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Does pushing “delete” on old content boost your SEO?

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Does pushing "delete" on old content boost your SEO?

Have you ever had this feeling?

You check out an old blog post and think, “I hate how I wrote this post, and it’s soooo old. My blog is so much better now. Maybe I should delete the old posts I don’t like anymore. Wouldn’t Google prefer fresher content anyway?”

Reviewing old blog posts can feel like looking at old pictures. It’s easy to have cringe-worthy moments and think, “Why did I think that weird hairstyle was ever okay?”

Oh, how I understand that feeling. But does deleting content make sense for your site (and your SEO campaign?)

Let’s break it down:

Should SEO content be deleted because it’s old?

Somewhere in the sands of SEO time, a content ageism myth arose that implies site owners should purge all old content. In a Logan’s Run-like SEO strategy (my Gen Xers will know the references), all content over a certain age would be eliminated.

How many articles have you read that are still helpful and well-written — even though they may be five (heck, even ten) years old? 

The base information is still solid, even if years have passed.

(And yes, those older articles may still position.)

Sure, some articles may never see any traffic, may be dreadfully written, or — like the old blog posts of yore — may only include a couple of sentences like, “Hey, I’m speaking at this conference. Come find me.”

It’s okay to let those go. I’ve discussed how to decide to keep or delete content in this post. You’ll even see an old photo of me!

But in terms of your other, older pages — you have so many opportunities.

  1. You can update the content and change the featured graphic. For instance, are there new articles you can link to from your old content? I wrote a guide about updating old content a couple of years agoto .
  2. You can create new content that links to your older content assets. For instance, if you’ve written posts tracking industry trends for ten years, you could create an “Industry Trends Over the Years” page that links to older articles. 
  3. You can…do nothing and let the post fly as-is. 

Does Google recommend deleting old content?

No. Not for SEO purposes. 

Deleting old content isn’t a magic bullet to help you get better rankings (unless we’re talking about sites with thousands of pages and significant architecture issues.) Google isn’t going to look at your site and say, “FINALLY! They deleted the old content! It’s time to position the site #1 for all the keywords.”

Google…doesn’t care.

Does pushing delete on old content boost your SEO

 

In fact, your site may lose long-tail positions if you start deleting content without a sure strategy. You may not like some of your “unhelpful and old” pages — but your readers may feel differently.

But what if the page is really bad, and you haven’t figured out if you should fix or delete it.

Like a good friend, Google will overlook your content shortcomings and ignore the page. The page won’t hurt you — but it certainly won’t help. 

Here’s the Search Engine Roundtable post if you want to learn more.

What does this mean to you?

  1. If you manage a blog, review your posts every six months and look for opportunities. You may not find posts to delete, but you may pinpoint new internal linking, content repurposing, or social promotion ideas.
  2. If you work with clients with older blogs, consider if you can help them evaluate and breathe life into older blog posts. If nothing else, you can update a post with new information, graphics, and links.

Bottom line: Just because the content is old doesn’t mean it’s terrible or outdated — even if you may cringe at your old writing style. 

It typically makes more sense to keep old SEO content — especially since deleting it doesn’t help your SEO. 

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Trending Content Output Compared in ChatGPT, Gemini & Claude

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Trending Content Output Compared in ChatGPT, Gemini & Claude

“Should we use ChatGPT, Gemini, or Claude to create trending content?”

That’s a good question – and one that I’m frequently asked when teaching a live class about engaging audiences through content.

You might mistakenly assume that instructors are supposed to answer questions like that. But my colleagues and I do something different.

We give our students relevant assignments that provide them with the opportunity to discover the answers to good questions for themselves.

This test-and-learn approach is something that you can also apply within your own company, agency, or team. Want to know which generative AI model to use to create trending content?

Well, conduct a test and compare the output.

Write Concise Descriptions Of The Most Emotionally Engaging Video Ads Of Euros 2024

You already know how to use Google Trends to identify search terms or topics that are trending now. In fact, many journalists use this free tool to get story ideas.

Over the long Fourth of July weekend, I used Google Trends and saw that the topic “Euros 2024” ranked No. 1 in Trending Searches with more than 1 million queries.

Next, I decided to avoid using OpenAI’s ChatGPT 3.5 for my tests. Why? Because it’s the most popular generative AI model, which means that your competitors are probably using it, too.

That means the content that this tool creates is less likely “to provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results,” as Google’s long-standing advice recommends.

ChatGPT Output

So, I explored the custom versions of ChatGPT and selected Write For Me by puzzle.today.

Why? Because it ranked No. 1 in the Writing category. The tool also claimed it would help me “write tailored, engaging content with a focus on quality, relevance and precise word count.”

I want to create better content, not just content that is different from what everyone else is creating. So, I asked Write For Me to “write concise descriptions of the most emotionally engaging video ads of Euros 2024.”

Here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

1. Unity Through Football

 “A diverse group of children from different European countries come together on a pristine football pitch. As they play, the camera captures their joy and camaraderie, transcending language and cultural barriers. The ad concludes with a montage of professional players joining the children, emphasizing football's power to unite nations and foster friendship.”

2. Legacy of Legends

 “The ad begins with black-and-white footage of iconic moments from past Euros, highlighting legendary players. It transitions to vibrant, modern clips of current stars recreating these moments, symbolizing the passing of the torch. A heartfelt narration speaks to the continuity of dreams and the legacy carried by each generation.”

3. Homecoming

 “A montage of fans traveling from various parts of Europe to the host country, capturing their excitement and anticipation. Emotional reunions with fellow fans, old friends, and family members create a sense of belonging and community. The ad closes with a panoramic shot of a stadium filled with cheering supporters, underscoring the tournament's role in bringing people together.”

