E184: Steve Toth

What The SEO Core Update, AI and The Impact Of 0 Volume Keywords Means For Your Business: Shape Your SEO Strategy With Leading Insights

steve toth black and white headshot portrait

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Podcast Overview

Will using AI kill your SEO efforts?

It’s looking that way. Google has announced a detest for computer generated spiel. 

But, what does that mean for you?

In a world where you need more and more content but budgets and resources are getting pinched, AI seemed like a lifeline. 

But, is it a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Find out by listening to this full podcast episode. 

Steve Toth

Steve Toth is the man behind seonotebooks.com and works with global companies around the world. He’s the man that took Freshbooks to rank position 1 for a 300,000 volume keyword, quadrupling organic traffic within a year. 

This episode is dedicated to SEO (search engine optimisation), the latest core update and what that means for your business. He covers the heavily debated topic of AI and shares a tactic that very few people use when it comes to improving their organic rankings. 

This conversation explores actionable strategies for improving SEO, the importance of staying updated with industry changes, and the impact of recent updates in the SEO and eCommerce space. 

Join us as we uncover valuable tips and perspectives from a seasoned SEO professional. 

Topics Covered

00:24 – Steve’s experience in SEO has spanned over 15 years

04:41 – Managing accounts and sharing actionable SEO tips

07:25 – Google cracking down on AI content abuse

10:10 – AI detecting and impacting website rankings significantly

15:52 – Use popular words from SERP for AI title

18:33 – Softwares to help automate SEO 

23:10 – Similarities between eCom and SEO project plateau

24:48 – Brand building through digital PR improves click-through rate.

28:01 – Analysing current trends, using social media data

32:22 – Matt Diggity’s SEO strategy for backlinks analysis

35:00 – High impression keywords with low search volume are valuable. Discover them in various places like Google Auto Suggest, customer data, and customer questions for SEO success

39:30 – Utilise Google Search Console for keyword optimisation

41:35 – Drive links to category pages for ranking

44:08 – Avoid trouble with Google by doing this

Richard Hill [00:00:04]:
Hi there. I'm Richard Hill, the host of eCom@One, and welcome to episode 184. Now in this episode, I speak with Steve Toth. From agency to in house at firms like FreshBooks to now running SEO Notebook, Steve is a guy that I actually pay to help our agency when it comes to innovative ideas to propel our own agency clients. I first met Steve at Changmy SEO last year, and we stayed in touch. In this episode, we chat all things SEO and ecom. Steve steps us through the latest Google update, what it means for stores. Great news if you've been following our SEO recipe framework.

Richard Hill [00:00:39]:
Now when you hit that plateau in SEO, what should you do next? Steve steps us through some cracking innovative ideas around that. Now using AI to automate SEO strategies, some very innovative ways to steal what's working in the index already using the top 20 listings and the PAAs. We chat through 0 volume keywords and, of course, so much more in this one. Now if you enjoy this episode, hit the subscribe or follow button wherever you are listening to this podcast so you're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Now let's head over to this fantastic episode. Hi, Steve. How are you doing?

Steve Toth [00:01:16]:
Good. Thanks, Richard.

Richard Hill [00:01:18]:
How are you doing? Stuff. Well, I'm really good, actually. Yeah. Really good. Busy day in the office, which is how I like it. On countdown as we were just discussing before, before we hit record, we're both on countdown to a nice trip. When this episode goes live, I think we'll both be in the amazing, Saigon in Vietnam, which will be pretty cool. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:01:39]:
Okay. Excuse me. Yeah. I think, in fact, this episode will go live on the Tuesday of that week. So I think it'll be the day before the conference starts, so that would be amazing. So, so I think, best thing to start with would be to introduce yourself, Steve, and how you got into the world of SEO, ecommerce, and sort of, online marketing?

Steve Toth [00:02:00]:
Yeah. For sure. So, I've been doing SEO since 2010 back when it was, you know, just a matter of getting 7% keyword density into the page and seeing those instant results. So, I mean, you know, thankfully, the results were nice and fast then, and it piqued my interest and got me excited about learning more about SEO. And then I parlayed that into an agency job where I worked at agency for 6 years, managing all types of clients under the sun and a 180 accounts at once. So that gave credit trial by fire, in terms of client management and stuff like that. And then got the job at FreshBooks in 2018 where I was the SEO manager there. We did really well and grew grew traffic to 50,000 clicks a day and ranked number 1 for some pretty massive keywords like invoice template.

Steve Toth [00:02:55]:
And while I was at FreshBooks, I started my newsletter, SEO notebook, in 2019. The idea behind that newsletter is basically one actionable piece of strategy that you can try the same day that'll have a big impact on your business. So, that's been now a project that's going into its 5th year, which is kind of unbelievable. And, and I've been very fortunate, to be able to be an SEO consultant, working for myself, since 2020, shortly after I started SEO notebook.

Richard Hill [00:03:29]:
So I think you've literally listed, like, the sort of, all the all the sort of, sides of a successful SEO where you've worked at an agency. I've sort of start back in the golden days where you'd stick a a couple of old tags on and a a bit of metadata and bang you're on page 1 in about 4 hours. The heydays, the exact exact match to made names at a a bit of, metadata sort of thing, and then, obviously, managed a 180 accounts. Jesus. That's that's a crazy amount of accounts, isn't it? It should.

Steve Toth [00:03:59]:
It was a lot of, jump into the meeting, make 2 or 3 recommendations, hope the team actually makes those changes, and just move on to the next one. But, you know, that, role did tell me did teach me a lot about, you know, client management and, you know, essentially how to communicate and how important that really is. So, you know, I'm still thankful for that opportunity to have such a large breadth of clients. And, you know, one thing I loved about that job was just learning about all the different industries. Like, it was like, you

Richard Hill [00:04:34]:
can imagine you have a

Steve Toth [00:04:35]:
180 accounts. You've got so many interesting businesses you can learn about. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:04:41]:
I think my guys, feel that they're under pressure when they've got about 12 accounts to manage. So that's quite that's quite interesting. And, obviously, moving to FreshBooks and and working for a, you know, a big corporate with, you know, obviously, 100 of employees and and and building that and then obviously setting up your own agency and what is now quite well known in the in the industry. And that's how I've sort of come to know you through, SEO notebook and through your sort of weekly, you know, notes and your sort of quick tips, which, if you're not signed up guys and you're listening now, you know, I suggest you go and sign up, and we'll we'll put some calls to action in in the show notes and at the end as well. But, the the notes that you share, you know, they are notes that, you know, we share and talk about most weeks or the SEO team do within our business. Some, you know, some fantastic notes, very actionable, which is what it comes down to. There's a lot of, a lot of things you can do in SEO, but, ultimately, some of them can be a little bit more complicated, but it's also really getting things done, isn't it? Which

Steve Toth [00:05:38]:
Yeah. I mean, I was just gonna say that, you know, prior to starting SEO notebook, I really didn't have, like, a good place to put all all of my ideas. And a lot of those ideas just, you know, got used and then a new shiny object and kinda on to the next thing. And I think a lot of people are like that. But when I had the idea to essentially just first one day put everything in an Evernote where I had, you know, one page for each sort of strategy or idea that I had. The next day, I had the idea to kind of create, you know, a notebook and then each week email out one page of that notebook. And, you know, I've been pretty fortunate with, like, that idea catching on. And, know, and it's been great to also see a lot of, SEO newsletters follow in in my footsteps and, you know Mhmm.

Steve Toth [00:06:27]:
Also share tons of great knowledge, you know, just the same as I'm doing.

Richard Hill [00:06:32]:
Yeah. No. It's great. It's great. It's, it's one that your emails are set on a forward to go into a Slack channel in our into our SEO team. So as soon as you publish that, they get pushed pushed from my inbox into our account management Slack, so the guys can have a look what's happening there. Obviously, they can sign up themselves as well, but, but, yeah, I would definitely advise our listeners to sign up to SNH. Well, that's how we sort of, obviously, now, obviously, having a chat, and, you know, and Steve's somebody I've, you know, I've, used for consultancy and have worked with over a couple of 3 months ago.

Richard Hill [00:07:03]:
Yeah. Yeah. So, obviously, lots happening as always in the SEO space and then in the ecommerce space. Obviously, try I think when this episode airs, probably circa a month ago, there are some some newer changes and updates, Google updates. Is there anything you think that our listeners specifically should be aware of around the recent updates?

Steve Toth [00:07:25]:
Well, I mean, you know, Google came down really hard on, you know, trying to send some uncertainty, fear, and doubt around AI content. And, I mean, I think that, we should have had a little bit more common sense as an industry with the type of, you know, I wanna say abuse, but, like, the type of sort of taking too much advantage of just, you know, launching thousands of pages via AI and not really, you know, checking them and all that kind of stuff. And, you know, I think that from Google's perspective, you have to think that the AI content is a threat on multiple levels. Right? So, one is just simply their crawl budget and having to now try to index or decide whether or not they're going to index, you know, all this new content that's, you know, sprouting up out of Yeah. Like like it's never had before. Right? So, that's, you know, one just key component of wasting Google's resources and reasons why they wouldn't want to do that. Mhmm. But I think the more important reason is that, the quality of the search results are are really threatened when people don't actually, you know, haven't have eyes on the content that they're releasing and all that kind of stuff.

Steve Toth [00:08:46]:
Right? So, like, if you'd imagine that, there's already disillusionment with Google, like, you just go search, like, Google Sucks or Reddit Google Sucks, and you get, like, you know, tons and tons of threads of people, completely disillusioned with your search results. Well, I mean, what greater threat is there gonna be than just AI and just recycling all same information constantly and not giving the search engine, you know, anything new to surface? I think that that's, you know, where this is where all this fear, uncertainty, and doubt is is stemming from because Google itself feels very threatened by the advent of AI content.

Richard Hill [00:09:26]:
Yeah. That's the thing, isn't it? If you're just, you know, pushing the button, creating these thousands of pages and hundreds of thousands of words, and there's no you know, it's just churning what is already there without any real thought. You know, it's obviously like it's like doing a well, back in the day when you're just trying to maybe build a 1,000 links in a day. It's not really gonna last, is it? It's not really doing things right. So, yeah, it's inevitable. You gotta try and do things right, on the on the AI side. But so what sort of, sites have seen sort of pounces or pounces are probably the wrong word, but what sites have been hit in the last month or so? I mean, there's quite a few rumors around sort of more around the PBMs and domain tactics. And what would your take be on that?

