Thumbnail: SEO Traffic Show | Episode 2

August 6th, 3pm GMT, Jason Barnard and Tristam Jarman will pick your site apart and tell you what you need to do to turn it into an SEO traffic magnet! A unique opportunity to get the best tips from world-renowned SEO experts…. and save a fortune on your SEO budget!

Tristam Jarman, Co-Founder at Purple Smudge After working in digital for ten years in a variety of roles Tristam is now the Co-Founder of Purple Smudge, a Brighton based digital marketing agency. Through his earned knowledge of all marketing channels he is able to drive client success, from strategy through to execution. Whilst SEO (Technical SEO in particular) is the channel in which he takes main responsibility for his specialist field is Data Management.

Jason Barnard, The Brand SERP Guy at Jason Barnard is an author, speaker and consultant on all things digital marketing. His specialist subject is Brand SERPs (what appears when someone Googles your name). He teaches Brand SERP optimisation to students at He also hosts a marketing podcast, where the smartest people in marketing talk to Jason about subjects they know inside out. The conversations are always interesting, always intelligent and always fun!

Welcoming Everyone to the 2nd Episode of the SEO Traffic Show and Welcoming Back the Guest, Tristam Jarman

[00:00:00] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Hi, everybody. Welcome to the 2nd episode of the SEO Traffic Show. I wanted to start correctly this time because last time I got caught out by the live button. Today it’s Andrew who’s dealing with it, beautiful, beautiful launch of the 2nd episode. Tristam, welcome back. I’m really glad it’s you for the 2nd episode. So, we are doing two in a row together, and I suspect we’ll probably end up doing three in a row together because you are so very good at this.

[00:00:30] Tristam Jarman: Cheers, mate. Thank you very much. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here. Cheers, Travelpayouts and SEMrush for having me involved. And always working with you, Jason, is a pleasure. I had a blast last time. So, everyone watching now is installed for a fun packed, knowledge packed session.

A Background on How Tristam Jarman Discusses Things and His Role as a Middle Man Between Companies and Developers

[00:00:46] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Well, after the first episode, what I realised is how very good you are at digging down into the stuff using SEMrush, which I love as a tool, digging down and seeing what’s wrong and explaining it, because that’s one of my big failures in life. I can’t explain those simple things to people who don’t really know what I’m talking about, to start with our new day rather incredibly well. 

[00:01:09] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. It’s so funny you say that. That’s how I found a little niche with myself is working in particular companies. I felt like I was the middle man between, where in in-house roles, I would be the in-between person between a board of directors and the web developers, who would be hiring externally and trying to make one party understand what the other party was trying to say. So, yeah, thank you for that. It seems to be working for me. Excellent.

Some Reminders on the Streaming Aspect of the SEO Traffic Show and Their Sponsor, Travelpayouts

[00:01:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant stuff. Right. We’re going to get into the housekeeping stuff stream rules. I don’t know if they’re really rules. But if you’ve got questions, please do ask them in the chat box. Andrew will copy them across, and we’ll try to answer them as we go along. If we don’t answer them as we go along, we’ll answer them when the correct opportunity comes along. So, do ask your questions. Tristam and I both know an awful lot about SEO, awful lot about on page and off page SEO, so we can answer and we can help.

[00:02:10] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): The recording and the slides will be sent to you after the webinar. If you’ve registered, obviously you’ll receive it by email. If you haven’t registered and you just turned up, you won’t receive them, but they will still be on the same URL. So, you can come back because this webinar is being recorded, which sounds scary if you look at it in that manner.

[00:02:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Now, TPAS 2020, Travelpayouts Affiliate Summit 2020, October the 5th to the 9th, 2020. Do turn up. It’s going to be awesome. Look it up on the internet, if you don’t know where to go, TPAS 2020 Travelpayouts Affiliates Summit. It’s going to be absolutely awesome, as we can see from the two fingers in the bottom right end corner, which I absolutely love.

A Brief Introduction About Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) and Tristam Jarman

[00:02:56] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Quick introduction. I’m Jason Barnard. I’m The Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube. I’m obsessed by what appears when somebody searches your brand name. I call it your new digital business card. What does appear when somebody searches your brand name? Try it now for yourself and see what turns up. It might not be quite as good as you expect. I’m also an expert in the Knowledge Graph, how Google understands the world and how it uses that within its algorithms.

[00:03:22] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Tristam is just as skillful, intelligent, and wonderful, but he’s much more into the nitty gritty stuff, which is why he’s the guest today because he explains all that stuff so much better than I do, which is what I was saying earlier on. Co-founder of Purple Smudge, which is the best name of a company I’ve ever heard. Welcome, Tristam, thank you for coming along. 

[00:03:44] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to today’s session. The sites that we picked, once we jump in, obviously I’ll reveal those, but yeah. As I said earlier, it’s going to be knowledge packed. And I’m really, really hoping that what I present about these sites, these people can implement. And I’d really like to hear back from them, just to see what improvements they’ve seen from the recommendations and changes we’ll be looking at today.

The Topic for Today: Looking at Two Websites and Their Common Issues, Starting With Backlinks 

[00:04:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Absolutely brilliant. I’ve had a sneak peek, and I know it’s going to be really useful. The sneak peek has been really, really interesting. And what we’re going to start with is, as with last time, the issues that are coming to both websites. So, we can cover the big questions in one go. And then for each website, we can actually deal with the specific question.

[00:04:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, we’re going to start with the common website issues that they both have now. Backlinks. I love this design. I love the explanation. What is a backlink? You’re saying that they both have backlink problems?

[00:04:44] Tristam Jarman: Yes.

[00:04:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): What do you mean by that? Because backlink problems doesn’t say very much to me.

Backlinks Are a Very Wide Subject; Tristam Jarman Will Drop a Short Video About Them in the Chat Box of the Livestream

[00:04:48] Tristam Jarman: No, it doesn’t, does it? And as you know, Jason, and anyone watching who’s familiar with backlinks, it’s quite a wide subject. It’s not just really go out and acquire as many backlinks as possible. Those are the old days. And if anyone lived in the old days, they know the ramifications of going out and doing that. So, just a quick synopsis of what we’ll be covering there.

[00:05:11] Tristam Jarman: So, we’ll be looking at backlinks. I’ll actually drop a link into a short backlink video I did in partnership with SEMrush. For anyone who’s sitting there going, Tristam, backlinks, what are you going on about? I’m new to SEO. I’m new to backlinks. I don’t really know what you’re doing or what you’re talking about. So, I’m just going to drop that into the chat box now for anyone that wants to have a look at that after we’ve finished this session.

[00:05:38] Tristam Jarman: But yeah, it’s funny. One site actually has a high toxic backlink problem, and the other site doesn’t really have a lot of backlinks. So, I’m going to be diving in and discussing that and giving some direction on what you can do to resolve them.

In the Old Days, Google Considers the Concept of Backlinks as a Signal in Ranking Websites, But Now It Might Have a Negative Effect for Your Website

[00:05:54] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Okay. So, this idea of backlinks, it’s a link into your site. Google has traditionally, if we can say that, for the last 20 years, it’s taken that as an incredibly strong signal to whether it should rank a website or not, or a web page rather or not. Some sites don’t have enough. In this case, we have one. And some sites have lots, but they’re rubbish. And the idea of rubbish, you said toxic, it’s just links that are useless because there was a big period in the web where people created links because it won the little simple game that Google was allowing us to play. And today, those are coming back to bite us all in the bum, if I may say so. 

[00:06:33] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. And as you probably know from the last 10 years, some sites have suffered seriously, crushed themselves by slightly unscrupulous tactics, but it’s a whole another webinar in itself.

Using the Idea of Toxic Backlinks, Can Google’s Game Still Be Cheated and Played With It?

[00:06:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It is. But we can quickly say, one thing is these toxic backlinks had come from the idea that we were cheating and we were getting away with it up until, let’s say, 5 or 6 years ago. We’re not anymore cheating. Is it worth it? Do you think you can game the system anymore?

[00:07:03] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. I think there’s always a way of gaming everything. Do I agree with it? No. I think longevity, being natural and organic is the way you should build your website, web presence. And again, we could go into talking about E-A-T, authority and trust, et cetera, but we don’t have time right now.

Whatever cheats you find today will one day bite you in the bum. So, my personal advice: avoid cheating, be honest, make a great user experience.

– Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:07:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): No. I didn’t want to get that. Basically, it was you can cheat, but is it worth it? The answer is, in the longer term, no. And the backlinks were a great example. If you read up on backlinks and Tristam will certainly share links for that, you will see that if you cheated and got away with it for years, it’s now biting you in the bum and it will be biting your site. So, you can assume whatever cheats you find today will one day bite you in the bum. So, my personal advice, and I think Tristam would agree, avoid cheating, be honest, make a great user experience.

