In today’s webinar, we’re joined by Kristine Schachinger. One of Kris’s specialties is site audits, particularly on large enterprise sites. We invited her to discuss some of the common questions that arise when the topic of site audits is discussed… questions like, what are some of the most common issues found, how deep does an audit have to dig, how do you get devs on-board with fixes, or do ALL these things really need to be fixed?
With several years as a front-end developer before changing her focus to SEO, Kristine has a somewhat different perspective on technical issues than some SEO practitioners. She understands that devs have their own set of problems to deal with and her recommendations will usually just pile more work on them. So she works closely with the devs to minimize that impact, with the client to properly prioritize the items which are most important, and with both to understand what’s really important and why.
Watch the video to hear our discussion of many aspects of technical site audits. As always, there’s a transcript below, and of course, we always appreciate the Likes and Subscribes! 😉
0:03 – Steve Gerencser: All right, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the DeepSEO Conference Webinar Series. I’m Steve Gerencser, And the gentlemen up top there is Doc Sheldon – with us this time is Kristine Schachinger. She does high end web audits and deep dives. And some of you may know her from the Facebook SEO groups. Kristine, welcome to the show.
0:27 – Kristine Schachinger: Hi, thank you for having me, guys.
0:30 – Steve Gerencser: Awesome. So we see a lot of questions online. What should I expect in an audit? Or even worse, SEO’s going “I’ve been hired to do an audit, what should I do?” Just for a real quick overview of some of the types of things you would look at and say are really low level audit versus a real deep dive. We can talk about both because they’re definitely two wildly different things. So I mean, from a basic point of view, what would you as a site owner be looking for in a website audit?
1:09 – Kristine Schachinger: Yeah, I don’t really do low level audits. They’re all deep audits, but it just depends on what size the site is and what the pricing is, or how far a client wants to go. I will say that a core update audit would be much more extensive than, let’s say, a regular site health audit. And they’re done very differently. So every audit has a different method. I work on different types of audits. I do site audit recoveries, I do regular site health audits, I do just, general, you know, have they been working on something and want to check-it-out kind of audits. But all the audits require a deep dive also. A lot of people do template audits but I don’t do that. Because a lot of times, you’ll find that the issues that a site has are deep in their, you know, one-off pages, or they’re anomalies – things like that. And so when you do a template audit, which is fine, if somebody wants to do a template audit, because they’ve agreed with the client, that’s what they’re doing. But I find I could miss things that are really important. I also don’t do partial audit. Sometimes a client is like, “I just want you to audit X folder.” And I’m like, “well, I could do that but the problem is, if I do that, we could be missing something really important in the other parts of your site like, internal linking structures, or something of that nature.” So my audits tend to be full audits and deep dives. We just agree how deep the dive will go, depending on the pricing or the audit.
2:35 – Steve Gerencser: I know when I do a lot of light audits, we tend to come across the obvious problems. The site’s been set to no index. That’s always my favorite one, because that’s the easiest one to fix. We see a lot of content issues where the contents are either not structured properly, or their navigation is horrible. Personally, I’ve always blamed that on Google pushing the XML sitemap as a solution to poor navigation, which is what I think it was originally intended for. And I’ve always felt that if you had great navigation, you didn’t need one or you shouldn’t, at least. If Google couldn’t find your stuff through your natural navigation, then you have other issues because people won’t find it either. So, I mean, what kind of issues (I don’t want to say “always come across”) do you typically see in somebody’s website that constantly appears over and over and over again?
3:47 – Kristine Schachinger: They go in cycles. So for a while, people will be making like, X error, Y error. So lately, it’s been constructing sites of no hierarchy, no architecture. So, they think because the name and the URL doesn’t matter to Google, or much, if at all, that they don’t need to actually have a site structure. So I see a lot of sites now, where everything’s off the root, which means Google has no information on hierarchy importance, categorical topics, things like that. So that’s one of the big things we’re seeing. Also, internal linking structures aren’t very good when you get to that kind of structure. And then, so the site architecture and navigation have been horrible, people go for pretty design over actual informational design. So pretty design designed by a designer, not with the input from an informational architect often means that the site architecture looks great. It’s pretty little drop down menu, but it doesn’t sufficiently display the site and when it comes to sitemaps… sitemaps, I still think are important, because if Google has a crawling issue, where somewhere, a developer injected a technical problem, where they can’t get through the pages, they get to those pages, then it’s good to have the sitemap so Google knows that they exist.
