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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SEO ROI Calculator

Calculating the ROI of an SEO Campaign

Through our experience helping brands build massive audiences with organic search, we’ve developed an SEO ROI formula to help brands understand the return on their SEO investment.

Then we turned that formula into a calculator to make it easy and quick to model various SEO outcomes.

In the next 5 minutes you’re going to learn how to:

  1. Forecasting the ROI of your organic content distribution (SEO) project
  2. Forecasting costs to execute on that outcome
  3. Forecasting best, middle, and worst-case outcomes

The formula to understanding different SEO ROI outcomes is:

Total Monthly Searches * Click Through Rate * Conversion Rate * Average Order Value = SEO ROI.

What are the variables in the formula for calculating SEO ROI?

Total Monthly Searches

Total monthly searches is a super simple variable.

TMS is the sum of the monthly search volume across all of the keywords you found that can drive qualified traffic.

You can figure out the Total Monthly Searches by doing keyword research using your favorite SEO tool.

Once you’ve found every keyword across the funnel, add up the number of monthly searches for each keyword.

If you’re using ahrefs, you’ll need to export this keyword list into excel, then highlight / select the ‘volume’ column.

Click-Through Rate

CTR is the percentage of searches that result in a user clicking through to your website.

Your CTR is a reflection of where your website ranks for the keywords you’re targeting.

The closer to #1 you rank, the more traffic you will receive.

In a large study by SEO superstar Brian Dean, Brian found that keywords in position #1 received roughly 30% of the clicks.

Keywords in position 5, half way down the 1st page, receive about 9.5% of clicks.

And keywords in position 10, the last result on the 1st page, receive roughly 3% of the clicks.

Some keywords are going to rank higher than other keywords, so the # you choose needs to be a blended average across all of the keywords you are targeting.

We generally forecast conservative outcomes using a CTR of 9.5%, representing an average ranking of #5 for the keywords we’re targeting.

Learn how we’ve accumulated 65,000+ page 1 keywords without building backlinks or doing complicated technical SEO

Close Rate

Conversion is the percentage of visitors that convert into a customer.

If you have existing data on organic search conversion rate, great!

But make sure you filter branded searches from your analysis.

This means only measuring your conversion rate on pages that don’t rank for your brand name.

Examples of pages that do rank for your brand name, and need to be filtered from your analysis include your homepage, contact, about or FAQ pages.

An easy way to figure this out is to Google your brand name, and see which pages appear.

If you don’t have existing data conversion rate data you can use, that’s OK too.

The variable you choose represents a blended conversion rate across hundreds or thousands of keywords.

But some keywords will convert at 10%+

And some will convert at .01%.

This variance is driven in large part by how much intent to purchase is behind the prospects search.

Keywords at the top of the funnel generally have higher search volume and more traffic, but lower conversion rates.

Keywords at the bottom of the funnel generally convert at very high rates, but also have the least amount of searches.

We use .005% in conservative forecasts. 

This is pretty low.

Life Time Value

Life time value is the dollar amount each customer is worth over the life time of their relationship with your company.

You can also use the Average Order Value of each purchase, but we prefer to use LTV because it more accurately forecasts ROI.

Other Variables You Might Use to Calculate SEO ROI

Average Order Value

Brands with more aggressive timelines for recouping their SEO investment, might use AOV instead of  LTV to calculate the ROI of the campaign.

Conversion To Lead

You may not allow customers to purchase directly from your website.

In this case, you may want to reflect that in your ROI calculations by adding an additional variable called ‘Conversion to Lead’.

This attribute represents the conversion from website traffic to sales opportunity.

So the new formula looks like:

TMS * CTR * CTL * CR * LTV = ROI

We built a version of the calculator to calculate this extra variable.

Calculating SEO Costs

The #1 cost for any SEO campaign is generally content.

There are hundreds, or thousands of unique pages you need to create in order to rank for all of the ways your target audience is searching across the funnel.

If you are engaging an SEO agency, and content isn’t the biggest cost, I would be very skeptical.

Why?

Because how fast you publish content is the #1 lever you can pull to get the fastest SEO results.

Don’t believe me?

We’ve helped 4 companies go from approximately zero to 100,000+ organic search visitors per month.

Here are two of them.

And this is DoNotPay, the biggest one, which we grew from 500 to 479,000 monthly organics in 16 months.

Combined, these 4 projects have over 100,000 page 1 keywords, and generate nearly one million visitors per month.

And we did it without building backlinks or doing complicated technical SEO.

We did it by focusing on publishing large amounts of high quality content.

Learn why publishing velocity is the #1 indicator of SEO performance

Here are the hard costs of a campaign.

  1. Content
  2. Editing
  3. Meta descriptions
  4. Featured image
  5. Importing into WordPress
  6. Post-publishing content updates

Everything on this list scales with the # of pages published which makes estimating costs easy.

And in order to minimize the complexity of estimating cost, we’re not factoring in the time required for:

  • Strategy
  • Management
  • Cross team collaboration
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Reporting & analytics

The reason is these costs are fluctuate from project to project, company to company and person to person depending on things like

  • Size of org
  • Type of org
  • Impact on org
  • Importance to org
  • Experience level of teams
  • Ease of cross team collaboration

We have all of these calculated because our systems are consistent and repeatable, but if you’re driving your own SEO campaign you’ll need to calculate these on your own.

Content

Content costs are calculated by multiplying your cost per page multiplied by the number of pages of content you need to publish.

One thing most SEOs have trouble with is forecasting content costs.

Why?

