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Episode 02 | August 30, 2022

good content

What is good content? Mordy and Crystal team up to tackle what it means to create good content for both users and bots.
Learn what qualities good content tends to have and how Google responds to it as we dive into real examples of content that ranks and doesn’t rank well. Go deeper into what good content consists of in our Deep Thoughts segment. Is content strictly the words on the page or is it something else? Get a conceptual framework for what content is so that you have the foundation to create the best content possible. We’re joined by Shelby Blackley & Jessie Willms of WTF SEO to get their take on how to get users to not only click on content but ultimately trust the brand and come back for more!

00:00 / 44:55
SERP's Up Podcast: Uncommonly Good Content

This week’s guests

Jessie Willms

Jessie Willms is a Toronto-based audience editor at Canada’s national newspaper. She has developed her data and SEO skills at some of Canada’s top newsrooms. She now runs data and audience workshops for journalists, while teaching data and interactive journalism at Centennial College. In 2021, she – along with Shleby – co-founded WTFisSEO, a newsletter about search for publishers.

Shelby Blackley

An award-winning journalist, digital marketer and communicator with more than 10 years experience. Specializes in SEO, audience behaviour, data trends and interpersonal connections. Focuses on finding the right audience and platform for your stories, content or ideas.
Shelby co-write's a weekly newsletter called, “WTF is SEO?” which explores search engine optimization through the lens of journalism.


Mordy Oberstein: It's the new wave of SEO podcasting. Welcome to SERP's Up. Aloha, mahalo for joining the SERP’s Up podcast. We're pushing out some groovy new insights around what's happening in SEO. I'm Mordy Oberstein, the head of SEO branding here at Wix. And I'm joined by our head of SEO communications, Crystal Carter.

Crystal Carter: Hello, SERP's people. I'm very happy to be here.

Mordy Oberstein: I thought you were going to say like, hey, all you groovy cats and kittens because-

Crystal Carter: I love cool cats and kittens and dogs and-

Mordy Oberstein: And gerbils.

Crystal Carter: Gerbils. And also-

Mordy Oberstein: Hamsters.

Crystal Carter:  ... hamsters, guinea pigs. I've got a friend who's-

Mordy Oberstein: Birds.

Crystal Carter:  ... He has a lizard. This is-

Mordy Oberstein: Oh, forget about lizards, birds.

Crystal Carter: Birds. Birds are good. Yeah, that's good.

Mordy Oberstein: People who have pets, you are welcome on this podcast. And those of you who don't.

Crystal Carter: Yes. Those of you who don't. Those of you who virtual pets or potted plants, potted plants are cool.

Mordy Oberstein: Or even just like pets, altogether.

Crystal Carter: Yeah, that's fine. That's fine.

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah.

Crystal Carter: I have animal friends. I just anthropomorphized the animals in my midst. There are seagulls nesting across the street from my house and I've named them Gerald and Susan.

Mordy Oberstein: Oh, that's wonderful.

Crystal Carter: Yeah, the-

Mordy Oberstein: That's really lovely. Are you sure it's the same two seagulls every single day?

Crystal Carter: Dude, they got a little baby.

Mordy Oberstein: Oh.

Crystal Carter: And the baby is like ... Yeah, I can see them.

Mordy Oberstein: But you didn't name the baby?

Crystal Carter: Well, I mean, we were still deciding on it. But he's really cute. He's really friendly.

Mordy Oberstein: You have list of names?

Crystal Carter: Yeah, we got a list of names. We're going to have a gender reveal party and everything.

Mordy Oberstein: Perfect. On that note, the SERP’s Up podcast is brought to you by Wix, where you can run a quick and link site audit with our Deepcrawl integration have again during the Wix app market to make your site healthy today with the Deepcrawl app. So much going on in this episode. I feel like we're just going to say that at every episode, but it's true.

Crystal Carter: There's a lot of content. We have a lot of content today.

Mordy Oberstein: There's a lot of content.

[00:01:59] What are we talking about in this episode?

I like what you did there. Because this week, we're talking about creating uncommonly good content for users and for bots. We're going to be covering being uncommon by creating some uncommonly awesome content for both users and bots.

Crystal Carter: Users and bots. Bots would like content that is interesting as well, and not just the same as everyone else's content.

Mordy Oberstein: You sound like a coneheads consume mass consumptions. Those of you watch Saturday Night Live way back in the day. Anyway, we're going to go into what it means to create good content, how to create good content with guest drops from, Shelby Blackley over at Mashable and Jessie Willms. So looking forward to that. We're also going to get lost in the ether of, what is content? That's my William Shatner impersonation, by the way, as we have a deep thought moment for you.

Crystal Carter: Deep thoughts. Deep, deep thoughts of the content.

Mordy Oberstein: Mm, deep thoughts. We're also going to be taking a hard look at the SERP itself to see what ranks, what doesn't, why it does, why it doesn't as we take a look at the keyword, should I use pastels, pastels, I never get this word right, in my business logo design.

Crystal Carter: It's something that we've all considered. Are we going for lavender or powder blue eggshell?

Mordy Oberstein: I love pastels.

Crystal Carter: What do [inaudible 00:03:14]?

