mini course videos, add “homework,” link to related resources, and so much more.
Remember that creating a course is often more involved than just a single tutorial. That’s why we recommend creating a “mini” course that provides just enough value to get people interested in your services.
Here are some example course topics you could use:
- Legal Fundamentals: X Steps to Understanding Your Rights.
- Navigating Contracts: What You Need to Know Before Signing.
- Estate Planning Basics: How to Plan Your Legacy.
- Small Business Law: Protect Your Company the Right Way.
- Intellectual Property 101: How to Safeguard Your Ideas.
- Mini-Course: How to Buy and Sell Property (Tips From a Real Estate Attorney).
- Employment Law for Employees: Know Your Workplace Rights.
11. Trend Reports
Trends reports offer analysis, findings, and opinions regarding trending legal topics or stories.
If there’s a hot topic in your industry – and people are searching for it – it could be an interesting idea to publish your very own trends report.
For example, say you are a real estate attorney. A common trending topic is the real estate market: is it going up or down?
You could host a “market watch” report summarizing your findings and connecting the market to what buyers/sellers need to know about real estate law.
You can advertise your specialized report and grow your email list by enticing users to opt into your report or newsletter.
Then, you can notify your audience of special events, promotions, blog posts on your website, upcoming webinars, and so much more. That way, you have a growing list of potential leads!
12. Facebook Groups
People are constantly searching for information — on Google, on social media, and yes, even in Facebook Groups. If you have knowledge to share, creating a Facebook Group could be a way to generate more leads.
When you create a Facebook Group, you are able to prompt new members to answer questions when they sign up.
These can be questions like, “Why are you interested in [legal topic]?” “Would you like to provide your email address to receive more information?” or “What other topics are you interested in?”
These questions can help you not only grow your list but also come up with more topic ideas for your group.
For example, you could create a Facebook Group called “Real Estate Watch” if you are a real estate attorney, “Small Business Tips” as a business attorney, or “Contracts 101” as a contracts attorney.
While you can’t give out personalized legal advice, you can point people in the right direction if they have questions about complex legal matters.
Think Of Your Own Creative Lead Magnet Ideas
When it comes to lead generation, the possibilities aren’t only limited to this list!
You know your audience the best, so you might have your own ideas for how to engage with them and what content they might be interested in.
Don’t hesitate to think outside the box to come up with your own lead magnet ideas.
Lead magnets can be an effective tool for increasing engagement, growing your audience, and attracting new leads. Law firm marketing doesn’t have to be boring.
Try to think of new ways to reach your audience and get them excited to work with you.
Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
The 17 Best Ad Networks For Content Creators In 2024
No room for doubt, we find ourselves firmly entrenched in the era of the creator economy.
In today’s digital landscape, the influence wielded by content creators, influencers, and community builders has reached unprecedented heights. Their craft not only resonates with audiences but also opens up diverse avenues for revenue generation.
However, navigating this landscape is far from a walk in the park.
Bloggers, videographers, photographers, and creatives of various stripes are in a perpetual quest for innovative ways to monetize their work amid the unpredictable nature of the digital domain.
Enter display ad networks – a tried-and-true method for creators to maximize earnings while ensuring an exceptional user experience. The key lies in selecting the right one.
In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve into the most promising ad networks for content creators in 2024, equipping you with the tools to monetize your content effectively.
Understanding Ad Networks:
Let’s kick off with the basics: What exactly is an ad network?
An ad network acts as the intermediary between publishers (bloggers, content creators, etc.) seeking to sell ad space and advertisers eager to secure ad placements.
These networks bridge the gap, helping advertisers locate suitable websites aligning with their target audience and goals. Conversely, they enable publishers to connect with advertisers whose content aligns seamlessly with their own.
For bloggers and content creators, ad networks offer a hassle-free opportunity to monetize their content without the intricacies of direct negotiations with advertisers.
Contrary to sponsored posts or affiliate marketing, ad networks provide a more automated, hands-off approach, saving creators both time and stress.
Here’s a glimpse into the typical functioning of ad networks, though the specifics may vary based on your chosen network:
- Joining the network: Submit your content for review; the network evaluates your content based on various criteria.
