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Demystifying SEO

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Demystifying SEO

Collin Gabriel April 26, 2021


Kate Jorgensen (00:00:04):

All right. Hello and welcome everyone. Thank you so much for taking time to join us today. Some of you might be eating lunch while watching. We really appreciate you taking time out of your lunch hour to hang out and learn about SEO best practices. Uh, my name is . I’m on the integrated marketing team here at travel Oregon and as well, a few MLC, more folks hop on the line. I thought maybe we could go over some housekeeping items before we dive in. So we’ve set aside 10 minutes at the end of this session for questions, live questions and answers. So if you’ve got specific questions that you’d like answered, please do hang out until the end. Um, we’ve also got a Q and a tool set up. So if you’re looking at the, if you have her towards the bottom of your zoom screen, you’ll see Q and a.

Kate Jorgensen (00:00:49):

And if you click on that, you can submit questions as you think of them throughout the presentation. Um, we’ll do our best to answer them as we go, um, as it feels natural, but if we don’t manage to cover something as a question on again, please do hang out till the end. I also wanted to point out that this session demystifying SEO is the fourth, um, session, uh, training opportunity in the travel Oregon, small business marketing series. Um, if you have any interest in watching previous trainings they’ve been recorded and that’s something that you can, um, check out on the industry website, we’re going to drop a link in the chat here in a moment and spoiler alert, we’re recording. Um, so this will also be available for you. Um, and for anyone else that you might want to share this training with, um, again, that’ll probably go out next week, um, and you can find it in the same spot on the industry website as well.

Kate Jorgensen (00:01:35):

And then last but not least in terms of housekeeping, we will be sending out a survey. Um, please do fill that out. We take your feedback very seriously and it does help inform future sessions. So please do let us know what you liked, maybe what you’d like to see change or some ideas for future trainings. Cause this won’t be the last and with that, I am thrilled to introduce you to Justin Gibbs, the director of strategy and insights over at miles partnership miles has been instrumental to our team, helping guide SEO and recommendations and best practices for our website. And he brings more than a decade of experience in online marketing, web development design. And it’s bringing all of that to our discussion today. Justin deeply interested in generating traffic through inbound channels and is constantly working to stay ahead of the, uh, organic search curve.

Kate Jorgensen (00:02:23):

And when Justin’s not up to his neck and spreadsheets, he prefers to be out snowboarding. So on winter weekends, like the one that’s headed our way it’s to Oregon any minute now you’ll find them standing on top of mountains, picking his way through forest riding chairlifts or enjoying a tasty brew at Colorado’s winter park ski resort. I feel the need to know I learned what picking through a forest is today. Very cool. And on that note, Justin, thank you so much for taking time to school, all of us on the latest and greatest SEO best practices, take it away.

Justin Gibbs (00:02:52):

All right. Thank you, Kate and welcome everybody. Um, so today’s objectives is you generally, I just want to help demystify SEO. SEO can be a very complex topic with many moving parts and it can feel very overwhelming to a lot of people. So, um, really our goal is to help empower you to make a lot of those changes and updates on your website yourself and leave you feeling more confident and smarter. And that those changes that you’ve made have actually had a positive impact. Um, I want to discuss ways that you can get most out of, or the most out of us as your SEO partner or as travel Oregon’s SEO partner, um, which will largely be around, you know, this seminar and the office hours that we have scheduled, um, after this and then to just connect SEO and the content process together to make sure that we’re really putting our best foot forward when wherever we’re publishing anything new.

Justin Gibbs (00:03:48):

Um, so here’s our quick agenda. We’re going to go over a little bit of a ranking factor, ranking factors overview. We’re going to talk about SEO for site editors. That’s where I’m going to spend most of our time today because that’s really where you as the individual contributor can make the biggest impact. I’m going to share some of the SEO tools with you guys that I use every day and that I recommend using go through some of the higher level trends in SEO. What’s been happening in the last couple of years and what we expect to see in the next few coming years here, um, help you understand a little bit of your reporting and analytics. There’s just a lot of terms that get thrown around out there that, you know, if you’re not working in everyday, they can feel a little confusing. And finally just give you guys some resources to take away for further learning opportunities after this seminar.

Justin Gibbs (00:04:35):

So with that, let’s talk about ranking factors. Google has over 200 apps. It’s a lot more than 200 these days, but there’s 200 more plus ranking factors that really go into what Google is looking at when they are trying to evaluate what website deserves to be ranking on page one and in the first position for what keyword. Um, this is just a quick little, a periodic table of SEO success factors from search engine land. I have the link to this, so you can actually get into this a little bit deeper, but, um, because there’s so many different factors and it’s not something that everybody really can be an expert on all at all times, this periodic table is really helpful in helping you assess things, um, where you might, you know, you might hear some people talking about spam and you might get bad advice on spamming the web.

Justin Gibbs (00:05:27):

And you can see down here in this bottom part like spam, that’s gonna count against you negatively. Uh, back in the day, people used to cloak or hide their content to try and stuff, keywords, and that’s going to be negative. You know, that’ll go against you. Um, but then up here at the top, you can see if there’s like a plus symbol, these are items that will work for you. Um, so things like aggregating high quality backlinks from very trustworthy sources, creating quality content, which, you know, feels like a given, but, um, there’s a lot that can go into that and making sure that your crawl architecture is set up in a way that allows Google to actually access the content that’s on your website, which again, that might feel like a given, but you’d be surprised what you see in a lot of these, um, like page builder themes and different WordPress templates that you might run into.

Justin Gibbs (00:06:18):

Um, that they’re fine, but oftentimes just need a little tweaking to make them more crawlable, but to kind of back up and just, you know, take a higher level, look at this. There’s going to be three main pillars that we want to look at when we are evaluating our websites and when Google is evaluating our websites. And so that’s going to be your content. Is it unique? And is it comprehensive around your topic? The backlinks that are pointing to your website? These are kind of like a vote of confidence from other people in the industry and around the web that say, Hey, you know, these guys are legitimate and they publish quality content. So we’re looking for high quality backlinks from very reputable sources and we’re looking to get a high quantity of them, but quality will always come before quantity when it comes to backlinks particularly.

Justin Gibbs (00:07:07):

And finally the technical aspect, um, is their website render in a way that it can crawl properly. If you’re using text in images, you know, Google can’t always pick that up. But a lot of times we use that as a shortcut to kind of get stuff displayed on a webpage that we might not be able to do ourselves without developmental help. Um, there are certain tags, like no index tags that we put on websites when they’re in the development stage that can sometimes be overlooked when we push them live. So a few of those factors will be very important as well, but these are the three main pillars that Google will be looking at when it’s evaluating your website. Um, Finally here, you know, you get a lot of questions around, should I invest in SEO now, how do I hire an agency to do this? Like there’s a million different SEO providers out there. How do I know who’s worth, um, investing in and spending my time in, and I’ll always say this, you know, do invest. If you can afford, you can see my little gap of disappointment chart here from MAs. If you can afford to invest money for at least three to six months without seeing a major ROI, then I absolutely recommend investing in SEO. If you cannot have that time where you’re not getting that immediate ROI, then it might not be the best time to invest in an agency or provider to do it for you. But there’s a lot of stuff that you can do right now. And after this webinar, um, that can still help with a lot of that. And so you’re not putting money into something that’s going to take a long time to yield results. Um, because that really is the biggest thing. It takes a long time to really start getting good results in Google. And you can get disappointed pretty quick if you don’t see it after that first three months, but it’s always worth the investment. It just depends on how long you can really wait.

Justin Gibbs (00:09:04):

So we’re going to talk about SEO for site editors. That’s going to be our primary topic today because that’s what most of us have the ability to impact in our own CMS is without lots of development help and, um, lots of editorial and PR help. And backlink, backlink helping all that.

