SEO & Ads: Can they coexist? | Mediavine | Go For Teal

By | August 31, 2019

Hey, guys. This is Eric with
Mediavine and this is our Go for Teal video series. I’ll tell you, we want to do
a little bit of a special one. I mean, not that special, but
it’s a rerecording of something I’ve already done. And that is ads and SEO. The last time I talked
about this was at FinCon, and it was during a quick
little lightning talk. So I want to make sure that
this is a little more updated and a little more thorough. It’s especially
important right now because we’ve been
getting questions from bloggers, asking how does
Mediavine ads affect my SEO. It’s really coming to
light because, I guess, recently, a
competitor of ours has made the claim that their
ads are better for SEO. So today I want to
dispute that and tell you why Mediavine ads have pretty
much no impact on your SEO. So first off, why
is this Eric guy qualified to talk about SEO? Funny story, that’s
actually my background. Since my high school internship
back in the late ’90s, I’ve been doing SEO. I’ve been doing SEO longer
than I’ve been doing ads. In fact, Mediavine
itself was first incorporated as iScribe Limited,
or an SEO for hire company. So funny enough, before we were
doing anything to do with ads, we were doing SEO. So after about a couple of
years doing SEO for hire, we launched a site called
The Hollywood Gossip, using our SEO skills, certainly
not our knowledge of celebrity gossip. And once The Hollywood
Gossip was optimized for SEO, we were basically
able to launch it into one of the
largest entertainment sites on the internet,
using nothing but SEO. And the other reason I
feel I’m pretty qualified is because I listen to Google. As silly as that
sounds, that is where I get most of the information
that I use in these videos and in any blog posts I write. Just listen to Google. It’s generally the advice I
give for anything technical when it comes to SEO. Google gives us all
of this information. Yet a lot of time,
people like to try to use inferences and data
to try to prove Google wrong. But generally when it
comes to ranking in Google, there’s no one better to
listen to than Google. So pretty much every
single blog post you’ll ever see that I write,
or any advice I give you, there’s always going to
be a link of why this is the official Google response. And today is no different. So let’s get down to the meat. So what the heck does
SEO have to do with ads? So as I mention again, we
run The Hollywood Gossip. What we’ve learned is that ads
can actually kill your SEO. They can hurt your SEO. When we were running
The Hollywood Gossip under a different ad
management company, and we started loading
up the site with ads in order to compensate for
a lower RPM or performance at the time. We saw our traffic
tanked by more than 50%. Literally we made
no other changes to The Hollywood Gossip other
than building our ad technology and improving the page
speed and user experience and we saw that traffic recover. And now The Hollywood
Gossip is bigger than ever. So basically those two
things I just discussed are the only way in which
SEO is impacted by ads. And that’s your page speed
and your user experience. OK. Let’s go into those two
in a little more detail. Those of you that have
been following along with any of my blog posts
or have listened to me talk about this
for years now, I’m a little obsessed
with page speed. So we’re going to talk
about that one first. So how can ads
impact page speed? Very drastically. So I’m going to say
something that you probably shouldn’t say as a guy running
an ad management company– but ads suck. Ads are each their own
individual iframe or website. So if you have a company that’s
loading 10 ads at the same time as your website is
loading, then that means you’re now loading
11 websites in order to just load your one. The way I often like
to look at these things is as if it’s on a highway,
right, and each thing that you’re trying to
load is a different car. Well, guess what. Because ads are
their own website, they’re not just loading one
image like it may look like. They’re loading a
ton of resources, so they’re putting a ton
of cars on that highway. We keep coming back
to that analogy. So let’s say your ad
management company says, don’t worry about it. We use asynchronous
ad loading technology. That’s great. Mediavine does as well, and
so does the entire internet. That’s because Google made
that a requirement in their ad server, Google Ad Manager, which
is by far and away the most popular ad server. So pretty much everyone on the
internet uses asynchronous. So what is asynchronous? Back to that highway analogy. It basically means you have
now five lanes of traffic from which you can load all
of those different resources. In the old world,
