Working With Us

Working with ContentDistribution.com

When I started ContentDistribution.com I started at the bottom.

I was a solo-consultant.

Consulting for bootstrapped SaaS founders.

With tiny budgets.

I’m talking $500.

Not $500 per month.

$500.

Five years of consistently winning later…..

And we’ve earned the right to work with ClickUp.

And fintechs w/ $100m in funding.

And FDIC insured banks.

It took us five years of building systems and processes.

Sharpening our axe.

Winning again, and again, and again.

To be able to work with a brand like ClickUp.

And that was the plan all along.

I’m at the bottom.

I need to own the outcome on every project.

Take responsibility for every variable.

Do whatever it takes to influence a positive outcome.

Earn the right to work on more ambitious projects.

And eventually we’ll be so good.

So consistently.

The big boys can’t ignore us.

 

🥇 Best Content

If you haven’t checked out our free playbooks, open them all in a new tab.

🚀 Adding 100,000 paid customers to an A16z-backed startup

🚀 Driving millions of new users for an EdTech SaaS

🚀 +$1.6m incremental ARR for a subscription Shopify store

And if you have time, check out the rest:

🚀 Maintaining content quality at 100+ pages/month

🚀 0 to 103,000 organics/month (my first SEO project)

🚀 0 to 116,000 organics/month ($30k website flip)

After you’ve given those a read.

Learn what it’s like to work with ContentDistribution.com 

🏆 What the Community is Saying

We’ve spoken at Founders Institute, Search Birmingham, SEO Mastery Summit and on 50+ podcasts

We’ve appeared on HubSpot, GoDaddy, American Express, Canva, Zapier, and HR.com.

And we’ve had a positive impact on many of our peers.

🎮 Control of Outcome

The day I started ContentDistribution.com is the day I committed to shutting it down.

It’s not enough that some of my projects go well.

All of them have to go well.

I have too much talent, drive, and momentum to spin my wheels playing a game where my actions don’t have a significant influence on the outcome. 

The minute I’m playing a game where I don’t believe I can control the outcome, is the minute I’ll take my ball and go play a different game.

So, in the first year of CD, I sandbagged myself.

I took on a few projects and turned down everything else.

I needed to prove to myself that I could influence every campaign I worked on.

And if I couldn’t do it.

I’d do something else.

Probably go back to sales. 

And that drive to take ownership of every variable…

Even if it’s literally taking responsibility for the actions of someone else. 

Means we’re consistently consistent. 

  • 0 to 103,000 organics/month
  • 0 to 116,000 organics/month
  • 0 to 119,000 organics/month
  • 0 to 166,000 organics/month
  • 0 to 1,500,000 organics/month
  • And a ton of smaller wins that aren’t big enough for their own case study

When you take a content-focused approach to SEO, it means that every factor that influences your success is within your control.

The implications of that are huge. 

💰 ROI Focused

We have beautiful words.

But our content is a deliverable.

Companies partner with us because our content drives incredible business outcomes.

Showing ROI is the #1 lever we can pull to retain and scale campaigns. 

So, we treat SEO as closely to paid media as possible.

We’ll work with you to attribute every dollar generated to the specific pages that we influenced.

Learn how we added nearly 100,000 paid customers to an A16Z-backed startup. 

A great SEO campaign for a flower shop in Seattle can influence tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.

A great SEO campaign for AirBNB can influence hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

A great SEO campaign for Amazon can influence billions of dollars in revenue.

We built an SEO ROI calculator to forecast various campaign outcomes so we spend our time with the companies that have the most leverage on our team’s superpower.

The TMS, or total monthly search volume, is generated using Ahrefs or SEMRush.

The CTR is calculated using Brian Dean’s CTR study.

The conversion rate, average first-order value, and LTV are calculated using your internal company data.

After you put in realistic numbers, ratchet all of the numbers down:

  1. Search volume is lower than expected
  2. Average ranking and CTR is lower than expected
  3. Conversion rate is lower than expected
  4. AOV is lower than expected
  5. LTV is lower than expected

Do you still have a positive ROI of at least 3x?

Great.

That’s a good campaign.

Because when we crush, it means we’re looking at 10x+ ROI.

Use our SEO ROI calculator.

❤️ SaaS DNA

Before starting CD.com, I spent my entire career in early-stage SaaS.

I started in my early twenties when I dropped out of college to ship my first SaaS. 

Tonight’s Outfit helped people make better fashion choices. 

It was pre-smartphone, a dumb idea, and had zero founder/product fit. 

But I shipped. 

We shut down Tonight’s Outfit due to lack of traction.

And we shipped again.

It went a bit better. 

MLS → Craigslist automation for real estate agents. 

Hit $6,000 MRR before imploding. 

I was in my mid-twenties, and it was time to get my first real job.

I was a regular attendee at the Seattle Hacker News meetups.

At one of the meetups, I shook hands with the founder of a small enterprise SaaS startup. 

He was hiring, and I leveraged my experience into an offer.

Absolutely insane four years.

 

8 to 200 FTEs bootstrapped.

Just straight printing.

(Source)

After 4 years, I left to re-skill my career in marketing. 

BitTitan raised a few rounds, made an acquisition, and was then acquired for a ton of $$$.

I had an ESOP with a 10-year exercise period. (Thanks, Geeman <3.)

This meant even though I left 6 years ago, I still got paid.

But the most valuable takeaway from my four years at BitTitan was the experience:

  • Working next to colleagues 20 – 30 years older at the peak of their career
  • Learning their best practices and watching how they make decisions
  • Operating at a global scale that touched millions of end-users

I negotiated legal contracts against F500 companies.

I designed and PM’d GoDaddy’s implementation of our API.

I product-managed our marketplace integrations with our CTO.

I trained AT&T’s sales team.

And Rackspace’s support team.

You probably view me as the ‘SEO Guy.’ 

But I identify as a founder, a marketer, and even as a sales guy more than I identify as an SEO. 

And this hasn’t changed since starting an SEO agency. 

Over the last five years, our team has spent thousands of hours iterating across hundreds of internal processes, and we’ve shipped the two most important SaaS products.

ClusterAi to automate keyword research.

And Workello to hire the top 1% of our job applicants. 

The combined stats across both products:

  • 7,000+ freemium users
  • 650+ paid customers, including brands like Deel, CopyAi, and Forbes
  • $400,000+ total revenue

I’m not alone on this journey.

Both products were PM’d by CD’s COO, Bojan Maric.

We also host the #1 content ops community on the internet with 10,000+ members and regular AMAs with marketers from brands like G2, Ramp, Coinbase, SEMRush, and Surfer.

We’ve grown our email list to 13,000+ subscribers. 

And our team’s content has reached millions of marketers and founders on LinkedIn.

❌ No backlinks

We don’t build backlinks.

We don’t need to. If we had hit a wall that we couldn’t push past, we would have iterated and experimented, eventually with backlinks. We don’t hit walls. We haven’t had to build backlinks to create the desired outcomes. What we do keeps working. 

Content can convert. Content can rank and drive revenue. In the way most backlinks are built, they will usually never send a single referral visitor. Assuming a finite budget, we feel an obligation to steer the budget into the activities with the most measurable ROI. 

But the biggest reason we don’t like backlinks?

Relying on backlinks means ceding some of your control over the outcome to the Google Gods.

You tithe money into a black box. 

Then you pray to Larry & Sergey.

And if you’re lucky…

The Google Gods bless you with rankings.

As a founder, I would rather compete in poker than craps. 

Which game would you rather play? 

❌ No Shortcuts

95% of the value created by SEO will happen after year one. 

Let’s break it down with math. 

A hypothetical company has a hypothetical growth rate. 

In year one, they grow to 100,000 organics/month.

In year two, they grow to almost 400,000 organics/month. 

The 492,554 visitors they generated in year one is 15.2% of the 3,228,117 visitors in year two.

Let me repeat that.

Even if we crush it.

And we grow you to 100,000 organics/month in one year.

10x more value is created after year one than is generated in year one.

Just Great Content

Many SEOs treat Google like the enemy.

Their strategy is focused on tricking Google into sending them traffic.

We think the most lucrative SEO outcomes are created by aligning with Google.

Our approach to winning big is simple.

For every page of content we publish, our goal is to create more value for the reader than any other page of content Google could show. 

Below is a graph of the top websites in the dog niche.

The key metric is column E.

Traffic per page, per month.

It’s calculated by dividing the estimated traffic (Ahrefs) by the total number of pages.

And it measures how efficient an SEO campaign is.

I built Doggypedia.

Despite being a DR9, it generated 100,000+ organics/month.

And on average, 3x more traffic per page of content than Doggypedia’s biggest competitors. 

Here is the same graph by average traffic per page per month.

Despite Doggypedia having almost zero backlinks and the other websites being hugely authoritative industry leaders. 

Doggypedia outperformed most of the biggest players in the space:

  • 3x more traffic than Certapet
  • 3x more traffic than Pet Helpful
  • 2.5x more traffic per page than Dog Breed Info
  • 1.5x more than The Labrador Site

Create more value.

Get more value.  

Learn: Get my step-by-step guide to Doggypedia’s SEO campaign. 

 

🔎 Operations

Making Data Public By Default

Most teams collaborate by ‘pulling information’

Here’s what I mean:

  • “Hey, what are you working on today?”
  • “Can you send me the latest version of the template?”
  • “What did Sally say?”
  • “Have you done this task yet?
  • “Should I do A, B, or C?”
  • “Did you see X?”
  • “Can you remind me about Y?”
  • “How do I do Y?”
  • “Did I do this correctly?”
  • “Can you check this before I submit it?” 
  • “Where is the file for Y?”

This works on a small team.

But things start to break when the team grows. 

There are thousands of micro-decisions that are made over the lifespan of an SEO campaign.

On day one as a freelancer, I knew I needed to build a team that could execute as well, or better than I could myself, to meet my goals. So, over the last five years, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about:

  1. What context our team needs
  2. When they need it
  3. How to deliver it

So they are empowered to make the correct decisions consistently. 

Here are some of the areas in which I think we excel and punch above our weight class (company size).

  1. Making data public by default
  2. Documentation
  3. Meeting recaps
  4. Sprints
  5. Automated notifications
  6. Reporting
  7. Access control

Documentation

Creating a culture of documentation is a lot of work. 

But it’s the only way to enable people without your work experiences to execute as good, or better than you can yourself, consistently. 

We’ve built a strong culture of documentation that spans almost every organizational function. 

And today, we have over 1,000 documents in our knowledge base.

Here are some examples. 

Onboarding documentation for new team members

Step-by-step guides to kicking off new projects

Keyword research to develop the content calendar.

Managing sprints. 

Editing guidelines.

Everything is documented. 

Our culture of documentation enables our team to execute as well or better than I could myself and to be consistent across the areas that require consistency. 

Allowing us to drive successful outcomes again and again and again. 

Get my step-by-step guide for building a culture of documentation in your organization.

Meeting Recaps

Our team sends out a dozen+ meeting recaps every single week:

  1. Structured into an easy-to-read format
  2. Contains a list of discussion points
  3. Action items called out at the top with owners & due dates 
  4. Sent to all interested parties

Here’s why.

Back in 2012, when I joined BitTitan, here is what I was signing up for:

  • Working in an industry I didn’t know existed (Microsoft MSPs)
  • Using a technology I didn’t understand (data migration)
  • Through a sales channel I didn’t have any experience in (resellers)
  • In a role that I wasn’t qualified for (enterprise partnerships)

I spent one month in office.

Then went solo with our CEO on a month-long conference circuit to Vegas, Austin, and Toronto.

Drinking from a firehose is an understatement. 

One of my primary survival tactics was taking insane meeting notes.

Every meeting I took, I was typing.

Over time, I became comfortable in my role, but I never stopped taking meeting notes. 

On average, it took 9ish months to negotiate each SaaS partnership.

After the deal was signed, it took another 9ish months to go to market and start transacting with their end-customers. 

There were half a dozen stakeholders in our company and an equivalent amount, or more, in each partner org.

The only way I could manage a dozen multi-year projects with more than a dozen stakeholders each was with meeting notes.

And I brought that habit to Content Distribution and built a culture of meeting notes here.

Every time two or more people in CD jump on a Zoom call, they send a meeting recap to any relevant team members. 

Between client meetings, editing meetings, ops meetings, and PM meetings, our senior staff receive at least a dozen meeting recaps per week.

This enables our team to work async, minimize unproductive meeting time, consume recaps, and jump in with thoughts or questions on their own schedule. 

I have never worked in an organization that has done this.

And after five years, I don’t know how organizations that don’t have a culture of meeting recaps get things done. 

Get my step-by-step guide to building a culture of meeting notes in your organization.

Sprints

Our team’s work is organized into two-week sprints and tracked in Airtable.

Each record has a status, project, link to a task, person assigned, QA assignee, requestor, due date, notes, and link to SOPs or working documents. 

Automated Notifications

One of the easiest areas in which you can implement a “push data” philosophy into your company is with notification channels. 

We push data from Airtable & Slite into Slack.

Instead of asking, “Hey, what are you working on?”

Our team leads can check the #notifications-sprints channel.

For editors and PM, #notifications-content-calendar.

For editors and managers, #notifications-PTO.

For senior managers, #notifications-hiring

Each notification is hyperlinked.

