Scott and Ross discuss a variety of timely SEO news; from the recent light core update, and new Google My Business review management tool, to a free link building sponsorship tool and a question from a listener.




Noteworthy links from this episode:


Transcription of Episode 403


Ross: Hello and welcome to SEO 101 on, episode number 403. This is Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing and my cohost is my company’s Senior SEO Scott Van Achte.

That was weird not saying Webmaster Radio. For all the listeners who are weirded out too, that is the new call sign,, new rebranding.

Scott: I was saying to Ross earlier, it should really be rebranded to SEO 101 and Friends. I think that would be a smart move on their part. It really would.

Ross: Because we’re all friends. We’re all buddies. We should all go for beers.

Scott: Can we? COVID, […].

Ross: Yeah.

Scott: I’m there.

Ross: COVID flights.

Scott: There should be a WMR conference.

Ross: There is.

Scott: See, I’m on here and I don’t even know that. Okay, never mind.

Ross: Yeah, there was. I don’t know if they still run them but they used to have them. I’ve been to Florida to do the show live there. It’s kind of fun.

Scott:  Why didn’t I go to that one?

Ross: Yeah, anyway, moving on, let’s jump into this. You might have noticed, too, I mentioned Scott’s a co-host. Right now, John’s taking a little time. He’s just too busy with work. I don’t know what that means. Is he going to be permanently off the show? He certainly will come on occasionally, but John Carcutt is just going to be a little too busy to be on for the next while. I’ll have Scott on. I’ve got David Harry coming up as a co-host and one of the upcoming episodes has Yoast on it as well. It’s from the Yoast SEO Tools. Lots of things are happening. We’re going to keep things interesting and a lot of fun. Stay tuned. That’s such an old saying.

Some non-SEO news first. Everything’s a little bit close to it, in this case, but Google is predicting that these five pandemic changes are going to be permanent. This is an article from Search Engine Journal. It’s done by Matt Southern, and it’s interesting. It does inform some people on how they may be marketing in the future.

The first bit here is that there’s going to be a rapid response to changes in consumer habits. People are searching before shopping. There are fewer trips for groceries. People are ordering, home delivery looking for searches like can you freeze. A lot of these are UK-based, by the way. Keep that in mind. You would want to do a little research more for your area. People are saving more, spending less due to cuts in pay. Just generally tough times. Seventy-one percent of people had said their personal income had or would be impacted by the coronavirus. That’s significant.

What they’re saying here obviously, is that this is going to continue past COVID. Once everything is, at some point, back to normal. But this is the new normal. A lot of people are searching for online learning. It went up 400%. Searches for fitness apps, over 200%. Obviously, not all these will continue at the same rates. But generally, once people get used to doing these kinds of searches, they tend to get more comfortable with it and they stick to that habit at least to a greater degree than they ever did before.

People are searching for phrases with friends online, ways for people to connect online and interact. One of the main ones and that’s coming up the least but I think it should be noted now, is that a lot more people continue to work from home. I know a lot of businesses that have totally shut down their office space and everyone’s working from home and they’re going to stay that way. Actually, this is great. It’s working out well. People love not having to commute. They’re loving the fact that they have a better quality of life in many ways.

I’m not sure we’re going to do that at StepForth just because I really do enjoy the commute actually. It’s ironic, but I do. I enjoy that. We’ll see. But it is going to be a big change. There are going to be a lot more businesses that run from home on a regular basis. Searches for watch parties and virtual events are going to continue. I actually love that. I hate doing long travels to conferences and stuff. I imagine they’re still going to be conferences. They just may have Zoom or live online components. I hope they do because I don’t want to go to most of them but I would still like to learn. It’s nice just getting up early, spending the day during the conference, and then spending time with my kids and getting back to work the next day without having to do any flights and all that madness and spending all that money. It’s all going to be better for the environment.

