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What It Is & How It Works

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Canonicalization is the process that search engines use to determine the main version of a page. That is the page that will be indexed and shown to users. The chosen version is canonical, and ranking signals like links will consolidate to that page. This process is sometimes referred to as standardization or normalization.

According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes, ~60% of the internet is duplicate content.

Canonicalization is complex and often misunderstood. I don’t think most of the duplicates are nefarious. It’s mostly going to be technical issues that cause them. We’ll look at this more in a bit. I’m going to talk about how the canonicalization process works as well as:

A lot of different signals go into the canonicalization process. These include:

  • Duplicates
  • Canonical link elements
  • Sitemap URLs
  • Internal links
  • Redirects

Google looks at all the different signals and weighs them to determine what the canonical version should be. That’s the version of the page they will index and what they usually show to users.

A potential scenario when Google decides on the canonical based on internal links and the canonical URL.

A potential scenario when Google decides on the canonical based on internal links and the canonical URL.

Duplicates

With duplicate content, Google will pick a canonical version to index. All the eligible pages form a cluster of pages, and the signals that go to the pages in that cluster will consolidate at the chosen canonical. That canonical may even change over time.

How duplicate signals consolidateHow duplicate signals consolidate

Some SEOs believe there is a duplicate content penalty, but that’s not true. Generally, you’re going to have one version or another indexed. It may not be the version you want to be indexed, but it will be indexed and rank just as well as any other version of the same page.

Here are some examples of what can cause duplicate pages and sometimes canonicalization issues:

  • HTTP and HTTPS variants (e.g., http://www.example.com and https://www.example.com)
  • Non-www and www variants (e.g., http://example.com and http://www.example.com)
  • URLs with and without trailing slashes (e.g., https://example.com/page/ and https://example.com/page)
  • URLs with and without capital letters (e.g., https://example.com/page/ and https://example.com/Page/)
  • Default versions of the page such as index pages (e.g., https://www.example.com/, https://www.example.com/index.htm, https://www.example.com/index.html, https://www.example.com/index.php, https://www.example.com/default.htm, etc.)
  • Alternate versions of pages. This could include mobile versions (e.g., example.com and m.example.com), AMP versions (e.g., example.com/page and amp.example.com/page), print versions (e.g., example.com/page and example.com /page/print), alternate versions meant for other countries but containing the same content (e.g., example.com/en-us/, example.com/en-gb/, example.com/en-au/), or versions in a dev or staging site (e.g., dev.example.com).
  • URL parameters (e.g., example.com?parameter=whatever). These may exist because of tracking codes, faceted navigation, sorting content, session IDs, etc. There are some instances where parameters may change the page’s content so that it’s not a duplicate.
  • Other pages showing the full content. Google may choose the wrong canonical when another page displays the content in full. This may include the main blog page, paginated pages, tag pages, category pages, or feed pages.
  • Scraped or syndicated content. Content syndication best practices generally recommend having a canonical tag back to the original content or at least a link to the original content. That’s because the canonical chosen can be a completely different domain. They try to select the original source as the canonical, but in some cases, they choose the wrong page.

Most of these aren’t usually issues. As I mentioned, Google will usually choose one version or another as the canonical. There are a few exceptions to this.

  1. Sometimes with content syndication, the original source isn’t chosen as the canonical. This is a real problem. How would you feel if someone else started ranking for an article you wrote?
  2. Hreflang does not solve duplication on international sites. Google will generally try to swap to show the correct version, but it’s not guaranteed, and this setup often breaks. When this happens, users see pages from the wrong country. It’s best to avoid having the same content on multiple pages for international websites.
  3. With some JavaScript sites (typically app shell models), the initial code for the pages can look like other pages or even the code from other websites. Sometimes these pages get canonicalized to other pages on the same or even different websites.

I believe part of the problem with both hreflang and the JavaScript content is that Google may be running the duplicate detection via crawl algorithms that detect duplication patterns, again after just seeing the code, and yet again after rendering the pages.

Google’s render path marked up where I believe duplicate detection systems are run.Google’s render path marked up where I believe duplicate detection systems are run.

Google’s render path marked up where I believe duplicate detection systems are run.

Google’s render path marked up where I believe duplicate detection systems are run.

With the pages using hreflang, if they decide that the pages are duplicates without crawling them, they may not be able to swap them properly.

Before a page is even rendered, it may “look” like another page based on the HTML content. Google may choose the canonical based on this initial version and may not prioritize it for rendering because it’s already deemed a duplicate page. This usually resolves itself after rendering, but it can take some time to clear up.

Google has a couple of rules they generally follow when it comes to canonicalization of duplicates.

