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Are Outgoing Links Good for SEO?

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Are Outgoing Links Good for SEO?


An interesting news item just hit the streets — and of course, I had to share. 

The article dove into the much-touted advice that linking to other, authoritative sources “helps a site’s SEO.” 

That is, with all other things being equal, a resource article with outgoing links to authoritative sites would position better than one that didn’t link out. 

On the surface, this makes sense. It seems like linking out to an authoritative source would get Google’s attention. After all, those links have power. 

Plus, this is one of those things that feels true. A well-researched article with smartly sourced reference links gets my attention. A link-free article — even when a resource is cited — feels different. There’s no easy way to click the link and double-check the source (or to learn more.) 

Considering Google’s push for quality, authoritative, standout content, it would make sense that outgoing links could give you a positioning boost. After all, don’t outgoing links somehow mean a page is better? 

Right? 

Nope. Outgoing links don’t help your SEO. 

Here’s the deal…

Think about it: if linking to an authoritative resource was something that moved the positioning needle, we’d link to Wikipedia, news sites, and major brands all the time. 

Get insta-rankings simply by inserting an outgoing link? Yes, please.  

It’s not that easy, unfortunately.  

BUT (and as you know, there’s always a “but” when it comes to SEO)…  

In the wild world of SEO writing, not everything we do is for “the Google.”  

Instead, we focus on what our readers expect to see — especially if we’re writing about a topic where linking to additional sources makes sense. No, we’re not linking to that resource for extra Google points. We’re doing it because linking out provides our readers with additional value.  

And that’s precisely the right reason to drop a link.  

If this blows your mind, this write-up discusses how outgoing links = SEO juice is a surprising SEO misconception. If you’re also surprised, know you are not alone.  

“Thou shalt link out” is a well-promoted content marketing tip.  

People just messed up about why it’s important. 

So the question remains: should you link out if it doesn’t help your SEO?

My take? Yes. Granted, it depends on the content and its goals. I wouldn’t link willy-nilly from a sales page. 

But if you’re trying to support your point — and another blog has more information — why wouldn’t you link out? Assuming the reader does scoot away to visit the page, they’ll scoot back if they clicked with your content. 

And if they don’t come back? There’s a good chance that they didn’t click with your content in the first place. 

What do you think? 

Have you learned that you needed to link out “for Google?” Leave a comment and let me know! 



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25+ SEO Words To Delete, Add, Or Reconsider In The Web3 Era

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25+ SEO Words To Delete, Add, Or Reconsider In The Web3 Era


🚨 Call the SEO word police.

These days in the SEO world, sometimes it’s more complicated than ever to tell what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to SEO terminology, phrases, and words.

As brands and marketers start to embrace Web3, the next generation of the internet terms come and go.

To ensure you are on top of it, we tapped the minds of the industry’s leading SEO and digital marketing professionals to dissect the over-used, underrated, and up-and-coming SEO words.

Just like styles change with the season, SEO changes with the algorithms and the modern times.

What might have been last season’s must-have buzzword just might be this year’s red flag waiting for a Google penalty.

Are we still talking about wearing black hats and white hats? Is this still a primarily male-dominated, exclusive industry? Are press releases still a tactic or a strategy?

Some SEO words have just run their course, classifying them as overused, overvalued, and in some cases, just plain over.

Next-Gen SEO World Of Words

As we enter the Web3 era, also known as the next generation of the internet, marketers and brands must adapt accordingly.

Besides Web3, brands of all sizes need to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a strategy, leadership, and culture checkpoint.

Including content and addressing accessibility, equality, equal pay, work from home, etc., are not just buzzwords. They are the new normal when it comes to keywords, culture, and innovation,

In Search Engine Journal’s recent interview with Rachel Heseltine, she shared her story of coming out as an SEO professional and thoughts on the impact of diversity in leadership and beyond.

“Public relations” and media coverage continue to positively impact SEO as the results unravel from the perks of links to the positive SEO bumps, thanks to brand mentions in the media.

Let’s also keep on the radar what SEO will look like in the metaverse as Google tiptoes into one of the biggest Google Trend buzzwords of 2021: the “metaverse.”

As we enter into a Web3 world, terms like decentralization, privacy, and blockchain will be trending up.

For the average person, SEO has been somewhat of a mystery of how it works, how long it takes, and who is the expert.

Using outdated terms and language can be a sure sign of incompetence, ignorance, or transformation and modernization.

When we asked leading SEO professionals which words to eliminate, the most overused SEO word is… SEO.

SEO: The Most Overused SEO Word Ever?

Here’s why you can’t be all things to all people.

SEO is not magic, and it’s not a catchall.

“The word SEO on its own isn’t bad,” said content marketing consultant and SEO expert Kelsey Jones. “But shady agencies are using vague terms to not be transparent with clients about the actual work they are doing on their website.”

