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Episode 88 - Shopify SEO with OrthoBracing

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Scott (00:00):
Scott Austin here. And in this week's episode, I have another guest who is an SEO expert. And some of you that listen to the podcast frequently are probably wondering, Hey Scott, this is your third SEO expert this year, what's going on? Well, there's two things I want you to take away from this one is that SEO is important. Most businesses really want to beef up their SEO and organic search traffic. And a lot of that is due to the fact that, you know, it's air quotes, free traffic, and also the challenges we're all having with Facebook and the different rules that are coming out with, you know, tracking and all that good stuff. The other thing is SEO is not a one size fits all best practice. So listening to one person who's really good at SEO, isn't going to you, you can't take what they give you cookie cutter and apply it to your business. You have to think about how your business is different and what's gonna work for your business. So the more SEO experts I talk to, the more best practices you get to hear from different people and then decide which ones apply to your business. So that's why I'm doing my third SEO interview this year. And my guest this week is Jordan Hitchens, who comes to us from ortho Welcome Jordan.

Jordan (01:11):
Hey, thanks Scott. Thanks for having me,

Scott (01:13):
Jordan, where are you coming to us from today? Where are you at

Jordan (01:16):
Charlotte, North Carolina. Nice hot this August

Scott (01:20):
<Laugh> and ortho What, what sort of products do you sell?

Jordan (01:27):
So we mainly sell pre-operative and post-operative recovery items. So whether that be knee braces or ankle braces or something for your hip or in the post-op therapy side of things, cold therapy. So if you've had a total knee or total hip, these really help mitigate pain and swelling and just help in the overall recovery process.

Scott (01:50):
And how long has ortho bracing been around?

Jordan (01:54):
I would say under two years we had a soft launch and by soft launch, meaning we just didn't know what we were doing at all for a long time. And as sales sort of trickled in, we eventually started figuring things out and it really started going, and I would say in his last year, 12 months or so.

Scott (02:13):
And how, how big is the, the business today? Can you give us like an order of magnitude?

Jordan (02:18):
Yeah, so we're a seven figure business. We crossed that in about 10 months at, at seven figures and then we're growing probably at a 10 to 15% rate per month at this clip.

Scott (02:31):
Wow. That's really impressive. Your SEO traffic how much is your traffic is organic search and how much of it would be paid or other channels

Jordan (02:40):
Right now? Probably between 35 and 37%. I, I haven't taken a look at the numbers this month, but that's, that's been right around what it is.

Scott (02:51):
So 35% is organic or paid?

Jordan (02:54):
Yes, mm-hmm <affirmative> organic.

Scott (02:56):
Okay. And has that always grown for you on the organic side or, you know, how, how much of a share of your business was organic in the beginning?

Jordan (03:04):
Oh zero. We were nowhere close to the first page. It was awful. I mean, you, we would be on page like six or seven, just terrible.

Scott (03:14):
Well, to overcome that, I always changed my Google search results to show 50 listings instead of 10. And then, you know, you're more likely on the first page, even if

Jordan (03:23):
You <laugh>. I like that. I wish I, it would've been good for my ego early on.

Scott (03:29):
How did you learn SEO? How, how did you get so good at it?

Jordan (03:33):
A lot of time spent on YouTube from watching a lot of SEO experts and then eventually getting a great copywriter and really starting to, and I look at this not as an expense part of the business, but an investment finding, you know, great articles producing them on a consistent basis for many, many months. And I felt as though initially I was making the results just aren't there. The results are much slower than my erratic brain needed to, to justify that what I was doing. But then eventually it started really kicking in and it was like a hockey stick kind of climb. And I felt much better about, you know, the expenditures. And I really started seeing it as an investment versus an expense.

Scott (04:23):
And have you tried multiple SEO strategies or have you always stuck to the same one?

Jordan (04:29):
How I look at SEO or how I at least understand it is that you're gonna have on page SEO, which is, you know, getting your H ones and your H two S align and good copy and good density of keywords. Then you look at really good content. You know, having customers really understand the product, answer a lot of their questions. And then the third one would be back links and I didn't really touch at all on back links. So I've only stayed onto on page and producing good content.

Scott (04:58):
So you have a newer domain since you've only been around for a few years, you don't have a lot of back links yet you are able to provide substantial traffic and revenue and sales from that traffic, even though you don't have a lot of back links in a new domain.

Jordan (05:14):
Yes. And I, I, I chalk a lot of that up to content. I mean, we, we rank our blogs rank, I would say 70% or more of all organic traffic comes through our blogs. And it's because we put out content that other folks have not put out there.

Scott (05:30):
The new SEO best practice in, in 2020s, I think is just create the best content there is, which sounds simple, of course, but it's hard to execute on cuz content is hard. Whereas in the past, let's just say in the 20 teens, the best practice was, get everybody in the world to point to your website. And that, that is not as important anymore, which means a newer company can come in, create best of breed content and succeed without having all those back links to help them get there.

Jordan (06:01):
Yes. Yeah. I would totally agree with you on that. I mean, it's a, it's a hard thing to convince someone early on in building a website that you need to spend thousands of dollars sometimes a month to create content without an immediate payoff. You're basically hoping that the strategy works. So I, I just made a conservative effort. We're gonna make this investment and see how it goes. And luckily, you know, within, I would say month, maybe five, it really started to climb that I could see.

Scott (06:31):
And I assume this like a snowball effect to that. Once Google starts indexing some of your content and ranking it high, you, it just becomes easier to have that happen because they're scraping your website more often, you're getting credibility with them and they're like, oh, this is a trusted site. Well, they, as they add more content, we're gonna get it in there more quickly.

