Mythbusters: SEO Edition with Eric Hochberger and Mike Pearson: Mediavine On Air Episode 22

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Oh, SEO. 

Oft maligned, mangled and misunderstood, it’s nevertheless pretty mandatory for achieving sustainable success as a content creator. But with all of the contradictory ‘expert’ advice out there, how do you separate the real important from the real big nothing? 

That’s what we’re here for. On Episode 22 of Mediavine On Air, and our last episode of Summer of Live 2021, Mike Pearson of Stupid, Simple SEO and Mediavine CEO Eric Hochberger joined me, Jenny Guy, to weigh in on today’s most popular theories and advice.

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[ROCK MUSIC PLAYING] JENNY GUY: Hey. Hello. Welcome one and all. It is Wednesday, August 18, which means it’s time for another live here on the book of faces. I’m Jenny Guy, your host, and Mediavine Senior Director of Marketing. How’s everybody doing today? Summer is coming to an end so across America we’ve got kids going back to school, either virtual or in-person. And today’s mind boggling fact is that another season of Mediavine’s Summer of Live has flown by, and we are here today for our season finale of our fourth season, which is also equally mind boggling.

It has been a wild and wonderful ride that I’ve been privileged to take with you all so thank you. Now, we’re going to close this season out with a bang. No show for content creators would be complete without spending a good amount of time covering today’s topic, SEO, or search engine optimization, that acronym that makes the interweb go round. It’s an essential skill for anyone who wants to make a living on the world wide web, and as such, there are countless experts, courses, books, webinars, social posts all promising to make you a lot of money and an expert in the topic.

And I would say, at least probably half the time, they’re offering conflicting advice. So that’s a lot of fun for all of us in our pocketbooks. So what is fact, what’s fiction? How do you know where to go for reliable information and sound educational advice? Say Hello to my little friends. That was my Al Pacino from Scarface. Sounds good, right? One of my guests today is a familiar face around here, a Mediavine co-founder and CEO Eric Hochberger. Eric, welcome.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Hello, Jenny. Fun to be back in a couple of weeks later.

JENNY GUY: I know, I know, we were so much older and wiser now than we were two weeks ago. And while this is his first time on a Mediavine live, my other guest is no stranger to most content creators. Mike Pearson is the founder of Stupid Simple SEO where he helps bloggers scale their traffic and income with SEO. Mike, welcome.

MIKE PEARSON: Thank you, Jenny, for having me on. That was quite the introduction video. I am pumped to be here.

JENNY GUY: We are pumped to have you, we are excited. Everybody, knowing this is going to be a wild and crazy live, we are ready for your comments and questions. We will get to as many of them as we can, but what we are going to start with is both of my esteemed guests today contributed some popular SEO myths that they hear a lot when they’re talking with their clients, when they’re in the Facebook groups, everywhere. So we’re going to raise them, raise the issues, and have a discussion about them.

But like I said, if you have a question, drop it in the comments. And I’m going to start out, actually, by asking you a question, which is, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to SEO? Drop that in the comments, say hi, and let’s get going. First of all, this one is from Mike, and you know what, here’s what we’ll do. I’ll share Mike’s myth, have Eric start, and then have Mike weigh in. We’ll do that.

Mike’s first myth is speed, site speed, is a crucial ranking factor. All right, Eric, this is tailor made for you.

MIKE PEARSON: Emphasis on crucial, crucial.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Ah, on crucial. OK, then yes, I would agree it is a myth it is a crucial ranking factor. It is one of many signals, as I think Mike will probably go in and bust this myth, and if you look in the top 10 results you can generally see some not fast sites that sneak their way in there. If you’re a food blogger, you’ll often see I don’t know Food Network up there that’s atrocious. And there’s a lot of examples, and you can see that, clearly, it can’t be the biggest factor if horrible slow sites, are horribly slow sites not horrible sites, depending on your definition, I guess, can still rank in the top 10.

But my opinion is, generally, as bloggers we don’t necessarily have the luxury of something like a Food Network, that maybe we don’t have the same kind of authority that they have. So for us, I think that’s why we obsess about things like page speed, and maybe we do a little too much, and that’s pretty funny coming from me.

MIKE PEARSON: Well, I think you hit the word with obsession. That’s kind of where I was going with this. So obviously, speed is important. I think every one should strive to have the fastest loading site with the best posts, and, you know, we all want our sites to load fast. You know, what I was trying to get at with this is, and I think you hinted at it earlier, is that what I’ve seen in various Facebook groups, my own groups, is bloggers obsessing. And I mean obsessing about their page speed and trying to get a fraction of a second off and spending weeks on this, or spending thousands of dollars hiring people when they could be doing other stuff, which I think is more important like finding good keywords, writing content maybe building links, the main pillars, in my opinion, of SEO.

And again, where I’m coming from, I work mainly with bloggers who don’t have a team of people. They don’t have a site speed guy, it’s like they’re doing all the stuff themselves. So when we’re talking about 80-20, SEO, or the big levers that we want to pull, I would maybe focus on site speed for like a day. Maybe try to get as fast as you possibly can. If you want to think about hiring some help, it’s obviously something we want to do. It’s one of the few things that Google has gone on the record, right, they don’t always say this is a ranking factor. They’ve said it’s like a tie breaker, maybe.

Where I was going with this is just if you have limited time to work on your blog, I would spend a little time on your site speed, but I would rather publish 20 posts in a week than worry about shaving a half a second off my site speed is based basically what I was getting at.

JENNY GUY: All very reasonable. And I think that one of the problems with people working on site speed is that oftentimes, it’s something that’s out of the realm of control, or expertise, for a lot of content creators. So it can feel like spinning wheels. Is that something you guys would agree with? If you don’t have somebody to go do things for you, is that accurate?

MIKE PEARSON: I mean, it’s a very technical, and I don’t pretend to be, I think I consider it a a subsection of SEO expertise. I cannot go into your back end of WordPress and fix your site speed. Literally, I couldn’t do that. I could recommend someone. It’s very technical, even for me. So I think people get very confused, they plug their site into the Google speed insights, and you’re getting a list of 72 errors that don’t even make any sense.

So that’s, it’s so overwhelming, but I think the problem is people think it’s so important that they have to fix every single error on that list. So I think that adds to it, for sure.

JENNY GUY: Eric, how about you as somebody who is, I don’t want to say like overly obsessed, I will say mildly, mildly obsessed with site speed?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: This happens, I think, to every engineer that goes down the page speed rabbit hole. The problem is you do want to correct every little thing that page speed insights is telling you, and I unfortunately know how to. And if I don’t I’m going to Google it and figure out how to do it, and I’m going to drive myself nuts until I do. So you can test The Hollywood Gossip, and you can see there’s still a missing attribute on height and width, but other than that, everything is now passing with flying colors. But that haunts me in my sleep.

