The Admin Bar has hired SEOHive (https://theadminbar.com/seohive) to improve the SEO of our own website. They have agreed to allow us to share the entire processes with you. This post will be continually updated as we receive progress reports from SEOHive— so be sure to check back for the latest.
If you'd like to ask questions, or join in on the conversation, each update is being posted in our Facebook community along with commentary from SEOHive as well as questions from the community.
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #1
After signing up for SEOHive last week, today we received our “Initial SEO Audit” report.
Initial Audit Results.
After signing up for SEOHive last week, today we received our “Initial SEO Audit” report. We signed up on April 1st, and our report came on April 8th. About 5 business days after registration. Here's what the email said:
Hey Kyle and Matt!
I hope you're both well?
Here's the link to your initial SEO Audit that we've carried out for you: https://auditor.[removed].com
Please note, this is just a statement of the current sit rep with your website – we haven't done any work to it yet.
We'll be in touch with an amended report when we've been in to your site and configured things how we need them.
Pete & Jeff
Excited to see our report, I clicked the link and found the audit summary. A lousy 50/100 ? While we've paid almost NO attention to SEO on our website, I certainly didn't think it would be that bad. As I quickly browsed through some of the links, I see that a lot of the errors seem to be being caused by some Elementor popups— and I'm unsure of why this is happening. My natural inclination would be to go in and start investigating all of these— but for the purposes of sharing this with you (and putting SEOHive to the test!) I'm just going to leave everything bee (ha! “bee”. Get it?) The good news is that Pete Everitt and Jeffery Patch will have a LOT of work to do on our website. While this is just the initial audit to share their findings with us, at this point they haven't began any work. Basically, this is the benchmark. I supplied SEOHive with a admin login to The Admin Bar website so they can begin their work. Attached is an image of the report they performed. While I don't want to share the link, note that all of the items on the list are links that go to further details about the errors they've found. If Jeff or Pete want to add anything to this, please feel free to use the comments to do so
Next up they will be performing work to fix some of these errors (my guess is they will start with the most crucial ones and ones that are fixed quickly— just a guess) For full transparency— yes, we do have an affiliate relationship with SEOHive, but we paid for our account. I attached a screenshot of the receipt of our payment as well.
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #2
Speed optimization results are in— and action has been taken!(The Admin Bar has hired SEOHive (https://theadminbar.com/seohive) to improve the SEO of our own website. They have agreed to allow us to share the entire processes with you. This is an update).
Speed Optimization Results
Today (April 9th – 8 days after signing up (correction to my last update, I, in fact, signed up on April 2nd not 1st)) we received an email from SEOHive with before and after attachments of Pingdom tests as well as some context about the speed optimization they performed on our website as part of the onboarding process. Here’s what the email said:
As part of our optimisation process, we've been running some speed tests on your site – you can find a “before” and “after” comparison attached.
Whilst your site was working pretty darn quick to begin with, we still managed to knock off around 9% of the load speed and improved your performance grade from 71 to 83% – not bad, eh?
Also, we've optimised all the images on your site. We've achieved an average reduction of 69% in your file size. Part of this has contributed to your increased site speed.
Next, we'll be sending you your pathway on-boarding form – this will be delivered through your online account and you'll be notified when it's ready for you.
Pete & Jeff.
While speed is something we’ve worked on, it’s nice to see that they took a website that was already loading quickly and implemented their strategies to make it better— even if only marginally. I would imagine had we not put a lot of time into our speed scores, then this improvement would have been more dramatic. But a win is a win! You’ll see the before and after screenshots they sent us (I just cropped them down to the important bits so they would be legible).
Lastly, there is one bit of information I failed to include in my first update. I was also given access to a ClickUp board which is used as my Agency Dashboard. Since I only have one site in this account (and the other site is in my other account) I can only assume that you’d have this one Dashboard to manage and check out what’s going on with EACH of your projects in their own list. Here's a screenshot of the Agency Dashboard Here’s what they said about the Agency Dashboard:
This message is to let you know that your agency dashboard has been set up and we've created a convenient link to it in your account on SEOHive.co
You could also bookmark it, or get it tattooed somewhere. Though we can't promise it won't ever change in the future, so use your best judgement there.
We use ClickUp for our project management, so you should receive an invite to join our workspace any moment as well. Once accepted, you can access your dashboard through the ClickUp interface, or the previously mentioned link in your SEOHive account.
Long term, we don't expect you to be active on there day-to-day, but we will be reaching out occasionally during onboarding and periodically if we need information or to go over anything in the future. Be sure to have your notifications on for things you're tagged in or assigned so nothing slips through the tracks.
You'll be able to see all the internal tasks we're working on for your client sites. You'll also find a messaging widget on your dashboard where you can drop our team a quick question or note. Do us a favor when you get in, and just send us a quick hello.
Pete & Jeff
The tattoo parlors are closed down here due to social distancing, so I had to settle for bookmarking the link. The Dashboard is pretty neat— and it’s setup in a way I hadn’t seen in ClickUp before. User-friendly and a good place to just go check on the progress and communicate with the SEOHive team within tasks.
So, what’s next?
According to the email, next they will bee sending me my “Pathway On-boarding Form”. I’ll share that when it becomes available to me!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #3
Our pathway onboarding begins!!
Today, April 14th 2020, we received a ClickUp notification from SEOHive that we needed to complete the Pathway Onboarding form (screenshot of the email attached). The form itself is nice, looks to be a ClickUp form (which I'm sure makes it easy for them to integrate everything together— smart!). I've attached a screenshot of the introduction to the form as well as a few of the questions they asked. Mostly about our important content, keywords that are important to us (and ones we want to avoid) our key products, and information about our intended audience. Afterward I got a little “Thank You” for filling in the form— so I assume they got it! We'll update you again when we have more information from SEOHive!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #4
The keyword research for our on-page pathway is now completed and ready for review!
I got an ClickUp notification email this morning (April 24th, 2020) from Pete letting me know that my keyword research was ready and that I needed to login to my dashboard to have a look (image of email included).
