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Surprising But Proven Content Marketing Strategies & Tips to Skyrocket Rankings, Traffic, Sales & Revenue

An interview with Toshy Penny

For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser hosted Toshy Penny, Founder and CEO of Logical SEO. Toshy decodes the strategy for curating unique content to increase conversion rate encompassing targeting the right keyword, frequency of posts, and much more. Tune in to ace content marketing.

If you don’t have that very strong domain authority it will be very difficult for you to rank. Take a broad view and focus on those keywords that aren’t that competitive.

Toshy Penny
Founder and CEO of Logical SEO
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I'm your host, Matt Fraser. On today's show, I have with me, Toshy Penny. Now, Toshy is the founder and CEO of Logical SEO. He has been in the Digital Marketing industry for over ten years. During that time, he has helped companies in many industries create compelling marketing campaigns that utilize data for search engine optimization, paid search, content creation, and web design. When he's not strategizing marketing campaigns for clients, he enjoys spending time with his fiancee and pets, golfing, and most importantly, planning his wedding, which is coming soon. Toshy, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

Thanks for having me, and I’m excited to be here.

So we were talking about Content Marketing and some surprising but proven Content Marketing strategies and tips that skyrocket rankings, traffic, sales, and revenue for this episode. So what general strategic goals can be used as a Content Marketing foundation?

So I think the goals will be conversions. If you can measure what you want someone to do on your website, you will be in great shape. So that could be phone calls. It could be form submissions. If you do E-commerce, it could be people buying products and revenue. And then beyond that, if you’ve got a business, maybe you don’t have all of that E-commerce stuff set up if you can track things like form submissions or, even simpler, just clicks and impressions. So if you’re getting the eyeballs and getting relevant clicks to your business, it’s pretty easy to say, Okay, this content is doing well. It’s performing.

So you talked about creating content for conversions. So that brings me to wondering- if you're going to build content for conversions, then you need to know the customer journey regarding what you want your initial prospect to do and generate the content that creates that action. Is that a fair assessment?

Yeah. If you’re selling shoes and want people to buy them online, you want them to take the final action to check out at the bottom of the sales funnel to buy the shoes. But there are different ways you can get people in the door and drive more traffic. And blogging is one that we and a lot of SEOs will focus on. There are so many different ways and different searches that people are putting into Google that the audience and the scope of the people you can get are wide. So you could get somebody ready to buy or look for different styles. Someone higher up in the sales funnel. So their goals are going to be entirely different. So if you can break that out and analyze the sales funnel and your conversions, you can say, all right, even if they didn’t make a purchase, we got extra value from this. So even if it’s just an estimate, then you’re going to be much more prepared to estimate the value of a page and how all the research that you did in creating the content, you can connect the dots from point A to point B, and measure value. So that was kind of a long-winded answer to that.

Let's unpack that a little bit. You talked about doing the research and about the people at the top of the funnel. What kind of content have you found works best for people at the top of the funnel, and how do you determine what type of content to create?

If we’re talking about search, you’ll see a lot of lists out there. People love lists, for better or worse. You see a lot of lists and a lot of guides depending on the keyword. So when doing keyword research, you want to make sure you’re Googling the keyword and looking at the search engine results page. And see what kind of content is ranking for this? Okay, is it a list? Is it a guy? Is it just a question? And then, from there, you can use one of the methods already done or custom combine and create a hybrid version of the different types of content already out there to increase the quality. And that’s what you need to succeed as you need that quality content.

