TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers Live at Tastemaker: Keywords, Topics and Intent: SEO For Bloggers Episode #31

Live at Tastemaker: Keywords, Topics and Intent: SEO For Bloggers Episode #31

Recap, Q&A, + All the Resources

We headed to Chicago for a Live SEO for Blogger’s episode on stage at the Tastemaker Conference!

 In this episode, our panel of experts discussed why creating high-quality content that aligns with relevant keywords, and user intent is crucial for ranking higher on Google.

And why satisfying users’ search queries and providing them with a positive user experience can lead to increased traffic and engagement, helping to establish bloggers as an authority in their niche.

Use these buttons to jump to sections, and don’t forget the “back to top” button (bottom right) for easy navigation:

Replay the LIVE Webinar

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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!

Question 1

How do you make the call between creating a well-optimized category page vs a roundup post? It seems like the SERPs are all roundup results now.

If your category pages are optimized, create a category to provide the same user experience as a roundup post, and you have enough content/recipes to fill that category. If they are not, then create a roundup post. Google treats these exactly the same.

Question 2

Does DA determine if a post will rank higher when targeting a keyword? For example, if I have a lower DA and have ranked 1 or 2 for a keyword, but when another site with a higher DA targets that keyword, they almost always outrank me.

Answered Live on Webinar.

Question 3

I’ve been spending my time updating previously published content rather than coming up with new content. What’s the work flow for intent & keyword research when the topic has already been published?

Answered Live on Webinar.

Question 4

If 10 people use Chat GPT to write about X, will it give the same results each time? i.e., the top 5 side dishes for shrimp tacos.

No, it gives a different response each time.

Question 5

Sometimes I see blue and green keywords but when I Google it, it seems like many bloggers have already gone for the keyword. How can it still be a blue or green word, and how can I rank?

Good question! The tool you’re using may not be updated OR there could be 1 or 2 lower authority sites in the top 10 positions. You could still rank well, regardless. Write better content than the top results, use the lower authority site as a guide (they must be doing something right), and promote it everywhere you can.

Question 6

I noticed in Keysearch that the difficulty scores change in as little as two months – usually higher (more competitive). Should we go back and update titles with a better keyword? Or just ignore and hope for the best?

Good observation. This depends on where you’re ranking for that target keyword and how old the post is. But approach these posts like you would for any other post that is not producing traffic. Analyze your rankings, see if there are other’s doing better, and go from there. If the post is over a year old and stagnant or declining, then yes, update it. But if it’s only been 2 months since publishing, wait longer before updating.

Question 7

Is it good to use something like the optimizer in RankIQ to rewrite/revise posts? How much of your post should you rewrite to change the date?

Any optimizer tool can be helpful and offer new suggestions. If a post is not doing well, try what you can to change things up and make it better. Just don’t over-optimize while trying to please the tool. I like to change the date and republish when I add 1-2 new sections of content or swap out the photos especially if the post hasn’t been updated in over a year. Just make sure the content is in season when republishing.

Resources & Links

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

  • OpenAIChatGPTChat GPT is the new AI research tool that’s taking the SEO world by storm
  • Semrush Topic Research Toolkit – Special section of Semrush made just for topic research
  • Keysearch Keyword Research Tool – A keyword research tool
  • Jasper AI – An AI content writing tool
  • AHREFs Backlink Research Tool (and suite of SEO tools including keyword research, site audit, etc.)


Melissa Rice (02:39):
We are doing our 31st episode of SEO for Bloggers. So glad to be here. Live in front of everybody.

Ashley Segura (02:47):
Woop woop.

Melissa Rice (02:47):
We also have attendees joining through Zoom. So hi everyone at home.

Andrew Wilder (02:52):
Hi Zoomers.

Arsen Rabinovich (02:53):
Doing it live.

Andrew Wilder (02:55):
Hey, how many of you are familiar with our SEO for Bloggers webinars? Yay.

Melissa Rice (03:00):
Yay. That’s great.

Andrew Wilder (03:02):
How many of you have no idea what we’re talking about?

Melissa Rice (03:08):
Oh two hands.

Andrew Wilder (03:08):

Ashley Segura (03:08):
We’re not judging.

Melissa Rice (03:09):
You’ll figure it out today. Today’s episode is keywords, topics and intent. I know a lot of you are confused, so we’re going to explain it, break it all down for everyone today. We’re also going to have a Q and A at the end where we’ve got a couple team members who are going to hand out a mic and let you ask us some questions. We’re going to play a fun game called “It Depends”. Anytime you hear us use that phrase, “it depends”, please raise your hand and Dan in the back is going to call out who he sees first and hand them some really cool swag. We’ve got potato soup sweaters…

Arsen Rabinovich (03:53):

Melissa Rice (03:54):
Courtesy of Arsen, and pillows with some of your favorite faces up here.

Arsen Rabinovich (04:00):
Right. And aprons.

Melissa Rice (04:02):

Arsen Rabinovich (04:02):
The aprons.

Melissa Rice (04:03):
And aprons. That’s right! Oh, and Casey’s here too. He’s just really quiet today. But yes, so as some of you must already know, our experts here. We’ve got Arsen Rabinovich, Aleka Shunk, Ashley Segura, Andrew Wilder, and I’m your host, Melissa Rice. Oh, do you guys want to introduce yourselves to those who don’t know you?

Andrew Wilder (04:30):
Hi, my name is Andrew Wilder. I’m the founder and CEO of Nerdpress. We’re happy to be here sponsoring again with Tastemaker. For those of you who don’t know, we provide website support and maintenance for WordPress sites. I see many clients out in the audience, so come on and visit us on the third floor. If you haven’t already, we’ll answer your tech questions and we can tell you a little bit more about how we can help you with some ongoing support.

Ashley Segura (04:53):
And my name’s Ashley Segura. I’m the co-founder of TopHatContent and TopHatSocial. We offer content audits, topic ideation, topic calendars, paid social, pretty much anything you need within the content and social space for bloggers.

Aleka Shunk (05:07):
Hi, my name is Aleka Shunk, I have a food blog called Aleka’s Get Together. I’m a founder of Keywords with Aleka, which has a few keyword courses including Cooking with Keywords, and I offer all kinds of coaching services and well everything around Keywords.

