Grow your company’s online presence with the power of SEO and Paid Search in Industrial Marketing. Learn innovative B2B marketing strategies for industrial supply companies, as Justin Smith of Outerbox shares his vast knowledge on specialized keyword research, the intricate dance between SEO and PPC, and the pivotal role of a unique value proposition.
This episode covers:
01:29 - 03:02 Overview by John Bertino of what the conversation with Justin Smith
05:05 - 06:31 What is OuterBox and Justin’s role there?
10:37 - 11:58 Importance of Search Marketing for Industrial Products (and the essential elements of SEO, including site speed and content quality)
14:32 - 15:59 Approaches to Keyword Research in SEO
20:14 - 20:58 Leveraging Paid and Organic Search Marketing
31:04 - 32:15 Importance of Clear Product Page Communication (the power of niche landing pages in driving quality traffic and conversions)
36:20 - 37:59 Google's Potential Ban on AI Content
43:15 - 44:10 Optimizing URL and Content for Search
Search marketing is increasingly important for industrial companies, especially as a younger, tech-savvy generation of owners are stepping into the ring. Justin sheds light on the unique challenges faced by industrial companies and reveals the strategies his agency uses to tackle these obstacles.
Justin shows how you can make your industrial business thrive in the digital world. Watch the full episode below and on YouTube!
Watch the Podcast Interview on SEO and Paid Search in Industrial Marketing:
Want more niche marketing insights on Industrial Product Marketing?
This episode is Part 5 in a multi-part series on Industrial Product Marketing.
To continue learning on this niche, visit:
• Part 1: The ULTIMATE Overview to Marketing Industrial Products: Industrial Product Marketing Part 1, Kelly Olson
• Part 2: Content Marketing Strategy for Boring Industries: Industrial Product Marketing Part 2, Ross Simmonds
• Part 3: Use Account-Based Marketing or FAIL! | Industrial Product Marketing Part 3, Thad Kahlow
• Part 4: B2B Content Marketing and LinkedIn Advertising | Industrial Product Marketing Part 4, Jim Londeree
Keywords to Describe this Conversation with Justin:
Organic SEO, Industrial Supply Companies, Marketing Strategies, Keyword Research, PPC, Unique Value Proposition, Search Marketing, Younger Generation, Challenges, SKUs, E-commerce, Meta Descriptions, Ad Copy, Faceted Navigation, AI, Content Creation, Site Speed, Google, Organic Search, Paid Search, Prioritization, ROI, Blogs, Interlinking, Evergreen Content, Link Building, Buying Personas, Customer Archetypes, AI Development, Prompt Engineering, Faceted Navigation, Wayfair, Filtering Options, Landing Pages, Niche Queries, Conversion Rates, Niche Marketing
A Few Highlights on SEO and Paid Search in Industrial Marketing with Longer Summaries:
(00:00) SEO Strategies for Industrial Supply Companies
This section of the conversation explores B2B SEO services and e-commerce SEO, specifically focusing on industrial supply companies. Our guest, Justin Smith, CEO of OuterBox, shares his expertise on specialized keyword research, the relationship between SEO and PPC, and the importance of a unique value proposition when competing on price.
We discuss topics such as using meta descriptions as ad copy, faceted navigation, and the use of AI-derived chat content. Justin also shares his agency's approach to prompt engineering and maximizing efficiency for clients. Overall, this chapter provides valuable insights for effectively marketing industrial products through search marketing.
(08:52) Search Marketing for Industrial Companies
Here we focus on the importance of search marketing for industrial companies and explore how search marketing plays a critical role in reaching potential customers, especially as younger business owners enter the market. Justin Smith, an expert in SEO and PPC, shares his agency's focus and tactics for clients in this field.
We discuss the challenges faced by industrial brands, such as having a large number of SKUs and variations, and how this relates to e-commerce. Justin Smith emphasizes the foundational elements of SEO, including the importance of content and site speed, and why Google cares about these factors.
We also delve into the pressure Google faces to provide accurate and efficient search results, particularly with the rise of alternative information sources.
(14:32) Keyword and Search Analysis
This section of the conversation focuses on keyword research for industrial companies with a large product range. We explore the importance of prioritizing bottom-of-the-funnel keywords that indicate commercial intent, rather than high-volume keywords.
Additionally, we discuss the distinctions between organic and paid search, emphasizing the need for compelling ad copy that highlights a strong value proposition. We then touch on the role of meta descriptions as organic search ad copy and share valuable insights on how to approach keyword research for industrial companies with a diverse range of products.
(21:08) Prioritizing Strategies for Search Rankings
This section of the conversation focuses on strategies for improving search rankings and prioritization in marketing. We discuss the importance of focusing on top-selling products and using the 80-20 rule when starting a campaign before touching on the significance of prioritization for ROI and the need to balance bottom-of-the-funnel and top-funnel approaches.
The conversation then shifts to the role of blogs in SEO and the importance of setting expectations with clients and bosses. We emphasize the value of building expertise and authority through blog content to improve rankings for products and categories. We also highlight the importance of interlinking strategies between blog posts and products
(29:01) Optimizing Evergreen Content for Industrial Businesses
This section of the conversation emphasizes the importance of creating evergreen content and utilizing link building for successful e-commerce and industrial websites. We explore how third party validation through links can greatly impact a website's credibility and trustworthiness.
Here we share tips for optimizing product pages, such as providing quick answers to common questions and using visual icons for efficient communication. Understanding the different buying personas and customer archetypes in the industrial industry is crucial, as their needs and concerns vary greatly. We highlight a specific example of a client who prioritized speed over price, illustrating the importance of knowing your target audience.
(35:24) AI for Content Creation and SEO
This section explores the use of AI for content creation in marketing. We discuss the potential benefits and risks of using AI, such as generating ideas and outlines for content. However, we caution against relying solely on AI for writing entire pieces.
We emphasize the importance of providing specific and detailed prompts to avoid duplicate content. Drawing from our own experiences, we highlight the significance of prompt engineering and investing in AI development. Ultimately, this chapter provides valuable insights into the use of AI in content marketing and emphasizes the need for a balance between human intervention and AI technology.
