Leveraging SEO for Greater Business Success | Brandon Leibowitz

Today’s Guest Brandon Leibowitz

Meet Brandon Leibowitz, the mastermind behind SEO Optimisers since 2007, where magic meets marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. With a sprinkle of digital wizardry, he's on a quest to amplify online traffic, turning clicks into clients and searches into sales. Ready to launch your digital presence into the stratosphere? Brandon's your guy!

In this episode of the eCommerce Podcast, host Matt Edmundson interviews Brandon Leibowitz, the mastermind behind SEO Optimisers, to delve into the world of SEO and its importance in eCommerce. Brandon shares his journey from starting SEO Optimisers in 2007 to becoming an expert in the field, helping small and medium-sized businesses amplify their online traffic and convert clicks into clients.

  • Importance of Backlinks: Backlinks are crucial for SEO success. They act as a vote of confidence from other websites, helping Google determine the trustworthiness and authority of your site. It's important to focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites rather than aiming for sheer quantity, which can be counterproductive and even harmful.
  • Utilize Keyword Research and Content Optimisation: Effective keyword research using tools like Google Keyword Planner can help identify low-competition, high-intent keywords to target. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your content, including product pages, blog posts, and FAQ sections. Optimising your website with well-researched keywords and high-quality content can significantly improve your search engine rankings.
  • Adopt a Long-Term SEO Strategy: SEO is a long-term investment that requires patience and consistency. Immediate results are rare, and it often takes time to see significant improvements in search engine rankings and traffic. Continually optimise your site, stay updated with Google's algorithm changes, and keep building high-quality content and backlinks. Over time, these efforts will lead to increased traffic and higher conversions.

Conclusion: Brandon emphasizes the importance of a well-rounded SEO strategy that includes both on-page and off-page techniques. He encourages eCommerce entrepreneurs to stay patient and persistent, as SEO is a long-term investment that pays off over time. For those looking to dive deeper, Brandon offers a special gift and additional resources on his website, SEOoptimizers.com.

Visit Brandon's website for a free SEO analysis and to explore more resources that can help you enhance your eCommerce SEO strategies.

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Brandon Leibowitz

Matt Edmundson: [00:00:00] Well, hello and welcome to the eCommerce Podcast with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. Sorry, I got a little bit carried away there, just to miss my cue, but that's okay. Welcome to the show. It's good to have you with us. Uh, it's a show that helps you deliver eCommerce well. Yes it is. That's what we're here for.

And to help us do just that, today we are chatting with Brandon Leibowitz about AI, about predominantly SEO, about conversion, are we going to get into it all? There's no doubt about it because we have an expert on the show, yes we do. So let's Grab your notebooks, grab your pens. You are gonna want to find out and make note of all kinds of stuff today.

So, make sure you do that. Now, if this is your first time with us, a very warm welcome to you. And of course, if you're a [00:01:00] long standing eCommerce podcast listener, an extra warm. Extra warm welcome to you. Uh, it's great that you're here, whether you're new, whether you're an old dinosaur like me, uh, it's just good to be around eCommerce folks.

So thanks for joining us today. And of course, this show is brought to you by the wonderful eCommerce Cohort. If you haven't done so already, do check that out, eCommerceCohort. com. It's our monthly mastermind group. You can come, you can join in, you can take advantage of all the workshops and stuff, which are going on in there.

It will be great to see you. So you can find out more at eCommerceCohort. com. So let's talk about today's guest, shall we? We're talking about eCommerce, we're talking about how to, you know, thrive online and all that sort of stuff. So let's chat with, uh, Mr. Brandon Leibowitz, like I said, the mastermind behind SEO Optimizers.

He's been doing that since 2007, where magic [00:02:00] meets marketing. For small and medium sized businesses, with a sprinkle of digital wizardry as well. Oh yes, he's on a quest to amplify online traffic, turning clicks into clients and searches into sales. Are you ready to launch your digital presence into the stratosphere?

Well let me tell you, Brendan's your guy, yes he is. Love that bio, love that intro. Brendan, welcome to the show man. How are we doing today? We're doing great. I am doing great, thanks for having me on. Yeah, no problem at all, all the way from sunny LA, so there's a bit of a time difference between the two of us, as we can probably tell if you're watching the video.

A

Brandon Leibowitz: little bit of a difference, but, hey, we're making it work, and I see what technology is, it helps connect us all, and it's midway through the evening for you, but

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, no, it's all good, it's all good, I'm a big fan of LA, and I can see why people live out there, you know, and there's a little town called San Clemente, just south of LA, Where a very good friend of mine lives and, [00:03:00] um, and so quite often if I'm in the States I'll go spend some time down there, go, go to the beach, he'll go surfing, I'll go read a book because frankly I can't surf, it's just, it's just never going to work, so, uh, but a beautiful part of the world.

So have you always been in LA or are you an import into that area?

Brandon Leibowitz: I grew up here and it's tough to leave with the nice weather, so just been here pretty much my whole life.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, and do you do the whole sports thing? That's a big thing over there, isn't it? Like, what is it, the LA Rams, the, uh The big football team, do you do that?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah, now that we've got a football team, like two years ago, so, been checking them out a little bit, but, yeah. Now, before that, we didn't have anything, so, we were just kind of crying over here. We had lots of basketball teams, but no football team. Now we've got two football teams, so they actually doubled down and went all in and gave us two when we had none before.

Right, well,

Matt Edmundson: thank you for that. We have the saying in England, right, which is, Um, they, they, they talk about how when [00:04:00] you wait for a bus, cause you know, a lot of people use buses over here, um, how when you wait for a bus, it takes a long time for one to turn up, but when one turns, turns up, they all turn up together, you know, like, so three turn up together.

