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SEO Copywriting: How to Write Content For People and Optimize For Google

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One of the biggest challenges that bloggers and content marketers face is writing content that’s optimized for search engines, yet will also appeal to people.

If you want to build your blog audience, you’re going to have to get smarter with your content. The principal way to accomplish this is SEO copywriting.

Though SEO may sound complicated, it’s easier than you think; especially if you understand that writing for people, and not search engines, is a best practice.

To thrive, your online business must go beyond simply “writing content.” Your content needs to accomplish two goals:

  1. solve a particular problem
  2. appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.),

How do you create content that meets those goals? How do you create content that ranks well with Google and also persuades people? That’s what SEO copywriting is all about. Don’t worry if you can’t afford an expensive SEO copywriter. You can do it on your own following simple rules.

What Is SEO?

We all know what happens when you type a search query into a search engine and hit “enter”: You get a list of search results that are relevant to your search term.

Those results pages appear as a result of search engine optimization (SEO).

In a nutshell, SEO is a method of optimizing the effectiveness of your content for the search engines, in order to help it rank higher than content from other sites that target the same search terms.

SEO proces - SEO copywriting

Step by step, then, SEO is when:

  1. You research keywords …
  2. Then select a particular keyword and …
  3. Use that keyword to write content …
  4. Which other people then read and share on Twitter, Facebook, their own blogs and other social media platforms.

According to Redevolution, Google displays web pages in their search results based on the authority and relevance of the page to enhance the user experience. How does it measure authority and relevance?

  • Google determines the relevance of your page by analyzing its content based on several factors, including where and how often you use certain words in that piece of content.
  • Google measures authority by the number of links pointing to that page and how trustworthy those links are.

On the internet, links are like votes, with a slight difference. The winner of the election is determined solely by the number of votes, whereas your web page’s rank doesn’t depend so much on how many incoming links it has (quantity), but rather on the quality of those links. You and your marketing team need to understand this.

Quality has become the #1 ranking factor in Google, especially since the Google Panda and Penguin updates.

If you want more information on SEO, check out The Beginner’s Guide To SEO and The Advanced Guide To SEO.

Understanding Copywriting

Copywriting is the art and science of creating content that prompts the reader/end-user to either buy a product, subscribe to a list, take a test drive, or take some other action that will improve your.appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.),

Copywriting is salesmanship, says Bruce Bendinger. His definition of copywriting will make you smile:

SEO copy writing - quote about what copywriting is

Who drives a user to take action? A copywriter does. A copywriter is a skilled professional who writes copy for advertisements, promotions, and customer engagement. In the marketing world, they’re often referred to as “creatives.” An SEO copywriter tailors this to online content.

A copywriter is someone who understands people, knows what his audience likes and chooses the words that will appeal to them. The headline, words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs used in the content have to persuade and cause readers to take a specific action. An SEO copywriter also understand how Google feels about certain words and phrases, especially long tail phrases.

If you’re a blogger, freelance writer, or online business entrepreneur, you can become a sought-after copywriter when you develop your creativity and perfect your writing skills.

If you want to build a thriving online business and survive in the everchanging world of SEO, your job is to create useful content that’s interesting, persuasive, and well-optimized for search engines; and you have to do it consistently. That is part of the user experience, getting new fresh content on demand.

changing world of SEO copywriting

What is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting has evolved, since Google started rolling out their updates.

If you want to create highly useful content that ranks well in Google and simultaneously funnels paying clients or customers to your online business, you must think about the components of Google’s Ranking Algorithm.

components of Google's ranking algorithm - seo copywriting

SEO copywriting is all about creating useful, compelling, and valuable content that targets specific keywords so that other people will gladly promote it on social media platforms.

This increases the authority and relevance of your content and improves its ranking in Google for the selected keywords. So when you highly recommend something, Google sees it relevant and you will achieve greater SEO content results.

SEO copywriting helps you target your customers and solve their specific problems with well-crafted content.

target customers - SEO copywriting

Six Elements of SEO Copywriting

Certain elements of valuable content, such as visual appeal and timeliness, are the hallmarks of copywriting grace.

Implementing SEO best practices consistently throughout your content will naturally push your content to the Google top 10 and increase your traffic.

SEO copywriting. - keywords on first page of Google

However, there are elements that will always enable you to rank highly in Google, as well as increase your conversion rate. Before you implement the elements of SEO copywriting, remember that there are things that should come before on-page optimization.

Here are the 6 elements of SEO copywriting that matter:

1) Site Speed

A study by Akamai revealed these stats:

  1. 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to fully load.
  2. 47% of end users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.

Site speed has been a ranking factor since 2010 and it’s good for users, too. If your load time is more than 2 seconds, which is the standard load time for sites, then you should take steps to improve it.

That’s because if your content is useful and interesting, but it takes a long time for your page to load fully, your visitors will leave, because their attention span is short. They leave because of a bad user experience.

How do you measure your site load time? Follow these basic steps — I’ll use Psychology Today as an example:

Step one: Use Pingdom’s website speed test.

tool to measure site speed - seo copywriting

Step two: Analyze your site speed.

results of website speed - seo copywriting

You see that Psychology Today is fast. The load time is 770 milliseconds, beating the standard load time by 0.03 seconds.

