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15+ Technical SEO Interview Questions for Your Next Hires

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15+ Technical SEO Interview Questions for Your Next Hires


Technical SEO requires technical and analytical skills together with a good understanding of how Google and other search engines work.

A technical SEO must be familiar with the most popular CMS systems and know at least the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

In addition to that, a good technical SEO should know the fundamental rules of SEO and be able to identify if a website breaks these rules.

Finally, a technical SEO must be able to offer possible fixes to the problems identified on the website and be able to determine whether the fixes were implemented correctly.

But how can you verify that your next technical SEO hire has these skills and knowledge?

In this article, you’ll find 15 sample job interview questions that will help you decide whether the person you are interviewing is the right candidate for a technical SEO position.

Let’s get started!

1. How Do You Check Whether A URL Is Indexed By Google?

The site: command is the simplest way to quickly check if a given URL is in Google’s index.

Every technical SEO should know the site: command and, ideally, a bunch of other Google search operators that allow for filtering and narrowing search results.

In addition, you may also ask the candidate how they would check how many pages are indexed by Google and what the most accurate way of doing that is.

Here your ideal technical SEO hire should demonstrate familiarity with the Google Search Console Coverage report and indicate how it differs from the site: command.

Screenshot from search for [searchenginejournal.com], Google, July 2021

2. How Do You Block A URL From Being Indexed?

With this question, you want to see whether your potential technical SEO hire actually knows the purpose of a no-index tag and does not confuse it with blocking a page in robots.txt.

They should know that robots.txt is for controlling and optimizing crawling while no-index tags are for keeping pages out of Google’s index.

In addition, you may also ask about the best ways to protect a page from being accessed by everyone, including curious people (i.e. protecting it with a password in addition to adding a no-index tag).

If the person says that you should block such a page in robots.txt, then it means they still have a lot of SEO homework to do.

3. What Are The Most Important SEO Ranking Factors, In Your Opinion?

Of course, there is no definitive answer to this question. But hearing the person’s perspective on Google ranking factors may tell you a lot about their knowledge & experience.

A good technical SEO specialist candidate will:

  • Back up their answers with data or – better – data based on their own experience or SEO tests they performed.
  • Be willing to show you their own websites and talk about the SEO strategies they used to grow the sites.
  • Avoid absolute statements (e.g. these things are Google SEO rankings factors with this amount of weighing for every website).
  • Understand the difference between correlation and causation.
  • Not be afraid of saying “it depends” or “I don’t know” where it makes sense.

4. What SEO Myths Have You Had Enough Of?

Only a person with at least some knowledge and understanding of SEO will be able to answer that question.

A complete newbie in many cases will often present SEO myths as ultimate SEO truths without offering any of their own insights and commentary.

If you are looking for an experienced technical SEO expert, ask them to elaborate on their favorite SEO myths and how they deal with them on a daily basis.

5. What Is Your Favorite Website Crawler And Why?

Website crawlers are probably the most important tools for technical SEOs.

You want to make sure that your future technical SEO uses a bunch of different SEO crawlers (both desktop and cloud-based), knows how to use them efficiently, and is able to perform advanced SEO analyses with their help.

Screaming Frog SEO SpiderScreenshot from Screaming Frog, February 2022

For example, everyone can plug the domain name into the crawler and start the crawl but only an experienced technical SEO expert will know:

  • How to configure the crawl to check exactly what they want to analyze (e.g. check the PSI metrics in bulk for all pages).
  • How to execute JavaScript to compare the rendered HTML with the source HTML.
  • How to change the user agent if the crawl does not want to start.
  • How to actually interpret the data the crawler presents.
  • How to prioritize the issues the crawler highlights.

You want your next technical SEO specialist to be familiar with all or most of the most popular crawlers, such as Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, Deepcrawl, JetOctopus, etc.

6. How Do You Analyze Page Speed And Core Web Vitals?

Your potential technical SEO hire should use both the Google PageSpeed Insights tool (the Google Lighthouse report) and the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console to analyze the speed and performance of the site before drawing any conclusions or giving recommendations.

The point with this question is to check that the person:

  • Really knows the difference between lab data (the data provided by Google Lighthouse) and field data (the data provided by the CrUX report) and knows which ones to prioritize (i.e. field data).
  • Knows when it’s best to use the GSC Core Web Vitals report (i.e. to check pages in bulk) and the PSI tool (to get an overview of one specific page, usually the homepage).
mobile performance reportScreenshot from Google Search Console, February 2022

Ideally, your candidate also knows other speed and performance tools, such as GTmetrix or WebPageTest, and knows how to use crawlers to analyze the lab performance of pages in bulk.

