Today’s guest on the Niche Pursuit podcast is Nick Jordan. Nick works for Workello, a content agency that distributes content to business organizations and blogs worldwide.
The interview begins with Nick providing an insight into exactly how Workello helps businesses get more traffic. He starts with a claim to fame that they have taken four projects from 0-100k organic views per month without building backlinks and any technical SEO tweaks.
His approach is somewhat unique regarding SEO, because in his own words, he isn’t a smart guy (he is smart, by the way) or an SEO expert, and he had to figure out ways to do things without knowing the ins and outs of backlinks and other SEO logistics.
So, what he did was develop a strategy.
During the interview, Nick outlines this strategy and shares the process required for success using content.
Some of the topics discussed during the chat include:
- How to structure your content
- The keyword research process
- The importance of word count
- Internal linking importance
- Type of content to write on your site
- The amount of content needed
- Topical Relevance
- Understanding how Google works (and what it likes)
- Hiring writers and what to look out for
- Site engagement, and why it’s important
- Scaling content
- His views on AI Content
The main point Nick is trying to get across is that you can own your niche market’s authority through quality content produced with velocity and without overcomplicating things with SEO.
He shares how to do this and more during the interview, so take notes and enjoy.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE PODCAST INTERVIEW:
This Episode is Sponsored by: The Blog Millionaire
Watch the full interview:
Read the full transcription:
Jared: Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Baufman. Today we are joined by Nick Jordan with workello.com. Welcome Nick.
Nick: Hey really excited to be here.
Jared: So I don’t usually ask where where guests are joining us from. But I mean, I, obviously I have to ask you what island in The Bahamas you’re at right now.
Nick: I’m actually in Eastern European Europe, there’s snow everywhere. And I’m out here thinking warm thoughts at the moment. It’s
Jared: good. I like it. I like it. Yeah. We’re recording here in the deto winter. And and I have to say, although I’m not Eastern Europe, it’s not as cool where I am, that, that. That background looks pretty attractive right now.
Nick: yeah, I think all us SEOs are just out here looking forward to the next, my SEO conference. Hopefully. Hopefully they
Jared: do it this year. I was gonna say, hopefully 2022 is the year we’re back on track for things. Right.
Nick: got our figure class.
Jared: Oh, I know you, me both. So, Hey, today we’re talking about content.
I’m. I’m so excited for today’s interview. You know, I’ve been going back and forth in preparation for this. And I mean, I I’ll tell you, I, I just think it’s so many good things that we’re gonna, we’re gonna be going through today. Why don’t you give us some background though? Bring us up to speed on who Nick is and, and your past and your history.
Nick: Yeah, definitely. So work started in 2019, is this content agency called content distribution.com. And our claim to fame is we’ve taken four projects from zero to a hundred thousand organics per month. Without building back links and without doing technical stuff. And the biggest project went from zero are to 1.5 million organics per month in about 24 months.
And the, the client that we, we executed this campaign for, we took from a seed stage valuation to a $210 million series B valuation by, in dress and forwards through SEO. Wow. Wow. Through SEO, huh? Yeah. Yeah. And we did it in a way that doesn’t look like SEO to most people of the 45 people we have on our team.
There’s three people on our PM team. Two of them didn’t have any SEO experience before doing SEO and we don’t do the backlink stuff and we don’t do the technical stuff. And the reason is, is because, you know, despite the glasses is in the collared shirt, I’m not a smart guy. And when I was getting into SEO, I said, this backlink stuff, and this technical stuff is too complicated for me.
If I’m gonna do SEO, I have to find a way that works without having to note how to do those things. And I discovered a way that I’m gonna share with you guys on this podcast. What
Jared: if you took someone to to that many page views in that sort of a time period? I, I think you, you, you’re probably okay.
On the on the, on the smarts, but we’ll save that debate maybe for another day. What is your background before you started doing work in 2019? What, what brought you into SEO?
Nick: Yeah. So I’m a, I’m a, I’m a startups guy. I’ve spent my entire career in early stage startups. If I wasn’t trying to start my own, I was in a sales role at someone else’s startup mm-hmm
And I joined this company employee number eight, we grew to 200 people and four years bootstrapped. And at the end of it, I, I had this amazing skillset, but I looked around and said, I wanna be a, not, you know, not an enterprise BI dev guy. And. You know, I don’t know, marketing, I just know sales. And, and so five years ago I left my cushy tech job.
I took a job making less, a minimum wage at a local marketing agency because I assume that if I, if I had to sell SEO, I would have to learn how to do it in order to sell it. And it happened. I was there for two years before I took my for from to hundred thousand organics a month. And then after that, I decided to go out on my.
Jared: So clearly on your own, you you’ve been successful. What where did you start when you went out on your own, where did you start finding clients and how did you develop this kind of unique approach to SEO that a lot of people, you know, don’t take.
Nick: So at logic inbound, I took their blog from zero to a hundred K.
A month and about 13 months and the traffic that we accumulated, wasn’t very valuable in terms of revenue, but it was very valuable in terms of informing how I think Google search works. And so through the course of this campaign, there’s a couple keywords that ended up informing the, the strategy that I still use today.
We ended up out ranking Shopify for is Shopify safe. We ended up out ranking Instagram for Instagram support. This is gonna sound crazy, but if you Google Instagram support at the time, We were above Instagram. And then we were right below Shopify on Shopify support. And then when I looked at why these, why we were able to achieve these rankings, you know, I was able to, to make some conclusions, we had a, we had a real URL with that was friendly and it described the thing that the page was about.
And then when you land on the page, we had a bunch of content way more content than the official pages from Shopify and Instagram. And it started getting my mind, you know, basically I was basically, my theory is today is that Google search is highly influenced by user engagement metrics. Things like time on site pages, visited bounce rate, return visitors, overall site engagement, help Google understand whether one page of content is more valuable than another page of content.
And I think Google uses the value of content heavily in its ranking algorithms.
Jared: When you were able to outran some of these major brands maybe, oh, a pick what? Shopify, Instagram, like maybe out, like, just help us understand, outline the specifics of what your page looked like and what was different about your page in comparison to maybe Shopify’s support page or Instagram support page in these cases.
Nick: Yeah. So if you look at Instagram support page, the URL is filled with numbers. It’s not friendly, it doesn’t have any human readable words. And then when you actually land on the page, it’s about a hundred words of text, and it basically says you’re out of lock and we put together, you know, an optimized article across the URL, the meta description, the H two S targeting.
Instagram support. And then we had a bunch of content talking about all the reasons you might contact, support, how successful you’re gonna be and various routes for you to explore. And ultimately I think that because we went above and beyond what Instagram did. Our content created more value to the user and that value was reflected in the user engage of metrics of our page versus Instagram’s page.
Same thing with Shopify, the page we ended up out ranking was a form page, which means there URL was garbly go. There was no H one. There was no H two S and the content that was on the page was, was limited to whatever the user posted. Whereas ours was completely optimized for the keywords we wanted to rank for, and it was super robust and covered.
Basically the entire intent. Behind that search is Shopify safe. And so these keywords weren’t very monetizable to our agency, but approaching Google from the perspective that if I create the best page of content, Google will give visibility to that. Content is stolen. Play today over the last couple years or eight agencies published 10,000 pages of content we’ve built no new back links.
And we currently have almost 200,000 keywords on page one. And because of our relentless focus on content quality and almost no focus on technical stuff and zero focus on back links. The success that we’ve had to me tells me that content quality drives rankings and, and because Google wants to give the user the page that creates the most value for that user.
Jared: So at this point, we’ve kind of landed on this idea that Google likes again, in what you’ve found a lot of content and that you have to publish a lot in order to get your strategy to work with, with no back links with, with no linkability with no technical issue, these, these sorts of things. Let’s talk about another point that you had brought up and just teased a bit, which is the velocity of content that you have to publish to, to, to kind of achieve these results.
How important is the
Nick: velocity. Yeah, definitely. So there’s a couple things that we noticed over the last couple years, the first is that content ideas might sit on your content calendar for a couple years. You know, if you look at any niche, RV CBD, whatever it is, there’s thousands of pages of content you need to create that will draw qualified audience.
And so an idea might sit here for three years before you actually get around to, to publishing it. And so our approach to Google is create the highest quality content. That we possibly can for the keywords that we wanna rank for. And then it’s do that as fast as possible. And our agencies reached 800 pages a month of content for one client for one client.
Jared: Yeah. Wow. Okay. Wow. Now. Wow. I’ll okay. Well, I’ll get, I’ll come back to that. I wanna know how you do that, but let’s stay with the topic in the theme here. Why is velocity so important? Why is maybe why? Why do I, I mean, clearly I understand. I think everybody understands like. In general, if the quality stays high more is better.
You’re able to target more keywords. You’re able to give yourself more opportunities, but velocity is maybe a little bit different, cuz it’s not just more it’s about how you’re doing it and how quickly you’re doing it, how rapidly you’re doing it. Why is velocity itself
Nick: so important? So you can’t rank for a keyword until you have a page about that keyword.
And that’s that’s the primary thing is the quicker you get content out the door, the faster you start, that rankings countdown timer and the sooner you’ll you’ll begin to generate traffic for that keyword. The other thing that I’ve seen is I saw a recent tweet by John Mueller and he said, well, it’s hard to call a 30 page website, authoritative.
And if you think of about. The barrier for creating a 30 page website is zero. Literally anyone can create a 30 page website and if Google allowed any 30 page website to take high real estate in valuable SES. Well, there’d be two issues. The first is that there’d be too much variability because again, the barrier to creating a 30 page website is zero.
The second is that Google would be doing their users a disservice because they’re gonna be promoting UN established companies that just started the other day that have 30 pages of content, and they’re gonna be sending their traffic there. And I think that one, if you can publish a thousand and pages of content, Google knows that’s expensive in order to support that level of investment, you need some sort of business model that makes customers.
And so it’s, yeah, it’s a lot of content. It’s a, yeah, it’s a barrier to, you know, Google’s attention. If you, if you can’t get past 30 pages and you know, you didn’t really try that hard on your business and you’re probably not making customers that happy.
Jared: Okay. So from a high level. So we have this example that we’ve, that we’ve been talking about from a high level.
How does someone let’s say that somebody does have the budget to produce a lot of content? Like you’re talking about? I mean, you’re, you’re, you’re saying 800, but you know, maybe 400, maybe 800, maybe 500, maybe 600, but let’s say somebody has that budget or has that capability, how do you begin actually to organize what?
To go after what to target, what not to target and maybe outline some of the strategies there.
Nick: Yeah, definitely. So I think when you’re publishing this much content keyword research becomes a major bottleneck and you need to look at a keyword grouping tool. There’s a bunch on the market. There’s keyword chef there’s keyword, Cupid, Matt dignity just want launched one.
We have one called cluster AI, and essentially what all these tools do is they use data it from Google. To decide what keywords belong on what page mm-hmm . So you, you, you export a list of 25,000 keywords from a, you import into one of these keyword grouping tools. And what you get back is a, is a list of every page of content that you need to create to rank for all the ways to get in front of your audience.
Jared: Okay. You make it sound so simple.
Nick: it turns keyword research into kind of just like how good I are you being at a thesaurus can, you know, do you know all the variations and the keywords that you wanna get onto your list? And that’s really the hard part. So
Jared: sort, yeah. It’s kinda like looking for every needle in the haystack to get it on this list that you’ve then dump into
So if you’re targeting universe universities, well, you also have to remember to do universities, college colleges, uni secondary school, or yeah. Yeah. And so it just, it becomes a vocabulary exercise, which honestly is easier than, than keyword research. So it, it kind of it enables you to do great keyword research without the, the experience.
Okay. Okay. So you, that makes
Jared: sense. So you get, you get, you use a, a tool of some sort like, like cluster AI, for example, to take a, a, a map list of, of keywords and kind of parse them into general topics that go together. Let’s outline that as an example maybe give us an example of some topics that would go together or that might be end up being separate from each other that we might mess up.
If we don’t have this kind of grouping type sort of approach.
Nick: This is great because it’s actually really unintuitive. You look at two keywords and you’re like, as an SEO, as a writer, as a marketer, you’re like these two keywords totally belong in the same page of content. I’m gonna create one page and hit both of ’em and then you Google both of those keywords and the results are completely different.
And that when you Google ’em, you’ll find that. There’s no page that’s ranking for both keywords, with a single URL or a single page. And if there’s no other brands that can rank for both keywords with one page, you can’t either. And a great one of the, a great one that I, I, I I’ve highlighted is, is LinkedIn profile examples versus LinkedIn headline.
Examples to me is a, a marketer. I’m writing an article about how to make money on LinkedIn. I’m gonna optimize my, my article and we’re gonna cover. You know, the full kind of LinkedIn money making funnel and that these would be H two S but really when you look at the websites that are ranking for these keywords, they’re either dedicated to optimized for one keyword or the other, not both.
Jared: So it that’s a case where you, I, a lot of people and we all have these situations, maybe yours is this example of LinkedIn and mine has to do with dogs or something. But there’s these examples where. You think that they are about the same topic you think that you would write the same article or you, you think you kind of combine them maybe in several H two S and create this kind of mega article about this topic in reality, they need to be separated.
And then I’m sure there’s examples where. You think they’re two separate topics, but in reality, you’ll never rank if you write a, a very niche down article about the long tail, because what Google wants is that actually included in a larger topical piece
Nick: of content. That’s, that’s absolutely right. And, and just like you said, visa versa.
If you try and optimize one page for two things that should really be two pages, your page won’t rank for either of the keywords you were targeting, because everybody else is focused on one.
Jared: This is a bit of an aside. It’s a little bit of a tangent , but maybe go with me, go with me on it. Does Google ever change your mind about that stuff?
Can you ever find yourself a year down the road and needing to go back and kind of recalibrate to say, oh man, last year, these were two separate topics and now for whatever a reason Google wants them on the same page. Does that ever happen? Do you pay attention to that or does it just not matter at that scale?
Nick: We, for us, we found it doesn’t matter. And, but I think you’re right. I think that there is some fluctuation, you know, one week Google might prefer index sites like Yelp, and then the next week they might prefer a Listal on a blog about the top restaurants instead of the, the, but so far we haven’t ever been like.
We’ve never been like, oof.
Jared: Yeah. Well, at your example, 800 articles. I mean, I don’t know. I would be guessing that might happen to 20 or 30 maybe. I mean, I hate to put numbers out there, but I’m just, I, I imagine it’s in the margins, right? It doesn’t happen as often. So
Nick: it’s in the margins. And one of the, one of the ways your framework changes when you’re publishing 800 pages is, becomes no longer about any individual page.
It’s all about the system, the groups of pages. Is traffic conversions and revenue increasing week over week. And not necessarily the specific pages that are contributing to that growth, once growth stops, then you start looking at specific pages, but as long as it’s going up, you know, you got more than enough work to do publishing more content.
So I’m gonna
Jared: lob this softball over to you of a question. Cause I feel like you’re gonna, you’re gonna, you’re are gonna light up and you’re gonna hit this the but so how important. Is the concept of topically topic, clusters, topically, relevant articles. How important is relevance in terms of Google’s eyes and ranking?
Like just kind of go down that
Nick: path a bit. Yeah. So I think that there’s, that, that word that you use topical relevance is like the, the peanut butter and jelly to content velocity. What content velocity creates is topical relevance very quickly. You know, people have traditionally thought about relevance and, and authority is.
In terms of back links, but I think that by publishing enough content and absolutely saturating a niche, you create this concept that people are calling topical relevance. Going back to John Mueller’s example of a 30 page website, not being authoritative. Still think it’s very true, but I also believe that internal links act as votes to Google on how important a page is to your brand.
So if we had two websites, it’s website, a website, B mine’s mine’s website, a and I have a thousand internal links to a one landing page. I think Google goes, that’s way more important to his brand. And I’m gonna make it easier to rank than that same 1000 page website, but with only one internal link to the competitive landing page.
And then I was gonna say, what we’ve seen is that the more content we publish about a specific particular subtopic, the better all of that content does. And so something like CBDs, very broad, we found 750,000 keywords that include CBD. If I was approaching that, I’d go super deep into one aspect of maybe CBD papers or CBD paraphernalia or, or one of the 20 subtopics, rather than a couple articles across the entire genre of content.
Jared: And then, and you would probably write 800 articles about the subtopic
Nick: I’d yeah. 800 articles about different CBD strains. Wow. Now, one of the things I’ll say about kind of content, velocity and topical relevance is if you look at the top websites in any niche, they always have the most content, unless it’s like a tool or a calculator in general, there’s a very clear correlation between number of pages published and overall outcome.
What I don’t see is that if I look at the up 10 websites in any niche, let’s say CBD, because we’re already here, you won’t find in general, a website that generates 80% of the traffic. With 20% of the content mm-hmm, , there’ll be an outlier, a million organics have at least a certain number of pages. It depends on the niche.
Maybe it’s 500, maybe it’s a thousand, but whatever it is generally holds true.
Jared: Okay, so content wins. How does someone, well, how do you, I guess we’ll start there. How do you publish 800 articles at that kind of velocity and maintain what we’re calling, you know, high quality in terms of your articles?
So, you know, 800 pages, but those 800 pages represent probably over a million words a month. Yeah. And how do you publish, you know, if you think about it, every word in content writing is a liability to mess something up, spelling, grammar, formatting, positioning, literally a million liabilities we’re publishing every month.
Do we not have errors everywhere? Cause even a, you know, even a 0.5% error rate is still. Tens of thousands of errors are not a math guy a lot. So there’s kind of two there’s two pillars. The first is that you need to build a team of people who care that’s number one, because the easiest thing for an editor to do, and the easiest thing for a writer to do is let shit slide just easier for both of them.
And if they don’t care, they will let the, but if you find the people who care, they won’t let bad content go live. And now what our team looks like is of the 40 riders we have on our team and of the 10 or 15 editors and senior editors and PMs. A lot of them have one. They started speaking English at a very young age.
Our team is, our team is overseas. But they all started consuming media, playing video games, et cetera, as soon as they could start speaking their native language. The second is that they invested into continuing education. So I think like half our team has master’s degrees in English. And then the other half, if they don’t have a master’s degree, they went on to teach English.
And these two things indicate a passion for content. In fact, a lot of the people on our team, I don’t think care that we are, you know, about our SEO abilities, about the outcomes that we create about are stature within the industry. They’re super pumped that they get to show up every day and just focus on good contact.
So find the people who care. And then the second part is documentation. You can’t hold people accountable to doing something in a specific way, unless it’s documented in content production, it there’s like 30 or 50 discrete steps to go from idea to published. And if you want people to do it right, every single time, you need to write it down, they need to know what right.
Looks like. Because to telling them verbally isn’t gonna work. So hire the right people, which we could do a
Jared: whole episode on I’m. I’m sure you gave some good tidbits there on how to source and vet and kind of look for the right people and then have a very clearly delineated process for how you write those articles.
So if you’re gonna be producing content of velocity, you have, if you have to have your processes
Nick: nailed down, it’s true. Even think about something like uploading. If you don’t. Document everything that goes into uploading and you’re doing 800 a month, it’s not gonna be consistent. And, and that’s like every single part of the content production process is, is documentation.
Right now we have a thousand pages. And we’ve kind of built a culture of documentation within our organization. It’s not just me. We now have, you know, this documentation has been worked on by two dozen people over the last two years,
Jared: so substantial. So it’s devil’s advocate. Does that get overwhelming for someone on your team?
A writer? An editor, an uploader people that do this, is it, is it? And again, I’m just trying to play devil’s advocate here. Is it, where does it become more than someone can handle to kind of do their job and do it well.
Nick: It’s always a, it’s always a balance between what needs to get done and also documentation, but the benefits are too big to ignore.
So the biggest one is that in order to ex you know, in order to publish as much content, you have to build a team, you can’t do it on your own. And by creating documentation, I’ve enabled junior member, junior level team members to, you know, punch that senior level weight. I, the people doing our keyword research don’t have SEO experience and it’s because they have documentation.
And, and cluster, but they have documentation that enables them to do that. And it actually, it doesn’t overwhelm. It reduces stress because when someone’s learning something new, mm-hmm , they get very anxious. If they’re not productive, the person who’s responsible for training them is also anxious that the person learning is not product.
And so both sides are anxious the whole time. But with documentation, it, it removes that anxiety, you know, the person who’s responsible knows that the person they’re training has a resource that tells ’em exactly what to do. And the person who’s learning knows they have a resource that tells ’em exactly what to do.
Talk a little bit about
Jared: just some of the structural tenants of the content you’re producing people, love details, you know, get maybe. How long are these articles talk about the types of keywords that you’re writing in this, in this massive content push and you know, what types of things you’re focusing on these articles are they mostly informational?
Are they mostly responding to different questions? Are you targeting featured snippets? I’m just hitting you with a lot of stuff, but like nerd out for a bit on kind of what these articles look like. So can get a picture of what 800 articles actually look like for someone to
Nick: produce and write.
Absolutely. Yeah. So it’s almost entirely blog posts. There are some landing pages in there, but the majority of the work that we do is blog posts. The word counts really dynamic, and it depends on. Where the website that we’re working on is at, and also what the first page looks like when we’re starting a new website.
We generally tend to write more words because we found that’s the easiest way to add more value to the user. Just talk about more stuff. But when we’re in full authority mode, we’ve noticed that we can get away with like 800 words of content and still beat up everybody else. And so we’re gonna reduce our word count so we can publish more pages.
Either way. What we’re looking for is we’re counting the number of words on the first page for each of the search results. And, and we wanna make sure that we’re in that range. If the average word count is 3000, we don’t expect a rank if we write 1000.
Jared: So you talked about how cluster AI allows you.
There’s other tools out there allows you to kind of take a whole mess of keywords and organize them topically and that saves you a ton of time. Cause otherwise you’d have to kind of manually hit every URL to, to, to evaluate the same can be said about word counts. How are you? Word counts for, for all these different topics.
Nick: So we’re pretty unsophisticated. We have our writers, Google the keyword, and then copy and paste the data into word, counter.net, but there’s tools like phrase and surfer and, you know, market use and, and public Jarvis that can grab this data for you and your writer and, and tell them what the, the target word count is.
Jared: Yep. Yep. So you got the word count is gonna vary more words at the beginning. Makes sense. You’re trying to establish authority typically. There there’s a lot of data that suggests that, Hey, if you want to outran some people with a higher, you know, call it domain authority, you wanna be on the upper end of the word count.
And then as you gain authority mode, you can kind of start to be a little bit of the lower side of things. So that makes a lot of sense. What, what are the, what, what are the style of articles? Are these you know, again, like how to articles are they guides? I’m sure it varies across the brand and across the target keyword, but at that scale, What’s working because I think, and again, the reason I’m asking is for maybe a typical SEO person, who’s building their website, they’re gonna put out 5, 10, 15, 20 articles a month.
