THE KNOWLEDGE PANEL Episode #6: How Hit the SEO Ground running in 2021

It’s all to easy to be a bit sluggish when you start the new year. Too many mince pies and one glass of rouge too many at new year can lead to a lethargic January. Episode 6 of the Knowledge Panel is here to help you get January 2021 off to a flyer from an SEO perspective!

In this episode David Bain, Lukasz Zelezny, Niki Mosier and AnnaLea Crowe to discover what SEO activities you should be focusing on at the beginning of the year and how that should fit into your overall SEO strategy.

The Knowledge Panel is also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

Want to Read Instead? Here is the Transcript.

David: “The Knowledge Panel,” episode 6B, How to Hit the SEO Ground Running in 2021. Hi, I’m your host David Bain. And on a temporary basis, I’m actually hosting today’s episode. We normally have Dixon hosting. However, Dixon, you’re still hovering in the background there.

Dixon: I’m here, guys. I’m here. I’m not gonna stay. I’m drugged up on codeine and paracetamol and stuff. If you read my personal blog, I fell off my bicycle and it’s six weeks hold up in bed. So, we decided that probably I shouldn’t be around too much. I just wanted to come in and say hi and thank you very much for watching and show people I’m still alive. But you’ve got a great team around. So, I think probably best if you kick me off. I’m gonna watch it with you guys for a change. So, thanks very much.

David: Lovely. Well, thanks so much for coming on and saying hello. Great to see you. And of course, if you haven’t done so already, tweet Dixon and say, “Get well soon.” Hopefully, he’ll be up and running…

Dixon: Oh, bless.

David: …and hosting the next episode. “The Knowledge Panel…”

Dixon: Okay, thanks.

David: Thanks, Dixon. Okay.

Dixon: See you.

David: So “The Knowledge Panel” show is brought to you by InLinks, the entity-based SEO platform that helps you to rank higher and stay ranked longer thanks to its advanced content optimization tools. Try InLinks for free over at inlinks.net. I’ve got three great guests joining me today. So, if you’re watching us live, please make sure that you interact a little bit in the comments. I’ll try and incorporate some of your comments within our conversation today if I can do. We’re streaming live on YouTube, on Facebook, and on Twitter as well. And the replay is going out on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, many places online. But let’s not talk about that anymore. Let’s talk about our first guest. Our first guest is an SEO nerd and a Packer fan. She’s the head of SEO at Two Octobers. Welcome, Niki Mosier.

Niki: Thank you.

David: Good to have you on, Niki. Next up is a lady who slings SEO advice around the world and writes for burritos. She’s the assistant editor at Search Engine Journal, and the head of Content and SEO at Leadfeeder. Welcome, Anna Crowe.

Anna: Thanks.

David: And finally, it’s the man who’s as nearly as famous as his hat. He’s been in the SEO game for the last 15 years and he’s still going strong. The founder of SEO London Lukasz Zelezny.

Lukasz: Hello. Thank you for having me.

David: Hey, Lukasz. Well, today we’re gonna be discussing how to hit the SEO ground running in 2021. I’m gonna be asking each of the guests for their top three actionable SEO tips for hitting the ground running in 2021. So, we’re gonna start off with number three, and we’re gonna work our way up or down. I’m not sure which one it is, but we’re gonna work our way towards number one, and leave you all with whose number one actionable tips for the coming years. So, let’s start off with Niki. Niki, what is your number three SEO tip to hit the ground running in 2021?

Niki: That’s a great question. I think my number three tip would probably be just to remain flexible going into a new year where there’s still definitely a lot of unknowns as far as when things are gonna fully open back up and when businesses, especially brick and mortar businesses, or businesses with a local presence, will see things start to resume to some sort of normalcy. I think just staying flexible in your planning and in your strategy could definitely go a long way, and save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

David: I guess the challenge is to actually determine when that level of normalcy is actually going to occur based upon the third peak. It seems to be that we’re going through at the moment. How does a business plan for something that they don’t know the actual date that it’s going to occur?

Niki: Well, that’s a great question. I think just having…kind of trying to take things kind of day by day, and having systems in place that allow for flexibility and using tools that allow you to kind of manage things in bulk if you need to, and get things done kind of on the fly, I think can be really helpful.

David: Great. Yeah. So, be ready to go in essence for when everything hopefully turns back to what has been normal or what has been previous. It’s a challenging time at the moment, but you’re only going to be ready to go if you actually plan for it. So, great tip number three there. And let’s go over to Anna now. Anna, what is your number three tip?

