245 – ‘S’ is for SEO

245 – ‘S’ is for SEO

‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

Hello. It’s another A-Z of WordPress. The series where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites with WP. Today is for S for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)…

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Usually we have an interview followed by a chat with David and Nathan, but we’re bucking the trend this week with back-to-back discussions. Shocking I know!

Preamble

As with every topic, we are not experts in this. But I would say the skills of an SEO expert are very similar these days to those of anyone who is a generalist building site for clients and helping with basic online marketing.

I imagine Pete Everitt’s (SEO Hive) basic skill set is similar to ours. We are really only dealing with on-page SEO with WordPress.

SEO – what is it? Dead or Alive?

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Making sites the way Google prefers is not likely to go away, and rarely seems a priority in most builds. Folk love the “eye candy” and interactions.

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I think mostly, all we need to follow is Google’s advice.

We need to think about our keywords and place them carefully in the header and body text to not only help Google, but visitors as well. Markup our image and media content (again not just for Google, but visitors (particularly those who use assistive technology).

SEO seems more wholistic.

WordPress speed has become a bit of a topic. Google confirmed Core Web Vitals is more than a tie breaker. Again, we probably only need to follow Google’s advice to make site perform well.

To see how AI is changing the landscape look at this new SaaS app called Outranking on Appsumo.

Google does state that they do not like AI generated content, but it will be tricky for them to spot it going forwards. David has been trying Rytr recently – another Appsumo purshase.

WordPress’s reputation for good SEO out of the box

More of a myth, but still…

  • Pretty links helped – when many old CMS’s did not do this
  • Adds the Metadata automatically 
  • Having taxonomies – against page template systems like WIX and Squarespace
  • Not messing up the image URL – like WIX and Squarespace
  • Recently added a sitemap by default

So it’s SEO friendly rather than optimised then?

What we use

David:

I tried “All in One SEO” ages back (it did not allow me to add things to some WooCommerce categories then). Mostly I used Genesis, which has some SEO built in. Then Yoast came along and I used that, now I’m toe dipping with SEOPress, and also https://wpschema.com/

Appsumo deals:
Site auditor (like screaming frog) https://www.accuranker.com/ (watches the ranking of a site keywords)  https://serpstat.com/

Nathan:

I’m only using SEOPress these days as it seems to do all of the things that it need to do without an upgrade path that some rivals have.

Main Plugins in the WordPress repo in order of popularity (this might be wrong now, they change all the time!):

Yoast SEO

Rank Math SEO – Best SEO Plugin For WordPress To Increase Your SEO Traffic

All in One SEO – Best WordPress SEO Plugin – Easily Improve SEO Rankings & Increase Traffic

The SEO Framework

SEOPress, on-site SEO

Slim SEO – Fast & Automated WordPress SEO Plugin

SEO 2021 by Squirrly (Smart Strategy)

Other supporting Plugins

Broken link checkers

Redirect plugins

Do we even need a plugin?

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/wordpress-seo/wordpress-seo-without-plugin

If you’ve got any thoughts on things that we got wrong / didn’t include or perhaps you’ve got a rival SEO resource you prefer, please add a comment below, or in the WP Builds Facebook group.

Nathan Wrigley

Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group.

The WP Builds podcast is sponsored this week by…

AB Split Test – The fastest way to create Split Tests in WordPress

and

The WP Builds Deals Page

We thanks them for their support of WP Builds.

Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there once again and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 245. Entitled S is for se. It was published on Thursday, the 2nd of September, 2021. My name's Nathan Wrigley and as is so often the case I'll be joined a little bit later by David Waumsley so that we can have our chat about SEO.

It's a bit unusual this year. Normally we do an interview episode, followed by a discussion with David followed by an interview, followed by David. And so it goes ad infinitum, but this week bit of a change, because we have, I think back to back discussions with David, I won't go into the boring details of why that is, but it's quite nice two in a row.

So we get to go through the alphabet a little bit. A few bits of housekeeping just before we begin, if you wouldn't mind going to WP Builds.com, that's our website over there. You can find every single thing that we do. And we do quite a. We do the, this week in WordPress show every Monday, which goes out on a Tuesday.

And we also have the podcast episode, which you're listening to now, which goes out every Thursday. If you want to keep up to date with what we do head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. And you'll find all of the ways of doing that. Newsletter lists, Twitter accounts, YouTube, and so on. Go to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe.

And we will keep in touch with you. As in, when we create new content, another page worth mentioning WP, he builds.com forward slash deals. It's like black Friday, but every single day of the week, huge amounts of WordPress products and services, coupon codes galore, and they never seem to expire. So that's WP Builds.com forward slash deals.

If you're in the market for something this week, Also, if you're in the market for getting your product or service out in front of a WordPress specific audience, we can help you with that because we do advertising on the podcast and the way that you can find that is WP Builds dot com forward slash advertise, fill out the form.

And you never know, we might be able to get your product or service in front. Like I said of a WordPress specific audience. Another thing which I'm doing in the very near future is we're rerunning the page builder summit. It's happening in October this year. And we're on the lookout for sponsors over there.

So if you have a page builder E company, then we would be very interested in him hearing from you and seeing if we can get you helping us put on the page builders. The way to do that is to go to page builder, summit.com forward slash sponsors, or more time page builder, summit.com forward slash sponsors.

Or just reach out to me on the contact form on the WP Builds website. We really want this event to be as good as the other ones were. And the help of sponsors really does help with. Okay. Speaking of advertising, the WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB splits. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time?

