Want to know all about the new Google updates and cutting edge SEO strategy to take your blog to the next level?
I’m interviewing SEO strategist, Casey Markee, about all this and more. You will see that he is an expert and we break it all down.
In this interview, we cover:
- The best long tail keyword strategy for creating posts
- How to optimize the “tech” side of your blog
- How to optimize your content for Google search
- How you can build external links to your blog to show your authority
- What is the Google User Experience Update coming in May 2021?
- Does word count matter in your blog posts?
If you want to get your blog into the best shape ever, definitely listen to this episode and reach out at email@example.com if you need any blog technical help. We’d love to help you!
Table of Contents
Table of contents
- Show Notes:
- Subscribe to The Blogger Genius Podcast:
- SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”
- Getting Started in SEO
- Can You Manipulate Google Search Results?
- Blogging Has Become More Competitive
- It Can Take a Year for Your Posts to Show in Google Search Results
- Focus on Long Tail Keywords to Start Driving Traffic
- Focus on Optimizing The Technical Side of Your Site
- How to Optimize Your Content for Google
- Make Your Content Useful to Your Visitors
- Framework for Optimizing Your Content
- Don’t Write Superfluous Content
- Be Careful of Following the Herd
- Use Natural Language in Your Posts
- Write Blog Posts so “Toddlers and Drunk Adults” Can Understand Them
- Write Your Posts to Help the Beginner
- Optimize Your Category Pages
- How Can You Build External Links to Your Blog?
- How to Rank for Long Tail Keywords
- What is the Google User Experience Update?
- Does the Word Count of Your Blog Posts Matter to Google?
- Why Is Content Auditing Important?
- Imagine a world where growing your social media followers and email list was easy…
- Catch My Party
- MiloTree Blogstart
- Casey Markee
- Feast WordPress theme
- PageSpeed Insights Tool
- LuckyWP Table of Contents
- The Blogger Genius Share & Grow Your Blog Facebook Group
<>Subscribe to The Blogger Genius Podcast:
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, my friend. Welcome back to the show. This is Jillian Leslie, founder of MiloTree, founder of Catch My Party, business coach. And as I like to call myself business translator.
I take what’s working now, break it down, so, you can use these strategies in your own blog and online business. My guest today is SEO expert Casey Markee.
But before we get into the podcast, I wanted to talk about a service we offer that is related to today’s episode, and this is our MiloTree BlogStart service. This is where we can set up a WordPress blog for you and optimize it.
We can move you off of different platforms onto WordPress, we can help you move things around on your blog. If you need things optimized, we can help with that. And we help with all technical questions.
If this seems interesting to you, please head to milotree.com/blogstart or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help you.
SEO>SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”
For today’s episode, I have Casey Markee on the show. Casey is an SEO expert, and works with lots of bloggers. Now what is SEO, it stands for “search engine optimization.” This is how you set up your blog and you write your posts in a very specific way.
So, that Google understands what you’re doing, and therefore your content gets found and ends up in search results. And this, of course, leads to traffic. So, this is very important. Google’s making some changes in May we talked about that.
And we talked about best practices for content creation. We talked about some technology. If anything gets too technical, and you’ve got questions, please reach out to me and I will be happy to answer them.
So, without further delay, here is my interview with Casey Markee. Casey, welcome to the show.
Casey Markee 2:22
Thanks for having me, Julian.
Jillian Leslie 2:24
So, I’ve known about you for a very long time. And then I watched you on a webinar. In fact, my husband who’s my partner watched it and said, “Jillian, you have to watch this.”
And then I thought I’m going to reach out to Casey Markee and see if he will come on my podcast. And you so graciously said yes. So, I’m a big fan of yours. And I’m really excited to talk about SEO with you.
Casey Markee 2:49
I really, really appreciate it. Again, as we were joking earlier, but I cannot believe that anyone would ever want to intentionally spend an hour talking to me. Just ask my wife, she has a lot of other things she would prefer to do.
Jillian Leslie 3:01
And I have a Facebook group, I put a post in saying what is the one thing you want to really work on in 2021? And the number one answer was SEO. So, you are very apropos in terms of what my audience is asking for.
So, will you share how you got into this weird thing called SEO and what this journey has been like for you?
Get>Getting Started in SEO
Casey Markee 3:29
Absolutely, I was born and raised in Kansas. I went to school in Iowa, came out to California, which is where I am now in 1997 to attend law school. Where I met my beautiful wife, it was literally the top experience from law school.
I had never seen the ocean. So, needless to say I spent way too much time on the beach and not enough time in contracts, which is why she continued on in law school and I did not.
So, after that I decided well, I wonder what I’m going to do now I always thought I was going to be an attorney and there were various internet startups. It was like the heyday in the late 1990s. The Internet game here well before the dot com bubble.
And I started to just work at various internet pop-ups startups there. And at the time, I was doing an MBA at night to finish that.
And I started working for companies like NextGift, which was kind of a foray, their goal was to sign up Hallmark stores and sell cooperative discounts. So, that was interesting. It was one of the first kind of online gift stores there.
And then I was working with companies like MagneticMattresses and eventually my soon to be father-in-law decided that he was done working for corporate America. And he thought you know what, I think we should get into this internet thing, this internet 2.0 thing.
So, he decided to buy an outdoor retailer called Coastline Adventures and he says I want you to come on and run it. So, we came on and ran this outdoor gear store. It had Suunto Watches which have these acclamators kilometers on them and stoves.
And we did that for a couple years very successful. And then after that I just went in and started my own SEO shingle with MediaWise and the rest is history. I’ve been doing this for almost well over 20 years. Crazy.
Jillian Leslie 5:20
Wow. And was SEO even a thing?
Casey Markee 5:23
Oh yeah, the days of Lycos, Dogpile, Excite, go to well, before Google was on the scene. And it was crazy at that time, because it was really all about over optimization of keywords and links.
Jillian Leslie 5:35
Right. And there were all these ways to kind of manipulate the system.
Casey Markee 5:42
Very much so, very much so or you can even go to that column, which became overture and just literally buy your keywords. So, that you could always be number one, which is crazy.
And then you started there, and then you work your way up. And then Google came onto the scene and started to refine search.
And now it’s more of a science than anything. It’s definitely evolved. I have literally seen it all, it has been an interesting journey.
Can>Can You Manipulate Google Search Results?
Jillian Leslie 6:08
Okay, I have to ask this question. I asked this of my husband a lot as well. Do you think there are still ways to manipulate SEO?
Casey Markee 6:19
There are, that’s where you get the old black hat, gray hat and white hat systems going on. There is black hat, web exploitation techniques that still work.
Jillian Leslie 6:30
Do you think those windows of opportunity then quickly shrink?
Casey Markee 6:35
No, we can still do code injection. It’s just the average person has no idea that these techniques exist.
Jillian Leslie 6:42
Casey Markee 6:43
Google can close the door. But then next thing you know, there’s a window that’s been opened to get around those hacks. But yeah, blackhat is alive and well, I’m not a fan of it, it does exist, you can combat against it.
