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Opinionated SEO Opinions Episode 2: August 2021

Published on: 
August 30, 2021
Updated on: 
September 3, 2021
by
Tory Gray
Tory Gray
Sam Torres
Sam Torres
Begüm Kaya
Begüm Kaya

In the second episode we cover the following questions:

Watch Episode 1 here.

Do you have more SEO questions you'd love an opinion on? Please send it our way here: Ask SEO Questions. Also don’t forget to follow TGDC on LinkedIn, Youtube and Twitter, where we share cool documents, expert opinions and useful tips on SEO.

Video Transcript: 

Begüm Kaya 00:05
Hello, hello, welcome to the second episode of Opinionated SEO Opinions. I'm your moderator Begüm Kaya here with your lovely host Tory Gray and Sam Torres. Thank you for all the lovely feedback that you gave us after our first episode. And if you haven't watched our first episode yet, please do. And for any questions you may have on our next episode, please submit them to thegray.company/ask-seo-questions. And by the way, if you didn't realize whatOpinionated SEO Opinions is, it's a web series geared towards the discussion and demystification of all questions related SEO and digital marketing. We'll answer SEO questions with nitty gritty details and high-level insights while we weigh in on very, very opinionated SEO matters.

Tory Gray 00:55
Digging into the "it depends" quote!

Begüm Kaya 00:57
Yes, it depends. "It depends" questions. Wonderful. I realized that we didn't introduce - like we introduce ourselves, but we didn't really mention where we are located. So I will go first, I am joining from another continent from our lovely hosts. I will be - actually I'm joining from Europe, not to leave myEuropean SEOs alone.

Tory Gray 01:23
I have worked in SEO in Denver, and then Asheville in the US, but I'm currently in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sam Torres 01:30
And I am in Atlanta, where COVID cases are significantly higher. So that's great.

Tory Gray 01:37
Safe world we live in.

Sam Torres 01:38
Yay the South of the US. Whooo!

Begüm Kaya 01:42
Stay at home, stay safe, get vaccinated and end of the what is it called an English. We have something like public. public.... Everything. 

Tory Gray 02:01
Public what? You like got quiet.

Begüm Kaya 02:04
It's kind of like public. I don't know, called like public hub where government is giving insights and recommendations to people to watch them on the television.

Sam Torres 02:21
We have the CDC guidelines.

Begüm Kaya 02:24
Maybe, maybe, yes.

Tory Gray 02:27
They tell us things to do. Apparently, the Biden administration is announcing things today.

Sam Torres 02:32
Yeah. Which the CDC is also in Atlanta. If there's ever an outbreak, it probably started here.

Begüm Kaya 02:41
Yeah, I know why they filmed the Walking Dead in Atlanta, then?

Tory Gray 02:46
Yes there we go. I like this conspiracy theory.

Sam Torres 02:52
And it's right next to the FBI building. So everything's fine. Everything's fine. All right. Moving forward with SEO.

Begüm Kaya 03:01
Yeah. Sorry, ladies. I just pushed everything away. Anyways.

Sam Torres 03:06
We're also regular people. It's crazy. We do more than just SEO. It's weird. I know.

SEO Question #1

Subdomains vs Subdirectories - Pros and Cons

Begüm Kaya 03:12
Yeah. Completely weird. So let's get started everyone - number one. The first question is actually a combination of two questions coming from two different people on the same topic. And oddly enough, we published an article with Tory six months ago, which covers the same topic, since many cases focusing on it have ignored the perspective that we provided in that article. And some portion of this question has not been addressed by many SEOs recently, as we saw it.And let's get to the questions. So the first one is coming from Keeley Stitt, a Product Designer at Inclusivv, and she asked "Subdomains versus subdirectories - pros and cons?"

Tory Gray 03:57
Oh, the subdomain question frequently fought over. Sam do you want talk on this?

