By Ben Jacobsen
11 Mar 2021

SEO From Home: A Case For Considering A Closed CMS

SEO From Home

This week we are joined by Mordy Oberstein from Wix to discuss why a closed Content Management System (CMS) might be the right decision for you and your clients. Often when SEO's hear closed CMS, the conversation stops there - we think that because you don't have full HTML control, that it serves no purpose. Well, there are many people who could benefit from this type of system and Mordy is here to tell us all about it.

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Show Transcript

0:00:04.9 Ben: Welcome back, everyone. My name is Ben Jacobson, I am your host of the SEO from home: Page One Power. I'm also our digital marketing strategist over here at Page One Power, and today we're back with another episode of SEO from home, and we have a very special guest with us today, Mordy Oberstein, and he is with Wix, and he's going to be talking with us about making a case for a closed Content Management System. Oftentimes, I think as SEOs in particular, any time that people talk about a close management system, it kinda just is... The rest of the conversation gets shut down, so today we're gonna be kind of dispelling that a little bit and maybe going over some other use cases in which it might be a better option for you and your client. So before we get started, just a couple of housekeeping items for you guys, we are gonna be recording today's episode, so if you do wanna step out for a few minutes or you want to watch this again, we'll be shooting you guys out an email with a link to that, it'll also be on our website and YouTube, typically we try to have those up in about 24 to 48 hours.


0:01:09.5 Ben: Yeah, we'll have that ready for you guys. If you want to re-watch this, if you guys wanna have it or if you guys want to ask any questions or participate in the conversation, on the bottom of your screen there, there's gonna be a Q and A box as well as a little chat feature, go ahead and utilize those and... We'll try to answer those questions as they come in. Today, we're gonna be having just kind of a casual conversation with Mordy, and we're gonna be discussing content management system, which is basically in the back end of your website, and how it's going to be managing all of the stuff that your visitors to your site view. So we're super excited about that. Let's see, I think that does it for all of the housekeeping stuff that we have, so again, we're gonna get started, Mordy is the liaison to the SEO community for Wix, and he is kind of bridging that gap between where traditionally, a lot of people in that demographic are kind of like, there's not a lot of crossover between some of these platforms and SEOs in particular. So we're gonna discuss that a little bit more today.


0:02:19.5 Ben: Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what we're gonna be discussing today.


0:02:22.9 Mordy: Cool, so thanks for having me first off, I really appreciate being here, I'm actually literally from home, so it's totally perfect, you can tell my awesome, really optimized background for doing these things. So yeah, I'm coming from the SEO community to be the CEO of rank Ranger, which is one of the SEO tools, the rank tracker, well it is more than a rank tracker. Which brought me in maybe about a year and a half ago, they really started hitting the ground hard with upgrading a lot of the SEO abilities that the tool had, and the platform has, and it sort of went unnoticed. And they came to me and said, “Hey, Mordy, what can we do to get this out there to SEOs? Because, we've really involved, the platform is continuously evolving, and we wanna make SEOs know about this, and it's a really interesting kind of conversation to have, just sort of to define my role a little bit. I work with the product team, I work with the marketing team, and I work with the SEO industry. It was sort of an advocate for the SEO industry to Wix and for Wix back to the SEO community, as you mentioned, I’m sort of that weird bridge, but the good thing is, I am coming from the SEO community is just literally like my home, and it's a really… well I came in with the same previous notions everybody else did.


0:03:37.5 Mordy: I think if you dig down way back in my Twitter account, there's probably a tweet or two of me not being so kind to close CMSs of all natures, and you come in and you sort of see what's going on, and it's a really funny thing, is that there's like, Okay, check this out, I know you believe it or not. When it comes to CMSs, there's a lack of nuance in the SEO community, I know that's really shocking. I know that we never are... Never, ever hyperbolic about anything.


0:04:12.9 Ben: I don't think I've ever seen a single person be hyperbolic before, so


0:04:15.9 Mordy: Never... And SEOs are never cynical or sarcastic and nothing, so it may come to a shock that there's lack of a nuance around the conversation among the close CMSs themselves and around a closed CMS versus an open CMS is more interesting for our conversation today. And you think... 'cause it's the second you tell an SEO that you can't access all the full HTML, because that's really the beauty of a close CMS, and I say beauty, and it's because it protects users ...So yes, you can access a close, you can't access the full HTML, you never will be able to... In any close CMS, inherently, not possible. But the second SEO is here. That they immediately turn off. And it's a little bit of a problem in a way. And I get it, I really do get it. Because when I was at Rank Ranger, for example, we didn't use open CMS, we used a custom CMS, so I look down on all of you open CMS people, 'cause you really wanna be an elitist about this, you should be using a custom CMS...


0:05:21.2 Ben: Exactly, even more so. That's right. Plugin, WordPress, please. It's not... custom it doesn't exist.


0:05:29.8 Mordy: That's right. So to be honest, when I would use WordPress, I would look at it as a step down...


0:05:37.3 Ben: Interesting, yeah, I don't think that a lot of people have that same association for the use case but I get it.


0:05:43.7 Mordy: I literally work with a team of developers all day long, but it's a good... But there's something to that where I think there's a lack of conversation around the problems of WordPress, you do see it, you see a journal article pop up every now and then about the problem in the plug-ins... if there was an update or converge is still not where it should be. That sort of thing. Well, as items of a conversation itself, there's sort of a lack because we don't really focus on just like with SEO content, we don't focus on the user. And, there's a little bit of a misconception about what it means to be a close CMS. It doesn't mean that you can't do things. And it's hard for me to speak for all close CMS, I could speak for Wix, but I think it does apply to a greater or lesser extent across the board, a closed CMS is not about shutting you out, I think there's a miscommunication about that for all of that it's about doing things for the users that the user can focus on what they need to do, which is their business. Agreed.


