33 | Geoff Atkinson, SEO, Schema Markup, Dynamic Rendering, Static Websites

33 | Geoff Atkinson, SEO, Schema Markup, Dynamic Rendering, Static Websites

Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks with Geoff Atkinson (@geoffatkinson), Founder and CEO of Huckabuy. We talk dynamic rendering, automated schema markup, cloud serving dynamic renderers, and Google’s perfect world when it comes to websites and their content.

About Geoff Atkinson

Geoff Atkinson @geoffatkinson
CEO of http://Huckabuy.com, former http://Overstock.com SVP, online marketing, search, SEO, skiing, biking, golfing
https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoff-atkinson-7311872/
https://huckabuy.com/seo-company/geoff-atkinson/

Episode Links and Mentions

Transcript

Jeff Byer     00:07   Welcome to digital rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer and today we are featuring an interview I did with Jeff Atkinson. He’s the founder and CEO at HUC buy and we talk about dynamic rendered sites, static sites, search for Google, Google’s perfect world and what they really like to see and respect  

Jeff Byer    00:33    when it comes to , crawling websites and website content. So dynamic rendering, cloud rendering of a of a large website is the key to what his company does and they take large, , constantly changing sites and serve them through a cloud system as far as what I understand. They serve it through a cloud based system that does cloud-based rendering of their site and gives Google a perfectly static rendered version of the site that is quickly crawlable and indexable so that there are no barriers to Google being able to get the structure, the content and list in search results. So very fun. We also talk about dynamic, , schema markup. So there’s a few tools out there. I found one called in links that , that kinda does the same thing. It’ll go through your content and it’ll find all the opportunities that your, your HTML has to add schema markup to it.  

Jeff Byer    01:50    I don’t, I looked at the results and what it, what it picked out as being, , able to have a, have structured data connected to it and it wasn’t completely accurate. It uses keywords and tries to, , tries to automatically select a topic based on your HTML content and it’s not completely accurate. It had a few, a few things that were out of the scope of what the content was. And we’re off topic as far as what the website as a whole is about. So the, at least this tool in links takes a lot of customization and hand holding to make sure that it, that you get it right. But Jeff’s tool at Huckaby is much more, much more one on one and does, , you know, it does a better job of identifying schema, , in HTML and served as static version with the scheme so that Google is very happy and can index easily.  

Jeff Byer    03:02    So that no content is missed specifically. It’s, it’s good for very large sites that change very often. So the Google can keep up with it. And the faster that you can deliver that information to Google, the faster that it gets indexed and added to the knowledge graph. So, so that’s that. , other news is there was a Supreme court ruling for a ruling. Basically Domino’s appealed the decision, the judgment that they had against them last year where a blind person sued them for ADA compliance because they couldn’t order a pizza from the website. So the Supreme court decided not to hear Domino’s appeal. And we talk about, we’re going to talk about what this means for the future of, , ADA compliance and accessibility laws regarding digital properties for large corporations. And you know, basically everybody is that this is, this is something that’s going to become more common and it’s time now for everybody to assess their websites and make sure that they are up to speed on accessibility and that they meet the requirements for accessibility.  

Jeff Byer    04:24    I’m S I’m in the process of getting certified right now, , as WebEx, web accessibility expert at IAP. So, , once I have that, I’ll, I’ll keep you updated on everything that you need to know as far as being certified, getting certified training courses, things like that. But next week we are talking to Rachelle golden who is an accessibility attorney. She’s been on the show before and she is going to talk us through the details of what this decision means and what it could mean moving forward for , corporations and accessibility in general. So keep on the lookout for that. My specific portion of this accessibility topic is going to stick to what my audience mostly wants to know is all of the technical requirements and technical aspects that go into being WCAG 2.1 compliant. So, , look forward to that and we will, , you know, lead by example and reach out to all the sites that we’ve worked on for the past 10 years and let them know what’s involved, how their site fares as far as ADA compliance and what will be required to make it compliant and give them the opportunity to opt out.  

Jeff Byer    05:54    So the opt out is important because if any judgment comes or any complaints are filed against a website for ADA compliance, that it can’t be assed that it was part of the original project that it had to be opted into and you need to opt out of it if you don’t want it done. So just something that we are moving forward with and hopefully by the end of the year, most of our large sites that do have a ADA compliance in their brick and mortar are going to also be accessible through their website. So that is that. Let’s get into the interview with Jeff Atkinson and if you have any questions or suggestions for topics or interviewees, please let us know. You can hit me up on Twitter. I’m at global. Jeff, you can go to the website, digital rage.fm and leave comments on the show notes. , anywhere where, , you can email me, , show@digitalrage.fm and I think that’s all I have to tell you about. So let’s get into the interview with Jeff Atkinson.  