But for the average person on this call, it’s not something you’ll ever need to worry about. Just like for the average person on this call, if you see bad backlinks to your site, it’s just not something you should ever worry about.
I know that a lot of people on this call use SEMrush. SEMrush tends to be very, aggressive in crawling your backlink profile and telling you, Oh, my God, I’ve got all these toxic links.
I can assure you, for the vast majority of you 99.9% of you will never have to worry about toxic links. Google does a great job for you on those. So, you don’t have to worry about it.
Jillian Leslie 7:33
Now, let’s say I am a blogger. I am a food blogger. And I don’t know much about SEO. For all these people in my Facebook group are like I want to learn SEO. How hard is this?
Casey Markee 7:53
Well, it’s certainly harder now. I have been very fortunate, I had started everything from large cap companies to offshore casinos, to local SEO of mom and pop companies.
Blo>Blogging Has Become More Competitive
And I’ve been working exclusively with food lifestyle and do-it-yourself blogger since about 2015. So, last five years. And in that time, the amount of blogs in the space have grown threefold.
It is incredibly more competitive now than it was when I first initially started working within the niche. It is just very, very hard for a new blogger, especially in the food niche to get traction.
And it’s not necessarily because all blogs have to build up authority, you could generate traffic from day one from Pinterest and non-Google sources immediately.
It’s going to take you about a year to really build up enough authority and content to start an anchoring phase in Google. We used to call this the sandbox. That’s really not a correct phrase anymore.
But there is still a period of time where it takes you to gain visibility in Google. And that’s the case with all new bloggers. So, once you get past this one-year mark, start working on building your bottom-line authority.
Building up the backlink profile to your site generating solid content, then we can start generating that. But the amount of listings and the search results of the SERPs, the Search Engine Ranking Positions, have not changed.
It’s still 10 blue links on page one, surrounded by a dozen of other carousels, and that has not changed. So, you’ve got three times the site’s now competing for that same real estate. It’s becoming much, much harder.
It >It Can Take a Year for Your Posts to Show in Google Search Results
Jillian Leslie 9:36
What you’re saying is that first year is about planting seeds that you hope then will grow? So, you don’t see the growth. One thing I talk a lot about is this idea of consistency.
To grow a business on the internet. It is really about consistency, which is not a sexy concept. It’s about getting your butt in the chair and showing up and creating content. So, you’re saying it’s like doing this for at least a year before you see any sprouts.
Casey Markee 10:10
Yeah, you could say that, for example, it would be like yelling into an empty room. Because that’s really what you’re doing for that first year, as you’re trying to build a content template that you’re going to use.
You have to put a level of content down on your site that eventually will stick in the search results. But it might take a while.
I have bloggers who approached me all the time, “Casey, I’ve been doing this for 12, 18 months, and I just haven’t gotten any traction.” And in many cases, it’s because they just haven’t focused on not only the bottom-line quality of the template they’re publishing.
Their keyword research is poor. They’re trying, for example, to publish a recipe on a banana cream pie, they have no chance of ranking for it. It’s a very competitive keyword phrase, they might rank for that in four or five years.
Foc>Focus on Long Tail Keywords to Start Driving Traffic
But if their goal is to generate traffic immediately in the first 12 to 16, 18 months, we need to focus on that long-tail.
We need to focus on keyword phrases and recipes where they actually have a chance competitively of showing up in the first couple pages of Google. And most bloggers just don’t understand that.
They just believe that they can publish their grandma’s beef stroganoff recipe right away. And it’s going to rank and so in my case, where I focus on sign idling. It’s all about tempering expectations, showing them hey, this is what you can expect.
This is the template that we’re going to use, here are the things that we can do from a technical side and get you dialed in. And oh, by the way, you can start including those old recipes that you want to include on your site.
But we need to mix them in with content that has a chance of ranking algorithmically. And to do that, we show them how to dial in their keyword research competitively.
Jillian Leslie 11:41
Okay, so first, my first question is Do I need to be technical to understand SEO?
Casey Markee 11:46
I would say yes and no. There are technical aspects when I do an audit, which is why the audit is so eye opening to most bloggers involves three areas, the technical issues, the content issues, and the off-site issues.
Those three pillars, I use the metaphor of a chair with three legs. You need all three legs to be successful. If a blogger comes in most of the time, it’s the technical issues that trip them up.
They’ve listened to a podcast, which gave them poor advice. They followed a larger blogger that has strings, they do not have. Or they’re in a mastermind group, which has very poor knowledge base, very poor recommendations. I see that all the time.
Foc>Focus on Optimizing The Technical Side of Your Site
And so, a lot of it is unwinding a lot of that bad advice. I tell bloggers all the time, if your goal is to qualify for an ad network, or to make your blog your life, you need to invest heavily in it at the very beginning, try to get the best hosts you can afford.
Don’t use shared hosting, use a quality host like BigScoots, WPEngine. Again, I’m a big fan BigScoops is my top recommendation. Their managed WordPress hosting is very inexpensive at $39 a month, you get that immediately.
And you are literally faster than the majority of the other sites out there. Right away.
Jillian Leslie 13:03
We set up WordPress blogs for people and hosting all of that preliminary stuff. We set up so that once then like that piece is that layer is optimized, then you can start building.
Because going back and fixing all that stuff is a headache, especially after you’ve created a bunch of content.
Casey Markee 13:25
Exactly. If you can get a smart technical stack in place, again, kind of an example. And that’s something we’re using BigScoots with CloudFlare as your CDN.
And you’ve used a quality plugin, like WP Rocket to set up caching and minification and all this other stuff right away. Of course, we’re using a quality image compression plugin, like a magnifier ShortPixel.
Just doing those things immediately out of the gate is going to help you considerably give you a competitive edge.
Opt>Optimize Your Blog Site Speed
Overall mobile PageSpeed has been a ranking factor for years. And then of course, we have things like the Google User Experience algorithm, which is going to go live in May.
And those all go hand in hand to both your short-term and long-term success as a blogger.
Jillian Leslie 14:11
So, before we get to that, though, let’s go through the other two legs of the stool.
Casey Markee 14:16
Jillian Leslie 14:17
So, the first one is technology. And again, if you have questions, you can reach out to me or Casey about that, because that can seem overwhelming. But let’s talk about the other stuff that goes into being successful.
Casey Markee 14:32
So yes, the technical side again, we’re looking at hosting, we’re looking at making sure that you’re using a quality theme, preferably a child theme that is supported. I personally am a big fan of the Feast themes by Skylar.
There are other themes out there built on the Genesis framework, which is put forth by StudioPress and owned by WPEngine. Most of those are quality examples.
Don>Don’t Invest a Fortune in a Theme
What you don’t want to do is invest a fortune in a custom theme and then have that designer disappear which happens a lot in the food and lifestyle niche. And you just find that you have to redo the entire thing within three years.