1. They prefer HTTPS pages over HTTP pages

They will generally index the HTTPS version, but there are a few issues or conflicting signals that may cause them to choose the HTTP version instead, such as:

  • Having an invalid security certificate
  • HTTPS page links to HTTP resources on the page (excludes images)
  • HTTPS redirecting to HTTP
  • HTTPS page having a rel=“canonical” link element pointing to the HTTP page

2. They prefer shorter URLs over longer URLs

This has been misconstrued over the years by SEOs to say that all your URLs should be shorter. But that’s not what was meant by the original statement. What Google said was that if you had, for instance, a clean short version of a URL and a longer version with parameters attached, they would generally choose the shorter version of the URL without the parameter as the canonical version.

Canonical link element

This is also commonly referred to as a canonical tag. It looks like this:

<link rel=”canonical” https://www.example.com />

The canonical tag is sometimes referred to as a hint because it’s just one canonicalization signal. Google ignores it if other signals are stronger.

If the canonical tag is respected, all signals like links will pass. However, if the canonical is ignored, no value is passed. The value isn’t lost; it stays with the original page or goes to whatever page Google chooses as the canonical.

A canonical link element can be implemented in two different ways. It can be in the <head> section or the HTTP header.

A fun anecdote. Google’s SEO Starter Guide used to be a PDF. They didn’t have a canonical tag set in the HTTP header, and people used to “steal” the listing with their own duplicate version.

Sometimes the <head> section of a page will end before it should. This is usually caused by a tag in the <head> not closed out properly. When that happens, a canonical tag may be put into the <body> section instead. If that happens, your canonical tag won’t be respected.

Invalid canonical tag located in the<body></noscript><img class=

Invalid canonical tag located in the <body> section

Sitemap URLs

The URLs you include in your sitemap are also a canonicalization signal. Most of the time, you only want to include URLs of pages that you want to be indexed.

There are some exceptions to this because sitemap URLs also help with crawling. After a website migration, you should create a sitemap that still lists the old pages, even though they aren’t canonical. This will help the redirects be processed faster. You’ll want to delete this sitemap after most of the redirects have been picked up and processed.

Internal links

It matters how you link to pages. Internal links are another canonicalization signal.

Generally, you should link to the version of a page you want to be canonical and update the links to any URLs that may have changed. However, there are exceptions to this, such as with faceted navigation. In some cases like this, what is best for users may trump what is best for SEO.

Redirects

There are several different types of redirects, and they’re all canonicalization signals. They pass PageRank and help determine which URL gets shown in Google’s index.

301s and 308s send signals forward to the new URL. 302s and some 307s send signals backwards to the redirected URL. If a 302 is left in place long enough or the URL it’s redirected to already exists, it may be treated as a 301 and send signals forward instead. It requires enough signals to flip the scale we saw earlier for canonicalization signals. As links build up, internal links are changed, sitemap URLs are updated, etc., more signals point to the new URL than the old URL, and the flip occurs.

At some point the scale flips for 302sAt some point the scale flips for 302s

At some point the scale flips for 302s

A 307 has two different cases. In cases where it’s a temporary redirect, it will be treated the same as a 302 and attempt to consolidate backward. When web servers require clients to only use HTTPS connections (HSTS policy), Google won’t see the 307 because it’s cached in the browser. The initial hit (without cache) will have a server response code that’s likely a 301 or a 302. But your browser will show you a 307 for subsequent requests.

There are also other types of redirects like those implemented with JavaScript. These are also canonicalization signals and pass the full value just like other redirects as long as they can be seen and processed by Google. They’re fine to use in most cases.

How to check the canonical

Your main source of truth for what Google chose as the canonical will be the URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console. Enter the URL, and it will show what the declared canonical is and what Google chose as the canonical.

The declared and Google-selected canonical via Google Search ConsoleThe declared and Google-selected canonical via Google Search Console

If you don’t have access to Google Search Console, the recommended way to check the version of a page Google has indexed is to paste the URL into Google. The top result is usually the canonical.

Similarly, if you check the cached version of a page in Google and a different page is shown, Google has selected a different version of the page.

Warning: Don’t use site: searches for checking canonicals. It shows what Google knows about, not necessarily what’s indexed or the selected canonical.

Within Site Audit, we show many issues related to canonicalization. Keep in mind that we’re flagging best practices in most cases. Because the canonical is a hint, Google and other search engines will have to choose which version of a page to index.

Canonicalization issues in Ahrefs' Site AuditCanonicalization issues in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Even if your website has lots of issues related to canonicalization, search engines may be able to figure out what version should be indexed and where they should consolidate signals. It may not create any real problems for them.

Fun fact. When running a Site Audit, we only count the canonical version of pages as crawl credits. Some other tools count every version of a page towards the credits. On many sites, this can eat multiple credits per page!

There’s a lot that can go wrong with canonicalization. Let’s look at some common mistakes.

