AMY PORTERFIELD: Well hey there, welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield. Today I’m a little nervous.
I rarely get nervous with my guests because I’ve been at this for a while. But today Neil Patel is on the show. You guys, he’s a legend! He’s a really big deal. The guy is just brilliant and he’s a master marketer.
I’m a bit nervous to chat with him but I’m excited as well. If you already know who Neil Patel is you’re nervous for me too. I know, this is a big deal.
Before we get there let me ask you a question. If I were to ask you what your SEO strategy is right now, what would you say?
Are you laughing? Are you like, “What strategy are you talking about?”
In case I’ve already lost you, don’t worry. You’re going to become very, very familiar with what you need to do with SEO in order to get it up and running on your website ASAP. I’ve got you covered in this episode.
Don’t be ashamed if your eyes glazed over the minute I asked, “What is your SEO strategy?” I don’t have one either.
If you have one, get up and do a little happy dance because that’s impressive. But I literally do not have an SEO strategy. For a long time I said that I used paid advertising every single day for my evergreen funnels. I’m using Facebook ads and Instagram ads so I don’t really need SEO because I’ve got paid ads going.
However, that’s really a silly way to look at it because, as you will see in this episode, we’re going to talk about why you need both paid advertising and an SEO strategy.
The goal of this episode is for us to break down exactly what we need to do in order to get a really good, simple SEO strategy running on our website. In fact, it’s a three-month plan that Neil is going to break down step by step by freaking step on this episode.
He really gets into the details and you know I love a good action plan. I think you’re going to love this episode as much as I am. Of course, because I’m not an SEO expert and because I don’t even have an SEO plan I had to bring in the big guns. Just in case you don’t know Neil yet, Neil is a New York Times’ best selling author named as one of the top influencers on the web by the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.
Get this, Forbes calls him one of the top ten marketers around. I love that one of Neil’s top values in his business is to be a champion. Part of that definition is that he is unstoppable on his quest to achieve goals for himself and his clients.
In a nutshell, Neil is really big on results. That means what he’s going to share with us today will get you results. You just have to do the work. I know you don’t shy away from hard work so I think we’re golden there.
Speaking of being a champion, the sponsor for today’s episode is Gravy, my very own 24/7 engagement team, who contacts my customers within hours of their failed payment and captures updated billing information and saves the customers that I have worked so, so hard to acquire.
If you have a subscription model business or if you offer payment plans like I do you’ve got to check out Gravy. The cool thing is that if you go to https://www.amyporterfield.com/gravy it will take you to a page where you can sign up for a really quick free consultation with Gravy just to see if your business is in a good place to work with Gravy.
One of my biggest frustrations was lost money due to failed payment plans. In fact, it used to keep me up at night. I would think, “Oh my gosh, I work so hard to attract new customers and launch my programs online but what happens if a bunch of people don’t finish their payment plans?”
I’m losing tons of money. But you guys, I don’t worry about that anymore. Gravy gives these amazing, simple, but really good reports on a monthly basis. I get the report and look over it. Just this month it was almost 90% of recovery for all payment plans.
When I was doing it on my own with my team it was 33%. Of all of my failed payments, I was only collecting 33%. Now it’s almost 90 percent. How good is that? Come on. Go to https://www.amyporterfield.com/gravy.
I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s bring on Neil Patel.
AMY: Neil, thank you so very much for being on the show. Welcome.
NEIL PATEL: Thank you for having me.
AMY: I’m so happy to have you here. I have to admit I haven’t spent as much time or attention as I should on SEO strategies. But that’s all changed this year because my team and I are being very intentional about learning more about SEO. We’re going to implement the plan that you share with us here today.
We’re going to do what you tell us to do and then I’m going to report back and talk about my results. I am very excited to jump in. I know you’ve come with a plan, right?
NEIL: I’ve come with a plan and in general SEO isn’t rocket science. It’s not hard as long as you follow this plan. I have broken it down into three main steps. You should get results.
AMY: I like that. I am a step-by-step kind of girl so I’m so glad we’re getting into three steps.
For me, I feel like SEO can be completely complex. This is going to be a weird analogy but I have to admit I’m really bad at math. For some reason, SEO feels like math to me. It’s super confusing, a whole different language, but I know you can break it down to a place that it doesn’t feel like that for me, especially because I’ve seen so much of your stuff out there.
You make everything feel more simple and that’s why I thought if I was going to talk about SEO I had to have you on the show.
I want to tell you that most of my listeners are going to be at the beginner level for SEO. They’re not in the advanced level. If you’re cool with it we’re going to get down to basics, right?
NEIL: Yep, that sounds great.
AMY: First things first. Will you tell us exactly what SEO is and why we should care about developing an SEO strategy for our business?
NEIL: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Years ago, around seven to ten plus years ago, everyone called it Search Engine Optimization. It’s long so people then started calling it SEO and that’s what it is known as now. It’s the art of making your website compatible for search engines.