The new AB split test plugin for WordPress. It'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. You can use your existing pages and test anything with anything else that could be buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or beaver builder and the WordPress block editor.

So why not check it out and get a free demo. Go to AB split test stock. All right. We're talking today about SEO. This is a subject which is very much on everybody's minds. If you build WordPress websites, you're sure to have come across this before David and I claim no expertise in this area, as you will hear.

But we talk about some of the tools that we've used in the past. Some of the things which we think are important. No doubt there'll be some commentary from you guys because there always is because we probably got something wrong or we missed something out. And if you want to help us out, go to the website, leave a comment or leave something in the Facebook group.

But here we go, episode number 245, all about SEO. I hope that you enjoy.

[00:04:24] David Waumsley: Hello, it's another eight. Is that a word, press the series where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites would WordPress today is S for SEO search engine optimization. So again, another topic Nathan, where we're complete experts.

Oh, yeah.

[00:04:42] Nathan Wrigley: Fully about to school, everybody in SEO, how to achieve number one in Google, Bing in fact, any search engine of your choice, you're going to learn how to do that in the next 45 minutes or so. Yeah.

[00:04:56] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah, this is what actually you're more scared of this one than I am. For some reason I maybe it's my ignorance.

That's making me overconfident, but I really think when it comes to SEO, Google tells us what to do. And it's fairly simple stuff. Just mark up your pages with the keywords. So we understand what you're doing, understand your headers and stuff like that on page is all that we really do when it comes to WordPress.

How difficult can it be? And we've got a little bit of metadata, really only the titles is the important stuff. The rest of it has been abused. So how difficult can SEO be in WordPress? Really? There

[00:05:32] Nathan Wrigley: we go. That was a lovely episode. Thanks for joining us. We'll be back next week now, but that's it that's as far as I want it to go, that is all I want to achieve.

I want to be able to go into a post. Writes the post, obviously within the back of my mind, I'm thinking about SEO. I want to put certain keywords in there and put them toward the top of the content, perhaps in a title. And so on and beyond that, I want to upload an image and maybe fiddled with the title.

Maybe fiddle with a little bit of metadata and that's it. I want the job of SEO on each of my posts to take me what a minute at most. And I don't want to worry about all the other stuff. And so that's why it scares me because we're about to embark upon talking some about something that I'm terrified of.

[00:06:19] David Waumsley: Yeah. And you know what I was reading just in Tagalog from. WP Tavern as well, talking about a particular plugin. And that was really pretty much what he was saying. He just wants, it wants to get the content out there. That's probably the most significant thing. And he wants the least things to get in his way of doing that.

So he was fun. Really slimmed down the SEO plugins as a result of that. And I think the same way, I guess it depends on your strategy. If you've got a static site, which you can't update very often, probably every everything you can possibly do to help it is probably necessary. But if you're a content maker, probably you don't want to get too bogged down and just get the content out there.

Yeah.

[00:07:02] Nathan Wrigley: And that's it. You just want it to be a simple job. And the problem that we've got is we've got these SEO plugins that are, seem to be in some sort of competition with each other and features. And the number of tick boxes has been rising exponentially over the last few years, to the point where you and I, prior to hitting record, we had a quick flit around the menus and yeah, honestly, there are tick boxes that I have no idea what they mean.

And okay. I could go out and I could do some research, but what would be the actual gain for me? Would it really make a difference either?

[00:07:38] David Waumsley: Yeah. We, we, we picked her, I picked up on doubling cord and I, which I've looked up a few times cause I just, I see it's in some plugins, don't understand what it is.

You thought it sounded like a kind of Irish folk band. Yes. And and it turns out to be a very old kind of schema, really like schema.org, which is. More preferable these days anyway, but it still is honored by Google, but really is not a ranking factor. You know, it's just these little minutiae things where it might help you to have it, but probably not greatly.

Well,

[00:08:13] Nathan Wrigley: just to give some sort of context to this. Talk about SEO, plugins. I'm sure as things go on, but I've got an SEO plugin on a site. I'm looking at it now. I have got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 sections. To it, to menus. And that's just the headings. So I can click on those 13 sections.

So there's titles and metadata XML, social networks, analytics, advanced tools, schemers, redirections, broken link on we go. And each one of those has dozens and dozens of different options. So it's just all bewildering.

[00:08:54] David Waumsley: Yeah. And I think that, we've moved into plugins straight away. We shouldn't have been talking about kind of SEO what it is, but yeah.

I'll go with this one because I think here's the problem now. If you've got to compete and in WordPress, we've got so much competition, so much choice, then SEO plugins are going to need to add in more features to compete with each other. And then it means that they move into areas where we might already have a plugin or a theme is taking care of it.

So if our theme is taking care of a schema, do we want the schema that's been added to an SEO plugin? If we've got Google analytics, plugin, do we need the Google analytics stuff that they're going to do for us? And you get this kind of crossover all the time.

[00:09:36] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. I completely agree. There's this overlapping architecture that we've gotten it is quite possible.

And then, there's some things that might even be in core. Like we were talking about site maps before we hit record on whether or not that's now the domain of WordPress. And if it's the domain of WordPress, how do we actually go and configure the site map and switch things off that we don't want to be visible?

And all of this is a bit of a anyway. Yeah, you're right. I've advanced. Let's talk about what. SEO is let's go back to that.

