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7 Successful B2B Content Marketing Examples You Can Learn From

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7 Successful B2B Content Marketing Examples You Can Learn From

There is no one right way of doing content marketing.

Depending on their goals, resources, target audience, and so on, different companies do content marketing differently. 

In this post, we’ll share seven inspiring B2B content marketing examples, why they’ve done well, and how you can replicate their success.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps businesses sell online.

Shopify's free tools

Key stats

Number of referring domains: 9,000

Estimated organic traffic: 1,700,000

Number of keywords the tools rank for: 121,000

Key statistics for Shopify's free tools page, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerKey statistics for Shopify's free tools page, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

What it does well

When it comes to content marketing, Shopify has gone the whole hog. It’s invested in almost every type of content marketing: blogs, podcasts, free courses, free guides, and more.

The different types of content marketing Shopify has invested inThe different types of content marketing Shopify has invested in

But I want to drill down into one aspect of its content marketing: free tools. Shopify offers over 20 free tools:

A sample of the free tools offered by ShopifyA sample of the free tools offered by Shopify

These tools have two things in common. First, they solve problems for budding entrepreneurs. For example, you’ll need a business name for your new company. Shopify solves that by offering a free business name generator:

Shopify's business name generator toolShopify's business name generator tool

Second, these queries have thousands of monthly searches on Google. For example, the term “business name generator” gets 81,000 monthly searches in the U.S.:

Search volume for "business name generator", via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerSearch volume for "business name generator", via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

That’s why its tools page—and each individual tool—is getting hundreds of thousands of search visits:

Key statistics for Shopify's business name generator toolKey statistics for Shopify's business name generator tool

How to replicate its success

Tools are content too. Consider creating a free tool if you have the ability or resources. This is especially applicable if you’re a software company.

However, don’t just create any free tool. Create those your potential customers are searching for. 

Here’s how to find them. You can:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.
  2. Enter one or a few broad keywords related to your industry (e.g., if you have a real estate website, these might be mortgage, rent, and down payment).
  3. Go to the Matching terms report.
  4. In the Include filter, add words like calculator, tool, tools, and, checker.
  5. Choose Any word and click Apply.
The Matching terms report with tool-type words filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerThe Matching terms report with tool-type words filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Look through the list to see if there are any relevant tools you can create.

Make sure you review the top-ranking results to see if you can “beat” them. Ask yourself:

  • What’s good about them?
  • How could they be improved?

When you’ve created your free tool, know that you’ll likely have to acquire links to rank. There are many ways to do this, but the best starting point for tools is to use the Skyscraper Technique. 

Read this post or watch the video below to learn more:

Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO toolset that allows you to research your competitors, study what your customers are searching for, optimize your website, and more.

Ahrefs blogAhrefs blog

Key stats

Number of referring domains: 33,400

Estimated organic traffic: 645,000

Number of keywords the blog ranks for: 107,000

Key statistics for Ahrefs blog, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerKey statistics for Ahrefs blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

What we do well

Our content strategy is simple. We target topics that have:

  1. Search traffic potential – Topics that our potential customers are searching for on Google.
  2. Business potential – Topics where we can pitch our product.
  3. Ranking potential – Topics where we can rank in the top three with our current resources.
The best keyword strategies prioritize keywords with traffic, business, and ranking potentialThe best keyword strategies prioritize keywords with traffic, business, and ranking potential

Doing this consistently allows us to rank high for keywords that are relevant to our customers and pitch our product as the best solution to those problems. 

This no-frills SEO content strategy has helped grow our annual recurring revenue (ARR) consistently over the years.

How to replicate our success

Use the same process in example #1 to find keywords with search traffic potential:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter one or a few broad keywords related to your industry
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Filter for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP)
Matching terms report with Traffic potential filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerMatching terms report with Traffic potential filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Eyeball the list and note down all relevant keywords. 

From there, you’ll want to assign a “business potential” score to each keyword. Here’s the cheat sheet we use at Ahrefs:

Business potential chartBusiness potential chart

You’ll also want to give each keyword a “ranking potential” score. We can check each keyword’s ranking difficulty by scrolling to the SERP overview section and analyzing the metrics shown for the current top-ranking pages.

SERP Overview for "how to grind coffee beans", via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerSERP Overview for "how to grind coffee beans", via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

What should you look out for? There are many factors involved in assessing ranking difficulty. But broadly speaking, you’ll want to pay attention to:

  • Quantity and quality of backlinks – Links are a Google ranking factor. So the more high-quality backlinks the current top-ranking pages have, the harder it’ll be to compete. Check the Domains column to see how many websites are linking to each top-ranking page. To understand link quality, click on the number in the Backlinks column and review each page’s backlink profile
  • Website authority – You can use a proxy metric like Domain Rating (DR) to gauge a site’s authority. If the DR scores of the top-ranking pages are all higher than yours, you may want to prioritize other keywords.
  • Search intentSearch intent is the why behind the query. You’ll want to make sure you’re able to fulfill the search intent for the keywords you want to target.
  • Content quality – Can you beat the top-ranking pages on content quality? This is subjective. But if the #1 ranking page reviewed 47 air purifiers for its blog post, can you do the same or more?

To go in-depth about how to assess ranking difficulty, I highly recommend reading our keyword difficulty guide.

After reviewing the keywords for the four attributes, give them a “ranking potential” score:

How to score a keyword's ranking potentialHow to score a keyword's ranking potential

Learn more: How to Create an SEO Content Strategy (Follow the Ahrefs’ Framework)

Slidebean is a pitch deck design platform for startups and small businesses.

Slidebean's YouTube channelSlidebean's YouTube channel

Key stats

Number of YouTube subscribers: 401,000

Total views: 27,325,552

What it does well

I reached out to Slidebean’s CEO, Caya, to find out more. From what he told me, the platform’s approach is twofold.

First, it started with a recurring video series known as Startups 101. For this series, it mainly targeted startup-related keywords on YouTube.

Slidebean's playlist for Startups 101Slidebean's playlist for Startups 101

However, it exhausted its list of topics in about a year. This was when it decided to move up the marketing funnel into TOFU-related topics.

Since we had found a “YouTube formula,” we decided to apply it to other kinds of content, and one of them was this idea of exploring failed companies. The first one was WeWork, which was just the right bridge between a startup-focused company and a widely known brand. At this stage, the series was called “Startup Forensics.”

However, there were only so many tech startups to explore, so we quickly opened that up to “Company Forensics” to broaden our horizons. 

Jose CayassoJose Cayasso
Slidebean's Company Forensics seriesSlidebean's Company Forensics series

Slidebean’s goal was to get as many eyeballs as possible. Thanks to the mere exposure effect, people would think of Slidebean in the future if they were ever looking for pitch deck software. 

How to replicate its success

Predicting what kind of videos will take off on YouTube is difficult. You could launch a well-produced, expensive, and entertaining video to crickets. 

That’s why Caya started his YouTube journey by initially targeting topics his target audience was searching for. Only when he built an audience did he move to other types of content. 

Here’s how to find topics people are searching for on YouTube:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter one or a few broad keywords related to your industry
  3. Select YouTube in the search engine dropdown
  4. Go to the Matching terms report
Matching terms report for YouTube, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerMatching terms report for YouTube, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Go through the list to find relevant keywords for your YouTube channel. 

Then, watch this video to learn how to create videos that will rank on YouTube:

Founded in 2014 by Laura Roeder, MeetEdgar is a social media automation tool.

MeetEdgar's homepageMeetEdgar's homepage

Key stats

Number of referring domains: 7,300

Number of backlinks: 40,300

Key stats for MeetEdgar, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerKey stats for MeetEdgar, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

What it does well

Appearing on podcasts helped MeetEdgar grow into a thriving business. From 2014 to 2017, founder Laura Roeder appeared on an estimated 100 podcasts.

A podcast interview where Laura Roeder, the founder of MeetEdgar, was the guestA podcast interview where Laura Roeder, the founder of MeetEdgar, was the guest

According to Jen Carvey, a former employee, this strategy helped MeetEdgar reach 1.25 million website visitors, 100,000 email subscribers, and $329,000+ monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

How to replicate its success

There are more than 850,000 active podcasts today. Plenty of them will need guests. So if you can find podcasts with your target audience, you can appear on them. Not only will you generate brand awareness, but you can also get links back to your site.

The easiest way to find podcasts to appear on is to simply search for “best [niche] podcasts”:

SERPs for "best investing podcasts"SERPs for "best investing podcasts"

Keep in mind that many of them will be popular podcasts that can be challenging to pitch for. So if you’re starting out, try this method:

  1. Find a prolific podcast guest in your industry (e.g., Laura Roeder)
  2. Enter their website into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer (set it to Exact URL)
  3. Go to the Backlinks report
  4. Filter for results with “episode” in the Referring page title
Backlinks report for MeetEdgar, filtered for Laura Roeder, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerBacklinks report for MeetEdgar, filtered for Laura Roeder, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Once you’ve gathered a list of potential podcasts, find the emails of the hosts and reach out to see if they’re willing to interview you. 

Learn more: How to Use Podcasts for Link Building 

First Round Capital is a seed-stage venture capital (VC) firm.

