TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers How to Update Seasonal Content – SEO For Bloggers Episode #26

How to Update Seasonal Content - SEO For Bloggers Episode #26

Recap, Q&A, + All the Resources

The panelists got together last week to discuss the holidays, well, mainly holiday content with a few bits of candy corn mixed in between. With over 38 questions asked during Q&A, this recap blog post is FULL of information about how to update your seasonal content.

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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

Should we update old content that is ranking well? A speaker from tastemaker said that we should update old content if we have valuable information to add. I always thought this was a big no no.

It is in most instances. We never touch unicorn posts in the Top 3 if we don’t have too. If a post is outside of the top 3 and you think you can make clear quality improvements, then consider that. But always focus on seasonal content first, and consolidate your changes where possible in batches. The less we needlessly touch top-ranking posts, the better.

Question 2

Does the url matter or is Google more interested in the new H1?

Answered Live. URL is a legacy factor. We don’t change those when at all possible. The H1 can be optimized as needed.

Question 3

I know it’s been said before regarding google and people not caring about the URL if gutting an old post and changing it completely. Have you seen Google treating those gutted and updated posts with random URLs differently? In GSC it seems to take far longer to do anything with when changing the post compared to completely new posts on new URLs.

We have not. Google has stated multiple times that they would prefer users GUT existing URLs and put up new content there, as opposed to needlessly publishing that content at new URLs. Republishing content at new URLs adds needless complexity, creates redirects, and dilutes long-term ranking. There is little reason to do that as a general rule.

Question 4

Should you update images on your “unicorn” content?

In most cases, no. There is little reason to do this unless you are batching this with other changes OR the post itself has slipped.

Question 5

Should you update, then noindex seasonal posts until it’s more relevant to the calendar, especially if it won’t generate traffic other times of the year?

No.

Question 6

When we’re talking about how our content best answers the search queries in regards to ranking in the SERPS, does domain authority play into that ranking in addition to specific keywords or is it really just content-based?

None at all.

Question 7

What do you do differently if trying to republish rather than just update?

In most cases, there is little reason to “republish” a post. That was done mostly to take advantage of home page content featuring, and to best optimize for RSS feeds. But with most homepages being fully customized now, and the fact that people do not use RSS feeds to digest content these days, it’s a moot point.

Question 8

What’s the current recommendation on the best way to show the updated versus published date? Is there a preferred plugin or theme feature activation?

Answered live.

Question 9

What if our template doesn’t have an updated or revised date field? Can we just write it in the text of the post?

It’s very easy to code-in. I would urge you to contact your blog support or developer and have that appear on the post. It’s already in the code itself, it’s just not visually there for users.

Question 10

Do you recommend adding videos to help boost existing seasonal posts?

Answered live.

Question 11

Regarding Mediavine ads: how about the Universal Video Player? Should we have that on/ off?

Answered live.

Question 12

Isn’t this similar to the interstitial ads that AdThrive offers?

Yes.

Question 13

If we need to remove Pinterest images we need to replace the photo- but if it’s in the top 3- still leave it?

Yes.

Question 14

Is it better to live edit and just save or use a plugin and save as a fresh new date so it shows up on your front page? Does it matter and why?

It doesn’t matter.

Question 15

Should we clear the cache every time we update a post? Or is that done automatically by a plugin?

Answered Live.

Question 16

Good advice or Bad advice? – You own 2 blogs, similar content – You should not link between the two of them often or at all….. ?

Totally false. If it’s makes sense to users to interlink the content go for it. It’s absolutely fine.

Question 17

If you update a post to make it better should you request that Google re-index the url?

Answered live.

Question 18

If multiple posts need a full overhaul (KW research, rewrite, new/optimized photos, new blog template, etc.) is it better to make all the necessary changes to each post before republishing it, even if that means that fewer of the seasonal posts will get updated in time this year, or is there a way to prioritize pieces of the update to get the posts updated and republished more quickly and then come back and make the remaining changes either after the season or ahead of next season? If okay to do in pieces, how do you prioritize/what’s most important?

Answered live.

Question 19

What’s the current advice for adding density? And does it change for the holidays?

Bloggers tend to “increase” a little bit here. But to me, that’s just “the recommended density.” As running below recommended levels should always be the norm.

Question 20

Recommendations for mailing providers? Flodesk?

Flodesk is fine EXCEPT for pop-ups. Flodesk does not support exit-only pop-ups so it’s not recommended in that regard.

Question 21

When we raise the ad density during Q4, do we raise it to the highest setting? (I’m usually on the very low setting during the rest of the year)

I never recommend the top setting. If you are on the “low setting” now, then the “recommended settings” during Q4 would be the better approach here.

Question 22

No Pin Images showing on blog post? Do you mean ones with text overlay?

We mean NO pin images below the recipe card. Images placed in a post, specifically for Pinterest, the “pin this image” examples, specifically, have no place on a post. Hide them in a plugin. But they do not provide any value to leave on the page itself.

Question 23

Are there guidelines for how many paragraphs & images to group together without reducing ads? I don’t include images in my groups, just texts.

This is more personal preference. If you can visually see that there is a readability issue with the posts on mobile then you group accordingly.

Question 24

Regarding Pin Images, do we need to do anything special for them besides optimising them and make them a hidden pin?

No.

Question 25

Are RPMs good for email traffic? You mentioned that web stories traffic isn’t great, RPM-wise.

Email traffic tends to perform much better than Web Stories. But not by much.

Question 26

Is it an ok practice to include an active internal link as an H2 or H3 header? Say in a list of recipes you’re rounding up on your own site.

Linking headings is not an accepted accessibility best practice.

Question 27

When you’re looking at the top 20-30 posts in a month to see what needs updating, are you focusing on highest clicks or highest impressions?

Answered live.

Question 28

What’s the last date to touch your holiday posts? A month before, two months?

Google indexes content in minutes. The days of touching posts months in advance is over. You can easily optimize posts weeks before an important holiday, not months. Nor do we recommend you do so that fare in advance.

Question 29

How important is it to set up holiday categories?

It only helps you. If you have enough content to fill-out a Thanksgiving or Christmas or Fall category why would you not do it? That way you can more easily stream that content on the homepage, sidebar, and mobile menu by just linking to the optimized category.

Question 30

With the step by step instructions and process shots, should we include the quantities of the ingredients?

In most cases, no.

Question 31

PROCESS SHOTS: Individual placement in the post or use the Gallery Block?

Both will work just fine.

Question 32

Troubleshooting issues such as warnings and alerts through GSC? Is that what you mean?

Warnings won’t kill you. Errors, should always be fixed.

Question 33

Is it a problem with google to do a lot of tweeks in a short period of time (i.e., pressing the update button 6 times in an hour)?

It’s not ideal. Why would you want to keep pinging Google over and over again to come to a post? Batch your updates when possible so you can “hit Google” with all your changes for quality purposes at one time.

Question 34

Is it still best practice to include the ingredients in the content of the post itself as well as in the recipe card?

Absolutely. Labeled ingredient photos are visual example of a highest-meets-needs recipe. Users like to see what they need and just grab it from the self and or their pantry. Optimize accordingly.

Question 35

Should the process shots be in the recipe card under each steps?

In the post. There is no SEO or UX reason to put them in the card. Guided Recipes is a complete waste of time and users do not like process shots in a recipe card. You should survey your blog audience and ask them.

Question 36

With pastry and baking the recipes are often multiple parts making the recipe cards longer. How is this handled

Carefully. Check-out sites like https://emmaduckworthbakes.co.uk/ and https://brokenovenbaking.com/ to see complicated pastry and baking recipes and how they are presented. These are very good high-quality examples to review.

