(Transcript continued from the Episode 147 show notes and audio podcast)
Late Night Listener Feedback
The first piece of great feedback that really made me smile, because it’s something that I think we all deal with, I certainly deal with, was from Lorien Green from Maine.
By the way, she has the coolest Facebook profile. You guys would know this if you were in the Late Night Internet Marketing Facebook group, she has the coolest profile picture, the big banner that goes up at the top of your personal page. It’s this amazing picture of the original Star Trek series group, Kirk and Spock and that bunch, as a rock’n’roll band with Kirk on lead guitar and Uhura has a microphone. It’s really awesome. You’ll have to come to the Facebook group and check that out.
She says, “Called out by my own son. Mom, stop listening to podcasts about growing your business and freaking make the business.” She says, “Despite his admonishment, we kept dancing to the Late Night Internet Marketing theme song,” which I really appreciate that.
I love that theme song. For those of you that aren’t in Facebook group, the guy who wrote that is actually a very famous guy named Geoff Smith. Geoff Smith plays in a piano bar down in Nashville. Cliff was down there not too long ago, I may have mentioned this before. There’s a video of him in the group playing Piano Man by Billy Joel in that bar. He’s a super talented guy. Still to this day I get comments all the time about the theme song.
Lorien raises this awesome point, which is at some point you have to stop learning stuff and start doing stuff.
Now, actually, that’s not true. I don’t think you should ever stop learning stuff. I think lifetime learning is one of the advantages that you can give yourself. But, you have to create a balance.
I think the way that you create the balance is something that was explained to me by Jeremy Frandsen over at Internet Business Mastery seven or eight years ago. He taught this concept of just in time learning.
It’s this idea that you have a next most critical thing that you have to accomplish, whether that’s getting your website up, or getting your opt-in page configured, or writing an autoresponder sequence, or finding a product to market, or getting your Amazon affiliate things set up, or finding a drop-shipping relationship, or whatever it is that you need to do.
There’s something that is the most important thing that you need to be doing next. First, you need to know what that is. You need to absolutely understand what the 10 steps are to get where you want to be and what the next very most important thing is. Here’s the trick; you need to limit your learning to the thing that you need to know most.
If there is a podcast episode about webinars and you aren’t at the point where you’re ready for your webinar yet because you haven’t finished your product, and you haven’t finished your product because you haven’t selected your niche, then your most important thing is to decide what your niche is and then after that to define the product. Your most important thing can’t possibly be the webinar, so you should probably set that learning aside and wait until it’s time for that. There’s no reason you can’t throw that into Evernote in a file called ‘webinars’ and look at that when it’s time to build your webinars.
Don’t feel bad. We’re all guilty of this. We all get sucked into this situation where we’re constantly in learning mode and we don’t take any action.
Usually one the reasons that we don’t take the action that we need to be taking is we’re interested in the content, it’s much easier to sit back passively and learn than it is to actively go do stuff. There’s probably some procrastination in there that it’s real work and we want to avoid that in some cases. Maybe we have a little fear that is actually driving that procrastination.
These are all topics that we’ve talked about before, but that can be combated by this idea of just in time learning. You work on the next thing, which is a GTD (getting things done) David Allen sort of idea. You figure out what the next most important thing is that you need to do and limit your learning to what it is that you need to do next.
If there’s a great article on something that you don’t need to do yet, like maybe how to target your Facebook ads, just set that aside for now and worry about that later.
Specifically for podcasts, what I recommend to Lorien, which is a perfect thing for podcasts, is to limiting your listening to times when that is all you can do. That’s what a lot of us do. It turns out that Lorien has a big huge commute every day, so she listens to a lot of podcasts.
I highly recommend that you focus and limit your learning to the stuff that you need to do next. That will help you be more efficient in your internet business.
Keyword Tool Recommendations & More
The next cool piece of feedback that I got out of the Facebook group that I wanted to address today was feedback from James Hackney, who posts that in one of my older podcast episodes I mention a couple of tools that I recommended at the time; Article Builder and Keyword Canine.
But when he searches Google all the stuff that he finds out there, from me and from others, are links that are really old. So he wanted to know what are the modern equivalents of these things. Keyword Canine is gone. Article Builder is still there, but I haven’t evaluated it or used it in years, so I’m not even sure what the status of that is.
Just in full disclosure, this is a problem that I have on my blog that I’ve been trying to work through. I’ve made some progress, but I haven’t gotten to all of this.
Periodically I recommend products on the blog and those recommendations are always things that I genuinely believe are the things that you should be looking at. The problem is those recommendations die after a time because things change and the market changes.
I’ll give you a great example. Five to seven years ago I made great recommendations for tools that you could and should use for article marketing, because at the time there was an SEO technique called article marketing where you wrote an article and published it to hundreds of article directories across the internet, the exact same content. Google’s algorithm wasn’t very sophisticated and as a result those backlinks would cause your pages to rank and you could get amazing results with that and it was a great recommendation. In fact, around that time Pat Flynn was doing the same thing and that’s one of the ways that he was able to get his Security Guard Training website (for those familiar with that story) to rank so quickly was through article marketing.
