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Hello! I'm Dan. 

Twitter: @dan_shure

Confession: I'm not a fan of 'bragging'... but I really want to bring value to you in this Q&A. So rather than a standard bio... here's some 'Growth Hacker-ish' stats, to give context on where I can be of most help :)

  • Myself / Evolving SEO has helped clients:

    • Grow blog traffic up to 20x (ie: 800 vists/mth grew to 24,000 visits/mth, in 6 months)

    • Attract 1,200+ monthly organic visits to one blog post only 2 weeks after launch (without link building)

    • Plan/grow 50 page 'help' section, attracting 514,000+ unique visits in it's 3+ years of existence (without link building). This content, although "top of funnel" has a .24% conversion rate.

    • Grow organic traffic and goal completions a steady 35% YoY for 3 years, for a B2B industrial company (with very high deal sizes).

    • Helped Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic with their re-brand migration, and they have more organic traffic now than before (see quote here).

  • We did this via things I'd be happy to talk about:

    • Keyword Research

    • Training/Consulting clients on how to create '10x' content

    • Technical SEO

    • SEO Strategy

    • The 'Grow Hacks' of SEO (such as using PPC data to inform SEO)

    • An 80/20 approach to virtually  we do.

    • Consistent YoY revenue growth, from 2010-2016 (can't share exact numbers, but will share as much as I can)

    • Started as one person (me, doing it on the side) - now a humble team of 3 (plus a part time contractor) :)

More random tid-bits for discussion:

  • I've been Podcasting for about 9 months. 

    • We're just hitting 1,000 downloads per episode milestone (with almost no pro-active promotion, all organic growth).

  • Just wrapped up teaching a full 8 session SEO course, on Conversion XL

So that's it! Talk soon!

-Dan

TL;DR:

Ask me about:

  • Growth via SEO

  • Podcasting

  • Teaching/Training SEO

  • For fun: music, photography, marriage

I'll be live on Jan 10 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which I will answer as many questions as possible.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan, Thanks a lot for doing this AMA. What is the most common misconception about SEO today that used to be true.

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      OK, I have one for you :)

      It's that SEO is ONLY about 'Search Engines'.

      Maybe it was, but now there's a real and legit reason to be doing

      Amazon SEO (it's rumored more product searches happen here than Google)
      YouTube SEO (second largest search engine)
      Quora SEO
      Yelp SEO
      App Store SEO
      Etsy SEO
      Ebay SEO

      ...the list goes on.

      And so, I think we're in a land grab moment of "Marketplace" SEO that not many have fully taken advantage of.

      This will continue to be shadowed by the fact we have search volume numbers for Google and Bing - but I wonder, if we ACTUALLY knew how many people search for say "men's shoes" in ebay per month - a lot more of us might be focusing effort there.

      5 Share
      • JQ

        Jason Quey

        4 months ago #

        Do you think Keywordtool.io's search tool gives good insight on Amazon?

        I've used those numbers as a proxy for ebay search results.

  • JQ

    Jason Quey

    5 months ago #

    Great to have you here Dan!

    Here's a few follow up questions I wanted to ask after our podcast interview (for context - https://growthhackers.com/articles/the-quintessential-basics-of-rapid-seo-growth-begin-with-the-end-dan-shure-on-the-80-20-of-growth).

    1. What was your process for finding a head term with only 10 searches/month that you thought was worth pursuing?
    2. What have you found to be most important to focus on when you optimized Evolving SEO for local SEO? Would you focus on anything different for B2C?
    3. What factors do you believe helped get organic traffic without link building?

    Thanks for doing this AMA Dan!

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Jason!

      1. I saw another piece of content from another brand similar to it. It was a slightly different topic. That's something everyone can do - get good at looking at topics categorically, and plug and play for different industries etc.

      2. Funny - I optimized Evolving SEO for local SEO when we FIRST started in 2010/2011 because I needed to go after a local market. At the time, it was just great on-page targeting - but also getting involved in the local community.

      FUNNY: I noticed a HUGE lift in SEO rankings for massachusetts related keywords after we go ONE link with the anchor text "ma SEO company" or something like that. We ranked #1 for "SEO ma" for a long time (maybe still do).

      B2C - I would focus a lot on collaborations with businesses that serve a similar customer. I would also focus a TON of local marketing on Instagram with good use of local hashtags.

      3. Knowing EXACTLY what topic/keyword you'e targeting from the beginning. So with a blog post, when you're new, you HAVE to look for those keywords that might get 50 searches a month but with low competition. Start small, and work your way up!

