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SEOButler Does CMSEO Pt. 3 — Day 2 Presentations and Speaker Summaries


5 Dec 2019


CMSEO 2019 Day 2 SpeakersCMSEO Day 2 Speakers (Source:Grant Simmons)

Friday — CMSEO Day 2

After a long but productive and enjoyable Day 1 of CMSEO and an early night, the team was raring to go for Day 2.

The success of Jonathan’s presentation and all the positive feedback from visitors to the SEOButler stand—in search of swag and conversation—had us all in a very upbeat mood.

Gael Breton — Taking Your Sites to the Next Level: The Kaizen Approach to Site Building

First up was Gael Breton, founder of AuthorityHacker and one of the foremost authorities on building, well… authority sites.

Gael spoke of taking the Kaizen approach to site-building.

Kaizen is a concept first pioneered by Toyota.

It helped revolutionize Japan’s manufacturing industry and turn it into an economic powerhouse in the wake of World War 2.

The element of Kaizen that Gael focused on was the idea that small, incremental changes can have an enormous impact on outcomes.

Gael decided to apply this approach to his sites.

Here are some of the results:

Key Takeaways

  • “Tiny” tweaks can make a huge difference. AuthorityHacker made two “minor” changes to their blog posts which had a surprisingly powerful positive impact on traffic:
    • Gael changed the date on blog posts from the “publish date” to the “last updated date.” If you’re a WordPress user, this is a quick win. Gael did it using this WP plugin.
      Gael Breton WordPress
  • In 2019, Google is dominated by “last updated” content.
  • Keyword density also seems to be a significant factor.

Gael implemented more small changes that made a big difference, and this inspired him to share tactics that “most people on most sites” can employ to improve them.

To fit in with the Kaizen approach, Gael set the following rules for his strategies:

  • One day maximum to implement
  • Low technical expertise required
  • Less than $1000 in cost
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect to see progress

Here’s a selection:

Search Volume (Mostly) Doesn’t Matter
The majority of searches on Google now result in zero clicks.

Thanks to featured snippets and other search widgets, queries that can be answered in under 300 characters have experienced a precipitous drop in traffic.

As a result, there are far better metrics to look at then search volume when you’re doing your keyword research.

If you use Ahrefs, focus on Clicks, Clicks Per Search (CPS), and Traffic as useful metrics rather than Search Volume.

Focus on complex topics (i.e., ones that can’t be covered in a featured snippet) to ensure maximum clicks

Build Hubs, Not Pages
This is a concept best illustrated with graphs. Perrin Carrell does a fantastic job of that here.

Don’t Be Too Smart with Content
As a content creator who loves writing and editing long, well-researched posts, this one kills me, but…

The Authority Hacker team spent over three weeks full-time on a comprehensive “How To Make Money Blogging in 2019” post.

Guess what?

It tanked.

So the team went back to the drawing board.

Gael told the writer to “just read what was ranking and rewrite it.”

The spun post performed significantly better.

Here’s Gael’s advice on how to achieve similar results.

  • Make a list of all the headings from the top-ranking posts
  • Build out your post using those same headings with (somewhat) unique content.
  • Gael recommends Surfer to help with the structure. Particularly their Google Docs integration.

Optimize Your Outreach
Gael and his team sent out 600,000 (!) outreach emails and then drilled down on what works.

  • If you don’t follow up at least once on your initial outreach email, it’s basically not worth the trouble to send it.
  • Personalization works. Use the recipient’s name. Use it often.
  • Contrary to popular wisdom, Mondays and Fridays may be the best days to send your outreach emails.
  • Sites with a DR between 30-50 were by far the most likely to say yes to cold outreach.
  • Not surprisingly, as the DR goes up above 50, sites are progressively less likely to agree to give you a link.
  • Simple subject lines perform best. Extremely simple. “Question?” did best.
  • Taking a casual tone works far better than formal.
  • Keep it short.
  • Offering to collaborate or otherwise exchange value is highly effective.

Travis JamisonThinking Like an Investor with SEO: How to Add Zeros to your Projects

One of the best things about CMSEO is that it isn’t all SEO all the time.

There’s certainly more than enough SEO insights and hacks to make CMSEO worth more than the price of admission.

Like Jonathan’s Sleeping Giant talk the previous day, Travis Jamison focused more on the big picture of growing a successful digital marketing business rather than the SEO nitty-gritty.

Travis is a serial entrepreneur turned VC (though he’s not fond of the term.)

He successfully bootstrapped over a dozen small businesses—several of them leading to seven-figure exits.

In the wake of that success, Travis shifted his focus to investing.

He founded SmashVC to, in his own words, “be the type of partner, investor and mentor that I wished had existed for me earlier in my career.”

Travis shared some of what he’s learned along the journey from founder to angel investor by advising attendees on how to apply investment principles to their SEO projects.

Key Takeaways

  • Only work on projects that can be built into a brand or steered into something bigger.
  • Build with optionality (i.e., the flexibility to generate other, potentially more lucrative revenue streams). For example: Running a review site? Can you potentially expand into e-commerce and sell your own products?
  • Build a self-growing community around your brand (social media, email lists, user-generated content).
  • Optionality for SaaS
  • Before you start on a new project or business, assess whether there’s the potential to move up the value chain.
  • Here are some examples of hugely successful businesses that are just “glorified SEO sites.”
    • Lending Club – Market Cap $1.2B
    • Yelp
    • The Points Guy
  • It’s crucial to evaluate whether your projects have “enough potential upside to warrant your time and money.”
  • If you have a portfolio of websites, focus on finding the winners then double-down on them rather than just trying to keep weaker sites afloat.
  • Apply the principles of value investing when deciding what projects to go “all-in” on. Not sure if it’s a sure thing? Wait until you hit on a project that is.
  • “Know your circle of competence.” Stick to what you’re good at.

Travis shared many more nuggets, including the surprising fact that AOL still makes $144M per year from dial-up internet subscriptions.

Hungry for more?

Travis was kind enough to share his deck here.

Tim Soulo — 11 Things That Only Ahrefs Can Do For You

They may be notoriously stingy with their conference swag, but Ahrefs remains the industry standard for many SEOs when it comes to backlink analysis, keyword research, and much more.

CMO Tim Soulo took to the stage to explore some lesser-known applications for ahrefs that had every SEO in the room scribbling notes.

Key Takeaways

  • Keyword research for 10 different search engines across 170 countries
  • Observe backlink growth or decline over time, with daily granularity
  • Obtain search traffic estimations for the top 10 ranking pages
  • See what subfolders drive the most search traffic to your competition
  • Analyze unique click distribution among the top pages of a SERP
  • “Uncover content gaps between you and your competitors”
  • Email alerts for improvements in keyword rankings
  • Outbound link monitoring for your website
  • Prospect for links with Content Explorer
  • Use content explorer to look for posts—on sites you’re hoping to score a backlink from—that have fallen in the SERPs and never been updated. Then offer to rewrite the article for them and update the publication date.
  • Analyze the internal backlinks of any site
  • See the ranking history of any website for every keyword

I’ve only given you the bullet points for Tim’s talk because he too has been kind enough to share his deck on LinkedIn.

He gives step-by-step instructions and examples for each of the points above.

Tim even super-sized the deck from nine to 11 unique things ahrefs can do for you!
Nick Nimmin YouTube

Nick Nimmin — YouTube Mastery: How to Leverage the Fastest Growing Traffic Source on the Planet

For many SEOs, Google is the be-all, end-all.

But there’s another Alphabet property where there’s money to be made applying principles similar (but different) to Google-focused SEO.

Nick Nimmin is both a popular YouTube content creator and an authority on how to produce and rank YouTube videos.

He’s convinced that many SEOs are leaving money on the table by not focusing on Youtube as a revenue stream.

And he shared his thoughts on how to change that.

Key Takeaways

  • YouTube is the fastest-growing source of traffic on Earth.
  • Search is just a small component of ranking on YouTube. “Suggested Videos” and “Browse Features” play a more important role.
  • Content performance is crucial. In ascending order of importance, the factors that determine performance are:
    • Impressions (The number of times your video is shown to a user)
    • Views (The number of times someone clicks on your video to watch it)
    • Watch Time (The total amount of time all users combined spent watching your video)
  •  70% of watch time is on a mobile device.
  • Without solid content, there is no way to succeed on YouTube.

Not surprisingly, the best way to dig deeper into how to rank on YouTube is by watching a video on YouTube.

Do Nick a solid and boost his watch time.

Give his YouTube for Beginners playlist a good, long look.
Grant Simmons CMSEO

Grant Simmons — Rock Solid SEO. Big Ideas. Big Challenges. Massive Solutions.

Grant Simmons is the VP of Search Marketing at real estate powerhouse

In his 25+ years in SEO, he’s worked for some of the biggest companies out there, like UPS, Paramount, and Puma.

Apparently, he’s also a big fan of The Rock.


I lost count of the number of The Rock references (and photos) Grant got through during his presentation.

But each one of them illustrated a valuable point about building Rock-solid SEO.

(Some) Key Takeaways**

  • Strategy is the bedrock of any successful website.
  • Brand is “frikkin’ important’ — but what is a brand in SEO?
    • A brand is “a unique entity that Google understands”
    • Entity = Authority
    • Authority is increasingly important to Google
  • Site Architecture
    • The bigger the site, the more crucial great site architecture is.
    • Organize your content using the “Umbrella Concept
    • “Plan for user’s needs and intent
    • Implement logical entities, categories, and hierarchy
    • Keep your URLs as clean as possible
    • Make sure technical concerns such as site speed, sitemaps, and structured markup are addressed

**This very un-Rock and roll, but I missed the last 20 minutes of Grant’s presentation.

I hope to update his takeaways ASAP.

CMSEO 2019 wrapped up with a spirited AMA featuring Matt Diggity, Stacey MacNaught, Nick Nimmin, Kyle Roof, and Barry Adams.

And just like that, CMSEO 2019 was officially over.

But the afterparty was just about to begin.

* Apologies to Stacey MacNaught and Viktor Karpenko. I was on-duty in the SEOButler booth during their presentations.

Tune in tomorrow for our final day of CMSEO 2019 coverage.



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