With so many criteria for creating good content that can land on the top of the SERP, many online business owners are left confused. They don’t know what should come first, what are the effective strategies for SEO and what are the DONT’s which can affect their rankings.
In this amazing episode, my special guest Bernard Huang came over to the show to unravel the SEO techniques that Google can’t ignore.
Bernard is the co-founder of Clearscope, the leading SEO content optimization platform. Before that, he started an SEO consulting agency, was part of the 500 Startups distribution team, and flipped his own website (Twitchmetrics).
Bernard and I have talked about selling an online business, topical authority content, and high search intent content and keywords. What are the Black hat SEO strategies you shouldn’t try?
We also dive into Google’s helpful content update – what is it and how are sites affected or not affected? How you can create better product reviews that build EAT and gets you more traffic?
The relevance of backlinks now and how important or unimportant they may be in the future.
Ultimately, Bernard will share how to do an A/B test for your content and SEO. And how Clearscope can help bloggers build quality editorial content.
If you’re looking to maximize your traffic and earnings in your blog, you shouldn’t ignore this episode!
Get this podcast on your preferred platform:
03:58 Why Bernard flipped his website business – Twitchmetrics?
07:20 How to monetize a website?
10:00 How to prep a business for sale?
14:40 The value of understanding the search intent for growing the site’s traffic
19:20 Different keyword strategies & search intent perspective
35:33 What is Google’s helpful content update?
48:37 Why Clearscope came to exist?
54:27 Where can you find Bernard?
Courses & Training
Courses & Training
➥ The long tail searches (usually a search phrase that includes three five different characters) are the most valuable in terms of intent perspective.
➥ When growing your website, don’t focus on short-term strategies. The long game is very important.
➥ Bernard Huang believes that Google uses user engagement signals for ranking content.
About The Guest
Bernard Huang is the co-founder of Clearscope, the leading SEO content optimization platform. Before that, he started an SEO consulting agency, was part of the 500 Startups distribution team, and flipped his own website (Twitchmetrics).
Connect with Bernard Huang
This is how you create content that Google cannot ignore. Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause, host of the buying online businesses podcast. And today I'm speaking with Bernard Huang, who is a cofounder of Clear Scope, which is the leading SEO content optimization platform. Before that, he started an SEO consulting agency, which we talked about in the podcast episode. He was also a part of the 500 startups distribution team and flipped his own website Twitch metrics. In this podcast episode, we talked about Twitch metrics, we talked about how that started, how that evolved, and how they actually sold Twitch metrics.
And we also talked about the things that he learned through the sales process of selling his online business with his business partner, why he sold his business, which is really important to understand and I think, understanding the focus of why he should sell and something else. A part of that, I'm going to let you find out in the podcast episode, because it's very interesting, I think you should have that focus on that particular thing. But throughout this after we talk about him selling the business, we talk about contents and content for Google and creating content for Google because that's what a lot of his Clear Scope company is about. We talked about topical authority content versus high search intent, what topical authority content looks like, what it should include, we talked about high search intent content, and the keywords and what type of keywords they actually look like.
We also talked about the ratio you should have an experiment with between topical authority content, how much of that you should have versus how much high search intent content you should have, we also talk about how you should be creating high search intent contents, articles and how valuable they should be and why they should be you know about a particular product that has been reviewed by a real person, we will talk about black hat SEO strategies that you should not be doing or should not try. We also talk about the Google helpful content update what's involved in that what we should be looking out for, I also share a way just one way that you can create better product reviews that actually builds EAT has you have a higher conversion rates, which makes you more money, but also allows you to get more traffic.
So it's like a triple whammy. It's such a valuable thing. And that's just one way that I like to help people think about building at traffic and income through their content sites, something I don't regularly share out here on the podcast also talk about the relevance of backlinks now how relevant they are. And we also talk about how important they may be in the future. We also talk about AV testing your content and SEO. And we talk about Clear Scope, what it was built for how it was built for editorial content and bloggers and how it actually works. Now this is such a valuable podcast episode. Bernard is actually an SEO Wizard. He's been a great SEO for some of the biggest brands out there. And he has so much to share and so many profound insights in this podcast episode that you are absolutely going to love.
Also, another thing that you're going to love is knowing that this podcast is not the only way that I can help you for free. If you want to get some of our free resources, go to buyingonlinebusinesses.com/free resources. I have frameworks on how to buy businesses and things about growing businesses on that page too. So check that out. Let's dive into the episode. Do you want to build or grow your content website niche website builders have helped hundreds of people take their content websites from a few $100 per month to over 10s of 1000s of dollars per month with crafted content creation buying age domains and link building strategies.
These strategies have helped people increase their Traffic Authority, monthly earnings and their website valuation to head nichewebsite.builders/BOB/ to get 10% of any link building or 10% more from their content creation services. That's nichewebsite.builders/BOB/. I'll put a link in the description to that.
Bernard, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for your time and coming on. Bernard Huang (4:02)
Jaryd Thanks for having me. It’s an honor.