      4 Share
    • AR

      Amal Rafeeq

      4 months ago #

      Would love to see his answer to the 3rd question :) Really looking forward to that.

      • DS

        Dan Shure

        4 months ago #

        To elaborate - unless you're competing against sites with DA's of 50 and higher (really rough), you can rank by finding those off-the-path keywords where the current SERPs lack RELEVANCE and/or quality. Links are important, but at a lower competition level relevance and quality are just as important, or more.

  • RS

    Ross Simmonds

    5 months ago #

    Dan! Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA.

    I'm curious - You've been doing podcasting for a while now and it's something a lot of people have been tempted to try. In fact, I've seen tons of marketing podcasts start but eventually dwindle into the podcast graveyard. What's the one thing you've learned about podcasting in the past few months that you didn't realize when you got started? And how will this lesson help you grow/sustain Experts on the Wire in the months to come?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Don't follow anyone's "rules".

      Or at least, learn them, but then forget them. With any content/podcast/product - you have to eventually do it YOUR way. We've started experimenting with formats and styles on the show, and are going to do a lot more of that in 2017.

      Our show did just kind of copy the typical interview style show that is a dime a dozen now, but my goal was always to learn that, but then move beyond it.

      Also - if you ARE going to interview people, put in the research. My goal is to ask questions the guests have never been asked.

      Finally, Anthony here helps a lot behind the scenes. The reason most of the shows you mention failed is because they gave up. Having a collaborator working with you helps keep things going, and he also provides a ton of help, I couldn't do the show without him.

      3 Share
  • KJ

    Kerry Jones

    5 months ago #

    Hi Dan, this is going to make for a killer AMA. Looking forward to reading this entire thread!

    My questions are....

    1) Is there a case study published anywhere about this impressive feat you listed above: "Attract 1,200+ monthly organic visits to one blog post only 2 weeks after launch (without link building)"? If not, can you give a summary of the strategy you took?

    2) Can you share what kind of business impact podcasting has brought about? I'm sure forming relationships with guests is leading to opportunities. What else?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Kerry!

      1. Yes! Keyword Research.

      We found a 3-word informational phrase related to the client's service and target audience.

      We found the keyword simply through a long-tail tool like Keywordtool.io and ran search volume on the 300 or so terms, and looked through the SERPs of each one.

      YES, we manually look at each SERP. This is the work many won't do, but it's the critical part.

      We spotted opportunity with a particular in a few ways:

      - OTHER low-ish DA sites were ranking. Some people get scared when they see some high DA sites ranking. Don't be scared. Low DA sites show that it's possible to be there. Also, these low DA sites, we knew we could do better content-wise.

      - Lack of relevance - again, even if some high DA sites ranked, they did NOT actually answer the question the searcher was asking.

      - Lack of DOMAIN relevance to the topic. Meaning: Google will very often rank an industry specific site in favor of, or alongside, a big general website like Entrepreneur. Google wants to not only rank quality, but also TRUST. They can more likely trust a niche focused site.

      - Recency - most of the current results were more than a tear old. Google wants to rank newer content. Many people mistake this for "freshness" - I don't believe this is the same thing as the "freshness algo" - I think it's more related to content quality.

      ALSO, the keyword in KW Planner has 880 searches a month, but with long tail it's easily 10x that - thus the 1,200 visits in a month.

      5 Share
    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      2. Podcasting and business.

      Directly: yes, some guests and relationships formed have led right to some business.

      One weird, indirect example, is it feels like Press people (when replying to HAROs etc) seem to still look at "Podcaster" like a badge of credibility. The same way if you have a book or are a speaker.

      Another, is I personally actually learn a lot! Then we can put some of that back into the client work we do.

  • SK

    S Kodial

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan

    What led to your career in consulting? How did you get your first 10 clients and what, if anything, did you different to get your last few clients compared to the first 10?

  • MB

    Marco Burgin

    5 months ago #

    Do you usually work on some marketing plan when it comes to blogging?

    I know the importance of key words, do you usually vary the words depending on the post or always use the same?

    I really like to work listening to music, total silence bothers me and depends on the moment and what I'm doing is a different style and you, what style do you most like to hear?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Marco

      On my personal stuff and for Evolving we've never had a plan. It hasn't been more forte, but we're trying to get better. I tend to write/post very much on gut feel and excitement for a topic.

      If you want a post to rank in search (unless it's by accident) you HAVE to have an intentional target topic and keyword. The topic is the 'bucket' of keywords that all match the INTENT your content will be the answer to. I usually target and on-page optimize for the keyword with the most search volume but also a good relevance match.

      Music: I love great hip-hop production (J Dilla, Kanye's productions, Noah 40, and some lesser known producers like Drews That Dude and Gravez) - I also like Keith Jarrett (IMO the world's best pianist and living musician) - I also love Salsa music and it's more modern Cuban form, Timba

  • JM

    Jason Meresman

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan - thanks for participating in today's AMA.

    I have a question about your consulting business.

    Do your clients look to you to train them in SEO fundamentals or deliver actual results? If it's the former, how do you position the ROI?

    Thanks!

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Jason!

      It's a mix of both.

      But really, for the ones where we just train, the ROI is still the same (traffic, conversions, revenue, other biz goals) but they just understand it's going to take more of THEIR execution to get them there.

  • DN

    Dan Nicholson

    4 months ago #

    Hey Dan,

    Quick preamble - I'm responsible for marketing and advertising the marketing and advertising agency I work for, Sherpa Marketing (http://sherpamarketing.ca). We've launched our own podcast talking about high-level marketing trends, best and worst ads of the week, and marketing tips for our listeners. I would say we're still trying to find our footing of format and sound quality, but we're making it better every episode (currently on Episode 6 - https://soundcloud.com/sherpamarketing).

    My question is regarding your organic Podcast growth. The owner of the company loves our podcast but he really wants to get more listeners; this is new digital marketing territory for me. We're using SoundCloud's analytics to measure the number of listens and I'm doing paid promotion of the blog posts that talk about the contents of the podcast, but I was wondering:

    1. Is there a way to help our podcast's searchability and organic search terms on iTunes and Google Play. Should I be putting keywords in the titles and descriptions? What kind of weight is there to each section? Is there other channels I should be considering that isn't those two?
    2. Should I be finding other podcasting channels and forums and posting on there?
    3. Is there a better tool to measure listeners and listen intent? SoundCloud only tells me the number of listens, but not how far they listen or where they drop off?
    4. What other ways can I help with promotion and searchability?

    Thanks!

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Dan!

      1. I did an article last year that may be of interest: https://moz.com/blog/a-look-at-podcasting-seo-in-2016

      But to be honest, it was more of an "here's how I think things are" than "here's what we did".

      You can absolutely add more keywords etc - and from my observations, iTunes is still very gameable in this regard.

      But I guess the big thing for iTunes SEO is like subscription velocity. Most people now to get into New and Noteworthy, as far as I know, run contests or even just pay for this to happen (maybe they pay Fivvr folks or something).

      You definitely need to submit the show to Player.fm, Sticher, and all the other podcast apps and players. We definitely got a good bump once Player started featuring us here: https://player.fm/featured/digital-marketing

      2. I would, and actually, posting epsidoes on Product Hunt and even here on GH has been helpful. I try to not do it for every episode, and only do it with the ones super relevant to the audience. I also write custom descritions and comments.

      3. This is sadly all we get in Podcasting. I use Libsyn and that's all we see also. We do get download breakdowns by day/week, and device, country etc.

      4. Things I'm going to be doing more of in 2017:

      - continuing to build the email list: Brian Dean talked about that with me here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWBJJxv4tXk

      - The BIGGEST growth source I'm aware of is getting OTHER people's podcasts, especially those with big audiences.

      I've lined myself up to be a guest on a handful of shows in Q1 and hope to work up to the big shows.

      For example, outside of marketing, Roman Mars and 99% Invisible said when they got featured on Radiolab it was game over, their downloads skyrocketed.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    5 months ago #

    Bonjour Dan,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    If you only had one shot at growing organic traffic for your mobile app, what would you focus on?

    Merci!

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hey!

      Ahhh mobile apps, this is a little outside of my expertise. Beyond obviously making sure you indexed in Search with App Indexation, I actually don't have an answer I can draw from experience.

  • SJ

    searchism james

    5 months ago #

    Dan thanks for doing this.
    2 Part'r

    1) What's your opinion on AMP and the need to switch over?

    Part duex) Can you share some forward thinking link building techniques aside from content creation + promotion?

    Thanks
    Brian
    @Searchism

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Brian

      I would switch IF, you'e mobile rankings/traffic and even site-load time are suffering - and also if you're a little more news/time oriented.