Jeff Byer     07:21    Hey Jeff. Hey Jeff with a G. Hey, doing good. How are you? I’m good, thanks. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you as well. , so I usually just start recording and, you know, edit in whatever at any time. , perfect. So, , the way that I described my show is it’s a  

Jeff Byer    07:42    digital marketing for digital marketers, so feel free to, to get in the weeds, use acronyms, you know, talk, that type of stuff. So cool. Yeah, for sure. , so to start out, let’s, , I’ll, why don’t you introduce yourself and introduce your company? Okay. Right now, just go for it. Yeah.  

Geoff Atkinson    08:04    Cool. , so yeah, I’m Jeff Atkinson. I’m the founder and CEO of HUC by , formally the SVP of marketing@overstock.com. And Huckabee is a SEO software company, performance driven SEO software that does automated structured data markup as well as we have a product called SEO cloud that takes advantage of dynamic rendering on Google. So that’s, that’s me.  

Jeff Byer    08:29    Very cool. , I was reading through the, the white paper that, , that got sent that did a little bit of the, , the overview of what your company does. I’m really intrigued, so I completely agree with, you know, the Google perfect world, the way that I build my websites is, is exactly like that. Lots of , static rendered HTML, , for speed and for ease of crawling. So yup,  

Geoff Atkinson    08:54    I heard that on your last podcast  

Jeff Byer    08:56    and was super impressed. I pretty rarely hear about people building this way. So, , yeah, I was like, boy, this guy gets it. , let’s build in static HTML. Let’s give the bots what they want. , so yeah, I think we are going to, we speak the same language. Yeah, definitely. And so, , one of the new sites that I was building just related to this was a, we were going to build it using a react, but get react to, , export through Gatsby so that Gatsby creates everything, takes all the dynamic content and creates, , , just one big static site with all the resources compressed and an image, , manipulation and everything. So yeah,  

Geoff Atkinson    09:39    that’s great. So, you know, we find a lot of, a lot of companies just simply can’t do that necessarily because of business requirements, you know, put onto the website that they wanted to interact with users in a certain way. And so that’s really what our SEO cloud product is around, is allowing them to sort of do whatever they want on the front end and still have this perfect crawl experience for, for bots.  

Jeff Byer    10:04    Yeah. So, , explain that, explain the, , the, , the cloud rendering, , portion of your product.  

Geoff Atkinson    10:12    Yeah, for sure. So, , there’s this sort of concept known as dynamic rendering, which basically means that sites load dynamically based on what called them. , the simple example is if I go to a website on my mobile phone, I’ll get one experience by go on my desktop, I’ll get a slightly different experience and that’s all well and good. It’s best practice. Google supports it. What they’ve really changed though is they said, well now you can actually give an experience just for us and that’s , opened the door for us to basically create SEO cloud. Now you still have to have all the same content. You can’t, you can’t do any sort of tricks, you can’t keyword stuff or you know, alter the page in a way still has to be the same content and information, literally the same site as the user experience. But you can now que ups or this what we call Google’s perfect world.  

Geoff Atkinson    11:02    So we do much like what you’re doing with Gatsby but it a little bit different level where we’re taking a site that has quite a bit of dynamic content, whether it has dynamic content or not and translating into a flat HTML version. And that flat HTML version is usually, you know, 30% on average, the size of the previous page. And if you actually look at it, it looks identical. , you know, the, the, the way that it renders and the way that it actually looks and fields is it identical kind of shows how much code bloat you know, is actually out there on these websites. Right? We then take that, that light version and hosted it in a caching layer. So we use, we have a partnership with CloudFlare to provide edge delivery, , for this sort of HTML version. We then obviously add structured data, , world-class structured data to the top of the page and sort of queue up this perfect Google crawl experience.  

Geoff Atkinson    11:56    So this is a product that, , SAP uses. , a lot of kind of enterprise customers that have very complicated sites with lots of business requirements are now able to sort of have this fantastic crawl experience. And one of the things that we’ve noticed that’s interesting is a lot of, a lot of websites have more, , index issues than they actually know about. You know, if they have a very big site that’s relatively slow, you know, a lot of their content, even though they’ll have a big contest, right, it actually isn’t even getting accessed index correctly. So this sort of frees up all those issues. It takes care of a lot of issues and, and really allows a complicated website to get properly called index and, you know, get sort of the search attention that it deserves.  