Anyone in the channel can click on the activity to see metadata like due dates, notes, and links to any working documents.

This cuts down on the “Hey, what are you working on?” significantly.

Reporting

We push the data from Airtable into pre-built Google Data Studio reports that break down our team’s workload.

We can slice the data by all-up, project, and person.

Access Control

CD uses 89 different 3rd party SaaS products for:

  1. Communication and collaboration
  2. Managing content production
  3. Managing our finances
  4. Hosting and delivering ClusterAi & Workello
  5. Marketing, sales, and support.

We change and manage access to all apps in this base. 

To request access, a team member submits an access request form.

💯 Team

Recruiting

Over the last five years, our team has spent thousands of hours reviewing more than 10,000 applicants. 

Because of my belief in two things: 

  1. My success will come from building and enabling a team of people to execute as well or better than I can.
  2. The #1 decision I’ll make as a founder is who we hire because after that first decision, what happens next is easy, hard, or impossible. 

What do those beliefs look like in practice?

  1. We don’t hire based on portfolio, CV, past employers, work experience, or interview skills.
  2. We test all of our applicants on the job to be done, whether it’s writing, editing, SEO, video, or VA work.
  3. Most hiring workflows have a short unpaid test, followed by a longer paid test for applicants who excel. 
  4. We’ll evaluate approximately 300 applicants and 100 tests for each hire we make.

Retention

Once great people join our organization, we do everything we can to keep them happy and motivated.

Between holidays and PTO, our team has 38 days of paid leave per year. 

As an American, it feels like everybody is always on holiday.

But as a founder, it means I’ve built a company that doesn’t depend on a single person holding everything together.

Our team can take the time they need when they need it.

And everything continues forward.

Without missing deadlines or superhuman feats of grind.

Other benefits we’re proud of:

  • Stipend for private health insurance 
  • 3 months of paid maternity/paternity leave for team members with 2+ years of tenure
  • Overtime compensated with equivalent PTO or cash bonuses

Some benefits we’re thinking about in the future:

  • Home office equipment stipend
  • Virtual cards for Uber Eats
  • Health insurance stipend for our team’s aging parents 

📈 KPIs & Accountability 

The three big revenue milestones of an SEO campaign are:

  1. Paying back the monthly SEO spend,
  2. Paying back the total campaign spend to date (1x ROI)
  3. Hitting 5x ROI and above,

But it takes time to get there.

I needed to know whether I was on the right track.

So, I developed a set of KPIs that would allow me to know if the campaign was off-track within 60 days.

Today, I use these KPIs to hold my team accountable.

And now, you can use these KPIs to hold your SEO accountable, whether it’s us or someone else.

Over the last several years, I’ve been privileged to work on many very healthy SEO campaigns.

When it comes to KPIs, they all look the same.

A healthy campaign sees growth in the KPIs below most weeks and every single month.

Did we do the good work we said we would do? In the first six weeks of the campaign, we are accountable for being organized, thorough, reliable, and for delivering high-quality strategy, keyword research, documentation, and initial content.

Are impressions increasing? Before we can rank on page 1, we need to rank on page 6. An impression indicates our page has appeared somewhere in the first 10 pages of a search. Impressions should increase 7/10 weeks and increase month-over-month every month. 

Are we beginning to receive clicks? At some point, we’ll begin to receive clicks. The number of clicks we receive should increase 7/10 weeks and increase month-over-month every month. 

Are visitors beginning to convert? Once traffic is consistently increasing week over week and month over month, we’ll turn our attention to conversions. Is the traffic we’re generating leading to business impact?

Are conversions increasing linearly with traffic? Once we’re consistently generating conversions, is it increasing linearly with increases in traffic?

What we see when we look back at our past campaigns is that after we publish somewhere between 30 to 50 pages, impressions, clicks, and traffic all begin to increase week-over-week, most weeks, and month-over-month, every single month.

An on-track campaign is consistently hitting new ATHs.

My redline is 8 weeks.

If any key KPIs are flat for more than 8 weeks, it’s time to iterate. 

95% of flat spots are fixed, and we return to growth by accelerating scoped but not yet implemented tasks. Think site structure, internal linking, or technical SEO like site speed or GSC errors. 

👀 Forecasting Growth 

We can confidently forecast increasing impressions, clicks, and traffic once we publish the 30th to 50th page of content.

Forecasting specific traffic numbers by specific dates is a lot harder. 

  1. Every page of content we publish can rank for hundreds of keywords
  2. Each of those keywords has its own unique search volume
  3. Each of those keywords has its own difficulty
  4. And all of them move independently of one another

But top it all off.

Before we start the campaign, we don’t even know our content calendar. 

Are we publishing the page with 10,000 searches/month in month 1? Or Month 2?

Are we focusing on low-traffic BOFU topics? 

We just don’t have enough information in the beginning.

However, once we get some data in the door, we can start making educated guesses.

Here is a VC-backed SaaS we’re working with.

Reading this chart:

  • Plots out actual growth vs forecasted growth 
  • First 4 months spent gathering data
  • In month 4, we hit 6,433 visitors and put together our first projections
  • We forecasted 30,000 visitors by month 9
  • We hit 30,000 visitors in month 7

Additional context:

  1. Not pictured is the client’s conversion rate
  2. Based on existing conversion rates, when we hit the forecast of 243,182 visitors in month 16, our campaign is contributing a significant percentage of total growth
  3. Month-to-month growth rate is less important than maintaining an average growth rate above >30%
  4. For example, we only grew 17% in month 7, but we grew almost 200% the two months prior
  5. This means actual traffic is still two months ahead of forecasts

🏃 The Discovery Call

Pre-Call

We have thirty minutes together, and there is a lot to discuss. 

I want to learn more about your company, goals, and growth opportunities.

Not explain how we approach SEO. 

I’ve spent hundreds of hours formulating my thoughts so you can consume them before we talk.

At your convenience.

Read these.

🚀 Adding 100,000 paid customers to an A16z backed startup

🚀 +$1.6m incremental ARR for a subscription Shopify store

🚀 Publishing 100+ pages/month

🚀 Baby fat graphs (not big enough for their own case studies)

The Call

I have four goals on our discovery calls:

  1. Learn more about your business and goals
  2. Sanity check the opportunity using our ROI calculator
  3. If it passes, discuss our different engagement models
  4. Answer any questions you have

🔎 Engagement Overview

Full overview of our engagement.

Click the image to see it full-size.

🏃 GTM Sprint

Pre-Kickoff

Half our team has a Master’s degree in English Lit.

The other half are former English teachers.

The reason I tell you this is because structured learning is a core competency.

We have repeatable systems for transferring knowledge from you to us.

These systems have enabled us to create engaging content with the strong thoughts of stakeholders embedded into 200+ content verticals. 

Legal, healthcare, medicine, dev ops, open-source software, education, gut biomes, influencer marketing.

We’ve basically done it all.

And the stakeholders we worked with were just as nuanced, and particular about content quality as you are. 

Before our kickoff meeting, we’ll send out an introduction email to our team and a link to an intake questionnaire for you to fill out before the meeting.

Kickoff & Knowledge Transfer

We’ll cover 5 things in our kickoff and knowledge transfer meeting.

Meet stakeholders. Our team is small, and our team members working on your project have worked on our agency’s biggest wins. We will also confirm stakeholders on your side for approvals, dev requests, etc. 

Knowledge transfer. We’ve consumed your questionnaire answers and we’ll ask any clarifying questions we need.

Timeline. We’ll review our GTM timeline with the next steps and timelines, and provide a link to access it at any time. 

Enablement Documentation

In content writing, every word is a liability to get something wrong:

  • Messaging
  • Positioning
  • Tone/voice
  • Facts
  • Offers
  • CTAs

Literally every single word is a liability.

The solution?

The thing that makes it all work?

Documentation.

Everything we learned from your questionnaire answers and knowledge transfer is incorporated into 5 10 pages of documentation, internally referred to as, ‘The Project Bible’

This documentation enables us to integrate the strong thoughts you have about your industry, customer, competition, and products into every page of content. 

As we receive feedback on publishable content, this project documentation will be kept updated as a ‘rule book’.

So you only have to give us feedback about a particular issue one time.

And you never have to correct us about the same thing twice.

Content Calendar

From a high level the process looks like this:

  1. Build a list of all of the keywords your audience is using across the funnel
  2. Group the large list of unstructured keywords into discrete topics
  3. Prioritize the topics into a content calendar

We’ll take care of #1 and #2, and we’ll work with you on #3.

Everything is kept in Airtable.

Content Series Template

The content series template is another 510 pages of enablement documentation, this time hyper-focused on the series of topics we’re creating content on.

Pilot Articles

After the Content Series Template is approved we’ll move onto the pilot articles.

Regardless of how thorough we are in knowledge transfer and enablement documentation, once you see the words in publishable content you’ll have more opinions.

In this stage we will:

  1. Capture your feedback
  2. Update and re-submit the pilot articles for review
  3. Repeat until done
  4. Update enablement documentation with new learnings

You should expect to never provide feedback on spelling or grammar.

📝 Content Production

After the pilot articles have been finalized we onboard our writers and editors onto the project.

They’ll consume:

  1. The knowledge transfer call
  2. The Project Bible
  3. The Content Series Template

Then they’ll begin writing.

Content goes through a 14-step process before it gets to you.

You’ll spend less and less time on feedback with each round of revisions. 

We’ll continue to update our Project Bible & Content Series Template.

At some point between the 5th and 25th page of content, your feedback will turn into ‘Looks great folks, nice work. No additional comments.’

🤖 Tech SEO

Priority

Technical SEO is only impactful when you have a lot of content.

Spending 10 hours fixing site speed on a 30-page website doesn’t have any leverage.

Spending 10 hours fixing site speed on 500-page websites has huge amounts of leverage. 

And enormous leverage on a 10,000-page website.

Chances are your company has closer to 30 pages than 500 pages. 

We want to create as much impact as possible before making requests from your development team.

For sites with a low footprint in the SERPs, we will begin tackling technical SEO issues sometime after month three after we’ve ramped up our content production engines.

PM → Dev

We will address all technical issues until a developer is required.

Once a developer is required, we will take responsibility for scoping and PMing their workload. 

After implementation, we will QA their work to ensure it was implemented correctly. 

🫡 Communication

We’ll meet weekly to discuss:

  1. KPIs
  2. Action items
  3. Q&A

Each week you’ll receive a pre-meeting agenda calling out our discussion points. This is your chance to add anything you’d like to the agenda.

After each meeting, you’ll receive a recap with action items for us, and for you.

We’ll provide monthly reports.

And quarterly reports. 

Outside of meetings, we’ll communicate via email.

🤝 Working Together

We’re motivated by impact and scale and we want to work with the most ambitious brands on the internet.

Fully Managed SEO

This is for category leaders and future category leaders with huge goals and the budget to execute. We will do everything, you sit back and take the credit.

👉 Let’s talk.

Content Ops Consulting

For startups on a budget. We will partner with a stakeholder in your organization to build an in-house content team, develop institutional knowledge, and scale up SEO in-house.

👉 Let’s talk.

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Documentation Led Culture

Creating a Culture of Documentation

In the last three years, dozens of people on our agency team have contributed more than one thousand knowledge base articles to our internal documentation.

Our agency wasn’t founded with one thousand KBs, but we were founded with a culture of documentation.

I knew that in order to achieve my goals, I couldn’t do it alone. I would need to build a team.

And they would need to execute as well, or better than I could.

😍 Un-ignorable Benefits

I get it – you’re busy building a business.

Trying to keep your head above water.

But chances are you don’t know how dramatically helpful documentation can be on your journey.

I’ve never worked in a business with internal documentation until I started the content agency, and the same is true for everyone I’ve polled in our organization.

But if you’ve never worked in a company with a culture of documentation – here’s what you should know.

Documenting stuff isn’t just for agencies.

It’s for every type of business – and every business function.

When you pull it off, crazy things start happening.

You enable the people you hire to do something as well, or better than you can.

Junior level team members start to punch above their weight.

You’re finally able to hold your team accountable to executing their responsibilities in a specific way, every time.

You’ll find yourself spending less time repeating repeating yourself.

It takes your team less time to ramp up new team members.

Your knowledge transfer doesn’t walk out of the door with attrition, and new team members have a base to build upon.

Your workload gets more and more async as the need for real-time collaboration decreases.

Your team spends less time organizing work in meetings and more time working.

You start to see increases in efficiency by keeping people unblocked with clear, specific instructions.

💪 Implementation

This is the first, and most important step. Everyone on your team is busy, if you don’t make time to create documentation they won’t either. Not in the beginning.

You also need to figure out your documentation standards – the level of quality that you’re going to hold your team accountable to. You’ll only develop this by digging in, and learning what it’s like to actually create good documentation.

Expect to create the first 30 – 50 docs before you can roll out creation responsibilities to your team.

@contentdistributioncom

Want to remove the guesswork from your SEO agency’s processes? SOPs are the answer! Documentation can drastically improve your team’s output. #SOPs #AgencyLife #ProductivityHacks #AgencyGrowth #seo #contentops #seoagency #contentagency

♬ original sound – NickFromSeattle

Just Start Somewhere

There are a bunch of different approaches on where to start.

Here are some ideas to get your juices flowing.

[table “1585” not found /]

Use It

Now it’s time to get your team consuming the initial push of docs you’ve created.

