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Time for Marketing

20
Jan 2020

#31 - Mark Colgan - Building a lean, mean, lead generating machine with outbound prospecting

Mark (here on LinkedIn) talked at the DMSS 2019 and he is a professional outreacher. His presentation was called Building a lean, mean, lead generating machine with outbound prospecting. And he knows how to help others do it. He is the CRO at TaskDrive.

We have his whole presentation here:

 
Here is the transcript of the talk we had:

Mark Colgan: HubSpot is the biggest advocate of inbound marketing, yet they spent over 60% of their budget in the first few years on outbound. Really, the answer is that inbound alone doesn't work, and you need to support it with outbound prospecting or outbound marketing.

Intro: This is Time For Marketing. The marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference.

Peter: Hello, and welcome to the Time For Marketing podcast. The podcast that brings you marketing conference speakers from all around the world, and takes their presentations, smoosh it up into five minutes, and you have a small package of knowledge. My name is Peter, and I'll be your podcast host.

If you would like to check out the previous episodes, timeformarketing.com, or you can also subscribe to our newsletter, and of course find all the links to the iTunes Google podcast, Stitcher, and every else places where you can listen, and review, and rate, and do all of the great things that you do with podcasts. Today with me is Mark Colgan. Mark is the chief revenue officer at TaskDrive. Mark, hello, and welcome to the podcast.

Mark: Hey, Peter. Thank you very much for having me. I'm really looking forward to sharing the presentation.

Peter: Thank you for being here. Mark, you are a chief revenue officer. What does that mean?

Mark: Yes, that's a great question to start with. A chief revenue officer has a few different definitions, but in my understanding and interpretation, it's somebody who aligns the different departments within a business in order to achieve revenue. Those departments I look after at TaskDrive are marketing, sales, customer success, and product. I make sure there's no silos, and I make sure that our customer is first in terms of our priority. We do everything we can to increase the quality that the customer has with us, which helps us reduce churn, and also helps us increase new customers through the sales and marketing activities too.

Peter: What is TaskDrive? What are you doing?

Mark: Good question. TaskDrive is a service-based business. Our mission is to help b2b sales and marketing teams focus on high-value activities. We do that by offering an outsourced lead generation and data enrichment service. We help companies build new lists of prospects. We also help them enrich existing datas, then we also help companies that sell into enterprise with their account-based insights to helping them expand their reach and increasing their sales velocity by giving them a detailed view of the stakeholders within the decision making process.

Peter: This was a complicated way to say you help companies with their prospects, with their leads, is that right?

Mark: Yes, but it's not just leads because we help them-- A lot of companies are faced with the fact that they have a lot of data that they've amassed over the last few years which has gone fairly out of date, so we also help them with data enrichment. Yes, one of the use cases is lead generation for prospecting.

Peter: Your presentation comes from the Digital Marketing Skillshare Conference that is organized every year in Bali. You were there this year. How was the conference?

Mark: Yes, it was fantastic. A really great conference. They originally started out with an SEO focus but over the last few years, have broadened that out to other tracks. There's people talking about marketing, pay-per-click advertising, as well as email marketing. I covered the outbound sales and prospecting through the presentation there.

Peter: What was your favorite presentation at Bali? Is there one?

Mark: I personally really enjoyed Mark Webster's presentation. He's from Authority Hacker, and he spoke about building and selling online courses, or online IP, basically, your knowledge as a personal interest of mine. I really enjoyed that talk and got a chance to speak with Mark after the event as well.

Peter: Of course, Mark is a big podcaster in the marketing world. I think we should go directly to the presentation. Mark, you spoke on building a lean mean lead generating machine with outbound prospecting. Here are your five minutes. Tell us what your presentation was about?

Mark: Thank you for having open mic, Peter. This presentation was actually around 50 minutes, so I'm going to do my best to bring everything into 5 minutes. I spoke about outbound prospecting, and throughout the presentation, I covered a number of different sections. I started out with what outbound prospecting is, what the four stages of building a lead generating machine is, how you can then scale that outbound prospecting. Then I gave some bonus tips and additional reading, which are all in the slides for those who are listening.

I'll start with outbound prospecting. It really it's a direct channel where you can identify and target customers and directly reach out to them, and introduce them to your company its products and services. The goal of this is to start a conversation, and it's also to position yourself as a trusted adviser. You're not going to sell- especially in the b2b space, you're not going to sell directly to consumers in a cold email, so you need to remember that.

Also, you need to remember that it's just one lead generation strategy, so you've got search engine optimization, social media events, webinars, side projects. Outbound prospecting just fits into your lead gen strategy. It's not the be-all and end-all. It's part of the sales process. It's the beginning part because once you generate leads, you then need to convert those leads by sales calls, or from demos, or free trials, and close them into paying customers, and then you need to fulfill those needs.

Fulfill those customers and deliver the value that you promised, nurture those customers, and ensure they're successful, and hopefully, they become advocates of your business. Outbound prospecting works for most companies who have achieved product-market fit. They have an average order value of over a thousand dollars per year, and you can also scale the delivery of your service or product. It's really important to distinguish those.

Also, as we approach 2020, there's a couple of things that I believe personally you need to do in order to succeed with the outbound prospecting. These are, you have to come from a attitude of offering value and giving without expecting anything in return. You need to understand the buyer's journey of awareness consideration of the decision, and people within your prospects are going to be at different levels of that journey. Also, only 3% of your market are actively buying at any one time, so that means 97% of people aren't looking to buy right now.

If you're selling and pitching to a hundred people, only 3 are actively looking and 97 aren't. You need to make sure that what you're sending in your messaging is building value, and position yourself as a trusted advisor, and not just sending a sales pitch. For the sake of time, I broke down the lead generation machine into four different steps. I'll just go through those in a bit more detail.

The four steps are planning, research, message, and launch. Planning really comes down to understanding who you're trying to target with your ideal customer profile, as well as the individuals within those companies. Those are your buyer personas. The best way to create these is to look at your existing customers and any sales or prospects in the funnel and just identify what they have in common. What pain points do they share, what characteristic characteristics they share as a company?

You then need to move on to understanding what their pain points are, what problems are they trying to achieve or overcome from a account level as well as a personal level. In their role, what are they trying to overcome? Then you want to split out your ideal customer profiles and buyer personas into different campaigns. That might be via location, by industry, by job titles or seniority. Then you also need to prepare your email for outreach.

One of the most important things to do is not use your main domain to send out these emails because you run the risk of hitting the spam traps, and then blocking your email deliverability in the future. You also need to research, spend a lot of time personalizing the outreach, so you can research on an individual persona. On an account level, make sure that your outreach is personalized, and you can use merge tags for the outreach. You put those things that you find in your research into the emails which builds relevance with the individual, and also it encourages them to reply.

You then need to find those leads. There's a number of places you can look at. LinkedIn, you can go to directories, you got to the podcast, you could use paid databases like-- discover. There are hundreds of different sources for the data, but you'll only be able to know where they are when you've done your ideal customer profile and buyer persona research.

Again, skipping through quite a lot here [chuckles] to try and get it into five minutes. Then we're onto your messaging. Here, you need to understand what your strategy for cadence is. That is, how many touchpoints, how many times are you going to try and attempt to contact people, over which media or channels, what the duration of the outreach is going to be, how much time in-between each of the messages, and what that content is.

There's a number of ways to select media channels. The easiest way is the cheaper or smaller. The shorter the cell cycle is, the less effort you want to put in. The more longer the cell cycle is, and the more expensive your product is. You'll want to use channels such as Direct Mail, personalized video, and personalized experiences because the effort is worth the reward.

Then the final element after you've got the messaging is to-- Sorry, then the messaging comes on to these four elements of the cold email. The subject line whose job it is to get the email opened. An opening sentence, which shows that you've done your research and it's a relevant email or message for the person who's received it to read. The main body, which connects your opening sentence to the value proposition that you offer. Then a call to action. The simplest call to action can be, "Would you be interested in finding out more?"

The last thing you need to think about is the launch. This is where you select the right technology that you can use to send out these emails. The most simple technologies for email outreach where it's just email, you could use outreach.io, Lemlist, Amplemarket, or Reply.io. If you're combining your outreach with other channels, like direct mail, phone calls, and voicemails, you might want to use a tool like SalesLoft or outreach.io.

Once you have that technology in place, you just need to set up your outbound sequence. All of the tools out there will help you do this. What you can typically expect is if you're doing this right, you can get an open rate of 60%. A reply rate of 45%, a conversion rate of 20%. If you're good at closing those deals, you want to be aiming for 50% close one.

Obviously, you want to aim for 100%, but it won't always happen. That really is the key to building a lean mean lead generating machine and how you scale this is that you learn, you iterate, and you repeat. Once you've effectively done this for one fiscal or one campaign, you can launch multiple campaigns at a time and add more leads to the top of the funnel.

Peter: All right. Thank you, Mark. A couple of questions. Outbound versus inbound prospecting. I feel that we're mostly, in the last couple of years talking about inbound. What is the difference and even more important, how should people decide which of those two channels should be more important for them?

Mark: Great question and one that I like to usually back up with a fact which is escaping me right now. HubSpot is the biggest advocate of inbound marketing, yet they spent over 60% of their budget in the first few years on outbound. Really, the answer is that inbound alone doesn't work and you need to support it with outbound prospecting or outbound marketing. That's really key.

I think when it comes to inbound, you're relying on the fact that your content is going to be picked up. You've got the right keywords and you've got the right audience segmentation that they're going to read your content and then convert or contact you. `Whereas what you can do with outbound prospecting is because you know who an ideal customer is, and you know the particular triggers and signals that you look for or you can see when somebody is right for you.

Say for example, one of your buyer personas has started a new role and you offer a product or service that would help that person in their new role. You could actually reach out to them at the time where they're starting a new role with a bit of content or with some value that you can share with them to start the conversation. That you can't really do with inbound because you're not controlling the process, whereas with outbound, you can control the start and the initiation of a conversation.

Peter: All right, you said that outbound is for companies whose customer value per year is around $1,000. How did you come to that number? Why?

Mark: It's a rough rule of thumb. I'm not saying it wouldn't work for customers who have a smaller lifetime value, but the more the better. The reason being is that there's often costs associated from a tools and technology process. Some of these tools can cost 70 or even hundreds of dollars per month, and that's to send the emails out. You need to spend time doing the research. You also need to verify the research and you probably want somebody doing it for you because it may not be the best use of your time as a founder or even as a marketing or sales director.

You've also got to be prepared to play the long game because not everybody converts on the first message. Often you see that sequences have over 30 touchpoints. In addition, because email alone may not work, you might need to include phone calls and voicemails, videos and direct mail. There's just a lot more labor costs in it. If your unit economics don't work out, it may cost you more to acquire a customer than it does if your average order value is low.

Peter: Do you have any tricks to write email subjects?

Mark: Yes. I would say the best subjects are short. They invoke curiosity, you could potentially use humor, definitely personalize with an account name, the company name or the person's first name. Those would be my main tips. Also, I shared in the presentation on the day that the best performing subject line for open rates is, I've got your wife. That will always get a lot of opens,-

[laughter]

Mark: -but you will have a lot of angry and annoyed people because you've tricked them. Never trick, be honest, be sincere. Use humor only if it's right with you and your audience. Some audiences you'll be able to get away with more humor than others.

Peter: I like that idea of not using the main domain for the email outreach, could you briefly speak about that, why and how that works?

Mark: Yes, sure. The best practice really is to pick a domain which isn't your main one. Let's say that your domain is companyname.com. Try and find a domain which is very similar, but it's .io or .co or whatever variation it may be or you might want to say getcompanyname.com. What you want to do is, even if you're doing everything right, you're taking time to research your ideal customer profiles and understand your buyer personas, you really understand their pain point and you have a fantastic product or service that can solve their problem and you're not spamming people and you're sending small volumes out at a time. You've warmed up your domain, you can still get triggered as spam.

You can do everything right, but send the message to somebody on the wrong day and they mark you as spam. Also, if you're not personalizing your outreach and you're taking a very template shotgun approach, you will also be sending the same message out over and over again. That's what the spam filters are looking out for and it reduces your chances of delivering emails in the future.

The main reason why we say to use a spare domain is because whilst you be able to do the right things, you still might be marked as spam on your cold email outreach domain which means that it can affect the deliverability of your main domain if you're not using a separate one. That means that your internal emails to each other, to your team members, may not even be delivered because you've been marked as spam so much. I've seen personally, companies who have really struggled with this in the past.

Peter: All right. One last question, everyone who is from the European Union and you being from the UK, still count. They would ask, of course, how does that work with the privacy laws with GDPR and others?

Mark: What I'd always, first of all, is to say get professional legal advice. This isn't legal advice, but if you can find the email address and it's publicly available and you have legitimate interest to message them, then you should be okay in using their email address to send. Also, you could do the research on LinkedIn and connect with individuals on LinkedIn and not even have to do email for the outbound prospecting. That's what I see some of our European clients doing with the data that they're using. However, the majority of our customers are in the US and not affected with the same privacy laws.

Peter: All right. That was very very interesting and a lot of great info. We will be able to attach your presentation to the podcast notes so that everyone can go into to check out for the whole presentation. Is that right?

Mark: Excellent, yes, that's perfectly fine.

Peter: Excellent. All right, Mark. What are your future conference plans and where can people find you on conferences or where can people contact you online if they would like to talk about everything that you do?