Jeff Byer    12:39    Now is that related to amp in any way or are you serving amp pages?  

Geoff Atkinson    12:43    You know, that’s a great question. This product actually started as an amp product. So we, our first intention was, all right, let’s build, you know, have it have a sort of automated amp, , you know, version of a page. Then we kind of figured out that Google, despite them saying that they would index and crawl any type of amp page, certain bots are really the only ones looking for amp pages. So when your SAP or someone like that, the type of bots that are hitting that site actually aren’t looking for amp links. And so it almost kind of made the product look a bit useless. So then we got into sort of the dynamic rendering world, so it does not create amp versions of the page. , I think, you know, as Google includes more and more, you know, page types in there amp index, , that could be a very viable product.  

Geoff Atkinson    13:36    , but for now it much more as around just building the flat HTML version and sort of this perfect crawl experience for Google, , rather than, , amp pages. It’ll be interesting to see sort of how amp plays out and how much, you know, cause developers hate it. Google obviously loves, it’s very strategic for them to be kind of hosting the internet. , and so it’ll be kinda interesting to see how, how amp ends up playing out across industries. I think obviously it’s been, , somewhat of a success, or at least it’s very well adopted in sort of the news and publishing arena. But to see if it actually gets into the mainstream. And other industries like B2B software, e-commerce I think kind of remains to be seen. There’s just so much functionality that’s stripped out that I think you’ll have a lot of business users sort of pushing back on whether amp works for them or not.  

Jeff Byer    14:30    Yeah. And so that’s the other thing about, , serving a, a site that’s, that’s not dynamic or serving static HTML is that amp can make it amp by just removing the tags that they don’t want. So Google has the power to do this on their own, but their first attempt was making the developers convert over to it. And that obviously hasn’t gone very well if it goes well for new sites and people who want their content scraped and served elsewhere. But, , yeah, I I did not adopt app a amp because none of my sites are really news sources. We have content strategies, but amp wasn’t, wasn’t a good solution. And you know, every report I see online is for, from SEOs perspective is that, , amp does nothing for their rankings.  

Geoff Atkinson    15:19    Yeah. I think it has been a bit of a failure outside of the, the news industry. They, they certainly could do it themselves. Although they typically take this approach of accessing developers first. You need to think about their Chrome and chromi product, the way that they render pages and the way that they’ve sort of taken over the way that the internet is literally, , rendered and served through Chrome browsers. , they’re the ones that get to decide, you know, whether flash for example, the viable language or not. , and they kind of did that surreptitiously. I don’t think many people realize how powerful their, their sort of takeover of the browser world via Chrome and the way that they render a using Chrome and chromi. , so they typically do go in this way, you know, trying to, to get adoption within developers. I just don’t think they expected so much pushback. , they made it so rigid and, and nonfunctional that, , you know, they, they, I think the most upset, you know, probably yourself included are our actual developers that are, that are coding pages and creating websites. They’re just like, no, this doesn’t work for me.  

Jeff Byer    16:25    Right. If we could easily dp out our current content into an amp page and, and serve it that way, that’d be fine. But there’s so much else that goes into it because with most of my clients, the goal is some sort of interaction or you know, some conversion action that’s not possible.  

Geoff Atkinson    16:43    Yeah. That the cart a form fill out. , you know, exactly. They need some, some S some sort of interaction with the page that allows that customer to, , to convert. And that an amp is very, , difficult to do any kind of work like that with.  

Jeff Byer    17:00    So your clients there, they’re already, you’ve got a pretty large sites, some dynamics. I’m not. , and you, so from what I gather, you’re scraping the content and putting it in a more packageable format for Google and S and serving it on cloud.  

Geoff Atkinson    17:20    Yeah. So we actually have our own renderer. , so it’s a little bit less about scraping and more about actually rendering each page converting, , stripping out and non-important, you know, aspects of the page that Google doesn’t care about converting anything that’s dynamic into flat HTML and whether it’s dynamic or not, the way to be able to sort of lighten up the page, make it a lot faster and then host it. You know, using a partnership with CloudFlare at edge delivery just has great, you know, performance aspects to it. , Google just kind of can cruise through a very big site in a very short amount of time and that’s really what they’re looking for. That’s really ideal for them, is to be able to, to, you know, if you think about how much time and resources, which is, you know, money that Google is spending, waiting for pages to load, for them to be able to understand websites, it’s gotta be infuriating.  