Jordan (06:52):
I would suspect that. I mean, when we for, so I use stem rush and the sort of a, I don't know if it's called the authority score, but it's essentially what that number is. I think our site was like a four mm-hmm, <affirmative> just flat out four terrible. Now it's right around a 40. So we really built it up over time. And I would, if you were to look at what we were doing and then what was happening, it was, you know, basically around that content

Scott (07:17):
And on a 40 reputation score in your industry is a pretty good and, and average score, right? It's not like you're below your competition or that much higher if I remember correctly with your industry you're right, right. In the ballpark with everybody else.

Jordan (07:31):
Yeah, we're right. In the ballpark of a lot of folks that have been in the industry a lot longer, 8, 9, 10 years, we're, we're close to them. They have so many more back links, which, which makes sense, cuz they've been around for a long time, but our, our content, it seems to be doing really, really well.

Scott (07:49):
Yep. So you have, you know, the content strategy is, is, and I call it, you know, white hat SEO, where you're just gonna focus on best of breed content. There's no secret technical, you know, tricks. You're not trying to find a silver bullet. It's just the hard work of creating good high quality content. And in the long term you're gonna win with that game. Correct?

Jordan (08:11):
I think so. I mean that that's been proven out to be correct. And what's nice about it is that, you know, we can put in these FAQs, some of these frequently asked questions that customers always have, and that actually helps us on the reducing the number of phone calls and repetitive questions. And then, you know, when people do have questions via email, we can send them some really good content and say, Hey, give visa, read. And if you have questions, call us back, usually answers most of their questions. So the content's really doing a lot more work for us just helping us rank for a keeper actually.

Scott (08:44):
Yeah. That makes total sense where, you know, I, I think the, the internet is a very self-help focused tool and people don't wanna talk to other people who have to ask questions. They just wanna read the content themselves, you know, look back to your earlier days of investigating SEO, where you on YouTube started watching videos and, and learning from that instead of having to engage and talk to people days, you know, you said, you know, you had a five month lag, which is a long time, right? You gotta be really patient to do that. What gave you the confidence during that five months to keep investing in creating content and just keep waiting? Cause that, that seems like a really nervous time.

Jordan (09:26):
Oh, it was gut punch time because I was where there's two things. One running a company and making money is, is difficult. What I found even harder is running a company, making a profit and then figuring out how to spend every dime that you're making in an investment without actually going negative. That's actually like a twofer. That's pretty hard. You have to be profitable. And then you have to make strategic investments at the same time. That was very nerve wracking. I would have to blame you a little bit for my confidence that this would actually work <laugh> cause I, I have been a listener for a long time and that, that is something that you talk about is, is creating good content. And I was like, ah, man, I I'm guess I'm just skeptic to bite the bullet, make the investment. And hopefully the revenue comes in before I go bankrupt. That was basically the, the theory there.

Scott (10:24):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, and to be perfectly honest, like, you know, you and I have worked together in the past for quite a few years now and it, all of my, my time in Shopify, I gave you the single worst piece of advice ever. And that was, you know, this was about 20 18, 20 19. When I told you, Hey, your store has got a four, you need a lot more back links before you can start being successful in SEO and you completely prove me wrong. And that's one of the reasons I wanted you on this podcast is like, I've learned so much by watching you be successful when I thought you couldn't be, because content was way more important and is way more important. Now in 2020s than it was in the 20 teens where it was more about back links back then and watching that paradigm shift in Google, you're one of the case studies that really made me understand you can be successful in SEO without the internet all pointing to you.

Jordan (11:15):
Yeah, it seems like there's, there's certainly a switch. And I think two, a lot of, a lot of folks look for an easier way out and a shorter time span cuz they wanna return on investment, which is reasonable. But I think as these new Google updates come out, you really gotta question, are you building for the long term, are you building for the short term? And I think Google is smart and they're gonna catch up to any shenanigans or tricks that are out there. I at least know that the asset, the site that I'm building has been built correctly and on the white hat side of things and it's going to continue to survive all of the Google updates. So I can at least, you know, sleep at night and feel, feel good about that.

Scott (11:58):
Yeah, absolutely. That makes sense. And you know, the, the white hat way is totally the way to go in my, my humble belief because Google's smarter than all of us and any games like you're saying any games we play, they're gonna figure out and we're gonna get caught. So let's just do the right thing, which, you know, Google's mantras basically. I'm not gonna quote word for word, cause I don't know word for word, but basically they want you to provide quality content to the customer. They want you to answer the questions being asked, and if you can do that, they're gonna reward you for it. So how did you in the early days decide what content you were gonna create?

Jordan (12:34):
My experience working in the operating room. Basically he helped understand that a majority of operations in orthopedics is gonna be a, a total knee. The next one's gonna be a total hip, then you're gonna have shoulder arthoplasty, you're gonna have rotator cuff repair. So you're just gonna have these certain procedures and that's what patients are gonna look for. So they're gonna look at, you know, post-operative knee recovery, for instance, there's probably a good amount of search volume so that I just let the search volumes sort of help dictate what the customers are actually searching for and then produce good content around those things. And then, you know, at the end or interspersed, you can talk about the product, but you really gotta talk about the needs and wants and address some of the feeders and concerns that the customers have. So that's how, that's how the, the rank choice started working.

Scott (13:27):
So you had industry knowledge of what sort of surgeries and injuries people had and you applied to that Google data on, on query volumes and that gave you a stack rank of content to go after or create, correct?

Jordan (13:42):
Yes mm-hmm

Scott (13:43):
<Affirmative>. And how did you go about creating like your first piece of content or how do you do content today? Even what is the process to create a quality article?