Anna: Yeah, so similar to what Niki said, what we’re working on specifically at Leadfeeder is we’re running a content audit and revamping our keyword research and how we map that. Instead of mapping in how we were doing it before with buckets and things like that, we’re matching it to search intent. So, we’re going through and we’re categorizing our blog posts based on informational pieces, and then revamping that content to match that kind of infrastructure that we wanna match. So, little things like making sure we’re embedding YouTube videos in our blog posts, pushing more images into our blog posts, making sure those images are maybe a little bit higher up in the page, things like that.

Also, we’re trying to flip content upside down because we’ve seen changes to feature snippets come through this year. We saw the passage indexing that just came out. So, we’re really trying to write our content so that we’re answering the subject content up in the…before you hit the scroll so above the full type of pieces.

We’re also looking to create content that’s a little bit more interactive. We saw Google was testing interactive search results this year so that could be a key indicator of what we’re gonna see in 2021. So, we just wanna make sure we’re jumping ahead of that, getting ahead of the game, and making sure our content kind of matches the quality reader guidelines. We saw a lot of updates to that this year too. So, if you’re not familiar with the Quality Reader guidelines, it’s 175 pages of SEO gold. I suggest you read it and read it again and again and again until you familiarize yourself with it.

David: So, you started off there, Anna, by talking about embedding YouTube video. Is there ever a place for just optimizing on YouTube, or is always important to embed on your site and trying to drive people back to your own domain?

Anna: That’s a great question. So, we do both. So, ever since Google bought YouTube years ago, we’ve really kind of ramped up our YouTube SEO, the way we put titles, the way we’re uploading thumbnails, the way we actually even write the copy. We actually treat each YouTube description as its own blog content. So, we write a custom unique piece of content for that YouTube. And then our goal is to build links and embed more YouTube videos to that video to help build the backlinks for those videos. So, it’s almost like our YouTube channel is its own website and we try to treat it that way, but then we like to make sure that each one of those YouTube videos are at least embedded on one page of our website to try to connect the dots.

David: Great. Okay. And just one little follow-up there on video SEO and YouTube SEO, Niki published a great video recently talking about SEO for podcast transcripts. What are your thoughts in general for how good Google is at the moment to actually determine the content within the video itself in terms of also generating the transcripts, and perhaps using that within its ranking algorithm?

Anna: That’s a great question. So, I actually never use Google’s automated transcripts. I actually go in and upload our own transcript. I found we’ve kind of done a little bit of A/B testing, which Niki, I’m sure you have insights on this too, but we found that when we actually uploaded our own transcripts versus using Google’s, we actually saw better performance of those pieces. But I highly recommend the transcript. That’s actually the number one piece of the puzzle I use whenever we’re doing YouTube SEO is if we don’t have the transcript, that’s the first thing we need to get going.

David: Yeah, I love the idea of optimizing the transcripts as well. Niki was talking about incorporating things like snippets within sort of schema within the transcript itself. And it’s great to help search engines really understand what the transcript is about. I talked to someone previously about incorporating things like heading tags within transcripts as well to help to break it up, and really make it look as if it is a separate article as well. So, great advice there. Lukasz, let’s not leave you in silence anymore, sir. What is your number three tip to hit the ground running in 2021?

Lukasz: I am a big fan of observing what’s going on in the world first before we will start writing about this. 2020 was one of just a really groundbreaking year because COVID, coronavirus, no matter how we are tired of this, in January, it was something really, really fresh. And the story behind the Worldometer website, which we’ve been doing a couple of thousand dollars per month from advertising, somehow doing something really, really good. And I feel I was reading somewhere that they started earning about a couple of millions because of advertising because of the fact that they’ve been able to answer the new questions that never been answered before, like how many cases per countries. And they were putting lots of work into this, and constantly updating, and they started ranking very, very high. So their traffic skyrocketed.

Also the keyword coronavirus and COVID, I think there was in January or February 2020, about million or 2 million searches in UK. And the month before there was almost zero searches. No one ever was thinking about something like COVID or coronavirus. Why I am saying about this, it is because there are tools which are giving you this early signals that something is getting on. Something is starting to be super, super popular that people are searching. And it is like globally, like I gave an example about COVID, but also locally that apply to each industry. In gaming, for example, this Cyberpunk game will be a very popular thing.