Mordy Oberstein: Eggshell. I painted my apartment eggshell one time. Anyways, we're getting ready for some real life lessons on what content is ranking and what Google likes and what it doesn't like, so you can apply that to your own content. Plus, some snappy SEO news and who to follow in the SEO industry for some SEO awesomeness. So much going on. Well, let's snap into it. Content.

[00:03:36] Focus Topic of the Week | Content

Content is the commodity of your website. People are going to your website to consume something. That thing is pizza. No, content.

Crystal Carter: Content.

Mordy Oberstein: Content, not a pizza. It could be content around pizza. It could be content around a product so they can buy it. It could be a podcast episode like this one. It could be a blog post. Whatever it is, it's some form of? Content.

Crystal Carter: Content.

Mordy Oberstein: A site without content is basically like a body without bones. It's a giant lump of mush.

Crystal Carter: Are you getting into the deep thoughts already? Who are we-

Mordy Oberstein: That's right, yeah.

Crystal Carter:  ... without content

Mordy Oberstein: Deep metaphors by Mordy Oberstein. Back in the day, if you've been doing SEO for a while, you'll remember this. But if you haven't been, this is a good lesson for you to learn. Back in the day, when you wrote content for the web, you wanted to rank and pulling traffic from search, so you created content that wasn't, I don't know, call it not exactly natural.

Crystal Carter: Mm, yeah.

Mordy Oberstein: Mm.

Crystal Carter: Yeah, we've seen not-good content.

Mordy Oberstein: Gee, not good content. You were doing things like making sure your keywords and your title and the first end of the first paragraph, of the first heading, of every single page, and every heading in the last paragraph, keywords here, keywords there, keywords everywhere. The only thing that wasn't actually there, other than the keyword, was actually good content.

Crystal Carter: Oh. Oh.

Mordy Oberstein: Ooh, snap. We're getting salty. By the way, if anybody tells you, if you're listening to this, you need to have your keyword over here and your keyword over there and your keyword in the first end. Do not listen to them. For the love of God, do not listen to them. That's bad SEO advice.

Crystal Carter: It can lead to some trouble.

Mordy Oberstein: Really bad trouble, really not good for anything. Why? Well, Google's got via machine learning and NLP and a bunch of other things that make me sound well smart when I say that. Google has gotten really good in understanding what content is, what users want. You should now write content that isn't bleh. Which is why today ... By the way, it's the official diagnosis of bad content, it's bleh.

Crystal Carter: Exactly. And I think on the machine learning point, it's really important to think about the machine learning is powered by NLP, which is natural-

Mordy Oberstein: Ooh.

Crystal Carter:  ... language processing. It's natural language. One of the problems with writing keywords or writing four keywords in the way that people did back in the day is that it wasn't very natural. And that's not how people write and it's not how people talk to their computers anymore. And it's certainly not the way that we should be making content anymore.

Mordy Oberstein: No. It's really just bad, which, again, why, today, we're talking about creating uncommonly good content and what that actually means, which is, I guess, where we should begin. What does it actually mean to create good content from an SEO point of view? It sounds like a simple question for the probably simple answer, but it is not. It is not simple.

Crystal Carter: It's not. It is not simple and it's very ... Whenever Google has an algorithm update, they always say, oh, just make good content, just make good content. And everyone is like, but what is good?

Mordy Oberstein: What does that mean?

Crystal Carter: What does it mean? What does good content mean?

Mordy Oberstein: What's in the box? What's in the box?

Crystal Carter: Just tell us what do you want us to do, Google. Everyone gets very confused. And I think that there's a very interesting thing. And I always think about this as a tech SEO. And I've got a quote here from John Mueller. He is quoted in search engine journal, and he says, "When it comes to the quality of the content, we don't mean just the text of your articles." And we're talking about good content. It's really about the quality of the website overall that includes everything from layout to design, like how you have things presented on your page, how you integrate images, how you work with speed, all of those factors contribute to what is good.

Because the thing is, what is good also has to do with the context. If you have a delicious five-star gourmet meal that's presented on a dirty plate, the meal might be good content, but the context of the meal doesn't mean it's not good.

Mordy Oberstein: Totally. Arghhhh. Arghhhh.

Crystal Carter: You need to think about all of those things. And so, I think that when you think about good content, it's important to think about the overall content experience, not just the words.

Mordy Oberstein: That's so true, so true. And we'll, hopefully, get to it later. I have a whole sniff test around that. To me, good content is all about ... If you wanted to ask me like, how do I define ... There's multiple ways you could define what is good content. I define good content as nuance content, meaning it's content that you created that you're trying to predict the problems that users are going to have with the content itself. And therefore, you're creating with nuance.

If you're creating content, and while you're doing, you're thinking about, well, this user, when they read this, they're not going to really understand this. Let me add this line and let me add a link in, let me do this with this or this. Or this user, they might understand this point that the other user won't, but they're not going to understand this point. Or they're going to need another piece of content after they read this piece of content to really get what they want.

And when you start predicting the problems that your users are going to have with your content, and that's not a bad thing to going to have problems, they will never really have problems. You end up running with nuance. It's like when I was teaching, was like that you try to predict this type of students going to have a problem with what I'm saying, but this type of student won't, but this type of student will have a different problem. And you try to build your lesson around that. You're trying to build content around the different problems that users are going to have.

And that usually means you end up creating content with the right page structure, with the right level of detail, with the right nuance, with the right kind of links. You're creating, in the end, as a default, substantial content by doing that.

