SEO Testing with Logan Bryant
This week Logan Bryant from https://hire.loganbryant.com stopped by the show to talk about his experience 5’xing the leads at a B2B fintech business and his approach to SEO testing. Enjoy.
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Unknown Speaker 0:23
It’s time for the SEO show where a couple of nerds talk search engine optimization, so you can learn to compete in Google and grow your business online. Now, here’s your hosts, Michael and Arthur.
Hello, and welcome to the SEO show for another week. I’m Michael Causton. And this week, I’m joined by Logan Bryan. He is an SEO that I came across on Twitter. He’s based over in the USA. And he actually shed some content around some work he did for a b2b SaaS company over there called to polti. It’s in the finance space. And it was a great case study on generating leads, you know, using SEO to grow a b2b company, which can be tough to do. So I wanted to bring him on the show to talk about that and really delve into the stuff he does around testing. So he had some pretty interesting approaches to testing things for SEO. And we delve into that in this episode. So look, if you’re interested in checking him out, you can check out Logan bryant.com. But otherwise, I’ve got about 40 minutes here, where we go in depth on SEO testing b2b SaaS, and using SEO to grow. Have you enjoy your show for people who may not have heard of you a bit yourself and what you do and we’ll get going from them?
Unknown Speaker 1:44
Yeah, my name is Logan Bryant, I do content driven SEO for b2b SaaS is probably the best way I can describe it. I have been branching out a little bit from SEO in the past couple of years as well, going from purely focused on SEO to broader inbound demand generation, you know, encompassing other aspects of digital marketing, particularly, you know, with with an emphasis on on CRO and paid search and a few other areas ABM as well. So, but yeah, very deep background in SEO, and I do it in house, mainly for b2b SaaS teams. And at the moment, I’m actually branching out of in house and starting to work for myself a little bit as well.
Great, awesome. Well, I came across you because of your work at to polti, you know, a b2b SaaS company and the work you did there on SEO, and we’ll chat a little bit about that, and some of the stuff you’ve got going on in the SEO world at the moment. But when people come on the show, I always like to find out how they discovered SEO and got into this world because it’s a funny old world. And yeah, I’m always interested in what got people into it. So yeah, how did things start out for you?
Unknown Speaker 2:55
I think that’s a great question. Because I think SEO is the type of industry where everybody has a unique story. I think like when you certain other industries, you ask them and they like had their path mapped out for them. Like, why did you become a lawyer? Well, my dad was a lawyer, or, you know, why did you become a lawyer? Well, because, you know, law school was the next you know, path after college or whatever it was, right. But, but with SEO, it’s it’s there. People don’t grow up thinking they want to become an SEO. So it’s just like everybody stumbles into it in some unique way. For me, I actually did think I was gonna go to law school as an English major. I enjoyed writing a lot. Went to college with a an English background thinking that I was going to, well, originally before law at law school, I was thinking about creative writing. And then I realised that I didn’t want to, you know, I wouldn’t really be able to make a great living as a creative writer. So from there, I graduated with the English degree still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was working for a, I was studying for the LSAT and working for a startup at the time, and doing multiple things for the startup. One of those responsibilities was managing the blog and optimising the blog. And that’s where I came across Whiteboard Friday videos, I had a couple friends that that were working for. This was in Utah, it was a I guess, dating myself because this, I don’t think this company’s around anymore, but it was a marketing company called orange soda. That looked interesting. And then then I had a career counsellor that was that gave me some pretty good advice. He said, You know, it’s, I was worried about what should I do with my career and he was like, sometimes a better question to ask is like, find a company that you would enjoy working for. And I was like, Okay, this orange soda company seems cool. Rand Fishkin looks like he’s having fun on his Whiteboard Friday. And so, it just seems more interesting to me and more like intellectually stimulating, and it seemed like the crowd out that I wanted to be around like, the people just seemed friendly and open. And you know, and that’s still to this day people share knowledge all the time. Everybody’s quite friendly, I believe in the SEO industry. So I shouldn’t say everybody but but you know, most of us are doing the industry of giving the industry good name, I would say. So. That’s what got me into it.
Yeah, great. Well, I’m out of interest with that creative writing move, and like deciding not to go down that path. And what you know, now in the SEO world, you know, chat GPT being the massive thing that everyone’s talking about at the moment. Where do you see the future for creative writers? Do you think AI will get to the point that it can sort of put a lot of them out of work? Or is it going to be more just regurgitating stuff that’s already been written before?