(42:23) Faceted Navigation's Role in SEO
Then we explore the importance of faceted navigation in improving a website's structure and navigation. Using Wayfair as an example, how can filtering options create valuable landing pages for specific keywords? We emphasize the need for informative content on these pages to provide value to search engines and users.
Finding the right balance between providing enough information without being seen as spam is crucial. We conclude by highlighting the importance of a solid content strategy and the benefits of drilling down into subcategories rather than having broad categories on a website.
(46:47) Creating Niche Landing Pages for Conversion
This section of the conversation explores the benefits of creating niche landing pages for driving organic and paid search traffic. We discuss how these pages are easier to rank and have higher conversion rates due to their specificity.
We also highlight the importance of targeting niche queries, which often lead to valuable conversions. The conversation concludes with a reminder that it's not always about the amount of traffic, but rather the quality of it.
Tune in to learn more about the power of marketing in the industrial product niche!
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About Host John Bertino and TAG:
A decade spent working for marketing agencies was more than enough to know that there are too many bad agencies and not enough objective marketers within them. John launched TAG in 2014 with the mission to provide brands unbiased guidance from seasoned marketing professionals at little or no cost.
TAG advises brands on marketing channel selection, resource allocation, and agency selection to ensure brands invest in the right marketing strategies, with the right expectations, and (ultimately) with the right partners.
TAG represents 200+ well-vetted agencies and consultants across the United States and Europe.
John’s professional background and areas of expertise include: Marketing Planning, Earned Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Link Acquisition, Digital PR, Thought Leadership, and B2B Lead Generation.
About Guest Expert: Justin Smith
As the CEO, Founder, and SEO Expert at OuterBox, Justin specializes in all elements of SEO, SEM, and CRO for B2C and B2B eCommerce and lead generation platforms.
Provides results-driven online marketing and a people-centric culture fueled and reinforced by down-to-earth ethics. They deliver high-performing B2C & B2B SEO, paid search, CRO & digital marketing campaigns that help drive over $5.3B in annual revenue.
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Transcripts of Industrial Marketing Mastery of Organic SEO and Paid Search | Industrial Product Marketing Part 5, Justin Smith
Note: This transcript (of the video version of this episode) has been provided to assist you in finding extra information specific to your needs and goals. We have not edited it line by line for grammar, spelling, punctuation, or spacing. Please forgive errors.
00:00 - John Bertino (Host)
What happens when you Google B2B SEO services, e-commerce SEO agency, e-commerce SEO expert. My next guest is the guy ranking at the top or near the top of the search engines for all of those terms and he has a ton of experience working with industrial supply companies. Well, to start, we're gonna get into some specialized keyword research considerations, such as seeing zero search volume for those part number and skew queries, the symbiotic relationship between SEO, ppc keywords and performance bidding on informational keywords to bid or not to bid that is the question. We're also going to get into how the UVP unique value proposition is going to be critical when competing on price simply isn't an option, as is often the case with MSRP. We'll talk meta descriptions as ad copy, faceted navigation and how to tow the line between indexing those product pages and blowing out your crawl budget on meaningless product page iterations. And Justin's take on AI-derived chat GPT-produced content, the pros, the cons, the cost-benefit analysis and the risk associated with chat GPT-derived content. He's also gonna provide some insight into what his organization is doing with prompt engineering and how they're leveraging it within his agency for max efficiency and effectiveness for their clients.
Guys, do me a favor, hit that like button. Don't forget to subscribe. That's how you get all our industrial product marketing content. And don't forget to leave a comment. It really helps with that SEO algorithm, making sure our videos pop up when people search. Buckle up and enjoy this fantastic next episode of the niche marketing podcast with Justin Smith and Outerbox and we're back with another episode of the niche marketing podcast. Really excited for this one. It's a little extra special for me because today I get to hang out with and talk to my good friend and business colleague, Justin Smith, founder and CEO of Outerbox, headquartered in Akron, ohio. Justin's so stoked to have you on the show yeah, thanks for having me much appreciated.
Yeah, and it's kind of synergistic or ironic for us to be meeting here in Florida. We of course randomly bumped into each other at a resort on vacation in Florida clear water it was.
02:24 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Two years ago.
02:25 - John Bertino (Host)
Yeah and yeah, fast forward a couple years and we've done a bunch of work together and, candidly, honestly, authentically, you and your team are among the absolute best e-commerce marketers I've come across. In 10 years of matching brands with agencies and 20 years of being in digital marketing, really pleased with what you guys do and, again, that's why I'm so excited to have you on this show today.
02:49 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, it's been great. I keep telling my management team that my main job should be going to the beach, Since that's where I met you. It's been a great partnership and there's no reason I should be in the office anymore. I don't think.
03:01 - John Bertino (Host)
Love that. Before we get into how to market an industrial product through search marketing, I wanna get some quick background we're not so quick background on you, your agency. Let's start with your own personal story of how you became an agency owner and how Outer Box ultimately got to be what it is today.
03:21 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, so it's a little personal, it's a little about the agency, but really I was into website design and development since I was 12 years old, right. I guess I was blessed to be that age where you're nine years old and your grandma buys you a $4,000 computer and you have AOL 1.0, right, just kind of the perfect time, the perfect age to get into the internet and just always messing around with it, all through middle school and through high school. And, honestly, I knew what I wanted to do before I ever went to college. I knew I wanted to do website development. I was doing some projects on the side, even through high school, and making some pretty good money.
And so when I went to college I went for about two months to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which was the first year that they had a website design and development degree, and it was a mix of graphic design in there as well. And the teacher told me very quickly if I want a degree, then I can stay. But she's like, you know more than I know in your. You know more than we're teaching in the fourth year of this class.
04:24 - John Bertino (Host)
04:25 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, so self-taught. I left school after two months and started the business in 2004, which honestly.
04:31 - John Bertino (Host)
Right out of high school.
04:32 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Right out of high school I was 18. And so when I started it, it was, you know, it was great timing. If I waited four more years, honestly, there probably would have been a lot more competition in the space, so it really all worked out.
