SEO is an extremely competitive industry, and if you are in this industry, you probably will have to be on your toes all the time to learn the continuously changing behaviours and patterns of users and audience and how Google and other search engines are changing their algorithm to better fits their audience a.k.a searchers.
As difficult as it may sound, some people are consultants and the true living examples of living and breathing SEO, and if I make the list of top 10 people who are killing it when it comes to SEO, Robbie Richards will be in my top 5 people.
Thank you, Robbie, for taking the time and sharing the amazing knowledge and information you possess. I will try my best not to bore you with repetitive questions, but rather, I would try to ask super technical and SEO related questions so that our audience can make the most out of our interview.
So without further ado, here is my list of questions for you!
Question 1: When planning and putting together the digital marketing strategy for a client, how important is the persona research? And what are some of the techniques that you use to get a better understanding of your client’s audience?
Answer: Persona research plays a huge part in how we plan out our keyword strategy for clients. Specifically, we use the goals and pain points from this research to seed our topical keyword research. We then use the job roles and responsibilities to inform Solution page targeting. We have a streamlined onboarding process for new clients that goes in-depth into the persona documentation and core audience topics. We don’t start the keyword research process until this step is complete.
Question 2: When it comes to Keyword Research, there are keyword research tools in the market and I bet there, are thousands of articles available on this topic and few dozens of them are worth reading too, but my question is 1. How important is investing time in keyword research? 2. What is your secrete sauce?
Answer: Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO strategy. One of the most important things is to ensure you align the entire keyword research process with your business or site monetization strategy. The “intent” that you prioritize will differ depending on if you are working on an AdSense, affiliate, ecommerce, SaaS website or local business.
For example: AdSense sites will prioritize high volume top-funnel topics that can drive lots of eyeballs to ads, whereas an affiliate site will target more investigational mid-funnel topics (think: best X for Y, best alternatives, X vs. Y etc posts) so that their site is the final touchpoint before purchase. An ecommerce or SaaS site on the other hand will be looking first at more bottom funnel topics.
As a result, when you start any keyword research effort, always focus on the intent that maps most tightly to your monetization strategy. The way I do this is to perform competitor subfolder analysis. There is a lot to it, so if you’re interested in learning my exact process, check out this tutorial.
Question 3: In the SEO world, there is a never-ending debate about Ahrefs.com vs. SEMRush.com. This debate is getting more like iPhone vs. Android. So, which side are you on, and why?
Answer: I use both tools daily. I prefer the site audit and rank tracking features in SEMrush, and they also provide an amazing toolset for PPC and overall website traffic analysis. And, while I still prefer the Ahrefs UI for keyword research, I find that the amount and quality of keyword data in SEMrush is better. I prefer Ahrefs for backlink analysis, but SEMrush has made a lot of improvements over the last year or two in that area. I actually wrote a side-by-side comparison of Semrush vs Ahrefs here.
Question 4: You wrote a detailed article about how to nail featured snippets and rank for position zero. Very informative read! I guess my question is, if there is a website that already has tons of informative content available on their website, what are the 3 tips you will share that will allow them to win position zero for the terms.
- Filter out the keywords you rank in the top 3 positions.
- From that set of keywords, filter out the ones where there is a snippet present that you do not occupy.
- Analyze the site ranking in the snippet and use the powers of observation to identify what type of snippet it is, what content is being pulled into the snippet, and how you can model that in your content.
Question 6: Does the leather of the content matter when it comes to rankings?
Answer: Yes – I think it still does. It’s one of the factors I look at when performing SERP analysis to qualify keyword opportunities. I take the average of the top 5 ranking assets that have the same content type and format as the one I am creating, and try to go just a little bit above that.
Question 7: What is the picture of an ideal link profile to you?
Answer: An ideal link profile should have quantity, quality, relevance, diversity and velocity.
Quantity: the number of links will depend on the industry and level of competition, but page-level link counts should be in the same ballpark as competing assets.
Quality/relevance: the links should be authoritative and topically relevant.
Diversity: the links should not all come from a small number of sites. The more unique referring domains the better.
Velocity: the links should be coming in consistently month after month, especially to the “money pages”, in order to stay competitive in the SERP.
The link profile should also look natural. It’s ok to have some junk links creep in there. It’s also good to have nofollow links, especially if they are sending good brand signals.
Question 8: Do you think link building will die in the years to come or if it changes, how do you see it changing?
Answer: I don’t think link building will die. I think search engines will get smarter at flagging and devaluing low quality/irrelevant links, but a strong link profile will remain important.
Question 9: Video content is getting more and more popular these days (thanks to COVID-19). Do you think brands should invest in creating content on video hosting platforms like YouTube and TikTok?
Answer: Short answer: if your target audience is on that platform, then yes, one hundred percent.
Question 10: If you were to make a Movie about SEO/Digital Marketing, what will be its name?
Answer: SEOs can’t have nice things.
It was really nice to talk to Robbie Richards and I believe you must have gotten something substantial out of this interview just as I have. I cannot wait to see your comments about what you learned from this interview.
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Junaid Hayat is best known as an SEO Optimizer. He is a keen observer and loves to blog. Gaining digital wisdom and spreading it is what he loves. Problem-solver is his second name, as he likes to help businesses that are in the middle of a shipwreck. When he isn’t solving SEO related problems, you’ll find him lost in the sea of Google, learning more about the ranking factors.You can find him on twitter as @Junaidhayat2