Unknown Speaker 5:48
And that’s, I think that’s the question on all of our minds. And I think it’s what I think about in general chat GPT is I think that the ever we like to predict the future, and I just think that like, it’s, it can be a fun exercise. But I also think that like, we, the future usually, is ends up looking different than we all think. I mean, I look back at like, there’s a lot of predictions that haven’t come true. Like, when Siri came out, we were all talking about the future of SEO, it’s Siri was gonna be the Google killer. And everything was gonna go to voice and it was gonna be like, how do you optimise for Voice Search? And I don’t hear anybody talking about optimising for Voice Search anymore. Doesn’t mean I do think chat GBT will last don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s going to be quite that dramatic of a failure story. I think it’s going to I think it is a game changer. I do think it’s going to change, not just SEO, but I think it’s going to change the broader field of technology and writing, and communication and all of that. Exactly how it will change that part. So difficult for me to speculate, to be honest, I think it’s the future is going to be different than then even the experts think it will be in my opinion. I mean, who could have predicted that? Like? I mean, who could have predicted that things are the way they are now? I mean, it’s just yeah, speculation is a tricky one for me. But on the other hand, I did see like a an article, there’s like a guy that wrote a whole children’s book, and published it in a weekend with chat GPT. And people were mad about it. They’re like, hey, you know, like, that’s stealing creative are, you know, other creative writers work? Or, you know, like, the, the AI is kind of, like, you know, piggybacking on other creative writers work to get it published. So there’s a lot of like, controversy about that. But I think the really the hard one for me to wrap my head around is just the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around is, how will we know what’s true? And what’s not true? How will we know what’s real, and what’s not real in the future? And that goes doesn’t just go for cheap routine, but it goes for? What’s the visual one?
That lead to
Unknown Speaker 8:16
Dolly? Yeah, Dolly too. So like, there’s so many things that it’s just gonna be like, how can you tell what’s real? What’s fake? In the future, especially as this gets more advanced? That’s a little bit scary to me, to be honest. And back to your question of creative creative writing. I think I think it’s gonna be really hard to distinguish at some point. And that’s, that’s going to be tricky. So we’ll see.
Yeah, it’s scary. It’s scary, like the video, like deep fake videos, and the like, in five years time could be causing wars, you know, if we’re not careful. Hopefully, it doesn’t go down that path. But, you know, for churning out content for SEO purposes. Not so bad. But look at I wanted to bring you on because, as I said, I came across that article about your time at tipalti, b2b SaaS, you know, in the b2b world, everyone always wants more leads, you know, we need more leads for the sales team, we need to close more business. So I’m always interested to chat to people in that space about their work and SEO. And I saw that, you know, you’re able to five times their SEO growth over your period there. And then out of that process, you had some cool stuff around VA testing and a few other bits and pieces. So yeah, maybe if you could give me a bit of a background about to polti. And I guess where things were when you came on there as an SEO and I guess, a little bit of the work you did there and we can sort of delve into that a bit.
Unknown Speaker 9:41
Ya know that to party as a party was, I think, to this day, even still my most exciting the most exciting part of my career so I talked about it a lot. And when I joined to politics is in 2018 Are those toward the, you know, q4 of 2018. Essentially, I think it was end of q3. And they, they’re a FinTech, b2b SaaS company. I joined it there Series C, and I stayed for just shy of four years or so, I left right around there Series F. So from Series C, the Series F. I think at the moment, they’re still valuated, I want to say around $8.3 billion. So they’re in that sort of, like unicorn status of FinTech companies. And, and that’s, that’s like, yeah, that’s, throughout that first, I would say 2020 was when we saw the most growth with our organic programme. And we 5x both on the level of traffic acquisition as well as SQL. So those two metrics were 5x. And, you know, I should also clarify that the SQL is the only reason they kept up with the traffic growth, because most of the time you see more traffic growth, than leads growth. That’s just the natural way of things. But the only reason that the SQL is kept up with the traffic growth was due to the CRO, that we were able to apply that to the website. So we grew leads, not just because of organic traffic acquisition, but also because of just improving improving the conversion funnel, so to speak.
Yeah, and I a lot of people in the SEO world are just so hyper focused on traffic, you know, we need more traffic, traffic, traffic traffic to get leads, but they don’t always give so much thought to the conversion side of things. But it’s massive. So yeah, what was your approach? Like? How were you able to generate such a strong conversion rate that your your SQL grew so much in line with your traffic? What sort of stuff did you focus on?
