Vlad Mkrtumyan is a search engine marketing guru and the CEO of Logic Inbound, a white label PPC provider that delivers customer acquisition strategies to help businesses drive growth. Vlad and his team have over 30 years of combined experience with early-stage SaaS companies. Beyond SEO services, they also offer web design and development and conversion rate optimization.
As a serial entrepreneur, Vlad has also founded businesses such as Skyreal and the Shoplletes app. In addition to this, he is a proud community builder and currently runs five meetups, including Demand Leaders Meetup, the largest marketing meetup in the Seattle area. His work has been featured by TechCrunch, Blind Entrepreneur Podcast, GeekWire, and more.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Vlad Mkrtumyan explains the three components of SEO
- How to make the most out of your keyword research
- Vlad’s tips for creating an effective SEO outline
- What are the keys to link building in 2021?
- Best practices for building backlinks
- The types of content that generate the best returns
- Vlad shares his local SEO strategies
- The difference that passionate content creators can make with SEO success
- How has SEO changed over the past year?
In this episode of the Ecommerce Wizards Podcast
SEO has become one of the most important components of any e-commerce business. After all, it doesn’t matter how incredible your product is if customers can’t easily find it online. But, with limited search result space and an increasing number of e-commerce pages, it takes expertise and experience to get ahead of the competition.
That’s where Vlad Mkrtumyan comes in. Vlad’s passion is helping companies excel using expert SEO strategies. He knows the best practices for everything from building valuable backlinks to creating content that generates massive returns. So, what is Vlad’s advice to e-commerce brands looking to stand out from the crowd?
In this episode of the Ecommerce Wizards Podcast, Guillaume Le Tual sits down with Vlad Mkrtumyan, the CEO of Logic Inbound, to discuss how to excel in 2021 using SEO best practices. Vlad breaks down his step-by-step process for SEO success, from keyword research, to link building, to content creation, and more. Vlad also shares some of the recent changes to SEO trends and how they are affecting e-commerce brands. Stay tuned.
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Guillaume: Hello everyone, Guillaume Le Tual here, host of the E-commerce Wizards Podcast where I feature top leaders in business and e-commerce. Today’s guest is Vladimir Mkrtumyan, co-founder and CEO of Logic Inbound. Today we’ll be talking about SEO and advertising for e-commerce growth with a focus on SEO Search Engine Optimization.
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 errors, our company MageMontreal can do that. We’ve been helping e-commerce stores for over a decade. Here’s the catch more specialized and only work on the Adobe Magento e-commerce platform. We’re among a handful of certified Magento companies in Canada. Even if a company does not have a Magento site we’ve turned lots of site over, we do everything Magento. If you know someone who needs development, maintenance, training, support, we got their back. Contact our support team at [email protected] or go to magemontreal.com. And just before we start as well, a shout out to Robert Rand of JetRails hosting, he connected us. Thank you Robert, for making this happen today, basically.
Vlad, well, I’m happy to have you here today.
Vlad: Thank you so much for having me on the podcast, I really appreciate it.
Guillaume: Alright, let’s just jump into it. SEO and advertising for e-commerce, bro. SEO is a very challenging topic for merchants, you can go read websites, yourself, if you want like on moz.com and stuff like that. But still, it’s hard to make heads or tails on whether we have to invest a lot of hours or see what’s still relevant today for SEO, that’s not all tactics. Make sure you approach it the correct way. SEO is not Voodoo, which can be broken down with some kind of science of reverse engineering, Google in a way and some other more advanced strategies there. Let’s just jump into it. What do you tell a merchant who’s looking to do SEO on our day?
Vlad: That’s a great question, I would tell a merchant that SEO comes down to three things when it comes to their website. There’s content, which is basically all the writing on your website. There’s the link building, which is really all your online popularity. And then there’s the technical element of your website, The UX, the internal architecture, the PageSpeed. If I could teach anybody three things at all about SEO during this whole podcast, it would be focus on content, focus on link building, and focus on the technical element of your site. If you nail those three things, your website will be phenomenal.
Most people will have one of those three things wrong. And we work with companies, the Fortune 500s, all the way down to locals like flower shops, and it’s always been one of those three things. Working with a global company right now, for example, global software affiliate company. And we’re working on the technical element for them. We work with other companies that started from zero, they don’t have enough online authority. They’re not a global Fortune 500 so they need more online authority, they need more link building. And then sometimes most people that are just coming in, they don’t understand how to optimize their h1 tags, or the titles of their pages, the descriptions, they don’t understand what words to put when should something be a landing page blog post effect.
