OpenAI Launches ChatGPT Plus For $20 Per Month via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

OpenAI begins offering ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month with faster response times and priority access.

  • OpenAI is launching a premium ChatGPT Plus service for $20/mo with faster response times and priority access.
  • The company values its free users and will continue to offer free access to ChatGPT.
  • OpenAI is actively exploring options for less expensive plans, business plans, and data packs to make its services more accessible.
OpenAI Releases Tool To Detect AI-Written Content via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

OpenAI, the AI research firm behind ChatGPT, has released a new tool to distinguish between AI-generated and human-generated text.

Even though it’s impossible to detect AI-written text with 100% accuracy, OpenAI believes its new tool can help to mitigate false claims that humans wrote AI-generated content.

In an announcement, OpenAI says its new AI Text Classifier can limit the ability to run automated misinformation campaigns, use AI tools for academic fraud, and impersonate humans with chatbots.

When tested on a set of English texts, the tool could correctly say if the text was written by AI 26% of the time. But it also wrongly thought that human-written text was written by AI 9% of the time.

OpenAI says its tool works better the longer the text is, which could be why it requires a minimum of 1,000 characters to run a test.

Other limitations of the new OpenAI Text Classifier include the following:

  • Can mislabel both AI-generated and human-written text.
  • AI-generated text can evade the classifier with minor edits.
  • Can get things wrong with text written by children and on text not in English because it was primarily trained on English content written by adults.

With that in mind, let’s look at how it performs.

Using OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

The AI Text Classifier from OpenAI is simple to use.

Log in, paste the text you want to test, and hit the submit button.

The tool will rate the likelihood that AI generated the text you submitted. Results range from the following:

  • Very unlikely
  • Unlikely
  • Unclear if it is
  • Possibly
  • Likely

I tested it by asking ChatGPT to write an essay about SEO, then submitting the text verbatim to the AI Text Classifier.

It rated the ChatGPT-generated essay as likely generated by AI, which is the strongest indicator it can give.

OpenAI Releases Tool To Detect AI-Written ContentScreenshot from: platform.openai.com/ai-text-classifier, January 2023

By applying minor edits suggested by Grammarly, I reduced the rating from likely to unclear.

OpenAI is correct in stating that it’s easy to evade its classifier. However, it’s not meant to be the only evidence that AI wrote something.

In a FAQ section at the bottom of the page, OpenAI states:

“Our intended use for the AI Text Classifier is to foster conversation about the distinction between human-written and AI-generated content. The results may help, but should not be the sole evidence when deciding whether a document was generated with AI. The model is trained on human-written text from a variety of sources, which may not be representative of all kinds of human-written text.”

OpenAI adds that the tool hasn’t been thoroughly tested to detect content containing a combination of AI and human-written text.

Ultimately, the AI Text Classifier can be a valuable resource for flagging potentially AI-generated text, but it shouldn’t be used as a definitive measure for making a verdict.


Featured Image: IB Photography/Shutterstock

ChatGPT Update: Improved Math Capabilities via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

OpenAI has released an update to its popular language model, ChatGPT, to enhance its accuracy and improve its ability to handle math equations.

Per the January 30 release notes: “We’ve upgraded the ChatGPT model with improved factuality and mathematical capabilities.”

It’s expected that the latest update to ChatGPT will allow it to handle complicated calculations and deliver more precise answers.

This would make ChatGPT a more valuable resource for students, researchers, and professionals who need quick and dependable information.

In practice, ChatGPT is still far from perfect regarding handling equations. However, there are some noticeable improvements in its ability to return factual responses.

Here are some observations on the January 30 update based on my testing and feedback shared on Twitter.

ChatGPT Accuracy – Hit & Miss

One notable improvement to ChatGPT’s accuracy is that it’s no longer possible to trick it into giving an incorrect answer.

There was a meme showing how ChatGPT could be talked into giving the wrong answer if you said your wife disagreed with its response.

Although it may seem absurd, it was actually the case. See an example in the tweet below:

Now, ChatGPT will continue to return the correct response, even if you try to convince it otherwise.

Here’s a test I ran following the January 30 update:

ChatGPT Update: Improved Math CapabilitiesScreenshot from: chat.openai.com/chat. January 2023.

That’s a positive sign. However, the negative feedback on the January 30 update outweighs the good.

A test I always go back to is asking ChatGPT who is the taller basketball player between Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming.

ChatGPT continues to get this wrong, despite returning the correct heights of the two men.

Interestingly, if you point out its flaws, it will correct itself.

ChatGPT Update: Improved Math CapabilitiesScreenshot from: chat.openai.com/chat. January 2023.

People on Twitter point out that ChatGPT struggles with math equations when typed out in complete sentences instead of numbers and symbols.

On the other hand, it appears to perform exceptionally well when fed questions from standardized tests.

According to one individual, ChatGPT is capable of passing the math section of an SAT:

Perhaps ChatGPT handles standardized test questions better because it’s language the AI model has encountered before, as opposed to user-inputted questions it’s seeing for the first time.

Overall, feedback on this update is mixed. Without fact-checking first, I would still be cautious about relying on ChatGPT’s responses.

