Are you ever so curious about adding SEO as a service for your web design business? And if so, how to do it right?

While SEO is crucial to a successful website presence, it can be very tricky to implement and figure out how far you want to go down the SEO rabbit hole.

And the good news is, you can offer basic SEO services in all our builds (like I did) and partner up with folks to take on the advanced/ongoing work. But it still leaves so many questions about how much you should take on yourself and how practically to do it.

So get ready, because this week we’re kicking off a 2-part “Selling SEO” podcast series to help!

For part 1, lead innovator at backlink tool respona.com Farzad Rashidi joins us to help you decide if SEO is a service you want to pursue as a part of your web design suite of services and if so, how to do it successfully.

My hope is that this conversation will shed some light on SEO as a service and help you decide what you want to offer and want you might want to hand off. For now at least 🙂

P.S. Part 2 dropping next in episode 204 will be about how to selling SEO as a recurring service so get ready for a fun week of SEO?

What a nerd, I know. But this is fun stuff!

– Josh

In this episode:

00:00 – Introduction
04:34 – Greeting to Farzad
07:55 – Customer journey
12:21 – What is the main driver
17:58 – Backwards building
19:42 – Allocation of resources
23:24 – Too much content
25:11 – Quality is not a plus
29:21 – Whole process
31:46 – Farzad surprises Josh
33:28 – No spam, build relationships
36:54 – Follow the process
43:33 – Co-opetition
49:26 – Being good at all
54:58 – Consistency
1:01:03 – Gifts from Farzad
1:03:48 – Best place to start
1:04:36 – Scientific SEO formula

This Episode Sponsored by Josh’s SEO Course


Connect with Farzad:

Featured links mentioned:

Episode #203 Full Transcription

[00:00:00] Josh: Welcome in friends. This is episode 203. This is the first part of a little mini two part series on selling SEO for your web design business. I did a couple recent interviews about SEO and originally I was not gonna link these two together.

[00:00:18] Josh: I was gonna give them some space that way we didn’t talk about SEO and have that take up a couple of weeks. But what I realized as I was looking back at the interviews I recorded is that this interview that you’re about to hear with Farzad Rashidi is really about figuring out whether you should even offer SEO in your web design business, and maybe how far you want to go with SEO.

[00:00:42] Josh: So I thought that was a really great. Type of part one style episode on if selling SEO is right for you and practically how to go about it and how to feel confident with it. And then I just recently did an interview. That is gonna be part two coming up here next, actually in just a few days, we’re gonna do a whole week of SEO in this one with, uh, the co-founder of, uh, Pathfinder SEO, which is a tool to help you sell SEO as a recurring service.

[00:01:09] Josh: So I had these two episodes in my bank and I thought let’s make just a fun week of selling SEO. So how does that sound? And that sounds good. Uh, great because, well, whether you like it or not, that’s what we’re doing this week. So part one here, my guest Farzad is, gosh, what a cool dude. What a great guy to talk with.

[00:01:27] Josh: Super smart. You’ll find out here about innovation in well companies in general, but also in particular with SEO. He is, uh, well, I guess his official title is the lead innovator with a tool called respond.com, which is a actually really, really great tool as I came to find out with link. Their tagline is link building made easy.

[00:01:50] Josh: So as you find out, if SEO is right for you, um, I highly recommend it respond is awesome. It is the website itself is great, and they’ve got all sorts of amazing resources to help you with link building. Obviously there’s a bazillion SEO tools. We’ll get to that here, but, uh, this could be a really nice tool in your toolbox.

[00:02:11] Josh: If you are going to offer SEO, whether you offer SEO as just a part of your builds like I did. And Mo most of my SEO for, for full transparency was done just onsite SEO. And then I did a little bit of recurring SEO services, which we’ll talk about in the next episode, but, um, this tool would’ve been awesome quite frankly, to have as a really cool link builder.

[00:02:33] Josh: And there is a free trial for us. So respondent.com is where you can check that out. And then Farzad, I think will give you a lot of really good things to think about and ponder here as to whether SEO was right for you and how to do it. And side note fun note. I had no idea that this podcast was ranking in the podcasting realm officially in the top 1.5% of all podcasts that are in all the directories.

[00:03:01] Josh: So. That was pretty freaking cool FARs, odd, used his tools to find out that this show is one of the top shows. Uh, well, it’s becoming one of the top shows definitely in the business and entrepreneurial category, definitely in web design and to be a part of the top 1, 5, 1 0.5%. My gosh. I all I have to say is thank you to the amazing guests.

[00:03:22] Josh: Thank you to cam and Nathan, my VA and my editor. And thank you for listening because this show does not rank if people aren’t listening, but it’s really cool. Just transparently. We’re getting like around 3000 downloads a week on average now. So, um, that’s awesome. That’s so freaking cool. So I’m thrilled.

[00:03:40] Josh: I’m thrilled about this and, uh, I’m really thrilled for you if you’re interested in SEO. So we’re gonna start out with, if SEO is right for you. Um, if you need help with SEO and you would like to go through, like, if you were like, gosh, I wish Josh had like an SEO course. Good news. I do. I actually do have an SEO course.

[00:03:58] Josh: You can go to Josh hall.co/s E O to dive into that. It is basically an SEO for web designers. Course. It’ll take you through all the basics of SEO. It’ll help flush out all. Main aspects of SEO that I’ve learned over the years, and that will help you for, for building a nice SEO foundation for your clients as well.

[00:04:15] Josh: So if interested after this episode or after this week, uh, Josh hall dot slash SEO to join my SEO course today here, as far as O let’s see if SEO is right for you in your suite of web design services.

[00:04:34] Josh: Farzad, welcome to the podcast, man. Thanks for taking some time to chat today.

[00:04:38] Farzad: Absolutely. Thanks for having me on the show. I’m excited, Josh.

[00:04:42] Josh: Uh, you are my first friend with that name. So I had to ask you how to pronounce that correctly. So the emphasis is on far right far Zo,

[00:04:50] Farzad: Zo. That’s right. I, and at Starbucks, I would just tell people my name is Bob, because I, I feel like that opens up a whole, uh, conversation. I have to explain myself to everybody. So I think Bob is the way to go.

[00:05:01] Josh: I would definitely not peg you for a Bo a Bob, but I love that. Uh, well, awesome, man. I’m super excited to chat with you. SEO is not, I wouldn’t say it’s my, my area of expertise. Um, and the landscape of SEO is evolving as you know, you know, constantly.

[00:05:19] Josh: So I’m really excited to, to pick your brain today about what’s working right now in SEO. And then more importantly for, for a lot of the listeners who are web design business owners about if this strategy is right for them and, and what we can do nowadays. So I’m really excited to, to hear your thoughts on this, with where the landscape is right now, before we dive in, though, do you wanna let everybody know first off maybe where you’re based out of, and then, um, just maybe if you could summarize what you do, that’d be awesome to give us some context.

[00:05:46] Farzad: Sure thing. So, uh, we’re based outta Rockwood, Maryland, which is a 20 minute drive north of DC. Not sure. What are you familiar with? The area you’re based outta Iowa. If I’m, if I’m correct. Ohio collo, Columbus,

[00:05:56] Josh: Ohio, actually.

[00:05:57] Farzad: Yeah, there we go. Gotcha.

[00:05:58] Josh: I’m wearing my I’m wear my Columbus shirt for anyone. Who’s see it. Um, but we did go to DC last year. I love the area and I used to have, uh, some family there, so I, I don’t know it too well, but yeah. Awesome.

[00:06:10] Farzad: It is pretty nice. Yes. Sometimes the weather gets a bit, uh, too cold over the winter, but you know, nowadays is, is beautiful outside. So, uh, we’re, we’re happy, but anyhow, so just to go back to your original question, Josh, just to give you a little background, I actually started my career in marketing.

[00:06:26] Farzad: Um, uh, back in the day at when vis me was a small company. Have you heard of Visme me before Josh? No, mm-hmm never heard of vis me. All right. Um, so if you have heard of tools like Canva or Perez. Which are design tools for creating. Gotcha. So VI is somewhat of a competitor. Um, however, we mainly focus on businesses.

[00:06:46] Farzad: So SMBs enterprise. So I joined as a first marketing hired a product was very solid at the time, but it was a bunch of engineers and they were like, okay, we built this very cool product. It helps businesses create like visual content, like presentations, infographics, and whatnot. Now let’s go out there, let’s go out there and start sell this thing.

[00:07:06] Farzad: And, uh, I was like, okay, great. But as a bootstrap company, we obviously didn’t have the hundreds of millions in budget. Like some of our competitors did at the time. So. We add to very quickly, uh, come up with a customer acquisition strategy that we could easily scale over time without having to spend a ton of cash.

[00:07:26] Josh: Gotcha.

[00:07:26] Farzad: And so putting ourselves in our customer’s shoes. So let’s say if you’re looking to create, for example, and info graphic for one of the podcast episodes you’re putting out there, uh, and, and you don’t already know software, you’re looking for a tool. What’s the first thing you do Josh to, to go find a software or find a new product.