It's a bit like that with your football team, but, uh, yeah, that's, that's fascinating. So tell me a little bit about, um, SEO optimizers. You know, you did, we read in the bio there that you've been doing that since 2007, which in digital years. Uh, Brandon is a, is a flipping long time. Um, and so, you know, well done for staying in the course, but how did you get involved in that?

Brandon Leibowitz: I just fell into it after I graduated from school. I got my degree in business marketing

and

Brandon Leibowitz: the first job I got out or offered was helping out a company with their digital marketing back in 2007, which I didn't really know much about it back then. They said, don't worry, we don't know much either. When I learn what do

thought

Brandon Leibowitz: was kind of interesting, and that's kind of helpful, right?

Yeah. I was like, all right, let's do this together. And they took me to classes and workshops, [00:05:00] seminars, and kind of just after working there for a few months, just kind of realized everyone's probably gonna have a website in the future. This digital thing is probably not going to go anywhere anytime soon, and there's lots of different ways to get traffic.

I was helping out. They're like, they're social, doing paid ads, doing email marketing, doing SEO, and all that works to get traffic, but I just thought, who doesn't want free traffic? SEO is just a way to get free traffic,

and

Brandon Leibowitz: that's what I've focused on over the years, working at different advertising agencies.

As a director of SEO and before work and after work and on my lunch breaks, I'd work on my own company and eventually built that up to where I was able to quit my job and focus solely on this and been doing that ever since.

Matt Edmundson: Fantastic. And so you must, um, you must enjoy it because I think with SEO, it's one of those things that if you don't enjoy it, you don't stick it out, right?

It's, it's, there's got to be a, a deep passion for it to, to be in it for the long term. So I, I might. Am I right in my assumption or is this one of those things I've always thought about people in SEO if you've been [00:06:00] around for a while?

Brandon Leibowitz: No, and it's kind of like a game, like trying to figure out how Google works or trying to reverse engineer your competition and seeing how they're getting those rankings.

So it makes it interesting. It's not the same thing over and over again. Google's constantly changing and keeps you on your toes.

Matt Edmundson: I imagine actually the Google of 2007 and the Google of 2024, uh, at the time of recording, I imagine they're actually quite different.

Brandon Leibowitz: Much, much different. It was a lot easier to rank back in 2007.

Now it's, well, also there is more competition, so that's a big thing with SEO is, I mean, we want to figure out how Google works and we want to beat Google, but Google changes every single day. So what really matters is who's on that first page of Google for your keywords, how much SEO have they done and how can we do a better job of it.

And nowadays, Everyone has a website, so it just becomes very competitive, very saturated, and becomes a little bit tougher. And also, Google's become much more sophisticated too, [00:07:00] back then in 2007, you just throw a couple keywords on your website, build some backlinks, and you would rank pretty much instantaneously.

Now it's a lot more that goes into it.

Matt Edmundson: So it's interesting you say that, actually, there's a lot, because I remember, you know, when we launched our beauty company in 2006, we were, we were instantly on page one for some quite key brands. Um, of, uh, in back in the day and, uh, you know, competition's different now and so on and so forth.

I kind of think if I was, if I started again today with that beauty website, it would be so much harder to do half the things that we did. Right. And I'm, I'm not, you know, it's just a good thought experiment to go, well, how would we do it differently today? So if someone is starting out in eCommerce, I mean, do they have a chance where SEO is concerned?

I mean, how would, you know, if there are, if you go to page one and type in, or you go to Google and type in some of the beauty brands, you know, there's, how do I even think about [00:08:00] getting, you know, high up in the SEO rankings as a new player?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah, that's where you just got to find something more unique and differentiating yourself.

So if you're just selling the same thing that everyone else is selling, it's going to be very saturated and tough to rank, but if you could find something more niche that helps make yourself stand out, like maybe, I mean, if you're selling like, Something really general like clothing or t shirts. It's gonna be really tough.

You got Amazon, Walmart, and all these big corporate websites that rank for it. But if you can find something more niche, like maybe sell organic cotton, children's t shirts. So something that helps differentiate yourself, it's be competitive, but it's just going to be a little bit less competition. So that's where you got to kind of find like something that helps you stand out.

Otherwise you're just going to get lost in the sea of other websites out there. And over time you can rank for that keyword. But. If you're just starting out, it's going to take a long time to rank for these really competitive keywords. So that's where you find these low competition keywords, target those, and then eventually build it up where you can go for [00:09:00] those bigger ones in the future.

Matt Edmundson: So low competition keywords, and let's start there. Um, sorry, Brandon, we're just jumping straight into this. I'm, I'm, I'm into this already. Uh, it's, it's, It's, it's one of those things where it's, it's, it's easy to say, isn't it? You know, I'll just go choose long competition, low competition keywords and you should rank for those.

I'm like, well, how do I find them? And if they're low competition, are they low competition for a reason, i. e. they're not really worth the time and effort and energy in, in, in doing it, if that makes sense.

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah, I mean, some of those, yeah, when you do keyword research, and I'll, I can do it in a minute, but sometimes you'll find these low search volume keywords that, or that don't have much competition, and they might not have any search volume either, so they might not be the best to go after because, just because it's low competition doesn't always mean it's the best.

Also, you want buyer intent. Yeah. Keywords that are, especially for eCommerce, you want keywords that are going to get those conversions. But the way, there's lots of different tools that you could use for keyword [00:10:00] research. There's a free tool from Google called the Google Keyword Planner.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah.

Brandon Leibowitz: And that's going to show you how many people search for your keyword every single month.

