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Episode 51: How to Create Search Engine Optimized Content with Benyamin Elias

One of ActiveCampaign's own SEO experts explains how to create content that answers the questions your audience is asking.

Listen to Episode (41:59)

Synopsis

Benyamin Elias, content marketing specialist at ActiveCampaign, joins the podcast to demystify SEO content. Go behind the scenes of Benyamin’s content creation process as he explains his approach to writing content with SEO in mind, including how to balance the use of keywords in a piece of content, and which keyword research tools yield the best results.

By the end of this episode, you’ll understand how producing content that answers your audience’s questions is key to the organic growth of your business.

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Transcript

Chris Davis: Welcome to this episode of the ActiveCampaign podcast. I’m your host Chris [00:00:30] Davis, and today, I have our content marketing specialist, Benyamin Elias. He is the one that has been writing most of the blogs that you’ve probably been reading recently. I pinged him. I grabbed him. I caught his attention. We were in a meeting, and I said, “You know what? You know a lot about SEO and just reading through all of the blogs.” Like, “Man, this guy really, really knows how to write [00:01:00] attractively. When you’re reading the content, it doesn’t at all feel like it’s packed with keywords and feel abrasive when you read it.

So I figured he’d be a great resource to interview on exactly how do you create search engine optimized content. It is something that every single business should be doing effectively at some level. I’m not saying you have to have the most robust blog, but being able to [00:01:30] speak intelligently on a topic in a way that Google acknowledges it and places it in front of people, actively searching for it, for a lot of businesses, hidden gold. So this podcast episode is going to show you how, how, how do we get that hidden gold from unknown to in our pockets, in our business and grow, grow our business organically with content marketing. So let’s jump right into the episode.

Benyamin, [00:02:00] welcome to the podcast. No. Welcome to the studio. So glad to have you. How you doing?

Benyamin Elias: I’m doing pretty good, Chris. How you doing?

Chris Davis: I’m ready. Benyamin, before we get started, there is another podcast on SEO strategies. Phil Singleton gave us a good overview of his company as a resell … or was he a reseller? I can’t remember, but they’re an agency. He dropped a lot of pointers on how [00:02:30] you should be approaching content creation, which just had me buzzing since then. So, to have you on, it’s been something that I’m excited to talk about, because SEO is one of those things where you keep hearing people say, “SEO is dead,” right?

Benyamin Elias: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Definitely, yeah.

Chris Davis: Every time you see a post like that, I always look at the author like, “You really have no clue,” unless it’s clickbait, right? They’re trying to get you to reach them. So, anyways, let’s dive [00:03:00] right into it. Benyamin, tell us a little bit about your background.

Benyamin Elias: Yeah, definitely. I started out working in the agency context doing SEO for so many different clients, doing content strategy for all kinds of different clients, a lot of life science and health care. I’ve done a lot of freelance work also for sometimes really specific things. There was a client who taught people how to make their own knives, that was his niche. Ultimate [00:03:30] Frisbee strength and conditioning, right? Sometimes really specific topics.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Benyamin Elias: But also larger clients and larger organizations. And now, I’m here at ActiveCampaign. I do a good bit of our content creation content marketing and SEO around content.

Chris Davis: Now, was this your intention? Was it, like, when you were in college or even before college, did you have any inclination that this would be an area [00:04:00] that you would really gravitate towards?

Benyamin Elias: I had no idea. I had no idea. I graduated with a psychology degree, and was like, “Well what am I going to do now?” So through freelancing and internships, I started to build some experience, to build a portfolio, worked my way into an agency where it turns out that writing is a skill in demand, and from there, you transition really easily into SEO.

Chris Davis: [00:04:30] I’m glad you said that, because I think that, if anything, being able to write effectively is in more demand now than ever and will be continually rising, right?

Benyamin Elias: Definitely.

Chris Davis: So, in there, I know the power of organic traffic, right? You’re paying $0, if you can convert that organic traffic that is. So it’s twofold. It’s like creating content [00:05:00] that Google likes, and Google will put up front and that people will consume and want to read, share, whatnot. So that’s an equation, that’s an equation there, and many people get the first part wrong. They start writing from a standpoint of, “This is what I know,” and this what I want people to know because they should know, and that’s really a flawed approach when you talk about SEO. So walk us through the framework, [00:05:30] for lack of a better term. How you approach writing content with SEO in mind.