4. The Dream Begins

 “The ad follows a young aspiring footballer practicing tirelessly, inspired by their favorite Euros moments. Interspersed with clips of professional matches, it shows the child's journey from local games to a stadium filled with fans. The message is clear: dreams start small but can lead to greatness, encouraging viewers to pursue their passions.”

5. Heartbeat of the Game

 “This ad features a rhythmic sequence of football-related sounds: the thud of a ball, cheers from the crowd, and the whistle of the referee. These sounds build into a symphony, interspersed with clips of players’ intense focus and emotional celebrations. The heartbeat sound underscores the passion and excitement of the Euros, resonating with fans’ own emotions.”

6. From Streets to Stadiums

 “Children playing football in urban alleys, rural fields, and makeshift pitches across Europe are showcased. Their raw passion and joy are mirrored by professional players in grand stadiums, blurring the lines between dreams and reality. The ad concludes with a powerful message: football belongs to everyone, from the streets to the grandest arenas.

Now, it’s perfectly clear why video ads with these descriptions would be emotionally engaging, but it is frustratingly unclear which brands are running these ads during Euros 2024.

So, I’d have to do some double-checking to make sure that ChatGPT isn’t hallucinating.

Gemini Output

Next, I gave Google’s Gemini (formerly Bard) the same prompt. Here’s what this generative AI model produced:

1. Adidas: "Hey Jude" (Most Engaging)

 “This ad features rising England star Jude Bellingham alongside football legends like David Beckham and Frank Lampard. It taps into positive emotions by showcasing the passing of the torch and the enduring spirit of the game.”

2. Irn-Bru: "Get to Germany"

 “This ad, likely using humor, aims to create positive feelings and excitement around the Euros being held in Germany.”

3. Budweiser: "Bring it Home"

“This ad uses a patriotic theme, likely aiming to inspire viewers and evoke a sense of national pride for their team's chance to win the Euros.”

It’s perfectly clear which brands are running the most emotionally engaging video ads of Euros 2024, but it’s still unclear which methodology Gemini is using to make this selection.

So, I’d still have to do more due diligence to discover that it’s probably recent articles and posts about new research from DAIVID.

Claude Output

I asked Anthropic’s Claude 3.5 Sonnet to “write concise descriptions of the most emotionally engaging video ads of Euros 2024.” Here’s what this generative AI tool replied:

“I apologize, but I don't have access to specific information about video ads from Euro 2024, as my knowledge cutoff is in April 2024, and I can't browse the internet for current information.”

 “I can, however, offer some general thoughts on what makes emotionally engaging soccer/football ads:”

“Underdog stories of players or teams overcoming adversity.”
“Nostalgic montages showcasing historic Euro moments.”
“Depictions of passionate fans and their connection to the sport.”
“Inspirational messages about unity and international cooperation.”
“Cinematic recreations of iconic goals or plays.”

 “If you'd like me to expand on any of these concepts or discuss emotionally engaging sports ads in general, I'd be happy to do so. For accurate information about Euro 2024 ads, I'd recommend checking official UEFA sources or recent sports media coverage.”

Well, Claude’s honesty is admirable. But its knowledge cutoff means that I shouldn’t use this generative AI model for content about fairly recent trends.

Write Short Captions For The Funniest Photos From The 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

For my second test, I used the Google autocomplete feature to confirm that the phrase, [Nathan’s hot dog eating contest], was a trending search term.

Then, I asked each of the three generative AI tools to “write short captions for the funniest photos from the 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.”

ChatGPT Output

Here’s what Write For Me generated:

“Captions for Funniest Photos from the 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest:”

"When you realize you're only halfway through your 50 hot dogs."
"Eyes on the prize: the ketchup bottle!"
"Training for this by swallowing my pride daily."
"When the bun hits you harder than the hot dog."
"Mustard not? I mustered up the courage!"
"New strategy: inhale, don’t chew."
"Hot dogs: 10, Dignity: 0."
"When you think it’s the last dog but it’s not."
"The face you make when you beat your personal best... by 1 dog."
"Calories don’t count if you don’t chew, right?"

Okay, I admit that many of these captions are funny. But it’s difficult to tell if they belong to actual photos or if this custom version of ChatGPT hallucinated the entire list.

And don’t get me started on getting permission to use any photos that exist. Of course, I could always use DALL-E 3 to turn the text above into images.

Gemini Output

Next, I gave Gemini the same assignment. Here’s what it generated:

1. Mustard Mishap: "Someone's about to be redecorated in yellow!" (Photo of a competitor with mustard splattered all over their face).

2. Relish the Moment: "This is what pure competitive joy looks like." (Photo of a competitor mid-devour with a look of intense concentration and relish dripping down their chin).

3. Bun Bungee: "Is that a hot dog or a bungee jumper? Defying the laws of physics, one frankfurter at a time." (Photo of a competitor with a hot dog halfway down their esophagus).

4. Fountain of Fury: "Looks like someone forgot their manners! (But they're probably winning.)" (Photo of a competitor with a spray of water and ketchup erupting from their mouth).

5. Doggy Downtime: "Even champions gotta rest sometimes. (Just don't let Joey Chestnut see this.)" (Photo of a competitor slumped back in their chair with a belly full of hot dogs).”

Um, okay. These are also funny captions.

But it’s hard to know if they go with actual photos that were posted on July 4, 2024, without using Google Images to conduct a series of relevant searches. And that still doesn’t give me permission to use them even if they do exist.