Guillaume: Okay. Let’s talk some examples. Let’s say you’re a merchant with 40,000 products, your catalog, whatever the amount. You say, okay, we’ve done good ads in the past, we have not done SEO yet. Where do we start with this? What should I do?
Vlad: Great question. It all starts with the keyword research. Every single campaign, you got to make sure you’re focused on the right keywords. It’s like if it comes to war and you’re pointing the missiles, the keyword research is making sure “Hey, are they pointing in the right direction?” And that’s where you got to make sure your targeted, you’re focused on the right things. And the beautiful part about the example you just gave me is you gave me a little cheat. You said if I’ve done ads already, if you’ve done ads already, and you’re not basically just starting from complete scratch, doing something like Google Ads, Pay Per Click, you can actually guarantee that the keywords you’re going to rank for are going to convert because the Google Ads obviously are an organic search, they appear right next to each other. So, whenever somebody says, “Hey, we’ve done Google ads, pay per click”, then we go in and we actually look at those terms that they’ve used and say these are the perfect terms and then after we look at those terms, then we organize that by competition. We look at competitors, we look at primary, secondary, tertiary type keywords, etc. But that’s where I would start if you’ve done ads before.
Guillaume: Okay, and let’s keep diving. So, your first step is keyword research. Great. Now you’ve done the keyword research and you were lucky to most Google ads, you got the data from Google ads, which keyword was converting into sales? So you know, this is the right word to focus on. What do you do next?
Vlad: Great. So now you’ve got the right keywords. And so what you got to do is you basically got to go ahead, and you’ve got to create outlines of every keyword. And by the way, sure, you’ve done the Google ads, but sometimes maybe you find some informational keywords that are easier to rank for, less competitive, right?
Because let’s pretend we have a company selling microphones because we’re in the podcast right now. So, our e-commerce microphones store, is basically buy a microphone, you know that keyword’s going to be super duper competitive. So we’ve got to do maybe some informational keywords as well, on the keyword research, such as what types of microphones are the best in 2021? And, what’s the best microphone for podcasting? Why does my microphone not work? Maybe those types of kind of likes per share, I would say keywords that are still have some… if you look at the buyer journey, when they type in, is my microphone broken? That’s still a valuable keyword, as it could be that could still get us microphone sales, but it’s not like, hey, buy Blue Yeti 2021. That should sponsor this podcast. But basically, those are different levels of buyer journey keywords, but you still want to have those.
But still, Google Ads is a great place, because those are great keywords. So, we complete all the keyword research. After the keyword research, the next thing we do is we create outlines. A good SEO outline has A, the meta title, B, the meta description, the h1, the h2. The h1 is like the title of your page, the h2 is all like the sub paragraphs, the sub titles. The length of the keywords actually found do matter. Even though some SEOs will argue with me till death, that it does not matter. But I would say it definitely does matter. And some will say it depends, but it really depends on the keyword you can look at competitors to see the link. So, those are the main kind of things, you want to have at top five for an outline. Once you’ve got this outline, you can hand it off to a writer and you get the page created.
Guillaume: Okay, so we’re going toward common creations, we’ve got the keyword nail down first, now you’re going to an outline of what should be the content creation, you’re getting content created. And what’s the rest of the plan to actually go all the way to getting new clients new sales?
Vlad: Yes. Basically, now that you’re creating content, and you might want to, like I said, those other informational pieces are useful, because they position you as an expert, such as, “Is my microphone broken?” etc. You have to think of different keyword lists and do research. You can use different software, we like to use Ahrefs, you can use Moz. Shout out to Evan Fishkin, one of our partners here, his brother, Rand Fishkin built Moz. And it comes from that family that built Moz, actually. But basically, you can use all, SEMrush, there’s a million different tools you can use. We use basically, all of them we’ve even built our own internal proprietary ones.
So then you use the tools to do the keyword research and see what’s most competitive, least competitive, etc. You write those pages out. After you write those pages out, the next thing you need to do is I would say link building. And also, in the first two weeks of our campaigns that we do, we also do a technical analysis, meaning we go through the website, see are there any broken pages? Are there any 404s? Is the website slow? As you know, in the e-commerce world, I think it’s for something like every second, that the website doesn’t load, it’s crazy. It’s like you lose about 10% to 15% of the buyers on your site for every second. So you want to just make it like just a snap, and it loads really fast, as fast as possible. So, what’s the speed? Any 404 broken pages? That’s really bad. What’s the internal architecture? Is it easy to navigate the website? So those are the technical parts of it, though, we do that in the first two weeks as well.
