Brian Dean, a leading SEO expert and the founder of Backlinko, talks with us about his favorite communication tools, explains how voice search is going to change the SEO game, and lists the most important skills for a marketer in 2018.
Brian dean is one of the leading experts on SEO and link building, and has a tremendous knowledge on content marketing strategies. Brian founded Backlinko in 2013 to teach the lessons he learned along the way.
Since launching Backlinko, Brian quickly made a name for himself by publishing practical strategies that marketers can use to grow their online business. Backlinko is now one of the most popular marketing blogs online. ctionable SEO, link building and content marketing strategies that you can use to grow your business.
Brian is not a fan of instant messaging or anything like that. He feels those tools are more of a distraction. In particular, in a company like Brian’s, where the teams are dispersed, there is no real need for the most part for live chats:
“That way you can get to it when you’re done doing your important work. And that’s the philosophy we go by. So the tool we use for communication is actually only email at this point. We used to use some task management stuff, but it’s just another thing to check in and maintain. So we got rid of that.
We don’t do any video, basically no meetings. It’s not really a policy but it’s basically no meetings, so all the communication is through email and the reason for that is that meetings are just an incredible waste of time for everyone there. And most of the time whatever gets done in the meeting could be done via email a lot faster and when people are available, instead of making them available at a certain time. Very, very rarely, maybe like a few times a year, we all hop on a call for the most part though it’s all email communication.
Most WordPress users think that you can install Yoast and that’s it, in terms of SEO. However, the reality is that they’re forgetting that SEO is more of a process than a thing you do once and you’re done. Yoast is helpful for getting started, but it’s one tiny piece of SEO:
“SEO starts with keyword research, and then you have to create something that deserves to rank on the first page which has nothing to do with Yoast, and then you optimize it for keywords and that kind of Yoast cover some of that stuff, but not even that much. And then there’s a whole promotion and link building side, which is a whole another thing. So you have all these steps and Yoast covers one of it. So I would say Yoast is helpful, I use it, but it’s one very, very small part of SEO.
As Brian explains, voice search is kind of a misunderstood thing in SEO, growing really fast. Google’s own data shows that about 20% of all searches done on android phones are now voice searches and Microsoft data shows that a good chunk of voice searches are happening on desktops using Cortana on windows.
The real shift that’s happening, which impacts SEO people is that regular searches that are happening on people’s phones or on desktops are coming in through the voice. They’re happening on Google just like they normally are, but the keywords are different because people are using their voice; instead of typing in something, they’re using their voice and because of that, the keywords themselves are different than what they typed. When people use voice to search, the keywords are a lot longer because it’s a lot easier to say something than typing , so instead of “calories apple”, which they would type in, they might say something like “hey Google, how many calories are in an apple?”.
Keywords also be tend to be more questions because people feel like they’re having this interaction with the computer that they don’t have when they’re typing. So it just changes the keywords that people use and how people search and get the results, but the results are basically the same.
Standing in front of a camera is one of the challenges for many people in the content marketing industry. Not everyone feels like they can do it. How can you improve your performance?
Brian advises: “Just get in front of the camera a lot! The more you do it, the more comfortable you get. I’m sure the first time you interviewed someone on a podcast; it wasn’t as smooth as it is today and it’s the same thing for video. Don’t go back to the first video. Looking at it now I have the feeling like it’s kind of embarrassing.
So yeah, that’s the best advice I can give and when I say that I don’t mean you even have to publish videos. You can record a video content, look at it and say “this wasn’t really good enough, I don’t want to put it out there”, but just the act of getting in front of the camera, getting comfortable there and knowing that it’s not live, takes a lot of the pressure off and you internalize a lot of that stuff over time.”
As Brian says, writing is the number one skill by a mile when it comes to marketing and it’s not just for writing content, just in general:
“If you’re a marketer, you’re going to write a lot. Like even this podcast, you wrote the questions right and by large, the quality of this podcast has nothing to do with me. It’s the quality of the questions, right? And you ask good questions so far, so the podcast helps your listeners, but if you wrote the questions and they weren’t very good or they’re awkward and hard to understand, then the podcast wouldn’t go as well. Or with the video your script that you make in your video. You ultimately write that or an outline and then to write the title. When you wrote me an email to invite me to come on the podcast, or when you write a social media post or when you write to meet someone for coffee. Just writing happens so much. We think, okay, that’s 2018. The world is about video and podcasting and audio and a good chunk of it is, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to writing.
If you’re a good writer, it’s a huge super hack that can help with anything else you do. It almost doesn’t even matter what part of marketing you decide to specialize in, writing will help you.
The second skill you should posses is an eye for design. Of course, it doesn’t mean you should be a designer yourself:
“I’m not, I’m horrible. I can barely draw. It looks like a little kid, but I feel like over the years I’ve developed an eye for design about what just looks aesthetically nice and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to website stuff. So that’s something that I think is important to cultivate. Whether it’s looking at art or reading design books. I actually read a lot about design even though I can’t do it just so I can understand trends, what’s working and some basic stuff like rule of thirds and symmetry and colors and things like that. I feel like that’s going to help you because your website design is such a big part of the impression that people get from your site, like it’s just more than the content more than anything else.”
The third skill is multimedia, i.e. audio and video production:
“They’re a growing part of the Internet and like we said at the end of the day, writing is the structure and the foundation for it, but just being good in audio, being good on video, these things are going to become more and more important as time goes on. So if I was a marketer looking to jump in, I would make sure I was at least competent with audio and competent with video because those skills are going to come up again and again. Just like writing.”