Right. And so it just, it looks really different. I think in scale like yours, what types of articles are
Nick: they. Yeah, that’s a great question because we’re covering such a range of topics. We always defer to answer that question to Google. When we Google the keyword you wanna rank for Google will tell us what type of page to create.
Is it a blog post? Is it a landing page? Is it a category page? Is it a product page? If it’s a blog post, is it a listical? Is it a different type of blog? And we’ll just count the page types and then choose whichever one Google has decided to rank the most frequent on page one. Yep.
Jared: Yep. So you mentioned internal linking earlier.
How are you managing that and how what are some of the strategies and techniques you’re using with internal linking to add relevance to your
Nick: to your topics? So when we do this keyword grouping what we get back is a list of pages of content that we need to create. And we’ll just pick the most valuable one from the top of the list.
So if there’s, let’s say 300 pages in this list of content, we need to create, we’ll say these top 10 need to be internally linked in every single blog post. And then we have a, a system where our writers can also a look for relevant internal links within the content calendar that we have in front of.
They have these mandatory 10. We need them to do five natural. They’ll go to this big list. They’ll see what’s in the pipeline and they’ll just create an upcoming, external internal link to that page of content.
Jared: How important do you think internal linking is to your strategy that you’re, you’re deploying?
You know, what, if someone wanna skip it? I mean,
Nick: I think internal links. Do what people, what people think back links do. I like whenever there’s a, a, a keyword that I really wanna rank for, and I haven’t gotten there with doing nothing, then the very next thing that I do is drive as many internal links to it as I possibly can.
Mm-hmm and so far we’ve never been like, oh, we need to figure out a second step after that.
Jared: You know? Yeah, yeah. You never had to turn to back links or other on page method.
Nick: It just works. And I think all that’s, that’s a great way to, to say it is the reason I don’t know how to build back links is I just never had to do it to get the desired outcome.
Right. I heard they’re great. And I wish I had ’em it as a tool, my tool belt. Cause. You know, I gotta go build a thousand internal links when I wanna rank why I wanna rank a page. Well, I mean,
Jared: you’re, you’re it’s music to, to people on this podcast here. I’m sure. At least many of ’em. I mean, Spencer developed a plugin link whisper that does internal linking for in an automated way for, for, for website builders and stuff.
And so. He has historically documented how targeting low volume keywords and then internally linking those together to bring relevance works. I mean, that’s kind of how he ranks the vast majority of his sites historically. So that’s gonna make a lot of sense to most people listening to this. It, it, it really does.
It, it, it, it, it, it’s true. Data
Nick: shows that. It’s and you know, approaching Google from an on page perspective is very empowering because it means that all the variables for success are within your control. You can touch them, you can change them, you can manipulate them. And when you start relying on external things, like backlink, I feel like you give some of the control of success to someone else.
And that’s a, it’s a, it’s not a position of power to be operating. I, I feel like it’s a little bit of praying to the Google gods. Unless I own every variable.
Jared: It’s very difficult to do at scale as well. You know, I mean, what you’re doing is difficult. Building back links at scale is also very difficult. So it’s it’s a measure of, what’s gonna be the most efficient way for you to achieve your objectives, which I, I like how you keep coming back to saying like, Hey there’s a lot of, there are a lot, I’m paraphrasing by the way, but there’s a lot of ways to do this, but Hey, here’s what I know works.
And it allows me to just focus on producing good content and then I can focus on one singular thing and I know it works and it works at scale.
Nick: Yeah. And the, I, I was talking about this with a friend. I really actually app. So we believe that again, you know, Google’s gonna use user engagement metrics and, and content value to influence where you rank.
And for me, that’s like, I’m so thankful that I have a framework to make decisions off of because there’s a thousand decisions off to make on my website. And if my framework is best for the user, then that guides every decision I’ll make. But if, if the, if the key to success is this like black box. Then it introduc, like I don’t have a framework for decision making anywhere on the website.
It’s all kind of like hacky and, you know, like, do I get lucky? And that’s like, You know, someone who wants to win, it’s not a, it’s not a good place to compete from. Well,
Jared: I certainly feel a bit like you, where, where there are, there are some people and I’ve gotten to have the pleasure of interviewing some of those people on this podcast that man, their brains can just handle a lot more than mine can in terms of all the different intricacies that go into ranking a page.
So I think your approach is refreshing for a lot, lot of people you’re you have a very. Singular mindset about about your concepts, about your, your theories on Google, and then you have a process that you’ve developed that fits that narrative. Right? And so you can always turn back to that. You can always grab the same tool out of the tool shed, and you don’t have to have every tool in the tool, shed your tool.
Shed’s nice and small, nice and lean. And you’ve got a team that’s structured around the, the same tool you use to, to accomplish your task. I, you know, I think it’s refreshing, so it’s really good. Congratulations.
Nick: Well, well, thank you. It’s, it’s been a, it’s been a hard fought battle. I’ve tried to actually get into SEO three times.
It didn’t click till the last time. The first two times I focused on technical stuff and I focused on backlinks and I just never got the amount of traction that I needed to continue to invest in learning SEO. And if, if I, if that would’ve happened on the first time I would’ve been in the SEO game for over 10 years.
But I didn’t click until the third time. And I think a lot of people go through that too, where. They wanna do SEO. They read articles that say there’s 200 ranking factors, and then they just spend their whole time in learn mode and especially learning variables that aren’t ultimately that important.
And yeah, there might be 200 variables, but I’m only thinking about, you know, a handful in anything that I, you know, in any context.
Jared: Talk about those mistakes for a little bit. What were some of the big ones that caused you in to end up down this road? And I mean, third times a charm, but what were the first two, maybe from a high level?
Like what were the mistakes that, that you felt prevented you from succeeding? The first two times?
Nick: SEO is very difficult to learn because good learning requires two things. The first is a tight feedback cycle between action and evaluation, completely missing. Mm-hmm . The second is being able to isolate independent variables and attribute.
You know what you measured to specific variables, so you can take a guess and, and iterate, and that’s also missing. And I think that probably more people try and learn SEO and fail and then go do something else than actually continue on in that SEO journey because of those two things. And, and so, like I said, for me, I just, I think when I first started to in like 2010, I didn’t know what communities.
To pay attention to, I didn’t have anyone to look up to. I didn’t have any SEO friends to bounce ideas off of. And at that point in my career, SEO was just an aspiration. No one was paying me to do it for my job. And so when I didn’t see the success, I just, I just pursued something else. Makes
Jared: sense. Makes sense.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s easy to fail at the gate on this. That’s for sure mean, so if you’re listening Hey, if, if Nick would tell you third, time’s a charm, keep going. Hey, so as we come to a bit of a closer, as we start to wrap up, can I just hit you with some rapid fire questions that that have to do with some of the things you’ve talked about?
So I’ve been taking notes and I don’t want, I don’t wanna go I don’t want us to end without at least asking a few of these, so, okay. Here’s a, here’s a, here’s a bit outta left field. Where does, where, so going forward, where does AI play or role in your content process or does
Nick: it already play a role in it?
So I thought AI content was like 10 years away from like actually being where it needs to be until I saw open AI’s Dolly. And Dolly’s their new framework where you can type in a prompt and it will create images based off of that prompt. So if you Google Dolly, they have this prompt. An arm chair in the shape of an avocado and open AI, basically programmatically generated a bunch of pictures of armchairs in the shape of avocados, and it’s the most mind blowing thing that I’ve ever seen.
So I think AI, content’s gonna be there soon. I don’t think it’s there today. I think AI content is best used for productivity enablement. I think the other, I, the there’s a couple verticals of content where I think AI can write it completely, but I think those are opportunities. Like I’ve seen this website is the drinking water safe in X city?
Is X country safe? Well, there’s a thousand articles. They’re all structured exactly the same and they just switch the city name in a couple other details. AI content crushes for that. Okay.
Jared: That’s pretty crazy. I haven’t looked into Dolly when it, at scale you’re, you’re doing 800 of these. You have, you have big clients that come to you and you’re doing these big, big, big content pushes.
Where’s the middle ground. Cause you’re obviously at the top of the spectrum and then you’re arguing and it makes sense that, Hey, if you’re only gonna publish, say five articles a month, you don’t have the velocity to get the relevance needed to outweigh the. Back links, the authority, the, the other things you talked about.
So at 800 articles, you’re obviously able to out measure those other tangible requirements. Where’s the middle ground. Like if I’m somebody sitting here and I don’t have that big of a budget, I don’t have that big of a team. I don’t have the processes laid out. How much do I have to do to trigger some of these
You. You know, it’s kind of like, it’s a sliding scale and it’s kind of like health and fitness. Some is better than none and more is better than some. And a lot is better than more. So, you know, if you can’t do 800 do a hundred, if you can’t do a hundred do 50, if you can’t do 50. Do 10, whatever, everything you can.
Yeah. Like I, so I have some, you know, I have a couple projects. We published 70 to a hundred to 200 pages of content. Those also hit a hundred thousand organics a month. So you don’t need to have a team of 45 writers and editors to create an incredible impact. The company that we were doing this for was very neat position where they have a hundred thousand opportunities to get in front of a.