So you could go put your keywords into the Google Keyword Planner. It's going to give you hundreds, thousands sometimes of other keywords related to your keyword.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. And

Brandon Leibowitz: then if you go through all those keywords and see which ones get search volume, which ones get. A decent amount of monthly searches, but just because it gets a decent amount of monthly searches, you want to actually take that keyword and search it in Google and see who's on that first page of Google.

And if you just see, it's all big corporate websites and you're just a startup, maybe not the best keyword, but if you're a big corporate website, then you could target those keywords. So it's all about knowing where you are in the business cycle and targeting keywords that are similar or that websites are similar.

Rank for those keywords that are similar in size to your business. So if you search on Google for the keywords that you find on the Google Keyword Planner and it's a bunch of startup companies or smaller businesses in your startup, then I would say [00:11:00] that's a good keyword to go after. It's still going to be a little tough at least, but at least you know now you're not targeting all these big corporate websites where you probably don't have any chance of ranking for that initially over time.

If you build up the right signals to Google, then you can get up there. But Google Keyword Planner is a free tool. There's paid tools. If you want to buy a tool like Ahrefs or Moz or SEMrush or tons of other paid tools out there. But they pretty much get all their data from the Google Keyword Planner.

They just make it look nicer and prettier and easier to kind of digest all that stuff. But really, you don't need to pay for these paid tools. The Google Keyword Planner. From Google. So I would trust that more than any of these other third party tools, but they're all good. If you want to pay for it, it's not bad, but that's really interesting.

Matt Edmundson: You say that actually, because, you know, we, there aren't that, I've never heard actually someone say that in terms of, you know, these tools, they're okay. Um, if you're willing to pay for them, [00:12:00] But they really take the data from, from Google anyway, which you can get for free. So the data we get out of Google Keyword Planner is, is 80 percent of it, right?

It's listening to you, you know, talk if I've understood it right. 80 percent of it is, is just what you get for free from, from Google Keyword Planner. So, um, the other software might make it easier to help you. Okay, so this is great. So I can go to Keyword Planner, I can go and find some buyer intent keywords, I can spend a bit of time researching those, um, and I can see whether, you know, big corporates from there or whether I think I've got a bit of a chance.

And I appreciate this is more sometimes an art than a science, you know, more sort of feeling than, than, than reality, but In my head, Brandon, there's, there's two things that I'm, I'm thinking about here. There's, there's the old school methodology and maybe it's still, you know, not, maybe it's not old school still.

Maybe it's still very real, uh, which is to go away, um, and [00:13:00] find the questions your customers are asking, specifically asking them to Google, you know, so we were always told, uh, look at your customer service inquiries, what questions are people asking, type them into Google, see what comes up. And then, um.

Write a blog post around that question. Um, that was sort of one way. And then the other, the other one that I want to get into a little bit is how we, how we do SEO for our products themselves, you know, on our, our product page. Um, but let's start with the, the blogs. Is that, is that still a strategy? Is that still working these days, or is.

Yes to you.

Brandon Leibowitz: Nope. Those are still really important. Blogs are really important, but the questions, because people usually ask questions into Google and want to get an answer. And you could just, if you don't know what questions, like, I mean, if you don't have a customer support or if you're not getting lots of people that are asking you the same questions over and over again.

Go to Google, search for your keyword, and then scroll down in [00:14:00] Google, there's a section called People Also Ask. These are all high search volume questions that people commonly ask Google. So you can put your main keyword in there and then see all these questions that Google constantly gets about that keyword.

Keyword, and then you can incorporate those into your website, writing it as a blog post, but also you can make FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions, a section on each page. So like your product pages or your category pages, you can add an FAQ section, ask, copy those questions verbatim as they are, answer them in your own voice, don't copy the answers.

And if you mark it up with schema. org, it's a programming language that you If you have a search engine that was created like 10 years ago, then you potentially might show up in that. People also ask. You might get that featured snippet at the top of Google. You also might show up for voice searches because people are asking questions.

They want to get that answer. So it's really beneficial and it gives you a lot of benefit by taking those questions, answering them on your website, either [00:15:00] as a blog post, a standalone blog post, or make an FAQ section. On each page, answering those questions there.

Matt Edmundson: And does it matter if you, I, sorry to get in the weeds a little bit here, but if I'm going to do the, uh, do them as FAQs on my page, does it matter if I do them as an accordion?

Does that impact it? You know, where it sort of collapses and, and I've seen that a lot, or do I have to have it all as expanded text straight off the bat?

Brandon Leibowitz: No. So as long as you're not hiding it, that's what matters. So as long as you're not putting in like font size 0. 001. Background is white and then you put a white font color.

Matt Edmundson: We used to do that back in 2005. I can't believe there's still people doing that. You know, you just make it white text on a white background and keyword stuff a page.

Brandon Leibowitz: Hopefully you're not doing that, but the accordion, if you search on Google, that people also ask section is an accordion. So Google is using an accordion.

So if Google is using it, then it's okay to do it. I wouldn't worry too much because [00:16:00] you're not hiding it and it doesn't make it look a little bit cleaner. Transcribed It's not so cluttered and it doesn't take up so much space at Accordion, but just don't hide it. That's number one is don't be trying to trick Google because Google has been around for way too long and they've seen all these things and they know them all and don't think that you're getting creative by putting in a font size 0.

01.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, I don't, they've definitely got more money than me to figure this out. Right. So I, it's, um, it's really interesting. So what about then, um, thinking about content marketing SEO? So we've gone, we've looked at some questions and, uh, you know, you've like, I love your suggestion. You know, in fact, if I, let me pull up my keyboard now, let's do something.

I'm just going to go to Google. Uh, let's go to google. com and let's type in, uh, Mechanical Pencil. Just because my daughter was asking me for one earlier, that's why it's top of my mind. Mechanical Pencil. Uh, [00:17:00] so I scroll down to the bottom of the page and, um, we've got Related Searches, Mechanical Pencil for Drawing, Mechanical Pencil for Writing, so I suppose I can differentiate a little bit on those.