Jaryd Krause (4:05)
Yeah, man, this is going to be a fun chat. I'm looking forward to learning and picking your brain personally, and then also sharing a lot about what you know, not just in SEO, but some of the cool things you've done in business. So the first thing I want to chat to you about is you, you start you start a business, more starting businesses from scratch.
And you mentioned before we hit the record button, you probably do want to go down the acquisition and purchasing businesses which you may end up talking about in this podcast Twitch metrics, which what is twitch metrics, Twitch metrics is a business that you started what it what is it? What was it and then you flip this, right.
Bernard Huang (4:41)
Yep, that's right. So Twitch, for those of you that are unaware, is a video streaming platform, specifically around gaming. Although it seems like they've advanced to other things like music concerts and just chatting Being just live streaming anything, really. But it started primarily in gaming. My business partner and I have been very passionate about the idea of electronic sports, or competitive gaming for as long as we can remember, he was really big into World of Warcraft, I was big into Run escape. And the smaller kinds of games. And when Twitch first launched, we watched a lot of it.
It's very reminiscent of those of you that are really into sports, where you kind of get out of that age where you can't play professional soccer or football or whatnot, but you still want to pay attention and, you know, be in the game. I think that's kind of where Twitch has found its niche. And we thought it'd be really cool to scrape the viewership data of Twitch and graph everyone's trajectory in terms of viewer hours, watch time, follow our growth, in what you know, as the common tools that help with say Twitter follower growth or, you know, Facebook follower growth. So my business partner, he's technical, he's full stack, he basically tapped into the Twitch API, and pulled their viewer data every 10 minutes, as long as you are a partnered streamer, and had more than 10 viewers.
We were graphing we were taking that data from twitch and graphing everyone's performance on the internet. So you can imagine if you're a popular streamer, you would search your Twitch handle. And you know, it might be like Ninja, who's popular at fortnight or pokey main, whose popular app, just being an entertainer, and our website would pop up. It would also pop up for searches, like League of Legends, game statistics, or viewership numbers, because we had all of the game data as well. And so Twitch metrics started as a passion project, and then got up to millions of sessions a month.
Jaryd Krause (7:17)
Yeah, cool. Mostly friends as read Seco. And so like, how did you monetize this before you and I want to talk about the sales process? How did you monetize this? So you've got lots of sessions? Did you just put some ads on? Or did you allow more metrics for paid memberships to people to be able to grow their channels? Or what I mean, different? I guess?
Bernard Huang (7:40)
Great, great question. And I think that software has always been something that my business partner and I love and want, not necessarily media and ads. So we actually never really tried the whole RPM, you know, slap a bunch of banner ads on it. I did some rough math. And it alluded to the idea that we could be making, you know, X 1000s of dollars a month from rpm. But that wasn't something that we were really that interested in. Instead, we were actually more interested in the note that you mentioned around, you know, selling access to deeper, more robust data. Because we were getting a lot of interest from these like professional sports teams. I forget off the top of my head.
But like the NFL, one of the NHL teams in like Florida, wanted to buy data to use in a deck. And Goldman Sachs actually reached out and they wanted to use Twitch metrics data in a earnings report, talking about Activision Blizzard, and pokey main as the most popular female streamer. I like had a Skype call with her, where she was very interested in knowing her audience overlap with other popular streamers so that she could know like when she would likely go live and what categories that her audience was interested in.
So overall, there was a good amount of business demand in a more robust data set surrounding the, you know, ins and outs of all of these games, viewership numbers. But we were really focused on Clear Scope, which was, is our other software product. And basically, when it came time to pick and choose, we decided that Clear Scope was going to be the one where we scaled it, and that meant that Twitch metrics had to have to be sold or shut down.
Jaryd Krause (9:55)
Yeah, right. Yeah. Well, you just answered the next question I had around Why sell? So when you came to decision, right call clear scope, and we're going to get to that in our discussion what that is everything about that once you realize the right call, it's time for Twitch metrics to go, what did you learn about dividends and things that you needed to do to get the business ready for sale? What are some of the things that you learned through that sales process that other people listening may like really get a lot of insights if they're thinking about selling their business?
Bernard Huang (10:27)
Yeah, I think that it really depends on what you're looking to sell in terms of the asset right there, there's a variety of different metrics that a potential acquirer is going to evaluate your website on. One of them is just straight, straight traffic, right? That's probably, you know, the barrier entry level is, if we're talking about content sites, you know, how much traffic is this getting? And where are the different sources coming from, it's probably more valuable if you have a variety of different data sources, which doesn't make you prone to being crushed by a Google update. Right?
If you can say, hey, I'm getting a lot of traffic from Facebook, or Instagram, or, you know, there's a big email list that you can you can also sell. So what is the asset? And what are the different traffic sources that it's getting? From there? One level above that is, is going to be revenue, right? How much revenue? Is the website bringing in? And also what type of revenue is it? So you're going to have, and you know, I'm sure Jaryd has talked about this at length, but you're going to have different multiples based on what kind of website it is, you know, FBA sites are going to be valued very differently than online media sites, which will be valued very differently than software sites.