Arsen Rabinovich (05:23):
My name is Arsen, I’m an SEO.

Melissa Rice (05:28):
Oh, come on, you’re a little bit more than that.

Arsen Rabinovich (05:30):
I’m the founder of TopHatRank. Work together with Ashley. We have a team. Those of you who worked with us, you know what we do. And we also created this webinar for everyone.

Melissa Rice (05:41):
And I forgot to mention, but for those joining us on Zoom, we’re going to take a couple questions, maybe one or two. So feel free to submit those in the Q&A in the Zoom. Right. We’re good.

Arsen Rabinovich (05:55):
You guys ready to get started?

Melissa Rice (05:56):
Yes, we’re ready. I think we should. All right. Like I said, we’ve got to kind of clarify what these three things are. So can you break it down for us, Andrew? Keywords, topics, intent.

Andrew Wilder (06:11):
So I’m not going to say the words yet.

Ashley Segura (06:18):
Oh, come on.

Andrew Wilder (06:19):
Okay. No, I’m just going to lay it out there.

Arsen Rabinovich (06:20):
You don’t want to do a practice one, you know what I mean?

Andrew Wilder (06:23):
Should we see if the system works?

Ashley Segura (06:24):
Yes, let’s check the system.

Andrew Wilder (06:25):
Okay. So really my answer to that is it depends.

Melissa Rice (06:29):
Over there.

Andrew Wilder (06:30):
There we go.

Ashley Segura (06:34):
Great job, everyone.

Andrew Wilder (06:35):
Everyone. All right, let me actually answer the question now. So keywords are often also called a keyword phrase are what people actually search for. So somebody types in to Google the keyword, the search query, that’s a keyword. The intent is what they’re really trying to get at, the why they’re searching the information they want. And then the topic is basically the overall topic. So I want to give you an example from a real world situation with a client of ours. She was the number one search result for foaming hand soap for years. She was crushing it on foaming hand soap. Well, her blog post was actually about how to make foaming hand soap. So when people were searching, they would type in foaming hand soap and she’d be the number one result and they’d click through and learn how to make the soap.

Andrew Wilder (07:14):
But one day her traffic just tanked and she was like, what happened? So we did a little bit of work and figured out finally nothing was wrong. Technically what happened was Google decided, hey, we’ve realized when people are searching foaming hand soap, they don’t necessarily want to make it. They might want to buy it. So all of a sudden Google changed the search results page. So the top half was all where to buy foaming hand soap, and the bottom half was how to make foaming hand soap. And she was still at the top of that section, but just moved her down. So she’s still doing everything right, she’s still winning. There’s no better way for her to do better on that search query. They changed it because Google realized they didn’t have the intent quite right for that keyword phrase. And so then the topic over this would be, of course, hand soap, hygiene I guess. So the intent is sort of the glue between keywords and topic.

Melissa Rice (08:03):
Excellently put. Arsen. Can you elaborate a little bit more on intent and why it’s so important?

Arsen Rabinovich (08:10):
Right, so let me ask you this. If I search for Apple, what do you think I’m searching for?

Arsen Rabinovich (08:19):
What else?

Melissa Rice (08:20):

Arsen Rabinovich (08:21):
What else?

Arsen Rabinovich (08:24):
Pie, what else? City? Name? So intent can be categorized in, so there’s different types of intent, but intent can be categorized into dominant, common and minor. So dominant would be the computer, the common would be the apple, the fruit, and the minor would be the name or the city, whatever have you. And Google looks at this based on how people interact with the page. So if I search for Apple and I’m consistently, users are consistently clicking on the result for the computer for the Apple company, Google’s going to prioritize those results towards the top of the result page. And then the common intent, the middle one for the fruit towards the middle, and then for the name towards the bottom, and that’s called the fragmented search result page. There’s different types of intent. There’s informational intent where most of you live, people want to learn how to do something.

Arsen Rabinovich (09:20):
There’s commercial intent, there’s navigational. I want to get to a website, and there’s purchase intent, I’m ready to buy. But for most of you, it’s mainly educational, informational intent. So that’s how Google really understands. And then there’s keywords which is the query, and that kind of drives intent or tells Google what we’re doing. So if I search for best socks for kids, I’m looking for information of what the best sock for my kids is, right? If I search for just socks for kids, I remove that best modifier, socks for kids. Google understands I’m trying to buy socks, so my results are going to be commercial. So that’s why intent is super important, especially for you. You want to make sure that the results for the topic and for the keyword that you’re trying to cover is going to be informational so that you actually have an opportunity with your content to be on page one.

Melissa Rice (10:09):
Okay, and how is that different than, I don’t know, figuring it out, the intent behind the keywords, right?

Arsen Rabinovich (10:15):
So those of you have had coaching sessions with me. I talk about taking it to Google right away. So you identified something you want to write about right away. You take it to Google and you look at the first 10 results or what used to be page one, and that’s essentially going to tell you what Google is considering or how Google is interpreting that search query. And then you’ll see situations where we call it fragmented or kitchen sink result. If you search for tacos, Google doesn’t know what do you want to do? Do you want to make tacos? Do you want buy tacos? Do you want to get them delivered? Do you want to learn the history of tacos? You get Wikipedia results on the side and usually that’s not a really good place for you to try to be with your content because there’s only maybe three results for actual blogs.

Arsen Rabinovich (10:58):
So Google is your best free tool for that. If you want to figure out intent, you go to Google and you search for it. For recipe content, adding the word recipe at the end of your query would be the best thing to do because Google will never be confused. Somebody searches for potato soup recipe that we’re looking to get it delivered, Google’s not going to think that, right? So adding the word recipe to the end of your query and doing a lot of your keyword assessments and topic analysis to add the word recipe at the end would be helpful. Or how to, right when you add how to in the front, Google will never be confused that you want to buy something or get to something, right? So again, going to Google would be the best way to figure that out. And it depends right there, right there, right there, right there, right there.

Melissa Rice (11:43):
Right there in front.

Arsen Rabinovich (11:43):
Keep your hand up.

