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What It Is & How to Do It



What It Is & How to Do It

You may have heard the expression, “The best content doesn’t win; distribution does.”

This is why simply creating great content isn’t enough. You need a distribution strategy to make sure your content actually reaches its intended audience. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting your time and money.

In this guide, you’ll learn what content distribution is and how to create and launch a winning content distribution strategy:

What is content distribution?

Content distribution is the process of publishing and promoting content in various formats across multiple channels to reach as many people as possible.

Types of content distribution channels

The primary distribution channels are owned, earned, and paid channels.

Owned channels

An owned channel is one that you fully control.

Examples of earned channels include:

  • Website or blog
  • Email list
  • Twitter
  • TikTok
  • YouTube

Website or blog

Your website is the primary channel you own.

Ahrefs customers use the SEO tools on our website, but we also publish and distribute content here.

There are five main types of content on our website.

  • Guides – Resources to help customers get more organic traffic to their websites
  • Data studies – Unique insights and statistics about our industry
  • Product information – Updates about new product features
  • Free SEO tools – Interactive tools to let potential customers sample our paid service
  • Visual content – Charts, images, and infographics to help explain complex topics

Email list

A subscribe box is located on the top navigation bar and the sidebar of many articles on our website.

When a reader provides their email address, we offer, in exchange, a weekly newsletter where we share valuable SEO and marketing resources and product updates.

For example, December’s email newsletter featured our new Traffic Potential metric and a roundup video and blog post of product updates.

Ahrefs weekly newsletter: Rapid fire roundup for Nov 2021 at top; at bottom, writeup on Traffic Potential metric and Site Audit crawls

Ahrefs newsletter sent Dec. 9, 2021.


Ahrefs has 93K followers on Twitter, and we distribute a variety of content there.

We publish article summaries and link back to the articles on our website.

We also publish tweet threads. Each thread is a series of connected tweets similar to a step-by-step guide.


You’ve likely heard of Miss Excel, who publishes Excel tips on TikTok.

She regularly earns over 100K plays per TikTok post.


YouTube is a channel where we distribute video content to viewers and our subscribers.

In addition to tutorials on using our tools, we publish case studies and experiments we hope resonate with our audience.

Notably, many of our videos are repurposed from existing articles.

Earned channels

An earned channel is where your content gets featured because it’s good enough to be approved by an editor, gatekeeper, or moderator.

Examples of earned channels include:

  • Reddit
  • Facebook groups
  • Forums
  • Guest posts

Paid channels

A paid channel requires payment to distribute content.

At Ahrefs, we sometimes invest in paid channels to distribute our content so we can reach as many relevant people as possible.

Examples of paid channels include:

  • Twitter Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Quuu Promote
  • Sponsorships
  • Retargeting
  • Native advertising, e.g., Taboola and Outbrain

How to create a winning content distribution strategy

With so many channels available to distribute content these days, knowing where to start can be a bit overwhelming. So let’s look at how to create a simple, winning content distribution strategy step by step.

Step 1. Publish content on your primary owned channel

Every business should start by choosing an owned channel to focus on, and then decide what content to post there.

And 9 out of 10 times, this will usually be:

  • Website/blog
  • YouTube
  • A social media account (Twitter, Tiktok, Instagram, etc)

The best channel for you will depend on the type of content you already produce and whether you have the expertise to create more content for that channel.

For example, if you’re camera shy, then YouTube probably isn’t the best choice. You’ll want to stick to writing and publishing on your website or blog instead.

Our primary channel is our website/blog, so this is where we first distribute most of our content.


If you’re distributing content via your website or blog and want people to find you, it pays to optimize the content for SEO. If you can rank on Google for your keywords, your content will get a lot of organic traffic every month.

For example, our guide to Google search operators ranks in the top 100 for over 2K keywords and gets an estimated 8.8K monthly visits from organic search, according to Ahrefs.

Site Explorer overview of Ahrefs' article on Google search operators

Looking at the organic traffic history chart, we can see that traffic has fluctuated over time, but the article has been getting thousands of organic visits each month since December 2018.

Line graph showing article's organic traffic trend from Dec 2018 to Feb 2022

In other words, optimizing this post for SEO resulted in hundreds of thousands of readers. And we did so by publishing and distributing on just one channel.

Recommended reading: How to Write SEO Content That Ranks

Step 2. Push to email and social media

Next, you need to get your content out there by distributing it to your secondary owned channels: your social media channels and email list.

