Arsen Rabinovich (00:00):
And we’re live.
Ashley Segura (00:01):
Arsen Rabinovich (00:02):
Andrew Wilder (00:03):
Arsen Rabinovich (00:06):
Okay. Let’s see. I’m going to organize my screens here. All right. Are people joining? 31, 36. [crosstalk 00:00:15]
Ashley Segura (00:15):
Are you rolling in?
Casey Markee (00:19):
Let’s see if we can get the chat up here.
Andrew Wilder (00:21):
Casey Markee (00:23):
Yeah. Happy National Kindergarten Day to everyone on the call. One of my favorite days. I miss kindergarten day. I tend to believe that everyone should still have naps. Matter of fact, I’m in the process… I’m thinking of starting a new franchise idea. It’s a gym, but it’s… You don’t go to work out. You go there to take a nap. And it’s basically a supervised… It’s like a locked in environment. You could take a nap. I’m thinking it’s going to be called Nap Fit or maybe a Napasize or something, but I’m currently seeking investors, so…
Ashley Segura (00:59):
Oh, Napasize. I could get behind that. I like that.
Casey Markee (01:02):
Napasize, Nap Fits, something like that. And again you just… A gym it’s devoted to, you going in, you select your pillow, you select your blanket, boom.
Ashley Segura (01:11):
Can we have different time?
Casey Markee (01:16):
Again, it’s going to be… We’ll have individual spaces so you can sleep with other snores. It’ll probably be fine. It’s going to be good. I think it’s going to take off.
Arsen Rabinovich (01:22):
All the snores in one room.
Ashley Segura (01:25):
Andrew Wilder (01:26):
I think let’s call it We Nap. [crosstalk 00:01:29].
Casey Markee (01:29):
We Nap, there we go.
Ashley Segura (01:29):
Casey Markee (01:33):
Andrew has just [inaudible 00:01:33].
Ashley Segura (01:33):
You better claim that real quick.
Arsen Rabinovich (01:36):
That’s going to be the next IPO. Just you wait.
Casey Markee (01:37):
Arsen Rabinovich (01:40):
Casey Markee (01:41):
I like it.
Arsen Rabinovich (01:42):
People are coming in. We’re doing good. So should we dive in? Should we start? [inaudible 00:01:51] a little bit more.
Casey Markee (01:51):
No hurry here. It’s all good. Content is not going to go away. Seen a lot of common people. I wish kindergarteners took naps. Amy, I know. Again, it was the only thing that I ever got an A in. Napping. That was it. Napping and finger painting occasionally. But that was about it.
Ashley Segura (02:10):
I would love to see those finger paints if they’re [crosstalk 00:02:13].
Casey Markee (02:13):
Look. Again, It’s all locked down. It’s in a museum somewhere. Back in Kansas.
Ashley Segura (02:18):
Arsen Rabinovich (02:19):
Bacon flavored crayons. What color would they be?
Casey Markee (02:23):
They can play with it would be again a burnt sienna. A dark, a different, little redness.
Arsen Rabinovich (02:30):
Don’t know what color sienna is.
Casey Markee (02:32):
Just say that it is baking. Because they didn’t used to have a baking crayon. They absolutely did have baking crabs. I remember that.
Andrew Wilder (02:38):
Did it have like a white stripe throughout for the fat?
Casey Markee (02:41):
It did not. That is not a bad thing.
Arsen Rabinovich (02:44):
Definitely not a kosher crayon.
Casey Markee (02:50):
Jessica here from San Diego. I just talking to Jessica recently. Paula from Buenos Aires. Fantastic. Nicolette, who’s a believer in Apps. I knew we have that in common. Fantastic. Linz on the call.
Ashley Segura (03:04):
Apparently Andrew is officially the candy corn man still, or is it Casey?
Arsen Rabinovich (03:10):
Ashley Segura (03:11):
Casey. Andrew is the anti-candy corn man.
Casey Markee (03:14):
I don’t think you can ever have enough candy corn. I don’t see that… There’s nothing wrong with candy corn.
Ashley Segura (03:14):
Casey Markee (03:19):
Foods that built America, candy corns got to be.
Andrew Wilder (03:23):
Got to be right up there can we talk about content now, please? [crosstalk 00:03:25]. I just want to say that we nap.com is available for sale. I’m wondering if I should make an offer.
Arsen Rabinovich (03:35):
Wait, so did somebody bought it? And it’s not just like…
Andrew Wilder (03:38):
Casey Markee (03:39):
Someone’s squatting on it. Wenap.com
Andrew Wilder (03:41):
I don’t have an asking price so…
Ashley Segura (03:42):
Someone’s probably just bought it right now.
Arsen Rabinovich (03:45):
Casey Markee (03:45):
Yeah, we can underbid on there. That’s no problem.
Arsen Rabinovich (03:48):
Everybody on the call puts $1 in. We’ll have 20 bucks.
Casey Markee (03:54):
Ashley Segura (03:55):
This will benefit you somehow.
Arsen Rabinovich (03:58):
In one way or another?
Ashley Segura (04:00):
Arsen Rabinovich (04:02):
All right. Are we doing this?
Casey Markee (04:04):
Ashley Segura (04:04):
Let’s do this.
Arsen Rabinovich (04:05):
Alright, so we’re going to switch things up a little bit today. I will be your host instead of Ashley. And that’s because the topic today is content. And she is our go-to for content. She’s my co-founder and top head content and runs all the operations there. And she’s all the brains behind the content courses over at SEMrush so I’m very grateful to give up my seat and have her share her knowledge with us. So this is the 10th episode you guys, 10th [inaudible 00:04:42] publishers. Today we’re talking about content and content optimization. And with us is Ashley Segura, Casey Markee, Andrew Wilder and I, and me and I and me.
Casey Markee (05:01):
Ashley Segura (05:04):
You’re doing great. Interesting.
Arsen Rabinovich (05:07):
Thank you. We’ll have Q&A at the end. As always, make sure to ask all of your questions in the Q&A section of Zoom so that we can make sure we can track them and answer them for you. Also feel free to communicate with us with the chat box. As always, we’ll have a replay of this available once we process all of that. We also live tweeting this webinar at [inaudible 00:05:32] that’s at [inaudible 00:05:34]. All right. Let’s get right into it. And my first question is for Andrew. Andrew…
Andrew Wilder (05:40):
Arsen Rabinovich (05:40):
Without saying it depends. What makes content great?
