Some things to consider when launching a website

In this week’s Office Hours we talk about launching a website and re-optimizing pages for search.

One of our members recently launched a new version of their website. We’re happy for them! We took some of our time to make sure everything was setup properly after launch. This not only involved applying what we’ve been learning from our Google Analytics study group but things like handling the XML sitemap and no-indexing confirmation pages (for successful form submissions).

Another member asked about some on-page optimization efforts- especially how you come back to a page after you first optimize it.


David: Welcome to Office Hours. Today is March 17th. And we’re here to talk about SEO and trying not to say the word “like” between every other word, which we’re not going to be able not to do.

Alison: No. I will 100% fail at that.

David: Like, who would blame you?

Alison: I don’t even realize I do it anymore.

Tricia: Me either, yeah.

David: Well, and since that won’t be a success because I think it’s going to be, like, really hard to do that, like, you know, what are some other successes you’re experiencing this week?

Alison: I had one.

David: Okay. Go for it.

Tricia: Which David knows about. So…one of my biggest focuses is working with Google My Business. So I guess it’s still…this is SEO, so not exactly the on-site stuff.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: But I was looking at the Google map and found a glitch where service area businesses like myself, we don’t have a specific location, Google is putting the Street View on, and they’re not supposed to be doing that. And so there was a write-up in Search Engine Roundtable, and they noted that I was the one that picked up on that.

So the next big thing is hoping that Google resolves it quickly. Because, you know, I actually even have a client that’s waiting to enter her…she’s just got her business and getting it on Google. And she’s got her PIN, her code, in the mail from Google and is holding off on entering it because she doesn’t want there to be that chance that it comes up.

David: Yeah.

LaVonya: [inaudible 00:01:40]

Tricia: I’m sorry?

LaVonya: That’s… Because I did… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off.

Tricia: Oh, no, no. That’s okay.

LaVonya: But I meant to ask you about that. Because I registered my business through Google My Business, I thought, months ago. But I recently looked back, and it wasn’t finished, so I finished it. And they sent me the code. But when I went to put the code in, it wouldn’t take my code.

Tricia: So the codes are only good for a certain time. And if you’ve made edits after you requested it, it’s not going to be good, and you need to request a new one. So once you request it, don’t touch it.

LaVonya: Okay.

Tricia: That’s the thing. People have a tendency; they go in, they request a code, and then they, “Let me make it pretty and fix it all up.”

David: And then you can change it once you enter the code, of course.

Tricia: Once you get the code, yeah. But the problem is when you make edits after you requested it, but before you’ve put the code in, that invalidates your code.

So that’s the thing, I got one, and I’m a little bit concerned. You know, I brought it to their attention Friday, and here it is Wednesday, and it has not been resolved. And that’s a privacy and security issue.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: So I’m, yeah, really hoping that it gets resolved soon.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: Because, especially with Google being so adamant that service area businesses don’t reflect their address. And then… And so it’s Maps, it’s the way the two are working together. But they’re obviously both Google products, so, you know. So that was my big thing that happened.

David: That’s a great win. Now you just need to ask Rusty to give you a link to your site.

Tricia: I sent a message out, I haven’t heard back. And I’m not sure. After looking at all the different stuff, it looks like they really reference Twitter.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: So I kind of doubt…

David: There’s a reason. Yeah. They don’t want to give links out, yeah.

Tricia: I probably doubt they will, but I ask.

David: You can ask. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Tricia: Exactly.

David: It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Tricia: Better to ask and see what happens, yeah.

David: Yeah, that’s great. Well, any other success stories? If you don’t have success stories, I’m going to put you on the spot and ask you another question. I better think of a success story, or I have to answer a question, too.

I’d say success is I’m starting to put transcripts of all the videos of these videos on the website with the hopes, kind of like we talked about when we talked about podcasting, of picking up extra traffic from Google as people do searches for the kind of the topics we talk about. And then hopefully people can find the fact that we’ve spoken about an issue that they’ve had, as well.

