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WS574: What is a Digital Content Strategy? With Kris Reid

We all know about a little bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but how do you get your website in front of customers that are actively looking for your services? Today’s guest is Kris Reid, founder of Ardor SEO Services. He’s a software engineer from Brisbane Australia who built an online computer game and, like many online businesses, he struggled to get visitors to his website.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

He eventually put his analytical mind to work and developed a simple system for building a website that generates customers and grows online businesses. In this episode, Kris shares some SEO tips and tricks with us, including helping Google to help you, creating clear and concise messaging, and building your domain authority. He also gives listeners a special offer at the end of the episode, so don’t miss out!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Kris gives us a little more about his background and how he got into SEO services.
  • Don’t break the bank building a website that generates zero leads.
  • Avoid industry jargon and be clear in your message.
  • The value of doing keyword research before building a website.
  • Kris explains Google’s crawl budget.
  • After considering keywords, you need to consider back links.
  • Choosing keywords that don’t compete with high domain authority websites.
  • Building authority through good quality content and statistics about your industry and niche.
  • Kris shares the number one thing that’s contributed to his success.
  • How Kris likes to give back to charity.
  • Kris offers listeners a personal video review on his website.

[bctt tweet=”Beautiful websites don’t sell things, it’s words that sells things and those words need to get in front of your audience — @coolestGuyInSEO” username=”whitney_sewell”]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Ardor SEO

Ardor SEO on Facebook

Kris Read on Twitter

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz

Personal Video Review from Kris Reid

About Kris Reid

When the global financial crisis hit, Kris Reid, a Software Engineer from Brisbane Australia, built an online computer game. Like many online businesses, he struggled to get visitors to his website to play the game. Kris eventually put his analytical mind to work and developed a simple system to get your message in front of your potential customers to predictably grow your business. He now works with a number of diverse companies – from global e-commerce to national vendors and local businesses – to help them build websites that generate customers and grow their businesses.

Full Transcript

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:00] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Real Estate Syndication Show. Whether you are a seasoned investor or building a new real estate business, this is the show for you. Whitney Sewell talks to top experts in the business. Our goal is to help you master real estate syndication.

And now your host, Whitney Sewell.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:24.1] WS: This is your daily Real Estate Syndication show. I’m your host Whitney Sewell. Today, our guest is Kris Reid. Thanks for being on the show Kris.

[0:00:33.3] KR: Pleasure to be here Whitney.

[0:00:34.6] WS: Yeah, I’m honored to have you on the show Kris. We’ve had some great conversations and just about your line of work and how you can help so many people in our industry. But a little about Kris, he’s a software engineer from Brisbane Australia who built an online computer game. Like many online businesses, he struggled to get visitors to his website and people to play his game.

He eventually put his analytical mind to work and developed a simple system for building a website that generates customers and grows online businesses, which all of us need, or most of the people that are listening to this – a lot of people that are listening are trying to, you know – they’re building their website or they’re trying to build their brand and they’re trying to connect with passive investors, or maybe other people as well. There’s different ways to do that and to be more efficient at it and Chris is going to help us think through some of those things.

Kris, welcome to the show, thank you very much for your time. Give us a little more about your background and then let’s jump in to how we can improve this process of the system that we either have or don’t have yet.

[0:01:34.7] KR: Certainly, yeah, I’m a software engineer by trade, worked in finance for many years until the financial crisis came around and took my job away. Then I pondered what the heck to do with my life and, as you mentioned, I built an online game – just because I’m a computer geek – and then, well how the hell do you get people to play it? That’s when I started dabbling into the world of SEO and realized, holy cow, I’m sitting on a goldmine here!

Quickly ditched the game and started planning SEO services, primarily for digital mining companies. We specialized a lot in back links to start with, which, back links are really just a link from one website to another and that’s the fundamentals of how Google’s algorithm works and it is still today.

Then we slowly started offering more services like content and analysis and implementation and we thought, why the heck don’t we have our own customers? That’s really what we’ve focused on the last bunch of years. SEO is really applicable to any business because you know, like, where does any person go when they’re looking for a product or service? You go to Facebook, talk to your friends, you go to YouTube to watch ‘how to’ videos. If you’re looking for a service, you go Google and you type in what you’re looking for.

Getting your message in front of those people that are actively searching for exactly what you do, there’s no better way to grow your business.

[0:02:44.8] WS: People can have websites for years and years and not be seen by their audience that they’re striving for, right?