- Ad placement: Once approved, the process of placing ads on your site begins. This may involve embedding a code snippet or inviting bids from advertisers.
- Earnings generation: Users viewing or clicking on ads lead to revenue for you, as advertisers pay the network for serving their ads.
- Payment: The network transfers your earnings through your chosen method, sometimes with a commission deducted.
Exploring Ad Network Types:
While ad network types are ever-evolving, some categories remain prevalent. Here are a few you might encounter:
- Vertical Networks: Specialized in specific niches or industries, targeting a highly specific audience.
- Premium Networks: Emphasize high-quality ad content, often collaborating with top-tier publishers and high-traffic websites.
- Specialized or Inventory-Specific Networks: Focus on specific content types rather than industries, such as video-specific or podcast-only networks.
- Targeted Networks: Aim for hyper-specific demographics or user segments, honing in on criteria like location and behavior.
- Performance and Affiliate Ad Networks: Prioritize user actions over mere ad display, with payment tied to specific user actions.
Choosing the Right Ad Network:
While ad networks offer a recognizable avenue for income, not all are created equal. Consider the following factors:
- Audience and Niche: Ensure alignment with your content and audience.
- Ad Formats: Select networks offering ad types, sizes, and placements that suit your preferences.
- Revenue Models: Understand payment models (revenue share, CPM, CPC, CPA) and choose what aligns with your goals.
- Traffic Requirements: Be mindful of minimum traffic requirements, choosing a network that suits your platform’s reach.
- User Experience: Prioritize networks that enhance user experience, delivering non-intrusive, relevant ads for increased audience satisfaction and revenue.
1. Google AdSense
For those embarking on the journey of ad monetization, Google AdSense stands out as an excellent choice. As a product of Google, it reigns supreme among ad networks, appreciated especially by beginners for its user-friendly interface.
What makes it particularly enticing for novices is the absence of a minimum traffic requirement, and the fact that joining the self-service platform comes at no cost.
Once you secure approval, initiating the display of ads is as simple as embedding a code snippet into your site. The Auto Ads feature adds to the convenience, allowing effortless automation of ad placement on your website or selective deactivation for specific pages.
Google AdSense presents a diverse range of ad formats, including display, text, in-feed, and in-article ads. Moreover, it offers personalization options such as contextual and behavioral targeting.
Despite its user-friendly appeal, navigating Google AdSense comes with its set of challenges. Obtaining approval can be a rigorous process due to Google’s stringent policies and guidelines. Additionally, even after approval, there is a lingering risk of account suspension for any policy violations.
To cash in your earnings, a minimum of $100 must be accumulated. While AdSense does offer a decent income, it falls short in terms of revenue potential compared to some alternative platforms.
Here’s a breakdown of the revenue share: 68% goes to site owners, while 32% goes to Google AdSense. The payment model is based on cost-per-click (CPC), and fortunately, there are no traffic requirements to contend with.
- Responsive Ads: AdSense ensures that your ad units automatically adjust to the user’s device, guaranteeing a seamless user experience.
- Insights and Analytics: Dive into detailed performance reports to glean valuable information on your ads’ effectiveness. Track metrics like views, clicks, revenue, and more to optimize your ad placements.
- Ad Review Center: Take control of the ads displayed on your site by utilizing the ad review center. This feature empowers you to review, approve, or deny specific ad categories, shaping the content that aligns with your platform’s ethos.
If you find yourself seeking an alternative to Google AdSense, look no further than Media.net. Powered by the dynamic duo of Yahoo! and Bing, this platform boasts an extensive pool of advertisers, making it an excellent choice to complement your AdSense endeavors.
Media.net has gained recognition for its emphasis on contextual ads. Unlike targeting ads based on user interests, it aligns with the content on your page, a strategy believed to enhance user engagement and clickthrough rates (CTRs). Picture this: If your blog explores serene beaches, Media.net might showcase ads for beach towels to your audience.
Much like AdSense, Media.net comes without a price tag and has no traffic requirements for joining. It offers a vast array of ads, optimized for seamless viewing on mobile devices.
One distinctive advantage of Media.net is its dedicated account managers, providing assistance with setup, issue troubleshooting, and optimization tips. This support sets it apart from many other platforms.