Because it’s very difficult to estimate the number of pages you need to write by looking at a list of thousands of keywords.

Don’t believe me?

Look at this list of 25,000 keywords related to invoicing.

If you’re invoicing software company FreshBooks, how many pages do you need to build to capture that volume?

Well, they built 390 pages targeting slightly different variations of the keyword invoicing and invoices.

Looking for the best SERP tracking tool? We’ve reviewed +35 of them.

And the fact FreshBooks had to publish 390 pages about invoicing to capture all of the variations in the way people search for invoicing is why content is the biggest cost to any organic search campaign.

You simply can’t rank for all of the opportunities to generate qualified, valuable traffic with one page.

Or a dozen pages.

In FreshBooks case, not even 390 pages.

FreshBooks has published over 2,000 pages of content.

And it’s paid off.

Freshbooks is generating 500,000+ qualified visitors each month.

FreshBook’s SEO is very talented, and spent a lot of time

  1. Grouping all of the ways people search for invoicing into unique pages
  2. Identifying variations of the main keyword to use within the content

But you don’t have to.

contentdistribution.com’s keyword grouping tool transforms large lists of keywords into unique pages.

ClusterAi does this automatically.

And it does it using data from Google to determine which keywords can rank together.

It does this by scraping the search results for each keyword, and comparing the pages ranking for each keyword.

If there are 3 or more pages that rank for a set of keywords, it groups those keywords together.

And if there are 2 or less pages that rank for a set of keywords it separates the keywords and looks for new matches.

Why?

Because if 3 or more other websites rank for 2 keywords with 1 page, you probably can too.

But if 2 or less websites rank for 2 keywords with 1 page, you might not be able to rank for both keywords with 1 page.

Check out ClusterAi.

SEO Pros

ClusterAi is going to save you a ton of time. And you’re going to be able to delegate keyword research to junior team members without your level of experience, and they’re going to do it perfectly.

Non SEO Pros

ClusterAi is the only viable way to do perfect keyword research without having a strong SEO background.

So how much do writers cost?

A lot.

The average content marketing salary in Austin is $50,000/year, before benefits, taxes, and paid holidays.

And the average content writer in Austin is probably writing 1,500 words per day.

This comes out to $.24 per word, or $620 for per page of content @ 2,500 words.

And at $620 per page, it’s going to be hard to execute an ROI positive SEO campaign.

Unless you have a very high conversion rate, very high search volume, and very high AOV.

Or, if you don’t have those things.

You have systems to source, evaluate, and hire the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet.

Learn how we hire seo content writers at .05c per word

The cost of everything else

Once you understand how many pages of content you need to write, you can calculate the costs of everything else:

Editing

We generally scope 1-2 hours per article for editing and QA.

Meta descriptions

These can be batched out and we generally estimate 5 – 15 minutes per meta description.

Featured Images

We hire dedicated featured image creators. They are paid per image.

If you have designer resources on hand, calculate about 5 minutes per featured image if your designer is using an app like Snappa or Canva.

Uploading

We’re publishing hundreds of pages of content per month.

It just makes sense to have a dedicated post publishers (we write in Google Docs).

Post uploaders are paid per upload.

Here is a quick table you can copy into Excel:

Cost Unit 1 Page 20 Pages 50 Pages 100 Pages
Content Per word $
Editing Per page $
Metas Per meta $
Featured Images Per image $
Uploading Per upload $
Total $ $ $ $

How Our SEO ROI formula can be improved

Our calculator is very helpful for forecasting outcomes, but it’s not perfect.

Here are the areas I’d love to improve.

Blended conversion rate

Today the conversion rate variable represents an average across all of the opportunities in your funnel.

I would love to figure out how to assign conversion rates to specific keyword groupings at scale.

I think this is probably the #1 improvement to accuracy we could make.

Timeline

The average SEO timeline for a contentdistribution.com project looks like this:

  • We begin to see results as early 30 to 60 days after we begin publishing
  • We start seeing a good amount of results 4 to 8 months after beginning to publish
  • We start to see a lot of results in months 9 – 12

Learn how we’ve gone from 0 to 100k in less than a year on 4 different projects

It would be really great to integrate timeline forecasts into our estimates.

This would allow brands to forecast things like revenue expectations leading up to month 12 of the campaign, or potential year one totals.

It would probably have to be a different chart that models the % of Total Monthly Searches that click through to the website and how that variable increases over time.

This is tricky, because timelines are 100% dependent on publishing schedule, and how quickly content is published.

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

And you have to create 390 pages about invoicing. 🙂

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. Forecasting SEO ROI
  2. How we crush B2B SaaS SEO
  3. How to turn any writer into an SEO content writer
  4. How to rank without backlinks
  5. Brand Jacking (ranking for your competitor’s brands)
  6. How we crush B2C SaaS SEO
  7. How Google actually works (based on 65,000 page 1 keywords)
  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
  10. The greatest SEO case study of 2020: 0 to 479,000 monthly organic in 16 months

What else would you improve to better forecast organic search ROI? Drop a comment below

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Brand Jacking Your Competitors

Use Brand Jacking To Put Other Company’s Customers Into Your Marketing Funnel

Brand jacking is when your website appears in the search results while searchers look for information about another company’s brand.

And it’s an incredibly powerful technique.

The company you are brand jacking is putting their customers and prospects in your funnel.

The more money they spend on marketing and the more people Google their brand name, the more people end up on your website, where you can capture their contact details.

Or follow them around the internet using a LinkedIn or Facebook pixel.

Here are two examples.