When someone comes to your website, and you know this, you create content for users. You have amazing video content, audio content, text, the whole gamut. You’re creating this content for the users. But even if the user enjoys it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to do well on Google. In many cases what Google looks for is similar to what a user looks for but the way they read and analyze the content is different than the way the user does because it’s a computer.
In essence, if you want to do well on search engines like Google you have to make your website compatible for both users and search engines.
AMY: I’ve got it. Okay. That makes sense. You are going to teach my listeners how to create a three-month SEO plan that, if it’s followed, will bring them SEO success. Success means more traffic, more conversions, and ultimately more revenue. Am I right about that?
NEIL: That’s correct.
AMY: Tell me why we are doing a three-month plan versus a 30-day plan.
NEIL: The problem with search engine optimization, or SEO, you won’t see results right away. It’s a very long and hard process. I hate to say it but it’s true. That’s why most people don’t do it.
Paid advertising is so much more simple. But again, with paid ads, after you scale to a certain point it usually stops becoming profitable. SEO does not convert as well as paid advertising but think of this, the majority of the people don’t click on paid ads.
Google is worth $700+ billion dollars. If a majority of people don’t click on paid ads and Google probably makes around $80 billion of their $100+ billion in revenue from just ads it shows the power of them, right?
If a majority of the traffic goes for organic listings how much more is that worth? For that reason, if Google made it super easy to reign, companies wouldn’t have to spend money on advertising.
AMY: Okay. And, a lot of my listeners are bootstrapping right now. They are just getting started. They don’t have a lot of money to put toward Facebook advertising so in my mind, I’m thinking if you really nail down your SEO strategy and get it going now (of course it will live beyond the hard work you do now) you are going to be able to not have to spend as much money on Facebook or Instagram ads or whatever it might be. I’m on the right page, right?
NEIL: You are. But I would rather think of it this way, if you make more money from SEO and your business is more profitable, why wouldn’t you take the extra profit and spend even more on Facebook ads or more on YouTube or more on Google Ad Words?
I don’t look at it as one or the other or switching resources from one place to another.It’s more so that you have to optimize your business for total profitability. If your SEO campaigns are spitting out $20 to $30,000 a month in profit it just gives you more room to experiment on Facebook ads, YouTube ads, Google Ad Words, maybe even banner ads.
When you figure it out, once that works you should scale them both as much as you can as long as it’s profitable.
AMY: I like your style. I wasn’t expecting you to say that but that makes perfect sense, reinvesting in your business. As you know, or might not know, I’m a huge fan of paid advertising, especially Facebook and Instagram. I love that this plan could actually give my students more money to invest in those strategies that they’re dying to try out.
Good, this is even more powerful now that you have said that. I appreciate it. You’re going to give us a three-month plan and we’re going to start right at the beginning. But I want to tell my listeners that I have a free worksheet, like always, so that as Neil takes you through the three-month plan you can download the freebie and you will
have it right there in front of you.
Go to https://www.amyporterfield.com/221 to get the free download. But first, listen to Neil walk us through it and then you can get the download and follow along.
Let’s start with Month #1. I was wondering, a lot of my students are health coaches. They are weight-loss coaches, physical trainers, or somewhere in that health world. Could we use that as an example? I know I just threw that on you.
NEIL: Yeah. That’s no problem at all.
AMY: Let’s do it. That’s our example. What do we do in Month #1?
NEIL: Month #1 is all about research and competitor analysis. With paid ads you turn up a campaign. It either works or it doesn’t. You fine tune and you go back.
The problem with SEO is it takes roughly six months plus before you start seeing results. I’m assuming that because you said most of your students are beginners they don’t have much search traffic. They probably have newer websites.
Because of that it takes longer. If your website’s been around for ten years. It’s not that you just registered your domain for ten years, but if you’ve been live for 10+ years it’s really old. It’s much easier and quicker to get the results.
Assuming you are brand new you need to be patient. You will start seeing some results within six months. Within one year it really starts kicking in. Within two years that’s when things really start peaking and to some extent, they may start plateauing as well.
AMY: Good to know.
NEIL: The first step is research and competitor analysis. As I mentioned with SEO, because it takes a while, if you go after the wrong keywords you may get search traffic but these visitors won’t convert into customers.
I’ll give you a perfect example for this. Let’s say you are in the health and nutrition space. If you’re getting a lot of traffic for building muscles and getting ripped and getting six packs but your audience coming to your website is looking to live a more healthy, vegan, organic lifestyle, they are talking about whey protein and supplements and bulking up and building muscles when people are looking to live a more healthy, nutritious life. In health, muscle building and weight loss is totally different than nutrition.
If you’re getting all of these visitors from people looking to build up their biceps but you are selling products related to nutrition such as multivitamins, fish oil, and things like that it’s not going to convert.
All traffic is not equal. You have to first start off by going after the right keywords. You can use tools like SEMrush, which is paid, or tools like Ubersuggest, which is free. You can type in keywords in your space.
They will give you all of the suggestions of other keywords within your space that are similar, the search volume each month, and the cost per click. The cost per click is really useful if you’re doing paid Google ads. It’s also useful if you’re just doing SEO because if something has a high cost per click the chances are it’s worth more.
