SEO - Searching for our drinks

Published September 20, 2020

Build it and they will come, right? Wrong. Search Engine Optimization is a key component of how people will discover your website or application. In this episode, we are joined by Netflix engineer, Cole Turner to talk with us about the importance of SEO and ways to improve your ranking in search engines.

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Episode transcript

Ryan Burgess
Welcome to a brand new episode of the front end happier podcast. In this episode we are joined by coal to discuss in the importance of SEO with us. Cool. Can you give a brief introduction of who you are, what you do and what your favorite happier beverages?

Cole Turner
Hey, my name is Cole Turner. I am an engineer at Netflix working in Aqua And my favorite happy hour beverage is a mess gal mule.

Ryan Burgess
Let's give introductions of today's panelists. Stacy, you want to start it off?

Stacy London
Sure. I'm Stacy London. I'm a senior front end engineer at Atlassian.

Jem Young
Jem young, senior software engineer at Netflix.

Ryan Burgess
And I'm Ryan Burgess. I'm a software engineering manager at Netflix. In each episode of the front end happier podcast, we love to choose a keyword that if it's mentioned at all, in the episode, we will all take a drink. And what did we decide today's keyword is? Two word keywords. So Matt, I love it. So if we say the word keyword, we will all take a drink. All right, before we really jump into SEO, I feel like a good way to start is what does SEO stand for search engine

Stacy London
optimization,

Ryan Burgess
right on

Jem Young
trying to think about Funny, funny or serious engineers over engineering.

Ryan Burgess
I feel like that adds another ear at the end but that's okay. Just

Jem Young
Hi. But that's,

Ryan Burgess
oh, that's that's fair. That's true. Why is Seo so important?

Cole Turner
It's a good question. I, you know, I, you and I were talking about this, Ryan, where it's like, if you build something awesome, what's the point if users never come? And so search engine optimization is really important, because you got to put your product out there. And search engines are essentially the front door to the internet.

Ryan Burgess
That's true. Because Yeah, like you're not just typing in www dot, blah, blah, blah, blah.com. And hoping that it's a great website. You're you're having to search for something. And usually, I don't know how many times you all spend time on the second page of Google. I don't think I make it very far to even the bottom of the first page.

Jem Young
There's a second page.

Ryan Burgess
I've heard that yeah, it's an urban legend. I feel like it's even worse on the mobile phone, right? Like it's usually like, I just want it like I'm not a little bit of a screen. I'm like, there. Done go. Yeah, I think it's it's definitely if you're wanting your website to even get traffic, it's it's super important. Also very hard. Like, I think that's the thing too is it's, it's very important, but it's also something that takes a lot of work. You know, it's not just like, put a couple of keywords in your get on the top of Google. Cheers,

Cole Turner
cheers. It is it's, it's practically a full time job. And that's why like, a lot of companies will hire dedicated SEO experts or they'll even outsource it to another company, because it's there's the basics. And then there's the things on top of the basics where you're optimizing the pages and the content. And that takes time. It's not something you just do instantly, it takes this kind of iteration and checking and monitoring and then iterating from there

Ryan Burgess
and changing because like the algorithms will change and the way you know how certain search engines rank certain things. That algorithm changes And you're not privy to it. So you have to kind of guess, which is why there's these consultancy firms that pop up because they can stay in business because the rules keep changing. What I think it's really interesting too, is to all that you just said about like having experts or Yes, there's consultants who think about it and really have to pay attention to those things. But it's also really hard to call you I think you alluded to this, but it's hard to measure because of the time too. It's not like, hey, after a week, this change will show up. It might be weeks, it might be a month. So even as you make changes, you're like, did that do something? It's I think that's always been my biggest struggle. I hope that did something well, but you don't quite know.

Cole Turner
Yeah. And I like the way you phrase that because there is a component of emotion to SEO. And I know that sounds ridiculous, where you're like, why would I be? Why would I care so much about SEO, but it's that hard work that you throw out into the world and then you're waiting on that return, you're waiting on hopefully, the changes that you make prop your page up on Google or any other search engine like Bing, or even Yahoo there. There are other search engines.

Jem Young
Now that's a I've everybody's making good points. We, I think as engineers, we underestimate the importance of SEO. And it's like, oh, yeah, cool. Like you're saying, you build something awesome. But nobody knows about it. Who cares? Like what was it for? If you're building a consumer product and consumers can't find your page or your app, then what's the point? So you it's something we totally forget about that, like marketing and SEO are actually critical to some of the things we build a lot of things we call the the consultant angle is interesting because what I've seen and I have almost zero experience with SEO, like practically done from what I've seen is it's a lot of voodoo magic, and people claiming things and like, Oh, you got to do this weird trick and this and this and what I've seen, it's just it's a lot of people guessing and They have vague ideas about what the search algorithms are looking for. But they can't really prove it because I'm sure kind of like Netflix is a personalization engine is like pretty secret, even even for people were fair, I'm sure Google's search ranking algorithm PageRank is like also very, super, super top secret. Not that anybody can understand anymore. It's probably like millions of lines of code, but I don't know. It's just like a buyer beware. If someone's like, Oh, I can get you to the front page or whatever. Be careful. A lot of people use dirty tricks and things that will get you like banned or delisted to get you to the front page and like it's a whole murky world. There's entire SEO conferences, and I don't know what they're about, but I imagine they're kind of boring.