Brand Jacking Microsoft

Archive360 wants to build awareness with the audience that is searching for information about a specific feature in Microsoft’s Office 365.

Archive360’s page about that feature is the first search result after Microsoft.

In order to rank well, Archive360’s page needs to give users what they’re expecting – to learn more about the Office 365 journaling feature.

Then the page transitions to educating the reader about deficiencies in Microsoft’s solution and scenarios where organizations seek 3rd party solutions like Archive360.

Learn how we consistently rank above bigger brands, with larger budgets and more backlinks.

Brand Jacking Ubisoft

Uplay is Ubisoft’s digital distribution platform. Ubisoft generated $1.7B in 2019 with a market cap of $8.2B.

Every month, tens of thousands of people google for some variation of uplay support.

And for a lot of those terms, searchers will find DoNotPay.com ranking above Ubisoft.

DoNotPay is an iPhone app that uses a robo-dialer to connect humans to a real human being at giant companies like Ubisoft without waiting on hold.

People looking for Ubisoft support are exactly the same type of people who download, use and subscribe to DoNotPay.

This makes sense if you understand how Google actually works

Who can I Brand Jack?

There are five things you need to align to implement an impactful brandjacking campaign.

Competitors OR complimentary brands

Brandjacking works best when you’re targeting competitors (self-explanatory), or complementary brands.

Complimentary brands are brands that your customers often use in conjunction with your product.

In the Archive360 example above, using Office 365 is a prerequisite of using Archive360 – they are an add-on that sits on top of Office 365.

Think about your customer’s software stack and identify overlap in buyer persona and audience.

Aligning your offer and audience

The brandjacking targets you pick must generate an audience that your offer will resonate with.

I’ve implemented campaigns that successfully generated tens of thousands of visitors searching for Instagram and Shopify branded terms.

But the traffic didn’t convert because our offer didn’t resonate.

Do 3rd party websites already rank?

If other 3rd party websites already rank for the branded search term we’re targeting, that indicates there we can also rank for that branded term.

The fact that GetHuman.com, a DoNotPay competitor, Reddit, and TrustPilot rank for uplay customer support indicated to us that we could also rank for this term.

Likewise, the fact that non-Microsoft pages were ranking for Office 365 journaling told us we could rank for that branded term too.

You need to satisfy search intent to brand jack

Google Analytics is deployed on every website that matters.

And Google uses this data to understand how users react to the pages it serves in its search results.

Pages with better bounce rates, time on site, pages visited, referral traffic and overall engagement will rank better than sites with lower user engagement metrics.

If your page doesn’t satisfy a user’s intent behind their search, Google will bounce you off the first page.

Your content needs to rank

Most companies have problems with content distribution. According to Sirius Decisions, 70% of B2B content created by marketing organizations doesn’t add business value.

And I suspect there is a similar percentage of underutilized content investments in B2C organizations.

We’ve worked with companies that have spent $250,000+ on content over 4 years created by very talented, and knowledgeable writers, that Google Analytics indicates has been viewed less than 20 times in the last 12 months – from any channel.

When your content aligns with what people are searching for, you’re creating a company asset that will create business impact 6, 12, 18, 24 months after making your investment.

Learn how to turn any writer into an SEO content writer

How do I Brand Jack?

I accidentally discovered brandjacking after outranking Instagram and Shopify for ‘Instagram support‘ and ‘is Shopify safe

This technique was featured in Josh Fechter’s growth hacking bible, with over 2,100+ upvotes it was the #1 product of the week.

You can find it here on page 274.

Or you can watch the video I made below.

I highly recommend you subscribe to stay in the loop on more actionable tactics you can begin implementing while you learn.

You can Brand Jack too

The examples shown above aren’t flukes.

Brand Jacking is consistently successful when:

  1. You’re targeting a competitor or complementary brand
  2. Your offer aligns with the audience you’re generating
  3. Other 3rd party websites already rank for the branded term
  4. Your content matches the searcher’s intent
  5. Your content ranks

The final tip I have is Brand Jacking works best at scale.

Any given piece of content may or may not rank, but if you push out dozens and dozens of pieces of content, you will see week over week and month over month increases in qualified traffic.

Discover the #1 lever you can pull to get the fastest SEO results

What does Brand Jacking at scale look like?

Brand Jacking at scale is a beautiful thing.

Especially when you’re Brand Jacking some of the largest technology companies in the world.

And the traffic is converting like crazy.

Brand Jacking B2B Brands

Brand Jacking Dell

Dell has a market cap of $29B and we’re Brand Jacking them on multiple product lines in the email space.

Dell EMC SourceOne

Dell EMS MessageOne

Dell EMC EmailXtender

Brand Jacking Symantec

Symantec was acquired by Broadcom for $10B in 2019.

Symantec EV Cloud

Brand Jacking MicroFocus

MicroFocus has 14,000 employees and $4.5+B in revenue.

MicroFocus Gwava Retain

Get the process docs we use to turn any writer into an SEO content writer

Brand Jacking Consumer Brands

This tactic also works really well against consumer brands.

 Mojang support

Rockstar game support

Ubisoft customer support number

Calculate the ROI of a Brand Jacking campaign

Interested?

The next step is to forecast potential ROI on your Brand Jacking investment.

Check out our SEO ROI calculator to forecast various outcomes.

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 turn any writer into an SEO content writer
  2. Brand Jacking (ranking for your competitor’s brands)
  3. How Google actually works (based on 65,000 page 1 keywords)
  4. How we crush B2B SaaS SEO
  5. How to find and hire the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet
  6. How we crush B2C SaaS SEO
  7. How to rank without backlinks
  8. SEO ROI Calculator
  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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The #1 Lever To Get The Fastest SEO Results

The #1 lever to drive the fastest SEO results is publishing velocity

We choose the projects we work on carefully.