Moving on the Next Common Website Problem, Which Will Be Covered on This Episode: Google Crawler Issues

[00:08:00] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Now, Google crawler issues, that’s nothing to do with cheating or user experience. What do you mean by Google crawler issues? 

[00:08:09] Tristam Jarman: So, I was going to really look at this as what does Google and crawlers see that I don’t? So, you can go to any website as long as it functions correctly. You, as a person, thinks that this website works fine. Google will see that in exactly the same way. And then what you need to do is go away and do a site audit. And I’ll show you a couple of little tricks or hacks, however you want to call them, to reveal some other hidden data that search engines will see that you won’t.

[00:08:39] Tristam Jarman: And again, I don’t want to give away too much before we jump in, but there’s some alarming yet resolvable, very easily resolvable situations that huge numbers of pages, that shouldn’t be being crawled by Google, are being crawled by Google. Absolutely crushing your crawl budget, unnecessarily ruining your rankings, possibly, maybe not. Or if you’ve got reasonable rankings, sorting these problems out will only help that further.

Google Crawler Issues as Spiders and Robots: The Concept of Spidering the Web and the Robots as the Search Engines

[00:09:10] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): A quick word on that. On the left, we’ve got a spider. On the right, we’ve got a robot. And that’s because some people talk about spidering the web. We talk about spiders. Robots is the actual word that Google would tend to use. It’s called Googlebot and Bing have a Bingbot, but the idea basically is these are machines, a robot. And Google is now answering me because I said its name. My phone has just woken up. That comes through your site as though they were a user, sorry, I just said it in French, as though they were a user.

[00:09:42] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And if it cannot access your pages, it cannot possibly present it to its users as a possible solution to their problems. So, you have to make sure that its robot can spider your site, which is how we can bring those two, the robot and the spider together. If the robot can spider your site, crawl your site, it will be able to see what you have to offer. And it will potentially be able to offer it as a solution to the problem the person searching on Google is presenting to Google and looking for an answer or a solution to that problem, which is absolutely wonderful.

A Question From the Audience: What Are the Common Recommendations for Do-Follow Links?

[00:10:19] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, I’m going to stop sharing my screen because we’ve talked about everything globally. And now somebody’s asked, Olivka Johns, what are the sites we’re going to be talking about? And Tristam, that’s your bag, not mine. Oh, excuse me, Olivka Johns. I actually can’t read. My spectacles are just for show. I actually literally cannot see more than about two feet in front of me.

[00:10:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Olivka Johns asked, what are the general recommendations for do-follow links? I always get offers from other webmasters to promote them using do-follow links, but it feels like it’s somehow prohibited by Google. Feels like somehow prohibited is a real big understatement. What do you think, Tristam? 

[00:11:04] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. As a general rule, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Yeah. Links should be created naturally. As I say, I popped a link in the comments on YouTube. So if you watch that video, it’s only about 10 minutes long. And that will take you through that question and a number of other points of what to look out for pitfalls, how to go out and build links. But yeah, if you’re being approached, let me just read the question again. Yeah. If you’re being approached…

Google’s Explicit Reminders About Links: Don’t Buy, Swap, or Even Ask for Them

[00:11:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Google explicitly says you shouldn’t buy, swap, or even ask for links. Not asking for links is a bit of a gray area, but you shouldn’t buy them. You shouldn’t say, oh, I’ll swap you one link for another.

[00:11:48] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. That’s very old school as well.

[00:11:50] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I think that’s fair comment from Google. It’s saying the idea of a link is it’s a vote of confidence. If you swapped it or bought it, that’s absolutely no confidence at all. So, you’re making its life more difficult. And if you like to make Google’s life more difficult, as a general rule, it will not do you any favours. Agree?

If you don’t do things in the right way, in a natural way, you can start to stack up a number of issues.

– Tristam Jarman

[00:12:09] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, agree. And as I said earlier, try to keep things natural and organic. So, does that feel natural? That question, to me, it doesn’t. So, I wouldn’t personally proceed with that. Like with a lot of things that we covered in the last show, in this show, if you don’t do things in the right way, in a natural way, you can start to stack up a number of issues. That might not seem like a lot now, but over a year or 10 years, they start to become a bit of a pain and a headache.

Some Important Concepts to Make Sure About When Optimising on Google According to Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:12:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I love that point of view. It’s saying you can get away with one or two little things. But when they stack up, it will stack up and bite you. And at some point, you will suffer from problems from what you’ve been doing. And as a general rule, I actually personally don’t think cheating is necessary. I think if we do serve the clients right, and that’s important.

[00:13:03] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I talk about making sure Google understands what it is we’re offering, making sure that Google understands that we’re credible as a solution for its users, and thirdly, making sure that we can deliver and it can deliver our content to its users in the context they find themselves in. And if you look at it that way, it’s a question of understanding, credibility, and deliverability.

Presenting the Two Sites to Be Analysed for This Episode: We Love New York and Things To Do In Austin

[00:13:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Over to you, Tristam. You are going to be talking about the two great sites. One of them is about Texas, Austin and the other is about New York, right?

[00:13:35] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. Let me share my screen.

[00:13:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Although you did say earlier on, the one about New York isn’t actually very much about New York.

[00:13:43] Tristam Jarman: Well, now it is, but let’s not get into it just yet. So, the two sites we’re going to be covering are We Love New York, and I can certainly say, oh, I love New York too, and I’ve got a newfound love for Things To Do In Austin. I didn’t really know much about Austin, Texas.

The SEO Techniques Will Help People Find These Sites on Google, Which May Encourage Them to Go to These Places

[00:14:01] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Now you know far too much.

[00:14:04] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. And I really want to do a trip now to New York and then to Austin. I’ve got family in New York. So, that is such my favourite city. 

[00:14:12] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But that’s a great reason for this kind of site to exist because we find it as human beings. And I think sometimes we forget in SEO that there are human beings who are actually looking at this stuff. And these sites have made you want to go there. So, we really want to help them to be found on Google because it will encourage people to want to go there, which is a wonderful, positive human experience.

The First Website, We Love New York: Looking Through Some On Site and Off Site Issues, Which Are Specifically Backlinks

[00:14:34] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, definitely. So, the first site we’re going to be having a look at is We Love New York. As Jason already said, we’re going to be going through some off site stuff, which is going to be backlinks. And then we’re going to be looking at some on site. I’ll be doing We Love New York first, and then we’ll be looking at fine Things To Do In Austin. So, Viviane, you are the person who runs We Love New York. I hope you are here today. If you are, please just give us a shout in the comments to say you are here because that’ll be awesome.

[00:15:06] Tristam Jarman: And so, I will jump in. So, as I say, the first thing we’re going to be looking at are backlinks and auditing it through SEMrush. So, if I jump in, which I’ve already done this, otherwise we would be here forever, let’s just open. So, actually, it’s just the same as I did last time. If you are an SEMrush user or thinking of using SEMrush, what I do is I would set up a project in SEMrush, come in, and as many of these as you can set up and get running.

Using SEMrush, Tristam Jarman Did an Audit for the Backlink Section of the Website, Which Resulted to a High Toxicity Score

[00:15:47] Tristam Jarman: Because the wealth of information, and as we spoke about earlier, understanding what Google crawlers can see that you can’t, this will give you a whole wealth of information. Whenever I look at a client’s website, I tend to jump in here, along with a number of other pieces of software and techniques. I just set this up, and this just gives me a landscape view of the site’s health and what we’re looking at, good, bad, or that type of thing.

[00:16:17] Tristam Jarman: So, let me just jump into the backlink audit section. Firstly, I just want to say I absolutely love this website, which I think I’ve already said. It’s great. The colours are nice. It flows well. Information is awesome. It looks like it ranks for a number of good key terms as well. But as we jump into the backlink section, we can see this dreaded high toxicity score. Now I’ll click on it. So, we’ve got about 6% of the backlinks, SEMrush is saying they’re not good, and then 18% is potentially still not great.

The Meaning of a High Toxicity Score: The Website Looks Unnatural to Google Because of the Unwanted Creation of Some Spam Links 

[00:17:03] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): All that’s saying is SEMrush thinks that this will look unnatural to Google. And it’s the unnatural idea, i.e. I bought it or I swapped it. 

[00:17:11] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. Or there are other weird spammy ways that you might not even have gone out to create these. And we’ll see an example of that, which I’m sure Viviane did not go out and create some of these links.

