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8 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Continue in 2022

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8 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Continue in 2022


Marketing is changing faster than ever. Those of you who aim to become T‑shaped marketers or who manage entire marketing departments know it best. Chasing after the latest marketing fads may provide some short-term results, but marketing strategies can’t rely on that.

For long-term marketing planning, you need strong foundations: strategies and tactics that have shown good results in the past and are likely to do so in the future. After all, marketing activities thrive on iterations. And the more time you put into something, the better you become at it.

That’s why in this collection of digital marketing trends, we’ve focused on eight trends that aren’t just industry fads but general directions that marketing is heading toward in 2022 and beyond.

In this article, we’ll talk about the following:

  1. Search intent is king
  2. Word of mouth is still a trend
  3. Privacy factors will impact digital advertising
  4. Omnichannel marketing is a must
  5. Video is an essential marketing channel
  6. Data changed marketing for good
  7. Frictionless experience is ideal for customers
  8. Remote work is here to stay

1. Search intent is king

Search intent refers to the reason behind a search. Google tries to understand the meaning of our search queries and the category of information we’re trying to find.

For example, Google ranks guides the highest for an informational intent query like “how to tune a guitar.”

Informational search intent

On the other hand, for a transactional query like “amazon,” Google knows a user is trying to navigate to the ecommerce website most relevant to their location (as opposed to finding information about the Amazon river).

Navigational search intent

Google believes in optimizing for humans, not algorithms. In fact, some of Google’s sophisticated machine learning algorithms like BERT or MUM are introduced to make the search engine “more human.” That is, the search engine should understand information as well as humans.

There are many recognized trends in SEO, but search intent is and will probably remain king. After all, it’s the core of Google’s business.

What to do about it

Design and optimize content with search intent in mind. This comes down to looking at the search result pages for a particular query and identifying the three Cs of search intent:

  • Content type – What is the overall type of content? Is it a blog post, product page, or video? For instance, this very article is a blog post.
  • Content format – Some common formats include how-to guides, list posts, reviews, comparisons, etc. The article you’re reading right now is a list post.
  • Content angle – The unique selling point of the content piece. For example, “best,” “cheapest,” and “freshness.” Can you guess what the angle of this article is?

Once you identify the three Cs of search intent, you should have a pretty good idea of what type of content Google “recommends” to its users for particular search queries.

Recommended reading: What is Search Intent? A Complete Guide for Beginners

2. Word of mouth. Yes, this is still a trend

Word of mouth (WOM) is the “invisible force” behind many brands’ successes and the unsung hero of converting prospects to customers. Here’s some data to illustrate my point:

  • 83% of respondents from 60 countries trust recommendations from friends and family, and 66% trust online recommendations (Nielsen).
  • 74% of purchasers (auto, beauty, and smartphone categories) identify word of mouth as the main point of influence for purchasing decisions (Google, TNS, & Ogilvy).

At Ahrefs, we find that to be true and recently ranked word of mouth as one of the top three customer acquisition channels.

Thanks to online media, that “invisible force” of WOM—otherwise harder to notice and measure—has become quite tangible. We can witness it in the following:

  • Social media – WOM is seen in both conversations and sharing of content.
  • User-generated content about brands and their products – Customer reviews, unboxings, or fan pictures posted on Instagram are great examples.
  • The proliferation of influencer marketing – While influencer marketing is a marketing type of its own, the fact that’s been working so well is based on the same mechanics as WOM: People trust other people more than brands.

What to do about it

First, create a great product or service. Without one, you won’t go far. You should have something that exceeds expectations. Make it change the users’ lives for the better.

Word-of-mouth marketing

If people truly like your product, they will start expressing it. You can potentially affect the velocity and scale of that process through some marketing tactics, such as:

  • Encouraging users to share pictures or short videos of your product under a specified hashtag.
  • Creating content that appeals to the reasons why people share on social media.
  • Sharing positive testimonials about your business (but don’t brag).
  • Sharing your product reviews.
  • Engaging in conversations. Or even starting them. Caution: This can be scary. You have very little (if any) control over such situations, but courage and transparency go a long way in the marketing world. Plus, you can learn a great deal from the feedback you’ll receive.
Tim Soulo word-of-mouth marketing

Every two years on the same day, our CMO asks the good people of Reddit the same question, “Do you like what we do?”

3. Privacy factors will impact the performance of digital advertising

Fact 1. Safari and Firefox browsers already block third-party cookies by default. In case you’re wondering, third-party cookies are small text files set by a website other than the one you are visiting, mostly used to track users between websites (and show retargeting ads, for example).

Fact 2. Google planned to stop supporting third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. Then delayed it until 2023.