Mark: Great question. We're planning our 2020 conference plans at the moment. There's still a bit TBC. I'll certainly be speaking on more podcasts and online summits, but if you'd like to speak to me in the meantime, the best place to find me is on LinkedIn, where you can search for Mark Colgan, that's C-O-L-G-A-N or you can email me at mark@taskdrive.com.

Peter: All right, and I will, of course, add all of those links to the show notes so if you're listening to just open your podcast app and find all of the links to Mark. Mark, thank you again for being on the podcast. Have a great day enjoying the sun and hope to see you around.

Mark: Thank you very much, Peter. It's been great. Thank you.

Peter: Bye-bye.

5
Jan 2020

#30 - Alexandra Tachalova - Smart Link Building how to stop following best practices and start getting links

Alexandra Tachalova (Linkedin or Twitter) is the organizer of the Digital Olympus conference and she does one thing in life. Generates backlinks. So if you want more backlinks, you should listen to what she has to say. This is her presentation from the DMSS 2019 in Bali, check out her presentation below.

 
Podcast transcript

Alexandra Tachalova: So when I was the very first time doing link building, I spent the first three or four months painting those features and well, I believe I did notice one or two links.

Peter: This is Time4Marketing, the marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference.

Hello, and welcome to the Time4Marketing marketing podcast, the podcast that invites the best marketing conference speakers to come and sum up their presentations in five minutes. It's 2020 Happy New Year to everyone. My name is still Peter and I'll still be your host for this podcast episode. If you would like to know more what is going on on the podcast, you could visit the time4marketing.com website when you have forum where you could subscribe to our email newsletter or just subscribe to this podcast.

If you want to talk to me, you can find me on my web page, seos.si. Enough about me. I hope you're having a wonderful new year. With me today is Alexandra Tachalova. Alex, hello and welcome.

Alexandra: Hello, Peter. Thanks for having me. Such a pleasure and honor being here today.

Peter: Alex, I'm very glad that you are here with us. Where are you located?

Alexandra: I'm based in Saint Petersburg, which is not in Florida, but in Russia. Well, we are based on the same continent with you, not really far away from you.

Peter: True, true. But Russia sounds very cold. Is it unbelievably cold right now?

Alexandra: No, it's not unbelievably cold. We are going to have a Christmas and New Year without snow. Right now it’s +3 +4 five. Yes, just rainy.

Peter: Alex, you are the founder of the Digital Olympus Conference. Tell us a bit more about the conference and tell us a bit more what you do in your everyday job life.

Alexandra: Well, first of all, let's chat a little bit about the Digital Olympus Conference. That's going to happen on the sixth of April in Kraków, which is based in Poland. We have very, I think inspiring lineup. We have Aleyda Solis, Michal speakers, Lukasz Zelezny, Fernando Angulo, Leonardo Saroni from Booking, Judith 'deCabbit' and many, many other quite well-known experts. We are a very affordable conference because the cost, our POS is less than 100 that.

That's more or less about this Olympus Conference and hope to see you guys maybe-- by the way, you don't even need to go to our conference. You could also join us online because we do a free live stream. Even if you can't come personally, then you have an option to join us just online. When talking about what I do besides Digital Olympus, I do link building. I have a quite small agency and it's just under the same brand, under Digital Olympus. Well, actually we built links mostly for B2B clients. That's what I think I know very well and that's my areas of expertise.

That's the reason why I'm talking about link building quite a lot and write about link building covers intellectually. Did write a post for the MOZ Blog about the economics of link building. I highly recommend checking it out. Get tons of positive feedback. People were writing to me across different channels and they really love this stuff because not a lot of experts sharing it, the real cost of link building and why like different options cost different- costs differently. Yes, that's a good one, I think. Let me add one more thing about my personal life.

If you go to any of my social media channels, you'll find me and my horse. I'm really into horse-riding, in particular dressage. That may be my second fashion after digital marketing.

Peter: To go to your presentation, you spoke-- Well, you speak at a lot of different events. But I contacted you because you spoke at the DMSS in Bali in 2019 with--

Alexandra: That was my excuse to go to Bali.

[laughter]

Peter: That is a lot of people's excuse to go to Bali. It’s business. I can write it off on business expenses. Your presentation title was How to Stop Following the Best Practices and Start Getting Links. Alex, here are your five minutes for your presentation.

Alexandra: I was talking about how exactly we built links here at Digital Olympus, what we do. First of all, we don’t follow any best practices. If you go to, just you know, to Google on quite well-known digital marketing blog, you'll find tons of- they're sharing how to do link building like 66 best link building strategy that you need to do today or tomorrow. Don't do that because they are quite useless being honest. The reason behind it that they're overused. Also, well, I have something more to share here besides like, they are useless because we've already tried them and they don't work but besides me there are some data.

For instance, some time ago, Brian Dean teamed up with Pitchbox, which is an outreach tool and they analyzed thousands of email outreach pitches. Well, they found out that their average response rate is quite low, in fact, below 9%. That's the reason why I think doing link building by following those strategies is not the right way to go because, let's imagine if you sent 100 emails, you might get only one or two links because the response rates while any link builder know that response rate doesn't equal to getting a link. What I suggest doing-- First of all, what we don't do, definitely we don't send mass emails because they have a quite poor response rate.

Instead of these, I would recommend going to people that are already aware about your brands, so with whom you've already established a relationship. The reason behind it that they're much more responsive and eager to communicate with you, so your emails won’t be ignored. Plus they know you, they trust you so you could try to get a link from them.

But for sure it's not just because you are so good and your content is so good, you need to give them something back or visit it because people understand the value of links. My recommendations will be, well, if you want to work with though then do it like really do link building.

That's actually the most beneficial way of doing it because if you partner up with a company that doing link building on a scale, so they’re also investing in this process, then you could build much more links because they know more people, they write to more blogs. But you need to return them links back. That's where we are coming to an indirect link exchange. You need to contribute to other blogs but not to build links because it's very expensive. Well, for sure you could do this, but it's much more like, it makes much more sense to do it, to return things back to people that could also generate links, so you are doing indirect links exchange.

Well, for sure not only links can be cured as something available for people, someone or connection the rest of others with hype or like, for instance, your clients. If you are checking your circles. What you do, you check your clients, your social media followers, your partners as well. Anyone who basically knows your brand and their whereabouts, your existence. Well, if you talk about liners, they might want to, something like your specs, they might want to, so you send them your secs and get a link. Well, for sure don't do like the majority of people do like sending here is what like-- send an email, how does it look like?

For instance, I deliver this awesome blog post and I've been following you for ages and then the reason why you need to give me a link back, well, quite stupid. They don't owe you a thing so don't do that. Instead of these, what I would recommend doing, first of all, connect with them and do something valuable for them. For instance, like link back to them, sending soundtracks. Only after these, ask whether there is any chance to link back to your awesome, insightful blog posts. That's very much it. The last tip will be, if you want to find people that write across various blogs within your niche, most probably they're doing link building because that's the reason why they write to different blogs.

On a regular basis go to BuzzSumo experts, the list of contributors because at BuzzSumo allows you on the most popular blogs and then search via those author names inside BuzzSumo. Going back to BuzzSumo and see whether they write across different blogs or only write on this one article. Your goal is to find those that write across a quite big number of blogs like me. For instance, I write on different blogs like Moz, Search Engine Journal, co-marketing [unintelligible 00:10:50] excel, and et cetera. That's very much it.

Peter: Okay, excellent. Alex, how important do you feel are links still in SEO and even more, are they getting more important or less in the last years?

Alexandra: I think they're like, there should be one more guy here that-- there will be a very interesting conversation because I'm sure, yes, for sure I say links, the main reason why sites are ranking at the top of Google results and then we need an opponent here, someone who is really- truly believe that technical SEO on-site is so then the reason why sites are ranking. The thing here that I know how to build links and I see that when we build links to our clients' websites, the clients pager they grow. I see how it works. Then the reason why I believe that links are really important. However, I don't really do technical SEO so I don't see any correlations between technical SEO. I'm not observing them because I don't do that.

Each time I just meet people that do technical SEO they are like sharing, "No, you don't need links, you only need to just to nail your calls or whatever it is." There are one more very important thing that everyone should remember.

If you have a small website, I mean it's not a big e-commerce brand, you don't have tons of pages. I don't think nailing your technical off-site SEO would help you like really change your situation, especially if we are talking about highly competitive niches like IT, well, digital marketing or something like that. You could do whatever you want with your website. Make it very fast, make it very, very beautiful in terms of your course but unless you have links, it's not going to work.

Peter: Especially business to business websites are usually in such a way that it's small content.

Alexandra: Yes, just because your competitors are doing this. The problem with all those things that related to links, if people around you within your niche heavily invest in link building, then Google sees it and reacts on those additional forces that are impacting the SERPs. Then the problem is, well, imagine no one would be doing link building and then I could imagine that links won't be so important because Google will be looking at other factors. Since we have links and links are the core of Google [unintelligible 00:13:56] still because they are recommendations.

We are recommending something like in real life. When I recommend something and I'm a trustworthy source because, for instance, I recommend something because I really know I think the digital marketing, I am a trustworthy-- people believe me. That's the same with links. When you are a trustworthy website and do you say like, "Okay, I linked to this website," you basically say that the website that you're linking to is also trustworthy and that's how Google overlays things.

Peter: Probably links are going to be important for always. Another question--

Alexandra: I think so. yes.

Peter: If I'm a company and now what is the distinction, when should I decide to find someone from the outside to help me with my link building and when should I do it by myself inhouse? Is the size of the website, the criteria or-- When should I look for someone to help me with my link building?

Alexandra: When it comes to digital marketing, well, I'm a big believer that you need to try it on own. When I have a potential client that tell me, "Look we might hire you or might not because we are right now considering doing it on our own." I say like, "Look do it on your own because you see how it's hard, first of all then if you see how it's hard, then you might see a value in my services." You just try it, you see that it's very hard because it's very hard, you barely-- Even if you do guest blogging, it's very expensive so you would just spend the very few months just trying to pitch something to someone and receive a lot of no most probably.

The thing with link building or when I think you need to outsource these types of things, well first of all, when you want to do it faster. You hire an agency. Because the main reason why people hire an agency like us or agencies like another like other guys because they've already established those relationships so they want it just to capitalize on what we've already done. Starting from the very first month, we could build up to 30 links per client. We've already know people so we just simply sent emails and they said, "Okay, we'll do this." They need to do everything from scratch.

When I was the very first time during link building, I spend the first three or four-month painting those features. I believe I do notice one or two links so if you linked that was all I was very frustrated and I was like why? Because you need to spend around two, three years establishing those relationships and then everything is easy. The second situation when you need an agency when you need very specific links. You've already a well-known company-- well, you don't need average links, you need very specific links to very specific pages. For instance, category or it might be even commercial pages.

Then you could try to go to a link building agency and ask them whether they could help you. Because you have such clients from an enterprise sector, They are very well known company but they want to run better by some of their category pages because that's their commercial pages, that's where all the revenue stream is coming. Yes, in some cases, you could do this. The best thing about email, personalized email outreach is that you could even build links to those pages as well. Not for each and every company but if you are talking about well-known and if you know, people, you could do this. Actually, we have a few clients for whom we are building links to commercial pages.

Peter: Excellent. All right, I think that's it. Alex, if people would like to contact you or talk to you more about link building, where can people find you?

Alexandra: That might be LinkedIn but please, if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, write down a short message. I have already 200 connections that are pending. I just want to be sure that I'm not going to skip your connection request. Just write down something like, "I heard you on podcast something like this and then the reason I'd love to connect, I just greatly appreciate it." Or you can just go straight to Twitter which allows you to connect with me directly by following me and asking me question there without sending any super tracklist to connect. [chuckles]

Peter: All right. Thank you for being on the podcast. I'll add all of the links about the stuff that-

Alexandra: Thank you,

Peter: -talked about in the show. I will also add your presentation into the show notes so if people want to go deeper into the content, they can-

Alexandra: Awesome.

Peter: -do that. One more thing, do you have future conferences lined up? Where can people find you if they want to see you speaking live?

Alex: I think the biggest one that I have in my calendar is BrightonSEO in April, so if you'll be around- If you plan to come to BrightonSEO hope to see you there and for sure I'll be speaking about link building, which is a quite hot topic right now. It's on the rise. If you are based closer to me in Eastern Europe then SEO zraz in Bratislava, right? I think so in Bratislava, will be in February and so well, our own conference. I won't be speaking there, but I'll be there and so well, I'll be just taking care of technical things at Digital Olympus and if you're based somewhere in Poland, hope to see you at our own event.

Peter: All right. There's a lot of opportunities. Okay. Alex, thank you very much for being on the podcast. It was great talking to you and hope to see you around.

Alex: Hope to see you, Peter. Thank you very much for having me. And have a lovely Christmas.

 
16
Dec 2019

#29 Rebecca Hugo - 6 Findings from Testing the World’s Leading Checkout Flows

I've met Rebecca (Linkedin) at the smind conference in Ljubljana Slovenia and I really enjoyed her presentation. She and the company she works for, look at e-commerce websites and learn from what works and what does not work (if nothing else, go and check out the FREE blog). The presentation has a couple of great ideas on how to minimize checkout abandonment.

Here is the link for the mobile cheat sheet.

The transcript of the podcast:

Rebecca: 23% of users in one of our studies cited that a too long or complicated checkout process was a reason for abandoning the site.