Inside my dashboard, Pete had sent me a couple of messages. I’ve included the images, and the text reads as follows:
Your keyword research is ready! Please see the PDF attached to this task!
There's a whole load of angles we could go at with this – initially I realise we're working on the on-page pathway, but there are literally TONNES of options when it comes to your site hierarchy and content creation.
Included in the task was a link to a pdf report.
Keyword Research Report
I opened up my keyword research report (which you can view here) and found a ENORMOUS list of keywords they had sourced for my project. This included the keyword, average search volume, keyword difficulty, cost per click and a relevancy column (yes/no).
I certainly wasn’t expecting something this thorough. While I have done some keyword research myself (emphasis on the word “some”), I don’t think I’ve ever made a list quite this long.
Since I’m not an SEO expert like Pete, I’m going to assume this is proper, but it’s also where I’m going to have to completely rely on his expertise. It’s overwhelming for me to look at.
His instructions are for me to review the report and let him know if I need any changes. I don’t think I will, because I don’t think I have anything valuable to offer here. If this is the list they suggest, then I suppose I’m happy with that!
So, what’s next?
Interestingly, in my notes from Pete inside the dashboard (which are listed above) he mentions that there are a lot of opportunities here, namely content creation. My *hope* is that we can work on getting the on-page stuff in really good shape and that I will be able to do a lot of the content creation myself. Not that I’m capable of writing seo-focused content, but because out of the 3 pathways, the content creation one is where I think I can do the most myself.
Link building does interest me, however.
As far as what SEOHive will be doing next? I’m not sure at this moment. I’m going to approve this list and see what happens next. I’ll update you as soon as I know!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #5
Our first month is completed and our reports have arrived!
On Friday, May 1st I received 3 emails from SEOHive.
The first was our renewal notice and payment receipt to start month #2.
Next was our ‘Monthly Agency Overview Report' and the ‘Monthly Client Overview Report'.
While it might seem confusing to get two reports, this is actually something I talked with Pete about previously.
A super-detailed report might be great for you, but it will probably be overwhelming to business owners. A ‘stripped down' report would be better for your clients, but might leave you wondering about the details.
This is why SEOHive is providing 2 reports: you get the best of both worlds…
1. A detailed report so you can track the progress with a fine-toothed comb.
2. A ‘quick' report that you can provide to your customer.
The agency report gives you all of the data (ours clocked in at 38 pages), while the client report strips away the details and only focuses on the important metrics your clients are likely interested in.
I, at least, think this is awesome and am appreciative that Pete took my suggestion and ran with it.
Both reports are branded with the client's logo and website, however you'll want to rename the files as they have included “SEOHive” in the filename (highlighted screenshot of the email and file name below).
I imagine this is something they will fix in the future (hope so anyway, I'll never remember to change the filename!).
I'm sure you want to know what's in the report right? No problem— here's a link to each report exactly as they sent it to me (with our REAL numbers):
What does this mean?
At this point, I'm not certain the metrics in here have much to do with the work SEOHive has done to this point (as we are just really getting underway).
The first month of services from SEOHive are part of the ‘onboarding' process (which you can learn more about here) and while they did apply some changes to our site (specifically around performance optimization) the ‘real' work hasn't begun yet.
However, this report does clue me in as to what I can expect in the future and will serve as a nice ‘baseline' for seeing how things progress in the future as they continue to make improvements to our website.
So, what's next?
We are officially beginning “Month #2”, so now our chosen pathway (on-page) begins.
I'll keep you updated with any developments!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #6
What the hell is going on, Kyle?!
On May 19th we received an email notification from ClickUp that Jeffery had left a new comment:
It seems there was some confusion over how we had one of the Elementor single post templates setup to display a custom “404” type message on some outdated content (2019 Black Friday deals). Here's one of those pages as an example: https://theadminbar.com/2019_black_friday/4-better-proposals/
Jeffery's comment read:
@Kyle Van Deusen This isn't content that's hot & fresh obviously, but inspecting some errors led me down a rabbit hole with your 2019 black friday posts. How are you restricting that content & displaying the “Drats…” message?
Yes, I can see from an outside perspective how this would have been a little confusing. In all honesty it was a duct tape solution for us to remove the deals from the website visibly, without having to remove all the content from the back end (so we could poach some things for 2020).
I ended up replying to him trying my best to explain:
Yeah, obviously this information is outdated, but I was scared to just “delete” it. Instead, I just edited the Elementor Theme Template that is set for the black friday posts. If I remember correctly there are actually TWO templates (one for Matt's one for Mine).
Before those templates were set to dynamically display the content from the post (like a “Themer” template) but I just changed the template to say “Drats….” instead.
Does that make sense?
And I recorded him a quick video that would walk him through what I had done.
That's it for updated #6
Not much else to report at this point.
Now that we are fully onboard with the On-Page Pathway, they are busy in the background working on things and will report to me at the end of the month.
Here's what I'm currently seeing on the “to do” inside the dashboard:
Of course, I'll be sharing those results right here— so stay tuned!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #7
First month on our On-Page pathway complete & end of month reports are in!
(The Admin Bar has hired SEOHive (https://theadminbar.com/seohive) to improve the SEO of our own website. They have agreed to allow us to share the entire processes with you. This is an update).
This morning, June 1st, I woke up to 6 new emails related to SEOHive’s work on our website— so buckle up, this is going to be a lengthy update!
The first month of the On-Page pathway has been much quieter than the first month we signed up during our onboarding process. We had one update in the middle of the month (update #6 when Jeff had a few questions about how we sat something up), but it seems like they have just been working quietly in the background.
Email #1 – “Fix 404 redirect/pretty links”
The first email related to a 404 error they found in a couple of our links, which they went ahead and fixed. This email is just letting me know what has been done:
@Kyle Van Deusen We found previous links to /cloudways (blog post) and /generatepress-2 (indexed, but unable to find) which now lead to 404s.