In Summary

The release of this update, the third major update since the introduction of ChatGPT, underscores OpenAI’s continuous efforts to stay ahead in the AI industry.

Despite enhanced capabilities, ChatGPT still has a long way to go.

Based on OpenAI’s previous update schedule, further improvements to ChatGPT can probably be expected soon.


Featured Image: rafapress/Shutterstock

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To Try via @sejournal, @BennyJamminS

Much of the web is ephemeral.

Web pages exist until they don’t. The content on them exists until it’s updated – and then it’s gone.

Unless you go digging in an archive.

Archiving the web is important for cultural and anthropological research. It’s also helpful for business reasons, like competitive analysis. It can even help document or monitor political processes.

Your particular reason for seeking archived content might determine which service works best.

The Wayback Machine is the most commonly known archive.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, https://archive.org/web/, January 2023.

The Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization, and the Wayback Machine is the web version of its archive, containing an absolutely massive amount of data.

You can request that it save a webpage in its current state, as well as make use of tools, like an API.

As huge as the Wayback Machine archive is, it’s likely not 100% complete. If you’re having trouble finding something specific or wondering if there are alternatives with more features, these alternatives might help.

I won’t be going over paid SaaS subscriptions, as I don’t consider a paid service a true alternative to a free one provided by a nonprofit.

Let’s go!

1. The Memento Project

Memento is an exceptional alternative to the Wayback Machine because it aggregates several different sources, including the Wayback Machine itself.

On the website, you can access archives from several sources by using the Time Travel tool.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, http://timetravel.mementoweb.org/, January 2023.

This is the first distinction that makes Memento so cool, and it includes some of the other archives on this list, too. That means it’s a customizable experience and likely one of the most complete.

Memento’s other distinct feature is the Chrome extension that allows you to select the date on which you’d like to view your current page. This brings the tool to where you’re browsing instead of making you put a URL into a form.

You can also create a snapshot of a page and generate a link to it that won’t break. This is particularly useful for citation.

If you’re concerned a page might disappear, or the content might get updated, but you want to use the information, creating one of these links ensures that people will be able to see your original source.

2. Archive.today

Archive.today is another “snapshot” tool. It allows you to save a link to a page as it currently exists.

Following the link will send users to an unalterable version of the page.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, https://archive.ph/, January 2023.

It also features some relatively advanced search queries you can perform on domains and URLs to find snapshots that have been saved with the tool.

This tool also features a Chrome extension as well as an Android app.

Searches on Memento can include results from Archive.today.

3. WebCite

WebCite has powerful applications for authors, journalists, academics, and publishers.

It offers a variety of ways to build and present the archived pages and the URLs.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, rhttps://webcitation.org/, January 2023.

Unfortunately, at the time of publishing, it doesn’t appear to be taking new requests. But you can still access already archived pages. When and if it starts accepting requests again, it’s a very useful tool for that.

Its most powerful feature for authors and publishers is the ability to upload a manuscript directly to the website.

The tool will scan every link in an uploaded manuscript and automatically create archives of each of the pages linked to as they currently exist. This saves a lot of time if you’ve used a lot of website citations.

If you’ve created content that you want people to be able to create snapshots of, then you can add a specific WebCite link to your page that users can click on. This embeds archive functionality into your page, saving users time if they decide to use your work as a citation.

4. GitHub

GitHub is a development and collaboration platform that also prioritizes public projects and open-source code.

It documents and archives open-source code and programs, and is searchable by other archives such as the Wayback Machine.

Wayback Machine: 5 Alternatives To TryScreenshot, https://github.com/explore, January 2023.

But, if you’re looking for something related to code or software development, it might be easier to go straight to GitHub instead of using another archive service.

While it does have paid business plans, GitHub is free for the average user. It even offers 15GB of storage and some computing power in its cloud developer environment for free for your personal use.

5. Country-Specific Web Archives

Several countries run their own web archives.

These can be particularly helpful alternatives to the Wayback Machine if you’re looking for a website highly relevant to a specific location, or the culture of a country.

More focused archives might have more complete information if you’re having trouble finding it elsewhere, although again, I want to mention that the first alternative in this list, Memento, pulls from several different country-specific archives.

I should also note that many archives specific to a country, region, educational institution, or individual library are partnered with Archive-it, a service provider built by The Internet Archive (makers of the Wayback Machine).

They curate specific collections based on relevance, but all Archive-it partners leverage the same source: The Internet Archive.

These are a few of the country-specific web archives:

Conclusion

When you’re looking for alternatives to the Wayback Machine, you might not realize that a great many of them, in part or in whole, are powered by the same archive.

But there are other services out there you can use. Some have more helpful features, depending on what your goals are.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of alternative tools, but it’s most of the easily accessible tools for the average user.

Others require monthly payments, and some are free to academic and legal institutions, but not to individual users.

I chose to focus on the best of the tools that you could go and use right now with no fuss.

More resources:


Featured Image: Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

Google Optimize Discontinued: What Businesses Need To Know via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

Google has announced that Google Optimize and Optimize 360 will no longer be available after September 30. All experiments will continue to run until that date.

Google launched Optimize over five years ago to help businesses test and improve their user experiences.

