Ray is the Co-founder and CEO of GinzaMetrics, a tool that helps enterprise level customers meet their SEO and content strategy needs. In this episode Ray talks about the trends in mobile SEO and what we should do in response to them.
TOPIC RAY COVERS
- What is Ginza Metrics about
- The trends in Mobile SEO
- What he should do in response to them
- What are the tools that help enterprise level customers meet their SEO
- What are the content strategy needs
- What SEO focus and evolved into more content and social as well as SEO
- What are the unique needs of an enterprise content strategy
- What are the SEO strategy or analytic strategies for small or medium sized business
- And a whole lot more
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READ THE TRANSCRIPTION
Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Actor TV, Bronson Taylor. And today I have Ray Grisly Huber with us. Ray, thanks for coming on the program.
Ray: Thanks for having me.
Bronson: I’m glad I pronounce your last name correctly so we can move on with the interview now. So, Ray, you are the CEO and co-founder of Ginza Metrix. So let’s start with that. Tell us, what is Ginza metrics.
Ray: In the metrics of the of content marketing.
Ray: Analytics platform.
Ray: So what we do is we unify a lot of data.
Ray: From lots of different things and.
Ray: Basically turn that into recommendations.
Ray: Marketers and agencies can use in order to improve.
Ray: The performance of their search campaigns, their content marketing campaigns on an ongoing basis.
Bronson: Okay, perfect. And we’re going to break down what all that actually means in a minute. But I don’t I don’t fully have my head around it yet from that description. I know it does some cool stuff. But before we get into the details of it, you have the Ginza metrics story on your about page. But walk us through kind of where this idea came from, why you wanted to create the product, Ginza Metro cause the pain you were solving there.
Ray: So I’m an engineer and I got into digital marketing about seven years.
Ray: Ago and another startup.
Ray: Where we did.
Ray: A lot of early kind.
Ray: Of cross-channel.
Ray: Analytics for.
Ray: CMO, and it was really my first exposure to CEO.
Ray: At that point in time.
Ray: And I.
Ray: Got a lot of really good.
Ray: Feel for.
Ray: What sort of.
Ray: Things people were dealing with.
Ray: Large scale search campaigns or companies. And so I decided to kind of drill into that more.
Ray: And then after that, I after I left that.
Ray: Company, I moved to Tokyo.
Ray: To hang out for a couple of.
Ray: Years. And when I was there, I.
Ray: Started this kind of boutique, interactive agency where I did a lot of work with.
Ray: Large e-commerce companies, brands.
Ray: Other agencies.
Ray: Did some work for them.
Ray: And really what I kept seeing was even though I was doing this consulting and, you know, this is going great, maybe partly being a product guy, I just saw a need.
Ray: For something.
Ray: That was.
Ray: Able to.
Ray: Function more as a platform that would.
Ray: Scale up to international levels and enable people to really get a handle on what decisions they could make. At the time, this was, you know, 2000 and 2009.
Ray: So much stuff was still happening in Excel and there like.
Ray: All these crazy teams of people, you know, like 20 or 30 people spending.
Ray: Weeks at a time trying to compile this data and.
Ray: Quickly, you.
Ray: Know, that that’s obviously a solvable problem. But then on top of that, really, I decided to focus in on long term.
Ray: Long term value, which is what are people really trying to.
Ray: Do with all this.
Ray: Data? And at the end of the day.
Ray: They’re trying to answer a couple of core questions about.
Ray: About what they should do for.
Ray: Planning their content strategy. And so that’s really what I’ve been focused on.
Ray: From day one. Obviously, we’ve evolved quite a bit since.
Ray: We launched, but that’s kind of been.
Ray: Our core value brought from day one.
Bronson: Yeah, well, let’s talk about how you evolved a little bit. You guys were part of the Y Combinator 2010 class, and I know that a lot of companies that go through Y Combinator, they have ideas when they go in and then they kind of get put into submission, you know, while they’re there and they leave with something slightly different. How close is the product when you guys left Y Combinator to when you began and maybe even how has it grown since then? And what are some of the big changes you’ve made to your philosophy or thinking or product?
Ray: Yeah, so I had a couple of.
Ray: Early customers.
Ray: On the Alpha platform before.
Ray: Going into NYC.
Ray: And so.
Ray: I knew that people would pay for.
Ray: Kind of related to what I was doing. And so.
Ray: During the.
Ray: Process of what I feel is actually revamping it to release a new cleaner code base that would actually scale up.
Ray: A little bit more.
Ray: And then right at the end of OCA launched the.
Ray: Code base, which obviously had changed quite a bit.
Ray: Since then.
Ray: And so what I released at the end of Y C was pretty close to what I started building.
Ray: Obviously some, you know, I got.
Ray: A lot of great feedback.
Ray: On the product.
Ray: From PG and a lot of the other people.
Ray: There, so.
Ray: Helped me refine it quite a bit. But the kind of core.
Ray: Functionality didn’t change.
Ray: Too much since then. I would say the.
Ray: Biggest change that we’ve done.
Ray: Has really been.
Ray: Moving much more.
Ray: Into incorporating even more data.
Ray: Sources like Social. We track a lot of social signals on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and everything.
Ray: Else to give people a comprehensive view.
Ray: On what.
Ray: Was happening and content marketing. You know.
Ray: Really as an.
Ray: Industry, I don’t know how much, you know, people had a chance to look into it.
Ray: But it’s something that companies are really struggling with. They’re spending a lot of money.
Ray: To integrate high quality.
Ray: And they’re even starting.
Ray: To shift really significant amounts of ad.
Ray: Budget a little.
Ray: Bit into this organic.
Ray: Content marketing. And so that that paralleled very nicely with what we were doing because we’ve always been about helping.
Ray: Create the highest quality content for search.
Ray: Ads. And so it was a very natural evolution. And so I would say from, you know.
Ray: Any, any.
Ray: Sort of growth has been along those lines.
Bronson: Yeah. So did you guys start kind of with an SEO focus and then evolved into more content and social as well as SEO? Is that a fair way to kind of see the trajectory there?
Ray: Yep. Yeah. When we launched, we were pure as.
Ray: Value proposition.
Ray: At that point in time.
