Nothing can take your business to the next level like great search engine optimization or SEO. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know what will successfully drive traffic, leads, and/or sales. If you want to stand out from your competition, your SEO needs a distinctive blend of creativity and logic. When it comes to SEO, success often depends on not only what you do, but on how you do it.
That’s why Eli Schwartz’s new book, Product-Led SEO, digs deep into the logic and theory of SEO, instead of offering step-by-step guidelines and techniques. In the book, you’re going to learn how to develop your own best practices and to see where most SEO strategies go astray.
Drew Appelbaum: Hey Listeners, my name is Drew Applebaum and I’m excited to be here today with Eli Schwartz, author of Product-Led SEO: The Why Behind Building Your Organic Growth Strategy. Eli thank you for joining, welcome to The Author Hour Podcast.
Eli Schwartz: It’s great to be here, thank you for having me, Drew.
Drew Appelbaum: Let’s kick this off. Could you give us a rundown of your professional background?
Eli Schwartz: Yes. I initially started my career in finance. I’d seen movies about boiler rooms and getting rich on Wall Street and I tried just that. I didn’t get rich on Wall Street, so I needed to pivot my career, which I actually did that before I went to college.
In college, I focused on entrepreneurship and marketing and learning how to sell things. I’ve always really liked people and understanding what made people tick and what made people buy things and fortunately, I landed in marketing, unintentionally. My first role in Silicon Valley was at a company that connected buyers and sellers of lead information. So, people looking to gain a certain service and other people looking to sell that service to say, a mortgage or home services.
In that role, I was first introduced to true SEO, which is the dirty kind of SEO, which we’ll talk about why I don’t think is the right thing for people to do. Through that role, I was introduced to SEO by working with people, affiliates, that were generating tens of thousands of dollars per month by getting their websites to the top of organic results, and then thereby generating a bunch of leads on their website.
When I figured that, I realized, “This is what I want my career to be. I want to understand this, I want to understand how to make Google love my site. I want to understand how to get people to trust my website and build on to that,” and that’s really how I launched my career in SEO.
The next role was at a startup where I was responsible for all sorts of acquisitions to generate users to that company, it was at an automotive media company–car reviews and car videos and things like that. From there, I was very fortunate, and I was able to get a role at SurveyMonkey, this time leading SEO as my primary role.
For anybody that’s unfamiliar SurveyMonkey is one of the largest surveyed software companies. They had a tremendous amount of brand awareness, however, they had no search visibility, so if you looked for the word survey on Google, you would find them, but if you’re looking for anything related to the word survey, you would not. This was compounded even worse in other languages that were not English, whereas the survey product and the survey tool was available in every language, every popular language in the world, if you Googled the word survey in those languages, you never found SurveyMonkey.
That really introduced me to this idea of structural SEO, organization SEO, which I focus on a lot in my book. This is, here’s a problem, this is a really big company, it’s not going to be solved by putting a keyword somewhere, it’s not going to be solved by making a blog post. I’m not going to be able to get visibility in Germany with a blog post, I’m not going to be able to get visibility on all sorts of other words with a blog post.
It taught me how to work within a company, within a framework, and to really focus on a long goal. I was there for nearly seven years in a variety of different roles. My biggest success was really that by the time I left, two-thirds of the revenue–in a public company, you can see what the global revenue is–today, two-thirds of revenue was driven by free search engine traffic with all of those conversions coming from people looking for the products that SurveyMonkey offered.
Then from there, I was really fortunate, and I was able to start a new consulting career working with companies, mostly larger companies, to do exactly what I had done at SurveyMonkey, which is, “Let’s figure out what our end goals are, what we want to build in the future, and what all the building blocks are of how we’re going to get there, what are the teams we need to work with, how do we coax people into doing things, who do we need a hire, how do we envision the reporting around this, how do we get the executives to care about it?”
That’s really what my book is about. It’s not about the dirty SEO I mentioned earlier, it’s not about, “Hey, how do we trick Google and how do we trick users and get a bunch of leads?” I sort of had a teeny-teeny-tiny role in the mortgage collapse in 2008 by those affiliates that were generating thousands of dollars per month, they were also generating terrible subprime mortgage leads, which the banks were paying a lot of money for.