However, it’s essential to be aware of a few downsides, including a somewhat challenging approval process, a learning curve, a minimum payout threshold of $100, and limited payment options, confined to Payoneer or wire transfer.
It’s noteworthy that Media.net tends to shine brightest for sites in specific niches like health, tech, and finance. Sites outside these niches might experience comparatively lower earnings than on alternative platforms.
Here’s a snapshot of its features:
- Dynamic Optimization: Media.net optimizes between various ad types to maximize the impact of your impressions, tailoring them to your audience.
- Sizeless Ads: Publishers enjoy the flexibility to create ads with custom sizes and designs, ensuring a perfect fit for their site.
- “Sticky” Ads: The platform introduces ads that stay fixed to the screen as users scroll or in-content ads automatically woven into your content, enhancing viewability.
3. Raptive (Formerly AdThrive)
Formerly known as AdThrive, Raptive has solidified its position as one of the most coveted ad networks for content creators, particularly those navigating the realms of travel, lifestyle, food, and parenting.
Renowned for catalyzing substantial revenue growth through meticulous ad placement and performance optimization, Raptive distinguishes itself by prioritizing publishers. Creators can expect to receive payment irrespective of whether Raptive has received payment from its advertisers.
Among the advantages of Raptive are a dedicated support team catering to creators, flexible payment options, personalized site recommendations, the capability to host and monetize video content, and a user-friendly dashboard offering insights into earnings and impressions.
However, like any platform, there are certain drawbacks to consider.
Foremost, Raptive sets a high bar for entry, necessitating a minimum of 100,000 pageviews to qualify for its traffic requirements. This requirement can pose a challenge for newer or smaller creators.
Additionally, Raptive predominantly caters to English content, with a prerequisite for a majority of traffic originating from the US, CA, UK, AU, or NZ. Some reports indicate that Raptive might have a high ad density, potentially impacting the user experience, a factor creators need to weigh.
Breaking down the revenue share, 75% goes to site owners, while 25% goes to AdThrive. The payment model operates on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, and the traffic requirement is set at 100,000 pageviews per month.
- Auto Ad Placement: Raptive’s algorithms ensure that ads are automatically positioned for optimal performance.
- Experimentation: Creators can engage in A/B ad testing, experimenting with various ad types and placements to find the most effective combination.
- Learning Resources: Raptive enriches creators with a range of expert webinars, tutorials, and articles, empowering them to enhance their earnings through insightful guidance.
Adcash stands out as a self-serve ad network designed to cater to the needs of both creators and advertisers, with a global reach that spans across diverse audiences.
Its reputation is anchored in the extensive array of traffic sources and ad formats it offers. From pop-unders, native ads, and interstitials to display ads, banners, push notifications, and beyond, Adcash provides a comprehensive toolkit.
This global perspective translates into a significant advantage for content creators, enabling them to connect with users in more than 196 countries – a testament to the platform’s adaptability.
Beyond global reach, Adcash boasts real-time performance reporting, optimization tools, and a noteworthy feature: anti-adblock technology. This technology empowers creators to continue generating revenue from visitors who employ ad-blocking tools.
Getting started with Adcash is relatively straightforward, and the platform supports multiple payment options.
However, like any platform, Adcash presents certain considerations. Some ad formats, such as interstitials or pop-unders, might impact the user experience negatively. The minimum payment threshold is set at $25 USD/EUR, and the CPM rates, while competitive, tend to be slightly lower than the market average.
Here are some key attributes of Adcash:
- Anti-Adblock Technology: A unique feature that allows ads to be shown to users, even when they are utilizing ad-block tools.
- High Fill Rate: Adcash maintains consistently high fill rates, ensuring creators can monetize a significant portion of their impressions.
- Live Reporting: The Publisher Platform Reports section in Adcash offers live reporting, allowing creators to track revenue in real-time as it accrues.
5. Amazon Publisher Services
Amazon Publisher Services offers publishers and content creators a comprehensive suite of tools designed to streamline the management of their ad inventories and optimize content monetization.