We have to.

  1. We want to enjoy what we do, and the stress of under-delivering doesn’t lead to loving life.
  2. We enjoy the recognition of our peers and clients for doing great work.
  3. We won’t earn the right to work at larger and larger scales if we’re not successful at our current scale.
  4. A successful outcome that doesn’t lead to twice as big opportunities in the future isn’t worth the short term revenue. We’re spinning our wheels doing our best work.

The two most important considerations are always:

  1. Does this brand yearn to be a leader in their space, and want to be everywhere their target audience is searching?
  2. Are we confident we can absolutely crush it?

If the answer is no to either one of these, we have to say no.

And we’re in a good spot where we can prioritize long term growth over short term business needs.

Publishing velocity

We’ve had success across B2B SaaS, B2C SaaS, mobile apps, marketing services, fashion, pets, and outdoor equipment.

And the biggest lever we have to accelerate or decelerate outcomes is publishing velocity.

In every project we have taken on in the last two years, the faster we publish content, the faster we generate rankings, traffic, and business impact.

Learn why we consistently outrank stronger websites with bigger budgets, stronger domains and more backlinks

It’s pretty intuitive — you can’t rank for a keyword until you have a page about that keyword.

And once you publish, it takes 6 – 9 months for that content to fully mature in the search results.

So if your content calendar is 100 pages of content published over a year, content published in months 7 – 12 won’t add the maximum business impact a year after beginning your organic content distribution campaign.

At that publishing velocity, it will take 18 to 20 months after the start of your campaign for your content to fully mature.

But if you front-load your content calendar and publish all 100 pages of content in 4 months, most, if not all of that content will be mature by month 12.

Pushing backlinks, updating your site structure, decreasing page load time, doing on-page optimizations will all begin to impact your rankings and traffic within weeks instead of the six month maturation time of content, plus the time content spends sitting in your content calendar queue.

So, let’s get into it.

Our worst performing project of all time.

ContentDistribution.com’s worst-performing campaign of all time

This anonymous project is our worst performing campaign of all time.

In the 11 months after beginning our engagement, we grew non-branded organic search traffic by 93%, from 887 to 1,717.

In the 11 months before our engagement, organic traffic grew by 14%, from 775 to 887.

That means non-branded organic search traffic grew 664% faster after beginning our engagement than before.

Nearly every page we published is ranking and generating traffic

But we only published 19 pieces of content in 11 months. 

When we could have easily achieved 5,000, 10,000 or more qualified visitors each month in this same period.

Very successful outcomes require high rates of publishing

The time it takes to work through your content calendar, and the time it takes for content mature are your two biggest bottlenecks to seeing the business impact from your organic content distribution investment.

The most common reason brands can’t meet publishing velocity goals are:

  1. Senior management inserts themselves in the content review process. This will always fall at the bottom of their priority list.
  2. Too many revisions are requested by too many people at the pay rate provided.
  3. The person responsible for reviewing and editing the content doesn’t report to a campaign stakeholder, AKA the metrics your editor is evaluated on aren’t largely influenced by the success of your campaign.
  4. Budget. Although the rate comes out to less than the salary of a content writer whose words won’t rank.

Learn how we source, test, hire and retain the highest quality, most affordable writers on the internet.

How much content are we talking about here?

There are at least hundreds, but probably thousands, and often tens of thousands of keywords that can send your business qualified traffic.

But you won’t rank for every keyword by writing one page of content.

Or two pages of content.

Or ten pages of content.

To capture all of the qualified searches across your funnel and truly be everywhere your target audience is searching, you probably need to publish hundreds of pages of content.

Let’s say you’re Tensor Social, an influencer analytics SaaS.

If Tensor wants to get in-front of brands, marketers, and agencies, there is a lot of surface area to cover.

There are over 87,000 different ways brands, marketers, and agencies use influencer and influencers in their searches.

If we only analyze the top 3,000 influencer related keywords, that represents over 100 unique pages of content.

Learn how to turn any writer into an SEO content writer publishing content that naturally ranks

Real life example of faster SEO results

These are a few of the projects we’ve driven over the last three years.

What we see again and again and again.

Is that companies that publish faster, see better results.

And you know what?

Despite whatever success you see below, each of these projects could have 3x’d their outcomes by 3x’ing their content velocity.

In each project, we’ll also include:

  1. The time-frame of the campaign
  2. The number of pages published
  3. Some extra context when it makes sense

DoNotPay.com (B2C SaaS)

  1. 430 pages published in 11 months (50% published in last 30 days)
  2. 0 to 479,000 in 16 months
  3. DoNotPay announces $12mm Series A @ $80mm valuation from A16 & Peter Thiel, here’s the full case study

Doggypedia.org (Publisher)

  1. 200 pages published in 6 months
  2. 0 to 116,000/month in 13 months
  3. Sold to AlphaPaw.com (case study coming soon)

Learn how we grew Doggypedia to 18,500,000 Pinterest impressions and 5,700 hours of YouTube watch time in 2019.

CampusReel.org (B2C SaaS)

  1. 300+ pages published
  2. 1,500/month to 166,000+/month in 12 months

Are you looking for B2C SaaS SEO? Check out our CampusReel case study.