0:06:50.5 Mordy: So imagine you have an entrepreneur or you have a big company or you have a small business, whatever it is, their focus is on their business, and you see this all the time. I see this all the time. I just give you an example. I used to work for a property manager company, I don't know, 20 years ago at this point now, 15 years ago, I'm not that old. I'm older than I look, but they have a custom site that they build on Word Press, I believe, and I know 'cause I worked at... I literally know who worked on that site, and they were a designer, and there's a lot of things that are just wrong with the site, they're a prime example of a company who should be on a close CMS, they're not in a highly competitive niche, they don't need a lot of... You don't need a lot of the customers, the full on customization that you would think a major brand we need, but there's still a misconception around that 'cause I think that is not exactly true either, that they don't really monitor their side, I don't really work on their site. They're a prime example of a close CMS working for them, especially because the most important thing for them is the content that's really where they need to focus...


0:08:08.2 Mordy: And I'm gonna pull a John Muller on my end, out of my pocket really early on. This week this actually came up, there was someone who wanted to do an experiment on Wix and you put it out there, “Hey, I wanna do an experiment compared Wix to WordPress, see what happens in terms of ranking,” and John Muller chimes in instead for a small business or for independent business, where the technical aspects are not as important because the close CMSs have for the most part to a greater or lesser extent handled those for you, and where you should be focused on your content, you should be using a close CMS.


0:08:44.1 Ben: And especially if you don't know what you're doing, I feel like that's kind of like the kicker to all of this, I think I personally have recommended to people I know to use a closed CMS platform because they don't know what they're doing, and that's not a knock on them, it's just they have more important things to be focusing on, they're running their own massage therapist, or they are an artist or they are a plumber, and they need to focus on those things, they're not a massage therapist and a web developer or an SEO for even better example. And I think that, yeah, it's like someone that doesn't know anything about mechanics and you're like, “Alright, go rebuild this engine,” it's like, Well, they're probably gonna ruin it way more than they're gonna fix it, and the mechanic is gonna look at it later and be like, What in the heck did you do?


0:09:37.3 Mordy: Right, or you'll bring it to the mechanic, they'll fix it for you, and you'll think, Alright, this is great, I've got everything in order for them, I'm gonna get the car back and it's perfect, and then you're surprised when they come back in the day late and be like “guys I only screw this thing up,” right?


0:09:50.5 Ben: What do you think is a...


0:09:52.6 Mordy: It happens all the time, you have to think about it. What's gonna happen after you leave? And you leave them with the site, especially if you have a tinker on your hands.


0:10:04.2 Ben: Which if you've ever worked with any entrepreneur ever, there's a very cliche like entrepreneur syndrome, where it's like they have to be hands-on with every aspect of the business, there's a really hard disconnect of being able to relinquish that control, and I think especially now with websites being such a predominant marketing avenue for so many small businesses, that's a big portion that I think a lot of people and a lot of small business owners are wanting to continue to maintain control over, even though that they may not have any... right business doing it. Now, it's really true, and I'll tell you just from understanding Wix users, 'cause I see the tickets, I hear about... I don't see them actually, but I hear about the tickets that come. Businesses do sort of kind of know about SEO, not in the way that I think we realize or the way we think of SEO. They understand that having a website is intrinsically tied to Google.


0:11:03.5 Mordy: There's an inherent connection between Google and your website, more so on... Let's say Google and Facebook or Google and other social media platforms. Sure, so they understand there's this intrinsic connection between Google and their website, and they know that something has to happen between their website and Google, they don't necessarily understand exactly what it is, they don't understand how it works, but they understand that it's there, and they want that to happen and they'll do things or try to find things that we find a lot of misinformation, we hear this topic all the time. Hey, I got a small business, they have... They were talking or they were looking at such and such website about SEO... I can't believe it. Well, no, you can believe you should believe it, because they're looking for information because they do understand that there is that connection and they want to grow, so they are going to try to do things with SEO, don't think like, you're gonna get to a website, you're gonna walk away and they're not gonna do anything because they do understand the growth opportunity in general, even though they may not understand like, Okay, here's the eponym for this keyword kind of thing.


0:11:59.8 Mordy: Yeah.


0:12:00.6 Ben: Definitely, and I think they... They're gonna wanna grow it too, I think any time that you get a shiny new toy, like you're gonna wanna put it to use, if you get... If you, especially if you're paying someone else to develop the site for you, once you get the keys to the castle, you're gonna wanna go check out all the rooms, and I think that that's kind of where things get tricky, because I think with an open platform, like WordPress, where you do have the ability to, for lack of a better term, like you have enough rope to hang yourself with, it's hard to make changes and fully make the right changes unless you've had a lot of experience doing it. I've had a lot of experience working in WordPress and I still break my site always, constantly.


0:12:52.3 Mordy: For you, they roll on an update, you don't realize the plugins are out of date and that's it, you have no idea what's going on and you want... You do want the business to... We tell them to create content, so they should be updating their site, they should be using their site... It shouldn't just sit there. And I think in terms of like a CMSs we don't really... We sort of all lump it together, it's like it's either all or nothing, it's zero sum, when really it's first off, there's an economy of scale with this, and that's sort of the idea behind a closed CMS, whereas a WordPress site, if you need a developer you have to pay for that developer, and if you need a designer you to pay for that designer, but if you're using a platform, like Wix or Shopify or whatever, you're paying in X part, part of the amount that you're paying each month is going towards the developer going towards a designer and it's you and 20 other million people. Yeah, so it's an economy of scale kind of thing, you're paying a little bit to get that designer, to get that developer, and I know as SEOs we think “Well, it's not open, I can't do it, so it must not be happening” when that's not really true.


0:13:57.9 Mordy: And that's where you really need... I'm not gonna put my thumb on the scale for this 'cause I'm not here to sell my CMS, but that's where you as an SEO need to understand what the various CMSs offer and don't offer... Some are great at this, some are not great at this, some are great at that, some are not great at this, and is it lumping them all together, you need to understand what works best for your client and their needs in terms of what the CMSs offer, and that goes beyond just... SEO also, there's this... They're depending on the CMS. Again, I'm not here to sell my CMS, but there's various other options, is there an email marketing platform included, does it help you do social media, all these various things that you need to think about because you're not really... And this is another sticky point of SEO, it's not about SEO, it's about growth, so you need to put your client in the best position to be able to grow. And what does that mean? Does that mean they have to now buy 10 more subscriptions or... And they get all of it in one with a certain CMS, and again, I'm not...


