April 19, 2023

Episode 209: From Zero to SEO Hero: The Ultimate Guide to Organic Website Growth Without Begging for Links

Episode 209:  From Zero to SEO Hero: The Ultimate Guide to Organic Website Growth Without Begging for Links

As entrepreneurs, we all dream of having a website that ranks high on search engines and attracts millions of visitors without having to pay for clicks or beg for backlinks. In this podcast, we will explore the secrets to achieving high search results...

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As entrepreneurs, we all dream of having a website that ranks high on search engines and attracts millions of visitors without having to pay for clicks or beg for backlinks.

In this podcast, we will explore the secrets to achieving high search results and optimizing your website to become an asset that generates revenue for your business. Our expert guests will share their insights, strategies, and techniques for growing your website organically, without relying on paid advertising or link-building schemes.

You'll learn how to identify and target the right keywords, create high-quality content that resonates with your audience, optimize your website structure and metadata, and leverage social media and other digital channels to amplify your reach.

We'll also discuss the latest trends and best practices in search engine optimization (SEO), including the impact of voice search, artificial intelligence, and machine learning on website rankings.

Join us on this exciting journey from zero to SEO hero, and discover how to unlock the full potential of your website and turn it into a powerful marketing tool that drives traffic, leads, and sales for your business.

Links and Resources:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seoexpert/
Website: Wiideman Consulting Group, Inc

If you've been in business for any time at all, you probably have heard of the Red Bible. The name of the book is called The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, and it's affectionately called the Red Bible because everyone. Who is in business cannot live without it. There's a concept in the book called the Dream 100, and essentially what it boils down to is you want to identify the top 100 people, people that you want to do business with.

So when I started looking at this, basically what I started doing, I was not looking at the people. I was looking at the company and figuring out what companies it was that I wanted to work with and then figuring out who owned those companies and that's the way that I was approaching it. And that is not the right way to do it.

You want to ultimately work with people and you want to interact. People, and obviously you wanna be able to interact with people that are on your same wavelength, interested in the same things as you are, and then you can make different connections and different, um, introductions and, uh, you know, do things for people that you know that you would like.

So it makes it much, much, much easier to be able to do that. Now, I'm not gonna go through all of these because there are quite a few of them, but I've got a spreadsheet here that have things o obviously contact information, email all of their social. Profiles. Then you also want to understand, you know, their family.

How many kids do they have? What are their kids' names? Business partners, personal partners, um, childhood influencers, their parents, their grandparents. Is the family involved in the business? If so, what? What type of business influencers that they follow, their favorite podcasts? Are they into cars? Are they into, uh, what type of real estate investment types do they like?

Other types of investments, sports, favorite sports teams, favorite celebrities? Um, who's their banker? Who's their bookkeeper per personal assistant realtor? Lawyer, favorite politician, or country club that they belong to. Favor, vacation spots, favorite bands, personal development, history, all of these types of things you want to know and understand.

And when you start creating this list, this Dream 100 list, and you know and understand your target people who you want to be able to bring into your life, this information is going to make it so, so much easier. So if you haven't read the Ultimate Sales. I urge you to go and pick up a copy of that book right now.

On the Invest in Square Feet podcast, we unlock the secrets of wealthy entrepreneurship. I'm Matt Shields and my mission is to help you protect your wealth so that you can invest passively in multi-family real estate. Today we are going to be talking about SEO, and our guest today goes way back into the very early beginnings.

Everyone knows that SEO is sort of one of those holy grails of business. Being able to generate sales and opportunities without actually having to go out and sell to anyone or market to anyone, but takes a lot of work. Our guest today, Steve, is an expert in SEO and he's been doing this. For about 20-plus years now, so he's seen all of the changes and he understands how Google and how all of the various different algorithms work.

There's a lot packed into this episode today, but we're going to learn some effective strategies and techniques for growing a website organically without relying on paid advertising or any type of link-building schemes. With that, let's go ahead and get onto the show.

I think there's, there are three main challenges, right? And each one falls within its respective discipline of what I do. Right? It's tech content and off-page, uh, from a tech standpoint, choosing the right content management system. Mm-hmm. , you know, I find it very challenging in many cases to optimize, um, drag and drop systems like WIC and Weebly.

It's very difficult, from a technology standpoint, to have a system that offers all the features and bells and whistles that we need to satisfy Google's recommendations. Uh, great page experience. Mm-hmm.  on the content side, the biggest challenge has always been. Unfortunately on the client side with getting them to contribute to content, I can't tell you how many thousands of rows in spreadsheets I've delivered to clients of pages that they need to create to appear for the keywords that their customers are searching for.