The purpose of distributing to these channels is twofold:

  1. You can share key insights and messages from your content directly with your followers and subscribers.
  2. You can drive traffic back to where your main content lives.

Flow chart showing various symbols of social media sites pointing to a center section "Content on primary owned channel"

For example, we push all new blog posts to our 93K Twitter followers:

Our 98K Facebook followers:

"Best marketing podcasts" article shared on Facebook

Our 87K LinkedIn followers:

"Best marketing podcasts" article shared on LinkedIn

And our ~170K newsletter subscribers:

"Best marketing podcasts" article shared in newsletter

The distribution channels will vary, depending on who you target and where they hang out online.

Our channels are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email because they make sense for us. We don’t distribute content to Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok because they are not where our audience primarily lives.

Step 3. Push to earned channels

It’s a little harder to distribute on earned channels because your content needs to be approved by a gatekeeper. Here are a few examples where we (Ahrefs) pushed content to earned channels.


When our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, distributed his keyword research guide, he created a short, simplified version of the post for /r/bigSEO.

Tim's keyword research guide shared on bigSEO subreddit

If this didn’t include valuable information for the subreddit, the moderators would have never approved it—hence why Reddit is an earned channel.

The same is true for channels like third-party Facebook groups.

Facebook groups

Before joining Ahrefs, our head of content, Joshua Hardwick, created a video that he wanted to distribute to the SEO community. So he showed his video to the owners of third-party SEO Facebook groups and asked for permission to post in their groups.

As the content was valuable, many owners happily let him post the video.

Josh's video on finding guest post opportunities shared in a Facebook group

Joshua’s video shared in a Facebook group with 4.7K members.

Other earned channels you can push to include the following:

  • Forums (e.g., Quora)
  • Third-party newsletters
  • Other blogs (via guest posts)

Guest blogging

Guest blogging is where you write a post for another blog in your industry. It’s a great way to further distribute content and ideas, especially if you can get published on a site with a large audience.

To find relevant sites to pitch your guest post to, look for those that have already published articles about similar topics.

For example, if we wanted further distribution for the ideas shared in our keyword research guide, we could look for websites that published articles about link building because they’re likely to be interested in a post about a similar subject.

Here’s how to do this in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer:

  1. Enter a related topic (e.g., link building)
  2. Change the dropdown to In title
  3. Filter for only one page per domain (no point pitching to the same site twice)
  4. Go to the Websites tab
Bar graphs showing "pages over time"; below, list of websites

Recommended reading: Guide to Guest Blogging for SEO

Step 4. Push to paid channels

When distributing content to owned and earned channels isn’t cutting it for you, it’s time to step it up with paid channels.

Quuu Promote

One of the cheapest and easiest paid channels to use is called Quuu Promote.

For $50 a month, you can push up to 10 blog posts to over 39K people who will share the posts with their social followers (if they like the content).

Webpage showing three steps to use Quuu Promote

Twitter Ads

Twitter Ads can be a cost-effective way to distribute content. You can learn more about our experiments with the ads in this video.

Google Ads

Google Ads appear above organic search results on the SERP. This is a great way to reach people who are actually searching for your content.

For example, we recently distributed our free SEO tools via Google Ads:

Excerpt of Google SERP for keyword "free seo tools"


Find potentially lucrative keywords to target with paid ads by spying on the keywords your competitors are running ads for. To do this, plug a competitor into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and go to the Paid keywords report.

Paid keywords report results of


We recently decided to move our paid traffic budget, using it to sponsor influencers and thought leaders in our industry.

Learn more about our results in this thread:

Native advertising

Native ads are advertisements that look like regular content and appear on popular websites, e.g., USA Today, AOL, MSN,, etc.

Taboola and Outbrain are popular marketplaces for native ads.

This coffee company converted 10K new customers in six months using native ads.

Facebook ads

Facebook allows you to boost your posts to more users on its platform. To do this, click the big “Boost post” button on the post you want to promote.

Facebook post of one of Ahrefs' articles; notably, "Boost post" button at bottom-right corner

Step 5. Measure your results with tools

The purpose of content distribution is to reach more people, so it’s important to measure performance to see how effectively you managed to do that. Below are a few tools that can help.


If you published content on your website or blog and optimized it for organic search, it should hopefully start ranking for relevant keywords on Google over time.

To check if this is the case, create a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account and plug the URL of the content you distributed into Site Explorer. The tool will show the number of keywords and estimated number of monthly organic visits the page receives.