7. What Are Some Quick Technical SEO Wins?

In this question, you want your potential SEO hire to draw on their experience.

Even though there is no best answer here, you want to see that the person can really differentiate between low-impact, high-impact, low-effort, and high-effort technical SEO optimizations.

For example, it always makes a huge difference if you compress images on the website and convert them to JPEG or WEBP. Meanwhile, it may not really help a lot to rebuild the entire website (and use a ton of resources in the process) to get it from 92/100 score to 98/100 in PSI.

Sometimes a huge technical SEO win will be simply to get rid of that 10 MB image that loads on every page instead of asking developers to recode the site to save 0.1 s by better optimizing JavaScript.

8. A Site That’s Been Online 9 Months Is Getting Zero Traffic. Why?

Ask for the possible reasons that come to mind.

Sometimes the solutions to problems in SEO are simple – for example, the site has no organic traffic because a no-index tag has not been removed or simply GA is not working correctly.

Other times, they require a ton of technical and data analysis that goes well beyond checking the indexability of pages.

With this question, you want the person to demonstrate their ability to look for solutions, think critically, and be creative.

Performance ReportScreenshot from Google Analytics, February 2022

9. How Do You Check If Googlebot May Have Problems Accessing Site Content?

A good technical SEO expert must know something about JavaScript rendering and the potential problems that JavaScript-based websites may face.

Here you want the person to demonstrate:

  • At least basic knowledge of the topic of SEO & JavaScript (i.e. their familiarity with Martin Splitt from Google).
  • Their knowledge of tools that allow for comparing rendered HTML with source HTML, such as Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, Rendertron, and – obviously – the URL Inspection tool in GSC.

10. What Example Errors May An XML Sitemap Have And How Would You Handle Them?

I see people focus too much on XML sitemaps with small websites (a couple of hundreds of URLs or less) and too little on that for huge sites (multi-million-page sites).

When it comes to XML sitemaps, you want your next technical SEO hire to show that they know:

  • What XML errors can be classified as low-impact (e.g. using deprecated parameters) and high-impact (e.g. indicating non-indexable pages).
  • When it is important to put a lot of focus on the XML sitemap (e.g. with huge sites that may have indexability and crawlability issues as opposed to small websites).
  • How to use XML sitemaps to improve and optimize the crawl budget of the site.
  • What pages should be included in the sitemap and how different CMS systems generate XML sitemaps.

11. How Do You Perform A Technical SEO Audit?

With the help of this question, you want to check if the person has their own SEO process for auditing a website.

Do they use a set of different tools to do that? Or do they rely on a fully automated audit where the tool (not the person) decides what issues the site has and what their priorities are?

At this point, you may also:

  • Ask the person to show you the examples of technical SEO audits they have performed.
  • Get them to explain how they approached particular issues.
  • And have them talk about the results their recommendations brought (if they have been implemented).

12. You Discovered That A Website Has Hundreds Of Duplicate Pages. What Do You Do?

With this question, again, you want the person to demonstrate their critical thinking abilities and desire to look for solutions.

There is no right answer here but an experienced technical SEO specialist should mention the following in their answers:

  • Checking the index status of these pages to make sure that these duplicates actually create a problem.
  • Checking the user-declared and Google-selected canonicals for these pages (possibly with the new URL Inspection Tool API).
  • Checking where these pages are in the internal linking structure of the website.

In addition, you may also ask the person when duplicate content is not an issue and how to check if the site actually has this problem.

If the person is saying that the site may get penalized for duplicate content, it means they have some catching up to do.

13. What Do You Use Google Search Console For? What’s Your Favorite Use Of That Tool?

Google Search Console, in most cases, should be the number one SEO tool for technical SEOs.

You want your future technical SEO hire to share with you how they use the tool and how it helps them to achieve their SEO goals.

Google Search Console coverage reportScreenshot from Google Search Console, February 2022

There is no single correct answer to that question again but you probably want them to mention the following:

  • The Coverage report and what its specific buckets are for.
  • The Page Experience report and its limitations.
  • The Crawl Stats report and how it can be used to analyze how Google crawls the website.
  • The Security report and how you can use GSC to check if a site has been infected.
  • Ways to use GSC to analyze internal linking.

