Episode Transcript — Ranking Your Ecommerce Business on Google w/ Kris Reid of Ardor SEO
00:00 Speaker 1: You're listening to the Spend $10k a Day podcast, brought to you by the performance marketing experts at MuteSix. This is your source for cutting-edge insight into the world of online advertising from the team with more Facebook case studies than any other agency on the planet. Here are your hosts Steve Weiss and Stewart Anderson.
00:24 Stewart Anderson: Welcome back to the Spend $10k a Day podcast. I'm Stewart Anderson here today with a good friend of ours, Kris Reid from Ardor SEO. He's an internationally renowned SEO expert, and we're gonna talk to him a little bit today about what e-commerce companies can be doing better from an SEO standpoint. It's a very big, very important part of anybody's marketing strategy, but it often doesn't get the attention it deserves. Chris, welcome to the podcast.
00:48 Kris Reid: Yeah, it's awesome to be able to teleport to the other side of the world to work with you guys.
00:51 SA: Absolutely, absolutely. I'm sure you guys can probably tell, Chris is from, as he just mentioned, another part of the world. He's joining us from Brisbane, Australia. We're here in sunny Los Angeles but it's good to connect with him from a very, very long distance. So, Chris, tell me a little bit about what you do and some of the things that I know... Just tell us a little bit about yourself.
01:12 KR: Yeah so I'm originally a software engineer. I then one day decided to build an online game and thought, "How the hell do you get people to a website?" And so I started learning about backlinks and then SEO and, eventually, turned out I was pretty good at both of those and ended up building a company. And so now we really try and connect people. The people that are looking for your market, well, people in your market looking for you, with you.
01:39 SA: That's great. Do you ever miss being a software engineer?
01:43 KR: We have a software team, so I do get to play with them every now, not too often but I still get my hands dirty every now and then. So it's a bit of fun.
01:52 SA: Very nice, very nice. Well, yeah, let's dive into the topic at hand here, search engine optimization. Talk to me about... We work a lot with e-commerce companies and a lot of the content here that we talk about on the podcast is geared towards e-commerce companies. What are some things that a typical e-commerce company does wrong when they're building out their site or trying to implement like a new SEO strategy.
03:32 SA: Yeah, so it sounds like fairly obvious but an important point to be made, obviously, focusing on a category-based structure for your product catalog on your e-commerce store is essential. Talk to me a little bit about how you would choose... You just mentioned a dog food example and it sounds like a lot of the organization was by breed or size. Let's say generically, obviously, there's gonna be a lot of different breakdowns based on different categories or different types of products. What is the approach that you prefer to have from a categorical standpoint? How are you categorizing items for, let's say, a clothing store? Are you gonna go by the type of product it is? Are you're gonna go by a body type? It sounds like... Go ahead.
04:15 KR: Well, if I had a clothing website the first thing I'd do is like go to H&M, they're an amazing retailer, so go and see how they categorize their clothes and you can see that they've got all the different sections, men's and women and then they've got all of the subcategories of that. So, man, you could do the exact same thing.
04:34 SA: Yeah. So is the obvious answer for that one usually the right answer? Or is there sometimes like some secret where it's like, "Yeah, most stores are doing it this way but the real, the more effective way, that most people don't do, is actually this and it's a better way to do it," will that be...
04:54 KR: I'd say that you want it to be intuitive for your customers if... Generally, with a clothing store, right? You're used to seeing male and female section, and so you go deep each one. And if you had it all mixed together, sure it might be interesting and different but young people aren't... People are there to go and find what they want, they don't wanna have to look at a shirt and go, "Is this for a man or is this for a woman?" And it can just be confusing. So I often say to people, "Look at who's winning." Like H&M spend a real lot of money on working out what works best for their shop layout, so why can't you go and borrow that information?
05:35 SA: That's a very good point, yeah. A plus to a lot of marketing is always look at the people that are doing really well and try to replicate that, it's not stealing, it's just imitation. Most sincere form of flattery.
05:46 KR: Yeah, obviously, yeah, speak to your people. Like you don't wanna go head to head with H&M because you're not going to win. So like [chuckle] you need to make it different and stand out and speak to whoever your target market is.
06:02 SA: Yes. So along the lines of making it intuitive, one thing I talk a lot about with people that are in the SEO space or web designers, copywriters, striking the balance between search friendly content and user friendly content. What's your feeling on where that balance lies? What's the best way to make content that is both search engine friendly and user friendly?
06:28 KR: Ah, yeah. So years ago, all of the search engines were crap and Google wasn't even that great. So yeah, you did need to make content that was for search engines so they could best understand it and rank it. But now they're getting better and better, and better. And at the end of day, you care about conversions, not ranking. So always, write your content for people. And Google does its very best to try and work out what that content is about. Sure, you can help it a little bit but I really would not stress on that. I'd focus on what's your people wanna hear and what's gonna convert.
