TopHatRank Blogger SEO SEO Resources for Blogger and Publishers Over-Optimization; Recap SEO For Bloggers Episode #2

Avoiding Over-Optimization: How To Properly Optimize for Keywords

Recap, Q&A, & All the Resources

Learn What SEO Over-Optimization is and How To Avoid It

Are you over-optimizing? Adding keywords where you shouldn’t be, or just way too many of them? On the second episode of SEO For Bloggers we discussed what over-optimization looks like and how to properly optimize your pages. Check out the buttons below to rewatch the webinar, access the resources mentioned, read the transcript, and more!

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Q&A With The Panelists

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

Question 1

What % should SEO Quake be? You mentioned 2 is bad.

2%+ “can” be bad in relation to everything else, I would look at around 1-1.5% but make sure you review what everyone else is doing for that query as well.

Question 2

Is there a % to aim for?

Discussed live on the call, but this is “relative”.

Question 3

Can you have FAQ schema in a post for those Q&A sections that many food bloggers seems to include in posts, AND have recipe card schema as well without conflict?

Yes, you can included FAQ and Recipe Schema together it’s specifically allowed in the guidelines. What you CAN’T include together is How-To and Recipe Schema. If it’s food-related, use Recipe schema.

Question 4

Should we get rid of Yoast plug in?

No, the Yoast SEO plugin is great! However, just take the “Traffic Light” results with a big grain of salt — always aiming for “Green” will likely result in over-optimization.

Question 5

Should we re-visit posts that are ranking well and driving significant traffic? Or just focus on new content and low ranking posts?

If a post is ranking well, don’t touch it.

Question 6

I’ve noticed that many food bloggers are including lists of ingredients in the body of their post AND in the recipe card – same sometimes with steps and notes – sometimes they are exact duplicate copies – is this over-optimizing or is this still okay?

That’s waste of time. You should not be listing ingredients in the post and in the card. The only time you should reference ingredients in the post is as a way to showcase your expertise. Include a nice labeled photo of the ingredients (which users love) and then include simple notes about “select ingredients” if necessary for the user. For example, “I prefer this kind of sqush as opposed to this kind” or “use ricotta cheese as a sub here if you want to up the quality” or something like that.

Question 7

Are image captions needed (additional to alt text, which I know is different)?Image captions are not mandatory, but if they add additional context to the image they can be helpful. As with everything, thing of your reader — is there a caption you can add to the image that will add value?

Image captions are not mandatory, but if they add additional context to the image they can be helpful. As with everything, thing of your reader — is there a caption you can add to the image that will add value?

Question 8

But what if you already have photos and steps in the post? Do you really need it in the card too?

No. At this polint the only advantage of having photos in each step in the recipe card is if you want to optimize for “Guided Recipes” (which is used for voice devices, like Google Home).

Question 9

Does adding photos to posts (not cards) affect SEO based on how many there are? I’m concerned about slow load times if I add too many, and boring landscape if I don’t. Any advice?

Yes, lots of images can slow down your site (especially on mobile). And, having many similar images will not add value, they’ll just be annoying to the user. As with everything else, provide enough content to answer the question and provide value for the reader — that goes for both text and photos.

Question 10

If we have all the photos for each step, is it ok to include them in the recipe card? knowing that we already included them in the main blog post?

At this polint the only advantage of having photos in each step in the recipe card is if you want to optimize for “Guided Recipes” (which is used for voice devices, like Google Home). But other users may not like images directly in the recipe — so you’ll need to decide this based on your audience and on how helpful the images are for the particular recipe.

Question 11

Those little buttons for dietary category links…. is that a plugin? I missed that part of Casey’s answer.

It’s called Recipe Key.

Question 12

Should we use a jump to recipe? Doesn’t that damage ad revenue?

Yes, readers love Jump To Recipe buttons!

Question 13

I do an image of my ingredients in the post which has the lables of each ingredient. Is that okay?

Yes, that’s great.

Question 14

Re the recipe in the text and in the recipe card. I do include both simply because a few years ago, I was using a recipe plug-in that went wonky and the owner did not keep it updated so it malfunctioned and readers were contacting me asking why I took the recipe off the blog. I include the recipe in the text so that, if the recipe card plug-in I am using goes wonky, at least the recipe is still available.

Sorry you got burned in the past, but this isn’t a “user first” practice — you’re doing this for your benefit really, not for the user’s. It’s better to use a reliable plugin (and have backups of your site!), so you won’t have this problem again.

Question 15

I have a few posts about alternative meat products, i.e, Beyond Meat that are getting some interest. I did some research with links on the pros and cons of alternative meat products on my first post for chili using the products. Can I include that research in future posts about alternative meat products, ie sausage etc, or is that considered duplicate content?

If you have a thorough, standalone post about the pros & cons, it may make the most sense to simply link to that post. This way you’re strengthening your internal linking, and providing the additional information for those people who want it – without cluttering up your other posts or having any duplicate content.

Question 16

What are your thoughts on in-post jump links? The Feast Plug-in has that feature built in. Good idea or does it confuse the users?

These are a good idea, particularly on longer posts, since they help readers find what they’re looking for faster. Google may also include direct links to the sections in the search results.

Question 17

Arsen, that brings up a question for me on those questions that are on every food blog post now…I know we want to answer the reader’s questions, but does it have to be in a Q&A format like I’m seeing, or is it enough to just have the answer to that question somewhere in a paragraph? Will Google pick that up?

It does not need to be in “Q&A” Format. Just provide great information in a a clear, organized way, so it’s easy for readers to find and understand.

Question 18

What about using synonyms or partial use of long keyword , is this also counted against us in the keyword density?

Just write naturally and you won’t have a problem with keyword density (writing naturally usually means you’ll use synonyms and partial words/phrases, instead of robotically repeating the exact same phrase every time).

Question 19

Should Pin images, featured image and recipe card image all have alt text?

Yes. Every image should have an alt attribute. If the image is “informational” than the alt attribute should describe the image. If it’s “decorative” the alt attribute should be empty (alt=””). If the image is “functional” the alt attributes should describe the function of the image. This may be helpful:

Question 20

I know I’ve overoptimized. On a post that’s obviously overoptimized, what is the best way to go back and fix that? Go back and just rewrite/delete/update as much as you want? A little at a time? How often?

Just fix it as your time and workload/schedule allow.

Question 21

Can you talk a little about internal linking structure and what the best way to capitalize on that?

The simplest way is to upgrade Yoast to Yoast Premium and run the “orphaned content filter” which is built-in. That’s a dead simple way to scan all existing posts and see which posts contain no links to others. Then, send in those missing links.

Question 22

If the recipe card is the last thing before CTA, but you also want to link to other similar posts (eg, other winter stews), does that mean you should have those links above the card? Have also been reading those internal post links are less desirable than in the past. Thoughts?

Ideally you’ll integrate internal links in the body of the post (before the recipe card), in a natural way that actually provides value to the reader. But if you just add a list of several other recipes (without much context) it doesn’t add nearly as much value.

Question 23

I have found that checking/researching the first 5 posts on google I see that there are a lot of recipe posts that have as much as 3000 words. Why is google saying this is ok for a simple recipe? I do not understand the massive posts.

I find that’s the EXCEPTION not the norm. The average recipe is Google for Page 1 is not remotely 1000 words. It’s query-dependent. Focus on writing a complete recipe, not to a word count. Word count is not a ranking factor for Google.

Question 24

Are tags worth having at all? If so, what is best practice to using them?

Publishers tend to use tags in a way that doesn’t add value for readers. They can be used correctly, if done properly (using them sparingly, with a specific strategy). Technically they’re not much different than Categories (they just cannot be “nested” like Categories can).

Question 25

Is having a jump link to the recipe card for a new blog a good idea?

Yes. We’re big fans of the Jump To Recipe button, because it’s a user-first optimization.

Question 26

Do the hidden Pinterest images impact page speed? Should we limit them to a certain number?

