Ep 242: Why Your SEO Strategy Shouldn’t Be About Traffic And Rankings with Sophie Brannon

So, you just bought an online business; what should you do next? If you say it’s creating more content, you’re totally wrong! The answer is to create an SEO strategy. 

Most people who buy businesses destroy them in the first year. That’s because they don’t know what SEO strategy to implement and, most importantly, how. 

In this highly anticipated episode, Jaryd Krause and Sophie Brannon will dive deep into SEO strategies to grow an online business. 

Sophie is an SEO specialist, industry speaker, and author from the UK. She has worked agency-side for the past 7 years, most recently as Client Services Director. She has led SEO campaigns for a range of businesses, from small startups to multinationals, in highly competitive industries including finance, health, and tech. Her focus isn’t on rankings. It’s about delivering ROI and showcasing the value of SEO as a digital channel—helping businesses better attract, engage, and convert their site visitors.

They have talked about several things, like why you shouldn’t focus on traffic alone when working on an SEO campaign. How do you start an SEO campaign at the top of the funnel and bring people in over time to your main goal? And what are the four main pillars of SEO?

They also discussed the good UX looks for the website. How to do internal linking properly and not just check the box for including a few links in each post? What is multimodal search and how should you prepare your business for it?

Ready to create an SEO strategy that will boost your business? Better catch this episode and get gems of insight!

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Episode Highlights

03:40 Why focus on results instead of rankings in SEO?

08:15 How can bloggers determine their goals before creating a strategy?

19:10 What are the four pillars of SEO?

25:48 Why do you need to be strategic with internal linking?

32:10 What is multimodal search?

36:50 How do you create content that benefits the target audience?

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

➥ Sophie advises that the goal of an SEO strategy should connect to the business objectives. She provides insights for bloggers who monetize through ads or affiliate products, suggesting that they define quality traffic based on their specific goals. For instance, bloggers should consider what type of traffic is more likely to convert and focus on creating content tailored to different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Sophie discusses the importance of user experience (UX) in SEO and its impact on rankings. She highlights issues such as too many ads on a website, which can negatively affect user experience and potentially harm SEO rankings in the long term. She notes that while Google’s current algorithm may not penalize such practices as much, they could become more significant ranking factors in the future.

➥ In modern times, people are now using multimodal search, which refers to the various ways people use search engines beyond traditional text-based queries. They use technologies like Google Lens, voice search, and AI-driven search experiences. Jaryd and Sophie both emphasize the importance of adapting SEO strategies to accommodate these changing search behaviors.

About The Guest

Sophie is an SEO specialist, industry speaker, and author from the UK. She has worked agency-side for the past 7 years, most recently as Client Services Director. She has led SEO campaigns for a range of businesses, from small startups to multinationals, in highly competitive industries including finance, health, and tech. Her focus isn’t on rankings. It’s about delivering ROI and showcasing the value of SEO as a digital channel—helping businesses better attract, engage, and convert their site visitors.

Connect with Sophie Brannon


Jaryd Krause:

Most people who buy businesses destroy them in the first year. That's because they don't know what SEO strategy to actually implement and, most importantly, how. Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. And today, I'm speaking with Sophie Brannon.

Now, she is an SEO specialist, industry speaker, and author from the UK. She's worked agency-side for the past seven years. Most recently, she has worked as a client services director, and she has led SEO campaigns for a range of businesses, from small startups to multinationals, in highly competitive industries, including finance, health, and tech. And her focus is not on rankings. It's about delivering ROI and showcasing the value of SEO as a digital channel—helping businesses better attract, engage, and convert their site visitors.

So in this podcast episode, Sophie and I talk about why you shouldn't just focus on traffic alone when working on an SEO campaign and what you should be focusing on. We talk about how to start an SEO campaign at the top-of-funnel, why at the top-of-funnel, and how to bring people in overtime and make that your main goal.

Now, we also talk about the four main pillars of SEO and what a good user experience looks like for your website in terms of navigation links and all that sort of stuff. We talk about how to do internal linking properly and not just check the box to include a few internal links in each of your articles. We talk about what multimodal search is and how to prepare for it with your business.

We talk about where ego gets in the way of a business that actually wants to scale. And so much more in between. Now, this is such a valuable episode. I'm sure you're going to get so much value from it.

Before we dive in, if you are thinking of doing some SEO, having an SEO strategy, or building your SEO campaign and you want help, reach out to us at the BOB SEO service. We've been getting people incredible results over the last few months and the last year, really. And yeah, if you just want to chat, let us know. Let's dive into the pod.

What's up? This is Jaryd and I am thrilled to have you here. Before we dive into the show, I want to remind you that for a limited time, you can get one-to-one voice note mentoring with me to help you buy and grow your online business.

