The Scripted Podcast is a show created for content marketers and content writers featuring real Scripted writers. We'll talk about best practices in content and SEO, our favorite marketing tools, how to find and hire writers, and all the fun and misadventure that comes with being a professional freelance writer.
In this episode of The Scripted Podcast we sit down with Griffin Roer, founder and CEO of the marketing agency Uproer, to discuss SEO in 2020. Uproer is an agency that partners with many e-commerce and SaaS companies giving Griffin a unique perspective on building SEO strategies for his clients and what it takes to execute those strategies with high-quality content.
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Today will be starting our next series, and it’s focused specifically on SEO. To start this discussion off, we're going to be joined by an agency owner named Griffin Roer, and we're going to be discussing what is SEO in 2020. How has this landscape changed? Why is it still important? How does Google rank pages now? We will cover things like authority and relevance, keyword stuffing, and everything that's died in the past. We’re also going to be discussing how Griffin specifically works with copywriters at his agency to provide quality content to his clients that are ranking. So, Griffin, go ahead and tell us a little bit more about you, what you do and why you're an authority on SEO.
Yeah, my name is Griffin Roer, and I'm the owner of a search marketing agency called UpRoer, that focuses on partnering with e-commerce and SaaS companies. We’re based in Minneapolis and I've been in the industry for eight years prior to starting my own company. I worked at a few agencies in town where I built up my experience until I felt ready to strike it out of my own.
Awesome, we're so happy to have you on the show today and I would love to get this conversation kicked off by really reflecting on your years of experience in the field, and how the landscape has changed. I think a great way to do this is to really answer the question of why is SEO still important in 2020? What does that specifically look like? Feel free to take it where you want.
It is still important because for one, it's still a massive source of traffic for most of our clients - it's at or near the top of their traffic driving channels and eyes converting channels, so that immediately makes it important. And then you know, I think the nature of the channel is that it is a popular channel. People are finding you, discovering you, as opposed to advertising where you're pushing messaging out there and getting in front of people that may not necessarily want your message at any given time. So just the fact that SEO facilitates this discovery, this organic discovery, I think, helps. It could be a channel, a marketing channel where there's a lot of inherent trust, so you know, what we generally find too is that organic can be one of your best converting channels if you are showing up with the right keywords.
I think this brings up the topic of discussion of Google rankings and the Google pages. And you know, the algorithms behind that. How to really write to work with those algorithms. I'm curious as to how those have changed and what those algorithms look like today when it comes to ranking a page.
Yeah, well, if you think about it logically, in order to get ranked you have to be indexed and then in order to be indexed you have to get crawled, so you know it all starts with having a strong technical foundation so that search engines can discover your content and crawl it efficiently.
Then you want the right content on the page so that you have the opportunity to show up in search results for the right keyword. So foundationally, I think not a lot has changed, it's more like the tactical level and certain optimizations have decreased in importance, while others have grown more important. Today, everybody talks about content. I think that's always been important, but I think it's just more heightened now. Given that search engines can better understand the content of the page. So you know, whereas years ago it was probably more critical to be very specific about where you put keywords on the page as you are basically trying to help Google understand what you should be ranked for, today, where the keyword is placed and how many times it is placed, probably matters less. The emphasis is more on what is the substance behind the content. But you know, that's something that I've always focused more on.
Of course, you want to check those boxes. Use keywords where you're supposed to and do all those things that we know are just good for SEO. But that shouldn't distract from what really matters, which is having strong content.
Got it. So you agree, that overtime, there's just been this trend to higher quality over having quantity and just keyword stuffing, things like that. Just as this algorithms have gotten better, it's more about substance.
100% agree. I think quality over quantity is kind of the way you want to approach it. Definitely, there are still very scalable content opportunities that are great for SEO, but I think you need to be a lot more careful about those these days, just in terms of how much you might be repeating content or how much thin content you might be publishing out there. You want to be very focused on putting out content that has the user benefit and that search engines could see has that user benefit.
So yeah, you know tactics like keyword stuffing and things like that. I mean those are going out of fashion for a long time. Again, you still want to hit those best practices and use keywords throughout the content and give yourself a chance to rank and show up. But certainly you want to do that while also focusing on producing high quality content.
Love it. So I would love to start shifting this from what is SEO in 2020 and what the landscape looks like now, to more of how to actually write for SEO in 2020 and specifically from your perspective. You're an agency owner. You're working with writers and you're working with clients. You're that person. So I would love for you to kind of overview your process of how you're actually, how you get quality content for your clients when working with your writers.
Yeah, so I think it's really important, especially for agencies to work really collaboratively with their clients in crafting that content. We like to say, you know where the experts in SEO , you're the experts in your field. Let's meet in the middle. So there's kind of that learning process up front before you do any keyword research or competitive analysis, you want to understand a bit about your clients business, their audience. And then when it comes to the specific topic that they're wanting to target, you need to kind of understand why it's important to their clients and why it matters to their business overall. So you want to start at the foundational level of understanding so that you can effectively do keyword research and competitive analysis and extract insights that are actually going to help with the performance of the content.
Once you have that information, then you can jump into some of those competitive analysis and keyword research. Usually where we start before we go into any tools, is you want to look at the search results themselves. I think that's a step that a lot of people tend to skip 'cause you might have ideas about the keyword and or keywords that you want to rank for, but you might be misinterpreting the search intent and you might be misinterpreting the actual opportunity to drive organic traffic. So you plug a keyword in and you find that there's four ads at the top showing results, and then the organic positions are two full scrolls down the page. That might recalibrate your understanding of how great of an SEO opportunity this really is.
If you look at the results themselves, you know, let's say you're thinking about writing a blog article, but the first 10 results are all e-commerce content. You might not be producing the right content to rank for that keyword. So all that understanding needs to be fleshed out up front.
And then jumping into the keyword research, you want to kind of take those initial thoughts about what this piece of concept could be and then validate with data. You want to understand where the volume is. What are some of those secondary or long tail keywords that you could bring into the content so that you're not so dependent on ranking for one particular keyword or two you're creating content for? There is the opportunity to rank from potentially hundreds of different variations of keywords. Yeah, and then from there, we work to outline the content before it gets passed either back to the client or copywriters. As just a means of structuring the content in the best possible way and making the copywriters job really easy so that they're just more so filling in the blanks as opposed to, you know, depending on them to be the SEO expert. So that's where that hand off takes place. And then it comes back to us and we provide feedback or do additional optimizations from there. You know, maybe some tweaking, and of course there's the client review and then you push it out into the world.
Well said. Thank you so much Griffin. That's going to be wrapping up our part one of our SEO discussion.
To recap, foundationally not a lot has changed when it comes to SEO, so certain optimizations have decreased in importance while others have increased. But in general, the importance of quality content is heightened now because search engines can better understand the contents of the page. The emphasis is more on what is the substance behind the content and not so much about keyword placement, though that is important, in the end, it's about quality over quantity. With that said, there are scalable content opportunities. But be careful about repeating content, how much thin content you put out there, and things like that.
When working with a business, or if you are a business, before you start worrying about keywords and optimal length of content, you should start at the beginning. Start with understanding what the business does, who the client is, and understand the specific topics to hit on, understand why they're important to the business and the clients. Otherwise, you can’t effectively perform keyword research or competitive analysis.
In the next episode. Griffin and I are going to be taking a deeper dive into writing for SEO in 2020 to discuss the tools he uses daily, the use of hub articles, general best practices, key things to avoid, writing for video and audio content, and more, so stay tuned.
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