But yeah, it can become an obsessive thing. Obviously, I’m going to take a quick moment to plug Trellis. Something like that does make it a little more accessible to most publishers. But yeah, if you don’t have the technical knowledge, that’s not going to be the best use of your time. If you need to spend more than a few days doing it, and you’re pulling out your hair, that’s a few days you weren’t writing new content, you weren’t doing keyword research, you weren’t doing things that were actually going to lead to more traffic.

I do see, obviously, a handful of publishers that are unbelievably knowledgeable at this kind of page speed stuff, but most of them have really seems to outsource. So if you can find someone who can do it, I think it’s worth your time because it is a ranking factor as Google says, but don’t obsess.

JENNY GUY: So the most important thing than here is, in controlling your site speed, sounds more like what you’re not adding to your site. Is that accurate? Like really monitoring and guiding the things you’re adding to your site that could be slowing you down, yeah?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: So I mean, that’s one of the problems I even see with Trellis. After a publisher installs it, and they might have 96 or 99 scores, and we see all the unbelievable stuff that the publisher in the group, then they’ll go and install some random tracking pixel, or some new thing that some influencer network sent them, and entire page speed. I mean, that’s the other unfortunate thing. If you hire someone, it isn’t a set it and forget it, It’s a thing you do have to maintain. So it is a complex beast.

JENNY GUY: OK, we have about a 500 questions already so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to start here with the most recent one we have. Is Trellis available to us all now, says Amber. Kippy says, please open Trellis for more bloggers, and Diana says, I don’t worry about speed because of Mediavine and Trellis. So Eric, can you give us a little good news about Trellis quickly? Then we’ll go to the next big topic.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Everyone who has applied for the beta, and if you haven’t done it yet, is getting an invite by the end of this month. So apply m you will be able to get Trellis if you want it. So hopefully no more Trellis questions related to release dates.

JENNY GUY: We’ll move forward. OK, Jan, this is Jan’s latest. This is related to something Mike just said. So I’m now wondering is it better to post 20 posts in a week or space them out to be 20 in a. Month

MIKE PEARSON: You know, I think this might be on one of my myths, as well, because I always get this question. Should I base my content out? Is it important how much content I publish? And the only answer that I really can give is my goal is to publish as much high-quality content as I can. Full stop, that’s it. And every blogger’s situation is different. Some people are working on their site by themselves, part-time, and maybe you can get one post out a week. Then do that.

Some people have a team of writers. I have a new niche site, and I mean, we’re pumping out 30,000 or 40,000 words of content a month. But that’s because I have people helping me, right. So it’s going to depend on your situation. So is it better to post 20 in a week or space them out? If I have 20 drafts ready to go, in good condition and they were high quality, I would hit publish on them today, right away. I want them in the index, I want Google crawling them, I want them out as fast as possible.

I don’t believe, and this is my opinion, that there’s any benefit, and you hear this all the time, should I space it out? Google likes consistent publishing. I don’t know, maybe we can get into that a little later. But to specifically answer the question, Jan, as soon as it’s ready, I’m hitting publish every time. I’m not going to wait.

JENNY GUY: Eric, weigh in on the same topic.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: No, I’m very similar. It’s funny. So I came from, obviously, The Hollywood Gossip was our main site, and that is you publish it 5 minutes before it’s ready, and you fix it before it goes live. It’s all about speed on that site, and then you come into the blogging world where everyone’s like oh, I only post at 2 o’clock on Mondays and Wednesdays, and that is my time.

So I think there has to be a medium between the two that you should find. Obviously, with your social media, you maybe don’t want to flood people with all 20 of those posts at once. But separate that in your mind, your newsletter, your social media, and all that from your blog. Google wants it as soon as I can get it so give it to Google as soon as they can, and worry about your other ways that you present stuff to your readers and space it out there because I have bad news for you, most people aren’t coming to your homepage.

Most people are coming directly to your articles so don’t obsess whether you put too many things up at once. Google won’t. The only caveat to that is you want Google to think that you continuously update your site so don’t post 20 things now and never again for the rest of the year, or you’ll probably hurt your crawlability. But I don’t think that’s really the question that Jan was asking so soon as you can.

JENNY GUY: Mike, follow up on that.

MIKE PEARSON: No, Eric hit, and I’m always come at this from an SEO angle or people finding me through search, but Eric raises a good point. If you truly have, and this is not the way that I build my sites, but if you have a following, like you have a true following of people who are coming to your homepage every day, then you’re right. It’s not going to make sense to blast them with 20 new articles. So that’s an important caveat if that’s how you operate. Or if you truly have a brand and people are coming your homepage, that makes total sense and something I should have said.

Just know that everything that I’m saying is usually coming strictly from an SEO point-of-view, but that’s a good call out from Eric.

JENNY GUY: OK, this is another question for everyone, and it’s come, I can’t even specify who it’s come from because it’s come from about 10 people. So guys, cheap or free, best keyword tools, keyword finding tools, what do you recommend? Can you pull a rabbit out of a hat, about 10 rabbits out of a hat? Eric, I’ll start with you here on that one. Sorry.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Did you see Mike’s face, I wanted him to answer it.

MIKE PEARSON: No, why don’t you go first? Yeah.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Yeah, personally, I use SEM Rush so that is the opposite of free. That is probably the most expensive of the tools. At the end of the day, they’re all getting their data from the same place so you don’t need to go with the most expensive one. I like SEM Rush because it offers a lot of other tools that we use in competitive analysis and cool things. If you don’t need all that, I don’t know, your Key Search is pretty good. There’s definitely cheaper alternatives.

If you really need the only one that I know that’s free that’s the Google Keyword Planner Tool that you basically, sign up for and AdWords account. And that’s going to have the most limited of the data it’s going to provide you, but it is technically, free. Or you can just go around and use your 10 searches a month, or whatever the tools give you. I mean, I think it’s worth the investment and not trying to go for free.


MIKE PEARSON: Yeah, no, my answer is pretty much the same. So personally, I always like to, and the reason I was making that face because I try to be cognizant of costs because at least in my world, you know, bloggers are trying to, they’re looking for a good deal, which makes total sense. But I always use Ahrefs, which is basically, with SEM Rush, those are the two, and they have very similar capabilities. And it’s not cheap, right. The small plant is $99 a month, the plan I use is $180 a month, and I’m not suggesting that anyone should pay that much for a keyword tool, but just to be transparent.

So I use Ahrefs. I, obviously, think it’s worth it, but I run a lot of sites, and we do a lot of, I’m in there literally every single day. Eric said they have the competitive tool, they’ve got a couple of other really cool tools that I’m just obsessed with. So on the high end, it’s SEM Rush or Ahrefs. In that $30 a month range, I think Uber Suggests is actually decent. They’ve gotten a lot better, and I think they actually have a lifetime thing if you want to look into it. I bought it just because I like to play with tools. I think, don’t quote me, they’re at $30 a month, and it’s got a lot better. It’s pretty good.

Key Search is my recommendation for cheap tools. I think it’s, don’t quote me again, $13 a month or something super cheap, and it has, frankly, a lot of the functionalities of these other tools. It’s just, it’s a little clunkier, a little slower. The UI is not as good. It doesn’t have all the features, but if you’re looking to save money and you’re looking to invest in a tool, Key Search would be my top low-cost option.

