Ep 246: How To Get The World To Backlink To Your Website For Free with SEO Steve Wiideman

Is AI content causing harm to websites? Let’s find out! 

On today’s podcast episode, Jaryd Krause will be joined by Steve Wiideman. Steve will share his winning SEO and content creation strategies. And he will also share his insights about AI content.

Specializing in strategic planning for multi-location and franchise brands, Steve Wiideman, of Wiideman Consulting Group, considers himself a scientist and practitioner of local and e-commerce search engine optimization and paid search advertising. He is the author of SEO Strategy & Skills, a college textbook through Stukent. Wiideman has personally played a role in the inbound successes of brands that have included Disney, Linksys, Belkin, Public Storage, Honda, Skechers, Applebee’s, IHOP, Dole, and others. Many of the mentioned projects place an emphasis on strategy, planning, and campaign oversight. 

Jaryd and Steve had a wonderful chat about the following: how most people are using AI the wrong way for their content creation, which is detrimental to their business and how you can create far better content with AI. How do I get free natural links to your website? And why is less content more valuable than volume?

They also talked about creating amazing content that will allow you to win links away from your competitors and to your website. How to track your most important pieces of content: what to track and why? 

Lastly, Steve shares how long he and his team spent on a content brief for one article (this will shock you). He also shares a link to his content brief, which you can find in the show notes.

Want to improve your site’s ranking? Then, this episode is what you need! Tune in to learn more.

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Episode Highlights

06:25 How do you drive referral traffic to your site?

13:40 Earn backlinks by offering free templates or tools to people 

18:30 Budget for creating content and link building;

27:55 Incorporating pain points to create valuable content

32:05 “Don’t just create content to create content”

37:18 Creating content for the sake of SEO can go against you

44:30 How to monitor your pages the right way

Courses & Training

Courses & Training

Key Takeaways

➥ Steve emphasizes the importance of incorporating a strategic approach to link building, involving activities like link audits and competitor analysis. He highlights the need to shift the focus from mere SEO benefits to generating high-quality referral traffic. Furthermore, Steve advocates for the seamless integration of link building into the broader marketing strategy to ensure its effectiveness in driving organic growth.

Steve suggests a practical approach in content creation for businesses with a limited budget. He recommends using tools like AnswerThePublic to identify common questions related to their products or services. Then, recording short video episodes addressing these questions and later converting them into long-form content for the website

➥ Jaryd and Steve stress that focusing on producing high-quality, unique content can often lead to organic link acquisition without the need for extensive outreach efforts. They advise against creating multiple similar pages targeting the same keywords, as it can confuse search engines and hinder rankings.

About The Guest

Specializing in strategic planning for multi-location and franchise brands, Steve Wiideman, of Wiideman Consulting Group, considers himself a scientist and practitioner of local and e-commerce search engine optimization and paid search advertising. He is the author of SEO Strategy & Skills, a college textbook through Stukent. Wiideman has personally played a role in the inbound successes of brands that have included Disney, Linksys, Belkin, Public Storage, Honda, Skechers, Applebee’s, IHOP, Dole, and others. Many of the mentioned projects place an emphasis on strategy, planning, and campaign oversight.

While serving as an adjunct professor at UCSD and CSUF, Steve’s also building the Academy of Search while volunteering time to help improve transparency and industry standards as an agency trainer.

Connect with Steve Wiideman

Transcription:

Jaryd Krause:

Are you sabotaging your website with AI content and using the wrong content strategy using AI? Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Businesses Podcast. And today, I'm speaking with Steve Wiideman, who specializes in strategic planning for multi-location and franchise brands. Steve considers himself a scientist and a practitioner of local and e-commerce, search engine optimization and paid search advertising.

Now he's the author of SEO: Strategy & Skills, which is a college textbook through Stukent. Wiideman has personally played a role in the inbound successes of brands that have included Disney, Linksys, Belkin, Public Storage, Honda, Skechers, Applebee's, IHOP, Dole, and there's so many. In many of the projects mentioned, he’s worked with an emphasis on strategy, planning, and campaign oversight.

While Steve is also serving as an adjunct professor at UCSD and CSUF, he also built the Academy of Search while volunteering time to help improve transparency and industry standards as an agency trainer.

And in this podcast episode, Steve and I talk a lot about great content, gaining links for free and how you can do so. I share something on how most people are using AI the wrong way for their content creation strategy that's actually detrimental to their business and how you can create far better content with AI with the strategy that I share. Steve backs up and we emphasize that a lot.

We talk about how to gain natural links or earn backlinks for free to your website. We talk about why less content is more valuable than volume and how people are actually playing the wrong game based on societal conditioning and content agencies shoving down our throats more content for the wrong reasons so they can make more profits and it's a detriment to your actual business, your website.

We also talk about how to create amazing and baity content that will allow you to win links away from your competitors and gain those links, earn those links to your website instead of your competitors having them, and how you can do that for free. We talk about how to track those most important pieces of content, what to use to track them and why.

And this is such a valuable podcast episode. We talk a lot about SEO. If you guys do need SEO help, you know that we have the BOB SEO service. You can reach out to us. We can answer some of the questions that you have. But for today, let's dive into this episode. So valuable. I'm sure you're going to enjoy it.

