Episode Overview: Although Google dominates most of the search industry worldwide, plenty of other popular search platforms exist with their own unique search ecosystems. For SEO specialists, it’s important to gain insights from SEO cohorts worldwide to understand how search is changing internationally. Join host Ben as he takes the discussion worldwide with Online Marketing Gurus’ Managing Director Wasif Kasim to talk about the core B2B essentials SEO specialists worldwide need to know to boost conversions and generate brand awareness.
- SEO practices are mostly uniform worldwide, with few variances in methodology depending on the country it’s practiced in.
- Despite Google owning a significant share of search, other popular search engines like China’s Baidu and Russia’s Yandex have their own unique search ecosystems.
- SEO is one of the channels with the highest conversion rates internationally for B2Bs. The deals that do convert are generally high value.
- The rule of thumb when creating B2B content is to produce it at high velocity every month. Producing between 10 to 15 high quality blogs, averaging 2,000 words is a great cadence to maintain in your production cycle.
GUESTS & RESOURCES
- Wasif Kasim: Website // LinkedIn
- The Voices of Search Podcast: Email // LinkedIn // Twitter
- Benjamin Shapiro: Website // LinkedIn // Twitter
Ben: Welcome to the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro. And today we’re going to talk about mastering B2B international SEO. Joining us is Wasif Kasim, who is the managing director of Online Marketing Gurus, an agency that specializes in SEO AdWords and social media advertising. OMG’s model is built to put customers’ success as their number one priority while having fun, being transparent, honest, and building real relationships that deliver business results. And today Was and I are going to talk about his Online Marketing Gurus’ B2B SEO essentials. Okay, on with the show. Here’s my conversation with Was Kasim, managing director of Online Marketing Gurus. Was, welcome to the Voices of Search podcast.
Wasif: Hey guys, super excited to be here and yeah, thanks for having me.
Ben: Excited to have you on the show and I have to thank you for getting up early in the morning. You’re based in Australia. I’m in Northern California. It’s 1:40 in the afternoon here. What time is it for you?
Wasif: 6:30 a.m. here.
Ben: Oh, good Lord. We got you up at the butt crack of dawn. I’m so sorry.
Wasif: All good. I’ve even put all my makeup on for you, Ben. But unfortunately, none of the listeners can see that.
Ben: Well we don’t have the video on right now, but I’m sure it’s a beautiful sight. Let’s talk about some beautiful SEO practices. You’re based in Australia, a little bit the other side of the world from where I’m sitting. Is SEO the same everywhere around the world? Walk me through what your process is.
Wasif: 100%. Look, we’re based in Australia, but SEO is going to be the same everywhere in the world, right? There may be slightly different ways that you actually practice SEO because the country that you live in may or may not have Google. The underlying principles for SEO are pretty much the same, but slightly different per, I don’t know, if you’re in China, you might have to look at Baidu. If you’re in Russia, you might have to look at Yandex, right?
Wasif: In Australia, SEO is very similar to the SEO in the States. And funny enough, we have a lot of clients in the States as well. So whilst we are based in Australia and we do a lot of work for some of the biggest clients in Australia, as well as other smaller clients in Australia, we do the whole range, we also work with a lot of clients in the States, as well as in Singapore and other parts of the world.
Ben: So a lot of your clients are B2B companies. Talk to me about where SEO fits into the marketing mix. You do not only SEO, but other social media and Google Ads advertising. Where does SEO fit into the mix for the average B2B client?
Wasif: Cool. It’s an interesting one, right? Where does SEO fit into the mix? Before I answer that, I’ll give a little bit of context to something. Going back a few years, it was all about per channel success. How’s SEO doing? How’s AdWords doing? How’s Facebook doing? How’s my email marketing doing? Whereas now, it’s very, very hard to actually attribute the success of an individual campaign. Whilst it’s possible, the reality of things is that customers are actually going through all your channels and converting via one at the end of it. So you can’t actually, to a great degree of certainty, point to one channel being the one that drives the conversion.
Wasif: For instance, one of the customers that I was looking at in terms of customer journeys, they went through email, Facebook, SEO, saw us at an event or read multiple blogs, saw an AdWords campaign, and then finally converted via the website. And this is across 200 touch points. So I’m going to say it again, 200 touch points in a span of a month after which they converted. Right? For me to say that was all because the SEO, would be incorrect of me to say that.
Wasif: So going back to your original question, in terms of where does SEO sit in the mix? It is one of those channels that will typically convert the highest. So if you look at, we practice what we preach. We invest a lot in SEO as a marketing agency in Australia, and we spend a lot of money into SEO, not only to attract Australian visitors to our site, but also visitors to our U.S. site and global sites. But generally, SEO will be one of those channels that will help you convert a lot of deals. And generally the deals that do convert will have in general, the highest deal value as well from a B2B perspective.