Ryan Burgess
I mean, I think there's value I think there's probably good tips that that they have right in order to I think you're right those like the bold statement. I will get you the top of Google that's a that's a pretty big statement and not always that simple. And yes, like, Alright, let's say Netflix. Yeah, if you search Stranger Things Netflix watch on Netflix or something like that. You'll be at the top if that's your keyword. Cheering Cheers.

Cole Turner
Used to be a lot easier actually, what's what's interesting is over time, Google has made it harder to gamify the system, it used to be that you could just throw keywords onto your page and clearly, like, choose yours. You could throw terms onto your page, and Google would pick up on these terms and then they would see Oh, your your pages valuable. Now you've added these keywords. Sorry. Cheers. Cheers. What's funny is, when I first started SEO, we we installed scripts on websites where because Google would tell you the search queries that the users are coming in from, you would add those to your database, put them on your page and then your page would rank higher and higher. But once everybody started doing that, then the algorithms became more sophisticated and harder to gamify.

Stacy London
And now they're including things that are not even just about content. It's like, is your page fast? Can it load fast? And it's like, you can't, you can't fake that. It's

Ryan Burgess
no, you really can. And yeah, but there's still like, now they're leaning into more of the user experience. You should be ranked higher if someone's trying to find something really helpful. They don't want to be sitting there for a long time, specially with mobile, like I made the comment to being on mobile, but I think it's more and more important, being on mobile as being really quick. So Gemma and Cole you both kind of mentioned previous experience, I thought it'd be really interesting like jam it sounds like you've had no experience with SEO, what's everyone's really experienced? Like, I feel like we've all probably been somewhat exposed to it in our jobs. But I'm curious to hear each of your experience with SEO mind spin.

Stacy London
I think I've far more kind of in the gems category of like, I just have it focussed on it at all for many, many, many years, like, I've worked on some public sites like way back or kind of earlier in my career that were content based sites that you wanted to make sure people could search and find, but that was like early days of some of the search engine stuff, too. So it wasn't, I don't remember spending a huge amount of time like optimizing it. And I also wasn't like working for the thing I was working on was not like, mission critical that it you know, be at the top of the list. So I generally understand, like, best practices around it, like, use semantic markup and have your content be meaningful and have your page be fast, like that kind of stuff. I understand. But, like, the nitty gritty of it, like the real detailed stuff that will take you from page two to page one. I don't know that, that.

Cole Turner
That's the magic. It really is magic. So I've been a obsessing over SEO recently, I redid my personal website. And for those who don't know, I share a name with a fictional character who have a popular TV show puts me down on page like five or six of Google. I'm like one of 10 popular cold Turner's and I'm usually number 10. But I started obsessing over and I was like, Okay, how do I at least get to page one? I started writing blog posts, I started looking for backlinks. And this is where earlier you know, I'm talking about the emotional component where you're watching your your work, help prop you up, and I'm moving from Page Six to page four, page three, page two. And I remember posting about this because I was so excited the day that I reached page one where I was I was throwing myself a party. But the interesting thing about SEO is it's not permanent. You know, when you make a change, it propped you up for so long. And SEO is an algorithm so what works For one day for the search queries will perform differently the next day or on a mobile device or even in incognito. So because Google is personalizing the search queries, that page one experience, it'll waver between page one and page two.

Ryan Burgess
I like that, too, is like this is a constant. It's a constant ongoing thing that you need to be thinking about and strategizing to make sure that you are at the top. Yeah, for me, I don't I maybe I'm in a mix. I feel like I've had exposure enough throughout my career. But it's funny is some of the stuff that I think back to when I early really focused on it. It's changed so much that like those things that I knew back then are irrelevant right now. Maybe not all of it. I think some of the things still hold up. But I think my first time really being exposed to it was right out of school as working for an agency where we were doing some government sites and that was really important for search terms. to just get information available to people and so we were focusing on that a bit. And then what I really felt I learned a ton from was I just decided I'm going to start my own blog and content site. And it was like, this is like 2014 or something like that. So I spent a lot of time just like experimenting with different things and started really ranking high. And then I kept this this site. I mean, the site still exists. It's an art graffiti blog, that's it doesn't get updated. But the content is still all out there. But like it ran for like five or six years where I was updating content on a daily basis, like fairly often, and I just learned a ton from that. And then I feel like I've done a little bit, worked at bit on Netflix, thinking about that. And then even when I was at Evernote, that was something that we were thinking about as well. So there's just always been a little bit throughout my career I've been working at it but I don't know that I would ever say like I have solely focused on SEO.