Whenever anyone on the team asks a question that’s answered in the KB, link them to the KB instead of answering the question directly.

Whenever someone asks a question, makes a mistake, or improves on something that’s been documented – use that as an opportunity to make your documentation better.

Learn how to build a culture of meeting notes.

Use a dedicated app

Your internal KB needs to give your team the information they need – when they need – easily. This part is critical for adoption. The harder information is to find, the less usage you’ll see.

On first appearances, Google Docs seems to work.

But it doesn’t last long.

Discoverability begins to suffer at around 50 KBs across a handful of business functions.

  1. Google Docs lacks a nested view
  2. It’s not easy to internal link to other relevant docs
  3. The search functionality doesn’t do the job
  4. Shared drives have more friction than the alternative ways to silo information

We tried to stave off the inevitable by building an index of the Google Docs in Airtable.

But nobody kept it up to date.

We heard Notion was slow, and we didn’t need the PM level functionality because we’re already in-love with Airtable.

So we signed up for Slite.

Looping in your team

You’re finally ready to start asking your team to contribute documentation.

There’s one last step.

You need to create a doc, on how to create docs.

This doc needs to include:

  1. Naming conventions
  2. Internal linking requirements
  3. Linking to required external resources
  4. Organizational standards (where do you put the KB?)
  5. Sharing and security policies

Alright, now you’re ready.

Start with holding your direct reports accountable.

Once they’ve gotten their reps in and built a habit, you’re ready to start rolling it out to their direct reports. The rest of the people in your organization can’t be held accountable until your direct reports are held accountable.

Scope documentation into your team’s workload

You’re almost there – but you’re not there yet. Your team actually needs to start creating documentation. And the only way that will happen is if you scope it into their weekly / monthly / quarterly goals.

If you give your team a full plate AND documentation – guess what won’t get done.

Keeping your knowledge base up to date

If your team is successful, and you do build a culture of documentation – congrats!

You earned more work.

Your documentation needs to be kept up to date.

Especially in the beginning.

Your team might be creating documentation – but it won’t be as good as it could be. There’s going to be organization and naming conventions issues. People will forget internal links, and internal links will change.

Every three to six months we map out which major processes we’d like to refresh, and map these to our bi-monthly sprints.

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A Culture of Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes Power Content Operations

Meeting notes are one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself and your team.

Yet, the number of people who have sent me a recap of our meeting is closer to 0 than 1.

No one does it.

Except for me and everyone on my team, multiple times per day.

Here are a few things meeting notes will do for you:

  • Impress your manager
  • Create more value for your colleagues and peers
  • Hold someone accountable, especially people that don’t report to you
  • Communicate important rhetoric
  • Remember the conversation you had next month
  • Correct a verbal miscommunication

Take meeting notes.

Not convinced?

Here is what Michael Siebel, CEO of Ycombinator has to say about capturing notes during meetings. https://youtu.be/C27RVio2rOs?t=2030

This is one of the most impactful ways you can spend your time and multiply the value you’re already creating.

Here are the lies people tell themselves on why it’s too much work:

  1. I’ll definitely remember everything that was discussed next week, or in 3 months
  2. Everyone on the call will definitely walk away with the same understanding as me
  3. Sally will definitely remember the action item I mentioned at minute 42 of our meeting and deliver it without me reminding her
  4. This meeting was important enough to attend, but not to document

Here are a few real-life situations meeting notes have proved invaluable

Starting a new job

Joining a new company or starting a new job is often quite overwhelming. There’s so much information to take in, digest, and understand that you may feel like your head’s going to explode.

Writing things down will facilitate learning and retention, especially if you’re a newcomer to the team and don’t fully understand everything discussed in meetings.

It takes the average employee 3–6 months to ramp up to full productivity, but a new employee who accurately captures every conversation they’re a part of can add value on day one.

Impressing your manager

Managers, executives, and CEOs are likely overwhelmingly busy.

Capturing meeting notes for your manager frees them up to move onto the next thing.

Meeting recaps also allow them to stay in the loop on projects they are tracking and keep a finger on the pulse of the business, even if they weren’t physically present at the meeting.

Don’t wait for your manager to approach you and ask for information. Show initiative!

Email the meeting recap to them with all the talking points explained and all action items neatly listed. I can guarantee your manager will appreciate both the notes and the fact that you’re taking the initiative and helping improve the company’s processes.

Next time there’s talk of promotions, you’ll be at the very top of the list.

Holding everyone accountable

How do you hold someone accountable for something that hasn’t been written down?

I can tell you from experience, you really can’t.

This is especially true when the person you need to hold accountable doesn’t report to you.

It’s even worse when a project spans over several months. You can’t reasonably expect someone to remember what you said at that meeting a month and a half ago.

At that point, it’s your word against theirs. And the more someone has on their plate, the harder it is to remember all the verbal agreements.

The solution? Write everything down!

Getting commitments in writing is the foundation for holding people accountable. https://www.tiktok.com/@contentdistributioncom/video/7286779886209928480

Communicating something important

“When you’re tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it’ – Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

Jeff goes on quote David Gergen, a recognized expert on communication, and advisor to 4 different American Presidents from both political parties, in his famous LinkedIn article,

“History teaches that almost nothing a leader says is heard if spoken only once.”

When you’re shifting the direction of your business, revamping your processes, bringing on a huge new client/account, or making any impactful changes—anything that’s particularly important, it’s not enough to communicate it once, nor is it enough to communicate it verbally.

You need to reiterate your messaging.

When you repeat something a dozen times, you reduce forgetfulness and eliminate confusion and misunderstanding. When you write it down, you don’t need to waste time and energy saying the same thing over and over again.

Taking meeting notes and documenting everything allows your team to re-read the message as many times as necessary until they understand it fully and internalize it.

Whenever you have an important announcement to share with the team, make sure to write it down!

Remembering what you did….last week

Last week I had 30 meetings. That’s approximately 6 meetings a day.

Let’s pretend each meeting is only 30 minutes. That’s 3 hours of meetings per day.

Add all other tasks on top, and by Friday, I can’t even remember my name, let alone what I discussed in every one of the 30 meetings I had.

This week looks lighter; I only have 20 meetings scheduled. But it’s only Tuesday. By Friday, this week’s schedule will probably be just as cramped.

Relying on my memory is a recipe for disaster. I talk about at least a dozen different topics every single day, and I’m blessed with a terrible memory.

But there’s no reason to let your poor memory prevent you from achieving your goals.

Rely on recaps. Save the memories for that vacation in Greece.

Did You Miscommunicate?

Regardless of what was said during the meeting, the meeting notes become the objective truth once it’s over.

Whoever writes the meeting notes controls the truth.

If I misspeak or miscommunicate in a meeting, I’m updating the meeting notes to reflect what I intended to say.

By adding a single line in the meeting recap, you can identify and correct any miscommunication issues before the communication issue becomes a problem.

That line is: “Please let me know if I forgot or misheard anything.” This encourages all the meeting participants to go over the notes and, where necessary, reply with corrections.

Skip more meetings

How often do you attend meetings where only one or two people talk, and everyone else just sits there with the “what the hell am I doing here” expression on their face?

Many people attend meetings they shouldn’t have to, where other departments talk about their projects and problems that are only relevant to three out of the fifteen people present.

A study by Doodle suggests that unproductive meetings cost businesses up to $400 billion per year.

Why would the entire team have to sit through an hour-long meeting when they could devote that time to actual work?

Meeting notes enable those people to skip the meeting and focus on something else.

How to build a culture of meeting notes

You can’t just show up at work one day and say: “I want everyone to take meeting notes from now on.”

Taking meeting notes is an inherently public action. The very first step in rolling out note-taking into your organization is leading by example.

The process needs to start from the top because meeting notes are a lot of work. Your team is busy with all of the other priorities you’ve communicated, and they won’t adopt note-taking unless you show it’s a priority to you by making time for it yourself.

Your consistency and attention to detail are going to impact how your team embraces note-taking.

If you rush meeting notes out with poor attention to detail and sloppy formatting, that’s what your team is going to do.

Dedicate the time to write detailed, well-formatted, and actionable meeting notes, and eventually, your team will pick up the habit.

Rolling this out to your team

Before you roll out note-taking to the team, we need to clearly define how the notes are taken, who needs to take them, what the process looks like, and how they are distributed.

We did this for you!

  • When notes should be captured
  • Who should receive the notes
  • When notes should be sent
  • Who is responsible for capturing notes
  • How to format the notes for clarity and information density

The best way to implement note-taking is to start with people who report directly to you. Once they get into the habit of report taking, hold your managers accountable for people who report to them.

Work your way down until everyone in the organization is taking notes.

When meeting notes should be captured

The best note-taking happens live during the call as things are discussed.

Of course, you can’t and shouldn’t write down everything. Note-taking doesn’t mean you’re transcribing everything as it’s being said.

Verbal communication exceeds the throughput of typing, so the best approach is to jot down notes as bullets, fill in the gaps, and add explanations right after the meeting.

When meeting notes should be sent

Notes should be sent the same day, ideally right after the meeting.

The idea behind the notes is to document all the crucial information shared in the meeting, to avoid miscommunication and misremembering. If you send meeting notes two days after the meeting, chances are you won’t remember everything correctly.

If notes aren’t sent soon enough, the gaps in your shorthand notes become fuzzy.

A same-day policy enables flexibility during meeting heavy days while maintaining tight expectations.

Who needs to receive the meeting notes

The answer to this question largely depends on the structure of your organization, but it boils down to everyone whose work is or will be impacted by the information shared in the meeting.

The nature of the meeting itself will also influence the decision of who to include in the email when you’re sending the meeting notes.

In general, you always want to send the notes to everyone who attended the meeting, as well as every person on the team who will benefit from the information or needs to stay in the loop.

At first, it’s best to share the information with people even if you’re not sure whether or not it’s relevant to them. As you take more and more notes, you’ll become more proficient in discerning who needs to receive the information and who doesn’t.

In our organization, I receive approximately 10 meeting recaps per week covering:

  • Systems & process changes
  • Project management updates
  • Hiring and HR reports
  • Customer meetings
  • Marketing updates

The meeting notes allow me to watch and understand the decision-making process of my team, jump in with an opinion on the things I’m tracking, and skip most of the meetings.

Pro tip: CC yourself when sending out the email. This sends the recap to your inbox, allowing you to archive it in a folder for easy later reference.

Who’s responsible for note taking

Note that this section is only applicable after you’ve successfully rolled out note-taking across your organization.

Until you’re there, it needs to come from the top: from you, to your reports, to their reports, etc.

Once all of your managers are consistently taking notes, it’s time to roll out responsibilities to individual contributors.

In most internal meetings, we’ll rotate between the most junior team members on the call.

That doesn’t mean managers don’t take notes; It means they take fewer notes. When my managers meet with their managers or me, they’re the ones taking notes.

With that said, when the need for clarity is high, the person with the most at stake will take notes.

If I’m leading a high-stakes discussion where misunderstanding or forgetfulness is not acceptable, I’m taking the notes and sending the recaps.

How to format meeting notes (examples)

Meeting notes need to be succinct, well-formatted, and appropriately structured. They need to cover all the talking points and provide a sufficient explanation of each topic that you discussed in the meeting.

Your goal when writing notes should be to format and structure them so that a person who didn’t attend the meeting could read them in less than five minutes but still get all the relevant information from them.

Here are some examples.

Example #0 – Very Bad

Good:

  • The recap was sent

Bad:

  • Everything else
  • Notes are not grouped under relevant topics
  • Action items (AC) are not consolidated in their own section and are mixed within notes
  • A follow up email indicates 99% of the discussion was not captured

Example #1 – Not Great

Good:

  • Notes are organized under relevant categories
  • Each thought is short and to the point

Bad:

  • No bullet points used
  • No action items indicated
  • No request to add any missing or misheard information

Example #2 – Better

Good:

  • Notes are grouped under relevant sections
  • Bullet points are used to communicate each thought

Bad:

  • No “Please let me know if I forgot or misheard anything”
  • Action items not called out
  • Weird, non-standardized spacing between some bullets and sections

Example #3 – Good

Good:

  • Topics are consolidated under relevant sections
  • Bullet points are used to communicate each piece of information
  • Highlighting is used to indicate action items
  • Consistent spacing between bullets and sections

Bad:

  • Does not start email with “Please let me know if I forgot or misheard anything”

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Scaling to 100+ Pages/Month

How We Publish 100+ Pages of Quality Content Per Month

The SEO conversation been dominated by backlinks and technical BS.

Today, I’m here to change that.

This 7,000-word playbook has two goals:

  1. Prove that content quality and content velocity are the most important levers in SEO
  2. Show you step-by-step how we scaled our content velocity to 100+ pages of high-quality content each month

Before we jump in, here are some stats:

[table “1579” not found /]

You can read our story on how we grew from a 1 to a 45-person agency in 18 months.

Here is a quick Playbook roadmap for you:

  • Part 1 will show you how we went through every step of the Playbook ourselves, with multiple successful projects
  • Part 2, you’ll be able to see our strong thoughts on the state of the SEO industry and why our approach will help you create successful outcomes over and over again.
  • To read about our entire playbook, jump to Part 3, where I’ll give you our entire software stack, our knowledge transfer process for all types of projects, everything you need to hire your Content Team, and how to delegate content editing and SEO ASAP.