Melissa Rice (11:50):
I think. Moving on, Ashley, what’s the best approach? What’s the best approach? Starting with keyword research or topic research and basically, how can people be a resource while still trying to rank?

Ashley Segura (12:05):
Totally. So it definitely depends, but it doesn’t really depend on factors. It depends on where you are as a blogger. So lots of times we see bloggers at the beginning think these are all the things I want to write, these are the things I want to write about. I’ve talked to so many bloggers at this conference so far about how, okay, I finally narrowed down my niche, this is what I want to write about. So you go into it saying, okay, I just want to write about potato soup recipes. I hate that that’s what I think of every time. But that’s the go-to.

Ashley Segura (12:37):
And so you want to create a whole blog just on potato soup recipes and you forget that, okay, actually if I want this to be optimized and people to actually find these recipes, I should think about the keyword research first. What are people searching for? And then create content around that. Versus as creatives, it’s hard to do, put our creative self aside and think, well, this is what I want to write. It’s totally okay and appropriate to create content that represents your brand and identifies who your brand is. Like if you’re a bakery, you’re going to want content on there saying, this is where I get my ingredients from. This is how I support the local community, the things that really define you as a brand. And those are pieces of content that you don’t care if they rank. Those are the ones that say who you are as a brand and really connect you with the customer. But when you’re creating content that you actually want to get found in terms of ranking, you’ve got to approach it from keyword research first.

Melissa Rice (13:33):
Do you have favorite tools that you use? How about ChatGPT. Ooh, the infamous.

Ashley Segura (13:42):
Okay, so tools first and then ChatPT. Tools, absolute favorite tool SEMrush, their topic research toolkit. Absolute favorite. I’ve talked about it on so many of our webinars on so many of my presentations. If you don’t have SEMrush, I know it. Paying for another tool or the idea of paying for a tool can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s 99 bucks a month. You’re getting a social tool, a content tool, an SEO tool, a local tool, an influencer tool. And there’s just so much inside all of that. You could rabbit hole inside of SEMrush for a really long time. But over at TopHatContent, we really dive into that topic research tool because you can put in a topic, if you’re a local brand, you can choose the specific city or state that you want results to populate for and it’ll populate all the who, what, when, where, why, how questions people are actually typing into the search results.

Ashley Segura (14:37):
It literally dictates the questions that they’re asking. You can come up with topics based on those questions and you can dive into sub-questions underneath there. And those can be your heading structures. It can really dictate a whole outline for you. So SEM Rush’s tool is my absolute favorite for coming up with topics at Top Hat content. We do content gap analysis as well to where you’re really trying to identify the keywords that your competitors are outranking you for, and then creating content around that, which I’m sure you’ll cover a lot of the keyword stuff. So I won’t dive in too much there.

Ashley Segura (15:13):
But as far as ChatGPT, I love it. I know we’re all a little scared of it, but I love it. Should it be the tool that you go to be like, come up with 20 new topics for me around potato soup to publish between April and May of this year and trust that every topic that it puts out is something that’s going to make you rank? No, definitely not. You still need to use your keyword research tools to say, okay, is what the topic that it’s putting out aligning with my keyword research goals and is this going to connect at all? Otherwise, you’re getting on that creative side again and just creating content based on topics you want to write about, not that you’re confident are going to rank. So it’s a great tool to use as a guide, but like all tools, it’s just a tool.

Melissa Rice (15:58):
So I guess that goes into my next question. Is it possible to rank with AI content written by?

Andrew Wilder (16:04):
It depends. Who got it? It’s an Andrew face pillow.

Andrew Wilder (16:09):
Oh my god, that’s amazing and really freaky, cute. And now I’m dizzy. Thank you.

Melissa Rice (16:24):
Where will he put it? I wonder.

Andrew Wilder (16:29):
And now I’m blushing. Great, thank you.

Ashley Segura (16:32):
I think it depends where he puts it.

Arsen Rabinovich (16:34):
What do we got? What we got what we got Dan? Another pillow. That’s a Casey face pillow with a cowboy hat.

Andrew Wilder (16:49):
Okay, I’m sorry, what was the question?

Melissa Rice (16:51):
Is it possible to rank with AI-written content?

Andrew Wilder (16:54):
Yes. Okay. However, you need to be really careful. Google actually put out a whole page on this, I think on their developer’s blog on February 8th. We’ll get the link in the show notes if you want to come back. They basically said good content is good content. And that Google’s been saying that for years, right? They’ve been dealing with computer generated content on a lot of sites. What I would suggest is don’t just trust Chat GPT. It’s a really good tool. And I want to give you an example that’s not a blog post, but an email. How many of you earlier this week got an email that said, is your website up Schitt’s Creek?

Melissa Rice (17:25):
I got that.

Andrew Wilder (17:26):
Okay. Now 73% of you should be raising your hands because that was our open rate on that email.

Melissa Rice (17:32):
They don’t remember.

Andrew Wilder (17:33):
It’s okay, it’s okay. It was a long time ago. So I was going to write an email like, Hey, come visit us at Tastemaker up on the third floor in the Nerd Press lounge. We’ll help you with your site, blah blah blah. Love Andrew. And I’m like, so uninspired. And then I found that gif of Moira Rose saying, I have questions. And that gave me the idea, hey, let’s play with this a little bit. So I said to ChatGPT I had to write an email first because I didn’t want to write the whole email. I had to write an email saying come to the third floor. And I wrote something that was pretty good and then I said, okay, rewrite it in the voice of Moira Rose. And it did it and it was amazing.

Melissa Rice (18:09):
So cool.

Andrew Wilder (18:10):
It was so cool. So then I said, huh, okay, let’s play with us some more. How about a scene between Moira and David? And it wrote the whole scene. Yes, I get goosebumps now. It wasn’t what you actually received in the email. I spent probably two hours iterating with it and saying, Hey, I want a different catchphrase. And then it says, folding the cheese. And I’m like, what? Right? But I had so much fun writing that and putting that together for you guys, and I’m like, okay, this is going to be way more compelling. I hope it was than a really boring email. And then I kind of brought it back together. So I had to manually do a lot to make it fit and be really genuine and feel genuine. But it was such an amazing tool and experience for me that I don’t fear it. I love it because I actually like writing this stuff now.