Cole Turner
It's funny you bring up government websites, because If you've ever typed DMV California into Google and found a site that wasn't the DMV, it's people that are competing with you to provide the information that either the DMV doesn't provide or that they haven't optimized.

Ryan Burgess
That is actually funny. And weirdly enough, I pretty sure it was yesterday, or this morning that I was searching DMV, oddly enough in Google. And I did notice that you have to look at the domain or else there's like other people's content that's there,

Cole Turner
right. And these people make a ton of money off of being number one on Google. And that's what everybody's fighting for. They're fighting for that number one position, whether it's through the search terms, or featured snippets having rich structured data on your page. All of this is valuable to Google or other search engines because they believe it provides a better user experience. How are those sites making money? Cool, all they're doing is providing similar information that the DMV has that's a good question. They're putting advertisements on the site. They're linking out to premium services, subscriptions. Some of them will do like, Hey, here's how you file for registration and a license. And we'll do it for you.

Ryan Burgess
Oh, nice. I mean, hey, someone want to go stand in line for me at the DMV? Yeah. How to pay for that.

Jem Young
Spoken like. Coal. Could you speak to, I guess the dangers of, say, ranking higher than a legitimate site? So if I'm looking for the DMV, like what's, what's the danger of being ranked lower than a non official sites? So

Cole Turner
as correct me if I'm wrong, you're asking what's the danger of being not the DMV and being ranked above the DMV?

Jem Young
Yeah. What's the danger of? Let's say I have a product? I don't know. It saves orphans. It saves orphan puppies. It's called Puffin orphan care, I think, but let's say I have this world changing product, but I cannot rank I will Ranked middle of the search engine algorithm like, what's the problem with? Or is there a problem with that?

Cole Turner
Ooh, that's a great question. So if you are putting out this product to save orphan puppies, and you're on a mission, you're you're doing the world's work. But you're not ranking high enough, then that competitor is siphoning your traffic. And they're taking their users, your users, and they're keeping them on their sites. So while you're trying to save the orphans, they're selling advertisements, and they're making money off of your cause and the work that you're doing. And so that's why SEO becomes really important is you want to put your product higher up on Google so that the users are coming to your site. So that Google values your site higher than those. I don't want to call them scammy sites, but they're like, I mean, if if you're selling services for the DMV, and you're not the DMV, I don't trust you.

Stacy London
Yeah, is this sort of like the misinformation problem that we have, we're having like kind of now more than ever, where the problem could be that someone that's propagating things that are not accurate, get ranked higher. And so it spreads misinformation like that's a danger. That seems like a dangerous thing.

Jem Young
Yeah, that and to I guess to like eliminate holds point of it, we don't really check where we're going. We trust Google. So we're like Google DMV is a great example. Because I true I struggle to find a website sometimes. And I look up California DMV, I go to the first rank page, I assume Google's algorithm has cracked it. And there's talk about there's people that get paid millions of dollars to get it right. But all it takes us on to Ctrl A Ctrl. C, so the HTML on the MV web page and then make a web page that looks exactly like the DMV and I'm like, putting in my credit card and all these other things and I never stopped actually check if I'm on the right site. And increasingly as the the internet becomes more complex, and people can make websites very, very easily, then By copycats, and clones and things that are slightly off, become a bigger problem, because we just implicitly have so much trust in search engine algorithms that they're going to give me the correct answer every single time.

Stacy London
Yeah, that actually makes I'm curious. Cole, you were doing this work. And you said, you know, getting from like, pitch, you know, three to two in Google. Did that same? Did you notice that same change in like in any other search engines? Were you testing this sort of theory out with other other ones as well?

Cole Turner
That's a great question, because Google is one of many search engines. And it is popular because it's in it's embedded in browsers. But you know, there's Bing and all of the search engines will provide these really useful tools for you to perform diagnostics, or monitor the performance of your website. And so like, as I'm checking Google, I'm also checking Bing because while something will rank high over here in Google, it won't rank as Hi over here in Bing. And so you're kind of it's a balancing act.

Ryan Burgess
It sounds complicated.

