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Merging Business ROI into SEO with Jeremy Rivera

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Jeremy Rivera

From humble beginnings as a support tech with a real estate website hosting company, Jeremy Rivera quickly became an SEO enthusiast in 2007. Customers' pressing questions about improving their website rankings drove Jeremy to dive deep into the SEO world. His earliest achievements included creating a blog titled "Foot and Mouth Disease" and, through tireless effort, achieving a coveted first-page ranking. This notable success caught the eye of his employers, propelling him to leadership roles within the company and setting him on a transformative SEO journey.

Jeremy's journey wasn't always smooth sailing. Notably, an initiative to enhance realtors' visibility through reciprocal links became unexpectedly controversial. After creating a tool allowing realtors to reciprocally link across states, this idea spiralled, resulting in a massive link farm that led to a blacklist by Google. Despite this setback, Jeremy's resilience shone through as he played an integral role in recovering from this stumble. He further broadened his expertise at renowned establishments like Raven Tools and did social media for personalities like Jeff Foxworthy.

Venturing into the agency world, Jeremy's talent for marrying SEO expertise with sharp business acumen came to the fore. His freelance endeavours boasted high-profile collaborations, including consulting stints with Logan's Roadhouse, Captain D's, and numerous smaller businesses. Jeremy's current role as the Director of Content Analysis at Copypress allows him to work on cutting-edge content strategies and tools. There, he's focused on combining keyword clustering, content placement prospecting, and advanced content analysis to deliver optimal SEO results to clients.

Amidst these achievements, Jeremy's passion project, SEO Arcade, stands out. A SaaS tool born from his rich experience, SEO Arcade is dedicated to predicting the ROI from SEO campaigns, a facet often overlooked in the industry. Jeremy firmly believes in not just driving traffic but converting it to tangible value for businesses. His unique ability to humanize SEO strategies, combined with a keen business sense, positions Jeremy Rivera as an industry leader, forever eager to innovate and evolve in the ever-changing world of SEO.

The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast with Jeremy Rivera

Watch the interview

(click on the 'cc' icon to view subtitles)

Listen to the podcast

(63 minutes long)

The unscripted questions Mark A Preston asked Jeremy Rivera

  • How did you get into SEO, Jeremy?

  • What's your whirlwind tour in SEO?

  • How did you figure out how to rank number one in the early days?

  • Why are you to blame for a certain SEO technique from being hit by Google?

  • Why did you want to build a tool that can predict the ROI in SEO?

  • How do you go about predicting the ROI when it comes to SEO?

  • How can an SEO use your SEO Arcade tool to help them get buy-in from their CEO?

  • How in-depth with research does an SEO need to go in order to predict the ROI?

  • Do you think that some SEOs look at keywords as data instead of understanding their true meanings?

  • Why is it important for there to be a human touch into keyword research?

  • Are some SEOs far too focused on what SEO tools spit out?

  • How do you understand the business purpose of a piece of content?

  • What should SEOs be mindful of when it comes to link building?

The unscripted conversation between Mark A Preston and Jeremy Rivera

Mark A Preston: Welcome to The Unscripted SEO Interview Podcast. Yes, it's 100% unscripted, 100% unrehearsed, 100% unedited, and 100% real. I'm your host, Mark A Preston. Now, today, I want my guest to introduce himself purely because I don't miss anything. And not to do him any injustice, I'd like you to welcome Jeremy.

Jeremy Rivera: So I'm Jeremy Rivera. Long-time SEO started in 2007 worked with a Real estate website hosting company as a support tech and people wanted to move their logo over an inch and they Wanted to make sure their email worked and they kept asking. How do I rank better on Google? How do I get this? How do I sell homes? How do I get leads? This is worthless. Why am I paying money for a hosting? I hate you So to help with customer support, I started following Bill Slawski And Mark Trapp Hagen and a number of other early figures in SEO. And I built a small blog called foot and mouth disease. And I was so happy when I ranked on the first page for content, writing advice and the marketing team at the company found out that I was on the first page and they made a ton of their own blogs and pushed me off of the first page out of spite.


So then I really had to learn SEO and figure it out. Okay. I need links. I need better content that I need to show them up. I said, Hey, whoever's number one for this term, you get this ALF bobble head on your desk. And after six months, I took the bobble head. And after another six months, I became the supervisor of their department. And that started me on my career in SEO. I worked with that company got bought by homes. com. So I ended up doing SEO for homes. com, but also more on the software side of things. They had a lot of need of product management combined with SEO to make decisions for this platform for literally, 20, 000 realtors. We're on this platform. And so as small changes make big changes. Accidentally, do you remember when reciprocal links were really cool in 2000 before 2008?

Mark A Preston: Yes. reciprocal linking and three way linking?

Jeremy Rivera: And everybody was doing reciprocal links. And then all of a sudden there was a conference and Matt Cuts came out and said, Oh, you realtors have been excessively reciprocally linking. That was my fault. I thought it would be really neat if I gave the realtors a map of the United States, each map was a state and they could reciprocally link with whatever realtors that they wanted to in that state. They went nuts. There were guys that had hundreds of reciprocal links to their reciprocal link pages as a real estate agent in that particular state, literally thousands of links all on the same CNET, and we got blacklisted by Google and everybody's organic traffic plummeted. We went to, we hired a very expensive consultant and realized, oh, hey, we totally just made a, the world's largest link farm. And we , torched the entire concept of reciprocal links for everybody. So sorry about that. If you are benefiting from reciprocal links early in SEO.


I personally apologize for ending that and then after that fiasco I recovered, we helped recover, everybody came back Yahoo and Google forgave us, but the realtors didn't because their rankings weren't as good after that I went to work for a company called Raven Tools John Henshaw is a fantastic gentleman. He runs the coy wolf newsletter. And it's a fantastic read, great resources, but he owned a company called Raven tools, which was a in parallel to Moz at the time. I came in on their in house SEO and stayed there for a year until Google decided to slap them down and say, hey, you can either have scraped rankings or you can have paid rank tracking and do paid tools. And they chose to ditch their rank tracking, lost half of their income. And I lost my nest there, but it led me on an interesting journey, went to the agency world. I did a social media for Jeff Foxworthy for a year. I pretended to be him live tweeting the Superbowl and passed on the jokes from his crew and him. And posted them on Twitter, which was exciting. And then I finally realized, Hey, I should do this freelance.


And I can do this better without an agency eating up the margins. And did some really successful consulting did HCA work with Logan's Roadhouse, Captain D's and thousands of small little businesses. Since then I came. Back in house, worked at another agency, and have finally landed a copy for us. Which is fantastic. Dave Snyder is the CEO, and we focus on building content, authority content at scale using teams of expert writers subject matter, actual subject matter experts, interviewing, training them, building teams and combining that. My role is to help build the software. So we do software keyword clustering. We have tools to help prospect and find placements for content. And then we have a keyword gap analysis and contents analysis tools that I'm leading. And so it's really nice to be in an SEO role where I'm not, I'm at an agency, but I have to do agency stuff. And I don't necessarily, I also promote copy press and do their SEO, but it's you SEO product management, a little bit of special projects here, fixing our newsletter, but also going on and doing podcast interviews.


So it's a really great position. Cause I can keep my ear to the ground and see what's happening and try to future proof or help develop some tools or direction for us to succeed with our clients. And in the middle of all that, I also have my own SEO SaaS tool that focuses on predicting or calculating ROI from SEO. It's called SEO Arcade. Have to get into the thought process behind that because proving how much value or predicting the outcome of SEO campaigns is something that I think our industry needs to focus better on instead of focusing on just traffic. Focusing on how does that convert and how do you take a set of keywords and say, Oh yeah, this is going to represent this much value for your company, that's how you justify budgets, that's how you get hired surprisingly, a lot of people. Don't have a good process for that.

Mark A Preston: Definitely. That's a whirlwind tour of many years. Now going back to when you said you had to just figure out how to get to number one. Yeah. In figuring that out?

Jeremy Rivera: The thought process was, I literally have realtors who are calling in and asking for advice, so I have a thousand guinea pigs. There was this one lady and she would call in at 2.15 every Tuesday, and we, she we'd chat and we'd go over what I would tell her to do next. And so I'd be like, okay I read this week that it's your H ones are important. Your headers are important. So let's go in and change those today. And then a week goes by did anything change? Yeah, it changed. And then, oh, I read that you need a specific service page for this particular city. So why don't you work on writing it up? And so incremental, but multiply that by, Okay. 10 or 20 people rarely calling in. And Hey, I think let's try writing some more content.


This one guy, and came in is super angry. Cause his rankings were gone. I'm like, okay, what did you last do? I added 200 pages. With white text on a white background that said you are Belinda Real Estate. I'm like no, why? Because that's what his literal cousin, his cousin literally told him, that's how you rank for these terms. Okay, there's definitely bad things to try. Content's not always content. And one guy came to us and said, Oh I found this content spending tool and I can it takes one word and it'll change your Belinda real estate to Pomona and I can redo all of my content pages and not have to do as much work. Okay. And so he's like doing that. And another person, like I hired somebody to write. Page for all of these individual cities. We wanted to target. So seeing the A B test of early spun content versus early actually written authority. Somebody who lived in that city, there's a big difference between, and we're seeing that again. Redux, what is old shall be new and what is new shall be old. Paisley's coming back. And fun contents come back. We just call it AI. It's not AI. Data from Enterprise hasn't beamed down and actually, written unique quality content. No, it's a language learning model, and it's regurgitating its learning set onto the page in a way that seems like it's mostly good ish, probably, until you start to fact check. Until you start to realize, okay, this is an older data set because I went heavy into, chat GPT and try to figure out, okay. How much money can I save by changing my adding an extra principal payment to my car? And it was, it seemed logical, like how it spun up the math and went through it.