Mm-hmm. , and they just won't take the time to do it. They won't even dictate it and have you transpose it in and try to, you know, write it yourself. They, they just, they just don't have the time bandwidth, interest, or understanding. , you know, to complete the content piece. And when you outsource almost every single time, they're gonna get back this content from some vendor and they're gonna go, this isn't how we describe what we do.

This isn't how, you know, we would do it. It's like, well, that's why we asked you to write it first. So I think the content piece has always been a challenge, um, on, the off page. You know, getting other websites to link to your website. Mm-hmm. , you know, it's, it's almost like a, there's a stigma to it now.

Everyone gets an email every day saying, will you link to me? Sure. And, uh, they don't even open 'em anymore. They know, oh, this guy's trying to, you know, link bait me to, to share something or link to them. So I think, the challenging side of getting links is getting buy-in from the clients on doing so.

from a content standpoint that's completely out of the box. Mm-hmm. . Hey, client, help me create an, um, all-inclusive glossary, an ultimate definitive guide too. Um, let's take some of the data that you have that no one else has about your clients, and let's create some content that's based on a research survey and combine it with our data to have this ultimate.

Um, research pieces that we think are even our industry peers and competitors might even link to. We did that last year. We did a study of 300 location pages for Starbucks and Taco Bell and McDonald's, and we studied which attributes played a role in them, uh, ranking better than their competition. And before you know it, I've, I've got, you know, platforms like Bright Local linking to us and me.

Web Pro News and Site Pro news, and we didn't have to do any outreach to, or emails to say, Hey, were you linked to our page? They were performing their own research on something that they were creating, and they referenced ours because we had data and we had statistics and tables and charts. So it's the off-page side's definitely, the challenge.

And of course, wrapping all of that together, the tech. Content and off-page and getting buy-in from the client and from stakeholders are, mm-hmm.  is often very challenging, especially with larger brands. Hey, larger brand. You realize right now you've got over 500 important URLs with other websites linking to them that are serving users and web callers of 4 0 4 air.

Yeah, we'd like to get to that, but SEO o on the MarTech side of things isn't really a priority right now. We're working on new platform things and changes and, you know, but, but we'll put it in Jira and we'll get to it in, you know, in due time. Mm-hmm. , you know, meanwhile, all those pages continue to just disappear from the search results.

That traffic disappears and goes away forever. We're dealing with, a client right now who's completely blocked the root of theirs. From being indexed by search engines, and we looked at their search console this morning, they were getting as much as 55,000 visits a day to these pages that now no longer exist in Google's results.

They're still out there. If you direct type them in, you can go to 'em, but they've blocked the search engines and nobody knows why. It turns out it's probably something having to do with this Microsoft Azure program where they said, Hey, hey clients. You know, we've got a new feature. You can. All the spam bots of the world, just click this button.

And somebody said, oh, neat. And they clicked it and not realizing they're blocking Google and being from being able to, you know, to serve their content. Mm-hmm... So, uh, so yeah, I think getting, getting buy-in from, from developers who can talk very savvy to you sometimes and argue with you very well, um, can be a huge challenge.

So having documentation. You know, the Google webmaster documentation and being webmaster documentation as an arsenal to combat those situations can help. And the other thing to do is, is to, is to reward those people through recognition when they do fix something, Hey, by the way, I dunno if you realize this, but those 55,000 visits translated into roughly $300,000 a day in revenue.

So by you fixing this, you've just saved the company x millions of dollars per year. So kudos to developer Sam, you know, who, um mm-hmm. , who basically saved the company X millions of dollars a year. Don't take credit for it, give the credit to the people who did the work so that they have buy-in and feel like, Hey, I'm, my work is, is validated and now going forward, Sam, can you fix this thing?

Yeah, I might save the money, and the company more money. Of course. I'll do it right away. Yeah, 

Yeah. No, makes sense. Uh, you, you mentioned there's, you know, essentially there's the, the three different, you know, categories. You've got you, your C R m or your, you know, your platform. Uh, you've got, your content generation, and then you've got, your promotion side of things.

Talk a little bit about it. Your, um, your story of finding the best solutions, you know, for each one of those things. I mean, obviously, this has been going on for, you know, a good number of years, but 24 years. Yeah. Yeah. How, uh, how did you determine, you know, this is the best way to be able to do this, and does this change a lot too, with all the differences?

You know, the different updates and Sure. You know, obviously, everyone remembers the Panda update, you know, that was a big one. So, you know, does, does, does that kind of shift depending on what new technologies or what new updates are, are coming out? 

Yeah, and I wish, I wish there was a one, one solution for all scenarios.