And you know, those numbers will depend greatly on how much revenue you're doing bigger is always better. And the multiples on those will get bigger if you're bigger. So those are going to be well.
Jaryd Krause (12:22)
Yeah, in the business model.
Bernard Huang (12:23)
Yeah. Because our business models key from there. I mean, you know, one level above revenue is what you'd call an EBITA, or, you know, earnings before tax interest and like accrual. And that's basically Okay. Well, you know, how much you are paying your team, the contractors that are supporting this, and at the end of the day, what is the profit that somebody is taking home from this particular business. And that's oftentimes where at least, you know, the smaller the website is, the more it graduates into talking about EBITA.
Whereas the larger the website is, the more it's going to graduate to be talked about revenue. So you know, a small learn websites will sell at different EBITA, like sorts of things. And it's just important to understand, you know, where, what the acquirer is trying to what's their goal with purchasing your business. And again, for the most part, for most of you listening, it's going to be B EBITA. But you can imagine there are strategic ways that you can frame your business where you can sell actually more based on revenue or, or traffic, depending on, you know, how you want to position your business to be sold. So that's kind of my take on that.
Jaryd Krause (13:54)
Yeah. Cool. Cool. Yeah, I'm so glad that you mentioned the different traffic sources. And that you know, what we what I like to call single source dependency, if you've got all your traffic coming just from Google, and there's that risk that Google can have an algorithm change, and your site is not within the policy terms. And then you can lose some traffic, if most of the traffic is coming from Google. But then we have different types of traffic, like you said, Facebook, Instagram, you know, a lot of content sites have dug into Pinterest over the last few years and got a lot of Pinterest traffic.
Because that's a search engine. I have my take on Pinterest as well, personally for content sites and the intense of the traffic and that's what I want to talk to you about is loop this into an important question that I want to unpack with you about the intent of traffic. So the intent of traffic from Facebook compared to Google is very different, the same as Google traffic compared to Pinterest traffic, and the Pinterest traffic compared to Instagram traffic, and then all the other platforms. So and you've talked about as well at length, search intent and helping people understand search intends to find better keywords to get more traffic.
Tell me tell me your take on this on the different types of intense of traffic and the value that can come from the knowing the intent in understanding the intent of that trap.
Bernard Huang (15:22)
Yeah, no. I mean, there's so much to unpack there. Yes, sorry. No.
Jaryd Krause (15:29)
It’s good. Just one question. Yeah.
Bernard Huang (15:32)
This is why, you know, Google is one of the most valuable businesses on the planet Earth, right, is because they have a search engine that's dialed into intact, right, when somebody searches best fishing rod, they know that you're researching, right? Like, which fishing rods that you should, you should buy, you know, if Google serves you an ad, about fishing rods, because you, you know, expressed in your, you know, profile that you went fishing, it's less clear that you're on the market for a fishing rod, right, it's more clear that you're interested in Facebook.
And, you know, that's probably why Facebook is, well, one of the most valuable businesses on the internet as well, is that they have interest intent. But Google has transactional, like commercial intent based on exactly what you're searching for. And, you know, the fact that Pinterest is is more valuable company, but not nearly as valuable as the other ones also just speaks to the type of intent that Pinterest is, is able to gather. So, you know, in my opinion, if we're just talking straight intent, like traffic from Google is the most valuable. And you're not going to get better than that, unless you have an email list. And, you know, if you have an email list, chances are you're not running a content site. Chances are, you're running.
Jaryd Krause (17:13)
Fortunate, right? You'd have an email list.
Bernard Huang (17:16)
Yeah, yeah. Chances are, you're running, you know, either a membership, a, a course, a, you know, like an access to a discord or something. Right. That's more membership driven. So yeah, I mean, you can take lists and turn them into businesses, but it's a completely different beast altogether.
Jaryd Krause (17:38)
And I would, yeah, and I would say that, yeah, the email list has a higher intent than Google's search traffic. But also there are there you know, there's some caveats within that, like you can have a remarketing list that you have built on Google, which is going to be a more targeted list and maybe on Facebook, maybe, but also, on YouTube, or all these different platforms. I was basically if you look at it as a REIT, and we could put email list into basically being a retargeting list as well.
But I just wanted to like, I want to expand this a little bit more just for people that don't really understand what we mean by intense when you think about people going to Google, what are they go into the Google Form? They go into Google for answers in the most basic term, rather going for answers to find out how to answer their question like what type of fishing rod should I buy, they're very close to buying a fishing rod. Whereas if you're on Facebook, you're not on Facebook to buy a fishing rod, you're on Facebook to look at pictures of friends, family, dogs, babies, and events that might be happening, really.