04:44 - John Bertino (Host)
Yeah, that is good timing and you know, with digital marketing and how things are fast moving, there's absolutely that kind of first mover advantage, that window of opportunity to really really get in with a new tactic, strategy or medium, I suppose in this case and strike while the iron's hot. So that was 20 years ago or so.
05:02 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Not to date you on the podcast About 20. I think it just did yeah.
05:05 - John Bertino (Host)
And so who is Outer Box today? Tell us about the agency today.
05:09 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Sure. So now we focus on, I guess, four primary functions website design and development, which is kind of our smallest branch at this point. That's where we started out. Yeah, search engine marketing, both on the organic and the paid search side. Then we do a lot of UX and conversion rate optimization. So kind of pulling it all together, our vision in the beginning, I guess, if you go back to 2004 again, you had a lot of agencies where they would sub everything out. So you had an SEO agency, you had a paid search agency, you had a website designer, you had a website developer and when projects got messed up as they pretty much always do when you're doing big website builds you just have everybody pointing the finger at the next person and the SEO says, well, the website doesn't rank because the developer screwed this up. And you're basically, as a company, you're kind of screwed, with no one to really blame.
06:00 - John Bertino (Host)
06:02 - Justin Smith (Guest)
And in this world you always want someone to be able to go to and say, hey, I'm not getting the results I need. Like, let's make it happen.
06:06 - John Bertino (Host)
Throat to choke?
06:07 - Justin Smith (Guest)
I heard it referred to, as of course we have a client that uses one that all the time, and so it was really having that vision of how do we do all these things really well. But we never wanted to be that agency that got into print and did PR Like, right, we wanted to be digital and so it was really putting all those things together really allowed us to just be an agency that people were attracted to. And now we are right around 150 people, probably be 200 by the end of this year. We're backed by private equity. We have a bunch of acquisitions coming down the pipe right now and exciting, so it's a big time growth mode.
06:45 - John Bertino (Host)
That's fantastic and yet again, coming from a guy that represents a couple hundred different agencies and marketers, I think you took a nice slow, controlled path to growth. I've seen a lot of other agencies be, in my professional opinion, way too aggressive, right out of the gate with the M&A and just trying to scale, scale, scale, sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. You guys are very thoughtful, meticulous and detail-oriented with everything you do and, just knowing your story and hearing what you just shared, my hats off to you for that very thoughtful growth pattern that you've taken to get to this day.
07:23 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, we are now. I could tell you at the beginning stages. I mean, every business goes through a lot of bumps and a lot of learning experiences and years where you grow by 100%. Obviously you're smaller, but still going from 10 to 20 people really fast is a big deal. And so, yeah, you learn from those experiences and over the last 10 years we've really been growing at a good rate. That's manageable.
07:48 - John Bertino (Host)
And before we get into the content, you just relocated from Ohio to St Augustine with your family, how you like in Florida, how you like in St Augustine. We're in a beautiful studio here in St Augustine right now. St Augustine podcasting studio. Is that right? What was it, fernando? Go ahead. Video podcast studio. Video podcast studio in St Augustine.
08:08 - Justin Smith (Guest)
In St Augustine.
08:09 - John Bertino (Host)
Video podcast studio in St Augustine. So how you liking it out here.
08:14 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Oh, it's wonderful. I mean we bought a house about a year ago. We came down for three months in the winter to try it out and we were like we could never experience winter in Ohio again. So we had to get down here in the summer this time for my daughter to start school. She's in second grade. I thought it was going to be. You know, everybody says like Florida in the summer is horrible and so hot. But we live right by the beach, it's beautiful and you know, 80s every day, so paradise, nothing to complain about at all. Wouldn't would never Change the decision.
08:44 - John Bertino (Host)
Yeah, it's my first time here, but it seems like a really cozy, fantastic little town I'm really enjoying it a lot of good people here.
All right, great, so let's get into it. So again, we want to really focus on the search marketing aspect of Marketing and industrial product or an industrial company. Can you give us some additional background on your agency's focus and SEO and PPC, the types of specific activities or tactics that you're utilizing for clients and the overall role that you see for SEO and PPC in the marketing mix for an industrial company?
09:19 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Sure. So what we focus on again, having that birth in 2004, like I said, that being in there and not being in 2008 was really you know. That's when e-commerce was starting to become a thing and starting to boom, and so we got into e-commerce and website development, design, seo, you know, search marketing on the paid search side, all for e-commerce brands. It's kind of where we focused. Now we still have a blend of lead gen brands and catalog brands, but that really rolls into industrial, because typically with an industrial website, the challenges that they have right are lots of SKUs, part numbers, variations on products. You know Whether that's colors because you sell t-shirts, right colors and sizes or that's nuts and bolts with different thread counts and Sizes right of which there could be hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands.
Yeah, so you're really foot with. If you're an industrial brand, you have the same challenges that really Most e-commerce brands have, right, unless you're just a small e-commerce site with 20 products. But, your typical larger e-commerce Brand has the same challenges in industrial site has and really, whether you have an add to cart button or you have a get a quote button or you don't have any of those buttons and it's just a catalog. We kind of define that as an e-commerce site because it's e-commerce structure.
10:36 - John Bertino (Host)
Hmm, fair enough. And why or how do you see search marketing as critical for an industrial products company Is?
10:44 - Justin Smith (Guest)
it. Yeah, I mean really. I mean it's important for anybody. I would say industrial is probably typically a little bit behind the curve from a marketing perspective. I think one thing you might hear from a lot of industrial brands is hey, you know, we've had the same customers for a long time. People know us in the market. You hear those things more with industrial than you might with, like your general e-commerce website. Sure, but I think it's becoming more and more apparent now that people are searching for these things Just as much as they're searching for anything else.
And you're having younger business owners come in right so the father may have retired, right, the son that took it over. Now he needs these nuts and bolts. He doesn't have the relationships you know. He just goes online and he searches quarter inch whatever type bolt he needs and he looks to who he can get it from for the best price as quick as possible to shop that way exactly. So I think that's just becoming more and more important and you're seeing industrial brands lose market share Because they're like hey, the the same people used to just come back to us and always buy from us are now making decisions and a lot of times they'll say they don't even know who they buy from. You know, when I ask them who they buy from, they're like ten different people, yeah, whoever I find. So I think it's just becoming more and more important to be at the top when people are looking for your products.