      Hmmm forward thinking link building - I have two that are not fully baked for you:

      1. "Intent to link" queries. Meaning. Create content with keyword like "statistics" that you can rank. (So "marketing automation statistics") -

      it's my belief and something I want to test - that many people search Google with the intent to LINK. "Hey, I'm writing this marketing automation article, I need some stats" - and if you rank you get the link.

      So find "stats" content in your industry, or as Andy talked about on my podcast "find the missing stat" and create it: http://www.evolvingseo.com/2016/12/05/046-andy-crestodina-interview/ - he did a study showing it takes people 3.5 hours on average to write a blog post. No one had ever had a number for that before.

      2. I want to start encouraging people to STOP just copying outreach tactics. I can't tell you how many emails I get now that are like "Hey I write this thing, can I share it with you?" and then you say yes, and then they write back and say "here's the link, now can you link to it etc etc".

      And I LOVE the guy that popularized this - but - let's invent our own outreach strategies!

      So a few I've been toying with in my head - are outreach with video embeds, or just picking up the phone and calling.

      So you don't have to do those things literally, but the point is, we should be inventing our own ways to reach people. These 'tactics' all have a shelf life when they hit mass scale and then they don't work anymore.

      2 Share
  • JM

    James Mello

    4 months ago #

    What would your SEO checklist be for improving a website?

    If you were to list out between 5-10 items, what would you check first and look to improve?

    What tools would you use to help you accomplish that?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi James

      So if it's technically speaking (in a bit of a random order):

      1. make sure all JS/CSS and images are accessible (use ftech and render and search console)

      2. mobile friendly! mobile friendly! there's no excuse anymore. pagespeed insights, mobile friendly test etc etc

      3. Undo redirect chains: http://www.evolvingseo.com/2013/10/09/how-to-find-fix-redirect-chains/ - especially if an old or large site

      4. make sure you 404 page actually returns a 404 - you can use a simple plugin like this: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/redirect-path/aomidfkchockcldhbkggjokdkkebmdll?hl=en and just visit a page you know should be broken

      5. Fix broken pages with backlinks - Moz Opensite explorer -> Pages -> Filter by 4xx errors (again, better for big/old sites)

      6. On blogs/articles - use "Last Updated" date, show that at the top to users an wrap that with your schema markup, and get the newest date in SERPs

      7. Allow commenting - this has been debated and disagreed with, but google has said point blank twice comments are a quality factor: https://moz.com/blog/broken-art-of-blogging

      8. Use schema everywhere possible - especially when it gets you more SERP visibility - most commonly things like products, recipes, ratings/reviews. See: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/mark-up-content

      9. Use breadcrumbs especially on large / complex sites. It's a great (usually easy) fix to ease some architecture, crawling and UX issues.

      10. Analyze log files. Use Screaming Frog's log analyzer or a tool like OnCrawl. Look for "orphaned" pages Google is still crawling but shouldn't be. Block them or redirect Google attention to more important pages.

      3 Share
  • NS

    nicole sievers

    4 months ago #

    Hey Dan!

    Just curious, can you go into a little more detail about the "growth hacks" between ppc and seo? My team is looking for more ways to collaborate with our ppc friends and would love to hear what worked for you!

    Thanks!

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Nicole!

      Yes, there's three aspects SEO can learn from PPC (and vice versa)...

      (I'm pasting this from an internal doc we have here):

      Keywords
      - Perform well in AdWords but not ranking organic
      - Perform well in Organic but not being targeted in PPC

      Copy / Language
      - Gets good CTR in PPC but copy is not replicated in organic <--used in BC example below
      - Organic pages rank well and we can test updated copy with PPC

      Landing Pages
      - Landing page design / content that converts well from PPC but organic pages are different

      :)

      Basically, you're looking for 'holes' where one aspect does well in one channel but not another.

      If you don't know, USE PPC to test. ie: If you don't know what copy gets good CTR run PPC tests and then bring the winners into SEO. Follow up with search console data to see if it worked.

      Quite often when starting with a new client here, they already have PPC data, and we just mine through that for SEO learnings based on the above.

      I'll probably do a post soon showing the exact reports.

      You can also go into it with a specific goal, like - we want to improve our product description templates - so let's test for CTR in PPC. SEER has some great info on that: http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/optimize-meta-descriptions-using-ppc-data/

      2 Share
  • MB

    Matei Banfi

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan,

    Thank you for doing this AMA.

    We're a start-up looking to rock the world of finance. That being said, we don't really comply with the boring and plain language you'll come across when reading the articles of any competitor.