[00:17:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Sorry, Viviane.

More Suggestions and Analysis From Tristam Jarman for We Love New York: Use Google Search Console and Look at Some of the Unwanted Backlinks

[00:17:26] Tristam Jarman: So, what I’d also do is, because I didn’t have access to Google Search Console, if you’ve set that up, I would connect that. Again, it just brings in more and more information. So, this is the overview. This is the audit section and this here. We’ll just have a look at the first few links, just to gauge an idea of do we feel these are natural. Bear in mind, this website is mainly a French website. Viviane, I believe you started this in 2009. I can’t remember whether you’re from Paris, I do apologise, but moved to New York, started the blog in 2009, so a bit of context there.

[00:18:09] Tristam Jarman: So if we’re having a look here, I’ve got a feeling setting this link from, and I’ve actually checked, this website doesn’t actually exist at the moment. And what it’s linking to is actually an image, and the second one down is linking to an image. And I would say, without going through each of these and doing a full site audit now, I’d say that one I’ve just highlighted there, and I’m probably not even going to announce the wording that I can read here, but I would say that was not a created link.

The Process of Removing the Irrelevant Backlinks Using SEMrush to Make Your Website Profile Clean and Beautiful 

[00:18:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. That’s the kind of link that can get created despite ourselves. And Google tell us that we don’t need to worry about that. They can sort that out. So, that’s one aspect. And the other aspect is UK Stoves. That really attracts my attention because not only is it not New York or the United States, but it’s about stoves and not travel. That’s obviously not relevant. And natural can also mean an irrelevant. 

[00:19:10] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. So, what I would do here is there’s a number of tabs here. There is a remove, disavow, but the one we’re going to jump into next is lost and found. So, what we can do is we can break down through a process. So, you could either go through the audit tab and go link by link and audit that yourself, create a disavow list, and clean up those links. Or depending on the time that you have as an individual or the team that you have working with you, I know everyone works differently, you might want to take it like this.

[00:19:46] Tristam Jarman: So, you go into the lost and found section. And then you can break these down into new, broken, and lost. So, I would have a look at all newly created links. And there is an awesome little score here, giving you an idea. So, anything, I think, under 45, SEMrush is saying, yeah, that looks okay. Anything 45 to, I can’t remember, 50 something is looking at potential toxicity. And then anything higher than that’s coming in as red and really should be reviewed. And I think, yeah, you should be looking at a process of trying to get these to be removed and disappear really. And then you’ll have a nice, little, beautiful profile.

The Truth About Google Figuring Out and Removing the Unwanted Backlinks on Your Website

[00:20:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that’s a good point is because Google says they can figure this out for themselves, but truth be that they don’t necessarily do that. So, it’s best to get them removed if you’re worried.

[00:20:38] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. I feel so. Yeah. I’ll stop there, I feel so, otherwise I’ll get carried away with that.

If you’re worried about a link, get it removed. Google might not sort it out for itself. Don’t take the risk. Make the effort. Get it removed.

– Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:20:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But it is. If you’re worried about a link, get it removed. Google might not sort it out for itself. Don’t take the risk, make the effort, get it removed.

You want your website to be performing the best it can be in the eyes of Google and users. So, don’t hang around, don’t wait.

– Tristam Jarman

[00:20:53] Tristam Jarman: Well, exactly. And a lot of people are trying to, as a lot of these are affiliate sites, you’re trying to monetise your site. So, what are you waiting for? You want your website to be performing the best it can be in the eyes of Google and users. So, don’t hang around, don’t wait. I get cracking on with these tasks. And actually, SEMrush really helps you crack on with this as a task base. So, you can add things to Trello in SEMrush. And then you can also create a disavow file in here and all sorts of other neat tricks.

[00:21:30] Tristam Jarman: And once I’ve got a second, what I’ll do is I’ll put the free online course to link building with SEMrush in the comments. And then there’ll be some other instructional information available on how to dive in deeper on these. But what I do is I go through all the new links, decide which ones you want to keep. This one is looking like it has got a high toxicity saying here. I think this is probably in French, but it looks like it’s a resume builder. This doesn’t really seem like this is relevant to your website, Viviane. So, I would look to get some of these removed.

The Concept of Broken Links, Lost Links, and the Process of How to Improve and Eradicate These Bad Links

[00:22:05] Tristam Jarman: And then you jump into broken links. And so, sometimes, broken links can be bad links that have just disappeared or it can be a process of what’s called link reclamation, where just for some reason you were linked to a website and then that link has been lost. You will get notified in this program. And then you can actually maybe contact the website owner, developer, whoever and say, hey, I had a link on your website, I see it’s gone. And it might just be a developer error, someone removed it by accident, and you might be able to get that link reinstated.

[00:22:43] Tristam Jarman: And then lastly, lost links, similar to broken, but yeah. Where have you lost them? Where have they disappeared to? Do you need them back? Do you want them back? There’s something about CHD Chemicals Limited. If that’s lost, then I’ve got a feeling that’s probably a good one to lose for you, because there doesn’t seem to be anything chemical related with We Love New York. So, I would say on this, really come in to this section, run your backlink audit, and then start to work through in that little stage process to improve and eradicate the bad links.

Reclaiming Lost Links May Eventually Help Your Website to Drive More Referral Traffic and to Get a Higher Ranking 

[00:23:28] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. And reclaim links that you might have lost that would’ve been useful. So, there is a positive aspect to this, which is encouraging, because I think working on just the negative stuff gets depressing. But when you think, oh, I’m claiming something positive back, that’s wonderful. 

[00:23:43] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. That’s it. And it might be that an accidental error has been made on somebody else’s behalf on that linked website, as I say. And by doing this process, you might actually see that there was a reasonably high traffic link. So, it’s not always about getting linked to get higher up the ranking. Sometimes you might have a link that actually just helps drive a lot of referral traffic. You lose that link, and then that little pipeline of traffic disappears. Yeah.

[00:24:17] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant.

Jumping on to the Common On Site Problems, Which Include Google Crawler Issues, for We Love New York

[00:24:18] Tristam Jarman: That’s on that. So, what have we got next? Let me jump back into the project. 

[00:24:33] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Okay. So, we’re going to go beyond the links now and look at.

[00:24:36] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. So, we’re going to be jumping into on site now.

[00:24:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s a bad score, isn’t it?

[00:24:41] Tristam Jarman: Yes. But before we all panic, there are simple logical steps that can be taken. Yeah. It’s one of the lowest scores I have seen, doing these site audits like this. One thing, so I’ve run this. And before we even jump into having a look at what the program is saying, there is a great little tip hack, I don’t know, where you do a site search or search. Is it search operator? Oh, I forget. But basically, you put site colon into Google and then the prefix of the website. And you can either have the HTTPS or not. There’s a few ways of doing it.

[00:25:22] Tristam Jarman: But if we run this, we see that Google is looking at about 3,670 pages. Straight away, I’m jumping into the first few results. I’m getting them. These are weird. So, what’s going on here? And I’ve had experience with this before. And this is looking like it could be a Yoast plugin issue because I see you are using Yoast. And it might just be an attachment issue, but a while ago there was an issue with Yoast. The images were being indexed as attachment pages. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with this at all, Jason.

Some Issues Regarding Index Bloating When Using Yoast or WordPress and How to Resolve Them 

[00:26:03] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. They’ve got a toggle system, where you either say index the image or index the page. And they’re saying, oh, don’t index the page. Because WordPress by default creates a page for each image, and that makes index bloat is what I would call it. And there was an issue. I heard about it. And when there was an update, it switched them all to being pages instead of just images. And you want an image to be indexed as an image and not as a page. And then they switched it back. Now, why wouldn’t it have switched back for her?

[00:26:37] Tristam Jarman: I can’t remember what the whole process was. But to resolve this, you just need to go into the settings and set it, so it doesn’t save images as attachment pages. And then over a period of time, that will clean up all of these.

[00:26:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. Yeah. And Yoast have put a really useful piece of text that says, we recommend that you set this to off. And follow their advice. Yoast are a really smart bunch people. A good rule of them is follow their advice because they know what they’re talking about.

The Idea of Crawl Budget and How Rectifying Them Will Help Google’s Time Spent on Your Site, Which Will Then Rank Your Content Better

[00:27:12] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. And so, I wasn’t able to collate the exact number of these pages, but I can guarantee you it’s not going to be helping you. You have what’s known as a crawl budget. Google will come and spend x amount of time crawling your sites and going away and saying, oh, these were the pages we found for you. So if we just have a look at what we can see, on this first scroll, they’re looking like they’re all image attachments. And then we’ll just go to one more page and still more. So, that’s already 20 results we’ve seen.