Andrew Wilder (05:47):
Man, that’s such an open-ended question. What makes the great American novel?
Ashley Segura (05:52):
Andrew Wilder (05:56):
I think anything people want to read is great content. From our perspective, I think the answer is to hone that a little bit is more like anything that answers the user’s question. Because SEO is question-driven. People are searching for something, they’re seeking an answer. And so anything that answers the user’s query, or their search intent really well, is great content.
Arsen Rabinovich (06:20):
Andrew Wilder (06:20):
Arsen Rabinovich (06:21):
Casey Markee (06:23):
Arsen Rabinovich (06:25):
We’ll take it.
Andrew Wilder (06:25):
Arsen Rabinovich (06:27):
So answering what the user is looking for answers to. And with that, we got to talk about topic ideation. So, you really need to figure out what your users are looking for. So Ashley how can you come up with new topic ideas that your users are actually searching for? For your target audiences not supposedly users, they might not be users, yet. They’re people who you want to attract.
Ashley Segura (06:53):
Definitely. There’s a lot of different ways and a lot of different tools out there to address literally what Andrew was saying. You either want to inform or entertain your audience, or potential audience. And so, to find a topic that’s going to do one of those two things, I highly recommend going into SEMrush Topic Research Tool. There’s also answer the public. I’m just not a huge fan and answer the public. I feel they miss some things. But some people love their diagram. And that’s the easiest way for them [crosstalk 00:07:23].
Casey Markee (07:22):
Is it still open to USB ports, it’s still basically closed down to anyone, if you’re not in the UK?
Ashley Segura (07:30):
You can use it if you’re in the US. And a lot of people are using it. And by all means it’s great. But I like the topic research tool a whole heck of a lot better, because it literally addresses the who, what, when, where, why, how questions people are asking. So if you want to cover all the questions on the how, it’ll populate the most popular search results that have to do with this specific keyword or topic in that question format. And then it’ll also show you on the side, the top 10 articles that are already published addressing these questions.
So not only do you get topic ideas that are literally addressing what people are asking and trying to figure out how to give them the right information, whether that’s coming up with a specific recipe or making sure that your recipe post includes all of the FAQ questions that they’re going to ask. But it also shows you how the competition, the people, the brands who are already performing great for this topic have their content structured, so you can see videos or bullets, and then that can also give you new topic ideas as well.
Arsen Rabinovich (08:34):
Ashley Segura (08:35):
I will paste over the topic research tool. I saw Andrew just put in the answer the public. Thank you.
Arsen Rabinovich (08:44):
Awesome. All right. So Casey, what is the anatomy of a great blog post? What does the structure of a blog post look like? Whether it’s a recipe post, or maybe a cornerstone piece of content?
Casey Markee (09:00):
Thinking your question, it has a lot of different answers. So, I was a little aside here. We’ll give you a little… We’ll drop some content marketing stats on you today. I was reading the other day that there’s about 1.75 million published blog posts each day. And that is… Yeah. I would say that Arsen and Ashley, Andrew and I, we would probably be considered high users of content. But I had a hard time believing that the average person sees about 18 hours of content every day. Think about that. That’s like watching all of the Twilight movies back to back. Who would want to do that every day? That’s crazy talk.
But when we talk about blog posts, when we talk about anatomy or the structure, let’s take it slow here. If for a regular blog post, we would have things like an introduction, we would have things like a table of contents, we would have things like clear structured headings. Usually we have 1H1 and a post and then we have several sub-headings that are H2s. We would have internal and external links both to related content and then off-site content that adds value and can context to the user, maybe we would use an appropriate schema. For most regular articles, that’s just article schema. Fortunately, most blogs and sites code that in for you. If you’re a recipe blogger, then of course, we use things like Recipe Schema.
Then we have things like Breadcrumbs Schema, which is built in. Maybe we have things like Organisation Schema, which is also built in. We would want to make sure that we have the appropriate schemas necessary for that piece of content. And then, of course most importantly, for the average piece of content, whether it’s a blog post, or a longer [inaudible 00:10:41], or Cornerstone posts, or even a recipe, we’d have clear conclusions. What do we want them to do after they’ve made it to the end of the post? Is there a specific call to action that we’d want to review? Now, I know we have a lot of recipe bloggers on the call today.
When we’re talking about putting together an optimal template to for a recipe post, I tend to teach a certain template. Now I can show that template to 10 different people and all 10 different people will do it different ways. And that’s totally fine. I was in a conversation the other day on Facebook. And it was interesting, because some people just like to attack just because they attack. And one blogger came on there and was like, “I don’t want to do this because then all their content looks the same.” Or, “I don’t like to use this template, because then my content will look like everyone’s else.” And I guess I could see some logic to that. But honestly, what I’m seeing in the real world is completely different.
Like I said, I can show someone to do something, and 10 different people will do it 10 different ways. Maybe they change the order of the elements a little bit. Maybe they’ve included ingredients are talking a little bit about the ingredients little around the page, or maybe they’ve used collages instead of individual steps for their step-by-steps. That’s fine. You want to do what you feel is appropriate for you. But when we’re talking about things like a recipe post, you want to look at things like a headline. We want to look at edit post information. Do you have published and last updated dates at the top of your posts? Are you using Breadcrumbs? Are you using [inaudible 00:12:13] recipe buttons? Have you started with teaser text so that you’re selling the user and why this recipe is so awesome?
Then we would scroll down lower and we would have things like headings. Why is this recipe so awesome? We want to use subheadings on the page to take the user by the hand and lead them through the post. So maybe we talk a little bit about the ingredients, maybe we have a nice step-by-step section. Maybe below that, we have expert tips and FAQs. Maybe we have some related recipes and call-to-action and we have a fully enhanced recipe card. All of that goes hand in hand.
Now, with regards to Cornerstone content. Cornerstone content seems to be something that’s extremely misunderstood or used incorrectly. A piece of Cornerstone content is just a fancy way of saying, “This is what I consider my most important stuff.” And when we go into Yoast and we pick something as Cornerstone content. That’s just so that Yoast can remind us It exists so that we can link to it regularly. Maybe that’s one of your more important recipes. Maybe that’s a treatise on onions, maybe that’s everything you’d ever want to know about candy corn. I know many of you on the call love candy corn, like I do, one of great American’s food. So hopefully, you have a resource on candy corn, like I do. Maybe you want to link to that candy corn over and over again. And so that’s what Cornerstone content is. It’s just a piece of content on your site that you’ve labeled, that you’ve classified as a way for you to be reminded that that content exists, and you link to it and reinforce it from ancillary, or other pieces of content to give it a boost.