Brian Dean talked about this on his website, backlinko.com. Forgive me if I'm saying it wrong or if it's the wrong domain. Everybody knows he sold Sem rush or SEM rush, whatever you want to say. He talked about that. He talked about looking at the search results and finding out content. He talked about how he built a skyscraper page that was better than what was already there. Like, if it's a list of the top 50 best tennis shoes to buy, make a list of the top 75 or try to take a new spin on your research when developing content. I think it's fascinating; correct me if I'm wrong, but it's also a lot of work. To map out the customer journey, you must go back and find out who your customer is. In my experience and from talking to many business and agency owners, I have found that many clients, even fortune 500 companies, don't know who their customers are regarding developing a customer persona. Do you have any process or one you've developed regarding when you do that keyword research? Okay, these are the types of keywords that are typically for top-of-funnel people. These are the type of keywords that are for middle-of-funnel people or searches. And these are the type for the bottom of the funnel. And these are the types of content that work best for them. For instance, you mentioned listicles and informational content for people at the top of the funnel. But what about content in the middle in the beginning to move them along that customer journey process? For instance, does video work better for eCommerce because we mentioned shoes. I imagine, but I don't have any data because I haven't done a lot of eCommerce sites myself. But I imagine video would probably be a good way to create content to convert people, like a video of the review of how this shoe is better than its competitors. Having six different types of shoes on the table and making these videos talking about the different shoes. The pros and cons of your shoe versus the competitors. Would that be a fair assessment? So two questions; Do you have a process that you go through in regards to developing that content for the customer journey? And have you figured out whether they're keyword modifiers that go in the front or the back of the keyword that help you? For instance, putting the word “buy” in front of any “Buy now”, “buy tennis shoes now” has commercial intent and would be a bottom of the funnel keyword. Or the “best tennis shoes to buy”. Tennis shoe specs would probably be, I don't know, that's what I'm trying to ask if you get what I'm saying?

Yeah. When we’re doing keyword research, to be honest, the sales funnel is in the back of our minds. It’s not at the forefront. The most important thing for me is to find a keyword that is frequently searched but is not too competitive and is highly relevant to the business. And those are the three factors we use whenever we’re doing keyword research. And we use a very simple formula to prioritize mathematically which keywords we think are the best to target. And it turns out the ones at the bottom of the sales funnel would go into our keyword relevance score when we’re analyzing it. So if we’re looking at those three factors and we’ve got a keyword that’s searched a lot, maybe it’s not very competitive if you’re lucky, and we look at their intent. So if they’re ready to buy and, say, they’re searching for Nikes and Nikes are your bread and butter, it’s what you sell a lot of, and that might be a bad example because Nike shoes are going to be hard to rank for. But with that example, we would weigh the bottom of the sales funnel as higher in relevance. And it’s a balance of those three things we’re looking for to prioritize which targets to go after first. And that’s incredibly important because if you go after the wrong keyword, you could be wasting all that time. And as you said, it does take a lot of time.

It does. My goodness takes a lot of time and planning, that's for sure. Do you find that longtail keywords convert better than maybe shorter keywords with more commercial intent, or are those more for informational searches?

I don’t see any data based on what I’ve read. And then the nice thing about longtail keywords is that it’s so much more specific that you could find a keyword that will convert better. I imagine you could also find longtail keywords that don’t convert well. So I think it will depend on the keyword and their search intent.

What about testing traffic? Because we just talked about SEO, the commercial viability of those searches takes a long time. And the investment? What about launching a Google ads campaign to test the viability of the conversion or success of that traffic before launching an SEO campaign? Is that something you do or have heard of?

Yeah. If you’ve got Google Ads set up and you’re ready to go, I see no reason; if you want to test out conversion rates, that’s a great way to do it. Because instead of waiting months or years for content to rank, you can figure it out in a day or a week.

I think that's a very solid approach. Why leave that traffic on the table for someone else to get, even if you want to rank from an SEO perspective? Why leave that traffic on the table and let somebody else take it when you could be taking it and seeing what kind of conversions you'll get, even if it's an informational search? Why not drive them to your blog post before months and months? Let's be frank; you could take up to six months, depending on the keyword. Anyway, not in the nuances of SEO. But it seems to me that it would make more sense to plan out the content strategy in each of those stages of the funnel, to use Google ads as an experiment, spying on the land, if you will, to see if it's going to work. Is this type of content going to resonate? Is there going to be a high bounce rate? Is it going to get conversions? If it's a content piece, like informational, will it get time on site?

And that brings up another interesting point. I think every company is going to have its process. They’re all going to have their customers. And for some companies, maybe they’re already running tons of ads. And maybe they’re dialed in and know exactly how to test something. So that may be a great strategy for them. If it’s a small business, other companies may not even run Google Ads yet. And maybe they need to start blogging and start testing out different keywords. But to your point, like it does take a lot of time, and if you’re investing a lot of resources, whether it’s financial or your time, by all means, that’s a great way to test, and you can get it done very quickly.

So tell me about your process for developing the content. What are some of the best ways you find to create new and unique angles for existing topics?