Part 1: We know Content Velocity works because we did it!

Would you rather watch this article instead of reading it?

Catch our presentation on YouTube.

1.1. Our claim to fame

Content Distribution ran one of the most successful SEO projects of all time, driving DoNotPay.com from 0 to 1,500,000 organic visitors per month in just 24 months.

We created content for DoNotPay ranging from legal to fintech, to online tools and converters, to daily consumer challenges, such as accessing free trials, support, neighbor disputes, etc. 

Here is a short list of some of the things DoNotPay does:

  • Filing for unemployment
  • Suing anyone, or any company, in small claims court
  • Canceling hard to cancel services
  • Filing chargebacks
  • Securing flight compensation for delayed or canceled flights
  • Skipping the company’s phone queues
  • Scheduling DMV appointments
  • Studying for government tests
  • Communicating with inmates held in state and federal prisons
  • Send faxes without a fax machine

As a result, our team researched and produced content for over 153 verticals and content series.

1.2. What quality content means

Content velocity does not equal programmatic content.

It does not mean creating AI-generated content at scale.

It doesn’t mean publishing tens of thousands of nice words across multiple pages.

It means publishing content that drives conversions and revenue.

It is exactly what we did for DoNotPay.

I want to stress – this wasn’t vanity traffic.

This campaign helped DoNotPay go from a seed stage to raising a $210m series B valuation led by Andreessen Horowitz.

1.3. It doesn’t just work for DoNotPay

DoNotPay took their SEO campaign in-house November 2021, freeing us up to help other ambitious companies scale up.

Here is a pet food subscription company we published 300+ pages of content for.

Another campaign we did for TeachSimple.com – the Netflix of teaching worksheets.

A series-A mobile app for earning cash rewards, ramping up to 10,000 visitors per month in 5 months.

Part 2: Best SEO Campaigns are Content-Driven

Scaling content velocity doesn’t just work for DoNotPay, it works every-time we execute our playbook.

✔️ 0 to 40,000 organics/month in 6 months for TeachSimple.com

✔️ 0 to 47,000 organics/month in 13 months for AnyLeads.com

✔️ 0 to 103,000 organics/month in 13 months for LogicInbound.com

✔️ 0 to 116,000 organics/month in 13 months for Doggypedia.org

✔️ 0 to 150,000 organics/month in 13 months for NDA

✔️ 0 to 166,000 organics/month in 13 months for CampusReel.org

✔️ 0 to 1,500,000 organics/month in 24 months for DoNotPay.com

Did you notice something interesting here? We did…

No, we don’t think something magical happened in month 13 of publishing content. 

We realized you don’t need to build backlinks, and technical SEO is mostly BS.

It’s not just us either.

Most of the highest performing SEO campaigns are content driven.

2.1. The most successful campaigns have A LOT of pages

If you look at some of the most successful campaigns in the last few years, you can see that 4 out of 7 will generate less than 500 monthly visitors per page of content.

[table “1580” not found /]

This means that to catch up with, say, Kinsta, you would need to publish 50 articles each month for four years. If you want to catch up to them in a year, you would have to publish 250 pages each month.

More content = more traffic. Simple as that.

Some of the websites like WireCutter or NerdWallet will generate more – 800-2500 monthly visitors for each page of content.

But you’re not WireCutter or NerdWallet, are you?

By the way, NerdWallet has over 130 writers!

Why?

Because you can’t rank for a keyword until you have a page about that keyword.

So start publishing.

2.2. The pet space

The above example was based across different industries – let’s do the same analysis in one industry – the pet space. 

Why the pet space?

Well, I built and sold Doggypedia.org to AlphaPaw.com.

[table “1582” not found /]

Column E shows how much traffic websites in this space generate per page of content on their site. We call it Page Efficiency.

And the amount of traffic each page generates is a pretty narrow band.

On average, a top site in the dog niche will generate between 180 – 800 visitors per page of content they’ve published.

The last row — Doggypedia — that’s our project. 

We grew it from 0 to over 100k organic visitors per month by publishing 200 pages.

Read more: How we achieved this in our playbook on how to drive the fastest SEO results.

2.3. More pages equal more authority equals easier to rank

The more pages you publish, the easier all of them rank.

The concept is called topical authority.

Basically, in 2023 anyone can create a 30 page website.

And if Google let any 30-page website rank for high value commercial keywords, two things would happen.

  1. Google would send valuable traffic to a lot of shady websites created yesterday
  2. You publish your 30 page website and rank today, someone publishes their 30 page website tomorrow and bumps you off

Google confirms this.

Part 3: The Content Ops Playbook

I’ve had a devoted affiliate tell me, “I have too much on my plate, I cannot do it.”

I’ve had a niche website builder tell me, “Too many systems to set up, I can’t manage that many pages or people. I’ll start writing by myself.”

I’ve had in-house SEOs and Heads of Content tell me, “There are too many variables. It’s hard to scale.

I’ve had SaaS founders and CEOs tell me, “No way, too much product dev, cannot focus on that big of a marketing push.”

I’ve had SEO consultants and agency owners tell me, “Setting up infrastructure is HARD, I need to focus on my business.”

And they are right – systems, processes, documentation and people is the only way to make content velocity work.

  1. Systems to make the process as automated and frictionless as possible
  2. Processes to make sure every one knows what they need to do
  3. Documentation to hold people accountable to writing about something in a specific way
  4. People who care to make it all work

3.1. Intro: What you are getting yourself into

Before we dive into the strategy that will get you to 100 pages/month, I’ll show you exactly what you’re signing up for

  1. You will need to build a team to hit your goals. Content velocity is a team sport. You need editors and writers. The best way to find and hire amazing writers? Evaluate more candidates. I break that down below in the Hiring Writers section. The trick to hiring an editor who cares? Promote from within. More on that in the How to delegate Editing section.
  2. People are harder to manage than 301 redirects. SEOs tend to lean towards the technical bits, and as we’ve shown – that’s not what drives incredible outcomes.

3.2. Content Ops Software Stack

Here is what our software stack looks like.

[table “1583” not found /]

Workello helps us identify and hire the absolute best writers we can afford. (Check out a demo)

Airtable is like Google Sheets on steroids, and makes managing our content calendar possible.

Slite is our knowledge base platform, with over 1,000+ process docs we use to hold our team accountable and make our outcomes repeatable. (Learn how we built a culture of documentation.)

Wise & Payoneer is how we pay our team.

Slack is how we communicate.

Geekbot enables async reporting to eliminate meetings.

Zoom is what we lean on when we just have to jump on a call. (Learn how we reduce Zoom to a minimum with a culture of meeting recaps.)

DocuSign manages our team and client contracts.

Afi.ai backs up our Google Docs.

3.3. Knowledge Transfer

3.3.1. The Importance of Enablement documentation

The only way to hold your team accountable to doing something in a particular way is to write it down.

I cannot emphasize this enough. 

Still, I will say it one more time: If you don’t document everything, you cannot hold your team accountable.

When we start a new project, we always create Enablement Documentation.

@contentdistributioncom

Want to remove the guesswork from your SEO agency’s processes? SOPs are the answer! Documentation can drastically improve your team’s output. #SOPs #AgencyLife #ProductivityHacks #AgencyGrowth #seo #contentops #seoagency #contentagency

♬ original sound – NickFromSeattle

It is a set of 4 to 8 project-specific documents that allow consistency across different content types, workflows, and stakeholders.

These documents are dynamic, meaning we will add information and update them whenever something changes.

Here are four examples of documents that we’ve seen across all projects:

  1. Client questionnaire → Collect the answers to everything we need to know.
  2. About the project → This is the deliverable from the client questionnaire. 
  3. Project Language Guidelines → Includes voice, messaging, brand guidelines, etc
  4. Onboarding Checklist → Documents the entire GTM process. 

Here’s how to make a client questionnaire:

Step 1: You and your team sit down and write down ALL of the questions you can think of, organized by type/topic.

Step 2: Send the questionnaire to all project stakeholders and ask them to answer in as much detail as possible.

Step 3: Look at the answers and jot down additional questions and notes. Make sure to leave comments on any ambiguous information or statements that are not clear. Be thorough!

Step 4: Schedule a knowledge transfer meeting and allocate at least 90 minutes.

Step 5: Record the meeting, but take notes too. Use the questionnaire to guide the conversation.

Step 6: Create written documentation that covers everything discussed. 

3.3.2. Examples

If you are wondering, “well, what are all these questions?” 

I got you covered. 

We’ve found that if you start with these, everything else that is project-specific will fall into place:

  1. Tell me everything you know about the industry you’re in.
  2. Where do you fit in that industry?
  3. Why do your customers choose you over your competitors?
  4. What is your strong stance/opinion on the industry?
  5. How do customers purchase this kind of product?
  6. What are their evaluation criteria?
  7. How do they research solutions?
  8. What’s your tone of voice? Examples?
  9. What are the best communities for this industry?
  10. What are the best / most authoritative resources to learn more?
  11. What pieces of content, either by you or someone else that everyone needs to read?

Here is a good example of the industry positioning question and answer.

3.4. Hiring writers

Within a span of 18 months, our agency grew from 1 to 45 writers and editors

To hire 45 writers and editors – we had to evaluate 3,500 candidates. 

We’ve learned four important things:

  1. Writing is the lowest barrier WFH job and 95% of your candidates won’t be qualified 
  2. Bad candidates have good portfolios, with content that was edited by someone else
  3. The more candidates you evaluate, the better writers you’ll hire
  4. Doing it manually is chaotic, and your qualified candidates will be lost in-between the 95% that aren’t

This is our experience – but it’s also the experience of anyone who has tried to hire writers.

Most writers can’t write.

Even if I find someone good, it takes soooo much effort → too inefficient.

Writers with good portfolios aren’t passing my writing tests

The quality of the final draft was massively different from the sample & I had to redo it entirely”

“I tried it to do it manually, and it didn’t work.”

Most writers are scammers.

3.4.3. Hire better writers on auto-pilot

We built Workello to help us identify and hire the top 1% of our writing candidates.

Now more than 100+ content teams are using Workello to do the same.

Here’s how it works.

Your job description, writing assessment, and candidate emails are pre-written – so you can signup and start sending candidates into your funnel in minutes.

Candidates apply and land in your hiring dashboard, where all candidates, from all hiring channels are sorted by status.

Click on a candidate to pull up their application.

And send them a polite rejection email, or a writing test in 1-click.

Candidates that don’t receive your writing test – can’t take your writing test. 

@contentdistributioncom

Say goodbye to half-baked writer test submissions! Dive into the key ingredients of a test that ensures completion AND helps you identify the cream of the crop. 🌟 #contentwriting #writertest #hiringhacks #hiringtips

♬ original sound – NickFromSeattle

So we’ve invested heavily into Workello’s email infrastructure so 93% of writing tests that are sent – are viewed by candidates.

We’ve spent just as much time thinking about the candidate experience too.

Workello is designed and optimized to keep your best candidates engaged and invested into taking your writing test because one of the biggest complaints from job seekers is they feel like applying for jobs is a waste of time – “it’s like sending my resume into a black hole.

So Workello’s candidate status page tells candidates exactly where they are in the hiring process, what to expect next, and how long it will take.

This builds a lot of trust with candidates, fast.

And this is exactly what you need to do to keep your best candidates engaged and invested into taking your writing test – so you can hire them before your competitors do.

The better candidate experience you have, the better candidates you’ll hire.

Ready to start hiring great writers on auto-pilot?

  1. Sign up for Workello in 30 seconds
  2. Use our pre-built job description and writing assessment
  3. Distribute your job ad
  4. Sit back, relax, and move candidates through your funnel in 1-click

3.4.4. What our writers & editors look like

Hire good writers, not writers who know SEO.

Everyone in our team cares more about storytelling and the English language than rankings or on-page optimization.

This is what allows them to focus on quality and follow documentation for on-page optimization for queries.

This is what allows them to create the best possible content Google can show on the SERPs. 

No keyword stuffing. No fluff.

Besides, writers who claim they know SEO don’t really know SEO.

If they actually knew SEO – meaning consistent processes to rank content.

They wouldn’t be writers – they’d be SEOs.

3.5 How to Delegate Content Editing and QA 

When you have a team of writers in place, the next thing you need to delegate is editing and QA.

Content writing is like programming.

Every single word is a liability and opportunity to to make a mistake.

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Tone of voice
  • Messaging 
  • Positioning
  • You name it!

If you want to delegate QA and move on to other high-leverage activities, you need to hire someone who cares.

You need to hire an editor who cares.

“How do I do that?”

3.5.2. Why you should promote from within

Promoting an editor is always better than hiring an external editor.

The main reason is you cannot fake caring for 2 – 6 months before becoming an editor.

It’s a lot easier to fake caring in a 2 – 4 touch hiring cycle than it is for 2 – 4 months before being promoted to editor.

For new and growing content teams, your best writer is going to be your #1 candidate for editor.

It is much easier than you think.

Instead of hiring one full-time writer, hire five part-time writers.

Spread your work load around.

And once you’ve identified the writer that is hands down better than everyone else – promote them to editor.

3.5.3. What our editing team does

To give you a better understanding of your future editor’s workflow, let me show you what our editing team’s responsibilities are:

  1. 2-3 meetings per week with their writers and manager
  2. Monthly 1:1s with their writers and manager
  3. Reviewing tests from new writing candidates
  4. Onboarding new writers
  5. Creating project documentation
  6. Content QA

3.5.4. The impact

Everything in this playbook is from experience we’ve lived.