For GP, we created the “Pretty Link” from the existing GP affiliate link. Didn't see one for Cloudways, so we created a pretty link to CW's home page. If you have an AFF link for that, feel free to add it to the Pretty Link – or shoot it so us here and we'll take care of it
I honestly can’t remember how the GeneratePress link happened— good to know that one is fixed now. The Cloudways one ends up being a perfect solution as we have stopped doing any affiliate sales for them.
Email #2 – “2019 Black Friday Content”
This is a follow up note from my previous update (#6) concerning the issue with how we’ve hidden away the outdated 2019 Black Friday content.
Thanks for the notes. Still contemplating the best option(s) for this. Carrying into next month!
I do have a few thoughts on this I will share back with the SEOHive team. I have the old templates for these pages still saved (they just need to be applied) and then they’ll be able to see the pages. Perhaps we just add a banner to the page that alerts people that the content is expired without hiding all the content from the posts. This way people can at least see what we had done in previous years.
Email #3 – “Audit 301s (253)”
Uh oh, 253 301 redirects? That doesn’t sound like anything I want to dig through— so I’m glad this is their task and not mine to handle!
@Kyle Van Deusen We ran through all the 301s set up on the site and were able to verify the majority of them simply as affiliate links, but did find a few possible issues. If you'd like to review, please see the attached .csv
Here’s a link to the CSV file they attached (I’ve opened it up in Google Sheets):
Looks like the author pages have been redirected to the Home page, which I don’t remember doing (but is very possible I did at some point). The other two links were when I setup our Endorsement pages for GeneratePress and Cloudways, but spelled “Endorsement” wrong ?
I’ll get them to correct the GeneratePress redirect to the correct page, send the Cloudways one to Cloudways homepage (without an affiliate link), and I suppose we need to setup an Author archive template. This one will require me to jump in and tidy up a few things.
But, I am curious… That covers 4 of the 253 redirects they found— and I can’t imagine we had 249 legitimate ones. I wonder where all those came from? And what did SEOHive do with them?
I’m not quite curious enough to go investigate it all at the moment, so I’ll just assume all of this is good at this point and call it a day.
Email # 4 – “Technical tasks o’ the month – May 2020”
This email seems to come from the “parent” item in our ClickUp dashboard that holds all of the individual tasks.
Here’s what his email said:
Officially closing this month's on-page work out @Kyle Van Deusen – You'll find the tasks completed this month as subtasks with any relevant notes inside. Generally we'll @tag you if your attention is needed, but there may be other notes to fuel your curiosity as well.
And here is a list of all the tasks within this item, which you’ll see all are marked complete except for the aforementioned Black Friday posts.
Email #5 & 6 – “Monthly Client/Agency Overview Report for theadminbar.com from SEOHive”
Next we received both the “Client” and “Agency” versions of our monthly report. If you remember, they send 2 reports— one you that is stripped of the granular details that you can forward to clients, and one with all the details for the agency.
I will mention again (squeaky wheel gets the grease, right?) that the “client” report still has SEOHive’s name in the filename, which means I at least have to rename the file before I could forward it onto a client. It’s an inconvenience, albeit a minor one.
Before I share the reports with you, I feel I need to mention that, coincidentally, since we hired SEOHive to help us with the SEO on our website we have been producing far less content. Matt and I both have been busy with our agencies and dealing with the pandemic. TAB content has been put on the backburner, and other than this running blog post, we haven’t been producing any new content (including podcast episodes).
I suspect, before opening this report, that we’ll see traffic numbers have gone down— but it would be unfair to associate this with the work SEOHive has been doing. Obviously our website gets more traffic when we are heavily promoting links to it through email and the Facebook group— but we haven’t been doing that at all.
Regretfully, this all would be a better “test” had we been creating the same amount of content, and driving traffic like we typically have— but that’s just not been in the cards for us.
Here’s a full copy of the client report so you can check it out for yourself:
As I suspected, most of the traffic numbers are down. Considering we typically send 1 or 2 emails a week, publish a new podcast, write more articles, and share links more actively in the group— and we’ve done NONE of that — I’m actually shocked the numbers aren’t down more.
I guess people are still visiting our website completely organically in bigger numbers than I would have assumed.
Our position (according to Search Console) in results has gone up 6.2% since last month, and our page views and page views per visit are both up. The rest of the numbers that are trending the wrong way, I feel, are more my fault than anyone's. We simply haven’t been promoting the website like usual.
For clarification on the report (for those of you analyzing it), you’ll notice that the “Goals” are up a whopping 27.4%. Of course, you can’t see what those goals are.
We have 4 goals setup in Google Analytics. 3 are for when people make it to the Thank You page for our free downloads (we want to keep track of those conversions as it adds folks to our email list) and the last goal is for Website Owner’s Manual sales which were up pretty significantly from the month before.
In the grand scheme of things, the WOM goal is the most important part of our website, as those sales are what help keep TAB running.
Overall Thoughts on the First Full Month on Our Pathway
As I write this, I realize I’ve kinda let myself down thus far in this experiment. By not holding up my end of the bargain (producing content and promoting the website like I normally do) I think I’ve skewed the numbers a bit.
However, it looks like some good work has taken place on the website this month in my absence— which, in the end, is what SEOHive is there for.
Without me having to lift a finger, SEOHive has fixed 404 errors, audited and updated all our 301 redirects, updated image alt/titles across the website and provided me a full, and detailed report of everything.
This reinforces the value of a service like this.
Eventually we’ll get back to producing TAB content on a regular basis, and when we do, the website will be in better shape than when we had left it. Without SEOHive, it would have (without doubt!) gotten worse.
Perhaps this is another benefit you won’t find listed on SEOHive’s website: accountability.
They haven’t shamed me into working harder, but by seeing someone else putting in the time and effort on our website I am feeling motivated to get my ass in gear again and get things back to normal.
Without their reports (and me having to write this blog post) I would have never felt that way.
This can happen easily with your “own” projects too— if you’re solo, or a small team, you don’t have anyone there “pushing” you to continually improve and do better. In that sense, SEOHive has worked as an accountability partner in the success of our website. I fully realize that in order for it to be as successful as we’d like, we have to put some time and effort in too.
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #7.5
Announcement of new onboarding procedures: reduced costs and improved turnaround!