When you’re doing Facebook ads and you’re teaching your students you can sometimes get Facebook ads targeting India for pennies on the dollar. Would you agree with that statement?
NEIL: But if your students are selling products only in the U.S. and they get clicks for pennies on the dollar are they going to generate any sales?
NEIL: Exactly. It’s the same way. If a keyword has a $30 cost per click the chances are people are willing to pay for it because it’s not just driving visitors but those visitors are converting into customers.
AMY: That makes sense. We’re looking for quality, for sure.
NEIL: It’s not about the number. It’s more so about quality. If you just optimize purely for traffic you’re just wasting your time
AMY: Got it. But, here’s where I get really overwhelmed with keyword search. I’ve done it before. It’s been a while but I’ve done it and then I’m not really sure what I’m looking for. When I get the results I know you just kind of mentioned it there but I feel very confused at that point.
NEIL: Both these tools break down competition, cost per click, and search volume. Ideally, what you’re looking for is terms that have a high cost per click, low competition, and high search volume. That’s ideal. You won’t always find it but that’s ideal.
AMY: Perfect. Say that one more time, what you’re looking for.
NEIL: You’re ideally looking for keywords with high cost per click because that means the keyword typically converts, high search volume which means there is a lot of traffic, and low competition.
Both of these tools list out all of that. It’s still a pain in the butt to go through and figure out so I will also give you guys a quick. If you don’t want to go through that you can go to SEMrush, type in your URL, and it will show you your closest competitors.
If you already know your closest competitors just type in your competitor URLs, not ones in similar spaces. When I say competition I’m talking about direct competition that is selling the exact same product or service that you are.
When you type them in SEMrush will show you all of the keywords that they’re buying traffic for using paid ads on Google. It will also show you all of the keywords that they are ranking for on Google, which of their pages on their website are ranking for those keywords, and how many visitors they are getting from those keywords.
If you know your competition is successful this will tell you the main keywords to go after. It doesn’t mean you should just take it as the end all and be all and say, “These are the keywords because it’s what my competition ranks for,” you should type in a few competitors to make sure they are all going after similar phrases.
If they are and you notice similar patterns that means those are probably the keywords you want to go after as well.
AMY: I feel you just gave us gold right there. That is really good. I can’t even wait to test that out so thank you for that.
I’m going to list those tools in the show notes just in case you guys missed them or you’re driving or whatever. But make sure you check them out. One is paid and one is free. Obviously, the paid one does a lot more. That was really cool what you just outlined there.
I have a few more questions about that. How much time should we spend per week or per day in this first month doing this keyword research? Also, I guess I have another question. Beyond the first month, is this something you want to do ongoing?
NEIL: Not necessarily. You don’t have to do it ongoing but we’re going to incorporate some of these keyword tactics in Month #2 and after you do Month #1, Month #2, and Month #3 it’s continual rinse and repeat. I’ll even break down the rinse and repeat process as well.
AMY: Cool. In the very beginning I guess if I asked how much time per day or per week we should do this maybe a
better question is: Are we looking for a certain number of keywords?
NEIL: You’re not necessarily looking for a certain number of keywords. You can do it as much or as little as you want. Ideally, as a minimum you want to have at least ten to 20 keywords. Eventually you want to expand into hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords.
Throughout this whole process, because I know a lot of your students are in health, I’m guessing they are all familiar with Dr. Axe.
AMY: Yes, I love Dr. Axe.
NEIL: My buddy, Mike, who runs marketing there is a friend and we can use him as an example for all of these processes so that way they can relate. I can break down the process Dr. Axe would use.
AMY: Okay, cool.
NEIL: Going back to Month #1, another competitor of Dr. Axe could be Authority Nutrition. Authority Nutrition gets a ton of traffic related to nutrition, muscle building, supplements, etc.
In the research phase for Month #1, to go into even more depth, Dr. Axe would go to SEMrush, type “Authority Nutrition”, and it would show all of the top pages for Authority Nutrition that they are getting traffic for.
Then this told Dr. Axe, “Hey, here are all of the terms and keywords they are ranking for.” Then Dr. Axe would go into their own analytics and see they aren’t targeting any of these terms. Maybe they should go after them as well.
AMY: That’s fantastic. That makes sense.
NEIL: Tools like SEMrush (I have no affiliation with them, by the way) and another one called Ahrefs.com will show you what is called content gaps. When you put in your URL and your competitors it will show you all of the keywo
rds they rank for that you don’t so you don’t have to really do it manually.
AMY: Fantastic. This is such a nerdy question that I’m going to ask you but I’m a systems kind of girl. I love Google Docs. Would you store all of your information in something like that? How do you keep it all organized?
NEIL: You can use Google Docs. These tools save the information and reports for you too so they have their own dashboards. But these tools are what most SEOs use because there aren’t too many options out there. There is mainly Ahrefs and SEMrush.
AMY: Cool, they will keep it organized and you don’t have to use a Google Doc if you don’t want to.