[00:07:44] Josh: If I’m not asking a colleague I’m gonna Google.

[00:07:47] Farzad: You’re gonna Google it. And that that’s normally the case for most products. Right? So Google a lot people,

[00:07:52] Josh: Or I would ask a colleague and then check it out online and then Google it.

[00:07:55] Farzad: There we go. See what the other gonna Google at some point. That’s right. so that that’s normally the, their customer journey for a lot of businesses that their potential customers are actively looking for their product service to solve their problem.

[00:08:07] Farzad: So we knew that from day one, understanding that, Hey, if you stop, if you start showing up in places where people who are looking for a product like ours would naturally come and find us versus us having to chase after every single customer, then we can easily easily scale that and that channel and be able to kind of have that customer acquisition cost under control.

[00:08:29] Farzad: So we basically started to, um, You know, write, start writing blog articles, and we build a bunch of landing pages and doing the good old, you know, SEO things. and, and guess what happened Josh? After months of work,

[00:08:46] Josh: I’m guessing? Well, I’m hoping it worked out pretty well. If that led you into the SEO world.

[00:08:53] Farzad: Unfortunately it did not.

[00:08:54] Josh: So the opposite real. Okay.

[00:08:56] Farzad: Right. So we put, put together this fancy website and it was responsive. It was good looking, we put it out there and it was completely crickets, like, okay, nobody come to our website and I’m sure a lot of people experience the same issues that once they build a new website, they put it out there.

[00:09:12] Farzad: You’re like, okay, we’re all the traffic coming in. Right. Yeah. So. Unfortunately it, we were also in a very competitive industry, like design is, is brutal. It’s just that there’s a lot of big guys in the industry. So’s a tiny startup at the time. It was kind of hard for us to be able to, uh, compete and say, if you Josh go and Google, like I actually, if you, if you have access, just open a little Inco tab and go and Google the keyword, for example, presentation software. That was one of the key terms we were gonna after

[00:09:45] Josh: Presentation software currently Googling.

[00:09:48] Farzad: All right. So how many page results show up on that, on that, um, keyword, like how you see at the very top, it shows you how many webpages Google went through.

[00:09:59] Josh: Oh gosh, almost 900 million results. 848 million.

[00:10:04] Farzad: 900, so close to a billion search results for that keyword. All right. And some of the top spots are obviously ads, which most people just ignore. Cuz you know, when click on an app and what, what are some of the organic results you see at the top?

[00:10:18] Josh: Well, so we let’s see most of ads. So vis vis me.co is the first organic all.

[00:10:23] Farzad: Perfect. Awesome. Hey

[00:10:25] Josh: Hey, I always love a good live case study by the way. Cause the pressure’s on to make sure it.

[00:10:30] Farzad: I know. Right. Well, the thing is, uh, obviously services all fluctuate. It’s lucky we are number one. Fluctuate is normally the top three. Now what you see now is, is, uh, is one out of, of, you know, hundreds of thousands of keywords at business website is ranking for, and, and right now we’ve grown to traffic just to give you a snapshot to over two and a half million in monthly organic draft.

[00:10:51] Josh: Oh, wow.

[00:10:52] Farzad: Uh, that’s in terms of paid advertising is worth about one and a half million dollars worth of paid advertising that we’re getting for free quote unquote, right. Obviously it’s not free because we have marketing spend and, and making sure that we writing content and bill and pages.

[00:11:05] Farzad: So getting to that zero organic traffic, two, two and a half million was quite a journey. And right now SMS, we are getting about 20, I would say to 25,000 new users to our platform without, without us spending it penny paid advertising, doing co obviously these are stuff that we are still doing also experimenting with, but it’s not a main channel for us.

[00:11:30] Farzad: So basically we have to figure out, okay, how are we gonna get from, you know, almost nobody the website does just newly built to the top. Three search results, four out target terms. Were there 900 million search results for his keyword? Right. It’s just mind boggling. So we were like, okay, well there’s gotta be an answer because if you’re at Google and you just rely on quality of content, quote unquote, right?

[00:12:00] Farzad: So say yes. So you write a blog post and it’s very highly informative and it, the website loads fast, and it’s got all the right metrics and everything’s great. Say you were the tab 1% you’re still gonna be in the hundreds of thousands. Right? Right. If there’re 900 million webpages, tar target and same keyword.

[00:12:21] Farzad: So the, the numbers are just crazy. So what we had to figure out was to taking a step back and see, okay, what is the main driver, uh, of these rankings, because wanted to make sure we understand how the algorithm works and Google the way they actually beat all the other search engines back in the late nineties was based on algorithm called page rank, which basically evaluates websites based on how other websites, other authoritative websites in your space are talking about them and, and, and mentioning them through these back links and, and mentions.

[00:12:56] Josh: Is that like basically the beginning of domain authority? Is that exactly where those,

[00:13:00] Farzad: Yes. Exactly. So the main authority is just an estimate of, okay. How would Google perceive this? Obviously these are made up metrics by SEO companies. This is not actually what Google uses, but, uh, but, but the principle of, okay, the more relevant a author to websites in your space are talking about that particular website.

[00:13:19] Farzad: That means that our website is obviously more authoritative. So then things get interesting, don’t they? Because then it’s not always under your control who or what is on your website, but now you also have to convince other people to start mentioning you and start talking about you, which is infinitely more difficult, but that’s been a ranking factor for too many years for a reason.

[00:13:40] Farzad: And as one constant, that hasn’t changed and what’s Google doing over time is obviously becoming smarter and picking these up and understanding, okay, what are some of the actual, um, relevant links? And they’re becoming very smart of picking those out and, and nullifying some of the junk links that people use would normally go and.

[00:13:57] Farzad: Some back links from some junk websites. So those don’t really help. So the process, we were like, okay, we, we noticed, but it’s easier said than that. because trying to convince other people to start talking about you start mentioning you is, is, is very difficult because it’s not under your control. Right?

[00:14:15] Farzad: So that process was something that we were doing completely manual in terms of identifying what are some of the websites that we had to reach out to and understanding, okay. Um, how are we gonna incentivize ’em? How are we gonna work with them? The whole process was sort of done by duct taping, a bunch of different tools together and spreadsheets manual, uh, work.

[00:14:32] Farzad: And what we did at VI was just to put together the whole process that was already working manually and put in a software that that was sort of our secret sauce for about a year and a half. And it just worked ridiculously well. we feel like guys, this is awesome. So we decided to release it as a standalone tool and that’s sort of how respond was born as a separate product out of business marketing team. And, and the rest is history.

[00:14:55] Josh: Got it. So you’re you take on the marketing role of sme.co, which, and, you know, apologies for not knowing about it. Quite frankly, I just really haven’t ever utilized presentation softwares until recently, other than just keynote. Um, I actually really only more recently have I started doing actual slide decks, even my courses previous to this were a different way of doing it so more I’ve really only been doing like slide decks the past couple years.

[00:15:19] Josh: But it’s, it’s very impressive to know and interesting to know that you started out where a lot of people start out in SEO, which is like, all right, here it is. Can’t wait to see what traffic we get and then it just falls flat. And I’m sure we’re gonna dive into a lot of the different things you’ve done to get to this point.

[00:15:35] Josh: And then it sounds like for sure, I love that you guys created respond and then basically put all your se secret tips and sauce and all that stuff in there. I am curious about the timeline here. What was the timeline between when you launched and then to now, how, how, uh, when, when did that, you know, when did, when did you take over with vis and, and get off off the ground.

[00:15:56] Farzad: Sure. So Visme was incepted. Well, uh, uh, company was founded back in 2013, but we didn’t actually start, um, uh, boom content marketing and all that good stuff. Cuz at the beginning of any software company, you were still in development mode. So you’re in build mode, building a product. And what we did basically in a, I wish we had started sooner, but at the time things weren’t quite it’s popular nowadays and content marketing wasn’t as big of a deal back in the day.

[00:16:21] Farzad: I would leave in 2015 or 16. That’s when we really started working on our SEO okay. And yeah. So over the course of the last, I would say five to seven years, that’s when we really put our emphasis on getting organic traffic and it’s been, um, on a hockey stick growth mode since.

[00:16:38] Josh: Yeah. Oh, that’s awesome. Well, and I love something, you said a little a little while ago, which is the idea of like organic growth instead of just paid acquisition, because it’s extremely costly that way. I mean, yeah, you can, you know, you have to invest the time and organic growth with SEO, but that’s what I did to grow my, my brand right now is I did zero paid ads.

[00:16:58] Josh: The only paid ads I do now are occasional, uh, social media ads. I still don’t do for targeting Google ad. Yeah. A little, yeah, yeah. A little, little bit of that. Like that’s it. So yeah. Yeah, it takes some time, but it’s helped me. And it, it made my business scalable, as you said, because I had more money to either pay myself or do more stuff.