Cole Turner
What's funny is, um, Jim, I love how you're bringing up the point about, like, Can I just create a copycat website because as search engines have become more sophisticated, they've developed like duplicate content detection. So in the days of yesterday, it used to be that you could just create a web page, put it out there, and it'll rank as long as it's not exactly the same. But over time, search engines have become smarter and smarter about recognizing duplicate content, even in the same site. So I'll give you an example. Recently, we launched a campaign on Netflix to watch content for free, so free TV show and movies. And we couldn't just copy content from the homepage or from another category because Google would see this and they'd be like, okay, Netflix isn't as valuable. So our SEO experts video came together, they wrote some new copy and some provided new content. And as a result, the page started ranking height really quickly and even above some of the other pages where we are, you know, we're offering content and free content.

Ryan Burgess
Yeah, I think I'm glad you said that. Cuz I think that is an important piece that it's like, there's a trick to writing the content. And I don't want to say a trick in the sense that you should write content for SEO, you're adding different value, right? Like this, this page that you're speaking about, wasn't an exact copy of something else. It's offering something completely different than the rest of Netflix pages. But so you want to write different copy versus like, hey, it's kind of similar to that page. I'll just copy and paste, which you totally could. But then yeah, the search engines are gonna be like, Oh, well, that just kind of seems like the exact same page. And so they're not going to really pay as much attention to it because they're like, I already knew that information. I don't need to learn new information. But you're telling them No, this is a different page,

Cole Turner
right? And so like, You can't copy and paste anymore. You can't just, you know, take this sentence over here and put it over here. Because Google really values, unique content, so more content that's uniquely written and like the descriptions, the headlines, everything needs to be optimized around. Okay, what keywords Am I targeting? Or what's my audience? What are they? What do they look like? What are they searching for? Cheers, cheers. And so it's like, to that point, it's not so much. And Jim said this really well earlier. To that point, it's not so much a science anymore. It's an art. It's copywriting is an art. SEO is an art and kind of crafting the right page. It involves all of these moving pieces from unique content, optimized descriptions, semantic HTML headings, alternative tags, because accessibility and user experience really matter too.

Ryan Burgess
I like that you brought that up to like alt tags for images and like being strategic about writing descriptive tags, what they're meant for is, is more for accessibility. But that's also respected for search engines, it kind of gets back to that whole usability. That's an important thing is like Stacey brought up speed. Oh, that's a usability thing that's better for the users. So we're gonna reward you for being better for users. And same thing for caring about accessibility semantic markup. I know, Stacy mentioned that too. All those are meant to be better for the user. And so you're actually getting ranked for it. It's not that you're like, I'm gonna fool the search engines. No, you just make a better site for everyone. And the search engines gonna reward you for that, which is great too. Do you all remember, like this is going back? Definitely a while ago, and it's totally gonna bring up our keyword. Cheers. Yes, it's such a meta keyword. So meta descriptions are still a thing. But do you all remember the meta keyword tags? Cheers. Oh my god. Cheers. Now was literally a thing though, you would just like have this comma separated terms that were just written a bunch in there. And like that was helpful that was actually useful. And then or there was the art of hiding content, you would put like a bunch of extra content in the footer, it was a black background. And so you'd make the text black or white background white text. Like there was a lot of interesting things that you could do to optimize your site for search engines. And quickly, obviously, search engines like Google were like, yeah, we're on to these games. And we're shutting that down. I guess the the meta tag wasn't really that was actually a thing that was like used by them. But they started to deprecate and say, We don't care about that anymore. It's more about the terms that are used in the content.

Stacy London
That's a that's lasted a long time at Google. I mean, Google was quite quick to respond, but quick meaning like a while like that was those were techniques that were used for years.

Ryan Burgess
90s in like early 2000 And like, I feel like that was a long time that that went on.

Cole Turner
Mm hmm. Yeah, there is a whole underground market for that sort of thing. And as Google caught on, they just got even clever, and then go, it's like a cat and mouse game. So they would develop a new technique, Google would pick up on it over time. It's become a bigger penalty to treat search engines differently than you treat your users. So a search engine is a user after all,

Ryan Burgess
yeah, it really is. It's it's a bot, but it's technically a user versus like, I've definitely heard things like even for accessibility is like, Oh, can we just serve a different website or application for someone who needs a screen reader? And it's like, well, no, that's not a great idea. It's the same thing as like, Can we have a separate website for search engines like no, that's not a great idea, either. It doesn't work or just like Cole and your mention of the the cat and mouse game of like SEO which there are more bad actors trying to pollute search engine results than there are people like Holger Just trying to like, put their site appropriately getting appropriately ranked.

