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The Scientificness of SEO with Crystal Carter from Wix

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Crystal Carter

Crystal Carter stands as a beacon of expertise and innovation in the world of digital marketing, currently spearheading the role of Head of SEO Communications at Wix. Her journey in marketing is marked by a deep-rooted passion for SEO, PPC, CRO, digital strategy, and the art of interpreting complex data. Crystal's enthusiasm for devising new strategies and uncovering opportunities in the dynamic digital landscape is not just a profession, but a calling. Her ability to translate the intricate world of SEO into tangible results for both SEO professionals and Wix users has made her an invaluable asset in today's ever-evolving digital domain.

Before claiming her position at the helm of SEO communications, Crystal's career path was rich and diverse, encompassing a broad spectrum of experiences. From the early days of performing citation and page optimization, long before the term SEO became mainstream, to handling migration tasks, her foundation in this field was built on hands-on, practical experience. This varied background, which includes roles in both the public and private sectors, as a freelancer, and in agency settings, has endowed her with a unique perspective on the digital marketing landscape.

Crystal's role at Wix extends far beyond the traditional confines of a corporate position. She is a prominent figure in the SEO community, frequently sharing her insights and experiences on prestigious platforms like Brighton SEO, MozCon, and SMX. Her ability to articulate complex SEO concepts in an engaging manner has made her a sought-after speaker at these renowned conferences. Additionally, she co-hosts the "SERPsUp SEO Podcast" with Morty Oberstein, further extending her influence through monthly webinars and informative articles, demonstrating her commitment to educating and empowering others in the field.

At the core of Crystal's work is her dedication to SEO education and communication. She skillfully bridges the gap between Wix and its users, ensuring that the value of both SEO and Wix's capabilities are comprehensively communicated. Beyond her formal responsibilities, Crystal is known for her dynamic involvement in various SEO projects within the team, showcasing her commitment not just to her role, but to the broader field of SEO. Her multifaceted approach to digital marketing, combined with her enthusiasm for continuous learning and sharing knowledge, makes Crystal Carter an exemplary leader in the digital marketing world.

The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast with Crystal Carter

Watch the interview

(click on the 'cc' icon to view subtitles)

Listen to the podcast

(54 minutes long)

The unscripted questions Mark A Preston asked Crystal Carter

  • How did you get started within the SEO industry, Crystal?

  • What specific challenges have you faced in your role at Wix?

  • What does it feel like helping to create a positive SEO impact for over 220 million users?

  • Have you found issues with pages getting indexed?

  • How does Wix help with getting pages indexed?

  • Do you get access to global user stats at Wix?

  • What are some SEO related trends that you see across the board at Wix?

  • How have Wix integrated AI into it's platform?

  • What AI tools do you personally use?

  • What's your thoughts on the disconnection between SEO tools data and really understanding the user?

  • Why should SEOs talk to their sales teams or the sales teams of their customers?

  • Can we drive organic traffic on topics keyword tools are reporting as having zero searches?

  • What gives you the enthusiasm when it comes to SEO?

  • What are some SEO topics that need to get talked about more within the SEO community?

  • Why do you have a love of schema?

  • What makes you tick when it comes to SEO?

  • Why is it important that SEOs move on from just thinking about keywords and rankings?

  • What's your thoughts on intent and the actual meaning of things?

  • Why do you feel that it is important for SEOs not to overlook the basics?

The unscripted conversation between Mark A Preston and Crystal Carter

Mark A Preston: Welcome to the Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast. Yes, it's 100% unscripted, 100% unrehearsed, 100% unedited, and 100% real. I'm your host, Mark A Preston, and what a guest do we have for you today? Let's just say she is the one and only Head of SEO Comms at Wix, Crystal Carter. Hi, Crystal.

Crystal Carter: Hi, Mark. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really pleased to be here. Obviously a big fan of you and the show. So thank you so much for having me on.

Mark A Preston: no problem. Just for the people who are watching this or listening to this podcast that doesn't know who you are, could you give us a bit of a tour of where, when and where you started in the industry to where you are now?

Crystal Carter: Great. So I've done marketing throughout and throughout my career, and I've done SEO throughout my career. I didn't always call it SEO, but I was doing citations and page optimization and migration tasks and things for many years before I decided to specialize in SEO. I worked agency side. I've worked freelance. I've done my own projects. I've worked with public sector. I've worked with private sector. I've worked with lots of different things. And I'm currently the head of SEO communications at Wix. And as part of my role, I do a lot of public speaking, so I'm speaking, I've spoken at Brighton SEO, I've spoken at MozCon, I've spoken at SMX, I've spoken at lots of different things. I also run a podcast with Morty Oberstein called SerpsUp SEO Podcast, and we also do monthly webinars, we write articles, lots of different things like that. But when people ask me generally what is my role at Wix, I tend to explain that. My role is to communicate the value of Wix to SEOs and communicate the value of SEO to to Wix users and other folks as well. But SEO, SEO communication and SEO education is is really key to my role as well as me generally being a busybody and getting involved with lots of SEO projects within the team wherever I can.

Mark A Preston: Brilliant. So within your role at Wix, what challenges have you faced so far?

