Our final guest from our visit to HubSpot HQ in Boston was Matthew Barby (Head of Growth & SEO at HubSpot). Matt is very well respected in the SEO industry so we quizzed him about SEO in 2017 to get viewers trusted advice on what works today, and what will work tomorrow...


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In this episode we will discuss:

  • How HubSpot do SEO
  • Matt's biggest SEO win at HubSpot
  • What tactics work in SEO today?
  • Voice search
  • The future of SEO

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Full transcript:

- Hi everyone. Welcome to Inbound After Hours. Today we have Matt Barby from HubSpot. He's a SEO specialist. So Rikki's been looking really forward to this, because that's your field.

- It is. Matt, thank you very much for joining us.

- Okay so you're an English man. Where, where abouts in England?

- Well, spent the past, probably five years, prior to a couple years ago in Birmingham but I'm a Midlander originally.

- You're a Midlander. Yeah so.

- Yeah. No one in the States understands what that means. It's the distance from London to

- Yeah.

- Actually it's London or Manchester. That's for the football team.

- Yeah, pretty much. Yeah.

- So, that's cool. Most of, well most of our listeners are from the UK anyways.

- Yeah. So that good. It's good to know. And then how'd you end up at HubSpot then? Bit of history, what's your story?

- Yeah it's a, yeah it's kinda of a funny story actually. I was previously working at a marketing agency ...

- Yep.

- In the UK heading up digital for, for all of our clients there. And I just got an email out of the blue one day from a then VP of content and Brian, our CEO had read an article on my blog. Don't really know how he stumbled across it. And I think he must have said to Joe at the time we should go like chat to this guy. Joe originally tried to call me and I was actually, at the time getting a lot of phone calls from HubSpot trying to sell me HubSpot. And I remember actually hanging up the phone initially

- Yeah. cause it was like it's just HubSpot trying to call me in and sell me stuff. Ah, but then he dropped me an email we chatted and said you should come over and ended up taking the job of originally in our Dublin office.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- And then about nine months ago now came over to the Cambridge office here in Boston which, yeah it's been another adventure. My wife obviously really loves just being uprooted

- Yeah

-Yeah.

- So you inbounded them. You wrote a blog, you got them sucked in.

- It's pretty much the inbound story, yeah. I'd love to say that I meant

- Yeah. for it to play out like that

- That would be cool. but ah, no, yeah, it was it's it is kind of a nice story for me in the sense that - Yeah. it does really tie into all that.

- Yeah, I didn't know that. So you had one to back Brain. How good is that?

- Yeah.

- It's a good thing we're 26. So what, what's your exact reality of what you do day to day? What you get involved in?

- So I head up user acquisition to our sales products. So pretty much my job is to get free users into our CRM and HubSpot sells free, through pretty much any channel. So I have SEO team that runs into myself. Just about to have now an affiliate team. We got some kind of like brand focused team and then like integrations and BD partnerships that we also have that kind of like spans across into my team as well.

- So were you brought in to do specifically that when you were launching the CRM?

- Originally, actually I was focused more broadly, to be honest when I first came into it it was more to solve SEO. I had to remember when I was first having the conversations at HubSpot and it's like okay Matt we want you to come in like look after SEO and this kinda like globally across pretty much all of our products at the time. Kinda more on the marketing side. And I remember saying, "Okay cool." So how big is the SEO team. And they're like, "we don't have an SEO team." And I was like, "wait, what?" Cause for the size of HubSpot

- Yeah. Like I always imagined but the growth of this company has came through the content team.

- Yeah. That, that team is an incredible team and still does really amazing stuff. So, the and since kind of when I came in we started to be a bit more deliberate about our SEO.

- Yeah. I would say at least. And then I started moving over to the sales product side of the business

- Yeah. Where we're really focused a lot of our attention on right now. Seeing great growth. Obvious problems and challenges that we're facing along the way but, yeah now that's gonna spanned outside of just organic search as well. But we've got an awesome SEO team here at the moment as well.

- What size is that now?

- So we have, directly within the SEO team there's three people and then myself.

- Yeah. I'm not technically in the SEO team anymore

- Yeah.

