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How to Complete a Technical SEO Audit in 8 Steps

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How to Complete a Technical SEO Audit in 8 Steps

For someone performing their first technical SEO audit, the results can be both overwhelming and intimidating. Often, you can’t see the wood for the trees and have no idea how to fix things or where to even begin.

After years of working with clients, especially as the head of tech SEO for a U.K. agency, I’ve found technical SEO audits to be a near-daily occurrence. With that, I know how important it is, especially for newer SEOs, to understand what each issue is and why it is important.

Understanding issues found within a technical audit allows you to analyze a site fully and come up with a comprehensive strategy.

In this guide, I am going to walk you through a step-by-step process for a successful tech audit but also explain what each issue is and, perhaps more importantly, where it should lie on your priority list.

Whether it’s to make improvements on your own site or recommendations for your first client, this guide will help you to complete a technical SEO audit successfully and confidently in eight steps.

But first, let’s clarify some basics.

What is a technical SEO audit?

Technical SEO is the core foundation of any website. A technical SEO audit is an imperative part of site maintenance to analyze the technical aspects of your website.

An audit will check if a site is optimized properly for the various search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

This includes ensuring there are no issues related to crawlability and indexation that prevent search engines from allowing your site to appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

An audit involves analyzing all elements of your site to make sure that you have not missed out on anything that could be hindering the optimization process. In many cases, some minor changes can improve your ranking significantly.

Also, an audit can highlight technical problems your website has that you may not be aware of, such as hreflang errors, canonical issues, or mixed content problems.

When should you perform a technical SEO audit?

Generally speaking, I always like to do an initial audit on a new site—whether that is one I just built or one I am seeing for the first time from a client—and then audits on a quarterly basis.

I think it is advisable to get into good habits with regular audits as part of ongoing site maintenance. This is especially if you are working with a site that is continuously publishing new content.

It is also a good idea to perform an SEO audit when you notice that your rankings are stagnant or declining.

What do you need from a client before completing a technical audit?

Even if a client comes to me with goals that are not necessarily “tech SEO focused,” such as link building or creating content, it is important to remember that any technical issue can impede the success of the work we do going forward.

It is always important to assess the technical aspects of the site, offer advice on how to make improvements, and explain how those technical issues may impact the work we intend to do together.

With that said, if you intend on performing a technical audit on a website that is not your own, at a minimum, you will need access to the Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts for that site.

How to perform a technical SEO audit in eight steps

For the most part, technical SEO audits are not easy. Unless you have a very small, simple business site that was perfectly built by an expert SEO, you’re likely going to run into some technical issues along the way.

Often, especially with more complex sites, such as those with a large number of pages or those in multiple languages, audits can be like an ever-evolving puzzle that can take days or even weeks to crack.

Regardless of whether you are looking to audit your own small site or a large one for a new client, I’m going to walk you through the eight steps that will help you to identify and fix some of the most common technical issues.

Step 1. Crawl your website

All you need to get started here is to set up a project in Ahrefs’ Site Audit, which you can even access for free as part of Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

This tool scans your website to check how many URLs there are, how many are indexable, how many are not, and how many have issues.

From this, the audit tool creates an in-depth report on everything it finds to help you identify and fix any issues that are hindering your site’s performance.

Of course, more advanced issues may need further investigation that involves other tools, such as Google Search Console. But our audit tool does a great job at highlighting key issues, especially for beginner SEOs.

First, to run an audit with Site Audit, you will need to ensure your website is connected to your Ahrefs account as a project. The easiest way to do this is via Google Search Console, although you can verify your ownership by adding a DNS record or HTML file.

Verifying ownership in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Once your ownership is verified, it is a good idea to check the Site Audit settings before running your first crawl. If you have a bigger site, it is always best to increase the crawl speed before you start.

Changing crawl settings in Ahrefs' Site Audit

There are a number of standard settings in place. For a small, personal site, these settings may be fine as they are. However, settings like the maximum number of pages crawled under “Limits” is something you may want to alter for bigger projects.