When our CEO, Nick Jordan started ContentDistribution.com in 2019.

He didn’t hire one writer, he hired ten.

One of them being Gordana Sretenovic.

And she was by far, the best of the ten.

So he promoted her to editor.

Then content manager.

Then project manager.

Then director of content ops.

In the process, building our entire 45 person content team.

Today, Gordana is co-founder of Workello helping companies repeat and execute our agency’s trajectory.

The more writers you work with, you have more surface area to find a Gordana.

3.6. Remove SEOs from the process

I know. It sounds so counter-intuitive.

As an editor and an SEO manager for such a long time, it hurts my heart to say it.

But here it goes…

The ability to scale content production and drive amazing organic traffic acquisition campaigns is so much more efficient without SEOs.

All you need is one SEO PM. 

Aside from myself and Nick, no one on our team had any previous SEO experience. 

The SEOs job is to empower the organization and take care of the more strategic bits:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Site structure
  3. Empowering the content team with documentation

3.6.1. Automating Keyword Research and Selecting Topics 

Keyword research is a process of discovering all the ways your target audience is searching for your product, service, or content using search engines.

When you publish a lot of pages, you have to do a lot of keyword research.

Nick had a 10+ year career in SaaS before learning SEO and starting ContentDistribution.com.

So he automated this too.

ClusterAi, our keyword grouping tool, uses data from Google to determine which keywords can rank together.

Spend a couple of minutes on Ahrefs, and get back a list of every topic you’ll need to write, to rank for all of the keywords your target audience is searching for.

1. Start with making an intake sheet. You should identify your main terms, i.e. terms that you expect to find in all keywords you want to target. Then, start adding terms that you expect to find alongside those main terms.

2. Import into Ahrefs or Semrush. In Ahrefs, paste your main terms into the Keyword explorer. Then go to Matching Terms and paste your included keywords. In the example below, we used 28 terms we identified in the “Repair” vertical.

3. Export your CSV and upload it into ClusterAi. Choose your Keyword list import type (in our case — Ahrefs) and click Submit File.

4. Receive the Keyword Opportunity Analysis. In less than 60 minutes, ClusterAi will group your keywords, and you will receive a spreadsheet with all the topic ideas you need. Every row in this list represents a page you can create. Column A contains your main keyword, and column C will contain variations that are grouped together with the main keyword.

Now you know every page of content you need to create, to rank for all of the ways people are searching for information related to the products/services you provide.

To get our entire process on Topic Selection, ask for access to our Content Ops Framework by clicking here.

That’s all you need to create a content plan.

Now it’s time to distribute the plan to your writers and empower them to execute it.

3.6.2. Document everything

Holding your writing and editing team accountable is possible only through detailed documentation.

If you are an SOP nerd like me, take a look at our Building a Culture of Documentation and How to Get Everyone Sending Meeting Recaps playbooks.

If you need a refresher on how to kickstart a project, scroll back up to read about The Importance of Enablement Documentation and Examples of how to execute Knowledge Transfer.

One of the most powerful tools a team has at their disposal is a Writer’s Brief.

A quality brief:

  • Unifies the outcomes of SEO, editorial, and brand strategies
  • Sets up expectations clearly
  • Assists the writer in research and production
  • Saves time and stress in the editing process

But, what happens if you are publishing 30…

50…

100 articles…

How do you ensure a quality content brief is delivered to every single writer?

Can that one Senior Editor handle so much work? How many briefs should that editor create?

30…?

50..?

100…?

No. And I speak from previous experience.

When our team faced this challenge when we started publishing a lot of pages, we solved it with a Content Series Template — one brief for all of the pages you will publish in one series of articles.

To get our entire process of creating and distributing Content Series Templates, ask for access to our Content Ops Framework by clicking here.

3.6.3. On-page optimization essentials

Our writing and editing teams receive instructions for on-page optimization for each content series we produce.

These instructions will be part of a Content Series Template and fall into 3 groups:

  1. Content structure and on-page basics
  2. On-page optimization for keywords
  3. Internal links

1. Content Structure and on-page basics

Make sure to give your team basic guidance on the structure itself and include some examples of competing content.

Start with basic writing requirements with clear outcomes.

Here is how all of our Content Series Templates start.

Here is a simple checklist to follow:

  • URL → use the main keyword
  • Meta Title → Make sure to make this catchy, as clickbaity if possible
  • Meta description → contains main keyword + answers intent shortly OR shows social proof
  • H1 → contains the main keyword in a creative informative context
  • First paragraph → attention-grabbing and/or proof through data 
  • H2s → use keyword variations
  • Strong (bold) tags → designed for the reader to be able to skim the article.
  • Tables → basic structured data Google can read, aim for 2 per article
  • Numbered lists and bullet points → Basic UX and structure elements. Aim for 2 per article

Text is not the only content on the page. Ensure to give instructions on using visual assets, such as images and videos.

Here is an example of directions we gave for optimizing Image Alt Text in one of our campaigns.

2. On-page optimization for keywords

How often should I use my main keyword?

Should I aim to use all keyword variations?

These are the two questions I hear most often when talking to peers from the industry or those who want to start scaling content production.

And I’ve had over 250 demo calls and who knows how many DM chats with SEOs, marketers, beginners, founders…

Heard the same 2 questions.

I found myself giving somewhat cliche answers… “Don’t stuff,” “Use when it makes sense,” “Implement variations while keeping the flow of the topic”

But I would always follow up with specific examples. 

Specific solutions my team executes daily. 

And then it would all make sense.

Within the Google doc where they will create their articles, our writing team will receive:

  • On-page basics 
  • Main keyword and the variations 

Here’s what that looks like.

In the screenshot above, 10 keyword variations are highlighted. The rest of the 60+ are not. That means: in this article, with close to 1800 words, our writer was able to use a keyword variation 10 times. The rest of the variations were not used.

[quote_tip id=8076]

This wasn’t a requirement, this is something our writers started doing for their editors. <3

Here is another example, where it was easier to implement almost all variations as the number was relatively low.

Our team answers intent without overstuffing keywords and variations.

We give clear on-page optimization instructions. But, storytelling and the flow of content come first.

That’s it.

Well, that and internal linking.

3. Internal linking

Internal links can help with:

  • Faster indexing or your pages being discovered faster. 
  • users navigate your website. help search engines see what your page and website is about → after all, that’s literally what a Google bot does on your page, it follows links.
  • building topical authority — showing the users and search engine your content covers a field or niche in depth
  • Control your readers’ journey

If you have a keen eye for detail, you’ve probably noticed the minimum and self-reported requirement fields for internal links in the screenshot earlier.

This is not a random “I-want-as-many-links-as-possible-I-don’t-care” requirement.

We plan out our internal linking network meticulously prior to publishing.

We know the minimum internal links we want to have in an article because we know which ones should go in every article of the series.

We call these internal links Mandatory links.

@contentdistributioncom

Internal links do what you think backlinks do! I’ve found internal links to be instrumental in improving page rankings. Learn about the strategy behind using them, their role in Cluster AI, and the art of planning content with linking in mind. #SEOTactics #seo #contentcalendar #searchengineoptimization #contentdistribution

♬ original sound – NickFromSeattle – NickFromSeattle

Here’s how mandatory links are designated:

  1. We select pillar page(s) that need to go into every article.
  2. We select money pages where we want to drive all our readers to.
  3. We incorporate pillar and money pages in the brief for the writers.
  4. We instruct the writers to contextually link these pages in all content we produce in that vertical.
  5. Writers include them during production even before they are published.
  6. That way, when the pages go live, these pages are already linked everywhere.
  7. We decide which links are mandatory while doing topic selection for the vertical.
  8. Our decision is based on the goals of the campaign.

Here is an example of mandatory links in our Content Series Templates.

Check out our full Guide on Internal Linking in the video below. We cover:

  1. What is an Internal link
  2. Can internal linking help drive organic traffic?
  3. What is anchor text, and how to use it?
  4. Internal linking tips you won’t see anywhere else!
  5. Internal linking tips: Basics
  6. Internal linking tips: During production
  7. Internal linking tips: Post-publishing

Conclusion: What’s Next for You

  1. Set up your project (if you don’t already have one) → Domain, server, set up basic WordPress
  2. Create a 6-month content plan → If you need help with that, use ClusterAi
  3. Create your initial enablement documentation → Use my Qs from above if you don’t have more time
  4. Sign up for Workello → Post a job ad and choose to test 1 best out of 200 candidates (it is free, you have no other commitments here, even if you receive 1000 candidates)
  5. Test more candidates
  6. Hire the top 3 to 5 and assign 1 article per week
  7. Edit those 12 to 20 articles within 4 weeks and choose your editor
  8. Have your editor create SOPs for writers (they already know everything, they worked with you for a month now)
  9. Do another hiring cycle
  10. Start publishing
  11. Scale

There is a small optional step in between any one of these → Ping Bojan Maric on Linkedin when you feel stuck.

Content velocity works. Make it work for you.

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Automating Affiliate SEO Keyword Research

Automating Affiliate SEO Keyword Research

contentdistribution.com has taken 4 projects from approximately zero organic visitors per month, to more than 100,000 organic search visitors per month.

The fastest one went from 0 to 479,000 visitors per month in just 16 months.

Combined, these projects have nearly 100,000 keywords on page 1.

None of these sites spent more than $1,000 on backlinks.

And one of the sites is a DR9.

The thing all of these projects have in common.

We used ClusterAi.

ClusterAi is a keyword grouping tool that clusters large lists of keywords into unique content topics.

ClusterAi allows us to do perfect affiliate keyword research.

Every.

Single.

Time.

And when you do perfect keyword research, your content ends up outranking competitors with higher authority, more backlinks, and bigger marketing budgets.

Doggypedia.org (DR8) ranking #1 above sites with higher DRs and more backlinks

 

BrandChamp.io (DR30) outranking their better-funded competitors with more backlinks.

 

AnyLeads.com (DR36) outranking HubSpot (DR92) and LinkedIn (DR98).

DoNotPay.com (DR56) outranking Wired (DR91), Vice (DR91), Equifax (DR87), and more.

BrandChamp crushing much larger, more authoritative competitors.

And when backlinks are needed to get the outcome you desire, you need less to get there.

Keyword Research for affiliate SEO could be a lot better

Whether you know it or not, keyword research for affiliate SEO could be better.

  1. Performing quality keyword research requires high levels of skills and experience
  2. Keyword research strategies rely heavily on gut feelings and intuition, and mistakes are likely to happen
  3. It’s a manual process that takes a long time to do
  4. Experienced SEOs have a difficult time delegating high-quality keyword research to junior team members
  5. Inexperienced affiliate SEOs know how important keyword research is, and stress about whether they did it right, or wasted their investment

When you Google keyword research there are 400 million results.

When you google affiliate keyword research there are more than 6 million results.

So who do you listen to?

  1. Ahrefs?
  2. Moz?
  3. SEMRush?
  4. Yoast?
  5. HubSpot?
  6. Neil Patel?
  7. Brian Dean?

All we see is 6 million opinions.

And no one using data.

ClusterAi in action

ClusterAi is a better way to do keyword research.

It uses data from Google to determine which keywords can rank together.

It allows us to do a year’s worth of keyword research in minutes.

And I’m going to show you how in two minutes with two examples.

DIY affiliate keyword research

Alright, let’s pretend we’re starting an affiliate site in the pet niche.

  • We used Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to look up dog
  • Then we used the ‘Having same search term feature’

This discovered 10,000,000+ ways people are using dog in their searches.

Still looking for the best SERP tracking tool for you? Check our complete list.

We want to get more specific, so we filter down to just people searching for:

dog + food

This generates a list of 455,000 variations in the way people are searching for dog + food

We exported the top 25,000 keywords by the search volume.

Then we imported these 25,000 keywords into ClusterAi.

ClusterAi grouped that list of 25,000 keywords into unique content topics.

It shows us the data by:

  1. Main keyword. This is the keyword in a group with the most volume.
  2. Total search volume for every keyword in the group.
  3. The variations that can rank with the main keyword.

To see the full list of variations, click on any cell.

Then click the icon in the right-hand corner to expand it.

That’s literally it.

We just did 1,000+ pages of keyword research.

We mapped every keyword variation on every single page.

And we did it perfectly in literally minutes.

  1. We didn’t need extensive SEO experience
  2. We didn’t need to spend weeks slaving away
  3. We didn’t need to make gut decisions on keyword variations
  4. We didn’t need to second guess our keyword research decisions

DIY affiliate keyword research

Let’s pretend we’re starting an affiliate site in the DIY niche.

  • We used Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to look up DIY
  • Then we used the ‘Having same terms feature’

This discovered 2,000,000 ways people are using DIY in their searches.

We exported the top 25,000 keywords by search volume.

Then we imported these 25,000 keywords into ClusterAi.

ClusterAi grouped that list of 25,000 keywords into unique content topics.

It shows us the data by

  1. Main keyword. This is the keyword in a group with the most volume.
  2. Total search volume for every keyword in the group.
  3. The variations that can rank with the main keyword

How ClusterAi works

I think you guys get the point.

So how does it work?

ClusterAi uses data from Google to determine which keywords can rank together.

