TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers How to Monetize Your Blog; SEO For Bloggers Episode #27

How to Monetize Your Blog; SEO For Bloggers Episode #27

Recap, Q&A, & All the Resources

In this episode of SEO For Bloggers, the panelists and special guest and blogger, Abbey Rodriguez, shared how bloggers can monetize their content and ensure their technical foundation is set up for success. They covered everything from the basics, such as brand sponsorship and how to display affiliate links correctly, to the more complex issues, like working with ad companies and making sure your display ads still provide a great user experience (while getting you clicks!).

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

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Q&A With The Panelists

See each of the questions and answers asked during the Q&A portion of the webinar. The answers are provided by the panelists.

Question 1

What is the best way to monetise a food blog with about 25k pv?

Answered Live during the Q&A.

Question 2

Just accepted by Mediavine – is there a guide on best practice (for me and users) on how to manage the ads?

Answered Live during the Q&A.

Question 3

Regarding ads, is there a way we can find out which keywords have high RPMs when doing keyword research?

This information is hard to come by… and it’s not just the keywords you target for search that make a difference for RPMs. Advertisers can include “negative” keywords as well, so they can keep their ads from showing up next to content they don’t want to be associated with. For example, if your post is about alcoholic beverages, you may have lower RPMs because many advertisers will include that as a negative keyword/category. If you have a question about a specific keyword focus, it’s best to ask your ad network directly.

Andrew

Question 4

Regarding technical performance, as CWV isn’t pass/fail, is there a range that we should start paying attention at? (e.g. below 60/ 70/ 80 on mobile)?

That 60/70/80 “big number” in the “Diagnose Performance Issues” Performance test data (“Lab Data”) is derived from a calculation using the six individual test metrics. This is a simulated test, so it doesn’t translate exactly to what the real-world metrics show in the Core Web Vitals (“Field Data”) metrics. On the other hand, the CWV Field data is a trailing indicator, showing data from the past 28 days.

So you really need to keep an eye on both, and learn the typical correlation between your site’s lab data and field data. Once you get a feel for that, you can keep an eye for any changes in the lab data that might impact the field data. And, you can watch the field data to see if it’s moving up or down — clicking “Expand View” in the CWV section also gives you more granular details (including the % of overall traffic in the various ranges).

Note that the CLS lab data only looks at “above the fold” layout shifts, while the field data looks at the entire pageview. So new shifts below the fold won’t be visible in the lab data, only later in the field data.

Andrew

Question 5

What determines your Rpm?

Answered Live during the Q&A.

Andrew

Question 6

@Andrew – what did you say your current monthly pageview was? $30K earning at $600 monthly?

Yep, give or take. So about $20RPM. My understanding this is on the lower end of what Mediavine publishers are getting, but my site (in the health food niche) has always been a bit lower and I also don’t pack the ads all over the place.

Andrew

Question 7

Generally are the companies open to working with food bloggers not based in the US (but targeting US audience) for sponsorships?

The audience is definitely the most important factor for the advertiser or sponsor. Most ad networks won’t care where you actually live. The individual sponsor or PR firm may have their own requirements, however.

Andrew

Question 8

Andrew, [you said to nofollow all links in a sponsored post. Do you mean] ANY link in the sponsored post? Even internal links?

Ah! Sorry for being unclear there. Any link to the sponsor needs to be nofollow. Internal links should definitely stay do-follow.

Andrew

Question 9

Should Amazon affiliate links also be marked ‘sponsor’ (in addition to nofollow)?

Answered Live during the Q&A.

Question 10

Can I just remove the links to the sponsor and update pictures without their product if the contract doesn’t mention a time limit. It’s been 3 years.

There’s no standard here, and without a contract or agreement on the timeframe, we can’t advise you on what’s okay… you’ll need to make that decision yourself. Also consider if you ever want to work with that sponsor again, of course!

Andrew

Question 11

Ok, so if I mark a post “Sponsored” and then set the links as “no follow,” can the post still have SEO value and drive organic search traffic from Google?

Yes!

Andrew

Question 12

If we create a post based on a partnership, when we go to touch up that post in a year or so, will it hurt us to remove those affiliate links while keeping the content?

You need to follow your agreement with the sponsor, of course. But beyond that, consider what is best way to improve your content for your readers, and make any changes with that in mind.

Andrew

Question 13

% wise – what is the best % for ads? Google suggests nothing over than 30%. What is the happy balance? 20%? 24%? 28%

Answered Live during the Q&A.

Question 14

I don’t have ads yet on my site. Is it good to “group” H2s with the content now while we’re writing blog posts so when qualify for ad networks, we do not have ads being inserted and breaking up sentences?

Answered Live during the Q&A.

Question 15

How do you find agencies to join for freelance work and sponsorships for someone getting started.

Answered Live during the Q&A.

Question 16

Is setting up a shop page in the website a good way to make money with affiliate?

It can definitely help add a revenue stream to your site, but of course it depends (!)… on your audience (are they already looking to buy whatever it is you’re recommending?), on your topic/niche (if your site focuses on a specific appliance, for example, you may do well with affiliate links for that appliance), what products you’re linking to in general (are they $5 items or $500?), and the affiliate programs themselves. One caveat: Don’t install a “big” ecommerce plugin like WooCommerce for something like this, though. Check out Shop Page WP, a lightweight plugin for adding a shop page with affiliate product links.

Andrew

Question 17

Andrew mentioned earlier it’s important to cultivate an engaged audience. Does anyone have any advice/best practices for growing an engaged following, while your blog is still small?

Create content so good that they’ll want to come back for more, and build trust by engaging and interacting with your readers as much as possible. Reply to comments on your site and on social media. Make it easy for them to sign up for your email list. (Providing a valuable “freebie” for opting-in can help.) Once they sign up, send a sequence of emails over the next weeks/months that “brings them in” to your world, and also provides huge value for them. Above all else, be authentic.

Andrew

Question 18

Can you please explain what “group” H2 with the content means. Related to a question above.

With some ad networks, it’s possible to wrap sections of content (such as an H2 and the paragraphs that follow in that section) with tags that will prevent ads from loading inside the tags. This can help you get the ads to show up in locations that don’t interrupt the flow of the page as much. (Such as after those paragraphs, but before the next H2 header). Here’s Mediavine’s help article on how to do this.

Andrew

Question 19

Is it worth getting convert kit then to sell these products? What products do you mean Andrew?

This could be any kind of digital product, such as a PDF (perhaps a collection of recipes around a certain holiday), or a skills course (knife skills! perfect cake decoration!), or anything else that would have value for your readers. It could also be a paid newsletter subscription (think Substack) that has bonus content only for those subscribers. ConvertKit does have ecommerce options now, so if you’re already using CK that could be a good way to go. There are many other services that can help you sell as well.

