I am happy to welcome Jeff Coyle from MarketMuse to the EMJ Podcast.
In this episode, we get insights from Jeff Coyle from MarketMuse on business positioning and strategies to help your website copy be relevant to online users.
Jeff goes into quality content across your websites and why each page on your site should have a purpose.
I am extremely happy to welcome Jeff Coyle, a co-founder of MarketMuse, to the EMJ SEO Podcast.
What inspired Jeff to start MarketMuse?
Can you tell us a little bit about MarketMuse’s rapid growth? On the flip side, are there signs that you have seen that indicate you are reaching product market maturity?
- How did you build an organic content strategy to build trust with the audience?
- How do you handle the fear of the current market disappearing? – Fears in entrepreneurship?
- How do you deal with product ideas people don’t know they need?
- How do you build a support structure away from business?
- What is content efficiency & making sure each piece of copy has a purpose?
- MVP able products
- Pivoting products
- Adaptability across teams by matching value.
- De-siloing content structures.
- How content that does not tie up to a website’s overarching topic and sub-topics can hurt performance.
- Long-tail keywords as a thing of the past (without all their supporting content).
Some sub-topics that are discussed:
- Relevancy Of ContenGoogle E-E-A-T Guidelines
- Google’s Helpful Content Update
- Schema For Rich Snippets
Jeff Coyle BIO
Jeff Coyle is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for MarketMuse. Jeff is an AI content marketing expert with more than 21 years of experience in the search industry. He is focused on helping content marketers, search engine marketers, agencies, and e-commerce managers build topical authority, improve content quality and turn semantic research into actionable insights.
For more on Jeff, visit: https://www.marketmuse.com/ai-content-marketing-expert/
Please don’t forget to visit MarketMuse and take out the software for a test drive. There is a Free level you can sign up for at: https://www.marketmuse.com/pricing/
You can also book a MarketMuse demo at: https://www.marketmuse.com/book-demo/
Jeff Coyle Bio
Jeff Coyle is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for MarketMuse. Jeff is an AI content marketing expert with more than 21 years of experience in the search industry. He is focused on helping content marketers, search engine marketers, agencies, and e-commerce managers build topical authority, improve content quality and turn semantic research into actionable insights.
Episode # 2 Transcript
[00:01] Announcer: This is a call to all current and aspiring entrepreneurs. How you market your business can be the difference between whether or not you succeed online. But don't worry, we're here to help with current strategies, tips, and tricks that you can apply to your online business or business idea. This is the EMJ podcast with your host, Matt Hepburn.
[00:30] Matt Hepburn: This is episode one of the EMJ Podcast, where entrepreneurs share their stories and bring insights from their struggles and challenges as they market their businesses online. I'm your host, Matt Hepburn. Today on the EMJ podcast, we're joined by Jeff Coyle, a co-founder of Market Muse, a SaaS AI platform. MarketMuse helps you establish and build topical authority, improve content quality, and get the most out of every dollar spent on content development. Jeff co-founded Market Muse in 2015. It is with great pleasure that I welcome Jeff to the show. So hey, welcome to the show.
[01:08] Jeff Coyle: Hey, how's it going?
[01:10] Matt Hepburn: It's going great. It's been a while since it's been a minute since we talked, so maybe six months, seven months, something like that. So, I decided to do this podcast because I'm inspired by marketing and everybody's journeys, and I think that a lot of people would really appreciate you know, where people took products and the challenges and how they overcame them. So that's kind of why we formed the podcast. So, Jeff, I was hoping you could tell people a little bit about MarketMuse. I'm not sure that everybody knows what MarketMuse is and really the great opportunities it gives a user versus traditional keyword research. Nothing crazy, but it's an awesome product.
[01:59] Jeff Coyle: Thank you so much. A little bit about MarketMuse. We're a content intelligence platform, that really sets the standard for content quality. So what we're focused on is giving insights for teams to know what they should be creating, how much content they need to create in order to achieve a particular goal, whether it's thought leadership or owning something in organic search, but through the lens of quality and through the lens of expertise. So you can always really know how much investment is needed for you to maintain or grow your presence on any particular concept or topic or initiative. The platform gives access to kind of an on-demand lens on everything that you cover, all your entire inventory of content, all the topics you care about, and then allows you to execute in a number of ways, building on-demand content briefs or many of the common workflows you know that content strategists, editors, writers and SEOs take on every day. And I think we'll probably get into that.
[03:03] Matt Hepburn: Yeah, just a little bit.
[03:04] Jeff Coyle: Let me walk through the journey that MarketMuse has been on, from being effectively a one-page application to being an enterprise software solution.
[03:14] Matt Hepburn: So, on that note, what inspired you to make MarketMuse? I'm sure you had a lot of frustrations as most SEOs and people who managed that. But could you kind of tell me, what was it the buyer's journey? Was it frustration where enterprise companies just didn't get how much content they had to make to be relevant or own that topic or what was the inspiration?
[03:42] Jeff Coyle: There was a couple of things. So, my background so I've been in this space search engine optimization, product management, search engine design, which information retrieval. I went to college at Georgia Tech for computer science, and I was even working on information retrieval and usability software and UI software back then. I worked at a company called Knowledge Storm. From 99 till 2007, we were trying to convince software companies to have content on their website, and we were acquired by a company called Tech Target. This is the short version of my life, but I think it's a good one. Relevant to this. I was working on a Tech Target, their in-house team, but also components of product management, some of the websites, acquisitions, and migrations, and all that fun stuff. But the key there was we had Tech Target had a 300-person editorial team, yeah, of the best subject matter experts, I mean, really thought leaders in these very niche spaces. So backup software, security, software, storage. And I was in there, I had all this data, and I was like, hey, if you want to double traffic, here's how you do it. But there was a gap there. There was a gap between what the search engine optimization team could produce and what editorial leadership would immediately want to act against. And a lot of these processes were painfully difficult to run and analyze. One topic would take 32 hours to get pretty good outcomes. And the keyword research solutions of the time were there were spreadsheets with spreadsheets on a screen, effectively then, they're not much better now. In some cases, my journey was I was looking to find a solution that would do a particular task that was needed at Tech Target actually automatically classifying content. But I always had these workflows in mind that I wanted to work on whenever I got time. I had built a lot of internal tools and things like that, but I had never brought anything to market. And I found my now co-founder had built infrastructure and the first version of MarketMuse, which was the thing that analyzed content and analyzed a topic and told you what it meant to be an expert on that topic, and then allowed you to grade pages on it. And I was like, whoa, wait, I was looking for this? And I asked him, does this auto-classify documents? He goes, no, but it does do this. And I was like, whoa, that's a 30 hours process. And at the time, you have it down in four minutes. And I was like, can you do this at the site level? And he's like, sure. Can you do this? And then a few months later, when I left, I started to go work at a private equity firm and do some consulting. He came back and said, hey, do you want to do this full-time and take the leap? And I was like, yeah. These are the problems that every writing team has, whether it's a 300 person, they have the history, they used to be in print magazines, they know everything about the topic, or a two-person company who's just starting out going, what do I need to do to get my name out there? As a startup, you have these problems.
[07:02] Matt Hepburn: But what I found is working in Enterprise is that you might have experts that know everything about it, but they don't know how to write collectively across a topic. So they would show up for search, which is a completely different thing. And all the keyword tools that we still have, right, they've evolved, but they're very looking at that keyword, or they're looking at questions related to that keyword. It's not the topic, the broad topic. How do you rule this topic? What are all the questions? What are all the subtopics that you need to actually become to rule this space? Right. And how do you do that and really going more into product-led SEO?
[07:48] Jeff Coyle: Yeah, exactly, right. That's where I saw the opportunity, and we had always seen the opportunity as being that site-wide strategic decision-making. But the initial implementation, those components of the software, most people don't know this software. They were very challenging to implement. So, we actually, our original software had three pieces. We had a site-level audit and two site-level audit components. And what is now optimized at the time was Content Analyzer, which is the page-level solution. It was the first of its kind. You can analyze a page and we took away the other two pieces and just focused on the one very early on in our company history. And then we started building content briefs manually. Then we automated those and we were building content plans manually. I still remember the first automated content plan we built. It was horrifying. It was a big old pile of database code. And then we implemented the site-level strategic element back in two or three years later.
[09:04] Matt Hepburn: So that's amazing. And a lot of people don't realize, just having that kind of data, what that can do for a content strategy. And for me, it's amazing. And even on the enterprise level, sometimes they don't have budget for tools, right? So it's always frustrating as an SEO, depending upon the company you're at, you've got writers, but you're not investing in tools, right? Why aren't you doing that and when this could really make the difference? So let me ask you, I know you used the tool to build your content strategy, but how did you say, are you going after other keyword research tools? Or what was it that you, was it that type of strategy? Was it strategy where you say we want to go in a completely different direction on how we market this?
[10:04] Jeff Coyle: No, it's a great question. So the way I think about this is you've really got to understand where the pains that you're solving how mature are they in the market to be able to know how to market that. And kind of an easy way of thinking about that is if you're going to build something that is already built, there's 2030 people already in the space, right? It's going to be a very different go-to-market than something that you're building, something that has been in the market a while, but it's just mature and people are there's a lot of people trying to solve it, but maybe nobody hit it perfectly yet. Right. Then the other would be where not no one has this, but it's a known need and then you've got brand new greenfield. No one knows what's going to happen with this completely novel thing. So when we created our content analyzer offering, it was kind of in between. Nobody even knew what this thing was and it was in that growth phase. So we had that perfect opportunity to transition it in. So when we said, hey, what's the differentiated value? It is improving. We're the first solution that's looking at it from a quality perspective.
[11:30] Matt Hepburn: Right? And so the people didn't realize that they needed that. There are a whole bunch of algorithms that came around in the last few years that we're talking more about quality, content, relevance, most recent one with a helpful content update now kind of targeting content that's written just for search engines. And this is kind of what Google has been telling us for years write great content, write great content, but people really just don't understand what that means for ownership in search engine results.
[12:01] Jeff Coyle: Right, but you're talking about 2013 and 14, right? There were a number of updates that were quality focused but they were still enigmatic. So you had link quality, you had content quality, but it was still enigmatic and there wasn't extreme clarity as to kind of what that could have mean. Right? So it was almost seen as a spam collection methodology even though it did have components of quality assessment. And it was before there was a lot of rewriting technology and things like that. Before there was a lot of semantic relatednesses and semantic understanding for us. We were kind of in that first-mover advantage. However, people still it took a long time for people to understand that they needed to have high-quality content. The first wave of people who use the solution, their immediate take was to use some of the tactics of the past where you were kind of peppering in words and trying to keep right. So that was the first wave and then people started getting religion on that topic. We went into maturity on the page-level solution that's when we had huge growth. Then we were like, okay, what's next? Nobody's creating content briefs, that's growth. Okay? We create them by hand. That's painful. Okay, let's try to automate this. And then slid down. Now, page-level optimization is a must have for every organization. Everyone's got a solution. There's 70 software products in the market, as crazy as that sounds. And there's six or seven good solutions for briefs, and there's zero solutions except MarketMuse in place for planning and prioritization currently. But everybody wants to get there. That's where we are in with the.
[14:04] Matt Hepburn: NLP, the natural language processing from Google Cloud, which really aligns with entities which have been around for a while, but people didn't really understand that. If you look at the top ten rankings in Google for whatever topic that you're looking at, and you see how they align to those entities, right? How does your content align to that? And also to the backlink strategy. So I love the fact that you are building something out more, I'm going to say it again, product-led SEO, where it is really looking at we're not looking just at an individual page here. We're looking at how all the pages are semantically, topically, connected, and how that will overall make you rank better for your whole site authority. And you're going to end up ranking for multiple keywords on the page. Instead of targeting one keyword per page and with a lot more question queries, you're going to give yourself the ability, if you mark it up with Schema, to show up for rich snippets in search. So, really great stuff that you guys are doing. So I know one of the things you were talking about to me via email is one of the questions you said is you had wished that you communicated earlier in the process. Why not earlier in that process?
[15:29] Jeff Coyle: I was wondering if you could oh yeah, that's cool. We were speaking about various kind of from an entrepreneur's perspective, as a co-founder, you make way more mistakes than you ever imagined you possibly could. Right? And so I think getting really earlier in the process, getting more regimented about why are we doing this right now? Or why aren't we? But making sure that it's crystal clear and there's alignment about maybe why the market is not ready for this to go out, or the market is ready, but for one reason or another, we're not making that decision and being okay making that decision. Right. We had many, many discussions over time. One example of that is with Natural Language Generation, we had a planning. We built one of the first Natural Language generation platforms. It works. And the product we created, we were so early into the market that nobody knew what to do with it. They were like, what is this fully produced content item? You read it and you're like, this isn't that great? It's not that great. That's the point. It's going to be iterative. But it was expensive. We were early in the market. It was expensive for us to build. We built it all ourselves. And we sat there in a meeting one time in the middle of I think it was middle of summer, where Virginia, my CEO's house, said, we at our offsite. And literally there was an elephant on a whiteboard, and it said NLG, and it was like, guys, we can do this. But the market is so high. There's so much activity, there's so much investment. Can we invest enough in this right now to remain at the peak of that innovation? And we made the decision. We can. We can go back and we can work that technology into our editor experience in a creative way when we have time to, but we're not going to be when hundreds of millions of dollars were being poured into this. We weren't going to be the first. And then a billion-dollar investment into open AI was put in. We were like, we're not going to be at the tip of this iceberg. We've got to wait, pick our spot. When the market gets more mature, we strike it like a cobra. We know exactly how it's going to work. We haven't yet made that move yet, but you got to get cool about questions. And it's one of my biggest kind of learning as an entrepreneur, has been documenting that and realizing that that's actually part of life. You got to actually be able to say, yeah, I'm doing this now. Why now? We're punting this and then just move on to the next thing and be.
[18:28] Matt Hepburn: Okay with the we invested a lot of money in that, but we're not ready for that.
[18:33] Jeff Coyle: Right? For a long time, I sat there and I ruminated about what could have been in the early days and played results, and I'm a card player as well. And they talk about it. Don't play results. It's not about whether in this case, it's not about how you win or loses if you make great decisions and make decisions with data every time. And I would be more regimented about that over time and been much more precise with my communications about my knowledge of the market. And I think that's what you go through over time. And I'm a two-time entrepreneur. I have another business that, wow, our decisions are like crispy, quick, fast, make the decision, move on. I don't care if you make a mistake. What I do care is if you don't make a decision. And we're there with MarketMuse. I wish we had gotten there a couple of years early, but for Aki and I, we were both first-time co-founders, and we had to work our way through that.
[19:37] Matt Hepburn: So, I'm going to touch right onto that as an entrepreneur myself, and I've probably had two or three businesses that haven't done so great, and they've done okay, but they made some six figures, but they haven't done anything like MarketMuse and they're all agency based. And I realized I can't make other clones of myself. Right. So it was very limited and I kind of shut them down.
[20:06] Jeff Coyle: Right.
[20:08] Matt Hepburn: But there's always fears. There's always fears when you have a business, am I going to make it? How am I going to make it? It's got to be compounded. When you are a software developer as to are you coming into the market at the right time? Is there enough demand and is that going to dry up? Or is this the beginning of wave? Could you kind of talk about that a little bit?
[20:36] Jeff Coyle: Yeah, I think especially when you're jumping off the cliff often in software and SaaS to take the leap to be a co-founder. Those initial waves also aren't coming with the paycheck. I was a vice president at a large public company with a 30-person team and worked at did consulting for a number of high-profile clients, including a private equity firm. And that's good. And then you're going to like, hey, I'm going to have to work. And no BS. You're working. I always like level when people say that we're going to 80 hours. It's real hard to work a true 80 hours. And actually you end up burning out somewhere between 40 and 80 flux. And in my case, also starting family during the same process, it was a huge gamble and it was challenging. And the key there is the overwhelming desire is to believe, right? You want that. But when bad stuff happens, like staying in that belief mode without going into trite team or loyalty or anyone, you question yourself every day, but you got to start to question yourself constructively. You really got to trust people but recognize that they're not your best friends or your friends because you are a business. And those things are always a struggle. In SaaS, the fear part really comes from saying like, oh my gosh, these things feel so bad. Is everybody going to churn? Is this inbound path going to stop working? You've got to question those constructively and say, okay, what's the worst possible scenario? What's the likely scenario? What are the early stages? And really get out of your own head earlier on. And that's a little bit of trite to say, but what you really got to say is to get into and say, am I comfortable with the most likely outcomes here? That's what's normally going to happen. And then when you focus on those repeatable processes and you focus on processing and processizing where you can put human resources against it and get very particular with what you put into product, then life gets a little bit better. And I wish that was something that I thought more of earlier, where maybe something shouldn't be put in product. Maybe something requires it to go to.
[23:43] Matt Hepburn: Market before right, a minimal viable product before.
[23:48] Jeff Coyle: But you can't do that in innovative and intro. That's the thing about product market. That's why you got to have how much heart are you putting in, how much trust? Because if you're in intro where you're in growth phases, right, you're not going to have, in a lot of cases, MVPable product. You may be selling to a decision maker who isn't a user, depending on the likely price point of your product. So there's a couple of things that go into place where you do need to trust the expertise and trust product management principles instead of market feedback. If you're earlier in the market, not in the market fit, but if you're earlier in the market maturity.
[24:45] Matt Hepburn: So I would suspect that it would be very hard to be agile and change the direction of where the product is going in a timely fashion, right? If you're seeing something happen, right, the hundreds and thousands of hours of development for something. So it must be very hard to pivot.
[25:06] Jeff Coyle: It's hard to pivot. So imagine the plate-spinning analogy, right? If you have obligations, let's say, to investors, and you can't allow for plates to drop, pivoting then becomes extraordinarily more difficult. So give you an example, right? If you have one product and it's doing pretty good, but it's not, like, magical, it's okay. But you believe in this new product to come out and you launch it. Being able to devote the energy required to crush that second product and do really well would be very, very challenging if you weren't able to have that other product degrade in the same way. So basically to Pivot, you truly have to pivot. And many businesses can't pivot. They're not able to. So it's always good to look at your competitors through that lens too, to say, are they investment back? Are they relying on one product? Do they have the resources to support two and then go from there? So in our case, what, a number of times we've done, NLG is a great product, we've kept a certain small percentage for innovation, but haven't really been able to go all in on Pivots because of our resource constraint or investment constraints. But we've been able to work in enough value out of those experiences to make them meaningful.
[26:55] Matt Hepburn: I don't know, a lot of these questions are all kind of blending in with each other. I love this conversation. This is great. So with Pivots and how do you actually have a support structure that's great for your business, whether it's for your existing clients, customer experience and or internally for your different teams of developers, especially as you're changing products or adding product line?
[27:26] Jeff Coyle: It's really tough as a kind of co-founder and member of leadership team, you're getting yourself and making sure that every individual has potentially internal support and also external support has been critical to me. And so in the form of for individuals, making sure that if we have people in our network, that would be appropriate mentors, no matter what the level, that's critical for me. It took me a while because I was an in house. Right. I had my industry friends having spoken on the circuit since 2003, it was almost like the brain trust third parties. I always was able to throw stuff off of them. But it was never the kind of support that you need as an entrepreneur. Whereas, holy ****, I can die tomorrow, or is this pain ever going to stop?
[28:34] Matt Hepburn: Or, you know, like, trust of other CEOs that you can go to and go, what do I do now? Right. Or closing this issue. Right?
[28:42] Jeff Coyle: Yeah. So the best thing that I ever did and I really fell into it, was join what is now basically a psychiatric support system for myself. But I recommend that in the form of a mastermind.
[28:57] Matt Hepburn: Right.
[28:58] Jeff Coyle: And also making sure that depending on how it spawns, you do have the potential to have mental health support as well, regardless of whether you feel like you've got it covered, like you can get there, whether it's professional or whether it's consultative. But for me, it's been finding that tribe of people. I have that in SEO. I have that in two groups in SEO. But the one that has made the most impact on my life is having a mastermind of founders. And that's been my had I not had them, I don't think I would have made it this far for sure. And that's really not just through business connections. Just like, if I have a problem with email, I literally have the best person in the world and email on call. If I've got to put an email, two of them, actually. If I have a problem with payments, I got the best payment person on the call, in addition to, oh, my gosh, I am having existential crisis. I know exactly who to call. I think a lot of people don't have that in their life, or they're relying on family for that.
[30:18] Matt Hepburn: Yeah. And so the SEOs are more about tactics, about what you could use or what you could add to the platform, but they're not actually your support structure for your business. Right. Which is critical.
[30:29] Jeff Coyle: You got to have it. You have to have it. And I found real quickly that unless you are a founder and this isn't elitist in any way, you just can't really get there. The same would go for owners. So if you bought a business, I think you need an owners group. That's a different situation. It's just as stressful. Or if you're an operator of some sort, I think you need peers who have been in that similar situation. You also want the view. Like, in my case, I want the view of owners. I want the view of operators. But you also really need the group who you're connected with and I wouldn't look for the wow and the shock and the rubbing elbows and networking, that's nice and all that stuff, right? But the support, that's when the value really comes out, it teaches you how to give more. And I've always been that way. But, man, I've realized that making myself available for everyone, whether it be I'm more available for customers, I'm more available for just people, network, community than I ever have been. You just realize that making that time and then in your mastermind, in your groups, maybe it's just me, but it changes my I don't get frustrated at all about the market. I don't get frustrated about SEO. There are a few people on Twitter I could do without, but I don't get frustrated 92% of the time where I used to be, I used to be frustrated all the time. When are everybody going to get it that they got to do this? That's not my way anymore.
[32:26] Matt Hepburn: I'm learning to adapt in enterprise. Six to seven years in Enterprise now, and I'm still learning how to compromise with other and the larger the organization that you're in, the more compromise you have to make, because there's just not agreement. So you have to find pathways to work with people who are protective of what they've done and what is in their department and they don't want to see change happen. So how do you have them become an advocate for what you're doing? By making concessions on your own side? Because you might not get everything what you want, but how do you work together? And it's a major challenge helping out and teamwork. I totally agree with you. By opening yourself to that and to others across team, you're able to get a lot more accomplished.
[33:30] Jeff Coyle: Yeah, I was lucky. And I had a manager and a mentor for 15 years. 1st 15 years of my career were the same person. And he was he's probably the most talented consultative salesperson on the planet. He's he's a magic. His name is Jeff Ramminger. You can look him up. He's a longtime IBM person, worked at Knowledge Storm Tech Target, and now runs an a consultancy called Brand Publis. But just through Osmosis of his approach to IBM consultative selling. And then when I became a founder, looking at all the consultative selling approaches, and I landed on a hybrid of an approach called value selling and IBM consultative selling kind of mush together. And I got to tell you, if I had had that to start off first days in Enterprise, it would have been so much different. The way that you approach de-siloing, the way you approach value selling applied to de-siloing, it's a jam. I think more tech SEOs and more enterprise SEOs in siloed works would do best to learn consultative selling and more specifically, value selling. Because there were so many times where I felt like I was punching a wall. And with talented, brilliant people. Too. It was like brilliant product people, brilliant engineers, who I and content experts.
[35:06] Matt Hepburn: Right, so you said you had 300 plus. Yeah, I have 40 where I'm at, but still 300, that's a dream, right? But they still are used to doing things their way.
[35:21] Jeff Coyle: If you had asked me in 2011 whether I was like, they're really great at their jobs and amazing, but they've got this big mental block when it comes to performance content. But the reality was, I was absolutely wrong, too. It's not about that. It's about figuring out the way to match value. Once you do that, the world is differently. I have so much more respect after the fact. And when you're not inside the bubble of those channels, that's so much respect for product management team, the writing team, the editorial staff, where there were days where, honestly, I was like, oh my gosh, you don't even look at your second-page data when you write a new article. Like for weight binding, they have no profile of riches. And then on the flip side, I have a joke where there was a great writer history expert and he said, I've been writing about this topic since before you were born. And he's right. He was. He had so I know more about this than you could possibly ever imagine. And so I catch myself when I'm saying what I'm thinking that about, you know, now I've been doing SEO for 24 years. I've been doing, SEO. You were born, you know, so what, right? There's so much of that in our, in our, in our life. And I was, I was part of it. And I think that being an entrepreneur versus getting out of that enterprise world, you realize, wow, the real masterminds are the ones that we're thinking about value matches in order to de-silo. And I think right now is the inflection point in SEO with the helpful content update. Oh, yeah. That is the de-siloing requirement for these enterprise.
[37:32] Matt Hepburn: And it goes hand in hand with expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, along with is your content written for search engines or is it written for users? Right? So if you have those two things together and you're writing much more, so we're going to go back to the product. So if you're going across the whole topic for your whole site, right? If you're owning all these different topics, then you are going to be much more relevant on the site because your whole site is about this main topic and all these subtopics that are related to it, right? If you attach your authors to it in their BIOS, now you're going to show your expertise and your authority and your trustworthiness along with other reviews and other third-party signs, right? And if you're making that longer form content, answering questions, then you can have rich snippets for FAQ content. Or if you're doing how to content, now, you can show up for the how to which is less common in enterprise rich snippets, that type of stuff is fantastic, right? And then if you have kind of like lists of data, right? If you are a data business and you have all that data that you can put in with your content, then you can have unordered list rich snippets as well. So really a lot of ways to tie that in. But I know we've talked about enterprise a lot, but your tool is not just for enterprise, it's also for bloggers and for mid-sized companies. So it's not just for enterprise. It's pretty awesome. So I was wondering if we could tie all that into the content efficiency and making sure each piece of copy has a purpose and tie it right back into E-A-T, the Helpful Content Update what does that all mean for a business? Whether it's a small business, mid-size business, or an enterprise business.
[39:38] Jeff Coyle: Think that that I was joking around about the HC helpful Content Update, the SEO Jargon, the HCU we get acronyms every day. You do. But Helpful Content Update effectively was the first time on record that a very prescriptive update that was about site level quality where it was stated explicitly. I know in the past it's actually been the case. It's just that if one part of your site is bad, it can influence good parts of your site. So that's the ultimate de-siloing if you get into an organization and I'll bring this back to the one person shot, but if you go in there and you're like, hey folks, all this terrible stuff that we did over here, it's actually hurting all the really good stuff. I like to imagine it as the easiest way to, without getting into details, is the hot air balloon. And a negative HCU weight is actually like a sandbag on the hot air balloon and everybody kind of goes down a little bit. So in an enterprise or content efficiency is going to still mean the same thing. And when I say efficiency, I mean not just how fast we get stuff done, it's how many times. Imagine it's batting average, if you want to use a sports analogy. How much content creation do I do, how many items do I create or how many items do I update? And how frequently? When I write an article and publish it, or update an article and publish it, does it achieve the goals that I expected them to achieve? And so a typical team will be about 10% efficient. That means that they write ten articles to get one to be successful with its stated goals. That's tremendously inefficient, but that's roughly the average. So I work with teams to get that number up to 30, 40, 50%. And the way you get there is by really understanding your strengths and weaknesses, but also in being realistic with your goals. And so everybody can take value from that. So if you're a blogger and you're just starting out. Let's say it's even a brand new site. If you have a brand new site, the only way that you can estimate creation need is through competitive profiling and topic research. So I can say if I'm going to break into this market, I need at least this much content. There's some off-page factors. If I average this, I can give myself a nice range. So I know that I'm not going to go write this one article and immediately perform. I joke around about this because in a brand new site, because people have all this dogma about brand new site, oh, yeah, obviously that's not going to perform, but they don't do the same thing four years in and five years in. They don't have that. Okay, well, yeah, if you go write this article about this new topic that you have no business writing about, it's highly likely it's not going to do well. Right. Because you don't have any existing cloud or power,
[42:44] Matt Hepburn: And it's not related to the rest of the content on your site.
[42:46] Jeff Coyle: Right.
[42:46] Matt Hepburn: So what's the relevancy of that? There's all sorts of things right, so especially on the enterprise level, index pages that have maybe for a download of something that doesn't have a lot of content or just not really relevant. It's more there for maybe it was probably more for a paid campaign, but it was indexed, whatever it may be. So go de-index that.
[43:20] Jeff Coyle: Or it can be okay as long as you understand that that page isn't for that purpose and it's documented and you're working within that construct. So many times I watch people do audits and they'll sort descend by organic traffic and they'll delete the low numbers. And I'm like, that's like closing your eyes and pulling teeth out of your jaw. You have no idea what you're actually doing. You don't know which pages are support for your pages generating power. So I always imagine, just imagine when you delete a page without knowing it influences that you're actually pulling a random tooth out of your mouth and then you'll stop doing it. My buddy, a technical SEO for Costar, and he had this great graphic and it said it was don't delete pages without this case talking to us. And it wasn't Echo Star, it was a previous company that and it showed a page getting deleted. And then it was like as if somebody had like a terrible, terrible infection throughout the end. You got to be thinking about thinking about all those things is critical.
[44:37] Matt Hepburn: For sure. I mean, it's not even just was that page hyperlinking to these other pages? It could be that that was seen as part of that classification of that entity on that site from Google. And now you've taken and maybe it was written, it didn't have traffic, but Google saw it as important for that entity. And once you take it away now your classification for that topic is not so high anymore. So you're losing.
[45:06] Jeff Coyle: That's the situation and people don't know it. It gets exaggerated by the market because frequently it seems fun to do something drastic like lead and redirect and then stuff goes up. That's the exception. I always say whenever you see it as a quick hit or an instant win, oftentimes those are exceptions, not rules, or oftentimes they're very risky for your business. And if you do that, is your brand a big brand or a brand you want to be around in five years? You might not want to take risks if you want it to be around that year.
[45:55] Matt Hepburn: And for the larger type of business, mid-size enterprise, usually those decisions are not coming from the writer or from the SEO. They're coming from another department or somebody up much higher saying, we're going to get rid of this content. Okay? That is a business concession that you make because you have no authority at that point. You just have to do it and then you redirect it towards the most logical, topical thing that you can. Sometimes that has influenced and sometimes it doesn't. Right? But that's going to be very frustrating. So there's a lot of stuff going on with the company. There's a lot of products that are there two or three main products. I love the content. Do you want to talk to the other listeners about any type of current offers or anything you'd like to promote.
[46:52] Jeff Coyle: Or one thing I'd love to promote. So we have a free offering. I'm always good for promotion. You know that you really get the experience of MarketMuse when you're understanding. You get some ideas for quick wins or planning and prioritization. I would definitely get into see if you can get a demo if that's something that's going to be meaningful for you. Improve content efficiency. Shoot me a email@example.com. We can figure that out. But also keep an eye out. In January, we have a major release coming across all of our products and it brings two workflows into the market that no one's ever done before, where it's going to allow our premium offering users to do an instant cluster analysis of their website.
[47:47] Matt Hepburn: Nice.
[47:48] Jeff Coyle: And also it's called reflect. Get a reference of when you're looking for a word like a keyword research motion. You can get a list of all the semantically related concepts that you have coverage on amongst that model and how well you've covered those. So you can instantly see, let's say you look something up and there's 50 related topics. You've got only six of them with adequate coverage.
[48:20] Matt Hepburn: Right.
[48:21] Jeff Coyle: And it's never been done before at the site level.
[48:24] Matt Hepburn: You actually can see, oh, that's fantastic. Allow you to really strategy as to where your weakness is, where you can bolster that up. And you could probably dive down and say, okay, what can we attack here?
[48:37] Jeff Coyle: Right.
[48:37] Matt Hepburn: Which then makes your content calendar update once they make some choices. And then you're actually bolstering up your authority on the whole topic.
[48:46] Jeff Coyle: Yeah, just imagine being able to and we have entire inventory on demand. So imagine you're looking up a topic that can you see that it's going to be easy for you? Well, I want to dive down and research all those related topics and see do I have coverage of those? Because cluster development can sometimes be a recursive topic. I think it can also be where you're getting independence, where you're looking at. You mentioned questions a few times, word variance. So variance and questions as well as your coverage all smashed together. That's the process. We all do manually or we do shortcuts manually. And I would anyone that's talking about clusters and they're only looking in keyword variants or they're only looking questions, this is the step they're missing just to.
[49:37] Matt Hepburn: Drive that home for everybody. So if somebody is just using a keyword tool, we won't mention any names. But if they're using and they're looking very singularly at keywords and maybe they're saying, oh, give me some questions on those keywords, or that, what's the difference from clusters and looking at it this way versus that tool? So they can just see the vast difference of what the tool is? Sure.
[50:01] Jeff Coyle: So questions analysis is very critical. I have questions. Application and questions should always be part of your analysis because those are typically specific or explicit intent that live within a top. So when you're looking at the topic you're going to have, if you were to be the expert on this concept, on the pages that represent that expertise, what are the other concepts that would naturally be mentioned? The first question now what other pages would you naturally have if you were an expert on this particular thing? And then underneath those you have intense variants. You have stages of a buyer journey that can connect to the keyword variants or those questions to answer. So it all weaves together to have a lot of time. People will there's an old technique called.
[50:59] Matt Hepburn: Long tailing for the buyer's journey. We have the earlier informational content for what is whatever it is earlier for the information stage where we're looking at the buyer journey that they are doing their research before they make a business choice as to a list of who they're going to go after for their product or the service. Right. Then there's a keyword where they kind of know the business right at this point. So it's more about the offering. And then there is usually keywords for after the person has bought and they're coming back and they're trying to did I make the right decision in buying whatever it is and trying to reassure them of that? And I'm sure there are ecommerce ones and there are probably other states that we're not covering, but that's kind of the gist, right? How does that work with the I just wanted to explain that to everybody.
[52:01] Jeff Coyle: No, I'm so glad you did. Yeah. Awareness, consideration, purchase, top of funnel, middle funnel, bottom funnel. If you work at IBM Care, consider choose by the way, this is your tips worth the price of admission for this entire podcast. Don't forget post purchase troubleshooting implementation content for your customers. Whether you're selling microphones or $50,000 software products, you want content for your customers. The problems that they continue to have as customers of you, don't don't forget about that. That's a secret that fits into your clusters really, really well, and it gives you a huge competitive advantage. But yeah, when you're building out content, it's not one page, one word. And you can't just I like to say, I'm sorry, I'm making two teeth analogy in one. But long tailing is like having teeth without a jaw. Some of them might look pretty and might do okay, but it is not telling the story that you actually can bite something. Right? Right. So a lot of times you see long tail. You wrote, how do you get bees out of your garage? And then it was like, how do you build up aviation in my backyard? So I'm going to trust that you and your site knows everything about beekeeping because you wrote those two pages.
[53:27] Matt Hepburn: Right.
[53:28] Jeff Coyle: For a long time, people thought because they were looking at page-level search results, page-level difficulty, without the construct of the site playing in that zone, they thought it was very easy. And you actually could do that to some degree. It's dried up from being a long-term strategy. You can get away with it here and there. It doesn't make any sense that you would be the expert on how to get bees in your garage if you don't have any infrastructure on bees, on pest control, whatever it is. If you love bees, do you hate bees? We don't even know. So you got to be able to tell the story that you actually are the person who should be answering that.
[54:15] Matt Hepburn: Question first, which ties right back into E-A-T. If we don't have content that shows our expert level of whatever the topic is right. We can't be seen it as an authority. And we certainly the site is not trustworthy because we're only covering just some random pieces. Right.
[54:36] Jeff Coyle: Awesome point. I'm glad to talk about that because I think a lot of people think they don't know where to start. They see all these tactics. And the reality is, if you have experts, where you have access to experts, getting everything you can out of those brains and into formats that appeal to the way that people buy or think about your offering or product, make that your priority. Forget about everything else. Use that as your foundation. Don't get inputs from all the different groups. Customer support, customer success, sales, product. Get all the inputs in there and have your site represent who you really are as a company and then worry about the rest.
[55:20] Matt Hepburn: Right? And just to remind everybody, we're doing this for users. We're doing this for the person who is searching for this information. We're not doing this for search engines.
[55:33] Jeff Coyle: Yeah, there's a lot out there where you can do stuff for search engines. There are exceptions to every rule. You can still do stuff and get away with it, but you can't get away with it forever. And your business is more important than that tactic. And so unless you're in the business or you're at a turn and burn or if your website goes away, you just build a new one, which you can be. There are worlds like that affiliate, for example. But if you're not and you're building your business so that this brand can last, you need to take this advice, because building for the future means you have to weigh those risks on content tactics like that. So if you're going to do anything to trick the system or anything like that, that's not good advice and it will not reap much of a benefit in the long term for your entrepreneurial journey. If one day you wake up and you have no traffic.
[56:35] Matt Hepburn: Well, it has been an absolute pleasure having you on board. Thank you so much. This has been absolutely amazing information. It's great to hear about the product and I look forward to speaking with you again, hopefully very soon. So thank you so much for joining the podcast.
[56:54] Jeff Coyle: All right, thanks so much, Matt. It's been a pleasure and it's been a fun walk through the journey and given some advice that I hope that if anyone's thinking about taking the leap, first of all, it's probably going to be worth it in one way or another. It probably isn't going to be worth it in the way you think it's going to be worth it. So I would say where you think you'll land, you probably won't land, but it'll be worth it.
[57:23] Matt Hepburn: Well, thanks once again.
[57:28] Announcer: Are you ready to break through to accelerate online business growth? Then join our email list at https://emjpodcast.com so we can keep you up to date with the latest strategies, tips, and tricks that you'll want to know. Also, please don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. This is The EMJ podcast with Matt Hepburn, and we'll see you next time.
Get email notifications when new episodes are published.
Check out more episodes of The EMJ SEO Podcast.