Justin Gibbs (00:09:24):

Um, so here’s just a quick snippet from Google. And what is the purpose of SEO? Of course, we know that the purpose is that for us is that we want to get more traffic. Um, but really to boost that organic search traffic to your website, uh, by making your website content more intelligible, the search engine sees your content will rank higher and attract more visitors to your website. Again, that can often seem like a given, but a lot of times you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s why we want to use a lot of these SEO and keyword research tools to inform us on things that we don’t even know is know about that people are looking for. And Google says, search engine optimization is about putting your side’s best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines, but your ultimate consumers are, are your users not search engines?

Justin Gibbs (00:10:09):

And they say that because back in the day, people used to just stuff keywords in their content and it would read like it read like trash. It was very difficult to read the content, but because you saw these keywords reoccurring consistently throughout the content, um, it would show up in Google would rank it. And that’s something that they’ve of course become wise to over the years. And so it’s very important not to like stuff keywords into your content, but with that said, how do we optimize our content and our on page SEO without stuffing the keywords in, then that’s what we’re going to spend a lot of our time going through right now.

Justin Gibbs (00:10:47):

So the first thing you’re going to want to do whenever you are trying to either write a new page or new piece of content or optimize an existing piece of content is come up with three things. You’re going to want a primary keyword. I didn’t put it in there because I don’t think it needs a definition. That’s just, what is the main keyword I want to rank for? And then you’re going to want to aggregate groups of semantically related keywords, which is defined as a variation of your primary keyword. That really makes sense to include as part of the natural language when you’re describing the con or the topic. And so for today’s example, we’re going to talk about outdoor recreation. Um, a semantically related topic to outdoor recreation or keyword would be outdoor activities or things to do outdoors. Anything that has really the same meaning, but might be a variation of the core keyword would be a semantically related keyword.

Justin Gibbs (00:11:40):

And then we have ancillary keywords. So these are keywords, and this is where you really have to do the keyword research. Um, these are keywords that are necessary in supporting the primary topic in a complete way so that you think of it like ancillary support, ancillary troops, and you have like, um, you know, medical and food. There’s other parts that aren’t part of the main primary objective. So if I’m talking about outdoor activity, outdoor recreation, as it relates to Oregon, and I don’t mention canoeing, camping, surfing Tillamook, then I’m probably not talking about outdoor recreation and in a complete way. And so even though it might seem kind of straightforward and basic by aggregating those into a list, you can just make sure that it’s all there in your content and you can kind of check those boxes while you’re writing the content out so that, you know, you have everything that Google’s going to be expecting when you’re writing about your focus topic.

Justin Gibbs (00:12:35):

So here, we’re just going to talk about some content planning. Um, the first thing you want to do is just decide, am I creating a new piece, or am I optimizing an existing piece of content when you have a very large site, like a lot of the destination websites like travel Oregon are oftentimes just optimizing an existing piece can go a really long way in getting more traffic for your website. If you were, if you own a smaller business though, and you don’t have volumes of content, you can really get a lot more out of creating new pieces. Um, but it depends on how, you know, it all depends, right? It depends on the structure of your website as it currently exists. And the content that really is on the website. Now you’re going to want to go through topic ideation. What do I think is going to convert people?

Justin Gibbs (00:13:25):

Where am I, you know, what are people searching for in Google? That’s the keyword research part, um, identifying some high opportunity focused keywords. We would do that by looking at things like the search volume for the keyword, and then the keyword difficulty, which you can often find in, um, tools like SEM rush or bright edge. And that just shows you what is the difficulty level to rank for certain keywords. And we can also look for things like cost per click and kind of relate that back to an SCM strategy. If you’re doing that, if you are like, if you find that you have a lot of good conversions on these keywords that have very high cost per click, it would oftentimes be really good idea to create some organic content around that so that you can pick up some of those queries organically instead of having to pay for them.

Justin Gibbs (00:14:14):

Um, and then of course, on the other end, if you’re seeing that these keywords are 5 cents a click, you know, I’ll pay for that all day. And so kind of balancing the CPC versus the difficulty that you see in the tools versus the search volume can go a long way and like helping you to zero in on that high opportunity, then you’re going to want to compile the semantic, ancillary and ancillary keywords that you’ve already, that we’ve already discussed and write and optimize your copy. So topic ideation, we’re going to begin with our parent topic today being outdoor recreation. Um, I think that this is a great parent topic for Oregon because it is not inherently related to Oregon. Um, and as a DMO, like if they’re already searching for my destination, then I’m already in their brain. But if their people are just searching for these, like top-line ideas, outdoor recreation, skiing, and snowboarding surfing, and my destination starts popping up at the top of the results.

Justin Gibbs (00:15:13):

Well, now I’m plugging Oregon in people’s heads and saying, Hey, this is a great place for you to go do all this stuff that you’re highly interested in. So I like to pick some of these broader terms for the big state deemos because that’s really where we can start to introduce the brand into people’s heads. We also want to consider seasonality and current events when we’re doing this. And I’ll always say to plan at least three months ahead, whenever you’re planning your content, because it takes Google a good deal of time to discover your link in the first place. You can always submit your new links to Google, but there’s no saying how long it’s going to take for them to actually, um, in sandboarding of course we do that actually in Colorado too. So that’s a great example cause I love sandboarding. Thank you for that example in the chat.

Justin Gibbs (00:16:01):

Um, but you know, we always want to look three months ahead because it takes Google awhile. And even though submit things to Google, there’s no real controlling on how long it takes for them to index your content. And then once it’s indexed, it takes them a while to really sort it out and figure out does this deserve to be at the top? And then you might learn things in your analytics or, um, in looking at search console or a crawl tool that, Hey, there’s something weird here. And so this just gives you the time for, you know, yourself to make some edits for Google, to get it index ranked, and then for people to find it during that period when it’s going to be the most impactful. So like right now it being squeezies and I probably won’t be writing a lot about ski season on my, um, on my like pillar content pages because you know, or at least halfway through that season at this point, unless you’re in Colorado and it goes until June.

Justin Gibbs (00:16:52):

Um, but for the most part, you know, we’re mostly through that. So I’m going to start looking into spring summer activity is like now, and as we proceed into the keyword research, we’re going to look to initial, or we’re going to initially look for keywords all about outdoor recreation as it relates to Oregon. And so that’s where, um, for this example, I’m going to plug in this keyword in a tool called SEM rush. They’ve actually rebranded and they call it SEM rush now. But I find that that is a little weird it’s SCM is the, is the tactic it’s search engine marketing. So SIM sounds a little strange to me, but I’m trying to learn, but SCM rush is one of my favorite SEO tools. And it’s what I have a large people, a large amount of people in at miles right now. And what it’ll do is when I plug a keyword in to this tool for their, their, um, topic ideation and their keyword research features, it’s going to start spitting out keywords that are a semantically related, like I said, and B, you’re going to start finding things that are ancillary.

Justin Gibbs (00:17:55):

So I put an outdoor recreation and I immediately find outdoor adventures. That’s a keyword that I would pepper into my content instead of using outdoor recreation over and over and over. Um, as I’m looking through these lists, I start to find things about camping, camping sites, camping in specific cities like Lincoln city, cause summer camps and camping and Tillamook. And then as I started looking for things more around camping and Tillamook, then I start looking, finding things like free camping until the Moog camping for summer, until it was the prettiest place in killed Tillamook forest to camp, um, and tent camping. You don’t have to use these keywords in the verbatim structure. Um, like as it is exactly laid out here in the tool, but they are important topics to then include too, because you can see, see that they’re showing up, um, and Google and these tools start showing it up and Google just is expecting to find that content.