Arsen Rabinovich (13:45):
Good. That’s a very detailed and long answer.
Casey Markee (13:52):
Yes. So I apologize for that right now. So we’re good for now.
Arsen Rabinovich (13:56):
It’s a good answer, Andrew.
Andrew Wilder (13:58):
Arsen Rabinovich (14:01):
If you have a post that’s ranking on page one, but it’s not in the top three search results, should you leave it or try to update the content? And this is answered without using “It depends?”
Andrew Wilder (14:18):
Of course It depends. So I think the first question is, is that post getting you lots and lots of traffic? If it’s not getting you a lot of traffic, or if it is getting a lot of traffic, the rules are a little different, right? Because if it’s not performing in terms of traffic and conversion of traffic to your site, then yeah, you may need to work harder at it. But if it’s doing a lot and you consider it like to use Casey’s term a unicorn, then maybe you don’t want to risk breaking off its horn to push the analogy too far.
So I think if you’re really careful, if you’re really worried about dropping in rankings, because you’re going to lose a lot of traffic, then maybe you don’t want to, but in that case, I’d suggest maybe treating it like Cornerstone content and linking to it and working on internal and external links to the post to use that to boost it up, rather than editing the post itself because anytime you edit a post, it may move. It may move up or may move down.
I think the other thing is, what improvements are you talking about? If it’s one of your oldest posts, and you know you can make it better with newer… You’ve learned a lot in the last few years and you know you can make it a better content, then yeah, maybe it’s worth updating. If it’s already pretty good. Maybe you don’t want to do that little bit. So it depends.
Arsen Rabinovich (15:34):
Casey Markee (15:35):
Arsen Rabinovich (15:39):
All right. That’s a very nice and short and good answer. All right. Ashley, what are some ways to reuse your top ranking content to create even more content?
Ashley Segura (15:55):
For publishers in particular, there’s a few different strategies that users seem to really appreciate and amplify the topic that’s already doing great. One of which is creating compilations. And so from a publisher standpoint, that can look like a video compilation, putting together snippets of multiple recipes within the same topic, the original topic that did really well. You can also do recipe compilations, like organizing your top posts for all of Q1. Put your top five or six posts, and then you can create a weekly meal sheet out of that, and then have a ingredient or a grocery shopping list recipe that’s printable. And so they’re going to have to go back to each of those posts when they’re ready to make that recipe. But then that also gives us a new form of content.
So it really depends if you want to create new content pieces from that or just amplify the posts that are already doing really well. If you want to amplify the posts that are doing good, you can do social media snippets, taking one of the images from that blog post that’s doing great. Sharing it on social media. The next day sharing another image from that post. Yes, you’re talking about this big chicken recipe three days in a row. But you’re doing it in a way that’s building up excitement to it. You’re not just showing, “Here’s the final product. Here’s a link to the recipe. Good luck. And I hope you enjoy it.” You’re coming at it from a different angle in trying to rebuild hype to something that already did well.
But make sure whenever you do any updates to your top pieces of content, especially when you’re trying to reuse content, make sure you make it a featured post. And so it’s back on your homepage so you can see any updates that you’re making. Or if you’re creating a brand new piece of content from a similar topic like big chicken, for example. If your big chicken recipe is doing really well and so you want to try lemon baked chicken or baked chicken parmesan, since baked chicken is popular, make sure you feature those on your homepage so they really get highlighted so you can actually compare metrics.
Arsen Rabinovich (18:10):
Very cool. Okay. Casey, same topic. How often should you publish new content? Or is it better to focus on publishing new content or fixing old content?
Casey Markee (18:25):
Great question. So one of the things to understand and Google has come out and said that as recently as March 2018 is that content updating frequency is not a ranking factor. Sites are not viewed as machines that just crank out content and the more content you crank out, the better you’re going to do. Far from it. I still know a lot of bloggers that are confused by this. “Well, I’m going from three posts to four posts, why am I not doing better?” Well, it’s bottom line quality. Maybe there’s a quality issue with those four posts, and maybe we need to slow the roll, pull things back, go down to two posts instead and up the quality of that existing contacts.
So that’s the most important thing to understand is that we publish content when we can publish content when it makes sense to us. For some people, that’s one post a week. For some people, that’s four or five posts a week if they’ve got help. Now we’ve had multiple issues where, when I’ve done an audit and I’m trying to think back to the audit that I did today with the nice blogger, Alicia, Elisa, who’s from Texas, Dallas, and I know I can see it was crestfallen for her on the phone when we were talking about how she was really going to have to go back and start republishing all of her content. That’s a very common refrain after you have an honor with being we’ve done content on it. Because there’s a difference in quality once you’ve seen it through my lens during the audit as opposed to what they’ve been introduced over the last several months or years.
We know based upon our experience and based upon the many audits we’ve done, being myself, Ashley or Arsen, that when bloggers slow down and decide, “Okay, you know what, I’m just going to go back and republish all of my content.” That content hasn’t been seen by the vast majority of people currently on their site. It’s new content. So understand that you don’t have to continue to push out new content that you think and the process while you’re also updated and republishing older content. A good example would be Eren, over at Ere’s kitchen when she had her first [inaudible 00:20:24] several years ago. She wasn’t even on 100,000 sessions and now she’s well over 2 million, I believe, last time I checked.
She did that by literally not publishing one new piece of content for an entire year, she republished everything on our site using an improved template. So that’s something that you need to take a personal look at if you do a content inventory. Don’t feel that you need to continue to crank out new content, if you’ve got a lot of older content on your site sitting there doing nothing for you. Focus on that first.
Ashley Segura (20:54):
Just to add to that buffer, the social media management platform, they ran an experiment where they didn’t create any new content for a month. I mean, they’re a big brand. They’re well known brand, and especially in the social media industry. They’re relied on for content tips. So not publishing anything new for a whole month was really risky. But what works so well is before the month came to where they didn’t do anything new, they outlined very specifically what they wanted to accomplish. And so when the month ended, they were able to go back and the posts that they reuse and republish, they were able to measure line by line with the metrics to see what actually worked and what didn’t, and it was successful. They could go another month, and not create content, and still get lots of traffic still get lots of SlideShare views. So if you’re going to just dig deep into the content that you already have, make sure you have a goal before you go into just updating so you can actually go back and make sure this helped or didn’t help.
