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AI Copywriting (Tools to Improve Efficiency)

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AI Copywriting (Tools to Improve Efficiency)

AI copywriting has become popular quickly, but which tools should you use to increase the efficiency of your copywriting efforts?

I’ve tested many different AI tools. And in my opinion, there are some that can help increase the efficiency of your copywriting.

But before we get to the list, I want to confirm that you shouldn’t rely on these tools 100%. 

Although their output may often seem impressive, concerns have been raised about AI tools because AI:

  • Can provide inaccurate or generic content, particularly when it comes to technical writing.
  • Can plagiarize. 
  • Isn’t the best at SEO optimization despite claiming to be, so you’ll still need to use SEO writing tools like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to understand the search landscape and target your content properly.
  • Can be subject to hallucination. Sometimes, the tools will make things up.
  • Can have a political bias. Elon Musk claimed that current AI systems have a liberal bias.
  • May also provide you with false and outdated information.

And assuming that hasn’t put you off… let’s scroll down and look at the tools you can use for AI copywriting.

ChatGPT webpage, via openai.com

Features

  • Free to use
  • Can upgrade to ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month (faster response time, more features, less downtime, access to plugins)
  • Mobile app

Most conversations about AI start with ChatGPT. It’s popular for a reason, i.e., good at providing answers to questions.

Although it’s not a dedicated AI copywriting tool, ChatGPT introduced many people outside of SEO to AI copywriting and was more accessible than Open AI’s GPT Playground or the GPT-4 API.

Use cases

With caution, you can use ChatGPT for the following copywriting tasks:

  • Rephrasing content to get different perspectives, tones of voice, or inspiration 
  • Summarizing content
  • Expanding and improving poor-performing content
  • Creating draft outlines for articles
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy
  • Coming up with straplines, slogans, or company names

Output examples

I asked ChatGPT to come up with some ideas for SEO agency names. I was fairly happy with the output. It even told me to check that the domain names were available afterward, which was a nice touch. 

Asking ChatGPT to come up with SEO agency names

I then asked it to summarize the main principles of SEO, and it similarly delivered decent output.

Asking ChatGPT to summarize the main principles of SEO

Then I followed up with another question about the pros and cons of SEO—no major issues so far.

Asking ChatGPT for the pros and cons of SEO

Lastly, I gave it the somewhat controversial prompt: “Can you give me a list of the best SEO experts in the world in a table?”

Asking ChatGPT for the best SEO experts in the world

The eagle-eyed among you will notice something’s not quite right here.

Here’s what I realized:

  1. Eric Enge is no longer CEO of Stone Temple Consulting.
  2. Bill Slawski is sadly not with us anymore. RIP.
  3. I am not sure who Cyrus Vanover is. (I asked Patrick Stox to double-check with Cyrus Shepard of Zyppy to see if he knew Cyrus Vanover.) 

The answer:

Patrick Stox relays a message from Cyrus Shepard that ChatGPT is "100% hallucinating," via Slack

This is a good example of how easy it is to be led astray by AI when it comes to research. 

If you had republished this table, you’d be publishing false information.

Features

  • Free to try
  • Is Google’s response to ChatGPT

Use cases

  • Rephrasing content to get different perspectives, tones of voice, or inspiration
  • Summarizing content by URL
  • Expanding and improving poor-performing content
  • Creating draft outlines for articles
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy
  • Coming up with straplines, slogans, or company names

Google Bard received mixed reviews online. But in my opinion, it’s reasonably competitive with ChatGPT. 

Like ChatGPT, Google is transparent about Bard being an experiment and that it gets things wrong. Google even mentions that the tool can be inaccurate or inappropriate on the Bard homepage.

Disclaimer about Bard from Google

One of the things I like about Bard is that its output is fast, especially when compared to ChatGPT’s free version.

Output examples

When I asked Bard the same questions (as seen in the ChatGPT section), the response was different. And to be honest, this was not what I expected it to say.

Asking Google Bard to summarize the main principles of SEO

It answered the question, but the answer seemed to be taken from Google’s own development blog. 

What it gave was correct, but it lacked the SEO jargon of the ChatGPT response.

And for the “table” question, it generated a similar, limited, and somewhat cautious answer.

Asking Google Bard for the pros and cons of SEO

With the final question, let’s see who it thought the “best SEO experts in the world” were.

Asking Google Bard for a list of the best SEO experts in the world

Looking at the output, we can analyze a few things.

Here’s what I noticed:

  1. Danny Sullivan has been working at Google since 2017, so this data is based on information before 2017.
  2. Eric Enge left Stone Temple Consulting in 2018.
  3. Matt Cutts is no longer at Google.
  4. Stephan Spencer is not at AuthorityLabs
  5. Where are the female SEOs?