Wasif: The beautiful thing about SEO is unlike paid channels, and guys, I love paid channels and I always say that you got to run everything at the same time. You can’t just do SEO, you should do paid and everything else as well. But unlike paid channels, SEO is one of those things that you got to invest in. It takes a little bit longer to kick in and the paid channels, but it will also last a lot longer as well. So there’s returns that you see from SEO or long term returns, whereas with paid channels, as soon as you switch it off, it’s gone. There’s no more traffic coming to your site.
Ben: I really like how you said that they are long term returns and that’s an important distinction. I think that as SEOs, most of the people that are listening to this podcast think about developing content that’s going to be evergreen, that’s going to build value over time. And the notion of long term returns really makes sense. And what you’re talking about is multi channel attribution.
Ben: At the end of the day, what matters is how many times you’re reaching a customer, what’s your reach, what your frequency is and what the impact your channels are having on influencing the customer’s journey. When you think about the purpose of SEO for the B2B buyers specifically, do you think of it as a lead generation channel, a retention channel? Is it something that’s for direct response? How do you evaluate the purpose of the channel in your overall marketing mix?
Wasif: That’s the beauty of SEO. The same can be said about Facebook and AdWords as well, right? It’s a lead gen channel, 100%. For brand new businesses where no one knows about the brand and the brand doesn’t exist, it’s a fantastic social proof channel as well. Because if you’re typing in a random, say I want red shoes or you’re typing in red shoes into Google and this brand new brand pops up, users will actually navigate to that website and check out what this brand is about. And for people that prefer brands that no one’s heard of, it’s a great way of social proof and it’s popping up and it increases the awareness of your product as well, not just leads, right?
Wasif: So it actually tackles everything to be honest, the brand awareness piece, the lead generation piece. And yeah, that’s why it’s such a powerful channel, right? So ranking on top of Google Search, usually when you’re in the top three, you command a high level of authority and there’s a lot of research out there. The figures don’t come into my head right now, but in general, if you’re in that top three, people automatically assume you’re a leader in that market. So that’s why it’s such a powerful tool to invest money in there and provide that perception to your buying audience.
Ben: When you think broadly about content, not just SEO, the B2B journey is obviously different than the B2C journey. And a lot of those conversations take place over a long period of time. There’s long buying cycles. How do you think about using content for SEO as opposed to using it for retention and eventually driving conversions?
Wasif: Sure. So look, content, and today I would say that without content SEO is nothing, right? We’ve all heard about all the algorithm updates that Google has done to really place a big priority on serving the right content and the most useful content to people searching in Google. Right? So when it comes to again, lead generation acquisition and all that stuff, content needs to be a massive, massive part of your SEO strategy. Without content you’re screwed essentially, right? So how do you intertwine content and SEO. SEO has got a lot of the onsite aspects of optimizing your site to appear in Google, as well as the offsite aspect of SEO, where you’re trying to earn links back to your site from third party sites, which is often known as link building. And the more links that you have or quality links you have pointing back to your site, the more Google thinks, “Wow, this is a fantastic site and I should serve it up more.”
Wasif: But the third element is on-page content. And also, in general, a lot of the content that you have in your homepage, as well as your blogs and throughout your site. So how do you leverage content to actually drive your SEO strategy? What’s worked for me in the past, it’s a bit of a rule of thumb and I’ve worked in a lot of B2B companies. I’ve worked in B2B content marketing agencies and worked in a B2B large, again, like an agency, that did offline online marketing. I’ve worked in B2B technology companies. One of the biggest things and common denominators that I’ve seen is to produce high quality content at a high velocity, every single month, especially when you’re starting this journey of SEO and content. What I mean by that is as a rule of thumb, I would recommend to anyone and this usually works and it’s been working for the last decade, whenever I’ve said this to people. Produce 10 to 15 high quality blogs every single month on your site.
Wasif: And each blog is about 2,000 words, right? It can’t be just rubbish 2,000 words. Whenever you’re writing each one of those articles, based on what your users are thinking about and need and want answers around, you got to make sure that those 2,000 words are really high quality addressing those pain points. And the more you produce that, the more Google understands that you are a leader in that space. And also when buyers come across your site, they’re like, “Wow, this organization writes a lot about these topics. So they’re probably experts at these topics. Let me inquire with this organization to help me out with X, Y, and Z.”
Ben: Yeah. How much do you think about content volume, as opposed to the frequency? You mentioned that you want a post that’s 2,000 words or so.
Ben: When you’re thinking about publishing every day or publishing multiple times now, or whereas opposed to the longer form content, why do you think one is better suited for B2B SEO?
Wasif: To begin with, a good place to start, especially when you’re fresh is you just need to announce to Google that, dude I’m here and I’m a big deal. Right? And a really good way to do that is to start with a high volume of content, right? Start with a high volume, 10 to 15 pieces of content. Because a lot of B2B companies I’ve noticed don’t necessarily focus too much on that content aspect. And if they do, it’s just a thing that they do. It’s not necessarily tied intricately with their SEO strategy. So step one, I’d say for the first three to six months, produce a high volume of content, 10 to 15 blocks that are highly relevant to, and aligned to their most profitable product.