No more using your gut and intuition.

After you import your list of keywords, this is what happened under the covers:

  1. ClusterAi scrapes the top 10 websites ranking for every keyword on our list
  2. Then it compares every keyword against every other keyword
  3. It looks for keywords that have URLs in common
  4. If ClusterAi finds 3 or more URLs that rank for a set of keywords, it groups those keywords together into unique content topics

This is as data-driven as it gets.

If 3 other websites can rank for this set of keywords with one page of content, we can probably rank for that set of keywords with one page as well.

But if ClusterAi compares a set of keywords, and those keywords have 2 or fewer results (URLs) in common, we probably can’t rank for that set of keywords with one page of content either.

And we’ll need to create two pages to rank for that set of keywords.

Doing this manually, at scale is impossible, and that’s why mistakes happen.

It’s not always intuitive which keywords can rank together, and which keywords can’t.

Keyword research isn’t intuitive & based on gut feelings

Let us give you a real-life example using two keywords.

  1. Linked Profile examples
  2. Linkedin Headline examples

To rank for both of these keywords, you need to create two pages of content.

One page about LinkedIn profiles, and one page about LinkedIn headlines.

If you try and rank for both keywords with one page, you won’t rank for either.

How do we know?

Because we Googled it.

The search results are completely different, even though these seem like related keywords.

If you were writing an article on LinkedIn profiles you might optimize your article for both.

But if you did, you wouldn’t rank for either LinkedIn profiles or LinkedIn headlines, because there isn’t a single website that ranks for both keywords with one page.

The pages Google shows for LinkedIn Profiles are all 100% optimized for LinkedIn profiles.

And the pages Google shows for LinkedIn headlines are all 100% optimized for LinkedIn headlines.

Now multiply this effort across every keyword on your list.

Comparing every keyword against every other keyword manually is impossible.

That is why affiliate SEOs developed shortcuts and heuristics that are ultimately based on intuition and gut feelings.

And when you make decisions based on intuition you make mistakes.

The content calendar for your affiliate site is bigger than you think

Want to know what every single top affiliate SEO site has in common?

Boatloads of content.

Don’t believe us?

Let’s look at the pet space.

We analyzed all of the top dog publishers.

Column E is the publisher’s efficiency score.

This is the total traffic divided by the total number of pages.

Every top publisher generates between 170 to 870 visitors for every page of content on their site.

There is no publisher generating 80% of the traffic with 20% of the pages.

Quick side note – take a look at pet website #11, Doggypedia.org.

Doggypedia is a site we referenced at the beginning of the article, one of the projects we took from 0 to 100,000 organic visitors per month in 11 months.

We competed with the top publishers in the pet space, with a smaller budget and fewer backlinks.

One of the core reasons we were able to punch above our weight is because of ClusterAi.

We were more relevant for the content we wanted to rank for.

And if you know how Google actually works, you know that being more relevant can help you rank with fewer backlinks.

Here are a couple of other notable examples:

CreditKarma.com generates an insane 7,768,000 organic visitors per month.

But they published 24,660 pages. 

NextLuxury.com is an affiliate site in the fashion niche generating 1,345,000 organic visitors each month.

From 13,453 pages.

How much time and money do you think these sites spent:

  1. Mapping out 10,000 – 20,000 unique pages of content
  2. Doing keyword research on a page by page basis

Hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of hours.

Forecasting costs and ROI

ClusterAi’s groupings make forecasting costs and ROI really simple.

Referencing our dog food keyword groupings above, the top 299 pages represent approximately 2,946,000 searchers per month.

Now we can sanity-check our costs against income on varying levels of success.

Here the variables we need to decide:

  1. What % of the searchers can we capture?
  2. How many searchers will click an affiliate link?
  3. What % will purchase?
  4. What is our average payout?

We built a guide walking through each of these variables, and build an automated calculator to help you estimate varying outcomes on your affiliate SEO investment.

Get our guide and SEO ROI calculator here.

Turning any writer into an Affiliate SEO writer

The rankings and traffic you saw at the beginning of the article were not written by SEO content writers.

Those articles were written by good writers that we turned into SEO content writers.

Regardless of whether the writers we work with know SEO, we need their content to rank.

So we’ve created systems to enable writers without our background to create outcomes as successful as we could create ourselves.

We provide our writers with:

  1. Everything they need to know about the project and target audience
  2. Our writing standards (that have gotten us 65,000 page-1 keywords without building backlinks)
  3. A list of all the variations they should use within their content

Writer instructions:

Keyword variations from ClusterAi are provided in the Google Doc:

Get the exact template we use to turn any writer into an SEO content writer producing content that naturally ranks

Working on other projects?

ClusterAi automates keyword research for every vertical and niche.

Check out our example of keyword research for:

  1. B2B SaaS keyword research
  2. B2C SaaS keyword research (coming soon)
  3. E-commerce keyword research (coming soon)

Our best content

Want to learn how we’ve grown 4 websites from approximately zero to 100,000 visitors per month, with the biggest one doing 500,000 in just 17 months?

We share it all.

  1. How Google actually works (based on 65,000 page-1 keywords)
  2. How to find and hire the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet
  3. How to turn any writer into an SEO content writer
  4. Forecasting SEO ROI
  5. How we crush B2B SaaS SEO
  6. How we crush B2C SaaS SEO
  7. How to rank without backlinks
  8. Brand Jacking (ranking for your competitor’s brands)
  9. The #1 lever to get the fastest SEO results
  10. The greatest SEO case study of 2020: 0 to 479,000 monthly organic in 16 months

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Automating B2B SaaS Keyword Research

B2B SaaS Keyword Research is Broken & How to Fix it

Keyword research for B2B SaaS companies is broken.

contentdistribution.com has taken three projects from 0 visitors/month to 100,000+ organic search visitors per month.

In the last year.

Our greatest project hit 479,000 organic search visitors/month in 16 months.

Here is another

And another

And keyword research sucks.

  1. It requires a high level of skill to do correctly
  2. Decisions are made from the gut and the process is prone to human error
  3. It’s a manual, tedious process to cluster keywords into unique pages
  4. Deliverables are inconsistent from person to person

Keyword research for B2B SaaS companies requires high levels of skill

High quality keyword research, like most things, requires repetition to become proficient.

If you don’t have these reps in, you’ll have to be OK doing subpar keyword research.

Subpar keyword research limits the impact of your SEO investment, because poorly optimized pages don’t rank well.

And it’s really easy to make mistakes.

And making a mistake on the foundation can impact the ROI on your entire SEO investment.

Check out the next section to learn why it’s so easy to make mistakes.

Keyword research for B2B SaaS is an art, not a science

One of the primary goals of keyword research is to identify:

  1. Main keywords to create content around
  2. Variations of the main keyword to use in the content

In order to rank well, you need to optimize your content for your main keyword, and all of the variations of that main keyword people use in their searches.

If you choose the wrong keyword variations the impact of your SEO investment will be minimal.

Here is an example.

You have 2 keywords:

  1. LinkedIn profile
  2. LinkedIn headline

This might seem like two ideas in one article.

But in order to rank for both keywords you need to publish two pages.

Not one.

Why?

Because there aren’t any pages ranking for both keywords.

Check out the search results.

Best Linkedin Profile

Best LinkedIn headline

There isn’t a single page ranking for both keywords.

Look at the URL, meta title, and meta description.

The search results for each keyword is optimized for one keyword or the other, not both.

And if you optimized one page for both keywords you wouldn’t rank for either.

Because the space to drive relevance to the keywords you want to rank for is limited to:

  1. URL
  2. Meta title
  3. Meta description
  4. H1
  5. H2s and other headings
  6. Internal links
  7. External links

And if you waste your limited real estate to drive relevance by optimizing for the wrong keywords you’ll be outranked by pages that used their limited space to optimize more effectively.

In fact, being more relevant is one of our top strategies for outranking stronger, more powerful domains.

Learn more about the importance of relevance and check out how how Google really works.

Check out this example of a piece of content we published for AnyLeads, which is currently outranking Hubspot for the keyword ‘Linkedin inmail templates‘.

We don’t have:

  1. Higher domain authority
  2. More backlinks
  3. A bigger budget
  4. A bigger team
  5. Better writers

But we’re more relevant to the query than HubSpot’s page.

Learn how we rank above competitors with bigger brands and more backlinks.

Using ClusterAi To Perform Expert Level Keyword Research For Your B2B SaaS

ClusterAi is keyword grouping tool that helps B2B SaaS companies map out every opportunity they have to drive qualified traffic, and more.

  • ClusterAi makes expert level keyword research accessible to anyone, regardless of SEO experience
  • Keyword decisions are made based on data from Google, so your keyword research is perfect each time.
  • ClusterAi enables you to map a 24 month content calendar, down to the exact keyword variations you’ll use on each page, in hours, not weeks

Here is how ClusterAi works:

  1. Perform keyword research using your favorite SEO tool – Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Google Search Console
  2. Import the list(s) of thousands of keywords you found that can drive qualified traffic to your website
  3. ClusterAi scrapes Google for each keyword and retrieves all of the websites ranking on the first page
  4. ClusterAi analyzes and compares websites that rank for multiple keywords
  5. And when a pair of keywords has 3 or more websites ranking for both keywords it groups those keywords together into a unique content topic.

If 3 or more websites rank for a pair of keywords with one page, you probably can too.

But if there are 2 or fewer websites ranking for a set of keywords with one page, you probably won’t be able to rank for both keywords with one page either.

Example Keyword Research for FreshBooks (B2B Invoicing Software)

FreshBooks helps hundreds of thousands of small businesses send invoices more easily.

And they are crushing organic search with 500k+ organic search visitors every month.

Their secret to success?

Publishing velocity, publishing velocity, publishing velocity.

FreshBooks has published more than 2,200 pages of content.

Of these 2,200 pages, 390 pages, or about 15% are focused on invoices and invoicing.

Why did FreshBooks publish 390 pages about invoicing?

Because nobody, including Freshbooks, can rank for every way people are searching for invoice and invoicing with one page.

Not even one hundred pages. 

FreshBook’s SEO is being led by the very awesome Steve Toth @ theSEONotebook.com. Neither Steve or FreshBooks is a Content Distribution customer, nor did they contribute or participate in this blog post in anyway, we’re just Steve Toth’s #1 fans. 🙂

(And think he would have saved a ton of time with ClusterAi).

Look how easy this is.

Search Ahrefs for invoice, invoices and invoicing.

Ahrefs not the best SERP tracking tool for you? We’ve tested +35 alternatives for you.

Click ‘having same search term’.

This shows you every single way people search using those keywords.

And there are nearly 400,000 variations in the way people are searching Google using these words.

If we asked you to

  1. Identify 390 unique opportunities from a list of nearly 400,000 keywords
  2. Keyword research for each of those 390 pages
  3. Record the keyword research in your project management stack

How long would it take?

SEOs can spend weeks mapping out the content funnel for their site.

With ClusterAi this takes minutes.

After you’ve built your keyword list, export your keywords from Ahrefs.

Import your keywords into ClusterAi

After a few hours of processing (it takes several hours to scrape and group your keywords) you’ll receive an email to download a CSV with your ClusterAi keyword groupings.

ClusterAi provides:

  1. The main keyword
  2. The total monthly search volume for the group
  3. The variations of the main keyword

Knowing the total monthly search volume across all of the keywords in a group allows you to better prioritize your content calendar.

Plan your content calendar

There is probably going to be some irrelevant groups in your groupings.

That’s OK. Just skip them.

Next, count the number of opportunities you’ve identified.

It’s likely in the hundreds.

Now multiply that number by your cost to produce content.

This is your total content cost.

Forecast your SEO outcomes with our SEO ROI Calculator

Now you can decide how fast you want to publish.

Do you want to publish all of the pages needed in 6 months? 12 months? 18 months?

Divide the total number of pages by your desired publishing timeline.

Learn why the #1 lever you can pull to achieve the fastest SEO results is rate of publishing

Here is an example of what this could look like.

Let’s say we identify 200 opportunities to get in front of our target audience across the funnel.

200 opportunities to drive qualified traffic * $150/page content cost = $30,000 content cost.

If we want to tackle these opportunities in 6 months, we need to budget (200 / 6 = 33 * $150) $5,000/month.

And to write 33 pieces of content per month, we need approximately 8 writers.

Now you know:

  1. Your total content cost
  2. Your monthly budget
  3. The number of pages of content you need to publish each month
  4. How many writers you need to recruit

Knowing the total content cost gives you a lot of insight into the total cost of your campaign and allows you to forecast a variety of outcomes using contentdistribution.com’s SEO ROI calculator. 

Get the keywords to your writers

Now that you’ve developed your targets and priorities, you need to communicate this information to your writers.

At contentdistribution.com we’ve automated the steps below.

Our focus on automation and streamlining processes has allowed a core team of 3 to scale to 100 pages+ of high quality, high impact content per month.

First, we import the excel sheet linked in the email into Airtable.

Then our automation creates a Google doc and adds to the link to the record in Airtable.

This Google Doc contains everything the writer needs to get started.

  1. A link to another Google Doc with everything the writer needs to know about the project
  2. A link to our standard writing guidelines for any content written for contentdistribution.com
  3. A guide on sourcing and image attribution
  4. The keyword variations for the article
  5. A checklist the writer must be complete before submitting the work that allows them to self certify that they’ve followed our writing guidelines to the T.