I'm opening up just a few slots of voice note coaching to give you one-on-one access to me via Coachvox. You'll tell me your goals and challenges and we'll work through them together. I'll ask questions, I'll tell you what I think, and we'll get you ticking boxes and achieving your online income goals.

You can message me anytime and I'll respond within 48 hours. Right now, you can get 20% off by using the coupon code JARYD. That’s J-A-R-Y-D. And I'll drop the link in the show notes so you can find out more. Until then, let's get on with the episode.

Sophie, welcome.

Sophie Brannon:

Hey, thank you so much for having me.

Jaryd Krause:

You are welcome. So you say you don't focus on rankings but instead on results. Can you explain a little bit about what you mean for people listening—that it's not just about ranking on page one when it comes to SEO?

Sophie Brannon:

Yeah, absolutely. So, I think traditionally, a lot of the way people view SEO is through keywords, individual visibility rankings, looking at main head terms, and specifically ranking for those individual ones. The way SEO has kind of evolved is by focusing more on, in my opinion, traffic and some of those actual key metrics that more of those C-suite individuals, people who don't actually work in SEO day-to-day, really want to focus on. So things like the money behind it, transactions, revenue, lead generation, and actually the numbers of leads coming through are all different kinds of metrics.

And the reason for that is because a lot of people in these more C-suite positions, people who don't have a key understanding of SEO, don't really care about specific positions as such. They care so much more about the actual monetary value behind that—what they're putting in versus what they're getting out. And a keyword ranking in terms of reporting on that isn’t going to give them that kind of connection, right?

So, really, they understand, from their point of view, what their objective is for the campaign and what they're really trying to achieve. Is that an increase in organic traffic? Is that an increase in revenue? Is that an increase in transactions? What means the most to them?

And actually reporting on and focusing on that avenue and that side of things when you're putting together an SEO strategy, it’s so much more important than just saying, "Okay, here's a specific keyword; let's try to rank for that.”

The other thing around that as well is also just looking at the way Google is changing and the way that search results have changed over time. You can't just rank for a single keyword anymore and expect that to be the same everywhere.

So whether you're trying to work in the Australian market or whether you're working in the US market, there's so many variables now, local search, map listings, people also ask, all of these new features that are coming in. So you can't just rely on a single keyword ranking now.

Same with SGE and with that coming in. The way that the search landscape is changing over time originally, it featured snippets; now it's going to be the SGE AI kind of functionality behind Google. Having just a single keyword ranking now and focusing on that as a specific kind of metric, it's just not going to cut it when it comes to looking at your budgets, looking at really getting that buy-in from people and higher up in the business, whether that's agency side or whether that is in-house.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I love that. Let's talk about that keyword and what the other variables are instead of just ranking for one keyword. I want to break down something else that you said. You mentioned, basically, what's your goal? The first thing that people should be thinking about is, do you have a product that you want to sell? And if so, what is that product? And how do you make money through that product?

And try to make that your goal and then rank for a certain keyword and then your SEO strategy will be built to achieve that goal. What a lot of content site owners or bloggers do is think, “All right, cool, I've got a blog. The goal is more traffic.” In reality, more traffic isn't always going to get you the results.

Because you could just start ranking for a bunch of things and try to create a content strategy that doesn't give you the right traffic or the traffic that's actually going to purchase or make you that sort of money.

So what sort of goal would you say somebody with a blog, say, in a niche such as surfing and then making money mostly just through ads, should set? Yeah, cool. So you did mention keywords like rank for one keyword; trying to do that is not the best approach. But prior to that, you were talking about what to build an SEO strategy based on.

And what I find most people doing when they have a blog or a content site is building out a strategy based on: I just need to get more traffic. Whereas more traffic is typically the goal if you're running a business, it's not the actual goal because you could acquire the wrong traffic. You could acquire traffic that may not actually purchase your product. Or if you don't have a product, you may not be close to purchasing an affiliate product.

So how do you suggest that, first and foremost, with, say, a blog that may not sell a digital product or a physical product and then make money through ads or affiliate products, you help them define what their actual goal should be before they start building a strategy?

Sophie Brannon:

So I think it ties back into overall business objectives, right? No matter what you're doing from a marketing perspective, it should always tie back to your overarching business. What are you trying to achieve? If you were setting up a website, what is your end goal with that?

When it comes to driving that quality traffic, I mean, there's so many different ways that you can define what quality actually is. For a lot of people, if it is an affiliate blog, for example, quality traffic is people who are then going to kind of come onto a particular page and then click through to the affiliate or click through on the affiliate link and then continue through that journey.