Wasif: So let’s say it’s a technology company and their most profitable product is a laptop and they want to help sell more of these laptops, for instance. So what you’d want to do is the first 36 months, blog everything around the sphere of laptops. So you have tools like Ubersuggest, which is a great tool where you can just go in there, type in laptop and will give you keyword ideas around laptops and all this stuff that people are asking about laptops. Depending on which region you’re in, if you’re in Australia or U.S., so it becomes quite specific. And there’s SEMrush that does something similar as well. So once you get those topic ideas to generate topic ideas, then you can start writing say 10 to 15 blogs for the first three to six months around all these topics. And then in due course, number one, Google understands that, “Hey, these people are experts in laptop things.” So Google will start serving you guys more with relation to laptop queries, as it comes up.
Wasif: As far as you work with your SEO specialist or your SEO agency, to make sure that all your blogs are optimized to appear for those things. And in due course, what you want to do is once you push out a lot of that frequency, you need to use those blogs. Blogs alone are fantastic. And yes, they help with SEO. But you need to promote it via every other channel. And to your point, this is why that frequency of posting is really important because when you’re starting off, you want to create an incredible bank of content that you can use to feed things like your email marketing drips. Because once someone comes to your site and signs up to your newsletter, you want them to get a steady stream of email marketing drips like one or two a week. And for that, you need content, right?
Wasif: Secondly, you also want to promote these blogs on Facebook and LinkedIn paid channels to improve the awareness of your product. You’re not necessarily selling your product, but you’re pushing the thought leadership. And when thousands and millions of people see your blog, advertising, Facebook or LinkedIn, they naturally become aware of your brand and naturally associate, if the blog is good, your brand to being a thought leader in that space, right? So this is why frequency is important, because you can amplify a lot of stuff across many channels.
Ben: It’s one of the things we don’t talk about a ton on this podcast because we primarily focus on SEO. But when you have content that you’re creating for SEO and you want to seed it and syndicated on paid networks, what advice do you have for the SEO community who doesn’t always focus on paid promotion to get their content out there using paid channels?
Wasif: Guys, it’s incredibly important. Going back to like the multi channel attribution side of things, in today’s world, it’s really important that your paid and non-paid channels work together as a team effort to produce, ultimately, results that a business wants. Right? So whenever an SEO produces a piece of content in collaboration with a content writer, or sometimes SEOs write the content themselves, it’s very important, number one, to use tools like Surfer SEO, which is a fantastic tool, which helps you understand exactly what words to put in that article. And you keep tweaking it until it gives you this green light. And then it says, “Cool, your article is beautifully SEO optimized.” Right? So that’s the first step. And then you obviously upload it to your site.
Wasif: And then the main issue with a lot of content that’s put out there is no one reads it. So you invest all these hours and you’re producing this content. It might be overall say 10 hours that you invest in a piece of content. And no one ends up reading that piece of content, which ends up completely wasting all your efforts. So the advice would be whenever you put out a piece of content, always make sure that you promote it heavily.
Wasif: So number one, promote it on Facebook so that you’re driving more people to your piece of content and that in itself as most SEOs will know, traffic to a page is one of the many indicators that Google considers when ranking a specific site, right? And then through many other things, you can tweak following that as well. But it will then drive that traffic to that page via channels like LinkedIn and Facebook. For me, that’s been super, super successful. There are obviously other syndication channels like Outbrain and Taboola and all that stuff. Again, for me personally, I find those a little bit click baity, but I also appreciate that it works really, really well for many industries. But as a first step, what I do is create a piece of content, optimize it and then push it heavily on LinkedIn and Facebook to maximize brand awareness of your brand and of your blog.
Ben: At the end of the day, when you’re thinking about B2B SEO, the goal here is not necessarily just to drive rankings. The goal is to make an impact. You can use SEO for lead generation, but you also need to consider some of the other marketing channels you can use to syndicate your content to make sure you’re reaching as many buyers as you can.
Ben: So that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks to Was Kasim, the Managing Director of Online Marketing Gurus, for joining us. We’d love to continue the conversation with you. So if you’re interested in contacting Was, you can find a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact him on Twitter. His handle is Wasif Kasim, or you could visit his company’s website, which is OnlineMarketingGurus.com.au.
Ben: Just one more link in our show note I’d like to tell you about. If you didn’t have a chance to take notes while you were listening to this podcast, just head over to voicesofsearch.com where we have summaries of all of our episodes and contact information for our guests. You can also send us your topic suggestions, or your SEO questions. You can even apply to be a guest speaker on the Voices of Search podcast.
Ben: Of course, you could always reach out on social media. Our handle is voicesofsearch on Twitter. And my personal handle is BenJShap. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, and you want a daily stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, we’re going to publish episodes every day during the work week. So hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and we’ll be back in your feed tomorrow morning. All right, that’s it for today. But until next time, remember, the answers are always in data.