Jillian Leslie 15:04
Absolutely. And just to add to that, one thing that we talked about is, as a blogger, two things, one, you need to be nimble. So, everything you are putting in your blog, I always say these are placeholders.
You want to have lots of flexibility to iterate and change and learn with your audience. And then the second thing is, people want these beautiful themes. It’s your content that needs to be beautiful.
If people are noticing your theme, you’re in the wrong direction. People needs to be need to be noticing your content. Your theme is like the architecture. But it needs to fall to the background so that your content is in the forefront.
Casey Markee 15:45
It makes a very good point. And it’s a really good point. And I want your theme to be attractive, that’s aesthetically pleasing. But understand that in many cases, that is an outdated and archaic belief.
Because previously, all of your content, all of your traffic was just top based where the interaction on the site was much more relevant. Now, that is not the case, 80, 90% of your traffic is going to be mobile.
And you’re not going to find that this huge, expensive theme that you’ve invested in, looks relatively aesthetically pleasing on mobile, there’s just not much there. You want it to be attractive.
But your goal, of course, bottom line is just to have the site be technically solvent, load fast, present the content in a pleasing way, have increased font size, all those things.
Jillian Leslie 16:32
Okay, so legs of the stool.
How>How to Optimize Your Content for Google
Casey Markee 16:35
Okay. So, that’s the technical issues. And then we want to look at the content and when we’re talking about the content, and we’re using WordPress. Which again, by far is the best CMS out there to use for those of you on the call are using Squarespace or Wix.
It’s fine, you can continue to do that you will just not be as successful. Hands down bar none. I’ve been doing this a very long time.
I have never not migrated a site off of Wix or Squarespace and had them double or triple their traffic, or their bottom-line income. So, you can take that as you will.
If you want to continue to tie yourself to a platform that you have to rely on being half as confident as something on WordPress where we can 100% customize. And make as aesthetically and technically pleasing as possible. All good. I get it, I understand that.
Some things like Squarespace and Wix are easier for users to use. But you pay for that in the long run. Ad networks have a hard time monetizing those platforms, we have no control over the back end for speed optimization.
The list of negatives goes on and on and on. So, when we’re talking about content, there’s a very specific content template that we work with that I work with specifically, after many years of doing this and 1,000s of audits, that seems to work pretty well.
Mak>Make Your Content Useful to Your Visitors
And my bottom line advice is be useful. Everything that I do with regards to the content is how useful can I be for the user with this piece of content.
And again, I work predominantly with a lot of recipe blogs, and there is a very specific template that I push again, has been very successful.
So, when you hear these stories about, “Oh, my God, I had an audit with Casey and I went from 50,000 sessions to 5 million over a couple years.” It not uncommon to do that, I feel that my audits have a 10-time benefit at a minimum.
But to get there, it involves a lot of little things. SEO is all about the little things. We need to make sure that we’re using the right content template. That we’re putting in high quality images that are about 1200 pixels wide.
So, that we can best optimize for Google Discover. And make sure that we future proof our images if we happen to change things in the future. We also want to make sure that we’re writing content that is helpful.
Jillian Leslie 18:41
So, will you walk us through your template like from the top?
Casey Markee 18:47
Jillian Leslie 18:48
Casey Markee 18:49
It could take an hour.
Jillian Leslie 18:50
No, no, no, but just if I am a food blogger or a DIY blogger, they’re kind of similar in terms of, you’re going to be creating something. How should I think about this?
Fra>Framework for Optimizing Your Content
Casey Markee 19:00
Well, you always want to sell the user right at the top of the page. Here’s a teaser text, a little bit of teaser text on why this recipe or this do-it-yourself is worth your time.
What is it about this recipe or do-it-yourself that’s better than the millions of other recipes or do-it-yourselves out there? Could just be a couple sentences, but that’s what’s going to catch the eye and most people right away, especially on mobile phones.
What is it right there at the top of the page to sell the user on that piece of content? Recipe is a great example. If you have a recipe that can be made in less than 30 minutes.
I better be seeing that you’ve mentioned that at the top of the page because my wife is a busy professional. She’s an immigration attorney, others, they have a limited time they want to qualify that experience right through at the top of the page.
Then I have a nice photo a featured image of the finished dish and for example where the finished DIY. That image should be 1200 pixels wide at a minimum as should all of the images in your post.
So, that we can qualify for Google Discover traffic and the enhanced carousels that come with that. I should have a very nice template. Think of it as a research paper, here’s why this recipe works. Here’s all the ingredients that go into it.
Maybe I have a nice photo laid out of all the ingredients that I’ve labeled. That’s a big deal when we talk about highest needs. And you have these things called the Google Quality Rater Guidelines.
Which is a very dense document that Google has published for years telling users what they’re looking for with regards to quality content.
If you were to go in and find these Google Quality Rater Guidelines, then you could just type that into Google and search for those. And you were to review that document just type in recipes.
You’d be shocked at how many dozens and dozens of times recipes are mentioned in there. Because recipes are a great example of a document type, a content type that Google values highly and uses to train other information with.
So, when we’re putting these recipe posts together, we have a teaser text, we have a featured image and we start to have headings on the page. And these headings can be things like, here’s why this recipe works.
Here are the ingredients, here’s step-by-step and how to make them. Maybe we have an H2 that says FAQ is an expert tip. FAQ is very, very important. If you’re publishing a recipe post, you don’t have FAQs.
That tells me you probably haven’t thought enough about it down at the bottom-line usability of that post for users. Go into Google, type in your focus keyword. People also ask questions. Can you steal any of those?
And by stealing those, I mean, can we provide a better answer in our own content, then in turn, maybe Google can lift us up in that placement instead.
Then we get down and we have a call-to-action related recipes. And then of course, the recipe card. So, all that flows together pretty easily.
Jillian Leslie 21:38
What I like about what you’re saying is, it’s not about the story of my grandmother. Again, that’s like the sweet stuff like we used to make this every Sunday. And this is very meaningful to me.
Casey Markee 22:00
Yea. That kind of personal history.
Jillian Leslie 22:01
But this is on you. Yeah. So, tell me do I write that?
Don>Don’t Write Superfluous Content
Casey Markee 22:05
No, no. I call that superfluous content. And I get it, maybe there is a little bit of a story behind some of your recipes. And hey, you can put that at the top of the post under the ‘why this recipe works’.
Maybe you can say, hey, this apple pie is different from all other apple pies, because I use a nutmeg and the crust. “And oh, by the way, this was passed down to me by my grandmother on my farm.”
That’s it, we don’t spend three paragraphs talking about summers you spent around the lake, eating this pie. Now, years ago, when I first came on the scene, I was very clear that this isn’t going to help you bloggers.
And if your goal was to build your traffic, this was something that you had to, move yourself away from. And it was funny, because at the time, it was controversial. It’s not controversial, it’s just common sense. Our goal is to write for the user.
And I can’t tell you how many people have changed their writing style, and have been turned by second homes because of that. And that’s something that’s very hard for bloggers to understand as creators that you want to tell your story.
