Ep. 51 – Busting SEO Myths, Blogging, and Content Marketing Strategies with Pat Ahern

start creating a higher quality content and ultimately start seeing more and more traction from each of those articles they do right welcome to honesty Commerce where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners I'm your host chase climber and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game if you're struggling with scaling your sales electric I is here to help to apply to work with us visit electric i io / connect to learn more now let's get on with the show welcome back to another episode of honesty commerce I am your host chase climber and today I am joined by Pat a Hearn Pat is coming to me from outside of Denver Colorado correct yeah just actually right right in the heart of Denver Colorado but thanks for having me Jase oh absolutely so Pat is a partner over at junto digital we met a few weeks back at a conference for agency owners and he had a lot of awesome information to share about content so I'm really excited about this episode if you've listened to me in the past on this I always talk about all the brands that are I'm finding success in e-commerce that we work with over at electric I they have like content creation baked into the strategy of their brand and they're seeing huge successes about it so hopefully pack and share some cool stuff with us so with that being said Pat let tell us a bit about junto and kind of what you were doing before and like kind of what was your journey up to now being a partner yeah absolutely so I joke that I'm basically a failed entrepreneur and every venture that I've worked on and junto is so far gone really well so been a nice little change of pace here but long short of it my business partner and I met at a previous agency I would say the agency was a little bit more established a little bit more set in their ways they have been around for about 10 years at that time so for the two of us we were constantly just looking for ways that we could drive more value to our customers constantly looking for ways that we could improve quality of services and really just continue to grow the team at the time being I think like 23 years old very understandable they were skeptical about a lot of our suggestions and were I would say a little bit more adamant about keeping things the way they were so at that point my business partner and I I think had worked at a combined five or six different agencies so we really started looking at it and said hey we really want to try this out on our own the biggest thing we said in particular is we're very firm believers that the freelance economy is coming and appear to stay so for us we decided to build junto on the premise that people don't necessarily need to be sitting elbow-to-elbow in order to get things done together so what we built up over the past I guess three and a half years is a global team of 33 people as of today based all around the world so you know handful of people in our local Denver office people that are on the East Coast of the United States our lead developer is an expat who lives over in Thailand it really team members from all other parts of the world as well that's amazing and you guys are kind of you're focusing now on content marketing and really how to use that to effectively drive traffic and authority and in in the end sales absolutely absolutely the biggest thing we say is blogging can be a really powerful way to grow your business as long as there's strategic intent behind all those blog articles so what we really pride ourselves on is being a data-driven content marketing agency that ultimately helps businesses to succeed by helping them to identify what sort of topics should they be writing about based on search intent and previous consumer search history and then from there working with them to create the most comprehensive resources on the internet about those given subject matters so that when their potential customers do search for those topics online they are the business that shows up they are the business that controls the conversation and ultimately they're the business that gets the sale absolutely so I'm gonna I understood everything you just said just because you know marketing is the bread and butter for what I'm doing in this industry I've been doing it for way too long but I'm gonna challenge you now so I'm gonna take it back I am I am Joe and I am new to e-commerce I just I just you know I had a cool product I launched it online you know year two ago and we're getting these sales I don't understand the difference between blogging of just like throwing some words out there and pressing publish first what you're doing you know what's the difference what am I doing wrong like how can I do this better as this young entrepreneur absolutely it's a great question and definitely something we hear a lot so one of the things we do say you know blogging blogging kinda just blindly can lead you really kind of taking a shotgun type approach I would say there's certainly a lot of merit to throw in a lot of spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks but ultimately every blog article that you're writing is expensive you know if you're writing it yourself you're probably looking at half a dozen hours a time that are going to go into that article if you're working with a Content agency or you're working with freelance writers know ultimately that cost is transition in the form of just how much physical revenue do you have to put into each article so our whole approach with content is to focus on the end of the spectrum where we produce less content but ensure that each of those articles that we do produce are extremely comprehensive and ultimately have what it takes to rank at the top of Google so that when you're most likely customers are searching for