Arsen Rabinovich (21:54):
Right. Ashley, what kind of word count length should you aim for?
Ashley Segura (22:01):
One to two words per post would be safe. That’s correct. Right, Casey?
Arsen Rabinovich (22:05):
Perfect. Let’s just end the webinar now.
Ashley Segura (22:10):
It doesn’t matter. It depends. It does not matter. It is not a ranking factor. So as long as you’re covering everything there is to know about baking chicken inside that one blog post, you’re good to go. And if you have other posts that help expand on that even more on how you bake chicken and all of the bake chicken sites, then make sure you have internal links in there. But other than that, you need to be a resource. This goes back to Andrew’s very first question. People are coming to you for information. They’re most likely coming to you because they need information on a recipe and want to know how to cook something or the oven temperature or something. So don’t be vague and just talk about how you discovered the recipe or how it was passed down. Let me know everything there is to know about that specific topic. And if you can do that in 500 words, fantastic. If you need 5000 for it, best of luck to you writing 5000 of those.
Arsen Rabinovich (23:12):
Awesome. Casey, should you do try to rank for multiple keywords with one blog post, and can you rank for the same keyword across multiple posts?
Casey Markee (23:23):
That is a great question. Hopefully no one is hearing the machine. The sounds are going on behind me. We’re having some work done on the house today. Good times. But yeah, the copyblogger did some research back in 2019 and the average number one posts on Google would routinely pull in 1000-plus keywords. Whereas the average media posts across all queries and across all niches would usually rank for 400. So yeah, I would expect your post to rank for not just dozens, but hundreds of separate queries, regardless of what you’ve done. That’s just how content works. There’s lots of stemming keyword stemming that goes into your initial focus keyword.
So that’s not something you should ever really worry about specifically. You can rank for multiple keywords, it’s not an issue. Most sites do, I’m going to go ahead and paste over some great examples that we covered in the link building webinar that we did last month. That gives you an idea of these really high quality pieces of content, and how they can rank across thousands of different queries so take a look at those when you can, they’re really cool.
Now, I think the second part of that question was, can you have two pieces of content rank for the same keyword? Absolutely. And you should expect that. Google will in many cases rank two, sometimes as many as three or four pieces of content for the same query though. They lowered that. There’s been a de-shuffling over the last couple of years specifically with regards to basically topical dilution. They don’t want the same size showing over and over again. It used to be that we could have a search for Disney and literally eight results from disney.com would show up for that query that was not good. And that’s why we call, we basically have some quality listing diversification that was happening to provide a better listing of what’s going on for those queries, there’s more resources being pulled in.
It’s not uncommon now to have two or three recipes show up and rank for very specific queries. But usually, we want to try to minify, or minimize that duplication because it can cannibalize your bottom-line traffic. If I’ve got three cherry pie recipes on a site, I probably don’t need all three of those cherry pies. I want to find the one that’s the best. And unless I can differentiate the other two, I might redirect those to the one that’s doing the best and not worry about the other two. So it depends on the query, depends on the competition. But that’s certainly something that we’d want to be aware of.
Arsen Rabinovich (25:59):
Awesome. Let’s see, Andrew. What’s one of the best ways to keep a reader engaged throughout your content and not just by putting in the jump to recipe button?
Andrew Wilder (26:16):
I actually love the jump-to-recipe button has a user and I think for me… So I’m going to speak from my personal experience. I think jump-to-recipe buttons and jumping down to the recipe is a great way to promote engagement, because I don’t have to work to find the content I’m looking for. Because when I search for a recipe, I want to know, “Do I have all these ingredients? Will I want to make this dish?” Those are my first few questions. Because usually I’m like, “I’m hungry for dinner, I want a chicken cacciatore recipe and I’m searching for one of those.” So I want to jump and find the recipe right away. As soon as I find a recipe that meets those criteria, then I’m going to scroll back up and find out more about it. And I’m going to look for those pitfalls that you talked about like,” Hey, make sure you do this with your chicken before doing that.” And all those tips and tricks.
So I think making it scannable is really important. But writing great recipes, having really great photos is helpful. You don’t want to overdo it. I’m less interested in the recipe, in the photo itself than I am with the contents of the recipe. But I wanted to see what the dishes. I want to know what I’m considering making if this is even the thing I’m looking for at all. And then organizing your content in a way that I can answer all of my little individual questions. So having the Table of Contents at the top, having headers that are clear and easy to read that aren’t stuffed with the keywords over and over again. Google will penalize you for that anyway.
You’re trying to pre-emptively answer the questions I’m about to ask. So if you do that in a way that’s easy to find and easy to use, I think that’s going to keep readers engaged. And don’t hit me with tons of annoying pop-ups before I’ve even had a chance to look at any of your other content.
Casey Markee (27:49):
There you go.
Andrew Wilder (27:51):
That’s another [inaudible 00:27:51] big one.
Casey Markee (27:52):
That’s a big one.
Arsen Rabinovich (27:54):
Right. Okay, so, Casey, when you’re looking at the data, how do you consider a post to be poor content? And what metrics do you look at?
Casey Markee (28:11):
Might be a new term for you though. What we’re looking at specifically is a term called consumption metrics. And these consumption metrics are things like traffic, time-on-site, behavior flow in Google Analytics. Basically, just bottom-line, is there value on this content based upon concrete metrics that we can track in either Google Search Console, or Google Analytics? Now, I tried to simplify this. I know many of you are aware that I have this T-shirt line called Toddlers and Drunk Adults, patent-pending. And that T-shirt line, that’s… Again, we’re going to put bumper stickers, Toddlers and Drunk Adults. And when we’re looking at that approach with regards to content auditing, the bottom line metric to us is traffic.
If I’m pulling a list of all of your posts on this side, and I see that a post hasn’t had one click from Google in 90 to 120 days. That’s the very first thing that I’m going to be looking at is what is it about this content that has caused no engagement metrics at all with Google? Is it just because it’s so far back in the search results it can garner any impressions and clicks? Is it because it’s off-topic? Is it because you have some cannibalization or dilution happening internally with this, and so it’s just competing for finite resources that you don’t have?. I’m going to look for all of that. I’m going to look at the traffic, I’m going to look at the rankings of the post, whether it even exists. I’m going to look at the conversion in Google, the conversion percentage in Google.
