June 25, 2020

SEO & Backlinking Tips w/ Brendan Hufford

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​​Brendan said this on the podcast...

When you really understand SEO, you can help almost ​anyone's business


Now, re-read that ​statement.

Getting a website found on Google (Search Engine Optimisation) is a skill that every single business uses today. So Brendan Hufford ​joined the podcast to share his vast experience!

We chat about:

  • His best backlinking tips
  • ​Where Brendan will focus his time with a brand new website
  • Some quick wins for anyone to use for more organic traffic
  • The importance of intent (he probably said that word about 50 times... so yes, it's important!)

​SEO and Backlinking Tips

​Brendan Hufford

From 100 Days of SEO

Brendan Hufford

Make Time Online Podcast on iTunes - ​Online Entrepreneur Tips

Listen to the full ​Brendan Hufford podcast episode

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​Backlink tips ​mentioned on the podcast

​Outreach for backlinks has a place. ​However, if 90% of people hate you​ because you spam their inbox with cold emails, do you want to be that person? Is it really going to help you build quality links?

Link building comes down to 2 main things:

  1. Your relationship with the person
  2. What the "ask" is (make something for your audience that helps them)

Figure out what the person wants, for example...

  • Help their audience
  • Make more money

Find a gap on their website that could help them achieve their wants! Pitch them an idea to ​write a guest post on topics that they could rank for, help their audience and make them more money!!

​Brendan's secret sauce for getting on Pat Flynn's podcast in the past...

  • Take action on tips/ advice from other people
  • Send them a message showing them how it helped you

People love to have success stories as social proof and share those transformation stories. 

​Other tips and tools mentioned

There are 2 buckets for Brendan's new website, Project Money:

  1. It's a business so it needs to drive revenue (build an email list, rank for certain keywords etc.)
  2. Find areas you have something unique to say- write fiery and passionate articles (shareable content)

​SEO tips for a new website (I AM)...

  • ​Intent- figure out what do ​people want when they type in a keyword
  • Asset- blog post, core page on the website
  • Medium- your website (use a fast lightweight theme i.e. StudioPress, Brian Garnder or Carbonate- check out my chat with Matt Giovanisci, who created this theme)

Some other plugins to try:

  • WP Rocket (affiliate link- it improved my speed from 4.4s to 1.58 seconds, check out my review here)
  • Autoptomize
  • Async JavaScript

Choosing questions and keywords people search for in Google:

  • Answer the public
  • Export document
  • Upload into keyword research tool like Ahrefs
  • Google the low competition keywords you find (figure out search intent & figure out the main articles that cover most of these "search clusters")

​Quick wins to get more SEO traffic:

  • Improve the speed (try those plugins above... some don't work well with each other so you will need to test these out- I found WP Rocket did well for me!)
  • ​​Posts you ​want to rank well for- put in 10 internal links (i.e. home page, about page, 5 or 6 other related articles)
  • Google what you are trying to rank for and figure out the intent

Full ​Brendan Hufford Podcast Transcript

Brendan Hufford 0:00
The asset is how are we going to give that to them? Typically? Is it a blog post? Is it like a core page on the website? What does that structure look like? And then the medium is in our case, talking about Google SEO is your actual website. So as long as we’re hitting those three buckets, I have a lightning fast website. I understand what kind of asset I’m creating, and I understand the search intent behind the things I’m trying to the topics I’m talking about. I think you’re really set up for success.

Mike Beatty 0:30
Hey, guys, it’s Mike from Make Time Online. And today, we’re joined by Brendon Hufford, who certainly knows a thing or two about St.

So Brendan, is his full time job at the moment is doing some pretty high client work for SEO search engine optimization, basically getting ranked in Google. He has done low stuff over the years with SEO, including the hundred days of SEO, where he did 100 days of SEO, speaking to different people and putting out content basically, you can find so much on YouTube through Brendan’s work basically all about this, but I just have in the chat with him today, he’s just gonna explain a little bit more about his story and like, what, what he’s actually planning on doing and what he’s got coming up. But it’s just a really good one to listen to, if you have any interest in getting some like basic SEO knowledge, or if you have like a website that’s already starting to get some traction and things. He has some really actionable advice in this chat to explain what you can do. So I do hope you help. I hope you enjoy it, guys. So Brendan, obviously you were just mentioned in there, you’ve got a new website coming out. I want to do a lot of digging into SEO and stuff like that, but I just just wondered if you could share a little bit about what that website is and like how you’re planning on running it?

Brendan Hufford 2:05
Yeah, I mean, the my biggest problem is in maybe you’re the same way maybe not. I, I tend to take on way too many projects at once. And I say yes to everything like that’s, I was a teacher for 10 years and was really dissatisfied with it and tried to climb that ladder and be an assistant principal and all of this stuff and realise it wasn’t for me. And, you know, I was tired of waiting an extra 3540 pounds and having a bad relationship with alcohol and having panic attacks on Sunday night.

Mike Beatty 2:36
But then if you know, but I’m a teacher as well. qualified teacher. This is my first year out of teaching, so

Unknown Speaker 2:41
hopefully I can I can

Unknown Speaker 2:42
feel your pain there.