14. How Do You Check If The Site Uses Structured Data And Whether It Is Valid?

Structured data can be a specialty itself within SEO but you still want your technical SEO to:

  • Be familiar with tools, such as Schema Markup Validator and Google Rich Results Test and know the difference between them,
  • Know how to use crawlers, such as Screaming Frog or Sitebulb to analyze structured data in bulk for many pages,
  • Be familiar with SEO Chrome extensions like Detailed SEO that allow for quickly looking up what types of structured data are used on a particular page.

Here, you may also ask the person about the difference between structured data, rich results, and featured snippets.

People often confuse these.

15. What Are Your Favorite SEO Resources?

This is a totally open question but the more resources the person cites, the geekier they are.

An absolute must is that they are familiar with Google Search Central, read the Google SEO documentation, and watch the SEO office hours with John Mueller.

Google Search CentralScreenshot from Google Search Central, February 2022

If you hire an SEO geek, you can be sure they will never miss any meaningful SEO news and will be happy to test and implement new strategies.

Bonus: Yes Or No Questions

Open questions are great for seeing how a person thinks and how deep their knowledge actually is.

However, yes and no questions may also help you check if a person updates their knowledge frequently and really knows this stuff.

Here are a few yes and no questions about technical SEO to ask your potential hire.

Ask them to justify their answers to get even more insight:

  • Is structured data a Google ranking factor?
  • Do errors in the Coverage report in GSC always indicate an error on your website?
  • Can you use Google Search Console to analyze internal links on the website?
  • Can Google penalize you for duplicate content?
  • Is it possible for Google to treat a 302 redirect as 301?
  • Can you inform Google about the new domain for your website in a different way than through a 301 redirect?
  • Should you noindex category and tag pages?
  • Should a non-existent page always return 404?
  • Does Google always use the canonical URL you declared?
  • Does Google always respect the nofollow attribute on links?

Final Thoughts On Interviewing Technical SEOs

If your prospective technical SEO hire managed to get through all of these questions and gave you satisfactory answers,  congratulations!

Chances are good that you have a pretty smart and experienced technical SEO wanting to work for you.

On the other hand, even if the candidate wasn’t able to answer all of your questions currently but has a willingness to learn and genuine interest in SEO, they may still make a brilliant technical SEO expert in some time – if you give them a chance.

More resources: 


Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock





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12 Great Link Building Tools That Are Essential To Your Success

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12 Great Link Building Tools That Are Essential To Your Success

Link-building strategies, along with SEO tools, have certainly changed over the years.

Since the old automated link-building tools that automatically placed content like KontentMachine or GSA’s Search Engine Ranker, modern tools have moved to manual research and outreach platforms.

Tools that many of my link-building colleagues and I use today look more like ones used for public relations (PR) rather than link-building. However, there are still tools specific to link building that aren’t going anywhere.

These can be divided into four categories:

  • Link research.
  • Prospecting and outreach.
  • Reporting.
  • AI-powered tools.

Emerging technologies powered by AI can make the link-building process easier.

Link Research Prospecting And Outreach Reporting AI-Powered Tools
1. Majestic

Excellent for identifying the types of domains you should generate links from.

3. Pitchbox

Combines email outreach with SEO metrics.

8. Agency Analytics

Connects a variety of performance metrics.

10. Link Whisperer

Good for internal linking efforts.

2. Ahrefs

Provides useful reports to analyze trends.

4. BuzzSumo

Use to identify authors and sharers/backlinkers.

9. Cyfe

Customizable but automatic reporting.

11. Postaga

Find opportunities and initiate outreach.

5. Hunter.IO

A browser extension that helps you find contact information.

12. CTRify

WordPress plugin that generates content.

6. BrightLocal

Submit and manage citations.

7. HARO

Link Research Tools

Link research is vital to figuring out what type of sites you should be approaching. This includes establishing quality criteria, categories of sites, authority metrics, and others.

Majestic and Ahrefs are two research tools that provide large databases and robust reporting.

I’ve included both of these sites as I constantly see each having data that the other doesn’t.

You may find some links to your competitors’ sites in Majestic that aren’t listed in Ahrefs and vice versa.

These tools can be used together to build a comprehensive list of sites to analyze. As with many SEO tools, the pricing depends on how many features your team needs.

1. Majestic

  • Pricing: $49.99 per month with one user for the ‘Lite’ package. $99.99 per month for the “Pro” package, which they recommend for SEO agencies and consultants.
  • Payment options: Monthly or receive a discount for an annual subscription.
Screenshot from Majestic, January 2023

Here are some recommendations on using it and what reports should influence your link-building.

  • Topics: This data can be used to identify the types of sites you should be generating links from. Consider running this report on the link profiles for top-ranking sites, then finding sites that fit into similar categories.
  • Referring Domains: Use this to evaluate the number of unique domains you should focus on building for your site. This also offers a look into the trust/citation flow distribution (count of domains by trust/citation flow).

2. Ahrefs

  • Pricing: $99 per month with only one user for the ‘Lite’ plan. $199 per month for the “Standard” plan.
  • Payment options: Monthly or receive a discount for an annual subscription.
Ahrefs toolScreenshot from Ahrefs, January 2023

In contrast to Majestic, Ahrefs has some reports that are much easier to run inside the tool. It certainly costs more, but if you want more data, then Ahrefs is the right choice.

Here are reports to use in Ahrefs over Majestic:

  • Pages > Best by links: Two useful applications of this report are:
    • Identify competitors’ most linked content to influence your content strategies.
    • Identify the type of sites that link to the content you will produce.
  • Pages > Best by link growth: This is a “trend” report providing content that has been generating links over the last 30 days. Find content here that is receiving a rapid number of links and create more robust content.

Prospecting And Outreach Tools

Finding highly relevant sites that may link to your content is the most excruciating part of link building.

You can create a large list of sites and bulk outreach to save time, but when evaluating your link-building success on links gained per hour and the quality of those links, it’s best to handle prospecting manually or in a semi-automated approach.

I’ll go through five tools, Pitchbox, BuzzSumo, Hunter.io, BrightLocal, and HARO.

These tools can be used for the most popular link-building strategies.

3. Pitchbox

  • Pricing: Averages $500+ per month.
  • Payment options: Prices are dependent on an individual walkthrough with Pitchbox.

Pitchbox is one of the pricier tools on the market compared to email tools like MailChimp, but integrated prospecting helps reduce the time to qualify sites.

The prospecting sites list builder and SEO metrics integrated right into the opportunities report make the tool stand out.

PitchboxScreenshot from Pitchbox, January 2023

4. BuzzSumo

  • Pricing: $99 per month for the “Pro” package. $179 per month for the “Plus” package. There’s a pared-down free version with limited searches per month.
  • Payment options: There is also a free version with limited features.

This is an excellent tool for building lists of blogs, influencers, and authors. Out of all the prospecting tools on the list, BuzzSumo has the best filtering options.

You can use the tool for a lot of purposes, but for link building, these are two effective use cases:

  • Identifying authors: The content research and influencers sections provide lists of authors/influencers that are searchable by keywords in the content they shared or produced. One fantastic use for this is to search through the “most shared” report and find influencers that received more than 2,000 shares of their content, then outreach to them to share yours. This can yield a lot of natural links.
  • Identifying sharers/backlinks: The second use goes a layer deeper than the first, finding those that have shared the content. Pull a list of shares or backlinking websites by content, then create similar but better content.
Buzzsumo platformScreenshot from Buzzsumo, January 2023

5. Hunter.io

  • Pricing: Starts at free. The first two upgraded packages are $49 per month and $99 per month.
  • Payment options: Free for 25 monthly searches up to $399 per month for 30,000 searches.

This browser extension finds email addresses for easy contact options.

It helps cut down on time spent sifting through About pages. You can also take it a step further and use the tool for outreach.

Hunter.ioScreenshot from Hunter.io, January 2023

6. BrightLocal

  • Pricing: $29-$79 per month, depending on package size.
  • Payment options: You can also pay for the citation builder, reviews, or enterprise.

Citation building is important for local SEO and should be considered a link-building project.

One of the tools with the best value for submitting and managing citations is BrightLocal.

There are two components: citation monitoring and citation building. The tool also allows you to figure out how you’re ranking based on the local competition.

BrightLocalScreenshot from BightLocal, January 2023

7. HARO

  • Pricing: Starts at free. The first paid plan is $19 per month, which adds alerts and search functionality.
  • Payment options: The free options offer media options delivered to your email three times a day and up to $149/month for premium.

While this tool is traditionally used in the journalism world, it can also help link builders. It connects you with credible sources and allows you to build natural backlinks.

