Wix and SEOClarity partner to give you insider tips on creating a content strategy around SEO for your site.
Hosts Matthew Kaminsky, from Wix SEO Education, and Mark Traphagen, Vice President for product marketing and training at SEOClarity, as they walk you through their best practices.
In this webinar, we'll cover:
Industry best practices for building a content strategy
Discovering content opportunities through keyword research
What types of content can support your SEO efforts
Transcript: Content strategy for SEO
Matthew Kaminsky, Product Marketing Manager, SEO Education, Wix.com
Mark Traphagen, VP Product Marketing and Training, seoClarity
Matthew: Hello, and welcome to our Wix SEO webinar, Content Strategy for SEO. I'm Matthew, and I'm a Product Marketing Manager for SEO Education here at Wix. I'm here joined by Mark Traphagen, who is the VP of Product Marketing at seoClarity.
Alright, let's go ahead and get started. Mark, welcome. Thank you for joining us.
Mark: Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be with you and with your audience today. All the people in Wix world, greetings, it's good to be with you.
Matthew: We're really excited to have you. Everybody, we have a treat in store for you. This is going to be a great presentation. Mark is a master at content strategy, specifically around SEO. So I'm going to turn the reins over to Mark. Let's get started.
Throughout the presentation, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. We will also do our best to answer any common questions throughout the presentation. So take it away.
Mark: Terrific. Thank you, Matthew. First of all, I am Mark Traphagen, and I'm Vice President of Product Marketing and Training—my title is way too long—at seoClarity. Basically, I'm helping our clients on one of the world's leading SEO platforms to get to know us better, to get to use us better, and let the world know about what seoClarity does. We're very excited to be here today and excited to have this opportunity to share a little of what we've learned working with thousands upon thousands of sites all over the world over the last 12 years. We’ve helped them grow their content, grow their traffic, get the audience that they want and need—to grow your business, or whatever it is that you're trying to do with your Wix site.
What we're going to be focusing on today is something that, at seoClarity, we call the content lifecycle. As website owners, we all know we have to build content. It's one of those essential things that we are going to do—not only for our users and our audience, which should be our first concern—but particularly here, we're talking about SEO. Search engines feed off of the content on your site. But often, we tend to get very isolated in that and think of content as, “What’s the next blog post I have to write? What's the next page that I should fill out?” I want to take a broader view today and lead you through thinking of your content in terms of a life cycle. Let's dig in and describe what we mean by that.
We've seen on typical sites, after analyzing a lot of sites over time, a pattern that tends to repeat itself over and over again, where initially the site plants some content. You're getting started, and you think about the initial things you want to rank for. So you build some pages around that, you build some content—that's the planting stage. You get it out there. And if you've done your job well and your site is set up well, and it's optimized for SEO as a good Wix site is, then it begins to attract some traffic and attention over time. It starts to grow. You get excited because you're finally starting to get some traffic. It’s coming up there.
Maybe you get so excited, you think, “We've done it! We did SEO, we did content, we're done.” Then what happens is, inevitably, it starts to decay. The search world asks, “What have you done for me today? What have you done for me lately?” There's always something new, something more relevant. There's always new content out there being produced, and the search engines never tire. They're constantly looking for what's the best, what's the latest, what's the most relevant. So you can't let this cycle happen to you.
Instead, this is the overview of where we're going today. I'm going to give you a series of steps for each of those parts that we showed you before—planting, growing, and even the decay cycle that inevitably happens. So over time, this is your goal. You're still going to have these waves of planting, and then growing, and then seeing some decay. But with this webinar, you'll know what to do to build this over time. Even though it might come in waves, with a little bit of up and down, seasonality, and other things—this is going to be an upward climb. That's what we're looking to build today out of this content lifecycle.
Let's dig into each of the stages of that, and let me show you what we advise our clients to do—what we've seen over the years that builds content success, builds traffic, audience conversions, the things that you're seeking. So, the planting stage, as we said, is getting content on your site. It's where you start. It comes up again and again, because there are always new areas of content. Maybe you've branched out into a new service, a new product, or new area of knowledge that you want to cover. So you begin to build content out around that, and that’s the seeding part. We call it seeding because you never get any plants in your garden if you don't plant the seeds, and your content pages are those seeds. So, the more seeds you plant in your garden, the more plants you’re going to have at harvest time. It’s a simple formula.