Fact 3. Starting from iOS 14, Apple began requiring a voluntary opt-in for the Identification for Advertisers (IDFA) from its users. Translation: Companies, such as Facebook, won’t “track you across apps and websites” unless you explicitly give them permission.

App privacy notification on iOS

Source: Apple Insider

If that’s not enough:

  • 42.7% of internet users worldwide use ad blockers (Hootsuite).
  • Half of Americans have decided not to use a product or service because of privacy concerns (Pew Research).
  • There is a proliferation of products built with security and privacy in mind, designed to “rescue” you from the data-harvesting monopolies. Examples: DuckDuckGo, Brave, Signal, ProtonMail, and Blockchain smartphones.

All this information paints a rather clear picture. Internet users will, theoretically, have more privacy when browsing the web. As a result, marketers will have fewer data points about potential customers, maybe even fewer advertising options, and more headaches when it comes to assigning ad attribution.

Most marketers already anticipate the moves made by Google and Apple will have a significant impact:

How privacy moves by Apple and Google will affect the advertising industry

Source: Epsilon.

What to do about it

Digital advertising won’t go away because of the “cookie apocalypse.” Here’s why:

  • Let’s not forget that Google relies mostly on ad revenue. In fact, it is already working on a new browser-based tracking standard called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). So if we take Adroll’s advice (one of the biggest companies in the adtech business), until that happens, it’s business as usual.
  • Big publishers are steering away from third-party ad solutions in favor of their own data aggregation and ad selling, e.g., Insider’s SAGA platform.
  • We may even see wide adoption of Unified ID 2.0 (developed by The Trade Desk and the IAB Tech Lab), which appears to resemble third-party cookies.
  • While Facebook took a blow after undermining the IDFA, Apple’s own ad solutions suddenly became more attractive. Looks like one man’s loss is another man’s gain.

So it seems brands that want to use online advertising after 2023 will still have plenty of options. The only hurdle here is that they will have to adapt to the new standards and different forms of advertising (like buying ads directly from publishers).

However, some brands are already impacted by privacy factors, seen in declining ad clicks and lower returns on ad spend on Facebook.

Others, acting like smart investors, are already taking measures to diversify their marketing channels. Privacy measures or not, it’s a good idea to invest in omnichannel marketing, as we’ll see in the next section.

So what are the alternatives here? If you want to learn how you can grow by taking advantage of other marketing channels and minimum paid traffic, read our article below.

Recommended reading: 8 Effective Marketing Channels in 2021 (And How We Use Them)

Omnichannel marketing is about giving customers or prospects access to your products, offers, and support services on all channels, platforms, and devices.

How omnichannel marketing works

This trend can easily be observed in commerce. For example, IKEA allows you to order through an online store, a mobile app, a phone call, or a visit to a local store.

What’s more, IKEA offers every possible contact option, including a live chat with a chatbot.

IKEA live chat

But let’s look at the larger picture:

  • The purchase rate of omnichannel campaigns is 287% higher than single-channel campaigns (Omnisend).
  • Customers are channel-agnostic. They expect businesses to be available on any channel that’s convenient for them (Gartner).
  • The more channels in your channel mix, the better. More channels mean more convenience for your customers. More prospects mean more ROI. At least, that’s what we can learn from this analysis of 6,000 Effie-award-winning campaigns.

What to do about it

You can offer omnichannel experiences in three key areas.

The first one is the product (or service). For example, Ahrefs is primarily a SaaS platform, but we also extend some of the product features to plugins, such as our SEO Toolbar for Chrome and Firefox and our free SEO WordPress plugin. This way, we can provide data contextually and make things more convenient for our users.

Domain and page stats via Ahrefs' SEO toolbar

Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar allows you to see SEO-related data directly on search engine results pages.

Ahrefs’ WordPress plugin performs automatic content audits combining data from Google Analytics and Ahrefs.

Ahrefs’ WordPress plugin performs automatic content audits combining data from Google Analytics and Ahrefs.

The second area is customer support. Think about expanding the channels that can be used to reach your business. Don’t blame customers for using the “wrong” support channels. Instead, be prepared for any questions on all channels.

Conversational marketing solutions, such as live chats, are something more and more companies invest in. If you look at the data, it makes perfect sense:

  • 82% of consumers expect an immediate response to sales or marketing questions (Hubspot).
  • 79% of companies say that live chat has had positive results for customer loyalty, sales, and revenue (Kayako).
  • Conversations inside Facebook Messenger between companies and customers have a 30% higher conversion rate than retargeting ads (Facebook).

The third area is promotion. Like the aforementioned Effie study has proven, the more channels, the better.

For example, we promote Ahrefs Webmaster Tools through many channels: Twitter, YouTube, Google Ads, various kinds of sponsorships, and more. We also try new ones whenever possible. (Recently, we have used Brave Ads and Quora Ads). Here’s an example of a video ad.

