Steven Pope is the Founder of My Amazon Guy, a full-service Amazon agency with more than 160 clients. As Founder, Steven helps clients grow through onsite and offsite channels, including SEO, SEM, and social media. Steven has also worked for multiple product brands and served as the Digital Marketing Manager for APMEX, Inc., which achieved 10 million additional website visits under his direction.
Outside of work, Steven is a chess enthusiast and a proud Eagle Scout. He also currently volunteers with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an instructor, executive secretary, and Sunday school president.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Steven Pope explains why you should have both an Amazon store and a website
- Diverting Amazon traffic to your e-commerce website
- How does packaging impact the customer experience?
- The number one improvement you can make for your website ranking
- Steven shares the phases of SEO and how to leverage them for your website
- The importance of finding and creating content for your micro-demographic
- How to strategize your SEO as a smaller business
- Generating traffic for both your Amazon store and your website
In this episode of the Ecommerce Wizards Podcast
How do you generate unique, organic traffic for your products? SEO continues to be one of the most difficult components of running an e-commerce business. Tried-and-true tactics of the past are now less effective, leaving many brands in the dark. But, there’s one thing that is certain: Google values content that is relevant and engaging. Because of this, crafting quality content to drive customers to is the only true way to get ahead. This is where Steven Pope, the Founder of My Amazon Guy, comes in.
My Amazon Guy is a full-service agency for Amazon and e-commerce brand owners. With his experience growing the agency and working as an e-commerce and digital marketing manager for other brands, Steven has sharpened his SEO expertise. He believes brands should have both an Amazon store and a personal website — and he’s here to share his strategies for how to effectively drive traffic to both.
In this episode of the Ecommerce Wizards Podcast, Steven Pope, the Founder of My Amazon Guy, sits down with Guillaume Le Tual to discuss how to generate organic traffic for both e-commerce websites and Amazon stores. Steven reveals the number one improvement brands can make for their websites and shares his step-by-step SEO strategy. He also talks about the multiple phases of SEO, how to target micro-demographics, and what you can do to succeed as a smaller business. Stay tuned for more.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Joe Valley on the Ecommerce Wizards Podcast
- The EXITpreneur’s Playbook by Joe Valley
- I F**king Love That Company: How a New Generation of Brand Builders Is Defining the Post-Amazon World by Bayard Winthrop and Randy Komisar
- MicroFamous: Become Famously Influential to the Right People by Matt Johnson
- Conductor Searchlight
Sponsor for this episode...
This episode is brought to you by MageMontreal.
MageMontreal is a Magento-certified ecommerce agency based in Montreal, Canada. MageMontreal specializes in and works exclusively with the Adobe Magento ecommerce platform, and is among only a handful of certified Adobe Magento companies in Canada.
Why Magento? Mage Montreal whole-heartedly believes that Magento is the best open source ecommerce platform on the market–whether you are looking to tweak your current website or build an entirely new website from scratch.
MageMontreal offers a wide range of services, including Magento website design and development, Magento maintenance and support, integration of Magento with third party softwares, and so much more! They have been creating and maintaining top-notch ecommerce stores for over a decade–so you know you can trust their robust expertise, involved support, and efficient methodology.
So, if your business wants to create a powerful ecommerce store that will boost sales, move dormant inventory to free up cash reserves, or automate business processes to gain efficiency and reduce human processing errors, MageMontreal is here to help!
What are you waiting for? Contact MageMontreal today! Visit magemontreal.com or call 450.628.0690 to chat with the MageMontreal team about creating your dream ecommerce store and transforming your business.
Guillaume: Hello everyone. Guillaume Le Tual here, host of the E-commerce Wizards Podcast, where I feature leaders in business and e-commerce. Today’s guest is Steven Pope, founder of My Amazon Guy. He built this company to over 80 employees now and he’s an expert in Well, you guessed it, Amazon and traffic generation for SEO search engine optimization. And this will be our topic today traffic generation SEO search engine optimization for your e-commerce site and Amazon.
So, before we get started our sponsorship message, this episode is brought to you by MageMontreal. If a business wants a powerful e-commerce online store that will increase their sales or to move piled up dormant inventory, to free up cash reserves or to automate business processes to gain efficiency and reduce human processing error, our company MageMontreal can do that. We’ve been helping e-commerce stores for over a decade. Here’s the catch. We are specialized and only work on the Adobe Magento e-commerce platform. We do everything Magento, if you know of someone who needs design development, maintenance, training, support on a new site, we got their back. Email our support team, [email protected] or go to magemontreal.com. Before starting out, I want to give a shout out to Joe valley of Quiet Light who introduced us, so thank you Joe for making this possible today.