[00:10:04] David Waumsley: Yeah. Whether it's dead or alive or not. Because I remember when I first came into just building sites, that was the thing. SEO is dead. And then people say it'll never be dead.

And I think probably it's true, but to some degrees, the SEO that I knew of the past was really centered around manipulating search engines. That weren't that bright at the time. You know, you could do come a lot. Not on page stuff, but link networks and all that kind of stuff. And people had a job, didn't they in just doing that, building up authority through LinkedIn?

I think that's, I feel that's gone now. Yeah. The role of an SEO now seems very similar to my role as someone who builds websites that I see the very similar, I see people who I quite like. I don't follow many people. Yeah. SEO, but I've seen quite a lot. Pete Everett's stuff. He does this SEO hive stuff, but every time I've seen him do stuff, he sat, he makes sense to me, it's just the stuff that I think I should do and watching his stuff in minds, me of what I should do.

And it sounds very similar to the advice I get from Google. So I don't know.

[00:11:16] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, the one of the questions which occurred to me is I now see this in the same way that Pete Everett has made a business out of SEO. That's my position on it all beyond the simple stuff of doing the titles and the descriptions.

I feel that's an area that I don't really want to tread into. So I would rather somebody who knew what they would do. Took that off of me and dealt with it than I tried to be a Jack of all trades. You know, a great example would be, I can't use Photoshop. I am a lousy designer. That's not something I should in any way be involved in because I'm just pathetic at it.

And any site that had been designed by me would look dreadful. Off. It goes to somebody who is significantly better than I am and will achieve something quicker. And it will be better. I feel a bit the same about SEO. I feel that this is an area where I actually don't have an interest in researching all this stuff.

So you just mentioned Dublin core. I'm like you, I don't really know what it is. So I would have to go off and make an effort to do that. And all the time that's robbing me of time of the things that I wish to do. So I'm a bit like that, but you had an interesting point earlier in that you feel sometimes there's a, you, you maybe give the work to an SEO person and they try to unpack everything and you're coming at it from completely different points of

[00:12:41] David Waumsley: view.

Yeah. I think, it's, if a client wants to do some good. Edward work, I think, yeah. Go to somebody who does that. Cause I've really, haven't got the patience or understand that well enough and they'll be up to date. So I have no problem hand in that side of things over, although that's bitten me a little bit, but for the rest of it, I go, no SEO.

Get off my land. Because, because they, I think many of them will be doing have an overlap of skills. So my example to you earlier was what I fear happening as a lot of SEOs are interested in performance now because that's become a ranking factor and it's become an interest to me. You know, I'm trying to optimize sites.

I have this fear that some SEO will come in and because that's part of their agenda now performance, they will probably go in with, oh, you're using this platform. You need to be on something else, really, because it's much more lightweight or whatever, something I figured out and might start on. Yeah. The work that I've done.

That's my fear now with SEO is that I feel they do similar things to me. And I think they might just tread on my toes is this

[00:13:50] Nathan Wrigley: though, because you, is it because you have had historically a bit of an interest in it and you've installed plugins and researched and you've discovered.

A lot of the things that you need to do are, so you feel capable of doing it. Whereas for me, and like I said, anything beyond the titles and the meta-description you know, maybe uploading a separate image for goop, for Facebook or Twitter or whatever it might be. Anything beyond that is something I don't really want to get interested in.

So expertise overlaps. So there's a point of tension there.

[00:14:24] David Waumsley: Yeah I mean, I really don't have any skill, but I do enjoy it when a client lets me do some keyword research, but at the beginning, when they're telling me what they want to achieve and you just think, oh, I'm not sure if you're going to get found for that, the end of the keywords you're going for and not what people are typing for, that you can't compete for.

And I do a bit of it. It's very basic, but it's really my strategy. I come up with how they might want to deal and build their site. Plan forward. And I feel if someone else comes in, they may unpick that planning with their own agenda. Sometimes. I have not had to deal with SEOs, but with, something which I am happy.

Handover say there's a site where I know they've brought someone in, who does their Google AdWords stuff for them. I've gone into the site. And then I've realized I've got three plugins that have been installed to put some basic code into the head it's in the theme. Anyway, they didn't know.

Press enough. So they've installed and deactivated these plugins. And I just think, yeah, I have to manage this site and they're installed in these plugins. Oh, that's really? Yeah.

[00:15:32] Nathan Wrigley: That's fascinating because obviously they're treading on your toes and yeah, just curious as to what we both think about this.

If you were a client of yours, would SEO Trump design. What I'm saying is if you were in conflict with an SEO expert and the client had to listen to both of your arguments, I feel like the SEO person gets the win most times. Yeah.

[00:16:01] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think so.

[00:16:02] Nathan Wrigley: Just do what they say, because I want it to rank in Google, beyond anything else.

[00:16:08] David Waumsley: Yeah, but, I mean, I'm not great with design and that's something that I'm quite happy to hand over to someone else more than perhaps I would the SEO, because I feel if anything, I can help a client with this. Maybe just thinking about how they might strategically move forward with developing their online presence and that's part.

Building the site is part of that. So I feel it's that relationship I want to have with the client going forward and maybe my SEO skills aren't as great as somebody else out there. At least I've got a basic plan that I've got someone signed up to. If someone turns their head with the idea, I can get you to traffic.