[00:27:44] Tristam Jarman: I can guarantee you, it’s just randomly jumped to page eight, there we go, there’s still a few more in here. So, just think if you went away and you rectified, I think it’s probably just a tick box, you rectified that, waited a period of time, you’ll start to see this number here reduced quite significantly, which means that Google won’t be wasting its time showing people these pages or indexing them, allowing all your awesome content, Viviane, to be ranked even better. And as I say, there are already some really strong rankings for this site, keyword rankings that is. So, I’m hoping that all of this will just boost your site even more.

Help Google and it will help you.

– Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:28:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I think we can say, help Google and it will help you. And by having that, you’re not helping Google.

More Website Issues for We Love New York and How You Can Solve Them According to Tristam Jarman

[00:28:39] Tristam Jarman: No. Let me just grab this. And so, I’d just like to mess around. I actually saw Dawn Anderson post out a way of finding people’s staging servers being indexed on Google with this nice, neat little trick. And so, I’m just going to show you, guys, because I’d found this already. Yeah. So, I put in site staging because I’d found that the staging site might be indexing. And you’ve got 1,440 pages of your staging site being indexed. I’m assuming, as it’s a staging test site, you don’t want anyone to be seeing it, but it’s there for the whole world to see. And it’s, again, not helping Google understand your site, how it should be crawled. 

[00:29:37] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it’s wasting Google’s time. You’re not helping Google.

[00:29:39] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly.

[00:29:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Once again, that’s a simple tick box in the reading section of WordPress. You just tick it, discourage search engines from indexing this site, and you’re away.

Looking at the Overall Issues of the Website Using the Site Audit Section of SEMrush, Which Can Be Shared With the Website’s Team 

[00:29:52] Tristam Jarman: Exactly. So, just on those two issues, I think you should see a reasonable site improvement. And then obviously, coming into SEMrush, let’s let it load. You can see here this nice, neat little dashboard of what the overall issues are. So, great, as an individual, you can see a dashboard of what’s going on with your site audit. Or if you’re working within a team, this is great to share, to say, look, this quite clearly says we have some problems, we need to jump on these, guys.

[00:30:30] Tristam Jarman: And then when you jump into the issues, you can start to scroll through here. And I will be covering a few more of these issues as I continue discussing with you, guys. So, let me just grab the next section. So, yeah, as part of this, what I wanted to do was then look at content, so getting the right mix. And here, I want to talk about content focus and not confusing Google and users. And so if we have a look at We Love New York, I am just going to be cheeky and change it to English.

The Issue of Putting Other Content and Information That Are Not Necessarily Aligned With the Overall Objective of the Website

[00:31:10] Tristam Jarman: And so, We Love New York, as we discussed at the beginning of this webinar, Google wants to understand expertise, authority, and trust. And this website, I would say, is mainly on New York and New York based information. And so, Google will want to see that. And then as I’m scrolling through the site, I do see that there is a reasonably large amount of content about other places in America, other countries in the world, and other cities in the world.

[00:31:50] Tristam Jarman: If you are looking, if you set up a website on Rolex watches, you probably wouldn’t want to be talking about Casio watches because you want to be the number one Rolex website, review site, say. And so, I’m assuming that would be the same with you, Viviane. You want to really drive this website, so people are coming to your website as a resource, booking trips, or finding out information, so you can monetise your site.

[00:32:19] Tristam Jarman: And by Google understanding what your site is about and what people it should be sending there, putting some of this information on the site won’t necessarily help you with your overall objective. What are your thoughts on that, Jason?

Jason Barnard’s Thoughts About Unnecessary Content and Information That Does Not Help the Aim of the Website 

[00:32:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. For me, obviously, it would take me to New York book. Isn’t that the aim of the site, it’s to push people through to buy this book?

[00:32:48] Tristam Jarman: Yeah.

[00:32:49] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, yeah, you want to get people in, you want get them interested in New York, so they’re buying the book. So, they decide they want to go to New York, which is what you did when you saw the site, Tristam. And then they buy the book because the book is going to guide them. And this is a wonderful little business model I’m terribly keen on. I love the idea that the aim of Viviane is to create content that gets people excited about New York, because that will then sell the book, because people want to go to New York. Absolutely wonderful.

[00:33:21] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say, take it all away and go and create a new site at the moment. But planning for the future, I would just consider whether you feel other country based content or other city based content sits appropriately on We Love New York.

The Unnecessary Content Issue May Result to a Problematic Monetisation of the Site and a Long Term Strategical Problem

[00:33:43] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. My sister wrote a book about going to London. Then she wrote one about going to New York. Then she wrote another one about going, I can’t remember where the other one was. She wrote a series of books about different places. I don’t know how much Viviane knows about these other places, but I would suspect that with the list of countries, if you can show us, she has perhaps expanded too fast. Writing all those books is going to be impossible. And so, the actual monetisation of the site is going to be problematic.

[00:34:11] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): But if you said, okay, the take me to New York book and then take me to Paris book. But then as you rightly say, the title of the site doesn’t necessarily correspond. That’s a long term strategical problem more than anything.

The Importance of Thinking What the Future Might Hold for Your Website, of Not Rushing Decisions, and of Maintaining Brand Equity 

[00:34:25] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. So, yeah, just think about the future and what that might hold. Because I think this website is 11 years old, so I can definitely see it, possibly, I don’t know, started off with going, oh, I think Viviane’s from Paris or certainly is from France. And so, you want to put a bit of French relevant content on there about those places. Obviously, the site is written in French. And then you probably just added a bit over time. And then you find yourself with a huge amount of other related content outside of what New York is about. And so, I’m just going to grab another link. 

[00:35:10] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Just a word of warning to Viviane, don’t do that in a quick sense. Just looking up We Love New York, you have a great Brand SERP. That means Google has understood We Love New York as an entity. The website itself is something that’s important in Google’s mind. So, the name of it, even though it does talk about New York specifically, actually means something to Google. So, you need to consider that very carefully. 

[00:35:37] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. It’s not a rash decision.

[00:35:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Your brand equity, both for your users and for Google, needs to be maintained as far as it’s possible. Go ahead. Sorry.

Considering the Repercussions of Using Different Languages for the Content of We Love New York

[00:35:47] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. And so, then the second point I found, as I said in the first episode, what I do with sites is like an eyeball check. Just go through a site, see how it works, functions, take it from the perspective of a user. So, I found this site, I want to go to New York. And as the site is mainly written in French, I would assume this is directed towards French speakers.

[00:36:14] Tristam Jarman: And there’s this great interview here with this lady. And as we can see, obviously it’s written in French here. And then what I noticed as we scrolled down and then the interview is actually in English, which I can understand why, because I’m assuming the lady that has been interviewed was probably American. I have not read the full interview, so I do apologise. So, that might be why this piece of content is written in English.

When Having Different Versions Based on Language, the Website Should Consider the Perspective of Their Audience

[00:36:41] Tristam Jarman: But looking at it from a user’s perspective, obviously, in this day and age, we can jump between. I’ve just changed the whole site or Google translate into English. But then Google is going to have trouble coming to your site going, oh, so there’s some French written content here, then there’s English, then there’s French again.

[00:37:05] Tristam Jarman: As I say, it’s not penalising your site hugely. But if you change it to either, I would say, either just run it through all French or possibly in the future, again, grand plans, you could look at having an English version of the website and a French version of the website to cater for both languages. And then Google will much further understand what the website is about and who it should be directed to.

According to Jason Barnard, You Can Have Different Versions of the Content’s Language by Having Different Pages for It

[00:37:38] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): For this specific page, I think what you need to remember is right at the top of the HTML, the first thing that Google gets is what language this page is in. You can’t see it here. But right at the top, the first piece of information the robot, that we were talking about early on, gets is this is in French. And then as it goes down, somebody finds something in English, and that’s throwing it a curve ball, as we say in English or in American rather. Or it would be a googly in English because that’s cricket, isn’t it?

[00:38:05] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And that’s a really bad idea. So, I would suggest, in this particular circumstance, is say, translate that article or the interview into French and then have either a pop-up or a different page to see the original version, which would sort out Google. It would probably please your French audience a lot.

[00:38:25] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then people in France, French speakers, who do speak great English, who think I really want to read the original because I can understand it and I think it’s great to get the grain of what she was actually saying, can then click on them and can go to the page and read the original version. But right now, you’re confusing Google. And as Tristam says, it’s probably confusing your users.

By doing all these little fixes and changes, Google will like you more, your users will like you more, and you’ll like yourself more.