Jem Young
I think I've said it before, but I don't think as engineers, we appreciate the original PageRank algorithm that Sergei, Larry developed the the PageRank algorithm, which at the time was revolutionary. I know a lot of people listening probably don't even remember the internet before Google. But there's a time when Google didn't exist and like to get listed, you had to manually submit your webpage to every single search engine out there. There's dogpile, and AltaVista and

Stacy London
or there was curators the Yahoo like yeah, they they curated it and like made it was annually all and

Jem Young
yeah, not not scalable. Like you're the manually submit your page or someone carries it manually. It's like their, their algorithm was brilliant because like it ranked pages by the number of pages that pointed to your website. So coal coal codes, it would be ranked based on how many websites Reference his website, which is like a really brilliant way of saying like, oh, what's the quality website? The one that everybody's talking about? Well, how do we figure that out? We know that because we can just look at anchor tags and figure out who's pointing back. And then people started hacking those. And they just like, if there's a comment section on your website, or anywhere else, they just like, post their spam of a bunch of links. Yeah. And then it artificially raise your, their, that whatever the spam page ranking algorithms, because so Google's like, Oh, yeah, there's a ton of webpages pointed to this. It must be a good page, let's rank it higher, then Google got wise to that. And then like, ever since then, it's been like this constantly evolving battle. And it's like, super important. And I, I still think we discount it. I probably don't appreciate the work that people put in to make sure Netflix stays ranked above I don't know, Wikipedia, which is it's a constant battle. Yeah, it's just like this whole niche of the web that we just don't think about. At least I don't personally Do you

Cole Turner
remember web rings?

Jem Young
Yes, yes. Yeah,

Cole Turner
yeah, so I'll make a site gem, we'll make a site and we'll link to each other. And then at the footer of every website, you just have like 10 links. And so all these backlinks just add up. And as Jim says, over time, search engines have gotten smart to that. And now what matters mostly is unique links. And so all these backlinks, it's not just the number that matters anymore. It's the value. So if I go and make 10 websites that have no value, and I link to cold codes, then my website doesn't mean much. But if I were to get my link on Wikipedia, or Yahoo, or another really popular site, Google is gonna say, Wow, well, Wikipedia is leaking linking to this website, it must be really important. So even if you get a link, most of these websites will also add what's called a rel nofollow. So because they don't want to afford their value to you, they're like, Oh, well, that's just every other website. I'm not going to link to them. I'm not going to send them my value. And what's funny is actually We started to work on this new Netflix page. We put it out there into the world, we released it for everybody across the globe. And it started ranking slowly as as we submitted it to Google, it ranked up over a period of a week or two. But once other websites started picking it up, once press picked up on it and link to it, it shot up quickly. And even for terms that we weren't even trying to rank for, because they were forwarding the value to us. They were forwarding search terms that we weren't even targeting. It's funny that over time Google has as the front page of the internet, essentially, it's added its own sort of Portal around the internet called Google amp. And as we're talking about accessibility and user experience, Google and other search engines have provided rich featured snippets and rich features that pull from these websites. And you know, they'll present lyrics or recipes or videos. And that's designed to keep you on Google. And so Over time publishers are not only competing with each other publishers are also competing with

Ryan Burgess
Google. So what does that mean? Like I know Google amp is absolutely even it came up even in our web performance discussion in our what, a couple episodes ago. And amp is like an interesting subject to where I think it's still, too Even though not really understanding the search engine algorithms is like amp is still one of those ones where it's like really hard to know, like, how Google's actually thinking about how does that perform? Is amp better for SEO?

Cole Turner
That's a good question. So from Google's perspective, amp is important to SEO it, they rank it into the the formula or the algorithm and a site that runs quicker loads quicker in your browser that's going to rank higher amp is one of those tools to do that. And so it's it's a battle for developers to either go the AMP route or try to optimize their website by you know, hitting that Hundred and 70 kilobytes critical rendering path, optimizing your images, delivering less content and kind of prioritizing text content over these heavy resources that take longer to load. Wow, amp is an interesting one. I feel like we need a whole episode.

Jem Young
Today. We could do a whole episode on accelerated mobile pages. And yeah, well, we'll have people disagree. I will probably disagree with somebody, at least one person on the episode trying really hard

Cole Turner
not to say that I hate him.

Stacy London
Like when you're talking earlier about like searching for the DMV, and you you know, you get some other sites, you don't really know the URL for DMV, but like, with amp, obfuscating the URLs, a little bit like that's problematic, too, because now how do you know what's the authority? Like an authoritative source like is that is that really a trusted source? Or did they just, you know, game the system again and use amp because they made the thing that they built super fast with amp, but like, it's Not the authoritative place,

Ryan Burgess
right? Because the URL when you click into it actually shows Google right? Yeah, still stamps it as a Google URL. That's a good point.