You could say very simply that more content equals more opportunities. Now, I want to be very careful here and jump right in and say, that does not mean building content for content’s sake. You may have seen some outdated SEO advice like that—just build as much content as you can, you need more pages, and you constantly need new pages. That's not the thing you should be concentrating on. It’s very much more important to always be building quality content that's relevant for your audience, that's well constructed and shows authority, expertise, and trustworthiness. These are the things that Google is getting better and better at sussing out and looking for. You want to make that your concentration.
But it's still undeniable that, over time, the more content you have, and the more focused content segments and pieces you have, the more opportunities you're creating for people to find you—and the right people to find you. That all starts with keyword research. Now, that's beyond the scope of this webinar, we're not going to go into detail on that. Wix has tremendous resources that Matthew and others can share with you about how to do keyword research properly. But it all starts there. It still starts there. I know some SEOs will say keyword research is dead. That’s because Google is getting more sophisticated about thinking about things topically. But it still starts at the root. Keywords are the basic words that people use to search, and they are the best clues that you have initially, to what content you should be creating. So, look up those resources and educate yourself on keyword research. That's your starting point. That's all I'll say for now.
Another important part of that, I think, is to always think like a marketer. Even if you're a content marketer, or you're an SEO, you can't stop thinking like a marketer in general, which means you have to know your audience. Again, we're not going to go in depth on this—this is a whole other topic that we can provide resources for. But this is just good old marketing 101. First of all, who are my customers? They’re the people who already are interested in whatever my site is about.
You can find out through surveys, you can find out through analysis of traffic on your site, search queries on your site—there are all kinds of ways to find that out. Next, what are my potential audience? Who do I want to reach? What are they like? What are their hopes, fears, dreams, needs? Those are all the things that are going to inform you, along with your keywords, on your content—and the tone it should have, the level of expertise, and all of those things that make that content highly relevant to your audience.
But another place you can go to discover things is the SERPs themselves, the search engine results pages. You go to Google and just type in the main keywords that you want to rank for, and see what Google is ranking. It's one of your best clues. That doesn't mean you should copy exactly what the highest ranking pages are doing, but they will give you an idea of the kind of quality, coverage, comprehensiveness, all these things. Google also provides some wonderful clues sometimes in the search features. One of the best ones that they've given us in many years is People Also Ask. They're showing us actual questions that people have put into Google, that Google sees as relevant to the topic. For example, “what is insurance fraud?” is the query that we typed in. “Can you go to jail for insurance fraud?” Somebody’s a little worried there.
All these are a little fraught with angst here, but when we’re talking about a topic like insurance fraud, it's going to be in that direction. That gives you a clue even to the tone and type of content that you want to be producing. So, do some actual research on the SERP to find out what kind of content you should be producing.
And then, topical coverage. Think in terms of topics moving from the keyword level, to the topical level—the higher level. What are the main topics that we want to rank for? Not just keywords. And how can we cover those comprehensively? Here's an example. This is our blog, but we've structured it at seoClarity now as a resource center. You can see on the left that we have all types of content. You can even select based on the SEO level that you feel you're at, or based on the type of content. I show this to show that we've worked hard over the years, not just to produce all the different kinds of SEO-related content that we think we should be producing, but also to group it into topics and to think about it. Okay, we've covered this topic of the content marketing lifecycle, but what else is related to that? What else is somebody who's interested in that also going to want to learn about or see? So you start to think topically.
Then you're ready to move into the planting stage. Our strategy there is to feed the content that we've been producing. You've probably heard this advice before, but it bears saying content is not build it and they will come. You've got to prompt it, you’ve got to feed by promoting via social media, newsletters, partnering. I mean, what I'm doing today—very bold-faced—me partnering with Wix to do this webinar is promotion. It's getting you to know that seoClarity is out there. Maybe you'll go after this and check out our blog and our resource center and learn more about SEO. That's all part of content promotion. It's not direct SEO, but it gets you noticed. It may start to get your content noticed, people may start to link to it, and that makes Google pay attention to you.
Another more directly content, slash SEO-related tactic that we promote very heavily at seoClarity is this idea of topic clusters. Once you begin to get a certain amount of content on your site—and you see what people are interested in, what they respond to, and what performs for you—you'll start to get a better idea of the main topics of your site. And those you want to think of as your pillars. A pillar topic is a high-level topic for you. You want to have at least one really good page that’s maybe a little bit longer in content and more media rich, that covers that topic at a high level, but very comprehensively. And then you start to think in terms of—you do some research. Remember those People Also Ask questions? What are specific things within that topic that people want to know? Instead of just adding those all onto that super long article, build those out as their own satellite pieces of content. None of those by themselves are going to get as much traffic. But together, they are targeting an individual segment of your audience and they’re highly relevant to that.