And then the authority building. Authority building I like to say is a sales game, and it’s a knowledge sharing game. Authority building, by the way, is also link building, that’s what I mean when I say link building. Remember content, links, and technical, I’m always talking about one of these three things. I would say do technical analysis in the first two weeks of the campaign, do your keyword research and start writing those key words. Then the link building element is you go out, you build relationships with other business owners, with other websites. And then you start getting listed everywhere online, through Google ads around like, wow this is the belle of the ball, this website on this microphone topic.
Guillaume: Okay. What changed? Because link building has evolved a lot over the years, what works in 2021 for link building?
Vlad: Yes, great question. Back in the olden days, you could do things such as link wheels and link farms and get away with all these spam horrible tactics. I would say today also, people still do cold email outreach for guest blog posts, which still works, however, the tiny thing there is people know the value of a guest blog post, even those that are not SEO savvy, will still try to charge you for a guest blog post, because they know that somehow it affects Google. Whereas, in the early days, people would just do it for sharing, etc. The cost of a link has probably increased over time because you can’t just get away with these hacking tactics anymore. But what works, I would say, a simple tactic is going in and then analyzing using something like Ahrefs, and analyzing competitors backlinks. I guess that’s a little too complicated for the guests.
For somebody who doesn’t have software out there, a really simple tactic is just to get on social websites and get some good PR Get on podcasts, make sure you’re on Twitter, make sure you’re on LinkedIn, etc. And then start interacting with journalists and having them write about you. Because if you find that right topic, and it’s about your business, and it’s also like a hot trend, and those two intersect, you can explode in the link building ability if other journalists start picking up this topic, and you’re the source.
Guillaume: Okay, any tips on that, any ways to help the merchant brainstorm on how to get that?
Vlad: Yes, 100%. You can go on Help A Reporter Out, HARO, there’s other websites like Qwoted, etc. And if you sign up on those, then you can actually start answering questions. So that’s a very simple, basic way to build links. And once you look at the topics that are trending, and see “what is everybody on HARO asking me”, then you can say, “Okay, this is really popular in my microphone website niche.” And then you can go in, and then you can start talking to other people, you can start tweeting about it to other sources online other website owners, etc. So, that’s a very simple topic right there, you can just go on HARO, you can answer directly, that will equal backlinks. And then the other thing is just basically networking with reporters and pitching them organically yourself.
We could talk about it a whole hour, by the way, just on link building itself. The other thing you can do is you can go in, and then you can actually go ahead and build relationships. Building relationships, that’s why I actually commonly say link building is a sales game, because I’m convincing you to do something for me, which is sales. And if you build relationships with other websites, for instance, if somebody has a website that sells headphones. Headphones, and microphones that kind of go together. You pick the niches that are basically related to you. And then you can get backlinks from those guys, and you can build some good business strategic relationships. Like me and you we’re talking about how agency life is etc. We can exchange blog posts, you’re not really directly competing with me.
Guillaume: Not at all.
Vlad: Exactly. But then if your friend who has, let’s go back to this microphone, has a recording website. And he sells to reporters, it still kind of has the same audience members, that’s still good backlink. Now, there’s different types of backlinks. When we look at a website, we look at the different footprints of a backlink. You told me how deep down the rabbit hole you want me to go, by the way.
Guillaume: As long as it’s generally easy to understand, we can go as deep the rabbit hole as you want here, because that’s what it is, we need to know what works in SEO the merchant if he’s talking with an SEO agency that he understands what he’s buying, what we’re talking about here.
Vlad: I would say there’s different types of backlinks and I’m trying to avoid getting too technical. But basically, imagine there’s something I call a backlink footprint. Different types of websites give you different backlink authority. And there’s simple questions I can ask the audience members to naturally know. For instance, if you’re featured on Shopify versus if you basically just created Twitter profile, which backlink do you think is worth more?
Guillaume: Yeah, that’s an easy one.
Vlad: This is what you should think about when you’re building backlinks because some are more valuable than others. And what you can do is you can use software out there like Ahrefs to analyze other websites’ backlink footprints and seeing what backlinks do they have? Do they have a lot of spiritual backlinks? Do they have a lot of news articles? Are they part of different forums? Are they a part of different directories, etc? And then you can kind of go in and try to get those types of backlinks.