If implemented correctly (with lazy loading), they should not impact speed significantly. As far as the number of Pin images, do what you think is best based on the content of the post.

Question 27

What’s your suggestion on posting process shots in the content (I’ve read that Google likes these) if the instructions are already written in the recipe card? It seems like there should be instructions to go along with the photos, yet I don’t want to be redundant.

In general we recommend process shots in the post, as you’re giving additional “pointers” on how to make a dish. Many users don’t like process shots directly in the recipe card (especially if they’re actually printing the recipe).

SEO Tools, Resources & Links

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

  1. Nerdpress – WordPress Support for Small Businesses
  2. SEOquake– Check any webpage for a huge selection of SEO parameters on the fly, with the free SEOquake browser extension
  3. Yoast SEO – A recommended plugin to help monitor and maintain your SEO
  4. Recipe Schema – Example / guide for recipe schema
  5. The Feast Plugin – The Feast Plugin introduces features to replace theme configurations, which they keep up-to-date through regular plugin updates and built to modern standards


Ashley Segura (00:02:32):

Perfect. All right. Well, we are going to get started as attendees continue to come in. Welcome, everybody, to Episode #2 of SEO for Publishers. This is a new series that we’re doing and we’re going to be doing it once a month focusing on a new topic. 

In case you don’t know who the panelists are, which I’m sure you do, they’re everywhere, they’re all over the interwebs but we have Casey Markee, who’s the CEO of Media Wyse, Arsen Rabinovich, who’s the founder of Top Hat Rank and Andrew Wilder, who’s the CEO of NerdPress. 

These are our expert panelists here to answer all of your questions today. As more people are coming in, because the numbers are still climbing, to kick us off with a little fun ice breaker, Casey, can you please let us know what one of your most favorite search queries you’ve come across are?

Casey Markee (00:03:23):

That are safe to share? Again-

Ashley Segura (00:03:26):

That are safe to share.

Casey Markee (00:03:27):

Okay, that are safe to share. I want to preface that there. I would say that, and I know many of you on the call know this, huge banana fan. I love banana bread, I love a little banana pudding. Imagine my surprise when I ran across banana bread pudding the other day. 

I have made it now four times. It is fantastic. I would like to say that it has not been kind to me with regards to the calories and the things I’ve had to walk around the block several times to get it off. But I would say banana bread pudding, fantastic. Can’t argue with that.

Ashley Segura (00:04:03):

That’s fair. That’s also very safe. Andrew, do you have any good ones?

Casey Markee (00:04:08):

Very safe, very safe. Very good. Very good.

Andrew Wilder (00:04:09):

Last week, Carey on my team, she sent a screenshot of her Google Search console and it was all these how to make queries and buried in there was how to make butter slime. 

Yeah, that’s the face I made. I actually just searched it and butter slime is a real thing. It’s a craft thing. It’s a play doughy kind of thing. I’m going with don’t eat your butter slime, Casey. Please. Think of the bananas.

Casey Markee (00:04:37):

Strong advice.

Ashley Segura (00:04:38):

Interesting. Interesting. Arsen, do you have any?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:04:42):

I don’t search.

Ashley Segura (00:04:44):

Oh. You’re just on the other end of that cycle?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:04:48):

I don’t even Google.

Ashley Segura (00:04:51):

Google searches you?

Casey Markee (00:04:54):

Google, what is that? Google searches you, yeah.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:04:54):

Google searches me. 

Casey Markee (00:04:55):

Crazy. Good times.

Ashley Segura (00:05:00):

All right, perfect. We’re going to get started. Going over the technical aspects first, this is a Q&A style webinar. I’ll be asking each of the panelists questions that all of you attendees have asked when you registered for this webinar. 

Throughout the webinar, please feel free to join in on the chat, chat away with panelists and attendees in the chat box. If you have specific questions that you would like the panelists to ask, whether it’s in addition to something that you asked when you filled out the registration form or on a specific topic that they are talking about, please go ahead and ask them in the Q&A box. 

If you hover over your little Zoom box, the very bottom bar, it’ll say chat, Q&A, mute, stop video. Definitely hop into the Q&A portion and please ask your questions there. We’re going to be going inside the Q&A and answering those questions throughout the webinar as well as having a specific section at the end of the webinar just to make sure we have addressed all of the Q&A. 

Without further ado, let’s go ahead and get started. The first question is going to be really broad but it’s about the topic. Andrew, can you explain what over-optimization means? What is this concept of over-optimizing?

Andrew Wilder (00:06:12):

Sure. The O in SEO is optimization. If you are doing search engine optimization and you’re doing too much of it, it basically means you’re over-optimizing. You are writing for Google instead of readers. It’s always this balance we’re trying to strike. Because we’re trying to get traffic from Google because that’s where the readers come from but you don’t want to write for the robot, you want to write for the human. If you’re writing too much for the robot and not enough for your humans at a real high level, that’s over-optimization.

Ashley Segura (00:06:47):

That makes sense. Casey, how do you know if you’re over-optimizing and like Andrew mentioned, you’re focusing too much on Google? Is there a clear sign that, “Hey, you’re over-optimizing?” Does Google tell you? Who tells you? How do you know if you’re doing too much on your site?

Casey Markee (00:07:06):

Well, unfortunately, it’s usually after the fact, when you have suffered some kind of a loss, whether it’s algorithmic or manual in basis. There actually used to be a manual penalty for over-optimization. It tended to get moved back into the algorithm previously. But Penguin was initially an over-optimization penalty in many aspects. Still is, only it’s more offsite signals these days. But one of the things that you’d be wanting to look at is just… I tell bloggers all the time on these calls is to read their content aloud and they’re shocked at how terrible it sounds. 

We want to make sure that we’re optimizing again for the user first. That doesn’t mean that we need to worry necessarily about things like Yoast. I know that there’s a lot of issues with bloggers trying to optimize for Yoast to get to green but I will tell you in many aspects, especially since what we’ve seen since November, that will kill you. And the reason is, is that Yoast specifically doesn’t take into account good headlines or conversion. 

They also don’t detect things like exact… They detect exact keyword matches, but they don’t detect partial matches at all. They also don’t prompt you to increase keyword density, which in many cases while is terrible advice, they’ll tell you, “Okay, hey. This keyword density is too low.” Well, then they don’t tell you how bad is too high. If I’m writing a post here for what did we use previously, Arsen? What did we use? Beets. I remember writing a post for Bulgarian beets and I’m starting my title and my description with Bulgarian beets, Bulgarian beats/this is the best Bulgarian beets recipe you’re going to have, you’d be surprised at how often we run into that. 

We want to write conversationally. We might not necessarily be thinking about even referencing Bulgarian beets until it makes sense. Maybe even the second sentence or so. Where we’re getting into trouble is people trying to have a tool help them optimize and it’s killing the natural sense, the logical progression of the contents itself.

We don’t want to have the keyword everywhere. Google moved beyond that years ago. We just want it right for their user, make sure that it’s conversation whenever we can. So we just want to speak out and make sure that we haven’t over-optimized in that regard.

Ashley Segura (00:09:15):

Speaking of keywords, both Arsen and Casey, I’m sure you’d be able to answer this but we had someone when they registered ask about SEO courses. The SEO course that they took, they were told to put the focus keyword in every heading. Based on what you just said, Casey, is that still a good recommendation? Don’t you want the keywords in all the headings or is that literally over-optimization?

Casey Markee (00:09:43):

It is. It is. We have this literally… I know that Arsen and you as well, Ashley, get to study for Top Hat Rank, which covered this in detail. We’ve seen this over and over again from November to the January core updates to the May core update. We have been getting sites hit over and over again and they’re getting slammed and one of the things that they’ve been doing is implementing this incredibly poor advice from SEO courses or the like telling them, “Repeat your focus keyword every heading on the page.” We don’t need to do that. 

Google moved beyond that years ago, if you’ve got a post on let’s say, again, what did I say, banana cream pie pudding, fantastic by the way. If I’ve got a banana cream pie pudding, I don’t need to reference banana cream pie pudding in every h1, h2 and h3 on the page. That’s crazy. People don’t talk that way. We should be referencing our keyword phrase in the page title, which is our h1, and again, down in our recipe card, which is our h2. 

At no time unless it makes sense to the user should we be referencing that keyword phrase in every other  h2 or h3 on the page. And what we’re seeing, it’s just crazy. These sites are coming to me, “Casey, I got hit in November, I got hit in January, I didn’t recover in May.” And well look, there’s nine headings on the page and every one of the headings has banana pie pudding in it or something like that. 

We just don’t need to do that, period. And if you took a course and they told you to do that and you’re wondering why you’re struggling, that’s why.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:11:01):

Get your money back.

Casey Markee (00:11:02):

Get your money back. It’s a very poor recommendation. It’s not sound at all. There is just no evidence to support that that’s what we want. And if you go and you look at the guidelines that Google publishes, where they have a whole section on the correct use of headings, it doesn’t say anywhere that you should be repeating your focus keyword in all of your headings, it’s just terrible advice.

Ashley Segura (00:11:24):

That makes sense. Arsen, can you speak on the user aspect of this? As Casey was saying and even Andrew when he was giving the definition of over-optimization on how, we’re not writing for bots, we’re trying to write for users, and so one of the ways to avoid doing that is not having keywords in every single headline. Are there any other things that you see publishers do to where it’s very clear, it’s not a user experience tactic, it’s more of something for Google?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:11:52):

Yeah. Obviously headings are the first thing that stands out to you but then you also have other spots where… Anything that… Let me take a step back. Anything that Yoast tells you to do to get that green light is a place where you can over-optimize if you’re not careful. That’s the best kind of an answer I can give you. But yeah, all tags, even in content-

Casey Markee (00:12:18):

Yeah, that’s a good point. One of the prompts from Yoast is use your exact keyword in every one of your alt tags. That is horrible advice. Not only can Andrew tell you that that’s an incredibly bad for accessibility, but you just don’t need to do that, period. There’s no value to doing that. And certainly not for users or Google

Ashley Segura (00:12:40):

Andrew, can you speak on keyword density? Is that something that we should be checking regularly for in terms of over-optimization?

Andrew Wilder (00:12:48):

Yeah, so keyword density is basically the percentage of times a specific word or phrase is used in the whole page. You could run that query basically, figure out the percentage for any word or phrase on a page. If you’re targeting butterfly, let’s say, it’s just the percentage of times out of all the words that butterfly appears on the page. It used to be that you wanted to hit enough keywords. 

And now what we’re talking about more so today is having it in there too many times. Yoast, I’m not sure what Yoast’s recommendation is, but they are running keyword density check. But yeah. This is something you want to keep an eye on it. My big thing is always right for the user. So if it’s natural language, conversational, you’re probably not going to overuse your keywords. But it’s also helpful to have something like this as a good safety check. There are tools to do this.

I know Casey’s a big fan of SEO Quake and that can run the keyword density check and Casey maybe you can tell people real quick how to do that because I think it is handy to know kind of-

Casey Markee (00:13:54):

I’ve gone ahead and pasted over a link to SEO Quake in that. If you install SEO Quake, it’s just as simple add on that’ll work with Chrome, Firefox and some other browsers. I don’t believe it works with Safari yet. A few things work with Safari, period. But if you want to use SEO Quake-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:14:10):

Actually it works with Safari.

Casey Markee (00:14:10):

Does it?

Ashley Segura (00:14:10):

I love Safari.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:14:10):


Casey Markee (00:14:15):

Just go up, you’re going to install the plugin. You’re going to go up and there’s going to be a tab there. Just hit it for density. You can take a look at that. It’s sad what’s old is now new again. And that’s the thing with keyword density. Who would have thought in 2020, we would even be talking about keyword density? But you should be. You need to be aware of it. If you’re struggling, pull up a tool like this and take a look. 

And if you find that the top two word phrase or the top three word phrase on your site is reply to comment or comment notification or something that has absolutely nothing to do with the content on your site, maybe you’ve under-optimized or if you find that you’re optimizing for hey, what is it? Banana cream pie pudding. And we find that that four word phrase is 2-3-4%, that’s a concern. Especially the want for long tail keyword phrases like that. 

We really want to check this stuff. It’s very simple. I had an audit today. She’s done an exceptional job updating and republishing her content. She did a little bit too much though. She under-optimized. We couldn’t even find, all she was doing was repeating her focus keyword in her h1 and her h2 and that was it. It that wasn’t even on the page. We got to give Google content to update. We want to make sure that we’re writing natural conversational content, but we’re also making sure that after we’ve written for our user, when we’ve gone in the first run through then we go back and say okay, keyword-wise, have I hit some of my focus keywords? Have I put in a couple related keywords? How’s my keyword stemming? Just little things like that it’s going to help you consider like…

Ashley Segura (00:15:50):

That makes sense. Arsen, maybe you can speak on this a little bit further. With everyone talking about keywords for user experience and not overdoing them, it’s very broad. And so, as a publisher, it’s really difficult to understand, okay, what really is this balance? And if I read it out loud, it sounds good. But I could probably throw a keyword in. Is there an optimum number of keywords that a post should have or is there any kind of range at least from a minimum standpoint?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:16:21):

No. There’s no rule of thumb that I feel comfortable recommending because it all depends. It all depends on what you’re writing, what kind of content, what’s the format? If you’re writing an in depth article, you’re covering a topic and its entirety, it’s probably a long form article, 3,000+ words, lots of headings, lots of subtopics. Your saturation is probably going to be a little bit higher if you’re covering a specific topic.

The best advice and we repeat this over and over is read it. If it sounds weird coming out of your mouth, it’s weird. You don’t have to repeat… What was that example I gave? If I’m making banana bread pudding, and I’m talking to you guys and I say, “Hey, today we’re going to make banana bread pudding. Here are the ingredients.” When I say here are the ingredients, you already know that the ingredients are for banana bread pudding. I don’t have to say, “Here are the ingredients for banana bread pudding. Here’s how long it takes to cook the banana bread pudding.” You know that what I’m talking about is the main topic. 

So when you’re reading through your posts and even like screen readers, I’ve done this before. I’ve used a screen reader to read an article back to me so I can listen to it. And if it sounds weird to me, I’m going to start going in and optimizing it. Keep in mind, Google is getting way better at picking all of these things up. You have natural English Brasilia. You have all kinds of things that are happening. Right for the user, not for the search engine. 

If you’re using proper heading structure, if you’re using proper schema, if you’re taking your content from implicit to explicit by applying schema and telling Google that this page is a recipe, you don’t need to constantly repeat that this is a recipe in your content. You don’t have to constantly repeat that this is a recipe in your headings. Google already knows that this is a recipe. And when you have an h2 tag says ingredients, Google knows these are ingredients for this particular recipes.

Ashley Segura (00:16:21):

Okay, that makes sense. 

Casey Markee (00:18:28):

And you made a very good point about the screen readers for those of you on the call who are not familiar with this, the two most popular screen readers are NVDA, which is like a non-visual desktop screen reader that’s mostly windows specific. And the other one is JAWS. Download these, look at how your content looks and presents through the screen readers. It’s going to blow your mind. You’re going to be surprised at both the order that the screen reader progresses through your content and how what you’re trying to present experience-wise might not match up on the screen reader with what you’re trying to present through desktop and mobile. Okay. It’s always illuminating. So definitely do that. We’ll paste those over in the chat window as well.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:19:13):

Yeah. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry. It also depends on what device you’re optimizing for, how’s the content going to be consumed? There’s no… One thing that I’m noticing a lot, working with publishers is you guys want a specific formula to follow. We want to a specific number. I’m looking at the questions here in the QA, “What’s the percentage?” If we give you that level, we say 2%, I guarantee you that all of you will be aiming for that 2%.