First Round's The ReviewFirst Round's The Review

Key stats

Number of referring domains: 9,900

Estimated total visits: 368,900

Estimated organic traffic: 43,500

Newsletter subscribers: 127,000

Key stats for First Round Review, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerKey stats for First Round Review, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

What it does well

At the time, most VC firms were either blogging about market trends or opinion pieces from their partners. First Round decided to position itself differently and focused on writing stories about the operator side (i.e., startups).

With a portfolio of startups it had already invested in, First Round was in a unique position to interview and tell never-seen-before stories.

This was perfect for attracting its target audience too. New or potential founders aren’t interested in market trends; they want content that solves real problems—product development, hiring, marketing, and so on.

How to replicate its success

Camille Ricketts, the ex-editor of First Round Review, started by asking: 

What is the number one thing that all of these early-stage founders want?”

Her answer? To be able to go to coffee with somebody who has done the thing they’re trying to do. That was how The Review was born: a magazine-style blog of “coffee meetups at scale.”

Before you create any content, make sure you know exactly who you’re targeting and what problems they’re facing. If you haven’t created your buyer personas yet, follow this guide on how to do it.

Learn more: Why You Shouldn’t Try to Be the First Round Review: 3 Content Lessons From Camille Ricketts

Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting provider.

Kinsta's blogKinsta's blog

Key stats

Number of referring domains: 15,900

Estimated organic traffic: 1,600,000

Number of keywords the blog ranks for: 330,000

Key stats for Kinsta's blog, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerKey stats for Kinsta's blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

What it does well

Like us, Kinsta follows a keyword-driven content strategy. However, what makes its approach unique is what SEO Glen Allsopp calls “error message marketing.”

Here’s the gist of how it works:

  1. You’ll inadvertently face issues when doing something technical or using a technical tool.
  2. You’ll probably Google how to solve it.
  3. Kinsta specifically targets those keywords.

This way, Kinsta builds brand awareness among its target audience—developers, webmasters, site owners, etc.—people who basically fix such technical issues regularly.

Top pages for Kinsta's blog, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTop pages for Kinsta's blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

How to replicate its success

If there are tools regularly used by people in your niche, determine what problems their users have and target those topics.

For example, let’s say you’re a U.K.-based company that targets boiler engineers. Here’s how to find these topics:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter the names of tools/products your niche uses (e.g., Intergas, Vaillant, Vokera, Worcester Bosch)
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. In the Include filter, add words like fault, error, code
  5. Choose Any word and click Apply
Matching terms report with error-type words filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerMatching terms report with error-type words filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Eyeball the list and find those topics that are relevant to your site. 

YouGov is a market research and data analytics firm. It provides a few services, including custom data and research, audience profiling, segmentation, and brand tracking.

YouGov's blogYouGov's blog

Key stats

Number of referring domains: 29,900

Estimated organic traffic: 497,000

Number of keywords the tools rank for: 175,000

Key stats for YouGov's blog, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerKey stats for YouGov's blog, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

What it does well

YouGov makes money by providing custom data and research. Therefore, its marketing strategy aims to achieve two main objectives:

  1. Build brand awareness among companies who may need its services
  2. Show that it has high-quality data

YouGov achieves this by publishing content using data on “hot topics.” These articles then get linked to by trusted news organizations like the Guardian, L.A. Times, and The New York Times that are looking for data to support their conclusions:

Links to YouGov, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerLinks to YouGov, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

How to replicate its success

The key idea is to use data to create interesting articles or answer interesting questions in your niche. 

If you’re part of the industry, chances are you already know what those questions are. For example, in the SEO industry, many people wonder about how long it’ll take to rank on Google. However, the answers were always based on conjecture and not data. 

So we attempted to study this objectively with data. The result? 4,000 backlinks from 2,200 unique websites.

Stats for our blog post on how long it takes to rank on Google, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerStats for our blog post on how long it takes to rank on Google, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you’re out of ideas, you can try to recreate popular but outdated studies. Here’s how to find them:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Enter a search term like [industry] + “study,” [industry] + “survey,” [industry] + “research,” or [industry] + “data”
  3. Set the filter to an In title search
  4. Set the Published filter to an older date range (e.g., 2010–2015)
  5. Sort the results by referring domains
Finding outdated but popular studies, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerFinding outdated but popular studies, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Once you’re done with the study, you’ll need to reach out and introduce it to people who may be interested. Follow our blogger outreach guide to learn how to do it. 

Learn more: Blogger Outreach: How to Do It At Scale (Without Feeling Like a Jerk)

Final thoughts

As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. Depending on your goals, there are a variety of strategies you can use for maximum effectiveness.

If you’re just getting started with content marketing, I recommend reading this comprehensive guide.

Did I miss out on any amazing B2B content marketing examples? Let me know on Twitter.

