Alex Meade, VP of Sales and Marketing at Beacons Point, sits down with Jeff Coyle, Co-founder, Chief Strategy Officer at MarketMuse, to discuss how to make SEO work for you in 2022 on The B2B Growth Marketer Podcast.
Episode Show Notes
Do you tell yourself, “I need to improve the search on my site; I need to improve the rankings.” Jeff Coyle, the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at MarketMuse, says that creating high-quality content is how you make improvements happen. Jeff has been working in SEO, ads, and content for 20 years. Today on the show, we will talk about cutting out the fluff content pieces, creating invaluable information for your customers, and the importance of reengaging and reupdating your content.
Alex Meade, Beacons Point, VP of Sales & Marketing
Alex is the VP of Sales & Marketing at Beacons Point, a leader of HubSpot User Groups, the host of the B2B Growth Marketer Podcast, and a collector of Kurt Vonnegut books and San Diego craft beer.
Jeff Coyle, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at MarketMuse
Cross-disciplined, a data-driven inbound marketing executive with 20+ years of experience managing products and website networks; focused on helping companies grow.
Jeff Coyle [00:00:00] Technical search engine optimization is the invite to the party, and content is how successful the party is.
Alex Meade [00:00:11] This is the B2B Growth Marketer Podcast. I’m your host, Alex Meade. Today on the show we have Jeff Coyle. He is the co-founder and chief strategy officer at Market Muse. Jeff is an expert in all things content and SEO, and then, how those two merge together. In this episode, we’re talking with Jeff about how to cut through the noise with SEO. You’re sitting there thinking, “I need to improve the search on my site; I need to improve the rankings. What should I focus on in 2022? What key factors should I think about?” Jeff has been working in SEO and ads, and in content for the last 20 years, all the way from custom-coded websites and updating there to trying to get your search ranking in AltaVista, for those of you who remember that browser. Enjoy the show. Jeff has a lot of information, a lot of knowledge to bring. If you’ve been thinking about SEO or have questions, this is a great episode for you. Enjoy the show. Thanks.
Alex Meade [00:1:23] Hey, Jeff. Welcome to the B2B Growth Marketer Podcast. It is great to have you.
Jeff Coyle [00:01:27] Oh, thanks so much. I’m looking forward to our discussion today.
Alex Meade [00:01:29] Yeah. Based on our previous conversations and just reviewing some of the content online, it seems like SEO is one of your strong suits, one of the things you have a strong skill set in. Does that seem accurate?
Jeff Coyle [00:01:45] Yeah. It’s been now 22 1/2 years that I’ve been focused on content strategy, lead generation, conversion rate optimization, building products as well as being a practitioner for organic search, SEO, also paid A/B multi-varied testing. You name it, if it involves traffic going to a website and then doing something with it, I’ve probably done it.
Alex Meade [00:02:14] You’ve had some experience with that. You’ve been doing SEO for a while. You were doing HTML edits to add H1 tags; you were doing all that stuff.
Jeff Coyle [00:02:25] Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I’ve been trying to figure out how to submit URLs to AltaVista to get them refreshed and to the top of the list. Everything from that to sending spreadsheets to AdWords before they had an interface I’ve been focused on this. Oddly enough, I’ve been focused on content quality for about that long. I got religion on that in the early 2000s, and now that is certainly what’s in vogue. I was standing on top of that mountain by myself very early on and saying, “When people land on these pages, you’re going to want them to trust your business and trust the publisher that they’re coming to.” Now that is the hot commodity.
Alex Meade [00:03:16] Yeah. Actually, let me ask you this question. You’ve been doing both of these for a long time. What, in your mind, are some of the biggest changes in SEO for the better?
Jeff Coyle [00:03:29] Oh, gosh. For the better? The search engine technology, the actual infrastructure and how the search engines work—primarily Google and Bing—have gotten so much more appropriately tuned for businesses. Their ability to return relevant results and provide a great experience is dramatically better. Their focus on content quality over the past—gosh, now—8 to 10 years where that’s really been a clear focus and you can see the improvement happen over time, that is so for the better. It’s better for searchers. It’s better for businesses to be able to get their message out there and tell the story of their expertise. Now, is there always a shake hands there? No, businesses aren’t tuned to get all their expertise on their website. Quite frequently, that takes time. For publishers, for businesses that understand what it means to tell the story of expertise and to be there throughout their prospect or customer journey, those companies are winning more. For me, that’s a great thing, because I think about it as a user, as a searcher, and as a business. It’s a lot more appropriate. There’s a lot less desire or expectation that there’s going to be some quick win or some trick because their infrastructure is so significant. I always like to quote… There’s a Google research scientist who’s…it’ll come to me, his name*, but he always said, “Cheating is time correlative.” What that means, basically, is if you cheat, you may win in the short run, but we will catch you over time. He said that between ’07 and ’11. He is part of Google’s anti-spam team and part of the search team. I always put that into my brain. Anytime someone says they’ve done large-scale testing and this wacky technique works or they’re trying to preach something that just doesn’t look right is the right way to go, I just always think about that. I just think, “Cheating is time correlative, and it’s going to catch you in the end.” Would I want to put that page…? Would I want to associate that page to my business? What if someone lands there? What’s their experience going to be? All of those things go into it. I find that when you speak with reasonable people who really care about their brand, they tend to easily and quickly flush all of that garbage out and think about wow, yeah, when someone gets there, I want them to think really great things about my business, and that stuff that’s being professed as being the way to win isn’t good for my business.
*Author Jun Wu “The Beauty of Mathematics in Computer Science”
Alex Meade [00:07:01] Yeah. It really should be is this content on my page helping my customer, my end user? Is it helping them, or is this just fluff that I’m just trying to get clicks to?
Jeff Coyle [00:07:18] Yeah, it’s about information gain. You want them to have not had this piece of information that you’re providing. They get there, and you’ve added value to their life in some way. It may be a small tidbit. It may be something really significant to them, but they were looking to find something, and you tried to what we call an intent match or a value match. You try to provide a value match. Then, if you go over and above that with your content, kudos to you. You might have just gained a customer. You might have just gained trust. They might forward that to some friends, and you gained virality. There’s so many good things that can come when you provide information gain with content. You can drag someone across the customer journey no matter where they started, or you may get some other benefits that are either easily quantifiable or not so easy to quantify.
Alex Meade [00:08:17] Yeah. It’s interesting that you, when asking about what you’ve learned or what’s changed in SEO, answered it with content. Something we joke around with is you can’t spell SEO without content. Talk to me. How are those two married together? Is that a marriage that’s forever? Is that how you now do SEO is through high-quality value-based content?
Jeff Coyle [00:08:48] You didn’t ask about the negatives of SEO, but yeah, the good part is that always married? It’s always part of it. The other good thing that has happened that I didn’t mention but that would answer your question really well is there’s been a focus on technical search engine optimization. Have a great user experience along the way, not doing things that are invasive or meant to trick a user. My background is in usability theory. I went to Georgia Tech for computer science. My specialization was usability, and I worked on search engines building early ones, intranet stuff, tech search, and also usability, user interface software. I worked heavily in things like user interfaces for disabilities and things like that. Are our content and search always correlative? Yeah, but more things are correlative to SEO. You’ve got technical search engine optimization being focused on. That’s great for usability. Then you’ve got content. When the person lands there, is the content providing value; is this high-quality content? That’s going to be connected. What I’m usually saying is that technical search engine optimization is the invite to the party, and content is how successful the party is. Then you’ll ask what about off-page factors, links, and other correlations to value? Those are still extremely important, too. It’s how will the search engines evaluate quality, site structure, and usability to potentially be more influential and more important over time. That’s really the journey that we’re all going to be on in SEO is evaluating links more effectively so that they are more of a true representation of what’s important, making sure it follows through with content quality and provides a great user experience. Then, their other whole thing is interpreting queries, but we can leave that for another day. As a person who owns the site, those are the three things you have a lot of control over.