“I have small business owners coming to me, asking for ‘SEO’ and assuming it will magically make them number one in search results simply because other SEO practitioners have said it’s possible within months. As professionals, it’s just not right to be taking advantage of people who have no idea what you’re talking about,” Jones added.

“I also think the term ‘content’ is slightly misleading and misunderstood because many business owners or C-suite executives don’t understand the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to create a piece of content from the initial idea to research, writing, and promotion.

They think anyone can create ‘content,’ but it takes a team of professionals who know how the entire process works to make it effective.”

Considering SEO’s birth dates back to 1997, making it just over 20 years old, there’s still a ton of growing up.

We’ve gone from birth to infancy to middle school to teen years and graduated from college.

SEO was quite simple in the early years.

Gaming the system was easy.

Manipulating search results was the game.

Now that SEO is in its mid-20s, things are starting to mature and get serious.

As SEO grows up, so does the vocabulary, terminology, and best practices.

In today’s post-pandemic, complicated, and fast-moving digital marketing world, change is a way of life. It’s true. If search marketers had to pick a specialty, it would be “expert in change.”

And so the SEO goes.

What worked last year is old news and what was amazing five years ago is ancient history in Google years. Unlike fashion, dated SEO terminology doesn’t make a comeback.

Optimizing to win results on Google’s page one search results needs an attitude of “adapt or die.”

To keep up with the changes, here are 26 SEO words industry professionals would like to delete, die, and say bye-bye.

DELETE: SEO Words That Just Need To Go Bye Bye

  • Best.
  • Cloaking.
  • Content is King.
  • Content Marketing.
  • DA Score.
  • Do ‘this,’ and you will succeed.
  • Integrated Campaigns.
  • Hacking… anything.
  • Implied links via brand mentions.
  • Keyword Density.
  • Linkbait.
  • Link Building.
  • Link Juice.
  • Matt Cutts.
  • Meta Description.
  • Outbound Marketing.
  • PageRank.
  • Ranking Factor.
  • RankBrain.
  • SEO.
  • SEO is Dead.
  • Storytelling.
  • The “Hats” Black Hat, White Hat.
  • Top.
  • Testing.
  • Toxic Links.

SEO Words To Add

  • Accessibility.
  • Artificial Intelligence.
  • Authentic.
  • Chief Digital Officer.
  • Conversations.
  • Customer anything.
  • Danny Sullivan.
  • Decentralized.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Driverless Vehicle Optimization Expert.
  • Featured Snippets.
  • Google Business Profile.
  • Holistic SEO.
  • Metaverse.
  • Mobile.
  • Privacy.
  • Transparency.
  • Web3.
  • Women SEO Experts.

Who Thinks What & Why

The SEO words you should delete and the SEO words to add in 2022 and beyond.


Kelsey Jones, SEO Content Leader  

Let’s review the word “content.”

The term ‘content’ is slightly misleading and misunderstood because many business owners or C-suite executives don’t understand the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to create a piece of content, from the initial idea to research, writing, and promotion. They think anyone can create “content,” but it takes a team of professionals who know how the entire process works to make it effective.


Heather Lloyd-Martin, SEO Copywriting Expert and Trainer Heather Lloyd SEO

My pet peeve term that needs to go?

Keyword density.

At least once a week, I receive an email from an SEO writer complaining that their client wants an X% keyword density – and it’s messing up the content flow.

Yes, back in the day (over 20 years ago), we needed a 5.5% key phrase density to position in Alta Vista.

Today, Google has said that keyword density isn’t a ranking factor.

Randomly shoving keywords into content won’t help positions. Yet, I still see companies (and some SEO tools) pushing for a specific keyword density because they think that’s what Google wants.


Victoria Edwards, Online Marketing and Social Media ManagerVictoria Edwards

Most Overused SEO Words:

SEO Is Dead

This really annoys me, since it clearly isn’t. Who only knows how our business will change with regard to this Net Neutrality situation, but I am sure we will just find another way to give our consumers the content they’re looking for.

Outbound Marketing

This one gets me and feels a bit overused. Maybe the phrase digital marketing should take it over.

Yes, outbound is different from inbound, but we need to get on with it and try something else.

Content Is King

This is my absolute favorite overused phrase. I agree content can be king. You must factor in that if your site isn’t optimized, the content isn’t strong, and you don’t have a decent budget to promote it… then it’s not king. People just won’t see the content.


Carrie Hill, Local SEO AnalystCarrie Hill SEO

‘Must-Have’ SEO Word To Add:

Testing

I’d add the word “TESTING” in really big bold letters. I think many SEOs talk a big game around testing, but very few implement, test, tweak and learn with measured scientific testing.