I think a lot of, if I haven't done the job well with the client in the first one, I haven't explained that, you need two things, it's not just about really, it's not about just getting the traffic's is now about converting. So you need the two to work together. You need the traffic and when the traffic comes, you need to make sure that they do something and that comes into the design.

Yeah.

[00:17:02] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. And also, I suppose it's fair to say that both you and I, we don't have a history of working with, like massive multinational companies where. Having being third in the search rankings, as opposed to fourth could be worth millions of dollars. And so what we're doing is we're just doing the basics because that yeah.

Is enough. In most cases, w we're probably dealing with local firms who, people are going to search for the name of the location, as well as the word plumber. So in my case, it might be, I don't know, north Yorkshire plumber or something, there's a good chance of ranking against those kinds of things.

Whereas if you're, I dunno, you're a gossip website where you're trying. Pick your products against Amazon or something like that. It might be really important to really get into the weeds of what these SEO plugins can do. And the complexity then is a bonus because if somebody knows what they're doing and can really tease out and make a tiny difference, which pushes you one place up, then it's been worth all the effort, but I'm just not like

[00:18:05] David Waumsley: going.

Yeah. And yeah. Has to be set in context because I'm looking at it from someone who. Dealing with relatively low budget clients and, SEO is one part of what they need to do. In the overall scheme of things and in their budget. So if all of that budget went to some SEO, which is, they're the professionals and they're skilled in that, I would be a bit worried that they let go of other aspects of, their strategy.

I think that's where my fear is. And that's why I probably liked it. Myself in most cases, but I think I'd be the first to hold my hands up if it was beyond what I know about certainly building really on-page stuff is all I can do.

[00:18:47] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's the same for me. Like you've said keyword research, I used to spend silly amounts of money on keyword tools.

This is going back a decade or more, I had all these online SAS tools. Try to do all the keyword research for me and make that job. And in the end I just got so tied up in it that it became an obstacle to me actually doing anything, making a start. And I think that's, that could be potentially a problem, just make us stop.

Do you ever work at the, in tandem with an SEO? So you're doing stuff at the same time.

[00:19:21] David Waumsley: No, I really have I I've worked with one guy who was really more from the Google ads side of things. And we'd got on really well actually, because you knew what I was trying to achieve. And our enemy was the booking system on this site was an external one.

We both agreed that we needed to find out when people were coming to the end to a thank you page to build, to measure stuff. So my experience actually so far has been good working with somebody who did. SEO expertise. We were on the same. We had the same plan and his skills were stuff. I didn't know, but yeah, but I have, other clients, it's more the fact that it was my call clients who, surprisingly, they went off, they got us to do what they thought they wanted us to do, which was designed the website.

And then they thought, oh, now I need some traffic. So I'll go and find someone that will do the traffic, where it would have been much better to come back to us and said, yeah, I need more traffic. Instead, that's cute. What happened is, yeah. Yeah.

[00:20:21] Nathan Wrigley: It's kind curious that there's, that is that distinction out in the wild that people would think that that's not David's job, but if I want traffic, I need a different ind I need a different expert.

[00:20:32] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah. And they would come in with a, an entirely different view of the organization, in a way I feel it's more of our job or maybe I've made it that one to feel that, that initial conversation about your online presence and working out some kind of. Tying that in with the business strategy or what they hope to do is part of that startup process where I can do it.

I can't do it with everybody. So I feel when somebody comes in as an SEO, they may not do that same thing. It's the same as well. I would come in if they had a brand in expert, The visuals were important. I would say get a branding expert because I'm useless at this. I can't make a logo like you Nathan, get somebody in, but they sh I'm what I'm expecting them to do before I come in is to actually go through what that has got to represent to the audience.

They would have done all that groundwork stuff that I would normally do. Yes. So then I. With the website on the basis of that. Same as a copywriter, yeah.

[00:21:31] Nathan Wrigley: It's curious, you were saying earlier about how in, in the world that we live now, a lot of the SEO is tied into things, which it certainly wasn't in the past.

So yeah, there's a lot of talk about speed of websites being a real ranking factor. And that kind of pushes SEO into a really new domain. Doesn't it? Because suddenly SEOs need to be talking about servers. And caching and lighthouse and, core web vitals and all of these kinds of things as a real factor.

And that really is a bit of an overlap with what we're doing, because suddenly you're going to get people on the phone SEO's telling you that. Actually, can we just move it over to this server? Because I've had experience with this server being significantly better than the one that it's currently on.

And that really does feel like our toes are being troubled.

[00:22:23] David Waumsley: Yeah, that's my fear. Especially if you spent a fair bit of time yourself trying to get to performance, and I've always felt that as part of my job of building sites has been there. Even if I've not concentrated enough on it, it's always been one of my key factors.

So someone comes in who's relatively new to it and they've picked up some stuff it may contradict, or it might be less informed than my own knowledge on that.

[00:22:48] Nathan Wrigley: Should we move on to talk about. WordPress and SEO arrived at that point yet. Do you think? Yeah,

[00:22:55] David Waumsley: I think we have, it's got great reputation. Isn't it?

Everybody says,

[00:23:00] Nathan Wrigley: I don't really know. Obviously I arrived at WordPress after it had been up and running for ages. And that was one of the things that was just being bandied about. It feels like that's still being bandied about people still just say that as a thing, WordPress is good for SEO at the box, but should we discuss why.

[00:23:19] David Waumsley: Yeah. I do remember, and it was true for me. I remember when I was looking around, I was going to use the old CMS is that are out there Drupal that you use that were better. But I think a lot of them out there at that time didn't have pretty links. And I think that was. Something when I really bought into the it's good for SEO because it, it's, it's not some reference number, et cetera.