[music]

Peter Mesarec: This is Time4Marketing, the marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference. Hello, and welcome to the Time4Marketing Podcast, the podcast that brings you the best speakers from marketing conferences all around the world. My name is Peter and I'll be your host today for the episode number 29 as we're slowly ending the 2019 year, the second year of this podcast.

Before I introduce you to an excellent guest that we have tonight, please go and subscribe to the podcast if you like it, and of course, rate the podcast in your favorite podcast listening app. We now have a website, it's called time4marketing.com. The number four is a number. That sounds very logical. On the web page, you can also subscribe to the newsletter so we'd send you interesting information about the podcast and marketing conference. Now, we go to our today's guests. We have with us-, I'm very glad to have Rebecca Hugo. Hello.

Rebecca Hugo: Hello. Thank you for having me, Peter.

Peter: Very glad that you are here today. I saw you speaking at the Slovenian Conference e-Commerce Day sMind conference. You are the UX auditor at Baymard Institute. What is it, what do you do and what do you do there?

Rebecca: Baymard Institute are an independent usability research company. We specialize in helping other sites improve their e-commerce givings to their users. We do all of independent research. From there, we distill a lot of our findings. We found, I think it's 11,000 I think is our current number of individual issues that all users have come across when they're testing various sites across all industries. From there, we distill those down into-- We're over 750 guidelines at the moment. The number's still growing because we have a couple of research studies on at the moment. Those guidelines look to the design patterns that either positively or negatively are reacted to by the user. That is anything from a product detail page layout, to how filtering options are presented to the user, to how the checkout is or is not optimized, depending on the site.

From there, my role as a UX auditor, our clients will come to us and say, "Could you look at our site?" Basically orders us, "Let us know what we are or are not doing well." I suppose it's almost like taking your car in for a service. It's, "Your oil is a little bit low, your windscreen wipers need tightening up, but the leather in your seats are fantastic." We'll do a similar thing with the order. It can be anything from just looking at a single section, doing the entire site, or even doing prototypes. It gets really quite exciting in an odd way, looking at how different industries present essentially the exact same information to their users and also the nuances thereof in those instances to really create a great experience for that user.

Peter: I do a lot of SEO audits. When I begin my SEO audit, there's always the one thing that I'm going to go and check if it's done right, that's the canonicals and the language alternates. When you start such an audit, you probably have a workflow that you have to go through, but what is the one thing that you think that companies are forgetting about and shouldn't be forgetting about?

Rebecca: That is a ridiculously hard question, Peter. [chuckles] It's so specific. Because depending on the industry for a start, so if you're looking at a gifting website, one of the core aspects of that is going to be wildly different from a heavy text-back website or anything. For example, selling a laptop or even a fridge, mass merchants and so on.

One thing we can fairly consistently find that is still an issue with all the sites that we look at is their search. Their search is predominantly quite poor. That's anything from the varying types of search, your exact search, your feature search, you have slang, you have abbreviation, you've got thematic. All of these aspects across the board, the search for majority of e-commerce sites is still surprisingly weak. There are a great deal of users who just prefer to use search. Knowing that if your search is particularly weak, then not having a particularly good category taxonomy to back that up, it can cause just so many issues for that user. It's still consistently interesting to find and look at what the search landscape looks across the majority of sites regardless of industry.

Peter: One of the SEOs on my LinkedIn feed was showing a couple of examples of, I believe UK e-commerce retailers who had no results when he searched for Black Friday on Friday. It seems that search is something that people are forgetting about or just using the default settings over whatever their search is. This is something that we often see. Very right. I've mentioned that I've invited you for this podcast because you had a very interesting presentation at the Slovenian sMind Conference. That was called the 6 Findings from Testing the World’s Leading Checkout Flows. Before we go to your presentation, how is-- That's a weird question because I live in Ljubljana. How was Ljubljana and how was the conference for you?

Rebecca: Ljubljana was-- It was beautiful. I sadly didn't get as much an opportunity as probably deserving of such a beautiful city to really look around it. One of the representatives from e-commerce sMind was so-- Sorry. e-commerce-- I can't even say it now. Shopper's Mind e-Commerce Day was kind enough to actually take myself and another speaker around a little bit one of the evenings, so we did get to see some parts of it. It's such a beautiful city. I would really like to visit again.

The day itself was great. The atmosphere was fantastic. Everyone was so kind. It was wonderful having just people being comfortable enough to come to you for feedback for a start. You never know how these go unless someone actually tells you exactly what they have or have not been able to take away, any improvements and so on. It was a lovely crowd. It was really well put together. It's a real testament to what Ljubljana, Slovenia, and obviously the Croatia side of things as well and what the company has been putting together. I felt very touched to be able to have the opportunity to come and speak.

Peter: Excellent. All right. Let's go to your presentation. 6 Findings from Testing the World’s Leading Checkout Flows. Rebecca, here are your five minutes.

Rebecca: Okay. Obviously, the checkout is such an integral part of any e-commerce store. If you can't purchase online, it's not really e-commerce. Having a robust checkout that's really going to perform well for a user is so important. What we really found over a lot of our data studies was that 70% of users who put something in their cart would end up abandoning it. That's two-thirds of users we're going through all the trouble of finding a product that they liked, added it to their cart, but they'd still ultimately not purchase it.

If you took away all of those users who were simply not ready to purchase, which is completely fair, there's only so much that a site can do about that, but when you look at the reasons that were left, so many of them could be improved with relatively simple checkout optimization. Some of the core things that we were particularly interested in, one of which is checkout length. 23% of users in one of our studies cited that a too long or complicated checkout process was a reason for abandoning the site during a checkout process during their checkout flow.

Our most recent 2019 checkout UX benchmark, which is something that Baymard does, we look at 60 top-grossing US and European sites and use those to take a look at what the landscape looks like for e-commerce UX, we found that the average e-commerce site in 2019 has 12.8 form fields within their checkout flow. This may not seem like a lot, but considering you could actually essentially half that number, sites could get that number down to six to eight form fields for a guest checkout. 12.8 is actually quite a lot. There's such a disproportionate amount of time that users will spend with any open-text form field. Increasing time, causing issues, causing errors, that being able to minimize the amount of form fields, essentially the amount of tasks a user has to do can really create an improved performance and improve experience for the user.

The other thing that we found really quite fascinating, at least I know that I did, was the perception of site security. Because the perception of site security can be just as, if not even more impactful than the actual site security that is present. 17% of users in the same survey, they abandon the checkout process because they just didn't trust the site with their card information. Users, we found we're believing that part of a page, so if you feel the box and area in [unintelligible 00:10:46] were more secure than other parts. Even though from a technical standpoint this doesn't make sense, the page is either encrypted or not, the fact that we were aware of this fact from our users, we can then leverage this misconception.

Creating a visual robustness, leveraging the importance of site seals, and also what sites seals are more beneficial. A fascinating thing, we've found that some large companies were not given the same weight as just a simple padlock because that's something that users recognize. Knowing about these particular instances and how users react to that information can be so powerful in how we're able to create a comforting and a secure experience, as well as a good experience for our users.

Finally, just a simple factor of mobile keyboard optimization. There are still issues across so many sites that are simply just not optimizing the mobile keyboard for their users during the checkout, and with the occasional even dire consequence. In fact, granted that dire is quite a drastic term, but that is exactly what it feels like for a user who doesn't receive their package. Anything from it needing to be for a big event or a wedding or a birthday, not receiving something that you're so looking forward to can be really quite detrimental. We're finding that even something as simple as not disabling the autocorrect feature for fields that don't benefit from it, name or address fields, that can result in the dire consequence of not receiving a package. It's something essentially simple. Our data is showing that 79% of mobile sites are not disabling autocorrect for those fields.

On top of that, it's just needless friction from not finding or utilizing the optimized keyboards for email addresses, telephone numbers, credit cards and so on, the alphanumeric, numberic, the @ symbol and so on. Even on top of that, doing it consistently. 25% of mobile sites weren't consistently evoking optimized keyboard. For example, credit card came out with numeric, fine. As soon as you entered security code, it'd go back to alpha. Again, it just really comes down to this needless friction. When the companies really pay attention to that and how you can alleviate it, it can just make such a difference to the site.

Peter: Thank you. I have a couple of questions coming here. I've listened to your presentation and the idea of thinking about the number of fields and the checkout compared to the idea of the number of steps for the checkout was something that was enlightening for me. I was like, "How did I ever not think about that?" Of course, I went home and started minimizing the number of fields on my website. I came down to, I think what was six fields.

The question that I had then while watching the data coming in was, "Did I go too far?" I would like to hear your thoughts about that. I feel that customers are a bit used to having a bit bigger number of fields where the post number and the city are two different fields, and maybe name and surname are two different fields. I somehow felt that people are now misunderstanding my checkout fields. Is this something that you also see in your tests?

Rebecca: Things like it will come up occasionally. It's part of the reason for a good placeholder text, good tooltips. Whenever a user does encounter something, not unusual, but something they're not necessarily used to, it can immediately be a little bit jarring. Microcopy is such an important aspect, especially within the checkout. I think a lot of sites don't necessarily pay attention to their microcopy the way that they should. There's a reason why UX copywriters are becoming such a big career choice within our industry. I think it's so important and something that's just not paid attention to the way that it should.

There are multiple reasons for anything, [chuckles] sadly. If users are used to seeing 12, suddenly seeing 6, it can be jarring. That's not to say that it's a bad experience because it's jarring, it's just a new experience. There will always be a little bit of habituation time, but it's knowing that what you're able to actually offer the user is that improved experience. Bolstering the microcopy, bolstering the placeholder text, bolstering the tooltips if appropriate.

It's also just determining what is actually useful for your particular site. If your site is niche in any way, six to eight is the average for "a typical e-commerce site". It's ensuring that you don't overly assume anything to be typical. If you're a gift predominant site, then changing your address fields or matching your billing to shipping address by default isn't immediately beneficial. If you've got something very important for an industrial site, then yes, you might need company details over just having a standard address. That is the nature of heuristics, heuristics are a rule of thumb. We are finding that, more often than not, these are the best situations to be and these are the best patterns to follow. However, never ignore the niche that you're in if you happen to be in a niche.

Peter: The workflow is go and check out the expert findings that you have on your website, then change it on your website, but still measure the impact and see if it can be directly used on your website or not.

Rebecca: Yes, in a great deal. Not only look at we're suggesting but why we're suggesting it. With all of our data, we try and back up with what the issue is, why it is an issue, so what we're seeing during all of our research to lead us to the conclusion that X is happening, therefore implement Y should alleviate. Because the other side of it, and it's something that we will do during auditing is mark something as issue resolved. The site may not necessarily be doing what we have specifically recommended, but they are circumventing the issue through another implementation.

It's bearing that level in mind as well, whether what we're suggesting of the 774, 767? We'll eventually keep track of that number. There will be a great deal of these that just simply won't be applicable to your industry or to your site. There's always going to be a little bit of a pinch of salt because that's the nature of heuristics, but that's not to say don't pay attention to what we have found.

Peter: Especially in e-commerce sites that feel that search engine optimization is important for them, we can usually see people starting to add category descriptions to their category landing pages. Whenever people start adding that to their e-commerce sites, the question comes up, should we have content above the products or should we have the content below the product? Should we have the content hidden and "read more" button or should we not? Do have any data on how that content can influence people coming to the category pages?

Rebecca: Our data at the moment and our research findings, we don't have anything specific with category descriptions. What we do find is what that page looks like. For example, the filters on the actual main list are out of line, or if something looks too much like an advertisement or a promotion rather than actual benefit or actual product, it can mislead or distract users the same way that banner blindness will just mean that they pay absolutely no attention to it.

With a lot of the information, and UX can often stand not in the way of SEO, but they're not always aligned with their needs quite often, that it's very important to essentially just understand what is the user needing to get from that page. Anything that a site therefore needs to do from a company perspective, is it stopping that user being able to do the fundamental task that they're looking for? If that is needing to filter and needing to understand the amount of products on a page, needing to create a visual comparison against products. Whatever the size or company needs to add from, again, a company perspective, as long as it doesn't stop the user being able to complete their task, then it really is a design preference.

Anything too large that pushes down the content of the page-- Because many users, they're are not adverse to scrolling when they've determined a purpose, so going through, say 100 products on a visual push site like apparel, that's fine. Users are quite accustomed to that. If it's taking them a disproportionate amount of time to understand what the page is actually doing or selling them, then that could be off-putting. If that category description is particularly long and showing that above the fold, then that could possibly-- Again, we don't have any hardcore data to say it will, but that could pause the user or hinder the user from being able to understand exactly what it is and what is the page they've landed on.

Peter: All right. You spoke briefly about the mobile keyword optimization. I'll just add the link to you. If I remember correctly, you have a page where you gave examples of how mobile fields should be optimized on your Baymard website, is that right?

Rebecca: Yes, we do. It's on our little cheat sheet. You can just find all of the code snippets and the attributes to establish and actually implement the best way to optimize these keywords. Some of them like card filled for example, they don't have a direct code phrase as it were to trigger numeric, you have to do it slightly more manually.

Peter: All right. Excellent. Rebecca, I think that's it. Where can people find you? Do you have conference plans? What are the social networks where people can find you and your company?