For example, our link building guide ranks in the top 100 for 365 keywords and gets an estimated 1.3K organic visits per month:

Site Explorer overview of Ahrefs' link building guide


Twitter has built-in analytics. Just click the graph icon on any post to see its reach.

For example, Joshua’s recent thread about keyword cannibalization received 275K impressions and 1.4K engagements.

Tweet analytics of Joshua's recent thread about keyword cannibalization; data includes impressions, engagements, etc

Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you all kinds of valuable insights about your content distribution efforts, including where visitors came from, how long they stayed, and whether the distribution channel helped contribute to a conversion.

Recommended reading: The Only 3 Google Analytics Metrics You Need to Track

Step 6. Repeat

And the last step is to repeat the previous six steps.

You can repeat the above either for repurposed content or another piece of content.

For example, we published this study about Core Web Vitals. Our very own Patrick Stox then created a thread on Twitter and added the key graphics from the study to each tweet.

Final thoughts

The purpose of this article is to share key content distribution channels and insights into how to develop a winning content distribution strategy that reaches a wider audience.

The choice of platforms you use when distributing content and measuring it is entirely up to you.

If you’re creating content and don’t believe it’s being rewarded, remember this: “The best content doesn’t win; distribution does.”

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Google Updating Cryptocurrency Advertising Policy For 2024




Google Updating Cryptocurrency Advertising Policy For 2024

Google published an announcement of upcoming changes to their cryptocurrency advertising policies and advises advertisers to make themselves aware of the changes and prepare to be in compliance with the new requirements.

The upcoming updates are to Google’s Cryptocurrencies and related products policy for the advertisement of Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts. The changes are set to take effect on January 29th, 2024.

Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts are financial products that enable investors to trade shares in trusts holding substantial amounts of digital currency. These trusts provide investors with equity in cryptocurrencies without having direct ownership. They are also an option for creating a more diversified portfolio.

The policy updates by Google that are coming in 2024 aim to describe the scope and requirements for the advertisement of Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts. Advertisers targeting the United States will be able to promote these products and services as long as they abide by specific policies outlined in the updated requirements and that they also obtain certification from Google.

The updated policy changes are not limited to the United States. They will apply globally to all accounts advertising Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts.

Google’s announcement also reminded advertisers of their obligation for compliance to local laws in the areas where the ads are targeted.

Google’s approach for violations of the new policy will be to first give a warning before imposing an account suspension.

Advertisers that fail to comply with the updated policy will receive a warning at least seven days before a potential account suspension. This time period provides advertisers with an opportunity to fix non-compliance issues and to get back into compliance with the revised guidelines.

Advertisers are encouraged to refer to Google’s documentation on “About restricted financial products certification.”

The deadline for the change in policy is January 29th, 2024. Cryptocurrency Coin Trusts advertisers will need to pay close attention to the updated policies in order to ensure compliance.

Read Google’s announcement:

Updates to Cryptocurrencies and related products policy (December 2023)

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SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore In 2024



SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore In 2024

Most SEO trends fade quickly. But some of them stick and deserve your attention.

Let’s explore what those are and how to take advantage of them.

If you give ChatGPT a title and ask it to write a blog post, it will—in seconds.

This is super impressive, but there are a couple of issues:

  • Everyone else using ChatGPT is creating the same content. It’s the same for users of other GPT-powered AI writing tools, too—which is basically all of them.
  • The content is extremely dull. Sure, you can ask ChatGPT to “make it more entertaining,” but it usually overcompensates and hands back a cringe version of the same boring content.

In the words of Gael Breton:

How to take advantage of this SEO trend

Don’t use AI to write entire articles. They’ll be boring as heck. Instead, use it as a creative sparring partner to help you write better content and automate monotonous tasks.

For example, you can ask ChatGPT To write an outline from a working title and a list of keywords (which you can pull from Ahrefs)—and it does a pretty decent job.


Create an outline for a post entitled “[working title]” based on these keywords: [list]


ChatGPT's outline for a blog post. Pretty good!ChatGPT's outline for a blog post. Pretty good!

When you’ve written your draft, you can ask to polish it in seconds by asking ChatGPT to proofread it.

ChatGPT proofreading my content and making it betterChatGPT proofreading my content and making it better

Then you can automate the boring stuff, like creating more enticing title tags…

ChatGPT writing enticing title tagsChatGPT writing enticing title tags

… and writing a meta description:

ChatGPT writing a meta descriptionChatGPT writing a meta description

If you notice a few months down the line that your content ranks well but hasn’t won the featured snippet, ChatGPT can help with that, too.