Unknown Speaker 12:01
The, the big one for us was, and a lot of people will think that, you know, blogs are for top of funnel. To a large extent they are, but there’s a lot of bottom bottom of funnel in a content strategy as well. And the big one for us was that we mapped out our topic. So it’s almost like if you could think of content, I’ll speak to it in terms of topic clusters, because that’s something that resonates with a lot of SEOs, if you could map out your topic clusters on a b2b SaaS site, and then pair those topic clusters with a relevant gated asset. Because that’s one of the things that a lot of sites get wrong. Most sites either don’t have a CTA at all on their content. So they’ll write a post or they’ll get it ranking and the traffic is there, but they haven’t given the the users anything to do. Or they’ll have a CTA, and it’ll be like, talk to sales book a demo. You know, watch our video. It’s not necessarily the right CTA for those users. So tipalti Fortunately, had a large library of gated assets. Some companies don’t even have a large library of gated assets, either. So we were fortunate that we actually had enough gated assets where we could do almost a one to one with the topic cluster, or the topic hub, and the gate asset. So by by figuring out which gated gated asset is going to be most relevant to that topic, and then, and then pairing those up across all of our topic clusters. We saw better results than if we just said, Hey, here’s an article book a demo with us, you know what I mean? So that’s, that was very effective for us.
And how when you say gated, how gated was it? Were they having to give like contact number and name, email, everything would just email and then you would warm them up over time?
Unknown Speaker 14:10
Yeah, we did have a few fields. I can’t remember the exact number more fields than I would care to have. Right? I think most most of us marketers would prefer fewer fields to more fields, although the same time you we did have company limitations where you know, you do have to meet the the system, I guess the system’s requirements for counting that as a lead. So for us, I think it was like I don’t want to some of this. I don’t even know if the policy we want to speak to so I’d say check out to Paul these fields for yourself. But I think there were about I want to say about six fields, maybe six or seven fields that users had to fill out in addition to name and phone number again.
Quite a lot. Yeah, Okay, cool. And so another thing I came across was the link acquisition work he did whilst there. Because there’s all sorts of different ways, you know, link building such a massive part of SEO, and there’s all different attitudes towards it, some people just refuse to do it whatsoever. Others will be paying for links left, right and centre and not caring about any potential downside of that. I saw that you guys sort of went with the approach of like, quite high quality assets on your website that you would use as Linkbait. Could you maybe delve into a bit that you did on the link acquisition side of things? Because I thought what you did was pretty cool.
Unknown Speaker 15:39
Yeah, well, we did, we explored a lot of like acquisition in different areas. We not only did your traditional guest posting, we also did some digital PR. I think those were the main two that we explored. We also did some kind of partnership link building and and leveraging existing relationships to build links and things like that as well. The digital PR campaigns, I do want to give a shout out to my friend James Brockbank. He’s over. He’s based out of the UK runs a company called Digital loft, they helped us mainly with that digital PR side of things, I was too busy and had my hands full, there’s no way I could have run that successful a link building campaign with the internal resources that I had. And so came up with the idea. One of them was profit per profits per employee, where we researched the top the companies that had the most profits per employee. So looking at Fortune 500 companies, for example, looking at their profits and the number of employees they have, and which ones were most profitable. In other words, like, this is not a real number. But like if, if visa had 500 employees and a certain amount of profits, then they would, you know, some of the numbers were ridiculous, like every employee was making the company a million dollars in some cases or something like that. So you can imagine like, oh, man, like my salary as an employee, whether it’s visa or Goldman Sachs, or, you know, these are just hypothetical examples. You’d be like, Man, I’m making the company that much just by being employed here. It’s pretty crazy. So
yeah. And that’s when I started it was I sort of laid out very nicely the content, you know, different graphs and that sort of stuff. So when you say digital PR was was this agency would then go out and promote that to journalists the marketplace? And then they would cite that in a, you know, articles, and you’d get links that way. And, yeah, so I’m sorry, go? Yep. Oh, no,
Unknown Speaker 17:48
just That’s exactly right. I think it for for a digital. My, my thoughts on why they were successful, I think one is having most important thing is having that catchy headline, just like the page title, like, that’s the first and most important thing that a journalist is gonna see. And it makes or breaks, whether they even open your email, to have that catchy headline. So profits per employee being a good headline was part of the success, and then just having a good Research and Methodology, and then building it out in a very digestible page format. So if you look at that piece of content that’s on tipalti.com, just really well designed, really easy to get engaged with. And just overall, it was really well done. And then like you said, the distribution and the outreach was a huge part of that as well.