11:58 - John Bertino (Host)
Hmm, and let's take a step back for those listeners who might be really new to SEO or search engine optimization, if you're not already familiar, if you don't mind share some of the foundational components or foundational elements of SEO that that help a business, help a company, move up in the search engines?
12:15 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Sure. So first thing, search right, it's a keyword, so someone searches a keyword, or they search a phrase. So I guess, from the most basic perspective, you need to have a page about that topic, right? You don't have a page about it and you don't have those words on a page, then there's no way Google is going to show you up at the top.
12:31 - John Bertino (Host)
12:31 - Justin Smith (Guest)
So I guess that's content right. The old SEO saying content is king sure content with the right words.
Yeah, so you have to have content first, you have to have a page about the topic, and then it's a lot of the I guess things that apply to all brands and all websites for SEO. Right, it's site speed, it's how is your site structured? What is your URL structure look like? How are you getting pages indexed or not indexed? What are you asking Google to rank and not rank? So it's a lot of basics, but at the end of the day, it really is about content in the pages that you're building, that you want to rank Mm-hmm, and are you building the right pages?
13:06 - John Bertino (Host)
You mentioned site speed and a few other elements of UX. Why does Google care? Why does Google care how fast the site loads, or UX, sure?
13:16 - Justin Smith (Guest)
so in general, google is just trying to give people the best result, right? So I always kind of use the analogy of a librarian Right you?
go you go to a librarian You're like, hey, I need to try to learn about World War two. Are you going to get a little pamphlet that's hard to read, that has you know Seven-point font, or is she going to give you a nice big book, that's you know, by an author that has experience and in writing in this topic and, you know, has a comprehensive guide, right? And so you kind of think about the same way, just from a business perspective. Google wants people to keep coming to Google and searching things, and if they give bad results and they give results that load slow, that's just a bad user experience, mm-hmm.
13:56 - John Bertino (Host)
So you know, that's why the best content matters and the speed of the site matters sure, especially now with chat, gpt and some of the other stuff that's out there Providing users with an alternative way to find information.
I think the pressure is on Google more than ever to make sure they're helping people get what they want when they want it, as Quickly as they want it, in the right format which we both know ends up being really key so that they're able to digest that information as quickly and as effectively as possible, without seeking alternatives that might be more efficient. But we'll get into chat GPT if we have more time later. Okay, very good. So let's talk a little bit about the keyword research component and I Know, for keyword research is keyword research whether you're talking an industrial product company or not, but if you could again for those listeners that might be newer to SEO or NPPC, for that matter we want to talk kind of search marketing in general, talk a little bit about how you approach keyword research, keeping in mind those companies with maybe tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of skews sure.
14:59 - Justin Smith (Guest)
So I think one thing to consider is, in a lot of brands you're looking for, like high volume keywords, meaning when someone searches it, you know it shows that this is search 10,000 times a month, 100,000 times a month, I think. In industrial especially, you're trying to sell again, right? You want bottom of the funnel, meaning someone's searching for something and they are ready to buy it. Often when you do keyword research, you're going to find that it might say this is search zero times a month. Hmm, right, and zero doesn't mean zero. So I think that's an important thing to also know when you're looking at these tools.
Some of the best pages we've built, even for the outer box site, it may have said like these keywords are search zero times a month. I remember a page that we built around Google SEO services, which I think if you search Google SEO services or Google SEO agency, you're probably gonna find us right at the top. When we built that page, it said no, it was search zero times a month, and I just didn't believe that. In my heart, right as a mark, I'm like I don't believe that's possible. So we built the page anyways and we generate a ton of leads from it. So I think you have to think the same thing when you get into part numbers and things like that.
Google, if it's searched 50 times a month, or maybe even 100 times a month or a couple hundred times a month, we'll often say it search zero. So that's just something to consider when you're thinking about part numbers. Now, part numbers, skews, those are the kind of things that people, if they're searching for those and you know in your industry that part numbers and skews or something someone's searching, those are the best keywords are ranked for right. At the end of the day, they know exactly what they want, they're landing on a product page and they're ready to buy.
16:33 - John Bertino (Host)
It's a specific keyword query that indicates Commercial intent, as us SEO say yeah, exactly.
16:39 - Justin Smith (Guest)
So again, if you're selling circuit boards, you might not want to just rank for circuit boards. Not only is that going to be challenging, and you're going to be going against all Kind of people that may not even be exactly in your competitor in your industry. If someone's searching a specific model of a circuit board in a specific skew number, clearly that's what they want. So I think it's just really important to not get too Wrapped up in these high-level, high-circuit volume keywords and really focus on how can we get products to rank first and then maybe go backwards From there into some of the more broad keywords. Yeah, or?
17:11 - John Bertino (Host)
more higher in the funnel, right? Yeah, exactly, and Just the same general approach apply for paid search advertising, or? What are some nuances or differences, If any, when it comes to starting to do keyword research around ad campaigns you want to build for some of this stuff?
17:27 - Justin Smith (Guest)
I think the same things apply again, especially if you're paying for it, right? I mean, the nice thing about organic is, let's say, you do end up ranking for circuit boards. Well, that's, that's wonderful. Maybe that traffic converts, maybe it doesn't. If it doesn't convert, you didn't pay for it.
Anyways, now on the paid search side, you want to pay ten bucks a click for that keyword all day long and get nothing from it. That's a lot riskier. So, on the paid search side, I'm definitely looking at like what our bottom of the funnel? Right? Let's bid on skew numbers, those kind of things. The thing you have to watch on paid search, though, is just In industrial, there's two different kind of things going on. You could be the manufacturer, and it's your own product, right? So you don't have a lot of competition. Or you could be selling the same skew number that a hundred other people sell, and so, on Page Search, you just really have to look at like what's the value proposition? Why would they buy from you over someone else? And if you can't answer that question very clearly, then you might want to like rethink your Page Search campaign.
18:21 - John Bertino (Host)
Or at least the category you're going after.