When asked a more direct follow-up question, Bard hallucinated on gender.

Asking Google Bard for a list of the best female SEO experts in the world

These examples show that although it provided some correct answers, it could still hallucinate. Hence, you should be cautious using these tools for your copywriting

If you use Bard for research, you should always manually fact-check the results.

I also asked Bard to summarize one of our articles, and it provided a decent response.

Bard's summary of an article on SEO basics

One of the benefits of Bard compared to the free version of ChatGPT is you can plug in URLs to get summaries. 

This is an excellent time-saver, allowing you to summarize articles to understand the key points quickly.

Notion AI webpage

Features

  • Optional add-on costing $8 per member, per month
  • User-friendly and fast

Notion may not be the first place that you think of when it comes to AI copywriting, but it’s got an impressive AI integration that’s fast and user-friendly.

Notion AI menu

If you’ve used Notion before, you’ll find it easy to use. You can see from the above image the type of commands that are possible.

Use cases

Notion says the key features are the ability to “work faster, write better and think bigger.” 

I noticed that to access the AI menu, you only need to press “/” on the keyboard, meaning there are minimum mouse clicks required to generate content.

In my opinion, Notion is one of the most accessible AI copywriting tools to improve efficiency.

You can use Notion AI to do the following:

  • Generate summaries
  • Rewrite docs to make them clearer
  • Brainstorm new ideas
  • Create call-to-action copy
  • Create ad copy
  • Create social media copy
  • Export into markdown or HTML
  • Write meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy
  • Create draft outlines for articles
  • Create employee handbooks or internal documentation easily

Output examples

When I asked Notion AI to write about SEO basics, it did a decent job and was fast to generate content.

Notion AI generating an article quickly

This could be useful for managers who want to create employee handbooks that explain certain concepts like SEO quickly within Notion.

Jasper webpage

Features

  • Seven-day free trial (credit card required)
  • Priced at $49–$125 (monthly billing)
  • 50+ templates
  • SEO Mode that uses Surfer SEO

One of the first paid AI copywriting tools I used was Conversion.ai, which was renamed to Jarvis, then renamed again to Jasper.

With the release of ChatGPT and Google Bard, some SEOs have started questioning Jasper’s place in the market.

But Jasper’s still popular and has a $1.5 billion valuation at the time of writing.

Use cases

So why should you use Jasper over any of the other tools we’ve mentioned above? 

Here are my thoughts: 

  • Good integrations: It integrates with Copyscape, which helps copywriting teams ensure they are not plagiarizing content from any sources.
  • It’s also got a Chrome browser extension, meaning you can use it anywhere you work.
  • It uses GPT-4 and automatically updates to the latest GPT models, making it a good choice for non-technical copywriters.
  • It provides regular updates and a community. 
  • It has a good onboarding process easy for anyone to follow—from beginners to AI copywriters.

Output examples

When I asked Jasper to write about SEO basics, it produced this:

SEO basics output example, via Jasper

This was set to a medium output length, and it produced 58 words.

The output also left me on a cliffhanger, encouraging me to generate more content.

Using one of the preset templates, I generated a title tag and meta description for Jasper’s site on AI copywriting. The result was good.

Jasper's copywriting output example
Copy.ai homepage

Features

  • 2,000 words per month for free
  • Priced at $49 per month (for five user seats)
  • Lots of templates

Copy.ai allows you to create content fast and efficiently. It has a lot of useful templates and, in my opinion, is probably one of the most cost-effective solutions for AI copywriters and small teams.

Use cases

  • Rephrasing content to get different perspectives, tones of voice, or inspiration
  • Expanding and improving poor-performing content
  • Creating draft outlines for articles
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy
  • Coming up with straplines, slogans, or company names

Output examples

I asked Copy.ai to write about SEO basics. 

Copy.ai example output

It formatted the content in a numbered list, making it easy to scan. The list also seemed to be a reasonably good summary of the key topics.

Wordtune homepage

Features

  • Free (10 rewrites a day)
  • Priced at $24.99 per month (monthly plan)
  • Microsoft Word plugin, Chrome extension

Wordtune is a tool I had to research before writing this article, as it’s not as familiar to me as some of the others in this list. But it has some good features.

As the name suggests, this product is more focused on enhancing your text than just generating it.

It has an interestingly named beta feature called “Spices,” which allows you to spice up your copy.

"Spices" menu in Wordtune

Overall, Wordtune is most likely suited for copywriters looking to enhance and improve their existing content rather than those looking to create something from scratch.