Okay, and you touched on guest posting as the other, I guess, pillar to your link building, approach them. When it comes to that, you know, a lot of websites you go, you reach out to them, and they’ll say, yep, 100 bucks, 200 bucks, 500 bucks, whatever the case may be. Where do you stand as an SEO on that paying for links? Do you think it’s the sort of mustard? Because that’s the nature of the world? Or do you shy away from that and try and get links otherwise?
Unknown Speaker 19:10
Yeah, I think, you know, I think Google would tell us don’t do it. But on the other hand, I think that with everything you have to take, you have to take, you have to test things out for yourself. So that’s that’s the mindset that I take with link building with digital PR with content with with anything and so I think that just I think a lot of se C’s and SEOs have learned this by now that if you just go along with what what Google says all the time, you you know, you may not be quite as successful as you could be if you occasionally questioned what information you’re getting. So for me, I do think it is okay to buy length as long as you are, you know, very scrupulous about it. And as long as you know what you’re looking for When you’re buying links, there’s ways to quickly get in trouble when you’re buying links, as a lot of us know, and so you do have to be careful. But on the other hand, I think that, you know, we’ve seen a lot of programmes work successfully with, you know, when it comes to buying leads, I mean, if, on the other hand, if you think about it, we’re always buying links. I mean, when I hire a digital PR company to run a digital PR campaign, I’m not buying one link at a time, but I am buying their services to go out and build things for me. With it, if I already have to hire an in house link builder, and outreach manager to go out and do that link building. We’re buying their services to go and build links. And so there’s a cost and inherent cost to link building. The only way that it’s that that cost is not there, where, you know, you Google might say it’s purely, purely ethical or purely, I shouldn’t even say ethical, because I think even buying links is ethical, but but where it’s purely, I guess, white hat is, is if you’re just acquiring links, through publishing your content, and, you know, and building a brand and things like that, and we luckily for some quality, we had a brand and there was a lot invested in brand building, too. So you know, fortunately for us, we could rely on that brand presence as well. And that was a big part of our success, too. So
yeah, great. Yeah, totally agree. There’s, there’s so many semantics at play when it comes to link building, like, can exchange value or time or anything like that for a link, you know, Google’s propaganda machines out there talking about it, and then that’s what they say, and then the reality of the world and what works and, you know, the fact that most of its not being detected if you do it the right way. So I guess as SEO is you got to be able to wade through that and make the right decisions.
Unknown Speaker 21:55
And again, I would just put one extra thing on that, which is just you do have to know what you’re doing. Like you have to really be be cautious about it. I know SEOs, you know, seasoned SEOs that have gotten their sites penalised from building links, and it’s not and they know what they’re doing when they’re buying links. So you still have to really know what to look out for. You have to be able to look for the side the signs of like, is this link part of part of a, a PBN? Or is this link? You know? I guess the yeah, there’s a lot like it was the right for us page explicitly advertising or, you know, there’s all kinds of things to little subtleties to look out for. When you’re purchasing links that just, you know, I think it’s okay to do for sure. But I also think that you do have to be very cautious.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, um, another thing I really liked about your time at polti, was the testing side of things that you sort of got into so let’s say, over your time, there, you created content link acquisition, that sort of stuff is going on. But where I thought it was pretty interesting was you’re using a team of vas, right to help you with testing different SEO elements, like title tags, for example, to see what impact that would have nificant boost the ranking from, say, position five to one by tweaking title tags. And that’s, I think, probably something that a lot of businesses aren’t necessarily doing or even agencies running campaigns for businesses, you might do keyword research and mapping at the start of the campaign, get it all up and then check off that you know, your meta title tags are done. But where you were coming from was that you can test that and see if you can improve things. So can we delve into that a little bit? Sort of, I guess, how you set up your testing programme, what you were testing? And yeah, how you went about it?