Um, scroll down. It just seems to keep on going and going and going. Have I just, is that because I've picked a product?

Brandon Leibowitz: No, it should have that people also ask section. It doesn't have it for all searches, but I'd say. 90% of 'em have it.

Matt Edmundson: That's interesting that it's not done. That it just, it's like an infinity.

I've never seen it do that before. Uh, so if I put in mechanical pencil for drawing, let's choose the first one. Oh, here we go. People also ask, it's actually under the first mm-Hmm. listing. Um, okay. So our mechanical pencil's good for drawing. Right, so I could put that as a question on my page, are mechanical pencils good for drawing?

And I could write an article about that. Can I ask you a question? Is it worth me doing [00:18:00] a, I don't know, four to seven minute video with the same title where in effect I'm saying the same thing as I've written in the video and bring YouTube into it as well?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah, that's definitely not a bad thing to do, because YouTube is the second most popular website on the internet and if you just capture more traffic through YouTube, Google owns YouTube, but sometimes when you do search for keywords in Google, you'll see YouTube videos appear or videos appear 90 percent of the time it's going to be a YouTube video.

So if someone is searching for mechanical pencil, you could potentially have your website rank. You could have your video rank. If you optimize your images, images will rank. You optimize the products through Google Merchant Center. In that feed, then those products might rank there and just gives you more free real estate.

But I would definitely, if you are making that video, embed that video on your website and 'cause people's attention spans are so short, they don't wanna read anymore. They don't wanna, yeah, it's tough. So if you have a video there, people are probably gonna watch the [00:19:00] video versus reading. 400 or 800 or a thousand word article or text.

Mm-Hmm. block that you have there.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. No, I, I'm definitely one of those people that would watch the video rather than read the text because I'm a lazy toe wreck. Um, so this is, so I've got the, I've got, I've got my understanding of that. So let's think then, if we can, about the product page. Let's dive into that a little bit.

What are some of the best practices I need to think about for my. mechanical pencil page with all my draw, you know, where I'm, I'm, I'm doing my, my nice drawing mechanical pencil. Um, and shout out to Tom's studio, by the way, uh, tomstudio. com. I think it is got a lovely mechanical pencil. I was looking at that earlier, but that's another story.

I love that website. Um, so. Yeah, so what are some of the best practices that I need to sort of think about when it comes to that product page?

Brandon Leibowitz: I mean, the title [00:20:00] usually is the most important aspect is making sure you have keywords in that title or make it descriptive and then making sure you have text.

So if you just have a bunch of images and stuff like that, that's okay, but Google struggles to read images and videos that can be the file name on images. So if you have, whenever you add images to your website. If it's a mechanical pencil, name it mechanical pencil. jpg, or if you have like 5 pictures of it, maybe switch it up to mechanical pencils.

Yeah. Pencil. That's mechanical. jpg. So you're hitting on all these different variations and then upload the image. It usually asks for like an alt text or alt tag, making sure you add that as well. And just pretty much copying whatever the file name is for the alt tag or alt text. That's going to help you rank for Google image searches, but you still need to put text.

So you need to describe what that is with like bullet points. Like if you look at Amazon, they have like bullet points at the top and then they have like when you scroll [00:21:00] down a big block of text like so for user conversion or for usability and conversions. You don't want to have that big block of text at the top.

So Amazon, it's really easy to navigate through. It has like the reviews, the price, the bullet points, the title, the image right there on the screen. So you don't even have to scroll down because the majority of people will never scroll down on the website.

It seems

Brandon Leibowitz: weird, but most people don't scroll or don't swipe.

So whatever you see on the screen is above the fold. You have to have all your printed information up there, make it easy to read for people. And then once you scroll down, then you can put all that stuff for SEO, like this big block of text, all that content and things like that, because Google's going to read from top to bottom.

So they're going to see all that stuff. People they don't really scroll down that far. So there's looking for what they're looking for and once they find it. That's all they're going to look at. They're not going to scroll all the way to the bottom of the website. Some people do, but most people do not scroll down that far.

So making sure you have that balance of SEO, putting that content there, and then for people making it easy to read, easy to [00:22:00] navigate through and just making it, Yeah, having that, that balance for both.

Matt Edmundson: So when you're creating the block of text, um, and you're creating the bullet points, are you using relevant keywords specifically in there as well?

Are you, um, I, I guess in some respects, I, again, this might be old school, but it used to be that. I've seen copywriters sort of start with the keywords and then build the rest of the text around it. I don't know if that's still a practice or whether you, um, are not that, you know, doesn't matter if you include the keyword once or 20 times in that text anymore.

You know, I don't know if there's a weight into that anymore.

Brandon Leibowitz: So the way to figure that out is you have to go into Google, search for that keyword. So if we're doing mechanical pencils, search mechanical pencils and open up all the websites that rank on that first page of Google, skip over the ads. But open up all those websites and then you can average out how much content is each website writing.

Is everyone writing? If [00:23:00] everyone is writing 100 words, then you should probably write 150 words. If everyone is writing 2, 000 words, you probably want to write 2, 000 and 100 words. So you want to do a little bit more than the competition, but also you could, uh, and there's tools that could help out with this, like Surfer SEO is a great tool that will do it, which will actually read through all those, The first couple pages on Google.

Yeah,

Brandon Leibowitz: and it'll show you, on average, most websites will write mechanical pencils five to 10 times. So then you're like, all right, I wanna stay within the average. I wanna write mechanical. Mechanical pencils. Should be on my page five to 10 times, somewhere in that average, because. With SEO, it's not a one size fits all.

