What tools can we use to analyse data and tweak our content marketing? What question words should we focus on? How can brand tracking be used to improve backlinks?
Lukasz Zelezny joined us at one of our live events for an engaging and funny talk on these tactics and more. With plenty of examples and stories, he explained some really interesting ways to improve traffic and rankings.
And – not to sound click-baity – one weird secret that has surprising results! (but like… genuinely surprising… and a bit weird!).
The video, slides and transcript are all below.
Video & slides
- If video is your thing you should subscribe to the Optimisey YouTube channel for stacks more like this
- Download the slides to accompany Lukasz’s talk: SEO Tactics You Can Implement Tonight (9.4MB PDF).
Hello, thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure, an honour and I always wanted to come to Cambridge. This is 14th edition so finally, finally I’m here. And I love travelling around UK for meetups because you don’t need to go for a security check out and have a passport and and your wife is driving is even easier you can sleep.
So my story is like I moved to London in 2007 and since then I was working in different companies and last year I decided to take a similar step like Andrew said to go on my own. Mainly because I have a little one that was born, I become a father and right now I can work from home but also can have a bit more time to see how she’s growing. And all the magic is happening in a 4×4 room which is my headquarters for SEO.london.
And today my presentation is divided into a couple of tactics and the whole point of this is that I would really like you to listen and then say like ‘OK I can take this home and I can implement on any business, any website anywhere I want’. That’s our tactic which are my my own and I was using them for some time and I’m using them with most of my clients and I really feel that some of them will definitely work for you.
So first one is a snapshot. What is snapshot? This is something like I’m initially starting whenever a new client is coming to me with a website. And – surprise surprise – the Data Studio. So that is something that I wasn’t sure what will be the first presentation but you can see that Data Studio is super popular and I’m never using Search Console as Search Console.
I’m always using Data Studio through API and Search Console because I can see much, much, much deeper and I can also quickly divide brand keywords from non-brand keywords. But also I can group data by weeks or months.
So here is an example of the website zelezny.uk and I’m giving access to Search Console. And what I’m doing next: excluding sometimes there are empty queries some kind of back. So excluding empty queries and I’m getting this beautiful table which is containing everything I need. So as you can see we have keywords or queries corresponding URL and then we have impressions, clicks and click-through rate.
And the whole concept of snapshot is to understand where are you ranking already. Identify these key words which are ranking already relatively high but not first and just give them little push and repeat and repeat and repeat and if you will do this on a scale then the boost in traffic is very fast.
I was always when I was changing my jobs I was always stressed at the first day. I was like I need to prove that I was not only good on the interview, that I’m not like a kind of a con artist, I was just good because I can deliver quickly. And sometimes I was coming to organisations that been very negative about SEO and that really – excuse my French – save my arse a couple of times!
So we have impressions, clicks and click-through rate and this is how it looks in Excel. Pretty much the same but then I am using a double sword. So what I’m doing, I’m sorting first by landing page and then immediately by impression or clicks. In the example that I will show you here, I’m sorting by landing pages and then by impressions. Thanks to that I will get this data in really good order. And I prepare an animated gif which I spent hours on and this is how how nicely sorted this is.
So first home page and impressions are going to 1 and then when there is no more then there is coming another URL and is decreasing to one and then another and another and another and that way I can start grouping them. Obviously that’s one of the methods. The other method is pivot tables I’m always saying that there is not a single day I wouldn’t pivot a table.
So this is an example and this is how it looks.
So for me in SEO keywords are important… but not that important.
I’m never reporting, by the way, on keyword positions because clients are sometimes like ‘You know I would like to be in top three on keyword book’. You probably need to find someone else. But I’m reporting on traffic but when I’m optimising obviously you need to have something that you will stick with.
And you can see like here is an article Find SEO Clients and there is a very interesting quite long keyword which is called ‘how to get SEO clients without cold calling’ and I have 640 impressions, 47 clicks. And when I was checking this I was like number three or number four in Google.co.uk. OK so there is a definitely a gap, a margin that I can write something on this page, on existing page Find SEO Clients.
Maybe additional paragraph, maybe some examples, maybe a case study, something that will make this page better and thanks to that I will go up. The click-through rate is 7.34. It’s not bad but not crazy good and I have other keywords here so I can try to mix these keywords, I can try to use them in context and so on.