Ray: Was basically we make it easier to.
Ray: Track your rankings, get recommendations about your content.
Ray: Your pages.
Ray: To perform better in search.
Ray: And then we.
Ray: Tie it all together with your analytics data. And that was kind of like.
Ray: The three elements of the application. And so. It’s grown into.
Ray: Much more of a comprehensive platform that.
Ray: Allows you to manage.
Ray: All aspects and really combine.
Ray: Your search and social networks in this kind.
Ray: Of content marketing.
Bronson: Yeah, yeah. I think that a company has to evolve in that kind of way for for this sort of platform. Or do you think you could have stayed just SEO purely and still had a little bit of market share? Or do companies really need to get into content and analytics to really serve their customers now, you think?
Ray: Yeah, if you look at where the puck is moving, it’s going to be about.
Ray: Content marketing for sure.
Ray: There is always going.
Ray: To be room in this industry for vertical solutions. There’s a number of.
Ray: Companies out there that will.
Ray: Only focus on rank tracking, for example, and they do a nice.
Ray: Job of that. But in for.
Ray: I think probably.
Ray: For certain types of.
Ray: Companies that they.
Ray: Their customers we work with, it just wasn’t going to be enough. And so we had to build this platform that would do.
Ray: Everything from all that stuff.
Ray: To reporting.
Ray: And workflow.
Ray: And automation and kind of deeper.
Bronson: Yeah, well let’s dig into the product because I’m not a user because it’s an enterprise level product. So I wanted to kind of know about how it works and what you actually do for your customers. But first, kind of tell us what are the unique needs of an enterprise content strategy or SEO strategy or analytic strategy that a small or medium sized business may not have? What is it that you guys are doing for them that they really need there?
Ray: Yeah, it comes down a couple of things. I would say. The first one is in a small company, oftentimes it’ll be like.
Ray: The CEO.
Ray: Someone very close to the top person.
Ray: At that company doing.
Ray: Most of the work.
Ray: They tend to be split out. They’re doing many different things and it’s a single job title.
Ray: And so you know that that’s fine, but it’s.
Ray: Harder to.
Ray: Scale when you deal with.
Ray: And we define an unprecedented type of company.
Ray: That is kind of like think 500.
Ray: I mean, they’re growing are seeing a.
Ray: Financial return from search marketing.
Ray: And from content marketing.
Ray: And what they do is to hire people.
Ray: Specifically to focus on is on these roles.
Ray: So you’ll have like our customers, our buyers and health are usually like.
Ray: Yes, your manager or the V.P. search.
Ray: Director of marketing.
Ray: That sort of thing. And more and.
Ray: More, everything.
Ray: That becomes.
Ray: Like the director of content marketing or, you know.
Ray: Marketing manager as well.
Ray: And so.
Ray: For them, it.
Ray: Becomes a lot of the processes tend to be the same.
Ray: The recommendations have to scale up to.
Ray: Much larger volumes of keywords and sites. A lot of times.
Ray: Companies will be managing dozens or hundreds of sites all around.
Ray: The world.
Ray: Or even in the U.S. And.
Ray: If there’s a scale problem.
Ray: There, there is kind of a reporting problem where people are being held accountable.
Ray: To hit certain metrics. And so we need.
Ray: To be able to show that they’re KPI.
Ray: They’re obviously correctly reporting everything that they’re doing and.
Ray: That they’re.
Ray: Hitting those and that their targets are in place.
Ray: And then really it’s.
Ray: Like an.
Ray: Organizational problem where.
Ray: Even if you’re espacio manager, you’re dealing with people, maybe external agencies and content production teams that you’re working with. You have managers that you have to report to. You have, I mean, maybe like branded communications people, you have.
Ray: Developers, web designers, everything else.
Ray: And so it becomes a very complex, very quick, very quickly.
Ray: And you know, the key thing about SEO is even though people think it’s.
Ray: Mainly about search engines, if you look at all the different things that you.
Ray: Have to do in order to.
Ray: Correctly execute on search and.
Ray: You really are dealing with like the fundamental kind of.
Ray: Foundational issues.
Ray: That are.
Ray: Key to your entire website and your digital.
Ray: Strategy. So it’s something that really forms that, that kind of a.
Ray: Foundation for everything you do. So that’s really if you.
Ray: Think about a Fortune 500.
Ray: Company trying to manage that at scale, you can very easily imagine how quickly that.
Ray: Becomes a.
Ray: Complicated thing to deal with.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. Now, walk us through how when you get a new client, what do they do to actually set up gains? The metrics, because I’m still trying to wrap my head around what exactly it does, what it’s showing me, what I’m inputting, what it’s outputting. So, you know, I sign up, I’m a new customer. What do I do by installing scripts on all my sites and is tracking stuff? Is it something different? What does the dashboard look like? What am I getting from it? Tell me what the actual product feels like when I’m using it.
Ray: Sure. So signing up is a.
Ray: Pretty straightforward process.
Ray: Takes about 5 minutes.
Ray: To get up and get up and running. So we don’t.
Ray: Require you to install any additional.
Ray: Tags on your site.
Ray: That was something.
Ray: That people.
Ray: Told us very.
Ray: On. They don’t need yet another.
Ray: So we we decided to use your.
Ray: Existing analytics system. So we.
Ray: Tie in directly with Google Analytics.
Ray: Or if you’re a bigger.
Ray: Company and using something like.
Ray: Ometer and you know, like that will mostly work with that too.
Ray: So we take all of your existing data from that one data force alone. We can generate a huge amount of.
Ray: Reports, the.
Ray: Analytics back to you.
Ray: And so basically what we do is look.
Ray: At your existing traffic.
Ray: We call your site, we call.
Ray: Your competitor sites.
Ray: We start seeing what your.
Ray: Performance looks like on the search engine.
Ray: On social networks.
Ray: And basically from.
Ray: That one five minute set up.
Ray: A couple of hours to get.
Ray: Things back to you. But once that’s.
Ray: Up and running, you.
Ray: Can start immediately digging into.
Ray: You’re performing in key areas that really matter to you. We help.
Ray: You identify the highest.
Ray: Priority. We’re going.
Ray: To focus.
Ray: On helping you fix unfair and off site issues.