Now, the conversion metrics in Google Search Console can be very confusing so I would tell all of you on the call not to lose much sleep over them and this is why. If you go in and sort your Google Search Console conversions, you’re going to have some batshit crazy numbers like 27% conversion on a web story. You come to find out that the web store only had three clicks. And that’s because the impressions are so non-existent that that’s what happened when you get conversions, too much play. So the average site, especially for the average query might have somewhere between 3 and 7% conversion with an actual good quality of clicks, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
But bottom line, which we’re going to be looking at is, especially if you’re monetizing, is the content doing anything for? Most of you with media vine in the ad thrive, you now have dashboards we can actually track the breakdown of your individual pages and see how they’re monetizing. Well, we know if you’ve got several pages that are not monetizing well, it’s most likely because they are encountering a traffic or they’re not garnering any click over traffic from one post to another. And we’d want to identify that content and look for trends. Is it poor content because all you’ve done is include photos of the finished dish? Is it poor content because there’s only two paragraphs of content on the page? Is it poor content because you didn’t include any headings? You didn’t include any discussion on the ingredients? You didn’t include any expert tips or FAQs? We have to determine what it is that is causing these poor metrics, and it’s different for every site in many cases.
Arsen Rabinovich (31:12):
Right. So now that you’ve looked at the data, you’ve looked at the metrics, and you’ve identified the posts that are not performing too well. By the way, you guys, use the Q&A for the questions. This way, we can track them and answer them and also provide really awesome resources in the right of that we do, the recap. So when you guys put them in the chat, they get lost in there. So use the Q&A, please. Okay, so you looked at the data you looked at all of the metrics, and you identify posts that are doing poorly. So Ashley, now that you’ve identified those posts, and this is something that you do very frequently, when we do audit, its content audit for topic content. Once a piece of content is doing poorly, what is the best way to go about updating it? Do you need to rewrite the whole post? Or do you just go in and figure out what’s wrong and fix those [inaudible 00:32:07].
Casey Markee (32:06):
And this question is to me?
Arsen Rabinovich (32:10):
Casey Markee (32:11):
Oh, for Ashley. Okay. Go ahead.
Ashley Segura (32:14):
You can take a nap real quick Casey, I’ll make it short. This one does fully depend on the SEO verbiage. But it really depends if the content is not doing anything for you… So you’ve had it on your blog for two, three years. It’s not meeting any of your goals, you’re not getting any traffic. But it’s still a topic that you want to be related with your competition has. You know your users want to know how to make this X, Y and Z recipe or need this information. Then that’s when you’re talking about a full rewrite. You need to redo that piece of content, because the first round that you did, is obviously not successful. And it’s had plenty of runtime. It’s optimized but it’s not working out.
And so before you even start to rewrite it, you need to take a look at who’s ranking for that topic or for that search query. See how Google’s formulating the search results. Is it all a bunch of product pages that are trying to sell the grill for baking your chicken? Or is it a bunch of other big chicken recipes? If it’s a bunch of other baked chicken recipes, then by all means, go and actually click on them. Click on the top four main ones. See how the post is structured. It could be that you either missed a big FAQ question in your post or you had 5, 10-sentence paragraphs and no one could digest the information well. You could have had the right amount of information but it was structured incorrectly to where users, your users didn’t like it, didn’t relate with it.
So see what’s already been published on the topic. I can guarantee you there’s already a ton that’s already been published on the topic. I’ve yet to see a recipe that doesn’t have 10 other examples of it already up. And I’m sure that’s something that everyone struggles with regularly is making it unique. But go and see what’s already been published to see if it’s a structure-related issue. On the republishing side of things which I’m seeing the questions come into the chat on this. On the republishing side of things, this is not starting from scratch. This is not saying that this original post did absolutely terrible. You did great, but you didn’t get the exact goals that you wanted. And so you want to improve the post. That’s making minor content updates.
And again, I recommend looking at what’s already been published and what’s ranking to see what improvements that could be, whether it’s improving how it’s laid out and changing one of the headings maybe adding… maybe your keyword isn’t in the first heading like it should be. Maybe the all the competition has videos and you only have images so you need to figure out how to do some animated add content in there. There’s lots of different possibilities there. But you definitely don’t always want to think, “Okay, this post didn’t work. I’m completely starting from scratch.” Sometimes you can revive it by making minor updates to it, and then publishing it and distributing it.
Arsen Rabinovich (35:14):
Right. Andrew, what’s the correct way to go about updating a URL? So for example, if I’m updating a piece of content, and it makes sense to update the URL, let’s say, I had a post about 2020 holidays recipes. And now I need to update it for 2021. What would be the proper way of doing it?
Andrew Wilder (35:41):
I think if you can avoid updating the URL, that’s the best answer.
Arsen Rabinovich (35:45):
Andrew Wilder (35:46):
So most visitors don’t pay attention to URLs. On desktop, you can see it but on mobile, you probably can’t even see it anyway. You’re just going to see the domain at the top once they’re viewing the post. But once you update a URL, you’re basically starting from scratch, from an SEO perspective. Google has to re-crawl it, it’s a new URL. You’re going to reset all your share counts on your social media as well, because those are linked to the exact URL. So really, unless you absolutely have to, I recommend not changing the URL. But if you do absolutely have to, then when you change the URL, make sure you set up a 301 redirect from the old one to the new one, and make sure it will redirect with just one redirect so you’re not going through a chain of different redirects.
Google will eventually catch up on that. But any old links to that post are going to have to go through that redirects, you’re going to lose a little crawl bridge or waist low crawl budget on that. So it’s not ideal. So yeah, try not to update the URLs is the best way to update URLs is to not.
Arsen Rabinovich (36:45):
Good answer. All right, Casey, what elements make a blog over-optimized?
Casey Markee (36:58):
Just unmute myself here really quickly. All right. So when we’re talking about a blog posts that’s over-optimized, there’s lots of things to look at. The most important thing, of course to look at is keyword over-optimization or repetition. We would be looking at had they just ping the keyword too much. Is the keyword and every H2 on the page. For example, if we’ve got eight headings on the page, and the keyword is in each one of those headings, in most cases, unless you’re an incredibly powerful site with a lot of back links that can overcome extremely poor on page optimization. And again, those people exist. And that’s the first thing I would look at is making sure that we de-optimize those headings specifically.If I’m trying to rank for baking wrapped shrimp, I don’t want to have 8 H2s on the page and has bacon wrapped shrimp in there.