Use cases

  • Rephrasing content to get different perspectives, tones of voice, or inspiration
  • Expanding and improving poor-performing content
  • Creating draft outlines for articles
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and other basic website copy
  • Coming up with straplines, slogans, or company names

Output examples

I asked Wordtune to “write about SEO basics,” and it produced the following: 

Wordtune example output

The content lacked subheadings and was quite intense. The purple font also, in my opinion, made it harder to read than some of the other tools here.

But I like the ability to tweak the content using the shorten, expand, and tone selectors to change the tone of voice within the article.

Maker.ai homepage

Features

  • Free five-day trial
  • Priced at $9.99 per month for unlimited access to AI tools 
  • Good workflow, hire writers from within the platform, generate text and images using AI

If you do most of your writing in Google Docs, then you’ll feel at home with Maker.ai

The key thing about this product, in my opinion, is the workflow has been carefully designed with the user in mind.

First of all, it generates multiple titles for your article based on your keywords; then it comes up with an outline that you can tweak.

As seen above, it’s also not shy about revealing (on the homepage) that it’s using GPT-4. 

Maker.ai dashboard

Use cases

  • Generating long-form draft content
  • Rephrasing content to get different perspectives, tones of voice, or inspiration
  • Expanding and improving poor-performing content
  • Creating draft outlines for articles
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy
  • Coming up with straplines, slogans, or company names
  • Generating images and text

Output examples

I gave it a prompt (“write about SEO basics”), and I ended up with a 1,500-word article in a few minutes.

Maker.ai output example

I like that you can make edits at every stage in the writing process using this tool. 

Scalenut homepage

Features

  • Free seven-day trial 
  • Prices range from $39 per month (100K words) to $149 per month (unlimited words)
  • Curating content research, Chrome extension, one-click publish for WordPress

Scalenut has a strong emphasis on the research stage of copywriting. 

For example, once you have selected what you want to write about, it’ll show you all the top questions across different channels (Quora, Reddit, and Google’s People Also Ask SERP feature) that are presented in a feed.

You can then insert some of these questions into your outline and build your content brief.

Scalenut "Questions" dashboard

Another nice feature is it curates some of the top statistics for your article topic automatically. 

The quality of these results will vary depending on the topic and will always require a manual fact-check. But if you are stuck for ideas, this can be useful for creating more detailed content briefs with references without leaving the platform.

Use cases

  • Useful for understanding topics and providing more detailed content briefs with references for writers
  • Drafting video titles
  • Rephrasing content to get different perspectives, tones of voice, or inspiration
  • Expanding and improving poor-performing content
  • Creating draft outlines for articles
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy
  • Coming up with straplines, slogans, or company names

Output examples

I found that creating outlines took quite a few clicks with Scalenut, but the output was detailed.

Scalenut outline example

Following this, I got a series of writing points for each heading. These can be useful for making sure that most of the important points in an article you are writing are covered.

Writing points generated by Scalenut

The “writing points” feature wasn’t something offered in other AI copywriting tools and could be useful for creating more detailed content briefs.

Writer.com homepage

Features

  • Free 14-day trial 
  • Priced from $18 per month, per user
  • Standout features: magic links integration with Google Docs and Microsoft Word, user-friendly editor, plagiarism detection, URLs for context in prompts

Writer is another AI copywriting tool with a familiar Google Docs–like interface and a strong emphasis on general marketing tools. 

Writer dashboard

One interesting feature is that you can upload YouTube videos to generate an AI-generated recap. 

This can then be used as research, or you can combine it with other YouTube recaps to help build a detailed outline for a written article.

Use cases

  • Improving readability, reducing errors, and improving content quality
  • Repurposing your video content into blog posts 
  • Creating draft outlines for articles
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy

Output examples

I asked Writer to “write about SEO basics.” The total output lacked subheadings, which made it hard to scan.

Asking Writer to generate a write-up about SEO basics

That being said, Writer has a lot of useful templates, and I can see them being a great help for improving the readability of existing content. It also grades your content, which can give you more insight.

Writer's readability grade levels from 0 to 14+

The content it generated for me was, by its own admission, “fairly difficult to read.” 

Adaptify webpage

Features

  • Generate three free articles
  • Priced from $49 per month, per user
  • Third-party tools integration (Yelp, Tripadvisor, Amazon, Google Maps, etc)
  • Fast output

Adaptify is a GPT-4 AI writer with a twist. It allows you to easily integrate third-party data sources such as Yelp, Tripadvisor, and others into your content. In my opinion, this can be particularly useful for affiliate marketing.

If you work with these third-party data sources, you’ll find that this can be a time-saver for marketers working in certain industries.

Use cases

  • Adding third-party data to your content easily and efficiently
  • Creating chains of customized prompts to produce specific content
  • Creating draft listicle-style content quickly
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Creating draft articles and outlines
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy

Output examples

One of the generated article examples on Adaptify shows how third-party data can be integrated into your content.