Geoff Atkinson    18:16    People always think, you know, when we talk about page B, I’m like, how many times does Google have to yell from the mountain tops? That page speed’s important until people start listening. And it’s really not just their main motivation I really don’t think is actually the user experience. It is when it comes to mobile. Right? You do need to be fast for mobile to really work, especially as, as they grow in the, really their, their growth. Now it’s in the third world getting people online, you got to have that fast page speed because the connection speeds are low, but there are selfish reasons are that they waste a ton of money waiting for sites to load. So it’s like having the lights on but no one’s home. , they’re just sort of sitting there waiting for a page to load when they want to be downloading and indexing information and content. So, , it’s just incredibly, probably frustrating for them. And that’s why they reward sites that are fast because they’re able to access the information in a timely way.  

Jeff Byer    19:06    Yeah. It makes their bots more efficient. So how do you handle a canonical ization across, , cloud sides?  

Geoff Atkinson    19:16    , in terms of like category pages where there’s multiple canonicals just  

Jeff Byer    19:21    if there’s a front end, front end facing site and then this, this cloud-based site is how do you, is is Google able to differentiate that or do you have to canonical lies everything. <inaudible>  

Geoff Atkinson    19:34    so you actually can tell them what the server response. So you’ll say, you know, Google will come in and they’ll say, you know, user agent is a Google bot and we’ll recognize that and say, okay, this is the version for you to come crawl the way that they kind of can just or verify that the site is accurate. And the same as the user experience is stuff using like they’re, , they’re evergreen bot and they’re their JavaScript bots that will come in and actually look at that dynamic content. That’s how we sort of theoretically think that they, you know, can, can check the, the actual user site to make sure everything is matching up. We don’t actually see them doing it very often. They really do enjoy having this, you know, , dynamic version or dynamically rendered version. , so, , there isn’t any sort of a, it’s all done server-side through the communication of the bot when they come make a request and we, we talk to them at that point and say there’s an a Google friendly version of this site and that’s, that’s what they go into and crawl. And I’m sure they can, if they want hit the actual user site, they have many ways to do that, but we just don’t see them doing it very much.  

Jeff Byer    20:47    So is the  

Geoff Atkinson    20:48    implementation for this on a customer to customer basis depending on technologies that their original website is built with? Yes. , it’s, you know, most sites have some sort of a, either caching Lehrer, you know, Akamai or CloudFlare. So we have modules that, that, , can implement a site with. You know, that covers maybe 90% of the internet. And then there’s the sort of one off ones that are sort of unique that we have to figure out a way to integrate. What’s exciting though about this cloud player partnership is , in the future and about a couple months we’ll actually just have a marketer can just go in and change their DNS, , settings and literally in two minutes they’ll be live on SEO cloud. They’ll also get, , the sort of optimal CloudFlare optimization of their user site as well. So that’s really our, our big product that we’re working on now is like you’re not just going to get the perfect crawl experience, , for Google in this sort of edge delivery for Google.  

Geoff Atkinson    21:57    You’re also an edge delivery just, I dunno how much your audience knows about it but, but essentially edge delivery is just saying that, you know, instead of having to call to a server and that server responds and you know, works through all this stuff, there’s actually distributed servers around the world that are based on locations that each have the, all the information that’s necessary to serve a page right there located and in memory. So that say a bot comes from China, it’s still going to be instantly available in China as it is. It doesn’t have to make the laps around the world, I guess is the best way to say it. It’s right there, available at the edge. , and so this, this partnership with, , CloudFlare is exciting for the implementation purposes cause it’s just a very simple DNS change. And then actually they don’t just get SEO cloud, they actually get this very, you know, 30 to 50% improvement in page speed just to everybody, which is pretty exciting. 

Jeff Byer    22:51    Yeah. So, , we’ve been implementing CDNs for a while now and, , it, it does help a lot. I mean there’s, there’s, , you know, pluses and minuses, the implementation and the, and the distribution of assets to the servers, which, you know, you want to make, , as, as seamless as possible. But, , yeah, we do understand that the, , the benefits of a CDN, especially on sites that need to perform internationally.  