NEIL: And they update as the competitors update because people keep ranking for new keywords over time but you don’t have to keep refreshing or doing the research over again because they continue to update it for you.
AMY: Perfect. Now that we’ve done our research and competitive analysis and we have a list of keywords that we’re
going to focus on move us into Month #2. I know building content is included in the plan for Month #2 and I’ve heard you say your #1 job to do well with SEO is to produce great content.
I’m so on board with that. I love that. My students know they are creating content on a consistent basis so I feel this is going to be a good month. Walk me through it.
NEIL: Definitely. One last thing to add to Month #1, I know a lot of your students are beginners. For Month #1 you don’t need to put in more than a few hours per week.
I’m breaking this down into three months because it’s also unrealistic for me to tell you to drop everything you’re doing and just focus on SEO.
AMY: Yes! Okay, I’m glad you said that. That’s good because people kind of want to gauge how much of a commitment it is so that’s helpful.
NEIL: Totally. Month #2 is all about optimizing your on-page code and building content. I have a question for you. Are most of your students on WordPress websites?
NEIL: There’s a Yoast SEO plugin. I kid you not, it will do most of your on-page SEOstuff for you so it’s automated and the Yoast SEO plugin is free.
AMY: Perfect. I’ll link to it in the show notes. What the heck is on-page? What does that even mean?
NEIL: Google reads source codes. They read letters, 1-0, text. Google can’t see an image like you or I could see an image. What we have to do is make our website compatible when it comes to code to Google so that they crawl and read all of your pages. In many cases a website has hundreds, if not thousands, of pages.
If they can’t read your ones and zeros they won’t be able to crawl your website. If they can’t crawl every single page on your website that means it will never get placed within Google and you won’t rank high. The Yoast SEO plugin helps ensure that your on-page code (the code that Google is seeing) is compatible.
Even if you’re not technical you don’t have to worry. The Yoast has a guide on their site on how to set up and use a Yoast plugin. It’s pretty self-sufficient. You don’t even have to do much. The only thing you have to do is sign up for Google Search Console. Whether you’re on WordPress or not you need to sign up for Google Search Console. This is a free tool by Google that breaks down how your website is doing.
Not only do you need Google Analytics, you need Google Search Console. Let me explain the difference. Google Analytics will show you your traffic but it won’t show you which keywords are driving that traffic. It will usually say, “Not provided”.
Because of data and privacy reasons they don’t showcase when people are logged in to Gmail or Google which keywords they are searching for. Google Search Console will showcase that data.
Ideally, even though you need Google Search Console for Month #2 you should install it during Month #1. It doesn’t take much time or effort. It’s a five-minute process max.
Now that you’ve set up your on-page SEO, seriously you just click buttons in Yoast and it will tell you if you’re doing things wrong or right…
AMY: It’s super easy. That is one thing we do have on our website and I’m not techy so I agree with you, it’s a pretty easy process.
NEIL: I like telling people to do it because if you do stuff manually you may be able to do a little bit of tweaks here and there that make it better. But they really don’t make that much bigger of a difference. Just use the Yoast plugin and you’re good to go.
AMY: Good to know. Good.
NEIL: Then it comes down to creating content. If you’re just starting off I like telling people to start off with just one blog post per week or one article or if you want to do video content you can do it but it doesn’t rank as well on Google. If you want to do audio content I love it as well. I’m spending more time on video and audio content. Keep in mind I already have a lot of tech space content but my vide and audio content will never rank as well on Google and I’m okay with that because I prefer it, at least the mode of communication because it builds a better connection
with your audience.
If you want the rankings in Google traffic you have to build tech space content.
AMY: Do the show notes of my podcast count as that?
NEIL: Users, we love thinking it counts, but Google doesn’t really care. For example, a podcast I listen to
often is called Mixergy by Andrew Warner.
AMY: Love it.
NEIL: Andrew has all of these show notes and they are awesome. But if you look at the tracker for Mixergy it doesn’t go up much because Google doesn’t care for show notes. They want content that people want to read. You have a podcast. I don’t know if you have show notes.
AMY: I do. And, how the heck would Google know if they’re show notes or if it’s a real blog post? That blows my mind.
NEIL: One, they even know if it’s user-generated content. They are pretty sophisticated.
NEIL: Right? They spend so much money on their algorithms. They’re worth $700
billion. It’s not even if Google knows, it’s if your users know. Think of it this way. I listen
to your podcast. I listen to your podcast through iTunes. It may be on your website but
I mainly listen to it on iTunes.
Sometimes I listen to Mixergy on iTunes and sometimes I listen on Andrew’s website.
When I got to Mixergy.com even though he has show notes I never scroll down and
read the show notes. I’m just listening to the podcast.
It is the same with yours. Even if you show me show notes, and I bet it’s the same with
most of your listeners, they’re not going to go down and read them. They are just
going to listen to the audio and call it a day because it’s so much better than reading
the show notes.
Google can tell when people are engaged with your website. They control Google
Analytics, they control Google Chrome. The amount of data they’re getting is crazy. So
it’s not just if it is just text-based content or show notes. They are looking at engagement.