0:14:52.6 Mordy: It's, you need to understand what's there with the CMS is just like you would with buying anything else, you wouldn't say, Okay, well, buy this car, that car must be terrible, now that comes probably great. I don't wanna buy a minivan that's really lame and it sucks until you have five kids.


0:15:09.1 Ben: Or until you check out inside of those new minivans and you're like, Wow, this is like a luxury space ship. It's a luxury. That's what it reminds me of every time I've seen the inside of one of these new vans they’re insane... This brings me to kind of an analogy that I've have been preparing for this episode, I've been really rolling it around my head and to me, I'm sure I'll get hate for using this analogy, but it really reminds me of an Apple versus Android sort of conversation, and whatever side of the fence you fall on, I think that a lot of people who agree that there are some kind of basic fundamentals that most people agree on. Apple is really good at giving you a polished product that works great, right out of the box, you're limited in the scope of the things that you can do as opposed to like Linux or Windows or any other platform, but that range of things that it can do... It can do very, very well. Same thing with Android, Android covers, I think, in my opinion, a wider spectrum of things that you can do with it, 


0:16:26.9 Ben: But it takes some finesse and you gotta kind of download the right apps, and sometimes those apps aren't supported on the exact device that you have, it's the same thing with building out like a WordPress site, you can get it to do amazing things, if you really know what you're doing, if you are focusing on really just taking control of your SEO and taking control of all of the aspects of it, great, if you wanna spend that much time and that much effort doing it, great, it's a great option, but there's drawbacks if you are strapped for time, or you're a one-man or one woman operation and you're trying to do all of this yourself, and you have that entrepreneur syndrome, it might be best to consider something that will get you up and going and off the ground and continue to give you the opportunity to grow rather than spending all of your time watching SEO tutorials and trying to figure out what is keyword research, how the heck do I do keyword research and what tools do... I think that there is a lot of opportunity in both directions, it really just kinda depends on your current situation.


0:17:36.7 Mordy: Yeah, that's really the kind of the point. I think that a closed CMS as not for certain people, or not for certain sites, just like I think that for certain sites, it's not good to have an open CMs for that client. I'll try to think of a good... Exactly. Okay, I'll give you a good example. Right, let's say you have a client and like Wix, create structured data out of the box for your product pages... Okay, or the certain properties that you don't include... Right, so let's say you're your average typical business or your client is your typical business, it's fine for what you need, but unless you have a really particular situation you want to add in all those properties... Okay, for the record, you can do it, we have a developer tool and that's great, you could do it through that, but let's just say we didn't have that for a minute for arguments sake, and really, it was really important for whatever reason to have these properties and for the structured data, so there won't be a good option for you, and that's fine, it's not a zero-sum game at the same time...


0:18:42.8 Mordy: I’ll get another example. So when Google updated event structured data to say, if it's a paid event, you have to have the currency property edited, so if you're walking away from a site and you've set them up, and now Google changes the requirements for structured data, now they have to go back and they have to redo all of it, so now you're relying that they're gonna go back and do this, you're relying that, Hey, they're not gonna go back to you and say, Why did you screw me up here, I don't... Don't show any rich results, them not knowing that, Hey, you have to update your structured data or you could rely on a closed CMS who offers the markup to update it themselves, which happens. So it really is about what kind of profile you want, what kind of client you need. At the same time, by the way, and it's maybe a little bit of hot take... It also depends what kind of SEO you are. I know SEOs love pretending that they're developers... I know we do, but there's a reason why we're Screaming Frog, analyze core web vitals, they found that just 15% of the web passed...


0:19:56.9 Ben: Wow, I didn't know that.


0:19:58.3 Mordy: Yeah, they analyzed 20000 URLS and 15% of the web passed... Wow, I would imagine that 15% of the web, more than 15% of the web is optimized by some sort of SEO out there.


0:20:13.0 Ben: I would venture to guess that's probably accurate.


0:20:14.9 Mordy: Right than what's going on. Well, the second you have to try to fix LCP... Wait a second, that search in journal article five “easy ways to fix LCP” didn't really help me.


0:20:27.7 Ben: Yeah, I think that's also... You're touching on a point that is just inherent with SEO as well, which is, there's no steadfast rules, it's not like this is going to be how it is forever, the closest thing that we have a mantra of here at Page One Power, and it is that it’s all about content and the links... And that's what we focus on. We know that that's gonna work. We know that if you design and you write and you structure everything around the user experience, that's ultimately what Google is trying to do as well, so if you have... If you're aligning your mission goals with the same mission goals at Google, you're in a pretty good spot. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that just because you understand the goals that you're gonna know all of the steps in between in order to get there, and so Google is really famous for just being like, Oh yeah, by the way, this thing's gone, or Hey, here's this by the way, everyone needs to update all of your... 


0:21:31.6 Mordy: That's what they look at. You’re lucky if they tell you...


0:21:33.4 Ben: Yeah, and you're lucky if they tell you right, or if they tell you and they actually give you enough information to know what it really means, Passage ranking. I should figure out what the hell that actually is. Side point. Yeah, and that's a great example. I think you can do everything in your power to give them a perfectly optimized, polish, beautiful site, but with updates with customers or with your clients, just personalities with entropy, things will go wrong, things will break. And the difference I've seen is if you are running open CMS, you need to have a schedule, like I need to go check these things, I need to be able to monitor this, and to your point, with close CMS, you have a team that's doing that pretty much for you, you pay for your monthly subscription service or whatnot, or your annual subscription, and you get those built-in add-ons, I guess, the people watching out, you have, like you're mentioning the economy of scale, you have developers and designers.


0:22:50.1 Mordy: It's not me. It's even beyond that. I can speak so, I work very closely with our lead technical SEO. It's actually how I got to Wix. And on the way in, his outlook we had all conversation about this, and his outlook on creating tools or abilities within Wix is to protect the user first and foremost, and then offer custom ability second, right. So that the CEOs are also happy or the developers are also happy, whatever it is. But, if a good CMS is going to try to protect you from killing yourself, like for example... Multiple canonicals are the same for the same URL. So if you have that, Google is gonna be confused, you're pointing in a million different places, what are you trying to tell me? And on WordPress, you can certainly do that without realizing it... Right? Again, with the closed CSM, I don't know about every CMS, particularly with us. You can't do that. Why? I'm purpose, it wasn't like, Oh, we don't wanna add customization abilities, its nothing to do with that, we wanna make sure that the users don't add more than one canonical, so they don't confuse the search engine. So again, it's an opportunity cost.