Crystal Carter: So I think one of the things that was a big challenge for me personally was that I had come from a smaller team and and then was in we are a global team. So our team is worldwide. And the customers that we serve are worldwide and we within Wix. We have a situation where we have a lot of people who are one, one website, and they're looking after one website, but we have to make sure that our tools are available for people of lots of different strata of like abilities and of capabilities and also of needs. So we have tools that are suitable where people can get great results from if they've got very little. SEO knowledge where they can still get good results if they're making, solid content. And then we have tools that allow, people who are experts like yourself to really get in there and really optimize and be like super competitive where they need to be as well. And we've got dev things as well. So I think that moving from from thinking about a single client to move to thinking about a sort of community of clients and a community of people who are engaging with with the, with our products and with what we do was a challenge, but it's a challenge that I absolutely love and and welcome. It's been so incredible to work with our team to work with our growth team, who manage our blog, to work with our product team, who build our products. I know I'm waxing poetical but it's really been a great experience.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I know when I was on the SEO board and the thing that struck me is the ability to make a positive impact for millions and millions of businesses. And I think for me, it's not just a silo thing where you're doing something that's going to make a positive experience for that one business. You do something in the back end or do something in Wix and it's going to potentially positively impact what is it? Over 200 million businesses now?

Crystal Carter: Yeah, so there's 220 million users on Wix who are building websites and optimizing and when we update structured data for the, for, for different sites, it impacts them all. When we recently announced that we have. Included index now as part of the sort of Wix SEO tool set. And essentially that means that like users have to do nothing, but they can submit, but as soon as they connect their website to to the Wix SEO set up checklist they'll connect to Google search console and they'll connect everything there. And as soon as they get that, that sorted, they are connected to index now. And that means every time they update a piece of content on their website, that it's getting. going to get pinged to the IndexNow network which includes Bing and Naver and lots of different things around there. And I don't think a lot of people realize that Bing also powers things like DuckDuckGo, and stuff like Ecosia and Yahoo and things like that as well. But that's a great, that's a great resource for indexing. For indexing generally, both across Bing and other search engines. And it's also something that certainly I remember having a go at trying to do that individually. And I think that if I, it wasn't exactly straightforward, I was like, is it done? I'm not sure. So it's great to make sure it's great to make that available to lots of people and to be able to help them to optimize their sites just straight off the bat, like already built in.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, there's, lots and lots of SEOs contact me all the time about, I just can't get my pages indexed. And yeah, even when they try tools and they just can't get them indexed and honestly, probably most of the time they shouldn't be indexed, but this is true.

Crystal Carter: I think that's the other thing. It's I've definitely, I've talked about this case study before index indexing is not, it's not a right. I think people have to remember it's not a right. You're not, Google doesn't owe you indexing. So you have to show them that the pages are worth. Indexing. And you also have to make sure that they're worth indexing. I had a client who at one point was indexing loads of their, so they had a login thing for it was an e commerce site and you went to this page and you logged into your account and then you got an account page. All those account pages, it didn't have any personally identifiable information, but all those account pages were indexable. And all of them were like crawlable and stuff. And I was like, no, shut it down. Shut it down. Because basically, they were saying, oh, we're not getting indexed. We're not getting indexed. It's you're wasting their time over here. You're wasting their time with thousands and thousands of these indexable pages. Those don't need to be indexed. At all, take them off of the index. They don't need to be searched at all. So take them all off. And so we did that. And we moved around a few other things as well. But absolutely one of the things that people talk about, indexing trouble is the first thing I do is clean up the crawl. One of the other things that, that we see is that. Sometimes, there was one and the last time I checked this particular CMS, I'm not going to name it. It was not Wix but it was a different CMS.


I won't name names because we keep it classy here but they were creating a set, essentially a product feed for everything that had a category page. And so if there was one product, In it, it was making a whole feed for it. And if you had made a category page for it, and then you didn't have products in it, it still had a feed in it. And the feed was crawlable. So one of the things you can do is go through and see all of the, which feeds are active, which feeds are not active. And if there's no products in there, if you don't even sell that anymore. Get rid of that page. You don't need it. So cleaning up your crawl is super important to, to to indexing. And it shows willing it just, so because if Google's crawling your site and I talk about this, there's a video I have with with Martin, Martin split with Google talking about like a crawl, a crawling issue that we had with redirect chains was just like redirecting to a redirect to awful. But. If you're finding, if Google is coming to your site and they're seeing that oh, this is broken or this page is useless or this doesn't work, like eventually they'll just skip up. So you need, if you want your pages to be indexed, you have to show them that, you've spent time making sure that things are indexable or that the indexable pages are things that they actually should. Should and want to see. Yeah, I think it's I think it's definitely a challenge that people have, but it's worth investing some time in understanding what works and what doesn't work in terms of indexability, because you can't rank if you're not indexed, and it's really important to make sure that you cover that.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I think that some SEOs just see indexing as my content's quality. It's, what, does it matter?