Even, in the early days, we would just use static H T M L and we would borrow from c s s, uh, zengar to create lightning-fast tablet designs. Um, and even that, you can't find a single page on that site. Now that. We'll pass Google's web vitals and some of the other technical criteria that we pay attention to.

So, um, the challenge is finding a platform that's, that, um, works with all of the different. Technical s e o requirements such as speed, mobile, friendliness, security, web vitals, and accessibility, that that comes fully integrated with all of those features while still being flexible enough for a marketer with no technical experience to log in, and create optimized content Today, you really, you really can't get both, right?

You, get WordPress, for example, and there are some ways that you. You can amplify speed using caching and plugins and third-party systems, some of which are getting really controversial, um, that that can make it seem to Google like we're following everything when a lot of times we're just hacking their tests.

Testing tools. Mm-hmm. , um, as opposed to actually creating a lightning-fast experience that's still, um, that still enables, the writers and the creators to go in and, and make changes. The other solution is, you know, the, the old school way, let's take. All the new frameworks and all the new technologies and headless and everything that we can do from a technology standpoint and create incredibly lightning-fast, amazing experiences for customers.

But in doing so, we've gotta get rid of C M S. And if we get rid of C M S, now the writer has to deliver their draft in a Word document or a Google document and wait for the developer to load it up and then go back to the developer after the fact and have them.  more of the optimizations once the page is live.

And that's, that's a grueling process that could really delay things. And if you're trying to rank for a new keyword that people are looking for, you're gonna lose. You need to get that page up today. If you're a news website, you know the moment that news hits within the next two hours, that needs to be live.

So waiting for it to go through that dev process.  to deploy content. Mm-hmm. , uh, can be really challenging. So big sites, news sites, LA Times, and, um, New York Times and so forth, all build some homegrown systems that, that work for them, uh, because they have the millions of dollars to do that with. Yeah. But, uh, but for the small, regular day-to-day businessman, um, business people, uh, I think the, uh, the best approach is, is just to let some things go.

You want to be able to have the ability to control your content and not be at. Um, you know, um, you know, having to wait for a developer to do something for you. Sure. So I would say just, just be okay with not having all these perfect technical scores. Work with WordPress. If you're on a, uh, if you're selling products and you're doing e-commerce and you have more than 20 products, Shopify or another system that we've worked with for a nearly, uh, decade and a half now, it's called Circuit Networks.

They used to be called SEO Cart. They have an incredible, and originally it was SEO Cart, literally. Mm-hmm. So it was. C m s, that that was optimized specifically for ranking and search results. Mm-hmm. , and it works great, for most businesses. Shopify, you know, does have some features like that, um, that have one, one button checkouts, you know, with the shop app.

Mm-hmm. And some other attributes that make conversion better, which can affect long-term SEO. So, so I'd, I'd say, you know, tests, those are the two that I know work really well. And every day there are new things coming out that you could test, but I don't like to reinvent the wheel and I don't like. I don't like to pay somebody to make their product better.

Mm-hmm. , I get a lot of that where I'm feeding suggestions and complaints to c m s systems and then they go and they fix those things and I'm like, wow. I just, I just literally paid them. To fix their system... Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And so I, I'd say work with the ones that are already doing well. WordPress will do you just fine if you're a small business and you're doing lead generation and Shopify will do you just fine if you're an e-commerce, um, site.

And they're getting better every day because they're getting complaints and suggestions from other digital marketers. Mm-hmm... 

Go about qualifying a developer or qualifying code to make sure that it is, you know, using two 2022 standards. And, and processes and, and whatnot. For sure. 

I, I think, I think that's where you get a, a, a consultant who specializes in, in web development, you know, not, not to be the person who helps build it, but to be the second set of eyes to make sure that it's being built in a way that.

What do you feel confident about in terms of pre-qualifying them? Uh, I would, I would ask to do, or I would have that consultant do an interview with the person to have 'em show the code of how they code. What's your logic look like? Um, how do you, how do you operate? How do you, um, uh, store files? How are you doing with your styles an, your JavaScripts and, and j queries?

Um, can I, can I use Python and do some cool things and, and., um, you know, be able to have elasticity in how the site's built or is it very rigid and, um, you know, and, and if something breaks, a semicolon goes away, the whole site goes down. Right, right. So I think, I think there's gotta be that. And the one thing I would look for sure is, is a, a staging environment.

Right. I would, I would look for that first, I would say I would always have a staging environment. So before we roll out big site changes, uh, we wanna make sure that everything's on staging and even in the content process, even if we've gotta deploy something in two hours, deploy it in both places on staging and in production.

That way you can still get it live, but you don't have to worry about if you do a full site refresh, that something on production gets wiped.  from some change that happened on staging. Mm-hmm. So I would say that would be the one thing I would look for is, is tell me how you operate from a change management standpoint.