I also want to be using something like an add-on with something like SEOquake.com, which is just a simple browser add-on that allows you to see the keyword density on the page. Is it 2,3,4 percent? Is a relatively high? Compare that metric to the other sites that are ranking on page one, see if you notice any trends. But excessive keyword repetition and excessive keyword-rich headings, very important. We’d also want to look at the keyword-rich nature of their internal linking. Are they linking specifically to this page and out from this page with very keyword rich, got phrases which don’t really conform with the title. Usually, we want to link internally and externally to the title of the post whenever we can. But if I’m trying to rank a mussels and oysters post or something like that, or bacon wrapped shrimp, and I’ve gone into my site, and that basically ranked bacon-wrapped shrimp from all over the place, you can overdo it. Because you also want to be looking at, “Are there other related or complimentary keywords that I could use to vary the anchor text.”
If I want to improve a page for bacon-wrapped shrimp, I’m not going to link over and over again to the page for bacon-wrapped shrimp. I’m going to go into search console and find all the other complimentary keywords that the post is ranking for. And I’m going to vary my anchor text nationally, internally and externally. There might be 20, 30 different keyword phrases that include bacon, or wrapped or shrimp and I want to vary the keyword phrases accordingly so I don’t over-optimize that. So I’d be looking at all that information specifically. I’d also want to be looking for keyword stuff footer content. I’d also want to be looking for keyword stuff content on the sidebar. I’d also want to be looking at the old text specifically. Have I done all texts correctly? Does my alt text visually describe this to somebody who cannot see it? Or do I just repeat some focus keywords as the old text and not think anything about anyone accessing my site with a visual disability? That’s what we need to really think about, making sure that we download stuff back.
Also, I’m seeing a lot of bloggers these days use captions below their photos. Nothing wrong with using captions if you add value to the user. If you’re using captions to repeat the keyword phrase, that’s not a correct use of captions. Captions are there to communicate information as supplementary to the experience of the user looking and addressing the content. That would be something like a photo credit, that would be a fact. That would be something like, maybe there’s a string of photos telling you to make something and maybe you specifically say, “Maybe that’s a good chance for you to use a pro tip.” And say oh by the way, make sure that you have the glove on before you pick this up or something along those lines. But if you’re using captions to horribly inflate the keyword density on the page, or just to repeat the keyword, that’s probably something you want to look at and dial back with regards to over-optimization.
Arsen Rabinovich (40:42):
Just stop doing it.
Casey Markee (40:42):
Arsen Rabinovich (40:43):
Just don’t do it ever. Stop it now. Ashley, If you have a specific dietary or type of lifestyle-cooking content, let’s say key-to recipes only or potato soup recipes only. Do you need to include the word “keto” in the title, and body of every recipe?
Ashley Segura (41:11):
Yes, you should. If all you write about is keto recipes, naturally things like information architecture, and your category structure should reinforce that you write about keto recipes, and only keto recipes. But lots of times you’ve found from say Pinterest, and it’s from a specific keto recipe that you have. If you never put keto in front of stuff to build peppers, people who are on a keto diet would have never clicked on that pin and would have never found your website that’s home to all these other recipes, all these other keto recipes. So if you have a very specific niche, such as dietary restriction, and that’s all the recipes that you do, it’s really important and helpful for the user if you put that into your title, if you put that into some of your headings as long as it makes sense with the context of your headings.
Arsen Rabinovich (42:04):
Right. Okay, and then we have the last question for Andrew. After that we’ll go through the Q&A. We have plenty of time. Andrew, what are some of the best ways to optimize your images? Any plugins that you recommend?
Andrew Wilder (42:19):
I do have some plug-ins to recommend. My favorite plug-in is shortPixel. ShortPixel, like really low pixels. Another popular one is Image of Phi. In my tests, shortPixel outperformed Image of Phi a little bit, but they’re both excellent. So basically, the way these plug-ins work is when you upload a picture to your WordPress site, those will then optimize the images that you’ve uploaded. But WordPress also makes a whole bunch of thumbnail images or smaller versions after you upload an image and it’s going to optimize all of those as well. So that’s why I recommend having the plugin and not just making sure your images are optimized before uploading.
But you do want to make sure your images are pretty well optimized before you upload. So our general recommendation is to size your images to 1200 pixels-wide before you upload. They can be however tall you need them to be to maintain the proportion but 1200 pixels wide, and set the quality level when you export from your photo editor so that the images are in the 200 to 300 kilobyte range. That’s not an exact science. You’re going to need to find a quality setting that works for you and your aesthetics. And the more detail and texture that’s in a picture, the more kilobytes it’s going to need. That’s the nature of JPEGs and the way the compression works. But if you’re typically in the 200 to 300 kilobyte range before you upload, upload it and then shortpixel is going to squeeze out some more kilobytes there and then your images are going to be nice and fast and should still look good.
The defaults on shortpixel are pretty good. I do like lossy mode, that’s the strongest mode. If you’re super picky and scrutinizing every pixel, you might not be happy with it. But for those of you who do that, I’d like to remind you that most of your visitors are on a screen that is this big, and they don’t care nearly as much as you do. So once it’s shrunk down to this size, that might not actually be visible. So make sure you’re not looking at the full size and critiquing it but look on a phone and look to mimic your users experience to make sure you’re actually getting it as fast as possible.
The other thing I throw in the mix is you want to make sure you’re lazy loading your images, which means that they don’t all load at the same time when the page loads, but instead they load just in time. So as you’re scrolling down, the images load one at a time when they’re needed. So that really helps to get the rest of your content to load quickly right away. There is a lazy loading built into WordPress, it’s not great, but it works. But if you use WP Rocket, which is our favorite optimization tool in general, that has an option to lazy load images. If you want a free version, the A3 lazy load plug-in is a great option as well.
Arsen Rabinovich (44:49):
Cool, lots of information there. Obviously all of it is going to be in the recap, we’ll include the links and all of that good stuff. Let’s open up to Q&A. I’m going to read out these questions. I’m going to start at the top. This one’s about two thumbs-up. Coming from Loren, “I’m curious about the process of republishing. I know how to decide whether or not to update or republish.” She’s just not sure of the technical steps for actually republishing a recipe. Who wants to take this? Casey?
Casey Markee (45:20):
Yeah sure. So depends upon if you’re using a plug-in. In most cases, you can use a plug-in like Revision Manager TMC, which is a strong candidate to use or hear something like Revision Eyes, tends to be a little bit buggy, but everyone depends. Some people tell me it works perfectly for them every time. Or you can use the new Yoast duplicate content plugin. And basically, it allows you to clone your existing post. We make all the changes we want for the clone, then we go ahead and combine that clone with the existing post and it goes live at a date of your choosing. You can either have it go live immediately with all the changes, republishing at that date. Or you can schedule it at a date in the future and have those changes again, combine seamlessly and go live at a future date.
I think both methods are the way to go. I know a lot of people like to make all the changes in an external document, then go in and paste them into your existing post and then click update and then some of them go in and change the date on it. It’s fine, it’s not going to kill you. It depends upon what your workflow is honestly. As Ashley said, it’s usually good if you’re making substantial changes. And that’s again, anything involving adding sections, not just updating a photo. You probably want to republish because you want it to hit your RSS feed [inaudible 00:46:35]. You want to feature the post on the homepage again, there’s some benefits for that. And for most everyone else, maybe an update is just fine. When you’re updating a post, you’re still pinging Google. Google’s going to come back, take the whole post, re-crawl it, you’re going to be just fine. So it really is what you’re most comfortable doing.
Arsen Rabinovich (46:55):
So Chrissy has a question that’s relevant to what you’re answering now. “When doing major updates to old content, is there any SEO difference benefit to using a plug-in like Revision Manager versus just updating the content directly on the post?”
Casey Markee (47:14):
No, not really.
Arsen Rabinovich (47:14):
And, sorry. And republishing it with today’s date?
Casey Markee (47:20):
Not really. Chrissy, if that’s easier for you to do, that’s fine. I think the Revision Manager is more for those of you on the call that realize, “Oh, man, I have a lot of content update to republish.” Because this allows you to do it at scale. We’re scheduling out content updates over a period of time. So I can start working today on five or six posts, and then schedule them to go live days and weeks down the feed. And I know a lot of bloggers have been very successful. With Eren’s kitchen did that for a long time where she had posts ready to go live months in advance, based upon using Revision Manager [inaudible 00:47:58] specifically.
It really depends upon your content pipeline, so to speak. If you’ve got a lot of content to update and republish at scale, doing them one at a time is going to slow you down, especially if you’re going to say “Okay, I’m going to do this post here and then boom, we’re going to republish.” Whereas you can literally revisionize two, three posts at a time and work on them when you have time and schedule them out when they’re done.
Arsen Rabinovich (47:20):
Ashley Segura (47:20):
Arsen Rabinovich (48:29):
So, go ahead.
Ashley Segura (48:30):
It’s important to note because these three publishing questions the word date keeps coming up and updating the date and when you shut the date. Any evergreen content and holiday content? When you make an update, you definitely want to change that date. So it’s now 2021. Your 2020 Mother’s Day brunch recipes don’t look as good as 2021 brunch recipes do. So make sure you don’t just change the date to be timely, make actual updates. They can be really minimal. Make actual updates to the post, then have the date changed and reflected so it’s timely.
Casey Markee (49:04):
And then also brings up another good point. I know there’s a lot of people who think that, “Well, Google likes fresh content so I just going to update the post to change the date.” We just don’t want to do that. And that’s an old trick that Google ignore. So if anyone is telling you that you should do that, or you should do that at scale, you should just run, not walk in the opposite direction.
Arsen Rabinovich (49:24):
We’ll do it.
Casey Markee (49:25):
It’s a complete waste of your time. It’s also important to try to think… Again, when we talked about evergreen Resources. Let’s say, and using Ashley’s example of… Well you used Mother’s Day didn’t you? Used Mother’s Day Brunch recipes. Let’s say, you had a round up. We would never have the URL say, “Mother’s Day Bunch 2021.” We would just have the URL say, “Mother’s Day Brunch recipe.” Or, “Mother’s Day Brunch.” So that we can republish that URL every year without having to worry about any bias that might be in the URL itself. And it’s the same with anything that has a date. Christmas recipes or holiday menu for Thanksgiving. We just have static URLs that we republish every year, so that URL can accumulate long term signals. That’s the best approach.
Arsen Rabinovich (50:14):
Right. Because the title, the heading, all of that convey…
Casey Markee (50:18):
The current dates. Yes.
Arsen Rabinovich (50:20):
Andrew Wilder (50:21):
I think it’s also important to note that there’s two dates that we’re talking about in WordPress. There’s the publish date. And then there’s the last modified date, and there was [inaudible 00:50:29] about that in the chat as well. So the publish date is the public facing date, it goes live. And that is where it is in the list of posts. Because all the posts in WordPress are reverse-chronological. So the most recent are at the top of the pile, and then you go back down. Last modified date doesn’t change the publish date, but it’s when you last change something else on the post. So if you’re just updating a post, you’re going to leave the publish date the same, you’re going to change the content in some way, and you’re going to hit “Update”, and that changes the last modified date.
And someone was asking about limiting the modified date. So if you don’t want to show that it was updated, and you don’t want to publish bad information, you can install the limit-modified date plug-in. You’re still updating your content, it’s still going to ping Google and tell Google, “Hey, re-crawl this because I’ve updated it.” But that changes it. That prevents the date from being changed. When we’re talking about republishing, that’s changing the publication date to something newer. If you’ve got your Christmas recipes and you last shared it in December 1st 2020. Well when this year comes around, you’re going to republish it to December 1st 2021 which, at that moment, when you republish it to that, it’s going to change the publish date, and the last modified date to be December 1st 2021. S
So the Evergreen content that comes around, you’re going to want to bring to the front, some content, you might. You also don’t want to republish stuff out of season. So if it’s Christmas, you don’t necessarily want to be posting your July 4th barbecue recipes as new content. But if you want to update it, you can update it, then and nobody’s going to notice. And then when July comes around next year, it’s going to be already freshened up. So thinking about seasonality and what you want to focus on as if it were new content, but not can help inform your workflow on what you should be working on at what time.