Wherever you look, you can see the same pattern:

  • 79% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy or download a piece of software or app after watching a video (Wyzowl).
  • YouTube is the second-most visited website in the U.S. by organic traffic (Ahrefs).
  • 91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video more important for brands (Wyzowl).
  • Video is the primary form of marketing media being created in 2021, followed by blogs (used by more than half of marketing teams), and infographics (Hubspot).

Video proves to be great for users and businesses. It’s really hard to find a sound reason not to invest in video marketing. This is especially if your product is better shown in video than explained in written content.

What to do about it

If you’re at the beginning of your video marketing journey, the video below explains how to set up for success in this type of marketing even if you lack professional equipment, proficiency in English, or experience in front of the camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCgDIhvFkCM&list=PLvJ_dXFSpd2tsn8vwEmhFM0McBH4PhEty

Need more? Make sure to check out our playlist on the subject. We’ll show you how to make the best of YouTube Ads and do video SEO and YouTube SEO to send consistent, free traffic to your videos.

According to Harvard Business Review, data science is “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” It also added:

If companies sit out this trend’s early days for lack of talent, they risk falling behind as competitors and channel partners gain nearly unassailable advantages. 

That article is from 2012. Some 10 years later, data scientist is #2 in Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs in America for 2021 report. And #1 is Java developer, with a comparable job satisfaction degree but about a $20k lower median base salary.

The data science trend is so impactful that it has left its mark on marketing. This study from Altimeter says that from a set of 11 skills, data analysis is the most desired skill among digital marketers.

Data analysis is the most desired marketing skill, according to a study from Altimeter

Source: Prophet.

And when we look at some data analysis courses, we can see that they are already being customized for marketers:

Data analysis courses for marketers

The courses cover many aspects, from advanced spreadsheet skills to programming in Python and R. Just one look at these courses, and we can see complex marketing problems that data analysis can help solve: customer churn, multifaceted customer data, sentiment analysis, campaign performance, etc.

What to do about it

Step 1 is to connect to quality data sources. There is a dedicated analytics tool for every marketing channel out there.

For example, if you want to take advantage of organic search, you will need a premium SEO tool like Ahrefs. Such a tool is your ticket to the vast pool of global search demand and backlinks data.

With the right SEO tools, you can also peep at your competitors’ data and see where you can improve.

Content Gap report results

Among many features, Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool allows you to perform content gap analysis and see which keywords your competitors rank for but your website doesn’t.

The second step is learning data analysis skills.

Basic skills include mastering relevant spreadsheet formulas, understanding statistics, and understanding how your data is collected. If you think you can benefit from more advanced skills, invest in learning SQL, Python, or R.

That said, marketing analytics software can already perform a lot of data cleaning, analysis, and visualization for you. Particularly, the latest marketing automation technology has become quite remarkable.

Solutions like Blueshift or Bloomreach can take all your customer data points, merge them into one database, and then allow you to design omnichannel communication workflows triggered based on customer characteristics, actions, and even AI predictions.

Can you point to a moment in time when buying something online was as easy, fast, and essentially frictionless as it is today?

Example of a frictionless experience on Amazon

It’s obvious: Customers are more likely to make a purchase when companies make it easy for them.

Let’s look at some more examples:

  • These days, you can buy new and used cars 100% online.
  • E‑grocery companies declare deliveries to be as fast as 15 minutes.
  • Investing in the stock market is a breeze nowadays with apps like Robinhood or eToro.
  • Klarna, whose tagline is “the shortcut to shopping,” allows you to buy something online even if you don’t have the money at that moment.
  • Last but not least, think how disappointed you would be A.D. 2022 if a SaaS product didn’t have a free trial or some form of “free” element to it.

What to do about it

Decrease friction for any form of conversion action that you want the user to take. Be it signing up for a newsletter, signing up for a trial, or even making a purchase. As you can see above, businesses can make more money when they make the money flow easier.

But before you do, take a moment to think about whether you may need some kind of “friction.” Here are a few examples:

  • Friction from a lead generation perspective – For instance, you may find that gated content results in more qualified leads with more data points available.
  • Friction as a security measure – For example, before I took that screenshot from Amazon, I needed to go through a two-step verification process to log in to my account.

It’s been two years into the pandemic, and we’re all living in the “new normal.” That said, it’s reasonable to wonder if remote work should stay for good.

Well, according to a couple of statistics on the recent global remote work phenomenon, it seems that the transition to home offices was mostly successful.

Remote work statistics

Source: PWC.

What’s more, remote work proved to have its upsides.