07:04 SA: Absolutely. We've talked a little bit about the on-page SEO experience. Let's talk a little bit about off-page and, I guess, the transition point of that would be what is more important. Obviously, you wanna have good on-page optimization, but if I'm implementing an SEO strategy that I want to take my business to the next level, I wanna be selling more, ranking higher, where should my emphasis be? Should it be 50/50? Should it be 75/25? One way or another? What's more important? Getting backlinks? Or doing some intense on-page optimization?
07:40 KR: Yeah, you certainly need to have a decent website, it needs to load at a good speed and look good, 'cause... Well, for one, it's not going to convert if it doesn't. And have good content. But once your website is at a reasonable level, it's really important to build your authority 'cause Google can't trust implicitly what you say. You can write, "Hey, we've got the best dresses for this summer." Well, how would Google know if that's true or not? They have to trust the greater community, and that's why backlinks is so important. A backlink is just a link from one website to another, but it's considered a vote, and not every vote is equal, just like in the real world. Business leaders and government officials have higher votes than laymen. And so it's the same with websites. You're not going to rank without getting that authority, especially for the more valuable keywords. I like to say our customers that, "You should spend 20% of your time making content and 80% of your time getting that content seen." It's like, who cares if you're writing the best story in the world and no one is reading it? It needs to get out there to where people are looking.
08:53 KR: Everyone is looking for content. I do podcasts like these all the time 'cause I like talking about what I do, so it's no hassle for me. I get out a coffee and blah, blah, blah. So hopefully I'm providing value and interest to your listeners, so you win. And I win by getting some promotion and a backlink. Anyone can do that for their business if you're making amazing dresses, well, who cares about amazing dresses? Probably some fashion labels or some local newspapers or whoever. Whoever your market is. So go an connect with those guys, provide them awesome content and everyone wins.
09:31 SA: Absolutely. I actually recently recorded a piece of content, just a Q&A thing for an organization I'm a part of here, and the question was about, basically, how to form high-quality content partnerships even when you're an early stage business. And I always told people, I was like, "Focus on the value that you provide to somebody else. Put an idea in their head of all the value they're gonna get before you even talk about what you're getting out of it." And that's the best way. I think the scary part for a lot of businesses when they start out is they're like, "What can I have to offer somebody who can really make a difference to me?" If I wanna get a really valuable backlink like, what could I even do? Why would they even wanna link to me? This is all about providing value.
10:09 KR: And that's so true. And we've got an average team that handles this stuff appliance and often when I'm training new members, it's they can't get into their head that they're always talking about what we're doing and it's like, "Stop that. No one cares about you or what you want, what's in it for them? Why should they even read your damn email?" You need to get to the point really quickly and show them why they should be listening and how this is of value to them. And every business, if you're going to stay in business, you should be able to provide some value to someone. So yeah, find out who those people are and provide it.
10:45 SA: Yeah. And I think that another good tip that I've found when I'm doing outreach whether it's for SEO or PR, or anything is always make a specific ask. I like having concrete ideas or concrete proposals, it's like, "Hey, I would love to do this, maybe a webinar exchange," whatever it is. And I say, "This is the idea of what I think we should do," and, let's say it's three bullet points or something like that. It's easier to get a yes/no because, ultimately, you want a quick answer. If it's gonna be a no, I'd rather get that quickly than exchange several emails back and forth. So if you create a specific proposal for somebody to say yes or no to, and especially for something like a backlink, they can think about it for five seconds and be like, "Okay, that makes sense." Rather than, "Hey, what do you think about doing this? Maybe we could do a backlink exchange." "Oh, okay. Here's how this could work. I guess, these are a couple ideas." That stuff, it drags out. It really ultimately wastes people's time and it's less likely to result in you getting that actual backlink. I tell people be specific when you're reaching out 'cause, ultimately, you wanna do a lot of these things and you wanna get the yeses or the noes really quickly, so. It seems...
11:49 KR: Another way you could do it too is not actually speak about links, there's really no need to do that. You can talk about just the content that you're providing. "Hey, I love your blog. I love this article." Be genuine, do some research and go, "Oh, I do like your blog and I think it's a great fit for this. I'd like to provide you some content about blah."
12:08 SA: Oh, yeah. I definitely didn't mention...
12:10 KR: Then it's all about them.
12:11 SA: I didn't intended to mention the nature of just getting a backlink on the call, or an a email. I was more about just topically referring to that. But yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, a very good take away there, the classic 20/80. Which it seems that's the ratio for a lot of things in life and in marketing.
12:30 KR: It's just a natural ratio.
12:31 SA: It is. It is. And that's a good thing for the audience here to remember. If you are planning an SEO strategy, think about spending 20% of your time actually building content, and 80% of the time finding a place for it to go. It's a great, great tip. So I wanna talk a little bit about social media. Obviously, we do a lot in social, we're on the ads side primarily. But talk to me about how social can play a role in an SEO strategy? How it can help improve results? What people should be doing when they're going about community management or organic social? Trying to go out there, what can they do to improve results from an SEO standpoint?
