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A Blueprint From Beginner To Advanced

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A Blueprint From Beginner To Advanced

There isn’t a standard way to learn search engine optimization (SEO). Ask anyone working here at SEJ how they started in SEO, and you’ll get lots of different stories.

It can be frustrating because if your business has any online presence at all, you need to know at least some SEO.

Maybe you’ve just launched that amazing new website and want Google to rank you on the first page.

Or maybe your existing website isn’t getting the traffic you want. Or you just want to start a new, in-demand career.

Whatever the reason you want to learn SEO, you’re in the right spot.

Right now, some of you are probably a little bit intimidated. All this talk of search algorithms and keyword research and reciprocal links sounds complicated.

Relax, despite all the technical jargon, SEO isn’t that hard to learn, even for a complete beginner. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort.

This article will give you a step-by-step blueprint you can follow to build your SEO skills from scratch or enhance your existing knowledge.

And while we can’t promise you a top ranking in Google, we promise that if you do the work, you’ll see results.

Your Guide To Learning SEO

Before we dive into the first step on your path to becoming an SEO Jedi, let’s take a quick look at what exactly we mean by search engine optimization.

According to Google’s developer’s guide:

“Search engine optimization is the process of making your site better for search engines.”

In other words, it’s figuring out exactly what changes you need to make to your website to make it more relevant to search queries.

The elements of SEO fall under two main categories: on-page and off-page.

As you might expect, on-page SEO elements are the parts that are on your website. These include:

  • Crawlability and indexability, i.e., how easy it is for search engines to find and map your content.
  • Content quality and keyword usage.
  • Usability factors such as loading time and responsiveness, known as Core Web Vitals.
  • Mobile responsiveness.
  • E-A-T: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
  • Images.
  • Tags.

Off-page SEO elements, on the other hand, are the ranking factors that come from outside your domain. This primarily focuses on link building and getting other high-quality websites to link to your content.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of mastering SEO.

Step 1: Master The Basics

One of the best things about Google is its extensive amount of available information. While they won’t give away the secret sauce of what exactly drives its algorithm, the search engine giant is surprisingly forthcoming about what does and doesn’t get factored into rankings.

And even better, they’ve provided an extremely helpful SEO starter guide for people just starting in the field. This is a high-level view of how search engine optimization works, including definitions of common terms and the basics of getting ranked.

If you’re starting your SEO education completely from scratch, this is the perfect place to start.

It will tell you how to get your site on Google, the best ways to control crawling so the search engine can find your content, and indexability, which will help it understand what your content is about – and what sort of queries it will be a good fit for.

Every year at SEJ, we produce multiple ebooks on various SEO and digital marketing topics. One such ebook is our SEO For Beginners Guide, a comprehensive starter guide and how-to for many common SEO tasks.

Step 2: Dive Deeper Into The Technical Side

Once you feel confident that you have the fundamentals of SEO down, it’s time to move on to more technical concepts.

Once again, Google has provided several excellent resources for your educational purposes.

One good spot to further your education is the webmaster guidelines for maintaining your site’s SEO. It can help get you started with intermediate to advanced techniques for boosting your ranking or dealing with other SEO issues.

This includes information on how to deal with duplicate content and canonical pages, using robots.txt files to tell Google which pages to crawl and index, building and submitting sitemaps, and other ways you can help Google better understand your site.

Depending on what type of content you have on your site, you may need to use different strategies to maximize its exposure.

For example, videos are a popular form of content requiring extra SEO work to ensure they rank as highly as possible.

If you’re using anything outside of plain text (and you should be – no one wants to scroll through a wall of text), make sure you check Google’s content-specific guidelines.

Step 3: Create An SEO Process

By this point, you hopefully have a reasonably good understanding of what SEO is and how it works.

And now, it’s time to put that education into practice by developing and implementing your very own SEO process.