[00:17:16] Josh: So I definitely is that, is that fair to say that that’s one reason why businesses might want to consider SEO is that, you know, there’s, there’s less of a cost barrier there. It just, it takes time and more, um, I guess not, not necessarily know how, but just the basics of SEO. I guess the question is, is if you’re on a budget, is SEO the way to.

[00:17:37] Farzad: Well, that’s the thing. I mean, we work as, as, as strict of a budget, as you could think of because we were paying out of pocket and we literally a bootstrap tiny startup at the time. So, um, and the way I always, um, um, advise people to do things is in terms of allocational resources, not necessarily the qu quantity of the resources.

[00:17:58] Farzad: So meaning that in order to invest in SEO, we spend 20% of our marketing resources on content creation. The 80% goes into promotion and link building. Oh, okay. Which is an opposite ratio. What I, what most businesses do, hence why, uh, we are very hard to beat just simply because nobody’s invests as much in promotion and link building as we do.

[00:18:18] Farzad: And, um, and that’s, what’s really been the secret sauce, but as far as the, uh, resources go as a company, when you start, there’s only normally three, um, I would say channels for customer acquisition. One is coal average for sales. If you’re selling a very expensive product and, um, and your customers, aren’t aware of the problem they’re solving.

[00:18:41] Farzad: So say you are own a medical device company and you sell like $50,000 like medical robots, uh, people aren’t likely not Googling that kind of stuff. So you are better off just not even having a website, just go hire a bunch of sales people, go door to door, start selling. Right. Uh, two is paid advertising, which is normally a, the margin or ROI is diminishing over time because when you, um, since they use a bidding system, uh, first of all, the cost for clicks and acquisition goes up exponentially over the years. And also at the same, because there’s limited spots for ads. So obviously you, you are, um, have to pay more in order to stay up there more.

[00:19:20] Josh: Um, well, especially with the term, like, like presentation software, I don’t know how, I mean, do you know how much those ads are? Those first few ads costs? Yeah.

[00:19:27] Farzad: Cost for clicks. I believe it is between five to $10 a click or something like that.

[00:19:31] Josh: Okay. Um, and, and cause I know you guys have an ad there it’s it’s it’s it’s vis me.co it’s Prezi and then Digi deck. I think I’ve heard of that before, but right. And then,

[00:19:42] Farzad: And that’s something I wanted to say is also in terms of allocation resources, right? So not saying don’t do cool collaboration. We have a sales team at SME, right? We have people, our SDRs and a, we have a, uh, paying advertising team.

[00:19:53] Farzad: So we, we’re a team of close to a hundred people now. So we have the, the, uh, money to spend and, and we’re experimenting different strategies, but they’re infinite decimal in terms of actual top line revenue generator compared to our main acquisition channel, which is SEO. And that only what we do at respond is, is focus entirely on SCL.

[00:20:11] Farzad: Even though we are much smaller team than bibe, cuz we company is much newer. Gotcha. Now the, uh, to, to, uh, not leave off that point. So the paid ads, not against it is something that is a very expensive way to get top of, uh, top line. And there are some specific, a, a types that paid a doesn’t work well, like retargeting’s great.

[00:20:30] Farzad: So if you can get people into your website first, so they’re familiar with the problem that they’re solving and then retarget them with video ads later on, it has bears some ROI. Uh, but uh, again, depends on the type of business you have also like for example, you sell t-shirts and like, uh, pants, like you’re better off just running Facebook ads than invest in SEO, cuz it’s just not the right acquisition channel.

[00:20:53] Josh: Mm good point.

[00:20:53] Farzad: Like the customers you’re targeting actively aware of the problem trying they’re trying to resolve, and they are doing some research online through Google, then it’s almost, uh, it almost idiotic not to spend time on SCL because yeah. Um, that that’s where all your customers are. So you gotta first understand the type of business you are in, how are your customers, your potential customers are doing research going through that customer journey to find a product or solution that you’re selling.

[00:21:20] Farzad: And then if Google is the answer, which for most businesses there is, and for some it isn’t. So, um, it’s not a one size fits all solution or acquisition channel for everybody.

[00:21:31] Josh: Probably everyone listening. It’s definitely, definitely something I would take very seriously.

[00:21:36] Farzad: Yeah. Hence, hence why I’m here, right? Yeah. So I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t comment like talking about SEO to an audience that, that, that wouldn’t benefit from, but then SEO in and out of itself is a puzzle. So, uh, it, it’s not a, um, it, it, it’s not a one time, uh, thing that you do. And you’re like, okay, I’m done with SEO now. It’s an ongoing effort where you’re consistently finding what I call opportunity keywords on understanding, okay, what are some of the keywords I get the highest amount of volume, lowest amount of competition and highest commercial intent.

[00:22:10] Farzad: And then you create webpages, uh, according to the user intent for each one of these keywords. So if it’s an informational keyword, write a block post, if it’s a bottom on a funnel keyword, uh, you create a money page. We could be a landing page. If it’s a consideration stage, create templates or gated content, et cetera, for each one.

[00:22:27] Farzad: So depending on the user intent, and then, uh, once you put out these pages, that’s 20% under. The other 80% goes into promotional link building. That’s where a lot of people stopped. That’s what nobody did.

[00:22:38] Josh: I was just gonna say, that’s where so many people stop. That’s where I stopped often when I, particularly, when I started this brand and then a lot of people that I’ve seen just being in web design for over a decade. I see a lot of people do that. I see a lot of people’s crate blog posts. They post them and then crickets, like you talked about earlier, but, uh, and then move on also. Yeah.

[00:22:58] Farzad: So here’s what I would recommend. So if you have a small team, which we did and we do still respond, we’re a small team. Um, if you don’t have the resources, don’t produce so much dang content. Like I it’s just Bo mindboggling to me. Some people are like, Hey, Farzad we don’t have the resources to spend time in promotion and link building.

[00:23:19] Farzad: And I’m like, but you’re producing two pieces a week. Stop producing so much damn content mm-hmm dedicate some those resources interlink and just produce one content piece a month. Spend the rest of the month promoting. And then go to the next one. And as traffic starts coming and you increase your customer base, you have more revenue, you go hire more people to increase the frequency, but don’t change the acquisition.

[00:23:42] Josh: That’s a great point. I think so many people need to hear that if they’re gonna blog because, or, or any sort of SEO strategy, quality over quantity and it’s, it’s true. I mean, like I’m doing at least. Generally two pieces. I, I generally do about eight pieces of content now on my stuff between podcasts and then at least a couple YouTube videos. I do a lot more on socials, but as far as on my website, it’s generally about eight a month. So it’s about two per week, but I kind of have my system in place for the level that I’m at right now.

[00:24:11] Farzad: Right. Um,

[00:24:12] Josh: But I know people who are blogging every day and doing stuff, but it, it does seem like the people who get the biggest results in SEO tend to have a little more in depth content, if it’s gonna be a blog post more information base. Right. And they’re getting content for, for, I mean, I still get comments on some of my old blog posts.

[00:24:29] Josh: I used to be an elegant themes blog author for, for elegant themes who created divvy. Um, that’s how I got my start in, in this side of the industry and some of my blog posts, I still get comments and I still get people referencing those five years later. Right. Because they were in depth and they were good.

[00:24:46] Josh: And I don’t mean to, you know, I don’t mean to sound all boastful about that, but they were really, they were good. They were in depth and they were good. And that just, it proved to me that good content, as long as it’s not fluffy or overdone, it will last years that would you say that’s something important to know, like that’s the beauty about SEO? It can last years the benefits,

[00:25:04] Farzad: Right. You know, the way I would rephrase Josh is that I would say quality content is not a plus, it’s a necessity. It’s like, it’s, it’s just basic like foundation things you need to do. Like, um, when I say produce less frequent content, it’s given your consistently producing quality content.

[00:25:25] Farzad: And I say, even produce less frequently. When it comes to quality content, because as I said, even if you’re producing quality content, you’re in the top 1%, you’re still in the hundreds of thousands. Yeah. Of search results that have equally as good content as you do. Even if you are part of that 1%, if there are 900 million search results for that keyword. Right.

[00:25:44] Farzad: So what I’m, what I’m advocating for here is that you spent time and resources producing that content, not go promote the heck out of it.

[00:25:53] Josh: Yeah. I love that. I think that’s great. And I, so I wanna talk about some of these promotion strategies that you talk about. I wanna get into the 80%, um, before we get to that though, I’m curious.

[00:26:03] Josh: I just, personally, I wanna know when you guys, when you, when you launch vis me and then you realize, shoot, we’re not getting much traffic right now. It’s kind of, you know, standing still, what was your mindset then? Like, did you come to this realization that you were like, we gotta promote? Or like, what were the first steps that you took to essentially get on the right track with SEO?