[Note, these responses were generated a few days before Google announced their support for labelling AI-generated images.]

Claude Output

Then, I asked Claude 3.5 Sonnet to “write short captions for the funniest photos from the 2024 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.” Here’s what it replied:

“I apologize, but I don't have access to specific photos from the 2024 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, as my knowledge cutoff is in April 2024. Additionally, I can't generate, produce, edit, manipulate or create images.”

 “However, I can suggest some hypothetical humorous captions that might be appropriate for funny moments at a hot dog eating contest:”

"When the hot dogs fight back"
"Regretting that 50th hot dog"
"Mid-contest nap: Expert level achieved"
"Ketchup everywhere... except on the hot dogs"
"When you realize it's only been 2 minutes"
"The face of a champion... or indigestion"
"Spectators' faces: Equal parts horror and awe"
"When the bun-to-dog ratio is all wrong"
"Competitive eating: Where table manners go to die"
"That moment you question all your life choices"

 
“Remember, these are fictional captions for imaginary photos. For accurate information about the 2024 contest, you'd need to check official sources or news reports from after the event.”

Once again, Claude gets high marks for being honest about its limitations.

But unless I want to select some of these hypothetical humorous captions and use them as prompts in Adobe Firefly, then I need to use one of the other options.

Write A 400-Word Blog Post About The Top Omni Channel Retailing Trends Of 2024

For my third test, I used SparkToro to research the audience of 5,000 to 6,000 people who search for the keyword [customer retention] each month.

I used SparkToro’s trending keywords feature to analyze the search terms that have risen in popularity among searchers for “customer retention” over the last quarter.

Then, I selected the trending keyword, “omni channel retailing trends,” for this test.

ChatGPT Output

When I asked Write For Me to “write a 400-word blog post about the top omni channel retailing trends of 2024,” here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

Top Omnichannel Retailing Trends of 2024

 “As we move into 2024, the landscape of retail continues to evolve rapidly, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer expectations. Omnichannel retailing, which integrates various shopping channels into a seamless customer experience, remains at the forefront of this evolution. Here are the top omnichannel retailing trends to watch out for in 2024.”
 
1. Enhanced Personalization Through AI and Data Analytics
“In 2024, personalization goes beyond just using the customer’s name in emails. Retailers are leveraging advanced AI and data analytics to offer hyper-personalized shopping experiences. By analyzing consumer behavior, preferences, and purchase history, retailers can tailor recommendations, promotions, and content to individual customers. This level of personalization enhances customer satisfaction and increases conversion rates.”
 
2. Seamless Integration of Physical and Digital Channels 
“The line between online and offline shopping continues to blur. In 2024, more retailers are perfecting the integration of physical and digital channels. Innovations like in-store augmented reality (AR) mirrors, smart fitting rooms, and mobile app functionalities that enhance in-store experiences are becoming standard. Additionally, services like click-and-collect and in-store returns for online purchases are expected to become more streamlined and widespread.”
 
3. Expansion of Mobile Commerce (M-Commerce) 
“Mobile commerce continues to grow as consumers increasingly use their smartphones for shopping. Retailers are optimizing their mobile websites and apps to provide faster, more intuitive, and secure shopping experiences. Features like one-click purchasing, mobile wallets, and personalized push notifications are becoming essential components of mobile strategies.”

 4. Social Commerce Revolution 
“Social media platforms are transforming into powerful retail channels. In 2024, social commerce, where shopping experiences are embedded within social media, is set to explode. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are enhancing their shopping functionalities, allowing users to discover, browse, and purchase products without leaving the app. Influencer marketing and user-generated content continue to drive this trend, making social media a critical part of omnichannel strategies.”
 
5. Sustainable and Ethical Retailing
“Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainability and transparency from the brands they support. In response, retailers are incorporating sustainable practices and ethical sourcing into their omnichannel strategies. This includes offering eco-friendly products, reducing packaging waste, and providing transparency about product origins and manufacturing processes. Brands that can effectively communicate their sustainability efforts through all channels will gain a competitive edge.”
 
6. Voice Commerce and Conversational AI 
“Voice-activated shopping and conversational AI are becoming more prevalent. With the rise of smart speakers and virtual assistants, consumers are using voice commands to search for products, place orders, and track deliveries. Retailers are integrating voice commerce capabilities into their omnichannel strategies to enhance convenience and improve customer engagement.”
 
Conclusion 
“In 2024, the retail industry is embracing these omnichannel trends to create more cohesive and engaging shopping experiences. By focusing on personalization, integrating physical and digital channels, leveraging mobile and social commerce, prioritizing sustainability, and adopting voice commerce, retailers can stay ahead in a competitive market. These trends highlight the importance of flexibility and innovation in meeting the evolving needs of modern consumers.”

Um, okay. This is 498 words long. This content seems designed for publication at the beginning of the year.

The blog post is missing citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics, as Roger Montti’s article, “Researchers Discover How To SEO For AI Search,” noted back on Dec. 18, 2023.

So, it’s not as bad as a first draft. But I would hope that writers would learn by using this custom version of ChatGPT that they need to craft something a little bit better.

Gemini Output

Next, I asked Gemini to tackle the same assignment. Here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

The Future of Shopping: Top Omnichannel Retail Trends in 2024
 
“The retail landscape is ever-evolving, and 2024 is no exception. Consumers today expect a seamless shopping experience, regardless of whether they're browsing online, visiting a physical store, or interacting with a brand on social media. This is where omnichannel retail thrives. By creating a unified experience across all touchpoints, retailers can build stronger customer loyalty and drive sales.”
 
