TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers 2 Year SEO for Bloggers Anniversary: Recap of SEO For Bloggers Episode #23

2 Year SEO for Bloggers Anniversary: Recap of SEO For Bloggers Episode #23

Recap, Q&A, + All the Resources

To celebrate 2 years of SEO for Bloggers episodes, we had a special guest from none other than GOOGLE! We were joined by Louisa Frahm, a Google Trends Curator, who helped address your content and SEO questions. With over 80 questions submitted, we talked about everything from plugins to content creation.

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Q&A With The Panelists

These are each of the questions that were asked during the Q&A portion of the webinar. The answers are provided by the panelists. Have a question about this episode you'd like addressed? Reach out to info@tophatrank.com!

Question 1

My traffic tanked in the last month or so. were there any major google updates or is it likely because I did not publish as often anymore?

Publishing frequency is not a ranking factor by itself, but publishing more content, especially if it’s high quality content only helps you. It increases your freshness boosts. It increases your crawling frequency. It increases the ability that you will generate substantially more long tail keywords, which will lead to more traffic. But there was a Google core update. Just understand that Google updates their algorithms every day. Multiple times, every day. So understand that we don’t want to get fixated much on these core updates. I mean, I know they can be dramatic, especially if you were negatively impacted by them, but you should be looking at two things. You should be looking number one, that you’re actually looking at the correct data. I can’t tell you how many people have had issues with both Google analytics and search console tracking data over the last month or so.

And number two, that you don’t have any seasonality that’s playing into your drops in traffic. Is it very possible that you’re experiencing the summer slump? Which is very popular in the recipe niche because we have more people going outside now, we have more people doing outside activities.

So if you’re a part of that group, that’s going to impact your bottom line traffic. So we pasted over some resources. Please review those. It’ll show you how to do a traffic drop audit. It’ll show you how to go into search console and review a before and after to see what’s going on. And then you could make some determinations and takeaways from that data.

Casey

Question 2

Is the Yoast FAQ box useful? Or should I just put my questions and answers as a regular text block?

It’s very useful. And the reason it’s very useful is that it allows Google to programmatically pull out that information for increased rich snippet visibility. I can’t tell you how many times all we’ve done is add an FAQ block to a piece of content and we’ve been able to generate a nice, embedded, basically collapsible accordion, rich snippet for that content.

Question 3

Are there specific SEO guidelines for infographics in posts?

Nothing dramatic. This article provides a good overview: https://www.edrawsoft.com/infographics/seo-friendly-infographics.html

Casey

Question 4

If my post moved from position 1 to position 2 or 3, should I update it or not touch it?

Well, it depends.  There’s a reason your post moved down. Therefore, you want to take a look at a few things first before you go in and start touching things. So you want to take a look at who started ranking above you. What are they doing that’s a little bit different than yours? What are they doing better? Are they the same type of site? Is Google maybe positioning somebody else on top that’s presenting a content that satisfies a different intent? That Google changed its understanding of the query and now the page is laid out a little bit differently. Moving from position one to position two from an SEO perspective is not a big deal.

It’s still working. It’s still making you money. So you don’t want to go in and start with a machete and start hacking things off and changing things. Right. Look at what’s ranking above you, be smart about decisions, track your decisions. And I personally always recommend, in my opinion, my process might be different from Casey and Andrew and then Louisa and everybody else. Single variable changes. See how they work for you. Make sure you track everything. I also first like to play around with secondary signals, which is stuff that I can do without touching the content.

Arsen

Question 5

Should home pages, about pages and such be noindexed?

These pages should definitely be indexed! What you want to noindex (or delete) is “thin content” such as tag archive pages with a few links on them that aren’t useful for readers.

Andrew

Question 6

What’s the best way to write descriptions for category pages ? How much does it matter for SEO?

It matters a lot. But also you want to make sure that it’s descriptive. You want to look at category page as a roundup essentially, right. And if we’re talking in terms that recipe bloggers understand. Your category pages should be optimized as if they’re roundups, right. So you want to explain what this page is about, right. You also want to look at it from perspective of this is an experience, right. A user landed here because Google pointed them to this page when they presented Google with a query, which Google interpreted as them not being refined enough to show you an individual post, right.

Google is showing you a page where you can make a decision on which post you want to look at, that’s your category page or roundup. So you want to cater to that experience, that intent, right. And you’ve heard me say this plenty, plenty of times, being able to effectively predict and address that primary, secondary intent on any page. The intent behind the query is going to be a very strong signal to Google from a content perspective. But also it depends.

Arsen

Question 7

Besides writing good content, what do you think is the number one thing a blogger can do for to rank better in Google?

To answer the question. I always explain this way. Doesn’t matter how fast the car is, if the driver is not a good driver, it’s not going to go very far or very fast. And content is your driver, right? Google might look past certain technical issues. Google might look past other issues if your content is strong enough. And Google has said this in the past, that if this is a good resource we’re going to show it, right.

The same reason why schema is not a ranking factor just because there’s certain people, certain sites, certain CMSs that just won’t support it, right. Your content is the most important and choosing the right content, making sure your topics are topics that are going to not only help position you as an expert about what you’re writing about, but also are topics that are driving traffic consistently, right. That’s the most important part. Everything else can be built and fixed around it. You are the driver. The content depends on you.

You may also need to chase longer tail keywords that aren’t as competitive and still have some search volume, right. But if you’re going to try to go after the biggest terms ever, like roast turkey and you wonder why you’re not ranking, it’s because there’s a bazillion pages that are going to be great at that and have all those other elements. So I think being strategic about the content you create is a helpful approach.

Arsen & Andrew

Question 8

If a post was created with a poor url – would it be better to rewrite a new post with better url and updated keywords, etc. Or just proceed bad url and update the post best we can

Don’t change the URL. You can read more about it in this article: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-url-change-old-new-content-25675.html

Andrew

Question 9

Is Headline Studio a good tool for title creation for food bloggers?

Never heard of it.

Casey

Question 10

I hear infographics are good for SEO – is that true and why?

Tracey Hatch-Rizzi

Anything that draws in links and shares can be “good” for SEO. Infographics are just a type of contnet based link building pull marketing. You put up a nice infographic, you promote that infographic, then hope it pulls in links

Casey

Question 11

Any speculation if there were specific things that prompted drops/gains in the latest core update?

We can speculate, but we’re not going to say anything else about it. The thing to be aware about with these core updates is that Google provides a lot of information on what they could and could not be.

Core updates are really Google’s attempt to improve the search results at scale, because the whole point of that is they’re designed to ensure that overall Google is delivering on their mission to provide the best relevant and authoritative results possible based upon changing schemes and based on their better ability to use algorithmic learning.

Google has millions of baby algorithms. All of them can focus and emphasize one thing over another all the time. So there’s never really big trends. We’ve seen trends over the years because we’ve been able to make correlated patterns.

But honestly, end result is Google has refined search intent, changed search intent or triggered certain parameters, which emphasize one part of the algorithm over another. And we just have to, based on trial and error, understand what that’s done and give our best guesses on how we can improve or recover loss rankings.

Casey

Question 12

My big question is there value to having AMP pages anymore? It seems like Mediavine was suggesting to remove them.

AMP has never actually benefitted most publishers, and it’s been hard to monetize – and it means you effectively have to maintain a second version of your site. We recommend most publishers, including all food and lifestyle bloggers (and smiliar!) not use AMP.

Casey

Question 13

Do you have any tips or is there a way to safeguard your site from getting hit by the Google core updates that can result in a substantial loss of traffic?

Yes, follow Google guidelines. Focus on producing high-quality unique content. And read Google’s tips on what questions you should be asking of your content all the time here: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2019/08/core-updates

Casey

Question 14

How important is it to take a photo of all your ingredients and label the ingredients on the photo?

I do recommend it and the reason I recommend it is that people love the shit out of seeing everything labeled in a recipe post. I don’t know. You’ve heard me say this repeatedly, I always optimize for toddlers and drunk adults. And when we’re optimizing for toddlers and drunk adults, having a nice, clear photo of all the ingredients is the easiest way to do it. So that if someone’s on their phone and they’re walking through the store, they can literally just reach up and pull those ingredients off the shelf.

Casey

Question 15

Is the Feast plugin necessary or recommended for a new food blogger? At what point should a new blogger implement the Feast plugin?

The Feast Plugin is popular because it simplyfies good SEO, follows best practices, and is constantly updated. The sooner a “new” food blogger can use the Feast Plugin, the better.

Casey

Question 16

What’s the best way to write descriptions for category pages and how much does it matter for SEO?

It matters a lot. But also you want to make sure that it’s descriptive, right. You want to look at category page as a roundup essentially, right. And if we’re talking in terms that recipe bloggers understand. Your category pages should be optimized as if they’re roundups, right. So you want to explain what this page is about, right. You also want to look at it from perspective of this is an experience, right. A user landed here because Google pointed them to this page when they presented Google with a query, which Google interpreted as them not being refined enough to show you an individual post, right.

Google is showing you a page where you can make a decision on which post you want to look at, that’s your category page or roundup. So you want to cater to that experience, that intent, right. And you’ve heard me say this plenty, plenty of times, being able to effectively predict and address that primary, secondary intent on any page. The intent behind the query is going to be a very strong signal to Google from a content perspective. But also it depends.

Arsen

Question 17

What if a post ranks #1 but doesn’t bring traffic. Is it okay to update the photos and update the text/keywords?

Absolutely. A post that ranks #1 but brings no traffic is clearly not a correctly KW-optimized post.

Casey

Question 18

I’m starting out and I’m not ready to pay extra for unit conversion for my recipe. Do I really need to put all ingredient quantities in US cups, grams and ozs?!

Are you a business or a hobby blogger? Because if your goal is to make this a business and qualify for an ad company this kind of stuff is MANDATORY. The sooner you make the switch mentally, the easier it will be to build traffic and monetize.

Casey

Question 19

How long does it really take to see ranking improvements once SEO, keyword, and backend changes have been optimized?

But it really depends. It depends on which changes you were made. Certain changes will get picked up quicker than others. And again, it’s all a part of the overall SEO process, right? So you’re making certain changes to your content. You’re playing around with your titles. Those usually get picked up fairly quickly. Other things might take a little bit longer. It depends on how frequently Google visits your website, crawlability, accessibility, all of that.

Arsen

Question 20

Once you identify a keyword or two, what do you do with them in your post?

Too general. Please review our detailed webinar on Keyword Research. It covers how to use keywords and more. Find the link here: https://tophatrank.com/blog/seo-for-publishers-episode-14-how-to-perform-keyword-research/

Casey

Question 21

Should we use the caption field in photos? Should/can we include links in it?

If you have something “useful” to say for the photo (like a photographer’s credit, or something that adds context for the user) then use the caption field. For most bloggers in their recipe posts, this is not necessary. And no, links in captions are not recommended.

Casey

Question 22

What kind of things can we do in Google Trends, or how can we use it, in ways that we aren’t already?