Justin Gibbs (00:18:56):

So just a great place to make sure that you really have that comprehensive piece and that there’s nothing missing. Um, so as you’re going through this, you know, you’re going to want to see what is the position that I’m currently ranking in. If it’s stuff I already have content for, what is the, uh, the traffic like the estimated traffic that I’m getting, you can see for a lot of these it’s lower, but as it kind of rolls up in sums up, it ends up being a fair amount. What is the search volume for these specific keywords? You know, I see that orange Oregon beach camping has 4,400 monthly searches. So I’m gonna get a lot more traffic out of that if I can rank higher than I will from Prineville reservoir camping. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to include that reservoir keyword in my, um, in my focus pieces.

Justin Gibbs (00:19:46):

It’s just that I might not like prioritize that immediately. You’ll also see your keyword difficulty percentage here and in SEM rush, it’s a one to a hundred scale. So they put it as a, and the higher, the number, the more difficult it’s going to be to rank for. And you see the CPC here, um, in us dollars. And so for some of these, you know, there’s no CPC, you can probably bid on these for very, very cheap, cheap, because nobody’s really bidding on them. So in an, as an SCM strategy, it might actually be good to, uh, include that as your keyword that you’re bidding on. And so that’s a great way to find things out too. Um, in this case, there’s not really anything with too high of a cost, but as you’re looking through different industries, some like some industries have keyword costs up to $50 a click. Now that’s pretty much not in the travel industry and that’s more for like insurance, um, businesses like that, lawyers, but it can get really high. And so you’ll just, you know, I want to look at that as it relates to your own budgets and your history.

Justin Gibbs (00:21:02):

Um, okay, so then keyword discovery. We want to find those keywords that have the strong opportunity, like I just went through and then do more research to see if there’s any more related topics that can help inspire the article or the angle that I’m taking to support that piece, because it really is just about creating this comprehensive piece of content. Um, we want to look and see if and how your current content is answering the keyword query, um, what you can oftentimes do. And as Google continues to evolve and give us more of these quick answer results and people also ask results, we can start to see how people are searching for questions that we might not even know that they’re asking, or we might not even know to ask ourselves. And so we can pick through some of those and get a lot of great ideas and then just decide if it makes sense. Do I need to write a new piece of content or do I have something that’s already, you know, 80% of the way there and it just needs a little help.

Justin Gibbs (00:22:02):

Um, so identifying your top keywords, you know, again, you’re going to look at your search volume first and just make sure that there is potential to drive traffic. Um, I would love to give you a threshold and say, only work on keywords that have a thousand or more searches a month, but it really depends on who you are, what your business is, where you are, et cetera, because you’ll find that some of these like national park keywords have hundreds of thousands of searches a month, but if you aren’t a national park and you don’t think you have the ability to rank for that, you know, it is okay to look at keywords that have 500 searches a month and even less than that. Um, but generally as you’re going through the tools, you’re going to want to find things that have high search volume. Um, and one thing to kind of note is that there is kind of give or take on any given day about a 50% click through rate on the first position in Google.

Justin Gibbs (00:22:55):

Um, and so that only 50% of the clicks even go to the first result and then it really decay is from there. And those are that’s 50% of the people who click because 40% of all searches and with no click at all because of the search, um, because of the search results and how we have all these quick answers and map packs and things that often answer those questions right away. And so when you get into these very low search volume terms, and you start cutting that in half, like let’s say it’s a hundred a month, I’d cut that in half. And I cut it in half again, you’re not really looking at getting a ton of traffic. So that’s really where you’re going to want to just start to keep that in mind, at least, um, a note that said a lot of the more specific queries that really resonate with people who know what they’re looking for, they’ll have very low search volumes.

Justin Gibbs (00:23:44):

And sometimes those are the people we want, especially in things like the meeting space where you don’t have the general public looking for it. But you do have meeting planners who are a very valuable visitor to your website because they can often bring thousands of people to your, to a hotel. Um, there might not be a lot of search volume for those keywords, but they are some of the best people to target. And so it’s just really, um, it’s a balance and you kind of have to figure out what is going to be the best for your specific business. Um, we also want to correspond the content with gaps on our website. So some of these tools like SEM rush and bright edge, you can actually plug in your domain and other domains that you might see as your competitors, and they’ll show you what content they have that you don’t. And so that’s an easy way to just get ideas for content and keywords that you want to write about. So just to kind of say all that over again and summarize, we want to identify our focus keyword, and then we want to compile the list of both semantically related, which are those similar keywords and ancillary keywords, which are those like very longer tail or detail oriented keywords that support that focus keyword. Um, okay. So we want to craft our copy to be SEO friendly and also human friendly. So we’re going to want to use a mix of our keywords in play some of these like very key SEO fields in our CMS. Um, so these are the most prominent fields you’re going to want to plug in your focus and primary keyword in your H one tag, which is in WordPress. Typically that will be your, um, just the name of your page or the page title at the top, your title tag, which is like a meta tag that Google uses.

Justin Gibbs (00:25:39):

You see them in the search results. That’s the title of the listing, um, and your URL. These are, these are great fields to plug in that exact match, focus keyword, where it doesn’t get in the way of the content. And you’re not trying to jam that keyword in places where it might not feel as naturally. Then you’re going to want to incorporate your semantic and ancillary keywords in places like the H two heading. That’s one of your subheadings there’s, there’s like H one to six. And so you can nest all of these headings. If you have a really long piece of content, um, your body content, your meta-description and, and other places on the page, it could be like all texts and images, or, um, just in your writing in general. But I try not to like really insert my focus keyword more than once in the body copy, because if I just start saying canoeing and Oregon, a million times on the page, it just starts to read really poorly.

Justin Gibbs (00:26:34):

And so we want to really create that mix of keywords. And that’s why you start with those lists. So, you know what they’re going to be before you start writing. Um, and that copy to feel natural and not forced. So you’re avoiding the keyword stuffing and you’re just avoiding, um, what I’m going to call like SEO content that they used to use back in the day where you would just see like camping in Oregon is, is great because camping in Oregon is beautiful and over and over and over, you would see that we don’t want to do that at all. We want to use this structure of primary keyword in these focus fields and then your Symantec and ancillaries more throughout the copy.

Speaker 6 (00:27:11):


Justin Gibbs (00:27:14):

So we’re really gonna focus on quality content. Again, of course, that seems like it’s a straightforward item, but, um, making sure that you post it like in relevant time, um, if, if we’re going to have a big event this week, don’t just post the article this week, post that a month ahead of time posted three months ahead of time, make sure that these pieces are lined up and ready to go before that event, before that season, what have you, and then you want to incorporate robust linking throughout your pages. And so if I am writing a page about canoeing, or let’s say, I’m writing a page about outdoor recreation, like we’re talking about, and I mentioned canoeing because that is one of my ancillary keywords. And I also happen to have a blog article that somebody wrote about their experience canoeing. Then I’m going to want to use this canoeing and Oregon, or, um, some very similar type phrase to link out to that page, because that relates to that page back to your keyword that you’ve linked, um, that’s called anchor text, and it’s just whatever the word is that you click click on a link.

Justin Gibbs (00:28:23):

So we try to avoid using like click here or read more as our anchor texts. Cause it doesn’t give Google any good clues about what the next piece of content is about there’s is going to be about. But when I use like discover more about canoeing and Oregon, you can use longer phrases like that as your anchor tags or just highlighting canoeing and Oregon that gives Google and users really a better way to understand what they’re about to get into in the next page.

Justin Gibbs (00:28:54):

Um, and so we really want to make sure that we, we use all of these tags. Um, again, like I say this all the time to people and it’s one of the things that gets overlooked the most. And so you have this title tag here, the meta-description image, all texts, these things are very simple and quick to fill out, but it’s w and they’re one of the most impactful parts about like SEO and you optimizing your pages, but it’s also one of the places that people just overlook. Um, I mean, it’s really surprising on how often they get overlooked and just left empty. So this is one thing I want to kind of like lay into you guys here. Like, it takes just a minute to fill out these fields and customize them a little bit, and it’ll go a long way. So spend that time to do it.