Have you been lied to about how to increase organic traffic and grow your website? I too used to think that all you needed to do was add more content and gain backlinks, but this just doesn't work. More content and more links alone are not the answer. Nor do you need to butcher your website with generic SEO changes you picked up on some crummy online tutorial, leaving you with a Frankenstein website that's slow and clunky.

And because I got sick of seeing great people with great websites struggle to grow them, I decided to do something about it. I created an SEO service, which is not just about publishing content and getting links.

Sure, we offer that. But first, we give you quick wins, which are SEO tweaks. We can make you a website that actually boosts your rankings. And then we lay out a killer SEO strategy to acquire more traffic and revenue that outranks your competitors with less content and fewer links.

We've thoroughly tested this service on many websites before launching it and have achieved incredible results, which you'll see on our landing page, which I'm about to share with you. Now, you can finally buy a business and give it to us to grow it for you.

To check out our SEO service, head to buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services and book a call to chat with us to see what the best growth strategy is for you and your website. That's buyingonlinebusinesses.com/seo-services. And a link will be in the description too.

Steve Wiideman, did I get it correctly?

Steve Wiideman:

You got it. How are you?

Jaryd Krause:

I'm good, thank you. It's good to chat with you again.

Steve Wiideman:

All right. Likewise.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. So I wanted to get you back on. Guys listening, we've had Steve on multiple times now. The first time we had you on was Episode 136, How to Double Your Traffic. And then we had you on just recently, Ep 227, Prompt Engineering for AI Content Creation, which I feel that we're probably going to lean into talking about a little bit of AI towards the back end of this discussion since it's pretty fresh on your mind working with your clients that you mentioned to me before.

Steve Wiideman:

It should be fresh on everyone's mind unless you're living in the dark ages of digital marketing.

Jaryd Krause:

Exactly, exactly. But let's start with link building. How important is it?

Steve Wiideman:

It continues to be important. It was the first question I asked Bard when he came out. I said, “Bard, how important is link building and how do you display results in your large language model search results?” And it continued with standard SEO best practices. I pay attention to the same things that Google Web Search does, which are relevancy and freshness of content, the visibility of that content and how other websites are curating, talking about and linking to it.

It talked a little bit about how users make decisions and say, “Yes, this is a good result,” or “You know what, this isn't really what I was looking for. Let me refine my search a little bit more to see if I can get a different answer.” And how many people are searching for the brand name in correlation or conjunction with some of those search terms.

So a lot of the same algorithm signals that go into web search seem to go into Bard and ChatGPT. It's very interesting when you kind of look at the big picture. But still maintaining the importance of it, and I would say not just for SEO.

Yeah, we definitely want to show the search engines how often they can find us by being crawled to our site and by pages that they trust and have given scores to and passing that whole page rank score through. But more importantly, the referral traffic comes from links, right?

Let's not just build links because we want to be number one. Let's build links so that we can get more referral traffic to our site. Maybe even the referral sources that we've learned from our display efforts are generating leads and revenue for us.

If we find that an article site specifically around a topic of, I don't know, technology seems to be driving a lot of display ad conversion traffic for us through our display networks, why wouldn't we want to get more free traffic from them by building and collaborating with them to try to generate some referral links from their site? Now we can double down and get our paid traffic from a site that already sends us high quality ad traffic and free traffic from referrals.

So I'd say links are just as important as before, if for no other reason than just continuing to build brand awareness and drive referral traffic.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I love it in terms of valuing a link based on the traffic you can get from it.

Steve Wiideman:

Absolutely.

Jaryd Krause:

I talked with Lily Ray about this and a few other really good link builders, like, yeah, links are great because they can build out your authority, but we should be getting links for the referral traffic.

And the better the referral traffic, the more it's going to turn into ROI and money on our end for our business. And we're going to be solving a problem for people that are the referral traffic. We're not just getting links from a site to get SEO juice.

Steve Wiideman:

To gain search results.

Jaryd Krause:

Just to gain search results and get SEO juice. And people that click on that link go, “Oh, damn, it wasn't as valuable as I thought this link would be” versus finding a page or a site that is talking about in-depth a certain subject that your article or piece of content is talking about but adding extra value to it by them linking to it, by the user going and clicking on that link, going to your site, getting more value and going, “Oh, this is amazing.” And that you're helping people versus just gaining link juice.

Steve Wiideman:

It's part of your integrated marketing strategy with SEO benefits, not an intent to be exclusively SEO. I love it. I love that standpoint.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I do as well. It's a far more organic approach and you're going from the position of value versus, let's just try to play a game with Google and win based on search results. Google's pretty smart around that sort of stuff these days, as is Bard and all that sort of stuff. So I want to ask you about content and the relationship between content and links.

When somebody has a blog or a website, what people have been led to believe—still being the case, it may have been a long, long time ago, like a decade ago—is that you need to continue putting content on your site. So Google sees your site as having an update and getting new content, whereas I don't feel that Google is just rewarding that. We've got to have our site updated. So let's just keep punching out a lot of content.

Is there a split between how much resource should be spent on content and then links? Do you have a recommendation? What's your opinion on that process? Because, I mean, if you create great content, why not gain links to it from other people? Because it’s adding value to other articles that are out there on the internet. Why don't you have that piece of your content strategy versus just, let's just put out a lot of content?