Benyamin Elias: Definitely. So, I think there are two general approaches to writing search optimized content. The first approach, which you’ve kind of hit on, is you have an idea, and now, you need to make it show up in Google. The second one is you don’t have an idea, but you want to find keywords [00:06:00] and then create content around those keywords. So if you have an idea, let’s start with that approach because I think that’s really common. People come up with who knows where the idea comes from, but it’s there, and you need to do something with it. So I think if we dig into that, you’ve got an idea, where did the idea come from? is the first question.

Does it come from conversations with your audience or customers? That’s really valuable. Those are really, really valuable sources of content [00:06:30] ideas, because you have a built-in audience for that. When you write content around something that a customer has told you, you know someone wants to read it. If there’s one person that wants to read it, there are probably others. There are probably going to be good keywords that you can find. All you need to do, you have content that you know is valuable. All you need to do is put it in front of the people who value it.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Benyamin Elias: So that’s the first kind of idea. The second, [00:07:00] if you have an idea, is it just came out of your head, and this is tricky. This is really tricky, so, because sometimes, that can be really good.

Chris Davis: Right.

Benyamin Elias: We’ll see why. Other times, it’s really challenging. If it’s, as you said, something that you said was … If it’s something that you think people should know about or something that about that you want to share, that doesn’t always mean that people want to know about it. If you’re writing about things that people don’t care about, you can optimize [00:07:30] your post all you want. Even if it manages to show up in Google, which it is going to be harder, it’s not going to convert people, because they’re just not interested in that topic.

On the other hand, if you are really entrenched in your industry, if you are often talking to customers, if you’re following the trends, if you’re really on top of everything, and an idea just comes out of your head, that’s probably really, like, you’re synthesizing all of that information behind [00:08:00] the scenes.

Chris Davis: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Benyamin Elias: And then the idea comes out.

Chris Davis: Right. Sometimes I get these epiphanies, and I’m like, “Oh my God.” But when you really look at it, it’s from being engaged in the space, talking to so many people-

Benyamin Elias: Definitely.

Chris Davis: … and then like you said, in the background, you’re just kind of synthesizing, and then when it comes to the frontal lobe, if that’s even where it happens, but it comes like a fresh idea.

Benyamin Elias: Definitely.

Chris Davis: Interesting.

Benyamin Elias: Right. So, if we’re thinking we have [00:08:30] an idea already, we really want to look at that idea. Is this an idea that we came up with because people want it? Or is it an idea that we came up with because we want to talk about it? And if it’s that first one, we’ve got a great candidate for SEO. If it’s that second one, let’s look for ways to apply it more directly to a specific audience and then look at optimize [crosstalk 00:08:50]-

Chris Davis: All right. Perfect. So the first one, great candidate for SEO. One thing I realize you did not say was, great, you got it from your audience. Go write.

Benyamin Elias: Right. [00:09:00] We’re not there yet. And let’s still also tackle, what if you don’t have an idea? because this going to play in.

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Benyamin Elias: What if you don’t have an idea and you’re trying to come up with keywords or topics that are going to rank in search? Approaching it kind of from the other direction.

Chris Davis: Okay.

Benyamin Elias: The two ways I really like to approach that, the first is, what are your competitors ranking for? You can look at that information pretty easily. If you use a tool like [00:09:30] SEMrush, you can literally put in their domain name, their URL, and it will show you all of the pages that they are ranking in Google, and then you just take those pages, and you do them better.

Chris Davis: Yeah, oh man.

Benyamin Elias: Really simple approach.

Chris Davis: Wait a minute because I hear it. I hear it virtually. Somebody’s mind just was like, “Wait a minute. SEMrush? What is that? How can I beat my competitors? What can I see?” Just briefly, walk us through what [00:10:00] is a tool like SEMrush?

Benyamin Elias: Definitely. So, we can talk about the tool, and then we can also talk about if you have no tools, how we can kind of look at that.

Chris Davis: Okay.

Benyamin Elias: So first, a tool like SEMrush, it really gives you more information about what’s going on in the search engine. If you put in the URL, it’ll tell you, “Oh what keywords is the URL ranking for? Where is everything in relation to each other?”

Chris Davis: It’s kind of like how Google is looking at that content, how they’re rating [00:10:30] or ranking the content.