Yeah. Question mark, blah, blah. The URL. It's got actual keywords in there. So for me, I was, I bought into that in the early days. I don't suppose there's any CMS is out there that doesn't have pretty low. No.

[00:23:57] Nathan Wrigley: Even Drupal had that year to install a module, but yeah, it was easy to achieve, but it wasn't, as far as I remember it wasn't out of the box.

Maybe that was all. It was just that. Oh no. And then there was the fact that you could add some basic data in, out of the boxes. Yeah.

[00:24:14] David Waumsley: I mean, you it doesn't automatically add the metadata that's needed there or video and, we've got, taxonomies as well. If you're still trying to blog on something like Wix or Squarespace, it really doesn't have that kind of setup does it, you can't prioritize, which of your categories are important through those kinds of systems.

So it's got that by nature, if you're a blogger and you know, lots of other things like. Images as well. If you're using those systems because they're self hosted, they generally put them through their own CDN and put their own random numbers before you get to any of your keywords with your images.

And recently the site maps as well being added to, but I think, It's more of a myth, isn't it? That suits us. I think it's easy to convince maybe, if you've got a big job on, I think it's easier to convince people that, this is the place to go is if SEO is important to you, it's traffic important to you.

You want WordPress. Yeah.

[00:25:15] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That's a good point. And and I think it was a lot of those things. Just, it does them well enough and obviously it, excuse me. It was, it has been thought by millions of people that it doesn't do enough because there's a whole. Sway them login options, which we'll come on to.

Another thing that occurs to me is that it does things like great, the RSS feeds as well out of the box. You know, certainly in the day when I was starting website building, there was a lot of RSS and that all seems to be coming back into fashion again now and having all of that out of the box.

Really good. Yeah. You're right. There's quite a lot of stuff which you just take for granted. Boxes bags available. Ping backs. You remember those? Yeah. All of that fun stuff. It's all still there. Isn't it. But you just take it for granted because it's always been in WordPress. And yet you forget that without those things, as you said, a lot of the, a lot of the images that you sucked in would be meaningless because you couldn't tag them in certain ways and so on.

So yeah. Good

[00:26:15] David Waumsley: point. I, yeah, I know, but it's mostly reputation. I'm sure most things can compete, but maybe in terms of blogging, I think. That the third party proprietary wakes Squarespace. Those types will struggle, I think when it comes to actual blogging. But also, it's always the argument for WordPress is that essentially you've got control that you don't get with the others.

Yeah, yeah. You can choose what it does. Yep. Choices. It is. Yeah.

[00:26:42] Nathan Wrigley: So that may be a good point to jump onto the the different plugin options because we are. Utterly spoiled. And in the same way that we are with forms and caching, plugins, there's so many choices about well that you could make for SEO.

And I'm just bewildered by the arrangements and the permutations and the options. But what are the what are the ones that spring to mind the plugins that you've come across or you.

[00:27:12] David Waumsley: Should we go through just quickly over the popularity order? This is taken from the repository. So it's only including things that are there, but I think most of the SEO plugins are on the repository.

So obviously Yoast SEO, which we have to pause for a moment. It's just. Yeah. So

[00:27:28] Nathan Wrigley: w we're recording this in the week, beginning, the 16th of August and Yoast last week was sold, obviously this episode layer and in a couple of weeks. So it'll be older news at that point, but shock horror. That was a real.

That was a real big moment. And although I don't have any insight into the amount of money, which changed sounds, I can only assume it was a fairly sizable amount of money. Just just makes me think that wow, Yoast SEO, just inside of WordPress is a big business.

[00:28:03] David Waumsley: Yeah, it must have been at least a trillion Vietnamese dong.

[00:28:07] Nathan Wrigley: Yes. How much is it? Is that like a few pounds? Probably, but yes, but amazing that's been taken I've mixed, mixed reception, quite a few people fearful of the new owner because of things that have happened in the past. But yeah, but, you know, settle in the show with Paul Lacey on Monday last that if you were Maurica or.

And when you were offered, a way of changing your business and making it so that you could do things, which perhaps you had felt you couldn't do in the past it's good for them, can't argue

[00:28:45] David Waumsley: it. Yeah, it's my own history with it. I mean, I started with one that's on the list is third on the list actually in popular attitude, which is the all-in-one SEO, which I didn't really understand what was doing.

So I installed that one and I'm way back. This goes, this must be going back 10 years. So it's been around a long time. I remember I struggled with it with At the e-commerce site at that point, I'm sure it's not the case. Now. You couldn't put some metadata into categories of your I think we're commerce products and stuff.

So I struggled with it, but mostly at that point I'd been a Genesis person and the SEO was built in and that's all I ever needed. Very simple stuff. Yeah.

[00:29:29] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. It if memory serves and I wasn't much of a Genesis user, I was saying to you earlier that the Genesis SEO felt like it was in WordPress.

Yeah. It was almost like you didn't, it was not the part of Genesis. It was just part of WordPress itself, which was quite a nice, simple way of hunting.

[00:29:47] David Waumsley: Indeed my colleague, who I worked with when I'm working with Genesis, when I moved to using the beaver builder theme, she was gone. When where's he gone? I thought it was WordPress.

