Episode 382

SEO for Course Creators with Ken Marshall from RevenueZen

This episode features a very special guest from revenuezen.com, Mr. Ken Marshall. His company assists in social selling, providing solutions for SEO and Content. In today’s show, he talked about the challenges of education entrepreneurs and how the hurdles of generating leads and traffic for course creators can be overcome through proper marketing & SEO strategy. 

Here are some of the key pointers that Ken Marshal has responded to in this session of LMScast while discussing marketing and the challenges of experts to generate leads and traffic.

What is Social Selling and How is it different from General Social Media or Influencer Marketing?

It can be hard to tell the difference between being an influential social media user and selling through social media. Both activities are important, but one focuses on helping others grow and make money. 

Being an influencer means capturing people’s attention with interesting content, while social selling entails using different platforms to connect with potential clients. However, both activities require building trust and engaging a community of interested individuals. Ultimately, these goals are the same – to help others succeed.

Social selling is a way to connect with potential customers and generate leads by promoting products or services through social media. It is also a way to build trust and relationships with people who may be interested in doing business with you in the future. 

Influencers have a large social media following and use their platform to promote products or services. They aim to capture their audience’s attention and draw them into conversations about the products or services they are promoting. 

Both social selling and being an influencer are valuable tools for building relationships and generating leads. However, social selling is more effective than simply posting about your hobbies on social media. It is important to use social selling tactics relevant to your audience’s interests and to build trust and credibility before promoting products or services.

Overcoming Challenges of SEO and Content Strategy for Education Entrepreneurs

There is a content strategy and it starts with a landing page for each of the five to 10 problems that your customer has. This should include stories, case studies, and testimonials to build trust. Next, you create assets that help your customer solve those problems.

The assets can be an email course, a mini-version of your course, or a downloadable checklist. Finally, you write something that solves a problem immediately and makes your customer trust you.

Importance of User-intent Content

In order to write content that will perform well on search engines, it is important to understand the different intentions that people have when searching for information. One way to determine someone’s intent is to look at their search query. 

If a person is looking to learn something or go somewhere, their query will be categorized as “learning” Or “going.” If a person is looking to buy something, their query will be categorized as “buying.” 

The connection between buyers’ journeys and search intent can be found in HubSpot’s “Buyers’ Journey Map” Article. This article provides examples of how search queries related to different intentions map to different stages of the buying process. It is important to understand these mapping so that you write content that is relevant to the audience and will help them buy what they are looking for.

Advice on Using Images, Videos, and Linking for SEO

Designers focus on user experience and drawing attention to what their users will see and how it will engage them. While SEO is still important, designers should focus less on optimizing their images and more on ensuring the overall user experience is good.

People are more likely to convert on average if a video accompanies the text or image on a page. This is because people have shorter attention spans and are more likely to be passive viewers than active readers. In this case, the face of the person on the page was a draw for the viewer, even though they were not going to buy the product based on the individual. This demonstrates the importance of creating entertaining videos that can capture the viewer’s attention.

In business, it’s often important to be useful to your readers. One way to be useful is to link to other relevant websites. When you do this, you help your readers find related information and give them a way to connect with you. One of the most successful businesses in the world is HubSpot and Ahrefs. 

Many founders always link out to their competitors because they know that this is the best way to build relationships and create value for their readers. By linking to others, they show respect and appreciation for their work. It’s important to be wise when it comes to generating backlinks. Some backlinking methods are better than others, and it’s important to know which ones will work best for your site. However, as long as your links are useful and helpful, you’re good to go.

Getting Backlinks the Right Way

To be successful in the search engine world, you need to have links. However, Google advises against building links artificially. It would be best if you instead focused on building relationships and writing for other people to get links from.

There is this grandma test without which, Google AdWords will not approve your account. In order to get approved, you must pass their guidelines which state that you should not backlink. The grandma test is used to determine if a link is a quality or not. If your grandmother would be proud of your site, it is considered quality. 

You can build links by being in directories, partnering with others, and giving away resources or opportunities. Quality links are those that would make your grandma proud. By providing useful content, developing partnerships, and providing resources or opportunities, you can help your brand and SEO at the same time.

Best Way to Do Keyword Research

In the beginning, you need to install Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Google Analytics gives you insight into which keywords are coming to what pages from Google, and Google Search Console gives you insights into which keywords are appearing on your website. Then you need to use keywordtool.io to find good keywords for your business. 

Finally, it is important to focus on content quality and generating revenue rather than focusing on maximizing search engine rankings.

Social Media Influence on SEO

Google’s official stance on the matter is that social media links are not a ranking factor, but some people believe that this information is being kept hidden from the public in order to maintain its secret power. 

Regardless of whether social media links are a ranking factor, they are unquestionably an important signal of brand popularity and user engagement. By building strong profiles on popular social networks, businesses can increase their visibility and demand from potential customers. So it’s clear that they significantly impact a website’s visibility and SEO. 

Tips on Getting Traffic to YouTube Playing Its Own SEO Game

In today’s digital world, it is important to take advantage of all platforms that you have access to. YouTube is a huge search engine and it’s a great place to host your videos. It’s also a great platform to use for SEO. 

Additionally, you can do keyword research and optimize your videos for better results. However, don’t forget to fill out all the necessary information on your page and make it sound good. Finally, start talking to your viewers and see what they want. By following these simple steps, you can maximize the potential of your online presence.

Problems with WordPress Custom Solution Users

In today’s world, there are infinite possibilities for solving problems. However, for businesses looking to succeed, it is important to focus on the most important considerations when seeking a solution. When considering solutions, businesses should focus on the target audience, the use cases that can be achieved with the solution, and the potential ROI.

By doing this, businesses can ensure that they are reaching the right people and that they are getting the most out of their investment.

Final Words

If you’re interested in social selling, we’ve just made a new course that’s perfect for beginners. Plus, if you’re meeting sales quotas and need to do more social selling, we have plenty of resources available. 

You can find all the information on our website, revenuezen.com, or on our blog. And last but not least, if you’re looking for a consultant, we offer free consultations. Just click the button on our website!

Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch and scale, a high-value online training program, I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of lifter LMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast, I’m joined by a special guest, his name is Ken Marshall. He’s from revenuezen.com. They help with social selling, SEO and content-based solutions. I’m really excited to geek out with you can about marketing, and specifically, one of the biggest challenges that the expert industry has, which is actually generating leads and getting traffic and that kind of thing. But first, welcome to the show.

Ken Marshall: Thanks a lot, man. It’s really good to be here and get a little nerdy. So

Chris Badgett: All right, well, let’s nerd out what is demand generation as opposed to just I need better marketing for my website. Like, what is demand gen?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, so I mean, I think marketers use a lot of jargon anyway. So I’ll try to be really concise and simple. But I think about it as whether you’re a blog or a business or the US government, there is a group of humans that need whatever you offer, or at least the type of thing that you offer. And their eyeballs their attention can only go in so many places. Demand Generation, as I define it is for those target customers, audiences, however you define them, how can you capture their attention and funnel it to a place where you want them to be where they are sort of in your ecosystem, either doing business with you or just being a part of whatever it is you want them to connect with. So yeah.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Tell us about revenuezen the company. Why did you start it? What does it do?

Ken Marshall: So funny enough, revenuezen is the company that my company got acquired by, in February of last year, I actually started Doorbell Digital Marketing, which was an SEO like only b2b SEO firm. And it’s because I loved inbound methodology. I think it’s amazing. And it’s really fun. And so they were focused on like, lead generation, you know, LinkedIn social selling, and as time went on, he started you know, the founder, Alex, shout out to Alex started seeing that organic, especially in b2b was becoming more and more of the buyer’s journey like we’re talking 18 touches, but instead of being on the phone with a sales rep 15 of those without checking out your, you know, Twitter and LinkedIn and you know, your about page on your website. So they started down the content path, but um, we realized that we could do a lot more damage together and help people a lot more. So yeah, it’s been fun. And basically, what we do now is, we help really growth-oriented I mean, some people are, you know, they want to branding, they want a small lifestyle business, but companies that really want to, you know, get some jet fuel going, we help them increase the quantity and quality of their pipeline using SEO like you said social selling and content strategy. So it’s what we’re doing these days.

Chris Badgett: What’s social selling? Like how’s that different from just general social media marketing? He’s taking a sip.

Ken Marshall: It’s a good, that’s a good question. And we’ve put out a lot of material on this, I won’t go into like the weeds, it’s on our site for free, you can go read about it. But the difference in social selling and you know, perhaps being even an influencer, or just twiddling your thumbs on social media, I’ll put it in those three buckets. Both are fine. We’re an agency we exist to help people grow and make money. So if you’re wanting to be an influencer, that’s awesome. Go get a brand sponsorship, you should say things that are, you know, capture people’s attention. And, you know, draw those eyeballs for that reason to go, you know, pitch to the highest bidder. People that are twiddling their thumbs posting about their cat, that’s wonderful, people are gonna like that they’re going to smile, you’re gonna get lots of likes, and shares and comments, it’s not going to make you a dime. In fact, we post like a couple of times a week, the point is not to go viral. It’s for our ideal client to see a post and be like, Man, you got any more that can reach out to you and that, you know, so that’s the difference. Social Selling, it’s a vehicle using different platforms. It’s not we’re platform agnostic, we use LinkedIn, but we think anything can work. You can use Quora to social sell. But engaging a community or interest filled with people that might be interested in doing business with you down the line, once you build trust. So…

Chris Badgett: How much of a social selling is like content and public comments versus like private messaging? Like, what are you seeing kind of working these days? Or if somebody’s gonna approach it? How should they do it?

Ken Marshall: I think there’s people out there that would say that it’s 80/20 in favor of, you know, spammy at scale, cold outreach and LinkedIn InMail. Good luck to you. God bless you. But I would flip that on its head and say that if you’re like us, and you believe in inbound onto growing, but also being a better return on investment over time, which, you know, go talk to Gartner about that for HubSpot, then you would say it’s mostly about the connections that you make the comments that you make the content that you make on your personal profile. And then when people give you sort of, you know, permission based marketing, shout out to Seth Godin, that’s when you reach out or respond to their comments, because they’re reaching out to you to ask for your services. So you’ve already gotten permission, and I would say, occasionally would be the best way to put it, we will just go forward and say this person has been commenting a lot or kind of, you know, creeping around on a lot of the posts, but they haven’t made a move. Let’s just say what’s up and started getting conversation going. So I would put it at, you know, 80/20. Like, everything else probably is the curve. But yeah.

Chris Badgett: You mentioned Quora, which is obvious that over the years, because it’s like, people have questions, and I have like an alert, I’m like, Alright, cool. Here I go, I’m gonna just take 30 seconds or a minute and answer this. And it’s just a long-game thing. But for people that don’t know what Quora is, it’s not as popular as like, the regular social medias, I guess. But what how does someone use that effectively? What is it first?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, who are they? Who are these people? Chris? They’re living under many many rocks and boulders, but no, Quora is just an answer engine. I mean, they, they exist to like for people to ask questions, and sometimes aggregate the same kind of questions. So people don’t have to ask it over and over again, and then give answers. And so some of them were useful, some aren’t. And it’s flooded. It’s not part of our social selling strategy. I actually just like it personally. But I know that it can be, and even for ads, because they’re cheap. But essentially, like you said, you can leverage it by becoming an expert. And if you’re not an expert, then start out by answering smaller questions that you can and build on the bigger ones over time. Is b2b SEO effective? It’s a little bit of a harder question that how do you put, you know, a title tag on a page, right, but somebody needs to know that at every stage, whether it’s the SVP of marketing down to the guy who just got hired as an intern, and you know, the marketing manager is yelling at them to go do this tech thing. So yeah, just being helpful. That’s the name of the game.

Chris Badgett: Let’s talk about SEO. One of the challenges for education entrepreneurs, as I call them is that a lot of their content is hidden behind the login, like the actual course content and stuff, it’s not necessarily helping them from an SEO perspective, I believe, what kind of landing pages or content or just in general content strategy for a really busy, you know, education entrepreneur? Where’s the low hanging fruit? Or the really important areas to focus on over the long term? For SEO?