Andrew

Resources & Links

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

Transcript

Ashley Segura (00:00):
All right. Before the internet goes out once again, we’re going to go ahead and get started. There is enough of us here. Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us and welcome to the 27th episode of SEO for Bloggers.

(00:13):
Today we’re going to talk about how to make money with your blog and all the technical aspects behind it with everyone’s favorite experts, Arsen Rabinovich, Andrew Wilder, and a very special guest, Abbey Rodriguez. As always, I’m your host, Ashley Segura.

(00:28):
Thanks for tuning in with us today. As always, we’re going to have Q&A at the very end, so make sure and drop your questions in the actual Q&A box. If you drop any questions in chat, we cannot guarantee that they will be answered, so please make sure you put them into the Q&A actual box at the bottom of the Zoom. If we’re not able to get to all of them live, we do make sure every single question is answered in the recap blog post, which is published about one week after the webinar goes live.

(00:57):
So without further ado, let’s get started talking. Abbey, start us off with sharing a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been blogging.

Abbey Rodriguez (01:06):
I started blogging back in 2010. I started as a fashion blog, and then it turned into a mommy blog, and then 2015 rolled around and I was like, “People are making money off of this. I should probably niche down.” So I started a food blog called The Butter Half. And then approximately 2017 rolled around and I was like, “Food bloggers love each other and they love hanging out.” There is not this vision that I had for creating this community for food bloggers and content creators, and it’s like this conference needs to exist. So then, I founded Tastemaker Conference and five years later here we are doing all the food blogging things, content creation in the food space. Have a lot of experience learning how to make money doing that, so I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Ashley Segura (01:57):
Thanks so much for joining us and definitely agree with Amy. It’s definitely the best conference ever. Can you share a little bit about what it looked like at the beginning of your blog monetization? How long did it take before you actually started making money from your content and what were your numbers like, as in traffic numbers, sorry.

Abbey Rodriguez (02:19):
Full transparency around that. I made the bulk of my income off of freelance work and doing content creation for other larger magazines, but I was able to start monetizing around, when Mediavine had the 25,000 sessions per month threshold, which it’s gone up significantly now. But I was able to get on when I was at the peak of 50,000 sessions, things like that. It never was something that was this massively huge traffic earner for me, but I really leaned into the concept of multiple income streams and not just putting all my eggs in one basket.

(03:01):
I remember listening to a podcast episode with Bjork on Food Blogger Pro, which Arsen just had his episode come out, so full circle there. Really leaning into that concept of, “I really want to make sure I diversify,” so doing brand partnerships. And that was the thing, I feel like there was some of that passive income with the ad revenue, there were brand partnerships, there were freelance opportunities, some affiliate marketing, things like that. Then it turned into a thing of consulting. That’s ultimately how Tastemaker came about, because I had so many people asking me, “How do you make money from a blog?” I was not, again, having these huge numbers, but it was income for me that was working and growing consistently. And so, I realized there’s actually a lot of value and money to be made from education and events in the food space too, that’s where that started.

Ashley Segura (04:04):
How long was it that you were starting to make money from the actual content itself before you decided, “I need to have multiple incomes. This isn’t just going to be my only income.” Or was it right away that you were like, “This is nice, but it’s not something I can rely on 100% right now.”

Abbey Rodriguez (04:23):
I actually started making money in the process of when influencer marketing became a thing before it was even called that in, I would say 2012, the 2012 to 2015 years of doing partnered work, brand partnerships, things like that. I was not taking it seriously. I was like, “This is just a hobby. I guess this person wants to pay me for product placement or to represent or be a brand ambassador,” whatever the deliverables they were asking for. That’s when I had that realization, with creating a food blog specifically, because people like this content, they want this content, they’re engaging with it. 2015 was the decision when I was like, “This is my job. I am going to make this my career.” Really, it was more than anything, I think a mindset shift. So it wasn’t so much numbers as it was, “I am going to do this.” And then I feel like that helped me accountable to invest and move the needle in those ways that would help me get to the point where I wanted to make X amount of dollars.

(05:29):
I would say that in terms of the actual food blog side of things though, it happened pretty quickly because I already had those existing relationships that I just simply, I funneled into food content and I came back to these people and was like, “Hey, this is what I’m doing now,” and really trying to focus on as much as I could with SEO, but that was not a big thing for me. I didn’t know a lot about it. I went through the whole Casey audit and all of that and had been down that path too. That definitely helped a lot in terms of just trying to focus on SEO and being able to qualify for Mediavine and get on that way.

(06:04):
It’s still a consistent thing. I abandoned my food blog for two years during the pandemic and really to hone in and focus on Tastemaker and now trying to resurrect it and implement new strategies so that ultimately I can still come back to the community and say, “Food blogging is not dead. It’s not at this thing where it’s oversaturated and you can’t do it because everyone’s doing it.” It’s existing almost as a case study for myself in 2022, 2023, 2024, to be like, “I started these practices doing this and look how much the growth has happened there.” While I could say yes, it took two to three years, it depends on your goal.

Ashley Segura (06:46):
Well done. Well done. I love that you mentioned that, even in a saturated market, there’s still so much opportunity. Because there’s a lot of new bloggers who tune in and just have a really hard time with, “Well, where do I start? How am I really going to take off? How am I going to be different?” You really narrowed yourself in and got rid of all the other verticals and niched down and that’s such a great strategy.

(07:09):
Arsen, from a technical standpoint, where would you even begin to ensure that your blog is well positioned for monetization?

Arsen Rabinovich (07:18):
From a technical standpoint, you want to watch out for a few things that can impact or affect your current SEO. If you’re at a point where you’re building up to the point where you’re getting those numbers and you’re getting ready to start monetizing, you want to make sure that you continue doing that. With the addition of ads, a lot of times you’re going to see a little bit of an impact on your web performance, and Andrew will talk about that in a second. You want to make sure that before you start doing that, that everything is already in place. So you want to be very mindful of your core web vitals, how quickly things are loading.

(07:57):
You want to make sure from a technical perspective that your site is in tip top shape. And majority of that will be with web performance. So speed, core web vitals, cutting down on those image sizes, all of that. And I think that’s pretty much it from a technical perspective. There’s things you can do with your content and everything else and be careful about affiliate stuff, but speed and web performance would be the main thing you want to worry about.

Ashley Segura (08:23):
What would happen if you don’t have your technical base? Are ad companies just not going to reach out to you, or is it more of a user issue, or what are the negative side effects to not-

Arsen Rabinovich (08:35):
So we all know that web performance is important, page speed is very important, it helps with rankings. If you already not doing so well and you layer in the ads, and let’s say you’re working, I’m not going to name the ad network, but there’s certain ad networks that are not optimized in the delivery process and do slow down your website. And in some situations, when I do consulting and I do coaching and audits, we look at it and we’re like, “Look, this ad network is really…” We look at core web vitals and we’re looking at what’s loading, what’s slowing down the site. And we can look at it and say, “Look, the very little money that you’re making with this very not top shelf network that you’re with right now while you’re waiting to go to the bigger players, like Mediavine and AdThrive, is really harming you.” The few pennies, the few dollars that you’re making through these ads is not worth the damage that you’re causing through web performance to your ability to rank and gain more traffic.