Mm-hmm. , um, a redundancy standpoint, um, and sustainability. I think if you're paying attention to all those things, um, and as long as you know, you can look at the code and see that, that person's logic as well organized and clean mm-hmm.  and not just a, you know, looks like a, a giant hash and you should be good.

Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned redundancy there. What, what are some good? , um, rules of thumb to be able to make sure that, you know, you have the proper backups in place or you know, that the proper, um, you know, just, just the backup to make sure that if the site does go down, you're not gonna lose all of the data that you know has been accrued over, over the years.

Yeah, and, this will depend on your CMs too. As WordPress has, has tools and plugins that you could use that will back up the entire WordPress database for you and mm-hmm. , you can run those periodically. It will bog down the storage on your server, so you gotta make sure you also have a purge policy.

Um, so you don't wanna have, you know, a year's worth of backups, and suddenly your site just goes down because you ran outta space. Yeah. So I think, I think having, and, and creating some policies to, to manage those backups will help prevent something from breaking, but it depends on how much traffic you get.

So if you get a, you know, a ton of traffic. , then you probably wanna run backups, I don't know, every hour. Mm-hmm. , if you're getting somewhere in the middle range of, maybe you're getting, I don't know, 40, 40,000 hits a day or something, um, then you wanna at least backup up once or twice a day. And then if you're, if you're kind of a smaller business and, um, don't get that much traffic, you know, probably once a week or once a month should be more than enough.

Ria, once a week probably makes people feel safe. That's Okay, great. I, I've loaded up some pages, but, uh, the whole system just crashed. Don't worry. We'll pull last week's. And we can go to archive.org to get some of that content that we just published a couple of days ago, or we can just load it up again since it's only two days or three days worth, of content that has to be, you know, republished.

You, you mentioned, you know, this is the small business, you know, level, this is kind of medium, this is large. What are the, like the, the daily hits that would, you know, sort of, you know, define each one of those, would you say? Sure. 

Yeah. That's a good question. Um, Yeah, I would, I would say if, if you're receiving less than 10,000 visits a month, then you probably fit into that, that small business range... If you're getting 10,000 visits, then you know, you're, you're safe running a weekly or monthly backup and probably not having any problems.

Um, once you start getting over 10,000 to maybe, you know, 50,000 or so right around that range, then you're probably, you know, middle range, and then anything over 50, you know, it, it could be scary if the site goes down because, you know, as z as I mentioned, that's, that could be a lot of revenue if you look at each visitor, depending on, on how much your average order value is being worth.

And, you're getting 50,000 visits, that's $50,000 a day that it could be costing you. And you can see what, your average visit value is, you know, in your web analytics. And if you're doing e-comm or even if you're doing lead generation. And you can get an average of what each customer means to you and what percentage of people who come to the website become customers.

You can do that number and assign a value to every lead, every form fill, every chat, click, every phone number, click. You can assign a value to that. Um, and. Uh, it makes it really easy to forecast what new traffic could mean, and mm-hmm. , what a loss of traffic could cost. Yeah. No, makes, makes perfect sense.

And I think that that's, I think a lot of people skip over that step to actually define what, you know, what their traffic is actually worth and, you know, what they, what they're true, you know, generating every day based off of, you know, whatever, you know, whatever that number of, of clicks, is. Um, Talk a little bit.

Uh, so the second part was, the content generation, right? Yes. So, um, talk a little bit about your story of finding, you know, kind of your best solution, your best path to, uh, you know, create good content. Like you, you mentioned, you, you, you send these lists of topics or, you know, Uh, uh, sure. Um, search phrases, to your clients, but they don't know what to do with them.

What, right? Do you have any suggestions on how to, you know, some type of framework and how to be able to, you know, quickly be able to create large amounts of content like that is useful? Or is it Oh, yeah. You know, going one by one that you just have to. You know, start creating content. 

You know, we've, we've definitely had to figure it out over the years.

Mm-hmm. , because of that same challenge. I'm like, Hey, I just gave you a thousand pages to create over the next, you know, couple of years. Send over the content, I'll load it up, I'll optimize it, and you'll start to appear for more keywords. Mm-hmm. , that's what we used to say. Um, and then some of 'em, plumbers and smaller businesses who come back and.

I'm a plumber, period... And you're like, all right. So let's see. Uh, the question was about, uh, you know, leaky drains and what to do. Yeah. And that was the, you know, like the question. So I think, I think content starts off, of course, I always like to have everything be data-driven. So we look at, our search term reports from our Google ads and our being ads, and we figure out what keywords are actually driving customers in sales.