Steve Wiideman:

We used a word there that I think is a key aspect of anything we're doing and that is strategy. What is our strategy? Did we do our research already? Did we identify the links that are already pointing to our site?

Did we identify the links—the common links that point to our competitors but not to us? Maybe there's a list out there listing the top 10 of whatever and maybe you need to be on it.

Did we look at the top linked pages using some of those digital marketing tools that are out there, like Ahrefs and Semrush, to see the top linked pages on our competitors' websites? Maybe they've come up with some really good ideas on how to attract links and maybe it's a common idea to get them on lists such as—our favorite—the Veterans Day program that a lot of our restaurant chains do now.

If you're looking for a free meal on Veterans Day, our restaurant chains all have a dedicated page for that, and really highly authoritative sites like military.com and va.gov are all linking to these pages as places veterans can go to get a free meal on Veterans Day.

I think really taking the strategic approach of, hey, let's do a link audit and then let's build a link strategy that incorporates all the links our competitors have earned, that incorporates what we learned from the top link pages of our competitors, that makes sure it's inclusive of all the industry destinations that we would want to drive traffic from, even ones that competitors haven't gotten any visibility in. And then come up with some link bait ideas and put them into a calendar.

Now we know exactly which links need some attention from a negative SEO standpoint that competitors might be using to try to harm us, which aren't nearly as detrimental as they were 10 years ago.

They're still there, but Google keeps reinforcing how they've caught those and they're not counting them against you, but we always take the safe route and just submit a disavow anyway.

And then we go after perhaps a BuzzStream or a Pitchbox project. Those links that our competitors have earned by frequency Hey, 20 of our competitors have all earned links from this domain that we haven't yet. Let's look at what the approach is and why they've earned links, but We're not included in that list. Work our way down. If they're already linking to most of our competitors, why wouldn't they be linking to us?

So I think coming up with that strategy and building out the projects within whatever CRM you're using to approach your outreach type link building is still going to be an important part of that strategy. But as you mentioned, coming up with that link bait content, that's gold. And really smart SEOs have been doing this for years.

You can see this in the WordPress theme industry. Years ago, they would have free WordPress themes. Then you get a theme and in the footer, there'd be a backlink to the theme's sponsor. So it might be an SEO company or something that had it.

Eventually, Google caught on to that and, like, all right, if you want to use free tools as a way to get links, you've got to do it through earning them, not through injecting them into an encrypted footer somewhere on your theme template.

So tools. What kind of free things can you offer on your website? What kind of calculators? What kind of neat little interactive features can you offer that people would want to link to? We have a Rolex client of ours that has a Rolex serial number lookup tool. They've got a pricing tool that you can use.

Originally, we had it as an embed and then the embed would have an embedded link that would rotate with different link texts back before Penguin came out, back in 2012. And so now, yeah, there's still the embeds and so forth, but we've taken all the link part of that out so that Google doesn't look at that as our link strategy and hold it against us through penalties.

Templates. Giving away free templates. In your industry, there's probably 20, 30, 50 different templates. Maybe it's a proposal template. Maybe it's an SEO audit template. Whatever the template happens to be in your industry, offer those free templates and people will link to it like crazy because it's a great free resource for that stuff. All you do is put a disclaimer: You're welcome to share this anywhere you'd like to on your website or whatever. Please just give us credit by linking back to us.

And you don't have to—and I recommend not—put in what they should be linking with. Let them link however they want to. We don't want to create any sort of detectable pattern of trying to manipulate search results. Let’s let the person who's linking to us link to us however they'd like to.

And then there are the viral, funny, and interesting campaigns. I love talking about Progressive and Dress Like Flo. It's Halloween time and everyone's looking for costume ideas. Flo from Progressive was in those commercials and has a Dress Like Flo page that you can link to.

There are statistics and research. If you've got unique content that nobody else has that you can share, maybe you did a study of 300 location pages to better understand how pages rank for restaurant chains, and you want to understand all the attributes and the common attributes between them to develop your sort of all-inclusive best practice for building a location page for your business. That's unique content. You did a study. You did some research. You created some calculations. You built an infographic and created a table.

And suddenly, SiteProNews, WebProNews, Bright Local and other websites that talk about technology SEO and local SEO are all referencing this guide because you did something no one's done.

You've created something new and unique that isn't just regurgitated content or AI-generated content. And you made it really, really easy to replicate. The infographic gives you a diagram that sort of sets the precedence for what a local page looks like. That's a proof of concept.

We actually did that on our website. If you find it, it's the very first link. And it works. If you can do that extra bit of research in your industry, what do your customers say about your products and services that only you know about? If you were using an iPhone and you put up a page that said, “Here are the top three apps that iPhone users download,” would people link to that?

Would they share it? Would they be interested in it? Would it show up in your Google Discover? Absolutely. Because that is stuff that iPhone users eat up. They love to share that. They love that information because only the iPhone knows.

Jaryd Krause:

Exactly.

Steve Wiideman:

Because they own the app store.

Jaryd Krause:

And they can back it up with the data they can see on their end.

