Voices of Search Episode 36: January 2019 SEO Winners and Losers

Episode Overview

Tyson Stockton, Searchmetric’s Director of Services spends some time with Ben to discuss the big winners (and losers) for January of 2019. Join us for you first monthly review of who the big movers were, why, and what lessons are to be learned.

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Episode Transcript

Ben:                             Welcome to our January 2019 edition of the winners and losers segment on the Voices of Search podcast. Today we’re going to look back on this month and talk about some of trends behind some of the biggest movers, shakers and slackers in the SEO world.

Ben:                             Joining us for winners and losers is Tyson Stockman, who was recently promoted to the Director of Searchmetrics Services Organization, which means that he manages our SEO, content and client success teams.

Ben:                             Outside of shepherding Searchmetrics’ largest and most strategic clients to SEO success, Tyson has been digging through some of the Searchmetrics Suites data to help you understand who’s making moves in the SEO community.

Ben:                             But before we get started, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise-scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data-driven decisions. To support you, our loyal podcast listeners, we’re offering a complimentary digital diagnostic.

Ben:                             A member of our digital strategies group will provide you with a consultation that reviews how your website, content and SEO strategies can be optimized. To schedule your free digital diagnostic, go to Searchmetrics.com/diagnostic.

Ben:                             Okay. Here’s our monthly sit down with Searchmetrics’ Director of Services, Tyson Stockman. Tyson! Welcome back to the Voices of Search Podcast.

Tyson:                          Thanks man. Glad to be back on again.

Ben:                             Hey it’s great to have you here. Excited to kick off our winners and losers segment, something that we’re going to do on a monthly basis moving forward, and also very excited for you, the big promotion, you now run a large portion of the Searchmetrics organization, so congrats on the new title.

Tyson:                          Thank you. Yeah it’s been a great journey, so really looking forward to kind of this next chapter.

Ben:                             Awesome. Well let’s dive into the data of who were some of the winners and losers for the first month of 2019, and let’s just start off by talking about what some of the data that you’ve looked at to try to understand who’s making moves in the SEO community.

Tyson:                          Yeah and I think this is an important piece understanding where the data’s coming from helps put it in context. And for this, we’re primarily using our research cloud database. And this database is roughly, I believe, kind of like a billion keyword data set. And this is not specific to any one industry, so the objective behind this is to give this kind of Birdseye kind of wide net perspective of what’s going on in search.

Tyson:                          And so when we were talking about this idea of discussing just kind of like a monthly winners/losers, who’s going up? Who’s going down? This was the obvious kind of starting point for that data poll. Because we’re able to look across a multitude of industries, really understand who’s actually being impacted, whether it’s an industry shift, and algorithm change, changes in the competitive landscape, and so you’re really able to see all those kind of components and get a nice kind of overview of what’s happening in our industry.

Ben:                             So, I’ve been working with Searchmetrics in a variety of capacities for roughly three years. And when I first started working with the company, one of the things that the marketing team sort of hinged their promotion on was that Searchmetrics had one of, if not the largest SEO datasets for any company not named Google.

Ben:                             You mentioned that there’s a billion queries. Tell us a little bit about how’s that captured and a little bit about the data cleanliness before we get into what the conclusions are for who are the winners and losers. How do you capture a billion queries?

Tyson:                          Yeah and this is kind of an interesting point, as far as us as an organization, because since our really creation and the company formed, we’ve been crawling, storing and owning all of the data ourselves, which is a large endeavor and certainly not a cheap endeavor either, but it’s something that’s been at the core, very fundamental, and something that our founders and also our executives have been very rigid on wanting to maintain.

Tyson:                          And so this is not just as far as size and number of keywords, but also as far as how long that we’ve been tracking and storing this data. So it’s a great resource for our clients in the sense of understanding broad domain-level comparisons, but then also if you want to be getting insights and information that may be outside of what you’re tracking for your own domain, and again, that’s where it’s like I think there’s a lot of value that comes from the research with cloud is you’re able to not just see your individual website, but the industry as a whole, as well as kind of opening again and casting that net wider outside of what you may be tracking with any kind of the project section of the suite.

Ben:                             So, I think the important take away here is that while it’s a large dataset, it’s a billion queries, it’s also something that’s been owned proprietarily by Searchmetrics, so we’re not cobbling together multiple datasets, but let’s not talk about where the data is coming from, how we captured it too much.

Ben:                             What’s a billion queries amongst friends? Let’s talk about some of the trends that you’ve seen looking at the research cloud. What did you notice for the beginning of the year and what reports did you pull to try to triangulate who were the winners and the losers?

Tyson:                          Yeah and one of the things that I’ve been doing for a while is within our research cloud, it is you’re able to look at just kind of like across the entire dataset, what are the websites that have increased or decreased from the previous crawl? And this is our weekly refresh. So every Sunday night, Monday morning, depending on where you’re located in the world, we do a refresh to this research cloud. And so I have just a report that goes out to myself for a few primary countries and markets, and obviously for today we’re just going to kind of focus on the U.S. market.

Tyson:                          But I have set up basically a dashboard that every Sunday night I get an email, and it gives me a snapshot of who moved up and who moved down on a domain level. So in this report, I basically have who the top performing SEO visibility websites are, as well as the absolute winners and losers as far as the highest net gains, and then also a relative winners and losers, so more of a percentage of what their footprint is, and how much of a change in the overall.

Tyson:                          Both of these are kind of interesting, because one you can see absolute gains from keeping, not giving respect to the size of the site, but just who gained the most points, if you will. And then the other one’s more gives that relative components, and then you understand a little bit more of wow this domain has doubled what their visibility was or they lost half on their visibility. So it’s interesting to see those kind of two lenses.

Tyson:                          And then the other thing too, just because it was recently released, was we recently published an article on the blog that was looking at what the 2018 winners and losers was. This I thought was really interesting because one, beginning of the year, it’s always nice to take that retrospective look, put some context into how we’re moving forward. But then when I was looking at what movement has happened in January, I also was seeing that a lot of the maybe winners or losers in January, was actually on the reverse side of the list for the 2018 numbers.

Tyson:                          So, I think that’s something else that’s always good to put in context as far as yeah, there may have been these movements on a monthly campaigns, but how does that fit into a larger vantage point? How does that fit into the bigger picture? So I think for this session, I wanted to kind of focus a little bit more on what’s going on in January, but I did also want to make some connections and context of how that fit into the landscape from like a 2018 lens.

Ben:                             So what I’m hearing is that you’re basically taking the 2018 winners and losers as your baseline, as your benchmark to understand what’s been happening in the industry that to do this analysis. And you’re looking at four data points on a weekly basis across the month to understand where there’s been variance.

Tyson:                          Exactly. And I think something else to kind of call out too is the primary KPI that I was looking at for this, is our SEO visibility score. And one of my colleagues, he describes it as almost being like a stock index, where there’s no absolute ceiling, but obviously zero is going to be kind of your floor, and it’s essentially telling us what the SEO footprint or what your reach is in search from an organic perspective.

Tyson:                          And what we take into account in that score, is that if we’re looking at a domain-level, we’re looking at the number of ranking keywords on that given domain. And then we’re looking at what’s the search volume on those individual queries or keywords, and then what position is this website ranking in? And then also what’s going on with the sort of elements for that page? Because all those elements are going to have an impact into how that query or that keyword impacts your business.

Tyson:                          And one of the ways or one of the reasons why I really like combining this with things like internal analytics is because it allows you detect on changes that may be happening outside of page one. And on page one, that’s basically where most all of the traffic is going, but if you’re making changes to the site and you see yourself moving from a position or page five to a page two, it’s a good leading indicator as far as the direction of the health.

Tyson:                          So when we’re looking at what these winners and losers are, the main KPI that I’m looking at is this SEO visibility score, so I understand how is the reach of these different websites responding? And it’s taking into account that demand or search volume of the terms, not just the volume of keywords. And the average position of those.

Ben:                             At the end of the day, SEO visibility is a proprietary score about how your site is performing and where your content is showing up, and it gives you, not necessarily a range, it’s giving you an indication of how visible your content is, hence the name SEO visibility.

Ben:                             Just for context, when we talk about the scores for SEO visibility, what’s the range for best in class, and what is a subpar score for visibility?

Tyson:                          I mean, that, even though it seems like a very simple question, I think that is very subjective, because you have to take into account the size of a domain. So if you’re looking for the big players, like Wikipedia is going to be like the dominant one, because they have such breadth as far as the number of keywords that they rank for, and the position that they typically rank for.

Tyson:                          So someone like Wikipedia is probably going to be, and I can pull up on my list here, Wikipedia like week in, week out is our number one SEO top visible website. To give you an idea as far as what that volume is, it is just under 51 million.

Ben:                             Don’t they get an SEO visibility score though?

Tyson:                          Yeah so the visibility score for Wikipedia is, exactly speaking, 51,298,785. And then if you wanted to compare that to YouTube, they’re sitting just over 41 million. If we get into something that’s more like an e-commerce site, Amazon’s close to 11 million. And then an example of someone like let’s say Twitter, almost 7 million. Those are the huge, big conglomerate players.

Tyson:                          But then if we kind of go down to something that’s a little more, still very, very large site, to something like AllRecipes.com, now you’re in the kind of 1.3 million range. Hopefully that gives a little context.

Ben:                             Okay. So basically the niche players are in the low millions, and the mega-web conglomerate dominating behemoth companies are maxing out at about 50 million in terms of their visibility score.

Ben:                             Let’s get down to your analysis. Let’s talk about what’s happened in January. Who are the winners and who are the losers? What did you see from the analysis that you put together this month?