And then I did it three times, and it gave me three different answers. And I realized, okay, this AI is terrible at math. Maybe. Maybe I should use this in a more directional type of idea than taking it as solid fact of, the way that I would trust if I called somebody that I knew these, that math, knew that idea. So it was true then. That expertise was important. And it's true now. And so that's been my approach over the years is finds unique voices, a unique way to approach content. And then you got to make connections, moving from homes. com to Raven tools happened because I was on Twitter. And I used to handle foot and mouth at the time, and John Henshaw thought it was hilarious that I was out there with my foot and mouth in public. And he just posted up, I asked for a free t shirt, because Raven Tools was all about free t shirts. And I got a free t shirt and said I've got an SEO position. He posted it up. I said, I think I can do that. And it totally changed my life. But it was the connection between me and him, and there's been so many times on so many projects where there's like a piece of expertise or knowledge or problem that I've come across and I reached out, a lot of my writing over the years in SEO. It's really been almost jour, SEO journalism and okay, I've got this core problem. What do you think? Send dms to the 35 people that I know and have interacted with and actually get a fantastic conversation going.


And that's evolved recently. There's a lot of Slack channels. Where people have moved conversations since Twitter has unfortunately gained a an omniscient sock puppet, a petulant sock puppet of a leader who makes terrible UX, UI, and platform decisions that everybody hates, nobody likes, and everybody, the people there that are still on Twitter like me are just there resentfully you're not going to ruin our stuff, we still like talking to people, even though now there's no, he took away open graph titles and headers. Because he wanted to keep the clicks on the platform, obviously we know that we look at the data and we know, oh, hey we're going to take the time to optimize and put open graph tags, and we're going to take the time to optimize our titles and descriptions because we know it impacts click through rates oh we'll just take that off, all of the digital markers, it took the time to think that through, make sure that those title tags got added, And he's, no, it's just an image with a small URL on the left. And hopefully it grabs the right image, like it's just grabbing one random image from the page. Hopefully that represents it. Just obviously bad decisions, but I'm there. I'm still on Twitter. Jeremy Rivera, SEO and my SEO Arcade handle fighting and communicating with the people that still are out there doing tweet chats. There's #SEOchat and hashtag #SerpsUp, that chat that I go and participate on a regular basis because there's, there are people joining that platform who don't know how much it sucks now compared to how it was and, plenty of porn bots. But, that's just the status of the platform now.


But it's all about conversation and having that, having an SEO problem or a complaint, like half of the people on there are really just pointing out, okay, that's stupid. In SEO and this whole conversation, like how. Accurate Google search console is something I came up against recently because saw somebody talking about, oh there's no data source that's quite as good. As a Google search console. And I said, is it though? Is it though, because I have a number of sites. And so for my SEO arcade site it's not a bonanza of traffic, not making a bunch of money. But out of the 140 clicks to my article, that's literally about how accurate is Google Search Console. They gave me five clicks that I know what those queries are. It says 140 at the top of the page, 149 people visited, clicked to it. It gave me details for five of those clicks. So that's three percent of the data. That's accurate. How am I supposed to project that out? How am I supposed to distribute the hundred and forty remaining clicks that I know came from Google for keyword queries. They searched and found me, but they only told me, is search console accurate. Five clicks, and I've got the other impressions for other queries. Do I make up a matrix and distribute the rest and make up clicks and distribute it? Or do I just I only have click data for this one.


So I really know I got clicks there. So I got 149 clicks instead of three clicks. That no statistician can work with 3 percent of the data. There's, it's. It's laughable, but that's the state of things that, you know, and people argue about, Oh, it's come out, come down really hard on AA traps recently and Oh, the data's not accurate. It's a lot more accurate than search console. Sometimes if you literally looked at another project and 60 percent of their traffic has detail of what the queries and clicks were, I've never seen anybody over, I've never worked with on a project where there was more than 70 percent of details. And that's for our own good. It's anonymization. We're keeping these queries anonymous. Like it's SEO. It's an SEO SaaS tool. What is the query that they're putting in that needs to be anonymized? That's going to give up some secret hints about their personality or their location when they're searching for an SEO SaaS tool, when they're searching for SEO ROI. Where is that justification that Google puts out there that it's anonymization and, some people throw the caveat, Oh their search interface in Google search console, that's just bad. And it's limited to a thousand rows.