0:24:01.3 Mordy: Yes, you lack the ability to add more than one canonical tag for URL if for some ridiculous reason you needed to do that, that would be difficult. I'm sure there's some SEO sitting in their underwear in their basement currently sighing at the fact that they can't do that... I don't know why you would ever want to do that, but the fact is that you can't do that. I know it was upsetting to hear the word can't, and that's it, but the CMS is trying to protect the user, and I think that's where there's really a misunderstanding with closed CMS and open CMS. We're not trying to take away your customization, we're trying to protect the user by doing things for them, and then a good CMS will try to do things in order to offer you the customization as well, if you want a barometer for looking at a close CMS, looking at what are they doing to protect and then what are they doing to allow you the pro to also have access the same time. It's a scale. It really is a scale.


0:25:02.9 Ben: Yeah, it looks like we have a question coming in. Alexander asks one question for Mordy, “have you ever thought about implementing a tool to help people write on their content and Wix or write their own content in Wix, readability, heading, sentence, incoming plain language.?”


0:25:17.6 Mordy: Yes, so we currently... I actually do have a tool we have a couple, there's tools to help you with accessibility, we'll do an accessibility audit on your site and you just have two clicks and we'll tell you if it's a low contrast or if you miss an all tag, that kind of thing. There is, for our beginner or people who are really not SEO savvy at all, we have a tool called the SEO wiz, which tries to walk you through setting up a focus... What keywords? I hate using the word keywords, but what topic do you really wanna focus on if you're a local pizza shop, okay, what's your unique point? What's your unique selling point? And sort of building and throwing in and make sure that maybe in your title tag or make sure that's in your header, or making sure that you have all tech set up, there is talk about maybe doing some integrations here and there, that kind of thing, but it is a really interesting kind of thing by the way, because you can offer those sort of guidance points, but there are also hang-ups... I know we wanna make it easy for users to walk through that, but let's imagine that...


0:26:27.2 Mordy: Okay, let's say you take a user and you tell them, Hey, maybe enter your keywords, your... what's your main keyword? We find at times that... Let's say I have an online shoe store, the users enter the word ‘shoes’ and think, Okay, I sell shoes, so I'm gonna rank for shoes. So it's not just a tool, you can have whatever tool you wanna have in there, but you have to remember that if you're not an SEO, look, most SEOs are so hung up on keyword research, I guess it’s 1995,what do you expect from actual business people who know nothing about... When you tell them the word keyword, they get confused, what's a keyword. You have to combine the tool with the education, there has to be like, it's two sides that you can't just put a tool in there, you have to have a direct access to some sort of education to the user as well.


0:27:19.4 Ben: Yeah, that's a good point. And one that I haven't really even thought about up until now, either, is just the competency level of your clients, I think we all assume that most people are... At least they've heard of SEO. And I think it's pretty common that any time that you specialize or you work in a certain field, you just assume everyone knows what you're talking about, right, and... Yes, reality is like... I can tell a lot of people I know that are extremely tech savvy that I do SEO... And I'll still get people that are like, I don't understand, what is that? And these are savvy people, they're not in the dark ages, and I think just being able to... Having the SEO wiz that walks through and having another tool, even though is trying to be more in-depth, I can see where that'd be difficult because each step would almost have to be like a lesson, like the shoes example, how do you explain to someone like you need to identify a unique paying point, and then people are like, “Well, I don't know” and if you're not in marketing, if you're not actively looking for these issues and these bottlenecks in your funnel, or where you're going, you're not going to be able to readily be like, oh, I sell pizza in downtown Boise, Idaho, and I'm open extra late.


0:28:59.1 Ben: How... You can get how you get visibility, but if you type in shoes, you're competing with hundreds of millions of other people somewhere in the world to do it. And you’re competing with And then once you get done with that and if you were to implement that tool and someone put in shoes, then they're gonna come back to you and be like, Mordy, what the heck this is garbage.


0:29:23.9 Mordy: I'm not ranking for shoes, and you're laughing, but they don't get it, but I love 'cause I... they shouldn't get it. By analogy is, you know the whole thing with... What was it? GameStop recently, right? So, okay, I'm not into stocks at all. But, I know what a short is, but I couldn't remember what it was, I'm like, Oh, I'm gonna go to research what a short is again. Alright, fine, and it took me a few videos and I already knew what it was, but I had to get refreshed, so we kind of like, I know about stocks, I know the stock market went up, I know it crashed blah, blah. But once you start if you throw a term at me, even a basic stock finance term, I have completely shut down. It's like, please, please. I don't want anything to do with this, but it's sort of like that when you say something, like title tag and your keywords and blah, blah, blah, it sounds really simple to us, but it's a different way of thinking, that's really what it is.


0:30:34.4 Mordy: Okay, it's a completely different way of thinking. And what you're trying to show the user and they're really smart, they're really professional, they just don't understand this way of thinking about things, and I've spent the better part of the last two weeks, we're updating our videos inside of the product about this, about how do you write a title tag, how do you think about your keywords, what is SEO?... and it gets really hard. You have two or three minutes and it’s all you have to get them at least thinking about things differently, and what you're trying to do is you're trying to shift their mindset a little bit, and then you're trying to lead them to the next step... Okay, great. We're launching our new CEO education hub. Maybe you wanna check out this article? So you're trying to guide them along their search journey there, their SEO journey, and you only have a limited amount of time at each step of the way to get them hooked to the next step. And it's not about telling them how to do SEO. And I know I’m going off a little bit of a tangent here about this, but if you're talking with a small business or you're talking with an entrepreneur or you’re talking with a big business that has nothing to do with SEO.


0:31:46.0 Mordy: I think it's really important, I'm saying as a former teacher to scaffold this and to realize that it's not about telling them how it works versus trying to get them into a certain way of thinking about things. As opposed to giving them the fish or teaching them how to fish, kind of thing. It's really, really important. And I think that if you have a good close CMS, that's something that you could theoretically get... Because again, here we have a whole SEO education team. There's a whole group of people trying to think about how are you just gonna come in who may be really, really smart and intelligent, but may have no idea about SEO, and that's actually important for... Okay. That's actually important for you.