AnyLeads (B2B SaaS)

  1. 70 pages of content published in 5 months
  2. 0/month to 47,000/month in 12 months
  3. 81 credit card required free trials signups in most recent month

LogicInbound.com ( B2B services)

  1. ~100 pages published in 4 months
  2. 500/month to 103,000 visitors/month in 13 months
  3. Generated SQL from Amazon

Ahrefs estimated traffic under reports LogicInbound.com by~50%.

Bonus Examples

It’s not just us, and it’s not just the projects we work on.

Every single website crushing organic search is publishing large volumes of content.

The graph below shows the top publishers in the dog niche.

The #1 thing they have in common?

They all have published a crazy amount of content.

Column E shows how much traffic they generate per page of content on their site.

And it’s all in a pretty tight band.

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

There isn’t any website that is generating 80% of the traffic with 20% of the pages.

Quick side note, Doggypedia.org.

It has a DR 9.

That project is ours, and was highlighted above. 🙂

Learn how to rank without backlinks

And it’s not just puppies either.

The websites that generate the most traffic in any given industry tend to have significant amounts of content.

Let’s go for a ride.

InfluencerMarketingHub.com

  • 892 pages
  • 344,210 visitors per month

Still looking for the best SERP tracking tool for you? Check +35 reviews here.

Zapier.com

  • 1,648 pages
  • 383,338 visitors per month

TheHappyPuppySite.com

  • 1,496 pages published
  • 645,784 visitors per month

NextLuxury.com

  • 13,453 pages
  • 1,345,944 visitors per month

CreditKarma.com

  • 24,600 pages published
  • 7,768,510 visitors per month

How much should I budget to crush organic content distribution?

The cost to crush Google and turn organic search into a company asset is dependent on three things.

The number of pages you need to publish

We’ve been using ClusterAi internally for over a year.

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

Most grouping tools do this by grouping semantically similar words.

But ClusterAi crawls Google for each keyword and groups keywords that have 3 or more URLs in common into unique pages.

Get our Content Ops Framework 

When three or more URLs or pages rank for a pair of keywords, that means we can probably rank for both keywords with one page also.

But if there are two or fewer pages that rank for both keywords, we probably can’t rank for both keywords with one page and will need to create separate content topics to rank for both keywords.

Import thousands of keywords into ClusterAi and get back groupings based on actual search data.

The groupings include the main keyword, variations, and the number of monthly searches across all keywords in a group.

This ClusterAi is for the matcha boys at TenzoTea.com.

Automate your keyword research:

  1. Automate your B2B SaaS keyword research
  2. Automate your B2C SaaS keyword research
  3. Automate your affiliate keyword research

Required content quality

None of this works without content quality.

The timeline you want to publish in

Total Pages * Content Cost / Months

For example:

  • 100 pages of content
  • $150 per page
  • 5 months

100 pages of content * $150/page = $15,000 / 5 months = $3,000/month at 20 pages/month.

If you want to reduce risk to your production schedule, and only give each writer one article per week, you need 5 writers to produce 20 articles per month.

What’s the ROI?

The formula to understanding different SEO ROI outcomes is:

Total Monthly Searches * Click Through Rate * Conversion Rate * Average Order Value = SEO ROI.

We’ve reviewed hundreds of projects and built a handy calculator in Google Sheets to help us understand how driving large volumes of qualified traffic will translate into business success.

Get our SEO ROI calculator to forecast costs and ROI of a successful organic content distribution campaign.

Building Your Content Team

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

Our best content

Fat Graph Content Ops CommunityJoin 4,500+ systems focused content marketers and SEOs, and catch weekly AMAs with marketers from brands like Shopify, Intercom, Quora, Coinbase and more.

0 to 1,500,000 Organics Per Month: Without building backlinks or doing a bunch of technical BS.

How a 45 Person Content Agency Hires WritersWe spent 1,000+ hours automating our hiring funnel so you can copy us in 3 minutes.

How to publish 100+ pages/month of good content. Systems, process and staff you need to scale your publishing velocity.

Get 200+ Writing Candidates & Hire the Top 1%: Get candidates, test candidates, hire better writers.

Automating Keyword Research: AI perfect keyword research, without any SEO skills.

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Ranking Without Backlinks

How to outrank your better-funded competitors with bigger teams, bigger budgets, and more backlinks

In our previous post on how Google works, we told that out of the 65,000+ page 1 keywords our projects currently hold, we almost always have the lowest domain authority, least amount of backlinks, the smallest budget/teams, and the newest domains.

Across B2B and B2C.

SaaS, mobile apps, services, e-commerce and publishers.

Regardless of what type of business it is.

First, we’ll explain why. Then we’ll show you two dozen examples.

Why less authoritative sites with fewer backlinks outrank more authoritative sites with more backlinks

Google doesn’t publish schematics with how it works, but our experience indicates any of these three things will help you outrank stronger sites with more backlinks:

  1. User engagement metrics
  2. Referral traffic
  3. More internal links

Sometimes, you only need to nail one of these things to rank well, but the more competitive the target, the more important it is to nail as many of them as possible.

Better user engagement metrics

Google has 99.99% market penetration with Google Analytics, and they own 70% of the web browser market.

Google is at its heart, a big data company.

They would be absolutely foolish not to use data from Google Analytics, and even user data from Chrome to determine how users respond to one page vs another page.

If your page has a lower bounce rate, higher time on site, and more pages visited than your competition, that’s a pretty good indicator your page better services a user than pages with lower metrics.

And if you think about it, user engagement metrics much more closely measure user satisfaction and value than an easily gamed metric like backlinks.

Our goal with every page of content we publish is to provide more value than any other page Google could show.