Ashley Segura (09:45):
That makes a lot of sense. Andrew, on the technical aspects still, what are some plugins that you’d recommend having or are there any technical features that you should have enabled?

Andrew (09:56):
Well, I think it depends on where you are in your monetization journey.

Arsen Rabinovich (10:00):
It depends.

Andrew (10:02):
For those of you on the call who are not yet on it with Mediavine and AdThrive, I’m going to pile them all in there, just like a big old bowl of candy corn. Sorry. We’ve talked a lot in previous webinars about all the technical elements and we just shared a couple links for site speed. I think you want to be building a site that works well for your visitors. That’s the most important thing. It’s all the same recommendations, really, for that kind of thing. If you’re going to work with a larger network like Mediavine and AdThrive, they have their own tech stack, you’re going to install their plugin and they’re just going to take care of the ad serving. It’s one of the beautiful things about them, is they just take care of it. And then you can work with them to optimize it, but it’s all added automatically.

(10:49):
If you are trying to monetize before that, and you’re trying to DIY it, you can use certain plugins to help with that. Could start with AdSense. It’s a real simple tool to just drop in an ad tag. I think I’m going to sort of pivot this question and say, the thing you shouldn’t do is hard code any ad tags or short codes. That’s a big mistake I’ve seen people make. So if you are literally writing a post and inserting the code for an ad into a post, that seems really convenient and easy. But once you do that on 50 posts and then you decide you’re going to Mediavine, you have to go back through and remove all those tags, the same thing with short codes. Even if you’re using an ad inserter type plugin, where you put a short code where the brackets, and I know this is pre-block editor, but it’s still possible to do that kind of thing, where you have to go through and clean that up.

(11:36):
You could use reusable blocks as an option, if you’re careful with those. But I just want you to think about that in advance. Think down the road, how am I going to… I don’t want anybody to pin themselves into a corner, I guess, is maybe the best way to put it. If you do want… Oh Lord, here it comes. Thanks, Harrison. If you do want to use a plugin to help you with that, Ad Inserter is a pretty good option and there’s a pro version as well. Let me get you the link for that for a quick second. Bit of a trailing slash there, sorry

(12:10):
And so that can do things like insert an AdSense code every fourth paragraph, that kind of thing. But I do want to underscore what Arsen just said is, if you’re looking at making $10 a month from ads, you’re better off just not doing the ads, not trying to recoup your… I see a lot of people are being like, “I’m paying $20 a month for hosting, I have to recover that cost.” And I think you’re slowing yourself down and you’re actually going to just get in your way and you’re better off spending your time creating great content and building your traffic so you can get into one of the bigger networks. Of course ads are just one of the ways we’re going to talk about with monetizing, right?

Ashley Segura (12:48):
Definitely. We’re going to expand a little bit more. Andrew, as a fellow blogger yourself and an SEO, what are some realistic figures that a blogger can expect to make in the beginning? And I’m sure there’s going to be variations and lots of “it depends” that’s coming, but what are the reasons for the variations?

Andrew (13:08):
So it depends on how many ads… If it’s ads, it depends on how many ads you’re running, what network you’re using, all of those things. Every ad unit will have an RPM number, it’s a revenue per thousand. RPM, it’s mil, like thousand. So the number’s always like, “Per thousand impressions, how much does it pay?” And an individual ad might be $2 to $4, somewhere in that range. So you put four ads and you could be making $15 RPM across your page views. So a thousand page views gets you $15. I know in Q4 with video and with sticky ads and all the things that Mediavine and AdThrive in particular are doing, it’s not unheard of to see a 70 or $80 RPM. That’s high, but I see people reporting that in the forums and so that’s the holy grail. And then, when you like, “Don’t touch your site, just keep it running and watch it rain money.” That’s not the norm.

(14:04):
I’d say Q4, 30 to $45 is kind of the numbers I’ve been seeing around. And Abbey, jump in if I’m off here, I think the topic makes a big difference. My blog is Healthy Eating and it’s also neglected for many years, but it has never performed as well on an RPM basis because it’s all about healthy food and I’ve excluded junk food ads and I’ve excluded all these things. I don’t want ads for handguns to show up. I’ve limited a lot of the stuff because I think it’s off brand. And so, I’ve also narrowed the pool of what I’m willing to make money on. So in terms of actual figures, I’ll share my revenue numbers on Eating Rules, on my food blog right now. It’s on Mediavine, the traffic has dwindled, because I’ve neglected it, because I’m so busy helping everybody with their own sites. And I’m getting about, I think we’re in the range of 30,000 page views a month. And that’s bringing in about $600 a month.

(15:00):
So I’m at the $20 RPM. I’m loving it because I don’t touch it and it’s passive income, so I’m grateful for that. It could be better, if I put some work into it would go back up. But thankfully RPMs have actually been going up because of all the optimization that Thriving Media has been doing. So even as my traffic’s been going down, the revenue’s been kind of stable, which is really great. I used to also sell sponsorships, this was a few years back, but it would be anywhere… I did some sponsored stuff anywhere from $500 to a post, to $10,000 for a whole campaign. And that was an involved project with multiple emails and coupons and product placement and it was a big thing as part of my month long October on process challenge. So it depends. [inaudible 00:15:52] it right there.

Ashley Segura (15:53):
You knit it perfectly though, but really that transparency is really helpful. Every blog is going to be different. And then like you mentioned, there’s lots of different factors in there, but you started to touch on brand sponsorships, and Abbey, that’s definitely your specialty. Can you share a bit about how you get new brand sponsorships and what that process looks like? How do you choose which brands to work with or do they choose you?

Abbey Rodriguez (16:17):
There are multiple ways of going about this. And we have a lot of great resources at Tastemaker about pitching brands, which I think you’ll probably include that in any show notes that you’ll all get, that follow up if you haven’t already accessed it and you’re not a part of our community. But really, there’s multiple ways you can join an agency where they already set a flat rate and it’s easy because you have somebody doing the work for you and you’re a part of their list and their roster and they reach out to you based on your metrics, your demographics, if you’re a good fit. I will say, it’s a good place, I think, to start, I used to do a lot of that type of sponsored work just because it was easier. Now it is more of a custom tailored one-on-one approach, where I’m vetting the brand and really honing in on their values if it aligns with what I’m doing on my site, if it’s something I actually use.