Sam Torres 04:05
Sure! So for me, whenever we're talking about subdomains versus subdirectories, it's always going to become a question of really what's the function of what you're trying to do, and usually, in my experience, wanting to do a subdomain is either coming from developers or engineers or it's coming from a particular platform that you're trying to use or tool set. So I will say the cases where I see subdomains are a good idea would be when maybe there are things behind an entire login. So if you are a, you know, if you're a manufacturer, but then you also have an app that goes with your products, right, the app that totally makes sense to put on the subdomain. Your support website if you're a SaaS company. All of that kind of makes sense. And especially, you know, some of those platforms, it does require you to put it on a subdomain, you can't install it in a subfolder anyways. But definitely if it's going to be tackling the same kind of topic and the same audience, that's where I definitely say that sub folder should win. So that you're really just keeping everything together for the user anyways. So, you know, there's obviously a lot of issues that come with that. And then we can also talk about how does internationalization play into this, I think that's kind of like a separate subject that we can tackle in a little bit. But anytime that you're really talking to the same audience, my recommendation is usually to go into a subfolder. That way, you're not trying to build up the domain authority of two different domains. So yeah, Tory, what would you like to add to that? And I'm sure there's going to be more that comes up as you're talking.

Tory Gray 05:47
Yes. Yeah, it is a meaty subject. Yeah. So I agree, I think there are certain use cases that make sense for having subdomains or, or entirely different websites. And that's okay. So from examples you used one, like classic example is, if you're a public company, like your investment information, you need to keep public so that being separate to me solves a different audience and a different use case, and keeping it separate makes sense. The Help subdomain I'm also torn about because it's about the brand. So if and when possible, I'd like that to be part of the same domain. That said, pretty much every single service provider that's external wants you to put that on to help dot subdomain, which I don't love. But I also understand like the logistics, and the the lift on that from an engineering effort is maybe not worth keeping it together, which is, ultimately what matters, right? Like is the benefit of keeping it together worth the cost of building up the infrastructure to make that possible. But the classic example, here, really is Disney. So Disney is obviously a huge company, they have Disneyland and Disney World, but they also have various franchises for Cars and Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin and Brave and what may have you. So Disney could not possibly keep everything all in the same Disney.com. Right. So the entity that is Cars, the entity that is Brave, those things can be - can be kept separately. So you can show the relationship to Disney on a subdomain, like a brave.disney.com to help show that relationship, or it could just be you know, Disneysbrave.com or something like that. I think those are sort of equally fine solutions.  

The big no-no here, to me, is really separating your strategic content from what you do. So Google will tell you, "there is no difference between a subdirectory and a subdomain do what's right for your business." Um, which is both true and incredibly misleading, right? Because there are situations when it does make sense to do for your business and times when it doesn't. And they're not providing clarity on that. So it's a continual conversation every time someone wants to move their blog to a subdomain, and then they point to this quote fromGoogle and say, it's not a problem.  But there's a great thread we'll link to from Rand Fishkin, that says, "Hey, do you need 13 case studies to prove to you that the difference between a subdomain and a regular site is meaningful, because we have them!"

There is an incredible body of evidence that it is meaningful and different to have a subdirectory. There are also business use cases when it is okay to do so.  So the biggest thing that I really think about is really, is it the same entity? And should you keep it together or not.In your strategic content is the same entity. If you're an eCommerce site, and you're answering how's and why tos, and all these kinds of questions about the products you sell, that should be on your main domain. I've seen it get split apart. So it's like it was together, get split apart. And I've seen a site that was a subdomain that I recommended coming together, I typically see a flat 30%change - a 30% lift in traffic by consolidating them, and a 30% drop in traffic for removing it. It is a dramatic difference in your traffic and in meaningfully, what that means for your business.  A caveat there would actually be - if your strategic content isn't very good, if you don't have a lot of links. If it's not valuable, then like, of course the value of consolidating it is not going to be as high. But if you have great strategic content and you've been investing in that, then yes, it makes sense to hold it all together.  I've heard some great theories, and I have my own about like why that is. The best one I've heard out there is that perhaps there's a difference algorithmically between the way that links pass equity from external sites and subdomains versus internal links and what those mean.Google does value different links in different ways. So maybe there is a systematic difference there - which I think is really interesting. Potentially not true, if only because Google says there's no difference. And Google, my personal opinion, is I feel like they tend not to lie blatantly, so much as they misconstrue. And they obfuscate.

