SODP Dispatch - 30 November 2023

AI tools to boost your SEO efforts, native ad networks for publishers, WhatsApp content strategies to try + more

Hello, SODP readers!

A publisher’s success will, more often than not, depend on improving their visibility within the search engine results pages (SERPs). This comes down to producing well-optimized content that attracts more readers, generates more revenue and builds a stronger brand.

There are several AI-driven tools available on the market, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, so we’ve drawn together what we consider to be the best AI SEO tools for publishers.

In today’s issue:

  • From SODP: Best AI SEO tools + best native ad networks for publishers

  • Resources: AI content draft tool + FIPP’s media tracker

  • Tip of the week: Using WhatsApp to extend your reach

  • News: Googlebot Crawl Rate Limiter Tool to be removed from search console, Mailchimp is shutting down TinyLetter, Google and Canada reach a deal + more



By Kanta Kiran

best AI SEO tools

While a solid foundation in publisher SEO is key, trying to succeed without the right tools will be an exercise in frustration as well as squandered resources.

For example, relying solely on manual reviews of competitor keywords makes little sense when an AI-driven application can complete the task in mere seconds.

In the fiercely competitive landscape of digital publishing, such differences in efficiency can mean the difference between first and last place.

💡 What you will learn:

  • AI SEO use cases

  • What an AI SEO tool is

  • Best AI SEO tools, and their pros and cons


By Thomas Belink

best native ad networks

Digital publishers looking to maximize their revenue should consider folding native advertising campaigns into their monetization model.

Native ad networks specialize in placing ads that match the style and consistency of the publisher’s existing content. The best native advertising networks make use of 100% of a publisher’s inventory, optimizing potential ad revenue. 

Networks will take a cut of the ad revenue, usually around 50%. Each native ad network has its own agreements, and it’s possible that these terms may change from publisher to publisher.

💡 What you will learn:

  • What native ad networks are

  • Types of native advertising

  • Best native ad networks, and their pros and cons


By Andrew Kemp

💬 Using WhatsApp to extend your reach

I've been interested in the digital publishing industry's adoption of WhatsApp Channels since its launch in June.

While inspired by Telegram Channels, WhatsApp's entry into the space is worth a closer look, given the size of its user base. While Telegram has 700 million monthly active users (MAUs), WhatsApp had around 2 billion MAUs as of March 2020 and more than 2.7 billion unique users.

A quick look at the screenshot below shows a.) how easy it is for users to start following a publisher and b.) some of the success that outfits like TechRadar (with nearly 250,000 followers) are already enjoying.

It's important to note that while WhatsApp has rolled out official support for publishers, users have used the platform as a news source for the past decade.

Let's look at how publishers can quickly get the most out of the platform.

WhatsApp content strategies to try:

  1. Highlight top/long-form stories: Use WhatsApp to provide a snapshot of your site's top stories or longer-form articles. This is a great way to drive direct traffic.

  1. Post explainers/summaries: Publishers have already been creating this type of content on TikTok with great success. The format aims to bring the reader up to speed on an issue with bite-sized stories.

  1. Repurpose content: Publishers with a presence on TikTok, Threads, Telegram, etc., can easily repost content (videos, photos or text) on WhatsApp with minimal friction.

  1. Leverage emojis: WhatsApp's emoji responses, introduced just last year, encourage anonymous participation from followers. You can leverage these to survey your audience or even hold quizzes.


🤖 AI tool

Check out Jonathan Boshoff’s latest tool – Thruuu Content Writer App. It turns content briefs from Thruuu into first drafts!

1. Create a detailed content brief in Thruuu

2. Upload it to this Moonlit app

3. Click run and get a first draft

4. Customize and improve your content further!

📖 Global Media Tracker report

FIPP’s latest installment of its Global Media DEI Tracker is out, supported by Google News Initiative.


Mailchimp is shutting down TinyLetter | The Verge

If you’re a current TinyLetter user and you log into your account, you’ll see a message from Mailchimp reminding you to export your data before the shutdown and encouraging you to try Mailchimp proper.
Read more ▸

The Googlebot Crawl Rate Limiter Tool will soon be removed from search console because it's no longer necessary | Search Engine Journal

The announcement stated that crawling algorithms have reached a state where Googlebot can automatically sense when a server is reaching capacity and take immediate action to slow down the crawl rate.
Read more ▸

Number of websites blocking Google-Extended jump 180% | Search Engine Land

As of Nov. 19, 252 websites out of a set of 3,000 popular websites had blocked Google-Extended. Just over a month earlier (Oct. 8), only 89 of those sites had blocked Google-Extended. The New York Times, Yelp and 22 Condé Nast properties are among those who have chosen to block Google-Extended so far.
Read more ▸

Google and Canada reach deal to avert news ban over Online News Act | BBC

Google had vowed to remove links to news in Canada in response to the Online News Act, due to take effect on 19 December. The deal comes after months of talks between the search giant and Canada. The agreement requires Google pay C$100m (£58m, $74m) annually to news outlets.
Read more ▸

After 151 years, Popular Science will no longer offer a magazine The Verge

Popular Science magazine shifted to an all-digital format a couple of years ago, and now even that’s gone. PopSci will continue to offer articles on its website, along with its PopSci Plus subscription, which offers access to exclusive content and the magazine’s archive.
Read more ▸