– Tristam Jarman

[00:38:45] Tristam Jarman: Exactly. So, as we discussed at the beginning of this, it’s all about just doing things. It’s a lot of little pieces that create this big jigsaw puzzle in a sense. And if you’re missing certain pieces, you’re not helping yourself out. So, by doing all these little fixes and changes, Google will like you more, your users will like you more, and you’ll like yourself more. Because hopefully, you’ll be driving more traffic to your website and everyone’s happy and buying more stuff from you, et cetera.

Mixed Content Issues Resulting From Unsecured Images or Related Content on That Page

[00:39:19] Tristam Jarman: And so, just the last bit on this section I wanted to discuss, let me just put it up in here. So, this is how I found the issue. There’s some mixed content issues I was able to find. And without jumping in too far on that, usually what that means is you’ve upgraded your website to HTTPS to make it more secure, but this program is finding issues on the site, and that being that there’s some HTTPs that are unsecured images or related content on that page. And Google doesn’t like that. It’ll throw up a warning.

[00:40:03] Tristam Jarman: Let’s have a look at an example. So, we’ve got here. And as you can see right at the top here, this little icon says everything’s great, but let’s just jump back to the homepage. 

[00:40:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): It’s a secure content. It’s SSL, HTTPS. It means that the information that’s being sent from the site to you, to the user, is encrypted. Nobody can read it on the way through. And Google is very keen on the idea that information is private between the different people, the servers and the people who are actually reading the information. And here we have a page which is not secure. What does that mean?

It Does Not Mean That the Entire Page Is Not Secure; It May Just Be Some Elements on That Page, Like Images or Links 

[00:40:39] Tristam Jarman: So, it gives you the exact information in SEMrush. So if we look at this page, what it’s saying is on this page, which is the homepage. 

[00:40:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Oh, right, okay. It’s not the entire page isn’t secure. It’s something on that.

[00:41:00] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. That’s what I was saying. It’s just an element on the page. And I think this just gives you, basically, it’s images or HTTP linked to YouTube here, which probably just needs to be updated. This image here, which has now redirected. So, let’s have a look at this one here.

Using a WordPress Plugin Called Really Simple SSL, You Can Easily Sort Out the Security Issues of Your Website

[00:41:27] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, that particular question is that they’ve linked to the image with HTTP, but it actually redirects to HTTPS, so it’s triggering this problem. Just really quickly, you can actually sort out probably 99% of these issues with a plugin on WordPress called Really Simple SSL. I use it on every site because I’m too lazy to sort the problems out myself. You click on a button, it sorts 99% of these problems out, and it’s absolutely wonderful.

[00:41:52] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I didn’t give them a review and I do apologise, but they’re getting a plug today. Really Simple SSL on WordPress works an absolute treat, doesn’t break your site most of the time. And I’ve been using it on my two sites for a year now. And unfortunately, that just means I’ve been lazy and haven’t sorted out some of the little problems I should have done, but then, yeah, saved myself boatloads of time.

The Importance of Using Tools, Which Will Help Manage Your Time Wisely When You Are Improving Your Website 

[00:42:15] Tristam Jarman: Exactly. Because I didn’t know about that particular plugin, but I was going to say I’m sure there is a plugin out there that will help you do this rather than go through here. And I think it’s 520 issues that we picked. So, you imagine if you had to go through 520 links and just add an s in, because you hadn’t done that in your HTTP to HTTPS site migration. Yeah. It’s just time consuming, and time is money for everyone. And you don’t want to be spending time doing these boring things. You want to be creating awesome content, taking amazing photos, and plug in your website. So, yeah, that’s the last piece on that one.

[00:42:56] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Lovely.

Checking the Site Speed Issues of the Website Using a Site Speed Tool Called Pingdom

[00:42:56] Tristam Jarman: No, it isn’t. It isn’t, is it? Got that little cheeky bit, yeah, a bit about page flow, because we covered site speed in the last episode, but I couldn’t help myself. I had to check the site speed of these two sites that we’re talking about today. And I’m just going to grab this.

[00:43:16] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. That’s fairly typical of anybody who’s really keen on SEO. They can’t help themselves checking all this stuff. And so, we weren’t going to talk about site speed today. So, we’ve decided to say, okay, rather than talking about site speed, we’re going to talk about page bloat, pages that have just got too much big, chunky, heavy, slow content. Go ahead.

Looking at the Statistics of the Site Speed Audit Using Pingdom and Some Suggestions on How to Optimise the Website’s Page Size 

[00:43:38] Tristam Jarman: Exactly. So, I’ll just quickly pop this link up. So, on Pingdom, which is a site speed tool, I recommend you use it, which you can have a look at another one quickly. But you can see in yellow highlighted here, the average size is about 2.07 MB from 892 process websites. So, that’s websites like Google, YouTube, and whatever the other ones were. So, that gives you a benchmark of what a good size of a page should be.

[00:44:11] Tristam Jarman: Let’s have a look at this one. We’ve got 8.5 MB, and I personally think that is huge, but some really simple things can be changed. So, just by serving the right sized images will save you about 4.5 MB. So, you’ve almost stripped half of that away, and that should be a fairly simple change to be able to do. If you come in to this program, Viviane, drop me an email. I could just send you this link or hit me up on Twitter. I can send you the link to this report I’ve run.

[00:44:46] Tristam Jarman: And on here, it’s a really great website because it’s like, what does this mean? It gives you the information, and it gives you some little instruction or information here on what to do with certain images. So, we’ve saved almost 4.5 MB instantly. And there’s some other little savings here. This one’s a little bit less of a size saving. But yeah, optimise your images. This is about Losslessly, I can’t even pronounce that, compressing. So, I’d have a look at that one.

Site Speed Is a Ranking Factor; When Your Site Loads Longer and Is Bigger, It’s Not Favourable in Google’s Eyes

[00:45:20] Tristam Jarman: If you work with a developer, I would drop them an email and say, can you have a look at all these issues? If you do the development yourself, everyone works differently. Those two issues should be relatively simple for you to sort out. And as you can see, if you could just chop that in half, that will help dramatically. And site speed is a ranking factor. So, the longer your site takes to load and the bigger it is, it’s not going to look favourably in Google’s eyes and also to people waiting for your site to load.

[00:45:59] Tristam Jarman: As you can see, the fully load time on this particular test was about 11 seconds. And there’s some more mechanics to what you see and how it all loads. But yeah, I would have a look at those two particular issues to debloat your page or pages.

More Plugins and Tools That Can Help Manage Your Website: Smush, EWWW, and Cloudflare

[00:46:15] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. And from a practical standpoint, plugins, you should be looking at. Smush is very famous and very good, a very reliable plugin for that. EWWW is another one. These are opportunities. If you don’t have a developer there, plugins, you might want to look at. I often use Cloudflare, which is a CDN. And it’s a little bit more complicated in the sense that you need to understand a little bit how it works, but it pushes your content to servers around the world to be served to people from nearer where they actually are, which is an incredibly powerful way of getting content to them faster because it’s closer.

[00:46:55] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the other thing is it has a lot of these tools built in, where it will optimise your images, it will optimise your HTML, and it will optimise your JavaScript and your CSS. So, a lot of these problems taken care with. So, have a look at Smush, have a look at EWWW, and have a look at Cloudflare. Make the decision that works for you, depending on whether you’re the developer or not. Go ahead.

[00:47:16] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. I totally agree. And so, that’s the short section on We Love New York. As I say, for both sites, if you guys or anyone watching this, hit me up with a question on Twitter, if you’ve got anything related to what we’ve been discussing, and I’d be more than happy to answer that question. I see questions come in from…

More About the Concept of Staging as a Private Development Version of the Website 

[00:47:41] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I was going to say, before we pass on to Austin, what is staging? Staging is a weird word. Some people call it dev, because it’s a development platform, so it’s staging or dev. But it’s basically, you duplicate your site, you make a copy of your site, and you work on it without making it live, without making it accessible to Google or to your users, to update things like your articles or maybe your site speed or the Schema Markup in your site, whatever it might be. And then you switch that across, and you make it live.

[00:48:12] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, it’s a private development of the site. It’s a private version of the site, where you can work on things that aren’t public. So if you have a staging site or a dev site, depending on what you call it, make sure, as Tristam said earlier on, that you don’t allow Google to crawl it, you don’t allow Google to see it. Because if it does, it will index it. And once again, you are wasting its time, and you’ve got two sets of exactly the same information. And that isn’t helpful for anybody.