Melissa Rice (18:51):
I like it because it gives me a lot of validation. I like ChatGPT for that. I’ve done my own kind of research and compiled content and then compared it. And it comes pretty close. But you always have to put your creative spin on it. But it brings me validation, it helps me to know I’m doing a good job, I guess.

Andrew Wilder (19:10):
And if you’re writing your blog post, use it. You can use it as a first draft, but then definitely make sure your voice is in there. Right? So that’s exactly, and that’s how you are going to rank with AI-generated content because it’s not just AI, it’s AI plus you.

Melissa Rice (19:21):
Yep, exactly. Aleka, is there a good target for keyword competitiveness? For beginners especially?

Aleka Shunk (19:29):
I mean, I think everyone’s that’s here uses a keyword tool. And if you’re not using one, you should. And they all offer a different competitive score, difficulty score. Obviously zero is the easiest. I’ll refer to key search since a lot of us do use that and it’s very cost-efficient. But of course going for the blue keywords are the best keywords. If we can find that it’s like a winner and we’re like, shh, don’t tell anybody we found it and we attack it. Right? But that doesn’t mean that you know can’t go for the green keyword. So blue is 20 and under, great keywords, if you find one, your chances of ranking are very likely. The green are great. I’m blogging six years now. You don’t have to be a beginner to target blue or green, but if you can find them, I’m always keeping an eye out.

Aleka Shunk (20:23):
But don’t let that deter you from going after a more competitive keyword. So a lot of people I’ve talked to in the last day here, I feel like a lot of people are frustrated or beat down by all of the ever-changing rules of SEO. And I get it, I get the same way too because keyword research can and SEO can kind of pull that creative piece out of us. And it’s unmotivating at times and I get it. So don’t let that volume or that difficulty score be the end all be all with whether you go after a keyword, if you find a keyword that you really like and it’s like a yellow higher than you really want, really want, don’t be like, oh fine, I’m not, I’ll just pick another one. Go after it.

Aleka Shunk (21:13):
So for example, if you’re publishing three recipes a week, maybe make two of them SEO optimized. Look for a blue-green keyword in your favor. And then that third one, make it an F-it keyword, I call it. So screw it, go after it, even if it’s a yellow or red, take your chances and make sure it’s a keyword that you really want to create a recipe on because that’s going to keep you motivated and it’s not going to be a lose-lose in the end. And you never know in a year, two years, five years, you still be able to rank for that keyword.

Aleka Shunk (21:48):
Just make sure it has a volume. The volume’s there, you’re good. You never know what you’re going to be able to rank for. And I’m always, when I’m researching and analyzing other bloggers and I’m like, wow, I would’ve never thought that this low authority blogger could rank high for this keyword and look at them. So think outside of the box when it comes to difficulty. Don’t let that be your end all be all okay. And keep that creative. We all need that creativity and that to fulfill our passion. So two to three, two to one ratio I think is good.

Melissa Rice (22:22):
And there’s proof. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen new bloggers rank. Yes, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Ashley Segura (22:27):
I think it also depends on your authoritativeness.

Arsen Rabinovich (22:31):
Right here.

Arsen Rabinovich (22:34):
What do we got there? A sweater. Potato soup sweater.

Melissa Rice (22:37):
Yay. Eleka. I know Ashley touched on some favorite tools, but are you using Chat GPT? Do you have a favorite keyword research tool?

Aleka Shunk (22:48):
I have used it for a non-recipe post. It was amazing. I’ve used, I don’t know if you guys know Jasper, it’s much better than that. It just goes and goes. And it’s awesome because it won’t recreate the same exact content. So if you say do this and if you say it again in another computer, it’ll be totally different. But yes, I’ve used it. I haven’t used it for recipe posts. Because I’m a little bit weary of what it’s going to produce. But I don’t really use it that much. My go-to tools are a Keysearch. Rank IQ I use, Ahrefs is my, that’s my jam. That’s like if you can afford it’s like so worth the investment. It’s very similar to SEM Rush. I’ve used that before I went to Ahrefs and I stuck there just because I am super familiar with it now and I forced myself to learn it.

Aleka Shunk (23:43):
And yes, that’s what you have to do. I know it’s super intimidating, but force yourself there. You’re going to become, I mean you guys all created blobs. You guys are tech savvy. You’re going to, you can learn that if you just put the time into it. But Keysearch is my go-to. I love how it has, you were talking about the content, topic research tool in SEMrush, Keysearch, which I emailed if you’re on my subscriber list. I emailed everybody about the features and key search that some people don’t know about. They have a content assistant that shares with you the must words, the semantic keywords include in your posts. It provides you with a snippet that’s pulled from the top results in Google that give you an idea of what other bloggers are talking about and maybe topic ideas. It gives you popular questions around that topic.

Aleka Shunk (24:31):
It gives you header ideas so that maybe you can reformat your post when updating. It gives you to the SRP analysis straight in the tools so you don’t have to go to Google and even has a AI feature now if you haven’t noticed, it’s not as fun a ChatGPT, but they’re trying to keep up. So there’s a lot that key search is adding and they keep providing. But one thing that I don’t like about key search, I don’t know if you guys are aware that when you’re analyzing your own keywords, it limits to a thousand keywords that you can see. So if you’re, you’ve been blogging a long time, you should be ranking for 20, 30, 40, 50, a hundred thousand different keywords. It only shows you the first thousand results, which kind of sucks. So that’ll be maybe the sixth result and then below the sixth result, I was looking earlier, well where, what’s on page two? So it’s limiting, it’s inexpensive compared to Ahrefs. But like tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs, you can see all your 30,000 keywords and search for the keywords, which is super, super helpful and time efficient. And I mean it pays for itself. So I think it’s a great tool.

Melissa Rice (25:40):
But good for beginning.

Aleka Shunk (25:42):
Yes. Yes, absolutely.

Melissa Rice (25:44):
I think we’re going to segue into topics now. So Andrew, when updating old content, is it okay to change the topic? And what should bloggers avoid when doing so? Should they avoid changing anything?