Geoff Atkinson    23:20    Yeah. I mean, just listening and researching what, what you’re doing, , you’re doing it exactly right. I mean, you think about page speed and delivery and how to sort of have a site be optimized for what Google wants. You know what we always say, you know, Google is actually pretty open and honest about what they’re looking for out of these websites. And if you could give it to them, you get some real nice benefits.  

Jeff Byer    23:43    Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And we will monitor all that for our clients. Our clients are usually small to medi size businesses. We do have a, a couple of medi to large size, , international B2B manufacturers. But for the most part we, we try and keep it simple and make sure that what we’re putting out into, , into the, the web is, is very clean HTML structured properly and has clear signals to Google’s structured data, everything like that to what it is, what it’s, you know, how to use it, how to crawl it and who’s responsible for it, which is now a big thing with the EIT.  

Geoff Atkinson    24:22    That’s fantastic. And I hope your customers, , understand what they’re getting because, , it’s pretty rare that even in the enterprise size or small and medi, it’s pretty rare to have someone be able to provide that. And you’re obviously doing that. So I hope they appreciate you.  

Jeff Byer    24:38    Thank you. And my clients have absolutely no clue. I keep the taking stuff out of it, out of the art conversation.  

Geoff Atkinson    24:46    You can play that clip back and put it on the website, whatever you want.  

Jeff Byer    24:50    Very nice. , so, , do you mind if we get in the weeds a little bit, a little bit of the yeah. , how the product was built for sure. , what, , what kind of, , development stack are you using to, , to implement this?  

Geoff Atkinson    25:08    So, , the main application layer runs on Google cloud, , which is a phenomenal product. So just a warning. I am not a developer, you’re more experienced than I am. I happen to have a fantastic CTO who’s brilliant and, , really has, has built this thing. , I know that we’ve almost finished my garage and completely on the Google cloud. , Google cloud is incredible in terms of what it can do. I think it’s a real disruptor and it’s going to sort of take down AWS and a bunch of other, these sort of, , storage and application layer providers. So yeah, almost the entire application runs, , in Google cloud. And then obviously our edge delivery and how we’re actually serving a site is, , is done through this partnership with cloud player, which also is just amazing. , so, you know, my background goes back to, you know, overstock and, and the days where, you know, storage was expensive and all these, all these, you know, just the amount that we spent on tech was kind of just for storing things and serving the site was just sort of mind boggling.  

Geoff Atkinson    26:18    You know, I remember we had like server farms in Utah here and , to think what you can do now, , is just sort of mind blowing. , a lot of these technologies too aren’t really getting leveraged yet. Like the, the CloudFlare edge delivery, we’re one of the very first, if not the first partners are leveraging this for actual business reasons and intentions. And the, when I every, you know, every week when I had my one on one with our CTO and is describing what Google cloud is capable of, I’m just like, this is insane. And their, their prices are so low. And so yeah, almost everything is between Google cloud and CloudFlare.  

Jeff Byer    26:57    Okay. Yeah. And we’ve been, , we’ve been experimenting with a lot of different , cloud based services as well. , so in the, in the Google cloud is your main application and the application, , the client sends the DNS through the application, the application is able to do all the translation in the cloud.  

Geoff Atkinson    27:22    Yeah. So it does the actual rendering of the site and into an SEO cloud version of the site. And that’s done through, , Google cloud.  

Jeff Byer    27:32    So is the proprietary portion of this is how the app decides what is required and what is not.  

Geoff Atkinson    27:40    Yeah. So it’s the translation of the page and the conversion of the page from whatever it is today into that flat edge, that light plat, HTML version. That’s really the big chunk of the proprietary technology.  

Jeff Byer    27:53    And so does it, does it do the same thing like on a lighthouse report when you see that you have unused CA CSS and the lighthouse report, is it something similar to that where you can actually strip out on UC CSS?  

Geoff Atkinson    28:07    , I believe so. This is getting a little bit more technical than I know about the product, but I believe, yes, it’s, it’s include CSS that’s being used that’s actually, you know, serving the, you know, helping the page load. , and look the way it does. But unused CSS and things of that nature, I’m quite certain are being stripped out and taken out of the page.  

Jeff Byer    28:28    Okay. And so have you handled any, , like, you know, having to translate through WordPress or any other, , of the, the major open source platforms?  