Crystal Carter: And I think that what you're talking about, the crux of what you're talking about, is thinking the user. As a user, how would you feel if you came to this content? Would you have more questions? Would you need more support? Would you need to be provided with more information? Would you want it in a different format? You need to think about the users. I had an experience, I don't eat meat. I went to a place and they were like, "We've got new vegetarian options." And I said to the waitress, "I would like the vegetarian options." And then she's like, "We don't have it."

And that was it, that's all she said. She didn't give me more options. I needed more options. She didn't care about what I was doing. And I think that when you're thinking about users, don't leave them with that end. Don't leave them with content that doesn't go anywhere. Think about the content that matters for them. And I think that's super important. And for a tech SEO point of view, again, I mentioned format, but from a tech SEO point of view, there's a lot of things that can be done from the same content, the same written content, but provided in a different way.

If they were to say about, oh, I want to listen to like, I don't know, Beyoncé's whole back catalog and someone would say, great. And they gave me a stack of vinyl records and I was on a train, that wouldn't be any help. That would be useless with me. The content is the same, but-

Mordy Oberstein: You don't walk around the phonograph? Because that's-,

Crystal Carter: Right. I'm not going to do that. The content is the same, but being able to play it on Spotify is much better content for me than being able to play it on a record. From a tech SEO point of view, you can sometimes make content better just by changing the format, making it better for mobile, making it more accessible for other users using audio and video and all this sorts of different things. And that can make content really good.

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, I'm trying to link with this show. And so I have a whole post about it, and so I wrote for so much a while back of why usability is going to be the differentiating factor going forward. But tech SEO comes in because they make sure content either less or more usable, and that's a huge part of UX UI. It's really all one thing. And then I'll go back to my sniff test that we get to later. But I want to briefly talk about like what prevent ... It sounds really simple what we're saying, right?

Crystal Carter: Yeah.

Mordy Oberstein: It's not like, wow, that's earth shattering. There are really good points, I hope, I think. But for some reason, most of the content on the web gets this wrong. And I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say most of it gets it wrong because there's page 1, but then there's page 2 through 20. And that's not always means that it's bad. It might be irrelevant for the key, whatever. But I think there's two things in my mind that make people hesitant about going this direction with their content. And that is, one, they're anxious about sales.

And it's just landing pages all of the time. Where people on a landing page, you really want to try to drive ... That's where you're making the money. You really want to drive the sales, so CTA here, CTA there, and quick marketing kind of content. And you don't offer more informational content that gives context to the user. Or you don't scale back those CTAs because you're just anxious about making the sale. I'm not blaming anybody. I get that you're anxious, but that anxiety can lead you to go too far with pushing a sale, let's say, and not creating really good content.

And the second thing is relying on wrong metrics. Let's take search volume, a tool, like Samra says, that every single month, a million people are looking for this keyword. So I'm going to write about this keyword, I'm going to do whatever I can and try to get search. And then said, no, I wrote about this keyword. But the end, you're not thinking about, A, is this content I should be writing? Is this good for my user? And even if it should be written on your blog or on your website, whatever it is, you're not thinking about what makes us good content. You're just thinking about how to get a million users to come and look at your content every month. And those metrics-

Crystal Carter: Right. And I-

Mordy Oberstein:  ... just throw things off sometimes.

Crystal Carter: And I think that one of the things that's good about those metrics is that they're really accessible. You've got your average search volume metric and you can see that and you can show that to someone and that sort of thing, but there are other metrics that you can use and there are other ways that you can get content ideas. And I think, also, Google often says that like, there's the ... I think the number they normally bat around is around 15% of queries have never been made.

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, 15%.

Crystal Carter: And you have other tools available than just the same tools that everyone has. If you have a customer service team, they will know the kinds of questions that people are regularly asking them about what you do. If you have a sales team, they will regularly ask you about those things. If you genuinely are using your product, there's probably questions that you have. Or if you, let's say, show it to your mom and she's like, "But how do I actually bake the cake?" And you're like, "Oh, follow the recipe." She's like, "Yeah, but this doesn't say that."

If she says that, that's a gap, that's a content gap, that's an opportunity, and that's something that people are going to be looking for. There are other things. And reviews are a really good source of this. I've had it before where I've written content on golf. I know nothing about golf, but I have a friend who's related to golf and I followed him. And I also went through the reviews and looked at the kinds of stuff that everybody was talking about in the reviews. And we made the content based on that, not just on keyword volumes, but on the kinds of things that you're seeing come up from users and that you can actually answer.

Mordy Oberstein: And I've actually done this, where I've gone to keyword research tools, plucked out the questions that they offer, then gone to real people I knew who are dealing with it, whatever it was I was researching. And the questions that I got back were completely different. That's a really good point. The last thing I want to hit on before we head over to our guest tips for this week is, practically speaking, how do you actually go about creating the really good content? This comes by my sniff test.

Well, first, I want to say is, and I'll probably say this a lot on this podcast, start with empathy. Start with really understanding your audience. What are their pain points? What's their life situation? And what do they actually need? Because otherwise, you can't actually write that content I was talking about earlier where you're predicting what they're going to need if you don't understand who they are and what they need.

[00:14:21] The Brand Sniff Test

The second thing is that I call it the brand sniff test.