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11 Disadvantages Of ChatGPT Content

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11 Disadvantages Of ChatGPT Content

ChatGPT produces content that is comprehensive and plausibly accurate.

But researchers, artists, and professors warn of shortcomings to be aware of which degrade the quality of the content.

In this article, we’ll look at 11 disadvantages of ChatGPT content. Let’s dive in.

1. Phrase Usage Makes It Detectable As Non-Human

Researchers studying how to detect machine-generated content have discovered patterns that make it sound unnatural.

One of these quirks is how AI struggles with idioms.

An idiom is a phrase or saying with a figurative meaning attached to it, for example, “every cloud has a silver lining.” 

A lack of idioms within a piece of content can be a signal that the content is machine-generated – and this can be part of a detection algorithm.

This is what the 2022 research paper Adversarial Robustness of Neural-Statistical Features in Detection of Generative Transformers says about this quirk in machine-generated content:

“Complex phrasal features are based on the frequency of specific words and phrases within the analyzed text that occur more frequently in human text.

…Of these complex phrasal features, idiom features retain the most predictive power in detection of current generative models.”

This inability to use idioms contributes to making ChatGPT output sound and read unnaturally.

2. ChatGPT Lacks Ability For Expression

An artist commented on how the output of ChatGPT mimics what art is, but lacks the actual qualities of artistic expression.

Expression is the act of communicating thoughts or feelings.

ChatGPT output doesn’t contain expressions, only words.

It cannot produce content that touches people emotionally on the same level as a human can – because it has no actual thoughts or feelings.

Musical artist Nick Cave, in an article posted to his Red Hand Files newsletter, commented on a ChatGPT lyric that was sent to him, which was created in the style of Nick Cave.

He wrote:

“What makes a great song great is not its close resemblance to a recognizable work.

…it is the breathless confrontation with one’s vulnerability, one’s perilousness, one’s smallness, pitted against a sense of sudden shocking discovery; it is the redemptive artistic act that stirs the heart of the listener, where the listener recognizes in the inner workings of the song their own blood, their own struggle, their own suffering.”

Cave called the ChatGPT lyrics a mockery.

This is the ChatGPT lyric that resembles a Nick Cave lyric:

“I’ve got the blood of angels, on my hands
I’ve got the fire of hell, in my eyes
I’m the king of the abyss, I’m the ruler of the dark
I’m the one that they fear, in the shadows they hark”

And this is an actual Nick Cave lyric (Brother, My Cup Is Empty):

“Well I’ve been sliding down on rainbows
I’ve been swinging from the stars
Now this wretch in beggar’s clothing
Bangs his cup across the bars
Look, this cup of mine is empty!
Seems I’ve misplaced my desires
Seems I’m sweeping up the ashes
Of all my former fires”

It’s easy to see that the machine-generated lyric resembles the artist’s lyric, but it doesn’t really communicate anything.

Nick Cave’s lyrics tell a story that resonates with the pathos, desire, shame, and willful deception of the person speaking in the song. It expresses thoughts and feelings.

It’s easy to see why Nick Cave calls it a mockery.

3. ChatGPT Does Not Produce Insights

An article published in The Insider quoted an academic who noted that academic essays generated by ChatGPT lack insights about the topic.

ChatGPT summarizes the topic but does not offer a unique insight into the topic.

Humans create through knowledge, but also through their personal experience and subjective perceptions.

Professor Christopher Bartel of Appalachian State University is quoted by The Insider as saying that, while a ChatGPT essay may exhibit high grammar qualities and sophisticated ideas, it still lacked insight.

Bartel said:

“They are really fluffy. There’s no context, there’s no depth or insight.”

Insight is the hallmark of a well-done essay and it’s something that ChatGPT is not particularly good at.

This lack of insight is something to keep in mind when evaluating machine-generated content.

4. ChatGPT Is Too Wordy

A research paper published in January 2023 discovered patterns in ChatGPT content that makes it less suitable for critical applications.

The paper is titled, How Close is ChatGPT to Human Experts? Comparison Corpus, Evaluation, and Detection.

The research showed that humans preferred answers from ChatGPT in more than 50% of questions answered related to finance and psychology.

But ChatGPT failed at answering medical questions because humans preferred direct answers – something the AI didn’t provide.

The researchers wrote:

“…ChatGPT performs poorly in terms of helpfulness for the medical domain in both English and Chinese.

The ChatGPT often gives lengthy answers to medical consulting in our collected dataset, while human experts may directly give straightforward answers or suggestions, which may partly explain why volunteers consider human answers to be more helpful in the medical domain.”

ChatGPT tends to cover a topic from different angles, which makes it inappropriate when the best answer is a direct one.

Marketers using ChatGPT must take note of this because site visitors requiring a direct answer will not be satisfied with a verbose webpage.

