In this episode, Ross interviews prolific Search Engine Journal writer, Roger Montti on his start in the SEO business and the work he does. The discussion then moves on to the latest news from Google such as passages, common SEO issues he encounters with client sites, questionable update rollouts for WordPress, and more.

Here is a transcription of the episode for your convenience.

Ross: Hello and welcome to SEO 101 on, episode number 395. This is Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing. Unfortunately, my co-host, John Carcutt, can’t make it today. He’s having a little problem with his computer. 

We are lucky enough to be interviewing Roger Montti, a website publisher, owner of SEO consultancy,, and a staff writer at Search Engine Journal. Welcome, Roger.

Roger: Hi. 

Ross: Glad you could come. 

Roger: Yeah, glad to be here. Thanks for the invite.

Ross: Yeah. John and I often discuss the articles you write on search engines. Every time I see your name, I know it’s going to be a great article, so thank you.

Roger: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, I try to put a little extra in there—something to make it worth people’s while to read it.

Ross: Yeah. I used to do my own writing. I haven’t done a lot for a while, but when I used to do it I was a bit obsessive myself. I like to over-deliver every time I do it, but it’s a lot of work.

Roger: Yeah, well some of these topics, there’s a lot of background information that sometimes we can assume people know, even though I try to fill in all the background information. Even if you’re new to a topic that I might be writing about, you can still follow along and learn it as you go through the article.

Even then, sometimes I’ll get an email saying, what do you mean by this? Then I realize, oh geez, I did overlook a little detail. You can’t really assume that everything you say, people are going to understand what you’re talking about. Even if you say the word SERP, you can’t assume that people know what a SERP is, which is a Search Engine Result Page.

Ross: Yeah, I find myself doing that, too. Especially when I’m communicating with clients, you just want to rush through and get them an answer. You’re like, there’s no way I’m going to use that term. They wouldn’t understand a thing I would say.

The Search Engine Result Pages is a little lengthy, there’s a reason we use them (acronyms).

Tell me a little bit about how and when you started SEO.

Roger: Well, back in the 90s, I was in San Francisco and there are lots of people I knew that were working on the internet. I was just like, wow, this is really cool. People were showing me like, yeah, you can do all this and find all that. I was like, wow.

My wife encouraged me to go back to school and learn how to code. I went to this non-profit accredited school that was founded by some engineer from Apple in San Francisco. I learned HTML, PHP, Photoshop, and all kinds of things. The teachers were people who wrote for O’Reilly—all the Missing Manuals and all those books. The teachers were really high-quality people who literally wrote the book on HTML, Dreamweaver, and whatever we were studying back then, Photoshop.

After that, I started building sites, monetizing, and just been working from home pretty much since about 2001.

Ross: Wow, good for you. When would your official start date be in the SEO industry?

Roger: Oh, I don’t know. 1999, 2000, something like that. It depends. I mean, it takes a while. That’s what I tell people who are just getting into SEO, that it takes a while sometimes to just get enough air under your wings, to just get off and take flight, be able to work from home, and have it be a viable business.

I went, for a couple of years, working the job, then coming home and working on my projects. Once it was making enough money, I could just stop working and just work on my own projects. 

Ross: I know what you mean. I did the same thing for the longest time. For the first four years, I think three or four years, I had another job at all times. It pays to be cautious. You get a bit of that, can I do this? Can I do this because I might really make this happen? When it does start happening, it’s kind of amazing. 

My first employee was Jim Hedger back in 2001, I guess. It was pretty cool to get my first one, it was quite a change. I had no idea how to deal with an employee. But, it is a lot nicer to have a little assistance.

Then, when you get to a point where you’ve got everything down the path, I can see how you can go backwards and decide you know what? It’s good just to work for yourself.

Roger: Yeah, yeah. From the beginning, the first clients I got were all B2B, software-related. I guess, because I was in San Francisco, there’s a lot of software companies and some big names too that I consulted for. 