[0:02:50.7] KR: Indeed, that’s the thing that breaks my heart. Web design is great at building beautiful websites. Beautiful websites don’t sell things, it’s words that sells things and those words need to get in front of your audience. One of our most recent customers, he just previously spent $20,000 on a website that generated zero leads and it’s like, breaks my heart seeing this sort of stuff. He’s in a village near Vancouver too so it’s like, it’s not like he’s in a competitive market after competitive keywords.

You don’t have to spend a million bucks to get a functional website that’s going to generate you some leads. Sure, a go-to spends $1.6 billion or whatever it is on marketing, you don’t really want to go head to head with them straight away. There’s always some low hanging fruit that you can get in every market that can help you start earning money today, that you can reinvest, and build your brand, and build your website, having your website pay for it all along the way.

[0:03:43.2] WS: I’m glad you brought that up. We can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on someone to build a website for us but that doesn’t mean that people are going to find it and, you even said, words sell, not websites. While it’s important to have a professional website, if people don’t get to it, they don’t’ see it, it’s useless, right?

Help us to improve it, help us to fix that, or things to think about when we’re putting stuff on our website, or the wording on our website. How do we even know what you’re talking about right now if all this is brand new to us?

[0:04:11.4] KR: Yeah, for sure. It’s nice to have a beautiful website but that isn’t really important. What is important is that it comes over clear exactly what the hell you do. The more complicated your business – if you’re a plumber, people understand what a plumber is, it’s pretty easy to get that – if you did real estate investing, it can be a little bit trickier. You need to be really clear in your message when someone arrives on that website, you need to say straight away what is it that you do. One thing to think of is people are often searching for the problem, they don’t know that you’re the solution to that problem or they’d already be using you.

Yeah, like the old adage, when people buy a drill, they’re not looking for a drill, they’re looking for a hole. It’s the same thing. People are often searching for how to make a hole and so you should state that clearly, then demonstrate that you’re the expert in that niche and you know how to build that hole, or fix that problem, and then invoke them to take action.

That’s the big part because that’s the part that matters. Doesn’t’ really matter how many people you get to your website, if they’re not signing up and becoming customers then they’re not going to stick around.

[0:05:10.6] WS: Yeah, it’s just like pretty much any investor. If there’s any confusion or doubt, the answer is no, right? To a partnership or them investing with you. I don’t see why the website would be any different, it’s got to be clear and precise. You’ve helped me a little bit on mine, just helped me think about some of the wording that was even on my website, and it seems so simple when you start to think about it, right?

But at first, it’s terms that we’re so familiar with, we maybe don’t think about it right at first that everybody else who comes to the website don’t know what those things mean.

[0:05:36.6] KR: 100%. Industry jargon is terrible. You really need to catch yourself with that, because experts in any industry pick the stuff up and they use it like everyone else uses it. One thing when I’m talking to clients, I have to remember that not everyone knows that there’s 10 search results on the front page of Google.

Just live and breathe in this world so it’s just helpful to mention that. Most people don’t know that if you’re number 11, you’re on top of page two. The same sort of thing with every industry, you need to just be clear in your messaging and don’t expect them to understand everything to know it.

[0:06:08.4] WS: Being clear in our messaging, where does that apply on our website or is it just everywhere or you know, how do we think through that when we’re thinking of titles or thinking through what’s on our pages on our website?

[0:06:19.9] KR: Yeah, the very first thing you should do before building a website – and this is where web designers screw up – is they don’t do keyword research. You really need to understand your market, you need to know how many people are searching in what volumes.

That’s how you structure your website. If you think about Amazon, Amazon’s got an amazing website. Obviously they’re an everything-store, so they have everything. From the keyword research, you can tell what your categories are going to be and so you might be like movies/music/fashion.

Then in the fashion, it’s men’s and women’s and so on and so forth. That’s how the slashes in the URL, each one at those slashes means that it’s a further category deep. Your high level music category is just as important as your fashion category but your men’s fashion category is less important than your fashion category.

That makes it really easy for users to see what they’re going for. If you can read in a URL, what a category is, a sub category, and then what this title page is, it makes it really easily understood by the user and easily understood by Google.

Google has best software engineers on the planet and spends gazillions of dollars trying to work this stuff out, but the Internet is really vast. If you can help Google, then they will really appreciate it and they’ll show it by ranking your website.

[0:07:35.1] WS: We need to learn how to help Google?

[0:07:38.4] KR: Yeah, for sure. A tricky little thing is the Internet is so vast and, even with Google’s massive computers, they can’t look at the whole Internet all the time. They have to come back to your website all the time to see when it changes, but they have to give each website what’s called a crawl budget – depending on how much authority you have is how much time they’ll spend on your website.

