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How to Get Insanely Productive with Social Media Updates to Scale Your Referral Traffic

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Get Insanely Productive with Social Media Updates


Life can get crazy… Holidays, trips, family and personal life: There are lots of things that may stand in your way to being consistent with your (and your business) social media presence.

Therefore making some sort of social media editorial calendar to keep yourself accountable is a great idea.

Like with any productivity hacks, the most important thing to keep in mind here: Keep it very simple. I’ve seen editorial calendars that actually take more time to create than to implement – I think this is counter-productive.

Weekly Social Media Editorial Calendar

I keep it simple and thus insanely productive: I know exactly what I do every set day of the week and when. I am not looking at my calendar any more because it’s very easy to memorize.

Here’s a sample social media editorial calendar you can steal:

Pre-Scheduling

I schedule social media updates for a few reasons:

  • This way I know my (business) social media accounts get regularly updated no matter how busy I am
  • Sometimes I have so much to share within such a short period of time that posting that all at once would over-whelm my followers. So I have to spread out
  • This way I won’t forget to update my followers of some important news (See the part about re-sharing the same article a few times on Twitter).

So here’s my social media scheduling calendar:

Weekly task (Sunday): Schedule some important tweets one week ahead.

(Let’s say you are promoting your content, giveaway, digital book, etc. It’s a good idea to schedule tweets mentioning it one week ahead to be sure you won’t forget)

Tools I use for weekly scheduling:

  • Agorapulse for Facebook and Linkedin scheduling of business page updates*
  • Manage Flitter: This tool lets you easily schedule one social media update (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) for each day of the week to go live at your “best time” (Time when this software deems most efficient in terms of your following activity). Somehow this tool has the best interface and it makes scheduling very productive (something I’d love to say about Hootsuite but I can’t as it takes much more time to schedule updates using Hootsuite). Unlike Hootsuite, Manage Flitter is free and its free version only supports scheduling for once a day and allows to connect only one Facebook page, so I use both.

https://www.manageflitter.com/

Weekly tasks (Friday)

Friday is one of the easier, more relaxed days for me. I use it to catch up with my content brainstorming dashboards to get inspired as well as check if I missed any conversations involving brand names and hashtags I am monitoring.

Tool: I use Cyfe for both (collecting content ideas and social media monitoring). I have set up several dashboards there to monitor all sorts of data (hashtags, Twitter chats, etc.)

Friday is also my day to catch up with my other social media accounts when I am not as active yet (hey, I only have 24 hours a day!)

Tip: I am using a separate bookmark folder where I store links to my *other* social media accounts to access them quickly using “Open all in Tabs” option.

Daily tasks (Mornings)

Morning is my time to read all the emails and go through my favorite communities and blogs. Both tasks give me LOTS of things to tweet (mostly) and sometimes share on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Posting that all at once would be over-whelming and non-effective (most of the updates would be lost in the clutter), so I am “buffering” everything I have to say throughout the current day.

Tools:

  • Buffer App is (obviously) what I use to buffer my morning reading list to Twitter (Especially through their browser integration (I am using their FireFox plugin that lets me buffer my tweets right from the “Tweet this” pop-up)
  • Viral Content Bee lets me keep my Twitter active as well (and it’s my major content discovery platform too). Plus it keeps my other social media accounts (Pinterest and StumbleUpon) active as well.

Viral Content Bee

There are also several AI-powered content creation tools to play with. I haven’t got around to testing those but they are supposed to be great. Text Optimizer will help you come up with effective content for your updates. The tool gives you access to popular questions on any topic:

textoptimizer questions

As-it-happens tasks

There’s no way around it. That’s how social media works: There will always be tasks you’d better do immediately and better keep them in mind.

Interacting on social media is something you can’t really plan put or schedule. Without instant spontaneous replies, retweets, comments and likes your social media accounts will lack the most important component: Authenticity.

Tools:

  • I use Tweetdeck to be on top of Twitter interactions (here’s my detailed article on that) without feeling overwhelmed. Tweetdeck keeps me very productive.
  • For other social media platforms, I use their native iPhone apps to keep up using “push notifications” (especially during lunch and coffee breaks).