Many companies have widely used the tool to optimize their website, landing pages, and other online properties.

While the discontinuation of Google Optimize and Optimize 360 may disappoint, Google says it’s committed to providing a new solution in GA4.

Users are encouraged to download their data before it becomes unavailable at the end of September.

Google Optimize will go down in marketing history as a short-lived but beloved tool. Businesses that rely on it for their experimentation needs will have to find a new solution.

The History Of Google Optimize

Avid users of Google Optimize may be interested in this story from Krista Seiden, a former employee on the team since its early days.

In a 20-part Twitter thread, Seiden recounts her time on the Google Optimize team and describes how the tool came to be.

She says the idea for Google Optimize came after finding that content experiments in Google Analytics couldn’t scale to her team’s needs.

That’s when they decided to build their own server-side A/B testing solution, which eventually became Google Optimize.

Seiden stayed on the Optimize core team until she left Google in early 2019.

During her time on the team, she made dozens of educational videos and how-to’s for Google Optimize and consulted on many of its features.

Seiden’s story, worth reading in full, shows that Google Optimize was not only a valuable tool but also had a passionate team behind it.

When Google Optimize ends its service on September 30, it will leave a significant gap in the market for affordable and beginner-friendly A/B testing options.

According to Seiden, Google plans to expand A/B testing capabilities in GA4. However, it’s unlikely that the features will be available by September 30.

Lastly, she adds that Google is working on integrating with other A/B testing partners, which means that businesses who are using a third-party tool may be able to transfer their testing data to GA4.

Comment From Search Engine Journal’s Director Of Marketing

Heather Campbell, Search Engine Journal’s Director of Marketing, gives her take on the sunsetting of Google Optimize and what it means for others in the field:

I’m not surprised this day has come. It was only a matter of time before Optimize / 360 would no longer function since Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics in July.

Google is investing in GA4 and wants you to do the same.

It’s still frustrating when Google moves our marketing cheese, but don’t lose hope. This could be your opportunity to find a platform better suited to your needs.

What does this mean for now?

It would be best if you started researching alternatives. And there’s plenty out there. The first place to start, though, is with GA4.

Hopefully, you’ve already started implementing GA4, as that’s where the next iteration of Optimize will live. And if you haven’t, you should probably stop reading this and get started.

Make sure you pull down any data from past campaigns. You can still run campaigns thru September 30, but if you rely on testing and personalization (like any good marketer does), you may need a backup.


Source: Google

Featured Image: Aa Amie/Shutterstock

Microsoft CEO: “Every App Is Going To Be An AI App” via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

During a recent earnings call with shareholders, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, stated that artificial intelligence would eventually be included in all of the company’s applications.

After discussing Microsoft’s financial performance for the last quarter, Nadella answered questions about AI and its expected integration into more products.

Given Microsoft’s commitment to expanding its partnership with OpenAI, it makes sense that shareholders would have questions about when Microsoft plans to use the technology it’s investing in.

Although Nadella wasn’t willing to give a specific date, he stated that AI would be integrated into all of Microsoft’s applications in the future.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Nadella’s statements regarding AI and briefly summarize the relevant highlights from Microsoft’s earnings report.

Nadella Says Every Microsoft App Will Be An AI App

Tyler Radke, the Lead Analyst at Citi, asked Nadella about the extent to which AI will be employed throughout Microsoft Azure, which is the cloud computing platform that runs its applications.

This was Nadella’s response:

“I think it’s too early to sort of start somehow separating out AI from the rest of the workload. I mean, even the workloads themselves, AI is just going to be a core part of a workload in Azure versus just AI alone. In other words, if you have an application that’s using a bunch of inference, let’s say, it’s also going to have a bunch of storage, and it’s going to have a bunch of other compute beyond GPU inferencing, if you will. I think over time, obviously, I think every app is going to be an AI app. That’s, I think, the best way to think about this transformation.”

Nadella is saying it’s too early to separate AI into its own category because it’s becoming a core part of all products.

He believes AI will be integrated into all apps over time and will also be integrated with storage and other forms of computing beyond just GPU inferencing.

In response to a question from Keith Weiss of Morgan Stanley, Nadella expressed a similar sentiment, saying investors should expect AI to be included in everything.

“I think the way for our investors to see this is we fundamentally believe that the next big platform wave, as I said, is going to be AI. And we strongly also believe a lot of the enterprise value gets created by just being able to catch these waves, and then have those waves impact every part of our tech stack, and also create new solutions and new opportunities…

And so, we fully expect us to sort of incorporate AI in every layer of the stack, whether it’s in productivity, whether it’s in our consumer services.”

Other Highlights From Microsoft’s Earnings Call

Microsoft announced that in the last quarter of 2022, it made $52.7 billion in revenue, which is 2% more than the year before.

However, the company’s profit is down due to decreases in operating income, net income, and earnings per share.

Advertising spending declined slightly more than expected, impacting search and news advertising and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

One of the most notable highlights is the increase in LinkedIn revenue by 10%. This indicates the professional networking platform is performing well and that businesses can feel confident investing their time in it.

Another highlight from the report is the increase in revenue for server products and cloud services by 20%. This growth was driven by the revenue of Azure and other cloud services, which increased by 31%.