Alex Meade [00:11:15] Yeah. Well, let’s go to what people can do in 2022. It’s still weird to say that. I don’t know if I’m saying it right, I keep saying 2021, ’22. I don’t know. In the new year, what is maybe your five do’s and don’ts or things people should be focusing on versus what…? You go on HubSpot blog, Backlinko, Semrush, and there are 50,000 things you should be doing from an SEO perspective. But I think there’s a lot of noise about what people should be doing. If you’re a marketing director out there and you only have so much time or money to spend at SEO, what are the high-level things people should be doing and things people should just forget about and move on to something more effective?
Jeff Coyle [00:12:09] The first thing that I would really focus on is making sure your mirror is clear as far as everything you’ve done up to now. It’s not going out and buying an expensive content audit. A lot of people, that’s what they go to. It’s like, “I just need an expensive content audit or something like that.” But it’s understanding what you accomplished maybe this year plus last year if you can go back and look at everything and try to evaluate how much of that content or how many of those SEO-related motions. If it was maybe updated to content, if it was a project that I executed, were successful? It sounds basic, but it’s that efficiency really matters. If I published 240 articles last year—I averaged 20 a month—how many of those items were successful, and can I clearly define what that means? A lot of teams don’t even know if their inputs are leading to outcomes. They can say I published 240 articles; they can’t tell the story about how that contributed to their wins. The second piece would be… By the way, the average team 10% efficient, which is totally scary, because when you ask them, “How much does content cost?” and they’re like, “I don’t know, 500 bucks a piece,” or in some cases, scarily enough, they say, “$100,” and you’re like, “Oh, first of all, no, no, no.” Really do the work on everyone that touches that thing. It’s far more than $100 to write anything. The person you got off of Fiverr to write that might have charged you $100, but it took a lot more to get that thing live. But, anyway… Then let’s say $500, and they’re operating at 10% efficiency. Then you ask them, “Well, how much does it cost to get an effective page of content on your site?” and they say, “Five thousand dollars,” and then their head explodes. The first thing you got to do is get to know what your batting average is right now. Average is about 10 to 15%, sadly, for midmarket to the small enterprise for publishers, and that’s a frightening reality of the world. The other thing is really to think about where you’re getting your information from. and is the… I always like to think when you’re talking about sites… You mentioned a few where it’s a pot of gold that feeds itself. When one speaks about a concept a lot and that’s how one makes their money, it propagates and builds a snowball, but is that going to be directly relevant to your business? Is the way that that authority is gained correlated to anything you might be able to have? Having a small content footprint and a dramatic off-page authority dynamic, are you going to be able to get to that? That’s what those examples are, and most businesses will never, ever have that profile of a business. They’ll never have that profile of off-page. I might be speaking a little esoterically, but basically, if you don’t have a juggernaut of power, if you’re not selling info products, if you don’t have a massively available huge total addressable market free product like what was it—the page grader, the honeypot—if you don’t have a business that solely relies on buying info products in the form of a training service so it propagates itself, if you don’t have this massive flywheel or this massive product lead growth opportunity, you can’t emulate what those two examples are doing. My tip is both figure out who you’re watching. That’s what you should do. Figure out who you’re listening to. Make sure you’re doing your real cohorting when you’re doing your analysis. Know who you are; know within. This is like a psychiatry appointment. Self-awareness is number one. Number two is competitive cohort awareness so you know what’s real in your space, what you can accomplish. You overnight will not become HubSpot. As part of that, know your true cohort, and then the third is don’t copy your idols. If you idolize those folks, good for you, but you will not be able to copy them. When they profess a trick, that can work. It might work as often as something that’s not a trick. Go figure that out. This