And what that kind of looks like from an SEO strategy point of view, I mean, you could look at the top of the funnel traffic or the top of the funnel kind of terms, the top of the funnel kind of visibility, should I say? And the types of people that are going to come in through there may not even be aware that they have a problem.

They may be completely unaware that you offer that kind of product, that kind of a service or whatever that is. They may be aware that they have a problem, but they just don't know what the solution is. That kind of top of the funnel avenue is very, very broad.

If that is too broad in terms of the traffic you are driving in the short term, that’s very much a long-term goal. Then you can start looking further down the funnel. Okay, people have a problem. They know what the problem is. They know they need a solution. They're just trying to find out what solution works best for them.

So that's where you can build out a really strong content strategy around more of that middle of the funnel opportunity. So looking at particular page types and answering more product specific questions or service specific questions that people might have can help them continue through that journey.

And then you can look at the bottom of the funnel. At the bottom of the funnel, people are more likely to convert. The problem with focusing on these people, first of all, is that a lot of them may not know you exist in the first place.

So while it's important that you have a lot of very specific content around—whether that's your affiliate products, whether that's a specific product you're selling, whether that's a service, if you're more of a lead generation kind of site—and really pinpointing down on those people, you're not going to gain a lot very quickly from that.

Because again, the volume of those people is much smaller than, say, the top or middle of the funnel. However, they're the ones who are kind of higher quality overall because they're more likely to convert. So you do really have to find that balance from an overall strategy perspective.

But really, the middle of the funnel is a great place to start and build out some of that bottom of the funnel because you've already identified people who they know have a problem; they’re looking for a solution, and then you give them that solution. But then that top of the funnel should never ever be ignored, no matter what industry you're in, whether that's affiliate, whether that's e-com, whether that is lead generation. No matter what it is, build out that brand visibility, even if it's really kind of a little bit generic and it's not super related to your service.

As an example, working at the moment with a custom t-shirt company, we're really looking at the types of audience that we're driving. So that's a small business. Perhaps that could be schools, that could be religious groups, it could be political parties, things like that. And just defining what those audience types look like, breaking those down into subsets rather than just people who are looking for custom t-shirts.

That is so broad. And then just being able to build out content around that, identifying what problems each of those individual subsets has, and then helping them to progress through that journey.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. So could you give us an example of top-of-funnel content for that t-shirt company and what sort of strategy they'd be looking for in terms of starting to create top-level content as an SEO strategy and working their way down towards the bottom-of-funnel sort of strategy?

Sophie Brannon:

Absolutely. So one of the things that that particular site offers is templates. So most of our target audience will come onto the site and they'll have their own design to upload. And they just kind of go through the process. They know they need a t-shirt, they've got their own logo, and off they go, kind of very quickly through the process.

There's also a selection of people who don't have their own logo, but they do want to have a custom shirt. Maybe it's for a bachelorette party, or maybe it's for just a group trip or something like that.

But they just don't really know where to start. They're not graphic designers. It's just everyday people. It could be, like I said earlier, a religious group, or it could be a school or something like that. So an example of the top of the funnel content would be, say they're going on a trip to Las Vegas. I don't know. Yeah, a bachelorette party in Las Vegas. Top of the funnel kind of content around that would be the top 20 Las Vegas designs or something like that. So we actually put together a bunch of our own kind of different templates, specifically focusing on Las Vegas. Or another example, Las Vegas bachelorette ideas.

So something really generic that’s not even actually related to our t-shirts or anything like that. But throughout the content, it's a big listicle article. Maybe it's 20, maybe it's even 50 or 100 different ideas that we've kind of listed out. And with each of those ideas, there's a different template for each one.

And then people can kind of go on there. They know they're kind of looking at planning a bachelorette party; they’re looking at potentially Vegas; they're looking for different ideas; they're not really very far down that journey. It's kind of very much in the ideation process, but then we're already in front of them.

Before they even know they're officially going to Vegas or anything like that, they're still in the planning phase. We're right there, trying to rank this long form piece of content. Maybe just a blog or something like that. In this case, it's a listicle.

And then later on, they may refer back to this article and say, “Okay. Maybe we need some matching t-shirts to go on this holiday with.” And then they click on the template, straight through to the design studio, and then they kind of go through that process there.

Or maybe they don’t, but at the same time, we're building our brand visibility for people who, in the future, may need something that we offer, whether that's a t-shirt, hat, or something like that, with their own design on it. We've given them that overall idea and we're increasing our brand visibility.