But you’re right. Site architecture, site navigation, I always tell clients is the hardest thing to do. You need to get in a room with people, give them permission to speak freely of all levels in the stakeholders in the company, and some people have to realize their stuff won’t be in the nav, but other people have to be in the nav, if that makes sense. So, that’s a really big thing, lately. And then, prior to core web vitals, page speed was a big thing. I know a lot of SEOs think that page speed isn’t a big deal. But it was on the query level as a tiebreaker. So if I had a large site with 10,000 queries, I saw one cycle of 200,000 visits in a day. So that was a big thing. Yeah. And it held it until they put all the ads back on the site and slowed the site back down. Like, “why did we lose our big boost?” I’m like, “because you put your 14 ads back on the page.” So, that’s what I saw primarily. CWVs don’t have the same impact yet so I don’t know that people are going to focus on them as strongly as they did page speed.
6:16 – Steve Gerencser: Right. I just shared a screenshot last night where the website had five different ad blocks, and they were all showing the exact same Ads. It was just like, “wow, they really want me to buy that.”
6:32 – Kristine Schachinger: And I tell clients, you know, especially publishers — I’ve worked with quite a few publishers. And I’m like, “you’ll make more money, if you drop down to four to six ads.” And they’re like, “No, we won’t”. You know, like, “trust me, you will make more money.” And they do. And they make more money because they don’t turn off their users and their users stay on the page. And they go through more pages, because they’re not so irritated that they have to get through all the left sticky nav and the bottom sticky nav, and the big one that pops up and the one that follows them down the page. And that just irritates users, and then you burn them, and they never come back. We all have those sites we avoid because of ads, right? All of us.
7:06 – Steve Gerencser: There are plenty of sites that I have blocked at the router. I forget and I click an ad, or I click a link, and it’s like, that won’t come up. But it’s like, “Oh, I know why” and I just go back. If it’s blocked at the router, it’s because they did something horrible.
7:23 – Kristine Schachinger: That’s a good idea.
7:25 – Steve Gerencser: Yes. So, you mentioned URL structure and hierarchy and stuff like that. I still hear people saying that the farther away you get from the route, the less value of page has, according to Google. I’m not even sure where that rumor came from. When everybody started going to a flat navigation, probably 12 years ago or more… I don’t even know how you could go about convincing web developers and site owners that that’s not a thing. I know, we have these types of discussions in the Facebook groups. And I think a lot of this comes back to the developers not caring about SEO enough. They don’t think it’s a thing that they should have to worry about, which is frustrating, as someone who does both. But what type of things do you think could be done more, to get developers more on board, to get them more involved in the process when you’re coming at it from an audit? Because I’ve seen where you submit an audit, and all of a sudden everybody gets real defensive because you’re pointing out problems with the website, and now the developers want to push back really hard against that. It’s like, “oh, no, we did this for REASONS.”
8:49 – Kristine Schachinger: I started as a front end developer, designer and worked in development groups for most of my career. So I kind of speak that, and it’s its own language. But I think the most important thing with developers is,
One: don’t push things as urgent that are not urgent. Like sometimes, I’ll get an audit and someone higher up is like, “we got to do all the things.” And I’m like, “No, we don’t have to do all the things right now.” They can ask them what their schedule is, and when they can get certain things in. And I do push things that are necessary, like Google has a deadline on say, mobile first. And, you know, when I was working with one company back then, the developer was like, “we can’t get it in ‘til next year.” And I’m like, “Okay, but the deadline is not till six months after that. Now, it’s been moved and moved and moved, but you know, that’s fine. So the best thing you can do is make the developers your friend. And if you’re embedded with them, or in house over time, try to work to get your own developer, which I did with most companies I’ve worked with, when I’m working with them long term. And that is just an SEO dedicated developer who takes care of everything, sits in meetings with you once a week, takes everything back to the development team. When you’re doing just an audit you don’t have that luxury. So I always tell the customer to buy extra implementation hours for the first two months after the audit delivery. They don’t have to, but it’s more likely they’ll be successful.