Ken Marshall: For sure, um, there’s, there’s like a content strategy. I know we got an hour. So I’ll go with this answer first. But there’s like a content strategy and a box, sort of like canned response in my head before this question. Because I’m like, what’s valuable to somebody who hasn’t started down this path, they may not have access to tools or money. So I’ll try that. But there’s a person that you should have in your mind, some people call this an avatar, a customer, ICP doesn’t matter. They’re just a human who wants to buy from you. Think about this, what are five to 10 problems they have most in their day to day, and this is for the people listening, write this down. This isn’t a thought experiment. This is a chart that you should build or Google Sheets, those five to 10 problems that they have day to day? What are something unique about your platform, your course creators, maybe you have tools, maybe it’s a part of your course? What part of that does it map to so this should be one line pain part of your course. And then in the third box, it should be how does that you know thing that you offer, solve that pain. So there should be three boxes, these solutions over here and the third box, that’s what we want to focus on as the first sort of pillars of our content strategy. And here’s how you implement it. Step one is getting like you said, a landing page for each of those solutions. So for us, a solution might be a technical SEO, audit, or content writing, that’s a solution. And just build a page for all those doesn’t have to be good doesn’t have to be researched. If you offer a course, that helps real estate agents and students and marketers, and it’s the same product make a different landing page for each of their needs, right? The third step is they need something to chew on to trust you. So customer stories, case studies, testimonials, put them up. I don’t even care if it’s in plain text one pager to put it up. The second part of that is an asset. So maybe it’s an email course that’s a mini version of what you offer to get them hooked. Maybe it’s a downloadable, you know, actionable checklist that helps them specifically write a real estate agent to get their LMS up in, you know, get it up and ready in 10 days. I don’t know. I don’t know what they sell. But that’s the point, something that build trust, we call that the middle of the funnel, and at the top of the funnel, take those five to 10 things and Just write something that solves a problem immediately. So for instance, real estate agents, how do you create a Google My Business listing has nothing to do with your course, perhaps. But it’s an easy low hanging fruit that adds value, you solve that pain point. So what I’m doing is essentially saying, you know, the inbound methodology is you attract somebody at the top, they get interested, they like you, then they need to trust you in the middle, then they need to learn about your solution. And then they can convert. So it’s more sophisticated than that. But that’s a content strategy in a box, and click Publish quickly Don’t, don’t go through the whole imposter syndrome. I’m not going to post, just publish it. And you’ll thank me later. So

Chris Badgett: couple. That’s really good man. And I would encourage you that’s listening or watching to read listen to that, because that was a lot of great stuff condensed and explained simply quickly. A couple of quick just kind of add ons around that rapid fire questions. Is there an ideal content length? I know it depends, but is there like a, if you’re not going to is there like a minimum, you definitely need to get over in terms of word count?

Ken Marshall: No, not anymore. There used to be like, also, I would say two things. There used to be, you know, there was a limit of, you know, the more content, the better, because Google’s algorithms and other search engines didn’t understand that quality doesn’t have to equal length. And so that used to be this big thing is like, yeah, at least 5000 words. But it’s like, if somebody asked how many calories and Meo, they don’t want to read an article and then get to 18 schools later to read 350. Right. So nowadays, they’re higher. You know, word count content assets do get links to more, but it’s correlation. It’s not a it’s not causation, or it’s just, those tend to be more thoughtful, and better put together. So that’s why they get linked, but it has nothing. It’s not directly causational. So I always tell people do a quick search. You don’t need tools to do this. If you’re curious, like my landing page, or my you know, this guide that I’m writing, how long does it need to be? Just do a search for whatever you’re going to title it, look through the first two pages, put them in a sheet, I like sheets, if you couldn’t tell, see the average word counts, and then estimate like, hey, Google wants to satisfy the readers needs. So does this human, that’s why they’re on page one, hopefully, or page two, maybe I should do something around there, because that matches the searchers needs. So that’s a quick and dirty competitor gap analysis to answer that question. So

Chris Badgett: can you explain like intent, like that whole concept of like content? Because I think that was a big unlock for me a while ago, when that finally clicked for me?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, yeah. Intent to me that everything, nothing exists without intent. Yeah. And I’m not being like sensational. I would, I don’t publish anything without first assigning it intent. And I’ll say two things, search intent. And then the buyers journey, they should, you know, they should be linked to one another, they’re not the same thing. But search intent is basically, what is this person expecting to get as a result of typing in this query this search on Google. And so we often get folks that are like, I want to rank for, like, you know, marketing software. And it’s like, Oh, you want to go up against G two, and Capterra these aggregates of software, because that’s what people want, they want to compare a solution, they’re never going to click on your startups landing page, right? That’s not their intention is they’re not their credit cards are now they want to learn, they want to go to their boss, their cmo and say, Hey, I found these 10 vendors, here’s the things I like. And so you have to match that. So the only way you would perform well is to make your own comparative list. Or if somebody types in what is marketing attribution, right? If we were us, that’s a that’s an intern. That’s, uh, you know, that’s an analyst who just got hired in their first job. And so, intent is categorized in a few different ways. There’s somebody looking to learn something, there’s somebody looking to go somewhere. So Facebook login, how do I build my own bike for my kid, and then something like, you know, b2b SaaS SEO agency, right, which is somebody looking for a vendor hope either to buy or they’re close to getting ready to buy. And so without understanding that, you’re going to make content that doesn’t perform well. And you might as well light your money on fire. And so real quick, the connection between buyers journey is you have to understand for all those intentions, how does that map to where they are in their purchase decision making. So I’ve got it mapped in my head, but a really good resource to read is HubSpot. Just type in buyers journey. search intent, they do a really good job. Same with H refs, search intent, really good stuff. So

Chris Badgett: that’s awesome. And you kind of already touched on it, but I’ll just ask you specifically, one of one of the things that really made me aware of this is, you know, for us, like I’d love to rank for the word best WordPress LMS software, but the stuff that ranks first is actually bloggers and affiliate marketers that are writing. Compare posts have like, Oh, no 1010 options or something like that. So would your advice be to not be so stingy and like x really create content around your competitors and the compare like, what that’s what the intent really wants, right? Because that’s, that’s why the compare posts rank higher, right?