those topics that they have a proven search history for so in other words topics that might be getting searched a few hundred or a few thousand times a month by your target customer we ultimately gain the ability to steal all of your competitors traffic and ultimately through looking at data can ensure that we're getting the most ROI possible out of every article that we write awesome so what you're saying in short that blogging is an SEO play yeah I would say definitely to a very large degree you know the big thing that we try and find the right balance of is ensuring that we're focusing on SEO while also ensuring that we're focusing on sales so for us we like to divide up our blogging strategies to focus on topics that have a really high search volume will be very attainable for us to rank for over time and then from there as we start getting more and more traffic through those proven topics with proven search history we can get further down the sales funnel and ultimately start looking at what are the types of questions that people ask during sales conversations that we can create a really comprehensive piece of content when we ultimately combine these two forces of ensuring that we're showing up in search for those educational topics that consumers are looking for as well as the sales type topics that consumers are asking about when they're hopping on the phone with your salesperson or the questions that they're asking when they're sitting there at the shopping cart checkout section ready to pull the trigger ultimately ensuring that both those come together to ultimately drive sales to your business awesome so how do i how do I do this myself you know I'm a young entrepreneur and I don't have the budget to hire someone as amazing as junto so what are some of the tactics that I can employ within my strategy to give it that effort that's better than just you know that spaghetti against the wall absolutely absolutely so I am going to give a little shameless plug here so I think it was last summer maybe two summers ago our team started getting that question all the time and what we did is we put together what we call our content marketing playbook which outlines exactly what we do for every business that we work with to scale their business and ultimately build a successful content marketing machine for their business we put that all into one comprehensive guide called our content marketing playbook so what I'll do I'll send me is a link after this and if you want you can add it to the show too but otherwise people can access that playbook by going to junto digital / content – marketing – playbook and really that'll give the entire step-by-step walkthrough of what we look at there but delving into some of the core elements that we'll take a look at in terms of building out these successful content strategies really the first step that will take is we'll start by identifying a who are your direct competitors that you self-identify so that might be the the people that are you know you're basically going head-to-head with for a very similar type of product from there we'll expand it a little bit and we'll ask you to describe your business and maybe two to three words we'll search online for who are the other businesses that are maybe competing with you on a search perspective that hasn't crossed your mind before that ultimately are stealing a lot of the potential search traffic that you could be getting for your own brand self description what we'll do is we'll take a list of all the different websites that come up we'll start by analyzing where are those sites currently seeing value from an organic traffic and a content marketing perspective my personal preferences we use a tool called SEM rush there's a dozen different tools out there a traps is another popular one that you could do this exact same research with so what we'll do is we'll start by looking at each of these individual competitors we'll plug them into any of these SEO analysis tools and we'll take a look at what pages on their site are driving the most ROI for their business will really look at it from two primary perspectives one which pages are driving the most organic traffic through having valuable keyword rankings to we'll take a look at what sort of pages on their site maybe aren't seeing a ton of SEO traffic but are ranking in potentially valuable rankings for high search queries that would be valuable to your business I mean what I mean by that we typically say results one to ten on google for any given keyword are going to have a ton of value to your business today if you can rank there if you're ranking in positions eleven through twenty or eleven through thirty those keywords aren't going to necessarily be driving traffic back to your website today however if we can bump up any of those keyword rankings a couple of spots to be in the top ten we're going to start seeing immediate search traction from that so ensure we'll look at what keywords do your competitors rank in the top ten positions on Google for that would be valuable for us to rank for as well and then from there we'll take a look at what sort of keywords are they ranking in positions eleven through twenty or eleven through thirty four that maybe they haven't put quite as much effort into getting those pages to rank as they could have and as a result we might have a great opportunity to try and rank for those themes instead so we'll start out by identifying all those different opportunities that we can look at from there we'll look at each of those pages one by one and ultimately identify how likely would we be to outrank our competitors for that given topic the two big things that I like to look for and that our team will look for on every single one of these articles is we'll look at the current word count of any of those articles that are