Tyson:                          Yeah, so one of the things that really jumped out at me, and again this was actually starting from the 2018 winners and losers, and we saw quite a bit of movement over the year in the media category. So this is one that I kind of kept an eye out in January to be like hey what’s going on? And what I saw is actually a lot of large media sites actually declining in SEO visibility.

Tyson:                          So, a couple ones to call out that I saw was Today.com. So the last basically for the last month, they’ve had a pretty significant drop in what their visibility score was. Like just in the last week, it was a 16 percent decline. However, when you look at that over like let’s say Q4, since September, they were increasing a fair amount. But we saw this fall in January for Today.com.

Tyson:                          Then when we looked at another one that’s actually been kind of on the decline since September, Q4 of last year, and it’s continued to have between probably a five to ten percent decline for the last four weeks, is CNBC. And we could keep going on these. So, a couple others, very similar situation, CBS Local as well as USA Today. So we’re seeing that some of these larger media news sites were actually kind of had a little bit of a softening into January, but then again when you put that into context for the larger macro, some of these can also be kind of fitting more into recalibrations or kind of coming back down, where they might have been in an inflated rise, and then it kind of falls back.

Tyson:                          But not all media sites were declining in January. And one to call out that actually started it’s rise, but it’s continued and it stayed up in January was MSNBC.com, so that was one within the media area that had a strong Q4, and it’s seeming at least at this point of time to be stable through January, where some of the other websites we experiencing a little more softening in performance.

Ben:                             So in general, you’re seeing that the media companies as an industry have softened in January after having a strong Q4 and with the exception of MSNBC, which has continued to see it’s rise, what are some of the other takeaways that you’ve seen? Are there any other industries or companies that stuck out to you?

Tyson:                          Yeah and some of the other ones too, I would say even though they’re slightly different industries, it’s a little bit more heavy in this informational intent, where there’s been a bit of a movement in that kind of space, but another one that kind of jumped out at me was Dictionary.com, and they’ve been on the winners reports for the last four weeks in a row, so they’ve gained back some market share. But then when I looked at their performance over the last year, they’ve been on this decline since beginning of 2018, and they’ve had a couple points where you have this horseshoe looking curve in their visibility, where they have a drop and it kind of comes back up, and when we look at Dictionary.com for December, it dropped drastically.

Tyson:                          And now we’re seeing them kind of regain a little bit of that market share from SEO perspective, however, they’re still significantly down from there were at the start of 2018.

Ben:                             Okay. Are there any other winners that you’ve seen? Anything that’s specifically just jumping off the charts?

Tyson:                          And actually, there’s two that I wanted to call out. One is the winners here, to answer your question, and then another one that’s another interesting kind of flip on performance, and it’s on the losers side.

Tyson:                          But on the winner’s side, one website that’s just really skyrocketed in the last six weeks in Rotten Tomatoes. And this website, I’m looking at the visibility score here, and starting in the beginning of December, kind of mid-December to now, they’ve increased basically almost close to 800,000 visibility points. And the last week alone, we saw 17 percent increase, but they haven’t had a down week in the last six weeks. So this is one that actually from our data set, is showing that they’re reaching an all-time high visibility.

Tyson:                          so that’s one that is relatively stable and if you went all the way back to 2014, big increases. They kind of had a little bit of a falling off a cliff, and then kind of remained at a somewhat consistent level, but that’s one that’s really jumped up in January of 2019.

Ben:                             So I have a theory about that. To me, just knowing, not having looked at a ton of the search visibility data, but knowing a little bit about the media and the movie business, this is the best time of the year for the movies. You run into the holidays, you get the big winter, Christmas blockbusters, and then you move right into the awards season, you know the capstone being the Oscars.

Ben:                             How much do you think seasonality plays into this or is that something that the visibility score kind of normalizes out?

Tyson:                          Excellent call out on that. One thing knowing the industry and what you just said is there’s this surge in search volume, and we can even go as far as actually looking at the individual keywords that are ranking on the domain, and what’s the seasonal nature of those, and what put data lines in to validate. And they’re absolutely going to see that from a traffic perspective of what are their analytics showing on it, however, the search volume component that we’re using in our SEO visibility calculation, is we’re actually taking the average monthly search volume for it.

Tyson:                          So we’re normalizing that search volume across the year, so you don’t have those seasonal swings. And this is really helpful in the sense of if I want to compare my website from a couple weeks back, and I don’t necessarily want to have that seasonal component, where it’s like oh I’m only able to compare back to last year at this time frame, by taking the average or the monthly average into our SEO visibility, it allows us to actually see what’s my week over week performance change?

Tyson:                          And there could be whole sections of the site that maybe you didn’t have last year when the seasonal component was hitting, or it would be a more consistent comparison. So when we’re looking at SEO visibility, if I never had that coverage last year, I can’t do a year over year comparison to take into that seasonal component. However, if I’m using a monthly average search volume in the SEO visibility calculation, I can see how I’m trending over the last couple weeks.

Tyson:                          And when you come into a more of putting this into action to it, obviously every SEO wants to know how are these changes that I’m making with my Doug team or with other parties, other stakeholders in the business, how are they impacting and am I trending in the right way?

Tyson:                          SEO visibility’s going to take out that seasonal component. It’s going to give you a new lens, and more of a feeding variable to understand your website’s performance, and then always advocating and I always advocate to clients and others to be comparing this and combining this with your actual traffic. It’s one KPI that leads into this overall vision or viewpoint of what the website’s doing.

Ben:                             So essentially what you’re saying is that the SEO visibility metric works on something similar to a rolling average, which normalizes out the seasonality component, meaning Rotten Tomatoes is actually increasing their visibility, as opposed to going through a seasonal peak.

Tyson:                          Exactly. And since we saw this huge surge in SEO visibility, and we also know that it has an also surge in search volume, this is the best possible time for them to have an increased performance, is because you know that they’re capitalizing on that more than they would have maybe six months ago.

Ben:                             The takeaway here I think is that Rotten Tomatoes is going to be our winner of the month, so if you’re the VP of marketing at Rotten Tomatoes, go give your SEO a hug.

Ben:                             Let’s talk about the flip side. Who are some of the companies that have struggled or the industries that have struggled this month?

Tyson:                          Yeah and, so I mean we started out talking about the media companies, and there was that group of five large media companies that we saw some softening in that again. Today.com, CNBC.com, CBSlocal.com, USAToday.com and CNN. But the one loser that really jumped out to me and I thought was really interesting is Quora.com.

Tyson:                          And Quora.com is an interesting story, and again it’s one that my colleague, Zash Nager is always kind of bringing up in different conversations, because some of the growth that they’ve had since the beginning of 2018 has been tremendous. They had this excellent, excellent 2018 year. They were on our winners list for 2018. They have the challenge of using user-generated content, which is a very tricky beast, especially in this world of content quality and relevancy, but what we saw is dating back, I can look at the exact date, on January 6th they’ve been on this really sharp decline.

Tyson:                          And the last week they went down 18 percent. But at January 6th, they were sitting just below a million, and actually it was at 927,000 for their SEO visibility score. And now they’re sitting at 414,000. So they’ve almost lost half or a little bit over half of their SEO visibility in four week’s time. So this I would definitely say was a big change.

Tyson:                          And obviously then that kind of sparks a bunch more questions as far as where is that drop happening? And because of the nature of the Quora site, is you have a lot of, you have a very wide net of content that’s on it, and when we looked into the winners and losers for Quora.com over these time periods, one of the consistent elements that we were finding was a decrease in what we would term as navigational queries.

Tyson:                          So if someone’s doing something like a UPS tracking. That would be considered a navigational term, because they’re interested and think of UPS as a brand. It’s navigating within a section of that website. So although they’ve had this sharp decline, I would be concerned with it at Quora, but I guess there is some silver lining that if this drop is happening in a lot of navigational type terms, the impact on the actual traffic is maybe not as significant as in some of those other areas.

Tyson:                          and what I mean by this is some of the key words that had really high search volume, that they’re no longer ranking on is something like Hotmail login or FedEx tracking. And FedEx tracking, as one example, dropped over 95 positions, so they’re no longer in the top 50. It has a monthly average search volume almost 5.5 million. So that is a huge impact into the SEO visibility, is like a one single keyword.

Tyson:                          However, how much traffic were they really getting for a FedEx tracking if the user clearly wants to know, hey here’s my package tracking number, I need to see where it’s at.

Ben:                             Right.

Tyson:                          So I think this comes into this relevancy, user intent, and in some of these too, you can make the case that there could be a content quality element.

Ben:                             So basically, what you’re saying is that Quora’s overall visibility might have decreased, but the traffic and the quality of the traffic that they’re getting did not necessarily take an equivalent hit?

Tyson:                          Exactly. Like I think your wording there is exactly right. Equivalent hit is going to be the piece, being that not all of the keywords that they dropped on were navigational, and some are definitely keywords that they want to have presence on, I’m sure that they are experiencing some loss here. But it’s not as drastic as what I believe that we’re seeing in the SEO visibility.

Ben:                             Okay. So Tyson, any other last comments or things that you’ve noticed about the winners or losers for January?

Tyson:                          No, I think as far as the websites that jumped out, I think there are a few gems in there, just like what’s going on in the industry. But for me, I think the most interesting takeaway from this, was seeing this comparison of what’s going on in January and then how that relates to maybe a three month or a 12 month scale, because again, we can see these outliers, and it would be interesting to look at someone like Rotten Tomatoes, are they able to stabilize with that increase?