And it's ah, yeah, yeah. I need to put the SEO plugin. And that point I went to Yoast because the dose was the one that was around from the beginning. It had them, the most users and. Again, it's one of those things really well. I D I really don't know how to pick my SEO plugins. I picked it because I also, and I don't know the connection there, but it's inter forged relationships with Google themselves.

So I felt there must be a certain quality assurance that went with it.

[00:30:26] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. Yeah. It's still the dominant player by a significant margin, I think. But but in the more recent past last few years, we've had some new kids on the block and rank math, which is ranked second. And the two is number two.

That's a surprise. I wouldn't have put it in at number two, just from pure w the, the amount of noise I hear about it. It didn't feel like it would be in that position, but there you go. That's come from. How, how old is that? Is that a few years only?

[00:30:57] David Waumsley: It seems like that I'm in the pro was maybe out earlier in this year or the end of last year.

I don't know. So there was quite some time, but yeah, I can't imagine it's more than three years and it's obviously managed to overtake all in one SEO, which at one point was the top player in terms of usage. I think over Yoast.

[00:31:16] Nathan Wrigley: I love how back sometime I love how rank math is eating. Dog food because Yoast plugin is just called Yoast SEO, rank math.

The title of the plug-in is rank math, SEO, best SEO plugin for WordPress to increase your SEO. Yeah,

[00:31:33] David Waumsley: that's the way to do keyword stuffing. Isn't it. It's just Yoast SEO for the other one, which the interesting thing about if you look at all the names of all these quite confusing as well. Um, we've mentioned the top three, the next one is SEO framework.

If you have a look at what that's called on the repository and he says, I'm quickly trying to bring up the link now. Cause I can't remember. It's got a different, oh, it's called the SEO

[00:31:58] Nathan Wrigley: screen work.

[00:32:00] David Waumsley: Yes, it's called SEO framework, but it's meta data title is auto description. I think so that's obviously what it must've been called.

[00:32:09] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. At some point in the past, again, this is not one that I've really used. Have you come across this? Have you used this one in the past?

[00:32:18] David Waumsley: A lot of people swear by it. It's gonna, it's trying hard to pick these apart, actually. I think, um, It's gone for this idea, as a reaction, maybe to Yost and maybe to all in one, SEO has gone for this very clean thing, no advertising in the free version.

I believe with this one. And Kind of gone as, I guess the one that we've both been using, which is SEO press as well, which is a paired, which is now fifth as there presently are it's, it's very much gone for doing something different to what the main player has done. And the advertising has been a big thing cause that's the criticisms, isn't it of Yoast is the fact that it offers a lot for free, but it.

Puts its own advertising in and a lot of it.

[00:33:05] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. And I think that is some of the concern after they've been bought is that people are afraid that they're going to have their WordPress admin dominated by adverts from the purchasing company. It's interesting both, um, SEO press and all in all in one SEO according to this has got over 2 million active installations.

[00:33:30] David Waumsley: Okay. Have

[00:33:31] Nathan Wrigley: I got the order wrong? I don't know because SEO press, it says it's got 100 plus thousand installations and the SEO framework has a hundred thousand installations. So it does look like all in one SEO might, it might actually still be higher up the list than we imagined. And let's just have a quick look at what rank math has got currently.

[00:33:52] David Waumsley: Yes, you're right. It's only it's under the center of a million. Yeah,

[00:33:56] Nathan Wrigley: my older, yeah no, that's okay. It basically, just to say that the SEO framework is still it looks like it's still number two because yeah. Is one of those few plugins which are straight into the 5 million plus that's as high as it goes on the repository.

As far as I'm aware, you can't go beyond 5 million. Can you that's as big as it

[00:34:16] David Waumsley: gets. Yeah. And what they, their own claims of what their usage is, went to 11 million. The last time I saw something written on that side.

[00:34:25] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. A lot more. Wow. That really is the default I'm. I'm currently using what you had ranked as number five, I'm currently using SEO press and it does it.

I've just got used to it and it does the minimal stuff that I said I needed fairly well. In fact, they've just had a bit of a redesign something that kind of irked you. The fact that there's now this bottom, which enables you to do your SEO inside of a page builder. And all of a sudden it was there and it was like, they could have warned us about that.

Yeah, but it does the basics. Enough for me, as far as I'm concerned, I can change my social. The description to go out on Twitter and Facebook, which is quite an important mechanism for me, but also it allows me to, first menu op is the title and the description does all of that.

And there's two tabs that I fiddle with now.

[00:35:17] David Waumsley: Yeah. I've been, I've been using it and now it's on a lot of sites. In fact, I felt comfortable with it recently. So I've been putting out a lot more sites where before I stuck to Yoshi, just because I don't know which one to pick out.

And because I got a nice lifetime deal, I was being positive towards it. There's a few issues I've had, which admittedly, I haven't seen those issues with Yos, but that can just be look. So I still don't know. And I'm actually leaning towards one, which. One, we haven't mentioned so far, which is slim SEO, because it's just, it's kept really simple.

And I think that something that appeals to me these days

[00:35:56] Nathan Wrigley: about this then, so this is slim SEO. This is by the founder of metal box, which many of you will have heard of and Gretta themes, but probably more of you have heard of Metta box. So this is a newish player, is it? That seems like they've got a pro version, but not yet.

They're going to have a pro version. What, when you say. You like it cause it's slim. What do you mean?