I typically would not add a “marketing” type email from SEO Hive to these “SEOHive Fixes TAB” updates, however this one is a bit different, so I figured it was worth a point release 😉
Today, June 11th, I woke up to an email from SEOHive with an announcement of their new onboarding process.
In short they are going to be reducing the onboarding month, which was a full 30-days, down to just two weeks, and reduce the price from $250 to $197.
This is great news, as the “onboarding month” has been the hardest one for me to “sell” to my clients— Especially ones who I built the website for.
This both reduces the time and the cost. Win-Win!
Here's the full text from the email:
Could you believe it? Our first all-Agency Partners list mailing. Woah… talk about pressure.
A LOT has been happening in the Hive these first couple of months and we're honored, amazed, and a bit crazed at times. We've had a few hiccups, but things have been going great, overall. We've been working hard to improve processes when we see room for improvement and we're excited for you to be experiencing them as we continue moving forward.
That's all great, but we're actually writing today to share some NEWS and it's about everybody's favorite topic, onboarding!
Ok, we get it. Nobody likes an onboarding process/period. Well except us, because there's a good amount to do before we can truly action a site. But hey, we're not the important ones here, YOU are.
Starting immediately, the onboarding process is now only 14 days.
That's right. Thanks to our growing team and improving processes, we now are ready to cut our original onboarding plan in half so you and your clients can start getting their value as quickly as possible.
Not good enough? What if I told you were also lowering the price? You heard it here first. Our new onboarding fee is only $197, discounted from the previous fee of $250.
“But guys, I'm in the middle of a month-long process and I paid full price? What the heck is that all about?”
Don't worry, we've got you. First, we'll be applying a $75 credit to you account for every site you have, that you paid the full $250 fee on.
Second, we're fully prepared to jump into your pathway work right away (or at the 14-day mark if you aren't there yet). Just hit reply and let us know that you'd like to do so, and which sites.
We realize that when you placed the order, the payment dates were set and confirmed so we don't want to change that without your explicit permission. I'm sure you understand.
Thanks for reading. See you in the Hive! ?
Pete & Jeff
This is some fantastic news coming out of SEOHive and I'm excited to see the service get even better!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #8
Month 2 of the on-page pathway is complete and HOLY SHIT our website is FAST!
Today, July 1st 2020, I received a few updates from SEOHive— including this month’s reports.
As I would expect at this point on the on-page pathway, there isn’t any huge increase in search traffic— but that wasn’t the goal for this phase of the journey, necessarily.
I knew for a fact we had a lot of “junk” on the website that needed to be cleaned up. By getting all this cleanup done first, we’d have better a foundation to grow on.
What SEOHive worked on in June
Inside our client dashboard (which lives in ClickUp), there were 7 tasks worked on this month:
- 404 author page issue
- Invisible text issues
- Duplicate page titles
- Black Friday 301 to Endorsements
- 301 Endorsement Archive
- Meta title & description cpt/tax config
- Further speed optimizations
It’s hard to convey the scope of details on all these tasks and subtasks without jumping into ClickUp yourself, so I decided to record a short video to show you all the detail inside each subtask.
There was one subtask, ‘404 author page issue’ that was not marked completed. Jeffery had left me a note inside that subtask explaining what the issue was and giving me some options for solutions to fix the issue.
And I’ve since provided him with a little more context (who’da guessed, this was something I had made a mess of??)
Thoughts on June’s work
I have to say, I’m quite impressed with the level of detail that’s inside my dashboard. For the redirect issues they worked on, they provided me with a CSV file so I could manually check them myself (I didn’t).
Most of the tasks included screenshots and descriptions of any issues, which made it really easy to follow along and see everything that had been done for the month.
The speed optimizations SEOHive made (switching from Breeze to WP Rocket and making optimizations) really has made a difference in loading time. With Breeze our load time (according to Pingdom) was 1.89 seconds. With SEOHive’s optimizations, that’s now down to 393 milliseconds. Not bad! I may need to visit this for other websites I have Breeze installed on…
Let’s face it— On-page SEO work is less than sexy. Most of it is “under the hood” and will never be seen by anyone. However, I’m feeling relieved that by next month I think our website will be in really good shape for some changes…
A half a second ago I alluded to some ‘changes’. Well, I haven’t told SEOHive yet, but I think after month 3 of the On-Page Pathway, we’re going to call that “good enough” for all the on page work.
So, we have to decide between Content Creation or Link Building.
I’m leaning one way… but I’d LOVE to hear from the community. What pathway would you like to get the behind the scenes for?
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #9
Month 3 of the on-page pathway is complete and it's time to switch pathways!
As of now we have completed our 3 months of the On-Page pathway, and we left it up to you (the community) to decide which pathway we should choose next.
By an overwhelming majority, you have chosen the Link Building Pathway— which is what we are officially on as of August 1st!
Before we jump into what's coming up in the Link Building Pathway, let's take a look at what work was done in July as part of our last month on the On Page Path.
Month 3 Progress
I knew that as we approached month 3, we had already accomplished everything we had planned for the On Page pathway at the outset (part of the reason we decided to make the switch).
At the beginning on July, SEOHive sent me the following message…
Hey there @Kyle Van Deusen, So over the past two months we've checked off a ton of boxes when it comes to on page tech and basic seo optimizations. There's more to do, but we've definitely covered the highest priorities. So that makes this a good time to look ahead at future content efforts and plans and think about some bigger-picture strategy. Anything in the works that would be good to look into, or specific subjects/themes you think the next couple of months may include?
Which I sat aside to come back to, and promptly forgot about 🙁
In fact, I didn't come back and reply to this until July 21st.
Lucky for me, SEOHive has a better memory (or perhaps, simply better systems in place) to make this a non-issue.
Even though they were looking for a little insight from me, they didn't let that stop them from completing some work in the mean time.
Here's a list of the work that took place:
This month's optimizations included:
- Optimizing headings and keywords on our Website Owner's Manual page
- Fixing our broken iTunes links
- Adjusting links on all of our podcast archives
- Fixing an indexing issue on our WP Care Market WOM
- Suggesting some new content to promote The WOM.