[00:26:24] Farzad: So, you know, there’s no secret Josh, the back things are important. There’s something that Google explicitly says that this is, Hey, this is how we rank content. And it has been for 20 years. So it wasn’t a big secret that we, that we had an aha moment. Uh, we knew that just producing, you know, content wasn’t enough.

[00:26:43] Farzad: And so what we started to do was to start focusing more on per, on, on promotion and outreach. And we started getting some results at the beginning, it was very slow and we needed to kind of, sort of scale that process. So it was something that was quite tedious to do, but it was. Resulting in direct track.

[00:27:01] Farzad: So if you actually go find it’s funny, because if you go and take a look at our number of referring domains, which is number of websites in our space that are link back to the BIS website, and then compare that to our traffic trajectory on Google analytics is identical. Like you can sort of lie on each other.

[00:27:17] Farzad: Obviously the numbers are different, but if you get it per scale, it’s identical. So not saying it’s a direct, um, uh, correlation, uh, but it is, uh, basically one of the main factors, um, that that sort of helped us get that.

[00:27:31] Josh: It’d be a heck of a, it’d be a heck of a coincidence if it wasn’t directly related.

[00:27:34] Farzad: Yeah, right. It, it’s not a coincidence. It’s it’s, I mean, it’s something that Google says and it’s been proven and I’m surprised a lot of SEOs are like, oh, backlink are dead. I’m like, backlink, aren’t dead. You just don’t know how to get them. so you’re just trying to put some content, a client website charge ’em obtain random month, then don’t know how to get back links. So you’re like, oh, those are not important. Don’t worry about them.

[00:27:57] Josh: Yeah. That, no, I totally agree. It makes sense. And. It’s funny. I was just thinking what we’re doing right now. Whether anyone realizes this or not is an SEO strategy. You and I are having this conversation. We’re doing a podcast episode, but we’re not just doing a podcast episode.

[00:28:13] Josh: We are creating back links for each other. Exactly. I mean, we’re not, you know, that’s not the, the sole intent of this, at least I would hope not. I hope you wanna just have a good chat about this to tell people, but it is exactly what this is. Like, I guess there, I say that to say there’s a lot of SEO strategies that are not exactly what they seem like, who would’ve thought that a podcast is an SEO strategy.

[00:28:36] Josh: Like I’m just gonna I’ll here. The curtain is pulling up. I’ll tell everybody one of the main reasons. Started this podcast. So among many is because I knew this was one of the best strategies for growing my brand online, via SEO, because I’m gonna have awesome guests who have audiences and they’re gonna be able to promote it and that’s gonna generate interest. It’s gonna build no like, and trust factor. That’s so important with sales and at the core, a podcast is an SEO strategy.

[00:29:02] Josh: So yeah, exactly. I wanted to throw that out there in case anyone didn’t realize what they were listening to, cuz that’s exactly what we’re.

[00:29:07] Farzad: Exactly. And that’s something that what we have a guide on and it’s actually, so, uh, on our respond website, we have an average strategy guide. Ooh. As free on gated, everybody can access it. So you are free

[00:29:19] Josh: Where’s that at we’ll link that

[00:29:21] Farzad: Yeah of of course, just navigate to responda.com, R E S P O N a.com and very bottom the foot I call there’s something called an outreach strategy hub. Cool. And we give you ready to use recipes and templates for each one of these strategies.

[00:29:37] Farzad: One of which strategies is the podcast average strategy where folks, and again, none of these strategies are bound by responding, can replicate a lot of them, yourself, manually, uh, respondent. Again does no magic. It just brings a whole process onto one roof. So you can do it 10 times faster, but you’re just starting out.

[00:29:55] Farzad: Don’t have the cash. Don’t worry about it. You can still do a lot of these yourself manually without having to spend, you know, money on all these fancy of tools respond included. And, uh, so what the podcast average strategy. What we advocate is that, Hey, uh, you,

[00:30:09] Farzad: well, so what our team does and how I got on this show, Josh is that our team member, Dylan, who’s one of our marketing team members.

[00:30:17] Farzad: He looks up on respond, the names of people in our industry who go on other podcast, other people’s podcasts a lot. And, uh, and, and he automatically tells you three things about this podcast. These podcasts accept guests because not all podcasts do too.

[00:30:33] Josh: That’s true.

[00:30:35] Farzad: They’re relevant to our space because they obviously have interviewed someone in our space and also it makes our life easier when it comes to pitching, because we can use that episode as a hook and say, Hey, Josh came across your interview with like Amy Porterfield and love.

[00:30:46] Farzad: The fact guests talked about X, Y, Z imply to the podcast host that, Hey, we’re not just blasting this email to everyone. We’ve actually done our research and, and found your podcast. We actually have something of value to offer to your audience. Right.

[00:30:58] Josh: And I can can tell by the way, I can tell that I, I get a lot of requests now, and I can tell when it’s just like an automated thing that just came from a robot, or if somebody is actually organically do in fact what a time comment somebody emailed me today about being on the podcast and they called me John. And I was like, well, they’re not coming on because they didn’t even get my freaking name right.

[00:31:19] Farzad: That’s right. Yes, absolutely. So I actually see, yes, uh, John bong, uh, who’s the very great SEO who, who was in your podcast and Dylan actually have sent me, uh, the conversation that he’s had with you. And, uh, so that, that’s something I also respond to helps with. So it, it pulls like the last episodes of your podcast and then helps, uh, us as outreach to actually add personalization to it and, uh, and not sure what you noticed, Josh, but your podcasts actually on the top 1.5% global rank podcast, globally ranked podcast in the world.

[00:31:52] Josh: What?

[00:31:53] Farzad: I’m sure you already noticed? Yeah.

[00:31:54] Josh: Farzad tell me more, man. No, I am so bad at I, this is how, okay. This is a good point though, because I am not an analytics, like kind of guy. I, I have an awesome SEO gal who does some keyword research for me every once in a while. Um, but I just produce content, try to make it good and stay organic.

[00:32:12] Josh: So, but that works. Like I have not done anything intricate or I’ve never done keyword research for the podcast. I just right. Share what’s going on right now. And that’s what works, right. So I hope that’s,

[00:32:23] Farzad: and, and it’s a different venue, right? So it, it prob this strategy would probably not be very successful when it comes to SEO, but it’s definitely, or from Google, but it’s definitely an effective method, uh, for podcasts. And, and that’s why it’s not, it’s a great channel to, to thrive in, uh, cuz it is on under serving the barriers to nature’s higher because you need, you know, good guests to come on and you need like, um, you know, editors and, and you need to produce these audios, audio clips and all that stuff. So, well, I’m sure you get a lot of these pitches.

[00:32:52] Farzad: So basically hence why I was saying that I don’t spend time to go on every single podcast. I wanna make sure if I’m spending the time to go on a podcast, I’m building relationships with podcast hosts that are actually interesting people like yourself and we build that partnership together. Uh, you know, I’m doing a mastermind with, uh, a group called empire flippers.

[00:33:11] Farzad: I’m not sure you’ve heard of their podcasts. It all started doing great things in our space. So it all started from a podcast interview that we, that I just went on their podcasts. And, and, and so it’s not just purely an, your play is also a great way for us to build partnerships. And that’s what we sort of advocate or respond as our motto.

[00:33:28] Farzad: Is don’t spam build relationships. So, uh, so this, this strategy is just one out of a gazillion different strategies that we follow to build relationships with people who have, uh, influence in our space and, and we can build mutual, beneficial partnerships with them. And, and, and, and you don’t have any, you don’t need to have a lot of fancy tools to get these done.

[00:33:49] Farzad: Yeah. Um, you, you can do start doing these yourself manually. And once it hits a point, you’re like, Hey, I can’t scale this. Like, I’ll go on like three to four podcasts a week. So you can’t do that manually. Uh, so what we have to do, so, so respondent then comes into, comes into play and you’re like, okay, it’s $99 a month. And it saves you like tens of hours a week. So it just becomes a no brainer at that point. That yeah, of course. Yeah. I’ll pay for this too. Cause you know, I’m already spending hours.

[00:34:17] Josh: I’m, I’m scrolling through this outreach strategy hub on your site, which will definitely link to, but let me just, can I list these out real quick just for everyone in case of course, because it’s awesome. This is like, I didn’t know you had this, this is a incredible resource. So here we go. Let’s take the, let’s pull the curtain up on SEO right now. So this strategy outreach, which is free will link to the, in the show notes.

[00:34:38] Josh: So you got link building the categories, link building, you got reverse image, search link building. I wanna ask about infographic. Outreach. Uh, that’s pretty interesting unlinked mentions and you’ve got guest posting. That’s a lot of that is common in the blogging world, for sure. It’s when it comes like guest posting, right? Uh, you’ve got content promotion. You’ve got resource page links, which is a biggie that’s one, one of my most popular pages on my site now is my recommended tools page, which I’m gonna do a lot more to moving forward.