But you want to do it in a way that’s going to help you build traffic, build a long-term audience and of course, bottom line increase the effect of your long term and short-term SEO.
Jillian Leslie 23:12
It’s funny, I was talking to a woman yesterday on a coaching call, she’s a DIYer and she wants to do lots of different kinds of DIY, and she wants it the way she wants it. She wants to be doing all of her content.
And I said, I think you need to be a specific kind of DIYer. Are you a sewer? Is that what you do? Are you a paper crafter? What is it?
And I could feel the tension because I was saying is this a business or is this a hobby, something where you put this out into the world? And she did not like that tension. And she I said to her you can choose I have no vested interest.
But if it is, I’m creating a food blog so that I can pass this down to my children and their children. And these are all of Nana’s recipes. That’s one thing. However, if this is a business, it is not about me. I always say it’s not the Jillian Show. It is me serving you.
Casey Markee 24:20
And that’s very, very important. And I try to communicate that whenever I can in both the mini audits and the full audits that I do. Or in any trainings I perform or just simple one-on-one coaching consultations.
I asked them right away, is this a business or a hobby? And they tell me, “Yes, my goal is to have this to support my family.” I’m like, “Fantastic. These are the steps you need to do to make that happen.”
“If you do these steps, and you follow this outline and you follow this template and you stay in touch, you will be rewarded.” I have two groups of clients who come to me.
Client number one, they stay in touch, they send me recipes to grade. They let me know how things are going. They do very, very well.
Client number two, they’ll have the audit, they’ll be overwhelmed with the information, they might send me one recipe post, they disappear.
I come to find out that six months later, they haven’t had great growth, or they’ve had 30% growth, which is still good. But not near what they would have had, if they’d implemented the audit and they’ll get pulled away because of other things.
In the interim, they’ll have taken a course, which will contradict some of the things that I’ve said, and of course, that will stunt their growth, or they’ll be pulled away to do something else.
And they’re like, “Why am I not having the results?” And I’m like, “You’re not having the results, because you didn’t do this, this, this and this, here’s your audit, you haven’t even made it to page two yet.”
So, a lot of it is tough love. And I know the bloggers who commit to doing it. That’s literally why I have a six-month waitlist and hundreds of reviews on Facebook is that the process works. You just have to work the process.
Jillian Leslie 25:50
And you have to let go of a lot of the things you thought it would be.
Casey Markee 25:55
It’s tough. There’s a lot of misconceptions, preconceptions. I can’t tell you how many bloggers still come to me believe that word count is a ranking factor. Even though Google has said multiple times it’s not.
Or how many people will listen to their ad company and take an approach which might be great for the RPM, but will stunt their long-term growth considerably.
Jillian Leslie 26:13
Can we talk about that? We were talking about that a little bit before we press record, there is a tension. And you even said this to me in an email this kind of herd mentality.
And can you speak to what that means for bloggers and how to break from the norm or what we’re being told to do by the herd.
Casey Markee 26:37
Again, herd mentality, I’ve never seen it in evidence more than in the food and lifestyle niche. And it’s because there are so many people competing for such a small select number of spaces in the search results.
They’re starting these food and lifestyle blogs, because they believe it’s their way out of poverty, or it’s their way to support their family, or something along the lines.
Be >Be Careful of Following the Herd
And they’ll latch on to some information because another blogger who’s maybe a little bit more successful than they are, is telling them they should do this. And this other blogger may be giving them misinformation when it’s completely inaccurate.
And also going to actually harm the smaller blogger. But it’s not that they don’t know that because of course, the larger blogger has all these other strengths that the smaller blogger can’t see.
I had a blogger the other day, I’m like, “Where did you pick this up?” Because I was following this other blogger. And I’m like, “You have to understand that she has 10,000 linking root domains.”
Jillian Leslie 27:26
What is that? Can you share what that means?
Casey Markee 27:30
Yes, linking root domains. That’s how many external sites link into your own blog. Those are linking root domains. And for those of you on the call, who are not aware of this link building, or links are still by far the most powerful aspect of the Google algorithms.
And literally, there are millions of little baby algorithms out there that links are still incredibly important. So, when you see these core updates that have been going through, all you have to do is do a very systematic review.
A holistic review of the sites that have been negatively impacted. And a lot of them did not have very strong backlink profiles. That’s just one of many factors. It’s just certainly not the main one. But backlinks are still incredibly powerful for ranking in Google.
So, bloggers are always like, “I don’t understand why these big sites are not being affected by these core updates. Are they immune to them?” I’m like, “No, they’re not immune to them.”
But they have so many strengths that you don’t have, that it seems that they’re immune to them, and they’ve lost visibility, you just can’t see it. Because they’re ranking for literally 10s of 1000s of keyword phrases across, the verticals.
But bloggers will come to me, I’m like you can’t stuff your headings. One of the big things in the recent core updates is that Google has been penalizing for over optimization.
And there’s some truly horrible advice that’s been going around in the food and lifestyle niche for about a year and a half. Where these courses, were telling bloggers, you need to put your focus keyword in every one of your headings on your page.
So, you might be writing a blueberry pie. And your H1 will have blueberry pie. And then your H2 and there’ll be eight or nine H2’s on the page will also all have blueberry pie in them. And your keyword density has just gone off the charts.
And they’re wondering, Well, I don’t understand I’m following this template from this training. And Google seem to have hit me. And I’m like, Yeah, because people don’t talk that way. You’re writing for an algorithm; you’re not writing for your users.
And then I would show the user and I would show the audit. Here’s an example of five sites that were positively impacted by the recent core updates, look at their outline. Look at what they’ve done.
You see how they didn’t even mention their focus keyword in any of their headings, except for their H1 and their recipe card H2. Because people don’t talk that way. We don’t need to say, ingredients for blueberry pie.
We don’t need to say FAQ is an expert tip to make blueberry pie. We don’t need to say related recipes for blueberry pie. That’s just not how Google works. Google moved beyond that years ago.
Use>Use Natural Language in Your Posts
And they’re much better using the natural language processing to pull all that intent out. I don’t even have to have blueberry pie on that page to rank for blueberry pie. That’s how far beyond Google has run.
So, it’s just trying to communicate that to bloggers as much as we can, and just unwinding mistaken knowledge that they’ve been given either in an outdated course, or in some webinars they saw were from their ad company.
Jillian Leslie 30:20
What I hear you saying is, and by the way, we say this as well. And my husband says this a lot. Google’s really smart, and just keeps getting smarter and smarter.
Therefore, your number one goal is to provide value to somebody who is landing on your blueberry pie recipe. That they know why this is the blueberry pie recipe they need to make.
Casey Markee 30:47
Jillian Leslie 30:48
By ingredients, 30 minutes, who knows. But it’s the value proposition to your visitor or your user. And the text needs to be readable, understandable, digestible, written for somebody and you said this.