Guillaume: Will still give the answer for the audience obviously, because that’s a very large company, public traded company, has a huge authority online. Even though you could say the same about Twitter, just that Twitter post is nothing on this, it gets endorsed and all that, it’s not a page in itself. So that has no value other than the traffic it would drive to your site that Twitter post.
Vlad: The reason the Twitter backlink isn’t worth as much especially for e-commerce sites, is because Twitter doesn’t just focus on e-commerce. Twitter is for anybody, anyone can go create a Twitter profile and create a Twitter post. It’s very simple and easy to build. However, Shopify does not just give anybody backlinks, shout out to them, featuring me. But basically, Shopify does not actually just hand them out willingly.
Guillaume: And just to clarify, even though we’re talking Shopify, it could be like having a backlink being featured on sale on apple.com, on microsoft.com, or whatever, we’re just talking about not the platform Shopify, but being featured on their site, just like being featured on any other large, highly authoritative site.
Vlad: Yes, and going back to the headphones thing, if it’s in your niche, that’s even more powerful, because it can even turn into direct sales. For instance, if you have a microphone website, and you’re featured on the blueyeti.com website, their audience could actually go in and buy from you directly. So that’s why getting a niche-appropriate backlink can be so powerful. Let’s say we have the microphone selling website, your friend that has the recording software website or the recording gear, if he features you on his homepage or in a blog post. And if it’s a great written blog post that could turn into sales, versus the Twitter profile is going to be a bit harder. Anybody can do it. That’s why we think that obviously I don’t have the algorithm of Google, but what we’ve seen through our research is that it impacts that less.
Lastly, another thing that you do not want to do, is you do not want to get the same backlink. I actually talked to a guy who owned a clothing store. And he thought he was a genius, because he had about 10,000 posts on Facebook, linking back to himself 10,000 posts on Twitter, 10,000 posts on all these different social media sites. And he said, “You need to give me a guy at Google to tell them that we have so many backlinks that were worth so much”. And I’m like, “Look, if anybody else can do that, it’s not really that valuable, because everybody can copy that tactic”. It’s just really spamming. There’s something that I would say is very vital for people to know is there’s diminishing returns. Meaning if I get one or two backlinks from a website, you don’t really need to get more than that unless maybe it turns into more sales.
Guillaume: Because Google knows they’re all coming from the same website. At one point, it just says Okay, whatever and this gives me more points.
Vlad: Yeah. Literally last week, by the way, I was talking to this client, and he thought he was a genius. He’s like, “Look, we have these 10 websites, we have over 400,000 backlinks”. He’s like, “Go get somebody” I’m like, “No, it doesn’t work that way”. And sometimes you just can’t explain things to people, though that’s some of the hardships in my industry. But that’s basically backlink building. You want to get listed on all these different websites. And there’s all these different tactics you can use, like cold email, sometimes we use that, infographics is something we’ve used as well before. So, you make a really interesting statistic, or create an infographic.
An infographic is basically like a picture with all these different numbers and data on it. If anybody out there, you’ve typed an infographic on, it’s like a really interesting piece of data picture. And then you share it with not a competitor, the competitors aren’t going to do anything. But somebody in your industry or somebody tangentially related to your industry, say, “Hey, I want to promote this infograph for our industry and you can put it on your website, if you link back to me”. So, the holistic concept is sales. I’m giving you something, I’m getting something back. For instance, I’m on this podcast. It’s very easy now for you to build a backlink on my website. You can think about it that way as well. You’re building the relationship, business development sales, you’re giving me a podcast.
Guillaume: Right, you’re a guest here so we’ll give a link to your site. Here you go to the backlink.
Vlad: There you go. And then on the flip side, somebody out there could even do a podcast and say, “Hey, would you be interested in me interviewing you?” You could start a microphone podcast and then you could say, “Hey, look I’ll basically give you all the content, I’ll edit it and I’ll give you this podcast episode for an hour, hour and a half, two hours. And then an exchange, you can put on your website, but I would love a backlink back”. That’s another valid backlink building strategy.
Guillaume: It’s an exchange, you give something to get backlinks.
Vlad: Exactly. Because if people understand that value, but it’s just hard for people to come up with these ideas. And what I tell them is it’s like if you bought a Tesla. Maybe you’re just driving around a normal car, once you start driving that Tesla, you are likely to see Teslas everywhere. Same thing with backlink building, the second I show somebody a backlink, and they see one and they see from Twitter posting somewhere else, and they start training themselves that way, they’ll see links everywhere, and they’ll come up with tons of different link building ideas.