Let's look at an actual example of how that would work. Let's say you're a site in the travel field, and your big topic is vacation homes. We’re going to want to have a pillar page, a main content page that covers the topic of vacation homes. Just general information about it, and the main things people would want to know. But then you start to think about it. What are other things that people are wanting to know about, and asking about? It might be things like, “how to buy a vacation home” or “how to rent vacation homes”, “how to find vacation rentals”, “how to rent a beach house for a weekend.” Maybe you can get a little more specific there. “Can you rent a house for a single night” is very specific. But you start to see that people want those types of things, and if that's what they're looking for, Google is more likely to send people to a page that you have specifically about that, than to your general vacation homes page. Then, you want to interlink all of these back to that main page. Over time, Google and other search engines begin to see—this is a comprehensive site. This is a site where anything you want to learn about vacation homes and vacation home rentals or buying vacation homes—this site’s got it covered. So that's the idea of a topic cluster. Again, it's one of the best strategies we've ever seen for growing traffic with your content over time.
Matthew: Okay, so question In this case, if it's a travel company or a travel agency, maybe the pillar page would be about vacation homes? That would be the topic and then you have all the different types. Can you just do one topic as, like, your main blog? Michelle's asking, “Would a pillar page work as a whole blog? Or is it better to have multiple topics on your blog, or throughout your site?”
Mark: Yeah, I mean, blog versus site pages, you know—that's a great question. Our advice on that, from a structural standpoint, is your main topic pages—your pillar topic pages—should be high level in your site navigation. So try to create them as actual pages and link them, if you can, from your main navigation. As few clicks away—because, you know, a blog is structured to be the latest at top and your older content gets pushed further and further and further down. One way to indicate to the search engines that this is a main topic is to take these pillar topic pages and make them main resource pages, again, as high in your navigation as you can. Now the other pages, the satellite pages—they can be blog posts, they can be universal pages, whatever you want them to be—as long as you interlink them. Each of these pages you see here, how to buy a vacation home, how to find vacation rentals, would be linked to my main topical vacation homepage. And then, as much as possible—you don't want to over-clutter or overburden your main page. But for the most popular ones, the most relevant ones, link back to them. Maybe at the bottom. Like other things you've seen on web pages. Where other topics you might be interested in—[like] how to buy a vacation home, how to rent a vacation home—link back to those.
Matthew: In Wix Blogs, we have a great feature that's Other Related Posts, where when you pick up one blog post, you can link to other posts [at the bottom] that are on your blog. That's a great way to do this sort of interlinking, and it's built right into the product. That's perfect.
Mark: Please take advantage of that. You will be amazed over time, if you do that, the effect that it will have on your traffic. Because Google wants to send people to sites that are comprehensive about a topic, not just the individual query that they had. But if Google says like, you've got this covered well, we're more confident—because people that are just searching for vacation homes, they have these other questions, too. And if they can find that information on your site, that's even more useful. Okay, and “how to find homes for rent by owner”—don't want to leave them out too.
Alright, the next stage is the growth stage. This is exciting. Now we want to grow our content, which means we want to use the content that we already have. And we want to say, how can we expand the traffic for that and the audience for that? How can we get more bang for our buck out of that content? Two strategies here. The first one—one's negative and one's positive. The negative one you’ve got to do, and we call that pruning. Obviously this metaphor comes out of horticulture—planting, growing, decay—as we're talking about here. So over time, if you've ever grown trees, you know that as they age they will begin to have branches or even some types of plants that are not productive. They're dying out, and they're actually sapping energy from the tree. A good tree manager will come in, and will be willing to cut off those dead branches, so that the tree will be healthier. It can produce new branches and new traffic. That's what you want to do.