Steve Toth [00:10:10]:
There I, like, I know people personally who have lost 100 of sites, and, you know, that is incredibly scary. Right? Like, that's probably, like, at least, like, half their portfolio. Right? That's a huge portfolio to begin with, but that many sites, You know, there was an interesting tweet by I think I forget his his last name, but his first name is, I think, Nate from Travel Lemming. And, his site was, dinged quite severely. And, you know, he had a tweet and said, this is you know, you know, he he was penalized, but his the point of his tweet was that there's this, you know, really amazing AI site that took my place and it's like honestly just just if not worse than his site. Right? So I think, you know, Google, in terms of, like, detecting AI content, I think and I will be careful with what I say, I think the way that they did it initially, you know, on this last update was to look for, like, certain footprints in, you know, like, an AI language model. I am an AI language model, like, is the very basic one, but,

Richard Hill [00:11:24]:
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Richard Hill [00:11:41]:
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Richard Hill [00:11:51]:
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Steve Toth [00:12:06]:
You know, they they went after sort of, like, a very, kind of calculated way of of finding that. But I think on a larger scale, they're gonna have more difficulty, detecting AI content, you know, other than the you know, for the content that doesn't leave those obvious footprints.

Richard Hill [00:12:27]:
Yeah. That's the thing, isn't it? I think if you're if you're as an ecommerce store, I mean, what I'm seeing is their eCom stores usually and historically are mainly aren't doing a lot of probably some of the strategies that, say, affiliate marketers doing. You know, they've got a lot of products on there. If they're using AI to rewrite their product descriptions, their categories, but they're doing things, you know, they're not just copy and pasting. Their eCom stores seem to have fared quite well, which is what we're seeing. I just checked in before we hit record, with the team this afternoon just to sort of check the rankings across the board, and we're seeing quite a lot of uplift.

Steve Toth [00:13:03]:
I think there is a a

Richard Hill [00:13:05]:
on eCom.

Steve Toth [00:13:05]:
Some place. Yeah. For there is a place for AI content. No doubt. Like, you know, like glossaries, for example, is a pretty good use case for that. And I think eCommerce, absolutely. Like, you know, there's, you you have to scale your your content. There is no, you know Yeah.

Steve Toth [00:13:22]:
Getting a person to write thousands of product descriptions is gonna take way too long, and you're probably not going to do that. So I think it's just a matter of leveraging AI, like, in an intelligent way, you know, with with, sophisticated prompts that actually output into real natural language and Yeah. Just, you know, keeping a level of quality control on on the content that you do produce. I think the the thing that Google is most afraid of is the the people who have zero quality control over their content and are just letting it, you know, fly.

Richard Hill [00:13:57]:
So it's I think a lot of people listening. I think your your sort of writers that you may engage with at the moment a lot, you know, a lot more now. It's, you know, a lot of writers are becoming sort of, editors, I think, is what I'm seeing. You know, they're they're doing a lot more spending a lot more time editing and be able to produce a lot more, you know, or you're maybe you're, you know, repurposing team members that are utilizing AI, but they're not just, as we say, cut and shut or click and click and publish. They use the AI with more sophisticated prompts, but then also, obviously, there's a manual element. Not always, but ideally, depends on the site, doesn't it? I mean, you look at some of the sort of programmatic SEO where they're publishing 10,000. There was there was a talk at, I'm trying to think who it was now, back in when we were in Chiang Mai back in November. I think it was to do with tires and, you know, publishing pages for all the different models of cars.

Richard Hill [00:14:51]:
Obviously, there's a lot of models of cars and tires. Obviously, to publish content for every model of car around the tire. You know, that's, you know, tens of thousands of models potentially. So so they're to sit and manually edit those. Ideally, yes. But but I think, yeah, more and more staff are getting deployed. We're seeing to do a lot more editing on the AI. But just we'll stay on the AI for a minute while we're there.

Richard Hill [00:15:16]:
So, obviously, you know, there's no there's no denying you. I think you've got to embrace it. You know, it's probably the best thing I would say. But in terms of eCom stores listing now, what are a couple of sort of, specific things that ecom stores should be doing with AI? Now I know I know, for example, one of your notes, I'm thinking now probably about 5 months ago, I might get this slightly wrong, but you were sort of using AI to look at the metadata meta titles in the top 20 listings and then taking that data and do and doing x. Have you got sort of a a 2024 version of that?

Steve Toth [00:15:52]:
Yeah. So, that one, is one of, yeah, my favorite recent notes, and, essentially, what, it, the what it teaches is that what we'll do is look at the title tags, on the SERP. So we'll screen those title tags, and we'll count the number of instances for each word, in those title tags, and then we'll use the more popular words, in our AI written title tags. So instead of just asking, you know, chat GPT API or whatever you're using, write me a title tag for, you know, like skis or something like that. It's actually googling, you know, you know, kids' skis, like, for 10 year olds or something like that Yeah. And then finding finding all the title tags and then using that information, those words to write a new title tag. So the one thing that, I I also, teach in that note is getting a unique angle for your, your title, essentially. So not just trying to replicate or mimic everything else that's in the top ten, but actually thinking about, what are the, unique, sort of selling features that that we can come up with.

Steve Toth [00:17:09]:
And AI does a a great job at that. You know? Like, I think we, showed the example of camping chairs, which should be, like, you know, perfect ecommerce type product. Right? And, and things like, you know, like, ones with big pockets or, you know, ones for families or, super compact or whatever.

Richard Hill [00:17:31]:
Yeah. Ones with a holding holder.