Remote work statistics

According to a Stanford study of 16,000 workers over nine months, a work-from-home arrangement increases productivity by 13%. Reason: more convenient working environment, fewer breaks, and sick days.

Here are a few more benefits:

  • Lower cost of employment
  • Better mental health
  • Access to better job options
  • More employee loyalty
  • Lower commuting costs (and more time saved on traveling)

If you’ve worked remotely, I’m sure you have your own pros and cons.

On the whole, though, employees are eager to continue working remotely or semi-remotely. According to FlexJobs’ 10th Annual Survey conducted between July and August 2021, an astounding 97% of workers desire some form of remote work—be it fully remote or hybrid.

And according to another study, over half of the employees want to work at least three days a week remotely.

Thus, it appears that remote work is here to stay.

What to do about it

The overall consensus seems to be that in order to adapt to this situation, companies will employ a hybrid model: Staff will spend some days in the office and some days at home.

And another study by Mercer confirms this sentiment: 70% of companies say they are planning to adopt the hybrid model.

In the above statistics, marketers are no exception. Who knows? Maybe marketers are even more likely to adopt the remote model. After all, we don’t often experience client-facing situations. And even if we do, those can be handled online. Also, I guess most of the tools we use for work are cloud-based.

So, dear marketers, you will likely see yourselves working remotely or semi-remotely in the coming years. There is a lesson here for employers also: Don’t be surprised if the people whom you work with expect some kind of remote work.

To wrap things up, let me also share a few tips on how to make the most of remote work based on the research I’ve seen so far:

  • Avoid the always-on mentality – This is advice both to employers and employees. Many people report that while working from home, they feel like they’re constantly working. This eventually leads to lower productivity, lower satisfaction, and professional burnout.
  • Use the right tools – For example, here at Ahrefs, some of us are remote-only workers from all around the world, while some are based in the Singapore office (but work remotely from time to time). So our work model is hybrid in a way. But all of the tools we use are remote-work friendly. Our staff can log in wherever and whenever they need.
  • Consider more in-office time for new hires and inexperienced workers. They may need the support and a taste of the company vibe.
  • 87% of employees say the office is important for collaborating with team members and building relationships (PWC). That’s right—having friends at work is that important. We just have to get used to chatting with people over the internet rather than in person.

Final thoughts

The future is always uncertain. Marketers can rarely afford the luxury to wait things out. So the only other option to cope with uncertainty is to start taking action. And hopefully, your path to success will become brighter as you go.

I hope the above list of digital marketing trends provided some insight into a couple of smart moves you can make in marketing in the near future.

If you have questions about marketing in 2022 or answers (even better), let me know on Twitter.





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Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?

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Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?

Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT train using multiple sources of information, including web content. This data forms the basis of summaries of that content in the form of articles that are produced without attribution or benefit to those who published the original content used for training ChatGPT.

Search engines download website content (called crawling and indexing) to provide answers in the form of links to the websites.

Website publishers have the ability to opt-out of having their content crawled and indexed by search engines through the Robots Exclusion Protocol, commonly referred to as Robots.txt.

The Robots Exclusions Protocol is not an official Internet standard but it’s one that legitimate web crawlers obey.

Should web publishers be able to use the Robots.txt protocol to prevent large language models from using their website content?

Large Language Models Use Website Content Without Attribution

Some who are involved with search marketing are uncomfortable with how website data is used to train machines without giving anything back, like an acknowledgement or traffic.

Hans Petter Blindheim (LinkedIn profile), Senior Expert at Curamando shared his opinions with me.

Hans commented:

“When an author writes something after having learned something from an article on your site, they will more often than not link to your original work because it offers credibility and as a professional courtesy.

It’s called a citation.

But the scale at which ChatGPT assimilates content and does not grant anything back differentiates it from both Google and people.

A website is generally created with a business directive in mind.

Google helps people find the content, providing traffic, which has a mutual benefit to it.

But it’s not like large language models asked your permission to use your content, they just use it in a broader sense than what was expected when your content was published.

And if the AI language models do not offer value in return – why should publishers allow them to crawl and use the content?

Does their use of your content meet the standards of fair use?

When ChatGPT and Google’s own ML/AI models trains on your content without permission, spins what it learns there and uses that while keeping people away from your websites – shouldn’t the industry and also lawmakers try to take back control over the Internet by forcing them to transition to an “opt-in” model?”

The concerns that Hans expresses are reasonable.

In light of how fast technology is evolving, should laws concerning fair use be reconsidered and updated?

I asked John Rizvi, a Registered Patent Attorney (LinkedIn profile) who is board certified in Intellectual Property Law, if Internet copyright laws are outdated.

John answered:

“Yes, without a doubt.

One major bone of contention in cases like this is the fact that the law inevitably evolves far more slowly than technology does.

In the 1800s, this maybe didn’t matter so much because advances were relatively slow and so legal machinery was more or less tooled to match.

Today, however, runaway technological advances have far outstripped the ability of the law to keep up.

There are simply too many advances and too many moving parts for the law to keep up.

As it is currently constituted and administered, largely by people who are hardly experts in the areas of technology we’re discussing here, the law is poorly equipped or structured to keep pace with technology…and we must consider that this isn’t an entirely bad thing.

So, in one regard, yes, Intellectual Property law does need to evolve if it even purports, let alone hopes, to keep pace with technological advances.

The primary problem is striking a balance between keeping up with the ways various forms of tech can be used while holding back from blatant overreach or outright censorship for political gain cloaked in benevolent intentions.

The law also has to take care not to legislate against possible uses of tech so broadly as to strangle any potential benefit that may derive from them.

You could easily run afoul of the First Amendment and any number of settled cases that circumscribe how, why, and to what degree intellectual property can be used and by whom.

And attempting to envision every conceivable usage of technology years or decades before the framework exists to make it viable or even possible would be an exceedingly dangerous fool’s errand.

In situations like this, the law really cannot help but be reactive to how technology is used…not necessarily how it was intended.

That’s not likely to change anytime soon, unless we hit a massive and unanticipated tech plateau that allows the law time to catch up to current events.”

So it appears that the issue of copyright laws has many considerations to balance when it comes to how AI is trained, there is no simple answer.

OpenAI and Microsoft Sued

An interesting case that was recently filed is one in which OpenAI and Microsoft used open source code to create their CoPilot product.

The problem with using open source code is that the Creative Commons license requires attribution.

According to an article published in a scholarly journal:

“Plaintiffs allege that OpenAI and GitHub assembled and distributed a commercial product called Copilot to create generative code using publicly accessible code originally made available under various “open source”-style licenses, many of which include an attribution requirement.

As GitHub states, ‘…[t]rained on billions of lines of code, GitHub Copilot turns natural language prompts into coding suggestions across dozens of languages.’

The resulting product allegedly omitted any credit to the original creators.”

The author of that article, who is a legal expert on the subject of copyrights, wrote that many view open source Creative Commons licenses as a “free-for-all.”

Some may also consider the phrase free-for-all a fair description of the datasets comprised of Internet content are scraped and used to generate AI products like ChatGPT.

Background on LLMs and Datasets

Large language models train on multiple data sets of content. Datasets can consist of emails, books, government data, Wikipedia articles, and even datasets created of websites linked from posts on Reddit that have at least three upvotes.

Many of the datasets related to the content of the Internet have their origins in the crawl created by a non-profit organization called Common Crawl.

Their dataset, the Common Crawl dataset, is available free for download and use.

The Common Crawl dataset is the starting point for many other datasets that created from it.

For example, GPT-3 used a filtered version of Common Crawl (Language Models are Few-Shot Learners PDF).

This is how  GPT-3 researchers used the website data contained within the Common Crawl dataset:

“Datasets for language models have rapidly expanded, culminating in the Common Crawl dataset… constituting nearly a trillion words.

This size of dataset is sufficient to train our largest models without ever updating on the same sequence twice.

However, we have found that unfiltered or lightly filtered versions of Common Crawl tend to have lower quality than more curated datasets.

Therefore, we took 3 steps to improve the average quality of our datasets:

(1) we downloaded and filtered a version of CommonCrawl based on similarity to a range of high-quality reference corpora,

(2) we performed fuzzy deduplication at the document level, within and across datasets, to prevent redundancy and preserve the integrity of our held-out validation set as an accurate measure of overfitting, and

(3) we also added known high-quality reference corpora to the training mix to augment CommonCrawl and increase its diversity.”

Google’s C4 dataset (Colossal, Cleaned Crawl Corpus), which was used to create the Text-to-Text Transfer Transformer (T5), has its roots in the Common Crawl dataset, too.

Their research paper (Exploring the Limits of Transfer Learning with a Unified Text-to-Text Transformer PDF) explains:

“Before presenting the results from our large-scale empirical study, we review the necessary background topics required to understand our results, including the Transformer model architecture and the downstream tasks we evaluate on.

We also introduce our approach for treating every problem as a text-to-text task and describe our “Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus” (C4), the Common Crawl-based data set we created as a source of unlabeled text data.

We refer to our model and framework as the ‘Text-to-Text Transfer Transformer’ (T5).”

Google published an article on their AI blog that further explains how Common Crawl data (which contains content scraped from the Internet) was used to create C4.

They wrote:

“An important ingredient for transfer learning is the unlabeled dataset used for pre-training.

To accurately measure the effect of scaling up the amount of pre-training, one needs a dataset that is not only high quality and diverse, but also massive.

Existing pre-training datasets don’t meet all three of these criteria — for example, text from Wikipedia is high quality, but uniform in style and relatively small for our purposes, while the Common Crawl web scrapes are enormous and highly diverse, but fairly low quality.

To satisfy these requirements, we developed the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus (C4), a cleaned version of Common Crawl that is two orders of magnitude larger than Wikipedia.

Our cleaning process involved deduplication, discarding incomplete sentences, and removing offensive or noisy content.

This filtering led to better results on downstream tasks, while the additional size allowed the model size to increase without overfitting during pre-training.”

Google, OpenAI, even Oracle’s Open Data are using Internet content, your content, to create datasets that are then used to create AI applications like ChatGPT.

Common Crawl Can Be Blocked

It is possible to block Common Crawl and subsequently opt-out of all the datasets that are based on Common Crawl.

But if the site has already been crawled then the website data is already in datasets. There is no way to remove your content from the Common Crawl dataset and any of the other derivative datasets like C4 and .

Using the Robots.txt protocol will only block future crawls by Common Crawl, it won’t stop researchers from using content already in the dataset.

How to Block Common Crawl From Your Data

Blocking Common Crawl is possible through the use of the Robots.txt protocol, within the above discussed limitations.

The Common Crawl bot is called, CCBot.

It is identified using the most up to date CCBot User-Agent string: CCBot/2.0

Blocking CCBot with Robots.txt is accomplished the same as with any other bot.

Here is the code for blocking CCBot with Robots.txt.

User-agent: CCBot
Disallow: /

CCBot crawls from Amazon AWS IP addresses.

CCBot also follows the nofollow Robots meta tag:

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">

What If You’re Not Blocking Common Crawl?

Web content can be downloaded without permission, which is how browsers work, they download content.

Google or anybody else does not need permission to download and use content that is published publicly.

Website Publishers Have Limited Options

The consideration of whether it is ethical to train AI on web content doesn’t seem to be a part of any conversation about the ethics of how AI technology is developed.

It seems to be taken for granted that Internet content can be downloaded, summarized and transformed into a product called ChatGPT.

Does that seem fair? The answer is complicated.

Featured image by Shutterstock/Krakenimages.com



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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

Google updated their Google Discover feed guidelines to emphasize the most important elements to include in the feed in order for it to be properly optimized.

Google Discover Feed

The Google Discover follow feed feature offers relevant content to Chrome Android users and represents an importance source of traffic that is matched to user interests.

The Google Discover Follow feature is a component of Google Discover, a way to capture a steady stream of traffic apart from Google News and Google Search.

Google’s Discover Follow feature works by allowing users to choose to receive updates about the latest content on a site they are interested in.

The way to do participate in Discover Follow is through an optimized RSS or Atom feed.

If the feed is properly optimized on a website, users can choose to follow a website or a specific category of a website, depending on how the publisher configures their RSS/Atom feeds.

Audiences that follow a website will see the new content populate their Discover Follow feed which in turn brings fresh waves of traffic to participating websites that are properly optimized.

According to Google:

“The Follow feature lets people follow a website and get the latest updates from that website in the Following tab within Discover in Chrome.

Currently, the Follow button is a feature that’s available to signed-in users in English in the US, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, Canada, and Australia that are using Chrome Android.”

Receiving traffic from the Discover Follow feature only happens for sites with properly optimized feeds that follow the Discover Follow feature guidelines.

Updated Guidance for Google Discover Follow Feature

Google updated their guidelines for the Discover Feed feature to emphasize the importance of the feed <title> and <link> elements, emphasizing that the feed contains these elements.

The new guidance states:

“The most important content for the Follow feature is your feed <title> element and your per item <link> elements. Make sure your feed includes these elements.”

Presumably the absence of these two elements may result in Google being unable to understand the feed and display it for users, resulting in a loss of traffic.

Site publishers who participate in the Google Discover Follow feature should verify that their RSS or Atom feeds properly display the <title> and <link> elements.

Google Discover Optimization

Publishers and SEOs are familiar with optimizing for Google Search.

But many content publishers may be unaware of how to optimize for Google Discover in order to enjoy the loads of traffic that results from properly optimizing for Google Discover and the Google Discover Follow feature.

The Follow Feed feature, a component of Google Discover, is a way to help ensure that the website obtains a steady stream of relevant traffic beyond organic search.

This is why it’s important to make sure that your RSS/Atom feeds are properly optimized.

Read Google’s announcement of the updated guidance and read the complete Follow Feature feed guidelines here.