Ken Marshall: It’s exactly right. And I mean, I would be willing to bet all of the money in my wife and I savings that if you typed in best WordPress LMS is that WP beginner would be on the first page WP beginner, that man is a genius. I’ve never seen this, I’ve never done it. I just know, because of how they structure their strategy. I mean, it’s a given that they’re going to perform well. And so what you would want to do in that case, is we always say the right to own and I mean, we’re building some really cool internal tools that like, you know, can algorithmically determine this, but we teach our strategist how to make sure that the business, the website, the content is ready to rank for whatever target query we have. And it needs to give like an objective score, you can do this without scoring it like, but you need to be smart. So for instance, if you’re going up WP began has just 10s of 1000s of juicy backlinks from everybody you could ever want. And you’re starting out, it’s a waste of your time. So you might say even without tools, what’s just comb through their site, maybe you typed in a keyword that was only mentioned once on it post that is completely different have a different topic. That’s something you can start to then begin to vote. And if you can replicate that of the other top 10 results. And you see, hey, they only mentioned this briefly, instead of this big overarching topic, I’m going to niche down to this specific topic, they only mentioned in one section, I’m going to flush that out for my users. And if that goes crazy, now you can start leveraging your authority over time to get for the bigger things. But um, yeah, you’ve really got to understand like, do I have the right to own this? And that’s how big is your domain? How long has your business been around? How comprehensive is that piece of content? Again, I’m trying to do this without any tools. There’s way better ways to do this with data. But um, yeah, that’s how you can start out to make those decisions have. And the longer you know, the longer the query, the better for you. Now, anything past five words is probably a little ridiculous. And to like you’re getting into doesn’t have any volume territory. Although for b2b, we say go for it. If the intent matches, the data is not going to be there in the tool, so just go for it. But for you b2c folks out there. Yeah, just think about it as 345 as far as longtail. So

Chris Badgett: what about what advice? Do you have best practices around images? Let’s say we’re creating some landing pages or blog content, like, you know, what, how many? What other? How do they? How does SEO impacted by images?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, I would say, I mean, I’m not. I’m not a designer by trade I, in fact, I’m very left brained, quote, unquote. So I would say, imagery and design works in so much as it helps engage your user. So user engagement metrics are a ranking factor, they how long somebody spends on the page, how quickly they bounce after going into your site, and going back out to the results. So what you want to do is not think about it as like, Oh, I gotta make sure my my alt text is right, that’s very, like 2002. SEO more. So we explain really complex things and, you know, in infographics within the posts, or we’ll do a video that’s like an overview or a quick, simple, like two minute explanation. You want to track like bounce rates, time of engagement, time on page page load performance, that stuff to make the users experience really dope. That’s what you want to focus on less than, you know, I spent an hour hunting down the best free image on Unsplash not worth your time. I mean, maybe, but the things again, I’m always focused towards like drawing and users and sales. You want to focus on those experience elements, I would say so. So

Chris Badgett: is that pretty much the same advice for video? Like if you’re gonna put a video and the content like this is a person stop scrolling? Do they stay there for a while? That’s what really matters, right?

Ken Marshall: What would say so and I think actually, the more video you can create is usually a good thing for most people, I know that it converts way higher than text or image on average, if there’s a page that contains that, and I do know that I guess just anecdotally, I enjoy like, you know, Sam on a page of I purchased a person to services a while back there was like a coach and a program or whatever the heck. And it was his face, like right at the top of the landing page. First thing I clicked on, I was like, I like this face. I’m a human humans look at faces, you can check heat map data all day long. We like it, especially if you’re good. But it made me sort of even though he’s a stranger, and I’m not going to buy it because of him. But it’s like, of the two I was comparing, I got to hear this guy talk for a little bit, you know, evolved a little bit. So I don’t only think it’s good from like, you know, from a database perspective, it converts better I think humans more so these days want to connect with that kind of thing. And it’s an easy way to connect with folks or you know, if you’ve got an entertaining video for some reason, and it’s even if it’s not doesn’t contain a face. I think it can be easier to digest passively than reading text, which, you know, intention spans aren’t getting any longer, Chris so

Chris Badgett: yeah. Let me ask you for some link advice. I’ll share where I ended up, like, I kind of just, I just tried to be generous with links, like, even if it’s linking to competitors or whatever. I just assumed that if I’m mentioning it, and it’s useful, and I’m creating like a web of links, which is kind of what Google wants. I see some people get really stingy like, oh, no, there’s no way I’m linking outside of my sight. But that’s a bad idea, right?

Ken Marshall: Dude, I think that’s just bad life advice. I mean, you know, go, you know, and for anybody out there that hasn’t read about, you know, read growth mindset versus fixed, like, you know, not to get too woowoo. But that it almost never seems to pay off. Like, as a human being, I’ve never felt that’s a good strategy. That’s why we, again, we believe in inbound, we believe in giving things away for free all day long, and not attributing it to anything sometimes just hoping it’ll do and it does, by the way, but you know, it’s a long game. And so I would say if you for some reason, are running a spammy, like Blackhat PBN network, then sure, you have to scope your, you know, PageRank accordingly, but for the rest of us, we’re building legitimate businesses and brands. Yeah, be useful. Link out as much as you want. I link out to competitors even sometimes, because they have better conflict. I just said HubSpot and H refs, we have those assets. But they’re the OG so yeah, I’m pleased Tim link out to us. You know what I mean? So I think that’s an old outdated concept, or just somebody who doesn’t, they aren’t secure and who they are. I will say, though, that in terms of going to get, you know, the kinds of backlinks you do need to be more wise and, you know, deliberate about what you go out to generate. But as far as out, you know, outbound linking, I say, as long as it’s useful and helpful and appropriate for the content, just do it. So

Chris Badgett: you mentioned getting backlinks. You know, I personally get a lot of like spammy backlink request emails every day. What’s the what’s the proper way to? Or what’s a better way instead of just a mass outbound campaign where you’re begging for links? What’s the best way to kind of go beyond organic and try to influence and get a little more backlinks with intention?