Examples on how to use Trends was covered in this webinar. I’d rewatch that section if you missed it. Among other things, Google Trends is an excellent resource for 1. Finding trending news topics to incorporate into your content strategy 2. Pinpointing specific keywords to maximize SEO potential on articles that you already have in the works and 3. Tracking user behavior around seasonal trends to map out an optimal content publishing schedule

Casey, Louisa

Question 23

I would love to know more about the changes with Chrome and 3rd party ads. Are we going to lose all of our ad revenue with that change in 2023?

Nobody knows. Not even your ad companies.

Casey

Question 24

Just today I searched a few of my recipes and the images are showing super pixelated in google search. They are fine in the carousel though. My featured image is 1200×1200. What causes the pictures to look like that in google search?

Google. This is a recent issues and we’ve seen it clear itself up. There is no feedback we can offer you to troubleshoot this at this time.

Casey

Question 25

How do you suggest one should go about doing a round up post?

You follow the instructions from WPRM here to get started: https://demo.wprecipemaker.com/recipe-roundup/, and here is a great round-up example using your own content to review and emulate: https://www.sustainablecooks.com/whole30-chicken-recipes/

Casey

Question 26

Should I include a recipe card with my roundup posts? I see all the top ranking roundup posts are including one.

We recommend against this, as it violates Google’s policy — it’s clearly designed to “game” the system, and it’s just a matter of time before Google catches bad actors and applies a manual action.

Andrew

Question 27

Is there an SEO difference between hosting webstories on your own account vs hosting them on an app-based platform?

There is no difference here to Google, the difference would be hosting bandwidth. If you are doing a lot of web stories and using your own hosting that can inflate your hosting needs. That would be a clear benefit of using an App.

Casey

Question 28

Any insights on gains or losses from recent core update?

Nothing more than what we shared today. Make sure to review Google’s information on Core Updates here: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2019/08/core-updates. If you have suffered ranking or traffic drops, review our detailed “how to conduct a traffic drop audit” resource here: https://tophatrank.com/blog/seo-for-publishers-episode-13-analyzing-drops-in-website-traffic/. And, if you still need help, consider a site audit.

Casey

Question 29

when you have an article which fluctuates between position 3 and then drops to position 10 and then goes back again – what would you suggest looking into?

Could be anything. You could be losing and gaining backlinks. You could have technical issues that are affecting crawl quality and are intermittent. You could have competitors actively targeting this keyword and forcing re-evaluations. Focus on making the page the best it can be, make sure it’s technically sound and loading fast, and build in new links.

Casey

Question 30

Is Keyword density an issue in optimizing category pages? They usually shouldn’t have much text, so 6 mentions of a keyword can get you to 4%.

Not usually an issue. Just write the page for users and don’t stuff it with content. All you’ll be doing is providing a poor scrolling experience on mobile if you go overboard.

Casey

Question 31

In terms of SEO, is it harmful to have internal links to the same post more than once in a blog post?

No.

Casey

Question 32

Is it normal to see a drop in traffic after you no-index a bunch of old, irrelevant posts and if so, about how long does it take for traffic to come back up if we’re regularly updating old posts and posting new posts each week?

This is an “it depends question.” Did you accidentally NOINDEX content sending your traffic from non-Google sources or even Google? Did you REMOVE the links from these now NOINDEXED posts so you could recover internal link equity? Have you replaced the posts with new BETTER content to provide new crawling targets to Google?

Casey

Question 33

Should I list ingredients with both variants of the name eg aubergine/eggplant or courgette/zucchini. If so, do I need to give both variants everyone I mention that ingredient?

Did you look at what is ranking for your recipe and see what Google is returning? That’s what you should start with. Of the recipes that Google is ranking competitively on page one, how are those recipes approaching this issue?

Casey

Question 34

What’s the best way to reference an internal post that is a component of your current post. Such as a seasoning mix post that you are now using in a taco post?

You link to it, or you provide a quick summary of the seasoning on the recipe page. You would also just “link” to the seasoning recipe under ingredients in the recipe card for the taco post. All of that would work fine.

Casey

Question 35

Does it matter where in the title the key word/words are placed? Should it always be at the beginning or does it matter?

Focus keywords closer to the beginning of the Title Tag is always best.

Casey

Question 36

Do you have any suggestions for how to do good KW research for non-recipe posts? E.g. “How to store fresh herbs” or “What is [insert ingredient or dish]”

The same techniques covered in courses like “Cooking With Keywords” work just fine for non-recipe posts. Make sure to review our “Keyword Research” webinar here as well: https://tophatrank.com/blog/seo-for-publishers-episode-14-how-to-perform-keyword-research/

Casey

Question 37

What is the best tool to extract google trends data (more than 5 queries/all time)? and monitor/have this refresh over time?

If you have an in depth data request (that goes beyond what the Google Trends front end can provide), you can reach out to the Google Trends team directly at trendsdatateam@google.com for additional assistance. For more information on what the Google Trends team does, sign up for the daily Google Trends newsletter here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScv9kE1CgAkvKyLbw6RMQYmGbveedVjQWE8qJ9UjztgzDdw1A/viewform

Louisa

Question 38

I have a lot of “direct” traffic in GA. How do I figure out where that is coming from?

Other than using custom variables, there is VERY little you can do to find and uncover direct traffic. This article goes into in more detail: https://www.monsterinsights.com/what-is-direct-traffic-in-google-analytics/

Casey

Question 39

How important is it to update featured images to 1200x1200px. I have some recipes that have moved from rank 1 to 2 or 3 in the last few months. Is it okay to update the featured images on these posts.

Anything in the Top 3 or doing well, we don’t need to touch those. We call those “content unicorns.” But everything else, and if your better posts start to slip, then, and only then, would go in and consider updates. And that would include specifying new resized featured images.

Casey

Question 40

Since user experience factors into SEO, what advice do you have for optimizing ads without compromising user experience? I just implemented a new ad service and want to understand if my SEO will take a hit from this.

The general advice is always to run the lowest level of ads you can with your publisher. You should also avoid image “sticky ads, above-the-fold leaderboard ads, in between page Google vignette ads, and NEVER allow your ad company to “take over” your jump buttons and jump users to ad. Any more personalized advice would involve a professional review of your site. Good luck!

Casey

Question 41

I’ve tried to be really descriptive for my alt-text, but can you go overboard? Is there a word limit? Should you be conversational or more abbreviated when writing them?

We tend to recommend 12-16 words max since we’ve seen Google count “at least that.” Less is more while continuing to be descriptive. You should write the Alt text as if someone was setting next to you.

Casey

Question 42

I’ve heard that having an initial burst of traffic can help your post do better on Google so we should promote it on social after publishing. Is that true? Do we need the immediate rush of traffic or can we promote it, say, 24h after publishing? Thanks

No

Casey

Question 43

Does Google Discover traffic show up as Direct traffic in Google Insights?

Yes. The only way to really see this is via Search Conosole reporting. More info here: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2019/04/search-console-reporting-for-your-sites

Casey

Question 44

What is the best way to format the “How To Make It” section within the body of a recipe post. Is it ok to have H3s under the H2 with titles like Step 1: abc, Step 2: abc. and then a picture and short paragraph under each or should only paragraphs be used with the title of each step just bolded. Just not sure if it is ok to use H3s for this or not.

The correct use of Headings can be fully explained in this resource from Feast. Well worth your time:https://feastdesignco.com/modern-guidelines-for-page-headings/

Casey

Question 45

I have a resource library, normally accessed by my email list. Should I be concerned that it is still have keywords and other SEO optimization?

No idea. Does the resource library garner any traffic? Is it something that ranks in Google? Should it be open in Google? If this is only for your email list the better practice may be to NOINDEX it to conserver on-site resources and raise overall site quality.

Casey

Question 46

Does Google penalize posts written using AI technology?

I do believe that there’s a place for AI. I understand that it’s the future. I get the advantage that it provides, especially in very time sensitive moments where urgency plays into it. I’ve been in a newsroom before where that bot feature is very, very helpful when there just isn’t the bandwidth or that physical person who can piece something together initially.

So there definitely is a place for AI within this world because it can tie together and create that basic format to get the SEO train going. So I believe in that, but I would immediately back that up with something that I’ve really made like a cornerstone of my own SEO ideology and training sessions. I never want SEO to become completely robotic. That’s something I always push for in all of my trainings is, I think that human touch still does make a difference.

Something that I remind people of all the time and because it comes up is this is SEO headlines especially that we would write in news. They are user facing. They’re not just for Google. You’re going to have people who are looking at them within the Google search results. So I think it’s really a combination of the two. I see the place for AI, but I think ideally you want to compliment that with that human voice and human touch to create the best article possible. Because I don’t want that ever to be lost. And especially in the world of news, I think that’s so crucial to hold onto that because it makes the content that much more captivating and interesting to read.

So that’s what I would say on that. And then you had generally asked what are the cornerstones for creating topics that can get trending and things like that. I mean, I’m always… I sound like a broken record, but keywords. I mean, it’s really important, even if you’re branching out into new territory because this would come up in newsrooms quite a bit where it’d be like, “Oh, well I’m writing an article on something that’s not really SEO worthy. It’s something very unique. It hasn’t really broken out yet. I’m the one who’s breaking it out. And what I would always say to that is, yes. I mean, I get that to a certain extent, but there’s always other related keywords within your content that might not be the central theme that’s brand new, but they are related and they’re within that scope.

So you always want to find those opportunities to incorporate those when you can so that you’re not just starting from a complete zero base, if that makes sense. So I think just pushing that keyword strategy, always trying to be inventive. Find those related angles in, is really important when it comes to. Then getting the trending juices flowing and building those connections that could actually lead to traffic.

Yeah. So I mean, I think that all plays into it. And then this is just me putting my training hat on, but obviously making sure that you’re hitting those keywords within your SEO headlines, within your title tags. Making sure that you’re driving that strategy there. Internal linking, I am a giant fan of internal linking. Any and all websites need internal linking. And I mean, it really doesn’t matter where you’re starting. I actually had a call with a friend a little while ago and we were talking about this, with his new website that he was putting up. And even if you’re starting from scratch, it’s really important to start weaving that narrative web. That’s how I always refer to it. You’re creating a story for Google so that it can see. Especially if you’re really trying to build authority. In news this is crucial, that you’re not. This isn’t your first rodeo.

You have covered this topic consistently. You know what you’re talking about and that’s true of any website, any product. You want to be making those connections on your website so that you can build that greater story and actually instill the trust in Google and hopefully that will lead to the results you want. So yeah, internal linking, I mean alt text, captions. I mean, we could go down the line with everything else, but yeah, internal linking the keyword research. I could go on and on forever, but those are the main ones I would say.

Louisa

Question 47

Is it ok to use reusable blocks often on multiple posts? I have been doing that for a long time before learning about duplicate content. For instance a block about a cake technique that applies to every cake recipe.

This is the whole point of reusable blocks. To provide easy access to shared content. Duplicate content isn’t a concern unless this is a VERY large block of important content. And even then, it’s not going to prevent the pages from ranking. Just that specific “block” in the variety of cases. It may just be filtered-out at the page level.

Question 48

Is it possible to use fsri (feast plugin) for internal linking or does it have to be a text link.

