Ep 063 – Face-Bag with Guest Host Rebecca Swanner

Theory of Content is back this week. Joshua Unseth is joined yet again by Rebecca Swanner of Let’s Eat Cake for a mailbag filled episode!

Joshua and Rebecca begin by hashing out the best breakfast food. It quickly turns into a fast food debate, and the differences between the Los Angeles and Florida dining experience soon become clear. 

There’s a lot of Mailbag covered today so get ready! Rebecca and Joshua begin by taking a question about website speed. Joshua dishes about an upcoming Mediavine project named Trellis. Although not available yet, it soon will be in open beta and ready to optimize your site speed. Also, we hope to get more information on this service very soon, so stay tuned in the coming months for an episode covering even more ways to use Trellis on your blog. This topic leads to your hosts examining how important site speed is to SEO, because as Rebecca points out, there are many high ranking website with terrible speeds. 

The next question from mailbag is about keyword competition. One listener struggled with ranking due to a poorly designed website that had a backlink coming from the New York Times. This can be frustrating because it is apparent the site is not ranking well because of its content. Joshua lends advice on how to use the competitor website to your advantage, and analyze how it is doing so well. In this specific case, the listener is starting a travel blog, so Rebecca and Joshua create hypothetical travel blog posts to beat out the competitor.

Lastly, your hosts take a question about SEO traffic drops. While there are ways to improve SEO rankings after a drop, Joshua stresses the importance of paying attention to the seasonal nature of some keywords. These types of keywords have both pros and cons. While they can guarantee traffic to your site at certain times of the year, how do you maintain traffic in the off-season periods? That is what Rebecca and Joshua examine at the end of this episode. 

Thank you so much for joining us at Theory of Content this week. Be on the lookout for new episodes coming soon with even more new co-hosts, and in the meantime make sure to catch our last few episodes if you haven’t already.

Mailbag

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Dear Theory of Content,

I need a little help. This isn’t for the podcast or the facebook page. I’m looking for a website troubleshooting tech referral. 

My site ain’t broke, but it’s got flat tires I don’t know how to repair.  I’m looking for someone to comb through the code to repair my mobile site speed.

I rebuilt my art site using Elementor/Astra over the Fall and Winter, and launched in February. I pulled archived posts in from 2005-2019. I did it myself, so perhaps therein lies the trouble? 🥴

I’ve reduced plugins to 16, tried using a CDN (made things worse, so I removed it), WP Rocket to cache the site, Imagify to serve images in next generation formats, Lazy Loading offscreen images, added breadcrumbs, disabled emojis, alt tagged images, and used keyword research to write better posts and titles. Traffic is improving ever so slowly. (My goal, like so many others, is to qualify for Mediavine some day.)

In google, I consistently get a red score of 12-19 out of 100 on mobile site speed.  https://www.belindadelpesco.com

The mystery to me is that the list of recommendations to increase load time from Google Site Speed Test, GTMetrix and Pingdom includes all the stuff I’ve already done.  They recommend Lazy Loading (showing images that are already lazy loading), serving images in next gen formats (examples cited are already re-formatted), deploying a cache (I’m using one, and I clear it often), etc.  I’m completely flummoxed.

Could either of you refer me to someone I can hire to help me fix the molasses mobile speed? 

I realize that emails like this take up your already overcooked time, so may I send each of you an 8×10 print on paper from my art as compensation? (Take a look at the archives for some ideas ) Just let me know what you want and where I should mail it. 

You two are the only peeps I know who are fluent website-mystery-solvers. You’ve held my hand through the entire rebuild process via the podcast and Mediavine’s youtube channel, and I felt so much more confident about what should be prioritized in the site design and new content creation.  I’m very grateful for everything I’ve learned from the podcast. It’s been a game changer. Cupcakes to each of you.

Thank you for your time –

Belinda

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Hi!

I’m new listener to your podcast but I’ve listened to half your episodes in the past two weeks. 

Needless to say I love your show!  You’ve given me a whole new way of looking at content and how to repurpose and build on older content.  I went from posting once a week to 17 posts in the last 2 weeks and 5+ more expecting to be completed and go out next week.