By focusing on reader value, we should generate better UX metrics than a page that provides less reader value.

Referral traffic

Google has a kajillion pages in its index, and it’s discovering hundreds of millions of new pages every single day.

Most of these pages won’t ever be viewed by a real human.

So if Google notices (through Google Analytics) that your page is receiving a significant amount of referral traffic from other websites, social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email, or really, any other source⁠—that’s a pretty good indicator the page being viewed has value.

Whenever we push referral traffic from one of the above sources to a new page, that page tends to rank quicker than pages we don’t drive referral traffic to.

More internal links

Internal links tell Google how important a page is to your brand. The more internal links point to a given page, the easier that page is to rank.

The inverse is also true, the fewer internal links point to a page, the harder that page is to rank.

BrandChamp.io is ranking #1 for the most valuable keyword in their industry.

Check out the BrandChamp B2B SEO case study

It also has 37 internal links pointing to it.

Looking for the best SERP tracking tool? Get +35 reviews from the top 1% SEO agency here.

Higher click-through rates (CTR) from search

Through trillions of searches, Google has a really good idea of what percentage of clicks each page will capture based on where it ranks.

If users are consistently skipping over higher results to click on your page, that’s a pretty good indication that your page is better fulfilling a user’s search than other pages Google is showing, and Google will reward you with a higher position.

Generally, when we write our meta titles and descriptions, we aim for one of two things:

  1. More social proof than any other page ranking
  2. More contrarian than any other page

More social proof than any other page

How can we create more social proof than any other page ranking?

This requires really understanding who your audience is. How can we build more trust than anyone else while being limited to 155 characters?

In the case of Archive360.com, we’re highlighting some of the most famous brands in the world that trust us. The brands we listed don’t work with just anyone, and the fact they chose Archive360 means you can trust us too—we’re pre-vetted.

More contrarian than any other page

When everybody is going left, we go right. When everybody is going right, we go left.

Look at this example from Doggypedia.

Every first-page result is focused on how cute and cuddly Corgi Huskys are.

We went the other direction.

“Hey Reader, here are 3 reasons you SHOULDN’T get the breed of dog you’re interested in.”

Being more relevant

The more relevant you are to what a searcher is looking for, the easier it is to rank.

But, the real estate you have to drive relevance is precious and limited to:

  1. URL
  2. H1 / H2s / H3s, etc
  3. Meta title & meta description
  4. Anchor text on internal links
  5. Backlinks

You have complete control over 1-4, but #5 is trickier.

AnyLeads.com is outranking Hubspot for ‘Linkedin inmail templates’ because Hubspot isn’t as relevant as we are to the query.

They still rank well due to their incredible authority and well-written content, but in this case, being more relevant was enough to beat them.

More examples

As we said, 65,000 page-one keywords and our projects have less authority, fewer backlinks, smaller budgets, smaller teams, and newer domains than the pages we rank above.

This could be the longest blog post in the history of the internet.

So we’re going to limit it to a few dozen examples.

Outranking stronger B2B domains

BrandChamp.io

Need help with B2B SaaS SEO? Learn how we did it for BrandChamp.

Ambassador Program Marketing

How to create a brand ambassador program

Brand ambassador program examples

Brand ambassador program template

Successful brand ambassador programs

How to start a brand ambassador program

Learn how we helped BrandChamp outrank stronger, more powerful competitors and how we can help you with your B2B SaaS SEO campaign.

Archive360.com

Salesforce archive

Symantec enterprise vault

Mimecast alternatives

Ranking above B2C websites without backlinks

DoNotPay.com

Free trial credit card

How to sue uber

Ca DMV appointment

Uplay customer support

CampusReel.org

Need help with your B2C SaaS SEO? Learn how we helped CampusReel grow from 1,000 visitors/month to 166,000 visitors/month in 12 months.

UCLA dorms

Texas tech housing

VCU vs UCF

Compare colleges

College acceptance calculator

Need help with your B2C SaaS SEO? Learn how we helped CampusReel grow from 1,000 visitors/month to 166,000 visitors/month in 12 months.

Doggypedia.org

Corgi mix

Corgi memes

Husky Corgi mix

Husky mix

Husky poodle mix

Forecasting the ROI of your SEO campaign

If you think organic search is a viable acquisition channel, your next steps is to forecast potential impact on your organization.

Use our SEO ROI calculator to model varying levels of outcomes.

Our best content

Want to learn how we’ve grown 4 websites from approximately zero to 100,000 visitors per month?

We share it all.

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

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How Google Actually Works

How Google (really) Works

Learning how to generate business impact from organic search effectively is hard.

Like really hard.

Most people who try fail.

Those that succeed did so accidentally and aren’t entirely sure how to reproduce their success.

Why is that?

It’s due to two reasons.

The first reason is that you don’t know the credentials of the person from whom you’re taking advice.

And the barrier to entry for giving bad advice is zero.

And the second reason is that even great SEO professionals make SEO a whole lot more complicated than it needs to be.

I’ll give you a great example.

When you Google ‘ranking factors,’ the #1 post is from Brian Dean.

Brian Dean is a big deal in SEO.

He is up there with Rand Fishkin and Matt Cuts in name recognition.

And his article lists over 200 different factors that can impact your rankings.

When you’re learning how to crush organic search and you stumble across this article, it makes SEO sound really hard.

200 ranking factors!

How is anyone going to find the time to learn 200 different things just to rank in Google!

They think, welp, time to give up.

Or maybe they try to start implementing some of the ranking factors they find and give up because it’s too technical.