(17:12):
Because I think there needs to be a lot of transparency around that. It’s easy, I think, when you see somebody offering you a lot of money but you’re like, “That doesn’t really fit.” I think everybody has at some point in their career, if they do sponsorships, compromising, I think, the ethics of that. “Am I doing this just for the money or is this the right fit?” And I think that comes ultimately down to the whole conversation of user experience. This doesn’t make sense, if you need to make the right choice and make the next best decision there. That’s something to look out for, but in terms of getting the brand sponsorships with those people, it’s a whole process of a pipeline, but identifying them, finding them on LinkedIn is a really good strategy. Finding people on social media, reaching out to the brand itself, sending them a pitch. But there’s an art, I think, to pitching brands and being able to talk to them and being able to find the right contact. There are a lot of different moving pieces that make it so that you can have more success that way.

Ashley Segura (18:15):
Could you give some examples of that? I’m really curious to hear, on LinkedIn specifically. Are you looking for a specific type of employee that works there and how do you find them?

Abbey Rodriguez (18:26):
That’s a great question. I will speak on behalf of the Tastemaker side of things. Obviously, we are selling really large sponsorships and I know it doesn’t necessarily correlate to blog traffic and, “This is what we can do for you.” But lately that’s been a big strategy for us getting brand partnerships, just to give them access to the food blogging community so that they can then take advantage of those things. And we look for the marketing department specifically, because a lot of times they are the ones who will be making those decisions. It also depends on the size of the company. If it is a huge corporation, there is a special marketing team you want to try to get, I think, involved with somebody who is easy to get into, who will probably look at your message on LinkedIn because the CEO is not going to give you the time of day or any C-suite people.

(19:18):
That’s just not going to happen. Don’t waste your time. Now if it’s a smaller company, few employees, I think that is the right person. They’re the ones making the decision. There’s a lot of just knowledge that I think you have to have, understanding how company structure works and who’s making the decisions based on ad spend and budget. For example, I know one of our account managers, Gaby, has been having a lot of success with reaching out to the right person. And recently got in contact with a beverage company and was able to pinpoint the head of their marketing department. And they were able to then get in contact with, “We actually have an agency that represents us.” We were able to talk to the right people. And then from there, it wasn’t this whole drawn out process through email. The biggest piece of advice I can give anybody is, get somebody face to face or on a phone call, keep your emails short and sweet and to the point, like, “We have this opportunity, we love your product, we really think this would be a great fit. Do you have time to hop on a 15 minute call?”

(20:24):
Make it as concise and detailed as possible so that people managing expectations know what to expect. That has been really successful, in terms of advice that is concrete in giving you a specific example. In terms of reaching out on Instagram, I feel I’ve had better success just on my food blog side of things or content creation that reaching out to brands that are smaller. For example, like a barbecue sauce company I have worked with and I reached out, it was years ago, but reached out to them and I know Instagram and social media is changing, but I think DM still function in that way, that it’s easy to find the right people that way and identify… The marketing team probably runs their social media page on Instagram and just sending them a DM, and again, the same pitch that you send to them, “This is what I do, this is how this could benefit you.”

(21:19):
And talking about the value that it adds to them, and really understanding the value of what you, as a creator, are bringing to these brands. And understanding the nature of marketing is changing, influencer marketing is more cost effective. It’s proven to have a lot of benefits and a strong ROI. And being able to speak to that and know what’s going on in the industry is really crucial. So I think before you do all of that, you need to understand what it is you’re selling and why it’s relevant and how you can prove an ROI, because businesses want to know that information before they make an informed decision.

Andrew (22:00):
Can I throw in also, the Tastemaker Conference is a fantastic way to meet brands. Abbey and her team are actually doing all the work to bring the brands to one place, to an expo hall, where you can literally walk up to them, give them your card and get their card and meet them and they’re there looking for people to sponsor ultimately, because you’re going to help them get their message out.

(22:21):
So a lot of it is showing up and networking and making those connections face to face. Literally, Abbey’s team is doing the work for you and finding those companies, because they want to do this. I also realized, a long time ago, the PR folks that often you work with, they’ll represent multiple brands and they’ll change jobs over the years and they keep their list. So once you make a few connections and they know you do good work and they can trust you, they’re going to start reaching out to you when they need to get 10 sponsored, posts or whatever it is. So it takes a long time to build and cultivate those relationships, but it’s totally worth it and it’s a long play to keep doing that.

Ashley Segura (23:06):
Good old fashioned PR. Andrew, do you have any recommendations on how many views or impressions that your site should actually be getting before you reach out to brands? Is there a baseline in the industry or does it depend?

Andrew (23:21):
I think people obsess about it more than the brands do. What brands are looking for is your reach, not your impressions. It’s not just about page views anymore, it’s about how many followers do you have on Instagram and how engaged are they? They’re really looking at engagement. If you’ve got a million followers, you could have just bought those. They might not be active or paying attention and reading. So they’re going to look through the history and see, are you replying? Are people chiming in and saying they love the recipe and you’re saying thank you. Is that engagement… Because they want that, so when you share their content that people are going to be engaged and it’s going to really be effective.

(23:58):
So it’s about building that community with your audience, so you can then connect your audience to the brand. I think you need to have some audience, but you don’t need to be at a hundred thousand page views a month or more. You just need to have cultivated an audience. And if it’s small, you might be not charging as much, but you might be working with smaller brands who are trying to break into a specific niche. So I think it’s really all about that connection.

Ashley Segura (24:26):
Abbey, at the beginning, sometimes you can just take whatever brands will tell you, “This is what we’re paying,” and you just say, “Awesome and thanks,” To start building up your portfolio and whatnot. But once you’re established, you’ve worked with a couple brands and you feel confident, how do you decide what to charge and what are the different pillars of charging for different types of content?

Abbey Rodriguez (24:50):
Good question. And my answer is that, I think there is a big shift happening in this industry, in terms of pay equity and taking content creators seriously as in, “The content you are making is inherently valuable,” especially if it’s for a brand. And you’re doing recipe development, and photography, and videography including their brand in product placement. I think you really have to think about it in terms of, “This brand can be taking this.” Maybe you charged $500 to make this content for them and they turn around, and depending on the terms of your contract, which if you’re a newbie, you might not know this, they take that, they have a contract that gives them all the rights to your images, they take that, they put it in a national campaign that turns around and makes them upwards of $2 million, for $500 that you charge.

(25:46):
So I think it’s really shifting your mindset around, you need to charge what you’re worth based on the time that it takes you and your expertise in terms of the content. Because I think you can sell the content in multiple ways, even if you don’t have a huge following. And really shifting that. We have a pricing calculator that I have created based off how I do pricing, which some people disagree with this. And I think it’s great to have different options, based on what works for you, but to calculate how much time it’s going to take you, assessing for an hourly rate of your time and then charging an amount based on your following and the audience, like Andrew was saying, that you have cultivated, there is value in that, that you can charge for that because that is exposure. They’re also paying for that element of it.

