First off thank you for taking the time to get involved in this interview for my readers.
As is so common these days we got messaging on Facebook as we’re members of similar groups and have mutual friends.
I was really interested in a new SaaS offering called ClusterAi that massively reduces the time needed to research your online content strategy.
The work you have done building massive audiences with your clients is outstanding!
You have helped clients grow their search traffic without needing to pull the grey hat SEO’s typically worn by marketers to dominate Google.
I am keen to discover your secret sauce.
So, thanks again Nick for spending time with me today, and let’s jump straight into this with our first question.
1. It would be great to get some background on where you’re from, your early life, studying.
Honestly, I think people in my line of work (SEO, marketing) usually have a similar story.
I was born in Seattle, never was a great student, dropped out of college even though my parents insisted I stay.
Once I dropped out, I went and lived in Rio de Janeiro. That meant being 3000 miles away from everyone I knew, in a country whose language I didn’t speak, so it was a rough experience. Still, that experience taught me a lot and really prepared me for what I was about to accomplish.
2. In the last 10-years, you have worked with companies to grow massive audiences online. How did you first get started and what are you working on now?
I made a rookie mistake of founding startups before I had much “employee” experience. Those startups obviously failed, including going through a “co-founder break up” and everything that goes with it.
The next thing you know, I’m at this Hacker Live meetup, and I start talking with a startup founder. I didn’t even know what he was talking about, with all kinds of “enterprise” stuff and technology involved.
He invited me to a job interview, and eventually, I got hired.
Hired for the role I wasn’t ready for in the industry I knew nothing about.
So, I ended up in this company as the employee #8.
I was negotiating, closing, and going to market with companies like Rackspace, GoDaddy, Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and all of their peers across Canada, EU, and APAC.
Worked with people at the peak of their career, 20 years older than me, and in four years, we grew to 200 employees without raising money.
Then imploded. I burnt out, and I spent 6 months on a beach after resigning.
Sitting on a beach sounds great, but it’s actually pretty boring.
And after a few months of being bored, a good friend asked me to join his SEO agency to help with marketing and sales.
I grew our blog from 0 to 100,000 organics/month in 13 months and continued developing my SEO skill set through smaller, less ambitious internal projects.
For various reasons, after two years it was time for me to leave and do my own thing, so I resigned. Then bought ContentDistribution.com on a credit card and began hustling to pay it off.
In the last 20 or so months, we’ve taken 3 more projects from 0 to 100,000 organics/month in a year or so.
The biggest project, DoNotPay has actually grown from 0 to 350,000 organics/month in 14 months.
Today ContentDistribution.com has 25 full-time team members and we have more demand than capacity.
3. You have tonnes of information on your site for anyone developing online content strategies. You differ from most online marketers in how you research content strategies to bring in traffic. What are we doing wrong and what should we be going?
In SEO, a lot of people believe that backlinks are the primary ranking signal. My experience indicates that’s not true.
Think about it this way. The most sophisticated data company in the world, Google, needs to increase its ad revenue QoQ. At a minimum, they need to maintain their existing market share.
Google generated over 160 billion dollars in 2019. Just a 1% drop in market share represents over a billion-dollar loss and signals potential further erosion.
The easiest way for Google to maintain its market share is simply to deliver the best search results. And that is Google’s number one goal.
It would be a major oversight if Google, the world’s most sophisticated big data company, the same company that owns Google Analytics (99% market share) and Google Chrome (70% market share) isn’t using that data to determine which page adds more value to the user than another page.
If you think about it, it’s kind of intuitive. User engagement metrics better measure reader value than a fussy metric like backlinks.
This is actually good news for you. Instead of focusing on “200 ranking factors”, you can focus just on one with the highest ROI. I am, of course, talking about quality content.
One of the most important aspects of content gets overlooked way too often. That aspect is content velocity.
The reason why content velocity is so important is because of the two biggest bottlenecks in organic search.
- How long things sit in your content calendar?
- Once you publish the page, how long does it take to rank?
You can’t rank for a cluster of keywords until you have a page that’s relevant to that cluster of keywords.
If your opportunity size is hundreds and hundreds of unique pages of content, publishing ten pages a month will take you years to actually be where your audience is searching. The faster you publish, the less time content sits on your content calendar and the sooner it begins ranking.
The fact that Google works this way should actually be really exciting for you because it means organic search is accessible.
You’re not praying to the backlink gods, your outcomes are dictated by your ability to create great value for your reader. And that’s something everyone can do.