- But I kinda like roll into my team. And then we have the content team which I almost band as part of that and that is, I'm not actually sure on the exact numbers maybe 15 plus or people. And then we're every, then we have our regional teams as well. So we have the Dark team and the Latham team and then everyone coordinates into the SEO team as well so. Yeah, it's a lot of work that the SEO team have.

- When you first came in and you just looked at HubSpot as a site to start an SEO project on. I can't even imagine that. I don't know how many URL's that was the day you went in and each click like where on earth do I start here.

- Ah, yeah. It was, that was kind of like the question I was asking for a good two months is where the hell do I start, right?

- Yeah It's, the site is huge and we were publishing when I came around 300, 350 blog posts every month.

- Yeah.

- That's more than most companies do in like ...

- Forever.

- Like two years.

- Yeah Yeah forever right? And so that was one of the initial challenges was just like prioritising. I think that's where like when you get to the enterprise level of SEO it's so key to have prioritisation and experimentation frameworks that you can use to

- Yeah. make sure you're only focusing on the right things. We had a lot of like tech debt that we'd accrued over the years that we had to do a lot of unsexy stuff. That like got us

- Yeah. some huge wins. I remember fixing the pagination on our blog.

- Yeah.

- Probably the least sexiest thing we could do.

- Yeah.

- It was probably the single biggest win we had from an organic search point of view.

- Awesome. I think we increased organic search by around about 50 percent of the core site in a few hours and that is millions of visitors so.

- That's a dream isn't it?

- Yeah. It's great. And there are still a lot of those things that we have to overcome.

- Yeah. A lot of those were spanning with like with any big companies like product fixes and web fixes

- Yeah. and trying to solve for the user and for organic search and a bunch of these different complexities and then add the international layer on top and it gets

- Yeah. even more complicated. But, it's all fun challenges, for sure.

- Have you found any difference in the UK market to the US market, in marketing terms of SEO? Have you seen any?

- Oh definitely. I think the way I would probably kind of separate these out, I think like people in the UK have a much lower tolerance for bullshit is the best way I would say it. And this is actually something that we find a lot on like the sales persona versus the marketing persona.

- Yeah. I think like generally people in marketing have relatively high tolerance to bullshit then like, it's okay. People actively want to learn and you're okay with reading through some very top of the funnel stuff. Sales people do not. They do not have the time to even like spend on a lot of this stuff and actually that was one of the big learning curves for us.

- I bet. Similar thing to an extent with the Australian UK markets versus North Am. It's just people tend to consume content a little bit differently. However very different are the likes of the German market. Which is very

- Yeah. Straight to the point and very informative like and the words are like ten times as long. So, it's like ...

- Makes for fun meta titles doesn't it?

- Well it actually there are some really interesting like UX problems that you come into with that even on product pages

- Yeah. When it's like a I think inbound marketing was like we had to like reduce down the font size cause you know

- Yeah. it's just like ridiculous so.

- The things you take for granted don't you until you're exposed when you're working at the UK agency and then suddenly you're global.

- Right. Absolutely, yeah it's like the little things that you don't even really think about. A lot of the problems that we face, to be honest, like, and that I faced over the past couple of years are the first time that I had to face those specific problems or the first time the company has ever had to face them so it makes it really interesting from side but constantly keeps you trying to hunt out those problems as opposed to them hunting you out in way.

- Well so where's SEO at? So you're about our personas, the marketing manager at an in-house company. That's most our people who would watch us. If you're a, if you're that person, where is SEO at today? I talk a lot about there's a lot of hype in SEO. It's easy to focus on what's coming next and getting distracted from what tactics are actually working today. In your opinion where is that? What is, what works today for SEO. I know it's an extremely broad question.

- No, no. I think it's actually an important question cause it's probably the number one thing people ask me is like, Matt, like what is SEO today? And this often stems back, to take this back a little bit, is like people, another thing that gets banded around is like SEO changes so much. SEO's changing on like a daily basis

- Yeah. and I don't know how stay up to date with it, right? The reality is though, if you kinda like really look at how the search engines have evolved.

- Yeah. The search engines haven't changed a whole lot in even like the past ten years compared to what we perceive it. The things that have changed the most have been the people searching in the search engines.

- Yeah. Alright, you think like last year 20 percent of all searches on Google's mobile device searches

- Yeah. were all done by voice.

- Wow.