Depending on the Brand or Website You Run, You Might Have Sensitive Information on the Staging Platform of Your Site

[00:48:39] Tristam Jarman: And also, depending on what brand or website you run, you might have some upcoming launches on there, you might have sensitive information that you don’t want the general public to see. And numerous times, I’ve come across companies that have accidentally published and indexed their staging site.

[00:49:03] Tristam Jarman: And as I say, I think there was a great, it was either on Twitter, but basically, Dawn Anderson wrote an article or tweeted about saying how you could do that site search with the staging query. Let me check in here. And so, then you can actually start to see how many companies have staging at the front of their site, not all of these obviously.

How to Check If Your Development or Staging Platform Is Indexed or Not, and What You Should Do If It’s Indexed

[00:49:31] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Some of them actually are called staging, which is strange. But for your own site, to bring it back to something more manageable, it’s check. If you do have a development or a staging platform, check using or Is it indexed or not?

[00:49:49] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): If it is indexed, there are a couple of things you want to do. One of which is use the discourage robots from indexing it in the WordPress read section. Or if you don’t use WordPress, add something to robots to say disallow and no index. That will be something you’d need to talk to your developer about. And you can actually remove it using Search Console by excluding that sub domain and asking Google to remove it from its index for the next 6 months.

Important Reminder to Not Make a Mess: Check With Someone Who Has More Knowledge, Like an SEO Expert or a Developer

[00:50:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): When you do that, be very, very, very, very, very careful not to remove the full site because the whole thing then goes down the bin. You’re not indexed at all. So, before doing that, read up about it or get a developer or an SEO expert, like Tristam or myself, to help you with it to make sure you don’t mess the entire thing up. Now, back to Tristam. 

[00:50:42] Tristam Jarman: Definitely. Yeah. Just a last bit on that, yeah, definitely. It’s always worth, if in doubt, sense check it with someone who you feel slightly more in the know, someone like myself or Jason. Obviously, because many times, I see people just go ahead and take a course of action. And yeah, as you said, you can actually de-index your entire site. And I’ve seen that several times as well, not great.

The Second and Last Website to Be Covered for This Episode: Things To Do In Austin

[00:51:09] Tristam Jarman: So, let’s jump into Things To Do In Austin. 

[00:51:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): You now want to go to Austin, which is more surprising than New York.

[00:51:18] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. There seems to be a lot of lakes and awesome things to do, places to eat, drink, et cetera. Just this video in the background looks pretty cool. I’m quite an outdoorsy person.

[00:51:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Right. I’m looking for dive bars that had blues music. 

[00:51:36] Tristam Jarman: I’ve not gone in too deep. There are some pretty cool bars. Yes. I like drinking craft beers and ales and stuff. So, it definitely looks like there’s something for me in Austin. So, yeah, I love the website. So, let’s jump in and have a look at the backlink profile. So, we’re going to take a slightly different approach on this one, which I think is quite good, because then I’m not delivering the same information to you guys. So, awesome, look at that when it comes up. That’s good.

Analysing and Comparing the Backlink Audit Section of This Website With the First Website

[00:52:13] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That looks like less of a problem. The other was 37%. This one was 67%.

[00:52:18] Tristam Jarman: I think this is the wrong section. We need the backlink audit section. 

[00:52:23] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Basically, this site has less internal linking problems, which is that the robot or the spider, whichever one we want to call it, can crawl the site more easily in this case, compared with We Love New York, but back to the backlinks.

[00:52:37] Tristam Jarman: So, yeah, backlinks. As I say, I’d always connect your people Search Console to this and look at the toxic score. It’s 100% non-toxic, so that’s awesome. So, that’s great, but what can we do there? So, really, I guess you want to be looking at building links moving forward. So, overall, it’s a small backlink profile, and there’s nothing to be concerned about really. It’s always good to check your backlink to see what is going on, who’s linking to you over a period of time. But what I would look to do, so let me just grab a couple of links. Yeah. So, an example of how to create some links I would look at, so we’ve got this page here.

If we have empathy for the people who we expect to link to us, we create content that will appeal to them.

– Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[00:53:34] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Getting links, when we come back to that whole thing of Google saying don’t buy them and don’t swap them, it’s earning them. It’s the idea that I have some interesting content that somebody, another site would want to link to because it will be useful for their users. And that’s empathy. If we have empathy for the people who we expect to link to us, we create content that will appeal to them to present to their users because it’s useful.

[00:54:02] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, that idea of empathy, I was talking to Rand Fishkin the other day about empathy. He said, oh, empathy is a superpower. And I love that. Think of it from the other person’s point of view, and you’ll move forward pretty quickly. Go ahead, sorry.

Some Tips on What You Can Do to Help Build Links for Your Website: Through Social Media and Link Swapping

[00:54:14] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. So, I thought, I just jumped into the site, had a look at what’s some of the content, what’s going on. And there’s this great top yoga spots in Austin, Texas. This is great, but what can you do to help build links? Can you get in contact with all the yoga spots that you’ve discussed, written the piece of content about, and just see whether they can push this?

[00:54:39] Tristam Jarman: Initially, through social media is one option. And so, these people could be like, they could say something like, we’re delighted to be in the top yoga spots in Austin, Texas, on That is one way. That’s more of a social link. But if you look at links as two avenues, links being a vote of confidence for your site, but also to drive referral traffic to your site, just by all of these, how many are here, it’s about 7 that you’ve reviewed.

[00:55:14] Tristam Jarman: So if each of these could push out through their social media saying, hey, we were covered in this, go and check it out, you’ve just amplified that piece of content instantly in terms of getting a social backlink referral to your site.

You Can Contact the Website Owners and Swap Links With Them, Which Is Mutually Beneficial in Terms of Actual Traffic

[00:55:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I think it’s important as well to say that link swapping is saying, if you link to me, I will link to you. If you then contacted these people and said, you’re actually in my top seven best yoga places in Austin, Texas, is that pleasing for you? They will probably say, oh, great, yeah. And they will put a link on their page saying, we were voted one of the top seven yoga places in Austin. And they will link to you. And that isn’t a swapped link. It’s mutually beneficial in terms of actual traffic because you are helping them and they’re helping you. And you haven’t said, if you link to me, I will link to you, which was where the problem lies.

[00:56:07] Tristam Jarman: Yeah.

[00:56:08] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So if you can become a reference within the Austin community, the business community or the tourist community within Austin, as being a reference for people who want to come to Austin, they will tend to link to you naturally because they will be proud to have been selected by you. So, you need to big your brand up, man.

People Will Tend to Link to You If You Compliment Them and If You Are Believable or Influential

[00:56:29] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. And I guess it’s the same to you, Jason. You’ve got your, and I’m probably going to say this wrong, you’ve got your Knowledge Panel or Brand SERPs tool on your company’s website. So if I wrote a piece raving about how great it is, et cetera, contacted you, hopefully you’d be like, oh, this is quite awesome. He’s done a nice review. He’s very complimentary. Why would I not want to shout about someone being nice about me? So, that’s a good way of building up a network and some sort of social link as secondary. Go.

[00:57:06] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the important thing there, Tristam, is I would tend to link to you if I thought that people would think, wow, Tristam, I believe him. He’s a believable or influential human being or person. So, it’s that thing of saying if you want people to link to you, you have to make them feel that you are important in whatever sphere you are dealing with. So, in this particular case, if you can get the world or the community within Austin, as I said earlier, to believe that you are an important reference point, you will get links. So, it’s actually about building your brand more than it is about link building, which I love.

The Importance of Being an Authority and Key Contacts to Add Further Content When Building a Social Network or Creating a Social Link

[00:57:45] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. And being that authority, the A of the E-A-T. And then just secondary to that, are there any key contacts at companies that you’re doing list guides on that they could add further context to the content? So, either within the piece of content here or within a secondary piece of content, diving in deeper on yoga, the benefits of yoga, places to practice yoga outside.

[00:58:18] Tristam Jarman: Could you get anyone from these companies to write a piece on your site or they write a piece on their site linking through to this review? Yeah. There’s a number of ways that you can spin, creating backlinks. Any thoughts on that one there, Jason, when again given that authority?

The More Authoritative Your Brand Becomes, the More Links You Will Get, Which Is Actually Brand Building Rather Than Link Building 

[00:58:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): The thing about building backlinks is I did a website for kids called Boowa and Kwala, which was phenomenally successful. And we got loads of links because the content was really useful for preschools and babysitters. It was very popular within the community of people who were caring for autistic people. And so, we merited the backlinks. We were useful, and we were helpful.