And if you can jump into this bandwagon looking through the trends, and can be even as simple as Google Trends, but also BuzzSumo is a very good tool that can tell you a little more about what people are recently started writing especially big publishers. InLinks have this module built in. Semrush also have a seasonality of the keyword search volume over 12 months time. Then you can you can write the relevant content in the right moment. And I know that there was at least a couple of articles about this showing that there are some topics that are coming every year, but some topics are completely new and they may just appear out of nowhere.

There is this funny Google trend screenshot showing when the Christmas songs started picking up early October and there is always like, “Okay, so here we are again.” And there is another spike, which is very short and then is flat. Yeah. So, overall my number three tip is to getting into the trend.

David: A lot of tips actually incorporated within what you were saying there. I think it’s very important for people to be aware that their keywords, their target keywords change on a regular basis. And keyword research is not something that’s done once, and then forgotten about, then just content or other things focus on after that. As a general rule of thumb, how often should a business do keyword research, Lukasz?

Lukasz: Oh, well, I think you should define how often you will get valuable new set of data from the tools you are using. I think there is nothing more sensitive than Google Search Console. Even if you can see that some keywords are starting getting a lot of impressions, not clicks, that means that are keywords that the people started searching. I have one website, actually is in Polish language, seowordpress.pl, and when I was analyzing the queries that are there, I noticed that there is a lot of queries which are extremely long, like 20 or 30 words. And then when I took a closer look, it is that that’s a error messages that people are copying and pasting through the search engine, and looking for an answer for that error message. So, I could start writing answers for that error messages. And because of the massive search volume, and because of the fact that I haven’t had before a relevant content. So, I was ranking somewhere low. And now I have relevant content, I can utilize this impression, and make these impressions actually partially clicks.

David: That’s great.

Lukasz: So, Search Console would be my first choice.

David: Yeah, great advice there. I love the thought about trying to rank for error messages because that’s definitely happened to me a few times recently where I’ve perhaps bought something, a new piece of technical equipment. I couldn’t get it to work, there’s some kind of error that’s come on. And I’ve searched for that specific errors. I can definitely relate with that and I’m sure many people can. Got a couple of great people watching live. Good to see Paul Lovell. “Great to listen to some great minds in the industry.” Thank you, Paul. And a great comment from Ammon Johns as well. Ammon was talking about YouTube optimization versus optimizing embeds, and actually saying that embeds can help with ranking your YouTube videos as well by generating that link back to YouTube itself as well as. It’s a great point there from Ammon. Let’s move on to tip number two and back to Niki. Niki, what is your tip number two to hit the SEO ground running in 2021?

Niki: My second step would be to just spend some time in the SERPs. SERPs are constantly changing how we see things show up on mobile versus desktop, different SERP features appearing. Just spend some time actually in the SERP. There’s a lot of great tools out there that make our jobs easier and give us tons of great data. But actually just spending time in the SERP for different keywords on different devices to see what’s happening, how things are showing up, and then use that data to figure out where you can make changes to come out ahead of your competitors, whether that’s SERP features, featured snippets, knowledge graphs, whatever makes the most sense for a keyword, but actually see what’s happening for those queries in the SERP itself.

David: Superb stuff. Keith Goode [SP] saying, “Swift recovery, Dixon.” Ammon Johns sharing a great tip again, “One great way to work out any ‘how often’ question (because it is always case specific to your site, business and market) is to start with quarterly. If the second and third meeting overrun, you need more frequent reviews.” Great tips from Ammon. If you follow Ammon on Facebook, or if you don’t, you certainly should do because the length of informative post that he shares is really, really good. So, the SERP, follow the SERP there from Niki. Let’s move over to Anna for your second tip.

Anna: Yeah. So, at Leadfeeder, we’ve actually started to shift the focus of our customer support content. So, we’re looking at our help center. Previously the help center start with the customer support team. We’re kind of transitioning that to be more on the content and SEO team, and that’s for specific reasons. So, branded content, that is gonna be a big theme rolling into 2021. And then we also saw Google roll out more features for that. People also asking the dropdown that comes down in the SERP feature. So similar to what Niki and Lukasz were talking about, you need to follow what’s going on with the SERPs, see what’s changing, and then you can adapt your content to match that more.

We noticed that we started to see more featured snippets, things like that people also ask. But then we’re also seeing an increase in AdWords. One thing we know from Google, Google is always going to invest in their investors. They want their investors to get click-through rate. So, we’re going to keep seeing Google Ads roll out more into the SERP feature. So, you need to combat that with your own branded content, and help center is one way to help combat that. So, we’re completely reworking our help center to tackle that branded piece.