The funny thing about that is that because it’s a named brand and it’s B2B, there are certain things you can’t do with them in order to promote them. It’s almost like doing SEO with your hands tied behind your back because back then, that was during the heyday of directory listings and reciprocal links. You can’t do that with a B2B legit type of site. It really forces you to be creative and come up with strategies that other people aren’t doing. It was really fun coming up with ideas and learning. 

This was when AdWords didn’t exist, I guess it’s called Google Ads now. It was like Overture, then Google came out with their advertising product. Getting on that and finding opportunities, that was a lot of fun.

A lot of times opportunities aren’t going to come to you, but you got to really be online, seek them out, and find out where all the customers are. Where are they really hanging out? Who are the customers? Where are they? Are they IT people or are they managers? Where do I find them? How do I reach them? Who’s making the decisions? That’s how I did the marketing for some of these really hard SEO type businesses. It worked really well.

Ross: That’s great. Also, being in the right places where you’re not the smartest person in the room, not even by far, and just learning, soaking it in. I love that. Like they say, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. I found that humbling, but always amazing. You got to be a bit addicted to learning, especially in this industry.

Back then, we thought things were moving fast.

Roger: Yeah. It seemed like every other week that somebody was getting purchased by somebody else. Usually Yahoo! was buying somebody, or Google was buying somebody.

Ross: What do you think about the CEO realm, though? We’re a joke back then compared to now. Now it’s white papers, patents are everything.

Roger: Yes, absolutely. There’s a lot of bad SEO information. I don’t know, our industry has a history of doing these correlation studies and nonsense word type studies. They result in information that isn’t necessarily correct. If you cross-reference it with patents and research papers that have been done, you can tell that hasn’t been researched, there’s no patents about it. Highly unlikely that the results of this search results correlation study is correct. There’s a long history of that in our industry.

I think we, as an industry, need to really go back to understanding what’s an authoritative source. One of the things I love about Bill Slawski is he looks at the patents. There’s no guarantee that Google is using it, but understanding what has been studied, what has been researched or patented, gives you an idea of what is possible. It’s not going to tell you how Google’s algorithm actually works, but it gives you an idea of what kind of direction you should be going in or what direction you should not be going in.

Ross: Yeah, you get a peek into their mind, even if it isn’t something they ended up implementing. You see direction.

Roger: Of course, yeah. Absolutely. Not just Google’s patents, but Microsoft, Bing, they’re doing some amazing things. Everything kind of runs in parallel. Microsoft’s been doing BERT for a while, so a lot of these things, there can be some overlap, especially in machine learning and AI.

Ross: How would you describe BERT to our new listeners?

Roger: BERT is just a machine. It’s just a way of understanding search queries, documents, and then using that. It goes beyond simple text matching. It’s all about just really understanding what the concepts and topics are, and being better able to match a search query to a document. 

It’s some pretty interesting stuff. The search results are less and less becoming about the keywords that you use. It’s important to use keywords and be precise, of course, it always will be. But, because of all the different AI, machine learning, and neural matching that they’re using, they’re able to pull up documents that don’t necessarily use the keywords, they might use different words. It can make ranking a little difficult, perhaps.

What’s interesting is that the impact that these algorithms have, like in the not too distant past, I want to say like six or seven years ago, the Search Engine Results Pages called SERPs had a lot of top-five type answers.

Do you remember that happening? Like, you would search for something and say top five ways to accomplish this or whatever, I think that was like an artifact of the algorithms that Google was using. Those were easier to understand as a concept. They’ve improved, and you’re seeing less and less of that kind of content being ranked. Now with those passages that Google’s introducing, it gives long-form content the chance. 

Clients that come to me with ranking problems, one of the problems they had was they were overwriting their content. They would have this desire to write an authoritative, comprehensive web page about a certain topic. They end up with a 5000, 7000 word documents that’s all over the place. When you look at Google’s ranking, they rank 800 word, 1700 word pages. Why is that? Is it because the algorithm has trouble understanding content that’s longer than 1700 words? Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe it’s easier to understand or maybe it’s better for users. Users prefer that.

Ross: They share them more because they’re easier to digest, right?