Crystal Carter: Yeah I think it's one of those things they say, if a tree falls in the wood, does it make a sound? And I'm like, who cares? That's my answer. No one who cares? We don't know if if there's no one in the woods, then who cares about whether or not it made a sound. You can make the most beautiful content in the entire world, the most helpful content, the most amazing, the most the most, high quality, high authority, et cetera. If the page isn't indexable, it's not going to be, like, people can't find it. If it doesn't have links to it, people can't find it. And big things like that. And I think that, with indexing. It's very important to make sure that that your sitemap is good. And at Wix, we spend a lot of time on sitemaps and making sure that they're dynamic. I'm sure that you as an SEO and your, the history of SEO, the, one of the first things, whenever anyone comes to me, it's like, Oh, can you help me with your SEO? The first thing I do is look for their sitemap and see if it exists. Because very often it doesn't, particularly if they're self built. It. And if it exists, if it's been updated, because you often see like self built sites where they haven't updated it in years. And if it's dynamic, that's the other thing that we always check because a lot of things, particularly with some of the feeds, which help with indexing, like for instance, if you have what, in my experience, if you have products and you're struggling to get your products indexed, one of the things you can do is you can upload it to Google. You can upload the feed to Google. Google Merchant Center.


And I've seen that make an instantaneous difference. On Wix we have an integration and you can just connect the code and it's really easy. And I've seen it make make a difference like pretty much within the week. So we say we submit it on the Monday and we're indexed by, by, by the Wednesday. I've seen that, I've seen that happen. So that can make a real big difference. So if you don't have a dynamic If you don't have a dynamic sitemap, for instance, it's very difficult for you to be able to benefit from some of those feeds. Things like the the ones for content, I think it's a content API. I want to say, I want to say we can reference it later, but the one for Google for jobs, for instance, that needs dynamic feed. If you've got, if you've got your your RSS, for instance that's also dynamic and that can help with indexing as well. So all of these feeds. Need to be updated as the content updates in order to let Google know how often they should crawl your site. What kind of content they should expect, and it helps them to understand which elements they need as well. So if you have good feed management, if you have good content management and good, infrastructure there that will help with indexing because you're helping Google to help you.

Mark A Preston: With you working at Wix, do you get access to the global stats data of what's happening? And, do you get to dive into the realities of what's going on?

Crystal Carter: We can see some trends for research purposes. But they are, they're normally to do with we're normally to do with sort of people using different parts of the tools. So for instance, we, when we built the redirects manager we could see that millions of people were using that straight away. So we have an auto redirect tool, which when somebody changes their URL, we auto redirect it and we can see how many people are using that. We have other tools that we roll out and we can monitor how often people are engaging with that. And that helps us to to refine the tools to improve the tools to make the tools more visible to people and things like that. In terms of search data I have a few sites. That I work on and people know that I'm working on them. I've got permission to work on them and things. And I keep, we keep tracking and that person, that perspective. But. I think that from a, in terms of data the data sets we have them for monitoring, but it's not we currently don't have them publicly available, so I can't share too much here.

Mark A Preston: Okay. Obviously you can't share specific details, but when you mentioned trends there, how do you see any particular trend happening or any trends happening that. Could be improved, basically.

Crystal Carter: So we find we found a lot of people engaging, for instance, with our AI tools. So we've added AI, as we added a particular thing called create with AI text, for instance across the editor. So if people aren't familiar with Wix, there's basically two parts to the Sort of core product. So there's the editor, which is where you would edit the page and update things like that and visible elements. And and for static pages, you can do some of the content as well. And then there's the the dashboard and the dashboard is where you would do some more of the admin thing. So we have a lot of business solutions there. We recently added the create with AI text across across our editor. Significantly, and we're seeing a lot of people interacting with that. We've also added AI tools into the images the image creator. We also have create with AI text for a few of the pieces of copy in the manager as well. We are generally seeing people being very engaged with the, with those particular tools, which suggests to us, what I think we're seeing in the wider marketing sphere, which is that everyone's really interested in AI and how they can use AI to, streamline their marketing streamline their marketing workflows and make things better that way. I think that. That's probably one of the most significant ones we're seeing lately. And we're hoping to to, as a company, we're hoping to build on that as part of our tools and across our tool sets.

Mark A Preston: So you mentioned AI and content now. Recently I've had quite a few content people, content, copywriters, all that say that their business has totally plummeted. For obvious reasons, for online and basically people are, don't seem to want to invest into manually written content as much as they used to. Because of all, obviously, GPT and all these AI tools, do you think there's a fine balance between using a tool to help streamline and totally taking over?

Crystal Carter: Yeah, I think my general advice with regards to AI is that you should use AI to amplify your actual intelligence like that. That's what it should be. In my experience, and I've tested this on a topic that I wasn't on figs. I was making a test site on figs because I like figs and I like pictures of figs. And and I was doing a test site on this and I spun up some content from GPT about figs. And then I was going around checking on like fact checking some of this stuff and it was complete nonsense. They were just making up information about, agricultural history of figs and things like that. So I think that it's I think that the way that people are managing content and the way that people Are expecting to engage with content is changing and I think that ai is a tool within that and I think that when you use it as a tool to again amplify your intelligence Then it will help you to get great results. So for instance, you're seeing a lot of people who are now hiring for AI content, editors, AI content, fact checkers, AI content support. And I've seen, I've heard from other teams who were managing sort of content teams. And they originally saw a sort of a drop in when chat GPT sort of splash made it made its first big splash. It's last this time last year, really. They saw a sort of drop in initial inquiries, and then they saw a few people coming back with different inquiries. So people saying, how can you help me make this AI better? We had a podcast with Kim Garst on on SERPsUp, and she was talking about how she uses AI to help her refine tone of voice when she's working with clients.


