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Yes, It Exists & Here’s How to Do It



Yes, It Exists & Here's How to Do It

Let’s get something straight—homepage SEO exists.

A homepage can rank for relevant non-branded keywords and help other pages on your site to rank too. You can find proof of that all over the web. Here’s one from Squarespace’s homepage:

List of keywords with corresponding data; notably, Traffic and Position

But SEO is not the only or primary aspect of a homepage. So in this article, you’ll learn how to optimize your homepage for search engines in four steps without undermining your homepage’s primary purpose.

How to optimize a homepage for search engines  four steps

Homepage SEO resembles the general flow of optimizing a page for search engines. We have keyword research, creating SEO content, and building links. However, there are some caveats and special considerations. Let’s dig in.

1. Choose the target keyword

Your homepage should clearly “tell” Google and your readers what your product/service is about. Both parties need to understand the context.

In SEO, this is done mainly by focusing the content of a page on a target keyword. This keyword defines what the page is about. This doesn’t mean that your page will only rank for this keyword alone. It will most certainly rank for tens and even hundreds of related keywords. But first, you need to choose that one.

Start by making a list of keywords that best define your product or service. For the sake of our example, let’s assume you’re competing with Intercom in the space of communication tools. Here’s how you can populate your list:

  • Brainstorm – You can do this on your own or in a group. Just create a list of words or phrases that come to your mind. Since you probably already know a great deal about your niche, these words should come quite naturally.
  • Analyze competitors – Make a list of your competitors and read through their websites to find words that they use to describe their offerings.

So let’s say we came up with the following keywords: CRM, communications platform, customer communications platform, customer communications tool, conversational marketing platform, conversational marketing tool, customer messaging tool, conversational relationship platform, and customer service software.

Next, we’ll plug those keywords into an SEO tool. We will need to get the traffic potential of each keyword and understand the search intent behind all of them. You can use any SEO tool you like, but it’s best if you use a tool that doesn’t group keywords.

If we use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, here’s what we will see:

List of keywords with corresponding data like KD, Volume, GV, TP, etc

To get a clearer picture of our Traffic Potential here, I’ve ordered our keywords based on this metric (TP).

Ahrefs shows data for 6 out of 9 keywords. The remaining three are most likely very low search volume keywords. Because of their low popularity, we won’t bother with them in this article.

Next, we need to analyze the search intent for these keywords.

Search intent stands for the reason behind the search query. Basically, we want to see in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for these keywords the same kind of pages that you want to optimize: homepages. 

Additionally, since we can assume our homepage will be describing a product, we can expand our search for landing pages with the same intent. If you want to dive deeper and understand the reasoning behind that, see our guide on search intent.

Moving on. Look at the top 10 pages ranking for those keywords and see if you can spot a homepage or a product page (if your competitors are offering a suite of various tools). In Ahrefs, you can just click on the SERP icon.

SERP icon in the results

Below are two instances where we can see such pages for the keywords “CRM” and “customer communications platform.”

SERP overview for "crm"

Here, we can see two product pages dedicated to CRMs—both by companies delivering entire product suites.

SERP overview for "customer communications platform"

For the keyword “customer communications platform,” we can see Intercom’s homepage and product pages from Freshdesk and MHC.

At this stage, you may find yourself in one of these scenarios:

  • You’ve found just one matching keyword – You can use that keyword as a target keyword.
  • You’ve found multiple matching keywords – You still need to choose one primary keyword. You can look at the GV column (Global Volume) to gauge the popularity of the keyword (i.e., the language your target audience uses the most).
  • You’ve found none – In this case, you should stick to the keyword that best describes your offering. There are two reasons for that: First, your homepage likely serves more purposes than SEO; second, search intent for that keyword may change direction and start showing particular businesses (like yours).

What to do with other relevant keywords from this stage? Keep them. You may still need to use them in the copy of your homepage to show its context. Other than that, you may want to use them for other content formats (blog posts, landing pages, free tools, etc.).