And you know what?

This enables us to turn any writer into an SEO content writer, producing naturally ranking content.

Remember the screenshot above of AnyLeads outranking Hubspot?

That article was written by a writer with no SEO experience, and edited and optimized by an editor with no prior SEO experience.

By, you guessed it, using a process doc.

Learn how to turn any writer into an SEO content writer

Our best content

Want to learn how we’ve grown 4 websites from approximately zero to 100,000 visitors per month, with the biggest one doing 500,000 in just 17 months?

We share it all.

  1. SEO ROI Calculator
  2. How we crush B2B SaaS SEO
  3. How to find and hire the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet
  4. The #1 lever to get the fastest SEO results
  5. How Google actually works (based on 65,000 page 1 keywords)
  6. How to turn any writer into an SEO content writer
  7. Brand Jacking (ranking for your competitor’s brands)
  8. How we crush B2C SaaS SEO
  9. How to rank without backlinks
  10. The greatest SEO case study of 2020: 0 to 479,000 monthly organic in 16 months

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Hiring The Highest Quality, Most Affordable Writers On The Internet

How to Hire The Highest Quality, Most Affordable Freelance Writers On The Internet

Finding freelance writers that can provide the quality you need at the price point you can afford is tough.

That’s especially true if your goal is to build a content distribution engine to saturate your vertical and to appear everywhere that your target audience is searching across the buying funnel. contentdistribution.com helps SaaS and e-commerce companies do just that.

Learn the #1 lever to get the fastest SEO results

Over the last six months, we’ve reviewed 1,000+ writer profiles across dozens of job sites, assigned more than 200 sample work tests, and hired 30 writers. 

Key Takeaways

We’ve learned a lot through this journey, and we’re sharing it all with you:

  1. The economics of hiring in-house writers vs. freelance writers
  2. Why high-quality writers only cost $.05c per word (note: this does not apply to ROI-driven direct-response marketers like Danial Doan)
  3. The biggest bottlenecks in turning your content investment into organic search revenue
  4. Why your content calendar is more significant than you think it is
  5. Where to consistently find the highest quality, most affordable content writers on the internet
  6. The problem with hiring from Facebook groups and how to navigate around it
  7. How to minimize the risk of missing writing deadlines
  8. The four things you need to do to keep your writers happy

The economics of in-house writers doesn’t add up

We work with companies that have raised millions in funding or are incredibly profitable, with $100,000+ per month marketing budgets that don’t hire in-house writers.

Want to know why?

Check out the going rates to hire a writer in Austin, San Francisco, and Seattle, according to GlassDoor.

San Francisco Writer Salaries

Austin Writer Salaries

Seattle Writer Salaries

The cost of hiring in-house writers

“The average writer can write 1,000 to 2,000 words per day before their brains begin to fry and quality drops through the floor” –  Gordana S., content manager at contentdistribution.com.”

That means your in-house content writer is producing somewhere between 20,000 to 40,000 words of content per month. That might sound like a lot. Still, picture an ambitious, B2B brand with the goals of dominating their vertical and appearing everywhere their target audience is searching. It is not uncommon for such a B2B brand to have more than 100 unique content opportunities they need to publish to rank for all of the keywords that could attract qualified traffic.

And it’s not crazy for B2C brands to have thousands of unique content opportunities to get in front of prospects.

That’s a lot of content.

And at 20,000 words per month, and an average of 2,500 words per page, your in-house writer is only producing 6.7 pages of content per month.

Here, we did the math for you.

City Per Page Rate Per Word Rate
San Francisco $820 $0.32
Seattle $790 $0.31
Austin $620 $0.24

At 2,000 words per day / 40,000 words per month:

City Per Page Rate Per Word Rate
San Francisco $410 $0.16
Seattle $395 $0.16
Austin $313 $0.12

Hidden costs of hiring writers in-house

The rates above are significantly lower than in reality for two reasons:

  1. The salaries from GlassDoor didn’t factor in taxes and benefits
  2. The math assumes your writer is producing content five days a week with no time off

Understand how content costs dramatically impacts ROI using our SEO ROI formula (Google Sheet)

When it comes to organic search, all delays are costly

But the cost isn’t the only hidden impact of hiring an in-house writer.

The other impact is on how long it takes for you to begin to rank, generate traffic, and create an impactful acquisition channel.

You see, the two most significant bottlenecks in achieving ROI on an organic search campaign are:

  1. You can’t rank for a keyword without a page focused on that keyword. The first bottleneck is how long it takes you to work through and publish your content calendar to execute on all of the opportunities you identified to drive qualified traffic through the buying funnel
  2. The second bottleneck is how long it takes to start ranking and generating traffic after publishing

If you need to publish 100 pieces of content to rank for all of the keywords that you identified as able to drive qualified traffic, it will take you 15 months to work through your content calendar. 

That means that content published in months 7 to 12 is still maturing and providing minimal business impact a year into your organic content distribution campaign.

A 15-month content calendar plus a 6-month maturation time means it will take your content nearly two years to fully mature. 

A two-year timeline to turn organic search into a viable acquisition channel might be OK for some brands, but ambitious brands that want to crush search and generate massive audiences don’t have time to wait two years to do it.

Keep an eye on your rankings with the best SERP tracking tool. We’ve reviewed +35 of them.

Smart, ambitious brands front-load their content calendar.

Instead of publishing 6.7 pieces of content per month for 15 months, they publish their 15-month content calendar in six months.

That’s 17 pieces of content being published every month.

With a 6-month maturation time, that means by month eight, 34 pages are ranking and generating business impact. By month 12, all 100 pieces of content have matured enough to begin to rank, generate traffic, and create business value.

Here is another example of what happens when you front-load content creation.

Seriously, learn the #1 lever to get the fastest seo results

How to find good, affordable writers

Here’s the deal.

Just like the #1 lever for faster SEO results is publishing more content.

The #1 lever for hiring better writers is evaluating and testing more writing candidates.

That’s it.

The more writers you evaluate and test, the more likely you are to find the right mix of quality, affordability and capacity.

Check out the metrics on this hiring cycle:

  • 174 candidates
  • 80 invited to take our pre-hire writing test
  • 55 submitted a completed test
  • 26 writers passed the test

We use Workello to filter through hundreds of candidates to identify and hire the top 1% in just a few minutes.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Post your job ad on Reddit, LinkedIn, Facebook, ProBlogger, etc
  2. Watch candidates stream into your hiring dashboard
  3. Send pre-hire writing tests to your best candidates
  4. Sitback, relax and wait for candidates to take your test
  5. Hire the top 1%

Everything in Workello is pre-written and pre-optimized so you can start accepting writers into your hiring funnel in 90 seconds.

Here are some hiring guides to get you up and running ASAP:

  1. Get 200+ writers in the next 72 hours
  2. Hiring writers for hard content (Dev Ops, SaaS, legal, martech, etc)
  3. Outsource job posts to a VA
  4. Why writer marketplaces are broken

To summarize the cost of hiring in-house vs. freelance writers

We did the math for you again, and it’s not pretty. The table below is based on 100 pieces of content at 2,500 words each.

Type Per Word Total Cost
San Francisco $0.32 $80,000.00
Seattle $0.31 $77,500.00
Austin $0.24 $60,000.00
Freelancer in LCOL Country $0.05 $12,500.00

When you work with freelance writers, you can hire enough to get through your content calendar in 6 months rather than 21 months.

Think 2,500 words is too long for a blog post? Think again.

Writing more words is one of the core philosophies in ranking without backlinks

Hire better, more affordable writers on auto-pilot with Workello.

Your Content Calendar Is Bigger Than You Think

Copy our hiring automation for testing and hiring writers

Ambitious brands don’t just want to rank for a few keywords related to their product.

Ambitious brands want to touch their target audience multiple times across the buying funnel.

Once that qualified visitor lands on their page, they’ll fire a pixel and follow him or her across the internet.

If you are servicing a national or international audience (as opposed to local), chances are high your content calendar is a lot bigger than you think.

Like exponentially bigger.

Here are a couple of examples.

BrandChamp.io

BrandChamp helps e-commerce brands scale their influencer, ambassador, and affiliate campaigns to thousands of participants without the manual overhead of managing a vast program.

Their target audience is marketers working within e-commerce companies.

What does that buyer persona search for?

Influencer and ambassador related content.

If I were BrandChamp, I’d want to be everywhere my target audience was searching.

(To be fair to BrandChamp, they’re outranking bigger brands, with larger budgets and more backlinks for the opportunities we did target, learn how in BrandChamp’s SEO for B2B SaaS case study.

But if they want to own their vertical and become a name brand with their target audience, they need to publish a lot more content.

Let’s check out the keyword groupings:


How much more revenue would BrandChamp make if they generated the same amount of organic search of traffic as InfluencerMarketingHub.com?

With an estimated 717,000 organic search visitors per month from the exact audience BrandChamp sells to, BrandChamp would likely earn millions more.

But to get there, Influencer Marketing Hub published over 850 pages of high quality content.

Automate your B2B SaaS keyword research with ClusterAi

Tenzo Tea

Tenzo Tea sells Matcha tea with <3 from California.

Their audience is searching Google for Matcha.

There are 88,000 ways people search Google using the word ‘Matcha.’

How many unique pages of content does Tenzo Tea need to create to rank for all of the paths their target audience is taking across the buying funnel?

Over 100.

Want to know how we figured that out?

We’ve been using ClusterAi, a keyword grouping tool that does it for us.

It helps us reduce our keyword research time from 30 minutes per page to 30 minutes per project.

By telling us precisely how many pages we need to create to rank for all of the ways a target audience will search.

And by telling us exactly which variations to use on each page.

Here is how it works:

  • Export a list of thousands of keywords from Ahrefs
  • Import the list into the ClusterAi
  • ClusterAi scrapes the first ten search results of each keyword
  • And compares the pages ranking across keywords
  • Keywords that have enough URLs in common are grouped into unique content topics
  • Keywords that don’t have enough URLs in common are grouped into separate topics

Why does this work so well?

Because if two different keywords have enough URLs in common, it means that a single page can rank for both keywords.

But if two keywords don’t have enough URLs in common, it means each search result is unique, and you can’t rank for both keywords with one page, you need two pages.

Here is what Tenzo Tea’s surface area looks like to get in-front of matcha drinkers. 

 Yes, the Matcha tea keyword grouping has a combined search volume of 339,000 between the main keyword and its variations.

But that’s a super competitive keyword.

And Tenzo Tea might do everything right, and still not rank.

But some of those other keyword groupings are much more attainable.

And the people searching them are just as ready, if not more ready to buy than ‘Matcha.’

Tenzo Tea should absolutely try and rank for Matcha, but while they’re slogging it out, they should also target all of those other opportunities across the funnel.

Not sure the ROI is there to justify the content cost?

Learn how to calculate your campaign expenses and forecast your SEO ROI.

Minimizing risk to deadlines

Relying too heavily on too few writers is a recipe for missing deadlines. We’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

These writers are freelancers and will drop you for clients who:

  1. Pay more
  2. Request fewer revisions
  3. Pay on-time
  4. Are nicer to work with

Points #2 to #4 are absolutely within your control, but #1 may not be, and when we lose writers, it’s always due to #1.

It’s unfortunate to lose a great writer, but if you design your content distribution infrastructure correctly, it won’t impact your deadlines.

The key to minimizing risk to deadlines is hiring enough writers so that each writer is only writing one article per week.

There is nothing worse than assigning a bunch of content to a writer, communicating timelines to other stakeholders, then being blindsided by a resignation email, or getting ghosted when you touch base.

When you assign one article per week to a writer, and they quit or ghost you, you can re-assign that piece of content to another writer, and because you’re working with a handful of writers, the impact on your timeline of one piece of content is minimal.

The four things you need to retain your writers

Retaining your writers is simple:

Pay them on-time. We pay our freelancers twice a month.

Don’t make your emergency their emergency by springing last-minute deadlines on them. You’re not their only client, and they are juggling other deadlines. Give a seven day turnaround time at a minimum.

Provide enough up-front guidance on precisely what you want so that you can keep the number of revisions to one. The more rounds of revisions you request, the less the writer makes per hour. It also has the benefit of reducing your turnaround time from 1st draft to publishing.

Writers are sensitive, your feedback needs to not only be constructive, but it also needs to be tactful.

Our best content

Want to learn how we’ve grown 4 websites from approximately zero to 100,000 visitors per month, with the biggest one doing 500,000 in just 17 months?

We share it all.

    1. How to rank without backlinks
    2. How Google actually works (based on 65,000 page 1 keywords)
    3. How to turn any writer into an SEO content writer
    4. The #1 lever to get the fastest SEO results
    5. How we crush B2C SaaS SEO
    6. SEO ROI Calculator
    7. How to find and hire the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet
    8. Brand Jacking (ranking for your competitor’s brands)
    9. How we crush B2B SaaS SEO
    10. The greatest SEO case study of 2020: 0 to 479,000 monthly organic in 16 months

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Turning Any Writer Into an SEO Content Writer

How Any Writer Can Write SEO Content

Content Distribution publishes 400+ pages of content per month.

Our clients specifically seek to work with us because of our skill set in generating an audience through organic search.

We hire our writers because they’re good writers, not because they know anything about SEO.