Detailed information on the FSRI block can be found here: https://feastdesignco.com/fsri-block/

Casey

Question 49

In regard to food blogs, should we be captioning our photos? I’m doing alt tags but I didn’t think we needed captions?

If you have something “useful” to say for the photo (like a photographer’s credit, or something that adds context for the user) then use the caption field. For most bloggers in their recipe posts, this is not necessary. And no, links in captions are not recommended.

Question 50

Regarding building that narrative story, does having many posts on 1 topic help us rank on Google (besides the fact that we can internally link in these posts?) (e.g. where we have a lot of recipes on the same topic like a particular spice)

No. That’s not how search works. You don’t just publish a lot of content “around” a specific topic and gain authority or expertise from that content. The content must still be viewed externally as high-quality, garner positive signals, and be written by qualified experts. If you have done a good job with internal linking that’s at start. But you still must generate external signals to gain that momentum.

Casey

Question 51

Any tips on the best way to do internal linking? Which posts are best for internal linking? Should we take into account the page authority or just select relevant topics and not care about anything else?

Detailed SEO for Publishers resource on Linking (internally and externally) can be viewed here: https://tophatrank.com/blog/seo-for-publishers-episode-9-luck-of-the-links/

Casey

Question 52

Is there a negative SEO consequence for using an outbound link in an FAQ block? e.g. Is [insert food] healthy? I’m not a nutritionist, so I’d link to healthline or something?

No.

Casey

Question 53

I freelance write articles for a couple of big food sites – does my name on those articles help increase authority in Google’s eyes for my own website?

Not unless Google is able to associate your author byline from those articles to your own site. And you do that by making sure you have a linked byline, a fully fleshed out About Me page, and some link on the “bigger food sites” to your own site content.

Casey

Question 54

Calling a blog post by a different name in an internally linked post useful for helping with secondary and tertiary KWs? e.g fruit kabobs vs fruit kebabs?

You should vary your anchor text. That’s SEO 101 and yes, it will help you on those secondary keywords.

Casey

Question 55

I am running free version of a recipe plugin . Will going paid significanly help SEO by providing nutritional info etc. As not earing from website at the moment, want to be really careful with spending money

Are you a business or a hobby blogger? Because if your goal is to make this a business and qualify for an ad company this kind of stuff is MANDATORY. The sooner you make the switch mentally, the easier it will be to build traffic and monetize.

Casey

Question 56

I’m confused now. We don’t need FAQ block with recipe posts? I hope I misunderstood.

Yes, you misunderstood. FAQ blocks in posts are just fine for users. You just WON’T generate a FAQ snippet in the search results. When choosing between Recipe and FAQ schema, Google is always going to choose Recipe for rich snippets purposes.

Casey

Question 57

About adding videos to your recipe card/post, is it worth it to add a video for SEO purpose if it actually makes your site loads slower?

With lazy loading, it’s very uncommon to “add a video and make your site slower.” But videos have limited SEO benefit and exist for mostly monetization purposes with your ad company. Adding a “video” for example won’t cause your page to rank any higher.

Casey

Question 58

When you make a change to a post, should you do the URL inspection to get it checked right away?

No. It’s not needed in 99/100 examples. Google will crawl the post regularly just fine.

Casey

Question 59

When you update content at what point should you request a reindexing?

If the page hasn’t been revisited in a couple of days, that would be uncommon. When you update a post you are already allowing WordPress to “ping Google” and come get it. That’s more than enough in most cases.

Casey

Question 60

What size should you upload photos into WordPress when they’ll be used two photos wide in a gallery.

Everything should still be uploaded at 1200px max-width per current best practices. This is covered in more detail here: https://feastdesignco.com/image-optimization/#preupload-optimization

Casey

Question 61

Do we Add video to recipe card or leave it only on the post? Speaking from SEO perspective

As long as the video is lazy loaded, it really doesn’t matter where you upload it. You can upload it to the card and then use a shortcode to place it somewhere else in the post. MOST recipe plugins have this built-in now. Or, just upload it to the card and call it a day. Or, you can upload it to your ad company, and use their code to place it anywhere in the post automatically.

Question 62

How does Google determine what goes into the “outline” style preview of a website on the SERP? Like if I search my blog name, it shows up with links under it for “About,” “Blog,” etc… How does Google know what to put here / how do I tell Google what to put here?

Those are “Site Links” and those are generated automatically by Google. The best way to influence those is to have an easy-to-follow internal linking structure and good internal linking between pages.

Casey

Question 63

I know that we should noindex or even delete recipes that are not performing. But how do we define what is or is not performing? I mean how many clicks per month are too low? Should we compare to our best performing recipes?

Question 64

What happens to posts that are no indexed? Do they disappear from the serps?

Correct. You are just telling Google “not to INDEX them.” They are still fully viewable by any non-Google visitor coming to your site.

Casey

Question 65

Would there be a difference for SEO to use a short video step or a image step in the post

Have you surveyed your audience? Because when we have done this at scale users overwhelmingly prefer to scroll through process shots as opposed to stopping and starting video or video clips.

Casey

Question 66

With labeling ingredients, do you have a raw pile of ingredients?, or do you have the containers you bought them in in the shot?

Both would work. We shared examples in the live audit. What you shouldn’t do is just use “generic pop art” to signify the ingredients. That doesn’t look good nor is it very professional.

Casey

Question 67

I just heard saying that the text in the pictures should be included in the alt text, but doesn’t that give a very large (too large) alt text. Is it okay to say there is a ingredient description and describe the ingredients below the picture?

You have 12-16 words usually to work with in Alt text. It’s completely fine to say “individually labeled ingredients to make x laid out on a table” and call it a day. That won’t kill you, but if you CAN provide more detail, do that.

Casey

Question 68

With all of the negative algorithm changes on social media lately, is there really a point of focusing any efforts in trying to build a platform on social media or should we just focus all of our efforts on the website/SEO?

That’s a personal decision you need to make. Be it social or organic, algorithmic changes will always happen. Sometimes they affect you positively, sometimes negatively. The bottom line is you market to where your customers are.

Casey

Question 69

When an article calls for a video to be uploaded, should you upload the video in WordPress media library and link it from there or would you suggest uploading it to YouTube and then embedding it in the article?

The less you can upload video to your own site, the better, with regard to long-term bandwidth needs. If you can use YouTube, and then just embed, that’s just fine. Especially since you can lazy load video YouTube embeds very easily.

Casey

Question 70

I heard we should wait 1 year to update old posts. If we don’t have photos of labelled ingredient shots, do we still need to wait that 1 year or can we go back and update/ include that straightaway?

Not remotely true. If a post isn’t doing well within a couple of months of publication, and there are no seasonal factors in play, that would be more than enough time to know if the post was going to do well or not in MOST cases. Waiting a “year” seems excessive.

Casey

Question 71

I have an ugly picture that, for some reason, is ranking (apparently). I do want to change it because it’s ugly, how should I do that. Do I keep the ugly picture in the post instead of it being my featured/hero image?

First, if the “ugly picture” is in a post that is ranking in the Top 3 or sending you a lot of traffic, live with it and move on to something else. If the photo is not in one of those situations just change the photo out and move on. Google will re-index the new photo quickly and change-out the photo in their index quickly. I’ve seen this done in less than an hour in some cases.

Casey

Question 72

How would you go about adding alt text for a collage of recipe process steps? Should it say “Image collage” then describe each step shown? I’m never sure how to go about those.

You have 12-16 words usually to work with in Alt text. It’s completely fine to say “individually labeled 4-step collage showing how to make french toast” and call it a day. That won’t kill you, but if you CAN provide more detail, do that.

Question 73

How do we “rank” on Google imSo is a myth now to leave content in the top results alone?age search? (Besides taking the best photos that we can)

We cover image optimization in detail in this webinar: https://tophatrank.com/blog/seo-for-publishers-episode-3-image-optimization/

Casey

Question 74

So is a myth now to leave content in the top results alone?

We don’t follow. The best advice is still the same, don’t touch Top 3 ranking posts if you don’t have too. You have plenty of other posts you can focus on.

Casey

Question 75

Re how today is National Choc/ Cookie Day, if we publish timely content for days like that, does it help us get picked up by Google Discover etc?

It can, absolutely. Your goal is to publish content when the search behavior around that specific content is increased. Focusing on seasonal content trends is a great short-term and long-term traffic generation strategy.

Casey

Question 76

Re how today is National Choc/ Cookie Day, if we publish timely content for days like that, does it help us get picked up by Google Discover etc?

It can, absolutely. Your goal is to publish content when the search behavior around that specific content is increased. Focusing on seasonal content trends is a great short-term and long-term traffic generation strategy.

Casey

Question 77

Is there an SEO benefit to using the collections feature of your recipe plugin (I think that’s what it’s called) vs. just writing out your roundup content?

No.

Casey

Question 78

How important are backlinks for ranking?

Very. It’s by far the top ranking factor in Google. The other two are “content” and “user experience.”

Casey

Question 79

Do you still recommend that we submit Google Spam reports when we find a website with a roundup post listed as a recipe post to get into the recipe carousel?

That’s up to you. Google hasn’t done anything on the matter since they mentioned they would go after it in November 2021.

Casey

Question 80

Does google consider webstories as new content?

It’s considered new content, but it’s “web story content.” You publish web stories for Discover and Web Story carousel consideration. It’s not treated the same was as organic content.

Casey

Question 81

When you invite recipe related guest post on your site can the recipe card be published word to word again else where by the guest post writer may be on their own site or elsewhere. Or should it be unique only to the website that has invited the guest post?

The “best” guest post content for YOUR purposes is content that is 100% unique to your blog. If you are getting guest authors to provide content becasue you can’t provide the content yourself, you’ll get limited value from that content if it is not 100% unique. Reprinted recipes should not be the focus of guest content.

Casey

Question 82

As we get more backlinks, how long does it take for Moz/Semrush/etc to start taking it into consideration for our DA?

Since Domain Authority is a made-up metric, and it’s updated/calculated at the whim of the site provider themselves (Moz. SEM Rush, etc), there is no real way to answer this. Moz I believe updates DA around 6 times a year, but sometimes it has taken as long as 6 months to run the new totals across their linkgraph.

Casey

Question 83

I see a lot of people wanting to trade links on round up requests now. Is that frowned upon or ok if done naturally?

Not at all. Reciprocal links are not “bad by default.” If there is no actual consideration and the links provide value to your users then it’s a valid link building approach to take.

Casey

Question 84

From what I understand from past webinars, link parties hurt us. How about comment parties? (There are a lot of FB groups where there are threads and people are supposed to comment on each other’s posts- is having the same people comment on your post repetitively bad? Thanks!)

Usually, yes. Because the comments provide no real value to users.

Casey

Question 85

How should we decide if it’s a good time to get a site audit? Especially when we are not earning much yet from ads and it would represent a big investment.

