Casey Markee (00:00):
… maybe a quick discussion.
Ashley Segura (00:00):
and we’re officially broadcasting. Hello everybody, my name is Ashley Segura and I’d like to welcome you to the fifth episode of SEO for publishers. As everyone’s starting to log in and come into the webinar, hop over to the chat box and let us know where you’re tuning in from.
Casey Markee (00:19):
Yeah, chat box. Let’s get that chat box up here. Yeah, [crosstalk 00:00:23].
Ashley Segura (00:23):
Ooh, we got a Portland Oregon. You’re not too far for me. Dallas.
Casey Markee (00:26):
Ooh, someone’s from Hawaii. Hawaii, nice.
Ashley Segura (00:29):
Lucky [Cheryl 00:00:29].
Casey Markee (00:29):
Nice, what is going on in Hawaii?
Arsen Rabinovich (00:33):
[crosstalk 00:00:33] huge.
Ashley Segura (00:34):
Norway, thanks for tuning in. Norway for the win.
Arsen Rabinovich (00:37):
Oh, and the UK.
Casey Markee (00:40):
That is awesome.
Ashley Segura (00:42):
Everyone from all over. We’re covering almost all the states and Argentina.
Casey Markee (00:48):
Wow, look at that.
Arsen Rabinovich (00:54):
Ashley Segura (00:54):
India, Georgia, Vancouver. All over Canada.
Andrew Wilder (00:58):
The internet’s amazing.
Arsen Rabinovich (01:00):
Ashley Segura (01:00):
It really is.
Andrew Wilder (01:01):
This is the coolest thing.
Ashley Segura (01:04):
And shout out to everybody on a really weird time right now. If it’s the middle of the night or super early in the morning, thank you for still tuning in live. That’s fantastic.
Casey Markee (01:13):
Lana who’s here, Lana I just spoke with you today. I am so sorry that we had to spend two hours on the call and now you have to come and speak again for another hour. Yeesh.
Ashley Segura (01:25):
That’s a lot of Casey for one day.
Casey Markee (01:25):
Wow, my wife zones out after five minutes. Seriously, it’s crazy. I have to pass notes.
Andrew Wilder (01:32):
We all do what we have to survive, Casey.
Casey Markee (01:35):
Never too much Casey, ah thank you Lana. Your check is in the mail. No problem. We got a good turnout today. I recognize some of these names. [inaudible 00:01:46], Kaylee from Texas. Fantastic.
Andrew Wilder (01:49):
What’s up St. Louis?
Casey Markee (01:52):
Oh, Christina from Portland. Nice to see you. [crosstalk 00:01:55].
Ashley Segura (01:55):
Casey Markee (01:57):
Look at all these people from Australia. Good. Sarah, thanks for joining us. Wow, you’re talking to us from the future. That is amazing.
Andrew Wilder (02:06):
It’s like 7 AM there.
Casey Markee (02:07):
What is it? Like tomorrow, what is it? It’s tomorrow, 9am or so. What is it?
Ashley Segura (02:15):
I think Australia’s 18 to 19 hours ahead.
Casey Markee (02:16):
Two o’clock here, so it’s probably eight o’clock there in the morning there, eight, nine in the morning.
Ashley Segura (02:19):
7:30. Oh, there’s… See, I don’t have a problem with the international dateline, it’s when you go to [crosstalk 00:02:26].
Casey Markee (02:26):
Did you see how fast I said it was about eight? Okay, I just want to want credit for that, right now.
Ashley Segura (02:30):
You didn’t say PM or AM though, so [crosstalk 00:02:33] think it’s fair.
Casey Markee (02:33):
[crosstalk 00:02:33], I’m going to take it. Also I’ve started to, when I go out to restaurants, instead of just calculating the tip, I just put math right there and then I just put the total that I want to pay at the bottom. Genius, works out well.
Arsen Rabinovich (02:46):
Casey Markee (02:48):
I don’t calculate it anymore and I just put math where it says tip. I just typed out the math.
Arsen Rabinovich (02:52):
Oh, you just write the word, math. Gotcha.
Ashley Segura (02:53):
Casey Markee (02:53):
And then I just go down and put some close to number. Hopefully it’s close. Yeah, it’s genius, I know.
Arsen Rabinovich (02:58):
Let them figure it out.
Casey Markee (02:59):
Exactly, [crosstalk 00:03:00].
Ashley Segura (03:00):
As in check your bank statements.
Arsen Rabinovich (03:01):
They get paid the big bucks.
Casey Markee (03:01):
Check your bank statement. Okay, that’s fine.
Ashley Segura (03:06):
Yeah, just make sure that they didn’t add a couple zeros to that math.
Casey Markee (03:10):
I mean, I have two teenagers so it’s not like I have a bank statement. That’s hilarious. That’s so funny. Two teenagers.
Ashley Segura (03:15):
Fair. All right, perfect. It looks like a good majority of us are here, so we’re going to go ahead and get started. Today we’re going to be talking about how you can actually prepare your blog for all this upcoming holiday traffic that we’re all hoping to get. As always, panelists Arsen Rabinovich, Casey Markee and Andrew Wilder will be sharing their expertise and answering your guys’s questions that you fill out when you register. So we’ll be doing a Q&A at the end, but if you have any questions while we’re on a topic, please go ahead and put them into the Q&A section or into the chat box, and we’ll do our best to hit as many as we can. After every webinar, we do a recap post and it answers all of your Q&A. So if we run out of time, don’t worry, we’ll still be able to answer your questions, as well as the replay to this video.
Ashley Segura (04:01):
So if you have to hop off early, which, don’t, there’s really no reason to. But if you have to hop off early, we’ll make sure and get you guys a recap episode of it as well. So let’s go ahead and get started, and let’s talk about quick fixes, Casey, when it comes to how you can start to prepare your blog for the holiday traffic. Let’s first talk about what some of the most common mistakes you see publishers make around this time of year, because we’re at the beginning of the holiday season that’s about to launch. So what are some mistakes that you see publishers make around now?
