Writing content for content's sake is no longer enough - it's time for marketers to think outside the blog. Last week's Business as Unusual webinar was a conversation with Crystal Carter, Senior Digital Strategist at Optix Solutions, who shared her recommendations for getting cut through in Search.
You can watch episode 6 of the Business as Unusual webinar from Thursday 14th May, 'Think Outside The Blog' below...
Jon Payne (00:00):
I'm Jon Payne. Welcome to Business As Unusual. This is a weekly session where we deep dive into how the likes of you and I as salespeople, marketers and business owners can stay productive, profitable, and at peace during the pandemic and whatever comes after. This week we're discussing why content matters more than ever and therefore why you should think outside the blog. We're joined by the queen of content marketing and much more besides, Crystal Carter. Hi Crystal.
Crystal Carter (00:30):
Hi there, Jon. How are you?
Jon Payne (00:32):
I am good. How are you?
Crystal Carter (00:36):
I'm fine. I'm fine. Just about, I'm doing, I'm doing my, I'm doing this this interview or this session as, as, as I would if I were an Instagram blogger. I'm holding my phone so that we can get on and talk about this important, important topic.
Jon Payne (00:53):
What we'll try and do is by the end of this, have a selfie stick delivered by motorbike courier.
Crystal Carter (01:02):
Yeah, I'll do one of these.
Jon Payne (01:03):
Classic. Crystal. You're a digital marketing strategist. What does one of those do from day to day?
Crystal Carter (01:09):
Okay, so I am a, well, I'm a senior digital strategist. Basically just means I'm a bit longer in the tooth with all of this. So I've been I've been doing digital marketing and marketing generally since about 2005. So I got a really, really useful English literature degree, which I took into a country where everyone speaks English and everyone's really impressed. And then I went and I've been working for lots of different companies, so I worked for a local government place. And then I also worked with, and then I've worked with TOMY, the toy company. It's like a second largest toy company in the world. So I worked with them for awhile in their sort of a European market. And I worked on, on on campaigns for Chuggington train. Chuggington chugga chugga chugga chugga Chuggington. Anyway,
Jon Payne (02:11):
Well, it's like the jingle singers are in the room.
Crystal Carter (02:17):
And then I've done and I've worked and I've been working with optics for the last couple of years. And I basically help clients do whatever they want to do on the internet. I call it like winning at the internet. So basically like I try to make sure that we wouldn't go on Google analytics. It's all green arrows. Like that's my favorite thing. And I do a little dance at my desk and and all of that. And what are the things that I love about, about digital marketing, about SEO, about you know, we do PPC. It's not my favorite thing in the whole wide world, but, but it's extremely useful and I like, and I think it's, it's really fun to sort of, when you get into it. But one of the things I like about all of that is, is that with some art, with sometimes when you're doing marketing, particularly when you're doing traditional marketing, which, you know, it's sort of where, where we all started.
Crystal Carter (03:05):
It's where I started. You sometimes it's hard to know, you know, if somebody saw that leaflet or if someone saw that poster or you know how many people exactly saw that television advert or whatever. But with digital marketing, like you've got clicks, you've got views, you've got, you know, time on page, you've got all of those sorts of really good indicators that are really, really useful. And you know, it's difficult to argue with. So if you have, if you have if you have that, then you can sort of show like, this worked, we did it and it worked and you know, we should do more of this. And so it's a lot, it's a lot clearer. So I really liked that and yeah, I do like I, I call myself like the web lady, so I'm, I tend to be fairly responsive with my clients.
Crystal Carter (03:50):
So whatever people need, like I'll help them with, generally speaking, my main, my main like thing is SEO because it's so encompassing, all encompassing. But if people need help with emails, if people need help with with paid search, if people need help with social, whatever it is, and I help with all of that. Oh, that's really good. So we've got a really rounded view of it with some real super knowledge about old school marketing and SEO as well. Yeah, I've done, I've done a lot.
Jon Payne (04:20):
So you're clearly into the fact that we can measure and we can report on stuff. What's your, what's your favourite bit of your day to day?
Crystal Carter (04:28):
Yeah. I like seeing results. I just like, I just like seeing can we swear? Okay, I like making the internet, my bitch. Basically it's down to that, so the other day or like a couple of weeks ago actually.
Crystal Carter (04:48):
Okay. So I've been working with a client on PPC and we've been doing tons of PPC. They got a new website and I was like, guys, this new website needs, we've got to do some stuff with it. Like you, you like, I'm doing PPC, but Oh my God, let me, let me, let me off the bench on this SEO please. And they're like, oh, now with all of the everything changing and you know, the world ending and the dynamic, all the blah, blah, blah. Basically they stopped their PPC, but they moved their spend to SEO.
Jon Payne (05:19):
That, that pay salaries.
Crystal Carter (05:21):
Right. I was like, fantastic. Like, let's like, like let me add it. So I get in there, I'm talking with the devs and like devs, this has this, this this site map is a mess. Okay. You're missing out a whole chunk of the website that gives you all of the you know, the expertise, authority and trust points.