Adaptify output example

The exact nature of the output depends on the prompt sequence that you specify. But you can also pick from a range of templates, which makes this a powerful tool if you work with third-party data sources, such as Yelp, Tripadvisor, Amazon, or Google Maps. 

What I like about Adaptify is the ability to customize your own sequence of prompts.

Byword homepage

Byword is a clean-looking website with a good workflow powered by GPT-4.

Features

  • Five free credits trial, no credit card required
  • Priced from $99 per month
  • GPT-4
  • Integrates with WordPress, Webflow, and Zapier for fast publishing
  • Custom formats: write from URLs, programmatic SEO options

Use cases

  • Useful for programmatic SEO content creation
  • Creating call-to-action copy
  • Creating ad copy
  • Creating social media copy
  • Writing meta descriptions, title tags, and drafts of basic website copy

Output examples

Like some of the other tools we’ve looked at, Byword guides you through the content generation process and suggests subheadings automatically. 

Not all of them were 100% relevant to the topic of “SEO basics.” But I think it is a good place to start if you need ideas on how to structure your article.

Subheadings related to SEO basics generated by Byword

With this tool, you can switch output between text, HTML, and markup, which I found useful. 

Switch output between text, HTML, and markup

There were no obvious issues with the text content output. I think you can use this to get inspiration early in the writing process for creating your drafts.

In my opinion, the feature that will save copywriters time is the ability to publish directly to platforms like WordPress or Webflow.

Autoblogging homepage

Features

  • Trial plan for $1
  • Priced from $49 per month
  • Uses a mix of GPT-3, GPT-3.5, and GPT-4
  • Option to include AI-generated images and FAQs within the article
  • “SEO optimized” articles in one click

Use cases

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Basic website copy
  • Draft article writing

Output examples

Autoblogging can output an entire article if you give it an input reference. I used the “SEO basics” Ahrefs article as a reference, and Autoblogging gave the following output using “Godlike mode.”

Autoblogging output for "SEO basics" topic using "Godlike mode"

Despite the rustic-looking UX, Autoblogging delivered a fairly decent article (based on a quick scan).

At the final stage, I decided to run the article through Copyscape, Diffchecker, and ZeroGPT. 

Copyscape and Diffchecker weren’t able to detect any similarities, but ZeroGPT seemed to think that it was 24.69% AI GPT.

ZeroGPT content check

Copyleaks, another AI detection tool, thought that it was 67.5% AI. 

Although it’s not a rigorous test, hopefully it shows that AI detection tools can give different results when it comes to detecting a 100% AI-written article.

Final thoughts

AI copywriting sounds great at first, but it comes with its own issues. You’ll need to know the shortcomings of the tools you’re using to increase your copywriting efficiency and effectiveness.

Blindly publishing content from these tools is risky. But if used prudently, AI copywriting can help you scale your content production. You’ll still need tools like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and Site Explorer to research and target your content effectively, though. 

Got more questions? Ping me on Twitter. 🙂



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LinkedIn Rolls Out New Newsletter Tools

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LinkedIn Rolls Out New Newsletter Tools

LinkedIn is launching several new features for people who publish newsletters on its platform.

The professional networking site wants to make it easier for creators to grow their newsletter audiences and engage readers.

More People Publishing Newsletters On LinkedIn

The company says the number of LinkedIn members publishing newsletter articles has increased by 59% over the past year.

Engagement on these creator-hosted newsletters is also up 47%.

With this growing interest, LinkedIn is updating its newsletter tools.

A New Way To View & Comment

One of the main changes is an updated reading experience that displays comments alongside the newsletter articles.

This allows readers to view and participate in discussions more easily while consuming the content.

See an example of the new interface below.

Screenshot from: linkedin.com, June 2024.

Design Your Own Cover Images

You can now use Microsoft’s AI-powered Designer tool to create custom cover images for their newsletters.

The integration provides templates, size options, and suggestions to help design visually appealing covers.

More Subscriber Notifications

LinkedIn is improving the notifications sent to newsletter subscribers to drive more readership.

When a new issue is published, subscribers will receive email alerts and in-app messages. LinkedIn will also prompt your followers to subscribe.

Mention Other Profiles In Articles

You can now embed links to other LinkedIn profiles and pages directly into their newsletter articles.

This lets readers click through and learn more about the individuals or companies mentioned.

In the example below, you can see it’s as easy as adding a link.

1718346362 491 LinkedIn Rolls Out New Newsletter ToolsScreenshot from: linkedin.com, June 2024.

Preview Links Before Publishing

Lastly, LinkedIn allows you to access a staging link that previews the newsletter URL before hitting publish.

This can help you share and distribute their content more effectively.

Why SEJ Cares

As LinkedIn continues to lean into being a publishing platform for creators and thought leaders, updates that enhance the newsletter experience are noteworthy for digital marketers and industry professionals looking to build an audience.

The new tools are part of LinkedIn’s broader effort to court creators publishing original content on its platform amid rising demand for newsletters and knowledge-sharing.

How This Can Help You

If you publish a newsletter on LinkedIn, these new tools can help you design more visually appealing content, grow your subscriber base, interact with your audience through comments, and preview your content before going live.


Featured Image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

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The 6 Biggest SEO Challenges You’ll Face in 2024

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The 6 Biggest SEO Challenges You'll Face in 2024

Seen any stressed-out SEOs recently? If so, that’s because they’ve got their work cut out this year.

Between navigating Google’s never-ending algorithm updates, fighting off competitors, and getting buy-in for projects, there are many significant SEO challenges to consider.

So, which ones should you focus on? Here are the six biggest ones I think you should pay close attention to.

Make no mistake—Google’s algorithm updates can make or break your site.

Core updates, spam updates, helpful content updates—you name it, they can all impact your site’s performance.

As we can see below, the frequency of Google updates has increased in recent years, meaning that the likelihood of being impacted by a Google update has also increased.

How to deal with it:

Recovering from a Google update isn’t easy—and sometimes, websites that get hit by updates may never fully recover.

For the reasons outlined above, most businesses try to stay on the right side of Google and avoid incurring Google’s wrath.

SEOs do this by following Google’s Search Essentials, SEO best practices and avoiding risky black hat SEO tactics. But sadly, even if you think you’ve done this, there is no guarantee that you won’t get hit.

If you suspect a website has been impacted by a Google update, the fastest way to check is to plug the domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Ahrefs Site Explorer screenshotAhrefs Site Explorer screenshot

Here’s an example of a website likely affected by Google’s August 2023 Core Update. The traffic drop started on the update’s start date.

Website impacted by Google's August 2023 Core UpdateWebsite impacted by Google's August 2023 Core Update
Hover over the G circles on the X axis to get information about each update.

From this screen, you can see if a drop in traffic correlates with a Google update. If there is a strong correlation, then that update may have hit the site. To remedy it, you will need to understand the update and take action accordingly.

Follow SEO best practices

It’s important your website follows SEO best practices so you can understand why it has been affected and determine what you need to do to fix things.

For example, you might have missed significant technical SEO issues impacting your website’s traffic. To rule this out, it’s worth using Site Audit to run a technical crawl of your website.

Site Audit screenshot, via Ahrefs Site AuditSite Audit screenshot, via Ahrefs Site Audit

Monitor the latest SEO news

In addition to following best practices, it’s a good idea to monitor the latest SEO news. You can do this through various social media channels like X or LinkedIn, but I find the two websites below to be some of the most reliable sources of SEO news.

Even if you escape Google’s updates unscathed, you’ve still got to deal with your competitors vying to steal your top-ranking keywords from right under your nose.

This may sound grim, but it’s a mistake to underestimate them. Most of the time, they’ll be trying to improve their website’s SEO just as much as you are.

And these days, your competitors will:

How to deal with it:

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to do these two things:

Spy on your competitors and monitor their strategy

Ok, so you don’t have to be James Bond, but by using a tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer and our Google Looker Studio Integration (GLS), you can extract valuable information and keep tabs on your competitors, giving you a competitive advantage in the SERPs.

Using a tool like Site Explorer, you can use the Organic Competitors report to understand the competitor landscape:

Organic competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerOrganic competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can check out their Organic traffic performance across the years:

Year on Year comparison of organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerYear on Year comparison of organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can use Calendar to see which days changes in Positions, Pages, Referring domains Backlinks occurred:

Screenshot of Ahrefs' Calendar, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerScreenshot of Ahrefs' Calendar, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can see their Top pages’ organic traffic and Organic keywords:

Top pages report, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTop pages report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

And much, much more.

If you want to monitor your most important competitors more closely, you can even create a dashboard using Ahrefs’ GLS integration.

Google Looker Studio integration screenshot,Google Looker Studio integration screenshot,

Acquire links and create content that your competitors can’t recreate easily

Once you’ve done enough spying, it’s time to take action.

Links and content are the bread and butter for many SEOs. But a lot of the time the links that are acquired and the content that is created just aren’t that great.

So, to stand the best chance of maintaining your rankings, you need to work on getting high-quality backlinks and producing high-quality content that your competitors can’t easily recreate.

It’s easy to say this, but what does it mean in practice?

The best way to create this type of content is to create deep content.

At Ahrefs, we do this by running surveys, getting quotes from industry experts, running data studies, creating unique illustrations or diagrams, and generally fine-tuning our content until it is the best it can be.