And when a fishing rod pops up, you might be might be interested in but your level of interest isn't as high as I'm actually going to Google to find out which type of fishing rods to buy so much closer to buying. I just want to expand that because some people may have not grasped what we meant by that. So then once we understand the search intent, how do we start to evolve and this could be sometimes for affiliate sites, and it could be also be for just straight up ad revenue science. How do we evolve our and once we understand Google being the most valuable source of I would say organic traffic for search intent. How do we evolve our keyword strategy to go what are the best types of keywords with the highest level of intent?
Bernard Huang (19:26)
Yeah, yeah, contents? Totally. I think that you know, what people would generally peg down is, is those very long tail searches. And for those of you who don't know what long tail is, it's usually a search phrase that includes three five different characters, right? You could be like best fishing rods under $50 with reel or something like that, right? It's very specific.
It's very long. So those are going to be the high As to value keywords from an intent perspective, because when somebody is typing something that long into Google, chances are they've already done a lot of research, right compared to somebody who's searching for fishing rods or even best fishing rods, right? It's like layers and layers, like below. The other interesting thing, if we're talking about intent, which you might have been hearing thrown around, is topical authority. And topical authority is this idea that Google is very good about understanding what your website should be ranking for, based on what the content is, and how the current performance of that content should look.
So you kind of hear this advice, right? Just, you know, don't always go after the highly valuable super juicy key words like best fishing rod under $200. Also create content around benefits of a fly fishing rod versus a real fishing rod, or, you know, what is a fishing rod? Or how do fishing rods work? And you need these supporting pieces of content to prove to Google that you are an authority on fishing rods, to then qualify to rank for best fishing rod or best fishing rod under $200. So now you have like a couple of concepts at play, right? You have search intent, which is what are your money keywords? Right?
If you were to rank for this, is this going to pull in, you know, a good amount of affiliate revenue for you. But then you also have topical authority, which is juggling, how much supporting content that you have, that's not really that high intent, but putting it into place so that you can prove to Google that your content, your website should rank for content associated with fishing rods in the first place.
Jaryd Krause (22:08)
Yeah, I love it. I love that explanation. Thank you so much. And so if you've got high level search intent, keywords and content you're creating and then you've got topical authority content, I would I would dare say that the topical authority, keywords and articles that you're creating have a higher search volume than the search the high level search intent?
Because then the question becomes how do you how do you juggle how many pieces of content you create for a search intent? And then how many you create for topical authority? And how aggressive do you go in each of those content strategies? And now we're going deep?
Bernard Huang (22:46)
Yeah, yeah. So I mean, I have some high level thoughts, and don't quote me on this. But it's generally what I've seen is as low as a three to one ratio is like, Okay, if you're talking about if you want to rank for best fishing rods, you have three supporting pieces of content that are not transaction ally relevant whatsoever to fishing. So what is a fishing rod, have advantages of fishing rods? And you know, how fishing rods work? And then you have best fishing rods? We've seen? Also, you know, I would say that's, that's pretty aggressive. In terms of the supporting like content is a three to one ratio, I'd say what's normal, more normal is like an eight to one ratio. Right?
So you can imagine best fishing rods, and then you have, you know, what it is how it works, why it's important, you know, fishing rods versus, you know, other types of fishing rods, different types of fishing rods, and then your best fishing rods, that's going to be like a more healthy looking ratio. I don't know if like, that's, there's a such thing as what, you know, I'm saying that Google's like really like, oh, yeah, it's a three to one ratio that's on the thinner side. I don't think that that's how it really works. But just general observations in terms of like, a healthy mix of information or research and, you know, juicy money page.
Jaryd Krause (24:16)
Yeah. So that cuz this is why this is the conundrum that people have when they come to the internet. And they their goal is I want to make money online. Its like, how do I make as much money as fast as I can, I have a very short term focus because they're like, I need to, I need to just replace my income, which is a great a great goal. Rather than think about I need to replace my income but I want it to be so secure, and I want to build a really good brand and make a really good impact and have all these other goals and I get where people are at, you know, I was there in the survival phase of needing to get out of that nine to five thing so I definitely understand the energy towards trying to make as much money as possible as soon as possible. Yeah. But the long the long game is very important.
And Google is really knuckling down and identifying this. And this is what bigger brands and better businesses do is they and this will probably loop back into some of the stuff about the helpful content update as well is that if you're less aggressive on trying to extract money as soon as possible and more aggressive on maybe you do have eight topical authority articles, to one, and you're just making a big impact, there's a couple of things that can happen there, Google can see that, all right, you're not just trying to just get as much money from people as quickly as they can, after they come out of Google, or come from Google, you're adding so much value to them.
And then what can happen in your business is because you're adding so much value, the trust builds the relationship builds, that it becomes a no brainer that like when they see your, you know, article on the best fishing rods, they've just read eight articles, or maybe three or five from you and just gotten so much value that they would be silly not to go to your recommendations, right. Is that what you're seeing with the helpful content update? Or let's sort of we can unpack that as well.