A qualified audience because their app has 75 different features and, and most companies just don’t like that. You know, most companies, maybe a thousand pages is like the most they’ll ever wanna publish mm-hmm mm-hmm right.
Jared: Okay. That’s encouraging. cause I could, I, I could feel a little deflated coming off this saying, oh, that sounds amazing.
But I just can’t do 800 pages
Nick: Most of our clients can’t too, and we’re able to create incredible outcomes for them. I even 20 pages, a.
Jared: Okay. So do I think what you’re really saying is, you know, we had a recent interview with Luke Jordan who, who took a website from basically being nailed by a Google algorithm, update to a million page views a month within I think less than a year.
And he, he echoed, you guys have very different approaches from what I can tell, just being the interviewer, but he took a very similar approach in mindset to saying, We needed to publish as much as we possibly could on the subject to show Google that we’re the authority. And I think that that probably is the most important thing to take away.
Yes, we’re using a wonderful case study of 800 pages and we’ve talked at length about publishing everything possible, but really go as go as hard on content as you can. It’s your greatest tool to ranking is, is basically what you’re trying to kind of summarize.
Nick: Yeah, absolutely. And I think this approach is really accessible because I see all these non SEOs using content velocity effectively to get graphs that look like this mm-hmm
Jared: so, Hey, talk a little bit about work ELO and what it does, and you know, what, what you have going on over there.
Nick: Yeah, definitely. So for us as an agency, we were capacity constrained. We had more business than we could support because we didn’t have enough good rider. So we spent like a thousand hours basically building a better way to hire writers on autopilot. But that’s not attainable or feasible for most organizations.
You just simply can’t, you don’t have a business case. Like we do to spend a thousand hours building a, an automated hiring funnel. And so we just turned it into a SA. So now anyone can hire like a 45 person agency for like the page of a couple, you know, the cost of a couple pages of content.
Jared: Wow. So how does that work?
Is it, is, is it yeah. How does it work?
Nick: Tell me . So just like I told you, the number one lever for better SEO results is to, to publish more content. The number one lever to get better writers is to evaluate and test more writing candidates. Mm-hmm , it’s very simple. If you evaluate and test a handful of writing candidates, you don’t hire the best.
You hire the least worst because none of these guys are great, but it was so much work. I’m just gonna hire this guy. And then you hire ’em and then you spend way too much time editing and they leave anyways, you either terminate them or they resign, and then you just have to do the process all over again.
And so our, our theory is basically instead of evaluating testing, a couple evaluating test 200, and then whoever you hire is gonna be the best out of those 200. And you’re much more, more likely to get a great writer at the price point you can afford. Wow.
Jared: Yeah. I feel like you’re wa I feel like you’re walking down memory lane from me.
When you talk about hiring a writer, everything you just said, , I’m getting a little, getting a little pain points as you, as you outline it. Cool. Well, let’s see. That’s that is, and people can go check that out. Is that something that is it just for agent fees or individuals?
Nick: Yeah. You, yeah, we have, we have dozens of agencies using it.
They love it. Okay. And that’s at
Jared: work lo.com. So w O R K E L L o.com. And yeah, any other ways people can kind of follow along with, with what you’re doing? I mean, do you publish any of these case studies of clients and success stories where can people kind of keep up with you?
Nick: Yeah, definitely.
So I like, I get pretty naked and I share some people say I share too much. That case study from zero to 1.5 million organics a month, we have a 5,000 word playbook. Like you can start implementing it as you read it. We publish a lot of content on LinkedIn and YouTube and, and Facebook and our, and our content ops community.
I’m everywhere. Everywhere
Jared: clearly in The Bahamas as well right now. So , well, we’ll get some of those links in the show notes for people who want to who wanna catch up on some of those case studies and, and follow along. Nick, is there anything I didn’t ask you about that, that, you know, in closing that you think would be really important for, for everyone to hear.
Nick: No, you’re an incredibly thorough interviewer. I hit all the, the major points like you, you got everything.
Jared: Well, I, we had it all outlined ahead of time that made that always makes preparation is key. I’ll tell you that much. this has been a really intriguing, deep dive. Thank you for bringing so much, not only knowledge, but excitement, energy to the topic of content, because it mean, I’m sure everyone’s interested in learning more about topic, but the way you’ve created velocity and the approach you take is really.
Pretty inspiring actually. So thank you for, thanks for coming on the on the niche for podcast.
Nick: Thank you so much. You know, there’s nothing special or unique about me. I’m just a normal guy and if I can figure it out, you know, anyone can figure it out
Jared: well with that, we’ll leave everyone. And thanks again, Nick.
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