Title: Episode 37: What we Learned From an SEO Audit

June 24, 2024 00:51:38
Title: Episode 37: What we Learned From an SEO Audit
The Kadence Beat
Title: Episode 37: What we Learned From an SEO Audit

Jun 24 2024 | 00:51:38

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Hosted By

Hannah Ritner Ben Ritner Kathy Zant

Show Notes

The Kadence website just got an SEO audit done by Ellipsis. In this episode, Ben, Katy, and Hannah talk about what we found on the report and what we've been doing to improve our SEO. There are lots of nuggets of wisdom we share regarding SEO, website speed optimization and more. You don't want to miss this episode.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Hi. Welcome to episode 37 of the Cadence. Be. Thanks for being here. It's summer and hot, but for some reason Ben looks like he's cold, but we're here. [00:00:13] Speaker B: I'm not cold. I'm comfortable. So it's a difference there. This is like a comfortable. [00:00:20] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:00:20] Speaker A: How are you doing, Katie? [00:00:22] Speaker C: I'm good. I'm excited. Today we're going to be talking about SEO, right? [00:00:27] Speaker A: All things SEO. I feel like SEO has been the only thing that's been talked about lately because we recently in cadence underwent a huge SEO audit from ellipsis, and so it has been the talk of cadence. So we were like, oh, let's just share this conversation a bit with our community. So, yeah, Ben, where do you want to start? [00:00:50] Speaker B: Yeah, I think that backstory is great. Just like, hey, we're going to get into the nitty gritty of some technical audit that ellipsis did for us and then always caveat with, we are very much in process of doing a lot of this stuff. So we're going to talk about things. If you come to our website, you're going to be like, oh, that's not that great. We're going to be like, yeah, we're working on it because we're in process. Like, all of our main pages are getting redone, but we want to, like, put out there as the reasons why and then just talk, like, have this as a moment to talk about SEO in general, which is, like, important for everyone that's running a website. So, like, I think kicking it off too, like, what is your general take on what SEO is? And, like, maybe a better way to put it is, like, coming from your expertise. Katie, how do you think about SEO when you're doing stuff for clients or for yourself? [00:01:54] Speaker C: Yeah, there's several aspects. There's the on page SEO, which is when you're thinking about the site map and also the meta description and the page title and, you know, the image alt text. Like, there's all of those on page SEO aspects that we have direct control over, but then there's also writing the right articles and pages on your website as well to rank for specific keywords. And so those are, like the two main aspects that I think of when I think of SEO and to me, so SEO can be a really big, hairy, scary topic to talk about, especially when you get into the technical side of things. But I have eventually come to learn that my SEO strategies are more like best practices for what I do when I'm building a website and also what I do when I'm writing a blog post that just become, this is the standard instead of what do I have to do to rank? So I don't, it doesn't feel as scary for me anymore. But I also am not like the one in charge of optimizing core web vitals. And so I have a limited, I have the marketers hat on more than I have, like the developer's hat on when I think about SEO. [00:03:07] Speaker B: Yeah. And I think it's a good way to think about it. There's like a very technical side of SEO, which is like all the optimizational stuff. And then there's the like, strategy side of like, I want to get traffic from, you know, customers who I can solve their problems. And like, how do I make that connection of people who are looking for my solution? Maybe they don't know that yet, but I have a solution for them and I want them to be able to find me. So I think that initial part, like, let's just briefly talk about from a content strategy side, one of the things that came up in this audit is that, and in conversations with ellipsis is that we want to be creating content. And this is like, uh, their founders like, main thing he kept saying over and over and over again is that is relentlessly useful. And I love that idea of like, okay, does this pass the relentlessly useful thing? And one of the things with AI and generative text and all of it is that like, people can flood the Internet now with content. That is just content. And so we have to combat that. One of the ways that it's important to do that is to actually not fall trapped to the, like, let's just turn this 300 word blog post into a thousand word blog post and fill it with a bunch of fluff. But like, to actually be, to really own, like, this is what you need to know. I have the authority and the, like, here's how I'm going to say that. And I think that's really cool. And then I think it's worth just mentioning that, like, Google has put out guidelines for a number of years. They've recently updated it. Eat is the thing you'll hear. It's e a t. And it stands for experience, expertise, authority and trust. And that when you're like, the guidelines for what you're doing, this isn't like a ranking factor. It's actually they have humans that check search results and determine whether or not the results are showing up that have this and then they adjust their rankings. But the idea is that you're presenting your content in a way that has that showing. You have experience, you have expertise, you have the authority and then the trust to write about this. And that's a key thing that you want to be thinking about even when you're creating the content and doing the content is like people want your real true experience. They don't want just the answer, which is it's just interesting, but like the reality is just the answer is what G chat GPT is going to produce for anybody. And you want to be writing content that says, you know, hey, if you want to learn about, here's, you know, this