TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers Recap SEO For Publishers Episode #10; Optimizing Your Content in 2021

Recap SEO For Publishers Episode #10; Optimizing Your Content in 2021

Recap, Q&A, + All the Resources

Struggling to make your content work for you? Unsure of how best to structure your articles, optimize your images, and keep a reader engaged? In this episode, panelists discussed how you can properly optimize, convert visitors, how to make money from your content, and more!

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 info@tophatrank.com!

Question 1

What is “cornerstone” content in the context of a recipe site?

A frosting recipe you continuously link too, or it could be a resource on cooking times and conversions or it could be anything that you find yourself linking to, repeatedly, as you naturally make your way through the site.

Casey

Question 2

When doing major updates on old content, is there any SEO difference/benefit to using a plugin like Revision Manager versus just updating the content directly in the post and then republishing with today’s date?

The difference between “updating” a post and “republishing a post” is this; if you “update” a post you are keeping the original publish date and you are not sending out the resource to your RSS feed, moving it to the top of the content list, or updating your homepage with the post. If you are ‘republishing’ a post you are doing all of this. But regardless, both PING Google and will result in recrawls.

Casey

Question 3

If my “best” post still isn’t in the top 3 ranks, is it better to leave it or update it if I know it could be made better?

It depends. Maybe the post has “maxed out” it’s upward momentum because you are not a strong site. Maybe you should first investigate the sites ranking above you and look for external things you can influence. Can you send some new links? Can you reshare it socially and push freshness signals to the post? Do that first, before touching the post on Page 1.

Casey

Question 4

I’m curious about the process of republishing. I know how to decide whether or not to update or republish, but I’m unsure on the technical steps for actually republishing a recipe.

You can use a plugin to update the recipe or simply update the post itself and republish.

Ashley

Question 5

Do you have a link to a site that is doing a table of contents well?

Check-out this post here: https://www.thecookierookie.com/bacon-wrapped-shrimp-appetizers/
Now, go into Google and type in “bacon wrapped shrimp” and you’ll see the JUMP LINKS generated from her TOC plugin.

Casey

Question 6

How you do you know the post is “poor” versus not having enough links to be competitive? (holding consistent for domain ranking…)?

The vast majority of “no traffic posts” are not link-related. It’s on-page content metrics. If you have a post that is not ranking competitively with no Google traffic, I would look on page first.

Casey

Question 7

Would using print button turn out not great for the blog in the long run? As in, if people print the recipe, they may not want to come back to the blog, right?

It may enable someone to keep making a recipe without having to go back to the site each time, but on the flip side: If they’re printing out a recipe of yours that they love, isn’t that sheet of paper a great reminder for them to go back to your site when they’re looking for another recipe?

Question 8

Would love suggestions for this scenario: I have a post ranking high (position 1 for a KW of 6.6K, and page 1 for a related KW of 201K volume)… but it was written a long time ago and I don’t have a targeted lead magnet, nor any targeted product for sale in it. I’d love to make more money off the traffic… but not sure what I can do if I should not be updating it.

If it’s a recipe post, look at optimizing the recipe card with affiliate links. If it’s a NON-RECIPE post you could add some embed forms or in-content links to the post itself…and minimize the potential of recrawls bu using a plugin like “Limit Modified Date” which doesn’t update the “Last Modified Schema” on the page. But again, this isn’t a 100% guarantee that the page won’t be needlessly recrawls and possibly drop.

Casey

Question 9

Do you recommend having a TOC on all recipe posts regardless of length?

Having a Table of Contents only helps you, but it’s better for longer posts especially.

Casey

Question 10

I enjoy developing and writing new content. I also enjoy doing the updates and rewriting content. So I’m doing both, and I end up publishing/republishing as many as 8-9 posts a week. Is it possible to publish *too much* content?

No

Casey

Question 11

For a new-ish blog, when would be a good time (based on number of published posts) to do a blog audit so we can ensure we are going in the right direction?

At least 75 posts for a mini content audit, 300 posts for a full audit.https://yoast.com/rewrite-republish-article-with-yoast-duplicate-post/

Ashley

Question 12

I recently noticed there’s a “rewrite and republish” button when you hover over the posts in WordPress. What does this do differently form just going in to edit the post?

Do you have the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin installed? Because that’s how it would present in the Posts editor:

Casey

Question 13

When you update an poorly performing, is it important to acknowledge in the post that you’ve rewritten it?

This is a simple ‘user-first optimization.’ It’s not NECESSARY but it’s “useful” and as such, you should do it. Even just saying “this post has been updated with new photos and tips” is more than enough.

Casey

Question 14

In what case would it be absolutely necessary to update a URL?

When you published a post and IMMEDIATELY notice a typo. Other than that, not much else. 

Question 15

You threw me on using the keyword in the first header. I actually try to NOT use my keyword in my header. Google is smart and so are people. They know what this posts is about. Should I be using the keyword in ANY of the H2 headers? IS there a good balance rule I should be applying?