Social Media Posting: Advanced Tips

Now that we hopefully got a bit more organized and productive, let’s not forget about being creative! Keep these quick tips in mind to make your social media activity both varied and efficient:

Re-share the same content a few times on Twitter

Tweets have an extremely short lifetime. They are seen for just a few minutes and after that they will mostly be lost. Therefore re-sharing your (important) content on Twitter using different forms and at different time of the day makes so much sense.

Here’s a quick list of all different ways you can re-share your contest on twitter multiple times (including retweeting someone who shared it, making some use of visual tweets, tweeting quotes, etc)

Re-share your content as a photo on Facebook

Here’s one social media sharing trick: You can share anything as a photo (using “Upload photo” option versus letting Facebook generate the image thumbnail). Image updates get much more visibility in social media streams (Both social media platforms are believed to be giving photos higher rankings in the feeds). Plus these kinds of updates add variety to your feeds.

Agorapulse supports photo updates (but I don’t really like the output).

For more variety in your social media streams, try content re-packaging tactic I explained earlier. Content re-packaging is a great way to share the same content again and again while providing new content to your followers each time.

Tag people in social media updates

You can tag people on all three social media networks using:

  • @username on Twitter
  • @name on Facebook (You need to select the person from the drop down for the tag to work)

In all cases, the person you are getting will most likely be notified by an email (depending on his/her personal settings). These notifications work well for driving more attention to your social media updates.

Never tag irrelevant people though. I only tag people who I mentioned in the article I am sharing (or who I am quoting).

*This deck explains the process in more detail:

Monitor, Analyze, Adapt

Social media updates are only as good as their engagement: You need people to talk back to you and – more importantly – click to visit your site. Finteza is a great tool to analyze your social media traffic and identify the most effective sources:

 

finteza-instagram

Let’s face it, more often than not we use social media to promote our websites, so monitor your social media traffic!

It is a good idea to play with several social media engagement tools to come up with more ways to convert that traffic. Those methods include push notifications and chatbots to name a few.

Social media productivity is no longer an option: You have to find ways to get productive if you want to be on top of many things.

Have you developed any social media productivity tricks of your own? Please share them in the comments!

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I am the owner of this blog as well as Brand and Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas and Founder of MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU and ViralContentBee.com

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How to Block ChatGPT From Using Your Website Content

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How to Block ChatGPT From Using Your Website Content

There is concern about the lack of an easy way to opt out of having one’s content used to train large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT. There is a way to do it, but it’s neither straightforward nor guaranteed to work.

How AIs Learn From Your Content

Large Language Models (LLMs) are trained on data that originates from multiple sources. Many of these datasets are open source and are freely used for training AIs.

Some of the sources used are:

  • Wikipedia
  • Government court records
  • Books
  • Emails
  • Crawled websites

There are actually portals and websites offering datasets that are giving away vast amounts of information.

One of the portals is hosted by Amazon, offering thousands of datasets at the Registry of Open Data on AWS.

Screenshot from Amazon, January 2023

The Amazon portal with thousands of datasets is just one portal out of many others that contain more datasets.

Wikipedia lists 28 portals for downloading datasets, including the Google Dataset and the Hugging Face portals for finding thousands of datasets.

Datasets of Web Content

OpenWebText

A popular dataset of web content is called OpenWebText. OpenWebText consists of URLs found on Reddit posts that had at least three upvotes.

The idea is that these URLs are trustworthy and will contain quality content. I couldn’t find information about a user agent for their crawler, maybe it’s just identified as Python, I’m not sure.

Nevertheless, we do know that if your site is linked from Reddit with at least three upvotes then there’s a good chance that your site is in the OpenWebText dataset.

More information about OpenWebText is here.

Common Crawl

One of the most commonly used datasets for Internet content is offered by a non-profit organization called Common Crawl.

Common Crawl data comes from a bot that crawls the entire Internet.

The data is downloaded by organizations wishing to use the data and then cleaned of spammy sites, etc.

The name of the Common Crawl bot is, CCBot.

CCBot obeys the robots.txt protocol so it is possible to block Common Crawl with Robots.txt and prevent your website data from making it into another dataset.

However, if your site has already been crawled then it’s likely already included in multiple datasets.