Steve Toth [00:17:33]:
Yeah. Exactly. For you. Right?

Richard Hill [00:17:37]:

Steve Toth [00:17:38]:
That'll be for us since I got how about that?

Richard Hill [00:17:40]:
Yeah. Yeah.

Steve Toth [00:17:43]:
But, yeah, like, you know, though those, various ways that we can kind of differentiate ourselves and our products and highlight those things in the suit. Because when they actually rank, you can get, you know, more clicks because you're differentiated. Right? So, that that one's a good one. And, another note that I really liked that was pretty recent was around, googling, like, a main keyword. So the the keyword in this case I mean, an ecommerce example. Let's just say, like, camping again. Yeah. And and then what you do is you Google, like, that main keyword, like, camping, and then you delete the, keyword in the search field, and you start typing words like what is or how does or when does.

Steve Toth [00:18:33]:
And the Google starts basically giving you questions related to camping. And, because you're in that same session and it's trying to, you know, basically speed up your research process. Yeah. So that's a really great, kinda tip to to go, you know, deep in if you have, the right set of keywords because you'll just get, like, a really unlimited flow of, of amazing topics to kind of support your, main ecommerce pages. So we've, we've automated that with a browser automation software, Selenium. And, essentially, we're able to, you know, give it a seed keyword, and then it cycles through all those question based modifiers. And the the results are amazing. Like, the the types of topics that we come up with, it's very hard to get those types of topics in keyword research tools.

Steve Toth [00:19:29]:
And So is

Richard Hill [00:19:29]:
that pulling it from so is that pulling it from the people or the PAA or us pulling it from when Google suggesting what the net From autosuggest. Yeah. Yeah. So it's pulling me from the autosuggest and, yeah, we're we're getting amazing results with that. Yeah. Okay. Well, there's 2 two great ones, guys, to have a have a look at. And I and, obviously, there's there's many more on on SEO Notebook, on a weekly basis.

Richard Hill [00:19:55]:
So, obviously, having a little look around around your history. You know, my my researcher, Carrie Anne, who has been a bit having a look at some of the things you've been working on, she's sort of saying to me that you managed to rank a 300,000 search keyword. Yeah. But I assume I've seen is that maybe the in the old role? Was that in in FreshBooks?

Steve Toth [00:20:17]:
2 2 different ones. So, actually Yeah. For 2 different companies. So one was, at FreshBooks. That keyword was invoice template, and there's also, you know, a 1000000 and 1 long tail keywords associated, with invoice template. And, and, that was quite a campaign. You know, lot of backlinks, lot of on page optimization. I, was really inspired heavily by Kyle Roof's rhinoplasty Plano, ranking Latin content, example.

Steve Toth [00:20:52]:
And we basically took a lot of the teachings from from Kyle and, and put those into that campaign. So that was, one. And then the other one, was online signature and signature maker, with a company called Signaturely, which, I basically started, as their SEO consultant from the very beginning. And, that site has grown tremendously now.

Richard Hill [00:21:18]:
And I've just bought that, actually. The literally, the signatory, the, sort of, yeah, contract signing. I've just bought it last yeah. 2 days ago.

Steve Toth [00:21:27]:
Well, that's funny. Did you how'd you find it?

Richard Hill [00:21:31]:
Good. Yeah. We tried a few different things for the

Steve Toth [00:21:33]:
for the find it on Google or, like,

Richard Hill [00:21:35]:
Well, no. Oh, well, I I'm a bit of a, so I'm a massive fan of AppSumo. Okay. So are you familiar with AppSumo?

Steve Toth [00:21:44]:
Or I'm sure I know they had one. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:21:46]:
So they so they they they sold it as a lifetime deal on AppSumo about 3 years ago, I think it was. Yeah. So rather than paying the subscription, and I found somebody that was looking to sell their lifetime deal of Signaterly. So I I think literally on Saturday I mean, was it now Wednesday? Yeah. I I bought it, yeah, for for us to use in the agency for our contracts in terms of engagement. Yeah. So I hope That looks great. Yeah.

Steve Toth [00:22:11]:
Hoping you converted off signature maker. But

Richard Hill [00:22:15]:
Yeah. Yeah. We've used all sorts to be fair. But, there was another one I had named as Casio. But, yeah, it looks really good, actually. It looks really good. Okay. So what did you sorry.

Richard Hill [00:22:23]:
What did you do exactly there then?

Steve Toth [00:22:25]:
So we basically created initially a a strategy around, like, contract templates and kinda weak signature, some supporting content for signatures as well. But, the contract templates was a similar kind of play to FreshBooks and that, you know, there were contracts for wedding planners, SEO agencies, like various other, you know, professions that we were offering contract templates for. So those pages started to do really well. And then, as well on signature maker, we made recommendations on that page and also some supporting content as well. And then, again, like, when you're ranking for, you know, 300,000 type, search keywords, yeah, I think backlinks are huge. So we we built a lot of backlinks as well.

Richard Hill [00:23:10]:
Yeah. I think before you said the backlink piece, I was gonna say that the, you know, those two examples are quite similar to eCom in in that, obviously, we are you know, quite often, we've got thousands of thousands of pages. Quite often, obviously, thousands of SKUs or hundreds of SKUs or tens of thousands of SKUs. And some of the there's a lot of work you can do on page without touching links to a certain level. You know, it's quite a similar synergy really between those two examples and eCom stores. But I think with ecom stores, you can get to, like any like any, SEO project, you get to a bit of a plateau, you know, when you've got your, let's say, a 1,000 SKUs and you've gone to town on the, you know, the the categories or subcategories. You've added however many guides on how to how to camp and how to set up your camp chairs and how to choose the right cab chair and, you know, all the different guides. And we've, you know, we've done maybe a lot of the obvious things around, you know, the all a lot of unique and using some AI and, you know, I'm simplifying this for the purpose of the podcast, but what I'm driving at is, you've got a let's say you've already got a fairly solid foundation in SEO.

Richard Hill [00:24:17]:
You've not just got your, content from your manufacturers, which a lot of people do when starting out. You know, they've got these thousands of SKUs, and they they pull through a CSV all the, you know, all the descriptions and log descriptions and whatnot. But you've done the work. You know, you've spent a lot of time on on on a lot of unique content. You know, what would you say to those guys? What's next for them? What sort of things could they be doing that's a bit more advanced, a bit more sort of, less of round, right, just rewriting stuff and and maybe stream?

Steve Toth [00:24:48]:
I think, I think, ultimately, one of the biggest things that's going to improve your click through rate if you're an eCom store in the SERPs is your brand. Right? Your brand is so important. And, if somebody has seen you before, you know, either on your social media, email list, other people mentioning you, what have you, they're gonna be more likely to click on you. So one of the, you know, brand building activities that we do with our clients is digital PR. Right? So, I use Ferri eComOne from Search Intelligence, and, you know, I'm sure there's many others as well. But, Ferri does a great job for us in, you know, creating kind of viral campaigns, for, our our clients. And that not only, you know, gets, the brands that we work with more well known because people have seen and heard about us because of the press we've gotten, but it also helps build our overall, you know, domain authority, domain rating, whatever you wanna call it, and, and, ultimately, will help us rank there too.

Richard Hill [00:25:51]:
Yeah. So digital PR, Eddie's sort of, go to you know, I I was just looking at one of Ferri's case studies actually earlier. You know, obviously, we have to follow him, and, well, I think we'll be sharing a pirate ferry in anytime today, probably, by the time it airs, because I know he's speaking at the conference as well. Yeah. But, obviously, people talk about data led campaigns. People talk about, you know, jumping on something that's happening in in an industry, you know, a trend, something happened on TikTok, bringing that over. Any sort of things that have worked quite well recently in any sort of themes?

Steve Toth [00:26:23]:
Well, I think just, you know, looking at what's trending, in the news. Right? So, the example that I always like to say was the one when, it's a little bit, you know, past, but when Elon Musk bought Twitter, the search for Dogecoin search volume spiked up. And, we were working with a crypto client at the time, and we released a press release about this and got a bunch of press and, like, really amazing publications for that. Right? So, like, that, you know, helps build our brand, get get our brand out there more often. And, and, ultimately, you know, for a site that was, just starting at that point, really helped boost our Doctor.

Richard Hill [00:27:05]:
Yeah. We could do with that again. I think do Doji is having a little run again, isn't it? I was looking at it this morning about 20 about 20¢, maybe 19¢ this morning, I think, when I looked, which is good compared with yeah. Go ahead. Go ahead. Yeah. It was, well, about 10¢ about a month ago. It's doubled in I think it's more than about a 150% in the last 30 days, which is interesting.

Richard Hill [00:27:27]:
Yeah. And there was a couple of guys I know at the that'll be in, Vietnam that are quite heavy into it. I shall have to introduce to them if that's something you're interested in.

Steve Toth [00:27:35]:
Sure. Yeah. I mean, like, I've got some Ethereum and, like, that's the one that I keep an eye on right

Richard Hill [00:27:40]:
now. Yeah.

Steve Toth [00:27:40]:
So Yeah. Yeah. How it's good now. But, I mean, you kinda think, like, going going forward and, like, even the next 10 years, once we start to see these cycles happen, they'll become more predictable and more people will wanna get in. So I'm just I'm just holding for now. It's not gonna Yeah. Make a material difference to me if I pull out Yeah. You know, x amount.

Steve Toth [00:27:59]:
I can just wait. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:28:01]:
Yeah. Same. Yeah. So, obviously, looking at trends that are happening now that are topical, lot of demand or a lot of chatter, whether that's, you know, find something on their mainstream news or looking at data or looking at you know, I think, you know, quite a lot of people seem to look at trends they're having on TikTok, you know, and and looking at those as well. We've just set up a dashboard in our office today actually pulling the trends from TikTok into the office so we've got them rolling so we can get ideas. And they've obviously a certain video is trending and got how many million views. There might be an idea there for the digital PR departments to be able to sort of incorporate that idea into, you know, their digital PR. But yeah.

Richard Hill [00:28:37]:
No. I totally agree with you. I think it's surprising how many people or how many fairly well established, you know, 10,000,000 plus turnover, you know, plus companies are not doing some of the digital PR side. I think, quite a lot of them seem to maybe struggle to align that to revenue. You know, obviously, with SEO and, you know, or backlinks and sorry. And and digital PR, I think trying to align. Your spending maybe, what, $10 a month on digital PR. They're aligning that to revenue can be sometimes quite challenging.

Richard Hill [00:29:08]:
What would you probably say on that?

Steve Toth [00:29:10]:
Yeah. I think, that's a, you know, often a contention that we run into, but we have to look at, you know, are you where you're at, like, relative to your competitors in your LinkedIn profile? And if you're looking on your competitors and they've got, you know, all these high authority links and you don't, and then they continue to build high authority links and you don't, you know, you kinda have to allocate some budget towards that.

Richard Hill [00:29:39]:
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's good. I saw that you that sort of brings me on nicely too. I think today, your your note or yesterday about the, the typical SEO timeline, you know, when we look at the, you know, the first the start of a project, you know, 2 or 3 months, maybe sorting out how can we put it put get the strategy in place, sorting out some mess from previous people or or the mess that you've inherited or whatever it may be. And then maybe a lot of a lot of, I mean, I'm really summarizing this maybe quite badly, but but, ultimately, there's a point fairly soon on where you need to look at the links, you know, or digital PR. You know, I think, it does get left, doesn't it, quite often?

Steve Toth [00:30:19]:
Yeah. I mean, a lot of the times I mean, unless you educate your client, which I think is so important. I've been talking about this quite a bit lately. Yeah. If you if you don't educate them, they're gonna think that the job is done after the strategy and the initial few months of logs are up. Right? But as we know, you know, there's lots of competition in this world, and Google is continuing to favor high authority sites more and more and more. Yep. And, if you're not headed in that direction, you're ultimately gonna get, you know, it's a core update is gonna come.

Steve Toth [00:30:55]:
You're gonna reevaluate, who's authoritative in your SERP, and, you know, you're gonna kind of suffer the consequences.

Richard Hill [00:31:02]:
Gonna get gonna get get hammered. Yeah. It's very much

Steve Toth [00:31:05]:
a proactive thing. And as a consultant or an agency dealing with a client, you know, you've gotta work hard to communicate that to them or else they're just not gonna gonna get it.

Richard Hill [00:31:16]:
I think that's a great point, isn't it? I think, things are changing. You know, you got AI. You've got updates. You've got, you know, if you're not communicating just those pieces alone, you know, how how are we handling these things? What are we doing with these things? If you're as a, you know, as an eCom store listening to this podcast now, you know, your sort of relationship with your SEO company, your consultant, your adviser, your agency, if you're just getting a monthly report that says we need this, this, and this, and we're gonna do this. So hang on a minute. Why are we doing this? Well, as you said, Steve, if we're we're focusing on this because you've got a gap. You know, when we look at the the overall link profile, for example, when we compare that to the 2 leading companies that are doing 100,000,000 a year, you're doing 20,000,000 a year. You're trying to close that gap.

Richard Hill [00:32:01]:
And the reason we're trying to close the gap on the link profile is because their their camping chair category is ranking at average position of 3, and yours is ranking position 9 average. To close that gap, we've got to build circa the 100 links over the next 6 months or whatever it may be or 6 weeks. You can sort of, There's

Steve Toth [00:32:22]:
a note that I did a while back. It was actually a thing from Matt Diggity that I picked up essentially. And if you don't know Matt Diggity, that's the owner of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. Really skilled SEO and great share of knowledge as well. He, he talked about, like, how you can export the backlinks. You know, I use Ahrefs, and, and you can actually sort all the links by their Doctor categories. So domain rating 90 to a 100 is gonna be, like, your absolutely best links and then 80 to 90, 70 to 80, etcetera, all the way down the line. And, if you essentially count how many of those, you know, quality backlinks you have in each of those buckets, it's going to give you a nice idea, you know, not hunt it's not live and die like you, you know, you'll you you will rank or you won't rank if you have a certain number, but it's going to at least give you kind of the playing field that you're dealing with, and you do this for your website and your clients.

Steve Toth [00:33:27]:
Sorry. Your website and your competition, and then you can kinda see where the shortfalls are.

Richard Hill [00:33:33]:
Yeah. Yeah. You can say, right. We need 30 DA sixties. We need 40 d a 70. Yeah. That those buckets. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:33:40]:
Yeah. I saw a similar talk in, Vietnam last year. Yeah. The GetLinks guys, I think. Doing yeah. Yeah. Sort of simplifies. It doesn't let you see that see that gap.

Steve Toth [00:33:51]:
Yeah. That's a nice it's a nice visualization, and I think, clients appreciate that and kinda understand, you know, where you're coming from when you do that.

Richard Hill [00:34:00]:
So let's let's, change direction a little bit. So zero volume keywords, what are your thoughts on those? I'm

Steve Toth [00:34:08]:
big on them. So, a lot of times, keyword research tools, especially when keywords are emerging, are not going to have the keyword data in them. And, you know, there's just a whole, like, search volume cannot be, you know when I say I rank for 300,000 search volume, I mean, I'm saying that just because of the scale, but I'm not saying there's exactly 300,000 people searching that per month. Like, it it varies a lot. Right? Yep. So Yeah. I think search volume can be very misleading. And when you have keywords that have, you know, a reported search volume that is extremely low, like 0, you, oftentimes in Search Console see those keywords having, like, a lot more impressions.

Steve Toth [00:35:00]:
Right? So that the impressions is really what I'd much rather go by than search volume. But I like when I find high impression keywords with low search volume because essentially, I know that there's lots of s c other SEOs looking at that same keyword and probably passing it up because they don't think that there's an opportunity there. So, I think that's kind of the what you want to be looking for and some different places that you can find these you know, 0 search volume keywords for me, like, definitely through, Google Auto Suggest, people also ask, which is really what we leverage to, grow the clicks to 50 k a day on FreshBooks. Your own customer data, the types of questions your customers ask you, all those types of things, really, are great resources for finding those untapped keywords that everybody else is passing passing up.

Richard Hill [00:35:59]:
So you could literally go to Google now, type in, let's say, your keyword, camping chair. We'll go with that. I know we have we we actually have 2 clients that sell camping, products, camping chair, and or a variation of that, and you're gonna get those people also asked very easily with a you know, whether that's with Ahrefs, Semrush, or, the detailed Chrome extension, we quite like. You can just Yeah. Click the detailed Chrome extension. I think you gotta set it up in advance, make sure it's ticked and set up. And then you can go about 4 layers deep, and potentially, in one click, download about 200, maybe more, questions straight into a sheet. Then you've got 200 questions that are getting asked about said keyword.

Richard Hill [00:36:42]:
Now, yeah, they might not be you run those through, you know, keyword planner, they might call for 0. But the reality is if Google's ranking them already, they're not 0, are they?

Steve Toth [00:36:51]:
They're Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Great point. If Google is pushing people to those answers with auto suggest and people also ask, then that's Yeah. Reason enough for me to think that we're gonna continue to push people towards that. And and what they're trying to do with People Also Ask and, autosuggest is essentially predict the next question that a person might have after doing that more broad initial search. Right? So the more as you know, the more granular you get, the higher your conversion rate also goes.

Steve Toth [00:37:25]:
Because if somebody wants a navy blue camping chair with a beer holder, you know, when they find that they're gonna convert. Right?

Richard Hill [00:37:34]:
Yeah. Yeah. No. So I think you're layering that into what we talked about at the beginning and taking those people also ass with some AI, but I say magic, but, you know, you can, obviously create a lot of very focused content around the people also ask using certain prompts. You know, that's, I think that's a very quick win for eCom stores. Very, very quick win for eCom stores, you know, wondering what you're gonna create for that that extra that extra content on your products, like categories, subcategories, adding, you know, 4, 5, half half a dozen FAQs, you know, is quite an easy win. Yeah. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:38:08]:

Steve Toth [00:38:08]:
smart strategy. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:38:10]:
So right. So, obviously, we we've covered quite a bit of ground. I think, what would you say are some of the most underutilized SEO strategies on ecommerce stores where we think about you know, we touched on obviously, there's there's we've touched on, you know, link building and and obviously very, very lightly, actually, a digital PR. We touched on, obviously, using AI and content. But what are some things that when it comes to eCom stores, I think, you know, one thing that is on my mind quite a lot at the moment that not a lot of ecom store marketers sort of use Google Search Console, for example. I don't think Have you got any thoughts on that or any other sort of, things that sort of get missed?

Steve Toth [00:38:50]:
Yeah. I'll go there for sure. So I love Google Search Console. It's, I'm in GSC a lot more than I am in analytics. Obviously, we report on, like, Google sorry, Looker Studio dashboards that incorporate everything. But when it actually comes down to strategy and, you know, strategic decisions, there's just so much information that can be mined from search console. Things like using regular expressions to find certain question based keywords may be one strategy. Another thing that we like to do is, try and match the title tag with a high impression keyword for that page.

Steve Toth [00:39:30]:
So if we notice our title tag has, you know, camping, let's say, like, you know, you know, camping tent or something like that, and our highest impression is actually 2 person camping tent, then we would, you know, use that high impression keyword in the title tag instead of the more generic one that that we have. Right? So, you you utilizing Google Search Console data is huge. And, and another thing that I don't think many people are taking advantage of is potentially bringing their, GSC and GA data for that matter, into BigQuery because, you can manipulate the data a lot more. And if your data, since it expires after 16 months in search console, you can back up your data forever in in BigQuery. So that's, something that we do for all of our projects.

Richard Hill [00:40:28]:
And then you can connect you can do a year on year comparison then, can't you? Because, obviously, 16 months, you can't. But when you've done the 16 months, 6 well, you get the maths right. 8 months later, you can then do a do a comparison. You know?

Steve Toth [00:40:41]:
True. So it's a good time to no. Anytime is a good time to get started with it because, like you said, you'll you'll begin to be able to do those types of analysis.

Richard Hill [00:40:50]:
It still it still baffles me the amount of clients that we speak to, and we oh, can you obviously add us to GSE? And they're like, what's that? That's yeah. It's, still it's still a thing. You know, it used to be, you know, the tracking wasn't working. That that's still a challenge. Don't get me wrong, you know, with the, especially with GA 4 and attribution and, but, yeah, g s GSC, access and using GSC. I think, did I read the other day, that they've added some new things recently around? You can see when Google raters have been on your can't remember what it was exactly.

Steve Toth [00:41:23]:
Right. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:41:24]:
Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, quite a lot of new things getting added in there. But anything else you would say that is sort of underutilized in ecommerce?

Steve Toth [00:41:35]:
I think probably I I mean, I wanna say, like, it could be done in some cases, but, like, you know, making your category pages have some type of, like, link worthy value because ultimately, like, those are the pages that you want to that you want to rank because they're gonna contain all your products. So drive links into those pages and then have that link equity filter through to all the products. So creating some type of, reason why a person would want to link to your, category page, I think is not only gonna benefit you just long term building passive links, but, obviously, when you're building links and you're doing things like exchanges or or even you know, I was I I would be careful, but let's say, brokering links, you'll have a little bit of easier time with that.