Steve Wiideman:

Absolutely. 100%. So there are some ideas to draw inspiration from.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. We've created tools and calculators like ad revenue calculators for websites. We also created a what to do once you've bought a business, sort of SEO strategy blueprint article, which is like 6,000 words. It's a long read on what you can do in terms of, like,

Steve Wiideman:

Only 6,000 words? Oh my god, I'm going to need to summarize everything! extension from Chrome with ChatGPT in it to read that thing.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. And just put it on audio. But it's got images, links to things and step-by-step guides like what to do once you buy a business to get it set up for growth. And building links to that is great. And sharing that makes it quite shareable for people who are content site owners or buying content sites.

But they get to a certain phase where it starts getting so much authority—that page, that more and more people start to see it, starts to rank high and then it starts to gain natural links, which is where those tools without you having to do the outreach of, “Hey, this is pretty cool. If you want to share it, great.”

Steve Wiideman:

Because they're already finding it in search when they're doing their own research. And now Bard and these other AI tools are actually listing their sources. So you can actually point to the source now instead of just creating the content. So I'm glad AI ethics are finally coming into play.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, me too. I was sort of mentioning it before this sort of when people come to you with a strategy of like, “I want to just like get a lot of content. I want to rank for a lot of content,” they've got a budget, or they got a certain amount of resources.

And you say, “Cool. If we took all your resources, we could just create content.” And it might gain links naturally over time, but it'd be a little bit slower. Say somebody's got like $5,000 or $10,000 to put towards a strategy for ranking, getting content and then ranking it. What sort of budget would you suggest people use for the actual content creation? And then what would you typically allocate to link building for the start?

Steve Wiideman:

I think it depends on your industry and the competitiveness of your industry. A plumber is going to be completely different than, say, a personal injury law firm. You could probably create some really helpful localized content and do some things in your community that the local city offices and city news would give you free press to support if you're doing something that's genuine and really helpful for the community, for a local business.

For a personal injury attorney, you might have to get a little bit more creative and throw a little more budget into it. Because a lot of the common methods of earning links in competitive Industries are already burned out, such as scholarships. You see this on every single personal injury website and in their backlink profile, as they're offering scholarships to get links from .edu domains. And they're on pages that now look like link farms because there's so many scholarships because they all want links.

So again, it depends on the industry, and it depends on how competitive it is. I would start with the simplest thing by just using a service like AnswerThePublic. Or if you're using Semrush already, use their question filter. If you're a conductor, you can also use the intent filter. And then come up with all the questions that people have about your products and services.

And then take out your iPhone, if you're on a low budget or your Android device. I'm a Pixel user because I feel like the picture quality is always better. But I would spend a Saturday and record little, short episodes of answering questions. “Hey, I'm Joe from So-and-So Plumbing, and I've been a plumber for 14 years.

And I get a lot of questions about sinks and what we do about a drain sink. Is this something I can fix myself? Or do I need a plumber? Today, we're going to walk through that in five easy steps.” And then you just do that.

And then what's great about that content? Not only does it help augment your website's content strategy when you answer the question on a unique page, not in a shrapnel blog type way, but in an evergreen way, underneath your services section so that your services section is more authoritative, and you've created a silo or a taxonomy of content.

If you're doing that, then you've got some really good long-form content that you can create from that. Even use a service like Freelancer or WriterAccess and say, “Hey, I've created a video; help me write a page based on the content from this video.” And then they watch the video, they write the page for you, and you throw it up on your website. In a few months, you start seeing traffic and links coming in.

The other great thing about this type of content is that you can take a lot of the snippets from it, maybe 30-to-60-second snippets from that video and create really good short-form content for your stories on Instagram, TikTok and all the social networks that people are flipping through like crazy these days, so that you can introduce your brand locally.

And maybe boost some of that content with a very low budget, just again, for brand awareness, so that you're top of mind. So when they are starting to search and they see your name, like, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing his TikToks.” “I remember seeing her videos on how to do this or defining the words for a certain topic.”

So I think that's where I would start in terms of if I'm on a low budget to start. And as you start developing your content strategy and start putting the stuff out here, you find what your budget ends up being based on what your current position is and who the top people are for those keywords that you expect that content to rank for.

Like, all right, I just did a post on how to do XYZ. I did a search and these other three websites came up above me. I looked at their pages and they've got a lot more media. They've got a lot more graphics. They've got a lot more experts that are participating and being quoted in it. They've got an interview. So I really need to put some money into this if I want to make this page rank.

And that's where you get bootstrapped and a little bit creative on how you can generate that content without hiring a $5,000 to $10,000 infographic designer, which, by the way, works if you do have the budget for it.

That's that local page example I gave you a minute ago. That was a $5,000 infographic and it was worth every penny of it for the business we had from franchises that contacted us after reading it.

Jaryd Krause:

Wow.

Steve Wiideman:

Again, know your audience and know, again, what the competition is before you start getting into it. Because if you start working on a page and you spend $1,000 building what you think is the best page, but you haven't yet done a search to see what's already showing up, like, “Oh man, this was an $8,000 page and I only put $1,000 into it.

And yeah, you'll get some incremental traffic from it and it could help, but if those pages are already out there and better than yours, you could do the math.

Jaryd Krause:

That's a really good thing to bring up—competitive research—before you do anything.