Nevertheless, by blocking Common Crawl it’s possible to opt out your website content from being included in new datasets sourced from newer Common Crawl data.

The CCBot User-Agent string is:

CCBot/2.0

Add the following to your robots.txt file to block the Common Crawl bot:

User-agent: CCBot
Disallow: /

An additional way to confirm if a CCBot user agent is legit is that it crawls from Amazon AWS IP addresses.

CCBot also obeys the nofollow robots meta tag directives.

Use this in your robots meta tag:

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

Blocking AI From Using Your Content

Search engines allow websites to opt out of being crawled. Common Crawl also allows opting out. But there is currently no way to remove one’s website content from existing datasets.

Furthermore, research scientists don’t seem to offer website publishers a way to opt out of being crawled.

The article, Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair? explores the topic of whether it’s even ethical to use website data without permission or a way to opt out.

Many publishers may appreciate it if in the near future, they are given more say on how their content is used, especially by AI products like ChatGPT.

Whether that will happen is unknown at this time.

More resources:

Featured image by Shutterstock/ViDI Studio



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Google’s Mueller Criticizes Negative SEO & Link Disavow Companies

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Google's Mueller Criticizes Negative SEO & Link Disavow Companies

John Mueller recently made strong statements against SEO companies that provide negative SEO and other agencies that provide link disavow services outside of the tool’s intended purpose, saying that they are “cashing in” on clients who don’t know better.

While many frequently say that Mueller and other Googlers are ambiguous, even on the topic of link disavows.

The fact however is that Mueller and other Googlers have consistently recommended against using the link disavow tool.

This may be the first time Mueller actually portrayed SEOs who liberally recommend link disavows in a negative light.

What Led to John Mueller’s Rebuke

The context of Mueller’s comments about negative SEO and link disavow companies started with a tweet by Ryan Jones (@RyanJones)

Ryan tweeted that he was shocked at how many SEOs regularly offer disavowing links.

He tweeted:

“I’m still shocked at how many seos regularly disavow links. Why? Unless you spammed them or have a manual action you’re probably doing more harm than good.”

The reason why Ryan is shocked is because Google has consistently recommended the tool for disavowing paid/spammy links that the sites (or their SEOs) are responsible for.

And yet, here we are, eleven years later, and SEOs are still misusing the tool for removing other kinds of tools.

Here’s the background information about that.

Link Disavow Tool

In the mid 2000’s there was a thriving open market for paid links prior to the Penguin Update in April 2012. The commerce in paid links was staggering.

I knew of one publisher with around fifty websites who received a $30,000 check every month for hosting paid links on his site.

Even though I advised my clients against it, some of them still purchased links because they saw everyone else was buying them and getting away with it.

The Penguin Update caused the link selling boom collapsed.

Thousands of websites lost rankings.

SEOs and affected websites strained under the burden of having to contact all the sites from which they purchased paid links to ask to have them removed.

So some in the SEO community asked Google for a more convenient way to disavow the links.

Months went by and after resisting the requests, Google relented and released a disavow tool.

Google cautioned from the very beginning to only use the tool for disavowing links that the site publishers (or their SEOs) are responsible for.

The first paragraph of Google’s October 2012 announcement of the link disavow tool leaves no doubt on when to use the tool:

“Today we’re introducing a tool that enables you to disavow links to your site.

If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on ‘unnatural links’ pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue.

If you haven’t gotten this notification, this tool generally isn’t something you need to worry about.”

The message couldn’t be clearer.

But at some point in time, link disavowing became a service applied to random and “spammy looking” links, which is not what the tool is for.

Link Disavow Takes Months To Work

There are many anecdotes about link disavows that helped sites regain rankings.

They aren’t lying, I know credible and honest people who have made this claim.

But here’s the thing, John Mueller has confirmed that the link disavow process takes months to work its way through Google’s algorithm.

Sometimes things happen that are not related, no correlation. It just looks that way.

John shared how long it takes for a link disavow to work in a Webmaster Hangout:

“With regards to this particular case, where you’re saying you submitted a disavow file and then the ranking dropped or the visibility dropped, especially a few days later, I would assume that that is not related.

So in particular with the disavow file, what happens is we take that file into account when we reprocess the links kind of pointing to your website.