Richard Hill [00:42:27]:
Yeah. No. That's good. So a couple of personal questions then. Are you a big LEGO fan?

Steve Toth [00:42:34]:
Yes. As you can see in my background. I've actually so one of them is the the LEGO, Polaroid shot. Oh, wow. Yeah. Actual Polaroid one shot that the LEGO is based off of. So so that was kinda cool when I realized that they sold that one. It was like a must have.

Steve Toth [00:42:53]:
And then it's a little bit of a city, miniature city Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:42:58]:
Ask. I'll have to get you on a on a WhatsApp call another time because we've got Lego all around the office. 1 of my guys is obsessed. He's, like, obsessed with LEGO. So we have a full the the the Defender is in there. That there's a nice size, about this size, the Defender. So, a question I got asked, on a podcast a couple of months ago was, what keeps you up at night? What would you say keeps you up at night, Steve?

Steve Toth [00:43:23]:
I would say just like honestly, like, ideas for SEO notebook, whenever I have something that I'm really excited about. It often like, it's hard to get it out of my mind. Yeah. The other night, and maybe a different answer to that as well was, like, working with certain people. So I was, you know, talking with a good friend of mine, and, he was, you know, basically saying that he wasn't exactly the happiest in his current job, and then he was gonna come and work for me. So, like, I couldn't sleep that night because I was so excited. So I think it really comes down to, like, SEO and, like, the Yeah. Fun that you can kinda have at work and waking up excited to do work the next day.

Steve Toth [00:44:08]:
I'm very fortunate that that's the kind of stuff that keeps me up in terms of getting slapped by Google and stuff like that, I think if you've been in SEO long enough, you know what types of decisions are going to lead to getting into that kind of territory, and you're smart enough to avoid that. Right? So, yeah, you would we push the envelope. We get close, but we don't ever go overboard. Right? And, I think, actually, Charles Float had a very good, post on LinkedIn a few weeks ago where he talked about, like, what gets rookie SEOs into trouble, and it's just making too many consecutive unnatural decisions. And I think the longer that you've been in SEO, you kinda understand what those unnatural decisions could be, and you just work to avoid those at all costs. So I don't really have, you know, I'm not worried about, you know, shady tactics or, like, you know, Google going after, you know, really, like, silly kind of strategies and stuff like that. So I'm I'm lucky in that I'm not losing sleep over Google. Mhmm.

Steve Toth [00:45:19]:

Richard Hill [00:45:20]:
No. That's good. That's good. I think I think that's the thing. You've been doing it, you know, a a long time, so, I think you know you know better.

Steve Toth [00:45:30]:
But at the

Richard Hill [00:45:30]:
same time, you're testing a lot of things as well. So, yeah, that's good. Well, thank you for coming on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure. I look forward to seeing you in person, any day, and so, it would be great to great to catch up again. I like to finish every episode with a book recommendation, Steve. Do you have a book that you'd like to recommend to our listeners?

Steve Toth [00:45:48]:
Yeah. 100%. So I you you, you did give me a chance to think about this, and I was like, what should I recommend? There's actually a book called In the Plex by Stephen Levy, and it's all about the history of Google. And it's not, you know, 100% about SEO, not even close, but it gives you a really amazing window into how Google thinks as a company And just some really, really cool case studies, like, real quick. In, like, 2008, Google did an experiment where they artificially delayed search results by a half a second, and they realized that that half a second delay actually caused people to search less and become distracted. So, you know, Google has an obsession with speed. So that's, like, you know, one of the main things I took away from that book. And, you know, if I think about, what's, you know, with SGE and, like, the amount of load time that those results take to load Yeah.

Steve Toth [00:46:45]:
I'm sure it's a big, you know, problem for Google because they're realizing that it's got people's attention spans that are going to wane if they have to wait for the results to generate in this way. So just that book, In the Plex by Stephen Levy, fantastic book, and kinda just gives you, like, you know, a thousand foot view on how Google operates as a company and can ultimately help you kinda make decisions as an SEO, I think. Mhmm.

Richard Hill [00:47:11]:
Very fantastic. That's not one I've heard, so I heard of. I'll be mentioned on the previous a 183 episodes of the show, so we'll get that linked up. And, I'll get that bought as well. I might even have a listen to that if it's on audio on the on the 12 hour flight that's that I've got look to look forward to.

Steve Toth [00:47:27]:
It's it's a 20 hour audio book, so you have to speed it up.

Richard Hill [00:47:30]:
Oh, okay. There and back, I might get it done. Yeah. It's a good one. I'll put it on the list, I think, for maybe at the end of the day. But so, no. Fantastic. Steve, for those who wanna find out more about you, more about SEO Notebook, what's the best way to do that?

Steve Toth [00:47:43]:
Just go to my website seonotebook.com eCom subscribe. Yep. I'm also on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. And, Yeah. If you subscribe to SEO Notebook, feel free to, reply to an email if, if you have any questions.

Richard Hill [00:47:57]:
Fantastic. Well, thanks for coming on the show, and I'll see you very soon.

Steve Toth [00:48:00]:
Alright. Thanks, Cheers. Pleasure.

Richard Hill [00:48:01]:
Yeah. Thank you. Bye bye. If you enjoyed this episode, hit the subscribe or follow button wherever you are listening to this podcast. You're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Have a fantastic day, and I'll see you on the next one.

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