The hope is that the website, the Curious Ants website, can become a search repository so you can enter in a search for, “Hey, when did we talk about podcasting?” And great, now it’s going to be able to come up. So if you…you know, you’re like, “Oh, I remember we talked about podcasting, but I don’t remember when,” and now you can use the search bar to kind of find our conversation a little bit better. Because I feel like we’re talking a lot about many great things here, it’s just hard to keep track of all the things we talk about. And, you know, this will hopefully become more of a repository for all of our conversations.

So can I call that a success?

Alison: Sure.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Okay, thank you. Thank you, now I’ve gotten free. So if you don’t have success, how is studying for Google Analytics coming?

LaVonya: Stressful.

David: Stressful?

LaVonya: Yeah, because it’s a lot. And [inaudible 00:05:34] Yeah, it’s a lot like watching the videos. Then when you go to the “read further,” it’s more within more. So it’s a lot. Like I spent like four hours studying yesterday, it’s like, “Mm.”

David: Well, I…take hope because all that studying will help you get your certification. Your certification, you’re learning how valuable that certification is. Right?

LaVonya: Yeah.

David: Now you see when someone has it, they’ve clearly studied.

LaVonya: Yeah.

David: And you can use that to brag.

Tricia: Yeah, I’m learning. It’s wanting it to sink in and remember everything.

David: Well, and I feel like the more you put into this, the more helpful you’re going to be able to be to your clients because you’re going to…

Tricia: Yeah, absolutely.

David: I mean some of the clients I work with, it’s really surprising, for as large as they are, how little they understand their own website analytics.

Tricia: Yeah.

LaVonya: Yeah, that’s the thing that’s keeping me going.

David: Good, good. Keep going. It’s going to be worth it.

Tricia: Well, I’ve got one that, a site, that is…hoping I’m launching soon for a client. And they previously…they just had…I’m rebuilding it, but they had it built about a year ago. No Google Analytics, not indexed, no Google Search Console. So, you know. I mean, and to me, that should be on the checklist for the person launching the site.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: I have it on mine, so.

David: Yeah. Well, and I don’t know if you recall from me speaking at WordCamps, I begged developers to just add Google Analytics to clients’ sites. Because sometimes developers think, “Oh, that’s not my scope. It’s not within my scope. I’m not doing marketing.” And I’ve said, “Please provide value to your clients.”

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. Because, you know, the client may say, “Well, I’ve got my website, and then I need to wait a few months before I can do the next step,” or whatever that is. And so, at least if you’ve got it, it’s collecting the data. You know so that you’ve got that past history. And, you know, putting it on there and at least just getting Google to collect the data.

David: If you as a developer are proud of what you’re delivering because you think it’s offering value, and even if the client says, “I don’t want to track,” you’re going to want to have that data so you can show the value you really are providing. I mean, if you are not proud of your website, fine. As a developer, fine, just don’t give tracking. But if you think you’re delivering a product, give the client something to help them see it so that, you know… They’re going to be grateful for it later, even if they don’t know the value of it now.

Tricia: Yeah, definitely.

David: Besides, there are all kinds of great development things you can discover by having it on. So if you need to go to them and say, “Hey, you know, there’s a bunch of 404 errors, we could fix it.” You know, there are all kinds of reasons why.

Tricia: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

David: All right. Ali, putting you on the spot.

Alison: I had a…

David: Okay, no, it’s your birthday, so we can give you a pass, how’s that?

Alison: Yeah. I had a lot of wins this week, but they were really not SEO-related. So I guess that doesn’t really count in this meeting.

David: We will celebrate with you.

Tricia: Yeah.

Alison: Okay. Like our new billing software rolled out and…

David: I know that’s been taking a ton of time of yours.

Alison: We do a lottery at our company to nominate people who are doing a good job. And a ton of people nominated me for how well I’ve been doing the billing.

Tricia: Nice.

Alison: And then I just put together a detailed training for our staff on how to use iMovie, which I have never used before. Combining screenshots and directions and doing voice-overs. And it came out really well.

David: Good.