(26:37):
And then, charging for your materials and factoring in a percentage of your overhead costs to operate it. Your equipment, and your rental, your lease, if you’re renting a studio, there are so many different factors depending on how you set up your business. And then, factoring in you are a freelancer and you likely don’t have health insurance and all these other benefits, factoring in those percentages, your taxes. By the end of it’s going to be a substantial number, if you are valuing yourself properly and asking for what you deserve to get paid, instead of being like, “Here, we’ll give you a coupon for $10 for bread in exchange for you doing 20 hours of work.” So I just went on a tangent, I’m so sorry. I don’t even know if I answered the question.

Ashley Segura (27:30):
You did. You above and beyond answered the question and I absolutely love that there’s a pricing calculator, because pricing yourself is one of the hardest things to do. We always undervalue ourselves and our time and unless there’s an example or an industry standard out there, a baseline is just really difficult to come up with. So the pricing calculator is fantastic. The link for it is dropped in the chat, but don’t worry, it will be in the show notes, in the blog post recap as well.

Andrew (28:00):
Can I just say a note about pricing? I’m sorry to interrupt again, but someone very wise once told me, “The more you charge, the more you’re worth.” If you’re charging too little, you’re sending a message saying, “My work and everything I’m going to do for you isn’t actually worth that much.” And so you’re actually doing yourself at disservice and you’re saying, “Don’t hire me.” And the brands you want to work with are going to want to pay the rate because they know what you’re worth and they want to… There needs to be that mutual evaluation there. So just keep that in mind. Having said that, if there’s like a $500 stand mixer that you really, really, really want, do the post and get the stand mixer.

Abbey Rodriguez (28:35):
Totally. [inaudible 00:28:37]

Andrew (28:36):
That’s okay too. Don’t do it for a loaf of bread. I used to do posts just because I wanted the product and it was-

Arsen Rabinovich (28:44):
What’s wrong with bread?

Ashley Segura (28:47):
At least two loafs, at least two loafs.

Andrew (28:51):
You’re right. We also can’t get paid through exposure and so you don’t want to make that a habit, or if you’re just starting out and that’s a great experience, I think that’s okay, but you just have to know that that’s what you’re doing it for and that’s why.

Ashley Segura (29:06):
And not to expect anything different. That makes sense. Andrew, switching back into the technical side of things for sponsored content. You’ve created the content, you’re posting it on your website, let’s call a blog post in a video for example purposes. What do you need to have on that blog post? Do you have to say that the brand’s paying me for this. How do you say that?

Andrew (29:29):
Yes, you have to say that. Sorry, my doorbell just rang very aggressively. Aggressive doorbell is very aggressive.

Ashley Segura (29:39):
[inaudible 00:29:39].

Andrew (29:39):
I’m not going to that. Can you hear that? It’s still going. Anyway, sorry. Yes, legally you need to do this. So if there’s any sort of financial or compensation, even if you get a free loaf of bread, you need to disclose that it is sponsored content. You can get into legal trouble if you don’t. It’s also just good practice and it builds trust with your audience. So it’s a win-win. The requirements are basically, you have to say, “This is sponsored, I received this.” You don’t have to say how much you received, but if you got paid, you can say, “I was paid to post this,” or, “It’s sponsored.” You need to communicate that in some way and you have to say it before any links or any reviews, you can’t just bury it at the bottom of the post.

(30:22):
That’s very important. Also, technically from a Google perspective, this isn’t a legal thing, but it’s an SEO thing. Any links on that page, in the content, need to be tagged as nofollow or sponsored. If you don’t do that, Google may penalize you. You want to make sure you do that. The other thing I’d suggest, and this is just a…

(30:41):
Here’s a bonus tip for those of you on the call, in your contract with them, put a minimum amount of time that you’re obligated to have the content on your website. You could say this post will be up for at least a year, but you want to have some sort of end date in there that they agree to. So that way you are free to remove it after that time is elapsed. Because if you don’t do it, you don’t know how long. I’ve got some sponsored content that six years later I’m like, “I really want to delete this, but I don’t know if they’re going to get pissed at me.” So have that in the contract upfront. And if they want it to be two years, you can negotiate that, but that should be something that’s known up front to prevent issues later. I think Abbey wants to add to that.

Abbey Rodriguez (31:19):
I’m raising my hand on that. I think that’s one of those things that you can upsell, that you can say, as this post grows and gains momentum, it’s going to get more eyeballs and more exposure for you. You want come up with minimum, I have a three month minimum policy. If you want a year, if you want two years, whatever you should be charging for that.

Arsen Rabinovich (31:39):
Who’s at your door, Andrew?

Andrew (31:42):
I think it’s Casey. I don’t know, I’m hoping Abbey described it.

Arsen Rabinovich (31:47):
Candy corn delivery.

Ashley Segura (31:51):
Does it make sense to say after a year, “Remove that content.” Do you actually find yourself wanting to remove that content or are you creating that content to where it still aligns with your brand? And this could be Abbey, Andrew, either one of you, but you both just touched on this concept, so I’m just really curious why you’d want to delete it. Is it because it’s advertised?

Andrew (32:16):
For me, it’s because I had a lot of giveaways. This was like 2011, 2012, giveaways actually helped get a lot of traffic. And they might have a review, but it was clearly like, “I got this product, we’ve got this recipe,” they gave me a recipe to share or something and I did a giveaway that went viral and it wasn’t valuable content. So that’s the kind of thing I want to get rid of. If it’s a sponsored post that’s using a product, but if the post itself standalone is good and it wasn’t sponsored… If it wasn’t sponsored, I would say I’d want to keep it then yeah, I’m going to want to keep it.

Abbey Rodriguez (32:51):
And to add to that, I think that goes back to the original point I was making that, be intentional about the brands that you’re working with. I think if it’s something that you wouldn’t want to put on your blog anyway that you feel like you need to delete it, should you be doing a sponsored post?

Andrew (33:09):
Right.

Abbey Rodriguez (33:09):
Important questions to ask yourself.

Ashley Segura (33:12):
Definitely. Arsen, brand sponsorships tend to lead to affiliate marketing, which means money, but also links. So what are the general rules and regs when it comes to affiliate links on posts? Can you have too many affiliate links on a single post? How are you supposed to follow these links? What’s the technical part of the links?