Wri>Write Blog Posts so “Toddlers and Drunk Adults” Can Understand Them
What did you say it needs to be written for a toddler or a drunk person?
Casey Markee 31:12
Yes, toddlers and drunk adults. That is, something that I’m going to have a shirt. With that stain on it, I will probably give it out at conferences. But when we’re writing our content, folks, we need to be writing for toddlers and drunk adults.
We need to dumb everything down as much as we can. If someone was to make this blueberry pie, you’ve made this recipe 1000 times, correct. So, go back. Think about when you first made it. What mistakes did you make?
Was there a problem with the dough? Maybe there was a secret tip that you forgotten about? Because you’ve made it so many times? Do you need to let the pie rest? Do we have to change temperatures a little bit?
Do we leave the pie in the oven and turn the heat off for a couple minutes? What is it tips and FAQs that we can include in the post to make sure that whoever makes this pie the first time does it 100% perfectly per your recipe?
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Wri>Write Your Posts to Help the Beginner
Jillian Leslie 33:04
Sometimes being too much of an expert is a hindrance, because you forgot what the beginner is experiencing. I did a podcast episode with a quilting quote unquote, expert.
And she said, “I’m not an expert. I’m a couple steps ahead of somebody who wants to do this kind of quilting. And that’s been a positive, because I can think back to what it was like when I started and all of the issues that I had.”
So, I can relate to my visitor and say, oh, you don’t know how to thread the needle or you’re having this, I can show you how to do that. So, it is about going back. And leading people step-by-step through that journey.
And I love your thing of like, because you’ve done this so many times that you’ve forgotten, put that step in.
Casey Markee 34:03
And I when I tried to train bloggers especially for recipe bloggers is for them to understand that in a recipe post, you have the recipe posts, and you have the recipe card. And those are separate entities, not only to your users, but to Google.
So, we want to take the most important information from the recipe post. And we need to make sure that we make it to the recipe card. That’s why you never publish a recipe post that the recipe card doesn’t have recipe notes.
Because when we have recipe notes, that’s you making sure that you’re repeating the most important information from the post into the card. Because there’s a small but growing minority of users that they have no desire to read your content.
They’re just going to go straight to your recipe card, print it out and be on their way. And that’s why we have things like jump buttons to optimize for those users too. Specifically, Pinterest traffic which tends to follow along that customer journey.
But the recipe cards need to be a complete entity. We don’t need to take everything from the recipe post and repeat it in your recipe card. But if you have a recipe card on your site, and it does not have notes, you’ve done yourself and your users a disservice.
You need to make sure that you’re repeating your most important information in that recipe card. So that when they print it out, they have the tools they need to make this recipe as perfectly as possible the first time.
Jillian Leslie 35:19
I hadn’t even thought of that. I love that tip. So, let’s talk again, have we tackled all three legs or is there a leg we’re missing?
Casey Markee 35:29
Yes, so leg number two is the content. There’s a content template, we’ve discussed that. When we’re looking at the common site, we also want to make sure that we’ve optimized our category pages, that’s very important.
Opt>Optimize Your Category Pages
Our category pages are basically the windows into the house, that is our block. So, we want to make sure that we optimize all those category pages. I tend to noindex tag page.
I can count on one hand, the sites that have actually generated traffic from their tag pages. So, I do a content analysis during the audit. And if I find that’s the case, we noindex tag pages.
But we want to keep category pages open, we can optimize those, we can link to those regularly. Very important long-term for building traffic.
And so, then we get to leg number three and leg number three are just the off-site factors that go into your success as a blogger. You’ve probably heard of the concept of E-A-T which is Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Well, a lot of bloggers are confused. But EAT is not an algorithm. I think a lot of bloggers think that it is some kind of magical algorithm that Google can optimize for and that you need to be focused on.
It’s not an algorithm, it’s a strategy, and what we’re talking about when we break it down is expertise is showing clear knowledge. We want to answer the right search intent, we want to express clear usability of our content.
That’s the ‘E’ in E-A-T, Expertise. Making sure that we’re showing clear knowledge in our content.
So, as you said, when we were talking about putting together this blueberry pie, that’s where the FAQs and the expert tips come into play. As you were showing our clear knowledge of the recipe.
Then we get to the second letter, which is ‘A’ which is Authoritativeness. And the authoritativeness is really about external mentions to you. It’s being cited by others; it’s being linked by others.
It’s being featured by authors, that’s the authoritativeness their external signals that flow into. So again, you featuring me on a podcast that has “genius” in the title helps me because I am certainly not a genius, as my wife will tell you over and over again.
So, that helps my EAT though by being cited in such a well-known and respected podcast. So, I thank you for that. Now, the trustworthiness again goes hand-in-hand with the authoritativeness. So, if you’re cited and linked to, that means you’re trusted.
So, if you’re reading this, if you’re listening to this on the call, and you’re asking me and I have been in a rut, and I cannot seem to build traffic with Google. Start asking yourself, what can I do externally to build my brand?
How>How Can You Build External Links to Your Blog?
And that’s where things like building up your email list, setting on podcasts. Don’t think about submitting content to other sites as a guest blogger, even syndication could help you as long as you syndicate correctly.
But we want to look at those external factors. And see what can I do to build up my own brand identity so that others view me as an expert.
Like you said, in your example that you used with a quilter, because you featured her, she is going to be viewed as an expert in the quilting niche by a lot of other people in the quilting niche as well.
And just like, again, if I’m featured on a podcast having to do with SEO and the like, my goal is to continue to reinforce my expertise whenever I can. Hopefully, with the benefit being what I can impart to the audience at that time.
Jillian Leslie 38:40
Now, is this cheating or is there value? I’m a food blogger, I got a lot of food blogger, friends, we all linked to each other with our recipes.
Casey Markee 38:52
There is some value as long as it’s natural, where bloggers get into a lot of trouble with kind of a two or three way type of link building where they use the same sites over and over again. And that ends up being what’s called a link scheme.
Because it’s a calculated strategy with a small group of bloggers, not necessarily to provide benefit to your users, but to hopefully provide benefit in the eyes of Google. And so, we want to make sure that we’re understand the intent of something like that.
Google’s very easy at sussing out these kind of link strategies. And as a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons a lot of bloggers got hit negatively by the unannounced core update in November of 2019.
And then got hit again in January, in May, for the announced core updates in 2019. Or 2020. We also recently had another core update on December 4th, 2020. And it had a lot of the same characteristics.
Is that if you’re going out of your way to interlink with the same group of people over and over again, Google in many cases is just going to ignore those links. They’re not going to provide much value for the user all things being even.
Jillian Leslie 40:01
Which, speaks to the point that Google is really smart.
Casey Markee 40:06
Jillian Leslie 40:08
Again, as a lay person, it’s hard to manipulate Google. So, be again, thinking about writing the best possible content you can. So, I want to talk to you about keywords. And you mentioned that, your cream pie recipe, banana cream pie.
You’re not going to rank for that as a brand-new blogger, a food blogger, but you could rank for like a longer-tail keyword.