For best results, sites should have at least 75-100+ posts before they consider any type of site audit. And, you need to make the mental switch that your blog is not a hobby but a business. Then, treat it as such and invest in professional help. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Casey

Resources & Links

Below are links to all tools, articles, and other resources mentioned in this webinar:

  1. Google Trends: The homepage for Google Trends.
  2. SE Round Table Article: Blog post about not changing URLs when updating old content with new content.
  3. Example of how to add recipe photos in your blog. Learn how to take photos of your recipes.
  4. Google Core Updates articles:
    a) Article 1
    b) Article 2
    c) Article 3
  5. Updating & Republishing Content: Articles about updating & republishing content.
  6. Site Audit Episode: SEO For Bloggers episode about how to perform your own site audit.

 

Transcript

Ashley (00:03:02):
Welcome everyone to our two year anniversary episode of SEO for bloggers. It is crazy to think that we’ve really been doing this for two years already. Little clap to the panelists who show up every single month and answer all of your guys’ questions. But today we’re going to totally make it completely different. This is going to be very informal. We’re going to basically address any question that you have about SEO and content. We can’t address whether specific questions, but as long as it’s SEO or content related, we’ve got you covered.

Ashley (00:03:34):
So inside the Q and A box is where you’re going to want to drop all of your questions. You can submit them at any time. We’re going to do a segment at the beginning and then we’re going to open up and do a whole episode, just open Q and A. So if you have questions ready to go, start putting them into the Q and A box to make sure that they’re answered.

Ashley (00:03:53):
But we couldn’t do a two year anniversary episode without giving away a ton of prizes. So we want to give a huge thank you to our sponsors who have contributed a bunch of prizes that we’re going to be giving away live on this episode. It’s a lot, so brace yourself.

Ashley (00:04:08):
We’ve got… Tastemaker Conference is giving away two tickets to the virtual Tastemaker Conference that’s happening in September. Semrush is giving away one six month guru account subscription to Semrush. Food Blogger Pro, there we go, is giving away one year of membership. Feast is giving away a one year subscription to the Feast plugin. NerdPress is giving away a site speed audit, shout out Andrew. TopHatRank is giving away three “It depends” SEO for blogger T-shirts, which are currently in production. Top Hat Content is giving away a $100 donation to the charity or nonprofit of your choice. And finally, MediaWise will be giving away two $50 Visa gift cards.

Ashley (00:04:50):
That’s a lot of prizes, lots of opportunities to win, but how do you win, you ask? Well, anytime one of these lovely panelists says, “It depends.” We release-

Casey Markee (00:05:01):
Magic keyword.

Ashley (00:05:02):
Release a surprise. Yep. That’s the one. So you have to be live in attendance. The way that we’re going to pick is as soon as they say, “It depends.” I’ll go through the attendee list, pick someone at random, and then we’ll announce what you won and who was the winner. I have everyone’s email address because everyone registered. So I will email you afterwards with how to claim your prize. So there’s nothing that you need to do other than just enjoy the webinar.

Ashley (00:05:26):
Speaking of our lovely panelists though, let’s go over who we have with us today because as you can see, we have someone new. Per usual though, we have SEO experts, Casey Markee, Arsen Rabinovich and Andrew Wilder, but we also have a very, very special guest joining us, Louisa from Google. Thank you so much for joining us, Louisa.

Andrew Wilder (00:05:45):
Yay.

Louisa Frahm (00:05:45):
Hi everybody. I’m so excited to be here.

Ashley (00:05:51):
Awesome. So go ahead and I see we have 12 questions in the Q and A, don’t slow it down. As soon as you think of a question, drop it in. It can be about anything SEO and content related. There’s no question too big or too small. And everything that gets submitted will get addressed, whether we answer it live on this call or a week later when we publish the recap. Okay. That was a lot of housekeeping. So let’s have some fun. Louisa, we’re going to get started with you. Can you first give us a little bit of background about yourself and what you do at Google?

Louisa Frahm (00:06:21):
Sure. So specifically I am on the Google Trends team and I really hope that everyone on this call has an idea of what Google Trends is. And if you don’t, you’re certainly going to hear a lot about it today from me. And so I hope by the time the call is over, you will be a super fan. But essentially what we do, Google Trends is a platform that Google provides for free. I still can’t believe that it’s free with the amount of information that it provides.

Louisa Frahm (00:06:50):
But basically within this platform, you can see a few different things, but I would say the primary targets are a real time stories feed of what are the top news stories that people are searching for the most. And really, to go back a little bit into my background, I’ve worked in news SEO, which is a very niche segment of SEO I would say. There aren’t that many of us out there, but this sort of tool was truly invaluable before I got to Google because when you’re pitching stories to editors and to writers, you really want to be able to give them that backing on it, that people legitimately want more information on this.

Louisa Frahm (00:07:26):
And when Google is sending that signal, they have this platform, that’s putting that up there and saying, “These are definitively the most search for stories right now.” That really helps you to kind of sift through the noise and the other part of the tool that’s fantastic is if you’re not in the pitching phase, if you’re already working on a story, keyword research is I think the most important part of Google Trends.

Louisa Frahm (00:07:49):
So if you already have a topic that’s in the works, you can go in there and start to zone in on what are the keywords that you really should be prioritizing within that content to best connect with your search audience. So I love it. I was a huge fan girl for it before I worked at Google. And then it really felt like going to the mothership by the time I got into this role and kind of peeking behind the curtain with it. But yes, live it, love it, Google Trends is fantastic, but that’s where I am now and prior to that, I worked in news SEO.

Ashley (00:08:20):
Awesome. Could you explain to us how something can trend in Google Trends? How does that work when something becomes trendy?

Louisa Frahm (00:08:27):
Sure. Yeah. So one of the figures that we have within Google Trends, if you’re in the platform. So there are two, if you do an individual search on something, there’s a search bar where you can start any sort of search. If you scroll down to the bottom, you’re going to see two different types of queries. You have top queries and then you have rising queries. These are both important, but they serve slightly different purposes.

Louisa Frahm (00:08:51):
So top queries are going to remain more evergreen. They’re what they sound like. It’s just, what has the most consistent search interest on that particular topic. That’s what those terms are. But rising queries is really more so where it’s the trending queries. So what those are, is for whatever date range that you put into Google Trends, because you also select a date range, when you’re doing a search.

Louisa Frahm (00:09:19):
Any rising query that you’re seeing pop up at the bottom, that is the… Well, there’s a value that goes along with it you’ll see. Usually if it’s popping down there like a plus sign and then however much of a percentage that it’s trending, that it’s been up. So that’s always a great indicator is to look at the rising queries and the other best way to describe them is whatever time range that you would put in, that value that you’re seeing with the plus sign and the percentage is the amount that term has accelerated in search interest compared to the previous period. So that’s always a good indicator of this is truly trending right now. And that’s why it’s different from a top query, because that’s something that’s going to be more consistent. Those don’t shift around as often.

Ashley (00:10:08):
Okay. That makes sense. You mentioned prior to being at Google and working in the Google Trends department. Being more in house for SEO, how would you use something like Google Trends for an individual brand? How can you really take advantage of the information from a brand perspective?

Louisa Frahm (00:10:29):
Absolutely. So, I mean I think in so many ways it depends and you have to know exactly what product are you working with and how are you going to adapt the Google Trends structure to really serve your advantage? What information that you’re looking for. So I would say with any sort of product you can go into Google Trends and that all mighty search bar, I always refer people back to the search bar. That’s where you can look up anything that you would want to know about. And I think any sort of product that anyone on this call works with could be game for that search bar and start there. I think another great way to use Google Trends is to play around with the date ranges.

Louisa Frahm (00:11:13):
So depending on what target you have, say you’re putting out an SEO plan within a month, within six months, whatever it might be, you can adjust the little date range in Google Trends to see, “Okay, I want more current information. I’m only interested in what have people been searching around this product over the last month.” But you also might have a different project where it’s like, “Oh, I actually want more evergreen information. What were people consistently looking at with this over the last 12 months?”

Louisa Frahm (00:11:42):
So that’s another really cool part of Google Trends, is that you can switch up that date range. One other thing that I’ll mention too that’s fantastic about it and I use this all the time in newsrooms is for planning purposes. If you know, say it’s Halloween, right? And you’re working with a brand where it’s like, “We know we want to roll out five pieces of Halloween content in October.” You don’t want to slam it all at once and get it all published. You want to have it spaced out. Something I really love about Google Trends is with something seasonal, like Halloween, you can look up Halloween on Google Trends. Go to either the past five years or I would say the since 2004 filter. That’s basically all time because that’s when the data started and look because with something like Halloween, it’s going to be more consistent and seasonal with user behavior.

Louisa Frahm (00:12:30):
That’s something that’s nice about it. People tend to get interested around the same time. So that can help you to pinpoint, “Oh, I know now when interest tends to go up.” And then you can plan your content appropriately around that. So that’s another cool hack for Google Trends, even beyond just the keyword research, to know how to plan your content and map it out as well on a timeline.

Ashley (00:12:51):
I love that. I love the seasonality aspect of it because bloggers, I mean every season is a completely different feature and they get so much seasonal traffic. And so that’s a great way to really use Google Trends and amplify when’s a good time to start promoting.

Louisa Frahm (00:13:08):
Oh use it and love it. That aspect is great.

Ashley (00:13:11):
Totally, totally. As far as topics, it sounds like not just from like a calendar perspective you could utilize Google Trends, but it sounds like you could totally use Google Trends to come up with new topic ideas. Do you have any strategies for doing that?

Louisa Frahm (00:13:28):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I think a really good way to start would just be… So I’m going to give an example since I know we’re we have a lot of recipe fans in the house and I’m also a huge Googler with recipes and things like that. So say it’s summertime. So I’ve been thinking about barbecue a lot. I don’t know about you guys. It’s on my mind all the time in the summer. And I actually pulled some research on this recently using the front end. So I can reflect on that, but say you… I know that I want to do a piece of content on barbecue of some kind, but I’m not really sure what types of barbecue are popping in interest. I mean, there really are a lot of different ways that you could tackle that topic.

Louisa Frahm (00:14:07):
It’s quite broad. So if you were to look up barbecue in your search bar in Google Trends, if you went down… This is really where I like to use the rising queries because they’re pretty much those trending queries with those special angles that you could jump on. So something that I recently saw down there was, you’re going to see types of barbecue grills.

Louisa Frahm (00:14:30):
That’s one angle you could go for, provide that sort of resource to people. You might see different types of trending barbecue sauce, that could be down there. So you could go in the barbecue sauce angle. You might see different styles of barbecue. So it’s Missouri versus Texas. you might see that kind of dueling. Another awesome feature of Google Trends is that you can use that search bar as a comparison.

Louisa Frahm (00:14:55):
So something that was fun that I did recently was comparing the core types of barbecue that we have in the US, just to see which one reigned supreme. I mean, I believe when I looked it up, it was Texas style barbecue. But that could be one way to narrow down your scope as well. So if you were wondering, “I’m not really sure what kind of barbecue recipe I should feature.” You could go in, look at that to get a better assessment of search interest and then make your content based off of what those results said.