“Let's delve into the top omnichannel retail trends shaping the industry in 2024:”

 1. The Rise of the Data-Driven Experience:
 “With the demise of third-party cookies, retailers are focusing on collecting and utilizing first-party customer data. This data allows for real-time personalization across all channels. Imagine receiving targeted email promotions based on your recent in-store purchases, or seeing personalized product recommendations on a brand's app. Advanced analytics will not only personalize marketing efforts but also optimize search functionalities and product merchandising on e-commerce platforms.”

 2. AI Takes Center Stage: 
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the retail experience. AI-powered chatbots can answer customer queries 24/7, recommend products based on browsing history, and even assist with in-store tasks. Generative AI can create personalized marketing content at scale, while AI-driven sales automation streamlines processes for both retailers and customers.”
 
3. The Blur Between Physical and Digital: 
“The lines between online and offline shopping are continuing to blur. We're seeing a rise in ‘phygital’ experiences, such as augmented reality (AR) apps that allow customers to virtually try on clothes or visualize furniture in their homes. In-store kiosks can facilitate online purchases and allow for easy returns or exchanges. Additionally, ‘showrooming,’ where customers browse in-store and then purchase online, necessitates seamless product availability and pricing across channels.”
 
4. Social Commerce Takes Off: 
“Social media platforms are no longer just for browsing; they're becoming powerful shopping destinations. ‘Live shopping’ experiences with influencers showcasing products are gaining traction, while social media platforms are integrating smoother buying functionalities within their apps. User-generated content and social proof will continue to influence purchasing decisions, making social media a crucial touchpoint in the omnichannel journey.”

 5. Personalization Beyond Products: 
“The future of omnichannel retail goes beyond just product recommendations. Retailers are focusing on creating personalized experiences that cater to individual customer preferences. This could involve offering flexible delivery options, loyalty programs with tiered benefits, or the ability to curate in-store shopping experiences through appointments or personalized product selections.”

Conclusion: 
“In today's competitive retail environment, omnichannel isn't just a trend; it's a necessity. By embracing these trends and prioritizing a data-driven, personalized approach, retailers can not only survive but thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of commerce.”

Well, the headline is better and it’s 433 words long, which is closer to what I’d asked for. But this blog post is also missing citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics.

So, I hope writers would learn the same lesson by using Gemini that they learned using a custom version of ChatGPT: It’s not bad, but a human with experience and expertise can do better.

Claude Output

Finally, I asked Claude 3.5 Sonnet to “write a 400-word blog post about the top omni channel retailing trends of 2024.” Here’s what this generative AI tool produced:

Top Omnichannel Retailing Trends Shaping 2024
 
“As we navigate through 2024, the retail landscape continues to evolve rapidly. Omnichannel strategies have become more crucial than ever, with consumers expecting seamless experiences across all touchpoints. Let's explore the key trends defining omnichannel retailing this year.”
 
1. AI-Powered Personalization: “Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing how retailers understand and cater to individual customer preferences. In 2024, we're seeing more sophisticated AI algorithms that analyze customer data across channels to deliver hyper-personalized recommendations, offers, and experiences.”
 
2. Augmented Reality Integration: “AR is bridging the gap between online and offline shopping. Retailers are leveraging AR technology to allow customers to virtually try on clothes, visualize furniture in their homes, or explore products in detail before making a purchase decision.”
 
3. Social Commerce Acceleration: “Social media platforms are increasingly becoming direct sales channels. Retailers are optimizing their presence on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, enabling in-app purchases and creating shoppable content that seamlessly integrates with users' social experiences.”
 
4. Sustainable and Ethical Omnichannel Practices: “Consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever. Retailers are responding by implementing sustainable practices across their omnichannel operations, from eco-friendly packaging to transparent supply chains and ethical sourcing information available across all channels.”
 
5. Voice Commerce Integration: “With the growing adoption of smart speakers and voice assistants, retailers are optimizing their digital presence for voice search and enabling voice-activated purchases, adding another dimension to the omnichannel experience.”
 
6. Phygital Experiences: “The blend of physical and digital experiences, or ‘phygital,’ is gaining traction. Retailers are creating innovative in-store digital touchpoints and bringing elements of the physical store experience to online platforms.”
 
7. Unified Customer Data Platforms: “Retailers are investing in advanced customer data platforms that consolidate information from all channels, providing a single view of the customer and enabling more cohesive marketing and service strategies.”

8. Flexible Fulfillment Options: “The line between online and offline continues to blur with the expansion of services like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, and same-day delivery. Retailers are optimizing their logistics to offer customers maximum flexibility.”

9. Subscription-Based Models: “More retailers are incorporating subscription services into their omnichannel strategies, providing regular product deliveries or exclusive access to content and experiences across multiple platforms.”
 
10. Advanced Analytics for Real-Time Insights: “Retailers are leveraging advanced analytics tools to gain real-time insights into customer behavior across channels, allowing for quick adjustments to inventory, pricing, and marketing strategies.”
 
“As these trends show, the future of retail lies in creating cohesive, customer-centric experiences that seamlessly blend online and offline touchpoints. Retailers who successfully adapt to these omnichannel trends will be well-positioned to thrive in the dynamic retail environment of 2024 and beyond.”

Claude’s content is 443 words long, which is longer than Gemini’s, but shorter than the custom version of ChatGPT. And Claude generated 10 trends, while ChatGPT generated six, and Gemini generated five.

But just like the other generative AI tools, Claude’s blog post is missing citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics.