Every website is different. Every keyword is different. And we've got to figure out, what have your competitors done, and how can we do a better job of it? And that's where you've got to analyze each website to see what they've done, what keywords are they using, what variations, like long tail keywords, synonyms, plurals, and things like that.

So, you want to put your highest search volume keyword. In the title and at the top of [00:24:00] the page. But then you wanna blend in variations of long tail keywords, reordering the keywords, maybe put pencil or mechanical. Instead of putting mechanical pencils, you could say pencils that are mechanical. So mixing it up because.

The way people search, it's always going to be different. The way I search and you search, it might be similar, but we're going to add a word or add, remove a word. So I'm going to try to tap into all those. And that's where the keyword research that we did initially, we'll show you what keywords that you potentially might want to rank for, then you could sprinkle them in throughout that content.

Matt Edmundson: So this, I mean, this is fascinating and I love this idea of, um, like if I go on to I'm on Mechanical Pencil for drawing now, and the first one, which is not actually as bizarre because there's no sponsored, that's really interesting, there's no sponsored ads. Um, so if I go to the first one to casart. co. uk, um, Mechanical Pencils is the [00:25:00] title.

They've got Mechanical Pencils in like the breadcrumb navigation. Is that still important to do something like that?

Brandon Leibowitz: For breadcrumbs, especially eCommerce. Yeah, it's a way to just jump back. Well, for people it's a way to jump back to like a category subcategories, sub subcategories, but also for Google.

They look at internal links. So this is a link to internally to another page on your website. And you want to link your category to the subcategory. You want to link your subcategory to the sub subcategory and so on. And you want to link those products to the sub sub subcat or however you structure it, but.

You want to link them all together, so the breadcrumbs are just another way to link everything together. Sometimes, they show up in the search results, not all the time, Google's kind of taken that away, but they did sometimes show up in there, so if you mark up the breadcrumbs with schema, that will get them to potentially show up in the Google search results.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, okay, so they've got a, they've actually got [00:26:00] under the title on their category page, they've got a small paragraph of text, and I remember we started doing this for the beauty company to help us rank better. So rather than just having Mechanical Pencils as the category listing page and then just showing me, you know, 50 mechanical pencils, they've actually put a sort of small paragraph of text in there.

Um, that, which I find interesting because that's above all the filters, all the sort by brand, it's sort of the first thing that we see. And, um, is that kind of thing, uh, important for something like a category page?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yep. As you can see, they're ranked on that first page of Google and you'll see that most websites, unless it's a big corporate website, Big corporations don't really need to put that text, but if it's a small or medium sized website, they're going to have to have some text.

Like you can't just have a bunch of images of your products because Google struggles to read images. So they need that text to help them better read, understand, and know what that page is about. And I usually tell people, put that text at the very bottom. [00:27:00] It's okay to have like maybe like a couple of sentences at the top.

So have like one or two or three sentences at the top, but you don't want to put too 400 words or 800 words at the top, because nobody wants to read that. If they're looking for mechanical pencils, how much do they really wanna read about? Mechanical pencils? Yeah. Yeah. They wanna buy it,

Matt Edmundson: but yeah,

Brandon Leibowitz: you need to have that balance for Google, having some text at the top and then having a lot at the bottom.

Okay. Which, if you scroll down on that page, they might have a big block of text at the very bottom, which a lot of e-commerce websites will do just to help. Google better read that page and know what that category is about.

Matt Edmundson: This is fascinating. I guess I'm listening to this and in my head I'm thinking, if someone's eCommerce, there's a lot here.

I mean you can, there's lots of rabbit trails I've already gone down and I'm hours into it, right, just doing all this research and figuring out. You mentioned Surfer SEO. Which I have personally played around on quite a bit actually, um, but if you're, you know, a small company, it's just you or you and a partner or something, you're [00:28:00] doing this sort of eCommerce thing and it's, it's, it's consuming all your time.

SEO, I think is one of those things that sort of gets pushed down the list a little bit. Is there, you know, Is there some AI that can help us now, or should we actually avoid AI when it comes to SEO?

Brandon Leibowitz: I mean, you could use AI, but AI is not accurate. So that's the biggest thing is, yeah, make sure whatever you're putting on your website is accurate.

Go into ChatTBD and say, write me a 500 word product description for mechanical pencils. Go write something up, but if it doesn't know what to write, it's going to make it up. It's called AI Hallucinations and it just makes up the answer and it doesn't tell you that it's making up the answer, which I feel like it should tell you that if it doesn't know the answer, but it just makes it up.

And then you're just going to copy that, post it on your website. And Google said last year that we don't care who writes the content because they can't tell the difference. We used to be able to tell the difference, but now the AI content is so good that Google can't tell the difference if it's written by humans [00:29:00] or AI.

So they said, we don't care who writes the content, as long as it offers value. And that really means that it's accurate. So you could have AI help you out with like writing outlines. That's really good for outlines, but writing the content, it's not there yet. I mean, it's getting really close to it. So maybe in a year or two, you could use it to write that content, but I would still be a little weary just because it's not a hundred percent accurate, but it doesn't really matter who writes it.

And that helps out for eCommerce if you're selling a thousand products, you have to write a thousand product descriptions. That's a lot of content, but nowadays you could help it or use AI to help out with it, but just still got to double and triple check it and make sure it's accurate.

Matt Edmundson: So the, what, if you don't mind me asking, what AI tools do you guys use?

Do you use ChatGPT and that's it, or are there others that you've, you've sort of got on hand as well?

Brandon Leibowitz: I mean, Google has their own version. It's called Gemini. And if we're doing SEO, well, ChatGPT is created by OpenAI, which is Bing. [00:30:00] So ChatGPT, if you ask it to write content, this is actually Bing writing it for you.