And I sit with developers and I hear their needs, and I make sure that they can fit it into their timelines, so I don’t give them anything that’s not going to move the needle. It might be nice and SEO perfect to do XYZ, but is it really going to change their visibility and traffic? Probably not, or not much. So don’t give it to the developers to do. If they get to a point where it’s like, “we have nothing to do” which is almost never, “can we do these little things for you?” then you add them then, but you make them your friend, and you show them you respect their time. Most developers I know and I’ve worked with are not difficult to be difficult. They’re over overtaxed and under resourced. And everybody wants everything from them, and everybody wants it now, and most people don’t understand what they’re asking for. So always make sure you understand your ask, make sure it fits into their development plan, if you have to push something, make sure it’s super important. Like, it’s going to break the site or cause them to get a devaluation, or suffer under an update, manual action, things of that nature, and then just add the other things as you can into their timeline. That’s usually how it works.
11:12 – Doc Sheldon: One of the things that I have had pretty good luck with is insisting that the developer be in our initial meeting. And I just tell the owner, I said, “Look, these guys are going to have to implement this stuff” because I don’t like doing it for them, I prefer to let their own developer do it. These guys are going to have their work schedule impacted, they’re going to have a better ability than I will or than you will to say how many hours or days it’s going to take to accomplish something. Let’s let them have some representation. And then, when they’re in the meeting, even if it does look like it was a developer error, I never throw them under the bus because that’s definitely going to make you an enemy, you get push-back. And I’ve had pretty good luck building relationships with devs because they appreciate the fact that I was an advocate for getting them involved on the front end, not in the 11th hour.
12:04 – Kristine Schachinger: Exactly. And in addition, I forgot to add, I always put it on process. So I went into one company, and they had an open site search that created pages that added the search to the title, the URL, the description, and the H1. And they were found by hackers everywhere and ranking number four for porn and vulnerability on the website, XXS vulnerability that they were they were cited for by, I think the Justice Department, like five years earlier and hadn’t fixed. So you don’t walk into that meeting and go, “You guys, what the heck!” It’s like, “well, obviously, somewhere in the history of your company, this seemed like it’d be easier for the developers to have a site search, create pages, and it might have been not noticed that the XXS was not fixed yet, but these are things that we need to get done.” And that got the head of the group that I was working with completely on board, and one of his team members pushed back and said, “Oh, that’s not possible.” And he looked at the guy and he goes, “Oh, it is 100% possible.” And she showed us why it’s possible. And the guy never said another word. But I didn’t blame anybody. I didn’t go in there and say, you know, this is security fault, or the developers fault. This is the issue on the site. It’s like looking at a car; if there’s a problem with the car, we don’t know who actually created the problem, and he may have been here two days and left (or she). So we just need to go ahead and get it fixed and then focus on how it will benefit them.
And I’m not beyond bribery. I don’t really mean bribery. But when they’ve done a good job, I’ll find out what their favorite restaurant is, or if they like alcohol and I’ll send them a gift certificate if they’re remote or I’ll take them out if they’re not. And they appreciate being appreciated because they don’t get a lot of appreciation and I really appreciate the work they did.
13:52 – Steve Gerencser: I’m a big fan of cheesecake.
13:57 – Doc Sheldon: Dev and IT are often the most abused and neglected folks in the organization so any positive attention is always going to be appreciated.
14:08 – Kristine Schachinger: And they do appreciate it. I had one developer work with me when I was at one company. We had to rewrite 2 million title tags. And she and I spent four months creating programmatic ways to do the title tags correct. And we rolled it out, it was 98% perfect, like, there’s 2% that could be tweaked but because of her help, I was able to do that. So, that and our dedicated SEO and the lead who let me do all that, I brought them Christmas presents: lots of candy and junk that they liked. And they were so happy and that just makes everything easier.
14:41 – Steve Gerencser: Awesome. So, we see a lot of people do just the fire & forget audits; they run them up, they print them out in a PDF, send it off and call it done. You’re obviously a proponent of aftercare, following up, making sure things get done… because I know I’ve had audits come back two years later and say “we need another audit.” But you did absolutely nothing from the first audit, of course you need another audit – you haven’t followed through. So, we’re back to kind of more of a business side of things, but how hard is that or how important is that for you to get clients to sign off on that?