2. Create content for your homepage

In this section, we’ll cover crafting the title tag, meta description, main content of your homepage, and addition of schema markup.


The title is one of the things Google will take into account when understanding and ranking your homepage. (Yes, it is a tiny ranking factor.)

That said, the title is not only meant for Google. You still need to make the title attractive enough to make people click.

Here are some good practices for crafting your homepage’s title:

  • Make it eye-catching and accurate – Write a line that piques users’ interest and accurately describes what’s unique about your offer.
  • Insert the target keyword in your title – But remember to make it sound natural.
  • Insert your brand name – How and where you put it won’t impact rankings (but may impact the user’s choice). 
  • Fit within 60 characters – Otherwise, your description may get truncated, and you’ll increase the chances of Google rewriting your title.

Once you rank in the top 10 for that keyword, it’s the perfect time to start optimizing your title for the click-through rate.

Recommended reading: How to Craft the Perfect SEO Title Tag (Our 4‑Step Process) 

Meta description

Unlike the title tag, the meta description is not a ranking factor.

Interestingly enough, Google is known for rewriting meta description tags. (According to our study, this happens 62.78% of the time.)

At any rate, a good meta description can interest the searcher enough to enter your homepage. So:

  • Make it compelling enough to make the user click.
  • Refrain from any “clickbaity” practices. If your page doesn’t pass the “sniff test,” the user will simply return to the SERPs and will avoid your page in the future. Or simply, they won’t click in the first place.
  • Don’t make your description longer than 920 px. Use a tool like SERPSim to make sure your description will fit.
  • It’s a good idea to treat the title and description as two parts of the same message. The description can be an extension of or support what you claim in the title.
Excerpt of a Google SERP
Excerpt of a Google SERP

Recommended reading: How to Write the Perfect Meta Description 

Main content

First and foremost, think about your brand and your business when creating the main content of the homepage. What do your visitors need to know about your business right off the bat? What makes you unique? What path should the user take on your website? SEO should come second in those considerations.

When it comes to SEO, you need to remember two things when designing your main content:

  1. Matching search intent
  2. Inserting (naturally) your target keyword into the H1 tag

For the first point (matching search intent), you need to look at the top pages on the SERP for a given keyword and analyze what these pages are talking about and what they offer.

For example, for the keyword “CRM,” a lot of pages offer basic information on CRMs: what is a CRM, benefits, how does a CRM work, features of a CRM, etc.

Google SERP for "crm"

This is an indication that Google “promotes” pages that offer some kind of education on the topic of CRMs. So it’s probably a good idea to include similar points inside your main content so that Google can “see” your page as something that helps searchers understand the product and learn how they can benefit from it. 

You can go a level deeper in picking related terms with the help of Ahrefs’ Also rank for and Also talk about reports. Just plug in a keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and use the said reports to find out:

  • Which keywords the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword also rank for.
  • Which other keywords and phrases the top-ranking pages for your target keyword frequently mention.
List of keywords with corresponding data like KD, Volume, etc

Some of the results of the Also talk about report for the keyword “CRM.”

Lastly, however obvious this may sound, you don’t want to forget to mention your brand in the copy. This is still part of search intent, as a lot of searchers will likely land on your homepage through branded keywords.

As for the second point (inserting your target keyword into the H1 tag), it’s another situation when SEO comes last. Inserting the primary keyword into this tag will help Google understand the context. But the H1 tag is also about improving the user experience and accessibility of a page.

On top of that, there’s nothing wrong with making your H1 copy more persuasive than the competition. 

H1 on Hubspot's webpage about its CRM software

Recommended reading: On-Page SEO: The Beginner’s Guide 

Add schema markup

Schema markup is code that helps search engines to understand your content and better represent it in the search results.

Adding schema markup can help you gain more visibility on the SERPs by displaying rich snippets which, in turn, can lead to more traffic.

In practice, adding schema markup to a homepage is comparable to filling out meta tags. You’re filling out some predefined categories with information about your organization, your product, etc.