Forget about volume. If there are 10,000 searches for a broad keyword like shorts, um, and you don't convert many of those, uh, but uh, a more specific keyword, I don't know, maybe, um, uh, I don't know, kids shorts. It's very specific and it attracts a specific audience of people who are looking for kids' shorts, and that keyword converts for you.

Don't optimize your page for shorts, optimize it for kids' shorts. Yeah, you'll get fewer hits, but the hits that you do get will be better qualified. The click-through rate will stay higher in the search results. And Google will really note that u r l was the most helpful to the people that you were actually trying to get to it.

Um, so I'd say start with data first, whether it's through search console, uh, Google Analytics data, your Google, uh, ads, search term history, whatever. Um, take all of that and start there. Match those search terms up to the pages you already have, and work on those pages first. Once you've fully optimized every page on yours.

And by the way, that process as you're going through it, whether it's just a Google sheet or an Excel sheet, you know, starts with the URL and then page title, focus, keyword word, um, page description, heading tags, subheading, subheading, subheading, image, name, all of the different SEO O attributes, image alt attributes.

All of those things can be tracked in one single sheet if you're bootstrapping it instead of using the software. Um, so you, as you list all of the pages that you currently have and all of the keywords you want those pages, to appear for, and then start working through each column to get it optimized and then publish it, that's kind of a.

that's kind of a phase one in any sort of SEO timeline let's, let's optimize the pages we already have first, and then let's expand. Now, let's go out to some of these keyword tools. Let's use answer the public and sem rush and mm-hmm. , HRES conductor, bright Edge, whatever you wanna use. And let's, let's pull an aggregate, all of our competing keywords, SimilarWeb, and it's a crazy tool for this now too, by the way.

So you take all of those search terms, right? You parse out all the brand names that still exist even after you run that little, you know, intersect to see, you know, the ones that are common among the competition. Uh, and then you take those, match 'em to the pages that you already have and say, okay, great.

Here are the ones that we already have and what's, what's missing from our site that our competitors are getting trafficked for that we aren't yet. Uh, maybe you're a spiral staircase company and you don't realize. , um, you know, the, the keywords that they're looking for are the use types like, um, spiral stairs for basement, for attic, for the library.

Mm-hmm.  for patio. Mm-hmm... Maybe that's how they're looking for the product that you sell, the uses of how they might use it. So you'll start to create content based on those uses. But to find out,  how they're, you know, finding you and how they're using it. You, you, you've gotta take a look at the, uh, the competitors reverse engineer their keywords, and then you have this universe of keywords.

And from that, you know,, you study the information, you find common themes, and then you build a new site map. Either to augment your existing or to completely flush your existing and come up with something that's even more, more structured and intuitive. If you're building your navigation and your website based on how people are searching for what you offer, then you are going to just own it in digital marketing.

But if you're building your website and launching content based on what you want to showcase, then it's a business card brochure website not meant for digital marketing, right? You should really build your navigation and your site based on how people are looking for what you are.  and, and building silos of content, starting with the most important, I mentioned spiral staircases, which might be a category.

And then under that category, it's spiral staircases for the basement, library deck, whatever, right? Um, as opposed to just, Hey, let's just throw this content on a blog post, since that's easy and quick and, you know, and what happens that gets buried over time in an r s s feed. It doesn't stay in the same silo.

And eventually, somebody sees.  from 10 years ago in the search results. I'm like, yeah, I don't think this is gonna be very helpful. Yeah. Yeah. So, so there's a lot of, a lot of lazy approaches in how keywords become content, that, that businesses should just take the three to six months they need to, to create.

That comprehensive roadmap so they never have to think about it again. They know exactly what pages they need to have created and nurture over time. Um, and then you just put 'em all on, on a calendar. You have somebody whose job is to go back in and, and every month make sure that those pages are performing well in terms of keyword rankings, driving leads, click-through, rates improving.

And whenever you see any of those different metrics start to.  then that gets, you know, a ticket created for somebody on the writing team or tech team, depending on what the problem is. Um mm-hmm. , you know, to address. And if you're smart, you're also watching, cuz you probably got 10 to 20 really important pages on your website.

Right? You're smart. You're also watching the 10 to 20 important pages on your competitor's website using tools like Visual Ping. , P I N G, so that when they do make an update, change an H one tag, add an image, add a video, add more content, whatever they happen to do, you'll get a little notification and you can keep an eye on what they're doing and, and maybe even test some of the things that appear to be working for them, so that way you're not blindsided.