Tyson:                          And as Google’s making a lot of changes on the content quality and relevancy that we’ve been seeing over the last, you could argue 12 months, six months, it’ll be interesting which ones stick and which ones really stabilize this performance. And that goes for both the ones that increase, as well as the ones that have decreased.

Ben:                             Alright, well I think our takeaways here is this month’s winner is the SEO who manages the Rotten Tomatoes domain. Congratulations. If you’re hearing this, or if somebody shares it to you, we’d love to have you on the show to hear what you’re doing to drive the type of increase in visibility that you’ve seen.

Ben:                             And on the flip side, you know, to the SEO managers working at Quora, hopefully the impact to your traffic isn’t as much as what we’ve seen in the decrease in your visibility, but hey if you need some help, call us. We’re always here.

Ben:                             And with that said, that wraps up this episode of the voices of search podcast. Thank you for listening to my conversation with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services. If you’d like to learn more about Tyson, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. Or you could send him a tweet at @Tyson_Stockton.

Ben:                             If you have general marketing questions, or if you want to talk about this podcast, you can find my contact information in the show or you can send me a tweet @BenJShap. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic, your online visibility or to gain competitive insights, head over to SearchMetrics.com/diagnostic for your complimentary advisory session with our digital strategies team.

Ben:                             If you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feed next week.

Ben:                             Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast and you’re feeling generous, we’d be honored if you’d leave us a review in the Apple iTunes store, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Alright. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.


The Most Common Internal Link Building Mistakes: A SEMrush Study

The Most Common Internal Link Building Mistakes: A SEMrush Study

Internal link building is a massively overlooked part of technical SEO that is completely within your reach and can be very fruitful if done right. To assess the scale of the problem, we’ve analyzed 150,000 random websites, with 175 million pages and 15 billion unique links in total. To help you build a crawlable and user-friendly link structure, our research includes the most common internal linking issues, with an explanation and a way of fixing them.


YouTube Optimization: Complete Guide

When you think SEO, naturally you think Google. Some of you might even think Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, or Baidu depending on your target location.

But the often-forgotten search engine when it comes to prioritizing your optimization efforts is YouTube.

According to Alexa’s global traffic rankings, YouTube is the second most visited website in the world.

It’s also arguably the second biggest search engine in the world that you haven’t yet properly optimized for — despite this very topic featuring at Mozcon over four years ago!

Why YouTube?

“YouTube viewers watch a lot of video — over 4 billion hours a month at last count. But the average household also watches several hours of video per day on their TVs. So for YouTube to become the most important media in more people’s lives, we’ve got a lot of growing to do.”

Source: YouTube Creators

Unlocking the potential within YouTube means you can access millions of viewers every day. This gives you a new channel for your promotional videos along with your more generally helpful content. In return, you can boost your overall online presence.

Ok, so a lot of YouTube is soppy cat videos and watching people inadvertently hurt themselves. But the platform does offer quite a bit for businesses to take advantage of, presenting those who embrace it with ample opportunity to:

  • Capture more attention
  • Garner better integration with social media content
  • Nurture a highly-engaged, loyal audience
  • Take advantage of the inherent benefit from better search engine rankings

That last one is the kicker.

Below, we will see how TOP can help you optimize your videos to increase your YouTube rankings, create engagement and why should you promote and embed your branded videos in your website’s

  • Targeting your videos – Understanding searcher intent, keyword research and video creation.
  • Optimizing your videos – Creating a branded presence, optimizing titles, tags and descriptions.
  • Promoting your videos – Getting real, engaged views on your videos, building links and embeds to your videos.

Easy as the Alphabet: Google and YouTube

Google shows more than just articles in their SERPs. They also rank videos, images, books and more.

The more content you create, in more varieties, the more you are increasing your chances of being picked up and ranked in Google SERPs for related search terms.

Considering that Google owns YouTube, it does not come as a surprise that you can increase your organic visibility by spending some time optimizing your video content on YouTube and embedding videos on your website.

It is important to know that embedding videos won’t directly improve your rankings in Google SERPs, according to Google’s John Mueller.

However, having useful videos within your content can help you keep a visitor on the page longer. That should eventually help you increase your niche authority, which should see you increasing your organic rankings.

Google’s John Mueller responds on a comment saying that embedding videos won’t directly improve your rankings

In short, once your visitors see that your site is sharing informative and helpful content they are most likely to return. Thus, over time making your site authoritative and engaging source rewarded by Google.

Based on your keyword research (explained further in this guide) you will be able to create video content useful for your targeted audience, that will result in your viewers seeing you as a trusted resource of information.

Before we dive into more detailed steps on how to optimize your videos, let’s take a look at the main YouTube ranking factors.

YouTube ranking factors

YouTube has cited Audience Retention as one of its main ranking factors. In short, this is how long people watch your videos before exiting.

The Audience Retention report analyses :

  • Average view duration for all videos on your channel
  • Top videos or channels listed by watch time
  • Audience retention data for a specific video for different time frames
  • Relative audience retention for a video compared to the YouTube average for similar videos

Other YouTube ranking factors surrounding engagement:

  • Video comments
  • Subscribers – after watching a video
  • Video shares
  • Click-through rate
  • Thumbs up/Thumbs down

Also, according to the YouTube SEO Ranking Factor Study, published on Briggsby, the most important aspects of ranking well on YouTube are:

  • Watch time
  • Channel authority
  • Positive sentiment & engagement
  • Broad match keyword targeting across title, description, and keyword tags

Now that we know what are some of the key ranking factors on YouTube let’s dive in and see how can you discover topics and how to optimize your videos to increase its chances to rank better on YouTube.

(T) Keyword research

The YouTube SEO process starts just like any content creation process, with a keyword, search query and topic research. If you are new to keyword research, check out Moz’s great guide on the topic or watch our very own ‘Wolfgang Bites’ and learn how can you ‘Read Your Customers’ Minds’.

The goal you are trying to achieve here is to understand searcher intent, what kind of information users are looking for and which search terms are relevant to your business and your audience.

An additional bonus would be to discover trending search terms or keywords related to your industry.

Find relevant topics with high volume keywords and low competition.

As highlighted in MOZ’s keyword research, you should ask yourself…

  • Is the keyword relevant to your website’s content?
  • Will searchers find what they are looking for on your site when they search using these keywords?
  • Will they be happy with what they find?
  • And, will this traffic result in financial rewards or other organizational goals?

Now that you know how to do a keyword research, let’s see how can you discover your potential keywords using YouTube.

YouTube’s Search Suggest

To start discovering industry related search topics, you can use YouTube’s search suggest feature. Just type something into YouTube search and you’ll see a list of suggested topics appear. If you have the Keywords Everywhere Extension plugged in too, you’ll even get some additional competition and volume information too.

Keywords Everywhere – Mozilla Firefox

Keywords Everywhere – Google Chrome

It doesn’t matter if you use MS Office Excel or Google Sheets, as long you create a database with search volume for your targeted keywords. Once you have at least 50 different keywords, you are ready to make your analysis. Based on your analysis, you should be able to discover which keywords are more valuable to you.

Using Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension to discover topics related to ‘health insurance’ with search volume shown for each suggestion.

Bear in mind that by using YouTube’s search suggest you would have to type the data in your sheets manually for each targeted keyword.

Considering that this process can be time-consuming, we would suggest creating a database of targeted search terms (topics and keywords related to your services). Using tools such are SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner you will be able to discover the most valuable keywords.

As an alternative to Google Keyword Planner you can use KeywordTool.io. This tool allows you to find keywords and you will be able to compare keyword search volume in YouTube, as opposed to search volume from Google.

Unfortunately, the free version is fairly limited and you need a pro version in order to unlock the following awesome features:

  • Keyword suggestions (variants stemming from your entry)
  • Related keywords (not keyword variants, but related, e.g. same semantic area)
  • Questions (similar to Answer The Public and the likes, great for Featured Snippet opportunities. etc)
  • Prepositions (again, similar to Answer The Public and the likes, great for increasing your site’s chances of appearing in Featured Snippets and ‘People Also Ask’ query suggestions)

KeywordTool.io can be used as an alternative to Google Keyword Planner

Industry related topics and videos

Another way of finding the industry related topics and keywords is to analyze your competitor’s videos. Analyzing their videos, you can discover topics, gather ideas and aim to create a better and more engaging video. Your ultimate goal here: ‘Steal’ their viewers.

The process here is rather straightforward. Visit your competitor’s branded YouTube profile and see which videos have the most views and comments. Analyze the keywords and topics they’ve used for their best performing videos and 10x it! Make it better!

Vid IQ and TubeBuddy are freemium browser plugins that allow you to spy on competitor tags, while providing additional performance data about selected YouTube video. Using one of these tools should help you discover what tags and keywords are your competitors use when uploading their videos.

Branded YouTube profile report

Using your business’ YouTube search report, you can discover how viewers are engaging with your content, a total watch time, average view duration, a total number of views, etc.

To view your YouTube analytics, navigate to Creator Studio Dashboard from your profile image (top right) or click here, once you’re logged into your YouTube account.

Navigating to YouTube Creator Studio Dashboard

Within YouTube Analytics, navigate to ‘Traffic Sources’ -> ‘YouTube Search.’

You will be able to see which search terms were used by viewers on YouTube to discover your content. Based on your previous keyword research, you should be able to notice if you’ve missed any important keywords.

Additionally, with knowing how users are discovering your videos, you will have a clear picture of what your most important keywords are for targeting purposes.

YouTube Analytics Traffic Sources

List of targeted keywords

When you compile a group of targeted keywords for your video, it’s time to see the amount of search volume for each keyword. It’s good practice to ensure that target keywords generate at least 100-1k searches per month in Google.