Crystal Carter (05:36):
You know, like the, like the returns policy and like the, you know, the address for the business. Like Google is going to look at that and if they can't find that, they're going to know who are these people, what are they selling? Like we're, people shouldn't give them money because they don't even have an address. And so, so we talked to, so I talked to the devs and they redone on the web, the website or the sitemap so that it's dynamic. And it also includes all their images, which they're an eCommerce, like clothing shops. So you've got to have all the people in there. And then and also includes all these extra things and it's fully dynamic. We did that on the 28th of April. And since we also updated the homepage and which is another content point. And since we've done that organic's up 50% compared to the time before and, and as far as traffic revenue from organics at 25% and like that's even within this, this time and that's even within a fee and they tend to cater to a market that is their, their general market is, is that market that's been quite affected by that, all of these changes. So
Crystal Carter (06:40):
Yeah, like I like seeing that,
Jon Payne (06:44):
I'm looking at my watch looking at the date, it's like an account seeing the date cause I got the wrong glasses on, but it's like that's like under three weeks and you're seeing 25% revenue increase form SEO. Yep. I mean correlation, causation. Yeah. It correlates really heavily with you doing all the right stuff and fixing the hygiene level stuff and then going that extra level bit further. Wow. That's really cool. That. That's also my favourite bit when people go... for me, and this is probably why I'm bald, but just like getting patted on the head and told good boy, it sounds like you are a bit more proactive. You're making things your bitch. I'm, I, I'm not so good at making stuff my bitch.
Crystal Carter (07:24):
Well, no, I think, I mean I think that's, again, that's the other thing I like about Google. It's like even if the client doesn't necessarily see like the little tiny uptake or whatever, like the analytics will tell you, like, you, you're up this much percent. Or like, you know, search console will tell you, you know, your impressions are up that much percent. Oh, that was the other thing on this particular one, just to like, I'm just super excited about this by the way. Like the click through. So, so the, the impressions went down and the total impressions went down, but the clicks went up, our click through rate went up, went up to the highest ever for the whole site in the last like and I'm like when and they dropped from 28 to 15 in their ranking, their, their like domain ranking like, but yeah, so that, that's what I like and I will do a happy little dance for myself. And, and yeah, I like the, I don't mind who pats me on the head, the clients or if it's or if it's Google or whatever. But like I like seeing that, that's what I like.
Jon Payne (08:23):
Nice. Nice. I think it's clear to all of us that you like ... man making the internet. My bitch. That's just so perfect. This is going to be great because we're going to try and think about how the lovely people who've joined us on the call can do that and think outside the blog was a really good title of yours. But the more I talked to you, the more I realized why that is. Because while content and that kind of stuff is King or key or whatever it is you want to say, actually you've got a lot of ideas outside of that. And I'm really excited to get into that and this morning, this morning, this afternoon. Well, hey, you could be watching this on again, so maybe it's this morning for you. But if you've been to Business as Unusual before, you know that we look at three things. We look at the lack of money that people are suffering from and, and you know, that's not going to go away for the next 12 months. Probably there are some high demand industries and great, but most of the people I come across are talking to me about the fact that their discretionary budget is gone. So they need to figure out how they can handle that. We talk about the abundance of uncertainty. And then we talk about the opportunities that are available either now and Crystal has just explained one of them that she is getting for our clients, her clients. And then maybe what's coming after? I mean either that Crystal or we could just talk about the last dance documentary for half an hour
Crystal Carter (10:02):
I mean, I can talk about MJ and all those guys for you know, eternity. It's also got a fantastic soundtrack.
Jon Payne (10:12):
Oh yes. They keep picking like they, they, every time he walks in to like a pickup game or to you know, a play off or whatever highlights they're showing.
Crystal Carter (10:25):
Jon Payne (10:26):
I don't know whether they're slowing down his walk or speeding it up to normally slowing it down, I guess. Slightly, but he seems to be stepping in rhythm to whatever of the favourite old school gangster tracks that they've got back it up.
Crystal Carter (10:41):
Also like, I'm just generally a fan of like people walking in slow motion. Like I love Peaky Blinders for the same reason. Like, literally, like Cillian Murphy comes down that hallway with his flat cap and I'm like, yeah, he's walking places like.
Jon Payne (10:57):
Ah, this is going to be lovely. Right. Let's stop talking about that nonsense and get onto sharing your, some of your ideas with the guys that we've got. So before, before we do that we wouldn't be doing this together, although man, I'd pay to be in your presence regardless, but we wouldn't be doing this if we weren't being paid to be here by something. So we'll get the adverts out of the way to begin with. Crystal is joining us from Optix Solutions. Tell us about how you help your clients.
Crystal Carter (11:32):
Yeah, so we are a full service sort of digital marketing agency and web design and web development. So we, so the team that I, I'm mostly, I'm in the digital marketing team, so you know, PPC, SEO, CRO, all the acronyms, alphabet soup all that stuff. And we, you know, make people get more clicks, get more leads, all of that sort of stuff. And then we also have a very very clever team from our development team. So they build, they're building websites. The, our lead developer is a, it's a guy called Jack who's 23 years old and is like literally like the smartest guy I know. And they're fantastic. What I really love is when we were able to do projects where we do the website and the, and the DM because then we can respond really quickly to changes. So like if there's like we had a client who was a a recruiter and when we, when we were talking about building a site, Google for jobs didn't exist. Yeah. The Google job board didn't exist. And then after we built it, like right after we built it, Google for jobs did exist. And so we'd routinely just responded quickly and updated the site for them without having to deal with plugins and like all sorts of, you know, clunky things like that. So really love all that. And they're doing really cool stuff with like Python and, you know, Content delivery networks and all sorts of like whizzy stuff, which I just love seeing all of that, even if I don't understand every working bit of it.
Jon Payne (13:03):
As long as it's a component in bitch making of the internet. Wow. Cool. So that's one lot. The other people who are bringing you this is Noisy Little Monkey. Which we're, we do B2B business growth and cutting costs through good SEO, marketing automation and sales enablement. I'm not going to go on too much about that because most of those people, as far as I can make out, have been on this call plenty of times and don't need to hear me prattle on. But we do normally start with some interesting stats to give us some context. And by the way, everybody in the chat, please fire questions in there. We'll answer them as we go. We normally get to the end of this and either people are too shy to ask questions or we've run out of time, so ask questions as we go.
Jon Payne (13:52):
But while we're getting started where we were? And I said, it's actually something I spoke with Carrie from Rise at Seven about, is obviously this Backlinko bit of content that they put out where they've reviewed nearly 12 million Google search results. And we were looking, and a lot of it was about the backlink signals, but actually given what we're talking about today, it makes sense to be, to have to have a look again at this stat, which is comprehensive content strongly correlates with higher rankings. And so by comprehensive content what would, what would you, I mean, I can go on for ages. I'm an old white guy on a webinar. Crystal, what would you describe, what's comprehensive content in your view?
Crystal Carter (14:42):
So comprehensive content is content that, that answers all the questions that people are asking. And that isn't shouting into the void. So one of the things that, or, or if we're swearing isn't pissing into the wind so, so basically like you shouldn't be making content just to hear yourself speak. You should be making content that people are actually looking for and that people like that it's answering a question or, or satisfying a need. So even if that need is silly, even if it's like, you know, to have a laugh, that's fine, but also, you know, you should make sure that the, the, the content satisfies a need. So that Backlinko study is actually a really good example of comprehensive content. So, you know, they, they've done a lot of research. They've presented it in a useful manner. They have and, and they have included loads of links and loads of resources within it. And they have established themselves as experts in their field in order to, to explain why people should talk to them. And that is something the, why people should talk to you is something that's really, really important for, for, you know, not only for the domain, you know, for the, for the, the content that you're making, but, but for your domain as a whole and for your presence as a whole. So, I think one of the things about thinking outside the blog is, so with the, with the Google, like with the recent Google update, right? That happened May 4th, they, and, and also with the one before that and the one before that, the thing, the thing you're constantly seeing is Google is basically just like, like weeding out people who don't know what they're talking about, and they're weeding out people that don't, that may very well know what they're talking about, but haven't demonstrated it either onsite or offsite. So it's great to have loads of content, but if you don't know what you're talking about, then like nobody cares. Right? Like, and why should they listen to you? So I had a look at it. I was looking through I think I sent a, sent a link to Claire, which I hope she'll be sharing with the group. So it's another example. So another example of comprehensive content. Lily Ray did, did an analysis of 550 sites that have, that were affected by the recent Google update. And I went through and I had to look at them. Oh yeah. Claire. Said she'll send it. Thanks Claire.
Jon Payne (17:23):
She doesn't know that I asked you to say that, so that she would demonstrate that she was still awake.
Crystal Carter (17:34):
Hi Claire. Definitely listening. Hi. So yeah, one of the things, I had a look at that, and there was, there was, there was the New York Post, right, which is a perfectly reputable a content producer. They they dropped 35%, so they had a 35% reduction after the, the Google update. And if you go on their website, they've got plenty of comprehensive content, right. They've got tons of tons of articles and I know lots of people that I've, that I really rate who, who share their content all the time. However, if you go on the New York post, and this is again, this is one of the reasons why I think this is a really important topic now is because it doesn't cost anything, right? But to to make decent, to back up your content with like clout, right? So the, the New York Post has no about page.
Crystal Carter (18:26):
Like if you go to the New York post, there was no about us page. Like there's not a thing that says, you know, we have an office in Manhattan and you know, Jeff works here or like does it like does it, there's no, there's no nothing. There was another one, it was like media media light or media or something like that. And again, it had a really thin content page. There was another one called Boost. It was sort of like a, I think it was like medicine.net or something to that effect. Yeah, I went through their about page and their about page is like this is our ethos, this is our content policy, this is when, these are the people that write for us. These are the people that verify it. This is what our, you know, this, this is where our office is.
Crystal Carter (19:06):
This is what it looks like. Like this is what I have for breakfast, this is my mom. Like this is like all of the, all of the things. So, so you know, there's, within your content. So yes, of course your blogs are really, really important. And making content is really, really important. But Google needs to be able to trace it back to you, right? And Google needs to be able to verify that you are who you say you are and that you know the things that you say that you know. Yeah. So, so as well as having an about page, for instance, on your home page, there's a really, really simple little thing that I do literally for every single client that I get as soon as I get them. Which is on your homepage, you need to add your schema for your, for what kind of business you are, right? So if you and you can do your organisation or you can do, there's, there's special ones for lawyers. There's special ones for like NGOs or charities or that sort of thing. You're, you're like, I know all of this.
Jon Payne (19:58):
No, no! Sorry, active listening! I can't but nod.
Crystal Carter (20:02):
So Google ads shut down my ad set. I didn't see what that one said. What is schema? Okay. All right. Two things. Okay.
Jon Payne (20:13):
We'll come back to the ads one, Janine, and if we don't cover it, we'll get, we'll get in touch and we can help you out with that. Not necessarily in a commercial way.
Crystal Carter (20:22):
So, okay. So schema, schema markup. You, you, everyone here has seen schema markup. You might not know what it is by name, but you've all seen it. So if you've ever looked up vegan chocolate cake recipes, as I do a lot then, you will see those little recipe cards, right? And they'll say, you know BBC food Nigella's chocolate cake recipe, four stars you know, Jamie Oliver, four stars, blah, blah, blah, blah, all that sort of stuff. All of those little recipe cards. Those are all schema markup. Whenever you, if you look up like Cisco systems, the network engineer people, which I'm sure we all have, and we spend lots of time on the Cisco stuff all the time.