Casey Markee (04:34):
Number one is forgetting all the holidays. So for example, we’ve got the Halloween, the Hanukkah, the Christmas, the Black Friday, but Cyber Monday, it was like 11/30. You’ve got Small Business Saturday on 11/28, you’ve got Giving Tuesday, which is 12/1, and then my personal favorite, which is National Candy Corn Day and that’s 10/30. I mean, are you guys going to do something for National Candy Corn Day? Because that’s a big one in the Markee household. Or National Roast Suckling Pig Day, that’s 12/18. We want to make sure that if you have content around that, that we’re starting to push it out. Many of you might be familiar with the site, it’s like nationalwhatday.com, and it’s basically shows you a whole list of all of the holidays that are celebrated the United States. And I’m always shocked every day when I see it, there’s holidays I never heard of. Though again, I can definitely get behind National Candy Corn Day again. So you want to really make sure that if you have content that’s appropriate for those days, that you focus on it. Start two weeks in advance, try to focus on those days, get that content out.
Casey Markee (05:42):
Another one is just forgetting to thank your subscribers, sending out simple emails before we head into the holiday season. Sending out emails before Thanksgiving, sending out emails before Christmas. You know what? I really enjoy getting an email from Omaha Steaks thanking me for the fact that I have single-handedly paid off their second mortgage. I mean, that makes me feel important. And I think that if you think about what you’re doing with your subscribers, you could probably do something similar. The other thing that’s not going to be as popular for those of you on the call is a mistake that I see a lot of bloggers make, is listening to your ad company and unduly increasing your ads as you head into this substantially busier year. I know many of you on the call have probably received an email from a certain ad company asking you to run GumGum ads.
Casey Markee (06:32):
For those of you who aren’t familiar with GumGum ads, they’re very annoying, sticky ads that are at the bottom of all of your images. Now, you can imagine that if you have a post that has 12 to 15 images, which is very common, that’s an incredible increase in your bottom line ad density. And it’s going to be very annoying and, hey, short-term, yeah, you’re going to make some more money. Long-term it’s going to be harder for you to build back up after the holiday season, you’re probably going to annoy a lot of your customers and it’s just going to not be great for your UX on mobile and desktop. So review those little simple tips there very quickly. Hopefully, that’ll help you.
Ashley Segura (07:10):
The holiday calendar, that’s a great idea, Casey. Usually the beginning of the year, I’ll go to that site because it changes every year, go to that site and add on all the holidays and put on reminders, so that way you don’t forget anything and you can plan your content in advance.
Casey Markee (07:23):
Exactly. I just want you all to understand that, again, Arsen Rabinovich does not like candy corn, so I literally would not trust anything that comes out of his mouth today at all.
Arsen Rabinovich (07:33):
It’s the worst thing ever, literally.
Casey Markee (07:35):
The worst thing.
Arsen Rabinovich (07:36):
It doesn’t taste like candy or corn.
Casey Markee (07:38):
Arsen Rabinovich (07:39):
It’s not supposed to taste like corn, that’s why you eat it in three pieces. The orange, the white.
Casey Markee (07:40):
It’s not supposed to taste like corn.
Casey Markee (07:43):
By the way, also, circus peanuts. Second favorite candy, okay? Very underutilized.
Arsen Rabinovich (07:49):
Terrible, the worst.
Ashley Segura (07:49):
Yeah, you lost me there, yeah. Aside from candy corn, Andrew, where should a publisher’s focus be right now? How should publishers, aside from candy corn and adding the holidays to the calendar, make sure they’re including all of the holidays? What else should they be preparing themselves for this holiday season?
Andrew Wilder (08:08):
So I think it’s important to be looking ahead and thinking ahead. The 30 to 60 days, right? And looking at those holidays. I think it’s also a good idea to look at your existing content, and see where you have any holes. If you’ve been blogging for 10 years, you’re probably going to have a ton of turkey recipes, right? Because you’ve been doing this every year. But if you’re getting started, you might want to start thinking about how you can lay the foundation to be building and having more posts. And you may want to think about foundational content, so if you’re starting out with how to roast a turkey, let’s say, or you can start there, and then you build out all the other entrees over the years. Or you could start with some side dishes that are less common, so there’s less competition. So I think it’s important to be strategic and not try to do everything, because then you’re serving nobody. And then we’re all just competing with each other and it’s not going to work. How to roast a turkey, odds are you’re not going to rank well on that, or if you are you already [inaudible 00:09:04], right?
Andrew Wilder (09:05):
That’s just too big of a term, so I think inching down within the holidays could be a really beneficial strategy. One thing, we were just talking about this before the call, one big, big, big thing that we want to make sure everybody is aware of is we we’re talking about you’ve got all this content and you’re republishing content, but if a post is ranking really well, don’t touch it. So if you’ve got if you do happen to have how to roast a turkey in the number two slot or number one slot on that search query, do not touch it, please. Because the only way you can go is down from there, right? So don’t think, “Oh, I’m going to secure my position on number one.” Reinforce that. No, you’re just likely to shoot yourself in the foot. So if you’re ranking in the top one, two, or maybe three, do not touch it. And actually I saw [Beth’s 00:09:50] question come in, asking if you’re in the top 15 search results, but you want to republish, is that a good idea? I’d say yes-
Casey Markee (09:58):
Andrew Wilder (09:59):
… because that is what could lift you up onto page one, by [inaudible 00:10:01].
Casey Markee (10:01):
So just to interject here, just so you guys kind of understand what the breakdown is on traffic, and I know that Ashley and Arsen can correct me if I’m incorrect, the top three of the search results literally get about 65 to 70% of all clicks on a page. And when it drops down from three to five, we’re dropping down to about 20% of possible clicks, and then it goes substantially lower than that. But even if we can get you on to page two, we’re still getting a good 7 to 10% of click-through traffic, [inaudible 00:10:27] all possible for most queries. So I mean, it is a big deal. If we can move you from say, 15, even to the top of page two, or preferably to the bottom of page one, it’s a significant traffic boost, we want to try to take advantage of those low flyers whenever we can.
Ashley Segura (10:45):
That makes sense. Arsen, what are some of the auditing fixes that we can look at addressing right now to help give a boost to certain posts as we head into November, December aside from republishing them? Are there anything that we should be focusing on like little mini audits?