Casey Markee 40:38
How>How to Rank for Long Tail Keywords
Jillian Leslie 40:38
And so, will you speak to that strategy? So, I’m a new food blogger, and I want to start building my traffic and I’ve got, let’s say, a banana cream pie recipe that will knock your socks off.
But would you not recommend I start there? Or is there a way to tie that into a long-tail keyword that I could optimize for, what is your advice?
Casey Markee 41:05
In that example, I would say probably hands down. It’s going to be extremely hard for you to get any sort of traction algorithmically in Google, because that’s an extremely competitive keyword.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful with that keyword, with tertiary channels, specifically, social related. If you have a great banana cream pie, and you were really good with your photography, it could do extremely well on Pinterest.
It could do extremely well on Facebook and Instagram, that will tend to send you lots and lots of traffic. I think where bloggers get confused is, they think that in many cases, social traffic has some kind of a ranking benefit. It really does.
And Google’s really clear that they don’t use social signals, because it’s such a muddy signal, and it can be easily influenced. I could literally go out and buy 100,000 repins on Pinterest from Fiverr, or.com, or whatever.
So, you have to understand that if I can artificially influence those metrics, Google knows that. And that’s why it’s not going to have much value for you. But if you have a great recipe that you really want to add to your site, add it to your site, great.
Just understand that it may not rank competitively for an extended period of time and we’re talking maybe a couple years. Now, you could certainly optimize, you could say banana cream pie, cream puffs, or something like that.
That would have been an example of something that builds upon banana cream pie, not nearly as competitive, has much smaller search volume. And you could probably have some good success very quickly with a phrase like that.
But if you have a list of recipes that you want to start with, and they have a value to you from a sentimental aspect and they may rank eventually, that’s fine.
Jillian Leslie 42:44
Now, what if I was going to go out, let’s say I do my banana cream pie recipe. And then I start doing posts like banana cream puffs, again I know nothing about banana cream pie.
But like I go granular, I take the ingredients of banana cream, like the best way to roast your bananas or something like that. And I start building posts that support banana cream pie and I’m linking them together in a hierarchy.
So, banana cream pies kind of the house, where I’m going to house a bunch of these links. And the best temperatures to bake pies or who knows what and I’ve got, let’s say five different posts to support my banana cream pie post.
What is your thought about that?
Casey Markee 43:36
I think it’s a sound strategy. But again, going back to our example for someone who has literally no authority, they’re a new blogger, maybe they have a couple dozen backlinks, they have no earned domain authority.
Maybe their Moz Domain Authority is like a 12 or an 11. It’s just not going to matter. You can lattice, and you can support that content all you want. But you have to be realistic, you’re in a very competitive niche.
Sure, you can reinforce that information, and maybe it’ll help other things tangentially. But long term, it’s just not going to rank. I think where we get into it is where there are courses that literally tell people to do, Jillian, what you’re doing.
And the bloggers that do it have literally wasted six months of their time. Six months of their time when they could have been focusing their keyword strategy. I recommend a tool called keysearch.co.
Keysearch.co very easy tool to use. It’s very inexpensive. It’s about $17 a month. And unlike SEMrush and Ahrefs and some of these other tools. Keysearch actually has the Google API.
Not a lot of tools actually have access to the Google API, because the calls are so expensive. That’s why SEMrush and other tools, hey, they may be very popular but from a bottom-line standpoint, they’re not super reliable.
Because the data that they use is based upon clickstream data. In other words, it’s a guess based upon the measurement of traffic from third party tools.
So, if you’re a new blogger and your goal is to get the most accurate information, you can. Use a tool like Userstats.co, which has the Google API.
It has the call so, that you can actually see what the monthly traffic is at least a little bit more closely. And find those diamonds in the rough.
Jillian Leslie 45:21
Okay, what is a diamond in the rough? What am I looking for, I’m not looking for banana cream pie?
Casey Markee 45:29
Well, and again, that’s why the tool does a lot of the heavy lifting. So, if you use something like keysearch it is a dead simple tool to use. Its use as a color-coded method and you can put in banana cream pie.
And then it will tell you right away, okay, we’re going to put in your keyword we’re going to put in your site, and then it compares your site to everything that’s ranking in Google on the first couple pages.
And it’ll tell you, oh, my gosh, look how strong these sites are. And then it’ll tell you, okay, banana cream pie is a red keyword for you. It’s very competitive, you’re going to have a hard time ranking for this.
But then it’ll start to duplicate. It will start to replicate yellow and green related keywords built upon banana cream pie, that you could then pull out examples that you might have a much higher success rate.
In targeting, I’m all about working smarter, rather than harder. And so, tools like Keysearch will do that.
I think where we get into trouble is a lot of these bigger bloggers, or a lot of people with SEO experience will come on and say, “Ah, you definitely want to use SEMrush.” Because it’s so popular and it is.
I’ve used SEMrush for years, and I’ve contributed 12 webinars to them, I know the tool intimately. I would not recommend it for a new blogger. It’s definitely not going to help you build traffic, it’s substantially more expensive than it should be.
And it has a lot of accessories to it a lot of unnecessary reports, you’re never going to use. So, if you’re a new blogger, and your goal is to build traffic, or maybe you’re an existing experienced blogger and you want to benefit, use Keysearch.
I don’t care if you have 5,000 searches a month or 500,000 searches a month. I’m still going to recommend Keysearch. It’s an extremely easy tool to use, very easy for you to invest in.
And it’s going to be a dead simple way for you to see right away on one screen. Okay, here’s a keyword that I can’t rank for.
But oh my gosh, look at this, there’s 15 other keywords that actually have search volume, maybe I can go ahead and target one or two of those.
Jillian Leslie 47:23
Oh, I’m going to check it out as soon as we get off this call. So, one last thing I wanted to talk to you about, was this whole thing about this algorithm change that’s happening in May.
Wha>What is the Google User Experience Update?
Can you explain, you call it the Google UX experience, update?
Casey Markee 47:45
Yeah, it’s a user experience algorithm that’s going to go live in May. And the user experience algorithm it’s something that Google has been publishing, let us know about for the last year.
And it’s just a new algorithm that’s going to be using a combination of metrics, including web vitals and other things. So, for those of you who are not familiar with it, when Google measures PageSpeed.
They use very specific metrics called Core Web Vitals, as they’re called. And again, I don’t want to bore all of you to death.
So very quickly, the three most important of these Core Web Values or Web Vitals, the first one is called Largest Contentful Paint. And it basically measures loading performance, very simple.
The second one is called First Input Delay, and it measures interactivity. In other words, to provide a good user experience, you want to make sure that pages load start popping on the screen very quickly, usually within a couple 100 milliseconds.
And then the last of these core web vitals is called Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS. And the Cumulative Layout Shift measures visual stability, and this is a tough one.
With regards to bloggers who are struggling to optimize for these core web vitals or bloggers who are struggling to optimize for PageSpeed. CLS is their breaking point.