Steve Wiideman:

100%.

Jaryd Krause:

Are you going to rank for it? Are you going to outwin them? And I guess a portion of that that I like to share with people is that you can go away and see what your competitors are doing with their pieces of content. Do they have more media? Do they have audio? Do they have a video? Do they have infographics?

Steve Wiideman:

A table of contents, yeah.

Jaryd Krause:

Table of contents, all those sorts of things. FAQs,

Steve Wiideman:

FAQs.

Jaryd Krause:

Do they have all that? But also, at the same time, people may drop the ball or not even know and not be conscious of, all right, that article that my competitors wrote; they have a really high level of authority.

And maybe they don't have a high level of authority but that page that they've got that they're ranking for is also ranking really well because they have a certain number of links coming to that page.

So that's a big portion of competitive research as well. It’s not just looking at the content and isolating. All right, I need to create better content. But I am also working out how I can build that same level of authority on that page so I can outrank that competitor if our content matches or is of equivalent value.

Steve Wiideman:

Yeah. If it's unique, if it's very unique from the page that already ranks in the search results, more helpful, easier to read, easier to use, and it's just an overall better experience, I wouldn't worry as much about the links that the competitors earned because that's going to be where you start to get your links.

You're going to say, “Hey, you're linking to this one page. We actually took a little bit of a different approach that we think your users might find more helpful. We'd love it if you took a look and if you found it more helpful than the page you're already linking to, give us a shot at seeing if it's more helpful to your users.”

And you can cannibalize the work and the links that your competitors have earned if you're willing to put the time into creating the better content. But again, it's not just creating something better and regurgitating content from other websites to create your own. It's genuinely coming up with something out of the box that's different.

I think it was Seth Godin who always talked about that. Let's not just be better than our competition; let’s completely stand out. So if you're using this as an approach to earning links, your page should completely stand out with information, data and contributors that no other page that you're competing against currently offers.

But I know you're going to find that for most businesses, the search terms that you want to appear for in most cases aren't going to be quite as competitive as you think they are unless you're going really, really broad.

But there are, like I mentioned, personal injuries and so forth. Industries that businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars a month developing content specifically to rank. Mortgages and insurance companies. Those guys spend a ton of money.

But for most smaller businesses, you’re not going to find that kind of competition. And a lot of the smaller businesses are sort of cutting corners and cheating a bit. And in most cases, even if they are ranking, eventually the rankings will go down once Google has figured out that they're just trying to game and influence their search results.

Whereas if you use that whole Jim Rohn approach of “I don't have to do extraordinary things to be successful; I only have to do ordinary things extraordinarily well” approach, you're just going to see constant growth because you're doing all the right things better than the competition as opposed to just trying to figure out a way to take shortcuts and use techniques to beat them.

Jaryd Krause:

That's amazing. We're going to cut that piece out there, Steve, and promote it.

Steve Wiideman:

Oh yes. Enjoy it.

Jaryd Krause:

I love that strategy, what you said, and that Jim Rohn quote, you don't need to do extraordinary things; do ordinary things extraordinarily well in making your content. By doing so, you can gain those links easier because they're so damn valuable that you've blown people out of the water.

You want to put your content in a position where people would be silly not to rank or link to you. If they actually care about their users on their site and there's something better, they’re doing their users a disservice by not linking to you because yours is just out of this world invaluable, right?

Steve Wiideman:

Especially if you can find pain points. This is one of my favorite things. I remember Yelp some 10 years ago. Everyone was feeling like they were being extorted by Yelp. It's like, look, if you don't like the Yelp review that shows up in Google search results, pay for advertising and then we'll figure out a way to help you so that the negative search results go away, but we can't remove them for you. But if you pay for advertising, we might be able to help you.

And so there's this whole sort of stigma around Yelp. And I remember talking to one of the advertising reps and I said, “The only reason people are using Yelp is for the reviews and you're prioritizing the negative reviews over the positive. In fact, you're suing businesses if they ask for reviews from happy customers.

And you're just waiting for the negative reviews to show up because you want people to call you and be like, “Hey, there's negative reviews; I need them taken down so that you have a shoe in to be able to try to sell them advertising.”

And so, from that, I got so frustrated that I did a study myself. I used Mechanical Turk and I asked some—I think it was like 1,000 or 2,000 Yelp users—"Why"do you use Yelp?” Then I asked some questions about demographics, and these are all anonymous feedback.

And so they give me demographical information about themselves, and I ask questions such as, “If Yelp didn't have reviews, would you still use them? Do you use them for community and to learn and find local businesses or do you use them exclusively for reviews?”

And so I basically did this big survey and then I just used Excel to create some charts and graphs from what I had learned. And a couple of photos from what TripAdvisor had given to suggest to their businesses to ask for reviews opposite that of Yelp. And the post was How Important Are Yelp Reviews Really?

And I remember just watching it organically over a few years just to track links on its own from people who were equally frustrated by Yelp's extortion techniques. And they were using that research as a point of reference to say Yelp's genuinely trying to hurt businesses as a technique to get them to advertise.

And it was really kind of sad, but it worked. That type of content, that research, those charts, those graphs, and those thousand anonymous users made a difference in helping create content that was shareable and linkable—link worthy, if you will.