SEO, and I don’t know if I defined this before, SEO is search engine optimization. Really, how do you construct your website so you’re as visible as possible, optimize your website, essentially so you’re as visible as possible?
I realized, SEO is not about that, SEO is a very small part of that. What I did at SurveyMonkey and what I do with all the clients who I work with right now is, let’s figure out how to make all these pieces work together, let’s figure out how to make something that users want to experience. Let’s figure out how to create a brand that search engines want to trust, and it’s not just Google. Let’s create content that users are looking for and that’s not just dictated by small tactics and slight nuance and how Google works, and let’s really think about the big picture.
My book is, beginning to end, about how you think about acquisition from, again, that kind of user who is just a human being using a search engine all the way to the end of, how do you build out a team and how do you grow a product around that?
SEO is Not Short-Term
Drew Appelbaum: Now, why was now the time to share the stories in the book? Was there something inspiring out there? Did you have an “aha moment”? Why share them now?
Eli Schwartz: My “aha moment” was two years ago. I had no idea it would take me two years to publish this book. To be honest, I was thinking about this the other day and I’m really excited about the launch of the book and I was thinking about how this process took me so long.
I think that really encapsulates the way I think of SEO. SEO is not a short-term hit, it’s not, “I’m going to do something today and it’s going to suddenly pay off tomorrow, I’m going to get all this traffic, I’m going to make all this money.” That’s unfortunately what is too often sold in the SEO industry, which is, “Let’s check the box. You do SEO, you’re going to make a ton of money,” and that is absolutely not the case.
Again, to do a corollary to the way I think of my book is I had a message I wanted to get out there and it took me two years to do it. I think SEO is the same thing, there is an end state you want to get to. The longer it takes you to get there, as long as you’re working consistently along that path, the better it will be. You’re building something sustainable, you’re not just looking for short hits and short highs.
Back to your question around what was the message I wanted to get out, and that’s what landed me into my consulting career now, which is, I was at SurveyMonkey for a number of years and I was offered opportunities to speak at conferences and author post on different blogs, not just search engine blogs, and I realized, there wasn’t enough being said about how to build a great process around SEO.
How do you build SEO at a big company that’s not looking for quick hits? How do you build something for the future where they’re hiring a product team, they want to build out great products? They want to make sure it’s visible and it’s not just, “I want to write a blog post to make sure I’m going to get that keyword in.”
That’s what became the book. This is really missing in the industry–how do you report on it? Who should be the boss of this person, what kind of person are you hiring, what are their skill sets? What’s the product that you envisioned? I have clients that ask me this question, which is, “We have this huge budget we’re willing to spend on SEO. What do we spend and what do we build in order to reach what is hopefully a 500 million dollar a year business?” That’s the question that needs to be answered. Not, “What are the 10 pieces of content I’m going to write, which will generate thousands of visits a month?”
Executives don’t care about visits. If you take that further along down the line, I’m fortunate to work with public companies. You’ve never seen them on CNBC saying, “Well, this company released earnings today and they’re happy to report that they have 10 position one rankings on Google and they’re receiving 10,000 clicks per month on a single keyword.”
No, they’re saying, “They’re generating this amount of revenue and they have this number of customers,” and SEO is just a piece of getting to that end goal. That’s what I built and that’s what the book is about, which is, how do you get to that piece of the end goal? How do you make sure that your SEO is just another marketing channel to help you get to that millions of dollars a year in revenue and exposure and the ideal customer you want that will keep coming back year after year?
Drew Appelbaum: When you were writing the book, who are you writing this book for? Do you need to be in marketing to have takeaways, do you need to work at a startup or be an entrepreneur?
Eli Schwartz: No, absolutely not. You know, it took me a while to really nail down the audience of who I wanted the book to be for. As I nailed down the audience, actually, it was long before the book, it was while I was doing this consulting and while I was talking to different executives and different people around how to think about SEO for their business.