Alison: And that was a win for me because I was really uncomfortable using it. I had never navigated iMovie before. I was a little uncomfortable, you know, scripting and doing that voice-over, but really trying to make it as easy as possible for our staff to be able to navigate this new website and this new application that we’re using. And so far, the feedback has been really good.

David: That’s super. That’s super, congratulations.

Tricia: Yeah. Especially to have everybody there…so many people nominate you, that’s awesome.

LaVonya: Congratulations.

Alison: Thank you.

Tricia: I got so excited about being…having my information recognized in the article that I forgot to mention since last week I did launch my new website.

Alison: Awesome.

David: Good.

Tricia: Which was huge. Everything else kind of…I don’t know how I forgot that. And my analytics show it, as well.

David: Good. How are you seeing it in your analytics?

Tricia: So I basically… Well, I have to look at…I’m looking at my e-mail. So it spiked up from… Let me look at the last, like, one. It did a spike from like two or three users a day up to like…there was like 40 and 50 one days, and then it says, users, 198 for the month, so.

David: So now how did you get those users?

Tricia: I have to go and look back at all my stuff.

David: There you go, yeah. See. Because maybe whatever you did to get those users, you could keep doing.

Tricia: Yeah. Well, I sent an e-mail out, I did my weekly e-mail, so I announced it. So that was kind of my…last Thursday morning, I announced that my website was live. And so I got a couple good e-mails back, “Oh, I didn’t know you do this.”

Alison: Awesome.

David: There you go.

Tricia: And then a couple of things back about my white-label service, and so I got e-mails for that. And then I had an e-mail from a client that I had in the past, but after COVID kind of slowed some things down, and called back wanting to bump some things up, so.

David: There you go, that’s great. And they’re all trackable goals off Google Analytics, right? That’s the next step, great job.

Tricia: Yes. That’s my next step.

David: There you go, there you go.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Well…

Tricia: Getting it live was big enough.

David: That’s true. I don’t mean to poop on your parade.

Tricia: No, I know.

David: So the transcriber is going to have a fun time with that one.

Alison: Yeah, because it’s supposed to be “rain on your parade.”

David: Hi, transcriber. Oh, I like “poop on your parade” better.

Tricia: I do, too.

David: So no one said this was safe for work. What questions do we want to tackle today about SEO? I didn’t have any submitted questions, so we can start tackling some impromptu questions.

Tricia: I have a question about… Because I was just before class looking at my Google Analytics because my site just launched.

David: Right.

Tricia: And I have a little question about the three U’s. And I… So I have, like, the raw data, the test, and the backup.

David: Right. So that’s a best practice, yeah.

Tricia: Okay. And so the raw data… And I still have to rename it. I think it says “all data.” But just so I understand that’s raw data, I’ll probably rename it. And so that one I just did raw and, like, I haven’t…it was set up originally and not touched. Now the test and backup, that, those two were recently added. So the way…now that I’ve learned views. Because at first, I was like, “Oh no, it’s set at zero. What happened before?” And I’m like, “Oh yeah, the view does not show historical data.”

David: Right.

Tricia: So I learned that from the IQ, the Google thing.

David: Good, good, good.

Tricia: Okay, so I answered that question. When I looked, my raw data does not have the checkmark next to exclude bots or anything like that, but the test and backup do. Is that right or wrong?

David: Yeah. So time out, there should be three views. Raw is your backup. Test and master. Just because raw is kind of the unadulterated, never changed, always there. So it serves as your backup.

Tricia: Okay.

David: Okay? The testing is when you want to apply filters and make sure it works. And then there’s the master, which is the one you use all the time.

Tricia: Okay, so I think maybe I just named them and were thinking of them wrong.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: Okay.

David: So maybe you want to use your raw…unless you have filters set, maybe raw becomes master. And then backup stays backup, or you can rename it raw.

Tricia: Okay. So I guess my first question on, like, the little checkmark on the bots and everything. So on my raw backup data, that should not be checked, correct? Or should it be?

David: You know, that’s a really good question. I would not do it.