Ken Marshall: Without the grandma test? I mean, I’m not even kidding. This is the response, we only build links in three ways. And there is no backlinking is completely aboveboard. It’s literally Google’s guidelines that you shouldn’t do that. However, they do, say things like, you know, contributing to somebody else’s content on their site, and getting a link from that as Okay, so it’s this really weird thing of like, they don’t want you to build links, but they like you to build relationships and write for other people and get links from so anyway, that’s what we do, which I’ll get into, but as far as like the litmus test, excuse me, for what kind of links you should build is, you know, would your grandma be proud of this? If your grandma’s a proud person, you know, if the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, would he get geeked about or she get geeked, about this? And so we always say, you know, first and foremost, there’s directories, where your business would live, that would be like the white paper, or the yellow pages of old is your business, a legitimate business, one of the easiest ways is you should be in the marketplace, you shouldn’t be able to for us, you should be able to find us on clutch, you know, and Google My Business, we have a real location headquarters, if you don’t, why that’s weird. That’s super weird that I can’t find you as a business. So that’s thing number one. It’s just business listings. It’s simple, low hanging fruit. But those are links. Those are really quality links actually, in Google’s eyes, because it means you’re legitimate. The second thing is just partnerships. Some people call it guest posting, some people call it info, graphic tactic, whatever. The point is, Chris, you, you know, you want to educate about LMS and solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs that are focused on education, and courses. And so I would just go find people that write about courses that are other course providers that build an LMS themselves and say, Hey, I noticed that you don’t have x on your site, or is there anything your Editorial Manager really wants to focus on? And we do this? And they’ll say, Yeah, this month is XYZ, but we have we have nothing like I can give that to you for free. Do you have any criteria for us? And they’re like, Yeah, this is what we’d like for the high quality posts, and you go study their best performing posts, and you give them something that’s better than that, or an infographic that they don’t have, or a video that you made for them. And they say, this is the you saved my career, Mr. Person, the editor of this thing, right? They’re happy to get it. So that’s the second thing is just giving somebody something useful for them. And in return, they’re like, of course, we’ll link out see this, you helped us. And the third thing is just, I call them like resources and opportunities. So a lot of our clients are SAS, but even if you’re like you mentioned those roundups for LMSs, I’ll do a real example for you. I would reach out to WP beginner type sites, and I would say, Hey, do you want 15 instead of 10? Because their writer might have gotten tired at 10. Maybe the competitors are doing 20 and 30 these days, and they haven’t updated it in two years. I’d be like, I wrote five new ones for you, and mine’s included, but it’s really dope and here’s why. And you give them that extra content and you say now you’re gonna be able to compete Eat with your competitors, I don’t know, six times out of 10. They’ll enjoy that if you have a good product and you’re a good person. So that’s the other one as far as taking advantage of existing resources, and I like piggybacking off of them. So all of those sound aboveboard because they are, and they help your brand, and business and SEO at the same time.

Chris Badgett: So wow, that’s, that’s awesome. Thanks for that advice. What about? Like, what’s the main things we need to get right? Whether we’re using like a Yoast SEO plugin, or rankmath, or something else? From an on site, technical SEO perspective, like what do we definitely need to make? Sure we do. That’s a little more technical.

Ken Marshall: So a you need to go read Brian Dean’s on page SEO checklist right now. Again, revenues in we’ve got our own, but I know who the OGS are. And I’d love to work with you even though as SEMrush required you, Brian Dean. But anyway, start there for the basics. Yeah, you can’t do anything. Well, with a tool. If you don’t know why you’re using the tool. The I just want to

Chris Badgett: say I think a lot of people install, like an SEO plugin thing. And they’re doing SEO, but you got to slow down. Right?

Ken Marshall: Exactly. So the SEO plugin is the the tactic the vehicle, but it’s only you can only use it in so much as you have a good strategy. So what I would say is go start off reading that once you read that, understand that as much as you get to that coveted green light. What’s going to matter is why you even built that target term, like one person, I forget who I was talking consulting with a long time ago, they kept tweaking the keyword to get the green light. But I’m like, that’s not a keyword. There’s no search volume for this. So you’re like, you know what I mean, you’re wasting your time. So what I would say is, identify why you even targeted that term that you’re plugging in, in the first place. Go learn about the on page SEO basics. And then if you’re a beginner, yeah, that’s an x, it’s probably the best tool in the business as far as what I’ve used for plugins, to get to a place where you’re probably a four out of 10 in terms of on page SEO, that the upper echelon of things you’re not going to get there from Yoast plugin. But if you’re a beginner, it’ll take you the quickest to like, yeah, zero to four, zero to five. So

Chris Badgett: tell us about keyword research. I mean, I think a lot of people just assume like, Okay, I probably need to rank for these five phrases. What’s the best way to do keyword research? And how do we? How many, like words or phrases should we do? Should we really be kind of trying to focus on?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, so for everyone that, you know, because before you have tools, there’s a way to do it. And then after you have data, there’s a way to do it. So make sure everybody listening, you have Google Analytics installed Google Search Console, they’re both free. It gives you insight into which keywords are coming to what pages from Google, and then obviously, traffic data. And then keyword tool.io. And Google’s free keyword planner, because again, you can’t make good decisions after a certain point without data, but you can in the beginning, just based on intuition, and time and spending, spending little bit of effort. So in the beginning, I would tell people, that ICP that you made and those pains, and how your solutions mapped to the different features. That’s the basis of what I call your seed keyword list a pool of terms that just from us, it comes from data sources, but it can come from your brain, then what I would do is I would do you know, searches for the different topics and just see like, what kind of is it other people like me other businesses? Or was I completely wrong about the intents, and it’s all the searches that have nothing to do with my business, get rid of all the ones that don’t match the intent of your business? The next thing that I would do is sort of take those, and I wouldn’t even I wouldn’t even put them into any tools I would just maybe highlight or circle. Does this seem like something that would lead to me getting more business? Because often I think people can get so in the weeds with like, Oh, am I getting clicks and impressions and rankings for keywords. And they forget that the end of the day, they’re trying to generate revenue and profit, not impressions. And so we always get things a business priority score from the business owners, and it can be a 10 out of 10 from an SEO strategy. If the business owner gives it a one or a two, it immediately goes off the list. It’s like it’s the quickest thing in the world. Because that’s at the end of the day, what we’re trying to do. So I would give it that business priority. And then they can begin to say, Okay, now I can plug those finalists into these tools and start to say, Okay, well, the default difficulty score, here’s a 90 and I’m a brand new sites are no way or it’s got 20,000 searches per month, that may be a bit too big for my britches, or that’s perfect for our strategy, because we want to grow really quickly and we have a ton of money to deploy. So that’s sort of steps and then at the end, it’s like you said, going to Yoast read Brian Dean’s guide, put it into practice on the page. So one page, one topic, one keyword. And then don’t worry about micro, you know, semantic related keywords. Google’s algorithms the PhD and mathematicians, they know more than you. Their semantic reasoning engine is better than your little keyword stuffing. So don’t do it. Just focus on good content.