And that's really what that top of the funnel content is about. It's not necessarily about actually driving sales. And this is something that a lot of SEOs, I think, do forget, is that while SEO and organic are really important strategies for revenue, transactions, lead generation, things like that, and actually more of that bottom of the funnel, what SEO also is, in the words of Eli Schwartz, because I've been listening to loads of his stuff recently, is an assist.

And it's very much a matter of feeding into all of these other marketing channels, right? So that way, if we build up our brand visibility, if we build up everything overall, we also focus on traffic, not just revenue and transactions, which could ultimately lead to revenue coming through or leads coming through from other channels. So it's important to also keep an eye on how your organic channel is feeding into everything else as well.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Love it. So this is for a larger firm, right? I want to ask you, What does a one-man band business owner do differently with their SEO than, say, a multinational company? Is that just one thing that I would look at—different levels of the funnel with content strategy? What are some of the other things that multinational companies would be doing with their SEO campaigns compared to a one-man band, like a blog owner? Sophie Brannon:

So I find that with a lot of multinational companies, you end up facing a lot of barriers with SEO because a lot of the time you're trying to really balance that brand versus the SEO. You don't often have a lot of those restrictions when it comes to small businesses because it is just a one-man band, for example.

I still think having that kind of broad range of content, different content types, and being as visible as possible at all different stages of the journey is a strategy that's important for all types of businesses, whether they are a blog, a one-man band, a multinational e-commerce site, or, I don't know, Walt Disney, or things like that.

There's so many different types of content that you can kind of build out no matter who you are or your size. But the biggest differentiation is resource and time and how much you can actually push out. And I think that's where the prioritization efforts come in.

One of the things—obviously, I'm talking a lot about content but that's only a very small part of SEO, really. You've got your three, or, should I say, four, main pillars if you're going to split out the user experience. What a one-man band blogger should focus on first and foremost is making sure their site's even crawlable and indexable.

Because they could be building out all of this content, but if the basic kind of tech SEO elements are not right, say, for example, the site is completely unindexed and they have no idea, they could be doing all of this for no reason; nothing's going to change.

So with a multinational company, a lot of that would have already been covered, probably by developers; whether it's done the right way or not, it's a completely different argument. And that's the whole kind of SEO development balance that you need to really work out over time. But when it comes to small man bands, one-man bands, kind of blog sites, things like that, just ticking off some of those kinds of basic tech SEO elements first, then starting to look at content.

And then gradually, over time, another reason why content is so good is because a lot of that could be acquiring links for you over time as well. And that will be kind of focusing on your link efforts. Because chances are, a small one-man band isn't going to have the budget, time, resources, and things like that to focus on digital PR, link acquisition efforts, and all of those different elements. So just small one-man bands tick off the tech SEO, like the basics, and then focus on the content side.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. This is what I recommend people do when they buy businesses. A lot of people listening buy a content site or a blog, and they want to grow it. And the first thing they typically do is just try and figure out how to build out my content machine. Typically, get them to get an SEO order or an SEO on board to clean up Core Web Vitals and clean up any tech SEO issues because then they're building on a more solid platform.

Sophie Brannon:


Jaryd Krause:

So whatever content they do create, they’re putting their best foot forward and they're setting themselves up for success versus, “Let's just try and do what I think I need to do and just chuck a bunch of more content on this site.”

So I want to talk about the four—you mentioned the four pillars of SEO. One being user experience and user design. What are the other three?

Sophie Brannon:

Content, offsite, and tech SEO A lot of people will refer to them as the three pillars, and that's just the general way, but I do like to split out UX from tech SEO because it is different in my opinion. As much as it all feeds in together, like your content's got to be good for user experience, your tech's got to be good for user experience, et cetera.

Jaryd Krause:

I see. Yeah.

Sophie Brannon:

Yeah, exactly. I do see it as a separate entity when it comes to the user navigation for the site. So I'm talking about things like the checkout experience or the kind of blog articles, making sure you've not just got like a ton of ads everywhere that people can't actually find content and stuff like that.

Which is really common. Really, really common. But it just ruins the user experience eventually. Although Google says it's going to impact you now, it doesn't as much as it probably should. Those kinds of ads, interstitial ads, and things like that will really harm your rankings in the future because it's all about users now.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Let's go there. We've opened up the user experience. So with user experience, you've mentioned that too many ads are not great. Ezoic has done a study on how more ads can equal less revenue because of user experience. And obviously, it's going to evolve more in the future in terms of how Google and search engines rank sites and behave differently.

What are some of the other things? Navigation is a big one. Let's talk about navigation. What would you recommend as a good example of good navigation?

Sophie Brannon:

When it comes to the actual navbar in particular, having your main hub pages there If you're a blog website, for example, having your key category pages in there will then feed into other pages. Just having a really solid hierarchy.