But Google has their own version. It's called Gemini. So if we are trying to rank on Google, I would say use Google Gemini. To help write that content, because then it's gonna be Google writing the content for you, and hopefully they're gonna do it in a way that they want it written out. Doesn't guarantee it, but hey, at least you're getting Google to, yeah.

Yeah. Write the content. So it's a little bit better, I think for SEO purposes, if you're just doing general stuff like. Writing emails and things like that, ChatGPD is fine, but if you want to do SEO related tasks, I'd say Google's version might be a little bit better. They just redid their version. They had one that was called BARD and they just rebranded it.

I haven't played around with it too much. I've used BARD a lot and it was pretty good because it gives you a lot of insights to what Google's looking for. So if you say, write me, or like help me do keyword research, the keyword research is not the best, but it gives you like a list of things Right below the keywords that it recommends the Gemini or Google's [00:31:00] version saying like, this is what we're looking for.

We recommend long tail variations. We recommend doing this. So this is this. So they're actually giving you insights, which Google really never gives you help. Usually you're telling you what not to do. They're not telling you what to do. So this is a little different where they're actually saying. This is what we want you to do, which is nice of them to do.

I mean,

Brandon Leibowitz: again, take everything with a grain of salt that Google tells you, how accurate and how truthful are they being? Because do they really want you to do SEO? No, they want you to run paid ads. They, it's how they make all their money. So they're going to tell you some things, but I would still just take it all with a grain of salt.

Don't, don't do it. Believe everything they tell you.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, it's very true. Very true. And I've heard, I mean, I've heard a lot of good things about Gemini. I've not had too much chance to play lots on it. Um, but I have heard some very good things about it. So, uh, I will take that top tip there, Brendan. Um, let's move on slightly if I can.

So, I mean, we've talked a lot about, you know, If I'm starting out in eCommerce, these are some of the strategies. What are some of the more [00:32:00] advanced strategies that I should be thinking about, or maybe even questions I should be asking my marketing team, my SEO team, if I'm already established in eCommerce and we've got a team working on stuff, what should I be thinking about there?

Brandon Leibowitz: Well, we didn't talk about backlinks and backlinks are what brings websites,

Matt Edmundson: right?

Brandon Leibowitz: Backlinks are how Google became popular. So what is a backlink? A backlink is a clickable link from another website that points to yours. So let's say you're reading an article on entrepreneur. com and there it says Brandon Lebowitz.

You click on it and it goes to my website. I'd be getting a backlink from entrepreneur. com. So the more websites that have clickable links that point to you. The more popular or trustworthy Google sees you as, and then they look at those keywords on your website, but it doesn't work the other way around.

If you're not building backlinks, Google's not gonna trust you. And they're not gonna, they don't trust. I mean, that's how Google their algorithm back in the nineties. All these other search engines, [00:33:00] they were just looking at keywords, which, as you know, you could just throw any keyword on your website, and that doesn't really mean that's what your website's about.

But that's how the search engines worked in the past. Google came along and said, no, no, no, we don't look at keywords, but we don't really care what keywords you put on a website because we know people manipulate them. So we want you to build trust by getting backlinks, and still to this day, backlinks are such a big part of Google's algorithm.

It's changed a lot how you look at them over the years. But they still do hold such a big impact on rankings where I've never seen a website rank on Google without backlinks. It's pretty much impossible to rank without backlinks.

Matt Edmundson: So this is, I mean, this is really interesting both for, this is interesting for us as an established company.

And also I think if you're just starting out, you've got to have then a backlink building strategy. And again, years ago it used to be, you'd just go and pay a company, you know, whatever 50 bucks and they'd put you on a thousand websites. That's all of which Google probably is very aware of right now, so I wouldn't advise it.

Um, [00:34:00] how do I, I guess that's the next key question, isn't it? What's a good backlink strategy for me as a business? How do I go about getting those backlinks?

Brandon Leibowitz: There's tons of different ways to build backlinks, but like you said, there's some tools where you just click a button and you would get hundreds of thousands of backlinks instantaneously, which I had those tools in the past, but they're really spammy and it's low quality.

Nowadays, it's all about quality, not quantity. And Google, what is a quality backlink? Quality backlink means it comes from a site that's related to what you're doing. So relevancy is very important. If you're selling pencils, then we want websites, it doesn't have to be other pencil companies, but anything somewhat related to what you're doing.

So like if you're doing like the drawing pencils, it could be like art websites or about school education, about children's and children might be using them, anything somewhat related. That's what matters to Google. And then authoritativeness. How popular, how big is this website? If I give you a backlink from my website, it's a good backlink, but it's not the [00:35:00] same as like a Forbes or Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

So the bigger the website, the more SEO value and the more related to you, the better. And there's lots of ways to build backlinks and there's tools that will show me any website's backlinks. You have to pay for these tools. The more popular ones would be like Ahrefs, Mod, or SEMrush, where I would go into Google, search for your keywords, see who's on that first page of Google, write down all the website URLs, and then throw them into these tools and look at their backlinks.

Matt Edmundson: Right.

Brandon Leibowitz: And one by one, you can start reaching out to the websites that are linking out to your competition. Because if someone is linking out to your competitor, they would probably link out to you. You just have to figure out how did they get that backlink? Did a competitor write an article? Did they do a blog post?

Did they do a press release? Did they get an influencer to write about a product review about them? Or do they do a podcast interview or whatever it is, you can pretty much reverse engineer

You

Brandon Leibowitz: entire SEO strategy and go after, again, you don't want to go after every backlink that they have because [00:36:00] some are going to be low quality.