Rebecca: You can find us on LinkedIn. You can search for Baymard Institute and you can search for myself, Rebecca Hugo on LinkedIn if that's your prerogative. At the moment, we don't have any specific conference plans for Europe, but if you are interested in getting any of us in the company to speak, please don't hesitate to be in contact. If not, we've also got Twitter. Baymard Institute, we're also on Twitter. We love a bit of a chat. You're more than welcome to contact us there and we look forward to speaking with anyone.

Peter: All right. Excellent. Rebecca, thank you very much for being on the podcast and talking about the UX of e-shops. Next time you're in Ljubljana, we definitely can meet and [inaudible 00:22:31].

Rebecca: Fantastic. Thank you so much for having me today, Peter.

Peter: Have a great day.

Rebecca: You, too.

Peter: Bye.

2
Dec 2019

#28 - Shayne Brian - 9 ways to monetise your message with podcasts

Shayne Brian (linkedin) is the Director of Voice at Elevate Radio & Podcasts, a company that helps other companies start, run and scale podcasts. And they are good at it :D Shayne was invited to the DMSS 2019 where he talked about how to use podcasts to elevate your message.

If you are interested in to podcasting, here is the FREE offer that he talked about on the podcast, you can join the Podcast Essentials Program for FREE (valued at $197). 

And, check out his presentation, a video recorded at one of his previous conferences.

Here the transcription of the talk we had:

Shayne: Think about some of the big podcasts isn't what they're known for. In fact, the reports just come out this week. The number one podcast for 2019 in every single country is Joe Rogan, then there's also GaryVee, and John Lee Dumas. They all have massive followings because they have shows that's consumed almost daily.

Peter: Hello and welcome to the Time for Marketing podcast. The podcast that brings you the best marketing conference presentations in five minutes directly to your podcast. Every 14 days on Mondays in your-- whatever podcast that you like to use. My name is Peter, and I'll be the host for this show today, and the same way as I've done the previous 27 episodes as this is episode number 28. Of course subscribing, and viewing, and subscribing to the newsletter and everything else that you have to do so that you get the next episodes that we already have lined up. It will be very interesting. Today with me from the other part of the continent, not continent. The other part of the world, is Shayne Brian. Shayne, hello and welcome to the podcast.

Shayne: Hi Peter, and thanks for having me on the podcast. Yes, I'm sitting here in the heat in Australia getting ready for another hot Christmas.

Peter: I envy that so much. I love the snow that we're getting, but on the other hand, I love being able to sit on the-- I imagine you sitting on the beach drinking cocktail and [crosstalk]

Shayne: I'm sitting on a beach drinking beer while I'm talking to you.

Peter: All right, excellent.

Shayne: No, I'm not really, but that would be lovely.

[laughter]

Peter: Shayne, you are the director of voice at the Elevate Radio and podcast company. Tell us a bit what you do, what your company does.

Shayne: We actually help people create podcast, so we help people produce podcast, distribute podcast. I actually started out in radio of being in radio for many many years, and I just love the whole environment of radio. I love music, and that was one of the things that really attracted me to creating Elevate Radio. It originally started as a radio station called Soul Traveler Radio, and we changed the name just last year to Elevate Radio. Over the last three years, we've seen podcast just come out of the woodwork. In fact, five years ago I was trying to convince businesses that they needed a podcast and they're like, "What's a podcast? You're crazy. No one's going to listen to a podcast." And here we are talking about podcast.

Peter: Yes, this is the position where I feel that in your Europe, a lot of companies still sit. I feel that podcast in the United States have blown up immensely, but in Europe it's still going why. This is why I was interested in having you to the podcast to try to talk to companies and all, and why they should do that.

Shayne: Yes. I just want to say, 95% of the podcast at the moment reside in the US, so the US have really embraced it. The other countries are really picking it up Europe and Australia. Don't be surprised if you start to see the podcast really start to become bigger and bigger in Europe.

Peter: If you are one of the podcast, you are one of the hundred thousands. If you're one of the vlogs, you're one of the hundred million vlogs, so the option to get there it's still much better actually, right?

Shayne: It is. Yes, it is. I'll actually present some of those figures in the talk.

Peter: That's good for the podcast because you had a presentation at the Digital Marketing Skillshare, of course 2019, in Bali. How was the conference?

Shayne: Fantastic. Actually, one of the best conferences I've been to. It was pretty funny, because it's very much SEO social media marketing conference. I contacted the lady that organizes it, Lisa, and the gentleman that runs it, Bree, and I said, "You need a podcast, or you need to be talking about podcast at your conference." They're like, "Why? Why are we talking about podcast? It's digital marketing."

Then when I actually spoke, they realized that it's very much a massive part of digital marketing these days, and it can be something that a business-- Well, it's something the business should be thinking about as part of their digital marketing strategy. The conference itself, fantastic. Met a lot of amazing people, a lot of amazing guys. Actually, met the guys from Authority Hacker who are based in Germany. Their whole business that they run is based around a podcast, because the podcast works.

Peter: Yes, and for whenever who is interested in doing any SEO, the Authority Hacker podcast is one of my favorite podcast. That means a lot. Dave elevated their business well once they've started doing a weekly podcast, and really sticking to the schedule of once a week immensely. I've been trying to get them to this podcast, but wasn't really able to get through any of those two guys, but I will get them. I will. All right, your presentation was nine ways to monetize your message using the power of podcast. I think that this is the time and place where we should go to your presentation, so Shayne here are your five minutes.

Shayne: Thank you. I'm actually going to not go too much into the nine ways, and I'll give you a link to the full podcast for the full presentation at the end of the podcast. What I really want to talk about is stories, and I want to talk about the reason why we love podcast so much. Pretty simply, the world love stories. Since the beginning of time, we've actually thrived on hearing stories. What started as stories told around campfires of Gods and monsters. Developed overtime, and yet even with all of the advances in technology at the start of the last century, there we were again telling stories on radio players like the famous War of the Worlds that cause mass hysteria.

Stories can motivate, thrill, scare, or simply portray a snapshot of our lives. A moment in time that our message, our greatest truth hits the ears of our audience for the very first time. The moment when you can hear a pin drop, a heart beating. Out of the silence, comes our story, your story, the story that you've been dying to tell. Now, when I first started in radio. I was told that I didn't have a voice that was good enough. Then for the next 20 years, I hid my voice. I did everything in radio except go on air. It was easier for me to become invisible than to suffer the embarrassment of having a voice that wasn't good enough.

Now years later, I met my wife for the very first time. During that very first coffee date, she said, "Wow, you must be an announcer because your voice is perfect for radio." It took 20 years of hiding, and in one moment everything became crystal clear to me. Something triggered in my brain, and I knew that I had to let the old story that I actually let that old story become my reality, and that I had to now let it go. Now, when I mention it to people, they can't believe that I allowed that thinking to beat me, but that's why I love doing what I do because you can never ever underestimate the power of a story, and the effect it can have on you, and on others.

The question remains why podcast? Well, because it's the fastest moving media on the planet right now. Now we know that everybody loves to hear a story. We can understand that it's surpassing growth rates of social media, and that there's no chance of slowing it down. In fact, 2020 is being heralded as the golden year for podcast. In the last 12 months, podcast consumption growth rate has become so big that the Spotify CEO Daniel Ek set aside 500 million dollars at the start of 2019 to acquire a podcast start-up companies. Now, it begs the question, why would a streaming music services spend that much on podcast?

Here's the truth. The average age of podcast listeners is 25 to 34 with 35 to 44 coming in next. I have to say it's actually becoming an even greater area with 45's to 54's now listening as well. Podcast ad revenue has grown as a result of the increase in the market, has grown 1,000% in five years. Now, if you just think about that for a minute, it's actually staggering.

According to recent reports by iHeartMedia, their digital revenue which includes podcasting increased by 33% in the third quarter in 2019. Traditional revenue decreased by 0.6%, so what does that tell us? Advertisers are placing more faith in the emerging podcast scene. To back this up, Forrester Research has predicted that podcasting will be a 1 billion dollar market by the end of 2020. If you are incorporating podcasting into your marketing plan then that is a massive chunk of income and potential business that you're letting sit by. It's time that your business jumped on board the bandwagon.

According to Statistics, musicsgoomf.com, and also the companies, Nelson and Edison. In 2019, there were 700,000 active podcasts, 29 million podcast episode and the average listener consumed seven different shows per week. To top that off, 45% of the listeners are well-educated and have a high income. Now, think about this for a minute. Not only are they smart, they're spoiled for choice and they listen to a lot of shows. You have a lot of competition and it will only increase in the next couple of years. I didn't mention these statistics to depress you, instead just to help you see that if you really plan out your podcast well it can bring in well-paying clients that are dedicated to devouring your shows every week.

What does that mean? That means that podcasts become a source of trust for many people. Think about some of the big podcasters and what they're known for. In fact, the reports just came out this week. The number one podcast for 2019 in every single country is Joe Rogan. There's also Gary Vee and John Lee Dumas. They all have massive followings because their shows are consumed almost daily. They also have a call to action on their shows. Joe Rogan has special sponsor offers. John Lee Dumas has affiliated links and Gary Vee has calls to action to work with his media agency.

What actually happens is, their listeners become intimately involved with the podcaster not in a creepy stalkers way but in a way that means that they will look up to you as an authority and will trust what you have to say over others. That's what's happening in the podcast arena and what we actually do is we teach you how you can as a business cash in by telling your story and actually ride the Tsunami that's actually heading our way.

We will actually show you how you can leverage both your message and your story to bring in a cash flow for you and it's really important that over the next few years or actually even the next 12 months that you consider podcast as part of your marketing strategy. I think that was five minutes [laughs].

Peter: All right. That was somewhere around there. I will add the links to your presentation to these show notes but If I am a CEO or marketing director of the company and you've just convinced me, I want to do podcasting, just thinking, how do I? What is the first step that should be done?

Shayne: It's really simple. There's a three-step process that we operate with. The first one is to know your story. Everybody in business knows their product really intimately and can build a story around their product, to make it sound interesting. The second thing is record. Get your phone out, buy yourself a Blue Yeti that can plug into your laptop or your computer and just record yourself speaking or record yourself chatting with somebody else about your topic then send the file to us and we edit it. We create the podcast for you and it's as simple as that.

Peter: The podcasting Gimlet Media is the podcasting company that everyone speaks about because they were acquired this year. When I check out their podcast that they are doing for others, it seems that doing interviews with smart people is the solution that they are going with for other companies. Would you agree that this is probably the best way of how to do podcast?

Shayne: There's a couple of different ways and it really depends on your budget. Let's be honest, if you want to do a simple podcast, the easiest way is to interview someone. Why would you interview someone to promote your business? The simple thing is this, if you have aligned yourself with someone who has a similar message to you and who can speak about what your business is about then what's actually happening is you're aligning with their audience as well.

If you're doing an interview with someone, make sure it's someone that has got a lot of following, bringing some good following then they will actually share your podcast. Because they're in a similar business to you, you know that the people that are listening to them are going to be wanting to know more about you as well. That's the first thing that they do and the reason why they do interviews but the other thing that Gimlet is really big on and this is becoming a much bigger. In fact, we're actually in the middle of doing two of these podcasts at the moment.

Gimlet are doing curated podcasts. What a curated podcast is as a large corporation, you could turn around to us, for example, and say we've got a budget of $100,000, we want to put together like a 26-episode podcast series. We don't know where to start. We don't even want to talk on the podcast. What can you do? What we would do is we would actually sit down with them and create a podcast, bring on a host, bring on journalists, bring on whatever it is that we want to go down, whatever path we want to go down.

We're actually doing this with one of the survivors of the Waco tragedy that happened in America and he was actually there on the ground when the place got burnt to the ground and everybody died, David Koresh and his followers. We're actually curating a podcast and getting interviews and putting it together and it's called Waco: The inside story. I think this is becoming even bigger, the curated podcast than just the interviews and that's what Gimlet are really focusing on as well now.

Peter: We are still at the time where it's pretty hard to measure the success of a podcast, right? Different platforms have their different metrics. Is there a modern new way of how we are better able to handle that?

Shayne: I actually have a process that I follow that was taught to me by one of the big podcasters in America called Steve OSHA. I call it the thousand dollar funnel and basically what it is, is this, if you've done a podcast and it's been a successful podcast and people really love listening to you, they've actually started to trust what you have to say. After listening to you for an hour, they are going to want to know more about you so by providing them with the link for a free giveaway or a free offer, you're actually going to be making sure that the listener that has begun to trust you will connect with you.

Now, at that point of that free offer, once they've clicked that button, what he actually does is he has another link that pops up and it might be a $5 offer then he'll have a third link that pops up and it might be a $45 offer. By doing that you're actually creating this flow for people to go through, this funnel for people to go through. Because they've trusted you in listening to that podcast and they've come on and they've downloaded that free ebook or whatever it is that you're offering them, the next step of them pulling out their wallet and actually doing business with you is a lot easier.

That's how we can actually measure the process and the reason he calls that the thousand dollar funnel is because every time he appears on a podcast, he makes a thousand dollars. It's really simple [chuckles]. I think it changes every time but obviously it's something-- that's what he calls it but the concept is really simple and it's a really easy way to measure the success of not just people listening to the podcast but the success of what you're saying, how successful are you at conveying your message to the public.

Peter: Don't use vanity metrics, use metrics that really impact.

Shayne: Don't use vanity metrics.

Peter: That's very good idea.