Chris Badgett: I love that. Um, how much does social media influence our SEO? Like if you know, we’re using Facebook groups or Twitter and LinkedIn and we’re maybe we’re doing and maybe just the the broader community is linking to our stuff? How much does social media influence? Seo?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, hotly debated topic. I am slightly a conspiracy theorist with when it comes to Google, because they often announce things and then not announce things, but the data like kinda doesn’t lie. And so I would say formally, their documentation says that it is not a ranking factor. However, it’s a ranking signal. And that’s for sure. It’d be because of the legitimacy factor. I mean, not only are you getting links from like, the social links from your profiles on like a Pinterest, but, you know, if you’re getting 20,000 users from Pinterest a day, and they’re coming to your site, using your site, improving your engagement, improving your click through rates from the SERPs, Search Engine Results Pages, how is that not in alignment with what they’ve said is a ranking factor for engagement and the ubiquity of your brand. So I’m gonna go ahead and say build those profiles pick one or two to really dive into. And I have no doubt that it can impact search, but more importantly, it impacts our brand and demand gen. So

Chris Badgett: any words of wisdom around YouTube, specifically, a lot, of course, creators are pretty capable at making videos. They’re not scared of the camera and whatnot. And they’re just comfortable, like YouTube kind of has its own SEO game, but then also getting traffic to your site. Any tips?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, I mean, for us, like, we have videos. And I’m, by the way, I’m not a YouTube SEO expert, expert, I don’t claim to be but we do have videos that we host on YouTube, just like you said, it’s a huge search engine. And so what I would say is some people like to host of other platforms, I think that’s fine. But why not take advantage of your users already who are in Google’s ecosystem, Google owns YouTube, and just see what that does. And host it on host your videos on YouTube. And so what I would say is, same with thing with on page SEO, there’s like basic things that I think people just don’t want to do, because they require effort, just fill out everything. So step number one, fill out everything, like make an actual description, put hyperlinks to different chapters, there’s a great chapter feature on YouTube, it sucks, and it’s annoying, hire a VA for, you know, $10 an hour, I don’t know. The second thing is like if you if you you know, sort of master that I think those are like taking a thumbnail and having a human’s face with something interesting. And a really compelling image. I know from from data, and us just optimizing our images performs better. So that takes little bit more time and effort and even money. But I think it’s a huge value add for, you know, somebody clicking on your result. And then I would also say, the next step of that is like anything else, then you can go through and do proper keyword research or compare competitor videos. But I think people want to jump to optimization when they don’t have their fundamental strategy in place. And the best place to start is to publish it, fill out everything correctly, make it sound good, build good copy, talk to the person you’re trying to get to watch it. And then you can start to mess with the creative. And you know, the strategy around keyword and competitor targeting but don’t break the order is what I would say to people who are just starting, because that’s the most daunting part is like zero to one. And people always want to go zero to 10. So

Chris Badgett: that’s awesome. Well, Ken, you made it to the free consulting part of the show. And, and all this will be valuable to anybody listening as well. But just some of my SEO challenges, particularly. One question I have is I think I made a mistake a while ago at the beginning of when we kind of set up our websites. But I’d be curious to get your take. And that is we have a blog, we have a podcast. This is around episode 400. So we’ve been doing this for a long time. But I put the blog in the podcast on subdomains. Was that a mistake from an SEO perspective? Or does it really not matter? I know this is debated. So what’s your take? Yeah,

Ken Marshall: I’ll say this. So whether it’s a mistake or not, I have a few questions. But at face value if it isn’t inherently a mistake. So Google just looks at subdomains as two separate websites. Yeah, people don’t know this. They’re connected. But they are separate websites with separate domain ratings separate authority. They’re connected because they’re joined together literally in the URL path. But they’re not the same thing. And so I always ask folks, like who have separate sites or subdomains, why did this need to be a separate entity? Is it dramatically different that you’re saying users wouldn’t, wouldn’t feel comfortable in both spaces? Sometimes that’s a technology thing for companies like software companies, they have an app. The app is very different from the marketing site. So it literally needs to be a different site or a subdomain usually. But what folks I don’t think know you can do is install a different experience like for a podcast on a subdirectory, which can Next to your main domain, and so it gets all of that wonderful authority. And if you transcribe your podcasts or you do show notes, that’s just more content more fodder to feed the Google machine. And so I would say, first question, what was the decision to do that was it literally just to install the technology on the subdomain for the podcast?

Chris Badgett: It was, initially our thinking was just we do everything to WordPress, we sell our software, WordPress, podcast, blog, and everything. But we wanted to just not bog down our main e commerce sales site. It’s not a traditional app, in the sense of you’re talking about it’s a still WordPress site. But we just didn’t want to overwhelm our ecommerce site with too much stuff going on.