There’s no magic formula for this. There’s no… It really all depends. Before this call, I had a consultation with a potential client, a recipe blogger who was only using one heading on her entire post. Or it was just like… She had two h1s. She’s still ranking. She’s still getting traffic. It’s not a lot, but she’s all right. So Google can understand. Don’t focus on the specifics of things, optimize for the user. There’s no formula for this.

Ashley Segura (00:20:21):

So Andrew, if you’re optimizing for the user to bounce off both of their points and you’re adding keywords and it actually sounds like natural conversation, is there a fine line to where even if it’s a good user experience and it sounds like this is how someone would talk and it just happens to be repetitive to where that can hurt you? Or is that still okay because it’s more of a natural language? Is there a balance to that at all?

Andrew Wilder (00:20:47):

No, make it sound good for people. It’s so simple. Here’s the thing, Google is still a robot and they are using AI. It’s incredibly sophisticated. But everything Google is trying to do is to make the user or help the user have a good experience. They want to surface content that has the best user experience. Over time, Google’s goal is to be as good at understanding your content as a human would be. These things are convergent. It might be another 10 years, it might be another 50 years, that might never actually happen but that’s the path we’re on and that’s what AI is all about. 

Google’s working really, really hard. They’ve had massive teams and resources for solving this problem. That’s how they see it, as a technical problem. And so if their goal is to understand the page exactly as a human understands it, why not just from the very beginning make it really good for a human? And then you’re only going to improve over time if you stick with that. This is a fundamental philosophy from SEO since I started in 2000, it’s, content is king or queen or benevolent overlord.

I’ve got posts I wrote on my food blog in 2010 that are still a number one search result and I haven’t touched them in six years. And it’s because… Well, two reasons. One, I wrote good content. And two, there’s a whole lot of competition. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t thinking about keyword percentages. I wasn’t looking at Yoast’s traffic lights. I was just writing something that answered the question. 

I’m just going to hammer that point because that’s really what this is about. So do not get stuck in 2% or 3% of keyword density. To go back to that, a quick second though, the keyword density tool, to build on Casey’s point is, if you run the tool and you see that click here is the highest keyword on your page, that indicates you have a technical problem. Because that’s not something you’re writing necessarily but there’s something maybe structurally in your site or theme that’s causing a problem. 

And things like that could be technically interfering with what Google is trying to understand on the page. That’s why I see tools like the keyword density report more important because they can catch issues with the technical stuff.

Ashley Segura (00:23:01):

That makes sense. Casey, can you speak to keywords and recipe plugins? If you’re using a recipe plugin and the recipe name is in your keyword naturally, should you also use it in your h1, h2s or does that start to over-optimize? How can you find a balance with the keywords in your recipes?

Casey Markee (00:23:21):

Well, I think we’ve covered this a little bit already is that when we’re talking about a focus keyword, your posts are going to rank for dozens if not hundreds of keywords naturally through just the process of keyword stemming. If you’ve got a focus keyword and that’s the tailoring that around your post, without really doing much on your own, you’re also going to accumulate a ton of other matches offshoot from that. 

But when we’re focusing on the keywords, we really want to focus on making sure that we’re repeating them in our meta description, which is again, not used algorithmically by Google but as a way to sell the user on what a recipes about and that we’re repeating it in our on page h1, which is again, the very top of the page or post title and again, in our page two for a recipe card. Do I need to stuff it and all the rest of the headings? Absolutely not. 

Usually, I would have a formula like okay, if it was a recipe post, I might have a section on here’s why this recipe works for me. And I might have another section on recipe ingredients. And I might have another section on step by step instructions and I might have another section on tips and FAQs. At no time did I feel the need to reprint my focus keyword in those titles. There’s no need. I’ll do that naturally as I’m answering or putting content in under those various sections. 

Now when we get down to the recipe card, then we also need to be aware that in many people, a lot of people tend to paste content from their post into the recipe card. That’s fine. I tend to want to make sure that we’re including the most important information in the recipe card as from our recipe posts because we’re optimizing for toddlers and drunk adults. If someone was to print out a recipe card, we want to make sure that they have all the information they need to make this recipe perfectly. But what I see people doing incorrectly is they’re pasting over h2 and h3s. 

We don’t need to do that. Your card is already set up. If you have your recipe card h2 as your main heading, and then below that you might have ingredients, you might have notes and you might have nutrition. Those are all automatically made as h3s. We don’t in turn need you to be pasting over needless headers or going in and over-optimizing that information as well.

Ashley Segura (00:25:28):

That makes sense. Arsen, when it comes to a page, whether it’s a recipe, a recipe post or a page describing all of the different categories or maybe a landing page that’s promoting a book, is there a different best practice in terms of optimizing a WordPress page versus a post and making sure you’re not over optimizing?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:25:51):

Yeah, absolutely. So regardless whether it’s WordPress or not, WordPress, doesn’t matter. But yeah, keep in mind, so we talk about over optimization from a keyword perspective. That’s the query. But there’s also the aspect of intent. And matching those two, combining those two together is where kind of everything comes together for Google. The query and its intent. So why is this person looking for something? Is this query carrying commercial intent or investigatory intent? 

If I’m writing, “Best spatula for nonstick griddle,” I’m looking to buy it or I’m looking to research it. Google has to figure out what I’m looking for. Most likely when you apply best something, you’re going to see a result that lists something like top 10 best spatulas. If you put in a soft spatula for griddle, you’re going to see product pages come up. If you’re going to search for pancakes on the griddle recipe, you’re going to see recipe page. So intent is different and how you optimize is completely different. 

Based on the schema that’s on the page, Google has an understanding of what the page is. Google is able to match things better to that page. And how Google scores things is different based on the page type. When you’re optimizing, like for commercial intent, you’re not really following the same guidelines as for a recipe post. For commercial intent, you need to optimize for what the product is, how much the product is and then effectively predict fears, uncertainties and doubts that a person might have around the product or the checkout process or whatever have you.

Whereas with recipe posts, you’re optimizing differently. Typically, product pages or commercial intent pages will be lower in word counts than blog posts. They will have different CTAs. They’re structured differently. It’s not unusual to see multiple h1 tags on certain pages that cover multiple sections. Like you can have a product page that has multiple products or whatever have you. 

So yeah, the optimization process is different. You can get away with thinner content, you can get away with duplicating content on product pages especially when you’re marking that up properly versus with a blog post, you can’t get away with that. Intent and type. Always perform the search before you start writing. I was actually talking to someone yesterday about this, where they were optimizing for specific queries without checking, without performing the search for it and they’re like, “Why am I not ranking?” And then you look at him like, “Well, because you’re writing blog posts, while Google is showing product pages or Google is showing local intent results.”

So always do that first and then take a look. And then also, look at who’s ranking one, two, and three. The algorithm is machine learning. The machine has to learn from somewhere. Those guys who are one, two and three, for some reason or other, Google has deemed them algorithmically worthy of those positions. They’re doing something right. So learn from those.

Ashley Segura (00:29:07):

Perfect, thank you. That was a great breakdown of the two different types. Andrew, let’s dive in to recipe plugins and recipe cards a lot more and really break that out. In regards to photos, is it necessary to add all the photos and videos for each step of a recipe card? Or can you just have pretty much your ingredient photo and then the final product? What do you recommend in terms of a good balance without doing too much?

Andrew Wilder (00:29:35):

You know what I’m going to say. Do what’s best for the person making the dish. If it’s a complicated recipe that has a lot of tricky steps or you need to make sure the dough looks a certain way before you take your next step or whatever, photos are going to be really helpful. I would not put in step by step photos just for the sake of putting in step by step photos or it’s going to be really un-user friendly. 

The one exception now is relatively new is these guided recipes. And those are specifically for your voice search device that’s in everybody’s room now. So it’s going to talk you through the recipe. And if it has a display, it’ll actually show the picture each time. And that’s what everybody’s getting these warnings for guided recipes rather than just recipes. And Casey, correct me if I’m wrong, I think it kicks out a warning if you don’t have an image at every step, but that’s also just a warning. It’s not an error.