This indicates that Microsoft’s cloud services are becoming increasingly popular in the market, which bodes well for the future of the company’s partnership with OpenAI.

Despite a slight decrease in profit, the company’s overall financial performance remains strong.


Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: ThomasAFink/Shutterstock

Top 5 Essential SEO Reporting Tools For Agencies via @sejournal, @SEOBrock

Your clients trust you to create real results and hit KPIs that drive their businesses forward.

Understanding the intricacies of how that works can be difficult, so it’s essential to demonstrate your progress and efforts.

SEO reporting software showcases important metrics in a digestible and visually represented way. They save guesswork and manual referencing, highlighting achievements over a specified time.

A great tool can also help you formulate action items, gauge the performance of campaigns, and see real results that can help you create new and innovative evaluations.

The latest and allegedly greatest tools hit the market all the time, promising to transform how you conduct reports.

Certainly, you have to weigh a few factors when deciding which software to implement. Price, features, and ease of use are the most important to consider.

A cost-effective tool with a steep learning curve might not be worth it for the features. Similarly, an expensive tool might be more appealing if it is user-friendly but could quickly run up costs.

Just like any transformational business decision, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons carefully to determine the right one for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Cost, accessibility, and features are the common thread of comparison for SEO reporting tools.
  • To truly get the best use out of an SEO reporting tool for your agency, you’ll need to weigh several details, including scalability, customization, integrations, and access to support.
  • What might be considered a subpar tool could be a game-changer for an agency. Due diligence and research are the keys to knowing what will work for your team.

What To Look For In SEO Reporting Tools

It can be tough to make heads or tails of the available tools and choose which will benefit your agency the most.

Here are the 10 essential requirements of SEO reporting tools.

1. Accurate And Current Regional Data

SEO reporting is all about data. The software must have access to accurate and current data localized to your client’s targeted region.

Search data from the U.S. is meaningless if your client tries to rank for [London plumbing services], so localization matters.

The tool must update data regularly and with reliable accuracy so you can make informed decisions about where your client stands against the competition.

2. Integration With Third-Party Tools

Especially for full-scale digital marketing campaigns, the ability to report on all KPIs in one place is essential.

The more available integrations with third-party tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Google Business Profile, Majestic), the better.

Some tools even allow you to upload custom data sets.

3. Scalability

You don’t want to have to retrain or reinvest in new software every time your agency reaches a new tier.

The right SEO reporting tool should work well for your current business size and leave room for expansion as you onboard more clients.

4. Strong Suite Of Features

A great SEO reporting tool should include:

  • Position tracking.
  • Backlink monitoring.
  • Competitor data.
  • Analytics.

It is a bonus if the tool has reporting features for social media, email marketing, call tracking, and/or paid ads to make it a full-suite digital marketing software.

5. Continually Improving And Updating Features

SEO is constantly evolving, and so should SEO reporting tools.

As we continue the transition from website optimization to web presence optimization, a tool’s ability to integrate new features is essential.

6. Ability To Customize Reports

Each client will have different KPIs, objectives, and priorities.

Presenting the information that clients want to see is paramount to successful campaigns and retention.

Your reporting software of choice should be able to emphasize the correct data at the right times.

7. Client Integration

A good SEO reporting tool must have the client in mind.

It should have a simple bird’s eye overview of the basics but also be easy for clients to dig into the data at a deeper level.

This can mean automated summary reports or 24/7 client access to the dashboard.

8. Ability To White Label Reports

While white labeling is not essential (no client will sniff at receiving a report with a Google logo in the top corner), it helps keep branding consistent and gives a professional sheen to everything you send a client’s way.

9. Access To Support Resources

Quality support resources can help you find a detour when you encounter a roadblock.

Whether it’s detailed support documentation, a chat feature/support desk, or responsive customer support on social media, finding the help you need to solve the issue is important.

10. Cost-To-Value Ratio

With a proper process, time investment, and leveraging support resources, it is possible to get better results from a free reporting tool than one that breaks the bank.

This can mean automated summary reports or 24/7 client access to the dashboard.

Top 5 SEO Reporting Tools

In evaluating five of the most popular SEO reporting tools, based on the above criteria, here is how they stack up:

1. AgencyAnalytics

My Overall Rating: 4.7/5

Agency Analytics reportingImage credit: AgencyAnalytics, December 2022

AgencyAnalytics is a quality introductory/intermediate reporting tool for agencies.

Among the tools on this list, it is one of the easiest to use for small to mid-sized agencies.

It starts at $12 per month, per client, with unlimited staff and client logins, a white-label dashboard, and automated branded reports. The minimum purchase requirements mean the first two tiers work out to $60 per month and $180 per month, respectively. But your ability to change the payment based on the number of clients could help keep costs lean.

AgencyAnalytics comes with 70+ supported third-party data integrations.

However, this reliance on third-party data means you may have incomplete reports when there is an interruption in the transmission.

Though new integrations are always being added, they can be glitchy at first, making them unreliable to share with clients until stabilized.

With the ability for clients to log in and view daily data updates, it provides real-time transparency.