Roger: Yeah. How are people digesting them on their cell phones? 

I love reading The New Yorker and the Atlantic, but wow, those articles are long. If I’m on my cell phone, it better be well written because I’m not sticking with it.

Ross: No, no. It’s funny you mentioned about the keywords, optimizing, and stuff. We all do get the question about how to optimize a page. It’s so hard. What keywords do I use? 

I always tell them, just be the expert you are in your market. Write the article as you want it to be read, don’t worry about keywords. Google’s so good at understanding it that we don’t have to worry about throwing this word in here, this word in here. 

At the end of it, if we go through it as an SEO, we see the odd opportunity to throw in a keyword that might be of use. We’ll do it, but don’t worry about it. It’s so much better. The quality of content that comes out is so much better as well.

Roger: Yeah. The passages thing might give the longer form content a better chance. As I was talking about earlier, there’s this research paper from Google on a kind of different flavor of BERT called SMITH.

Ross: Yeah, this name is hilarious. Siamese Multi-depth Transformer-based Hierarchical Encoder for Long-Form Document Matching.

Roger: Yeah, yeah. That dates from April of 2020. It’s kind of cool. When you’re looking at research papers, Google rarely ever points to a research paper and says, yeah, we did that. Sometimes, it seems like they changed the names of what’s in the research paper, with the exception of BERT.

With this SMITH thing, it’s pretty interesting because it’s all about being able to understand long-form content, it even talks about passages. The thing about research papers, what I look for is, what are the results? It usually comes at the end of the research paper and they say these are promising results and we need to do more study. Then, that means maybe you have to look for what they did afterwards.

Sometimes they say our research shows that doing it this way blows away all reference processes. This is significantly better. Then, that’s kind of like maybe that’s something to pay attention to. This one says that our proposed SMITH model outperforms the previous state of the art models and increases the maximum input text length from 512 to 2048 when comparing with BERT-based baselines.

Ross: Pretty compelling.

Roger: Pretty compelling, yeah. What it does, it’s looking at longer passages, sentences, and paragraphs. It is able to go through and just understand long documents. It says long documents contain internal structure like sections, passages, and sentences. It’s looking at that. Kind of cool.

Ross: It’s amazing. 

Roger: Is this what Google is using? I don’t know.

Ross: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about this a little further in a second here. First, we’re going to take a quick break. 

Welcome back to SEO 101 on, hosted by Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing Inc. We’re joined by Roger Montti, a website publisher, owner of SEO consultancy,, and a staff writer at Search Engine Journal. 

We’ve just been discussing the passages. Well, we’ve talked about this in the last couple episodes as well, because it’s just so fascinating about Google’s syndication that they’re going to be using passages in 2021. They’re going to be showing passages from content within search results. 

Roger brought up a very interesting patent application. I think it was a patent application, wasn’t it?

Roger: Research paper. Google research paper.

Ross: Okay, that gives some strong indication that this could be what’s behind passages. Again, it’s a certain amount of speculation here. We don’t know, but it’s a pretty big deal and looks fairly compelling. 

How do you think this is going to affect the SEO industry? Now, I realize we’re speculating at this point. Everyone knows that. We’ve been doing this a while, though. I’m kind of intrigued to see what you think.

Roger: I think that it just tightens the screws on publishers to be more accurate in how they approach topics. In a way, it kind of seems unfair because some people write a certain way. In an article about something related to business, they might invoke a movie from the 1980s, make metaphors and whatnot, and which is like totally off topic and might throw off algorithms.

Certainly, when I work with clients who did that kind of thing, they experience better results with some good editing and sharpening their focus on the content. It’s almost like the early days of SEO when you needed to put the key word in their heading title, have an H1, and all this other stuff, because if you didn’t, you would never rank.

Now, it’s more about being very organized in your writing, to plan out what you want to communicate, what you want to solve, the problem you want to solve, the steps to solving it, having pictures, and images that illustrate that, or even like an animated GIF that shows the steps. Having a little animation there is really cool because in one picture, somebody could just stop there and just see the transition of how something is done, rather than have burdened them with having to scroll through like four or five images to see how something is done.