Unknown Speaker 23:54
Yeah. So what I’ll say as well is that that was like the first thing that we optimised or one of the first things when I started the campaign. In fact, anytime I work with a new client, that’s one of the very first things that I try to get are projects that I try to get out the door as quickly as possible, is which title tags looked under under optimised and which ones can I test quickly. Because if I can test a few title tags quickly, I can then demonstrate the result to the client that hey, we can actually get your results in weeks rather than six months that everybody else is talking about, right? Doesn’t mean that you’re going to get leads immediately. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to you know, get get the end result in a matter of weeks, but to be able to at least show the client that hey, we got you more traffic, and we did it in a matter of weeks. You know, there’s not a lot of teams or agencies that are doing that right now. And so that’s why that’s the first thing that I did. So coming in and optimising those title tags. We are testing those title tags as you what we did. Typically, I would do all of the, in terms of how our programme was set up, I had a process that functions somewhat similar to like what a CRO process looks like where you’ll like in CRM, a lot of them will have like a roadmap or a kind of a priority log. So I built out my testing dashboard. And then I would identify the opportunities. And usually that’s by looking for things like, hey, what’s the gap between clicks and impressions? In other words, if there’s a lot of impressions, but very few clicks, I could probably do something here. And then, or, you know, what are the pages that the client cares about? These are, what we would what I like to call the clients money pages, where does the client really want to rank? Or where do they make the most profit? If we can get them from five to one or even from five to three or or whatever that looks like, right? So identifying the high value money pages, doing so that some that opportunity analysis, and then I would just do I would go spend a lot of time doing some search, SERP analysis, and by a lot of time, I don’t mean you have to like it various, you know, you can do it quickly. Sometimes, sometimes just by doing a Screaming Frog crawl, you can see all of the under optimised page titles, right. I’m sure we’ve all been there before we’re do that Screaming Frog crawl. And we’re like, oh, clearly a developer built this website that doesn’t know how to optimise their titles. So but you know, and then taking that and then doing some SERP analysis, and then and then I would write the titles myself. And then I would simply have the VA go and implement the titles on WordPress, just because, you know, I could certainly do that myself. But it’s, it’s a, it was more efficient for us to do it with a VA.
Yep. Okay. And so over time, with testing of title tags, were you finding certain formats for them in terms of the structure? Or, you know, I see, sometimes people talk about putting emojis and title tags to try and influence click through rate. Were there any learnings that you’re able to pick up along the way with your your testing?
Unknown Speaker 27:21
Absolutely, I think that the, the writing of title tags, I think of it like I think of all of SEO as an art and a science. And that’s actually one of the things that attracted SEO is like, like, I came from that creative background. I wanted something where I could kind of used that creative thinking and that like, you know, writing ability. But I also was interested in the science side of SEO, that the data, the the technical aspects, etc. So that is very much true with Title testing, because you are collecting the data, you’re finding opportunities based on the data, you’re very data driven in this whole process. But when it comes to the writing of the title tag, that is more of an art. And so treating every one of these titles with a hypothesis is really the way to do it, especially since, as most of us know by now, every single search result or search page is you totally unique. And these SERPs are changing week by week, day by day, sometimes hour by hour. So what whatever formula you could possibly create for a well optimised title tag, you have to go into every SERP environment without those assumptions, because I may find a formula that’s going to work, you know, like gangbusters in one area. And then it might go to another area and find the form and find that that same formula doesn’t work quite as well. Now, there are still patterns that that do work, for example, anytime you’re on a comparison, you know, like SERPs where the search intent is mostly comparison based, like hey, the, if somebody’s searching for AP automation tools, or AP automation software, and you have like Gartner or Capterra or other, you know, kinds of software review sites that are taking up that space, it is a best practice to include a word like best in the title tag the best 23, you know, a number. And so those are formulas that can be applied in multiple areas, right? We did we know that numbers work. We know that sometimes these superlatives like best or top, or things like that kind of work. But on the other hand, there’s times when just doing that thing that everybody else is doing, just doesn’t work. You’re not differentiating yourself. And so I do like to think creatively, and I like to think a lot about the user intent and the search intent, and go a little bit deeper on that. But then the other part of the art is that you have to fit it in a small 600 pixel space. So like doing all of that, like, how do you differentiate? How do you have the best click through rate? How do you outrank your competitors? How, you know, how do you make it an engaging title? And how do you do all of that in 600 pixels. And so that’s where the testing comes into play. And you don’t know until you actually test it and see if that time works.
And so in this day, and age with title tags that when I first started SEO, when we would do keyword mapping, we would just take like the two highest value keywords for that page, the top of the page and just put it in the title tag that like a pipe or a dash in between it, and then maybe the brand on the end. And that was it. Because you’re trying to get as much context as many keywords in there. Whereas now we’re in the era where Google rewrites title tags if it feels like it, and that, you know, it can sort of understand the whole page a lot more. And, you know, the title tag, still is the number one factor on a page. But, you know, are you biassed more towards writing towards the user and trying to make it compelling? And like focus on click through rate? Or is it important to try and shoehorn those keywords in there still, because Google does need that context? What are you sort of seeing with your testing?