certain place to go or this certain thing to do, here's my experience and then this is my recommendation. And I think that goes a lot further. So for the affiliate bloggers out there, adding your experience and all of that can mean a lot in terms of future ranking. And then for us, for like cadence, like when we talk about search engine traffic, we get almost all of our traffic is brand related, meaning somebody's put cadence in the search term because they're looking for, they're literally, they're typing in cadence blocks and we're going to show up for that. And then what we're trying to expand that organic search traffic is to try to get customers who are looking for solutions to a problem that we solve. Like, I want to customize my woocommerce product page. Hey, we have a solution for that. We need to connect someone who's saying, how do I customize my Woocommerce product page with our solution, which we have the authority. We have a plugin that does that. We have a lot of use cases and we have a lot of customers that are doing it. So we're in that place of like, we have the experience, the authority, hey, we know how to do this. We have the solution for you. We just need to create that content because right now that content doesn't exist. So we're not ranked for that thing. And that's the difference of like from a content and strategy perspective. We need to figure out how to connect somebody who's who. We have the solution and we need to be able to like have the content that explains that it's solution to them without them having to like randomly find us and dig through our product catalog to find cadence Shopkit, to then find that Shopkit offers templating. And then inside of templating, you can customize the product page to be whatever you want that, you know. So that's the like audit of like, how do we get that content to be there and readily available so that people can find it. Oh, you have this solution, it's this product. And we have. [00:08:18] Speaker C: The audit definitely made us look at our content. First of all, there's content decay. So blog posts that are no longer useful or relevant, that was an obvious one that came up. But then when we also looked at, oh, there's like traffic dips on key pages, starting back a few months ago, for instance, we can go back and say, what changes did we make? And then that's also causing us to look at, okay, if we need to refresh this content in this page, then what is the user experience as well? So for, I would say, you know, I'm new to the team and it's great, but also like coming in with a fresh, new perspective on cadence, it's like we've built a really fantastic business with, like you said, all the authority we have. I feel like the best community ever who rallies behind us and pushes us to be better. But there's also like, we've just kind of piecemeal things together over time. And so this is a really great opportunity for us to say, okay, where we are now is so much different than where we were several years ago. And so what do we need to do to the content on key pages, as well as the user experience to conversion? And thinking through that from a new point of view, a new lens has been really productive and helpful and also kind of overwhelming because you're like, wow, we have a lot of work to do, but if you're an established business and you haven't done an SEO audit, highly encourage you to get one. But beyond that, even doing a self audit can be really valuable. And take a look at, okay, if I was a brand new customer trying to interact with my brand for the very first time, what is weird? Where are the sticky points? And how can I improve the page design as well as the content and core web vitals so that it's a beautiful user experience overall? [00:10:04] Speaker A: Going back to the content that, like, it's decaying content, I think is the word that you used, Katie. Like, if you have, if you're finding that people are searching for you and what they're finding is your old content, that's actually not relevant anymore, what's the best way to handle that? Like, do you go and just delete those posts or do you like, refresh them? Like, what do you do with decaying content? And like, if it's still getting traffic, is that not still good because traffic is traffic? Or do you not want that kind. [00:10:33] Speaker C: Of traffic, I would say it depends on a few things. Like we've had to go back to ellipsis and be like, okay, in this scenario, what do you recommend that we do? So I would say if it's no longer relevant and it's not getting any traffic, just remove it from your site. Although if it's got some good bones, like don't just delete it and then like lose that content forever. I would encourage you, if you are going to do an audit, like move that to a Google Doc in case you want to maybe finesse it later down the road or at least just change it to draft instead of published. Again, that's for content that's not ranking and also is just unhelpful and unuseful. The other thing that if you have decaying content, like what can you do to improve it? And because it's easier to, if you already have a page that's ranking, let's just say it's on like the third or fourth page of Google. And that's going to be an easier lift to get that just by optimizing the post to page one than trying to rank a brand new article at times. I mean, it depends on the keyword. There's so many variables that go into that, but generally that can be true. So if you have content that's maybe aging, meaning it was ranking but it's falling out of the rankings, you kind of just need to say, what do I need to do to be better? The other thing I like to do is look at the top ten search results on Google for that specific keyword and ask them or not ask them, but see where's the gap in the market that our competitors are filling. At the end of the day, Google wants you to be the best resource on the Internet for the searcher's query. If your article is missing something, or you could go in and add your expertise or make it 20% better, then I think that's a net positive win for you. But it kind of all depends. Like, there's a lot of