And if you use Google API and get that search console data out, you can get more clicks. And if you use Google BigQuery and export that data, you get even more. There's a couple of problems with that. Like one Google, when small business owners are signing up for this platform and getting the data out of it, Google's not saying, Hey, get 12 percent of your data. It's perfectly accurate. You'll see half of your traffic. They don't disclose it. They say, Oh, here's all of your click data. And we just anonymized a little bit. Oh, there's this small problem where another percentage of it is you can get it through the API. Have you tried? Using Google BigQuery I, it, I cannot imagine a small business owner actually being able to go through that. They can't, they, if they have Google Search Console, they're, as a small business owner, they're in like the 10%. of people who are on the cutting edge. There's no way that they're going to set up Google BigQuery. It took me half a day, and I've done this for 16 years. And I was scratching my head because they changed the UI layout. Said, oh, you need to connect the API and do this setting and this setting. Super easy. And even if we change the layout, you'll be able to do it again. They changed the layout. I could not find any of those details. I had to dm three different people to say, how do I do this? All of them, all of the materials are wrong. Even the Google guide center is not the same. Where is this? It took me half a day and it still only gave me, now I'm up to 12 clicks for that article. Now I know where 12 clicks are going instead of 5. So thank you Google BigQuery. Thank you for bulk exporting useless data. How am I supposed to make that, make a change in my strategy if I go from 3 percent of data to 8 percent of data accuracy?

Mark A Preston: With your SEO arcade tool, why did you want to create a tool based on predi Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware, it can predict the ROI from SEO, is that correct?

Jeremy Rivera: In a way, yes. In a sandboxed way. So it's directional. I had a keyword research process, and I said, okay. If I have a specific keyword, and I look at the other 10 URLs, and I grab the top 100 keywords that those pages rank for, I have something unique. I have a shard of data that Google says these pages are all connected to this term semantically, right? And then they also co rank for these other terms and phrases. So what a fantastic way to, instead of using machine learning and trying to figure out semantic on the back end of the... How are these terms connected? I can say that I know Google connects a good example is cookville pest control. You have Google pest control, you'll have pest control service, pest control, company bug spraying, the terms and phrases that they co rank for when they, when you rank for one term, gives you a little bit of a keyword universe for that particular service. So that was my go to process. So it goes to a stress. I'd plug in the URL, see what see where I'm ranking and then grab one particular term for one particular page and look at those top 10 URLs, go and download the CSV of the top 100 keywords that those pages keywords that those pages rank for. Then spend the next 30 minutes in in Google sheets, copying, pasting, copying, pasting, copying, pasting from those downloaded CSVs until I had a document and realized, you know what? Okay. Now I've got duplicates because a lot of these five pages all had the same term. And then lightning struck my brain. And I said, that's the signal.


That's how I can tell that Google sees It sees the overlap. If for this particular phrase, 10 out of 10 URLs all co ranked for one of those phrases, that is a higher priority. That is more relevant to the core phrase versus one of these domains. Is really strong and it ranks for peanut butter chips because they have a article, it's a one off or it's A deep cut or it's a long tail term so you could flip it on its head and say okay What are the terms and phrases that just one of our competitors? Really does well for and boom, there you go. Long tail research. You can find that phrase that only one of your competitors is going after and create unique relevant content to target. So if you flip that on its head, you've got highly relevant terms and you've got long tail terms. So I was doing this manually and it took, three hours for me to do it for a particular page. And I remembered, Oh, Hey, you know what? I've worked at an SEO SaaS and I have an SEO developer friend who said, Hey, if you ever want to make an SEO tool you reach out and we'll partner on it. So John Zunbrun is a wizard and we partnered up and he said, I wanted to, take this term. We'll go connect to Google data for SEO, find the top 100 keywords for each of those 10 URLs, bring it back and do some math and show which terms are overlapping, which are not. And that was great.


And then I said, okay if I'm targeting a specific page, I generally can take it to the net and show the volume for it. If I have a matrix of what the organic click through rate is for that term then I can predict traffic. Because organic click through rate means, out of the distribution for that particular type of phrase. 5 percent and 25 percent go to the number one listing, 23 go to the second and Advanced Web Ranking has an ongoing published organic CTR study. I'll share the link with you. It's a fantastic resource because it changes by, whether it's commercial intent or whether it's image intent or those they break it out. And so you can have a organic click through rate chart that kind of approximates, Hey if I spend the time to rank for your Belinda real estate, And I know how much search volume occurs in that much in that month from the Google AdWords API says about this much traffic is coming if I've got that organic CTR, I can make a prediction of how much traffic arrives at the page. And traffic's good, but I was working with a client and they wanted to know I needed to do a actually it was for when I came back to Raven tools the second time, which was a whole nother journey that had been bought by a company called tap clicks. And the the customer product manager, the marketing manager wanted to know if we increased traffic or if we increased rankings. Over the next year by investing in a content marketing budget.


How much additional signups could we get from that? And I said, okay we know what our conversion rate is off of our marketing site for free trials. And how many free trials turn into paid trials. So I had that conversion rate of, they have the free trial sign up and they have the conversion, which is the same as you have a lead and you have an actual sale. So in SEO, a lot of people just stop at optimizing the page and they say, okay I'm going to work on the rankings. I'm going to change the content. And as soon as that organic traffic lifts up, my job's done. But there's another step because you're getting people there to do something. You're getting paid. The business is making money somehow. And they have a page, they have a site to drive traffic there. Only the only time it works otherwise is if you're working off of grad, a grant and nonprofit. And I hate to tell you this, but businesses don't like being nonprofit. They call that failing and they go bankrupt when you turn your for profit business into a nonprofit. So you can't operate a website for a for profit company. Like a nonprofit, you got to convert them. You got to have the hallelujah moment where you reach into their wallet and get the money or you get them to be a lead. And then you get them to be a money. So I thought about that and said, okay I'm going to, I'm going to need to know, what the conversion rate is and what that sale conversion rate is too, because it's not just, it's not just the one even on e-commerce. It's, you add it to the cart. And then you buy it.