But the truth is that Brian Dean didn’t list those rankings factors because they actually matter, or because they’re things he worries about.

He listed those 200 ranking factors in that article because he knew that one of the most effective things you can do to rank higher is writing more content than the pages currently ranking.

Why does writing more make it easier to rank?

Because longer content generally has better user engagement metrics than shorter content.

Let me back up a second and explain.

Like I said above, the barrier to providing bad SEO advice is nearly zero, so allow me to cover my credentials briefly.

Content Distribution has over 65,000 first-page keywords right now across the projects on which we’ve worked.

And we consistently rank above pages which are on more authoritative domains and which have more backlinks.

Here is one of 65,000 examples:

Get 25+ examples and 5 tactics we use again and again to rank above competitors with higher authority, larger budgets, and more backlinks.

For folks who aren’t exactly sure what you’re looking at:

  1. That is a screenshot from the #1 SEO tool, Ahrefs.
  2. The ‘DR’ column stands for ‘Domain Authority’ and is Ahrefs proprietary measure of how powerful a domain is. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter are 100s. The site you created yesterday is a 0.
  3. The backlinks column is how many backlinks Ahrefs has discovered that link to the page highlighted, brandchamp.io/how-to-start-create-a-brand-ambassador-program

So why does BrandChamp rank above pages with more backlinks, and more authority?

Well, it’s because you’ve been lied to.

Backlinks, complicated technical concepts, and 99% of the ‘ranking factors’ listed in Brian Dean’s article don’t actually matter much.

That’s because Google’s goal isn’t to show the page with the most backlinks.

Google’s goal is surprisingly intuitive.

Google’s goal is to show the highest quality, most relevant search results for any given keyword.

Why?

It’s because Google generates 100 billion dollars per year from Google Adwords.

That means a 1% loss in market share represents over a billion dollars in high margin revenue and potentially a further erosion of market share and revenue.

So Google has a fiduciary duty to maintain its reputation as the best search engine.

And how do they do that?

We do that by consistently providing the highest quality, most relevant search results for any given search query.

So, let’s continue to think through this for a second.

What’s a better heuristic for whether a piece of content is higher quality and more relevant than other pages that Google could show for a given keyword?

  1. Backlinks?
  2. User engagement metrics (time on site, pages visited, bounce rate, overall site engagement, etc.)?

Well, Google knows that backlinks are easily gamed.

It’s all SEO guys talk about.

Backlinks this, backlinks that.

Backlinks, backlinks, backlinks.

There are over 16,000,000 search results about how to get backlinks.

And when you really think about it, sure, backlinks can be a heuristic for relevance and quality.

That’s because good quality content should attract more backlinks (naturally or via outreach) than lower-quality content.

But ultimately, user engagement metrics more closely measure the quality and relevance of a piece of content.

If you spend as much time in Ahrefs as we do, you’ll notice that the first time you hit the first page for an important keyword, you generally don’t just stay there.

Google bounces you on and off the first page a few times before you end up sticking somewhere.

What’s happening here?

Why does Google do this?

Google is testing and stack ranking your user engagement metrics against the other pages it could show.

When you stick on the first page, it means that you’re ultimately servicing the searcher better than pages below you.

That means your user engagement metrics were better.

And when you bounce off and stick on the second page, or maybe the third, it means you didn’t quite hit the mark with your content.

For some reason, your content didn’t quite answer the reader’s question as effectively as the content that is sticking on page one.

Even when you do stick on the first page, every once in awhile, you’ll bounce off before returning to it a few days later.

That’s Google making room on the first page to test another piece of content that it found and that it believes might be a viable candidate.

How Google actually works is GREAT news for you

Why?

Because it means that crushing organic search and generating a ton of business impact is accessible.

You don’t have to be a technical wizard (I’m not).

And you don’t have to rely on figuring how to convince (or pay) other people to link to you.

  1. You know your industry well.
  2. You’re not an idiot.
  3. It’s likely you already have all the skills you need today to create higher quality, more relevant content than the pages Google is currently showing for the keywords you want to rank for.

You just need someone to show you what actually matters.

Learn how to turn any writer into an SEO content writer (even if neither of you have SEO experience)

More good news

When you create content that is higher quality, and more relevant than that of your competition, instead of relying on backlinks and complicated technical concepts, it means your site is algorithm proof.

Sometimes, Google pushes an update, and everyone freaks out about decreases in traffic.

Meanwhile, you’re continuing to see improvements in traffic, rankings, and revenue.

Because ultimately, Google’s goal with each of their algorithm updates is to better surface higher quality, more relevant content to its users.

So what are the important ranking factors?

We’ve achieved our 65,000+ first page keywords by focusing on three things:

  1. Writing higher-quality content than other pages currently ranking
  2. Optimizing that content to be more relevant to the keyword we want to rank for
  3. Internal links

Quality

Higher-quality content provides more value to the reader than lower-quality content.

That means better answers to the searcher’s question.

The way you figure this out is by Googling the main keyword you want to rank for, reading the pages that are missing and:

  1. Identifying things they didn’t cover that they should have
  2. Identifying room for improvement in terms of angle. Should they have provided more detail, or maybe less detail in a particular section?

But that’s quality from a user’s perspective.

Google doesn’t understand quality the same way as people do.

Google isn’t an AI (yet), and Google can’t naturally understand whether a piece of content is better than another piece of content until they’ve checked the user engagement metrics.

But, through trillions of searches, Google has been able to develop a model of the characteristics that content with better user engagement metrics has that content with poor user engagement metrics lacks.

Let’s highlight this with an example.

