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How to Do SEO for a New Site: In Search SEO Podcast

November 12, 2019   |  
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The In Search SEO Podcast

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Summary of Episode 47: How to Do SEO for a New Site 

In Search SEO Banner 47

Matt Giovanisci joins the present, co-founder of LASSO, to discover the vast world of SEO when constructing a new website:

  • What technical and design concerns must be in your thoughts when creating a new website so that you just rank effectively?
  • How to take an summary plan and switch it into a concrete content material and branding technique for your website!
  • How to construct hyperlinks for a new website and rank for key phrases once you’re the most recent website on the block!

Plus, we discover BERT… Google’s new and super-advanced algorithm for understanding the phrases to, of, and for…. Well, it’s extra complicated than that… all in good time.

What Is Google’s BERT? A Simplified Explanation!

BERT, in case you did not know stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is Google’s latest machine learning property which has been hailed as the largest factor to hit Search in 5 years (per Google).

Our total function at present is to strive to clarify BERT in a means that may make sense to a 4th grader.

So, how does BERT work? BERT is “context clues.” What are context clues? Well, for those of you who have not taken 4th grade English in a bit, context clues go something like this. Take the sentence: “Paulie is a boozer who drinks vodka for breakfast, pours whiskey in his espresso, has a beer or two or three together with his lunch and for dinner drinks a pint of Jack Daniels. What is a boozer?” Based on the sentence, can you determine what a boozer is? Yes, you possibly can, with the assistance of context clues. You use the context as your clue to decide that a ‘boozer’ is somebody who has a consuming drawback.

BERT does the identical. It seems to be on the total context of the language getting used and “makes use of it as clues” a lot as a 4th grader can determine that Paulie has a consuming drawback.

This stands in contradistinction to different fashions that learn content material from left-to-right or right-to-left since these fashions don’t have a look at all the phrase/key phrase however construct understanding based mostly on the prior phrases inside the phrase. Hence the B in BERT for bidirectional.

To study to do that, BERT was fed info and educated to discover content material patterns (BERT started as an open-source mission.) This is what we’re referring to after we say BERT depends on a neural community mannequin. The means of that is referred to as NLP, pure language processing, which is fancy speak for making an attempt to perceive language the way in which folks do.

To summarize, BERT has been educated to have a look at the complete phrasing and thru coaching, the method is in a position to use context to predict what embedded into of the content material actually is.

Now, right here’s the place BERT actually is available in:

  1. Prepositions… which is why within the intro says BERT is about understanding the phrases ‘to,’ ‘of,’ and ‘for’.
  2. BERT helps perceive instances the place a phrase or phrase has a double that means.

If you are taking a have a look at the examples Google gave of how BERT improves question interpretation these are the 2 facets of language that can come out at you, however in actual fact, Google stated “Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the that means.”

Let’s give two fast examples:

  1. Take the phrase: “Driving for the disabled.” “The ‘for’ is tremendous necessary as a result of relying on the way you perceive it you’ll both get outcomes about how to be a driver for disabled folks or how the disabled can get behind the wheel of a automotive themselves!
  2. Here’s a double that means phrase: “How to flip proper.” Do you imply how to make a right-hand flip or how to flip appropriately? Google, within the Featured Snippet, understood it to imply the latter.

To sum up, BERT helps Google perceive the emphasis created by prepositions and helps Google perceive phrasing that has a number of meanings. And similar to a 4th grader, Google makes use of context to assist determine the true that means.

It’s so easy, proper?

Doing SEO For a New Site: A Conversation with Matt Giovanisci


[This is a general summary of the interview and not a word for word transcript. You can listen to the podcast for the full interview.]

Mordy: Welcome to one other In Search SEO Podcast interview session. Sitting with me by way of the ether that’s the web is the founding father of He’s the host of the Money Lab podcast & the CEO of Swim University. He’s Matt Giovanisci!


Matt: Thanks for having me.