One of its major draws is the gateway it provides to Amazon’s expansive advertising ecosystem. Content creators can leverage cloud-based solutions such as the transparent ad marketplace, unified ad marketplace, and shopping insights. Additionally, creators gain access to Amazon’s substantial ad demand, enhancing their revenue potential.
However, it’s crucial to note that Amazon Publisher Services is tailored more towards established creators with significant website traffic, as it mandates a minimum of 5,000 unique daily visits. For newcomers, the platform might appear daunting due to its complexity, requiring time and technical know-how for effective implementation.
Breaking down the features:
- Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM): Amazon’s server-side header bidding solution takes a cloud-based approach, enhancing speed and efficiency in ad transactions.
- Unified Ad Marketplace (UAM): This feature empowers creators to efficiently manage multiple demand partners, securing optimal bids for their inventory by consolidating demand from various sources.
- Shopping Insights: A distinctive attribute providing data insights based on shopping behaviors. This allows publishers to fine-tune their delivery strategies for maximum optimization.
While the revenue share and payment model details are undisclosed, Amazon Publisher Services operates on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis. The minimum traffic requirement is set at 5,000 unique daily visits, reinforcing its focus on creators with substantial online presence.
PropellerAds stands out as a welcoming ad network tailored for beginners, with a primary focus on display ads. Its appeal lies in its user-friendly interface and hassle-free onboarding process – no minimum traffic threshold required.
The platform boasts a global reach and an extensive advertiser pool, ensuring publishers from various regions can capitalize on its monetization options. PropellerAds offers a diverse range of ad formats, spanning popunders, push notifications, native banners, interstitials, and more.
Employing a combination of technology and manual reviews, PropellerAds diligently monitors the quality and content of ads. This proactive approach enables the removal of any unsafe or suspicious content, ensuring that the right ads reach the right audience.
Additional advantages of PropellerAds include a 100% monetized inventory, providing creators with flexible payment options, dedicated account manager assistance, and access to optimization tools.
However, there are certain considerations to bear in mind. PropellerAds has been noted for its lenient approach with advertisers, raising concerns about the potential for low-quality and intrusive ads. It’s also predominantly limited to display ads, which may be a relevant factor for some creators.
Here’s a closer look at the key features:
- Real-time Reporting: PropellerAds provides instant access to real-time reporting, allowing creators to track the performance of their ads with immediacy.
- Account Manager: While this benefit is more limited to larger publishers, those eligible can enjoy the assistance of a dedicated account manager to address concerns and optimize performance.
- Referral Program: PropellerAds introduces a referral program, enabling users to boost their earnings by referring fellow creators to the network.
Infolinks positions itself as an ad network with partnerships with some of the globe’s major advertisers, including Amazon, Microsoft, and eBay.
What sets this network apart is its specialization in cutting-edge, “intent-driven” banner ad formats meticulously designed to seamlessly integrate with website content, combating banner ad blindness. These distinct ad types go by names like InFold, InText, InTag, InFrame, and InScreen.
For creators seeking to diversify beyond traditional banner ads or explore alternatives, Infolinks presents itself as a compelling option. The absence of minimum traffic requirements means creators of all sizes can easily join, and the setup process is straightforward.
An interesting facet is that Infolinks allows you to use its ads on the same website alongside AdSense ads, offering the potential for a synergistic income boost.
However, like many ad networks, the potential impact on the user experience is a key consideration. While Infolinks’ non-traditional formats are less intrusive than large banners or pop-ups, they can still influence the overall user experience.
It’s important to note that Infolinks maintains a $50 minimum payment threshold, provides relatively limited customization options compared to some platforms, and may not match the earning potential of other networks.
Here are some key features:
- InText: This ad format scans content, highlighting relevant keywords. When users hover over these keywords, relevant ads are displayed.
- InFold: Overlay ads that often appear as a footer ad in relation to search intent.
- InTag: This ad type compiles your content’s most valuable keywords into a tag cloud on the page. Users can view relevant ads by hovering over a keyword.
- InFrame: Banner ads strategically placed in the margins of your website’s page, utilizing previously unused screen space.
The revenue share with Infolinks is 70% to publishers and 30% to Infolinks, and the payment model encompasses CPM, CPC, CPA, CPV, CPI, and Auction. Importantly, there are no traffic requirements for creators to get started.