0:32:26.8 Ben: I've had a SEO coming to me and say, Hey, Mordy, X, Y and Z about images and Wix how does this work, I really would like to update your content about this, and we are updating our content about this because it makes my life harder trying to explain it to them. Yeah, that's a good point too, is just being able to... By you guys providing those videos, it gives even the developers or the designers of the SEOs the ability to quickly say, “Hey, this is the in and out of what you need to focus on.” Yeah, it's setting expectations. I don't think you're gonna rank number one really quickly for all these keywords, don't think this, don't think that... Let's give you a certain mindset, a way of thinking about SEO as a long-term kind of process.


0:33:12.4 Mordy: So that when you do go to somebody, you don't expect really quick results, because what's gonna happen? Okay, let's say they go to a really good SEO and that SEO is gonna tell them, “Hey, you know, it's gonna take us six months to really do this. But if their expectations are gonna rank in three days, you're gonna drop you like it's hot, and they're gonna go to say some really scammy spammy SEO person, and they're gonna get ripped off. Now, nobody's happy. That's good for nobody. Except for the spammy links guy. They always make out like bandits in all of us, and somehow every SEO conversation comes back as spammy link builders.


0:33:48.1 Ben: We need to get away from that stigma. I think that it also is... It's something that we see at Page One Power a lot. I think that we try to do conversations like this even is like we're trying to educate everyone, anyone that wants to talk about SEO, whether you are a mom and pop shop, whether you're an SEO, whether you're an agency, whether you're a competitor, we're just here to have conversations, and I think that what we end up doing is even when we are on sales calls or we're talking with potential clients, or we'll talk with a client and they'll be like, “Well, we don't think that we are ready to invest X amount of dollars,” and so they're like, “Well, we'll come back to you.” And then like five or six weeks later, they come back and they're like, “This is way more complex and harder than we ever imagined, please I will give you any amount of money,” that's what it is... You can go as deep as you want with it, and I think that there's always going to be more to keep learning, as with a lot of topics, of course.


0:35:09.5 Ben: But we're almost like just giving people, giving away like what we do, and we're like, “Hey, it's not that we have some crazy secret sauce or something, it's like we just have a lot of experience doing it. And we have the right people doing it.” It's like, how much content can you produce, what's the quality of the content? And once people start seeing that like, Okay, I need to be producing X number of blog posts per month about very specific research topics, and they have to be like, well researched, not just like, “Oh, I'm gonna type out a blog post on my phone while I'm on a plane or something” this has to be something that's in depth, and I think once people really start grasping how important and how intimate of a process it can be, then people are just kind of like, Oh okay, I'm gonna get back to focusing on my massage therapy or whatever, and then they're like, I'm gonna pay, you, please do this, because I'm not gonna be able to spend the time. We're in the process, implement the process, learn from my mistakes in the process, make adjustments, refine. That huge thing, it could be years in the making, as opposed to taking six months to hire a really good link builder, but it's not for everyone, so it's tricky that way too. Yeah.


0:36:33.8 Mordy: That's the whole thing. Let’s apply that across the board. You're trying to do this for SEO, you're trying to do your design, you're trying to do it with a bunch of different things for your website. And it becomes really hard and really complicated. But that goes better with something I think you're talking about earlier. It all depends what kind of SEO you are. What do you focus on? If you're focused, you're... And there's more than one way to skin a cat in SEO. And I know there's like... I think there's currently... I feel like there's this petty little fight between content SEO versus technical SEO, and it's creating great now because now Google is sort of chiming in with the whole content thing, write good content, write good content, and the only time I talk about the core updates, they have a whole thing about content and authority, blah, blah... Let's be unbiased about this, for a moment, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and if you're a really technical SEO and that's how you improve a site and it can improve a site.


0:37:34.7 Mordy: Look, let's take speed for example. So currently speed according to Google is a teeny-tiny ranking back there, it sort of comes into play when you have multiple sites that are basically the same... And what's the tipping point? This one's really much faster. Fine, let's go with that for a second. So if that's your thing, if your thing is finding those sites, taking those sites, optimizing the crap out of them and chipping that site to the tipping point where now it'll rank over the other sites. Great, that's what you should be doing, and you know why? You shouldn't be using Squarespace, you shouldn't be using Wix, you shouldn't be using Shopify, you probably shouldn't be using WordPress, you should probably do a custom. But fine, you're using WordPress and that's what you should be doing, but if you're a content SEO and you don't wanna have to focus on those things. And you wanna say, You know what, this is fine for what I need. It's really good. Could I do better if I was to develop and totally focused on it myself? Maybe, probably a good chance, but it allows me to be the SEO that I wanna be and SEO that I need to be for my clients, then go for it and do that.


0:38:40.8 Mordy: It's, again, different folks for different strokes, and it really all depends on what type of SEO you are, what your client goals are, what kind of like what's your outlook? And I say I'm all in on the idea of running really highly detailed, really highly nuanced content and creating a really strong set identity over doing technical SEO. So that's where I stand. You might disagree with me and I'm open to that conversation, and I understand why you would disagree with me about that, or why you have more focus on links, more focus on the technical underpinnings of the strike, the infrastructure. I get all of that, but if you understand who you are as an SEO and what you need, then you should find the CMS as best that you, and do that. Forget the client for a second, so I'm not saying to forget the client, but for your own sake, and I know you're afraid that the SEO found out you were using a closed CMS, I cut off the corner of your SEO card.


0:39:46.0 Mordy: That you're kicked out, no one will let you with the clubhouse anymore if you are. Right. But just do what's best for you.


0:39:58.4 Ben: And I think that's true also. If you can get the job done if you're getting your clients like results, like... Who cares? To me, it’s true, totally true since our first kind of introductory call, and when you presented this idea to me, I've been really kind of ruminating on it and I have kind of changed my mind on what about... I think you've done a good job of being the liaison between… And by the way, every time someone says that I get a dollar from Wix, so...