Step three: Check the history. You want to determine the previous load times for your site.

page speed history - seo copywriting

In our example, the history shows that Psychology Toda≥≤≤÷y had a load time of 2.58 seconds on January 10, 2015. The page size was 1.6 MB at the time. Today, the page size has been reduced to 1.5 MB and the load time improved to 770 milliseconds. This is what SEO firms check first and so should you.

Go ahead and check your site load time using Pingdom.

If you want to improve your site speed, read these step-by-step guides:

Does site speed lead to improved conversion rates? Yes it does.

This case study reveals how Smashing Magazine experienced an impressive boost in their conversion rate when they cleared their database of all of the clutter that old plugins had created, then merged all of the databases into one.

case study - seo copywriting

2) Headline

Your content may be valuable, but if your headline is mediocre, your click-through rate will be low. Don’t waste valuable SEO copy.

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. —David Ogilvy

For the most success, bloggers should spend about six hours per post. Tasks that should be performed in those six hours include creating content, monitoring social signals and consumer reactions, tracking analysis, etc.

How much time do you spend crafting the perfect headline?

time spend on headlines - seo copywriting

In SEO copywriting, your headline should attract people’s attention, then prompt them to click and read further.

As you learn to become a better writer, focus on the things your leads will see first. Such as the headline.

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When you rank in Google’s top 10, if your headline is clickable and attractive, it doesn’t really matter whether you rank #1 or #4, because you will still attract organic visitors to your site. As a rule of thumb, a successful SEO copywriter creates the headline before moving on to the body of your article or blog post.

Note: Headlines that convey a specific message or idea work best with search users. According to Conversion XL, headlines with numbers are always winners. If it makes sense, include a figure in the headline.

headline preferences - seo copywriting

Several authority content sites use numbers in their headlines. Three out of 5 of Lifehack’s posts have headlines that use numbers. Sites like Inc, BusinessWeek, Mashable, and Upworthy all understand the psychology behind numbers.

numbered headlines - seo copywriting

Headlines that have numbers in them usually get shared more on Facebook and Twitter as well. For example, one of the most popular posts on HubSpot is a number-type headline.

example shares for headline with numbers - seo copywriting

Generate article ideas: If you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about, you can use the Inbound Now tool to generate blog post/article ideas before you hire that SEO copywriter.

example blog post title generator - seo copywriting

There are several resources for writing click-worthy and sharable headlines. To demonstrate, let’s write some fresh headlines in three popular industries: small business, fitness, and relationships.

Clickable and optimized small business headlines:

  • 7 Small Business Trends That Will Affect Your Sales
  • How To Start a Small Business That Customers Will Love
  • Small Business Funding: How To Raise $20,000 In 60 Days

SEO and user-friendly fitness headlines:

  • 10 Workout Secrets For Women That Work
  • Best Way To Lose 10 Pounds After Pregnancy
  • Personal Trainer Kits: Become a Certified Personal Trainer

Well-optimized and catchy “relationship” headlines:

  • 3 Funny Ways To Get Your Ex-Boyfriend Back
  • How To Renew Your Love Life with Your Spouse
  • What Does It Take To Have a Fabulous Wedding?

Analyzing the search engine results: Let’s say that we do a search in Google for “save money.” You can see that most search results are SEO-friendly (and target a keyword), but some of the headlines themselves are not attractive to the user. Adding a long tail to the title might help for those with specific inquiries.

headlines in SERPs - seo copywriting

New and experienced SEO copywriters highly recommend downloading Yoast SEO as a WordPress plugin to help optimize SEO copy. Once you learn SEO copywriting, you can write content that will both rank highly in Google result pages and also attract clicks from prospective customers or clients.

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Note: If you want your whole title to be visible in search engine results, keep it under 72 characters. This will also increase your click-through rates.

3) Content

The content itself is a vital element of SEO copywriting. The major reason why people conduct searches in Google and other search engines is that they’re looking for useful content. Search engines also feed on fresh SEO content, which is why you must consistently update your site.

Marcus Sheridan grew his swimming pool company from less than 10,000 to 80,000 monthly visitors; within 6 months and he grew his organic traffic by blogging 2 -3 times a week.

fresh content - seo copywriting

When Marcus began to target long-tail keywords in his blog posts, everything changed. He said that “within hours of writing an article with specific keyword goals, we were showing up on the first page of Google.”

keyword goals - seo copywriting

If you want to write the best content that will rank well in Google, you have to target keyword phrases. Avoid stuffing keywords or over-optimization. Ideally, put the keyword in your headline, but make sure that it reads smoothly for your readers.

The Google Panda 4.1 update was designed to penalize “thin” or shallow content, by keeping lousy content from ranking highly in Google. A typical blog post or article should be at least 1000 words. But, it’s not all about length, because several detailed articles still struggle to rank and retain their position in Google results pages.

Before you write your SEO content, it’s essential to understand your reader. Then, niche down and focus on a particular problem that the reader is struggling with. Dare to solve that problem with your content – that’s another goal of combining SEO and copywriting.

Every piece of content you write needs a compelling introduction. The introduction is the portion that comes right after the headline (and sub-headline if you include one in your content). Your introduction should contain at least one of your targeted keyword phrases, especially a long tail keyword.

However, it’s crucial to understand that modern SEO copywriting has gone beyond keyword targeting and placement. The best approach now is to write content that addresses keyword intent. You will learn about that later on…

4) Meta Description

Before writing your content and again, before publishing it, use meta descriptions to help guide search engines. Meta descriptions help search engines and searchers understand what the topic is and why your targeted keywords and phrases keep appearing in the content. This is where SEO firms earn their money, only because they understand this.