So she has a particular method. She explains it very well in the podcast. I highly recommend checking it out. Where, they plug in using chat, GBT plugin, plug it into assess the brand voice for a particular you plug in samples. And I actually went through this myself, but you plug in samples writing and you and you use it to train GPT on your tone of voice. And then you give it then you give it prompts, then you give it tasks to do in your tone of voice. So write it, write a tweet like this, right? Write a blog topic that, that speaks to this tone of voice, that sort of thing. And. Essentially, people who are using AI in that way are able to stay ahead of the curve because it is artificial, right? At the end of the day it is artificial. It's essentially, a predictive text at hyperspeed and, That's great. And that's wonderful. And that can help you with a lot of things. I recently had to come up with something and it was, I was like, A to Z, this and this, or A to Z on a particular topic. And I probably had to chat GPT. And I was like, what is A to Z of this and this? And instead of me sending, they're going, Oh, is it this? Is it that? Is it that? Is it that? It gave me a full list of A to Z. And I was like I don't like Q and I don't like R and I don't like T, but most of those I can use for this particular piece of marketing company. And then I was able to, go through and actually, use my actual intelligence to fill in the other bits that I needed. However, I think that, I've heard people say you, you won't be replaced by AI, you'll be replaced by a marketer using AI. And I think that in terms of the way that the roles are changing. We work in tech and one of the things I love about working in tech is that, you're always working on something new. There's always a new thing to, to work on. So we were doing Core Web Vitals, we're not, and with like certain things.


And now we're looking at IMP, for instance, like that's something to think about. Now there's ChatGPT and other AI text creators to consider, but there's also things that video, for instance, is a great tool that where you add in a video and then it pulls out little vignettes for you without you having to sit there and, chop and change and like set, set up all of those different things. So I think it's, I think it's really useful. I think Loom also added an AI tool to their, an AI summary, to their tools and allows you to summarize your video so you don't have to type it all up and it's actually pretty good. So I think that, try to figure out how you can include if you're in an area that's that's sensitive and there are plenty of areas where, it's sensitive to AI advances. I think, try to figure out how you can include it in your workflow, rather than fighting against it. Because I think the, I think that there is still absolutely a place for good copywriters. But essentially, I know someone who started off with AI originally and they were saying, Oh my God, this is taking as long as briefing a tool and briefing an exec or briefing a copywriter or something like that. And that was their original sort of thing. But a couple of months in, she's I'm publishing like this, a bunch of articles now. She's so she's able to accelerate her publishing and it's good quality. But she's able to accelerate it because she's got a sort of workflow that includes AI. We had a webinar with Ross Hudgens and he was talking about some of the ways that they use it. So you can take so let's say you had a big data set, you could take the data set and you could give them like the data set and say, write a summary of this data set, write a summary of this data set, write a summary of that data set so that you've got a report written up. Like really quickly.


So there's lots of different ways that you can use it. And I would advise anyone who is feeling feeling a little overwhelmed to pick one and go with it. For me the discussion with Kim Garrison, the discussion with Ross Hudgens and also Mike King was on that discussion as well were particularly pivotal for for I don't know, calming, like calming down the sort of space because I think there's, with AI, there's so many things. There's so many things coming at us from everywhere and everyone's oh, I've got this new tool. I've got new tool. I have that new tool. And it can be a little bit overwhelming. But but I think pick one and have a go at a couple of strategies and and yeah, I think it can work. And also don't forget, don't be afraid to like layer the tools. The team from DeviantArt recently started a tool called DreamApp, which is what a, a, an a, a an image generator and AI image generator, which is great for people who really struggle to get images for their blogs, which is a great optimization for SEO. And I was struggling to write prompts. I'm awful at writing prompts for images. I tried mid journey and they're all of my images came out terrible. However I went into, I went into GPT and I said, this is the prompt that I want. Can you make it better for an image generator? And it wrote me this great prompt for an image generator. And I put that back into DreamUp and it was way better than my original prompt. And I did some editing and things to make it more of what I needed. However, don't forget to layer them in Wix, for instance, we have we have Velo, which I know that you're familiar with, Mark, because you've built some fantastic tools on Velo. And Velo has an assistant.


So if you, it's a, it's essentially a JavaScript framework and you can write JavaScript and you can write JavaScript tools, et cetera, et cetera. And, build variables and things like that. And I've had a situation where I wanted to build something, but I am not, I am, I'm not a developer. My JavaScript is okay. And so I put this in and I got some, I got an error. It will tell you if you've gone wrong. So it's good. It will give you an error code and say, this isn't right because this isn't this. So then I told chat GPT, Hey, they told me this code is wrong because of this, and this, and then they fixed my code and then I put it back and then I got a different error code and then, so you can layer the two if you want to get some great results, but yeah, I think use it as a tool, like any other tool, use it as a tool. Don't use it as a replacement necessarily, but use it as a tool. And my favorite thing is like cleaning up data and writing spreadsheet formulas, because. Any time that I can save from arguing with a spreadsheet is a whim in my book.