While it is a good practice to discover keywords with high search volume (at least 100-1k searches per month), it is important to know that some topics or industries don’t generate high search volume.

So, knowing your own industry this should not come as a surprise. You can prioritize your keywords even if the search volume is below 100-1k searches per month.

Using Google Keyword Planner or KeywordTool.io you will be able to pull search volume for your targeted keywords.

Once you have a set of 50 – 100 targeted keywords, you can set up a campaign to track your YouTube rankings.

One of the tools that allow you to track your rankings on YouTube is Rank Tracker from Link Assistant. Similar to Google SERPs rankings campaign in Moz, Rank Tracker will show you performance and rankings for your YouTube videos.

Rank Tracker from Link Assistant YouTube rankings campaign

Creating a Video that Retains Attention

At Wolfgang, we often say attention is the modern digital commodity so you want your video to retain a viewer’s attention for as long as possible.

This means your video content needs to be high quality and engaging. In short, if your video keeps viewers on YouTube, the chances are increased that YouTube will rank your video higher in the platform’s search results.

Additionally, responding to people’s questions or comments on your videos can create conversations that help your audience learn more about your company and the topic of your video.

Knowing how your viewers think can be used to create in-depth and topically related videos or content for your blog.

Using Google Trends can help you determine when is the best time to share your videos with your audience.

In the example below, we can see that January is the best month to share and create videos related to health insurance topics:

Using Google Trends to discover when is the best time to share your video on desired topic - 1

While car insurance topics are mostly researched between June and August:

Using Google Trends to discover when is the best time to share your video on desired topic - 2

Optimize like it’s… 2009

Sometimes, optimizing your YouTube videos might even feel like you’re going back in time and optimizing for Google Search a decade ago, roundabout when Susan Boyle was setting YouTube alight with her mind-blowing Britain’s Got Talent performance (the most watched clip of the year, amazingly!).

To increase your video’s chances of striking the high notes and being picked up by search engines, every YouTube video should have relevant title name and description along with the ever-critical relevant tags.

It’s important you don’t simply create video content for the sake of it. Always stop to consider whether or not the content will be helpful for your audience. Also, check if there is a similar content out there and ask yourself how can you create something like this, but better. Try to apply 10X content strategy on your videos.

(O) YouTube video optimization

Keywords and search queries are just as important to YouTube as they are to Google.

As touched upon earlier, once the targeted keyword has been selected and a relevant video has been created, including metadata in your videos is important. Considering that YouTube cannot fully index the content within your video, it needs to rely on the content you provide.

The following parts will cover:

  • Video title
  • Video description
  • Tags
  • Video thumbnails

The title, description and tags will help influence where and when your video appears in YouTube search results, as well as within the actual vocal copy of your suggested videos.

Video title

We’d highly recommended that the video title is at least 5 words long and up to 70 characters in length. Having a catchy, relevant and descriptive video title will enable you to include targeted keywords.

If possible, placing the targeted keywords closer to the beginning of the title is recommended. However, keep in mind that your video title should entice viewer to watch your video.

YouTube’s very own, awesome Creator Academy features some effective tips that can help you create a title that should entice a viewer to click through:

  • Keep titles concise (between 60 and 70 characters) with the most important information up front.
  • Save episode numbers and branding towards the end.
  • Check that your titles don’t get cut-off in suggested videos, search results, and mobile

We also suggest including additional items that they haven’t flagged:

  • Use your targeted keyword in the video title
  • Include intent modifier (e.g. best, compare, free, local (Irish, American etc.), top, review etc.)

Video description

While video descriptions can be up to 5,000 characters in length, you should ensure that the key message is at the beginning of your description. In his YouTube study, Justin found out that the optimal word count is between 300 – 350 characters long.

Optimal number of words to use in YouTube descriptions.

A tailored video description can even attract some views coming from Google results. Using search terms in your video description that are searched on Google, not just on YouTube.

The description can also help drive relevant traffic to your website. Including a link to your domain within your video description can bring additional traffic to your site.

Video tags

A tag is pretty much just a keyword that you add to your video and it can help you grow your YouTube audience. You need to ensure that your tags precisely describe the topic and content of your video. Including relevant and related keywords should help you gather more views. Create tags that are based on your topic and are relevant to your targeted keyword.

In order to find tags for your videos, you can start with the YouTube search bar and type in your targeted search term, as in the example below:

Using YouTube search bar to discover potential video tags.

If we take these four keywords and if you look at the search volume, it becomes quite clear which keywords you can and should utilize within your tagging logic.

Health insurance – High search volume

Volume: 673,000/mo | CPC: $12.22 | Competition: 0.89

Health insurance ireland – Medium search volume

Volume: 6,600/mo | CPC: $3.91 | Competition: 0.74

Health insurance broker – – Medium search volume

Volume: 4,400/mo | CPC: $8.60 | Competition: 0.63

Health insurance advisor – Low search volume

Volume: 390/mo | CPC: $8.63 | Competition: 0.66

If you don’t have access to any paid keyword volume tools and perhaps find Keyword Planner a little cumbersome for this task, you can use Keywords Everywhere to find out the search volume for each keyword, free n’ easy within the SERPs.

Use the data discovered in keyword and tag research and use it when creating video titles and video descriptions.

Video thumbnails

When you have a verified YouTube account you are able to upload your own image for your thumbnail video. Which means that you can edit your image to make it stand out from other videos in your niche.

It is recommended to use high resolution image for your video thumbnail – width: 1280p and height: 720p.

However, it is important to know that there’s a limit of of 2MB and the supported thumbnail image formats are .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.

Once you upload your video you will see an option to choose a Custom thumbnail under the “Video thumbnails” section. You can also upload thumbnail image for any of your previously published videos.

Using YouTube Studio Beta to upload video thumbnail.

Using YouTube SEO Checklist can help you track your video optimization steps and help you optimize your video to give it a better chance to rank higher. Unfortunately, this extension is only available for Google Chrome.

(P) Promoting your videos to increase your overall brand awareness

In the opening section we’ve mentioned YouTube’s ranking signals, where we listed video subscribers, video shares, comments and Click Through Rate as important ranking signals (engagement).

To increase the number of users that will watch, subscribe and share your videos, you need to promote the video content also. You have to reach the audience.

By incorporating YouTube content into your ongoing marketing strategy for your business, you are increasing the chances to draw more visits and views to your branded YouTube channel. The more views and engagements you have on your videos, the more authoritative and relevant your videos are in Google’s eyes.

Linking to your video in your email signature

A simple link to your video in your email signature can be an effective driver of traffic. As mentioned earlier, comments, shares and likes (thumbs up) are important ranking signals. Considering that your email recipients are most likely your service users, they are the audience most likely to be interested in video content related to the news and services that your business provides. Furthermore, a satisfied customer will more likely share the video if they find it useful.

Embedding videos in blog posts

Creating some written content on your website gives you the opportunity to embed the YouTube video or recommend that readers watch your video to find more information. This creates another link between your site and the video for Googlebot to consider.

Embedding videos in blog posts or landing pages is the most direct and advantageous way to integrate your content and YouTube videos.

When you include videos in your articles, your posts become more dynamic and engaging. Writing new articles, related to your video topic, can help you reuse the same video content multiple times. Presenting older videos to a new audience will help you gather more views, subscribers and engagements in general.

You can follow Google’s own guidelines on embedding YouTube videos.

Take advantage of Playlist functionality

Perhaps one of the simplest high-value feature inclusions you should embrace on your YouTube page; the utilization of playlists as part of your optimization strategy.

Playlists can be excellent for garnering that ‘snowball effect’ and to help keep users clicking and rolling through your semantically related videos with ease. They help ramp up the view count and generally tend to rank higher than standalone videos in the search results, making them a no-brainer for inclusion in your YouTube optimization arsenal.

Engagement matters

It’s no secret that video content is a popular way to grab attention and drive home a key message, but it seems many brands are just creating video for the sake of it.

As covered in-depth within this guide, ranking well on YouTube search requires some smart thinking to increase your likelihood of winning some vital engagement. That means obsessing over important metrics like:

  1. “Dwell time” (how long people are watching your videos for)
  2. Share rate (social)
  3. Links and embeds on other sites
  4. Channel subscriber count (real ones)

Therefore, assuming your video quality is of a high standard of course, spending some time to optimize your videos for your potential YouTube in terms of quality and searchability should see your videos attract more views and dominate that vital second search engine that we as SEOs are often quite guilty of neglecting — never more if you follow these steps to a tee!

Measuring ongoing performance

Last, but by no means least, we’d highly recommend that you analyze your current video performance using Google Data Studio and YouTube analytics.

These tools allow you to discover how your content is performing up to date (average number of views, comments, watch time, thumbs up, etc) and to generate reports after you optimize your videos with custom thumbnails, video tags, tailored video title and description.

Mastering the art of calculating your overall watched time on YouTube is important, especially if you’re comparing stats versus other social video ad platforms.

While a number of great rank tracking tools can help you track your YouTube rankings for your targeted search terms, you can use integrate their API feeds with Data Studio to create daily, weekly or monthly performance reports. It shouldn’t be hard, but you need to know your way around Google Data Studio to configure this report.

Using the information provided above, you should be able to start creating video content that will be informative and useful to your targeted audience.

For more about YouTube SEO, check out:

Ivan Crnomaric is SEO Executive at Wolfgang Digital.