Andrew Wilder (25:57):
Oh, it depends. Y’all saw that coming, right? What do we got? I think so what do we got? We got, oh, there. So if, what is that? What is that an apron? Yay. Ooh.

Melissa Rice (26:07):
Have fun with that

Andrew Wilder (26:13):
Many faces. Many faces of Arsen. Yes. So if you’re updating old content, the one thing I want to tell you not to change is the url. Don’t change the url. I know it’s painful because you wrote that blog post two weeks into blog and you talked about the farmhouse trip and the three recipes that went with it. And you want to get rid of the farmhouse stuff because it’s off-topic. Don’t change the url, right? Because if you do that it Google thinks it’s new content, you’ve basically just wiped out the history for that url. Okay? So that’s like the one big rule is don’t change it. But you probably don’t want go too far off-topic. If you’re going to totally change it around, just write a new post. So you don’t want to totally reinvent the wheel there. But beyond that, you will be in a different place and have different experience now you from compared to when you originally wrote it and use that experience and really I think expand the topic. And you may want to expand part of the topic and shrink part of the topic if you were kind of covering a few different things. But yes, don’t change the url. That’s the big takeaway.

Melissa Rice (27:07):
We get that question a lot. So thank you. Aleka we’d love to know specifics and details on, I guess low competition and high volume. Can you break it down for us?

Aleka Shunk (27:19):
I mean, I talked about the competitive score already. Obviously the lower the better, blue go for it. Green, go for it. But volume is always tricky because it depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (27:36):
Oh, that’s a Arsen face pillow. Lucky you.

Aleka Shunk (27:44):
Definitely another one. That’s a real photo of you.

Aleka Shunk (27:45):
It depends on obviously

Arsen Rabinovich (27:49):
One more.

Melissa Rice (27:50):
That one was on accident.

Aleka Shunk (27:51):
Same. It depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (27:54):
That’s a sweater right there. No, no. We’ll get you one. We’ll get you one.

Melissa Rice (27:59):
She’s got her hand up.

Arsen Rabinovich (28:00):
That’s fine. We’ll get you one.

Aleka Shunk (28:01):
If you’ve been blogging less than a year, your volume would naturally be lower because that’s going to be tied to a lower competitive keyword. But I mean, personally, if I was just starting off and I have minimal posts, I wouldn’t target anything lower than 300 total monthly search volume. And I think that’s the operative word total. Because a lot of people only look for that number directly related next to that keyword. That’s target keyword. But you’re not taking into consideration all the other variations that are connected to that keyword that could be hiding. Or maybe the tool isn’t spitting out or lost maybe below somewhere. So making sure that you’re looking at the total volume and a good way to do that is to type your keyword into Google, take a URL from a top competitor in the first position, plug it into key searches explorer and see what keywords they’re ranking for and say, oh wow, all these different variations.

Aleka Shunk (29:04):
They’re in the first and second position. Let me add up this total in my head. And wow, a hundred here, 200 here, 150 here. It ends up being maybe 500, 600. A key search was only spitting out maybe 75 for that keyword. So you got to do a little bit of math and a little bit of analyzing and taking consideration. That total volume, kind of like Rank IQ does, if you guys are familiar with it. They give you the total yearly volume that you should expect from one keyword. If you search that keyword, it’s not going to say 50,000. It’s all of the variations that Rank IQ takes in consideration, which is why it’s a popular tool. So 300 would be nice to start total, but I mean 500 the longer you blog 1,000, 1500, but there’s no max. But just make sure you’re only getting a percentage of that volume. If you’re in the first position, you’re not getting 300 if that’s the total, maybe a hundred, like 33% of that. So that’s something to take consideration too.

Melissa Rice (30:04):
Nice Arsen. Should people still go after these high-volume keywords if their DA is low? We get this question all the time.

Arsen Rabinovich (30:13):
So you’ve heard me say this, Google has no concept of domain authority. It’s not a part of any of the patents that they filed. We’ve had people in the industry look over that. They have their own thing. It’s called page rank. And it’s not about your page. It’s named after Larry Page, the founder of Google. It’s his algorithm. So Google doesn’t understand domain authority. Domain authority is a third party score. I think ATR has their own right domain rating and SEM Rush has domain or it’s something else. It’s just like the…

Aleka Shunk (30:41):

Arsen Rabinovich (30:44):
Yes, yes. Look, same thing that kind of applies to keyword difficulty. It lies the tools lie. Sometimes they see, I’m like, oh, this is an awesome keyword. We have 46,000 monthly searches, keyword difficulty 43. But then you actually look inside of Google and you’re like, oh, it’s all big brand sites ranking there. So even though the keyword difficulty is very low, looking at what’s realistically there, you’re probably not going to beat out these large brand sites. So in certain situations, well, I want to say this, A lot of the time content will still move you into the page one positions or the top 10. Now there’s no more page one. The top two spots are typically reserved for either topical depth. So sites that are specifically own that topic like WebMD, or if you search for Thai food recipe or any say Thai dishes, it will be a site that only covers Thai food that’s going to be there.

Arsen Rabinovich (31:45):
So you have that topical depth, you also have that authority, right? Sites with a lot of back wings. But then when you look at, you can do this in any tool, pretty much you can look analyze page one or the top 10. If you look from position three to about position seven, you have a nice mixture of sites or pages that don’t have a lot of authority. They’re there because of their content, because they’re doing one or all or a combination of any of the following very well. They’re matching the topic and the query. They’re doing a good job at satisfying what the user is searching for. The second thing they’re doing well is they’re effectively predicting and satisfying the intent behind that query why the user is searched for it. And then the third thing is they’re covering that topic in its entirety based on what Google considers that entirety to be.

Arsen Rabinovich (32:38):
And the easiest way to explain that is peanut butter jelly sandwich does not require a thousand words of content. Ukrainian borsch probably does. So again, and I’m annoying with this page one of Google or top 10 results will tell you what Google is expecting to see.