Steven: Love you Joe, and he’s got a new book out. Definitely go check out The Exitpreneurs.
Guillaume: Yeah, I got a copy too. I started reading it. It’s good stuff. Well Steven, thanks for being here today.
Steven: I appreciate you having me on.
Guillaume: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself in your expertise in Amazon SEO, before we get started?
Steven: You bet. So I used to be a television reporter, I got to learn how to ask some tough questions. I exited that after giving a live weather shot at 10 o’clock at night in the middle of the biggest blizzard Wisconsin had experienced in over a decade. I decided I want to be home in my pajamas when everybody else was also home in their pajamas.
I have over 12 years of experience in e-commerce. First thing ever sold online was a Magic the Gathering, Sliver Queen stronghold edition for those nerds out there on eBay. So I have been doing this since I was young, age 12 was the first time I sold anything on eBay. I just kind of snowballed from there with my entrepreneurial spirit, if you will. In terms of non-Amazon claim to fame, I increased APMEX.com by 10 million unique organic traffic year over year. You can look them up APMEX and any SEO tool and you can guess my hire date, it’s obvious in the data. I’ve now since been working as an agency owner and founder for the last three years. We have over 160 clients, and we grow sales by increasing traffic and conversion.
Guillaume: Awesome. Thank you for that introduction. So maybe we can cover quickly, why would someone have a website if they already have an Amazon store? Many people already do have a website and then they want to go the other way around and say how can I expand my sales channel and also open on Amazon. But let’s look at the other way around. Why if you have an Amazon store, open also a website?
Steven: So if you’re not on Amazon, you’re irrelevant in the B2C space. And if you are on Amazon, but don’t have a website, then you’re not diversified. So you need both in my opinion, and a lot of consumers will be more comfortable making the purchase on Amazon but there’s a lot of pushback on Amazon at the same time. There’s certain demographics that just simply reject Amazon as a platform. So if you want to access some of those buyers, you got to go outside of Amazon. Additionally, the more loyal a customer is to your brand, the more likely they’re going to buy directly from your website. They’re going to not have the anxiety or the friction to prevent them from purchasing from you. So what do I mean by anxiety? If I trust you with my credit card, when I go on your website, that could be an anxiety or if I think this product is going to work or it’s legitimate, it’s not a knockoff, that kind of thing. Amazon solves a lot of those anxiety issues, which is why people go to Amazon. Friction would be, can I find the Checkout button? Do I know what I’m supposed to do next on this webpage? Amazon has also solved many of those friction complaints. They make it so easy. You can one button click Checkout.
So if you don’t have a website you don’t own your customers. You don’t have an e-mail base, you don’t have the ability to market and control your destiny and your future. And you lose a lot of your control on your mechanisms. Many people think that it’s more profitable to sell on a website, though that seems to be less and less true over time as cost for websites go up. So it’s not a cost decision tree in my opinion. It’s more about a destiny control. So if you want to own your customers you need to be on your website marketing to them, collecting e-mail addresses and if you just want to live a lifestyle brand where you’re sitting on the beach and you don’t have to talk to anybody and you know once every month you send a logistics over to your 3PL and ship it in, then sure, by all means, you could grow a brand on Amazon. But there is no such thing as hashtag passive income, I will indict that statement left and right.
Guillaume: Unless it’s real estate, that’s pretty much it.
Steven: Everybody’s like, oh, I want passive income, but it’s a fairy tale.
Guillaume: I totally agree with that. Unless it’s real estate, and even that you have to maintain and upkeep it. There’s work related to that, it will be a concierge who will do it.
Steven: You will pay your tax one way or another. Even in the real estate example, you’re going to have to go spend countless hours of research understanding it.
Guillaume: Yeah, exactly. So passive income. I agree like all these stuff sold online, courses like some guy wrote a book on How to Get Rich, and that’s all. His only claim to fame is actually he wrote the book, How to Get Rich, and that’s how he got rich. So that’s what pretty much all passive income sales to me are online. We’re diverging from topic a bit, but it’s fun to talk about it while we’re in this. The only way passive income can really work is if you invest to build a great asset that people do want to come, but that asset will also typically have a lifespan in a depreciation over a year. If you don’t have new content, or if you don’t keep it like a real estate and so on. The passive income is possible but not the way it is sold online. You have to build almost an institution in a way and then build a real business around it that other people will run for you.