You can write schema “by hand,” but it’s probably best to generate it using tools like Schema Builder extension.

Here’s an example schema markup from Intercom’s homepage. Here, it’s using the “organization” type with two properties (URL and logo):

Example schema markup on Intercom's page

And below, we have an interesting case of multiple schema markup types found on ZOHO’s CRM product page:

Multiple schema markup types found on ZOHO’s CRM product page

And thanks to having this information inside the schema…

  "aggregateRating": {

    "@type": "AggregateRating",

    "ratingValue": "4.3",

    "reviewCount": "5148"


… Google can display the review snippet:

Review snippet on a Google SERP

Another interesting example is how HubSpot uses schema markup to show FAQs fitting the informational character of the search intent for the keyword “CRM”:

Excerpt of a Google SERP
Schema markup on Hubspot's page

The type of schema property that you may want to include on your homepage is the organization. It will help Google understand that your page is about an organization (and not, for example, a type of fruit). This markup can also help you earn a knowledge panel.

Another often-used feature is the sitelinks search box. Google can display this feature whether you like it or not (based on the utility for the user), but you can have some control of it using schema.

Sitelinks search box on Google SERP

It’s worth experimenting with other types of properties too: reviews, FAQ, local business, etc. Having multiple schemas on your homepage is OK, as long as you match that with actual content on your homepage and don’t provide conflicting information.

Recommended reading: What Is Schema Markup? How to Use It for SEO 

3. Build high-quality external links

A homepage, just like any other page, needs backlinks to effectively compete for non-branded keywords in search engines. The more good quality backlinks you have, the higher the chances of ranking in the top 10.

Keyword Explorer overview for "crm"

The competition for this keyword is really tough…

There are multiple sources where you can get backlinks for your homepage. But not all of them will pass the same link authority. So before you go chasing those links, keep in mind what makes a good (high-quality) backlink:

  • Relevance – You should aim to get backlinks from websites related to your niche.
  • Authority – Backlinks from strong webpages usually transfer more “authority” than those from weak ones. In addition, links from pages with fewer outbound links will pass more authority.
  • Traffic – There’s a small but clear correlation between rankings and backlinks from pages with organic search traffic (source).
  • Placement – Prominently placed links may pass more authority than others. The general rule of thumb is that the more likely the user is to click a link, the more PageRank the link will pass. So for example, links within the main copy of the text placed high on the page will pass more authority than links inside the footer placed among many other links.
  • Anchor – Google reads the surrounding content of a link as a signal for the context of the page. However, according to our study, the correlation between anchor text and search rankings is weak.
  • Followed vs. nofollowed – Nofollowed backlinks usually don’t influence the linked page’s rankings.

Keep in mind, though, that high-quality links are hard to get. More often than not, you will really need to build a strong case to get a site to mention your brand, product, etc.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some places where you can get quality backlinks to your homepage.


Positive reviews can greatly increase demand for your product or service. But if your reviews can also get you a high-quality backlink, those reviews can help you rank higher on the SERPs and generate additional traffic.

To look for review opportunities, you can analyze your competitors’ backlinks and reach out to the same websites.

Backlinks report results

You can look for review opportunities by filtering competitors’ backlinks with words often used in reviews. Examples: best, compare, comparison, alternative, etc.

Another way to source those opportunities is to use Google to find out who writes reviews in your product category. But if you want to do it more efficiently, you can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to find these sites and easily filter them based on page traffic, domain authority, etc.

Content Explorer results for this search: "crm review" OR "best crm"

Digital PR

Digital PR is a great opportunity for building links because links from the media will usually be some of the most authoritative backlinks you can get.

Typically there are two ways to do this. You can:

  • Answer journalist requests on sites like HARO, ProfNet, or SourceBottle. You can also scan Twitter for hashtags like #journorequest.
  • Write and pitch press releases to reputable and relevant media outlets.