Louisa Frahm (00:15:24):
Yeah. So I mean, I think the rising queries is just the money for really brainstorming in that way because you look up a general theme up at the top, but then you’ll find those little nuggets. I agree. I mean I love Texas barbecue. I do. I just love [inaudible 00:15:39] I do. I love it all though. I don’t judge. But yeah, I mean please use that, love that. That is so, so helpful when you just have a general theme, but you’re trying to narrow it down. You can find some really good nuggets in there.

Ashley (00:15:54):
Awesome. When using an AI content generator and I actually saw this question in the chat already. So people are definitely really curious about this and what your opinion is on this. Kim S specifically asked us when she registered, but when using an AI content generator and basically using all those recommendations for how a piece of content should be structured, would you say that’s a appropriate way to do things and actually get a piece of content to show up on Google Trends and become a trending piece of content? Or how would you recommend actually structuring content to become something that’s trend worthy?

Louisa Frahm (00:16:34):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So great two part question. First off, I do believe that there’s a place for AI. I understand that it’s the future. I get the advantage that it provides, especially in very time sensitive moments where urgency plays into it. I’ve been in a newsroom before where that bot feature is very, very helpful when there just isn’t the bandwidth or that physical person who can piece something together initially.

Louisa Frahm (00:17:04):
So there definitely is a place for AI within this world because it can tie together and create that basic format to get the SEO train going. So I believe in that, but I would immediately back that up with something that I’ve really made like a cornerstone of my own SEO ideology and training sessions. I never want SEO to become completely robotic. That’s something I always push for in all of my trainings is, I think that human touch still does make a difference.

Louisa Frahm (00:17:37):
Something that I remind people of all the time and because it comes up is this is SEO headlines especially that we would write in news. They are user facing. They’re not just for Google. You’re going to have people who are looking at them within the Google search results. So I think it’s really a combination of the two. I see the place for AI, but I think ideally you want to compliment that with that human voice and human touch to create the best article possible. Because I don’t want that ever to be lost. And especially in the world of news, I think that’s so crucial to hold onto that because it makes the content that much more captivating and interesting to read.

Louisa Frahm (00:18:20):
So that’s what I would say on that. And then you had generally asked what are the cornerstones for creating topics that can get trending and things like that. I mean, I’m always… I sound like a broken record, but keywords. I mean, it’s really important, even if you’re branching out into new territory because this would come up in newsrooms quite a bit where it’d be like, “Oh, well I’m writing an article on something that’s not really SEO worthy. It’s something very unique. It hasn’t really broken out yet. I’m the one who’s breaking it out. And what I would always say to that is, yes. I mean, I get that to a certain extent, but there’s always other related keywords within your content that might not be the central theme that’s brand new, but they are related and they’re within that scope.

Louisa Frahm (00:19:10):
So you always want to find those opportunities to incorporate those when you can so that you’re not just starting from a complete zero base, if that makes sense. So I think just pushing that keyword strategy, always trying to be inventive. Find those related angles in, is really important when it comes to… then getting the trending juices flowing and building those connections that could actually lead to traffic. So yeah. I mean, I would… I love that there’s been so many kitty comments. I’m sorry. It distracted me and now I love it.

Louisa Frahm (00:19:44):
Yeah. So I mean, I think that all plays into it. And then this is just me putting my training hat on, but obviously making sure that you’re hitting those keywords within your SEO headlines, within your title tags. Making sure that you’re driving that strategy there. Internal linking, I am a giant fan of internal linking. Any and all websites need internal linking. And I mean, it really doesn’t matter where you’re starting. I actually had a call with a friend a little while ago and we were talking about this, with his new website that he was putting up. And even if you’re starting from scratch, it’s really important to start weaving that narrative web. That’s how I always refer to it. You’re creating a story for Google so that it can see… Especially if you’re really trying to build authority. In news this is crucial, that you’re not… This isn’t your first rodeo.

Louisa Frahm (00:20:35):
You have covered this topic consistently. You know what you’re talking about and that’s true of any website, any product. You want to be making those connections on your website so that you can build that greater story and actually instill the trust in Google and hopefully that will lead to the results you want. So yeah, internal linking, I mean alt text, captions. I mean, we could go down the line with everything else, but yeah, internal linking the keyword research. I could go on and on forever, but those are the main ones I would say.

Casey Markee (00:21:05):
Let’s go… Let’s interject really quick. Talk a little bit about the AI because that’s a very popular question that we’re getting now. Louisa, I know that you worked in a newsroom, you’re probably familiar that the Washington Post has been using Heliograph, their AI since about 2016 to write their content. Was there something similar being done in your newsroom with regards to using an AI, to write a lot of that content?

Louisa Frahm (00:21:26):
So out of respect to my previous employer, I’m not sure how much of this topic that they would want divulged.

Casey Markee (00:21:35):
So the answer is, yes. You just can’t say how much. No reason to say anything more. We’ll move on.

Ashley (00:21:41):
I think my answer would be it depends.

Louisa Frahm (00:21:43):
It depends. It depends.

Ashley (00:21:47):
Oh, there we go. We got another one.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:21:47):
Nice.

Louisa Frahm (00:21:47):
You got me.

Ashley (00:21:51):
The winners of each it depends is inside the chat box. You will get emailed afterwards so don’t worry-

Casey Markee (00:21:56):
Exactly. Don’t worry about that guys. Don’t worry about that.

Louisa Frahm (00:21:58):
I see you sifting, but I am very on top of that. But no, I meant what I said in that section though. I can speak to… I’ve seen instances where that made sense. I’ll leave it at that, where it was… That did play a role and it was clear where that stopped and then a human voice did step in. And that’s really my belief, is that’s like the ideal way to do it. And I see the role that it can play, but I still think that human touch is crucial.

Casey Markee (00:22:29):
Right, right. So I know we’ve got this question. Let’s just go ahead and knock it out right now. We’ve got a lot of questions on the call about whether or not Google’s going to go after a lot more of this AI generated content, or even if tools like RankIA, RankIQ or Jasper or Wright or Frase or even Topic, which is @Thrive’s tool. Whether or not these are going to hurt anyone using those and I think we basically only have to rely on the statements from Google and they just updated their guidelines as of April the 13th, to say that any artificially intelligence created content is against their guidelines. And so for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read the commentary here, let’s go ahead and paste that over here. So you have those want to make sure that you have the most up to date content on that specifically.

Casey Markee (00:23:13):
Let me go ahead and paste in the information to the chat box specifically. I know many of you follow John Mueller. We want to make sure that you’re aware of what John says about this specifically. And he says, I quote, “When talking about AI content,” he says, “If you’re using machine learning tools to generate your content, it’s essentially the same as if you were just shuffling words around on the page, looking up pseudonyms or doing the translation tricks that people used to do. Those kinds of things for us would be considered automatically generated content. And that means for us, it’s still against the webmaster guidelines. So we would consider that to be spam.” End quote. Now, I know a lot of you are using, for example, RankIQ, which is very popular. Has an extremely robust affiliate program, hence why it’s very popular. That doesn’t necessarily write the content for you.

Casey Markee (00:24:00):
It provides you some sematic suggestions. It provides you examples and concepts that you’d want to weave into your content. It’s not necessarily writing the content for you. You are. So in that aspect, it will lower your culpability a little bit. But for those of you on the call who have specifically asked me about Jasper, who’ve specifically asked me about Wright, who’ve specifically contacted me about Frase and some of these other ones, which are actually 100% generating the content for you.

Casey Markee (00:24:28):
Even if you’re going to play around with the wording a little bit, that might be enough to insulate yourself from Google. My philosophy has always been, in the 20 plus years I’ve been doing this, is if Google can know something, I just assumed they do know that thing and adjust accordingly. And so for those of you on the call who are concerned about whether or not these tools will put you at increased risk, I’m not going to say what you think I’m going to say.

Casey Markee (00:24:52):
I’m going to say that it’s possible. Okay. And you should adjust accordingly, specifically. Now we’ve covered this and I’m going to paste in a little bit more resources as we go along. But the bottom line with regards to those of you who are continuing to ask us all these about AI questions is, if you are writing, if you are rewriting or tweaking the AI outdated or outputted content with an eye towards providing, say the best final project for the end user, I think that’s a great approach to take because we don’t want to… Google is 100% focused on making sure that we’re providing the best answer to users. And so if we’re allowing these programs to write this content for us, that’s not smart long term. And it’s certainly not smart for users. So adjust accordingly.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:25:42):
It depends.

Ashley (00:25:42):
Oh, was that another it depends that just dropped? I think that is.

Casey Markee (00:25:45):
Didn’t hear it. Didn’t hear it. He dropped out. Didn’t hear that.

Ashley (00:25:48):
While I’m about to open us up into Q and A, Louisa thank you so much. I feel like we need a whole episode of you just giving us all of this awesome information-

Louisa Frahm (00:25:57):
I could do that all day.

Ashley (00:25:59):
But we have… I love it. Absolutely love it. But we’ve got 63 questions in the Q and A. That is insane. So we’re going to get started. You guys are fantastic and have been up voting the questions that are in the Q and A. In order to do that in the Q and A there’s a little thumbs up, just press that. And if you want that question answered, it goes to the top. So we’re going to go top to bottom down. Panelists, feel free, anyone who knows to just jump in and say the answer. First question is from Liz. Is the Yoast FAQ box useful? Or should I just put my questions and answers as a regular text box?

Casey Markee (00:26:36):
Let me take this one. It’s very useful. And the reason it’s very useful is that it allows Google to programmatically pull out that information for increased rich snippet visibility. I can’t tell you how many times all we’ve done is add an FAQ block to a piece of content and we’ve been able to generate a nice, embedded, basically collapsible accordion, rich snippet for that content.

Casey Markee (00:26:57):
Now it’s very popular to add an FAQ block to a recipe post. Number one, understand that you are not going to be generating an FAQ rich snippet for the recipe post. And the reason that is because the primary FAQ page or the primary content on the page is recipe schema. The FAQ is never going to overwrite the recipe schema, and therefore you’re not going to see an FAQ for a recipe post. Doesn’t exist. I would’ve seen it by now.

Casey Markee (00:27:23):
But if you want to use FAQ schema as a way for you to provide increased user experience on the page, I absolutely believe and recommend that. It’s just that if you want the benefits of FAQ schema, you’re going to have to add it to a page that doesn’t necessarily have an overriding schema already on it. So an about me page, a regular article page, something like that, very, very successful in the search results right now.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:27:47):
Good answer, Casey. Good answer.

Ashley (00:27:48):
Moving on to the next one from Megan, how long does it “really”, I like how that was emphasized, take to see ranking improvements? Once SEO, keyword and backend changes have been optimized. This seems like a setup question but who wants to take it?

Andrew Wilder (00:28:03):
I know right, all together now. Do it Louisa, do it.

Louisa Frahm (00:28:09):
It depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:28:09):
Yay. But it really does depend, right? Casey? We all agree. It depends. It depends like what… wait, wait, wait. It depends on which changes you were made. Certain changes will get picked up quicker than others. And again, it’s all a part of the overall SEO process, right? So you’re making certain changes to your content. You’re playing around with your titles. Those usually get picked up fairly quickly. Other things might take a little bit longer. Also, I don’t want to say the word again, but you know the word that I’m trying to say, how frequently Google visits your website, crawlability, accessibility, all of that.

