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Why Keyword Research Is Useful for SEO & How To Rank

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Search engines have moved away from matching keywords in search queries to keywords on webpages, a process that accelerated in 2012 with the introduction of the Hummingbird update.

The impact on SEO has been a shift in keyword research toward a deeper understanding of what words mean in different contexts and especially as a part of an overall topic.

Keyword research is still important, but in a different way than has been practiced in the past.

The strategic choice of topics and word phrases continues to be important, and this guide will show you how to research keywords in a manner that is appropriate for the way search engines appear to rank webpages today.

Keyword Dimensions

The first step for keyword research is to define what kinds of keywords you want to target.

Most of us by now know about search intent and the different kinds of intent that keywords have, so I won’t bother with that.

I’ll only point out that the intent maps to a searcher’s reason for searching, to find information, to buy something, to research something, etc.

If you need a refresher, read this article about user search intent.

However, it is worth pointing out that choosing keywords by their search volume is not always a good approach.

There are additional keyword dimensions to consider beyond user search intents.

Keyword Dimensions

  1. Keyword Search Volume.
  2. Keyword Intent.
  3. Keyword Meaning.
  4. Keyword Latent Meaning.

There are at least six issues to consider regarding high search volume keywords:

  1. High-traffic keywords can have multiple search intents (not all of them your chosen intent).
  2. The People Also Ask feature encourages search query reformulation.
  3. High-traffic keywords don’t always convert.
  4. High-traffic keywords aren’t always relevant to the website’s goals.
  5. Google diverts some high-traffic keywords to local SERPs.
  6. Google reformulates vague queries.

The takeaway about high search volume keywords is that it’s important to research why people are searching with those search phrases and make decisions based on whether those keywords align with your goals, whether that’s to sell more products, get affiliate clicks, or more advertising revenue.

We can’t really know all the different reasons why searchers use specific high-volume keyword phrases unless we study the search results.

And once the different reasons are understood, we can begin to understand the keyword dimension of the latent meaning.

We can understand the hidden reasons why people use vague search queries because the search engines provide clues.

Clues To High Search Volume Keyword Phrases

The best keywords are those that communicate a user need that aligns with the solution a website offers.

A keyword phrase like [what’s the best home router 2022] expresses a very clear need and is a useful phrase for an electronics-related site.

A keyword phrase like [heart attack] is vague and does not express a precise need. Often, vague keyword phrases like [heart attack] express multiple needs.

Those multiple needs are what I call a latent meaning.

Latent means hidden or not immediately apparent.

Vague keyword phrases like [heart attack] contain latent meanings and express users’ needs that are hidden within the words used in search queries.

Let’s take a look at the search query, [heart attack], as an example.

Search engines provide clues as to what users mean when they use vague search queries.

So, if you want to rank for a high-volume search query, take a look at the clues that are hidden (in plain sight) within the search results.

Here’s a screenshot of the featured snippet for the keyword phrase, [heart attack]:

Screenshot from search for [heart attack], Google, March 2022Featured Snippet for Keyword Phrase Heart Attack

Google ranks a page about Heart Attack Symptoms for the search phrase, [heart attack]. The title of the page shows that the page is about Heart Attack Symptoms.

And here’s a really cool observation about that page.

A search for Heart Attack Symptoms shows the exact same page from CDC.gov ranking #1 for that phrase.

SERPs for Heart Attack SymptomsScreenshot from search for [heart attack symptoms], Google, March 2022SERPs for Heart Attack Symptoms

It’s clear that Google is ranking a page about Heart Attack Symptoms for the phrase [heart attack] because Google is understanding that when people search for this phrase, what people really mean is Heart Attack Symptoms.

Understand The Latent Meaning Of Keyword Phrases

Earlier in this article, I wrote that every keyword phrase has a latent meaning, a meaning that is hidden.

The above search results are an illustration of my observation.

When someone searches for [heart attack], most people are really searching for [heart attack symptoms].

What that means is that if you want to rank for the high traffic search phrase [heart attack], then what you should really optimize for is [heart attack symptoms] because according to what Google is ranking, that’s what most people mean when they search for [heart attack].

Now, let’s take a look at the rest of the SERPs and see what they tell us.

The next three top-ranked webpages (positions 2, 3, and 4) are about heart attack symptoms.

Screenshot of SERPs for Heart AttackScreenshot from search for [heart attack], Google, March 2022Screenshot of SERPs for Heart Attack

But if you look at the page ranked in position #5, it looks like the latent keyword phrase is [what is a heart attack].

Screenshot of a Search ResultScreenshot from search for [heart attack], Google, March 2022Screenshot of a Search Result
  • Q: What is a heart attack?
    A: Myocardial Infarction
  • Q: What is a heart attack?
    A: A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart suddenly becomes blocked.

Google Ranked Positions 6, 7, 8, and 9 For [Heart Attack] Keyword

If we examine the next positions, six to nine (there is no position 10), we see something really interesting.