Arsen Rabinovich (33:35):
And there was a question that was put into chat. If you have questions, put them in into the QA so we can answer them later and include them in the writeup. Definitely nofollow or rel=”sponsored” on them. You don’t want to just leave affiliate links as is, like Kendra said, “Google, we’ll ding you for it.” And there’s also, in some situations we have seen, “This is mainly written for affiliate purposes. This post brings very little value,” so on and so forth. And that, if done over and over and over again, your site might get affected by one of the updates from Google. So you definitely want to be very strategic about it. You want to make sure that it makes sense, from a content perspective that what you’re doing, you’re not just putting up, “Here is all my favorite things,” and it’s just links to Amazon. Give context, make it work, make it helpful, make it useful. And definitely add the rel=”nofollow”, rel=”sponsored”, both are the same. Nofollow, if you’re confused, just do nofollow. Google will treat them the same way. That’s how I would handle that.

Ashley Segura (34:47):
I like how you suck in helpful content with the helpful content update. Well played. Andrew, we talked about ads a little bit in the beginning, but ads can really create a terrible user experience. Lots of bloggers submitted questions about, “How many ads is too many to have?” Or, “What if ads slow down my page, but they’re the way to make money?” So what are some key indicators, maybe inside of Google Analytics or Google search console, that a blogger can tell, “Okay, by adding these ads, I’m not getting as much traffic as I thought I would, or people aren’t staying on as long.”?

Andrew (35:24):
Well, I think before you even dig into analytics, just pick up your actual phone and go to your site and try to use your site. I search for recipes and out of the search results, I’ll click on my client’s sites first of course, and then I go to their site and I can’t even find the recipe because there’s a footer ad the video’s over it, there’s a slick stream is drop… There’s this much screen real estate left for the actual content and I can’t actually get to the recipe. So try to use your own site, if you can’t use it to cook a recipe from it, your readers certainly won’t be able to. That’s when you’ve got to dial it back. I know it feels like it costs more, but long term it’s going to be a win. In terms of the technical analytics, I think the time on site metric is probably the best one to watch.

(36:09):
If your average time on site is probably, let’s say, a minute or two minutes and you suddenly bump up your ads and you see that number go down, that’s a pretty good indicator that people don’t want to be there. They’re sticking around, they’re not getting what they want. Bounce rate’s a little harder to track because it’s high on food blogs anyway. If you do an adjusted bounce rate where it’s looking at the time, that can help. But I think you’re better off probably just looking at real user experience. You could give your phone to somebody and say, “Hey, can you…” Watch them use your site and see how they interact with it. But if you look at your site and think it’s too many ads, then it’s definitely too many ads.

Arsen Rabinovich (36:48):
Sorry, I’m going to cut in real fast to what Andrew said. Usually, for those of you who have had consultations with me, I like to unblock my ad blocker and reload your page. We like to play the game called “Count the ads.” And just, as we’re scrolling, and you can really get a feel for the user experience and the diminished user experience when you’re actually looking at it that way and you’re counting the ads. Every paragraph or between images or when you’re loading your recipe card and just the recipe card itself already has two ads and one video in it, it’s already distracting. It’s really bad for user experience. And I have seen improvements in performance when you start cutting down those ads, performance from web performance perspective and from positioning and ranking. Because Google is aware of those ads, Google understands how many ads you’re loading in there. So definitely be very mindful of it.

(37:48):
Back in the day, before I got into SEO, I used to do affiliate marketing and all of that, and we used to very carefully examine how much money each ad unit on that page is making us. And again, it’s one of those, “Finding the middle ground.” So if you’re seeing ad units and you’re seeing that, “This one is not really doing much for me,” like the sidebar ad, let’s say. Get rid of it, it’s causing more harm than good. You’re not making that much money from it, but it’s slowing down everything. So definitely I would say audit and look at what’s happening when those ads are loaded, where they’re loaded, how they’re loaded, position and frequency. And the more of that you do, trust me, you’ll start making more money because you’re not going to be filtered out by the algorithm as much.

Ashley Segura (38:38):
Because you said the word audit, I have to ask, how frequently should you actually perform that exercise and how much time-

Arsen Rabinovich (38:47):
Look, it’s one of those things that you, you’ve optimized, that you look at… I don’t know how frequently people look at their AdThrive or Mediavine dashboards and see what’s happening there and how granular you get into it. When this is all I used to do, I used to get very granular and I used to check it every week just to make sure that it’s all making sense, but it’s completely up to you. Unless you’re seeing issues… I wouldn’t necessarily go crazy with it, but unless you’re seeing issues and you’re seeing declines, definitely be very on top of it.

Ashley Segura (39:17):
That makes sense. That’s a good rule of thumb. Andrew, I’ve got to ask and I’m going to give you the hard question.

Andrew (39:23):
Oh no.

Ashley Segura (39:25):
Mediavine or AdThrive?

Andrew (39:27):
It depends.

Ashley Segura (39:31):
Who do you like? Who’s better? What’s your bloggers do?

Andrew (39:35):
They’re both good. I know you’re going to want more answer than that.

Ashley Segura (39:45):
I do.

Andrew (39:46):
No, they’re both good networks. The trick is, I think they approach things a little differently. They’re philosophically differently. And so, the thing to remember is an ad network actually works for you, you don’t work for them. They’re an agent for you who is getting you money and they’re taking a cut of it for their services. So I think a lot of it is who you want to work with the most, who you trust the most. If you like their approach to ad serving, you feel like the tools they give you, it’s not just the RPM… It’s really hard to tease out who makes more money on RPMs, when every site’s a little different. For as many people as I’ve heard say, “I moved from Mediavine to AdThrive and I made more money,” I’ve heard the opposite.

(40:39):
And unfortunately, it’s hard to compare apples to apples on that because things are always shifting. And if you change on October 1st to another ad network, you’re going to earn a lot more money on that new ad network because it’s the beginning of Q4 and it’s only going to increase over the next few months. So the timing of the moves makes a big difference. I’ve heard, anecdotally, they both play a lot of tricks, where if you tell them you’re leaving and you have 30 days, they’ll bump the ads up to make it look like you have more revenue right before you leave. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard people repeatedly say that. So there are some shenanigans that can happen. I think, ultimately the best way to do it is look at them as a business partner and a collaborator and to decide who you want to work with the most.

(41:22):
And so you should have some conversations with them about that. I will say, from a technical perspective, and I’m probably going to get in trouble for this, we have a harder time with layout shift on AdThrive compared to Mediavine. That’s a fact. It is possible to pass core web vitals… I’m sorry, be in the good range for core web vitals on both networks. It is harder for us with AdThrive. We’ve worked with them a lot and their ads, they’re shifting more. And so Mediavine has made that a bigger priority and done more. It’s not a huge difference. But if one of your goals is to be in the good range for CLS and LCP… Actually, they’re both fine for LCP. It is a little harder with AdThrive, I will say. And I actually have doubted to back up that up. But, again, doable on both. So that’s not reason to switch. I don’t want to hear from AdThrive that I told everybody to switch to Mediavine because of that, so don’t say that. But I’d say, “Go with who you’re comfortable with.”