15:27 – Kristine Schachinger: It’s not too difficult. Usually, I just explain… I’m not a salesperson, right? I just explained honestly. This is what you need. You don’t want it, you don’t want it. But I’m just telling you’re going to be more likely to have success with your audit if we do a follow up and implementation. I give them a price for the two months with a 10% discount if they sign up at the time of the audit. And then, if they’re like, “well, that’s too much.” well, fine, we’ll just do block hours. You know, just so you have something. And usually, they’re very receptive to it. It’s not very often I get someone who doesn’t. But before I started doing that, I did have one of those audits. The largest audit ever did was a 250-page audit. So much wrong on the site. They put like an infinite scroll after every article comments section that was causing the page load to be like 20 megabytes, and things like that. And they didn’t do a single thing. Not a single thing for two years. And then two years later, I noticed they started doing some of the work. So I think it’s just really important to get the client to understand why it’s important for them.
16:28 – Steve Gerencser: Wow! Yeah. Most of my clients tend to be on a much smaller side. I’ve always focused on the smaller businesses, the mom and pops and stuff like that. So generally, their audits aren’t that big because their websites aren’t that big. There’s obviously a big difference when you’re doing a 100-page website versus 100,000-page website. There will be some issues that you can identify page after page because it’s simply the way the website’s set up. Gosh! My brain just snapped, sorry. Doc, did you have a question?
17:09 – Kristine Schachinger: And I do smaller websites too. I don’t just do enterprise level. I do all levels. So yeah, I think on the smaller ones, you get kind of a different take on what SEO issues are, so I kind of learned from all the audits that I do.
17:23 – Doc Sheldon: One thing that I’ve seen, because I do an awful lot of small sites, SMB, for me is typically going to be one of my larger projects. So I’ll get people that will reach out to me, saying “Hey, so and so says that you do site audits and I’m told I need a site audit.” Well, first of all, who told you that? “Well, a guy in a Facebook group.” So what I started doing about three years ago is I started doing a 30,000-foot view, just a quick and dirty check to see whether a site audit is even necessary. Because I’ve had a client, there was exactly that situation; they were told by somebody they trusted that they need a site audit. And I looked and the only problem he had was he had out of about 1200 images, 180 of them had no alt text. Somebody had been putting up images in recent posts with no alternate attributes. That was the only thing he had wrong. I said, “I’m not going to charge you $12,000 for this audit.” So what I did is, I invented a new product, $300 which I call a snapshot to see if you even need a site audit. And if you do, then I’ll discount your site audit by that amount. You’re not paying twice. And if you don’t, I’ve saved you 12 grand.
18:44 – Kristine Schachinger: See, for me, I turn away audits that I know don’t have any need.
18:50 – Doc Sheldon: I have done that too. Yeah.
18:53 – Kristine Schachinger: But generally speaking on enterprise level, if I can’t find something on the initial check to give the bid proposal, I charge more, because it’s going to be more of a deep dive… Because if it’s a massive site that there’s issues, but if I can’t see things that move the needle right off the get go on a quick review, then it’s extra… Because now I’m going to have to do a lot more looking to get them stuff that’s going to actually change their position.
19:24 – Doc Sheldon: I do have a question for Kristine.
9:28 – Kristine Schachinger: Sure.
19:29 – Doc Sheldon: Talk about some of your favorite tools.
19:32 – Kristine Schachinger: Oh…. Get me in trouble, right? I’m a consultant. So generally speaking, I try to keep my tool amounts low, because most clients have their tools that they use, like the big ones. So primarily, I always have Sitebulb and Screaming Frog, and always use both on every crawl because they look at sites a little bit differently. And Sitebulb has all that great information in it that you can just give the client to link to if they need any extra explanation from what you’ve written in the audit. And Ahrefs is usually what I use for links, but I know Majestic’s visual linkup is really pretty nice. That’s a nice tool. So I might get that for a one-off but I don’t do a lot of link analysis anymore because there’s not a lot of issues. I do a preliminary check to see if there are any notable issues, like the ones that I had that had 13 million Russian porn spam links that was ranking for porn.
And then I like Oncrawl. If you have a low budget, it’s very similar to Botify. If you have the money for Botify, or you’re a company that has the money for Botify, I definitely think that’s a great product, especially if you get the Splunk log analysis. It’s got a lot of great data in there, ability to search things with regex. I don’t use SEMrush. I know a lot of people do. It’s not a regular tool of mine but if a client of mine has it, I use it. And I think those are probably the ones I use most, or a client has most. So what I really like about Oncrawl is, it’s so similar to Botify, but so much cheaper. And then I use Rank Ranger to monitor a client’s site; so it’ll tell me if something on the site has changed or not. So pick those. You guys have any to add to that? Did I miss anybody big that’s going to get mad at me later because I totally forgot about them?