Until now, I was holding back because a digital SEO site checker once gave me error reports for my content being too similar (i.e. banana bread, banana nut bread, and banana chocolate chip bread) and I heard that posting more than once a week is a waste of time and will only lead to burnout.  So, thank you for giving me perspective and permission to do what made sense in the first place.

I’m sorry if you address this in an episode I haven’t heard yet but this question has been nagging at me.

I have a food blog with Mediavine and am starting a travel blog.  I live in a popular tourist destination with shockingly little written on it. The only site that has focused on the area is tour guiding company making themselves look like a blog to promote their tours. 

At first glance, the side didn’t seem like it would be hard to beat. It has short posts that aren’t that helpful, it isn’t mobile friendly, and doesn’t look like it’s been updated or add new content in years.  However, after a closer look, I’m pretty sure they’ve been linked to by the New York Times and big names.

I plan on joining Help a Reporter Out but I’m not expecting to get any great link backs for a while, if ever.  So, is there any hope for me to outrank them by writing better content with lost of supporting content?

In some of your episodes you say you like as much info as you can get so here is an example of my content strategy but please don’t share the actual locations if you choose to read this on air.

I have a post about Jerusalem, then I have posts about Old City section with the holy and ancient sites and the modern section with things to do.  These posts are/will be supported by in-depth posts about each attraction, and those may in tern be sported by posts such as shopping and dining guides where relevant.  In addition, I plan on publishing posts like best cafes in Jerusalem, best restaurants in Jerusalem, Jerusalem style guide, what to know before visiting, etc.  Of course, everything is/will be interlinked.

I’m sorry this email is so long.  Please let me know if you received this email so I know it didn’t get sucked into a blackhole in cyber space.

Thank you so much for your time and your wonderful podcast!

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Hi friends, your podcast is still the BEST!   I didn’t want to put all this in FB group, feel free to use on air if it would help others.

Where would you go with this?  I am trying to research the question you always get, “why did my SEO volume drop?”  Our SEO traffic has dropped by almost 60% since beginning of year.   As one example, look at this pic for one keyword group – ugh.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  1. Used SC to pull the same view for 2 different time periods:
    1. Keywords with Impressions and Clicks back at beginning of year when our SEO traffic was higher (Q1) – for all keywords not just the “Wings” example above.
    2. Keywords with Impressions & Clicks since we’ve tanked (Q2 so far)
  2. Sorted the Jan-Mar of keywords by performance, then compared the 2 lists.  I was looking for keywords that performed well in Jan-Mar but had a dramatic drop in last 2 months. 
    1. The majority of that drop seems to be based on about 10 keywords
    2. Base on how those keywords grouped, I can attribute that to about 5 specific blog posts.
  3. Next I drilled into one of those blog posts that had lost so much SEO traffic: Garlic Parm Instant Pot Wings.
    1. I focused on the ~5 keywords that have high volume of search, where we used to rank well   – you can see these keywords in the pic above.
    2. I used SEMRush and SC to see what keywords it’s ranking for now
    3. I checked out the sites that are now ranking above us for each of those keywords.  I didn’t see that they were doing anything magical.  (Don’t say this part on air:  I see that they have more inbound links than we do so I traced those back in SEMRush and at least one of them has a ton of links from junk sites – not authentic link building.  #shade).

                                                               i.      https://amindfullmom.com/instant-pot-wings/

                                                             ii.      https://sweetandsavorymeals.com/best-instant-pot-chicken-wings-from-fresh-or-frozen/

                                                           iii.      https://gooddinnermom.com/instant-pot-easy-chicken-wings-bbq-or-buffalo-style/

  1. To make improvements here’s what I’ve done:
    1. Ensured all the keywords we’re targeting are actually in the post
    2. Confirmed good Alt Text on all images in the post
    3. Added more internal links from other posts, using these keywords as anchor text.
    4. Submitted the post to about 10 content syndication “food sharing” sites to try to build up external links.
    5. Didn’t yet but will switch the recipe card from WPRM to Create Card (we’re using Create for all new posts but haven’t migrated old)

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