They’ll say okay. We’ll come back to these website three times a week and we’ll spend X amount of CPU cycles. At different times, it will go to different pages, and so the easier it can navigate through your sites, the more pages it’ll see. The easier it can scan that content, the more it will index.

If you’ve got crappy pages that don’t need to be indexed then you’re eating up Google’s crawl budget, and it so won’t spend more time on your important pages. If you haven’t set a description, Google now needs to go and pull that description out of text and you’re wasting the crawl budget.

If you’re helping Google out, it can spend more time analyzing your website and wrecking you for a whole bunch of a new extra things, so it does have a benefit.

[0:08:35.9] WS: Wow. Okay, I wanted to go back a little bit, you said a couple of steps there but I know the first one was: do keyword research. Before we build a website, we needed a keyword research and then really structure our website around some of that.

What’s the next step, what else do we need to be thinking about?

[0:08:49.5] KR: Yeah, once you’ve got your keyword research – which is way too go on a short podcast like this – you kind of have to have an idea of what your customers are going to be searching for. Just type stuff into Google and that’s a kind of cheat way to do it. If you’re a local area, like, they say if you’re a plumber in New York, you know, you could Google plumber in LA and find the number one result, and they’ve probably got a pretty good website. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you’re just looking for the same sort of keywords in a different location.

Once you know what pages that you need, your category pages and your block pages, then put together a content plan and start writing that content. It should be keyword targeted. You want to have one primary keyword, that’s your main money page. Let’s say if that was like ‘plumber New York’, and then three secondary keywords, and that one might be like ‘emergency plumber from downtown New York’, or something like that.

The primary keyword always goes into the title page, and the secondary keyword’s going to be the description, and that’s what gets shown in the Google search results – when you appear in the group of search results. It needs to really express exactly what that person’s been searching for and invoke them click on it.

Then, when you actually writing the content, you’ve got a header, your primary keyword again goes into H1 tag for header, and the secondary keyword’s going into H2 tag. Again in the content, you don’t want to be writing content for a robot. Google’s smart and they want to see a good quality content and at the end of the day, it’s got to convert to something so it should really resonate with your readers as well.

[0:10:14.1] WS: Okay, do keyword research. I love how you laid out there just some simple ways for us to think about ‘what are our customers searching for’? But go to a competitor, even in another market, see who ranks top couple of websites and they’re probably spending some money on this, right? They’re going to help us to get a little further down the road.

[0:10:31.4] KR: If it’s a valuable keyword then if there’s people advertising for it then whoever is the number one result is probably spending some money on that as well, yeah.

[0:10:38.9] WS: Yeah, then develop a content plan and think about the primary key words, secondary and, you know, what we have in the header, and the body, and the content. What about after that, what’s next? What do we need to be thinking about?

[0:10:49.5] KR: One thing that you really need is back links. Back links are a link from one website to another and they’re the fundamentals of how Google works. All the listeners, they probably remember back in the 90s there was all sorts of search engines, you know, Excite, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, and they were all rubbish. They organized search results based on text.

If you wrote ‘plumber New York’ the most times on your website, you’ll be number one for ‘plumber New York’. Larry Page, the cofounder of Google, he was at university at the time and went, that is ridiculous. So he invented what’s called the page ranking algorithm, which is basically how a bunch of seed websites, which are trusted sites like government websites and university websites, and the further you are away from those, the less trusted you are. If you have links from really big powerful authority sites, you’ll get more trust.

It’s obviously been 20 odd years since Google’s been around and that’s evolved substantially and now, sure, the more powerful website linking to you, that’s great. It’s also the the more niche-relevant you are. If you’re a plumber in New York and you have other service based-businesses – architect, electrician, or landscaper you’re linked to – then that is fantastic. Especially if they are in the same local area, because who knows more about that local area than those local home service providers? So that is a really good back link.

Same with if you are a plumber and you get a bank link from another plumber on the other side of the country then that is a really good relevant bank link too. If the New York Times writes about that today and then back links you, then that is probably going to supersede those.

[0:12:25.3] WS: So you know I know a lot of our listeners have podcasts, or they have blogs, things like that, that they are trying to put content on their website. A lot of their mission behind that is probably to have a lot more content and more for SEO purposes on their website, and to provide education, obviously, to investors and to other people in the industry. So when they are writing blogs or they are creating their podcast content or titles, what are some things we should be thinking about when we’re adding that stuff to our websites?

[0:12:54.5] KR: I speak on podcasts quite a bit, and one thing that we often do with podcasts hosts is to help them out by doing a single page optimization for the episode that I was on. Depending on the authority of their website, depends on what key words we’ll target. So generally going for some sort of SEO-type keyword is really competitive and, generally, people searching for ‘SEO’ are looking to learn about SEO. They aren’t particularly looking to hire an agency, so they’re not that useful for us anyway.

Generally people are looking for ‘how to grow my business’, ‘how to get more customers’, ‘how to get more out of my website’, and they are the sort of keywords that we want to run for. They are the sort of things that I am generally speaking about in a podcast, so that is what we’ll name the podcast episode, ‘how to get more out of your website’. We’ll do a specific keyword for that episode.

Even if it just has a couple of hundred searches a month, we know we can rank for it, we set up the titles, tag description for them, adjust content, get a few keywords in there and boom, it will rank. They then get a couple hundred visitors a month, every month, forever. 300 visitors a month might not sound a lot, but when you times that by 5 years it is a pretty good investment you know?

[0:14:02.2] WS: Times it by five years yeah, even a year, it would be better than probably what a lot of us have now. You know in adding that content, what are – I guess it really goes back to doing that keyword research doesn’t it? And thinking about those keywords kind of keeping those in mind as we are creating titles and as we are writing blog posts, is that accurate?

[0:14:20.3] KR: 100%, but remember to think about what people are searching for, what do they want? We don’t particularly go for SEO-type keywords, we go ‘how to grow your business’, ‘how to get more customers’, because that is what people want and we’re the solution to that problem. That is some really good marketing, is that number one we talk about problem, number two, show how you’re the solution for that problem, and three, talk about life afterwards.

So generally people are searching for the problem, so also you can just search that yourself and see what comes up in the search results. If they are massive authority sites and you’re not a massive authority site it can be really hard to beat. An easy example in one of our customers is a luxury hotel in Sydney, and so then my keyword is ‘hotel Sydney’ but you are up against Agoda or Booking.com and Hotel.com, which are like the biggest websites on the planet. So it’s really tough.

What we did is build a content plan about ‘best beaches in Sydney’, ‘best walks in Sydney’, ‘best bars in Sydney’, all things that someone who’s going on a holiday to Sydney is going to be searching for, and they are pretty easy to rank for. Another thing that you can look at with the URL is if it is a homepage that is ranking. So just the domain name or if it is an internal page in the website.

Generally the longer the URL, whatever your main keyword – ‘how to get more customers’ – look at the top 10, and if they are all internal pages, it’s much easier to rank for that than if they were all the home pages. Generally because the home pages have a lot more authority. So often when we are working in the health niche, you are up against sites like Web MD, and they look really scary because they have massive domain authority and huge traffic volume, but they rank in every little niche because they have such big domain authority.

Like one of our customers that specializes in whiplash, Web MD has a whole section on whiplash, but it is not very well optimized and the whole category of that section is pretty rubbish. So it is only ranking so low because they have that much domain authority. So we can take them down. So look to see the length of the URL and then the longer it is probably the easier it is to beat your competition.

[0:16:19.9] WS: Wow, okay Kris, wow. What are just a couple of ways that other people just really mess this up? I know some people spend so much money, so much time, for years, building content and we just mess it up right? I mean is it just not doing keyword research? Is it not having the content plan, maybe some ways that we haven’t thought about that maybe we could even improve quickly?

[0:16:42.3] KR: Yes, so I mean that is certainly one part of it. Building up your authority – if you don’t have backbones it’s really hard to rank a website. We just talked about Web MD right, they are able to rank internal pages because their domain authority is massive. If you keep building a gazillion likes to your homepage, any blog post that you rank right is going to rank.

You can think about it like if you keep pumping out content and no one is linking to your content, Google starts thinking like, “Why the hell do I want to rank this because no one cares about it.” If you can get good content out there that the people are going to drive for, one really great way to do that is with statistics. If you can add statistics about your industry and your niche, that people will reference, it gets an awesome amount of organic back links.

We have this article on our website about how many people use Google each day. How many Google searches there are. We wrote it years ago and it gets back links every single day, because people will be writing a news article and then go, “Oh how many people use Google every day?” They look at our statistics and they write a citation from these guys. So that page doesn’t bring us any customers, but it brings us a heck of a lot of back links.

If you do the same, you know ‘how many people are investing in real estate in my area’ – this is the statistics on what their returns are and things like that – something that a news agency can quote and link to, that is a great way to get links.

[0:17:59.9] WS: Wow, that is some great information right there, especially as we are thinking about what we are writing and blogs. Just a few more questions though Kris, before we have to go. What is a ways that you have recently improved your business that we could apply to ours?