Guillaume: So your focus is mainly on content generation, basically, giving value to a third party who has some level of authority, ideally in the same niche or similar focus of industry a relevant link. By being a relevant link, you can get endorsement, link juice, as they used to call it passing from their site to your own, which is good for your Google ranking. But also potential clients directly with your example of Blue Yeti, the microphone company. You could have a customer coming from their website if they were to feature you and that specific link helps you with your ranking in Google about microphones.
Vlad: Exactly. You want to figure out what is the sales game for this industry or for this website? Whenever I talk to a client, what resources do they have? Do they have writers? Guest blog posts for backing is really easy. It’s just like guest blog post for backlink. That’s the sale people are spamming, everybody’s inbox if you have a valuable website. They’re spamming you saying, “Hey, we want to do guest blog posts, add us to this article”. Or “We want to do a guest blog post, please give us a backlink. How much does it cost to do feature posts?” The problem is it’s just not valuable because everybody’s offering that. Which is why I feel like the podcast example I gave is more unique. You’ve got to have some kind of unique value that you’re giving out. Or a unique perspective. Getting covered on Fox, and CNN, and all these news sites is still valuable. But there’s just the levels. If you get interviewed by the industry leader in your industry, that’s a lot more valuable than just a general thing. But they’re related. Because the cool part about this is, the more authority you build, the easier it’s going to be. Like for every single podcast you record, the easier it’s going to be to record the next one. Because you’re getting into that rhythm flow, you’re building the authority. It’s normal.
Guillaume: Yeah, that snowball effect going on, basically, is what we’re saying. You’re building upon previous efforts. So, what kind of guidance would you give to a merchant in terms of that content creation to be able to see returns and getting sales out of this thing?
Vlad: Great question. To basically keep on the backlink topic, I’ll get off because I can talk about it for an hour or two hours, just on this topic alone for backlink, we can go as long as you want. But basically, there’s something called link velocity. Link velocity is how quickly are your competitors in your website, niche building links? I imagine the microphone, e-commerce store that we were thinking of starting is going to be insanely competitive, and the link velocity is very high. And everybody’s getting backlinks like every single day. So that’s probably high versus maybe we start an iPhone case website selling iPhone cases, maybe a lot less competitive. So that’s linked velocity. We study our competitors velocity.
Same thing with content. There’s competitors, content velocity and how much content and their content footprint. You can do the same thing for your business. When you study your top 3, top 10 competitors that you think are doing great, how much content do they have? That’s how you figure out how much content to write. But I don’t want to weasel my way out of the answer. The joke in the SEO industry is every answer to every question is ‘it depends’. But I’ll give you the generic answer, which is basically I would recommend around 1000 to 2500 words a week.
Guillaume: One quality article 1000 to 1500 words a week, say one article a week and you just move like that?
Vlad: Yeah. Quality always beats quantity. You create the ultimate guide. For instance, if you type in small business, e-commerce SEO, the way we were able to write a website is we wrote a whole bunch of content to rank for that keyword right now. Maybe it won’t be around forever, I’m sure because changing, but basically, we had to write a lot of content. I remember actually once we rank for how long should a blog post be? We had to rank for basically, that keyword, we wrote around 2500 keywords, and they’re always increasing. Google’s always looking for people that have such deep insight that it’s like, almost people are like addicted to their website, and they just click from that keyword and they just stay there. And Google’s like, “Okay, this is definitely a website that knows what they’re doing”, depending on the keyword. If it’s weather, then you know what’s the weather in New York, no one’s going to stay on your website for long. But in e-commerce, you want people to stay around.
Guillaume: The average time to visit, that’s for sure. Anything else you’d like to add for the merchant and perhaps we didn’t cover much about local SEO, even though e-commerce you can sell worldwide, there’s still very often a local aspect even more so with COVID that people want to buy local and support local and so on.
Vlad: I mean, we’re just getting warmed up when it comes to how much I can add about SEO? We can talk about local real quick, and then we go back to content and then back technical, etc. For local SEO, let’s pretend you have a store. For the microphone thing, let’s pretend you have a store like Radio Shack news before they kind of fell off. But let’s pretend you have a microphone store in person. That is definitely useful. So you want to get on Google Maps, you want to answer all the questions, you want to get the reviews. Definitely want to get those things, you want to get something called local citations. Local citations, meaning you want to get on as many local directory type websites as possible, such as Yelp, such as MapQuest, everything you want to get on there.