Another example is SEO snapshot method. So we’re talking right now about I see ‘SEO snapshot method’ and we have ‘SEO snapshot’. 363 impressions, only nine clicks. Definitely something is going here but is not something I should be proud of especially that it’s only one relevant keyword and there is very little clicks.
So again I’m checking where I’m ranking and if I’m ranking not first – and in that case I don’t need to even check results I know that I’m not ranking first because of very low click-through rate. I’m trying to improve that landing page with more content. And here is a case study. So there is a little baby of mine – except of the real one – is socialmedia.pl, a domain I’m very proud of. And I was using this methodology for that domain.
And here is socialmedia.pl and here’s socialmania, my competitor, the yellow one. And here’s the first period when I acquired domain or sometimes I’m saying before I told my wife how much I spent. My wife was like ‘Why are you talking all the time about this socialmedia.pl?’ and I was like ‘You know what? Take a seat we need to talk’.
And then I started doing some content marketing, you know and I was doing this and it was going good and the number of keywords that the website was ranking on Google.pl was growing but then finally I switched to snapshot. And you can see this nice growth at the end of the period, which is here.
And just to be fully transparent that this is not just to make up a kind of chart or that this chart doesn’t replicate on the traffic. There is a huge correlation. Here is a screenshot from Google Analytics. This is a socialmedia.pl and this is organic traffic and you can see the same period, kind of, you know, correlated.
So as a conclusion you’re using keywords that already rank quite well. Because they need to rank to give you some clicks, yeah? You’re leveraging quality traffic. First of all if keyword is there for a long time and giving you some traffic, then according to Google that’s a relevant, quality keyword.
And then finally you’re playing Google game using Google as you kind of SEO advisor.
Keyword magic tools
When we know that, we’re going to SEO tactic number two. It’s a keyword magic tool. Anyone using Semrush raise your hand. We have a couple of people, great. So keyword magic tool is one of the tool inside Semrush which I’m using with passion and this is how it looks. Nothing crazy, but when we start going deeper it looks very interesting.
So first of all this pyramid. Everyone once in their life saw this, like keywords by intent and there is like awareness, interest, consideration, conversion, retention, advocate. I don’t buy this, for me I’m this green part and there the grey part is someone else.
So here is like awareness, interest, consideration, conversion and for me the best way to describe this is all the keywords with why, how, what, where, when and so on and so on, plus all the keywords that are non brand keywords, yeah?
So here is the primary audience, audience not necessarily know about your company. Audience which is writing, for example, ‘Where should I go for holidays next week?’ or ‘Where should I go for city breaks next month?’ and you’re not mentioning any company. and you’re trying to fulfil that hunger for information by your website, by your landing page.
And who knows Simon Sinek? Raise your hand. OK we have one person.
So Simon Sinek is an amazing speaker and he have an amazing presentation which is involved in this part which is a Simon Sinek golden circle: start from why – start with why. And that’s the context of this is when you’re opening your company, when you open your consultancy, when you’re opening your corporate, any business, you should start from why. Why are you opening this? And why is in the centre, then it’s how, then it’s what.
And that works pretty well when you are in the shoes of entrepreneur but when you think, when you want to understand what your customer’s thinking this circle looks very different. And I wouldn’t call this Lukasz Zelezny’s golden circle I just call this SEO golden circle or SEO search volume golden circle. Now it works a bit different. Now the size of the circle means how much demand there is.
And anyone is bilingual here? Raise your hand to more than one language? We have two people, three, four, yeah. If you replicate this and you will start analysing data and if you try to use word how, what, why in your language you will see the same pattern. The how is always a dominant part, then it’s what and then it’s why.
And also showing this to my friend, my colleague, this slide he was like ‘Yeah that must be right’. I was like ‘Why?’ ‘You know why. Why? It’s philosophical’. I was like ‘Maybe, yes, maybe that’s true but maybe let’s analyse some data’.
So start from how and I have two examples. This is the first example: HubSpot. According to Semrush, HubSpot is ranking on over a million keywords and 149,000 keywords that they are ranking contain the word how, then what and then why and you can see that the why is fractional. People rarely asking why.
They know what they want, they know this philosophical aspect of the problem. They want to know how. How to do things.