So, Claude is also good at creating a rough draft. But I’d hope that writers would learn by using ChatGPT, Gemini, and Claude that they shouldn’t become a tool of their tools.

AI Is Not Going To Take Your Job

A year ago, Jensen Huang, the founder, president, and CEO of Nvidia, said,

“AI is not going to take your job. The person who uses AI is going to take your job.”

Well, a year later, we’ve learned by comparing the content output generated by ChatGPT, Gemini, and Claude that it’s still smarter to use generative AI tools to brainstorm or create a good first draft.

Then, use your experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) to add emotionally engaging videos, eye-catching photos, citations from reliable sources, credible quotes, and relevant statistics to your content.

Why? Because this is the best way to provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results.

More resources:  


Featured Image: jomel alos/Shutterstock

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Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts?

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Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts?

Website traffic data normally looks like this:

Ups and downs, peaks and troughs.

If we’re doing our job properly, we generally expect traffic to trend upwards over time, but in any given month, it’s difficult to say whether a peak or a trough is worth paying attention to.

Did we do something great and trigger a new phase of growth? Did we benefit from a new Google update? Or is it just normal variation, part of the natural ebb and flow of people finding our website?

Or suppose you make a change to your content process—you pruned and redirected a bunch of old content—and then traffic dropped the next month. Was that drop caused by the change, or was it just a coincidence?

I’ve been experimenting with a simple statistical tool designed to help answer these questions: XmR charts, also known as process control charts.

Here’s an XmR chart:

Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR ChartsCan You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

XmR charts are designed to tell you whether any single data point from a time series is likely to be caused by normal fluctuation (“routine variation”) or a sign that something happened and needs to be investigated (“exceptional variation”).

XmR charts consist of an X plot (named after the x-value, the “thing” we care about—like widgets produced or sales closed)…

1721658366 562 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 562 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

…and an MR plot (named after the moving range, basically the “gap” between each data point):

1721658366 191 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 191 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

In its simplest use, if you plot your data on the chart and it wiggles up and down around the central line, without crossing the upper and lower bounds—no problem! These ups and downs likely represent normal variation.

But any points that appear outside the upper or lower bounds (shown in red) should be treated as anomalies that need to be investigated.

In the X plot above, the time series seems to show routine variation until January 16th, when the first red out-of-bounds point appears.

1721658366 804 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 804 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

The XmR chart suggests that something happened on the 16th to mess with our production process (for better or for worse). Our job is to investigate why.

Sidenote.

The line in the middle is the average value of the dataset; the upper and lower bounds represent 3-standard deviations away from the average (known as three-sigma). Any point that falls outside of these upper and lower bounds is very likely to be an anomaly, and not part of the original probability distribution.

There are other “signals” that the XmR chart can show you (like eight consecutive points on one side of the average line representing another type of exceptional variation)—but I will leave you to investigate those on your own time.

When I started reading about XmR charts, one obvious use came to mind: identifying the impact of Google algorithm updates.

If a site’s traffic tanks to zero, it’s easy to say “we were hit by a manual penalty.” But for smaller changes, like a few months’ consecutive traffic decline, it’s harder to work out the cause. Did we get caught out by a Google update? Is it seasonality? Or is it just a coincidence, with traffic likely to return to normal in the future?

Here’s two years of monthly organic traffic data for the Ahrefs blog, pulled from Site Explorer and plotted on an XmR chart:

1721658366 298 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 298 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

Now… this is not particularly useful.

There are tons of data points outside the expected range (red), with very few sitting nearer the center line than the quartile limits (orange).

The XmR chart is supposed to show exceptional variation in a consistent process—but in this image, almost all of the data points suggest exceptional variation. What gives?

Process charts were designed around simple manufacturing processes, and they work very well when the expected output of a process is constant.

If your goal is manufacturing 10,000 widgets each and every week, an XmR chart will help you work out if that 5,600-widget month was a normal “blip” in routine operation, or caused by a real problem that needs to be investigated.

Website traffic is more complicated. There are tons of variables that impact traffic:

  • the fluctuating search volume of each topic,
  • individual ranking positions,
  • new competing articles,
  • search features,
  • seasonality,
  • publishing frequency,
  • Google algorithm updates

That means that running an XmR analysis on a long series of traffic data probably won’t be very helpful. Your “blogging process” is not likely to remain stable for very long.

In my case, this particular two-year snapshot of data probably doesn’t come from a single, stable process—there may be multiple probability distributions hidden in there.

But we can make the analysis more useful.

The best practice for XmR charts is to limit the analysis to a period of time when you know the process was relatively static, and recalculate it when you suspect something has changed.

Looking at the Moving Range chart for this data below, large amounts of traffic variance happened in November and December. We should investigate possible causes. 1721658366 887 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 887 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

I know that our publishing frequency was fairly static (we definitely didn’t double our content output). Seasonality would cause a traffic drop, not a spike (we’re writing about SEO, not holiday gift guides).

But there was a big Google update at the start of December:

1721658366 313 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 313 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts
Source

If we work on the assumption that something happened to our blog process around this time—likely a change to traffic caused by the Google update—we can add a divider to our XmR chart.

Instead of trying to analyze our traffic as a single process, we can treat it as two processes, and calculate XmR charts separately:

1721658366 499 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 499 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

Now the first process looks stable (all black dots). The second process shows less extreme variation (red) too, but there’s still too much moderate variation (orange) to look stable. There may be another process lurking within.