0:40:33.5 Ben: Alright, well, yeah, I've really changed my mind. I have this recording on repeat, but I have... I definitely understand. It's more about, I think that so often, again, that especially being in SEO or being SEO or whatnot, that we always view ranking or ranking number one or whatnot as literally the end product, like the end result of what we're doing. Like if I'm saying, Hey, I helped rank this client and I got them on page one, that to me is like, Alright, we're done. Like we did it. But, at the same time, it's not the end of the journey. The end of the journey is like the business owner depositing money in the bank, like you've helped them get traffic, and not just traffic, but qualified traffic. Correct, you're hoping that qualified traffic down their funnel. So I think that having that mindset, it's not just about like, Okay, what do I have to do in order to get here? It's like, What can I do that's gonna best suit the customer in order to get the money in their bank, 'cause that's what they’re paying us for...


0:41:49.4 Mordy: I was talking to Eli Schwartz, if you know him, he used to be the head of SEO at Survey Monkey. Okay, and now he's an independent consultant, then we were talking and he said he was pitching a really big client and he was pushing against a big SEO agency, and the SEO agency, their entire proposal was about super hyper-specific technical audits, we’ll audit every word, every letter, every page, every pixel of your page to the end, to the great. And he came in, I was like, I'll grow your business organically. And they gave him the contract because they don't care about redirects... And I feel like in the culture of... I think if I had to pinpoint... Where does this come in? This whole idea that a closed CMS is bad, I think it comes from the idea that there's a lot of SEO culture out there about... I'll say it about showing off how smart you are... I am awesome. Look at me. I am so smart. Here's a bunch of technical things that I just said on Twitter.


0:43:10.9 Ben: There are gonna be some people that are upset, Oh.


0:43:14.0 Mordy: I'm totally sure five people just unfollowed me on Twitter. And there's this culture of like, Okay, so SEO needs to be hyper-technical all the time, and I'm not saying there's not that element, I'm not saying that's not a good thing. And if I'm not hyper-technical, I'm not a good SEO. And if I go with a close CMS, I must not be hyper-technical. And that whole dynamic is just wrong from start to finish. There's different types of SEOs for different types of things. If I went to a really good technical SEO, they'd be able to do things that I cannot do. But you, if you want to build your site's content and create authority and to create that identity, then I'm probably better than 20 million technical SEO, and not because I'm so great because it's not what technical SEOs do. And that's sort of positioning or jockeying within the SEO industry of like, I'll call SEO elitism. And you see this, by the way, in terms of the site, see, SEOs go on Twitter and it's just they go wherever they go, it seems at every site they work on is some sort of a major enterprise site and is like, Where are all these sites? Because I just don't see them on the web, or there must be an over abundance of them that you just can't find, which means you're doing terrible SEO because I can’t find them.


0:44:35.2 Mordy: Right. And by the way, localists, they got crapped on for years in the industry or just localists SEO, branded keywords. As if branded keywords were not really important, but... okay. Yeah, seriously, what don't you want people to... search for you by brand name. Isn't that the entire point? I wanna be as big as Microsoft, that people google me by name, Leave that aside. But people crapped on localists forever like, Oh, just... Yeah, open my GMB listing, put the address in, big whoop. Local is huge though. Local is huge, right? And out of the number of local sites that are out there, how many are there that are these ginormous 5 million page enterprise sites? Not, not a whole lot, right? So we're talking about an industry that looks at websites from a completely elitist point of view, it creates an entire culture that impacts... Forget CMSs for a minute, that impacts how we think about SEO. And it's completely not in tune with reality.


0:45:52.1 Ben: Yeah, that's true. I guess another thing that I guess I never really thought about. We've talked with a lot of people about local SEO and what kind of movement you can see and how important that can be, especially for smaller businesses, for smaller startups, and you don't really... I mean, there's a few people, and we've talked with them, there's some people that definitely flex their local SEO knowledge and get a lot of props for it, and people love it, but I see it a lot where it is... It's like if you're not working on, you don't know what you're doing, and it's like... Not really. Yeah, it is. I like what you said, where you said it's about trying to sound smart or people wanting to sound smart, and I think that there's a lot of truth to that, and I think that it's almost like hindering progress inside of being able to progress. Or push the community or the industry forward.


0:46:57.6 Mordy: Yeah, and we're not giving... We're not offering users, our own users, real solid content, they can understand. We're leaving it to... We all complain about certain people in the industry, I'm not gonna name names, everyone's going to them for the rest of your content, but you know what? You're not creating it. One of the people who I love in the industry, Carolyn Liden, she's actually now the search Director at Search Engine Land, so she had a local SEO business and her content was not about Bert and 50-page thesis about Bert, which I'm not against... I really find this so interesting personally. It was about explaining the algorithm to the average person, and she did it really, really well, and it was really translatable, it was really digestible, and it really was... It was substantial and it was assimilated to the average person at the same time. And that's what we should do, we should be focused on the really deep content stuff and please must not forget about that, that's what I like to write. But we should also be focused on creating really good content for the average person to understand what SEO is at the same time, and we don't focus on that because we're also focused on showing off a smart...


0:48:11.9 Ben: I don't think you're far off though. It looks like we have another question. Another question for Mordy to please, what should an SEO have that you would recommend to Wix customers. Say, What's that again?


0:48:30.7 Mordy: In terms of the product?


0:48:32.5 Ben: Not quite sure. Can you maybe give us a little bit more to that question there, Alexander? Yeah, I've also always looked at it as just being able to... Being able to explain high level, I think is really important so that people can at least wrap their head around it, when people ask what I do, I tell them, I try to get... I work for an agency that helps people's websites get more traffic, that's what it is. Once you kinda get that, then it's like, Oh, okay, well, how do you do that? While there are certain things that you can write for the blog so that people will search for it, Google will pick up certain keywords inside of there, and you just... You start really large and then you just slowly start gradually getting more specific until you kinda get the aha moment where it's like, Oh, okay, I understand why this is super important. Alexander syas, “Which qualities?” What mindset on SEO have when using Wix? Okay.


