SEO: Content Creation PUBCON VEGAS 2010

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All right. Weíre going to go ahead and get started. How yaíll doing? Thank yaíll for coming to our solo sessions. My name is Rob Snell. How many folks were in the SEO session just a little while ago? All right, cool. Iím about to drop some pretty serious knowledge here, stuff we picked up over the past 13 years thatís worked to actually generate revenue for us. I have 200 slides.

I promise all this information will be available somewhere on my website. Sign up on my newsletter list. I donít sell a whole bunch of stuff. Weíre probably going to do some classes in 2011. But thatís the best way. If you canít find something on my website, just email me and Iíll email you the slides or the URL. Iíve got all this stuff up in PowerPoint presentations.

This is my four hour class in 30 minutes. Yaíll ready?

Slide 1

All right. I wrote a book, which is basically Yahoo Store for Dummies. The content in there is pretty old. If you come up afterwards, Iím giving away all those books so I donít have to take them back to the room. Thanks to Wiley [sp] for donating some books. So if you want a free book thatís got some pretty good information in it but is a little dated, come up and see me.

Slide 2

Iíve been on Yahoo Store as a retailer since 1997. Yahoo Store saved my familyís business. PetSmart moved in across the street. We took a 50% hit. Momís freaking out, says, "Get me on the Internet." I said, "Mom, the Internetís nothing but porn." Sheís like, "All right. Letís get into porn!"

[laughter]

Iím like, "Mom!"

[laughter]

We had some weird queries coming to our Yahoo Store on our keyword phrases. Sheís like, "What are these weirdÖwhat does BDSM stand for?" Iím like, "I donít know."

[laughter]

"People that pretend that theyíre their dogs, theyíre making dog collars for these folks." My momís a unique individual. Sheís very practical about the dollar bill.

Slide 4

GunDogSupply.com is our website. I got a lot of background on RobSnell.com if you want to read our story or whatever. But you donít have to know that to know what Iím talking about today.

Slide 5

The first half is create compelling content. This drove half of that $10 million increase in sales that we had above our additional growth.

Slide 6

Steve has 16 dogs. I talked about this a little bit yesterday in my conversion rate shopping cart optimization panel. You want to talk about a lot of content, I mean Steve is out there in the morning scooping up poop in the kennels. I mean the dogs sometimes come to work. He has a truck that looks like Battlestar Galactica with all those little bays on it where all the dogs go.

My baby brother Steve texted me a minute ago and asked me to tell yaíll howdy. Sorry he couldnít be here. He made it for my keynote at PubCon.

Slide 7

There he is with Izzy out in the field in Texas.

Slide 8

Thereís some of his Brittanyís. He uses dogs all over our website to generate content. He writes about what he does with the dogs, what our customers do. He has the same relationship with his dogs that most of our customers have. They love their dogs, they take care of their dogs. For us, the dogs are more like athletes than family pets.

Slide 9

Hereís Lucy, his worthless Cocker Spaniel his wife made him buy.

[laughter]

Slide 10

We put our dogs all over the website. We put the content that we generate about these dogs all over the website. Google loves content.

Slide 11

I actually got a redneck to blog. I was talking about this yesterday. Heís got an app on his phone. Heíll actually blog in his little WordPress blog while heís out in the field in Texas in between covey rises when heís hunting. And he actually texted me a minute ago saying he hadnít got his blogs done yet, but itís just getting to be the start of hunting season.

He blogs about the types of products that we sell. Heíll take an editorial stand. Heíll piss off the manufacturers by telling whatís wrong with their products. They keep sending him prototypes so he can break them and basically give them free consulting. So we have a really good idea of whatís going on in the industry. A lot of people read Steveís content just to find out whatís going on in the hunting dog supply business. Which, you know, itís like petsóhunting dogsóhunting dog supply. So itís a really, really tiny niche, but we do all right with it in Mississippi.