Arsen Rabinovich (10:59):
Yeah, awesome question. So you definitely don’t want to do anything major right now, right? Again, if you’re ranking at the top of page one, or close to the top of page one, don’t touch it, don’t play with it, don’t tinker with it. But a few things that will help improve positions, and if not done properly, will not harm you. So it’s kind of like a win-win if you do these things. So I would start with internal linking to your holiday content, I would take a look at certain opportunities from other relevant pieces of content on your website, and create internal links from those posts to your holiday content. And you want to make sure that you’re paying attention to your anchor texts, internally, because you can also over-optimize with internal anchor text. So you want to be mindful of that, you want to look at your anchor text and you want to make sure that they’re conveying the right topical signal through that internal link.
Arsen Rabinovich (12:09):
You want to look at, if possible, if your theme allows it, you want to feature or bring your holiday content, whether it’s a whole category or specific assets, pieces of content, to your homepage, right? Excerpts. And feed some of that homepage authority. The homepage on your blog is probably the most authoritative page on your site, so you want to feed some of that authority over to those posts and you want to give them a little bit of time. You want to have them sit there, so if it’s possible, if your theme allows it, move that content. I wouldn’t necessarily, and Casey and I and Andrew and everyone talked about this earlier, you don’t want to do this by republishing your content. If your theme allows you to feature this content, or you can drag and drop, or through widgets, bring in those piece of content or excerpts onto your homepage, I would definitely work on that. Decrease the amount of clicks to your holiday content, right? So show Google that, hey, we’re showing more priority to this. And again, internal linking, featuring content on the homepage will help with decreasing amount of clicks to get your content.
Arsen Rabinovich (13:25):
Play with titles. Titles are super important, one of the most important ranking factors, play with titles. Again, if you’re at the top of page one, don’t touch them, but if you’re below those positions, definitely go in there. Definitely take a look at who performed the searches on Google. Take a look at the title tags from the guys who are ranking one, two, three, four, five and six. Take a look at those title tags, look at the commonalities between them. What are they? Are they saying 10 best, or they formatting the anchor text… Sorry, the title tag. In a specific way that’s different than yours. You want to mimic that. You want to be as unique as possible, while still mimicking that.
Arsen Rabinovich (14:09):
And playing with your title tag will… It’s an easy thing to do. It sends a really good signal to Google, and you can increase your positions. And when we do this all the time when we adjust title tags, but obviously with everything that you do, you want to carefully make changes one variable at a time, measure what the outcomes are. And if it’s not moving, or it’s not performing or it’s performing worse, you always can go back in and change it back to the way it was. So those are the things that I would work on and obviously, just look at your posts. If you have large images, resize them, make your page a little bit faster. Help your site out and help your site kind of be more hospitable to the influx of traffic.
Ashley Segura (14:52):
Helping your site out. Andrew, is checking your hosting and kind of checking the back end of your site going to also have help your site out? Or would you avoid doing anything too technical on the back end of the site itself around this time?
Andrew Wilder (15:09):
Well, we all know this is the highest traffic time of year. I think for many of my clients the day before Thanksgiving is just insane, right? Because that’s when everybody’s in the kitchen, cooking and googling recipes. And so you do want to make sure your site is running smoothly, that you have enough server power, that your site will stay online, because if you’re on an underpowered host, your site might be hitting resource limits and go offline, which would be of course, the worst possible time for that to happen. So I don’t recommend making huge, sweeping technical changes the day before Thanksgiving, but what you want to do is make sure that you’re on a fast enough hosting platform, and caching is the most important thing to help you out in this kind of situation. So caching is where WordPress will render a page, and then it’ll store that page to serve it later, and that happens much faster. With our services, we actually do two tiers of caching. We do one with CloudFlare on a CDN and then do it on the server. And so once that gets stored, your server can serve that really fast. So you can get 100 and 200 hits in a few minutes. And it’s just boom, boom, boom, the server will spit that back out, but if asked to generate the page every time, it’s going to really struggle.
Andrew Wilder (16:09):
And one of the pitfalls to be careful of with caching, and most of you probably have caching in place, if not, I recommend the WP rocket plugin. But if you have caching in place, those tools will automatically clear the cache when you update content, or when you publish content. So it’s really important that if you’re right in the middle of a huge spike in traffic, try not to update or change your content, because that’s when the caching is clear, and your server can get overwhelmed. So if you’re scheduling out new posts in this time, schedule it early in the morning, so it publishes out at 4 AM. So that way, the caches appear at four in the morning, and as traffic ramps up, your caches can rebuild slowly. If you schedule a post for noon, that may be a bad time to clear your cache. And similarly, if you have a lot of VAs working on your site or you’re working on your site, every time they edit a post, that can clear you caches. So it’s not like you shouldn’t do it, it’s just something to be aware of. And be careful during those really high traffic times.
Ashley Segura (17:08):
Okay, perfect. Thank you for clarifying that. That makes sense. Casey, what’s a good game plan for publishers when it comes to scheduling out their holiday content? Andrew just mentioned posting early in the morning, but how far in advance should you start to prepare their topic calendar for the holiday season and the posting schedule?
Casey Markee (17:27):
A good question, and I know you guys are going to love this answer. The answer is, it depends. Got to love that, knew it was coming. So there has been a lot of… It used to be my, and it’s really yours now, but used to be years ago, people wanted to start focusing on their, say, Halloween content in July. And that was because it would take months for that content to start building up a little bit on Pinterest, which at the time was relatively now. I’m always taking a Google first approach, and most of your content updates will be indexed in minutes, not hours or days. So the need to start updating content a month, two months, three months early, that’s just not true anymore, nor do you need to worry much about that. If you are looking to have a revamped content focus for Halloween, which again, it’s the 14th right now, now would be a good time to start looking at your old Halloween-related content from the last couple years. Making a list of those and seeing what can I possibly update and refeature, and just republishing those for the next several weeks. Maybe you don’t even need to publish a piece of new content, especially if you’re a learned blogger with years and years of older content.