stuff you hear about, these success stories, how many success stories are there versus failure stories? You only hear about the success stories. When you’re watching a community, and the community has 6,000 people in it, and you’ve seen 10 success story posts, just put it in your brain. Out of 3,000, there’s been 10 amazing success stories. When you go research them and you look at them, maybe it doesn’t look all that good; it looks like crap. It looks like they were gaming the system. It looks like they were tricking someone. I don’t want to do that for my business. How much longevity will those case studies have? First one, look within, self-awareness. Two, be realistic with your cohort; don’t try to emulate. Then the third is don’t try to emulate your idols. Be realistic. Do you truly expect to hit the lottery with this wacky technique that makes no sense in reality? Oh, yes. If I go out and I create this one page that gets—oh, my God—tons of links, then it’s going to run my business for me. No, it’s not. It’s not even close to the reality. By the way, to do competitive analysis, to do keyword difficulty analysis and not have personalized that information, to say this is an easy keyword, it might be easy for you; it might be easy for everyone. If I go write an article on the brand-new iPhone and I throw it up on alexblog.com, you’re not going to do well with that. You throw that same beautiful article on CNET, it’s going to dominate. Why? The answer is not just links, folks. It’s not just links. It’s you’ve provided the history of writing beautiful articles. You’ve written about phones. You’ve written about technology. You’ve written great reviews. You’ve written beautiful content that has that historical authority on the topic site section level. You deserve that ownership. Let’s say you go write that beautiful iPhone 14 article. Do you know how many links you’re going to have to chase without reach to actually put a point on the board and to believe that that’s a tried-and-true technique? Guys, don’t do it. Just don’t believe everything that you hear. Then number four on what you should do is think about quality. Quality is job number one. I think that’s an auto parts dealership. I think it’s NAPA Auto Parts or something like that, or Quaker State. Quality is job number one. Quality is your job number one. Quality is everything. We just had a product review update by Google. What did it say, basically? If you’re doing product reviews and you didn’t actually review the products, we’re going to catch you. I said it on the top end of this: cheating is time correlative. You got away with it for a while. You made a lot of money from Amazon FBA for clicks, but we caught you. Those stock images don’t tell the story that you actually used the product. It’s all going to catch up. You can’t build a business around that unless you want to. If you’re willing to eat and die, eat and die, eat and die, fine. Eat and die. I don’t want that in my life. You might. Good for you. You run faster than me; you probably stay out later than me; you probably drink a lot more than I do. Basically, the way that you can stay… Longevity is the key. There’s a few people in this space that have had more longevity than me, but I like to say not too many. If you see someone on Facebook and they’re giving you some advice, think about what would happen if the site they’re talking about died tomorrow. What would they do? That’s the way I like to think about it. What would they do oftentimes? Build a new site. Well, I don’t know how much I trust them. If their site died tomorrow, oh, gosh, it would be a devastating loss, because it’s the brand that they care about. I see so much, a B2B technology brand worth a billion dollars who internally is doing stuff that is being taught by someone who is an affiliate hawk, as I say. If the S-H-I-T hits the fan for them, they’re a billion-dollar B2B technology company. I’m like, “Yo, don’t do that anymore. It’s a super bad idea,” and they’re like, “Why? This person’s awesome. It’s working. We gained 71% this year.” I’m like, “Yes, yes, you did.” I’m not lying. It’s all about oh, we tested this. We did this massive test plan. No, you didn’t. Your test plans were biased. I know what a biased test plan is. Plus, your risk of ruin as a hawk is zero; their risk of ruin is the livelihood of 1,000 employees. It doesn’t even come close. Think about who you are. If you’re sitting here thinking, “If you die, you just buy a new site,” go nuts, if you want that. I like longevity. The last thing I’ll mention is same thing goes for natural language generation. I built a platform. I’m both the drug dealer and the cop on this. I built a platform that is a competitor of OpenAI. Yes. Good idea, Jeff. You’re competing with Elon Musk. Good idea. He’s in OpenAI. Guess who’s winning right now? That guy is. OpenAI is, certainly. It’s not a trick. It’s not a thing where you put one dollar in and you get a million out. It’s really hard work to use artificial intelligence in your business to actually integrate it and have it have a good outcome. The trend you’re going to see in 2022 is people thinking that content is going to appear out of thin air, and it’s going to be easy to integrate that into a real website, and it’s going to immediately have this huge outsized return on investment. You are going to have to massage that. Use generation as inspiration. That’s my quote. You can take that and quote it. Use generation as inspiration, because that’s all it is. If you treat it any other way… You got to treat that like… Treat generation like it’s an outsourced writer you’ve never met. You’ve got to really be particular about it. Clean it up. What happens if somebody goes to your website, and they read a paragraph, and it reads like a person who has not slept in three days and says something completely outlandish? The other thing I always like to also say is write it like your CEO is going to read it. If you work for a business if your CEO read this thing and it said, “There’s many great opportunities when you’re visiting Atlanta to have fun. I can’t imagine a better place than Atlanta to have fun on a weekend trip. Weekend trips are great because you get two days off, and then you have to go back to work the next day. When you go back to work, you get five days of not working, and then again, if you want to go to Atlanta, you might go to the aquarium.” That’s the kind of stuff. You know why? Because it sounds like a human wrote it, but it doesn’t sound like a person in their right mind wrote it. The Turing test can be passed, but what Turing forgot is that the person to pass the Turing test can still be slightly nuts and not know what they’re talking about. Make sure the content knows what it’s talking about. You’re going to have to edit the crap out of that stuff. You really need to have a higher bar. Just because it’s optimized? Well, just because it ranks okay in organic search for a little bit. Again, cheating is time correlative. Think about it. Think about what it’s going to do. Do you want to throw out a lot of bullets that are cleaned up to get B pluses, and the stuff that does well, turn them into As? Okay, but don’t throw out Ds. You start putting Ds online, it has an unbelievably negative impact on your business. If you put a bunch of low-quality content on your site to see what works, and some of it does, and then you tweak that right, I’ll be there six months down the road when you’re crying. You can call me. I’ll give you my cell number, or you can just email me—email@example.com—and we’ll fix it. It will not be fun, because I’ve seen it happen. The tough part of that? Think about that number two or number three. People will show you that. “Oh, I’m crushing it. I doubled my traffic. This is amazing. I launched 130,000 articles on my website. It’s magic.” Come see me, because I’ve been through it. Not me doing it. I’ve been through it, every stage of SEO history. You had the bulk blog spammers. Remember, people would publish hundreds of millions of fake PDFs? Did you ever click on a thing for a book, it’s not actually the book? You had that. You had the link spammers. You had PBN, private blog networks. Every stage that’s happened. This is just another version of that. It’s just way more awesome, and if you do it right, generation can be the most important thing for your business. If you do it wrong, it will be a sob story later. It’s about your risk tolerance. Really think critically. What do you really want to accomplish? Treat generation like that. Net quality content and don’t cut any corners. Think of any time savings and efficiency gain as something that you really need to be confident in its outcomes, to get their outputs as well as outcomes in the short run. Don’t think it’s just going to be a quick trick. But it can change your life. It’s changed a lot of my clients’ life, artificial intelligence in 2021. I’ve got teams that used to be able to put six articles out a month, and their hit rates was about 1 out of 10. Now they’re punching with the same resources 25 articles a month and then, 40 to 50%. Just think about what that does. All content they’d be comfortable with your CEO reading. That’s the key. Sorry. That was a long soliloquy. It’s really, for me, the stuff I’m most passionate about is making sure that no one hurts their business.
Alex Meade [00:29:18] Yeah, because like you said, the risk of an affiliate hawk is minimal. They’re going to set up a new site and just keep going, but for bigger companies that are getting into this, there could be huge consequences for that. You throw out some numbers of content per articles, content per month, per year. Is there a sweet spot? Is there a number that you say put up 20 a month, put up 5 a month, or put up 5 quality or 20, 30, 40, 50? What do you see is a good number for people?
Jeff Coyle [00:30:00] I’ll give you the… They always call it SEO diapers—it depends. The answer is it depends, but I always give a reason—I say the reason why—the reason why there is a process. I think it was number two in my list that I referenced competitive cohort profiling. It depends because you’ve got to know how much content needs to be created or updated in order to tell the story of expertise for that concept. By the way, if anyone says you should create one long page for every topic, they’re not right. It’s just not realistic. It’s so outrageous that still there’s so much noise about what cannibalization is, how it works. It’s completely hilarious. You need to cover the topic in as much as you need to to tell the story you’re an expert and appeal to multiple personas. What if you write the most basic guide to a concept, and what if an expert comes to your site? Isn’t that off-putting? Don’t you want them to receive the advanced person’s guide to the same topic? Makes sense. If you are somebody who believes in cannibalization, what do you do? Well, do you just give up? No. You need to write a great thing for every persona you’re targeting. What if you’re writing a general guide to CRM? Don’t you want to write…? What if the person runs a brewery, for example? Wouldn’t you want the person to land on a page that maybe shows them a basic guide for brewery CRMs? Does that mean that you’re telling me, if I’m the brewery owner and I’m looking for a brewery, I have to type in brewery CRM? What if I just said basic guide to CRM? I have to be a smarter searcher? No. You have to build the content that’s going to tell the story that you understand the user, you understand all their desires, and you’re going to point them to those things naturally. I say that’s your coverage; that’s about you; but about the competitive cohort that’s going to guide you, as well. I’ll give you an example. Everybody likes examples. If I have a brand-new site, how do I know how much content to invest in? One of the ways you can do that: first of all, you got to know what do you want to cover. Pull all the goo out of your head, all the things you know that’s special, nobody knows; profile the buyer journey; profile all the personas you want to target; build a big map—content mapping lookup. What is content mapping? You might see me talking about it. Maybe not. I don’t know. But also, you got to look at competitive cohorting. What does that mean? I want to look at what do other people do. Not exactly how much they write and what they… But if somebody has success in this space, what has their trajectory been? How have they covered that? How much content do they create? Do they have a regular update cadence? How long did it take them to get there? What has been their link velocity—how many links have they acquired over what time to what types of pages? If I can profile that, let’s say in my niche, I look at 17 sites and do a profile of them. I look at direct competitors that are just like me; maybe the aggregator publishers, maybe aggregator product sales. I’m trying to get affiliate revenue, let’s just say. I’ve got publishers to talk about this. Well, I go through, and I say on average in order to make a dent in baby strollers, to get to about 2,000 to 5,000 monthly organic search clicks, I’m going to have to write about 135 articles on these topics and have this type of link velocity, roughly. This is not rocket science. That’s going to guide my initial investment desires. I can go and say all right, I’m not tuning exactly what to do; I’m not saying I’m going to copy these things; I’m just saying generally to just put my finger in the air and say, “Well, what happens if I’m in a space where HubSpot’s in it—Marketo, HubSpot, IAC, Dotdash—and that’s all there is?” Then my answer to that question might be… I got a new site. Then the answer to that question might be 2,000, 5,000 a month. I might actually be… That’s not facetious there. You may not be able to write a niche site about that topic, either, and get involved in that. Would you want to start a site from scratch about CRM today? If you did that cohort analysis, the answer would be that the site will not begin gaining traction until—I’m going to take a wild stab—4,000 or 5,000. I used to manage this site. It was number one for CRM—it is no longer—long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, it seems like these days. But you watch the progression of that word over time, it’s a really cool one. I keep track of it. I use it as an example all the time. Really, a competitive cohort’s going to tell that story. Just be realistic; understand that dynamic. If you have existing authority, lean into it; prioritization. Say aspirational models to yourself. Say, “Well, if I knew that every article I wrote was going to win, how much would I write?” That’s the hard part. Your bias is in your inefficiency today. If you were hitting 100%, you’d write till you couldn’t write anymore. You’d stay up all night. You’re biased because you have a lack of confidence. Well, get to the point where you know your efficiency, and set your watch to that, and base your investment there. I always tell people I have companies that I work with that now bat 40, 50% like I’m telling you about. They can’t write enough. They’re constrained by being able to hire good people. They wish they could write as much as humanly possible. Sometimes they look back and they’re like . That’s really what’s going to guide is once you get comfortable with your efficiency. But the realistic thing is if you are positive ROI already, you should not limit your content budget. Why would you?
Alex Meade [00:37:08] Yeah. It’s really limited on this cohort research of what are other success metrics of some of your competitors and where are you starting from. Are you starting from zero? Then you really need to escalate. If you have a little bit of authority, lean into it and then really…
Jeff Coyle [00:37:32] Push.
Alex Meade [00:37:32] …your internal efficiency as much as you possibly can that still makes sense.
Jeff Coyle [00:37:41] Business sense. Then, updating content is very important. If you are a business with… If you have a footprint of over 100 pages, you most likely need a recurring content update cadence. There’s a couple of reasons why this is worth the price of admission for the podcast, for the webinar. Your pages are going to give you information. Because of the way that language works, you’re going to get a page that ranks well for its target, if you’re efficient, and then you’re going to have stuff that it’s doing okay for, but it’s not on the nose for intent. You wrote an article about what is a content brief, and it’s ranking number one for content brief. Well, maybe it ranks page two for content brief templates. Then you land on that page, and it doesn’t have any templates. That’s an intent mismatch. If you are listening to the B2B Growth Marketer Podcast, you should know the answer to this question: what should you do? Go make a page that has templates on it. Had you not written that first piece, you wouldn’t have gotten the information that told you to write the second piece unless you did a bunch of research on the top end. Data about what your pages are about today, what they’re not about today, should always be at your disposal. What it’s going to do is if you didn’t plan perfectly on the front end, it’s going to find your opportunities. It’s not just that, too. Your competitors can also serve as opportunities. Your growth and shrink can serve as opportunities; your intent mismatch can serve as opportunities. For example, if you’ve grabbed your entire competitor’s keyword list and you overlaid it against your site, what would it tell you? What do you have and what do you not. It’s not a ranking gap analysis; it’s an inventory gap analysis. This is where, frankly, the SEOs’ brains break. They’re so rank-focused. Well, I want you to be a taxonomist for a while. I want you to be a librarian for a while. Overlay their content against your content. Overlay their rankings against your content. That’s when you’re going to start to learn. A couple of expressions I use a lot: a lot of people are a bunch of teeth with no jaw. That’s what used to be called as long-tailing. You just write a bunch of really specific things, but you didn’t weave it together properly. A lot of people get told to just go write a long-form guide. So, they’re just a jaw with no teeth. I want you to have both. Figure out where you’re missing teeth. The cool thing about it is when you fix that, it’s not easy to do direct correlation of outcome, but everything starts to rise. I like to imagine… My analogy is every concept is a blog, and as you write on it, you add to that blog. The whole blog moves as a mass, and it goes up and up. What it does is it frees up opportunities so that the next article you write about a semantically related concept does better. That’s why the SEOs that tell you how to… During an audit they say, “Delete all your content that gets no traffic,” they’re not thinking in that blog mentality. What if it’s a beautiful page, and it’s supporting that blog? You got to keep that. Every page has a lot of influence in its contribution to the entire buyer journey. It’s not all about clicks and traffic.
Alex Meade [00:41:46] Yeah. Jeff, this has been awesome. We’re getting close on time here. I try to keep these somewhat digestible. We covered more topics than I would have thought it and in-depth. This is great. I feel like we maybe should just split this up into smaller segments because this is gold. Anybody listening, if you’re a content strategist, or a marketing manager, or director, or even VP of marketing, or CMO, this stuff is stuff that you should be focusing on and really evaluating. I don’t think enough companies do content analysis and keyword analysis based on the competitors and their own sites. That’s something we do a lot of, as well. Going back to old content, we have a couple of clients that we just signed on. They have 150 blogs, and they changed their business model six months ago. So, all of that content is great but focused on the wrong person, focused on the wrong objective. That is, I think, also a good lesson people should have is just because you write it doesn’t mean it’s over.
Jeff Coyle [00:43:07] There’s strategies for every weird situation. Reach out; ask the community. In that case, there’s a technique called bridging. Imagine six degrees of Kevin Bacon. If you’re really smart about A, and you’re really smart about C, sometimes you have to write a bunch of stuff about B. It’s not just about connecting A to C in order for it to make sense. Just because it’s walkie-talkies and you want to be about the beach—you got stuff about the beach—you don’t just write about the best walkie-talkies for the beach. Sometimes you’ve got to write about communications tactics. Sometimes you got to write about travel. You got to get there. You can’t just get there with one page. I actually saw this… There was a software development firm. They’re writing about all the tactics they had in software development, and then they decided to get into medical stuff. So, they started writing about software development trends that connect to medical, and then they started writing about medical stuff. I’m like, “Those two things are not connected.” It’s not going to happen overnight for you. If 90% of your stuff’s about scrums and then you all of a sudden think that you’re going to rank well for electronic health records, it’s not going to happen for you. You’re going to have to write a lot of content. Those are the types of situations. Like you said, the business model changed, so it’s not going to happen overnight. You’re going to have to build… The answer isn’t delete everything. The answer isn’t change everything. The answer is you’re going to have to do a lot of planning, bake that into your costs. But I digress. It’s a fun world. Content strategy is fun when people have a culture of content. They believe it can work. That’s all you can do if you’re thinking about this from a B2B perspective.
Alex Meade [00:45:03] Where can people find you?
Jeff Coyle [00:45:05] Oh, gosh. Twitter: Jeffrey_Coyle. Please reach out, DM. I answer everything. Even spam I respond to it and say, “Not a fit at this time.” Shoot me a LinkedIn. Jeff@marketmuse.com. I have a great Slack community called the Content Strategy Collective. If you’d like an invite, I’ll shoot you a link, or ping me on that.
Alex Meade [00:45:35] Can I get an invite? Can I get an invite on that?
Jeff Coyle [00:45:37] I can get you an invite. There’s about 1,600 content strategists and SEOs in there. I will make that happen as soon as possible. Hop in there. It’s really fun. We do some AMAs in there.
Alex Meade [00:45:48] That’s cool. Thank you. That’s a great resource. If you’re willing to share an invite to that, I can put it on the show notes.
Jeff Coyle [00:45:56] We will.
Alex Meade [00:45:56] I’ll put links to all your social accounts just so you guys can get in touch with him. Jeff, this has been amazing. Maybe we will have to do a part two.
Jeff Coyle [00:46:03] All right. It’s a pleasure. All right. Talk to you soon.
Alex Meade [00:46:06] All right. Thanks. That’s our show. I want to thank you for tuning in. It was just a little bit longer of an episode than we normally have, but Jeff brought a lot of great information about SEO, some things you should be focusing on, the importance of content, and importance of re-engaging and re-updating your content. A lot of good information here. If you have some questions, our show notes have some links to Jeff on LinkedIn, on Twitter, to MarketMuse, the company he co-founded and is the chief strategy officer. Check back for more episodes. We have a lot of good content, all the way from how to run sales in a hybrid and remote way, how to really improve your time management as a marketer and sales professional. It’s a lot of great content coming in this year, and we really appreciate your support. Thanks.