0:49:34.8 Mordy: Got it. Okay, that's a good question. I should... You should understand that there's a lot that we're doing for you out of the box, or that doesn't mean there isn't a lot you can't do... There's a lot you can do. Look... Wix is a full stack development tool, so if you're into coding JavaScript, you wanted to create a database and you wanted to have a say, and at the end of November, you wanted all of your pages to say, all your product page to say Black Friday sale, or even put that in the title tag, and you wanted to pull up in a database using JavaScript, we have a developer tool that can do that and then automatically change that for you on December first to say Christmas Sale, but at the same time, we have out of the box markup that the user doesn't have to do or... I'm trying to think of... If you don't enter a title we create one for you, pull it off the page, or images, we convert everything for you automatically, the web when it's appropriate, when the browser can support it. Whatever is that we're doing on the back end for you know that that's there, but then also know that doesn't mean...


0:50:47.6 Mordy: This is like what I'm trying to say to people like, Just because it's a close CMS doesn't mean you can't customize it. If you wanted to access your robust ATX file, you wanted to disallow certain pages, you can do that. Don't think you're limited because you're using a close CMS, understand that there's a lot that you can do. So there's a lot you may not have to do if you're happy with the product scheme we're creating for you, then as an SEO, you don't have to do anything if you like to add a specific property in, then fine, you can do that with a development tool. Don't feel like you're stuck. And if you do feel like you're stuck, so then ask, there's a whole support team, they get the economy of scale and see how you can do it, see how you can work around it, so you see what's available to you, but just don't feel like you're stuck. 'cause you're not...


0:51:45.5 Ben: So I was curious how much of this... 'cause you touched on a little bit earlier, and you're saying, I don't fully understand why there is this continued negative bias towards close CMS or towards, let's say Wix or Squarespace or any these platforms. And do you think that it's just... And I know this is kind of like even your position now, do you think that it's a lack of education on the part of the community, not knowing that these things exist, or that it’s... Do you still think that there is kind of like, I'm gonna turn my nose up and just not even look at it because it's not sounding smart.


0:52:32.4 Mordy: I think it's the perfect storm. Wix is a great example of this actually. It's a combination of people who don't know what's actually there, it's a combination of the fact that certain... There are CMSs that are closely CMSs that are not good. They're just not... And I'm not putting my thumb on that scale and all... You will not get my opinion about that, but they're ones that are just really not good for SEO. I don’t think they've even claimed to be good at SEO, I don't know what they're trying to do. Then there's the perception of, people will think of Wix in like 10 years. I'll get a question like, “Do you guys all use flash?” does anybody still use flash... What are you talking about? Well, you use hash bang URLS make... Have you actually seen a Wix site? There's no hash bang URL, you can fully customize the site. Now, I’m selling us a little bit, we're doing fully customized URL relatively soon. It's in QA. Okay, that's what I mean, like you're talking about a close CMS telling you that they're releasing fully customized URLsin the very near future, obviously, there's something not right about how we're thinking about close CMS in Wix particular case.


0:53:48.9 Mordy: I think it has to do a lot with what Wix was, and it made sense for Wix to be that maybe 10 years ago, 'cause we were, Hey, we're a flash. 10 years ago, people getting stuck in that mindset, and  SEOs are really bad this in particularly thing is that we hear one thing, that's it. Done. And that's why you have SEOs still optimizing sites like it's 1995, 'cause that's what we heard and that’s what we're doing now. I don't wanna hear it. And with Wix in particular, there was a lot of miscommunication. My favorite is the Superbowl ad. For football fans, I remember watching this, I was down at Wix. Like everyone in SEO I was offended. So I was offended when Wix said It's easy to do SEO with Wix, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I never know exactly what they said, all I know is I was offended, but now I work with those people, and I can tell you something very clearly... No one was thinking, Hey, you know what's a really good idea? Let's make SEO and really super easy and piss off all the SEOs in the whole world.


0:54:57.6 Mordy: No one was actually saying that. That was not how that was pitched. You were paying millions of dollars for a 30-second spot. You're trying to talk to people who know nothing about SEO, but SEO is kind of important. So you said X and it's a complete Comedy of Errors... That sticks. So you have... The CMSs are not what they used to be. But people don't know that you have the idea, you have the SEO elitism, and you have missteps, Mis-communications by brands, not just Wix, but mis-communications by brands around SEO that don't really reflect what the brand really feels about SEO. Take Shopify, there's a whole thing a couple of months ago, it was I don’t remember exactly what happened, CEO of Shopify something SEO, Baba, bah, blah, blah. Yeah. Okay, but they hired Kami Jenkins and they hired Kevin Inding. Do you really think they don't like SEO?


0:56:07.7 Ben: I think they're on the side of understanding, of knowing how important it is. I think that the implementation and the broadcasting of that to maybe some of their customers or potential customers... 


0:56:24.1 Mordy: That was not good. Right, but that's what I mean like, I don't know what's going on there, but to say as a CMS that they're not serious about SEO, I don't get that, as a competitor, I don't feel that message from them, I feel like they’re very serious about SEO.


0:56:37.6 Ben: And I think everyone is, I think... I don't know if there's anyone out there... You mentioned that there might be some other platforms that maybe are not championing SEO, but I don't... I can't possibly imagine that there's a single website platform out there in existence that hasn't had a very serious discussion about SEO. Yeah it's like the nature of the beast, if you're living on the web, it's like, how do you want your people to get there, like you have to do SEO.


0:57:06.2 Mordy: 100% and they're making a decision and they maybe making a decision that the SEO don't like and I don't like... And I think it's even if they're not investing in SEO, I think that's stupid. I'm not saying that because I'm an SEO, it’s because there is an intrinsic relation between the website and Google or search engines... Okay, Google. And just be honest, call it like it is just for second, I love that Google doesn't track my site, but they're search results suck. And for whatever reason they're not focused, I don't remember, they can’t... Maybe they're just tied up in something else right now, remember they made a conscious decision like X Y Z is more important at the moment, I don't know, whatever it is, that's a foolish decision that they're making, if that's the case, but I don't think they're making it the various... We don't like SEO, I mean unless they're insane.


0:58:05.9 Mordy: We thrive with zero marketing. I love that, I love when SEOs crap on marketing, if you realize it's called search marketers.