And one day wake up and find all your competitors with these beautiful product tiles under the listings. And yours just is black text and a blue link. Yeah. So, um, I, I think that's something. Businesses should really get with their digital marketing team and company and say, what is our content roadmap?

how did you, how did you put this together? Was it from our own data and from competitor insights? Um, and what's missing? What's the keyword gap? What are we missing? What are we not appearing for that competitor that we need to improve upon, and how are we going to track that? Uh, I think that's, that's a key element of content.

And, and you're right. I think, I think in a lot of cases, you know, the, the, the client just doesn't have the time or the energy or. Desire to create a really great page and they'll create these crappy pages. You mentioned the Panda update. Thin Yeah. Thin content. You know, if you throw a paragraph up and you wanna compete against the page that's got 3000 words, six subheadings, four unique images, and a video on it, good luck,

Yeah. Right. Don't waste your time creating a page if you're not going to make it better than the number one ranking result for the keyword you hope your page is gonna rank for. Yeah, no, 

that makes, that makes perfect sense. W uh, uh, when you, when you go through, Uh, you have a new client, do you often run into situations where the client may not necessarily know who?

You know, there, their top competitors are, or does everyone pretty well have, and, and you know, with that, how do you identify who your top competitors are? You know, do you just do a Google search for whatever your topic is and whoever shows up at the top, maybe they're, you know, doing a sponsored ad or something like that?

Those are your competitors or is there, is there a, a deeper strategy to be able to identify, you know, who those key players are that may go after those long 

tail keywords? You have 16 months of data, right, Matt? And, and search. You have 16 months, so you could, you could do a filter in the search console where you remove your brand name even, and see the non-branded searches that you're, your site's coming up for it.

You could even look at the words that they use for branded searches. How are they putting in your name and what they were searching for? You can get a lot of that, that initial data right from the search console, go out to Google, perform a search for those keywords, the non-branded ones, um, and find, the competitors that are appearing for those search terms.

Uh, and then you take those competing. If you put them into keyword tools and you might find some even bigger opportunities. Um, but you, I would start there, start with how people are already searching for what you do if you've been around for a while and then, you know, find those I competitors, the ones that appear for the keywords that you wanna appear for.

I get that a lot from some of our clients. Like, well, those aren't necessarily competitors. The, you know, the Grubhubs and the Uber Eats, you know, we actually sell through them. Uh, yeah. But they're outranking us for restaurant delivery in our area and we want that.  and you're paying a premium to have them send your orders in.

Whereas if they went to your website and ordered and went through GrubHub or, or yeah, Uber Eats through your site, you pay a different fee for that. So, um, don't you wanna save some money on that? And, yeah, outrank that competitor by having a better restaurant delivery page than them. So I think, I think a lot of times there's, there's that two parts, right?

They know who their direct competitors are, but not who their eye competition is in search results. And then the second part of that is, is convincing them that even, even industry websites and, and, and retailers of their products are competitors, Amazon is every. You know, e-commerce competitor. Yeah, sure.

And they win 90% of the time. So you've gotta get really creative to make your page better and more helpful and convincing. Because unfortunately 50% of the users are gonna go, okay, this is $59. Um, doesn't seem to mean any kind of sale or offer or anything compelling to make me want to click. Let me see what they sell it for on Amazon.

Yeah, that's exactly what they do. They take that product title, they copy it, they go to Amazon, they see if they can get a better price, and now that company just lost what, 35%? Of the potential extra profit they could have had if they went directly to the website. So I think, I think it's really spending some time with the usability and conversion rate team.

Even if you're delegating it to somebody who isn't an expert at it, um, get them some training. Have them go to some conferences, and read some books. Tim Ash has a great book on landing page optimization. Throw some sales principles in there, trust, reciprocity, urgency, and scarcity. I remember, um, a watch, uh, consignment site we worked with that, um, was like, Hey, we got a problem.

We've got a ton of inventory right now, and I need to get rid of some, uh, because, you know, we have to keep this balance of what's coming in and what's going out. And we're overstocked We need to get rid of some products. So we put up, a cool little box. When you're on this page looking at a, you know, a $5,000 Rolex watch and you're, you're looking at it for four seconds.

All of a sudden this little box comes in, not a lightbox. It actually pushes the content down. And isn't an intrusive lightbox and has a little timer on it and it says, mm-hmm, buy, buy this watch within the next 20 minutes. Cuz remember it's a $5,000 watch, um, you know, and save $700 or save, you know, 800 bucks or whatever it is.

Um, so that creates a sense of urgency and there's this ticker going down that says, yeah, this is going away. Oh, and by the way, Three other people are watching this right now. Oh, right. Yeah. Yeah. So there's, there are some really creative things that you can do using sales principles to keep them from leaving and going somewhere else.