Ken Marshall: Yeah, so if it’s a performance related issue, then I would, I would consider if we were to go back and know what we know now, that the sub, the sub folder, the subdirectory, I think all those performance issues, I think can be mitigated, right. So good hosting, good podcast, hosting platform, and just embedding that in that those things are nuts like these. Yeah, there’s technology that can, you know, you can incubate your scripts differently. So they’re not bogging down the user experience. If that’s the primary concern, I would say that I would have given you the advice to do this subdirectory because, you know, basically, blog posts. Now, if you format them correctly, if you have shownotes and outbound links, and, you know, biggest takeaways, those are miniature blog posts. And if you strategize them correctly, it’s just passing all that equity and authority on to your primary domain. And so, and you can even optimize it if somebody’s looking for a marketing podcast or a real estate podcast that in and of itself could drive traffic, like, literally to your main podcast landing page. So that’s the advice I would have given you. If it’s only performance related. I think we can we think we can get around that these days. So

Chris Badgett: that’s cool. Another big challenge I have is really a challenge of WordPress itself, which is, because it’s so flexible. And there’s this whole ecosystem of plugins and themes. And people build custom solutions. As much as we try to focus on like a customer avatar, Avatar, ideal customer profile, people build, like interesting things that they’re outside of like our ideal customer profile. So a couple examples of that would be I’ve seen people build like virtual conferences on top of art with our LMS, which is a little different from the traditional self study, online course type membership site, or people will build like a Udemy clone. So more of like a course marketplace. It’s like a niche use case. And R VF has that one as an example, like our video on YouTube for that just took off. Because people want to build Udemy with WordPress for like, way less than Udemy paid. Totally. But but so like some of our best content is just, it’s it. Some of our best performing content is like these edge cases or use cases that just come from the creativity of WordPress and the people that are making their own solutions. How do we think about that in our SEO mix? And it almost feels like there’s infinite content we could create. But how do we what’s what would be your advice in this situation?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, so not infinite, but definitely near infinite and use cases are? top five most important considerations. I didn’t use that language. But that’s what I meant by like this solution, like the use case ation product, you’ll go on our site, you’ll see that I have services built out of all the specific you know, SEO services from a high level like content, but then sub services like a white paper, or SEO, but then technical, you know, content audit, competitor gap analysis. But you’ll also notice, like there’s an industries, and it’s all the industry verticals that we serve, like b2b SaaS, and solar and renewable energy energy. Do we have a different service for each of those people? No, our methodology and our products are the same. You know, our strategies are different, but the fundamental system isn’t different. Why did I do that? Because after researching, and I knew that people don’t search by role, we have the same target audience as far as who that human isn’t organization for the VP of marketing, or director of marketing, but it’s not anybody different. So I knew that. And so it wouldn’t make any sense for us to do like by role or by human type or by you know, X, Y, and Z. Some people just randomly do that. Through research and customer interviews and just thinking through who’s a customer I was like, okay, these we should do this by industry vertical, who are they? What type of company are they? But for you, literally, I would go and I would do this afterwards. Because you have the resources. I would, I would stretch yourself to write down 25 use cases. Okay, so you said conference. I don’t even know what they might be because it’s not my wheelhouse. I’m not in there. But you should stretch yourself, like as far as you can do. Write down as many as you can. And very broadly, one by one, put those into search, grab the top ranking result, put that into a keyword tool and do that for all 25. And then just look at the data, just spend some time saying, Oh, wow, I didn’t know that people, you know, who are farmers are using this to aggregate their conferences for their average, but and if only 50 farmers do it, you’re the only person speaking to farmers, you got 10 new customers, man, like, what would that be worth? So anyway, not infinite. But that’s the game as far as like use cases and solutions. And the reason why they’re powerful is because those humans are looking for somebody to speak to them. Even if it’s fundamentally the same product, they’re going to land there knowing you’re speaking to them. And that’s their gateway to conversion. So

Chris Badgett: I love that. And that really ties in with our, our concept of intent, like, it works because people like, Oh, this is for me, they identify with it, they stay on the page longer, that sends a signal to Google, they actually click the button more, they don’t abandon the site more what they convert better. And I love that idea. What

Ken Marshall: I mean, that’s the game. It’s truly like, yeah.

Chris Badgett: What do we call? I guess it is use case? Well, well, let me back up and say, like, in software, I’ve studied a lot of software sites like you. And there’s often a, like, there’s like two vectors, there’s like the we work this is for, like, like, I’ll say like, we’re for experts, businesses and schools. And then within those, there’s like lots of sub use cases. But what you mentioned use cases you use the word industries. What other kind of vectors? Can people? Or words can people use to kind of start fleshing out these landing pages?

Ken Marshall: Super good. And yeah, I’ll go between service businesses, you know, and like software companies and everything in between. So the types of things you want to think about are what type of humans so that might be rolling an organization? Yeah, what’s the business model? So for it could and that could be size of the organization, that could be right, we’ve all heard enterprise, small business, mid market. So it can be that size, the organization, it can be the specific industry, they serve, like what we do, you can do solutions, services, if it’s a product features of your product, the product itself, which are different than the features and are different than the solutions, a product might be, you know, super scrub might be the example of somebody’s product name. And you want to speak to what super scrub does different than its competitors. The features of that each individual feature and should be flushed out, particularly like for folks like me who want to know not just like that you offer analytics, what is the analytics? Or what’s the you know, what is super scrub do that so different within that feature? And so building an individual feature page, the role of the person, if you’re speaking to founders, like small business founders, what’s the founder need to hear? Like, what are what are they suffering from that you solve? Again, it doesn’t, it’s not a different product, or service or part of your course. It’s just that thing that they need to hear. And you need to figure that you need to be earnest about it. And so what am I missing? Those are the main ones. Oh, by some people do by problem, and these are usually sales, lead organizations or revenue, like operations people, but it’s really smart. It’s not just like that middle column that I said, The problem that they’re experiencing the solution, most times the, the feature in the solution are good enough, but some people are like, I don’t know. Missing sales quota, like pain, and I’ve seen that work a few times not a lot done well, because usually, there’s no justification for it. They’re just making it up in their heads. But I think if you can really hammer on that, and people are searching for it, it’s a really good entry to your product or service. So

Chris Badgett: I like that. I mean, for us, it’s the it’s kind of like the whole impact income and freedom thing. So what’s what’s probably is your primary Are you trying to make money? Are you trying to change the world? Are you trying to make it develop personal freedom in your life? Like it’s those are that’s that’s need to focus on problem?