Sam Torres 10:36
I think there's also, you know, with RankBrain, there's now an AI. So there's only so much that we can even understand what they're doing, what Rankbrain is doing. And I feel like even just in the last, really 18 months, the amount of work or focus I've seen from the SEO industry on internal linking signals, is just saying, like, it's just it's becoming more and more important. The priority that you place on those things, really makes a difference. So I think, I think there's really some, some likely truth to it. But I agree, I don't, I don't think Google's out to straight up lie to us. But you know, sometimes we have to let the evidence and the data kind of tell the story.

Tory Gray 11:21
Well, my other workaround for that would be like, maybe what they're saying is, "here's different business use cases when subdomains make sense." So there's no... there's no difference, do what's right for your business. And like ignoring the signals passed, but there's legitimate business use cases to do this. Like,Yes, that is true. So maybe that's what they're speaking to when they say that.  But for me, to me, I think it's really more about the consolidation of your link equity. And like the work that you put it into a domain, if you're trying to rank two websites, that is going to be harder and more work, and more expensive than if you're trying to rank one website, especially about the same subject matter. Does that mean you could be successful with two different sub websites? Subdomains are different websites, right? Like cars.disney.com is different thansleepingbeauty.disney.com. That is a different website. And I think people can forget that, or they think that they're related. They are related, but it's still separate. So it's still more work. If you have the budget to support that and you can make that work, then by all means - do it. But not everyone in the world has all the budget to rank all the different domains for all the different things, so.

Sam Torres 12:34
Yeah, I'd also like to add, so when you're doing subdomains versus subdirectories, there also can be a lot of weirdness with analytics, and just being able to understand the data. So certainly, if you use auto cookie domains with GoogleAnalytics, then your subdomains will be included. But there's still, you know, as we do data analysis for our clients, there's a lot of times we run into clients didn't realize that that section of their their website was actually included in their analytics profile, whether it's, you know, a separate subdomain, because they have these targeted landing pages for their paid efforts, or that those Support articles.

And to go back to that, I agree, I'm kind of split sometimes on Support areas. I have one client that they have millions of support articles, and they are so duplicative, that I'm really glad they don't touch the main website, because it's not great content. But then other clients, especially, I think with SaaS - that content is usually so strong, because it's such a great way like to kind of introduce solutions and introduce yourself as the solution because people are looking at you know, how do I do this myself? I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself, and you'll see why. So support - and Tory, to what you said about like, subdomains, there is a use case, it's kind of the same thing with like the pop ups and interstitials. Like when a client is using an interstitial, and it's for a reasonable purpose... it's one of those where we kind of have to trust thatGoogle's going to understand that we're not trying to be spammy. We're not trying to like trick anybody. We're really, you know, there's information about this, you know, during the COVID start, and we have clients who are venues, all of the closure information that had to go in an interstitial so people would know. So I think there's a lot of that trying to rely on Google being able to understand the purpose of these business use cases. And that all comes from our user engagement and how our users engaging with us.  But yes, totally agree strategic content should always be in the same domain where possible. So I kinda want to flip it if we can and say, you know, what about those times when your engineering team is not budging and it has to go in a subdomain. How would we tackle that?

Which obviously, I mean, I have an opinion! But I'm gonna ask you first, Tory.

Tory Gray 15:09
How do we tackle that in terms of like, how do we have that conversation with engineering? Or how do we negate the worst effects of it? Because I mean, I still have clients that I mean, sometimes there's technical barriers, right.Like you're on a Shopify, if you are on a BigCommerce, and you don't use their blogging platform, you are stuck with a subdomain. 