Mark A Preston: Oh, 100% on that. I was going to say. I think that there is a fine balance here. It's a fine balance. It's not to try and replace what you're doing, but how can you just use it to help you? In the everyday space. Yeah. You mentioned the pod, your podcast there with Morde. Now I listened to the one with Ran Fishkin and all about the, understanding the audience themselves. And I'm a very big believer in, I think there's a bit of a disconnection between SEO data and really understanding. The customers, and I think that from your perspective, do you think that SEOs need to start thinking more about what's really important instead of let's just write something because this SEO tool says people search it?

Crystal Carter: Yeah. So I've got an article on the Wix SEO hub, how to do user first topic and keyword research for SEO precisely because of this. So I think that one of the things that SEO tools are great. They're fantastic. They're wonderful. But one of the things that's tricky about SEO tools is that they're leaning on historical data. So for instance, if it's a new topic, if it's a new keyword, you're not going to get that much historical data. And if you're in a space that's highly competitor. Highly competitive from an SEO point of view, being a first mover is really important. Also, if you are a brand and you're specifically like, if you're looking to support your, the people who are engaging with your brand, getting information. From those people is going to help you do much better. And there might not even be that much search volume for that particular topic because it's so niche to your brand. However, if you make that content, that is that, that provides so much value because as a user let's say let's say, I don't know, I had this microphone that I'm talking into right now, and there's a particular, there's a particular knob. Or dial on this that is unique to this microphone. There's not going to generally be any competition around that particular dial. However if the people who made this microphone say, Oh, you can use this dial to do this, and this, or this is important because of that, and that. And I'm looking at this dial and I'm going, what is this dial? And I type in, what is this dial? Then guess what? If you as the brand have that piece of content on your website, you're going to show top. There might be other people who are talking about it on other web pages, but you will show at the top because you are the authority on your microphone that you created on your product that you created. In the user first document that I, or article that I have on the Wix SEO Hub, I talk about talking to your sales team. They haven't picked your sale. And also if you have a sales team, they will not be shy. They will tell you any they will tell you, Oh, I need a, I need something on this. I need something on that. I need and Mark, I'm sure you've had these conversations, like working with marketing teams, the sales teams always have opinions on which content needs to be on the webpage.

Mark A Preston: Yeah it's realistically just understanding what are the commonalities on your sales calls? What things are you saying over and over again that people need to know? For me, it's a case of what do people need to know to make an informed decision?

Crystal Carter: Precisely. And yeah, if you find yourself repeating it all the time, if you say, Oh, Hey, actually I have a webpage for that. That makes you look so organized. That makes you look so organized. It makes you look so good. And then also the people that you're talking to can send that to the other people in their team. Really easily, and you don't have to record another thing or write another email or do all of that sort of stuff. And that again, that, that shows like that shows that people were ready for you, we're ready for that query. We know you, we know what you need. We've anticipated your needs. So that, that provides so much value from a sort of customer service point of view, but also from a search point of view. Because it's so niche to your website, you're absolutely gonna show. On the top for that if somebody is querying that generally but yeah, also the customer care queries are ones that come up a lot. Training gaps are like I find as well are a really good opportunity. So if you find that you're training juniors on how to. Use a particular topic or use a particular skill or or tool and they keep asking you the same question and your training doesn't explain it and you can't find something that you can send them, then you should probably write something up so that you can reference it for your juniors and so that they can reference it themselves. And so that, anybody else who might not, might need that information can find it as well. I think, yeah, I think that things like that are really useful questions from Google business profile.


That's it. That is a gold mine. All of your the internal search. I know so many SEOs who just absolutely love internal search. It's great for creating blogs, but also creating new product categories, for instance And I think that there's tons of things that you can look at, that are things that people are saying. And I think the great thing about it is that this is what Google is asking for. So Google's talking about helpful content, user first content content that, satisfies a need. And they keep elevating things like Reddit and things like, forum based Quora and things like that, because they're like, questions that people are asking. And then they're being answered in a specific way. I think that when you can create content that is based on a need, and you know the need. You know the need from your team, or from, the questions they're asking you from the site searches from Amazon product reviews. If you know that there is a need then you don't necessarily need search volume to back you up on that. You have a need. And you can even think about like the time that your team is saving from having to, write up that email every time or having to re, re restate the point every single time, you can even think about it from that point of view as well.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I mean, just on one scenario, I was working with one company and I said what things do you usually get asked all the time and say, oh, yeah we just do what we do. I said, but, so they don't. Realize that it's important, and until you ask them, they're not going to actively tell you this is important, and from that one conversation, I think it were about a half an hour conversation, so much was outlined, and created a blog post out of one of the topics they mentioned. Now, the SEO tools said no one searches it. That one blog post generates something like three and a half thousand visitors a month.

Crystal Carter: That's what I'm talking about, Mark. That's what I'm talking about. That's precisely what I'm talking about. Exactly. Exactly. You know the need. You know the need is there and you know that you have people that want to do that, want that information. So give them the information and reap the benefits. That's what I'm talking about.

Mark A Preston: Definitely. Now you mentioned right at the beginning that you do a lot of speaking, right? What, what makes you tick? When you're on there what gives you that enthusiasm to, to want to do this?