So even if there's no purchase there's really very few. Yeah. It's always add to cart and whoever makes it through the buying process. So there's, there is always a lead sale. So you take that conversion rate and you multiply the traffic by it. You say, okay if I know that I'm going to rank number one for this and 25 percent of that is going to get me this much traffic. I can multiply that traffic by the conversion rate, and then I can take that converted amount and say, okay, out of these 100 people, I convert 50 percent of them. That tells me then I've got 50 sales. I should know how expensive or how cheap, what the pricing is of the thing that I'm selling. So I can plug that in at the end. I know how many sales I have. I can, I multiply that by revenue for that product, boom, there's an estimate. If I ranked at the top of the page one for that term, it could equal this much revenue at the end. It's, there's a funnel that goes from the left to the right. But you can math it out for a particular. a singular page or service. So that's what I did in SEO Arcade. It, I added those next layers. You input your conversion rate, sale rate revenue per sale, and it's just math. It just multiplies across. So we've got the search volume, traffic estimate, conversion estimate, sale estimate, revenue. So if you, at a glance, know now, Hey, if I input this one term, it's going to have this universe of phrases. If I can then really make a business argument and say, this is the marketplace for the top most relevant keywords for this particular phrase that's heavily relevant to it. Here's a representation of how much money you could make if you were at the top of the page for all of those terms.


But you and I know you never ranked for number one for all of the terms that you rank for so then I added a widget that said, okay, if you've got half of your keywords that are discovered here, so you got to edit the list and remove the non sequiturs and the ones that don't. So you say, hey, if I ranked in the top three. Not like taking, combining the organic, like the rate and just averaging that and say, Hey, if I was in the top three for half of these terms with this conversion rate, the sale rate represents this much revenue, and then you take it down by half to say, if I ranked a quarter of these words. In the top three, it could be this much. And so that kind of gives you a directional layered goal and a proposal, really a proposal of, Hey, this is the organic search potential of your market for this service or product. And you can make a very cogent argument of, Hey, this represents the market opportunity of SEO. And here's what you can get by investing the time, effort, energy, man hours investing in SEO, getting links, building good content to get traffic for this universe of phrases. It's not perfect, because obviously I didn't talk about topical, and there's a lot, there's a huge universe of topical phrases ways to think about things, problems that people have. That are in this floating nexus around a service, and then you wouldn't find them on the same page often, like the problem they have the solution orientation and the service page itself overlap only at that transactional phrase at the bottom of the funnel, tofu, like only down at the bottom, does it overlap and actually turn into money? So that's a whole lot of information.


Whole nother experience, that's a whole nother process and SEORK just can't do that. There are some keywords, there's keyword clustering, which is the granddaddy concept bigger than that. What they can use machine learning to take whole data sets and the whole data for SEO and do a similar process of okay, if these are our target keyword phrases. What are all of the topical terms and phrases that all of their magic spaghetti ball of content they put out there to catch these people, flying spaghetti monster ideas, capturing them and bringing them back to devour them. If you combine that, you can do a keyword clustering approach. We have a tool called thematical copy press that does. That part of that. But that's not what we do at us here that what I'm trying to do for SEO. Okay, but it's a fantastic idea of okay, if we have we took the entire data for SEO database and said, Okay, if you plug in these domains. We can extrapolate all of the keywords, not just the top 100 keywords that they rank for their entire universe of keywords that all of these domains rank for and then use machine learning to cluster those terms and phrases into useful groups and then sort and prioritize them by overlap. And so then you, instead of 100, 000 keywords, instead you have 250 clusters of keywords. And then that's where the subject matter expertise needs to come in. If somebody that knows what they're doing needs to go through and say, okay, this cluster, and this cluster of terms are related to each other, send it over. Let's build content around that. And then look at another cluster, grab three or four clusters and build content around that. So it's going from, a singular narrowed down view in Ahrefs or SEMrush of okay what is the keyword research for this particular thing, just blowing it up and putting the pieces back together in clusters.

Mark A Preston: Considering I wrote the book on the business side of SEO, I'm very much always banging on to everyone about, understanding the business, understanding the mass behind what you're doing. So what you've described there, I'm absolutely loving, because I, in most cases, this. There's a massive disconnection between what SEOs are doing and the business impact. The ROI, everything, and I still believe there is, there's that massive disconnection in the industry and I'm on the flip side, especially from a higher level and pitching budget to the C suite, and all that you need all this data in order for the CFO to make an informed decision. Yeah, so that's informed is the word I have come across over the years, which I've been told, from many C suite that's what they need to understand. And obviously having something like this. to say, okay this is the research. That's how much you can make. This is all the conversions. We can potentially make, and this is the investment I need in order to do that. And the ROI is there. Yes. And I think that's a massive thing. But When you, the tool is doing the groundwork, the research for you. How in depth is that sort of research part? Is it just on a list of keywords or based on, or is it, how does it come together with the research that the SEO's going to then understand what resource they're going to need?

Jeremy Rivera: Yeah, it starts from that basic process from the basic concept of you have a single seed keyword. Actually, I bumped it up to five. You have five seed keywords because National HVAC and National Air Conditioning, National Heating and National Cooling, they're going to have a different matrix of a different universe of keywords. But you can start what you start with your seed, and then you've got that to start with, and then it gives you a universe of, your, it usually is somewhere between 500 and 1000 keywords that you're looking at. And so you can go through it and clear out the ones that are not correct or false positives, or you're not targeting those. And this is the thing. You still have a human process. There is no tool that's going to be able to look at this list and tell that, you have to go to the cert, you need to look at that term, plug it in and see how does, how is Google recognizing that term or phrase? Cause there could be that it could be false positives that show a tremendous amount of traffic. For a term, and it flips to the top because it's got the most traffic, but it's because there's another business that's named that, or there's a regional center that does something else that also has that name, and you're splitting the traffic between the two. It's like natural air conditioning.


The traffic is higher than any other phrase because half of the people want to buy an air conditioner, half of the people want air conditioning service and somebody to do it for them. And you got to split that traffic in two on intuitively, so there's always a human process in keyword research, and you're adding these layers, I suggest in my sheet, I have an empty column for it for you to rate how close to conversion is this keyword, because there are people who are searching for a term or phrase, and yeah, that page ranks for it, and it's relevant, but They're not really ever going to buy it. Or, hey, that's my money term. So going through, having that process Hey, that's a great term. And here's the next step. You gotta get it, get your keyword list vetted by your client. You gotta find out your negative SEO keywords. In PPC, half of the job is figuring out what to not bid on, and SEOs on the regular miss this step. You need to have a thorough conversation and find out, Oh, we can't say Exerciser 5000 because there was a lawsuit and our owner, Jimmy, punched this guy, and now we can't say Exerciser 5000 because of legal reasons. Or if you're in the your money or your life category and you're working with any sort of supplement, there are red lines of terms and phrases left and right of claims that you cannot make. And so those are keywords that you cannot... Directly targeted. You have to, flip, you have to do pinch hitting like, Hey I, the best example I have is a client and they were obsessed with the, their brand phrase.


They wanted to be a space cooler. Instead of a space heater, they didn't want to be known as a swamp cooler because or a portable evaporative cooler, even though that's what people are searching for. That's what the product literally is. They wanted to capture the new mind space and they wanted to be the space cooler. We did that for a year and I told them on the outset, there's only so much traffic that's going to show up for this. And they put that red line, said we're. Do not call it a portable evaporative cooler. And if you call it a swamp cooler, we will fire it. The year goes by, we're number one for space cooler, and they're getting this much traffic. I showed them hey, these space cooler, buy a space cooler. We got those terms and phrases. And here's all of the traffic for portable evaporative cooler. Why don't I just put on the homepage, Not your mama's swamp cooler and looking for a portable evaporative cooler and want something cooler. And we tripled their traffic in the first three months. Once we added those terms and phrases. So there are red lines that on terms and phrases, those negative SEO keywords that you need to consider. You need to add that into your process. It's cross them off of your optimization list altogether. You can't say that, or you have to rank negative, put it in a negative concept context to show up for that term or phrase, but you're not that term or phrase. There's a little bit of trickiness there. And there's just, totally things off limits because of legal, brand phrases you can't optimize for.

Mark A Preston: I'm loving this conversation. A lot of people I speak to, I'm like trying to get them to understand the meanings of the words.

Jeremy Rivera: They're using the phrases.

Mark A Preston: So what are the meanings of them? Whereabouts in the sales funnel does it go? Not because, they plug a keyword into a tool that gives them this list of words, and they say we'll write content for these words, and there's no logical thinking behind it. And I think, in one instance, I found that a company was ranking very well, they were driving loads of traffic, but 80 percent of the traffic were after sales, so they're doing a brilliant job in servicing the competitor's customers. I think that this sort of thing and, it's like the sales funnel, whereabouts does that content, that keyword line, does it have multiple meanings? Does it have, and this is where I think when it comes to SEO tools, there always must be a manual process. The tools just spit out words in effect. It might tell you, that's transactional, that's informational or whatever, but there is always an understanding of the meaning of words when it comes behind it. And I think what you're describing is. It is. So in my space, it's so what I go out and teach people. It's just I'm loving the fact that, a tool is just a tool. You have to have a brain.