Moz noted that the meta description is the HTML attribute that provides a “concise explanation” to the search engines of your page’s content. The tag is enclosed with the <head> section </head> on your web page. This is the code sample:

meta descriptions - seo copywriting

Google uses the meta description on your page as a snippet when people search for keywords that are relevant to your page. This snippet copy is what will determine whether or not you get clicks, no matter how highly you rank in the search results.

For SEO purposes, the meta description should be 150 – 160 characters and usually appears like this in Google:

meta description in google - seo copywriting

Note: If you own a WordPress blog, you can install the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin and use it to set up your title, meta description, and relevant keywords. If you’re new to blogging, this guide will help you set up the plugin.

How do you write meta descriptions that catch people’s attention, as well as rank well in Google?

Step #1: Understand keyword intent. Keyword intent is the main purpose or reason behind keywords (whether seed or long-tail keywords).

For example, say you’re a social media consultant and you want to attract clients to your business. Then, your primary keyword might be “social media expert advice.”

When prospective clients type that keyword into Google search, what do you think they’re really interested in?

What they want is clear – a social media expert with advice on how they can move their online or brick-and-mortar business to the next level.

Maybe they want more Twitter followers, greater engagement or tips on how to acquire more leads. Your meta description has to be relevant and appeal to them.

Step #2: Once your article or blog post has been written, the next thing is to write your meta description. Swell Path recommends you follow this checklist:

example of meta description - seo copywriting

To demonstrate, let’s put the tips to work by writing two meta descriptions that are SEO-friendly and relevant to our target audience.

a) Begin with a question: Looking for expert social media tips to acquire new leads, convert visitors to customers, and improve your brand? First, set a definite goal.

Length – 141 characters.

b) State the obvious: Many companies have given up on social media marketing, because they don’t know what to do. All you need is expert advice that has produced success.

Length – 148 characters.

Note: You don’t necessarily need to include your exact keywords in your meta description, especially when it doesn’t flow smoothly. I’ve seen a lot of web pages rank in Google’s top 10 without the main keywords.

example meta description in SERPs - seo copywriting

5) Keyword Frequency

Keyword frequency means how many times your chosen keywords appear on the web page.

For example, if your target keyword is “best london hotels,” how many times will this exact keyword phrase appear in your 300, 500 or 1000+ word article? In contrast, keyword density is concerned with the ratio of “best london hotels,” to other words on the same page.

Keyword frequency and density are no longer as effective as they used to be, before Google started rolling out frequent updates, but are still important parts of SEO content. Avoid on-page optimization mistakes, like keyword stuffing, excessive keyword insertion and header tag stuffing.

However, keyword density still impacts organic ranking to some extent. According to Brian Dean, keyword density/frequency is one of the 200 ranking factors, which means that you should still consider it. But, don’t go overboard.

Here’s what Brian Clark had to say about it:

The only way to tell if your repetition of keywords is super or spammy is to measure that frequency against the overall length of the content. A keyword density greater than 5.5% could make you guilty of keyword stuffing and your page could be penalized by Google. You don’t need to mindlessly repeat keywords to optimize. In fact, if you do, you’re likely to achieve the opposite result.

To check your keyword density, use the SEObook keyword density tool.

check keyword density - seo copywriting

6) Page Links

Links are the basic building blocks of your web page. One of the 10 things Google knows to be true is that “there’s always more information out there.”

Page links tell Google that you’re connected and sociable and that you’ve got useful content that people can access somewhere else. This content could be your own or it could be from another author or site.

Linking out to other authority sites and pages is an indication that you value what other people create. Google will reward you for being in sync with their mission: organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible. A good marketing team would highly recommend to appropriately link.

google's mission - seo copywriting

What copywriters usually do is to find appropriate keywords, research accurate data and then use both to craft irresistible content. That’s why copywriting is one of the fundamental factors of search engine optimization.

The rules for linking out to other sites are not set in stone. There are also no hard and fast rules for internal linking. However, as a smart online marketer who wants to achieve tremendous results in the search engines, you should:

  • Link to relevant pages within and outside your site in your introduction
  • Link to more in-depth guides or content on your page or other sites
  • Link with appropriate anchor text, which flows naturally with the content

As I said earlier, these rules are not set by Google or other search engines. If you can understand your target audience and you produce the best content that will solve your readers’ problems, you don’t need to worry about keyword density, page links, and social signals, because they will occur naturally.

Remember that the goals of highly useful content include thousands of social shares, comments, leads, clients, and sales. This is your job as the SEO copywriter.

SEO Copywriting Tools and Resources: To fully understand and implement SEO copywriting best practices, you need viable tools and resources. Here are some that I recommend:

Unsuck-it: This is a free web app that you can use to make your words, sentences, and paragraphs flow smoothly. You can replace jargon with fun words in five seconds.

replace jargon with fun words - seo copywriting

RhymeZone: A lot of people love reading poetry and admire poets. Use this handy tool to make your copy appealing to the right audience.

Read-Able: This simple tool helps you optimize your content for 7th – 8th grade level. This ensures that a wider audience will enjoy your content and click the headline when it shows up in Google results pages.

Live-Keyword-Analysis: Use this free SEO tool to accurately calculate the keyword density ratio for a piece of content.

Kill Writer’s Block: Highly recommend this tool to generate creative ideas for your next blog post.