driving value for a competitor biggest reason being I'm going to butcher the exact number I apologize but I'll send this over as another reference point for the show note the team at back only go to study back in I believe it was September 2016 where they found that the average first page result on Google is about 1,900 words which is to say that if we see a competitor wrote maybe a blog article that's 750 words or a thousand words that is ranking in the top 10 position and driving a lot of value for their business in terms of search traffic if we see that topic is currently ranking that tells us that if we were to write a much more comprehensive resource that over time it's very likely that we'd be able to outrank the competitor there by just providing more comprehensive information and ultimately creating a better resource for readers so that's the first thing we'll take a look at is what is the word count of all these individual pieces in particular we'll look for articles that maybe have less than 1000 words to them as really low-hanging fruit and great opportunities to tackle the second thing we'll take a look at is the root domain backlink count to that individual page root domain backlinks is just a count of how many unique web sites are linking back to that individual page so our team uses a tool called a h reps for that and long and short of it what we'll do is we'll take a look at it and we'll see how many different links does each of these pages have pointing back to them if we see a page that has a hundred backlinks pointing back to it that tells us that out ranking that page is going to be extremely difficult and take a very long time to do however if we see a search result that maybe only has one back leg or has zero backlinks pointing back to it that tells us that ultimately if we can create a more comprehensive resource for our readers and maybe get one or two websites to link back to that article over time through a link outreach campaign then we have a very high likelihood of out ranking that competitor and ultimately stealing all of their search traffic so what I would say is starting out there looking at your competitors best performing content and in particular taking a look at out of all these performing posts which one of them do you see yourself being able to create a more comprehensive resource for prioritizing those topics first and you'll have some immediate keyword ranking wins as soon as you start blogging about some of these topics that was actually a very well worded explanation on just the basics of how SEO works in general you know it's that that's amazing right so I've got some I kind of want you to bust some some myths maybe you know honesty Commerce let's tell the truth here absolutely you know my competitors got a 700 word article I slap up a you know two thousand word article overnight I'm gonna be better right oh man I get that question way too often so that is one of the big the big things I always press assess the SEO with is ultimately ranking and search does take time and that timeline can vary depending on how competitive topics are but a really good expectation to have as you're going through writing any of these topics really is expect that it's going to take about three to six months to start to see traction on these posts for more competitive search themes those might take nine or even twelve months to start to see traction and what I'll even do I can even reference another article in here where we basically broke down how to search traffic evolve over time and then H Repsol even share this is a show notes link as well did a study where they looked at how long does it take the average post to rank situation I'll send that over your way as well just so everyone can reference that but a really good rule of thumb is expect that it's going to take at least three to six months to see any sort of traction out of new articles that you write the nice thing about it though is if you can see some immediate traction on even one or two of those blog articles that you write you can get in position one for a keyword that gets a thousand searches a month that's going to generate about 300 high quality website visitors to your month there are two sure website every single month and as you get more and more content to do the same ultimately that growth is going to continue exponentially over time support for today's podcast comes from our friends at simpler a new way to staff 24/7 sales customer service on your ecommerce store it works with your existing email and chat platforms so setup is quick and easy simpler network of on-demand us-based simpler specialists are standing by to answer your customers most common questions set it up for free today and then turn it on or off depending on your customer volume you only pay two dollars and 25 cents for every resolution there are no hidden fees contracts or minimums close more sales with simpler by staffing your email and live chat around the clock with simpler specialists start your free seven-day trial at simpler dot ai slash honest that's si m PL Rai /h o in est and then so kind of just going back to the topic of SEO being a long-term play even with just doing one or two articles that's not going to cut cut it at all I know that Google favors websites that are constantly producing articles or content is keeping essentially keeping their website update because updated that tells Google that hey these people care they're constantly updating stuff newer fresher content is probably better than this other stuff that's older absolutely absolutely yeah I think it was back in it was either 2012 or 2013 Google rolled out a massive algorithm update that they called their cafe and update and exactly as you said you know ultimately that update was focused on really rewarding sites that are constantly updating their website I think you know along the lines of SEO myths because Google loves fresh content I think one of the big points that's really important to clarify for the listener cell is one of the big SEO misunderstandings is that Google only cares about brand new content and the best way to get kind of on Google's good list is to just pump out a new blog article every week that approach certainly does work but for those that do want to focus more on quality than quantity another really great trick that you can use to stay on Google's good list with that fresh content element is to just revisit older posts on your site and maybe once a year twice a year just refresh the content that's there see if there are any opportunities to expand on previous points based on new information in your industry be ensuring that any data is updated with more relevant and more accurate information for your readers and really anything along those lines highlighting any sort of industry read trends but ultimately making these sort of updates to existing pieces of content especially content that's already performing extremely well for you could be another really great way to stay on Google's positive side from a Content update perspective thank you so much for that so I got another loaded question I guess is what its gonna be hahaha so this is something I get quite often I'm sure you do as well I've heard X platform is better for SEO or I've heard that you can do XY and Z plug-in to rank better or you know there's this checklist of 12 things to do and you're automatically going to shoot up in the results you know all these things around technical SEO how much weight do you give that verse just content and the quality of the content absolutely no another great question there so I I'm probably a little biased here because a lot of the sites that I've worked with over time have been I would say smaller to medium-sized businesses so for me you know most of the sites I'm working with or doing I would say less than probably 20 million dollars a year in revenue so for smaller sites what we've seen work the best over time is really to place first priority on creating really informative content for your website and then from there getting really high quality website to link back to that content the whole technical SEO piece is extremely important my view is that technical SEO really carries the most weight when you've taken care of the content quality and the link side of things but when we're breaking down SEO we always break it down to three different categories I think I've made up at least this third word and you know we'll see about the other two but we break it down into relevancy Authority and crawl ability crawl ability being the one that I'm pretty sure is a made-up word but long and short of it relevancy is just all about making it easy for Google to understand your website and making sure that if you say that if you basically are selling products and industry X ensuring that the content on your site is related to industry X as well authority being are you getting high quality websites to link back to you that are telling Google that you're a reputable website it should be ranking within your industry and then crawl ability being the third piece that really just brings everything together so if you have all sorts of little bugs on your website or you have a slow website load speed it's going to make it a lot harder for Google to analyze your site it's going to provide a negative user experience and ultimately it's going to take away from the great quality content that you are writing so I guess the the short answer that I would say to go with is if you are currently the industry leader in your space focusing on a lot of those technical SEO things are going to be one of the fastest ways to drive higher quality rankings if you're currently more authoritative and have been around for longer than your biggest competitors focus on all those checklists focus on getting your website to be squeaky clean from a search perspective our team personally uses a tool called SEM rush again so we use SEM rushes site audit tool as a really good starting point for handling a lot of those technical element for those who are a little bit newer to SEO I'd highly recommend you can just sign up for a trial of that run a site audit and see how your site really stands and really focus on fixing some of the most pressing errors that they do highlight in there you start out by doing that I would say you'll get about 70 to 80% of the way there from a technical SEO standpoint but then again for those that are maybe newer sites or not quite as established as some of their big competitors technical SEO probably isn't where you're going to see the most value in terms of time spent so for those newer sites I'd really encourage you focus on just really putting all your eggs into the content quality basket focus on creating really informative resources that your readers are looking for online and that are driving value for your big competitors and then ultimately work on building relationships with other people in your industry share your articles with them and try and encourage them to link back to your content so that you can prove to Google over time that you're in more and more trustworthy website absolutely so I heard a great analogy the other day that spoke about this technical SEO thing so this person on Twitter and I really wish I find it open in the show notes essentially what they said was technical SEO is like tuning an engine so if you think about tuning an engine you're making an engine work more efficiently and faster and then they said that traffic is like the gas so if you're tuning an engine that has no traffic ie if you're doing all these technical updates to a website that doesn't have traffic it's not going to do anything but say if you got a full tank of gas a ie like you're bringing in a bunch of organic traffic already doing this technical SEO stuff is actually going to fine-tune it and it is going to give you some performance there so I just wanted to share that I guess I love that I love that analogy the one I always go with is that basically your website is like a ship and if you're moving really fast on open waters and you have a ton of little holes ie a bunch of technical SEO errors your site's there your ship is going to either sink or it's going to move very slowly but you know if you're still sitting there on the harbor and you're just getting ready to you know to take off for a giant voyage you know plugging some of those holes probably isn't going to have the most value really on the get-go so I couldn't agree any more there let's be honest today all of your customers are going to have questions and what are you doing to manage all those questions do you have a help desk for your business one of our sponsors of today's episode is gorgeous and gorgeous is the number one rated help desk for e-commerce it integrates seamlessly with Shopify we have installed it on a bunch of stores it's also used by brands like movement and Rafi's and what it does is it takes all of your customer insights and information brings it into one amazing dashboard so you can solve their problem as quickly as possible if you want to give Gorgias a try visit gorgeous dot link slash honest that's Geor gie de SEL i NK /h Oh n est to get your second month free so let's shift it a bit to what are some of the ways for e-commerce businesses because at the end of the day most ecommerce businesses are selling a product or a few types of products on their website and I find that producing content around a product almost gets repetitive or just it's difficult to come up with ideas so do you have any advice there absolutely absolutely so this is similar advice that we'll share with a lot of other ecommerce businesses that we work with one of the things that we've found to be most effective for e-commerce businesses is to really focus on creating two different types of content which we call the first group viral content and then we call the second group sale centric content so viral content and bear with me here viral content is directly probably never going to result in a sale for your business viral content would be the types of topics that have a really massive search volume behind them that your customers may be searching for at some point along the buying journey process typically those are going to be the types of topics that they're searching for before they truly understand the problems and solutions that they're searching for which will ultimately tie back to your products but the big thing with viral content is if you can write a handful of really great viral content topics that have just a massive search volume behind them then a within those viral content topics you can link back to some of those more valuable pages on your site whether they be product pages or whether they be sale centric blog content pieces that you've put together to drive more sales to your business the other thing that happens with it which is I would say even more important is when you write really successful viral content and you get a handful of those posts to rank in the top two or top three positions on Google for relevant search queries what you'll start finding is many of those posts will start getting backlinks generated on autopilot so as other people are writing content pieces about these types of topics oftentimes rather than them putting together 1,500 or 2,000 word guide about this topic they'll hop on Google they're so they'll search for one of those queries and ultimately they'll decide to link to your piece of content that you wrote as a reference point for their readers to save them a ton of time it just provides more helpful resources so as you start getting more and more these backlinks on autopilot it's going to ultimately rise the value your entire site Authority in Google's eyes and B as you're linking back to those product pages on your website some of the link authority that comes from each of those links will then be sent back over to those product pages and help those product pages to rank higher for the direct commercial terms that you're trying to rank those pages for so that's really the primary goal with a viral content piece I would say that's the more search centric type pieces of content that will right and then the second piece of content I would really say to look at is just revisit your entire sales process look for questions that you've gotten either and from your chat bot on your site questions that customers have emailed over to you try talking to your sales team and ask them hey what sort of questions are customers asking you on a regular basis or what sort of questions are you really struggling to get customers a good answer to and ultimately focus on creating those pieces of content as well you know the product review pieces are extremely valuable and one of the great starting points for ecommerce businesses especially if you write the you know best insert product name products of the current year but once you've kind of exhausted some of those topics searching for a little bit more education centric topics that customers are not necessarily looking for when they're ready to purchase there are really the things that are going to help you to see those immediate rankings and help you to drive more authority back to those product pages so that those product pages do start ranking for more valuable queries over time that's all amazing advice I just want to say that I was also I was listening by the way but I was also I downloaded your content marketing playbook here and I just I'm gonna give you a huge shout out on this it's free I got it in two seconds I just gave them some information obviously you're gonna get probably added to an email list but who cares because this is a 15 page thing that's oh it's it's chock-full of some information here this is some really high quality content that you're giving giving out for free about how to do this stuff on your own so I'm definitely gonna link to this in the show notes but it's it's very very well done old case I appreciate that we you know we put it together because we realized over time we're not going to be the right fit to help out every single business that comes our way so our thought behind it was hey if there's nothing wrong with being a do-it-yourselfer I personally am a do-it-yourselfer in almost everything in life and I've learned the hard way from trying to fix my car anytime an issue goes wrong and breaking two of them overtime that uh you know maybe I shouldn't be a do-it-yourselfer with everything but but no I love do-it-yourselfers and I I try to take that approach in a lot of ways so the whole idea behind the content marketing playbook was if someone wants to learn how to do content marketing if they want to learn how to do SEO let's make it as easy as possible to share those resources with them so that they can succeed and just do kickass work on their own and maybe down the road they become a customer of ours if not maybe they at least see some great success on their own but either way the goal is hopefully just to help out some people who really just want to help bring their business to the next level awesome I can't thank you enough for coming on the show today is there anything else that you think that we didn't touch on that would add some value to our audience oh absolutely I think the only thing I must so I will say I'm a giant Brian being fan used like one of the big SEO mentors that I follow to just stay in the loop in the industry I am going to share just one article that I personally share with our entire writing team all about search intent so chase I couldn't recommend this highly enough to the entire audience out there um basically just delved into a lot of the facets that go into creating a really helpful piece of content for your audience I'm a very firm believer that even if you follow a lot of these methodologies and kind of put SEO on the back burner you're still going to see a ton of value and you're still going to help out a ton of your readers so search intent is becoming and I won't go too deep down this rabbit hole I promise but search intent is becoming a really essential part of SEO more so than it ever has been Google's been rolling out a ton of algorithmic updates really over the past couple is all involving the evolution of search intents so without going too deep down that rabbit hole I'll share one article from Brian Beam that'll explain the cool concept way better than I ever could in words but aside from that I think only other thing I would say is just get out there and start publishing content the first couple articles you write are probably going to be garbage the next couple articles are going to be a little bit better but over time as you start writing more and more you get more comfortable with your own brand voice and you ultimately start looking back at analytics and seeing what content performs and resonates the best with your readers the more you're going to be able to refine your efforts start creating a higher quality content and ultimately start seeing more and more traction from each of those articles they do write I audibly laughed and I'm hopefully gonna edit it out of this episode when you said the first three articles are going to be garbage but here's the thing it's it's absolutely true it's that it's just that zero to one you know it's that binary effect you weren't doing it now you are doing it that's such a big movement in business and is getting it started getting it going I'm always about just get it going you fail fast and learn from it absolutely couldn't agree any more they're awesome Pat seriously thank you so much for coming on the show today we got a the show notes are gonna be chock-full of all the stuff that we talked about today if people want to get a hold of you they want to learn more about junto or you know they want to book you for another podcast where they can chat about this stuff how did they get hold you yeah absolutely it's the best way to get in touch with me is to just reach out packs at junto dot digital so that's p8e @ ju NT o .

consumer search history

Di g ITA i'll but yeah i would love to get in touch with everyone we always offer free consultation calls you know as i said we're not always going to be the right partner to help every business grow but one of the things that i love most about my job is getting to talk to different business owners and different marketers here a little about what sort of roadblocks are they running into helping them brainstorm what's going to be the right option for them and whether they take the do-it-yourself approach whether they work with us or whether they work with another agency honestly I just love being able to hop on the phone with people and be able to share some of the things that we've learned over the years perfect you've a great day hey you too chase thank you for taking the time I cannot think our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today we've got a lot to think about and potentially add into our businesses links and more information will be available in the show notes as well if anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business feel free to reach out and learn more at electric i io / connect also make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review thank you [Music]

As found on YouTube

Share this article

Leave a comment