And I think one of the things that particularly blog businesses really struggle with, and I have seen it on a lot of e-com as well, is just cramming too much in there. And you get to a point where you're just like, “I just don't even know where to go.”

Jaryd Krause:

Decision fatigue. It's just decision fatigue, right? That's what it is.

Sophie Brannon:

Exactly, exactly. And you just get to a point, you open up the nav, and it's like, “Okay. There's everything here, but I'm feeling really overwhelmed now, and I'm just probably not going to bother.” But then, at the other end of that, if you don't have enough, well, no one's ever going to find your pages in the first place unless you have like an insane footer at the bottom, and there's arguments for and against whether people actually even scroll down to the footer and kind of navigate through that and things like that.

People outside of the industry probably won't find your HTML sitemap, if you've even got one, and they're definitely not going to use it. And I think SEOs need to remember that. Because I feel like there's so much waiting held on an HTML sitemap of “It's fine.

We don't have to have really strong internal linking, a really solid nav or a really good hierarchy. So we've got our HTML sitemaps; people just find us there." No one even knows what that is. Normal people don't do this every day, right? So that's obviously really important as well.

So, yeah, just like having a really clear, structured hierarchy, having balance in terms of the quantity of things in your navigation, but then generally making sure that you've got a really clear kind of internal linking. And I'm not just talking about the kind of links within your content, which is very important.

And I will never say that's not because that's really strong in terms of relevancy. It's really good for a kind of link equity distribution. It's really good for user navigation on the site, with really optimized anchor texts. That kind of element should always be done.

But even just having, whether it's filters, whether it's kind of maybe tabs at the top of some of your main category pages or kind of main kind of blog articles, things like that, it just connects you to really other relevant pieces of information on the site.

So if it is a blog site, having your related posts and having different areas that people can navigate to around a similar topic simply and easily, that looks really good on desktop and looks really good on mobile.

Because that's the other issue. People tend to make it look good. It tends to be on desktop, even if you've got really strong mobile traffic, just because desktop is probably what you're using every day. Whether that's a dev, whether that's an SEO, you kind of do forget to check on mobile sometimes about what that even looks like.

And so, just having that overall balance but yeah, just a really strong hierarchy. Just let people find what you want them to find as easily as possible without overwhelming them.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot because I think people, when it comes to anything, well, most things in terms of growth, want to get a result or pull people off the page and make money as soon as possible. But I think they forget the relationship between trust, building a brand, and harnessing a relationship and how much that can help.

When you build up that relationship and that bank of trust, people are only going to be so much closer to a sale or working with your brand. When the relationship is so strong, you can't not go with that brand, right?

And I think people are just trying to do it all on one page or do it in the shortest possible, easiest version. But like what you're saying with the internal linking structure, actually thinking about, all right, they're on this page to learn how to buy a surfboard. All right, cool.

Let's talk about the best surfboards for beginners. And then on that same page, you might have an internal link for, like, if you feel like you are an advanced version or you're starting to become more than a beginner, then maybe check out our other posts on intermediate surfboards.

And people can go deeper and allow people to move throughout the site in a way that they can continually stay on your site. Amazing for SEO, right? Time on page And also, you're getting more behavior in terms of engagement and user experience. And then you've got people that are human beings, the users that are using it; what they're doing is building more trust within your brand, right?

Sophie Brannon:


Jaryd Krause:

Versus, like, let's just chuck on like one or three internal links on the page. And cool, I've ticked the box, right? Be a bit more intentional with it.

Sophie Brannon:

Exactly. More strategic with your internal linking, just overall. And just the layout of it, where they're actually being embedded in content, where they're being placed on the page, just having much more of an overarching view of what that should look like as a user.

And I really like what you’re talking about there about the brand. Because obviously, E-A-T or E-E-A-T as it is now, is building that out, making sure that you are trustworthy, making sure you are an authority. Ultimately, no matter what Google throws at you, if you are a strong brand in SERPs, you’re not really going to disappear.

And I think this is the big fear that SEOs have when it comes to, "Oh, we've got this latest cool algorithm update,” and oh my god, it's very scary. And Google's making all these changes. And, oh, AI is coming, and it's going to take over our job. And everyone's just always on edge. But you don't need to be. Just build out this brand and the trustworthiness of your website.

And okay, you might drop in some rankings here and there with an algorithm update, but you're probably going to gain somewhere else. If you've got a really robust strategy overall, you just don't need to be afraid of whatever Google's doing. They're going to keep doing it. They've got 200 plus or thousands, actually, I think, algorithm updates every year. The occasional core update is happening more and more.