Jon Payne (21:03):
I'll just do it and I'll gaze at those results.
Crystal Carter (21:06):
Go look at those network stacks.
Jon Payne (21:11):
Genuinely because I'm old school. Anything with a blue LED, cause they didn't use to exist when I started in this job. Man. Blows my mind.
Crystal Carter (21:21):
So quick, quick tangent that, the quick tangent is, is I did some schema markup or no, I did some keyword research for a firm that does network engineers. Like service network engineers. So they do their server towers and stuff like that. And they, they had, so I had to do keyword research. I was looking at, looking up lots of stuff from network engineers and I found this picture of Flo Rida, you know, the guy who thinks that Apple bottom jeans and just like doing a selfie with like a gang of network engineers. He played at some conference or something and they've all got on their lanyards.
Crystal Carter (21:53):
So now every time I hear that song, that's what I think of is like network engineers. But that, yeah, to come back to it. So yeah, being able to verify who you are. So your schema markup. So if you go to Cisco, if you look up Cisco systems on Google, then you will see you will see a knowledge panel on the side and it will say like Cisco systems and it'll have their logo and it will have their address and it will have their CEO and it will have like little, little things that say their, their social things and all that sort of stuff. That's, and that's because they have that, like that information is on their site, in their schema markup. The other thing that's good about this is that it's that you can add your social channels.
Crystal Carter (22:35):
So let's say your website doesn't get very much traffic, but you're huge on Instagram, right? Or your network doesn't, your website doesn't get that much traffic, but you're, you've got a, you've got a video on YouTube that's had tons and tons of views that is particular to your niche. Before it can, it has been tricky to sort of connect those things. But if you add that schema to your, to your to your website, then you then Google can connect those things and it will give you a boost and it will get your, give your site more more credibility because Google can verify that those things are connected because you literally, literally within the schema it says same as, right. So you say like you know, Cisco system, same as, at Cisco systems on Twitter or on Instagram or whatever it is.
Crystal Carter (23:21):
So that helps give you, give you a boost in it. And, and I've seen this you know, seeing this happen time and time again, again, another, another really easy way on, on credibility at content stuff is your Google my business. Which is like so key. I've had so many people have had that verify. And again, that keeps you, that gives some grounding of who you are, where you are, what you do, and you can add in keywords and all that sort of stuff. Super useful. Oh, they're there. Hi. Hi Alistair. So yeah, so these are, these are really, really useful. So, so as well as making content that's, that's that is, that shows your expertise. You should also be able to back that expertise with your authority and again, with, other ways that you can do that is to also reach out and make sure that your profile is, is accessible. So things like your, your LinkedIn and things like like connecting with other, with other platforms by like say like Quora for instance, to answer questions on Quora is really good. And I think we talked about Backlinko, another person who's one of those kinds of guys is Neil Patel and he's all over Quora.
Jon Payne (24:31):
Yeah, definitely. Kind of have to beat him off with a bit of a stick. Neil! I've heard your answer. Let someone else speak!
Crystal Carter (24:41):
Right? Oh, so Quora is Q. U. O. R. A. The Quora is a really good, it's a website where people ask questions and answer them. And in whatever niche you're in, there will be people asking questions and answering them on their end. And if you run a business, you're almost certainly the, an expert in your field because otherwise what you doing and so, so you and, and even if you're learning, there's always going to be somebody who's, who hasn't learned the thing that you know yet. So, so you know, if you're, if you're able to answer those questions on Quora and make your profile, the other thing that's really useful is that Google has recently made the nofollow backlinks hints, which means that that adding those backlinks and putting your profile on those sorts of things is really useful. So yeah,
Jon Payne (25:30):
I think, I think nofollow always been, regardless what Google say, which is often how, a lot of discussions start, regardless of what they say. Yeah. And I've got nothing against Google. Apart from their inability to pay tax, but regardless of what they say, I think like stuff like nofollow, no index. Well nofollow, definitely has always seemed to me to be an advisory like wants you to nofollow ads. So we'll, we'll probably come out of this, do a deep dive into like a, a link thing. But but that nofollow thing. I think so because actually it's something Nic said, who's not now on screen, but she was up here when I was having a conversation with Crystal earlier. Nic, my partner who is, who's the Managing Director of Noisy Little Monkey, she said years and years and years ago, she said, cause she came into this from the civil service and she was like, that I don't, don't really understand this SEO stuff.
Jon Payne (26:23):
And I, you know, after about two years of her actually doing SEO stuff and going, Oh, it's common sense, broadly speaking, with a bit of marketing nouse. And a bit of geekiness, she said that she was doing a talk at this place and she just came out with this thing where she said, well, the whole algorithm for Google is, it's just a proxy for human trust. Yeah. It's not trying to, it doesn't, don't want you to game the system. It doesn't really do anything. But like, just like you're describing all of those little signals are just things that, that real humans want to know. Okay, who is behind this? And if I go and look at their LinkedIn profile, are they connected to loads of people who are in a similar sphere and seem to be, do they get recommendations and do those recommendations look legit or do they all look like they're from, you know, hundreds of miles away from this little local cafe and Google's just trying to do that, right. Oh, that's what the algorithm is. Yeah. Or seems to be, or the algorithms, obviously we don't know how it works. Neither do they anymore. They just have to tell us when it's wrong.
Crystal Carter (27:28):
They, whenever they have an update, they always refer to there to this document from like two years ago that says, just make great content. And you're like, what do you mean? What do you mean? I'm like, I don't know, just make great content. And and they also talk about their quality rater guidelines, which is what they tell their, the humans, the humans to, to look for. And all of those things say that you should have main content that is, that is thorough. That is clear. And also that, that you should be emphasising your expertise, your authority and your trust. And trust comes from, you know, being transparent. Authority is, you know, people who, you know, if you're, if you, if you have, if you, so I have a client who, who got hit by the January update and then, and then they got, they actually got a boost off of the March update because we did a lot of work on their authority, so they previously didn't have, I think they're like, they're BSI certified, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And they, and they are very authoritative. They know all of the stuff. They are completely like up to, you know, they're fantastic.
Jon Payne (28:31):
Or they were just failing to demonstrate that online.
Crystal Carter (28:34):
On their site. Exactly. So, so I was like, here's a link to their BSI thing or whatever. And this time they got a 5% boost. Which is really, really useful. So, so yeah, I think that that's, and like that sort of stuff doesn't cost tons of money. Like that doesn't, when we talk about money, uncertainty, opportunity. So the opportunity is, is you know that you tend to boost the you know, your presence by making these genuine connections. And between things, the work you've already done, you know, like if you're, if you are CIM certified, then put that on your, put that on your page. Like if you are, you know, and put that on your LinkedIn and put that in, you know, if you've got you know, if you've won awards or if you've even written up somewhere, you know, put those things on your, on your website. And things, you know, and with the uncertainty you know, having...
Jon Payne (29:22):
Well, let's see, let's, let's not go too far into uncertainty and opportunity. Let's come back to money. Yeah. One of the things that you, you mentioned there was the CIM, the professional associations and all of that kind of stuff. Well, and the reason I wanted to grab you before we went further on partially was because we so often talk to, to our clients, be they big or small and they look like we've got a ranking problem or whatever. Right? And so we're looking at their website and it technically it's okay and there's hundreds of factors all over the place. You and I know that, maybe not everybody knows it in quite the detail. But there's hundreds of factors and then what? And then you go, Oh, but we, when we looked, looked up your name, we saw that you were, you know, you're a fellow of the Digital Karketing Center and you're a member of your Local Chamber of Commerce and the British Chamber of Commerce.
Jon Payne (30:13):
And actually you've got, you're also a member of the British Chamber of Commerce in, I don't know Beijing and none of those have links or architects. They've all got links, they've all got hold for your website and no one's bothered to fill it in. You just pay the subscription or architects or any professional body that have a directory. I see those all the time. And they're like that. Yeah. It's very hard for us to get backlinks and I'm like, well you've got 50 people who've got a link from RIBA. All you need to do is, maybe you create the page for that person because that can, it's as a better trust signal than just linking to your home page. But if it's, you know, Darren Stevenson who's one of your architects and he's got all of his RIBA stuff up to date. Well, stick his LinkedIn in there and stick in his about us, about me page on your website. And then if you still use schema and do same as, things start to really rock and roll, right?
Crystal Carter (31:08):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, and you know, that sort of stuff doesn't, you don't need to do a giant campaign for that. You know, you don't need to go. You don't need to do an extra ad spend for that. That is putting the work, the, the, you know, the time and effort that you've invested in, you know, becoming an expert or becoming a, you know, you know, good at your job, that's putting that to work online. And you know, you don't have to, you don't have to like to, you know, be obnoxious about it. You know, I'm the best, ever, you know, but just make sure that, that when people want to know whether or not you're the person for the job like that, they can see that. And, and, and that Google can see that.
Crystal Carter (31:46):
And so that, that helps boost everything that you do online. And, and yeah, that's really important. And I think that particularly, particularly now, again, with budgets being being tight and things like that you know, there's never been a better time to, to sort of, to sort of go through and, and make the use of those resources you know, in, in your team and everyone in your, you know, I imagine if you're at your, your company, everybody in your team is, you know, a rock star and you should, you should make sure that, you know, people know that.
Jon Payne (32:18):
Yeah, absolutely. One of the things we see is I'm just writing a quick message to Joseph to tell him this will be available on demand later. One of the things we see more for the professional services or anything or services like ours, like agency services that, that you and I do, is the about us page. And then being able to click on and see about them specifically when we look at the Google analytics for any law firm that has a page and a directory for their solicitors, the solicitor's actual personal profiles, as dull as they are and as appalling as the photos normally are, are the most popular pages. And that's always the one that they tell us they want to get rid of. We've got a directory, but actually we don't want the pages about the people because they're really difficult to stay up to date. And we normally just go, well, here's your analytics. We've not done anything yet, but these are the biggest converting pages on your website. They get the most traffic maybe from LinkedIn or from Google or whatever. But yeah, funny stuff.
Crystal Carter (33:18):
The other, the other thing about the, and I've done SEO for solicitors as well. And, and the other thing that's really interesting is that, is that the names of the solicitors are almost always ranking. Like they're almost always like number one. So if you get rid of those pages then and for, you know, for Jon Stevenson or whatever the, you know, solicitor at law, then you're losing a bunch of number one ranking keywords and that's just silliness. And, and also if you're, particularly if you're doing, if, if, you know, one of your acts as a team is to do lots of networking, you know, when we're able to socialize, but we can't do that. So lots of, lots of networking, then that's, that's a place to send people. That's a place to, to sort of, you know, bring, bring in you know, because because people will, particularly with with a a high contact service, you know, like a solicitor where it's quite personal or, you know, an accountant or whatever it may be. You're going to, making sure that you've got a good page that people can sort of find out more details about, about that person. That's absolutely, absolutely crucial.
Jon Payne (34:18):
Yeah. We, we, the, the, the there's always some exceptions that prove the rule. And the two, I've got three and one is the same exception. And I'm not gonna mention their name. But they're both still clients, who are currently clients of Noisy Little Monkey, two solicitors that we know share the name, their name with a porn star. So that's really difficult to make them rank that. But you know what, don't tell people just to search your name give out your LinkedIn details. And then the other one, I had accountant come up to me at an event once and he said, I've got a real problem where I don't rank for my own name and I'm like that, Oh, this is gonna be easy. You've got no index in your website or something. I'm like that. And what's your name? And he said, David Cameron.
Crystal Carter (35:06):
Jon Payne (35:07):
Yeah. And I'm not that. Well, wait 10 years.
Crystal Carter (35:14):
An initial! We could do an initial!
Jon Payne (35:17):
Alright, so Ian Harvey actually asked the question, do people really work on the, about us page? Does telling the story as a whole about the business not work generally? I think actually Ian, you ask a good question. Well what'd you think Crystal? I'm about to spout into that, but...
Crystal Carter (35:32):
I think yes, and this is what I think in my, in my experience. So so yeah, that's a yes and not a no but. I think basically people want to know the business and what's behind that. But, but you also need to know that. No, you know that you can find the people so that if somebody is looking up, you know if somebody, if someone's looking up looking up Claire Dibben and Noisy Little Monkey, that they can find her. And also yeah, having, having people on a site, I had a client who didn't have any of their team on their site. And I was like, you need to do that. Because again, people, Google needs to know that, that, that it's not that this whole site isn't run by some bot somewhere, you know? Yeah. You know that you're not just some, some egg person on, on Twitter. Like you have to be a real actual person and it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to have like, you know, every single social profile. You don't need a TikTok necessarily, but,
Jon Payne (36:26):
And you don't, and you don't necessarily need every employee, right. You, but you do want you probably do want everybody key. So we've got Chris Taylor has said it adds authenticity. Thanks Chris. I think Crystal and I agree. Ian Harvey has asked the age old question, does it not work as a poacher's charter? He asked that. I've never heard it put like that before. That is beautiful use. Thank you for that. You know what, I, I always say to people, what I always say as well, if they're going to leave, they're going to leave, they're going to get headhunted via LinkedIn, they're going to get head hunted via somewhere. Treat them well. Pay them okay. I said pay them okay cause I know Noisy Little Monkey people are on this call. Never pay them well!
Crystal Carter (37:16):
No kidding. No, don't do that.
Jon Payne (37:24):
Oh we're getting comments from them. I would say well, I would just because we need to move on, I'll be brief and say I think and we'll see where the Crystal agrees that if you've got a person of import on your page on your website. But I would definitely say that that, that should probably link to their LinkedIn profile. And I would also argue that their LinkedIn profile should link back to that personal specific page on your website because that's not a link popularity thing and it's not going to get your boost from Google for that, but it is going to help Google understand that entity, that human being that works for part of your business. You reckon Crystal, does that sound?
Crystal Carter (38:07):
Yeah, I absolutely do. And also also like, so for instance, let's say you've got Jon Smith at Smith's Solicitors or something like, well maybe not Smith Solicitors, I don't know Brown Solicitors or something. And they, and they, you'd have them on their page, your page now, your, your page ranks for that term. And your, and your, and historically Google knows that your page ranks for that term. Then that, that, you know, that history will stay there for a bit even if they move. The other thing is, is that if we're on LinkedIn, the history of their jobs
Crystal Carter (38:36):
Will show on there and your, and your firm will be listed amongst their, their job history. And so if there are people who are looking, because LinkedIn, LinkedIn shows up, LinkedIn pulls up lots of, lots of different results for your current jobs, your old jobs, all that sort of stuff. And, and even if they do move on to, and hopefully, hopefully if somebody does move on, they move on to something better and not necessarily better, but maybe not, maybe, maybe more high profile or something like that. You know, like a bigger firm or something like that. And, and that will again put you in that league that you're the kind of company that people, that people that you know is comparable to that, to that firm. So let's say, you know I know you'd go from, from, you know, Smith's Solicitors to like, you know, some bigger, some, you know, some like global solicitor firm or something like that, that, that your, that your team can, can compete, can make that jump, that speaks highly of you.
Crystal Carter (39:34):
You shouldn't be, you shouldn't be afraid of that. And, and also those you know, if you've got, if you've had those people building content on your website, you have those terms still on your, like, you know, their, their name's on your website. Again, that's, that's another thing that will help build the credibility for your team.
Jon Payne (39:51):
Yeah. Yeah. So what about some how do we deal with, so we, there were loads of ideas about utilising. So let me summarise briefly utilising your current professional memberships and associations, utilising your, any awards and all of that kind of stuff. Utilising your people pages and their I guess they have their social currency and in, in your sector some of the like some of the easy ways that you don't have to go and make a whole load of money, pay a whole lot of money to get people to do you can just make that happen right now. Anecdotally I don't have any data to support this other than thousands, probably hundreds of analytics accounts where when we do all of those things that we've just described, we will see a boost in rankings and okay. Correlation, causation. There might be all sorts of other things that happen, but the, the, being transparent sharing that stuff makes a big difference to your SEO in my belief. And also your conversion rate optimisation.
Crystal Carter (41:06):
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I've seen that. You know, I've seen, I've seen that, I've seen that happen. Both I've seen, I've seen it actually increase increase the, the conversions and increased rankings. For one client. I've also seen and for, again, again, for this last Google update, I had two clients who who, you know, who increased their, their ranking because, because we did this and I had another, and then I had another one who also increased their visibility when we didn't, we didn't update her about page, their about page was fine. But that, that schema stuff that I was talking about, with adding all of this sort of, with all of this sort of cross-pollinating, all of those sorts of social profiles and bringing those all together that we did that work for, for their site as well. So adding all of this, adding all of those sort of, you know I don't know, I don't know sure what the best word is for it is but, but bringing all of these elements together
Crystal Carter (42:05):
It can really make a difference and it makes all of the content that you make that much more, that much more valid and that much more important than that much more... and it helps you reach that reach better. And I think if I can go into the uncertainty point, building that trust now in a space where where you, where there's a lot of uncertainty and people aren't sure you know about what's going to happen and if they can trust you and if they know you and they can, they can verify that you know who you are, you know what you're talking about, you know what's going on, then that will, that, you know, that is really reassuring and that makes them more likely to, to go with you than to go with someone who is hiding behind, you know, not enough information who, you know, doesn't have any content out there. You can't find their LinkedIn page. You can't find a phone number or a face or anything on the website. You know, why would you in these, it means this, this, this state of state of play. Why would you sign up with someone like that? I wouldn't.
Jon Payne (43:03):
Yeah, exactly. Well, it's that age old adage people buy from people. And particularly even more so as, as we are all more savvy about making sure that we don't just go for someone who describes themselves as, you know, Global Corp and we can service all of your requirements for all of the things and simply send us the money to this address. Maybe that works in 2003 for about 10 minutes.
Crystal Carter (43:29):
Right. And I need to talk about the content point. Like that's another thing I think people forget that like reviews are content like most like, like, you know, and Google, Google looks at reviews for, for like for keywords and stuff. So like if you're on, if you're on like Amazon, most of the, if you're searching for something on Amazon, a lot of the times like you'll see, you'll see it because of the, all the conversations that are happening in the keyword. So, so responding to reviews for instance, is, is a really useful way to both increase content and also to increase your your your authority and expertise points. So people are asking you questions about your product or your services and you're saying we're the best and we can service and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then somebody comes on and they're undergoing, you know, I didn't get the thing that I wanted or they're saying or they're saying, what I don't understand why this is that way and you're able to respond to them on TripAdvisor or on or on Google My Business or or you know, Glassdoor or whatever, whatever those things are, whatever, you know, things come up.
Crystal Carter (44:28):
And then this is all, this is all helpful. Helpful stuff. And again, it doesn't cost money. It just takes time.
Jon Payne (44:34):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And hey, we've probably got more of it cause most of us are in lockdown. And actually that, that plays well to uncertainty, doesn't it? Making sure that you're getting reviews and even again, service businesses can get reviews. You can do, do it with automation a little bit. So send out your NPS thing that you, send out, that NPS email that you send out to everybody and anybody who comes back and gives you five stars on that, send them another email saying, review us on Google My Business. But don't send it to anybody who gives you three stars or below. A bit left field and not necessarily relevant to uncertainty. But Paul Marshall asks, should content be written in the first or the third person? And we're asking a literature graduate that, so I'm glad.
Crystal Carter (45:20):
Sure. Okay. So what I would say is that your content should be customer centric. My favourite. So, so always think about about both what, what you're talking about and why it's of value to your, of why it's of value to your customer. So one really good example, and they've, they've had to change. I know we've been rambling. They've had to change some of the content because of their, because of the the, the lockdown and everything. But The Gym group is they're, they're, the copy on their website is phenomenal actually. They may, and it's not very long. It's very snappy, but they, they, they, they explain a thing and they explain why it's of value. So they'll say, you know, we have lots of equipment so that you don't have to wait. We have, we're open all these, all these hours so that you can exercise anytime you want.
Crystal Carter (46:14):
We have this and that because of blah, blah, blah and you, and, and it goes all the way through, through literally everything they do. So I think you should make sure that it's customer centric at all times. You know, so that you're appealing to what your customers need. Don't just say we're great, we're a fantastic this is, this is amazing, you know, explain why that's important to them. You know, we've trained and we've, we've, we've, you know, we've been working on this project because we want to bring you something that's fantastic. You know, that sort of thing. So always make sure that you've got a clear understanding of your value.
Jon Payne (46:46):
Cool. Cool. We are going to run over by 10 minutes, about 10 minutes tops everybody, I think probably, sorry about that. I just love listening to Crystal's lovely lulls and her, her really good advice. The, yeah, customer centric content is great. Absolutely perfect answer to that first or third person question. Cool. Let's, let's have a quick look at what, so what's the opportunity, because we did, we kind of actually, we didn't really talk about money or uncertainty in that kind of specific way. We just kind of said here's a load of ideas you can go and execute tomorrow. But a lot of, a lot of, push back a little or not a lot, but we got some pushback, which isn't normally good because I like challenging that works. So if we, what opportunity are you seeing for people now and in the future, Crystal?
Crystal Carter (47:39):
So I think what we've been seeing is, is with all of the changes going on and with, you know, change being the state of play for the next few months there, there is an incredible opportunity with regards to content. So again, if you're able to, to demonstrate yourself as a trustworthy source, which I'm sure that you are, but as long as you're able to just, just, you know, to make sure that it's very clear that you know that you're trustworthy and that you're of use, then there, there are a lot of opportunities to be of service to your customers. So so I think, I think of like Joe wicks for instance, is a real temple, so, so I'd never heard of Joe Wicks before, before lockdown, but he is now providing, you know, a valuable, a really valuable service that is of use to people in this, in this time of uncertainty.
Crystal Carter (48:27):
We have clients, I have a client who's a solicitor client and they created a, you know, a knowledge hub that is particularly dealing with the questions that people are asking now about what's going on with the world now. And you know, last month I ran the numbers at the end of the month. Last month, one of their blogs had more, more hits then their homepage because it was ranking number one for three different terms, all about the... like higher than gov.uk, all about, you know, the important things for this time because they're talking about now. And I think the other opportunity I, I in the blog that I sent to Claire, is Google trends. So if you look on Google trends, people are, people are searching for terms that they've never searched before. So this is, this is like, this is like fresh, unfettered, you know, open field with regards to content and copy and that sort of thing.
Crystal Carter (49:22):
And obviously be tasteful and don't just like make up content for no reason, like be tasteful, be respectful of the situation and be of service to your clients. But you know, nobody was looking for like Covid or Coronavirus and there were very few people looking up herd immunity before all of this, lockdown. You know, there's all the quarantini, like there's all these new words that have emerged and all these new phrases that are social distancing, that's another one. You know, these are things that weren't in place before. So, so there, there are opportunities to help your clients because, because they need, you know, people need, people are needing help right now. People need support. People need, people need to feel reassured, need to feel that they can do different things or that they can, they can do the things they need to do.
Crystal Carter (50:09):
So yeah, there's tons of opportunities there. And I think in the, in the, the thing I shared that the blog I shared, I also share where you can find that sort of thing. So Google trends is a really good one. Also looking on the, on the history of your web pages search. So if people are coming to your website and they're searching for delivery and they're not finding it, then you should be doing delivery.
Jon Payne (50:29):
Yeah. Oh, I love it. I love it when site search invents new products or new ways of delivering service.
Crystal Carter (50:37):
Right? People, the people want it, give the people what they want. So you know, that's, that's really, that's a really, really useful one. And also I think I shared some other ones but I can't think of it on the top.
Crystal Carter (50:51):
If only your laptop wasn't sitting beside you dead.
Crystal Carter (50:53):
Oh. Do you have to remind me? I thought we'd been doing so well.
Jon Payne (51:01):
I think actually, but I think the funny thing is you've, you, one of the things you said in one of the emails you sent over was about making sure that people focus on the customer and you've, you've referred to that a couple of times. Or the, we tend to call it buyer persona cause we're HubSpot and that's the kind of language we use. We've, you've mentioned it a few times and actually when you talk about your solicitor company that you've got with great rankings, outranking gov.uk sites. Absolutely wonderful. But that, that content that you have encouraged them to create, cause I suspect you weren't able to write all of it. They normally have to get, get their little legal selves involved. But if you're able to create that content with your team that is relevant to your buyer personas right now, that's the opportunity right now to make money in the future.
Jon Payne (51:50):
Even if you're not selling them something right now, you're being conscious of their situation, I think. I mean that's just like, I mean well that fits me like a glove just cause that's how we operate. And there are lots of other ways that you can do it and just, you know, or you can game the system, but it just, none of it feels quite as authentic. And it's like, ah, do you want to look yourself in the mirror in the morning and go, well I just built some links and I can get away with that for another month and then I need to build some more. Or do you want to do great content that attracts links and, and you know, think about how Carrie Rose then takes that further and goes, well actually this is the content we'll do. See ya Paul, thank you for coming along.
Jon Payne (52:33):
What I'm gonna do is go and launch our next poll real quick before everybody goes. If you would like to talk to Crystal or myself further about this, click yes on that poll. If you wouldn't click no, that is fine. And then we'll follow up and we will try and book an appointment with one of us. So that's a carry on the conversation thing. We're going to, we are running over so I'm going to end it there. I suspect we'll have to have Crystal Carter, part two because you've got so much useful stuff to help us all. Thanks for coming, everybody. Go find @CrystalontheWeb. That's her Twitter. I'm seeing a lot of, a couple of calls for part two. Definitely. That's what we like. Crystal, thank you so much for joining us this week and giving us all of that useful info.
Crystal Carter (53:30):
Yes, absolutely. Thank you. Anytime.
Jon Payne (53:32):
It's, it's been a real pleasure. Next week guys, we have, Ayat Shukalry from Invest who knows so much about CRO. And her talk is more, is "Hope Is Not A Strategy". Well that's what we're going to be talking about. Lots of part two. Would be good. Sorry, lots of questions for part two with you Crystal. Early warning, we are running the Bristol HubSpot user group. It's going to be kind of an SEO content workshop cause that's what we're famous at HubSpot. So we're going to get some people along to do that. And if you want to see more of these and if you want to see, Chris, the recording of this one, go to that (noisylittlemonkey.com/blog/topic/webinars. We'll create a call to action that's that on our website one day, but we haven't got it yet.
Jon Payne (54:19):
And bookmark this, do not go there now and try and register for a for the next one because it's not up there yet, but bookmark this and please like and share any content that you found here. Share on Twitter. Share your favourite quote, attribute Crystal obviously. And subscribe to our newsletter because to get people like Crystal in the room to give you people great ideas, we need lots of people coming along. So share it with your mate, share it with your peers. And we appreciate you sharing your time with us today. We realise there's lots of webinars you could have gone to and you chose this one. Thank you. And thank you Crystal. Bye. Thank you.
Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.
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