Resources & Links

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

  1. Keywords Everywhere: Browser add-on for keyword research.
  2. BigScoots: Hosting company recommended by panelists
  3. Agathon Group: Hosting company recommended by panelists.
  4. The arrival unit setting is in the Mediavine dashboard > Settings > In-Content Ads > “Enable Jump to Recipe Arrival Unit”
  5. Nerdpress: A variety of resources put together by the team at NerdPress.
  6. Tips from Casey Markee on what to focus on when updating your content:– Fixing broken links– Confirming images are correct– Make sure you have teaser text above the first image– Did you add an FAQ block

    – What about jump links

    – Turn-off your Jump to Arrival buttons if you are with Mediavine

    – Did you feel-out all recipe schema

    – Check your META Descriptions

    – Check your ALT Text

    – Update publish dates

    – Throw some new internal links to the post

    – Move pins OFF the page and hide them instead

    – Improve readability, look at “grouping blocks” and check your ads

    – Proofread with a Grammarly add-on

    – Delete spam contents

Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:00:00):
So welcome, everybody, to the 26th episode of SEO For Bloggers. Today, we’re going to talk about how to update your seasonal content. And since we’re pre-holiday period, we’re going to be talking about holiday content specifically, but this can apply to all the seasons. But you’re going to hear us reference holiday and holiday content more than seasonal content throughout this.

Speaker 1 (00:00:23):
As always, we have our wonderful experts, Casey Markee, Arsen Rabinovich, and Andrew Wilder. And I’m your host, Ashley Segura. We’re going to have Q&A at the very end, per usual, but please feel free to drop any and all of your questions into the Q&A section at any time throughout the webinar. If we don’t get to all of them at the end, which we very rarely ever do, we will get to them in the blog post recap. That includes the transcript, the replay, all the Q&A actually answered for you, and all of the resources mentioned. So if you see a link go into the chat box and didn’t have time to copy and paste it over, have no fear, it will be in the blog post recap which we’ll publish a week after this episode airs.

Speaker 1 (00:01:08):
Without further ado, let’s get started talking about seasonal content. Arsen, during the holiday period, is it best to focus on creating new content or updating last holiday’s content? What should we focus on?

Speaker 2 (00:01:24):
Updating.

Speaker 1 (00:01:25):
Updating content? Why?

Speaker 2 (00:01:27):
Yeah. Less effort, more reward. It’s already written, there’s no need to write it again. Unless it’s not ranking well or at all, then obviously it might need a little bit of work. But if you have content that’s been performing very well historically and there’s still demand for that topic and there’s still a decent search volume and your content is strong enough, definitely go in and see what can be done to make it a little better. So updating it, I think as far as return on effort, would be the best option.

Speaker 1 (00:02:05):
One of the things you just mentioned right there is if there’s still a demand for the topic. From season to season, year to year, that can totally change. How can a blogger quickly figure out if there’s still demand?

Speaker 2 (00:02:17):
There’s a bunch of tools. I don’t know if all everyone who’s here with us was at the virtual Tastemaker Conference, I went over some of this in my talk. So Keywords Everywhere gives you a really interesting trend line for the keyword right inside of Google search result. There’s always third party tools like Semrush, Keysearch to give you trending throughout the year. And then also Google Trends is a good one.

Speaker 1 (00:02:47):
Gotcha. Okay. Thanks for clarifying that, which segues perfectly for Casey. When you’re analyzing last year’s holiday content, how do you know which post should be updated, which should be left alone, and maybe even which should be deleted entirely? What kind of metrics are you really looking for?

Speaker 3 (00:03:06):
Well, I tell you what metrics we’d be looking at first is I always try to tell everyone to do a content inventory, which means that we’re going to be looking at what was actually generating traffic last year and maybe our top 20 to top 50 posts. We can even segment those down by month. Honestly, right now, with it being the 20th, we’re immediately looking at October content. Starting from October 1st to the 31st, what was our top content from last year? We can go into search console. We can do a custom search showing what the traffic was broken down by month. Sort it by clicks, see if any of those content can be updated based upon all the nitty-gritty best practices you’ve learned in spades over the last year as you’ve improved your blogging odyssey. Maybe you sat through Arsen’s seminar, maybe you set through my presentation for Tastemaker where we covered the content bucketing in detail, go through there, see what we can improve upon.

Speaker 3 (00:03:57):
As Arsen said, a lot of the content we really want to focus on is content that we’ve already had on our site that we totally forgot about over the previous years. We want to go and take a look at anything that’s Halloween related specifically, anything that’s fall related, anything that’s pumpkin related, anything that is again of seasonal nature. We’re only going to have a very finite time to make that content work for us, so we really want to focus on that first. And then, hey, if we decide maybe we have something in our queue already, maybe we can go ahead and add one or two new resources through the month. But it’s amazing how much of a lift we can get by focusing on our legacy content first and foremost. So we want to go in there, we want to take a look at those.

Speaker 3 (00:04:36):
I think you asked specifically what should be left alone, what should be deleted. If we can go in there and find content that has been on our site for years and we know that the template is very good and yet for some reason it’s just not doing well, then maybe we just move on to something else. I don’t believe that we’re ever going to rank for everything. I had a big blogger reach out to me today, said that she’d follow the template, she’d republished this post. It’s been sitting on her site for 20 days, not one thing has happened to it. We can’t rank for everything, so our goal is really to pull out the gems as much as we can. And anything else that we’re not sure of it, then we’ll just not index for the time being. Maybe we’ll revisit that in a couple months and make a long-term determination as to whether we’re going to keep that.

Speaker 3 (00:05:18):
But we always want to analyze last year’s holiday content, find our performers, and see if we can go in and update that. The only caveat there is if we have a post that’s already in the top three, we’re honestly not going to do much with it. Absolutely. There’s no reason to play around or screw around with something that’s working just fine. So whenever you hear the advice, “Yeah, we want to go in and we want to update our top 20 or 30 posts from last year,” the caveat there is, again, we don’t mess with our unicorns. If it’s already in the top three, I wouldn’t worry too much about playing around with it or doing anything to get more mileage out of that, so to speak.

Speaker 1 (00:05:55):
That makes sense. Is there ever a scenario where you have a post, it’s been up for say two years, two holiday seasons, nothing’s really happening with it? Would it ever make sense to delete that post entirely and start from scratch?

Speaker 3 (00:06:11):
Honestly, I can probably count on one hand at times that that be appropriate. I mean, once we delete that content, we’ve lost that URL forever, especially in the WordPress system. Maybe the better option would be to keep the URL, gut it, and find something else that we could republish there and see if we could get that content moving. Google is really clear about this, we want to save and salvage historical URLs whenever we can. So maybe there’s something close that you could rejigger and get ranking. Maybe it’s a very specific Halloween recipe. We could keep the Halloween in the URL, so to speak, but we’ll just redo it with another recipe that might have a little bit more chance of ranking. Maybe we’re able to dial in our keyword research a little bit.

Speaker 3 (00:06:53):
But I think in most cases, the only time that we would be deleting content would be something that is completely outdated. Maybe it’s an expired giveaway. Maybe it’s something that is no longer viable. Maybe it’s something that doesn’t fit into your niche no matter how hard you tried and that there’s really no reason to salvage the URL because there’s nothing close. I use meal plans because meal plans tend to sit on a site as legacy content and do absolutely nothing for you long term. So if you think that that has value to your email list or some offsite channel, then no index it, otherwise, let’s delete that, clear the cruft off the site, and move on.

Speaker 1 (00:07:34):
I can’t tell you how many times we see meal plans in our content audits that are just doing nothing, just no traffic. Andrew, okay, you’ve analyzed what happened with your holiday content last year, you kind of have a general idea of what needs to be updated, what, like Casey mentioned, are your unicorn post, you’re not going to touch them this season, but the ones that you do need to update, how far in advance should you update those?