Steven: So a lot of people think I own and run an agency, but that is false. I run an HR company. I’m in the business of people left and right hiring, firing, training and dealing with people’s problems. Gary Vee has some great content on the subject where he goes in depth talking about how he spends all day talking to his employees. That is my job right now. And so we’re actually hiring a chief of staff. There’s a windy road out there listening to this podcast hit me up. Because there’s so much personal capital involved in managing an agency. But by and large, if we were going to put on the most passive income scale, agencies would be on the far extreme end of not.
Guillaume: That is true. It’s almost like hotel service and agency. Everyday you need to start over bringing new towels, everybody cleaning up every room. It’s intense on service. And I’ve heard a lot of CEOs, not complaining but saying that they feel more like the VPs of their HR these days and CEO, but you need to of course have the right staff in place. I can definitely say that hiring an HR director, and I’ve done that very early, we’ve been at that, as our 15th employee made a huge difference in our ability to grow quickly and improve the quality for the work experience for all the employees. People that tend to hire them too late. And they’re often surprised when I say it was my 15th employee, my HR Director, but we had a rapid growth as well. So it’s very important, the HR component. It’s critical.
Steven: So we’re at 80 employees, and we have half our staff in the US, half overseas. The account management piece is the part that I’m heavily focused on. We’ve got designers and PPC specialists overseas and countries ranging from the Philippines, Turkey, Pakistan all full time, they only work on our accounts. I find that that international component is actually easier than finding the US talent to manage the accounts, interact with clients, and deal with that. So for those looking for passive income, starting an agency should be low on your list, running an Amazon business should be higher, but still isn’t quite.
Guillaume: Actually it should not even be on the list as an agency. That was an interesting discussion there. Well were still talking about why having a website before we talked about the SEO topic here for traffic generation, how would you go about if you’re an Amazon store owner to divert that traffic to your store because Amazon clearly does not want that to happen? They want to be the biggest store in the world and sort of eat up all the small stores that they can. So how do you go about that? You don’t have their email address, you start fresh with your own Pay Per Click campaign and what not.
Steven: So this has become harder of late but also there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. So over the years, Amazon has made it so that any of your communications you can’t give them an external links. They recently are banning product inserts. Instead are mentioning review generation as well as QR codes that take people to outside Amazon resources. These are things that are in the works and happening, people need to pay attention and watch those radars at the same time. Amazon also took away the ability to publicly respond to product reviews. So they’ve taken every component of communication with the customer away from the sellers pretty much, like 95%. At the same time, they’re starting to add back some control mechanisms that could be helpful. You can now send an e-mail to a customer that leaves a negative review.
So it’s like well, I can’t send on my website, but at least I can talk to them and be like, do you want a refund or something like that? They’re adding opt in e-mail communication. So if somebody follows your store, you can start communicating with them. So your drip campaigns, your e-mail automations, those are the sort of core things that people used to rely upon. They don’t work. Everything’s manual, unfortunately. Now what you can do, though, other than the make a great product so people will find you again conversation, you can put things into your packaging and your branding that really position somebody to purchase from you again. So one of my favorite quote, and I know I’m coming on your podcast and you’re going to ask me questions. But if you don’t mind, just for a moment. What was the last thing you bought on Amazon?
Guillaume: I buy so much stuff on Amazon.
Steven: I know.
Guillaume: So yes, it was hardware tools. I didn’t even go to the hardware store, I said just ship it to me.
Steven: What was the name of the brand of the product you bought?
Guillaume: No clue.
Steven: That is 99% likely going to happen for most consumers. And even after you use that product for a year, you probably won’t remember the brand name. So by trying to go above and beyond and try and find ways to insert the branding a little bit stronger the mechanism for that, it will help greatly by pulling them into the site. Instead of them going to Amazon and looking for hardware tool like you did, they then will say oh my gosh, that was the best hammer I ever bought in my life. I’m going to Google the hammer’s brand name, I want to buy more products from that brand. So that’s one component. Now, even if you have the best hammer in the world but you didn’t convince the consumer what your brand recognized as, that’s a challenge. You need to ship things in a box. I’m going to grab a box here, hold on.