If people aren’t engaging with your content they know it’s not that valuable. They know your audio is valuable because everyone is sitting there and listening. They know a blog post is valuable because everyone is scrolling, clicking, reading, and checking out the images, etc.
It’s not just about creating text-based content. It’s about creating text-based content that people engage with and that tends to be blog posts.
AMY: Whoa. I feel like I might be screwed then. At this point, and we’ve talked about this in the business about changing this, but I don’t even really have any blog posts. I just do show notes. This is a huge ah-ha moment that you just gave me.
I thought if I used all of this SEO strategy you’re giving me in my show notes that would just act as a stand-alone blog. But I totally get what you’re saying. Most people are likely not reading my show notes. They are listening to my audio.
My question for you: My audio is being indexed…I don’t even know the right words, that’s how new I am to all of what you’re saying, but it is counting in some way, right? Like you said?
NEIL: It’s counting in some way, it’s just doesn’t help as much as text-based content like blog posts. Text
-based content is probably a bad word. Articles and blog posts help more than any other form. It’s just like at Wikipedia. They rank for everything because it’s just a ton of text-based articles.
AMY: This is not just for me, a lot of my listeners have their own podcasts or video shows, would you suggest that we also include some really epic blog posts that are going to get a lot of traffic and a lot of reads in order to get the benefits of SEO?
NEIL: Totally. Without that you’re not going to get much benefit from SEO.
AMY: Oh my gosh, I’m so glad. I did not know that. I just thought my show notes were like a blog posts. I should have known Google was smarter than that. So this is good to know.
NEIL: That’s okay. We all learn from experience, right?
AMY: Thank you for that. That’s a gift. I was not aware of that. Now that you’ve blown my mind again tell me where we’re at here.
NEIL: We’re at building content. Let’s break down the building content. There are a few things you need to do when you’re writing content. The first is, again, use tools like SEMrush and you can see where your competition is and what articles are creating as popular.
You can look at that as a sample. Okay, here’s this piece of content that Authority Nutrition or Dr. Axe created. They do really well. I think Dr. Axe is above 20 million visits from the last time I talk to them.
NEIL: So 20 million visits a month. It’s ridiculous. They are there. Their articles are amazing. But you can write articles that are more in depth and higher quality that are better than that. You can always improve what other people have written even if you don’t think you can.
Keep in mind that things change, even in the health and nutrition space. When Dr. Axe has articles that are two years old you can write better, updated versions of their article and publish it on your site. You can’t take their content, you have to write it in your own words and add your own two cents. It has to be better and more thorough than the original piece.
That’s Step 1. Whatever you’re creating has to be better. You know in Dubai, have you ever been to Dubai?
AMY: I haven’t.
NEIL: Have you heard stories of how they are crazy and will build ridiculously tall skyscrapers and seven-star hotels? They are trying to one up everyone. They have to build a skyscraper that’s not just ten stories taller but double the size so that no one ever dares to copy them.
Ridiculous. There are five-star hotels? They aren’t just going to build a six-star hotel, they jump right to seven.
AMY: So true.
NEIL: That’s what you want to think about with your content. You don’t want to see an article on Dr. Axe and make yours 10 to 20% better. You want to make it 300% better so they are too lazy and won’t copy you.
AMY: That’s so good.
NEIL: That’s the mentality you have to have with your content. Once you’re creating your content there are a few things to keep in mind. Content and conversational tones do better.
Just like we’re having a conversation here because it’s a podcast it’s the same with your blog post. You can have a conversation by using the words “you” and “I”.
Here’s a quick example of this. Aren’t you tired of going to the gym and still looking in the mirror and finding yourself not losing weight and being more healthy? I know how it feels. I was in that position as well six months ago. But I figured out the solution that changed my life.
It’s like you are creating a conversation with your text by using the words “you” or “I”. We are kind of using storytelling. That helps make it feel like a conversation versus a teacher just talking at you.
AMY: That literally makes a difference for SEO?
NEIL: Yeah. If you are a reader wouldn’t you rather read something that’s engaging versus using something that’s dry and boring?
AMY: Yes, for sure. I guess one of my big ah-ha moments that you’re teaching us right now is that through SEO they really are looking at those real conversations that really matter and that people really care about.
I was just so stuck in the key words and exactly the words you’re using that it’s way more sophisticated. I love that though. I love that I should be writing more conversational articles.
NEIL: Google wants to do what’s best for the user. They have all of this data from Google Chrome, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, the Google toolbar (I don’t know if it still exists but it used to at one point). They are using all of this data to figure it out.
Android devices, Google controls all of these android devices with their software. They want to make sure whatever a user sees and likes and engages with is what does best because it tells them what a user likes.
This is a bit off topic but still related to SEO, if you do a search and click on the first listing but don’t like what you see you will click on the back listing and then click on #2, the second listing.
If a majority of people did that what would it tell Google?
AMY: That they are only clicking on those first few.
NEIL: They are clicking on the first few but if everyone goes to the first and click the back button within a few seconds…
AMY: Oh, that it’s not good content.