Speaker 4 (00:07:59):
Well, it used to be that you’d have to update things two, three months out because Google would take a long time to crawl and re-index and update. Now it is very fast. From a technical perspective, like for getting Google to update its stuff, you might only need hours or days. You don’t need a lot of lead time. I think the question is now more about when is it appropriate to update for your visitors. You want to stay ahead of it so that if people are starting to search for pumpkin spice lattes, you want to be updating the content before they’re searching for it. Try to stay ahead of the game that way. So it’s really more about managing your content than trying to time the technical update. Just think about it in terms of the seasonality. I’m being ahead of the game by a month by having my Halloween background, so I’m ahead of the curve. Next month, I guess I’ll have to have a Christmas tree. So just try to think ahead I think is the idea now.

Speaker 3 (00:08:51):
I think it’s important to note that, again, as Andrew said, when you heard all this advice about people having to update content months in advance, it wasn’t because of Google. It was always because they were trying to do a Pinterest for strategy. Pinterest still actually pushes the fact that, “Hey, if you want to optimize for Christmas, now’s the time to start thinking of your Christmas content.” Completely terrible advice. We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to have the content updated, sitting on our site, doing nothing, not generating any new signals. We can wait on that. Right now, again, we should be thinking fall, harvest, pumpkin, apples, Halloween content right now as we head into October. We don’t even necessarily need to be thinking about Thanksgiving until about mid-October.

Speaker 3 (00:09:32):
Even if you were to publish that on November 1st, you’d be totally fine because it’s taking hours and days to get content indexed, and it’s just taking days and maybe a week to find something to pop in on page three and then slowly work its way up to page one. It’s even faster in many cases. Don’t necessarily think that you have to work so far in advance. I know a lot of people want to have that content ready to go, but there are other things that you could be doing specifically instead of working and trying to update content that far in advance.

Speaker 1 (00:10:03):
I guess that echoes what you guys always talk about as far as user journey. Think about it yourself, when are you going to start looking for Thanksgiving recipes or Thanksgiving spreads? It’s definitely not going to be now. So that definitely makes a lot of sense. Arsen, what are some of the best ways to actually update the content?

Speaker 2 (00:10:25):
Look, if the content itself is good, it’s a well-written post, it’s not quite at the top of page one, it is at the top 20 positions, so it’s in the top 20, typically that means that the content is strong enough for the query. If you’re in the top 20, that means that it’s relevant. Now, if you’re not in the top, let’s say, three, four, or five positions, that means that your content is not strong enough when compared to the ones that are ranking above you, for whatever reason. It could be the way you’re focusing around the topic, the query, we call it query syntax, the actual words, what the person’s searching for. Or you’re not satisfying intent. Query syntax pretty much is what it is. Most of the time you’re not matching the query well.

Speaker 2 (00:11:14):
Again, I give this example in the talk that I did at virtual Tastemaker where for the word potato soup recipe, bake potato soup recipe dropped off of page one and went to page two because it’s not focused enough around a main topic. Where do we go to focus our content towards a specific topic or a specific keyword? Those are places that are the meta title on the page, the H1, your other headings, your recipe heading, internal link anchors, and how you structure your content. I wouldn’t necessarily start playing around with like, “Oh, I need to rewrite this post for a drink.” I would slowly start playing with a little bit of the titles, with the H1s, seeing if maybe I should remove a baked potato out of potato soup recipe and include it in the body or in the secondary H2 and not making my H1.

Speaker 2 (00:12:21):
I’ll give another example. There’s oven-baked salmon with, I don’t know, I think it was garlic and lime. That ranks for oven-baked salmon with garlic and lime. It’s ranking for what’s intended to rank for, but it can still rank for oven-baked salmon as a recipe. So I would dilute away from garlic and lime in my title, in my H1. Just don’t touch the slug. Don’t touch the URL of the post.

Speaker 3 (00:12:51):
Right.

Speaker 2 (00:12:52):
But those are the places that I would start that are not necessarily changing the content or updating the content but they are really good places to start to focus your content towards a specific query or a specific keyword.

Speaker 1 (00:13:04):
Is there specific tools or how do you know how you should be updating your headings or if you should change this keyword as a trial and error, like, “Let’s remove it from the H2s and see if it makes a difference.”?

Speaker 2 (00:13:19):
Right. It’s sitting down, analyzing what’s happening on page one with your competitors, not specifically focusing on one individual one. We want to take it in aggregate. We want to look at what’s everybody doing that I’m not, because the number one position could be ranking for whatever reason. Usually number one is either are overwhelming with links or they have really good topical authority. They’re not necessarily the best spot for you to look at. But you want to look at what are all the titles on page one. Do all the titles on page one say, “Oven-baked salmon with lime and garlic.”? No, they all say “Oven-baked salmon recipe.” So maybe that’s where you should be focusing towards. So remove the focus- diluting elements out of the title. Or in some cases, you want to bring in certain elements to help focus around the specific topic or keyword.

Speaker 3 (00:14:16):
Arsen did a really good job there, but I think what we want to do is when we’re talking about focusing on, and he’s very good on the topical and the contextual signals there, but we can take this out even more so. I’m going to go ahead and paste over a list of all the things that you bloggers can be doing when you’re looking at updating seasonal content. There’s a list here, and I’m going to have Ashley paste it over, but these things can involve everything from fixing broken links to confirming images are correct to making sure that you have teaser text about the first image. Did you add an FAQ block? Is that appropriate? Have you turned off the arrival unit from Mediavine, as an example, for usability? Are you blocking or are you grouping your blocks so that we have better control over ads? Did you check your meta descriptions to make sure that it actually sells the user in the search result on what’s going on with your updated post?

Speaker 3 (00:15:08):
What about your L text, did you check that? Can we update the publish date? Clearly, in many cases, we’re just going to modify or refresh the content, so there’s no reason to republish anything. But making sure that we’ve updated the post with a recent and last modified date helps. Have we moved pins off the page? We shouldn’t be showing Pinterest pins. We had this discussion just recently in our Pinterest webinar. We want to make sure that we hide pins off the page. Can you improve readability on the post? There’s lots of things that you can do, including just installing a Grammarly add-on, and checking your proof, reading your content. Even deleting spam comments. This is all things that you should be thinking of when you’re revisiting the seasonal content and trying to make it the best it can be as we head into all important Q4.

Speaker 2 (00:15:59):
Casey, Arsen started to mention this, but maybe you could speak to the why behind it. Should you be changing the date or the URL when you’re making updates to your post?

Speaker 3 (00:16:12):
Definitely not the URL.

Speaker 2 (00:16:13):
Not the URL.

Speaker 3 (00:16:13):
No, definitely not the URL. That’s crazy talk.

Speaker 2 (00:16:13):
Don’t touch it.

Speaker 3 (00:16:16):
Whenever we’re making noticeable changes to improve the post, there’s no reason to show a recent last modified date. Absolutely. That’s no problem, that’s what we expect to see. I know that there’s a question in here, “Can you speak about turning off the jump to arrival button? I thought we needed to have that on.” Please understand that the jump to recipe button and the jump to arrival button are completely different things. The jump to arrival is the nefarious world-domineering, I’m-going-to-take-over-your-site violation of accessibility practice that Mediavine has most of their publishers opt into without even understanding or knowing that they’ve done it. A jump to arrival button basically takes over your buttons and jumps users to an ad. Then they have to click on a continue to content button. Those are bad. Jump to recipe buttons are good. They do exactly what they communicate. I click on a button, it says, “I’m going to take you to the recipe.” I click on it and I go directly to the recipe. That’s what we’re talking on there. So if that’s confusing anyone.

Speaker 3 (00:17:16):
I definitely want you to be aware that if you’re a Mediavine publisher and you’re running Create, you don’t really have any control over this, but if you’re running Tasty or WP Recipe Maker, they’ve probably taken over your buttons and they’re jumping people to an ad. You can go into your dashboard, you can find the jump to arrival setting, toggle that off. That only helps you during the holidays.

Speaker 4 (00:17:35):
Just to clarify, I think they call it the arrival unit [inaudible 00:17:38].

Speaker 3 (00:17:38):
Yeah, jump to arrival unit.