MO: You’re from Jersey, proper?

MG: I’m from South Jersey. I have a tendency to inform people who I’m from Philadelphia as a result of I used to be born there and I’m 20 minutes over the bridge. When you say Jersey folks suppose North Jersey, i.e., Jersey Shore.

MO: Ah, so that you’re from the great a part of Jersey the place there are timber.

MG: Yeah, farm nation.

MO: I heard you’ve got a very attention-grabbing backstory in stepping into this net factor. Do you thoughts sharing that?

MG: Yeah, I labored in a pool retailer after I was 13. During that point I labored my means up within the pool business. Then I used to be in a rock band and we wanted to work on our web site, however I didn’t have any cash so I ended up instructing myself HTML and CSS. And then my boss on the pool firm observed that I constructed this web site and he employed me to do the web site for the corporate after which I grew to become the advertising director for all the enterprise. And then in 2004, I had the concept of mixing my passions collectively and I created Swim University. I used to be engaged on the web site part-time for a few years and I used to be utilizing black hat SEO strategies (not realizing they had been “black hat”) until 2007 when Google created Panda and I had to change my entire SEO strategy. Now, 15 years later, I’ve been working on Swim University as well as other projects making me an SEO expert after reading lots of SEO books (SEO books is what we had back in the day).

MO: So let’s do a run-through just as a way to make sure everyone listening is on the same page. You’re about to create a new site, what are you thinking about from an SEO perspective? What do you have to consider?

MG: I take a really good look at the brand, at the name. People asked me about Swim University why I didn’t call it Pool University as I would have owned that keyword. I answer them by saying that 1) it’s old school thinking and 2) it would limit me to only talking about pools. I wanted my brand to have anything to do with water. There are a wide range of things that have to do with water and swimming.

So first, I’m going to pick a simple domain name. It doesn’t really matter so long as it’s catchy, simple to remember, and has a good brand feel to it. From there, if I’m starting a website from scratch (and this is coming from a web designer), my biggest concern nowadays is speed. Whenever I’m designing a website, I’m thinking of finding a way of not using images and if I am using images I will use SVGs because they’re super lightning fast. If I’m going to design it and I’m using WordPress the first page I design is single.php. The reason is because people are more often to see your homepage than any other page. I then try to make that page load as fast as humanly possible. And I know that I will have a ton of content on it. I will have videos, graphics, and all kinds of multimedia things. Those things really need to load fast.

I try to take a very branded approach to the way it looks without using things like parallax scrolling (which I know is probably not a thing anymore) or autoplay videos. All of those are cool and look great, but it doesn’t help with page speed which I believe is the most important SEO factor today. Not to mention that I design mobile-first with the screen shrunk down to 380 pixels and I then build up from there. I’ve also developed my own theme which I can reuse for projects. For someone who doesn’t do web design, I recommend finding a theme on WordPress as opposed to using Squarespace and Wix because you can’t know if they’re doing it right. Do you know of a Squarespace site that ranks?

MO: At the top of my head, no. I know for Wix there have been problems. I’ve heard articles saying Wix is great and other articles saying they’re not so I don’t know.

MG: And it’s not that I want the control, it’s that if I know I have the control or at least I can hire someone with that control we can focus more on the technical SEO parts like making sure the title is the only H1 tag on the page. Other things like making sure the H2 and H3s are right on the page.

I use Yoast as an SEO plugin. I also use WPRocket because I use WPEngine which has great caching, but it doesn’t work well with other caching plugins other than WPRocket. It does lazy loading for images which is great as well as lazy loading for videos which is one of its best features. It has heartbeat control. It has all of these tiny database cleaning things that really help micro speed your site. And on top of all that I have Cloudflare.

MO: So you don’t go AMP?

MG: Nope.

MO: Why not?