Ray: That are.
Ray: Relevant to your landing pages. Show you where you’re getting.
Ray: The most traction on.
Ray: Social networks and then help you kind of further.
Ray: Plan next steps. And then on top of that, we provide some workflow tools to.
Ray: Help you to.
Ray: Kind of further create a process around.
Ray: It. A lot of success in that field, really.
Ray: Content marketing is really just being good and.
Ray: Operationalizing a lot of the stuff. And so building.
Ray: A process internally, regardless of what size of.
Ray: Company you are, is really the key.
Ray: So we provide a lot of tools that.
Ray: You make.
Ray: The right decisions about segmenting your.
Ray: Traffic and applying.
Ray: A different strategy for new customer acquisition for each one of those different segments. So it’s.
Ray: It’s a lot of stuff that echoes it’s.
Ray: Kind of from day one been dealing with very messy data sources.
Ray: And so a lot of the.
Ray: Value is in helping you automate that entire data.
Ray: Collection process and then turning it into something useful.
Bronson: Gotcha. It sounds like a great idea. It reminds me of Brad failed. He has an investment thesis about glue. You know that. You know, there’s this glue layer of the Internet that’s pulling together all these different APIs and data sources and kind of linking things together. And it seems like that’s what you guys are doing. So let me make sure I got this right. So you’re taking maybe Google Analytics over here. You’re taking my Twitter handle over here. You’re taking different, you know, API, different kind of logins, and then you’re running algorithms against them and giving me meaningful feedback of here’s what your next steps should be, here’s what’s working, here’s what’s not working. Is that kind of what you guys are doing there?
Ray: Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s awesome. Let me ask you this. When companies start using in metrics and they log in and the data starts coming back to them in meaningful ways. What is it that is long? What’s the aha moment? The moment where they’re like, Yes, I didn’t know that and I’m really glad I know that, or I didn’t know this feature was there. I’m really glad that features there. What is it they love about gains of metrics?
Ray: We see a lot of people using, like just hitting our recommendations page like.
Ray: And refreshing it all the time. So they’re.
Ray: Always trying to give you recommendations they like, okay, I fix.
Ray: This now. What should I fix next?
Ray: Get anything and we see people doing it. Just start. We have a really I mean, a biodiversity really nice reporting page where basically you can get.
Ray: Every day the latest stats.
Ray: On how you’re performing.
Ray: In search.
Ray: What the.
Ray: Primary problem areas are.
Ray: What your best success.
Ray: Have been. I tracking all of your different conversions.
Ray: So conversions are goal set.
Ray: Up the Google Analytics. We’re going to import those directly.
Ray: And show you which key works are driving the.
Ray: Most traffic.
Ray: To the.
Ray: Right type of conversion events. And so.
Ray: It almost becomes like a game for people where they’re going in every day.
Ray: And they’re like, okay, like I need metrics, fix what’s working.
Ray: What I need to fix, and then they can basically use that as the basis for.
Ray: Creating a process around it.
Bronson: Yeah. How often do they get recommendations if they make changes every day? Is it every day there’s new ones or it might have to wait a while.
Ray: We try to make it relevant to the data that we’re collecting.
Ray: So a lot of.
Ray: Things happen daily.
Ray: Probably about three fourths of the product recommendations and analytics happen on a daily basis.
Ray: And then there are other things that we think people would be overloaded by if we did it every day. And we don’t want to, you.
Ray: Know, like crashed.
Ray: Server or anything. So we try to space things so that some of the analysis that we do, so.
Ray: We make that a weekly.
Ray: Thing and then.
Ray: We’ll have people every once in a while say, Hey, I need like I just made a bunch of changes. I don’t want to wait another week for that. So we provide on.
Ray: Demand functionality is going to go out.
Ray: Like schedule. I want to be.
Bronson: Yeah. And you’ve talked about kind of the marriage between SEO and content. Am I able to log in and look at the back end of your system and see what different content strategies have done and see kind of, you know, recommendations on content and not just, you know, SEO related stuff. So it’ll give me feedback on both.
Ray: Yeah, we’re doing some.
Ray: Of that now, and that’s one of the areas where we’re kind of focusing in more on. So a lot of the newer tools.
Ray: That we’re starting to release, we do weekly releases.
Ray: Twice a week.
Ray: And where sometimes those are.
Ray: Big pushes, sometimes those are like little bug fixes and stuff. But as we kind.
Ray: Of iterate on.
Ray: What we have so far, a lot of the newer things that we’re doing are around.
Ray: Planning out campaigns.
Ray: Being able to measure.
Ray: The impact of those campaigns that they’re engaging in.
Bronson: Now. That’s great. What are some of the big success stories of getting the metrics? This is your chance to brag a little bit. Yeah, that’s all. Case studies really are a lot to be brag, right? You know what I’m asking you? So it’s okay. What are some of the companies? And maybe you can name them, maybe you can that have used it and just, you know, have great returns. And maybe specifically what they did or how they used it to give our audience an idea of like, Oh, I could use it that way, or I might need this as well, that kind of thing.
Ray: Yeah, we saw our audience.
Ray: Is divided pretty evenly into agencies and in-house.
Ray: Health marketers.
Ray: And so what they do with this kind of depends on what their role is.
Ray: Our agency customers.
Ray: Love it because it helps them win.
Ray: New customers very simply.
Ray: So the platform.
Ray: Is wildly volatile, and so.
Ray: A lot of the agencies are trying to automate all.
Ray: Of their reporting back to.
Ray: Their customers that make.
Ray: Them look good.
Ray: So the other.
Ray: Clients, the value that they’re providing them, and we provide really.
Ray: Nice, attractive reports that are customizable in schedule.
Ray: Level and contain like.
Ray: Your branding and everything else.
Ray: So you agencies already have the process to execute well.
Ray: On search.
Ray: Campaigns that we make. We make it easy.
Ray: For them to show that they’re doing a good job. And so.
Ray: We’ve had agencies that have won, you know, multimillion dollar.
Ray: Basically on the fact that, you know, they have able to combine your expertize with.
Ray: A platform like ours that’s branded for them. And so the client thinks.
Ray: That they have this.
Ray: Kind of.