NEIL: Exactly. If they keep seeing this pattern of everyone clicking the back button on a nutritional-based or health-based listings they will eventually see that people don’t care for it so let’s just switch them out and put #2 as #1.
That’s why creating amazing content isn’t just about pleasing Google. It’s about pleasing the user because they are using user signals, as we call it in the SEO industry.
AMY: This is great. I’m onboard with any argument to create better content. I think content is the most important part of our businesses. Encouraging all of us to create stellar content is awesome.
Before I move on. Do we need to know anything else more about Month #2 except for the fact that we’re focusing on on-page so we want to get optimized there and you gave us some cool strategies so it’s not super techy and then creating stellar content?
I love that you said to have at least one new article a week. That is what I teach. We’re going to start there and then do more from there. But is there anything else I need to know about Month #2?
NEIL: Yeah. I’ll give you quite a few quick bullets.
NEIL: First, articles on Page #1 of Google tend to have at least 2,200 words. Google likes in-depth content versus articles that are 500 words. Don’t just stuff your content with tons of key words, make sure it’s thorough. It just tells you that you can write 2,200 word articles, 5,000 word articles. It doesn’t matter on the length. It just can’t be short.
AMY: Got it.
NEIL: First is conversations, the second wouldbe longer articles. The third would be to use subheadings. Think of your content as a book. There is a title of the book which is the title of your blog post, then subheadings. Subheadings would be the chapters.
It makes it easier for people to skim so use subheadings. Fourth, keep your paragraphs short. I like keeping them around five or six lines as a general rule of thumb. That makes it easier to skim read. It doesn’t feel overwhelming.
Sixth, use images. Images make your articles easier to read and digest. You can even add video and audio clips within your articles. That keeps people on your articles longer and more engaged.
Seven is to always wrap up your blog post with a conclusion. Feel free and even label the ending as a conclusion so that way if people scroll down (because a lot of the behavior pattern is for people to scroll down, read the ending, and if they like it they scroll back up and read the list). Summarize the points in the conclusion.
I forgot what the next point is but end your conclusion with a question. If you end it with a question such as, “What do you think about these weight loss tips? Do you have any others that are uncommon and work really well?”
What ends up happening is people engage more and leave comments. If they leave comments and engage more they are more likely to join your email list. They are more likely to subscribe. They are more likely to share your content. You want to engage with them.
When people leave a comment make sure you reply. You don’t want to be cold and just ignore people. You need to reply to every single comment.
AMY: I’m glad you brought up the comments. When I moved over to just show notes we actually (I’m embarrassed to say this because it sounds terrible) we turned off our comments. We turned them offbecause I didn’t have the bandwidth at the time to reply to everybody and I felt like a jerk.
I don’t want to be that person that asks a question and then doesn’t get back in there. But I’m going to guess that you are going to tell me that turning back those comments and actually replying is a huge plus here.
NEIL: It’s a huge plus. It builds so much loyalty.
AMY: I’ve got to revisit that, for sure. Okay, I love these different tips you’re giving us. It’s very, very actionable.
Guys, remember that we have a cheat sheet because I knew this was going to be so much detail. You can get it at https://www.amyporterfield.com/221, which is the show notes.
We’re going to keep moving on to Month #3. Walk us through what Month #3 looks like.
NEIL: Month #3 is all about building links and getting social shares. Let’s use a quick analogy here. If you look at the presidential election in the United States it’s based on voting. Whatever candidate has the most votes, in theory, wins.
I know in the United States it is a state-by-state basis. Winner takes all of California or all of Texas. But in theory it is usually around whoever has the most votes wins. Right?
NEIL: That’s the same way the internet works. The way search engines deem which site should rank at the top is, in many cases, whoever has the most votes.
There are two types of votes: Links, one website linking to your website. That is an
endorsement, a vote, saying, “I vote for Amy. I think she should win.”
Another form of vote, and this doesn’t directly impact your search rankings but it indirectly does, is social shares. The more people that share your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever social platform you’re using also helps.
The reason social shares help is that the more people that share your content the more traffic you get. The more eyeballs you get the more engagement you get, the better engagement you get, the higher your rankings, the more people that see your content and engage with it, you get more email subscribers, some of those email subscribers may even link to your content from their website. So, social shares also
indirectly help with rankings.
With links, there are multiple types of links. Let me ask you a question. If I’m running for president and President Obama endorses me versus you endorsing me what do you think carries more weight?
AMY: President Obama.
NEIL: Exactly. He’s a former president. It needs to be more of a proper subject matter on politics than you. I’m not saying you don’t know politics.
AMY: Listen, I totally agree.
NEIL: On the flip side, if I was in the Facebook marketing space and was teaching courses to people on how to do well on Facebook if President Obama told me that if I wanted to learn about Facebook I should check out Neil versus if you told people, “Hey, if you want to learn more about Facebook, check out Neil,” who do you think would carry more authority in this instance?
AMY: I still think Obama but we’ll give it to me this time.
NEIL: Yes, even though Obama has a lot of power because he was president you would offer more authority because of your subject matter. Even though Obama is awesome he has probably never run one ad on Facebook. Maybe his team has but I don’t think he’s ever created a Facebook ad.
NEIL: Google doesn’t just look at who’s linking to you. They look at whether the person linking to you is relevant. A marketing site voting for another marketing site is much better in the eyes of Google than a dog website linking to a marketing website.
AMY: Relevancy is big here with these links?
NEIL: Yes. You want to get relevant sites linking to you. In addition to relevance, you want to get authority as well. What makes Obama amazing, if I am running for politics, not only is he someone in the political arena, he’s also a former president.
It’s just like saying if Joe, the Facebook marketer, talked about me and you, AmyPorterfield, talked about me. Both of you do Facebook advertising-related stuff. You linked to me and Joe, the Facebook marketer, linked to me. Your link carries more weight because you are more of an authority in the Facebook space
(and in the marketing space in general) than Joe, the marketer, who’s not known for anything marketing related even though he is in the space.
AMY: How interesting. Those authority links are going to be incredibly valuable with
this as well?
NEIL: Yes. It’s a double whammy. You want relevant links and, ideally, relevant links
from the most authoritative people from within that space.
AMY: I know this might seem like a silly question, but I’m trying to think of an example. How am I getting these authority links?
NEIL: This is the next step. The way you would get the authority links, there’s a tool called Ahrefs. We briefly discussed it but not much. At Ahrefs.com you can put in your competitor URLs. Remember how we used SEMrush to see the articles your competitors are writing that are popular?
NEIL: You are writing better versions of them. It’s kind of like the skyscraper method we talked about where you want to be two to three times better than them.
AMY: We’re one upping everyone.
NEIL: Exactly. You can take those URLs of your competitors, put them in Ahrefs, not their home page, but the specific URLs where you have created better, similar content. You take those URLs and put them in Ahrefs. It shows you every single person and website that’s link to them.
AMY: Jeez. What do you do with that then?
NEIL: You then take that list and export it into Excel or whatever you want. I don’t, I just take them line by line, type them in and go find the contact person for each of those website owners. It’s really manual and tedious.
Once you get the list of contacts I then go and email each website owner and say, “Hey Amy, I noticed you wrote this blog post on Facebook advertising and even linked to XYZ website. I have a similar article but mine covers all of these points that article didn’t even touch on.”
AMY: So good.
NEIL: Then, “If you like it and feel it would also be more valuable to your readers feel free to link to it.”
AMY: Okay. I know it’s manual but I could see somebody who’s going all in to make this work. It is worth your time and effort.
NEIL: Exactly. You may email 100 people and maybe only five will link back to you because most people
won’t ’ even answer the email. That’s okay. But it’s a numbers game. You don’t need a lot of links to do well.
If you’re getting ten to 20 links a month it really adds up. You can even find people in Upwork to help you with this so you don’t have to manually send out the emails. We pay people on Upwork to create the emails and save them as drafts.
You can then go through, approve them, and send them out.
AMY: Nice. Good. I could see where a lot of what you’re talking about… I know we’re jumping the gun because we’re not fully done with Month #3, but you could get a VA to help you with a lot of this.
NEIL: Totally. And you should.
AMY: Cool. Talk to me about where guest posting plays a part in this for Month #3.
NEIL: Guest posting doesn’t work as well as it used to. You shouldn’t use guest posting as link building because Google doesn’t like people maliciously building links. They would consider this a gray area.
Guest posting is amazing to get more awareness because you want more people to know about you. If you write amazing content on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, or any site within your space, like Dr. Axe, it will help you build authority because you are providing value and writing amazing articles on popular sites like Dr. Axe where they have millions of readers.
They are seeing your content and it just helps build your brand in this space so that you can get more of a following on Facebook. You build up that authority and eventually you will produce more content and you will have more awareness because all of these other people have heard of you.
AMY: That makes sense. It’s valuable but not in the way we might have thought it could be valuable for SEO in terms of the links and such.
NEIL: Exactly. I like using guest posts to build up your brand. If Dr. Axe is really well known in your space why not try to submit articles because they are looking for more content. It’s the same with WebMDs of the world or Authority Nutrition, and growing your brand that way.
AMY: You are a fan of that, which is good to know.
NEIL: Then, what I would do, there is another tool called Buzzsumo for all of these tools.
AMY: The tools are awesome. I can’t wait to list all of them. What’s it called again?
NEIL: Buzzsumo.com. You put in keywords and URLs. You can put in the URL of the competing article you one upped and put that into Buzzsumo. Not only does it show you how many social shares it has but it shows you each and every single person that shared that article, like on Twitter, and you can reach out to those people and ask them to share your content as well.
AMY: Oh my gosh!
NEIL: It’s really simple, “Hey Lewis, I noticed you shared this article from Amy called, ‘Eleven Ways To Optimize Your Facebook Ads,’ I created a similar article but mine has 101 ways to optimize your Facebook ads.” Maybe then Lewis Howes would share the article. Maybe he won’t.
AMY: Exactly. I love that you said Lewis and I knew exactly who you meant. That’s too funny. This is going to be so off topic, but do you ever watch Saturday Night Live?
NEIL: I do. I haven’t in years but I used to.
AMY: I haven’t either. But do you remember the chick on Saturday Night Live that was the one upper? Have you seen that skit?
NEIL: No, I’ve got to watch it.
AMY: Oh my gosh, it’s so good but I keep thinking of her every time we’re talking about making our content better. Any of my Saturday Night Live fanatics will know, but it’s so good.
I like this idea. A lot of my students get stuck and want to know what to write about. They can’t come up with anymore ideas. But, if you look at somebody’s article and think you could do it better and take it to a whole other level you’re not ripping off their content.
You’re getting the idea from them and you’re making it your own and you’re making it better. Right there it’s going to fuel some creativity so I love that idea.
NEIL: Totally. And, the cool part about Buzzsumo is that you can even type in keywords like “Facebook advertising”, “marketing”, “nutrition”, “weight loss”, and “losing weight” and it will tell you all of the popular articles ever written in the last month, six months, five years that are on those subjects and you can see what people love.
It will help you spot patterns and trends and then you can see “these” are the ones
that do well, “these” type of weight loss articles don’t do well. You should stick with the ones that do well and this will help you come up with ideas.
AMY: I’m completely going to use this because, like I said, we were talking about adding more true blog posts to our website and I don’t want to waste time with topics that might be good but not great. If I use this tool I’ll know what’s actually pulling in the traffic and getting lots of eyeballs.
AMY: Okay, cool. I’m going to do that. Anything else for Month #3?
NEIL: That’s it. I know that’s not a lot but it’s pretty much it. If I had to break down how many hours to spend per week, you shouldn’t spend more than ten max.
AMY: Ten max. Okay, good. This is good. My students love to know where they should be spending their time.
Let me summarize this and you tell me if I get it right. Again, we’ve got the cheat sheet so everybody can use it. But Month #1 is research and competitor analysis. It’s all about the keywords and you gave us a lot ofstrategies there for what we’re looking for. I’ll include that in the cheat sheet.
Month #2 is to optimize your on-page code and build stellar content. This is where we learned about the power of one upping. I love that.
Month #3 is to build links and get social shares. Is that kind of it in a nutshell?
NEIL: That’s it.
AMY: I can’t believe how incredibly valuable this was. I was nervous about this episode because I had a feeling it would be over my head. I’ve always been intimidated by SEO. Although I won’t be the one person doing this on my team, my content manager is going to take this and run with it.
But I feel like I really understand it so I cannot thank you enough for helping me with that because now I’m actually excited to do it and then brag all over the place about our big results.
NEIL: Awesome. I can’t wait to see your results.
AMY: Yes, I’m going to keep you updated for sure. Thank you so very, very much. Can you tell my listeners where they can learn more about you and all of the stuff you’ve got out there?
NEIL: https://neilpatel.com/. I teach all of this stuff for free.
AMY: You do, and you have some amazing videos and if anybody’s new to you I cannot wait until they get introduced because they are going to fall in love. Neil, thank you so very much for being on the show.
NEIL: Thank you for having me.
AMY: There you have it. I’ll tell you what, as you know, when I started this episode I was very scared and very confused of SEO but as Neil laid out the road map for SEO, especially a three-month plan that is incredibly doable, I don’t feel as confused anymore.
I’m certainly not scared to tackle it and I hope that you are not either. Let’s make a pact. You do the three-month SEO plan and I will do the three-month SEO plan. Then let’s talk about it.
The perfect place to talk about it is inside my Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook community. Make sure to come over to Facebook, find my group, join that group, and I’ll be talking about my progress with this SEO plan.
I want to hear from you as well so I’ll see you in the group.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve created a really fantastic three-month SEO plan and tracker and it’s a free guide for this episode. All you have to do is go to https://www.amyporterfield.com/221. I want you to grab that freebie, print it right away, tuck it somewhere that you’re not going to lose it, and then mark your calendar to start the plan as early as this week or as late as next week.
Get it on your calendar. I’d love for you to block out a few hours every single week to devote to your SEO plan. That’s exactly what we’re going to do on my team as well.
Before I let you go remember that our sponsor this week is Gravy, my very own 24/7 engagement team, who contacts my customers within hours of their failed payment, captures updated billing information, and saves the customers that I have worked so hard to acquire.
If you have a subscription model business or if you offer payment plans you’ve got to check out Gravy at
https://www.amyporterfield.com/gravy. When you go to that page you’ll see there is an option to get a free consultation.
You’ve just got to talk to them and see if your business is right for what they do in terms of capturing failed payments and making sure everything on the back end is running smoothly so that you do not lose money with your membership site or your payment plans. It’s at https://www.amyporterfield.com/gravy.
One more thing. Don’t miss out on next week’s episode, #222.
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Okay guys, I cannot wait to see you again next week at the same time, same place. Thanks for being here. I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye for now.