For example, Ahrefs tells us we rank in position 3 for “affiliate marketing” but don’t own the snippet.

Ahrefs showing featured snippets that we don't own, despite ranking in the top 3Ahrefs showing featured snippets that we don't own, despite ranking in the top 3

If we check Google, the snippet is a definition. Asking ChatGPT to simplify our definition may solve this problem.

ChatGPT rewriting a definition and making it betterChatGPT rewriting a definition and making it better

In short, there are a near-infinite number of ways to use ChatGPT (and other AI writing tools) to create better content. And all of them buck the trend of asking it to write boring, boilerplate articles from scratch.

Programmatic SEO refers to the creation of keyword-targeted pages in an automatic (or near automatic) way.

Nomadlist’s location pages are a perfect example:

Example of a page from NomadListExample of a page from NomadList

Each page focuses on a specific city and shares the same core information—internet speeds, cost, temperature, etc. All of this information is pulled programmatically from a database and the site gets an estimated 46k monthly search visits in total.

Estimated monthly search traffic to NomadListEstimated monthly search traffic to NomadList

Programmatic SEO is nothing new. It’s been around forever. It’s just the hot thing right now because AI tools like ChatGPT make it easier and more accessible than ever before.

The problem? As John Mueller pointed out on Twitter X, much of it is spam:

How to take advantage of this SEO trend

Don’t use programmatic SEO to publish insane amounts of spam that’ll probably get hit in the next Google update. Use it to scale valuable content that will stand the test of time.

For example, Wise’s currency conversion pages currently get an estimated 31.7M monthly search visits:

Estimated monthly search traffic to Wise's currently conversion pages (insane!)Estimated monthly search traffic to Wise's currently conversion pages (insane!)

This is because the content is actually useful. Each page features an interactive tool showing the live exchange rate for any amount…

The interactive currently conversion tool on Wise's pagesThe interactive currently conversion tool on Wise's pages

… the exchange rate over time…

The exchange rate over time graph on Wise's pagesThe exchange rate over time graph on Wise's pages

… a handy email notification option when the exchange rates exceed a certain amount…

The email notification option on Wise's pagesThe email notification option on Wise's pages

… handy conversion charts for popular amounts…

The handy conversion charts on Wise's pagesThe handy conversion charts on Wise's pages

… and a comparison of the cheapest ways to send money abroad in your chosen currency:

The useful comparison table on Wise's pagesThe useful comparison table on Wise's pages

It doesn’t matter that all of these pages use the same template. The data is exactly what you want to see when you search [currency 1] to [currency 2].

That’s probably why Wise ranks in the top 10 for over 66,000 of these keywords:

Wise's keyword rankings for currency conversion pagesWise's keyword rankings for currency conversion pages

Looking to take advantage of programmatic content in 2024 like Wise? Check out the guide below.

People love ChatGPT because it answers questions fast and succinctly, so it’s no surprise that generative AI is already making its way into search.

For example, if you ask Bing for a definition or how to do something basic, AI will generate an answer on the fly right there in the search results.

Bing's search results for "definition of mental health"Bing's search results for "definition of mental health"
Bing's search results for "how to add drop down list in google sheets"Bing's search results for "how to add drop down list in google sheets"

In other words, thanks to AI, users no longer have to click on a search result for answers to simple questions. It’s like featured snippets on steroids.

This might not be a huge deal right now, but when Google’s version of this (Search Generative Experience) comes out of beta, many websites will see clicks fall off a cliff.

How to take advantage of this SEO trend

Don’t invest too much in topics that generative AI can easily answer. You’ll only lose clicks like crazy to AI in the long run. Instead, start prioritizing topics that AI will struggle to answer.

How do you know which topics it will struggle to answer? Try asking ChatGPT. If it gives a good and concise answer, it’s clearly an easy question.

For example, there are hundreds of searches for how to calculate a percentage in Google Sheets every month in the US:

Estimated monthly search volume for "google sheets percentage formula" via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerEstimated monthly search volume for "google sheets percentage formula" via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

If you ask ChatGPT for the solution, it gives you a perfect answer in about fifty words.

ChatGPT's answer to the Google Sheets percentage calculation formulaChatGPT's answer to the Google Sheets percentage calculation formula

This is the perfect example of a topic where generative AI will remove the need to click on a search result for many.