Anyway, the point being how do you communicate and it just seems like you just have to be a little more organized. John Mueller said that the whole purpose of BERT is that they can understand your content better and it gives more pages a chance to rank.

Ross: Yeah. Again, just sort of riffing off what you just said, almost like a more journalistic planning process to content, which is good for everyone in many ways. I realize it doesn’t work for everyone.

Planning is a good thing. I know in the past I just started writing, but I’ve always ended up going back to I need to move this here, move that there. When you read it again, you’re like that’s kind of a messy spaghetti. More structure, that’s something we’ve agreed on. Barry was in the last episode as well. Barry agreed that more structure in content is probably going to be important. It’s fun, make some conjecture in this stuff. It’s always interesting. I know it’s probably not as SEO 101 as a lot of people are here to listen for, but it is a peek at what’s coming.

Roger: Yeah, I like to think of it in terms of when people search for this, I call it the latent question. Latent means something that’s hidden underneath—what are they really trying to say. Like in New England, people speak this way. You’ll need a New England English to English translator to understand sometimes what people are telling you, because there’s a lot they say that’s in between the lines. 

They might say they just saw Bobby came, walked through the doors, both arms swinging. What they’re really trying to say is that he let his wife carry all the luggage into the hotel. Instead of saying what a lazy person, they’ll say yeah, he came in through the door with both arms swinging.

Ross: Well, reading between the lines, really. Yeah. Yeah.

Roger: Where was I going with that?

Ross: You’re talking about a latent question.

Roger: Oh, right, the latent question. The thing about the latent question is when somebody types Jaguar, the latent question is where can I buy a Jaguar? Or, where can I look at pictures of a Jaguar? In every keyword phrase, it should be looked at to understand what’s the latent question. What are people really asking when they type in blah, blah, blah?

Sometimes, keywords have multiple latent questions. You have to choose, which question am I answering? Am I answering this one question? Is that relevant for my product or whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish?

Then, you make your choice. You can be comprehensive if that’s good for you with whatever goals you have, whether it’s get clicks on an ad, or get clicks on an affiliate link, or to sell a product—whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.

I like to think in terms of what is the latent question that’s hidden in the search query. Then, you write down those insights and then you write the article. When somebody said our rights queries say what is structured data? Your article can be this is what structured data is, this is what structured data does, and this is what structured data benefits you. No matter what I’m writing, whether it’s for an affiliate site or whatever, the benefit part, I think in a lot of scenarios in terms of content is what’s so important. Like, what’s in it for me?

Ross: Yeah. I actually had a really interesting talk with a client today. It was fascinating. I love having talks like this. He told me, give me some great feedback. He said, you guys sent me great information, but I don’t really have time to read it. When you guys send me information like I need this ticket, I need X amount of hours to get this done for you, and the reason why is if you don’t do this, this is what will happen. He immediately approves it. 

If we try to describe it, explain it. He’s like, I don’t care. It’s about getting that answered about what it could do. What are the benefits? What are the negatives?

Roger: Yeah. I’m an angler. I remember years ago there was a fishing lure company based out of Colorado and I can’t remember their name right now. What was cool was a lot of fishing lure companies, they go to their webpage, like oh, it’s got these ribs on the side that creates vibrations. They go on and on about all the features, all the stuff.

This trout lure manufacturer had a video of this guy who’s hiding behind bushes at a river. Then, he flicks a lure out, gives it a couple of cranks—boom! Fish on, he shows. He holds up the trout to the camera, throws it in the back, flicks out the lure, gives another crank, another fish. He does this over and over. I’m like, bye.

It’s like, this is what’s in it for me—trout. It’s as simple as that. This is just a video and video is content. Content, sometimes, just boils down to telling people you can catch a lot of fish with this.

Ross: Very simple. 

Roger: Yeah. Those trout lures work too. I caught a lot of trout with them.

Ross: How soon did you buy stock?

