SEO Articles

20220422 SEL Brief

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Google unveils a simpler way for European users to reject cookies

Google unveils a simpler way for European users to reject cookies

Google is making it easier to reject all cookies on search and YouTube in Europe. These changes will begin in France before expanding to the European Economic Area, the UK and Switzerland. 

Visitors who are signed out or in Incognito Mode will be presented with a choice to either reject or accept all cookies via buttons. A third option offers more options, allows users to customize their choices. 

What it looks like. Here’s a screenshot Google provided of the new look on YouTube.

Why now? French data privacy watchdog CNIL fined 150 million euros Jan. 6. Google was given three months to provide a simple way for users to refuse cookies. Had Google not hit that deadline, the company would have had to pay 100,000 euros per day.

Why we care. This is a big change for Google, which in the past made it difficult by design to opt out of cookies. According to Google’s blog post: “This update meant we needed to re-engineer the way cookies work on Google sites, and to make deep, coordinated changes to critical Google infrastructure. Moreover, we knew that these changes would impact not only Search and YouTube, but also the sites and content creators who use them to help grow their businesses and make a living.” Google thinks it can balance privacy while helping digital businesses grow and thrive. Now it’s time to find out how it will work.

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10 copywriting tips for social media

As a business owner, you probably know that social media is a very powerful marketing tool. Nowadays, it’s the best way to reach the younger generations. But it’s also a chance for you to get more personal with your customers, show them behind the scenes, and explain more in-depth about your business. That’s why it’s important that your posts are not only seen, but also read. And how do you ensure that? By writing good copy! 

Before we get into the actual tips, let’s dig into some basic technical considerations. After all, you need to understand the mechanics of social media before you can master them. Not every platform works the same, but they do share similarities.

Know your character limits

Each platform has its own word limit that you need to take into consideration. For example, a post on Twitter has a maximum of 280 characters, whereas you can write a whopping 63,206 characters on Facebook. That’s not to say you should use them all. People have limited time and attention spans. When faced with a wall of text, they quickly lose interest. That’s why your posts should be clear and concise if you want people to read and engage with them.

To hashtag, or not to hashtag

That is the question! Almost every platform uses a hashtag system, but they all have different best practices. Research where you want to be seen and where your audience is. Then, research how best to utilize hashtags on those specific platforms. The internet is your friend!

10 copywriting tips for social media

1. Define your voice and tone

First things first: how do you want to come across? You could be professional or excited, relatable or funny. Consider what best suits the image of your business. Just remember that you can’t read emotions in short copy, so it’s important to understand the voice and tone you want to portray. If possible, write down concrete guidelines, such as: ‘no abbreviations’ or ‘focus on formal language’. This will create a consistent experience for your audience on social media.

2. PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solve)

Let’s focus on what you’re going to write. You want to show your audience that your service or product adds value to their lives. So, how are you going to do that? By focusing on being the solution to their problems. Your audience probably has no shortage of them, so use that to your advantage. State a problem. Agitate that problem without sounding too negative. You don’t want to be a downer. Then, ride in with the solution, and the crowd goes (metaphorically, at least) wild. 

An example: We’ve all been there. Surrounded by wooden planks, screws, and a manual that doesn’t make sense. And you’re only on page 4 of 28. Your partner in crime is already annoyed and you have so much left to build. How will you get through this without ruining your relationship and sanity? By using our BuildItNow app: a useful tool that makes building furniture a walk in the park! Simply enter the product you’re building, and the app will give you easy-to-understand instructions. With videos! 

3. Keep it short and sweet

The main idea of your message should be front and center, because people have a short attention span. If you keep your posts short, people are more likely to engage and click through to the content you want them to see. Let’s say you’re launching a new product. You announce your new product and highlight its best feature in a Twitter post. Then, you add a link to the product page, which explains the product’s benefits in more detail.

4. Simple is better

People usually skim social media. So, try to avoid writing long-winded and complex posts. You want people to understand your content at a single glance, so they’re more likely to engage with your content. 