And good luck ranking an overly wordy page in Google’s featured snippets, where a succinct and clearly expressed answer that can work well in Google Voice may have a better chance to rank than a long-winded answer.

OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT, acknowledges that giving verbose answers is a known limitation.

The announcement article by OpenAI states:

“The model is often excessively verbose…”

The ChatGPT bias toward providing long-winded answers is something to be mindful of when using ChatGPT output, as you may encounter situations where shorter and more direct answers are better.

5. ChatGPT Content Is Highly Organized With Clear Logic

ChatGPT has a writing style that is not only verbose but also tends to follow a template that gives the content a unique style that isn’t human.

This inhuman quality is revealed in the differences between how humans and machines answer questions.

The movie Blade Runner has a scene featuring a series of questions designed to reveal whether the subject answering the questions is a human or an android.

These questions were a part of a fictional test called the “Voigt-Kampff test“.

One of the questions is:

“You’re watching television. Suddenly you realize there’s a wasp crawling on your arm. What do you do?”

A normal human response would be to say something like they would scream, walk outside and swat it, and so on.

But when I posed this question to ChatGPT, it offered a meticulously organized answer that summarized the question and then offered logical multiple possible outcomes – failing to answer the actual question.

Screenshot Of ChatGPT Answering A Voight-Kampff Test Question

Screenshot from ChatGPT, January 2023

The answer is highly organized and logical, giving it a highly unnatural feel, which is undesirable.

6. ChatGPT Is Overly Detailed And Comprehensive

ChatGPT was trained in a way that rewarded the machine when humans were happy with the answer.

The human raters tended to prefer answers that had more details.

But sometimes, such as in a medical context, a direct answer is better than a comprehensive one.

What that means is that the machine needs to be prompted to be less comprehensive and more direct when those qualities are important.

From OpenAI:

“These issues arise from biases in the training data (trainers prefer longer answers that look more comprehensive) and well-known over-optimization issues.”

7. ChatGPT Lies (Hallucinates Facts)

The above-cited research paper, How Close is ChatGPT to Human Experts?, noted that ChatGPT has a tendency to lie.

It reports:

“When answering a question that requires professional knowledge from a particular field, ChatGPT may fabricate facts in order to give an answer…

For example, in legal questions, ChatGPT may invent some non-existent legal provisions to answer the question.

…Additionally, when a user poses a question that has no existing answer, ChatGPT may also fabricate facts in order to provide a response.”

The Futurism website documented instances where machine-generated content published on CNET was wrong and full of “dumb errors.”

CNET should have had an idea this could happen, because OpenAI published a warning about incorrect output:

“ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”

CNET claims to have submitted the machine-generated articles to human review prior to publication.

A problem with human review is that ChatGPT content is designed to sound persuasively correct, which may fool a reviewer who is not a topic expert.

8. ChatGPT Is Unnatural Because It’s Not Divergent

The research paper, How Close is ChatGPT to Human Experts? also noted that human communication can have indirect meaning, which requires a shift in topic to understand it.

ChatGPT is too literal, which causes the answers to sometimes miss the mark because the AI overlooks the actual topic.

The researchers wrote:

“ChatGPT’s responses are generally strictly focused on the given question, whereas humans’ are divergent and easily shift to other topics.

In terms of the richness of content, humans are more divergent in different aspects, while ChatGPT prefers focusing on the question itself.

Humans can answer the hidden meaning under the question based on their own common sense and knowledge, but the ChatGPT relies on the literal words of the question at hand…”

Humans are better able to diverge from the literal question, which is important for answering “what about” type questions.

For example, if I ask:

“Horses are too big to be a house pet. What about raccoons?”

The above question is not asking if a raccoon is an appropriate pet. The question is about the size of the animal.

ChatGPT focuses on the appropriateness of the raccoon as a pet instead of focusing on the size.

Screenshot of an Overly Literal ChatGPT Answer

11 Disadvantages Of ChatGPT ContentScreenshot from ChatGPT, January 2023

9. ChatGPT Contains A Bias Towards Being Neutral

The output of ChatGPT is generally neutral and informative. It’s a bias in the output that can appear helpful but isn’t always.

The research paper we just discussed noted that neutrality is an unwanted quality when it comes to legal, medical, and technical questions.

Humans tend to pick a side when offering these kinds of opinions.

10. ChatGPT Is Biased To Be Formal

ChatGPT output has a bias that prevents it from loosening up and answering with ordinary expressions. Instead, its answers tend to be formal.

Humans, on the other hand, tend to answer questions with a more colloquial style, using everyday language and slang – the opposite of formal.

ChatGPT doesn’t use abbreviations like GOAT or TL;DR.

The answers also lack instances of irony, metaphors, and humor, which can make ChatGPT content overly formal for some content types.

The researchers write:

“…ChatGPT likes to use conjunctions and adverbs to convey a logical flow of thought, such as “In general”, “on the other hand”, “Firstly,…, Secondly,…, Finally” and so on.

11. ChatGPT Is Still In Training

ChatGPT is currently still in the process of training and improving.

OpenAI recommends that all content generated by ChatGPT should be reviewed by a human, listing this as a best practice.

OpenAI suggests keeping humans in the loop:

“Wherever possible, we recommend having a human review outputs before they are used in practice.

This is especially critical in high-stakes domains, and for code generation.

Humans should be aware of the limitations of the system, and have access to any information needed to verify the outputs (for example, if the application summarizes notes, a human should have easy access to the original notes to refer back).”

Unwanted Qualities Of ChatGPT

It’s clear that there are many issues with ChatGPT that make it unfit for unsupervised content generation. It contains biases and fails to create content that feels natural or contains genuine insights.

Further, its inability to feel or author original thoughts makes it a poor choice for generating artistic expressions.

Users should apply detailed prompts in order to generate content that is better than the default content it tends to output.

Lastly, human review of machine-generated content is not always enough, because ChatGPT content is designed to appear correct, even when it’s not.

That means it’s important that human reviewers are subject-matter experts who can discern between correct and incorrect content on a specific topic.

More resources: 


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9 Common Technical SEO Issues That Actually Matter

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9 Common Technical SEO Issues That Actually Matter

In this article, we’ll see how to find and fix technical SEO issues, but only those that can seriously affect your rankings.

If you’d like to follow along, get Ahrefs Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console (both are free) and check for the following issues.

Indexability is a webpage’s ability to be indexed by search engines. Pages that are not indexable can’t be displayed on the search engine results pages and can’t bring in any search traffic. 

Three requirements must be met for a page to be indexable:

  1. The page must be crawlable. If you haven’t blocked Googlebot from entering the page robots.txt or you have a website with fewer than 1,000 pages, you probably don’t have an issue there. 
  2. The page must not have a noindex tag (more on that in a bit).
  3. The page must be canonical (i.e., the main version). 

Solution

In Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT):  

  1. Open Site Audit
  2. Go to the Indexability report 
  3. Click on issues related to canonicalization and “noindex” to see affected pages
Indexability issues in Site Audit

For canonicalization issues in this report, you will need to replace bad URLs in the link rel="canonical" tag with valid ones (i.e., returning an “HTTP 200 OK”). 

As for pages marked by “noindex” issues, these are the pages with the “noindex” meta tag placed inside their code. Chances are most of the pages found in the report there should stay as is. But if you see any pages that shouldn’t be there, simply remove the tag. Do make sure those pages aren’t blocked by robots.txt first. 

Recommendation

Click on the question mark on the right to see instructions on how to fix each issue. For more detailed instructions, click on the “Learn more” link. 

Instruction on how to fix an SEO issue in Site Audit

A sitemap should contain only pages that you want search engines to index. 

When a sitemap isn’t regularly updated or an unreliable generator has been used to make it, a sitemap may start to show broken pages, pages that became “noindexed,” pages that were de-canonicalized, or pages blocked in robots.txt. 

Solution 

In AWT:

  1. Open Site Audit 
  2. Go to the All issues report
  3. Click on issues containing the word “sitemap” to find affected pages 
Sitemap issues shown in Site Audit

Depending on the issue, you will have to:

  • Delete the pages from the sitemap.
  • Remove the noindex tag on the pages (if you want to keep them in the sitemap). 
  • Provide a valid URL for the reported page. 

Google uses HTTPS encryption as a small ranking signal. This means you can experience lower rankings if you don’t have an SSL or TLS certificate securing your website. 

But even if you do, some pages and/or resources on your pages may still use the HTTP protocol. 

Solution 

Assuming you already have an SSL/TLS certificate for all subdomains (if not, do get one), open AWT and do these: 

  1. Open Site Audit
  2. Go to the Internal pages report 
  3. Look at the protocol distribution graph and click on HTTP to see affected pages
  4. Inside the report showing pages, add a column for Final redirect URL 
  5. Make sure all HTTP pages are permanently redirected (301 or 308 redirects) to their HTTPS counterparts 
Protocol distribution graph
Internal pages issues report with added column

Finally, let’s check if any resources on the site still use HTTP: 

  1. Inside the Internal pages report, click on Issues
  2. Click on HTTPS/HTTP mixed content to view affected resources 
Site Audit reporting six HTTPS/HTTP mixed content issues

You can fix this issue by one of these methods:

  • Link to the HTTPS version of the resource (check this option first) 
  • Include the resource from a different host, if available 
  • Download and host the content on your site directly if you are legally allowed to do so
  • Exclude the resource from your site altogether

Learn more: What Is HTTPS? Everything You Need to Know 

Duplicate content happens when exact or near-duplicate content appears on the web in more than one place. 