I realized, it’s not the marketers. Much of what has been written on SEO is written as tactics. It’s written to SEO folks who are looking to better their SEO skills or it’s written to the manager who is managing the SEO person that really understands SEO.
I realized what’s missing is the information for the executive, for the CEO, for the chief product officer, for the startup CEO who is looking to build something new and wants to think of SEO as part of their business. Very often, I tell CEOs that they should not focus on SEO.
That’s in my book. An example of a company that should not focus on SEO is a B2B software as a service, a SaaS company. Those kinds of companies, they take a long time to sign contracts. It’s not a quick hit, it’s not a transaction, it’s not ecommerce where you’re searching for something, you pull out your credit card and you buy it. No one’s going to buy million-dollar cloud software because they Googled something and they saw it ranking number one on search. B2B SaaS is not a fit.
I realized that that’s the message that was missing and that’s the audience, which is when SEO is a fit, who do they hire or when do they think about it, how do they incorporate it into the product? And there’s not a lot written on that topic and that’s where I identified that target. There are pieces of my book that are certainly for SEO managers and for the managers of the SEO managers.
But really, the message I want is for broader thinking. How do executives, how do people that want to start companies or small businesses, how should they think of SEO and should they even bother thinking about SEO?
Understand What SEO Is and Isn’t
Drew Appelbaum: You actually warn in the book, right in the beginning, it’s not a book to teach you the nuts and bolts of SEO. Actually, later on in the book, you call SEO an art and that there is no rule book. What would you say the main goal of the book is for readers?
Eli Schwartz: To really understand what SEO is and isn’t. The way many in the SEO industry sold SEO is that it’s magic or it’s a “check the box effort” you want to do. Often, I have this conversation with CEOs, they have hired their paid marketing team, their performance marketing team and now they want to hire SEO because it’s something they just have to do.
They don’t really think about the end state of, “What am I going to get out of SEO, why should I have SEO? Are people even going to Google for me, if they’re not even going to Google for me, I don’t care for them to Google for me, why should I spend on that?”
That’s the message that people should understand from the book if you’re going to do SEO, what is it that you’re going to do around SEO? Part of what the SEO industry, focuses on, is they focus on those keywords and visibility, which is not necessarily connected to the rest of the business. They’ll focus on blog posts. I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing companies that have amazing blog posts that rank on keywords and generate lots and lots of traffic that will never turn into conversion because it’s too disconnected from what the business does.
The nuts and bolts are maybe how you’re going to create that blog post and how you’re going to get that blog post to be number one on Google and I don’t think that’s important. What I think is important is, if I’m taking many steps back and thinking about, “Where are my users? Are my users on desktop computers, so therefore I need to focus on those users on desktop computers using Bing, if that is the demographic they fit in. Or are my users on mobile phones and they’re never going to do a search in their life? They discover everything from TikTok.” I think that is important.
Once you get to the point where you know you want to do SEO, there’s a lot of ways you can learn the tactics. I think that what is, again, is missing is should you think about SEO, how should you think about SEO when you think of the user, what is it that they’re likely to search, and how do you want them to find you?
Drew Appelbaum: Regarding the title, when you talk about Product-Led SEO, what exactly do you mean is the product, and is this not the way that most companies would naturally approach SEO?
Eli Schwartz: No, absolutely not. I mean, I wish most companies would approach SEO. I used a couple of examples of what I think are great product-led SEO in my book, and my favorite one is Zillow. What I mean by product is it’s the asset, it’s the widget, it’s the thing that brings the user in, it’s not necessarily anything physical. The flipside of product-led SEO is content-led SEO, which is the blog post.