So let's talk about a basic strategy for that. I'm going to go through this a little bit quickly, but remember, this will be recorded and you can get this later. You can come back and find all these. We use the acronym ROT here for this pruning stage. So what is ROT? Well, first step, the R in ROT is redundant content. Looking for redundant content—what is that? That can be duplicate content. As you start to build a lot of content on your site, it's gonna happen. You're gonna discover over time that you have pages that are virtually the same. They're about the same thing, for the most part. Maybe they even have a lot of the same phraseology, a lot of the same content on them. Sometimes it even turns out that they actually are identical, but maybe you have two different titles on them or you're trying to rank for different keywords. This is confusing to search engines. There's no penalty for it. Except for the fact that you're probably not going to get as much traffic because the search engine feels a little uncertain about, you know, which page really is the page for that.
Kind of related is cannibalization. People mean different things by cannibalization. At seoClarity, we talk about it in terms of—cannibalization is where you have a page and you can literally see—if you're tracking your rankings over time and you can you have a tool that shows you which URL on your site is ranking for a keyword—you can see that Google flip flops back and forth. Google seems to be uncertain. Sometimes it ranks this page, sometimes it ranks that page. You don't want to cause that kind of confusion to search engines.
So the fix here—you can go and do some research and learn about these techniques if you don't know them. The first two are a little technical. There are ways to redirect the one page to the other so that if somebody goes to that page, they actually end up on the page that you prefer for them to end up on. You can use canonicalization to tell the search engine which page is the important page for that keyword or that topic. You can merge the content, just bring it together. If there are good elements from both, make one page that merges the best of each. Or redo the lesser page. Change it, make it significantly different so that it will rank for a different keyword.
The second is outdated content—second of the ROT [acronym]. Outdated is just what it sounds like. It’s old content. A lot of your old content over time will just be outdated beyond repair. By beyond repair, I mean where you look at it and you realize there's nothing we can do to update this. If you can update the page, fantastic. Do that. And by the way, update does not mean just changing the date on the page. Google is wise to that—that doesn't fool anybody or it doesn't fool the search engine. Update means literally updating the content to bring it up to date and make it more relevant. That can be a good strategy. If you say like, we're an iPhone website, and nobody cares about iPhone 4 anymore, that doesn't get much traffic. The fix is, if it can't be updated, kill it.
This is a hard thing if you invested so much work and time into your content. Everybody hates to kill content, but think of that tree again, and cutting off those dead branches. It really is going to make your site healthier for SEO in the long run.
And then finally, trivial content. By trivial here we mean it's not working for you. For whatever reason, it's just not. You look at your analytics and you say this just never drove any traffic, it never got attention. It's not earning any links. And maybe you've tried a few things. You tried to improve it, grow it, and for whatever reason, it's just not performing. Again, if you’ve given it every chance, kill it. You’ve got to be willing to prune your non-performing content if you can't improve it.
However, there are ways—this is more positive now, in the growth stage—to take advantage of high performing content and get even more out of it. We call that splicing. You may know, again, in the world of horticulture, the world of plants, splicing is a technique—especially with fruit trees—where you graft a branch from one kind of variety of a fruit onto another and you produce a whole new variety. You get something new out of it. That's what we're looking to do in this splicing stage. So, splicing simply means figuring out where, on a really high performing piece of content, there may be opportunities to split off parts of that content into its own pages—its own blog posts, whatever—that will perform better overall than what the page is doing now. We recommend, just as a rule of thumb—you don't have to follow this religiously—we recommend to clients that anything where a page is ranking for 3x the average keywords ranking per page for your site is a candidate for splicing. Let me go quickly through a formula. Then I'll show you how you can work that out to determine that. But what you're going to do here is, you need to get the count of your ranking keywords from Google Search Console. Is Google Search Console integrated into Wix, Matthew?
Matthew: It is. If you use our Get Found on Google tool—it's also known as [SEO Tools]—if you complete the first step, and you use the Connect to Google button, it will create an account in Search Console automatically for you and automatically index your homepage. So you may already have the data there and you didn't even realize it. All you have to do is go into Search Console using your account that you connected to, and you'll have all this information in there, waiting for you to play around with and to check out.
Mark: Terrific. Another advantage of being a Wix user. So many things are set up automatically for you. It's just there, and you can do it. That's awesome. So you're going to get your count of ranking keywords—I'll show you how to do that in a moment—and you're going to get your count of ranking URLs. That means the URLs and keywords that Google is actually using to send traffic to your site, or at least showing in search. It may not be sending traffic to your site. These are at least showing on search result pages. And you're going to divide one by the other. That will give you your average number of keywords ranking per page.