And we didn't have to do any sort of outreach for that. Of course, we shared it on social media, but as an SEO consultancy, our audience was, I don't know, maybe six people plus my mom, right? So it wasn't like a whole lot of people were seeing it.

Jaryd Krause:

At the start, anyway.

Steve Wiideman:

But for larger brands, it's a great way to promote it.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. And that comes from doing the work, right? A lot of people listening to this are like, “I've got a site and I just wanna create content in volume.” But if they slow down and go, “How do I create just one piece that's out of this world good?" they can have far more traffic with far fewer pieces of content on their site, right?

Steve Wiideman:

100%. God, it's such a hard circumstance because a lot of business owners who somewhat get addicted to SEO read some wrong information about the importance of fresh content and the point of view of “I need more content.” No, sometimes you just need to refresh your existing content and keep it up to date,which isd more helpful, more useful and more unique than creating additional pages.

And I've had so many clients who created so many different versions of pages that all had the same keyword intent. And poor Google's crawling the site looking at these pages going, “Which one should I be showing in my search results?” because they're all basically the same content, just written differently.

Jaryd Krause:

Wow, that's scary.

Steve Wiideman:

And so, yeah, we had one that was a personal injury attorney. He had 15 different car accident lawyer pages targeted in Los Angeles. And so we said, “Okay, let's take all 15 of these pages and redirect them to one new URL that we create as the best unique, most helpful page with new video and new images and graphics and what to do after and how it works kind of content, testimonials and expert reviewed kind of stuff, E-E-A-T signals.” Since you talked to Lily Ray, I want to get it right.

But we did that, and it works. We got them to the first page for that query by getting rid of all the excessive content. Don't just create content to create content. You're going to look at the analytics and go, “These pages really aren't getting a lot of traffic.” But if you just took the time, the energy and the creativity to create, like you said, a really unbeatable page,

And we've seen this with the Rolex site I'd mentioned before. We've seen it where he spent five to $10,000 for a page. And those pages, those categories—Rolex Submariner, Rolex Yacht Master—make millions of dollars every month. Millions of dollars. Is it worth it to spend $5,000 on a page that, over the next three years, will culminate in hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue? It's up to you.

So if you've got it to invest, that's the evergreen infinite traffic medium that you could use. And then you can augment it with paid, social and so forth. But getting that really strong foundational page out there, doing your research to see what types of content, what entities and what topics we need to be addressing within our website and creating a silo of supportive content underneath that competitive page, you're going to own it.

But again, it's a lot of work. It's a lot of planning. It's a lot of creating a site map of what your site's going to look like in five years when you're done with all this amazing content. And it's probably going to take a lot of money to put into it.

But at the end, when you look at the analytics, it always pays for itself. But it does take a year to two years to see a super positive ROI on really competitive SEO.

So if you've got the patience and you're willing to go easy on your SEO person, who's probably not setting the right expectations, then you'regoing toa see some amazing results. You just have to be committed to it, be patient, check in every three to six months on that content and make sure that you're still the best page.

Jaryd Krause:

And I think the rise of so much—not the rise, but why so much content has been, especially for content site owners and blog owners wanting to grow their sites—why it's still a thing is because it's definitely being pushed by content agencies because, yeah, you just need more content; you just need to produce more content and that allows them to sell more pieces of content. And even somebody at a smaller scale might have, “All right, I've got $1,000 per month of budget that I want to put towards content.”

Steve Wiideman:

Cool. That's one piece of content we're going to build over 90 days.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, one piece, right? And versus, “Oh, I wanna do 10 articles at 100 bucks each.” Just do one that's amazing over whatever period of time you have for that budget to be spent.

Steve Wiideman:

100%.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. And you also—

Steve Wiideman:

I remember having five pages on my old website. If you go back to archive.org and look at the top 10, the number 10, and the top 10 SEO tips, I literally had like five pages. And at a given point, probably in 2006 or 2007, before all the different algorithm changes and before I took the site down, most of those pages ranked really well. From my SEO ebook page, that SEO expert page was number one for SEO experts for 12 years straight.

I only had five pages on my website. It wasn't about having 500 SEO expert pages. It was about having one. And a little bit of creativity, showing how I got the number one spot by using the page itself as an example. It was kind of a fun little play on SEO to get ranked.

Jaryd Krause:

I remember you mentioning that story last time. And yeah, I think for somebody listening, they've got a website. It's also the rise of “Oh, you've got so much content, you need to make sure it's updated,” and they're able to sell content agency services updating content.

But if you've got five pages on your site or 10 or maybe just 20 or 30 that's getting the same amount of traffic as a site with 100 or 1,000 pages, you can really track things better and spend those resources on just those pages with far less stress and far less work.

Steve Wiideman:

That is so right.

Jaryd Krause:

And you just got a better business, right?

Steve Wiideman:

So I use Similarweb quite a bit when I'm doing industry analysis and trying to understand the top links in an industry, the average page load times and things like that. And what's really interesting is that you see these article websites that people submit basically just garbage content to as their link building approach, right?

It's like back in the old days of SEO, we used article spinning sites just to create articles and blast them out over article networks. Submit an article. For 20 bucks, you can add an article with a link to your website.