[00:35:07] Josh: Um, blog, post mentions, which are a big E huge thing, especially if you’re gonna link to tools or services. Um, that’s a big E you got broken link building. What’s so broken link building. Is that a link that you just find it’s broken then you capitalize on for our replacement?

[00:35:22] Farzad: Yeah. Offer replacement.

[00:35:23] Josh: Okay.

[00:35:24] Farzad: And then actually tell you my favorite ones, uh, while you’re here on here, Josh. So we have a three step process of building back links and building back links for us is. Building partnerships and starting conversations. So we normally start with a transactional collaboration when it comes to content promotion.

[00:35:41] Farzad: And that starts with saying, Hey, I came across your website. Here’s what I’m happy to do for you. If you were to do this for me. And that normally starts up by a competitor backlink analysis. And, uh, so the competitor backlink strategy, as you see on the outreach hub and also, uh, the, uh, anchor tech strategy, I’m happy to give you an example.

[00:36:01] Farzad: So these are just opening the conversation line and saying, Hey, here’s what I’m happy to do for you. And in exchange, you can do this for me and then, but that’s just a starting point. So then it takes us a step forward. And then once we have that partnership in the bag already, then we hit it up with a guest post pitch.

[00:36:21] Farzad: Which is normally what a lot of people do on a, on a, as a first step, which I, uh, advise against. And then the last step becomes a partnership. So each one of these strategies normally are done at a different stage. So for example, let’s say if you come across, so you put together a blog post on, for example, podcast marketing.

[00:36:39] Farzad: Let’s just take that as an example. All right. Now how in the world we gonna go build back things to it, right? That’s that’s normally a big question. I get every day they’re like, Hey, put together, this content’s KK, but I don’t know how to get people to link to it. So just follow the process, man. It’s easy.

[00:36:56] Farzad: So step one, there’s a couple of different strategies to recommend. One is to start with articles that are non-competing, which blog post. So for example, if someone just written an article on, Hey, what are some of the top marketing strategies for 2022? And they mentioned podcast marketing as part of this strategy.

[00:37:14] Farzad: And they’re like, Hey, you can go on as guess on podcasts. That’s a really good strategy, but that’s it because the focal point of that article is something different. Then your article has exclusively about podcast. Marketing would actually make contextual sense for someone to link to. It’s like, Hey, if you now wanna learn more here, some templates and stuff that you can, you can get to.

[00:37:32] Farzad: So what I would do is I reach out to you and like, Hey, Josh, you know, camera across article and marketing strategist for 2022. And I love the strategies. You mentioned marketing broadcast, marketing included. We actually follow that process ourselves internally, and I’m happy to reference your, uh, uh, and, and our team just put together a comprehensive guide that I think would make a nice fit.

[00:37:50] Farzad: And if you were kind to, as a mention, I’m actually writing a guest list for this other website, for example, crazy egg. And I would love to reference your guide, uh, on that article that I’m writing. What would you say so that normal, yeah. Now normal opens up a door to conversation. And then once you go in and add that link, there’s about five to 10% success rate on that.

[00:38:14] Farzad: So you have to remember not, everybody’s gonna say yes, and that is okay. You don’t need everyone to say yes. Right?

[00:38:19] Josh: Gotcha.

[00:38:19] Farzad: And then the second step we’re like, okay, Josh, thank you so much for adding our link. Now that we have our phone in the door, like, by the way I was running your website, uh, Josh hall.co on, uh, href or SCM rush, one of these like SEO tools to help you do a content gap analysis. So you can see who their competitors are. Like, for example, you guys are competing with Divi that space and like div life.com, which I’m assuming are about like..,

[00:38:46] Josh: Yeah, some of my nine they’re my best friends too in the Divi world. That’s what’s great about it. Cause that’s another thing in here is competitor mentions. Yeah.

[00:38:55] Farzad: Yeah, exactly. So what I can do, so what I do then is that I run these two websites and I’ve and, and a traps or CMRs, these tools will tell me the keywords that they’re ranking for, but you aren’t. So then I just take a screenshot of that. And like, by the way, Josh, I notice that, uh, dev life guys, and, um, D D space guys are both ranking for the keyword, like for example, best, um, web design tools.

[00:39:21] Farzad: And, but you guys aren’t and I happen to have a writer in house he’s more than happy to contribute an article. He’s a web designer himself, and would love to contribute an article to your side, listing his favorite tools. And there’s no obligation, no fees or anything. Uh, just, just a little, uh, uh, content, uh, favor on our end. What would you say? 80 to 90% say yes to that? yeah, yeah.

[00:39:43] Josh: Yeah. Well, it’s funny. It’s funny. I have another student who just yesterday messaged me and said that he got, um, requested from another partner of mine. And one of the tools that I use asking if they’d be interested in being a, a, doing a guest post, like a guest bar.

[00:39:58] Josh: So I know they’re reaching out to different people. I think particularly, maybe some of my students who are killing it right now in the web design freelance space, and now they’re getting opportunities to guest post and it, yeah, it’s just like it all this weird SEO organism online, that’s just all leaking to each other. It just, it grows like a tree, right. It’s just like all these, all these roots spread and.

[00:40:17] Farzad: Exactly and yeah, and a lot of people just go straight up, start with a guest person. That’s a big commitment to ask someone that you don’t know. Yeah. But once you already have that collaboration in the bag and you already provide a value to them, then it almost becomes a no brainer for them to accept that from you.

[00:40:32] Josh: That’s a great point. I think, I think you’re right. I think a lot of, well, I know a lot of people start with guest posting cuz I get those sorts of emails a lot now. And I’m like, mm-hmm well, first of all, I don’t do guest posting cuz it’s my personal brand. Every exactly thing on my website is me. So it’s a different business model than most businesses.

[00:40:47] Josh: But also even if I wasn’t, even if I had a different brand name, um, mm-hmm I’m not gonna hire somebody who just randomly messages me. It’s gonna take one of these different strategies we’ve talked about. It’s gonna be like a layer or two back, which I think is what you’re hitting on. Yeah, yeah.

[00:41:02] Farzad: Precisely you got it 100%. And then as on the end. Because that, that took quite a lot of work to get here. So that third step for us, the Narnia is the partnership, which if you are also a person who contributes other websites, you’re like, Hey Josh, are you also contributing to other people’s websites? If they answer that is yes.

[00:41:23] Farzad: They’re like, Hey, why don’t we put to get a little sheet together? And as you are writing content, if it would make contextual sense, uh, you reference some of responder articles, we’ve got over a hundred, some blog articles that we fresh and produce, and I do the same for you. And we make sure we have a tracker sheet that we kind of make sure things are fair in square.

[00:41:42] Farzad: So next time as you’re writing so over time, you’re gonna end up with a network of like 10, 12 of these partners. And about half of ’em are gonna be inactive. They’re not gonna be reciprocating. No worries. You can end up with the network of like five or six of these really, really good partners that regularly contribute to other websites and also mention your blog articles.

[00:42:02] Farzad: Now here’s what happens next time you go and create a guest wish on another person’s website. You’re not only referencing your article. You don’t even have to do that. You’re referencing five or six of your partners on a post. So what happens that over time that creates a little ripple effect that now once you spend the time to write a guest post, you can then hire a good writer to actually do this, because then you’re getting five or six partner links that also indirectly results in map five or six at a website.

[00:42:32] Farzad: So I don’t mean to over complicate things. Yeah, but, but the three step processes, you start from a transactional collaboration, move on to a guest post and you turn ’em into partners. And once you kind of go through that whole cycle, now we just have one person of our marketing team respond. Who manages our link building and this person builds over a hundred media mentions back links to our website.

[00:42:58] Farzad: Quality back links center do follow. Or from that hit a certain criteria, not just any mention over a hundred every single month, month over month. One person now we didn’t get here overnight. Obviously takes some time. Now an agency would probably cost us close to a hun, I would say 50 to a hundred grand a month to do this for us, but w would a respondent subscription, uh, that he uses it’s like nine bucks a month.

[00:43:25] Josh: You eat your own dog food as far as tool dog food.

[00:43:28] Farzad: Yeah. And our biggest customers is Visme so yes, that’s awesome. We use our tool pretty mu pretty often.

[00:43:33] Josh: I, I wanna stick right here with, uh, I call it cooperation and working with your competition. I think this is really important because I have found this to be extremely beneficial in SEO. I think a lot of people tend to look at their competitors. So for, for a lot of people listening, web designers, freelancers business owners, who are in an area where yeah, they might know the other web design shops and agencies who might be technically their competition.

[00:43:58] Josh: Um, but something I was just speaking about with one of my students is he landed his first $10,000 client. Based off of working with his competitor, they don’t even start at $10,000. So they were like, Hey, we like you, we like what you have to say, would you like this client? They’re just not in our, our, you know, at our starting point.