Roger: I even have some colors that they don’t make anymore. 

Ross: Nice. Well, I’ve got a couple more questions for you, but let’s take another quick break. When we get back, we’ll talk a little bit about common issues you encounter with SEO. 

Welcome back to SEO 101 on, hosted by Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing Inc. That’s me. We’re joined by Roger Montti, a website publisher, owner of SEO consultancy,, and a staff writer at Search Engine Journal. 

That’s out of the question. We’re going to get to something you mentioned earlier about WordPress development. For now, I’m curious. For our listeners here, a lot of people who are always looking for gems, what are the most common issues you’re encountering with SEO? I know you do a lot of your own stuff, but like you said earlier, people still reach out to you for help. What do you see the most of?

Roger: I think the most common thing is content. 

Ross: They don’t have it or they haven’t done it right?

Roger: Certainly links in competitive areas can play a role. The more competitive it is, the more important having the right links becomes. Particularly, I won’t mention any niches, but there’s some niches where everybody is doing the same thing and everybody’s following the perceived leader. That’s not necessarily in terms of links are always the best way, because sometimes these links are just ignored.

You can jump ahead by doing something different and better. Paying attention to a lot of these link type tools will tell you what topic the website or the webpage that a link is in. Sometimes this can be off topic and sometimes some of these pages where you’re getting links are on topic. That’s kind of what you want to stick with. 

It seems like the most common thing is content—having content that is just direct and easy to read not just for people, but for bots. Sometimes you can put content in an app like the Hemingway App. It’ll show that it’s 14th grade reading level or something. It’ll tell you how difficult some of the passages are.

Ross: You use that often?

Roger: Not for my stuff on Search Engine Journal. For my own stuff, I do. I can do it without putting it in the app. The app is in my head and I can just kind of see that something is too long. Particularly, you look at articles in your cell phone and it can be startling, like, oh, my gosh, this article is so long. It’s just one paragraph. It’s on and on.

Really, paragraphs should be in small chunks like two sentences, three sentences, max. Sometimes, some paragraphs are more useful in one sentence chunks. Sometimes, it’s got to think in terms of a narrative that builds towards a solution or maybe just throws the solution out there right in front and then explains why the solution works. There’s different ways to approach it.

Ross: It’s kind of like, too long, didn’t read. Just give them that at the beginning and then say, if you want to know more here, this is the reason why.

Roger: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That way you can satisfy the people who just want the direct answer and satisfy the people who want a more in-depth answer.

Ross: Google doesn’t put it into search results in a snippet or something. 

Roger: Yeah, if anybody is going to be in a snippet, might as well be you.

Ross: Yeah, true. This is true. It could be the worst thing that could happen. Link is one of those areas that is so difficult to tell or even explain to a client how to build. What I usually do, one of my tips, is that I typically tell a client, especially if they’re local, to get the links from your local businesses or associations. At least get your Chamber of Commerce. Not only is it good for a link, but it’s also supporting a great thing. If you want to go the Better Business Bureau route, I know that’s somewhat controversial, but it is a good link. Any local buy-sell initiatives where they want you to buy local, join that. All these things add up, they really do. They’re great signals.

Roger: Yeah. People publish lists of local resources, and sometimes universities publish lists of local resources. Locals have a lot of opportunities for being creative. Pre-pandemic, you could even start hosting those meetups or even speaking at meetups. Then, you meet people. Sometimes you meet other business people, particularly if the meet up is like a business related thing.

The whole thing about links is it’s always had a relationship quality to it, the relationship aspect to it. When you go to conferences, when you go to meetups, when you start a meetup, and you speak about these things, you are building relationships. Sometimes these relationships can pay off with links. You do something for somebody and you become known. 

I had a client that was a multinational B2B software company. Then, they got purchased, and then they started purchasing other companies. They just started getting huge and huge. Anyway, even for them, what I would do was I would set them up with opportunities to have them published in newsletters and things like that. Not just for the links, but just for building awareness.