Arsen Rabinovich (52:11):
Right. Okay, a few more minutes left. And I see some comments on the chat. We always answer all of the Q&A questions, even if we don’t get to them during these live webinars, hang on to them in the recap. Okay, so two questions that are very similar one from Tammy one from Beth. Tammy writes, “If my best post still isn’t in the top three ranks, is it better to leave it or update it if I know it could be made better?” Now Beth has a similar question. And she’s saying that she has a post ranking highly but it was written a long time ago. And she doesn’t have targeted… She doesn’t have a targeted lead magnet, nor any targeted products to sell with that post and she loves to update it for it to make money for her. So what would be the best way of handling that?
Casey Markee (53:05):
Well, I’ll just jump in for Beth here. Beth, hopefully you’re using something like WP Recipe Maker where I think create is now database driven. The first thing I would do is go into that recipe cards, make sure that it has clear recipe knows that you fully enhanced all the recipe attributes there. And that you’ve added your affiliate links. Do you have an equipment list there? Add an equipment list, make sure there’s some affiliates, especially if your goal is to monetize that post. Let’s do it in the recipe card, which goes live immediately. We never have to touch the post. That’s the first thing we’d want to do, if we’re trying to monetize that post a little bit more effectively.
Arsen Rabinovich (53:40):
Right. Okay. So…
Casey Markee (53:49):
Andrew Wilder (53:50):
Beth just added a comment that it’s not a recipe. So if it’s not a recipe, what do you do?
Casey Markee (53:55):
Well, you got to make the decision. You could use something like the limit modified date plugin, which will allow you to minimize things like the modified date schema being pushed out, which is a signal that Google could use to not re-crawl the sitemap and not revisit this post needlessly. You could go in and make some changes, add some affiliate links within the content itself, add some an actual email embed or some a convert form. Not ConvertKit, they’re the devil. But anything else MailerLite, maybe a Mad Mimi, maybe Convert Pro. Anything is better than ConvertKit. And just to add a lid into the post and go that route.
Arsen Rabinovich (54:33):
Andrew, Jenny is asking. [inaudible 00:54:38] all texts and descriptions of photos always be filled out? What is the proper way to list alt text and descriptions for SEO purposes?
Ashley Segura (54:47):
First of all, alt text should not be viewed as for SEO purposes. It may impact some SEO things but alt text is there for accessibility. So that’s the primary way you should be thinking about it. So in general, alt text should be used to describe the purpose of the image, or describe the image itself. So if it’s a photo of your recipe in a post, you should describe the image to someone who cannot see it. So could be a slice of cheesecake on a blue plate with a fork or… I’m sure you could wordsmith something better than that. But the idea is a concise description of what the photo is.
So it’s important to fill it all text out for accessibility. And actually, maybe we can link to… I’ve done a few talks on accessibility in general, which maybe we can add in the show notes. But then, from an SEO perspective, it’s okay to add your keywords in there. So if it’s a chocolate-chip cheesecake. You can say chocolate-chip cheesecake recipe or chocolate chip cheesecake… A slice of chocolate-chip cheesecake on a blue plate. However, you don’t want to overdo it, because anybody who’s using a screen reader is going to hear that spoken out. So if you keyword stuff every single image, images all text. That’s going to get really annoying really fast. So don’t be obnoxious about it. And honestly, I don’t think it’s even that necessary if you’re using your keywords and the rest of the post.
Google’s really good at understanding the context. So, just in the same way, you wouldn’t want to keyword stuff, your heading tags, you don’t want to keyword stuff, your alt text, and again, it all comes back to think of your user. And in this case, the user can’t see the image, so you have to describe it to them.
Arsen Rabinovich (56:23):
Bianca is asking, “If I’m using the Yoast plugin and have been updating content to ensure that I’m achieving green light for both SEO score and readability score, is that a good measurement of making sure that the blog posts are optimized?” And we’ve said this before, don’t choose that green light but who wants to deep-dive into that? Casey, you’re muted.
Ashley Segura (56:23):
Casey you’re muted.
Casey Markee (56:54):
Okay. I’m happy to say that you’ve answered your own question Bianca. Where we’re getting into trouble is the bloggers who chase the green light in Yoast. It’s honestly going to lead to a lot of over-optimization. You just don’t need to do it. Don’t worry about it. Don’t try to put your keyword phrase in the beginning of a sentence, is extremely unnatural. People don’t talk that way. Don’t try to put your keyword in every heading on the page. Again, it’s unnatural. It’s over-optimization. We’ve covered it repeatedly and we’ve seen this effect because it’s going to affect the smaller bloggers more profoundly and those are the people that are usually trying to get to green on Yoast right out of the [inaudible 00:57:33] because you don’t know better.
So I would just urge you not to. We want to write to the user whenever we can. Yoast is just a tool. I have a lot of people just turn off the suggestions completely. But just write for users and don’t try to stuff your headings with the keyword phrase. And when you’re writing your descriptions especially, ask yourself, “What looks good to you when you’re navigating the internet, when you’re looking at these descriptions?” People don’t just list the key word and then do a hyphen and then talk about the post. That’s not a good meta description. People don’t say, “Strawberry cheesecake, awesome.” And then hyphen. And then stock a little bit about the strawberry cheesecake. They write more conversationally, and that’s something that Yoast has not been able to learn. You need to be writing more conversationally as well. Sell the user on what your recipe or why your post is the best it can be. And you’ll be surprised at how better you’ll do and not worry about getting the green.
Arsen Rabinovich (58:29):
Good answer. Anybody else want to chime in on that?
Ashley Segura (58:34):
You covered the main point, just don’t follow it.
Arsen Rabinovich (58:37):
Ashley Segura (58:38):
Arsen Rabinovich (58:39):
Okay. And with that, we have a lot… We have 30 open Q&As. We’re going to make sure all of them get answered. This is going to be an interesting recap that we’ll put together. We’re going to make sure all of them get answered. The next episode of SEO for Publishers is about WordPress plug-ins. And we’re going to do it on Tuesday May 18, at 2.pm. Going to drop a link real fast for everyone to register for that one. And then we’ll obviously send out an email blast when the recap post is up so that all of you can come in and take a look and read all about it. I want to thank all of our panelists, Ashley, Andrew and Casey. And I want to thank all of you for attending today. You guys are awesome. We love you.
Ashley Segura (59:28):
Casey Markee (59:29):
Thanks everyone. And We’ll see you next month.
Ashley Segura (59:31):
See you next month.
Arsen Rabinovich (59:33):