And per a rule of thumb for analyzing XmR charts: “the duration of an XmR chart needs to be revisited when a ‘long-run’ of data remains above or below the Average line.” This trend begins in late summer (which is also around the time that Google announced another core update):

1721658366 566 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 566 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

We can add another divider at the start of this “long-run” of data to create three separate XmR analyses:

1721658366 941 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 941 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

In doing so, all three analyses seem stable, with no points of extreme variance. In other words, we seem to have done a good job at capturing three distinct processes happening within our traffic data.

From this analysis, there seems to be a good chance that our traffic was impacted by external factors around the time of two major Google updates.

Now… this is basically a post-hoc data torturing exercise. We can’t infer any causation from this analysis, and it’s entirely possible that other arbitrary divisions would yield similar results.

But that’s okay. These charts can’t give you definitive, concrete reasons why your traffic changed, but they can tell you where to look, and help you work out whether troubleshooting a traffic dip or spike is a good use of your time.

The ultimate measure of a model’s usefulness is its ability to help you predict things. Will XmR charts help me do a better job running the Ahrefs blog in the future?

I think yes.

Assuming my “blog process” remains relatively stable—I publish at the same frequency, target the same topics, compete with the same competitors—I now have a set of “stable” data that I can use to provide extra context for future traffic numbers:

1721658366 754 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 754 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

In the months that follow, I can work out whether dips or spikes in our traffic are likely the result of normal variance, or whether something has changed that requires my attention—like a Google update.

If, for example, my traffic does this next month… 1721658366 36 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658366 36 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

…I know that—given this distribution—that traffic drop could well be normal, unexciting variance.

But if it does this…

1721658367 676 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts1721658367 676 Can You Spot Google Updates with XmR Charts

…there’s probably something else at work.

With extreme traffic changes you can usually “eyeball” traffic charts and guess what happened. But XmR charts are useful for more subtle variations, and there’s a chance I will be able to identify and act on just a single month’s worth of data. That’s pretty cool.

Final thoughts

Troubleshooting traffic changes is a big challenge for SEOs and content marketers (and we’re working on a few ways to help you identify the signal amongst the noise of your traffic data).

In the meantime, I have found XmR charts an interesting tool in my toolkit, useful for contextualizing my monthly reporting numbers and justifying when I should (or shouldn’t) spend my energy troubleshooting a down month.

(At the very least, XmR charts might just give you the confidence necessary to say “get off my back” when that VP sends you a brusque 3AM email complaining about last month’s 8% traffic dip.)

Sidenote.

Thanks to Benyamin Elias, VP of Marketing at Podia, for introducing me to XmR charts.

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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

Are you certain that the content you’re publishing on your website is 100% original?

Steering clear of plagiarism is a top priority for content creators, educators, businesses, and others in order to maintain credibility and avoid legal issues – among other things.

While Copyscape has long been one of the most well-known and popular options for plagiarism checking, the range of available tools has expanded significantly, with various features designed to meet people’s unique needs.

In this article, we will cover the basics of plagiarism – what it is, why you should check for it, how to check, and what to do if someone plagiarizes your content – before highlighting some of the top alternatives to Copyscape, helping you keep your content unique and valuable.

What Is Plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s work, whether words or ideas, and present it as your own without proper attribution.

Plagiarism can range from directly copying someone’s work to closely paraphrasing something without acknowledging the source. Sometimes, it’s purposeful, while other times, the perpetrator might not even realize they’re doing it.

Regardless of intent, plagiarism is a widespread problem that is difficult to combat – but the first step is detecting it.

Why It’s Important To Check For Plagiarism

The consequences of plagiarism can be severe – you can lose credibility, harm your reputation, and even face legal repercussions.

Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to check for (and avoid) plagiarism:

  • Prevent legal problems. Engaging in plagiarism or copyright infringement can expose you to a range of potential legal issues.
  • Maintain your reputation. Trust is vital. But why should audiences trust you if you’re stealing somebody else’s work? Checking for plagiarism is crucial to preserving your reputation and trust with your audience or customers.
  • Preserve your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines are actively trying to crack down on plagiarism and will penalize any plagiarized content. This can hurt your website’s ranking and visibility.

How You Can Check For Plagiarism

There are a handful of different ways to check for plagiarism, including:

  • Manual checks. This is precisely what it sounds like: manually reviewing content for plagiarism by cross-checking text using search engines and academic databases. If you’re examining a small chunk of text, this can work, but it can get unwieldy fast.
  • Use alerts. It’s possible to create your own plagiarism checker by setting up Google Alerts. Simply enter your content into the search query field and let Google know how frequently you want it to alert you of copied content. While not a totally accurate or complete method, it can be effective at times.
  • Monitoring services. You can use existing tools that help flag unauthorized use of your content. They do so by scanning the internet and leveraging algorithms to detect plagiarized content.
  • Online plagiarism checker tools. Software and tools designed specifically to analyze content and run a comprehensive check for plagiarism.

While checking text for direct plagiarism is one thing, identifying paraphrased content or ideas is much more complicated.

And while we will highlight many useful tools in this article, it’s worth remembering that no tool is perfect.

With the sheer amount of content available and more being produced and published every second, it’s nearly impossible to complete a full check. Hence, why plagiarism is an ongoing issue.

What To Do If Someone Plagiarized Your Content

So, what do you do if you discover that somebody else has plagiarized your content? Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Collect evidence. Take screenshots, make notes, and save any URLs as proof of the offense.
  • Contact the perpetrator. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes, plagiarism can be an innocent mistake. No matter the situation, we recommend contacting the offending party and requesting that they either remove your content or label it with the proper attribution.
  • File a complaint. If that doesn’t work, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown complaint, which will send notice to the service provider (e.g., Google or web hosting companies) to remove the content or face legal liability.
  • Seek legal advice. If the case is particularly egregious, or the above steps fail, you can consider speaking with a legal professional.