Quick Sprout: Find out why you’re not generating enough traffic from Google, even when your long-tail keywords are ranking highly.

EMV Headline Analyzer: How much does your headline appeal to your readers’ emotions? I highly recommend this free tool to analyze your headline and give you a score.

emotional marketing tool - seo copywrting

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List – this one is self-explanatory.

For a list of other resources and tools that are useful for SEO copywriting, check out Writtent.

Copywriting optimization points: Search engine rankings can’t be predicted, no matter how knowledgeable you are, because Google is always updating their ranking algorithm. If you plan on hiring an SEO firm to create CEO copy, realize they are subject to a changing game as well.

However, there are actions that you can take to increase the likelihood of your web page showing up in Google for relevant search queries. Let’s explore those factors:

Title tags: It’s a good idea to know how to write title tags for search engine optimization. Again, Yoast SEO can help here. The title tag is a meta HTML tag, like the meta description we saw earlier. It is like the title of a book. It’s the first thing that appears in Google search results.

example title tags - seo copywriting

The title tag should be a concise and accurate description of your web page. Google will display 50 – 60 characters of your title in their search results. As well as thinking about length, write titles that will align with your brand.

Moz does highly recommend that the optimal format for your title is: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

For example: Learn CSS online – CSS formatting Tips | WebDesignClub

optimal format for title tag - seo coopywriting

Heading tags: The heading tags are labeled h1 – h6. The heading tags will enlarge your font size and make it stand out. When you write content, it should be well structured for readers.

header levels - seo copywriting

Optimizing your title: This is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure that your title ranks in Google, as well as attracting an audience. This screenshot of the Moz resource on title tags helps you optimize your titles effectively:

screenshot on how optimize title tags - seo copywriting

Writing Useful Content For People

Words are powerful. Words drive engagement. If you can piece words together to produce a valuable piece of content, your target audience will love you for it — and they’ll stick around. There is no alternative to writing great content.

The number of blogs that produce fresh content daily is ever-growing. Remember that duplicate content, keyword-stuffed content and low-quality content will not help your target audience. This is not a good SEO content strategy and can’t be emphasized enough. It also won’t do a thing to improve your organic ranking.

example of how many blogs were written today - seo copywriting

One study shows that even if your content is useful, it still needs three additional elements in order to drive organic traffic:

  1. optimize for many keywords with lots of searches
  2. gain a reasonable number of trusted backlinks
  3. write about an evergreen idea/topic

That’s how Brian Dean increased organic traffic by 110% in 14 days.

increase organic traffic - seo copywriting

Keyword Research

Keyword research is still necessary. The most important aspect of any keyword used by search users is the intent. Before you can write great content that solves a particular problem, you’ve got to know what each keyword stands for.

Don’t forget to pay attention to keyword classification. In other words, understand whether search users want to buy a product or not.

There are two important keyword classifications: informational and commercial keywords.

keyword classification - seo copywriting

Informational keywords: The major reason why people search with these is that they want useful information without having to pay for it.

Informational keywords are usually “how-to” in nature. Here’s an example from Ubersuggest:

"how to" keywords - seo copywriting

Of the seven keywords on this list, five of them begin with “how-to.”

These are informational because the searchers are probably only interested in free articles, videos, blog posts and lessons.

As an SEO copywriter, you can write useful content around informational keywords, but don’t expect to convert readers into customers, because most of them don’t want to buy. Instead, use informational keywords in your content to nurture an audience, engage them and build your brand.

Commercial keywords: Commercial keywords show an ‘intent’ to buy. These keywords usually show “desperation” from the searcher. They want solutions quickly – e.g., “lose 10 pounds in 3 days.”

The person searching for commercial keywords is likely going to buy a product, or sign up to an email list that will eventually convert them into customers.

The fact that someone typed a commercial keyword into Google means the person is ready to take action. Commercial keywords usually contain certain prefixes and suffixes, like reviews, buy, order, review, comparison, compare, free shipping, best, fast, etc. See this example in the weight loss niche:

Examples of commercial keywords from this list include lose weight gnc product, gnc product to lose weight, herbalife weight lose product, and herbalife product to lose weight.

Note: When you write content around commercial keywords, the ultimate goal is to provide useful information on how to use the product, its benefits and features and how to install it, if that’s required.

Should you target keywords? Yes. Google still uses keywords to gauge what a particular web page is about. Use caution and avoid over-optimization.

I follow a 3-step plan when targeting keywords in my content.

  1. I include the primary keyword in the headline. For example, if my keyword is: conversion rate optimization. My headline may be, “7 Ways To Make Conversion Rate Optimization Work For You.”
  2. I use alternative keywords in the introduction, meta description, and title tags. For example, What is the best way to increase your conversion rate with every blog post that you write? You know how important this is, especially when it seems as though your best content isn’t generating organic traffic, social shares, and sales.
  3. I write naturally to please my readers and then deliberately include the primary keyword in the conclusion.
generating traffic.- seo copywriting

Storytelling

As an SEO copywriter, storytelling can set you apart, because human beings love good stories. If you can weave your brand story into your blog post, article or video, you will attract more attention.

Brand storytelling is not something new. Several brands have used it in the past and still do. According to Kristen Matthews, when you use natural storytelling in your content, you can make the maximum impact on the reader.