it was synchronous. You had one lane. So all of your ads, everything
that makes your website look like your
website– your images, your content, your style sheet,
your JavaScript– everything used to have to
share one lane if you were running synchronous. And just one slow ad who
came to a screeching halt would stop all of your
website for loading. So think of it
like a traffic jam. It’s just one guy
slammed on his brakes and there’s no way
to go around him. So that is really why
synchronous doesn’t work and we need asynchronous. So does that solve everything? Well, no, because
you have probably still seen traffic jams
on the highway, right, in a five lane road. And the reason why
is because you still have a lot of
congestion if you’re loading your ads at the
same time as your content. And there’s no way
for the website to know which is your
content versus your ads in order to prioritize things. So they’re all going to
load at the same time. And again, as I keep saying
ads are extremely heavy. Ads are 200 times heavier than
the average image or anything else on your site. So putting that extra
traffic on that highway is going to incredibly
slow down your site. So what do you do? Our job as your ad
management company is to make those ads
suck less, right? To make them load faster. So we use a couple
techniques here. First, I wish we could solve
ads being slow, but we can’t. This is a programmatic
world, which means ultimately those
advertisements are being run by a third party,
even the partners we work with, like Google. Not all the ads are actually
Google’s ads, right? There’s an ad agency
or an advertisement from a third party that’s
running on your website, that we have, in the end of
the day, no control over. So we use a lot of tricks. I’m going to go over all
of them now, first of which is lazy loading. I have entire videos
on this and blog posts. But the concept of lazy
loading is only loading the ad as it comes into view. So when that
website first loads, we don’t have to
load all the ads, because we use lazy loading. So we’re going to load
fewer ads which means fewer cars on that highway. So that’s great, right? Does that solve everything? Absolutely not, because,
again, reloading, let’s say, only two ads, is still three
times the amount of traffic. So there really has to be
an even better solution. So one of which would be try
to reduce the number of ads you have above the fold. And we do that
here at Mediavine. We run as few ads as we can
in the first screen view, because that’s really
how you want to measure when a page is done loading. When is that first
screen view done loading? That’s the metrics
that Google uses, and any tool they recommend,
PageSpeed Insights or So we want to get as many
ads out of there as we can. Does that solve it? Still no, because at the end
of the day, you need to have– what we’re going to tell you
now is our secret sauce– and that is optimize ads
for mobile page speed. So the way I like
to look at this is we built an express lane
on top of that highway. What’s going to end
up happening now is your content rides
on that express lane. There is not going to
be a single ad that can block your content from
loading until your content is fully done. Which means, for
the first time ever, your website can completely
load without being impacted at all by ads. That is a Mediavine
patent-pending exclusive. Literally no one else has this. And why do we
build these things? Because we are an
SEO company that then built an ad management company. This is in our DNA. This is our background. This is how The
Hollywood Gossip, one of the largest sites on
the internet, gets its traffic. We can’t destroy
our SEO, because we would destroy our own sites. So we’re certainly not
going to destroy your SEO. So that’s an awesome feature. And we also have a version
of that coming to desktop. As I keep mentioning,
you reduce the number of ads above the fold first. And that’s why we launch things
like the scroll to play player. The scroll to play
means now on desktop you can move that AutoPlay
video down below the fold and still have an
AutoPlay-like experience. That was the first step. We’re going to have a few other
little things that we have to make tweaks to
and then we plan on launching a desktop version
of, again, that optimize ads. So that’s going to be
exclusive to Mediavine. Literally no one can
give you a faster loading site when you’re running ads
than Mediavine as of today. So pretty exciting. If you check The
Hollywood Gossip, any of the pages on
PageSpeed Insights, you’re going to see a 90 plus
score, which is incredible. There’s no other
ad supported site on the internet that’s
able to do that right now. So very exciting, and
we love that feature. Encourage you to use it. But as I mentioned