Whenever you go to a page or you go really anything, you go to a store, you walk in, you look around and you're like, the prices might be great, they might have exactly what you need, but you look at it, and something just doesn't give you a great impression. And we, as human beings, we do this in three seconds flat. You go to a webpage, you're looking at it like the overall experience, there's something off with it. All of the latent signals that you're getting from the page, whether it be the tone, whether it be like they're still using tables from 1995.

All of those things that give off and what brand marketers will use all the time as signals, like how effective are we, I call it the brand sniff test. Does your page pass the brand sniff test? Is the tone right? Is the format right? Or is the graphics right? Everything, all of those latent signals. When someone reads the content, does it come off that's well written, that is substantial, that is detailed, that has nuance to it, that's not just fluff?

Crystal Carter: Yeah. And I-

Mordy Oberstein: Those latent signals. And Google's trying to mimic that. It's the same thing that Google's trying to mimic. Obviously, they're not you, they can't show up and do that in three seconds. They're trying to mimic that through quantitative analysis, but that's what they're trying to accomplish. Give your content-

Crystal Carter: And I think that-

Mordy Oberstein:  ... the brand sniff. Sorry, you're going.

Crystal Carter: No, no. And I think it's true. If you're arriving on a new website and whether you're getting information or whether you're looking to buy something or whether you're looking to answer a question, whatever your intent might be, you want to know that the person that you're getting this information from is a decent source and that whatever the query have is actually in their wheelhouse, that they actually know what they're talking about.

I could ask anybody about, I don't know why I've got a cold or something like that, but my doctor probably knows better than the person that I met down the pub. And because it's in my doctor's wheelhouse, it's important to remember that. And I think also, you talked about empathy. It's important to think about being genuinely of use to your users. I think I see a lot of content that is around like, we do this, we are great, we've got this, we do that. When you see content that's really good, it explains why.

I saw a gym that was like, we have lots of machines, so you don't have to wait. We keep everything clean so that you can see healthy. We are open all the hours so that you can exercise whenever you want. Phones, in particular, are very personal. It's very important to think about like you were talking to one person when you're writing that content. And so, think about that person when you're writing the content. And I think if you do that, you'll make much better content.

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. And by the way, I so agree with you. And I think, speculate, that Google understands the difference between language profile. It understands when you write a certain way and when you're not writing a certain way. And it says, this way is good and that way is bad for whatever topic that you're dealing with.

[00:17:05] Focus Topic Guest: Shelby Blackley and Jesse Williams

But speaking of experts, as you brought up, we have two experts who are going to be talking to you about how do you not only get people to click on the content. You rank, they click, how do you get them to ultimately buy into that content, trust it, and come back for more maybe or actually, buy that product in the end? Here's Shelby Blackley over at Mashable and Jessie Willms from WTF SEO, or they're both from WTF SEO. We'll link to those links in the show notes on how to get people to trust your content after they click on it from the SERP.

Jessie Willms: The question that we're answering today is, how do you create content that doesn't just get clicks, but really resonates and engages the user once they land on the page?

Shelby Blackley: Well, I think that the big thing about having a quality piece of journalism or having a quality piece of content is really focusing on three pillars, search intent, keyword research, and the actual reader experience and how they are immersed in the piece. When you think about search intent, it's very much like why people are searching these things. They're looking at what is the actual main purpose of the page. To create a quality piece, you need to look at what's actually out there and what people are actually creating.

If someone's looking up a specific keyword and they want an FAQ, how can you take that FAQ and take it an extra level? Is there a way to engage it? Can you add in schema? Is there an H2 subheading that you can add in? All of these will allow the readers to get what they need out of it.

Jessie Willms: Right. By aligning the search intent with the content that we end up creating, we can make sure that we really fulfill that request that people are making when they turn to a search engine, I should say.

Shelby Blackley: Exactly. And then you think about the keyword research behind it too. And we do so much around keyword research, right, Jessie?

Jessie Willms: Yeah. Keyword research is the first thing that any new SEO will do when they are thinking about creating a new piece of content. We really want to, first, understand what it is people are looking for to understand the questions that we need to answer and the topics that we need to cover in whatever piece of content that we create. The other thing between keyword research as your first step is it helps inform not just what you cover, but how you cover it.

Like Shelby said, if you are doing key research and you see that other publishers are creating FAQs to answer these reader questions, then you know that this is in line with how readers want to consume this content. A series of questions and answers is a really effective tool for creating that engagement with readers, because it allows them to answer specifically the question that they're after, but also scan and skim over other questions that they might find useful.

Shelby Blackley: Right. And it's a perfect opportunity for internal linking out to other stories.

Jessie Willms: Exactly.

Shelby Blackley: For example, if you've got that FAQ, you can link out to a really great piece of enterprise journalism that will definitely hook people and keep them there for longer, right?

Jessie Willms: Yeah. Internal links are really great two-way relationship between your content. If you have, in the context of journalism, for example, a really big investigation, pairing that with an FAQ that answers the most common questions that came up during this investigation is a really excellent way to make sure that you have multiple entry points for your readers into your most valuable content.

Shelby Blackley: Which takes us into our third part about the reader experience, because it's all about, how can you give the reader as much information as possible in the easiest way, but also the most engaging. If you're creating a piece of content and you've got a video that you can throw in, absolutely, it should be in there. Not only can that video rank on its own, but you're already adding to that reader experience. And then you can add in an audio clip. What if there's another piece of journalism that's connected to it?