Ashley Segura (42:27):
That was a great answer. Thank you for-

Arsen Rabinovich (42:28):
Immediately regret answering questions.

Ashley Segura (42:30):
Right over to you, Arsen. Have you, Arsen, ever seen a case we’re working with an ad company actually negatively affected a client’s site?

Arsen Rabinovich (42:48):
Yes, but as I said earlier, at the beginning of the webinar, the delivery mechanism for the ads could potentially not be optimized and that could cause a lot of web performance issues. I’ve seen improvements when those ads or that delivery process was removed from a site and that improved the positioning and traffic and everything else. So again, it’s one of those things that you have to pick your battles. Either you’re going to make a little bit less money, improve your web performance, and then qualify for these better, more advanced networks that pay better, have better technology, better delivery, or you’re going to struggle with web performance and continue to make very little money with the not so top shelf ad networks. Again, not going to name any names, but you know who the top players are.

Ashley Segura (43:53):
Totally. That makes sense. All right, so we’re onto our final question. So if you have not dropped a question that you’d like answered in the Q&A, please do so now. There’s also 14 questions already in there, so if you see any that you’d love to know the answer to, you can actually hit that thumbs up button and then that will bring it to the top. So when we’re picking what questions to answer right now, when we go live, those are the ones that we’re going to address first. Last question’s going to you, Abbey. This episode is all about making money from your content. Aside from brand sponsorships and aside from ads, the two things that we talked about the most, how can you make money from your content? What do you recommend?

Abbey Rodriguez (44:32):
I think it’s a matter of, like I said before, identifying what skillset have I developed as a creator and how can I monetize that. And I think sometimes we undervalue the skillsets that we’re perhaps cultivating off the screen. And I say that based on my experience just with creating Tastemaker and creating an event around that, which has been by and large the biggest source of income for me, just because I put a lot of my focus in there. So I think it’s just a matter of getting creative and realizing that there are so many ways to make money. And I think it’s really working on your mindset around that and getting curious and getting to understand, “What am I good at? What lights me up? What’s my zone of genius?” And try to figure out how you can incorporate that into your blog if it makes sense.

(45:30):
But I’ve seen so many food bloggers go and start out with a food blog and then they end up building a huge food photography company, or they start an agency, or they realize they’re really good at the organizational stuff and they become a digital marketing manager, or a VA, or start an agency that way. And so I think just don’t limit yourself and be just so myopic in the one thing and be open minded that way.

Ashley Segura (46:01):
Definitely. There’s even courses, I’ve been seeing so many bloggers release courses now on topics that you wouldn’t think that would be a course topic. And then all these people are signing up cause they want to learn about it too. So there’s a ton of different ways these days to make money from your content. But that officially leads us into the Q&A. First question is going to be from Nisha. This is a great question. What determines your RPM? Anybody?

Andrew (46:31):
I can take a step for that. Arsen, go ahead.

Arsen Rabinovich (46:34):
No, no. I was going to say, I can only assume… I mean, it’s sure it’s different for every ad network, or a little bit different, but it has to do with the content and the vertical that you’re in as well. I know some bloggers, from the bloggers that I work with, bloggers that are typically DIY, has higher RPMs than food bloggers. Finance, I think has higher RPMs. I know content that is placed with… If you’re looking at individual post level, because your different posts also monetize at different RPMs. So I know posts that… So if you’re writing about, “Here’s a recipe that I made with this really expensive appliance or kitchen appliance,” those will tend to monetize a little bit higher, the RPMs will be higher, because those are big ticket items. But I’m sure that there’s a lot that goes into that calculation.

Andrew (47:30):
It’s actually, there are people bidding on advertising. One of the reasons Mediavine and AdThrive in particular are so particular about who they accept in the network is because they need to make sure the quality of the content stays really high because they are actually going out and selling you to advertisers. It’s a block of 8,000 websites or 10,000 websites, or whatever their numbers are, but you’re one of them. And so, they need to make sure that the advertisers want to buy ads in the Mediavine network. So it’s all about quality content as well as the topics.

(48:02):
The more ads you run… Each individual ad has an RPM. So some ads might be $2, some might be $4, they might be paying more, but then your overall RPMs are going to be also skewed by how many ads you’re running as well. Video also monetizes really well, it pays more. Or if you do those really obnoxious overlay ads, please don’t, but if you do them, they tend to pay more because they get the reader’s attention. So the advertisers know that, so they’re willing to pay more for that. So the type of ads you run, as well, will impact RPMs.

Abbey Rodriguez (48:30):
I also want to add, this is purely anecdotal, correlation does not equal causation here, but I’m also curious… Also, I can’t chat with you guys, so sorry if I have not been responding, I don’t have access to that. But I’m curious if people have experienced this from hearing other food bloggers talk about their RPMs. As their traffic goes up, their RPMs continue to follow that trajectory too. So, again, I’m not the expert there. I don’t know if that is in fact a thing, but I have heard that from other people.

Ashley Segura (49:04):
Next question, Abbey, I’m going to send it on over to you from Marissa. How do you find agencies to join for freelance work and sponsorships for someone who’s just getting started?

Abbey Rodriguez (49:16):
There’s a lot. And honestly, I don’t have a directory. That’s a good resource though in my mind to think, “That’s something we could create to help you.” But I would just start asking around in Facebook groups, this is where your community and networking comes in to crowdsource ideas around that, and I think a quick Google search too, but again, sometimes you might get some not top tier agencies that a lot of times those, if you are starting out, those agencies will nickel and dime you and say, “We’ll give you a $50 gift card for X amount of work.” I would just say, look around, ask people, trusted resources and I will take that as a note to also do the work for you to figure that out.

Ashley Segura (50:05):
The best. Arsen, this one’s coming to you next from Jocelyn. I don’t have any ads yet on my site, is it good to group H2S with the content now while we’re writing blog posts, so that when we do qualify for ad networks, we do not have ads being inserted and breaking up sentences?

Arsen Rabinovich (50:22):
Yes. Thanks for the question, Jocelyn.

Ashley Segura (50:25):
Lovely. Perfect. Next question from Amanda. Percentage wise, what is the best percent for ads? I knew this question was going to come at some point. Google suggests nothing over than 30%. So what’s the happy balance? 20%, 24%, 28%, 22.2%? What do you guys think?

Andrew (50:45):
This percentage is referring to ad density, right? That’s what the [inaudible 00:50:48] of this metric? I think 30% is considered a max, right? So I think it goes back to what we were talking about before of trying to strike that balance. Some of it depends on, “Do you write five sentence paragraphs or one sentence paragraphs?” I think it’s about the visual layout and how dense it is. Are there two ads on the screen as you’re scrolling by or just one per screen? So I think it’s the percentage, I don’t know if there’s a specific number. I think 30% is just the maximum you could do. So it depends.