It’s bad for SEO mainly for two reasons: It can cause undesirable URLs to show in search results and can dilute link equity

Content duplication is not necessarily a case of intentional or unintentional creation of similar pages. There are other less obvious causes such as faceted navigation, tracking parameters in URLs, or using trailing and non-trailing slashes

Solution 

First, check if your website is available under only one URL. Because if your site is accessible as:

  • http://domain.com
  • http://www.domain.com
  • https://domain.com
  • https://www.domain.com

Then Google will see all of those URLs as different websites. 

The easiest way to check if users can browse only one version of your website: type in all four variations in the browser, one by one, hit enter, and see if they get redirected to the master version (ideally, the one with HTTPS). 

You can also go straight into Site Audit’s Duplicates report. If you see 100% bad duplicates, that is likely the reason.

Duplicates report showing 100% bad duplicates
Simulation (other types of duplicates turned off).

In this case, choose one version that will serve as canonical (likely the one with HTTPS) and permanently redirect other versions to it. 

Then run a New crawl in Site Audit to see if there are any other bad duplicates left. 

Running a new crawl in Site Audit

There are a few ways you can handle bad duplicates depending on the case. Learn how to solve them in our guide

Learn more: Duplicate Content: Why It Happens and How to Fix It 

Pages that can’t be found (4XX errors) and pages returning server errors (5XX errors) won’t be indexed by Google so they won’t bring you any traffic. 

Furthermore, if broken pages have backlinks pointing to them, all of that link equity goes to waste. 

Broken pages are also a waste of crawl budget—something to watch out for on bigger websites. 

Solution

In AWT, you should: 

  1. Open Site Audit.
  2. Go to the Internal pages report.
  3. See if there are any broken pages. If so, the Broken section will show a number higher than 0. Click on the number to show affected pages.
Broken pages report in Site Audit

In the report showing pages with issues, it’s a good idea to add a column for the number of referring domains. This will help you make the decision on how to fix the issue. 

Internal pages report with no. of referring domains column added

Now, fixing broken pages (4XX error codes) is quite simple, but there is more than one possibility. Here’s a short graph explaining the process:

How to deal with broken pages

Dealing with server errors (the ones reporting a 5XX) can be a tougher one, as there are different possible reasons for a server to be unresponsive. Read this short guide for troubleshooting.

Recommendation

With AWT, you can also see 404s that were caused by incorrect links to your website. While this is not a technical issue per se, reclaiming those links may give you an additional SEO boost.

  1. Go to Site Explorer
  2. Enter your domain 
  3. Go to the Best by links report
  4. Add a “404 not found” filter
  5. Then sort the report by referring domains from high to low
How to find broken backlinks in Site Explorer
In this example, someone linked to us, leaving a comma inside the URL.

If you’ve already dealt with broken pages, chances are you’ve fixed most of the broken links issues. 

Other critical issues related to links are: 

  • Orphan pages – These are the pages without any internal links. Web crawlers have limited ability to access those pages (only from sitemap or backlinks), and there is no link equity flowing to them from other pages on your site. Last but not least, users won’t be able to access this page from the site navigation. 
  • HTTPS pages linking to internal HTTP pages – If an internal link on your website brings users to an HTTP URL, web browsers will likely show a warning about a non-secure page. This can damage your overall website authority and user experience.

Solution

In AWT, you can:

  1. Go to Site Audit.
  2. Open the Links report.
  3. Open the Issues tab. 
  4. Look for the following issues in the Indexable category. Click to see affected pages. 
Important SEO issues related to links

Fix the first issue by changing the links from HTTP to HTTPS or simply delete those links if no longer needed.

For the second issue, an orphan page needs to be either linked to from some other page on your website or deleted if a given page holds no value to you.

Sidenote.

Ahrefs’ Site Audit can find orphan pages as long as they have backlinks or are included in the sitemap. For a more thorough search for this issue, you will need to analyze server logs to find orphan pages with hits. Find out how in this guide.

7. Mobile experience issues

Having a mobile-friendly website is a must for SEO. Two reasons: 

  1. Google uses mobile-first indexing – It’s mostly using the content of mobile pages for indexing and ranking.
  2. Mobile experience is part of the Page Experience signals – While Google will allegedly always “promote” the page with the best content, page experience can be a tiebreaker for pages offering content of similar quality. 

Solution

In GSC: 

  1. Go to the Mobile Usability report in the Experience section
  2. View affected pages by clicking on issues in the Why pages aren’t usable on mobile section 
Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console

You can read Google’s guide for fixing mobile issues here.  