Given the fact that I was completely absent for 21 days (that's on me!), I'm pretty thrilled with how they just picked up the ball and ran with it.
If I examine this scenario honestly, what would I have done if I asked my client a question and they just never replied?
Honestly, there's a high chance I would have not proceeded despite their lack of interest.
But that's not what SEOHive did, and I'm super thankful for that.
Was it the most productive month we've had? No. But I bare that blame.
Monthly Reports (July 2020)
Each month SEOHive provides 2 sets of reports, which you're probably already familiar with. One for the agency to review (with granular detail) and one that's meant to be passed off to the client.
Here are our reports for the month:
I'm excited to see they've now removed the SEOHive name from the client report file name (which is super helpful!).
Unfortunately, besides SEOHive logging into our website we've done absolutely ZERO promotion this month.
Between our own agencies, and me launching a new product, there's been no activity on The Admin Bar (no new podcast episodes, blogs, guides, etc.).
That's something you really have to keep in perspective.
Sure, when you hire an SEO team, you are expecting to see results… But it's not some magic beans. You can't expect to just fix some headlines and broken links and suddenly be at the top of search results. That's not how it works.
These reports can be misleading (in both making it look like SEO was more effective or less effective). Had we launched a new product, or hell— simply posted a podcast episode some of our analytics would be much better.
I can't place blame on SEOHive for our traffic being down, when we didn't contribute to the website at the capacity we typically do. Almost like we were working against them.
Besides, SEO isn't just about “traffic”. Lots of things go into traffic, and SEO is a piece of that puzzle.
One metric that makes me think we've made some headway is the number of “New Visits” which certainly didn't come from our promotion (since there was none)— they must have happened organically.
Another thing to note is something that won't show up in this report… Member requests in our Facebook group.
Over the past few weeks I've noted at least a dozen of requests that list “Google” as the way they found out about our group. In the past that's not been very common.
Could it be people are finding our group through Google searches that put them on our website? If so… I think that's credit due to SEOHive's work.
Obviously, growing our group is a great metric, but something we're not tracking within these reports. Perhaps we need to do a better job of tracking group requests and the number of people who join each month as that is another indicator of succcess.
What I do know is that after 3 months on the On-Page pathway, our website is MUCH better off.
- They've cut load times dramatically.
- They've fixed tons of link issues.
- They've fixed missing titles & meta descriptions.
- They've optimized headlines and copy.
Essentially, they've cleaned up a lot of little messes that we've ignored over time.
Will those little tweaks have an immediate and dramatic effect on our rankings? Likely not.
However, it does build up the overall health of our website which will, no doubt, put us in a better position to rank.
On to the Link Building Pathway
I'm excited to start exploring how link building will work. I've never done any real link building myself (though I do get bombarded with requests to add links to my website!).
For the On-Page path, most of my dealings were with Jeffery, but it seems the Link Building moves me over to Pete being my main contact.
Starting August 1st, we have 2 new tasks in progress…
- Pathway Onboarding
- Run Backlink Toxicity Report
Here's the message from Pete inside the Pathway Onboarding…
Just setting this up ready for your LB Pathway to start next week. We have the answers to these questions already so I'll bring them over.
Nothing for you to do at the moment we'll get going next week
I sent a quick reply to Pete letting him know that the links of greatest interest to us are the one's that would link back to The WOM (as that is our primary income source for the website).
We also have 3 new open tasks inside our ClickUp dashboard…
- Monthly: Look for link opportunities
- Monthly: Submit Link Building Requests
- Monitor and Report
That brings us to today.
I typically post these updates on the 1st each month, but I've fallen a few days behind.
As of the time of this update (August 4th) you are all up to date with where we are.
I imagine this month I'll be getting the Toxicity report as well as some link opportunities and requests.
I'll report back with any updates!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #9-2
Toxicity Report Complete— Link Building Pathway Onboarded!
Just a quick note that on August 5th we received notice that our backlink toxicity report has been completed.
You can view it here.
Here's the message Pete sent me via ClickUp:
Hey @Kyle Van Deusen good news – your toxicity report is complete and has come bace completely clear! We can now get on with building you some links
I've attached a PDF of the overview of the report, and I've also included a csv with the current banklinks in – just for your reference,
Looks like it's time to start building some links!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #10
First month of the Link Building Pathway is complete!
If you're here reading this because you're curious as to how Link Building with SEOHive will work— then you're in the same boat as me.
I honestly have little in the way of expectations as to what would happen once we switched paths— Link building seems like a mysterious act done in the shadows.
And the countless emails I get to my agency asking me to link to people crap is astounding! I know I immediately hit “delete” on those emails, so I'm truly curious as to how SEOHive will crack through those barriers and deliver on some precious backlinks.
Though, I doubt they are going to reveal their secrets ?
A Look at Our Dashboard
Now that we've changed pathways, our ClickUp dashboard has been adjusted some as well. Where I saw a lot of Jeffery's smiling avatar on tasks previously, now it looks like Pete has taken control as he is the “Assignee” on all the link building tasks I can see.
Currently we have a mix of “Done”, “In Progress”, and “Open” tasks within our Link Building Pathway.
First, lets take a look at what's been done:
- Pathway Onboarding (which we've already covered)
- Run Backlink Toxcicity Report (also already covered)
- Monthly: Look for link opportunities
- Monthly: Submit Link Building Requests
Monthly: Look for link opportunities
Well, it's a good thing I do these reports. Apparently Pete left me a note asking a question inside the dashboard back on August 13th— but I never saw it.
Hey @Kyle Van Deusen I'm finalising the list of propsects for ur outreach / submissions and you mentioned there were some particular blog posts you wanted me to include… Can you drop me some links here when you get a mo? Cheers.
The ClickUp Dashboard is really well organized, it's uniquely done in a way I haven't seen ClickUp operate before… but this isn't the first time I've missed a notification.
I'm relying on the email notifications to alert me when something new needs my attention. I often get these emails.. but apparently I don't always get these emails.