Casey Markee (18:37):
Whenever I’ve done a content audit with someone who’s only been around for five years, they’re shocked that they have 20, 30, 40 old Halloween posts that when they look back on their analytics from the previous year, they weren’t doing much for them, because they of course forgot about them and didn’t update them then. Now would be a good time to go in and look historically to see, can I update and republish that content now and get it maybe refeatured, generated some more traffic for me over the next several weeks? Holiday content, the same thing. I would say that if you’re focusing on Thanksgiving, I would start looking at November 1st. I think that’s more than long enough. And we’ve had sites, we had a client who was focusing on Cinco de Mayo and she didn’t even get her content out until May the first and she had an incredibly competitive and very successful Cinco de Mayo. So there was plenty of time for that content to seed itself, to garner increased traffic and to increase visability. So again, give that some thought.
Ashley Segura (19:38):
And Arsen, if a publisher’s just too swamped and isn’t going to have time to put together an entire holiday post schedule, or create new holiday content or, like Casey was just mentioning, publish it in the right amount of time before the actual holiday. What would you recommend the most important things to focus on? What are some of the quick fixes to still have the blog somewhat prepared for the holiday influx, but without creating any new holiday content?
Arsen Rabinovich (20:03):
So just like Casey said and what I talked about earlier, right? So you want to, from a technical perspective, get your site ready. You want to again, bring that quality content into focus more. Create a round-up, right Casey? Create a round-up, use your old content, create a round-up.
Casey Markee (20:21):
Maybe top 20 candy corn recipes.
Arsen Rabinovich (20:24):
Casey Markee (20:24):
I mean, I would read that. I would read that, it’s all good.
Arsen Rabinovich (20:27):
Top 10 ways to not throw up after eating candy corn. Or gag. No, so yeah, obviously create a round-up, or look at your content, see if there’s a better way to organize it into a category, optimize that category. But a round-up would be the easiest thing to do, but give it some context. Don’t just like, Top 25 X-Y-Z, right? Here are top 10 Thanksgiving side dishes based on comments on our blog, right? Something that’s going to be a little bit more enticing, something that’s going to give the content a bit more zazz, right? Yeah, that’s what I would do. If you can’t create new content, repurpose, right? [crosstalk 00:21:04] content-
Casey Markee (21:04):
I tell you, and I’m going you, and a great example that I would read the crap out of this Thanksgiving. I want you to go to Allrecipes and sort by Thanksgiving, and I want you to find the 10 lowest rated recipes there for Thanksgiving, and I want you to do a round-up. The 10 worst reviewed Thanksgiving recipes on Allrecipes. And I’m going to tell you right now that thing is going to take off and I’m calling it right now, because there should be plenty of opportunities there for you. So consider something contrarian, consider something that’s a little controversial. Anything that’s going to allow you to kind of stand out, [crosstalk 00:21:49]-
Arsen Rabinovich (21:49):
[crosstalk 00:21:49], it’s going to… Casey, I’m interrupting. It’s also going to help with backlinks, right You do something that awesome and controversial, you’re going to get backlinks and that’s the organic way to earn them.
Casey Markee (21:58):
Like it again, candy corn. Totally underappreciated.
Arsen Rabinovich (22:00):
Andrew Wilder (22:01):
Casey Markee (22:01):
It is the stepchild of Halloween candy. It is now time for it to step in the light and take its rightful place, okay?
Arsen Rabinovich (22:09):
Casey Markee (22:09):
Candy corn, that’s it.
Ashley Segura (22:13):
Switching gears more into talking about very specific content for this time of the year. Casey, is it better to focus on creating new content or to update your existing content? So like last year’s holiday recipes? And if it’s updating last year’s, how should we be updating the posts? What are some good tactics to update?
Casey Markee (22:34):
You know, and I briefly touched upon this a couple minutes ago, but I would like to say that you should do both. And you can do both, but I think you’re going to find that when you start doing a content audit and do a content inventory of all the previous content you’ve had on your site over the last several years, you’re going to be shocked at how many of these older, again, we’ll stick with the Halloween theme, Halloween-related posts are on your site. I visited Lana, going to use you as an example today, we visited with Lana today and we were looking through her content inventory at all the posts that weren’t garnering traffic on her site. And there was a couple Halloween posts on there that I don’t even think that she realized they were there. And I think that’s an opportunity for most bloggers, is that we can go in and refeature these, you’re much better now than you were maybe last year or the year before. And maybe the template you’ve used for your recipe posts have evolved and now we can go back and republish those posts.
Casey Markee (23:26):
We don’t go back and change the date just because we want it to be featured anew, we go in and make improvements so that we can get it to go out again anew. Maybe we republish it so it pops onto the homepage, goes out anew to the RSS feed. Maybe we add some new pins to it, refeatured as much as we can. We never change the URL, obviously, but whatever we can do to refeature that post on our site, we want to do. And I’m sure every one of you would agree that it’s much easier to revitalize existing content than it is for you to spend time putting together completely new pieces of content. So let’s work smarter, not harder. Get a nice glass of milk, bag of candy corn, sit down. Let’s republish that content as much as we can.
Ashley Segura (24:15):
Casey, could you real briefly touch on what some of those metrics are when you’re looking at posts like a Halloween post that didn’t perform well? What makes you think it didn’t perform well? What are you looking at initially before you dive into a deep audit?
Casey Markee (24:30):
So one of the fastest ways I’m going to look at is, first of all, I’m going to go to analytics and I’m going to do a report from last October to see if I have any Halloween related content there that performed well last year. If I did, that’s probably the first content that I’m going to look at refeaturing again this year, content that I already know connected well. And again, now that Andrew is moved to the candy corn background, this is now… We’ve gone to the next level. This literally is the greatest webinar you guys will ever attend. You’re welcome. So As we talk about the content, the very first thing I would want to do would be a Google Analytics audit. Let’s go in find what performed well last year, look at it. Can I improve this? How are the headings?
Casey Markee (25:10):
As many of you know, a lot of bloggers got hit last year negatively, because… Well, not even last year, November, January, May of this year because of over optimized headings. Can I go in and dial back some of the over optimization? Can I go in and add some FAQ’s? Can I go in and fully enhance the recipe card? Can I throw some internal links to this post from other related content? How’s the page speed? Can I do something with the images? There’s a litany of things that we can do to improve this older content. Let’s dial that in and republish the content anew to a waiting and thirsty audience. That’s what I’d focus on.