That’s probably not going to be the case for a topic like this:

Example of a topic that AI shouldn't impact too muchExample of a topic that AI shouldn't impact too much

Sure. Generative AI might be able to tell you how to create a template—but it can’t make one for you. And even if it can in the future, it will never be a personal finance expert with experience. You’ll always have to click on a search result for a template created by that person.

These are the kinds of topics to prioritize in 2024 and beyond.


None of this means you should stop targeting “simple” topics altogether. You’ll always be able to get some traffic from them. My point is not to be obsessed with ranking for keywords whose days are numbered. Prioritize topics with long-term value instead.

Bonus: 3 SEO trends to ignore in 2024

Not all SEO trends move the needle. Here are just a few of those trends and why you should ignore them.

People are using voice search more than ever

In 2014, Google revealed that 41% of Americans use voice search daily. According to research by UpCity, that number was up to 50% as of 2022. I haven’t seen any data for 2023 yet, but I’d imagine it’s above 50%.

Why you should ignore this SEO trend

75% of voice search results come from a page ranking in the top 3, and 40.7% come from a featured snippet. If you’re already optimizing for those things, there’s not much more you can do.

People are using visual search for shopping more than ever

In 2022, Insider Intelligence reported that 22% of US adults have shopped with visual search (Google Lens, Bing Visual Search, etc.). That number is up from just 15% in 2021.

Why you should ignore this SEO trend

Much like voice search, there’s no real way to optimize for visual search. Sure, it helps to have good quality product images, optimized filenames and alt text, and product schema markup on your pages—but you should be doing this stuff anyway as it’s been a best practice since forever.

People are using Bing more than ever before

Bing’s Yusuf Mehdi announced in March 2023 that the search engine had surpassed 100M daily active users for the first time ever. This came just one month after the launch of AI-powered Bing.

Why you should ignore this SEO trend

Bing might be more popular than ever, but its market share still only stands at around ~3% according to estimates by Statcounter. Google’s market share stands at roughly 92%, so that’s the one you should be optimizing for.

Plus, it’s often the case that if you rank in Google, you also rank in Bing—so it really doesn’t deserve any focus.

Final thoughts

Keeping your finger on the pulse and taking advantage of trends makes sense, but don’t let them distract you from the boring stuff that’s always worked: find what people are searching for > create content about it > build backlinks > repeat.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter X.

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Mozilla VPN Security Risks Discovered




Mozilla VPN Security Risks Discovered

Mozilla published the results of a recent third-party security audit of its VPN services as part of it’s commitment to user privacy and security. The survey revealed security issues which were presented to Mozilla to be addressed with fixes to ensure user privacy and security.

Many search marketers use VPNs during the course of their business especially when using a Wi-Fi connection in order to protect sensitive data, so the  trustworthiness of a VNP is essential.

Mozilla VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN), is a service that hides (encrypts) a user’s Internet traffic so that no third party (like an ISP) can snoop and see what sites a user is visiting.

VPNs also add a layer of security from malicious activities such as session hijacking which can give an attacker full access to the websites a user is visiting.

There is a high expectation from users that the VPN will protect their privacy when they are browsing on the Internet.

Mozilla thus employs the services of a third party to conduct a security audit to make sure their VPN is thoroughly locked down.

Security Risks Discovered

The audit revealed vulnerabilities of medium or higher severity, ranging from Denial of Service (DoS). risks to keychain access leaks (related to encryption) and the lack of access controls.

Cure53, the third party security firm, discovered and addressed several risks. Among the issues were potential VPN leaks to the vulnerability of a rogue extension that disabled the VPN.

The scope of the audit encompassed the following products:

  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for macOS
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Linux
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Windows
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for iOS
  • Mozilla VPN Qt6 App for Androi

These are the risks identified by the security audit:

  • FVP-03-003: DoS via serialized intent
  • FVP-03-008: Keychain access level leaks WG private key to iCloud
  • VP-03-010: VPN leak via captive portal detection
  • FVP-03-011: Lack of local TCP server access controls
  • FVP-03-012: Rogue extension can disable VPN using mozillavpnnp (High)

The rogue extension issue was rated as high severity. Each risk was subsequently addressed by Mozilla.

Mozilla presented the results of the security audit as part of their commitment to transparency and to maintain the trust and security of their users. Conducting a third party security audit is a best practice for a VPN provider that helps assure that the VPN is trustworthy and reliable.

Read Mozilla’s announcement:
Mozilla VPN Security Audit 2023

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Meilun

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