Arsen Rabinovich (32:54):
So if you’re doing those three things very well, you will hit page one. Now, doesn’t happen all the time, obviously there’s caveats to that and you really have to do a really good job with your content. Doesn’t mean you write a lot, right? Doesn’t mean put 3000 words on the page, but the main authority should only, we look at the main authority when we’re doing link building. We’re like, okay, how many? It’s kind of tells you how authority that site is and how much authority might it potentially pass to us. But as far as ranking power, it just doesn’t correlate. Because when you plug things in, it doesn’t always correlate because I have clients who have lower DA, are ranking above sites that have higher DA and that just doesn’t always play out. So I wouldn’t look at it as a solid metric for myself when making a decision whether I’m going to go after a query or not. Look at page one, look at the top 10 results and it will tell you if it’s possible or if it’s not.

Melissa Rice (33:41):
Excellent. I think we should carve out some time now for questions. Do we have someone with a microphone to pass around? All right. Anybody with a question? Yes, I see a hand over here first.

Speaker 1 (33:58):
So in terms of search intent, for example, I was doing some research for a client the other day and she wanted to do a garbanzo egg salad. Everything on the first 20 results that came up were all vegan, but hers was a garbanzo and egg salad. Is that something that I need to take into account in terms of intent?

Arsen Rabinovich (34:24):
Yes. It depends. That’s what I meant.

Ashley Segura (34:25):
Right up there. Get those aprons out.

Arsen Rabinovich (34:28):
Nice. But this is a potato soup sweater.

Melissa Rice (34:33):
They’re cozy.

Arsen Rabinovich (34:35):
So her result wants eggs in her garbanzo bean salad. But all the results don’t have eggs. But egg was in the keyword title.

Arsen Rabinovich (34:52):
This is one of those where… Go ahead.

Aleka Shunk (34:55):
Is there a volume for garbanzo egg salad? That sounds like a vegan variation of an egg salad, right? So eggs I don’t think would be matching user intent. I think most users are expecting to find no eggs in a vegan option.

Andrew Wilder (35:21):
For sure, unless there are no garbanzo and egg salads on the internet. So it’s either Google saying, I believe people want garbanzo’s as a replacement or no other posts that have this. So that’s why it’s serving that.

Arsen Rabinovich (35:34):
Well. It’s the human layer, so what we talked about about earlier, right? So it’s like when you get a chance to do a search for orange chicken sauce, right? Orange chicken sauce, you’ll see that only three results on page one are for the sauce, everything else is for the recipe. And that’s a byproduct of people engaging, pogo sticking, people engaging with the search result. They’re clicking on the result and they’re like, oh, this is not what I want. And they’re going back and the thousands of people performed that Google collects the data and then reformulates those results. So most likely what happened, and you’re absolutely right, most likely what happened is that a byproduct of that people were, when searching for that, they’re looking for the vegan part of that. And then the machine learning process kicked in and said, well, the human data is dictating this, so we’re going to change the results to beat this.

Arsen Rabinovich (36:18):
But the sucky part about that is that it can change really quickly again. So with every Google update, this result page changes a little bit, and every time it collects data and it runs a new core update, that human layer goes into effect the data that it collected and then it reformulates those results again.

Ashley Segura (36:35):
Now if there’s a keyword sprawling for egg salad with garbanzo beans, that would be right. If the volume’s there don’t worry much about the difficulty but the volume, then that’s what it would be worth going for. Not garbanzo egg salad though.

Andrew Wilder (36:57):
There’s going to be like seven more garbanzo and egg salad recipes coming out now.

Aleka Shunk (37:02):
I know you just gave it away.

Andrew Wilder (37:04):

Ashley Segura (37:05):
I think it depends on if people are vegan though.

Andrew Wilder (37:10):
Oh it depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (37:10):
Over there. Over there. Yes. We haven’t been giving this section love. There we go. Good job! Apron.

Melissa Rice (37:18):
Anybody else with a question?

Speaker 2 (37:21):
Oh, does the age of a post matter if it’s formatted well, the content is good. So I’m an OG blogger and we have good content that now been blogging for 12 years, but some of our good content is five or six years old. Is it worth going back and just updating the date just to see if that’ll help? Or does Google care?

Ashley Segura (37:43):
Never update the date unless you’re actually updating the content. It’s a cheat way through, but doesn’t actually work because you can change the date sure and users will see it in the search results. Like, oh, this is in 2023, I’m going to click on it. Oh, but everything’s still about 2021 or it’s hard for recipes to be that specific about dates, but if you’re going to update the date, definitely optimize the post, change the content in there, update the photos, use that as a great opportunity. A post that’s 10 years old has great opportunity to still be optimized and still rank for keywords. Especially because as mentioned, things change, specifically keywords change what we’re searching for changes on a very regular basis. So definitely take the opportunity to update your older content because it can really depend on nothing. It just depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (38:30):
Let’s go this way, this area. Right there. There you go.

Ashley Segura (38:37):
As far as advantage, yes, a huge advantage to updating your old content because you’re not reinventing the wheel, it’s already there. You’ve already created the recipe, you’ve already written the bones and structure of it. It just needs to be optimized. I like to tell our clients a 60/40 rule, 60% of your time should be updating and optimizing your existing content. 40% should be creating new content. We’re no longer in the mentality of just publish, publish, publish, publish. We need tons of content. We need thousands of word articles out all the time. And we need to be doing this on social, on top of the email newsletter and everything else that you’re doing.

Ashley Segura (39:13):
Update what you already have and put less resources to always trying to pump out new content.

Melissa Rice (39:18):
And I feel like when you’re re-optimizing, you can almost kind of get inspired on what to make next.

Arsen Rabinovich (39:24):
Plus Google knows if you just change the date it sees, it knows.

Melissa Rice (39:31):
Always watching. In the back.

Speaker 3 (39:35):
Oh, sorry. So my question is, let me put my coffee down. I’m new to this, so maybe this is a question or something that I should already know, but I do a lot of Mexican recipes, so a lot of Sope de Albondigas and I use traditional wording and then it’s like in parentheses meatball soup. So when it comes to keyword titling, my recipes is Sope de Albondigas competing with Latin written out recipes or am I competing with American recipes with U.S. Google? I don’t know. And then some of my recipes I keep in English and then some of them I get requests to have it rewritten in Spanish.