Brendan Hufford 2:45
Yeah, man, it was brutal. And the way I got out of it was just saying yes to everything. Every project, anybody I can help with sending out a dozen emails a week. Hey, can I help you with SEO? I know this building my own little projects on the side those growing. And I’m actually at the point now where you know, I can look right here I have these like giant sticky notes on my walls that kind of serve as a white board. And I have like a big thing called items out of just like people that I’ve said yes to and still haven’t delivered what I told them, I was going to help them with summer clients, a lot of them are just friends. And I’ve got three or four of them recently that I just crossed out, and was like, I’m not doing this. Yeah, I had a big idea to raise a bunch of money to support different charities during the pandemic and everything. And I started getting people and I’m like, here’s what we’re gonna do, and we’ll set up this and that and I was just like, I can’t do this. I should not do this. Yeah, I should write like, ethically. This is a great thing that would help a lot of people but I just, it’ll be terrible. I’ll ruin relationships. It’ll be done halfway. I’ve done that before. like trying to do charitable stuff. And when you don’t do it all the way, right, like it’s very dangerous people get really mad. Yeah, you screw it up and rightfully so. Yeah. Right. So I’ve learned from that experience and you know, starting this new thing, I’m starting project money is really, for me about two things. Number one, it’s a bit of a manifesto. But number two, it’s I wanted to say all of that at the beginning to say like, when I choose projects now, it’s something I really believe in. Because with SEO, I can plug myself into almost anybody’s business, almost anybody’s project and help them I’m valuable to a lot of people. And that’s great. But it also means a lot of people want help. And I say no to most things. And this is one of the things that you know, I love Pete and I love this idea. And yeah, it’s something that I’m absolutely saying yes to So, really project money is, you know, two things. Number one, me Amanda Festo of like having something to say. So many blogs and whatever you Google things if you if people want to see this, played out Google digital marketing skills and see what comes up. Every single article is 10 Essential Skills 17 essential digital marketing skills, eight digital marketing skills 19 Essential Skills for digital marketers, like it’s a full first page of copycat content. Yeah, they all sound the same. You can’t tell who they are whatever else and Pete you know, is is has been in personal finance long enough that and the topic I’m passionate about, but he’s been in it long enough. He’s like, This all sounds the same to you. No,

Mike Beatty 5:39
yeah. No.

Brendan Hufford 5:41
We were just like, let’s let’s have something to say let’s like put a put a flag in the ground and do things differently.

Mike Beatty 5:46
Yeah, I think I actually heard you on Pete’s podcast before while ago. And you were just just the way that you were talking about different things was really interesting. And I think I think Wish you could have been someone else. But I think you were sort of saying how if you were starting a brand new website, so I don’t know if this is what you’re planning on doing with with this one, you would kind of like get some real, like really good content, and kind of like, just make it amazing and find out. I, us, I think you said have another website Anyway, what would you do? What What

Unknown Speaker 6:22
are you planning on doing with us? Oh, that’s a better question.

Brendan Hufford 6:25
Well, it’s two buckets. Right. It’s things that we know, first of all, it’s a business it needs to drive revenue. Yeah. Right. So we have to have things we’re gonna rank for that are gonna build our email list, get affiliate revenue, whatever. That’s a big part, something people leave out a lot. Second, it’s what are the most helpful, like, how can we be most helpful in the areas where we actually have something unique to say, I don’t know that we have anything unique to say about Roth IRAs. I don’t know. Maybe we do. Maybe he does. But like, let’s find this stuff. We have something unique to say and try and rank for those. That’s kind of bucket two. And then bucket three is like let’s say the thing like let’s go back to our roots like I crushed my first e commerce business and later sold it because I understood blogging and all these other companies like they loved it was a jujitsu Brazilian Jiu Jitsu e commerce company and everybody else loves Jiu Jitsu and I loved blogging, I loved the e commerce side of it, right? And, you know, like, Pete and I just want to go back to our roots of blogging and writing these like fiery passionate, you know, mister money moustache, kind of blogs of like, let’s just say the thing that needs to be said. And that’ll catch fire like people are waiting for that they’re hungry for that. They’re tired of like, here’s my five tips on how to invest your, you know, government subsidy check or whatever. I don’t know. So I’m making up some terrible thing but like, nobody’s pumped about that. Nobody’s retweeting that.

Mike Beatty 7:57
Yeah. But like, let’s just flip every little, you know, let’s watch walk in the room and flip some tables over. Yeah, that’s cool. So it’s just trying to get stuff that actually makes people want to read. It wants to share it, like shareable content, basically, that’s the aim. That’s the idea. And I guess that’s gonna get like backlinks and do all of that sort of work for you. So you don’t need to go out and do the whole outreach yourself.

Brendan Hufford 8:19
Yeah, I think there’s outreach has a place, right. But what I found in my my decade of doing SEO is that link building and things like that really comes down to how good of a relationship you have with that person. And then what the ask is, right, like, if the ask is like, Hey, we’re really good friends. I would love to make something for your audience. What can I make for your audience? Is it a video? Is it a guest post? Is it whatever? That’s a very easy ask versus, hey, I saw you wrote about a topic similar to mine and you link to a competitor Would you like to link to me, I’ll share it on my social media, blah, blah, like that garbage script that I get 20 of per day like I’m over everybody’s over that Yeah. Anybody worth getting? Here’s the thing, too is people are like, No, no, I see a good ROI from that, you know, you send out the script. And 10% of people will link to you. And it’s like, Yeah, but the other 90% hate you. And things like true. That’s, that’s not you know, you’re literally walking up to every person at the bar and asking them to go on a date. And it’s like, you know, you might get a date out of it. And like, if that’s how you win, that’s great. But everybody else there the next time they see you, they’re like, oh, there’s that guy that asks out everybody

in that. It’s very real.

Mike Beatty 9:33
Yeah, that is so true. I never thought of it like that. But it is so so true, actually, isn’t it like the cold outreach? Just blanket emails and stuff? So what what would you say is like the best way to do it, and you obviously said, like, if you build up a real relationship with someone, then I guess it’s just easy. Isn’t it? Like just a

Brendan Hufford 9:52
one way? Yeah, it’s a long game. It’s hard link. Building for clients is really hard. You have to have a really smart strategy. link building for a personal project is way better because you’re invested long term, you have relationships in the industry, you can build those relationships in the industry, you’re helpful. And to be honest, like one of the most effective ways is I just try to understand what they want. Like most people want one of two things, they want to help their readers they want to help their audience or they want to make more money. Well, what if I can help them with both of those things? What if when I pitched a guest post, I’m like, hey, look, I did a competitive analysis. I know these two other websites are competitors of yours from a search standpoint, they both have articles that are ranking on this topic. It looks like you know, looking at the the value that I see in sem rush and H refs and whatever looks like those articles are worth like two or three grand a month to them. You don’t even have an article on this topic. Turns out I’m an expert on this topic. Can I write something for you can put your own affiliate links in it, whatever you want, but like, Can I can I create that for you? All of a sudden it’s like, oh, this is a real professional that I’m dealing with here. It’s not some smarmy garbage thing. The thing is, you also have to be able to deliver on that, right? Like, if you send them some garbage article, they’re not gonna put it on their site, but like showing that you care about them, and that’s not the first email that I would send to them to start a relationship. But, you know, I was one of the first 50 guests on Pat Flynn’s podcast and it was still super early on the Smart Passive Income podcast and that was because I literally just emailed him and said, You told me to do these five things. I did these five things here’s screenshots of what I did. Here’s the results I got just wanted to let you know and just kind of like backed off and he was like, you want to come on the podcast to talk about that? And I’m like, Yes.

Mike Beatty 11:44
It was not your plan was your was it to try and get on the podcast or anything? You just Oh, send him an email and yeah, just say thank you for what he’s done.

Brendan Hufford 11:53
That’s what of course like that’s all people want the the number of people who will take it. I have people pay me a little lot of money and still not do the thing that they paid me to help them with. Hmm, yeah, the number of people that do it based on free information is even less. So you’re like a diamond in the rough if you’re one of those people that’s like I read your free blogs and like it changed my life. Can I tell you more about that? You know, I’ve reached out to my favourite author Ryan Holliday, I’ve connected with him in that way, Pat Flynn in that way, and just built a network of people that I would consider friends, mentors, whatever. A lot of my mentors I would never call them that I’m not I’ve never asked him to be my mentor. But there are people that I asked him a question they told me what to do. I went and did it came back told him I did it what happened and then just built those relationships and I think like link building you can get we can get really tactical but that’s at the core of it is you have to give a crap about the person. Yeah, um, on a tactical standpoint, you have to have something worth sharing, right? Either some unique data, a unique, a totally unique story of like, Oh my gosh, like I would love for you to talk to my audience about that on a podcast on in a blog, YouTube, whatever. Um, that’s the second part of it is you have to have something worth sharing. Well, I really liked what you said there, which I haven’t really heard people mention before is how you just take something that they’ve actually like it’s real value that they’ve given before, and you take action on it and showed in the results. I mean, that is from like, from my own point of view, that would just be a mate. If someone came to me and just said, Look, I listened to your podcast last week with Brendan, and I did this and look what happened, you know, or like, two months later, three months, whatever, you know,

Mike Beatty 13:40
that is like real. That what a better way to make a connection with someone and I just, I’ve never heard it put like that, but now you say it’s kind of like,

Unknown Speaker 13:49
yeah, I think

Mike Beatty 13:50
I think I have kind of done that in the past but just not realising what I’ve done. If you know, I mean,

