High Growth SEO when time and money are not on your side by Simon Dance

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  • Output = 6.5 effective hours per day.I’m 3 times more impactful than my competitors.If you can save 30 minutes per day, think where you could invest this time to grow the SEO %.Don’t forget. A burnt out SEO is good to noone. Focus on the growth % every day. And leave on time!You can also take this further through automation, delegation and education.
  • This file will potentially be large, so please filter the server response code to non 200 response codes and non 301. I'm interested in 404's, 500's and 302's ONLY.

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  • 1. High Growth SEO Maximising your impact when you’re short on time or money
  • 2. HouseTrip VC backed Hyper Growth Travel Start-up +200 Staff, +250,000 holiday properties to rent +4 Million nights sleep booked to date One of Europe‟s fastest growing Travel Tech companies
  • 3. A little about me Contact: sdance@housetrip.com I‟m not active on Twitter (@simondance), Google+ or Facebook (more on this later), but you can find me on Linkedin We‟re going to move FAST. So come and have a chat if you have any additional questions.
  • 4. SEO is turf war • • • In many verticals, including holiday rentals, it‟s head to head. It‟s In-house vs. bigger in-house team vs. bigger spending player vs. mega agency pumping out paid links and guest posts. This deck centres on high growth tactics, even if you‟re the underdog.
  • 5. You‟re in an SEO space race • • • • • • • • We want high visibility, traffic and revenue Across all of our categories/ destinations /products Across all our major markets Better than anyone else Faster than anyone else With a small team With less budget Future proof*
  • 6. You can either accept mediocrity Or you can get in the ring
  • 7. 30 high-growth slides, you can move on NOW:
  • 8. Focus • • • • • • • Understand the pillars of SEO growth (content, technical, links) The make up of search demand Conversion, Traffic, AOV and the output of revenue Clusters keywords together Understand WHERE the volume is Focus on WHERE the revenue is Create a framework around “States”
  • 9. Understand Demand & Revenue • • • • • • Understand HOW demand is made up Think „categories‟ not „keywords‟ Choose WHERE you‟re going to compete Use PPC data to model revenue „value‟ of keywords and categories. Build an „opportunity index‟ Build a pivot table. The output is REVENUE focused, not keyword obsessed. • Layer in as much data as you can. • Then GO. • Take markets not just keywords
  • 10. Understand Demand & Revenue • Clusters keywords together (by landing page) • 50% of revenue = 25 landing pages • 30% of revenue = 180 landing pages • 20% of revenue = 2500 landing pages • Balance big revenue chasing with taking low hanging fruit. • Don‟t be penny wise, dollar stupid.
  • 11. Mine. Mine. Mine. • • • • Mine SEM data. Obvious but rarely actioned Systematically take SEM keywords with conversion Bubble these into the SEO workflow
  • 12. Build a framework of focus • • • • • • Revenue not rankings A, B, C category landing pages Top 10, Top 50, Top 250 keywords Red, Orange, Green states $ Opportunity vs. $ Actual Keywords in striking distance
  • 13. Build a framework of focus • • • • • • Understand the opportunity index Look at your „A‟, „B‟ or „C‟ categories Understand what revenue you‟ve achieved Understand what‟s left on the table Continue to validate your data model Use visibility scores to understand if you‟ve capped out
  • 14. Drive • • • • • • • Create a compounded weekly growth % Commit to it Suggest 1-2% Compounded growth = +52% YoY Every week challenge yourself Create a weekly task list centred on the % Ask yourself every morning: “Is what I'm doing going to grow the percentage” • Ruthlessly focus on SEO
  • 15. Impact • • • We have The Working Time Directive We know about work life balance Or the work/wife balance (as my wife says!) Parkinson‟s law states “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” • I hear excessive working time is cited as a major cause of stress, depression and illness I say: “Success takes TIME”
  • 16. Success takes time Maximise your effective time (and your impact) How do my competitors spend their time? • Output = 6 effective hours per day. How much effective time do they REALLY have every day? 2 hours? 3 fragmented hours? • I’m 3 times more impactful than my competitors • If you can save 30 minutes per day, think where you could invest this time to grow the SEO percentage. • Don’t forget. A burnt out SEO is good to nobody. • Focus on the growth % every day. And leave on time. • Relax. Then return to the race the following morning. • You can also take this further through automation, delegation and education. • Empower others to maximise their own effectiveness. I needed to make time for success, and work twice as fast as my competitors. This involved. • Leave the house at 8am • SEO reading during the commute. • Work by 8.45am • Stands up • 10-20 minute lunch breaks • Meetings must have agendas • Dashboards focus on driving insight • Batching emails (usually on my phone) • Maximising my effective time. • Focused on the growth %
  • 17. Always look to accelerate velocity • • • • • • • • Speed to market is vital Keep accelerating velocity Hire smart graduates or students. Hire a sidekick not an intern 4-8 week placements Focused on growth No busy work. No tea making Supplement low salary for HIGH motivation • Challenge your „link‟ velocity. Are you at your ceiling? Or are you playing it safe? • 5 links per month? 30 links? 100! How many landing pages can you handle?
  • 18. Understand cause and effect…fast Traffic is up: • Which page? • Which page type? • Visibility improved? • Which keywords improved? • New landing page or old one? • New feature release? • Google Update? • Link powered growth? • Content powered growth? What caused the uplift? Cause & Effect: • Winners & Losers • Traffic by page type • Visibility scores (%‟s) • Daily ranking reports • Log of „new‟ pages driving traffic • Change Log (Internal & External) • MozCast • Link Master Sheet (links added by date) • Link monitoring (removed/ added) • Google Analytics Annotations • Server log analysis This makes it easy to look back at deployments, initiatives and activities particularly when you're running at full speed.. Also investigate: Robotto.org, Buzzstream, ahrefs & GA Intelligence Events
  • 19. Mine server logs • • • • Understand crawl patterns from Googlebot Pivot chart server response codes by pages crawled Identify crawl issues, and errors. Monitor crawl by page types (Products or Categories)
  • 20. Mine your logs for links • • Go and do this tomorrow. Easy links Extract referring URLs pointing to non 200/301 status codes Five columns: 1. Date 2. Referring domain 3. Referring URL (full referring URL) 4. Page/ URL/ file requested 5. Server response code Output = Links to repoint, pages to recreate or old URLs to 301
  • 21. Don‟t build links. Build a following • • • • • Who is the most authoritative person / publication / site that you‟d like to target? What do they already share? like? read? What would THEY (not you) find incredible? What would they share? What‟s in it for them? • • • Challenge yourself. I‟ve pitched 125 slide decks. Output = incredible. AIM HIGH You get: Links with referral traffic and conversion
  • 22. Don‟t BUY links. Buy access to audiences Ask yourself. What is more potent? • A paid for (anonymous) guest post or links? • Or a high value (branded) piece of marketing, as a result of a collaboration you did with a blogger? Paying for links fuels a terrible economy. So instead of buying links, invest your time and money in creating „stories‟, „assets‟, pieces of „marketing‟ which will resonate with their audience, and then leverage bloggers to amplify those stories. Buy access to ‘their’ audience. Bloggers win. You win. Plus, you build your brand/influence (not just links).
  • 23. Make growth part of the product • • • • Think bigger than technical, content and links. Think less like an SEO, more like a marketer Build a Product you‟re proud of Build features your users will love
  • 24. Make growth part of the product • Invest in assets which will get pick up by target publications that resonate with your audience • • Share data you uniquely own Tell a story only you can tell Inspiration: • adzuna.co.uk • Momondo • Mixlr.com • TransferWise • Monocle Magazine
  • 25. Centre the business on SEO growth • • • • • Alignment between Product + Marketing is like Semtex for Growth Influence the Product roadmap Attend weekly Product meetings Be a stakeholder in EVERY release Exploit synergies between departments (biz dev, customer service) • • • • • Open up SEO metrics Share internal success stories Challenge the PR team to deliver incredible links Take a DEV/PM to a conference Influence hiring • • Demonstrate SEO profitability Champion its importance to the business You are NOT an SEO.. You are a marketer that happens to work online. (You‟re also a salesmen).
  • 26. Start a movement I started the Inbound Academy: Monthly session with Product, PR, Business Development, Business Intelligence and the Development team Alignment about things we ALL care about: • • • • • Our customers Growth Metrics that matter Projects we collectively want to deliver The company WE want to build. Go further. Train staff and start an SEO bookshelf
  • 27. Cake, beer and respect • • • • • One of the single biggest wins is to centralise the Marketing, Product and Development team. I've bought bottles of wine, national flags, lunch, biscuits and coffee. Build a culture which races toward milestones A culture where everyone can see their part in building something meaningful. Use (non SEO) brain power to solve SEO issues.
  • 28. Panda. Thin Content. Nightmare. Solve challenges with creativity • You want content on your category pages. • You want to nurture/qualify your customers • You want to maintain (and ideally improve) conversion • You want to hoover up longtail traffic • You want this content to attack the head • You want a solution which has scalability baked in • You want to distance yourself from spun content (which is getting clamped down on) • You want to put it on auto pilot With a little creativity, you can solve a lot of these challenges • Incentivised reviews. Discount codes. • Gamification tactics to encourage action • Leverage reviews from deleted/noindex’ed products • Comments on category pages • Category Q&A • User curated lists / Expert guides
  • 29. But don‟t forget: Scalability can lead to standardisation People don‟t share ordinary
  • 30. Bake Technical SEO into the Product • • • • • • Write redirection rules to solve errors at scale Read Ian Lurie‟s post on Levenshtein Distance Set rules governing when pages are created, indexable, linked to, added to XML sitemaps. Set rules for page states (“email me when a page is upgraded/downgraded”….. Don‟t LOSE „out of stock‟ product opportunities (cross selling, conversion, SEO) Explore data driven approaches to your internal navigation (BAKE scale in) plus push extra links to pages in anticipation of seasonal peaks. • Bake SEO growth in (UGC = comments, reviews, articles, Q&A, user guides) • • Leverage site search data Set up a GA advanced segment for „questions‟: Keywords “Who|what|why|where|how” – are their content opportunities? • Build a process.
  • 31. The land is shifting • • • • • • • • • • Paid links Guest posts Press Releases Article marketing Targets as well as Tactics being exhausted Site consolidation, mergers, acquisition Top 1000 sites dominating SERPs Google pushing into verticals Increasing pressure on Organic results Decline of desktop, growth of Mobile
  • 32. What happened to the SERP?
  • 33. How do you cut through? How future proof are your rankings? How can you become entrenched?
  • 34. Take the market. Ranking for keywords isn‟t enough. To win, you‟ve got to take the market. • Critically review the match between the keyword category your targeting and your landing pages/site • You not only want to create the „BEST‟ match for the query, but you want to align yourself as the BEST site on the internet Influence up. Champion NPS, Branding and the BIG push on INBOUND (not interruption) • Short term: • Craft the best page, which qualifies prospects (comprehensively covering the keyword set) and has the potential to earn links (and coverage from publications respected by your audience) • Post hummingbird, explore bolstering existing or creating new landing pages • Think BIG Long term: • Don‟t just be driven by data…. Be driven by vision • Don‟t let anything get in the way of the company you want you build. • Google Authorship and the push on „verified‟ links (as opposed to anonymous citations) hints at the future. So centre yourself now.
  • 35. Ask: “How do we pour petrol on the idea?” • • • • Challenge ideas. Move from good to great. Then move from great to incredible. You want to build SEO, links and content that you‟re proud of. You should want to build competitive defence. A moat.
  • 36. Get a second set of eyes • • • • • • • Hire consultants (one off) Hire the best people in the world Call them on Clarity (call me clarity.fm/simondance) Buy them a coffee Solve their challenges Attend conferences Network • Validate and accelerate your vision
  • 37. More important than all of this: More important: Than all of your knowledge, your experience and your ideas, is your ability to EXECUTE.
  • 38. Thank you for your time Simon Dance SEO Director, HouseTrip Email: sdance@housetrip.com Tel: +44 (0)7724042350 Skype: s.e.dance