When you think of what Zillow did, they created a product, which is a single listing page for every single address in the United States, and I think they’re now in other countries. That’s the product, that’s what they’re driving all the traffic on. They didn’t think, “How do I generate a bunch of traffic for my business?” Essentially, they monetize off of leads just like I mentioned I did earlier in my career. They monetize off of leads, mortgage leads, real estate leads, and now they have a bunch of other ways they can monetize. Instead of them saying, “Well, how am I going to generate the most traffic for people at Google for a mortgage?” They say, “How do I create a product, how do I create this really good home listing page that people Google their neighbor?” They want to know how much their neighbor paid for their house or they want to know how much their own house is worth, or they want to know how much a house they potentially want to buy is worth. They Google for that and then they become that lead for a mortgage and then they become that lead for realtors. That’s the product.
Most companies do not think of this, they usually think of SEO from that content-led standpoint, which is, “I need to check the box in SEO, what are the 50 pieces of content I need to create? What are the 300 pieces of content I need to create and I’m going to track that by making sure that those pieces of content have those right keywords and I’m ranking number one on Google for those keywords or ranking somewhere high on Google for those keywords.”
When it comes to product, they say, “Well, this is the asset I’m creating. It’s a product, I believe users want to use it.” You validate that through product efforts, you research, you look at a total adjustable market, how many people are eventually going to use it, how are you going to monetize it, how are you going to staff it? It takes you a really long time to build that asset. The primary source of acquisition for that product will be search because that is what we’re building for.
Then, as it scales, you validate, did you build a good product or did you not? Not, “Did I write a good blog post or did I not write a good blog post?” It’s okay not to build a good product, there are many products that were created. Google’s a great example. Think how many Google products we’ve heard of that no longer exist. You build this asset, you start generating traffic from it or maybe the traffic doesn’t come, you try to improve it. If it fails, it fails.
Instead of typical SEO, with content-led SEO’s, you write something, you throw it at the wall, and hope it sticks. You essentially have to claw your way to the top because everyone else is doing the exact same thing. Look at where Zillow is. I don’t know that anyone could ever overtake what Zillow has done, they were the first ones there. In order to overtake Zillow, you would have to think of what Zillow is missing and completely disrupt them by creating that. You’re not going to overtake Zillow by creating a better Zillow.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, you sort of touched on it before, but can a company just go out and buy software that can help with their SEO strategy? Or should this SEO strategy really be led by an internal team?
Eli Schwartz: Yeah, that’s a really great question. I think the answer to that is the focus of where SEO should be. What I argue for in the book is the focus of SEO should be the user. If you can buy software that tricks users into thinking that you’re human and by tricking users into thinking you’re human, Google will also fall for it because ultimately Google wants, or all search engines, want to imitate what humans do. They want to think like humans and find what humans would be the best, then you could win.
But I don’t think that could ever be the case. I don’t think you could ever truly convince users that you’re providing a great experience with your product by using software. The way to do that is to use internal teams that can understand what the value proposition is of what the company has created. Why should users want to use you versus what any of your competitors might have done? Then craft the product message around that and build something excellent for users and understand why the users are using it and how to improve that.
That will be your SEO growth. From learning how people can perform on that product or people follow on and pay for the product, or people stop paying for the product, then you can continue to make that product better and add more to it, rather than what software would do, which is, well, the software will go and identify a bunch of keywords, create a bunch of software written content and hope it sticks. You know, there’s too much of that on the Internet.
I think one of the worst places for that is anything around the healthcare space. You know this is a problem everyone has and, you know, we’ll all admit it, which is you get a headache and the next thing you do is you think you have a brain tumor, so you Google it and, wouldn’t that be terrible that people are diagnosing themselves as having brain tumors by reading computer written content, that is a horrible experience.
Maybe in the top-level medical space it is not there, but think about dental or think about the chiropractic space or any of the less regulated places, that is not a great experience to have people read machine-written content that’s trying to trick them and sell them products. If you really want to be successful, yes, of course, you can make money doing that, but if you really want to be successful and you care about your users, you’re doing the right thing, which is, “I sell this healthcare product, I really want to understand my user’s needs and my user’s desire so I am going to write and create a product that is exactly for them to help them get through this process and then sell them the product.”
Drew Appelbaum: Now, when you’re talking about startups, they’re all about hyper-growth and you talk about in the book that SEO sometimes could take a while to get started and be optimized. Would you suggest using that strategy and having some patience or also bringing in a paid marketing piece for some of that higher acquisition cost for new users?