I’ve shared the story of how a Ferrari made me a million bucks. I also wrote a blog post on how spending $162,301.42 on clothes made me $692,500. So far, the two posts have been shared more than thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ combined.

spending money makes money - seo copywriting

A great example of a successful brand story is The Lego Movie. According to Marcus Sheridan, who is also a great storyteller, “Lego doesn’t sell ‘blocks’ at all, they sell possibilities.”

(Read the full story here: The Best Example of Brand Storytelling Ever: The Lego Movie.)

brand story telling- seo copywriting

In other words, your story should show others the possibility of achieving the same results. Your story shouldn’t be about you alone, however. Instead, find a way to make it appealing to your target audience.

That’s when brand storytelling will help improve your organic ranking, traffic and sales conversions.

Use Humor

One of the reasons why you should write with humor is to keep the reader/audience engaged. You can also infuse humor to simplify an uncomfortable or controversial topic.

SEO copywriting is not just about writing useful content that solves a particular problem in a boring manner. Your content also has to excite your readers.

They should be excited to click your headline, read the introduction and then move slowly down the body. That’s what it means to write persuasively. If you can do that, it doesn’t matter what you create: people will love it. Whatever you highly recommend, they will buy.

Here’s an example. A professional blogger and public speaker who usually adds humor to her content is Marie Forleo. Each of her video intros always entertains me.

using humor - seo copywriting

Use Case Studies

Case studies are one of the 15 types of content that will drive more traffic to your site. Case studies can make for powerful content. I’ve seen them rank in Google’s top 10 several times, because they’re highly useful.

A study at Content Marketing Institute shows that B2B buyers prefer case studies and research-based content.

content types - seo copywriting

If you consistently write useful and detailed case studies, your major long-tail keywords will start showing up in Google’s top 10 for relevant keywords.

ideal content length - seo copywriting

Case studies usually explain what your products and services are. A good case study will show the experiments, research studies and interviews that you conducted, as well as the results that you got. An SEO firm can help in analytics but isn’t absolutely necessary.

You can share any type of case study, even ones that didn’t get the results you hoped for. If you want to create a valuable and optimized case study, this screenshot will guide you:

create a case study - seo copywriting

Keyword Research for Content Creation

The first five sites that come up in a google search get 67.6% of the clicks.

More than 66% of all clicks go to the top 3 search engine results. If you want to tap into this rare opportunity to rank in the top 5 positions, then you should learn keyword research best practices.

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Long-tail keywords are the best way to go in modern SEO because top brands are not targeting those terms. And, if you can produce good content while naturally targeting these types of keywords, you will definitely dominate the search engines.

popular keywords vs. long tail search traffic

SEO isn’t complete without keyword research. That’s part of how you determine the mindset and intent of your target audience. Long tails help define that mindset.

In niche marketing, picking the right keywords is the most challenging aspect of building a profitable niche site.

Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to find relevant keywords in that industry. Let’s find keywords for “waterproof digital cameras.”

Go to Ubersuggest. Plug the topic into the search box, then click “Search.”

find keywords for specific topics - seo copywriting

Here’s what the search returns:

keyword research - seo copywriting
  • Search volume – number of searches the keyword has during a month
  • SEO difficulty – estimated competition in organic search
  • Paid difficulty – estimated competition in paid search
  • Cost per click – average cost per click for a Google Ad

You’re also provided an overview of what it takes, on average, in terms of backlinks and domain score, to reach the first page of Google for the keyword. This is located above a chart displaying the keyword search volume over the past 12 month period. Pay close attention to any dips in traffic. For this particular keyword, it’s natural for volume to drop off during the fall and winter months.

As you scroll down the page, you’ll find a list of long-tail keywords that we can optimize our content for:

From this list, “best waterproof digital cameras” is a good choice, as the search volume is still high enough to move the needle.

Optimizing content for search robots: Search engine robots or web robots (e.g. crawlers, spiders and so on) are programs that constantly scour the web.

When a Google spider crawls your web page, it’s looking for fresh content. Some people even say that spiders/crawlers feed on fresh content and will reward you for freshly updating your site regularly.

However, understand that when Google spiders index (add your fresh content to their search database), they’re only interested in the meta tags (title tag and meta description).

More importantly, they want to know the keywords that you’re targeting. This helps Google determine the industry your content will benefit, e.g., health, business, small business, internet marketing, etc.

For best results, you should optimize for search robots like this:

  • add the primary keyword in your title tag and meta description
  • add alternative keywords in your introduction and make sure that it flows well; if the keyword doesn’t flow well, ignore it and just write naturally.

Keywords like “best seo web design NY” won’t work in the title tag, description and content. The best approach is to use the keyword naturally, like this:

How To Find The Best SEO Firm and Web Design In NY

On-Page SEO Copywriting

On-page SEO doesn’t have to be tedious or complicated. A lot of posts have been written to address this topic.

Elements that add value to your site, such as internal links, are very important.

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You control 98% of what happens within your site.

That’s why Google pays attention to your web pages and measures the engagement, bounce rate, retention rate, and social shares.

The foundation of an effective SEO campaign is what happens in-house (on your site). In other words, pay attention to how you target your keywords, which anchor is used to link internal pages, meta tags, etc.

This on-page optimization infographic from Backlinko will show you what matters when it comes to creating SEO-friendly content pages.

on-page seo infographic - seo copywriting

Off-page Optimization

In today’s digital marketing, the public determines how relevant and useful your content is. And, Google uses off-page factors to gauge the authority and value of your content pages.

Generally, you can’t control what happens outside your site. For example, you don’t control who links to you and you don’t control the quality of sites that choose to reference your work.