Stacy London
Although maybe like tech people are the only ones really looking at URLs to know if they feel comfortable or not. Like maybe that's not a normal, a normal thing for people outside of tech. But something I think about

Ryan Burgess
that's interesting, too, though, I know back in the day, SEO, it mattered to think about how your URL was structured to like, obviously, you're not going to have like front end happier.com slash 1-234-567-8910 episode. It's like, What is that like? It's not clear. But if you're if you're actually putting terms into your URL, and human readable URLs are actually helpful for SEO calls. That's still a thing. It is. So URLs, they they're not just in your address bar. They're linked in to Facebook status messages, tweets, articles and those count is keywords too. And so you'll see sites as you say, they'll add these friendly URLs with the keywords, cheers that

Cole Turner
relate to that relate to what the content is on the page, because they're trying to capture those terms as well. And what's funny is as as apps become more mature, it's keeping users on Google. So like, it's not just the URL, you're, you're searching for your favorite song, you're getting lyrics. And you're staying on Google. Rather than clicking through to that site, you know, finding other songs, you're now searching for something else. And so Google has become a publisher. That's true. I mean,

Ryan Burgess
they've, I guess they've always kind of had different ways of publishing. But yeah, you're right, even more. So in their search pages. There's more publishing

Jem Young
and like, I've met some engineers that work on amp. We've had Addy osmani on here and we've had a few people from Google here. And I believe amp is Chris Baxter Baxter. Yeah. And like you talked to them, I think they're not. I think they're well intentioned. They're like, well, we have this way of taking all this content, putting it in a wrapper, putting it on our CD ends, stripping all the extraneous content and making it faster and making it a better experience for everybody. And so they're like, yeah, we're making the web a better place. But I think other people outside of Google see it as monopolistic. And like, well, you have to use Google as your, you have to rank high on Google if you're going to be successful, generally as a website. And Google now has licensed to take some of that content and put it on the front page. So people never even click into your site anymore. And it's, it's a fine line between making the web better and being paternalistic, and like just doing way, like, Oh, you don't know, you don't know what you're doing. So we're gonna do it for you. Which like majority of people, 99% of websites probably don't know what they're doing. So I get it, but like, I don't know, man, you get into weird Things about monopolies and like just abuse of power. Mm hmm. We should do an episode on app, we should definitely do an episode,

Cole Turner
right? Because what if you're publishing saving orphans calm but this other set website is using amp and they rank higher. So now, not only are they getting the credit for those terms, but you're not even receiving the traffic anymore.

Jem Young
Oh, there's a danger and we haven't touched on it too much. But there's a danger much like trademark in that if someone starts ranking higher than you. And they consistently rank higher than you. And then other sites reference that as like the definitive source for I don't know, Cole Turner's dog, and, and Cole has the blog. It's, it's Coco it says dog. But like if I start a website and other people start a website, we start ranking higher and higher and higher. I become the definitive source for coals dog, or whatever subject we're talking about. And then there's a danger of just slipping from the front page. You're like, wait, wait, I'm the original person who created this. And now I've lost all control over I can't rank higher, because people just keep stealing my keywords and things like that. And it's much like trademark cheers like trademark law is if you don't defend your trademark, you will lose it. And like so you, it's the same thing for SEO, if you don't actively have an SEO strategy, you will lose and like it, you have to have it these days, otherwise, there's a chance that some other company is going to come along, take your idea and then just rank higher and then put you out of business without without you making a single bad decision. Other than not focusing on SEO,

Ryan Burgess
I liked your thought on that one, too, is like you it's this constant battle. You can't give up. Basically, if you want to continue succeeding, you have to keep going. We started to talk about this a little bit earlier in the episode, but really, around the measurement side of things. And it's not easy, like you don't know exactly when things are going to happen. But I'd be curious Cole, I know you've even had experience working with Google Search at searching tools, but also like thinking about this strategically for Netflix. And how we've optimized certain things and measured it, but like, what are ways to measure it? If you were wanting to, to know even on your personal site is like, how did you start to know? Was it just literally going to Google to rank? Did I rank? Oh, now I'm on like the sixth page, and I'm on the fifth. Now I'm in the fourth, like, what are ways to measure that? I'm embarrassed to admit how often I've googled myself in the last couple months?

Cole Turner
As as I've written more content? It's, yeah, so there's, there's different ways to monitor your performance. The The trick is, you can't just google yourself because your search results are personalized. You know, when I search for cold Turner, it's favoring my posts in my my website, because it knows who I am. But if you're searching for something like from incognito, then you'll get different results. That's where tools like Google Search Console and the Bing search console really come in handy because they're giving you the tools to monitor your performance. They're telling you what search queries that your users are looking for. And how they land on your page. They're also telling you, Hey, you know, this, this text is not readable or these URLs aren't, we can't index them. So they're they're giving publishers the tools that they need to make better decisions. I've seen,

Stacy London
like lighthouse, which is built in to dev tools from Chrome. I know there's like, if you have it, you know, assess your site, it gives you advice to say like, oh, for better SEO, you should do this. And this. So there, they provide some that's kind of built into the tool a little bit there.