variables that go into it. So I would say you might want to talk to an SEO professional, especially if you don't want to mess too much with your rankings. But that's kind of my experience so far. [00:12:31] Speaker B: Yeah, I'll add, like we asked specifically, like, hey, if we change the content, at what point should you put a new publish date on it? Like, this blog post was written three years ago, let's say. And it still actually has a lot of relevant stuff. And we're going to, you know, we're going to update it. Should we republish it or leave it at that published date? And their push, their general rule, and we're giving generals here because everything does at some point come down to like your specific situation. But their general rule is if you change a content by 20%, that should be a new published date. And that's based on Google's recommendation. So in, you know, in some cases, we changed the published date, republished content that was okay. This is still good content. It's relevant to us. We can speak to it with authority and expertise. We're just going to update it to make it better and more relevant for today. And doing that and then republishing it can be good for you. It still has the same URL, so Google can still see it as the same thing. [00:13:41] Speaker C: So what would you say are the biggest indicators or biggest opportunities for improvement based on ellipsis, audit of cadence? Where were our weaknesses that we needed to improve? [00:13:54] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, there was a lot of things, right, like the, the history of the cadence website is largely me throwing together things for, you know, over years and piecing things together. We also, at one point, each one of our products had its own sub site and we experimented with that for a little while and then we brought it all back together into one site. So there was some technical debt that we had to deal with from a redirect and like, making sure that, like, this site that has been through a lot of changes was showing up correctly to Google in terms of, you know, one thing that we have to manage is a forum with over 200,000 topics. So, like, that's just a ton of content that you're indexing with Google and making sure that we clean up spam stuff that gets in there and all of that. So there was a lot of like, technical things with redirects that we could immediately like, fix and improve and moving our blog articles to a, to using a blog slash the article title was important in terms of like, getting the structure better so that Google could understand our website better. And so that was like a quick win, I think. Like, that's like, some of that technical stuff is where I've spent a good amount of time. But then there was also just the reality of like a lot of this, our main content, the content that should convert better, needs to be updated. And that's like, a lot of what we're working on, they did. So one thing that we addressed pretty well at this point, we're almost fully there and that was our page speed, our core web vitals. And so that took me down a deep dive of, like, how do we get passing core web vitals for every single one of our pages? And if you've done any work with core web vitals, you know that it almost has nothing to do with your actual site speed or user experience, which is somewhat frustrating because Google seems to be using this as an indicator of how healthy your site is in some cases. And that is all. Like, there's varying degrees of, like, how important it is to Google or not and whether or not they pay that much attention to it. But essentially, your site can load very fast, but not past coreb vitals. And because of the nature of what core of vitals is looking for, and there's a bunch of recommendations in there. And, like, I always try to, whenever I'm talking about core vitals with people, I'm always like, just be aware that, like, of the top 200 websites on the Internet, they don't pass core web vitals. Like, it's not the, like, the only thing you should be paying attention to. Content is always king. Backlinks matter more in SEO than probably anything else in terms of ranking. Uh, so, like, don't get too lost in this. But we did. I went down the rabbit hole of, like, I am going to get us passing core web vitals on every single one of our pages. And what will this take? And in the end, I have some, some interesting findings. So one of the biggest things that was causing us to, quote unquote, not pass core vitals is that we were using Google Tag manager. So Google's own product that they recommend you use, but they also ding you for massively if you use it in terms of core of vitals. So why is that a thing? Yeah, they should talk to each other over at Google, but if you use Google Tag manager, it will cause, and you're loading Google Analytics or Google Ads, Facebook Pixel, all that kind of stuff to do all of your ad tracking and stuff like that, you will get a massive ding on your mobile performance scores with core of vitals. And the way around that, for us, what ended up working really, really well is to use Cloudflare's Zara's, which is a tool that allows you to load all the things you would use Google Tag manager for. So analytics, Facebook, Google Ads, all that kind of stuff, we can load that essentially in its own little, like, web app, so it doesn't run on the user's browser, but it still does all the same stuff that you need. And this allows the JavaScript work that needs to be done when you're loading Google Analytics and all that to not happen in the user's browser. And so then your core vital speed scores improve. Now just, it's like work to set up anything. And so we always say like, just this is how to score a perfect core web vitals thing. This is not like everyone needs to go and do this today because again, like I said, it has almost no impact on the end users experience, especially given if your main customers are in the US. We all have generally very fast Internet. Obviously if your main customers are in a place that generally has slower Internet, like, this is a lot bigger deal to you because it will start to make a