And the second example: Shopify. Another example of the big website which is doing content marketing great. So over a million keywords in Google.co.uk and again how is almost 10% of all this pool of keywords, then what and why almost doesn’t exist. I was preparing last week a similar session and I was with Wix and I was using different examples: BBC and Santander. And the Santander is very interesting: bank. You would never think that banks are using this kind of how: they don’t care. Of course they care.
They understand how the content marketing is working and they know that their customers also very often using word how and then keywords maybe what and why is not that popular.
So when we know that we’re going to keyword magic tool and we can write ‘organised conference’, ‘US’, click questions and we can see that here start appearing questions with ‘how to organise conference’, ‘how to organise call meeting’ and so on and so on. We have search volume, we have keyword difficulty. Bigger search volume: more popular keyword. Smaller keyword difficulty: easier to rank.
Here is another: London – questions about London and here here are questions that people are asking that contain London and are questions. So Semrush can recognise what queries are questions.
And when I was preparing this presentation I was like thinking – this is me like 3 o’clock, 3 a.m. – ‘What is the most popular keyword with the lowest search, the lowest keyword difficulty? Keyword that I can definitely rank without any effort, any super popular. And I found one and this keyword is ‘how to cook broccoli’.
So if you want to write, if you want to start a website about broccoli then you will be ranking quite high but I don’t know how to monetise this. That’s how far I went so far. And this is the example, you know, ‘how to cook broccoli in oven’ and so on and so on. So for someone who doesn’t cook like me: very useful and average difficulty 0.02 is absolutely not difficult. Pretty much you don’t need even a website to rank there.
And then you have – because of my mindset is like still in a price comparison website – I was working for many years in uSwitch and I know how difficult this area is. So you know if someone would come to me and say like Lukasz I’m trying to open a new price comparison website, you know, like comparing prices.
In this country it’s like national sport. People love this. The same like watching properties. Who of you was in the bed it’s like ‘Mmm Chepstow 3-bedroom. That’s nice actually’. You know that’s me actually, yeah.
So you would need to go in with like credit cards or balance transfer credit cards – forget about this. We have uSwitch, Compare the Market, Go Compare, Money Supermarket Money.co.uk and potentially like 20 other websites. You won’t get there in next five years but there is some questions that you might try to jump between, yeah?
Keyword difficulty doesn’t exist, search volume is relatively high and for example here ‘can you get cash back with a credit card’ or ‘how to pay off credit card’ that’s a good question. ‘Can I get credit card with bad credit’, yeah.
You know, I know that there is one of the similar like broccoli family keyword. A keyword that describes a product that doesn’t exist. It is ‘no credit check credit card’. A product that doesn’t exist but there is like thousand of searches.
And you know some companies are monetising on this because they are writing like a guide which is starting like ‘So you’re looking for no credit check credit cards. Well let me explain it maybe not possible but we presume that you may have little problems with your credit rating so we have some other products… and even on a non-existing product you can monetise.
Brand mentions and links
Now tactic number three: brand mentions and links. One of my favourite tactics, but again like a bit of story. When you have a Polish name and and Czech name living in UK what could go wrong?
Yeah so I’ve been like the Zelenski, Zelenzy, Zelensznysz, I was once Zelensznysz and Zeleny is like a very popular mutation of my name and surname. I don’t mind about my name but surname is, like, difficult. And it’s very simple! It’s like ˈwukaʂ ɡʐɛ.ɡɔʂ/ ˈʒɛlɛzniː so you know, like, I was that everyone knows how to write this! But no.
And I was thinking that this must have changed because I should have something easier and also when thinking about changing my name and surname to have like a common surname and like very kind of sophisticated name and I even found one that was Archibald Smith.
I wanted to be called Archibald Smith. I was like ‘That sounds so English. Hello, I’m Archibald Smith’.
And then I noticed that Archie was actually alive 100 years ago. Moreover Archie is still ranking quite high in Wikipedia, on first page actually, on the first position when you type Archibald Smith he have a Wikipedia page there. So not a bad SER for someone who is dead 100 years. And then I understood that there are brand trackers. And when you have a crazy name and surname like Andrew said there is no more Lukasz Zelezny probably and then you can at least do some brand tracking.