Crystal Carter: I tend to jump around in terms of my, in terms of my topics a little bit, but one of the things, the thing that's core to almost all of my talks is that it's normally something that I feel like people aren't talking about. And that I feel like people should be talking about. And I hope to kickstart a conversation. So at MozCon this year, for instance, I talked about On page video SEO, because there's lots of stuff about, about YouTube SEO. There's lots of stuff about, about about on page SEO, but how do you get optimize the videos that are on your page for the videos you embed onto your page? For SEO, and there wasn't a lot of content around that and Google in the last year has spent a lot of time investing in adding more videos to the SERP, changing how videos are showing on the SERP and there's been a lot of stuff around that and I've seen a lot of good impact on that and in Google Search Console they added like a whole another panel. For video pages, and I think they've added lots more documentation about how to get those video pages and how to optimize those videos pages, and I felt like people weren't talking about that. So I talked about that the year before I talked about visual search and Google Lens because I felt lots of people were saying, Oh, yeah, you just. Update your alt tags. And I was like, no, it's not just that it's part of it.


Sure. Of course, they're paying attention to that. But if you want to rank on Google lens then you have to take into other considerations as well. I did a talk about about about discovered not indexed. I find that it's so frustrating. It's like you, you pour your heart and soul into this blog and Google goes, yeah, seen it. You're like, so what do you think? And they're like, good. And I'm like, what do you mean you, so you saw it, but not index. They're like, nah, I think. And I don't like that. So that, yeah, so I fell in, fell into that was one of the things that got me like really that, that was one of the things that Got me really into my sort of indexing things as well. I think I go in spurts of like different different topics that I really narrow into. And then I go, yeah, okay, good. I know that. And then and then, then once you know it, once you know the core of it, you can top up as the, as things change and as things move along. But that was when I was zeroing in on a lot of those sort of indexing conversations and had been for a few months. I did a talk on Schema markup for my first my first Brighton SEO, because there wasn't that many people talking about schema markup and schema is brilliant. It's like one of my favorite go to moves. I absolutely love schema so much and and yeah, and I think that lots of people talk about it now. But I think at the time there weren't so many people talking about it then. So yeah, I think. I tend to be spurred on by, by conversations that I think we should be having and I hope that other people take them up as well and run with them as well.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, on that basis that. There's so many things in the industry that doesn't get talked about, that make a massive impact. There's lots of things of the same thing that gets talked about. Yeah. These sort of things that, you know, and often it's something that you find by mistake.

Crystal Carter: Precisely. Or it's it's buried in the documentation or something to that effect, or, or I don't know. I think I recently did an article on schema structured data validation. And the reason why I wrote this was because I get so many people who were like, Oh, I got a warning on my schema markup. Oh, what do I do? Oh, this is the end of the world. And I'm Maybe not. It might be fine. It might be totally fine. Is it valid? Is it is it overall valid? It's yes. It's then you have a warning. It's yes. It's maybe it's an issue, but maybe it's not. You don't necessarily need to freak out if you get one of those little yellow warnings. Check it. Have a look. And everything, but you don't necessarily need to freak out. And I think a lot of people get very confused and very Oh, no, what do I do? This is very techie sort of thing. And it's not that complicated. It takes some time, spend some time and get used to it. But yeah, I wrote that partially because I felt like I didn't have a place to point people when they asked me those questions. And I couldn't find one that was there as well. And I, and yeah, I think that there's a lot of going over the same ground, but there's so much ground to cover on in SEO. And yeah, I think it's, I think it's important that we try to shine a light where we can.

Mark A Preston: Yeah. One of the commonalities I get asked regarding schema. From SEOs is how do I know what schema type to add to which page? What do I use? Do I just put this schema on every page or what do I do? And it's surely if it's a product page, you should be using product schema. No, it's something related to that. For me, I don't know. It's just... Maybe I'm weird, but I just think isn't it obvious?

Crystal Carter: I think some people, I think there's some folks who get nervous about documentation. I personally love schema. org. That's one of my favorite websites. I spend so much time on schema. org, and I think their documentation is really clear. And also I think. That I think that the other thing is the other thing I spend a lot of time is looking at other people's schema and just going, Oh, that's very interesting how they configured that. And, oh, I like, so I think if you're one of these people that spends your spare time, just check it out. Jason LD then, yeah, I think it's, I think it's easier, but I think that I think with one of the other things I love about SEO is that it's such a wide gambit of. Skills that are super useful in SEO. So if you're really good at organizing, it can be incredibly useful to have somebody who can help make sure that you're streamlining your workflows in SEO. Cause that can make a big difference, particularly in an, at an agency. And when you're running a team and also I think content folks, there are some people who you're like, Oh, can you write me like a 3000 word blog post? Tomorrow. And they're like, yeah, got you done. You say, write me a 3000 word blog post tomorrow. I'd be like, I don't know. And then I have to, what will I do? If you say, audit this website tomorrow, I'd be like, I can do that tonight. No worries. I can do that in three hours. I can give you, I can give you some actionable tips or whatever for the, for that audit, I can give you something valuable within a few hours. And that's, and it's not a big stressor for me. So I think, whereas I know other people who really. find technical SEO really stressful. So I think that it's I think, we're, it's a rich community. So we can help the folks who struggle with schema. They can help them. They can help us with our content.

Mark A Preston: Definitely. I've published two books myself and both times. It started with me sitting there, wanting to write an article for my website. But me being me, I got carried away. And the next thing I think, oh, this is a bit too long now for an article. Let's just expand on it and turn it into a book.