Ashley Segura (51:25):
That one’s a little difficult to fully give exact number. You did good, Andrew. Question from Wendy. What is the best way to monetize a food blog with about 25,000 page views?

Arsen Rabinovich (51:45):
Get to 50,000.

Abbey Rodriguez (51:45):
Working on increasing your traffic if you want ad rev. For those of you on the call, I really need you to know that you need to identify your goals of what you are wanting. How much money do you want to be making? You need to figure that out first and then align your actions with what is moving the needle for me to do that. Do you want passive income? Then you need to focus on your SEO for the next year, if it’s not there, to get on with an ad network. Do you want to make money now and you’re good at photography or you have a skill set that you can monetize and market immediately? Start diving into, “Can I freelance? Can I create content for other creators? Can I do food photography?” There’s a lot of different ways to think about that.

Arsen Rabinovich (52:33):
Can I add also, you could make a hundred thousand dollars a year with 25,000 page views a month. You’re not going to do it with ads, but if you build a good product that has value for your audience, that they’re willing to pay for, you could do that. 25,000 page views, if you convert 1% of your visitors, that’s 2,500 sales, even less than that. And so, you’re selling a hundred dollars product and you convert a percentage of your visitors, you could be selling directly. So I just want to throw that out there as another way to do that, to create revenue and have multiple revenue streams. It’s not just sponsored posts or ads. There’s a lot of different paths here.

Ashley Segura (53:14):
Another question. Just got accepted by Mediavine. Yay. Congrats. Is there a guide on best practice for myself and users on how to manage the ads? Abbey, do you have anything at Tastemaker for this or is this a potential new content guide?

Abbey Rodriguez (53:28):
I would like to also, for purpose of ethics, Tastemaker is sponsored by Mediavine. They are a presenting title sponsor, and I also have been with them forever and have a loyalty and love for them. And we don’t have anything directly, but I will say that their team is incredibly helpful. If you go to their website, fill out their contact form or chat with them, they’re really prompt in getting back to you. Also, if any of you want any resources, you can always reach out to me and send me an email too, and I can connect you that way as well.

Ashley Segura (54:01):
Perfect. And Abbey, if you don’t mind chatting me your email, I can drop it into chat so then the attendees have access to that. Arsen, this question’s going to you. I think you fairly addressed it, but should Amazon affiliate links also be marked sponsored in addition to nofollow? Or did you mention-

Arsen Rabinovich (54:18):
Only do one, you don’t need to do both, just one.

Ashley Segura (54:21):
Is there a preference?

Arsen Rabinovich (54:23):
It’s the same thing. Google will treat them exactly the same. As long as you’re annotating saying that this is a link, this is a monetized link, I’m making money through this, this is not a link that I am referencing another piece of content as a citation. It’s like basically saying, “Don’t pass any value from my page to this page.” Rel=”nofollow” or sponsored is fine. Either one, you don’t have to do both.

Andrew (54:59):
Can I piggyback on that? Just to clarify a point earlier. So David asked about this in the Q&A. When I said you have to make all your links nofollow on a sponsored post, not your own links. Links to the sponsor need to be the ones that are nofollow. Your internal links can still be dofollow. That’s cool. It’s just Google doesn’t want to see you trying to game the system and somebody paying you to put a link on their site is gaming the system. So that’s your way of saying, “No, no, no. I’m getting paid. So I’m not trying to pull any shenanigans.”

Arsen Rabinovich (55:27):
And generally you should probably not nofollow internal links. It’s not a good practice.

Andrew (55:33):
Also, total non sequitur, apparently the doorbell was UPS and they really, really, really needed to have a signature. That’s what was going on there.

Abbey Rodriguez (55:33):
What was it?

Arsen Rabinovich (55:42):
What did you get delivered.

Abbey Rodriguez (55:44):
What was it?

Andrew (55:45):
I don’t even know. Sorry. Maddie didn’t tell me that. Hoping it was somebody sending wine.

Arsen Rabinovich (55:51):
Amy just wrote wine?

Andrew (55:54):
I’ll report back next month.

Ashley Segura (55:56):
We clearly know you just a little bit. All right, so the final question. I know there’s still questions in the Q&A, but don’t worry, they will get answered in the recap blog post that gets published a week later. But final question Arsen, if you could please clarify this. Can you please explain what grouping H2S with the content means in relation to the question that was asked earlier? What does it mean to group your H2S?

Arsen Rabinovich (56:17):
Essentially, breaking your content up into sections, using the H2 so that it’s not like all the paragraphs are squeezed together.

Ashley Segura (56:29):
Gotcha.

Andrew (56:30):
I think that might be referencing also… I know some of the ad networks, you can wrap sections of things in an empty div tag and they won’t put ads inside a div. So that way the ad will go above the next section, so you’ll have these blocks. That doesn’t mean put the entire section into an H2 tag. It’s just-

Arsen Rabinovich (56:48):
Don’t wrap all of it in an H2.

Ashley Segura (56:51):
Wouldn’t that be great? An entire paragraph as an H2.

Arsen Rabinovich (56:51):
No.

Ashley Segura (56:51):
Don’t do that.

Arsen Rabinovich (56:51):
Immediately realize.

Ashley Segura (57:01):
Well, that wraps up today’s episode. Abbey, Andrew, Arsen, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing all of your wisdom. Again, we will publish the recap blog post next week. You will get an email with a link to that. Otherwise, you can always go to TopHatRank’s blog and it will be posted there. But have a great rest of your day, evening, morning, and thank you everyone for tuning in.

Arsen Rabinovich (57:22):
Did we do a group picture already?

Ashley Segura (57:25):
We did like five.

Arsen Rabinovich (57:26):
Great. Thank you.

Andrew (57:28):
Thank you, Abbey.

Arsen Rabinovich (57:28):
Awesome. Thanks everyone. Bye

Abbey Rodriguez (57:31):
Bye, everybody.

About The Panelists

Special Guest: Abbey Rodriguez

Abbey Rodriguez is the founder of The Butter Half, a food blog that combines nourishing recipes, herbal cooking, and holistic nutrition and wellness education for the whole family. After three years of growing her community online, she was inspired to create a real-life community where other creators could come together. She founded Tastemaker Conference in 2017, with the mission to empower bloggers and influencers to build sustainable businesses and relationships through food.
Abbey has worked with dozens of brands and organizations, providing recipe development, food photography, and influencer marketing consulting. She has also been published in The Huffington Post, eHow, and Shape Magazine, to name a few. A graduate of the Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine, Abbey is a certified herbalist and holistic nutritionist, and is the coauthor of a forthcoming cookbook on herbal wellness, Root & Nourish, to be published by Tiller Press in early 2021. Abbey resides in the D.C. metropolitan with her husband and three boys.

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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