Speaker 4 (00:17:40):
I think they just call it arrival unit. So just to clarify, what that does is when you turn that on with Mediavine, they change-

Speaker 3 (00:17:45):
Let me clarify, you’re not turning it on, it’s turned on for you.

Speaker 4 (00:17:49):
No, I think it’s off by default now.

Speaker 3 (00:17:51):
It is absolutely not. No. No.

Speaker 4 (00:17:52):
All right. Anyway, when it’s on-

Speaker 3 (00:17:56):
I will buy you all dinner if that’s the case. [inaudible 00:17:58].

Speaker 2 (00:17:58):
Fight. Fight. Fight.

Speaker 4 (00:18:00):
Anyway, what it’s doing is taking over the functionality of the jump to recipe button. It hijacks that and changes the functionality. So instead of just jumping down right to the recipe, it does a slow scroll down the page and stops before the recipe to serve an ad.

Speaker 3 (00:18:13):
You got it.

Speaker 4 (00:18:14):
And then it says continue to content. And usually on mobile, you can’t even see any part of the recipe, so the user gets very confused. They don’t know what’s happened. They just-

Speaker 3 (00:18:21):
Yeah, what is going on?

Speaker 4 (00:18:23):
And then they don’t know they have to scroll down further to get to the recipe. So it has an accessibility problem, it has a user interface problem. Mediavine says it makes you more money-

Speaker 3 (00:18:31):
It doesn’t. We’ve already done studies. That State of Search presentation that in 2019 involved 11 sites showing that it absolutely did not make you more money. We have even more data since then. Now I think they’ve even changed their spiel now saying that turning it on or leaving it on has no visible impact. If that is not the same, I would be surprised. But for those of you on the call, we always optimize for users. That’s the simplest and best advice we can ever give. You never advertise that you have a jump button and then jump someone to an ad. That’s the epitome of a middle finger, and that’s an accessibility violation, and we don’t do that.

Speaker 1 (00:19:12):
Definitely a bad user experience there. Switching gears to promotion, when is it appropriate for bloggers to start promoting their holiday content? Say, like Thanksgiving that’s been mentioned a few times, when should a blogger start promoting their Thanksgiving recipes? This is through the email distribution, on social media, when does that really make sense?

Speaker 4 (00:19:32):
You know how you’re in the mall and Halloween’s just over and all of a sudden there’s Christmas music and everybody hates that, I’d say that’s too early.

Speaker 3 (00:19:41):
Fine. No one hates that. The minute November 1st starts, it’s Christmas music for most people.

Speaker 4 (00:19:50):
You’ve got to decide for yourself and your audience, of course, but I think you want to start promoting it when people are start starting to think about it. If you are promoting recipes for your best roast Turkey, October’s probably a little early. But how to buy a Turkey for Thanksgiving, that needs to be a little bit earlier than how to make the Turkey. I think you want to think about what people are going to be searching for when and when they’re going to want that information, and you want to start promoting that right at the beginning of that, not at the end of that.

Speaker 1 (00:20:19):
That makes sense. That way you can jump on that search train.

Speaker 4 (00:20:23):
Also, do you remember malls?

Speaker 1 (00:20:25):
RIP.

Speaker 4 (00:20:25):
Right.

Speaker 1 (00:20:30):
Arsen, what should he do in the case when you have a specific blog post, say it’s ranking really well on page one maybe not one through three, but it’s on page one, but you have images that you really want to update or parts of the content that you really would like to update and feel that you should update, especially because it’s a new year, should you touch it or should you leave it alone? Is this going to be the first it depends?

Speaker 2 (00:21:00):
Probably. I mean, Casey, we always say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Don’t-

Speaker 3 (00:21:08):
That’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right.

Speaker 2 (00:21:11):
So it depends. Are you fluctuating out of the first three spots? What’s happening? What are the symptoms? And then based on the symptoms, you take certain actions. Look, look, there are secondary signals. There are secondary signals that you can improve in case you listed some of this, so anything that’s not touching the actual page, so whatever’s on the page is left as is. Secondary signals, internal anchor texts from internal links, you can help focus with internal links. So get better at identifying relevant pages on your website. You don’t want to just like, “Oh, this is another Thanksgiving recipe. Yeah, that works but I don’t think that’s super relevant.” But if it’s another side dish that has similar ingredients, that would be a much more relevant page to link to from. I hope that makes sense. Anchor texts are super strong. We do a lot of work with internal link, anchor tech anchor text. I would say, and Casey agree or not, I would say it’s a fairly strong contextual signal for Google.

Speaker 3 (00:22:21):
Very so. Very much so.

Speaker 2 (00:22:22):
Right. Right. So I would play with second back links. Back links are also a good secondary signal that you can apply, again, to focus around the specific topic without having to touch the post itself.

Speaker 1 (00:22:39):
So if you have pictures, because this comes up a lot and this was a repeated question for those who registered when they have a question to ask, if you have photos, whether it’s just brand new photos or you redid the recipe and you have great photography now, instead of going and updating the blog post and potentially risking it, maybe use those photos in that social promotion like Andrew was talking about or the email newsletter or something like that.

Speaker 2 (00:23:05):
Right. Right. Again, if it’s ranking and it’s bringing in traffic, why touch it? What’s the point?

Speaker 3 (00:23:10):
Yeah, I would say, yeah, especially in the top three. Even changing out a featured image especially, Google has to regenerate all those thumbnails. You usually fall out of the carousel, and then you come right back into the carousel as Google reevaluates those images. For image traffic, it’s really not a concern. Google’s really good about replacing images with newer images very, very fast. I’ve seen it literally in minutes with bigger sites. It’s ridiculous. The problem is that if you have a post that you know it’s sitting on… maybe it’s number five and you know, “Hey, I think my photos could be better,” I think that that’s a good trade off. I think I would go in and use our list today and make as many of those changes as we can to get those posts moving, including updating the thumbnail and the end content post. Especially with the fact that there is evidence to show that when we put in new end content photos in a post and we size them to, say, about 1200 pixels max width so that we can try to get them to qualify for Google Discover, it’s like a rising tide lifting all ships, we’re able to see a little bit more of an increased visibility there.

Speaker 3 (00:24:21):
Very quickly here, there was a question about the list of things that we pasted in the list of update. I clearly cannot spell. It should have been F-I-L-L- O-U-T, not F-E-E-L. But when we’re talking about filling out recipe schema, it’s just like it sounds, you should be filling in all of your recipe schema. This is an SEO 101 thing. This is literally the biggest and quick win you could do as you head into the holiday season. Make sure that your recipes have ratings. Make sure that you fill down all nutritional information. I get it, I can’t tell you how many audits just in the last couple weeks I’ve had from bloggers who just do not want do the nutrition. That is a very, very bad decision. If you won’t want to include nutrition, then include a nice, big, fleshy disclaimer saying that you don’t necessarily think that this is going to be realistic, but the nutritional information generates an incredibly visible and CTR-increasing rich snippet which you need to have. Because if you’re not going to do it, your competitors are, and you’ve lost that advantage.

Speaker 1 (00:25:27):
Lot of sense. Andrew, the holidays naturally are going to bring bloggers a lot of traffic, sometimes more than they get all year long. Is there anything that bloggers should do on the back end to prepare for the influx of traffic, say, to make sure the site doesn’t crash?

Speaker 4 (00:25:40):
Yes. The trick with hosting is you have a certain amount of resources. You want to balance that with cost, and it’s hard because your traffic’s spikes are going up to the holidays. Q4 traffic’s always higher or almost always higher. For health-focused folks, it might be January. So you want to pay attention to that seasonality and actually you can talk with your host and say, “Hey, I’m going to have more traffic. Do I need more resources?” And they can take a look and give you some advice. A good host will be honest about it. A shady host will use that as an opportunity to upsell you, so make sure you’re on a legit host that will take good care of you.