Unknown Speaker 31:17
Yeah, I do as often as possible, try to include the exact match keyword in the title tag. As often as possible, there’s definitely times when you can break from the exact match, but you still want it there in some sort of a phrase match kind of a fashion, right? Like, it still has to be there, in order for Google to really kind of give you credit in a title tag. So you want the keyword in the title tag for sure whether it’s exact match for or phrase match. And I think it’s it is much more Google is far more capable now of understanding context. And it’s far more capable of understanding like understanding that keyword in the context of the surrounding words or phrases, or even the full article itself that goes along with it. So whereas before, you would like you said, you’d just be like, okay, primary keyword, dash company name, or sometimes like two or three keywords, dash company name. And that did work like that. I was there for that we did that a lot of work for a while. But to your point, it’s evolved to a point where you there’s other parts of the search intent that get that, that Google picks up on due to related searches. And we can usually see those other questions people have, and like the people also ask section or, or in the auto suggest or other otherwise. So we know that Google is understanding these keywords with much more broad context now. And making your title tag, keeping that broader context in the title tag creation processes, also, and the article creation process for that matter is also important. So, you know, if, you know, if somebody’s wondering, you know, like, what are what is going on? I’m trying to think of a good keyword example. But like, what, what is the best seo podcasts? Like, you don’t want to just say, what is the best SEO podcast, you might want to say, What’s the best SEO? Or what are some of the best seo podcasts is for 2020 23? You know, so things like that, knowing that there’s you need to you need to have some like, in that case, having the year might work right, but in other cases, it won’t. So I think these are things that SEO is broadly No. But I think that, that additional time thinking about the search intent, and placing yourself in the users shoes is something that we don’t always make enough time for. And I think that’s what is able to look, I would rather have one article rank in the top three for a really, really important search term, than have to do the work of going out and creating 40 different articles to get the same traffic levels on on longtail keywords, right? So that’s where title testing can be a competitive differentiator for some for some companies.
Very cool. And with the testing, Is it as simple as you know, you create a new title tag, put it in, and then monitor rankings and Search Console, click through rate, and then report back in X amount of time to see if it’s worked, you know, using your VA to handle that process. Was that sort of how you did it?
Unknown Speaker 34:42
Yeah, exactly. So that is exactly how we did it. There were times what are my first test set tipalti. We saw results within 24 hours, like in Search Console. I think the key word was I then numbers, that was the keyword, we had a page already, we did a test with it. And then the next day, the day after I did the test, I got excited because I saw clicks going up. And I pulled my cmo over I was like, hey, and this was like, within, like, I think I was maybe two weeks into the role there or something like that. So I was still trying to show that like, hey, I can actually do this job, I can get you more clips and things like that. So I just showed him, came over to my desk, checked out the monitor, and he saw that we had gotten more clicks for I bet number he’s like, that’s pretty cool. I’ve never seen results that quickly. So that was in a 24 hour period. But that’s not always the case, more often than not, that page happened to be getting crawled, you know, relatively quickly and things like that more often than not, you’d have to do the optimization, resubmit the page to search console, and then check over the course of two to four weeks, I would say in most cases. And if your site is not getting crawled as often, or if it’s on a more competitive search environment, you know, those results could be slower or even really hard to detect and measure. There’s definitely times when you do a test and and it doesn’t go anywhere. And that’s why it’s a test. But there’s also times when you do a test, and it does go somewhere and you get really happy about it. So
So outside of our title tags with was there any other areas that you’re able to test and see, you know, clear cut examples of that improvement?