They would reach out and ask some industry experts to contribute an opinion or something for something they were publishing on their blog. What I was doing for them was building relationships within the community of people who were likely to use their product. They just kept getting popular and popular, bloggers would link to them, and other sites would link to them.

The most important metric was quarter after quarter, year over year, sales just kept increasing, increasing, increasing. That’s really more important than rankings, in my opinion. It is what you’re doing—increasing sales.

I think people focus too much on these shaky metrics that don’t necessarily have any connection to rankings. Instead, they just like to focus on acquiring links, links, links, links, but not really building any relationships with the community that your product serves or services and not building popularity either.

Google is all about ranking sites that people want to see. If people know about you, people are going to start asking for you by name and then they start expecting to see your site ranked there. Building relationships just increases sales and it’s been that way for a long, long time.

Ross: Yeah, we often get lost in the woods focused on something that’s just too simplified or almost too complex. In this case, simplify, because you’re just looking at one thing. Really, you should be considering it from all angles, like building links. Yeah, it is relationship building and that’s especially true in the local area.

I do feel a little sorry for international brands, it’s a little trickier sometimes. They also tend to necessarily have larger budgets so they can do other things as well. Making anything go viral these days isn’t as easy anymore either way.

Roger: Yeah. If you have a chance to expose your brand to 10,000 potential customers or people who could spread it by word of mouth but not get a link out of it, why would you pass that by? Unless you’re a link builder who’s required to get a link and you pass this opportunity by. 

It boggles the mind that somebody would be paid to build a link and then they walk past this opportunity to expose the brand to 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 potential clients just because they don’t get a link.

Ross: Absolutely. One of the things you’d mentioned anyway in our discussion before the show was about WordPress development. Sounds like there’s some—I think you used the word twitchiness.

Roger: Yeah. A few weeks back, the update, then I think it was 5.3 or something like that. It just went sideways where it was supposed to be a security update. There’s some kind of I think it was a cross site scripting thing they were patching and some other improvements. It was just a small little update, but it went sideways and things started going wrong. They didn’t have a manual on how you stop and update, they kind of just pulled the plug on it. Then, unintended consequences happened. 

What happened was the system started rolling out a beta version of WordPress. When they look back on it, they realize they didn’t have proper documentation on how to put the brakes on an update that isn’t going well for whatever reason. 

Recently, there’s something like the Gutenberg Project. They had to pull the plug. The delay part of it, I think, was the navigation part. Navigation or the widgets, one or the other. It was because it just wasn’t ready and it’s just getting the perception that they’re having a manpower problem and they might need a little more help there.

I was just looking at the 5.6 release. They’ve got like over 6000 bugs and stuff that need addressing. It’s 5.6, which is rolling out in December, is also the one where they’re going to make it compatible with PHP 8.0 which is rolling out really soon. It’s a major upgrade.

There’s some backwards and compatibility things, with PHP 8.0. We’ll see when that rolls around, if there’s something that might happen for some sites that are relying on code that is meant for like PHP 5.0 that don’t have backward compatibility anymore for that. If that starts becoming an issue, I don’t know. We’ll see. Interesting things coming up in the WordPress world in December. 

Ross: We’re always trying to inform our clients that WordPress is a phenomenal platform. It’s the reason we use it for many of our clients. There is no question whatsoever. You can’t let it set. You’ve got to be on it. We do that for them if they’re interested. In many cases, they just need to ensure that they understand that a website is no longer a static thing. Obviously, you’re creating content for it, hopefully, but also the systems have to be upgraded and kept up to date. It’s to our advantage that it is.

Roger: Yes, it’s so important. There’s just security issues that you have to be on top of. It is not like that is poorly coded or anything. Any time there’s any app where somebody can enter something—information—that’s always like a vector, well, that poses a potential vector for like some kind of Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) type thing.

I’m not an expert, but I’ve been covering this. I’m not a security expert, but I’ve been covering this and I see certain things repeating. One of the things that, for whatever reasons, plugins and themes sometimes have these vulnerabilities. Really important to be proactive on that. 