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Is Wix Good for SEO? Here’s Everything to Know About Wix SEO

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Is Wix Good for SEO? Here's Everything to Know About Wix SEO

As of 2023, Wix provides solid options for a basic SEO setup that will cover most needs but still lacks the flexibility of more advanced and granular settings.

In this article, I go through all the nooks and crannies of Wix SEO options so you can decide if Wix is right for your needs. I’ll also share some tips on how to make your Wix website more search-friendly if you’re already a Wix user.

Does Wix have everything you need for SEO?

Wix has a bit of a bad reputation for SEO. This is because from its launch in 2006 until its first big update in 2016, it lacked many basic SEO functionalities like adding alt text and being able to change URL structures.

However, that is no longer the case. You can now do virtually every on-page SEO task using the Wix platform. It even hired expert SEOs, such as Mordy Oberstein and Crystal Carter, who have pushed for more SEO features and better communication.

Back in 2019, we ran a study comparing Wix SEO to WordPress SEO analyzing over 6.4M websites. We found that, on average, far more WordPress websites get organic traffic than Wix websites. 

WordPress vs. Wix organic traffic

However, we believe that this is due to the website owners, not the platforms themselves. On average, Wix website owners are less tech-savvy (and less educated on SEO) than WordPress users, simply because of the extra learning curve that comes with using WordPress.

Editor’s Note

The study and its methodology weren’t great. Given that there are so many variables involved, we didn’t see a way to rerun it properly. We decided to replace the study with this guide, providing more value to readers and being more fair to Wix.

That said, we had the Wix’s SEO team provide feedback on this article as part of the editing process to ensure accuracy and increase objectivity.

Michal Pecánek

Let’s also see what Googlers have to say about Wix.

Here’s a quote by John Mueller, Google’s senior search analyst, on the topic of Wix SEO:

Wix is fine for SEO. A few years back it was pretty bad in terms of SEO, but they’ve made fantastic progress, and are now a fine platform for businesses. The reputation from back then lingers on, but don’t be swayed by it.

What they’ve done in recent years is really good stuff, including making it trivial to have a really fast site (as you see in the Lighthouse scores — admittedly, speed is only a tiny part of SEO).

If Wix works for them, and they don’t need more, there’s no reason to switch.

John Mueller

So overall, Wix has the majority of features most website users would need to manage SEO. But there’s more to the story…

While Wix has no major SEO issues, it does have three minor issues that may stop you from wanting to use it if you’re serious about search:

  1. Website builders will typically load slower than custom code – Wix inevitably has code bloat from features you will never use. This is true even if you use WordPress and install a theme builder like Elementor or Thrive Architect, so this isn’t exclusive to Wix. That said, it’s only a minor issue, and it already has great Core Web Vitals compared to other CMS types.
  2. Less-than-ideal multilingual support – If you plan on publishing your blog posts in multiple languages, you may want to skip Wix. For example, you don’t have full control over the URLs for different language versions of your site. However, some of these aspects are in its feature requests and may be available soon.
  3. Limited advanced SEO control – Wix lacks some advanced SEO features. For example, it’s difficult to edit the auto-generated sitemap. Additionally, Wix generates cryptic file names for images (e.g., 09a0ab7~mv2.jpg/), which is not good for ranking on Google Images. 

Ultimately, Wix’s SEO features will work for most website owners out there. 

If you are a business owner who wants to focus more time on running your business and less time on learning how to build the perfect website with the best features, Wix is an excellent choice.

To help you decide if Wix is right for you, we made this helpful table of who should and shouldn’t use Wix to build their website:

Type of website Is Wix a great solution? Explanation
Personal website Yes Wix provides all you need for small websites.
Local business Yes Wix provides all you need to create a quick and easy local business website and rank in local search results.
Affiliate website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for affiliate marketing and SEO well. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Content website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for content used to show display ads. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Services website Maybe If you offer a service such as SaaS, banking, etc., then Wix may be a good choice depending on the specific features needed. You’ll have to do your own research.
E-commerce website Maybe There’s no perfect out-of-the-box CMS for this. The most common choices are Shopify or WooCommerce, but Wix is a solid option for e-commerce SMBs too. It can handle even some of the more complex e-commerce SEO stuff.

I personally would never build a website on Wix over WordPress for myself. That’s because WordPress has more features and customizability. And even though it comes with a much steeper learning curve, that is something I’ve overcome. (I’ve been building WordPress websites for over a decade.)

That said, I built my dad a website for his remodeling business using Wix. I did this because it’s much easier for him to go in and edit things himself than it is with WordPress. And he’s able to rank for local keywords just fine on the Wix platform. The website is fairly new, and I will come back in a few months to update this page with the progress of his rankings.

One last thing to keep in mind is that switching your content management system (CMS) can be a massive pain. So whichever tool you choose, be ready to stick to it for a long time.