Let's show you how you do that in Google Search Console. So, in Google Search Console, you're going to want to go to the Performance tab. First, go to queries. Queries are your keywords. Queries are the things that Google sees your page is relevant for. It's putting them into search. Then you scroll to the bottom of that page, and you'll see a number down here. It says rows per page, and it shows you how many rows you've got. This is a personal website of mine, and I've got 1000. Numbers in Google Search Console are always kind of rounded, and that’s okay—for this purpose, that’s perfectly okay. So I have about 1000 keywords that my little site—that Google says I rank for, that I show up in search for. You write that number down: 1000 keywords.
Next, for the URLs, we're going to go to the Pages tab under Performance. Same thing, go to the bottom, get that last number, 62. So, I have 62 pages that Google is showing in search results for me. Now I take those numbers and say: 1000 keywords that I'm ranking for, divided by 62 URLs that Google has indexed. That comes out to 16 keywords per page average. Using our rule of thumb—about 3x—I want to go back and look for any pages that have about 50 or more ranking keywords, or about 3 times that average. Those are good candidates for splicing.
The main takeaway here is just simply any pages on your site that you start seeing, from your SEO information, rank for a lot of keywords—splicing is going to be your strategy. So how do we do that? How do we splice? Well, first of all, you identify the keywords. You can do that from Google Search Console. You focus specifically on the URL of the candidate page, and you find the keywords that aren't ranking well, that are still relevant for you. You're going to have some keywords that are ranking on page one. Those are terrific. Dig down a little deeper, and you find all these keywords that [are], you know, ranking position 27, something like that. But boy, it’s still a good keyword for us. It's still relevant. So what do I do here? Create a new piece of content centered around that keyword. Focus on it. Google is seeing that your present page is relevant for that keyword, but it's not ranking it. It's not really ranking it high enough for it to get traffic. That means you already have the relevancy. Google wants to rank you for that. Give them a page. Specifically build out a great page around that keyword, and then interlink it. As we said before, use that topic clustering strategy, with an existing piece, and sit back and wait a little bit. I bet you'll begin to see you moving up on that keyword ranking. Splicing is such a great, great strategy. We use it all the time.
Alright, let's finally move on to the last stage. The sad one. Sad but inevitable in any lifecycle is decay. No matter how good a piece is, almost inevitably over time it's going to start to fall off in traffic and intention. What do you do with that, when something starts to decay? There's only one tactic here, and that is refresh where you can. So let's talk about refreshing.
As far as finding what to refresh, [here’s a] good place to start. This is back in Google Search Console, again. We're looking at our pages that we're ranking for. I've dug down here now. If you look on the right hand side, where it says position, you see these are all now 12, 13, 14. Generally, that means we're on the second page. There's a lot of variance these days, but generally we think of the first page of Google as having 10 links on it, or 10 sites that rank. So these are doable. These are almost there, you know. They're almost to the first page, which means maybe a little bit of work, of improving some of the things that we talked about already in this webinar, applying that, going in and just spicing up the content a little bit, adding more to it, making it better, more comprehensive, finding opportunities to interlink with other relevant content on your site, all those techniques. These are good candidates. You could drive these up to page one, and start getting some traffic from them. So that's refreshing.
Also look for—and you can find this in Google Search Console, again—keywords or pages you have that have high impressions, but low click through rate. So something [where] a lot of people are looking for that thing, but they're not clicking on yours. One of the things that you can do is try to improve your meta description, the little description that Google includes [in] the first 2 or 3 lines after a search result. As you may know from experience, they don't always show the one that you put in and your code into your site. But they often do if it's well written, if it's very well descriptive of the page. You can't get too salesy in it—you can't say things like, “click here, please!” But give a little bit of enticement so that people are interested, because not everybody clicks on that first result. People do scan through the page, and they look at those little descriptions to get an idea of like,which of these should I click on first? So little things you can do to improve that click through rate.
Matthew: We have a few people who went into their Search Console, and they said they can see the pages, but they can't see the position column. You add it at the top of the page, right? When you're looking at that report?
Mark: Exactly, there's options that you can have to show which columns to show. Look at the top of that page, and you'll see different things you can click on to show if you want to just include position on that report. Good question.
Mark: So finally, some ways to refresh. Okay, I know what pages I want to refresh. How do I do that? The simplest and most direct way? Expand the text. Do some keyword research and maybe include some more relevant keywords on the page and talk about those. Don't just throw keywords on the page. Those keywords are clues, like, “Oh, we should expand a little bit here and talk a little bit more about these related areas.”