But are they as scary as Penguin, Panda, and all of that used to be? No. Is it going to be another 2018 medical update? I don't think so. Because that was just clearing all the shit out of the internet in the first place. It's not going to be as volatile as maybe what that ever used to be.

You will probably see some changes, but chances are, this is what I've seen with almost every algo update ever, they hit sites that have low trust. They hit sites with really crap user experiences and really, really bad content. So just don't do any of those things and you'll be all right, right?

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. And if you do the opposite of that, you have a really good user experience, really good content, and really good trust metrics from your users. When the algo updates happen, you're going to set yourself up for success, and you're going to rise to the top, while other people will sink to the bottom because they haven't done that work, right?

People are scared because they don't understand how to play by the rules, and they don't understand how to make Google happy. Google is our business partner, basically. And would you try to play a game against your business partner, or would you just give them what they want?

Give them more of what they want. If you give your business partner what they want, they’re going to be happier. Everybody's going to be happier and they're going to reward you for it as well. Like, just put it on your site, right?

Sophie Brannon:

Exactly. And I really love seeing it all over Twitter and things like that. You've got all of these techniques that have come up. They don't even really come out of the woodwork. They've been around for a really long time, but there's one in particular that lots of people are talking about: parasite SEO.

And even just the name of Parasite SEO doesn't sound too great, does it? It sounds like, okay, we're definitely treading a line. But it's basically just gaming Google and it's trying to find ways around Google's guidelines and really pushing things to the limit. And it does work for a lot of niche websites, and it does work for a lot of industries. Because, as robust as Google is, they're not going to be everywhere.

But sure, that might work in the short term, but long term, just focus on the user experience, focus on that brand trust, focus on pushing out good quality content, and focus on something like really strong link acquisition, whether that's through digital PR or other means. There are so many different ways that you can do it. Just focus on those different elements, and you're going to be absolutely fine. Even if you get impacted in the short term, you're going to bounce back with the next one.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Yeah. Let's stick with the crazy clean website. In terms of having a crazy clean website, what other users experience are things you'll be thinking about to keep their site clean?

Sophie Brannon:

In terms of the user experience, I mean, speed, Core Web Vitals is always going to be a big thing. Even if Google has kind of come out and removed, I guess, the prominence of Core Web Vitals, when they announced Core Web Vitals was going to be a thing, everyone turned around.

As they do with everything, whether that's FAQ schema or review schema, Core Web Vitals is another one where they go, “Oh my god, all of my resources need to go on this because there's new things coming out, and we just need to make sure everything's 100, everything's green, and everything's perfect.”

Google itself doesn't even use the tools that we use as SEOs to score a website. Like PageSpeed Insights, for example, everyone tries to get it in the green as close to 100 as possible. It's more of a measurement tool for us as SEOs and Google doesn't use that. And I have seen examples where sites that are slower, according to PageSpeed Insights, rank so much higher than sites with like 100 scores.

But the reason for that is because of the other side of the user experience, not just speed. Obviously, speed is very important. Not detracting from that at all. It is important to have it very fast. But if it's like within 0.5 seconds or something like that, there's other elements of the user experience, like when we were talking about having too many ads on a page, interstitial ads are popping up all the time and you can't actually navigate or read the content.

Now, a really good example of this, and this is spoken about a lot, particularly in digital PR, is a UK company called Reach PLC. They're basically a large news site and they own all of the local newspapers. And on their site, as you're going through, there's just a ton of ads everywhere. So you can't even actually read the articles at all. It's really difficult.

Jaryd Krause:

You don’t know the difference between an article and an ad sometimes, right?

Sophie Brannon:

Exactly, exactly. And that's just really confusing for people. And I get it from trying to make people click on the ad’s perspective because you're going to get paid. Awesome. But all you're doing is really frustrating people. So really, strategic placement is so much more important from a user perspective.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. I would not want to make money by people clicking on ads that aren't what they want and having a more frustrating experience by that happening within my domain and my site. It's crazy, right?

Sophie Brannon:

Yeah, it is.

Jaryd Krause:

Multimodal search. What is it? You say it's just around the corner. What is multimodal searching?

Sophie Brannon:

It's interesting. It’s what it is. Very interesting. So things like Google Lens are coming out. And now we've obviously got all of the different types of AI that's potentially impacting the way we search, the way we do things day to day, and the way we as SEOs work. There are just really different ways that you're able to use a search engine.

So the big one back in, I wanna say 2012, that everyone was talking about was voice search. And voice search is going to change the way people do SEO and the whole search landscape—things like that. I am personally a huge fan of Amazon Alexa.

I think we've got three or four in the house, or something like that. Speaking to my American colleagues, I think they've got something like seven or eight different voice search assistants and things like that.