You want to go after the good ones. The ones that are relevant to your industry and have some authority. Those are the two factors that really matter when you're building backlinks.

Matt Edmundson: So, relevant to your industry and, um, sites of authority and I, I mean, for the British audience listening, um, I can, I can hear people going, Oh, I don't want to reach out to people.

That's, that's, I'm going to annoy them. You know, that's sort of the sort of tantamount to doing cold calling, um, what's your approach there? So, you know, you, you've obviously, you found a backlink. It's going to a pretty reasonable authoritative website. So, you figured out that. I don't know. They wrote an article for their website or, you know, something.

What's your approach? How do you, I guess, how do I find the right person to talk to would be one question. And how do I come across as not being a, you know, a total doofus?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah. I mean, if you just ask for a backlink, not going to work. But if you saw someone that wrote an article on a website. [00:37:00] Hey, I was reading your website or your blog or whatever that you read and I offer or I have a similar service or product and I want to see if I could write a free blog post for you.

So you got to offer value. So if they wrote a blog post, then you should offer them a free blog post. If you saw someone did an interview, then you can be like, Hey, I'm in the same industry. Can you interview me? Or If you saw that an influencer wrote a product review about it, maybe you offer that influencer a free sample of that product as long as it's not too expensive, then you're going to get that backlink.

Or if you saw like someone did a podcast, you could be like, Hey, can I be a guest on your podcast? So it's all about offering value. If you're just asking for a backlink, nobody's going to say no. Yes to that, but if you offer value, that's where you're going to help get people to be more receptive and be like, okay, yeah, you're going to write a blog post for me.

Sure. I'll take a free blog post. Or if you're going to give me a free product. Yeah. I'll write a review for you. Or if you're going to do a podcast. Interview. Yeah, let's do it. So [00:38:00] trying to reverse engineer their strategy. Also, maybe you saw like they joined like the BBB or Chamber of Commerce, or they're on Yelp or TripAdvisor.

I mean, maybe not for all your brands. They might not be on it, but if they aren't, then you guy created a listing on that platform. So sometimes you could just go in and create a listing on these websites. Some of 'em you might have to pay for. But

Matt Edmundson: yeah,

Brandon Leibowitz: we saw all your competitors are on the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB, which is pretty big in the United States, then I would say spend the money because they charge for that. It's like a couple hundred dollars, but all your competitors have that backlink then. You want to have a similar backlink profile to your competition. Sometimes you have to pay for these backlinks.

I mean, most of the time you do have to pay, whether it's your time writing an article, your time doing an interview, you're, you're giving out free products. So you're spending money. So unfortunately backlinks. In the past, you could get them for free pretty easily. Nowadays, it's not so easy. It's really tough to get

Matt Edmundson: backlinks.

That's really interesting. So, I, without putting [00:39:00] words in your mouth, Brendan, I, I'm curious, what's the biggest mistake that eCommerce entrepreneurs are making where SEO is concerned? Is it the backlink strategy or is it something else?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah. Most people don't know about backlinks and they've never heard of them or, yeah, I get a lot of clients that come to me and I tell them about backlinks for like, I've never heard about this before.

I've worked with other SEO companies in the past and I'm just like, well, they didn't build backlinks. I'm not sure what they were really doing because unfortunately without those backlinks, Google's not going to trust you and they're not going to rank you. So that's the biggest thing is they don't know what backlinks are or they do know what backlinks are and they've gone to a site like Fiverr.

And they bought this gig for 10 where they're getting a thousand backlinks for 10, which in the past back like in 2005, six, seven, it worked. Now it does not work and it's going to do more harm than good. So focusing on quality, not quantity, which a lot of people don't realize you need to focus on like one good backlink is going to be far [00:40:00] superior than the thousand low quality ones that you bought.

Yeah.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, and yet you use this word penalize now and that's a question that I have actually if you go down some of these strategies Where you go into Fiverr and you buy like a thousand backlinks Do Google understand what you're trying to do that you're trying to gamify the system and they're like not only are you out You're like you're negative.

You're in negative equity right now.

Brandon Leibowitz: Mm hmm. Yep So they potentially can't penalize you and instead of ranking higher You're gonna drop down in rankings and they don't tell you they've been penalized. Sometimes they do You In Google Search Console, they might tell you there, but they might not also tell you.

So if you've been penalized, the only real way to see that is you just see a drop in traffic. So if you use Google Analytics or Google Search Console, you just see a giant dip on one date. Then you could try to piece it together and figure out what happened, why did I get penalized? They're really not going to tell you why sometimes they do, but most of the time you don't know if it's the backlinks, the content, keyword, AI, whatever it may be.[00:41:00]

Then it becomes like, you have to become a detective and try to figure out what did I do and how do I fix this?

Matt Edmundson: What about backlinks from social media? So for example, um, this week, one of the videos, one of the short form videos we did from one of our podcasts, um, got retweeted by someone quite, retweeted, reposted by someone quite famous.

Does that help me or does that not help me at all? I mean, it helps me in terms of get video views, but does it help me from a backlink strategy?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah, Google's blocked from social media, so Google, except for Twitter, Google or X, Google's partnered with them, so they could actually see tweets, but other than that, Google's blocked from Facebook.

They could see your Facebook page, like how many likes and stuff like that, but they don't really see your posts and things like that, so they're not able to see that other people are posting about you. But it's not bad because if you are getting traffic from social, Google, Google can see that. So Google sees that from Facebook, that person that reposted you, all of a sudden now Facebook just sent a thousand visitors [00:42:00] to your website.

Google sees that as a social signal and a trust signal, but the backlinks, they don't really count. And also you want sites that are relevant. If you're getting a bunch of social media sites, Google is going to think that you're a social media site. So if you're selling beauty products, you want sites that are related to beauty, you To wellness, it doesn't have to be exactly what you're doing, but you don't want a bunch of social media sites to link out to you.