There’s something called the NAP, which is the name, address, phone number. You want to make sure the name, address, phone number is synced up across all the different websites. The number one thing I would say for local businesses that are also ecommerce, because we do have those clients that they have their own online shops, and they also have local, their journey millions of dollars in person as well. You want to make sure that you actually focus on Google Maps First, and then go in and build out all those all those citations second. But basically, for the local strategies, the number one thing that still does matter is your reviews. The higher your reviews are on Google, the better. The danger with these reviews is, for some websites they are a lot harder, like for Yelp. It’s a lot harder actually to get Yelp reviews. But that would be my main strategy for getting local traffic.
Guillaume: Would you incentivize customers with loyalty points or whatever to give you reviews?
Vlad: Yeah, you just have to be very careful, there’s terms of services. One of my favorite tactics is basically, there’s a bunch of different software’s out there, you just Google this up. I’m not going to advertise any of them. The software right after the purchase, it’ll ask, “Hey, what did you think of the experience, anything we could have done better?” And then it’s like a smiley face or a frowny face? If they pick the smiley face, then they’re like, thank you so much for enjoying the service, and then they can go leave a review on Facebook, Yelp, any site. If they pick the frowny face, then it turns into an email, that goes straight to the business owner, for local stores and shops.
There’s a whole bunch of different types of software, some do it with stars, etc that you can use as plugins to your e-commerce store that I think could really help bolster local. And also be very valuable, because two main questions that I really love to ask clients. Number one, how did you find me? Because I want to make sure that I’m very easily found. And number two, is, why did you choose to go with me? Why did you choose to go with my business? What do you love about my business? Accentuate those things. For the microphone website, for instance, you purchased from my website, what did you enjoy about the purchasing experience? “Oh, I enjoyed that the price was cheap”. Okay, great. I got to go and figure out how to get the cheapest prices now. Or, “Oh, I enjoyed your expertise”. Okay, great. Maybe we make videos to teach people even more about these microphones. I’ve learned that in SEO, which is why we have done also ad campaigns, even though SEO is like a big strength of ours. I’ve learned that in SEO people hire me not just to get traffic, but to get sales. So, these are key questions to ask. And then basically, when you’re writing your content to go back up to content, just generically to get your e-com sales. You got to think the same question when you’re writing that content.
I talked about the outline, the h1, the h2s, the meta title, the meta description, the link. But is that actually a valuable piece of content? Because sometimes people will hire writers for very cheap. In fact, I know guy internally who pays around like one cent a word for these articles get some very cheap.
Guillaume: That’s out sourced stuff, not American made.
Vlad: Not American made, I will say. Actually, one of his writers is basically just a person with nothing better to do, they have a married spouse who takes care of all the bills, and they’re just bored, I guess that’s a pretty lucky writer to have. Eventually, when they don’t get bored, they want to be worth more, it’ll be tough. But still once in a word, the question is, is that actually valuable content ended up itself? Sometimes in the SEO world, people get so focused on the SEO itself, that they lose the whole purpose, which is there’s actually a person on the other side that’s looking through and trying to do something and get something from your website. So that’s where the art and the science comes in when you’re writing your content.
Guillaume: And if you don’t have quality content, you could actually hurt your brand. You’re endorsing that article with your brand’s name. Especially if you are on the brand you cannot do bad SEO tactics then just say, “Oh, let’s get a lot of cheap articles out there”. That will hurt more than help, it’s going to help a little bit the technical SEO for your Google ranking, but its going to hurt the brand in general.
Vlad: Yeah, 100%? And I don’t know, you tell me, have you seen any websites do that, in your experience, where they’re just kind of have poorly made content?
Guillaume: It’s rare nowadays, there’s always a person that tries to exploit the system or things like, “Oh, I’m going to have white text on a white background”, can I exploit that? Well, you’re 20 years late to the party with that technique, that doesn’t work? Don’t do those shady stuff, do real marketing nowadays.
Vlad: I would say I know people, I don’t know about white text on white background, but I’ve seen people think that keyword density still exists. For instance, where you’re coming in, and you’re just spamming the same keyword over and over again. And we’ve seen that that’s just not true anymore.