David: So, in relation to what Nikki was saying, Keith Goode saying, “Here at SERPs, the most underutilized tools in our industry.” Anna, you talked about AdWords there as well. Obviously, we’re primarily focusing in on organic search for this particular show. However, do you think that every SEO needs to understand the basics of how AdWords works?

Anna: Yeah, absolutely, that’s something that has kind of been the last part of the piece of the puzzle in my own career over the last couple of years, I’ve started to dove into PPC a little bit more just because I think if you understand both sides of the game, your SEO will be better, your organic traffic will be better. It’s just good to be well-rounded.

David: Good stuff. Good stuff. And brand you were talking about there as well as being much more important. Certainly that’s been talked about over the last few years. And I can certainly understand from a click-through perspective and presence, it drives more authority, obviously, through the SERP as well. Is it possible to measure the effectiveness of doing those kind of activities and completeness, or are there always going to be certain aspects of it that you can’t really measure?

Anna: Yeah. So, similar to what Lukasz was talking about, I dive into Google Search Console. I look at the impressions and the clicks that are coming from those pages. My goal is to see this CTR improve for those branded searches. So that’s kind of how I start the beginning part of measuring your content performance if you’re gonna tackle something like the help center.

David: Great advice. Great way to measure that and get a feeling for how things are improving. Is that something that you would actually share internally if you were working for a large organizations as a metric that people higher up within an organization may understand?

Anna: Yeah, absolutely. So, one of the big pieces of the puzzle that I had to figure out was I had to propose transitioning the help center onto the content team. So, depending on if you’re at an agency or an in-house, like I’m in-house right now, so it just depends on the structure of your team. Internally, our team likes to share the data like that across the board. So, our founders and our C-suite level leaders understand the difference between CTR and things like that, so they like to see it. If I was at an in-house in an agency, sometimes my clients might not be able to understand it, so maybe they might not necessarily care about those metrics. They just want to see that you’re increasing traffic.

David: Okay. So, tip number two from Niki was spending more time in the SERPs. From Anna, it’s more about focusing in on branded content, probably within the SERP as well. And Lukasz, what is your tip number two?

Lukasz: I just wanted to kind of jump into the same area, and I just wanted to add only one thing which I am a big, big fan of is a schema markups. And I’m splitting them into two areas, the visual schema markups, and maybe more informative, less visual schema markups. And in the first group, you will have reviews which are giving you stories or video embedding that we mentioned already. When you’re embedding a video, you have ability to show this embed on the mobile device, which is also increasing your click-through rate and recipes, events. These schema markup stats are helping to make the results more reach, especially FAQs. And then on the other hand you have this schema markups like InLinks is dealing with the [inaudible 00:20:28] or local business or person, and so on and so on. So that is giving Google a bit more context, what is on the page.

And then, obviously when you want to scale this up and go across 10, or 100, or 1000 pages, you need to utilize some tools which will do lots of things for you, like matching words and terms and entities with references from Wikidata, Wikipedia and so on and so on. But I can see that there is a really, really nice impact which may be which may need a bit dive deeper in the data to understand this because this is not like golden bullet that you will implement this and next day you have double the traffic. It’s more about increasing the number of site links in the SERPs, increasing the number of keywords that are appearing in feature snippets, appearing in people also ask, and so on and so on. So yeah, I think this before me there was great advices. So, I just wanted to add this one, which is schema markups.

David: I guess the challenge with schemas is that because you don’t necessarily see an immediate uplift, then you don’t necessarily prioritize the implementation of schemas. So there are maybe many large organizations out there that still aren’t really actively using schemas on their website. How would you go about advising them about how important it is to do this, and what would be the important initial steps to take?

Lukasz: Yeah, I think what you said makes perfect sense. And it’s very real that the bigger organization always struggle, maybe even more than the small organizations because the process is much longer. I would start from FAQs, if they have any questions based pages, you can easily show them how much more space in the SERPs they can take for themselves. And then you can see price comparison website, what can be more? It’s almost like a national sport in UK, a part of the looking at the properties. Yeah. So, those are two things which are really UK-focused.

And when you looking on what’s going on in the price comparison market type credit cards, or something like that, you will see that lots of these big players are using schema markups just to secure more. They’re obviously answering the questions as well that people may have about credit cards, but primarily they are doing this for the sake of securing more, be more visible. Events, that’s another schema markup. And then going deeper into that, you can go into this more information giving schema markups, like I mentioned, the same us [SP].

David: Do Google trust web pages more if they have schemas on them?

Lukasz: Well, I have a mixed feeling because I am afraid that the problem we are facing in the nearest future is overusing this, and it already happened. People were using even schema markup to show coupon codes, which Google had to write a special article about this that this is a wrong way of using this feature. The same was with their reviews when some organization were using a review star without referring to this reputable source of a data. So, for example, Feefo or Trustpilot, you’re saying like, “I am rated 4.905 according to Trustpilot, or according to Feefo.” And people are like, “Just according to what we think about ourselves.” And then rolling this out across the whole website, all the pages. So that are the things that Google is trying to prevent. But obviously, I think there is a risk of abuse…like everything in SEO, of abuse this kind of things. But I think majority of the businesses are doing this great, and there will be more and more businesses that will be implementing this nice way.

David: Great stuff. Okay. Well, let’s move on to tip number one, and go back to Niki. And Niki, what is your number one SEO tip for 2021?

Niki: My number one tip would definitely be to kind of get yourself ready for the Core Web Vitals update that’s coming out early in the spring of 2021. And kind of hand-in-hand with that is also do pay attention to accessibility and UX, as those both are seem to be definitely factors of the Core Web Vitals, and not only page speed but also just accessibility and then what that means as far as user experience.

David: Okay. So that’s something that’s gonna be coming in May 2021, I think. For anyone that hasn’t heard of that, can you explain a little bit more about it?

Niki: Yeah. So, it’s some kind of more concrete definition Google’s giving us around page speed, and how that impacts things like user experience and accessibility, cumulative layout shift, first input delay, and…oh no, I’m blanking on the third one. But there’s a lot of great resources out there about Core Web Vitals. A lot of tools like Sitebulb and Screaming Frog have already integrated them into their crawler. So, just kind of paying attention to what that means.

David: It’s quite interesting that sometimes Google has forum for telling you things and events that are going to happen, and I’m not sure if that means they’re very important or they’re just trying doubly hard to actually get people to do it.

Niki: Yeah, I think this one, I think it’s kind of both, one, that they want people to really strive for meeting those just because they’re such important things. We know that page speed is important. And I think because it’s been such kind of a confusing area for so long, page speed, there’s so many different factors that we’ve tried to pay attention for and optimize for, and figure out which is the most important. But I’m hoping Google’s trying to cut us a break on this one, and actually give us these three kind of core metrics to pay attention to when it comes to something like page speed.

David: Yes. I mean, they’re certainly trying to improve things for user experience as well as, I guess getting better websites to rank higher in their search results as well. Anna, what is your tip number one?

Anna: Yeah, so I’m following the same path as Niki. So, we’re actually preparing internally for the page experience update in May 21. I’m actually partnering with…we have a UX person on the team and a web developer on the team. So, we’re creating a massive plan this month of how we kind of wanna tackle this to prepare a website for that rollout. The first piece of the puzzle that we’re focusing on is LCP, just because that seems to hold the biggest weight from all the research that I’ve done, I think it’s about 25% of it, which is a big piece of the puzzle. So, we think if we can tackle that one first, we can start to clean up the little pieces a little bit faster.

David: Or just contentful paint.

Anna: Yeah. Sorry. Yeah. Thank you. And, yeah, there’s actually…Ignite Visibility actually did a great piece on this that dives more into the detail of what Core Web Vitals is. But internally, with what we’re doing, we’re focusing on the text, how we can get it to render faster, how we can get it to be fetched faster, making sure that our heading tags and larger elements are all clean on the page. We’re tweaking some design changes, making sure from a mobile perspective, we’re not really focused on desktop or what the website really looks like on desktop right now. We’re just focused on mobile because this will only affect mobile. And then we’re just cleaning up our JavaScript and CSS to help with the load time. So, those are kind of the big pieces of the puzzle that we’re tackling.

David: So for the load time, do you know what kind of speeds of internet connection Google is using at the moment?

Anna: I don’t. Does anyone else know?

David: I like throwing in these random questions. Yey, that’s the one that cut everyone oout. No, I’m not trying to do that. It’s just something that springs to mind because it’s all well and good, obviously, to say if your web page loads in two and a half seconds. But if that’s based upon a 50 megabit per second connection, or less, or higher, obviously that makes a big difference as well. But amazing that you’re focusing in on similar kinds of tips there. What about in terms of what people are doing at the moment, by and large, and what they need to improve? What are some of the biggest mistakes, I guess, that people are making with their current sites that you think that people absolutely have to improve to ensure that they don’t fall foul of this update in 2021?

Anna: Yeah, I think it’s mostly page speed, for us anyway. That’s kind of like the biggest piece that we’re trying to fix. So making sure you’re compressing images. Follow the basics when it comes to page speed. And then also, just making sure your mobile design is clean and interactive. The longer you can get people to spend on your page, the better. And then…

David: Great. And I’m sure it’s page speed on a mobile device you’re talking about as well.

Anna: Yes, exactly. And the one thing I’ve noticed, too, that I’ve talked to a couple other CEOs about is when you’re looking at your Core Web Vitals, if you’re looking at Lighthouse, Lighthouse tends to bucket the problems based on the problem. But if you’re looking at Google Search Console, it’ll bucket it based on the pages. So, I kind of lean towards the page side since I’m on content. So, it just depends on if you’re working with a developer, or a UX person, you might wanna pick which one you choose based on your priorities.

David: Great. Okay. Lots of good tips coming in the comments there as well. Ammon Johns staying on speed, “Another tip I tell people is to stop using fancy tools alone to measure. Go with your smartphone reception is bad and try to load your site – this gives you an idea of how much of the world will experience your site like that.” Lukasz.

Lukasz: Yes.

David: On to you for tip number one, sir.

Lukasz: I was thinking, should I cover something different or should I expand this because I knew that it was coming. It is a very, very big topic. What makes me also excited is nobody is anymore talking about buy backlinks, or more backlinks [inaudible 00:31:00]. No. So I just wanted to mention one thing because there was…I think that was from Ammon about going to the bad reception. Actually in development tools, you have an ability in Chrome to create your own profile where you can throttle data, and you can say that there is a maximum transfer, let’s say 25 kilobytes per second or 20 kilobytes per second, and in JavaScript latency like 1000 milliseconds. And then you can also easily turn on…there are some functions that are showing your lines across the layout, and how all the elements slowly loading, and if there is any cumulative layout shift because this is what I’m right now focusing on, or there is no cumulative layout shift. So, of course, you can try to find the bad reception, which would be probably easy in [inaudible 00:32:02] where I’m living. But I am the guy who don’t like to leave the house, so I prefer to throttle the page speed.

And yeah, so, I think there is the page speed, maybe it’s a bit scary tactic maybe it will not be as big as we are thinking it will be. Maybe it will not put upside down all the SERPs. But the fact that people are talking about this, the fact that people are taking this very serious, the fact that Google set about this way, way in advance, we still have five months to implement this, it’s a very great thing because that makes the whole internet working smoother, faster, whoever wants to rank. And on the other hand, we have 5G, which is coming. And despite from all conspiracy theories that we’ll be all like puppets, then obviously we will have mobile devices and we will be able to serve faster. So, all these things are in the line. So, you will not harm your website if you will make this faster. However, very soon, maybe that page speed will not be that critical because of the 5G, and so on and so on and so on. So, I am left handed, but if I could use my both hands, I would sign exactly everything what was said here about page speed. I just sign it with my both hands.

David: Okay. Wow. Okay. So essentially we’re focusing in on the same areas as the number one tip there. Lukasz, you talked a little bit about having to look for different areas within a web page that could be causing the issue with page speed. Are you seeing typical scenarios where there are certain types of codes that always tend to be the culprit, certain types of scripts, maybe old ad scripts that perhaps aren’t even used anymore? What are the typical scripts that tend to slow down a web page?

Lukasz: Who are you asking?

David: Lukasz. Yeah, you.

Lukasz: All right. Sorry. So, I don’t know if Niki and Anna have the same experience, but I need to tell that the most often forgotten script, and most of the website is Hotjar. It’s a great tool. It’s a great tool. But you’re going into [inaudible 00:34:22] website, and it’s like, “Excuse me, are you using Hotjar?” “Oh, no, no. We’re not.” “When did you…?” “We just done a trial like three years ago.” It was like then from three years, over three years, you were just loading every time the script. Nobody is using this, but you’re still loading. So, I have nothing against Hotjar, it is a great script, but very often people are using some scripts on a trial, and then they forget about this, and then that is slowing down.

In the principles, all this elements that needs to be in line about page speed, as I said, like compressing images, compressing JS, CSS, making sure that the website is gzip, lazy load images. They’re very simple, but in practice when you start diving deeper, it’s like a magical pandora’s box. You’re just opening a monster and you are starting scratching your head because, you know, even JavaScript from Google Analytics may be problematic. Hello. Hello. Surprisingly, you know. And then, if you have a WordPress, then you may start using some solutions which are taking the script locally, and so on and so on and so on. There are also Cloudflare.

Cloudflare is my life savior. These guys know really what they are doing. Cloudflare CDN. I’m using also Argo on SEO London, which means that no matter where you are based, the connection is…like the CDN connection is from very close server. And I am using this more just to have a very strong case for a bigger customer. I don’t have nowhere close to that much traffic, but Argo is one of the few elements that really helps to increase page speed. And there is nuances that you’re falling into or like throttling JavaScript, and throttling the load time just to see more, because website might go very fast, but then you’re realizing, “Well, actually, yes, this is going from cache.”

I have also another really, really big advice. If you have a WordPress website, WordPress based website, I’ve been testing plenty of solutions over the last few years, and WP Rocket is right now one of the best [inaudible 00:36:47] because it’s precautioning everything. And you can see that these URLs that you cached versus URLs which you made up, so put some random query string after the normal URL, it will load but the load time is completely different. So, we could have potentially episode 6A or 6B only about this very interesting topic, but super important.

David: Absolutely. So that’s just covered the top three tips from each of our panelists today. I’m gonna ask everyone just to share in a second one other tip that almost made the list but didn’t quite make the list to see if we can bring in something a little bit different. But for the top three tips, we got Niki, number three, getting ready for the new normal. So obviously we’re in a challenging time at the moment with coronavirus, but the new normal has got to happen or back to normal is going to happen at some point, rather. So, whenever that is ready, make sure you’ve planned and you’re ready to launch when that actually hits.

Anna talked about video, using feature snippets as well, but talking about having video embedded within your website as well as on YouTube. And Ammon talks about the fact that actually embedding video on your site can help to optimize the video on YouTube. Lukasz talked about ranking for new questions. Remember, with what’s been happening over the last year, there were lots of new questions. He gave the idea as well is that if people have technical challenges, sometimes they have long questions that relate to the error message that you commonly get with a piece of technology. So, if you can answer those questions, then that will give you perhaps a great new source of traffic.

Number two tips with Nikki talking about spending more time in the SERPs, Anna talking about branded content, and Lukasz talking about schemas, and FAQs, the opportunity to actually include schemas within your FAQs. And then we had everyone talking about the Core Web Vitals updates for their tip number one, essentially. Get ready for that. It’s coming next year. And web speed is going to be a massive part of it. So, what are the things that nearly made that list? So Niki, starting off with you, what is essentially number four?

Niki: I think along with staying flexible, paying attention to Google Trends data, I think that can be one underutilized tool. But especially now and just always, it’s a really great source to see what’s trending, what people are searching for in your industry and then using that data in your content calendars.

David: Great advice. And Anna, what is your tip number four?

Anna: Backlinks. So I didn’t really mention a whole ton of those, but it’s interesting. So, we’ve heard a lot of theories around the EAT, expertize, authoritativeness, trustworthiness. I almost blinked on the T. But the A part of EAT, authoritativeness, that can relate to backlinks. So, the quality of websites that are backlinking to you, it’s not really necessarily about quantity, it’s about the quality of those. So, you still wanna be creating content that naturally generates quality backlinks. It’s not necessarily about an outreach campaign, or a PBN network or anything like that. It’s about creating content that naturally generates these. And we’re starting to see that could potentially be a big hit in 2021 because we saw Matt Cutts [SP] saying how…again, we heard guest blog posts aren’t the backlink thing anymore. And then we also saw with the December 3rd update, the PBM networks got hit pretty hard with those two. So, and we also haven’t had a Penguin update in a couple of years, so just always keep backlinks in the back of your mind.

David: So, links aren’t quite dead yet in 2021. Maybe 2022. We’ll see what happens.

Anna: One day they will be.

David: Lukasz, what is your tip that didn’t quite make the list?