Casey Markee (00:30:28):

That’s it. Warnings are not going to kill you. Certainly, I can tell you we’ve run these focus groups and man, there is a lot of animosity, just bottom line animus for people who do not like to have photos and recipe cards. Most of them will subconsciously not even print out a card because they don’t want to waste ink which is hilarious because most recipe cards by default will not print out the photos and of course if you’re using WP Recipe Maker, Creator or one of the other ones, you have the option of even hiding all that on the front page or even hiding them on the page itself. 

But yeah, it’s strange. I get it, I understand why Google’s doing it but the data doesn’t match the intent here. So for those of you on the call who are, “Oh my gosh, do I really need to start embracing this guided recipe stuff?” Survey your readers. That’s absolutely the first thing I would do. Is survey your readers. “Would you like us to include step by step photos in the recipe card?” You might be surprised at the feedback.

Andrew Wilder (00:31:28):

Just to jump in real quick to say that’s an excellent point, is you are not your reader. And this is hugely important. And what seems intuitive to you will not necessarily seem intuitive to your reader. So you want to be as empathic as possible to try to understand what they’re bringing to the table, meet them where they are and asking your readers is the perfect place to start.

Ashley Segura (00:31:51):

Do either of you have any suggestions for how to go about asking readers? That can be a pretty overwhelming task and knowing. Do you just create a group form and post it on Facebook or what… Have you seen anything that’s worked in the past that is a good tactic for getting feedback from your visitors?

Casey Markee (00:32:12):

A reader survey is what I would recommend. We want to have your own readers, first of all, so I would either use first of all your email list if you can, since we know that’s qualified and they’ve opted in or we can just include a post. We’re just going to go ahead and put a post say, “I’m going to get ready. I’m doing a reader’s survey. Here’s the link to the reader survey.” And anyone who comes about can do this. I’ve had a discussion with a blogger today and I asked her if she had ever done that. She’s like, “Oh, yeah. I’ve done that.” I’m like, “When?” “Oh, three years ago.” 

Again, no judgments. You have to understand that you have to do this every year. And some of the bloggers do it twice a year because the intent changes based upon the season. We’ll do a reader survey at the beginning of the season and then we’ll do a reader survey right before the holidays because the breakdown of your traffic is changing based upon the seasonality. You’re going to have a lot of people who are going to come visit your site in the holidays, didn’t even bother to check you out earlier in the year.

Ashley Segura (00:33:10):

Speaking of seasonality Casey, I have a dietary question for you. Is it considered over-optimizing to add a plugin like Recipe Key that adds dietary icons to the top of the recipe post?

Casey Markee (00:33:25):

Recipe key has been pretty popular lately and how Recipe Key works for those who are on the call might not be familiar with it, it just allows you to add visual cues at the top of your posts with little icons that actually say, “Gluten free.” Or, “Salt free.” Or whatever it is. Maybe these are [Atkins 00:33:45] specific or vegan. And then you can link these to various resources on your site. 

Now, if you have categories devoted to this, sure. Usually I tell bloggers to link these to categories. Categories are the more content rich parts of your site. They’re your literal landing pages. I had an audit last week with a client though who was using these to link to tag pages. And that was a very poor strategy only because no index, their tag pages months and years ago. So what they were doing is they were linking to these no index taxonomies all throughout their site wasting a lot of internal page rank and link equity. And also, they were not even adding tags to everything on their site. 

So it really wasn’t an accurate display. We’re going to convert all those tag pages over to categories because the categories are constantly being cultivated and content is being added to it and that’s a better and a closer match to the intent necessary for those buttons to work.

Ashley Segura (00:34:40):

Going back into the instructions of a recipe Arsen, is adding the ingredients of a recipe and the instructions again in the blog posts a good idea so you have it in your card and then you also have it at the beginning of a blog post as your kind of telling your story and going through the different ingredients? A recipe that I looked up last night literally had a huge chunk of breaking down with all the ingredients was and we know what keen was now but breaking all of that down and then had all of the ingredients again down below. Is that something that’s over-optimization or is it good because it’s filling in content?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:35:21):

My thought on this is I don’t like it. But people might disagree like Casey. Casey might disagree with me. I don’t like it because it’s content doubling. And it can easily be translated in a weird way by a component of the algorithm like Panda. If you’re repeating it in the recipe card, if you have in the recipe card, I don’t see the point of having it as a part of your content. 

I would rather use that space, go to a tool set like SEM Rush, go to content or topic explorer, pick out, if you’re making banana bread, put in banana bread and then see all the questions that are being asked around banana bread. Look at that. If you need to beef up your content, do it that way. I don’t think repeating it is important or beneficial. 

You have a jump to recipe button hopefully at the top. If I’m coming to your page, crossing fingers, if I’m coming to your page and I don’t want to read your life story about how you found this recipe, I’m going to click that button and I’m going to drop down to the post and I’m going to follow those instructions. But that’s just me. Especially on the page. And Casey I’m sure you agree with this too. On the page, that’s already a little thin. There’s really no point of repeating… If you look at an old recipes post, the style of old recipes, repeating the ingredients on a post like that makes zero sense.

Casey Markee (00:36:50):

No. No sense at all. Again, I agree wholeheartedly with this is that there is still a trend to list all the recipe ingredients in the post and I believe that that’s just poor advice from either a course or that’s just a stand over from years ago. We don’t need to do that. That’s what the recipe card is for. 

However, what you should be doing is showing your expertise and a good way to communicate that expertise is to have a section called recipe ingredients or recipe notes where you have a nice visual photo of the ingredients. Maybe they’re all labeled. I cannot tell you how much users love the crap out of that. They’re walking through the store, they’re looking on their phone, they have a nice photo of all the ingredients, they’re labeled. And then right below that photo is where you would put some notes like, “Okay. Hey, I mentioned sugar. By the way, use unrefined or do this.” Or, “Oh, by the way, I mentioned squash. There’s four different kinds of squash but I prefer the delicata.” 

That’s what you’re doing there. That’s the whole point of the post, is to show your demonstrated expertise. So you would have a section titled recipe notes or recipe ingredients. And then below that, you’d have a nice photo of all the ingredients that you need, preferably labelled because it looks badass. And then right below that, you would have just a couple simple notes. Not every ingredient needs to be explained. I don’t need to explain oil or flour or maybe sugar.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:36:50):


Casey Markee (00:38:11):

But if you’ve got something else in the recipe that might be uncommon or maybe you have mentioned cheese, like if you’ve got a stuffed french toast recipe, you might mention, “Yeah, by the way, if you want to really go fancy, you can use this ricotta or,” and I’m going to butcher this but, “mascarpone.” Is that right? Mascarpone?

Ashley Segura (00:38:32):


Casey Markee (00:38:33):

That’s it. Marscapone. That’s it.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:38:33):

Casey is flexing his food recipe ingredient knowledge for you.

Casey Markee (00:38:38):

Terrible. Terrible, I know. Or again, if it’s alcohol related. A couple of substitutions there. That’s where I’d really excel. Yeah. Put that in there.

Ashley Segura (00:38:46):


Arsen Rabinovich (00:38:47):

I agree 100% with images for ingredients and I see the conversation about it in our comments and Q&A. But I definitely agree. It makes life much easier. Whatever you’re going to do to make somebody’s life, your readers or your users life easier, like if I’m in a store, I think I was looking for some sort of a spice the other day. I was in Whole Foods. And I just like… I don’t know what it looks like, it’s the first time I’m reading I can’t even pronounce it and I’m the guy who’s like… I’m looking at it trying to figure out what it is. If I have a picture, it’s easier to find. You’re making somebody’s life easier.

Casey Markee (00:39:20):


Arsen Rabinovich (00:39:21):

It’s an add on, it’s a benefit. It’s a feature. It’s not a bug. Definitely do it. Do whatever is convenient. Whatever you feel is going to help the user. We practice this in… Go ahead Andrew, go ahead.