Slide 13

We are a Yahoo Store. We are not a magazine. But we have a content portalÖOh, I hate that word. I just throw all of Steveís articles into this page right here. You know, his reviews, his buyerís guides, his editorials, a link to his website. Any of the content thatís not product specific winds up in this page right here.

I was just telling you over there that this page actually contributes moreÖPaul, what is it, revenue participation on Yahoo Analytics? Than any other page. Theyíre not coming in on this page, but when you go this page and they see Steveís an expert, theyíre like, "Wow, OK." That actually builds credibility and trust and causes them to buy on the website.

Slide 14

I mentioned this yesterday, but Iíll hit it again. This is the best thing we ever did. If you only walk away from my 30 minutes today with one thing, itís create a buyerís guide, something to walk the folks who donít necessarily know what they need from the different solutions that you sell. Tell them what to buy with a buyerís guide. You know, walk them through the different feature sets. Talk to them like theyíre a person.

Slide 15

We had a 50% higher conversion rate on people who actually enter Gun Dog Supply on a buyerís guide page than people who enter on a category or section page. Thatís a big deal. If you get a 50% bump just by changing the content on the entry page, I mean thatís a no-brainer.

Slide 16

And hereís an example of one of the new buyerís guides weíre launching. Weíre actually doing what we should be doing, which is comparison charts.

Slide 17

Express opinions in product reviews. Hopefully you, as a retailer, are a product knowledge expert. If you are not, you better have somebody working for you who is, someone who has an opinion of the products, somebody in the warehouse, one of your operations dudes. Somebody in your company is an expert. You need to make sure theyíre helping create content.

Slide 18

Hereís an example of a 2008 review. Steve just rewrote this, but I like the pictures on this one better. You can see Steve there in his skeeting outfit. He put on about 50 pounds after that photo was taken. He just took it off, too. Iím going to kick his butt.

Slide 19

All right. These are very text heavy reviews. Itís not just one little snippet of text. These are for the people who actually want to drill down into the products that we sell and find out every single little thing about them. Steve talks about all the different features. He talks about what he likes about it, what he doesnít like about it, ideas for improvements.

Slide 20

How do you make all this content? Well, the secret is, itís hard work. Itís a lot of hard work. We started off in the catalogue business, and this was back in í96 before we even know about Yahoo Store, or the Internet, or anything like that. And we decided to make our catalogue pages have as much content as we thought a customer needed to have to actually buy the product instead of just having a thumbnail and very brief description and a price like most paper catalogues. We actually used a lot of paper to do this.

And we lost our shirts on this catalogue right here. My dad was freaking out. But when we took the same information and put it online, InfoSeek, HotBot, Excite, I donít know if any of you guys are old enough to know what those things are, we were actually driving a lot of traffic with search engines to our website.

Slide 21

The way we created this text, though, is we interview folks. And then we transcribe the audio into text. I got a guy in Alabama who does my transcriptions for me. Iím taping this right now, probably without Brettís permission. Heíll bless it later, though. And I get my guy in Alabama to type this up. Iíll email him an MP3 file as soon as I get off here, and by this afternoon he will have it typed up.

Now, I pay full retail for that, but I like knowing actually what I said, because Iím not even exactly sure what Iím going to say when I hit the next button down here.

Slide 22

I interview Steve, who is the expert, and I call it stupid questions. Iím like, "All right, well how do you teach a dog how to sit?" And Steve will look at me like Iím an idiot, and then heíll kind of explain like he would to a small child, maybe, what he goes through when heís training a dog how to sit. And we do than on every single little thing about the products that we sell.

Slide 23

Take your best products, your top 100 best sellers, and play what I call "20 Questions".