What produced results and what did not? How can we better design our test? How can we improve our results?

In my opinion, the number one  rule of testing is “be prepared to be wrong.”

I think there’s a lot of ego in the SEO industry and many can’t handle being wrong about a theory or tactic they’ve been using (and heavily promoting) for YEARS.

It’s hard to eat crow – but if it makes my clients more money – I’ll add ketchup and dig in.


Lily Ray, SEO Expert by Day, DJ by Night LIL Ray SEO DJ

Hit Delete

  • Toxic Links
  • DA (Domain Authority) Score
  • E-A-T Score / E-A-T algorithm / E-A-T algorithm update

Here’s why…

Toxic Links

SEO tools created the notion of “toxic links” and now the industry has gone overboard with assigning relevance and importance to this score.

However, the same SEO tools that measure “toxic links” are mostly just looking at spammy links, which are entirely ignored by Google.

Every website has spammy links, and Google knows this. The real “toxic” links are links that violate Google’s guidelines, which are generally difficult for SEO tools to identify.

This idea of a “toxicity score” is misleading for SEOs and website owners alike.

DA Score

Another metric created by SEO tools has been blown completely out of proportion.

While Google likely uses some version of a domain-wide evaluation of authoritativeness, we don’t have access to those metrics and DA is certainly not it.

 


Rebecca Murtagh, Author of Million Dollar WebsitesRebecca Murtagh

Most Overused SEO Words:

“Best” And “Top”

I have probably even been guilty of using these words in the past.

However, in the era of brand democratization where customers are part of the brand story, search results favor brands when customers are the ones saying they are the best or top in what they offer.

So, let customers and audiences have their say!

SEO Words Trending In:

It is time to embrace the softer side of SEO!

Customers become emotionally attached and fiercely loyal to brands they love. So, words will vary by brand and marketplace.

To attract the most qualified visitors to a website from search engine results, brands can leverage two key elements in content and snippets in the hope they will appear in SERPs:

For example, Apple’s snippet reads: Discover the innovative world of Apple and shop…

Customers are loyal to the Apple brand because they are connected and continually anticipate the brand’s innovation.

Use of brand differentiators calls to action (CTA) like “discover” and “shop” promote action (the click!).

When SEO becomes more human, everyone wins!


Joy Hawkins, Google My Business Expert Joy Hawkins SEO

New Term To Be Added:

Google Business Profile

Since Google rebranded Google My Business recently, we should add the new name: Google Business Profile.

The frustrating thing with this rebrand is that it sounds very dumb when you abbreviate it to GBP as Google thinks you’re talking about the British pound.

It will take a lot of practice to get used to saying Google Business Profile instead of GMB.

I agree with “Link Juice” for words that should be removed. I can’t stand how this word sounds and usually opt for something like “link power” or “link equity” instead.


Melissa Fach, SEO Consultant, Community Manager, and EditorMelissa Fach

Most Overused SEO Words:

“Do ‘this,’ and you will succeed.”

Everyone writing and giving advice need to stop saying anything like this.

There are too many variables to consider when it comes to SEO to guarantee someone that they will be successful if they copy your strategy.

As an editor, I always remove these false promises from my articles.


Virginia Nussey, Director of Marketing at MobileMonkey Virginia Nussey

Most Overused SEO Words:

Link Building

Can this concept please die? You’re either:

  • Making amazing content and promoting it with ads and PR.
  • You’re spamming.

SEO Words Trending In:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

I’ve been thinking about ways to adapt to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Google’s RankBrain has had a significant impact on SEO.

For one thing, writers and SEOs need better tools for identifying long-tail and voice search queries.

We can use Google suggestions and “People also ask” along with FAQs from Answer the Public – but what else are we to do in response to AI’s impact on search and searcher behavior? That’s been a big focus for me and will be in the future.


Eric Enge, SEO Expert, Author, and President of Pilot Holding eric enge

Almost Overused SEO Words:

Meta Description

With all the work that Google is putting into snippet generation, it looks like the utility of meta descriptions is going to be 100% gone soon, if it isn’t already.

For now, I would still optimize your meta description, but I suspect in a year or two, we’ll get confirmation that it doesn’t matter anymore.

I have no confirmation, but I am speculating given how much work Google is putting into snippet extraction, I believe the need for meta descriptions will disappear.

SEO Words Trending In:

Featured Snippets

OK, I know people are talking about these a ton already, but I don’t think that everyone truly understands just how important this is.

The real featured snippets story will be told once more than half of all search queries are by voice, and most people take their one answer from a verbal SERP – a SERP that has only one answer, and that answer will be taken from what we call a featured snippet today.

Conversations

Too many people focus solely on old-fashioned ranking signals, like content and links. These do remain important, but it’s also essential to take a broader view of how your brand is perceived online.