Jordan (13:53):
So I'm not a good writer and I think it's very important to know your strengths and weaknesses. I'm not the, the type of guy that can write something that a normal person or normal customer could read. I'm really used to working with surgeons and being very technical, being very matter of fact and anatomic, and that's just not how to communicate. So the guy that I found his name's Jared McKinney he wrote all the, the best ranking articles to date on the site. He has an agency called sub folder. He does incredible work. And when I read his articles, I'm like, ah, I learned four or five new things about the product I'm actually selling. He just does great work, communicates very clearly and wrote really, really good articles like centerpiece articles.

Scott (14:42):
How do they go about doing that since they're not experts in this field, do they just do heavy research?

Jordan (14:48):
It seems like it, he went in and just Googled the subject, Googled the subject, Google the subject, found out all the ways in which the products apply and then wrote really, really solid long form thousand 1500 word articles really, really covering it. I give a lot of credit to him for his ability to go into a, a very technical subject and make it very approachable. He just has a knack with that wording in the language and how it unfolds. And he, he also would kick it to me and say, Hey, can you read this? And, and I would adjust slightly here and there, but overall he, he just did a, a bang up job.

Scott (15:28):
And were there certain formats of articles that were more popular in your space or worked better on your site? Like listicals or howtos or FAQs? What type of content seems to be the ones that resonate the best?

Jordan (15:42):
The ones that resonate the best are anatomy specific for me. So it's shoulder arm, me, elbow, whatever that might be. And then mm-hmm, <affirmative>, here's what's happening on surgery. Here's why this product works to relieve pain and swelling here. Why that helps affect your pain. Here's why the doctor might have prescribed it. And then there's a really neat thing in Google. If you, you know, Google something at the very top, if you scroll way down to the bottom, it has sort of like also searched for, that's basically Google telling you what everyone is searching for. So if you can take those aspects of that related search at the bottom of the Google page and use that to actually write your articles, that's, you know, probably 80% of the meat of what people are looking for. So if you take those aspects, just basically ask Google what it wants. It shows you what it's already ranking currently. And then if you can plug in the holes, then you can come out the other side with a really nice article that ranks and pulls in a lot, lots of eyeballs

Scott (16:46):
And your articles. They have, you know, lots of copy. You mentioned, is there a length that you're shooting for in number of words or is it driven by how much information there is?

Jordan (16:57):
Yeah, usually a thousand is great. And then, you know, product overviews is private right around a thousand. So I would say between no less than seven 50 no more than 1500 and most people do not read beyond the third paragraph. So there's a, there's a cool app called lucky orange and you can actually see where people will. So like a heat map where they'll look at your page and you can kind of see what they're doing. A lot of people just read the first three and then they scroll off to something else. So you have to be informative, catch their attention and get some stuff done in the first three paragraphs.

Scott (17:35):
Does that mean you put a call to action in those first three paragraphs? Is there like a by and now link in there or something or,

Jordan (17:40):
You know, I, I, I have not gotten good at that. I have not optimized my content as best I could. That's probably another project that I need to work on cuz we've just been delivering really good content and it converts fine. And I'm sure it can convert more. That's probably like the next project I need to do. Yes. Figuring out how to make those articles convert.

Scott (18:04):
Yep. And do you have other types of content on these articles? Like infographics photos or videos?

Jordan (18:11):
Photos, yes. Videos. Yes. Infographics. No, I've not explored that yet. That is something probably on the, the to-do list. And just try to check it, you know, is, is the infographic since everyone's so visual these days mm-hmm <affirmative> is the infographic almost, could it be a superior content to long form written probably with the right personality. Some people just wanna see, you know, how does it rank, what does it cost? Okay. Buy it. Versus there are people that prepare months in advance for anything they're gonna have done. And they're gonna read every last thing. They're gonna read everything that manufacturer produces all of. So I think you have to understand there's different personalities. There's the researcher. Who's gonna research everything and ask a million questions. And then people who just wanna know how fast can they ship it and you know, where is it coming from? How much is the cost sort of thing?

Scott (19:02):
Yeah. Yeah. I find the same thing where everybody has different ways. They consume content and a different amount of information they need before making a decision. So the more you give your content, your information in different formats and at different levels, then you can meet the needs of these multiple people. So having, I, I find infographics, you know, helps with a certain segment of people who want that visual. You know, I, I could see, for example, with your, you know, cold therapy ice machines in infographic, you know, that's got a couple bullet points with, you know, a text that says, you know, high quality ice bucket and, you know, pads that do this and that kind of stuff. And some people will look at that and other people will read your, you know, thousand words instead. But that way, regardless of which way you communicate, you know, or which way your customers receive information best, you're giving that information to them in all of those ways.

Jordan (19:53):
Yeah. That makes total sense. I think it's true. It's kind of neat. Just running a business and being part of it is that it it's always upgrading it, it demands, you know, some creativity and that's that's a very neat part of the business and you can always have new projects to sort of test which is a lot of fun and figuring out what works and what doesn't work.

Scott (20:15):
Yeah, yeah. What I'm always amazed by is people that are really good at their business and, you know, really smart people is how well they know their customers. And you know, one of the things you talked about was, you know, not just putting out the content, but also looking and lucky orange and seeing how they're consuming it. Are there more insights you've gotten from watching your customers consume your content and lucky arms besides the fact that only go three paragraphs down,

Jordan (20:39):
You know, on the content side, they're really, really curious once they sort of hone in on the product that they want is how fast they can get it. And you and I have actually worked a lot on that sort of checkout experience of here's the shipping speed cuz we offer from ground all the way to next day 8:00 AM delivery. You wrote some script and some code that basically says after this point in time, there we have a shipping cutoff, but if you order it this way, it will arrive by this time that's been huge that has cut down, you know, probably 60% of all the phone calls and inquiries cuz once the customer knows they, they want something and there's some urgency behind it. They wanna know when they can get it and you can kind of see that in how they interact with the page.