Ashley Segura (25:44):
Okay, and Arsen, how central is video content during the holiday time period? Any tips for creating video content that’s simple to put together that pretty much anyone can do?
Arsen Rabinovich (25:56):
Well, yeah, so video is not going to help you with rankings, I don’t think so, with organic SEO. But video does play an important part, you fulfill certain requirements within the recipe card right from the scheme of perspective, that are not… Sorry, not requirements, right? Those are not required, but you fill it in. I think with your ad networks, it allows you to monetize the video, right? You can create pre-rolls, right? If you do create video. And then there’s some benefits for certain search results. We’re seeing a lot of video featured snippets for how to content, so it does help. You can create videos from your content. Well, actually I’m going to do a shameless plug, we’re actually working on a product right now, a topic content where we will be able to create videos from your recipe posts, from your round-ups and recipes, using your process photography. But you can do this yourself, we’re just offering it to people who don’t have the time.
Arsen Rabinovich (27:01):
You can easily do this yourself, you can create really simple videos using all kinds of online video creation systems that utilizes your process photography, moving backgrounds and text to create really awesome videos for people who like to digest content that way instead of reading. But yeah, video is super awesome. And it trends your content. Trends your content more into an experience, right? So you’re not only providing text and the recipe card, you’re also providing video. So it becomes a richer piece of content, and then markup and everything else goes along with that.
Ashley Segura (27:42):
Okay, that makes sense. And Andrew, how how should a publisher promote last year’s holiday content so that it’s being seen this year? Whether they’re republishing it, or it’s something from years ago and it’s done really well, but they want to repromote it and get it to a new audience this year? Do you have any tips for promotion?
Andrew Wilder (28:03):
Yeah, so republishing obviously is like… It’s all still internal on your site, and that’s only one technique. Social media is still really important. If you’ve built an audience on Facebook, reshare that link on your Facebook page. I mean, it’s really as simple as that. Doing round-up posts, like we talked about. Focus on your sidebar, sharing six or eight of your best Halloween recipes in your sidebar is really important to help surface that content, and that sends a strong signal to Google, it’s a reminder of, hey, I’ve got this content. The other thing is your email list. A lot of you may send out just an RSS to email list where your new content gets published out, but like we were talking about, the strategy of, what if you’ve got something that’s on the number one search result, you don’t want to republish that just so it goes out on your email list. So why don’t you do a Halloween newsletter? Take your round-up and basically send that in an email form. You don’t have to drive people to a round-up post necessarily, it can be like, “Hey everybody, Halloween is coming up. Here are all my candy corn recipes.” And then you can do another one for Thanksgiving, and that I think also makes it a little more personal and has more engagement with your readers too, right? Because it’s more topical, it’s not just this automated, here’s my next post, kind of thing.
Ashley Segura (29:18):
Okay. And Arsen, with the holidays come a lot of similar recipes. We’ve talked about either republishing old posts or trying to figure out how to come up with another Thanksgiving side dish that’s a little bit unique. So is it cannibalizing content if a publisher does multiple recipes that are kind of a spin off of a single recipe? For example, like apple pie, apple pie bars, apple pie truffles?
Arsen Rabinovich (29:45):
No, that’s not cannibalization, and this is one of my favorite topics to talk about, right? So if you organize your content properly into specific categories or topics, or topical silos, they won’t compete, right? Google will understand that these are all of your recipes for all of your candy corn-themed food, right? So you can definitely create content variations that are covering a similar topic, as long as you don’t have two of the same recipes like candy corn cookies, that are exactly the same, or very much similar. As long as you’re organizing, you’re creating a relationship between those pages you can clearly denote, that… So I’ve seen some bloggers do… They have a very similar recipe that was created using a pressure cooker, and then the same recipe was created using a airfryer, let’s say, right?
Arsen Rabinovich (30:43):
So different preparation methods. So you can definitely have those two separate, because those are two separate things. They’re just on a very similar topic. As long as you can clearly identify the two differences, right? And link from one to another, saying, “Here is the same recipe but using an air fryer.” And then that one links back, saying, “Here’s a recipe.” So yeah, it’s not going to create cannibalization. You might create competition between two posts, but again, if you create enough signaling between those two posts to tell Google and users that these are two separate things, then you should be fine.
Ashley Segura (31:17):
Okay, so then it’s safe to do so. Casey, we have a question in the Q&A that kind of touches on your last point with content audits and metrics to look at, from Tammy Spencer, asking, “Is this the time of year to do a content audit and, no index the “weeds”? Would you suggest going all the way into a content audit right now, or how would you approach that?
Casey Markee (31:40):
The best way to do content audit is all the time. It’s never ending, it’s not really seasonal. I mean, when we’re doing a content auditing, we’re looking at seasonal content. So now as you’re going through the site, maybe you’re looking at these 12 or 15 use years. I know a lot of you have been blogging for that long, which is crazy, hats off to you for that. But maybe you’ve got a decade’s worth of Halloween content, maybe you now realize I don’t need all of it. Now would be a good time, seasonally, to focus in on that. Maybe when you’re doing your content audit, if you’ve never done content auditing it can be a little overwhelming, but you’re going to go into Search Console, you’re going to do a 90 days, 120 days, or maybe six month view, sort your content by clicks. You’re going to be shocked at how many posts are on your site that have no clicks from Google over an extended period of time. Start with those, ask yourself, “Why do these posts have no clicks?” Maybe they have a lot of impressions, but no clicks?
Casey Markee (32:37):
So this is Google telling you that, “Hey, we’re showing you that you’re on page seven or eight. And so yeah, you’re getting 4000 impressions. But these are people who might have seen you as they were scrolling through the search results, but you’re not going to garner any clicks.” And I usually just export all the content, and then I sorted by impressions. Everything that doesn’t have clicks, then I sort it by impressions. And I start at the top. Okay, this top recipe here has 4000 impressions. Okay, well, this is Google telling me that I’m getting eyeballs on it, but it’s too far back. Or maybe there’s some content quality issues with it. I would start looking at possibly revisiting this content, updating and republishing it based upon how I can improve it, based upon my change in quality practices over the last year or so.