Andrew Wilder (00:39:34):

I want to say you can over-optimize this strategy though. So be careful. I don’t want you guys to take this too far. For example, if you search for banana bread recipe and the post is huge, and it’s trying to answer every single question about anything that could possibly go wrong with banana bread, to the point where every other paragraph has an ad that takes a while to load and it’s bogged down because you use so many ads and you can’t even get to the recipe, then you’re putting too much in there and it’s getting in the way. So-

Casey Markee (00:40:04):

Yes. That’s exactly right. And just like with everything, there’s a balance. Like how many circus peanuts can I eat at one time? I could eat a lot more circus peanuts than I should and there’s a balance, it’s hard to find. Now I’m seeing a lot of the questions here specifically about the breakdown of the tips and the FAQs. When we talk about putting together a template, that’s really what the audits do, is we go over a full template, I show you multiple examples and the like. 

When we’re putting this information together, think of the recipe post and the recipe card as separate entities. As a matter of fact, when we talk about duplicate content, duplicate content is of a twin pages concept. It is not a single page concept. That’s not how it works. We want to take the most important information from the recipe post and we’re going to repeat it under recipe notes. Now in many cases, that might be some of the FAQs, that might be all the tips, that might be a mix of them. If someone was to come to your site and just print out your recipe card, would they have all the information they need to make that recipe the first time perfectly? That’s what you want to think about. 

There might have been some FAQs in the post or there were some tips in the post, user doesn’t need. It’s totally okay, we’re not going to put all of that information in the card, but you need to make sure that it’s complete. And that’s a balance. And that’s what you need to learn to do. When we are telling people to use FAQ’s or when they’re using for example, if you’re on the block editor, we want you to use FAQ schema, which can be easily done with the Yoast block or something like that, we don’t necessarily, as Andrew said, need you to be putting 10 FAQs and we certainly do not recommend that. 

I do recommend probably three, maybe five at the most but your goal is not to put every FAQ you can think of. Your goal is to use your expertise, your experience and ask yourself what are the most important pieces of information that I think the user is going to need to make my recipe the way I would want to make it?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:41:59):

And again, look at it from a standpoint of telling a story. If Casey and I are sitting together and I’m telling him how I make kebabs-

Casey Markee (00:42:08):

It’s a thrilling story, it is.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:42:10):

Right. It is. At the top of our conversation, I’m not going to tell him, “Well Casey, the best way to start a fire to grill this meat…” It won’t make sense. Casey’s going to be like, “Well, what are we grilling? What’s going on?” We talk about content prioritization also within the post. Focus on what the main piece of content and what’s the reason somebody is coming to that page. 

If I’m again looking for a temperature to grill my Tomahawk steak on, I don’t want to scroll all the way to the bottom of your post to find it. If that’s your keyword, if that’s your target, give me that answer at the top and expect me to bounce off. Don’t expect me to hang around. Intent and query syntax is super important.

Ashley Segura (00:42:58):

So Arsen, to your point on that and we had actually a lot of questions come in on that concept of having a high bounce rate and wondering if it was due to over-optimization. To your point on if someone just needs to know what the oven temperature needs to be or how many cups of flour they’re supposed to use for the cookie recipe, how do you find a balance then of accepting them bouncing back off? And what can you do to either take them to another page or keep them engaged with you? Or is just the fact that you got a little bit of traffic coming in, is that sufficient enough?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:43:32):

Yeah. Again, let me unpackage this a little bit differently. Today, Casey tagged me in a post on the Food Bloggers Central something about somebody asked about a recommendation from the last webinar about moving the recipe card up, if anybody’s on experiments. And yeah, absolutely. Doing that is going to decrease how much money you’re making because the person is coming in, they’re finding what they want and they’re on their way out. They’re not scrolling down, they’re not engaged, they’re not being exposed to your ads, they’re not seeing your CTA to subscribe to the to your email list or follow you on Instagram. 

They’re coming in, they’re going to get it and they’re going to leave. I do the same thing. You do the same thing. If you come to Andrew’s site, you don’t care if Andrew is going to make money. You’re looking for Andrew’s recipe. Over optimization is not going to give you a… Okay, so over optimization and time on site or bounce rates don’t kind of work together. That doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re over-optimized, you’re most likely not ranking so you’re not getting traffic, so there’s nothing to balance. 

But over-optimizing it and if you’re over-optimizing and for some whatever reason, you’re ranking because there’s nobody else who’s doing a good job or a decent job for that query, if I come to your site and I’m reading it and I’m like, “Jesus Christ, why is this guy repeating the same thing, the same way over and over and over?” I stumbled on this, I was looking for a gravel bike for my kid and I put in best gravel bikes for kids, and because it’s not a very popular query, the first article was machine generated. 

It was like, they kept repeating gravel bike every few words. And I’m like, “I can’t read this. I’m out.” So yeah, that can increase the… That can have bounce rate issues. But yeah, so prioritizing the content is going to help with… It helps with SEO, but on the back end, so it helps to bring people in. But on the back end, it’s decreasing how much money you’re making, because people are bound, they’re not engaging, you’re not getting those two, three pages per visit, you’re not getting time on page. And that’s why scroll tracking is important so you can understand how people engage with your site and really getting to know your keywords. 

If you are going to write about something that’s a get in, get out query, expect that to happen. Don’t be upset that you’re getting… But if you’re writing for something that somebody needs to follow instructions or watch a video, absolutely different. 

Casey Markee (00:46:07):

Yeah, just to… The reason we’re hitting this section hard is we see the mistakes over and over again. If you’ve been told to put your recipe card at the top of the page, horrible advice, period. End of story. I actually had to correct a blogger from that a couple months ago and they were curious why they were not building traffic. And it’s just because we check their logs and everyone is hitting their site and leaving. 

Their RPM had plummeted. They were having a hard time building traffic. And it’s because again, you would think that oh, okay, so I’m meeting user need. Oh, yeah. You’re meeting user need all right. You’re meeting user intent so much that they’re not sticking around to do anything else on your site. We want to sell them about why the recipe and your content is an important buy-in and to do that, we have to tease them a little bit. We have to actually have teaser text above the photo. We have to have nice photos of the dish. Then we have the recipe card at the end. 

Now I see a question in here about FAQs, putting after the recipe card. I don’t recommend that. As a matter of fact, it’s going to be a poor strategy because the goal is to have nothing after the recipe card but a call to action because we want to get them. When we’re jumping down to the recipe card, nothing’s going to piss off users more than finding out that there’s still more content below the recipe card. We want to have them jump to the recipe card and if they’re done, get them straight to the comment so they can leave a rating, they can leave a comment and be off the site. 

Don’t go under the recipe card and put in a huge scrolling Pinterest image, you should be hiding those off the page anyway. And don’t go down there and put a lot of extra information when the only thing that should be down there is a call to action and then the comments. Get them down to the comments and have them in discussion there. Recipe card is at the end for reasons so that we can increase your RPM. So that we can have a plenty a positive experience above the fold to sell the user on why they need to commit. 

But don’t give them mixed signals. Don’t have the recipe card in the middle of the page. Don’t have them jump to the middle of page and have all this other content below it. Don’t have the recipe card at the top of the page, which is going to destroy RPM and their ability to look at the rest of the awesome offerings you provide. Okay, think about that.

Ashley Segura (00:48:10):

That makes sense. I just have just a couple more questions for all of you guys before we open up the Q&A. If you haven’t already put a question in the Q&A attendees, please make sure to do so now. We’re going to be opening up Q&A in just a couple of minutes. 

Andrew, next question is to you. As far as all tags, can all tags be overused when all the images are say, vegan chocolate chip cookies? Should you just say cookies or should you use different variations? Where’s that line of over optimizing your alt tags?

