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Peak Ace on Air #39: Organic Search March 2021 Update

Q1 is already behind us! It’s hard to believe how quickly time is passing, but as it is time for another recap episode, another month must have gone by.

Before we get to this week’s topic, we should mention that if you missed our birthday episode from last week we higly recommend you head over to the recap post. Peak Ace on Air had its first birthday in March, which definitely called for a party!

Of course, any good birthday celebration needs guests, and boy did we have some fantastic people with us for the episode. It was our 2nd longest episode to date (ranking just behind the Christmas special), and there was so much to talk about with our guests Michael King, Cindy Krum and our own Paul and Julia! It was a super informative episode about where SEO, paid social and PPC are going, so do check it out.

But enough about the party for now. Let’s get back to business and return to the recap episode at hand. It wasn’t a very long episode, but there were a lot of topics to cover; and Bastian went through them all.

Youtube SEO from ltamar Blauer

Let’s get the heavy stuff done first. Itamar Blauer put together a massive guide on all things Youtube SEO. In the guide, you’ll find tips for on-page and off-page optimisation, discover the difference between Google and Youtube SEO, and learn how to do keyword research – and that’s just to name a few topics!

Because Youtube is one of the worlds biggest search engines and is almost literally packed with content, it’s important that you make your videos as easy to find as possible. Blauer’s guide can certainly help with that.

What Happens if You Canonicalize E-Commere Pagination Pages to First Page?

This topic seems to constantly provoke discussion in the SEO community. In principle it means having more than one product page under a category on a website and only allowing the Google bot to index the first page. Thanks to the canonical tag, none of the other product pages will be indexed.

It sounds simple, but this method of single-page indexing doesn’t actually come highly recommended. Even Google doesn’t necessarily recommend doing this, as Roman Adamita, author of an article on the topic, admitted.

If this topic is new to you, go ahead and read Adamita’s article. It’s a great introduction that will show you what can happen if you use this method well. However, as we said, we don’t necessarily recommend it.

Crawl Budget and the Crawl Stats Report – Google Search Console Training

Daniel Weisberg from Google gave a short, 1o-minute training session on crawl budgets and crawl stats reports in the latest episode of Google’s Search Console Training series. Google recently introduced some changes to the crawl report, which we also mentioned in one of our previous episodes. Weisberg’s session provides some great, concise guidance on the topic.

Subdomain vs. Subfolder: Which is Better for SEO?

This question is often debated in the SEO community. Can we answer it once and for all?

Patrick Stox from ahrefs.com tried to provide us with an answer by using older research, quotes from Google and different case studies to tackle the topic in an article. The case studies in particular are interesting in demonstrating how changing from one setup to another has affected some sites in the past.

For Google, at least, there is no big difference between using subdomains or subfolders; it’s more about choosing the method that’s easiest for you to employ effectively. In his article, Patrick points out that sudomains and subfolders are technically treated in the same way; the main difference only occurs when you separate a subfolder from your main domain completely. If you don’t connect the two with internal links, a subdomain might be treated differently.

Bastian also cited his own experience, saying that he has seen better performance with subfolders than subdomains, but there’s no solid rule. As always, the debate goes on.

John Muller’s Tips for Long Website Outages

Imagine this: you’re a website manager, tapping away and running a great site. Then, the worst thing imaginable happens. Your site goes down. What do you do?

Well, while you try to figure out what’s wrong, it’s important to get the Google bot to stop crawling your broken site. Google’s John Muller advises that you point all requests that come into your site to a 503 status code. Basically, this is the online equivilent of putting up a sign for the Google bot saying that the service isn’t available, and asking it to please come back later. In a way, you create an answering machine message for your website. And the best part is that the status code won’t have an impact on the indexing of your site.

You can also set a time when the Google bot can come back and check the site. For example, if you know that your site will be in maintenance for an hour, you can tell the bot to come back once the hour’s up.

Bastian made a good point when he emphasised that many website owners don’t really have a plan for outages. That’s why when we onboard new clients, we like to check their website for what-if scenarios in case the site goes down. So, just like how you should have an evacuation plan for your office building in case of a fire, you should have a back-up plan for a website outage. It pays to be prepared.