18:23 - Justin Smith (Guest)
You go after a different category and I think the ad copy is super important. Right, you have to give someone a reason why they'd buy from you. Is that because it's quicker? Is that because your customer service is better? Is that because you have experts on staff that can really help you like, through the decision? But it's definitely really important to make sure that you have a great value proposition in that ad and on your website. Otherwise you kind of get just lost in the mix of everybody selling this part number, which often you're selling at MSRP. You can't sell at a better price.
18:51 - John Bertino (Host)
So, speaking of ad copy stating a value proposition, I've heard, read and practiced myself in certain situations thinking of meta descriptions a bit like organic search ad copy, that is. You know, for those again might not be completely familiar. Meta description would be the area underneath the title tag that shows up in the search results. Do you agree with that general philosophy Please feel free to disagree Of thinking of meta descriptions as essentially organic search ad copy.
19:27 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, I definitely do. I mean, at the end of the day, google says a meta description doesn't impact your rankings. Right, they say it's not an SEO indicator. So you know whether your meta description is this version or that version, it's not going to change your ranking and your position in Google. So I think you can use that for, like you said, re-put free shipping in there, do you put things about how we have experts on staff, do you put your phone number in there? Possibly even there's different things you can use it for. No, I will say also at this point Google rewrites meta descriptions quite often. So just because you put something in the meta description doesn't mean Google even use that. It often pulls copy from the page and uses that for the meta description instead.
But, it's always. You always have a shot at it. So there's no reason not to put in some good marketing copy there.
20:14 - John Bertino (Host)
So we've been bouncing back and forth a little bit between organic and paid search marketing here over the last couple minutes. So since we're doing that, could you touch on how you might leverage paid search data to improve upon your organic search effort?
20:30 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Sure, and I think it goes both ways right. So let's say, if you rank organically for something right let's just say a part number then maybe you don't need to pay for that. If you don't rank organically for it, it makes more sense to pay for it. So I think you really always have to look at those in tandem. Also, how much competition is there? We'll see sometimes that some of our clients they'll be bidding on a certain keyword on the paid side and there is no competition and they still rank number one and they're basically just like doubling up.
So I think there's a lot of times where you really have to look at why should we be in this position and does it make sense based upon where we are organically and vice versa. But yeah, I mean some of the strategies I think are really going to be the same. I mean I don't think we have to think about it that differently. Right, it's how do we pick, maybe our best products, our top sellers? I think that's important to go after first. Right, if you're going to pay for it, pay for the products that sell best. Maybe don't go after you know 100,000 skew numbers to begin with. Use that 80-20 rule, start the campaign.
21:32 - John Bertino (Host)
I like that you touch on prioritization there. Prioritization ends up being so important when it comes to ROI, right? So in practice, when someone's looking to improve search rankings, unless they're the owner, if they're an outside agency, they the outside agency needs to be incredibly thoughtful about what they prioritize, not only to help the client but to keep the client as a client and from an internal perspective, if I'm the brand and I'm the CMO or I'm the marketing team, we need to prioritize getting results so that we're keeping our boss happy and keeping our job and showing that we're good at what we do. So that makes me think about long tail, a longer tail approach, and or maybe I should say not longer tail but more top funnel, because, as we discussed earlier, a long tail term can actually be very bottom of the funnel, very, have a lot of commercial intent, be very transactional in nature, but more top funnel stuff. And, just to define top funnel, a little bit more informational search base queries. How do I achieve XYZ if? If I'm trying to Get a stain out of an industrial floor, what's my approach to do that? That type of stuff? So back to prioritization. What's your general philosophy on how soon to start to roll in a more top funnel informational base query approach versus just pounding the lowered to bottom of the funnel.
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24:05 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, I think it can depend.
24:07 - John Bertino (Host)
First off, I was just answering marketing. Well it depends on.
24:10 - Justin Smith (Guest)
It really depends on one thing it spends on how much of those keywords cost. Sometimes informational keywords are super cheap. So how to get you know a stain out of industrial floor, that might cost you 10 cents a click, mm-hmm. In which case you might say, hey, that's like, why not? Right, let's see how well that works. Now, if those informational keywords are expensive, then I might say, you know, even if we get a standard conversion rate on, it might not make money. So I think you really have to look at it from a return on ad spend, right, and just do the math. How much is this traffic going to cost us? But I would always you know, 90% of times say let's start with those bottom of funnel, let's get a great return on ad spend and now that we're making money from this channel, let's reinvest some into the top of funnel, whether that's for brand awareness or if it's for Attempting to see if we can, you know, really make a, an ROI off the top of funnel stuff as well.
25:00 - John Bertino (Host)
Yeah, it's pretty black and white with the paid side of things. But what about on the organic side? I find that a lot of SEO or let's just say content marketing agencies. They really want to get into this full funnel approach. But again we get back to prioritization. Is Dollars and senses where the rubber meets the road. So I know, again, it depends on the company, it depends on the budget, but as a general philosophy, when do you want to start thinking through a blog strategy versus all the other things you could be doing from an SEO perspective?
25:30 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, I think really the first thing you want to do is make sure you clean up the site technically. But if everything technically is sound, I'm actually a bit of a fan of the blog strategy from the beginning. I'll tell you why, please. I don't think the blog strategy by itself from the perspective of hey, when someone searches how to do whatever is going to drive us traffic that's going to turn into business. It's not right. So the expectation has to be set there with the client that we're not building this to try to drive a bunch of traffic that turns into revenue.
26:00 - John Bertino (Host)
It's not going to turn into revenue or set that expectation has to be set with the boss right. Yeah, if you're internal right, exactly.
26:05 - Justin Smith (Guest)
So the reason we're doing it is because, if we can build good content around this topic right Again, you how to get this, you know, staying out of industrial floor Well, if you sell products, that do that. Now Google is going to look at this and they're going to say you're educating people on this topic and so we're actually going to help your category page and your products and everything else rank higher. So you're not building blogs to get traffic to your blogs. You're building blogs to build expertise and authority for your website so that your products rank so, and then it all comes down to an interlinking strategy. How do you link from that blog post to your products? How do you link from your category or your products over back to that blog post and how do you connect that all technically? But really we're just looking at how do we become an authority in our industry, mm-hmm, and when we're in an authority in our industry, our categories rank, our products rank, our blog post rank Right. Everything's good then.