Benyamin Elias: Yeah, kind of. It gives you information about how Google is ranking the content.

Chris Davis: Okay.

Benyamin Elias: If you don’t have a tool, and SEMrush has a certain number of free uses I think every month. So, you can put in your URL of like three competitors, and you’ve got plenty of information to go make content based on that.

Chris Davis: Right.

Benyamin Elias: But if you don’t have a tool, you can still go and look at your competitors’ websites, at any blog posts that they are producing. You can look at, okay, what are the [00:11:00] titles? What are the keywords in this title, probably? If we look at the URL, it’s competitor website .com slash, what’s after the slash? That’s probably a keyword also. Even if we just look at the general topic of it, okay, this what the competitor is writing about. Let’s just write about that and do it better.

Chris Davis: Yeah, right, right.

Benyamin Elias: Really simple way to come up with ideas. One of my personal favorites. I always get excited about that one.

Chris Davis: Right. [00:11:30] Now real quick, Benyamin, I was thinking of some as you were talking. Is it ever worthwhile to put your content in SEMrush to see what keywords you’re ranking for and then optimizing?

Benyamin Elias: Absolutely.

Chris Davis: Okay, okay.

Benyamin Elias: If you have SEMrush, if you’re using the paid version of that tool, I would absolutely do that on a regular basis. Sometimes that’s going to reveal keywords that you didn’t even realize you were ranking for, which is really valuable.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Benyamin Elias: [00:12:00] Sometimes it’s going to show you, “oh I’m ranking 11th for this keyword.” That’s just barely on the second page of search results. Let’s try to get that onto the first page. Let’s try to move that up. It’s going to give you ideas of how you can really just nudge, nudge that content in front of more people.

Chris Davis: I love it. all right.

Benyamin Elias: So, competitor research is one approach. Keyword research is the other approach. And keyword research, this now spilling back into [00:12:30] if you have an idea already, because keyword research is both you’ve got an idea, and you want to optimize it and get it in front of people in search engines, and you have no idea, and you want to find something to write about. It can do both of those things.

Chris Davis: Okay, and real quick, when you say, “Keyword,” just because I don’t want to assume anybody’s intelligence, keywords are essentially what Google looks at your content as, like the main [00:13:00] topic it addresses.

Benyamin Elias: Yeah, so that’s actually great. It makes sense to talk a little bit about keywords before we start talking about keyword research. So a keyword, if you type something into Google Search, the phrase that you type in, is what I would call the keyword.

Chris Davis: Okay. I got you.

Benyamin Elias: That’s a pretty like colloquial definition. There are going to be people on the technical side that are going to be like, “What? That’s not a keyword.” [00:13:30] But I think that’s a really good way to think about it, when you approach SEO.

Chris Davis: Oh Benyamin, you know what? This is really good because I … oh no. I’m going to expose myself. Listen, it was a previous me. I have learned better, but I want to take anybody off the hook who may be thinking this way. I used to think SEO was, if somebody typed in my specific website, it should come up, right? I used [00:14:00] to think that. And every time I would go, I would type in my website, it would come up. I’m like, “Oh I’m killing it. I’m number one,” right? But as you mentioned, very rarely do people even know your website exists nor do they care. They’re going to type in their question. They’re going to type in what they want to know.

Benyamin Elias: Definitely.

Chris Davis: And the question is, do you show up for that?

Benyamin Elias: Definitely, and that’s actually a really great transition into the three types of keywords.

Chris Davis: All right.

Benyamin Elias: As you’re saying, [00:14:30] if someone types in your website, they should be able to find your website. A lot of the time, hopefully, you’re ranking at least on the first page, but hopefully, you’ll be ranking pretty high up on the first page, if someone types in your exact website. That’s what’s a called a navigational keyword. When someone types in a keyword that they are trying to find a very specific page or website, they are trying to navigate to a particular place.

Chris Davis: Okay.

Benyamin Elias: Usually, if you are [00:15:00] not the particular place that they’re trying to navigate to, you don’t really want to rank on that keyword. It’s hard to rank on that keyword, and it’s not that valuable, because not that many people are going to click on you. You see some tricky things on the paid side where if someone goes in and types in your company, there’s going to be a PPC ad, an ad at the top of search results from one of your competitors. That’s them being a little sneaky. That’s always fun to see and deal with.