Look at the SERP again, as we said before, the search results page and see if something's changed. Maybe you got behind. Maybe you didn't realize the whole topic had shifted in some way. And other pages have moved on, but you didn't. You didn’t get a clue. Find that out. Then, of course, you know, build it into one of your topic clusters. If that page is on page 2 in Google, but it's kind of orphaned, is there a topic cluster that you can include it in to make it more relevant, more visible? So [those are] all things that you can do in that.
Over time, I call it the “lifecycle lifecycle,” because we talked about the content lifecycle, or the lifecycle of a particular piece of content. But it's a way of life, it's maybe a “lifecycle lifestyle.” You want to develop this regular thing of seeding new content, feeding it, to make it begin to get some traffic and to grow the audience that it has. Being willing to prune from time to time, go back and cut out the dead non-performing or conflicting content. Where you can, splicing and taking off high-performing content that's ranking for a lot of keywords, and splitting off to more targeted long tail keywords in their own pages on your site. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. We see time and again, our clients who do this have this upward cycle over time where they're growing their traffic and their relevance. And that's your goal. So thank you so much for being a part of this. Here are the places where you can learn more and follow us.
Matthew: Alright, awesome. That was a fantastic presentation. Thank you so much. So we tried to answer as many questions as we could throughout the chat. But I do have a couple that I think I'd like to add to this. Somebody else asked early on—they provide a service, they have a few clients that provide the same service in the same geographical area. How can they differentiate their content in order to rank? If they're targeting dentists in Boise, Idaho, or you know, something? It's a very small, niche topic. And it's a very small targeted area. What can they do to kind of differentiate themselves in terms of content?
Mark: Yeah, that's a great question. Part of that is a local SEO question. We actually have a division called Local Clarity that deals with that. So local SEO is not my specialization. There's places where you can learn more about that. But from a content standpoint, this can actually be easier than you think, simply because it's a great, like—I love that you use dentists because I happen to have a friend who's a dentist in Charlotte, who's built a tremendous SEO presence in the Charlotte, North Carolina regional area with his content optimization. Because he noticed if you go to most dental sites, there's either very little real content—like real, useful educational content. Or if it's there, you can tell instantly they bought this content somewhere. It's a paragraph or two, or they had some paid writer who doesn't really know anything about dentistry just, you know, slap up a few words on a page. When you see that kind of thing in your niche, just by creating better content—by spending some time and thinking about, what are the most important educational things that my dental clients might want to know about, and being the best in your industry. It's actually easier to do content optimized ranking on a localized niche like that. Because you're not competing against huge medical sites or something that are global or nationwide.
If you've done your local SEO work, Google knows you're focused on that particular area. So you're only competing against the other dentists in Charlotte, in this case, like my friend. He just looked at their sites and said, I can do better than that, and just took it one by one and caught that project. So I think from the standpoint of what we're talking about today, [the] number one advice I would have is actually go look at the other sites in your niche in that local area. And do better than them. You can do better.
Matthew: That's always—you have to take a look at what your competitors are doing. We actually did a great webinar together with Semrush on competitor analysis. So I highly recommend you take a look at that webinar that we did. It's on the Wix.com YouTube channel.
We got another question. Throughout the presentation, a lot of people have been asking about different keyword tools or different free tools. Are there any tools that you recommend? Or even want to demo? Wink, wink.
Mark: Funny you should ask. Yeah, this is Spark, our free content optimizer tool. You're seeing it on the left there. This is actually a page on our own website, and it's a Chrome plugin. You can install it for free, use it for free for life. All the information there is yours. But this is also really great for competitive research—not just learning about your own site, but going out and looking, when you start to see, like, what are the sites that are ranking for a keyword I am [also ranking for]? And what are they doing differently than I am, that I should maybe be thinking about doing? It's a great tool for doing that kind of research. So it's not a keyword research tool, per se—that's a component of it—but it’s more of a great tool for analyzing both, how are my own pages doing? from a very simple level, and, how are my competitors' pages doing?.