Shayne: That's for sure. You want to look at the hard figures. I'm going to say that I'm actually going to give everybody that's listening to this podcast free access to one of our programs that will teach you how to prepare yourself for podcasting. It's called podcasts essential. I'm more than happy to offer that to all of your listeners.

Peter: Okay. I think that's it. Shayne, where can people find you do you have any future conferences planned already?

Shayne: Look I actually have quite a few things that are coming up next year. You can find me on Facebook. Just look up Shayne Brian and connect with me on Facebook, on LinkedIn. If you go to elevate podcast.com, that will take you through to our podcast power program. I'm actually going to give you a link, Peter, that you can actually share with everyone that will give people access to our special offer which is the podcast essentials. This is something that we normally sell for $97 and I'm happy to give that away to everyone that's listening here.

Peter: Excellent. I'll put that to the show notes and in the show notes you'll also find the whole presentation. That means that there's a lot of value for you to open up the time for marketing.com website and find the show notes for the podcast. Shayne, it was great. Go and enjoy your beer on your Australian beach that you are enjoying.

Shayne: [laughs] I will. I'll have a prawn as well.

Peter: Excellent. Very good and thank you for being on a podcast and have a great day.

Shayne: Thank you, Peter, it's being pleasure.

Peter: All right, bye-bye.

4
Nov 2019

#27 - Emre Güney - Why retention matters?

Emre is Global Senior Lifecycle Manager at Skyscanner. We talked about how to get your website visitors to come back, as this is one of the most important tasks that Skyscanner has to do. 

If you would like to chat up Emre, you can find him here https://www.linkedin.com/in/emreguney/ https://twitter.com/emrreguney

Here is the presentation he presented at the Digital Zone 2019 conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

 

7
Oct 2019

#26 - Greg Gifford - The Secret of Local Search Success in 2019

You can find Greg on Twitter or on Linkedin, here is his agency. Greg is the dude that knows about local SEO and if you have questions about it, you should talk to him. 

One of the best sources for local SEO knowledge, as mentioned by Greg is 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors.

Here is the transcript of the podcast:
Greg: Google uses multiple algorithms so SEO is not equal across the board.
[music]
Peter: This is Time for Marketing. The marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference.
[music]
Peter: Hello and welcome to the Time for Marketing podcast. The podcast that tells you everything that you have missed when you didn't go to your best and favorite marketing conference. My name is Peter and I'll be your host for today. This is episode number 26 that is airing on the 7th of October 2019. Before I introduce you to our today's guest, I have something to ask you.
Could you take the time and open your slack, your Trello, whatever communication channel you have for your agency or for your company. The place where you send all of the interesting links that you read and could you just paste the link to this podcast and say, "I've learned something here." That'll be great. People should know about this podcast.
Now, today, with us the big, the great, Greg Gifford. Greg, hello and welcome to the podcast.
Greg: Hey, happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Peter: How are you doing up there in the hot state of Texas?
Greg: Still hot, unfortunately. We're hoping that now that we're getting down into the 80s, maybe we'll start to get colder but you never know in Texas. It could be up in the hundreds again next week but we're good.
Peter: All right. When you look outside your window, do you see cactuses? That's how I figure--
Greg: And tumbleweeds and we all ride horses to work. [laughs] Texas is massive. That's one of the funny things when talking to people from Europe about how big Texas is. We've got mountains, we've got deserts. Other than the fact that when I was in Sylvania it was a nicer part of the year and so everything was green but very similar looked with things. Texas is fairly flat compared to most of Europe. At least most of Texas is but the crazy thing is just the scale. I could get my car right now and drive 80 to 85 miles an hour and go west and it would take me 14 hours to get out of Texas.
Peter: It's a completely different scale because if I would do that I'll be changing five different countries probably.
Greg: Yes, it's pretty crazy.
Peter: Greg, you are the vice president of Search at the Wikimotive Agency. Tell us a bit about your agency and more what do you do as the vice president of Search?
Greg: I came on earlier this year with this agency. It's a small boutique agency and I came on because for the last, Jeez, years and years and years, I've been doing SEO exclusively for car dealers for probably 12 years and the place that I worked last time was approved by all of the car manufacturers. Not that that was a bad thing, but we had a very set SEO package that we had to offer which was great.
We still got results and did well but I wanted to branch out and expand my reach and do some other things so I came to Wikimotive. They do have a lot of automotive clients but they've got clients outside of automotive and we're making some big pushes into some other verticals. I'm able to stretch my wings here and do some fun things outside of automotives.
Peter: All right. What does that mean that the agency was approved by car manufacturers?
Greg: It's a weird thing in the US that if you were a car dealer you-- Let's use Ford or BMW as an example. You have a set number of website providers that you're allowed to use that are manufacturer-approved. BMW will say, "You can use one of these four companies to do your website, you can use one of these four or five companies to do your PPC and you can use one of these four or five companies to do your SEO."
For most of the manufacturers, you can choose to use a different company if you want but if you use the company that is approved by the manufacturer then the manufacturer will pay for it. There's a lot of benefit. The manufacturer will send all this co-op money out to dealers to use for various marketing things that they do. It works well for the dealerships because then they don't have to spend money on it. That's what the whole vendor-approved thing is. We were on the approved list for all of the major automotive [unintelligible 00:05:04].
Peter: You are doing weekly video on your website, tell us a bit about that.
Greg: We do a weekly video series called Tactical Tuesdays With Wiki where every Tuesday we do a short video. Most of the time there are three to five-minute videos on some digital marketing tactic. Every once in a while, though we will share a longer video. I just spoke at the Advanced Search Summit in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago and so this week's video basically I did a re-recording of my presentation and did it with the slide. Now, we've shared that entire presentation but most the time it's short, quick, easy to digest tips about current things going on in Search or specific tips that will help you show up better.
Peter: All right. If you've done a lot of SEO for automotive companies, that means local SEO was always a big part of what you do. Is that still a thing?
Greg: Yes, very much so. That's what I'm known for. I speak at conferences all over the world about local SEO and teaching people here's what to do to show up better in local searches.
Peter: This is also the presentation that I wanted to talk to you about. You spoke at the Advanced Search Summit in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago. What the title of the presentation it's pretty long. The Dude's Guides to The Secret of Local Search Success in 2019 and Beyond. We will attach the presentation to the podcast show notes. I've checked the presentation, you like movies don't you?
Greg: I do. I'm a movie man. I was actually a movie major in college so I wanted to go to Hollywood and make movies but clearly that didn't end up happening. I ended up getting into computers instead but I have a full sleeve on my right arm of movie portrait tattoos from various movies and then I'm almost finished getting a sleeve on my right leg of all stuff from the Goonies. I really, really love movies and every time I do presentations I always have a movie theme.
Peter: Because as you say in one of the first slides bullet points are killing you, right?
Greg: Yes, because I think this year I'll end up speaking at 27 or 28 conferences by the end of the year and I see a lot of presenters. A lot of times you see presenters at conferences that may have really great information but they're just incredibly boring to watch. The background of their slides is just white background and black text and they just have a whole bunch of bullet points on their slides and they're just standing there on the stage and read their bullet points. It's just not a very entertaining presentation to watch.
Not that they have to be entertaining but it's just painful to sit there and watch somebody read their slides. I believe that bullet points kill kittens and I don't ever use bullet points in my presentations.
Peter: All right. We had enough of chitchat. Greg, here are your five minutes to sum up your marketing conference presentation.
Greg: One of the important things that people need to realize that I always like to talk about is that Google uses multiple algorithms. SEO is not equal across the board. It's important to understand with the business that you work with or the website that you're working with which algorithm is going to apply. If it's a business that has a physical location where customers come to that place of business to do business with the business or if it's a business that serves people in a particular area like a plumber or an electrician, then that website needs to be using the local SEO tactic so that you're including all of the additional things that matter to that local algorithm.
There's overlap between Google's traditional algorithm and the local algorithm so doing traditional SEO will still give you some benefit but if you've got that physical location or you're serving in a particular area then local is what's going to provide the best results to what you're doing. It's really important to pay attention to various experts in local so that you can stay up to date especially in the UK and Europe where you guys are just starting to catch on and really have people talk at conferences about local SEO where I've been talking about conferences about local SEO for like 10 years in the States.
It's just because I think people are really just now starting to understand, "My gosh, this can make a massive difference." You want to follow the right people on Twitter, you want to test your own stuff to make sure that you're doing things that actually work. There's a study that's conducted by a company called White Spark and then published on the Moz Blog. They're called The Local Search Ranking Factors.
That's important to pay attention to because it gives a playbook of, "These are the signals that matter the most for showing up in these local searches." You can see from year to year, what's changed, what's become more important, what's become less important and really the things that matter the most are links and content and then your Google my business listing.
Sure, links are important in regular SEO but the important thing with local SEO is you want to get local links. You want links from other businesses and other web sites that are in your particular geographic area because those are the links that Google's local algorithm is going to provide more weight to. The good thing about these local links, it doesn't matter if they're no-follow links, it doesn't matter if they don't have a lot of authority if you're using Moz, you're looking at the main authority or Majestic with Trust Flow.
It doesn't matter what those authority metrics are because they're still going to count and provide value. Then definitely check through the slides that are going to be attached to the podcast here because there's a lot of different ideas that I run through of things that you can use to get these local links. With local content, it's really important that it's conversational content. Everything that's on your website should sound like something that you would say face to face to a customer that just walked through your front door.
It's really helpful to read everything out loud because then you'll catch things that don't really sound conversational. Then with local SEO, you've probably heard about citations, that's basically directory listings where it's name, address, phone number listed on other websites. That used to be much more important so you can discount all the stuff that you'll read that says you have to get hundreds and hundreds of citations.
Really, the only ones that matter now are the ones that potential customers might see so you want to do a google search for the name of your business and run through the first three pages of Google search results. Those are the only citation sites that you need to worry about. Then the final thing that I always want to make sure to push the point across is that Google My Business is absolutely important now. Your Google My Business listing is basically your new homepage so if someone's wanting to get your phone number they don't have to go to your website anymore.
If someone wants to get your address they don't have to go to your website. If someone wants to see pictures or read reviews, they can get all of that right there in Google My Business. It's really important that you optimize your listing. Obviously, make sure you've claimed it, have the right categories chosen. The category that you choose and put in the primary slot actually carries a little bit more ranking value so you want to make sure you're strategic in which one you're putting there.
Make sure you've got a local phone number listed and then make sure you're using the new features that have been released. We've got Google posts which is basically--we call it just free advertising. It's an image and some text that show up as a thumbnail in your profile that people can then click and it blows up bigger and they can see more text and a bigger image, that really helps you stand out from competitors. Lots of businesses aren't using them yet, it's a way to drive pre-site conversions.
Then the most important thing is the new feature called Questions and Answers that shows up in the Google My Business profile. It's a community discussion feature where anyone in the community can ask a question and anyone in the community can answer the question for the business which is pretty scary because you don't really want other people answering questions that customers are intending for your business. It's important to monitor that and make sure that you're keeping an eye on when new questions pop in so that you can go and answer them.
Then each question can get multiple answers, so the answer that shows as the primary answer to the question is the one that has the most upvotes. You've got to make sure that you're not just answering questions but making sure that your answers have the most upvotes so that you can control that first impression. I know I went through that really quickly, that was a whole lot to try to squeeze into just a few minutes but definitely check out the slides, there's tons and tons of really helpful information in there.
Peter: This feels like we got another social network that we need to take care of, is that true?
Greg: I wouldn't really call it a social network but a lot of people already pay attention to Google My Business because of the customer reviews. They know, "Hey, this is where people are going to leave us reviews, we need to go pay attention to the reviews, we need to ask for reviews, we need to answer those reviews." Now, it's almost like a new review section. Technically, you're not supposed to put reviews there but a lot of people do.
Something else that we see really often is people think it's a messaging system and that it goes directly to the business because the general public doesn't realize that it's just a community discussion feature. We'll see questions all the time where people will say, "Hey, what's your phone number? I've got something I want to buy from you. I need to call you or I need your service, what's your phone number?"
If you're not paying attention to that then you miss that sales opportunity or that service opportunity and even though the button that you have to click to ask that question is right next to the phone number in the Google My Business profile, it doesn't matter, people expect that it's messaging and you're paying attention. They're not going to take that extra step to go to your website and see your phone number because they think that if they put that in that's a message that pops up at the business somewhere.
We see that a ton. We've now seen too that Google is starting to autosuggest answers. If you go into a Question and Answer section and say that you want to ask a question and you start typing in a question, if it's similar to another question that's been asked in the past then Google will auto-suggest the answer to that question so you don't even actually have to submit the question anymore. It's really important to go in and preload your questions. You could actually ask questions as the business. You want to go in and ask those questions. We call it setting up a pre-site FAQ page.
Peter: Google My Business used to have a lot of spam and people using black hat tactics. Is 3 still this way? Do we still have to be careful what all the competition is going to do to us or is Google [inaudible 00:16:07] helping with that?
Greg: Very much so. It's awful and you guys are lucky over there and your app it's nowhere near as bad as what it is here in the States, it is just spamtastic. There are just all kinds of people faking listings and creating lead-gen opportunities with fake businesses to try to sell leads to businesses and it's just awful. There is a form that you can go report fake listings on but they pop up just as quickly as you cancel them.
I would expect that over in Europe, it's just going to continue to get worse and as everyone over there that's in the kind of shady or gray areas of business and they're trying to figure out ways to work, they're going start watching what we're doing here in the States and seeing how easy it is to fake stuff. I have friends that have local SEO agencies and most of what they do is just fight spam instead of-- You don't have to necessarily spend as much time optimizing your client site if you can get them to rank better by taking down all the cheaters that are spamming things.
Peter: You said in your presentation that the local listings are not really as important, on the other hand, I've just saw weeks ago that SEMrush, the SEO tool, added the listings tool into their tool. Is it still going to be important? Should people use such tools or you think not?
Greg: I think it's really going to become less and less important as far as the ranking algorithm goes. We won't have to worry so much about nap consistency in the future. I think what it really becomes and we're kind of moving in that direction already, it really just becomes what customers might see. You don't want to just concentrate on Google and say, "Hey, I'm on Google and it's correct." Let's say you have a business and that business moves and so you are now at a new address but you don't update any of your listing sites, then you may have all of these other listing sites that have your old address.
Even though that might not matter for the ranking algorithm, it matters for your customer experience because someone may do a Google search and not pay attention to Google My Business and they may pull you up on another device. I was actually talking to a friend of mine the other day that had a guy coming to install something in his house and the guy said that it wasn't showing up on MapQuest and he said, "Just use Google because it's on Google." The guy said, "I don't even have Google on my phone."
There are people out there that don't rely on Google and they may use MapQuest or they may use Yelp or they may use Apple maps or something else. It is important to pay attention to the citational location listing sites that are publicly visible which is why I said earlier, go through the top two or three pages of Google search results. Those ones that show up to the general public are probably always going to be important from a customer-facing standpoint even though they may not matter for the ranking algorithm.
Peter: All right. All in all, if you are in Europe, there's Google My Business that you should start using and if you are in the US, start using it more and stop the spam that is out there.
Greg: Definitely.
Peter: Something or somewhere like that. All right Greg, thank you very much for your presentation, your summation of the presentation. What are your future plans for the conferences? Where can people see you and if not on the conferences, where can people find you?
Greg: I am heading to PubCon in Las Vegas next week and the week after that I will be in London doing SearchLove London and then the first week of November I'm speaking at a conference called State of Search in Dallas. Later that week, I'm heading to Los Angeles to speak at UnGagged. The week after that I will be at SMX East in New York City.
Those five or six conferences are the last of my conference schedule for the year. Also, if you're out in Europe and not able to pop over here, pop over to London to see me there. I have a Fundamentals of SEO training video on SEMrush on their academy section. If you go to the SEMrush Academy pages, there is an entire training course that's about, I think, three and a half, four hours long on SEO basics.
If you're just getting started, or if you want a refresher on the basics, it's that SEO fundamentals course. Just last week, we released a new course that I did for them on keyword research. It's about an hour long. Over the next few months, I've got three other new courses coming out. The keyword research one just came out then we'll be doing one on link building, one on mobile SEO, and one on local SEO.
Peter: A lot of you everywhere. Well, you're an important guy, so you should be there. Thank you very much for being on the podcast and sharing your local search knowledge. I'll see you around. Have a great day.
[music].
23
Sep 2019