Jillian Leslie 49:02
And just so people know, this means when you’re loading the page, are things moving around?
Casey Markee 49:12
Jillian Leslie 49:13
Or are they static? And Google does not want things moving around as the page loads? Am I right?
Casey Markee 49:20
That’s exactly it. So, if you find that, I’m looking on your page on mobile, and then all of a sudden, you have some XML buttons that pop in and start to move, maybe initially they pop-in on two lines, and then they move to one line.
That is enough shift for Google to downgrade the page. Or maybe you have many cases, especially if you’re running ads. Most ad companies whether it’s Mediavine, AdThrive, Gourmet Ads doesn’t matter. They do not run 100% fill.
So, what that means is that you will have empty ad containers on your site that will just collapse down causing a shift that you might not even be able to see but hey the algorithm does.
Jillian Leslie 50:04
Could you hear that? We’re having a huge storm. So, if anybody’s hearing this background noise, that’s what that is. One thing about Texas versus California, we have big weather.
Which we’re getting used to, but that was big weather. So, you might hear more.
Casey Markee 50:26
Not a problem. So again, just very briefly here, when some ad companies are really good about proactive, being proactive, on the empty ad containers.
Mediavine, for example, has the ability for you to go into your dashboard and opt-in to what are called PSA’s, Public Service Ads. So, that whenever you have an empty space on your site, it’s filled with a PSA and therefore no shift happens.
Hopefully AdThrive and some of the other ad companies are going to do this in 2021, which will help alleviate some of your issues. But for most of you on the call, this is probably news to you.
And it’s something that you should reach out to your blog support and go to the PageSpeed Insights Tool pop in a URL. Google PageSpeed Insights tool, scroll down and look at the Cumulative Layout Shift. Look at the CLS measurement of your pages.
Most likely, it’s in red, go into your search console, go into core web vitals, see if Google is giving you all these warnings for mobile, an important distinction. Don’t worry about the desktop, Google’s not using the desktop signals at all.
Don’t waste your time, your goal is to concentrate on fixing the mobile errors specifically. And you’ll want to do that before this algorithm goes live in May.
Now this algorithm again involves these three metrics, the Largest Contentful Paint, the First Input Delay, and the Cumulative Layout Shift.
And then it involves literally four other metrics that all of you in many cases on the call, you’re not going to have much issues with. There are things like mobile friendliness, they’re HTTPS, if you’ve done HTTPS.
They’re making sure that you’re not using intrusive interstitials. And the other one is just security and making sure that you don’t have any malware warning.
So, for those of you on the call, usually you’re nailing those four metrics without having to worry much. It’s the core web vitals, that we briefly touched upon, that you’ll probably want to focus on investigating and fixing whenever possible.
Jillian Leslie 52:21
And before May.
Casey Markee 52:22
And before May. Now, is this algorithm going to be a big deal? Hard to say. Most of these algorithms, e.g., Google, again, has billions of algorithms. We have things like the Page Layout algorithm, which has been live for a long time.
And that penalize the site you run aggressive above the fold ads or no real indexable text above the fold. And that’s been live for years. We also have a mobile interstitial algorithm, which penalizes sites that on the first clip from Google.
They have a huge pop-up, which covers most of the screen, or you’re running pop-ups that don’t have an exit intent. We have algorithms that involve everything. Even there’s a mobile friendliness algorithm.
There’s PageSpeed algorithm, but those tend to have very smaller minute effects. In many cases. They’re like tiebreakers. So, let’s say you’re a site and you’re competing against another site for the phrase banana cream pie.
Maybe you guys are very close on a lot of metrics. Well, if you fail, this user experience algorithm, this UX algorithm that goes live in May, maybe that’s enough of a tiebreaker for the site above you to stay there.
So, this is how you should be looking at these algorithms. We really want to try to fix as much of this stuff as we can. As I said earlier, SEO is all about the little things. We really want to fix all this stuff as much as we can.
Doe>Does the Word Count of Your Blog Posts Matter to Google?
Jillian Leslie 53:44
I think that is terrific advice. One last question. word count, you mentioned it, does it matter? The kind of word on the street is Google wants authoritative fleshed out posts, not with filler text, but with real text.
And that if you can provide that value, you will rank higher. Therefore, a larger word count would probably come with a full fleshed out post, what is your take on that?
Casey Markee 54:13
It’s just not really true. And here’s why it’s not true. Google is getting ready to introduce passage indexing. It’s a new algorithm that’s going to go live here in the next couple of months in 2021.
And the whole point of passage indexing is for Google to actually go into the page, pull out the paragraph of content that’s most relevant, and show that specifically in the search results.
So, what does that tell you? It just tells you that again, Google’s kind of tired of having to go through a lot of superfluous, unrelated information to get to a better user experience for the user.
And that’s why they’re pulling out this passage indexing specifically in the search results in 2021. Now, I mentioned previously, when we talked about the recipe content template, how important things like expert tips and FAQs are.
For those of you who are doing that this passage indexing algorithm should only benefit you. This is something where again, we want to make sure that you’re putting the most important information you can for the user.
Google’s just telling you, hey, you don’t have to do anything at your end, we’re just going to go ahead and start pulling that information out ourselves a little bit easier.
And for those of you on the call, who might be familiar with things like featured snippets. Featured snippets and passage indexing are completely separate things, completely different algorithms. So, even though they sound similar, they are not.
So, understand that with the passage indexing, don’t take some courses saying, I’m going to teach you how to optimize for passive indexing. Don’t listen to some SEO that says I can show you how to optimize for passive indexing.
This is just a change on Google’s end, where it’s going to make it easier for a lot of you bloggers, who maybe have been a little bit more verbose than you should be. This is going to help you it’s going to make it easier for Google to pull out that information.
With regards to word count. Like I said, I’ve mentioned this to you before, when we were talking on the call, or before we started the recording. Word count is not a ranking factor. Google has said it multiple times.
It’s just that again, if you have something that’s a little bit more detailed, it does tend to do a little bit better. Again, there are literally millions of queries where you just don’t have to worry about having an incredibly detailed piece of content to rank.
So, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. And it’s so funny, because I have these bloggers who will try to okay, well, this is a competitive keyword, I just need to write a 1500-word, recipe post. And I’m going to be able to steal that.
And that’s just not how Google works. It’s all about quality, not quantity. And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re making sure that it’s easy.
Consider using a jump menu. If you have really long pieces of content, use jump links at the top of the post. To get users to go around that Google loves jump links, they’ll index that, that helps you.
Jillian Leslie 56:45
And those, by the way, are where you see almost like a table of contents.
Casey Markee 56:49
Exactly. Right at the top.
Jillian Leslie 56:51
And they are all hotlinks and you click it and you end up in a certain part of a post. I personally like those a lot as well.
Casey Markee 56:59
Yeah, those are built-in, that’s an option built into the feasts themes by Skylar over at feast design. And if you’re don’t have a feast’s theme, not a problem, you can use a plugin. I recommend LuckyWP Table of Contents.