Eli Schwartz: I think paid marketing should be the first thing any company should do for a startup because when you have a startup idea, you need to validate it. You need to get customers in the door. You may be burning money. You may be burning your money, you may be burning investor’s money, you may be burning no money, and you’re just working on your own sweat equity. You need to get customers in the door and the fastest way to do that is with paid marketing.
If you wait around for SEO it may never happen. You may have the greatest idea and you’re going to build SEO, and no one is ever going to come and buy the product and that’s it, you’re dead, right? But if you start with paid marketing, you get those users. Hopefully, you generate some revenue and you give yourself some buffer to then start working on organic, and again, I think too often–and this is the question I get from startup CO’s all the time–the reason I tell them not to focus on SEO first and to focus on pay first is because they have a finite amount of resources, whether that be budget or engineers or product people or even desks in their office–well, hopefully, we’re all back in offices soon.
Why would you focus on something that’s not going to drive near-term success when you’re desperate for near-term success, when you could instead deploy those resources into growing the company, which is paid marketing?
Once you have customers and you’ve learned about the product, paid marketing, especially search paid marketing, is very similar to organic. They’re the exact same users, they just click a different place on the page. That’s when I would use whatever you’ve gained from paid marketing and deploy that into organic. But before that, before you’ve really learned, don’t put your budget and your resources into building something organic and just kind of hope it works and find out in a few months that it did, or it didn’t.
Drew Appelbaum: You have a really interesting story in the book about the automotive startup that you were working for and all of a sudden, Google changes their algorithm and your paid views start to drop. What can you do to preempt something like this and what happens when Google changes around their indexing strategies? What effect can it have on a business?
Eli Schwartz: It will be devastating. At that company, it was horrible. I mean one morning we just lost 60% of our traffic and we were a startup. But since then, I have never ever experienced that again and the reason why is because I only work with and I only advise companies to do things right, and what Google is looking to do with their algorithms is really identify what users want. Users don’t want to end up on machine-written medical content that tells them that they have a brain tumor. Users want to end up on authoritative doctor-verified content that tells them they don’t have a brain tumor when they don’t have a brain tumor. That’s what Google is looking to do.
There are lots and Google is not perfect, it’s a machine and they will never be perfect. If you align with what Google’s looking to do and that’s why I call what I do product-led SEO. I am building for the user and Google is eventually going to follow because they’re looking for brand signals, they are looking for high quality, they are looking for engagement. If you’ve done that correctly and you are not looking to exploit a loophole, then you’re not at risk of Google ever closing a loophole that you didn’t exploit and suddenly losing your traffic.
At that company I was at, we were exploiting Google and they caught us. At the time, we didn’t think we were exploiting Google, but we were. We were doing something that Google was looking to rid themselves of, which is, our problem was duplicate content and sort of low-quality content, and we were benefiting from things we should have not have benefited from and Google closed it and we lost our traffic.
The bigger issue we had is Google thought that we were bad actors overall, so we lost more traffic than we should have because they were looking to punish us. They don’t do that as much anymore because they just delete you. They don’t need to punish you, they just shadow-ban you.
If you’re doing the right thing, I don’t think that will usually happen to you. It could but I would still recommend doing the right thing. If it happens to you, you want to identify why it happened and dig yourself out of that hole. I have some thoughts in my book about how to do that, where it’s usually you haven’t been punished on your entire site, only a part of your site has been punished and you need to dig that out and figure out why and learn from that.
But the other piece is most times when people lose traffic, they want to blame someone else. They want to blame Google. Usually, they’ve done something wrong themselves. It is not even competitors, you’re rarely going to wake up one morning and say, “Well, my competitor just shot from 10 to 100,” that doesn’t happen. That same long plotting process that you should hopefully be on, your competitors will be on too, and you’re not going to suddenly wake up and discover they’ve overtaken you. That suddenly, you should have seen that coming months and months before.
