053 SEO: How to use SEO to beat all those new competitors! with Nick Truman from Spec Digital

by April Buencamino-dy

Nick’s been improving search performance, and driving sales for over 600 clients, including many retailers for over a decade. We’ve been friends for a few years now and I love how Nick always comes at SEO from a non-SEO perspective! AND he’s the host of the Winning with Shopify Podcast.

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About Nick

At 17, Nick went to work for a friend of his who just started his own company but quit after a day because he didn’t like cold calling, trying to sell Google advertising space.

But he went, was put in account management, and after 2 years, became a technical director of the business and built a team.

When he quit and started his own company, he built some WordPress website and that’s how he got into SEO initially.

How has SEO changed?

Technology and user behavior have changed but Google’s ethos has always remained the same.

The best website is still considered to be the one with the best user experience and is the only site the customer has to go to. Ranking factors include low bounce rates, good user experience and being able to build the right journey for the right person through your keyword list.

What not to do

As an example, Nick refers to his B2B clients creating blogs and news articles on their website.

After 3 months, if they are not getting traffic from SEO, they’re not ranking, and not getting leads that turn into customers, they suggest deleting the blog.

If you look at keywords as questions, challenges or problems, ask yourself if you have the solution and if you can actually help.

This is where good content can come in. Blogs can play a part, but it depends on the industry.

The pandemic’s impact

While the basics haven’t changed, retailers can now be grouped into 2 categories:

1. New retailers

  • Faced with a challenge: sites with more history still rank higher
  • Given an opportunity: can start niching up and getting really specific about what they do and making their keywords get a bit more obvious

2. Retailers who have been around for a while

  • Faced with a challenge: have more competitors than before
  • Given an opportunity:
    • To play to their strengths
    • To look at updating their website, look at all possible channels, and organize your internal teams to build a better user experience
    • Bundling multiple products and target higher average order values

Nick says there’s enough dough for everybody to make bread here. It’s just a matter of organizing the shop internally.

The holistic approach

It’s critical to have all the teams working together to convert traffic, provide seamless service, and remain top of mind for your audience and customers.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with SEO – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

You need to get the basics done first:

  • Google what to do in terms of SEO and the platform you’re using and look at beginner’s guide
  • Categorize your products well
    • Break it down to the things customers are looking for
    • Make sure your navigation works for your customers
    • Organize using “Shop by” such as shop by color, size, etc.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve SEO performance?

Split everything into short, medium and long term:

  • Short: clean up those categories and get all the basics done
  • Medium: look at the user experience, write buying guides, introduce a blog or any fun copy because Google will rank you higher if you have a better offering
  • Long: become the absolute go-to and gain world domination and monopolisation

If someone listening wants to learn more about SEO is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in SEO?

The roll out this coming June 2021 will have massive focus on page speed and user experience.

It’s important to note that if your site doesn’t present a good user experience, they’re going to start marking you down.

Look at CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) and LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) which could both become user experience metrics by June. Both relate to page loading and will affect SEO ranking.

Interview Links

Nick on Social media:

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