Sam Torres 15:29
Or we even have clients who - again, family venues, and their tickets platform has to be separate from their main website. And you just have, you just have to deal with it, because of the technology that they have. So um, I feel like we've probably given a lot of fuel for having the conversation with your engineering team. But let's say, head of IT, your CTO, comes in and says, No, it's going to be this way, it's going to be a subdomain. How would you negate, you know, or try to win back that 30% swing?

Tory Gray 16:00
Great question. Um, so I mean, I'm going to start with setting expectations. Sometimes it makes sense on a business level, like if you've invested a million dollars into building a BigCommerce website. And you can't keep your strategic content, like does it make sense to build a whole other website in order to get your blog back on your subdomain, like, even if you lose 30% of traffic, like, probably not, right, it's like too late, you're already too in the hole, you need to see what you can do to make the most out of this.  What do we do? Some things I've seen done like, obviously, internal linking, you can control both domains, make sure you're linking to the perfect, correct URL that is 200 indexable. Make sure your canonicals are figured out. I've seen strategies specifically where people basically take their top performing content on the blog, and create custom landing pages on the Shopify's and the BigCommerce's, so that they exist on the main site, the things that actually...  

Sam Torres 17:03
Essentially making pillar pages, yeah? 

Tory Gray 17:04
Yeah, yeah. So like, take the critical pages and do the hard work to make the templates and make it work. Internal linking, what else would you bring to the table, Sam?

Sam Torres 17:16
So definitely internal linking. Navigation as well, just trying to make sure that there are clean paths, really, from the from wherever the you know, if it's a blog, for example, making sure the blog has some top level navigation to go back to the main site. Um, I think you're totally right canonicalization is going to be really important, making sure you're maintaining both Sitemaps now, because at this point, you're now going to have two different XML sitemaps.  Um, if you can, trying to get that domain verification in search console, so that the subdomain could be included as well into your analysis. There's really no data that shows that that relationship -that that shows a better relationship, um, as far as Google's understanding, but certainly being able to have all the data in front of you, I think, empowers and enables you to make better decisions. Um, definitely, I love pillar pages and the ideas of like putting all that really yummy and like deep, long form content, and then having links to, you know, the various resources or, you know, just the classic kind of like, Hub and Spoke model, I think is really strong. But yeah, for sure, internal linking, and then also making sure that any kind of link building efforts, I would still always have it go back to the main domain. And then really, you know, maybe include some social optimization or some social advertising for getting the resources some impressions, getting some engagement, to really just kind of jumpstart, all of that is kind of whatI would do.

Tory Gray 18:57
Yeah, I thought of one more, which is that if you're running multiple subdomains, you'd have to be much more thoughtful about your crawl budget, assuming you're bigger sites.

Sam Torres 19:06
Also your keyword targeting, you want to make sure you're not cannibalizing yourself.

Tory Gray 19:10
Yeah. And that that's definitely an interesting one. But I think the thing people don't realize is that the crawl budget applies across subdomains. So while it is a different website, in that way, it is treated as the same domain. So if you have a really crappy subdomain with a lot of duplicate content and a lot of thin pages, or you know a lot of like proliferation of indexed parameter variations that are not actually valid, good variations, like that will eat into your crawl budget. So if that is a concern for your brand, then you need to clean it up everywhere. I mean, it's not uncommon to audit a new website and suddenly there are 17 or 50 or 150 subdomains for one brand. It gets real out of control, real quick.

Sam Torres 20:03
Especially companies that have reps, oh my god.

Tory Gray 20:08
Let's just try something new. Here's a new one. And here's the new one, and here's a new one! Just stop.it.

Sam Torres 20:14
Alright, and then, because I did mention, I want to go back to it. And I'm just kind of defer to Tory because you're the queen of this. What about internationalization? Subfolder? Subdomains? Go!