Justin Gibbs (00:29:41):

So I’m going to go over this plugin. Um, this is a Yost for S for WordPress. This is the number one used WordPress plugin for SEO, uh, travel Oregon uses it. I’ve used it. I’ve actually contracted. ACAN an old agency. I contracted the CEO to help us with some SEO help back in the day. Like it was like 10 years ago, but they’ve really grown into being one of the more trusted plugins for WordPress. And so I’m going to specifically go through where these fields live in Yoast. Um, the chances are, if you have a WordPress website, somebody probably installed Yoast on it while they were setting up your website. So when you’re in your page editor, you’re, you’re editing a specific page or a blog article in WordPress. You just need to scroll past the primary content and you’ll start to see, you’ll find these fields and WordPress here, you can update the slug, which is the last part of the URL.

Justin Gibbs (00:30:39):

Anything after the last forward slash is called a slug. Um, and that’s where I want to put in outdoor recreation verbatim, because that is my primary keyword. Um, there’s the SEO title, and it just labels it as SEO title, but that’s the title tag. So again, that’s what shows up in Google. That’s what shows up in your browser tab. Um, social media platforms off often use the title tag. Is there a little snippet preview and then here’s your meta-description below? Um, well, you can see here is that for travel Oregon. We actually have it set up in a way where it’s tokenized so that we don’t have to immediately go in and write custom title tags and meta descriptions for every single page, because for very large websites, it can be extremely time consuming. And what we want to do is just make sure that they’re not blank.

Justin Gibbs (00:31:29):

If you have a smaller website, I recommend, you know, go in and write them all custom. If you have 20 pages on your website, it’s not going to take that long to do. If you’re a DMO with five, 10, 50,000 pages, you know, that becomes oftentimes more effort than it’s worth to go through in a single sweep and try and knock out like that could take you. I don’t know how long they’ll take to new 50,000 pages and I don’t want to. So it gives you these options to set up tokens where it’ll pull in the title of the page, the page URL, maybe, and you can do that in the slug area, which I’ve already customized. There, you can add in a separator, which is something that you can define in the plugin settings, which is either the vertical pipe, or maybe it’s a hyphen, or I like to do like two forward slashes as kind of a stylistic separator.

Justin Gibbs (00:32:18):

Cause most people don’t use that. And so it kind of just helps you to stand out a little bit more and then the title of the actual site. So then it would say, um, outdoor recreation and it would have the separator pipe and then travel Oregon. Like you can see here. Um, and then the meta-description is set to auto fill the excerpt from the page. So it’s just going to auto something off the page to fill it again, just for the sake of getting these up on your site, use these tokens. Um, but then you can always go back and edit them later and customize them for those primary keywords and those ancillary keywords. Um, so here’s your H one tag when you’re in the page editor here, it’s actually for the majority of all, what we’re press websites. It’s just going to be that page name, field right here.

Justin Gibbs (00:33:06):

And it just auto-populates that as an H one tag, um, to get the subsequent H tags like H two H three, et cetera, you can just pull them from the dropdown here where it says paragraph, and it’s just one of the heading sample or heading types. So that’s very easy to find and plug into your content. One of the places where people really get hung up with it is that they’re, they treat these semantic elements and they are they’re semantic because it has to do with the structure of the page and how the page is outlined, but they’ll use it for stylistic purposes instead. And so if you don’t like how your age two looks and you default to using the age three all the time, like just have a developer update the style on that tag instead of using the wrong tag all the time.

Justin Gibbs (00:33:52):

So you just want to keep these things kind of nested. If I have a topic that’s outdoor recreation, and then the next topic I’m talking about canoeing, um, you know, and then the next topic I’m talking about using a personal flotation devices in my canoe, right? We like nest these things and we use the age tags to really keep them nested and structured inside the page. But if I’m using an H three tag in place of my age two, and then the age two below, because it’s smaller for some reason, just because of how the site was built. That could be a little confusing for Google because it’s showing that the primary and secondary headers are kind of reversed. And so we don’t want to do that. And just for the sake of a clean page, we try and ness them in order as they, you know, one, two, three, et cetera, and finally our Altec.

Justin Gibbs (00:34:39):

So all text is what shows when an image does not load on your website. So sometimes for whatever reason, if you have a poor internet connection, or if it can’t actually find the image, let’s say the file name or file location has changed. The Altecs actually lives in the HTML. And so it’ll still show you what that image was supposed to be. Um, for the majority of users, you don’t see it, but it’s very important for accessibility purposes, because for people who can’t see the alt text really helps to give them more context around the page. And so you do want to include your, your secondary keywords in that alt text field. Um, again, this is a huge area that gets overlooked because it’s so easy to just upload an image and just forget about it, but it’s very important for ADA, um, and accessibility.

Justin Gibbs (00:35:36):

And then Google also uses it as one of the primary fields that they’re looking at on a page when they’re trying to evaluate, um, the content. So to kind of get into an all text, you don’t just want to write, what is the picture like if I’m looking at a picture of the beach, I don’t just say like Oregon beach. Um, I like to kind of expand and say image of a young couple flying at Cod out on such and such beach at sunset or something to really give the people who can’t see, you know, to describe what is the context of this image as it relates to the page that we’re looking at and allows them to kind of visualize what’s going on in that image in their head. They kind of know what’s there versus it just saying like beach, because you’ll see a lot of that up there.

Justin Gibbs (00:36:26):

Um, okay. Because not everybody’s going to be using Yoast, a few of the other SEO plugins for WordPress that I do recommend using are the SEO framework, rank math or all in one SEO. Um, honestly they’re all going to have a very similar output into your HTML. So it’s going to be largely about, you know, Hey, what is your developer recommend or what are they kind of used to implementing on your site? Um, they might work a little bit different in the context of your own web builds. So just for the sake of that, um, and B you know, some of them have had a history of like trying to insert ads into your admin that has been quashed two years ago. So that’s not really a problem anymore, but if that’s something that you’re concerned about, then you might not want to, uh, use one of them.

Justin Gibbs (00:37:16):

But for the most part, I would, I highly support all four plugins that I’ve mentioned Yoast, SEO framework, rank map, and all in one SEO, if you’re already using one, like you don’t need to go in and change it. And for the most part, these will work interchangeably with each other. So if you need to, like, if you do decide, you want to get rid of one and you use a different one, you can oftentimes just export all of the metadata into a new one. Um, and that’s like baked into the functionality of most of these. So it makes it very simple. So this, my final graphic here is this, just show that like content and optimization really happen at a crossroads. Um, don’t write content without thinking about the SEO and vice versa. Like if we’re doing SEO and not even thinking about how all the content relates to each other and the goals of our website, then we’re doing something wrong. So we really need to do content and SEO like hand in hand together.

Justin Gibbs (00:38:12):

All right. So SEO research tools. Um, I mentioned SCM rush before SCM rush is probably my favorite of the tools because I feel like, well not, I feel like it does really encapsulate a lot of the functionality that all of these below tools also do. Um, it’ll look at things like your rankings. What keywords do you rank for? What keywords do your competitors rank for, you know, those keyword gaps that I mentioned earlier, that’ll help you to just get quick, like ideation for your content. It’ll look at the backlinks that are linking at you or links from other websites that link to you. That’s very important when you’re trying to establish authority and making yourself look like more than just a single person operating a website. When you have lots of backlinks from highly authoritative websites, you become highly authoritative and SCM rush is a great back linking tool that can help you to aggregate and scout out new links based on what your competitors have.