Jessie Willms: Mm-hmm. Exactly. We need to remember that readers get information in a variety of ways. So wanting to make sure that we create those access points, as Shelby said, pairing a piece of text journalism with a video component or a piece of audio or even, for example, a static graphic that explains a concept. These are all really useful ways to make sure that whatever reader finds your content, that that particular type of reader can get something out of the information that you're servicing.

Shelby Blackley: Absolutely. And we recently had an issue on 10X content. And I think this whole question can be answered, really thinking about content in that sphere of 10X. If you're not familiar, 10X content was coined by Rand Fishkin or the co-founder of moz, now it's SparkToro. And it's really about taking a piece of journalism or a piece of content and making it 10 times better than what's out there. What's on SERP's right now? Are you seeing regular FAQs that are just lists? How do you take it 10 times better to really serve that audience and make those readers want to come back to your site?

Jessie Willms: And for any journalist listening, this is a very key pillar of journalism. You don't want to just match what your competitors are doing. You want to beat them by producing something that is better than what they've created.

Shelby Blackley: Absolutely. And always thinking about how can you best serve the reader and give them the most information they can.

Jessie Willms: Yeah. Centering the reader in your experience is a great way to make content that resonates.

Mordy Oberstein: Thank you so much to Shelby and Jessie for that really interesting. Crystal, wonder what you're thinking.

Crystal Carter: Yeah, I think that it's really on the mark with a lot of what we've been discussing. User-centric content is really important. And they also talked about format, which I'm a big proponent of and making sure that you have content that is good on a lot of different levels. And I think that they also mentioned how can you make your content better. I think we think about making new content a lot, but a lot of the work that I've done in the past has been around enhancing content that already exists.

And there's a lot of times where you can go back over well performing content or existing content or content that's on the board, but maybe not at the top and actually tailor it with new elements to make it rank better and perform better for users. But keeping users at the center is absolutely key.

Mordy Oberstein: Thank you so much, again, to Jessie and to Shelby, really appreciate you sending that into us. Be sure to check out WTF SEO. It's a newsletter for journalists who do SEO. But again, journalism and content go hand in hand. If you're looking to create content, there's some really great tips in there. They also have a Slack group, a Slack channel. Check that out as well. We'll link to it all in the show notes. Again, thank you so, so much from us, here at the SERP’s Up podcast. Okay. I had this great idea. I think it was a great idea. Why don't we take a look at-

Crystal Carter: We'll see.

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, we'll see. We'll see. I think you are being so skeptical, Crystal.

[00:23:20] From the Top of the SERP

I had this idea. Why don't we take a look at content that ranks really well and that doesn't rank as well or so, so, or not well at all, maybe, and see if we can maybe diagnose some reasons why content is ranking well and why it's not ranking well. So that you, our lovely audience, could have some tips around creating content that ranks well and doesn't rank well. And we're calling it from the top of the SERP. My association, by the way, the top of the SERP, when I was a kid, I grew in New York and Z100 was a radio station. Their thing was from the top of the Empire State Building. My mind, I hear from the top of the SERP.

Crystal Carter: Do you know what, I live in England and there's something called Top of the Pops, which is a bit like American bandstand. And so that's what I think of. You said, top of the SERP, and I'm like, top of the pops. Yeah, top of the pops.

Mordy Oberstein: What do you think of, our dear audience? Let us know on Twitter. Anyway, for real. We're looking down, but we're not judging any site or any page here in particular. That's why I need to say that. But this week, we're going to look at content around the keyword. Should I use pastels in my business logo design? And Crystal has a very different way of saying pastels, it's pastels?

Crystal Carter: Pastels.

Mordy Oberstein: Pastels, all right.

Crystal Carter: Pastels.

Mordy Oberstein: Pastels. I say it pastels.

Crystal Carter: Pastels.

Mordy Oberstein: Potato, potato yet again. When we ran this keyword, and by the way, if you go ahead in Google, as you might not see the exact same thing as we saw because rank is always changing.

Crystal Carter: Exactly, yeah.

Mordy Oberstein: But there was a page from ZillionDesigns that ranks really, really well. And what I liked about this page is that ... And so I'm getting What it does really well is it gets really deep into pastels, which is so exciting, right?

Crystal Carter: Yeah.

Mordy Oberstein: And how you could use them for design. For example, it gets into things around like the intensity of pastels and what that means for using it in a logo and how the different colors relate and how that evokes different emotions. It really what I thought it did a really good job. And I think what Google sees in this piece of content is that it takes understanding of pastels. It applies it to logo and design. But from a very business point of view, what does this mean for your business?

Crystal Carter: I think-

Mordy Oberstein: Which really speaks to the intent.

Crystal Carter: And what I think is really interesting is that we were talking about like literal keywords and things like that. The actual page is called using pastel colors in your brand. That's what it's called. It doesn't say using it in your logo. But as you go through it, they have lots of visuals and they're talking about logos and they have tons and tons of examples of pastel colors and logos so that you ... And Google understands that if you're talking about pastel colors and logos, you not only want to talk about pastel colors, you not only want to talk about the ... But you also want to see them in the logo.

