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What I Learned From Matt Barby On SEO

by Jamie Midgley, on Jan 13, 2020 11:59:00 AM

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Introduction

Coming from day three at Inbound here in Boston. I've just come out of our second session, with Mark Barby, the Director of Acquisition at HubSpot, and it's just a rethink about SEO. Very honoured to be invited to a private meeting with Matt and six or seven other HubSpot partners yesterday for a one on one session.

Real intimate session, sort of in a room no more than eight or 10 feet squared. When you get access to that type of talent on SEO, obviously Matt, director of Acquisition at HubSpot. No mean feat, to get to tap into that knowledge chain. It's pretty essential.

Do You Have The Right Tools For The Job?

Sat there, just talking SEO, the way that that's working, from site-crawling, being discoverable. Google indexes, and find stuff and then, really all with future ranking which is the authority.It's pretty important from that side. One of the major rethinks that I've done is, I mean, we all work with SEO and we all work with it. What we've always done.

We're never really re-leveraging the right tools, and the right tools for the job. Things like site-bulb  / screaming frog for crawling activities, things like that. It's too easy to sort of say, hey, I'm going to put my website up, and you might or might not be on a cost budget to do that. Then you put that online. But what are you doing with it? Whom are you employing to do your SEO?

Not only just to get that right on-page straight out of the gate, but what are you doing ongoing? One of the things Matt said in his second session today, I went and sat in a room, I don't know, probably three, four, five people that we met chatting away there and presenting and talking about SEO.

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The SEO Progression Over A Decade

This is an ongoing thing, and SEO is getting harder, and harder, and harder. One of the things he said, like 10 years ago, I got a 1,000 links this month. You'd be lucky to get 10 this month. So, the authority, the authority, the authority. What are you doing to do that?

If you're sat there as a business owner with a website that's not driving traffic, it's not converted, and you're whimpering around spending a few hundred pounds a month, or a few thousand pounds a month, then you don't really deserve to be online. Now, that's a fairly aggressive statement, but, what have you got the website up for?

Just to say it's there?Is not being online important to you? Is that not where your customers are? So, look, I understand a budget is a budget, but you really need to craft out a marketing budget. You need to craft one out, you need to work with somebody, find an authoritative source in the area. Somebody who's working with SEO on an ongoing basis. Somebody who understands how the search engines work, and can get your site up to scratch.

From that point on, what's there, maintain that. Because your customers, regardless whether you're B to B, B to C, H to H, doesn't really matter. Your customers are online, they're looking for solutions. If you're serious about being online, whether it's;

  • Landing Page
  • Microsite
  • Website
  • Membership Site

Doesn't really matter. What's important is that you're ranking for the right keywords, you get building the correct authority, Google's going to be able to find you. Here's a quick tip, search snippets online. With searching online all this time, and Google's putting these relevancy snippets on there. Now, especially if you've got an eCommerce store, and a product store, where sometimes you get images in there.

Although, Matt seems to think that that didn't have too much of a positive impact on it. But, trying to sort of craft a strategy around getting your knowledge, your content, in those snippets, is a major sort of shortcut to try and go after. So, I think, some of the biggest key takeaways is, when you start a new website, maybe you've just got straight out of the box, you got a brand-new domain, no authority.

He talked really about the typical journey of a new website would usually be, hey, let's put some content out there, let's put some content out there. Then start to fill that up, and then, if after a month or two months, literally, you look in there and wonder, hey, why has that happened? Why are we not getting any traffic. When that sort of reverse strategy should really be, obviously you got to start putting content out there, but let's really start building the links.

Let's get linked to authoritative sites. Whether you use a journalist or a PR consultant to start getting you placed inside sites with authority to get link-backs. So instead of just concentrating on just more content, more content, more content, more content, that's not really working. Then, ultimately, why don't you concentrate on getting real good, high-quality content out there, and then from the content start to build the links and start to build authority.

If you can do that, you're going to see a significant higher return in both traffic, both in conversions and visits to your site. Than what you would be doing if you're just focusing on putting more and more content. The credit to Matt again, the example he gave, he used an ex-president George Bush there, and he put down a picture of an apple, and it was mouldy. That's so, imagine the mouldy apple as your content, and he said, hey George, do you want to buy or do you want to eat this mouldy apple?

And of course George said no. So, what he did is he said, well, before you go, here's three mouldy apples, enjoy one of those. Now, the point is here, that if you're putting content out there and it's not being consumed, it's not getting the authority, why just keep putting more, and more, and more, and more content out there? Because ultimately, there comes a point where you say, hey, what's working?

What's not working is that you probably not got any authority to your domain name or your website. Obviously needs then to be built, so obviously you can start ranking, being found, and get your branding from somebody else. So, the authority built around your domain is critically important, and your going to really achieve that with the back-links in there.

Are You Pulling The Right Levers?

So, a couple other things. Matt also talked about pulling the right levers, and are you trying to be discovered? Are you trying to get indexed, or are you trying to rank? This is where employing a professional SEO consultant, who understands this, who's buried in these types of sort of processes every day is really going to start to pay dividends for you.

Because, couple examples, you may think this blog post or this piece of content is underperforming. If you start pulling the wrong lever because you start thinking, hey, I'm going to see if I can get found better by the search engines, but you've no authority, it's learning to pull that right lever.

  • How we trying to rank?
  • How we trying to get discovered?
  • How we trying to get indexed correctly?

So, again, if you're not familiar with SEO, it's a fairly complex subject. It's not something that you can just get your web developer to say, hey, make sure that my site's SEO'd up. Of course, they should have an obligation to do that, getting the site maps done, register with Google.

  • It's the ongoing skill
  • The ongoing discipline
  • The ongoing time that you're going to have to put into this to make sure that, as an eCommerce site,

Or just as a progressive growth business, that you want to get the right content out there. So, I suppose my takeaway is, really, know which lever to pull. Whether it's ranking, or visibility or anything like that.

  • It's going to save you a tonne of time
  • It's going to save you a tonne of hours

You're going to be able to fix the problems a lot quicker than just sort of jumping in and spending weeks or months trying to build back-links that may not be the issue in this particular case.

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Your SEO Structure. Do You Even Know Yours?

So, I think, get it down, what is your SEO structure? My challenge for you is, it's coming up to the end of the week here, and obviously I know it's a bit later over there in the UK, but my challenge to you guys is, stick your hand up on your white board, on your flip chart.

  1. What is my SEO strategy? Yes or no do you have one?
  2. Who is managing your SEO strategy? Either a yes or no, you do have somebody or you don't have somebody.

If you do put yes you've got somebody who's doing that, really challenge these people, ask them for meaningful results and meaningful reports. How many hours they're going to put in, and obviously that relates to the budget that people will need to pull in. Just because they're a web developer doesn't necessarily mean that they're an expert in SEO.

Just because they're an SEO doesn't mean someone is an expert at web developments and vice versa. So it's about choosing the right tool out of  your tool belt to really get going. The sessions that we've had with Matt Barby have just been awesome. It's just really been insightful. So much respect for him. He's really opened his eyes, and, whilst it's obviously a lot of stuff in the SEO world that becomes common, you always learn from people like these.

Like Matt. If you want to check him out, by the way, you can visit Matthew Barby. That's matthewbarby.com It's got a great blog on there, some great stuff on there, some great free resources that Matt can sort of share with you. I highly recommend that you visit MatthewBarby.com.

Obviously, if anybody following our stuff, if you want to have a chat with us about your SEO strategy, more than happy to do that where we're back in the UK next week. Obviously the team we've got, HubSpot behind us with a full SEO team, both in Dublin, Berlin, and Boston.

We've got an awesome SEO team that we can plug into as HubSpot partners. So we're more than happy to give you some free advice or set up a project for you if that's something that you want to look at on an ongoing basis. We've got John Cena keynote today. That should be an interesting, more than wrestling for the obvious ones there, but really looking forward to the John Cena keynote. I had a great session week.

Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar Animation this morning. Really humbling story about the Pixar journey and how they got involved with Disney and the troubles with Disney in the '90s and how the Pixar team helped them turn it around. So that's something awesome, and I'll be putting all these into a blog, and I'll be getting these shared about the full inbound strategies that we've been learning, with HubSpot out here in Boston this week.

Topics:Marketing

About The Author

Jamie Midgley

As a digital entrepreneur, Jamie has achieved success with clients throughout the UK, USA and EMEA regions. As Co-Founder of 6teen30 Digitals HubSpot Inbound Growth Agency and Client Success Director, he leads the fulfilment team to deliver inbound growth engines to help his clients #GrowFaster. Specialising in working with digitally-focused service companies who are committed to growing online to help drive qualified leads into their sales teams through Inbound campaigns. Jamie hosts the Inbound Podcast and also produces TheOpenMike Podcast show. As a host of the Growth Engine Community Jamie provides valuable insights to its members through his weekly Inbound Snapshot Training.

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