little. So that would be my, that was our first thing is we set up zara and we've got that running on the cadence website. Obviously that was like maybe making sure that everything flowed through as well. I ended up having to write a plugin to do all the woocommerce tracking with Zara, so that way we could pass all the conversion stuff along to Google Analytics and ads and things like that. So that's something I'm going to plan on publish at some point. I haven't yet, but that's something that's going to go out into the wild at some point as a way to do that. I was about that question. [00:19:50] Speaker C: What's the lift for other users to be able to do the same thing you just did? [00:19:55] Speaker B: If you don't have woocommerce? The lift is very easy. It's as easy as setting up Google Tag manager. You can set up SARS if you do have woocommerce and you want to have all that ecommerce tracking, that's where I needed the custom plugin and that's what someone would need to either add that code or wait for me to publish this, which we'll do soon. So that was one thing. Another thing that we were getting hit for is optimizing unused CSS. And this is solved very easily by using FlyingPress. I really highly recommend flying press as an optimization plugin. There's a lot out there. There's WP rocket there, you know, so many to name. I have, yeah, I've tried a lot of them. I found that Flyingpress does the best job with CSS optimization and a couple other things. So that would be my recommendation there. And you know, running flying press to do that, solve that. The other thing is that we have a lot of logged in users on the cadence website so they come in, they log in for AI or to get into their account, and then they browse the site. And when I talk about core web vitals, I'm not talking about like if you run it on a blank screen, I'm talking about the data that Google collects to then assign your site a core web vital, which is based on real users. And that data showed worse than if you just ran the site. And essentially what that was is Google watching a lot of logged in users hitting some of our main pages. And those weren't page cache because we weren't caching pages for logged in users. We have database caching and highly recommend using a good database object caching. But for us, enabling caching for logged in users on all of our key pages was a key way to improve the performance of the website in Google's eyes. Because Google doesn't care if the user's logged in or not. They're just looking at how long did it take that user to load this page? And so by doing that, we improved the performance quite a bit. Another thing is lazy loading background images. So by default, browsers are going to lazy load because WordPress has this code already in to say, hey, load all your images. Lazy except for those first top of page images. But background images don't lazy load by default. And so flying press again has a great solution for this. There's a lot of them that do a lot of the performance plugins offer lazy loading for background images. And then another thing is that you will often see that you can get dinged for excessive dom size. The actual real. This is always funny to me because like the dom size that gets under that radar is like essentially the most basic of websites, I think. I looked into Google search results one time and the search results do not pass there. They get dinged for excessive Dom size. So the standard there is very, again, this is core of vitals. I could say all day long how much it's like, this isn't actually relevant, but it's a thing and you got to pay attention to it. A great solution for lowering your dom size is to make your pages smaller. Obviously that doesn't really work for everyone. Like, you want to have more content on your page, you want to engage that user going down. And so Google recommends lazy rendering content, which is kind of like your typical experience. You get on Facebook or whatever and you scroll and more content loads as you're going down the page, you can lazy render your content. Um, I'm actually working on a way to do this in cadence blocks where you can enable like hey, I want to load this row as lazy so it doesn't load on page load. The reason I'm looking at doing at it is because Flyingpress is a great solution for this. The only problem I ran into with their solution, which I really loved and I used on the cadence site, that's how we're, we're passing core vitals. It's like I'm lazy loading the footer. I'm lazy loading a bunch of stuff where lazy rendering can get you is that JavaScript initialization happens on page load. And if you have a carousel, an accordion, anything that runs powered by JavaScript, that initialization happens on page loads. So if you have an accordion on your page, right as the page loads, there's a script that runs to say hey, where's the accordion on this page, finds it, and then puts an event listener on it to essentially say when this gets clicked, expand the accordion. If you lazy render that, then that JavaScript code that says hey where is this accordion? Says there's no accordion and it just moves on. Then that accordion gets lazy rendered and now there's no event listener on the buttons, and so then nothing happens when you click the buttons. So that's just a simple scenario of how lazy rendering can hurt you. Because the way that JavaScript works is it initializes. When it does, it finds all the things that it needs to listen for. So what we're going to do with cadence is add a lazy render function that allows you to lazy render rows, but then we will tell it when you render. Check to see in the case of the accordion, if there's accordion here that we need to initialize. So we'll add that logic into the JavaScript to make sure that even if something is lazy rendered, it still gets initialized, which will allow you to essentially say everything below the fold on my website can be lazy rendered, and then you get your dom size down significantly because you are lazy rendering the rest of it. [00:25:53] Speaker C: I'm going to ask a beginner question, just for anyone who's wondering