Chris Davis: Yeah, trying to steal some traffic.

Benyamin Elias: [00:15:30] Exactly. So that’s the first kind of keyword. The second kind of keyword is transactional. When someone types in a transactional keyword, that means they’re trying to go do something. Let’s say they want to buy glasses. If I type in “buy glasses online,” that probably means I’m ready to buy the glasses.

Chris Davis: Right.

Benyamin Elias: Google is smart enough that it knows that, and it’s going to show you people who sell glasses online. [00:16:00] If you’re thinking about putting out a blog post, it’s going to be a little tricky to rank on a term like that. You might be able to put together some kind of in-depth guide on how to book about buying glasses, but usually, if someone’s typing in “buy glasses online,” they’re really ready to go to the sale. So you want to match that, the content that you’re creating to the intent behind the search. The third type of keyword is the [00:16:30] informational keyword, and this is the keyword that we usually think about when we’re talking about content and SEO.

And that’s keywords that are looking for the answer to a question. To go with our glasses example, if I want to know what kind of glasses I should wear for a particularly square head, right?

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Benyamin Elias: It’s like glasses for a square head. Okay, maybe the glasses retailer wants to put out some content [00:17:00] about how to match … I don’t know anything about glasses and fashion. But, how to match the frames or some style of glasses to the person, and that could be really valuable content for them, because it matches again the intent behind the search. When we approach keyword research, it’s so important to think about searcher intent. We want to be giving [00:17:30] people what they are looking for. We’re not looking to surprise people. We’re not looking to trick people into coming to our page. That’s often not going to work, and Google is getting smarter and smarter all the time. We’re not smarter than Google. Google has how many PhDs? Who even knows-

Chris Davis: Right, right.

Benyamin Elias: … what they’re doing behind the scenes. We’re not going to be smarter than Google. So we want to make sure that we’re answering people’s questions as best as possible.

Chris Davis: Yeah. When you say that, because if you do [00:18:00] a really good job with answering the question, that informational keyword then can lead to a transaction, right?

Benyamin Elias: Yes.

Chris Davis: I remember when I was playing basketball, I messed my knees up, and I do what everybody does. They go to WebMD doctor web, the Dr. Web, and they start typing in stuff, which is the way everybody, like, it’s the worst thing you could do, right? Type your symptoms into Google is if you want to live in fear, [00:18:30] next 24 to 48 hours and whatnot. It’s the worst thing to do, but I did it anyway. Thankfully, it was a gentleman. He was in Germany. He was in Germany. And in his URL, it was cured knee pain, like, those three keywords were in there, and I just so happened, I at least had knee pain. I go to his website because he was like number two or three in Google.

I go there, and the content was answering, like, it was speaking to my question [00:19:00] like an expert but in article form. He was like, “You probably injured it doing this, and it probably feels like this when you do this.” I’m like, “How does this guy … How does he know?” long story, I bought his book. I bought his book.

Benyamin Elias: There you go. There you go.

Chris Davis: I read it. I haven’t read all the way through it, but I feel like it was really helpful in understanding what was wrong. So even when I did go to the doctor, he was … Even in the book or on the blog, it said, “When you go to a doctor, they’ll do this. They’ll make sure … ” And I just followed everything he said, and it did [00:19:30] work, man. It worked.

Benyamin Elias: Definitely, and that actually ties in to such an important part of search. So we understand now, we understand what the different keywords are. We know that SEO is a good way to get in front of people that we can bring in a lot of traffic with that. We’ve got some sense of where these content ideas are coming from. What about the content itself? We’re going to get into the, how do we do keyword research? What about the content [00:20:00] itself? The content itself has to be outstanding. Especially if you’re a smaller site trying to rank in search results, you really want to be making what my friend Andy Crestodina calls “the best page on the internet for your topic.”

You want to answer every question that someone could potentially have about this specific topic. A lot of people are a little surprised when they hear this, because they think, “Well that’s going to lead to a really long [00:20:30] content. People don’t read long content, do they?” First of all, a long content tends to do better in search results. There was a study done by Backlinko in 2016. So, this is even a little bit out of date, and I would even expect these numbers to be higher, that the average piece of content ranking on the first page is over 1,800 words long, the average.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Benyamin Elias: The top few results go even higher.