And this is a process that happens incrementally over a period of time where I would expect it would have an effect over the course of… I don’t know… maybe three, four, five, six months …kind of step by step going in that direction.

So if you’re saying that you saw an effect within a couple of days and it was a really strong effect then I would assume that this effect is completely unrelated to the disavow file. …it sounds like you still haven’t figured out what might be causing this.”

John Mueller: Negative SEO and Link Disavow Companies are Making Stuff Up

Context is important to understand what was said.

So here’s the context for John Mueller’s remark.

An SEO responded to Ryan’s tweet about being shocked at how many SEOs regularly disavow links.

The person responding to Ryan tweeted that disavowing links was still important, that agencies provide negative SEO services to take down websites and that link disavow is a way to combat the negative links.

The SEO (SEOGuruJaipur) tweeted:

“Google still gives penalties for backlinks (for example, 14 Dec update, so disavowing links is still important.”

SEOGuruJaipur next began tweeting about negative SEO companies.

Negative SEO companies are those that will build spammy links to a client’s competitor in order to make the competitor’s rankings drop.

SEOGuruJaipur tweeted:

“There are so many agencies that provide services to down competitors; they create backlinks for competitors such as comments, bookmarking, directory, and article submission on low quality sites.”

SEOGuruJaipur continued discussing negative SEO link builders, saying that only high trust sites are immune to the negative SEO links.

He tweeted:

“Agencies know what kind of links hurt the website because they have been doing this for a long time.

It’s only hard to down for very trusted sites. Even some agencies provide a money back guarantee as well.

They will provide you examples as well with proper insights.”

John Mueller tweeted his response to the above tweets:

“That’s all made up & irrelevant.

These agencies (both those creating, and those disavowing) are just making stuff up, and cashing in from those who don’t know better.”

Then someone else joined the discussion:

Mueller tweeted a response:

“Don’t waste your time on it; do things that build up your site instead.”

Unambiguous Statement on Negative SEO and Link Disavow Services

A statement by John Mueller (or anyone) can appear to conflict with prior statements when taken out of context.

That’s why I not only placed his statements into their original context but also the history going back eleven years that is a part of that discussion.

It’s clear that John Mueller feels that those selling negative SEO services and those providing disavow services outside of the intended use are “making stuff up” and “cashing in” on clients who might not “know better.”

Featured image by Shutterstock/Asier Romero



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Source Code Leak Shows New Ranking Factors to Consider

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Source Code Leak Shows New Ranking Factors to Consider

January 25, 2023, the day that Yandex—Russia’s search engine—was hacked. 

Its complete source code was leaked online. And, it might not be the first time we’ve seen hacking happen in this industry, but it is one of the most intriguing, groundbreaking events in years.

But Yandex isn’t Google, so why should we care? Here’s why we do: these two search engines are very similar in how they process technical elements of a website, and this leak just showed us the 1,922 ranking factors Yandex uses in its algorithm. 

Simply put, this information is something that we can use to our advantage to get more traffic from Google.

Yandex vs Google

As I said, a lot of these ranking factors are possibly quite similar to the signals that Google uses for search.

Yandex’s algorithm shows a RankBrain analog: MatrixNext. It also seems that they are using PageRank (almost the same way as Google does), and a lot of their text algorithms are the same. Interestingly, there are also a lot of ex-Googlers working in Yandex. 

So, reviewing these factors and understanding how they play into search rankings and traffic will provide some very useful insights into how search engines like Google work. No doubt, this new trove of information will greatly influence the SEO market in the months to come. 

That said, Yandex isn’t Google. The chances of Google having the exact same list of ranking factors is low — and Google may not even give that signal the same amount of weight that Yandex does. 

Still, it’s information that potentially will be useful for driving traffic, so make sure to take a look at them here (before it’s scrubbed from the internet forever).

An early analysis of ranking factors

Many of their ranking factors are as expected. These include:

  • Many link-related factors (e.g., age, relevancy, etc.).
  • Content relevance, age, and freshness.
  • Host reliability
  • End-user behavior signals.

Some sites also get preference (such as Wikipedia). FI_VISITS_FROM_WIKI even shows that sites that are referenced by Wikipedia get plus points. 