Scott (21:28):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and that's where, to me, you know, my recommendation of know your customers becomes super important because you know, let's remind the listener right now you have medical supplies, right? So somebody just had a surgery or they just sprained their ankle on their own. They're getting a knee brace. Right. And or they sprained their ankle. They're getting an ankle brace. And like, I, I sprained my ankle last year being an idiot on a skateboard and I couldn't walk, my ankle was so injured. I could not walk. And I had to order a cane and some crutches and an ankle brace. And all I cared about was can I get it tomorrow because I'm not walking until those things, you know, get to me. So the point I'm making here is not that I'm an idiot on a skateboard, but your business is very time sensitive because of the injury nature. And you know, the, the healing that your, your products are providing to people that are injured. So time is super important, but for other businesses that might not be as important. And they've gotta look at their customers and understand what's important to their customers.

Jordan (22:29):
Yeah, absolutely. And I think just thinking about, or talking to other friends who have other e-commerce stores, my problems, they're like, how, why do people even pay for shipping? Like everything is free shipping for them. And I was like, oh, we just have different customers have different needs. Is it is kind of a neat world.

Scott (22:48):
Yeah. Yeah. One of my common themes is every store is different and it's important to understand your customers and how they interact with your products. So in the early days you had these content articles, you started creating, you were really patient waited five months, they started performing. Did you do any optimization on these articles or was your strategy to create more content

Jordan (23:12):
Strategy was just to create more content, keep going full bore, creating content. Cause it's basically do, do what's been working. Yep. And just try to become, or there's an idea that Google will find the site or a site to be an authoritative site for certain things. So the more info we push out there and the, and the good quality that it is, that's what I think wins. So we've just been investing in content ever since.

Scott (23:41):
So right now it's a, it's a breath play versus a depth play. You wanna, you wanna get coverage and as much content that's applicable to your space as possible. And then I assume you, then you might start going deeper in each one later on.

Jordan (23:56):
Yes. Yeah. We're, we're trying to rank for certain keywords and then trying to capture all the little long tail keywords around them.

Scott (24:02):
How long in the concentration process, you know, you say you're not a writer, which I can totally relate with how long in that concentration process did it take for you to say, I can't do this. I'm gonna go find an agency to do this for me. And how did you find them?

Jordan (24:17):
Oh, that was an immediate, immediate, not good at this I'm 40 now. And I spent enough time with myself to realize that I'm not a good writer <laugh> and my wife would tell you the same thing. So I've got a lot of good negative feedback on my writing skills. So and you know, it's weird enough it's through a friend of a friend that said, Hey, here's this guy. He is his name's Jeremy. He's really good at what he does. You should give him a call and talk and how a good feeling about, you know, our first interactions and the content briefs and you know, what he was putting together. And I was like, all right, let's give us a try. So much of e-commerce I think is giving things a try, figuring them out. Obviously you, you have to run your P and L but run the P and L as if you're a scientist and you have a certain dollar amount that you're experimenting with all the time. And I think that R and D side of this business is really neat. I find it fascinating. And you do have to welcome failures cuz now that's, you know, it might have cost you 500 bucks to realize like that's not gonna work anymore. And I can cross that off the list. I no, no longer have to worry about that. And that lesson cost me 500 bucks versus there's a million dollars worth of stuff to spend. Where do I spend it and get overwhelmed.

Scott (25:32):
Yeah. When I I ran MSN shopping, you know, back in 2004 or five and I had this merchandising team and we actually had this mantra, you know, you know, test measure theory and there were no failures, right. There were only learnings. And we either learned that this worked or this didn't work, it was never a failure. And it's that mindset of, I'm just trying to see, and I'm throwing spaghetti against the wall. Let's see what sticks. And then we're gonna double down on the things that stick and you know, getting out of that, oh, I failed like, no, I didn't fail. I now learned that doesn't work and that's a positive.

Jordan (26:08):
Yeah, a absolutely. I think it's a little bit of it is just like your perception of reality of mm-hmm <affirmative> but it maybe also the entrepreneurial side is delusional in the upward, up into the right way. And I, I might be guilty of, of some of that too. The, the fiscal side has been fun cuz it it's the, it's the whip that's like getting you in line to make sure you don't overspend or overdo something either way. So it's a nice balance of like fiscal responsibility. You have to run a business that has to make a profit, but then you have to also make long, longer term investments. So it's been a really, really fun, fun ride for me.

Scott (26:44):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I could see, you know, where, where that be fabulous. Like for me with my business, it's all inbound marketing, it's all content based. It's why I do this podcast. It's why I do so many YouTube videos. Why I share out so much code and it's, it's been nothing but successful for me and many brands today. You know, you know, not every brand could do this, but many brands are being successful in becoming content creation companies and they, you know, their, their primary objective on a daily basis is create more content.

Jordan (27:11):
Yeah. I've seen that from Gary V he talks about, you know, you don't sell insurance you're content creation machine that happens to have insurance. Yes. I mean, he's super creative. He talks about document. Don't create content, just document what you're doing. I think he's, you know, a genius at that stuff. That's not my personality. So I have to rely on what is my personality. Writing is not my strength. Probably video is not my strength. So having people that, that is their strength, bringing them onto the team that works really, really well for me.

Scott (27:43):
I would argue with you on the video side, you know, a you're really well spoken, right? Not only in this conversation, but you know, in all the conversations we've had and in the world of video, you know, like the least good looking guy and all the interactions I have is me. And I put myself out there in video all the time. You don't have to be a 20 something polished influencer to have good content and good videos point. I could totally see you. You know, one of your, you know, paths down the road is you start doing videos about your products and you doing them because you are the expert. You have that surgical background, you know, this stuff really well. And you come across really well. If I was you I'd, I'd encourage you to do that is one of your next steps.

Jordan (28:28):
Yeah. what do you mean knowing our relationship and how you seep into my brain about good ideas is probably on the list.