Ray: In-House toolset that you beginning to help them really do something to deliver some of these strategies.
Ray: So that that’s a.
Ray: Very common use case. And we’re getting a lot.
Ray: Of traction.
Ray: Based on agencies being able to use that as.
Ray: A platform to help them.
Ray: Do their deal for.
Ray: Us and everything else.
Ray: On the in-house side, it kind of depends on what your goals are and whatever company you are. So if you are a fast company, we have a lot of you to be fast.
Ray: And so a lot of.
Ray: Times they’re always looking for new content opportunities to expand into new markets.
Ray: Whether it’s domestic or internationally.
Ray: We had a recent.
Ray: Customer example where.
Ray: They were doing very well in the US and they were trying to get into some European and Asian.
Ray: They had no local expertize in any of those.
Ray: Languages and so.
Ray: But they did have local competition.
Ray: And so what the.
Ray: Platform was able to do this was.
Ray: I would talk more about like some.
Ray: Of the custom way to work.
Ray: With customers, but with the.
Ray: Platform I was able to do is go out and.
Ray: The best performing content.
Ray: From their competitors.
Ray: Help them identify what the.
Ray: Right keyword for the right combination for in those different.
Ray: Languages and say you should create.
Ray: Content about this.
Ray: And then basically it’s like printing money right here to create the content.
Ray: And you rank well.
Ray: And so customers based on that, then you’re generating more revenue for people.
Ray: So that’s an example. So brilliant.
Ray: On the health side, we’ve we will try to help people, you know, cut.
Ray: Costs, stop.
Ray: Spending money on.
Ray: Ads that aren’t.
Ray: Performing, spend more money on creating.
Ray: Long term valuable content that’s.
Ray: Going to resonate with your.
Ray: Users and get them to come in, you know.
Ray: Day after day.
Ray: Grow into new markets and then.
Ray: You know, increase sales wherever.
Ray: You can.
Ray: And so we divide up some of the recommendations we do.
Ray: Based on the vertical that you’re in. If you’re e-commerce.
Ray: You’re going to get.
Ray: Certain types of recommendations. If you’re B2B or fast.
Ray: It’s going to be slightly different.
Ray: And we it’s.
Ray: One of the reasons that we decided to focus on the enterprise market.
Ray: Was, you know, we’ve got.
Ray: Our standard pricing plans. And then because our technology stack is so flexible.
Ray: We’re able to configure.
Ray: Custom solutions for people that.
Ray: Still allow us to.
Ray: Scale up very well. We’re not doing like custom development.
Ray: For people, but we can mix.
Ray: And match things.
Ray: And then we can, you.
Ray: Know, work with customers on even higher engagement levels to.
Ray: Provide exactly.
Ray: The solution they need.
Bronson: Yeah. Now, since the metric seems like a great product. I want to change gears a little bit though and talk more about SEO in general, because that was kind of your all’s foundation and I know you have a lot of expertize around it, so I want to try to draw that out for our audience here a little bit, because I don’t think you would go into creating an SEO Y Combinator company if there wasn’t something in your core that you liked. SEO Yeah. So let’s talk about SEO as a growth channel. Why do smart companies focus on SEO? And that’s the Wiffle ball question, but I think it’s a good one to start with.
Ray: Yeah. I mean, if you look very broadly at.
Ray: The way to acquire.
Ray: You’re basically dividing your.
Ray: Acquisition strategy.
Ray: Into paid.
Ray: Or organic acquisition. So there’s ads and you can.
Ray: For, you know, user acquisition all day long. That’s great. The problem with it is the news. You start paying for it like the water source. So you’re.
Ray: Not building.
Ray: Any long term real.
Ray: Value there. You’re basically.
Ray: Just arbitrage and.
Ray: Whatever opportunity happens to be out there.
Ray: It’s fine, but it has sort.
Ray: Of just organic includes.
Ray: Everything from, you know, everyone.
Ray: Talks about either content marketing or inbound marketing. Also obvious link with.
Ray: And social issues is a very important part of that because.
Ray: If you if you properly put it into place within kind of the overall.
Ray: A lot of what will happen if you can create new content, you can promote it by email, you can modify social channels.
Ray: A lot of times what’s going to happen.
Ray: Is after that content.
Ray: Has been out.
Ray: There for the first few weeks, it’s just going.
Ray: To drop off if you’re only doing search on social and.
Ray: Email because you’ve.
Ray: Got to run through.
Ray: That campaign. But search providing that opportunity to get.
Ray: Long term.
Ray: Discoverability and find ability for your brand, whatever.
Ray: Content and producing.
Ray: And if you look at, you know.
Ray: I mean, everyone’s.
Ray: Still searching for everything.
Ray: You know. So if you’re looking for a new product and you’re looking for.
Ray: Information on the.
Ray: Product, trying to understand like the best vendor and everything else, those and.
Ray: Studies, you know, study after.
Ray: Study validates this.
Ray: But basically the people who rank.
Ray: And perform well in organic search are going to have the.
Ray: Best branding and loyalty.
Ray: Experience from these customers. It’s one of the quickest path.
Ray: To get high quality target. It’ll be for your business. And so.
Ray: It’s just it’s.
Ray: A no brainer. And a lot of people that, you know, have the right model for it that are able to grow almost entirely.
Ray: On the basis of their organic.
Ray: Search traffic.
Ray: If you’re looking at the combination of paid and organic search.
Ray: You know, ads at the top of.
Ray: Any Google.
Ray: Search results.
Ray: Page, those tend to get about.
Ray: A 10% click through rate on those pages.
Ray: Where the top two or three.
Ray: Will bring you a combined.
Ray: Maybe 40.
Ray: Click through rate.
Ray: And so being at the top of that page, just, you know.
Ray: Four or five times the amount of traffic that you could ever get for paid search ads.
Bronson: Yeah. No, that’s awesome. He’s not going anywhere. What are some of the primary things that a startup can do to effectively use SCA in their favor? And I know you work with enterprise companies, but maybe you give us some ideas that work with non enterprise companies as well. What can somebody watching this as a startup, what can they do to get the SEO kind of engine going?
Ray: Yeah, we actually.
Ray: Do work for a number of startups as well.
Ray: They tend to be startups.
Ray: That have some.
Ray: They do have.
Ray: A strategy in place. And the reason we try to work with.
Ray: Startups early is because we want to build.
Ray: A long term relationship with them so we.
Ray: Can grow them as they grow.
Ray: So we.
Ray: Are getting pretty good at.
Ray: Understanding what the major needs are.
Ray: Around startup startups and then go have some unique advantages.
Ray: And disadvantages.
Ray: To that. I’ll start with the disadvantages. The disadvantages are if you’re going up an entrenched competitor with good branding and high quality site, Google is just going to automatically give them some credit that you don’t have. And so, you.
Ray: Know, you’re going to be.
Ray: Dealing with that for a while. The advantage that you have, those that if you’re creating high quality good content and startups can typically move much faster and they’re hungrier than these larger companies.
Ray: You can you can.
Ray: Start performing.
Ray: Really well, you know.
Ray: In a.
Ray: You know, 3 to 6 months, we’ve seen.
Ray: Have phenomenal, phenomenal success with a well-executed content.
Ray: It doesn’t require volume. You can’t just have like one blog post.
Ray: A month and expect to get anywhere. It does require a strategy. It does.
Ray: Require like targeting and thinking through exactly.
Ray: What your audience needs. And then you actually have to create high quality content. The days of being able to like.
Ray: Just flaunt our.
Ray: Content, spam your way to.
Ray: Traction are long gone and would not.
Ray: Be any.
Ray: Strategy I’d recommend.
Ray: But if you if you do.
Ray: That, if you do great execute well, you can.
Ray: Start to become.
Ray: Very successful in highly.
Ray: Competitive business, you know, even today. And so I would say startups, if.
Ray: They’re able to do that and they’ve.
Ray: Got the right vision for for that, then it can really work for them. Yeah.
Bronson: What kind of content is best for an SEO strategy? You know, if a startup hasn’t really begun their content strategy, would you say write a blog every day? Would you say come out with a PDF e-book? Would you say fill in the blank? Like what kind of content is it that’s going to do really well with SEO?
Ray: Yeah, the hardest thing about startups, any business.
Ray: But startups and.
Ray: Startup experiences as.
Ray: Well is.
Ray: Time management is always a.
Ray: Bottleneck. You know, the right.
Ray: Resources and the people who are most equipped to.
Ray: About what.
Ray: They’re able.
Ray: To deliver to the customer, they’re also the ones they’re busy as cluster closing deals, trying to build their company so.
Ray: That totally you just got to.
Ray: Recognize that fact.
Ray: But in order to do that, I actually.
Ray: Wrote a post about this couple months ago.
Ray: About basically establishing.
Ray: A ladder of content.
Ray: And basically.
Ray: Realizing that you can’t you can’t do everything all the time.
Ray: And it’s better to do.
Ray: Something small.
Ray: Did nothing at all.
Ray: And so if you feel like you’re.
Ray: Creating that piece of white paper, it has to be beautiful and yet find good.
Ray: Design and everything else. Take a step back, write a blog post once a week.
Ray: That’s better than not doing it. You can’t even do that. Just send an email or people email with content marketing, tweet, tweet something you know, like.
Ray: Just start.
Ray: Calling it. They kind of bring it up.
Ray: And then as you start to understand what really works for you.
Ray: Then you can, you can build.
Ray: More of a process around.
Ray: I think that especially.
Ray: In a startup, it’s early days.
Ray: But really over the long term as well.
Ray: A startup.
Ray: Or CEO or a kind of early team member writing consistently about certain topics that they’re.
Ray: Passionate about, that.
Ray: They believe.
Ray: That they’re users, customer.
Ray: They’re also passionate about is one of the.
Ray: Best ways to build branding.
Ray: So long.
Ray: Term loyalty, it’s something that I don’t do nearly enough.
Ray: Of, but every time I’ve done it, it’s been super successful for us. We’ve got some of our best customers from that.
Ray: They just get they get a feel.
Ray: For who the people are behind the product, much more so than they would ever want.
Ray: From like some kind of sterile content marketing strategy.
Ray: And so one of the beautiful.
Ray: Things about content marketing when it’s done well, is.
Ray: It gives you the ability to be.
Ray: Much more.
Ray: Person and company to your audience.
Bronson: Yeah, and I love your advice there. Do what you can, basically. You know, that’s my advice with working out. I like to go for runs and if I set a goal and can’t meet it, then you can get, you know, deflated and need to stop doing it. My goal is run as long as I want to and stop when I’m ready and then I’ll keep doing it, you know, whenever I feel like it. So do what you can and be in it for the long haul. What are some of the biggest SEO mistakes that you’ve seen companies make? And I’m sure you see a lot because you go into a company, there are new clients and some of them are probably a mess in terms of what they do. Is there been any message that you’ve seen with SEO that we can learn from?
Ray: You know, it used to happen. There used to.
Ray: Be a lot of.
Ray: Sites where.
Ray: I would look at it like really.
Ray: Like you’ve got to be kidding me.
Ray: You know? And that happened.
Ray: A lot more a couple of years ago, and especially as Google became.
Ray: Much more aggressive about releasing low quality sites and everything.
Ray: Else. I would go into.
Ray: More than just.
Ray: Like I got to clean. A lot.
Ray: Of people.
Ray: Were getting much better.
Ray: About that. Now there’s a lot more kind of.
Ray: Baseline information that people have.
Ray: People are.
Ray: That you’ve got to create.
Ray: A high quality.
Ray: Site and basic.
Ray: Information architecture. It’s your friends.
Ray: And like doing all those.
Ray: Things right is something that I’m seeing a lot more startups, especially.
Ray: In areas where there’s a lot more.
Ray: Community support and kind of built in education. People that are coming out of.
Ray: That are going to have a better sense for.
Ray: That. So that’s good. There’s always.
Ray: Inevitably problems.
Ray: That, you know, we can help identify.
Ray: You know, are just, well, hanging fruit.
Ray: From an on stage optimization.
Ray: Kind of.
Ray: Customer acquisition strategy the big. Mistakes that I don’t.
Ray: Think people are making right now would be the number one would be just.
Ray: Not creating enough content and not creating like the right mix of content.
Ray: It depends on your vertical. Some companies inherently just.
Ray: Will live or die by their content. They’re maybe like some sort of medium, but a portal destination site.
Ray: Obviously, they’re.
Ray: Going have a lot more.
Ray: Content, so they’re going to like it. But if you’re.
Ray: If you’re in B2B or.
Ray: SAS or you’re building like a mobile app or anything and you just have like a blog post.
Ray: From September of last year, that’s.
Ray: The only one that’s out there, like get, get on that because that’ll, that’ll make a big difference. And it’s, I would say like just quality content at.
Ray: Volume is something that really makes a big difference.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s great insight. Thank you for that. Let’s talk about a slide deck that you recently put together. It was called the 2013 Mobile SEO playbook. And I wanted to kind of focus on this because, you know, as we’ll talk about a second, mobile is huge and going to be even huger. That’s a word. And and you have some plays that we can kind of follow based on those trends. But let’s start with the trend and then we’ll get to the plays you loosened. I think four different trends around Mobile and SEO. Talk to us about these a little bit. The first one was mobile growth and device adoption. What do you mean by that?
Ray: So we we have access.
Ray: To a lot of really interesting.
Ray: Data because of.
Ray: The fact that we’re connecting everyone to analytics. And we’re very careful.
Ray: About that data, of course. But we do.
Ray: Analyze larger trends internally.
Ray: And we do that.
Ray: So we can help our customers better understand for their own site what sorts of things.
Ray: They should be thinking about.
Ray: Going forward.
Ray: And so one of the things that.
Ray: We are seeing and also just anecdotally speaking to customers, everyone is.
Ray: Like, wow, I’m getting a lot and we see this a lot in Asia too. And it’s.
Ray: Starting to.
Ray: Happen more in the U.S. But everyone is just getting a huge.
Ray: Amount of smartphone and increasingly tablet traffic, especially compared with compared with quote unquote, traffic.
Ray: So they’re in many cases, we’re already.
Ray: To see this.
Ray: Where mobile traffic is.
Ray: Traditional desktop.
Ray: Traffic. And so but most companies are not really doing anything.
Ray: About that yet and don’t.
Ray: Understand, you know, some people are getting better at doing like responsive design.
Ray: Or having a bit of a lot of work.
Ray: That goes into that. There’s all of.
Ray: The technical side optimization that you have to do in.
Ray: Order to.
Ray: Succeed there, and.
Ray: Then they’re really just.
Ray: Kind of updating.
Ray: Your content strategy.
Ray: To take.
Ray: Mobile into.
Ray: Account because it’s really a different ball game in many ways.
Bronson: Yeah. And then the next thing you say is that the word mobile is becoming outdated. So. So what does that mean?
Ray: So it’s kind of too bad because it’s such a handy thing.
Ray: I look at my car and I think mobile. But really what’s happening.
Ray: Is the reason I say the word mobile is becoming outdated is that.
Ray: Everything is becoming mobile. And so, you know, arguably.
Ray: In a laptop.
Ray: Or the first version of mobile technology and still.
Ray: Aren’t. And but really what we’re seeing is that.
Ray: The idea that there is desktop and mobile is becoming something.
Ray: That’s just not really the case.
Ray: And and if you look at the future.
Ray: Long term trends, you know, everyone’s going to have multiple devices. They’re always going.
Ray: To be connected. Don’t there is still a huge problem.
Ray: In my opinion, about thinking in connectivity between.
Ray: Different and.
Ray: Different devices.
Ray: Like I have, you know.
Ray: Three different devices.
Ray: That I use on any given day. And I.
Ray: Almost have to like.
Ray: Reset my entire.
Ray: Browsing history and everything every time I go.
Ray: Out there. You know, browsers like Chrome and stuff are helping with that.
Ray: But basically there’s going to be a huge.
Ray: Amount of catch up work that companies have to do in order to recognize this new.
Ray: You can call it mobile.
Ray: If you want to, but just.
Ray: Realize in the back of your mind that.
Ray: Everything is mobile now. So there’s no such thing as like desktop versus mobile.
Bronson: Yeah. And then you’re also saying that you think tablets will. You’re not saying. But the trends show that tablets will replace the majority of what we use to use desktops to use. So other trends, right?
Ray: Yeah. Yeah, we’re seeing that a lot too. And you know, some of the data that I’ve put.
Ray: In that that we both kind of reported that.
Ray: It does depend somewhat.
Ray: On what country you’re talking about. Obviously, not all countries are catching up with that. Absolutely.
Ray: But the U.S..
Ray: And we were a lot and so we see a lot of people.
Ray: Starting still a little bit slower in the U.S., but we’re starting to see a lot more adoption.
Ray: There, too.
Ray: Yeah. And so a lot.
Ray: Of the things that people used to do, you.
Ray: Know, like read the news or.
Ray: Just do basic email or watch videos or whatever.
Ray: That was all happening on desktops and laptops up until, you know.
Ray: Two years ago.
Ray: And increasingly, that’s.
Ray: The data show.
Ray: That people are switching to.
Ray: Tablets for that. And so.
Ray: You’re starting to see if you need to sit down and get for a.
Ray: Bunch of work and you’re writing important stuff. Yeah, you’re probably still going.
Ray: To use your laptop or desktop or whatever, but.
Ray: That may eventually.
Ray: Go away at some point once.
Ray: Typing technology.
Ray: Picks up are.
Ray: Starting to see a lot of that transition.
Bronson: Yeah. And then the last one you kind of already mentioned, but that, you know, is HTML5 responsive websites that are on the rise, but we’re not there yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done. And like you said, it takes resources to do it. It takes the knowledge to do it. It’s not something you. A slap on a website. But now let’s talk about some of the plays. You know, those are the trends. And I think a lot of people, you know, they may not have be able to say it explicitly, but they know that’s where things are going inside. They look at their own usage and they realize, wow, I’m using my phone a lot more than I used to and using my tablet a lot more than I used to. So the question is, what do we do based on those trends? So the first thing you say is understand the impact of mobile on your business. What do you mean by that?
Ray: So you have to look at your traffic. You have to look at your audience and understand them and just get a feel for how much, you know.
Ray: Very simple things like what percentage of your traffic is.
Ray: From mobile devices, what percentage of it is still on kind of traditional devices?
Ray: You know, most.
Ray: Companies that we deal with because they’re in innovative spaces, whether it’s e-commerce or what have you, are.
Ray: Are seeing.
Ray: A lot more traction there. And so they’re having to have.
Ray: Very serious conversations internally.
Ray: Saying, you know, how much budgets we allocate towards new content.
Ray: Creation and optimization around mobile.
Ray: And but before you can do any of that, you obviously.
Ray: Have to understand what your own internal metrics look like.
Bronson: Yeah. And so it kind of starts by understanding what percentage of your traffic is mobile. But then the second one, you drill down even further. You say track mobile, surge and behavior and get user centric. So you really get really drilled down with the mobile use.
Ray: This is one of the areas.
Ray: Where we’re really lucky that there.
Ray: Are platforms out there like KISSmetrics and Mixpanel.
Ray: And newer.
Ray: Platforms even like more kind.
Ray: Of youth centric engagement.
Ray: Platforms like Intercom, they’re, they’re.
Ray: Providing you with unique capabilities to understand that is very granular to get individual people understanding how they’re using.
Ray: Your site in your your properties.
Ray: And so you’re able to see much better. What types of people do certain things? And so you can do.
Ray: A lot more intelligence.
Ray: What people need when they come to your site and you can plan your content strategy accordingly. And some of that is going to be more if you’re going to.
Ray: Be viewed more.
Ray: Often on mobile.
Ray: You know that.
Ray: You would want to plan for that experience.
Bronson: Yeah. And then you say to understand mobile search patterns, is that just a matter of looking at the metrics and seeing what mobile people are searching for as opposed to desktop users, that kind of thing?
Ray: Yeah, a lot of times.
Ray: There’s a.
Ray: Ton of research out there on this, but.
Ray: The types of things even have the same individual.
Ray: Search for on their phone versus on their desktop are going.
Ray: To be different.
Ray: You know.
Ray: If you’re if you think about it, it’s kind.
Ray: Of like.
Ray: If you’re out.
Ray: Looking for a restaurant, you’re going to a lot of your searches tend to be like restaurants or whatever.
Ray: Like, what am I what can I go do? What can I go eat? What have you entertainment related.
Ray: Things where you’re probably not going to sit down and be like.
Ray: What does Wikipedia say about, you know.
Ray: Something in the Middle Ages? Think so? That’s more.
Ray: Of like a research.
Ray: That tends to happen, you.
Ray: Know, when you’re.
Ray: On your desktop, sitting at home or at the office.
Bronson: Yeah. And then you also say the segments are traffic in content and users. What do you mean by that?
Ray: So that goes into again, we a big part of our strategy that.
Ray: We help our customers work with is properly.
Ray: Because the only way you can really execute.
Ray: A strategy is understanding.
Ray: Where that strategy is going to be relevant.
Ray: And the way you do that is by creating meaningful.
Ray: Segments across your audience that you’re interested.
Ray: And so.
Ray: We we provide a lot of tools.
Ray: To help people.
Ray: That do.
Ray: That. And just from kind of an educational perspective, we try to get people to.
Ray: Think about that as well. But really.
Ray: Understanding different types of behavior.
Ray: Based on user, it’s based on what type of content they’re looking for, based.
Ray: On what types.
Ray: Of things they look.
Ray: Like, whatever.
Ray: Keywords you search on to get to your site in the first place.
Ray: What they’re hoping to get out of that experience, really understanding what those segments are. And if you.
Ray: Go, you know, really hard.
Ray: It can be super.
Ray: Granular. But at the.
Ray: End of the day, you can usually roll.
Ray: Things up to a.
Ray: Couple of key high.
Ray: Level strategies that are relevant.
Ray: To the fact that you I.
Ray: Don’t know.
Bronson: But yeah, tell me if I have, you know, the nail on the head here, you know, as a startup, could I say, okay, I need to create certain kinds of content because of the use patterns that really work well with mobile. So displays appropriately. It looks nice, it works on mobile and it has the right keywords that somebody on mobile might be searching for as opposed to the king in the Middle Ages sort of thing. And so it’s really just bringing all this together, using the data, using what again, the metrics KISSmetrics, Google Analytics is telling me, and then building a strategy around content and SEO based on that. Is that right?
Ray: Yep. Yep, that’s right.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s awesome. The next one, you say plan for mobile first. And this one’s an interesting one because it seems like a year or two ago that was like the new thing that everybody said. And then that was Fred Wilson was kind of the first one to say anything. And then Fred Wilson came out and said, Well, I don’t know, it’s not going so well. It’s kind of harder than we thought it was going to be. And so now it’s like people are just confused mobile first, not mobile first. Like it’s it’s not as clear as we all thought it was. And what do you think about mobile first?
Ray: I’m a big believer in it because I think it’s nice to have mobile first. And if you have the time and.
Ray: Tools and resources.
Ray: To build a responsive site.
Ray: With Mobile.
Ray: First in.
Ray: Mind and it’s going to scale up.
Ray: Very nicely.
Ray: To your desktop. And I think the.
Ray: Challenge early on when.
Ray: People are talking about mobile.
Ray: You know, two years ago was that the state of the industry had not really.
Ray: Caught up to actually support that.
Ray: People think that, you know, you can throw a bootstrap template there and you know who you’ve got responsive. And if you’ve ever actually built a site I love.
Ray: You know, all the frameworks.
Ray: That are out there, but you actually try to build a site that is responsive to different devices. So just.
Ray: About having.
Ray: That bootstrapping there, you’ve actually got to.
Ray: Do a lot of work to make it work, right?
Ray: Because I’m not putting.
Ray: Money into resources. You’re going to be probably late on projects for the first few times.
Ray: To do it. And so.
Ray: I think people are getting frustrated by this message because it was supposed to be so easy.
Ray: And it wasn’t. And so now.
Ray: Things are.
Ray: Getting better. You know.
Ray: The frameworks are catching up.
Ray: There is a lot more.
Ray: People out there who understand how to make these technologies work. Agencies are picking it up, internal developers are figuring it out. So I.