They're ranking top, even though they're not explicitly saying logo, logo, logo all over the page. But they've got good examples of logos and how you can use them. From an intent point of view, it's giving you information and it's also giving you demonstration of what you need. And I think that's one of the things [inaudible 00:26:26].

Mordy Oberstein: I think all of the pages that are ranking well the top of the SERP, they are doing things like that. They're giving you a little bit of context. There's a page from and they're talking about muted pastels. And they write ... I was going to say something like they literally write, I'll read it to you, a muted palette can actually help highlight a specific part of your logo, like an icon or your brand name. You can always experiment blending muted pastels with colors, with a brighter accent to give it a unique look that pops off the page, as opposed to just saying that you should always experiment with blending muted pastels and colors.

It gives you the whole context around why that is, and it goes even deeper into it. The pages that I see, at least from my point of view, that are ranking well are not just listing information or showing you examples, but they're giving you some kind of context around how this works. You can extrapolate out what they're saying and apply it to your own situation, which I think Google sees that.

Crystal Carter: Exactly, because I think Google understands what the next query is going to be. They know what people are going to come back for. They can see when they ... And a bit of content is addressing multiple stages of the query at once. Not only understanding what the past logo is and not going, these are pastel colors, lavender is pastel and baby pink is pastel and things, and not just listing them all and then somebody has to go back and find another thing. But it's a rich bit of content that's working there.

I think what's also interesting about these is the top ranking ones, is that they're pretty robust. They're fairly longer form bits of content. Which means that they're probably ranking for multiple terms, which is very, very interesting to see. They're both doing a really good job on delivering content that is valuable to users.

Mordy Oberstein: So, takeaway for this kind of query and perhaps your kind of query is also if you see this out there for the things that you're trying to rank for, a little bit of context and around what you're saying and why you're saying it and how it applies to the particular use case of what people are looking for, in this case, their business, definitely help here. It seemed that Google is saying, hey, we want users to be able to take away something and being able to apply it to their own site.

And the only way you can do that is if you offer people a concept that they could take away and apply it to their own site, not just like, here's the information. Now, to the pages that didn't do so well. Now these are pages that maybe were on page two, maybe bumped up to page one for a little while, went back down to page two. One of the pages we looked at, one was on page two and then one was on page four. Maybe it'll get backed up to page two. But it wasn't consistently performing well, is our point. What did you see there?

Crystal Carter: Yes. This is one that I saw from and they're talking about pastel colors. What's very interesting here is that InVideo is a video website. It looks like they're providing a video tool and this is talking about pretty much different color palettes that you might use. And so the content is called pastel colors and it was ranking page two. It's now ranking lower. And I think part of this is because it's not explicitly talking about logo design. It's talking about pastel colors, generally.

Even though they don't state it in the title, there's an implied connection between using pastel colors and video rather than using it in a logo design. They mention the word logo, but it's not really an emphasis. I don't think this is necessarily that this page needs to be optimized for the pastel colors for your logo query. I think this is a question that this is kind of in the general neighborhood, but this content doesn't actually satisfy this particular query. It probably ranks for something else very well. But in this particular instance, it's not actually satisfying it.

It's in the ballpark, but it's not going to be taught because it's not actually satisfying the query. I think if you had this page and you saw that it lost rank, don't worry about it. Because you weren't supposed to rank for it in the first place.

Mordy Oberstein: That's a really good point, by the way, general point for listening to this. Again, we're not trying to be judgmental. These are good pages, but not for this particular keyword or this particular intent. And I think you're right. And for this particular page, what it did that I think doesn't work for this particular query is like, let's say, it talks about the pale lemon color. This color too is named after [inaudible 00:30:16] and it's softer version of a vibrant yellow, doing the job of a perfect background with your visuals whenever you need an alternative for white.

And it tells you, okay, this is a good alternative for white, but it doesn't give you a concept or context around why this color might be good in the business context, how you might pair this color. The next step is not there. There's no context around it.

Crystal Carter: Exactly. It's not talking about logo design, which is a different thing from a video palette. Another one that was ranking page two, for the color is pastel colors and design, ideas, examples, mega inspiration. And this one is just general pastel colors and it's GraphicMama blog. What I think is interesting about this one is, again, it discusses logos a little bit, but it's not dedicated to logo design. And it's just discussing pastel colors, generally. But again, it's not dedicated to logo design. But what's also interesting about this one is that this has a lot of social proof.

I think the reason why this is ranking on page two rather than ranking on page four is that if you look at it says that it's been viewed 12,000 times. That's pretty good. Based on that, I'm guessing that GraphicMama has a lot of social media followings and things like that. And they've also really done really well with showing lots of different illustrations of use cases for capsule design. Some of them which include logos. But again, it's not dedicated to that particular thing. Again, this is one where the content is perfectly solid, but Google's trying to find the content that is the most useful and the most appropriate for that particular query, and that's what they're going to put on top.

Mordy Oberstein: That's what we were talking about earlier in the podcast, where you're trying to write nuance content for a particular audience and this content doesn't speak this particular audience. Because the audience in mind is coming from a business point of view. They're using it for their logo, for their what? For their business, for their website, whatever it is, some kind of business professional use. And what the content that you have here just gives you the information about pastels in a vacuum, but not in the context of how you can actually use it.