Five tips to make your Wix website SEO-friendly

Deciding to stick with Wix? Here are five Wix-specific tips to help you make sure your website is search-optimized:

1. Complete the Wix SEO Setup Checklist

Wix has a really easy-to-use SEO Setup Checklist built in its platform. To use it, navigate to the Marketing & SEO page, then click Get Found on Google.

Wix SEO Setup Checklist

From there, you’ll be asked a few questions to get started, such as your business name and the top three to five keywords you want your website to rank for. If you’re not sure which keywords to target, I highly recommend reading our guide to keyword research.

Once you answer the questions, you’ll see a screen with steps you can take to optimize your website for search engines, starting with your homepage.

Wix's steps to optimize site for search engines

SEO Setup Checklist will guide you through the process of updating your pages’ meta tags, making your website mobile-friendly, and more.

Go through each of these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a search-optimized website.

2. Set up Google Search Console and Analytics

You’ll notice one of the steps is to connect your site to Google Search Console (GSC). This is Google’s suite of tools designed for website owners like you to more easily monitor your search rankings and find issues preventing your pages from being indexed by Googlebot

Performance report, via GSC

You can set up GSC with the click of a button using the SEO Setup Checklist. If you want to learn more, check out our complete guide to Google Search Console.

Wix SEO Wiz connecting Google Search Console

Once GSC is set up, you can connect Google Analytics (GA) to your website to get more insights into where your traffic is coming from and which pages your visitors are going to.

To connect GA, navigate to the Marketing Integrations tab under Marketing & SEO. It’s the first box that appears—click Connect.

Wix marketing integration with Google Analytics

Wix will instruct you on how to create a Google Analytics Property ID and connect that ID with your Wix website. If you need more help, we also have a guide on Google Analytics 4.

Once it’s set up and your website starts getting traffic, you’ll be able to see traffic and webpage reports. This can help you identify which pages may need improvements or how many conversions you get from organic traffic.

Google Analytics traffic report

That’s it—you’re done with step #2.

3. Create search-optimized content

If your website just has the basic homepage, as well as “about” and “contact” pages, chances are you won’t be able to rank well for much (if anything).

A crucial step in SEO is creating content that can be crawled and indexed by Googlebot. That means creating service pages if you’re a local business and possibly also creating blog content targeting relevant keywords to your industry.

Rather than making this whole article about content, I will leave you with a resource. Go check out our guide to SEO content to learn more.

4. Add internal links

Backlinks—links from another website pointing to your website—are one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. However, they can be difficult to obtain.

Internal links from one page on your site to another on your site are almost as important as backlinks. But they are much easier to add. You just highlight some text and add the link in.

If you have pages on your website that you want to rank better, simply add more internal links to that page and you’re already on the path to higher rankings. Obviously, just adding some internal links won’t suddenly make you rank #1 for a keyword. But it’s an important—and often overlooked—step on the road to better rankings. 

To add an internal link with Wix, simply highlight the text you want to add a link to, click the “chain link” icon, then choose the page you want the link to point to.

Wix internal link settings

Check out our internal linking guide to learn more about this important SEO task.

5. Schedule regular SEO audits

Once your Wix website is set up and optimized, it’s important to schedule regular SEO audits to keep tabs on your rankings and make sure nothing gets broken.

While you can do this manually, it is time consuming and easy to overlook something. 

For example, you may not realize one of your pages broke and is now a 404 page, or that a certain blog post isn’t showing up in your sitemap, or that you’re missing metadata on a certain page… the list goes on.

Instead, you can use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to automatically run weekly or monthly audits of your website. This free tool will give you a health score from 0 to 100 on how “healthy” your website is from an SEO perspective.

Health Score overview, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can then see specific tasks you need to do in order to fix these issues on your site. Go to the All issues report and check the issues we found while crawling your website.

All issues report, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can click the error and see exactly what it means and how to fix it.

Issue details, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

From there, you can click “View affected URLs” and go to those pages to fix the issues. Easy peasy.

Final thoughts

Overall, Wix is a perfectly capable website builder for SEO. While it isn’t as advanced and capable as more complex CMSs like WordPress, it’s plenty good for people who just want to build a website and don’t have the time for or interest in a giant learning curve.

I still use Wix for certain client sites and to build sites for friends and family who want a website where they can still make small edits themselves. It’s my favorite website builder compared to other tools like Squarespace or WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, which I use all the time).

One more benefit to using a website builder like Wix is that it’s a complete solution and takes care of the hosting and security. In fact, John doesn’t recommend self-hosting your websites. 

That said, if you want more advanced features and to dive deeper in SEO, I suggest learning WordPress.

Ready to keep learning? Here are some other helpful guides:



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