Chris Davis: Wow, 1,800. Wow.

Benyamin Elias: If you look at some [00:21:00] of the really competitive keywords, you’re going to see three, 4,000-word blog posts and articles.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Benyamin Elias: Do all of your articles have to be that long? No. The more specific the keyword you’re targeting, the less you’re competing with other things, also, the less there is to say on that subject, and you don’t want to be just putting in fluff, but really going, diving deep into a topic and answering every question is going to help you rank higher. What about people reading it? Well the research from [00:21:30] Nielsen shows that no matter how long your content is, people are still only … and this a little sad … people are still only going to read 26 to 8% of it. But if your content is long, they’re still reading 28% of it.

Chris Davis: True.

Benyamin Elias: Which means they’re reading more than if they’re reading the short content.

Chris Davis: Right.

Benyamin Elias: So long content gets read at the same percentage rate as short content. It ranks higher in Google, so it has more chances to pull in [00:22:00] traffic, and it also converts people better whether that’s signing up to an email list or actually buying products. So, that’s something to keep in mind. We’re looking in all of our SEO work to make the best page on the internet for our topic.

Chris Davis: Best page on the internet. I love it.

Benyamin Elias: Definitely. With all of that in mind, we’ve got our types of keywords. We know we’re creating high quality content that answers all questions on a topic. [00:22:30] How do we approach keyword research? Now we’re getting into probably what everyone actually wants to hear about.

Chris Davis: Listen, everybody, as you’re listening right now or whenever you’re listening, I have … This has been one area where, over the years, I’ve been getting more and more informed on, but please, don’t hire me at all. Don’t … I’m not the one for keyword research. So I am all ears.

Benyamin Elias: All right. So the first thing, if we have an idea already, and we want to find a keyword, [00:23:00] we want to ask ourselves, “Why would someone want to wind up on this page?” We want to answer people’s questions. We want to give them what they want. Why would someone want to wind up on this page? Then we’re going to start using tools. There are a million tools that you could use, and many of them serve similar purposes. Some of them are paid. Some of them are free. If you have the budget for it, I would always recommend using some of the paid tools. They’re going [00:23:30] to give you some more information. If you don’t, there are still some kind of hacks that you can take to do something with SEO.

And the hacks, also, I think are sometimes best practices, even if you do have the tools. So we’ve got an idea of what problem we’re trying to solve. Even if we don’t have an idea to begin with, we want to start by brainstorming problems that we could solve. You always want to come up with … They could be terrible ideas. It doesn’t matter. You want to come up with something to put [00:24:00] into that tool so that it can give you a wider variety of things and spur ideas and give you more keywords to work with.

Chris Davis: Okay. So you’re not going into the keyword tool with the perfect idea, knowing like, “Hey I got it all figured out. I just need this tool to tell me what to do.”

Benyamin Elias: Right.

Chris Davis: You’re actually going to be using the tools results to fine-tune and [crosstalk 00:24:20]-

Benyamin Elias: Absolutely.

Chris Davis: … okay.

Benyamin Elias: Absolutely. So, as an example of that, when I was writing our blog post here at ActiveCampaign on coming up with new [00:24:30] ideas for blog content, which maybe is relevant for this topic also, I came across a keyword in one of the tools. How do online businesses make money? How do online businesses make money? That’s not really about blog content ideas, which was the keyword I eventually targeted with that. But isn’t that a whole separate article in and of itself?

Chris Davis: Yes, man.

Benyamin Elias: It is.

Chris Davis: Wow, yeah.

Benyamin Elias: And lo and behold, I wrote that article, too, and now, it’s also up on our [00:25:00] site.

Chris Davis: Wow, okay, okay.

Benyamin Elias: Right. So we want to go into the tool with some ideas, with the knowledge that the tool is going to give us better results, if we give it better inputs. The tool can suggest keywords for specific blog posts, and it can give us, if we have no ideas, ideas to do future blog posts.

Chris Davis: Got you.

Benyamin Elias: So, what tools should we be using?

Chris Davis: Yeah.

Benyamin Elias: The tool that I use the most is Moz.

Chris Davis: Moz.