Geoff Atkinson    28:41    Yup. Yes, we’re pretty platform agnostic. , cause we’re really just looking at the front end. So WordPress is a, , it’s actually quite a guilty party when it comes to page speed and the amount of sort of code bloat that goes on. I think it’s a, it’s a fantastic, , you know, we’re on WordPress on a ton of software companies around WordPress just because of its flexibility. And also it’s relatively SEO friendly. There’s a lot of nice plugins and such. , but yes, we do find that a lot of WordPress sites have a lot of these issues where there’s, , just slow page speed, a lot of code bloat, you know, oftentimes a lot of dynamic stuff going on. So SEO cloud can help a WordPress sites quite a bit.  

Jeff Byer    29:23    Yeah, I’ve been experimenting with, , accessing WordPress through the API and translating the API server side so to the, to spits out a static HTML. And right now the first implemation implementation I’ve I have right now is through PHP. So it uses the PHP connection to render it server side. So it does cause a little bit of a delay. So my next, , the next thing I’m going to try is doing a server side cashed solution so that the content is always there and it only updates the API when the, when the site changes, when something saved. So trying to try to make a, give the client a WordPress back end that they’re familiar with, but serve ultimately static files on the front end. So  

Geoff Atkinson    30:15    that’s brilliant. I think that’s a really, that’s a really great way to approach it. , we haven’t gotten to the level of like actual integrations with CMS, which it sounds like, you know, what you’re heading down, where the user can actually still interact with the CMS at their choice, but they’re going to get this really nice, you know, quick site. , we’re more taking whatever that CMS spits out and then translating that into a faster site. But I like the way that you’re thinking about it.  

Jeff Byer    30:42    Yeah. I haven’t been able to avoid it. I would tell my customers, you know, the, the pluses and minuses to WordPress and it definitely has pluses for them cause they can edit their own content but minus his performance. , if you rely on any third party plugins, , that’s a huge, huge issue there. I’ve had sites taken down, there’s one right now that we’re having to completely rebuild because one of the third party plugins, , just stop being supported.  

Geoff Atkinson    31:11    <inaudible> yeah. You know, it’s funny, we sometimes joke about how you’ll have these massive sites that run through WordPress and they’ll be, you know, 75% of traffic or something is organic search and they rely on free plugins to, to do a bunch of very important things. And , you know, that’s sort of a scary, and when you think about how much revenues flowing through these sites and these channels to be reliant on free plugins is, is, is always a, it’s a risk and , it can be a scary proposition if something goes wrong. , and people just sort of have a bit of like kind of blind faith that these apps and plugins are going to be around forever. And you know, what, if the guy gets a job or you know, moves or something, you know, they can kind of, you don’t really know the support team behind any given plugin. And, , when your business is pretty dependent on it, it’s good to know that you, you have a trusted source.  

Jeff Byer    32:10    Yeah. And, , you know, with any open source platform or even even hosted platform like, like a Shopify, if you depend on a third party plugin, you better make sure that you’ve, you know, who’s behind it and, and that they’re, they can be reliable. So, , I’m a big, I’m a big fan of, of your solution. I liked the, , you know, the rendering in the cloud. What are some of the, , big success stories that you’ve had with your, with your solution?  

Geoff Atkinson    32:39    So if you think about just structured data in and of itself, that product has gotten us a long way and it’s gotten our customers along the way. So our average customer that’s using the structure data product, and this is funny, how about, I remember Matt Cutts always talking when structured data first came around about how structured data doesn’t influence rankings or doesn’t influence traffic. Our average customer just on structured data product grows 62% in 12 months, which is pretty incredible. So structured data definitely moves the needle. If you just think about how much Google understands with a site with very good structured data versus a site that doesn’t have structure data take about like an SAP. You know, here’s a really complicated website. It’s not organized like an eCommerce site. There’s not product pages that are all structured. There’s not category pages that are all the same.  

Geoff Atkinson    33:30    It’s very complicated product, very important site, very high domain authority. , when they come to a site that’s like that, it’s relatively hard for them to figure out what’s going on. , so if you layer structure like world-class structured data across the entire site and you’re saying, you know, this is a software application and it integrates with this and here’s the pro, you know, those types of clues. Google wants that information so badly. So if you go from SAP as a HTML or worse, it’s very dynamic site two, you’re actually sort of spoonfeeding Google all of this information per page be a structured data. This, the amount that they understand about SAP jps through the roof. So these, you know, really great success stories. And one of the things I love the most about sort of our direction is I think it’s really aligned with where Google’s going.  