If you can provide unique insight on a problem related to your niche or if you’re doing something newsworthy, there is a chance a journalist will use you as a source for their story. As a result, your brand will get exposure and your homepage will get a link.

List of referring pages with corresponding data like DR, Domain Traffic, etc

Just like reviews, PR can happen “organically” without your input. Will those stories link to you as well? You can find out by looking for unlinked mentions and then trying to turn them into links.  We have a full guide on tackling unlinked brand mentions here.

Guest posts

Guest posting is quite a popular phenomenon on the internet. It probably doesn’t need any kind of introduction.

Like reviews, guest posts can benefit a brand and its product or service in many ways: brand awareness, product demand, etc. This tactic is worth pursuing just for the sake of those benefits.

But when SEOs talk about guest posts or guest blogging, there is only one goal on the table: getting a high-quality backlink. One is all you need.

You can look for guest blogging opportunities manually using Google:

Google SERP for this search: saas "write for us"

Or you can do it at scale with an SEO tool that lets you quickly filter through the results. Here’s a video showing the process using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

Other tactics

Link building is a broad topic with many tactics and techniques. Some of the other ideas for getting backlinks are:

  • Getting featured in directories and listings, which is especially effective with homepages for local businesses.
  • Studying your competitors’ backlinks to replicate their links (e.g., from review sites) and spot patterns in the types of backlinks.
  • Reclaiming lost links.
  • Adding links to community sites.

We cover those and more in our resources on the topic:

4. Add internal links

From an SEO perspective, three things happen when you link internally:

  1. You help new pages get discovered by search engines – Internal links provide a crawl path to target pages.
  2. You pass link authority between your pages – This way, you can boost other pages you own.
  3. You help search engines understand what a page is about – You need Google to understand the meaning of your content if you want to rank for relevant keywords.

Because of the reasons above, you should seek opportunities to link both from your homepage and to your homepage.

Add links from your homepage (to your most important content)

Homepages are usually pages with the highest number of backlinks. They amass link authority that can be passed to other pages to help them rank.

Here’s how Salesforce uses this technique to boost its page explaining what CRM is:

Salesforce's homepage showing link to article on "What is CRM"; on right, list of other resources (video, webinar, etc)

And it seems to work. That page ranks #1 for the keyword “CRM”:

SERP overview for "crm"

Another popular way to link to your important content is through the footer of the page. However, based on our knowledge of how links pass authority, this technique will pass less authority compared to Salesforce’s technique.

Links to blog articles in page footer

Intercom links from the homepage to selected blog posts through the footer of the page.

Add links to your homepage

If your resource pages (blog, ebooks, case studies, etc.) link to your homepage through site navigation or even through a logo, those links already pass page authority to your homepage.

However, if you remember from our section about what makes a link high-quality, the placement of the link and its anchor matter as well. The links that a user is more likely to click are likely to pass more authority. And the anchor used in that link helps Google grasp the context of your homepage.

For these reasons, you should also link to your homepage within the main content where it is relevant. So for example, instead of just mentioning your brand or product inside a blog post, include a link to it as well (one per article is probably enough).

Internal Backlinks report results

Links from HubSpot’s blog pointing to its homepage are quite common.


Here, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about optimizing a homepage for search engines.

Is the homepage most important for SEO?

Your homepage will likely have the most backlinks and will be the landing page for most branded keywords. However, this doesn’t mean that your SEO efforts should be limited to this page only or that you should be prioritizing this page at all times. 

How long does it take Google to display changes on your homepage?

Google states that crawling can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Make sure your page is crawlable and indexable to Google in the first place.

How much text should there be on a homepage?

There is no definitive answer for this from an SEO perspective. Focus on matching search intent instead and making your copy appealing to the reader.

Final thoughts

Homepages tend to be neglected in SEO strategies. They shouldn’t be. As you can see, they can rank for important keywords and help other pages rank at the same time.