Setting the maximum number of pages crawled in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Also, if you are looking for in-depth insight on Core Web Vitals (CWV), you may want to add your Google API key here too.

Core Web Vitals settings in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Once happy with the settings, you can run a new crawl under the “Site Audit” tab.

Running a crawl in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Initially, after running the audit, you will be directed to the “Overview” page. This will give you a top-level view of what the tool has found, including the number of indexable vs. non-indexable pages, top issues, and an overall website health score out of 100.

This will give you a quick and easy-to-understand proxy metric to the overall website health.

Health score metric in Ahrefs' Site Audit

From here, you can head over to the “All issues” tab. This breaks down all of the problems the crawler has found, how much of a priority they are to be fixed, and how to fix them.

"All issues" tab in Ahrefs' Site Audit

This report, alongside other tools, can help you to start identifying the issues that may be hindering your performance on the SERPs.

Step 2. Spotting crawlability and indexation issues

If your site has pages that can’t be crawled by search engines, your website may not be indexed correctly, if at all. If your website does not appear in the index, it cannot be found by users.

Ensuring that search bots can crawl your website and collect data from it correctly means search engines can accurately place your site on the SERPs and you can rank for those all-important keywords.

There are a few things you need to consider when looking for crawlability issues:

  • Indexation errors
  • Robots.txt errors
  • Sitemap issues
  • Optimizing the crawl budget

Identifying indexation issues

Priority: High

Ensuring your pages are indexed is imperative if you want to appear anywhere on Google.

The simplest way to check how your site is indexed is by heading to Google Search Console and checking the Coverage report. Here, you can see exactly which pages are indexed, which pages have warnings, as well as which ones are excluded and why:

Coverage report in Google Search Console

Note that pages will only appear in the search results if they are indexed without any issues.

If your pages are not being indexed, there are a number of issues that may be causing this. We will take a look at the top few below, but you can also check our other guide for a more in-depth walkthrough.

Checking the robots.txt file

Priority: High

The robots.txt file is arguably the most straightforward file on your website. But it is something that people consistently get wrong. Although you may advise search engines on how to crawl your site, it is easy to make errors.

Most search engines, especially Google, like to abide by the rules you set out in the robots.txt file. So if you accidentally tell a search engine not to crawl and/or index certain URLs or even your entire site, that’s what will happen.

This is what the robots.txt file, which tells search engines not to crawl any pages, looks like:

Disallowing search engines via robots.txt

Often, these instructions are left within the file even after the site goes live, preventing the site from being crawled. This is a rare easy fix that acts as a panacea to your SEO.

You can also check whether a single page is accessible and indexed by typing the URL into the Google Search Console search bar. If it’s not indexed yet and it’s accessible, you can “Request Indexing.”

Requesting indexing in Google Search Console

The Coverage report in Google Search Console can also let you know if you’re blocking certain pages in robots.txt despite them being indexed:

Pages blocked via robots.txt in Google Search Console

Robots meta tags

Priority: High

A robots meta tag is an HTML snippet that tells search engines how to crawl or index a certain page. It’s placed into the <head> section of a webpage and looks like this:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

This noindex is the most common one. And as you’ve guessed, it tells search engines not to index the page. We also often see the following robots meta tag on pages across whole websites:

<meta name="robots" content=”max-snippet:-1, max-image-preview:large, max-video-preview:-1" />

This tells Google to use any of your content freely on its SERPs. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress adds this by default unless you add noindex or nosnippet directives.

If there are no robots meta tags on the page, search engines consider that as index, follow, meaning that they can index the page and crawl all links on it.

But noindex actually has a lot of uses:

  • Thin pages with little or no value for the user
  • Pages in the staging environment
  • Admin and thank-you pages
  • Internal search results
  • PPC landing pages
  • Pages about upcoming promotions, contests, or product launches
  • Duplicate content (use canonical tags to suggest the best version for indexing)

But improper use also happens to be a top indexability issue. Using the wrong attribute accidentally can have a detrimental effect on your presence on the SERPs, so remember to use it with care.