Mistake #1: Blocking the canonicalized URL via robots.txt

Blocking a URL in robots.txt prevents Google from crawling it, meaning that they cannot see any canonical tags on that page. That, in turn, prevents them from transferring any “link equity” from the non-canonical to the canonical.

Unless you have a crawl budget issue, it’s probably better to let all the signals consolidate. Even if you’re going to block or noindex some versions, you still may want to check for versions with links that you should canonicalize instead. However, as Google tends to crawl non-canonical pages less over time, you may just want to wait.

Mistake #2: Setting the canonicalized URL to ‘noindex’

Never mix noindex and rel=canonical. They’re contradictory instructions.

As John Mueller states, Google will usually prioritize the canonical tag over the ‘noindex’ tag.

Mistake #3: Setting a 4XX HTTP status code for the canonicalized URL

Setting a 4XX HTTP status code for a canonicalized URL has the same effect as using the ‘noindex’ tag: Google will be unable to see the canonical tag and transfer “link equity” to the canonical version.

Mistake #4: Canonicalizing all paginated pages to the root page

Paginated pages should not be canonicalized to the first paginated page in the series. Instead, self-referencing canonicals should be used on all paginated pages.

Why? As Google’s John Mueller stated on Reddit, this is improper use of the rel=canonical.

The main thing to avoid, since this post is about canonicalization, is to use the rel=canonical on page 2 pointing to page 1. Page 2 isn’t equivalent to page 1, so the rel=canonical like that would be incorrect. 

John MuellerJohn Mueller

We have a guide on pagination for SEO and best practices if you’re interested.

Mistake #5: Don’t use the URL removal tool in Google Search Console for canonicalization.

This can remove all versions of a URL, effectively deindexing your page from search.

Mistake #6: Not keeping canonicalization signals consistent.

As we talked about earlier, there are many different canonicalization signals.

Having different signals suggest different canonicals means that you will be relying on Google to select a canonical for you. The more consistent signals you show them with your preferred version, the more likely it is that version will be the chosen canonical.

Mistake #7: Not using canonical tags with hreflang

Hreflang tags specify the language and geographical targeting of a webpage.

Google states that when using hreflang, you should “specify a canonical page in the same language, or the best possible substitute language if a canonical doesn’t exist for the same language.”

Mistake #8: Having multiple rel=canonical tags

Having multiple rel=canonical tags will usually cause Google to ignore them. In many cases, this happens because tags are inserted into a system at different points, such as by the CMS, the theme, and plugin(s). This is why many plugins have an overwrite option meant to ensure they are the only source for canonical tags.

Another area where this might be a problem is with canonicals added with JavaScript. If you have no canonical URL specified in the HTML response and then add a rel=canonical tag with JavaScript, it should be respected when Google renders the page. However, if you have a canonical specified in HTML and swap the preferred version with JavaScript, you send mixed signals to Google.

Mistake #9: Rel=canonical in the <body>

Rel=canonical should only appear in the <head> of a document. A canonical tag in the <body> section of a page will be ignored.

Where this can become a problem is with the parsing of a document. Even if the page’s source code has the rel=canonical tag in the correct place, many different things such as unclosed tags, JavaScript injected, or <iframes> in the <head> section can cause the <head> to end prematurely while rendering. In these cases, a canonical tag may be accidentally thrown into the <body> of a rendered page where it will not be respected.

Final thoughts

Many of the tools SEOs had for handling canonicalization have been taken away, such as the URL Parameters Tool and Preferred Domain setting in Google Search Console. However, there are still plenty of other signals to help Google choose a canonical.

If you have questions, message me on Twitter.

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Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

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Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Email Marketing?

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

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

Why Should You Use Email Marketing?

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

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

Even better, you own your email campaigns entirely.

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

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

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

What Are The Types Of Email Marketing?

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

Promotional Emails

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

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

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

Informational Emails

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

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

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

Welcome Emails

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

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

Nurturing Emails

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

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

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

Re-engagement Emails

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

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

Survey/Review Emails

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do You Perform Email Marketing?

Step 1: Establish Your Goals

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

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

Step 2: Build Your List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Create Your Email Campaign

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

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

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

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

Step 4: Measure Your Results

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing An Email Marketing Platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things you’ll want to consider include:

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

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

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

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

Tips For Maximizing Your Results

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

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

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

Email Marketing Is A Powerful Tool

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

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

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

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

Now get to work – you have customers to attract.

More resources:


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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image from Twitter, November 2022

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

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

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

Here is how each tool performed.

1. Writer.com

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

Writer.com resultsScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

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

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

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

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

2. Copyleaks

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

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. Contentatscale.ai

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

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from Contentscale.ai, January 2023

4. Originality.ai

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

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

Originality.aiScreenshot from Originality.ai, January 2023

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

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

5. GPTZero

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

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

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

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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Featured Image: /Shutterstock



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