Formerly recognized as The Blogger Network, Monumetric emerges as an enticing choice for publishers able to meet the minimum traffic benchmark of 10,000 pageviews per month.
Monumetric stands out for its extensive pool of advertisers, offering a lucrative earning potential coupled with a diverse array of ad formats. This flexibility allows you to tailor your ad choices to align seamlessly with your audience and content.
A notable advantage of Monumetric lies in its dynamic approach. Rather than presenting a single static ad per user session, it continually delivers different relevant units based on the audience, enhancing engagement.
Perhaps the standout feature is the personalized service extended by Monumetric to content creators, bloggers, and publishers leveraging its services. The Monumetric team offers support to comprehend your goals, collaborate on an ad revenue strategy, and even assist in its setup.
On the flip side, there are a few considerations. Beyond the minimum traffic prerequisites, there is a one-time setup fee of $99 to join Monumetrics, although this is waived for those surpassing 80,000 monthly pageviews. The payout schedule operates on a net-60-day basis, with a minimum payout threshold of $10. A critical point to note is that Monumetric exclusively supports WordPress and Blogger websites.
- Dynamic Ads: Monumetric’s approach involves dynamic ad placements tailored to the audience and content.
- Managed Ad Platform: The company distinguishes itself by offering hands-on support, managing the placement and oversight of your ads.
- Personal Support: Monumetric provides one-on-one attention through its dedicated team, aiding in the development of a customized ad strategy for your blog.
The revenue share with Monumetric can reach up to 70% for publishers, and the payment model operates on a CPM basis. Meeting the traffic requirement of 10,000 pageviews per month is essential to unlock the benefits of this platform.
Taboola stands out as a frontrunner in the realm of content recommendations and suggestions. Wondering what that entails?
Consider the last time you perused a blog or article, and at the bottom, you encountered a section suggesting other articles or videos from external sources. These are native ads, also known as sponsored links, often facilitated through an ad network like Taboola.
By enrolling in Taboola, publishers and creators grant the network the authority to present ads through native content suggestions, be they articles or videos.
The advantage of this advertising approach lies in its seamless integration with your site’s content, delivering a more organic user experience compared to disruptive banner ads.
Taboola empowers you to curate the types of content presented to your audience, offering an uncomplicated setup process and the potential for substantial earnings.
However, there’s a noteworthy drawback: Taboola imposes a significantly high minimum traffic requirement for enrollment. Qualification necessitates a minimum of 500,000 pageviews on your blog each month. If this threshold seems daunting, you’re not alone.
For those who meet the criteria, it’s important to be aware that some suggested content on your site may not align perfectly or could be perceived as spam.
- Native Ad Format: Taboola’s ads are meticulously crafted to blend seamlessly with your site’s content, minimizing disruption to your users.
- User-Friendly Interface: The platform offers a straightforward and easy-to-use interface, streamlining the process for publishers and creators.
- Content Discovery Engine: Taboola’s algorithm delves into the interests of your audience, curating content recommendations that align with those interests, ensuring the most relevant suggestions.
Revenue is shared on a 50-50 basis, with 50% going to publishers and the remaining 50% to Taboola. The payment model encompasses CPC and CPM. To unlock Taboola’s features, meeting the minimum traffic requirement of 500,000 pageviews per month is imperative.
If you’re eyeing the content recommendation space but find Taboola’s minimum traffic requirements a bit steep, consider exploring Revcontent!
With a more attainable minimum threshold of 50,000 pageviews per month, Revcontent emerges as a viable option for bloggers and content creators. While it may not match Taboola’s scale, Revcontent positions itself as a robust competitor, emphasizing performance and quality.
Revcontent distinguishes itself by offering publishers unique customization options, allowing them to ensure that native ads seamlessly align with their site’s design and branding. The network provides various placement options, ranging from the bottom of blog posts to newsletters and even video ads.
Known for its stringent approval process, Revcontent ensures a focus on quality content and sensible placements, enhancing the overall user experience.
However, there are considerations. Despite having a considerably lower minimum monthly traffic requirement, hitting the 50,000-pageviews threshold still requires a decent amount of traffic. The approval process, while maintaining quality, may pose challenges for some creators. While not as expansive as competitors like Taboola and Outbrain, Revcontent has a minimum payout of $100.