Checking the sitemap

Priority: High

An XML sitemap helps Google to navigate all of the important pages on your website. Considering crawlers can’t stop and ask for directions, a sitemap ensures Google has a set of instructions when it comes to crawling and indexing your website.

But much like crawlers can be accidentally blocked via the robots.txt file, pages can be left out of the sitemap, meaning they likely won’t get prioritized for crawling.

Also, by having pages in your sitemap that shouldn’t be there, such as broken pages, you can confuse crawlers and affect your crawl budget (more on that next).

You can check sitemap issues in Site Audit: Site Audit > All issues > Other.

Sitemap issues in Ahrefs' Site Audit

The main thing here is to ensure that all of the important pages that you want to have indexed are within your sitemap and avoid including anything else.

Checking the crawl budget

Priority: High (for large websites)

A crawl budget refers to how many pages and how rapidly a search engine can crawl.

A variety of things influence the crawl budget. These include the number of resources on the website, as well as how valuable Google deems your indexable pages to be.

Having a big crawl budget does not guarantee that you will rank at the top of the SERPs. But if all of your critical pages are not crawled due to crawl budget concerns, it is possible that those pages may not be indexed.

Your pages are likely being scanned as part of your daily crawl budget if they are popular, receive organic traffic and links, and are well-linked internally across your site.

New pages—as well as those that are not linked internally or externally, e.g., those found on newer sites—may not be crawled as frequently, if at all.

For larger sites with millions of pages or sites that are often updated, crawl budget can be an issue. In general, if you have a large number of pages that aren’t being crawled or updated as frequently as you want, you should think about looking to speed up crawling.

Using the Crawl Stats report in Google Search Console can give you insight into how your site is being crawled and any issues that may have been flagged by the Googlebot.

Crawling insights via Google Search Console

You will also want to look into any flagged crawl statuses like the ones shown here:

Crawl status codes you might see in Google Search Console

Step 3. Checking technical on-page elements

It is important to check your on-page fundamentals. Although many SEOs may tell you that on-page issues like those with meta descriptions aren’t a big deal, I personally think it is part of good SEO housekeeping.

Even Google’s John Mueller previously stated that having multiple H1 tags on a webpage isn’t an issue. However, let’s think about SEO as a points system.

If you and a competitor have sites that stand shoulder to shoulder on the SERP, then even the most basic of issues could be the catalyst that determines who ranks at the top. So in my opinion, even the most basic of housekeeping issues should be addressed.

So let’s take a look at the following:

  • Page titles and title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Canonical tags
  • Hreflang tags
  • Structured data

Page titles and title tags

Priority: Medium

Title tags have a lot more value than most people give them credit for. Their job is to let Google and site visitors know what a webpage is about—like this:

Title tag in Google search

Here’s what it looks like in raw HTML format:

<title>How to Craft the Perfect SEO Title Tag (Our 4-Step Process)</title>

In recent years, title tags have sparked a lot of debate in the SEO world. Google, it turns out, is likely to modify your title tag if it doesn’t like it.

Google rewrites around a third of title tags

One of the biggest reasons Google rewrites title tags is that they are simply too long. This is one issue that is highlighted within Site Audit.

Title tag rewrites highlighted in Ahrefs' Site Audit

In general, it is good practice to ensure all of your pages have title tags, none of which are longer than 60 characters.

Meta descriptions

Priority: Low

A meta description is an HTML attribute that describes the contents of a page. It may be displayed as a snippet under the title tag in the search results to give further context.

Title tag in Google search

More visitors will click on your website in the search results if it has a captivating meta description. Even though Google only provides meta descriptions 37% of the time, it is still important to ensure your most important pages have great ones.

You can find out if any meta descriptions are missing, as well as if they are too long or too short.

Title tag rewrites highlighted in Ahrefs' Site Audit

But writing meta descriptions is more than just filling a space. It’s about enticing potential site visitors.

Check canonical tags

Priority: High

A canonical tag (rel=“canonical”) specifies the primary version for duplicate or near-duplicate pages. To put it another way, if you have about the same content available under several URLs, you should be using canonical tags to designate which version is the primary and should be indexed.