HAROScreenshot from HARO, January 2023

Reporting Tools

Although many of the tools in the previous section have reporting functionality built in, I’ve found them lacking in custom reporting or the ability to associate links to ranking performance.

These tools solve that issue; AgencyAnalytics and Cyfe.

8. Agency Analytics

  • Pricing: $12 per month, per campaign. $18 per month per campaign for custom reporting features.
  • Payment options: Pay annually to save money.

Agency Analytics automatically populates the dashboard with data from Moz and Majestic and connects that data to critical performance metrics, like ranking and organic traffic.

Qualified traffic that converts to leads or sales is the purpose of link-building and SEO efforts, so reporting needs to make a connection between them.

Agency AnalyticsScreenshot from Agency Analytics, January 2023

9. Cyfe

  • Pricing: $19 per month for one user, with higher tiers for more users.
  • Payment options: Unlimited users for $89/month.

This tool can be built out as a hybrid between Google Sheets and Agency Analytics, meaning it’s very customizable but can also automatically and easily aggregate data from multiple sources to create a meaningful report.

CyfeScreenshot from Cyfe, January 2023

AI-Powered Tools

AI-powered tools can significantly simplify otherwise complex and time-consuming tasks. Remember that some of your processes will require a human touch, so always evaluate how performance is impacted when integrating AI into your processes.

The following tools, Link Whisper, Postaga, and CTRify use AI to discover opportunities and automate processes.

10. Link Whisper

  • Pricing: $77 per month for one site, with additional plans for more sites.
  • Payment options: One to 50 site licenses.

Link Whisper is useful for internal link building.

AI technologies offer automatic link suggestions as content is produced. It can also help you recognize old content that needs more links directed to it.

The tools also automate links based on keywords and offer internal link reporting. It’s pretty all-inclusive and can help speed up internal link-building automatically.

Link WhispererScreenshot from Link Whisperer, January 2023

11. Postaga

  • Pricing: $84 per month for one account with five users. $250 per month for 30 accounts with unlimited users.
  • Payment options: Save by paying annually.

Postaga does everything from finding opportunities to initiating outreach.

AI comes into play with the outreach assistant, which finds relevant information from influencers to include in emails. You can also enter your domain into the tool to find relevant campaign ideas.

PostagaScreenshot from Postaga, January 2023

12. CTRify

  • Pricing: A free version. $197 or $497, depending on the plan.
  • Payment options: Single payment.

CTRify is a WordPress plugin that is great for content creation.

All it takes is a single keyword, and the AI creates the content you need for a specific campaign. You can then automatically publish the posts – it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

CTRifyScreenshot from CTRify, January 2023

Conclusion

I’ve curated this list with the intent to offer a tool for every reader, providing enterprise-level affordable solutions and highly technical tools.

There is diversity in the available tools, and you will need to select the right one for the job.

You don’t need to have a $1,000 monthly tool budget to be a link builder, but all of the tasks will take time. Allocating your time and budget in the right combination improves business outcomes.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal



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WordPress Admin Interface Is “Simply Bad”

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WordPress Admin Interface Is "Simply Bad"

Yoast SEO plugin founder, Joost de Valk, published a critical appraisal of the WordPress user interface (UI), saying that it makes it  “harder to use” and may be a reason that contributes to WordPress losing market share to companies like Wix and Shopify.

The official WordPress design philosophy states that they want to make WordPress easier to use with every new version published.

They write that it’s their goal that the “non-technically minded” user is the one they design for so that they can be set up within five minutes with a fully functional website.

However the reality of how easy WordPress is to use falls far short of their philosophy statement.

Even the developer of WordPress itself, Matt Mullenweg, said that designing in Wix is faster than doing the same thing in WordPress.

WordPress User Interface Design

Joost points the finger at the current WordPress admin user interface as a contributing factor to why WordPress is confusing to use.

He called attention to the fact that WordPress has three different user interfaces, forcing users to learn how to use each interface and complicating the experience of using WordPress.

To make things worse, themes and plugins introduce their own user interface elements, which again forces users to learn an entirely different way to navigate and user the software.

An ideal user interface (UI) offers a consistent workspace so that a user doesn’t have to stop and rethink where all the buttons and links are.

Interacting with the interface should be similar across every screen, regardless of what they are trying to accomplish.

Joost wrote:

“The current state is simply bad: WordPress core basically has 3 designs now.