Bernard Huang (26:15)
Yeah know, there's, I think, a couple of threads there too, to unpack. So I am of the belief that Google the way that Google's algorithm works currently can be best centered around what I'll call user engagement signal, even though it's not specifically that like, you know, some SEOs will fight me tooth and nail to say that Google does not use user engagement signal.
They use, you know, a variety of different factors that allude to whether or not the user found what they needed. And I'm just going to simplify that and say Google uses user engagement signal. So essentially, what you can imagine Google is doing is that Google is running an infinity AB test. If you don't know what an AB test is, it's literally in its simplest way, you serve one user, one variant of something. And we'll just say for this example, you have a landing page, and there's a blue button, and it says sign up. And then you have another landing page just has a red button in it says sign up, everything else is identical.
And nav tests literally then presents this data over a wide amount of users until it finds statistical significance in that the people click more on the red button rather than the blue button, in which case, you can declare that the blue button or the red button is more satisfactory, and will generate higher click through rates. So that's an AB test in simplicity, you can imagine when I say infinite AB test, a search engine results page is literally a page that has usually 10 slots of search results. And you can imagine, for the sake of simplicity, we'll just say there's rank number one and rank number two, ranked number one is going to be you know, best fishing rods.com. And rank number two is going to be Rei.
So in, you know this variant, we have best fishing rods.com ranked number one, Rei ranked number two, and Google is going to present that to a set of users who Googled best fishing rods, Google is going to see, okay, you know how many people are clicking on result number one, and then subsequently going back to the search results and clicking on result number two, in which case SEO is might call this pogo sticking, but jumping around right in different search results. And they're going to say, Okay, well, let's say for this particular example, 40% clicked on result number one, and then 50% clicked on result number two, well, Google is going to say, Well, alright, that already, I think like, you know, lots of people want that.
So why didn't Why don't we have an experiment, where we're going to put Rei as ranked number one, and best fishing rods as ranked number two, and then you see, like 60% Click on rei 30%, click on best fishing rods. And now Google says, Okay, great. Well, then are the AI deserves to be number one, because right, more people are clicking on it. And then less people are subsequently going back to Google and doing something else. The going back to Google and doing something else is exactly the point that Google's actually looking at Google's come out and say, Okay, we don't care about click through rates. We don't care about pogo sticking.
But what they've been, I think, pretty much like say is that they care about subsequent actions. So you can imagine they care if somebody clicks on page two, like, oh, maybe that page one was not good. They care if somebody clicked on Images, that's how you see an image carousel and graduate into the slot of 10. That care if somebody clicks on videos, that's how you see a video carousel, and graduate into the slot of 10. And they care about all of the subsequent searches. So if I searched best fishing rod, I clicked on result number one, clicked on 2345. And then I went back to Google and said, best fishing rods under 200.
Google's good to know that and say, Okay, maybe in the future, for best fishing rods, I should include one result that comes from best fishing rods under 200. Right? If there's enough people that do that. So topical authority basically speaks to this fact that should somebody perform an additional search, your content is there and serving the user. And Google knows that, right. So I might have started with different types of fishing rods, and then Rei came up, and that's great. And then I typed in best fishing rods, and then Rei came up again.
And Google's saying, okay, you know, this, this brand and website knows how to write about fishing rods, so they deserve all of these different positions surrounding it. Because, right, it's doing a good job meeting the needs of the searcher. So that's like one part of what, what you were talking about. And then the Google helpful content update, I think is something you know, interesting, but different altogether, than what has been happening with this machine learning and user engagement signal testing.
Jaryd Krause (31:36)
Yeah. Awesome. So topical content, topical authority, content is very, very valuable. It just comes back to authority, not just the more eyeballs, human eyeballs on your Rei domain. But also Google, seeing your domain multiple times for multiple search phrases or keywords on that domain. So very key to topical authority can help you actually increase rankings for your money pages. Really?
Bernard Huang (32:07)
Yeah, yeah, perhaps the most important thing that many people don't talk about is actually navigational searches. So for those of you that are unaware of what a navigational search is, a navigational search is basically a lazy way of searching for a brand, and a specific product, or piece of content within that brand. So the most common example, that's the easiest to wrap your head around is Amazon. Right?
Have you ever gone to Google and just said like Amazon backpack, and then you know, it basically took you to Amazon's category age on backpacks. That is what a navigational search is. And that is what instructs Google, about how brands should be associated with very high level by topics to lower level categories is that well, you can imagine if people are searching for fishing rods, and you know, we'll say Bernard myself sells fishing rods, and I want Bernard’s fishing rods to rank for fishing rod. How do you do that?
A lot of people say, well, you just got to build a bajillion backlinks, then it's like, no, no, I don't think so. That's not how you do that. How you do that is when somebody performs a search for a fishing rod, you need to convince a significant amount of those people that a search engine results page without Bernard’s fishing rods is an unsatisfactory experience. How you do that is that they search for fishing rods, they don't see Bernard’s fishing rods, but that's actually what they wanted to see. So they now have to go back to Google and search again, for Bernard’s fishing rods, get my website and click on that domain and conclude their search journey.