- Widget Customization: Revcontent allows publishers to customize the appearance of content on their site through widget customization.
- Content Recommendation Technology: The platform employs a proprietary algorithm to ensure that recommendations are both relevant and engaging for the audience.
- Viral Content Discovery: Recognize a piece of content with viral potential? Revcontent provides a feature allowing publishers to promote such content, maximizing revenue opportunities.
The revenue share with Revcontent leans heavily towards publishers, with an 80-20 split in favor of creators. The payment model encompasses CPC and CPM, and the minimum traffic requirement is set at 50,000 pageviews per month.
If you’re exploring options beyond the major players in the advertising realm, BidVertiser, a direct advertising network, might pique your interest.
Having launched in 2003, BidVertiser has expanded its reach to serve over 80,000 publishers and advertisers globally. It offers a diverse array of ad formats, including slider ads, popunder ads, and native ads.
What sets BidVertiser apart is that creators earn not only for clicks on ads but also receive additional income if those clicks lead to conversions or sales for the advertiser.
BidVertiser boasts a low payment threshold of $10, coupled with no minimum traffic requirements. Similar to Revcontent, it equips creators with tools for customizing the design of ad units, ensuring seamless integration with their websites and content. Additionally, it maintains a 100% fill rate.
An appealing aspect of BidVertiser is its automated approval process. Meeting the joining requirements results in instant approval, enabling creators to commence revenue generation promptly.
However, BidVertiser does have its drawbacks. The ads it serves may not always align perfectly with your audience, as it lacks contextual targeting, potentially leading to lower click-through rates. Creators are required to provide a list of preferred advertisers; otherwise, BidVertiser randomly selects them. While BidVertiser has a global reach, those with non-US traffic may not experience substantial earnings.
- Direct Advertising Platform: Facilitates direct connections between creators and advertisers, eliminating middlemen.
- Geo-Targeting: Enables publishers to segment their audience based on demographics and geography, presenting targeted ads for enhanced revenue generation.
- Transparency: BidVertiser provides creators with comprehensive details on incoming bids, winning bids, and revenue earned, ensuring transparency in the process.
BidVertiser’s revenue share remains undisclosed, and it operates on a CPC, CPM, and CPA payment model. Importantly, there are no traffic requirements for creators to join.
Mediavine stands out as a preferred ad network for numerous bloggers and content creators, celebrated for its commitment to optimizing earning potential while ensuring a positive user experience for audiences.
Let’s delve into the advantages.
Mediavine boasts faster ad delivery compared to many other ad networks, resulting in reduced wait times for users to view ads. Remarkably, Mediavine asserts that its ads load 200% faster than those of competitors.
Prioritizing user experience extends to other facets, including SEO-optimized website scripts and high-quality ad placements striking a balance between revenue generation and user experience.
Renowned for having some of the highest revenue per mille (RPM) in the industry, Mediavine features a substantial pool of top publishers and advertisers. It further fosters a robust community of creators who not only support one another but also engage in mutual learning and networking at conferences and events.
Similar to many ad networks, Mediavine does have a notable downside – its minimum traffic requirement. While not as daunting as some, a minimum of 50,000 sessions per month, predominantly from the USA, is necessary for qualification.
Additionally, Mediavine mandates 100% exclusivity from its publishers, meaning concurrent usage of other ad networks on the same site is prohibited.
- Strong Community: Publishers gain access to Mediavine’s dedicated Facebook group, facilitating networking with industry experts and fellow content creators.
- Dynamic Ad Placements: Mediavine prioritizes high-quality ads, emphasizing a superior user experience and enhanced viewability.
- Transparent Reporting: Both creators and advertisers benefit from detailed insights and analytics provided by Mediavine. The platform includes a dashboard showcasing top posts and RPMs.
Mediavine operates on a revenue share model, with 75% allocated to publishers and 25% to Mediavine. The payment model is based on CPM, and the traffic requirement for qualification is set at 50,000 monthly sessions.