I think it lacks from that point of, again, intent and that level of nuance that the intent demands. But either way, just to sum it all up, it's about intent, it's about nuance, it's about the right content at the right place, at the right time. And in this particular case, it seems to be about creating context and creating concepts that the user is able to walk away from and therefore apply to their own site, which again, speaks to the intent-

Crystal Carter: Exactly.

Mordy Oberstein:  ... of.

Crystal Carter: They want to be able to learn how to do something and they want to be able to learn how to apply some information.

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah. And you can't do that without concepts. It's just not possible. Amazing.

Crystal Carter: There we go.

Mordy Oberstein: Now we're not done with content just yet, there's more. But wait, there's more.

Crystal Carter: There's more.

Mordy Oberstein: Because content, when you talk about content, it's always hard to pin it down. And whether it's using tools to analyze content or which tools are the best for how do you define content, what kind of content are you talking about? Content is always ... Again, here's that word again, so nuanced.

[00:33:13] Deep Thoughts | What IS Content?

We thought, why don't we try to define, what is content?

Crystal Carter: What is content?

Mordy Oberstein: Is content? Here's a deep thought by Crystal and Mordy.

Crystal Carter: I think on this one, I think the reason why I wanted to bring this up is because I think a lot of people, when they say, "Oh, we're going to make some content," is they think about blogs. That's the first thing they think about. They think, oh, we're going to make some blogs. That's the content. Once we've done the blogs, we've done the content. And I-

Mordy Oberstein: I love the blogs.

Crystal Carter: Love the blogs, don't get me wrong. Blogs are great. Blogs are good. Blogs are fantastic. However, that's not all your content. That's not the end all be all of your content. There is a lot of different content on your site. And content can include like really tiny things. Content can include big things like images, videos, audio, lots of different multimedia, but can also include things like microcopy, like things for buttons. Or a really good example that I can think of is in MailChimp, for instance.

One of the reasons why I think MailChimp has such a good following is that when you press send on MailChimp, while it's loading up your email templates and getting them all the things, they put cute little quotes or they'll say cute little thing, something to do with bananas or something like that in between. And those little moments, those that lose a little bit of moments, those are also content. That's like a Microcopy Canvas. Another one, while they're waiting for things to load, it'll have a quote about something creative or something like that.

And all of those different parts of your content are part of your content. And I think that it's important to remember that, to me, my deep thought is that content is about everything that people experience from your brand and from your website.

Mordy Oberstein: That's exactly where I went with this. I defined content as that which communicates. And that's everything.

Crystal Carter: Oh.

Mordy Oberstein: Ooh. Yeah.

Crystal Carter: Interesting.

Mordy Oberstein: I want to be thorough. No, but for real. And by the way, most of the communication is done lately. And we, as marketers or SEOs or content creator, just by default, end up focusing on the more manifest parts of your content. But like a dream, it's really the latent part of your content that really matters.

Crystal Carter: Yeah. I'm just trying to think, there's definitely times where if I go to a website and stuff and it's like, nothing they said, but you just go, oop, no. This isn't a thing.

Mordy Oberstein: Exactly.

Crystal Carter: And you just run away straight away.

Mordy Oberstein: Everything. Yes, the content is the actual facts or the messaging or ideas or product or whatever it is that you're trying to communicate, but it's way more than that. It's everything about communication. It's everything you're signaling, everything you're giving off. Which means, by the way, if you wanted to take it from the same concept on the flip side, content is relationship building.

Crystal Carter: That's very interesting. That's very interesting. And I think, also, that comes with ... That helps you to decide about which content to make. I think if you're building relationships, when you're making this content, you are trying to build a relationship with people. There are people that I follow. There's an artist that I follow, and she makes amazing content. And I look at her pictures all the time and I tell people about her all the time. I've only bought three things from her, but I tell people about her all the time because I feel like-

Mordy Oberstein: Resonates.

Crystal Carter:  ... I have a relationship with her content because it makes me happy. And-

Mordy Oberstein: No, no joke. That's totally true. When you read a piece of content, when you're looking at an image, when you're listening to whatever it is, it hits you a certain way and that builds associations. I compare it to you have a doctor and they can treat you. And everything is like 100%, on the up and up, they are the best at their craft. But then there's also the bedside manner part of it. And your content is really both. Your content is obviously the actual facts. And so you're talking about, you have a blog about scientific theories of theory, theory of relativity.

But it's also how you're communicating it. In event, you came up really pretentious. Your reader might have the best facts, but would they be able to actually assimilate that information? Were they so turned off by your tone that they would forget about this? I love what you said as facts, but I hate how you said it. I'm not taking this content in.

Crystal Carter: It's very interesting. And I think that people forget that it's not just ... These are the deal breakers. When people are deciding which content to go to or which information to access or which thing to buy, those bits of nuance in between can be what makes the difference. I know there are people who really, really like iPhones, for instance, who really just love the box for years. I remember people would be like, oh, I just love the boxes. And that would be part of the experience, would be that like they're-

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, totally.

Crystal Carter: They had these really good boxes and you could have the same phone. Again, you can resell an iPhone, for instance, but if it comes in a box. That's-

Mordy Oberstein: Right. Imagine your iPhone came in a brown paper bag, like a lunch bag.