So I'll just walk quickly here through some things you can see this way. Right at the top, you see the page that I'm on right now. It tells me how many keywords I am ranking for, and the top keywords. This isn't a very aged page, it hasn't been around very long. So right now, it's ranking for just one keyword, “SEO for travel industry”. That's a really great keyword for us. That’s good to see. A quick on-page summary, like really basic information about the HTML structure of your page, or a competitor's page that you're looking at. So you can see right off the bat, what's the title that Google sees? What's the meta description that Google sees? All this kind of information
A quick usability audit, which is looking at possible technical problems that might be on that page that you might want to think about getting fixed, that might be preventing it from getting indexed, or [are causing] Google to have a hard time understanding that page. A little bit of the backlink information on the page. We draw that from Majestic SEO. We get a firehose feed from them—all of their information, great information on that. You can even do a relevance analysis. This gets you inside some of our tools that enterprise level businesses pay thousands of dollars for. So you can put in a keyword here. Gosh, we wanted this page to rank for this keyword. Put that in there, hit Analyze, and we'll tell you what you should be adding to this page if you want to rank for that particular keyword or topic. And some basic information is useful.
Matthew: Teresa actually asked, “Don’t we have this info that this extension is providing on Wix?” Yes, you do have some of this information for your site, but this is a great way to see what other sites are up to. If you see another page that's ranking ahead of you for a keyword that you want to rank for, you can easily open this extension and see, okay, what's their meta description? What are the top words on their page? Who's backlinking to them? So you can kind of see what's going on in other pages. Of course, you can see your H1, you can see your meta description in the Editor. But this is a great way to kind of spy on the competition and understand what's going on outside of your site.
Mark: And our user base, the people that use the Spark tool and love it, consistently tell us that's their number one usage. Just spying on their competitors. They typically have some of this information already on their own pages. So it's a great way to do a quick comparison and see what they're doing. And this is really cool—this is giving you top level analysis from something that enterprise clients pay thousands of dollars to get in much more detail. But we can do high level topical analysis. Looking at the page that you're looking at right now in your browser, we can tell you, here are the keywords that search engines most likely see as relevant for this page. That might give you some ideas [of] where you want to maybe include more of that or talk more about that on the page. Beef that up. All these are ways that you're going to want to use that refresh strategy, or that growth strategy, that we talked about—where you're trying to expand the relevancy of your pages, get them to rank better, [and] get more traffic. If you look up “spark seoClarity” on Google, you'll find it. It's also linked from the webinar. So absolutely free. Try it out and have fun with it.
Matthew: Yep. And afterwards, when we send out an email to everybody with the link, we’ll also send a link to the extension, as well.
Matthew: Let's ask a few more questions. Someone asked about, “At the end, you showed the lifecycle lifecycle, and how you want to keep going. How long does that take for a lifecycle like that to go? What's the timeframe?”
Mark: I can give the most familiar SEO answer to that, Matthew. What is it? You know what it is?
Matthew: It depends.
Mark: It depends, exactly. Which is a horrible cop out answer. But in so much of SEO, it really is true. So what that's going to depend on is your marketplace that you're in. And a number of factors. It's also going to depend on your own resources. How quickly can you build content? How quickly can you pivot? How quickly can you apply the steps? In general, the more time that you can give to those steps that I showed you—going through plant, grow, decay, seeding, feeding, refreshing, all those things. The more times you can go through that over the course of a year, generally, I think the quicker that cycle is going to go. Because Google moves slowly. SEO is a process where you're seeding.
That's why I think the horticulture metaphor is so good, because you’ve got to seed in the spring to get a harvest in the fall. And you’ve got to think of Google in that way. But the nice thing is scalability. So, in the beginning, it's going to be slow, and the cycle is going to be long. And the benefits are going to be long coming. But keep doing it, don't give up. Over time, especially as you have more and more to work with, because you've been applying these steps, you're going to see that you're going to begin to scale and it will become quicker. Google gets more confident about your site, gets more confident that it knows what it's about, that it's good, that it's relevant, that it's useful to the Google audience, etcetera, etcetera. You're going to find that cycle cutting down over time. So I can't give you any one size fits all answer. In most cases, though, you're looking at—over a period of months, at least. I would say every few months, try to come back, at least, and revisit and do the pruning, and the splicing, and those kinds of steps, that will then be refreshing.