Unknown Speaker 36:33
Absolutely. My we did URL switch tests, which is interesting, though not a lot of SEO is do URL switch tests for good reason. It’s it can be dangerous to change your URLs. And when you’re doing a URL switch test, you do have to use a redirect, whether that’s a 301, or a three, three or two. But you do have to use a 300 level redirect on a URL switch test. And, you know, and so that’s more tricky. I like to do URL switch tests, when I’m fairly confident that the new URL is going to be better. Because I’ve also done URL switch tests where it didn’t go well. And it was harder to revert that change and get the search engine to recognise that. So it’s a little more tricky. But it also works like the URL in my mind is treated somewhat similar to a title tag, just in the sense of what the string is. It doesn’t like to me it doesn’t matter like which sub folder it’s in. It’s not a site architecture kind of thing, where you’re trying to like, you know, have pages in in a content hub based on URL structure. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the keyword context of the URL, again, just like a title tag, is the URL accurately describing what the page is about? And is that connected to the search intent? Is the URL like the title is connected to the search intent? Or at least the primary keyword in some fashion? So that’s a good test. We, I would say the second highest. Next to title tags, the thing we got the most results from would be answer box. So Featured Snippet testing, rewriting those, whatever our answer was on that page, we would look for any first we would look for the opportunities once again, look for any pages that were in striking distance, usually bottom of page one middle of page one, where we thought hey, if it’s middle of page one, and I’m at least close to, you know, the top three results, then if my answer is just a little bit better, maybe Google will give me that answer box. And we treated that like a test. The difference there is that it’s a lot easier to see if your test was a positive or negative or neutral test because if you get the answer box it’s just binary like hey, we got it that’s a winning result just getting the answer box you don’t you don’t have to worry so much about measuring the traffic to see if it worked or didn’t work.
Did you find with that trying to optimise for the answer box just changing the content is enough for where you’re doing things around. You know like sort of jump links in the pages or the structure you know like heading tag in the answer and the way you structure the page as well.
Unknown Speaker 39:29
Yeah, we did. Usually, where we got the most results was changing the answer making it more direct cutting out the fat or you know trimming the fluff making it super direct making it the most accurate that we could possibly make it and so the the paragraph itself or if it was a list, maybe it was a list. Then for the table, whatever it was optimising that was is really where we got the most wins. But sometimes just changing the h1 that went with it helped a little bit more. Sometimes I think try to remember what worked for us. And you know, usually I’d want the answer high up on the page, I’m a little bit rusty on my answer box stuff, I’d probably spit out a bunch of our learnings, if I was, if I’d been doing the more of this in the past month or so. But yeah, I mean, we did test out other things we tested out the wood tested out moving at higher up on the page, we tested out changing the the heading that was connected with it, it wasn’t always the h1, some a lot of times it was the h2. And I would say yeah, but by far, most of the time it was changing the context of the paragraph itself, was the most impactful was the easiest way to win anyway,
I’ve found like the keeping it direct, and just looking at sentences and cutting out fluff and cutting it again, and just, you know, cutting it within an inch of its life so that, then for Google’s purposes, they can just scrape it and put it in their search results, you know, you want to make it easy for them to do what they’re trying to do with it. So
Unknown Speaker 41:24
yeah, and even rewording it, like, we would sometimes just take that whole paragraph that we had, we would just scrap it entirely. We would check out what other people wrote. And then we would just like rewrite it. Like, and that would, because like sometimes a more radical revision of that paragraph would help us win as well. So I would say, for SEO is don’t limit yourself to just, yes, we want to make it direct. Yes, we want to cut things out. But don’t limit yourself to that. Like, it’s easy to get in that box of thinking like well change this or change that. But saying, hey, I want to throw this out entirely. And I want to do a whole different paragraph here. That’s not quite as common. But that can be really effective, especially when you’re stuck. And you’re not getting there. So don’t be afraid to like, really rewrite.
Yeah, absolutely. Totally agree with that. Well, this has been really interesting. You know, I think SEO testing is something that a lot of people might be scared to do, you know, you might think that works done. I don’t want to mess with anything, because it might go the other way. But you know, the wins that can be had by going out there and testing things and seeing what works. And then rolling that out definitely, in my opinion, far outweighs the risk of like ruining everything. So it’s been great chatting with you about that. What I want to do is you know, before wrapping things up, I like to ask everyone that comes on the show the same three questions about SEO just to get their perspective on things and maybe learn some new things. So I’m going to fire off three questions that you about the world of SEO and get your take. The first one is what do you think is the most underrated thing in SEO?
Unknown Speaker 43:03
Well, I am biassed, but I’m gonna say SEO testing. So that I am biassed, as you may know by now, but yeah, that’s just been my observation that it’s just not being utilised enough in the SEO industry. And what we were able to do with scaling up to a high high velocity testing programme. To me, it was a clear indicator that we’re under utilising this as a lever. And we have a lot of levers at our fingertips linking in, you know, we have linking External links and internal links. We have, you know, rewrites, we have new content, there’s new content, still one of the most impactful levers, but I would say testing is the most underutilised lever in my opinion.
Okay, and then conversely, what do you think the biggest myth in SEO is?