what is Dom size? [00:26:00] Speaker B: So the Dom is essentially the HTML, the raw HTML that gets put on a page. And so if you right click on a website and click view source, you will see all the HTML that is there and that's your quote unquote dom. And how that gets interpreted by the browser is through the dom tree and it's a whole thing and you get lost in that extremely complex. But essentially what they're saying is you have too much to load. And there's ways you can optimize the Dom size without necessarily getting rid of content. Meaning like, text is technically not dom. It's the markup. It's the actual markup that goes around everything. And so the less markup you use, the lower your Dom size. So there have been page builders that have gotten dinged for being excessive on Dom size because they add six, seven layers of divs between each text element and that can cause a performance issue. [00:27:05] Speaker C: Yeah, I was going to say, is there a good best practice on the way to build specific pages in cadence? Like, if you have a row layout that has another row layout that has a lot of different elements, let's just say two columns where there's text on the left and an accordion on the right instance, but you've got that second row layout. Like when you start nesting a ton of items inside of each other, does that increase the Dom size? And like, so are there like best practices on. Maybe users are just building their pages incorrectly and that's like user error, or do you think it's truly just optimization? [00:27:42] Speaker B: So it's both, right? Like, certainly if you just sit there and nest row, nest Row and nest Row and nest Row, and then add content and you have a whole lot of nested rows that are there for no reason, then you should optimize that and get rid of the ones that are there for no reason. That said, people can get really, really lost in trying to save one or two divs by spending all this time trying to make a layout work where they really just need those divs to make the layout work, but they're trying to make it work with funky Css and things like that. So they want to lower their dom size by, by two divs. And for that, I would say you're probably approaching it wrong. You should probably look at lazy rendering versus trying to optimize to that point, because I think you're thinking about it wrong at that point. And there's a big difference, obviously, between cadence, which is going to load a row as two divs, versus some of the page builders out there. That was like, you put in a row and you're like 15 divs before you get to text. That's a big difference. [00:28:47] Speaker C: I think, say for some users who are like beginners, that they don't have all of the technical knowledge. They're just like thinking, what can I do with my limited knowledge? What can I do to make sure that I'm doing everything right, to make sure the speed is where it needs to be. And sometimes if that's over your head, you just, you need to reach out to a professional who can help you with that type of thing or use the right tools that are already set up and performant and things of that nature. [00:29:15] Speaker B: Yeah, I would say that, like, in general, you don't want to get too in the weeds on trying to optimize your dom size by outside of content. Now, certainly, like, people make ridiculously huge pages that are just really, really big and don't need to be that big. You just need to, like, make your pages smaller because they need to be more concise and less lengthy. And at the same time, there's times where it makes sense to have a really, really big page. And that's a great time to have a lazy render. [00:29:51] Speaker A: Are you creating a plugin right now that allows lazy rendering? Is that what I think? [00:29:56] Speaker B: So I'm going to put it into cadence blocks. Yeah, it'll be, it'll be a setting in the row layout block to lazy render that block. Yep. [00:30:03] Speaker C: Cool. [00:30:04] Speaker A: That's awesome. Ben, I'm just curious what the biggest surprise was in this audit for you. Like, what was the thing that you're like, oh, wow. I didn't realize that that was going to be, that was heartiness. [00:30:13] Speaker B: Um, I think of what was. I don't know, that there was too much of a surprise. I mean, this was a site that had never been audited. So I was kind of coming into it expecting, like, you know, like, we're going to get a lot of things. I thought, like, I guess the biggest, the biggest surprise was the emphasis on authors inside a blog post, I think, and making our author pages more interesting and more engaging. I think that was a surprise. I just don't, you know, like, I don't think of that too much when I'm on a blog post to be like, who's this author? And why do they have credibility? But, like, Google is really paying attention to that. And that goes back to the whole concept of eat. Like, Google really cares about the author, really cares about showing your expertise. And so that was one of the things that we implemented on our blog now is that you'll see, like, under each title, there's the author name with a link to the author page that we've revamped that shows the author's bio and stuff like that. And we now have that in the sidebar and in the footer. So there's just this reiteration of, like, here is somebody that you can trust that's knowledgeable, that's writing this post and here's why. And I think that was probably the biggest surprise in the thing of like, oh, we ended up doing a bit of work to make that all work in our blog. I like how it looks now. I think it looks great and really does like, to me it does make it feel like, oh, wow, this feels more legitimate, I guess, and just more authoritative. [00:31:53] Speaker C: Yeah, I think for content creators, this is a great opportunity for them specifically too, I guess everyone who's publishing online, not just content creators, but I know, like, especially if you're like in a lifestyle niche or you're like a blogger, some people are like, hi, I'm whatever your name is. And you know, I love Jesus and I love, I have two kids and I have a dog and it's like none of