Jeremy Rivera: Yeah. You do. You can drown in data. You can make the, you can have oodles and oodles, you can have spreadsheets and spreadsheets of data. But if you can't. It's like being a captain of a ship and you've got all of your charts, but you never plot a course, you have to divine and set the direction. You got to follow your compass and, know where the currents are moving. There's a lot of good analogy that are like you can set the course that way, but if you don't know that a current is heading your intent is pushing against you, then half of the effort you've made, isn't going to. Be there. And so you think you've gone, 10 nautical miles, you've gone five because there was a headwind and there was a current pushing against you. And so in SEO, that's intent. That's there's attempts that I've seen, Oh, commercial intent versus transactional intent as trying to categorize those. But it's not great. It really isn't because you're still not going to get. A truly scrummed keyword list to start off with of removing those especially if you're doing something very regional, there's a lot of false positives in the raw data. If you just use an SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs and you're just looking at, oh, what's the highest traffic potential?


I should do that. The problem now with helpful content update, making people again, get Panda slapped is this happened before that it happened before every, everything that's old is new. We already had a huge algorithm that came out and said, your content is crap. And we called that was a label algorithm update called Panda. And we realized. Oh, hey, you know what? This content is crap. It's machine gen, we spun it up and we spent five seconds making it and we're surprised that now our rankings are gone, that the big mean panda has come. And we're like, oh because it's a AI generated, it's machine learning and it's really quite clever. And I had an editor spend five seconds changing three words. Surely there's no problems here, but there's actually like a larger problem of if you are just looking at your competitors and you're doing a keyword gap analysis and saying, oh, hey, they wrote for all of this stuff and I don't rank for it. I'm going to make the same content they did slightly differently. And Google's going to love it. And then you'll go to the SERP and there'll be ten different versions of nearly exactly the exact same thing. And that's not a problem at all as an SEO. That's not a problem at all in our industry of building skyscrapers and this skyscraper. You know what the reality is about the skyscraper method? Living in a city sucks. I'm sorry, New York sucks. It's a cement nightmare. There's one acre where you can go put your feet on grass and the rest is concrete. It's not how we were meant to live. That's not how the internet was meant to be. There's so much more. There's so much more wild content options to a keyword gap analysis and say, Oh, they've made this article and this article, I'm going to make something totally different. I'm going to approach those same keywords with a different value proposition. I'm going to speak to those things that they're not addressing what's the gap in the keyword gap. I rank for this. They rank for that. I want to rank for what neither of us have touched.

Mark A Preston: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Loving it. Loving it. It, I just, it really does come down to the mindset of SEOs. And I think that... Some of the biggest wins I've gained from for businesses, has been nothing that any tool has told me, it's just me talking to their customers. Yeah. Things like that, things that, I think the problem is. You don't know what you don't know, and you're too reliant on tools to tell you what you don't know. But there is gaps that the tools are not telling you and it's those gaps you need to find out because every other SEO on the planet is going after the same thing. Yeah. And I think that it goes far much deeper. It's not just creating quality content, it has a purpose.

Jeremy Rivera: It does. It has a purpose. And here's where, I worked with a great company called Hive Digital, and they had a massive Why does PCB design software, the largest PCB design software in the world. And they have this huge library of content. And the fascinating thing about it is that it's, we had to develop all of these guidelines and processes to make edits to any piece of content. It had to go back to a subject matter expert who was savvy in the software because after six months. The software change the technology changed and the capabilities of the industry changed so much that just tweaking, this section of content wasn't good enough because stuff got out of date. And you could, just doing regular SEO changes over time wasn't good enough because the. You would sound like an idiot as the number one software brand in the world for this, if your content didn't reflect that level of expertise. And so we had to convince them to invest heavily in several on staff subject matter experts who knew this software and this industry and were leaders in the industry and were the voices that people look to. And that's the difference hiring, people from Colombia and hiring people from third world countries with geographic arbitrage sounds great as a business model. Oh, we're going to save so much money by creating content over there. But they don't, they're not subject matter experts.


They might be competent or somewhat capable writers who can look at the training base of a similar articles that exist and mash keys around and make something similar. That's a very different proposition than having a person with a PhD, 10 years of experience. And they're working on the software every day, they're going to be able to speak to the problems and experiences of somebody using that software in an extremely authentic and unique and useful, valuable way. That cannot be content managed. Can't be, you can't have a team of writers that's going to come up with even half of the ideas of the subject matter experts. So you need an internal process to find those unique voices. The problem questions to start. Talking to your, talk to your support team as an SEO, like if you're at a, if you're an in house SEO or an agency and there is a support team, go through their tickets, for God's sake, those are the problems people are having for you to solve. And guess what? You solve those problems. You get a double ROI. You reach the customer, the people who aren't customers who have that problem. And you, it, you retain the users who would have bounced out because they couldn't do X with your software. You put an article that says it hires how to do X with the software, update it, maybe a short little video. This is it. And make sure you keep up with your UI, UX changes. You change the UI, make a new video.