Online shopping is now the norm. We all know that. It’s been pretty big. For me, I have saved a ton of money ordering online. I try to do it locally whenever possible but I admit Amazon’s got a lot of my business. A lot of other businesses are getting smarter about how to increase the user-friendliness of their shopping to take away from Amazon prices, especially for people who don’t really care so much about the price but more about the experience and the speed at which they receive their products.

How about you, Scott? How has this impacted you? Again, I think this is impactful from an SEO perspective, for anyone out there who’s targeting these markets and need to know what we are doing and how to adapt?

Scott: It definitely has affected us a bit but a lot of it skipped by our household. As you know, I work from home, and the internet world might know I work from home. My wife also works from home. From that perspective, the work environment hasn’t changed. Same with consumer habits for me. Personally, I tend to be—and this is probably true for a lot of SEO-type-minded people—we over-research things online like crazy before buying. That hasn’t really changed.

I’m probably buying more online than I used to. For me, it’s maybe less about the price because I use Amazon a lot and I’m anti-Amazon at the same time. I use it but I don’t want to. It usually comes down to price. It’s just cheaper. If I’m going to save $1 or $2, it’s not a big deal. But in some items, for bigger ticket items or maybe I’ll save $50, I’d rather support the mom-and-pop shop. But $50 is $50. I tend to buy online anyways, but we do shop online more now due to COVID.

I’m not scared of COVID per se, but I feel like the least amount of exposure and the least amount of being in public is probably smart. There are things that I might not buy online. Then I buy things online now that I wouldn’t otherwise. It definitely had a bit of an impact from that perspective. This is all interesting because I feel like this is bound to happen anyways and COVID has just super accelerated this process. Maybe in 10 years, it would have taken for us to get to where we are now in the world, or maybe a year. I don’t know.

Ross: The way everything’s accelerated, who knows, it may be just two years. But it still advanced us. One thing I neglected to mention but I think it’s one of the biggest takeaways,  there’s a lot of people who are searching whether or not if something’s in stock before they even consider going somewhere if they’re actually going to visit.

Scott: Every time, absolutely.

Ross: I don’t want to waste my time. I don’t want to expose myself to a potential infection. Unless I know whatever is there, it’s there. I’m always checking. You can’t ignore phones. People are going to be doing that all the time. Putting your prices in your product feeds. Putting them on your pages using schema markup is going to be important. It’s very easy for people to find out what it is and what your costs are so they can jump around. That is if you’re worried about pricing. There’s a totally different market where we fit into where we’re not so concerned about being the cheapest.

We’re concerned about providing the best value at StepForth in terms of results. We are not the cheapest and we don’t want to be. But we do provide great results. That’s our focus. We wouldn’t necessarily put pricing on there. We might say it starts at, but the idea is to talk. Discuss it. Figure out what works for that particular client on a custom basis. Putting your prices online won’t work for everyone. But if you do have a commodity of some kind like widgets, then yes. You should put that on there and make it really clear. Try to ensure that your online inventory is accurate. That’s going to be a big part of keeping customer satisfaction high.

That was a fairly large piece for that, but I thought it was really interesting and worth mentioning. Scott, you put another one here about ad safety.

Scott: Yes. Google has released their ads safety report which they’ve been doing for about 10 years now. It’s not super SEO-related but it’s related to Google Ads and the reason I wanted to mention it is because the numbers are kind of staggering to me. It always amazes me. In 2020, Google blocked or removed 3.1 billion ads for various reasons. That’s just mind-boggling at 3.1 billion. They put restrictions on 6.4 billion ads and suspended 1.7 million advertiser accounts.

It wasn’t that long ago that we even heard that they had 1.7 million accounts. That’s just how many accounts they suspended. It really shows.

Ross: A small percentage of all of them, too. I’m sure.

Scott: It’s insane. Specifically due to COVID, Google blocked over 99 million COVID-related ads including price gouging and promoting products like N95 masks, fake cures, and all that nonsense. Roughly, 100 million ads were taken down due to COVID scams essentially. I can’t even imagine that many numbers. The number is so high. It’s crazy. If you’re wondering, you see a bad ad slip through the cracks, you’re like, why is Google allowing that? If you do the math, we’re looking at 10 billion ads that they had to address. I could see them missing a few.