Jem Young
There's actually a Netflix original, that just came out. It is called the social dilemma. And they literally talk about the exact thing we're talking about right now. Which is like how curated things are. And Google our culture said, If you search in incognito, sometimes you can get different results than when you search in your browser. Once you're signed in. That's because Google is curating the search results for you. So that's Essentially, it's funneling you to kind of think the same way you've always been thinking and like reinforce your same ideas. And there is a danger there. I know we're a bit off topic of SEO. But I know that it's not just, there's one algorithm that applies to you every single time. It is tweaked constantly, and it's totally personalized for you. And I don't think we realize that that we all see a slightly different internet than each other. We all see slightly different ads, we all see slightly different content that is personalized for us. And it's totally influenced by our opinions. And we just never give it any thought. We can do another episode on that too.

Ryan Burgess
Yeah, no, I think but this all feeds into it. I think like exactly what cold mentioned of like, how your searches are personalized. You know, I think there's some value to being personalized. But there's also things that we're maybe being heavily influenced to or biased to because of that. It's like we all have our biases. And then it's like, Oh, great. All my internet searches are just like, Hey, I know what Ryan wants. I'm just gonna give him this. Like, that's not great. It's like so then I'm not even able to meet skew my bias. And so search absolutely is playing into that. But I do agree we should do a full episode on algorithms. It's such an interesting topic.

Cole Turner
It is. And aside from the personalization, you know, they will give you what results they think that you want. But in terms of as a publisher, when you're trying to monitor Okay, well, am I reaching users is, am I reaching, you know, gem with this article about Switzerland? Or am I reaching, you know, these users about this new article that I posted? The key is you're checking how you're checking your traffic, you're checking how many users are coming to these pages, and then pairing that with the tools that Google provides to say, Okay, well, these are the search queries that I should be optimizing for. These are the keywords that users are searching to land on my page. Cheers, cheers,

Ryan Burgess
cheers. So with that, I think it's a good time for us to jump into pics at the end of each episode. We like to Choose picks of things that we found interesting and would like to share with you all listening. Let's go around our virtual table because we are not together anymore. Still depressing but we're still recording so that's great. Stacy want to start off and share your picks?

Stacy London
Sure. I've got two picks music picks. The first one is a song called the difference by john hopkins. It's a remix. So originally flume and Toro boy made that track. This one is sort of more experimental Drum and Bass see john gully. Someone described it as turning the difference into a kaleidoscope Wonderland underpinned by richly layered percussion and atmospherics, which I think is a really beautiful way to describe what what john hopkins does.

Ryan Burgess
I also feel like that's probably a good SEO description.

Stacy London
keywords in there. Cheers. Cheers. And the sun Pick is a song called puzzle by Trenton boiler. It's a remix of an artist called Tom and his computer. This one's sonically a bit different than things I usually pick. But I like Trenton boiler a lot so I was I'm always curious when he does a remix and I was described as fat chunky drums meet Vox Oregon fuzz guitar and freestyling since in a riot of color and playfulness. So check those out amazing.

Ryan Burgess
These descriptions are just like selling me I don't even even if it's not good. I'm like I love those descriptions.

Jem Young
Jim, what do you have for us? I have one you know Stacy, I don't like my music with a riot of color. I like a small gathering of color in

Stacy London
a peaceful protest of color.

Jem Young
Yeah, it's probably not for me. Your music fixed you're always on point. I have two picks today. The first one is called Driving dot j s. It's it's awesome because it's this procedurally generated full screen experience of just driving through different things like a city or an industrial landscape or things like that. And it's all like completely automated completely procedurally generated. And there's a playlist to go along with it on Spotify. So if you can see something on your background, I don't know you have a giant screen somewhere, you can just put it up, put on Dr. j. s, and put on some background music and just kind of chill. It's really peaceful and you can adjust it and things like that. I think it's really impressive piece of work. The second one is the show I, my wife and I just finished watching called the Titan games. It's hosted by the world's most popular actor, Dwayne The Rock Johnson. And essentially, it's a series of competitive challenges. A lot of I don't know Ninja Warrior or many other competitive challenges, but I don't know we found the whole thing wholesome and it's just good television. And you know, you can never have too much to tell Especially in these times right on Cole, what do you have for us?

Cole Turner
Speaking of television, I just started away on Netflix with its Hilary Swank in space. They're going to Mars, the first women on Mars, the first mission on Mars. And going into this I had no expectations, but I was blown away by the visuals by the story by just how impactful it comes together. And I'm, I haven't finished yet, so no spoilers, please. My second pick is a book. So I make homemade ice cream, and every recipe that I've tried from this book has blown my mind. It's the perfect scoop by David Leibovitz. And so like I've done macho coffee, lemon verbena, pistachio just so good. And then because gem didn't pick something boogy this time, I will take gold belly food delivery Ryan, you were telling me about this. And I got some. I got the pastrami sandwich delivered and oh, like you can get anything from across the country. And so I'm really, I'm kind of living out my Silicon Valley lifestyle or my dream to just order food from New York or Texas and have it show up.