Tip: Pretend you’re writing the post for someone who doesn’t understand your product or service. This will force you to write clearly and concisely.

5. What does your audience think?

Everyone loves to give their opinion. Use that to your advantage! Ask your followers open-ended questions they will enjoy answering. This will increase the engagement on your post, which algorithms love. 

You can also ask your audience for input. Say you’re thinking of launching a new product. Why not ask your followers what they think and want? After all, they’re the ones buying it. Their input will allow you to create a product your audience is going to love!

6. Emotions are a powerful tool

If you want more engagement, you can try to evoke emotion in your copywriting. There are two options for you to choose from: negative or positive emotions. Some brands thrive on controversy, while others use emotion to elicit a positive response. Whichever you choose, remember it should fit your brand image and language. Stay conversational and approachable. It is social media, after all!

7. Be #findable

Hashtags are somewhat misunderstood. So, let’s look at their function. On social media, hashtags indicate what topic your post is about. They make your content easier to find. Therefore, we recommend you use them! However, do conduct some hashtag research. Find out which hashtags your audience is using, so you don’t end up putting 30 tags in your post. 

You could also use hashtags in your text and in context. This will help the people reading your post to know where to look if they want more inspiration.

8. Consistency is key

Keep your brand voice consistent, regardless of what platform you’re posting to. It may be tempting to match the youngsters on TikTok, but you risk sounding like your brand has multiple personalities. Naturally, this will confuse your followers. That’s why it’s better to remain consistent in your language and tone of voice. 

9. Always use a CTA

Your followers have seen and read your post with interest. What now? They scroll further, without taking any actions. Which is a shame! You should therefore always include a call to action (CTA) at the end of each post. Tell your followers what they should do after reading. For example, you might want them to visit your website or follow your social media channel.

10. Always use active voice

If you want your audience to be engaged, you should always write in the active voice. Why? Because sentences in the active voice are generally shorter and easier to read. They make your writing clearer, as opposed to passive voice, which generally produces longer sentences. Not to mention, passive voice can sound evasive. ‘It was decided that prices are to be lowered’immediately begs the question ‘by whom?’. Whereas ‘We decided to lower our prices’ is a lot clearer and easier to understand. It also feels more personal. 

Practice makes perfect!

It’s okay if you don’t get everything right the first time. Just keep practicing. And be mindful of your audience. After all, they’re the ones you want to reach. If you need more help, our Yoast SEO plugin has great tools to help you optimize your social media. For example, when you want to share a blog post, it shows a social media preview which you can edit the content and image of. It only takes a few minutes!

Keeping all these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to write great social media copy in no time. Good luck! 

The post 10 copywriting tips for social media appeared first on Yoast.

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Ahrefs has raised $1.5 million for Ukraine

Ahrefs has raised $1.5 million for Ukraine

Ahrefs, which provides what it calls an “all-in-one SEO toolset,” has stepped up in a big way to help support Ukraine. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Ahrefs began a fundraising effort on Feb. 24. As of today, the company has raised more than $1.5 million.

How they raised it. Ahrefs added a banner linking to a list of approved charities on its product dashboard. Here’s what it looked like:

Ahrefs told its customers they would extend a subscription for double the amount of whatever was donated. So if someone paid the equivalent of a one-month subscription, that person would get extended to two months. 

Some people who donated didn’t want anything in return from Ahrefs – they just wanted to help. So that number may be low because the numbers from Ahrefs are based on people who sent in receipts for account credit.

On the first day, Ahrefs said they got hundreds of donations from worldwide (in various currencies, from Bitcoin to U.S. dollars), totaling $94,342. On one day, Feb. 28, $125,068 was donated, the biggest single-day total. That was when we learned of Russia’s attacks on Kharkiv and Kyiv.

Why Ahrefs wanted to help. Dmitry Gerasimenko is Ahrefs founder and CEO. He is also Ukrainian. Ahrefs employs 29 Ukrainian people. 