It's not bad, but it just doesn't add that relevancy effect.

Matt Edmundson: Brennan, let me ask you one more question, I'm aware of time. And this, one of the things which intrigues me is, uh, in the past when I've spoken to various marketing companies, um, and I'd love your thoughts on this. Um, I get reports from, uh, various marketing companies saying SEO bought in an additional 20 grand worth of revenue this month, right?

So your SEO efforts has resulted in 20Ks worth of sales.

I'm kind of curious on your thoughts about this. Actually, is there Is [00:43:00] it straightforward to measure the benefits and effects of SEO on sales directly like that? Or is it a bit more nuanced and complex and I shouldn't read too much into that figure? I'm kind of curious about your thoughts on it.

Brandon Leibowitz: I mean, it's for eCommerce.

It's nice because you could track conversions or actual sales. Whereas like a service based business, I could be like, alright, somebody called you, somebody filled out your form, like someone might be looking for a plumber. But I don't know if they actually use that plumber, whereas with eCommerce, you could see the sales, the dollar value there.

So I would definitely look at that because then you could look through Google Analytics and see SEO brought in this much sales, Facebook brought in this many sales, Instagram brought this many sales. So you could see. A dollar conversion, how many conversions, you also see the value of revenue that you're getting.

So I would look at that stuff, but there are other ways to kind of look at it too. But like indirectly, people might be going to your website, they searched you, they found you, they forgot [00:44:00] about you. And then they see an ad that pops up and then they click on that ad, they buy from that ad. So that ad is going to get that attribution.

So it's not always going to be. All these, the correct attribution, but SEO, I would say look at that, the conversion value, the revenue through analytics. It's a good starting point and it's definitely helpful to make statistically informed decisions. Like, then you're like, Oh, SEO is bringing in the majority of my sales.

Maybe I should really push more of this SEO stuff.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. I'm

Brandon Leibowitz: running all the paid ads. They're not bringing in that much revenue. Maybe I should scale away from the ads or maybe the inverse is happening. I don't know. Maybe. You know, a bunch of sales from ads, push more money in those ads if it's working, as long as you're making a return on ad spend.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Fair play. Fair play. Uh, Brandon, listen, uh, fascinating conversation and I'm, I feel like we're just scratching the surface, but so thank you for coming on the show. If people want to connect with you, if they want to reach you, get ahold of you, find out more about SEO optimizers, what's the best way to do that?

Brandon Leibowitz: Yeah. So anybody that wants to learn more and stuck around to the end, I created a special gift [00:45:00] for them. If they go to my website at seo. com. Optimizers. com, that's S E O O P T I M I Z E R S dot com forward slash gift, and I can find that gift there along with my contact information and other information.

A bunch of classes I've done over the years I've thrown up for free so they could see step by step how to do a lot of stuff that we talked about and also they want a free website analysis. I'm happy to check out their website from an SEO point of view and they could book some time on my calendar there for free as well.

Matt Edmundson: Fantastic. SEO Optimizers, spelt the American way, dear British people, SEOoptimizers. com forward slash gift. We will of course link to that in the show notes as well, which will be on the website. So, uh, Brandon, listen, man, anything else that's top of mind for you that we've not talked about that we really should be thinking about?

Brandon Leibowitz: I would just say, be patient with it all. SEO is a long term strategy. A lot of people want that instant gratification and want to see the results right away. And they get [00:46:00] discouraged if they don't see that traffic coming in.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah.

Brandon Leibowitz: But be patient with it and keep building it up. And over time you're going to see your traffic increase, but don't just expect it to skyrocket.

I mean, sometimes it does. Sometimes you go viral and just get those like instantaneous rankings, but you have to work at it and just keep working at it. And don't get discouraged if you don't see that immediate results, you'll get

Matt Edmundson: there eventually. Love that, love that. Patience, something that we're not known for in the world of eCommerce.

I'm sure many of your clients like, I want to be number one and I want to be there tomorrow. How do I do that? It's like,

Brandon Leibowitz: I wish I could just flip that switch. If you need that immediate action, Paid ads are good, but just patience. Patience is a virtue. Patience is definitely a

Matt Edmundson: virtue. Yeah, apparently.

Brilliant. Well, Brandon, thanks for coming on, man. Genuinely great conversation. Love meeting you. Love hearing what you had to say. Um, and yeah, I, I, it's still a big deal, SEO. So do check out Brandon's stuff, [00:47:00] seoptimizers. com forward slash gift, but thanks, bro. I appreciate it. Yeah. Thanks for having me on.

Wow. There you go. Another fantastic conversation wrapped up. Thanks again to Brandon for joining me today. Also, big shout out to today's show sponsor, the e-Commerce cohort. Remember, go check them [email protected]. Come join us in the monthly mastermind. Be great to see you in there. And of course, be sure to follow the E-Commerce podcast wherever you get your podcasts from because we've got yet more great conversations lined up.

Obviously, and I don't want you to miss any of them. And in case no one has told you yet today, let me be the first. You are awesome. Yes, you are. Credit awesome. It's just a burden you have to bear. Brandon has to bear it. I've got to bear it. You've got to bear it as well. Now, the eCommerce Podcast is produced by PodJunction, the new name for Aurion Media.

You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app. The team, the wonderful, beautiful, phenomenal, fantastic, amazing team that makes this show possible [00:48:00] is Sadaf Beynon and Tanya Hutzlack. Our theme music was written by Josh Edmundson. And as I mentioned, if you would like to read the transcript or show notes, head over to the website, eCommercePodcast.

net. Net. That's it from me. That's it from Brendan. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.