Ken Marshall: I would real quick, I would actually say that has nothing to do with SEO, but everything to do with conversion rate optimization and user experience. I would want to read that I mean, if you go to our site, you’ll notice there’s a like a working with revenues tab and then our marketing thesis, there’s no there’s no search volume for having a marketing thesis. It’s just me and Alex would sit on the rooftop and talk about what we believe and we, we we live this stuff in our own lives, right like SEO LinkedIn referrals, you don’t run paid ads. We don’t have a sales team, you know, hunting people down so we’re like this is what marketing should be, and we just wrote it, and people read it, people like it. And so for you, like hearing those three things, that’s what’s dope about Chris and his business to me. I mean, I could read all day, like, blogs and solutions that’ll help me convert. But that’s like the, you know, that’s the cherry on top to me, like, if, if it’s between you and another person, and I read that I want all those things for me and my wife and my puppy. So sign me up, man, I’ll at least get to know you. So I would say still put those, even if they don’t align to some strategic channel, again, people are buying from you at the end of the day, and they want to hear that stuff. So

Chris Badgett: I think that’s a that’s something I’ve learned too. It’s like, it’s a little bit art, it’s a little bit of science, like, don’t forget about the art like that kind of human touch. putting the video on there. Like one of the places I noticed that and maybe you have some tips, too, is I got the advice to like really bulk out or about page with a bunch of like personal content like timeline. Like it’s sharing, like stories about like, Oh, this is when this person lost their job, all this like human story stuff. And I see it in the data, like people spend a lot of time on that page, or they reference things on that page during sales calls and things like that. So any other tips for Annabelle page?

Ken Marshall: I mean, have one photo, a lot of folks don’t even have one. And they think that it’s like, and this is different from company. Like the general boilerplate, here are 10 values that we founded this, which I guess if you’re a mission driven org, but like some of us aren’t, we’re just companies trying to do like good things and help people and have a good product. And so have an about page, make it personal. Write something interesting about yourself or the company and what you believe. Very simple. Put pictures of humans, if you have a team, put them on there, let them say something fun and quirky about themselves. Top five in, you know, if you look at the data and analytics, you see it all the time, I forget what number it is for us. But top five, about pageviews. People like to view that they just do they want to know they want to you need to be personalized, right? These days, even companies need to have a face. And that’s what brands try to do nowadays with influencers. They’re trying to personalize their brand experience to individuals in different ways. And so yeah, just get one up. Don’t Don’t be weird about it.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. I love that. One more tactical question with you. For you. I see fear in the market around like people are super worried about duplicate content. So just to give a specific example, if we’re I see one of the things that holds people back from making landing pages for different market segments or use cases or problems or whatever is, well, what if I’m, what if I’m literally just putting the same content like oh, and then the benefit of like industry leading support, and there’s like this kind of boilerplate thing that I when if I ever mentioned our support, or our money back guarantee, it’s always the same, like how should we be worried about duplicate content? Or is that kind of an older fear from like an older yesteryear and SEO and Bing, Google slapped or whatever.

Ken Marshall: So it definitely is like sort of a legacy, not even a fear of something that would happen. It was sort of a misunderstanding. So Google did this a while back, their search results don’t want to show too many of the same site in the search results. So there were these companies who would own results 1234. And they’re like, that isn’t fair. That’s not that’s a horrible user experience. Google said, yeah. So the bad part about duplicate content is two things. One, if you’re creating a ton of really spammy pages, the penalty comes from you sucking, you have a low quality, you’re a low quality human have a low quality site and a low quality business. It’s not because you wrote to similar pages, then from like an indexation standpoint, if you have two pages that seem the same to Google, they’re gonna say, Yeah, this is the same thing. So what’s that’s why go read about canonicalization and canonical tags I won’t get into it’s a little technical. But essentially, you have two pages that are the same, they will eliminate one. And so if you wanted that second page to rank for something different, but it’s too similar in terms of content, only one is going to rank, then you lose out on that other targeting. So what I would say to those people is, you really need to have a good like, if you had to look me in the eye me, Ken and say, here’s why I made those two pages. What would I say back to you knowing what you’ve heard over? That’s how I would think about it. Do you have an actual good strategy for why that page needs to exist and good justification? If so, writes to your heart’s content. Don’t just copy and paste boilerplate, because that isn’t a good reason. It’s a terrible reason that’s just you being lazy. So but you can repeat elements obviously, that’s not bad if your software you need to mention the features that are going to match to this user’s needs. Maybe there’s only four features here. And the same for reference on this other page for this different person, but they’ve got you know, three others that they need specifically, you don’t you don’t need to change the language of those features. But if your intro you know, pair Graf, and the solutions are the exact same word for word, you’re lying to yourself, because why would they be different use cases if they need the same solution. Right? So it’s just how you think about that stuff.

Chris Badgett: So that’s Ken Marshall, he’s from revenue. zen.com. Thank you for just laying out so many so many generous SEO tips and advice, and social social marketing as well. Where else can people connect with you? And any final words for the people?

Ken Marshall: Yeah, totally, I would say three things. One, if you’re interested in social selling, we just made a really cool new course ourselves. So shout out to horses. It’s for people who are just getting started. And individuals who have to meet sales quotas need to do this social selling thing, too. We have more refree resources than you can ever ever know. So just go on the blog and look at our categories. Read to your heart’s content. And then third, either on LinkedIn or the website. I do these free consultations still as an owner, and it’s I don’t have anything to sell. I just like helping people and some of them want to stick around and give us money. So click the button on our site. It says consultation. It’s not a sales tactic. You talk to me, or Alex or Steven, depending on the need that you have. We have a good time. And if it makes sense, then we pitch you something and if not, you get a free document to go implement stuff on your site. So it’s a win win.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. So go check out revenues in.com Ken, thanks so much. We really appreciate it. Amen. Cheers.

And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMS cast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifter lms.com forward slash gift; go to lifter lms.com forward slash gift. Keep learning. Keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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