Casey Markee (33:20):
Always work seasonally first, work with your seasonal content first. We have content, I’ve talked about the buckets before, bucket number one is content that there’s no seasonality component to. You can have it today, you can have it tomorrow, you can have it next week. Banana cream pie. There, that’s a year round dessert. Bucket number two might be anything with pumpkin in it. Anything with cranberries, anything with candy corn. I would say the candy corn could be year round, but nevertheless, let’s just for the sake of this discussion, seasonal. That’s content that is only going to be able to hit, you’re going to be able to hit the iron at a certain finite point in time. So if you’ve got a, eggnog is a great example, eggnog cookies, eggnog ice cream, these various eggnog-related thumbprint cookies, which are very popular and I love. We’re not going to worry about that right now. That’s not seasonally appropriate, we’re going to come back and visit that content, probably the second week or so of November, and that’s when we would start updating and looking to publish that kind of content as we head towards Christmas. So focus seasonally first, and go from there.
Ashley Segura (34:27):
Speaking of seasonal content, Andrew, are gift guides going to still be a relevant thing to do this holiday season? And if so, what’s the proper way to include affiliate links? Because I see publishers do it in all sorts of ways and fashions, but what’s the best way to do it?
Andrew Wilder (34:43):
So yes, I think those guides are still, now more than ever, I think, relevant. Just because we’re all physically distant doesn’t mean we’re not going to be sending each other gifts. And in fact, I think with our longing for connection, gift giving may be even higher. I don’t know, I’m speculating.
Casey Markee (35:00):
Candy corn fruitcake, I see it now. It’s going to be awesome.
Andrew Wilder (35:06):
I hope Casey does not send us all baskets of candy corn.
Casey Markee (35:09):
Candy corn fruitcake.
Arsen Rabinovich (35:10):
I will unfriend him.
Andrew Wilder (35:13):
Ashley, can you mute it Casey for just one second? So where was I? Gift guide I think are still very relevant, and they are a revenue-driver for a lot of us with affiliate links. There are legal guidelines around those affiliate links, it’s really important that you reveal to your readers that they are affiliate links, if you’re using them. Basically, anytime a link has any sort of financial involvement, you need to tell people that, because that’s good transparency. The link needs to be clear and conspicuous, so that means it needs to be in proximity to the link, it needs to be before the link, and it needs to be clear what it means. So if you put at the bottom of your post, some links are affiliate links, and thank you for supporting my blog, that does not actually pass muster, because people are going to click the links before they see that. And the reason for this is because people need to understand that you have a vested interest in them clicking that link and purchasing something. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, right? But if you’re upfront and honest, that actually helps build trust, as well. So I personally like to actually work that into my posts, I don’t like to use an automated thing at the top of posts.
Andrew Wilder (36:25):
You can do a, hey, some links may be affiliate links, and that technically may be correct, but I think, especially on something like a gift guide, you can say at the beginning, “Hey, I’ve done the work to curate this list to support you and to make your gift-giving easier. If you click the links, that’ll help, I’ll receive a commission on the sale, boom. I mean, people understand that, and I think they respect you for doing it. And then the other part of that is it’s important to make those links nofollow. So in the code, when you build the link, you have to actually add… You check the box and make it rel=nofollow, and what that does is it tells Google that basically, this is a paid link of sorts, and they will discount it. You can get into trouble if you don’t do it both with the FTC, and if you’re an Amazon associate and you don’t do it, they can come back after you for that, too. So, you’re violating the guidelines in a bunch of different ways, so make sure you do disclose your links, and then tag them nofollow in the two keys.
Ashley Segura (37:19):
That’s not just for SEO. Yeah, that’s scary. Arsen, there’s been a lot of talk in the publisher world about how different this holiday season is going to be and different holiday topics. Andrew touched on it a little bit on how gift giving may be increased this year, just out of the comfort. So how do you think this new COVID environment is going to affect holiday traffic for publishers, and is there anything publishers need to do differently with either their topics or how they approach holiday content?
Arsen Rabinovich (37:51):
So I mean, it’s weird, because we kind of don’t have… We haven’t been through this before, right? This kind of a year. So there’s really no way to kind of predict the seasonality effect, but you should be looking at your content that performed very well in the past, keeping in mind that people will probably have smaller gatherings, less people will be attending, and maybe focus around accommodating that as a part of the intent for the piece of content. Obviously, do your keyword research. The tools haven’t caught up much with what’s happening in the world yet, because the data is all historic, right? But then you can also look at what queries you can look at, Google Trend, and see the queries that are coming up that are just breakout queries, and see if people are searching for recipes that accommodate smaller groups of people. Or provide that within the recipe, saying, “If you’re cooking this for a smaller group, here’s how I would adjust the recipe.” Right? But yeah, definitely think of it that way.
Ashley Segura (39:10):
Okay. Casey, we had a question come in during registration about Google’s newest feature pertaining to tags, and why is Google emailing, asking publishers to participate? And do they get my new tag? Can you kind of explain this to other publishers who may have received a similar email?
Casey Markee (39:30):
Oh, absolutely. So this came out, emails went out on September the 30th, I know many of you on the call received it. And basically, this is called a new global site tag. That’s literally the fancy word for a global site tag. And basically Google’s desire is to try to use one tag across all their many product and service offerings to consolidate… Well, make things a little bit easier, and so their carrot for you to do this is to get a little bit more data back as well. So a lot of you on the call are not going to get huge benefits unless you have products or unless you have e-commerce capabilities, because that’s really the big carrot that they’re throwing here. But they made a whole guide on this, so it’s called a site-wide tagging guide. And it’s just a one-sheeter, it shows you all the benefits. And I’m just going to go ahead and paste it down here for all the panelists, you can take a look at it.
Casey Markee (40:22):
This is global [inaudible 00:40:26] guide for attendees, for publishers. A lot of people are like, “Well, should I do this? What’s the downside?” There is no downside, it’s really a matter of you just switching out one tag for the other. You don’t want to run both tags, you would just take it, paste the tag in, remove your existing tag, done. Same thing. If you want to take a look at kind of a little bit more information on kind of where this tag is going and what it means to Google, maybe you’re incredibly bored and you don’t have any candy corn, this is a page that has ton of information on it.