Speaker 4 (00:26:12):
But beyond that in terms of what you can actually do, by now, most of you probably have caching in place. You’re probably using WP Rocket. What caching does is it stores a copy of the generated pages on your server so that way the next visitor that comes can get them a lot faster. So it reduces the work your server has to do significantly. It’s faster and it’s less work. But what happens is when you update content, the caches get cleared, so that way, the freshest content will be shown to the visitors. And so, the caches get cleared, and then it’ll generate new content again, and then it gets cached. I’ve seen things like someone has their VA working on stuff for January the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and they’re editing non-Thanksgiving posts. But every time they update those posts, the cache gets flushed and they don’t understand why their server is bogging down, and they’re doing it at the high traffic time. You don’t want to be just repeatedly clearing the cache and working in the site the day before Thanksgiving. That’s the worst possible time to do it.

Speaker 3 (00:27:05):
Right. Right. Right. Very good point.

Speaker 4 (00:27:10):
I had another good point in there, and it totally fell out of my head. Thanks, Casey.

Speaker 3 (00:27:14):
You’re welcome. My work here is done.

Speaker 4 (00:27:16):
Yeah, right?

Speaker 3 (00:27:17):
My work here is done.

Speaker 1 (00:27:20):
It’s okay, it’ll circle back. You mentioned good hosting. I know we’ve talked about all sorts of different hosts throughout the many episodes we’ve done. Can you mention a couple of the different hosting companies or platforms that you’d recommend?

Speaker 4 (00:27:31):
Sure.

Speaker 2 (00:27:33):
[inaudible 00:27:33].

Speaker 4 (00:27:32):
Don’t listen to Arsen. No, BigScoots and Agathon are my favorite hosts right now. We work with them a lot. I’m sure most of you have heard their names. BigScoots, they start at a lower price point. I think it’s $35 a month for up to 250,000 sessions a month. Agathon, I think their entry level is at 85 a month because they want to start with larger sites. They have different philosophies and different approaches, but they both have really good support. I’ve seen them dig into really thorny, difficult database issues. And we’ve spent half a day working with Peter or Justin, the companies, and they like to solve problems too. There’s some big philosophical and infrastructure differences, but they’re both great hosts and you get tremendous service for the price point. They’re smaller. I’d call them more boutique hosts compared to a WP Engine or a GoDaddy or a SiteGround where you’re one of millions of websites and they just don’t have the same level of white glove care.

Speaker 4 (00:28:33):
BigScoots, by the way, I want to give them a shout-out. I heard they had an outage over the weekend where there was a hardware failure on one VPS. I think it impacted 35 sites, so people started posting about it. They were in front of that server fixing it on Sunday morning within 90 seconds, literally a person standing in front of the computer. It was a really difficult issue to troubleshoot. They worked through it. They got a new server rebuilt. It took, I think, about five or six hours. Other hosts, that would probably cost them days to recover from something like that. So just for perspective. But I saw a lot of posts coming up in some groups of like, “Oh, well, you should really hit them up for their 99.99% uptime guarantee.” Complaining about four minutes of downtime a month, you’re shooting yourself in the foot because there’s so many other important things about hosting.

Speaker 4 (00:29:23):
BigScoots is actually rock-solid reliable this year. They had problems last year. January was their first or their last significant outage, but they really changed their infrastructure. I’ve talked with Scott a lot about what they’ve got in place right now, and it is mind-blowing. The other thing about BigScoots is they actually set up uptime monitoring for every individual domain that they host. If a site goes down for any reason, within the 30 seconds, they’re working on it. We’ve got monitoring for our clients, and we ping BigScoots in Slack and they’re already working on it by the time we get to it consistently.

Speaker 4 (00:29:55):
Most of the time when the site goes down, it’s not the hosting, it’s a bad plugin or somebody deletes a file that breaks the site. They’re working on that and fixing those problems. I don’t know if any other host that is that proactive. To me, I don’t know how they do it for 35 bucks a month, and I know they have larger plans, but it’s incredible the service they’re providing. I feel like sometimes they get a bad rap because they host so many food blogs, and if one person has a problem, there becomes this echo chamber when SiteGround is down more than BigScoots but they’re not talking about it the same way.

Speaker 3 (00:30:28):
That’s exactly true. That is, unfortunately, a common issue in the food and lifestyle niche, is that there is a larger echo chamber than other niches. We don’t have an affiliate relationship. I don’t have an affiliate relationship with BigScoots, but Scott and them have gone out of their way to help with audit clients bar none. I have never had that type of service from anyone else. I had issues with SiteGround. We had issues from WP Engine in the day. Even I’ve had issues with Agathon that, again, I was able to resolve with their help, which is why they’re on Parody with BigScoots.

Speaker 3 (00:31:05):
Again, this is all about service. Please do not take your advice from someone in a thread telling you about their finite experience and thinking that that’s going to apply to you. Because that’s the worst thing you could do. We can’t please everyone. Hey, it doesn’t matter if I have an eight-month backlog for audits, I cannot please every client. It’s not going to happen. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are like, “Oh my God, Casey Markee guy, what a waste of time. Why would you want to wait eight months to work with him?” Hey, trust me, my wife says the same thing. So it’s nothing I haven’t heard before, but it’s just one of those things where understand that it’s very uncommon to hear the good news, certainly easier to hear all the bad news, and it’s easier to replicate when it’s just a small group of people trying to make a lot of noise.

Speaker 2 (00:31:48):
Send invoice for a promo to Scott at BigScoots. Got it.

Speaker 1 (00:31:57):
Basically. Basically. Thank you, Andrew, for sharing those hosting options. Casey, let’s go back towards the beginning when we were talking a little bit about the user journey. The holiday time is when a lot of blogs get discovered by new users, lots of times for the first time. So what ways can bloggers utilize that traffic and draw those new users to other pages on their site instead of jumping on, getting that bake salmon of intent, and then leaving and no longer engaging with that brand?

Speaker 3 (00:32:26):
Well, I think there’s a lot that you can do while they’re on the page. Mediavine does a lot of things really poorly, but one of the things they do really well are in-content spotlight ads, where they allow you to highlight your email signups, which work incredibly well. I don’t even think you have to be signed up for Mediavine to use the spotlight email options that they provide. So that’s a good way for you to actually as a user scrolling down the page make sure that you’re getting buy-in and getting them to cross over and sign up for your email list or even possibly see a highlighted resource that you’re looking to push.

Speaker 3 (00:32:59):
I would also make sure that you’ve taken a good look at your site on mobile. Please take a good look at your site on mobile. Look at that ad density. We tend to raise ad densities a little bit during Q4, and I totally understand that, but please learn to group your blocks. Because when you group your blocks, especially in the block editor, most of the ad companies will actually respect that. And then that way you don’t have text, image, ad, text, image, ad all the way down the page. You can have a nice clear section where I’ve got all my tips right here so that it can easily see them. Then, and only then, below that do I have an ad that pops in. We really want to improve readability, and our goal with improving readability is to keep those people on our site longer to increase those RPMs. That’s common sense.

Speaker 3 (00:33:50):
We’d also want to make sure that if we have a seasonal guide that we’re making sure that that’s front and center. It’s okay to have the teaser text above the fold, then we have our nice featured image. And then right below that, maybe we go ahead and say, “Oh, hey, by the way, if you’re interested as you’re reading this recipe, make sure you check out my other related content here.” Or maybe there’s a guide here that we can quickly link to. We want to cross-sell those people on our site as much as possible. Maybe this is your chance to highlight a series of posts that you have on your site, and we can work through that.

Speaker 3 (00:34:21):
We also want to make sure that we’ve optimized the sidebar appropriately. We want to have that seasonal content front and center, but also, maybe now is a good time to have some kind of a seasonal here’s a guide, maybe this is the top 10 recipes for your Thanksgiving 2022 feast, maybe these are your way to very quickly put together an ebook. Most people can put together a free ebook within minutes these days, that’s certainly something to consider.