8. Performance and stability issues 

Performance and visual stability are other aspects of Page Experience signals used by Google to rank pages. 

Google has developed a special set of metrics to measure user experience called Core Web Vitals (CWV). Site owners and SEOs can use those metrics to see how Google perceives their website in terms of UX. 

Google's search signals for page experience

While page experience can be a ranking tiebreaker, CWV is not a race. You don’t need to have the fastest website on the internet. You just need to score “good” ideally in all three categories: loading, interactivity, and visual stability. 

Three categories of Core Web Vitals

Solution 

In GSC: 

  1. First, click on Core Web Vitals in the Experience section of the reports.
  2. Then click Open report in each section to see how your website scores. 
  3. For pages that aren’t considered good, you’ll see a special section at the bottom of the report. Use it to see pages that need your attention.
How to find Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console
CWV issue report in Google Search Console

Optimizing for CWV may take some time. This may include things like moving to a faster (or closer) server, compressing images, optimizing CSS, etc. We explain how to do this in the third part of this guide to CWV. 

Bad website structure in the context of technical SEO is mainly about having important organic pages too deep into the website structure. 

Pages that are nested too deep (i.e., users need >6 clicks from the website to get to them) will receive less link equity from your homepage (likely the page with the most backlinks), which may affect their rankings. This is because link value diminishes with every link “hop.” 

Sidenote.

Website structure is important for other reasons too such as the overall user experience, crawl efficiency, and helping Google understand the context of your pages. Here, we’ll only focus on the technical aspect, but you can read more about the topic in our full guide: Website Structure: How to Build Your SEO Foundation.

Solution 

In AWT

  1. Open Site Audit
  2. Go to Structure explorer, switch to the Depth tab, and set the data type to Data table
  3. Configure the Segment to only valid HTML pages and click Apply
  4. Use the graph to investigate pages with more than six clicks away from the homepage 
How to find site structure issues in Site Audit
Adding a new segment in Site Audit

The way to fix the issue is to link to these deeper nested pages from pages closer to the homepage. More important pages could find their place in site navigation, while less important ones can be just linked to the pages a few clicks closer.

It’s a good idea to weigh in user experience and the business role of your website when deciding what goes into sitewide navigation. 

For example, we could probably give our SEO glossary a slightly higher chance to get ahead of organic competitors by including it in the main site navigation. Yet we decided not to because it isn’t such an important page for users who are not particularly searching for this type of information. 

We’ve moved the glossary only up a notch by including a link inside the beginner’s guide to SEO (which itself is just one click away from the homepage). 

Structure explorer showing glossary page is two clicks away from the homepage
One page from the glossary folder is two clicks away from the homepage.
Link that moved SEO glossary a click closer to the homepage
Just one link, even at the bottom of a page, can move a page higher in the overall structure.

Final thoughts 

When you’re done fixing the more pressing issues, dig a little deeper to keep your site in perfect SEO health. Open Site Audit and go to the All issues report to see other issues regarding on-page SEO, image optimization, redirects, localization, and more. In each case, you will find instructions on how to deal with the issue. 

All issues report in Site Audit

You can also customize this report by turning issues on/off or changing their priority. 

Issue report in Site Audit is customizable

Did I miss any important technical issues? Let me know on Twitter or Mastodon.



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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

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New Google Ads Feature: Account-Level Negative Keywords

Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin has announced that account-level negative keywords are now available to Google Ads advertisers worldwide.

The feature, which was first announced last year and has been in testing for several months, allows advertisers to add keywords to exclude traffic from all search and shopping campaigns, as well as the search and shopping portion of Performance Max, for greater brand safety and suitability.

Advertisers can access this feature from the account settings page to ensure their campaigns align with their brand values and target audience.

This is especially important for brands that want to avoid appearing in contexts that may be inappropriate or damaging to their reputation.

In addition to the brand safety benefits, the addition of account-level negative keywords makes the campaign management process more efficient for advertisers.

Instead of adding negative keywords to individual campaigns, advertisers can manage them at the account level, saving time and reducing the chances of human error.

You no longer have to worry about duplicating negative keywords in multiple campaigns or missing any vital to your brand safety.

Additionally, account-level negative keywords can improve the accuracy of ad targeting by excluding irrelevant or low-performing keywords that may adversely impact campaign performance. This can result in higher-quality traffic and a better return on investment.

Google Ads offers a range of existing brand suitability controls, including inventory types, digital content labels, placement exclusions, and negative keywords at the campaign level.

Marvin added that Google Ads is expanding account-level negative keywords to address various use cases and will have more to share soon.

This rollout is essential in giving brands more control over their advertising and ensuring their campaigns target the appropriate audience.


Featured Image: Primakov/Shutterstock



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