21:32 – Steve Gerencser: No, that was that. Doc, actually you stole my question. I agree with the other tools. I use most of these in our daily business here, and my biggest issue has always been those clients that are more interested in rankings. And it’s like, well, we just did all these things and my rankings haven’t gone up. It’s like, yeah, but you’re only checking three words. And you’re checking from your standard computer, and I’m sitting here showing you analytics, it shows you’re up 30%.
22:09 – Kristine Schachinger: Yeah, that’s it. I forgot to say Google Analytics and Search Console. I use those every day.
22:35 – Steve Gerencser: Having those two Google tools makes setting a baseline difficult because you don’t know where they are currently, so you don’t know if anything you do is going to make it better or not because you don’t have anything to compare it to. And so… yeah. You mentioned when we first started talking about like, a core update audit. Obviously, these things happens two or three times a year, and it seems like they’re starting to happen with more regularity. Knowing that Google is tight-lipped about their updates and what they’re actually updating, how do you set your framework for doing a core update audit? I mean is this something that usually gets triggered because there was a core update on August 30, and on September 1, our traffic went to zero? Is that usually something that’s going to make the audit more obviously needed? Or, I mean, how do you go about structuring something like that?
23:38 – Kristine Schachinger: If if your site went to zero, definitely, you’re going to want to. Actually, with the core updates, a lot of people lost 80, 90% of their traffic. So it’s not really that extreme. But I also do check little on an initial look, like Doc said, I’ll look before I even sign up and make sure someone didn’t put a no index on the site or block it with the RT(robots.txt) or something. But if it pans out that they need an audit, the first thing we’re going to check is, is it actually a core update drop? Just because it happened after the core update doesn’t mean it’s a core update drop. A lot of people I see posting, like they lost 15% of their traffic, and they assume it’s a core update and core updates are usually much more severe. I have probably never seen an actual core update that was below like 40%, 30% of traffic drop. So Google’s evaluations tend to be much larger drops, they tend to be 40%, 50%, 60%. 80%, 90%, even, depending on what it is.
Core updates are a little different. And they actually changed. I don’t think CWBs factor in. Page speed was a big thing. So a lot of the core updates, the way I tell people to analyze them (and I wrote an article on this on Medium) is, you start with your queries because the core update attacks at the query level because that’s the only way they can tell your money or life information, right? They don’t know your site’s money or your life, they even say that they don’t know that, and that’s true. But they do know if a query is your money or your life. And so if you look at the queries, a lot of times, you’ll notice that on the root query, it’s maybe four or five different items that dropped tremendously. And in one case, I traced it to a set of folders, and then I did an audit on the set of folders and found that they had a redirect loop on every folder, and they had a page speed module that was five years out of date. And then we fixed those things. Yeah. And that was adding 30 seconds of page load time.
So, almost every one I’ve recovered has been highly technical issues that nobody cared about before. And my only theory on that (and this is a theory, I have nothing to back it up, it’s just my little thought) is that, Google needs to cut costs of crawling and indexing, and it let the money or life sites go for years on technical issues because they didn’t have enough in the corpus to have enough information to pull back, and now they do. So they added that technical element into those core updates because I’ve only seen one that dropped strictly on anything related to queries, and everything else was pretty much on technical crawling, indexing issues that were massive. They weren’t little things, they were huge. And what happens is that you check the queries to look for where the anomaly is or where the issue is. And then you fix those technical problems first. If technical issues aren’t what fixes it, or if you don’t think it’s big enough to have caused that kind of drop, then you look at the query analysis.
And sometimes what Google has done is shifted you on the core update. So it shifted you from one person, they were at nightshade vegetables, and they’re getting like 80,000 visits a month on that, and then they dropped to like eight on the root. They’re like 1300 terms related to that one root. And that was the only place they dropped on the site were that one root term, and nightshade vegetables was moved to nightshade vegetables list, a major page that was getting old traffic. And Google had decided that the more accurate representation was nightshade vegetables list, so they lost nightshade vegetables. So you have to look at the technical, the crawling and the query space. I haven’t seen anything purely on just site content. And the reason would be that everything we’ve done to fix those other two issues fixed the site and brought it back up over 100%. So it didn’t seem like the content itself was the problem.