[00:36:18] David Waumsley: They've just really cut it down to the feature. When you see the box, it's more like what we were saying that it seems like it fits in with WordPress. It'd be there. Cause you just got your place to put the title and you've got a place to put your description and then you've got something where you can just put in your open group.

Facebook and Twitter images there. That's really what you see when you're using it. I haven't spent long with it. It has got various end points. And again, this is, I've already mentioned it once with the WP tabbing that just in Tagalog reviewed it. And they made some changes according to, I think what he said about it does some other things automatically certain redirections in the background.

So you don't have to think about them. And now it allows you to turn those off, but really this is. There's another article, which is on our list. Maybe talk about is the, there's a good challenge. If you like to SEO plugins from the search engine journal, which says, do we need one at all? Because there's lots of small plugins that you can add in to add in breadcrumbs and add in meta descriptions and auto title, your images and stuff like that.

You don't necessarily need a plugin to do the basic stuff that we need. What I think with slim SEO is. Effectively taken that it's tiny the size of the file compared to all of the other ones. It's something like 86,

[00:37:36] Nathan Wrigley: 87 at the time, 87 kilobytes, as opposed to, for example, Yoast, which almost rounds out a four megawatt.

[00:37:45] David Waumsley: Yeah, exactly. And so there's a huge difference. It is tiniest slim. And I just think that's a, as I say, I haven't made a decision cause I really don't know. I feel like I'm completely at a loss with this, but when it comes down to what I actually use, I just think, oh, you know what

[00:38:02] Nathan Wrigley: It does strike me as quite appealing because I, you, the very things that you said it does other things that are you.

Yeah, that may be uh, an interesting thing for me to look at in the future. One point about that. What's the, is there a problem with moving? It, let's say that you've had a site and you've got, I don't know, a thousand posts or something, and you've been using this one SEO plugin, but you decide at some point, yeah.

Shift over, let's say slim SEO. What's the reputational damage that you're going to do yourself. I wonder by ripping out an SEO plugin and putting a different one in, because presumably your pages are going to look different to Google very suddenly. And I just don't know. I don't know what if that's a good idea, you, you sign up with a bank when you're 16 or something. You never really change feels it there's a bit of that with SEO. I would be fearful because I know that the impact could be pretty bad.

[00:38:58] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think maybe, but I think if you're sticking to the basics like you and I tend to do and interesting enough, most of them have got some kind of engine, so you can convert from one to the other.

Obviously it makes good business sense for them to do that, but I actually just installed the slips. SEO one. And I looked because I was installing it on site, which had SEO press on it and it didn't have the option to convert it, but I turned it on and turned SEO press on and surprise it.

Converted it for me in the SEO press. Yeah, it was already there in the data. So obviously SEO press left it. Yeah. In the way you would expect to find it. And, uh, some SEO, they were obviously working in a similar way where I don't know if that would easily work with Yoast to change the whole formatting of their database and how they stored stuff.

You know, this is we're delving

[00:39:53] Nathan Wrigley: into our ignorance. Be interesting if there's somebody who's listening and really, has a insight into this. It'd be curious to know what the answer is because without. Yeah put it this way. If you were dealing with a site where this was crucial, you don't want to mess that up.

And I don't know the answer to that. So I would be interested to know if somebody else does is an example of where you could reach out in the comments and let us know what the answer to that is. Is there a danger flipping and flopping from one plugin to another?

[00:40:24] David Waumsley: I imagine it must be when you start to get into the schema type stuff.

I can imagine. Yeah. I don't know, it could be wrong on that, but I'm sure that's mark top around the content. Definitely. Yeah, there's one. We haven't mentioned the only one here that I've found on my list. To be honest, I took this popularity order, assuming that the repository was showing them in popularity or they're obviously not the case.

The last one is scribbly.

[00:40:50] Nathan Wrigley: I've never heard of this. Never even heard of it.

[00:40:53] David Waumsley: It's been on that Sumo recently. A lot of people have been talking about it. Yeah. So I love their SEO work on their entry as well. SEO, 2021 by squarely smart strategy. Yeah. But it's

[00:41:07] Nathan Wrigley: got a hundred thousand plus again, just like SEO press and the others.

Wow. Yeah, I know nothing

[00:41:13] David Waumsley: about it, but I think. I think it takes on, I could be wrong here, but some of what Yoast does, which a lot of them don't do, which is the only thing that I actually didn't like, even though it was my main plugin when I needed one was the stuff I didn't was the fact that it would work out what you should be doing with your content.

You need to improve your keywords on it. That's the thing that I felt I didn't want from an SEO plugin. And that's what it does. I think scribbly does some of that stuff for you. So if you're into that, I think it takes over that they

[00:41:45] Nathan Wrigley: really have gone to town on promoting themselves in their description.

It's quite a, it's quite a tool to force in, self self-affirming language. Squirley has been named a high-performer for summer 2021 on G2 Gardner who was at Gardner digital market. Market's ranked squarely, SEO as a top SEO product. Yeah. Okay. All right. That's just one description of what it is, please.

Don't

[00:42:11] David Waumsley: show audio so much. Yeah, this is wow. Yeah, so much

[00:42:16] Nathan Wrigley: stuff. It's just one thing after another there's I've got two video, 3, 3, 4, hold on to so many videos. Wow. That is quite a description. That's how to do it. Look at that. They've got their 10,000. Oh my goodness. This never ends. It literally goes on for what, like three meters of text.