Yes, you can. The “first head” is your H1. You should be using the keyword there. And you have the keyword phrase in your “recipe card H2.” For most posts, that’s more than enough. Less is more with keywords in your headings.

Question 16

After few last Google updates, I noticed more content with not recommended format ie. question in each heading and life stories moved up. They do not have a current recommended structure with Ingredients, Tips and FAQs sections etc. Why they still rank high and even higher after Google updates? Thank you!

There are thousands of ranking factors and millions of baby algorithms in Google. I can find queries where the top ranking sites are just HUGE and the content is incredibly poor. And this is common becasue “big sites are not treated the same by Google.” They have a level of earned authority and backlink profiles that act as “spackle” in covering up mistakes. You just have to keep working to make YOUR content the best it can be, including optimizing for users.

Casey

Question 17

What about titles for link tags? Should they be used? If so, what should they contain?

If the title attribute is unable to provide additional information, you should not use it. Most times, you ignore it.

Casey

Question 18

Should ALT text and descriptions on photos always be filled out? What is the proper way to list ALT text and descriptions for SEO purposes?

Yes! You want to describe the image to someone who can’t actually see the image. For example, if it’s an image of blueberry muffins on a white plate in the kitchen your description can be, “blueberry muffins on a white plate”.

Ashley

Question 19

Can you use captions under photos to describe the steps in your recipe?

You can, but you should ask yourself; is that really useful? The goal of captions is to provide a copyright, or a photo credit, or additional information that the user can use to discern the photo. If you think describing the step does that, feel free.

Casey

Question 20

We are not supposed to change the URL of the posts. Does it apply to category URLs as well? I want to convert my child categories to parent categories. Is it ok to do it or will it change the URL of the category? Will it cause some issues?

Changing URLs, be it posts or categories, will ALWAYS cause issues. How big those issues are won’t be seen till after the fact. If you unnest categories you of course set up redirects and you may have to go into your site and correct the 404s you create from linking to the old URL structure, but this is common. Just focus on getthing this RIGHT once so you don’t keep doing this over and over.

Casey

Question 21

Can you give a few recipe blogs that do a great job at all of these tips? Just to have as a good guideline?

We mentioned multiple sites in the live presentation. But no site is perfect.

Casey

Question 22

Why 1200px wide? I was once told it should be the width of your content space, which is different for everyone. Mine is 790px.

1200px wide is to best optimize for Google Discover traffic. You should read the following when you can which explains this in more detail:
https://feastdesignco.com/image-optimization/

Casey

Question 23

Is it important to clean up Media library? How can you tell which post(s) each image is inserted?

It certainly won’t hurt you to “remove” non-used images from your media library regularly. This is especially true for older sites with hundreds of recipes who may have thousands of generated images they are not using. A plugin like “Media Cleaner” can help here.

Casey

Question 24

I have a new monthly series of sustainable product reviews. The products reviewed are based on what I’m currently using – not on a given theme at this time. My current followers enjoy the content, but I’m never sure how to optimize it for search engines. Trying to optimize for just one of the products doesn’t seem right either. Any ideas?

If each post is an “individual product review” you should be optimizing around that “individual product.” Always a good idea to do some keyword research in Google and look at what is ranking around that product and see what you see.

Casey

Question 25

Good plug-in to help find images that are no longer used on your site that are in your media files.

There is a plugin called “Media Cleaner” but it’s a CHAINSAW not a SCALPEL but if you use it carefully, it will work well for you. Find it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/media-cleaner/

Casey

Question 26

I’ve noticed when I republish content with the revision manager TMC plugin, it changes the original publishing and modified dates to the newest publishing date. Is this okay since it got a complete overhaul?

Yes, this is especially great for seasonal or timely content. Generally, users are more inclined to see the newest and latest recipe, versus one from 5 years ago.

Ashley

Question 27

If I’m using the Yoast plugin and have been updating content to ensure that I’m achieving green lights for both SEO Score and Readability score is that a good measure of making sure blog posts are optimized (obviously in conjunction with traffic analytics)?

Never chase that Yoast green light. Write naturally to avoid over optimizing and always check your analytics to see how the post can be improved.

Casey

Question 28

When I republish a post, change the date to the current date, do I lose the authority on the post? Meaning, if I have a yesteryear date, does google use that date to decide who has more authority on that topic?

If you are “changing the date” just to “change the date” you can expect no value from Google by doing this. But if you are “changing the date” to update the post so that users know HEY I updated this post to make it bigger and better, than that’s always a positive. The date itself doesn’t convey the authority, it’s the long-term nature of the static URL and it’s accrued authority. As long as you didn’t change that, you would be good.

Casey

Question 29

Why would you want to limit the last modified date?