Scott (28:36):
Going back to the content creation with the agency, sounds like you were lucky enough to get a good recommendations. You didn't have to interview a whole bunch of them and you, you found the partner. What is cost look like? And timeframe look like on that. What does it cost you to create an article? And how long does it take?

Jordan (28:52):
There's certain there's certain ways to do it. So some people charge like per word, so 1500 words at 7 cents a word or whatever it is. Some people just do a flat, you know, my hourly rate is 115 bucks. And if it takes me 10 hours to research and write it, you know, that's what it's, I would say roughly a thousand to $1,100, whereas the cost and a lot of colleagues in sort of the eCommerce space are like, Ugh, I could write, you know, you could have a lot of these AI tools, write it for five bucks, 10 bucks. You could have someone else from the Philippines, right. For 150, which is all true. All very true. I just went with someone who is just very impressive to me, someone I learned from when I actually read it and said, okay, if I'm learning from this other people, undoubtedly are, so this is a good spend.

Jordan (29:45):
And I would say maybe 20% of the articles I paid for those articles paid for all the other articles that did not rank that did not do well, essentially from, from a commerce perspective, meaning making a profit on or a return on investment. It's almost like venture capital investing. You spread out your risk amongst a whole bunch of different articles. And several of them will do really well. Most of them won't. So you really do need to spread out your dollars, spread out your risk and have faith in the process that some of them will rank. And quite frankly, sometimes they, they rank for reasons you don't can't even fathom why they did, but they do. And it must be, be lucky and thankful that it did.

Scott (30:31):
Yeah. That to me is like one of the, the funnest parts about SEO. And I mean, fun sarcastically is the fact that, you know, Google tells us nothing about how they rank concept. They give you some general, very vague guidelines, and then they give you no details. So there's no recipe, there's no equation, there's no formula. You just have to guess. And you're totally surprised all the time, like what works and what doesn't, and that's, you know how they're doing things without transparency. And it's also how the competitive environment is for that keyword phrase that you're going after some keyword phrases, you know, magically are, are not competitive. And all of a sudden you're number one really quickly. And other ones you spend a lot of time on while they're super competitive and it's gonna be a really hard slog to get there. But the summary of what I heard you say is on the cost side of things, you pay a lot more money than the low quality places, but that's because you're high quality, quality costs money.

Jordan (31:30):
It does. Yeah. Firm believer you, you, you do get what you pay for. And yeah, I not to say that I, I wasn't intrigued with a lot lower costs <laugh> and then I've actually paid for articles at a lot lower costs. Read them and say, this is garbage. Like not only did I lose whatever money I've just paid, I'm not even gonna publish it. Like, it's just not good. And I don't have the time to like, make it good. So it just goes just gonna go in the trash trash collector.

Scott (31:59):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, the one key takeaway I took from what you said earlier is that it's not a checking the box. I got a thousand words. It says this key phrase, 13 times, I'm good to go. Your quality bar was, did I learn something? And I already know this space really well. So having that quality bar, which is an editorial process is that, you know, that hard to measure, but you know, if you can do it, that's how you're gonna differentiate.

Jordan (32:29):
Yeah. For, for me, there is just a certain amount of information I was willing to put out there as far as quality goes. And if it didn't meet that, I was like, man, can't do it. Not interested in, in doing it. And let's learn lost some money. Maybe I'm too flippant about losing money, but I don't, as you, as I'm, I'm 40 years old, as I'm trying to learn something new, you have to, at least, I think you have to give yourself some grace and some, some room to make mistakes. You, you weren't always perfect as a teenager or a 20 year old as you were learning a certain craft or certain skill. That doesn't mean just cuz you're a bit older that you're gonna do it perfectly.

Scott (33:08):
Oh, I, I totally agree. I don't think any of us know what we're doing before we do it. And it's just the competent people that can, you know, discern what works and what doesn't and double down on the things that work that that's that's success in life. I think so on the, the creating this content, how, you know, long does it take to make an article, even though you're not doing them, what's the turnaround time from your agency to start to finish, make a new article for you?

Jordan (33:36):
How it usually works is you'd say, all right, well, here are these four topics. Let's get them in the queue and we'll deliver the four topics or four articles sporadically throughout the month. And at the end of the month, here's your bill for the four articles. And usually like a week week to maybe seven business days, cuz they are really, really well researched. And that's basically the, the cadence. So as you got on a normal cadence, that's what you would do.

Scott (34:05):
Yeah. So, you know, one of the things I'm hearing there is in, it varies of course, but you know, it takes a week to make an article and you know, that makes sense. And, and the, I really wanna point that out cuz you know, for the audience listening, if you think making a blog article that's gonna rank an SEO is, you know, a couple hours sitting down at lunch break or something and it's gonna take more time than that. The, the quality bar from your competition is so high. You're gonna spend time researching bringing all the content together, determining how to lay it out in an engaging format and then putting that all together and building those pages.

Jordan (34:41):
Yeah. It's, it's not, it's not a short process and maybe that's why Google actually rewards it because if you're making these investments, you're putting in the time, they know you're serious about your business, that you're not just random Joe Schmo throwing up some products via Shopify and Shopify has made it really easy to create a site. But maybe Google is, is saying, well, we're gonna reward the, the effort and the investment maybe who knows they're black box. We don't know.

Scott (35:09):
Yeah. They, I forget the term they use, but they have this little AI term that, you know, syntax or something where they could, they can sense crappy content and people that rush through creating it or bots that do it. Like you mentioned before, people will have, you know, bots write, write articles for you. Google's smart enough now to tell, oh, this is crappy content just cuz it was created by a bot or it's poor quality. And whether it's smart enough to tell what's good quality just by analyzing the words on the page,

Jordan (35:39):
They're they're getting better. And while there are tricks still to do all this stuff, I, I think they figure out those tricks in time.