4. You have recently released a tool that not only takes the pain out of keyword analysis for planning your content strategy but use a more data-driven approach. How can ClusterAi help?
Let me give you an example.
Our most successful project so far, DoNotPay, got to 353k monthly organic visits in 14 months.
We’re on page one for 35,165 of those keywords
To get there, we had to publish 1,200 pages. This meant grouping 500,000 keywords. That process would obviously take months even for an SEO expert.
With ClusterAi, we did it in less than 10 hours, over the course of one year.
So, that’s how much time ClusterAi can save you. The other thing where it’s gonna help you is the actual quality of your keyword research.
Keyword research decisions are made based on opinions and gut feelings. This is fine when you have experts like Matt Diggity doing the research for you, but in the long-run, you should create a process for doing it internally.
That’s where ClusterAi comes in. Instead of basing your entire SEO strategy on your (even worse, someone else’s) opinion, it allows you to make data-based decisions.
Our keyword grouping tool gets that data straight from Google’s SERP. If you’re trying to rank on Google, might as well get the data from the same place, right?
Finally, this allows you to rank high consistently. We took 4 projects from 0 to +100k in 12 months, using the exact same approach and ClusterAi for keyword research.
5. You recently gave me a demo of your ClusterAI tool, I can see how this can save weeks of work. Literally, within minutes you can get a content plan for the next 1-2 years. Can give us a brief overview of how easy this is with ClusterAi
Keyword grouping really is easy with ClusterAi. Here’s all you need to do:
- Do your keyword research in Ahrefs, SEMRush or Google Search Console
- Export the keyword list
- Import the keyword list into ClusterAi
- Start writing
Here’s a more detailed video tutorial:
6. ClusterAI takes the guesswork out of keyword research and avoids the common mistakes made by beginners and seasoned pros. What are the most common mistakes made?
The most common mistake made is trying to rank for different keywords that can’t rank together on the same page.
Let’s take a look at one popular keyword example, LinkedIn Headline Examples, and LinkedIn Profile Examples.
Your regular content writer will usually think this is basically the same thing and will try to talk about both in a single article. That way you can potentially rank for both of these (high volume) terms.
Although this seems like a great idea, there’s one problem.
Every first-page search result is optimized for one keyword or the other, not both. What that means is there are no pages that rank that is optimized for both.
That’s a very good indicator that if you try to optimize your page for both keywords you wouldn’t rank for either. What you should do instead is create a dedicated page for each keyword.
This is one of the mistakes that ClusterAi prevents by relying on data. It will immediately acknowledge that ranking for both terms with a single page isn’t possible, and will suggest that you need to create separate pages in order to rank for each.
7. Organic traffic can be overlooked by many eCommerce brands. So, I am keen to get some tips on how you believe I can grow my brand SuperGreen TONIK.
There’s going to be a handful of opportunities at the bottom of the funnel-like buy greens powder but what we’ve seen is that Google doesn’t like to rank thin sites.
The sites that rank the best for the most competitive terms have a lot of supporting content.
What that means is, yes, you want to rank for the bottom of the funnel keywords but you also want to create the content at the top and the middle of the funnel. Those internal links will power up your bottom of the funnel pages and will also bring users that are searching in the top and the middle to the bottom-funnel content.
You can also easily retarget them with Facebook Ads or simply capture their email address with a good lead generation model.
To saturate the entire funnel, you need to create informational content, reviews, comparisons of your product, and your competitors, literally everything your audience searches and needs to know.
One of the biggest problems that great brands have is they’re not being considered when the consumer is making the decision. Being everywhere your target audience is searching enables you to create or capture that awareness so you are considered during future purchasing decisions.
8. What’s next for your Nick, any big plans for 2021 and beyond?
The first internal project we did was Doggypedia and we took it from 0 to 116k monthly organic visits in 13 months. We sold it for $30,000 since we weren’t ready to monetize it at the time.
In 2021, Content Distribution is going to do more internal projects like that. Now that we took multiple projects from 0 to 100k in less than a year, it’s time we do that for ourselves.
With a keyword grouping tool like ClusterAi and our great team, I’m pretty confident we can achieve anything.
Our goal is to generate 50% of our revenue from internal projects, and ClusterAi is definitely one of the ways to achieve this.
Check out https://contentdistribution.com/ to see how you can dramatically speed up your keyword research and content strategy for 2021.