MG: Because I think it’s stupid. I think it’s Google reversing the future of the internet. The reason AMP exists is so you can have a robust site that has a lot of loading time, but create articles that load instantly for phones on 3G. But if you just designed your first site to be that fast then you’ll be great. What do you really need on your website to have long load times? My pages load is as fast as AMP because they’re super thin. HTML and CSS. I do my damndest to not have JavaScript on my webpages. It’s a content site. There’s no interactivity needed. Even my pop-ups are CSS pop-ups.

MO: Do you think your outlook (on JavaScript) will change with the evergreen Googlebot?

MG: I think Google is trying to force people to have faster websites with the use of AMP. They’re rewarding those who build fast websites and whoever doesn’t will suffer which forced everyone to go mobile-first. Google is then twisting your arm that if you don’t make your site faster then you will be forced to use AMP and Google will “personal” your content material.

My largest idea about Google is that Google is smarter than all people else and repeatedly getting smarter than everybody else. If you have a look at their AI for Optical Character Recognition and Natural Language, you possibly can see they’re making an attempt to learn the profile of internet sites. In reality, final yr I learn this text in your website concerning the Medic replace and the way Google is profiling websites. Google is mainly utilizing machines as human beings saying, “Yeah, this is a good site.”

The one thing that really hurt me in the early stages of my website building background was backlink building. I got hit multiple times because I wasn’t realizing I was building backlinks to bad websites. And then when I started writing articles for human beings, Google caught on and rewarded me with great rankings. Basically, nowadays when I start a new website I don’t focus on backlink building. Derek Halpern used to say that you should spend 20% of your time on content and 80% on promoting. I think it should not only be reversed but be 100% on content. Google will find you. That’s their job.

One of the tactics I will use when writing for an article is I will take the keyword I’m trying to rank for, Google it in incognito mode, and open up the top 20 articles that seem to be good. I’ll just scan and look for the H2s and see what topics they are talking about and distill that into an outline. Then I’ll use personal judgment to decide what sections are pointless and what can be covered in one sentence instead of a whole section. And then I distill it down and fill in the blocks. Fill in the H2s and really get in-depth. Then I’ll take one good swipe at it and edit it down even further. I want to say more in fewer words. It’s not about word count. It’s about information and relevancy. If you can make a good article for human beings and for Google then you will win at SEO.

When building a site it’s good to set up the framework of having these best practices in place. I alt-image every image on my website. I do the things that might not help. I stopped doing the whole anchor text thing. Now I do, “Here is an article for ‘x’” ensuring once you click on that you realize the place you’re about to go. I used to suppose that Google Analytics was taking that knowledge and utilizing it of their rating algorithm till I used to be advised in any other case which made extra sense to me as a result of that info could be utterly inaccurate should you set up the code incorrect. Why would they belief that?

MO: I’ve a feeling that issues like bounce price will not be used as a direct sign however you’ve got to think about not directly Google is recognizing if individuals are going to a web page and instantly leaving.

MG: Right, you even have to take into consideration bounce charges. It’s not simply getting your web page to load quick, you’ve got to get to the purpose. Lots of people may say, “Hey! This is a 1200 word article!” They’re bragging that they wrote what’s like a book.

MO: I want to hop back on what you said about naming your website Swim University instead of Pool University. As we said, when creating a website one of the first things you need to do is think of what’s your identity and what content do I want to write about. How do you take that rough idea and turn it into something really focused and tangible so you can actually create the site?

MG: Yeah. I’ve actually done this four times in the past three years so I have a pretty good grasp on what to do so I’ll give you the step by step. The first step is you need to think of a big brand or keyword. For this example, let’s use ‘tech gear’. Think of something big and audacious. Start your brand from there. Think long term though. If you choose TV, in a couple of years there might not be TVs anymore. That doesn’t mean you can’t start writing about TVs but instead of calling yourself the TV Guru you can call yourself the Tech Guru. You can then start with TVs and then over time, you can switch to smartphones. Give yourself room to grow.