    Looking at creating an educational blog to be part of our website http://getbux.com/ we'd like to have on there articles that would introduce specific financial terminology (i.e. yield). However, given our DNA, we won't say that "the yield is ...", but rather a "what the f*** is yield???".

    Taking this into account, what would you recommend us to do when writing our articles to be good for SEO as well as maintaining our tone of voice.

    Looking forward to having your answer.

    Cheers!

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Matei

      You're actually in a better situation to rank. Google (I believe) rewards unique language with a point of view and emotional tone. Just do what you did in your example :) Use the keywords, but wrap them in your tone/emotion/opinion.

      If you want to rank an article, have a SOLE clear intentional topic you are targeting. Reverse engineer what users want when they search for the top keyword that represents that topic, and give it to them, with YOUR flare/voice. Often times being contrary actually gets you ranked (think 'rip off report' etc)

  • JD

    James Dunn

    4 months ago #

    Hey Dan

    In your bio you mentioned you're a sporadic blogger in your bio? Why is that?
    Is it that podcasting provides you with as much of an ROI as a regular blog?
    Also, why did you consider podcasting instead of video interviews?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi James

      1. It's more like I've been a temperamental "artist" that just writes when I feel like it (comes from being a musician, and my dad is a sculptor) :)

      But yeah I always just posted when inspiration and time availability strikes. The time is a huge one. I'm not an 800-word blogger.

      I tend to put 10+ hours into most things, so need a good chunk of time to make it happen.

      Audio vs Video is serendipitous and interesting actually.

      The night before my first scheduled interview, I was having a random conversation with my wife.

      She didn't yet know I was launching a show, and she just randomly said to me "you know you're really good on the phone, but not as great in video or in person").

      She was talking about my consulting work, but I connected the dots and right then decided I would do the interviews via audio.

      The next day, my first (and only) booked guest, Marie was schedule. Literally, 2 minutes before the call - I had NO idea how I was even going to record it. I Googled and bought a Skype recorder and it was installed 15 seconds before the call started.

      I had SO much fun doing it, I immediately emailed the next 10 guests and our first batch of shows was booked.

  • MQ

    Matthew Quinn

    4 months ago #

    Hey Dan - With a new or really young start up is it worth focussing on SEO? At what point do you start?

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan - great to have you here!

    A few questions...

    1. How did you start training/consulting and how do you price your services?
    2. What is your approach for staying up to date with SEO trends? How do you recommend others stay up to date?
    3. How did you decide it was time to start a podcast?

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

    Cheers,

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Dani!

      1. My full story is here: http://www.evolvingseo.com/2016/08/03/032-dan-shure-evolution-into-seo/ - and I think another answer above,

      but in short, I fell into it by having been a business owner and a part of my dad's businesses.

      The SEO bug bit me pretty hard around 2010 and I was tired of teaching piano to little kids (not a huge fan of little kids, no offense to anyone)

      2. Follow the top "Googler's" like JohnMu, Barry Illyes, and every Google blog (I have an RSS category for all Google blog posts - yes, RSS!).

      Follow the top news sites like The SEM Post and Barry Schwartz. Follow Marie Haynes and Glenn Gabe for penalty related stuff. Follow Dr Pete for SERP changes. AJ Kohn is great to follow too.

      But remember - MOST SEO "news" is NOT that important as people make it out to be. Every year, out of the hundreds or thousands of stories, only a few dozen are really that important.

      Also, use something like Nuzzle to help filer/curate all the tweets :)

      3. Just passion. I had wanted to start one since like 2010 (and actually recorded a bunch of episodes, but never published them). But finally with the help of Anthony here, I was able to make it happen. I couldn't do the show without him.

  • KA

    karim Abd El Kader

    4 months ago #

    Thanks a lot for conducting this AMA

    I wanted to know and learn what are the best way and steps for conducting an SEO audit for SaaS, if you can share links as well; i will be grateful.

    Many Thanks,
    K.

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi! Somewhere on this page I listed 10 things to check on every website. I'd start there.

      Then for SaaS even though you sell a software "product" you need to still think of yourself as a publisher.

      Look at what Moz does for the ultimate case study. They sell software but on the shoulders of articles, videos, conferences, webinars etc.

      Publish content that addresses the same PROBLEMS your software solves.

      Publish content that incorporates your product in the path or process of something larger the user is trying to accomplish. Think about THEIR challenges.

      I still think with SaaS, way more companies could be leveraging screencasting and webinars.