Performing no additional actions on Google, I have to convince you know, say there's 100,000 people searching for fishing rods every month, it's a significant amount is not that high, right? If you got 500 or 1000 people to do that. You would literally then be training Google's machine learning to say, hey, yeah, the search engine results page is not good, unless it has Bernard’s fishing rods. And that's actually how you rank for that, which is why PR is a thing, right?
Like if you ran a Super bowl commercial, that was like buy your fishing rods at Bernard’s fishing rods and people were like, great, that's exactly what I wanted and typed in fishing rod and like where's Bernard’s fishing rod right? Young creating now? A lot of navigational searches that associate Maipo And with that particular search, and that's, um, anyways, another thing that people.
Jaryd Krause (35:08)
Understand how it's really cool to understand like, that's why branding campaigns work is getting your name in front of people. And then when they go to Google or somewhere to search it that they're training Google to say like, Hey, it needs to have that brand in the in the keyword.
Bernard Huang (35:26)
Yeah. So. And then there's the helpful content update. I think version, one of the helpful content update, we just did kind of like a roundtable discussion with some of the top SEOs about this. You have a leader, Kevin and dig, Ethan.
Jaryd Krause (35:44)
So Kevin was on there. We just had him on the podcast.
Bernard Huang (35:45)
Oh, nice. Yeah. And mark our speculation, right, since it's still very early, is that this is like version one of Panda, like, many years back. So Panda, if you're not familiar with it was basically a duplicate or plagiarism content check. And the helpful content update, at least in its current form, looks like it's looking at specifically duplicative content. Right. So lyric websites, is a good example that was brought up during the discussion.
A lyric website is literally duplicative with all other lyric websites. So a lot of those got slammed by the Google update, because they were offering nothing new, or in SEO speak, people are calling this information game. They were not offering any information gain on the content. The website that actually came out as a winner was genius, because they have a lot of user generated content, specifically about you know, what certain lyrics mean, in in the different phrases.
Jaryd Krause (36:55)
Like comments and stuff. You mean on there? Yeah, yeah.
Bernard Huang (36:58)
So at least in the very first v1, what the Google helpful content update looks like it's doing is that it's looking at just straight. Okay, this is plagiarized. And, you know, that's it's very basic, where we think that it's heading is more along this category of information gain, which is to say, Okay, how much net new uniqueness is this topic, adding to your this piece of content adding to this topic, and the way that I've at least thought about it is, is through the Knowledge Graph, which is a complicated way of saying something like topical authority, which is that Google knows that when you talk about fishing rods, you know, boats is kind of related, but not you know, completely off par like League of Legends, right League of Legends and fishing rod, like really don't go together, boats is at least closer in terms of conceptual categorization.
So our guests, at least Ethan and I's guests, is that Google wants to know that if you're talking about fishing rods that you're also mentioning, you know, what bow each fishing rod, like might be might be like better with, and, you know, Google wants to see that you've talked about boats, and it's going to reward you for that, but it's not going to reward you for literally putting in all kinds of random stuff about something so unique, that is not even related to the topic that you're writing about.
Jaryd Krause (38:44)
So that's a unique perspective, basically a unique perspective on what the topic is. Now not just unique, as in it's so random, that it's like doesn't make sense, right? Yeah.
Bernard Huang (38:57)
Yeah. And then they're going to do that from like an entity like or in natural language processing, these would be like entity so fishing rod, and you know, could new so like, Okay, you you've used canoe and nobody else has used canoe, like, okay, maybe this piece of content deserves some additional attention. Because that, you know, we were looking for that information gain, or you know, that interesting new content around that, that we think is tangentially related.
Jaryd Krause (39:30)
That's very, it's very interesting. Like it's, it's does get quite technical with the keywords. I'm thinking about how does, how does one content creator just create awesome, unique content, but it's not just about creating great content that's got value, but it is also really about having the right words that can get you ranked to get the right level of traffic or the right level of ranking as well. So there's there really is the combination between an artful pieces of content In the SEO, SEO piece as well, definitely how do you how do you explain to people to juggle that?
Bernard Huang (40:10)
Yeah, it's, it's hard. I mean, you know, if we're just saying from like, I'll put on my white hat. It's like, well hire subject matter experts by the fraud, like, the products that you're reviewing, taking.
Jaryd Krause (40:27)
Yeah, like, you know, people saying that stuff. Yeah, people know.
Bernard Huang (40:32)
I mean, okay, I'm like, deep in the weeds. And I, I know, you know that the majority of these pros and cons that are being written are from people that have not at all touch the product. You know, I always read.
Jaryd Krause (40:46)
Images Max. Philippines. And that's it.
Bernard Huang (40:50)
Exactly. Yeah, I want to I want to see you using the fishing rod. Right, I want to see a fit a big fat fish on the end of one of them that you bought under $50. And I want to know why I should trust you. So yeah, all right. That's me putting on you know, my wife.