I really recommend people use a product like Wordfence. Wordfence is just a phenomenal, proactive type plugin where you can see real-time all the hacker bots that are slamming your site. Until you use this or unless you look at your log files, you can look at the log files, but a regular publisher might not know how to do that. If you install Wordfence, you could see. Like some of my sites, we’re getting hit 2000 times in an evening from just one hacker bot coming from one server. That’s just one. 

Then, there’s other hacker bots probing, looking for specific vulnerabilities. I have formed a community and I updated it to the latest version. I think it was without a proper login challenge for about a half an hour. In that time, I got spammed. All these spammers logged in and registered. They were able to register and login. I had hundreds of posts, like really fast. It’s just an enormous amount. 

Some of these are criminals, it’s a criminal activity. These are criminals, mobsters. It’s like Al Capone days, but it’s for hacking into a site. There are thousands of these bots out there. There are lots of solutions out there, Cloudflare.

Ross: I’ve got to say, Cloudflare, I got my report today. Interesting angle they’re showing. I’m not sure from the report, but they’re just sending it to me now. It shows the frequency of traffic. Then, they break down how much of it’s automated. A number of our client sites, it was close to 50% of the traffic was automated.

Roger: I’m not surprised by that. These bots are using up the resources. If they’re not properly blocked, they use up the resources and they can cause Google to have a hard time crawling your site. That’s why a lot of people can look into their Google search console and they might see 500 errors in their Google search console. This is one of the things that can cause that because the servers’ running out of steam, because it’s getting hit by so many of these bots that it starts throwing 500 errors.

Ross: People, we’re not off-topic here. This is SEO.

Roger: It is. I mean, it’s not going to rank if your site is hacked or uncrawlable. It’s absolutely SEO. Whenever I do an audit, I also look at the security things including security headers and stuff. If your site’s offline, you can’t rank. That’s SEO.

Ross: Yeah, the most basic aspect of it. 

Roger: Yeah, absolutely.

Ross: Roger, I know you’re mostly working on your own sites, but is there anything you’d like to share with our listeners?

Roger: Well, yeah. Especially now during the pandemic, I’m seeing a lot of people that might not have the bandwidth for, or need, for an audit type thing. Something I do that a lot of people get value out of is I’ll do a phone consultation. 

People can contact me on my website and just want to run things by me, get my opinion on what they’re going through, what they think they need to do, and just talk for like an hour or two. I’ve consulted with people as far away as Australia doing that through Skype, Zoom, or Facebook Messenger.

Ross: Yeah, that’s part of our industry—to be able to talk and work with people all over the world. I just think it’s fantastic.

Roger: Yeah, yeah. You just got to adjust your timing. Late-night for me is early morning for them in Australia.

Ross: Yeah, that’s great, thank you. Your website is Anyone wants to connect with Roger, you can do that. 

Before we tie the show up, I’d like to share our most recent testimonial on iTunes. The post is anonymous, sadly, but here it is. Title: Best Way to Learn SEO. The description is, “This show helped me get my business ranking how I wanted it.” That’s it. That’s all the testimony was, but you know what? That’s fantastic. 

From now on, when we get a new testimonial, we will read it on the show. Please, take a moment to leave a review on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or your favourite podcast stream. Then, let us know in the SEO 101 Facebook group that you posted the review. We’ll queue you up for a future show and read it out. We’ll mention your website—you name it. We just really want to get a few more reviews out there. Right now, it’s only showing three. I don’t know what’s going on with Apple. I know we’ve been doing this for 11 years, so I know that more than three, but you could help. Thank you. 

On behalf of myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and our special guest, Roger Montti, a website publisher, owner of SEO consultancy, thanks for joining us today. I really do appreciate you coming on, Roger.

Roger: You’re welcome. Thanks for inviting me. 

Ross: Yeah. Listeners, if you have any questions you’d like to share with us, please feel free to post them on our Facebook group, easily found by searching SEO 101 Podcast on Facebook. Have a great week and remember to tune into the future episodes which airs at 1:00 PM Pacific, 4:00 PM Eastern, every Monday on