As if competing against your competitors wasn’t enough, you must also compete against Google for clicks.

As Google not-so-subtly transitions from a search engine to an answer engine, it’s becoming more common for it to supply the answer to search queries—rather than the search results themselves.

The result is that even the once top-performing organic search websites have a lower click-through rate (CTR) because they’re further down the page—or not on the first page.

Whether you like it or not, Google is reducing traffic to your website through two mechanisms:

  • AI overviews – Where Google generates an answer based on sources on the internet
  • Zero-click searches – Where Google shows the answer in the search results

With AI overviews, we can see that the traditional organic search results are not visible.

And with zero-click searches, Google supplies the answer directly in the SERP, so the user doesn’t have to click anything unless they want to know more.

Zero Click searches example, via Google.comZero Click searches example, via Google.com

These features have one thing in common: They are pushing the organic results further down the page.

With AI Overviews, even when links are included, Kevin Indig’s AI overviews traffic impact study suggests that AI overviews will reduce organic clicks.

In this example below, shared by Aleyda, we can see that even when you rank organically in the number one position, it doesn’t mean much if there are Ads and an AI overview with the UX with no links in the AI overview answer; it just perpetuates the zero-clicks model through the AI overview format.

How to deal with it:

You can’t control how Google changes the SERPs, but you can do two things:

Make your website the best it can be

If you focus on the latter, your website will naturally become more authoritative over time. This isn’t a guarantee that your website will be included in the AI overview, but it’s better than doing nothing.

Prevent Google from showing your website in an AI Overview

If you want to be excluded from Google’s AI Overviews, Google says you can add no snippet to prevent your content from appearing in AI Overviews.

nosnippet code explanation screemshot, via Google's documentationnosnippet code explanation screemshot, via Google's documentation

One of the reasons marketers gravitated towards Google in the early days was that it was relatively easy to set up a website and get traffic.

Recently, there have been a few high-profile examples of smaller websites that have been impacted by Google:

Apart from the algorithmic changes, I think there are two reasons for this:

  • Large authoritative websites with bigger budgets and SEO teams are more likely to rank well in today’s Google
  • User-generated content sites like Reddit and Quora have been given huge traffic boosts from Google, which has displaced smaller sites from the SERPs that used to rank for these types of keyword queries

Here’s Reddit’s traffic increase over the last year:

Reddit's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site ExplorerReddit's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site Explorer

And here’s Quora’s traffic increase:

Quora's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site ExplorerQuora's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site Explorer

How to deal with it:

There are three key ways I would deal with this issue in 2024:

Focus on targeting the right keywords using keyword research

Knowing which keywords to target is really important for smaller websites. Sadly, you can’t just write about a big term like “SEO” and expect to rank for it in Google.

Use a tool like Keywords Explorer to do a SERP analysis for each keyword you want to target. Use the effort-to-reward ratio to ensure you are picking the right keyword battles:

Effort to reward ratio illustrationEffort to reward ratio illustration

If you’re concerned about Reddit, Quora, or other UGC sites stealing your clicks, you can also use Keywords Explorer to target SERPs where these websites aren’t present.

To do this:

  • Enter your keyword in the search bar and head to the matching terms report
  • Click on the SERP features drop-down box
  • Select Not on SERP and select Discussions and forums
Example of removing big UGC sites from keyword searches using filters in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerExample of removing big UGC sites from keyword searches using filters in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

This method can help you find SERPs where these types of sites are not present.

Build more links to become more authoritative

Another approach you could take is to double down on the SEO basics and start building more high-quality backlinks.

Write deep content

Most SEOs are not churning out 500-word blog posts and hoping for the best; equally, the content they’re creating is often not deep or the best it can possibly be.

This is often due to time restraints, budget and inclination. But to be competitive in the AI era, deep content is exactly what you should be creating.

As your website grows, the challenge of maintaining the performance of your content portfolio gets increasingly more difficult.

And what may have been an “absolute banger” of an article in 2020 might not be such a great article now—so you’ll need to update it to keep the clicks rolling in.

So how can you ensure that your content is the best it can be?

How to deal with it:

Here’s the process I use:

Steal this content updating framework

And here’s a practical example of this in action:

Use Page Inspect with Overview to identify pages that need updating

Here’s an example of an older article Michal Pecánek wrote that I recently updated. Using Page Inspect, we can pinpoint the exact date of the update was on May 10, 2024, with no other major in the last year.

Ahrefs Page Inspect screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerAhrefs Page Inspect screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

According to Ahrefs, this update almost doubled the page’s organic traffic, underlining the value of updating old content. Before the update, the content had reached its lowest performance ever.