And what's interesting is that you look at SimilarWeb at these sites that have tens of thousands of pages of content and they're getting less than 5,000 hits a month. And yet regular businesses, again, personal injury is one of the industries we do some work in, will have less than, I don't know, less than a thousand pages and there'll be generating 30,000, 40,000, or 50,000 visits a month.

So I believe that a lot of the time, when you're just creating content for the sake of creating content for SEO, you're not going to get traffic from it. And worse, you're going to send the signal to the search engines that X% of the content on our website is not helpful.

Jaryd Krause:

It's funny that this is with AI becoming a thing now as well. I see that so many content site owners and bloggers have decided to use it in the wrong way. They've gone—oh my god. And there's studies done on it where people are like, “I'm just creating so much content for that site, AI content, and they get it ranked.” And then their sites, Google's like, “This is not valuable,” and then it just crashes, right? It goes up.

Steve Wiideman:

We talked to a guy who deployed 10 million pages of AI content.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, it's so insane. And what people are focusing on is, like, “More content, more content, I can do more output with AI,” but if they realize that AI can be a tool for R&D, research and development to create one phenomenal article, you can just distill all that content that you scrape from Bard, ChatGPT, and all that sort of thing into one amazing piece.

You can have that one amazing piece and use that AI to your benefit by just getting data versus volume of spun-out content.

You’re going to win over somebody else who's like, “I'm going to put out 500 articles a month using AI content.” It's like, “Well, cool, you can play that game, but it's ridiculous, because I'm going to win when I put out one piece of content that’s going to trump all of those 500 pieces.”

Steve Wiideman:

I can tell you that when we put an SEO content brief together, the total time it takes us to get that brief in our clients' hands and in our clients' writers' hands is somewhere between three and five days, right? In most cases, because of the amount of entity research we do, we look at the content workflow, right?

And it starts with that research phase. Like we mentioned, let’s look at the competitive landscape. Let's use some Python scripts and pull in all the headings and subheadings in the top ranked pages so that we know that we're addressing all the topics that are important to Google or that Google thinks are important to their searchers.

And then let's go to the next phase and make sure that we're addressing the URL, the title, the meta description, the headings, and the subheadings. We mentioned the table of contents earlier based on those different entities, the FAQs and the questions that people have around that topic.

We put all of that together. Who's the expert, or who are the top five experts in the industry that we could get to be our expert reviewers of this content for those E-E-A-T signals?

The image name, the image alt attribute—what kind of markup should I be using on this page based on the words and the entities that we're addressing in it? And how can I use schema.org/[thing] both about and mentions in a way to make it very clear to Google's knowledge graph what the word means in reference to,say, a Wikipedia URL? So we're making it very, very easy for Google to know in their database of URLs to display which ones correlate to the search term that the person's using.

So we came up with this full brief and included the search terms to target, titles, headings, subheadings, image names, expert-reviewed, schema, and markup to use. And at the end, what are the websites—the URLs—that we need linking back to us based on who's linking to the top-ranking websites already? And what are some unique opportunities that competitors haven't thought of yet?

So in that way, you've addressed all three areas. You've addressed unique, helpful, all-inclusive topics that we know are important. We have addressed the link side of things to make sure that we're getting links from the same places that the top-ranking pages are coming from.

But we've also used some schema and some really strong title meta description writing so that we can influence search behaviors such as a user choosing us in the search results staying on our URL, not going back to the search results and choosing a competitor.

If we can influence all three of those different attributes, our ranking is just going to continue to grow. And our competitors aren't going to rest on their laurels. So don't think about it; set it and forget it. When that's done and it's ranking, we have to set up monitors for the top-ranking pages that are just below us using visual ping or whatever tool you want to use.

So when they make a change, you can be aware of it. When they earn a link, you can be aware of it. And then you can go back to the team and make sure that we're also thinking about those things. What stuck, what did they remove, what did they take away, what new links did they earn that we could go after, and what new topics could we add?

That's where AI comes into play. That's where we can put our URL in there and say, “What could I do to make this page better? What's missing from this page that would be helpful to users? What are some other subtopics of this topic that I could address either on the page or with supportive content underneath it?”

That's where you could use AI to continue to grow your content strategy. But don't just write me an article as if it weren't detectable by originality.ai to rank number one in Google for the keywords ‘credit card’. You know what I mean? So don't do that. It's pointless. You're just going to be wasting your time.

Jaryd Krause:

That approach is amazing. I'm so glad you shared that. I think just by you, just by the authors writing their two cents on the research and stuff that you've done for that article, it's going to be so valuable. Those authors, you're not only going to be able to link out to them and take their E-E-A-T or build E-E-A-T with them, build authority, but they're also going to want to link from probably somewhere on their site as well to your articles because it's so damn valuable. So there's a bunch of links right there.

And that just comes down to sharpening—if you're trying to chop a tree down, you're going to spend 90% of your time sharpening the ax. That's R&D. That's the content brief over a three-to-five-day period. That's exceptional.

Steve Wiideman:

And in fact, I know there's a chat in here. I'm going to send you a little preview of a table that we use when we are doing our content briefs.

Jaryd Krause:

Awesome.

Steve Wiideman:

So that you can see the different sorts of sequences of events that happen in a really well-developed piece of content,

Jaryd Krause:

Thank you.

Steve Wiideman:

So that's something you're welcome to share because it does have, again, kind of the best of the best of what goes into really high-ranking, very helpful traffic-driving page content.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, I'll put that link in the show notes, guys, which I'm actually literally just doing now. And the cool thing about this—

Steve Wiideman:

You just put the image in the post.

Jaryd Krause:

Sorry?

Steve Wiideman:

Just go ahead and put the image in the post. That way, it's right there.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. Also, when you're monitoring say five pages on your site or 10 or like 30, it's so much easier to monitor those and see how the competitive landscape has changed and the environment. Because ranking isn't just about you, your site and Google.

It's about Google or search engines and how that behavior reacts or responds based on your site, their algorithm and your competitors. And it's so much easier to monitor that with a few articles versus thousands, right?

Steve Wiideman:

Yeah. And if you think in percentages too, if you think of patterns, again, instead of forgetting it, if you think about patterns, at the end of every month, there's probably going to be 10 to 20 pages on your website that are the most critical in terms of driving leads and traffic.

And those are the pages, like you said, you want to monitor. Those are the ones you probably have your own Looker Studio content segment set up that pulls in your Semrush, average position, share of voice, visibility metrics, as well as traffic and conversion metrics.

And every month you challenge the team, your content team, to say, “Look, we're going to grow our content; we're going to create some new things and it's going to be amazing, but I want us to spend at least 20% of our time making sure that we're addressing these top 10, these top 20 pages on our website.

And here are the reports you're going to look at to help influence that. And then tell me every month, what did you do to increase the conversion rate on these pages? What did we do to increase our keyword rankings on these pages? What did we do to increase the links to these pages?”

And you go back to your various team members in your organization chart; you're the off page visibility expert, the link earning expert—we don't say link building anymore—the content strategists themselves to identify new entities from Search Console, from AI and from our own Python scripts or whatever we happen to be using to do it.

And then we go back to the analysts who look at all of that data and help push some of that to the off-page person and to the content strategist so that we know every month what we're doing to improve it.

And then a year later, you look back, if you set some KPIs and you're like, “Hey, leadership team, those top 10 pages on our website, over the last 12 months, we've been able to double conversion rates on. Each page is earning three to five links per month.

And each page is now generating twice as many visits than we had when we look at our Search Console statistics versus the previous year.” And that team's going to be like, “Great, keep up the good work.” As long as they're seeing green every month and every year, the leadership team should be happy, particularly if they're bottom-line pages like those sales pages are.

Jaryd Krause:

That's amazing. I've said this as well for business in general. Because the environment of Google changes and the environment of other people's sites changes, sometimes it's not just going green every single month; sometimes just keeping your head above water is a win as well.

Like the saying goes, the aim of the game is to stay in the game, right? I think it would be a massive win if you'd seen green every single month. But sometimes, if you've got like two or three months, don’t consider it like chalking up to a failure.

Steve Wiideman:

Or there's seasonality. This is always going to be seasonal. People aren't going to be buying surfboards as much in December as they are probably in May or June.

Jaryd Krause:

Exactly, exactly. Steve, this is such a fun conversation. I know we're running out of time here, but yeah, thanks for coming on. We'll have to get you on again, for sure.

Steve Wiideman:

Of course. Anytime. And I'll send you over some more things that you can play around with from a link building standpoint. That might be helpful to your listeners just in getting started with the link building strategy and what that strategy should encompass.

And I'll even share some link bait ideas to show inspiration so that the people who are listening don't have to spend time on the phone trying to get people to link to them. Instead, they can create content that people are looking for and would want to reference a link to. So I'll get you some of those assets to see if we can get a kickstart on everyone's digital marketing strategy, at least on the inbound side.

Jaryd Krause:

Love it. Thank you so much for sharing that. Thanks for coming on and sharing. Guys, I'll put links to all those things in the show notes as well. But everybody who's listening, thank you for listening.

Let's get real meta here, Steve. As we talked about SEO and link building, it's all about creating great content. This is a great piece of content we’re creating for this podcast. Please do us a massive favor and share this podcast episode with somebody who owns a website.

Steve Wiideman:

Of course.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah, it's going to help.

Steve Wiideman:

You know I always do.

Jaryd Krause:

Sorry?

Steve Wiideman:

You know I always do.

Jaryd Krause:

Yeah. No, I'm not just talking about you; I'm just talking about the listeners, right? For the listeners, share this with somebody you know.

Steve Wiideman:

Especially if you know a struggling business that really has a low budget to do some marketing, because this is all just content they can create on their own on a Saturday with an iPhone.

Jaryd Krause:

With an iPhone, yeah, for free. Awesome. Thanks again, Steve. Thanks, everybody.

Steve Wiideman:

You got it, Jaryd. Thanks for having me.

Jaryd Krause:

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.

Host:

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/

➥ Buying Online Businesses Website – https://buyingonlinebusinesses.com

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

➥ Content Scale AI (AI Content Detector) – https://bit.ly/3LlxRBV

➥ Mangools (SEO tool) – https://bit.ly/3wV4hLc

➥ Page Optimizer Pro (SEO tool for optimizing web pages) – https://bit.ly/3wQCzin

 

*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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