If you’re smart, you can use off-page SEO techniques to build a solid brand online and increase organic traffic.

According to Chris Ainsworth, the 5 proven off-page SEO strategies that work well are:

  1. Build and engage a raving community through social media
  2. Expose your business and take advantage of local SEO
  3. Instill brand confidence through business reviews
  4. Promote local citation and Name/Address/Phone (NAP) consistency
  5. Link building through blogging, guest posting, competitor link analysis, blog outreach, networking, and dofollow blog commenting.

Getting People to Act Through SEO Copywriting

The final piece of the puzzle in this in-depth article is “persuasion” — the ability of your copy to drive people to action. This isn’t difficult, because there are many high-quality resources and tools that you can use.

Copy is written to sell a product, service, or idea. It all begins with selling yourself, because you’ve only got a maximum of 30 seconds to sell yourself and leave people wanting more.

One of the ways to push people into action is to highlight the key points of your content or topic using bullet points. Before you write blog posts or articles, Vivian Giang recommends you list 3 or 4 strong benefits that you will cover. This is very important, as it also helps you create powerful headlines and paragraphs.

Derek Halpern, founder of Social Triggers, a giant SEO firm, combines the power of psychology and copywriting to produce compelling content. He also employs the same strategy on his landing page.

landing page - seo copywriting

Create Irresistible and Valuable Headlines

Columbia University recognized headlines as the most important element of copy. They advise that you think like a reader and write the headline first. The headline should target a keyword and also look attractive.

Let’s craft more clickable headlines, using some of the results in Google. When I search for “diet plans,” here are the results I get:

clickable headlines - seo copywriting

The screenshot above shows the headlines showing up at #1 and #2 in Google for the keyword “diet plans.”

Original headline: Weight Loss & Diet Plans – Find Healthy Diet Plans And…

Here’s a much better headline: The Best Diet Plans To Help You Stay Fit

Original headline: 28-Day Fat-Burning Diet and Meal Plan | Muscle & Fitness

Let’s make the headline more compelling and useful: 28-Day Diet Plans That Will Help You Burn Fat

BodyBuilding.com has compelling, catchy headlines that are the right length (50 – 60 characters) and target a particular keyword.

example headlines - seo copywriting

Have Clarity of Purpose

Getting clear with your copy, blog post and message is very important. Wider Funnel increased their conversion rate from 10% to 277%, just by implementing clearer call-to-action buttons and reducing the number of form fields.

When you write content for your blog, focus on one idea and write your post to address a challenge, solve a problem or explain a complicated issue.

According to Success Consciousness, here are some of the ways that you can achieve clarity of purpose as you write your content:

  1. Know exactly what you want, before you write it — e.g., How to Save $100 in the Grocery Store.
  2. Use the word “you,” when writing for B2C customers and “we,” when your recipients are mostly business organizations.
  3. Research accurate data that are relevant to your topic. This study by Conversion XL shows that using a data-driven approach and creating infographics that have accurate data points will improve social shares.
shares by content type - seo copywriting
  1. Target 2 – 5 keywords in a blog post and ensure they read naturally. See an example below. If you read it aloud, you will notice how the keywords flow smoothly with the rest of the content.
acqure traffic. -seo copywriting

Conclusion

I’ve used these SEO strategies to increase my blog’s traffic by 206%. Even if you don’t achieve the same growth rate, by following these SEO copywriting strategies you are more likely to absolutely generate more traffic, improve your brand, and fall in love with content marketing.

If you want experts to help you with SEO for your website, we’re here to help.

What’s your take on SEO copywriting? Do you think it’s a major factor for online content marketing success?

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Where Are The Advertisers Leaving Twitter Going For The Super Bowl?

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Where Are The Advertisers Leaving Twitter Going For The Super Bowl?

Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter last October 27, 2022, things at the social media company have gone from bad to worse.

You probably saw this coming from a mile away – especially if you had read about a study by Media Matters that was published on November 22, 2022, entitled, “In less than a month, Elon Musk has driven away half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers.”

If you missed that, then you’ve probably read Matt G. Southern’s article in Search Engine Journal, which was entitled, “Twitter’s Revenue Down 40% As 500 Top Advertisers Pull Out.”

This mass exodus creates a challenge for digital advertising executives and their agencies. Where should they go long term?

And what should they do in the short term – with Super Bowl LVII coming up on Sunday, February 12, 2023?

Ideally, these advertisers would follow their audience. If they knew where Twitter users were going, their ad budgets could follow them.

But it isn’t clear where Twitter users are going – or if they’ve even left yet.

Fake Followers On Twitter And Brand Safety

According to the latest data from Similarweb, a digital intelligence platform, there were 6.9 billion monthly visits to Twitter worldwide during December 2022 – up slightly from 6.8 billion in November, and down slightly from 7.0 billion in October.

So, if a high-profile user like Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has taken a step back from the frequent posts on her Twitter account, @wutrain, which has more than 152,000 followers, then it appears that other users have stepped up their monthly visits.

This includes several accounts that had been banned previously for spreading disinformation, which Musk unbanned.

(Disinformation is defined as “deliberately misleading or biased information,” while misinformation may be spread without the sender having harmful intentions.)

It’s also worth noting that SparkToro, which provides audience research software, also has a free tool called Fake Follower Audit, which analyzes Twitter accounts.