What’s cool about this product, is this is a box that we just launched. This is an Age of Sage product. The brand name is plastered right smack dab on the box there. This box is a product that I launched just three weeks before Mother’s Day. We sold 135,000 dollars in goods, this is my personal brand. Inside the box, you can see that we have a card, some fluff to make it fun. And we also have everything you would need from a brand to position itself. We’ve got a tumbler and a soap bar and a bunch of other goodies in there. The reason I showcase this is because when somebody buys a product on Amazon, most of the time they’re not buying a product. They’re buying a feeling, you’re buying an experience. The experience level when you take it up a notch and say this is a thick box. I mean, this box literally cost me two dollars and 50 cents to produce, so it’s expensive. As part of part of the package deal they know that they can throw a bow on this thing for some present wrapping paper and whatever on it and give this to somebody and they know that the experience that person’s going to have is higher caliber. So investing in some of that packaging is a big deal. Most people are too lazy to do that and they don’t take advantage of that component. So it’s a full experience about the product.
Guillaume: Was this fulfilled by Amazon?
Guillaume: So you ship those nice white boxes with your logo and branding to Amazon? They will put it in their ugly brown boxes when they ship it. But when they open that at least they don’t have the loose products there. You have that kind of gift bundled inside that white box?
Steven: Correct. So the past of the Amazon was let’s make things super cheap and fast ship. So that’s all and if you’re really curious to hear more about that past, one of the books I like and this is literally the name of the book, it’s called I Effing Love That Company, and he talks about that. The conclusion of that book is the future of Amazon, what’s the future going to be, so it’s going to be even faster, right? But it’s also going to be higher quality and made in the US. So right now the supply chain is just gigantic wreck. Like costs for 40 foot container right now I got a quote the other day for like 25 grand, and I could get that same 40 foot container for like four grand two years ago. The supply chain giant wreck everything is going out of stock. Even one of my favorite bikes is a woom bike, and I can’t even get another one for my kid, it’s out of stock. My glassware manufacturers are telling me hey, we’re low on glass, we can’t make everything. So there’s series of complications in the supply chain, so it’s actually a great time to try and solve the hardest thing to do right now, which is make stuff in the US. If you do all these things, then you’re going to be positioned well, regardless of whether you sell on your website or Amazon, I think that’s a great advice regardless. That’s the state of affairs.
So to position your website you need to have a good engine, you got to have that Magento component that you provide, it’s got to be frictionless, it needs to be a second load time and a bunch of other things that I’m sure you talk about on your podcast frequently. But if you’re going to go from Amazon into this space, be prepared to invest. Websites are expensive, they take longer to build, they take longer to produce. But once they do, they snowball. You earn those organic keyword rankings in Google, that’s going to be a big help. Even if your plan is to not sell on the website, but to just help the brand, that’s still worthy of investing in a website.
So two of the brands I own are called Monster and Age of Sage, I built a monster website, I sell one unit a month on it. But it’s organically ranked number one for the term monster. It’s not a great website by any stretch. But it does reinforce what we do, that we sell funny wine glasses, and that particular site is built on Shopify. But it organically ranks and it helps position and when people want a glass that they like they get it on Amazon most likely, or they want to learn more about the brand or who we are and that kind of thing. Amazon’s brand stores are pretty much their way of trying to kill websites. So amazon.com slash brand name. That’s their way of trying to say, hey, you don’t need to go to our website, you can look at this brand store and learn more about this brand. And you click on the brand attribute on the detail page that goes over to the brand store. Those vanity pretty URLs are pretty cool. So that’s kind of what’s happening, in my opinion.
Guillaume: And I’m checking on your funny glasses there, interesting stuff. Alright, so we’ll discuss a little bit why you need a website just to have a bit of an entry here for people who didn’t know about that topic. Now let’s talk about traffic generation. So your SEO or search engine optimization for your e-commerce site and Amazon. What would you do for this one?
Steven: So the number one thing that somebody could do on their website, is to set the meta tags. Now, Amazon, SEO and website SEO are very different conversations. On the website, the HTML title tag of your homepage is going to have more impact than any other attribute on the website. Most people forget to set it. It’s often not as easy to locate on how to edit it and people will just have the company name as the HTML title. That is such a missed opportunity because for a minute of effort, you can go in and set it today and make a massive impact. This is exactly what I did for apmex.com, American Precious Metals Exchange.
When I interviewed for the job, I noticed that they didn’t chase price terms in the precious metals industry. Well, commodity pricing for gold and silver, this is a margin business, wonderful margin. Tons and tons of turn around though. And so most of the time when people invest in gold and silver, it’s usually a hedge, they’re like, oh, the dollar is going to drop and inflation is going to be gigantic. In reality it actually is right, now it’s 25% inflation at the moment. But regardless, I identified that there was this keyword segment that was being ignored by the company. So I came in, I identified the segment and then I started reprogramming the website from a code standpoint to chase price terms. So I went in, I set the HTML title, which is a tag that shows up the top. It’s that purple part of the Google search result. And then the meta description, which describes the page to Google. A lot of people have gotten so lazy at this, they just automated based on the first paragraph on the content of the page, which is better than nothing, but it’s really insignificant.