How canonicalization works

Canonical tags are an important part of SEO, mainly because Google doesn’t like duplicate content. Also, using canonical tags incorrectly (or not at all) can seriously affect your crawl budget.

If spiders are wasting their time crawling duplicate pages, it can mean that valuable pages are being missed.

You can find duplicate content issues in Site Audit: Site Audit > Reports > Duplicates > Issues.

Duplicate pages without canonical via Ahrefs' Site Audit

International SEO: hreflang tags

Priority: High

Although hreflang is seemingly yet another simple HTML tag, it is possibly the most complex SEO element to get your head around.

The hreflang tag is imperative for sites in multiple languages. If you have many versions of the same page in a different language or target different parts of the world—for example, one version in English for the U.S. and one version in French for France—you need hreflang tags.

Translating a website is time consuming and costly—because you’ll need to put in effort and ensure all versions show up in the relevant search results. But it does give a better user experience by catering to different users who consume content in different languages.

Plus, as clusters of multiple-language pages share each other’s ranking signals, using hreflang tags correctly can have a direct impact as a ranking factor. This is alluded to by Gary Illyes from Google in this video.

You can find hreflang tag issues in Site Audit under localization: Site Audit > All issues > Localization.

Localization issues via Ahrefs' Site Audit

Structured data

Priority: High

Structured data, often referred to as schema markup, has a number of valuable uses in SEO.

Most prominently, structured data is used to help get rich results or features in the Knowledge Panel. Here’s a great example: When working with recipes, more details are given about each result, such as the rating.

Recipe results with structured data

You also get a feature in the Knowledge Panel that shows what a chocolate chip cookie is (along with some nutritional information):

Knowledge card in Google search

Because structured data helps Google better understand not only your website but also detailed information such as authors, structured data can help both semantic search and improve expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, aka E-A-T.

Nowadays, JSON-LD is the preferred format for structured data, so keep it that way if possible. But you can also encounter Microdata and RDFa.

As part of your technical audit, you should be testing your structured data. A great tool for this is the Classy Schema testing tool.

Schema markup testing tool

You can also check your eligibility for rich results with Google’s Rich Results Test.

Google's Rich Results testing tool

Step 4. Identifying image issues

Image optimization is often overlooked when it comes to SEO. However, image optimization has a number of benefits that include:

  • Improved load speed.
  • More traffic you can get from Google Images.
  • More engaging user experience.
  • Improved accessibility.

Image issues can be found in the main audit report: Site Audit > Reports > Images.

Image issues via Ahrefs' Site Audit

Broken images

Priority: High

Broken images cannot be displayed on your website. This makes for a bad user experience in general but can also look spammy, giving visitors the impression that the site is not well maintained and professional.

This can be especially problematic for anyone who monetizes their website, as it can make the website seem less trustworthy.

Image file size too large

Priority: High

Large images on your website can seriously impact your site speed and performance. Ideally, you want to display images in the smallest possible size and in an appropriate format, such as WebP.

The best option is to optimize the image file size before uploading the image to your website. Tools like TinyJPG can optimize your images before they’re added to your site.

If you are looking to optimize existing images, there are tools available, especially for more popular content management systems (CMSs) like WordPress. Plugins such as Imagify or WP-Optimize are great examples.

HTTPS page links to HTTP image

Priority: Medium

HTTPS pages that link to HTTP images cause what is called “mixed content issues.” This means that a page is loaded securely via HTTPS. But a resource it links to, such as an image or video, is on an insecure HTTP connection.

Mixed content is a security issue. For those who monetize sites with display ads, it can even prevent ad providers from allowing ads on your site. It also degrades the user experience of your website.

By default, certain browsers restrict unsafe resource requests. If your page relies on these vulnerable resources, it may not function correctly if they are banned.

Missing alt text

Priority: Low

Alt text, or alternative text, describes an image on a website. It is an incredibly important part of image optimization, as it improves accessibility on your website for millions of people throughout the world who are visually impaired.