#25 - Matthew Woodward - Case study: 14 x Organic traffic in just 8 months

Matthew publishes blog content and case studies on his personal website and on his company website. The case study that we talked about is published here with much more information and all the tiny details.

You can also find Matthew on Linkedin or Twitter.

You can also watch the whole presentation on YouTube

Here is the transcript of the podcast:

Matthew: One of the biggest wins we had was with the homepage where we deploy I think around 10,000 words of content.

Peter: This is the time for marketing. The marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference.

Peter: Hello welcome to the time for marketing podcast the podcast that gives you all of the information that you have missed when you didn't attend your marketing conferences. Welcome to episode number 25 my name is Peter and I'll be your host for today before we go to our guests. I'm not going to tell you to subscribe to the podcast I'm going to tell you and ask you something else tomorrow when you go to work. Yes, I know you work with a lot of marketing people when they leave their cell phones on the table take them open their podcast app and subscribe them to my podcast, that's probably the easiest way to tell people to subscribe to the podcast thank you. All right and now let's go to the guests that we have this time hello Matthew Woodward how are you doing?

Matthew: [laughs] Hey, thanks for having me on. I love your little tip there a very blackhat approach so to speak I think I might steal that one for myself of next conference [laughs]

Peter: Well, people don't randomly talk about podcast and mention podcasts to other people that doesn't happen. We have to give them specific advice this is always a marketing thing be very specific on what people should do click here, subscribe other people to my podcast. Nice to have you here on the podcast, Matthew.

Matthew: Thank you very much.

Peter: Matthew people know you. You have a very known blog that is matthewwoodworth.codit.uk and you are also the director of search logistics. Tell me what are the fun things that you do in your line of work?

Matthew: Well, my line of work all of it is fun from top to bottom. I've been doing SEO since before link-building existed and I've been following my passion ever since. The fun things I get to do every day is just nerd out on what I love doing and that is SEO and digital business and everything like that. Honestly, it doesn't matter if I'm doing like some like boring data entry tasks or planning a new promotion [laughs] I love it all.

Peter: All right. I invited you to this podcast because you were in Barcelona, how is Barcelona?

Matthew: Yes Barcelona a beautiful city. I don't usually like cities, but Barcelona was pretty cool. The Affiliate Summit Conference is one of my favorite conferences because it attracts such a wide variety of people rather than just SEO or just the ECOMAS guys and so forth. It's a great conference and I put together a great presentation for them which I'm hoping to boil down and share with you guys today.

Peter: I feel that affiliate marketing is, similar to SEO, it has been pronounced dead a couple of times in the past.

Matthew: Yes.[laughs]

Peter: It's still there and it still works very well right?

Matthew: Yes, as long as there are things to buy there'll be affiliates and as long as there are search engines to search they'll be SEOs. [laughs]

Peter: All right let's not beat around the bush that's what we do. Let's go directly to your presentation, your presentation was a case study on how to increase your search traffic for 14 times?

Matthew: Yes, we took search traffic from 2,700 a month to 38,000 in just eight months with an affiliate site in the health niche.

Peter: All right. I think we have to take our five minutes so that you can explain to us how you did that so that we can repeat that for our own websites here you go.

Matthew: Look SEO doesn't have to be complicated. One of the things I know as popular SEO blog owner is that people always like looking for the secret ingredient or the supersecret to SEO. The truth of the matter is it just doesn't exist. There isn't a super-secret to find, there isn't a super ingredient, there isn't that one thing that's going to push you over the edge. It just doesn't work like that. It's a combination of factors that will help to elevate your search traffic. The problem is most people are only focused on one of those factors which is building links.

It's very easy to get lost in the technicalities and complications of SEO, but look it boils down really to a very, very simple three-step process. That is, first of all, take a look at technical SEO. You've got to build the structure of a solid and healthy website structure that not only Google loves, but people love as well. The second step is you've got to create content that actually helps people. It's actually, got to be relevant people actually want to engage with it. It's got to be the content that when people read it they want to share it. No one wants to link to a lemon and many people don't produce good enough content that's worthy of attracting links naturally it's a common mistake.

The third step is link building and that just acquiring links from relevant websites. That is 10 times easy to do when you've taken care of content creation and your technical SEO and on-site experience. Those three pillars the healthy site structure, the content and the link building those three pillars if you pay attention to them and work them together have absolutely incredible effects. You don't need SEO to be complicated just take care of the basics and Google will reward you. The problem is many people don't want to take care of the basics.

Honestly, that's all we did in this case study we 14 times search traffic in a highly competitive health niche and we only built 76 links. Over that period the site actually attracted around 350 links. Now the reason it was able to attract 280 links was that because we paid attention to site structure and content before we went out to do the link building. now if you had to budget for those additional 250 links in the health niche you'd probably have had to spend around a hundred to 150 dollars per link. Not only from an ROI perspective is taking care of your technical SEO and quality of content important.

It's important for your users, it's important for Google your rankings your traffic and conversion everything relies on getting those three pillars right, but so many people are blindly obsessed with link building they can't see the woods for the trees and then they use all of their effort and all of their resources building links which they're not getting the maximum value from those links because they haven't taken care of the other core pillars and when you take care of all of them they all work together and it's the most cost-effective way of increasing your search traffic.

Now the case study site and I've got a very detailed case study that drills down into all of the technical differences that we could simply not cover in five or ten minutes. If you want to check that out there's a full post on my blog along with a video that goes through all of the real nitty-gritty technical bits it leaves no stone unturned. We faced a common problem with this site that many people might face and when we were trying to rank it the search results were dominated by huge brands huge, huge, huge brands and that's quite scary when you're looking at it.

What we noticed is the brands that were ranking specifically the pages that were ranking were only ranking out of the strength of the domains Authority. They were not ranking because of individual page level metrics like backlinks that men that if we focused on page-level metrics we had an opportunity. For example where a site like Holland and Barrett might be ranking number three, but with zero links to the page. Yes, if we build a page it's got 15 links to it we've beaten them on page-level metrics and that gives us an opportunity to compete in the search results.

That was the common theme of this case study we were looking for search results where sites were purely ranking out on the main level metrics rather than page level and then we optimized all of the page level metrics in order to compete. Now the health niche is seriously, seriously competitive, but that approach allowed us to find lots of opportunities that

once we approached it with that mindset and that's how we got the competitive advantage with the entire strategy that was really the foothold that allowed us to take control. Once we identified the opportunity, it was in just a case of looking at our competitors seeing what they were doing why they were doing it how they were doing it.

We were looking at what they did that we liked, what we didn't like where they're using trust signals on the page was the content aligning to intent we really just did a very manual observation of the search results to see what we felt. Now, manual observation, the power of observation is one of the most underutilized skills you can have as a human being, like in general life. Not only in SEO but we can learn so much as by observing and in the SEO world, we're often distracted by big data and tools and analytics and all these other things that actually stops us from just using the computer between our ears.

Quite often you can just look at a search result and just ask yourself questions, why is this ranking and look through the data and come up with your own observations rather than just looking at what a tool says. That's important to do because you really start to get a feel not just for the SEO of the niche, because every niche is different, but also who your competitors are. Why are they your competitors, what they do good, what they do bad? It becomes more of a business exercise and it's something that's lost on many SEOs and people skip over.

Once we decided on our strategy, we observe the search results and we found our opportunities, then it was just a case of going and making sure we had build a solid site structure that Google loves and humans love. I drilled down more into that in the post be`cause it gets very technical and the issues this site had is unique to this site. We have issues with page speeds, site structure, duplicate content, had some issues with trust signals and a few other areas. Have a look at the full case study and see if your site suffers from any of those problems as well. If it does, you need to fix them.

Once we've taken care of there was like seven or eight key issues that was preventing us from building a solid foundation that Google loves. Once we built that, it was then just a case of creating content. Now, we created the content of the back of the manual observation we've done in the search results. We've made a note of what was ranking, what we liked about it, what we didn't like about it and so forth. We went out and created content that matched that specifications. One of the biggest wins we had was with the home page where we deployed I think around 10,000 words of content.

Sorry, the home page originally had 1,500 words of content on it. We increased that to nearly 11,000 words just by answering 20 of the most popular questions in the niche. The impact on that was the home page went from ranking for like a handful or keywords to over 11,000 different keywords just by adding about 10,000 words of content to the home page. We went out and we made sure all of the content we were creating for our target keywords is at least equal to or slightly better than our competitors. There's literally no reason to be ten-timesing your content, you've just got to match or better your competitors.

Once that was in place, it was just a case of acquiring links from relevant sites and trust me, many, many people struggle link building, but link building is really, really, really easy when you've created content that people actually want to link to. It's a much easier sell when you picture, hey, look at this awesome post when it is actually awesome and that's a big part that many people will miss when they're so focused on link building. They can't see the woods for the trees and then they miss out on much bigger opportunities and end up spending a bunch more money than they need to, to acquire the same amount of links.

Once we have taken care of on-site structure, technical SEO, the content and then the link building, those three basic pillars of SEO. We saw traffic grow from 2,700 per month to 38,000. That's a 14 time increase in 8 months in one of the most competitive niches on the planet. We did it solely by taking care of the every basic pillars of SEO, wasn't complicated and that's the biggest advantage that you often have in it in SEO. Just by using the power of manual observation and seeing where you can fit in with things rather than relying on tools and analysis and this and that and the other.

Just look for those opportunities with your eyes and then make sure you do the basics right, because if you do the very basics right of any business whether it's SEO or offline business, whatever it is, if you do the very basics right, you always see success and that is very much the case with SEO.

Peter: All right, thank you. A couple of very interesting things were mentioned, home page started ranking for giant number of keywords. Usually I would say that the home page, because it has to look nice and it doesn't really have as much content, it would usually rank for the brand keywords and more or less nothing else, but you switched that and wanted to get the home page ranked. How can be a home page competitive to 1,000 worded article from the competition?

Matthew: The home page usually has the most weight in terms of SEO. It usually has the most authority and you're right, most people only use a home page to try and rank for brand terms. What we did was we just made a list of the most popular questions in the niche and answered them. In you know, when you clicked to expand the question and it reveals the answer? That on it's own attracted a bunch of long tail keywords that were all relevant to our niche and then also reinforce all of our topical relevance. That was just something that tried on that site and we have great, great, great success with that.

Peter: All right, so it should be tried at other places too.