Tricia: Okay, that’s how mine is, not. And so this is that…

David: Just so you can weed some things out. But then again, that means your raw data will be inflated by bots.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah.

David: So then you might go ahead and just check it so that the raw data you… Just… I guess what’s most important is that you know what the raw data means.

Tricia: Okay.

David: So that if you go back later and you’re, like, trying to troubleshoot and… Because the whole point of having the raw or the backup data is if something goes wrong, like a filter goes wrong, you have that data. So as long as you remember what it means.

Tricia: Okay.

David: So, you know, the other side might be, “Well, go ahead and check it,” and so all three have it checked, and so you’re comparing apples and apples. Right?

Tricia: Well, okay. So I’m wondering. I’m thinking. Okay.

David: So I jumped to a conclusion and said don’t, but then now I’m reconsidering and saying you might as well.

Tricia: Okay.

David: So that’s just super confusing.

Tricia: Well, I’m wondering if I should copy that one and check it on the new one and say, “This is the original raw that just is, like, everything, and this is the raw without the bots,” just in case.

David: I think that’s too confusing. I would stick with three.

Tricia: Okay.

David: A master view, which is what you use all the time. Testing, which you would use when you need to test. And then a raw or backup, whatever you want to call it, which is never touched, unless an emergency where you need data.

Tricia: Okay, so you’re saying my raw backup never touched? Should I have that checked on the bots? Because mine does not.

David: I don’t think there’s a “should” or a “shouldn’t.” But so you can compare things, apples to apples, go ahead and check it on all three. That way, when you go into your raw data, if you need to go, you know it’s not… Because of the bots, there’s a lot of bots going around.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: It’s not just that spam bot we talked about a couple weeks ago. There are bots all the time.

Tricia: Yeah. Okay.

David: If you go into your raw and you don’t have it checked, it’s going to suddenly be a lot more, and you’re going to be like, “Ooh, there’s all this traffic,” and you’re going to forget, “Oh, I forgot to check…I didn’t check that.” So that will at least mean that all three views exclude bots so that when you go in if you have to use that later, you know you’re…you won’t be struggling on, “Why is it so much more?” and thinking…

Tricia: Yeah.

David: You know? And then finally remembering, “Oh yeah, I didn’t check that.” Like I could just see that being a problem in the future.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Because it would be significantly inflated with all that bot traffic that the others…

Tricia: With the bot. Okay, okay.

David: So I guess I’m backtracking on what I said and saying, yeah, go ahead and check that.

Tricia: Okay. So I would check that. And it was checked in the other two, so that’s why. And that was kind of my thing, I had…I was confused about what to use. But now that you’ve said… I think I was confusing my backup and master, like the terminology. So I’ve got my raw/backup, which I would check the bot to exclude. And then the other two, my test and my master, is what I’d use.

David: Yeah. And, in fact, test you’d only use when you were going to apply a filter.

Tricia: To apply filters, okay.

David: Right.

Tricia: So, like, you would use it, apply filters, and then, like… So if I like the filter and it’s giving the correct…what I think is correct data, then I can apply that to the master.

David: Yes.

Tricia: And then leave the test like that so that it matches the master?

David: That kind of doesn’t matter. I would typically leave the test filter in the test so that when I add another filter…

Tricia: That it would…

David: …it starts to see how they interact.

Tricia: Okay.

David: Because, for instance, you remember in the Google Analytics course, the filters are applied in the order in which they appear.

Tricia: Yes.

David: So if you do a filter later, you might want to have that other filter in there so that when it gets applied in the master view after you’ve validated the data, you can, again…nothing unanticipated happens.

Tricia: Okay, okay.

David: Right?

Tricia: Yeah.

David: So I would suggest that for most of us, filters are not something we’re going to do regularly.

Tricia: I…yeah, I…that sounded like something I probably wasn’t going to do a lot with. My biggest thing is doing my goals. And I do have my “thank you” pages set up after they sign up for, like, my freebie and then after a purchase. And I have to go put those into Google Analytics. But I… Yeah.

David: A pro tip. While you’re doing that, make sure you go into your Yoast section of the page and select “no index” of that page, of the confirmation page.

Tricia: I already did that.

David: There you go.

Tricia: Like the “thank you” pages?

David: Yes.

Tricia: I did that.

David: So…

Tricia: So I have no-indexed my two “thank you” pages, and if I have others. I did no-index my privacy and my cookie policy page just because I figured, you know, there’s nothing on their worth any need, want, you know. So I think those were all the ones I no-indexed.

David: Right.

Tricia: Okay.

David: So one of the things Yoast does really, really well is if you no-index it, it also removes it from the site map.

Tricia: Oh, okay.

David: Automatically.

Tricia: Now I think that’s something I need to look at, my site map. See, like, if this were a client’s page, this would have all been done.

David: A cobbler’s kid has no shoes. We never apply our own best practices to our own site.

Tricia: So the site map. I know I think Yoast does that, but then I have to… Does it pick it up, or do I need to go into Google Search Console and submit it?

David: Great question.

Tricia: I can’t remember.

David: So in Curious Ants, there is what’s called “The Definitive Guide to XML Sitemaps.” You might check that.

Tricia: Okay.

David: One of the best practices for site maps is to make sure you add it inside your robots.txt file. You use a particular syntax to tell the bots that visit your robots.txt file where to find your XML site map.

Tricia: Okay.

David: This is important because, number one, every time Google visits your site, it always checks robots.txt. So it will discover your XML site map. Two, sometimes systems use unconventional names for XML site maps, such as Yoast. The site map URL is not sitemap.xml. So no one could theoretically guess what it might be, and it would have a harder time discovering it unless you submit it through Google.

To find… Yoast will tell you the URL for your XML site map. Look up the syntax. I think it’s simply “sitemap:” your URL for your site map. Add that to the end of your robots.txt file. And then every time Google visits your site, they will know where your XML site map is.

Tricia: Okay.

David: I would go ahead and submit it through Search Console, too.

Tricia: Okay. Okay.

David: Just to make sure.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: But that will offer you several advantages. Number one, Google will quickly find all the pages of your site. Because the other thing Google does every time it visits your site looks at the robots.txt, and it looks at your XML site map. Does not crawl every page of your site, but it will look at your XML site map to see what pages are different.

Tricia: Different, okay.

David: And it will check those out. So if you’ve updated a bunch of stuff, it will help Google find them quicker.

Tricia: I have updated a ton of stuff now.

David: Great.

Tricia: Okay.

David: Then that’s good. But the other advantage of submitting your XML site map to Google is that you can go into Search Console, and you can say…it will tell you how it found the page. Did it find it through the XML site map? You can then also look at all the pages on your site compared to your XML site map so you can start to see how’s Google discovering this. Are there pages that are somehow orphaned from your XML site map? That might be a problem.

Tricia: Okay.

David: XML site maps aren’t a panacea. I’d even suggest most websites don’t need one. But it sure is a nice-to-have just to make sure.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. Okay.

David: And, you know, most websites are less than a few hundred pages, and so at that point, you don’t really need an XML site map. But why make it hard for Google to crawl your site?

Tricia: Yeah, I don’t want to have Google work too hard for it.

David: Yeah, make it easy for Google. Like, there you go. And it’s so easy, especially if it’s done automatically and maintained automatically as the Yoast plug-in does for you. Great, then you’re done.

Tricia: Yeah. Good, yeah. That’s why I’m used to Yoast and like using it. So I was able to go in. I’m glad I remembered not to index those “thank you” pages and all that. And then I should probably…should I no-index the 404 pages I made?

David: No.

Tricia: No?

David: It will automatically be no-indexed because it is a 404.

Tricia: Okay, I got it.

David: So Google won’t index it, but we also don’t want to send, like, too many contradictory signals to Google.

Tricia: Okay.

David: So being a 404, it’s going to treat it differently. If it’s a 404 that’s a no-index, then Google is going to be like, “I don’t know which one you want me to do.”

Tricia: Okay.

David: And we want Google to know it’s a 404, so don’t do both.

Tricia: Okay. Okay, good. Glad I asked that.

David: Great questions. These are real technical SEO stuff, but it’s… I discovered recently a client of mine’s site had been sending contradictory messages to Google through the canonical tag and the no index. And so Google was like, “I don’t know what you want me to do with this page, so I’m going to do nothing with this page.”

Tricia: And that’s not what they wanted.

David: No, it wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted Google to use the canonical tag. And so they were overzealous, and they did canonical and no-index so that we didn’t benefit from the canonical tag. And it was a problem. But they have tens of thousands of pages on their site, so it was a significant issue.

Tricia: Yeah.

Alison: A lot of pages.

Tricia: Okay.

David: Super question.

Tricia: Yes. I’ll have to look up…look at my analytics, and see what other questions I have.

David: All right. Well, any other questions we can think of? Ali, we talked last week about what to do next after a page is successful. And we were talking about maybe opening it up and seeing what we want to do keyword research-wise for the next stage. Is that a summary of the kind of what we talked about?

Alison: Yeah. And I didn’t have time to go through and do more keyword research.

David: Yeah.

Alison: But we actually have our marketing meeting tomorrow, and part of what we’re going to go off of is our weekly analytics report and what our consistently higher landing pages are, and then kind of go off of that because that’s where we started with this topic. So because we’ve been getting higher landings on, like, adult services and stuff like that, I think we’re going to try to focus on those topics since they’re obviously…you know, without doing keyword research, they’re obviously triggering response because people are landing on that page instead of our home page. So kind of looking at the search terms that are going in for that and then expanding on those. The ones that are directly related to services because then the assumption is it will be a higher customer turnover.

David: Exactly. And that’s a great strategy, but don’t forget the stuff… That only shows you what you’re getting traffic for now, not what you could be getting traffic for that you’re missing out on.

Alison: Yeah, we’re also…next week, another operations coordinator is going to be starting, which is the same title I have. And she also has some experience in website and SEO and stuff. So I’m excited for her to get started and to start that collaboration because I’m a firm believer in two hands are better than one. And especially with… She doesn’t have as much experience on the clinical side as I do, but she has more experience on the tech side. So I think that we’re going to be a good team, kind of trade that information.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Yeah.

Alison: So I’m excited to get started with her and see what she has to say about our website and about our SEO strategy and, you know, what her thoughts are on marketing and keyword research and all of that.

David: Yeah, great. Yeah, that will be great to have a second head around to kind of help with that.

Alison: Yes, most definitely.

David: Good, good, good. It’s exciting. That sounds like growth.

Alison: Yeah. Especially because when I talk about, like, these meetings with the rest of my team, like, they’re like, “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” Like, “I know, I wouldn’t have six months ago either.” So it will be nice to have someone who speaks…as much as I am not fluent in this, at least she speaks a little bit of that same language. You know, passable, like enough to travel through the country kind of fluency.

David: Good. LaVonya, how is your new site doing?

Tricia: Oh, she’s on mute.

David: I know, I put her on the spot. She wasn’t ready.

LaVonya: It’s still okay. I haven’t checked it in the last week or two as far as the visitors. Actually, wait. The last time I checked, it was 247 for the month, that’s it.

David: That’s great. What do you think is your next stop to help promote your site?

LaVonya: I guess writing blogs because I still have some that I need to get out to different platforms I haven’t got to yet.

David: Good. Good, that’s going to be great. Do you feel like you’ve built the landing pages out promoting the services you offer pretty clearly?

LaVonya: Yeah, I think so.

David: So then, yeah, then going…following the process, after you do that, doing the blogging is a great way to promote those. Yeah.

Tricia: Yeah, that’s actually, I guess, on my list, but I do a weekly newsletter. Because I didn’t have my site to put anything on, I was just doing my newsletter and then social media posting about it. But what I’m probably going to do now is then, you know, have that be my blog post, and then have the e-mail go to it. So, because…so, what? It will be tomorrow that I send it out, so I’ll be talking about my…the article that mentioned me. So, and then that will be a good thing to have on my website. So yeah. And then… Yeah.

David: I swear, the only reason I send a monthly e-mail is, so I make sure I at least write a blog post a month.

Tricia: Yeah. Yeah. I also, when I sent last week, sent an e-mail, you know, like, announcing my new website, I got some…an e-mail back about a guest blog post, so on someone else’s. So yeah.

Alison: Awesome.

David: That’s great.

Alison: I just had to remove myself from our mailing list because I was on the mailing list with three different e-mail addresses. Every time the e-mail went out, I got it on my personal, professional, and work e-mail. And I was like, “I control our Mailchimp account. Why am I doing this?” Like, so I went in and removed myself, so it’s just my work e-mail. Because I was like…every month, I’m like, “Why do I get this e-mail three times?” And I’m like, “I’m the one in charge of it,” so.

Tricia: Three? I think I get about seven of mine because mine is Mailchimp, too, and I have, like…whenever I do something, I test it. And it’s like I get kind of frustrated because I have to test it with a new e-mail. Well, I’ve tested so many things it’s like not e-mail addresses in there.

Alison: My problem is I signed up before I worked for them, and then I signed up somehow again when I first got hired but with, like, my résumé e-mail address. And then, when you start working, your work e-mail address automatically gets it. And I’m like, “Ugh.” Driving myself crazy.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: At least you do know it’s going out.

Alison: Yeah.

David: It improves your open rate.

Tricia: Yes, exactly.

Alison: Oh yeah, because I saw my own rating, and it was bad, on Mailchimp. I had like two stars like rarely interact.

Tricia: Like, “Get rid of this subscriber. They don’t interact with us.”

Alison: No wonder.

David: Yeah, I’m kind of superstitious about it. Like no one cares about my open rate but me, I still open my own e-mails. That’s terrible. That’s, like, vain. That’s, like, narcissism, isn’t it?

Alison: Yeah.

Tricia: I did have a little bit of an issue. It probably has impacted my analytics for the first couple of days. Right before…a week before my site launched, I had a whole kind of technical meltdown, my computer broke, all kinds of stuff. So I got a new laptop. And I don’t know, when I installed Chrome on it, like, everything just…it didn’t…it was weird, like all my extensions. So Ghostery, I was having a problem with that, and I ended up, like, not having any extensions on it at all. So I know I was getting myself going to my website for the first week. I finally figured it out. There was a problem with an extension I was using that was blocking me from editing my WordPress site.

David: Oh wow.

Alison: Like a wall.

Tricia: Yeah, I could log into my dashboard, and then once I got there, and I clicked on, okay, go into Beaver Builder and edit it, that just, like…it was just, like, and the site was just, like, there and not editing it. And it was a plug-in. But, of course, I had to go through every single plug-in. It was not fun. But, so the first week, my analytics, I know, is going to be skewed because I was…kept going to it.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: And Ghostery wasn’t active.

David: Yeah.

Tricia: But, you know.

David: So you made a note in your Google Analytics notes section, so you remember, right?

Tricia: That’s…yes.

Alison: Of course.

David: That way, you can go back and be like, “Oh, that’s why that’s all so big and janky.”

Tricia: Yes. Saturday was the 13th. Okay.

David: Well…

Tricia: Yeah. It came up with all these weird things. It kept, like… Ghostery did not do this the last time that I had Ghostery. But, like, I had to send them an e-mail and ask them how to deal with it, it kept popping this purple thing up at the bottom right.

David: Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s a setting, yeah.

Tricia: And I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m like, “Where is the setting? How do I get rid of this? How do I fix it?”

David: Yeah.

Tricia: And so yeah, finally I got that resolved. I was thinking Ghostery might have been my problem, and thankfully it’s not, so.

David: Yeah. I recommend it because it’s a pretty stable plug-in. It’s pretty good.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: Yeah. I think it’s… Yeah. But I want to…I need accountability from all of you to make sure that I’m going through my own process for my own sites. So I, for instance, got asked by a client to do some keyword research. I literally went through my own keyword research process to force myself to do it and follow the process to see if I needed to add anything to it or subtract it. But even for whether it’s Curious Ants or my main site Reliable Acorn I still need to be following the process.

And so I feel like I could use all of your help keeping me accountable to make sure I follow the next step, as well. Otherwise, what I do is end up just getting distracted by whatever is coming on, and I’m not making progress on my own site.

LaVonya: Oh, I know what I meant to ask you. Since I have to write three different blogs and do keyword research, do you take the most competitive keyword or try to go off the less competitive keyword?

David: So in the keyword research process, I actually share a formula, an Excel formula I use, which calculates something called opportunity. This is really considering not just the number provided by Google, which shows competition and not just the number that shows search volume, but compares them together in a way where you can say… Because sometimes people search for a phrase more often. Just because many people search for it doesn’t mean it’s a phrase that I want to show up for. Because it could be that people are searching for it, it has nothing to do with my business. But other times, I don’t want to go with the most competitive either because that might not be realistic for me to hit.

For instance, I will never rank for “SEO.” Right?

LaVonya: Right.

David: I’m just never going to do it. But I might be able to learn from…learn…rank for “learn SEO online.” And that might be a little more reasonable goal.

LaVonya: Yeah.

David: So, in the keyword research process, I share a formula that can help you. Because, LaVonya, you’re right in thinking we should use data to let us know which keywords to focus on so we’re not just guessing blind. That… I want to commend you for your question because that assumes you’re using data. But use the data to help you determine which ones you should go for. And then you need…then the answer becomes a happy balance. Obviously, go for things that aren’t competitive that very few people are searching for. It’s not going to move the needle very much.

LaVonya: Right.

David: But if you go only for the things that have many people searching for it and are very competitive, boy, you’re going to get very frustrated very quickly.

LaVonya: Okay.

David: And, you know, one of the things to do, I really like to do. Once I do the keyword research, determine what every page is focusing on, optimize it. I come back to it later, and I look and see what Search Console is serving the page up for. Excuse me, let me use English. For which…the phrases for which Google is serving the page.

LaVonya: Okay.

David: Because that could be very different than the keyword research words. So I wrote that in the process of optimizing a page. Or I think it’s under keyword research for a specific page is the process. So if you go in there, it shows you how to use the keyword…the Google Search Console data to see which phrases Google is serving your page. And from there, you can see which impressions, meaning how many people saw your page searching for a phrase. Clicks, how many people clicked after seeing it. And then rank, meaning where it tends to rank. Because rank is an average, not a real number.

And so what I’ll do is I’ll go in and say, “Okay.” Usually, it’s pretty small numbers, but that’s okay. “Two or three people clicked for this phrase, and it ranks 10. Oh, I wonder if I re-optimize the page for this new phrase, I can make it rank better than 10.” Go ahead and change the page focus, so go through the process. Title, tag, change to make sure it includes the keyword. Make sure the keyword is on the page a few times, just best practices for optimization. And then come back in a couple months and see, “Well, now what is it ranking for?”

LaVonya: Okay.

David: Maybe it’s the same phrase, and maybe it’s ranking a little better, and now I’m starting to get more clicks because I found a phrase that is even better for my customers than my initial keyword research might have found.

LaVonya: Okay.

David: So great question. And go into the process and go in and what it will suggest you do is every couple months go back to a page and redo the research on that page specifically. Not the overview keyword research process, but the on-page keyword research process. And that laser-focuses you on the topic and might help you determine if there could be a better phrase.

LaVonya: Okay.

David: And hopefully that would go…will help you determine what you should be working on.

LaVonya: Okay. Thank you.

David: Yeah, I hope that helps.

LaVonya: Yeah, it did.

David: Everybody, take care.

LaVonya: Bye.

David: See you soon.

Alison: Bye.

Tricia: Bye. Bye-bye.

LaVonya: Bye-bye.

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