Andrew Wilder (00:48:42):

Okay, so alt tags are the alt text on an image. Alt stands for alternative. The reason we have those is for somebody who cannot see or cannot download the images to either describe the image if it’s an informational image or to describe the purpose of the image if the image has a function on the site. Images inside a blog post are considered informational. And so they should actually describe the image to someone who cannot see it. 

So if you have 10 images on a page and they all say, “Vegan chocolate chip cookies,” that’s not helpful for that person. And if somebody is using a screen reader and literally if they’re blind and they have to listen to this description that says, image, and it says “Image, vegan chocolate chip cookies,” and then it has a paragraph and then says, “Image, vegan chocolate chip cookies,” That’s not useful. And if you find that you are then describing the images, but your description sound very similar every time, then that means the pictures are probably very similar, which means then that you don’t need all of those pictures.

If you have six different views of these vegan chocolate chip cookies and you think they’re all beautiful, and they may very well be, but if there’s no additional information on each of those, then maybe you can get away with two of them. I get that you want your site to be visually appealing as well for people who can see the images. You want your alt text… You should not be thinking SEO on your alt text. You should be thinking how can this make this better for someone who cannot see the image? Having said that, it’s okay to put your keyword target in the alt text if it’s appropriate, you don’t need to do it in every single one. But again, think of your users. Yeah.

Ashley Segura (00:50:16):

That makes sense. In this last and final question I have, I’m opening this up to all three of you, because this was the most commonly asked question from all the attendees and it has to do if posts are already ranking, post is doing great, should we still go in and reduce the optimization and risk slipping in the rankings or just don’t touch it? What do you guys recommend?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:50:40):

Casey, you want to get this one because I think we’ve answered it so many times already?

Casey Markee (00:50:44):

This comes to the discussion of content unicorns. You are going to have posts on your site that regardless of the mistakes you’ve made or regardless of the fact that they might not be your best work, they’re doing extremely well. Maybe they have off site. In many cases, that’s the case. There’s off site factors that are contributing to these posts doing extremely well. 

The worst thing we can do is needlessly go in and away. And make changes to these posts and have a triggered recrawl possibly go in and upset the applecart and have those posts drop. And I can’t tell you how many horror stories I have of bloggers who’ve done just that. Again, if the posts are doing incredibly well, leave them. If they start to slip, then we’ll go in, we’ll make the changes just like we would do any other post, we’ll implement the checklist that you have. Hopefully maybe you pulled away some advice from this podcast that you can implement.

But no, there was some advice in a previous webinar about last year about, “Hey, you guys want to get huge traffic gains, go in and change your top 15 posts.” Oh my god. Talk about horrible advice. I can’t tell you how many bloggers emailed me in, “Casey, I had these ranking drops.” And I’m like, “Let me guess, you listened to so and so do a podcast.” You have to understand that. Okay, I get it. There’s a lot of advice out there. A lot of it’s terrible, we just want to make sure that you understand that where there is a thing called a unicorn post, it can and probably is doing extremely well in spite of your efforts to the contrary, leave it. Only address that if it needs to be. If it starts to slip, then we can go in and make those changes.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:52:14):

It’s the same thing that we talked about earlier where you guys are asking for a specific number of percentage. Approach each situation as if it’s unique. If a post is ranking, its ranking for a reason. What that reason is, it could be a lot of reasons. Even if it’s the worst written post ever and it breaks every single rule that Casey, Ashley, Andrew and I have told you about, but it’s ranking, don’t touch it. Don’t touch it. Don’t touch it until it stops ranking. Just because Casey said, “This is the best thing to do,” doesn’t mean that this is going to be the best thing to do for your post. 

Same thing with updates. People start freaking out right away, “Oh my god. There’s an update. I better go in and start touching my website and start tweaking things.” No. That’s the worst thing you can do. If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.

Ashley Segura (00:53:15):

Just as Andrew said, perfectly, perfectly placed. All right, we’re moving into the Q&A now. We’re going to start off with a question from Barbara. The question from Barbara is, “I have a few posts about alternative meat products, aka Beyond Meat that are getting some interest. I did some research with links on the pros and cons of alternative meat products and my first post for chili using the products. Can I include that research in future posts about alternative meats such as Beyond sausage or things like that or is that considered duplicate content?”

Casey Markee (00:53:49):

We kind of talked briefly about duplicate content is an between pages issue. So if you have a lot of shared content, it’s possible. Again, always possible that there could be some slight cannibalization going on if you have a lot of these meatless products posts going forward. If it’s just a small paragraph here or there, most likely you’re going to be just fine because all the unique content is going to overwrite that little bit of shared content you have on your site. But it is something to be aware of. 

I’m sure Arsen could probably talk a little bit more about that, but we know whenever we can have 100% unique content we want to but if you’re using the block editor, that’s where reusable blocks come into play. For example, we might have a reusable block for a call to action that we put at the top of every one of your recipe posts. You’re going to have no fallout from doing that at all, period. It hasn’t happened and I’ve seen it on literally hundreds of sites.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:54:45):

Sorry, can you repeat the question Ashley? My headset went dead for a second.

Casey Markee (00:54:50):

It’s okay. In short, if a publisher is doing research on a specific topic and finds several subtopics from that, can they use that research in future posts about alternative meat products was specifically it or is that considered duplicate content?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:09):

Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely you can use it. As long as you’re organizing content properly in your website, you’re going to avoid internal competition. And we talk about the breadcrumbs and silos and categories in order to help with that, so that Google understands that this is content that’s on a similar topic and it’s bunched together and it’s organized in this topical silo. Andrew, go ahead.

Andrew Wilder (00:55:30):

I was going to say, if you’ve got a post that you’ve done that breaks down the pros and cons of various alternative meat products, that’s an informative post that you want to have. You don’t want to take chunks of that or significant chunks of that and put it into another post. 

Instead, just link to it from the first post or from the next post. When you’re doing a recipe and you’re like, “Hey, don’t miss… If you’re just new to alternative meat products, check out my guide here,” and link to that. That’s linear cross linking actually and strengthening-

Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:56):

That’s the best way to do internal linking. 

Andrew Wilder (00:55:58):


Arsen Rabinovich (00:55:59):


Ashley Segura (00:56:00):

Okay. That makes sense. A question from Michelle on jump links. So what are your guys thoughts on in-post jump links? The [Fuse 00:56:09] plugin has that feature built in. Is that a good idea? Does that confuse the users? Also, does that slow the page down at all because it’s another plugin? What are your thoughts and feelings on that?

Arsen Rabinovich (00:56:20):

I’m all about it.

Casey Markee (00:56:23):

The Fuse jump to buttons, we also call this table of content plugins. There’s multiple options out there. You guys saw a table of content plugins that will allow you to use the headings that exist on your page to jump back and forth to those. Well, there are some benefits to that. Number one, it’s a user first optimization. And number two, Google will crawl those jump links and they will actually populate those in the search results. And you might have a recipe that has a couple different sections showing up under the recipe because of those jump links. 

Because you’re jumping, you’re allowing users to jump to different portions on the site. Now on this topic, let’s talk a little bit about jumping from recipe buttons. It’s so hilarious about the jumping for recipe buttons. There were many people who, ad companies per se, who totally didn’t want to do this. And then those ad companies finally came around and implemented their own jump buttons. Understand that jump buttons are not created the same. Okay. If you’re using a plugin like WP Recipe Maker, or even Tasty, those are two jump buttons. They jump the user right down to where they want to go, which is the recipe card. 

If you’re using something like Create, then you’re not going to get the full value of that. They have a jump button that they’ve specifically monetized to leverage RPM but in doing so, they’ve lowered usability because now instead of the user coming to the top of the posts and jumping down to the recipe card, they’re jumping to an ad and nothing’s going to piss off your users more than having them click a jump button and having you jumped into an ad and then having them to scroll down before they can actually see the recipe card.