[00:44:16] Josh: And for him, that was huge as a, as a small team. So, um, I’m big on this idea of cooperation when it comes to SEO, what do you feel about, you know, linking to your competitors with blog posts, like best, you know, in my case, best web design shops in Columbus, and this is kind of a case study type question. If I were a web designer in Columbus, Ohio mm-hmm and I did a blog post about like the 10 best web design agencies in Columbus, even though they’re my competition.

[00:44:43] Josh: Do you think that would be worthwhile doing and we they’d get back links? Would that help us pull up? What would your thoughts be on that? Like one particular strategy.

[00:44:52] Farzad: Absolutely. So as first working with the competition goes, almost everybody will work with is somewhat our competitor. Uh, so the, because you’ll wanna work with websites that are in your space, we have nothing to do with a cooking website. So even though they’re not a competitor to us, they’re not also very relevant. So we don’t even bother reaching out to websites that are just not relevant.

[00:45:12] Farzad: So respondent we’re into SEO space and a lot of websites that we work with or, uh, publications are also into SEO. Digital marketing space. So one way doing on another, we are somewhat competing with each other on a certain level. Now direct head to head, like if you’re running a shop and this person is across the street that causes some complications, um, when it comes to communication that sometimes may fall through, but companies that are not directly head to head competitors with you. For example, let’s say VPAA and a company called SM rush.

[00:45:46] Farzad: Right? Um, we are both in SEO space. They also have a wing of their product. That’s somewhat competing with ours, but we could care less. I’ve gone and done webinars with, uh, uh, with them. And we are actually integrating their product into respondent through an API integration. Uh, so they can, you can connect so their customers can connect their SMRs account to respondent and work in joint.

[00:46:09] Farzad: Yeah. Hand in hand. So what I’m trying to say is that. Direct head to head. Um, competition probably is not very realistic, uh, to bear fruit just because sometimes, uh, things fall through, obviously, you know, you don’t see eye, do high eye, do eye. Yeah. A hundred percent of the time. But if they’re in your space and, and there’s somewhat competing, that’s almost always the case when it comes to any sort of collaboration, because you don’t want to be working out with people that, um, are working with people that aren’t relevant to you in the first place.

[00:46:39] Josh: Well, and then particularly for web designers and web business owners, Pretty much, everyone has a little bit of a different suite of services. Yeah. Like a focus. So like some people are really good at conversion design and development, but SEO copy not their strength. Whereas their competitor right down the street might be really good with SEO and copy, but they’re not great at development.

[00:47:04] Josh: So that is like the prime example where don’t compete with each other, like work together. So I love that. I think it’s so important. I was gonna say like, if you can’t beat them, join them, but I don’t think that’s the right statement for this context. I would say just work together because you’re always particularly in web design, very rarely.

[00:47:22] Josh: Are you gonna have the exact overlay of services or like my example a little bit ago with my student who, uh, landed this first $10,000 project. They had similar services, but they weren’t at the same level. So a lot of people who are at a level are looking for somebody below them who, you know, like for me as a web designer, when I started scaling, I really never found a great person to refer people who just needed like a simple website for hundred, 1500 bucks, that type of client, I stopped taking them on, but it would’ve been awesome to have somebody in college who like, you know, 1500 bucks for me when I was, you know, 20 years old.

[00:47:57] Josh: Would’ve been awesome. So, uh, all that to say, these SEO strategies do start with, you know, relationships and what do you, you guys are all about building, you know, building relationships, not spamming, which is kind of what you’re talking about. So it’s weird to think that SEO kind of really starts on a human level.

[00:48:17] Farzad: Exactly. And that’s what a lot of people miss is that they look at it like science and it is, uh, there is quite a lot of nerdy stuff in there. And I I’ve written a book actually on this that I sort of go through step by step in terms of how you find keywords, how you write content on the business side. So folks are interested. I’ve written the free ebook, it’s called, uh, Visme marketing strategy. Uh, so you can go in and just Google that. And it’s a free ebook, you know, more than welcome download. It’s like, like 160 pages. I apologize in advance. Tobler sometimes, but there’s quite a lot of, um, uh, screenshot and step by step instruction there you can go in and copy and sort of replicate for whatever niche or is you have.

[00:48:58] Josh: So I’m, I just looked it up marketing strategies. We used a boot strap, VI me to 4 million users. Is that right?

[00:49:03] Farzad: Right. We’re we’re at 14 million users now, so, so wow. Okay. Little to get updated. That’s right. Yeah. But we still do go through the same process. Our process hasn’t changed.

[00:49:12] Josh: What’s so I was just gonna ask, what’s your favorite of everything we’ve talked about so far, we’ve talked about back linking guest posting, um, you know, all the things we we’ve covered so far. Um, what, what’s your favorite thing to do?

[00:49:26] Farzad: You know, you see Josh, the thing is, um, with STO forward to work, you need to be good at all of these. And that’s, what’s really tricky about it is you that you can’t just focus on one part and expect it to be successful. Uh, I just did a demo to that for a company that they’re like, Hey, I heard back links are very important and I came across respond.

[00:49:46] Farzad: I can you help us get back links and took a look at their website. They got a one page website filled with like affiliate links. I’m no, like, don’t waste your time or money on responding yet. You still got some work to do. You need to go hire a web designer. You need to, you need to build a, uh, a side map and, and understand, okay, what are some of these keywords we’re trying to target, build landing pages, content. Uh, you can just go jump the gun.

[00:50:11] Farzad: So what, what, what I’m trying to say is that’s a long way to answer your question is that it’s kind of like building a house. You need that foundation to unpaid stuff down first. So that starts with a site structure, writing content and also the technical side of things. So like your MEIT meta descriptions and making sure that the site is responsive and loads fast, all good stuff. Mm-hmm . And I, once you do that, that’s just a foundation. You’re our ground zero. Our congratulations.

[00:50:36] Farzad: Now you wanna start building on top of that, and that’s where you build that building with the facade and the windows and the cabinets. And that’s where. That link building and promotion aspect comes into play. Now, once you start building that and you start continuous to produce content, now you wanna spend equal amount of time or more, uh, in promotion and making sure that now you get some eyes on use content pieces. So there isn’t really a certain aspect that I would say, Hey, you can focus on this bar and be successful.

[00:51:04] Farzad: Uh, you kind of have to do it all. Uh, and, and I know it’s kind of daunting, especially for one man shows or for people that are, you know, smaller teams with very limited resources. You have to take, you know, candidate. We also haha had the same problem, right? yeah. As a bootstrap company. So you, you want to do a, take a step by step, stop producing so much content, just producing one page at a time and take it as each, pick each page as a project and kind of take it from there.

[00:51:33] Farzad: So it kind of like building Lego. So you can’t have a Lego without like that whole packet, right? You need, you need to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

[00:51:42] Josh: It definitely makes sense. I, I, I could see that and looking back in my SEO strategy with, with this brand, with my Josh hall.co stuff, it was definitely a one step at a time. Now I will say my very favorite thing to do is interviews that’s by far my favorite strategy, because the back links come naturally because I don’t need to actually, and I like writing, I really enjoy writing, but, um, I find interviews to be my, my personal favorite.

[00:52:06] Josh: So now personally, would you say that’s one of your favorite things to do or do you, do you like getting behind the, the keyboard and doing like research and stuff.

[00:52:13] Farzad: Yeah, to be honest. My favorite part about my job is working on the product. So building a, a platform that would sort of help, um, obviously I get to do, I get to spend very little amount of my time on that nowadays, obviously, because I have to get out there and start promoting respond, and then they’re like, Hey, come use that platform.

[00:52:32] Farzad: My, my favorite part, I’m a, I’m a product nerd. So I like to build, build new things that would help save people time and, and be useful. Obviously I love making connections with awesome people like yourself and getting on interviews and chat. But sometimes, uh, for me, I would say if I had to pick one thing that I could, like, if I could have a job. I would wanna be like a product manager. Like that would be something that I think I could do every day.

[00:52:56] Josh: Well, the reason, the reason I ask that is cuz yeah, these are, there are these different strategies and I agree. It’s definitely like a puzzle. And I, I personally feel like grab, do what you do best and what you enjoy doing. And if you can hire out the rest then awesome. Once you get to that point, that’s what I’ve learned to do with my brand now is I’m gonna do a lot of things, figure out what I’m good at, what I like to do. And then as soon as I can, I’m gonna off board and hire out stuff that either I don’t like to do, or it’s just not well suited for me.

[00:53:23] Josh: And in the blogging world, this is huge. Cause I think a lot of people get tripped up because they just, they stop or they’re like, ah, I just don’t have the time. I don’t feel like blogging. I had to keep up with my clients and then their, their strategy just stops. And this is an interesting point too, when it comes to like stopping, uh, blogging or stopping an SEO strategy. You, you said it earlier, it’s ever evolving. It’s always changing. It’s ongoing. SEO is ongoing. Um, and you mentioned my podcast being up there in the, what was it? The top? Like one and a half percent or something like that?

[00:53:54] Farzad: One, one and a half percent. That’s right.