I think two things. First one is just analyzing the search engine results page. Let’s start there because there’s a lot you could unpack there. There’s so much information you could collect on the results page about what people are looking for? How are people asking questions? What types of content are ranking well and why? If you have a little bit of an understanding of what Google is trying to do with their algorithm, just rank things correctly and get people information concisely and quickly. If you know that that’s their goal, you can do all sorts of research by looking at one keyword. Looking at related searches at the bottom of the results page. That can give you some better longtail keywords if say, the one that you’re looking at initially that you searched is too competitive. You can enable Moz bar and look at keyword difficulty to see; how strong are all the domains showing up for this keyword? And if they’re all in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and your domain authority is a 20 or a ten, then that’s not a good keyword to target.

You mentioned the Moz bar. Are there any other tools that you use in your process?

Yeah. So for keyword competition, Moz bar is my favorite because you can see it right there. I like using Mangle’s keyword finder. I think the way they built that tool is helpful because you get keyword difficulty, and you get Domain Authority, which is the Moz ranking we discussed. You can create lists, and that’s a good tool. But then one that’s free and under-utilized is Google Search Console. That’s data that you’re getting right from the source. It’s not estimated what you’ll get from all the different SEO tools. And there’s just so much data you can find just from looking through the keywords that you’re already ranking for. And a great example of that is looking at your keywords and clicks and sorting by impressions, and you can see; all right, if we sort by impressions, this is where we’re showing up the most. But maybe we’re on the fifth page. And just by manipulating that data, you can get all sorts of insights as to other keywords you might want to target, as well as how difficult a keyword might be.

Okay. Many people use Surfer SEO and Page Optimizer Pro tools for generating content. Do you use them or recommend them?

I’ve never been a huge fan of those tools, and that’s because they’re automated. I want to create the best content I can and help people searching for whatever it is that they’re searching for. Now, that’s not to say that they’re useless. One essential thing is getting that Title tag. Title Tags are very important. If you have a bomb Title Tag, if you don’t have keywords in there, the chances of your ranking will just plummet. So the Title Tag is really important. There are a lot of things you can get feedback in an automated way using one of those tools that are going to be helpful. I don’t use them, but that’s not to rag on those tools. So if you’re not using headers, if you’re not using title tags, you could have all sorts of issues. And so those tools are going to help point out those things. And once you do enough SEO, blogging enough, and analyze keywords all the time, you get a much better sense of okay, this type of structure for this content, or we want to have more headers here, or this should be a list. So you’ll get a better feel for it.

Yeah. With experience. Well, here's the question. This seems to be the trend of the day, or whatever you want to call it, in creating that content with the launch of platforms such as Jasper AI and Copied.AI and other such sites. So what are your thoughts on those things for creating the content?

So, that’s a really interesting topic. With AI writing content, it’s very easy to think that content marketing and SEO landscape could just drastically change. I don’t look at this on a day-to-day or even necessarily a monthly basis. I haven’t seen any AI that creates content that is better than what a human could write, or if you can write an article that AI generates, that you could say is maybe an eight out of 10 in terms of content quality and writing, then I’m going to say that that’s probably good enough to use if it’s affordable. In the content I’ve seen, there have been errors, and you can tell it’s AI-generated, and I’d put it at maybe a five out of 10 or below. But if it’s getting better, and it will get better, that will drastically change how people doing SEO create their content for obvious reasons.

I fully agree with you. And I think that it comes down to the fact that those tools can help you, but they're not a replacement for manual review. They're like you use kindling to start a fire. You and I would agree; it's a lot easier to use kindling to start a fire than when I was outdoors in grade eight, and we had to learn how to start a fire. I was terrible at it. Then the teacher showed us how to do it, and he had a fire going within five minutes or less. It was amazing to see how he did it when he taught us. It was amazing. But it's a lot easier to have kindling to start something and a match rather than the old rock on the whatever. So I think you know what I'm trying to say. So those tools, I think, are good for starting things off, but they need to be manually reviewed or a manual writer to go in and manually improve them. So don't just spit out whatever the AI gives you and publish it. It may not always make sense. So that's what I've learned and heard other people say. It is going to change the industry no matter what Google says. They are using AI. And I was told the other day that a new iteration of AI is coming out, which is even better than the current one. So a copywriter explained that it would eventually be able to write sales letters, like long-form sales letters, and there's no doubt about it. And yeah, it's very interesting. So talking about this content, different forms of content are better than others in the customer journey. Have you found that white papers, lead magnets, free reports, and things like that are better for top-of-funnel buyers than getting them into your customer journey?