Often, those with a visual impairment use screen readers, which convert images into audio. Essentially, this is describing the image to the site visitor. Properly optimized alt text allows screen readers to inform site users with visual impairments exactly what they are seeing.

Alt text can also serve as anchor text for image links, help you to rank on Google Images, and improve topical relevance.

Step 5. Analyzing internal links

When most people think of “links” for SEO, they think about backlinks. How to build them, how many they should have, and so on.

What many people don’t realize is the sheer importance of internal linking. In fact, internal links are like the jelly to backlinks’ peanut butter. Can you have one without the other? Sure. Are they always better together? You bet!

Not only do internal links help your external link building efforts, but they also make for a better website experience for both search engines and users.

The proper siloing of topics using internal linking creates an easy-to-understand topical roadmap for everyone who comes across your site. This has a number of benefits:

  • Creates relevancy for keywords
  • Helps ensure all content is crawled
  • Makes it easy for visitors to find relevant content or products

Example of siloing on fitness website

Of course, when done right, all of this makes sense. But internal links should be audited when you first get your hands on a site because things may not be as orderly as you’ll want.

4xx status codes

Priority: High

Go to Site Audit > Internal pages > Issues tab > 4XX page.

4XX page errors via Ahrefs' Site Audit

Here, you can see all of your site’s broken internal pages.

These are problematic because they waste “link equity” and provide users with a negative experience.

Here are a few options for dealing with these issues:

  • Bring back the broken page at the same address (if deleted by accident)
  • Redirect the broken page to a more appropriate location; all internal links referring to it should be updated or removed

Orphan pages

Priority: High

Go to Site Audit > Links > Issues tab > Orphan page (has no incoming internal links).

Orphan page issues via Ahrefs' Site Audit

Here, we highlight pages that have zero internal links pointing to them.

There are two reasons why indexable pages should not be orphaned:

  • Internal links will not pass PageRank because there are none.
  • They won’t be found by Google (unless you upload your sitemap through Google Search Console or there are backlinks from several other websites’ crawled pages, they won’t be seen).

If your website has multiple orphaned pages, filter the list from high to low for organic traffic. If internal links are added to orphaned pages still receiving organic traffic, they’ll certainly gain far more traffic.

Step 6. Checking external links

External links are hyperlinks within your pages that link to another domain. That means all of your backlinks—the links to your website from another one—are someone else’s external links.

See how the magic of the internet is invisibly woven together? *mind-blown emoji*

External links are often used to back up sources in the form of citations. For example, if I am writing a blog post and discussing metrics from a study, I’ll externally link to where I found that authoritative source.

Linking to credible sources makes your own website more credible to both visitors and search engines. This is because you show that your information is backed up with sound research.

Here’s what John said about external links:

Source link

SEO

Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

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Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

Email has revolutionized the way people communicate. From facilitating remote work to monitoring bank balances, it has become an integral part of everyday life.

It has also become a powerful tool for marketers. It has changed the way brands and customers interact with each other, providing incredible opportunities to target audiences at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

In other words, when it comes to getting the most bang for your marketing buck, nothing matches the power of email.

Providing an average return on investment of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing is one of the most profitable and effective ways of reaching your targets.

Globally used by more than 4 billion people, it has unparalleled reach and is perfect for every step of the buyer’s journey, from generating awareness to encouraging brand loyalty.

If you’re not currently using email marketing to promote your business, you should be.

But to reap the biggest benefits, you need to do more than just dash off a message and sending it out to your contacts. You need a strategy that will help you nurture relationships and initiate conversations.

In this piece, we’ll take an in-depth look at the world of marketing via email and give you a step-by-step guide you can use to launch your own campaigns.

What Is Email Marketing?

If you have an email address of your own – and it’s probably safe to assume that you do – you’re likely already at least somewhat familiar with the concept of email marketing.

But just to avoid any potential confusion, let’s start with a definition: Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that uses customized emails to inform customers and potential customers about your product or services.

Why Should You Use Email Marketing?