13:14 KR: I do really like Scott Stratten's message, the guy from UnMarketing. Where he says, "You don't need to be on every social platform. You should be where your customers are going to speak to, but if you're going to be there, be active." So if you're going to have a Twitter account, use it. If you're gonna have a Facebook page, use it. Don't just have these empty ghost towns that no one interacts with. Generally, I don't really think that social has a lot to do with SEO, because yeah, anyone can make a Facebook post, right? And so Google doesn't have any credibility to that. It's not everyone can get a link from the BBC or Fox News, or CNN. So that has a lot of credibility. Where even YouTube, yes, it's great to have a video that can send traffic to your site, but Google doesn't give it a lot of weight because anyone can make a YouTube video and post it there, right? So social should not be really thought of as a way of ranking higher in Google, but it's certainly a great way to connect with your people and send them to your website.
14:22 SA: Definitely. So you're saying that Google Plus is no longer playing a major role in marketing strategies?
14:29 KR: In fact, I was just recently speaking with the woman that's a world renowned in ranking YouTube videos, and she said Google Plus inhibits you from ranking YouTube videos, so.
14:43 SA: Wow.
14:44 KR: Yeah, it's, well, dying and dead and just don't bother.
14:49 SA: Yeah, I think the old joke was that it was a great place to go and meet a bunch of people that work for Google.
14:55 KR: Yeah.
14:57 SA: Yeah. I think that's a good message. I think being able to operate freely and not worry about SEO. I don't wanna say not worry about SEO, but just kinda have it kinda in the back of your mind, focusing on social just creating premium content and really, really give value for people is great. Are there any other kinda general tips? If I'm an entrepreneur and I'm trying to... We talked a little about e-commerce, but if I'm starting a business tomorrow or next week, what are three things that you want me to know before I launch my new website?
15:36 KR: Yeah. Test your market that your products are going to sell. That's why AdWords is super great, especially for a newbie. You can pop up your website. You can test that something is going to sell before you even have it. Go and spend $100 on ads, say you think some fancy new ski boots are going to be great. So you can make a landing page, buy some traffic. Now it doesn't sell. Great, don't bother making them. Don't invest anymore in it. And you can test your market. That's really beneficial. Working out what your product is, but once you have that I really look for the low hanging fruit. There's always... One thing we do with customers when we're getting started is go and look at all the... Well, we first get all the key words that they want. Work with them on that. Then go through rank tracking to see where they are. And there's always keywords that you're on page 11, between 11 and 24, so your on page two of Google, where you're getting no traffic. And usually some tiny little tweaks, some internal linking is enough to move from number 11 where you get nothing, to even number 10 where you're getting... Number 10 gets 4% of the clicks. It's not a lot. But it's better than nothing.
16:51 KR: You can get those sort of quick wins really simple and easily. They compound and you keep doing that and then you're making money. And then you'll have more money to invest and go after big keywords. There's a... I really love that Jim Collins book, Good to Great where he says, "Fire bullets and then fire cannonballs." Meaning that don't use all your ammunition at one thing. You can't invest everything that you have at this one tier, 'cause if it misses, you're out of business. Where if you just fire little shots around and then get on target, once you hit it, then you throw everything you have at that.
17:32 SA: That's good points. Good points. Well, Kris, I wanna give you an opportunity to pitch yourself and your business a little bit too. So tell our audience a little bit about Ardor SEO. Feel free to be as salesy as possible as you want for a little bit.
17:47 KR: Super. We're a total techno geek socio guys. We have a real distributor team, we have an office here in Cambodia, and another office in the Philippines, where we've got guys that work in the US, the UK, Australia. And yeah, we specialize in getting people ranked. If you'd like us to do a video work for you, you can go to ardorseo.com that's A-R-D-O-R S-E-O.com/podcast and all the details will be there or you can just Google the coolest guy in SEO and you'll see my pretty face.
18:19 SA: That's a pretty good thing to rank for. How did you rank for that? Do you know a lot about ranking in search engines?
18:27 KR: I've done it once or twice, yeah, that's reputation engineering right there.
18:35 SA: Awesome. Well, Kris, it's been great having you on the podcast. I think our audience is gonna get a lot of value out of this, you know, SEO is one of those things a lot of people know a little bit about, very few people know a lot about. So thank you so much for joining us. To everybody listening today, thank you again for joining us for another episode of the Spend $10K a Day podcast. If you have any questions about online marketing, Facebook ads, e-commerce, anything at all, feel free to email me, Stewart Anderson, S-T-E-W-A-R-T at @mutesix.com or my co-host, who is taking a break today, Steve Weiss, S-T-E-V-E @mutesix.com. Thank you again and we will see you again soon for another episode.