Jaryd Krause:


Sophie Brannon:

But they're actually using it more for just switching on lights and stuff, actually connecting all of those kinds of things. It's super cool. I'm a little bit too afraid about the kind of technology to have it control most of my house so far, but we'll see; we'll get there.

But putting that back into a kind of search landscape, in Google Lens, you take a picture of a particular item, and it pops up with what that item is, where you can buy it from, and if it can find it. It's not perfect. I think it's going to take a really long time for that to happen. And then just other search generative experiences. So obviously, SGE itself is coming in, changing the search landscape and potentially changing how people do SEO strategy. And just all of these other types of ways that people are actually using Google as a search engine. TikTok, a prime example, comes in. They've just released a new shop feature that’s potentially—I say potentially—going to take over e-commerce. I mean, Instagram released Instagram Shop and that died out pretty quickly. But there are different generations that search in different ways and use things differently.

Amazon came in and completely upturned e-commerce. Will Google ever not be the big one? I don't think so. I think if anything ever becomes that big of a threat, Google will just buy it anyway. They can. Why wouldn't they? They did it with YouTube.

So, yeah, there's all of these different types of ways that people are searching, different kinds of results, and different kinds of almost search engines themselves. Like I say, with TikTok, with Amazon, and with Google Lens, it's just different ways that people are able to find what they're looking for.

And just being able to really adapt your strategy around those things So whether that's building out kind of more visibility on platforms like TikTok, but only if that's where your audience actually is. Making sure your images are compatible with Google Lens I mean, that's just making sure they're really optimized, making sure that alt tags are correct, and making sure they're high-quality images. That should be done anyway from a user experience perspective.

Making sure you've got good quality content that answers people's questions And that might potentially pop up when it comes to voice searches and things like that. Well, you're probably never going to gereferenced,ed even if that content comes in, because you're just feeding the AI bot anyway.

But then eventually you're going to show up and people will also ask if you’rgoing tona potentially show up better in SGE. You're going to really rank higher for a lot of your terms because you're giving people what they want.

And that's what SEO is all about. Just do really good content and do really good things on your website that people actually enjoy. It's not that difficult.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, it's not. It's not thinking about in terms of, like, “How do I do good SEO on my site?” versus “How do I make sure that my website is just the best website in my niche for what we're actually doing and make it an amazing experience?”

So as soon as they get to the website, they’re just like, “Oh, damn. This is exactly what I've been thinking about. And I didn't even know I needed to read this piece of content.” And you read that piece of content and it's absolutely awesome. And then you've got internal links that navigate you to other rabbit holes. You stay on the site for a whole hour reading content and you're like, “Where can I throw my money at this business, right?”

Sophie Brannon:


Jaryd Krause:

It's starting with humans first.

Sophie Brannon:

100%. And again, I mean, everything that Google has ever told us to do is focus on users first, but people just want to game Google and I get it. You want to be as visible as possible. You want to create all of this spider web of content. But just do it in a way that actually benefits your target audience.

And I think that's where people struggle is they don't know who their audience is and they just kind of go, “I want to rank for this specific, really, I want to rank for red dress.” I mean, that's really difficult. Good luck. You've got these huge brands that are doing it.

But are people actually looking for red dresses on your site? Or are they looking for much more specific terms? When it comes to more of the blog articles, for example, you mentioned surfboards previously. Is your target audience just beginners?

Can you build out a kind of content all around a hub-and-spoke kind of strategy of all of these kinds of long-tail terms, all of these different articles around different types of beginner surfboards and surf techniques, and areas to surf that are best for beginners? There's all of this.

People don't just stay beginners for long. They then practice and things kind of get better and everything. Well, then intermediate, then expert. And then you can just build out this huge site with all of this really good content. You're starting with a very niche audience, then you're building out and growing as your audience grows as well.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I love that. And what I've realized is to take the ego out of a business and say, “Oh, I grew my business this way.” If you just take yourself out of the picture and you just listen to what your audience wants, you might start at the very beginning.

And then, just by the evolution of you creating awesome content and answering their questions, there's going to be more questions that pop up and there's going to be more feedback that they need. And you're going to see that people are going to go to the next part of the journey or to the next step. Of course, then you're just learning from them and if you listen to them and give them what they want, they’re technically building the business for you. They're telling you what they need.

Sophie Brannon:


Jaryd Krause:

They're telling you what they're spending money on. They're telling you what they're spending time on next. If you just give them what they need, they’re building the business for you. And it's easier.

Sophie Brannon:


Jaryd Krause:

You just need to learn to listen to the business and tune into the business, right?