The next four positions have a meaning that corresponds to:

  • Symptoms of a Heart Attack.
  • What is a Heart Attack?
Google SERPs for keyword phrase, Heart AttackScreenshot from search for [heart attack], Google, March 2022Google SERPs for keyword phrase, Heart Attack

Keyword Research Should Include The Latent Meaning Research

Creating a list of keywords ranked from high volume to low volume is just a start.

High-volume keywords should be lumped together with their latent meanings, and those latent meanings should be ranked according to whether those latent meanings are top-ranked by Google or lower-ranked by Google.

For the example of the keyword phrase, [heart attack], the real keyword to chase is [heart attack symptoms] if you want to rank #1, because that’s what most people mean when they search for [heart attack], according to Google’s search results.

And the cool thing about this is that you can confirm this observation with Google Trends.

In the following screenshot, what’s notable is that the keyword phrase [heart attack symptoms] has significantly more search volume than the keyword phrase, [what is a heart attack] and also [what is heart attack].

Screenshot of Google TrendsScreenshot from Google Trends, March 2022Screenshot of Google Trends

What’s cool about the Google Trends for those two keywords is that the above trends match perfectly with what we saw in the search results for the keyword phrase, [heart attack].

The top result for the [heart attack] keyword phrase related to Heart Attack Symptoms clearly has more search volume than the secondary latent meaning, What is a Heart Attack.

Takeaways:

  • Understand all four keyword dimensions before making a decision on which keywords to create content for.
  • Search volume is just one dimension out of four for understanding the relative importance of keyword phrases for your project.
  • Traffic should not be the leading reason for choosing a keyword phrase target.

Awareness Building Phrases

There are several obvious kinds of keyword phrases that are defined by goals.

You can create lists and order those keywords by their goals.

Examples Of Typical Keyword Goals:

  • Sales (aka the money phrases).
  • Sales funnel segments.
  • Awareness building.

That last one, awareness building, can be fairly important.

It could help a site rank for competitive keywords and major keyword phrases in addition to driving direct sales. (More on this strategy a little later. Keep reading!)

Once you match keywords to keyword goals, you can then develop content topics to address those goals that can become the building blocks of a content strategy.

The first two categories are directly sales and potential customers related; they solve a business problem directly.

The last category can be seen as grooming searchers to become customers and building recognition as a trusted site for solving problems with products, reviews, and other forms of content.

Money Phrases

The sales category focuses on what some in the SEO industry call “money phrases.”

Money phrases are so-called because they tend to convert at a higher rate.

These are keyword phrases with a commercial intent that are associated with a high level of sales (e.g., “cheap widgets” and “where to buy widgets”).

Money phrases are important (and competitive!) because they almost always result in a sale.

They are also important to ad-supported sites because the site visitor, being predisposed to making a purchase, is also more likely to click an advertisement and earn revenue for the web publisher.

Advertisements that are associated with money phrases usually have a higher cost per click, resulting in higher advertising earnings.

That’s why these keywords are called money phrases!

The Problem With Money Phrases

Money phrases are highly competitive and difficult to rank for. That’s a given.

A more important consideration that many are unaware of is that pay-per-click (PPC) ads will siphon off traffic from the organic search results, with the rest of the traffic distributed to the organic results.

Let’s examine how to deal with this issue.

Anatomy Of Money Phrases

Aside from the obvious phrases containing words like “buy” in them, there are an additional set of (long-tail) keyword phrases that indicate a user’s intent to make an immediate purchase.

I have categorized long-tail money phrases into five categories.

Each category represents a multiplicity of keyword phrases and their variants (singular and product name variants).

5 Money Phrase Keyword Categories

  1. Competitor comparison.
  2. Discount price searches.
  3. Product reviews and ratings.
  4. Coupon code searches.
  5. Searches for sales.

Money Phrase Keywords & Site Architecture

It’s possible to build a site around different money phrases, and to use them as the basis of creating different sections of a site.

But that’s kind of one-sided and might not build lasting repeat traffic, yet that’s an option, just not one that I am comfortable with.

For some merchants, it’s important to create content that discusses the different qualities of a product and to help a consumer choose the most suitable product.

But for now, it’s worth considering that many top-ranked sites, even ecommerce sites, are not built with a site architecture that revolves exclusively around money phrases.

Google Trends For A Comprehensive Set Of Keywords

Google Trends: Seasonal Fluctuations

A site that is comprehensive can generally weather the ups and downs of search-related cycles.

Google Trends is a good keyword research tool for identifying seasonal cycles for keywords.

It’s useful to research keywords on Google Trends to identify regular dips and rises in order to maintain steady traffic throughout the year.

Google Trends can also identify keywords that are losing appeal.

Google Trends: Regional And Changing Trends

Understanding changing trends, as well as regional patterns, will better help you to know when to roll out certain kinds of content, whether to abandon a keyword phrase and even to help identify the best regions to focus your link building on.