This tool defines “fake followers” as ones that are unreachable and will not see the account’s tweets either because they’re spam, bots, and propaganda, or because they’re no longer active on Twitter.

On Jan. 24, 2023, I used this tool and found that 70.2% of the 126.5 million followers of the @elonmusk account were fake.

According to the tool, accounts with a similar-sized following to @elonmusk have a median of 41% fake followers. So, Elon Musk’s account has more fake followers than most.

Screenshot from SparkToro, January 2023

By comparison, 20.6% of the followers of the @wutreain account were fake. So, Michelle Wu’s account has fewer fake followers than accounts with a similar-sized following.

Sparktoro results for fake followersScreenshot from SparkToro, January 2023

In fact, most Twitter accounts have significant numbers of fake followers.

This underlines the brand safety concerns that many advertisers and media buyers have, but it doesn’t give them any guidance on where they should move their ad dollars.

Who Are Twitter’s Top Competitors And What Are Their Monthly Visits?

So, I asked Similarweb if they had more data that might help. And they sent me the monthly visits from desktop and mobile devices worldwide for Twitter and its top competitors:

  • YouTube.com: 34.6 billion in December 2022, down 2.8% from 35.6 billion in December 2021.
  • Facebook.com: 18.1 billion in December 2022, down 14.2% from 21.1 billion in December 2021.
  • Twitter.com: 6.9 billion in December 2022, up 1.5% from 6.8 billion in December 2021.
  • Instagram.com: 6.3 billion in December 2022, down 3.1% from 6.5 billion in December 2021.
  • TikTok.com: 1.9 billion in December 2022, up 26.7% from 1.5 billion in December 2021.
  • Reddit.com: 1.8 billion in December 2022, down 5.3% from 1.9 billion in December 2021.
  • LinkedIn.com: 1.5 billion in December 2022, up 7.1% from 1.4 billion in December 2021.
  • Pinterest.com: 1.0 billion in December 2022, up 11.1% from 0.9 billion in December 2021.

The most significant trends worth noting are monthly visits to TikTok are up 26.7% year over year from a smaller base, while monthly visits to Facebook are down 14.2% from a bigger base.

So, the short-term events at Twitter over the past 90 days may have taken the spotlight off the long-term trends at TikTok and Facebook over the past year for some industry observers.

But based on Southern’s article in Search Engine Journal, “Facebook Shifts Focus To Short-Form Video After Stock Plunge,” which was published on February 6, 2022, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is focused on these trends.

In a call with investors, Zuckerberg said back then:

“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”

Meanwhile, there were 91% more monthly visits to YouTube in December 2022 than there were to Facebook. And that only counts the visits that Similarweb tracks from mobile and desktop devices.

Similarweb doesn’t track visits from connected TVs (CTVs).

Measuring Data From Connected TVs (CTVs) And Co-Viewing

Why would I wish to draw your attention to CTVs?

First, global viewers watched a daily average of over 700 million hours of YouTube content on TV devices, according to YouTube internal data from January 2022.

And Insider Intelligence reported in 2022 that 36.4% of the U.S. share of average time spent per day with YouTube came from connected devices, including Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, and Xfinity Flex, while 49.3% came from mobile devices, and 14.3% came from desktops or laptops.

Second, when people watch YouTube on a connected TV, they often watch it together with their friends, family, and colleagues – just like they did at Super Bowl parties before the pandemic.

There’s even a term for this behavior: Co-viewing.

And advertisers can now measure their total YouTube CTV audience using real-time and census-level surveys in over 100 countries and 70 languages.

This means Heineken and Marvel Studios can measure the co-viewing of their Super Bowl ad in more than 100 markets around the globe where Heineken 0.0 non-alcoholic beer is sold, and/or 26 countries where “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” is scheduled to be released three to five days after the Big Game.

It also enables Apple Music to measure the co-viewing of their Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show during Big Game parties worldwide (except Mainland China, Iran, North Korea, and Turkmenistan, where access to YouTube is currently blocked).

And, if FanDuel has already migrated to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), then the innovative sports-tech entertainment company can not only measure the co-viewing of their Big Game teasers on YouTube AdBlitz in 16 states where sports betting is legal, but also measure engaged-view conversions (EVCs) from YouTube within 3 days of viewing Rob Gronkowski’s attempt to kick a live field goal.

 

Advertisers couldn’t do that in 2022. But they could in a couple of weeks.

If advertisers want to follow their audience, then they should be moving some of their ad budgets out of Facebook, testing new tactics, and experimenting with new initiatives on YouTube in 2023.

Where should the advertisers leaving Twitter shift their budgets long term? And how will that change their Super Bowl strategies in the short term?

According to Similarweb, monthly visits to ads.twitter.com, the platform’s ad-buying portal dropped 15% worldwide from 2.5 million in December 2021 to 2.1 million in December 2022.

So, advertisers were heading for the exit weeks before they learned that 500 top advertisers had left the platform.

Where Did Their Ad Budgets Go?

Well, it’s hard to track YouTube advertising, which is buried in Google’s sprawling ad business.

And we can’t use business.facebook.com as a proxy for interest in advertising on that platform because it’s used by businesses for other purposes, such as managing organic content on their Facebook pages.

But monthly visits to ads.snapchat.com, that platform’s ad-buying portal, jumped 88.3% from 1.6 million in December 2021 to 3.0 million in December 2022.

Monthly visits to ads.tiktok.com are up 36.6% from 5.1 million in December 2021 to 7.0 million in December 2022.