Sophie Brannon:

100%. And this is where that kind of ego element can actually really harm, whether it's an SEO strategy or just general marketing. And I'll give you an example of this. I was working with a financial investment company, and they offered expert insights. So they essentially were just giving people access to professionals in the industry who could then give them advice on whether or not they should invest in specific businesses, to kind of put it as easily as I could. It's very, very intricate.

But they refused to have any references to expert insights on their website. And they were like, “Oh, no. We don't wanna reference ourselves. It’s what we do. We wanna be this other kind of company. We wanna build out this new product and this new kind of service that no one's even looking for yet.”

Awesome. That's great. And you know what? I'm a big fan of people kind of going to market with a new idea, but only when it is a new idea, and it wasn't. It was something that other people had already done, but they just didn't want to associate in the same way as their competitors. And that's a real big challenge because it is that ego aspect and balancing brand versus SEO and other marketing, I think, is important.

And another example of that is really big luxury brands. You will never find huge amounts of content on luxury brand category pages, subcategory pages, or things like that on e-commerce. And you especially won't find certain types of content on the blog side of things, blog businesses, when it comes to luxury brands because they're very protective of that kind of brand and the niche that they're kind of building into.

So there is an element of balance there, but you also have to, as you say, pull your ego out of it a little bit and actually look at who you're talking to as a business. Who is your target audience? What are they looking for? How are they searching? What does your business mean to them at the end of the day? Because it can mean something completely different to you.

And when you've built the business, when you've buried yourself in the business, when you're even just coming into the business as a separate entity, you don't always have that bigger picture. You're very tunnel visioned. So it is important to have that kind of outside perspective, whether that's in surveys, whether that's in having a consultant come in and kind of look at it from a bigger perspective, whether that's having kind of an external SEO team or just a general marketing advisor, something like that.

They can just give you a bigger picture. Because they could say, “Okay. Here's your total addressable market. It's huge, but all you're focusing on is this tiny little bubble. And the reason for that is because you're pigeonholing yourself in this particular brand and this particular style.

You've got this huge amount of potential that you can't even tap into right now unless you do X, Y, and Z things with your strategy. So there are so many different ways that you can focus on it. But yeah, just taking that ego out of it is so important.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. In every aspect. I used to say, “Oh, I've done really well growing this business, but I didn't grow my business.” I have to give all the credit to everybody else because they literally just told me what to do, what they needed, and just gave it to them. And I think that's the smartest way to do it, anyway.

If you think about it in terms of ego, it's funny that they might want to achieve a certain level in their business or have a certain brand, and some people will measure companies by the size of their team, right? They want to get to like a 100-person team or something ridiculous, whatever it is.

And it might not be ridiculous to some people; it might be something awesome and an achievement they really want to achieve. But to get to that 100-person team from five, you can't not listen to what your customers want. Otherwise, you're just going to hire all these people and try to make business work rather than grow it organically from the inside out, right?

Sophie Brannon:

Yeah, exactly, exactly. And that's really where those big barriers come in. It's that ego and it can destroy businesses really, really easily because they just pigeonhole themselves in a way that they actually end up not being able to break out of. So sometimes you just need that kind of external advice and opinion and you just look at your target audience and see what they need.

Jaryd Krause:

Exactly, exactly. Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on, Sophie. We finally made it happen, even with all the tech issues. I really appreciate you coming and having a chat. Where can we send people to find out more about what you're up to?

Sophie Brannon:

Yeah, definitely head over to my Twitter. It's @SophieBrannon. And also my LinkedIn as well. I've been a little bit quiet since I’ve been traveling and things like that, but I'm back now. I'm going to go full force with sharing lots of insights and all those different types of things. And then also, my website is just sophiebrannon.com. So I'd love for you to all check it out. And thank you so much for having me.

Jaryd Krause:

You're welcome. Check those links out in the show note, guys, and I'll see you on the next one.

Hey, YouTube watchers, if you thought that video was good, you should check out this video here on 2 Types of Websites Beginners Should Buy. Or check out my playlist on How I Made My First $100k Buying Websites and how to do due diligence. Check it out. It's an awesome playlist. You'll enjoy it.

Want to have more financial and time freedom?

We help people buy established profit generating online businesses so the can replace their income and spend more time doing what they love with the people they love.


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. 

Resource Links:

➥ BOB SEO service – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services/

➥ Download the Due Diligence Framework – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com/freeresources/

➥ Rank Math (WordPress SEO Plugin) – https://bit.ly/3Acyjf4

➥ Market Muse (Content Marketing Software) https://bit.ly/3Me39L0

Neuron Writer (SEO tool for content writing) – https://bit.ly/3EleDaS


*This post may contain affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site/posts at no additional cost to you.

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