Automated reports can be customized, and the drag-and-drop customized dashboard makes it easy to emphasize priority KPIs.

2. SE Ranking

My Overall Rating: 4.5/5

SE Ranking has plans starting at $39.20 per month, although the $87.20 per month plan is necessary if you need historical data or more than 10 projects.

Setup is a breeze, as the on-screen tutorial guides you through the process.

SE Ranking features a strong collection of SEO-related tools, including current and historical position tracking, competitor SEO research, keyword suggestion, a backlink explorer, and more.

SE Ranking is hooked up with Zapier, which allows users to integrate thousands of apps and provide a high level of automation between apps like Klipfolio, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Google Apps.

SE Ranking is an effective SEO reporting tool at a beginner to intermediate level.

However, you may want to look in a different direction if your agency requires more technical implementations or advanced customization.

3. Semrush

My Overall Rating: 4.4/5

Semrush is one of the most SEO-focused reporting tools on the list, which is reflected in its features.

Starting at $229.95 per month for the agency package, it’s one of the more expensive tools on the list. But Semrush provides a full suite of tools that can be learned at an intermediate level.

A major downside of Semrush, especially for cost-conscious agencies, is that an account comes with only one user login.

Having to purchase individual licenses for each SEO analyst or account manager adds up quickly, and the users you can add are limited by the plan features. This makes scalability an issue.

Semrush has both branded and white-label reports, depending on your subscription level. It uses a proprietary data stream, tracking more than 800 million keywords.

The ever-expanding “projects” feature covers everything from position tracking to backlink monitoring and social media analysis.

Though it doesn’t fall specifically under the scope of SEO reporting, Semrush’s innovation makes it a one-stop shop for many agencies.

Project features include Ad Builder, which helps craft compelling ad text for Google Ads, and Social Media Poster, which allows agencies to schedule client social posts.

Combining such diverse features under the Semrush umbrella offsets its relatively high cost, especially if you can cancel other redundant software.

4. Looker Studio

My Overall Rating: 3.6/5

Looker StudioScreenshot from Looker Studio, December 2022

Formerly known as Google Data Studio, Looker Studio is a Google service that has grown considerably since its initial launch.

Though it is much more technical and requires more time investment to set up than most other tools on this list, it should be intuitive for staff familiar with Google Analytics.

If you’re on the fence, Looker Studio is completely free.

A major upside to this software is superior integration with other Google properties like Analytics, Search Console, Ads, and YouTube.

Like other reporting tools, it also allows third-party data integration, but the ability to query data from databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Google’s Cloud SQL, sets it apart.

You can customize reports with important KPIs with proper setup, pulling from lead and customer information. For eCommerce clients, you can even integrate sales data.

Though the initial setup will be much more technical, the ability to import templates saves time and effort.

You can also create your own templates that better reflect your processes and can be shared across clients. Google also has introductory video walk-throughs to help you get started.

5. Authority Labs

My Overall Rating: 3.2/5

Authority Labs Ranking ReportImage credit: Authority Labs, December 2022

Authority Labs does the job if you’re looking for a straightforward position-tracking tool.

Authority Labs is $49 per month for unlimited users, though you will need to upgrade to the $99 per month plan for white-label reporting.

You can track regional ranking data, get insights into “(not provided)” keywords, track competitor keywords, and schedule automated reporting.

However, lacking other essential features like backlink monitoring or analytic data means you will have to supplement this tool to provide a full SEO reporting picture for clients.

Conclusion

There are many quality SEO reporting tools on the market. What makes them valuable depends on their ability to work for your clients’ needs.

SE Ranking has a fantastic cost-to-value ratio, while Looker Studio has advanced reporting capabilities if you can withstand a higher barrier to entry.

Agency Analytics prioritizes client access, which is a big deal if transparency is a core value for your agency.

Authority Labs keeps it lean and clean, while Semrush always adds innovative features.

These five are simply a snapshot of what is available. There are new and emerging tools that might have some features more appealing to your current clients or fill gaps that other software creates despite being a great solution.

Ultimately, you need to consider what matters most to your agency. Is it:

  • Feature depth?
  • Scalability?
  • Cost-to-value ratio?

Once you weigh the factors that matter most for your agency, you can find the right SEO reporting tool. In the meantime, don’t shy away from testing out a few for a trial period.

If you don’t want to sign up for a full month’s usage, you can also explore walkthrough videos and reviews from current users. The most informed decision requires an understanding of the intricate details.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Microsoft & OpenAI Extend Deal To Make AI Accessible To Everyone via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

Microsoft is continuing its partnership with OpenAI, creators of ChatGPT, through a new multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment to speed up the development of AI technology.

This move builds on previous investments made by Microsoft in 2019 and 2021 and allows both companies to use the advanced AI technology they develop together independently.

One of the main goals of this partnership is to democratize AI and make it accessible to everyone. Microsoft intends to accomplish this goal in three ways:

  • Supercomputing at scale: Microsoft will put more resources into creating and using specialized supercomputers to speed up OpenAI’s research.
  • New AI experiences: Microsoft will use OpenAI’s models in its consumer and enterprise products and create new digital experiences using OpenAI’s technology.
  • Exclusivity: Microsoft Azure will power all OpenAI workloads as the company’s only cloud provider.