Tory Gray 20:26
Oh, well, I like I like my crown, not sure it's one I quite deserve but thank you. Um, so in terms of internationalization, you've got three main options, right, you can do a subdirectory, you can do a subdomain, or you can do a top level tome, to me, a subdomain is sort of the worst of both worlds. It's a different website, but you don't have the benefit of the localization factors that come with a top level domain. Where as a subfolder strategy means it's the same website, and you get to work on one set website instead of two or three, or, you know, however many countries or languages you're targeting.  So in terms of internationalization - really think through, are you doing country targeting, or country and language targeting, because those are different, and they have different structural setups and different recommendations based on that. And that's a very common, I think, issue in defining your business priorities out the gate, that means that people often accidentally choose the wrong solution for themselves, and end up creating a lot of duplicate content because Ahrefs - or not Ahrefs, that's a tool!

Hreflang is not a get out of jail free card for duplicate content, you can't magically duplicate your website and then say, Oh, it's the UK version and suddenly rank in the UK and magically, everything's good. No, it's still duplicate content. It's still not targeted to that audience. Guess what? Moving into any market takes work? Shock!

Learn more about the business decisions that impact SEO Internationalization.

Sam Torres 22:00
WHAT!

Tory Gray 22:01
I know, I know, people on it more surprised than you think that they can't suddenly take over the world by simply making a copy of their website.

Sam Torres 22:11
Alright, Brain. I'll just have to be Pinky. I think so. Pinky and the Brain? Okay, sorry.

Tory Gray 22:22
Um, yeah, that's that's about the sum of it. I mean, if you're only doing language targeting, then I'm probably sticking to the sub folder structure is much more ideal. If you're doing country targeting, then I'm sort of tied between that solution and the top level domains that are country code specific, when possible. Obviously, that's not possible in all places. But keep in mind, if you do go with country, targeted versions, it's still multiple domains. And it's still more work. But you probably have better ranking potential ability in the long term, assuming you're willing to put in the budget and the work over time. 

Sam Torres 23:01
And your technology supports that because not all CMS is can support a model like that.So. 

Tory Gray 23:07
Yeah, and it's not just the technology. It's also like, oh, now you have to really localize your content for Australia versus the UK versus America versus Canada versus wherever. You know...

Sam Torres 23:19
Cookies versus biscuits.

Tory Gray 23:21
Yeah, I mean, it's more than just cookies versus biscuits, and color with a U.

Sam Torres 23:25
I know, but it's fun.

Tory Gray 23:27
Zebra! That's another one that I'm - zebra versus zebra. Or versus Zed, since you're in Canada. Apparently that is a thing, but I'm not sure if they call it zebra yet or not. I've not heard someone say zebra or zebra, but I did definitely laugh the first one heard someone in the UK say zebra.

Sam Torres 23:45
I love it. 

Begüm Kaya 23:48
In Turkish we also say zebra.

Sam Torres 23:49
Well, there you go, perfect.  

Tory Gray 23:52
Well, next time we go to a zoo together, Begüm, I'm going to be laughing when you call it a zebra, just so you know. Yeah.

Sam Torres 24:00
Do we feel like we beat the subdomain and subdirectory question into the ground?

Tory Gray 24:07
Let's bury it.

Sam Torres 24:08
If you have more questions about it - if you didn't cover a specific use case that you're thinking about this tweet at us - TheGrayCo - we'll put it in the transcript and the card. All that good stuff. Um,

Begüm Kaya 24:21
Yeah, I wasn't expecting that many - like that many key takeaways from this question, but very, very thorough and wonderful explanations.

SEO Question #2

When considering launching a new sub-brand, or an extension of an existing domain, what are the pros and cons of subdomain, sub-folder, TLD, etc.?

Tory Gray 24:31
Sorry, Begüm - there actually is one more! I'm reading Sara Burke-Allen's qualification on this. She added the related question, "When considering launching a new sub-brand or an extension of existing domain, what are the pros and cons?" So - yet another use case? I'd say it depends on how close it is to your brand- a sub brand, right? So for instance, I don't remember - P&G, I think it is owns, say, like Pampers and Luvs. So the two biggest diaper "take over the entire thing,"  they look completely different. They look like competitors. They're the same parent company!  It does not make sense for those to sit together or on a subdomain. So consider your audience, how well aligned are they? How much do you want to brand association or not? Do you want to make that transparent or not? So I feel like it's really a brand decision at that point.

What domain strategy should you choose?

Sam Torres 25:25
It really is. I would agree with that.

Tory Gray 25:27
Yeah. SoI prefer to just say, we'll make SEO work - make your brand decision! And now... have we have we really buried it?

Sam Torres 25:36
I think that horse is really, yeah, it's kind of gone. Okay.

Begüm Kaya 25:43
Thank you for your lovely and wonderful questions. Kaylee and Sarah. Okay, by the way, there's one more thing that I would like to mention, and Sam, when you asked how do you combine, and how can you create signals that matches these two different websites? Schema!

Sam Torres 26:01
Oh, always Schema!

Begüm Kaya 26:04
Use it, everyone, please use schema to give those signals to search engines that your brands are related, if you are really trying to combine them under different subdomains and get that relation out there.

Tory Gray 26:16
So how would you do that? Is that a "sameAs"?

Begüm Kaya 26:20
They are NOT actually SameAs - there are some schemas under organization that you can say that this brand is owned by that company, and there is a hierarchical structure that you can apply when it comes to schema. And it applies very well actually, if your audience is actually near similar, so that you're not really backing off from having those different subdomains under one roof. Let's say, for example, it might be a good strategy for Inditex group, including Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, and Pull&Bear, and etc. But it may not be the best strategy for P&G, as you put it in your example.

Tory Gray 27:01
Yeah, perfect. Thank you.

SEO Question #3

What is your advice for someone who is working on SEO growth strategies for B2B SaaS products?

Begüm Kaya 27:04
Thank you. Yeah. Let's jump to our other question that is coming from Armina Fareed. She asks, Armina asks, "What is your advice for someone who's looking for SEO growth strategy for bB2B SaaS products. And I would like to mention thatTory recently spoke at Empower, Amina, and it's a conference for B2B founders, and product growth leaders on Agile strategies. I think we will be sharing your deck very soon - it should be ready, Tory?

Tory Gray 27:39
Yep, yeah, when we launch this episode, that will be live. So we'll give you the details of that.

The deck in question: Agile SEO 101: Building a Continuous Improvement Machine for SEO

I'd also hint at a potential sort of 2.0 version of that deck coming soon, that we're pretty excited about. So the initial deck really covers a high-level framework, right, for like, how to be a Continuous ImprovementMachine. So it's really more geared to like the business leaders, and like, how do we create that process on the whole versus the specific step-by-step logistics of Agile. So that we're - we're working on them, and we will launch them and we're really excited about that.

Begüm Kaya 28:23
Yeah, wonderful. So - what is our best strategies and advices for SEO growth strategies for B2B SaaS products.

Sam Torres 28:33
So I think just start there. Obviously, we're going to share the presentation, I definitely recommend consuming it, it's full of fantastic information. But just to kind of break down the small piece of it - if you're not used to what Agile is - Agile is a methodology for approaching how to solve problems. It came from the engineering world, but really, there's all kinds of applications, and at its core, it's really just talking about iteration.  So basically getting to your MVP, and then continuing to improve upon that and just building. So instead of trying to launch this perfect solution from day one, you kind of get to, like I said, that MVP, that minimum viable product, so that you can then start building. So it's really much the same with B2B SaaS products, right? Probably your, if you're working for a B2B SaaS product company, for SaaS provider, your teams -probably your engineering team - is probably already working in an agile system. So really, with that, you list your requirements, and then you start really looking at what are the big beefy goals that you'd like to accomplish?We usually call those epics.  What are the things that you really kind of need? And how are you going to get there? How does it align to things that you want to provide to your users?

So we can approach SEO in very much the same way of basically we just have to first take stock of where are we, what do we want to accomplish? What are the current pitfalls, where are we lacking, where are our competitors? So it really has to be all relevant to your particular landscape. Because for example, if you're, you know, a calendar appointment software company, chances are you shouldn't use the playbook by Disney.... just gonna go out on a limb and say they're not going to be the same results. Um, so really just looking at your competitive landscape and understanding from there and prioritizing. And then really just tackling what you can. And the Agile - really at its heart, the Agile process just means that every now and then you're going to come back and kind of redo that audit and analysis and reshift your focus, reprioritize your roadmap and what you want to do. And so for us, we usually do that on a quarterly or semi-annual basis where we'll do kind of that huge business review. And even a lot of times, that also means having conversations with the other stakeholders in your company to make sure you're going after the same goals. Because especially with SaaS products, maybe a new feature has come out or you're releasing an entire new version, your company goals may change, and you want to make sure that your SEO strategy is aligning with that. And so there's also different kinds of roadmaps depending on where you are in kind of the life of your company. So, Tory, you want to tackle that?

Tory Gray 31:28
Just to make sure I understand what you mean, um, you know, I certainly want to talk through the different places that different SaaS companies launch at, and where their industries are.

Sam Torres 31:39
It's exactly that.

Tory Gray 31:40
So, specifically, what I mean by that is that sometimes as a new player in the SaaS-  like, sometimes you're growing an industry! Sometimes people don't know it's a problem, and you have to educate them that there is a problem, and that you have a solution. And that is a very different SEO play from, um, if people know that it's a problem, but they don't necessarily have the name for the solution - so your product is a new way to do that. You know, sometimes you're moving in on the market where there's already a big player, and it's a very established, known set of terminology, like, versus the other scenario is where you kind of get to make up and define how...how ... what do you want to call that, right, and how do people respond to that?  Um, so some things to keep in mind there are - you're gonna want to think through your keyword selection, and and what are people looking for already, versus what are they not looking for? Is one big piece. And really in that realm - if people aren't looking for the...you have to start where people are, right, like you have to meet people where they are. So go do your keyword research and figure out what are they looking for. Do they understand the problem? Do they not? What are they looking for, when they hit that wall - whatever problem you're solving.  

If you know, it's always going to be easier, the more that people look for that theoretically, because like, the easier it is because more public more probably means more competition. So find people where they are and then hopefully translate your product as a solution for that. You can go about carving out... I mean, you really want to consider brand positioning in a really big, fundamental way. Um... what you call yourself matters, and can vary people's willingness to pay for your product or how much they're willing to pay for it and helps I mean - positioning, just think of like the anchors for pricing, they might be have a vastly different willingness to pay for this platform versus this tool set or this software. So choose your keywords wisely, they might have different search volume. But hopefully you're also doing some brand building and some education for customers to help grow that over time.  So a lot of the work forSEO out the gate is about defining what is the opportunity... today. So if you're in one of those emerging industries, keep in mind that you're also going to have to do some projections around what you believe you will do through brand building and educate people, versus just taking advantage of what exists today. So your forecasting is going to be a lot different. And your baseline pool of what you can take advantage of is different. But in any scenario, you're always going to start with understanding what's happening now, and then figuring out how to address them now, and then choosing those right keywords togo after and then you just start trying to translate why why your solution is meaningful.

Sam Torres 34:43
And the value it provides. And I think a really good way to think about it too. If you are trying to break into that industry that maybe doesn't have formal names yet, right - the solution isn't a well known solution. And you really do have to think... start, start moving up the funnel, and think about, just like Tory said - what are the walls that people are hitting? So I think a great example is headless CMSs and that technology. Search volume around that barely existed two, three years ago. But what did exist is those companies were tackling issues like, "my WordPress site is too slow," right? They were writing guides about that, and how Headless can be the solution for it.  So you really have to think about, you know, how long does that journey go, and especially for SaaS products and sellingB2B, it is usually a longer sales process. So you really have to go super high up in that funnel, and understand that your content - you're probably going to be have to be talking to different stakeholders and walking them down the path.Because a lot of times, it's going to be like, that tiny little marketing analyst was trying to figure out how to do some things, then they went to their marketing manager who goes to the director, who then goes to the CMO to get money, like, you have to talk to every single person in that chain, to finally get the funds.  So I think really thinking about - what is that initial problem? And how do you move them, and empower each role to sell your solution to the next decision maker above them?That's something that the keyword research you do and looking at really what's ranking, what's the - what are the questions that are coming out? I thinkReddit is a great resource, as well, for kind of understanding the frustrations that users are having, and really just try to anticipate those needs beforehand. But then, like we say, especially for SaaS, you have to kind of reevaluate your landscape and see how it's changed. Especially in SaaS, I guarantee you... you wait six months, and you have competitors, you had no idea pop up. So you always need to be mindful of that.