Ross: Alright, cool. Next up is SEO news. Actually, there’s one that looks like it should be in local. I’ll just move that down. Core update light, apparently this is occurring to Sistrix, one of the online tools, a fairly comprehensive one that tracks the rankings online and publishes a lot of interesting information about fluctuations and potential updates. Apparently, there is a light update happening. The reason they say it’s light is it’s not hitting every industry.

If you were to compare it, the big update that we had, the major core update that happened in December, a Google core update. For listeners who don’t know what this is. This is when Google makes vast changes to its algorithms to reflect different results in search results which impacts a lot of businesses. It’s significant news. The big one in December, they saw a difference of what they called 45 points. That was a very significant jump. Whereas recently, they’ve gone as high as 13 points. That’s why they’re calling it light. It’s not drastic.

But in certain markets, it has shown some significant impact. In this case, they show a couple of examples where one was a veterinary clinic that soared the visibility, a staggering amount. Another one is Forcepoint. I don’t know what that is, but it’s a website and it’s seen a fairly significant drop. I wouldn’t say it’s nearly as comparable but it’s been a drop. It seems they’re making some assumptions that essentially what’s happening is Google’s redistributing visibility which as far as I’m concerned just means it’s an update.

When one goes down, other people go up. That’s just the way it works. Some topics and industries are more vulnerable, they’re noting. It even says some topics and industries are more vulnerable but it doesn’t say which ones. I don’t know what I’m looking at here.

Scott: I’m looking at it as well I can’t see the breakdown by industry.

Ross: Odd. Maybe it’s in a full report or something. At any rate, you can actually go to one of their free tools at Sistrix and you’ll see the Google update radar. It’s one other free tool. It shows what kind of movement is going on right now. There is a significant bump that they believe is fairly obvious, that there’s an update going. Check your ranking. If you see any major things going on, go on to our WebMaster forums. Monitor these things. Find out what might be the cause. Just keep in mind that everything we hear right now is conjecture. There is no guarantee that what you’re hearing, not even remotely, is accurate.

It’s going to take a few weeks for us to get any sense of what it was that happened and what you may be able to do to change it. Even then, it’s going to take time. That’s why being reactive is always a scary bit. You want to make sure that you’re always doing the best you possibly can to create great content and staying above board with many of Google’s requirements or best practices. That way you can write these up pretty simply like many of our clients do.

Scott: Absolutely. In the past, I’ve been looking through our clients the past day or so and I haven’t seen anything drastic as a result of this update. That tends to happen. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, you usually will not notice these updates, or on the flip side, you might see big gains during the updates. But rarely, will you see a decline if you’re doing things and being proactive.

Ross: Yes and I’ve noticed that when we do see the big improvements, it’s usually because a lot of the garbage is being torn out of their market. There have been some real spammers that are being removed. It’s given our clients the opportunity to bounce up, which is always a nice thing. They’re all trying to follow the rules. It’s always hard to stomach when someone who isn’t is doing better. This was kind of funny. This is a Search Engine Roundtable article and it’s about emojis, Google search suggestions, and autocomplete.

I have never seen this before, but it is an SEO company and they somehow do look a little shady from our perspective, but I got to admit, it’s kind of like, how did they do that? On a geek level, it’s pretty cool. Someone typed in SEO age. In this case, the agency is where they’re going with it and this company SEO agency, Primelis, shows up but it’s got a checkmark next to it in the auto search. It’s a green bolded image icon. It’s standing out like you wouldn’t believe. That’s tempting to click. No one knows how it’s done. They’re all kind of curious. I thought it gave me a giggle to see the kind of things that some agencies test.

Scott: I have a theory of how it might be done. I don’t know for sure but a lot of these suggestions are based on just user search history and what Google has. If you get enough people to spam search at Google for whatever the phrase is and include an emoji in their search, you think Google would show it up as an autocomplete. I think we should test this. If everyone could search StepForth Web Marketing, happy face emoji, or something. Everybody, do it and we’ll see if it shows up by next week.