Independently, Microsoft has been working to make Azure an AI supercomputer for everyone since its introduction in 2016. Together, Microsoft and OpenAI are a step closer to realizing that vision.

The partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI has already yielded impressive results, including the development of GPT-3, one of the most advanced natural language processing models to date.

This new investment ensures that the companies can continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with AI.

In a tweet, Microsoft CEO Satay Nadella says the company will continue its mission “safely and responsibly”:

Interestingly, there was no mention of Microsoft’s Bing search engine in the announcement, despite rumors that it’s set to be enhanced with chatbot functionality shortly, possibly as soon as March.

The Information, the source that initially reported the rumor, had previously stated that Microsoft was planning to integrate OpenAI’s technology into its current software. Today’s official statement from Microsoft confirms that this is indeed the case.

This supports the notion that Bing may soon use ChatGPT to provide search results.

With the recent news that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have given the go-ahead to integrate chatbot technology into Google, competition is brewing to see which company will be the first to release this feature to the market.


Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: Ascannio/Shutterstock

ChatGPT Pro: Early Access Users Share Their Thoughts via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

ChatGPT Pro offers faster speeds, reliable access, priority to new features for $42/mo, currently in early access phase, not yet widely available.

  • ChatGPT Pro is a professional version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT that offers faster response speeds, more reliable access, and priority access to new features.
  • The cost of ChatGPT Pro is currently listed at $42 USD per month, but it is not known if different pricing options will be available in the future.
  • ChatGPT Pro is currently in an early access phase and is not yet widely available to all users.
Top 7 SEO Keyword Research Tools For Agencies via @sejournal, @Juxtacognition

All successful SEO campaigns rely on accurate, comprehensive data. And that process starts with the right keyword research tools.

Sure, you can get away with collecting keyword data manually on your own. But while you may be saving the cost of a premium tool, manual keyword research costs you in ot

her ways:

  • Efficiency. Doing keyword research manually is time intensive. How much is an hour of your time worth?
  • Comprehensiveness. Historical and comprehensive data isn’t easy to get on your own. It’s too easy to miss out on vital information that will make your SEO strategy a success.
  • Competition. Keyword research tools allow you to understand not only what users are searching for but also what your competition focuses on. You can quickly identify gaps and find the best path to profitability and success.
  • Knowledge. Long-time SEO experts can craft their own keyword strategies with a careful analysis of the SERPs, but that requires years of practice, trial, and costly errors. Not everyone has that experience. And not everyone has made enough mistakes to avoid the pitfalls.

A good SEO keyword research tool eliminates much of the guesswork. Here are seven well-known and time-tested tools for SEO that will get you well on the way to dominating your market.

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword PlannerScreenshot from Google Keyword Planner, January 2023

Cost: Free.

Google Keyword Planner is a classic favorite.

It’s free, but because the information comes directly from the search engine, it’s reliable and trustworthy. It’s also flexible, allowing you to:

  • Identify new keywords.
  • Find related keywords.
  • Estimate the number of searches for each variation.
  • Estimate competition levels.

The tool is easy to access and available as a web application and via API, and it costs nothing; it just requires a Google Ads account.

You must also be aware of a few things when using this tool.

First, these are estimates based on historical data. That means if trends change, it won’t necessarily be reflected here.

Google Keyword Planner also can’t tell you much about the SERP itself, such as what features you can capitalize on and how the feature converts.

Because it’s part of Google Ads, PPC experience can help you gain more insights. You’ll find trends broadly across a demographic or granular level, like a city, region, or major city.

Google Keyword Planner also tends to combine data for similar keywords. So, if you want to know if [keyword near me] is better than [keywords near me], you’ll need a different tool.

Lastly, the tool uses broad definitions of words like “competition,” which doesn’t tell you who is ranking for the term, how much they’re investing to hold that ranking, or how likely you are to unseat them from their coveted top 10 rankings.

That being said, it’s an excellent tool if you just want to get a quick look or fresh ideas, if you’d like to use an API and create your own tools, or simply prefer to do the other tasks yourself.

2. Keyword.io

Cost: Free, $29 per month, and $49 per month.

If Google’s Keyword Planner isn’t quite enough, but you’re on a tight budget, Keyword.io may be the alternative you need. It also has different features.

Keyword.io uses autocomplete APIs to pull basic data for several sites and search engines, including Google, Amazon, eBay, Bing, Wikipedia, Alibaba, YouTube, Yandex, Fiverr, and Fotolia. This is perfect for niche clients and meeting specific needs.

It also has a Question/Intent Generator, an interactive topic explorer, and a topical overview tool.

In its user interface (UI), you’ll find an easy-to-use filter system and a chart that includes the competition, search volume, CPC, and a few other details about your chosen keywords.

It does have some limits, however.

You can run up to 20,000 keywords per seed with a limit of 100 requests per day (five per minute) or 1,000 requests per day (10 per minute) on its paid plans.

Its API access, related keywords tool, Google Ad data, and other features are also limited to paid accounts.

3. Semrush

Semrush's keyword toolScreenshot from Semrush

Cost: $119.95 to $449.95 per month.