that matters. You need to really talk about why someone should listen to you or read your content and trying to make sure that you're coming from it from an authoritative perspective and not just a this is who I am type of a thing is a huge improvement that they can make. Plus, while we're talking about these cool author pages, Cadence allows you with the element hook plugin to insert featured content on top of that author archive page, where otherwise you wouldn't be able to touch that because it's a function of the theme. So if you really do want to customize that author page, we have the tools available. You've got to have a bundle, a cadence bundle in order to access that feature. But in my opinion, that single feature alone is worth the upgrade. There's so much that you can do with the tool that allows you to improve your SEO as well and have an impact on the user experience and really insert content where you need it and where it's strategically designed to convert or help the user build trust, things of that nature, where again, if you didn't have the element hooks, you wouldn't be able to insert your content onto those theme pages. [00:33:23] Speaker A: She's our marketer, folks. [00:33:26] Speaker B: Yeah. And yeah, that was a cool one that we were able to like do and be like, hey, we have the tools to do this one more thing with page speed because this one, I see this a lot. And what's interesting is that, like liquid Web, our parent company, is doing a redesign right now and I got pulled in to do some speed audit stuff. And one of the things that gets people a lot is using PNG images, which are a lot of times the default when you're exporting out of Figma. But I see them a lot they don't optimize well, unless they're small, they really don't optimize well. You can use them for logos, usually, okay, especially single color logos. Then you can optimize them. But when you're talking about just a colored image, even if it's the same exact size, JPEG is going to be vastly superior. And then on that note, webp is even more superior than JPEG. So something to just pay attention to is image sizes can really ding you and can really cause performance problems. Not just core vitals, but just in general. People trying to see your site actual like affects the end user. Make sure you optimize your images more than just like getting an image option plugin and being like, yeah, optimize my images. It's really about making good decisions about what format you need to use. Some people will use pngs because they need to have transparency in the image. JPeG doesn't allow transparency. P does. So converting them to webp and optimizing them. And that can give you a significant improvement or page size and your performance. And that's one that's like really easy to mix to miss. If you're just like moving through your content, you're like, oh, I took a screenshot. A lot of times the default screenshot is a PNG. And so optimizing those is key. And optimizing the choosing the right thing before you upload is big deal. [00:35:36] Speaker C: Since we're talking about speed and best practices, obviously image optimization is one of the biggest things that's dragging it down. So I know we get a lot of comments in our Facebook group and stuff that's like, my cadence website is so slow. This is a cadence problem. Can you address that question? Or that we get quite often like, I have a cadence website and it's because of cadence that this is so slow. But then people are uploading two megabyte images for their hero section, for instance, and they don't understand why it's, why it's dragging them down. What are your thoughts on that? [00:36:08] Speaker B: Correct? Yeah, I mean, because just to say like, we also have people in our Facebook group who are like, I use cadence and now all my site speeds are so good. Like the, the reality is cadence isn't going to make your site slow, but it's not going to prevent you from making your site slow. So yeah, you ultimately have control over the content of your website. So we go back to like, if you make a massive site, add a bunch of carousels and images and upload all those images in super high res that are uncompressed, that will equal a slow site. Doesn't matter what theme you use or if you used no theme at all and just grab the content that you put into the page, it's still going to be a slow website. So cadence can do a lot to try to optimize where it can from a code perspective in terms of like we preload CSS and load certain CSS later in the page load to prevent, you know, prevent, you know, certain render blocking stuff. And there's like things that we do and we only load css when it's needed. So if you're not using our carousel, you know, gallery, like we're not going to load the JavaScript or the CSS for that because there's smart stuff in there to say we're going to go performance first and load this stuff when it's needed. But that doesn't mean that you can't make a slow website because anyone can. And so image optimization is usually where people get stuck the most. And to just be clear too, you can't just use a plugin later on down the road to optimize your images. So when you're putting in a background image on a hero section, by default it's going to use the full size image that you picked. Now we do offer a selector in there so you can change the image to one of the other sizes that WordPress generates for you automatically. So you can use large and things like that. But the optimal is that you chose the image size that you wanted and you compressed that size, because that's actually going to give you significantly better results than if you just go and download an image, upload it and even change the size. So a better way to explain this is this. If you take an optimized image that's 2000 pixels wide, and you take an unoptimized image that's 2000 pixels wide, the smaller version, the thousand pixel version is going to reflect that, even though it's quote unquote optimized. So you want to make sure that you're bringing images that are optimized when you're uploading to the site and ideally using, you know, the right formats. That goes a super long way in terms of optimization. [00:39:08] Speaker C: Yeah. And beyond images, it's also like who you choose for hosting matters and a number of other things also, right? [00:39:15] Speaker B: Who you choose for hosting makes a significant difference how you, how you do page caching. I mean, essentially in this day, in the web page caching is absolutely critical to a website. So what that is, is essentially taking what the page renders out, saving the HTML and storing that HTML. So then the next time that that page loads, it doesn't run through all the PHP and hit the server and have to do all the communication with the database. It can just hand that HTML file to the end user. That is the difference between, I mean, it doesn't matter how good your server is, you must have good page caching running on your site. That's absolutely critical to getting a good speed score. Some other things just were coming up on time. Some things I'll throw out there that were interesting that we did and just good reference points. We have hundreds of pages on the cadence website doing an audit of those pages and removing the ones that shouldn't be indexed anymore from our sitemap. That was another one that was like we did so not only auditing all of our blog posts, but also looking at all the pages we had random pages that were created for something sometime ages ago still in our sitemap that we needed to just unindex or delete or on publish, making sure that we had fixed, did a 404 check and what, you know what on what blog posts. Like we made the mistake on several blog posts two years ago to copy images from a Google Drive into the content and never actually upload those images to the website. So then two years later that Google Drive is gone, those images are gone. Now we have four or four errors on those blog posts. So that was another one that's like, those are the kinds of things you find in audit of. Like not every day you go and look at a blog post from two years ago to see if the images are still there. But that was one that was like, oh, we did that wrong. We uploaded those images straight from Google instead of actually moving them to the website. So that was all really interesting in terms of schema. We looked at updating our schema to reflect an organization. So like right now, the cadence homepage says that it's by Ben Rittner, which is not correct, right. That's just the default that happens when you, I'm the author of the homepage and so that's another one where you want to update your like paying attention to schema based on your actual website. Like maybe it should be by you if your site is for you, but if it's for an organization, it should be by that organization. So that's where like the, some of the schema stuff of like just giving Google more and more information about your organization and making sure that it's getting a clear picture of the authority that you should have through schema and stuff like that. One thing, in preparation for this podcast, we threw out a question on Facebook that came back, people asking to be able to turn off the micro data that the cadence theme outputs for like the basic schema stuff. Inside of the h two on Markup, there is a filter for that where you just use a codesipit plugin to drop that filter in. But we will make it an option. That was one thing that people were like, hey, we'd love to see this as an option. That's an easy win. So that's something we can definitely do for those who don't want that page schema in the page. But just to be clear that it's very different from SEO schema that is telling this search engine that this is the header or this is the footer of your website versus, hey, this is the organization behind it, all of the meta tags and things like that. [00:42:56] Speaker C: Nice. And we had another question as well. Do you want to read that question from the Facebook group? Also from Marcus? [00:43:05] Speaker A: Yeah. Marcus wants to know now that the SEO landscape is changing faster than ever, do you have ideas for diversifying traffic sources to become less dependent on Google SEO? Katie, what are your ideas? [00:43:18] Speaker C: My ideas there. Traffic diversification is always a win because you don't want to build something that, you know, you feel like the rug can be pulled out from underneath you. I feel like back in I remember 2008, early two thousands, Facebook did this. Like Facebook pages were all the rage. And then Google changed, or not Google, but Facebook changed their rolled out ads and then everybody who had a Facebook page like their, their reach went down overnight and it crashed people's businesses because of that. And I feel like that same is true right now for SEO. With the introduction of AI into search results and all of the constant Google updates that are happening, like, this is a hard time to be in the space, especially if you're only focused on doing SEO. So it's a really good question. And I think diversifying traffic sources is great. The key thing to remember when you are diversifying traffic sources is to think about where your idle client is hanging out. So right now, if you got hit by Google, and let's just say that you are a home decor blog, Pinterest, if you're not already on it, is obviously a great traffic source for you. But if you have a mechanic website, then Pinterest probably is not going to be the best traffic source for you. So it really depends on where do you want to reach your idle clients? Reddit is one that Ben may have a lot of opinions about. That's a, Google's just in bed with Reddit. And so if you aren't on Reddit and your idle clients are hanging out there, that's an untapped new strategy for SEO that you can utilize. Do you want to share any insights on Reddit? [00:44:57] Speaker B: Yeah, I'll just say that Reddit is in all of my search results right now and it's in all of everyone's search results right now, especially if you're looking for anything that might have anything to do with a review or a question. Google has in its most recent updates, just made Reddit, like, somehow the authority that gets put into everybody's search results. So