Google has told us repeatedly that they try to view our sites the way users do. Well, what does that mean really?

If users want to see brand results for a given query, that’s what Google will return. If users want to see a marketplace, Google will return that in the SERPs. If users want to see review sites, Google will return that.

If you’re not a particularly good result for a given query, then they won’t return you.

How does Google figure that out? Not simply by analyzing your content, because you can have pages that speak to a given query but still not be the company that users want to interact with related to that query.

You can go get links to your page that say you are authoritative for that query, but the presence of those links doesn’t mean that users want you either.

Try this: Engage in branding and advertising campaigns, or actively engage in, or create, conversations across the web about your brand related to the query.

That’s a clear sign that consumers consider you relevant to the query.


Joe Laratro, SEO/PPC Expert and President, Tandem Online Marketing SolutionsJoe Laratro

‘Unprecedented’ needs to go.

We should delete “unprecedented” from our SEO vocabulary today. I say that as it relates to Covid, March 2020 – March 2022. Some industries thrived online during the pandemic.

Examples I hear…

  • Traffic was unprecedented. 
  • Conversion rates were unprecedented. 
  • Growth was unprecedented. 

Those numbers are just not sustainable anymore.

Today’s performance has to be gauged against the years before The Great Covid Migration (the mass of people relocating that boosted every industry around home services).

Sustaining last year’s numbers maybe this year’s success.

The challenge for marketers right now is to make sure the KPIs are realistic.

Add these words to the current SEO conversation:

Inflation and Cost of Quality 

Inflation and the cost of quality need to be added to the discussions about SEO.

The past two years have changed the landscape of search engine marketing professionals more than we have seen since the Google Penguin Update.

Work-from-home scenarios opened up the local workforces to international companies.

The value of a good search engine optimization specialist increased because of their scarcity and availability of positions. High quality has always cost more. It costs more in 2022.

Agencies need to make their service pricing reflect their increasing costs. Client-side marketers cost more, so those companies have to pass those costs on to their goods as well.

Most Overused SEO Word:

Storytelling

Storytelling was one of the big buzz terms of 2017. I think it should stay in 2017.

While there is huge value in storytelling, it is just another form of generating high-value engaging content.

SEO Words Trending In:

Holistic SEO

This is an old concept but has a broader place in today’s optimization world than maybe ever before.

Advancements in the SERPs with incredibly relevant and customized results make specific keyword targeting very difficult.

Having a broad approach to SEO that considers all facets of current best practices and technology (amazing user experience, speed, mobile-first) should be the ongoing commitment.


Marty Weintraub, Internet Marketing Expert and Founder of aimClear Marty Weintraub SEO

Most Overused SEO Words:

Linkbait, PageRank, Cloaking, Matt Cutts

These are just seriously overplayed.

Weintraub provided a Sysomos MAP word cloud for public Twitter organic tweets showing semantic usage stats. Weintraub noted this is what words ALSO appear in Tweets about SEO.

Weintraub provided a Sysomos MAP word cloud for public Twitter organic tweets shows semantic usage stats.

Conclusion

Don’t get caught using outdated words and terms.

As SEO enters its third decade, new generations are redefining the search marketing industry. Innovation, technology, and culture impact new behaviors.

It’s up to all marketing professionals to stay educated and aware of trends and algorithms to attract the best talent, get the best results and stay up-to-date on best practices and Google updates.

What SEO words can you add to this story?

More SEO Resources:


Featured Image: Vasina Natalia/Shutterstock

In-Post Photo #1: Marty Weintraub. Used with permission.





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Want to Build a Content Marketing Career Path? Here’s What to Do

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Want to Build a Content Marketing Career Path? Here's What to Do


What Does a Content Marketing Career Path Look Like?

Are you looking to pursue a content marketing career path? You’re in a good place. Content marketing is blowing up, set to be worth $600 billion in 2024 (Technavio research).

What’s more, 89% of companies that hire content marketers plan to either continue or increase their current investments throughout 2022.

If you have natural writing ability, a knack for creativity, and are driven by data, content marketing may just be your dream field.

But, what does it take to be successful in content marketing? Are there specific hard skills you need to have? Let’s take a closer look.

Why Choose a Career in Content Marketing?

For starters, it’s a growing field with a lot of opportunities. Additionally, it allows you to be creative and work independently – two things that are increasingly important in the modern workforce.

Growth Industry

Content marketing continues to grow as an industry for one main reason; it works. In a recent Semrush survey, 73% of companies who increased their content marketing spending from 10% to 70% of their total marketing budget were very successful.

In addition, 72% of companies have stated they plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2022. As the industry continues to grow, the need for individuals in the field also increases.

Pay

While having a career that feeds your creativity can be rewarding, the paycheck is a significant factor.

As a content marketer, you can create a stable and solid income. The average base salary for a content marketer in the United States is $56,036. Not too shabby for an entry-level position.

It only goes up from there. According to PayScale, the median base salary for a management position is $70,332 and $168.183 for an executive-level role.

Continued Learning

One thing a career in content marketing won’t be is stagnant. The way people consume content is constantly changing, meaning the way you create it will also shift. You’ll need to stay updated with the latest trends and best business practices.

The learning doesn’t end there. Depending on your role, you may be creating content for various industries. This means you may have to educate yourself on topics you have no experience in.

The more you increase your knowledge, the more room you have for personal and professional growth.

If you consider yourself a lifelong learner, this is an excellent career.

What type of marketer are you?

What Does a Content Marketing Career Path Look Like?

The content marketing industry is a sprouting field with many opportunities for those willing to invest time and effort. While a bachelor’s degree may help you start on the right foot, it’s not a surefire ticket into the industry anymore. Instead, think of building skills that clients and employers will immediately hire for.

There are specific skills that are vital to your success in content marketing.

6 Key Skills You Need to Succeed in a Content Marketing Career

This rapidly growing field will require essential hard skills to land jobs. While this may slightly vary depending on your specific role, we found the skill set listed below as being necessary for all positions within content marketing:

  1. Writing skills: This is a must. The majority of content marketing is writing, so it is vital that you can craft compelling copy that draws in your target audience.
  2. Knowledge of SEO: To ensure you create the content your audience wants to consume, you need a basic understanding of search engine optimization.
  3. Data & analytics skills: This is essential in determining the success of the content; whether it’s measuring engagement, subscriptions, or clients, you need to be able to quantify your success.
  4. Social media literacy: You may need to craft and distribute content for a range of platforms, knowing how to leverage multiple channels will set you apart in the industry.
  5. Research skills: Depending on your role, you may be crafting content for several industries. You need to know how to find reliable and factual information no matter the field.
  6. Time management skills: Your content is only strong if it’s still relevant. Adhering to deadlines is crucial so employers can publish on time, in season.

Seem to be missing one or two skills from your portfolio? Don’t get discouraged. We offer a wide range of resources that can set you up for success, such as our Head of Marketing Bootcamp.

While the knowledge mentioned above is going to be key to getting you into the door you can’t forget about some essential soft skills.

To truly enjoy your career and continue to grow in your field, the additional skills below are another essential set to add to your content marketing toolkit:

  • Curiosity
  • Persuasion
  • Creativity
  • Good intuition
  • Growth mindset

Content Marketing Roles

A career path in content marketing can look different for everyone. In fact, content marketing is a pretty broad term, and you’ll have your pick from various roles within the industry.

Typical roles within a content marketing team include:

  • Community Manager: The middleman. The community manager acts as the brand voice through content distribution, community support, and digital engagement.
  • Social Media Manager: Responsible for creating and distributing content across social media platforms. This can also include content strategy, analyzing analytics, and digital campaigns.
  • Video Marketing Manager: Helps brands tell their story through engaging videos to connect with potential customers on a deeper level.
  • Brand Journalist: Produces a variety of written content that communicates the capabilities and values of the company. They grab the attention of potential clients and turn them into customers.
  • SEO Specialist: A research and analytical guru that uses search engine optimization to create strategies and in-demand content.
  • Graphic Designer: Responsible for the visual aspect. From websites to logos, the graphic designer creates engaging visuals that are brand and captivate the audience.
  • Copy Editor: Ensures all written content is in tip-top shape before distribution.
  • Managing Editor: Also known as a content manager, this individual often oversees designers, writers, and researchers to ensure the success of all visual and written content.
  • Director of Editorial: The boss of the boss. This editor manages a team of producers, along with creating and implementing strategies and upholding vendor relations.
  • Chief Content Officer: This is the top dog. The CCO oversees all content creation and distribution, ensuring it is on par with the company’s brand.

Start Your Content Marketing Career

In today’s digital age, content is king. The best way to succeed in content marketing is by producing high-quality content that engages your audience.

If you want to start a career in content marketing, we can help. We offer courses and training that will give you the skills you need to succeed. Check out our Content Marketing Mastery course to start your content marketing career path.




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A Guide To Social Media Algorithms & How They Work

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A Guide To Social Media Algorithms & How They Work


Why do so many marketers keep asking, “How do social media algorithms work?” Because the algorithms for the major platforms can change quickly.

But, marketers should also keep asking, “Which social media platforms have the most users?” Because that data can change frequently, as well.

So, here are the latest answers to the first question about the algorithms for the eight platforms that you should be considering today.

Spoiler alert: This update contains some surprising shifts in the latest data on monthly unique visitors, monthly visits, and monthly average visit duration from SimilarWeb.

How Does The YouTube Algorithm Work?

YouTube got 1.953 billion unique visitors worldwide in May 2022. The platform received 35.083 billion monthly visits that month with an average visit duration of 21:41.

Now, some social media marketers may be shocked, shocked to find YouTube ranking ahead of Facebook.

But, SimilarWeb’s data above is only for desktop and mobile web channels. It doesn’t include data for connected TVs, which became the fastest-growing screen among YouTube viewers in 2020.

This makes it imperative to know how YouTube’s algorithm works.

YouTube’s algorithm tries to match each viewer to the videos they’re most likely to watch and enjoy. But, with over 500 hours of video content uploaded every minute, this is a Herculean task.

YouTube’s search and discovery systems tackle this challenge by paying close attention to:

  • What viewers watch.
  • What they don’t watch.
  • How much time do they spend watching?
  • What do they share and like?

Next, you need to learn that YouTube has multiple algorithms, including ones for:

  • YouTube Search: Videos are ranked based on how well titles, descriptions, and video content match the viewer’s search and which videos get the most engagement for a search.
  • Up Next: The ranking of suggested videos is based on machine learning’s understanding of which ones viewers are most likely to watch next. These videos are often related to the video a viewer is watching, but they can also be personalized based on the viewer’s watch history.
  • Your homepage: Videos are selected based on how often viewers watch a channel or topic, how well similar videos have interested and satisfied similar viewers, and how many times YouTube has already shown each video to a viewer.
  • YouTube Shorts: YouTube wants both short and long videos to succeed. So, relative watch time is generally more important for short videos, while absolute watch time is generally more important for longer videos.

So, what should you do next?

First, read my column, How To Optimize YouTube Videos To Help Ukraine, which provides tips on keyword research, title optimization, writing descriptions, custom thumbnails, and other video SEO best practices.

Next, read Jon Clark’s article, 13 Key Elements Of Successful YouTube Videos. He focuses on how to make a great video.

Why is that important? Because YouTube’s search and discovery system “finds” videos for each viewer and their varying interests in order to get them to watch more videos that they’ll enjoy so they’ll come back to YouTube regularly.

How Does The Facebook Algorithm Work?

Facebook got only 1.620 billion unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 19.739 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 10:05.

Now, Facebook’s unique visitors started dipping worldwide in February 2022.

But, as you can see in the chart below, there was a substantial drop in unique visitors in Russia in early March, after Russia blocked Facebook in an effort to control the spread of information on the invasion of Ukraine.

Screenshot courtesy of Similarweb, June 2022

This had a negative impact on Facebook’s total unique visitors worldwide, which were already losing momentum. Nevertheless, the platform is still too big to ignore.

So, how does Facebook’s algorithm work today?

Well, we knew how Facebook’s News Feed ranking process worked in December 2021 when Anna Stepanov, Head of Facebook App Integrity, wrote a post that said:

“News Feed uses personalized ranking, which takes into account thousands of unique signals to understand what’s most meaningful to you. Our aim isn’t to keep you scrolling on Facebook for hours on end, but to give you an enjoyable experience that you want to return to.”

And she summarized half a dozen of the biggest changes Facebook had made in 2021 to give users more control over, and insight into, how content appears in their News Feed.

This included publishing a new series of Widely Viewed Content Reports to share what content is seen by the most people in News Feed in the U.S.

Ironically, Facebook’s latest Widely Viewed Content Report showed the top four domains in Q4 2021:

  • youtube.com (168.1 million content viewers).
  • media1.tenor.co (118.4 million).
  • gofundme.com (112.4 million).
  • tiktok.com (105.0 million).

But, then in February 2022, Matt G. Southern reported Facebook Shifts Focus To Short-Form Video After Stock Plunge. And on June 16, 2022, Southern reported Facebook To Restructure Main Feed Around Video Content.

So, what should you do next? First, read Southern’s stories and learn why Tom Alison, head of Facebook, plans to turn its main feed into a “discovery engine” for video content.

According to Alison, the main tab in the Facebook app will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts that its discovery engine will recommend from across both Facebook and Instagram.

Next, follow Southern’s expert, authoritative, and trustworthy advice:

“The best way to prepare for this change, if Facebook is a priority for you and your business, is to get comfortable with creating and publishing more short form video. While Facebook will continue to surface text and photo posts, they’ll be ancillary to the main attractions of Reels and Stories.”

How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work?

Instagram got 1.050 billion unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 6.497 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 07:51.

Russia has also banned Instagram, but the growth in unique visitors from other countries around the world has offset that.

So, you still need to know how Instagram’s algorithms work.

In June 2021, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote a post entitled, Shedding More Light On How Instagram Works. He revealed:

“Instagram doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. We use a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose.”

For the Feed and Stories, the key ranking signals are:

  • Information about the post: How popular a post is, when it was posted, how long it is, if it’s a video, and if it’s attached to a location.
  • Information about the person who posted: How many times users have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.
  • User activity: What a user might be interested in and how many posts they’ve liked.
  • User history of interacting with someone: How interested a user is in seeing posts from a particular person.

For Explore, the key ranking signals are:

  • Information about the post: How popular a post seems to be as well as how many and how quickly other people are liking, commenting, sharing, and saving a post.
  • User history of interacting with someone: (See above.)
  • User activity: What posts a user has liked, saved, or commented on as well as how they’ve interacted with posts in Explore in the past.
  • Information about the person who posted: (See above.)

For Reels, the key ranking signals are:

  • User activity: Which Reels a user has liked, commented on, and engaged with recently.
  • User history of interacting with someone: (See above.)
  • Information about the reel: The audio track, video data such as pixels and whole frames, as well as popularity.
  • Information about the person who posted: (See above.)

So, each part of the app uses similar ranking signals, but their order of importance varies. Mosseri explained:

“People tend to look for their closest friends in Stories, but they want to discover something entirely new in Explore. We rank things differently in different parts of the app, based on how people use them.”

For more tips and advice, read the article by Shelley Walsh entitled, 22 Ways To Get More Instagram Followers Right Now. Then, read Amanda DiSilvestro’s article, How To Use Instagram Reels For Business.

How Does The Twitter Algorithm Work?

Twitter got 979 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 7.056 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 10.39.

This data does not screen for fake or spam accounts. Nevertheless, it’s worth investing the time and effort to keep up with how Twitter’s algorithm works.

Like most social media platforms, Twitter has multiple algorithms.

Twitter says its “algorithmic Home timeline displays a stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content we think you might be interested in based on accounts you interact with frequently, Tweets you engage with, and more.”

If users want to, they can click on the star symbol to see the latest Tweets as they happen. But, few people choose to drink water from a firehose.

If they want to, users can click on “Explore” and see Trending tweets or ones about COVID-19, News, Sports, and Entertainment.

If users want to, they can click on “More” to see the Topics that Twitter thinks they’re interested in.

Like most social media platforms, Twitter’s algorithms use machine learning to sort content based on different ranking signals.

And it’s worth noting that Twitter is currently involved in analyzing the results of its algorithms as part of its “responsible machine learning initiative.”

Here’s what Twitter has said publicly about its Home timeline, Trends, and Topics ranking signals:

Relevance:

  • ​​Users’ previous actions on Twitter, like their own Tweets and Tweets they’ve engaged with.
  • Accounts they often engage with.
  • Topics they follow and engage with most.
  • The number of Tweets related to a topic.
  • For Trends: their location.

Engagement:

  • For Tweets: “How popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with [the Tweet].”
  • For Trends: “The number of Tweets related to the Trend.”
  • For Topics: “How much people are Tweeting, Retweeting, replying, and liking Tweets about that Topic.”

Recency:

  • For Trends: “Topics that are popular now, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis.”

Rich Media:

  • The type of media the Tweet includes like an image, video, GIF, and polls.

For more advice and tips, read Lisa Buyer’s article, 8 Terrific Tips To Optimize A Twitter Business Or Brand Profile. Then, read the article by Julia McCoy entitled, How To Be A Top Tweeter: 10 Tips That Will Get Your Tweets Noticed.

How Does The TikTok Algorithm Work?

TikTok got 690 million monthly visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 1.766 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 03:48.

This data doesn’t include Douyin.com, which is counted separately. But, as the chart below illustrates, TikTok.com gets about 98% of the unique visitors worldwide for both of the ByteDance apps.

TikTok.com gets about 98% of the unique visitors worldwideScreenshot courtesy of Similarweb, June 2022

So, you should probably learn how TikTok’s algorithm works ASAP.

In June 2020, TikTok revealed how its recommendation system selected videos in a post entitled, How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou.

Little has fundamentally changed since then, except the U.S. government is no longer trying to ban the social media platform.

TikTok’s For You feed presents a stream of videos curated to each user’s interests, making it easy for a user to find content and creators they love.

In other words, there isn’t one For You feed for over one billion monthly active TikTok users. There are a billion For You feeds tailored to what each user watches, likes, and shares.

TikTok added, “This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

And recommendations are based on a number of factors, including:

  • User interactions such as the videos they like or share, accounts they follow, comments they post, and content they create.
  • Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • Device and account settings like their language preference, country setting, and device type.

TikTok also revealed:

“All these factors are processed by our recommendation system and weighted based on their value to a user. A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country.

Videos are then ranked to determine the likelihood of a user’s interest in a piece of content, and delivered to each unique For You feed.”

On the other hand, TikTok said:

“While a video is likely to receive more views if posted by an account that has more followers, by virtue of that account having built up a larger follower base, neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system.”

So, what should you do next? First, read Miranda Miller’s article, 40+ TikTok Stats Digital Marketers Need To Know. Then, read my column, How TikTok’s Search Algorithms Power Content Discovery.

How Does The Pinterest Algorithm Work?

Pinterest got 409 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 945 million visits that month with an average session duration of 05:29.

With Instagram declaring it is “no longer just a square photo-sharing app,” this is the time to learn how Pinterest’s algorithm works.

The ranking factors on Pinterest relate more to engagement metrics and social shares, but it also involves keywords.

And Pinterest autocomplete provides ideas by automatically suggesting semantically related modifiers to a core keyword.

Pinterest’s search feature then curates a user’s “feed” based on what they’re searching for and how those key terms are used in the Pins being shared by content creators.

Pinterest also categorizes and sub-categorizes topics to make it easy to find keywords for your particular niche.

To optimize your Pins:

  • Use long images: The optimal Pin size is 1,000 by 1,500 px or a ratio of 2:3.
  • Use eye-catching colors: Catch users’ attention and stand out with high-contrast colors.
  • Use enticing, keyword-rich titles: Entice users to click through to your content.
  • Use detailed descriptions: Include your target keywords in your descriptions.

Then, optimize your boards. Boards provide a great opportunity to tell Pinterest’s search engine how you categorize your products and/or organize your content, which will only aid visibility.

Finally, aim for engagement, which can increase your Pin’s (and your profile’s) visibility in search, increasing your traffic.

For additional information and advice, read Southern’s story, Pinterest Updates Algorithm To Surface More Content Types. Then, read Jessica Foster’s article, 12 Pinterest SEO Tips For High-Traffic Success.

How Does The LinkedIn Algorithm Work?

LinkedIn got 306 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 1.479 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 07:32.

So, social media marketers – especially ones at B2B organizations – need to know how LinkedIn’s algorithm works.

In June 2019, Pete Davies, Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, wrote a post entitled, What’s in your LinkedIn Feed: People You Know, Talking about Things You Care About. He explained, “The more valuable the conversation, the higher in your feed the post will be.”

How does LinkedIn’s algorithm know if a conversation is valuable? It uses the following framework:

  • People you know: LinkedIn’s algorithm looks at a user’s connections and prioritizes who they’ve interacted with directly through comments and reactions; the user’s implicit interests and experiences based on information in their profile; explicit signals, such as who a user works with; as well as who would benefit from hearing from the user.
  • Talking about: A lot of sophistication goes into understanding a good conversation. As a rule of thumb, better conversations are authentic and have a constructive back and forth.
  • Things you care about: LinkedIn’s algorithm also looks at whether the content and the conversation are relevant and interesting to a user. It considers a number of signals, including joining groups and following hashtags, people, and pages.

So, what should you do next? First, read Jessica Foster’s article, How The LinkedIn Algorithm Works & Optimizing For It. Then, read Matt G. Southern’s article, LinkedIn Debunks Algorithm Myths In New Video Series.

How Does The Reddit Algorithm Work?

Reddit got 237 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 1.669 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 09:59.

With Facebook setting its sights on video to regain its momentum, this is a good time to learn how Reddit’s algorithm works.

In June 2021, the official blog for Reddit posted Evolving the Best Sort for Reddit’s Home Feed. It provided insights into how Reddit determines which relevant posts to show users.

The post revealed that:

“Reddit’s systems build a list of potential candidate posts from multiple sources, pass the posts through multiple filtering steps, then rank the posts according to the specified sorting method. Over the years, we’ve built many options to choose from when it comes to sorting your Home feed.”

Here’s how each sort option recommends content:

  • “Hot” ranks using votes and post age.
  • “New” displays the most recently published posts.
  • “Top” shows users the highest vote count posts from a specified time range.
  • “Controversial” shows posts with both high count upvotes and downvotes.
  • “Rising” populates posts with lots of recent votes and comments.
  • ‘Best” uses machine learning algorithms to personalize the order in which users see posts.

For more tips and information, read the article by Brent Csutoras entitled, A Beginner’s Guide To Reddit: How To Get Started & Be Successful. Then, read Southern’s story, Reddit Makes Comments Searchable.

Why Should You Keep Asking Questions?

The latest data from SimilarWeb indicates that you should continue asking “Which social media platforms have the most users?” as well as “How do social media algorithms work?”

Things change too quickly and frequently in this particular arena for anyone to think that past performance is even remotely indicative of future results.

More Resources:


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