Speaker 3 (00:34:47):
You’ll notice that the one thing I haven’t mentioned so far is popups because, really, popups are on the way out these days. But if you’re going to use popups, please make sure they’re very small and that they activate between pages or they activate preferably exit only. It’s okay to have those activate on the first click as long as it’s not Google. But I cannot tell you how that Google has been going after that. I have been seeing more and more of the actual, “Warning, warning, you have an intrusive interstitial messages being sent out through Google Search Console.” We don’t want you to trigger those. There are relatively easy to resolve, but there seems to be some filtering happening after the fact if you receive one of those, so let’s just make sure that we’re optimizing for our users first.

Speaker 3 (00:35:30):
Everyone wants to use popups, and popups can be very attractive, but most people, especially for every one person that’s signing up for your email list, you probably have three or four other people leave your site never to return. So we really want to focus on making sure that that’s good for users first and foremost.

Speaker 1 (00:35:50):
Just to clarify for those who are submitting questions and confuse at where to do so, in the Zoom box at the very bottom bar, there’s a Q&A with two chat bubbles. If you press on that, it’s going to open up another box, which is the Q&A box, and that’s where you can actually type in your questions. That’s where we can guarantee for sure that they will be answered.

Speaker 1 (00:36:11):
Moving onto next question, Casey you started to touch on this a little bit, but Arsen, when it comes to internal links linking to other pages on your site, does it make sense for a Thanksgiving post to link to a Christmas post? Or what internal linking strategies would you recommend for holiday-specific content? You’re muted, by the way.

Speaker 3 (00:36:36):
Best answer Arsen’s given today.

Speaker 2 (00:36:39):
That’s my story, guys. Thanks for having us. Okay, so yeah, we touched on this earlier today. It does make sense from a user perspective. If it’s a recipe that can be used for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of that, it does make sense. There’s internal linking that you can do for users. Those blocks of related posts or other posts you might like, that’s under your recipe card or above your recipe card, those are perfect for users. From a usability standpoint, they give a picture and all that. For Google, we assume there’s not much value that’s being passed through that because that link is a block of links, essentially. So there’s no content surrounding. Whatever is being passed through those internal links, probably very minimal. The majority of equity that’s going to get passed is going to be through links that are in content that are surrounded by text and makes sense.

Speaker 2 (00:37:40):
Definitely, for the user, if it makes sense, it makes sense to link, and those should be interlinked properly. I think WordPress if one properly set up and the proper theme is properly set up and categories are properly in place, that will just be happening on its own for you. At the same time, yes, you do want to make sure that for best results that it makes sense from a contextual standpoint. It’s like you wouldn’t necessarily link to a page that talks about baby names from a page that talks about fixing transmissions on a car. Those two do not make sense. That link, Google’s going to be, “I don’t know why you’re doing this. Sure. But we’re not going to apply anything valuable to it.”

Speaker 2 (00:38:27):
When we do internal linking, there’s all kinds of tools that help you with that. I like to do the old-school, boring approach of site colon command. And if my recipe is about, I don’t know, bacon potato soup, I’m going to put in site colon my website and then space potato soup to see what other posts on my site… Google’s going to return all the other posts on your site that are relevant to potato soup. There’s plugins that do this for you. I think [inaudible 00:38:55] does this for you. There’s different ways of doing it. But carefully crafting internal links from pages that have close relationships will get much more benefit out of it.

Speaker 1 (00:39:06):
Gotcha. Casey, web stories are still a hot topic. A lot of people ask questions about web stories in relation to seasonal content. Do you think there’s any benefit to creating seasonal-specific web stories?

Speaker 3 (00:39:18):
I do think there is a benefit. I think that it’s going to be an incredibly competitive web stories market in Q4. I think that the odds of you getting maybe 20% of your web stories picked up would be still low. There has just never been more web stories at any point in time than right now, and it’s only going to increase. But you’re also going to see the fact that now that we’ve got the actual web stories carousel populating more and more, that maybe there is some increased visibility that can be done here.

Speaker 3 (00:39:47):
Just understand two things. Number one, you’re going to have incredibly low RPMs on the web stories. They just do not monetize well. And number two, if you’re using web stories as your way to, say, qualify for Mediavine and AdThrive, understand that that’s not going to be a great long-term investment for you. It’s a crutch initially to get you to the 50,000 sessions, so to speak. But you’re going to find that they don’t monetize very well, and so you’re really not going to make a lot once we cross that threshold. You’re really going to have to tailor that focus back and focus on the posts and recipe first strategy when you’re updating and publishing content.

Speaker 3 (00:40:25):
I think that some people have great success with web stories. I believe it’s very niche related. I mean, I could see web stories tend to do well with some niches, especially with comfort food and roundups and healthy sites, but not so much in others. Like Indian bloggers tend to have very little luck with web stories overall. But this is certainly something that you could add. This is just like anything else, it’s a tool, it’s another arrow to put in your quiver, so to speak, but I wouldn’t rely on a ton of return from it in 2022.

Speaker 1 (00:40:57):
Like another arrow. Okay, so we’re down to the last question. We’ve got 22 questions in the Q&A, and we’re going to move into Q&A after this one. So if you haven’t submitted your question yet, make sure and do it now. This is a question that I would like each of you to answer individually. We’ll go ahead and start with Andrew. But what is one thing you would recommend doing to keep the momentum going through a seasonal period? How do you maintain the seasonal traffic?

Speaker 4 (00:41:24):
All right, I’m going to give a non-SEO answer, so Casey and Arsen, plug your ears. Use your email list. Presumably you’ve been collecting email addresses and you’re able to email your audience. Use your email list and send them handcrafted emails that are helpful to them during this incredibly stressful time of the year. You can give them links to your posts that are helpful, how to dress the turkey, how to buy a turkey, whatever, all those things. Hold their hand as they’re going through the holidays and be as useful as possible, and then they’re going to love you for it.

Speaker 1 (00:41:57):
Love that. Then you’re literally building momentum in your email newsletter, so then after the holiday period, you still have a following out that’s going to actually open all of those emails and then go your website. Nicely done. Casey, what’s your tip?

Speaker 3 (00:42:12):
No, I would say just keep working with what you’ve been doing, especially with regards to the updating the content. If you’re getting into the habit of, like we discussed, going in, looking at historically in Google Search Consoles specifically, finding your top 20 or 30 posts from the previous month 2021, I want you to keep that going. What were the top posts for November? What were the top posts for December? Now we’re looking at January. What are the top January posts that you had from 2021, or from this year actually, now that you could start updating and giving a refresh to. You should be doing that on a regular benefit. You don’t have to give yourself two months’ time. You could literally just say, “Okay, it’s January 1st, now I need to start thinking about what was really hot in February. And those are the top 10, 15, 20 posts I’m going to revisit based upon what we’ve discussed here, based upon the list of items that you have to work with,” and go from there. I think that’s an easy way to keep momentum going by taking a seasonal strategy, focusing on the seasonal content, and applying it on a monthly basis long term.

Speaker 1 (00:43:16):
Yeah, that’s great. Arsen, what’s your tip to maintain that holiday traffic past the holidays?

Speaker 2 (00:43:23):
I agree with what Casey said. Looking at how people engage with your website I think is also super important, people who visited this page and also this page, and also this page. You can really get an understanding for how people engage and where people drop off. At the same time, really focus in… I don’t think this quite applies to maintaining this seasonal because seasonality will happen, you can’t really control it, seasonality will adjust your traffic. But one thing I would say is I would bring more focus, and I think we talked about this last year, I would bring more focus to the holiday content by prioritizing it on the homepage a little bit more. Bringing it closer to the homepage to Google, in certain ways, will show its importance and priority. That’s one of the things that I would definitely recommend doing.