The post YouTube Optimization: Complete Guide appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


WordPress newsletter recommendations, related events, and Gutenberg writing tips

We’re diving a bit deeper into some of the options to make better use of the Gutenberg editor in this edition of my roundup. Additionally, I’m highlighting two WordPress related events as well as two very different, but highly recommended WordPress newsletters.

WordPress Newsletters

I’d like to highlight two very different kinds of WordPress related newsletters: MasterWP and Post Status. But first off, congratulations to Alex and Ben for publishing their 100th weekly MasterWP newsletter. Together with Post Status‘ newsletter, they are my favorite two WordPress related newsletters. Whereas MasterWP is free and focuses on subjects touching the WordPress ecosphere, PostStatus is more focused on the smaller bits of news happening in the WordPress world.

Both come highly recommended if you’re looking for regular WordPress news.

WordPress Related Events

Not technically just WordPress related news, but I did want to share that YoastCon is this week. And in case you missed it, YoastCon is an SEO & Online Marketing conference that goes deeper and wider than most other SEO conferences. And, there still are some tickets available if you’re looking for a jam-packed SEO conference.

Speaking of conferences. It looks like the sixth edition of PressNomics is in the making. Having attended the fourth edition myself, I can definitely recommend PressNomics as a WordPress event. It’s more geared towards WordPress business owners – or as they say: “for those that power the WordPress Economy” – as opposed to your regular WordCamps, but again, highly recommended for anyone working with WordPress on a day to day basis.

Gutenberg writing tips

Since Gutenberg landed in WordPress Core as the new Block Editor, I’ve focused on extending Gutenberg quite a few times in all kinds of different ways, but I realized this week that I’ve not yet actually shared some useful tips on how to use Gutenberg. So, I thought it’d be good to share three Gutenberg related tips on how to actually put it to good use.

Distraction Free writing mode

One of the things I absolutely love about the new editor is how you can set it to use a distraction free writing mode. Now, of course, we already a version of this in the classic editor, but the new version deserves to be reintroduced.

This is how you make the best use of the Block Editor:

  1. Activate the Top Toolbar Option

    When you open the new Block Editor, you can access the settings menu via the three dots on top of each other in the top right of your screen (It’s right next to the Yoast toolbar icon). Under View you have to option to activate the Top Toolbar option by clicking on it.
    This will move the hovering toolbar you’d normally see for every single block move to the top toolbar. The first big part of the distraction is now gone.

  2. Active the Fullscreen Mode

    In that same menu as where you found the previous option, you’ll also find the option Fullscreen Mode. Clicking on it will set your editor in the desired distraction-free mode by going fullscreen. You now no longer have the WordPress Dashboard menu on the right or any of the other normal WordPress distractions.

  3. Hide Settings (optional)

    The last thing left to do is optional. I don’t use it myself personally, but if you truly want to remove all distractions and just write, then there’s one thing left to do. By clicking on the gear icon in the top right of the Gutenberg toolbar you’ll hide the settings sidebar on the right.

That’s all you have to do to get the most out of the new distraction-free mode.

Gutenberg Keyboard Shortcuts

There a few keyboard shortcuts I use daily that I’d like to share.

  1. Just by typing 1. as the beginning of a new paragraph, the block editor will turn that into a numbered list item.
  2. Just by typing an asteriks (*) + a space, the block editor will turn that into a list item.
  3. Instead of clicking on the circle with the plus icons to start looking for your next block, you can actually type the forward slash ( / ) as well.
  4. Just by typing anywhere between two or six hashtags in a row + a space, the block editor turns that into a corresponding header. Meaning: ### + space will turn the block into a H3 header.

Moving multiple blocks around

Whenever you find yourself wanting to move a couple to a different position in the editor, just select the blocks you want to move with your mouse. Once you release your mouse button you’ll see that the blocks are all highlighted with a blue background. Right next to the top one on the left, you’ll find the normal Move Up and Move Down arrows and they will move around all the blocks you’ve selected.

That’s it for me this time around. If you know of any other smart ways of using the block editor, do share those tips here in the comments.

Site Health Check postponed to 5.2

WordPress 5.1 Beta 3 was released just before the weekend and with it came a notice about the new Site Health Check featured. Unfortunately, it’s being postponed to the WordPress 5.2 release as stated in the Beta 3 release post:

Some potential security issues were discovered in the implementation: rather than risk releasing insecure code, the team decided to pull it out of WordPress 5.1

WordPress.org News

The post WordPress newsletter recommendations, related events, and Gutenberg writing tips appeared first on Yoast.


Author guide

This orphan post is an example of the many things that can be done to make blog posts more engaging by using different elements, image presentations and widgets. Elements Tables – Text Editor Company Contact Country Alfreds Futterkiste Maria Anders Germany Centro comercial Moctezuma Francisco Chang Mexico Ernst Handel Roland Mendel Austria Island Trading Helen […]

The post Author guide appeared first on Builtvisible.


The Dos and Don’ts of Getting Started with Pinterest Advertising

In September 2018, Pinterest reported that 250 million people used the social platform every month, which is 25% more than the number of people who used Pinterest in September 2017. This year-over-year growth is astounding since Pinterest is a lot younger than other social platforms (launched in 2010). Pinterest has become another vital channel to reach prospects or current customers and be a touch point in your consumer marketing funnel.

Besides Pinterest having hundreds of millions of Pinners to reach, Pinterest ads allow you to reach your business goals. Whether you are looking to build brand awareness, increase sales of your e-commerce products, or generate leads on your website, Pinterest advertising can help.   

Starting to advertise on a new channel can be tough, so if you are a marketer looking to start using Pinterest ads, we are going to share the dos and don’ts to getting started.

Dos & don’ts of getting started with Pinterest ad campaigns

Dos:

  • Implement the Pinterest tag to every page of your site to track user behavior on your website after someone clicks on your Pinterest ad. Other benefits of the Pinterest tag include:
    • The ability to measure the effectiveness of your Pinterest ads towards your goals and KPIs (key performance indicators).
    • The ability to examine user behavior across all devices.
    • Better understand your audience and develop more refined audience targeting strategies because the tag collects data on users who interact with your pins or ads.
  • Utilize conversion tracking to show the success of your Pinterest ad or campaign. Similar to Twitter, you can measure conversions by setting up specific events in your Pinterest tag to track different types of actions.  
    • You can track the following events, or “actions”: signups, video views, category views, page visits, searches, when products are added to a cart, checkouts, and lead gen activity.
  • Understand your target audience before developing an audience targeting strategy for your campaign.  If you do not have any insights or general knowledge about your current customers or target audience, Pinterest has a few tools that can help you determine your audience strategy.
    • If you or your company already have a Pinterest business profile, you can check out the Audience insights tool through Pinterest analytics to learn more about who your audience is and what they are interested in.
    • If you or your company are brand new to Pinterest, you can review Pinterest’s insights page to learn about the different types of people who are already on Pinterest and understand how to reach them with your ads.

  • Create an audience strategy based on your campaign’s goals. For example:
    • Goal: increase brand awareness with prospects.
      • Audience strategy: use keyword, interest or lookalike targeting.
    • Goal: drive traffic to your website from users who have engaged with your brand previously.
      • Audience strategy: use the Pinterest pixel to remarket to website visitors or people who have engaged with your pins.
    • Goal: generate more purchases from current customers.
      • Audience strategy: use your CRM list with current customer email addresses to show ads to your customers.
  • Drive more engagement by taking advantage of holidays or special events that correlate to your business and goals.
    • User engagement and pin activity on Pinterest increase leading up to and during holidays and special events. You should run relevant Pinterest ads during these periods of increased engagement because you could have a greater potential to reach more pinners.
    • Goal: increase sales of your Mother’s Day greeting cards.
      • Strategy: develop creative ad copy around Mother’s Day and drive users to a Mother’s Day related landing page.
    • Goal: generate leads targeting Superbowl fans to put into your customer funnel.
      • Strategy: create ads related to the Superbowl that entice users to click on the ad to go to your site. Then you can retarget them across different digital initiatives.
    • Goal: improve brand awareness and drive more traffic and page visits to your new holiday blog post.
      • Strategy: promote your new holiday blog post with relevant images or video and ad copy.
  • Test different ad formats to see what format drives the strongest engagement with your audience based on your goals.
    • There are multiple different Pinterest ad formats, some include promoted pins:

    • Promoted app pins

Don’ts:

  • Do not start advertising on Pinterest without having your business profile set up. There are a few basic steps you must complete to set up your business profile that allow you to advertise and gain credibility with pinners.
    • For example, you will need to claim your company’s website, add a profile cover, complete profile details, create an advertiser account, and more.
  • Do not launch a Pinterest ad campaign without knowing the campaign goal or having measurable KPIs to gauge performance. For example,
    • Goal: drive revenue and transactions
      • KPIs: revenue, transactions, and ROAS
    • Goal: drive traffic to a service-related page
      • KPIs: clicks and CTR
    • Goal: have prospective customers or clients contact you
      • KPIs: lead gen form fills
  • Do not launch Pinterest ads without having at least a few boards with multiple pins.
    • Overall, having boards with relevant pins and content will help build credibility and authority with potential customers which will increase the likelihood of them engaging with your brand.
    • Boards should be uniquely organized and eye-catching to browsers or prospective customers.
  • Do not use website pages or landing pages for your ads that are not mobile friendly. If your website has a slow load time, does not load at all or renders poorly on mobile, it will hurt the user experience and likely cause the user to leave the page.
  • Once you have launched a campaign, do not let pins go stale by refreshing the creative (image, ad format, and ad copy) every 2-3 weeks.
    • If you do not have the resources to create new creative often, then aim to refresh the ads every month. Naturally, pinners will get tired of seeing the same pins and will be less likely to click on the pin if they continue to see it.