Where the money is going. The $1.5 million is all going to Ukrainian charities. Most of these provide humanitarian help for civilians – delivering water, food and medicine; evacuating and transporting older citizens; and helping find temporary homes for relocated citizens. 

What else Ahrefs is doing to help Ukraine. Starting March 3, Ahrefs blocked Russia and Belarus from accessing its tool. Ahrefs also extended Ukrainian business accounts by six months.

Ahrefs is now blocking all access from Russia and Belarus.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not stopping. Our colleagues, friends, and families are in shelters; taking up arms to defend their communities; at risk of losing their lives at any moment.

— Ahrefs (@ahrefs) March 3, 2022

“The taxes that companies pay in those countries directly finance the bullets and missiles that killed 160 Ukrainian children and God knows how many thousands of civilians who did not intend this war,” said Daria Samokish, head of public relations at Ahrefs. “Ahrefs’ tools help businesses grow their search visibility, gain organic traffic and therefore drive sales. Continue allowing access to the toolset in the countries that invaded or provided their territories for the invasion will respond neither to our ethical conviction nor our logic of economic relations.”

What Ahrefs is doing to help its employees. Ahrefs is providing free psychotherapeutic help to all of its team members. Samokish said the Russian invasion brought a lot of grief to the entire team. 

“Our Ukrainian teammates have been through a lot, from hiding their small children in bomb shelters from Russian attacks to evacuating parents who left their homes and whole lives behind them,” Samokish said. “Some of us lost family members and friends in this war. The horrible news of war crimes toward civilians in Bucha and Irpin was the last straw for many people. Even for those coping well enough to continue working and taking care of families.”

Why we care. Our community helps each other in times of trouble. It happens every day in small ways (everything from job losses to deaths), but this is a great example of what we can do together. When members of our community need help, those who can help step up and donate – in this case, monetarily to help support Ukraine people.

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Google SpamBrain: AI-based spam prevention system launched in 2018

SpamBrain, that is the name of Google’s AI-based spam prevention system that the search company launched in 2018, yes over a few years ago. SpamBrain is credited by Google for catching about six-times more spam sites in 2021 than it did in 2020, reducing hacked spam by 70% and reducing gibberish spam on hosted platforms by 75%.

SpamBrain. It is the first we are hearing the name SpamBrain that Google said it launched in 2018. Google referenced the 2018 Google spam report, specifically the spam trends section where Google talks about its “machine learning systems” to improve search spam detection. Google confirmed that this is the first time they are talking about this name, SearchBrain, publicly. A Google spokesperson told us “SpamBrain refers to our machine-learning/AI solution for fighting spam.” “Since we first started using it, we’ve been updating SpamBrain constantly, and it’s grown much more effective at detecting and nullifying both existing and new spam types,” Google added.

Google also said that SpamBrain “was built to be a robust and evolving platform to address all types of abuse.”

Spam improvements. Google said that in 2021 it made additional strides in detecting and thwarting search spam attempts. These highlights include:

~6 times higher identification of spam sites70% reduction in hacked spam sites75% reduction in gibberish spam on hosted platforms99% “spam free” searches

More on spam. Google talked a bit about its spam fighting efforts, saying that links are still important for ranking and that its link spam algorithm in 2021 helped “broadly identify unnatural links and prevent them from affecting search quality.” Google also released a two part spam update, part one and part two of the spam updates in June 2021 and then a November 2021 spam update.

Why we care. You can check out the previous Google web spam reports from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 if you want to follow the progress.

In short, Google will continue to fight spam in order to try to keep its search results useful and higher quality. While some sites may still get away with some spam tactics, Google is constantly launching new methods to detect and block those sites from ranking highly in Google Search.

Long term success in Google Search should be about creating a spam free site that ranks through the test of time. Build quality, build something you are proud of and hopefully your site will rank through all future spam and quality updates.

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Data Deletion in Google Analytics 4

Users have high expectations for privacy and data protection, including the ability to have their data deleted upon request. This post dives into the Data Deletion options in Google Analytics 4.

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