Crystal Carter: There you go. And the world's a better place because of it. So there you go.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, wonderful. Now, what actually makes you tick when it comes to SEO?

Crystal Carter: I like being right. I like you ever seen that movie? I think the movie, The Sandlot, it's a very American movie about kids playing baseball and stuff. And they talk about the great Bambino, Babe Ruth, and how he, before he hit his home run, he'd point at the side and go right over there. And then he'd hit the ball and it'd go right over there. And I like that. I like that feeling when I'm like, this is going to like, this is going to knock, we're going to write this article and we're going to optimize this article so that it knocks this competitor off of the pedestal. And we write the article, we optimize the article, we publish the article and boom. feature snippet. Like what? That's that. I love that. I love that. I love like getting the results. I love the, like, when you like say, Oh, we're going to optimize this whole section, we're going to get all of these different rich results. And it's going to be like boom. And then you publish it and you like hit go. And then it all goes when you say, we're going to, we're going to sort out the indexing. And you run it on Monday and then on Wednesday, like the pages are all then you see all those greens coming up on, on Google search console. I love that. I love the green arrows. I love seeing all of the, I love making, doing the research. Making a hypothesis and then making it happen. I really like that as a process. I love the sort of scientificness of SEO. I find it incredibly I find it incredibly satisfying because I think that so many things can be can be, I don't know, very qualitative or very, yeah, very qualitative or whatever. And I really like that we can quantify, okay, this many people came to this site, this is going to work for that, like that, that result that you got from that team where you're like, where they were saying, they're asking us loads of questions, they're asking us loads of questions and you can say look, this gets 3000 this is getting 3000 people visiting it every year or every month. That's a great article for you that I think is a really good thing. I like being able to show the value of the work as well.

Mark A Preston: It goes past just seeing how many visitors things get, for me, I, way, way back, I started in the industry by building my own lead generation business. So my purpose of every website I created was to drive leads. And in order to do that, I needed to connect with the audience. And understand the pain points and solve them with the content. For me, it's I think the industry's just, I don't know, in some cases, they're just getting round to that idea, rather than keywords, rankings, traffic.

Crystal Carter: Oh yeah, I think in the same way as AI, like all of those things are metrics. for, for like good value. Because the other thing is that when, particularly if you're working with a business, I've had it before where we had loads of traffic and and things, but it wasn't actually materializing in leads. And you can't play, you can't pay the bills with clicks, you have to be able to, you have to be able to connect those business, the business metrics to the website metrics that needs, there needs to be a very clear flow, like if it's a lead, if it's a, a sign up, if it's a, if it's a purchase, whatever it is. You need to be able to make sure that the SEO outcomes are reflective of your business outcomes. And I think that and I think that the research aspect of SEO is I think super, super valuable. I think sometimes people think that SEO sits in a silo and, it's just the stuff that goes on the website. But as you said, SEOs have an incredible insight into audiences. We are looking at what people are thinking, essentially, because that's what people are searching. You search, you have a thought in your head, and then you search it up. You say, oh, I wonder how much a panda does weigh. And then you like, and then you Google, like, how much does a panda weigh? And then you find that out. And so we know how many people are wondering about the weight of pandas. We know that from search volumes, for instance. We can get an info, a guide on that. And we can see trends with Google Trends. We can see which topics people are interested in.


And whether or not that's something trends. Up or whether or not there's some seasonality to it and things like that. And we can give people insights into customers that you can't get in a lot of other ways. And I think that, that is incredible, incredibly valuable. And that is something that, that I think. SEO should think about when they're speaking to wider teams as well. So when you're talking to, PR teams, when you're talking to to sales teams, when you're talking to wider marketing teams the audience insights that you're able to share and able to gleam are really important. And I think in terms of clicks and in terms of traffic and in terms of keywords and all of those sorts of things and ranking. Ranking isn't an end all be all of itself. Ranking is essentially, Google ranks you essentially relative to the value that you have for customers. The, what they're trying to do is deliver valuable content to their customers. And so you rank because your pages are valuable. If your pages are not valuable. For whatever reason, then they're not going to rank as well. So for instance, the keywords are so that people can find it. It's useful for instance, when you're thinking about I remember writing an article or writing it, writing an essay or something at school, and I use the wrong terminology for something and my teacher was like, no, it's called this and I was like, why did, why can call it whatever I want? I don't know what you mean when you say like, why can't I, it's my essay. I can call it what I want, but actually if you don't have the same term, then you can't. then people can't find it. Like other, you can't reference what other people have said about that particular thing, for instance.


