By Lindsay Valdez
Two weeks have passed since BlogHer Health19 happened at the Hudson Loft in downtown Los Angeles. Thank you so much to everyone who came, we hope you left as inspired as we did!! I met so many passionate bloggers & business owners who are well on their way to a successful 2019. And another thanks to those of you who sat in on the BlogHer U SEO panel, which is what I’d like to recap here on the blog today. I was joined on the panel by my SEO counterpart at Penske Media Corp, Constance Ejuma and SEO digital agency (based in LA, called SEO Optimizers) owner, Brandon Leibowitz. Moderating was our incredible SheKnows.com editor-in-chief, Justine Goodman, who walked us through exciting questions on SEO trends applicable to any-and-all content creator.
Here are those questions and answers in written form, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, I would love to meet you!
1. What are some of the most important things content creators should be mindful of right now, especially in the health and wellness space?
- Google is setting insanely high standards on content that speaks to health topics. It is their goal to make sure that the search results reflect accurate and reliable information. Google calls these standards E-A-T, for Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trust. So make sure that you have expert writers creating the content on your websites who are qualified to be writing about these topics. This goes for all content, but even more-so for topics like health, finance, law, nutrition and in-depth parenting information.
- Focus on user experience, particularly on mobile search. If your users cannot easily navigate throughout your site in a timely manner, chances are they aren’t going to want to return. Modern day SEO has everything to do with how your treat your users/customers.
- Make sure the content on your site is unique, interesting and useful to the reader.
2. How can a smaller site or blog without a large staff compete for organic search traffic with bigger sites that are covering the same topics in the health & wellness space?
- Focus on niche content – don’t try to be everything to everyone. And it’s best if the niche you choose is something you’re an expert in. The more targeted or specialized you are, the more you can build a strong brand and send signals to Google about what your expertise is.
- Within that niche, try developing angles that add something unique that differentiates your content from your competitors.
- Engage with your audience across all platforms.
- Establish yourself as a thought-leader in your niche by gaining exposure (and backlinks) from relevant, authoritative publications.
3. There are also certain technical aspects to good SEO that are crucial to making sure your content is surfacing on the SERP. Can you walk us through some of the on-page fields in a typical CMS (like WP) that act as a direct signal to Google, and help reinforce what a given page is about?
- HTML title
- Meta descriptions
- For images: alt text and optimized file name
- URL optimization
4. Most people here probably don’t have a team of SEO experts at their disposal, but there are lots of tools out there that can be helpful for all aspects of SEO / tracking site metrics. What would you say is the top tool in your SEO toolkit?
- For SEO tools, backlink data, ranking info, etc. we love SEMrush, Ahrefs & Uber Suggest.
- For editorial inspiration we recommend Answer the Public and Soovle.com.
5. What is something that everyone could take from this workshop and do right now to improve their site’s SEO?
- Take that ten extra minutes to re-read your copy. Make sure that it makes sense, is easy to digest for the reader and is clear of typos, grammar mistakes and inaccuracies. This matters when it comes to Google and also when it comes to your brand/site having a positive reputation.
- Remove or update your old, low quality content pages. People tend to focus on SEO at the page level while forgetting to think of the overall health of the site. If you’ve been blogging for 5+ years, chances are that some of your original content doesn’t shine quite as much as your newer stuff. Clean it up!
And like any prepared panel moderator, Justine had back-up questions prepared in case we had some extra time. Turns out our audience was super engaged and had lots of questions so we didn’t get to actually cover these next few, but figured I’d still list them here as….
1. What exactly is evergreen content, and why is it so important to incorporate it into your larger SEO strategy, especially if your site is focused on topics like health or fitness or service — ie, not driven by breaking news?
- Evergreen content is content that is always relevant and does not become dated outdated over time.
- More and more (and even MORE as voice search escalates) people turn to Google to ask who-what-why-where-how questions. Evergreen content can include question/answer style pieces, recipes, best-of lists and plenty of general tips and tricks. Trending news can be inconsistent so supplementing your news content with evergreens can help off-set the slower traffic times.
2. What is your experience with sponsored content and organic search traffic?
- In our experience with sponsored content, it’s safest to not rely whatsoever on organic traffic to be a campaign driver. We do see sponsored posts show up in Google from time to time, but as a general rule Google likes to keep paid and unpaid results separate in all forms. Our sponsored posts follow the same editorial non-sponsored quality content guidelines as yours should as well. And of course, nofollow all outbound links in your branded content. We see better organic performance metrics on these pieces when we are following all of Google’s branded content guidelines.
I’ll end on some exciting news!! We’ve just announced #BlogHer19 Food will be in Brooklyn, NY in May 2019!! You can find more information here and I hope to see you all there!!
Slides from the on-screen panel deck: