Welcome to Episode #3 of Botanical Content Unleashed with George Katsoudas of Low Cost SEO. During this episode with George we talk about the different types of content you can be creating for your business that will help with your SEO, and George shares with us some key lead generation and your content marketing strategies.
We also talk about long form content and how you can be addressing Google’s algorithm in creative ways that will engage your audience.
He also shares with us his top SEO content marketing hacks for 2021 and a few tools that you can use to improve your content and your search engine optimization (linked below in the Show Notes).
Low Cost SEO is more than an SEO Company, they provide SEO and Adwords solutions and lead generation so you can get a better ROI from your digital spend.
Top SEO Tools Recommended by George
Low Cost SEO
Low Cost SEO Website: https://lowcostseoplans.com/
Google is Now Preferring 2,000 Word Content
Alicia: The last time we chatted we were talking about how Google is preferring longer form content around the 2,000 word mark or more – you know I personally think we both agree that human behaviour would say that people would prefer longer, sharper form content, so I’m just wondering, what do you think, why do you think Google’s done this?
George: Yeah look I swear I feel like I’m back in Uni again you know, you go to Uni, you have to write ten thousand word essays and then you go to start your first job and you put a 2,000 word document on your boss’s desk what does your boss say, can you summarise it to half a page please.
We all know we like short and sharp stuff, I think Google’s gone down this way, the only logical reason I can think of is because they see content is king and and I think it’s way more difficult to produce a well-written, well-researched long-form piece of content. It’s way more, as we as you probably would know, there’s way more man and woman hours in producing a two or three thousand word document than what it is to write a good 400 half a page blog, so I think the logic is if someone’s going to go to the trouble of man hours and or person hours I should say, of producing a really good piece of content then they’re probably thinking, well the rest of the content on that site must also be good so therefore it must be rank worthy. That’s one reason.
I think from a technical perspective, I also think that when you do write a comprehensive 2,000 word doc or article piece they also expect you to code in what’s called structured data amongst and wrap, so structured data is a map language that speaks to the Google search engines and then it allows the search engines to pull out snippets and post those snippets at the top of Google when you’re asking a question like what is electrolysis or how can I kick a ball straight or what’s the best headbands for the races or something.
So they pick up those those snippets and put them on the websites and almost using your content for their content.
Alicia: Yeah so it’s more or less we’re writing for bots instead of humans these days.
George: Yeah unfortunately it’s more writing for the philosophy of Google.
When we ask our content writers or when we’re working with journals or you know when we have to create a piece of content for our own clients… for me unless it’s an infographic that spends that spans 2,000 words and that to me makes sense because within a you know a two-page infographic you can do 2,000 words quite quite quite easily ,but if you’re talking about you know a person’s product like let’s say they want to sell soccer balls in the shop why do I have to write 2,000 words about selling a soccer ball so that it can rank highly or so I can get good ranking indicators from Google… so it’s really annoying.
Alicia: It seems like super irrelevant and super expensive. Copywriters charge around a dollar a word and the time if you’re a marketing team – the time to produce, to do the research and produce that amount of content on a regular basis because it’s all about posting regularly and consistently, who has time for that?
George: Yeah and look I’m not saying that every single piece of content that you write has to be 2,000 words like like a good strategy is some businesses might write five or six two thousand word content pieces and then build a backlinking program for those content pieces just for ranking and domain authority sake and then they then have front and center, they’re more product focused pages which are much smaller, but to me that’s gaming the system right. You’re changing the behaviour and the build of your website for the sake of the algorithm so that you can get in front of customers with your precise content. For me, it’s convoluted but anyways that’s what we’re going to do so you do what you have to do to allow your client to make sales.
Creative Ways to Create Longer Form Content
Alicia: Have you seen any people do that in a really creative way that makes sense for people?
Not to toot my own horn I think on our website we’ve done it in quite a creative way where you use, we did this almost five years ago, where you use horizontal scrolling panes and vertical scrolling pane so you’ve got a horizontal view and a vertical view.
You can do it in a pictorial way where you’ve only got maybe two or three hundred words per section and it’s scrolling horizontally so therefore the customer doesn’t feel like they’re going deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper into a size, so you can get 2,000 words plus that way. A lot of businesses these days are using video structured snippets, infographics, instagram testimonials and when you count all those words or count all that content it also comes up to 2000 plus so that’s a good way where you do actually have 2,000 plus content on a page that doesn’t feel like it’s that much at all, it feels quite thin to be honest, but it’s not. It’s quite cleverly done so yeah.
Advantages of Creating Longer Form Video Content
Alicia: On the on the topic of creating a video, 2,000 words is approximately a 10-minute video. You can pull the transcript from that and use it in your content. What do you think the advantages or disadvantages of doing it this way would be?
George: Yeah look, I don’t think there’s any disadvantages. You probably know a little bit more about video than I do but I’ve seen video that runs for only one or two minutes ranking really really highly, so I think video is in its own category at the moment. I’m a bit of a fan of it. We do see people just running video strategy only and ranking really highly, just with one video you can’t really do that with SEO. SEO needs to be a conglomerate or a suite of content that you might do over time, over a couple of weeks or something, but certainly doing a 10 minute video then using something like rev.com or one of those sites that automatically transcribes it for you for like a dollar, for me it’s a no-brainer and I think it’s a really good strategy. Of course you have to proofread it and make sure it reads well, and the other good thing is it’s good for people that are hearing impaired and or people that, you know, can’t see well. There’s tools that can plug into the these video systems so they can hear it allows them to access, so for me it’s multifaceted and multi-advantage.
Alicia: Yeah that’s it, you can convert it into a podcast and use it a on a whole bunch of other channels to reach a bigger market.
How Many Articles Does it Take to Rank on Search Engines vs How Many Sales Do you Want to Make?
We know that content is king, but realistically how many articles does it take to start ranking on search engines if you’re just starting out? Y
George: It’s a good question that a lot of people ask and it really depends on what the objective is and what the KPI is, and as we said last time when we spoke, the way that my philosophy is is very very data focused, very ROI, very sales focused that’s just my philosophy in the background that I’ve had growing up, so I could give you example, like when you say you know how many content pieces do we do well let’s say for example you were trying to rank Botanical Content for example, that would be quite a different prospect to trying to rank content marketing agencies, because one’s a very bespoke branded term and the other one you’re going up against other businesses that have been around for five or six years doing SEO, so you’ve got yourself that’s maybe only been around, not that you haven’t, but you’re saying figuratively been around for two years, you’ve got three or four competitors have been around for 10 years, they’ve built 100 links backlinks, they’ve done SEO for 10 years. You’ve got five good backlinks they’ve got a hundred, so you’re gonna go from five to a hundred just to match them.
Then the problem is you can’t go from five to a hundred in one month because then Google has another algorithm which says if you do that we’re gonna punished you. You then can’t get the best SEO guy to make your site too SEO, because then Google has another algorithm which says you’re over optimized, we’re going to punish you.
Alicia: So basically, you’ve just got to spend a whole bunch of money on Adwords and Facebook advertising. In the meantime, yeah. To crawl your way to the top on search engines.
George: Yeah SEO is a long term game whether you like it or not. There is ways to cheat, which I don’t do, because eventually you get done whether it’s this year, next year or the year after.You spend three years building a hundred grand business, whatever, then you cop it. Some people say I’m happy to cheat for three year, build the business a hundred grand then I cop it then I start again. I don’t think that’s a very good attitude in my opinion.
Right so if you’re doing things organically you’re going to think right, it’s going to take, let’s say I do 10 backlinks or 10 posts a month so in three months I’ll be 30 so that takes me three months to do 30, then after wait maybe three or four months for Google to see me, to get to know what I do then I have to get mentions from other people, then I have to have a social media campaign that is also mentioning my topics and I get some networking and it’s a whole ecosystem.
It’s all about the long game. You can cheat but but you know there is no no free lunches as they say, and if you want a free lunch so you do Adwords or you do a video or you go out knock on doors you do personal networking you do all the other stuff things that you need to be doing.
The Low Cost SEO Philosophy
Yeah so the way that we work as we’re discussing last time, I kind of reverse reverse the whole process and my leading question might be or you know would you like page one rankings or more traffic, which does my head in, and how many people ask that.
My first question is how many sales you want to make and they’re kind of like, well want to make a million sales George.
Then my second question is, okay would you have a warehouse that could warehouse some many products? That’s all, you smart arse.
So the reason I ask that is again coming back to the KPI thing, whether you want to rank for Botanical Content or content marketing agency you need to know where the goal posts are and you need to know technically you’re here, they’re there, so we have to do this much work to get there, and therefore to do this much work it’s going to cost this much and this is what we’re going to do every month, this is how much hard work we have to do and this is what the cost is because that’s what we’re going to do. That’s my philosophy. It’s never are, you know our SEO is a thousand dollars or five thousand ten thousand don’t worry about it, we’ll just get you lots of traffic. It used to work five six years ago it doesn’t cut it. And then here’s the other thing right. In my philosophy, or our philosophy the way that we do it it needs, in my opinion, it needs to be lead to sale all the way because it’s all well and good to get people to the website to do your personas and and to get the right people the website but then if they’re not buying or if they’re not emailing so then you’ve got other specialists you need to to get involved as well to make sure that it’s going lead to sale.
And do you have people in your team that do that and sort of you know look at the marketing funnel and where those leads are coming from and how they’re coming?
Yeah part of our normal philosophy or part of our normal process is to do what data analysis. We do have data analysts on our team specifically for the Adwords side of the business where we run pragmatic data type of ads, so we do have data analysis.
I’ve got like one example where we recently you know i’ve been banging on about it for two years with one particular client she finally decided to hook up her CRM and and she kept on saying that you know all my money is you know magazine advertisement and that’s where we get all our sales and word-of-mouth she’s banging on that for two years and I knew that wasn’t the case because I was watching the analytics, so we had set up all the KPIs or how the emails were coming in and stuff and then finally when she tied into CRM through to the analytics and through to the website, funnily enough even I got surprised, seventy percent of her sales revenue was coming from Adwords and Adwords was only like two percent of her budget. Oh wow. 70% and she’s got a big big business so it was a combination of of Adwords and SEO and email remarketing was where like 70 to 80 of her revenue, of sales were happening and of course I’m not saying look the other stuff helps with the branding etc so ended up getting her a 400% increase of business in like two months and what we did was we just we just leveraged the Adwords because we use data to see.
Look I’m about SEO but I’m also about common sense, like her SEO is really good but it wasn’t bringing in the dollars, so now we’re at the point where we’re going to ask ourselves, coming back to your original question about specialists and what do we do, now we’re at the point to say okay well why is the SEO ranking page one for most stuff bringing in 10,000 people but all the people are converting from Adwords, so now it now becomes a CRO question or a data analyst questions now we’re going to go bring in a third party conversion rate optimisation specialist to work with us to say okay well this is what’s happening or this is how the website needs to change so then we then got to go back to her website builders to say like you need to make these changes to maximise what’s happening in the SEO world, so it’s a whole ecosystem it’s not one person does everything I don’t believe in that.
Alicia: I think in terms of Adwords, your typical sort of paid search person is going to be sending people to a specific page where there’s going to be a specific offer so people are getting exactly what they’ve asked for, and then your website, people’s website often doesn’t reflect that. It’s like, oh here’s all this other stuff that I do and and what not.
George: Correct, it’s more of a branding and awareness. You’re right.
Alicia: Where’s that balance between the paid search, I’m ready to take an action verse I’m just browsing?
Yeah correct, so what might be happening as you correctly point out is the SEO and the website and the remarketing is almost like the branding and awareness that’s happening. Almost like a long-term drip feed email campaign and then the Adwords maybe might be triggering them when they actually want to do something or buy that product but who knows, there’s something we need to test, so there’s an example for you.
Important elements to include in your content
George: I think for me I always just ask one simple question when writing a piece of content and it’s gonna sound funny but the only question I ask myself is how do you make this piece of content the best piece of content in the world for that topic that you’re writing for and if you write with that mindset, how do I make it the best, the best either in Australia or in the world for what I’m writing about then when Google sees that piece of content if that’s what your aim has been, then generally speaking you will have already put all the things that you need to put in there already so that being well written content, well researched, imagery about the the thing, faqs which further you know which explains things a little bit better, maybe a video which shows or demonstrates or some testimonials to show or some testimonial work to show that that product or that piece of content works so all the benefits, the proof points, the advantages, everything that you would normally do organically I think should go into a piece of content, and that’s what the algorithms look for.
Structured Data for Video Content
Alicia: And I’m just thinking about video content because video, it’s not like we talk like copywriters, where you know our words are perfectly structured and and whatnot, do you think that when we pull that transcript out that we should be using structured data to produce the transcript version of that video?
George: That would be clever, again that’s gaming the system. With my SEO hat yes that would be good to do but I think these days there is techniques that where you can weave in, correct me if I’m wrong, like structured data points into the actual video and break points and stuff and you and even in the video description you can put all your chapters in there which is a bit of an SEO tip there for your viewers you can put all your chapters in there which and that then forms the structured data to the video so there is techniques you can do, but that’s quite clever if you are speaking in a certain way and then reiterating in the transcript another way which is more geared towards the search engines, that would be pretty comprehensive strategies that’s quite clever.
Markup Your Video and Transcript
I think in my opinion if you’ve done a good video you can’t just, I don’t think you would just blankly do this transcript as it is this transcript needs to be edited so it reads well yeah, right so that if someone, and you see you see a lot of people doing this you see a lot of people that got the video and then they got the transcript underneath. It happens a lot and it’s a trend that’s coming more and more into fruition I’m seeing a lot and a lot of the time like for example, I Iove football or soccer and on Optus some of the the guys did a 10 series historical essay on football in the history of football. In each essay on each web page they had the podcast video which was a general chat and then underneath it they then had the essay which was the same topic but the essay was different from the podcast video, even though they were talking about the same things and there were some things in the essay that weren’t in the podcast video, vice versa, so this is kind of similar and I would read the essay and then I would then come back and listen to the podcast
next week. I got excited by the essay, so in that sense you could have someone that comes to this page through SEO and they read the article they get excited about it they don’t have time to listen to the podcast because it’s 40 minutes or 20 minutes then they to the podcast or your video on the train yeah because they’re into the content of whatever, headbands they’re racing, whatever you’re doing.
SEO Websites to Follow
Alicia: I follow Moz the Moz blog and they’ve been doing it. Yeah Moz is awesome. They’ve been doing it for years on Whiteboard Friday and then they’ve got their transcript but it is well written, it’s got the titles and all the markup in there.
George: Yep Search Engine Journal’s another good one, they don’t do it as well but they’re another good site to follow.
Alicia: Any other websites we should be following George?
George: I like Domain Hacker, Authority Hacker is a website that I follow it’s basically a bunch of guys that build niche websites for a living and they’re not actually SEO people but they’ve evolved. They don’t say they’re SEO people but they’ve kind of evolved into SEO people because their whole purpose is to build niche websites and sell them, so they’re almost like gorilla disguised SEO people without realizing that they’re SEO people, so I like following that because their sole purpose is to build a website from zero to a certain amount of traffic and a certain amount of interactivity and then sell it for for you know 350, 60, 70 times what they paid for it and that’s for me is ROI SEO raw so I follow that and get a lot of tips from that and it’s a lot of real life the do’s and don’ts trials and A/B tests that they do without even realizing that they’re actually doing A/B testing, but where they actually are my favourite sites.
What Type of Content to Create for Lead Generation
Alicia: If you’re creating a strategy for your client and you’re using content and SEO methodologies to funnel them into a lead generation funnel, what are the sort of top pieces of content that you would suggest that they create or you’d create for them?
George: The things that we’re creating at the moment are long-form infographics that’s working really well with people. The 2,000 word articles helps them rank in the search engines and that’s then what gets them into the website right.
George: a lot of people are also creating like lead magnets like a little ebook or something that’s like a how to something that’s really really useful for the person and then that out of that ebook it they didn’t go into their email funnelling campaigns, so their list or their drip feed campaign and then they didn’t drip feed them or they they hit them up for the next six or seven months, because unfortunately now with that many businesses running digital, and this is a point that’s a little bit off content, but it’s really hard to get cut through when you’re getting so many emails a day, hundreds of emails a day what do you read first, and everyone has a drip feed campaign, and everyone’s doing videos and everyone’s trying to get their content out there, so I think now it’s really about building a personal relationship with people over a longer period of time before, they then come and commit to you unless it’s that buy now thing which which you get via Adwords right. Yeah.
Alicia: That’s a nice little marketing funnel for everybody.
But yeah, it is all about relationships and I think that’s the what I’ve really found just running Botanical Content is I’ve got a digital marketing background and SEO background and a lot of what I’ve been doing is online so now I’m like okay cool you know more networking more relationship building and more providing value and having conversations like this.
George’s #1 SEO content marketing hack for 2021</h2
Hack 1: Link Whisperer
What it does is when you write a piece of content it will then analyze that piece of content and recommend internal links automatically, that SEO best practice inside your site so that’s my first one is doing making sure whenever you do write an article that you have an SEO content structure so you’ve got the main page that you want to SEO and then your sub pages should then point to that main page as a suite of content pieces, so if your suite of content pieces are 10 it needs to be the primary one and then the other nine should be in some way pointing to each other or pointing to the to the primary one right, so you can use something called Link Whisperer which does that automatically for you.
Hack 2: Content Audit
The second one for 2021 and this I do see working because we’ve been doing doing a lot is what I’m calling a a content audit because we’re seeing a lot of content degradation happening, so what that means is guys who’ve had sites for 10 years, 5-10 years, that where these articles have been ranking since 2000, 2018 or 15 or whatever we find those articles they are starting to derank and then new sites have been coming around doing these 2,000 content pieces are starting to overrank them so we got a lot of clients that were traditionally on easy street now panicking because they’ve gone from 20,000 hits a month down to nine, but the good thing is with the right strategy you can get them back up to 17,000, 18,000 relatively quickly by doing a content audit refreshing and all that.
Google vs Social Media and The Future of Search Engines
Alicia: Google’s really in competition so much more with social media these days, particularly in comparison to when I started in SEO nine years ago and instagram’s always like, it’s always fresh it’s always something different and I think Google now realizes that it’s got to deliver that.
George: Yeah look I think I wrote in in some of the notes that when I was thinking about what I wanted to say today I actually wrote in there I guess it’s just my own personal view but I think Youtube, Tiktok, whatever new evolution of instagram and Tiktok that comes out, I think that’s going to be the new search engine of the future because, like I said, people are thinking pictures and people don’t want to be reading 2,000 word articles they want to search for something and listen to it, listen to a 30 second video or definitely see a demonstration and I think Google knows that this is human behaviour. I’m sure they’ve got some plan up their sleeve.
Don’t Create One Piece of Content, Create Many
Alicia: If you had to create one piece of content what for your business today what would that be, but I feel like it’s going to be a bit of everything?
George: It doesn’t work like that. I think you can do it with video, but with SEO because of everything we see it’s a long term thing, it needs to really be one content suite rather than one content piece so that would be my answer – build a content suite of things over a bit of time and then you’ll find that’ll work much better than hoping that one piece will get recognized amazing well.