Ross: SEO 101 Podcast, thumbs up.

Scott: Yeah, exactly. Let’s all do that. I don’t even know how to search for an emoji.

Ross: I suck at that stuff honestly.

Scott: I’m sure we could figure that out. I know how to use Google, I think. Maybe I can learn how to do that as well.

Ross: I got my smileys down pat.

Scott: Yeah what’s the thumbs up ASCII key. I don’t know the ASCII code for that.

Ross: Before we jump into some local SEO news, let’s take a quick break.

Welcome back to SEO 101 on, hosted by myself, Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my company’s Senior SEO Scott Van Achte.

Alright, I guess you posted this about performance metrics.

Scott: I did?

Ross: You know what it was, I think I posted about it a couple of weeks ago. I’ve forgotten all about it. Anyway, Google My Business has newly available performance metrics and it’s a help document. If you were ever wondering about where the sources of some of the data for the performance metrics in your Google My Business listing, they now have that information. This was on March 4th. This came out on the Search Engine Roundtable.

It’s going to talk about the searches, users who viewed your profile, calls, messages, total interactions. When compared to the old one, it’s significantly improved, especially the users who viewed your profile. I’ll just read a bit of that to quote this data, “Number of unique visitors to your profile. A user can be counted a limited number of times if they visit your Business Profile on multiple devices and platforms such as desktop or mobile and Google Maps or Google Search. Per breakdown device and platform, a user can only be counted once a day. Multiple daily visits aren’t counted.” That goes on and gives more detail.

I love it when they do this though because a lot of this was unknown. We all had to guess because they really hadn’t provided that data. To me, I would never launch a product without having all this done beforehand. It’s probably why things don’t launch very quickly. But just the same, it is a little annoying not having this data. Look how long it took.

Good definitions and I’m glad they did it. Google My Business has launched a tool to manage review removal requests. I get this a lot. We’ve had it a few times in terms of questions from listeners. If you have a Google My Business listing and someone posts a review that you think is completely inflammatory or fake or maybe even spout some personal information or medical information, all things that just really raise a flag, you can request that it be removed. But you never know what’s happened.

You never really get a reply. It just, at some point, is removed or it’s not. Well now, there is a report that will show you what the status is of your request, which is great. Again, a little more transparency, thank you. For those that don’t know, you can’t just request the removal of a review, because you don’t like it. If you say it’s fake, better have some really good information to prove it. Otherwise, Google will disagree or it and the only way you can get around that is just bearing it with better reviews. You can’t remove it.

If, however, there’s any personal information shared—anything medical, anything, any identifying information that should not be there—you almost always will succeed having it removed. This includes abusive behavior as well. That’s just a few things but they have a fairly significant write-up on what you can and can’t get away with reviews. But I tell you, that can be a removal of a hell of a headache if you have something that has those characteristics. You can have them removed.

Google tests display cost estimates in local search results. Did you check this out, Scott?

Scott: I saw this and I haven’t actually seen this appear live in search yet. But I do like it. I search for this kind of stuff all the time.

Ross: Totally. What’s the name of it?

Scott: It’s like Homewyse or something. Where do they get the data from?

Ross: Yeah, that’s right. Let’s say you type in roof repair, that’s an example provided at Search Engine Land for this article. The title is Google Tests Displaying Cost Estimates in Local Search Results. If you typed in roof repair Hackensack New Jersey, if you typed that in, yes you’ll see the Google My Business listings below. But before that—they’re testing this I guess or it’s launched but only in limited areas—you’ll see roof repair and it’ll give you a variance in price.

In this case, it shows between $226 and $272. It shows labor cost, material costs, et cetera. It’s all based on information from Homewyse. I never used it. To quote Search Engine Land, “a fact-based, independent reference for home product, installation and service estimates.” Now, why is this important and I like it when they note that in the Search Engine Land here. It is important because if you aren’t sure how you, again, if you are concerned about your pricing, if you know that your clients care more about that than anything and that is important, then you want to see how you measure up.