These are all things that we already know.

But something interesting: there were several factors that I and other SEOs found unusual, such as PageRank being the 17th highest weighted factor in Yandex, and the 19th highest weighted factor being query-document relevance (in other words, how close they match thematically). There’s also karma for likely spam hosts, based on Whois information.

Other interesting factors are the average domain ranking across queries, percent of organic traffic, and the number of unique visitors.

You can also use this Yandex Search Ranking Factor Explorer, created by Rob Ousbey, to search through the various ranking factors.

The possible negative ranking factors:

Here’s my thoughts on Yandex’s factors that I found interesting: 

FI_ADV: -0.2509284637 — this factor means having tons of adverts scattered around your page and buying PPC can affect rankings. 

FI_DATER_AGE: -0.2074373667 — this one evaluates content age, and whether your article is more than 10 years old, or if there’s no determinable date. Date metadata is important. 

FI_COMM_LINKS_SEO_HOSTS: -0.1809636391 — this can be a negative factor if you have too much commercial anchor text, particularly if the proportion of such links goes above 50%. Pay attention to anchor text distribution. I’ve written a guide on how to effectively use anchor texts if you need some help on this. 

FI_RANK_ARTROZ — outdated, poorly written text will bring your rankings down. Go through your site and give your content a refresh. FI_WORD_COUNT also shows that the number of words matter, so avoid having low-content pages.

FI_URL_HAS_NO_DIGITS, FI_NUM_SLASHES, FI_FULL_URL_FRACTION — urls shouldn’t have digits, too many slashes (too much hierarchy), and of course contain your targeted keyword.

FI_NUM_LINKS_FROM_MP — always interlink your main pages (such as your homepage or landing pages) to any other important content you want to rank. Otherwise, it can hurt your content.

FI_HOPS — reduce the crawl depth for any pages that matter to you. No important pages should be more than a few clicks away from your homepage. I recommend keeping it to two clicks, at most. 

FI_IS_UNREACHABLE — likewise, avoid making any important page an orphan page. If it’s unreachable from your homepage, it’s as good as dead in the eyes of the search engine.

The possible positive ranking factors:

FI_IS_COM: +0.2762504972 — .com domains get a boost in rankings.

FI_YABAR_HOST_VISITORS — the more traffic you get, the more ranking power your site has. The strategy of targeting smaller, easier keywords first to build up an audience before targeting harder keywords can help you build traffic.

FI_BEAST_HOST_MEAN_POS — the average position of the host for keywords affects your overall ranking. This factor and the previous one clearly show that being smart with your keyword and content planning matters. If you need help with that, check out these 5 ways to build a solid SEO strategy.

FI_YABAR_HOST_SEARCH_TRAFFIC — this might look bad but shows that having other traffic sources (such as social media, direct search, and PPC) is good for your site. Yandex uses this to determine if a real site is being run, not just some spammy SEO project.

This one includes a whole host of CTR-related factors. 

CTR ranking factors from Yandex

It’s clear that having searchable and interesting titles that drive users to check your content out is something that positively affects your rankings.

Google is rewarding sites that help end a user’s search journey (as we know from the latest mobile search updates and even the Helpful Content update). Do what you can to answer the query early on in your article. The factor “FI_VISITORS_RETURN_MONTH_SHARE“ also shows that it helps to encourage users to return to your site for more information on the topics they’re interested in. Email marketing is a handy tool here.

FI_GOOD_RATIO and FI_MANY_BAD — the percentage of “good” and “bad” backlinks on your site. Getting your backlinks from high-quality websites with traffic is important for your rankings. The factor FI_LINK_AGE also shows that adding a link-building strategy to your SEO as early as possible can help with your rankings.

FI_SOCIAL_URL_IS_VERIFIED — that little blue check has actual benefits now. Links from verified accounts have more weight.

Key Takeaway

Yandex and Google, being so similar to each other in theory, means that this data leak is something we must pay attention to. 

Several of these factors may already be common knowledge amongst SEOs, but having them confirmed by another search engine enforces how important they are for your strategy.

These initial findings, and understanding what it might mean for your website, can help you identify what to improve, what to scrap, and what to focus on when it comes to your SEO strategy. 

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