[00:53:56] Josh: Now is that all podcast or a certain category? Is that like under entrepreneurship or business or.

[00:54:01] Farzad: We use a, a podcast, uh, director called listen notes that feed into respond on the backend and they use several metrics like the RSS, how, how popular RSS feed is, how talent you get. And, um, matter of fact, there’s that, there’s a lot of podcasts out there that get. Almost no listeners. So I would say the top 10% are really what, what are getting some exposure and, and you are in the top 10% of that 10%. That, that actually

[00:54:28] Josh: That’s awesome.

[00:54:28] Farzad: Get listeners. Yeah. Which is awesome.

[00:54:30] Josh: You need to start using respond. Um,

[00:54:32] Farzad: so cruise your sponsorship packages

[00:54:34] Josh: There we go. Yeah, absolutely. That is the plan. That’s that’s the next be careful. That’s right. Yeah. That’s I am definitely gonna be doing more sponsor stuff, but you know, here’s, here’s where I mention that same thing with blog posts. Like a lot of people feel like I’m too late to the blogging game or in my case, it’s like, I could start a podcast, but everyone’s doing a podcast now, but not everyone is doing it consistently or that’s right.

[00:54:58] Josh: A lot of people did a bunch of episodes and they just stopped. And I know from experience consistency, beats everything online. So if you do it consistently and as long as it’s good, of course, you will start getting better rankings and you will start seeing results, whether it’s a podcast or a blog or whatever it is.

[00:55:17] Josh: I have a, a colleague in the square space. Space, uh, Paige who built her brand completely off of social media, which is really uncommon for a lot of entrepreneurs nowadays mm-hmm , but it was completely through blogging and it was just blogging and email. Those are her two channels, but she’s done blog posts consistently. Good blog posts, some really in depth, some just more surfacey, but she’s done it consistently for years now. And it works like,

[00:55:43] Josh: I mean, I just wanna, I just wanna say, just because the competition there’s a lot of people doesn’t mean that everyone’s active and that’s a big difference cuz Google, right? All these search engines they know, right. They can tell what’s active and what’s kind of dead.

[00:55:57] Farzad: So, you know, one other thing I wanted to say, Josh, I feel like it would be important for the audience who are listening, where a lot of, lot of our freelancers people run work in service based industry and run an agency. Uh, sometimes if you are in, for example, a web design agency, you are one man show and you competing against keywords that are not necessarily feasible for based on the amount of resources they have.

[00:56:20] Farzad: One thing I always recommend is that package, this service. Offer to your clients who have the budgeted resources for it. Uh, we have quite a lot of agencies that charge quite a lot of money for, uh, just using a responder in the background and running a lot of these outreach campaigns in the background. And, and one thing you also wanna consider is that if you’re offering web design, a lot of people who are building website, guess what else they’re gonna need. They need to actually get people to their website.

[00:56:48] Josh: Right. Right.

[00:56:48] Farzad: And, and SEO, obviously. And, and the average aspect in building backlink comes, uh, with it in, in a packet. So learning about these techniques and, and getting good at it. So even if you are unable to blog yourself or don’t have the resources to hire people to do this for you and, and offer this as a service, you know, if I got fired outta responder, that’s probably the first thing I would do. You reach out to some companies that are either product companies, SaaS companies, uh, that have multimillion dollar budgets and didn’t have the knowhow or the resources to do it themselves.

[00:57:22] Farzad: We actually have a respondent guru hub that we invite our customer base to like, Hey, do you have some free time? Can you offer? We, we get so many businesses coming to respond on and they’re looking for people to run this. They’re like, Hey, this is awesome. We know we are gonna have to do this, but we don’t have the resources. We don’t know how exactly, because we need someone on top of it.

[00:57:41] Farzad: So becoming a person who can actually offer this as a service and you can use a tool like respond to kind of streamline the process is, is a very profitable business model that I’m surprised to be honest, why more people are in doing so we actually have one of our team members leaving our team to offer the link building as a service to our clients.

[00:58:02] Josh: yeah. I mean, I think. Well, to be honest, like I, I think it might depend on somebody as far as what they’re interested in. Like a lot of my audience yeah this is like, you’re right. Like it’s, it is something, yeah. You could, you could sign up for respond and you can use it for yourself, but it’s not a cost.

[00:58:18] Josh: If you turn it around and use it as an investment for your business and make this a service for other people. I totally agree. And I will say a lot of my students who are on the, on the top tier end doing like several six figures now, web design is a part of their suite of services, a big part of it is what you’re talking about with SEO, digital marketing and some other services.

[00:58:40] Josh: Exactly. But I, I think personally, yeah, it might just come down to like, does somebody wanna do that? I personally don’t wanna do that, so, right. That’s fair. I, but a lot of people do and a lot of people might hire that out. Like if I was still running my agency and I wasn’t teaching and doing what I’m doing now, then I would’ve one, a hundred percent have like a wing of the, you know, the services be this. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:59:01] Farzad: And it’s something you can easily train a relatively junior person to replicate for you. So once you get a hang of it, Josh, it’s something, I don’t do a single outreach email myself every day because you got a million other things have to take care of.

[00:59:15] Josh: Right. That would be eight hours a day.

[00:59:17] Farzad: Exactly. So it’s a full-time job. So it’s something that you can easily. Once you build a blueprint, Hey, here’s a Tampa, here’s the strategy. Just go follow this. and it is something that you can easily hire someone who who’s a junior staff member who can easily replicate these for you. So it’s not necessarily something that you have to do yourself.

[00:59:36] Farzad: Design is different, you can’t delegate that, but once you build a process, when it comes to link building and promotion and outreach, that is something that’s delegateable. Not sure if that’s a word, but,

[00:59:47] Josh: uh, delegated boy, it is here now by go is I love making coin that term. There we go. I’m making words up on the podcast. Uh, no, that’s great. As far as all, this is, this has been awesome, man. I I’ve, we’ve really covered a lot of strategies and we’ve weaved in and out of pretty much everything that I’ve seen with SEO that’s working. Yeah. Um, now this is interesting too, because we haven’t talked about like local businesses, which I’m sure is a whole nother thing.

[01:00:12] Josh: But as far as like us building our brands online, which a lot of people listening are in areas of the world where their ideal clients maybe not be, they might not be local, so they wanna know how to get ahead online. And a lot of what we talked about from an SEO perspective, that’s it? The partnerships, the, the relationship aspect of all this and the link building.

[01:00:33] Josh: I mean, this is really, yeah. It takes some time, but it really does. It pays off. And as long as you have the, the basic things in there with a good website that converts, and you’re a cool person, you just wanna work with somebody that that’s the name of the game there. I feel so. Yeah. Yeah. We, no, this has been great, man.

[01:00:50] Josh: Um, I do have kind of a final question for you as we wrap this up, I’m curious. Do you want to offer anything for my audience? We should have talked about this before, but like a lot of the, a lot of my guests will do like, you know, website slash Josh hall. Do you, do you wanna do something like that for Respona

[01:01:03] Farzad: Right. So I would love, love to, and normally we don’t do offering discounts cuz we try to keep our platform very affordable for everybody. I get it. I totally understand. But one thing I would highly recommend people to do is two things. One download that free ebook from vis me just Google vis me marketing strategy, read through it.

[01:01:21] Farzad: At least the first chapter, which I talk about content marketing. And it is gonna give you at least a basis of, Hey, why are we doing this? How exactly you need to go about building a website. And that also helps you as a designer to be able to build websites that are actually consistent with best practices when it comes to SEO.

[01:01:39] Farzad: And, and, and that’s one, thing’s a free resource to highly rack, man. And I’ve written them myself either way. This is not something I’ve delegated. I spent about close to a few hundred hours in writing that thing. And also, um, the average strategy hub on our respond website. So you go to respona.com at the very bottom.

[01:01:56] Farzad: It’s the average respond, average strategy hub. Go ahead and take a look at some of these strategies, just, just so you kind of get a sense of, okay, what are some of these average strategies that fires talks about? And it’s on gated. It’s free. Also feel free to take a look. Don’t go, just jump straight in, start paying for tools that you don’t necessarily know how to use or how to utilize first.

[01:02:14] Farzad: I would start education myself in the SEO game, a little, have an idea of, okay. Exactly. Here are some of the things you can do. And 90% of them you can do without any particular tools than in manual work. And then once they hits a point, you’re like, Hey, this is great. I don’t have the time to do it myself. Or don’t have the, um, a bandwidth to be able to replicate. Then you can start using some of these tools to help save some time.

[01:02:38] Josh: Yeah, no, I love that. I think it’s a great way to go. And of course we’ll have all that stuff linked in and yeah, I mean, I look, I appreciate when everyone says, I, I don’t wanna offer a deal because we keep our price points low. I actually just talked about that with, um, the owner of the co-founder of fathom analytics, Paul Jarvis. And he said the same thing. He’s like, we’re not gonna do a discount because we, we, we just keep it across the board and I respect that. So all good on my end, man. Um,

[01:03:00] Josh: My last question here for you as far as on, is I’m curious what would be, so for somebody who’s interested in this and they’re like, okay, I’m, I’m down. I definitely want up my SEO game, but I’m still quite overwhelmed with all the things we’ve talked about. What would you say would be the best place to start it? Just to, to get going?