27:30 – Steve Gerencser: I’ve done a few audits where I wound up digging not only deeper on the site, but branching out to other websites to kind of get a better feel for what’s going on with their particular vertical. In one, specifically, their primary money terms, Google decided that those were now going to be predominantly local search. And they went from ranking nationally and driving customers from all over the country and world to being nowhere outside of their little locality. So, I guess my question would be, how far, how wide do you throw your net when you’re doing an audit? When you’re looking for issues like that, do you branch off to other websites that, maybe using Ahrefs, where sites that were linking to them, they lost their power, which is what caused the site you’re actually auditing to drop?
28:36 – Kristine Schachinger: Yeah, and that definitely is an issue. I was just going to say that people do forget that if during an update, all the people linking to you or a lot of your major link or someone who lost position and lost value, then you lost the value in those links, so… definitely. I do it on an initial review, like when I start to look at the site to see if that’s a problem – that they had a massive loss of value or links before I get into the deep dive. So I don’t extend much outside of that unless I can’t find what’s going on. So I had one site that got devalued, like 80%. And it was like a mom and pop who wrote all their own content for 12 years about travel. And I couldn’t figure out what it was. But in that case, it turned out to be that they didn’t have any site architecture, no site hierarchy and their internal link structures were completely off. So I haven’t seen too many on a core update that are link related outside the site, but I definitely could see how the query-shifting, moving you to local from national would be pretty huge.
29:42 – Steve Gerencser: Yeah. It’s kind of like when whichever one was Panda or Penguin, whichever won the content, one was fired off and all the article directories vanished. It plummeted and they’re like, “Well, what’s changed?” like, well, “All the people linking to you vanished.” They’re gone. Therefore none of their links count, or have been heavily devalued. And now the one guy in your niche that wasn’t doing anything floated to the top, because he was the only one who was ranking his own stuff.
30:14 – Kristine Schachinger: That’s very true. And I just had a thought and I lost it. I’m sorry.
30:23 – Steve Gerencser: The nature of these discussions.
30:25 – Kristine Schachinger: Yes. You’re saying that the link is… anyway, go on to the next thing. I’ll remember it.
30:33 – Steve Gerencser: Oh, oh, that’s fine.
30:38 – Kristine Schachinger: I had a comment already and I totally lost it.
30:40 – Steve Gerencser: That’s why I have a notebook next to me. I try to write things down while we’re talking. I don’t want to push as far as trade secrets or anything. We talked about architecture and things like that but what kinds of things are you seeing people push in audits that really are not necessary or a waste of time? I know we see a lot of these people are selling, you know, “Buy my $995 audit template to show you how to do audits.” And those are almost always wrong. But what kinds of things do you find people spending too much time on?
31:28 – Kristine Schachinger: EAT! EAT is a concept. And if you want to follow it as a concept, that’s great. You want to make sure that you have good authors, and they’re knowledgeable and they know what they’re talking about. But Google doesn’t evaluate anything related to EAT. It’s not in any patents anywhere I’ve searched. And Google has said they don’t evaluate EAT. And if they don’t evaluate it, they’re not giving your site up or down devaluations on it. They don’t know who your authors are. I’ve had far too many people come to me after an audit and say they were told to hire authors of a certain names so that they could get their site back. They don’t get their sites back because Google doesn’t evaluate authors and have been very clear about that, from Danny to John to Martin, every single one of them has said that. And it makes sense, it’d be really hard to evaluate, like every author in the world, right? Like, how would you know every author?
And so they spent a lot of money. I had two the doctors came to me after a talk and they spent 80,000 between them, and got no boost because the doctors wrote the content. So the doctors didn’t need other doctors with a name to write the content. And I had a site that had a developer who was regularly breaking their site — this is very recent — but I can still see their – you know how you’re still on GSC sometimes, this was on GSC. He was breaking the site and we had done a lot of free work (40 hours of free work) trying to help fix what the developer kept breaking. And we told them that they needed to have another small audits, because we need to get paid for some of the work we’re doing. And they were told by somebody else who is an SEO, no, they needed to get authors with names to rewrite their content. The person that owned the site has been featured in Rolling Stone and is the leader in her field.