Benyamin Elias: Moz Keyword [00:25:30] Explorer is, in my opinion, the best keyword research tool out there. It still has its limitations, but really, really valuable tool. How that works is you’re going to put in your keyword. It’s going to give you an estimate of how many people per month are searching for this keyword. It’s going to give you a number from one to 100. How hard is it to rank for this keyword in search? It’s going to give you a list of thousands and thousands of suggestions [00:26:00] for other keywords that are related to the topic that you put in. Yeah-

Chris Davis: Wow.

Benyamin Elias: A very strong tool, a very powerful tool.

Chris Davis: So it’s almost like … Benyamin, I know a lot of people, when they’re writing blogs, they come out strong, man. I mean, they’re just starting. They’ve got what seems like a lifetime of ideas. “I’ll never run out. I’m writing once a week,” and [00:26:30] then after a couple months, they’re like, “What’s next?” What you’re saying is this keyword … research and keywords has many benefits, not just the SEO, but it helps you keep ideas coming, because it’s going to show you other things like, “Hey, have you … ” It’s almost like buying on Amazon. It’s like, “Hey, other people have bought this.”

Benyamin Elias: Yes.

Chris Davis: It’s like that’s how I’m seeing it now with the keywords. All right. Interesting.

Benyamin Elias: Okay, so we’re going to use a tool like [00:27:00] Moz. Ahrefs is another one that’s very popular for this purpose.

Chris Davis: Oh I think I’ve seen that. A, then H, ref? Ahref?

Benyamin Elias: Yes. Just like the HTML.

Chris Davis: Like the HTML tag, yeah.

Benyamin Elias: That’s another really popular one. I tend to use Moz more.

Chris Davis: Okay.

Benyamin Elias: That’s how I will usually find my main primary keyword for the page, because it really gives you a lot of suggestions. It gives you the volume. Sometimes I’ll check that against another tool to see, because there can be disparities. But it also [00:27:30] shows you the … It gives you a little analysis of the existing things that are ranking. We’ll talk about that in a second, but that’s where I’m going to find this primary keyword. I’m not going to do it on the first search. I want to search one. I’m going to scroll through some ideas. Okay, do I see anything else? I might search that one and see if there are other ideas there.

I will pull in from my list of brainstormed ideas and search and see if it comes up with other things. A lot of the time, these tools are pretty good, [00:28:00] but they’re not perfect. They’re going to give you a lot of keywords that are very similar to what you put in and a few that are a little different. So if you want to make sure you’re really getting the full breadth of options, you want to put in different keywords to start with, so you get a variety.

Chris Davis: Right.

Benyamin Elias: Then I’m going to start looking at other tools. These are actually, I think, all of them are free. So, the first one I’m going to look at is [00:28:30] actually just the suggestions at the bottom of Google Search. When you type in a keyword, and you scroll down, there are suggested terms from Google. By definition, Google is telling you that those terms are relevant to your topic.

Chris Davis: Wow, yeah.

Benyamin Elias: There’s no clear … Google is telling you that Google cares about these terms. If you can use those terms in that post, or maybe there’s another idea, you’re going to signal to Google what your blog [00:29:00] post is about. That’s great. Now, typing in a ton of different search terms to get all of the stuff in the Google footer, that’s going to take a while. A tool called keywordtool.io basically scrapes all of those results and will just show them to you at once. That’s free. There’s a paid version, but the free version is enough for most purposes. There’s another tool called Answer the Public, also free.
You put in your [00:29:30] keyword, and it’s going to give you a list of questions that people are asking online about that keyword.

Chris Davis: Wow.

Benyamin Elias: So why would I or how do I or what is … all of those different things. That can really spur ideas for things to include in your blog post.

Chris Davis: Right, right. Nice.

Benyamin Elias: So, you’ve got all of these tools. You’re starting to collect keywords. You want your primary keyword. You maybe [00:30:00] want a secondary keyword that’s similar to your primary keyword, and then you want to pull in terms that are related to your topic but not quite exactly what your keyword is. If I’m writing a blog post on what you should do on your first day at the gym, I can give people a workout, and that’s probably something that they’re going to want. But if I look through there, maybe I look at the Google footer; maybe I’m looking [00:30:30] at other posts on this topic; maybe I’m looking from these other tools.

If I look through there, I’m going to find things like, “What should I wear on the first day at the gym? I’m really sore after the first day at the gym. Is this something? Should I be worried about this? What time should I be going to the gym? What if I’m nervous, if I feel judged going to the gym?” These are all things that you could add to this article-

Chris Davis: Absolutely.