[00:59:05] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And with the podcast that I now have, which I interview people like Rand Fishkin, who I mentioned earlier on, or John Mueller from Google or Ted Rubin a couple of weeks ago, is that it’s useful content that people will link to. And the more authoritative that podcast becomes, the more links I will get. And so, it’s actually building, once again, my brand rather than saying I’m actively asking Tristam to give me a link. Tristam will give me a link at some point if he feels I’m creating content that’s useful to people that he’s trying to reach out to. Go ahead.

Moving to the Google Crawler Issues for Things To Do In Austin and How to Manage Them 

[00:59:39] Tristam Jarman: Exactly. And so, we’ll round up that section because I know we are pressed for time. And we’ll jump into what Google and crawlers see that I don’t. It’s a fairly small site. We’ll run the site search again, and we’ll have a look in. 

[00:59:59] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. 187 pages, that’s pretty manageable, isn’t it?

[01:00:02] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. It’s very manageable. But when we’re having a look through, I think we covered some of this last time, Jason. I’ll just do this. So, for everyone watching, we can do this extra inurl. And then because I know what I’m looking for now, I’ve asked Google to look at this website, And then I’m asking it then to look in the URL for anything that says tag. And so, I think this is another WordPress site. So, we’ve got post tags and we’ve got tag pages. And I know you had some feelings on tag or post tag pages, Jason, last time.

The Misleading Issue About Tag Pages and the Concept of Using a Scattergun Approach in the Past

[01:00:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Yeah. There are a couple of things to say here. There are only 5 pages. There are two things to say there. One is that at the bottom, it says actually they’ve emitted lots. So, they’re actually not showing you everything they’ve got. So, it isn’t just 5. There are more pages behind that that they’re simply not pulling out. So, that number 5 is actually misleading. 

[01:01:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the other thing is this is a very small site. If you had a big site, that could be thousands, and that could be bigger sources. The thing about tags, I do have an opinion about it. I say don’t index tags. It’s a scattergun approach. And a scattergun approach worked 20 years ago when I was starting off with my site, Boowa and Kwala. We did that, and it worked very well. Scattergun pushes much content as you can out to Google. You will cover all your bases. And eventually, you’ll end up with lots of traffic from the sheer number of pages you throw at it.

If You Have Tagged Content, Think About How You Can Present It in a User Friendly Manner, So Google Can Present It to Its Users With Pride

[01:01:36] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And today, it’s more about saying which content is truly valuable. And tag content is not generally truly valuable. If you have the idea that this page of tag content could be valuable, why don’t you create a page that summarises all that content in a useful and helpful manner, that isn’t just a list?

[01:01:57] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): So, it’s a question of if you have those tagged content that you think might be useful, think about how you can present it in a user friendly manner that Google can present to its users with pride. It can recommend this page, and I think that’s fundamentally important. Every page on your site, do you think it deserves to be recommended by Google as a solution to the problem its user has expressed? Which I love as a word.

[01:02:22] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. Does it have a purpose? 

[01:02:24] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I’m getting a bit overexcited. I’m hammering it home. I’m literally getting the hammer out. Sorry, go ahead, Tristam. I’ll pass it back to you.

Over Time, Issues Just Naturally Build; So If You Don’t Look Into These Issues Now, Bear in Mind How Much Bigger That Could Get

[01:02:33] Tristam Jarman: No worries. So if we look back at that result, so we saw these 5 results here. Google says it’s not showing everything. So, we’ll just take it as it’s 5 pages out of 167, I think it was. So, bearing that in mind, over the future, put yourself 1, 5, 10 years in the future, if you don’t look into these issues now, how much bigger that could get. As we look at the last site, We Love New York has been around for 10, 11 years.

[01:03:04] Tristam Jarman: And so, issues, they just naturally build. It’s just the thing of life. Even the best of brands don’t necessarily manage these things in the best of ways. But having a look at Things To Do In Austin, I would have a look at this issue. And it goes back to what we were saying about not wasting Google’s time, going through pages that aren’t necessarily necessary.

Looking at an Example of Duplicate Content in the Website and Choosing Which Is the Better Option

[01:03:29] Tristam Jarman: And so, what I did further, because what we want to do is just try and clean up the site, so they’re being looked at more efficiently. And I run the site audit in SEMrush, and there were 47 pages with duplicate content. And I’ll just pick out one example. We’ve got this page on nightlife, and we’ve got this page on nightlife, which are both being served up.

[01:03:59] Tristam Jarman: And I just wonder, so if we say this is page A, so once you jump in here, you’ve landed on this page on nightlife, you’ve then got two: Top Bars on 6th Street, Austin and the Top Nine Bars on Rainey Street, Austin. I’ve already been through them. I know where I’m going to go and have a few beers. I love the guide. I love the information.

[01:04:23] Tristam Jarman: So if we call this option A and this page, which is more of like a search result page within the site, it does look quite cool. But with my mind, if I’m planning a trip to Austin, Texas, the chances are I’m going to want to go and see reviews and a bit more in depth information.

With Consideration of the Crawl Budget and What Google Sees, Eradicate the Tag Pages and Choose Which Should Be Indexed

[01:04:46] Tristam Jarman: So, this already, I feel option A gives me that, that better premise of making a decision. I’m having to now go further into each one. I can’t read a synopsis. And there’s only 4 results here, whereas we’ve got 9. Oh, and it doesn’t say how many are in the second one, but we’ve got clearly more than the 4 that are available here. So, I just wonder what everyone watching is thinking, whether you’d preferred to see option A or option B.

[01:05:20] Tristam Jarman: But going back to what we were saying about crawl budget and what Google sees, Google is seeing all of these pages. So if we eradicated those tag pages, we chose just one of these to be indexed, because it is coming up as duplicate contents that needs to be rectified. Google does not like that. It’s having to make a decision on where to go and what to show for search results.

The Website Owner Should Make the Decisions for Google Because It’s Their Site and It’s Their Content 

[01:05:44] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s another good question. Beside the point of Google having to make a decision, if you are intelligent, you make that decision for Google because it’s your site, it’s your content. You should be deciding where people should be landing from Google, what Google should be presenting. And I agree with you. That page looks to me much more interesting. We’ve got an introductory text with a couple of articles.

[01:06:07] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I would take away the category because you need to think about the context of the person landing on that page. If I’m coming from Google, I’m not thinking categories. I’m thinking about what am I going to do at night time in Austin, Texas. So, the word category throws me immediately. And the title would be What To Do In Austin, Texas or Nightlife in Austin, Texas: What To Do, give me some more concrete information.

[01:06:32] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And the default category or default tag or whatever it might be in WordPress, if you’re going to choose this page, make sure that the person coming on to this page, out of context from Google or from the context of Google rather, lands on the page and finds an introduction, the first thing they see, an introduction to the subject that actually makes sense. Go ahead, Tristam.

Some Final Suggestions About the Google Crawler Issues of Things To Do In Austin According to Tristam Jarman

[01:06:55] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. And so, yeah, follow those steps, try to reduce. As we’ve said, you make the decision. Don’t make Google make the decision. There’s only a few issues here. But if you resolve those now, brilliant. And then you build yourself a process, whether you do that monthly, twice a year, whenever you have time to audit these sites. I would recommend putting that in place. And then you’ll just have a clean, shiny website that Google loves and your users love because they’re finding the right information, staying on the site. And then you’re getting all that affiliate money coming in.

Analysing the Content Issues of Things To Do In Austin and Recommending Ways to Expand and Create Further Content

[01:07:35] Tristam Jarman: And so, the last two sections on this particular site I want to show, because I couldn’t find similar issues to We Love New York. So, in terms of content, what I was going to do is actually just recommend some possible ways of expanding and creating further content with a few simple, easy steps.

[01:07:58] Tristam Jarman: So, firstly, I’m just going to put in the domain name, let this populate. And for anyone that have not used this, this is the overview of this domain. And what we want is we want to jump into organic research. And then I just want to have a look at all 257 organic, because I’ve already picked the one I want to quickly show. 

[01:08:39] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And it’s looking through what already exists and seeing what opportunities there might be.

The Actual Keyword Overview, Including Volume, Keyword Difficulty, and Cost Per Click, for the Website Using SEMrush

[01:08:47] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. And so, what I saw was this some traction on brunch in Austin, brunch Austin search terms. But as you can see, as this loads, so brunch Austin. When you are looking to improve content, it can be taken in a number of ways. The approach I took was to look at things that weren’t ranking great and how we can go about improving those. So, I see brunch Austin is ranking in about position 69. It’s actually improved recently, which is great, but how can we improve further on that term and possibly other related terms?

[01:09:32] Tristam Jarman: So, we’ve gone into this actual keyword overview in SEMrush. You’ve got all the detail here of volume, keyword difficulty, cost per click, et cetera. But what I like here is if you are going, yeah, cool, Tristam, I’ve written some content on brunches or brunch in Austin, but I need some further guidance on what to do.