  • AM

    Amon Menzel

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan,

    thanks for your AMA! Let's say my company rebooted the website one year ago and didnt really plan it at all. Now I am here and the website is, in SEO-technical terms, a nightmare. Do you have any advice (link to tutorial or just your personal experience) on whichs steps to focus on first (1man team here in a startup)? Thanks!

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      yes, focus on the basics of accessibility (meaning 404s, and 301s). It's easy to get distracted but clean up everything so ultimately:

      - your current internal links all link to 200 pages (don't internally link to 301s)

      - find OLD content that was never redirected, or redirected to the wrong pages

      ...by going to Analytics->Landing Pages->Export-> you'll have a list of URLs
      ...then go to Screaming Frog->Run in list most->Export the results
      ...NOW you have a list of URLs that USED to work and get traffic but maybe return 404s or 301s. clean those up by redirecting, fixing etc.

  • DM

    daniel ma

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan. maybe a stupid question : As a totally new E-com website , what are the first steps we need to do for SEO

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Daniel

      So simple but most eComm sites miss this:

      Use CONVERSION INTENT keywords in your titles.

      It's not "Men's Sneaker"

      It's "Men's Sneaker For Sale"

      This not only helps you rank a little better for conversion intent keywords (higher conversion rate) but ALSO shows users in results the CTA

  • PH

    Paul Hopkins

    4 months ago #

    If you were to do one thing to improve SEO what would it be?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Keyword targeted informational content I know I could rank for without link buolding (or much link building).

      Note: that's biased to my preferences, strengths, experience.

  • DG

    Dave Gerhardt

    4 months ago #

    What's up Dan!

    Two questions for you:

    1. Big fan of your podcast. What's been the value you've seen in doing it? I love asking this question because I know it's not as easy as "X number of leads" or "X increase in traffic." So curious to hear why you're doing it (and seemingly doubling down).

    2. I run a marketing team of 3 people -- and content is big part of our strategy, but with a small team and bigger priorities (aka sales) I don't have a *ton* of time to spend on outreach for each article we do. Think we can build an amazing site without link building? And growing through email + social. (For what it's worth, when I do have some free time, I do link building and content promotion -- but sometimes it's just not the biggest priority since our freemium model drives a ton of traffic and leads it's better to focus there).

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hey Dave!

      1. The real reason I do it, which I don't think I've talked about - it because I do eventually want to find a way to monetize it.

      BUT, I'm 110% patient to take time to grow the audience, until it hits a breaking point to be ready to monetize.

      If it takes two years, that's fine! Echoing Tim's advice here, I'm basically willing to wait a stupidly long amount of time: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/04/11/tim-ferriss-podcast-business/

      It does indeed bring other benefits in the meantime. I have gotten some direct leads, networked with awesome people like you :) ...and I've noticed reporters etc still look at being a podcast host as a badge of credibility.

      2. I do know it's *possible* because I've seen it. I think it comes down to your goals, and how quickly aggressively you're trying to hit those. It comes down to the tactics too.

      If I were you I'd do two things:

      I would seriously do an 80/20 on your prior content (which I know you do at least anecdotally, because you decided to do a study on Mailchimp based on the success of your #1 post from 2016) here's more details on the nuts and bolts of it here: http://www.evolvingseo.com/2013/01/22/what-80-20-rule-really-is-applying-it-to-seo/

      But I'd also double down your efforts and aspirations for keyword targeting with content. Drift has a DA 50 now, which I believe has grown, and as this accelerates, you'll find it easier and easier to rank for relevant, but higher volume stuff.

      For example, I just consulted for a client with a DA 70ish site, who has millions of page views. To get to the next level, he needs to think BIG. So I id'd some one-word keywords with 100,000+ searches a month. Because he can probably rank for those.

      As you insinuate, link building doesn't have to be black and white. I think of it like boxing a little bit. Be READY with a tactic/article/target and just wait until the opportunity to strike. Set up alerts or something that will trigger to you an opportunity being ready.

      • DS

        Dan Shure

        4 months ago #

        Dave - I also meant to say - think BIGGER about your "link building". Let the DA 60 and below authority sites happen.

        The links that are really going to move the needle for you going forward are going to be like DA65 (roughly speaking of course) and above. Super relevant, contextual links within the body of content that probably sends referral traffic.

        So think along the lines of what Kerry Talked about with what they do at Fractl, or a guest I have coming up (Mark who was with Distilled) will talk about data-oriented visualizations that got them huge links.

      • DG

        Dave Gerhardt

        4 months ago #

        Great answers. Super helpful. Now I need to get hunting those 65+ DA links!

  • SS

    Seth Sharp

    4 months ago #

    Hey Dan, thanks for doing this. I'm a musician as well and was curious what some of the more effective methods you've used or are aware of to promote music.

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Seth!

      When it comes to music SEO specifically, the process it actually backwards, which I wrote about here: https://moz.com/blog/music-seo-2015

      But otherwise, (and from someone who's been out of the music game for a while) - you can piggyback on pop-culture or popular stuff.

      For example, my covers of Kanye's or Drake's songs have gotten me over I think 100,000 views collectively on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ6yWnAdvxM - and I'm only posting a cover every once and a while and only have about 500 subscribers.

      Tutorials are huge too! This has 44,000+ thousand views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p82o3opSlkU

      Some musicians are doing clever piggybacking on pop culture or popular YouTube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuIiYOgtEuY

      Or, if you can get yourself on the channel of a Vlogger like Casey Neistat or even on Gary Vee's show - some people are starting to see huge exposure there.

      Bottom Line: I think with music promo it's all about the persistent execution, positioning yourself to get massive exposure on big networks

  • FB

    Flo Bejgu

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan,
    What's your favourite growth via SEO tactic that you'd advise a B2B company in professional services field (like translation services) to use?

    Many thanks,
    Flo

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Flo!

      Check out the many other threads (ie my answer to Kerry Jones) my fav method is informational content targeted to rank in Google which causes a flywheel effect of traffic and even helps rankings with your core KW's

  • JA

    Justin Adelson

    4 months ago #

    One question - two parts: What is the number one mistake small business owners or entrepreneurs make when adopting an inbound marketing strategy with a focus on SEO? And what is the easiest solution to preventing and/or fixing said mistake?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Justin

      Too many get caught up in the small details of things that don't matter (ie: should my blog be on a subdomain or subfolder? should I optimize my H1's with keywords?)

      The solution is to stay PEOPLE focused, meaning at the end of the day, yes you want the get the technical details right - BUT, if a person won't care that much it doesn't matter too much.

      I'm not dismissing technical SEO at all. It's super important, but for your context focus on your CUSTOMER and helping them.

  • RP

    Robert Pajor

    4 months ago #

    Hey Dan! Having a great learning experience reading :).

    I have a question for a project I'm going to work on soon. I have a graphic designer looking for a one page website.

    What are some practices you'd apply?
    How do you feel about multiple H1's on one page?

    My client said he realizes the SEO won't work that well, but I'm trying to give him the best service possible and this AMA is perfectly convenient for asking these questions! Thanks in advance.

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Hi Robert

      This sounds like a case where they won't rank for super general stuff like "graphic designer" etc.

      They either need to pick a super specific long-tail keyword they can rank for (like "small business logo graphic designer in boston ma" or adjust goals and expectations, and focus on off-site SEO.

      Tweaking H1s etc won't get you that far ;)

      So if you only have one page to work with, forget about SEO and obviously make it the best damn page you can!

      Then for SEO you'll either have to focus on adding more content(page) or off-site promotion.

      If I was a graphic designer with a one-page website, strategically, I'd 10x down on YouTube and Instagram - with links and calls to action pointing back to the website. Screencasts go over awesome in YouTube and Instagram with smart hashtagging can do awesome.

  • QB

    Quentin Berson

    4 months ago #

    Hey Dan, Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA !

    1. When using a blog for SEO purpose in local SERP, what is the best between quality and quantity (in terms of article)?
    2. Your favorite SEO hack
    3. What SEO will look like in 2017 for you ?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      1. Not sure I totally understand?

      2. I know I've mentioned this a lot in this AMA, but just solid/in-depth keyword research to ID topics with opportunity for you to rank. You can see a tutorial/example of a few tactics here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKuL5fO1mYk

      3. I hope... LOTS of innovation when it comes to link building and outreach. I don't think there's been much new creativity in these areas of SEO lately.

  • RR

    Rajesh Ranjan

    4 months ago #

    What are best on-page seo practices to follow? Would be great if you can share a few ideas specific to travel industry where competition is very high and already many players have done a great job.

  • PG

    pk Gupta

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan,
    This is a great Article. I Like It ! !

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    5 months ago #

    Hey Dan - so stoked to have you on!

    (How) can you optimize for Direct traffic?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      The FIRST step is to actually try to attribute it! Marshall talked about it on my show here: http://www.evolvingseo.com/2016/10/18/041-marshall-simmonds-interview/ -

      but in short it might be a lot of campaign tagging and analysis of existing direct traffic to try and figure out where it's really coming from. Most direct traffic (or a lot) is not direct (someone just typing the URL into their browser).

      But for true direct traffic, I would just reverse engineer the user's psychology. Why are they coming direct? What page are they landing on? How often? Are they performing the actions I want/expect from that sort of behavior? Can I surprise and delight them with something unexpected?

      2 Share
  • JS

    Jeevan SD

    5 months ago #

    Hi
    What qualities should I develop to become a growth hacker?

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      Critical thinking, creativity, perseverance & analytical thinking.

      It's my opinion you develop these by learning OTHER, completely unrelated to marketing skills that have these qualities.

      In other words - CROSS DISCIPLINE learning.

      For example, I learned ALL of those traits from being a musician. But maybe someone can learn chess, or basketball, or painting, or audio engineering - develop those universal skills someway and then bring them into marketing.

      Bonus? It's those that bring outside ways of thinking that have fresh and innovative ideas.

  • AC

    Aakash choudhary

    4 months ago #

    Hello Dan,
    My name is Aakash and I work as a SEO analyst at a Market Research firm.
    How would you go about getting qualified traffic to a site like this?
    Also, if you believe LinkedIn is great for getting leads, what advice would you have for going about that?

  • SM

    Sabian Muhammad

    4 months ago #

    As someone who's starting out in content marketing but has a love for writing (late in the game) what can I do to boost my progress and keep moving forward?
    Better yet, how can I get my head around SEO as a beginner? I'm great at writing and understanding audience needs on a basic level but beyond that...what's next?

  • AR

    Amal Rafeeq

    4 months ago #

    Hi Dan,
    This is a great AMA. Loving it here!

    I'm from an explainer video company named WowMakers Production. We've been doing a pretty good job with creating converting explainer videos for our clients. We've been driving in most of the sales via outbound marketing. We have around 15 to 20 competitors who are trying to get their websites ranked for our target keyword.

    Link building wasn't our focus. (But we just started creating roundups and outreachs). Most of our competitors have an average of 4 to 5 times the number of unique backlinks we have. Even though we are not ranking for the target keyword, we are ranking for some of the top keywords in our industry like "DIY explainer videos", "explainer video software" etc. But we are not doing a good job with our keyword "explainer video company", yet.

    What do you suggest we do? I've been planning to create actionable infographics that our influencers would love and outreaching them, plus creating in-depth guides and building links to them. What do you think?

    Thanks.

    • DS

      Dan Shure

      4 months ago #

      FIRST I would test your assumption that ranking for "explainer video company" would generate the right leads and return ROI.

      I would set up some PPC ads for that keyword and test it. The budget is worth it, because often companies will focus efforts on this one big dream keyword only to realize it doesn't turn into business :)

      A lot of the longtail off of "explainer video company" is "explainer video company india/bangladesh" etc... which may imply those searches are looking for the cheaper options.

      In terms of the strategy, what you've mentioned *could* work, it's all in the execution! Going after links is good, but with your content strategy, I would also think about where your target buyer is and reverse engineer how to get in front of them.

      • AR

        Amal Rafeeq

        4 months ago #

        I agree, testing it using PPC ads are great and we've had quite success doing it. So it is indeed a 'Golden Keyword' for us.

        Thanks :)

  • DV

    Denis Volkov

    4 months ago #

    Hello Dan!
    1. How would you organize process of SEO for topics/products that are just appeared, or new products, that nobody searches for yet. Or even not searches for them in THIS manner. For example: a) business can have problem with missed calls, so he somehow finds that he need to setup IVR. And we offer Visual IVR - the addition to that technology, which send sms with link to unique customer portal, where caller, whose call was missed, can navigate through mobile app and ask questions, instead of calling again, or listening to IVR menus again and again.
    b) many businesses offer gift certificates, people search and buy them successfully. We organized mobile technology, when one can choose gift certificate, fill receiver phone number, pay it, and the receiver will get sms with unique link to this certificate, which he can use. Everything is done from mobile.
    2. We have a product, that can be used in 16 different approaches, some of them are "new" to market - how do we organize site structure - many sites, many subdomains, or one site with different pages?

  • JB

    Jake Baxton

    4 months ago #

    Impressive stats there, instantly validates you as a pro ;)

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