That's amazing. That's how you get a hundred thousand installs you a SEO, SEO yourself to bits. Anyway, there's another one. That's at the bottom of our big list. So you can go and

[00:42:48] David Waumsley: check that out. I tell you what though, when it comes to plugins and judging them, I think it's really difficult because.

It's a friends of bills and say what they use. But I, what I found so far is very few of them are that different to me. And I wouldn't know if there's an issue, which is what I found on one of the plugins when it had an issue. I didn't know about it until somebody flagged it up and it happened to be with BeaverBuilder in our case.

And it goes, oh yeah. So there is

[00:43:15] Nathan Wrigley: also, it's not just the issue. W I don't even know what half of the things that Mike plugin SEO press is doing. I just don't even get it. There's just all these things. So if something broke, I wouldn't even know, and I wouldn't even know what it was that had broken yet.

It's very peculiar. There's a lot, there's a lot in this that both of us don't understand. I think the bottom line of this is. If you'll just like me and David and you're just doing on-page optimization. You just need to keep it simple. Make sure that your content is well-written it's obviously featuring the words that you would like to be featured in on the search engines.

Do a little bit of keyword research, keep it safe.

[00:43:53] David Waumsley: Yeah. I think that's the thing. They're all, there are other plugins, which we all forget in about, which are part of SEO, which get included in some of them like broken link checkers and redirection plugins. They get included in some SEO plugins, but they are entirely separate, further.

So this is a lot of work. Isn't that into picking what you're going to have. I that's why I'm going for simple. Now I'd rather add in rather than take away. Yeah, no, what

will

[00:44:20] Nathan Wrigley: happen in two years time, somebody will come out with the simple, slim SEO plugin, which does even less. And at that point you'll be like, whoa.

Yeah, that's what I want. And eventually there'll be a plugin, which does only one thing. And and that'll be the one that you choose. Yeah. Difficult. I'm just going to stick with what I've got, because I know it I'm familiar with it. It works. And also like you, I got on a lifetime deal. So I felt pretty chuffed about that.

[00:44:47] David Waumsley: Yeah. I'm going to look into this because we are ignorant on this up. We got time to talk about just other things that are outside of that. SEO, because I've been, I only looked on the AppSumo this'll be out date, of course, by the time this goes out, but there was a new product that just came called outranking, which is now part of this AI, this, It seems to be about three new ALA products appear in which write the content for you.

And this one does this search results and find the, how you might rank for SERPs and writes the content for you. Oh

[00:45:21] Nathan Wrigley: dear. Oh, what? Oh no, this can't be healthy. This is where we're being with what, at that point, David, the tipping point where we're no longer needed, the robots of robots have made us obsolete.

Not only do we not need to design websites, but the, the content will be written. I think it seems consuming.

[00:45:42] David Waumsley: I think it's soon going to be isn't there going to be the new player. This is my guess. I don't know how well will do, and maybe it's already there. I don't know. Cause I don't know rank math and it does an awful lot of stuff, but it seems to me looking at this with this AI stuff where you can write the content where you can now with this new one that I've seen actually go out and do your SERPs work within it then.

You know, you can pick your head. Based on, what's likely to do well and also your titles within that document and then have it right. Surely this is come into WordPress plugins. Yeah.

[00:46:16] Nathan Wrigley: I think it is, I've got a feeling. It is calming. I, I'm not gonna say anything cause I'm not sure that I can say anything, but I'll, I'm, I think I'll talk to you after we press up.

And yeah, I'm pretty sure that something like this is in the works and it's going to help you write your content inside of a plugin. And at this point, like I said, we're no longer needed.

[00:46:46] David Waumsley: Yeah. Yeah. Do you think we've covered?

[00:46:50] Nathan Wrigley: I think we have. I think we've illustrated just how ignorant we are of SEO, anybody tuning into this episode, wanting to hear you know, a nice high level discussion of SEO. Sorry that we disappointed you. We just as we usually do, we rambled on and didn't really give you an awful lot of information, but there we go.

That's what we know about SEO.

[00:47:09] David Waumsley: Yeah. And next week we are the week after probably we shall be revealing how little we know about

[00:47:15] Nathan Wrigley: themes, my word. Yeah. And obviously themes very much in the news at the moment, what's the future for them and yeah. And so on. So that'll, that will actually be an area where at least we've got a fighting chance of making some sense.

I hope so. We'll see you in a couple of weeks. Thanks, David. Yeah.

[00:47:32] David Waumsley: Thank you. Bye.

[00:47:34] Nathan Wrigley: I hope that you enjoyed that. I hope you managed to cope with the fact that clearly David and I are no SEO experts. We're just talking through what it is that we do, tools that we've used and the things that we find interesting and important in this space.

As always, if you've got a comment, head over to the.com website, WP Builds.com or go to the Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook and drop a comment in there. We'd be most interested to hear. The WPE build's podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time?

The new AB split test plugin for WordPress? It'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. You can use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is that it works with element or beaver builder and the WordPress block editor.

So you can check it out and get a free demo at AB split test doc. Okay. We will be back. Like I said, at the top of the show, maybe the orders getting a bit muddled up at the moment because we did two back to back discussion episodes. So next week is very likely to be an interview episode. We'd love you to join us, but also why not join us live Monday.

2:00 PM UK time for this week in word WordPress show, we'll put that out on a Tuesday or join us next week. When we put out the podcast episode, either way, lots in store loads of WordPress stuff happening this week, I'm sure out and about in the community. I hope that you stay cheesy music fade in and bye-bye for now.

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