Justin Gibbs (00:39:12):

Um, if for some reason you had a manual action taken against you and Google decided to delist you SEM rush can help you to create a list that will, um, no, or disavow your links. So you can actually tell Google to specifically ignore certain back links because you think they’re kind of spammy or scummy. Um, it’s not really as big of a problem as it used to be, but using this tool, you can kind of monitor it and keep an eye on it. You can run regular site crawls on your website. Typically if you run a site crawl and get everything knocked out and fixed, um, you don’t have to always do it, but I like to run a weekly site crawl on all the destination websites, just to make sure that some update didn’t no index anything, or just to keep a catalog of any errors that we may have seen.

Justin Gibbs (00:40:00):

Um, what I can do in this tool is actually go in and tell it to ignore certain errors because it’ll, you know, it makes certain assumptions and you kind of need to take everything with a grain of salt, but I can go in and ignore things. And then when it crawls it again, it doesn’t bring it up and say, Oh my God, you have a millionaires. Cause I know that it really doesn’t. Um, and then really do a lot of competitive analysis analysis. And because you see that it’s SCM rush and not SEO rush, um, they also have a really great paid component in here where you can look at your competitors, advertisements, your own advertisements, it’ll pull up based on your domain. Um, and it just gives you a good idea of like who’s bidding on what and, um, you know, their creative gets pulled in.

Justin Gibbs (00:40:43):

So it’s pretty cool that you can just see all of this stuff in one place. They also have for a local business, they have local listing management where they partner with a platform called yaks to, to syndicate your business listing across something like 75 different local listing websites. Um, these local listings use, um, or the, I’m sorry, a lot of apps use these local listings to really inform where their maps are, um, their map data and things like that. And so by having all of that in one place, it just makes it a lot easier to manage all your SEO SEM rush costs a hundred bucks a month that they’re cheap end up to like, you know, we, we spend a lot more than that cause we have millions of accounts in there, but a hundred bucks a month is pretty much the baseline for any SEO tool that that’s a good rate.

Justin Gibbs (00:41:33):

Um, you can find some cheaper tools for like 40 bucks a month, but they don’t have all of the same tools in them. And so, you know, then you’d be buying more platforms. Majestic is another great tool. They only look at back links, but it’s probably the most comprehensive backlink platform out there on the web. Um, if you’re not an SEO professional, you probably don’t need to have a subscription with majestic. If anybody wants to just take a peek at their website during office hours in majestic, I can show that to you. Um, but it’s not really something that I suggest that the typical site owner subscribes to just because it’s, you know, most of that can be covered in SEM rush. This is just a little bit deeper in majestic screaming, frog. This is a wonderful tool for crawling your website. Um, so you can crawl your website with it.

Justin Gibbs (00:42:26):

You can find errors, um, a lot of the same areas that like SCM rush will show you, but I think what’s really beautiful about screaming frog is that I can actually sit and watch the crawl happen. And when I do that, it kind of gives me a better idea of what Google is seeing when they crawl the website. And so I can crawl it and you can kind of just watch, like it’s like when you’re watching programmers and all that code is flying by. I can see like in order what it’s crawling and finding on my website. And so I know like, Hey, this important page didn’t get found till the very, very end of the crawl. Like this is super important for us. Maybe we need to move this link up somewhere higher on the page so that it picks it up sooner, screaming frog actually has a paid option.

Justin Gibbs (00:43:09):

And so if you are, I’m sorry, a free and a paid option. And so if your website has fewer than 500 pages or URLs on it, there’s no reason to pay for it. Um, most small businesses don’t have that many pages on their website. So, you know, if that’s the case, just download it for free and give it a shot. It’s you just plug in your URL and it’ll start crawling, um, there’s a million different configuration object or options that you can use to like custom extract data and stuff. Most people don’t need that, but, um, it just gives you kind of like a better visual of what’s going on with Google and any other search engine is crawling your website. So it’s a really great tool. I use it pretty much daily. Um, and then answer the public is another great one. It has free and paid options.

Justin Gibbs (00:43:53):

It’s just great for content ideation. Um, and what it does is when you plug a keyword in, it goes through all of Google’s suggested searches. So if you go in right now to Google and you just plug in a URL or a, I’m sorry, keyword, and it’ll drop down with a bunch of suggested searches based on that keyword, um, this goes in and crawls it all, but then it also goes in, and it puts question propositions in front of your keyword. And so it helps you identify a lot of questions that people ask about your product, your destination, your service. Um, and so you can learn about things that you might not know about because, you know, you’re not a search engine and you’re not always looking at that, but it’s, that’s a really excellent tool for looking at that kind of thing. Um, so just to be conscious of time, I’m going to kind of blaze through these ones real quick, but this is just a quick, quick syringe out of what the back end of SCM rush looks like.

Justin Gibbs (00:44:46):

So you can see how there’s some of these things, top line metrics like your authority score, um, you know, the estimated search traffic, your website has, this is great. When you’re doing comparisons with your competitors, your paid search traffic based on the keywords that it sees you bidding on, um, you know, top level backlink metrics. Of course you can dive into any of these and some of your display advertising, and you can just see how all of this is related over time. Um, and then to the bottom right here, you can see there’s a competitive positioning map and it’ll identify other websites that have a lot of keyword overlap to you. And so you can see who is really like the whale in that space looks like traveling, is actually the number one site for us, um, Oregon related vacations. That’s good to see.

Justin Gibbs (00:45:31):

Um, but yeah, help you really define and identify competitors a lot quickly quicker than you might be able to do on your own. Again, this is the quick shot of majestic. So you’ll see the majestic has trust flow and citation flow. Yeah, I like to say trust score, cause flow is weird for people, but you can see their trust score here is 61 out of a hundred. And if I go up to SCM rush again, it’s 62 out of a hundred, seeing that these two tools are, um, trying to do the same thing. They’re trying to Google’s page rank algorithm, which is how they Google used to, uh, kind of rate your website on that one to 10 score. Um, these tools use a 101 to a hundred score and seeing how they’re so closely related. I have a lot, yeah, confidence that travel Oregon has about a 61 62 out of a hundred, um, authority.

Justin Gibbs (00:46:22):

When I’m looking at their website, these scores are calculated on, um, a log rhythmic basis. And so just to put that more simply the higher you go, the harder it is to continue to move up 60 is outstanding for a destination. Um, most of what I see is in the 40 50 range for bigger deemos, there’s a couple who’ve really stood out and yeah, in the eighties, but it’s like one or two very, very rare 60 is like really right where I’d want to see you. So this is great score to have for travel. Um, here’s just a quick shot of screaming frog. So you can see how, you know, you start with this basic, I just did travel, no www no HTTPS. And you can actually watch how it gets redirected to the HTTPS version. Um, and so you can kind of see the redirects, how those happen, and it’ll just categorize the content based on, you know, is this regular HTML content that people read or did I run into a resource that the browser needs?

Justin Gibbs (00:47:24):

You know, most of you can probably just ignore that stuff. Uh, but they give you a lot of great filters, the riots. So you can just click on HTML and only look at pages instead of looking at other things, but you can pull your images too, just a great way to really catalog everything on your website. Like a big question I always get asked is, Hey, how many pages does this website have? And like, I don’t know, I’m not the site owner, but I can crawl it and I can figure it out pretty quickly. So that’s a great way to catalog everything, even if you’re not using it for SEO reasons. And then here’s the answer to the public. So you can see when I put in camping and Oregon, it starts saying like, where will, what a lot of this looks like it’s around like closures as camping available.