Unknown Speaker 44:01
biggest myth? I think there’s a lot. I think there’s I was thinking about this earlier, I think there was a lot of myths. Do you mind if I do two or three?
Yeah, go for it.
Unknown Speaker 44:17
The biggest one on the this is less of a myth amongst SEOs but more of a myth about SEO from hiring managers and and sea level folk, which is that SEO is don’t need resources or that if we hire an SEO professional in house, that person will be able to solve all of our company’s SEO problems and they’ll grow traffic, and it’s going to be magical. But in reality, you know, I’d say the biggest myth is amongst amongst those hiring managers and executives is is thinking that one in house professional is going to do the job without resources when in reality if you’re hiring an in house SEO professional you You need to be able to create a budget and that SEO professional needs to be able to manage that budget, in the same way that hiring a PPC professional without any budget would be a mistake. Right. So that’s that’s one. And then on the on the more specific to the SEO industry, some of the myths that aren’t exactly myths, but are more like things that we, as an industry, over index on or over invest in, which I would say like on the technical side of things. And let me be clear, I don’t think these are myths, I think these are just ways our industry could do better. So like on the technical side of things, I think we’re a little bit over invested or over indexed on a lot of things, technical, core web, vitals being a very strong example, we like to talk about things that are sexy, we’d like to talk about things that are in the news. So when Google says something about core web vitals being built into the algorithm, or, or anything around that, it becomes like conversation fodder in our community. But that doesn’t just because it’s conversation, fodder doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be the most effective thing to do for our clients. And, and we get we get tripped up by that all the time, because we’re talking about these things. They, they’re, they’re sexy to talk about, but they’re not necessarily affected. Now, core oils can be effective for clients, which is why I say this isn’t a myth. It’s just something we sometimes over overdo a little bit. And then same with link building, I think is the third one, I think sometimes we we over index a little bit on link building, not to say that link building doesn’t work. Clearly, we’ve done link building at tipalti. And I’m a fan of link building. But on the other hand, it is hard to measure ROI. And we got much more results, or what we got much stronger results from our content programme than we did the technical or the off site side of things.
Okay, cool. Yep. I would, I would agree with that, like the, the SEO news machine and the echo chamber on Twitter, you know, like some, I think the example I like to think of along those lines is when helpful content update was first announced, whenever it was last year, the world went into meltdown, if you’re on Twitter, like people are rewriting their website, because they thought they’re going to be smashed. And then the update rolled out, and you know, it was a bit of a blip on the radar. So people can sort of, I guess, buy into the hype without testing things. You know, coming back to the topic of testing, it’s really about what is actually working on your site, you know, in reality, as opposed to what’s the hot new thing in the SEO world, so to speak?
Unknown Speaker 47:50
Cool. Well, um, the last question I have, you know, we in the SEO world a bit nerdy, we like our software, we like our tools. But if you had to pick just three to get the job done, you know, and you couldn’t use any other tools. Where would you be going to complete your SEO? arsenal of tools?
Unknown Speaker 48:12
Three tools, I am a fan of H refs, for sure. That can be interchanged with SEMrush. So almost put them as one tool because you could you could be a summer fan or an HR fan, they fill mostly the same. Mostly the same purposes. Not not all 100% But so I go with one of those. And then I would do Screaming Frog is definitely a must have. And then I would do probably something like like clear scope for for content optimization. Although I did leave out you know, a lot of people might add chat GPT in there now. But we’ll see. I haven’t quite made that. It hasn’t quite gotten into my top three, but it could be could be one day.
Yeah, well, it’s only a couple of months old. There’s a lot of chat GPT experts around at the moment for a tool that’s only been around for two minutes. I think in time we’ll find cool cool ways of using it but definitely yeah, I don’t know if it’s
Unknown Speaker 49:19
like I said on a topic site. Everybody wants attention. So yeah, they’re gonna jump on it.
Well, look, it’s been great chatting with you, Logan. For people that want to connect with you get in touch after the show, where can they go to get in touch
Unknown Speaker 49:35
my website as good as just login brian.com. So that’s a good place. I’ve got Twitter handle the Twitter’s Logan’s notions, and then I’ve got LinkedIn as well. And that’s just I think, the LinkedIn slash i n slash logon Brian, so I’m pretty active on LinkedIn, I would say out of the platforms But I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn and and on the website so
awesome. Well, thanks for coming on the show been great chatting with you. Have a great day.
Unknown Speaker 50:09
Awesome. Thank you Michael. Cheers.
Unknown Speaker 50:13
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