Brendan Hufford 13:56
yeah, I mean, it’s it also then like makes you Want to promote those people? Right? Like your best case studies like, you know, it’s gonna make next time, whoever like Pat’s on a podcast, maybe he’ll mention me. And that’s not the goal. But like that is how it works. You know, like I have people that are in my SEO community who are crushing it. And I have like top of mind for people for stories I can tell you of like, here’s, here’s what they did, how they did it, here’s how the money they made, like I have those burned into my brain, because it’s great social proof. But it’s also like, I want to share that stuff. You know, you want to share those transformation stories. I think we’re living in a time where like, we’re more connected than ever, and in some ways, but we’re also more alone than ever, especially during a pandemic. That’s the reality of it. But I don’t think that’s really that different than how alone we were before. we’re lacking that depth in relationships. And I think what people really want whether you’re selling a product or a service or whatever, is they want transformation. Right you want to be I was here, and I want to get here. And are you the bridge to get me there? And if it’s like, if you see that bridge, that’s great. If you see that bridge with like 50 people that are waiting for you on the other side because they’ve already crossed it. You’re like that’s a safe, sturdy, reliable bridge. I can walk across it to things like that matter. But yeah, it really is. It really is about relationships. It really is about having something worth sharing your crappy blog posts that you know is skyscraper whatever. Like it’s to. The other problem with things like the skyscraper technique is they’re like build a taller building make it like 5% better. Nobody respect like, I don’t know if you’ve seen a skyline of a big city in a while, but nobody’s super impressed by the building. That’s one storey taller than the other buildings. Yeah, it has to be like twice as tall. Yeah, and that’s the that’s the big thing that people make a mistake on with content is it has to be twice as good as everything else out there.

Mike Beatty 15:55
Yeah, and it’s always gonna get beaten. I think that’s the thing that is you’ll get if it’s a if it’s something that people are already doing, then. That’s that’s always been my issue about that about like the skyscraper skyscraper technique. I do like the idea in the fact that you’re actually writing content and you’re actually putting real things out there rather than just getting a backlink. You know, just trying to like, like you say, just the cold outreach email and stuff I way prefer. If it had to be like one of the two, I’d rather someone like actually put out content, like either skyscraper or stats or something like that something that’s actually like real content to try and get links and things like that. But I guess there’s there’s a whole other side to it, SEO other than just like link backlinks and things like that. So I wondered if you could just kind of let us know, with a brand new website. Now, what are some of the things that you would do just to kind of like make sure it’s set up in the right way?

Brendan Hufford 16:50
Yeah, I mean, it’s funny SEO is mostly links, like let’s be honest, Google hasn’t figured out a better you know, as much as link building and whatever else like It is still like one of the most democratic ways for Google to figure out

Mike Beatty 17:04
things. is still the case.

Brendan Hufford 17:07
That it’s the most democratic way or that it is still the most. The biggest like, wait for them.

Mike Beatty 17:13
Just not probably right now, I guess. Well, I guess I know what your odds is gonna be. But do you think that’s always going to be the case?

Brendan Hufford 17:22
Oh, no. Oh, no. I mean, I think we’ll figure it out. And marketers ruin everything, right? Like, we’ll figure if they change, we’ll figure out what the lever to pull is. But no, I don’t I don’t think it’ll always be the case. I’m just not smart enough to think about what is next. I’m more concerned as far as like the future of SEO, understanding a couple of things that like, while Google will still dominate their other search engines, we need to pay attention to Amazon, Pinterest, YouTube, those are all search engines. Understanding SEO for those platforms is really important to me. podcast platforms, especially as you know, Spotify. is making big plays into podcasting. What does their algorithm look like? Right, like, What does their search on their platform look like? How do I get my podcasts to show up top? And they’re like things like that are interesting. As far as like, yeah, I think links are the biggest right now. But going forward, it’s just so hard because content is so subjective. Like how helpful is this? In the most recent update? One of the things that I was reading about is it actually actually D ranked and D prioritised. People were building website structures where they had like along the top, like, different chapters, they kind of linked up there content hub along the top, but it pushed the content further down the page. Google’s like we don’t we don’t think that’s best for people. You know, if I get to your website, and everything above the fold is like an opt in form a title and image and then some other places to go. And I have to scroll just to see any content. That’s not a great experience. And I’m like, I would agree with that. Right. So they’re there. They’re starting to make those plays about like what’s actually best for people? To answer your question around like, what if I starting a brand new website? The easiest thing on a brand new website is just make sure it’s lightning fast. Like it has to be as instantaneous as possible is super lightweight. If you’re using WordPress, which is what I learned on and what I use now, I know there’s a bunch of other CMS is that people like and that’s totally fine. There’s not a totally agnostic in that department of like, whatever is fast, I don’t care whatever works for you. Yeah, with a lot of people honestly. If you want to do a Wix or Squarespace and that is the thing that’s holding you back from starting, by all means, go Go ahead, do your Squarespace. Do your Wix I don’t think it’s the best solution long term. Having tried to help clients with SEO on those platforms, it’s usually pretty rough. But yeah, so my recommendation is usually WordPress find like, super fast, lightweight theme to use something really minimal. You don’t need a lot like let the content Be the thing. It doesn’t have to be this beautiful design or whatever else. And I think that’s usually the core, I have a this framework of how I think about SEO, that I think is unique to me. It’s called the I am framework. And it’s just intent, asset and medium. So the intent is like, what is the actual search intent behind? what people are googling, like you’re typing these words, but what do you really want? Yeah, the asset is, how are we going to give that to them? Typically, is it a blog post? Is it like a core page on the website? What does that structure look like? And then the medium is, in our case, talking about Google SEO is your actual website. So as long as we’re hitting those three buckets, I have a lightning fast website. I understand what kind of asset I’m creating and I understand the search intent behind the things I’m trying to the topics I’m talking about. I think you’re really set up for success.