Ray: Think it’s going to get easier and.
Ray: A lot of this.
Ray: Frustration will start to.
Ray: Go away. I still believe.
Ray: That long term that.
Ray: Is the right strategy because.
Ray: By planning.
Ray: Mobile first, you kind of get the desktop stuff for free. It’s not easy.
Ray: I mean, maybe it’s the.
Ray: Wrong word, but at least you’re doing it at the same.
Ray: Time. When you release your your project.
Ray: You’re ready to go.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. And I like what you said, you know, creating mobile first and scaling up. You know, I’ve done that with some of my projects where I actually create the mobile experience first and then of the Internet’s too complicated anyway. So by making it mobile first, you end up getting to the heart of what it is you’re doing. And then when you create the larger version, you leave out a lot of stuff you didn’t need anyway because you really honed it down to its essence. So I think a little first, it does more than we really understand in terms of esthetic and the core of the use cases and just everything about it. So I like that strategy. Now the next two, we’ve kind of already talked about, you can add in something else if you have something, but build your content marketing strategy around mobile. So we had kind of already mentioned that and then optimize for mobile devices. Anything else on those too?
Ray: Yeah. So those are both really big topics and.
Ray: Are probably worth like.
Ray: Digging into.
Ray: Them on on their own. Right. But yeah.
Ray: You can basically there’s a lot of information.
Ray: Out there on the technical.
Ray: Side of optimizing for mobile content. So.
Ray: You know, I won’t go into that too much right now, but I did provide in.
Ray: That slide deck.
Ray: Some some useful pointers.
Ray: Really. It’s about.
Ray: Making some.
Ray: Common sense decisions.
Ray: How browsers are going to react differently based on the different device profiles and the people who are using it and what they’re looking for.
Ray: Then not doing stupid things. Nobody here uses Flash anymore.
Ray: Some of the countries we work in, we still see people using it. It just gets just obvious.
Ray: And so, you know, it’s a lot of things that you would expect, but.
Ray: Just putting it into practice is going a solid development process around us?
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. And then the last one, I’m not sure which means you can explain this to build a mobile content ecosystem, what does that mean?
Ray: So we look at when we look at.
Ray: A customer service strategy, one of the first things we tell them is don’t.
Ray: Just think about the content.
Ray: That you have.
Ray: On your own site. And this is true for both, you know, whether it’s like.
Ray: Mobile or otherwise.
Ray: It’s basically, you know, your company, your site itself should be seen as.
Ray: The hub for your brand. And whether you’re a startup or a big company, you have a brand.
Ray: And you’re going to promote that brand, that brand and get it.
Ray: But there are so many.
Ray: Valuable ways that you.
Ray: Can perform well and search and social with off site content, design site content. So it’s like creating high quality videos on YouTube. And you know.
Ray: We use slides quite a bit.
Ray: There, but companies are, you know, being very successful in some of the more curated communities like interest and so forth. So understanding.
Ray: The or web view of exactly which.
Ray: Channel out there are going to help you.
Ray: And then tying them back to your content.
Ray: Strategy is something that’s super important and it’s true. So from a.
Ray: Local perspective, you basically.
Ray: Just kind of take that one step further.
Ray: Put other things like.
Ray: Ads may maybe an important.
Ray: Thing that.
Ray: Part of your strategy.
Ray: Going forward, maybe just things like video gets to be access quite a bit on mobile devices.
Ray: Understand that, make sure it’s all properly.
Ray: Formatted map for that and then track your performance from.
Ray: Mobile devices right next to your desktop performance because.
Ray: That understanding.
Ray: That you could be missing out.
Ray: On a lot of traffic, mobile of interest now both on the data and organic.
Ray: Side because people are still so behind in optimizing for.
Ray: It that there is kind of a lot of green pasture out there that you.
Ray: Can take advantage.
Ray: Of. You know, it’s not going to last.
Ray: Forever, but you can start to build a lot.
Ray: Of traction that anybody can really kind of gotten their head around it.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s great advice and thanks for walking through the place to use on mobile there because those are plays that we’re all going to have to be using in the very near future for. Not already, that’s for sure. This has been a great interview. I have one last question for you here. What’s the best advice that you have for any startup that’s trying to grow? You’ve grown a startup. You’re helping other companies and startups grow. What advice do you have for people in that situation?
Ray: I would say the first thing is just understand who are you going to? So a lot of times.
Ray: You hear.
Ray: Company talk about or your.
Ray: Startup metrics, talk about product market.
Ray: Fit, and I’ll take that.
Ray: One step further. And it’s not.
Ray: About product market fit as much as it is products that fit.
Ray: Understand what’s the title.
Ray: Of the business?
Ray: Go into what problems there are dealing with.
Ray: And it’s easy to say, but so many companies still get that wrong. If I start kind of putting.
Ray: Them off on what that is.
Ray: I think get big very quickly.
Ray: I would I would spend the time really trying to figure that out.
Ray: And the other thing is to understand the one thing that makes being unique.
Ray: And worth.
Ray: Buying. I think in the SAS world.
Ray: And startups in general.
Ray: People say, well.
Ray: We’re cheaper and we’re simple.
Ray: And we’re beautiful and the music is not really good. None of us like.
Ray: A good thing.
Ray: But it doesn’t really mean anything.
Ray: Unless it’s in some weird it’s.
Ray: A relative term.
Ray: And even depending on the market.
Ray: Having a better user experience.
Ray: Doesn’t only matter. I think that, you know, hey, follow us is always.
Ray: Great, but you may be surprised by how much they might.
Ray: Or complain. It really depends on the buyer.
Ray: And what they need.
Ray: So the really understanding with the buyer, you know, so for.
Ray: Us, for agency partners, because we.
Ray: Provide a best platform.
Ray: For managing.
Ray: Large client portfolios.
Ray: And helping them game your.
Ray: Business for our in-house customers.
Ray: Because in order to.
Ray: Create, you know, a scalable.
Ray: Process around the type of insights that we provide to them.
Bronson: Yeah. So, so have product seller fit and know your unique selling proposition. Yeah. That’s awesome advice to end on ready. Thank you so much for coming on Growth Hacker TV.
Ray: Thanks for having me. Great idea.