I've gone back and searched through my spam, trash, promotions, and social folders in Gmail and I don't see an email for this notification.
At this point, SEOHive has moved past my lack of response, so I guess I'll leave it bee (ha, get it?).
Monthly: Submit Link Building Requests
Not much to look at inside this one… Just a series of moving the status around inside ClickUp.
In the “In Progress” phase, we have one task open: Monitor and Report.
This task looks to be full of goodies, so lets dive in..
Note #1: August 24th, 2020
Hey @Kyle Van Deusen just to let you know that your outreach for August has been completed… This has included:
- prospecting 30 new websites for you
- following up on these prospects
So far (and it's early days) we've had 1 invitation for a guest post for you… We're just ironing out the details to see if its worthwhile pursuing and we'll drop that in as it's own task in your dashboard.
Otherwise, this monitoring task is now open. We'll leave this single task in place so that all reports etc can build up here over time. The first one will be due in around the 1st of the month for you.
Any queries, please just shout.
Wow. As I stated at the beginning of this update, I didn't know really what to expect going into this… And I certainly didn't realize they would be sending out 30 requests.
Considering a typical month will only result in a handful of links, I guess 30 is the amount they feel they need to make requests for in order to hit that number.
Note #2: August 28, 2020
Hey @Kyle Van Deusen it's been a month already – hasn't time flown!
We've been working away on your link building, and whilst its still early days, we've sourced and prospected some good domains for you.
We have a couple of guest post opportunities, that I'll message you about separately, but we've also compiled your LB reporting dashboard – you can see it here: https://reporting.seohive.co/public/dashboards/data/MJt5Hi7k8yqAZiYDq/e/shared-dashboard
This task (and this link) will remain constantly open for you, so as tasks are completed and links are earned, things will update automatically. I'll also drop the link in the task description so you have it to hand.
Each month we'll drop a reminder in here to check your report, but you can access it anytime to see the most up-to-date information.
At the moment, we're still getting the momentum building, and thats reflected in teh report as it stands, but we're confident the links will start building consistently as our outreach and follow up continues.
Any queries, please just shout
As I suspected, actually obtaining these links will take some time and it doesn't look like there have been any successes thus far.
I imagine this is going to have some sort of snowball effect that's going to take some time to get momentum. By the time we're in month 2 or 3 or 4 we'll be getting links from any of the previous months coming in sporadically (assumptions).
As the total number of link requests grows, I assume the number of backlinks we get will grow along with it.
But this dashboard… Wow! I think this is really nice!
You can check out the link to the dashboard for yourself (full transparency here) from Pete's comment above.
- Domain Authority
- Total Website Links
- Referring Domains
- Trust Score
- Domains In Progress
- Links Earned
- Guests Posts in Progress
I suppose the metric I'll be keeping a close eye on will be the “Links Earned” section which will show all the successful links SEOHive has built for us.
To go along with the theme of not having any expectations… I didn't realize that “Guest Posting Opportunities” would be part of this.
I haven't given it much through yet, but with my schedule I'm not sure how I can take on doing guest posts when I'm not even posting much for TAB on our own blog.
Perhaps this would be a nice thing to pair with the Content Pathway where SEOHive could complete these guest posts for you.
Thinking out loud here… but this could be a cool “Add on” for the Link Building Pathway where SEOHive could complete posts for the Guest Posting Opportunities for a one-off fee instead of having to be on two paths?
That idea is free, Pete.
The open tasks section has two tasks inside:
- Monthly: Look for link opportunism
- Monthly: Submit Link Building Requests
These both look to be recurring tasks the same as last month, but for the upcoming month of links. Not much to report there.
My Overall Thoughts on Link Building to This Point
I had little in the way of expectations coming into this, but so far things seem to be moving forward nicely.
I think it would be foolish to expect SEOHive to get an immediate response on link requests— especially considering knowing I handle such requests when they are posed to me.
However, we have 30 out there right now and it looks like SEOHive is following up on those requests as well.
As we continue to put more requests out, I imagine we'll start seeing those backlinks come in.
Luckily, the dashboard they've put together will report all of that out. We (and you!) can check in on that at any time and see what progress has been made.
For now, link building will remains a bit mysterious— but I'm excited that we've gone from 2 years of requesting NO links on our own, to getting 30 requests out into the wild in just a month.
I'm not a math wizard, but that seems to be a big increase.
As always, I'll keep these updates coming… But if you have any questions, don't hesitate to jump into the group and start a post. I'm happy to answer to the best of my ability and Pete has made himself available to answer any SEOHive specific questions very quickly.
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #11
Call me a slacker— I deserve it!
This update is coming to you November 1st, 2020— around two month since my last update.
I doubt you came here to read my excuses, so I'll spare you.
Back on it now— sorry for my absence.
What you've missed…
The end of October brought to us the end of our 3rd month on the Link Building Pathway.
In an effort to ensure we document all of SEOHive's offerings, this month we'll be swapping to the Content Creation pathway— where we will remain through January 2021.
Link Building has been a bit of a unique experience. It's not something I've ever done myself (unlike content creation or on-page SEO) so I really had no frame of reference to draw from…
No frame of reference, except for the other end of the stick where I'm the one receiving link requests— which find their way to my trash very quickly.
It appears I'm not alone.
If you take a look at our Link Building Dashboard— you'll see that SEOHive has been quite busy on our behalf.
Over the 3 months we spent on the Link Building pathway, they made 100s of link requests (which is 100s more than I've ever done).
Keep in mind that the “quota” for SEOHive to reach is on number of requests (50), not number of links secured (since they ultimately don't have total control over that). This was a change they instituted around a month after we jumped on the Link Building pathway.
Of those requests, we ended up getting 3 invitations to write guest posts (which could be extremely beneficial to us… Not only for the link, but for the exposure). But sadly, I just don't have the bandwidth at the moment.
We also secured 2 new backlinks.
This is all, obviously, “to date” as some of these requests just went out and we could end up with more guest post invitations as well as backlinks as time progresses. We can follow up on this again at a later date to see if we snagged anything else.