- That's a huge amount. The way that you speak versus the way that you type is completely different.

- Yeah. Completely changes the way you have to think about appearing for some of those search queries.

- Yeah.

- Keyword rankings are becoming almost like irrelevant to a certain extent now because it's so hard to even try and track in one place or another. So then the thing that I try to push more than anything is not necessarily to focus on having like a bag of tactics.

- Yeah.

- But like having that like bag of tactics is really useful but tactics expire really, really quickly.

- Yeah

- And usually it's not because like the search engines have changed that much it's because like, us as marketers, go and overdo it and ruin it for everyone. Right, like ...- I just said that in the last two ah ... - You said that in the last two episodes

- Episodes.

- We ruined everything don't we?

- Yeah, and that is it and the thing that I would always push for anyone involved in organic search in particular, but also I'd say any marketing channel, is to focus on finding problems. Like finding problems is way more valuable than having a tactic because there are always problems to find and if you can develop a really good skill set for understanding when a problem may occur whether it's going to be now or in two years time. That is much more valuable for me at least than just being able to say, "hey, okay here's this little hack that's gonna get us maybe a really awesome win right now." It's like, okay what are you gonna do after that?

- Yeah.

- Right? And it's a means to an end.

- Yeah.

- Yeah. Well that's good. What are you guys focusing on then? What's the future? I mean, when we were travelling around the planes what are we gonna make these podcasts about? What do you think it's about the future, the future of marketing.

- People be prepared.

- Yeah, what are you guys doing now to tackle this?

- Yeah, ah, for me one of the things that is driving us on acquisition as a whole is that, is the idea that largely reigns true, and I firmly believe this, every single acquisition channel that you ever operate in suffers fatigue at point, right.

- Okay.

- This can be like in the sense of organic search you can be amazing at SEO. Rank number one for every single keyword that you're going after, right. Everywhere. But there's one thing that you can't really do. Is make someone search more.

- Yeah.

- Right, so like when you're hitting a certain amount of volume like you've captured it all, you probably can't grow that much more. Or it's such demand goes down and then you suffer fatigue from it. It's out of your hand. The same with paid CPC's goes up.

- Yeah.

- Cost you more on the ... And you're getting less of a return. So for us, what we're trying to do right now is become early adopters in as many new channels that are opening up.

- Yeah.

- Chat bots is something that I personally really am enthusiastic about.

- Yeah I heard your talk

- On it recently.

- And we're going heavy on that at HubSpot and just trying to getting to channels where the acquisition costs are really low.

- Yeah.

- The competition is really low. And the risk is really high.

- Yeah. We're building an Alexa skill. We're building Slack bots.

- Yeah. We're trying to go and dive into existing pools of users and be there before it gets too saturated. And basically creating an acquisition channel, a strategy that's full of tonnes of channels.

- Yeah.

- As close, as far away from the point of suffering fatigue as possible.

- Yeah, mmm hmm.

- And you got to be prepared with that sort of strategy I guess that you're gonna lose some. Some like you got to put some time and money and effort into it and then they're not gonna turn into anything big but one in three or one in four of those channels is gonna explode and make all the difference.

- One in four would be a wonderful

- Yeah

- I would say probably about 80 percent of the things that my team as a whole probably attempts, fails. And ah, like I would definitely see that as a good thing.

- Definitely.

- It, if we're doing things that continuously work we're probably being too safe.

- Mmm hmm.

- And there's always something to learn from something that hasn't worked that can be applied somewhere else and timing is another critical piece into this. If it doesn't work right now, it could potentially work a little later. There are a lot of different factors at play.

- Yeah.

- There could be a reason for this. I mean, Microsoft launched the first ever tablet PC in 2001, right?

- Yeah. But like who used that? Right, so I think we're just testing around a lot of the different areas and channels that may potentially

- Yeah. Send us down a path to something, something new right now.

- That surprised me that stat 80 percent failure rate

- Yeah. to get the 20 percent work rate up. I didn't think it's be so high. Did that surprise you?

- First market wins are so big

- Yeah. It would definitely.

- Yeah.

- Yeah I think it's just the nature of what we're trying to do now. We have a lot of channels that we've performed so well in for such a long time. Now we're starting to feel the fatigue in some of those. Organic search is actually a perfect example of that. We have huge visibility. I'd argue we're probably one of the largest, if not largest B2B website in terms of raw traffic numbers in the world.