That said, you shouldn’t try to rank a homepage for a given keyword at all costs. There are some scenarios where it’s probably better to target keywords with blog posts or dedicated landing pages. This is true when:

  1. The content of your homepage won’t be able to match search intent. This shouldn’t dissuade you from using other words or phrases that, in your opinion, best describe your business.
  2. Your offering is so complex that trying to make it all about one topic will hurt your business. See how Twilio’s site architecture matches the complexity of its business. Expecting its homepage to rank for one non-branded keyword just doesn’t make sense.

One thing we need to make clear here is that a homepage is just a page. From an SEO perspective, the same rules apply. And in this game, search intent is still king.

For example, when you Google “speed test,” you expect to see a free tool for testing internet connection. And this is what the top-ranking websites provide on their homepages right off the bat.

It doesn’t matter what “tricks” you use to rank here; if you don’t provide a tool for that, then game over.

And you can’t wish for a better confirmation of search intent than this:

Google SERP for "speed test"

Got questions or comments? Ping me on Twitter.

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Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?



Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair?

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

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

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

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

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

Large Language Models Use Website Content Without Attribution

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

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

Hans commented:

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

It’s called a citation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The concerns that Hans expresses are reasonable.

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

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

John answered:

“Yes, without a doubt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OpenAI and Microsoft Sued

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

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

According to an article published in a scholarly journal:

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

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

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

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

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

Background on LLMs and Datasets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Common Crawl Can Be Blocked

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

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

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

How to Block Common Crawl From Your Data

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

The Common Crawl bot is called, CCBot.

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

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

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

User-agent: CCBot
Disallow: /

CCBot crawls from Amazon AWS IP addresses.

CCBot also follows the nofollow Robots meta tag:

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

What If You’re Not Blocking Common Crawl?

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

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

Website Publishers Have Limited Options

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

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

Does that seem fair? The answer is complicated.

Featured image by Shutterstock/

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Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines



Google Updates Discover Follow Feed Guidelines

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

Google Discover Feed

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to Google:

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

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

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

Updated Guidance for Google Discover Follow Feature

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

The new guidance states:

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

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

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

Google Discover Optimization

Publishers and SEOs are familiar with optimizing for Google Search.

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

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

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

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

Featured image by Shutterstock/fizkes

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Is Wix Good for SEO? Here’s Everything to Know About Wix SEO



Is Wix Good for SEO? Here's Everything to Know About Wix SEO

As of 2023, Wix provides solid options for a basic SEO setup that will cover most needs but still lacks the flexibility of more advanced and granular settings.

In this article, I go through all the nooks and crannies of Wix SEO options so you can decide if Wix is right for your needs. I’ll also share some tips on how to make your Wix website more search-friendly if you’re already a Wix user.

Does Wix have everything you need for SEO?

Wix has a bit of a bad reputation for SEO. This is because from its launch in 2006 until its first big update in 2016, it lacked many basic SEO functionalities like adding alt text and being able to change URL structures.

However, that is no longer the case. You can now do virtually every on-page SEO task using the Wix platform. It even hired expert SEOs, such as Mordy Oberstein and Crystal Carter, who have pushed for more SEO features and better communication.

Back in 2019, we ran a study comparing Wix SEO to WordPress SEO analyzing over 6.4M websites. We found that, on average, far more WordPress websites get organic traffic than Wix websites. 

WordPress vs. Wix organic traffic

However, we believe that this is due to the website owners, not the platforms themselves. On average, Wix website owners are less tech-savvy (and less educated on SEO) than WordPress users, simply because of the extra learning curve that comes with using WordPress.

Editor’s Note

The study and its methodology weren’t great. Given that there are so many variables involved, we didn’t see a way to rerun it properly. We decided to replace the study with this guide, providing more value to readers and being more fair to Wix.

That said, we had the Wix’s SEO team provide feedback on this article as part of the editing process to ensure accuracy and increase objectivity.

Michal Pecánek

Let’s also see what Googlers have to say about Wix.