Matthew: Yes, and I've just have to point it out, beyond just finding out what the top questions where and answering to them, there was no keyword research that went into it. There wasn't any like strategy or planning that went into it. It was just, okay, let's answer all of these super relevant questions on the home page and see what happens, and that's what we did.

Peter: Very interesting, the tools got to compare yourself to the competition, Pop or Quora or others are really, really popular right now in SEO in the last couple of months. You're saying, use your brain and just see for yourself and you're going to understand your competition much better than using the tools.

Matthew: Yes, I'm not saying don't use the tools, but the tools shouldn't be the first thing that you use. The first thing that you should do is use the computer between your ears, do the search yourself, look at the search results, manually review them both on a desktop and a mobile phone and get a feel for it. Often just by looking, you see opportunities and while everyone else is distracted with automation and tools, you can just observe. It's how I see most of my success in life, I just sit back and observe. Observe the people that are winning, observe the people that are losing. Why are they winning? Why are they losing? Why is this person doing that?

Why do they making it? Just sit back and observe and if you apply that to the search results, I learn more just observing search results and doing random searches like best gaming laptop. I like watching how that search result has changed over the years. Two years ago you would've found a bunch of amazon affiliate sites there. Right now, there's not a single affiliate site there. Just that kind of observations tells you the direction that things are moving in. If you're building Amazon affiliate sites and you're not building businesses right now, well the search results are already telling you you're making the wrong decision. That's the power of observation, it's underutilized not just in SEO but in general life as well.

Peter: Yes, and I had a boss once who every morning he wanted to type all of the costs and income for the different marketing channels into the spreadsheet himself. He went through the numbers every day himself with his own brain and understood and of course, now the company has grown to up 300 people.

Matthew: Yes. That's-

Peter: There is an idea of understanding, getting the deep understanding of the field is the additional benefit.

Matthew: Yes, that's a very intelligent decision by him because he could just have someone else enter the numbers him read the data, but when you read the data you're not analyzing it in the same way as when you're actually in the got to doing it. Very smart move by your boss and I think there's a lesson there for all of the SEO community to take [laughs] Including myself actually.

Peter: All right Matthew. I think we had a very nice summation of your presentation at the Affiliate World in Barcelona. As mentioned, we'll add links to your blog post with your video and to your short presentation to the show notes. Where can people find you, contact you and of course read stuff that you write on your blog?

Matthew: Yes, the best way to read anything by me is to hit matthewwood.co.uk. There's a ton of content there that answers pretty much every SEO question you can ever think of. You'll also find a case study section and you'll find this case study, How We 14 Times Search Traffic. The case study includes all of the technical details that I wasn't able to include on the talk along with a video that steps you through the entire thing. I'm hoping that it's one of the best SEO videos you've ever seen, so leave me a comment and let me know if that's the case.

Peter: All right, let everyone go and check that. Do you have any future conference plans already set up?

Matthew: I'm going to be talking at Chiang Mai SEO in November and I got a couple of a potential bookings next year that we're just ironing out the details of [laugh] but Chiang Mai SEO will be next one, yes

Peter: One more thing, when I went through our communication in Gmail, I searched for your name and then I found out when was the first time when I really met you but contact with you. It was probably last year. I think it was last year when you were having SEO Black Friday deals.

Matthew: Oh yes. Yes.

Peter: Black Friday is coming slowly. Are you having something similar this year too?

Matthew: Yes. For the last five or six years, I've published a site, internetmarketing.blackfriday, which covers all of the Black Friday deals across the SEO and blogging niche. I think last year we had like a whole 120 different deals loaded and I think 11 of them were exclusive to us as well. That's something that I've been doing for quite a long time and we'll be doing it this year as well.

Peter: All right. Excellent. I think that's it. Thank you very much for being on the podcast. It was extremely informational.

Matthew: Yes. Perfect.

Peter: Glad for having you here and have a great day.

Matthew: Thank you very much. It's been great to be here.

 

9
Sep 2019

#24 - Joelle Irvine - Image & Visual Browse Optimization Opportunities

Joelle is the Director of Marketing & Growth at Bookmark (her on Linkedin) and she spoke at the MozCon 2019 with a presentation on Image & Visual Browse optimization opportunities. The official title of her presentation was Get The Look: Improve the Shopper Experience with Visual Search Optimization. In a time where everyone talks about voice optimization, she thinks about the new channels that visual browse and purchase will bring.

You can check out the slides from her presentation here:

Here is the transcript of the podcast:

Joelle Irvine: This is something that's not widely used by many researchers, but the interest is really growing. There are some studies done, ViSenze actually did a study where they found that 62% of Millennials would really like to be able to search by image and 58% of them would like to be able to click to purchase directly from content.

Peter Mesarec: This is Time for Marketing. The marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference. Hello and welcome to the Time for Marketing podcast, the podcast that brings you information from the conference's that you were not able to attend in a short time span because we know you are all busy enjoying the last days of summer.

This is the episode number 24. My name is still Peter and we will go directly with our guests joining us today from beautiful Canada up there and to the left very far away from me is sitting Joelle Irvine.

Joelle: Hi Petter. How are you?

Peter: I'm very well, how are you doing? Today is Tuesday. You're slowly starting your workweek.

Joelle: Yes.

Peter: Did you already start after the summer? For agencies stuff usually dies down a bit or declines back are they sending emails and trying to do everything for Black Friday and everything in the fall that they have planned.

Joelle: We actually don't really have any slow periods here at Bookmark. Not only do we do digital but we also do magazines so we gear up for the fall during the summer and then the fun continues throughout the fall until the holidays at the end of the year.

Peter: All right. The #agencylive will always work hard.

Joelle: Yes, exactly.

[chuckles]

Peter: Joelle, you are the director of marketing and growth at the agency called Bookmark Content and Communications. Can you briefly tell us what do you do either as the agency and more importantly, what are the things that you do? What are the nice things that allow you that you are happy at your work every day?

Joelle: At Bookmark, we're a global content and communications agency and we have offices all around the world. We work mostly primarily with luxury and lifestyle brands and we create content for them to bring their brand and audiences together. What I do is actually create content for our content marketing company, it's very meta. I wear many hats, I do a little SEO, I do in marketing social media. I also work on some new business, I do really a little bit of everything, I love it.

Peter: Yes, you're the director of stuff there, you'll have to do everything. If you're doing stuff for high-end brands, I've invited you to the podcast because you spoke at the Moscone conference. How is SEO and high-end brands coming together?

Joelle: Well, I was looking for new and innovative things to bring to our clients. Not only do we focus on-page SEO we're also looking at technical SEO as well as new things we can bring to them. How can we integrate voice? How could we integrate visual search? How can we make sure that when their audience looks for them in search that they're getting visually pleasing results, not only text-based results.

Peter: Yes. This is why I was very interested in your presentation, in a time when everyone speaks about voice search you speak about image search or visual search. Your presentation was called Get To Look, Improve the Shopper Experience with Visual Search Optimization. We'll get to the presentation in a minute. How was Moscone?

Joelle: I really enjoyed it. It was actually my third year at Moscone, this is my first time on stage. What I really love about Moscone is the community. I love the people that attend. I love the presentations and the other presenters that spoke, they all cover really interesting things that are current, that are relevant, that are trending.

They also bring something I think a little bit different than other conferences be because it is a one-track conference and I really love that approach. I also really appreciate the way that it's very much human first even though it's a tech company. They really accommodate everybody. Even if you look at the speakers it's very much a 50/50 split between men and women which I really appreciate.

Peter: Yes. I've had two speakers for a Moscone on the podcast in the previous episodes just because the presentations that I saw were so good. All right, let's go directly to your presentation. Without further ado, I just give you your five minutes to sum up your presentation.

Joelle: Perfect. When I talk about visual search, I'm really talking about searching for images with other images not searching for images with text queries. This is something that's not widely used by many searchers but the interest is really growing. There are some studies done, ViSenze actually did a study where they found that 62% of Millennials would really like to be able to search by image and 58% of them would like to be able to click to purchase directly from content. That's very telling showing that young people are really interested in this type of technology and I find also people are in tune with looking for things with their eyes versus typing them out.

There's another stat that I'd like to share and it's that 85% of consumers place more importance on visuals when shopping online for clothing and furniture. I'd like to share why I chose Google lens and Pinterest lens as examples. I find that they're both leading the way in terms of technology and ways to use visual search to appeal to their customers and also drive revenue for brands.

Google lens is really focusing more on practical applications where Pinterest lens showing more success in discovery engagement and conversion for fashion and home decor brands. I find those two things are really interesting to look at because not doing the same things, they're investing in different ways to use image recognition technology to appeal to their audience.

If we look back at the past few months, Pinterest lens has actually started integrating some cool new features. They integrated hybrid search which is a way of integrating a visual search with a text-based query. Right now it's not something that you can use where you can actually type in a query but you can actually take an existing pin and text provided by Pinterest to come together and provide search results based on those two things. They're working on something called to Complete the Look which I think is going to be really amazing and I feel like other companies and tech companies and social media companies will follow suit once this is released.

What it does, is it allows you to actually type in a text query and combine it with an image to find a handbag to go with an outfit or curtains to go with your living room. What's interesting about Pinterest lens is that right now there's about 600 million visual searches that are happening every month and 300 million people around the world are using it. That's small potatoes compared to let's say Google or Amazon's audience but there is a large group of people who are actually using visual search. If that's something the brands are interested in, they should leverage that. Mostly because proportionately Pinterest drives more referral traffic to e-commerce sites than other social platforms.

Something else that I'd like to share is that Google lens, it can recognize over one billion items. That's quite something. At the recent Google I/O conference last May, they also introduced two new filters further Google lens. One is dining where you can actually scan menu items and it'll pick up some images and recommendations from their Maps app to get people to choose items that other people have liked. Also, the translate feature where you can scan a printed document or a screen with text in another language and it'll translate it for you in a matter of seconds. That in itself is very cool when you're traveling, it just makes things way more accessible. They also announced the addition of augmented reality into a Google search which could have huge possibilities for shopping if that will also get integrated into the lens features. All of this leads to opportunities for retail brands, e-commerce brands. Some of these opportunities include increased visibility for lesser-known brands. Right now, if you think about shopping online a lot of the time it's hard for some smaller brands to get found in search results but through Pinterest lens what pinners end up doing is they end up being exposed to this smaller brands and they get to see things based on what they're looking for in terms of style rather than doing branded searches .

97% of Pinterest searches are currently unbranded and 70% of their audience is open to finding about brands they've never heard of before. That's pretty cool. Also, something that's interesting that people should be looking at is leveraging existing platforms and partnerships. What I would say is either optimize where your audience is already like on Google, Pinterest, Instagram or Amazon or partner with an image recognition tech provider to integrate it into your own platform.

If you're just starting out I would say go where your audience is already but if you're ready to take that next leap there are different providers such as the ViSenze, slice  that can help with that integration. Also, capitalize on impulse buying this is something that-- I think it's a funny thing to say but there are some studies that 72% of pinners say that the platform inspires them to shop when they aren't actually looking for anything. That's pretty huge and I think people or brands should take advantage of that.

The other thing that I'd like to share ist hat visual search can also be used in real life. If you can integrate it into your in-store experience it could also create other opportunities to increase in-store visits. For example, Alibaba and Amazon both brought this type of tech into their change rooms to help people shop more easily. Alibaba brought in these fashion AI mirrors into the guest change rooms to suggest other accessories and different color options for what they tried on to help them find what they're looking for and Amazon created this cool tech-enabled mirror that projects clothing onto customers so that they can see what they look like without actually trying it on I mean that's pretty cool stuff.

Last but not least, increasing revenue Gartner predicts that at 2021 e-commerce brands who optimized for voice and visual search will increase profits by up to 30%. That's huge. Obviously this is a prediction but I think it's worth thinking about how you can integrate this type of technology into your strategy and into your content and into your search practices because it's coming, younger people are using it, younger people are thinking about it. If you miss the boat now you'd just be catching up later all this to say that visual search is a cool new feature but you also have to think about how to optimize for it because it's not yet perfect. It is a technology it is constantly evolving. In my conference, I shared some tactics and techniques to optimize for visual search and some of those things included everything that you do currently for image search can also be applied for visual search. Make sure to think about your image size and keywords and all tags and all that good stuff.

You also want to think on the technical side, making sure to submit image site maps and sync basic product data with the Google Merchant Center. Enabling rich pins for Pinterest, implementing structured data especially for product and offer and image gallery. Also, think about how you search for what you want to-- Like do your research for what you want to focus on. Don't only think about keywords, also think about finding trends there's Google trends, there's a monthly Pinterest trend report, there's all kinds of cool stuff that you can use to make your content super cool.

My last point is to think about what's next. Visual sentiment analysis to understand the emotion of users when they're on your social media channels for example. How you can integrate visual search into your strategy even if it's not for fashion or home decor brands. Think about real estate think about food and beverage, think about hotels, for example. Also think about all the new integrations that you could do with a visual search like the augmented reality example I gave earlier, machine learning. There's so much that's coming we don't even know what the possibilities will be. This is basically, think about what's coming and see how it fits with your brand and if it does then test it. Try it out. Try and integrate a few things and see if it helps you out.

Peter: I must say very extensive and not sure if extensive is the right word but all-encompassing would probably be the right word. You went from the theory to far-fetched examples and went back to the examples of what people should be doing right now. What I see is, with e-commerce stores they still have, especially e-commerce is that they have a big number of products. They still have problems with generating quality and interesting images for products. How can we get them to not only show two boring pictures but get them to show pictures with people or maybe even create a video, how do you push e-commerces to do that?