In its digital marketing suite, Semrush offers a collection of six keyword tools and four competitive analysis tools with a database of more than 21 billion keywords.

You can get a full overview of the keywords you’re watching, including paid and organic search volume, intent, competition, CPC, historical data, SERP analysis, and more.

You’ll get related keywords and questions, as well as a ton of guidance, ideas, and suggestions from the Semrush Magic, Position Tracking, and Organic Traffic Insights tools.

The Keyword Planner, however, is where much of the magic happens.

The organic competitor tab makes it easy to spot content and keyword gaps. Expand them and develop clusters that will help you grab traffic and conversions.

You can also see long-tail keyword data and other data to see what Page 1 holds regarding competition, difficulty, and opportunities at a broad or hyperlocal level.

The full suite of tools is a huge benefit. Teams can collaborate, share insights, and plan.

The seamless integration allows you to integrate your data, meaning teams can easily collaborate, share insights, and strategize.

And when you’re done, it can track everything you need for a successful digital marketing strategy.

Some of the tools they offer include:

  • On-page SEO tools.
  • Competitive analysis suite.
  • Log file analysis.
  • Site auditing.
  • Content marketing tools.
  • Marketing analysis.
  • Paid advertising tools.
  • Local SEO tools.
  • Rank tracking.
  • Social media management.
  • Link-building tools.
  • Amazon marketing tools.
  • Website monetization tools.

Semrush’s best features when it comes to keyword research are its historical information and PPC metrics.

You can deep dive into campaigns and keywords to unlock the secrets of the SERPs and provide agency or in-house teams with priceless information they don’t usually access.

4. Moz Keyword Explorer

Keyword Research Tool From MozScreenshot from Moz, January 2023

Cost: Free for 10 queries per month. $99-$599 per month.

With a database of more than 500 million keywords, Moz Keyword Explorer may be a great option if you’re looking to build a strategy rather than get a quick view of the data for a few keywords.

Moz has long been a leader in the SEO space.

Constantly updating and improving its Keyword Explorer Tool and its other core services, Moz keeps up with the trends and is well known for providing SEO professionals with the latest tools. And it has done so for more than a decade.

Like the Google Keyword Tool, Moz’s keyword planning tool provides information on the difficulty and monthly search volume for terms. It also lets you drill down geographically.

When you start, you’ll find the Keyword Overview, which provides monthly search volumes, ranking difficulty, organic click-through opportunities, and an estimated priority level.

You can also:

  • Find new relevant keywords you should be targeting but aren’t.
  • Learn how your site performs for keywords.
  • Find areas where you can improve your SEO (including quick wins and larger investments).
  • Prioritize keywords for efficient strategy creation.
  • Top SERP analysis and features.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Organic click-through rates.

Unlike the Google Keyword Tool, however, Moz supplies you with data beyond the basics. Think of it like keyword research and SERP analysis.

Moz does tend to have fewer keyword suggestions. And like Google’s Keyword Planner, it provides range estimates for search data rather than a specific number.

However, the database is updated frequently, so you can feel confident that you’re keeping up with the constant change in consumer search habits and rankings.

Plus, it’s easy to use, so teams can quickly take care of marketing tasks like finding opportunities, tracking performance, identifying problem areas, and gathering page-level details.

Moz also offers several other tools to help you get your site on track and ahead of the competition, but we really like it for its keyword research and flexibility.

5. Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Cost: $99-$999 per month.

If I had to describe Ahrefs in one word, it would be power.

Enter a word into the search box, and you’re presented with multiple panels that can tell you everything you want to know about that keyword.

Total search volume, clicks, difficulty, the SERP features, and even a volume-difficulty distribution. And while it may look like a lot, all the information is well-organized and clearly presented.

Ahrefs provides terms in a parent-child topic format, providing the terms with context, so you can easily learn more about the terms, such as intent, while identifying overlap and keeping it all easy to find and understand.

These topics appear when you search for a related term, including the term’s ranking on the SERP, SERP result type, first-page ranking difficulty scores, and a snapshot of the user-delivered SERP. You can stay broad or narrow it all down by city or language.

Ahrefs can get a bit expensive. Agencies may find it difficult to scale if they prefer several user or client accounts, but it’s still one of the best and most reliable keyword research tools on the market.

What I really like about Ahrefs is that it’s thorough. It has one of the largest databases of all the tools available (19.2 billion keywords, 10 search engines, and 242 countries at the time of writing), and it’s regularly updated.

It makes international SEO strategies a breeze and includes data for everything from Google and Bing to YouTube and Amazon.

Plus, they clearly explain their metrics and database. And that level of transparency means trust.

Other tools in the suite include:

  • Site Explorer.
  • Site auditing.
  • Rank tracking.
  • Content Explorer.

6. SERanking

SERanking's Keyword Research ToolScreenshot from SERanking, November 2022.

Cost: $23.52-$239 per month, depending on the ranking check and payment frequency.

SERanking shines as a keyword research tool within an all-around SEO toolkit. SERanking helps you keep costs down while offering features that allow agencies to meet clients’ unique needs.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you log in is its intuitive user interface. But this tool isn’t just another pretty online tool.

Its database is robust.

SERanking’s U.S. database includes 887 million keywords, 327 million U.S. domains, and 3 trillion indexed backlinks. And this doesn’t include its expansive European and Asian databases.

The overview page provides a solid look at the data, which includes search volume, the CPC, and a difficulty score.

SERanking also provides lists of related and low-volume keywords if you need inspiration or suggestions, as well as long-tail keyword suggestions with information about SERP features, competition levels, search volume, and other details you need to know to identify new opportunities.

Of course, identifying keywords is only the start of the mystery. How do you turn keywords into conversions? SERanking provides keyword tools that help you answer this question.

You can find out who the competition is in the organic results and see who is buying search ads, as well as details like estimated traffic levels and copies of the ads they’re using.

This allows you to see what’s working, gain insights into the users searching for those terms, and generate new ideas to try.

SERanking offers agency features, such as white labeling, report builders, lead generator, and other features you’ll find helpful.

However, one of the features agencies might find most helpful in keyword research is SERanking’s bulk keyword analysis, which lets you run thousands of keywords and download full reports for all the terms that matter.

Other tools in the SERanking Suite include:

  • Keyword Rank Tracker.
  • Keyword Grouper.
  • Keyword Suggestions and Search Volume Checker.
  • Index Status checker.
  • Backlink Checker.
  • Backlink monitoring.
  • Competitive research tool.
  • Website auditing tool.
  • On-page SEO Checker.
  • Page Changes Monitor.
  • Social media analytics.
  • Traffic analysis.

SERanking is more affordable than some of the other tools out there, but it does come at a cost.

It isn’t as robust as some of its competitors and doesn’t get as granular in the same way, but it still provides the features and data you need to create a successful SEO strategy.

And with its flexible pricing, this tool is well worth considering.

7. BrightEdge Data Cube

Cost: Custom pricing model.

If you’re looking for an AI-powered digital marketing tool suite that includes a quality research tool, BrightEdge may be the right option for you.

Unlike other tools that focus on supplying you with data and ways to analyze that data, BrightEdge looks to do much of the time-consuming analysis for you.

Among its search, content, social, local, and mobile solutions, you’ll find Data Cube – an AI-backed content and keyword tool that uses natural language processing to find related topics and keywords.

You’ll also encounter DataMind, an AI that helps you find search trends, changes in consumer behaviors, and important competitor movements you need to know about.

The two together make it quick and easy to perform keyword research, build out topics, create content strategies, and strengthen your SEO plans.

Once you enter a topic or broad keyword, the tool will provide you with relevant keywords, the search volume, competition levels, keyword value, it’s universal listing, and the number of words in the phrase.

Filter the results by a custom set of criteria to narrow the list down and get the necessary information.

Once you have a list, select the ones you want to keep and download them or use them with BrightEdge’s other tools to create full strategies and gain more insights.

This could include competitor analysis, analyzing SERP features, intent, or other tasks.

For agencies that provide local SEO, BrightEdge also offers HyperLocal, which helps you find and track keywords and keyword performance at the local level.

When you’re done, give the Opportunity Forecasting and tracking tools a try to monitor your progress and provide clients with the information they care about.

Perhaps the nicest feature for agencies is its Storybuilder – a reporting tool that allows you to create rich client reports that provide clients with targeted overviews and the data they’re most interested in.

If this sounds like the right tool for you, the company gives demos, but there are a few things you should consider.

First, it only updates once per month. And while the company keeps its pricing close to the chest, this digital marketing tool suite is a significant investment. It may not be the best choice if keyword research is the only thing you need.

Secondly, while the tools are highly sophisticated and refined, there is a learning curve to get started.

You’ll also discover that there are limits on features like keyword tracking, and it can be time-consuming to set up, with some adjustments requiring technical support.

Lastly, BrightEdge’s keyword research tool doesn’t let you get too far into the weeds and doesn’t include PPC traffic.

That aside, agencies and larger brands will find that it scales easily, has a beautifully designed UI, and makes you look great to clients.

The Best Agency SEO Keyword Research Tools

This list only contains seven of the many tools available today to help you get your keyword research done to an expert degree.

But no matter how many of the tools we share with you or which ones, it’s important to understand that none are flawless.

Each tool has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, so selecting a platform is very much dependent on the types of clients that you typically work with and personal preference.

In reality, you’ll likely find that you prefer to work between a few tools to accomplish everything you’d like.

Google Keyword Planner and Keyword.io are top choices when you want a quick look at the data, or you’d like to export the data to work on elsewhere. You may even want to use this data with the other tools mentioned in this chapter.

Ahrefs, Moz, Semrush, and BrightEdge are far more robust and are better suited to agency SEO tasks.

While not free (although they offer free plans or a trial period except BrightEdge), they allow you to really dig into the search space, ultimately resulting in higher traffic, more conversions, and stronger SEO strategies. These benefits require more time and often come with a learning curve.

By far, the most important keyword research tool you have access to is you.

Keyword research is more than simply choosing the keywords with the biggest search volume or the phrase with the lowest Cost Per Click (CPC).

It’s your expertise, experience, knowledge, and insights that transform data into digital marketing you can be proud of.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal