Technical SEO and strong brands.

October 17, 2017

Hey, welcome back Rankers. Weather is warming up in Melbourne. It’s racing season. Gardening. Got the veggie patch in. Everything’s growing. It’s going to be great, and then next month, off to Pubcon in Vegas where I hope to see a few of you there. Meet up with a few old mates. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the presentation that I’m doing there. I touched on it last week and I just want to follow up on a few more slides that I’ve added since then, but it’s more about brand and how brand basically overpowers everything. If you’ve got your technical SEO right and you’re doing your brand properly, then you shouldn’t have any problem ranking at all, but the hardest thing is getting the brand on properly.

Razor-sharp Branding

Some of you may remember, I think it was back in 2012, Dollar Shave Club launched. Awesome ad, funny as hell, and got heaps and heaps of coverage worldwide. Site went down, crashed because the ad was so good, or the video ad was so good, but the thing went viral. You can see here, this is a search in Google Trends for the word ‘shave’ and what we can see here is that one of the related topics is the Dollar Shave Club, and you can see here two of the top related queries, and this is a worldwide search, are both the brand of Dollar Shave Club.
Then of course, here is when they launched with a big splash and the brand has continued, and this is just Dollar Shave, has continued to grow in search. People are looking for the brand still after all this time. Now, their site, Dollar Shave Club, is interesting in that it is a dog’s breakfast. It is lots of sub domains, very messy, and they’ve got a lot of content on it, the sub domains. I don’t know whether that’s having any effect on these volumes but for me the only visibility I’ve seen of Dollar Shave Club hasn’t been their content.

There’s only one piece of content and that was their ad that they launched in 2012. The other content that I’ve heard since then has been ads on podcasts, display ads, Facebook ads, those sorts of things. I haven’t really seen any of their content so I don’t think the content had that much of an effect on this ranking. I think it’s more about the branding exercises that they have done. And of course, they are number one in the U.S. for the word ‘shave’.

Now maybe they should’ve called themselves the Dollar Razor Club because razors have a much higher volume of search, but to rank for the single word ‘shave’ is ridiculous and that’s happening because of the brand. Now some might say, “Oh well Jim, that’s an exact match domain, Dollar Shave, the word ‘shave’ is in their company name.” But no, it’s not. It is the strength of the brand that everyone knows and everyone’s searching for it and we can see that in Google Trends.

Popularity Drives Rankings

There’s their ad. If you haven’t gotten to see that, go and watch that, it’s funny as hell.

BloggersSEO is another one, right? BloggersSEO is a site that we built last year. We threw it together. We haven’t done a lot of work on it so far. It certainly needs its speed increased. There’s random blocking problems. There’s a lot of stuff that we have to do on it. Little things but we’ve been focusing on the back end first and getting the course right and getting all those things right for the users before we worry terribly much about Google.

But it ranks in … This is LA. It ranks in LA, page one for SEO System and we haven’t done any SEO work on it. The only work that we’ve done has been helping the bloggers get trained in SEO, so we haven’t done any SEO work on our part. We make sure we have page titles so there you can see it says “bloggersSEO System” and that’s why we’re ranking. Now that seems extraordinarily ridiculous to me because even though SEO System may not be a highly competitive phrase, I would’ve thought there should’ve been more sites above us than what currently there are.

We’re not optimising for it either but we’re just ranking there, right? When you have a look and see what’s happened to bloggersSEO over the journey, it’s gained 193 backlinks when I took this snapshot and I’ve done a post on ProBlogger and of course I did a post on StewArt Media and that’s the only outbound stuff that we’ve really done. The main thing that we’ve been doing with bloggersSEO is working with the bloggers on Facebook, and you can see here some of the anchor texts, you could start to say, “Well, this isn’t such a bad sort of looking anchor text. It’s brand related, it talks about some of the things that we’re talking about.” You would have to say, and when you look at the links, some of them are a bit scummy but most of them are okay.

You can see here, we’ve got 2,800 people in the Facebook group that are talking about bloggersSEO and I think that’s the main reason why it’s ranking so well is because it’s getting searched. People are looking for it, people are using it. All those sorts of things. Remember, earlier on this year, Google told us and I reported it at the time that, “URLs that are more popular on the Internet tend to be crawled more often to keep them fresher in our index.” Well, what does popular mean? A lot of people went … They saw that word ‘popular’ and they just went, “Oh, backlinks.”
No, it’s not and popular can mean a lot of different things. It can mean search volume, it can mean mentions on social, it can mean lots of different things and what we do know because we’ve seen this time and time again when this happens, this was a client last year. They went on national news on television and they had a spot on the national news on television with a huge traffic spike on the day but look what else happened, they had a huge crawl spike as well at the same time.
Now my theory behind that is that Google saw it was more popular. That site was more popular and people were searching for it. People were searching via organic traffic as it’s come through from that TV appearance. People weren’t going to the page. This wasn’t direct traffic. This was search traffic, so when your site is more popular, Google is looking at that, and I think, calculating it into rankings.

What we’re telling everybody now and what we’re working towards with most of our clients is obviously you’ve got to do your good technical SEO. You’ve got to get that right. You’ve got to do those things. Now as I showed you last week, that site that was number one had terrible technical SEO but their brand was really strong for the category. You’ve got to build your brand and you can do that with content.

Now I’m not saying don’t do content but what is that content? Dollar Shave showed it was an ad. It could be blogs, it could be weekly blogs, it could be daily blogs, depending on your audience, your demographic, who you’re targeting, what are they going to respond well to the most. If you’re a brand that’s got some deep pockets, then geez, just do some … I hate to say it, television advertising or radio advertising. Or just great display advertising or video advertising to your demographic on either Facebook or YouTube, but there is a role for brand agencies and this is what it is. When you couple that with your technical SEO, boom, that’s it. That’s all you need to do.
Now if you’ve got a great brand and you’ve got terrible technical SEO, then you may have problems ranking if everybody else in the same category has a strong brand and has good technical SEO. But essentially you’ve got to get your brand associated with the things that you want to rank for. That’s it for this week and we’ll see you next week. Thanks very much everybody. Bye.

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