Google doesn’t do author, but it determines authorship, if there’s no author by site, by the value of the site, the quality of the site. So this former client lost 50% of their traffic because they didn’t fix the technical issues that they had, because they were going after something that doesn’t exist. Now, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a great guideline, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write great content, and you should have authors. And if you’re a news site, you definitely have to have authors; that is part of the news site algorithms. The quality rater’s guide is meant for quality raters. It’s not meant for SEOs. There’s an SEO guide. And it’s caused a lot of clients to spend a lot of money doing things that don’t matter because there are things that matter in there, but there’s a lot of things that don’t matter to visibility or search that just matter to quality raters who are the QA testers for Google algorithm tweaks.
34:02 – Steve Gerencser: I’ve always viewed EAT as a conversion factor. And that’s more of a user experience deal where somebody comes to a website, and they go, “Okay, this person knows their stuff.” And it gives them more confidence to continue forward down whatever the funnel is for that website, versus…
34:29 – Kristine Schachinger: I 100% agree.
34:32 – Steve Gerencser: To see it as a ranking factor and being touted as a ranking factor is frustrating.
34:37 – Kristine Schachinger: It is frustrating to me (I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. It cuts out) because I’m the one that usually people get to when they’re almost out of money, and then no one’s recovered their site. And then they come to me and they told me how much money they spent on rewriting all their content. And then I see what their content looked like or how it was written before and it’s fine. They didn’t need to rewrite all their content. They did need to fix the massive technical issues on their site, or their site hosting or their image serving or something of that nature which was slowing their site down. And when Google sees a slow site, they tend not to want to spend a lot of time there. And I don’t mean just page speed, I mean literal stuff that’s difficult for Google to crawl and index. Yeah, it’s frustrating because I see SEOs as – we are the step between clients hiring and firing, or if you’re a small business, between hiring and closing. And so I’m very certain. And when I say “certain” I don’t mean I’m certain myself, but I do a lot of research before I tell a client, like, this is a thing. And if I’m not sure, I go to John and get him to clarify, even if I think I know what I’m talking about.
So it’s just really frustrating to have clients spend that kind of money, and then see their sites decline and decline and decline because that’s not going to help them at all because it’s not a ranking factor now. If you have money, and you want to improve your conversion factor, you’re 100% correct. Like it does help site stickiness. I’m not saying that the things in it aren’t good for a website, I even tell clients, if you haven’t built a website, or you’re building a new part of your website, go read the quality raters guidelines. That’ll tell you everything you need to know about building a good site for users and for Google. But most things in there aren’t related to ranking factors. A lot of it is related to users’ experience that aren’t evaluated by Google.
36:21 – Steve Gerencser: Sure. Doc, do you have any final questions you want to ask Kristine?
36:30 – Doc Sheldon: Except for that one that I already stole from you, I think you pretty much covered those that I had.
36:36 – Steve Gerencser: So what I want to do here at the end of the show, Kristine, is give you a few minutes to talk about your business or how somebody can get a hold of you if they if they’re interested in hiring you. Or if you’ve got anything else going on, just kind of share with the world where they can find you and anything else that we haven’t touched on that you think is important that we should touch on before we go.
36:58 – Kristine Schachinger: Okay, great. I am the cobbler with no shoes, I do not have a website to find me on, so the best way is just to Google me. I’m the only Kristine Schachinger with the “K” on the internet right now that I can see. And I take up the first seven pages. So LinkedIn is probably the best way to contact me on there. I think a lot of people think I just do site auditing. I don’t. I also do regular monthly strategies. I also work with someone to do query auditing, and content auditing based on… I don’t want to say keywords because keywords is too small, but improving overall content in query auditing. So we offer that as a service as well. And then, I also do just regular strategy. If you want to hire me for five hours, because they have a problem they can’t solve, that’s fine too. I’m very flexible on how people can engage with me. And if you have a question, and you’re in SEO, just hit me up on Twitter, first part of my last name, and it’s on there, too. Hey! I just noticed that. You can hit me up there so…
38:13 – Steve Gerencser: Fantastic. We really appreciate you making time in your day for us. It’s always tough to get people to free up their time because we’re all busy, or taking a break. Either one. And we really, really appreciate getting a chance to talk with you. And as always, everybody, if you’re liking what you’re seeing on our webinars, we’ll really appreciate it if you subscribe to the channel. We’re working really hard on these webinars and we hope to continue to make this a big thing going forward. Thank you again, Kristine, Doc, for being here and looking forward to seeing everybody in the next webinar.
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