[01:09:57] Tristam Jarman: If you scroll down here, what we’ve got is, and obviously you can see, you can view more information, but you’ve got keyword variations, you’ve got questions that people are asking. And probably, the top two are more relevant because the volumes are showing. Could you write further or craft your content to actually have some of these terms in them?

Suggestions for Content Issues: Reoptimise the Piece of Content, Create New Content, or Diversify the Already Written Content

[01:10:21] Tristam Jarman: So, you could reoptimise a piece of content you’re doing or go out and create new content. So, imagine that we knew how much a brunch of joggers in Austin, maybe not that one, but you can have a look through these keyword variations, questions, and related keywords to start going, okay, we’ve got that piece of content. Can that actually be a hub page?

[01:10:45] Tristam Jarman: And I can start breaking out further pieces of content on more brunch information for Austin. So, I can really start to capitalise on that. Or can I diversify the piece of content I’ve already written to, not keyword spam, but craft the content, so it reads better and includes some of these terms in a natural way to start picking up and ranking for these search terms?

Further Suggestions for the Content Issues of the Website According to Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy)

[01:11:14] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Looking at that very quickly, just glancing at it, I see best brunch downtown Austin. That will be a really good example of taking something as a little bit more specific. It will draw less traffic, but that traffic will be incredibly interested in what you’ve got to say. So, you just focus on downtown brunches.

[01:11:30] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly.

[01:11:30] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And then you can do another article with the other keyword you were talking about, which is brunches in general in Austin, where can you go. So, you’ve actually got two pieces there. And one doesn’t exclude the other, i.e. you can have two articles. Would you agree?

Taking Into Consideration the Background of the Audience About the Place and Helping Them Find the Right Content Externally 

[01:11:43] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, definitely. I guess a quick process is I’ve just started learning recently about Austin. I now know some bars, et cetera, to go to and places to brunch, but I didn’t really know them. Because in England, we don’t really have uptown or downtown in the UK, but I know that is more of a thing in America. So, me being a naive English person, as I’m learning about Austin, I might just want to go, yeah, where can I brunch in Austin?

[01:12:14] Tristam Jarman: And then as I’m learning more down the funnel, I might go, oh, okay, I’ve heard about downtown, it sounds like a really cool hit place. I’m now going to go and search best places to brunch in downtown Austin. And hopefully, boom, you come back up. Because if the person wasn’t able to find the content through your site initially, then Google should be able to serve it to them. Or they might have been researching externally, and then you can show up for that term and bring people in for that more specific term. 

[01:12:45] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): You said Google needs to be able to serve the content to them. It’s serving brunch, which is wonderful.

[01:12:52] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly.

[01:12:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Sorry, that was my joke, excuse me. And if we go even more specific, you said a cool place to go, cool place to eat brunch.

[01:13:01] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, exactly. So, then you can start those things.

Even If the Volume of People Searching Your Site Is Small, They Might Be the Ones That Are More Specific and Have a Better Conversion

[01:13:03] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): If you can get less people, less than that 12k that you had earlier on, maybe you’ll have 100 people, but those 100 people are going to be very, very, very interested, very engaged, and probably convert much better for you, whatever your business model might be.

[01:13:16] Tristam Jarman: Yeah, definitely. And again, this is a whole another conversation. But just quickly, there’s always that sort of contentious argument of we should be going for the high traffic keywords. That’s great, but maybe these smaller, more smaller volume ones are more specific, as you said. And they’re the ones that might drive a better conversion or someone who’s a bit more clued up with what they’re looking for. It really depends on what your end result is wanting to be, but yeah. Never shy away from that mix of high volume and low volume search terms.

[01:13:53] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Brilliant. Yeah. And as you say that, that’s a whole big topic that I’m sure we can cover in another episode further down the line, focusing on that particular aspect, which is what kind of keywords are we going to go after? And it is tempting, as you say, to go for the high volume ones, but they’re definitely not the easiest ones and they’re not necessarily the most profitable ones. So, what are we going to finish off with in Austin?

The Last Analysis for Things To Do In Austin: Looking at Site Speed Issues Using Pingdom

[01:14:16] Tristam Jarman: And so, to finish off, nope, that is not the one we want, is it? Let me grab the other link.

[01:14:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Is Things To Do In Austin just as slow as our friends in New York?

[01:14:26] Tristam Jarman: Yeah. So, it’s actually slightly larger. So, this is saying it ran a full loaded time, 31 seconds. As I say, you won’t necessarily see that. It’s things that are going on behind in the background. And that is a humongous total page size. And you’ve got some image issues here, serving scaled images, but it’s saying it is an issue, but it’s less of an issue than these particular three. So, I would have a look at these top four issues yourself or with a developer to try and reduce just the page size of what content you are loading.

[01:15:10] Tristam Jarman: And yeah, make your site as quick as loading as possible, which usually means reducing the size of pages. If we saw the example on Pingdom, they’re saying it’s about 2 MB are in the top 896 sites ranking. So, yeah, reduce the size, make the site load quicker. Google and other search engines will like you more and your users will like you more. Don’t think that everyone is sat at home using their phone on Wifi. People have different internet connections.

[01:15:44] Tristam Jarman: And some have still, in this day and age, poor internet connections. So, you’ve got huge sites, it takes longer to load. And I don’t know, but I know there was still a case a few years ago. Some places and people, I think it’s less a case now, would pay for how many megabytes and gigabytes they’re using on their mobile. And so if you’ve got many pages, which are just huge megabyte pages, you are helping to eat away at their monthly usage. Yeah. That’s not cool.

Google Judges Your Internet Connection Speed, Especially a 3G Network Connection 

[01:16:21] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And if you look at it from Google’s point of view, I was talking to Chris Liversidge, an English guy who’s specialising in those kind of stuff. Google judge you on a 3G network. Your speed is judged. So even if you are in Paris, Viviane, or in the South of France, like I am, the internet is pretty good here. It’s pretty good probably in Brighton too. Even on mobile, you’re on 4G, everything seems fine. It doesn’t matter because Google isn’t judging you on 4G. It’s judging on 3G, which is completely different.

[01:16:51] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): And I did a podcast episode where he explains how it works. And you realise that it’s all in 14K packets. So, it means everything has to be chunked into small bits. And if you can just go back to that screen again.

[01:17:03] Tristam Jarman: Oh yeah, sure.

Cloudflare, According to Jason Barnard, Is a Relatively Simple Solution to Different Site Speed Issues

[01:17:04] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): I’ll mention Cloudflare again, because actually Cloudflare would be a relatively simple solution to the second two of those problems. The deferring JavaScript is not something you can help with directly, but it does the caching and it does the consistent URL resource allocation. So, Cloudflare could be a good solution. I’m not being paid by Cloudflare, but they have a free tier solution, which is actually very good once you’ve got it set up. And it works really, really well and it does resolve a lot of these problems for you. And so, that might be worth looking into if you don’t have a developer or you can’t afford a developer.

You Can Contact Tristam Jarman and Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) for More Information 

[01:17:44] Tristam Jarman: Exactly. And that neatly brings us to the end of this slightly longer than I would hoped presentation. But I hope both of those sites that I spoke about you, I’d love to know, like in the last episode, if you take these away, these issues, you rectify them, I’d love you to hit me up. And I can share this with Jason and Travelpayouts, et cetera, just to understand what improvements you’ve seen from making these changes. I’m such a geek. I get excited for this stuff, so I’m just going to stop sharing my screen.

[01:18:20] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): That’s absolutely lovely. For me, that wasn’t too long. An hour and 20 minutes is just about right. We gave both sites half an hour each. That was totally fair. There was absolutely boatloads of really useful information there, Tristam. Thank you very much. And I think both site owners are going to benefit from actually thinking about what they can do to implement all that, but anybody who’s got a site will be able to pull some useful and helpful and actionable information from there.

[01:18:47] Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy): Absolutely wonderful. Brilliant. Thank you everyone for watching. Thank you Travelpayouts for allowing us to do this rather delightful site analysis. We enjoy doing it. We’re going to be back next time, which will be in about a month’s time. We’re not sure when. Hopefully, Tristam will agree to come back again for a third time, because this is turning out to be quite an effective and interesting and fun and enjoyable duo. Thank you very much to everybody. Please do come back next time. See you soon. 

[01:19:22] Tristam Jarman: Bye.

Video published by Travelpayouts August 6, 2020. Guests: Tristam Jarman, and Jason Barnard, founder and CEO at Kalicube.

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