Benyamin Elias: … and it would be massively valuable to your audience. So by doing [00:31:00] this keyword research and finding these similar things, not only do you signal to Google that you are writing something of high value on this topic, you’re giving Google more signals about what your content is about. You’re also making your content better. You’re answering more of your audience’s questions.

Chris Davis: We’re approaching our cutoff mark here. Benyamin, listen, this so hard. I could literally talk to you for [00:31:30] another hour on this topic, and it may make sense to have you back for a part two, but it’s almost … What you’ve done, in the short time that we’ve been able to sit together and talk about this topic, is you’ve really shifted my view of SEO to content that answers the most relevant question pertaining to what you have to offer. If we just remove the complexities, I think [00:32:00] SEO in itself maybe has the technical connotation with it, and people are like, “Just hire an agency or just outsource it and get me on Google.”

That’s their goal, when if you shift it a bit, you still keep the first page of Google in your crosshair, but you’re focusing on, “How can I answer these questions in the best way?”

Benyamin Elias: Definite.

Chris Davis: It’s going to happen, right? Google will acknowledge it, people will find it naturally. [00:32:30] Two things that I wanted to ask you in closing before I let you go for round one, these keywords, how would you say is the best way to balance the usage of them in the content?

Benyamin Elias: Within the content itself?

Chris Davis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Benyamin Elias: So, your primary keyword is going to show up in the URL.

Chris Davis: Okay.

Benyamin Elias: So your website slash your keyword. It should show up in [00:33:00] the title, your headline. It should show up in the title tag of the page and the meta description. That last one is not going to affect the rank, but it can affect how many people see it in Google and then click on it to come in. And then you should use it throughout the content. I wouldn’t try to overthink this too much. You definitely don’t want to be using every third word. That’s not a good idea. A tool [00:33:30] like Yoast, that’s a WordPress plug-in, can be really helpful at telling you, “Oh you should be using this more, or you should maybe stop.”

Chris Davis: I’ve seen that one.

Benyamin Elias: Yeah, and those tools, they’re helpful as guidelines. But at the end of the day, the answer to that question is going to be, where is it in Google? If you have a 2,000-word blog post that uses your primary keyword four times, that’s maybe not enough, but see, are you [00:34:00] on the first page? Maybe you can move up higher by adding in more. If you’ve got a 2,000-word blog post and you’re using it 20 times, maybe take it out a couple times, see how that works. It’s ultimately going to be how it comes down in Google.

Chris Davis: Okay.

Benyamin Elias: For those other keywords, the related terms, sometimes that’s going to be a section of your blog post-

Chris Davis: Got you.

Benyamin Elias: And that can be really helpful. Sometimes you’re just going to do a little rundown of things, like, when I wrote an article on how to do [00:34:30] market research for small business, what’s the keyword? Market research for small business. And then I throw in things like qualitative analysis, SWOT analysis, focus groups, survey. That’s not what the article was on as a whole. I wasn’t explaining how to do those things, but it was useful to acknowledge them, one, because readers are going to think of those things as market research, and I wanted to say, “Maybe this isn’t what I’m talking about.” And two, because it signals to Google [00:35:00] what the post is about.

Chris Davis: Got you. Got you. And then my last question was, linking to your content within another piece that you’ve written. Does that matter? Does it have any … Does Google care about that? If you’ve got 20 posts, they’re all related, you’re talking about the same thing, and you link in blog post number 10, you link to blog post number two and three. And then in three, you link to blog post number 18 and 19. [00:35:30] Is that a strategy? Is that something that helps?

Benyamin Elias: That’s a kind of a big question.

Chris Davis: Okay, all right.

Benyamin Elias: But in brief, it is a good practice to link to your own posts. When you publish something, it’s a good idea to link to it from an older post. That’s something a lot of people kind of forget. And as you continue to develop content around your topics, your website as a whole is going to have more content related to it.

Chris Davis: True.

Benyamin Elias: It’s more relevant to those specific topics. [00:36:00] You’ve built a content hub about something, and just all of that is sending a few more signals to Google about the topic that you’re writing about. It’s a little more complicated than that, but in general, if you’ve got a pillar topic that you’re writing about, having little offshoots of content on related topics or similar topics or elaborations on that topic is a good practice to bring up [00:36:30] the overall profile of your website.