Adsterra stands out as a reputable and dependable ad network, providing global coverage and serving as a compelling alternative to larger networks. It particularly caters to creators seeking extensive worldwide coverage and a diverse range of ad types.
Presenting itself as the premier ad network for publishers, Adsterra boasts a swift 10-minute approval process, a 100% fill rate, and a network comprising over 12,000 advertisers. Notably, there is no minimum traffic requirement for joining.
As a self-serve platform, Adsterra ensures ease of use, offering publishers a selection of ad types such as Popunder, social bar, in-page push, native banners, and standard banners. Beyond typical desktop and mobile website traffic, Adsterra allows monetization of social and mobile app traffic.
Adsterra brings additional advantages, including a three-level anti-fraud system for a secure experience, flexible payment options tailored to individual needs, and a Partner Care support system. The support system provides 24/7 multilingual chat assistance for users.
On the downside, Adsterra maintains a minimum payment threshold of $100, and CPM rates may vary based on location.
- Referral Program: Adsterra offers a referral program for publishers, enabling them to earn 5% of the revenue generated from anyone they refer.
- Strong Security: Employing a combination of in-house and third-party fraud detection tools, along with manual human reviews, Adsterra is committed to providing top-notch security.
- Customer Support: With 24/7 support available in multiple languages, Adsterra ensures assistance is readily accessible for its users.
Adsterra operates with an undisclosed revenue share model and supports various payment models, including CPC, CPM, CPI, CPA, and CPL. Notably, there are no traffic requirements for publishers to join.
14. Sovrn (Formerly VigLink)
Sovrn operates as a supply-side platform (SSP), providing a suite of tools and services to publishers and creators for effective content monetization. Its approach integrates traditional ad-serving techniques with advanced methods such as automated affiliate linking, powered by VigLink, a company acquired by Sovrn.
Creators utilizing Sovrn gain access to the Sovrn Data Collective, recognized as the “world’s largest publisher collective for deep consumer insights and enriched audience data.” Currently serving over 60,000 sites, Sovrn offers an array of services including an ad exchange, ad management, and more.
Setting up Sovrn’s tools and integrating them with your website is a straightforward process. Notably, Sovrn can automatically convert relevant links to affiliate links, even on older content. The platform provides customizable ad formats to suit your audience.
While Sovrn does not impose minimum traffic requirements for joining, it does have a minimum payout threshold set at $25 ($50 for wire transfer). The approval process is relatively strict, and payments follow a net-60 structure.
- Signal: Sovrn’s Signal feature empowers publishers to delve into their audience’s behavior, utilizing these insights to tailor their ad units.
- Automated Affiliate Conversion: Formerly known as VigLink, this feature enables the automatic conversion of standard links into affiliate links.
- Access to Sovrn Data Collective: Publishers can leverage data from Sovrn’s collective to understand which ads audiences are engaging with, aiding in revenue optimization.
Sovrn operates on a revenue share model, allocating 75% to publishers and retaining 25%. It supports various payment models, including CPM, CPC, and CPA. Sovrn does not impose traffic requirements for participation.
BuySellAds operates as an ad marketplace, facilitating revenue generation for publishers by directly connecting them with advertisers across websites, newsletters, and podcasts.
The process involves publishers listing their available ad inventory and CPM in a centralized marketplace. Advertisers can then submit bids for these ad placements, with creators reviewing and approving the proposed creative before the ads go live on their sites.
BuySellAds prides itself on offering an easy-to-use platform, featuring non-disruptive ad types, contextual brand sponsorships aligned with content, and a dependable payment schedule.
While the platform offers numerous advantages, there’s a slight learning curve for beginners. Additionally, there are minimum payment thresholds, ranging from $20 for PayPal to $500 for wire transfer.
- Range of Products: Creators can monetize various platforms, including websites, newsletters, and podcasts.
- Pricing Control: Publishers have the flexibility to set their own rates through BuySellAds, giving them more control over their earnings.
- Marketplace: BuySellAds’ marketplace facilitates direct connections between publishers and advertisers, ensuring that ad placements align with the goals of both parties.
BuySellAds operates on a revenue share model, allocating 75% to publishers and retaining 25%. The payment model is primarily based on CPM, and there are no specific traffic requirements for participation.