Jaryd Krause (41:09)
Comes up in April a smart man, smart, right? Like they want to they, somebody spoke to me about this other day, they know nothing about making money online, but they're like, every time I go to find something to buy, it's like, you've got all these people trying to sell me this crappy things. We're just images pros and cons list. And, and no, and they've hurt who is behind this website? Yeah, there's no image at all. So that's, that's putting on your, your white SEO hat. And then you've got some black?
Bernard Huang (41:38)
Yeah, so you know, on the complete, like, end of the spectrum, you know, we can we can talk about some crazy juice, right? If there is this idea of user engagement signal, or pogo sticking, going back to the search results, I've heard people who will manually redirect a chunk of the traffic, we'll call it like, 20 to 30% to their homepage, when you hit back through like a meta refresh, you know, kind of HTTP thing that you can do. And, and that drives up your user engagement signal. That's, you know, kind of interesting. I've seen I've heard a lot of Black hat it shows Yeah, that's like as black as black guts.
Well, again, you know, there's blacker but there, there's also, what does it Oh, yeah, just click, click stream manipulation, right, you just hire people, you go to like Mechanical Turk, although, you know, Google's pretty smart, where the IP addresses are coming from. But, you know, if you literally told people to Google fishing rod and navigate to burden on you know, Bernard’s fishing rods.com, and click on that result, that that boosts your, your contents ability to rank. And Google is more willing to test that, you know, you do that too much and, and Google flags you and then you get basically delisted, from the search engine results page, you get timed out, because Google, Google knows that you're doing, you know, shady click manipulation, stuff.
So you know that these are ways to I guess, like, you know, get your website off the ground, when you're like, kind of getting first getting started. Yeah, what a lot of people will also do is, you know, you can use GPT, three, some cool new natural language generation technology to write reviews, unique reviews for you, like, of the products, like just create UGC, that's basically, you know, fake so that you have, you know, unique interesting content to backup. Like, your comment section if, like, you know, that's, that's what you wanted. So, you know, that's, that's more black, of course.
Jaryd Krause (44:06)
But yeah, at least put it let's put a cap on that we don't want to be. Yeah, it's interesting to know, but I don't want to be having that go out into the world.
Bernard Huang (44:16)
Yeah. Yeah. And then, you know, the gray or the gray or types of types of things are, are just simply going to be Yeah, really, you know, find striking the balance of not really having, you know, much of subject matter expertise on the product or service and, and really, you know, China, right, like you do, and really try to drive home, the user to trust you. And, you know, like kind of almost make up some criteria as to why they should trust you. But, you know, I'd say that's more common than you were because.
Jaryd Krause (45:00)
It’s very common, it's very common. But I would urge people to be very creative about this, like, if you've got a blog around fishing rods, and you don't want to write the contents, but you want to have a really good review. Like, why don't you just go, Hey, find a blogger that loves fishing and say, hey, can I buy you a fishing rod? And can you do a video review on it, send it to me, and we'll unpack that we'll turn it into a blog post. That's good. That's great at for the site. Amazing.
You've got a review from people that are fishing for fish or people and they trust and you bought the rod. It's I think that's, I mean, that's cool, right? You don't have to, you know, do it in a, in a weird way that nobody, like literally, nobody who's buying a fishing rod likes or Google?
Bernard Huang (45:47)
Definitely, definitely. And to bring it around full circle to do what you're saying, when you're looking to buy or sell your website, you're going to be grilled on this stuff, like in and out. This is what somebody who's buying your website wants to know, like, we went through a variety of technical SEO audits and content, SEO audits and black hat SEO audits. And that's always going to happen, especially if you're selling a content site that's specifically heavily focused on SEO, these people are smart, right, buyers of websites are going to do their due diligence.
And if they uncover unsavory backlink building techniques, or you know, spun content or whatever, your website, even if it's making 10s of 1000s of dollars a month for you every month, it's not, it's not going to have an easy time selling, right, because at a moment's notice, this buyer knows that your website might just eat it from Google and take a nosedive, and they're not willing to take that risk. So I would not recommend any of the like unsavory techniques. And I think we are entering a world where backlinks are taking more of a backseat, they're still useful when you're getting started.
But, you know, instead of let's say, you know, you have $10,000 to work with, instead of taking that $10,000 and budgeting 5000 For backlinks and, you know, 5000 for content, we're seeing more people say, Okay, let's do 8000 on the content, and maybe you know, like 1000 on the initial set of backlinks, and really try to focus more on the quality of the content. And that's to say, you know, instead of one piece, you know, paying, say 10 pieces for $1,000, right, like, get one piece for $1,000.
And right, like really hone in on that. And then I mean, this is like a complete no brainer. But just like ask yourself, if you were to land on your own best fishing rods page, would you would you be satisfied with what you're reading and what you're getting? And you know, be truthful, and be honest. And you know, like, if you are like, wow, that was this is the best damn piece of content I've written around helping somebody find the best fishing rod, then, you know, you're heading in the right place.