JENNY GUY: OK, we threw out a ton of suggestions. We’ve got people using Uber, we’ve got people using Keywords Everywhere, Key Search. We’ve got suggestions for many different things. We have another recurring question that actually was one of Mike’s myths so I’m going to address a bunch of you at the same time while hitting this myth. Word counts slash all SEO posts have to be 2,000 plus words. We’re going to start with Eric on this one and then go to Mike.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Oh man, no, they most certainly don’t. What is my favorite website? Is Today a Jewish Holiday ranks with one word on the homepage. I have to use it a lot. It’s said. I shouldn’t admit that, but anyways, that ranks number one for that search term. One word, Yes or no, that’s all it really has on the page. So no, you don’t need 500 to 2,000 words, but generally, longer content is going to have more longtail keywords and help you pick up more related search.

But to win the actual search term you want, no. If you just have good quality content, it does not need to be 500 to 2,000 words. Generally, the reason I encourage it, well, obviously, from an ad perspective, it allows readers to stay engaged longer on your site, read more content, make you more money. That’s all wonderful, but also, from an SEO perspective, it’s going to provide for the longtail. So it doesn’t have to be to win the term, but will certainly help you in other terms.


MIKE PEARSON: Yeah, this is like my favorite. I was actually on a separate podcast last week, and this question came up. It’s like my favorite topic because I think maybe five years ago when bloggers were getting a little into SEO, it used to be every post had to be 500 words. Right, that’s what it was. Every post has to be 500 words. Then, Brian Dean at that point, though, out with this study. The average post on the first page of Google is 1,890 words, right.

So this is where the 2,000 word thing, right. People will see a graph, they’ll see the headline, and then it’s like every Facebook group, I heard for every post has to be 2,000 words, right? Of course, that’s not true. The way that we should think about this is what it’s the intent behind the search? Think about why is someone searching for something in Google in the first place. And the example that I gave last week and I’m going to give it again, I’m sorry if you hear that podcast, but if someone’s Googling how to tie your shoe, do they need 2,500 words of written content? Or is that going to answer their question, is that going to solve the problem?

Or would a better post be a bunch of pictures in a video in 50 words, right? Because that for that search, for that keyword, for that intent, you don’t need 2,500. It just doesn’t make any sense. You’re not helping the user. I think Google can figure this out by now. If you Google that keyword, it’s like a wiki how illustration and a ton of YouTube videos, right. So don’t think about it in terms of should every post be XYZ? It’s more like what are you writing about? What is the keyword word? What is the topic, and what is the content behind why is someone searching for that?

And what are they looking, what do they expect on the other end of that search? And then on the other hand, if someone is searching for how do I save for retirement, right, well that’s probably not a 50-word answer. You know, maybe that’s 5,000 words with many, many, many, many, many subtopics. So it depends on what the keyword is, but when I was looking at this as part of the questions, what I was going to say is Eric makes a really good point.

The caveat is if it’s a list post. This is where the longtail comes in, right? The different ways to lose weight, if you have a list of five, maybe that’s fine. But if I have a list of 50, then I’m going to get that longtail, right. If maybe I put the Keto diet on my list and someone didn’t, and someone is longtailing how to lose weight on the diet, then I have a chance to rank for that longtail, which is where the length, arguably, can give you a benefit, right. Because I’m writing about 50 subtopics, this guy is writing about 5, and if someone attaches a longtail to their search and it hits one of my 50 on my list, then I have a chance to rank and they don’t.

So I agree with that, and I think part of where that comes in, but I think that’s primarily with list post, but really what does the user, put yourself in the shoes of your user, what do they expect to find on the other end? Do they want 50 words and a bunch of pictures, or do they want 5,000 words?

JENNY GUY: I mean, I just think that Eric owes you a big debt of gratitude for bringing up a site that is more embarrassing than Is Today a Jewish Holiday or not. How to tie your shoes, that Google search.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: I was going to ask, what is the intent behind that search? Now we have to know.

JENNY GUY: Is that a thing, is that a real life example, Mike? Is someone Googling that?

MIKE PEARSON: I was just giving a very short answer, right. I mean, it probably doesn’t need to be 3,000 words, or maybe it does, I don’t know.

JENNY GUY: Oh, we just got, well, here’s a question that I’m going to throw out there. We’ll let Mike start on this one. Robert asks this. Can ads slow down your website ranking? How do you find the sweet spot in terms of optimizing for income? Eric takes a sip of coffee, we’ll let Mike start out.

MIKE PEARSON: How am I starting out on this one? This is not my expertise. Listen, the whole, maybe not the whole point, at least the people that I work with, the whole reason we’re creating site, we’re creating content, we’re trying to rank, we’re trying to get traffic is because we want to make money, right. So of course, I want ads on my site, I want affiliates on my site. So do ads slow down your site? Yes, they do, but this is where we come in with site speed, right.

This is exactly, and Robert I’m not going after your specific question, but this is what kind of what I’m talking about where it’s like I’m afraid to make money with my site because I think it’s going to slow it down. The goal is to rank and get traffic in order to make money. The goal is not to have the fastest website in the world. So I know that doesn’t specifically answer the question, but from a mindset perspective angle, this is kind of what I’m talking about.

So can ads slow down your website? Yes. Can they sit on a ranking? I don’t really think so. If you’re with Mediavine, you’re fine, right. Let’s put it that way, but Google will say, and if you go through the search evaluator guidelines, whatever it is, like Google acknowledges in those guidelines that websites make money by having ads. It’s totally fine to have ads. You don’t want to blast them above the fold and block out all of your content, right.

And again, this is not my place to talk about, this is more Eric’s angle, but how do you find the sweet spot in terms of optimizing for income? You put your ads on Mediavine because they’re going to do a really good job, but can I put on your site? Yes, but it’s, I mean, have you seen Forbes? Forbes ranks all over the place, and authority is a big place, but don’t be afraid to have ads because it’s going to hit your site speed. This is kind of what we were talking about earlier.


ERIC HOCHBERGER: Put this guy on the payroll. Look at this, that was perfect. That’s all we needed. No, that is basically going to be the summary. Google has the loosest definitions of what you need to do if you have ads running, and it’s don’t put them above the fold, and have more content than you have ads. Basically, follow the Coalition for Better Ads standards is what they tell you in their starter died. So don’t run an insane number of ads. So if you’re with Mediavine, we won’t let you. So it’s OK

We control the placement of your end content based on a frequency, and none of those frequency percentages are higher than Google would ever penalize you for. And we don’t even do ads above the fold, unless you really want them. So you would be hard pressed to have Mediavine ads hurt your rankings. Yes, they do impact page speed, which is why you should turn on, if you’re Mediavine, all the optimized ads for page speed settings. If you’re not, make sure your provider can do that for you, which is basically the idea of make sure your ads don’t slow down your core vitals. those are the main ways in which Google determines speed.