If the eye-popping $36:1 ROI stat wasn’t enough to convince you to take the plunge, here are some other key reasons you should use email marketing to promote your business:

  • Email marketing drives traffic to your website, blog, social media account, or anywhere else you direct it.
  • It allows you to build a stronger relationship with your targets via personalization and auto-triggered campaigns.
  • You can segment your audience to target highly specific demographics, so you’re sending messages to the people they will resonate with most.
  • Email marketing is one of the easiest platforms to version test on, so you can determine exactly what subject lines and calls-to-action (CTAs) work best.

Even better, you own your email campaigns entirely.

With email, you own your marketing list and you can target your leads however you like (so long as you stay compliant with CAN-SPAM laws).

There is no question that you should be using email marketing as part of your overall marketing outreach strategy.

Now let’s look at some of the different ways you can do that.

What Are The Types Of Email Marketing?

For every stage of the sales funnel, there’s a corresponding type of email marketing. Here are some of the different types you can use to engage your audience and generate results.

Promotional Emails

When you think about email marketing, these types of messages are probably what you think of.

Used to promote sales, special offers, product releases, events, and more, these are usually one of the least personalized types of emails and tend to go out to a large list.

Usually, promotional campaigns consist of anywhere from 3 to 10 emails sent over a specified time frame. They have a clear CTA that encourages the recipient to take the next step of visiting your site, booking an appointment, or making a purchase.

Informational Emails

This type of email includes company announcements as well as weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletters.

They may include information about new products, company achievements, customer reviews, or blog posts.

The CTA is usually to visit your website or blog to learn more about what’s happening.

Welcome Emails

Sent to new customers or people who have filled out a form on your website, welcome emails encourage recipients to learn more about your company or offering.

These commonly include trial offers, requests to book a demo, or other offerings a new customer will find valuable.

Nurturing Emails

Any salesperson will tell you the importance of creating multiple touchpoints with potential customers.

Lead nurturing emails focus on building interest in people who are drawn to a particular offering.

The goal of these messages is to push them to the consideration stage of the buying journey.

Re-engagement Emails

Nurturing emails’ slightly more aggressive brother, re-engagement emails are used to warm up customers who haven’t been active lately.

These tend to be more personalized, as you’ll want to show the subscriber that you know and understand the challenges they’re facing.

Survey/Review Emails

User generated content (UGC) lends your brand an authenticity you simply can’t achieve on your own.

One of the best ways to generate this is via emails soliciting feedback from your customers.

This type of email also gives you insights into your brand’s relative strengths and weaknesses, so you can improve your offerings.

There are a number of other types of emails you can use as part of your marketing efforts, including seasonal emails designed to capitalize on holidays or events, confirmation emails to reassure recipients their purchase was completed or their information received, and co-marketing emails that are sent with a partner company.

In fact, it’s email marketing’s sheer versatility that makes it the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy. You merely need to decide what you hope to accomplish, then create your campaign around it.

Now, let’s take a closer look at creating and managing your own email marketing.

How Do You Perform Email Marketing?

Step 1: Establish Your Goals

The section above should have made it clear that the type of email campaign you’ll run will depend on what you’re hoping to accomplish. Trying to do everything with one email will lead to confused recipients and a watered-down CTA.

Set one goal for your campaign, and make sure every email in the series works toward it.

Step 2: Build Your List

Now it’s time to determine who will be on the receiving end of your campaign. You do this by building your email marketing list – a process you can approach from several directions.

The most basic way to build an email list is by simply importing a list of your contacts into your chosen email marketing platform (more on that later).

One caveat: Before you add anyone to your list, make sure they have opted into receiving emails from you – otherwise you’ll run afoul of the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines mentioned above.

Other options for building a list from scratch via a lead generation campaign: provide potential customers with discounts, compelling content, or something else of value and make it easy for them to subscribe and you’ll generate high-quality leads.

Some marketers buy or rent email lists, but in general, this isn’t an effective way to perform email marketing.

The primary reason you don’t want to do this is because of lead quality. You’re not going after people who are interested in your brand but instead are blindly targeting leads of questionable quality with emails they haven’t opted in to.

In addition to violating consent laws, which could potentially hurt your IP reputation and email deliverability, you risk annoying your targets instead of encouraging them to try your offering.

Step 3: Create Your Email Campaign

Now that you know who you’re targeting and what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s time to build your campaign.

Email marketing tools like HubSpot, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp include drag-and-drop templates you can employ to create well-designed and effective email campaigns.

We’ll dive deeper into these platforms a bit later, but now, let’s talk about some fundamentals and best practices to help you get the best results:

  • Make your emails easy to read – No one wants to read a long wall of text. Structure your emails using strategically placed headers and bulleted lists for easy scanning.
  • Use images – Ideally, you want your emails to capture the reader’s eye and attention. Visuals are a great way to do this.
  • Write a compelling subject line – The best-written email in the world is useless if no one opens it. That makes a compelling, intriguing subject line paramount. Don’t be afraid to try different iterations, just be sure to keep it short.
  • Add personalization – Emails that are targeted to a specific person, including addressing them by name, are more likely to generate responses. Your email marketing platform should allow you to do this with relative ease.
  • Make conversion easy – If you want click-throughs, you need to make it easy for readers. Make sure your CTA is prominent and clear.
  • Consider your timing – As with most types of marketing, email campaigns tend to perform better when they’re properly timed. This could mean a specific time of day that generates more opens, a time of the week when purchases are more likely, or even a time of year when your content is most relevant. This will probably require some experimentation.

Step 4: Measure Your Results

You’re not going to get your email campaigns right the first time. Or the second. Or the fifth. In fact, there’s really no endpoint; even the best campaigns can be optimized to generate better results.

To track how yours are performing, you’ll want to use the reports section of your email marketing platform. This will help you understand how people are interacting with your campaigns.

Use A/B testing to drill down into what’s working best.

Generally, you’ll want to look at key metrics like:

  • Open rate and unique opens.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Shares.
  • Unsubscribe rate.
  • Spam complaints.
  • Bounces (the number of addresses your email couldn’t be delivered to).

Choosing An Email Marketing Platform

Manually sending out emails is fine if you’re only targeting three or four people. But if you’re trying to communicate with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of targets, you’re going to need some help.

But there are currently hundreds of email marketing platform on the market. How do you choose the right one for your unique needs?

Should you just go with one of the big names like HubSpot,  Klaviyo, or Mailjet? How do you know which one is right for you?

While it may initially feel overwhelming, by answering a few questions you can narrow down your options considerably.

The very first thing you need to determine is your budget. If you’re running a small business, the amount you’re willing to spend on an email service platform is probably considerably less than an enterprise-level company.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll probably find that a lower-priced version of a platform like Sendinblue or Constant Contact provides you with all the functionality you need.

Larger companies with bigger marketing budgets may wish to go with an email marketing platform that provides higher levels of automation, more in-depth data analysis and is easier to use. In this case, you may prefer to go with a platform like Mailchimp or Salesforce’s Pardot.

The good thing is that most of these email service providers offered tiered pricing, so smaller businesses can opt for more inexpensive (or even free) versions that offer less functionality at a lower price.

The next thing to consider is the type of email you want to send.

If your primary send will be newsletters, a platform like SubStack is a great choice. If you’re planning on sending transactional emails, you may want to check out Netcore Email API or GetResponse.

For those of you planning on sending a variety of marketing emails, your best choice may be an option that covers multiple email types like ConvertKit or an omnichannel marketing tool like Iterable.

You can narrow down your options by determining your must-have features and internal capabilities.

Some things you’ll want to consider include:

  • The size of your lists.
  • Your technical skill level.
  • Your HTML editing requirements.
  • Template variety.
  • Your need for responses/workflows.
  • A/B testing needs.
  • Industry-specific features.

While there is significant overlap in functionality between email marketing platforms, each has some variation in capabilities.

Ideally, you want something that will integrate with your other marketing tools to help take the guesswork out of the equation.

You should request demos and trials of your finalists to find which is best for your needs. If you’re working with a team, be sure to loop them in and get their feedback.

Tips For Maximizing Your Results

Email marketing is a powerful tool for any business. But there’s both science and art to it.

Here are some additional tips to help you get the most from your campaigns:

  • Avoid being marked as spam – According to HubSpot, there are 394 words and phrases that can identify your email as junk mail. These include “free,” “lowest price,” “no catch” and “all new.” You should avoid these whenever possible. To be doubly safe, have your recipients add you to their safe senders list.
  • Run integrated campaigns – Email marketing serves to amplify the power of other marketing channels. If you’re running sales or promotions, you should include an email aspect.
  • Clean up your list regularly – Keep your email database up to date to ensure deliverability and higher engagement. If a subscriber hasn’t responded to your re-engagement efforts after six months, it’s probably safe to scrub them from your list.
  • Harness the power of automation – Autoresponders are a great way to follow up with customers and subscribers, or strategically target someone after a certain event or action. Learn how to set this up on your email marketing platform and it will save you lots of time while boosting returns.

Email Marketing Is A Powerful Tool

There’s a reason why email marketing is prevalent in the modern world – it works.

And that means you should be using it to promote your brand and drive sales.

Hopefully, by this point, you have a good idea of not only what email marketing can do for you, but how it works, and how to create and optimize your own campaigns.

There’s really no better way to connect with our audience and convey the value of your brand.

Now get to work – you have customers to attract.

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

The move comes on the heels of YouTube launching ad revenue sharing for creators through the YouTube Partner Program in a bid to become the most rewarding social platform for creators.

Social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have similar monetization options for creators who publish reels and video content. For example, Instagram’s Reels Play Bonus Program offers eligible creators up to $1,200 for Reel views.

The catch? Unlike other social platforms, creators on Twitter must have an active subscription to Twitter Blue and meet the eligibility requirements for the Blue Verified checkmark.

The following is an example of a Twitter ad in a reply thread (Promoted by @ASUBootcamps). It should generate revenue for the Twitter Blue Verified creator (@rowancheung), who created the thread.

Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

To receive the ad revenue share, creators would have to pay $8 per month (or more) to maintain an active Twitter Blue subscription. Twitter Blue pricing varies based on location and is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Eligibility for the Twitter Blue Verified checkmark includes having an active Twitter Blue subscription and meeting the following criteria.

  • Your account must have a display name, profile photo, and confirmed phone number.
  • Your account has to be older than 90 days and active within the last 30 days.
  • Recent changes to your account’s username, display name, or profile photo can affect eligibility. Modifications to those after verification can also result in a temporary loss of the blue checkmark until Twitter reviews your updated information.
  • Your account cannot appear to mislead or deceive.
  • Your account cannot spam or otherwise try to manipulate the platform for engagement or follows.

Did you receive a Blue Verified checkmark before the Twitter Blue subscription? That will not help creators who want a share of the ad revenue. The legacy Blue Verified checkmark does not make a creator account eligible for ad revenue sharing.

When asked about accounts with a legacy and Twitter Blue Verified checkmark, Musk tweeted that the legacy Blue Verified is “deeply corrupted” and will sunset in just a few months.

Regardless of how you gained your checkmark, it’s important to note that Twitter can remove a checkmark without notice.

In addition to ad revenue sharing for Twitter Blue Verified creators, Twitter Dev announced that the Twitter API would no longer be free in an ongoing effort to reduce the number of bots on the platform.

While speculation looms about a loss in Twitter ad revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported a “fire-sale” Super Bowl offer from Musk to win back advertisers.

The latest data from DataReportal shows a positive trend for Twitter advertisers. Ad reach has increased from 436.4 million users in January 2022 to 556 million in January 2023.

Twitter is also the third most popular social network based on monthly unique visitors and page views globally, according to SimilarWeb data through December 2022.


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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Image from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.

1. Writer.com

For the first prompt’s answer, Writer.com fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated.

Writer.com resultsScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content.

Writer.com test resultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, Writer.com did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. Contentatscale.ai

Contentatscale.ai did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from Contentscale.ai, January 2023

4. Originality.ai

Originality.ai did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from Originality.ai, January 2023

You will notice that Originality.ai doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.

Conclusion

Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

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