Ezoic stands out as a technology-driven ad network that harnesses the power of AI to optimize ad placements, enhance revenue, and maintain a positive user experience for publishers.
As a Google Certified Publishing Partner, Ezoic adheres to industry standards in serving ads on websites. It distinguishes itself by being the first in the industry to integrate AI and machine learning into its features. These technologies enable Ezoic to conduct tests on various ad placements, formats, and sizes, determining the most effective formula for publishers to maximize earnings while ensuring a superior user experience.
Ezoic provides creators with the flexibility to choose placeholders for ad locations or specify user experience metrics, such as page load time. The AI considers these preferences when deciding how to serve ads to the audience. Notably, there is no minimum traffic requirement for signing up, and Ezoic caters to global traffic, allowing creators to generate income from diverse sources.
However, it’s important to note that significant earnings may be more likely with US traffic, and there might be a learning curve as creators familiarize themselves with Ezoic’s tools. Temporary performance issues may also arise as Ezoic experiments with different layouts and placements to optimize results.
- Mediation: Ezoic’s Mediation feature enables publishers to integrate and manage multiple ad networks, including Google AdSense, alongside Ezoic. This allows networks to compete for ad inventory, ensuring creators receive the highest possible bids.
- Leap: An exclusive toolset, Leap provides creators with insights and tips to improve speed metrics, page load times, and Core Web Vitals scores.
- Humix: An innovative video tool that allows creators to share and display videos from other publishers on their own website.
Ezoic operates on a revenue share model, allocating 90% to publishers and retaining 10%. The payment model includes CPM and Earnings Per Thousand Visitors (EPMV). The traffic requirement for participation is 10,000 monthly visitors.
RevenueHits distinguishes itself as a self-service, performance-driven ad network tailored for creators with high-intent audiences likely to engage in actions like making purchases or signing up for advertisers.
The core of RevenueHits’ model revolves around a performance-based approach, particularly emphasizing cost per action (CPA). In this framework, creators earn income when users click an ad on their site and successfully complete an action, such as making a purchase or signing up for the advertiser’s service.
- CPA Model: Publishers receive payments based on user actions, such as sales, sign-ups, registrations, form fills, or other predefined activities.
- Ad Formats: RevenueHits offers a range of ad formats, including display banners, shadow box, floating banners, footer sticky, in-page push, and more.
- Referral Program: Creators can participate in a referral program, earning up to 10% of the earnings generated by publishers they refer for a year.
- No Minimum Traffic Requirement: RevenueHits welcomes publishers without a minimum traffic requirement, offering flexibility in participation.
- High Earnings Potential: With payouts of up to $50 per acquisition, there is a substantial earnings potential for creators, especially those with a high-intent audience.
- Payment Thresholds: Publishers should be aware of minimum payment thresholds, set at $20 for PayPal and $500 for wire transfers.
- Payment Model: RevenueHits operates on multiple payment models, including CPA, CPL (Cost Per Lead), and CPM (Cost Per Mille).
- Ad Quality and User Experience: While RevenueHits presents an opportunity for earnings, it may not have the same reputation for high-quality ads that prioritize a positive user experience compared to some other networks.
- Undisclosed Revenue Share: The specific revenue share percentage that RevenueHits retains is undisclosed.
In summary, RevenueHits offers an alternative approach with a focus on performance-driven models, making it suitable for creators seeking opportunities based on user actions. The absence of a minimum traffic requirement and the potential for high earnings based on user conversions contribute to the appeal of this ad network. However, creators should consider the trade-offs, including the minimum payment thresholds and potential variations in overall earnings.
Selecting the right ad network is a crucial decision for content creators, bloggers, and publishers. The process involves understanding the nuances, weighing the pros and cons of each platform, and grasping their diverse payment models and methods.
The key factor is ensuring that the chosen platform aligns with your content goals and values. Before making a decision, it’s essential to clarify what matters most to you – whether it’s the quality of ads, user experience, or payout frequency – and verify that these priorities are reflected in the ad network you opt for.
Whether you’re a novice blogger embarking on the journey to monetize your content or an experienced creator reevaluating your revenue strategy, this guide aims to assist you in making well-informed decisions to maximize your earnings.
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