It needs to be manually set because there’s so much keywords that you wouldn’t lead in your opening paragraph of a page that you should be putting into the meta description. So if I’m selling a silver coin, and I have a graph on the price of silver today, hey, what’s the price of silver, silver prices spot. You know those kinds of keywords in the Knaack dealer can be worked into the descriptions to help a consumer find the page to begin with. Once we did that, we had traffic growth within 60 days. It was so immediate just by setting the meta tags.
Guillaume: And your meta description, your main goal, was it really for optimization for Google in terms of ranking in Google or was it mostly about the click through rate? Once you’re on the listing page, if you have a better description, there’re people who better understand what this is, and you have less bounce and so on.
Steven: I like to run multiple phases of SEO. And I’m glad you asked that question because you would not be optimizing for CTR in phase one by any stretch.
Guillaume: Click through rate.
Steven: So for phase one and SEO it’s absolutely imperative that you focus on indexing, trying to get as many keywords to show up in the first couple 100 search results of Google. Once you have 50 target keywords in striking distance between ranks 20 through 50. You can then enter phase two which is about matriculation. Trying to get as many of those up into slot one through 10. Sometimes you might want even run some additional phases between phase one and two there where you’re incrementally indexing keywords that is trying to gain another 10 or 15% of your indexing keywords that is show up at all in Google, before you move on to matriculation strategies. It just depends on how quickly you can index and how hard it is to matriculate for them.
Back in the day people would build websites, and they’d be like, I can make you rank for anything. And then they would build a secondary website, sending some external links and traffic’s in a ton of other black hat tactics, you name it, link farms, etc.
Guillaume: Yeah, the link wheel site linking to each other, and then white text on white background, keyword stuffing, the footer, all that stuff doesn’t work anymore.
Steven: So Google has created all these free animal updates from penguin, to hummingbird, to panda. All of these things are to systematically destroy all of those techniques. So nowadays, Google’s number one priority is to be relevant and engaging. That’s what you should be focused on. So a lot of the next part of our conversation is about content production because of that. But before you enter in content production, let’s say you got 10 pages on your website, you’ve got a homepage, you’ve got like five category pages, and four product pages, whatever. You’re just starting out. At bare minimum, take 15 minutes and set the meta tags. It’s just such an easy thing to do, high Impact, big results.
Steven: So moving into the content production strategy, the next phase, it’s going to be really important that you have a lot of contents, high production. So the Gary Vee strategy on this one would be show up 24 seven. That strategy is very hard to do, because you might run out of things to say eventually, but that is indeed the best strategy. Now, at bare minimum, we’re talking three blog posts a week, three videos a week, whatever the equivalent for you is, is to keep that conversation going. But that content production maximizes it very well. So for example, My Amazon Guy, I think we get like 12,000 a month in search volume. And almost 80% of that is driven from YouTube. That’s significantly high to push.
Guillaume: That’s huge. That’s rare actually.
Steven: And so we have 750 videos on YouTube, where we talk about literally every component about Amazon. You could just spin fire ask me five questions about Amazon, and I’d be like, I have 17 videos on those five topics, like just guarantee it. So we have become the first place people go when they’re trying to solve an Amazon problem. That’s just educational standpoint, a golden charm. I now have 20 people that come to my website and ask to talk to us every single day without fail, at 20 people a day. So my legion started with content production. I’m a service based organization, so it’s actually even more important for content production. But as a consumer packaged goods type of B2C type of organization, your content will be less about long form educational or probably more about lifestyle, Instagram type posts, where you have to invest in creative and photos. And those engagements will have a really big impact for your site for SEO especially.
So once we did that, I ended up tailoring this back over to the next conversation. I built 2000 pages of content for APMEX. I did their meta tags. And pretty much those two techniques, coding the site, adding content, 10 million unique visitors from organic search year over year increase.
Guillaume: And how long did that take to put in place?
Steven: 90 days.
Guillaume: So you had quite a team with you, I guess that would be 1000 pages of content?
Steven: Well, I hired an agency for the content production and I did the meta tags with myself and two others.
Guillaume: A lot of content. All are custom written or spun content?