[0:18:10.5] KR: Certainly, I look at my own messaging quite a lot. I read a heck of a lot about messaging, and I am a big fan of Don Miller from Storybrand. Just finished reading his book for the fourth time, and try and implement what he says to be concise and clear. I’ve had two people who mentioned my messaging, Friday, so I was pretty happy with that result, really –

[0:18:31.8] WS: Which book was that?

[0:18:33.6] KR: It’s called Storybrand by Don Miller. Yeah, fabulous, fabulous book. Continually looking at your own marketing. I myself procrastinate when I am running content for our site because you think like it’s set in stone. You have to write this thing and it is got to be a masterpiece and it is going out into the world and it is scary because people will judge you, and saying, well, just get it out there – done is better than perfect and not done. We can work on it later.

Like building a good sales funnel. So really all we do – certainly on our website and I’d say most real estate investors – is each page is designed to generate traffic and then push them into a sales funnel. Bringing them in on some article and ‘how to learn about real estate investing’ and then download a guide about the ‘five ways to buy house’, or whatever it is, and then you start building your authority through that. Getting a sales funnel like that done is never complete. It is constantly just monitoring it and seeing where the conversions are lacking and what you can do.

[0:19:34.0] WS: So what is the number one thing that’s contributed to your success?

[0:19:37.2] KR: Really get a lot of benefit out of networking with people. I read a book called Never Eat Alone by [Keith] Ferrazzi, and he was the chief marketing officer of Deloitte and he talks about just how important networks are. I really found that a lot, like if you go out and help people and don’t really expect anything in return, they help you too, you know? And they can introduce you to different people, and it makes life a heck of a lot more fun.

[0:20:04.6] WS: That is a great book. I read it a long time ago and I still remember it. I need to pull it back out. So how do you like to give back Kris?

[0:20:12.0] KR: Well we work with a lot of non-profits. One of them is Food for Life Global, they are a food relief charity. So I have taken a lot of pride in helping companies like that do what they do, and we manage their Google rent for them. So Google is pretty cool, they give anyone that’s 501 (c)(3), you can apply for up to $10,000 a month of free ad words credit. Yeah it’s pretty cool, managing $10,000 ad word spend is quite challenging.

And you need to adhere to the right conversion rates or otherwise Google will turn off your grant because they want to make sure that you’re using the money credibly, and so yeah, we manage that for a bunch of charities and find that is the best way we can use our skills here.

[0:20:53.0] WS: Nice yeah, no that’s awesome. That’s awesome you can help so many other people in the process. Kris, a pleasure having you on the show. Your skills are so important to everybody that is marketing online, right? And so we are grateful for you just sharing your expertise with us. Tell the listeners though how they can get in touch with you and learn more about you and how you can help them.

[0:21:12.6] KR: Yeah sure, first thank you for having me on the show and for all your listeners out there, if you go to our website, ardorseo.com/whitney, you can sign up there for a video review where I will personally go look in your market, look for your keywords, look through your website, and show you a bunch of things that you can fix yourself – like, how to change the title of ads, how to change your descriptions, how to change your messaging to get your website in front of more people, and grow your business – and I will do it for a crazy price of seven bucks.

[0:21:43.7] WS: Kris is great at this guys, I hope you all will take him up on that offer. It is so much value for seven bucks, no doubt about it. So you can go to the show notes and check that website out. We will have that link in there for sure so you can find it easily. Awesome Kris that’s a wrap, thank you very much.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

[0:22:00.0] WS: Don’t go yet, thank you for listening to today’s episode. I would love it if you would go to iTunes right now and leave a rating and written review. I want to hear your feedback. It makes a big difference in getting the podcast out there. You can also go to the Real Estate Syndication Show on Facebook so you can connect with me and we can also receive feedback and your questions there that you want me to answer on the show.

Subscribe too so you can get the latest episodes. Lastly, I want to keep you updated so head over to lifebridgecapital.com and sign up for the newsletter. If you are interested in partnering with me, sign up on the contact us page so you can talk to me directly. Have a blessed day and I will talk to you tomorrow.

[OUTRO]

[0:22:40.6] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to The Real Estate Syndication Show, brought to you by Life Bridge Capital. Life Bridge Capital works with investors nationwide to invest in real estate while also donating 50% of its profits to assist parents who are committing to adoption. Life Bridge Capital, making a difference one investor and one child at a time. Connect online at www.LifeBridgeCapital.com for free material and videos to further your success.

[END]

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