- Yeah, yeah. - And it's hard to scale bigger than that. So we're trying to make some like efficiencies and gains further down the funnel. But like we still need to grow the top of it and doing that needs to go outside of traditional things that we're relied on for such a long time. Which means having back to back failures. But we have some really great wins in amongst it and we probably, we learn way, way more from the failures than we do from the wins.

- Yeah.

- I'd like to have a chat about voice in search cause you mentioned it.

- Sure.

I did a talk about, the future of SEO, at the end of everyday you do what you love, those sort of events and voice was one of them. And this may be one of the differences between the UK and US market but said Eddy put your hand up that you've tried voice search and it's every, most people, put your hand up if you use it regularly. And I don't think, I think there's 50 marketers and I don't think, there's one guy, I think and I can't remember how he was using this. Then I got on and was talking. I have still yet to see anyone use it in real life and stuff. Then we had an American girl in our team.

- Yeah.

- And she's walking in office chatting.

- She's using it.

- Chatting to Siri, I'm like, "whoa this is blowing my mind." And the point I was making, not that voice search isn't happening and it's going to happen cause it is, but I don't think the market's there yet in the UK anyway.

- Hmm. And you may disagree with that. What do you think on that? Is it big now, and are people doing it? Or is it younger generations that I am just not as visible to?

- I was equally optimistic, um pessimistic around voice in general for quite a while. I recently read a stat, no this is survey data that was relatively large sample but is still not completely representative. In the US, 40 percent of adults use search via voice at least once per day.

- Wow.

- Which is pretty huge.

-Huge.

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- I'll tell you the thing that changed my mind around voice was when I got a, an echo. - Yeah we did the same.

- And started using Alexa and I was like, okay, it's quite frustrating, don't know whether it's just my British accent and it's getting confused on.

- Yeah But I have to continually repeat to it. But I did start to notice while there are some real convenience pieces within this

- Yeah. adoption rates are becoming bigger and bigger. I think the key thing here is that natural language processing is getting better and better and better.

- Definitely. And the way, the things that you can do to interface with like a voice layered interface is so much greater.

- Yeah.

- And the fact that on the Amazon side, whereas like Alexa is technologically no where near as good as Google Home.

- Yeah, hmm.

- But it has the hookup to Amazon, right? Convenience is the thing that's gonna drive everything here.

- Mmm hmm.

- It's the reason why we use like Uber and Lift. It's the reason why you have like any on-demand service is used all the time.

- Yeah. Like Insta-car to get your groceries delivered. You'll have, there's pretty much an app for everything and now we've taken laziness to the new level and we can't even be asked to type on our phones. We now need to shout into a device right.

- So true.

- And convenience will win out.

- Every time, yeah.

- I remember when touch screens first hit smart phones. I remember at the time thinking this is never gonna take off. - It's a fad, yeah.

- Right, you need the ... You need your Blackberry keyboard right?

- Yeah, haha.

- So many people are like, "no the keyboard ..." It will happen.

- Yeah.

- And I think like when you look at the likes of okay SnapChat are one example of a company investing huge in augmented reality.

- Yeah.

- The shear amount of people invested heavily into natural language processing tells me ...

- Yeah.

- This is an industry that's going to take a lot to die and with the clear benefits to the end user.

- Yeah.

- And it's being embedded into people's homes.

- Yeah.

- In huge numbers.

- Yeah.

- Worldwide actually. A lot of people are using either Alexa or Google Home. I don't know the exact stats but ...

- Yeah.

- I, I think this is going to be pretty huge pretty quickly.

- When we got the Echo I said to my wife, "give it a go." And she said, "no these voice recognition things are terrible." I said, "what are you saying that from?" And she said, "can you remember when we used to try and do the audio in like ten years ago?" I want to see it showing New Castle, New Castle. I was like, "no, it's not like that anymore."

- Right?

- It's come on a little bit.

- Oh yeah.

- And she gave it a go. She's like, "ooh, it recognised my voice." It knew what I was talking about.

- It, it really does like trigger really quickly like that learning.

- Yeah. I've definitely seen huge improvements just personally in like voice. It's, for me has stopped becoming a gimmick.

- Yeah.