Steven: All custom written. I went around to the organization and I asked to be given content ideas. What do you think people care about? So I learned that there’s silver stackers who buy silver consistently, and they’re always going to buy silver, that there’re coin collectors who are really interested in specific types of collectible coins. And then there’re bullion buyers, who are probably more of your hedge fund type orientation. With that in mind, we built out content pieces and structurally answered the question for every layer of that from start to finish.
Guillaume: You probably had a site with a very high domain name authority to start with.
Steven: We did.
Guillaume: And then you add this, it just becomes a multiplier, an exponential multiplier.
Steven: Correct. But in the case of a non-authoritative website, take My Amazon Guy for example, I started ranking for things like how to change your e-mail address so essential. I got one of the answer cards for that, and that became 5% of my traffic. I just literally answered the most basic question because nobody else had answered it correctly, I was able to get a hit. You may not be able to predict which pieces are going to rank, which ones are going to get the hits. But if you just micro-focus in on your target demographic, what are the top 10 problems they have? I know this is your podcast and I’m asking you a second question.
Guillaume: Go for it.
Steven: This is for funsies. So if I asked you, what do you think the target demographic for selling Russian mail order brides is? What would you say? I know, this is a really weird question.
Guillaume: My bad! Is that even illegal? That thing sounds like paid for human trafficking. You said Russian mail order brides?
Steven: Yes. So you’re flying in a wife?
Guillaume: My bad. I have no clue.
Steven: Alright. So what you would have to figure out is it wouldn’t just be men. So, if I was selling a toothbrush, my target audience wouldn’t just be somebody with teeth. So a lot of marketers or a lot of business owners, they’re like, I just need to target everybody.
Guillaume: That does not work.
Steven: Yeah. This is a big tent and everybody’s going to get in here. And right now with society they’re getting super woke. I’m not going to go into politics, but the point I’m trying to make is in marketing, you actually need to profile people. You need to do the exact opposite of what’s happening in society right now. That’s your job as a marketer. So Russian mail order brides, the target demographic, if you go from men, all the way down to the very nitty gritty, it is three times divorced truck drivers.
And once you know and answer that question that, oh my gosh! the target demographic for Russia mail order brides is three times divorced truck drivers, you will figure out how obvious it is. Then you’ll know that they’re on the road all the time, they’ve been married they’ve done that. They don’t have time to date, they probably aren’t attractive, but they have some cash. And so then you know all these things about your target demographic, and then you build the next 10 pieces of content for that specific person.
Guillaume: Is that is that a real story?
Steven: This is a real example but I did not work on it. I got this example from Harry Joyner. He’s one of the top e-commerce recruiters. I’ve probably told the story more times than him now because I was so fascinated by the example and I just think it’s funny. I think it’s memorable too. But basically, if you polarize your audience, you’re doing marketing correctly. If I know that this item is for me and I build content around that, it will be higher engaging, therefore, higher CTR, therefore, higher conversion rates, therefore, higher rankings, more traffic, higher conversion. So for example, if I were to use a hand sanitizer product that’s out of a watch, so I push this button on my hand and it spits out some hand sanitizer. You could target a lot of people with that. You could target joggers and moms, you could target kids at the playground. But if you try and target both, you will fail. You need to build one product for the kid one product for the mom, jogger, and call it a day. So I’m on my jog, and I want to go to Chipotle, and I click this button and dispenses my hand sanitizer.
Guillaume: Yeah, because the other one should have like a Mario brown little dragon or something, I really like the styling.
Steven: Yeah. And even with that said, even if you just had the photographs of the consumer mixed up like that on a list, you will lose the audience. But if your website is hyper tailor focused it’ll polarize that audience, and you’re all about that one person. That one archetype, that one demographic, hyper specific, then you will build a community. A community will take all of the work that you’ve done to the next level. One of the books you might want to read is called Micro Famous. It’s all about building niche communities and he does it through podcasting and book writing. But there’re a lot of ways that you can build a community and my favorite is to just give value for a very tailored audience.
Guillaume: Makes sense. It resonates with what I’ve seen work with my own clients there. Content marketing strategies are extremely powerful. The need for you to invest the time to generate all that content though. So if you just have two or three pieces of content, then you find it tedious. Well, you just delegate that or outsource it. But definitely that works. It’s part of the most powerful strategy, it’s something that we do ourselves. We’re building up a blog of podcasts and stuff like this. It’s a strategy I really believe in. Great, successful companies are doing this. So, that would be your advice to someone starting to site? Start right away with your content strategy, do of course your SEO, or the meta tags in how fast you think they can see results with that kind of content approach.