Casey Markee (00:28:51):
Right. Right. And again, I know that there’s a popular question in here about, “Well, how long does it take to take changes after an auditor?” And things like that. And again, I’m not going to say the word. I’m going to say that there’s a very… is a unique timeline-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:29:03):
There’s a lot of prizes.

Casey Markee (00:29:06):
That’s basically individualized to the site. For example, I had a live audit call this morning at 10 o’clock. They had an issue on their site. We literally went in, I changed one thing. I clicked, I popped the URL into the URL inspector tool. Boom, within seconds, right there on the screen, we were able to see that the rich snippet had improved because we’d had it corrected some missing data right there. So that thing is very easy to see and very quickly.

Casey Markee (00:29:33):
But when we talk about SEO, it’s all about the little things. That’s why audits are so incredibly effective. I’m making dozens, if not hundreds of technical and content based changes that work as an aggregate effect to lift the site up by means of that rising tide lift cell ship so to speak metaphor. And that’s why audits can be so successful, but that’s also why audits can change. They might greatly impact a site that has a quote, “a shit ton” of products. I believe that there’s an actual metric term for that, shit ton.

Casey Markee (00:30:06):
We can make changes. If a site comes to me with a significant amount of problems and we only make maybe 10 or 15% of those changes very quickly, but they’re big problems. We could have a huge increase in visibility right away because we’ve made the site more algorithmically attractive to Google. Other sites may come to us with smaller problems, but they have to do a complete content audit where they have to change plugins, or they have to get paid speed dialed in. And it’s a longer journey where you’re going to see a gradual uptick in traffic, not a huge spike. And that’s fine, but to say how long does it take to see improvement, again, that’s germane to the site and it’s built in problems.

Louisa Frahm (00:30:49):
I was going to… If I may, I was going to jump in with one thought on that too. Because for anyone on this call who would be interested in venturing into the wilderness of news SEO, the timeline is completely different. Just the pace that it moves at and how quickly things can shift and changes that can happen like when you switch up headlines, things like that.

Louisa Frahm (00:31:09):
So I think also, it can depend on the type of… No, this is the classic one. I had to say it. It can really depend on the type of world that you’re working in, the type of timeline that you’re working on because in the world of news SEO, little tweaks can make a big difference and they can make a big difference very quickly.

Casey Markee (00:31:32):
Well, especially in headlines, I assume that you’ve been-

Louisa Frahm (00:31:34):
That’s what I’m referring to.

Casey Markee (00:31:34):
You’re referring to changing. I could change seven headlines and whichever one’s performing the best, we’re going to dynamically roll those out to a larger class of articles. So yeah, that’s very, very common.

Louisa Frahm (00:31:45):
And A/B testing is huge too, for that reason in the news world. So yeah, just something to ponder.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:31:55):
That’s a good prize. That’s a really good prize. Congratulations.

Ashley (00:31:57):
Great prize. Great it depends dropping. Mine don’t count. So don’t get excited. I can say it as many times and prizes don’t happen.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:32:03):
Smart. This next question is really awesome.

Ashley (00:32:08):
Yeah, it’s really good. And I’m very curious to see if there’s different opinions here too. Next question from Darcy Baldwin, if a post was created with a poor URL, would it benefit to rewrite a new post with a better URL and updated keywords or just live with the bad URL and update the post the best that you can?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:32:28):
Go Casey.

Casey Markee (00:32:30):
I’m just going to paste over the quote directly from Google because, hey, that’s why we have Google. Right here, folks. Again, this is a very popular question that we literally answer every week.

Louisa Frahm (00:32:42):
That’s what I was going to say.

Casey Markee (00:32:43):
And we don’t need to change URLs. I can’t tell you how many people have contacted me. “Casey. I have a lime cello with marshmallows post here, and it’s not doing very well, but I want to change it. And I’m just going to remove the marshmallows.” I’m like, “Fantastic. No one but you is going to care what’s in the URL.” We’re in a mobile first world, when’s the last time you noticed what a URL looked like on your smartphone? Not me. Okay. Not me. and I watch a lot of cat… Crazy, crazy cats playing pianos and I never look at the URL, okay.

Casey Markee (00:33:11):
So our goal is to reuse that. Once a URL is published, we’ve lost the URL signals to it. So just continue to take a… Hopefully we’ve got some earned authority from that URL because when we change URLs, all we do is wipe out all of our social signals, add complexities by means of internal redirects. And maybe we’ve created internal redirects on our site. We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to dilute that link juice. Right? Right, Arsen?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:33:39):
Don’t say it man. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

Casey Markee (00:33:42):
That sweet, sweet, sweet link juice. We don’t want to dilute that.

Andrew Wilder (00:33:45):
Can I just throw in also though, if you’re not going to listen to Casey, at least add redirect.

Ashley (00:33:50):
Yeah.

Casey Markee (00:33:51):
At least. Or install something like Yoast premium and it automatically fix your mistakes.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:33:55):
Is there a way to prevent WordPress from rewriting the slug if you want to change the title?

Andrew Wilder (00:34:00):
Yeah. Yeah.

Casey Markee (00:34:01):
Absolutely.

Andrew Wilder (00:34:02):
So by default, it will generate a slug automatically. If you edit the slug the first time, it shouldn’t rewrite it. Where I’ve seen it get into trouble is if you’re using the default auto-creative slug and then you later edit the title, it may change the slug on you. But you just have to manually change it back then. So you just have to catch that. If you are editing a title, definitely keep an eye on the slug and make sure it doesn’t get auto-changed.

Ashley (00:34:27):
All right. Perfect. Next question. How important is it to take a photo of all your ingredients and labeled ingredients on the photo?

Casey Markee (00:34:36):
How does she pronounce her name? Is that Don? Don?

Ashley (00:34:39):
Don Boquist? And I’m sorry if I did that properly.

Casey Markee (00:34:42):
I would’ve totally butchered that, so-

Ashley (00:34:43):
Oh, yay. Thanks Don.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:34:44):
We got it.

Andrew Wilder (00:34:46):
Oh, good. Fantastic. Well, you know what? I do recommend it and the reason I recommend it is that people love the shit out of seeing everything labeled in a recipe post. I don’t know. You’ve heard me say this repeatedly, I always optimize for toddlers and drunk adults. And when we’re optimizing for toddlers and drunk adults, having a nice, clear photo of all the ingredients is the easiest way to do it. So that if someone’s on their phone and they’re walking through the store, they can literally just reach up and pull those ingredients off the shelf.

Andrew Wilder (00:35:12):
And frankly, if you’re not doing that and you’re inexperienced bloggers, you’re probably getting your ass kicked by the wave of newer bloggers who’ve come in, who decided to start up blog during COVID. And it’s been a deluge of new bloggers on the scene who have gone out and got audits immediately, gone out and invested in the best equipment, gone out and watched every webinar they’ve done. And have just decided, every recipe that I’m going to publish is going to have this incredible detail. And they’re the ones that have been qualifying for media and thrive at a record pace.

Andrew Wilder (00:35:44):
So I know a lot of people are like, “Man, that’s so much work. I got to take a photo of the ingredients and I got to add process shots. And man… I got to talk. I got to show my expertise by talking about a couple of these ingredients.” Our goal is to be useful, not to write a novel. And I think that you can easily do both by still providing a quality experience with a photo of the ingredients.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:36:01):
Casey, what about labeling the ingredients in the shot?

Casey Markee (00:36:05):
I think it’s great. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at an Indian recipe and I had no idea what the heck that ingredient was. So especially-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:36:13):
Would you say that it’s on a case by case basis, like for simpler recipes, it’s probably not needed. Or would you recommend that the blogger does it for every recipe?

Casey Markee (00:36:20):
I actually saw a recipe the other day for pumpkin juice and it had three ingredients and they were labeled and I still appreciated it. So I’m just one of those people that it’s not going to take a lot more time for you, but it’s something that I think your users will appreciate. And again, folks on the call, when I give this advice, it’s not just that I like it.

Casey Markee (00:36:40):
We’ve literally done nothing but user testing.com surveys of tens of thousands of people at home, of navigating recipe sites over the years. And those are the nuggets that we get back. The other one, which is really cool is that people hate printing out recipe cards that are over two pages. So if you don’t remember anything else today, remember that. Please do not stuff your recipe cards and make them three, four or five pages. But back to the labeled photos, that’s what we want to be thinking of. Is we want to be useful and we want to make a visual impression.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:37:08):
Pumpkin juice?

Andrew Wilder (00:37:09):
We just have to move past the pumpkin juice guys. Just no. I’m going to throw in a technical thing. If you’re putting text in an image, make sure your alt text also factors that in. So for somebody who can’t see the image, if it is your leftover Halloween pumpkin then you’re turning into pumpkin juice, ew. You put that in the alt text as well. So whatever text is on the photo, make sure that’s included.

Ashley (00:37:35):
Perfect. Okay. Next question from Sonila or Sonila. I’m so sorry if I did that terribly. I try to keep a balance between posting new recipes and updating older ones. Is there a point in the blogging journey where you would suggest a blogger focuses for a while on only updating older content?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:37:54):
Do it, do it. Say it, say it.

Casey Markee (00:37:57):
I’m not saying it.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:37:58):
Say it.

Ashley (00:37:59):
Andrew?

Andrew Wilder (00:38:00):
It depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:38:05):
I think… Okay. I’ll jump in real quick. And I know Casey talks about this very frequently. You’ve spent all this time developing content. You’ve planned the recipe, you you’ve you’ve cooked the recipe, you’ve developed the recipe. You’ve shot the recipe. You wrote the content. You did a good job at selecting the topic and it’s a decent topic and there’s demand for it. It’s definitely worth your times from a ROI perspective to go back and rework or reoptimize or update that piece of content since you’ve already put in the work, right. Again, it largely… You need to strategize around if the topic is… I avoided saying that. The topic is still a good topic. Definitely, I wouldn’t put efforts… I like to work smarter and not harder, I wouldn’t put an effort into just updating it just because it’s old and hasn’t been touched. If there’s demand for it, it’s still current. Definitely put in the time into updating.

Casey Markee (00:39:11):
Usually there’s a breakdown. Usually most bloggers, especially successful bloggers who again, have approached this as a business and not a hobby. Usually they’re probably publishing 70% of the content they have on their side, or that they’re regularly publishing is republishing. It’s content that they’re finally getting around to going back and improving because they’re better bloggers than they were a year, two years, three years ago.

Casey Markee (00:39:37):
And this goes to everyone. I was very fortunate to have an audit recently with Sally’s Baking Addiction. One of the most successful bloggers in the world owning a very nice site, but she has recipes on her site that she has not touched any years. And it was a matter of pulling those recipes added to a sheet that so she was able to go back and start with a game plan so that she could update these recipes. Even though they’re successful recipes, she knows they can be better. And that’s what we’re trying to do, is making our recipes the best they can be. And sometimes that means revisit them regularly, even if they’re doing great.