Free Conference: Tech SEO Boost

For all of you who want to deepen your knowlegde about technical SEO, you’re in luck, because on the 22nd of April a free online conference called the Tech SEO Boost is taking place. It starts at 2pm Berlin time and continues until 8pm, so do take a look at the agenda if you have some spare hours in your calendar. SEO experts will talk about core web vitals, A/B testing, SEO experiments, and how they have implemented SEO successfully in their organisations. If you are looking for inspiration for your technical SEO efforts, head over to the website and register now.

Hiring a Technical SEO Manager

Recently, Areej AbuAli wrote an article about hiring your first technical SEO manager for your company. This is a pressing topic here at Peak Ace too, as we have a lot of job openings which we haven’t filled as quickly as we’d like (and the ones linked there are just on the English side of the website!).

In her article, AbuAli suggests a variety of great questions that you could ask a potential future SEO manager (depending on their level of seniority), making it a really helpful resource those who’ve never hired one before. Although the questions need to be tailored to fit your specific needs, this is a good place to start getting inspired to build your SEO team.

JavaScript SEO: Best Practices and Debugging Tools

Kristina Azarenko from Search Engine Journal wrote a great article about JavaScript SEO. JavaScript can help SEO a lot, but it can also kill your website’s SEO if not done properly. If using JS for SEO is a new topic for you, Azarenko explains the basics very well. Her article is definitely suitable for those who are yet to dive deep into the topic.

The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

If you’ve been in the game for a long time, building links might not sound great, but these days link building doesn’t equate to the shady link-buying tactics of the past. Building links is a vital part of SEO, so if you are just getting started with it then the beginner’s guide from Moz is a great place to begin. Paddy Moogan has collected pretty much everything you need to know about link building, starting with a simple definition and its impact on rankings and going all the way to finding an audience and examining outreach tactics.

How To Turn Your Agency Into the “McKinsey of SEO”

Now that is one bold headline by Tom Critchlow of SEO MBA! Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to be that high-powered to grasp his meaning. In the article, he takes the way McKinsey operates their management consulting business and suggests how its best practises could be utilised in the SEO agency business.

Bastian pointed out McKinsey’s obsession for employee development, which Critchlow certainly highlighted in his article, and how it’s also one of our core values at Peak Ace. We definitely put a lot of effort into the education and professional development of our staff.

Another note on professional development that Bastian highlighted from the article is the importance of exposing junior staff members to client work. After all, if you leave client work to senior level staff, how can junior level employees develop their professional skill sets to their greatest ability? That’s why we at Peak Ace also allow our more junior managers to work in cooperation with senior manager on client tasks.

Debug Web Vitals in the Field

There is a lot of discussion (and even some confusion) within the SEO community about measuring and debugging core web vitals data. The data varies depending on the tools and methods you use, so working with it can be very fustrating sometimes.

Philip Walton from web.dev has offered a helping hand by writing his guide to the topic. In the guide, he offers advice on different methods of testing the data with lab or field tools and their pros and cons. If you’re still scratching your head about differences relating to core web vitals data, we recommend you to dig into Walton’s piece.

How To Create a Competitive Analysis Dashboard for Core Web Vitals Using Google Data Studio

Rachel Anderson wrote a super article on the deepcrawl blog about building core web vitals dashboards with Google Data Studio. This is a great guide for those of you who are looking for ways of getting different relevant data (even data from your competitors) into one place.

The Ultimate Guide to Core Web Vitals

Wow, apparently the theme of this week was “massive guides”! We started with a long guide and we’re ending with one too.

The guys at ContentKing put up a very comprehensive guide to core web vitals for all of you who are still wrapping your heads around the topic. As core web vitals will be an important part of the up-coming Google Page Experience Update, it’s no wonder the whole SEO community is talking (and creating guides) about it.

Speaking of talking about it – Bastian has mentioned core web vitals a lot in previous episodes of Peak Ace on Air, as well as elsewhere in his talks. So, if you’re interested in receiving more information about core web vitals, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

And that’s a wrap, phew! Hopefully we gave you some more articles to add to your “to be read” list. Next week, the topic will be ToFu – and no, it won’t be a cooking episode, but a content marketing one. So stay tuned for next week!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe, follow and like us so that you never miss an episode when it airs!

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