If you’re working on an existing site, the very first thing you need to do is perform an SEO audit. This is a fairly extensive undertaking, but once again, Search Engine Journal to the rescue!

We’ve created an ebook that will walk you through the entire process of evaluating your current SEO efforts using a helpful checklist.

After you’ve understood where you stand now, it’s time to build a strategy. If only there were another helpful ebook you could use to guide you through that process – oh wait, we have one.

This is a step-by-step guide (plus a template) to building your year-long SEO strategy, with month-by-month guidance to help you measure results and improve your rankings.

And regarding monitoring performance, Google Search Console gives you a ton of analytics and information you can use to improve site traffic. It would greatly behoove you to become familiar with this tool.

Step 4: Optimize Your Content

It is impossible to overstate how important your website’s content is. Content is what drives people to your site, encourages them to take action, and is the entire reason for your site to exist in the first place.

So, after you’ve done the backend, technical and strategic work necessary to boost your ranking, it’s time to focus on your content.

Your content strategy should have been a big part of your overall strategy, as discussed in the last step, but this is where the rubber meets the road.

This is where you’ll create the keyword-rich (but not overstuffed) copy, build a solid structure that’s easy for bots and humans to read, and improve your overall content experience.

For detailed information on how to perform this, watch this webinar.

Step 5: Build Your Backlinks

This has been touched on already, but it warrants its own step.

Your incoming links tell Google a lot about how trustworthy your site is.

For example, if you fall for one of those link farms, pay-per-link scams (which, of course, you never would), Google will probably ignore those links.

On the other hand, if the Chicago Tribune is directing people to your page, Google may well view that endorsement in a good light and consider that link valuable.

But how exactly do you build links? Did you really expect us to ask that question and then not have another great ebook that answers that question in-depth?

Download and read this for everything you need to know about building and maintaining a fruitful link-building campaign.

Step 6: Don’t Forget About Humans

With all the technical parts to search engine optimization, it can be really easy to forget about the primary purpose of your website: to provide value for actual people.

And lest you think Google search is entirely comprised of a variety of computer programs, don’t forget actual humans are verifying the algorithm’s work.

These people are known as Search Quality Raters. They follow an extensive guide to determine how well Google search results meet the needs of the querier and evaluate your pages’ quality.

So, always keep that in the back of your mind – that even with all the title tag and image optimization and responsive design work you’ve put in, at the end of the day, SEO is all about people.

Step 7: Never Stop Learning

Whew, that was a lot. Now you can just sit back and relax, enjoying your new title of sixth-degree SEO black belt, right? Not even a little.

Search engine algorithms are constantly undergoing changes.

Some of these are so small you won’t notice, while others make a big change in the kind of returns queries generate. And this constant state of flux means the last thing you can do is rest on your laurels.

But where do you go from here?

Luckily, there is a vast ocean of SEO resources out there, including this very website, where you’ll find all the news, as well as regular updates and blog posts on a variety of topics related to search engines.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about some of the great online courses to help you take your search engine optimization skills to the next level.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a select list here, and you can check out some of them in more detail in this post about SEO certifications.

Free SEO Courses For Beginners

Coursera’s Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals: This 13-hour, 4-module digital course (created by the University of California, Davis) is designed to help you understand how search algorithms affect organic search results. It covers everything from building an effective strategy to analyzing and optimizing your existing website.

Ahrefs’ SEO Training Course: This program, presented by SEO tools software provider Ahrefs, consists of 14 lessons split into four modules, comprising two hours in total length. It will teach you the fundamentals of SEO, including how to perform keyword research, technical SEO, and link building for beginners.

Shopify’s SEO Training for Beginners: The ecommerce platform Shopify offers a 30-minute course designed to help online entrepreneurs get up to speed on the fundamentals of SEO fast. This course will give you a repeatable framework you can apply to help improve your business’s search engine ranking.

Yoast’s SEO for Beginners Training: Another SEO tools provider, Yoast’s beginner’s course in SEO features two hours of instructional videos, PDF files, and quizzes to train you in what you’ve learned.