The problem is that’s not a natural ranking phenomenon. Google understood quite well that was being manipulated, so they devalued all of these article directories and really kind of put that whole thing out of business. Essentially, that kind of article directory commerce is gone now.
For a guy like me, what I should be doing is going back and cleaning up those posts, but there are hundreds of posts on my blog that deal with stuff like that. I’ve been working on getting that cleaned up.
Keyword tools are no exception. With regard to keyword tools, the greatest keyword tool that I was using for a very long time was called Keyword Canine. Keyword Canine was a keyword research tool that was created by a guy who lives right here in the Dallas area, Jonathan Leger. He has been creating internet marketing software and solutions for a decade. He’s a great guy and does amazing products.
That tool has morphed into something new called Keyword Titan. You can find Keyword Titan at LateNightIM.com/titan. It still works for people who were using Keyword Canine at the time. To my knowledge, at the time of this recording it’s not currently for sale. I’m not exactly sure what the deal is with Keyword Titan, because I haven’t talked to Jon about it in quite awhile.
Keyword Titan is a cool tool, if you have access to it. If you don’t, the other tool that’s still out there is a tool called Long Tail Pro. A lot of people use this tool. It was originally created by Spencer Haws over at Niche Pursuits, Spencer sold it, some new guys have taken it over and they’re slowly but surely making it better. That’s a pretty decent tool and I think it’s worth what it costs.
If I were going to recommend what I’d call a “traditional” keyword tool today, I would recommend Long Tail Pro. That’s what I use when I need a traditional keyword tool.
The idea of a keyword tool is the following. What these keyword tools usually do is they go and look at a keyword, like let’s say you want to find out how to rank for ‘blue suede shoes.’ You would put blue suede shoes into the keyword tool and it will look at the websites that are ranking on the first page of Google for blue suede shoes and it will analyze those websites.
It will look at the on-page SEO optimization of those sites, do those sites each use ‘blue suede shoes’ in their title tag and on the page. They’ll also look at the off-page optimization, what is the authority of the sites that those pages are coming from, what’s their backlink profile, and so forth. They do all of this in sort of a one at a time, page by page, sort of way. They can be relatively slow and/or they cache the data and the data may or may not be in-date, but they work.
You can do that and usually you have a quota for how many keywords you can analyze. The better tools will have a keyword discovery mode where you put in a keyword like ‘blue suede shoes’ and it will tell you about the related keywords that you might want to target in the content that you create. For example, if you put in blue suede shoes it may come back and tell you that light blue suede shoes are a heavily sought after keyword.
One of the cool things about these keyword tools, at least in theory, is that they can give you some sense of how hard it will be for you to rank for these keywords and what that ranking would be worth. It can estimate the traffic, the Adwords value of that traffic, which is some sense of how much it would profit you to own the first page ranking for the keyword, and it can also tell you about the competition of how hard it would be to rank and so forth.
These are very cool tools. Again, for most of this type of work I use Long Tail Pro.
There are a couple of problems that have cropped up in the last five years. One of the big problems is the willingness of Google to share information with these tools has become more limited.
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool, which is a free tool that you can use to do keyword research, has become more limited and more restrictive in what will give to searchers, how many queries it will allow, and when it starts throwing captcha and all this sort thing. The ability for these keyword tools to rely on the Google Adwords Keyword Tool for seeding and for other kinds of information has been limited.
In my view, the value and importance of these keyword tools has changed because of that. I think the kind of data that they can get access to for some of the stuff that they estimate, like search volume, is limited and a little bit suspect.
The other thing is that the way that Google decides about ranking pages has changed quite a bit. Because of artificial intelligence and other things like Rank Brain that Google has added into the algorithm, it has become harder, at least in my view, for these websites to accurately reflect the kinds of things that are causing a page to rank so that they can give a score to say you can easily rank for this or you can’t. I think that it’s so complicated that oftentimes that’s not going to be a really accurate representation.
I’ve seen in many cases where keyword tools give these one-size-fits-all rankings for the difficulty to rank a page, I don’t necessarily agree with the answers that they get, or the answers that they get aren’t consistent with my experience in trying to actually rank for the keyword.
What has changed in the keyword market, from my point of view, is that these tools that analyze backlinks, like Ahrefs, which is one of my favorite tools, those kind of tools work sort of backwards. They just crawl the entire internet, just like Google does, and they count up all of the backlinks, just like Google does, and they assign authority scores to all of the pages that they index.
The kinds of data that a tool like Ahrefs is working with is very impressive. They’ve indexed billions of web pages, I think at last count it was six billion web pages and twelve trillion links over 200,000,000 root domains. All of that data is stored in a database of 20 pedabytes, was the last info graphic that I saw about Ahrefs. So they have this massive database.