Am I absolutely thrilled with the results? No, I don't think it would be fair to say that.
However, I have a lot of respect for how SEOHive has gone about this.
It would be easy for them to go pad numbers by buying low-quality links just to hit some sort of “quota”. This could fudge the numbers enough to give me some sense of satisfaction— but it would do little for my SEO.
I have a suspicion this is what a lot of link building outfits do.
But SEOHive was much more focused on finding quality backlinks and acquiring them in an above-board method.
Sure— that means the number of links won't be as high… But it also means I'm not making a mess of my domain by throwing spammy backlinks at it.
There are also a lot of other factors that come into play here…
First is the industry our website is in… One that has, likely, the highest percentage of people asking for backlinks (because we know they are important).
Second is the quality of our content. We have quite a bit, but if I'm 100% honest, I'm not sure how much of it is worth stopping what you're doing and including a link to it in your own blog. Is it fair to assume someone else would feel differently? Not sure!
Lastly, people are just more savvy today and would prefer guest posts (which truly are more beneficial for both parties) than they would just blind link building. I hope there comes a day when I can afford more time for guest posting, but that day isn't here now.
Would I recommend the link building pathway?
For the right site, and the right person— absolutely.
The fact that SEOHive wants to do all this above board means that you can at least trust their work… And in a world of link factories— that says something.
If you are interested in link building, I think you should be prepared to do some guest posting. This is a fantastic way to not only get some backlinks to your website, but to also gain exposure through other people's websites.
If you think that the Link Building pathway is some magical pill that will provide you with tons of backlinks without having quality content, or being willing/able to put in the work, then I think you'll be sorely mistaken.
How are rankings going?
Today is the 1st of November, which means our new reporting just hit the inbox this morning.
Have a look for yourself:
This month traffic is up about 42%, clicks are up 16%, impressions are up 13%, and our position in the search engines has risen by 3%.
Organically we're getting more visits, more page views, and more new visits than ever before… Which is truly great news.
What can we attribute that to? I don't think you can point to just one thing. It's more promotion, is more back links (from both SEOHive and otherwise) and it's the new content we've been publishing.
SEO isn't just one thing— it's a combination of things… This month things are certainly looking up across the board.
In fact, just yesterday I realized an article I had written about Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization was getting a lot of organic traffic and has actually been the most trafficked page on our website in the last 30 days.
It's ranking on the first page of Google for several search phrases relating to the topic.
This is partly due to the fact that I wrote this article just 1 day after it was announced (so I was one of the first to the scene) but it's imperative (no matter how quickly I wrote the article) that our website has a strong foundation and reputation. Much of that could be attributed to the work SEOHive has been doing over the past 6 months.
Starting today we will be on the Content Creation path— and while it's new for TAB, it's something I've been on with my customers for 6 months or so now.
Of the 3 pathways, I think this one is the easiest to see and show results.
I'll do my best to share with you as this rolls out (including their content suggestions, what we're going to go with, their drafts, and (of course) the final published articles).
My guess is you'll hear a lot more about SEOHive in the coming months due to the fact that were going to have something that's easily shareable to share with you (articles!).
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #12
Content creation pathway begins!
This morning, Monday November 11th, SEOHive sent us our first monthly content planner for us to choose the content we'd like them to get started on.
Here's the notification:
Hi @Kyle Van Deusen –
We have been diligently working on the content planner for The Admin Bar. You'll find the completed planner linked here for your review: HERE
You can use the drop-down in column F to confirm which pieces you'd like us to write, and which pieces you'd maybe consider in the future, or that you don't want to see again!
Please keep in mind that word count is flexible, based on the difficulty of the keywords used. As such, we invite you to choose either three article topics for shorter pieces or two topics for more in-depth pieces, and we will review and fit keywords accordingly!
Please drop us a comment when you've selected the pieces you’d like to move forward with, and we will get to work on paving your pathway with some quality content! Thanks!
With that, I logged into my dashboard to see what they had come up with.
We are given 2,500 words worth of content— which can be spread out between 1, 2, or 3 articles (in most cases).
Here's a look at the topics they suggested:
- WordPress trends for 2020 and beyond
- Why Chatbots are a must have for your WordPress sites in 2021
- AI and WordPress
- Getting started: WordPress for beginners, 2020 and beyond
- Why choose WordPress above other CMS sites
- Best practices for WordPress plugin development
- Our tips and tricks for getting your SEO on track in 2021
- Prioritzing web safety and security on your WordPress site
- What does it take to maintain a WordPress site?
- Notorious WordPress headaches and how to avoid them
- Rookie WordPress mistakes and how to avoid them
Inside the spreadsheet with the topic ideas, SEOHive includes a column for you to make your selections from three options on each post idea:
- Remove from list
- Maybe another time
- Please write this article
I've made my selections for the first month, but I think I'll keep the topics I chose as a surprise 🙂
Because I'm on the Content Pathway with other customers, I know that the next thing will be for me to start receiving the first drafts of the posts and an opportunity to request revisions.
Once those drafts are here, I'll be sharing them with you— stay tuned!
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #13
First month of Content Creation pathway is complete!
Today's update (December 1, 2020) will be broken up in two sections…
First, our monthly reporting and where we sit in traffic and rankings.
And second, our deliverables from the first month of the Content Creation pathway.
Monthly Reporting for November
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday both on the calendar, November tends to be a pretty good time of the year for our website traffic— and this month was no exception!
Just about all of the key metrics were a nice jump this month, including traffic up about 40% over last month and just over 1,800 visits from Google's search results.
Because we promote some of the Black Friday deals, I'm not surprised to see an increase in traffic this month— and I'm happy with what I see!
Content Creation Deliverables
We started the Content Creation pathway on November 1st. By the 9th, SEOHive had sent over a spreadsheet of possible topic ideas for us to choose from (which you can see in detail in the last update).
Sadly, there has been no activity since, and we have not received any of the content at this point.
I've spoke with one of the founders personally, and there has been a circumstance that's delayed things a bit (which I realize happens), but I must admit it's a bit frustrating to have paid for a month and have nothing to show for it by the end.