The edit post page I’m typing this in looks nothing like the Posts overview page, which looks nothing like the Site Health page.

And then you go into plugins and each has their own UI there too. This makes WordPress as a whole harder to use.”

WordPress is Old Fashioned and Losing Market Share

Aside from the UI being inconsistent, Joost also pointed out that competitors like Wix have a consistent UI throughout their content management systems.

So while the rest of the world is moving on with best practices WordPress is stuck with the same inconsistent interface it’s had for years.

Yoast insisted that the poor user interface is contributing to the exodus of users from WordPress to competitors.

“This is how we lose CMS market share to companies like Wix and Shopify (who each do have their own design system).”

Is WordPress Hard to Use?

A major feature that makes a closed source CMS like Wix attractive is that it’s easy to use. One of the reasons it’s easy to use is a consistent design system.

PC Magazine gave Wix an Editors Choice Best of the Year Award in 2022, writing:

“If you want to build a website online with minimal effort and maximum creative freedom, look no further than Wix.”

WordPress received no such award. However, in PC Magazine’s overview of WordPress, the authors remarked that it wasn’t “particularly difficult.”

But the authors of the PC Magazine overview also acknowledged the learning curve to using WordPress:

“…people who aren’t familiar with the process may need a guiding hand.”

WordPress theme website ThemeIsle writes:

“While WordPress does not require any coding knowledge, customizing your theme is often not that straightforward.

By default, you don’t get quite the same visual editing experience as you would with Squarespace or Wix, although the new Block Editor is evolving in that direction…Some poorly coded themes might also be a pain to adjust unless you’re an advanced user.”

One of the goals of WordPress is to be easy for users to build with.

So it’s puzzling that WordPress is acknowledged as difficult to use, particularly in comparison to closed source alternatives like Wix, Shopify and Duda.

Joost de Valk puts his finger on the outdated admin UI as one reason why WordPress is so hard to use.

He practically pleads for the leadership at WordPress to prioritize designing a consistent user interface.

“WordPress needs a design system and it needs it fast…”

Response from Twitter WordPress Community

The response to Joost’s article was overwhelmingly positive, with many from the WordPress community thanking Joost for calling attention to the topic.

@learnwithmattc tweeted:

“Excellent write-up, summary, recommendations, tips, resources. It’s not often you get this much valuable info in one blog post.

WP Product Devs, pay attention! Settings UIs matter, whether you like the route Yoast took or not, I think it’s worth paying attention to.”

@Shock9699 tweeted thanks for the article, calling attention to the mismatched menus within the WordPress admin interface.

“Totally agree. WordPress now looks like a 10/15 year old CMS. Especially with the advent of the new FSE where the internal menus are different from those of the normal dashboard.”

@mnowak_eth tweeted agreement with the opinions about the state of the WordPress admin UI:

“…Wordpress panel is starting to look like ancient enterprise software (you know the names). With the whole SaaS movement constantly educating the Internet society on good and bad UX and ergonomics, wp panel was overlooked.”

A standardized design that is shared by plugins and themes would create a seamless and coherent admin interface. @wpsecurityuser tweeted an appeal for a standardized design system.

“Please stop plugins implementing their UI systems, update the wordpress admin UI and standerdize everything, let’s get modern.”

@bitartem called attention to the value of having a design system in place so that the WordPress ecosystem can know ahead of time what to expect.

“Another problem is that WordPress is in a transitional phase, I mean Block Editor, and Full Site Editing, and new features are added almost every day, so if there’s a Design System, we need to know what WordPress will become in near future.”

WordPress Admin User Interface Needs Improvement

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that WordPress is in trouble when the person who created it says that it’s faster to get things done in a closed source competitor than it is with WordPress.

Joost’s article focuses on the outdated state of the WordPress admin interface and calls attention to the need for a coherent design statement that plugin and theme developers could adopt in order to create an easier to use end product.

Read Joost de Valk’s Blog Post

WordPress’ admin UI needs to be better



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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

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Top YouTube Videos, Shorts, And Ads of 2022

Examining YouTube’s list of the top trending videos and top Shorts of 2022, as well as the YouTube Ads Leaderboard: 2022 year-end-wrap-up can teach content marketers, content creators, and digital advertisers some important lessons that they can apply in 2023.

But, it helps if you have a secret decoder ring to decipher why there are three lists – and why each one uses a different methodology to come up with the rankings.