If you have a post that is doing VERY WELL in Google, but you notice a small mistake (like a typo) and you want to go in and fix it. By limiting the last modified date we can make these “small changes” without triggering needless recrawls by Google on the contnet. Because, as you may not be aware, any recrawl on a post can cause a post to DROP or RISE. So limiting those isn’t a bad thing.

Casey

Question 30

So, using revisionize to update a post and schedule it out while the original remains on the site…. that goes live with a new date. Are you saying the limit modified date would help with that? That’s my biggest ugh about revisionize

No, this is not the same thing. But if you are making very small changes to a post, you should not be using Revisionize. Revisionize should really only be used for LARGE content changes, mostly republishing.

Casey

Question 31

To confirm- it’s a good practice to update all seasonal content every year?

Yes!

Question 32

So can I update the post in small ways, like adding a product for sale? Or is it just a “don’t touch whatsoever”?

The only time we really don’t recommend touching a post is if said post is a “Unicorn Post.” Meaning that the post is ranked 1-3 in Google and sending you VERY good traffic. No reason to “touch those posts” if we don’t have to.

Casey

Question 33

Since Casey mentioned it, why is ConvertKit bad?

ConvertKit makes EVERY embed you use on a page a H1. It’s not only incorrect but it’s an accessibility violation. And they refuse to change it. So screw them! 😉

Casey

Question 34

Is it better to use the Yoast FAQ block or to put questions about a recipe as separate headings (H2’s)?

Well, the FAQ block outputs “FAQ Schema.” Having the question as a “Heading” doesn’t really tell Google “hey, this is an FAQ.” So that’s why we recommend the schema.

Casey

Question 35

One of my posts ranks 3rd and shows in the carousel. How is it that one my posts only ranks for 4 keywords but a competing post below it ranks for 180 keywords according to Google Keyword Everywhere? 

More authority, better content, faster content, more incoming links to the post, more external links to the post, a better optimized post, etc. There could be DOZENS of reasons one post ranks for a ton of keywords and one post does not.

Casey

Question 36

Do you have a recommened plugin for creating a table of contents or do you recommend making these manually?

If you are on a Feast theme, use their Jump Links. If you are not consider either the “Lucky WP TOC” plugin or the “Easy Table of Contents” plugin. Both work well.

Casey

Question 37

I read that for alt text it should be a proper sentence with a period at the end. True or false?

Not a ‘proper sentence’ per se. More like a fragment. But the “period” does help. Including a period makes it easier for screen readers to know “the alt text has ended and can “audibly” communicate that to hearing impaired users.

Casey

Question 38

What do you do if you update a post and the result is getting more keywords ranking…but they;re dozens of keywords that have nothing to do with the content of the post instead of keywords that are relevant?

Ignore it. Google does a good job refining out those non-matching relevant matches at their end. In fact the recent “Passage indexing algorithm” was focused around this specifically.

Casey

Question 39

Is the SEMRush content analyzer better than Yoast or should we not use it either?

Both are tools and are guidelines, but you should never chase any tool’s green light. Semrush’s Content Analyzer gives great feedback for improving the content of the article, whereas Yoast is more focused on SEO.

Ashley

Question 40

How should you add alt text to collage images of steps?

You can explain that the image is a collage of steps for completing X recipe

Ashley

Question 41

If we are optimizing all our content that has received little-to-no traffic over the years and our permalink format has always been site/category/recipename/, is it ok to redo our permalinks and ditch the category, as per current best practice?

In your case yes. Because otherwise, every time you change categories OR add the recipe/post to a new category you are going to create competing URLs that will cannibalize your traffic and reach. A “flatter” URL without catories and “dates” only helps you in the long run.

Casey

Resources & Links

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

  1. Topic research tool by Semrush – New content ideas – analyze your rivals’ content and give you ideas to write winning content.
  2. Answer the Public – New content ideas – instant search insights.
  3. Buffer Content Experiment  – Buffer’s no new content experiment mentioned during the webinar.
  4. Blog examples:
    1. https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/meal-prep-recipes/  
    2.  https://www.thecookierookie.com/cooking-measurements-kitchen-conversion-chart/
    3.  https://www.spendwithpennies.com/how-to-make-a-charcuterie-board/
    4. https://veenaazmanov.com/cake-pricing-price-cakes/
  5. Content courses to look into
    1.  Semrush Content Marketing Toolkit – Free video tutorial series with tips from content marketing pros.
    2. Content Marketing Fundamentals  – Free video tutorial series that helps you use content to complement and promote your brand.
  6. Revision Manager TMC – Clone your already published posts and submits them for review.
  7. Revisionize – Clone your post, page, or CPT to a draft that gives you the freedom to tweak, edit and experiment with the content.
  8. Duplicate Post Plugin – This plugin allows users to clone posts of any type or copy them to new drafts for further editing.
  9. Shortpixel – Compress Images Plugin.
  10. Limit Modified Date Plugin – Prevents the modified date from changing when making minor changes to your content.

Transcript

About The Panelists

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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