Top 11 Plagiarism-Checking Alternative Tools To Copyscape

1. Grammarly

Screenshot from Grammarly.com, June 2024

While most people know Grammarly for its spelling and grammar check capabilities, it also offers a useful plagiarism checker tool.

Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker will compare your text (up to 10,000 characters) against academic databases and billions of webpages, then give you an immediate report that lets you know whether it found any plagiarized content.

As a helpful bonus, it will also flag if it finds problems with grammar, spelling, punctuation, conciseness, readability, word choice, or other writing issues.

If you want to take it a step further, Grammarly offers a Premium version of the tool with more advanced capabilities. The paid version will highlight specific sentences of concern, include source information, give you deeper writing feedback, and even allocate your text an “overall originality score.”

Cost

  • Free version available with limited plagiarism detection as well as basic grammar, spelling, etc. checks.
  • Premium Grammarly membership starts at $12/month and includes advanced plagiarism detection.

2. Plagiarisma

Screenshot of Plagiarisma homepage showing a text box for URL input, file upload options, and various supported languages icons. The page includes detailed information about the tool and highlights its effectiveness.Screenshot from Plagiarisma.net, June 2024

If you’re looking for a plagiarism checker that works in several languages, look no further than Plagiarisma. It supports 190+ languages and offers both free and paid versions.

Users can enter text into Plagiarisma in a variety of ways, including uploading documents, entering URLs, or pasting text directly into the tool. Once you’ve shared your copy, it will check it against sources like books, websites (you can choose between Google and Bing as your search engine of choice), and academic papers.

With the free version, users can run plagiarism checks up to three times in one day. You can also upgrade to a Premium membership for access to more features, including a Synonymizer (which helps you leverage synonyms to recreate sentences), a Similarity Checker (which compares documents for similarity), and unlimited access to plagiarism checks.

Cost

  • Free version with up to three plagiarism checks per day.
  • Premium membership starts at $5/month and offers unlimited plagiarism checks and more advanced features.

3. ProWritingAid

1720970763 998 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from ProWritingAid.com, June 2024

Similar to Grammarly, ProWritingAid is an AI-powered writing assistant tool that analyzes your copy and suggests areas for improvement. It also offers a helpful plagiarism checker – and while there is no free version, it’s still reasonably affordable.

According to ProWritingAid, its plagiarism detection tool can compare your text (up to 2,000 words) against billions of sources, both online and offline, including databases, periodicals, and websites.

It will flag directly copied content and give similarity percentages to show areas needing improved paraphrasing or citation.

You can use ProWritingAid’s online editing tool to conduct your check or leverage its Microsoft Word Add-In.

Unlike some other tools, you pay for ProWritingAid based on the number of checks you want to conduct versus a monthly or yearly subscription – so that is worth noting, and might be a benefit if you only have a specific number of documents you need to look at.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • Pricing starts at $10 for 10 checks, $40 for 100 checks, $120 for 500 checks, and $200 for 1,000 checks.

4. Plagiarism Checker

Screenshot of Plagiarism Checker tool showing a text box to insert text, options to check plagiarism via URL, and buttons for grammar checking, paraphrasing, and various other settings.Screenshot from Plagiarism-Checker.me, June 2024

Plagiarism Checker is a fairly straightforward plagiarism detection tool that’s both free and easy to use. If you need a quick and simple option, this is worth checking out.

It boasts a simple user interface and allows users to insert their text directly into the web-based editor, share a URL, or upload a document. You can even denote a URL you want it to exclude, which is a helpful feature if there are particular pages on your site that you want to ignore for now.

Plagiarism Checker scans your text against blogs, websites, and academic papers to detect plagiarism, which it delivers as a percentage. It’s compatible with Mac, Windows, and Android, and supports multiple file formats, including .rtf, .pdf., .docx, .odt, and txt.

Note that there is a limit of 1,000 words per check. The tool also includes a grammar checker and word counter, and you can download the reports it gives you.

Cost

5. CopyGator

Screenshot of CopyGator website explaining how it helps monitor and track content feeds.Screenshot from CopyGator.com, June 2024

CopyGator is a free service designed to help bloggers and content creators monitor and detect duplicate versions of their content on other blogs or websites.

It works by monitoring your website’s RSS feed to see whether content has been republished elsewhere – and automatically notifying you if it finds plagiarism or quotations.

There are two different options for using CopyGator:

  • Image badge: By copying and pasting some code into your site, you can add a CopyGator image badge to your blog that will monitor your feeds for you. When you want to run a check, simply click the badge. If it turns red, CopyGator has detected plagiarized versions of your content.
  • RSS feed: Your other option is to input an RSS feed directly into CopyGator’s tool and ask it to watch the feed. It will create your own custom overview page where you can get updates.

Cost

6. PlagScan

1720970763 752 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from PlagScan.com, June 2024

PlagScan is quite a robust plagiarism detection tool most commonly used by academic institutions and professional writers. One thing to note upfront: There is no free version of this tool.

PlagScan compares your text to a massive database of websites, academic resources, and journals to find plagiarism and compiles a report to help you understand the results.

You’ll receive a PlagLevel score, which summarizes the level of duplicate text found within a document, as well as colored highlighting for possible plagiarism:

  • Red for direct matches.
  • Blue for potentially altered copy.
  • Green for correctly cited text.