Example of a content update and the impact on organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerExample of a content update and the impact on organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

So, what changed to casually double the traffic? Clicking on Page Inspect gives us our answer.

Page Inspect detail screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerPage Inspect detail screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

I was focused on achieving three aims with this update:

  • Keeping Michal’s original framework for the post intact
  • Making the content as concise and readable as it can be
  • Refreshing the template (the main draw of the post) and explaining how to use the updated version in a beginner-friendly way to match the search intent

Getting buy-in for SEO projects has never been easy compared to other channels. Unfortunately, this meme perfectly describes my early days of agency life.

SEO meme, SEO vs PPC budgetsSEO meme, SEO vs PPC budgets

SEO is not an easy sell—either internally or externally to clients.

With companies hiring fewer SEO roles this year, the appetite for risk seems lower than in previous years.

SEO can also be slow to take impact, meaning getting buy-in for projects is harder than other channels.

How long does SEO take illustrationHow long does SEO take illustration

How to deal with it:

My colleague Despina Gavoyannis has written a fantastic article about how to get SEO buy-in, here is a summary of her top tips:

  • Find key influencers and decision-makers within the organization, starting with cross-functional teams before approaching executives. (And don’t forget the people who’ll actually implement your changes—developers.)
  • Adapt your language and communicate the benefits of SEO initiatives in terms that resonate with different stakeholders’ priorities.
  • Highlight the opportunity costs of not investing in SEO by showing the potential traffic and revenue being missed out on using metrics like Ahrefs’ traffic value.
  • Collaborate cross-functionally by showing how SEO can support other teams’ goals, e.g. helping the editorial team create content that ranks for commercial queries.

And perhaps most important of all: build better business cases and SEO opportunity forecasts.

If you just want to show the short-term trend for a keyword, you can use Keywords Explorer:

Forecasting feature for keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerForecasting feature for keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
The forecasted trend is shown in orange as a dotted line.

If you want to show the Traffic potential of a particular keyword, you can use our Traffic potential metric in SERP overview to gauge this:

Traffic potential example, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTraffic potential example, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

And if you want to go the whole hog, you can create an SEO forecast. You can use a third-party tool to create a forecast, but I recommend you use Patrick Stox’s SEO forecasting guide.

Final thoughts

Of all the SEO challenges mentioned above, the one keeping SEOs awake at night is AI.

It’s swept through our industry like a hurricane, presenting SEOs with many new challenges. The SERPs are changing, competitors are using AI tools, and the bar for creating basic content has been lowered, all thanks to AI.

If you want to stay competitive, you need to arm yourself with the best SEO tools and search data on the market—and for me, that always starts with Ahrefs.

Got questions? Ping me on X.



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Why Now’s The Time To Adopt Schema Markup

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Why Now's The Time To Adopt Schema Markup

There is no better time for organizations to prioritize Schema Markup.

Why is that so, you might ask?

First of all, Schema Markup (aka structured data) is not new.

Google has been awarding sites that implement structured data with rich results. If you haven’t taken advantage of rich results in search, it’s time to gain a higher click-through rate from these visual features in search.

Secondly, now that search is primarily driven by AI, helping search engines understand your content is more important than ever.

Schema Markup allows your organization to clearly articulate what your content means and how it relates to other things on your website.

The final reason to adopt Schema Markup is that, when done correctly, you can build a content knowledge graph, which is a critical enabler in the age of generative AI. Let’s dig in.

Schema Markup For Rich Results

Schema.org has been around since 2011. Back then, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex worked together to create the standardized Schema.org vocabulary to enable website owners to translate their content to be understood by search engines.

Since then, Google has incentivized websites to implement Schema Markup by awarding rich results to websites with certain types of markup and eligible content.

Websites that achieve these rich results tend to see higher click-through rates from the search engine results page.

In fact, Schema Markup is one of the most well-documented SEO tactics that Google tells you to do. With so many things in SEO that are backward-engineered, this one is straightforward and highly recommended.

You might have delayed implementing Schema Markup due to the lack of applicable rich results for your website. That might have been true at one point, but I’ve been doing Schema Markup since 2013, and the number of rich results available is growing.

Even though Google deprecated how-to rich results and changed the eligibility of FAQ rich results in August 2023, it introduced six new rich results in the months following – the most new rich results introduced in a year!

These rich results include vehicle listing, course info, profile page, discussion forum, organization, vacation rental, and product variants.

There are now 35 rich results that you can use to stand out in search, and they apply to a wide range of industries such as healthcare, finance, and tech.

Here are some widely applicable rich results you should consider utilizing:

  • Breadcrumb.
  • Product.
  • Reviews.
  • JobPosting.
  • Video.
  • Profile Page.
  • Organization.