Steven: Because 45 to 60 days is almost guaranteed. If you’ve targeted it right. If you put the effort in and you go full blast you will see the results that quickly. Even if the only thing you do is set the meta tags you will see results within 45 days. You can track it, you don’t have to take my word for it. Use an SEO tool like Ahrefs, Semrush, whatever your cup of tea is. We used to use conductor search light back in the day. Whatever tool you use, set out your goal. I’m going to focus on these 50 keywords, then put those keywords in the right locations and then see what the ranking changes do. And if you have an index for anything, and you start indexing for something that’s a win. If you’ve already indexed, but you move up the keyword rankings, then that’s also a win. And then finally, if you get the traffic boost, that’s a win. And if the traffic’s boosting and you get the sales, that’s a win. So that’s the staircase of effort results and KPIs depending on the phase you’re on.
Guillaume: Okay. Let’s help, if there’s any merchant going past any kind of psychological blockage they may have with this technique. So in your case you were working for a large company with huge domain name authority, and that was able to finance 2000 pieces of content. In mind that is a huge amount of work and money. So what about the smaller shop? Let’s say you’re like a 1 million dollars a year e-commerce store or Amazon store. Like how much should they put in this kind of strategy?
Steven: People should be spending 11% of their gross sales on PPC. TACoS is often what it’s referred to in the Amazon world. So if people are putting 11 cents on the dollar for everything that they generate back into PPC, what is the appropriate amount to put into SEO? I would argue somewhere between five and 10%, at bare minimum five. Because if you’re putting 11 cents into PPC and you’re not putting at least five into SEO, you’re short-sighted. SEO is going to produce for years to come. If I got hit by a truck today, my company would still grow at similar exponential rates that we’ve had for the last three years simply because my YouTube channel brings them in. Even if I didn’t produce a single new piece of content.
Guillaume: And you’ve gotten yourself out of sales, depending on which kind of merchants we’re talking about, when you have more like high-end, let’s say bicycles and then you need an expert that will talk about it because it’s a 3,000 dollars transaction. So that’s the money the owner has still stuck in sales. So you’ve got yourself out of sales.
Steven: I’m currently out of sales right now about 95%. My father, Dan Pope runs the sales. He’s a retired weatherman out of Utah. I put him in charge of sales in January. And so on occasion, he’ll bring me in to close a deal. But by and large, I’ve empowered him with full contract control and under certain parameters, and he gets the deal closed. That dude loves to talk to people. So if you’re looking to hire an Amazon agency and you want to talk to my friendly father, go to MyAmazonGuy.com and you can talk to Dan today.
Guillaume: That’s pretty awesome. Okay, so that’s good in the 5% to 10%. for SEO, I agree. And just to explain that short sightedness syndrome here we’re talking about is because the cost per acquisition with your pay per click will change over the years. And we have a very good history, especially with Google that you can see the pricing going up and how much it costs you to acquire one more customer you’re spending tends to go up year over year, not just by 2% inflation. Also at the moment you stop advertising, you stop the inbound lead, so you’re sort of hooked to that thing and you start to diversify and have your own source of traffic from SEO.
Steven: PPC is taking a cocaine hit, and it’s necessary but if you only do cocaine, you’re going to die. So with SEO, that is your wheat bread. You’re going to sow your wheat into the field, and it’s not sexy, but you will continuously reap it and it will continuously produce over time.
Guillaume: Those are some colorful examples.
Steven: Russian miller brands cocaine, what else can we do here?
Guillaume: This episode will be labeled with explicit.
Steven: Entertaining at the very least, I hope.
Guillaume: I hope too and valuable for the content that we bring over. So you build content, you do meta tag that’s for your website, is there any other tactics or strategy that you would recommend to add for an e-commerce site, and/or Amazon?
Steven: So at bare minimum on your website, get your page load times down to a second and a half. Your paint loads are extremely important due to the hummingbird update, that’s on the super technical side, which is why didn’t dive into that component. There’s also a lot of things that you can do to code the site outside of meta tags but that’s definitely the starting point. There’s a lot of features, basically tagging your site to convince Google what each page is about. There’s a lot of schema and markup that you can put into play, those are very, very important things.