It’s a great plugin that provides a really great way. It will just pull out the HTML on the page and make you a Custom Jump Menu that you can input at the top of your pages. But yeah, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
Do not think for a moment that every one of your posts needs to be 1,000 plus keywords, or 1,000 plus words, in scope. And I think a lot of this word count nonsense has come as a result of ad companies.
Because what does that mean? Longer content means that they can stuff your content with more ads. So, understand that there might be another kind of practice going on behind there.
Maybe there’s another another reason why they’re trying to get your content to be longer not necessarily because it’s a great benefit for users. But it allows them to monetize your pages a little bit more.
So, again, if you can write something in 500 words, that is just as high quality as someone who spent 1,500 on it, I think you’re in good shape.
Jillian Leslie 58:02
Oh, I think that is very important for me and my audience to hear. So, thank you for clarifying that. Because I think that is, 2,000 words is kind of the go to.
Casey Markee 58:15
That’s a lot.
Jillian Leslie 58:16
And it is a lot. Okay, Casey, I’ve one last question. And this actually comes from David, as I told you, we coach and we talk to our groups about this. There is a trade off, you know, bloggers have a limited amount of time.
Why>Why Is Content Auditing Important?
And there is on one hand optimizing your posts. Thinking about it in terms of the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule. How optimized is my posts need to be for SEO?
And is it a better use of my time to do the 80/20 rule in terms of optimization so that I can spend that time creating more content?
Casey Markee 59:02
Let’s talk about that, because 80% of your content will generate about 20% of your traffic. Well, 80% of your traffic, comes from about 20% of your content. And I think the problem is content auditing.
Where we get into this belief is that you need to generate more content to generate more traffic. That’s actually inversely incorrect. That’s why content auditing is so important.
I cannot tell you how many bloggers have come to me that have had 500, 1,000, 1,500 posts. We have eliminated half of the content and quadrupled the traffic in less than six months.
And the reason that is because Google operates on a quality, not a quantity model. There’s an algorithm called the panda algorithm that has been around since 2011. It is literally Google’s main content algorithm.
Panda grades on a page level basis. It penalizes on a host level basis. So, if I’ve got our site and it’s filled with a lot of lower quality, lower purpose non-visited content That hurts you, it brings down the real quality of your domain.
And you’ll find that it’s like blogging with the parking brake on. So, my goal for you on the call is to please conduct a content audit.
Look at the content from your search console, go into your search console, export out 90 to 120 days of data, we’ll look at what at Google has been visiting. Look what Google has not been visiting.
Bucket that content. Bucket the content into three buckets. Bucket number one is content that I can update today, tomorrow, next week, there’s no seasonality component on it.
Bucket number two is content that has a seasonality component, if I’m doing a content on it, and I see that I’ve got all these contents with pumpkin in it. And it is not the fall, I am not going to touch those posts until they’re seasonally relevant.
But I’m going to make a point to go back maybe in August or late summer. And I’m going to republish or repurpose those posts to make them better. Maybe I have missed headings, maybe the content font size is too small.
Maybe the contents just not high quality, whatever is necessary. We’re going to republish that content when it’s seasonally relevant. For those of you on the call, again, we’re looking at January, we’re looking at January in February right now.
Now is the time for you to start thinking about your health related content. Everyone’s going to be back on the health train right on January 1st.
So, for the next couple months, you should be focusing on that content that has a health focus something maybe that’s healthy. Healthy banana bread, healthy banana cream pie. I’m looking for that, all that.
And then bucket number three is content that we’re going to noindex or delete on our site. And yes, that exists.
Maybe it’s content of a personal nature. Maybe it’s content where, “Hey, I went with these friends to a food blogging conference.”
Jillian Leslie 1:01:39
Or maybe it’s a giveaway from 2005.
Casey Markee 1:01:43
So, usually we tend to noindex first, delete second. But when we noindex, something, Google’s not going to count that against us algorithmically. But Google still going to crawl it and take up our crawl budget.
Now crawl budget isn’t an issue for most sites, but it absolutely is an issue for larger sites. So. ask yourself if I have a piece of content on my site, is this something that my users are going to be interested in long-term?
Is it is something that I have a chance of ranking for if it is something that provides value to my users? Then I’m going to rewrite it leave it open to Google. But if it’s of a personal nature, hey, it’s expired content, like you said a giveaway.
I’m probably going to noindex or delete that content. Expired giveaways especially I’m going to delete no reason to keep those we delete those immediately. But if it’s of a personal nature, like I have a whole series of posts on how I plan my wedding.
Which I see a lot of on food blogs, or I have a whole series of posts that I took family vacations, we want to keep those memories, it’s fine. We don’t want you to delete those. You’re just going to noindex them.
And please, folks, do not unpublish those when you unpublished something, you just create a forum for. No reason to do that. Just noindex them. Move on. You’re good to go.
Jillian Leslie 1:02:57
Okay, Casey. I would love to invite you back for a part two because I still have so many questions.
Casey Markee 1:03:04
Yeah, absolutely. Again, as we mentioned earlier, I am just shocked that anyone would want to listen to me for more than an hour so I appreciate that. It’s good.
Jillian Leslie 1:03:12
Oh my God, Casey how can people reach out to you especially after this I’m sure their heads are just filled with questions. What should they do?
Casey Markee 1:03:23
Okay, you can find me at mediawyse.com. M-E-D-I-A-W-Y as in yellow S-E.com. Mediawyse.com. Also find me on Facebook. I’m in the largest food blogging groups there, Food Blogger Central, Food Blogger Friends.
I try to get in there every day and answer questions for users. You can also find me on my Facebook page, facebook.com/mediawyse or follow me on Twitter, MediaWyse.
But yeah, always interested in connecting with you bloggers and I really wish all of you the very best in 2021 and hopefully you get that vaccine shot very soon.
Jillian Leslie 1:03:57
I’m hoping. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Casey Markee 1:04:01
Thanks again for having me, Jillian. Thank you.
Jillian Leslie 1:04:03
I hope you got some good juicy SEO knowledge and advice from this episode. For me my biggest takeaway is that every piece of content needs to have intention behind it. Every piece of content grows your business if you know how to and serve your audience.
I feel like a broken record with that. Also, if you need WordPress help in any way, we offer that service check out milotree/blogstart and we don’t just set up WordPress blogs. We help people with WordPress blogs.
If you have a question, if you want to move something around. You want to change things you need optimization we’re your people.
So, reach out to me at email@example.com with any questions you have, and know that we are here to help you grow the best blog you can. And I’ll see you here again next week.
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If you are looking for ways to grow your community whether that be email whether that be social media, right now head to Milotree.com install the MiloTree app on your blog and it will do the work for you. Let it do the heavy lifting for you.
Let it pop up in front of your visitors and ask them to follow you on Instagram Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, join your list, check out the exit intent but really get your community growing. And we’d love to help you with MiloTree. And I will see you here again next week.