Ashley Segura (41:06):
Okay. Thank you for sharing that in the chat. And in the recap page, we’re going to make sure all the resources that have been shared in the chat that we talked about is included in there as well, if you missed that.
Casey Markee (41:20):
But yeah, bottom line, this is just for… There’s a little bit more increased cross-platform attribution possible for you so that you can actually recover… One of the things that we get a lot of is, for example, direct traffic. Direct traffic is kind of confusing to a lot of publishers, because that direct traffic can happen because people linked over from a non HTTPS site, or it’s an email link or it went through a filter or it’s a Bitly URL. There are dozens of reasons something that should be tracked-
Ashley Segura (41:54):
Or analytics is misfiring, or cross-channel noise. Yeah, all kinds of stuff.
Casey Markee (41:59):
… analytics is misfiring, general noise. Maybe that traffic is from Pinterest, maybe their traffic is from Google organic, but we’ve lost the referral on it, and so Google just dumps it in to the direct channel. This tag is going to help with that, this tag will make it easier for Google to refine and see exactly, in many cases, where that traffic is coming from. So this will help you. You might see a noticeable decrease in direct traffic, because now the traffic is becoming more easily for Google to classify correctly at their end.
Ashley Segura (42:28):
Okay, and Andrew talking about post holidays, I know it’s a little soon, but it’s good to start getting into the mindset of, hey, after all this traffic, what do you do? Are there any strategies or any appropriate housecleaning things that you recommend waiting until after the holiday season to do?
Andrew Wilder (42:47):
Well, first you need to make yourself a green smoothie, do your own detox. And then I think it’s then looking ahead, right? So there are always more holidays coming up. So January 1st, it’s not going to make sense to have all those decadent desserts featured in your sidebar anymore, because everybody is switching to green smoothies. So you want to change that up and change that stuff out on your homepage and in your sidebar and start republishing all your health-focused stuff. And all the New Year’s resolutions-related stuff, right? Because everybody’s changed their mindset. And we’re also in winter, so you might be posting just other winter recipes, hearty soups and stuff like that. But it’s just I think, keep moving forward, yeah.
Ashley Segura (43:32):
Perfect. And that’s again, where the website that Casey talks about in the beginning of the holidays for the whole year is definitely going to come in handy to look at, at the beginning of the year and make sure you have everything on your calendar. All right, we are going to open up to Q&A now. We already have a bunch of questions in there. So if you have a question that we haven’t addressed yet, please head over into the Q&A box and add it. Arsen, I’m going to send the first one to you, it’s from Tammy Spencer. And if you’re looking at GFC performance report for pages, what is the criteria they use for position?
Arsen Rabinovich (44:04):
It’s an average position. So they’re looking at… Your positions fluctuate all the time, right? You’re not stuck in one place. Depending on which query, what device and all that, so you’ll see those average positions. What we like to look at is clicks, GSE clicks and positions as a metric. Impressions are a good indicator of things, but you look at the clicks and the average position. And then it is weird, because you can be 3.5 on the position, right? And you’re like, “What the hell is 3.5?” Right? How am I in the middle? So it’s an average, right? So when you’re 3.5 you can safely assume that you’re hovering between position three and position four for that query, right?
Arsen Rabinovich (44:56):
The other thing that you should probably take a look at in GSE, a little trick that I do and our team does, is once you’ve isolated to a specific page, so you’ve clicked on the URL and you’ve isolated to a specific page, gives you all the queries that this page ranks for. Then you can sort that by average position and clicks and impressions. And then towards the top, you can take a look at the queries that are getting the most, and then you can start looking at the queries that are sliding in position, but still get a lot of impressions but the clicks are slowly decreasing. Click on that query and then remove that page from the top filter. So you just click the X next to the URL, and that’s going to show you all the other pages on your site that are competing for that keyword. You can see over a period of time that at certain points, Google might have shuffled and selected a different page on your website for that query, because Google might have thought that that page was a better place for the user to go to, or that page does a better job at answering that search, that query. So you can start looking at pages that are essentially creating competition internally, and start addressing that as well.
Ashley Segura (46:03):
Okay, and another question, Andrew, about the affiliate disclaimer. So having the affiliate disclaimer at the top of the post is sufficient enough, or does there need to be more? Do you have to repeat the disclaimer just before the link also? Could you kind of dive into, since you were talking about affiliate links, the disclaimer portion?
Andrew Wilder (46:23):
Sure, I’m not a lawyer, so don’t hold me to this, but if you have it at the top of your post, I think that meets the criteria of clear and conspicuous. As long as it’s not after the link, and as long as it’s clear what you’re saying. Where people went into trouble is also on social media, where at the very end, it says, “hashtag spawn.” People don’t necessarily know what spawn means, right? And that’s short for sponsored, apparently, right? So that’s not clear and it’s at the end of the post, so it’s not conspicuous. So as long as you meet those requirements, you really should be fine. I personally like to do it by hand on something like a gift guide. If you’re just peppering in a couple affiliate links throughout your posts regularly, I think that affiliate disclaimer at the top is just fine, but if you’re doing a gift guide, make it personal. If your readers like you, they’re going to want to click those links to support you. So why not take advantage of that as well? And if they don’t realize that, then they may go somewhere else and click a link, but if they know it, they actually may be more inclined to click the link and get you the credit to.
Ashley Segura (47:19):
That makes sense. Then everybody wins.
Andrew Wilder (47:21):
Ashley Segura (47:22):
Casey, a question from [Shaun 00:47:25] Martin. Any early read on Google Web stories for recipes? I see them for products and some process how-to, but not seen as many for food creators. They’re trying their first one this week on five posts, any recommendations?
Casey Markee (47:39):
Yeah, get in early. On October six, Google went ahead and introduced a Web Stories carousel that is now live in Discover. That’s the first time that the Web Stories carousels have been seen at all in Discover feeds, and again, that just happened last week. Is it possible they could pull in recipe content there? Sure, absolutely. No idea when, usually recipes tend to be a hotbed of initial changes by Google. Google likes to use them to push out new features, but there’s nothing specifically with regards to recipes in Web Stories that have been pushed through. So yeah, I would urge you to try it out. Let us know how it works. Keep me updated, specifically, I’d love to know how it goes.