Guillaume: Which was the idea of hiding a lot of keywords like that to increase your keyword density, like white text on white background. Nobody knows all that spammy SEO text was there. It was a very old crap back in the days. But that doesn’t work, Google covered it a long time ago.
Vlad: That’s key. The other thing I’ve seen people do though, is they basically go ahead, and they just write a ton of content, thinking that, “Hey, if I just read a ton of content, I’m magically going to get traffic.” And in some cases, actually, I have seen that work, where you produce a ton of content, and then you just get picked up for secondary, I would say tertiary keywords, for instance. We actually owned a knife store at one point, internally, we started our own e-commerce store, auto bunco. And then we sold it. And what we will do is we write about knife laws, and then we bring the people in through the knife laws. We didn’t talk about specific knives, Rambo knife, butterfly knife, etc. But we just write about knife laws in every state, people would find us and then we’d make 1000s of dollars in sales that way. So, we generate a ton of content. That is a strategy. If you’re going to go for a cheaper type of writer, make sure it’s something like laws, and even then, I would say, be careful.
Guillaume: Be careful, you don’t want the guy to write something that’s not true and it’s about law.
Vlad: Exactly that’s true.
Guillaume: So yeah, it’s hard to cut on cost, to have lower quality, I believe you have to maintain your quality standard, and still commit enough resources that it’s worded. If you publish just one or two pieces of article, you might be lucky but that’s like winning the lottery. If you’re just going to write two pieces of article, you, perhaps might as well not write any.
Vlad: Yeah, long term, you’re going to lose. And but what I meant is basically, you got to have a good templatized system. If you’re going to go for a cheaper writer, you want to have a good templatized system to actually train them and onboard them, that when they do write articles, they get better over time, and then you have a really good editorial process. That’s how you balance that out.
The other thing that’s interesting, were content. And I’ve helped people even buy websites buy e-commerce websites, and then you monetize them further. And real passionate writers can make a huge difference. One of the buyers that I’ve worked with, basically, he’s looking for, do they have a YouTube channel about the content, do they have videos with it. Now you’re a real passionate expert. What I actually like to say also, is like you’re building a community. I think the best marketers, they actually bring the community together around the topic and they bring so much passion into it, and I think the best companies do this as well, like Apple has a whole Apple community of Apple nerds that are just proud about Apple. And that’s, I think the real goal, what you’re doing when you’re building great content on your website through SEO, it’s really community building.
Guillaume: I agree with that, that they are a great writer or a great person, preparing content can make a huge difference. When it comes to, especially if it’s video stuff, you don’t necessarily need the crazy setup, the most professional camera and all that stuff, you need good sound obviously, good lighting, but does not have to be a lot of expenses. I believe people often block at trying to make that too perfect corporate video, like it’s a movie trailer or something. So, that’s not the case, just start generating content, the you can have a little of a tie clip microphone for 20 bucks for the job. And you can use your iPhone or whatever phone you have to record with that. So it’s hooking you up with sound, good lighting, and there you go, just start recording on a blank background.
Vlad: 100%. And so basically, as you’re building the content out to your site, and let’s say we want to rank for Blue Yeti microphone. We wrote that beautiful piece of content has the meta title, meta description, all that stuff, right? And now the next thing we check for is, do we have any broken pages on our website? Do we have any 404s? You don’t want any of those, you want those to be 301 redirects. Does the URL actually contain the keyword that you’re trying to rank for? Is this a Blue Yeti? Or does it say like some other random numbers in there? Do you get the technical component? The website’s fast, etc, easy to navigate. Then the next question for link building would be are you actually building links to that page? Or are you building links to the home page? Because number one, the strongest page on a website is going to be the home page. However, if you want to rank for Blue Yeti 2021, microphone, then you have to build links to that exact page. And that’s where link building can get trickier. And that’s where sometimes maybe you got one microphone website, that’s super powerful. And you’re like my website is super powerful, why is this weaker website ranking? Well, they could build links just to that one specific page and rank you for those products.
Guillaume: Is there anything major to change in SEO? Like 2021? You know we had those crazy updates back then that the Panda and this and that and the penguin, is there anything big that happened this year?