Justin Gibbs (00:48:06):

Is it open, um, just great way to like, learn about what people are searching about for your destination or, or whatever you are at that time with answer the public, you can run three free queries per day and then you have to pay for it. So for most people, I think you can just plug it in, check it out real quick and you’re good. But if you’re in this constantly, you might have to do the freight or the paid option, which is like a hundred bucks a month. All right. So, sorry, I skipped through this a little quickly, but I’m just going to go through some trends and opportunities that we have here in SEO. Um, as it relates to some of the advancements that have had so more recently, they’ve been trying to advance their algorithm to really understand more natural language. Um, as SEO and search engines were always very, very keyword based.

Justin Gibbs (00:48:53):

They were just looking at like these phrases that people might type in, but really ignored all the very long complex questions that people ask. And, um, really like Google still has a hard time answering very specific questions. Uh, w you know, when you start becoming a real big hobbyist in certain areas of life, whatever you’re interested in, sometimes it’s hard to find things about specific items. And so they’re really working hard to try and like identify the natural language, um, and how that relates to what you’re actually looking for. Google’s featured snippets are becoming increasingly good at providing those helpful answers. And that often feeds into the voice search, which is also, um, just kind of on the up and up. I know we’ve been talking about voice search for years now. Um, but the statistics show that people are continually adopting it more and more and using it more often.

Justin Gibbs (00:49:46):

Um, a lot of times they will pull those answers from the people also ask boxes, or they’ll pull it from the featured snippet or the quick answer, which is like the big box answer at the top. Um, and really with Google transforming from a search engine to an answer engine, which is what everyone, you know, this is what everyone in the SEO world is talking about these days, creating a lot of that question, answering content, which will become a lot more important. So again, even though when you’re looking through those keywords and those search volumes, you might see a lot of stuff with low, low volume. You still might put a little FAQ at the bottom that contains some of those questions so that you can end up in that people also ask box. So the quick answer box,

Justin Gibbs (00:50:32):

So here’s some related algorithm updates that relate to that hummingbird was the first one. And that was really like their first attempt at trying to answer a lot of those queries that hadn’t ever been asked before. Because again, like Google had a hard time really giving you good results for that. Um, that was like seven, eight years ago when they released hummingbird. So that was our first attempt at it rank brand came a few years ago, and that was like their attempt to their first attempt of this artificial intelligence layer on the top of it. So, you know, instead of just like quickly running through your, your query, it really was trying to understand the intelligent layer of context behind, like, how you ask that question. And then Bert, this is the most complex one. Um, this is the most recent that they launched this in 2019, like Q4 2019.

Justin Gibbs (00:51:21):

It stands for bi-directional and coder representations from transformers. So it’s some, it’s a very, uh, complex term, but it it’s very much related to deep learning and again, more natural language processing. So a lot of times he’ll search start searching things. And then you’ll kind of plug in like the first part of the keyword, and it almost fills it in with what you were about to type. And it’s kind of creepy because it kind of knows based on your previous searches, what you might be looking for Burt and rank brand are really behind that and forming, Hey, you know, they search a lot about skiing and they just typed in Jackson, boom, I bet they want Jackson hole ski resort. And they fill that in, even though I might not be looking for that. It, it knows based on my history. Um, so here’s some of these Google SERP features for destinations and, uh, local businesses that are very important.

Justin Gibbs (00:52:15):

Your knowledge panel, that’s that big old panel on the right, your local three-pack Google map, results, images, site links, reviews very important for local businesses videos. Your quick answer, snippet carousels are great for events, piece people also ask boxes FAQ’s and, uh, again, events. So these are all things that you can use schema markup for. Um, so this is a little bit more advanced, um, tools like Yoast though, do have a lot of these schema types baked into them. So you can just select it and then add that into your website. But what schema is, is a structured data type, um, that a lot of the search engines actually all develop together. So it was developed by being and Yahoo and Google and Yandex handful of the search engines. They said, we need a common language to use as a structured data format so that when we’re reading through content, we’re not just guessing. We’re not just saying, Hey, you know, that’s included this keyword a hundred times. What is it? You know, I think this is what the page is about. You’re definitively telling them this is an event. This event takes place at this time at this venue, it’s this expensive. And, you know, it’s ongoing every Friday at the community center. Well now, because it’s so specific and structured, Google can put it into some of their, uh, their featured snippets. So here’s just a quick, go ahead, Kate,

Kate Jorgensen (00:53:41):

Just before we, sorry, before we switch gears, I just want to acknowledge that we are running up against time. So totally understand if folks have to drop again, we are recording, we’ll share this out. And Justin, my and Hillary will be hanging out for a few minutes after. So if anyone does feel questions, um, we’ll be here. Thank you so much.

Justin Gibbs (00:53:58):

And we just have a few more slides here, so I should be able to get this pretty quickly, but just a quick example of what some of those universal results look like. Um, here’s a Vance. You can see the event carousel here. Um, one of those event, three packs, and you can actually filter it out if it’s this week, this weekend, next week, uh, Google does a great job of knowing that, um, and here’s from event bright. You can see they get these rich snippets below, which expands their, their search result makes people more likely to click on it. And it gives people a deeper link into your website so that they can get exactly where they’re going or wanting to go. Instead of just to their event, calendar what’s missing from here is in the knowledge graph card. If I Google a venue name and you have an event on your website that says that the venue is, you know, X and Y venue over here, when I Google the venue name, those events will actually populate and their knowledge graph card.

Justin Gibbs (00:54:51):

So it’s just a really great way to syndicate your events out to places that you might not even have thought of before. But using that structured markup, you can get your content in a lot of good places. Events in a normal year are the biggest driver of, uh, organic search traffic to most destinations. And I’ve already kind of covered this, but in voice search, you know, they use those featured snippets to really answer the questions a lot of times. So that’s another reason it’s just so important to start using that. Um, but as of now, a lot of people want to use voice search and I definitely support, you know, thinking about it in that way, using getting the quick answers and all that, but there’s no way to track it. And so if you’re going to try and campaign against voice search, you know, just know that it’s not something that you can track very easily anymore.

Justin Gibbs (00:55:36):

Like there’s no really definitive way to do it. You can only really make assumptions. Um, this is the Google discover feed. This has been live for a handful of years. Now. I use it every day is like one of my daily digests of content just to get the news. Um, most demos aren’t heavily in the discover feed. Cause one of the things that you really want to do is comply with the Google news content policies. And it’s just not something that destinations usually do, but I will find a lot of destination videos from YouTube popping up in here. So it might not be from your domain, but it can come from YouTube. Um, you know, if you ask your community to add you on just Google discover, there’s going to be more likely a chance that you start showing up in other people’s discover feeds.

Justin Gibbs (00:56:21):

So, you know, subscribe to on here, um, describe subscribe to your partners and, and, uh, that that’ll help everybody out a little bit. It also really puts a strong focus on amp, which, um, I think we have a love, hate relationship with amp because it strips down your website. It makes it less functional. It makes it so you can’t put advertisements on it. Um, it’s great for the user, cause it was really quick. It’s short for accelerated mobile pages, but it’s just not something that we use a lot in the destination space, but if you’re a news, a news publication, then it’s perfect.

Justin Gibbs (00:56:56):

All right, understanding, reporting. I’m going to go through this as quickly as I can. Um, you might hear people talking about the SERPs. That’s just a search engine result. Page backlinks have already talked about links from other sites that linked back to you, your ranking keywords. These are the keywords that can be used to pull up your website in the search engine. Anchor text is the text within a link that you can kind of see here underlined, um, organic visibility score. All of the different tools have their own proprietary word for, it might be your data cube score if you’re in bright edge or, um, they all have some variation of this, but it looks at the search volume times, the supposed click-through rate of the position that your keyword sits at. And then it does some calculations and sums it all up. And it gives you a, just a score to kind of get a generic idea of how well you’re doing.