26:59 - John Bertino (Host)
So that's why I like to build that in okay so just to to press you on it just a little bit more Sooner than later. In general, let's get some of that more top funnel, informational based stuff done earlier to not only win, curry some favor with the user, but also curry some favor with Google. So both sides see you as an authority that's looking to provide values.
27:19 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah that's a good summation of it exactly and go after some really big, broad keywords in that right, like some big How-to's in your industry. A lot of times, how much does something cost like? We have an article on how much is SEO cost? Right, that's just a great article. It not only is drive a lot of traffic, actually does drive some leads for us too, but you know it gets us links right. Building good quality Authoritative content is also a good link building strategy, so that's going to help you down the road. Yeah, when you've built that content now people link to you and you don't have to always go out and do paid links building strategies. Yep, there's a lot of things that you know. If you can build some awesome pillar content you know evergreen content I can't really see a reason why that's, you know, not beneficial in the long run.
28:03 - John Bertino (Host)
Could you define, define and explain the purpose of link building for our newer, newer to SEO listeners, as well as evergreen content, and the relationship between the two?
28:16 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Sure, so evergreen content may basically is just content that'll last forever. So how much does SEO costs right? That article is not going anywhere now. May wait, we might have to update it, might have to change the prices on there.
28:28 - John Bertino (Host)
28:29 - Justin Smith (Guest)
It keeps getting more expensive. Yeah, but you know that article and that topic and that question should last forever. So when people do, I often see blog strategies and this is a bad blog strategy, especially to do off the rip is like let's just use fashion as an example, but like what is the fashion trend of winter 2023. That that's an article that's going to be valuable for about a month.
28:54 - John Bertino (Host)
Temporal in nature.
28:55 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, and so no one's going to care. In all reality, you should probably delete that from your blog two years later, or it's actually hurting you. So you want to make sure you're building content that's going to be around forever evergreen content, big topics, right, high search volume, and then, as far as how link building is important, what is linked yeah. So it's other people linking to your website. And why does that matter? It's just like a review, right?
29:18 - John Bertino (Host)
So like getting a review. Yeah, like getting a review. Is third party validation? Third party validation? Can you tell that question was rhetorical?
29:25 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, so, whether it's whether you're on Google, right? You see that, hey, there's a piece of joint that has 500 reviews and it's 4.9 stars. You see another place that has two reviews. Even it's 5.0. You're probably going to trust the other one, right? And so good Validates that that's out of the same way, ok, yeah, there must be something valuable there if people keep linking to it from their website.
29:48 - John Bertino (Host)
OK, and so another rhetorical question. And so you're saying, justin, that creating really valuable informational based, evergreen content is a great way to attract links, or third party validation that Google is going to love, correct? Yes, all right, fantastic, you wax. Let's talk a little bit about when they get there. Sure, ok, and again this is I'm interviewing one of the best e-commerce agency owners I've come across in 20 years in digital marketing. Could you bestow upon our listeners some of your best practices for thoughtful you acts that converts for product pages?
30:28 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Definitely yeah. So I think this is really important in industrial too, because I'm sure you've seen it and just your websites. I apologize to all the digital marketing directors, industrial companies but they're often not the sexiest websites, yeah, and nor do they need to be hard to make them sexy. Yeah, and that's, and that's totally fine, but sometimes they're really on the on the ugly side.
30:48 - John Bertino (Host)
30:48 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Fortunately, and again, sometimes industrial sites are just behind the times. They don't feel like they need to update it. They're like, hey, it works.
30:55 - John Bertino (Host)
30:56 - Justin Smith (Guest)
It's functional. But you know, having a little bit of a heartbeat isn't isn't always mean you're up and running to the full strength. So I think it is really important to make sure that when someone gets to that product page, do you have the, the signals that someone's going to want, right? How quick does this ship? Are they in stock? If you're low on stock, show that notification so it creates even more urgency, right, just like? What are some of the things that people are going to want to know and a buyer is going to? Depending on industry, there might be five things where, like we know, a buyer wants this, this, this and this. When they call in on the phone and they want this part, these are the questions they ask. Whatever those questions are for your industry, answer them quick, right, like. Answer them without something having to scroll.
31:40 - John Bertino (Host)
So the FAQ on the product page then Sure.
31:43 - Justin Smith (Guest)
And if you can answer them with an icon, even better. Right, like a green in stock icon, right, or a ships tomorrow icon, like you don't have to answer an FAQ. Answer it visually, so people know in two seconds.
31:54 - John Bertino (Host)
Smart efficiency of communication. It gets back to the nuances of that page, giving the best possible experience, and so even something as small as do I need to scroll down, find an FAQ, click a drop down versus an icon. That's just staring me in the face and that that icon picture is worth a thousand words.
32:11 - Justin Smith (Guest)
It says ships today? Yep, right, yep, I mean that's, that's really valuable. And again this when we're in industrial, we're talking a different type of person Might be an engineer, might be some procurement office. I mean, this is, this isn't like a mom on our couch, right, I mean it's just different. And so they're looking for specific things. They're looking for maybe some technical information, they're looking for a data sheet, they want to make sure the part fits.
You can kind of think like a fitment, like with cars, right, if you're looking at some rims, you really love them for your car. What do you want to know? Ok, well, it fits my, you know, 2020. A6. Right, and so I think that kind of stuff is really important. And again, that just goes back to like, what are the questions people ask when they call in with industrial businesses? A lot of times, they're getting a lot of phone orders, right, they're still. They got that old school mentality still. And interviewing your customer service team can be a great way to bridge the gap as to what content should be on your page.
33:07 - John Bertino (Host)
Yeah, this whole discussion, especially that last point, harkens back to our other episodes in how to market an industrial supply company, where Fad K Lowe from B O L and Kelly from M X Both talked about account based marketing and all of the different titles were roles of people that make purchasing decisions within industrial. It's very varied and they have very different questions, very different concerns from one another. So I'd imagine that when you're refining these pages, you're going through that checklist of different buying personas or customer archetypes with your clients.