Slide 24

You canít really see this from there. This is really more like 200 questions. Iím going to read some of this. This is awesome:

"What problems does it solve? What is the primary purpose of this product? What else is it used for? Is it a need or a want? What are the top three features I need to know about? What are the benefits of those features? Is it used during specific seasons? Is it a good gift? Is this the perfect gift for the duck hunter? It is a perfect groomsmanís gift, conciliation prize, maybe? When is it used, time of the year? Day or night? Where is it used? What part of the country? Are there geographic keywords? Home or office? What rooms in the house? Do you use it inside or out? Is it UL listed? Is it safe? Is it regulated? Do I need a permit?"

We sell some things that blow up. Some folks actually have to have permission to use it.

"Is it tax deductible as a business expense? Does it have a serial number? Does it have a Dummies book? Whatís the demographic? Men or women, young or old? What skills do I need to use this? What about replacement parts?"

Do yaíll kinda see where Iím going with this? I mean these are the things that customers are going to have, the questions in their mind about your products. Go ahead and answer their questions before they have them and youíll sell more stuff.

From a conversion rate standpoint, you want to put this stuff lower on the page and link to it with frequently asked questions about this product for folks who are more impulsive like me who just click "add to cart" and, you know, send me that thing.

Slide 27

We record everything. Like I said, Iím recording this right now.

Slide 28

When weíre driving in the truck, Steveís going hunting or something, weíve got a little flip camcorder we use. Weíve got a bigger camcorder. Iíve got two different digital recorders over here that Iím using. Iíve got a backup in case one of them goes out. If heís talking about stuff, weíre recording it. Weíre turning it into text. Weíre putting it on the website where it goes. Google loves this content.

Slide 29

If youíve got 60 bucks, I think they still make these. This is the best one Iíve found after using about 10 of the cheap ones. The Olympus VN-6200PC. Itís really easy to use. You hit the record button, it sticks it in a folder, you plug up the USB cable, it downloads the file straight to your computer; theyíre really easy to email.

The audio quality is not great on an audio file. So Iíve actually got a little bit better, like a guitar recording thing.

Slide 30

Google Voice. This is one of the best things weíve come across, Google Voice. Go set you up one of these accounts. Theyíll give you a number. You can point it at your cell phone or your office phone. When somebody calls you on Google Voice and you press 4, it starts to record it. So not only do you not have to worry about getting a digital recorder, hooking that up to your phone, itís actually recording it at Google for you, it generates an MP3 thatís posted almost instantly that you can email to somebody.

So if youíve got clients or people in your office, you can actually get the product knowledge expert to call you, and then this stuff is in the cloud. So you donít have to worry about this.

And basically, this is how it shows up. Itís really easy to download the MP3 wants you make it.

Slide 31

Thereís my Google Voice number. I was going to get somebody to call it and show you how, but I know that will take five minutes. So let me skip that, all right?

Slide 32

Turn customer questions into product frequently asked questions. My dad, when he was still alive, he spent half is day answering emails. He died in 2003, and I went back through his emails after the funeral, which is really cool to go back and kinda see how he thought about things.

Slide 33

I got 1,000 pages of content in a Word document. So itís like he speaks from the past. My dad had a lot of experience. Iíve done amazing things with this content by putting it on our website.

Slide 34

Write unique product descriptions. This used to be my number one thing I told retailers to do from an SEO perspective, but the reality is most of your product pages, if youíve got a really big site or a really deep site hierarchy-wise, a lot of your products arenít even going to be in Google for SEO. You know, they just donít have enough PageRank or youíve got duplicate content.

Slide 35

I mean Iím at the point now where we have products that weíre just copying and pasting the manufacturer descriptions on, and weíll get to them eventually.

Slide 36

What I want you to do when you are working on products that are very important to your business, say, with the potential to be 1% or more sales of your business, think about them in this way, or your top 100 products.

If you want to see what lazy folks do, take the manufacturerís product description that everybody gets off their website or off of a product feed, copy the text of the first sentence and do a search for it with quotes around it in Google. And you can see how man lazy retailers there are that are actually using the manufacturerís product description. Google hates this. Google puts this stuff down in the search.

Slide 37

The next thing is provide more information than anyone. I think yaíll can kinda see where Iím going with this as far as how much content you generate.

Slide 38

Write one new paragraph of text for every $10 in item price. And I just made that up, because people ask me, "How much content should I write?" Well, thereís my rule of thumb. You know, 60 bucks? Write me six paragraphs.

Slide 39

Hereís an example of a product page. Thatís a $600 product and I guarantee you we have more than the minimum number of paragraphs for that. We probably have five or six pages.

Slide 40

All right. This is a search on Google for Garmin Astro. We have unique content, and this is before Google Instant. But this shows that we rank right after the manufacturer. I havenít check it in the past two or three days, but weíre doing pretty good with our unique content on this Garmin Astro product. And weíre also buying the PPC.

Slide 41

All right. This has absolutely nothing to do with search engine optimization or driving more traffic to your website, but once they get there, have more photos. Show the product. Have something different than just the manufacturerís stock picture.

Bill was talking a little bit earlier about how they donít let bots scrape their site because sometimes employees will steal our pictures, and weíll drop the DMCA on them and get those pages banned from Google, or we can sue them for, what, $75,000 per occurrence?

Slide 42

We take pictures of everything. When Steveís in the field, now with iPhones, you can shoot video that way, too. But I mean heís putting dog boots on his dog, when you go to our dog boots page you will see his pictures.

Slide 43

When he goes to Texas for his "research and development" and he tells his wife heís going for six monthsÖ

[laughter]

And he comes home and sees the kids maybe every two or three weeks, but heís back in the field product testing, and "Oh, Iíve got to make sure these specifications are up to snuff." Iím like, "As long as you post on your blog, dude, whatever."

He goes Texas bird hunting. He takes his employees, you know, on our "team building" exercises, which is, you know, going hunting and then at night drink a little beer.

Slide 44

But weíve even got third generation. Thereís his son Sam. Sam is 11 and taking better pictures than I am. Iím about to get phased out.

Slide 45

But we take pictures. Every year I go to Texas. I take 5,000 pictures. Iím not a great photographer, but I can get some good shots if I take 5,000 pictures.

Slide 46

Provide more product photos than anyone. I was talking about this a minute ago.

Slide 47

We use Light Stage. We crack open a box. A buddy of mine was suggesting that we start doing unboxing videos. A lot of the cell phone companies will have an unboxing video where they will show you, when you open up your product, this is what you get. I love that kind of stuff. Weíre actually about to start doing that.

Slide 48

But we take pictures of all the components that come with it. And this is our own product image, which is notÖyou know, Iím not going to win any awards for this. But it increases your conversion rate when you have a different picture than every single other place. They go, "Oh, well this guyís a little different."

Slide 49

We put up a ruler so you can see how large it is.

Slide 50

These are all the things that you get when you buy this thing. Most people donít have this on their SD 1825 page.

Slide 51

These are all the accessories that come with it. A lot of people steal this and I can tell. See that rubber band right there? That was not included in the box. We actually threw in a rubber band for the collar straps that we use. And so itís really easy to see when folks are stealing our product images.

Slide 52

Shoot video of anything that you can demonstrate. If you can actually show somebody how something works, you can get a Flip video camera for what, $100? Throw it up on YouTube if you donít want to deal with video hosting, embed that thing on your website. It increases your conversion rate.

Slide 53

We sell a product called Musherís Secret, which is a wax that you put on your dogís feet so that they donít get torn up when theyíre running in the snow, originally, for the Iditarod guys. But it works great for hunters too.

Slide 54

So Steveís out in Texas. He took literally five minutes and we shot a little two minute video. And here he is in all is hunting regalia talking about Musherís Secret real quick.

Slide 55

And what I do is I then send this link to my guy in Alabama, my transcription guy, and he types up what Steve said, and I put this below the video in text. I like to read more than I like to watch videos because I can read so much faster. Well Google Bot likes to read too. And this is an awesome way to add additional text content to your website.

Slide 56

And here youíll see that the video page is second only to the main product page as far as customers going to the video. So youíre double-dipping here with your content. Youíre not just driving traffic to it, youíre actually increasing conversions.

And sometimes I get a little obsessed with Google and more about driving traffic. As yaíll heard a minute ago, Iím tying a dollar figure to everything nowadays, because weíre about e-"commerce".

Slide 57

Hereís an example of another video on YouTube. We donít have hardly any views on YouTube until we actually promote the videos.

Are there any competitors of mine in here? I donít seeÖOh, OK. How you doing? None of this stuff works. Iím just making stuff up.

[laughter]

You ready to go? No, Iím just kidding.

[laughter]

Treepodia is something that Iím trying. I hate to talk about stuff that I think is true, or stuff that Iím sticking my little toe in. But they are a video creation service. They take your data feed and they turn it into these cheesy Flash, you know, the same voiceover on your content, but they actually pull information from your products into the little Flash movie. And itís a great way to get videos indexed in Google. Itís expensive. I would not get the voiceover. And I would do not the distribution, but you want the sitemap. I donít even know what that stuff is, but it worked. In like three days we got thumbnails in Google search engine results. Craig, Iím sorry Iím sharing that.

Slide 58

Liberate manufacturer content. Oh, this is PubCon. Just steal their content! The manufacturers spend thousands and thousands of dollars creating these DVDs that come packaged with the stuff. Help them sell more products by using the content that they lock up inside all these different formats.

Slide 59

Iím not telling you to break the law. Iím not telling you to violate somebodyís copyright. But as a retailer whoís been a retailer since I grew up, itís easier to get forgiveness than permission. If you actually have to get written permission to use their content, youíre never going to get it. Put it on your website, and if they want you to quit selling their stuff because youíre using their content, the sales director, heíll shut up when he sees your sales figures because youíre driving traffic to these things.

Slide 60

Thereís text hidden in flash movies. My Alabama guy pulls that stuff up.

Slide 61

You get text from PDF ownerís manuals. And when a new one comes out, if youíre the first guy to put it up and you have a little bit of authority and you link to it from your homepage, you can actually be recognized as the originator of that content to Google, where the manufacturer may have a smaller website and it takes them longer to get spidered. You actually can outrank them using their content. But I didnít tell you all that.

Slide 62

All right. Transcribe DVDs and videos. If they have just online content or DVDs packed up in a box, you know, see what information they have in there. It also kinda helps you see how the manufacturer thinks about their content. Because itís really hard when you are just watching a video to kinda see the structure behind the writing. But if you get somebody to transcribe itÖIím not really a writer, naturally, and so itís neat for me to see the structure that these guys are thinking about their products.

Slide 63

If you have a warehouse, if you are actually shipping your own products, Iím not going to say that drop shippers are not real retailers, because I donít want to answer all those emails again like I did last year. I apologize drop shippers. I love yaíll.

If you actually have a warehouse and have the products, you can actually go in the warehouse, grab the box, and youíll find that the text on the packaging is different from what they put on the website. That is unique content. It is not on the web. Take your top 10 products and go get somebody to type the box copy and stick that at the bottom of the page.

Also, point of purchase materials. Weíre an online store pretty much only, but you can come to the warehouse and shop, so we actually have a retail storefront so we can sell some stuff online. There are a lot of point of purchase materials that they send their stores that has unique content on it as well. We redneck scrape that stuff, which is get Stephanie to type it.

Slide 64

Find your Steve. You need to find the person at your company who is going to be the person whoís the expert to create this content if itís not you. In bigger companies it might be some senior staff, it might be the owner, it might be the founder. But you need to find somebody who knows a lot about these products or you donít need to be selling this stuff.

Slide 65

The additional lift we got from doing this was $10 million. Iím just kidding competitor dude.

[laughter]

It was Confederate money, so, you know, itís not reallyÖ

[laughter]

All right, how am time-wise?

Man 1: Youíve got like 5 minutes.

Slide 66

Rob: OK, five minutes. Five minutes to do SEO.

Slide 67-72

Run SEO friendly analytics. We run Yahoo Web Analytics and Google Analytics. Collect converting keywords. Iíve got 20,000 plus converting keywords that have generated, in the sample that I did for this, over $6 million.

Slide 73

I prioritize my keywords based upon how much money they generate.

Slide 74

So hereís a graph of a fake keyword competitor. I bucket my keywords by manufacturer and by product type, and this is how I kinda organize them in my head. And I also track numbers, visits, the dollars generated, revenue per visitor, which is a really hard number to get out of some of these analytic things.

And then I look at conversion rate by keyword. And in this I can see that Iíve got the number three keyword. My revenue per visitor is a lot lower, and these are all people searching for the same thing, so that helps me kinda pick out why are these folks not converting as well? Maybe I need to do that word, like Paul said in his presentation yesterday about having scent on the page. I bet itís a keyword shock collar that we donít use because itís not a friendly term.

Slide 75

We target both popular and valuable keyword phrases. Just because it gets a lot of traffic doesnít mean that it generates a lot of revenue. And the inverse is true. Just because it doesnít get a lot of traffic means it can generate a lot of revenue.

Slide 76

Iíd rather be picking up $100 gold coins than $1 bills. Just because itís smaller doesnít mean itís less valuable. Quantity versus quality.

Slide 77

And I do this organization stuff, blah, blah, blah. This is for all the websiteÖlet me skip through this. Sorry.

Slide 87&88

Wordle.net is a great tool. You have to have Java installed. On a Mac youíve gotta run Safari because Chrome wonít work it. You can take your converting keywords, dump them into this, and you can see what buckets, what individual words in your converting keywords are more popular than others based uponÖ

Competitor, donít look at this. This doesnít work either.

This tells you what buckets to optimize for, you know? I donít want to skip that one. Thatís not going to be in the handout.

Slide 89

I also drill down and do that on the individual category level as well. Like "dog boots", I took out the word "dog" and "boots", and then these are all the other words. So you kinda see what other words are contributing to this keyword bucket. And it gives you an idea of what content to create.

Slide 98

We like to bake in our basic SEO elements into our RTML templates for the Yahoo Store. That way, even if we donít create unique content, itís in such a way that sometimes we actually rank even using the manufacturerís phrases, like for Title tags, Canonical, Meta Description. All these slides are on my website.

Slide 105

On your homepage you want to link to the top 40 pages that you have with the best keywords in those links. That is probably the second biggest thing I would recommend. If youíve got one page that is showing up in Google, one page that is ranked, itís going to be your homepage to start off with.

So be really careful how you allocate your link equity. People talk about PageRank sculpting and that kind of stuff. Just donít link to stuff thatís not important. Link to the terms and the pages that are driving revenue, like your top sections of your top products, with the keywords that are converting for you.

Slide 106

And with that, I think Iím going to wrap it up and sit for questions. Iíve got 75 more slides, but it will all be on RobSnell.com. And thatís me. Thank yaíll so much.







http://www.robsnell.com/pubcon2010content.html

Pubcon 2010: Yahoo! Store SEO PT 2: Creating Compelling Content Reviewed by Rob Snell on 2010-11-30

. PUBCON 2010 PPT: SEO For Ecommerce: Content Generation that generates revenue for small businesses.

My name is Rob Snell. How many folks were in the SEO session just a little while ago? All right, cool. Iím about to drop some pretty serious knowledge here, stuff we picked up over the past 13 years thatís worked to actually generate revenue for us. I have 200 slides.

I promise all this information will be available somewhere on my website. Sign up on my newsletter list. I donít sell a whole bunch of stuff. Weíre probably going to do some classes in 2011. But thatís the best way. If you canít find something on my website, just email me and Iíll email you the slides or the URL. Iíve got all this stuff up in PowerPoint presentations.


Rating: 5.0




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