Now, your ad company will tell you that this is the best mix between usability and rpm. It absolutely is not. I can’t tell you how many bloggers have told me that they’re pissed off by it. I can’t tell you how many focus groups told me I hate it. So you need to think about that closely. Is it worth the extra five cents you might be making from that visitor? Or is it not? In many cases, it’s probably not. If someone’s looking to jump down to the recipe, let them jump down. Especially those Pinterest users. It’s fine. But just something to be aware of, we always want to optimize for the user first, not your ad income.

Arsen Rabinovich (00:58:34):

I am a big fan of the jump buttons or anchor links, whatever you want to call them. Google does crawl them. If there’s a question, Google will pick it up. And if any of you have seen this already, this has recently been included in Chrome. Right, Casey? 

Casey Markee (00:58:52):


Arsen Rabinovich (00:58:52):

If you search for something and the answer is hard to find on the page in a document, in Chrome, this is happening Chrome right now, Google will highlight that snippet that matches your query or answers your question in the larger document, the larger piece of content so that it’s easier for you to find. So there is… We can take that as a hint that there is an emphasis on helping a user get to the answer that they’re looking for much faster. 

Definitely we use jump links on Top Hat Rank for pretty much everything, on the resource posts for the previous webinar. We’re clearly like here’s the video, here’s the Q&A, here’s the transcription because it’s a giant page. It’s a giant post. We have I think over 10,000 words of content on there. So I am going to help a user discover what they’re looking for much faster. And all of those are going to be used as hints by Google to understand what’s on the page.

Casey Markee (00:59:51):

Yeah. And there’s a great question in the support thread right now and I know that Skyler with Fuse is actually actively answering for the user but we want to automate this stuff whenever we can. I’m honestly against you trying to code in all this stuff yourself. There’s plenty of plugins or just use the built to jump function within Fuse to do this, don’t try to code these jump links yourself because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve screwed up, especially with blocks if you have to change styling or if there’s a CSS or JavaScript, or mostly a CSS issue with them. Just try to automate it as much as you can so they’re uniform across the site.

Ashley Segura (01:00:25):

And onto our last and final question and please do note for those who dropped the questions to the Q&A, in the recap post, where we have this recording as well as other resources, we do make sure every single question that was in the Q&A as well as the chat is answered inside that post. So if we didn’t get to your question, you will get an answer. Everyone who’s attended will get emailed the page as well with all of the resources. But this last question really wraps up this topic. 

This is from Anonymous Attendee, but they’ve over-optimized on a post that it’s obvious that it’s over-optimized. So what do they do? How do they fix it? Do they go back and just rewrite it? Do they delete it? Do they update it as much as they want? Do they do it right away? Do they spread it out? We understand what over-optimization is, we know how to not do it, but how do we fix what we’ve already done when it comes to over-optimization?

Arsen Rabinovich (01:01:28):

We de-optimize posts for our clients all the time. You just de-optimize and republish and wait for Google to change, it’s fine. Use tools… I’ll tell you right now. I like to use the web developer Chrome and Firefox add on. You can use inside of it, you can click on information and then view document outline. It’s going to tell you all of the headings that you have in the post and you can see how they’re nested. 

It’s actually really cool how that’s presented. There’s also a Chrome extension called the SEO Minion, a very funny name. It’s from the people who have Keyword Keg and Keywords Anywhere, I think. And it’s a free add on for Chrome and Firefox. And you can click on analyze on page SEO, and they give you all of the little factors. So you can quickly see how you’re structuring your headings and all of that. Also, they show you in nesting and all the alt tags and you can click on them and they will show you actually highlighted on the screen. Yeah, definitely a de-optimize and publish and you’ll be good. 

Casey Markee (01:02:42):

Just don’t change the URLs. 

Arsen Rabinovich (01:02:43):

Yeah, don’t change the URLs.

Casey Markee (01:02:45):

For the love of God, please do not change your URLs. I had an audit today. She’s great but she’s been struggling. She made all these changes back after we visited in February after she was hit by the January update. As I was doing the audit today or last week is when I delivered it, we found that there was dozens of URLs on our site that had been changed. We don’t change URLs. We’ve reset all that hard work. We don’t do that. 

And in her case, she had previously had dates anywhere else. So now what do we have? Chain redirects. Now we’ve got chain redirects and changed URLs that are going to make it a little bit harder for Google to crawl and algorithmically reevaluate that content. Our goal is just to try to push as many new positive signals as we can before the next core update with Google, which is probably to happen in August or September at the latest. Especially since we-

Arsen Rabinovich (01:02:45):

Once a monthful.

Casey Markee (01:03:42):

Yeah. So we’ll see how it goes. Yeah.

Ashley Segura (01:03:47):

Perfect. Well, thank you, everybody, for joining. Thank you panelists for providing such great advice to everybody. We are going to be wrapping up. Again, this is recorded. We’ll be emailing a replay of this with all the resources, the tools and the Q&A. So you’ll have all the details. We’re going to be doing these once a month. So we’ll also be including in that email what next month’s topic is, the date and the time. So you’re definitely going to want to make sure and register for that in advance. As far as upcoming events, Arsen you have some events coming up in August?

Arsen Rabinovich (01:04:21):

Yeah, two events. One is up on our website already. Actually, Ashley and I are both speaking at Engage Marketing Conference which is Engaged PBX. It’s on our website. Ashley’s talking about paid social, I’m talking about SEO diagnostics. And then there’s another event that we still don’t have up on the site but we’ll include in the email. I’m doing a talk about topic organization and information architecture for both publishers and E-commerce at the DMO, Digital Marketing Organization. I will include that though. That’s what’s happening in August. Casey, you have some stuff coming up too, right?

Casey Markee (01:05:06):

September. I have pasted those links over. I’m going to be speaking at the Fuel Your Influence Conference with the Denver Bloggers Organization, that’s in September. And then we’re all going to be at the Tastemakers Conference.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:05:16):

Okay. Tastemakers. Correct. Yep.

Casey Markee (01:05:19):

September 25. It’s going to be a good time. Virtual. We’re going to be talking all about content auditing. It should be a good time. We’re going to record those in advance and we’ll be there live as the questions come in.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:05:33):

And then we have a… Go ahead Ashley, sorry.

Ashley Segura (01:05:37):

All of these events that we’re talking about are all going to be online so you do not need to leave your couch or your chair or your office.

Casey Markee (01:05:46):

You had me at don’t leave your couch.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:05:47):

And then all of the events that we host, we publish recaps. They’re a little bit always behind and late because it takes us a while to put them together, but they are very detailed and have a lot of information. Any of the posts that you see on our site that say recap, you have the video and all the resource and all the links. And that’s all Ashley’s beautiful work.

Ashley Segura (01:06:15):

Thank you. Thank you again everyone for joining. We’re going to wrap it up for today and keep an eye on your inbox for the next SEO for Publishers Episode #3 invite as well as a recap for this one. Thank you again panelists and attendees and we will see you all soon.

Casey Markee (01:06:29):

Be safe out there everyone.

Arsen Rabinovich (01:06:29):


About The Panelists

Andrew Wilder

Andrew Wilder is the founder of NerdPress, a digital agency that provides WordPress maintenance and support services for publishers and small businesses, placing an emphasis on site speed, stability, and security. He has been building, fixing, and maintaining websites since 1998, and has spoken on a wide variety of technical topics (in plain English!) at conferences such as WordCamp LAX, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Food & Wine, Techmunch, BlogHer, BlogHer Food, and Mediavine.

Andrew on Twitter >>

Arsen Rabinovich

Digital Marketer, SEO, International Speaker, 2X Interactive Marketing Award Winner, Search Engine Land Award Winner. Founder @TopHatRank, a Los Angeles based marketing agency that specializes in innovative digital marketing techniques for modern brands of all sizes.

Arsen on Twitter >>

Casey Markee

Speaker, writer, and trainer, Casey Markee has been doing SEO for 20+ years, has conducted over 1000+ site audits, and has trained SEO teams on five continents through his consultancy Media Wyse. He believes bacon should be its own food group and likes long walks to the kitchen and back while under home quarantine.

Casey on Twitter >>

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