- And I think the fact that all of these different apps that we're using. And then like the voice is just the layer to connect into these things. It's like I rarely, I use Spotify all the time.

- Yeah. But most of the time I'll say, "Alexa play this."

- Yeah. Right.-everyday, yeah. It's just like that's you're now your interface but now what you're doing is you're connecting your Spotify data into Amazon. And that's like one new piece of information that Amazon has on you to connect to the rest of the

- Yeah.

- And it's the systematic like connecting of data points that's gonna basically get to the end point where they can be way more predictive about everything that you're doing.

- That's so true. I mean in the office we use it everyday don't we?

- We do, yeah. We have our Spotify playlist for the office on there.

- Everything rigged up. Yeah, guys use it constantly, and ...

- Timers, just little things like the weather. Anything. I use it the most in the morning and then at night, like ...

- Yeah.

- When I get in just quick transactions. It's all about convenience.

- We picked up some air pods in the airport yesterday. The little wire

- Oh yeah. You tap it twice and Siri just kicks in straight away

- Yeah. so even, yeah it's clever stuff, yeah.

- It's We're, that same talk out, when we're talking about voice search and I was trying to I was saying it's great that if you're doing truly great inbound, you're actually by accident somewhat preparing yourself for a wealth of voice search because you should be answering a lot of question based titles. You should be writing in a pretty natural tone and language anyway, so you kind of accidentally preparing yourself great for full voice search on the assumption that people will be getting on it and asking questions.

- Yeah. I think that a lot of people have been asking me of late like how do you optimise for voice search and I see tonnes of articles out there like ...

- Yeah.

- Ten ways to optimise for voice and all of this. The reality here is you can't really optimise for voice. It's very difficult in general to optimise for the way people are changing in search.

- Yeah.

- And what it's doing is just creating huge diversity in the types of queries that are coming in.

- Yeah.

- It's extending the long tail of keywords. And makes, in all honesty, keyword research really, really fucking tough.

- Yeah, I guess you need, like unique phrases are going up and the length of ...

- Exaclty, the length is one of the biggest things that's changing. It's like query length, this is like one of the examples I often use is can you imagine going back, let's say ten years, right and you typed into Google, "find me a restaurant to eat near me." Right.

- Yeah. Someone would look at you and be like, "you're an idiot."

- To look up the answer you do not need.

- You're not speaking to a person here you should type, "restaurant Boston."

- Yeah.

- Now you're like, "find me a restaurant that's in walking distance." And you know

- Yeah. you're gonna get the results, right. And the key thing is what with voice, is the way you would previously have a list of ten results, right in the search engines, you're gonna probably get one now.

- Yeah.

- And it's shortening that so there's less real estate. The key thing that we're really pushing at HubSpot and what I would push, for voice, but generally SEO, from like today onwards is focus on owning topics, not keywords and just being able to like own whole spheres of a topic and just get broad ownership of a bunch different phrases and core groups in that area and that's they best way to think about things.

- Yeah.

- Gone are the days on the long tail of just going after one keyword.

- Yeah.

- It can still apply really like for very specific queries like in our case, right, like, "free CRM software," right.

- Yeah. That, that people aren't yet asking for that in Alexa unfortunately. But when they do, we'll be there.

- Ha ha, yeah.

- So there's still an element of that but it's, there's a huge shift. - Yeah. You obviously, you guys are being invested in that side from a technology viewpoint and building out the SEO topic model onto itself.

- Yeah.

- Should I tell the guys who don't know much about that, what it is and now it's gonna help them with SEO a little bit.

- Yeah, so the content strategy tool is actually something I've been working really closely on with the product team over the past year and a half. It's been really great fun in doing. We realised we had kind of like to up our game on the SEO sides, on the product, and our keywords tool is not really been much of a tool for a long time and it's kinda just sat there for a little while and we said, "okay, look, we need to bring like our SEO product into the modern times and practise a lot of what we've been preaching." So, what we've start to do is move towards this idea of enabling our customers to build clusters of content and own topics and more importantly eventually measure the performance of content in these topic clusters. And in the background, this is just really awesome stuff with creating internal linking and information architecture that's going to work really well for SEO. But our customers aren't necessarily gonna need to get into the weeds of all the technical parts. So, we're kind of like, for us, SEO is about focusing on the things that are going to add the most value to you as a business and not necessarily having to worry about every single tiny technical piece.