Justin Gibbs (00:57:42):

Um, long tail keywords. A lot of people think of these as being like the extra long word, you know, like what is the best place to take my kids on my Oregon vacation, but a long tail keyword can also be the, the topics, the places, the things that you find after performing that search. And so that’s, again, why these ancillary terms are so important because even though I might start off looking for Oregon recreation or outdoor recreation, once I’ve started to really learn about it, now I know, Oh, you know, where I really want to go as camping and Tillamook. And so if I hadn’t written about that, I might just end up on another website once I kind of learn about it. And then navigational queries is another thing that you’ll hear people talk a lot about, um, it’s things like Gmail or travel Oregon, like I’m looking for a specific website or entity.

Justin Gibbs (00:58:29):

Of course you want to own that as your brand term, like a new branded search would be pretty navigational, but these aren’t really the places that we spend a lot of time trying to rank because I’m already looking for travel Oregon. So it’s not like I’m trying to appeal to those higher funnel people. They already know I exist. Okay. And the final thing, this is coming out in May, 2021. So Google has actually for once done us, the service of announcing ahead of time, when they’re going to roll out an update, they’re calling it the core web vital update, and it kind of rolls into some of the other UX updates that they’ve done in the past. Um, we used to just call it a page speed or your speed index score, or you always wanted to be below three or four seconds, but in reality websites load very dynamically.

Justin Gibbs (00:59:13):

They don’t load all at once. And so they’re going to evaluate your website based on the largest Contentful paint, which just, what is the first thing that I see when the website loads, how does that first part load like the footer doesn’t matter? Cause I don’t see that until I scroll down. But what does that hero image take to load, um, your first input delay? How quickly can I click on a link? How quickly does the website becomes somewhat interactive and the cumulative layout shift, which is after it’s all loaded, does the website shift around because a lot of times on mobile that happens and you go to click a link and last second, the website layout shifts and you click the wrong link and then you’ve got to go back and it’s a really bad user experience. Um, so you can check your own website here.

Justin Gibbs (00:59:56):

We’ll send this out with the deck, but, um, at Google page speed insights, you can check your website and check these scores against that and see how you’re doing. So they’re rolling this into their algorithm in 2021 or may 21 of this year. So we have a few months, you know, if your website is doing very poorly in this area, that might be a great place to start on your SEO, just because that’s going to be new. Um, again that like with this, you’re competing against all of the other people you’re not competing against Google itself. It’s going to take everybody a long time to really get this implemented. So even though it launches in may like the likelihood of everybody having adopted this by then is very small and here just the list of resources that are included at the bottom that I, I really like, um, Backlinko is great because they really kind of make it easy to understand.

Justin Gibbs (01:00:46):

Brian Dean runs this blog. He’s just great at breaking everything down into pieces that are really digestible. Um, MAs beginner guide, kind of the same thing. It’s just super easy to understand, and they don’t use too many terms that people aren’t familiar with. Um, here’s That’s more information on that core web vital update. And then the search engine land SCM rush, and H refs blogs are just like excellent blogs. They always put out new material and they’ll, you know, they’ll show you how to use their own platforms, but they show you a lot about basic SEO stuff too. So I highly recommend all of these resources. And with that, thank you for attending. Um, I do appreciate the time today and I hope everybody got some value out of this. If you do have further questions that you can ask here today, please do join the, um, office hours. Schedule a time with me. If you want to look at the website and I can help you further along.

Kate Jorgensen (01:01:44):

Awesome. Thank you so much, Justin. And for folks who can hang out, um, there were a handful of questions that came through that I was hoping that maybe we could address real time here. Um, so maybe we can kind of just jump right in a couple of different folks, reached out Justin asking whether or not, um, it’s advised to link to pages outside your site for better rankings. Um, or should we be, well, these are actually, I’m going to read them separately. There’s it’s advice to link to pages outside your own website for better rankings. Is that just encouraging people to leave? Um, I have my own thoughts about that. Um, but I’d be curious to hear what you have to say about that. I feel like, you know, at some point somebody is going to leave your website anyway, it’s inherently going to happen. And I think if you are giving people, you know, the answers that they need for the reasons they came to your website, I feel like, you know, sending someone off your website is a great opportunity to connect those dots for a visitor, but I’d be curious what you have to say about that. And then I have a follow-up that’s related.

Justin Gibbs (01:02:48):

Yeah. So Lincoln people off the website. I mean, one, if you’re trading, creating a resource page and you’re just creating links out to all of these other, like, you know, let’s say it’s like a back country tour provider, for instance, if I’m talking about back country tours and I don’t link out to a single provider, you know, am I really providing the value so I should be linking out, but what you should think about doing when you’re linking out to other websites is creating the link where it opens a new tab so that your website doesn’t get closed out. Um, so think about doing that because then your website is still stays open and people can still get back to it a little bit more easily, cause we hate to send people away and then they’re gone. Um, but also like if I’m looking to travel to Oregon and then I scheduled that country tour and I’m like ready to go, then I’ve also successfully converted on the website in a way. So it depends, don’t go and create a million different links out just for the sake of it in the, you know, not just for SEO purposes, but do it for resource reasons or for, uh, you know, conversion reasons.

Kate Jorgensen (01:03:51):

Awesome. And then related, is it, uh, what is best practice for LinkedIn? Should we link to internal links or to external links? And I feel like it’s kind of related to this conversation, but maybe you could speak a little more in depth to that.

Justin Gibbs (01:04:03):

Yeah. I mean, it’s a mix of both. So I can really get into this in office hours if you’re really curious about it, but the way Google would look at it is you have a page. You know, we looked at that authority score, right? And that looks at the entire web website, but there’s also a page rank score, which looks at individual pages. So page authority, and if a page has a little, just for simplicity sake, I’ll say a hundred out of a hundred, which is impossible, but an easy number to work with. And I link out to five pages. Each page will receive 20. Let’s see they break it down, you get a hundred percent of the page equity, but then they break it down between the number of links on your page. So if the page rank is a hundred or the authority score is a hundred and I link out to each of those, um, they get 20 out of a hundred, if there’s five links.

Justin Gibbs (01:04:53):

So just do number of link out links over the page authority score of that page. And then you can know how much authority you’re kind of leaking out to other websites. Um, and you might want to keep some of that in house. So then you might start thinking like, okay, I’ll do two of them out external, three of them internal so I can keep more of it to myself. Um, it can get very complicated when start to balance it that way, but that’s why I try and focus more around content than links because, um, I’m certainly happy to talk about this further in office hours, if you have a specific site and we can go through it. But, um, and it depends,

Kate Jorgensen (01:05:33):

It’s funny, you should mention office hours. So I’m going to plug that here. Um, so a bunch of folks opted in during registration for office hours and we’ll be sending out a link to get signed up for that. Um, if you are interested, um, and you didn’t sign up during registration, um, feel free to reach out to me KJ at travel, Um, or you can just, you know, the email that we send out feel free to respond. Um, and we can work on getting you set up a time with Justin. So, um, I also wanted to jump into, there were some questions around tokens, um, what you meant by tokens. And also if somebody is not on WordPress, um, say they’re using Squarespace, for example, do they have the same kind of tokens or is that different? Um, based on whatever SEO management tool they,

Justin Gibbs (01:06:19):

Yeah, so it’s going to be different based on the plugins and the different platforms you’re in. I believe that square Squarespace does have a default where they will pull in your page title, but, um, it’s not going to be something that’s as easy to customize as what I showed you in Yoast. If you’re in Drupal, that’s like native to the platform, there’s tokens. So, um, it’s very easy to use in Drupal as well, but I’m not as familiar with some of the like Weebly Wix Squarespace sites, just because we don’t work at work in them as much. But I do know that Squarespace had something. Cause I was just in a Squarespace website. They didn’t have something that auto filled some of those fields for you.

