Botify Partners with WordPress VIP to Bring Enterprise SEO Software to the Platform’s Largest Sites

By The Botify Team

We’re thrilled to welcome WordPress VIP into our partner ecosystem and join their network of best-of-breed technology partners as the first enterprise SEO technology partner to address the unique challenges of the largest, most complex websites on WordPress.  

In WordPress VIP’s own words, its Technology Partners are “market leaders in their product categories. Each has a clear product story that maps to enterprise customer needs and go-to-market capabilities. We closely vet every partner to identify companies with the resources and expertise to support our customers using WordPress at scale.”

Content is the heart of modern customer experiences. We’re excited to partner with Botify to deliver best-in-class SEO capabilities to help our customers drive maximum value.

Nick Gernert, WordPress VIP CEO

What is WordPress VIP?

The WordPress brand is ubiquitous in the world of digital content management, hosting millions of websites representing more than ⅓ of the web.   

In 2007, Automattic (the brand behind, Tumblr, WooCommerce, and more) launched WordPress VIP, their premium offering designed specifically to serve their largest, highest-trafficked websites.WordPress VIP focuses on enterprise and large-scale content management, offering powerful hosting, flexible infrastructure, and unmatched performance and security. 

Today, WordPress VIP powers the websites of some of the most recognizable media and marketing brands in the world such as News Corp, CNN, Penske Media Group, Hachette Book Group, TechCrunch, Facebook, and more. 

What does digital publishing look like in 2020?

Managing some of the largest, most-frequently updated websites out there, digital publishers and media teams need a reliable SEO platform to address a multitude of challenges, but we’d be remiss in discussing them them without acknowledging the upheaval in the industry during 2020 – and the speed at which publishers were forced to pivot. 

Regardless of publication type, industry focus, audience profile, or revenue model, there wasn’t any media brand that was exempt from experiencing something completely unprecedented in 2020. Media consumption skyrocketed, ad revenue dipped, paywalls came down, and sentiments around paid subscriptions shifted.  Nonetheless, the common thread among publishers remained: produce engaging, relevant content.  

Some publication examples include:

  • Mainstream news publications, such as The Wall Street Journal and The NY Times, publishing hundreds of articles a day, covering the latest, breaking news all while facing heightened customer demand for up-to-the-minute, accurate details on everything from a global pandemic to the state of our economy to the highly-anticipated presidential election;
  • Trade publications like Search Engine Journal, sharing data and insights around changing online behaviors under lockdown, while advising on how businesses can respond;
  • Speciality informational websites such as WebMD, tackling never-before-seen medical queries about the novel Coronavirus; 
  • Online magazines, such as Elle Decor, seeking to inspire readers with a newfound interest in home office design;
  • and more

And with the wealth of content available and the increasing number of competing publications, time to publish, indexing, and ranking is critical. 

Common SEO challenges for publishers

1. High volume and frequency of content

As we mentioned above, some publishers such as news sites can be publishing hundreds of articles every single day. The sheer volume and rate of content makes these websites more susceptible to issues that strain or exhaust crawl budgets. 

For publisher SEOs, it’s especially important to understand if search engines are coming back to the website with regular frequency – if not daily – and what URLs they are crawling.

And since we know that pages that aren’t crawled won’t be indexed, and in turn, can’t rank or earn organic traffic, it’s even more imperative to know what URLs the search engines are discovering.

Botify’s LogAnalyzer enables SEOs to easily understand which website pages are being seen – and which are being missed, with data to determine why and guide you to optimize accordingly.  We do so by ingesting log files and if your website is built on WordPress VIP Go, our partnership ensures we can easily bring this data into Botify for analysis.

When content has an expiration date, speed is the name of the game. In addition to maintaining a clean and logical site structure, where new articles are easily accessible from the home page, there are additional solutions to consider. 

FastIndex, Botify’s partnership with Bing, supports the direct submission of new content to the search engine via API, promoting indexation in near real-time. And for news sites, automatically generating News XML sitemaps indiciates to Google and other search engines specific news pieces and speeds up the indexing process. 

Furthermore, older content pieces have a greater tendency to live deeper on the site or become orphaned, both of which contribute to poor rankings and little or no search traffic. And because we know that Google favors fresh content, it’s important not to neglect content that hasn’t been updated in some time.  While content freshness may not necessarily have a great impact on crawl frequency, we’ve seen it have an impact on better rankings. 

2. Identifying evergreen content

In some cases, old content becomes irrelevant, but in many scenarios, older content can retain value, contribute to meaningful traffic over a long period of time, and serve the needs of readers. This is what’s known as evergreen content. 

Publishers with tens of millions of pages can struggle with identifying their evergreen content. With Botify’s aptly named Evergreen Content Finder, it’s simple to pinpoint content that has lived on the site for more than a defined set of time (we like three months) AND has received traffic within the past month.

Not surprisingly, the keywords and language used in a piece of content are often tied to its  longevity. According to Wordstream, “Evergreen web content has (virtually) no expiration date and ideally will retain its value over the long-term. Anything written about this year’s presidential election, for example, is not evergreen content because it will become obsolete six months from now and many keywords associated with that topic will end up in the Google graveyard, never to be searched again.”

That is often true with timely stats, events, and trends.  On occasion, however, new keywords and phrases pop up in our vernacular. Take, for example, “social distancing” which didn’t really exist prior to 2020 and whose usage went from zero to sixty, seemingly overnight.

Claudio Cabrera, who leads SEO for The NY Times, discussed this in a recent podcast interview with Own Thy Audience. He explains his overall philosophy and process for collaborating with his editorial team and how they work together to develop educational, more evergreen content when he spots interesting keyword opportunities, especially when the terms have the likelihood to stick around.  Botify’s RealKeywords, which tracks the actual searcher queries driving visitors to your website – sometimes unexpected –  as well Google Trends are invaluable to SEOs.

3.  Important content hidden behind JavaScript

Publisher SEOs, like in any industry, are not exempt from the challenges caused by JavaScript. Some common examples specific to news and media sites include:

  • Paywalls
  • “Read more” buttons
  • Recommended articles
  • Ads and sponsored articles
  • UGC such as article comments and reviews

Every publisher has a unique audience growth and revenue strategy that makes sense for them, but regardless of the strategy, generating organic traffic is critical to success, which means ensuring that any JavaScript-loaded content they want indexed isn’t blocked from search engines.  

Dynamic rendering is one recommended method to help search engine bots discover more of your JavaScript website and faster, maximizing render budget, and subsequently, your bottom line. 

Transparency into JavaScript-related  issues gives you the information needed to correct course, and maximize organic search potential. But with a unified data model, the value doesn’t stop there; you can also easily tie SEO KPIs and revenue generating metrics.  

Publisher SEO in action

This just scratches the surface with regard to the unique challenges publisher SEOs face, but you can take a deeper dive into publisher SEO and read what you, the SEO community, shared with Botify. You can also check out this story about Refinery29’s SEO team.  

Get more articles like this in your inbox monthly!