The other thing on Amazon, obviously I’m the My Amazon guy. I would say when you first launch your product on Amazon, have everything ready day one, have your A plus content, your enhanced brand content, your designs, your photos, six photos of video, video ads are incredibly important right now make sure you have those. Have a fully optimized title, that’s lengthier five bullet points and a description already day one. Do not launch your product unless you have everything ready, your product should be at FBA and should have a prime badge. The list could go on and on and that’s generally because it’s so complicated and there’s so many things to get done. We try and simplify it back down to those four things, which is SEO, PPC, catalog management and design. And you can subset those four things into two categories, which is traffic and conversion. Focus on those things, get those core things done. The future of Amazon will be external traffic, manufacturing high quality products in the States. If you solve for that you’ll have a future on Amazon, and you’ll be better off.
Guillaume: Okay, and the reason why you need all that stuff ready for day one, when you launch with Amazon is because Amazon will give you sort of that honeymoon period that it doesn’t know how your product will perform and give you the benefit of the doubt for a certain amount of time. And you better perform right off the bat here otherwise, you won’t have a great seller in the near future.
Steven: Back to my Age of Sage box, which I have my hands here. We did 135,000 gross sales in three weeks going into Mother’s Day. We had zero reviews running $10,000 in PPC ads. We had everything ready day one, every attribute optimized and because we did we were able to take advantage of, get this, 5 million impressions available for Mother’s Day gifts during the month of May, 5 million. That’s not an exaggeration. And that’s up more than 2x over COVID bump last year, which was up 2x the year before that. If you’re wondering if there’s still room to grow on Amazon, the answer is clearly Yes. The field of just that one keyword 2x year over year, which 2x the year before that. I rode that wave, I was able to organically rank for that term that had 5 million impressions in slot number one. I’m not slot number one anymore, but I was during the time of Mother’s Day and that’s when it was really important. If you do all these things, you’ll leapfrog the keyword rankings, you’ll have position, and you will be able to convert on it very, very well. And you don’t have to have 100 reviews on your listings, people think fake reviews are abundant, unfortunately.
Guillaume: And that $10,000 PPC ad that gave you those sales, and that 5 million impression there was over which period of time?
Steven: Three weeks leading right into Mother’s Day.
Guillaume: Okay, it’s an all in, you’re ready to hit the road, you’re running, everything ready to go and then 10k and ads in three weeks and that’s it, it’s the right way to go, I believe.
Steven: If I had done a third of what I did, I wouldn’t even have had 5000 in sales. You have to do it all you have to have PPC, SEO, catalog and design all tip top shape day one.
Guillaume: Your SEO, you’re talking the on-page listing SEO with the keywords and so on?
Steven: Backend search term field as well, which is kind of less used on websites these days. There is an actual keyword field still on websites. Most people believe it’s not factored into Google’s 200 uses of SEO factors. But I’m a betting man and I think it probably still is. We do fill it out typically on websites, but on Amazon the search term field 100% has probably 11% of the impact according to the A20 algorithm update.
Guillaume: Okay, that’s important. When you say SEO for Amazon, are you driving traffic to your Amazon listing from Google ranking or from other sources?
Steven: I recommend it but I do not. As an agency, we’ve had to really defend our inch wide mile deep ground and that is everything within Seller Central. Because I don’t offer the external traffic service, I don’t practice it for my own brands. That example with the Age of Sage box for the Mother’s Day kit, with a tumbler and to soap bars and a bath bomb, zero external traffic. I do recommend it but the reason we don’t practice it is because it’s impossible to track. Amazon does offer some beta programs for attribution. They all suck, they don’t work. Because of that, we can’t look a CEO of a brand in their eyes and say, “Hey, look, come spend $10,000 on Google PPC, shoot it over to Amazon.” Because we have no idea what the results of it will be.
Guillaume: I understand if you cannot prove the return on investment, it is just old-fashioned advertising that you have no tracking. That famous billionaire was saying, “I know that 50% of my advertising works, but I don’t know which 50%.” That was back in the day.
Steven: It exasperates that problem greatly.
Guillaume: Exactly. Any last thoughts on SEO that could help an e-commerce store grow?
Steven: It’s not set it and forget it, this is a continually worked on attributes. You wouldn’t launch a PPC campaign for 10 grand and never modify it. Don’t do the same thing on SEO, you must modify your structures. It is not set at one time and walk away. It is work on it every month until you sell your brand. I almost said until you die.
Guillaume: That’s a lot of time. Okay, pretty good. And you do have a podcast, Steven. Where can people find you and find the podcast?
Steven: We’re a visual podcast, youtube.com/myamazonguy. Absolutely would love additional subscribers stop by. You can come in and go into my comment section, ask any Amazon question, I will answer it personally. I try and spend all my time on marketing facilities as the founder.
Guillaume: Amazing, thank you for being here today, Steven.
Steven: Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it and you guys will have a great rest of your week.