If I showed you two pieces of content in a language you can’t read, which piece of content would you assume is higher quality, providing more value to the reader?

  1. The piece of content with 1,000 words in one giant paragraph?
  2. Or the piece of content with 3,000 words, a table of contents, lists (1,2,3), bullets, embedded pictures and videos, tables with structured data, internal links to provide more context, and external links to authoritative sources backing up claims?

You would pick the second piece of content.

Even if it’s in a language that you don’t understand.

Google does the same thing.

When it crawls your site and discovers a new piece of content that has the characteristics of content with high user engagement metrics, it ranks and tests your page on the first page quicker than if your content is missing those characteristics.

So not only do we analyze the first page of search results to provide more value to the reader.

We also structure our content with the things that Google knows is a characteristic of high-quality content.

That means we write our content with more:

  1. Words
  2. Lists
  3. Tables
  4. Bullets
  5. Pictures
  6. Videos
  7. Internal links
  8. External links

Than any other page that Google is currently ranking for the keyword that we want to rank for.

And to be perfectly honest, sometimes just having the characteristics of high-quality content is enough to drive better user engagement metrics than other competitive pages.

That’s even true if the human evaluated quality is questionable.

Let me give you an example.

We work with ambitious, fast-growing brands much larger than ourselves.

These brands have the budget to hire the writers we need to produce the level of quality that the brand needs.

Learn how build a hiring funnel to find high quality writers at $0.05/word

But when we do our internal R&D projects for reverse engineering Google, we spend as little as possible on content:

  • We’re publishing 200+ articles and over 500,000+ words in just a few months.
  • We’re a young company with a finite R&D budget. The less expensive our content is, the more surface area we have for testing.

Regardless of the quality from an actual human’s perspective, the fact that it’s structured in a specific way tends to keep users engaged longer than content that isn’t structured in this specific way.

Relevance

Relevance means how relevant Google thinks you are to the keywords that you want to rank for.

The real estate you have to drive relevance is pretty limited:

  1. Your URL
  2. Title
  3. Meta title
  4. H1
  5. H2s
  6. Internal links
  7. External links
  8. Pages linking to you

#8 is hard to control, but you have 100% control over the other seven.

Becoming more relevant to a keyword that you want to rank for doesn’t mean you should be keyword stuffing everywhere you can.

It means using variations of your keyword in the areas you have available to you to drive relevance.

If I want to rank for ‘brand ambassador program,’ I’ll use that keyword in a bunch of different ways across the real estate that drives relevance:

Don’t ‘get cute’

Google isn’t a mind reader.

You need to be explicit in what you tell Google your content is about.

If you try and ‘get cute’ with the limited amount of real estate you have available, and that you can control, to drive relevance, you’re not going to achieve your desired outcome.

Here is an example.

Archive360 is a big data company.

The author of the blog post below chose to use their limited amount of real estate to drive relevance to keywords that are completely and utterly unrelated to their brand.

Example 1

The URL of this page is /dammit-jim-im-a-doctor-not-an-ai-healthcare-and-ai

And there is only one keyword this page is indexed for, ‘dammit im a doctor

What’s the best SERP tracking tool? Here’s our list.

Example 2

The URL of this page is /call-an-uber-for-your-medical-data

The keywords that this page is indexed for are related to Uber.

Internal Links

Internal links tell Google how important a given page is to your brand.

More internal links to a page lead Google to believe the page is more important to your brand.

Less internal links lead Google to believe the page is less important to your brand.

The more important Google believes a page is to your brand, the easier it will be to rank.

Remember that picture above of BrandChamp outranking more authoritative domains, with more backlinks for a highly valuable keyword?

That page has 37 internal links pointing at it.

That’s because we went through and linked to the ‘ambassador program’ page from 37 blog posts.

Learn how we helped BrandChamp turn a handful of key pages in their B2B SEO campaign into a $100k ARR marketing channel.

What Next?

Want to learn how to crush Google without building backlinks or doing super complicated technical SEO?

Check out these free guides

  1. https://contentdistribution.com/hire-writers
  2. https://contentdistribution.com/seo-content-writer
  3. https://contentdistribution.com/outranking-better-funded-competitors/

Work With Us

First things first

We only have time to work with ambitious brands that want the fastest seo results possible.

Use our SEO ROI calculator to forecast the impact of organic search on your organization.

Want to crush Google and appear everywhere your target audience is searching?

We deliver successful outcomes to ambitious brands again, and again, and again. If you want to be everywhere your target audience is searching, let’s talk.

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 over 500,000 after 17 months?

We share it all.

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

Rather do it yourself?

Get our systems, processes, and playbooks to build a content distribution system in your company. This program is built from the ground up to enable you to learn, delegate, and scale successful organic search outcomes for B2B SaaS, B2C SaaS and e-commerce brands.

Want to learn more about us first? Join our Facebook Group.

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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.

I’m not going to spam you.

I’m going to hook you up with the keyword research processes I use to:

  1. Turn any writer into an SEO content writer
  2. Rank over 65,000 keywords on the first page
  3. Generate millions of views

Then use the Ahrefs keyword research process until you receive my data-driven keyword research process via email.

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 we crush B2B SaaS SEO
  2. Brand Jacking (ranking for your competitor’s brands)
  3. How we crush B2C SaaS SEO
  4. Forecasting SEO ROI
  5. How Google actually works (based on 65,000 page 1 keywords)
  6. How to turn any writer into an SEO content writer
  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
  10. The greatest SEO case study of 2020: 0 to 479,000 monthly organic in 16 months

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