Crystal Carter: Right. You feel differently about it. You feel differently about it. And you know it's the same content, but you feel differently about it because it feels different. And like you said, it's very ethereal. It can be very in between, there's a lot of in between. But I think it's sometimes when we're talking about why people can't make great content and I think sometimes people feel nervous about actually investing the time or actually showing some personality, but do it. Just do it. And you can also try it in different channels.

I mentioned not just blogs, but a blog is a really good ... You can do a litmus test so you can just try it and see what people think. You write one little blog and see if people take to that. And if you can get feedback on it, you go, okay, so this didn't resonate that well, okay, this did resonate. And then you can build on that and you can ... You don't have to do everything all at once. You can try things and see how it connects with people. But I think that thinking about relationship-

Mordy Oberstein: Content.

Crystal Carter:  ... element of content is really important.

Mordy Oberstein: It's a relationship. It's communication that relates.

Crystal Carter: Relatable communication.

Mordy Oberstein: Relatable communications. Do you know what else-

Crystal Carter: If no one can understand you, then are you [inaudible 00:39:30] communicated?

Mordy Oberstein: Doesn't matter.

Crystal Carter: It's like they say, if a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound? And my answer to that is, who cares?

Mordy Oberstein: Yeah, who cares?

[00:39:37] Snappy SEO News

You know what we do care about? The news. So, here-

Crystal Carter: The news.

Mordy Oberstein: The news. Some snappy SEO news. Snappy news, snappy news, snappy news. Two things for you today. You have PSA, just in case you missed it.

[00:39:55] News: Beauty Blog With Financial & Medical Advice A Bit Sus

But first, vindication from Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Roundtable, Google beauty blog with financial and medical advice, a bit sus, that's suspect. Google's John Mueller was asked if offering medical advice on a beauty blog was a viable plan. Now for the record, the question was a hypothetical so they can pull out a concept. Just FYI, no one was actually proposing doing something like that.

John from Google said, "If you're giving financial and medical advice on a beauty blog, I suspect users are probably rightly going to find that a bit sus," as in suspect. Vindication, I've been saying this forever, well, since August 2018, where I wrote a post for Rank Ranger, is Google profiling your site? Well, while John is going to say, Google treats this as suspect in the algorithm. Technically, you have to think that if the quality of each page is great, but it's on completely different topics, again, you're talking about financial advice or medical advice on a beauty blog that's going through setting very mixed signals to Google and call into question the reliability of that content.

Because quality looks at the entire domain of the site. Meaning Google looks at the quality of the site overall, not just specific pages. For long time SEOs, that might sound a bit odd. But it's true

[00:41:41] News: Google's Helpful Content Update

when it brings us to our PSA. Just in case you missed it, Google announced it will be launching the helpful content update. By the time you are listening to this, it may already be live and rolling out. Police check the SEO news outlets for more coverage, such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable, and Search Engine Journal, and so forth.

I'm not going to get into too many details here because it's snappy. But basically, the update is going after content written for bots first and not users. Content, you write so that you rank, but not really focused on your audience being happy. That's what this update is going after. It is a sitewide algorithm. Google is scoring the entire site, not just pages, so willing to some more resources around the update in the show notes so that you can learn more. And that is the snappy news.

Crystal Carter: Let's roll.

[00:42:08] Follow of the Week

Mordy Oberstein: Before we leave every week, what we would like to do is to give you, our dear listeners, more resources to learn more SEO. One of the greatest resources out there is the SEO community. Now there are some great people to follow, some not so great people to follow in the SEO community, like any community. Here, however, is a great person to follow. Crystal, who we following this week?

Crystal Carter: This week, I'm going to give a shout out to Ross Simmonds. Ross Simmonds is @TheCoolestCool on Twitter. And Ross is someone who has a big following, but I'm always surprised that more people aren't aware of him. Sometimes I'm like, "Oh, Ross Simmonds says this," and people say, "Oh, I don't follow him." And I'm like, "You should. You absolutely should follow him." And one of the things that he specializes in is content distro. He talks about repurposing your content, about making sure that your content is being found in different places.

So that not only are you making unusually awesome content, but that you're also making sure that it's found in lots of unusually awesome ways. And this is something that I have done for clients, and I've seen incredible results. And I think that it's something that you can add to your SEO process. Because that way, you don't have to just hope that people will find your content and all that time you spent connecting with your users and building relationships and doing all of that sort of stuff can find more fruits.

And I think the other thing is that he talks about using about different channels and formatting, specifically, for those channels, so making Twitter threads or making videos or making this other or the other to make that content really sing in lots of new ways. And I think he does it really, really well.

Mordy Oberstein: Which is a perfect place to end off. Because you need to not only create that great content, but you need to know how to share that great content and spread that great content around.,

Crystal Carter: Spread it around.

Mordy Oberstein: Appropriate. Thank you, Crystal. That was so appropriate. And thank you to our great audience. Thank you for joining us with the SERP’s Up podcast. Are you going to miss us? Well, not to worry, we're back next week with an all new episode as we get into the algorithm.

Crystal Carter: Mm.

Mordy Oberstein: Ooh, algorithm updates. Ooh, scary.


Look for wherever you consume your podcast or on our very own Wix SEO learning hub at Look and learn more about everything SEO. Check out all the great content at webinars over at the Wix SEO learning hub at, you guess it, I'll say it again one more time, Until next time, peace, love, and SEO.

Crystal Carter: SEO.

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