With so many opportunities to take control of how you appear in search, it’s surprising that more websites haven’t adopted it.

A statistic from Web Data Commons’ October 2023 Extractions Report showed that only 50% of pages had structured data.

Of the pages with JSON-LD markup, these were the top types of entities found.

  • http://schema.org/ListItem (2,341,592,788 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/ImageObject (1,429,942,067 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/Organization (907,701,098 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/BreadcrumbList (817,464,472 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/WebSite (712,198,821 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/WebPage (691,208,528 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/Offer (623,956,111 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/SearchAction (614,892,152 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/Person (582,460,344 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/EntryPoint (502,883,892 Entities)

(Source: October 2023 Web Data Commons Report)

Most of the types on the list are related to the rich results mentioned above.

For example, ListItem and BreadcrumbList are required for the Breadcrumb Rich Result, SearchAction is required for Sitelink Search Box, and Offer is required for the Product Rich Result.

This tells us that most websites are using Schema Markup for rich results.

Even though these Schema.org types can help your site achieve rich results and stand out in search, they don’t necessarily tell search engines what each page is about in detail and help your site be more semantic.

Help AI Search Engines Understand Your Content

Have you ever seen your competitor’s sites using specific Schema.org Types that are not found in Google’s structured data documentation (i.e. MedicalClinic, IndividualPhysician, Service, etc)?

The Schema.org vocabulary has over 800 types and properties to help websites explain what the page is about. However, Google’s structured data features only require a small subset of these properties for websites to be eligible for a rich result.

Many websites that solely implement Schema Markup to get rich results tend to be less descriptive with their Schema Markup.

AI search engines now look at the meaning and intent behind your content to provide users with more relevant search results.

Therefore, organizations that want to stay ahead should use more specific Schema.org types and leverage appropriate properties to help search engines better understand and contextualize their content. You can be descriptive with your content while still achieving rich results.

For example, each type (e.g. Article, Person, etc.) in the Schema.org vocabulary has 40 or more properties to describe the entity.

The properties are there to help you fully describe what the page is about and how it relates to other things on your website and the web. In essence, it’s asking you to describe the entity or topic of the page semantically.

The word ‘semantic’ is about understanding the meaning of language.

Note that the word “understanding” is part of the definition. Funny enough, in October 2023, John Mueller at Google released a Search Update video. In this six-minute video, he leads with an update on Schema Markup.

For the first time, Mueller described Schema Markup as “a code you can add to your web pages, which search engines can use to better understand the content. ”

While Mueller has historically spoken a lot about Schema Markup, he typically talked about it in the context of rich result eligibility. So, why the change?

This shift in thinking about Schema Markup for enhanced search engine understanding makes sense. With AI’s growing role and influence in search, we need to make it easy for search engines to consume and understand the content.

Take Control Of AI By Shaping Your Data With Schema Markup

Now, if being understood and standing out in search is not a good enough reason to get started, then doing it to help your enterprise take control of your content and prepare it for artificial intelligence is.

In February 2024, Gartner published a report on “30 Emerging Technologies That Will Guide Your Business Decisions,”  highlighting generative AI and knowledge graphs as critical emerging technologies companies should invest in within the next 0-1 years.

Knowledge graphs are collections of relationships between entities defined using a standardized vocabulary that enables new knowledge to be gained by way of inferencing.

Good news! When you implement Schema Markup to define and connect the entities on your site, you are creating a content knowledge graph for your organization.

Thus, your organization gains a critical enabler for generative AI adoption while reaping its SEO benefits.

Learn more about building content knowledge graphs in my article, Extending Your Schema Markup From Rich Results to Knowledge Graphs.

We can also look at other experts in the knowledge graph field to understand the urgency of implementing Schema Markup.

In his LinkedIn post, Tony Seale, Knowledge Graph Architect at UBS in the UK, said,

“AI does not need to happen to you; organizations can shape AI by shaping their data.

It is a choice: We can allow all data to be absorbed into huge ‘data gravity wells’ or we can create a network of networks, each of us connecting and consolidating our data.”

The “networks of networks” Seale refers to is the concept of knowledge graphs – the same knowledge graph that can be built from your web data using semantic Schema Markup.”

The AI revolution has only just begun, and there is no better time than now to shape your data, starting with your web content through the implementation of Schema Markup.

Use Schema Markup As The Catalyst For AI

In today’s digital landscape, organizations must invest in new technology to keep pace with the evolution of AI and search.

Whether your goal is to stand out on the SERP or ensure your content is understood as intended by Google and other search engines, the time to implement Schema Markup is now.

With Schema Markup, SEO pros can become heroes, enabling generative AI adoption through content knowledge graphs while delivering tangible benefits, such as increased click-through rates and improved search visibility.

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