Ashley Segura (48:23):
Perfect. Arsen, if you wanted to give gifts to your readers, how would you go about it? [inaudible 00:48:30] Stewart’s asking, would you do it a week in advance for the last days until Christmas? And if you’re doing it overseas subscribers, how do you go about planning that?
Arsen Rabinovich (48:41):
I have no clue. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not an SEO question. Casey?
Ashley Segura (48:50):
Casey, Andrew, any tips on or any experience of giving gifts to your readers?
Casey Markee (48:56):
Well, I always give. I but a lot of gifts every years.
Arsen Rabinovich (48:59):
Casey receives gifts.
Casey Markee (49:01):
I buy a lot of gifts because I like to receive gifts. I give to receive. I mean, it’s all part of a vicious cycle. I give baskets. I literally give gift baskets every year. Congratulations Arsen, Ashley, Andrew, you’re going to get gift baskets this year.
Arsen Rabinovich (49:16):
There better not be candy corn in that basket.
Casey Markee (49:18):
No promises. No promises. It’s all I got to say.
Andrew Wilder (49:21):
It’s going to be one big candy corn kernel in there.
Casey Markee (49:23):
Honestly, I think that it’s really interesting if you can afford to give gifts to your readers. Maybe it’s a donation in their name, you do a charity.
Arsen Rabinovich (49:34):
That’s really cool, yep.
Casey Markee (49:35):
People eat that stuff up, for candy corn anonymous, or maybe it’s a rescue animal charity or something. Peanuts, elephants, something like that. Whatever you can do something like that, or I’ve contributed. My site has contributed this amount of money to the save the rainforest one in your name, and you send out a personal notice for that. That’s great. Or maybe you give coupons, maybe you have some sponsors that come aboard and are willing to sponsor your email list. I know it has happened with some of the bigger bloggers we’ve worked with. That’s fine. With regards to overseas subscribers, I think that you’re going to have the best of luck when you do some kind of a donation-related product or something that is a gift certificate, something that they can redeem themselves online. Or maybe you just provide them a subscription to something, maybe a 30-day… Maybe you worked with a tool provider, and you provided them a 30-day subscription to a tool that they can try for free. Or maybe you have something on your site that you can open up just for your subscribers for a specific amount of time. But yeah, I think there’s a lot of opportunity there, sure.
Arsen Rabinovich (50:47):
You can reach out to a brand. Sorry, Andrew. You can reach out to a brand if you’ve done any kind of work with a brand or you’re friendly with a brand. And you can say, “Hey, obviously my readers are within your target audiences, is there anything that you and I can work on together that we can give away to our readers?” There, I thought of something. Andrew, go ahead.
Casey Markee (51:07):
There you go.
Andrew Wilder (51:08):
I was just about to say giveaway, but you can have that.
Arsen Rabinovich (51:09):
Andrew Wilder (51:12):
I used to do a lot of giveaways on my site, and they’re very popular. There are different widgets you could embed that make it really easy. When you start out, you might be like, “Leave a comment to enter.” But that’s a real pain to manage, but there’s some great tools out there, like King Sumo and-
Casey Markee (51:29):
Rafflecopter, still a big one.
Andrew Wilder (51:29):
Rafflecopter, thank you. So you just embed their little widget on your page and set it up in there, and people just enter and you [crosstalk 00:51:36] viral components to that. So you can say, share my gift guide for a chance to win one item on the gift guide of your choice, or whatever.
Casey Markee (51:44):
Andrew Wilder (51:45):
I think where you can run into trouble is scaling gift giving.
Casey Markee (51:49):
Very [crosstalk 00:51:50].
Andrew Wilder (51:49):
So if you’ve got thousands of readers, you don’t want to get stuck mailing all those out, right? And if it is something like that, think something easy to mail, like a sticker, or a fridge magnet, something you can just throw in an envelope for first class postage, because that can get difficult. But if you have… I think giveaways are a good way to scale it, because then you’re like, “Hey, win this blender.” People are going to go nuts trying to get a Vitamix. And you can use that to grow traffic on your site as well, and then [crosstalk 00:52:15]-
Casey Markee (52:14):
Grow your email list.
Andrew Wilder (52:15):
… high value.
Casey Markee (52:16):
Giveaways work well, and I know the biggest bloggers have really ballooned their email list by doing giveaways where they’ll have a giveaway as a post on their site. To enter, you have to leave a comment or you have to sign up for the email list, whatever it is, but understand that you have to do something with that content after that giveaway is over. That’s an example of expired content. So once that giveaway is over, maybe we leave the giveaway up for about 30 days so that we can make sure that the winner has been awarded. And then we need to start thinking about what we’re going to do with that page. The vast majority of giveaway pages do not accumulate positive user signals, they do not accumulate incoming links. So usually, we can just [inaudible 00:52:54] that page and get it off our site. But something you want to be aware of, maybe you have a static giveaway page, and you have a static giveaway page, and then we just keep switching new giveaways on the giveaway page. That way, you have the chance of that page, long-term accumulating signals and you can keep it. You don’t have to worry about continuing to delete expired giveaways off your site, you’ll just switch out the information. Something to think about.
Ashley Segura (53:22):
Yeah, and to all of your points, everything that we’ve talked about today, you definitely want to start planning for now and ahead of time. And giveaways, gifts for your subscribers is no different. You don’t want to wait until November, December to do that. You definitely want to start in October, if not even in September. That way you have all your ducks in a row. But with that, that wraps it up for us for the fifth episode of SEO For Publishers. Thank you everybody for joining us. You guys are awesome, always bringing the great questions. And of course, a big round of applause to our panelists. Thank you guys for all of your responses and all the tips today. We’ll be sending out a recap and replay of this episode next week. It’ll be going to your email, so please be on the lookout in your inbox for an email from TopHatRank with the link and the resources. And then we’ll also be sending out an email for November’s episode. Thank you everybody.