Here’s a quote by John Mueller, Google’s senior search analyst, on the topic of Wix SEO:

Wix is fine for SEO. A few years back it was pretty bad in terms of SEO, but they’ve made fantastic progress, and are now a fine platform for businesses. The reputation from back then lingers on, but don’t be swayed by it.

What they’ve done in recent years is really good stuff, including making it trivial to have a really fast site (as you see in the Lighthouse scores — admittedly, speed is only a tiny part of SEO).

If Wix works for them, and they don’t need more, there’s no reason to switch.

John Mueller

So overall, Wix has the majority of features most website users would need to manage SEO. But there’s more to the story…

While Wix has no major SEO issues, it does have three minor issues that may stop you from wanting to use it if you’re serious about search:

  1. Website builders will typically load slower than custom code – Wix inevitably has code bloat from features you will never use. This is true even if you use WordPress and install a theme builder like Elementor or Thrive Architect, so this isn’t exclusive to Wix. That said, it’s only a minor issue, and it already has great Core Web Vitals compared to other CMS types.
  2. Less-than-ideal multilingual support – If you plan on publishing your blog posts in multiple languages, you may want to skip Wix. For example, you don’t have full control over the URLs for different language versions of your site. However, some of these aspects are in its feature requests and may be available soon.
  3. Limited advanced SEO control – Wix lacks some advanced SEO features. For example, it’s difficult to edit the auto-generated sitemap. Additionally, Wix generates cryptic file names for images (e.g., 09a0ab7~mv2.jpg/), which is not good for ranking on Google Images. 

Ultimately, Wix’s SEO features will work for most website owners out there. 

If you are a business owner who wants to focus more time on running your business and less time on learning how to build the perfect website with the best features, Wix is an excellent choice.

To help you decide if Wix is right for you, we made this helpful table of who should and shouldn’t use Wix to build their website:

Type of website Is Wix a great solution? Explanation
Personal website Yes Wix provides all you need for small websites.
Local business Yes Wix provides all you need to create a quick and easy local business website and rank in local search results.
Affiliate website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for affiliate marketing and SEO well. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Content website Maybe Wix can handle your needs for content used to show display ads. But if you’re aiming to create a big, complex website, it may be worth your time to learn WordPress instead.
Services website Maybe If you offer a service such as SaaS, banking, etc., then Wix may be a good choice depending on the specific features needed. You’ll have to do your own research.
E-commerce website Maybe There’s no perfect out-of-the-box CMS for this. The most common choices are Shopify or WooCommerce, but Wix is a solid option for e-commerce SMBs too. It can handle even some of the more complex e-commerce SEO stuff.

I personally would never build a website on Wix over WordPress for myself. That’s because WordPress has more features and customizability. And even though it comes with a much steeper learning curve, that is something I’ve overcome. (I’ve been building WordPress websites for over a decade.)

That said, I built my dad a website for his remodeling business using Wix. I did this because it’s much easier for him to go in and edit things himself than it is with WordPress. And he’s able to rank for local keywords just fine on the Wix platform. The website is fairly new, and I will come back in a few months to update this page with the progress of his rankings.

One last thing to keep in mind is that switching your content management system (CMS) can be a massive pain. So whichever tool you choose, be ready to stick to it for a long time.

Five tips to make your Wix website SEO-friendly

Deciding to stick with Wix? Here are five Wix-specific tips to help you make sure your website is search-optimized:

1. Complete the Wix SEO Setup Checklist

Wix has a really easy-to-use SEO Setup Checklist built in its platform. To use it, navigate to the Marketing & SEO page, then click Get Found on Google.

Wix SEO Setup Checklist

From there, you’ll be asked a few questions to get started, such as your business name and the top three to five keywords you want your website to rank for. If you’re not sure which keywords to target, I highly recommend reading our guide to keyword research.

Once you answer the questions, you’ll see a screen with steps you can take to optimize your website for search engines, starting with your homepage.

Wix's steps to optimize site for search engines

SEO Setup Checklist will guide you through the process of updating your pages’ meta tags, making your website mobile-friendly, and more.

Go through each of these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a search-optimized website.

2. Set up Google Search Console and Analytics

You’ll notice one of the steps is to connect your site to Google Search Console (GSC). This is Google’s suite of tools designed for website owners like you to more easily monitor your search rankings and find issues preventing your pages from being indexed by Googlebot

Performance report, via GSC

You can set up GSC with the click of a button using the SEO Setup Checklist. If you want to learn more, check out our complete guide to Google Search Console.

Wix SEO Wiz connecting Google Search Console

Once GSC is set up, you can connect Google Analytics (GA) to your website to get more insights into where your traffic is coming from and which pages your visitors are going to.

To connect GA, navigate to the Marketing Integrations tab under Marketing & SEO. It’s the first box that appears—click Connect.

Wix marketing integration with Google Analytics

Wix will instruct you on how to create a Google Analytics Property ID and connect that ID with your Wix website. If you need more help, we also have a guide on Google Analytics 4.

Once it’s set up and your website starts getting traffic, you’ll be able to see traffic and webpage reports. This can help you identify which pages may need improvements or how many conversions you get from organic traffic.

Google Analytics traffic report

That’s it—you’re done with step #2.

3. Create search-optimized content

If your website just has the basic homepage, as well as “about” and “contact” pages, chances are you won’t be able to rank well for much (if anything).

A crucial step in SEO is creating content that can be crawled and indexed by Googlebot. That means creating service pages if you’re a local business and possibly also creating blog content targeting relevant keywords to your industry.

Rather than making this whole article about content, I will leave you with a resource. Go check out our guide to SEO content to learn more.

4. Add internal links

Backlinks—links from another website pointing to your website—are one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. However, they can be difficult to obtain.

Internal links from one page on your site to another on your site are almost as important as backlinks. But they are much easier to add. You just highlight some text and add the link in.

If you have pages on your website that you want to rank better, simply add more internal links to that page and you’re already on the path to higher rankings. Obviously, just adding some internal links won’t suddenly make you rank #1 for a keyword. But it’s an important—and often overlooked—step on the road to better rankings. 

To add an internal link with Wix, simply highlight the text you want to add a link to, click the “chain link” icon, then choose the page you want the link to point to.

Wix internal link settings

Check out our internal linking guide to learn more about this important SEO task.

5. Schedule regular SEO audits

Once your Wix website is set up and optimized, it’s important to schedule regular SEO audits to keep tabs on your rankings and make sure nothing gets broken.

While you can do this manually, it is time consuming and easy to overlook something. 

For example, you may not realize one of your pages broke and is now a 404 page, or that a certain blog post isn’t showing up in your sitemap, or that you’re missing metadata on a certain page… the list goes on.

Instead, you can use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to automatically run weekly or monthly audits of your website. This free tool will give you a health score from 0 to 100 on how “healthy” your website is from an SEO perspective.

Health Score overview, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can then see specific tasks you need to do in order to fix these issues on your site. Go to the All issues report and check the issues we found while crawling your website.

All issues report, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can click the error and see exactly what it means and how to fix it.

Issue details, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

From there, you can click “View affected URLs” and go to those pages to fix the issues. Easy peasy.

Final thoughts

Overall, Wix is a perfectly capable website builder for SEO. While it isn’t as advanced and capable as more complex CMSs like WordPress, it’s plenty good for people who just want to build a website and don’t have the time for or interest in a giant learning curve.

I still use Wix for certain client sites and to build sites for friends and family who want a website where they can still make small edits themselves. It’s my favorite website builder compared to other tools like Squarespace or (not to be confused with, which I use all the time).

One more benefit to using a website builder like Wix is that it’s a complete solution and takes care of the hosting and security. In fact, John doesn’t recommend self-hosting your websites. 

That said, if you want more advanced features and to dive deeper in SEO, I suggest learning WordPress.

Ready to keep learning? Here are some other helpful guides:

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