Ryan Burgess
It is pretty cool. My wife got me that as a gift and like I had a pastrami sandwich from New York and it was delicious. Like, it was so cool. Like, overnight showed up to my door. I had no idea I just like was like, what's this package? And I'm like, Oh,

Jem Young
this is great. Which is crazy. Cuz Cole I obviously I follow you on Twitter. And you're, you're an amazing cook. So it's like, it's funny. Your pick is the order food from go belly is. You know, there's some sort of irony there. It's probably lost on me. But

Ryan Burgess
that's the boozy aspect. good cooks jam. Like you got to test other foods to learn how to cook right? That's true.

Cole Turner
Yes, sir. I got a lot of ideas from it.

Ryan Burgess
So I have two picks. Now. thing. Oh, actually, yeah, maybe one thing that's kind of boogy I blame coal for this one too, but I'll start off with my last boogy pick, which is really funny and it's probably not the best time as summers and Nene, but I found a really good sunscreen. And I'm sorry but a lot of the sunscreens you buy off the shelf they're like greasy and gross. And like if you put it on while you're still in the car all over your leather or like whatever interior you have, it's like kind of gross. This is very gross. So I found this one called Kula sunscreen. It's an organic it's really nice. It's like doesn't it's not as greasy. I don't feel greasy when I put it on. And and the reason why sunscreen is a big deal for me is being heavily tattooed. I put a lot of sunscreen on cuz tattoos fade in the sun. So put on lots of sunscreen and I literally got asked to set their day is like how are your tattoos so still like holding up with color. I'm like, I use a shit ton of sunscreen. So I want to find one that's not greasy and this one One has been very good to me all summer long. So I'm gonna share that one you shouldn't do keywords for

Cole Turner
you should write SEO for sunscreen.

Ryan Burgess
Exactly right, like description of sunscreen for tat people with tattoos, and then my boogy pick, which I mean boujee in the sense that they're like, pricey, but headphones. I bought a pair of headphones that actually cold recommended. I was finding, okay, we're in this remote world. I'm on meetings literally all day long. And wanted headphones. Like I was like, I the air pods, you know, they're okay. I'm not really I have never really been a big fan of Bluetooth, mainly because they the battery dies on them, and then you have to charge them all that air pods last like three or four hours, kind of useless when you have like six to eight hours worth of meanings. So I got a pair of Bose 700 headphones. They're comfy. They sound amazing noise cancelling and they lost 1617 hours or something. So they're, they're amazing. I can use them all day long. Sometimes I even forget to charge them and they're still good the next day for my meetings. So they've been really good. I mean, headphones can get expensive so that's why it's maybe on the boozier side, but it's not a wasteful thing like this valley silicon pics there. They have been useful. I use them every single day.

Jem Young
Oh, they're amazing. I you know, my counterpick is the of course Sony. XM, XM threes, which I have, which are the rival to the Bose and they're pretty comparable. I think at the office, people get pretty heated because usually one of the two. You know, I think mine looked better than the poses but you know, the arguments on a podcast you know, it's

Ryan Burgess
funny though, the reason I looked at those ones and chose the Bose ones is I heard the XM fours are gonna be better, that they they trade off devices better and everything. The Bose ones do that already. So I wasn't waiting. I chose the Bose over that.

Jem Young
These things last 3030 hours 30 hours I don't need to charge it all week. Whoa

Ryan Burgess
that's pretty good. All right, I the Bose ones aren't lasting that long, but actually

Jem Young
think they look better. They're very different profiles like teach teach there. I disagree. Sorry.

Cole Turner
It looks better on Jem but the Bose looks

Jem Young
very democratic. That was good call

Cole Turner
I'm neutral Switzerland

Ryan Burgess
so before we end the episode, thanks so much for joining us sharing some great wisdom on SEO. It was a pleasure having you join us where can people get in touch with you

Cole Turner
you can reach out to me on twitter my username is @ColeTurner. If you want to see pictures of my icecream the food I cook or my dog you can follow me there and I'd love to hear from you and where should they put backlinks to website cold codes please. Hey, you could backlink to front end happier calm. That's always a good one too.

Ryan Burgess
Thank you all for listening to today's episode. Like I said you can find us up front and happy bar.com Subscribe to us on whatever you like to listen to podcasts on. We're pretty much on everything. If we're not on something, let us know and I'll make sure that we are available there. You can also follow us on Twitter at @frontendhh any last words all my thoughts are gems. That's a big mistake.