Scott (35:47):
Yeah. Yep. Now once you have a new article you posted to the website, you know, your first content took five months for you to see a return on, on investment. When do you start seeing a new article, getting indexed, ranking, performing and converting to sales? How long does that take today? Now that's more established for you.

Jordan (36:09):
Yeah, so the indexing is actually really quick. I've I've heard or read that sometimes it's that's long for people, but for the site that I have, it's it's pretty quick. You can just go to Google search console type in the URL and just see if it's been indexed and mine are usually indexed fairly quickly. And then over time I guess through Google analytics maybe is that I'm trying to think of where I pull the data from, but there's a data center that you can pull up and you can kind of see all the clicks, conversion rates, all that kind of stuff. Right now. We've got a lot of the initial keywords that we have and now we're going long tail. And the long tail is actually ranking faster. Now mm-hmm <affirmative>, since we got some of the main, bigger keywords,

Scott (36:53):
Couple things there. First one is you have Google search console account and it's connected to your Google analytics account. So your Google analytics has a report that shows your search console data. So it'll show you what keywords you're ranking for what you were, you know, placed at how many clicks you got and how that converts on site. So, you know, your search console being connected to Google analytics gives you more reporting than if you didn't connect them. And, and so the second thing is on your long tail, keywords, them ranking more quickly. My assumption. And it's just an assumption there is that your longer tail keywords are less competitive cuz not as many people are pursuing them. That's why they're they're long tail. So those would rank more quickly because there's less competition.

Jordan (37:41):
Yes. Yeah. I mean, I, I don't mind trying to rank a long tail keyword that has 70 searches a month. Yeah. I'll, I'll try to just capture everything within that scope. The theory is, is that it, that all then helps with your authority that you're answering almost all the questions.

Scott (37:58):
Yep. Let's tell the audience here. What is your average cart size? So they understand, you know, your, your product's average value.

Jordan (38:06):
2 25 is a good, is a good average cart size.

Scott (38:10):
Yeah. So, and that's important so that people understand that, you know, because your products are on the more expensive side, you know, I would guess most Shopify stores, average cart size is under a hundred dollars. You guys are two X that, that, you know, getting 70 queries a month for, you know, one keyword phrase. And if that converts at a certain percentage, it's a few hundred dollars each time versus $25 that people in different industries would be getting your return on investment has a higher, you know, average order value to, you know, justify the investment.

Jordan (38:43):
Yeah, it does. I mean very fortunate to be in the space that I am each conversion matters. Like it, it helps justify any of these core investments in, you know, good articles.

Scott (38:54):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and just, you know, as we talk about, as I always talk about how every business is different, the interesting one for you, for the audience to think about is you are a injury repair product. People don't injure themselves every day and their friends don't injure themselves. So for you marketing, you know, when you acquire a customer, your number of orders per customer is very small because, you know, unless you get someone like me, who's chronically hurting themselves all the time because I'm <inaudible> right. Once you break your leg or get your knee, your surgery, you're not getting another one next year. You're not recommending it to your friends. So your marketing effort is very bespoke and one time, because you don't have a word of mouth or a repeat customer base as much as other businesses do.

Jordan (39:46):
Yeah. Repeat customers. I must nail. Yeah. It's just, you gotta hurt. You wanna help yourself get back in the game, get back into whatever you're doing in life. So I, I think having good content, having great reviews, I think we're near over 1400 reviews. So we've got good, good number of reviews. We've good content. And I think you can give that customer good. A good sense that where they're buying this product from is gonna come through and deliver and everything's gonna be fine.

Scott (40:13):
Yep. Now you have all these articles, you're building more out, people are landing and you're using blogs for that. People are landing on those pages. How do you engage them from that into the shopping experience?

Jordan (40:26):
Basically how, how it's, how it's written out is very informative. Google ranks, most of our content as informative, not commercial. So everything's very informative at the bottom of every page. There's like a listing of all the products that the article mentioned. So as people will scroll through, they'll find all that stuff. Sometimes we have call outs or shop now or Hey, this is the product we're directly talking about. So we'll use like we'll put an image or a video and we'll do rap text. So the product is right next to the text that they're reading. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so that could help in, you know, pulling through like, oh, I I've read enough about XYZ product I'm now. And then read the specs of the product. What size fits me? Is it a, is it a right? You know, is it in stock stock? All those other questions need to be answered beyond just, okay, I think this is the right product.

Scott (41:18):
Now you mentioned something early in that, that I'd never heard before. And that was that Google ranks your content as information, not commercial. How can I see that? And what difference does that make?

Jordan (41:30):
I think it's in, it's in SIM rush. In fact, I know it's in SIM rush. Okay. So a lot of our articles on the blog side is informational. So the thing about funnels, this is a very high funnel thing. And so we have a good amount of traffic coming, but they're not that qualified of a buyer cause they haven't made their decision. They're still in the like let's research this, let's see how it works. What is this? How does it work? Sort of thing. So that's fine. I'm, I'm fine with that. Fine with, you know, getting that initial traffic through. If they sign up for a newsletter, then we can send them some more information through that. So there's different mechanisms there too.

Scott (42:06):
Do you have specific calls to actions for newsletters on your blog articles like, Hey, sign up and, and enter our knee surgery, recovery flow or, or that kind of thing.

Jordan (42:17):
We don't. However, with the amount of content what's kind of neat about content is once you build it out in a library format you can start utilizing like repackaging and utilizing that. So pretty soon we're gonna have enough knee articles and enough hip articles that will have a little booklet that will have little reference sheets. And then you slowly just start redoing some of your content packaging in a little bit differently and giving it out of like, you know, here's how to prepare. Here's what to do. Here's how the product works. So as your sort of content rolls, you can start what Gary V kind of does is that he sort of cuts up a video, send some to Instagram, send some to LinkedIns, send some to YouTube and you start sending it different places. Yep. So that makes sense to me that is on the todo list. As all eCommerce owners are, there's lots of todos list and the, it never stops. It's just trying to prioritize where that comes into the natural evolution of the site.