But before I buy a domain name or build a website I do keyword research. I look to see that there are enough keywords in the topic(s) that I want to write about that will be semi-easy to rank for. They don’t have to be low hanging fruit, there can just be an opportunity. You’ll be surprised how much opportunity there is. I look at keyword difficulty and search volume. If the keyword gets over 1,000 searches a month and the keyword difficulty is less than 50 or 40 then it has an opportunity. If you have 100 of these keywords, then you have a long term play.

Now you have all of these keywords and you will start organizing your keywords by priority. I will order them by the highest amount of searches per month with the lowest keyword difficulty. Then I get the site up (it personally takes me six hours to get a site up from scratch). I’ll use WordPress and use hosting like WPEngine that prioritizes speed and I will get a handful of plugins: Yoast, a redirection plugin, and WPRocket and Cloudflare for speed. That’s all I’ll start with.

MO: Are you a fan of doing schema at the start?

MG: Yeah. Why not? Yoast takes care of a lot of it. If you want to take the time to make schema it’s fine, but I want to make sure the big pieces are ready. Making sure you have your titles and H1, that Google can read your description, that you have legibility, and it’s mobile-friendly. Obviously, over time you can use a site audit tool to check your website.

Something that I learned only later in life is you’re not going to do it in the first week. You have to get something up quickly and you have to start writing content starting on day one, otherwise, there’s nothing at that point. Just because you built a website doesn’t mean you have a website. Get the content out there and get indexed ASAP. That way, when you start to rank people will start to backlink to you automatically. People who rank in the top 3 positions of Google naturally get backlinks all the time. I will get to that point as fast as possible. From there, you have to be on a consistent non-burnout schedule of publishing at least once a week. I did this for a website called Roasted Coffee. I built the site in a day and immediately hired a writer, gave him 100 keywords, and asked him to start writing articles once a week. Within two years, we were getting 100,000 unique visitors a month.

MO: How do you start though? You don’t have any authority or linking juice and the things you do want to rank for you probably can’t. So where do you start?

MG: I don’t think that’s true. It’s just a matter of time until it builds up. I think Google got so much better at finding things. Obviously, I made Google very aware that I exist. You use Yoast, XML files… you give them what they want. Make it easy for them. Google will notice that your site is better than what’s on the SERP and will you put up in the rankings. It does take some time but it’s getting faster. Once you start getting traction it starts compounding on itself.

I consider my Swim University website as a giant textbook on everything you need to know about pool and hot tub repair. So when we want to rank for a new keyword, we might have an article that’s very related so instead of creating a brand new article that may only be 500 words because the topic is so small (but it has a lot of searches) we will update an older article that already has juice and add an entire section with those new keywords. All of a sudden, this older post ranks for those new keywords. We do this constantly. We look at Swim University as an ever-evolving series of chapters in a textbook. And all of my sites are created with this mindset where eventually the site will be a “full” website. The similar goes for when sure merchandise don’t exist anymore the place it’s your job to delete or replace these pages to the brand new product. The pages that exist have to have worth. The web site is like a huge product as opposed to outdated magazines that haven’t any true worth.

I actually take into consideration website construction a lot. I strive to simplify it. For instance, if I can have 4 navigational hyperlinks on prime, then that’s all I need. If I’ve to do extra I’ll put them within the footer. For a lot of my pages, the About web page might be within the footer. But on a model new website I’ve no navigation bar as a result of it’s all there. Instead of spending a week on constructing what you suppose the location construction goes to be for the remainder of time, you’re constructing it as you want it. And clearly, should you’re paying a developer it can value you means much less cash upfront then it might be down the street.

Accept it as fact that everybody is studying your content material on cellular. For Swim University, 80% of our site visitors is cellular and it is smart that individuals are going out with their telephones to the pool looking out for what to do to repair their filter. So simply assume that 100% of your guests are on a cellular system. You don’t want a sidebar. All the belongings you suppose you want you actually don’t.