[01:03:20] Farzad: Write one blog post a month.

[01:03:24] Josh: Love it.

[01:03:24] Farzad: I think we can all agree everybody can do that.

[01:03:27] Josh: yes. If you can’t do that, then there’s some work to do to clear up your time or figure something out. Yes. One blog post, some love. And would you recommend like, sharing just what you know about a certain topic or, uh, would it be kind of open ended to what you wanna write about or you know, who your competitors are and stuff like that?

[01:03:48] Farzad: Sure. So we have a process for how we sort of prioritize keywords. And again, I’m not sure how much, how deep you want me to get in there. Can I wrap it up in four or five minutes? Is that okay with you, Josh? Yeah. Yeah, let’s do that. That should be good. Getting short on time. I’m gonna keep it on that. So we have a process of what I call finding opportunity keywords.

[01:04:08] Farzad: So what you get to write about is actually quite scientific at our team and respond on business. We don’t just write from the heart, we have a strategy and that strategy is quite simple. So what we do is, as I mentioned, very briefly throughout the, we, we wanna prioritize our keywords because there’s an unlimited number of keywords to write about. Right. There’s infinite number.

[01:04:27] Josh: I find that extremely overwhelming by the way. Yeah. That’s why, that’s why I hate, that’s why I hate keyword research. I’m like, there’s like, uh, thousands and thousands on, so I’m just right.

[01:04:36] Farzad: Yeah. So let me give you a formula that you can easily have a scientific method of prioritizing them. And that’s something that we still do every single day by content team. And that is ideally just from a theoretical perspective, we wanna identify keywords in our space that have the highest amount of volume possible lowest amount of competition possible and highest amount of commercial intent possible.

[01:05:01] Farzad: So again, high volume, low competition, high commercial intent. Got it. So those are the three metrics you wanna pop into a forum I’m gonna discuss in order to go and have a prioritized list of keywords. So what you wanna do is if you have a parent topic. So like for example, if your website is about web design, that’s your parent topic for as respond as link built building that’s our parent topic for vis means presentation.

[01:05:24] Farzad: That’s our parent topic. You wanna run that parent keyword through ASU tool, like a Fs or SCMR. These are paid tools. If you are just starting out, I would recommend trying a tool like, uh, trying out a tool called Uber suggests have a really solid free version. And also they’re much significantly cheaper than

[01:05:45] Josh: I did an episode a while back on the basics of SEO with a lot of these tools. So I’ll, I’ll link that as well. It was episode 54, if anyone is curious.

[01:05:53] Farzad: Yeah, absolutely. And those are the two tools I recommend IRUS and S cm R if you’re looking to out a hundred bucks a month, uh, and. Pays off. I mean, we uses out sales and it’s, it’s a pretty good investment, but anyway, yeah, again, you don’t have the budget for it.

[01:06:07] Farzad: Don’t worry about it. Uber suggests does 90% of what these tools do. And, uh, basically they, they give you three metrics. One is the number of clicks that keyword gets. So click is when somebody actually clicks on a search tool for that keyword, not necessarily the number of volume, because some keywords have a feature snippet that people just get their answer and they don’t even enter the website.

[01:06:26] Josh: So that’s a great point. Yeah.

[01:06:27] Farzad: They wanna get the number of clicks and that’s a representative volume. Two is the keyword difficulty metric. So a lot of these SEO tools give you a number from zero to a hundred hundred being super difficult. That’s dominated by Google, a Microsoft and zero is like very easy to like, you don’t need any back links, so you can just put together content.

[01:06:48] Farzad: You’re almost guaranteed up in the circles, cuz there’s almost nothing about it. Normally the keywords somewhere are somewhere in the middle, right? Yeah. And um, we, we have a keyword difficult metric. So for each one of these keywords, these tools are gonna give you a metric and how difficult it is. And we have a roll of thumb.

[01:07:04] Farzad: We automatically ignore keywords to have a keyword difficulty higher than our domain rating. Okay. So domain rating or a domain authority is a metric also from zero to a hundred that determines, um, um, how authoritative view website is, and that’s directly relevant or directly correlated with the number of backing share point to your website.

[01:07:23] Farzad: So if you’re just starting out, take out some of the keywords that, that are outta your league, right. And up to this point, I think we’re Dr. Has 77 now. So we just take, well, I mean, keyword difficulty at 70 seven’s very high. So like we, we almost cover pretty much all key. Um, but what I’m trying to say is a good rule of thumb.

[01:07:42] Farzad: Again, there’s no scientific theory behind it is just how we do things basically saying, Hey, don’t go after keywords that are super, uh, competitive. And so take out the keywords that have a keyword difficulty, higher domain rating and the ones that are left. You wanna save that in a little spreadsheet?

[01:07:59] Farzad: And the third metric is going to be your commercial intent. And the way we measure commercial intent is the cost per click of that keyword. So reason why is because advertisers like money. So if somebody is betting on a certain keyword, it’s likely they’re spending money and the higher they’re willing to bet for that keyword.

[01:08:16] Farzad: It’s an indicator that, that they’re making more money. So that’s great. So we gonna use the cost per click, which is not even the SEO metric. It’s, it’s a, a AdWords metric. Uh, but we use that cost per click at that keyword as an indication of commercial intent. Now you pop it in a formula. So if you have a little spreadsheet and Google sheet to pop in a formula is what we called the op I called it the farms load score.

[01:08:40] Farzad: Our team’s like, Hey, this is too tacky. nice. Landed on the opportunity score. So the opportunity score is thematic clicks. Keyword gets multiplied by one over keyword difficulty, cuz you want to do it in reverse, obviously to higher the keyword difficulty, the bat, the worse it is and multiply by one plus your cost per.

[01:09:02] Farzad: So what that formula does mathematically, I don’t mean to go too nerdy on you today, Josh is that it will automatically, once you multiply, uh, these three metrics together for all of your keywords under the same parent topic, it gives you a relative number. That doesn’t mean anything on its own, but relative to each of these keywords, it gives you a metric that wants to sort descending.

[01:09:26] Farzad: Automatically mathematically. Gotcha. Prioritizes keywords that have the highest amount of volume, lowest amount of competition, highest amount of commercial intent, commercial tech. Got it. Got it. Now you got a list to go through that’s numbered. So like, okay. Number one, kind of similar.

[01:09:39] Josh: Yeah. You probably saw my face go a little cross eye when I had to start thinking about math there. Uh, but it kind of reminds me of what Michelle, my, my SEO gal, I, I call her my, my SEO guru, cuz that’s kind of what she does similar. Um, I, I would call yours like the, the FARs odd zone, something like that. We wanna get really cheesy. I definitely think you should copyright that. Um, but yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

[01:10:01] Josh: And either way I wanna back up your statement. Start simple one blog post a month. I gave myself light at the end of the tunnel. When I started doing tutorials once a week for 12 weeks, I just went for it and committed to that. That’s another strategy I recommend with, with SEO. So yeah, hopefully, hopefully that helps.

[01:10:18] Josh: I think it’s a great place to, to, to help people just get going with this that they haven’t already. So man, we covered a lot. This has been really cool. We, we, we took a deep dive into some stuff, but we covered a lot and I really think this will be beneficial because I always love talking SEO to people who are in the game because every time I do every time, I feel like people are SEO experts.

[01:10:39] Josh: I find out that we’re all, there’s really not much of a difference once, you know, the basics between getting massive results and millions of results. It’s what you’re, what you’re doing is just at scale. It seems like you get the principles down, you do a few things at work and you do it at scale eventually.

[01:10:57] Farzad: Exactly. Yeah. And I don’t consider myself an EO expert, by the way, Josh I, there, the more you. Learn about these things. The more you realize, oh, I don’t actually know anything. I dunno what I’m doing, but, uh that’s but that’s, today’s, what’s the basics down.

[01:11:09] Josh: Every time I, I interview a quote, unquote, SEO expert, everyone says that and it makes me feel so much better. So yeah, this has been really cool, man. Thank you so much for your time. Uh, we’ll have all the links.

[01:11:19] Farzad: My pleasure.

[01:11:19] Josh: I definitely recommend everyone checking out, respond.com, which will have linked. And if it’s like, like you said, you know, if it’s a good fit for you and your business, definitely utilize it. And then by golly, sell it, sell it as a service, make that recurring Jetar. So man, far as odd, thank you for coming, man. This was a, this was a fun time and uh, I don’t always love talking SEO, but I enjoyed this one. So thanks for your time.

[01:11:41] Farzad: Thanks for having me on the show, josh. This was really fun.

[01:11:43] Josh: Awesome. Cheers, man.

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