Scott (43:14):
I think you hit the now on the head. I always say that, you know, you can add anything you want to the to-do list. The only question is where do we place it on the to-do list? Your to-do list only gets bigger, never gets smaller. And it's all, you know, the hard part for any, you know, business owner is prioritizing the to-do list. And that's where the successful people prioritize really well.

Jordan (43:33):
Yeah. You know, with a lot of e-commerce, it we've all been prioritizing inventory, just getting inventory buying, you know, a month or two months of inventory ahead of time because there might be outages. So inventory has been, you know, pain I'm sure for many of your listeners, including myself, nuts and bolts running the business is obviously part of it. And then the, the strategy part is I think, where the, the content really fits nicely.

Scott (43:58):
Yep. Yep. Now, how do you measure success of your SEO effort?

Jordan (44:03):
That's a good question. So one way is just to look at dollars. So the easiest way is to look at how many dollars come in, how much did you invest? So think of it like a yield. So say I invested a hundred grand so far on, on content and every month it yields $30,000. For instance, just to make the math easy. That's a 30% return compounded mm-hmm <affirmative> like per month. That's a great yield. I would love to have that. I would just throw money at that thing all day long. There is an expense, but it's an upfront expense. And then it also just builds. So a dollar is, is fine. If you look at what sort of coverage topics or silos of your inventory in quotes of, of your different articles, you can start saying, well, I wanna build 10 different silos, covering 10 different these topics.

Jordan (44:52):
I'm gonna go very shallow. And then very deep, you could look at it like that. Like how much have I built? How much of a moat have I built around this business as far as content is concerned and how much Google cares mm-hmm <affirmative> so those are kinda like the, the two ways that I would look at it is what are you aiming at? What's your content strategy? How close are you on fulfilling that? And then two, what is your return? And if it's a, and if it's a return, that's, you know, 30% great go for it. Like why would you not make a 30% monthly return on your expenditures?

Scott (45:23):
Yeah. Yeah. The, well, the 3.3 months to you know, breaking even is a fabulous number in any investment. Right? Most people measure that return on investment in years, not in months. So, you know, those are really good metrics. And I, I like, I like the way you're looking at that. Now you mentioned there a defensive mode with this content. Have you had problems yet or do you do anything to worry about copycats and people that steal your content?

Jordan (45:49):
I'm not really worried about it. There's so many other things. Like I really focus on like serving our customers and mm-hmm, <affirmative> getting in inventory in the door and staying profitable and employing people like those are sort of my day to day, if someone wants to steal content, my theory is that they, they can Google probably doesn't like duplicate content, so they'll have to rework it and revise it. And that's sort of on them if they wanna do that, they certainly can. I'm sort of agnostic of, I'm not gonna get mad at them. I mean, people steal a lot of the images that we use on our site, cuz we take product images and people have stolen that from us. And that's just kind of how it is.

Scott (46:30):
Yeah. It's, it's funny. I've built a number of websites in your space now because everybody found out that I built yours and there's a really, there's a huge shortage of good content, photos, videos, and stuff from the manufacturers. And it's, it's a small ecosystem. I, I think a lot of you guys know each other and there's probably, you know, more trust in your space than in others because you guys know each other more and there's, there's fewer players. Like I've, I've seen some competitive issues where it's just amazing how unscrupulous some sites can be and completely stealing or copying websites and stealing brands and stuff like that. It it's good. You don't have to worry about that yet. And, and you haven't had a problem.

Jordan (47:12):
Yeah. Well hope hopefully it doesn't visit me. <Laugh> hopefully that problem does not visit me.

Scott (47:17):
It's one of those once it does. It's just another learning. You go through another best practice you develop and another tool in your tool belt once you're done.

Jordan (47:25):
Sure, exactly.

Scott (47:27):
So is there anything about your SEO strategy that we haven't covered here?

Jordan (47:33):
I think from the content side, it it's been, we we've covered quite a bit. The on page stuff, I've learned a lot just from YouTube of just making sure the H ones are in order, all that kind of stuff. That's actually really important too. You can't, you can't have seven H ones on a page and expect Google to know what you're talking about.

Scott (47:53):
That's all you're really doing for the technical side of things. Right. You're not, you're not doing a lot of fancy code stuff with, you know, structured data and all that kind of thing. Are you?

Jordan (48:01):
No, I mean that's sexy and cool. I'm just, that's not a talent of mine. Like yeah. H ones twos and threes. That's about as far deep as I can go.

Scott (48:10):
Yeah. And you're using the flex theme and that has, you know, good structured data support built into the theme. Right. Not, not every theme in the world is going to be as, as good as the one you're using.

Jordan (48:21):
Yes. Yeah.

Scott (48:23):
And if I remember correctly, you even did a redesign for your store in the past year to bring you up to speed with the structured data. So you you're using the most, you know, newest theme. So it, it, it supported all the needs that Google has for structured data even better.

Jordan (48:37):
Yeah, no, we're really happy with the rebuild and that, that takes time. And you know, there's a lot of, lot of things that can go wrong and luckily knock on wood, nothing went wrong, we didn't lose anything. We didn't lose any of our rankings. Everything just was very, very smooth. So it's yeah. Very tenuous when you, when you try to do that.

Scott (48:55):
Oh <laugh>. I completely understand as I'm the one doing those things and I've never had, and this is amazing to me. I've never had a site do worse in SEO after redesign. Right. And that includes, you know, when we migrate from different platforms, change URLs and all that stuff. And I think it comes down to that structured data is so important to Google. It's really scraping your structured data these days, <inaudible> on the front end on the product side of things, especially that if, if you have new, you know, newer structured data support, I a newer theme, that technology is going to give you more gains than any other loss potentially could every, every store that I've done does better in SEO afterwards.