MO: What do you consider folks throwing hamburger menus to their desktop giving their desktop website a cellular really feel. Does that work, not work, otherwise you don’t care?

MG: I don’t put hamburgers on my website as a result of 1) Now you’ve got to add JavaScript. I’m not towards the language of JavaScript (I do use it), nevertheless it’s not one thing you want for a website that’s for information, studying phrases, or watching movies. You don’t want an additional animation. You don’t want the navigation to observe (be sticky), it might probably simply keep on the highest. I imply, the place else will they go? When they end studying the article, simply add on the backside hyperlinks to associated articles in your website.

I feel a lot of it has to do with ego. I keep in mind that I, as a designer, would attempt to get the best web site, however with that you just may sacrifice web page pace or usability. Also, some folks in my viewers are widows, whose husbands handed away, who personal a swimming pool, they don’t know what to do, they get on the web, and so they e-mail me. They don’t know what a hamburger is. I’m making an attempt to accommodate everybody.

MO: If you create a area title, however a yr later you discover it’s not understanding. Are you caught eternally? Why or why not?

MG: You should not caught. Google is wise. I’ve moved content material from area to area (with the usage of redirections) and haven’t misplaced rankings from doing that. In that case, I might simply change the area title in WordPress and also you’ll be tremendous. You might have to do some redirection in your registrar. Keep that arrange for a couple of months till every part has been listed. Once that’s all achieved you possibly can shut it off. Just keep in mind should you acquired a lot of backlinks from different locations then you definately’ll need it arrange for a very long time.

For Swim University, I don’t know what number of instances I’ve modified URLs which is why I purchased Yoast Premium. You can hook it up to Search Console and Search Console will ship you all of the 404 pages it’s discovering after which we have now the built-in redirection which is able to redirect to the brand new factor.

Optimize It or Disavow It

MO: You’re creating a commerce website and you may both concentrate on the desktop model of your new website on the expense of your cellular website… or you may concentrate on the cellular model of your website and the expense of your desktop website? Which would you decide?

MG: This may be very arduous, however I’ll have to go together with cellular as a result of the explanation I’m going to a web site on my desktop is as a result of I first noticed it on my telephone and it sucked so unhealthy that I had to go over to my desktop as a result of I felt safer. If you actually concentrate on the cellular aspect of issues I consider you’re going to get a lot extra gross sales.

MO: Thank you a lot, Matt, for approaching. I actually respect it. Hope to have you ever once more.

MG: Yeah, this was tremendous enjoyable. I’m comfortable to come again on.

SEO News


Bing Introducing New Spam Penalties: Bing says it can now be penalizing inorganic site structure… PBNs, doorway content material, and so forth. Ironically, this consists of sub-domain leasing as a drawback we mentioned right here a few weeks again… Mordy was incorrect as he stated Google would problem a penalty for it in some unspecified time in the future when in actual fact it was Bing who took the proper motion right here.

The Search Console Site Speed Report is Rolling Out: The Search Console Site Speed report is now publicly obtainable. Here you possibly can see what number of of your pages are quick, reasonably quick, and simply plain previous sluggish!

Google’s Webmaster Conference: Google just lately held its Webmaster Conference. One takeaway per Barry Schwartz is that Google appears prepared to proceed its concentrate on structured knowledge. Mordy has his personal idea about this and is planning to write a weblog put up on it so keep tuned!

FUN SEO Send-Off Question


If Google had been a nation what would the primary line of its nationwide anthem be? 

While Sapir did present the query this week she couldn’t discover a solution. Mordy, however, reworded a lyric from the Sex Pistols to, “God save the Google. We imply it, man.”

Tune in subsequent Tuesday for a new episode of The In Search SEO Podcast.

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The In Search SEO Podcast

In Search is a weekly SEO podcast that includes among the largest names within the search advertising business.

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New episodes are launched every Tuesday!

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