Joelle: I would say that it's always best to use authentic type images but in terms of product images, you really want to show your product as it is, your product on a person you want to show the different angles. You also want to show dimensions, if something is a certain size you want to show it compared to something or like in a real-life type situation.

Peter: Have a banana for scale.

Joelle: Yes, to scale exactly. You also want to provide context. I really love the example of when you're looking at a handbag for example, when I'm actually shopping online for a handbag I like to see how many pockets are inside. I like to see what it looks like underneath. There's things that you may not think about what your audience is looking for but you can actually look in the data for images that you do currently have, what they're actually looking for and what helps them when they're making those decisions to optimize them properly.

Peter: What we see very often is companies having or creating their own photo studios within their own company so that they are able to be fast and create images when they need them. Do you think this is a good strategy or are you more of a fan of going for a big photoshoot that will deliver the best images ever?

Joelle: I think that authenticity is super important. I think that you don't have to spend a lot of money to take good photos, it really depends on your budget and who you're trying to appeal to make that decision.

Peter: All right. I was really wanting to ask you what should be the next steps for people that would like to go into the image or visual optimization but as you mentioned before just have good images and do good image SEO and that should be the first step, I'm I right?

Joelle: Yes, definitely that's right and you also want to optimize on the back-end in terms of connecting it with the Merchant Center and if for Pinterest it'd be Pinterest catalogs so that the data is connected with those images and they're indexed properly.

Peter: All right excellent. We're at the 21-minute mark and I think we are good with the presentation. Joelle thank you very much for summing up your presentation from Moscone. Where can people find you who? Who would like to talk to you what are your next things you have something with the whiteboard Friday planned, is that right?

Joelle: Yes. I'll be doing a whiteboard Friday. It's coming up soon and it's on the same topic. Check it out, I'll give some tips there on visual search as well.

Peter: All right and of course I will add your presentation, the slides into the show notes so there's people and of course links to your LinkedIn and your company and everything else so that people can see and follow your presentation when they listen to the podcast.

Joelle: Perfect, thank you.

Peter: I think that's it. Thank you very much for being the guest in the podcast. Thank you for-- it's probably very early in the morning for you.

Joelle: It's actually close to lunchtime [laughs].

Peter: Wow, all right. I'm not that good with different time zones. Okay, that's it. Thank you very much for being on the podcast. I'll see you around.

Joelle: Thanks, Peter.

19
Aug 2019

23 - Paul Shapiro - Redefining technical SEO

Another speaker from the Mozon conference, Paul Shapiro is the person behind one of the most important SO subreddits, /r/bigSEO, he has a very unique blog on Search Wilderness and runs a Technical SEO conference.

Here are his slides from the presentation, and you should go and check out his blog post, where you can find all the code that he talks about in the presentation.

Here is the transcript of the podcast:

Paul Shapiro: There are four types of technical SEO.

[music]

Peter Mesarec: This is Time for Marketing, the marketing podcast that will tell you everything you've missed when you didn't attend the marketing conference.

[music]

Peter: Hello and welcome to the Time for Marketing, the podcast that brings you all of the information from the marketing conferences that you have missed or were not able to attend. This is episode number 23. We are big into our second year of podcasting. My name is still, from the beginning to the end, Peter and I'm your host for the podcast. If you love the podcast, of course, go and subscribe. If you would like to be on our newsletter or mailing list, you can find it on our website timeformarketing.com. All of that just to start off because we have to go directly into our content. We have a great guest here with us today. Paul Shapiro, hello and welcome to the podcast.

Paul: Hi, Peter. Thanks for having me.

Peter: Paul, you live in or around New York. How is living in one of the best, biggest, and other great things, cities in the world?

Paul: It is the best. It's the best to be living in the best city. [chuckles] Actually, I just moved from Boston although I'm from the area originally. It's nice to be home.

Peter: Do you people from New York regularly take a stroll down the-- I just forgot the name of the giant park that you have down there.

Paul: Central Park.

Peter: Do you just daily go there or is that another thing and we just only feel that Hollywood movies show that to us?

Paul: It's not that close to where I am currently. Growing up as a child, I used to always go to Central Park. It was definitely a place where I spent a lot of time. New Yorkers certainly go to Central Park and it's been fine there.

Peter: One of the best things that I've thought about New York is that you are in probably the greatest metropolitan area, but you can take the subway, Paul, where you call the local train directly to the beach and you can go swimming. It's very close and this is a really great thing. Not a lot of big cities have things like that.

Paul: That's true. I think I probably take enough for granted, but it is nice.

Peter: Paul, right now, people probably know you. You've done a lot of great things on the internet, especially people that like to work on and about SEO. There is a nice quote they found about you on the internet. It says, "In a world filled with shitty blog posts that rehash the same info in different ways, Paul's articles are always a treat to read." You are the partner and head of SEO of the catalyst agency and you are the founder of the big SEO subreddit. Tell us a bit more about how you got into SEO and why do you think that SEO is if you do think that SEO is the best channel in the world.

Paul: I got into SEO by no spectacular means. I think a lot of people in the industry have much more impressive stories than I do. It was the job that I got into right after university. I'd graduated, had a mild interest in marketing, and actually was looking to get into social media marketing and couldn't find any jobs. At least no companies were willing to hire me for such a role.

It just so happened that in my formative years in high school and earlier, instead of working a typical retail job or McDonald's, I did freelance web design and development. I didn't even know what SEO was when I graduated, but I applied to one SEO job and I got that one. I was educated afterwards why it was such a great fit for me. I've been working in the industry ever since.

Peter: All right. You are known for a separated big SEO. It has become one of the important parts of where people go to find SEO-related questions. Do you think that reddit as a community has an added value compared to other maybe Slack communities or Telegram communities or even just websites?

Paul: Yes. It fills an interesting need. I'm on a lot of Slack communities and private chat rooms. They're great because you're only talking to certain people. It's completely private. That information is not going to be shared around. It serves its purpose and then there's much more public channels and there is reddit, which is in between. It is both a public platform. People can see what you're saying.

A lot of people tend to anonymize themselves. They don't use their real names. They use pseudonyms. They create new accounts just to ask a certain question. There's a level of privacy. People could be a little bit more real in a way while still making a public statement or asking a question in public. I think we've done a good job and we still try to make big SEO a place where we can have someone to facilitate that communication in the industry.

Peter: Yes, that is all true. Let's go to the topic at hand. You spoke at MozCon 2019. You're actually the second speaker for MozCon in row. I just spoke actually a couple of hours ago with Luke Carthy. He is the episode before you, the episode number 22. How was your experience of MozCon? Was this your first time at--

Paul: Yes. MozCon is a fantastic conference. It's one of the few in the industry that I would recommend. The other being in the conference that I founded TechSEO Boost. It's a conference dedicated to technical SEO. It was my second MozCon. I've been to MozCon once before back in 2015. I always had this yearning to come back. It was a pleasure for me to be actually asked to speak and present on technical SEO at a conference that I truly respect in the industry.

Peter: Okay. Your presentation was really finding technical SEO. Here are your five minutes so that you sum up your presentation and then we'll talk about it.

Paul: The presentation was redefining technical SEO. Started out painting the picture of the SEO, but we've been taught of having three different pillars, being we're catering to relevance, which is content strategy catering to authority, which is link building, link development, digital PR. There's this third one, which is "technical SEO." That traditional definition of that technical SEO is things that pertain to basically crawling and indexing, which in some ways is a limited definition and a definition that sometimes creates a schism in the industry.

You have people that gravitate toward a creative content side of things and your people that gravitate towards the technical side of things. This results in some fighting. You have articles. One of the bigger ones that came out was this technical SEO is makeup by Clayburn Griffin on Search Engine Land, which was quite inflammatory. It was making the point that it's not too hard to get technical SEO to a point that is good enough, but content is in some ways more difficult to achieve.

I don't disregard that. I don't think it's wrong. I think the reason why people come to that conclusion is because they are defining technical SEO wrong. In my conference, we had speaker the first year, Russ Jones from Moz. He had a definition for what technical SEO is. I don't have the quote right in front of me, but I'll summarize it as, "The application of a technical skill set to other facets of SEO."

Clearly, this definition encapsulates a whole lot more. I posit even further that there are four types of technical SEO within that. The first one is what I called checklist technical SEO. This is things that pertain to crawling and indexing but are automatable. There are tools that can help get you there. In some ways, you can completely automate the task. There's general technical SEO which, again, are things that pertain to crawling and indexing, but they're little higher skill, less automatable.

For instance, finding a bug in the CNS that is hindering crawling. That would be an example of a general technical SEO versus checklist technical SEO, which would be checking the box. Does this web page have a canonical peg that's properly formatted? The third bucket is what I call blurry lines, technical SEO. There are series of jobs that often fall to us as SEO practitioners. They're somewhat technical, but they're not necessarily meant to be the job of the SEO.

I could easily fall to someone who works in content web development. I'm talking about things like page speed optimization, web performance optimization, advanced analytics implementation. Again, things that fall with a SEO practitioner but aren't necessarily a SEO and they're quite technical in nature sometimes. The last bucket, which I focused most of my presentation on, which was what I call advanced applied technical SEO.

This is really the application of those technical skill sets to all areas of SEO. I went through a series of examples of how you could write a computer program to do a natural language processing analysis to enhance on-page copy. Doing on-page SEO is not inherently a technical SEO task. When you start applying concepts like data science and other areas of engineering and these technical skill sets, it could be a technical SEO task.

I went through the gamut. I went through link building, how you can automate things with Wayback Machine and the Moz API and pull insights for content variation and apply machine learning, and when you start to look at technical SEO this way as being a source of talent and skills applied to all areas of technical SEO that it becomes much more important and certainly as a makeup.

Peter: All right. That was excellent, especially the last point of the three I think is very important for people. Every SEO should obviously, from what we had in your presentations. be a bit of a programmer. The main question usually is how much of a programmer should I be? Where should I go and how much should I learn to be a great SEO?

Paul: I would say this. There are some clear advantages to knowing some programming. By all means, I don't think it's necessary to be an expert programmer. Working an SEO, I do think it will help you if you are. What I do advocate for is understanding computer programming a little bit, understanding the underlying logic, being able to write very, very simple programs. There's clear advantages to having that as a skill. One is that you'll understand how all the puzzle pieces fit together.

When you're working with an engineering team or a developer on a website, you understand where they're coming from. You could communicate to them better. They'll have more respect for you. They're more likely to take you seriously. You'll make better suggestions and you'll be able to do some more of these more sophisticated things. Furthermore, getting these very, very basic skill sets is not that challenging. There's a million in one places to learn this online and, honestly, get the basics done in probably a 30-minute YouTube video. That's my position.

Peter: Of course. A lot of the things, you can just program with Google Docs and Google Sheets with a bit more of a technical knowledge that you need to go and check all the boxes in [unintelligible 00:14:46] to do your technical audit. Technical SEO is usually seen as something that is really important with big websites, especially e-commerce websites that have millions of URLs where crawl budget is important, et cetera. How important do you see a technical SEO for companies that have smaller websites, especially for B2B companies?

Paul: Well, I think it's quite logical when you look at it from a larger website perspective. You have all sorts of crawling and indexing issues that can emerge due to scale. When you look at that broader definition that I presented in my MozCon presentation of being the application of technical things in other ways, I think it's quite applicable to small pages. If you're writing a better web page, whether you have five pages on your site or a hundred or 10,000 or a million, being able to enhance what you're doing there, for instance, it doesn't matter how many pages you have. You're doing better work.

Peter: All right. Can you give us a couple of places where people can go and learn technical SEO? Of course, one of them is your website Search Wilderness. The subreddit, big SEO. What are the other places?

Paul: You can check out my MozCon presentation on SlideShare. My blog searchwilderness.com is littered with examples. There is an upcoming Whiteboard Friday on Moz where I talk a little bit about this topic. Lastly, I've mentioned my conference. My conference is free. We only have a limited space in person, but we make everything available online to these streams and all past recordings are also available. Check out that.

Peter: All right. This is our 17-minute mark and we should be wrapping it up. Paul, tell us where can people find you and what are your future conference plans so that people can come and listen to your presentations.

Paul: Yes. My personal blog is searchwilderness.com. The agency I work for is Catalyst. It's catalystdigital.com. My twitter account is by fighto, F-I-G-H-T-O. I'm posting there all the time. In terms of conferences, I am speaking at UnGagged in Los Angeles in November. In Europe, I am speaking at SMX Advanced Europe in Berlin and We Love SEO in Paris. They're both end of September and beginning of October.

Peter: All right. A couple of times, you're coming to Europe. Well, my next task is to go and check out all of the presentations or recordings that you have from your conference. I must say I haven't really heard about your conference in the past. I'm from Europe, you're from up there, so it's a big place. That's it. Thank you very much for being on the podcast and I hope to see you around.

Paul: Yes, it's my pleasure.

29
Jul 2019

#22 - Luke Carthy - Using SEO crawlers for CRO and UX wins

Luke Carthy was one of the speakers at the MozCon 2019 and he uses his SEO tools in a weird way. This is why I wanted to talk to him, and he gave some great ideas on how to use your ScreamingFrog or your SiteBulb.

You can find Luke on Linkedin, he is the Digital Lead at Mayflex and you can find him on twitter.

Here are the slides from his presentation: