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Sebastian: Welcome to the SEO show. This episode we have Serge Bezborodov. Serge, welcome to the show.
Serge: Welcome, Sebastian. How are you?
Sebastian: Good man. So, Serge, you’re the CTO at JetOctopus, which appears to be a crawler and log analyzer software. Is that right so far?
Serge: Yes, log analyzer and SEO suite with different modules inside.
Sebastian: I guess I’ll start with the most obvious question. Most SEOs already use some sort of crawler such as Screaming Frog or Content King. What makes JetOctopus unique and what misconceptions do people have about JetOctopus when they first hear about it?
Serge: First of all JetOctopus is not so old. As a crawler, it was like three years of development. But publicly available for maybe one year and a half, and our target is big websites and when I say big websites, I mean 10 million pages, 50, 100 million of pages and more. And what makes us unique, we have unlimited packages. So you can crawl how many pages you want — even all of Amazon.com. That’s the first thing.
Sebastian: Right. So, in a perfect scenario, you’d say it’s more for enterprise companies where they have millions of pages that’s where JetOctopus is a perfect fit as compared to one of those other crawlers, which only seem to have a max or they cap out at a certain amount of URLs, is that right?
Serge: Yes, right. And I can continue about how we have different integrations, modules like overlapping data from different sources but many crawlers are different to be honest. We have one detail and that is our crawler is different.
Sebastian: Is there a certain type of website that would benefit the most from JetOctopus say like an eCommerce or some other kind of website?
Serge: Catalog websites for example. Regular ecommerce websites, classifieds and different catalogs for example job aggregators, where you have millions of similar pages and not unique content for example publisher websites. It’s very important to see the whole website and see how you interlink pages between each other because it’s a catalogue, you have almost nothing from a unique content standpoint.
Sebastian: Now, a lot of SEOs, they like to do this thing where they compare two pieces of software together and there’s always some sort of disagreement between them. Another famous one is Ahrefs vs SEMrush, for example, and it doesn’t ever seem to be any consensus on it. Is there one main competitor that people always compare you to and is there some sort of misconception there?
Serge: Yes. It’s a tool that everybody knows like Screaming Frog. Because even on big enterprise websites, SEOs use Screaming Frog because it’s well known. I can compare from, like, I’m a developer and every developer — almost every popular database is MySQL. Everybody knows this database. It’s not a good choice, really. There are other databases but I am a developer for 10 years and I’ve known MySQL for 10 years. It’s the same situation with Screaming Frog and other crawlers because it’s very common and a lot of guides and materials like to use it from experience of course.
Sebastian: Cool. Well, let’s switch to tactics. Now as SEOs, we love to work with WordPress. But if you had to make a choice what CMS would you choose to work with?
Serge: It’s comparable to what you want to do. If you want to do some simple blog website or corporate websites WordPpress, it’s a good choice. It’s a good choice for me as like for manager. But when the developer inside me says that WordPress is terrible to develop plugins for it because it’s a very legacy source code, but it’s a good product and as we know more than 40% of websites work on WordPress. The market said it’s a good choice.
Sebastian: And if you guys have to conduct keyword research, do you use tools like Keyword Revealer or KWFinder or do you guys have an entirely different approach to that?
Serge: Our approach is when — we talk with enterprise clients that we are all about technical and we even don’t know for example what a backlink is. We don’t know what a good backlink is or what a bad backlink is. And about keywords, we have only Google Search Console and nothing more. Because it’s true data, it’s not all data, yes it’s sampled but it’s your data from Google with dynamics for every day and in my opinion, it’s the best place to start or to work with keywords.
Sebastian: Do you find that you have a lot of clients who reach out to you guys for consulting or they want some advice? In those kinds of scenarios, how do you guys find out what tool you would recommend to them for example?
Serge: For big clients, we have consulting like success team and we like — we’re like a small SEO agency inside to help the clients to deal. Because our approach is not to give you, a big client, a lot of numbers, a lot of charts and do whatever you want with it. Because it’s a big amount of data and we need to help you dive into this data, into arriving at the right conclusion. Because you can have millions of different numbers, but use these numbers must give you a simple answer; is it okay, or is it not okay? Do you need to do something there or not to do and nothing else matters.
Sebastian: And in these technical reports that JetOctopus generates for a lot of clients, is there one main problem that you see a lot of websites doing and is it just like a simple fix that they just need to do this instead and then they’ll find an out?