Ashley (00:40:11):
Yeah. Moving on to the next question. We are flying through these. Next question from Chrissy, any speculation if there was specific things that prompted drops or gains in the latest core updates?

Casey Markee (00:40:29):
Well, if I could just quickly…

Arsen Rabinovich (00:40:31):
Can we speculate?

Casey Markee (00:40:32):
We can speculate, but we’re not going to say anything else about it. The thing to be aware about with these core updates is that Google provides a lot of information on what they could and could not be. So let’s go ahead and talk a little bit about that. I’m going to go ahead and paste over some resources here. For those of you on the call, who are still confused about what a core update is, what you should be looking for, why they affect you.

Casey Markee (00:40:53):
Core updates are really Google’s attempt to improve the search results at scale, because the whole point of that is they’re designed to ensure that overall Google is delivering on their mission to provide the best relevant and authoritative results possible based upon changing schemes and based on their better ability to use algorithmic learning. Now, a lot of people, when they say I’ve been affected by a core update, it’s not necessarily they were affected negatively.

Casey Markee (00:41:19):
It’s just that others around them were affected positively. And that looks like a negative repercussion because you’re now not ranking as high as others who’ve done a little bit better job than you on queries that you had had a strong grasp on for years. So you drop from one to two or maybe one to three, or even possibly out of the top five, not necessarily because you did anything wrong, but because the other people below you did a lot more right.

Casey Markee (00:41:41):
So the goal isn’t necessary to really understand and invest in site audits. And we’ve covered this in detail. That’s why we have… I’ll even have Ashley find how to conduct a new year’s site audit. You can take a look at that and I’ll see if I can have Ashley… I’m putting her on the spot here, find and paste in our webinar on core updates and algorithmic changes because that’s going to help you understand what Google is looking for.

Casey Markee (00:42:04):
I know everyone’s called like, “Oh my God, what did Google focus on?” It’s never just one thing. That’s why Google has millions of baby algorithms as they like to say. All of them can focus and emphasize one thing over another all the time. So there’s never really big trends. I mean, we’ve seen trends over the years because we’ve been able to make correlated patterns. But it’s also… That’s again, we get into the correlation causation issue and we don’t want to lose too much sleep over that. But honestly, end result is Google has refined search intent, changed search intent or triggered certain parameters, which emphasize one part of the algorithm over another. And we just have to, based on trial and error, understand what that’s done and give our best guesses on how we can improve or recover loss rankings.

Ashley (00:42:57):
Okay. Next question from Joanne, besides writing good content, what do you… Oh, where did… There it went. Besides writing good content, what do you think is the number one thing a blogger can do for Google?

Casey Markee (00:43:10):
Send them candy.

Ashley (00:43:10):
What can a blogger do for Google?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:15):
Pay for ads. Just kidding. Don’t pay for ads.

Casey Markee (00:43:19):
Don’t pay for ads there.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:21):
There’s not one thing. It’s a bunch of things that have to come together.

Casey Markee (00:43:25):
Would you say it depends?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:27):
No, that I’m not going to say that.

Casey Markee (00:43:28):
You wouldn’t say that?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:28):
I’m not going to say… No.

Ashley (00:43:28):
I think someone did though. I think someone did.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:28):
I think maybe-

Casey Markee (00:43:32):
Some people might say that. I wouldn’t say that.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:37):
You know what, I would look at a site and say, it depends.

Casey Markee (00:43:40):
Would you? Would you say it?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:40):
Right. Right.

Casey Markee (00:43:42):
Would you say that?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:42):
Is that a two in a row?

Casey Markee (00:43:43):
I did say that.

Andrew Wilder (00:43:48):
Just trying to help you out, Ashley. We got a lot of prizes to get through.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:51):
Look it’s-

Ashley (00:43:51):
Thank you.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:51):
To answer the question. I always explain this way. Doesn’t matter how fast the car is, if the driver is not a good driver, it’s not going to go very far or very fast. And content is your driver, right? Google might look past certain technical issues. Google might look past other issues if your content is strong enough. And Google has said this in the past, that if this is a good resource we’re going to show it, right.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:44:22):
The same reason why schema is not a ranking factor just because there’s certain people, certain sites, certain CMSs that just won’t support it, right. Your content is the most important and choosing the right content, making sure your topics are topics that are going to not only help position you as an expert about what you’re writing about, but also are topics that are driving traffic consistently, right. That’s the most important part. Everything else can be built and fixed around it. You are the driver. The content depends on you.

Casey Markee (00:44:54):
And just as a one very quick note on that. It’s just sometimes, through no fault of your own, something has changed at Google’s end. And you’re just not going to be a benefit of that change. And 10 is a great example of that, where we’ve seen over the last several core updates, Google’s changed in 10 on very big keyword phrases. Things like chicken recipes, where Google used to literally show individual chicken recipes for that in the carousels. Honestly, that’s not the case anymore.

Casey Markee (00:45:23):
Now it’s more round up and resource focused because they’re understanding that when people are searching for a plural, they’re probably searching for more than one recipe. And we’re finding that there’s an increased amount of real estate focused on those plural searches. Whereas opposed previously, one or two bloggers were getting probably an unfair amount of traffic based upon their one or two specific recipes. And that of course, looks devastating to someone who has a really big keyword. And they’re like, “How? Why did I just get dropped to the bottom of page one and the top of page two?” Didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just the intent of that search is changed. And Google’s refining that a little bit more to match necessarily what users are more looking for.

Andrew Wilder (00:46:04):
Can I also just throw in also, and this is actually content related, is being realistic about the keywords you’re targeting. So if you are targeting gross chicken, there’s a lot of competition, right? So it’s not just about having great content. It’s about having the right content that will actually be able to compete at whatever level you are at.

Andrew Wilder (00:46:23):
So you may need to chase longer tail keywords that aren’t as competitive and still have some search volume, right. But if you’re going to try to go after the biggest terms ever, like roast turkey and you wonder why you’re not ranking, it’s because there’s a bazillion pages that are going to be great at that and have all those other elements. So I think being strategic about the content you create is a helpful approach.

Ashley (00:46:43):
Smart. Next question, by Casey Rooney. What’s the best way to write descriptions for category pages and how much does it matter for SEO?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:46:54):
It matters a lot. But also you want to make sure that it’s descriptive, right. You want to look at category page as a roundup essentially, right. And if we’re talking in terms that recipe bloggers understand. Your category pages should be optimized as if they’re roundups, right. So you want to explain what this page is about, right. You also want to look at it from perspective of this is an experience, right. A user landed here because Google pointed them to this page when they presented Google with a query, which Google interpreted as them not being refined enough to show you an individual post, right.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:47:36):
Google is showing you a page where you can make a decision on which post you want to look at, that’s your category page or roundup. So you want to cater to that experience, that intent, right. And you’ve heard me say this plenty, plenty of times, being able to effectively predict and address that primary, secondary intent on any page. The intent behind the query is going to be a very strong signal to Google from a content perspective. But also it depends.

Ashley (00:48:07):
There we go. That was really well crafted. You managed to fully answer it without one, right? Sounds like we have another winner. While I’m getting the name for that one, can someone address Angelica’s question? My traffic tanked in the last month or so. Were there any major Google updates or is it likely because I did not publish as often anymore? So publishing frequency. That’s a great question.

Casey Markee (00:48:31):
Well, publishing frequency is not a ranking factor by itself, but publishing more content, especially if it’s high quality content only helps you. It increases your freshness boosts. It increases your crawling frequency. It increases the ability that you will generate substantially more long tail keywords, which will lead to more traffic. But there was a Google core update. It was last… It was in May. End of May. Was it the 20… Louisa, was it 26th? I don’t remember exactly, but it was late May.

Louisa Frahm (00:48:59):
It was end of may. That’s that’s what I remember.

Casey Markee (00:49:01):
And just understand that Google updates their algorithms every day. Multiple times, every day. So understand that we don’t want to get fixated much on these core updates. I mean, I know they can be dramatic, especially if you were negatively impacted by them, but you should be looking at two things. You should be looking number one, that you’re actually looking at the correct data. I can’t tell you how many people have had issues with both Google analytics and search console tracking data over the last month or so.

Casey Markee (00:49:30):
And number two, that you don’t have any seasonality that’s playing into your drops in traffic. Is it very possible that you’re experiencing the summer slump? Which is very popular in the recipe niche because we have more people going outside now, we have more people doing outside activities. We have more people like me who are laying lazily in the pool, drinking margaritas after five o’clock, most days.

Casey Markee (00:49:53):
So if you’re a part of that group, that’s going to impact your bottom line traffic. So we pasted over some resources. Please review those. It’ll show you how to do a traffic drop audit. It’ll show you how to go into search console and review a before and after to see what’s going on. And then you could make some determinations and takeaways from that data.

Louisa Frahm (00:50:12):
And if I could just share one thing really quick to circle back on it, because I love that point, Casey. This is where you could use that Google Trends feature and look at seasonality and see, “Oh, I know my traffic around this particular theme dropped. Let me go in and take a look is search interest also dropping off around that time every single year?” That’s an excellent way to use that part of the tool. So jump on that.

Ashley (00:50:35):
Absolutely. I love that.

Louisa Frahm (00:50:38):
Thank you for bringing that up, Casey. That was worth it.

Casey Markee (00:50:45):
Absolutely, absolutely. Candy corn margaritas. I would absolutely drink a candy corn margarita, Paula. Thank you very much.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:50:47):
Or pumpkin juice margaritas.

Louisa Frahm (00:50:48):
Oh my God. Pumpkin juice.

Casey Markee (00:50:51):
You know polyjuice? I was thinking the polyjuice. Remember the polyjuice from the Harry Potter movies?

Louisa Frahm (00:50:58):
Oh yeah.

Casey Markee (00:50:58):
Yeah. So they actually have a polyjuice cocktail now at Wizarding World. So it’s pretty good.

Ashley (00:51:05):
Love it.

Casey Markee (00:51:06):
Yeah. Good times.

Ashley (00:51:07):
All right. We’ve got just a few more minutes left. So we’re going to try and fly through some of these questions and the last of the it depends prizes. Next question from Jessica. If my post moves from position one to position two or three, should I update it or not touch it?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:51:23):
I’ll take it.

Ashley (00:51:25):
Go for it.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:51:26):
Don’t touch it. See what happens.

Ashley (00:51:29):
And why?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:51:30):
Well, look, it depends, but there’s a reason your post moved down, right? And you want to take a look at a few things first before you go in and start touching things. So you want to take a look at who started ranking above you. What are they doing that’s a little bit different than yours? What are they doing better? Are they the same type of site? Is Google maybe positioning somebody else on top that’s presenting a content that satisfies a different intent? That Google changed its understanding of the query and now the page is laid out a little bit differently. Moving from position one to position two from an SEO perspective is not a big deal. We don’t consider… I personally don’t consider that to be a big deal, but for you, as bloggers-

Casey Markee (00:52:14):
But it is a big deal. I mean-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:52:15):
It’s a huge deal, right. Right.