- Yeah, makes sense.

- I think we obsess a bit over that on in SEO. It's like getting into weeds of every singe thing and there is, there is a lot of situations, I'm a huge champion of technical SEO but not everybody needs to know technical SEO.

- No, you got a six page website. There are obviously things you need to make sure you're doing but - Right. you're not gonna be an expert.

- But you're not gonna get huge wins with architecture changes - No, yeah. on a six page website. That's the key. So, I think that's what we wanna do is just help a lot of people make wins with things like architecture and build these correctly, do keyword research and help them own topics without necessarily having to do tonnes and tonnes of manual processes with like a million different spreadsheets, subscriptions to like a hundred different tools. Right, so like, yeah you're gonna use other tools other than HubSpot like I love even all the SEO tools like SEM Rush, Ahrefs, we use them here. They're great. But we wanna do is have our products serve as the hub of everything that you're doing and actually you can use other tools to just add on top of that.

- Very cool.

- How important is still the baseline of SEO? So I split SEO into two. It's kind of offsite and onsite and then you got your own site. You got your basic, your keyword research, your title tag, your content on your page, et cetera.

- Mmm hmm.

- The kind of I want to call are the old the stuffed book. The basics of telling Google what this page is about.

- Right.

- As Google's getting smarter and figuring what the page is about on it's own where are we at in that? How important is it still to go and do the basics?

- Right. Yeah. I think that this is, I was talking to someone about this a few days ago actually. The thing to remember about Google right now is Google can understand what the content of a webpage is all about way better than the human eye can.

- Yeah.

- It has an infinite level of like data coming into it. It can run through machine lighting algorithms that can do a way better job in a millisecond of determining what a page is about without like, where the human eye would have to read something in detail, judge context, things like that, like the idea that we understand language better than machines, is a fallacy.

- Yeah. And that's where then when you think about onpage SEO for me, onpage SEO was incredibly, incredibly important. It's still important, right, but go back a few years. It was important because Google was stupid, right.

- Yeah.

- And you had to really babysit Google and give it the information in such an obvious way for it to be able to break down and understand relevancy of content. You don't need to do it right now. Like, the reality is you can rank for a keyword without ever having that keyword on a page. Now, if you can put that keyword on a page that makes things a lot easier.

- Yeah.

- Onpage SEO for me is like the bare minimum of what anyone should be doing. If you're not even doing that,

- Yeah. like you're not only not doing SEO you're just not doing your job right, it's like. So for me, it's like, okay there are a few things that are just like, they are ticks in the box now.

- Yeah, that makes sense.

- And I think sometimes onpage SEO gets obsessed over a little too much.

- Yeah. With things like product pages, I see this a lot where people are like okay I need my keyword in my H1 tag and it doesn't really work in terms of like like it doesn't really read that well. If people come onto this and they're gonna try to buy this thing, do they need this awkward thing there? It's like, but we need it for SEO. - Yeah. - Removing that is not necessarily going to mean that you're gonna suddenly dive into like page five. - Yeah So, but if you could make some conversion increases, yeah you're probably gonna get more revenue. So I think sometimes we take onpage SEO in terms of like, those minor details.

- Yeah. A bit too seriously.

- That was a old school sort of tactics. - Right, exactly. I think it's just like, yeah they're important but the thing now is like no one single thing is gonna be the make or break.

- Yeah.

- Like, back ends are still in most situations probably the biggest weighted factor to ranking. When you get to our kind of scale, like, at HubSpot, links become way less of an important play for us cause you just have so much authority, right.

- Yeah

- Like, yeah, we're a publicly funded company. We get links from everywhere or every quarter from like the biggest companies

- That's a good point. The guys who are watching then, the marketing managers, you said it split into two. You got your onpage and your outreach is what we're speaking about. How important is that still to the smaller companies, the smaller ...

- People who don't get given links.

- Who don't get given links of your size. How important is that still?

- I think everything is relative, right. So the, someone that's really good at SEO is not doesn't necessarily need to be someone who can earn you links from the Wall Street Journal or do some amazing technical SEO pieces. A really good SEO is someone who can analyse through the situation you're currently in and understand which lever is the most important to pull at this moment in time.

- Yeah.

- Right?

- If you're not a HubSpot and you're a brand new website you could and probably this is one of the things I see companies do wrong most frequently. Brand new website with barely any authority, i.e. back links and they'll be like, okay we're gonna create two blog posts a week. And I'm gonna push that out. And three months goes by. They're not really ranking. So okay, what we're gonna do is, we're gonna do four blog posts per week, right. Like, you can make a really bad meal and someone can say, well this tastes horrible, right? Would you give them twice as much to try and make that taste any better, right? It's probably gonna taste worse, right? So, like there's no other situation where you do twice of the same underperforming thing to try and get at like a positive from it.

- Yeah.

- And that happens so much, right. So like in those situations, like okay right, what we need to do is not necessarily increase what we're doing here. Let's take some of these resources and put them into a different problem that we perceive. And this all comes back to being a problem solver versus someone who is a bag of tactics, right? And that's then, in that case, incredibly important. A lot of the time these two things are very interlinked, right?

- Yeah.

- Like, do you need content a lot of the times and back links?

- Yep.

- And the kind of back links that you can earn at that level, you're not going to go straight from zero to Wall Street Journal.

- No.

- Right? There's a lot of the, okay let's start out low level blogs. Start building that relationship, it's almost like this pyramid right? Like okay now we've got to this bench level of authority. Start moving up. Trade publications. Get a little bit bigger, we're in Entrepreneur. We're in INC, we're in Forbes

- He got credibility to go

- And ask for it.

- Exactly.

- You go like local press, national press, global press. Maybe you don't ever need, most people don't even need to get to the top - No. of the pyramid, right? - Yeah. Like this is all relative to what you're going after and I think that is the key of, especially like the link building slash PR portion is knowing where you need to be and where you can realistically be right now and then push your resources into it.

- What are the metrics people should be focusing on in SEO? So SEO has always been a metric game. It's getting less and less a metric game. People used to track page rank and obviously domain authority

- Right. and page authority and keyword rankings. Which of these things should you still be bothered about or just scrap it ...

- Revenue. That's exactly right. Just scrap it to the opposite end of funnel, yeah. - I think If only it was as easy as revenue to keep after for most companies like it's very difficult. Attribution is still probably the number one problem most companies face. We face that a huge amount. I think you've got elements of different metrics are useful at different parts of the business. Like, at the end of the day if organic search isn't actually making a gain on the revenue side of the business then you're probably not wanting to sort of go after organic search to heavy. Sometimes SEO isn't the right play, right? Like on, if we're getting into the weeds of like granularity, I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the kind of like, the made up metrics in the industry of like domain authority, page authority, or like that sort of things. Like there are some link metrics that I kind of like, what I tend to find though, which actually really unhelpful for a lot of people probably listening to this is like, I find over the years you develop an eye for a, especially when it comes to like understanding authority, going through back link profiles very quickly and determining how powerful something is.

- Yeah.

- Ultimately, there are a few things that you just need to remember with any metric and I'm not shitting on domain authority and page authority and all these things that they are very useful to a lot of people. The key thing to understand is these are not 100 percent accurate. And as long as you're okay with these are finger in the air, here's a general idea.

- Yeah.

- Right? Like, even any metrics that you can give, unless they are like directly owned metrics, right?

- Yeah.

- Like traffic to your site that's being pinged in your server logs, right?

- Yeah.

- Yeah.

- Like that's stuff that you know. You can, you can calculate like internal like page rank if you like or authority because you own that stuff.

- Yeah.

- And this is relevant to your site. Anything that's locked behind the huge walls that we call Google.

- Yeah.

- You're never gonna get the exact. So, anything you do in there, just use it as a general guideline to steer you in the right direction.

- Yeah.

- And wherever you can, have like really strong experimentation like frameworks and use a tonne of different metrics to just like create a buffer

- Yeah. That's gonna help you understand realistically where you're going.

- Yeah, that's great. - He helped you with that.

- Yeah. Great, great answer, yeah superb. Thank you so much, Matt. Appreciate that.

- No, it's been a pleasure.

- Take care and see you back in the UK sometime.

- Absolutely, yeah.

- Thanks guys. Hope you enjoyed that. Take care. Buh-bye then.

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