Chris Davis: Yeah, because at that point, your domain is now being reputable to a specific topic to Google.

Benyamin Elias: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Davis: All right, great. Man, Benyamin, thank you so much, man. Like I said, it’s so hard. It’s so hard to stop this. But, no, I hope this was … This helped me, man. This really did, and the biggest thing that I wanted our listeners to take away is how to approach it. I mean, there’s many times [00:37:00] you and I are in meetings, and I’m looking at how we’re, you know, the keywords and everything, and I’m always thinking like, “I wonder how many of our customers know this,” because it’s important if you want to get contacts into. And it’s not even that, it’s not even just lead generation, if your contacts are existing in your account, you can see what pages they’re reading.

You can see what they’re interested in instead of always [00:37:30] relying on email, “Click this link. Hey can you fill out this survey? Hey can you do that?” You can listen in other ways. So, I appreciate having you on, man, and this definitely just the beginning. Hey, everybody, in closing, I have to share this. Today, I walked by Benyamin’s desk, and I saw the biggest … I’m not exaggerating. I wish we had a picture here. I will post it on this podcast. The biggest Google Analytics book I have ever seen in [00:38:00] my entire life, ever. I don’t think they can create another one bigger, so I just want to put that out there. It does exist.
It’s by Wiley, too. Wiley creates all these academic books. But again, Benyamin, thank you so much, man. I appreciate it.

Benyamin Elias: Yeah, for sure. I could talk about it for hours.

Chris Davis: All right. Seriously, everybody listening, if you want to hear a round two of this, if you want to go deeper, let me know. Always, like always, leave a five star rating, leave a comment in there, say, “Hey where’s part two?” [00:38:30] and we will make part two, three, four, whatever we need to do to make sure you are getting [inaudible 00:38:35]. All right. Thanks, Benyamin. I’ll see you in the office.

Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the ActiveCampaign podcast. I hope you enjoyed the tips that Benyamin shared. I should have mentioned this in the beginning in and told you to get your pen and paper, but these, what we discussed today is so important [00:39:00] in the day and age that we live in where digital marketing and content marketing is so prevalent. You have to be creating content that is asking, answering questions that your audience is asking. The only way to know that is to stay in tune with your audience, understand exactly what they’re saying and what they’re doing.

What they’re saying could be in-person conversations. What they’re doing could be simple as website traffic, your ActiveCampaign website traffic, seeing [00:39:30] what pages they visit and things that they do on your website. And this by no means was the comprehensive guide to search engine optimized content, because Benyamin let me know, even in leaving, he was like, “Chris, we didn’t even cover links and keyword difficulty, and how do you know which ones to go after?” So it is, it is a topic well worth your time to study and understand, so that you can unleash it, because an organic lead costs [00:40:00] you $0.

It costs you the time it takes to make the content. A lot of times, we’re saying that, in marketing, those touches are starting to increase. We used to say, “Seven touches before you can make the sale.” That number is increasing, so content that can answer a question truly does help and serve as more than one touch point in the marketing and education journey. All right. So if you’re listening to this podcast for the first time, activecampaign. [00:40:30] com/podcast is where you can find the library, the archives, all of the episodes that we recorded up and to this point.

I recommend you subscribe using Google Play, Stitcher, iTunes SoundCloud. Whatever app that like to use, I recommend subscribing so that you get a notification every single time we drop a new episode. If you are someone who’s looking for a little more guided approach, or guided help I should [00:41:00] say, in getting started with ActiveCampaign, we have human beings ready and willing to help you. Our success team is amazing, and you can set up a complimentary one-on-one right now going to activecampaign.com/training. And also, if you would like to learn from yours truly, I run office hours every Tuesday at 10:00 AM Central and Friday at 1:00 PM Central. You can register there at activecampaign.com/learn.

As always, you can go [00:41:30] to the blog and see all of our content. Keep us honest. Look at the post that Benyamin has written, okay? Look at the content that he’s creating, to say, “Hey I see what this guy is saying.” All of that is at activecampaign.com/blog. This is the ActiveCampaign podcasts, the small business podcast, to help you scale and propel your business with automation, and I will see you on the next episode.

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