Vlad: Great question. So actually, in a month and a half, basically, about June, there’s actually a mobile page speed update coming in a speed update, basically, for all web for vitals, you guys should google that. I was talking about technical, actually, speed is going to be more essential than ever according to Google. And it’s scaring some of my partners into saying we should write a blog posts about this right now so we can rank and help them optimize for speed. Because often times when we take a client, we do have to optimize them for speed. And then mobile, mobile page speed matters more than ever. Back in penguin days, or whatever, you didn’t really think about mobile as much. Slow desktop, whatever. Now, mobile becomes more and more important. Everybody is even more on their phones, all the high schoolers coming out. They’re just born on their phones every day, go to the bathroom on your phone, wake up on your phone, driving on your phone.
Guillaume: That’s so true. And we’ve already received some requests when we got our first few clients, just to help them optimize their core vitals on their e-commerce store. Yeah, I do see the wave coming in for that.
Vlad: Yeah, those are great clients, though. And most people don’t even think about that kind of stuff.
Guillaume: It’s typically a customer that has an internal team dedicated to the website, and then say “Okay, we need an external expert to fix or improve our Google core vitals now, and make our site even faster”. And then they do a lot of other stuff in house. We’re talking successful merchant that has enough money with their e-commerce store to say, “I’m reinvesting a lot more in that store, and I have internal stuff typically”.
Vlad: And they have the foresight, though. One thing I would say is depends on your business, depends on the tactic you need to use. If you’re a huge company, and huge by my vocabulary is anything over 1000 employees. Then you can afford to have multiple people writing multiple articles, doing a bunch of PR internally, etc. And the link building tactics are going to change there. Because now you can hire PR people, you can basically go in and you have a huge vendor list. Like one of our big clients, they have a huge vendor list and we can go through their vendors and say, “Oh, we want a backlink from them then them and you just so easily. And they already have a ton of authority too, the article is just going to rank overnight.
If you’re just starting out and you’re a solo person, then you’ve got to be very smart. Maybe you start with Google ads to try to get actually at least some kind of profit on your website from ads, then you can fund the rest of the thing. That’s where I would actually start, and then also, you can use that as keyword research. And then at nighttime, when your ads are gone, you start writing content, and you build your own YouTube channel, and you become the most passionate about this insular singular focus topic. And so that’s the last thing I’ll say, because I don’t want to take up the whole day for you. But basically, for content link building and technical, the tactics will change, depending on the size of the company. That’s probably a lot for nine.
Guillaume: Okay, so would you have a different package for those company, let’s say a $1 million a year company, $10 million a year, we’re talking just, let’s say online sales, and then you have maybe a $50 million a year, and then the bigger ones?
Vlad: We scale, yeah. The hardest clients from you, are the smaller ones, meaning let’s say they have 5 or 10 people, but they refused to do the work. They’re like they want $100,000 worth of work on a $5,000 budget. Not going to work, maybe we do one short term project with some education involved and then I give them the ball, and then they do the work. Because nobody is going to give you free money just for doing SEO really easily, it doesn’t work that way. So that’s the hardest part. But yeah, we can’t discuss every single thing,
Guillaume: I believe SEO is becoming more and more like true traditional marketing. But by the way, it happens that instead of promoting a store, you’re just promoting an online store. And it’s sort of the same thing, you do the press release, you do the articles in the magazine, you do a video, and you just try to get a buzz online about this thing, you producing content and there’s less and less tactics of the moment kind of deal and just true marketing effort, but happens to be online, that was still just true marketing.
Vlad: 100%, especially with COVID, that everybody’s even more online now. Before COVID actually believe this or not, I used to have people telling me “My industry is not really online, online doesn’t really matter for my industry”. And there’s still some small industries, but e-commerce is obviously all online. But then post COVID, now everybody understands online. And then when you look at stuff like radio ads, where it’s harder to get the statistics from the analysis, with today’s online marketing, you can actually get all the analysis, which is why we always do an analysis, before we even custom quote anybody anything. We have to grade them on the content of technical and link building.
Guillaume: It’s not just more of the same, you also change the approach based on the size of the company. To wrap it up, is there any last thing you’d like to share for SEO?
Vlad: The audience has noticed I keep talking about content technical link building, that’s basically the last thing I’d like to share. Basically, those are the three things you should constantly be updating and studying and trying to be the leader of in your field, to be the best SEO in your category. That’s the main thing. I get a lot of common questions like, “Hey, how do I know something should be a landing page or a guest blog post?” And the answer to that is you can study the results based on the keyword. But at the end of the day, if you keep learning and you keep dedicating a specific focused amount of time on SEO, it will pay off. I’ve always seen it pay off.
Guillaume: Right. Well, thank you for being here today, Vlad.
Vlad: Thank you so much.