Episode 42 – Tips and Trends

What’s happening in SEO this week?

The Google Webmaster Conference was held in Mountainview this week. There are some takeaways!

5 tips and trends from Google Webmaster Conference

Structured data. Over the years, Google has continued to roll out new support for additional structured data markups and continues to expand support for additional rich results in search. What was apparent from the numerous talks at the conference was that Google will expand support for structured data to inform new experiences in the search results as well as the Assistant.

This includes adding new rich result types, above the numerous options already officially supported. It also includes Google improving and updating how it shows these rich results in the Google search results. So stay on top of these changes and try implementing appropriate structured data for your site.

Emoji search. Did you know it took Google over a year to add support for emojis in search? This includes Google’s ability to crawl, index and rank emojis.
Also, did you know that Google sees over one million searches per day with emojis in the search phrase? Isn’t that.. .

Crawling and rendering tips. Google also offered numerous tips around crawling and indexing. These included:

  • Do not rely on caching rules. Google doesn’t obey them.
  • Google minimizes its fetches, so GoogleBot might not fetch everything.
  • Google checks your robots.txt before crawling.
  • 69% of the time Google gets a 200 response code when trying to access your robots.txt, 5% of the time 5XX response code, 20% of the time the robots.txt is unreachable.
  • If Google cannot reach your robots.txt, Google won’t crawl the site.
  • Google renders what you generally see using the Chrome browser.
  • Google does 50-60 resource fetches per page, which is a 60-70% cache rate or about 20 fetches per page.

Before we move on, wanted to send a special thanks out to Julie Blanner (julieblanner.com) for mentioning the podcast in her “Blogging for Beginners” post. We’re grateful for the shout out!

What are we talking about this week? 

Jessica Scully – Paleo Scaleo

I’m posting here as well because I’m in panic mode. I started listening to ToC about 6 weeks ago. Since then I have been posting much more frequently and trying to get my blog back to where it was before my last VA tanked it (whole other story). I was doing well and had my earnings about $20 shy of where they used to be at my peak, and my traffic back where it was as well. August and September were great and made me feel like I was on the right track. I also switched my host (SiteGround to Lyrical) and switched from WPRM to Create.

My traffic for October took a nose dive, very rapidly, particularly in the last week or two. My RPM is still steady, but for the first time, they are going on separate tracks – 1 up and 1 down. I cannot find a cause. The October traffic is literally a plummet – like 15-20k less sessions for the month. For someone who is still super small and only has 40k sessions a month, that’s half my traffic. I compared it to years past, and while my traffic does usually decline from Oct-Dec and spike in Jan, this past Oct was lower than than last years Oct AND Nov- like 10k sessions lower. Has anyone been through something like this? I feel like it has to be something I did but I cannot for the life of me figure out what is causing the tank.

We decided to jump in with a non-interview audit to see what we could find out.

The MailFaceBag:

Kelli Shallal | Hungry Hobby

Good morning Josh and Amber!  First, I have to say that your podcast has been a total game-changer for me.  I know longer sit around wondering what the heck everyone is talking about when it comes to technical website questions and SEO.  I finally feel I can intelligently participate in those conversations which is pivotal for me in my business because now I feel like “I’m in it for real.”  

Anyways, I’m binging the podcast on my commute and I have a ton of questions.  The questions are literally all over the place so bear with me but thank you in advance all the shows have been seriously so helpful.  You guys are amazing!

1.  I had a “web person” remove dates from my URL a few years ago right about the time I was accepted to mediavine. If I didn’t notice significant decreases in traffic am I probably okay?  

2.  For a while, there was some kind of error happening on my site that caused multiple URLs to be created when I would update a post, early in my blogging career so I just kind of shut my eyes and eventually it stopped happening. I know, I want to kick my former self.  It would add a -2, or -3 to the URL. I have no idea how to find which posts those were so I can properly redirect them. What would be the best way to find them and redirect? 301 or rel-can I know I had a developer look into it, but I”m pretty sure they just had me disable a plugin.

3.  I previously had my nutrition counseling site and blog separate, I closed my nutrition counseling site (www.hungryhobbyrd.com) and redirected the link to my blog (www.hungryhobby.net) where I now host all my nutrition counseling packages.  I also would like to redirect my meal plan site www.whattoeatmealplans.com to my blog and close that site as I now host meal plans on my blog too.  Is there an SEO issue with redirecting other URLs to your blog? Or too many URLs to your blog? I’m getting the sense from the podcast that maybe this is bad practice because it looks spammy?  The reason I wanted to redirect is because I’ve linked to those sites in so many of my blog post pages I want to redirect the traffic internally and not out to those no longer existing pages. Maybe there is a better way to do this? 

4.  My photo shows up with the position 0 spot, but my link shows up position 1. Can I do anything about this to move myself to position 0 (I just added a youtube video I filmed) or at least have the photo show up with me and not them.  (PS I can hear Josh saying “the things that bloggers rank for blows my mind” ha ha) 

Milisa Armstrong | Miss in the Kitchen

Hi Josh & Amber,

I would love some tips on analyzing click through on the terms that I’m ranking for and if there is a good way to increase these or if I should just be happy that I’m ranking. 

So specifically – if I were to rank for cake which has huge volume and also for chocolate cake and easy chocolate cake (obviously these are not my ranking terms). I get the most traffic to my easy chocolate cake post everyday, but is there more I should or could do to increase those click throughs? 

I’m reluctant to do anything to change these posts that are ranking but want to improve if possible. 

As always – appreciate you two so much! Your podcast has been a huge asset to my understanding SEO and y’all have contributed so much to my continued growth!


Milisa Armstrong 

Chrissie Jones | One Hangry Mama

Loving the podcast — I’m in the process of binging it, and have listened to about half the episodes so far. I’m sure you get tons of requests for this, BUT I thought I’d try anyway. I’d love to volunteer my site for an audit for the show! I’m way, WAY smaller than the sites you guys have been doing so far, so I’m wondering if the tactics might be at all different while I’m still trying to garner traffic to begin with. 

I would bet my site (onehangrymama.com) is one of the smallest in Mediavine’s portfolio, as my traffic has been rapidly declining over the past 6 months (as evidenced in the Google Analytics screenshot attached). The majority of my traffic was coming from a viral pin, which Pinterest has now decided isn’t worthy (apparently), so that traffic has steeply dropped off. 

I just started really focusing on SEO about a month or two ago. I’ve done the search console audit (attached, in case you’d like to look), and the only things I rank for are super small searches — I think the largest one has ~600 impressions over the past three months, but most of the rest are under 100. 

Some background — I started my blog as a mom blog, originally intended to be funny, personal essays, showcasing the *reality* of motherhood vs. the perfection of momstagram (i.e., not at all SEO-friendly content). But the posts that have really “taken off” are my more niched posts (which I guess isn’t surprising): my easy / family-friendly Instant Pot recipes, and my infertility posts — two completely different niches. 

So I guess my main questions would be: 

1. What the HECK should I write about next? I’ve been updating some of my old Instant Pot recipes to make them more thorough and SEO-friendly, update imagery, etc., and am planning a few more generic Instant Pot how-to posts, spin-offs of my Crack Chicken recipe which drives the majority of my traffic — but those keywords are all extremely competitive, so I don’t know how realistic it is for my tiny little blog to compete for them at this point. 

More of Chrissie’s questions are coming next week!

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