Jordan (49:39):
Yeah. That's I mean, that's a Testament to your skill and also the new theme and then also what Google's prioritizing. So that's

Scott (49:46):
Yeah. That's great. Well, I think mostly a Testament to the technology and the new themes, but you know, it's always one of those benefits that people get, you know, and they, most of 'em are surprised by it. Like I just did a store redesign, you know, we upgraded the theme and boom, my SEO increase. Look at that. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, it's a nice thing. Great. Yeah. All right. So any last piece of advice for store owners who are thinking about getting into SEO, but are really hesitant? What would you say to them?

Jordan (50:11):
I would say find the folks that plug up your hole. So if you're not a good writer, find like a good writer, find a content strategy, like laid out over several months, give yourself six months before you even look at the numbers. And if that makes you like super, super nervous and scared, just scale back your investment, if you don't wanna spend four grand a month for six months and just see how it goes, like spend 500 bucks a month, just do it slowly. The worst thing, you know, you imagine what is the worst thing? And the worst thing is that you are, you know, five days from doing something really cool on your site, but you sort of stopped because you got scared and things just didn't materialize as fast. I will tell you, it sucks. Like emotionally, it's not fun to make an investment. That's some semi blind, but as the things roll in, you're like, okay, well, this is how these are the new game. This is the new rules. This is what Google is valuing. Let's, let's go for it this way.

Scott (51:08):
Yeah. And that makes total sense to me. The, the thing that I would say to people today is stores like you and the other people that I've had on talking about SEO and all the YouTube, you know, things that you looked at. They're proof points that if you do this right, you will succeed. It takes time. We all know that now five, six months, you gotta wait, but if you do it right, the hard part is you have to do it right. And a lot of people wanna, you know, outsource it, you know, for the cheapest, you know, provider that can do things and get the really poor quality content instead of investing in the quality content. I think that for almost every Shopify store out there, there's probably some exceptions, but almost every Shopify store out there would benefit from a high quality content based SEO strategy. The only question is, do you have the time and energy and money to do that?

Jordan (52:00):
I think time, energy and money are all necessary. I think the other thing is given your personality, can you tolerate a longer term investment? Mm-Hmm <affirmative> I think as I, as I get older, I wanna like do something and then see it work pretty quickly. And I think SEO is just a, it's a patience game. Yeah. Are you patient and how confident are you? Like if you have very high confidence, your patience is actually pretty easy to come by. It's a, when you're, your confidence is low, then your patience also gets low. Then it makes it a struggle because I, you know, these things do cost money, a good bit of money. It is not granting your return. You're stealing that money from some other profitable part of your business. And they, you know, that money goes out the door and you're just like, ah, where is it going? It's going to these bits and bites, you know, these articles that I'm putting on the website and what is it returning? So if you can get your confidence higher, then your patients can be higher. And I think it's an executable strategy.

Scott (52:57):
Yeah. Now that, that makes total sense because what I see with, with shop by store owners is like the ones that are successful long term are the ones that treat it like a marathon, right? They invest in foundational things that are gonna pay off, you know, down the road, years later and all that kind of stuff. And the ones that seem successful are the ones that are impatient are looking for the short term gains. And they got little, they got a lot of little shortterm gains, but their trend line over time, isn't a steady increase. The marathoners have that steady increase. So I agree with you that you have to be patient to do this SEO strategy. I'm just arguing that you need to be that kind of person to be a successful Shopify store owner also.

Jordan (53:40):
Yeah, that's a great insight. Simon Sinek actually has a really cool YouTube on it's called the infinite game. It's like seven or eight minutes and it's beautiful. And he talks about there's finite games, which are like football and basketball. There's, you know, there's quarters, there's haves, there's, you know, eight minutes to, you know, to this one, 10 minutes to that one. So there's, it's finite either. The person with the, that has the most points wins that that's a very finite game, but no one plays the infinite game and says, Hey, I've won the, the best friend award. Like now I'm the best friend like I've won. I, I can no longer I can stop competing to be someone's best friend or I can stop competing to be like the best husband I've won. Those are infinite games that really just interchange the players. And I think in, into your words, talking about the long haul, you must have, have to have an infinite mindset that like these are long term plays, you know, I'm enjoying what I'm doing. And if, even if I'm trying to sell it, you wanna set up your business. So it is an infinite thing, not just a, I'm going to spike my inventory or spike my sales or, you know, spike different things to make the ratios look better. You'll just, it's just short, too short term. And those things catch up with you.

Scott (54:56):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, and there are a successful companies that do the short term thing, right? They'll find, you know, some product that's gonna be the flash in the pan for this holiday season, they'll order 10,000 of them, or a hundred thousand of them from Alibaba or China directly. And, you know, they'll just flood the market with this thing and do a whole bunch of marketing that evaporates once their, you know, quantity is sold out kind of thing. And there are companies that are very successful with that. There's, there's nothing wrong with that at all. They just have to come up with a new flash in the pan, you know, every season kind of thing. And there's companies that do that, but most Shopify stores are in it for that long haul. They're they're trying to build a brand, not just sell out of a, a quantity of inventory of a product.

Jordan (55:38):

Scott (55:39):
That makes sense. All right. That, that was excellent insight, Jordan. I really appreciate you giving me this time today and sharing with, with our audience here, some of your experiences with SEO and your best practices that they can absorb those and, and make them applicable and decide what works for their business.

Jordan (55:55):
Yeah, absolutely happy to be here. Thanks for having me and I've enjoyed our talk today. Thanks a lot.

JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.