Conclusion

Advertising on Pinterest opens businesses up to a whole new world of consumers who are ready to engage with new content. Now that you’re set with the dos and don’ts of Pinterest, start building your brand on the platform that hosts 250 million individuals each month.

If this article has gotten you excited about the potential of Pinterest advertising for your business and you want Seer’s help, contact us today!


[GUEST POST] How I Got 3X More Performance from a Team Member Than Anyone Else Could

At one point in my content strategy role, I gained a new adjacent responsibility and the team member that came with it. Initially, I was excited because I’d have an extra set of hands to help get work done. But that my enthusiasm quickly dampened.

It turns out the team member I inherited was actually a known underperformer and I was one of the last potential stops for improvement on his way out the door. I had my work cut out for me. Here’s how I turned things around.


Set and communicate clear expectations

I’m passionate about this one, having been on the wrong side of unclear expectations before. It’s also one of the easiest and most likely fixes for underperformance.

It’s easy to assume our expectations of people are clear. Especially if we’ve been doing a job for a while, we may assume expectations are a given. Or we may assume they should be obvious from assignments and feedback we’re sharing. They’re often not. For all sorts of reasons.

So assume any unspoken expectations don’t exist.

In fact, assume any potentially ambiguous or implied expectations don’t exist. Then lay out clear, measurable, highly specific expectations. Confirm your team member understands them. Have your team member repeat them back to you and explain what they mean.

At one job, my manager’s manager felt that I wasn’t meeting expectations by a wide margin. He could have elected to fire me or demote me. Fortunately, he decided first to talk to me about it. He asked me what I thought was expected of me, and then told me what he expected—with no ambiguity or room for misinterpretation. I was incredibly thankful this, because I wasn’t aware of any of his expectations of me. I’d been doing everything my direct manager had asked of me—even getting proactive about her priorities.

But her expectations and her manager’s expectations weren’t even close. I ultimately ended up becoming a top performer, but I would have never had the chance if my boss’s boss hadn’t taken the opportunity to have a candid and clear conversation with me to establish clear expectations.

Learn about the team member  – What do they want?

Ask your team member—What are their goals? Hopes? Fears? Aspirations? Then look at how that all aligns (or doesn’t) with your underperforming team member’s role and responsibilities.

Team Members can underperform because they’re in the wrong role. Or because their responsibilities aren’t matched to their strengths. Or because their motivation is hurt by feeling stuck. The reasons are too numerous to list here.

But your team member’s expectations about their role and their future can affect their performance just as much as your expectations. So just ask. I did.

My team member didn’t have aggressive aspirations of moving up in the company. He had come from roles where he was expected to act like a passive order taker. Critical thinking was discouraged. This helped set his expectations and effort level.

When I shared with him a vision where he could take more ownership of what he did, where he could operate without being micromanaged, and where he could be proactive to shape the results of what he produced, and a measurement plan that involved focusing on the results of what he did and not focused on checking off tasks from a list regardless of their effect, he quickly started acting differently. And I think he began to consider a different vision of what he could be doing.

He still wasn’t going to be as aggressive as someone who was trying to climb the ranks. But within a month or two, when prompted, he began making suggestions for ways we could improve our KPIs based on his own observations and reasoning.

Learn about the team member – Skills match

Is your team member even a good match for the responsibilities assigned to them? Take a written inventory of all the individual skills your team member needs to succeed in their role. You can even have your team member generate one separately so you can compare notes to see how far off yours is from theirs.

Then compare it with their actual skills. Mark all the matches. Mark all the required skills that they don’t have. Note the skills they have that they don’t need for the role. Go through this list with them. You may discover they have skills you don’t know about.

Maybe your team member is better suited for a different role altogether. Maybe you they take on some new responsibilities that match their skills and you can move responsibilities they’re not suited for to another team member who is. Maybe they can get their skills in good shape with some professional development.

Either way, writing down these skills inventories and comparing them should give you some good ideas for next steps.

Meet regularly, especially at the beginning

Underperforming team members often get a double whammy. Not only are they not producing to expectations, but that fact often leads managers to neglect the underperformer, electing to spend time on team members and activities they think will be more productive. Unfortunately, this deprives the underperforming team member of the attention they need to turn things around.

Setting frequent and regular check-ins with your team member will help you get a good gauge on progress and more quickly make adjustments. And you’re going to have to make a lot of adjustments early on if you’re attempting to turn around underperformance.

My team member was a remote worker, so this was doubly important. I didn’t have the chance to swivel my chair around or walk down the hall. Without regular check-ins, we easily could have gone weeks without talking. But we didn’t. We scheduled a weekly hour-long check-in call and another weekly light chat-based check-in. We did our weekly call on Tuesdays so we could take stock of what needed to be done for the week and shape the week’s activities. We covered:

  • What we did last week
  • What we didn’t complete last week
  • Progress on ongoing projects
  • What we planned to do that week
  • Project blockers and what we could do to resolve them
  • KPI review
  • Two-way performance feedback loop

Our Thursday, chat check-ins were basically a mini assessment on progress. We discussed where we were versus where we expected to be, quickly tried to resolve any questions or simple blockers, and re-prioritized if needed. As time wore on and we got into a better rhythm where my team member’s activities were well matched with my expectations, we were able to reduce this cadence without worrying about performance falling off again. And if performance does fall off again after you loosen up on your check-ins, don’t freak out. Just go back to the last meeting cadence where you were seeing success. The journey to performance improvement isn’t always linear. There may be a few hiccups on the way up.

What cadence should you use? That’s ultimately up to you. This one worked for me. Yours may be different. Factors like whether your team member is in the office with you, what kind of functions they perform, and how frequently you communicate through other tools outside of your scheduled meetings can all affect your optimal meeting cadence.

Start with really specific & prescriptive goals and deadlines

This works kind of like an extension of your expectations. When you leave goals, assignments or deadlines vague, you leave room for misinterpretation. By being highly specific, you give the team member no wiggle room to misunderstand. And that gives you a great assessment point to see what was hurting your team member’s performance most—ambiguity, skills or attitude. It can also help your team member get a better understanding of what you’re actually trying to accomplish, how and why, which can help them improve if they’re motivated to do so.

So, when I was working with my team member, instead of saying, “Let’s try and bump up our rank for hosted PBX by a couple of positions,” I’d say something more like, “I’d like you to produce two blog posts of at least 600 words on the subject of hosted PBX, with that key term in the title tag, the headline, and the body, as well as using it as anchor text to the target page at least once in each blog post. I’d also like you to create links to the target page using hosted PBX as the anchor text from these other three pre-existing URLs.”

This made things simple. He either did the things I asked him to correctly or he didn’t.

It wasn’t much surprise to me that he didn’t have any issue following instructions like this. He wasn’t unintelligent by any stretch. But having come from roles in the company where he didn’t have any responsibility for SEO, you could argue it was a stretch to assume he should have known how to generate a specific outcome without some guidance. And the more he observed the specific types of work we did to accomplish specific goals, the more he caught on. Which leads me to my next point.

 Explain your thinking as you work through projects together

At its essence, most training works this way. You get a person started by having them execute simple tasks. As they gain skill at the simple stuff, you begin explaining why they’re doing each of these tasks, and the role each plays in the larger picture. The more they do and the more you explain why, the more they start to get a feel for the whole process.

Then, if they’re starting to turn things around, they’ll be able to start telling you why they’re doing the tasks you’ve assigned to them, and ultimately begin suggesting tasks themselves in service of their goals.

I did this both for the work I assigned to my team member and the work I was doing myself. I shared with him examples of what I did and talked about why I did each one. This gave him lots of opportunities to notice patterns and understand the underlying principles. After a while, I also began presenting assignments, or actions I had taken, and asking him if he could tell me why. He got better at it with time and began to show understanding of the underlying principles that eventually allowed him to start suggesting his own assignments based on our goals.

Begin feeding them progressively more proactive work

You’ve probably already noticed this as an unspoken theme in the rest of this piece. But as I got comfortable that my team member was beginning to really understand core concepts, demonstrate skills and perform closer to expectations, he got more autonomy and less oversight.

You shouldn’t let the rope all out at once. Start by finding a single opportunity for your team member to stretch themselves. If that goes well, find another. And another. Accelerate it just fast enough that you don’t overshoot their performance progress trajectory and hurt their confidence by giving them too many challenges too big too fast. Underperformer confidence is often more fragile than the average team member. Giving your team member chances at proactive work also help you assess more than understanding and ability, they give you good indicators of their motivation level. Some underperforming team members are just not motivated, and they’ll reveal themselves here. And if they are motivated, getting the trust of their manager can really slingshot their dedication and performance.

The 3X Secret Sauce

That’s the secret to how I got 3x more performance out of my underperforming team member than anyone else could. He wasn’t destined to be a rock star. But he was capable of much more than he was showing.

It wasn’t easy. It was a lot of work. And not everyone will have the patience for it. But it can really pay off, especially if you uncover a dormant top performer hiding beneath motivation issues or unclear expectations or a skills mismatch. Plus, you may get the satisfaction (and gratitude) of helping someone turn around their whole situation. And it’s hard to put a KPI on that.


About Hal Werner

Hal Werner is a Dallas-based content strategist and digital marketer that turns customer insight into customer action. He does this with a heap of data, a big helping of creativity and a sampler of leadership hacks. His unique combination of creative background and analytical prowess delivers an unfair advantage in a marketing landscape littered with mediocre content and experiences. Find more of his actionable insights on his blog and follow him on Twitter.