there’s another factor, right, that comes
into account with ads, and that’s user experience. So that one’s a little bit
tougher to measure, right? But user experience is
mentioned multiple times by Google in their blog posts
and in their starter guide. And you’ll also
hear a lot of SEOs commonly say that SEO
follows user experience. So how do we define
user experience? Since that cannot be
done by just one person, we rely on what’s called the
Coalition for Better Ads, or the CBA. And guess what? Google is a member
of it and uses the CBA to define what they
consider a bad ad experience inside Google Search Console. So maybe that’s probably
the best indication that we can ever
have of what Google considers a good or bad
user experience when it comes to ads. So a common thing
we hear from, again, when people write
in, being told by one of their friends or a
fellow ad management company that they run too many ads. So that’s an interesting
thing, because, again, we should look at that objectively
and not subjectively. And the CBA has actually
done a study on how many ads you can run per site. And guess what? It has nothing to do with a
physical number, as interesting as that sounds. So let’s say someone
came to your page and said, oh my god, I can’t
believe you’re running 10 ads. Do you know who knows how
many ads you’re running? That person. No one else. That’s because they went
through and counted them. That’s not how people
use a website, right? As you’re scrolling through
Facebook, never once have you reached the bottom
of your feed and been like, I can’t believe I
just saw 14 ads. No. You just looked at was this
a good or bad experience. And that’s what
the CBA is doing. They measure what’s
called the density. They want to see how
much content there is through number of ads. And that is really what’s
going to define whether there were too many ads or not. And guess what? Mediavine, even at
the maximum settings– and you choose those
settings here– you will never violate
CBA density rules. So you’re never going
to have a bad user experience as far as the CBA. And again, Google
is a member of this. There’s other bad ad experiences
that we have definitely made sure were removed from
anything to do with Mediavine. You can see things like
AutoPlaying ads with sound. Things like that have
all been eliminated because of these findings. Which means there’s no way
in which Mediavine ads are causing a bad user experience. There’s been some
arguments again that that AutoPlaying
video at the top of post was not a great experience. That’s fine. Using scroll to play,
you can now remove that. We can’t think of another
ad management company that is a member of the CBA and more
dedicated to user experience. So as long as you’re
hitting those two, there’s no way your ads
are hurting your SEO. Are they helping your SEO? Certainly not. No ad company will ever be
able to help your SEO, which is why we do as much as we
can to educate you on SEO so that you can do it yourself. Because the only person that’s
going to eventually make your site rank better is you. The publisher is the only one. The reason why? I can tell you all the
technical things to do, things like increasing
your font size. That is an official
Google recommendation and it’s in their audit
tool in lighthouse. That’s great. But that’s not going
to make you rank better at the end of the day. All these things can do is
make sure you don’t rank worse. The way you’re going
to rank is by having the best content on a subject. And only you can do that. I’d recommend you really take a
listen to the theory of content podcast by Josh and Amber. I’ll make sure we link to it
in the blog post accompanying this. That podcast is
going to talk a lot about the content side of SEO. The technical side, you get
all of that from our blog as we go into it. But again, that’s not going
to be what makes you rank. It’s having the best content. That’s what Google wants to
deliver at the end of the day– the best user experience. That’s why they care
about page speed. That’s why ads need to be done
in a good user experience way. And that’s what Mediavine does. So thank you, guys. Please tune in next week for
our next Go for Teal video, though I believe we have
some holidays coming up, so it might be a
little bit after. But thank you, guys,
and please subscribe to the YouTube channel.

One thought on “SEO & Ads: Can they coexist? | Mediavine | Go For Teal

  1. Marketing Artfully Post author

    My page speed actually got better after joining mediavine because I could afford to get better hosting…:) My organic traffic has gone up this last year because of creating more content. SOOO glad to be a Mediavine publisher…:)


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