0:58:11.2 Ben: Right? It's one in the same... It's right there. So yeah, it does change, I think my perspective a bit on understanding... I think, again, taking a step beyond SEO as the final product. The final product is what you are delivering the tool you're delivering to your client, and if your client doesn't have an in-house, so if your client doesn't already understand or have a good solid foundation, or they're not the type of person that's gonna spend a bunch of time, there are other options out there. And I think that I fell victim of the idea of 10 years ago like, Oh this is... It doesn't work very well, I just ignore it. And then you just kinda have the blinders on and you're like, Okay, this is the way to go, this is the way to go, this is a way to go, and then you wake up, all these other things are developing and growing in the background, and because you have your blinders on, you can't see what's being built right beside you, that's


0:59:19.4 Mordy: Literally what it is basically. And I kinda get that, I feel okay. I'm just like adding one point on that, sometimes the idea of feeling in control is really important, it let's just talk about marketers for a minute, okay. You may not actually be in control, you may never actually use that control, but the fact that you have that control, psychologically speaking, is really important, and I get that, but that doesn't mean that the platform that you're using with a question, whatever it is, is perfect it's not... So I feel like you look at a closed CMS and none of them are perfect. I don't think not. Should they be... Nothing is perfect, right? So you look at them, Okay, they have this problem, and this one has that problem, and this one is that problem... So I'm trying to tell people like, Look, like, look at what works for you in a CMS, what's there and what's not there. 'cause nothing is gonna be 100% and you need to make a decision, but it's the same way with an open CMS also it's not perfect. Don't be fooled by the fact that you feel like you're in control doesn't necessarily mean that you are in control.


1:00:34.7 Ben: Yeah, that's a really good point. The illusion of not being able to do something, and I think that even for SEO is like... I've found myself looking into the back end of a friend's website and I was like on a closed platform and it's just like, Oh well, I can't find these customizations and I gotta dig through all these menus and then I kinda was a little mad about it, and then I started thinking, I was like, Man, the first time that I tried working on a WordPress site... I still will have points when I'm working on WordPress where I'm like, dude what the heck... What is this? Yeah, and it's still difficult, and I've been working on WordPress sites for years, not every single day, but I'm familiar enough with them that I know my way around, but it's like still, still even with all of that knowledge and the infinite knowledge of the internet, my site might be broken for days or weeks at a time, it's tough.


1:01:38.7 Mordy: It's gonna be like that. Nothing's ever gonna be 100% perfect, you're never gonna have 100% knowledge. Even with using Wix, you're not gonna have 100% knowledge of the platform. How do I do this? I used to work for an SEO software, say, SEO software is a good example, how many people have multiple softwares, because none of them are perfect. Right. I used to work at an SEO software company. And they're like, Wait, how do I do this? Right, I didn’t know how to do it. I didn't know that. I do know that if it existed, and there were the things that were not perfect about our software, and that was fine, because it's not going to be perfect, like when you're sitting there thinking about... When I used to talk about Rank Ranger, and I still talk about ranking, I like... It's a great tool, I love it. A little plug for Rank Rancher. If you're looking for discovery research, you wanna analyze domains to understand them, that's not the tool for you, some are just a much better tool for that. But if you're trying to understand what's actually happening on the... For your keywords in a really nuanced kind of way...


1:02:50.0 Mordy: Then that's a great tool for you. Does that make SEM Rush better than Rank Range or a Rank Ranger better than SEM Rush? Absolutely not, it just depends on what you need. It's again, I don't know why that's a complicated thought, it's not... We do it all the time, except for CMSs.


1:03:09.9 Ben: I think it all ties back to, like you mentioned, it's kind of the perfect storm of just as things are developing, and I think that as SEO industry was burgeoning in the 90s, I think that it kind of got stuck in, for most people, but like this is the way to go, this is what you have to do. And especially when you have larger CEOs or influential SEOs in the space that are like, “This is the way to go, this is the way to go,” That's what works for them. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's always gonna be a perfect solution.


1:03:46.7 Mordy: And it's changing. I think the whole industry is changing, the people are changing, I think back even just like four or five years ago, the people who are talking now and just the people who are talking then. Yeah, the OGs are still there. But some of them are not. In terms of being an active voice in the community, those have changed and that's fine, and they're out and they bring new people, bring a new outlook and a new perspective in a new way of doing things, and that kind of makes sense because Google is kind of evolving as well, so you kind of see the sands of SEO are shifting a little bit, which is really interesting to be in it and watching that happen.


1:04:35.2 Ben: Yeah, and well, hopefully with this episode, we can... Maybe we shift those sands a little bit more and push people into maybe exploring outside of their comfort zone and maybe looking at different options, it might be a better solution even for their own clients.


1:04:52.0 Mordy: You don't have much to lose. You can play around with the closed CMS, you don't have to buy it, you can... generally speaking, you only have to buy it when you wanna connect your domain or create a custom domain, so you can see what's there beforehand.


1:05:09.2 Ben: And I think that's what everyone should do. I think just with any endeavor in life, I think that it's always good just to see what else is out there, like program, to see if you are missing out on something, because there might be a much better solution or it might save your clients having to call you back, or you the headache of trying to figure out what they did to break it. I think that if you are able to... I'm just thinking of even the hand-off, if you're packaging something up with the hand off to the client, and you can have really easy to-follow process guides and stuff that walk them through what they need to do, then it's probably gonna make for a happier client in the end, yes, they're not breathing their site every three months. Yeah, right, exactly. Yeah. Awesome, that's a call that good, right there. I think that that is a good place to end it. The idea of just, explore something else I try to find... Try to find maybe a new avenue to explore that even if it's not for you, that's fine, it's not any skin off your back, if you wanna just check it out, and it could be that's very valuable for your customers.


1:06:36.9 Ben: Absolutely. Awesome, well, cool. Let's finish it up right there more... I appreciate you joining me. I know it's late there. No it's perfect timing. Well, I appreciate it. Thank you guys for tuning in, we appreciate you guys joining us for this episode of SEO from home, we are gonna get this recorded version up a little bit later today, if you guys have any other questions, you can always reach just on Twitter at Page One Power as well as Mordy at Mordy Oberstein. If you guys have any other questions, let us know. Until next time, take it easy and stay safe out there, guys. See ya Mordy. Thanks. See you guys.

Ben Jacobsen

Ben Jacobsen: Marketer, Photographer, and perpetual tinkerer. If he isn't behind a keyboard, he's traveling in the mountains looking for the next adventure.