Tory Gray 36:52
Totally, then you brought up such a great point about the customer funnel, that is something you very much want to consider, because it's interesting in the SaaS SEO space where you have such advocates that are always "all longtail all the time," and longtail inherently means... almost always bottom of funnel, right? And then there's some people that are going gaga for only like"brand awareness... all the time". And I think it serves you to see what is happening in your industry. Where is the search volume? What are your competitors doing? What's their strategy. You always have to start somewhere - but starting somewhere might be -where is the gap in your industry right now? If someone's going after only top of funnel, it's probably the right play to go after bottom of funnel. And vice versa. If you can go top of funnel, you might solve their needs. So they never get to the bottom of the funnel and then then search for those things - if you can answer the question out the gate, right? So again, it's competitive data, analyzing your funnel, where people are in it, and where do you want to go hard first, and don't be afraid to breakaway from the pack. And then eventually layer in over time. So if you go big on a long tail, and you feel like you've covered your ground, like okay, so start going after customer advocacy content, like post purchase. You could go brand awareness, but you could also go evaluation and consideration, like there are many different stages. And in terms of your pages on your website, make sure at some point, if you have a mature business, you should be going after all of them in a comprehensive way, right. But there... there are different good ways to launch. They're both powerful plays, and there's not an inherently right answer there.

Sam Torres 38:45
It always depends!

Begüm Kaya 38:51
I think like, go after your user, know your user, provide what value you provide to them, and make it be apparent on your side everywhere, very clearly. And don't be afraid to go after those customers that your competitor was not able to satisfy- just as Sam said, go out there and look for their comments, on either on their websites, different forums, Reddit, anywhere and get those clients.  Also I think there's another angle to that which is come from PR and outreach. You can also build some relationships with industry leaders, entrepreneur hubs, and other - I would say tiny newsletters that are trying to break out there and like, cover some pretty bad like B2B SaaS products and other things in the industry and being out there. So know your opportunities and dig into those and provide - actually sustain! - actually relationships with other companies to get your work out there. And get some tech companies maybe?

Sam Torres 40:02  
Absolutely. Especially with the number of live events, you know, obviously in person events are down.

Begüm  Kaya 40:07
Definitely.

Sam Torres 40:08
All the different ways that SaaS companies are having to look at how to grow.

Begüm Kaya 40:32
Okay great. Thank you for reassuring us.

Sam Torres 40:37
She's quarantining. She's great!

Tory Gray 40:40
Everything's fine, weeeee!

Begüm Kaya 40:45
Okay, everyone. Thank you for all the lovely questions. I hope we covered them in a way that you will be satisfied with our answers and opinions. Thank you to everyone who shared your opinions and feedback after our first episode, once again, and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback, and maybe some luck spreading your love over the internet.

Tory Gray 41:09
More questions! We want more questions.

Sam Torres 41:15
Sorry. Next episode it looks like we're going to be covering different content questions regarding how long should it be, how do we hide it, how does that effect the relationship with the XML sitemap, and maybe talking about job qualifications - and what do we think makes a good SEO. Should be fun!

Begüm Kaya 41:36
The link is in the description below, but we are expecting your questions to be submitted at thegray.company/ask-seo-questions. And thank you for watching everyone!

Tory Gray 41:49
Bye!

Sam Torres 41:53
Bye!

Begüm Kaya 41:56
Bye!

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