Geoff Atkinson    34:26    , structured data is getting used more and more. It’s getting adopted more and more, almost every algorithm update over the last five years has somehow pushed structure data deeper and deeper into the algorithm. It’s the same with mobile, right live in the last 10 years. Every algorithm update in some way, shape or form is getting more mobile, mobile friendly. So those are kinda the two things that we focus on. Mobile, you know, mobile, which was page speed and being, being responsive, , as well as, , the importance of really good structure data and they’re changing it a lot. So we root for algorithm updates. , you know, I know the industry can be very scared of algorithm updates, but, , I would say with every algorithm update, you know, some of the sites do worse and some of the sites actually do better. And we want to be on the side of the sites that do better during algorithm updates.  

Geoff Atkinson    35:15    And typically that’s the case because we’re aligned with what they’re looking for these websites. So yeah, our average customer grows 62% in 12 months. I mean, some of the success stories are kind of incredible. Concur is a fantastic customer that’s kind of growing like crazy, but we work with companies of all sizes. , we have some S you know, startups that know that SEOs are their path to revenue to medi sized businesses that depend on, you know, want to really crank up their sales channel and online, you know, inbound leads, , B organic search all the way up to, you know, your sales forces of the world. So, , it’s, it’s cool. The thing I’m most proud of when I started this thing, it was like there isn’t a ton of performance-based SEO software. You know, the SEO space is mainly services driven. A lot of agencies, a lot of consultants, , that the software side of things is almost all analytical. So a lot of rank trackers and site crawlers and things like that. So to have something that you can actually turn live and it’s gonna help the site drive growth is a pretty rare thing. And for that growth to be 62%, it’s something that I’m really proud of. , my background at overstock is in growing, you know, very large organic search channel and, , we love to see that happen for our customers. So really moves the needle and, , those performance nbers we’re very proud of.  

Jeff Byer    36:39    And so is the structured data service that you offer, is that , somehow automated or is that by hand?  

Geoff Atkinson    36:47    That’s automated? Yeah. So it’s, , it’s a, we, we populated Jason LD packet of structured data across the entire site as they change content or add products or whatever it happens to be. The structure data automatically, , picks up the new information as Google also changes their requirements. , we do have to make a change when that happens, but it happens really quickly and it goes across every single customer. So 50 plus customers say, you know, , event markup change just to like in the last month, everybody’s fixed within 24 hours. While the rest of the internet, you know, kind of lags behind. So, , yeah, the automation of it and the depth of our structured data is really what sort of the differentiator. , it’s very in depth and it , it is automated students a big box to check for sites to just not have to worry about it anymore.  

Jeff Byer    37:40    Yeah. So, , we’ve been doing all of our, , all of our structure data by hand and I can tell you know, anybody who is a developer or who is starting to look into structured data on your own, the schema keeps changing constantly and they’re adding more categories and then they’re adding more identifiers to each of the categories. And you can spend months going down this rabbit hole of scheme of this, give me that, give me that, you know, everything. So having an automated solution, being able to recognize what the content is, is, , is definitely valuable. So I see a really high value in that product.  

Geoff Atkinson    38:17    Yeah, thanks. We, we think of it as something that lends itself to outsourcing because it really is almost like a full time job. If you want to do it really in depth, , in house, you almost didn’t need like a developer working on it almost all the time. And, , that’s just one that you can find a developer that cares enough about structured data to so want that job or, or to do it is a hard thing to do. , so the automation piece really helps our customers for sure.

Jeff Byer    38:42    Yeah. And , what was I gonna say regarding that? , Oh, ah, back to what you mentioned about, , Google saying the structure data doesn’t help with rankings. , so they’d say that because it’s not a direct ranking factor. What it is is you telling them what your content is and that content is ends up being your ranking factor. So they, they always say that this is not a ranking factor, but there’s things that are ancillary to what you’re doing that are, and so structured data is huge because all you’re doing is providing information to Google that they maybe previously didn’t have and that increases your rankings.  

Geoff Atkinson    39:21    It’s a great way to put it. Yeah. And the, and the other piece, like one thing that we see happen, right, you know, very quickly is you start ranking for a lot new, a lot of new keywords and specifically mid detail terms that are sort of like the bread and butter of any great SEO campaign. , you start making positive and authoritative connections to these mid and tail terms that just weren’t there. You know, even if the keyword was in some sort of metadata or HTML, it’s not authoritative. A metadata is really suggested with structured data. It’s authoritative. So the connections that are made to new keywords that our average customer in 12 months, their nber of ranking keywords in the top hundred of Google on average grows 91%. So it, that’s really the, the first step is that you just get these as positive associations with a whole bunch of great keywords that just weren’t there before.  