Mike Beatty 21:00
So if well, first of all, can you give like an example of a really lightning fast theme? I know that’ll be something. I’ll be like, asking if I was listening to this a lot. But what Which one? That’s it. That’s what people kind of want to know.

Brendan Hufford 21:13
Yeah, um, so I think there’s a couple of them. I think. I forget. I know. I haven’t tried it yet. But I will shout out. Matt GVC at money lab. He’s got away.

Mike Beatty 21:27
I didn’t Well, he would have actually been last week’s podcast. I spoke to him last week or something. And he said about his theme. And I was like, Yeah, that sounds really cool. I will.

Brendan Hufford 21:37
Matt has a lot of He’s really good. And he’s done it a lot. Like what I love about Matt is he’s not his thing carbonate. Like he’s not one of those jerks. That’s like, I the only money I’ve made is teaching people how to make money. Most of his money comes from you know, he and i a lot of our early conversations was about like, you know, vice and Vox these like my Media, these digital first media companies, barstool sports. That’s what he was building out. He had a website about coffee, one about swimming pools and hot tubs, one about home brewing beer, and all these other things. And that’s what he’s building. I’m building similar things, right? I have a website about things I’m passionate about. Coffee, same one about camping. What about with we were just talking about a personal finance, like, I’m building my own portfolio of these things. Um, so I think that that’s a good place to start. Matt’s theme is pretty cool. I’m also a big fan of a lot of the StudioPress themes. I also think I use those on the Genesis platform for almost all my websites. They do good enough. Yeah, I’ve gotten compliments from designers and I’m like, Great because that’s just I didn’t make this but yeah, them or even Brian Gardner who is okay, the I want to say the creator of StudioPress. But when they sold that to WP Engine, he now has a bunch of themes that are Also very minimalist and very fast. So that’s usually where I would start.

Mike Beatty 23:04
So is that would Brian’s be WP rocket and things like that as well like the plugins?

Brendan Hufford 23:12
No, I don’t think he’s a rocket. Okay, because

Mike Beatty 23:16
I think that’s what that’s something that Matt recommended as well like if you’re looking to, you know, just like the lazy load or something like that he recommended.

Brendan Hufford 23:24
Yeah. So there’s also Yeah, there’s also plugins you can use. I’m a big fan of async JavaScript, it just loads JavaScript asynchronously. So it doesn’t load the whole page. It only loads the JavaScript when it actually hits that part of the page. And then there’s another plugin by the same team. I forget what it’s called. But yeah, WP rocket is very similar kind of thing. Whether it’s lazy loading images or different scripts and that sort of thing. Having your site set up, I mean, you can get into the weeds on a lot of this but most of it is just going to be like how big Is the page and how many requests are we making to load to this page? The less requests the better.

Mike Beatty 24:06
Yeah. I actually went through this with Matt last week and I looked at he looked at my website and the speed and everything like that. I think I was loaded about five seconds. For someone like that hasn’t really done anything on speed. It was like that’s not bad. To be fair, like it could have been much worse. But he’s always said like, try and aim to get it at two seconds. I haven’t actually tried WP rocket yet, but that’s definitely he said that and also, just like,

Brendan Hufford 24:37
optimise that’s good. There’s a couple. Yeah, they don’t all play nice with each other. So you kind of have to pick like, yeah, that’s what I was gonna do. But like, feel free. You’re not gonna break it, trying to make it faster, more not running anything that complicated on most of our websites that like, if two plugins are doing the same thing. They’re not it’s not like well, if I break this and that breaks and the forms don’t work, then your risk of that is pretty low. Yeah, you can always just go in and turn one off.

Mike Beatty 25:04
Yes. Okay. Isn’t it like just to try one? Turn it off? Get rid of it, try another one. So I remember when I first started, I was like, I don’t want to do that. What if it all just crashes? And like, you know, breaks, but now I’m a lot more like, yeah, I’ll try this. And I’ll try to,

Brendan Hufford 25:19
yeah, for sure, I would start there. And then think after that, like, really, the name of the game is keeping as much of your content as close to the homepage as possible. your homepage tends to be your most authoritative page, that’s where most of your links will be. So if you think about, like, you know, the authority passes from the homepage, and then everything the homepage links to it sends it there. And then those send more of that authority to different pages. So the closer you can put your content to the homepage, like on some of my websites I have, if you scroll to the bottom of the homepage, there’s 10 or 15 articles linked on the homepage, and those are ones that I want to rank really high in search. So I keep them on the homepage. So they have that authority. I think that’s the biggest thing is just don’t bury anything on your website don’t make anything like not super easy to get to.

Mike Beatty 26:05
Yeah. And do you go down like the whole silos route of? I don’t really understand what that is to be totally honest. I hear this all the time being thrown around. But yeah, I’ve never really like dug into doing that whole thing by this is my understanding, I don’t know if it’s right, is that you just have different almost like, sections that you want to talk to. And then like, everything just webs off from there sort of thing. So like, if you were doing personal finance website, you’d have probably saving money making money. Investing maybe would be potentially three silos or something and then everything like spider webs off there.