Speaker 3 (00:44:22):
A very good point on that in that we’ve been seen more and more that users are moving away from searching for individual recipes. They are moving more towards category specialization. So on your homepage, just at the top of the homepage, I really strongly urge all of you on the call to be thinking, “Here’s a fall block. Here’s a Halloween block. Here’s a back to school block.” I’m not going to use meal plans, but hey, there’s still relatively popular to some people. You’re going to rotate those blocks as the seasons change. We really want to make it easy. If you’ve got a lot of Halloween content, I want to see a really clear Halloween block right now, honestly, 9/20, your Halloween stores will thank you, right there on the top of your home page. And then we should really be making sure that we’ve updated the sidebar with Halloween and fall content.

Speaker 3 (00:45:11):
If you have room on your mobile menu, maybe we have a fall link, maybe we have a Halloween link that goes directly into a Halloween category. Seasonal triangle, you see that, patent pending, seasonal triangle. We update the sidebar. We update the modern homepage or the homepage. And we update the mobile menu whenever we can so that we have all three of those reinforcing each other with seasonal content. So if you can do that for fall, great, if you could do that with Halloween. Halloween stays as it is, and then on November 1st, boom, everything switches over to Thanksgiving. And then we go to Black Friday. And on Black Friday, everything switches over to Christmas or holiday. And then on January 1st, we’re automatically switching over to New Year and new you content. And then we’re going to continue to do that throughout the year so that we can have strong reinforcement signals on the entire site that this is content that I know people are looking for by I’m showcasing it more visibly, and I’m also providing strong site-wide signals to that content to kind of give it a viral lift that maybe Google will reward me for. Common sense, it’s all it is, common sense, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re optimizing for users and seasonality, and we’re doing both as easily as we can.

Speaker 1 (00:46:22):
Not re-inventing the triangle here. All right, let’s open it up to Q&A. First question… By the way, if you see a question ever in the Q&A box and you’re like, “I would love the answer to this,” you don’t need to re-ask it in the Q&A, you can press the thumbs up. And then it moves it up to the top, and it tells me, your host, that everyone really wants this question. So, the top question is from Amy

Speaker 4 (00:46:44):
Pretty much like giving us the finger. I’m sorry.

Speaker 1 (00:46:46):
Oh.

Speaker 4 (00:46:48):
I’m sorry. Think of it like giving us the finger.

Speaker 1 (00:46:49):
No, I thought I was giving you the finger. No, okay.

Speaker 4 (00:46:54):
Sorry. Sorry. Don’t let me interrupt anymore.

Speaker 2 (00:46:55):
Awkward.

Speaker 1 (00:46:56):
Just slightly. Okay, question from Amy, “Do you recommend adding videos to help boost existing seasonal posts?” Should we add videos? What do you guys think? I know the answer.

Speaker 2 (00:47:07):
Are they a ranking factor? Do we need videos to rank?

Speaker 3 (00:47:11):
I guess the question is, if you have the videos, go for, it’s not going to hurt you. It could only help you. I mean, it’s not going to hurt you by adding the videos. I tend to recommend, and Amy, I think maybe correct me if I’m wrong, the Universal Player is probably the easiest way to do that with Mediavine specifically so that we can just have them monetize the videos directly. Then we can have them serve the video with an optimized H2 title below the first featured image, so that way we could kill two birds with one stone. We’ll still get benefit of the recipe schema. We can still qualify for a carousel or whatever. We still qualify for the videos tab on Google search, but we don’t necessarily have to worry about gumming anything up or monitoring, and we can clearly monetize the videos.

Speaker 3 (00:47:53):
To me, there is no reason to use video unless we’re monetizing it. That’s a thing, is that it tends to monetize well, but I tell you, all the data I see is that people just are not really sold on the video. I’m going to use one quick example here. As many of you know, my daughter is now in culinary school because it’s killing my waistline. She is bringing home lots of savory versus sweet food depending upon the week. She’s always on her phone looking at the sites that he audits or looking at other sites. I can tell you that it is crazy, she does not watch video. I think it’s a generational thing. They like to thumb through the process shots. I’ve always seen it. Sometimes they’ll pull up Alexa and do it that way. But to stop it and start another video is just annoying when you’re in the kitchen trying to make a video. So you either watch the whole video and then have to come back and review notes or you just basically do the process shots and thumb your way.

Speaker 3 (00:48:47):
That’s been what I have been seeing quite for quite a while now, for a couple years, which is why I’ve never been super big on video even though I know it monetizes extremely well.

Speaker 1 (00:49:01):
Andrew, did you have…

Speaker 4 (00:49:02):
Oh, I was just going to say, Mediavine’s answer would be, “Do you like money?” I think like Casey was saying, that’s the reason.

Speaker 1 (00:49:10):
But that’s their answer to the jump to arrival button too, and I say, “Hey, no, I don’t like money, I like usability. I don’t like to piss off those people that have visual disabilities.” I mean, it’s crazy how many comments I’ll get, I had one user send me a comment, she pasted it to me, I even used it in a slide, that the jump to arrival unit literally caused them to have a… I don’t even know how to describe it… a visual panic attack because it jumped around the screen so much that it literally caused them to disconnect with the site itself.

Speaker 1 (00:49:46):
If only one person can have that experience, it’s probably one person too many for something that, so just think about that. It’s okay not to get to teal. Waste of time. Okay. Please, optimize for users. No one but you is going to care about getting to teal. Okay?

Speaker 1 (00:50:05):
Definitely. All right, next question from Enza, “If you update a post to make it better, should you request that Google re-index the URL?”

Speaker 3 (00:50:15):
Are you giving that to Arsen? Because I tell you, I don’t see any reason these days to really use the URL inspector tool or to resubmit most things, especially if you’ve already submitted a valid site map and you see Google revisiting your site regularly, which I’m seeing more and more. The whole point of the URL inspector tool is to troubleshoot.

Speaker 2 (00:50:35):
Right.

Speaker 3 (00:50:35):
It’s not there for you to keep submitting new posts over and over again as you update it. I just don’t think that’s valid. I think that there’s a reason that Google removed the tool a year and a half ago because it was being so violated, and I think that they could easily remove the tool again at any time. I just don’t see the need to do that at all.

Speaker 2 (00:50:53):
Right. Only if you’re troubleshooting an issue with the website and you need to understand what’s happening is when you use that URL inspection tool. There’s really no need. Google is smart enough. Google knows when you have new content. Google will make up it’s mine and when it’s ready for it. Yes, there are crawlability, renderability, all kinds of issues, and Google itself has issues from time to time, but there’s really no need to force indexation anymore.

Speaker 1 (00:51:24):
Great. Next question from Cheryl, “When you’re looking at the top 20 to 30 posts in a month to see what needs updating, are you focusing on the highest clicks or the highest impressions?”

Speaker 3 (00:51:37):
That’s a very valid question. I think that you could use-

Speaker 2 (00:51:39):
Impressions.

Speaker 3 (00:51:40):
… both. Yeah. Yeah. I think you have to take a different tack to both of them though. If you know that you’ve got some posts that have extremely high conversion but there’s low clicks, maybe we need to look at maybe changing the contextual nature of the keyword to match the content. If we know that we have something that has high clicks but low conversion, then that’s an interesting situation where maybe we need to finally dial in the content even a little bit more around a specific focus keyword. Maybe we look at trying to dial that in because impressions are not the end-all be-all.

Speaker 3 (00:52:15):
And that’s also confusing, and I know Arsen will back me up here, the impressions data can be horribly inflated in Google Search Console because the impressions data is based on different search features that even the average person might not even be able to track on desktop. It could be incredibly crazy. I could have an impression because I was showing on a sidebar for a video related query, and I might not even see myself on the page. Period. But it’s there even though I’m rotating through six or seven pages of results.

Speaker 2 (00:52:45):
You were saying conversion and clicks. Did you mean something else or did you mean conversion? Casey?

Speaker 3 (00:52:55):
Clicks.

Speaker 2 (00:52:57):
Okay, so impressions and clicks, not conversion-

Speaker 3 (00:52:59):
No, impressions, impressions [inaudible 00:53:01].