So if your ads are not impacting your core web vitals, and you don’t have a ton of ads above the fold, then no, they’re not going to impact your ranking. So optimize towards making money. That’s what we recommend.

JENNY GUY: And Eric just tossed this in so we’re going to jump back to one of the big myths. He said the CWV word, core web vitals, that term that everyone’s been talking about it. Not only in the SEO world, not only in the content creation world, they’re talking about it literally, everywhere, anyone on the internet world. So I want to talk about how important is core web vitals? How important are they, are they a tiebreaker? What impact do they have on your ranking? Mike.

MIKE PEARSON: So I think the latest that I saw, was it, search engine roundtable said that at first Google Search was a tiebreaker, now they’re saying it’s a little bit more than a tie breaker, but it’s not important then relevance, and they always use that word. So the way that I look at this is the same way that I look at site speed because they’re somewhat intertwined.

Obviously, I’m not going to tell you to not try to pass it. Obviously, we want a fast site, we want to pass for web vitals. If you can’t do it by yourself, think about having someone help you out, right. And this is the thing, and it’s tough to give advice on this kind of stuff because every site, literally every page, is different.

You, basically, you have to have someone come into your site and analyze your site because depending on what you have on your page, you’re going to get different messages and different results and different scores in web vitals. It’s almost impossible to give a broad, helpful explanation on how to improve them that’s going to fit everybody because it really depends on your specific page.

At a high level, and again it’s the same answer I’m going to get on page speed, Google has said it’s a ranking factor. It’s probably a small one now. Who knows if it’ll be a more important rank factor. It’s never going to be more important than your content, than your relevance than are backlinks, in my opinion, ever. But it’s one of those things like yes, you should try to work on your site to pass those because Google is literally telling us we should do it.

JENNY GUY: Yes, and the majority of them, from what I’ve seen, are just kind of common sense things that you want to have to have a better website experience for your viewers.


JENNY GUY: Eric, core web vitals.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Yeah, no, I mean, the page experience algorithm, as Mike said, is basically little bit more than a tiebreaker. So I don’t know what that puts it in the signal rankings but certainly right below all the ones that you mentioned. Again, though, it’s similar to page speed, though it encompasses more than just page speed. What I love about them, for the first time ever, we have a number, and it’s actually a pass/fail with Google and not an arbitrary thing, which is 99% of other Google things. So it is fun to be able to get that green, but no, it’s not going to have a huge impact on your site.

We got, I don’t know, The Hollywood Gossip, and Food Fanatic, and all of our ONOs, and something like 74%, I think, of Trellis are passing it. And there hasn’t been a significant bump yet, but Google has said that it’s going to be kind of slow ramp up. So we’ll see. I mean, I think, similar to page speed, don’t obsess over it. If you can’t pass on your own, your time will be better spent doing other things. But if you’re able to afford someone to help, or going to be the worst show ever for this thing Trellis, do it. If you can pass in a way that is not going to prohibit you from running the rest of your business, do it, but don’t obsess.

JENNY GUY: OK, this is a great question. It’s coming from Gloria Duggan. What is a good key word volume to look at to get traffic when you’re starting out? Let’s go with Mike on this one.

MIKE PEARSON: Gloria, the name sounds very familiar, I think Gloria’s in my program. Gloria, you know we don’t look at keyword volume. So I don’t look at volume. That’s not how I do keyword research. And this is where having a good tool, and the tools are estimates, let’s be clear, but it gives us some kind of guidance. SEM Rush and Ahrefs have metrics on traffic. How much traffic is this page getting, and again, it’s an estimate, let’s be clear, but it gives us some way to prioritize, right.

So just to give a little bit more of an explanation, in SEM Rush, you can plug a page into the tool, and it’s going to estimate it’s getting x amount of traffic from Google per month, usually on the low end. So the reason that I don’t really look at keyword volume is because, we’ve talked about this earlier, a single post can rank for literally thousands of different keywords, literally thousands of keyword variations.

So if you’re only looking at one keyword and it’s search volume, you’re getting 5%, maybe 10%, of the total picture on the traffic potential for that keyword, right. So because most people, or most bloggers, when they’re doing this type of keyword research, they have one main keyword in mind, right. They’ll put the keyword into a tool, it’ll say 260 searches, and then they’ll say is that good? And there’s no way to answer that, right, because again, a post that’s talking about that keyword is also naturally going to rank for hundreds, and potentially thousands, of different longtail keywords.

So the 260 doesn’t it really mean anything because we’re only looking at 20% of that tail. So to answer your question, I don’t have a keyword volume. I mean, I look at it in Ahrefs. I mean, if it’s a 10, good, right. That’s something. If it shows up in the tool, it’s probably good enough. I’m more looking at the competition. That’s a better question to ask. Who’s ranking on page one, and can I compete with them, right? That’s more important to me than volume, strictly because of Google is not going to just give you traffic for one keyword, they’re going to give you traffic for 500 related keywords.

JENNY GUY: Excellent. Eric, your take on this one.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: No, very similarly, do an incognito, or private window search, of the term you’re trying to win, and just look at who is in the top 10. If it’s a bunch of people that you’d be like wow, I’ll never be able to win against them, don’t go after the term. I don’t care what the search volume is. If it’s a bunch of people you’re like my site is way better than this, you know authoritywise, not just necessarily your opinion, then go after that term.

I wouldn’t stress as much about the number either, and again, I think that’s a great way of looking at. It if it shows up, that generally means you’re on the right path to the keyword. And so a lot of times we’ll use it to figure out what you should name a post. Maybe you already have a recipe you’re making, and there might be a way that people search it that you don’t know about. It’s a good way to relatively compare things, like are people looking for crockpots or slow cookers. I don’t know, you’d have to check the two of them and see which one has more search volume. But use both because you can always rank for both.

So that’s the idea, are you on the right path? So if it shows up, that’s a good way of looking at it. That means it’s at least people besides you are searching for it.

JENNY GUY: OK, this is a great question from Irene. What are the best practices for updating old posts? We’re going to start with Eric on that one.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: So the one thing I hate more than, I don’t know why this is like my biggest pet peeve, are people that republish. So they delete a post and then re upload it to Google. Google is not dumb. Don’t treat Google like they’re dumb. You can just update the existing post, that’s OK to do. We do it all the time on The Hollywood Gossip, and one of the things we love to do is make sure you actually put the date inside the post. Google loves fresh content, especially since that’s a news site. And it will always show up as this has been updated five minutes ago, and we don’t ever delete on The Hollywood Gossip and republish.

I know a lot of bloggers do that, or they just change the publish at date so it pops back up. I think there’s better ways to do that. I’d look for a plugin that gets it back in your feed. You do want to get that post back in your home page, for sure, to be able to send back, sculpt your page rank towards it. So I agree with why some people republish, but I wouldn’t republish when you’re updating. I would go and update the existing content.

And I know a lot of people are always like oh, this is ranking, I don’t want to touch it. I love breaking stuff. try to optimize it, and worst case scenario, you can always roll back. WordPress and most other CMSes will have a way for you to revert. If somehow you destroy the essence of your post by adding to it, you can always go back and just watch your rankings on it.

JENNY GUY: Mike, same question to you.

MIKE PEARSON: I mean, I didn’t even know that that was a thing that people would publish a new post. When you were talking about that, apparently I had no idea. Yeah, definitely don’t. Just create a new post you’re going to arguably lose all of the traction and rankings that you had on the old, or existing, post. So yes, obviously, we want to keep the post published. Don’t delete it, don’t do a brand new post.

And the way that I look at updating old content is the same way that I would look at if I had keyword researched a brand new article. I would look at it, especially if this is something maybe you published a while ago or it wasn’t optimized for SEO and you’re coming at it from an angle of all right, I need to kind of redo this, it’s the same thing that I would do if I was creating a brand new piece of content. We talked about do I have a chance to rank for this. Although, arguably, if it’s already on your site, you’re going to want to leave it.

Are you actually targeting a main primary keyword? Is your post matching the user intent? This is, I think, one of the most important parts of SEO that a lot of people overlook is does your post actually answer the question, or the problem, that’s being posed in the search. And the best way to do that is just Google your keyword and look at the top three results and see what those, what are they answering. How they’re structured?

So I look at it from the user intent angle, potentially a word count angle just to get an idea of, again, what are the top three sites doing in terms of word count. Are you in that range? Just generally, I would treat it the same way that I would treat a brand new post. The other thing I would say is that if I was doing an audit, I’m not sure if this is where this question is, is it going, if I had old, irrelevant, crappy content on my site and it wasn’t getting traffic, I would not only not have any problem deleting that post, I would recommend deleting that post.

Again, if it has nothing to do, some bloggers they’ve been lying for five years in their first 10 posts were terrible, let’s be honest, so if you have content on your site that’s old, it’s not relevant, it’s not good, it’s not getting traffic, it doesn’t have any backlinks, that kind of stuff, I would definitely think about auditing your old stuff and deleting it, updating it, which this question is asking, potentially merging it with another post if you have a similar post on that topic.

But not to get off topic too much, but it’s super important, and Google has gone on the record saying this, that they are grading your site as a whole, top down. So if you have a blog and you’ve got 100 posts on it, and you just learned SEO, and 20 of your posts are good, they’re SEO optimized, they’re actually good posts, and maybe your older stuff is just not that good just because you didn’t know what you were doing, Google is grading site on the whole, right. So those 80 posts, I don’t want to say they’re holding it against you, but they’re factoring it into your blog as a whole when they’re grading the overall quality of your site.

So you want to think about that older content you might have on your site that maybe, again, was published a while ago that might not be your best stuff, and think about updating it, or improving it, potentially getting rid of it.

JENNY GUY: OK, we’re coming back to that because that was actually a question that was asked way up high on deleting old content, and it’s something that Eric has a blog post on that I believe he might disagree with a little bit. So one second, but when we started talking on this subject we have what about changing the published date if it’s a substantial change, says Ben Taylor. Eric, Yeah?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: So there are two different things, there’s published dates, and then there’s modified dates. And Google actually asks you to put both of them in your schema, publish date and modified date. You shouldn’t be changing the published date, you should be changing the modified date if there’s a substantial update. That would be Google’s best practices when they talk about dates. They have an entire article on it, that a schema thing about it so I will still say no. And that’s the republishing thing that I was referring to before. I don’t like changing dates because to me that is lying to Google, and that is the best way to get in trouble with our good friends at Google.

JENNY GUY: I don’t know of anybody else out there is a Hamilton fan, but when Eric earlier was talking about how Google is not dumb I was 100% going they looked at Google like they were stupid, they’re not stupid, and I don’t know if that was anyone else, but that was happening. OK, Irene said, Mike, should you read index in Google Search Console when you update?

MIKE PEARSON: This is another common one. So I don’t, my answer is no because I don’t think there’s a need to do it. Literally, Google is like the most valuable company in the world, their entire business model is indexing your content. That’s their job, that’s entirely how they are built and they make money is because they go out and they crawl your site. So I never, I know some people love to publish it, and they’re so excited, and they want to do index and Google, and so they submitted Search Console.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, it’s not something that I do so it’s not something that I recommend because I do not think it’s necessary. If Google’s not indexing your content, it’s not because you’re not submitting in Search Console, it’s because you might have other issues on your hands. So no, I do not. I mean, to me I think it’s a waste of time, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but I don’t do that.

JENNY GUY: OK Eric, same question to you. Are we re-indexing in Google Search Console when you do a significant update?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Again, look at Google.

MIKE PEARSON: I’m sorry I thought it was on a new post, but go ahead, Eric.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: No, as I say, if you want them to come quicker, then yes, you can go on the Search Console and update it. But my advice is generally always if you’re linking to the content and you have a proper sitemap set up, which I can almost guarantee you do if you’re running something like Yoast or another SEO plug-in, Google already get the signals to say that this post has been updated, and they will re index it on their own. I would not stress about doing that.

Again you have better use of your time, but if there’s something you changed and you need it updated right away, sure, go ahead. It’s not going to hurt you.

JENNY GUY: OK, let’s go back to the deleting because we’ve got questions from multiple people saying how do you delete content correctly. Jennifer says, can you talk about the steps deleting old, crappy content? What is the right way to do it? We’ve got people talking about I’ve been blogging for 17 years, I cringe when I look at some of my old posts. So Eric, let’s talk and then Susanna, said is it OK to no index and/or make private rather than delete old posts? So Mike gave us his opinion, we’ll allow him to come back in a second.

MIKE PEARSON: Opened a can of worms here.

JENNY GUY: We’re talking about SEO, was this whole episode not just an enormous, fun can of worms? Eric, go.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: So I don’t actually significantly disagree with what Mike said. I think overall what he’s saying is you have to know when to delete your old, crappy content, and that is the part that I try to touch on in my blog post. There are safe ways to delete your content. You need to make sure it doesn’t have backlinks to it. You need to make sure you don’t have internal links pointing to something, or you’re going to create a bunch of dead links, and you need to make sure that post doesn’t get traffic.

If you are confident in all three of those things, delete it, and it will have no impact on your life. It might help, but really the most important thing is removing the links to that content. That is what I try to stress in my blog post. You linking to something is, remember, you telling Google this thing exists, and I am passing my authority to it. That is basically what a link does in Google’s mind. Stop telling them it exists.

So we have content from 2006 on The Hollywood Gossip. It’s absolutely terrible so we stopped linking to it ourselves on the homepage. We get rid of any archives that are older than, I think, 2000 and like, I don’t know, 12 because how relevant is that celebrity gossip? But we don’t delete it, and you’ll be surprised how often a z-lister ends up back in the spotlight from some inane thing that they’ve done. And we suddenly get a spike in traffic, and that’s because we haven’t deleted it, and instead we just don’t link.

If you really go with the philosophy of removing links to something and there are no backlinks to it, then again, I will say, and there’s no traffic, then it is fine to delete.

JENNY GUY: OK, Mike, do you have a rebuttal on that or anything you want to add? I think there’s two separate conversations. So the way that I’m looking at this, first of all, is from an SEO angle, but second of all, I’m looking at it from an overall site quality. That’s what we’re talking about is the quality of your site. And again, this is not, and I know some SEO stuff is things that we think Google thinks, and some stuff is they will actually say it, right, whether it’s on Twitter with John Mueller or Miller.

MIKE PEARSON: He has said in these Google Hangouts we are grading your site as a whole. If you have a ton of low quality content on your site, that content is hurting your site. You can go look it up. He has said there’s multiple times so I’m working first from that perspective, overall quality. Think about your site as a whole, do you have a lot of bad content on your site? So I think most sites do, right, depending on when you started blogging when you started learning about.

This whole thing is called a content audit, this could take three hours to talk about. So that’s kind of where I’m starting from at the top. If you want to do a content audit on your site, I guess I’m trying to think of a short way to talk about this, the way I would think about is, do you have poor old content. And then, that’s where Eric’s getting into the details. It’s like a checklist. Well, do you have any backlinks to it? Then you probably don’t want to delete it. Internal links, you’re going to want to remove. Are you getting traffic from Pinterest? Well, then, maybe you’ll no index it because you want that post on your site. You want Pinterest sending you traffic, but you want Google to ignore it, right.

So there’s definitely caveats. There’s definitely a checklist you could run through that honestly it would take forever to talk about right now. So there’s definitely ways to go about it. I just mean from a quality perspective, I don’t want crappy content on my site because it’s going to hurt my SEO. That’s kind of the way that I’m thinking about.

JENNY GUY: Eric, anything to add there?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: The Hollywood Gossip does not have crappy content, how could you? I’m not saying 2006 wasn’t our best years, maybe just not as relevant now. It’s still wonderful content about Lindsay Lohan.

MIKE PEARSON: But that’s a good point, or irrelevant content, right. Because, think about it, so many bloggers switched their, I used to write about this, or maybe some bloggers used to treat their site like a diary, 300 words on what I had for lunch. It’s totally irrelevant, right. I would strongly consider getting rid of that type of content if it doesn’t have it doesn’t have backlinks if it’s not blah, blah, blah, all the caveats assuming.

JENNY GUY: Well, first, I’m going to jump in and say having read Eric’s blog post a couple of times where he talks about no index or don’t link rather than delete, mainly it’s talking about not spending a significant amount of your very limited time going through and obsessing over content that you don’t, I don’t like that anymore. Well, write something new as opposed to spending a whole lot of time going through and trying to go through the things that–.

Sarah said, remember that early blogging book, nobody cares you had for lunch? OK, we have people that are asking a lot of follow-up questions about getting that modified date versus published date. They’re asking, with Trellis, does changing the date read to Google as modified? How does it work? People are wondering how to get the post that they’ve edited back into their feed, back onto their homepage feed. What do we need to do here? Are there things that are, do we have a plug-in? Help.

MIKE PEARSON: I’ll let Eric handle any schema. I know my blind spot so technical stuff and like schema stuff, Eric, you can have those questions.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Everything we answer is a new can of worms that I realize I shouldn’t have brought that up. My pet peeve was, even though relevant to the question, I brought this on myself. So Trellis designed to allow you to pick whether you show your published, modified, or both. When you’re doing that, that’s not the schema, that’s actually what you’re showing in the header to Google. Google’s best practices tells you to do both, but sometimes you do both, they like to stick with the publish date.

So I found a lot of publishers will switch the modified, but it’s important to note that with Trellis it’s only outputting in the header. The actual schema, which is generally going to be covered by your SEO tool, so something like a Yoast. Again, I’m giving so much free publicity to Yoast and SEM Rush, I want a kickback. Those tools will output what’s called article schema, and they’re going to automatically output both the published and modified dates for you. So that’s not a thing you’re going to need to stress about.

And again, Rank Math, All in One SEO, can’t remember the names of the 900 other ones, they’re all going to do the same thing. They’re all going to output that article schema, and they’re all going to already output published and modified for you. So really what you want is your theme, most likely, to show the modified date if you made a significant change.

JENNY GUY: Mike, anything to follow up on that? We have more questions just flowing in on this.

MIKE PEARSON: No, and Eric can handle schema.

JENNY GUY: OK. Adriana said, if you just change the date but leave the pictures you originally uploaded, your images we’ll still have the initial date. So unless you remove and upload the images, there’s no point to change the published date, right?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Again, I wouldn’t try to be lying to Google, and that’s not what you’re doing. If you’re just modifying something, again, WordPress and you’re going to automatically take care of this for you. It’s going to indicate you updated it. You’re not trying to lie to them by saying this is my modified date. You went in, you modified your post, that’s OK. Don’t stress if you have some photos in there that maybe give away the fact it’s an article from 2004. Google’s that angry you wrote the article in 2004, they’re happy that you updated the 2021.

MIKE PEARSON: And look, the whole, or not the whole, but part of the reason this is somewhat important is, think about when someone is Googling a term, these dates are getting pulled into the search, right. So if your article is showing from 2006 and my article is showing from 2021, guess who’s going to get the click, right. That’s really, at least from my perspective, why this is important. And this is just SEO in general, and what I see is that people get so stuck on kind of the technicalities on the what, Like that picture about the images, but think about the why like why are we.

Why is this important? We want to show that we have fresh content updating a post. We want to show Google that we’re consistently updating our content, that our content is up-to-date, and Google is going to pull that date in the search. And then, a newer date is going to more likely get the click than a date that appears to be outdated because it was written in 2004. So think about, again, I always come back to think about what the user is going to see in the search results, what they’re going to see on your page because the click will, and this is something I don’t think Google will confirm, but Google’s going to see who’s getting the click, who’s not going to click in terms of the rankings.

JENNY GUY: All very helpful. Guys, we have more and more questions about dates, and our modified dates, and what if I have Squarespace, And what about my dates on Squarespace? We’re going to move ahead because we have a lot more ground to cover. We’ll follow up when we can. Annette says, would you guys pay for backlinks to grow authority? Natural links are dead nowadays. Eric, what do you think?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Oh, man. No, no, I would not. I would not pay for for links, in general. I don’t think you’re ever going to be buying quality links. I think there are exceptions, and you can hire companies that may be more of like a PR style where they’ll reach out and get you featured and get links that way. But for the most part, you’re just paying for, I don’t know, a link farm I of like I don’t know Indian or Russia.

Who knows where they’re using these days? It’s not going to be the quality links that you want. It’s not going to help you.

JENNY GUY: OK, Mike, same question to you.

MIKE PEARSON: Yeah, I have to answer the question. So this is, in like 30 words, this is a very loaded question. So I think when people say pay for backlinks, they mean like gray hat, or black hat, or whatever. So no, we don’t want to pay someone $30 for a guest post. And the reason we don’t want to do that, a, is because Google is very, very, very smart. This worked five years ago, and, listen, I’ve been doing this for 10 years. I used to pay for links on like my old, old, old niche sites that no longer exist because they probably penalized.

So Google is very, very smart now. Do not pay for spammy links, Google is going to catch you. And part of the reason they’re going to catch you is because if someone’s selling you a link for $15, they’re selling that to 10,000 other people, too. so your guest post is going to come along on that site with 1,000 other crappy posts, and they call it like the link neighborhood. You don’t want to be in a bad link neighborhood because Google is going to see well there’s tons of random, stupid links on this page, we’re going to penalize everyone.

So no, don’t pay for bad backlinks. The second point I would make, and Eric touched on this a little bit, there are definitely, and this is more of an advanced thing, you can hire people to do outreach for you. That’s different than paying for that, and there’s agencies that do this, where you create like a piece of link bait or a piece of epic content with the purposes of emailing, and this is called email outreach. Emailing people saying, Oh I created this cool thing, do you want to check it out?

So that’s more white hat link building where you’re not going to pay for the link, you’re going to publish something great and share it with a bunch of people who probably don’t want to hear from you anyway. And you can pay people to run that process for you. Create the content, you publish the content, they find the email addresses, they send the emails, they do the follow-ups.

So their building backlinks in a white hat way for you. So those services exist, I’ve used them. You’ll get decent white hat links, and I’m going to put that in quotes. It’s not going to be cheap, I guarantee you there’s not one person on this live that is willing to pay $180 for a link, and that’s what’s going to cost you. So there are ways to pay for outreach services, that’s how I would phrase it. And then the third part of this question, natural links are dead. I mean, they’re definitely not dead.

You can get, I mean, Help a Reporter Out. I have a personal finance site, and I’m not a known personal finance person by any means, and I’ve gotten links from CNBC, Bankrate,, MSNBC, Reader’s Digest. These are all natural, high authority back link so it’s definitely not dead, but that was a good question packed into 50 words.

JENNY GUY: Mariam says, meta descriptions for each page, how important are those? Eric.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: So first, I want to clarify that the meta descriptions do not directly affect your ranking. So you’re not putting in a better description and suddenly improving your ranking. What those are meant to do is to tell Google this is my preferred snippet to show in the search results pages. And just as Mike was referring to before with those dates make your thing more clickable, having garbagemen a description could certainly hurt you.

So I would say it’s important. For any of your high ranking stuff, you do want to go in and change that matter a description because you have a chance of that showing up if Google doesn’t think it’s smarter than you, which it often does and picks a different description. But if they’re going to end up using your description, use that to your advantage. Come up with something you think is going to make someone click onto your post and not the other 9 on that page.

And don’t stress too much about whether it’s going to hurt your rankings. And other advice is put your keyword in there because Google, I don’t even know they still do this, but they’ll definitely more likely to choose it if it has your keyword, and they’re going to bold it. So meta descriptions important on your top ranking stuff. But again, don’t stress if you’re missing it on a page that isn’t ranking. That’s not the reason it’s not ranking.

JENNY GUY: Mike, same to you anything on meta descriptions, and then we had a fire from Miriam is do you have to have a keyword for each page like your about page or your contact page?

MIKE PEARSON: So on the set of descriptions, it’s not going to, especially one of those things that everyone has to do it. It’s not going to improve your ranking at all. It’s one of those base things that everyone who knows anything about SEO is going to do. So yes, I think you should have a meta description. It takes two seconds. It’s not going to improve your ranking. Google, 50% of the time, is not going to even use your meta description, they’re going to use whatever they want.

Where it could come into play, as Eric said, is the click. If your meta description is so good that it entices someone to click. I guess that’s possible. That’s where it comes into play, but these are the little things that, I’m not going to say they don’t matter, but it’s things that everyone who knows anything about SEO is going to do this. They’re going to fill in their meta description. So in that regard, it’s not going to help you. It’s going to give you a leg up, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.

So yes, I fill in my descriptions. Yes, I include my keyword. Yes, they appear in the search results. I guess that’s kind of the biggest takeaway because they do appear in the result, well, sometimes if Google decides to use it. But as Eric said, it’s not going to like oh, I filled my meta description, and I’m going to rank on page one. That’s not really how it works.

JENNY GUY: It’s just another grain of sand in the entire beach of our SEO life, but it’s one that we can actually impact. It’s not vague, it’s there, and you can frame your content for potential readers on your search results, potentially, if Google decides to pull it. All right, Kippy says, recipes use the recipe card as the meta description, can we change that? Eric.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Recipe cards use the–

JENNY GUY: It’s saying that in recipes, somehow it sounds like her recipe card is automatically getting pulled as the meta description for her posts.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: That has to be something custom, maybe that’s a WP recipe maker integration with Yoast or something, but that’s not standard. In Yoast, or whatever, again, I got to stop using that one. Whenever SEO plug-in your using, there’s going to be a section when you fill out your meta description. That should overwrite whatever is in your recipe card. I’m not familiar with how that’s being set.


MIKE PEARSON: No, I don’t know if I’m breaking up or someone’s breaking up, but I don’t really, this is kind of a very, very specific question that’s kind of specific to someone’s singular post so it’s really hard to answer. It could be the Google’s pulling it, I don’t really know. It could be theme related or plugin related, but it’s tough to tell without really knowing the post.

JENNY GUY: So we’re going to take that recipe card question, use it as a segue here to one of Eric’s myths which I’d like to hear from Mike on, which is that recipe cards make you ranked better in general.

MIKE PEARSON: Look, the way that I look at do I need to have this or does this help that is what is Google, and this is the good news about SEO, is that Google’s never going to tell us the answer to that question. What Google has to tell us is who is ranking on page one for every single keyword that you Google. So if you have a specific recipe, or maybe it’s any recipe, what I would do, and I’m not a recipe blogger or food blogger, I’m going to Google whatever keyword I’m looking at. And I’m going to look at the top five results and I’m going to see did they have a recipe card?

Well, if they do, guess what, I’m going to put one in my post. I’m not saying they’re ranking in the top five because of that recipe, but I’m saying I want to at least match the elements. And again, excuse me, I’m not I’m not a food blogger, but I’m assuming most recipes have those recipe cards. So to answer your question specifically, I can’t say because I don’t think Google has ever said. But think about it from the user perspective and what else Google is ranking, does a user , when they Google for your recipe, do they want to find a recipe card? Does it make their life easier to get through your content?

That’s how I would think about it, part one. Part two is what else is ranking in Google? Are there 10 results and none of them have recipe cards? That might tell me it might not be as important. Do all 10 of them have a recipe card? That probably tells me that yes, I want to put one in mine.

JENNY GUY: Eric, recipe card.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: First, I’m going to say what Mike just said is perfect. Always look at what the top 10 results are. I’ve been saying that, I think, throughout this entire talk. That is a great way to value what Google is looking for on that search term. Remember, you have to do that on each search term. So I think I bungled when I gave you this myth. I meant to say is does matter which recipe cards you’re using?


ERIC HOCHBERGER: So, whoops, sorry. That was my myth, and that is not just because of create, which we happen to run here. I know a lot of bloggers will go and switch, or now they don’t do it as much, but they use a switch recipe cards all the time because, I don’t know, this certain one was running WP Tasty or this one was running WPRM. I just think at the end of the day schema, as Google will tell you, isn’t your actual ranking factor. Schema just makes you eligible for different search appearances, as they call them. You’ll get into the recipe carousel on top so you definitely do want a recipe card to make sure you get into the recipe carousel.

What I’m trying to say is don’t stress if you’re running the wrong one. Obviously, I want everyone to run create. It’s ours, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not because as long as they’re outputting the schema, that’s all Google is looking for out of your recipe card. So pick your recipe card based upon other features. Any of the popular ones are going to already output the schema that you need. You don’t need to switch is what I’m saying. Unless it’s to Create because there’s other cool reasons to switch to Create but that was my math is that the recipe card, end of the day, the schema is outputted is what matters.

And the same applies your SEO tool. You don’t need to switch the Yoast, or switch from Yoast to something else, unless you no longer like Yoast because it broke your site or you didn’t like the payment method, whatever it is. If you have a good reason to leave it, you can, but chances are they’re all outputting the same thing at the end of the day. And what you care about is what it’s outputting to Google, not which tool you’re running.

JENNY GUY: Ali says, can we get penalized for using recipe cards for non-recipe posts? I’ve noticed some big bloggers will add in a recipe card to their posts for like roundup posts, even though the recipe card doesn’t actually contain a recipe.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Yes. Yes, I’m just going to say I’ve firsthand seen this. If you use the recipe schema in non-recipe based things, it’s going to be a manual penalty against you, and you’re going to lose access to all of your rich snippets, or all of your search appearances, so you won’t get any recipes. But Google will tell you if they’re dinging you for that. I think the famous one I’ve seen is someone put up a dog food in a recipe card, and they got dinged because it’s only supposed to human consumable recipes.

So yeah, a lot of people use these recipes for like how-to crafts, and they were getting in trouble, which is why with Create why we don’t how to skim before Google even supported it just to get bloggers to stop doing that. So you can get into trouble if you’re using recipes for non recipe posts. Don’t do it.

JENNY GUY: And then here’s one more follow up question on that. We are over time guys. Thank you for hanging out. There’s so many questions. Mediavine lists versus a regular bullet point list, referring to a Create list, is there a reason when you should use one over the other?

ERIC HOCHBERGER: Whatever you think is the better user experience is what I’m always going to go with. If it’s something that is better served by a bunch of short bullets, like here the ingredients or materials I use, then go with a bulleted list. That’s what they’re meant for. If you want the more visual style of the less because, I don’t know you’re showing the top 20 whatever tech gadgets of 2021, then you’re going to want the visual list that Create offers you. And that’s going to mark it up in what’s called item list schema. That’s a lot better for if you have 20 actual, you’re around up basically, that’s what lists are made for, if you’re doing a list or roundup.

If you’re doing bullets inside of a post, you don’t need to use a Create list.

JENNY GUY: Excellent. OK, this is Timothy Dahl really quickly. He said, Ahrefs is capable of many things, but what is the core information you pull from it to help support your efforts, Mike?

MIKE PEARSON: Well, look, they’ve got several tools. They’ve got a keyword research tool where you can do your manual keyword research. They have a competitor tool or I can plug any site on the internet into the tool, it’s going to tell me what that site is ranking for. They have a back link tool, obviously, if I want to try to spy on competitors what kind of backlinks they’re getting, how they’re getting their backlinks. It’s not going to pull out all of the backlinks, but it pulls a good amount. They have a huge database.

They have a content explorer feature, which is kind of like a mini search engine, where you can just literally search for anything, and it’ll have Ahrefs metrics like traffic and domain rating. I don’t want to get too of course here, but there’s a really cool, it’s called content explorer. They have a ranked tracker so if you want to track where your keywords are ranking in Google, they have that built into the tool.

So they have a ton of good features and SEM Rush, I think, has many, if not all, of the same features. So, in my opinion, those are the top two. I just personally use Ahrefs.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: I’m about ready to switch over because there’s a couple of tools you mentioned.

JENNY GUY: I saw your eyes light up on a couple of things that he said, sparkling like it was not Christmas morning because that is not a Jewish holiday. Eric, so we are about to–

ERIC HOCHBERGER: My website wasn’t so dumb, huh?

JENNY GUY: No, I need, I need it I would have been confused had that not been there. We are about out of time. This has been an amazing hour packed with lots of information. I think we definitely need to do it again, which all the questions will show, and so we’ll have to twist Mike’s arm and get him back here one more time. But before we go– I will take you saying yes publicly if you would like to.

MIKE PEARSON: See a lot your faces in here. There’s a lot of people from my group that I appreciate you guys showing up, Ali, Lisa.

JENNY GUY: OK, last thing for both of you before we move on, and I want to say also, we apologize if we didn’t get to your question today. We will definitely do this again, and thank you to everyone for watching for the last few months during the Summer of Live. It’s our fourth season, we had a great time. We will be back with Teal Talks in the fall, about mid-September, the 12th, Tuesday the 12th, so standby for announcements on that.

But before we go, guys, we are approaching magic time for all content creators, for the majority of them, which is Q4. We know that the advertisers are going to be spending a lot of money. Everyone’s going to be online looking for the things that lifestyle bloggers write about. What is one thing that you would recommend our audience of content creators do now to position themselves for Q4? mike I’ll start with you.


MIKE PEARSON: Look, so I come at stuff from an angle so my thing is I want to get up as much high-quality content published on my site as fast as possible. To give us a chance, what do we do now August, depending on your site’s authority and how old your site is, it’s usually going to take a little bit of time to rank in Google. So if you’re thinking about content that you want to rank and get traffic for, just think in the back of your head it’s going to take at least several weeks, if not longer, in order to get that stuff ranking in Google.

But again, at the end of the day, at least the way that I build my sites, it’s just more content, more high-quality content, day after day, week after week, month after month. That’s how you kind of build that library of content that really gets momentum going and gets you ranking, whether it’s Q1 or Q4.

ERIC HOCHBERGER: So chances are it’s going to be seasonal content that is ranking well for you in Q4. So maybe take this time to go and update some of those posts, not to be confused with republishing them. Use all this great advice you got on publish versus modify dates. Yeah, I would get ready to start touching those posts up and getting them fresh in Google’s mind because, chances are, a lot of them are going to make reappearances. So make sure they’re optimized for ads, optimized for SEO. Good chance to relive that old for content while you’re making new for content. So double dip.

JENNY GUY: We love double dipping, it’s delicious. OK, everyone, thank you so much for joining us. Guys, thank you. It’s been a great time. Enjoy the rest of your summer, you guys, and we’ll see you soon.

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