Kate Jorgensen (01:06:57):

Yeah, I agree. I haven’t, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been in one of these kinds of like full, full meal deal websites, but I feel like they’re pretty robust in terms of the various tools that they provide you with. Um, I feel like they’ve made it really easy to sync up with your Google analytics account and things like that. No developer needed. So hopefully that’s the case for, um, SEL as well. Speaking of Google analytics, um, we also had a question around how that fits into all of these tools. Does it essentially do the same thing? Does it have less capabilities? Um, do you want to speak to that a little?

Justin Gibbs (01:07:29):

Yeah. Google analytics is great. Um, so SCM rush has an integration with Google analytics. So you can look, it’ll actually pull your pages and then show you how many keywords you rank for and how many past visitors you’ve had and how many visitors you have this week. Um, these are not mutually exclusive. I use like bright edge SCM rush, almost all of these tools have an integration with Google analytics. So definitely continue to use that. Um, there’s also a tool called Google search console, which is a really great SEO tool. That’s free. It’s just pretty much part of Google analytics in a way, but it’s on the search side instead of the website side, they have to separate them for privacy reasons, but it’ll show you the keywords that have sent traffic to your website. Um, so I really recommend using those to Google analytics and search console in tandem together.

Kate Jorgensen (01:08:19):

That’s great. Thank you. Um, another question that came up do delayed pop-ups affect your CLS score.

Justin Gibbs (01:08:25):

And that is a really great question. Um, it depends on the delay, you know, if it’s like a two second delay. Yeah. It’s going to affect that. Um, there’s another penalty you can get with pop-ups, they’re called invasive interstitials. And so if you’re not delaying it enough, um, you’re going to get a different penalty for it. What I recommend doing with pop-ups is look at the average visitor duration on your website and kind of cut it by three quarters and say like, okay, people last like two minutes on the website. So after a minute and a half, that’s what I’m going to send that pop-up because those are the more engaged users. Anyway, I’ve already given them a lot of content that to digest, but I don’t want to ask for something until I’ve really given something out first. So, um, I, I don’t really like the immediate pop-ups they, if it’s, yeah, it will affect that. But if you can think of a nice way to implement the popup, then it shouldn’t,

Kate Jorgensen (01:09:24):

Um, there’s a couple of different questions that are sort of getting at the same thing, which is what’s the best strategy for increasing backlinks other than grumbling for links from our partners. Yeah,

Justin Gibbs (01:09:36):

Well, there’s a lot of different strategies. And what I don’t recommend doing is Googling how to get back links because you’re going to start finding like backlink providers who are going to just buy them, spam them for you, and you’re going to maybe get yourself into some trouble. Um, the best way to do it is to let them happen naturally by groveling for partners, from partners or by creating industry like expert industry content that people actually need and use. Um, I see this probably more often in like the real estate space where you’re trying to study the, uh, real estate impact of different neighborhoods and how that’s changed over time and real estate agents love to link to that because it helps them to sell. And so when you can create tools that help people, um, they’re more likely to include it in their content because it’s valuable, uh, backlinks are by far the most difficult part about SEO.

Justin Gibbs (01:10:27):

Um, it’s the part that can get you into trouble. It’s the part that you can toil with and get nowhere. And it’s the part that can give you some huge impacts, but it’s very tricky to try and just go for backlinks on your own. So that’s why, you know, even though you don’t like to gravel from partners, like your partners can often be the best source of them because they are relevant to your industry. They’re close, they are your partners and you kind of create this like network between you and them. And that does create authority as well.

Kate Jorgensen (01:10:57):

Awesome. Um, so I’m getting some little nudges that we should try to wrap up here in the next couple of minutes, but I’ve got two more good questions and I would love to the first one is, does SSL have an impact on SEO? And then, um, another one is around, um, I’m going to try to paraphrase here. So hopefully I don’t conch budget too much, but basically this person, their company’s website has a ton of, um, Leadpages related to past theater productions. Um, and they get a lot of views, um, but they’re not necessarily connected to goals on their websites. So she’s wondering if there’s any SEO value in keeping those pages up and based on our experience, I’ll just kind of chime in. Do you have I asked you a question? I just kept talking. It’s like, I’ve just been waiting for my opportunity here. Um, in our experience, like it pays to keep some of that older content up as long as it’s still relevant. Um, I think when it starts getting actually dated and it has misinformation, it can be problematic to keep it up. Um, in which case you’d want to be redirecting that content to what’s more relevant. Um, but Justin I’d love your opinion on that. And coming back to SSL and the impact on SEO,

Justin Gibbs (01:12:06):

And you also mentioned here that like people spend a decent amount of time on those pages. So you are giving somebody some value, but I say a rising tide raises all ships. And so even if those pages aren’t directly related to your goals, if they’re getting people to the website, they are likely creating more brands search to your company because people are looking for production and then they find your theater. And then they’re going to look for the theater more often, the more often people are searching for your brand terms, the more often Google is going, like the more likelihood Google is going to see you as this legitimate resource for things. And then, um, make it just more probable for you to rank for things. So I would say keep it, unless you start, if you see like visitors dropping off that content and no one’s looking at it, then go ahead and redirect it. But if people are getting value from it, I like to keep it.

Kate Jorgensen (01:12:57):

And then I actually to think in another one, because I think this is a, not a good question. That really be to the last two. So the impact, uh, did you just ask, sorry, you were talking about SSL and SEO and then the other one you keep tampering

Justin Gibbs (01:13:14):

Is important. If all of you, if the only thing you have on your website is blog content. And there’s no reason that a person is going to submit personal information through it, then it’s not going to really matter because there’s no interaction there. You’re not submitting data, but if you do have sign up forms, any sort of contact form, any kind of, um, anything that might collect personal information yeah. Then SSL is important. Um, be careful with your validations. I’ve seen a lot of people purchase certificates and implement it in properly. And then you don’t get the little green lock in the Bach in the URL box, and then you’re not really benefiting from it in Google yet. So, but yes, it is important.

Kate Jorgensen (01:13:57):

Totally. Um, and then the last one, I think this is an interesting, um, it was an interesting question, which is, um, if we were to use, say travel, Oregon is one of our keywords, would it benefit our related website?

Justin Gibbs (01:14:12):

Um, and that’s a good again. Okay. Um, you know, I don’t know that it’s going to give you a huge amount of benefit. I think that like, if you do put like the travel Oregon icon at the bottom, it’s like a trust signal, but, but just using it as a keyword or a back link, I would say lesser. So, so I don’t think it’s going to have like any major impact on the website using it. But if you do create a resource page, that’s like, here’s the best places to go camping or whatever. And you link out to a lot of travel, Oregon content and travel Oregon as a highly authoritative source on camping in Oregon, then your piece will look more authoritative as well because they’re linking out to good resources. So just depends, like don’t just use it as a link as link text, just because, but, you know, using the icon in the footer, like that’s a good trust signal.

Kate Jorgensen (01:15:03):

Excellent. Thank you so much, Justin. That was like the biggest knowledge bond drop. Thank you. That was so informative and very helpful. Thank you to everyone who attended today for, um, bringing all of your great questions throughout the presentation. Really excited to share this back out with everyone. I also wanted to say thank you to Hillary. Who’s been in the background and being tech support and is awesome. And without her, we would not be able to do the things. So thank you very much, Hillary. And again, we encourage you to fill out the survey. Um, we’d love your feedback, apologies for running a little bit over, but really informative session and great questions. Thanks again. Um, and head over to our industry site. If you’d like to see this recording and previous sessions as well. Thanks again, and have a great day. Thanks everybody.

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This webinar is part of the Small Business Marketing Series developed and hosted by Travel Oregon and is best suited for small and medium size businesses and destination management organizations.