You gotta, because it's confusing otherwise. Assuming that same training video is going to stick around when your product manager has changed the layout, moved this tool over here, changed this capability. You're going to, you're going to lose that retention rate and that's going to cost you. And that's the other side of SEO ROI. There are soft ROI benefits to a fantastic SEO campaign reducing churn, increasing retention, enabling upsales. All three of those things are in the C Suite's mind. Of KPIs that they have on their sheet. How are we doing on retention? Is that going up? Is that going down? What does our churn look like? Is that rate going up? Is that rate going down? And upsets. Are we increasing the amount of revenue we get from our current customers or is that decreasing? Those are three lines on your CEO's spreadsheet. That you can strongly argue that you can have an effective SEO campaign to address. And if you're not thinking that way, you should be.

Mark A Preston: Now, the time is totally rocking on. And I want to ask, is there anything you feel strongly that the audience needs to understand that we haven't covered yet?

Jeremy Rivera: Link building. So link building isn't about. DR. If you are contacted by or have gotten any links and anyone in the process has put a qualifier of this link needs to have this much DR or PR or AR or whatever, it needs to have this metric associated with it, you're doing it wrong. You're doing it wrong. Because what you need to be able to do is have a sniff test. Yes, do look at how many backlinks overall, that domain that's going to link to you how many links do they have? But if you're looking at that individually, just as a singular matrix. You're going to probably get a link from a really bad PBN because people have specifically created a site that has links from other PBN sites. And, oh yeah, it's got a DR of 65 or higher. That's because they spent the last two years getting other links from other PBNs so they could have that, so they could sell you that link. And if your mentality is there, you're not going to take the time to look at... Okay is this site. Is the audience on this site useful for me?


Is the is the quality of the content over here? absolute garbage so it's really more about finding ways to connect what you really want to do, which is build Your brand's subject matter expertise, and that could be an individual person that you hire. It could be a particular person in house that you build up their profile, their portfolio, and you start to build and say, Okay, here are the social signals we're going to send. Schema markup to say, same as this author is creating this content. And he's also a guest author on a podcast here. He has this guest article here, all pointing and saying, this guy knows what he's talking about. That expertise transfers. It is its own separate individual signal now. And that's reflected in Google's understanding of entities. And the knowledge graph, which is a separate part part and parcel of creating an authority brand and creating a real authority footprint. Helpful content has come out. We've had our first major update and a lot of people are getting smashed. And it's not part of it is that a lot of content was built by SEOs. It was ranking, it was created just to rank, to get the ad clicks. They scrape all of the people also ask, create machine generated or Columbia generated content that answered the question, but the only reason that existed was to smash ads all over the place. Cyrus said it, Lily Ray said it. 80% of sites hit by HCU, they don't have a business model other than earning AdSense.


And if your site is just there to gain AdSense your time is coming to an end. You know that the golden age of just ranking a bunch of, creating a bunch of content to rank. Is coming to an end, and arguably a lot of that content's not useful, it's duplicative. It's, programmatic SEO. You're like, okay, you're tapping into the same databases, five, eight other sites and pumping out something in a slightly different table. I don't think that's a long that's going to survive very much longer. And a lot of people made a lot of money. And they've got a lot of it invested into it, and it's going downhill. I only work with real companies. I only work with real brands. And we only get paid. My daytime agency only works with real companies. So if you're out there, and you're an SEO, and you were making a lot of money by making a lot of sites that just answered those questions, and just collected ad revenue, I think that time's coming to an end. There are more and more elements that Google is trying to use on authorship, understanding expertise and trust those signals have real world things that you can do, and they're hard to fake. Because Google realized their art's a fake, therefore those companies that have those signals deserve to rank better. It's the same thing as 2006. What is old shall be new and what's new shall be old.


You have to have somebody who's competent building your content. You need experts that you can hire and build and train a team. So we're doing a copy press. We're finding PhDs who can write. We're finding capable people with, credentials who know, who are real subject matter experts. Building those teams and coupling that with keyword clustering and combining it with SEO ROI forecast and saying, this is what we should go after. Here's articles. What's your input? What's your team's input? And what is the real articles we can make that's going to move people down the funnel? We don't want to just splash tons of content everywhere, we want to create content that has a purpose, that moves people down the funnel and converts them into paying customers.

Mark A Preston: On that note, there's only one thing to add. Where can people find you?

Jeremy Rivera: I'm on Twitter still, Jeremy Rivera SEO. I've got my website, I have a newsletter there. And I have a lot of newsletter guests that I bring on, talk about expertise, authority, trust. I do recaps of SEO tweet chats that happen. I am on a dozen SEO Slack channels. Big SEO subreddits, Slack channel, online geniuses, the SEO Slack channel. So basically if there's an SEO Slack channel, I'm trying to get into all of them. So you'll find me there. And I'm at copypress. com. If you need help creating content at scale with authority expertise and thought, give us a call.

Mark A Preston: Wonderful. And on that note many thanks for your time.

Jeremy Rivera: Thanks, Mark.

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