Monthly visits to ads.pinterest.com are up 23.3% from 1.1 million in December 2021 to 1.4 million in December 2022.

And monthly visits to business.linkedin.com are up 14.6% from 5.7 million in December 2021 to 6.5 million in December 2022.

It appears that lots of advertisers are hedging their bets by spreading their money around.

Now, most of them should probably continue to move their ad budgets into Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn – unless the “Chief Twit” can find a way to keep his microblogging service from becoming “a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!

How will advertisers leaving Twitter change their Super Bowl plan this year?

To double-check my analysis, I interviewed Joaquim Salguerio, who is the Paid Media Director at LINK Agency. He’s managed media budgets of over eight figures at multiple advertising agencies.

Below are my questions and his answers.

Greg Jarboe: “Which brands feel that Twitter has broken their trust since Musk bought the platform?”

Joaquim Salguerio: “I would say that several brands will have different reasonings for this break of trust.

First, if you’re an automaker, there’s suddenly a very tight relationship between Twitter and one of your competitors.

Second, advertisers that are quite averse to taking risks with their communications because of brand safety concerns might feel that they still need to be addressed.

Most of all, in a year where we’re seeing mass layoffs from several corporations, the Twitter troubles have given marketing teams a reason to re-evaluate its effectiveness during a time of budget cuts. That would be a more important factor than trust for most brands.

Obviously, there are some famous cases, such as the Lou Paskalis case, but it’s difficult to pinpoint a brand list that would have trust as their only concern.”

GJ: “Do you think it will be hard for Twitter to regain their trust before this year’s Super Bowl?”

JS: “It’s highly unlikely that any brand that has lost trust in Twitter will change its mind in the near future, and definitely not in time for the Super Bowl. Most marketing plans for the event will be finalized by now and recent communications by Twitter leadership haven’t signaled any change in direction.

If anything, from industry comments within my own network, I can say that comments from Musk recently (“Ads are too frequent on Twitter and too big. Taking steps to address both in coming weeks.”) were quite badly received. For any marketers that believe Twitter advertising isn’t sufficiently effective, this pushes them further away.

Brand communications should still occur on Twitter during Super Bowl though – it will have a peak in usage. And advertising verticals that should dominate the advertising space on Twitter are not the ones crossing the platform from their plans.”

GJ: “How do you think advertisers will change their Super Bowl plans around Twitter this year?”

JS: “The main change for advertising plans will likely be for brand comms amplification. As an example, the betting industry will likely be heavily present on Twitter during the game and I would expect little to no change in plans.”

In the FCMG category, though, time sensitivity won’t be as important, which means that social media teams will likely be making an attempt at virality without relying as much on paid dollars.

If budgets are to diverge, they will likely be moved within the social space and toward platforms that will have user discussion/engagement from the Super Bowl (TikTok, Reddit, etc.)”

GJ: “What trends will we see in advertising budget allocation for this year’s Super Bowl?”

Joaquim Salguerio: “We should see budget planning much in line with previous years in all honesty. TV is still the most important media channel on Super Bowl day.

Digital spend will likely go towards social platforms, we predict a growth in TikTok and Reddit advertising around the big day for most brands.

Twitter should still have a strong advertising budget allocated to the platform by the verticals aiming to get actions from users during the game (food delivery/betting/etc.).”

GJ: “Which platforms will benefit from this shift?”

JS: “Likely, we will see TikTok as the biggest winner from a shift in advertising dollars, as the growth numbers are making it harder to ignore the platform as a placement that needs to be in the plan.

Reddit can also capture some of this budget as it has the right characteristics marketers are looking for around the Super Bowl – it’s relevant to what’s happening at the moment and similar demographics.”

GJ: “Do you think advertisers that step away from Twitter for this year’s Big Game will stay away long term?”

JS: “That is impossible to know, as it’s completely dependent on how the platform evolves and the advertising solutions it will provide. Twitter’s proposition was always centered around brand marketing (their performance offering was always known to be sub-par).

Unless brand safety concerns are addressed by brands that decided to step away, it’s hard to foresee a change.

I would say that overall, Super Bowl ad spend on Twitter should not be as affected as it’s been portrayed – it makes sense to reach audiences where audiences are.

Especially if you know the mindset. The bigger issue is what happens when there isn’t a Super Bowl or a World Cup.”

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Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?

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Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?

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

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

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

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

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

Large Language Models Use Website Content Without Attribution

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

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

Hans commented:

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

It’s called a citation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The concerns that Hans expresses are reasonable.

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

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

John answered:

“Yes, without a doubt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OpenAI and Microsoft Sued

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

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

According to an article published in a scholarly journal:

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

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

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

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

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

Background on LLMs and Datasets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Common Crawl Can Be Blocked

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

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

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

How to Block Common Crawl From Your Data

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

The Common Crawl bot is called, CCBot.

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

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

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

User-agent: CCBot
Disallow: /

CCBot crawls from Amazon AWS IP addresses.

CCBot also follows the nofollow Robots meta tag:

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

What If You’re Not Blocking Common Crawl?

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

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

Website Publishers Have Limited Options

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

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

Does that seem fair? The answer is complicated.

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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

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

Google Discover Feed

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to Google:

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

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

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

Updated Guidance for Google Discover Follow Feature

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

The new guidance states:

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

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

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

Google Discover Optimization

Publishers and SEOs are familiar with optimizing for Google Search.

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

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

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

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

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