Top Google searches (as of February 2019)

Article stats

  • Referring domains 95

  • Organic traffic 13319

Data from Content Explorer tool.

Quick links

Are you wondering what people in the United States (and around the World) are searching for the most? Then you’re in luck!

We’ve just uploaded fresh data from the previous month into Keywords Explorer—our monstrous keywords database—and naturally, we wanted to know which Google searches were most popular this month.

Sidenote.

the total size of Ahrefs’ keywords database is now 7.5 BILLION keywords (3.16 billion of which are Google search queries from the United States alone). Which makes our database the biggest one in our industry.

We have pulled two lists for the United States:

  • Top100 most searched keywords in the US—a list of terms with the highest average monthly search volume as of today;
  • Top100 new keywords in the US—a list of the most popular search queries that we haven’t seen up until last month.

And then we also pulled worldwide data, which turned out quite interesting as well.

So here you go:

Top 100 Google search queries in the US (as of February 2019)

Unsurprisingly, this list is almost entirely dominated by branded searches. But we have decided to leave the list as is so that you could see the full picture.

# Keyword Search Volume Return Rate
1 facebook 236,700,000 11.32
2 youtube 194,800,000 6.52
3 amazon 103,300,000 4.46
4 gmail 91,310,000 5.63
5 google 84,660,000 4.36
6 ebay 58,830,000 4.7
7 yahoo 57,040,000 8.28
8 craigslist 53,000,000 4.45
9 weather 52,340,000 5.08
10 yahoo mail 51,390,000 6.53
11 google maps 41,320,000 3.77
12 netflix 39,050,000 3.42
13 walmart 38,790,000 2.68
14 google translate 36,840,000 5.28
15 google docs 28,470,000 5.04
16 news 27,750,000 9.23
17 translate 25,700,000 5.19
18 home depot 24,850,000 2.62
19 facebook login 24,780,000 6.05
20 cnn 24,740,000 7.03
21 hotmail 23,980,000 6.09
22 fox news 22,970,000 8.37
23 google drive 21,800,000 4.11
24 calculator 21,560,000 4.67
25 maps 20,600,000 3.28
26 msn 20,260,000 12.19
27 usps tracking 19,520,000 3.31
28 google classroom 18,130,000 4.73
29 lowes 17,830,000 2.57
30 target 17,110,000 2.24
31 paypal 17,080,000 2.49
32 espn 16,490,000 5.86
33 bank of america 16,450,000 4.14
34 instagram 16,440,000 2.45
35 aol mail 16,210,000 10.44
36 entertainment 16,050,000 5.14
37 wells fargo 15,480,000 4.21
38 pinterest 15,020,000 3
39 zillow 14,540,000 2.71
40 twitter 14,140,000 3.18
41 best buy 14,040,000 1.97
42 you tube 13,980,000 4.75
43 indeed 13,540,000 3.35
44 speed test 13,540,000 2.83
45 trump 13,300,000 9.88
46 roblox 12,920,000 4.73
47 linkedin 12,590,000 2.66
48 sports 12,210,000 3.78
49 youtube to mp3 12,060,000 3.59
50 amazon prime 11,130,000 2.49
51 aol 10,930,000 10.52
52 chase 10,590,000 4.02
53 capital one 10,440,000 3.1
54 costco 10,310,000 2.24
55 ups tracking 10,270,000 2.46
56 pandora 10,080,000 2.68
57 nba 9,910,000 9.12
58 reddit 9,910,000 3.83
59 kohls 9,900,000 2.44
60 bing 9,550,000 5.61
61 traductor 9,450,000 7.53
62 hulu 9,400,000 2.25
63 nfl 9,340,000 5.87
64 finance 9,000,000 13.47
65 american airlines 8,770,000 2.28
66 usps 8,590,000 2.14
67 etsy 8,430,000 2.54
68 pizza hut 8,260,000 1.91
69 fb 8,180,000 12.1
70 twitch 8,010,000 3.01
71 airbnb 7,980,000 2.1
72 macys 7,890,000 2.57
73 dominos 7,690,000 1.98
74 123movies 7,680,000 3.55
75 spotify 7,640,000 1.73
76 google flights 7,570,000 3.98
77 expedia 7,430,000 2.36
78 google scholar 7,390,000 4.29
79 wells fargo login 7,330,000 3.99
80 verizon 7,080,000 1.95
81 fedex tracking 6,890,000 2.42
82 you 6,850,000 2.34
83 united airlines 6,740,000 2.04
84 google news 6,610,000 8.12
85 bed bath and beyond 6,590,000 1.83
86 facebook log in 6,350,000 4.59
87 discord 6,310,000 2.25
88 outlook 6,280,000 2.89
89 walgreens 6,220,000 1.83
90 gamestop 6,080,000 2.08
91 mapquest 6,060,000 2.31
92 restaurants near me 6,040,000 2.08
93 nfl scores 6,030,000 5.96
94 pof 6,000,000 9.7
95 southwest 5,930,000 2.18
96 credit karma 5,900,000 2.16
97 xfinity 5,850,000 2.37
98 solitaire 5,830,000 11.2
99 groupon 5,790,000 1.9
100 thesaurus 5,790,000 2.35

Sidenote.

We removed all NSFW queries from this list. What you see above are the top 100 “clean” search queries. Here’s the raw, uncensored list for those that want it. (You’ve been warned!)

Before we move on to the next list of trending keywords, it’s important to understand the keyword metrics that we display.

Search volume

Search volume shows how many times a given keyword is being entered into Google per month. And, because the search demand on many keywords tends to fluctuate from month to month, the number that we give you is an annual average.

Sidenote.

here at Ahrefs we calculate search volumes by modeling data from Google Keyword Planner against clickstream data (learn more here). This method has proven to be quite accurate and we keep tweaking our model to achieve even better results.

Return Rate

Return Rate shows how often a person will search for that keyword again. It is a relative metric, so RR 3.55 doesn’t mean that people perform the same search 3–4 times a month on average.

But Return Rate is very useful when comparing two keywords.

For example, the keyword “spotify” has RR 1.73, which means that people rarely search for that keyword again. (Probably because they were just looking to download this app or learn what it is.)

On the other hand, “facebook” has RR 11.32, which means that people search for it quite frequently. (Probably because many people don’t have Facebook on their bookmarks bar, and simply Google it each time they want to access it.)

Learn more about search volume & Return Rate here.

Top 100 NEW Google searches in the US (as of February 2019)

This list is much more interesting because it shows things that people in the US have started to care about all of a sudden.

# Keyword Search Volume Keyword Difficulty
1 76th golden globe awards nominees and winners 42,000 37
2 nick sandmann 17,000 19
3 hamberder 12,000 37
4 jake thomas patterson 12,000 29
5 chilly gnomes 11,000 12
6 fiji water girl 11,000 41
7 covington catholic kentucky 10,000 50
8 zephen xaver 10,000 13
9 10 year challenge 8,300 53
10 hamberders 7,900 39
11 sex education season 2 7,600 7
12 winter storm harper 7,500 28
13 govt shutdown 2019 7,200 60
14 masked singer revealed 7,000 10
15 jasmine eiland 6,900 4
16 steven universe change your mind dailymotion 6,300 0
17 superbowl 2019 date teams 6,300 17
18 91st academy awards nominees and winners 6,000 62
19 julen rosello 6,000 22
20 dakota theriot 5,900 30
21 what time is the super bowl in 2019 5,800 42
22 world record egg 5,800 31
23 lunar eclipse 2019 astrology 5,500 10
24 sylas build 5,500 0
25 chiefs vs patriots 2019 5,300 15
26 instagram egg 5,300 42
27 search between a giant rock man 5,200 9
28 nicholas sandmann 5,100 0
29 ps plus february 2019 4,900 14
30 aoc dancing 4,800 43
31 covington catholic high school kentucky 4,800 8
32 jeff bezos lauren sanchez 4,700 30
33 krystal whipple 4,600 6
34 marlboro rewards 2019 4,500 3
35 polar cast 4,500 6
36 super blood wolf moon january 2019 4,400 51
37 surviving r kelly watch online 4,400 6
38 games with gold february 2019 4,300 37
39 guaido 4,300 4
40 eric black jr 4,000 10
41 savannah spurlock 4,000 6
42 daughters of ash 3,800 5
43 polar vortex 2019 map 3,700 42
44 super bowl 2019 time and date 3,700 24
45 24th critics’ choice awards nominees and winners 3,600 36
46 25th screen actors guild awards nominees and winners 3,600 34
47 saints bad call 3,600 32
48 dance on top of a ranger tower 3,500 4
49 katlyn alix 3,500 1
50 my roommate is a cat 3,500 13
51 nathan phillips vietnam 3,500 39
52 watch surviving r kelly 3,500 12
53 bezos divorce 3,400 43
54 saints no call 3,400 18
55 lunar eclipse 2019 texas 3,300 6
56 masked singer revealed so far 3,300 9
57 deadly switch 3,200 0
58 maga hat kid 3,100 12
59 dark souls daughters of ash 3,000 8
60 golden globe winners 2019 3,000 52
61 where’s my refund 2019 3,000 31
62 giorgia whigham punisher season 2 2,900 8
63 j cole middle child 2,900 10
64 nfl scores playoffs 2019 2,900 43
65 paqio fight 2,900 28
66 punisher season 2 review 2,900 27
67 radeon vii 2,900 21
68 search between a mysterious hatch 2,900 5
69 jessie smallette 2,800 10
70 pacquiao vs broner live stream 2,800 12
71 southern california winter storm 2,800 7
72 trump letter to pelosi 2,800 38
73 fortnite chilly gnomes 2,700 11
74 losartan recall 2019 2,700 26
75 overwatch bastet 2,700 5
76 uri movie near me 2,700 0
77 weezer teal 2,700 13
78 black hebrew israelites washington dc 2,600 36
79 covington catholic blackface 2,600 27
80 david steven bell 2,600 12
81 dota auto chess 2,600 4
82 james ingram death 2,600 54
83 jeremy kappell video 2,600 3
84 dog walk you 2,500 12
85 gillete ad 2,500 50
86 middle child lyrics 2,500 6
87 petta review 2,500 8
88 rahaf mohammed 2,500 36
89 search chilli gnomes 2,500 11
90 search chilly gnomes 2,500 11
91 txt bighit 2,500 6
92 why is the government shutdown in the united states 2,500 61
93 winter storm jayden 2,500 2
94 chateri payne 2,400 18
95 imke wuebbenhorst 2,400 6
96 it’s ma’am 2,400 9
97 kevin barnett cause of death 2,400 12
98 kylie jenner egg 2,400 45
99 mysterious datapad 2,400 2
100 new abortion law in new york 2,400 46

What’s interesting, is that some of these new keywords had a big spike in search demand and then faded to nothing quite fast. While others seem to have a continuous search demand, that shows no signs of fading.

10 year challenge” vs “sex education season 2” are two great examples:

google trends new us searches

google trends new us searches

I didn’t include Return Rate this time, because the vast majority of these Google searches were very close to 1.

But I incuded Keyword Difficulty metric, which is super low for almost all keywords in this list (since they’re brand new).

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword Difficulty score shows how hard it would be to rank in top10 search results for a given keyword (learn more here). It is based on the size and quality of the pages that already rank there.

Given that KD scores for most of these keywords are so low, I wonder if this very article will rank for some of them?

And that’s it for the US.

Let’s look at what bothered people around the world.

Top NEW Google searches around the World (as of February 2019)

I know Ahrefs has a ton of customers from all around the world, and hopefully, everyone will find a fun keyword from their country on this list.

# Keyword Search Volume Country
1 julen pozo 69,000 es
2 rescate julen 63,000 es
3 76th golden globe awards nominees and winners 42,000 us
4 australia day doodle #googledoodle 36,000 au
5 evelyn dove 33,000 vn
6 brigpol dewi 33,000 id
7 julen spanien 32,000 de
8 sake dean mahomed 29,000 vn
9 julen ultima hora 28,000 es
10 fahrelnissa zeid 28,000 vn
11 noticias julen 25,000 es
12 bulog experd 18,000 id
13 eclipse lunar 2019 mexico 17,000 mx
14 nick sandmann 17,000 us
15 niño pozo malaga 16,000 es
16 嵐活動休止 16,000 jp
17 julen malaga 16,000 de
18 curp actualizada 2019 16,000 mx
19 julen totalan 14,000 es
20 julen rescate 14,000 es
21 sake dean mahomed 14,000 cl
22 ultimas noticias julen 14,000 es
23 砂塚あきら 13,000 jp
24 φαχρελνισά ζεΐντ 13,000 gr
25 julen directo 12,000 es
26 sake dean mahomed 12,000 se
27 louay kayali 12,000 dz
28 evelyn dove 12,000 se
29 avriellia shaqqila instagram 12,000 id
30 hamberder 12,000 us
31 fahrelnissa zeid 12,000 pe
32 jake thomas patterson 12,000 us
33 uri box office collection 11,000 in
34 why cheat india 11,000 in
35 vinaya vidheya rama review 11,000 in
36 fiji water girl 11,000 us
37 junge spanien 11,000 de
38 ultimas noticias de julen 11,000 es
39 長尾里佳 11,000 jp
40 chilly gnomes 11,000 us
41 池本順哉 11,000 jp
42 julen malaga 11,000 es
43 covington catholic kentucky 10,000 us
44 zephen xaver 10,000 us
45 stefan wilmont 10,000 pl
46 boots 70 sale 2019 9,300 gb
47 derdim olsun 9,200 tr
48 f2 movie review 9,200 in
49 boxeur gilet jaune 9,100 fr
50 広瀬晃一 9,000 jp
51 日下部和博 9,000 jp
52 julen espagne 8,900 fr
53 pacquiao vs broner live stream 8,900 ph
54 psc food inspector admit 8,700 in
55 explosion en hidalgo hoy 8,600 mx
56 manlee kongprapad 8,600 th
57 spanien julen 8,600 de
58 louay kayali 8,500 ma
59 dschungelcamp 2019 wer ist raus 8,400 de
60 sayısal loto sonuçları 2019 8,400 tr
61 julen malaga 8,300 nl
62 10 year challenge 8,300 us
63 栗原勇一郎 8,000 jp
64 comprobar loteria del niño 2019 8,000 es
65 لؤي كيالي 7,900 iq
66 hamberders 7,900 us
67 強い女メーカー 7,900 jp
68 كاس اسيا ٢٠١٩ 7,800 iq
69 louay kayali 7,700 eg
70 sex education season 2 7,600 us
71 tempete gabriel 7,500 fr
72 manikarnika box office 7,500 in
73 vanderson bbb 7,500 br
74 winter storm harper 7,500 us
75 foto brigpol dewi 7,400 id
76 sake dean mahomed 7,400 ie
77 govt shutdown 2019 7,200 us
78 julen spanje 7,200 nl
79 4000蚊申請表格 7,100 hk
80 masked singer revealed 7,000 us
81 24th national television awards nominees and winners 7,000 gb
82 julen rettung 7,000 de
83 jasmine eiland 6,900 us
84 菊池捺未 6,800 jp
85 julen news 6,700 de
86 ジジ・ウー 6,700 jp
87 мерседес соса 6,700 rs
88 fox canlı yayın 2019 6,600 tr
89 die verschwundene familie 6,600 de
90 султан моего сердца первый канал 6,500 ru
91 republic day speech 2019 6,500 in
92 louay kayali 6,400 sa
93 debat capres 17 januari 2019 6,400 id
94 interbanex 6,400 ve
95 10 year challenge 6,400 in
96 superbowl 2019 date teams 6,300 us
97 autopsia julen 6,300 es
98 steven universe change your mind dailymotion 6,300 us
99 avriellya shaqila 6,300 id
100 staatsloterij januari 2019 6,200 nl

It looks like phrases related to the Academy Awards/Golden Globes dominate this list.

Top NEW Google searches in YOUR niche (as of February 2019)

Did you know that you can use the “newly discovered” feature in Keywords Explorer to find search queries (containing any “seed” keyword) that were recently added to our database?

Keywords Explorer > enter a seed keyword > Newly discovered

You can do some seriously cool stuff with this!

For example, imagine that you run a movie reviews website.

You could enter “netflix” as your seed keyword and find all the newly‐discovered Netflix‐related terms that we discovered in the last month.

netflix newly discovered keywords explorer

netflix newly discovered keywords explorer

It looks like Netflix’s Ted Bundy documentary is especially popular right now.

Sidenote.

We use clickstream data to discover new search queries, so some long‐tail keywords may come in a little delayed.

Seriously, this is a potential goldmine of keyword opportunities. So please do play around with it and see what you can find. 🙂

Free mini‐tool is coming soon… we (still) promise!

Back when the original version of this article was first published (April 2017), I mentioned that we were working on a mini‐tool that would be updated with fresh data from all countries… every month.

I’m quite embarrassed to admit it, but we still haven’t had a chance to finish making this.

(In all honesty, we got carried away with the brand new Rank Tracker and Site Audit tools.)

BUT it is ~80% complete—here’s a preview:

top google searches tool new

top google searches tool new

We’re hoping to have this ready for you soon!

Stay tuned! 🙂

Article stats

  • Referring domains 95

  • Organic traffic 13319

Data from Content Explorer tool.


Static site generation and SEO

As you’re probably aware, at Yoast we’re all about WordPress. But of course, there are other ways to build a website, like with another content management system, or even by static site generation. If you’ve only ever used a Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress, to build your website, you may wonder what static site generation is. In a nutshell, it’s a ‘simpler’ way to generate an HTML-based site that is completely static and doesn’t require a database or server-side processes. This means that content is pulled directly from a file, when users visit the page, without requiring any more compilation or generation before showing up in the browser.

Most of the general rules of SEO still apply, regardless of whether you use WordPress or not to build a website. You need quality content and a proper site structure. To improve these aspects, using WordPress (or TYPO3 or Magento 2, for that matter) gives you the great advantage of being able to use the Yoast SEO plugin ;-).

But what about site speed, one of the pillars of good SEO? Does static site generation have the edge on using a CMS when it comes to speed? Here’s some thoughts!

Erwin emailed us about static site generation and SEO:

Static site generation results in faster load than using a dynamic platform such as WordPress. But the ecosystem for static site generators doesn’t include a good SEO tool, so optimization must be done manually. Which aspects should I pay attention to, to optimize such a website?”

Watch the video or read the transcript for my answer!

Static site generation vs WordPress

“Well, to be honest Erwin, I disagree with your premise. Static site generation is bullshit. It’s literally the case that any WordPress site can be made as fast as any static website.

Look at Yoast.com, it loads in under half a second, every single page. It’s WordPress, it’s a full-blown WordPress in fact, but it’s just cached properly.
There’s really no reason why you would not use WordPress, but use a “modern” static site generator… it really doesn’t work like that. Good luck!”

The post Static site generation and SEO appeared first on Yoast.