SODP Dispatch - 9 November 2023

The role of AI in digital publishing, The Verge takes aim at SEO but misses the mark, creating content briefs with AI + more + more, and more tips and news for digital publishers

Hello, SODP readers!

Did SEO experts ruin the internet? An article published by The Verge last week seems to think so. Our managing editor Andrew Kemp responds in his weekly column – Editor’s Note.

In today’s issue:

  • Editor’s note: The Verge takes aim at SEO but misses the mark

  • From SODP: AI in publishing: use cases, examples, and challenges

  • Resources: Link Redirect Trace extension + content brief generator

  • Tip of the week: Getting traffic through Google Discover

  • News: How publishers are using WhatsApp Channels, November 2023 core update release, Search Console Page Experience report simplified


The Verge Takes Aim at SEO but Misses the Mark

By Andrew Kemp

Write your intro last. That was the advice I received from a senior colleague at the start of my career and, after reading The Verge’s latest article on the ills of the SEO industry, I was immediately reminded of its value.

You might have already read Amanda Lewis’ lengthy article last week (or the couple of rebuttals that it elicited), but I felt compelled to add my own thoughts on the topic.

Many of the article’s observations were outdated or poorly conceived, with much of it boiling down to a “feels bad man” meme about the state of internet search.

If you’re planning to read it, then buckle up for a roughly 8,500-word article (yes, you read that right) that, at times, struggles to maintain a coherent train of thought while looking to pick fights with an SEO industry the outlet is a part of.


The Role of AI in the Publishing Industry

By Alexander Andreev

A WAN-IFRA survey of news publishers showed that by May 2023 about half were actively using ChatGPT or similar tools, with 70% expecting them to help journalists. Here, we examine what generative AI is and how digital publishers are utilizing AI-based tools

What you will learn:

  • How newsrooms are using AI tools – 90% of newsrooms resort to AI at different stages of content production.

  • Benefits of AI in publishing – cost efficiency, research assistance, and more.

  • Success cases of AI in publishing – looking at five AI-driven media projects

  • Challenges to AI solutions implementation – content quality, ethical challenges, and more.


By Vahe Arabian

How to maximize the chances of getting traffic through Google Discover

Last month, Google added a new section to the Google Discover documentation to explain three reasons why Google Discover traffic may change, adding: "Traffic from Discover is less predictable or dependable when compared to keyword-driven search visits. Given its serendipitous nature, you should consider traffic from Discover as supplemental to your keyword-driven search traffic."

That's all and good, however, what are some of the approaches you can use in order to help align with your user's search preferences on an ongoing basis and influence Discover traffic?

Here are some collective SODP and client experiences we've heard that you can consider:

  • Optimizing your Open Graph Tags for your social media metadata

  • Increasing your Google Publisher Centre followers to help create a higher baseline of users to increase 'user interested' content

  • Leveraging paid social traffic with trending topics to amplify the reach of your popular posts

  • Reverse engineering content performance on published days and authors and doubling down. Tip don't mix authors if one already has topical authority on one subject

  • Ongoing CTR optimization and focusing on interest-driven headlines

  • Re-optimize and refresh evergreen during trending periods as a new aspect of your news topic cluster.


🛠️ Link Redirect Trace extension

Perform advanced, comprehensive and most important correct analysis of links, redirects, and Rel-Canonicals with this extension for your SEO analysis.

🛠️ Content brief generator

Check out this tool developed by Jonathan Boshoff on Moonlit Platform. You can use it to generate content briefs for your writers - add keywords, three links to competitors’ articles, and get a 20-point content brief.