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August 29, 2017

The 4 Pillars of Effective SEO

082917 - Mostafa El-Bermawy

GUEST: Mostafa El-Bermawy, VP of Marketing at Workzone

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Mostafa El-Bermawy is VP of Marketing at Workzone, but “SEO” probably belongs somewhere in his title, too.

Mostafa has been doing SEO for about eight years. He’s made a lot of mistakes, but those mistakes helped him eventually settle on a formula that work very well for creating sustainable SEO.

In our most recent podcast interview, Mostafa shared some of his SEO formula, as well as his thoughts on marketing automation today.

The 4 Pillars of Effective SEO

In just six months, Workzone has had a 110% increase in website traffic. So we had to know: what’s their perspective on SEO, and how did they achieve those results?

Mostafa said that the most important thing with SEO is understanding the dynamics of how Google in general works. A lot of people who try to do SEO misunderstand and try to “game” Google. But the success of Google as a product is now measured in technological hacks: it’s measured by its ability to give users what they want. If you go in and search “x,” you expect it to give you “x.”

Mostafa thinks Google relies on four things for its ranking:

  1. Relevancy
  2. Usefulness
  3. Authority
  4. User experience

Most of us know that these are important already, but they’re important to emphasize.

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Relevancy

You always have to do your keyword research. Go after high-volume, high-business relevancy keywords, something important to your company and with low-to-medium competition. Then write a piece that answers exactly the query of the keyword you identified.

Usefulness

Your content should be thoroughly useful, not just answering their query but doing it in a high-quality fashion.

Authority

Link-building is still important, but with link-building as well as social signals, you can spend a lot of time promoting your content. Many people say that they spend 20% of the time developing the content and 80% promoting it.

You have to find the balance that works for you. Workzone is at 50/50, but they’re trying to push for more promotion and less content development.

User experience

You need to make sure that your site has a fast load time, that the mobile experience is up to par, and that the site is indexable, readable, and easy to navigate. These are basic technical things that are very important. You also need to lay out your content in a way that allows people to skim and find for what they’re looking for.

Is there a particular type of content that works best?

Mostafa finds that text is still extremely effective. But the right visual aid at the right time will perform very well. Video is very important, too. Youtube on its own is one of the biggest search engines out there.

Mostafa’s Content Marketing Approach

“We need to make sure that we lay out our content in the best way possible,” Mostafa told us.

A lot of users skim through, and when you write longer pieces, it’s hard for most people to just read the whole thing. So again, the content should be laid out in a way that’s easy to scan.

There are also a few other techniques. One of his favorites is the “skyscraper technique.”

Let’s say you have someone looking for the keyword “Slack alternatives,” or any keyword that is extremely competitive. If someone else goes out and writes “11 Slack Alternatives,” you go out and write “15 Slack Alternatives.”

And you’ll likely rank higher, right away. You’re more thorough and useful. Users don’t have to go out and search for more options: you can give them all their options in one place.

What is most effective when someone is trying to sell to you?

We like to ask all of our podcast guests this question. Here’s how Mostafa responded:

“What really captures my attention as a marketer (and I think marketers are some of the hottest prospects out there) is a custom message that tells me you know my problem. You know my company, and you have a solution that is worth looking at. Maybe I respond, maybe I don’t, but it will get my attention.

Also, emphasize who you play with. Add credibility. As a marketer, I always have eyes on my competition, so if you told me you did this with my competition and it did well, you’ve got my attention.

The third advice is “don’t be annoying.” A lot of SDRs and sales reps have this nine-touch, super-aggressive cadence. Maybe it works on one or two people out of a thousand, but it really annoys me. It builds this wall between me and your brand. Maybe someday I’ll be interested, but I will not reach out to you if you don’t respect my inbox and my time. Keeping your prospect in mind before you build your playbook is really important.”

Acceleration Insight

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In each episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience, we ask our guests for one nugget of wisdom they would impart to a sales professional. Here’s this one:

“Your understanding of prospects is equal to your success at communicating with them. A lot of people think a little Googling here and there will tell you enough about a persona, but think about it: do you think a pretty chart will answer pain points? No, you need a thorough quantitative and qualitative analysis. And honestly, you need to talk to me and know my pains and develop content around them.

This is the most important thing I used to struggle with, and when I made changes, I saw changes in conversion rates and overall messaging and positioning of the brand.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with Mostafa El-Bermawy from Workzone. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.