Speaker 2 (00:53:01):
And, right, right. Okay. Yeah, definitely, high impressions, low clicks would be where I would… because that means that you’re surfacing, right?

Speaker 3 (00:53:10):
Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2 (00:53:10):
It’s the same thing as looking at your top 20 but not in top three positions, so you can also filter that way. Third party tools will be a little bit better at combining that search volume with the keyword which you can’t get inside of Search Console right now. So you can see, “Okay, there’s definitely demand for this.” But you can gauge it by how many impressions you’re also getting compared to other posts. But yeah, definitely impressions and mid to low clicks.

Speaker 4 (00:53:38):
I’m going to also going to throw out there is just look at your content and decide if you want to update the content or not. Think of your user, and is your content good or is it content that needs to be updated? Don’t just say, “I’m going to look at these 30 posts because this is the traffic data.” Use your brain and look at the post and say, “Hey, should these be updated?” Because there may be other things that should be updated because you don’t like the content anymore or it’s four years old. I think that’s a great way to get a list to look at, but then that’s not the definitive list to go edit, right?

Speaker 2 (00:54:10):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (00:54:10):
Does this content spark joy?

Speaker 4 (00:54:12):
Exactly.

Speaker 2 (00:54:13):
Right.

Speaker 1 (00:54:15):
I thought you were actually reading that from somewhere. A question from Marissa, which we have couple minutes left, so a couple more questions. Marisa: “What’s the current recommendation on the best way to show the updated versus published date? Is there a preferred plugin or theme feature activation in order to show this?”

Speaker 4 (00:54:36):
The FEAS plugin has this option built in, I believe. Skylar added that a little while back. The way I like to do it is to show the published date and the modified date, but only show the modified date if it’s more than a week later. I just feel like that’s a little cleaner. So if you publish something and then update it the next day to fix a typo, it doesn’t say, “Published on September 19th, updated on September 20th.” That’s not particularly useful on a food blog. On a news website, that’s very important so be careful what’s appropriate there. But I feel just having a one-week quarantine period or grace period before you actually show the modified date gives you a little bit of breathing room to edit and just fix things right after you publish it, and it’s still useful. That takes a little bit of code to do. I’m trying to remember if there’s a plugin that… I think there’s a plugin that can do this. I’d have to look it up. We could put that in the show notes if I can find it.

Speaker 1 (00:55:30):
Yeah, we can add that in the resources section.

Speaker 4 (00:55:33):
But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with just having… Even if the dates are the same, it’s not bad to do that. It can get a little cluttered above the fold, but if you do it in a small font, that’s not tiny but not overpowering, you can have the two dates there. Personally, as a reader, I like that information, that context. It gives you more context of what you’re seeing right at the top of the post, how old it is, how often you refreshed it. I’m trying to think, Marissa, if [inaudible 00:56:02] has it. It might take a little bit of custom code though. So Marissa, you might have to shoot me an email to get that on your site.

Speaker 1 (00:56:08):
It looks like Skylar did jump in with FEAS, “We can update the plugin to only show updated if it’s a week later.”

Speaker 4 (00:56:14):
Oh yes, that’d be great, Skylar. Thank you. Perfect. `.

Speaker 3 (00:56:17):
Thanks, Skylar.

Speaker 1 (00:56:19):
Awesome. Last question of the day, but have no fear, the rest of the questions that are in Q&A will get answered in the recap blog post that goes live a week later. But last question is going be from Liz. It’s a long one. “If multiple posts need a full overhaul, keyword research, rewrite, new optimized photos, new blog template, et cetera, is it better to make all the necessary changes to each post before publishing it even if that means that fewer of the seasonal posts will get updated in time this year? Or is there a way to prioritize pieces of the update to get the post updated and republished more quickly and then come back and make the remaining changes either after the season or ahead of next time? Is it okay to do it in pieces or how do you prioritize especially if you have a lot of content to update?” Fantastic question, by the way.

Speaker 2 (00:57:06):
Take it away, Casey.

Speaker 3 (00:57:08):
This is a tough question, and you’re going to hate my answer, which is that your goal is to make every piece of content the best it can be. We don’t make half-assed or half-jointed changes to post just so that we can try to hit more posts at that time. I really believe it’s bottom line quality, especially now with the helpful content update and the increased core updates that we’re getting time and time again. I would really urge you to prioritize the post that I know I think I can make the biggest impact with. And let’s bottom line focus on making sure that each post is presented on the best foot forward it can be, and then we move on to the next post. I just am not a big believer in trying to hit dozens and dozens of posts with half-effort updates just because it’s a numbers game. I don’t believe in that approach at all. My goal is bottom line, individual content examples. My goal is to try to make each post the highest example post it can be and then move on.

Speaker 3 (00:58:07):
That’s why I recommend your top 20 post. I don’t see any reason, and again, it’s just me, that the average person can’t start right now and get their top 20 or 30 posts from the last season completely updated in detail and ready to go. And then when we have more time, then we can branch out from there. But I’m really a big believer in bottom line, individual quality of posts. That’s how competitive we’re in. So going in, making sure that all of those schema is filled out, going in, making sure that the recipe card has good notes in it. I think many of you have heard me talk about making sure that if someone was to print out one of your recipe cards that it does not print out more than two pages because that is really, really annoying to users.

Speaker 3 (00:58:47):
So start thinking about that, “Can I make sure that I’ve dialed in my recipe card so that it’s useful, but it’s not superfluous? Have I gone in and made sure that my posts are updated with a nice quality FAQ block? Have I added all of the bells and whistles of FEAS using the FSRI block as an example for related recipes? Have I used jump links if it’s an option for me? Or do I have a table of contents plugin? Have I gone in and made sure that my photos are sized to 1200 pixels wide? Have I gone in and made sure that my alt text is nice and detailed? I’m not writing a novel, okay, I’m describing something to someone who cannot see it. Have I got individual process shots?” That’s what’s most important. Toddlers and drunk adults, our goal is to make sure that anyone with no cooking experience, the Casey Markees of the world, can go in and make your recipe without burning their hand or setting the kitchen on fire, which again, to my defense has only happened twice.

Speaker 3 (00:59:42):
So again, definitely something to be thinking about there. Focus on bottom line quality. Everyone’s always looking for shortcuts. I hear a lot of people are like, “I have so much content, I can’t tackle this.” You can. All you’re going to have to do is split it up into buckets. “This is content that I’m going to get to immediately. This is content that I’m going to make a note of it, and I’m going to get into it when it’s seasonally appropriate.” If that means for many of you on the call that you do not publish new content, do not publish new content. A blog is not a book that we continue to add pages to over and over again and whoever has the most pages in the book wins. This hurts you. Our goal is to make sure that every post on our site is generating traffic, that it’s generating positive signals. And to do that, sometimes we have to slow down and push our content aspirations to the following year.

Speaker 1 (01:00:30):
And that-

Speaker 2 (01:00:30):
Good answer, Casey. Good answer.

Speaker 1 (01:00:32):
Great answer. That’s a perfect way to wrap it up. We will get this published with the video recap, the resources, and the Q&A for you guys by next week, next Wednesday. Please, if you haven’t already, go ahead and drop your question in if you really want to get a question in the very last minute. Otherwise, thank you everybody for joining us. Thank you panelists for providing all of your amazing answers, Arsen for your backdrops that have been most entertaining all episodes.

Speaker 2 (01:01:01):
I’m here to keep everybody focused.

Speaker 1 (01:01:03):
Yes, you’re doing a fantastic job. We appreciate you.

Speaker 3 (01:01:07):
[inaudible 01:01:07], everyone. We wish you well, we’ll see you again soon.

Speaker 1 (01:01:08):
Have a good one.

Speaker 4 (01:01:08):
Thank you very much.

Speaker 1 (01:01:08):
Thank you for joining us.

d

 

About The Panelists

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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