Aleka Shunk (40:21):
I was just about to ask about language.

Speaker 3 (40:23):
So I do that then, but it’s just for titling and key wording. I’m not necessarily trying to get the Spanish market because I’m wanting to bring Mexican food into people’s homes here that in the U.S. Who don’t usually make it or people who grew up in it and never learned their grandmothers and mothers didn’t teach them those traditional dishes. And so I want you to have that connection.

Aleka Shunk (40:55):
I think, I mean sorry. If the results are all in a different language, then I think that would be the heads-up that, hey, we’re probably targeting this type of, these people speaking this and that want to read this. But I’ve also seen people use both titles. If you’re targeting English readers, then I would just keep that though. Otherwise or vice versa. Or you can just mention it in the intro as well. The fancy, I don’t even know how to pronounce that. You can mention that in the intro and then Google will pick that up as well. But seeing the results will tell you a lot of what to expect.

Arsen Rabinovich (41:42):
You also have a few spots on the page where you can convey that contextual message. So you have your meta title, you have your H1, and you have your recipe card, and they don’t have to be the same. So you can focus specific keywords in specific subtopics across those three. So you can have your meta title be both and your H1 just be English, right?

Speaker 4 (42:08):
Hi, I have a recipe that in the past four months has gone kind of viral, millions of views on the reel. And I went from maybe 500 views here and there. It’s gotten just in the past month, I think 28,000 views. So it’s biscuits. So people call me the biscuit queen. I do biscuits all the time. I make breakfast on my story. So here’s the thing is my husband says you can’t just keep doing biscuits. Well, apparently I can, but because that’s what the, if I do a reel that’s not biscuits, I get 2000 views. I do a reel that’s biscuits, I get 720,000 views. But here’s the question, how do I continue to develop biscuit recipes without cannibalizing my biscuit recipes?

Arsen Rabinovich (43:00):
They don’t have to all be the same biscuit, right?

Speaker 4 (43:02):
No, I just published one for Gruyere biscuits with bacon and chives and it seems to be doing okay. It just came out yesterday, so it seems to be okay.

Arsen Rabinovich (43:08):
I would create a biscuit category, biscuit recipes, plural, and then just put all your biscuit recipes in there.

Speaker 4 (43:15):
But it’s not like keyword wise, are they going to eat each other alive?

Aleka Shunk (43:19):
That’s a good question I get all the time. I think if you’re targeting this homemade biscuit recipe, they’re not all going to be able to rank for that maybe two. But the longer term keywords, you’ll be able to rank individually. They won’t compete because it’s targeting a specific type with Gruyere cheese or with this baked all the different variations. But the main overall large keyword might compete unless you have one overall general homemade biscuit recipe.

Speaker 4 (43:49):
I do. I have a sticky buttermilk biscuit and then I have the sweet biscuit and then I have the crispy bottom cheddar biscuit. I have just da, da, da, da.

Aleka Shunk (43:58):
Yes. And it’s important to make sure that another longer tail version of that isn’t competing with the general homemade biscuit. So analyzing your keywords, but usually it won’t as long as you’re focusing just…

Speaker 4 (44:08):
I mean it’s crazy. What happened is because it’s flaky biscuits, Bon Appetite has them, everybody has them. But I’ve gone from 34th or 50th to, for flakiest biscuit, I’m number four and I have a DA of four.

Aleka Shunk (44:32):
A lot of traffic.

Speaker 4 (44:32):
Shout out to the little guy.

Aleka Shunk (44:34):
So you got a lot of traffic from social, is that what you said? Reel?

Speaker 4 (44:39):
It started with that, but now most of my traffic on that specific recipe is direct organic search. So Google must have decided that maybe I know something about biscuits.

Aleka Shunk (44:54):
Keep an eye on it. I hope it doesn’t drop, but just if you’re not constantly getting that traffic.

Speaker 4 (45:00):
It’s constant.

Aleka Shunk (45:01):
Okay, good. I hope it stays.

Speaker 4 (45:02):
Every day on a Tuesday at 9:00 PM I mean, it’s weird, biscuits.

Ashley Segura (45:10):
And continuing to publish more content on biscuits. It’s going to continue to show that you’re an authority on making biscuits and that yours are the flakiest. And I do vote that we should probably change out potato soup for biscuits because everything you said sounded so good.

Arsen Rabinovich (45:24):
I disagree.

Melissa Rice (45:24):
A cheddar biscuit.

Arsen Rabinovich (45:24):

Speaker 4 (45:27):
Oh, the biscuit with the cheddar cheese skirt, that’s all in there.

Arsen Rabinovich (45:32):
Can I come over?

Ashley Segura (45:35):
I think it depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (45:40):
Oh. All right. Go, go.

Melissa Rice (45:41):
Good luck Dan.

Arsen Rabinovich (45:42):
We have a question here.

Speaker 5 (45:51):
To our titles of our recipes. So a meatball soup for example. How do you make your recipe stand out in search results and add modifiers without changing the user intent? How do you balance that?

Arsen Rabinovich (46:07):
I’m going to quickly jump in on this. So be very, very careful with that, especially since I think it was the December update, we saw a huge shift. Google’s super specific now, right? I’m going to use the potato soup example again. And I’ve talked about this I think on the September conference, the virtual taste maker conference for potato soup query, potato soup recipe. We used to get baked potato soup in the top 10 results, not anymore. And it was a cooking dot, New York Times article. It was there, it was solid. It’s now like position 30 if not less. Because Google understood again that human layer that people who are searching for a potato soap recipes are looking for that, not a baked potato. So be careful with those modifiers. Don’t over dilute the focus of the topic within that title. So be very careful. So best, easy, homemade, those are great, but when you start adding ingredients that starts diluting that focus.

Melissa Rice (47:08):
I think we should reserve a question for our Zoom attendees. Matt, are you…

Arsen Rabinovich (47:14):
Zoom people.

Ashley Segura (47:15):
Hey Zoom.

Melissa Rice (47:17):
Do we have a question?