But, um, but I think that's a big part of it, of, of content. It's not so much just having the better content, but it's also about buyer psychology and making sure that you're talking to the right people with the right. You're, you're not on a b to a B2B site saying Buy now. On your b2b, you're saying learn more on your b2c.

You're crossing off your price and putting better pricing and, and, um, timelines on when it ends. And again, creating that scarcity urgency mentality. Mm-hmm... So anyway, kind of breaking away a little bit from overall content strategy, but that's something that. Uh, often gets neglected. Yeah, no, 

That's so helpful. Um, then lastly, the, the tool or the, the, uh, connecting to other people that, that you mentioned kind of that third prong. What, what are some of the things that you've learned along the way, you know, for, for best practices there, you mentioned, you know, creating the content, uh, uh, that people would reach out and, you know, link to you, so you kind of take that work out of it?

Um, you know, what are some of the frameworks to, be able to put that type of content together? Um, you know, making it valuable, putting it in the right place so that people, you know, can find it, who are looking for that, you know, tho those types of things. 

Yeah. And, and have it support the lower funnel. Not be in its own silo.

Um, so questions, what, when, why, where, how, um, ideas, tips, strategies, checklists, right? Guides mm-hmm.  documents, um, uh, all of those types, of queries that are being made are potential traffic opportunities for you. So I would, I would definitely take some time, to look at tools like Answer the Public dot. Go into s SemRush if you use it and click on the questions tab.

Go into conductor searchlight, you know, and filter based on, um, on the upper funnel. Uh, filtering so that you're, you're looking at keywords where people are, aren't necessarily ready to buy or even considering buying, they're trying to solve problems. Those types of queries can generate a lot of traffic for you.

Even, our little page on wire Yelp reviews or how important are Yelp reviews and, um, anatomy of a local landing page, right? All of those types, of queries. Our upper funnel, they don't necessarily drive customers right away mm-hmm. , but they can play a big role in, um, helping us to attract links to our sites as well as, um, uh, triggering remarketing so that we can bring them into the lower funnel eventually.

Mm-hmm. , getting them to opt-in and seeing where they are, you know, and. In our own CRM and just continue to nurture, and nurture that lead until they actually become a lead. Um, I think that's, that's a great way. And, and so there's, there are a million different strategies and we've, what we've done, we've evolved ours over time.

We used to say, here's, here's the, you know, uh, suspicious links we should probably clean up. We put that first. Um, Google's done such a great job recently of filtering a lot of that out, that we don't pay as much attention to it. So at the end now, um, here are where. The top competitors in your industry are getting links.

So we'll take the top 20, 50, 100 competitors in your industry, uh, run them through, you know, um, a link research tool, and come up with a list of the ones that are linking to most of our competitors. Hey, you're a surgeon. Surgeon.org is linked to all of your competitors except for you, right? Mm-hmm.

Yeah. So finding, finding those, those semantic opportunities. So what we've done is we've broken it into two phases. Uh, we've broken it into quick wins. , right, which is three to four months of some quick wins. And then we, we've, um, have a phase two where we get into more of, The more challenging types of and, and more resource heavy types of link building.

Now the quick ones are easy. The first thing you do is, fix all the broken links. If there's a lot of, you know, links coming to your website and they're going to four or four pages, let's redirect them to the most, uh, to the corresponding page that you moved it to so that you can get back those links.

Uh, a major restaurant brand we work with had, what was it? 5,000 links pointing to. 15 different, four or four Veterans Day free meals pages. Wow. Wow. So we created a static, you know, URL. Mm-hmm.  an evergreen page. And we redirected all 15 of those four, four pages to, the new page. And we reclaimed 5,000 links almost overnight.

You can log into your Google Analytics, go to content, um, uh, do a filter by title, and look for any title that includes not found. Take that list, put it in a spreadsheet, and then put a column next to it of where those pages should be. Set that redirect in place, and probably within a couple of days you'll reclaim a dozen, maybe a couple hundred wow links that you would've lost.

That's number one. Unlinked Mentions are another easy way. Any website that mentions your brand but doesn't link to, you can reach out and say, Hey, it might be helpful to your users if they can click on our name and visit our website. Don't ask for the link. That's, you know, again, it's, yeah, it's a stigma about it.

Right. Um, the other quick win that you could do, um, so we've got broken links, uh, we've got unlinked mentions. Uh, what's another really quick win of something that you could do that doesn't take a lot of time? You could do the same thing with the broken links.  competitors. If competitors have pages that went away and you can create a better page than what they had, then you can go back out to those websites that were linking to your competitors, going to a four or four page and saying, Hey, we've realized this link is dead.

Maybe consider ours as a replacement for it. Mm-hmm. , ours is, you know, it's, it's up to date, it's 2022. It had some cool things in it. Yeah. If ever mentioned you in it. Right. And sometimes doing a little bit of that ego bake can help. Yep. Uh, then getting into the more complicated, let's get those links.

Competitors have. Let's create some really creative ideas. Let's, let's create some tools, some calculators, and some features on our website that everyone will wanna link to. Hey, we're a design site. Let's create a color palette page that's super dynamic and interactive. It's gonna cost us $15,000 to do it, but we're gonna earn 15,000 links out of it, and the whole industry will be linking to us as a resource because of all these great tools that we have on ours.

let's, let's solve the common problems that our customers have. Hey, customer service. What are the questions that you get every day? Mm-hmm. , let's create some answers on our website that could solve those things. Let's scrape Cora and answers.com for questions people have in our industry. Mm-hmm. , you know, and, and create content around those topics.

Um, Some of my favorites. Um, progressive has a dress-like flow for the Halloween campaign that I love. Okay... I love watching how many people go to Progressive cause they wanna dress like Flow for Halloween. Yeah. Um, uh, when web design goes to hell, is this article by, um, was it the oatmeal? And I remember as a web designer reading, this graphic.

And going, oh my God, that's so true. So many clients think they know so much more than we do about what we do, that we get to the point where we're just like, like, look, just do whatever you want. Yeah. But it's this funny comic that's earned thousands of links to it because of it. Resonates with, um, you know, with a, with a certain audience.

And every day more and more people are sharing this and re-sharing it and, Hey, doesn't this client remind you of this link? Right? Yeah. Yeah. So, um, yeah, there's, there's a lot of cool ideas. You could do a Google search for great link-building ideas and or link-bait ideas and, and find a huge library, uh, that exists out there, ways that you can attract visitors to your website using, you know, link bait tools, guides, glossaries.

Uh, you could do some cool things like scholarships. Community events are huge. If you can do a community event and then go to your neighboring businesses and get them to link to you, especially if you're a brick-and-mortar and you're trying to get people to your restaurant mm-hmm. , you can go out to all the other businesses in the community and, and invite them to participate.

They're not gonna have time. They're not gonna have money to donate, but they're gonna feel bad that they have neither, and they'll at least give you a link in their blog post to help you promote the.  and how great would that be for Google to find hundreds of links to your site from neighboring businesses that are all linking to, with maybe even with your name, address, phone number, and a short description of what you do that might include keywords.

Right, right. So I think, I think there's, a huge, um, unlimited, infinite, um, idea library of what you could do to attract links without having.  do a lot of outreach.  

All right. So did you get a lot of value out of this one? I know that I did. I feel like topics like SEO are one of those things that pretty well every single business owner needs. But every single business owner struggles with it. It wasn't necessarily called out in the show, but I want to stress how important it is for people to be linking to your website.

So when you think about this, this is just like humanity, right? If you have someone who's very, very popular, who has a lot of people, Who are connected with them, and a lot of people who want to be a part of them, you should consider your website the exact same type of thing, right? If you have a lot of people who are wanting to link to your website and, and posting your link on their website.

You are a quote-unquote popular website, right? So just like if you're a popular person, you're going to have a lot of connections all over the place. The same is true with this, but typically a lot of people will approach this process in a very, very spammy type of way where they're. Essentially begging for people to post the link to their website, you know, on their website.

So not very, very effective. What Steve talked about today was creating a report and what a lot of people end up doing with this report is they will put it behind a. A wall where you have to get, give the email address in order to get, be able to get this report. What Steve is suggesting is taking that same type of report and essentially just posting it on your website and giving it away for free, so that way then other people will.

Link back to you. Other people will link to that report. They'll, they'll show that report on their website through the link, and then that's going to help your SEO as well. So different mentality, a different way of being able to use those types of assets that typically you're holding to yourself. Give it away and let people link to you to create that popularity and that way you're going to have this wave of SEO.

The link-building ability that's gonna start growing and, and driving traffic to your website organically. Steve has a great special for us here today. Normally this costs about 600 bucks, but he is giving it away to our listeners for free. So if you go to the academy of search.com and use the code s e o, Steve, you'll get the course for free.

Remember that was $600 and you're going to get that course for free by going to the academy of search.com and using the code SEOSteve. If you want to reach out to Steve directly, he can be found at SEO Steve pretty well everywhere. And Steve also said that if you ever have any questions like, why am I not ranking for this SEO term that they offer?

His team offers Free advice on his social channels, and that is just Wiideman, which is at Weedman, W I I D E M A N. And if you want to understand what the wealthy do, head over to invest in square feet and sign up for the newsletter. We include additional tips that you can only get from the newsletter and we.

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