So like sneakers or trainers or I'm, so I'm American and living in England and a boot is different. Cilantro and coriander are two different things. If you went to America and you went to a supermarket and you said, do you have any coriander, you wouldn't be able to find it because people wouldn't know what you were talking about. So it's important that keywords are something that they're essentially breadcrumbs. They're essentially like a tool for users to find. what you need or what they need. And it's a tool for you, for users to understand that the content is valuable for you. I can't remember how many times I've been to, I've searched for something and then got and and the header or whatever said, they said the word I was looking for or said the thing I was looking for. And then I got to the page and I couldn't find it on the page. And that I find incredibly frustrating, right? Nobody wants that. You want the thing that you came looking for. So I think it's important to remember that all of these things that we do, even the technical SEO stuff. So for instance, if you're doing schema markup, you it's not good practice to have schema markup that doesn't reflect what is on the page, right? If you have a recipe about chocolate cake, your schema markup should not be a recipe, should not be a pizza recipe. It should not. It doesn't matter whether the pizza recipe works, works better or not. The recipe for chocolate cake should be the recipe that's in the schema markup, should be the recipe that's on the page. And that's, all of that is to give value to users. So that recipe schema, for instance, will show on the SERP, which will tell people, Oh, this is a good recipe. It's got a picture. It's got reviews. It's got, this many eggs are in it or whatever. And that will tell them, Oh, that's good value. Then they'll go to the site and they'll go, Oh, this is a good recipe. This is a good user experience. There's not a bunch of ads popping up and I don't have to wade through 7, 000 words about somebody's grandmother. Before I get to the chocolate chip cookie recipe, that sort of thing. So I think it's important to to remember that all of those metrics are all signals for customer value and customer value is what matters at the end.

Mark A Preston: Yeah, I'm a bit crazy or whatever you want to call it, but I like to dig deep into meanings of words and everything. And I like to go into analyzing a page in depth and the words on the page and if I change that word to that, what's the impact kind of thing. And just as in one example, I changed the word only to just and increase the conversion rate. Just the meanings of words and I've, studied things and that's how in depth I go into, it's not, words are not just words. It's we need to start thinking about what do these words actually mean?

Crystal Carter: Precisely. And I think on the SEO Hub, we have a fantastical, the Wix SEO Hub, we have a fantastic article about about implicit intent. And if you think about somebody who's looking for, say things to do on a rainy day, there's an implicit intent that person wants to be inside, right? They haven't said that they want to be indoors, but if they said rainy day, They mean indoors. You don't have to and so when you think about what that means you need to understand like what you need to understand like that there is intent to be inside. And it might be that some people like swimming out in the sea on a rainy day but like most people would probably be inside like to be at the cinema or something like that instead. so I think that it's important to remember and understand those things and to actually know what you what it is you're talking about. And I think that's why Google added the expertise element to their E A T thing because, sometimes without sharing too much, I'm lactose intolerant and I've had and I've looked up various different things about Oh, could this concern my health? Oh, what's an issue of being a lactose intolerant. And they literally all say the same thing. And you can tell that all of these people all read the same article and they all referenced the same article when they were writing up this SEO content about this particular topic. However. If there was somebody who was like, I have not eaten dairy for 20 years, and I've had this issue, and I've had that issue, or I have not had this issue, and I've not had that issue. That's important. That's useful. That is valuable. That is useful, important content. And that's different from content that's just based on something that someone read. And I think, I know that you're, I know you recently welcomed a grandson and things.


And I know that when you're raising children, people have a lot of opinions. But it's actually more useful to get advice or to get experience from people when they're talking about like how, family stuff and things like that, Oh, I had this experience with my, my, my son was learning to drive. He did this, that, and the other that's useful. That's useful, but if they say, Oh, when you learn to drive, you've got to do that sort of thing. That's I don't know, maybe that's true. Maybe it's not, but your experience is true. You can't like your experience is what your experience was and me listening to your experience. I can take whatever kernels of knowledge and whatever things that are useful to me from that. But I think that, experience can make, it can make a big difference and to, to whether or not we are able to understand the meaning behind the things that we write and can help make it easier for Google to understand the things that we're writing.

Mark A Preston: Definitely. Now, the time is rocking on and I know you're a very busy person, but just to conclude, is there anything you feel the audience needs to know that we haven't spoken about already?

Crystal Carter: I think, I don't know. I guess the one thing I always say when people say oh, is there, what's the one piece of SEO advice you would give is, and I'm not sure that's particularly what you're asking here, but the thing I always say is put an H1 on your homepage. And the reason why I say that is because so many people overlook that. And essentially what that's saying is that don't forget the basics. I think particularly with SEO and even with marketing and of course with interacting with like human people, like human beings. Don't forget the basics. Say please, say thank you. Do, make sure that you've covered your basic elements. And often in the process of fixing your basics understanding your basics. For instance, you can uncover other issues, like sometimes, very often they, they can be emblematic of issues that are also affecting these sort of white, wider things. Like I was checking on some redirects the other day and I found that actually there was a menu that was messed up because it had an old menu in it. So that's. That's something that, that, that I wouldn't have found if I hadn't just been checking on the basic things about Oh, making sure we didn't have internal 301s. That's a super basic top task, but it uncovered something that was more complex. So absolutely cover the basics. Don't forget the basics. And don't let anyone tell you that, that covering the basics isn't something that's useful.

Mark A Preston: Wonderful. And on that note where can people find you and what conversations would you like to have?

Crystal Carter: So I'm on Twitter. I'm going to keep calling it Twitter. At crystal on the web. I'm also on LinkedIn and you can find me there. I I like talking about schema markup. In particular technical SEO things. I'm also in the women in tech SEO Slack group. And very active there. Hit me up there if you have any questions about things like that as well. And yeah, and I'm also on the, our podcast which comes out weekly and our webinars, which come out monthly and you can ask questions in the webinars as well do feel free to drop by there.

Mark A Preston: And on that note many thanks for joining us today.

Crystal Carter: Thank you so much for having me.

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