I would tell people not to worry about Google and if you are worried about Google hitting you with an algorithm update, you’re doing something secret. If you’re somewhere and you’re being sneaky and you are looking over your shoulder waiting to get caught, it’s because you’ve done something you think you can get caught for. The same applies to SEO, if you are hiding from Google, they’ll catch you.
Drew Appelbaum: I’d love for you to add more color to another statement that you make in the book, which is, “SEO is an optimization channel. It is not a demand creation channel,” which I think a lot of new entrepreneurs really think it is and again, I think that is a huge statement. Can you talk more about that?
Eli Schwartz: Yeah, I mean that’s something. A lot of my book has been driven by these great conversations I’ve had with startups or bigger companies and realizing where they may be thinking about things the wrong way.
There was a company I was working with and the problem they hired me to help solve–this is part of where I realized I shouldn’t necessarily work with B2B SaaS companies because there isn’t necessarily any upside to that. The problem they were looking to solve was where they ranked on this big term that they cared a lot about. They had eight of the top 10 rankings and they wanted to know how they could get more traffic, and what I pointed out to them and what I discovered in consulting with them, was there was a finite amount of traffic just for that term and that’s it.
They ranked on eight out of 10, they had a number of different websites for it. They were capturing pretty much all the traffic that there would be for that. They can’t create more traffic, that is all the people that are looking for them, and that’s what I mean by it’s not demand creation. If you are looking to do something brand new, then no one is looking for you.
I will give you another example. I hate to keep using medical, but I was talking to a company in the medical space. They had an innovative way of deploying pills and they were looking for SEO, and I pointed out that SEO should not be a check the box effort for them, they should focus on paid marketing first because this innovative way of deploying pills and reminding people to take their pills, no one was looking for because they didn’t know what existed.
Once that existed and say you’re in a space where other companies are doing the same thing, then you could optimize your effort, and try to generate more traffic. That’s why I don’t think it’s a demand creation channel.
Then going back to my example with Zillow, Zillow created their own demand, but it took a really long period of time. No one really Googled for home values. I don’t know exactly how old Google is. Let’s say 15 years, no one Googled for home values 15 years ago because when you did, you landed on these terrible, terrible looking government websites, which required you to put a lot of ID in to find a home value. That wasn’t something you were going to do, there was no value for it.
But then Zillow created this idea of, “Here’s a fun looking website where you can look at home values,” and they’ve created their own demand. That’s what I advocate for in my book, when you create a product, you create that demand, but if that demand doesn’t exist, you have to spend a really long time creating that and then optimizing towards it. Don’t expect that just because you’ve created the content for it, you’re going to get traffic if no one is looking for that content.
Drew Appelbaum: Can you talk to us about your friend and colleague over at SurveyMonkey, the CEO, Dave Goldberg. You dedicated the book to him, and I’d love to just hear a little bit about your relationship, and maybe how your knowledge and the stuff you’ve tried over at SurveyMonkey and how it’s changed your outlook on SEO.
Eli Schwartz: Yeah, so I don’t really tell that story in the book, and why I dedicated the book to him because it’d detract from the overall message of what I was trying to share but part of my career is that I spent a couple of years in Singapore. I didn’t mention that earlier, during my seven years at SurveyMonkey, I had this desire that I wanted to learn more about international. I touch on international SEO a little bit in the book. I wanted to get better at that, and I had thought that if I spent time overseas, I would learn more and be better at international marketing and thereby international SEO, and Dave Goldberg enabled me to do that.
You know, I wanted to leave the company because I didn’t think there was a way I could do it at SurveyMonkey and I was right, there probably wasn’t a way I could stay at SurveyMonkey and do that, and he created that opportunity for me. He set up an office for me, he set up a company in Singapore for me. He helped make sure I had health insurance. You know, the CEO of a company caring about individual employee’s goals, he just made it happen for me. When I worked with the legal teams at SurveyMonkey and the HR team, they told me the extent of what they were doing to enable me to have that opportunity and I found out more after he passed away. I was awestruck.