Matt McWatters (47:21):
So in regards to updating previously published content, what is the workflow for intent and keyword research when the topic has already been published?

Arsen Rabinovich (47:32):
Wow, good question, Matt.

Ashley Segura (47:36):
It depends real quick.

Andrew Wilder (47:37):
Good choice.

Ashley Segura (47:38):
Right over there.

Arsen Rabinovich (47:39):
Can you find an easier one?

Arsen Rabinovich (47:43):
Geez, that was a big one.

Aleka Shunk (47:45):
I can answer that. Check the Google results first and see if intent is on, because I had somebody I worked with, they were targeting red velvet Pop tarts high volume keyboard, but she was getting no traffic. So then you Google it and guess what’s coming up? It’s Pop-tarts product, red velvet Pop-tarts. And I’m like, this is why. So this is why we do a keyword research and make sure would’ve never known that Pop-tarts has a red velvet Pop tart brand al that you can buy, but she went through the process of making her own homemade version and she wasn’t getting traffic. So check the results and make sure that it’s informational, not transactional. And then check the keywords for your post before you update it to see if your target keyword is anywhere near the first page. If it’s not, then and see what is, what keywords is Google ranking this post score and think, well why? Maybe my post is not optimized properly or maybe I should re-target and target different keywords.

Andrew Wilder (48:39):
So I just want to add on top of that, when you’re updating posts, it’s a good opportunity to not over-optimize like so many of you probably in the past and put the same keyword in all the headings. So updating is the time to fix that and make it more natural. And think of your readers. That’s my catchphrase. I want a pillow every time I say that. So just use what you’ve learned and apply that and add the keyword variations that you’re finding, but you make it. Always think of your reader and make it as human and human focused and not just writing for Google.

Melissa Rice (49:10):
Kind of more conversational.

Ashley Segura (49:12):
Yes. We have a whole SEO for bloggers episode on over-optimization, and I highly recommend it because especially when you leave Tastemaker, you’re like, okay, need to go do all of these things and then you’re going to do a lot of them. And definitely check out that episode for more details on making sure you don’t over-optimize.

Aleka Shunk (49:29):
One thing on that, because I feel like a lot of students that ask me questions, they say, why isn’t this ranking or moving? It’s completely under-optimized, not even close to over-optimizing their titles. Titles are very generic and it’s not moving. And I said, well, maybe you try something different. Then maybe you throw a keyword in at the top and you answer a question involving, maybe we just do something different. Just change it up and see what happens from there. Because if it’s not working that way, don’t be afraid. You guys, I think most of, not to over-optimize, but don’t be afraid of keywords. They’re your friend.

Arsen Rabinovich (50:12):
And Google is not that strict with that anymore. We used to, Casey and I used to beat our chest. Don’t over-optimize. Don’t put your keywords in your headings. Google is not as strict anymore. We’re noticing that a lot of, even on the technical side, Google is very closing its eyes on a lot of the stuff that we used to make sure you fix. It doesn’t really matter anymore. Google understands it. This is it for this reason.

Ashley Segura (50:35):
It depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (50:36):
Oh, yes, yes, yes.

Melissa Rice (50:38):
It’s been neglected. Right here. Right here in the blue shirt.

Arsen Rabinovich (50:41):
Yes. How are we doing on merch over there? We still got a lot?

Melissa Rice (50:46):
We have exactly.

Arsen Rabinovich (50:47):
All right, let’s do this section.

Melissa Rice (50:51):
I was going to say we exactly have 15 seconds now we’re down to ten.

Arsen Rabinovich (50:58):
Oh, okay. Yes. Oh, so no, no question? You don’t have a question right here?

Melissa Rice (51:02):
Do we have a mic we can give her?

Speaker 6 (51:08):
So let’s say you have a recipe that ranks number one on Google.

Arsen Rabinovich (51:17):
Don’t touch it. Don’t even look at it.

Speaker 6 (51:17):
It has never been optimized. There’s one picture on it.

Aleka Shunk (51:25):
Can I say something? I know you shouldn’t. You say don’t touch it, but it depends. And this is a serious it depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (51:39):
It’s so stressful for you, man. I’m sorry.

Aleka Shunk (51:44):
It depends what keyword you’re in number one for. It blank what keyword you’re ranking in the number one spot for, if it’s a 30 volume keyword and it’s not your target keyword, then yeah, update it. You know what I’m saying? I think everyone’s target that’s like…

Arsen Rabinovich (52:02):
That’s a good keyword.

Aleka Shunk (52:03):
Yes. Okay.

Arsen Rabinovich (52:04):
Don’t touch it then. Sorry. Sorry. I cut you off. Cut you off.

Speaker 6 (52:08):
We actually know it’s got like an iPhone picture.

Aleka Shunk (52:10):
Terrible photos?

Speaker 6 (52:11):
Yes. Not optimized.

Aleka Shunk (52:13):
No one minds it.

Arsen Rabinovich (52:17):
If it’s number one, Google thinks that’s the best answer to the user’s query. Right?

Ashley Segura (52:21):
And if it’s maintaining that you don’t want to mess with it. It depends.

Arsen Rabinovich (52:26):
It depends.

Melissa Rice (52:28):
Right there.

Arsen Rabinovich (52:30):
All right. All that is all you guys. Thanks everybody.

Melissa Rice (52:32):
Thank you.

Arsen Rabinovich (52:32):
Thank you so much.

About The Panelists

Melissa Rice

Melissa, our webinar host, comes from sunny Los Angeles, CA. She is TopHatRank’s Client Success Manager; those who have chatted with her know how awesome she is. As she dives into the digital space, Melissa likes to discover new online marketing techniques and practices, UX design, and more. When she’s not working, you can find Melissa exploring the world with her young son or at home documenting her DIY projects.


Aleka Shunk

Aleka is the founder of Aleka’s Get-Together, a food and entertaining blog. She is also the creator of Keywords With Aleka, an online school offering courses focused primarily on keyword research and analyzing rankings. She was a teacher for ten years before turning her blogging career into a full-time job. Now she uses her expertise as a blogger and teacher to help others navigate this small but important piece of SEO.

Aleka on IG >>

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 >>

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 >>

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