Brendan Hufford 26:44
Yeah, you can silo it like that. You I’m a big fan of called content clusters or content hubs, where it’s like, Alright, let’s have the like, let’s make sure the search intent for all of these different things are, can I just kind of walk you through like how I would do it? Yeah, definitely. So If I had a topic, I would and I didn’t have access to, well, maybe let’s say you do have access to a fancy tool. The first thing I do is I go I take that topic I drop it in, answer the public, do an export of what it comes up with. Because answer the public takes all of the autocompletes from Google, YouTube and Cora and a couple other places, pulls it all together. And then now I have all of the questions around my topic, right? What are people searching for? I then literally just drop that into h refs. And h refs will tell me instantly, search volume and all these different things and I can start to prioritise Now don’t get me wrong. Keyword Difficulty and search volume are not like that’s not a content strategy. What I’m looking for There is everything around that. And then also looking at what is the separate search intent so actually go there’s something silly that people don’t do when they’re doing SEO, they don’t actually Google The thing they’re trying to rank for, to see like, what does this even look like? And what I noticed is that sometimes people write five articles. But if you google all those topics, it’s the same articles ranking for every single one, which means that Google knows that it’s those while people are typing different things. And the tools tell you they’re different volumes in different difficulties. It’s really the same articles for all of that. Yeah. And you don’t need to write five separate articles, you just need to write one. That’s amazing. So I then go Google all of those things and start putting together a content cluster of like, Alright, what’s the Main article that’s going to cover most of these? Great, we’ll create that, what are the longer tail articles around it? And then just making sure like, you know, you don’t need to turn it into Wikipedia where every other word is a link to another page. Wikipedia is worse. But well, I mean, it’s also great, right? They pass that equity really well through their whole website. It just keeps on that, doesn’t it? Yeah, it doesn’t. It also shows how everything’s really related to each other which helps everything rank Better. It’s one of the reasons that Wikipedia ranks really well. I think the biggest thing for me from there is Yeah, just making sure everything’s interlinked internal linking is, you know, if we started out by talking about External links from other websites, yeah, people forget that links from your own website count. So continuing to link to stuff, a lot of people don’t go back into their old content and link to the new stuff that they’ve made since then. really effective tactic to increasing rank. So yeah, I think that’s the biggest thing is just having a smart content strategy that’s tied to business, but also close to the homepage and building out those content clusters. Yeah,

Mike Beatty 29:36
that makes sense. Have you got like any just little quick wins, if someone’s already got a website established, and, you know, they might have their ranking for some stuff, but they just want to like, do a little tweak. Is there anything that you could do to just help a piece of content rank a little bit better?

Brendan Hufford 29:54
Totally. So the first thing I would do is we talked about making the website Super fast like installed instal it if you’re on WordPress instal async JavaScript instal optimizer, WP rocket or whatever, super easy take less than 45 seconds to do. So that’s a super easy win. Next, take the article, the keyword you want it to rank for the Google doesn’t really look at keywords as much as topics right the best content ranks for 2000 keywords more, but the tools can’t track that much longtail stuff. So, go through the rest of the pages on your website, and give yourself 10 internal links, go to 10 other articles that you have, make sure there’s a link to it on the homepage, make sure there’s a link to it on your about page, go into five or six other articles and link to that article. Like get that internal linking locked in. And then from there, there’s I mean, that’s the easiest wins, like you’ll see things pick up from that. I guarantee you unless your website is 100% brand new. There’s only You know nothing else links to you on the internet etc it’s an uphill battle it takes time but that’s such a good practice to like to be in just because going forward that’s the the easiest win. And I’m going to tell you that works all the way from like our personal blogs all the way to clients that I work with like Allstate. The tactics aren’t don’t change that much is incredible.

Mike Beatty 31:23
It’s just you kind of think when you learn this stuff, you think oh, this is only gonna work in like my little tiny website that I’m building but his interest is amazing how many times I’ve heard that kind of thing you know, from someone that is obviously working with huge websites. It’s actually all very similar by the sounds of it. I’m sure there’s way more tactics and little things that you can do. But it does sound like the core fundamentals is really the same love writing great content, getting backlinks, you know, just just making stuff that stands out really I think is is going to be something huge moving forward.

Brendan Hufford 32:01
Yeah, the last one I could give people is just Google, the thing you’re trying to rank for. Look at the Auto suggests, look at what the actual intent is behind your search. You’re like, yeah, people want to like, for example, we talked about digital marketing skills. You’re like, Alright, cool. People want to, like, get a list of digital marketing skills. That’s the intent. I disagree. If you Google Let me see if what comes up right now I can tell you what’s come up like historically. digital marketing skills. here’s here’s the top four digital marketing skills for resume, digital marketing skills, 2020 digital marketing skills to learn. The intent behind digital marketing skills is that people want to know what they need to put on their resume, what’s relevant in 2020? And what how and what to learn. So this is not somebody who’s hiring, looking for the digital marketing skills they need to assess. Yeah, right. This is an actual now all of a sudden, if you have that, that article that says these three digits No marketing skills changed my life and career. All of a sudden, you’ve mastered that search intent. And people are like, Oh my god, that there’s three digital marketing skills that could change my life and career. That’s what I actually want. All the sudden, it’s like, get out, you know, you’ve kind of like start to, it’s like inception. Right? Like, yeah, you know, they’re like, just get out of my head. That’s crazy. This is exactly what I needed. They’re gonna opt in for your thing. They’re gonna click to another blog post. And there’ll be fans because you understood what they were really looking for.

Mike Beatty 33:30
Yeah, that’s incredible. To me, that sounded like they were all completely different things, but it’s amazing how you managed to make that link. I guess it’s just experience and like, you know, doing it all the time.

Brendan Hufford 33:41
Sure. And I think it’s I look like I’m, I hate it when digital marketers use digital marketing as their only example. But I think that’s true. For everything is like what do people actually want? A lot of times when people are googling their problems, they don’t want a solution. We think that well there they want it, you know, they’re googling back pain. Let me give them all the back pain solutions. At that level they don’t they just want you to empathise with them. They want to, they want to understand when they get to your website and read an article about back pain, like, yeah, I want you to give me the solutions. But I also want to know your story. I also want to know like, how you got to this point, I want to be empathised with deeply. So all right, that person, same kind of chronic back pain, same like I can’t sit for too long. I can’t stand it makes it hard to work, all of this sort of thing. Like Alright, cool. This is somebody I’ll listen to. And that’s what you really want is that connection that trends. Can we circle back that transformation?

Mike Beatty 34:32
Awesome. I mean, I could literally just keep talking to phases because I know there’s so much I could love. I know you’re a busy guy. So I do really appreciate it. Brendon, if if anyone’s listening to this and they want to reach out what’s the best way for them to contact you?

Brendan Hufford 34:45
Yeah, I mean, I’ll pretend it’s because I’m good at SEO that you can google Brendan Hufford spell it any way you want. You’ll probably find me. It’s not because I’m good at SEO. I have a very unique name. But you can google Brendon Hufford, that’ll bring up all the things that’ll be On Twitter, my personal website, it’ll bring up the hundred days of SEO project really depends on where you like consuming stuff, right? If you’re a video person, check out just look me up on YouTube. I’ve got a tonne of SEO videos on YouTube education, something I take super seriously. If you like podcasts because you’re listening to this podcast, like, check me out, like, look me up on podcasts, I’d be entrepreneurs and coffee podcasts, 100 days of SEO podcast. And if you like blogs, like I said, Just Google me you’ll find my personal blog and the hundred days of SEO blog. Awesome.

Mike Beatty 35:31
Thanks so much, Brendon. Really appreciate it.

Brendan Hufford 35:34
Yeah, of course, and thanks for having me.

Mike Beatty 35:39
So as you can tell, he really knows his stuff. And it is incredible. Just some of the things that he managed to give away within like 30 minutes of I’m gonna chat with him Really? Yep. You know, he is obviously super busy. So I felt really bad like taking too much of his time because he has some serious stuff that he wants to be doing. So it’s amazing that he is Could he could actually even do that just for a little while. And I just want to summarise some of the main things that I took from the chat. And hopefully that can also help you as well. So number one was kind of what Brendan was saying about with a new website, the two main buckets that he was kind of talking about. Yeah, the random revenue generating articles, but then also unique articles and you know, like making real amazing content that people want to share and shareable content and things like that, you know, getting back to his basics blogging, he said, that’s what stuff difference really there is, you know, if it’s like a personal finance website, you revenue generating content are going to be like reviews of different apps and credit cards and all that sort of stuff. Because, you know, that’s where you’re gonna get loads of affiliates, and things like that. Whereas unique is

Unknown Speaker 36:54

Mike Beatty 36:54
stuff that is not already being written about and just put in a new angle on certain things because obviously everything has been covered before, but not in your style or with your point of view. So if you can actually do that, and something that actually makes people be like, wow, yeah, I see that’s really interesting or that’s really cool, then that’s the sort of stuff that gets shared and it just brings backlinks naturally talk quite a lot of backlinks around after that point as well. But number two is actually all to do with backlinks and outreach and things like that.

Unknown Speaker 37:28

Mike Beatty 37:29
spoke a lot about actually finding people and giving to them first. So something that he said, and I’ve not really heard people I’ve heard people saying the same sort of thing before. And I always try and do this. I never, personally I never just blank, cold outreach someone and say, Hey, you want to come on the podcast or something like that. In fact, actually, Brendan, the reason he’s on the podcast is because, you know, Pete McPherson who had a chat to and Pete said about him and he knows there’s loads of stuff about SEO and he gave me like her Intro basically to Brendan. So it wasn’t just me saying, hey, you have no idea who I am. But you want it when it got more focus. And so that’s just a really good way to, rather than just going to someone and being like, hey, I’ve got some idea or something that’s going to really help me find ways that you can help them. If they produce content. Look at it, figure it out, do what they’re saying, and show them the results. say, Look, I’ve tried this. And I thought that was a great way to actually just make connections wherever it is to get backlinks or whatever, it doesn’t matter. You’re actually making real connections with real people. And if you can show transformations, people love transformations, you know, the whole losing weight and things like that. Going from a skinny guy to a muscle. That is what people really want to see going from broke to 50 million whatever, you know, that’s what’s tough. Number three, is speed. Something that Matt spoke about as well on last week’s podcast. The speed of your website is something that you can control. It is something you can control whether you want to admit that or not. You can just google google house and previous speed. And that’s something that you can do straight away. But he gave some actual advice. You know, a lightweight theme. Even said, Matt, Matt. Jeff machine is theme carbonate, I think it is called. He also said StudioPress. WP Engine, and then just some plugins that he said that I’ve not heard of before async JavaScript, which just sounds like it’s a like a lazy load for JavaScript. And I’ve heard JavaScript, JavaScript and pictures. Images are like two massive thing that can really slow your website down. I’ve never even heard of getting like async JavaScript or I think it’s like a lazy load. But that’s that’s basically what he said. And then auto auto optimise or optimizer with optimizer. I think he said, I’m not entirely sure what that is, but I’ll find out I’ll leave a link And then also just the number four then is internal links. So we spoke about External links, internal links are really, really important. And he was saying how they’re a real quick win as well, you know, if you’ve just got, you’ve got an article you really want to improve, get 10 internal links to it, find relevant internal links, but so also, your homepage is like a huge, huge page to actually link from because you’re basically showing Google Hey, look, this is important. It’s on my homepage. So if you have something that’s really important, make sure it’s on the home page. And that’s just a quick win. And a way for you to get more links to your article, which at the end of the day is what Google is kind of looking forward to. I think there might be backlinks, but it may also be internal links. It’s just getting into good habits. And number five, I really liked what he said about ways for even if it’s just generic, next time you Google something, as you’re reading the article, just think is this Just some robot. Obviously, it’s not a robot, but is it just robotic? Is it just factual? Or is there someone’s voice is there someone’s actual story in whatever it is because, like, the example he gave was, if someone types in back pain, they don’t just want, they don’t always just want a solution for back pain, they actually want to feel em pathologized with, they actually want someone to feel like they are listening to them and hearing them. So if you can share your story, something that is real honest, and actually empathising with someone if you can do that, that is gonna be huge. But if you compare that to the other kind of articles that you that may be in that same topic. It’s just gonna be if it’s skyscraper stuff and stuff like that. If you can put your own individual spin and your story on something and say, hey, look, I understand what you’re going through. I also think the same thing. I’ve done research into it and this is what I found out. That is That’s always more effective that’s building a real relationship with someone rather than just writing generic words. Anyway, I’m gonna stop rambling now. Hope enjoyed that one, guys. Take care. Thanks for listening in to this episode of Make time online. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss any future episodes. And please take a moment to write a review for our podcast in the App Store. keep changing for the better guys. Take care

Podcast Summary

​I learnt tons from this chat!

Here's my main takeaways:

  1. ​Create revenue generating content & unique, sharable content
  2. Build real relationships and ​help other people to build backlinks (backlinks still really matter, no matter what anyone says... sure people claim they never ​use backlink strategies and get found in Google. But they will have  accumulated backlinks whether they know it or not!)
  3. ​Improve your site speed to improve SEO
  4. Internal links to help give a post some good juice
  5. ​Tell your story and use your own voice

If you want to ​connect with Brendan, just type in Brendan Hufford anywhere online and you'll find him!

What ​was your main takeaway? Drop a comment below...

P.S. Still want more?

I 100% recommend checking out this "dream team" link building strategy explained in detail by Brendan. If there is one thing I could recommend you to ever read about SEO, it is this. 





(And anyone can do it!)

Also these top 10 FREE link building tools.

About the Author

Mike Beatty has built a passive income online whilst working as a full-time PE teacher without any marketing or technical experience. Learn more about how he's done it here.

Mike Beatty

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  1. Thank you Mike for great article, very informative.

    I agree with Brendan – It is a actually a business (even sometime you created your blog post from living room or in a cafe), so the main purpose is to generate money (income), and of course it should be interested enough for some one, and unique so they willing to share it with others… 

    Great tips…!

    All the best

    Kalle & Marie

  2. Hi Mike! Great article and thanks for the simple tips for getting started. I’m very new at all of this but how can I tell which sites are linking to my site? How do I know if these are quality links? I hired a company to do some backlinks for me but I’m not sure that I did the right thing. Is there a way to “rate” the quality of the links and the impact they might have on my site seo score?

    1. Hey Cheryl, try Moz chrome extension so you can see the domain authority of sites. That helps to give you an idea.

      also check out Brendan’s “dream 100” article linked above. That will explain a great way to get those quality back links. I wouldn’t recommend outsourcing it as most of those companies are useless… in fact they may have used some black hat techniques and that could end up damaging your site in the long run. 

  3. Thanks a lot Mike for the article, it was very informative. I handle a couple of websites for diverse business and like was mentioned in the article most if not all business want to be easily seen by their target audience and for a very long time now SEO has made that possible. That is why i can’t wait to begin implementing the tips and tools that was mentioned here.

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