If you’re dramatically higher, that may be something to consider because you may not be getting that business for someone else.

Scott: Also, to note that, there might be a paid aspect here. We could take advantage of it. If you say you want to rank, in this case, for roof repair and your prices happen to fall below what Google’s quoting in this area here in local—if your ad said, roof repair starting at $199—when this says $226, you might cross some clicks over.

Ross: True. Yeah and although I didn’t note it in this, there is another piece of news out. If someone clicks on your Google My Business or sees your Google My Business listing, let’s say they searched for your business name—I don’t know if this is a limited rollout or what, but if you have a local ad—it has been appearing below that Google My Business listing on the right, your local knowledge panel. When it’s on the right side of the page, it’ll talk about your business, your hours, all that stuff—a lot more deemed information than you would normally see in a search result. Google does this because it knows you’re searching for that business. Well, let’s give you all the details about that business.

Well below that, the ad that the business had been paying for appears as well. I guess Google gets a chance that someone might click on that which gives them a little money, but it also from your point of view, as your listing is showing up, it increases the chances that you’re going to get that business.

Interesting. I like seeing them play around with ads. I mean, it’s a fact of life. It’s what they want from all of us, more money. If they do it in a way that helps us, well, that’s a good thing.

This February, I missed this article and I think it’s our article. It’s actually a discussion on the local search form. Again, one of the things I like to check on a regular basis. It’s kind of cool. ZipSprout offers a free local sponsorship finder. If you have a local business and you want to raise the visibility of your business, create citations, create some buzz, get some business from that alone. But also show Google that you are a local business, that you have a fairly significant profile that can help with visibility and search rankings.

Sponsoring is a great idea. Your sponsor, a local church, you can get a link from that church to your business. They’ll talk about you in various ways, depending on what they’re doing. Of course, you hope you’re doing a little due diligence first to make sure they have a website, make sure that they actually do post things that are online that Google sees. It works wonders here. You’re doing what you love to do, helping people out, but you’re also getting the benefits of more visibility and some potential business.

Anyway, ZipSprout is a free local sponsorship finder that allows you to search for tons of sponsorship opportunities, local sponsorship opportunities across the United States. Unfortunately, only in the United States. They don’t have anything similar in Canada yet or other countries. But very cool. We’ll have it in our show notes. If you want to check that out and go to it, you can. But otherwise, just type in that mouthful ZipSprout free local sponsorship finder. Some Mueller files are coming up next, but let’s take a quick break.

Welcome back to SEO 101 on hosted by myself Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my company’s Senior SEO Scott Achte.

Alright, have you checked this out?

Scott: Yes, I have.

Ross: Let’s talk about this.

Scott: Browser extensions. They impact your Google core web vital scores. There’s been a lot of chatter going around the internet world about browser extensions and how they could be used to disrupt core web vital scores. The gist of it is, don’t worry about it.

John Mueller actually said in a post on Reddit and I don’t have the link handy for that. He had said, “Yeah, page experience is currently slated only for mobile search, and if lots of people have figured out how to install plugins on chrome on Android, I’d love to know the trick.” He is certainly not concerned and there are a few other reasons. I think it was Barry Schwartz that wrote that article and he had given up three reasons why you don’t need to worry about it.

The first is that of course, core web vital scores are based on mobile and most people don’t have browser extensions on mobile browsers. Can you even get them? I don’t know. I’ve never even tried. There’s that and then even if they didn’t, most general users don’t have browser extensions. I never thought about this before, but it’s probably true. I have them because I use them for work purposes, but in real life outside of work, I don’t use any extensions.

I’m sure there are a lot of examples for people like password managers and things. But generally, a lot of them are being used I suppose. Then thirdly is that the page experience update is not expected to be as massive as we once believed it would be. Even if extensions could have an impact on your score, that score isn’t going to play as big of a role as we once thought it would, at least not initially. If you had seen some of the chatter about extensions causing issues with this and it had you interested or worried, you can rest assured that it’s probably not going to have any impact at all.