So I started from looking for a right tool and there are plenty. Talkwalker, Brand24, Fresh web explorer, Google Alerts – that sometimes works. And I stick with Brand24 and what I did, I just put as a keywords like Lukasz Zelezny, Lukasz Zelezny with space, without space, with Polish some kind of crazy characters and so on and so on and so on. I created this project in 2013 and it’s still running and collecting, every time there is some mention, that is mentioned my name somewhere around online environment.
And why I’m saying about this, because if your brand or your name is unique – it’s not dictionary – if you are not John Smith, if you are Archibald Smith then you can set up something like that. If your brand name is uSwitch, Zoopla, Yahoo, Google then that will work. If your brand name is Booking.com, Cheap Holidays or Last Minute: probably won’t.
And you see like I get a report. I knew where I’m mentioned on Twitter, Facebook. I could get always back to these tweets historically and so on and so on. And then I realised that sometimes there are mentions without the link so I can re-approach these people and say like ‘Oh thank you very much for mentioning me, I’m overwhelmed and by the way can you link to my website?’ and you know like, it sounds stupid but one of my friends said like, if something looks stupid but works it’s not stupid anymore.
So it really works. Like people are OK they’re like ‘Yeah sure man. By the way how are things with you?’ ‘Sorry I’m busy, I need to send another email for another link’ but it’s quite successful ratio.
And here is an example. There was an episode for one of the websites where we had a podcast and I was invited there and I had the same project, a similar project for uSwitch and there was uSwitch.com but it was not linked. So I approached this guy and say like ‘Oh thank you for making this live. By the way any chance that uSwitch can be linked?’ ‘Yeah, yeah, no problem, no problem’.
Obviously some some of people might say like, this is not relevant thing. You know, like that was a reputable web site and so on and so on. It’s absolutely not a problem to have a link like that. And also that’s linking on the brand name so we are not trying to live link on like ‘credit card’ or ‘cheap credit cards’.
And one day I was like that, I was like ‘What’s going on here?’ because I saw that one page that was mentioning me was this page. And it’s like ‘Oh that’s interesting’. I was like ‘That must be Russian’. I don’t read Russian at all. I speak a bit and more shots I have more fluent I am. I have like a neighbour, have some training sometimes. And then, you know, like ‘Oh my gosh, that really works’.
And why I saw this is because these guys used a Latin alphabet for uSwitch and for Lukasz Zelezny. So I went there and I could see that here is a link to my LinkedIn. I was like ‘Guys, let’s be honest, LinkedIn doesn’t need links; it even is called LinkedIn. So maybe you can repoint that link to my website?’ and they were like ‘No problem’. So they repoint that and and since then we are friends.
And then I went deeper and I started tracking this on Majestic, yeah? So for example you can see that the amount of links started growing here. In ninety days I received six referring domains. Maybe not crazy high but that works.
Links and social profiles
And then I went a bit deeper and I was thinking like ‘What about social media profiles?’ Obviously when you’re linking from Facebook or Twitter that doesn’t count as a SEO tactic but I started analysing how many backlinks from other website is linking to your social media profiles rather than your website. And it almost made me heart attack because that was my website SEO.London when I launched and there was zero backlinks and this is my LinkedIn profile and there was definitely much more than 0 backlinks.
So I first wanted to repoint backlinks that are pointing to this page to link to my home page SEO.London. So what I did: first I had to identify what is my URL. My URL was uk.LinkedIn.com/in/seomanagerlondon and I could see that there is 141 external links from 20 domains. So it’s like, what domains they are? And there was zelezny.uk obviously, Site Visibility, Remoters, Social Media Sun, ppcmasters.de, SM Excel, Time Camp.
So I was like if they linking to my LinkedIn profile, I could approach them and say like ‘Can you repoint this link to my website?’
So I did this and some people were not only keeping that LinkedIn link but also adding my website. So this is remoters.net whose owner is Aleyda Solis, my friend and very reputable speaker. And and here is AccuRanker and was very similar story. I had there a link to my LinkedIn and I asked them to link to zelezny.uk which they did.
And that way I could scale this up and you would be surprised how many social media profiles aggregate so many links through the years. And I’m not only talking about your private profiles but also about your company profiles. Any time someone from your company is speaking somewhere or any news, any anything like that and so on and so on there will be plenty of opportunities.
So I went to Majestic.com again and I typed SEO.London and after two nights – with a coffee and with lots of emails I sent – I had eleven domains linking and my ranking started improving. And then I was like ‘Hold on. I don’t only have a LinkedIn I have other social media websites’. So I went to Facebook. Nothing crazy: two domains. I was like ‘OK’.
And then I went to Twitter and this almost killed me. 164 domains linking to my Twitter profile. Twitter have definitely enough links and you want to just kind of steal these links to work for your website, for your business. And then Facebook again there was a bit of links.
So now why it works so well. Because in most cases I noticed that I know people I’m approaching. It’s like ‘Oh yeah I remember two years ago you was writing this article about something and you mentioned company or me or something’. It’s easy to switch that link. It’s like taking less than 15 seconds. Just login to your CMS and just repoint them.
It’s relevant to switch from social media to your website. Very likely your social media profile and your website are talking more or less about the same thing. It’s organic. Kind of. And you can save a tremendous amount of time.
And then I have this fifth tactic which is like a super secret tactic.
It’s like super easy and I frankly speaking I don’t know why it works but it works. That’s why I’m sharing.
Merge sub domains into subfolder. Anyone done this before? No. So sometimes there are situation that client is coming to you and you see that the website is old the website is not bad, looks nice, aggregates some links. But then you’re getting deeper and you see that he have like OK: main domain and then he got faq.themainname, then they have a blog dot and then forums dot and everything is diluted. Everything is somewhere else, yeah? And your role would be to bring this all under the same domain.
So I have one client. He had that let’s say, let’s call this domain.com and then the blog was on blog.domain.com and I noticed that both assets (domain.com and blog.domain.com) had about like maybe 5,000 visits. I was like ‘Listen, let’s move blog dot inside the slash blog slash because there was lots of backlinks pointing to the domain.com as well as blog domain.com.
He had lots of interesting articles that had been attracting links. And he was like ‘And what will happen? That will just move this traffic from subdomain inside the folder?’ I was like ‘Not exactly. There is a chance that we would generate a massive synergy’ and he was like ‘Why?’ I was like because it is like you multiplying the authority of blog with authority of the main domain and somehow – God knows why – it’s like flowering, yeah?
And we did this and he was like ‘No, you know what? Let’s move everything into root folder’. I was like ‘What do you mean all articles will be sitting in the root folder?’ I was like ‘OK but you know that we will maybe have problems to track this in analytics. There will be like a mess’. He was like ‘No I don’t care’. And we did this and it was crazy because we moved all the blogs that been before in blog dot to the main root folder and we 301 everything from blog dot into slash root folder, yeah?
And this is what happened. And this is the visibility from Search Matrix. It was really flat and then he started skyrocketing. He called me and he was like ‘Lukasz I don’t know, I have too many leads’. I was like ‘That’s your problem, that’s not my problem. Maybe turn off PPC or maybe… you know’. So it was it was great. Great to know that he have too many leads. And that was one example.
And then when I learned about that and when I saw that it works so well I had another client who had a very old job portal. Like very old. The design like from 2001 and the forum almost like from ’97. But it was working quite OK but he was losing constantly traffic. And he optimised everything the way I never seen. Such a good optimised website but it didn’t help.
So I was like ‘Listen, that’s the last chance, removing forums into forums. He wanted to move this to root folder, thanks God and we did this and take a look what happened. He was losing here for a couple of years because he was like going like that and then when the moment when we moved this it skyrocketed. Then went a little down but he was still way above the initial baseline of the visibility and you could also see this in traffic because it was working really well for him.
And then results of another customer who become an industry leader in six months. So here we done another migration. You can see that this orange line: that is a competitor and my client was blue line and take a look what happened. The orange guys once called me and say like ‘Can you tell us?’ I was like ‘I have NDA, I cannot’.
But yeah, migration from the blog or any any other subdomain that you have there inside the folder can help you. Especially for established websites like the one I was working on.
And this is pretty much what I have for today. Just want to say a big thank you very much and let’s catch up on LinkedIn
So many great tactics from Lukasz, there. Will you try any tonight? Maybe you’re considering changing your name to Archibald Smith…
We are currently under lockdown restrictions in the UK so unfortunately we can’t run our exciting events. If you want to use SEO to help your business survive these turbulent times, check out this post with lots of resources I hope you’ll find useful.