Yeah. If you can minimize the amount of giving someone has to do to get their foot in the door, that’s going to be better. And that’s why it’s great to have several different offerings. Now, you don’t want to splash them all at one time. You don’t want to have links all over the place. But know, if you can figure out the best way to capture users at different entry points, that’s huge. And you can measure that stuff. So I think testing; if you have the web development to run effective tests to determine what’s going to be the most compelling and the best way to optimize your conversions and conversion rates and by all means, you will want to implement that and test everything.

Test is everything. Yeah, you're so true. I read a book. I'm a bit of a direct response fan. I think a lot of marketers got their start, like Perry Marshall and even Ryan Deiss, learning from Dan Kenny, as did I. And one of his former business partners or whatever you want to call it, Bill Glazer, wrote a book; Outrageous Multi-Step Marketing Campaigns that work. And it's amazing what he talks about developing those different types of content in the journey. For instance, it could be a lead magnet for someone at the top of the funnel. And then maybe if you're a lawyer, I'm just thinking of one of the people he highlights in the book. They have a webinar; you go from a lead magnet on the thank you page to a webinar, or it could be a free consultation. But developing the webinar content is a video or pre-recorded video of them discussing personal injury law and all the things a mortgage broker could be talking about mistakes first-time home buyers need to consider before purchasing their home or even a realtor that matter. So they could join together, and then you talked about the final part of it. So we were talking about e-commerce before, them adding to cart and buying something; for service-based businesses, whether it was B2B service base or B2C, usually, it's some sales call, some phone call, or some kind of consultation. So if you can add that at the end of your customer journey, that would be a value, would you agree?

Yeah. Are you referring to their first initial session, like, get their foot in the door and say, Hey, here’s…

Well, here, if I could map that out for you. What's going on in my brain? You talked about creating informational content. So I'm thinking here's a blog post, right? First, create a blog post about personal injury law, car accidents about that particular query, or the question they're trying to answer. Then at the bottom of the blog posts, you can have a call to action to get your free personal injury hiring guide. Ten mistakes to avoid for hiring an attorney. And then, from there, you can take them to a landing page that offers them a video presentation of everything you should know about hiring an attorney. You should know everything about the mistakes of navigating the personal injury process. So you're moving them along from cold to warm, warmer. At the end of the webinar, they've got your guide and established you as an expert. You've gotten on the webinar; you've educated them. It would be only natural for them to offer a call to action - Hey, you want a free 30-minute consultation. So that's where my thought process was and in making those statements about generating the different types of content along the customer journey for businesses to be successful. Because let's be frank, we live in a content-first world where content is everything. We're producing content right here like content is king. People don't know who you are if you're not producing content. So with that being said, Do you think it's important to produce a high volume of content for businesses to see results?

I think as long as you’re not sacrificing quality. I don’t think you necessarily need a high volume of content. But sometimes, if you’re doing SEO, your first blog probably isn’t the one that brings in the big bucks. You’ll probably need to test the waters and try out different keywords. But to your point, if you are creating lots of content, the more you’re creating, the more times you’re throwing that line out and saying; Alright, let’s see what this does. So as long as you’re not sacrificing quality. I hate to say just churning out content, but the more volume you have, the more opportunities you have.

I think HubSpot did a case study or shared a case study - the more you blog, the more money you make in business. So, if you could figure out your customer's lifetime value, it's so easy nowadays. Like a florist, you can make pretty good money from those weddings. It's not just from a guy coming in to buy a bouquet. If you can target weddings and funerals, and I don't mean to be morbid, but weddings and funerals like you can make some good money. And producing content is just as simple as taking a picture of the bouquets daily with your phone and putting them on Instagram. And offering a free wedding guide and partnering with a wedding planner. But anyway, I'm just thinking about these things off the top of my head.