Casey Markee (00:52:17):
20 or 40% change in traffic.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:52:18):
50% drop in traffic, most of the time, right. But you don’t want to… it’s still working. It’s still making you money. So you don’t want to go in and start with a machete and start hacking things off and changing things. Right. Look at what’s ranking above you, be smart about decisions, track your decisions. And I personally always recommend, in my opinion, my process might be different from Casey and Andrew and then Louisa and everybody else. Is I like to say, you’re not in the rush. Single variable changes. See how they work for you. Make sure you track everything. I also like to first… And this is just me. I also first like to play around with secondary signals, which is stuff that I can do without touching the content. And that’s like-

Casey Markee (00:52:57):
Yeah, like external links.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:52:58):
External back links, internal links, and a little bit of that. A little bit of focusing.

Louisa Frahm (00:53:04):
Agreed.

Ashley (00:53:05):
All right. Next question, from Daniella. What is a good way to build back links that does not include hero?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:12):
What is hero?

Ashley (00:53:13):
I think maybe Haro.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:13):
Haro.

Ashley (00:53:13):
Or Haro.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:13):
Right, right.

Andrew Wilder (00:53:17):
Listen, let’s help our reporter out.

Casey Markee (00:53:19):
Right? Yeah, yeah. Correct. Very popular.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:20):
Yeah. Right. Podcast? Casey, you had a whole thing on this, right?

Casey Markee (00:53:25):
That’s correct. We’ve got a whole interview on link building, shows, podcasts. It shows how to use, reach out for editorial links. It shows pull marketing with content. It shows how to use link sharing groups. And I mean, when I say link sharing groups, I mean mostly recipe sharing groups-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:43):
Cover your ears, Louisa.

Casey Markee (00:53:44):
Yeah. Yeah. I’m going to show you guys where to get the primest, fattest links. So awesome-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:55):
So much link juice.

Casey Markee (00:53:57):
Individual C class IPs. And I got a filter through-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:53:58):
Three PRB.

Casey Markee (00:54:03):
PR8?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:54:04):
PR8. Do follow links from sidebar-

Casey Markee (00:54:06):
Correct. That’s correct.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:54:07):
Site wide.

Casey Markee (00:54:07):
Yeah.

Andrew Wilder (00:54:08):
Is that a new CrossFit Workout?

Casey Markee (00:54:13):
It is. PR6, PRX, PR8. But yeah. And link building’s tough. And I get that. Guys, I’m there with you. Trust me. It’s very, very tough especially for the average blogger. And the reason that the… And the problem is that when most people are looking to share recipes, they’re literally looking at the top five and that’s it. So if you’re in the top five, that’s where you’re going to be garnering your links. Your goal is to get up to the top five first, which is why it’s kind of a self fulfilling prophecy. If you end up being successful, you tend to be more successful because you tend to be in the spots where people are going to link to you readily over and over again. Sally’s Baking Addiction, they literally have never had to reach out for a link for years.

Casey Markee (00:54:48):
They have links from everyone because they’re always at the top of the search results. And it’s just self-fulfilling prophecy. But we have plenty of resources. We had a whole webinar on link building. We’ve got plenty of resources that you could take a look at, but don’t give up. You can do it. Network with other bloggers. Just don’t try to put together a network. Just, hey, it’s me and four buddies and we’re linking together, back and forth on every recipe. Easy to find that footprint algorithmically, so maybe we don’t want to do that stuff. So we’re just… link when it makes sense and keep it up.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:22):
There’s lots of cool stuff you can do. Louisa can probably talk a little bit about using Google Trends to really take a look at what’s being popular, what’s interesting right now. Go local, go look at… Create a meal plan for… I don’t know, for kids for lunch, right? Go local, go to a news station and say, “Hey, I’d like to do a kid’s cooking class or something instructional.” Create some buzz around you.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:50):
Local stations love this good feel, PR stuff. Do a press release. Use that to then get yourself interviewed on podcasts. Create a process for yourself, but yeah. There’s tools. And we talk about a lot of this stuff on our webinars.

Andrew Wilder (00:56:05):
Another thing I’d suggest is, I see links as similar to respect, where if you want to get respect, you have to give respect. So another strategy could be to be linking to other sites you like and giving them the link love. And then you can certainly be like, “Hey, I’d love this recipe.” And email the person and say, “I link to this.” And then that’s going to get them on their radar, you’ve done something nice for them. And maybe they’ll return the favor. You don’t have to ask for something, but maybe they’ll search your site next time they’re looking for a link. So I think it’s about contributing to the overall community as well.

Casey Markee (00:56:35):
Now I’ve tried to do that to Andrew multiple times and he’s ignored me every time.

Andrew Wilder (00:56:38):
I will never give Casey a link.

Casey Markee (00:56:39):
He even blocked me on Twitter. It was ridiculous. I had this fantastic cat fancy resource and he just would not link to it. It’s a point of contention to this day.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:56:49):
It’s about building relationships. It’s about being relationships. You can do a lot of ego baiting. You can do collaborations. You can approach people who… somebody who has a really strong site, but really poor social, right. And you have really strong social and not so much authority. You can do an exchange. You can build those relationships. That’s the most important part about link building, is establishing those relationships that you can always tap into.

Casey Markee (00:57:12):
And sending unsolicited gifts and cash, that helps.

Ashley (00:57:16):
Okay. We have time for-

Andrew Wilder (00:57:17):
Don’t do that.

Ashley (00:57:19):
Yeah. Kidding.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:57:21):
Yes. We will definitely have Louisa back on.

Louisa Frahm (00:57:24):
Oh, yay. I want to feedback on, absolutely.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:57:25):
Well, it depends.

Louisa Frahm (00:57:31):
Can I just say that it doesn’t depend. I will come on for anything.

Ashley (00:57:35):
There we go. We got one more it depends on there. And our very last question, before we’re going to have to wrap up from Ashley. I’ve been naming my images with the recipe name, but I’ve read that it’s better to name each image with what’s happening in the image, like alt text. Is this something that actually matters for the file name? It seems like more work up front and I don’t want to bother with it if it doesn’t actually matter for SEO purposes. With the file name in particular.

Casey Markee (00:58:00):
I would love to know where you read that. I would love to know where you read that because that is incredibly poor advice. You’re basically, you’re going to get these incredibly long URLs with unnecessary information, which isn’t going to help you at all. Again, I really want you to paste over. I’m absolutely convinced Ashley, that you probably misunderstood a link, if that’s what you said.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:58:21):
We’ll find them and we’ll fight them with our fists.

Casey Markee (00:58:22):
Because we want to keep our file names succinct. We’ll use one or two major focus keywords and call it a day, but we don’t need to be spamming file names. It’s not going to have any value. So pretty sure that maybe you might have misunderstood a link, because she’s usually pretty good with her cooking with keyword stuff. But if not, let me know and I’ll drop her a stern email. But I’m pretty sure that’s not what we want to do. We definitely don’t want to be having you make a necessary work, going back and changing all of your images, which will just reset any image visibility you have in Google images there. So definitely wouldn’t recommend that.

Andrew Wilder (00:58:57):
And also, alt text is not for SEO. It’s for accessibility. So don’t put keyword stuff in your alt text. Make it actually useful. You can do both, you can win at both. Just-

Casey Markee (00:59:08):
Yeah, my pumpkin juice. It’s okay to say pumpkin juice cocktail in a nice-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:59:15):
And a barf emoji.

Casey Markee (00:59:16):
And a pumpkin juice cocktail, in a nice cocktail glass with little ferns in the background. Totally descriptive, alt text. You have your focus keyword in there. It won’t kill you. You’ll be fine.

Ashley (00:59:28):
And very quickly moving away from pumpkin juice conversation. It’s three o’clock. We are officially done and we have one more prize. So can we all count down and say all together? One, two, three.

Casey Markee (00:59:45):
It depends. There you go. So it’s really… So now, four more prizes, right? Because that was really four individual.

Louisa Frahm (00:59:51):
I mean, I want the it depends T-shirt. Can I order one? I want one.

Casey Markee (00:59:55):
Yeah. We should definitely get those individuals… And I got to say, I apologize. For those of you on the call who are really looking forward to a Casey pillow, I was as disappointed as you are. I can’t believe that we don’t have any Casey head pillows left, so we will get those. We’ll absolutely get those order to give those away next time because I… I know they’re very popular, as they should be. So I appreciate that.

Ashley (01:00:17):
Kind of a big deal, but thank you everyone for joining us and helping us celebrate two-

Arsen Rabinovich (01:00:22):
Thanks Louisa.

Louisa Frahm (01:00:22):
Thank you.

Ashley (01:00:22):
Years of SEO for bloggers. Louisa, thank you so much for joining us.

Casey Markee (01:00:30):
Thank you, Louisa. Really nice to meet you.

Ashley (01:00:31):
We absolutely want to have you back.

Louisa Frahm (01:00:31):
Thanks everybody. I had so much fun.

Ashley (01:00:31):
Andrew, Arsen, Casey, thank you guys.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:00:31):
Thanks to everyone for posting.

Ashley (01:00:31):
Everybody have a great day and night.

Casey Markee (01:00:31):
Thanks Ashley. See y’all soon.

About The Panelists

Louisa Frahm

Louisa Frahm built her SEO foundation at Wpromote digital marketing agency, where she worked on integrated campaigns with a wide range of e-commerce and lead generation clients. Afterwards, she zoned in on news SEO as a content strategist at E! Online, Yahoo!, TMZ, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, and most recently the LA Times. Currently, she’s a Google Trends Curator. Born and raised in San Diego, Frahm graduated from the University of Colorado with a journalism degree in 2012. In 2021, she received a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California. When she’s not tracking Internet trends, she’s pursuing her insatiable passion for pop culture. A baby boomer in a millennial body, she’s convinced her soul was born in 1949. Ask her about Prince, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, and her extensive Funko Pop collection.

Louisa on LinkedIn >>

Ashley Segura

International speaker and content marketing expert, Ashley is the VP of Operations at TopHatRank and the CoFounder of TopHatSocial and TopHatContent. Ashley is also an author of the best-selling book, The Better Business Book, and writes regularly for Semrush and Search Engine Journal.

Ashley on Twitter >>

Andrew Wilder

Andrew Wilder is the founder of NerdPress, a digital agency that provides WordPress maintenance and support services for publishers and small businesses, placing an emphasis on site speed, stability, and security. He has been building, fixing, and maintaining websites since 1998, and has spoken on a wide variety of technical topics (in plain English!) at conferences such as WordCamp LAX, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Food & Wine, Techmunch, BlogHer, BlogHer Food, and Mediavine.

Andrew on Twitter >>

Arsen Rabinovich

Digital Marketer, SEO, International Speaker, 2X Interactive Marketing Award Winner, Search Engine Land Award Winner. Founder @TopHatRank, a Los Angeles based marketing agency that specializes in innovative digital marketing techniques for modern brands of all sizes.

Arsen on Twitter >>

Casey Markee

Speaker, writer, and trainer, Casey Markee has been doing SEO for 20+ years, has conducted over 1000+ site audits, and has trained SEO teams on five continents through his consultancy Media Wyse. He believes bacon should be its own food group and likes long walks to the kitchen and back while under home quarantine.

Casey on Twitter >>

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