Jaryd Krause (48:26)
Most people need to be asking themselves that question for sure. Thank you for bringing that up. Clear Scope. That's why did you decide to I want to unpack this is a bit why did you decide to go with Clear Scope scale that what is it about and how does it work?
Bernard Huang (48:43)
Yes. So clear scope is a software as a service company that my co-founder and I started about six years ago at this point. Before that our background was actually as SEO consultants. We started an SEO agency called Lucci labs that focused on helping large websites with programmatic SEO. So this is kind of important to understanding why clear scope came to exist. So large website programmatic SEO, what is that?
If you've been to a TripAdvisor page, a Zillow Yelp page, this is what a large website that employs programmatic SEO looks like. Generally, you'll have a database of a lot of different records of things. And a programmatic website like TripAdvisor will take that and spin it into hundreds of millions of pages in TripAdvisor’s case, sometimes hundreds of 1000s. So what you end up doing as an SEO for a large website is more testing and more templates. Driven, right? Like TripAdvisor has an attractions page, they have a category page, they have, you know, these different types of pages. And what you're doing is that you're saying, Okay, I'm going to slice off Sydney. And in Sydney, what we're going to do is we're going to try a carousel of attractions, where, you know, these are the top rated things. And you know, in Melbourne, what we're going to do is we're going to just use a list and have it be card driven. And then what you're doing is you're then measuring the impact of conversion rates, but also rankings on these different styles of pages, depending on, you know, how people are engaging with that.
And that's, you know, kind of what you find out is that, okay, if the pages are more engaging, then your rank go up. So anyways, we were doing a lot of SEO consulting, working with these large websites, like Door Dash, Tee spring, Starve, right, very large websites, and running these tests, where we'd say to Door Dash, okay, you know, create this template that looks like this. And we're going to use that then to evaluate in that market, whether that test beat these other markets. And so you're constantly a be testing, right, the best user experience that will then produce more conversions for your website, but also improve your rankings. And one of the tests that we ran was to use natural language processing on top ranking Google content, to inform how a piece of content should be shaped.
So like, a good example, is you're searching for the Things to Do in Sydney, Australia, of course, you're going to see Opera House, show up as like an entity. So what we would do is we'd say, Okay, well, if you're talking about the things to do in in Sydney, then you got to talk about opera house, like, and so we then included that as a recommendation in terms of what the client should include on their page. And we ran that as a test, long story short, results came back phenomenally for our set of clients. And we're like, Okay, well, let's, let's take this and turn it into something.
Clearer Scope is then a content optimization tool, and helps you think through what a high quality piece of content should look like, for any topic that you're writing about, and gives you the recommendations to say, talking about things to do in Sydney, you got to include Opera House, and all these other attractions, because that's what we see Google's Knowledge Graph, associating with this particular topic.
Jaryd Krause (52:56)
Yeah. Cool. And so is this just for large sites wanting programmatic, SEO as well as content optimization for those particular pieces of the content? Or is it or is it for any sort of blogger that wants to just create great, great pieces of content, but know what they should have in that? One article? I guess? Yeah. It's very topical authority.
Bernard Huang (53:23)
Yeah, no, it's actually for more of the blogger, the long form content writer. So if we talk about the two major branches of SEO, you have programmatic and you have editorial. And where Clear Scope really shines is to in the editorial, basically, we help with optimizing quality content. And where Google cares most about quality content is in editorial content, right?
When you're talking about like a landing page, like the Things to Do in Sydney, where it's kind of got a lot of user generated content, what users in Google cares about is more things like user generated content, pictures, multimedia, quality content is still a factor. It's just maybe 10% instead of 30%, which is what you see with the longer form editorial stuff.
Jaryd Krause (54:18)
Love it. Love it. Cool. So where can people go check out Clear Scope and more about what you're doing as well? Boy, before that, I'd say thank you so much for everything you've shared. It's been it's been really good to chat to you.
Bernard Huang (54:33)
I'm glad. Glad to yeah know you. You can find out more about me on Twitter at Bernard J. Huang. You can find out more about Clear Scope by going to our website clearscope.io. And we were helping people really think about creating quality content and making sure that their resources and dollars are going into the right place. We don't, you know, want to pollute the ever growing landfill of content that exists out there. And we want to make sure that, you know, you're creating the high quality stuff. And we'll arm you with the tools and the workflows to make that happen. And yeah, that's what we do.
Jaryd Krause (55:19)
Love it, Bernard, thank you so much. And not just thanks for coming on the podcast. Thanks for doing what you're doing. The Internet needs, needs that we need it. So we really appreciate you coming on and sharing this and doing what you do. Also, for those that are listening, thank you so much for listening. If you have a website and you're generating content, make sure you check out Clear Scope.
If you know somebody else that has a website or is going to buy a website and they're going to be creating content, make sure they come and listen to this podcast episode. There's so much value. I would even suggest you as a listener, listen to this again in maybe a couple of weeks’ time to pick up on those things that you didn't pick up on. Like when you read a book a year ago and you read learn.
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Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives.
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