WP Courses’ Intro to Search Engine Optimization: This free course is designed to teach you how to improve your site for both search engines and human visitors. It covers the basics of SEO, including performing keyword research, creating great content, and optimizing your site for maximum ranking and traffic.

Bruce Clay SEO Training: Bruce Clay is known as the programmer of the first webpage analysis tool. Now, he runs a search marketing company (Bruce Clay, Inc.) that provides a wide range of digital marketing services. This online course will teach you how to improve your website’s ranking with an emphasis on E-A-T. It includes more than 15 hours of instruction across 48 videos.

Next.js’ Introduction to SEO: This text-based course offered by production framework Next.js provides a quick, four-page overview of SEO. It covers search systems and robots and web performance topics, emphasizing using them alongside Next.js.

Hubspot’s SEO Training Course: This short course offers free certification and focuses on the business impacts of SEO. With six lessons built around 22 videos and three quizzes, it uses Hubspot’s blogging strategy as its core example when explaining how SEO works.

Intermediate To Advanced SEO Resources

Got the fundamentals down and are ready to move on to more advanced topics? There are plenty of great resources out there, including:

Semrush Digital Courses: Online visibility and content marketing SaaS provider Semrush has put together one of the best libraries of SEO content available anywhere. These free lessons, which generally run one hour in length, are hosted by various experts and cover nearly every aspect of digital marketing you can think of – including a dozen on search engine optimization.

Ahrefs’ Advanced Link Building Course: This 14-lesson course can be completed in under two hours. It’s designed to equip you with strategies for building links at scale – that go beyond traditional backlinking tactics. It will teach you how to structure and distribute outreach emails, validate campaigns, and manage your link-building team more effectively.

Coursera’s Advanced Search Engine Optimization Strategies: This free 25-hour course focuses on technical, mobile, and social strategies for improving your website’s traffic. It will teach you more advanced SEO skills like improving site architecture, evaluating competitors, and developing global strategies.

LinkedIn Learning: Formerly Lynda.com, the educational portion of the social networking site LinkedIn offers a variety of SEO topics, from beginner to advanced. It offers a free trial but then costs $19.99 per month for unlimited access. LinkedIn Learning has 86 SEO-related videos, many of which specialize in one particular aspect, for example, SEO for ecommerce sites or structuring data for web crawlers.

Advanced Technical SEO: A Complete Guide: You didn’t really think we were going to make this list and not include another of our ebooks, did you? Maybe we’re biased, but this free downloadable ebook will teach you everything you need to know about technical SEO, including finding the best hosting company, structuring your site to be web crawler-friendly, and best practices for pagination, alongside a wealth of other useful information.

Google Analytics Academy: While strictly speaking not an SEO course, if you’re serious about SEO and improving your skills, this certification is well worth earning. This free course will help you better understand the content and digital marketing industry while ensuring you get the most out of the tools the search engine giant makes available.

Stay Up To Date And Get Optimizing

As you can see, there’s quite a lot that goes into search engine optimization. And even experts are learning new things every day.

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve learned a bit about SEO basics and where to learn more about them.

And after you’ve perused some of the linked materials, then it’s time to put your new knowledge into action.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately – remember, search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes, it can take months for your changes to start showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Just remember, this is a constantly shifting environment, and what worked yesterday may not work today. This is partly because of shady SEO specialists who gamed the algorithm through things like keyword stuffing and article spinning (i.e., recreating content with different words).

But the main reason you must stay on top of SEO is Google’s unending quest to provide better, more relevant results.

Currently, this means focusing more on search intent than keywords, but who knows what it will mean tomorrow?

The only way to stay on top is to keep working once you get there. Because if you kick your heels up, it won’t be long before your hard-earned ranking goes away to a harder-working, savvier optimizer.

Don’t ever stop learning, and now get out there and get to the top of search results!

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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