This is an important insight!

Google Trends comparison Taxi vs Uber vs. Yellow cabScreenshot from Google TrendsGoogle Trends comparison Taxi vs Uber vs. Yellow cab

In the example above, it is clear that the search phrase [Uber] is wildly popular compared to the generic phrase [taxi].

The trend line also shows that the phrase taxi is trending downward.

Comparing keywords with brand names is highly useful to confirm suspicions of why a keyword phrase may change, trending up or down.

For example, the keyword trends for [digital cameras] trended downward with the introduction of the iPhone.

Another example is a comparison of the trends between the phrases [radio station] and the brand name “Spotify.”

The phrase [radio station] is trending downward while the brand name “Spotify” is trending upward.

There is no direct correlation between the two trends; the trend does not mean that Spotify is eating into the demand for radio.

But it does point to a change in how people are consuming music.

Insight: When you see a traffic decline even though your rankings are unchanged, it can sometimes mean there is a change in consumer behavior tied to the introduction of a new product or service.

Google Trends: Compare Known Keywords

Google Trends only shows relative traffic levels. It does not show the exact number of queries.

However, if you have an idea of keyword volume for one keyword phrase, then you can compare that keyword phrase to a target phrase in order to get a close estimate of what the actual search volume is.

Google publishes a daily list of trending searches that contain a rounded-up search volume.

It’s possible to use that list with actual search volume attached to search queries to compare with keywords that you’re researching and get a pretty close estimate of what the search volume is.

Google Trends: Related Queries

Google Trends has a feature called Related Queries that can be useful for teasing out possible latent meanings within vague keywords.

As can be seen in the screenshot below, the related query for the keyword phrase [heart attack] is the keywords [heart attack keywords].

Related QueriesScreenshot from Google Trends, March 2022Related Queries

That’s pretty interesting how the top “related query” ([heart attack symptoms]) exactly matches the latent meaning for the keyword [heart attack], which is what we saw in Google’s search results.

Using the Google Trends tool like this could be helpful for understanding which keywords to choose in order to rank for high search volume keyword phrases, or to help you decide to devote your time to better keywords (because traffic is not everything).

The Related Queries feature offers two settings within the drop-down menu:

Select Top to see what queries are related, including what appears to be latent meanings within vague keyword phrases.

Google Trends Related Queries Dropdown MenuScreenshot from Google Trends, March 2022Google Trends Related Queries Dropdown Menu

Lastly, select the most relevant category of the topic from the top dropdown menu.

Google Trends Default CategoryScreenshot from Google Trends, March 2022Google Trends Default Category

Because we’re searching for medical information, choose the Health Category:

Google Trends Search CategoriesScreenshot from Google Trends, March 2022Google Trends Search Categories

Should You Worry About Latent Semantic Indexing Or LSI Keywords?

In a word, no.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a very old technology, developed nearly 20 years ago.

While LSI may be in use in some form, perhaps to identify stop words in a document, it’s a super old technology, and we are in the age of Natural Language Processing and AI in search.

Background reading about Latent Semantic Indexing:

Google’s John Mueller is on record saying that LSI is not something that any competent SEO should be thinking about.

According to John Mueller:

“First of all, we have no concept of LSI keywords. So that’s something you can completely ignore.

I think it’s interesting to look at LSI when you’re thinking about understanding information retrieval as a theoretical or computer science topic.

But as an SEO you probably don’t need to worry about that.”

Should You Use Keyword Synonyms?

With the advent of the Hummingbird update, Google started using strategies like keyword expansion in order to select the best answer to a search query from a broader selection of webpages.

Query expansion can use synonyms to expand the original search query.

The goal for query expansion is to identify more webpages that are relevant.

The goal is not to rank webpages that contain the keyword phrase and synonyms. That’s not how it works.

So, the answer really is no, adding synonyms is not a way to rank better and this can be verified by looking at the search results.

Third-Party Keyword Tools

All third-party keyword tools use a proprietary source of keyword data that is used to calculate an estimate of actual keyword search inventory.

So, it’s not an exact count of keyword inventory, it’s an estimate.

Nevertheless, the tools provide excellent opportunities for speeding up the keyword research process and that is a significant value to investigate to see how it fits into your process.

Keyword Research Is More Than Search Volume

In the old days, researching keywords used to be an easy process of identifying the phrases with the highest search volume. That’s no longer the case.

Today, it’s important to cross-check the search results, and go deep into understanding what a keyword phrase means for a user and what they’re trying to accomplish.

It’s also important to think in terms of topics.

In 2018, Google added what it calls a Topic Layer in order to understand topics and subtopics from all the content on the internet and identify content that is evergreen (relevant year after year).

These are the kinds of challenges the modern SEO faces today, to expand the research process beyond search volume in order to keep up with how search engines rank content today.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

All in-post images created by author, March 2022

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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.

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Featured Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock



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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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