take advantage of that while it's there. You want to get some extra links to your website and you want to get some more exposure. Go and involve yourself in the forms on Reddit. And I'm not saying you will get banned very quickly if you go and just put a bunch of links up to your website. I'm saying go in and actually get engaged so you can almost be like, should I write a blog post this week or should I go and engage on 25 Reddit threads and all of that? Like do that builder, like actually become part of that community? Because investing in that community, similar to social media, it's not a, it's not just a game you can play. It's like, I have to be intentional about being useful, about being engaging. Go and do that on Reddit and think about Reddit in that same way, and eventually you'll have opportunities to link to yourself and all that. And that can be a really strong play right now where Google is so thinking that Reddit has, like, you know, all the authority on that, what we're kind of joking at is just my personal opinion on Reddit is that it's not a great authority on stuff and is annoying to use. Every single time I go to the website on my phone, it asks me if I want to open up the app, which I don't, and I keep telling it the same thing. I even have the app, but I just want to view it on my Web browser and they don't bother to remember that for me. So it's just annoying. [00:46:47] Speaker C: But yeah, and who knows how long this will be a strategy that's worth investing in. But that's true about marketing. Like, that is Marketing, marketing, Landscape changes and, you know, now there's threads to be on and, you know, there's a thousand Social media channels, and now there's this Reddit thing you gotta Try and Pinterest and Google. And so if you're feeling a little Dizzy from all of the strategies that you have to implement, you're not alone. And I think you just, if you are kind of struggling with that path of like, what traffic source do I go with? Pick one and go all in and do it. Well, going back to being relentlessly useful, I think that's Just Kind of the motto that you should have in Business. Whether you're serving your clients, or whether you're writing a blog post, or whether you're trying to grow traffic on Pinterest, or Instagram, or TikTok, or you name it, just be relentlessly useful and think about serving your client. That's the other thing that we talked about in the pre game of this podcast when we were prepping, is the fact that you should write for people. Like there are people who are interacting with your brand and not just trying to game the algorithm so that you can be in the first place on Google. You need to be writing for humans to serve humans. And when you, I think personally, when you take a servant posture in your marketing, you're going to win a lot more than getting so caught up in trying to hit that next speed score or try to get that ranking. And then you're caring so much about the algorithms changing instead of serving your people, I think that that's a trap a lot of people fall into. [00:48:22] Speaker A: Well, Ben, anything that the people need to know as far as cadence updates? [00:48:27] Speaker B: Yeah, we're working on some fun things right now. Obviously, there's still a lot of work about advanced header and navigation and all of that that is coming. We are really honing in on a really good flow for how you wizard, for how you build that. So it's because we keep saying this about every block we build, but this is the most complex block we've ever built, and this one definitely is. So to help with that complexity, we're working on good user flows to get into it, but some fun things that we just did, tooltips and stuff like that. But we're releasing the ability to set the focus point on an image when you're using a ratio size, which is cool if you have a portrait image and you want to set the focus on a face that's near the top, that can be where the image outputs if you've got a square ratio output. So there's that. And we're working on the ability to adjust column widths for four, five, six column layouts and as well for tablet and mobile. So that way you can finally have custom column widths on tablet and mobile that fit your content just perfectly. So that's really fun. And then we're also doing the ability to add custom svgs as icons without having to go through an icon font tool icon moon, which we've used. We've had that tool for a while where you can go in and bring in a bunch of icons. We're actually going to make it a lot easier to add a custom icon where you just upload an SVG and we convert that into an icon for you. So those things are really coming in the next couple of weeks and really exciting. [00:50:16] Speaker C: Yeah, we've been doing a lot of quick wins and it's been great to see implemented. I know, just sometimes it's just the smallest little thing that makes a big difference for the end user. So I'm pumped up about all of those things. Tooltips the column width even in our recent release, when we change some of the postgrid carousel updates in order for the image to stretch without writing code or to align the content in the middle, to even do the author pages as well, like for it to only pull the author archive for that specific author. So just everything that we've been doing, I'm so glad to be a part of this team because it feels like truly, it feels like the cadence team and developers are listening to their users, and not only listening, but implementing quickly the things that they are wanting the most. So it's fun to be a part of that team. [00:51:10] Speaker B: Yeah, we have great team. [00:51:12] Speaker A: Thanks for tuning in to episode 37 and good luck on all of your self audit journeys or broader than self, we hope this has been inspiring and insightful. [00:51:25] Speaker C: Yeah. Some more questions or comments about SEO, drop them in our Facebook group. We can chat more about that when we share this podcast. [00:51:33] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:51:34] Speaker C: All right, that's it for now. Bye.

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