The fact that they had to create a brand new entity, and they had to fund a brand new entity, and they had to hire a legal service within Singapore in order to be able to get me visas, just because that was my dream. Dave, that was the way Dave lived. He enabled people to help them achieve their dreams. This book would never ever have happened if not for the way my eyes were opened from that experience and the thoughts I had about the things I could achieve in my own career because he opened up that experience for me.
You know, the other piece and this is much, much smaller, is the way he approached leadership and subject-level experts. Dave spent many years at Yahoo and he under-searched somewhat and he always deferred to me. He’s the CEO, and I’m in meetings and I report many levels below him, he always deferred to anything I had to say.
There was even a time where I was looking to buy a certain SEO software and I made my decision. The CEO of that company didn’t like that I made the decision, this representative of SurveyMonkey, wanted to try one last time, and he reached out to Dave to ask Dave to overturn my decision. I’m a junior employee and Dave said, “If Eli made that decision then that is the company that we’re going to go with.” That level of respect for his employees, that latitude that he gave his employees, has changed the way I view other people at work. That has changed my leadership style and that’s why I dedicated the book to him. It is not just because he let me grow in my SEO career. He helped me to grow as a person.
Drew Appelbaum: Yeah, that’s a really great story and I figure there is a lot behind it, you know, to dedicate this book you spent two years of your life writing. And Eli, I just want to say, we did just touch the surface of the book here, but I think writing a book, which is going to help business leaders really understand the world of SEO a little bit more, is no small feat. Congratulations on having your book published.
Eli Schwartz: Thank you very much and, you know, it’s great to be here and talk about it.
Drew Appelbaum: I have one last question for you. It’s the hot seat question. If readers could take away only one thing from the book, what would you want it to be?
Eli Schwartz: Don’t ever think about what Google is going to be doing to your website. Think about the user and how the user should experience your website and just think of Google or any search engine as the medium where they’re going to find you. I talk about this in my book a little bit, it’s ridiculous that SEO has its own metrics, like being number one on Google or this amount of clicks.
When you think about any other marketing channel, you would never use those metrics. You are never going to say, “Well, I spent, you know I’m awesome. I spent a million dollars on paid marketing.” No one is going to say, “Well that’s great.” They want to know what did you get for it, how many conversions did you get, how many clicks, what was your cost per click? Or no one is going to say, “Well, I bought a Super Bowl ad.” Well, what was the Super Bowl ad about? You are not going to brag about how much spent on it. You are going to brag about the reach you had, the follow on. SEO shouldn’t have its own metrics. SEO is just a channel to find those users, so think about the users and think about, how do you appeal to users coming through that channel?
Drew Appelbaum: This has been a pleasure and I am excited for people to check out this book. Everyone, the book is called Product Led SEO and you can find it on Amazon. Eli, besides checking out the book, where can people connect with you?
Eli Schwartz: They can find me on LinkedIn. I put up a poll on LinkedIn saying that I accept every LinkedIn connection because I think of LinkedIn as a social network and my poll surprisingly turned against me. 75% of people said they do not accept every connection.
Drew Appelbaum: Yeah.
Eli Schwartz: There was a significant amount of results. I think I had about 2,500 votes on that, so I think it’s a social network. Find me on LinkedIn. I also have a website for the book, productledseo.com and you can find me on my own site, elischwartz.co not .com. I’ve been approached about having the .com, I don’t think it necessary because if you’re Googling for me, you find me. You don’t need to find me because I have the perfect domain name.
Drew Appelbaum: Is it because you’ve optimized the SEO for your own name?
Eli Schwartz: Sort of. I built the brand around my own name so therefore I am able to be number one or hopefully I stay at number one ahead of LinkedIn, which has optimized themselves for everyone else’s name. If you build your own brand, Google wants people to find you and your brand and not something else. Whatever industry you’re in, not your YouTube channel, not your Twitter page, not your LinkedIn. They want to find what users want, which is you.
Drew Appelbaum: Well Eli, thank you so much for coming on the show today and best of luck with your new book.
Eli Schwartz: Thank you for having me, Drew.