Serge: Yes. Another problem, I don’t like canonical text at all. I don’t like it and my opinion, you can not agree with me but my opinion is there is only one proper canonical tag which is self-canonical and nothing else. Because canonical text has a low crawl ratio at whole websites and it goes to the internal link. And when you have for example, product links only from the non-canonical pages, your crawling budget is becoming low because Google don’t want to crawl these almost-trash pages. You need to be very careful to do canonicalization on websites.
Sebastian: Now, some newbie SEOs or even the more advanced SEOs, they don’t know much about server logs. Could you maybe explain what that is and how that can really help SEOs do their job as well?
Serge: Yeah, of course. Server logs, in general, you can take a look at your websites from maybe three perspectives: First of all, open in browser and take a look with your eyes how this website works. Second is, crawl your website and you see how the crawler recognizes your website. And the third point of view is server logs. With server logs, you see how Google or another search engine looks at your website. And it’s very common — incorrect point of thinking that how the crawler views my website, is how Google views it. It’s not correct. Google can see it differently, especially when you have an older website, different technical teams who’ve worked on this website. And with server logs, you see a true picture of how Google perceives it, how many pages Google crawls and you will be very impressed when you recognize that there are pages that Google crawls that don’t exist in your crawl; like in Screaming Frog crawl and JetOctopus crawl and others. And when we started to do log analysis a few years ago, I really worried for example, you have 1 million pages in crawl and there are 3 million pages in Google logs. What are these new 2 million pages? But now I see the cases when you have 1 million pages on websites and 50 million pages on Google. And there are many interesting things you can see in logs and you definitely have to start to work with them. There are some problems with technical guys, because when you come to them and ask for sever logs they answer and say “no”. There are a lot of answers like — “we don’t have free disk space”, “they are disclosed”, “we have a high traffic”, but you have to just say it repeatedly to finally get those logs, nothing else.
Sebastian: So JetOctopus actually provides those server logs at no extra charge?
Serge: Yes, we have very nice integration with server logs which is with two lines of code, and it’s very easy to install for DevOps, for your system administration and sever logs passes via stream to us. We also have integration with Amazon and Cloudflare. And there is no need to use files, FTP uploads, downloads — I hate them. Another thing, you have instant access to your logs. Not more than 30 seconds or one minute in, you will see your logs in our interface without any cache incurred.
Sebastian: Okay, so using JetOctopus for example, I’m not really technical at all. So, would I be able to use JetOctopus to its full capacity and understand everything as a non-technical person?
Serge: Mostly, yes. There is no need to take a look at all the numbers and understand what they mean. But have very simple numbers, crawling budget, and crawling budget in visits in pages you see problems list; how is the dynamics of your problems like orphan pages, like a AJAX URLs etc. And it’s a very easy chart. When you see load time and load time has increased to three seconds for example, there’s no need to talk more. You see that it’s bad and you have to go to your technical guys.
Sebastian: JetOctopus offers a free trial to people so they can try it and see if it’s right for them, is that right?
Serge: Yes of course, you have 10,000 pages to crawl. And for now, but I guess up to the end of this month of October, you also can use log analysis for free in the free trial, but we close it on the first of November.
Sebastian: Hosting wise, is there a particular host that you’d recommend for SEOs because there’s a lot of confusion between which host is the best for SEO but do you have any insights into that?
Serge: I guess there are no problems in a host. I recommend to hire or to find a freelancer wherever a good system administrator — because my opinion is this is may contribute to 80% of your success. Most commonly — and every host, even in Amazon data-center sometimes can have a problem like a tsunami or a crash — every host can work badly but system administration is more important, even moreso than hosting.
Sebastian: That’s interesting. Serge, do you follow any books or blogs or podcasts about marketing and SEO in general?
Serge: Yes, for example, I have anything pinned on top from Bill Slawski. I read his blog, maybe not every day but every week. Very interesting insights. Twitter like a common person who everybody knows like G2 and most of them.
Sebastian: Is Twitter the best place for people to reach out to you if they have any questions, or do you prefer email or Instagram or anything like that?
Serge: Twitter is easier. I prefer email but Twitter is easier and faster.
Sebastian: Serge, bonus hypothetical question. If SEO was to go away tomorrow, what would you find yourself doing instead?
Serge: I’d be a welder.
Sebastian: Really? Interesting. Alright. Hey Serge, thanks so much, man. I appreciate your time.
Serge: Thank you. It’s very nice to talk with you.