Matthew: Yep, that's a great point. SEO is a marathon, it's not a sprint. With every change, you might not see the effects of that change for a while. So it does take time. Have patience. And that actually is a great thing you just mentioned about Google and helping Google understand your site better. Someone asked, “Does buying Google Ads help Google understand and help your site rank better at all?” It's not really related to content, but still might be a good way for—
Mark: That’s a good question. Okay, I can answer this one. It does not depend. The answer is emphatically no. And I truly believe this. And not just because Google—Google takes every opportunity they can when this question comes up to say, no, no, it's like absolute separation between ads and things. Now, I know a lot of us probably don't trust Google or say it's a huge, mega corporation. Why would we trust what they say?
You don't need to just go with what they say. To me, it makes absolute sense that they keep that separate. And here's why. Google's organic search industry—its website search, organic search—is one of the most valuable things on the face of the earth. It's driven one of the largest businesses ever known. It's created untold billions for Google. That's the goose that lays the golden egg, along with the ads. So it's the thing that drives the ads. But if Google search was ever to be—all of that runs on trust.
We use Google because we trust it. We trust that we're getting truly organic search results. That the algorithm has our best interests at heart. I guess I link this to my feeling about conspiracy theories in general. The bigger the organization, and the bigger the conspiracy theory—which I think you know, [the idea] that buying ads helps your organic ranking, I think it's a conspiracy theory, because there's no proof of it—the bigger the conspiracy, the more certain it is that it's going to be leaked. It's going to get out eventually. And that's the reason why I don't think it happens, because it would just take once. If somebody leaked out, you know, and somebody escaped from Google headquarters with the evidence and said, yep, you buy enough ads and we send a message over to organic to rank these people higher, that would be the end of Google.
Mark: And so that's why I believe them when they say that.
Matthew: And also, I mean, there is a place for Google ads in your marketing strategy. It is a great way to generate traffic fast. But, ultimately, Google ads are like a water faucet. When you have it on, and you turn it on, and you're paying Google, the traffic flows. But the minute you turn off the campaign, the traffic stops. But that doesn't happen with SEO. With organic, it does take a longer time to build up. But it is higher quality, and it's more sustainable. You know, even though this process does take time, and the lifecycle does take time, and energy, and effort, you'll see you'll reap the benefits by getting really quality traffic.
Mark: Another thing, if I may quickly, that the ads are useful for, from an SEO standpoint, is paid ads are a great way to test out keywords. Before you invest in building a piece of content—with all the expense and time that takes—test out a paid ad landing page. If it's working in paid then it's probably worth investing in for organic, and building and optimizing for organic on that. Because with ads, you get very fast feedback—not the kind of feedback you get from organic. So testing is worth spending the money, especially on a new site, to begin to test the waters and see what it might be worth trying to build out organic strategy around.
Matthew: Fantastic. And going on that, especially if you're a new site, a few people have mentioned that they're just getting started. They’re not sure how to do this for a brand new site, or they're a one man band, a small team, they don't have a lot of resources. How can they go about creating this content? How can they go about creating a content strategy, if they don't have the time to write or don't have the time to do all this stuff that we talked about?
Mark: Yeah, boy, I feel for you. I know, it's a tremendous dilemma. I wish I could give you an easy answer for that. Because you've got to find—if you want to drive organic traffic, it's gonna be a great source of traffic for you over time—you've got to make [time]. It's like anything else in your business. If you're running a business, you don't have time for anything. Everything is urgent. So, if you had a store, you’d say, ah, stocking the shelves takes so much time. I don't have time for that. I've got to do accounting, I've got to do this and that, and I’ve got to do that advertising. If you don't put any product on the shelves, you're going to go out of business.
So at some point, you've got to build some time and priority into this. It's okay to start slow. Like I said, in the beginning, even just my dentist friend—he's in the same boat that you are. So go out and build a few good pieces of content around your most relevant topics, and do it better than your competitors are doing it. And that's the place to start. And then the lifecycle that I showed you, I'm giving you a vision for the future. Because if you plant the seeds, even if you plant a few seeds, and slowly start to grow them, you're going to get, over time, the content library that you can begin to apply those things to. And make those more efficient, make them do more for you over time. So I wish I could tell you how to find more time. That's another miracle for another miracle worker.
Matthew: Yeah, I mean, also—getting started, you can just do an hour a week. You can set aside time to write a few things here and there. And then over time, it will build up. It’ll become a snowball. And once you see it work, and you see the results, you'll find the time. You'll want to do it.
Once again, thank you, Mark. And thank you to all of our Wix users for coming out today. And have a great day.
Mark: Thank you, Matthew, and thank you Wix, and everybody that came.