Ross: I should apologize, we didn’t really preempt this with a bit of a description of what these are. If you use Chrome, Firefox, I imagine any browser—those would be the ones I use the most—you can install enhancements, or in this case, extensions to your browser to offer new functionality. You mentioned LastPass, a password manager will pop up and say, would you like to save this password and you do it through that encrypted system. You can record video and you can bookmark it into different cloud systems. There’s a ton of different things.

Absolutely a mind-boggling number of enhancements that you can add to a browser. But they do slow it down slightly. It potentially slows down the loading of a website. That’s what the concern was—would that impact what Google sees and would it have an impact on whether or not the site ranks as well. For all the above reasons that were mentioned, that is not an issue. Don’t worry about it. I can see it coming up. That is definitely worth mentioning.

Now this next one, I did not see. Tell me about it, Scott.

Scott: I don’t have my notes in front of me which are we looking at here? Words in a URL. John Mueller had confirmed and I think he’d mentioned this a bit about a year ago as well. If you have keywords in the URL—back in the day, 18 years ago—it was critical. You throw a keyword in the URL and you’re on page one. It was like one of the key ranking factors, and it always worked, and it was basic. Then there were updates in the exact match domain update where a domain name with a keyword in it used to do really well, and now it doesn’t matter.

Well, it’s kind of the same with URL strings. Keywords in URLs don’t really do much, but they do play a very small role in ranking when Google first indexes a brand new page it has not seen before. Then the value in that keyword, in that URL diminishes greatly once Google indexes the full content on the page. If you’re creating a new page on your site, there will be absolutely some value in having your keywords for that page in the URL string. But it’s not the end all be all, and the value there will diminish. I would say, still go for it rather than using ABC.HTML or whatever.

You still get it there, they’re good for your users if you accurately describe what the page is. Keep it clean, concise, relevant, and it will have a small SEO benefit there. John had said something a year ago and I have the quote in front of me. I guess it’s basically what I just said. He says, “Also, changing URLs on an existing site is a site-migration & it will take time/fluctuations to be reprocessed.” The point there is, don’t change your URLs for the purpose of adding keywords to them, especially if they’re already indexed. The value you’ll gain is probably outweighed by the problems you’ll find through the change. You’re going to lose a bit of value. You’re going to have to set up redirects. It’s not worth it. Don’t change your URL for SEO purposes.

Ross: The benefit is minuscule. I’m sure. Let’s jump into a question we have from Brooks Bailey. Now, he had a really long question. It was great. I tried to shorten it up here and really tackle a part of it to start with. Brooks is wondering if there are more accurate tools for domain authority research. In other words, backlink, citation profile analysis, also for HTML coding effectiveness, and one for content quality. Now, this is a large question. We can’t answer everything right now. With that said, I’d like to cover the authority research part.

He mentions Ahrefs. He mentions Ubersuggest. Only the free tools and how the data seems to be so different. Now, I hear you. I’m sure they are quite different. Now, let’s put aside the fact that there’s a potential difference in methodologies, I’m sure, for both systems. I would imagine anyway. Plus the fact that they’re free. It really doesn’t matter. Even if they were all paid, link research is always run on whatever portion of the internet these particular tools have managed to index.

There’s going to be some crossover, but if you’ve seen them, one of those area charts with circles where they had slight areas where they overlap.

Scott: Venn diagram.

Ross: Yeah. Thank you. I think that’s what it is. Anyway, those are a good thing to imagine. Where the crossover is, there’ll be some places where both systems have managed to index the same links. The internet is so fast that not even the top tools out there have indexed everything. You’re always going to get different results. Trying to get past that and find a better tool that will provide more accurate results is under the impossible. I suppose you could get into the details of what is accurate no matter what portion of the net that they’ve indexed and then that just becomes opinion because no one knows what Google really wants to see.

We have a lot of great ideas and a lot of partial evidence at times, but it is our experience as SEOs that makes us valuable that we’re leveraging to determine what works and what doesn’t, and which tool appeals to us more. In my opinion—because it’s very expensive, I don’t use it anymore—but LinkResearchTools is excellent. Priced very high and it’s definitely more for medium and large business, but it does a phenomenal job of indexing and has a great system. It’s my go-to if I’m going to do a very advanced analysis. Otherwise, I’m fine with using SEMrush. I’m fine with using Majestic SEO. But no, obviously, I don’t use any free tools. I don’t need to and it wouldn’t be helpful for my clients. Any thoughts on that part?

Scott: Yeah, just kind of like what you said, every tool is so different. They are focusing on the same goal in mind, but they crawl at different rates, with different crawl budgets, at different parts of the web, at different times. One tool might catch a link where another tool might miss it, or maybe one tool spiders a site and the link is there, then the next tool comes and that site happens to have removed the link. Now, one tool shows it and one doesn’t, or maybe they just added it.

Ross: Or the website can be down.

Scott: Or the site could be down.

Ross: That entirely changes the direction of that index.

Scott: Or not even down, the site could be blocking the spider for one particular tool and not another. You’re never going to get two tools that show the same results ever. It doesn’t mean one’s wrong or inaccurate. It just means they have different access levels to different things. Often, if I’m doing any kind of link comparison between say a client and a competitor, I’ll use the data from multiple tools and try to merge it together. You’ll definitely see overlap and you’ll catch links on one tool that you won’t on another. Every time. It’s not that one ‘s better than the other. It’s just the nature of the web. It’s just so dynamic. You can’t be 100%.

Ross: Yeah. HTML coding effectiveness in content quality, coding effectiveness. I don’t really know what you’re getting at there. If you’re concerned about the accuracy of HTML coding, well I would use a W3C checker. It really does give you a good idea of how things are. It’s not a great concern from an SEO perspective. I know there’s going to be some purists out there that disagree. But even they wouldn’t have to agree that it would be wrong to focus. It’s low on the list. There are a lot of other things that are way more important to first focus on.

There’s a lot of garbage sites. They don’t rank well. Their code probably isn’t that great. As long as things aren’t broken, that’s fine in many ways. Don’t get me wrong. I would love it if everything was beautifully coated and perfect but Google has to work with the reality that not all sites are. In fact, a majority aren’t. As a result, they can’t really use it as a significant factor or even a factor in rankings. Unless again it’s providing a bad experience. That’s not really so much the code as the overall user experience, the UX.

When it comes to content quality, again, not really sure where you’re going with this. I don’t know of a tool that can analyze—I’m sure that there is, there’s a tool for everything—the efficacy of the sales pitch, or efficacy of the content on the page for marketing, I know there are ones that look at readability—how easy it is to read, what grade levels it is for the person who’s reading it. Can it be read by your target market? That’s an important concept that’s definitely worth thinking about. I don’t remember which one that is off-hand.

Scott: I think Yoast has it built-in for WordPress. It’s part of the Yoast plug-in. In that case, for that one in particular. There would be others for sure though.

Ross: I hope that helped Brooks. You probably we’re looking for more direct answers in terms of tools but nothing really, other than some of the more obvious ones, came to mind. I wish you luck and if we missed a beat there, please do reply. We’ll see what we can do about honing a reply to it on the next round. I definitely thank you for posting the question though.

Well, on behalf of myself Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing, and my company’s Senior SEO Scott Van Achte, thank you for joining us today.

Remember, we have a show notes newsletter. You can sign up for it at You’ll never miss anything. We’ve got transcriptions. We’ve got links. We’re working hard to make sure this is a great resource for you.

If you have any questions you’d like to share with us, please feel free to post them on our Facebook group easily by searching the SEO 101 Podcast on Facebook. If you enjoyed the show, we’d appreciate any feedback on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or your favourite podcast stream. Have a great week and remember to tune into future episodes which air every week on

Scott: Thank you for listening, everybody.