33:46 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Exactly Some. Some care about price, some care about speed. You know we had a client that sold Fannic parts.
33:52 - John Bertino (Host)
Fannic, what's that?
33:53 - Justin Smith (Guest)
It's like your robot arms, oh yeah. So like you know, they use them all over the place a lot of automotive, yeah, but when one of those breaks and you have an assembly line at Ford that is totally down prices, not the issue, right, they literally pull that part out, they search that model number on the side of it and they just want the damn thing as fast as they can get it Right. And so that's knowing the customer. That one client actually didn't even show the price on their page. You had to click a button to get the price. But the price wasn't what people are concerned about.
34:22 - John Bertino (Host)
They just want to know can.
34:23 - Justin Smith (Guest)
I have it, you know, overnighted to me and can it be here tomorrow, because I'm losing a million dollars a day right now. So it yeah, you got to know your customer and the different types customers. Like you said, there could be someone that does care about the price in the organization. There could be someone that just cares about speed. There could be a few different types of buyers.
34:41 - John Bertino (Host)
OK, speaking of futuristic robot arms and where, where this world is headed. Let's talk about chat, gpt a little bit, or large language models. What's your? Whether it's an industrial supply or just in general? What are your thoughts on all this? Right Like, where are you seeing, I guess, a way to leverage this to our advantage? Where, what problems are you seeing as a result of this technology being so accessible and anything else you think is pertinent to our listeners trying to improve their search marketing efforts? And now, now there's we're in a world of a large language.
35:16 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, I mean I think in industrial, and you have 30 seconds. Go If you get too specific in chat, gpt. Still, I think you can get any issues right, like if you want a blog post about some weird industrial product and how to like determine a type of screw for an airplane. I mean like that, the information you get back could be pretty weird or inaccurate.
Yeah, and now I'm not going to know if it's inaccurate as a marketer, because I don't know the product that well. So I think that's when you really do need to invest the time, whether that's in house having an expert right content that you can support your agency, or you have an agency that has a full in house, you know, content development department that goes through the right process of vetting information. But, with that being said, can you use it for high level blog posts? Can you use it for some of that evergreen content? Possibly Can you use it for brainstorming that content and writing outlines 100 percent. Should you use it for writing all of your content without any editing? I wouldn't do that. I think that's pushing it. I still think there is the potential that Google is going to ban a lot of a I driven content at some point. But will they be able to know? Will they know? They do know. Now, in certain situations there are also ways around it. But if you just straight take about chat GPT, they definitely know and you know you can already run it through certain applications. I'll tell you it's chat GPT develop, develop content. So you know, will they know? Yes, I think for the most part. Will they care is the question.
But Think you have to look at history, right, when you think about SEO. There was a time where Google didn't care about people building links either. Right? The easiest way to rank on Google was just go get a ton of links and you could go crazy. Any kind of link, any kind of link, yeah, and you know you fast forward a few years. People are blacklisted, their website doesn't exist anymore and they lost their entire business because they went so hard into a new strategy, and so I think you just have to watch like I wouldn't personally on our website we take the outer box website and load up a hundred pages of nothing but AI content. I think that's too big of a risk for our brand that if Google doesn't like it at some point, I don't want to disappear, so I just think you have to watch the risk there. But you can definitely use it for Content, ideas, content, outlines, pieces of content, or write the whole thing and then go through and spend an hour.
37:41 - John Bertino (Host)
Editing Is an option is well sometimes yeah, I like your point about using it for outlines. It's it's definitely for our own content marketing purposes at tag. It's been extremely helpful for ideation or Expansion of ideas, for example.
37:59 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Just just writer's block too. I mean, if you're sitting there all the time like it, yeah, that's tough man, you can really push chat you P2 to, like I was.
38:07 - John Bertino (Host)
We're working on something. Yesterday we we were trying to think of a better or more thoughtful name for the series of content we're putting out for this podcast that focuses on Innovative marketing products and services, because there we have an offshoot of niche marketing podcast that focuses on that. But we didn't want to call it innovative product and services marketing series. That's just a ridiculous mouthful. So we press chat EPT to say, hey, here's basically giving the same context I just gave you and our listeners, here's what we're doing, here's why we're doing it, here's what it's gonna be, here's what we're calling a bit, calling it innovative product marketing services series. And I said please come up with 30 different names. You know, and you can really push that thing to to the limits. You said writer's block to come up with all kinds of different variations. And it pushed out 30 different names. Now only about, you know, 20% of them were really good candidates. Probably 50% of them were solid, but 20% were real candidates. But it took. It took, you know, five minutes for us to find our, our winner, and I forget the exact name.
Some like marketing maven series, I think, is what kind of one's gonna be. But just to bring it back to the court, the core topic, you know, having it produced that initial outline, pressing it to make the outline better, okay, well, what else are we missing? Chat, ept, what else should we add? What else would be relevant? Feeding it as much background and context of data? I find it's. It's very much garbage in, garbage out. So the more inputs you give it, the more specific and articulate you are with the way you put in your inputs, the better information you'll get out. But you still need, I think to your point, some level of human intervention to Draft the file, at least edit the final piece of content and make it seem like, give it that extra human layer for sure.
39:54 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, it's all, and you know it's all prompt engineering and one thing that we're doing in Outerbox we actually have a director of AI now and we're doing all kind of APIs into chat, EPT and other AI, where you can actually scrape websites, build profiles, understand how the brand voice and we can put in one line of text saying, hey, we want a blog post about X and it actually runs through about a hundred prompts in 30 seconds and edits it and does all kind of crazy Things in the background, like prompts that are paragraphs long. So it really gets into like AI development. Yeah, and not just going to chat EPT and saying like, can you write me this blog post? Because what you'll find too is it gives the same things over and over and over, and If you don't put in a lot of instructions and then more instructions and more instructions and keep refining it, you're going to end up with duplicate content. That someone else asked chat GPT, the same basic question.
Now you both have the same blog post on your website, so we're really investing in AI at Outerbox to make sure we're like on the cutting edge of that through prompt engineering and API development.
41:00 - John Bertino (Host)
Actually just want to have you more or less repeat that, because I think it's such an important point. So, if you're just taking a lazy approach to this, you're going to chat EPT and you're saying Write me a blog post about staying how to get a stain out of a certain type of industrial floor and then five other people do the same thing. They could have very similar blog posts that now just become duplicate content that gets filtered out. Is that what I heard? 100%, hmm, so don't do that.
41:26 - Justin Smith (Guest)
I've seen it. I mean we've. We've seen it through tests. You can ask it the same thing. I said the same thing on another computer a day later. I mean, it's Basically identical.
41:36 - John Bertino (Host)
All right. So with the remaining time we have left, could you talk a little bit about maybe a specific industrial company or segment you work with and some of the work you did for them and you know gives a little bit of a case study, if you could yeah, sure, I'm not gonna throw any names.
41:50 - Justin Smith (Guest)
We have NDAs and I don't have all the NDAs in front of me to know which ones. I have a which ones don't, but yeah, though, I'll use one that's. They're actually in aviation and they sell airplane engines parts. They sell to you know airports. They also sell to you know a guy who might own a plane that's 30 years old and needs a you know new 30,000 hour engine or pistons for an engine.
42:13 - John Bertino (Host)
And right there you've got lots of complications right, all of those different buyers, exactly, wholesale retail, some overseas.
42:20 - Justin Smith (Guest)
Yeah, so it's. It's a complicated one really. What we did with them is looked at how the site was structured. We looked at navigation. Let's talk faceted navigation a little bit. Yeah, that was a big thing for them. What is faceted navigation? So basically, right, let's. Let's just use way fair as an example. You go on, you search for coffee tables and then you get all your different sizes. You get black and brown and finish.
Yeah, finish, and you can click on those and filter. Now what you do with those filters is Really important. A lot of times you'll just filter them. You'll look at your url and address bar. You'll have query strings, which basically means question marks and numbers and symbols, and that page is never seen by Google.
Now if you look at search volume, there's a lot of people searching for black coffee tables, mm-hmm. Well, if you don't have a page for black coffee tables, then you're never going to rank for that keyword. So how can you use faceted navigation? Say, well, when someone searches black or sorts by black, well, we want a page that now says black coffee tables in our url. It says black coffee tables in it and that page has content about black coffee tables on it. So that's really important to think about. But then you also have to watch because you don't want to take it too far where you're building a page that's for shiny black 36 inch coffee tables and now you have a million index pages and Google's looking at this and saying this is just crap content.
43:46 - John Bertino (Host)
Mm. So there's a fine line there.
43:48 - Justin Smith (Guest)
You have to make sure that if you're Showing pages, that they're pages that people might actually want and have some value. I think actually the way wayfarer does it which is interesting is if you click two Filters, then it creates a page. If you go three deep, they say that's probably too far and now it's no index.
44:06 - John Bertino (Host)
44:07 - Justin Smith (Guest)
So there's just, you just have to think about it from your industry perspective. But so, going back to this client, yeah, they would have a page for airplane engines and it was like literally You'd go to the bottom, go page two, page three, page four. I mean it was like 500 engines on one page, right? So like no filtering, no subcategories. So then starting to build out All right, let's build out a page for this brand of engine, let's build out a page for this type of engine, for smaller engines, for you know it's prop and for jet and all kind of different things and in doing that, now allowed them to have Right landing pages for all these keywords. And they went I mean, honestly, this brand was already doing Well into the seven figures online, probably eight figures, and they're increased their revenue and traffic by almost 250% in one year.
Mm-hmm because they went from having, like I know, a hundred valuable pages on their site to a thousand Yep and we also put content on those pages. So you'll look at an e-commerce site or a catalog site often and it's just you know, we have a page with a hundred products on it. We don't have any content on it, we don't have any information. And google wants to see, like, not only are you selling someone products or showing people products, but can you also Inform them? Right? What are some FAQs around those? What are you know? Can you give me a paragraph of an explanation of what these are? So also, getting content on those pages is super important. You know, I always like to say, like, if you have a category page, delete all your products off of it and see if the page saw its value.
45:34 - John Bertino (Host)
Mm-hmm, that's a great way to put it. That's, that's really smart and you know, I so often in SEO I feel like it's a balance right. It's always well. Let's make sure we put enough information to give this page value, and both from a search engine's perspective and a user. But a lot of times the problem with companies, brands, websites is they've gone too far. So it's knowing how to rein it in and provide the value without providing overkill. That starts to look like spam and that's a delicate balance, nothing that can necessarily be hashed out in our short interview here, but they're definitely right.
46:07 - Justin Smith (Guest)
I mean we've all been to the bottom of a page before and seen like paragraphs and paragraphs weird stuff, just junk, and that ends up hurting you, mm-hmm.
46:14 - John Bertino (Host)
So we're about out of time. I'm unfortunately. I feel like we could go for another couple hours here, but I do again right. Yeah, I think so, and we should get into. Uh, maybe on a bonus episode we can talk a little bit about expertise, authority and trust and stuff like that. But, uh, any final takeaways or final advice for our audience? If you had to put a bell on it, what would you tell them?
46:33 - Justin Smith (Guest)
I would say, really, look at that, uh, that content strategy right. Make sure you have the pages that you need, just like that last example. Let's let's not have broad categories. Let's drill down into subcategories. Let's look at that faceted navigation. Let's look at how we can create, like, really, niche landing pages. Those niche landing pages are so much easier to rank and, at the end of the day, those are the ones that are going to drive organic search and can be used for paid search, right? Send traffic to those niche landing pages that has exactly what people are looking for, instead of you know, these broad categories with a ton of filtering.
47:07 - John Bertino (Host)
Yeah, which brings the conversation full circle back to you know, sometimes, oftentimes, those niche queries are really Really valuable. They're the ones that convert, because that user knows what they want.
47:17 - Justin Smith (Guest)
We'll see 10, 15 conversion rates on those pages sometimes. Right, you don't, you don't need the same amount of traffic, right, that's that well just now was fantastic.
47:26 - John Bertino (Host)
Thanks so much for doing. Yeah, thank you, yeah, great having you, and I think that does it for this episode of the niche marketing podcast. See you on the next one.