Lukasz: I just wanted to mention very briefly AI, which I was always against and I was always thinking that AI is a kind of a buzzword until I become a late adopter, and I started understanding the power of AI in specific situations. So, we were talking about transcribing YouTube. I’m using Sonix, sonix.ai, which is able to transcribe not only for English, but also for other languages. As you know David, because we knows for many years, I’m bilingual, I speak Polish and English. And English is a different thing because it’s a very popular language. So, we can expect that the tools are very, very well designed. And then Polish language is a different story. But actually Sonix can transcribe really, really accurately. So, you have sometimes some nuances, but fixing them is taking maybe 10% of time and cost than asking someone to transcribe this.

And the second example I wanted to give is the DeepL Translator, which is one of the best ever I was using in the history to translate website into other languages. There is, for example, a plugin which is called Translate Press, which you can install on your WordPress, and then through the API, create a translated versions of desired pages. Then again fix the errors, and it works. I have a couple of cases that customers started getting conversions from China, or from Japan, or from Russia because there is only number of languages, including Polish, and lots of my friends from Netherlands, or from Russia, or from Germany said like, “Well, it’s not perfect, but it’s not far away from perfection.” There are a couple of nuances that needs to be changed, a couple of things that needs to be tweaked, but it’s not completely off.” You could even read this and you would get generally…in some cases doesn’t sound like it’s automatic translation. I guess just little human touch need to be done.

So AI wherever you can. There is also a LOVO which is the voiceover, and this voiceover sounds almost, almost like a human. And I’ve been so nerdy and so geeky about this voiceover that I contacted these guys. So, generally, this is AI that learn to speak potentially like person. And they told me that they will be able to digitalize my voice. So, right now the voiceover is talking like me. And the worst thing is that the voiceover have better accent, English accent than I have. And they gave me 30 minutes of text I had to read. And then the voiceover was learning for two weeks to talk like me. And now I can take my article and pretend that I read them when, in fact, that was AI that read them.

David: It’s getting better and better. I’ve used Rev quite a bit in the past to transcribe, and they’re fairly decent, but they’re not perfect. And they involve humans as part of it as well. I’ve also used a service called Happy Scribe, and they’re completely automated and they’re incredible. And another service that’s incredible is Descript as well. They also have that voice that you’re talking about, Lukasz, and you can actually create an artificial version of your own voice as well, I believe, in there as well. So, almost scary stuff coming down the line.

But because Ammon Johns is starting to jibe and saying, “Any AI needs to be tested on how it transcribes a Scottish accent.” I think that’s a sign to say that we’re just about to finish this particular episode. I think we just need to thank everyone for being a great panelist as part of the show. Dixon is saying in the comments that as well. Yeah, thank you everyone for watching live, and being a part of it. Niki, can you remind the viewer where they can get hold of you? What’s the best website and best social handle for them to say hello?

Niki: Yeah, you can contact me through our website, twooctobers.com, or you could find me on Twitter. And I’m @nikers85.

David: Niki, thank you so much for being part of it.

Niki: Thank you so much for having me.

David: And Anna… Yeah, thank you. Anna, what’s the best website and social handle for you?

Anna: Yeah. So, you can stalk me on leadfeeder.com, or searchenginejournal.com. And you can say hi to me on Twitter @annaleacrowe.

David: Wonderful. Thanks again. And Lukasz, last but not least, of course, what’s the best website and social handle for you?

Lukasz: So, as you can see here, SEO.London is like here. But for whoever doesn’t have a video…

David: Not for audio listeners, but, yeah.

Lukasz: Yeah, SEO.London. Nothing after dot. Not seo.london.com. Nothing, SEO.London. Or on LinkedIn if you type Lukasz Zelezny. Not Zelensky. Not Zeleny. Every time you’re spelling my surname wrong, a little fairy is dying. Zelezny. And that’s where you can find me on LinkedIn.

David: Andy Beard saying, “Some of the best English in the world is spoken in Scotland.” There we go. We’ll go with that, Andy. Thank you very much. Just two other things. I wanna say, get well soon, Dixon, rest up. Hopefully, you’ll be good to go for the next episode. That was great to see you interact in the comments there as well. I’ll just say, of course, I’ve been your host David Bain. You can find me producing podcasts for B2B brands over at castingcredit.com. Finally, I just wanna say, however you’re spending your time this year, hopefully you have an opportunity to have a decent Christmas. It’s been a challenging year, probably a challenging Christmas for many. Try and have a decent time. And here’s hoping 2021 will be one to look forward to. Thanks for joining us. Take care.

Lukasz: Thank you.

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