Now, I had a question, and I should have asked it when you were talking about producing the content. Oh, yeah, here it is. Thank you, brain. Is there a minimum amount of content? So we talked about the maximum amount. For instance, you can agree or disagree with this. I heard one guy say that if you're going to start a website, you might as well launch with a minimum of 30 blog posts because you never get a second chance to make a first impression with Google. So if you're launching a website about renovations, like let's just say a renovation company, content lasts forever. It's not like you get a TV commercial or even Google ads that you spend once, and it's done or radio, whatever. So launch with 30 articles and minimum blog posts to give Google an idea of your site. And a minimum posting anywhere from one to three times a week. Create a schedule on- Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting, or whatever. What are your thoughts on that?

I think the more you can do, the better. If you are a small business, you don’t have the budget, and you need to get a website up, get it up, and you can come back to it. If you are starting a new business, I will also say most people starting their business probably don’t know much about SEO yet. Kudos if you do and know you have to hit the ground running. If you know that and have the resources to do it, by all means, do it all. Get it all out there and start producing content because when you are creating a new website and operating on a new domain with new content that Google hasn’t seen, you want to get in there and produce a lot of content. So that you can start seeing what people are searching for and getting leads and traffic. And if you just create a website without blogs or any strategy to bring in that traffic. It is going to be hard. Unless you are only doing social and you just need a website for people to see. It may have a form and other information. But if you are doing SEO, get it out early, as soon as possible.

You mentioned social, but even that content can be a way of sharing on social to get that traffic, awareness, and those conversions. It's so critical. How can small businesses, then, in your estimation? Can you share a story of a content strategy you implemented with a business that may be a case study?

Sure. So, we worked with a medical billing company. At the time, they were headquartered in Chicago. So we started doing content for them in 2018, and the things people search for, their target audience is interesting and very niche. And getting into that industry and audience is interesting for somebody who knows nothing about medical billing and is baffled by health insurance and whatever else. But, once you start finding those keywords, I found that there are not a lot of keywords out or less than you would think. Because the audience you are looking at is so small. Maybe somebody who is operating a Clinic or is a Manager at a Hospital. Figuring out the keywords they are searching for is tricky because it is very niche. But with that niche, there is a lot less competition. So once you find those keywords and start writing those blogs, give it some time; if the keyword is good and the content is good, you will see results over time. So it took maybe a year, but after that content is published, you generate ongoing traffic. It doesn’t stop. It might decline over a three to five or ten-year period. So if you write a successful blog that drives thirty or hundreds of clicks per day, you don’t have to do that work again. It just drives traffic. They did very well with content, and I think a lot came down to finding the right keywords and having a less competitive niche. Because it is a very specific industry, you will increase your chances if you target those longer tail keywords or keywords that companies aren’t going after left and right.

So even though the keyword is low in search volume because it's relevant to the business, you shouldn't dismiss it but create the content. It doesn't get you that content, but it will get you those leads. As long as it is focused on who your customer persona is and the search they are searching.

Yes. I can’t tell you how many clients I have dealt with that have one keyword in mind or maybe two, and that’s all they want. That’s great if we can rank for that keyword, and we will try. You have to go after those big winners, but some of the best keywords I have targeted do not look like they are searched that much. But you start getting into the woods of all the different things that people search, and you realize, especially for a company, if they get one conversion, they can generate thousands of dollars from a long-term customer. Maybe a B2B relationship. By all means, do the keyword that isn’t searched that often; nobody has targeted it before. Because your chances of ranking just skyrocketed.

What is one big take a way you want listeners to get from this episode?

I think it’s that last piece of information we discussed. The keyword’s difficulty is essential if you are doing search engine optimization. Unless you are at the top of your field and have that very strong domain authority that competes with the other companies at the top, it will be hard to rank up there. That doesn’t mean you don’t try. Instead, keep all your options open. Cast a wide net and look at those keywords that aren’t as competitive because many are out there.

Hey Toshy, how can our listeners connect with you online?

They can go to our website, logicalseo.net. If they want to email me, that’s fine; it’s toshy@logicalseo.net.

Are you on Twitter or LinkedIn?

I am on Twitter and LinkedIn, but I am not big on social media; certainly, reach out to me.

But if they want to connect with you, they can find you there?

I hate to say it, but yes, I am there, but I will get back to you faster with an email.

Sounds good. Thank you so much for being on the show, and it has been a pleasure having you here.

Yes, thank you, and I appreciate you having me here.

Have a great day.

You too.

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