Usually, when writers say they know SEO, what they mean is they’ve read some stuff and watched some videos.

What they never mean is, they have a consistent process to ensure the content they write ranks again and again and again.

When we look at their portfolio, none of their work is generating traffic from search.

But that’s OK.

So, how do we take great writers and enable each of them to create content that ranks every time?

We do it the same way that we publish 200+ pages of content per month.

We do it with processes, documentation, and systems.

If you don’t want to see:

  1. Proof that all you need to have to rank is excellent content, not backlinks or technical SEO
  2. Awesome Facebook groups to recruit great writers from
  3. How much you need to pay
  4. How to keep your writers happy and productive

And you only want the process document, then scroll to the end

What is SEO content writing?

We believe that Google’s #1 goal is to show the most relevant, highest quality content for any given search query every time.

Why do we believe that’s Google’s #1 goal?

  1. Alphabet generates 95% of its revenue from Google Adwords
  2. Google Adwords makes 120 billion dollars a year
  3. A one percent loss in market share represents over a billion dollars in high margin revenue.
  4. To maintain their brand as the #1 search engine, they need to provide better search results than everyone else

We didn’t just make up this philosophy of organic search distribution.

We’ve published hundreds of pages of content across the projects we’ve worked on, and have over 65,000 first page keywords.

Not everything ranks and not everything ranks fast, but when we publish vast amounts of highly relevant, high-quality content, it has never failed to work.

High-Quality Content

Google isn’t an AI, and it can’t intuitively identify quality content as we can.

Instead, Google relies on heuristics.

We believe the strongest heuristics of content quality are user engagement metrics, and how they compare to those for other pages that Google could show for a given keyword.

  1. Bounce rate
  2. Time on site
  3. Pages visited
  4. Overall site engagement (button clicks, CTAs, etc.)

If you closely monitor your rankings, it’s common to see your page pop on and off the first page before ultimately settling somewhere.

That is Google testing and stack-ranking your page based on user engagement metrics.

And through trillions of searches, Google has developed a pretty good idea of the characteristics of high-quality content.

Think about it this way.

Imagine we showed you two pieces of content on a topic about which you knew nothing.

Say, quantum physics, or quantum computing.

The first piece is 1,000 words in one giant paragraph.

The second piece of content is 3,000 words and has:

  • A table of contents
  • Bullet Points
  • Lists
  • Tables
  • Embedded YouTube videos
  • Pictures
  • Important sentences in bold
  • Internal links to relevant content
  • External links to authoritative websites

Even if you didn’t understand the topic, which would you assume is the better piece of content?

You’d pick the one with a ton of structured data.

So, when Google crawls your site, and it finds a ton of structured data like lists, tables, and bullet points, it assumes that the quality of your content is high.

It then tests you on the first page quicker than it would without these characteristics of high-quality content.

Relevance

Being relevant to a given search is just as crucial as having high-quality content.

Every day, people create content that will never rank nor attract eyeballs because Google doesn’t believe it’s relevant to a given keyword.

You only have so much real estate to drive relevance.

  1. URL
  2. Meta title
  3. Meta description
  4. H1
  5. H2s
  6. H3s
  7. Internal links

Being relevant doesn’t mean using the same keyword again and again and again across your available real estate.

It means using variations of the keyword for which you want to rank.

In this article, my core keyword is ‘seo content writer.’

But I’ve also optimized the content for variations of this core keyword:

  • SEO content writing
  • SEO content writers
  • Writing SEO content
  • Writing web content for SEO

You have to be careful when you pick the variations because if you choose the wrong variations, you might not rank for anything.

It’s very counterintuitive, and today doing keyword research is more of an art than a science.

If you write a post about ‘the best LinkedIn headlines & profiles,’ your post will neither rank for ‘LinkedIn headlines’ nor for ‘LinkedIn profiles.’

Go ahead and Google each term.

The pages ranking on the first page are optimized for just one of those keywords.

LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn headlines

They use the:

  • URL
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • H1s
  • H2s
  • H3s

To drive the relevance for one keyword or the other, not both.

Being relevant at scale

Today, people choose their keyword research using a ‘gut feeling.’

Over 20 SEO professionals replied to this post and gave their opinion.

Not a single one based their opinion on data. They all gave advice ‘from their gut.’

It takes a lot of time to figure this out. It’s more of an art than a science.

We weren’t satisfied with the keyword research process being an uncertain art, which takes a significant amount of time for every piece of content produced.

We turned keyword research into a science that’s based on data, not on our gut. That way, we can generate a year-long content calendar in less than an hour.

How it works:

  • Import as many as 10,000 relevant keywords to your business
  • The tool crawls Google and
  • Figures out which keywords can rank together
  • Then groups the keywords that can rank together into discrete content topics
  • With the exact variations to use in each piece

Here’s what that looks like:

Notice how ‘hiring writers’ and ‘hire content writers’ are separate?

Look at the variations. I see one keyword that doesn’t include ‘content’ in the ‘hire content writers’ keyword group.

Google both keywords, and you’ll see that each of the different search results contain different pages optimized for one keyword or the other.

Comparing each keyword against other keywords to get this right is tedious to the point where it’s simply not done.

So, people guess. When they screw up, they don’t rank for either keyword.

When more relevant, higher quality content isn’t enough, and why you should make it anyway

Content may not be enough if you’re operating in:

  • Gambling
  • Finance
  • Dating
  • Healthcare
  • Cancer lawsuits

But for most businesses, and most industries, content is enough.

That isn’t to say that backlinks don’t help, they do.

A lack of backlinks has never stopped us from ranking well before, but having a lot of backlinks makes our job easier.

Even when backlinks are necessary, highly relevant, high-quality content requires fewer backlinks to rank than less relevant, lower-quality content.

Below are examples showing the impact of content that is more relevant and higher quality than that of the competition.

In every example, you’ll note our page has less domain strength and fewer backlinks than the competition that we are beating.

Examples:

  1. Web content
  2. E-commerce content
  3. B2B SaaS content
  4. Mobile Apps content

Writing web content for SEO

Doggypedia is America’s favorite website to learn about different mixed breed dogs, with over 200 unique articles.

This keyword represents 23,000 searches a month.

Here’s a little context about what the numbers mean.

We only highlighted the columns you care about.

  1. DR
  2. Backlinks

DR stands for Domain Rating. It is a proprietary metric that measures the strength of a domain based on the backlink profile.

YouTube, Facebook, and Google are all 100s.

The site you created yesterday is a 0.

It’s not a metric that Google uses. It’s a metric created by Ahrefs, the tool from which we took all of the screenshots that you’ll see here.

Even though Google does not use it, it’s still a very useful metric to understand how powerful a given domain is.

Not only does Doggypedia’s domain have the weakest backlink profile as indicated by the DR (domain rating) score, but of the nine other pages, only 1 page has fewer backlinks.

And it’s not just that keyword. It’s hundreds of them, 504 position-one keywords, and thousands of keywords on the 1st page.

SEO Writing for E-Commerce

Hobanco is an outdoor e-commerce brand selling knives. We built and sold this website a few years ago.

Quick note: If you want to learn how to leverage sponsored YouTube videos as an acquisition channel for your e-commerce store, you need to read this post. Otherwise, keep reading.

When someone searches for [state knife laws], that searcher generally already owns a knife or is looking to purchase one. Our research showed that people who buy knives to carry around have a lot of knives.

Of the ten 1st page search results, Hobanco has the second-lowest DR, and the second-lowest number of backlinks – yet it outranks pages on stronger domains with many more backlinks.

By the way, that featured snippet means we appear as shown below.

Well-structured content gets you lots of featured snippets.

This site hasn’t been touched since April 2018, and yet it grows month after month after month.

That’s the power of great content.

B2B SaaS SEO Content

BrandChamp.io helps e-commerce brands create and scale ambassador programs to thousands of participants.

It’s a seriously impressive product but lacked awareness of the buyer’s life cycle.

Each customer is worth anywhere from $3,000 per year to tens of thousands per year.

This blog post alone might be worth $100,000.

But it’s not alone.

The brands that are the most successful with search don’t create one piece of content and hope it ranks. They create a piece of content for every opportunity across the buyer’s life cycle.

And again

Learn more B2B SEO tactics we’re using right now to outrank bigger brands with larger budgets

Writing SEO Content B2C SaaS companies

DoNotPay is a San Francisco based startup backed by Peter Thiel that has created the world’s first AI robot lawyer and has helped over 200,000 people dispute and beat their parking tickets (among a bunch of other cool things).

Remember what I said above about how backlinks aren’t necessary, just helpful?

This is just one of the hundreds of pages DoNotPay has page 1 keywords for.

When you create a lot of high-quality content, you can stop paying attention to individual rankings, and you can focus on:

  • Do we have more keywords on the first page this week than we did last week?
  • Did we have more organic search traffic this month than we did last month?

Calculate your ROI using our SEO ROI formula (Google Sheet)

17 months into this campaign DoNotPay has grown from approximately zero to 500,000 organic search visitors per month.

This isn’t a fluke.

Before this, we took CampusReel.org to 166,000+ organic search visitors per month, in about 12 months.

Learn why we crush B2C SaaS SEO projects

Hiring writers (that don’t know SEO)

If you’re like the businesses we work with, your core team is best equipped to create the highest quality content, but they have the least amount of time to write it.

Writing the type of content you need to have to rank isn’t easy.

At a minimum, it’s going to take a few hours.

And if you find the time to write one page here and there, you’re not going to achieve the outcome you wanted from organic search.

So you need to hire writers to write your content for you.

Before we give you the template to turn any content writer into an SEO content writer, let’s help you find awesome writers with whom to work.

Pay your writers per word, not hourly

Paying your writers by the hour is ineffective.

They won’t be motivated to write.

The truth hurts. Every person I’ve met who pays their writers hourly gets less content for the dollar than those who pay writers per word.

For most of the content we create, we pay our writers a minimum of five cents per word, but it can go as high as ten cents per word for our enterprise SaaS projects in highly technical industries.

You won’t find the quality you’re looking for with the reliability you need for less than five cents per word.

Hiring good, affordable writers on auto-pilot

Here’s the deal.

Just like the #1 lever for faster SEO results is publishing more content.

The #1 lever for hiring better writers is evaluating and testing more writing candidates.

That’s it.

The more writers you evaluate and test, the more likely you are to find the right mix of quality, affordability and capacity.

Check out the metrics on this hiring cycle:

  • 174 candidates
  • 80 invited to take our pre-hire writing test
  • 55 submitted a completed test
  • 26 writers passed the test

We use Workello to filter through hundreds of candidates to identify and hire the top 1% in just a few minutes.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Post your job ad on Reddit, LinkedIn, Facebook, ProBlogger, etc
  2. Watch candidates stream into your hiring dashboard
  3. Send pre-hire writing tests to your best candidates
  4. Sitback, relax and wait for candidates to take your test
  5. Hire the top 1%

Everything in Workello is pre-written and pre-optimized so you can start accepting writers into your hiring funnel in 90 seconds.

Here are some hiring guides to get you up and running ASAP:

  1. Get 200+ writers in the next 72 hours
  2. Hiring writers for hard content (Dev Ops, SaaS, legal, martech, etc)
  3. Outsource job posts to a VA
  4. Why writer marketplaces are broken

If you want to produce more than eight pages a month, you need to hire multiple SEO content writers

We have yet to meet a writer who can create enough content for one project.

We’ve tried. They said that they could produce 3,000 words per day and handle 20 blog posts a month. They couldn’t. Not even close.

Writer’s brains began to fry, especially if they’re writing about a subject that they need to research relatively more.

When your writer doesn’t deliver, they set you back.

You then need to source, evaluate, and test another writer.

Good freelance SEO writers have a lot of clients.

And they’re not going to drop their reliable, consistent clients to write your content ‘real quick.’ They’re going to schedule you in.

So if you assign the content on a Monday, you should expect a full week to receive the first draft.

And another week after that for revisions on the feedback you provide.

If you’re producing a lot of content, you can’t risk your production schedule by giving a single writer too much work.

We hire enough writers for each project, where each writer only needs to write one article per week.

At most, two per week, and only if they’ve consistently met deadlines over the past several months.

Treat your SEO content writers like real people

Don’t treat your content writers like virtual assistants, treat them as valued members of your core team.

Good content writers for five cents a word have a higher ROI than Google stock.

Creating a lot of good quality content is expensive, and it takes time.

But it takes a lot more time if you can’t retain your writers and need to spend more time than necessary sourcing, evaluating, and testing new content writers.

Gordana, Content Distribution’s Content Manager, was a professional writer for seven years before stepping into a content management role with us. According to her, the two most important things you can do to keep your writers happy are:

  • Pay them on-time, as in immediately after approving their final draft, or at a minimum pay them bi-weekly
  • Create outlines that help them precisely understand what you want, minimizing revisions

There’s just one more thing

Alright, I know you had to read a lot to get to what you really wanted: the template that turns any writer into a great SEO content writer.

I want you to be able to use the template below as effectively as possible.

To do that, you had to read everything above.

There’s just one more thing, and to see it, I want your email address.

Don’t worry.

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Then use the Ahrefs keyword research process until you receive my data-driven keyword research process via email.

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  1. How we crush B2B SaaS SEO
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  7. How to rank without backlinks
  8. How to find and hire the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet
  9. The #1 lever to get the fastest SEO results
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