YouTube unveiled its first list of the 10 most-watched YouTube videos back in December 2010. Unfortunately, that list taught many marketers that “view count” was the only metric that mattered.

But, I got my secret decoder ring back in October 2012, when YouTube started adjusting the ranking of videos in YouTube search results to reward engaging videos that kept viewers watching.

In other words, YouTube replaced “view count” with “watch time.”

This was a significant shift, because “watch time” gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch, as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon.

In December 2012, YouTube shifted from unveiling its 10 “most-watched” videos of the year to unveiling its “top trending videos,” based on time spent watching, sharing, commenting, liking, and other factors.

In other words, “watch time” and “engagements” were now the metrics that mattered.

Today, YouTube’s algorithm rewards “viewer satisfaction.”

In other words, YouTube doesn’t pay attention to videos; it pays attention to viewers.

So, rather than trying to make videos that’ll make an algorithm happy, focus on making videos that make your viewers happy.

This brings us to YouTube’s lists of “trending videos” and “top Shorts” for 2022.

To learn important lessons that can be applied in 2023, we need to realize that YouTube’s discovery system uses both absolute and relative watch time as signals when deciding audience engagement.

Ultimately, YouTube wants both short and long videos to succeed, so relative watch time is more important for short videos, and absolute watch time is more important for longer videos.

Top 7 Trending Videos Of 2022

1. “So Long Nerds“ By Technoblade (6:32 long, 88.3 million Views, 10.2 million engagements)

In this moving tribute, the father of beloved Minecraft creator Technoblade reads a farewell letter from his son.

The gamer lost his battle with cancer in June, but his legacy remains on YouTube.

2. “Watch The Uncensored Moment Will Smith Smacks Chris Rock On Stage At The Oscars, Drops F-bomb” By Guardian News (1:24 long, 104 million Views, and 1.8 million engagements)

It was the smack heard ‘round the world: Academy Award winner Will Smith went off-script and slapped Chris Rock, live on-stage, at the film industry’s most prestigious event.

3. “Hi, I’m Dream” By Dream (5:42 long, 48.5 million Views, and 4.7 million engagements)

Dream’s ingenuity within Minecraft has led him to become a top creator with a devoted fanbase.

But no one knew what he looked like IRL, until now.

4. “ Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar & 50 Cent Full Pepsi Sb Lvi Halftime Show” By NFL (14:41 long, 146 million Views, and 3.5 million engagements)

Lose yourself in this epic Super Bowl halftime show packed with some of the biggest artists in hip-hop history: Dr. Dre, Snoop, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lama, and 50 Cent.

5. “I Built Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!” By Mrbeast (17:01 long, 132 million Views, and 5.1 million engagements)

In a “Willy Wonka” inspired warehouse, MrBeast challenges contestants to traverse a chocolate river, climb a candy wall, compete in confection-themed games, and indulge in their sweetest fantasies.

6. “Pranks Destroy Scam Callers- Glitterbomb Payback” By Mark Rober (26:41 long, 55.9 million Views, and 2.2 million engagements).

Engineer Mark Rober exacts dazzling revenge on a scam call center in the latest version of his glitterbomb series.

7. “Being Not Straight” By Jaiden Animations (15:22 long, 17.8 million Views, and 1.7 million engagements)

In this coming-out video, Jaiden Animations depicts a personal journey from adolescence to adulthood, sharing how they discovered their sexual identity along the way.

Top 7 Shorts Of 2022

1. “Diver Cracks Egg At 45 Ft Deep #Shorts” By Shangerdanger (0:56 long, 251 million Views, and 12.3 million engagements)

The ocean floor is a mysterious place. It’s full of unknown sea creatures, strange plants, and…chicken eggs?!

Join Shangerdanger as he cracks up the internet and dives egg-first into the blue depths.

2. “Sarah Trust Challenges” By Hingaflips (0:31 long, 142 million Views, and 6.5 million engagements)

Better than parkour? This is Trampwall: an epic sport where acrobats defy gravity and leap off a wall, onto a trampoline, to pull off mind-blowing aerial stunts.

3. “Come With Me To Shave My Fluffy Dog! #Doggrooming #Grooming #Goldendoodle” By Brodie That Dood (0:52 long, 108 million Views, and 6.8 million engagements)

For years, his long fluffy fur has made Brodie one of the most iconic dogs on YouTube. So, the heartbreak was real when it was decided that he needed a close trim.