I can be patient, but I'm glad I'm not having to explain to a client why I haven't delivered anything to them this month even though they've paid me to do so.
Hopefully these articles start making their way to me quickly, and I'll be sure to share links to them here, as well as in the group, once they are published.
I'm also anticipating that we'll see the topic ideas for December show up shortly and hopefully we can end the year on track with both November and December's content all completed.
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #13.1
Our first article is published!
Today, December 2nd 2020, SEOHive sent over the draft of our very first article on the Content Creation Pathway.
This one is entitled: Prioritizing Web Safety and Security on Your WordPress Site.
For the record, I've done no edits to the post, and published it just as it was given to me as a “draft” (though they do offer revisions if I wish to submit any revision requests).
The article came in the form of a Google Doc, which had the full article, plus a suggested meta description, which I also used:
For the most part, WordPress is secure, but we can't ignore the fact that, over the years, it has been prone to serious security shenanigans, especially when used for business.
The meta description reads well, but is being flagged by SEOPress for being over the 940 pixels (1082) and over the character limit of 160 (176). Not a huge issue, Google is a little loose with this… but I'll wait until it's indexed and see how it appears (with or without an ellipses).
Overall I'm happy with how it turned out. I thought the tone of voice was pretty consistent with what you'd find on our blog (it has some personality).
Having been using SEOHive for clients, I do notice that the tone of voice is taken into consideration, and this would not match with how some of my clients' articles are written (which have been a little more buttoned-up). I think this is a good thing!
The subject matter is completely relevant, and it all seems to be solid advice (but I'm sure you'll chime in if you disagree, right?).
Though we are a little behind schedule, I am excited to get this first (of 2) articles for November published and on our blog.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, and we started a thread in the group for you to share.
Update: The blog post is now indexed and I can see the meta description Google is displaying, which is cut off a bit.
Probably doesn't help with the timestamp in there, but I'm not sweating this detail honestly.
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #13.2
Our second article is published!
Just 1 day after our first article arrived, we got our 2nd (and final) article for November's subscription.
For clarification, we chose to break our allotment of 2,500 words into 2 articles (though we could have done 3 or 4 smaller ones).
First, I must say I'm relieved that even though the first month on the Content Pathway didn't finish on time— we are now caught up by the 3rd. Not ideal, but certainly not the end of the world.
Our second article is titled “Tips and Tricks for Getting Your SEO on Track in 2021“, one of the content suggestions SEOHive gave us at the start of our Content Pathway.
SEO is a topic that tends to do very well with our audience, and since we're having an SEO company write it— that seemed like a good combination!
Thoughts on this article
If I'm 100% honest, I have mixed feelings on this article.
I think it's well written, it gives solid advice, and it is logically organized and structured. Those are all major positives for an article on your website.
However, I do worry that this article is very novice-level SEO advice, which the majority of our audience really wouldn't benefit from.
And this is where I'm a bit torn.
Let's disregard the topic of the article (SEO) and the fact that we had an SEO company write it…
How deep into a subject, and with what level of expertise should you expect a general copywriting service to produce?
Let's pretend that instead of SEO, this article was about another subject entirely… How about neuroscience?
Should I expect SEOHive to take a deep dive and provide a expert-level, scholarly article on neuroscience? Or would it more likely be beginner-level?
It probably wouldn't be fair to expect a copywriting team (that's writing on 1,000 different subjects) to have research level thoughts on the subject.
This is probably where you need to have an expert in the field writing articles.
This is something that I think is important to keep in mind when you're outsourcing copywriting… Not just to SEOHive— but in general.
Unless you're hiring a subject matter expert to write for you, you're probably not going to get high-level, in-depth content in return.
Which, I think is fair.
Now, since this article was on SEO and I was having an SEO company write it for me— my assumption was that it would be a little more high-level. But is that a realistic expectation?
Chances are SEOHive has hired copywriters— not Brian Dean.
If I wanted a Backlinko style article, I'd probably need to hire Brian, not SEOHive.
Taking this into consideration for future articles
I think in the future I'm going to be a bit more picky about the topics I cover. I simply ticked the boxes of the two articles I wanted and waited for them to come in.
Perhaps it would be more beneficial to spend a little more time planning, and explain a little bit more about the audience and goal for the article up front so that both sides (us and SEOHive) have a clearer picture of what we're trying to accomplish.
To be completely fair, “SEO” is a HUGE topic— ones that hundreds of websites try to cover with thousands of articles. One 1,500ish word article should never be expected to encompass the whole topic.
I think next month's goal will be to get more specific and drill down into a topic with a little more focus rather than being general.
SEOHive Fixes TAB – Update #14
Bidding farewell to SEOHive
This isn't the update that I'd prefer to be writing— but in the name of honesty and transparency, I feel it's important that I do.
As of December 31st, 2020, we have canceled our subscription to SEOHive.
While I have heaps of respect and love for both Jeffery and Pete— missed deadlines and poor communication has lead to us deciding to stop using SEOHive's white-label service.
Like our November content, our December content didn't arrive on time. There was no notice of delays or acknowledgement that our deliverables would be delayed (again).
While this isn't a huge inconvenience to us (since we are the end-client)— how this would affect agencies who then would have to miss deadlines with their clients weighs on me heavily.
It's hard to endorse and recommend something that I know could lead to harming relationships with your clients or that could cause your agency embarrassment.
Perhaps our account was in the minority, and other clients got their deliverables on time. I thought with as much fanfare we gave December's content inside the group (letting you guys pick the topics), this would be the month SEOHive shined to show everyone just what they are capable of.
I imagine we'll get the content at some point… And when we do, I'll be posting it on our blog.
Some Parting Thoughts
I was happy with our deliverables in both the On-Page and Content pathways.
After our time on the on-page pathway, errors were eliminated and our website was performing much better than before.
The content we have seen thus far was more than acceptable.
The Link Building pathway was a struggle for me to see value in— but I'm admittedly a bit ignorant in this area, so I've reserved judgement.
If SEOHive can improve their communication and adhere to deadlines, I do think it's a valuable service.