In some cases, to their credit, these old school keyword tools that I was talking about are renting this kind of data from Ahrefs or SEOmoz. For my money, what I’ve seen is tools like Ahrefs are starting to add their own keyword tools into this backlink discovery tool.
For example, if you go to Ahrefs and you click on the Keyword Explorer and type in ‘blue suede shoes’ it comes back with 1,900 keywords that it feels like are related to blue suede shoes. In every case it tries to compute a keyword difficulty. It also tells you the volume for these keywords and what people are paying for in terms of cost per click for ads against that keyword, which gives you a good idea of what that keyword is worth.
It turns out that 16,000 people per month are searching for blue suede shoes. Now, a little lesson. What are they searching for? Are they searching to buy blue suede shoes? Probably not. They’re probably searching for the lyrics to the song that Elvis made famous called Blue Suede Shoes.
That aside, you can look at what sites are ranking for blue suede shoes and this tool at Ahrefs can allow you to dig in very deeply to what the backlink profile is for those pages and those sites that are ranking. A tool like Ahrefs, which has already indexed six billion pages, can come back and tell me that yes in fact there are 1,900 related keywords that you can sift through. It also gives me an estimate of the search volume of these keywords.
The first thing that I want to know is what are the possible keywords, this tool gives me a great list of those. That’s checkbox number one. Some of traditional keyword tools are going to rely on the Google Adwords Keyword Tool for that and that’s going to give you a lot shorter list; instead of 1,900 it may give you 19. That’s one thing that I really like about Ahrefs as opposed to a traditional keyword tool like Long Tail Pro.
The other thing that I really like about this is once I get down to that point and I decide that I want to try to potentially rank for a keyword, I want to know about the competition. That is what this tool was originally designed to do. Ahrefs, SEOmoz, and other similar tools were designed to analyze the competition, a particular site.
When you see your competitor has a page ranking in the number two spot for a keyword that you want to rank for, the question you should be asking is, “What is about their page that is causing them to rank?” There is no better tool, in my opinion, than Ahrefs to go figure out exactly what the reason is for that ranking.
You can see their backlink profile, what kinds of links they’re getting, where exactly those links are coming from, and so forth. In many cases you can do the reverse engineering and go get those same links yourself. You can discover places where they got their links and go get your links in the same place or in similar ways, until your backlink profile and other optimizations are equivalent to those other sites, or even better. That’s how you should attack the SERPs.
I love this all-in-one approach. It used to be in the old days that we would use these old school keyword tools like Long Tail Pro, Market Samurai, and Keyword Canine to identify the keywords and then we would use a tool like SEOmoz or Ahrefs to analyze the competition and find out exactly how to go beat it. What’s happened is these latter tools, like Ahrefs, have added enough keyword functionality in where, at least for my money, I only need one tool now. That’s where I am with this sort of keyword research today.
So, my recommendation for keyword research tools at this moment is Ahrefs. I like it. I like the people there, I like the informational content that they put out, and I like the things that you can do with this sort of tool.
I also like the fact that they have a free trial available. If you’re interested in that you can go LateNightIM.com/ahrefs and sign up for the free trial to try it for a couple of days. I recommend that you use the heck out of it for 14 days, or whatever the free trial length is, so that you can get a sense of what it is that’s available. There’s a ton of capabilities inside of this tool that I think you’ll find very interesting.
That’s my recommendation and my answer to this question from James. James, I hope that helps you.
The only downside to the Ahrefs tool is that it is a little bit on the expensive side. Another way that I answer this question is if you’re looking for my recommendation for the best all-in-one tool, my recommendation is Ahrefs. If you want something that is a little less expensive and a little more beginner friendly, I think Long Tail Pro could be the answer for you.
Those are my two answers. I hope that helps you make a choice.
Wrapping Things Up…
That’s my laidback island time broadcast for today from the little studio in Dallas. I hope you have a fantastic week.
I’ll be getting seriously into it. My goal for this month with regard to drop-shipping is to crank that up into a profitability zone.
Right now I’ve done a lot of revenue, but not a lot of profit. Now I have some targeting capability based on the fact that I’ve moved some merchandise, so I’m going to try to use that and try to target lookalike audiences on Facebook that will help me increase the profitability of that store into something that is interesting and worth doing. We’re not quite there yet. More on that next week, or maybe later.
We’re also going to try to get Brady Cole on the show. In the Facebook group he has parlayed his niche blog into a professional writing gig and we’re going to talk about that a little bit on a future show, I hope, if we can get him to come on the show and talk a little bit about all of the different kinds of opportunities that can come from blogging.
I know lots of examples of people that started a blog and then they pivoted and went in a different direction or diversified their income, as Brady is doing, and that can be a really cool thing. I think Brady’s story will inspire you. We’ll try to get that going.
In the meantime, if you’d like to hear what’s going on with me, Brady, and the rest of the group, come on over to the Late Night Internet Marketing Facebook group and we’ll chat about everything in there.
Until next time, see you soon.