Jeff Byer    40:10    Yeah, it is a great, great way to, , to expose different content to different audiences and find those low funnel keywords that are directly related to your client and your sales. , so w, , just finishing up here, what are the tools you use on a day to day basis?  

Geoff Atkinson    40:31    , me personally, it’s nothing. It’s super exciting. You know, we’re a Slack company. We rely on Slack all the time. You mean like SEO tools or are you talking about like <inaudible> yeah, yeah, yeah. , you know, I, one thing that I find that we find very valuable, so we do a lot of keyword research, which I think is so important and often so overlooked. Just the importance of keyword research, not only to for your SEO but to learn about your business and what people call things and search for things. , we do a lot of like navigation and optimization recommendations with our customers, , outside of the software and nothing beats , the vole nbers and the information within Google’s keyword planner cause it gets, comes straight from, you know, I know what they’re trying to get you into campaigns. But we do use, , we use a wraps a lot was fantastic tool.  

Geoff Atkinson    41:20    We use Google keyword planner cause it sort of, I find it to be the best, you know, suggesting new keywords and actual voles and then kicking it over to a Moz or an AA reps and sort of get the keyword difficulty scores. , we leverage, , Google search council API. So we have a dashboard that’s in beta right now that’s pulling in a lot of statistics from Google search console from a reps and actually w as they have sort of minimized and gotten rid of the old Google search console. , and kinda don’t show as many crawl stats and crawl information. We actually are the loan company that can provide that information cause we’re actually monitoring the crawls and what, how, you know, SEO cloud is interacting with Google, which is pretty exciting. So, , starting the LeBron, you know, we never really did it any reporting, like a dashboard type of reporting and that’s a new product that’s, that’s part of our product now that people can log in and see really cool SEO statistics that are kinda going away. , so leveraging some, some cool API. As in SEMrush, API erupts, Google search console, those are, , and then cloud player. Of course, those are the sort of the hot hot tools, certain in products around Huckabee right now.  

Jeff Byer    42:37    Nice. So, , Huck by.com is , where the, where the information is. How do people, , get in touch with you, follow you, ask you questions, bother you.  

Geoff Atkinson    42:51    Yeah. , so one promise I’ve made for podcasts that I’ve been on is if you, if you go to our site and fill out a contact us form and put in it that you heard me on your podcast or whatever, I’ll actually make sure I talked to you personally, which is cool. So that’s probably the best way. If you want to have a conversation either about Huckabee or just learn more. , and then , you know, typical LinkedIn, Twitter, , pretty easy to find cause it’s Geoff with a G, G O, F, F and , Jeff of the day and then Jeff with a J. So, , that’s the one way you can remember it. And then, , yeah, I’m pretty, , I’m not super active on Twitter, but I do answer questions there quite a bit. And , and yeah, just your typical ways and you’re always welcome to email me and just Jeff at G O F F at <inaudible> dot com.  

Jeff Byer    43:36    Great. Well thank you very much for your time and , and providing more information about your, your products and your services. Really, , really interested in, I really like what you’re doing, so  

Geoff Atkinson    43:47    thanks Jeff. Likewise man. It’s cool to talk. Pretty rare for me to talk to someone that with your level attic, your Dollage about what we do is probably even a little bit higher than my own, which is a, doesn’t really happen that often, but you’re <inaudible> speak the same language that I love what you’re doing and a really cool podcast. Thank you so much for having me.  

Jeff Byer    44:07    Of course. Thank you. We’ll talk to you too. Talk soon. Thanks for show notes and information. Go to digital rage.fm. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at <inaudible> digital rage at them, and please give us a rating and review is clearly appreciate it. 

Host, Web Designer, SEO
About the Author
Jeff Byer has been designing identities and building websites since 1995. He is the CEO and co-founder of Print Fellas LLC, and the President at Byer Company, a division of Jeff Byer Inc, a web design company in Los Angeles. Jeff has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He is a certified Project Manager by Franklin-Covey and has qualifications in Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, MySQL, SEO, Bing Ads, and Google Ads. Jeff Byer is a co-author on 5 US Patents related to content management systems he has created on the internet.

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