4. “Dave and Busters Bet Me 1000 Tickets I Couldn’t Do This…” By Chris Ivan (0:59 long, 83.6 million Views, and 6.3 million engagements).

No one does trick shots like creator Chris Ivan. In this Short, he attempts to land a plunger on a Dave & Buster’s sign.

The prize? 1,000 tickets … if he can pull it off.

5. “That Gap Between Your Car Seat and Center Console” By Jay & Sharon (0:58 long, 182 million Views, and 6.4 million engagements)

We’ve all lost something in the dreaded gap between the car seat and the center console.

In this comedic sketch, creators Jay & Sharon show us what’s really going on down there.

6. “Welcome To The Stomach #Shorts” By Adrian Bliss (0:34 long, 118 million Views, and 7.0 million engagements)

In this bite-sized skit, witty creator Adrian Bliss brings to life all the characters trying to gain entrance – and party in – his space-limited stomach.

7. “This Magic Trick Explained (America’s Got Talent)” By Zack D. Films (0:34 long, 97.4 million Views, and 5.6 million engagements).

How did he do it? The judges of “America’s Got Talent” were confounded by this magic trick.

But not internet-sleuth Zack D., who unveils its clever secret.

Top 7 YouTube Ads Of 2022

Meanwhile, YouTube uses an entirely different methodology to determine the top YouTube ad for its 2022 year-end wrap-up Leaderboard. This makes sense.

The top ads are generally the ones with the biggest budgets, which drive up view counts, but not always engagements.

1. “Amazon’s Big Game Commercial: Mind Reader” By Amazon (1:31 long, 69.7 million Views, and 25,700 engagements)

The creative agency for this ad was Lucky Generals and the media agency was IPG – Rufus.

The ad’s description asks, “Is Alexa reading minds a good idea? No. No, it is not.”

2. “Welcome To Clan Capital! Clash Of Clans New Update!” By Clash Of Clans (1:20 long, 52.9 million Views, and 212,000 engagements)

The creative agency was Psyop, and the media agency was in-house.

The ad’s description says,

“Welcome to the ultimate clan destination! A place where you and your clan can BUILD and BATTLE together! A place called CLAN CAPITAL!”

3. “Goal Of The Century X BTS | Yet To Come (Hyundai Ver.) Official Music Video” By Hyundaiworldwide (4:08 long, 40.5 million Views, and 886,000 engagements)

The ad’s description says,

“Our ‘Goal of the Century’ can’t be achieved by one individual alone, but we can achieve it if we all join forces and unite.

Just like football players come together as a team to score goals, we aim to use the power of football to go forward together in pursuit of the greatest goal – ‘A united world for sustainability.’”

4. “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts | Official Trailer | HBO Max” By HBO Max (1:58 long, 27.3 million Views, and 739,000 engagements)

The creative agency was in-house, and the media agency was Hearts & Science.

The ad’s description says,

“Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts invites fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time as it reunites Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and other esteemed cast members and filmmakers across all eight Harry Potter films for the first time to celebrate the anniversary of the franchise’s first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

5. “Introducing iPhone 14 Pro | Apple” by Apple (4:20 long, 23.8 million views, and 571,000 engagements)

The ad’s description asks, “What lies beyond a traditional smartphone? Let’s find out. This is iPhone 14 Pro.”

6. All of Us Are Dead | Official Trailer | Netflix” by Netflix (2:35 long, 22.6 million views, and 518,000 engagements)

The creative agency was The Refinery, and the media agency was in-house. The ad’s description says,

“All of us will die. There is no hope.” The school turned into a bloody battleground and our friends into worst enemies. Who will make it out alive?”

7. Sally’s Seashells (Extended) | Big Game Commercial 2022“ by Squarespace (1:07 long, 21.6 million views, and 67,600 engagements)

The media agency was in-house. The ad’s description says,

“See everything that Sally sells in this extended cut of our 2022 Big Game commercial. Starring Zendaya as Sally and narrated by andré 3000.”

Most Important Lesson That Marketers Can Apply In 2023

Looking back at YouTube’s lists of top trending videos, top Shorts, and top ads for 2022, there is a meta-lesson that marketers can learn: one size does not fit all.

Different metrics matter when measuring different types of video, and different types of ads are better for different marketing objectives.

Or, as the British say, “There are horses for courses.”

Now, that’s a lesson that all of us can apply in 2023, and beyond.

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