With PlagScan, you get a list of sources that match your document to help you with proper citation. You can also compare two documents side-by-side to find similarities. It works with most file types, and your data is protected.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • PlagScan uses a prepaid pricing model based on the number of words/pages. Pricing starts at $6.5 for 6,000 words/24 pages.

7. Copyleaks

Screenshot of the CopyLeaks Plagiarism Detector homepage, displaying highlighted text sections within an example showing potential plagiarized content. Various partner logos are visible below the displayed text.Screenshot from Copyleaks.com, June 2024

Copyleaks is a more sophisticated plagiarism detection tool than many of the options used on this list, making it a popular choice for businesses, educational institutions, and individuals around the world.

According to Copyleaks, it uses “advanced AI” to detect instances of plagiarism across over 100 languages, including paraphrasing, plagiarism in programming code, and even AI-generated plagiarism. Each scan checks content against 60 trillion websites, more than 16,000 journals, over 1 million internal documents, and 20+ code data repositories.

The tool has a very user-friendly interface, allowing you to choose from different types of files you might want to scan – text, documents, code, URLs, etc. You can also use the “compare” option to compare two documents or URLs to each other.

Another handy feature within Copyleaks is the ability to schedule recurring scans so that it will automatically check for duplicate content on a regular basis. It also offers easy and flexible API integration,

Cost

  • Free trial available.
  • Paid plans start at $8.99/month for up to 1,200 credits (equal to 300,000 words). For $13.99/month, you’ll get access to both the plagiarism detection and AI content detection tools in one.

8. Plagium

Screenshot of Plagium's plagiarism detection interface, featuring options for quick search, deep search, and file search with pricing details below. Screenshot from Plagium.com, June 2024

Plagium is a good choice if you’re looking for an easy and cost-effective plagiarism checker. It uses a simple web-based text box and offers both “quick search” and “Deep Search” functions, the latter of which is basically a term for a closer check and the ability to scan large documents.

A quick search is free and allows up to 500 characters – though the website appears to indicate that the number of quick searches is capped. In order to use the Deep Search feature, you’ll need to create an account – and these searches start at $0.08/page using Plagium’s credits system.

As a member, you’re able to upload different types of documents – such as PDFs – and Plagium also integrates with Google Drive and offers a Google Docs Add-on.

Cost

  • Free quick search up to 500 characters.
  • Paid plans start at $9.99/month for over 143,000 characters, with options for prepaid plans if that is more your speed.

9. Dupli Checker

1720970763 634 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from DupliChecker.com, June 2024

Need a free, easy-to-use plagiarism checker that’s available in up to seven languages and accepts a variety of file formats? Dupli Checker could be for you.

Dupli Checker’s simple interface makes it easy to scan your documents for plagiarism. You can paste directly into the website or upload files from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Like other tools in this list, you can also share a URL you’d like the tool to check, and up to five URLs you want it to exclude.

The tool promises 100% privacy – meaning it doesn’t save any of your documents – and summarizes your results in a report that highlights duplicate copy, gives you a percentage rating, and offers more features like grammar issues.

Cost

  • Free version with up to 1,000 words per search.
  • Paid plans start at $10/month for increased searches, higher word limits, and other advanced features.

10. Quetext

1720970763 386 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from quetext.com, June 2024

Quetext has become a popular plagiarism detection tool, and for good reason. It’s dependable and user-friendly, with some handy little features to help you spot plagiarism in your documents.

How does it work? You just enter your text into the web-based browser box and click “Check for plagiarism.” Quetext then uses its DeepSearch™ Technology (a machine-learning algorithm) to scan your text against billions of internet sources and spot plagiarism.

It provides you with a report that includes a plagiarism score and both exact matches and near matches to other existing text.

It highlights the latter using its ColorGrade™ feedback feature, which uses different colors to highlight exact match copy vs. “fuzzy” matches (or close matches) – a valuable tool for spotting plagiarism that might have otherwise flown under the radar.

It also offers a “Cite Source” feature, which helps you produce citations across Chicago, MLA, and APA formats.

Cost

  • Free version available, which includes up to 500 words, a website citation generator, and a citation assistant.
  • Paid tiers start at $8.80/month, which includes 100,000 words per month and a range of other advanced features.

11. PlagTracker

1720970763 220 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from Plagtracker.com, June 2024

PlagTracker is an online, web-based plagiarism detector that bills itself as “the most accurate plagiarism checking service.” The tool lists students, teachers, publishers, and site owners as its intended users, and it checks text against over 14 billion webpages and “more than 20 million academic works.”

Using PlagTracker is pretty straightforward. Users upload a document into the tool, which scans it and then returns a detailed report that shows what percentage of their document is plagiarized and highlights specific sections with sources.

It supports multiple languages –English, German, French, Romanian, Spanish, and Italian – making it a versatile tool. PlagTracker has a 5,000-word limit for free users, though you can pay for a Premium membership for unlimited access.

Cost

  • Free version is available with a 5,000-word limit.
  • Premium subscription starts at $7.49/month for unlimited volume and other advanced features.

The Best Plagiarism Detection Tools On The Market

And there you have it: Copyscape is by no means the only option for plagiarism detection tools.

Those listed above are great alternatives that cater to a wide range of use cases, whether you’re looking for a cheap and easy solution or an all-in-one AI-powered writing assistant.

If you’re a content creator of any kind, you must produce work that’s original and unique – and these tools can help you do just that.

However, always remember that these tools are far from perfect; you should have other checks and balances in place to ensure the quality of your work.

Avoiding plagiarism will protect your credibility and reputation and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. Not to mention, it’ll keep you out of trouble.

More resources: 


Featured Image: VectorMine/Shutterstock

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