I am your host Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest, Kari DePhillips is the CEO of The Content Factory, a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO and PR. She’s also the co-host of the Workationing podcast, which follows her adventures working around the world while knocking items off of her bucket list. She’s also the co-founder of the Sisters in SEO Facebook group, which has grown to become the largest network of women in a very male-dominated industry.

SERPstat named Kari one of the top 3 women in SEO, NBC News has called her a “CEO who takes job perks to the max” and Thrive titled her a “limit-breaking female founder.”

Yeah, you definitely have done a lot. I never like to cut people’s accolades short. You’ve done a lot, and that’s really impressive. And we’re definitely excited to talk to you today. As the listeners have probably already alluded. We’re going to be talking about a CEO, which is really your bread and butter and what you’re very knowledgeable about. And so I’m super excited to see what you have to say regarding a CEO, because as we all know, it is a very ever changing area and industry and you got to really always be on your toes with it.

So I’m super excited to see what you’re going to help us do with regard to. But before we get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today?

Sure. I like to say that I’m in my mid to late twenty seven. I’ve been in the industry since twenty five, so that makes me a little bit don’t worry about it.

I’m in the same boat. I started a little bit before that.

I started the concept factory in 2010 after putting my trust as a freelance writer. And since then we’ve been going strong. Our clients range from Astroglide to enterprise level software as a service. Companies to start ups were looking to get media coverage and also dominate the basically Google search results for the types of queries that would actually convert once these visitors land on their website.

That’s awesome. One of the things actually that just really kind of came to mind, you being an asshole writer, I guess several years ago was always the old adage of content is king. And I know you being a writer, very familiar with that terminology. And I get this question a lot when I’m talking to different entrepreneurs and people that are getting into SEO and doing different things. Is that still the case these days? Is content really still king?

Yes, but let me qualify that. Yes. With a as long as you’ve got the other two things going for you. So SEO is an amalgamation of three things. Number one, your website is the back end set up for success? Do you have your technical skill on point? Does it load fast? Does the site make sense? So foundationally, is your website set up for success number two content? And ideally that content needs to be two thousand words per page in order to have a real shot at ranking.

And there are all kinds of studies I can point you to, as well as anecdotal evidence that shows that that’s the case. It’s counterintuitive to a lot of people. But realistically, if you’re creating content and you want it to rank, it needs to be at least two thousand words. And that’s something that if you go over to the Content Factories website, you’ll see we practice what we preach on that front. So No. One technical No. Two content.

Number three, you have to drive back links to your Web. In order to signal that the search crawlers that you’re an authority in your industry and that’s how over time you build up your domain authority so that you’re able to rank for more competitive search terms that have a higher search volume and also achieve the key objective, which is to convert into dollars.

Thanks for breaking that down. And that is so true. Truly, not just one thing that you’ve got to look at with regards to SVO. Your content, of course, like you said, is definitely a part of it. But that alone is not going to rank you. That alone is not going to get you the traffic.

So you got to cover the technical side of it as well as building. You can rank content without links. I’ve done it in the past. It’s entirely possible. It’s largely dependent on the search terms that you’re targeting. Right. But without content, you’re never going to rank. So in that sense, if you’re technical, SEO is really not on point. You can still rank. If you don’t have any back links, you can still rank. If you don’t have any content, you cannot rank.

So in that sense, content is king or queen, as the case may be. That makes a lot of sense.

Those other things can definitely be in place for you. If you have nothing for the search engines to come back and spider and get in their whole system and index, then you don’t have anything at all. So that makes sense. Now, as we said earlier, of course, you and I have been in this industry for quite a long time without really two thousand and things were definitely a lot different back then. How have you seen this changed over the years with everything that you’ve been doing?

And a lot of ways it hasn’t changed at all and a lot of ways if you were following best practices from the start, your content is still probably ranking in the strategy, still work well for you. The primary ways in which it’s change is it’s harder to game the system. The search engines are getting a lot better at spotting keyboards and other shady back linking techniques, and they’re getting quicker to penalize sites. It’s also changing in the sense that I mean, when I first started, a lot of people didn’t even know what it was.

I didn’t know what I say. I was just writing all of these articles and mentioning certain phrases a few times per day. And it took me like three months to even figure out what I was doing, had a name and it was called SVO. So the competitive landscape has changed in that more companies are being aware of the value of SCA because the ROIC of ranking number one for a search term that for a high conversion search term with some really nice content that drives that reader down the path of conversion.

The value of that. I mean, I’ve written several blog posts for the content factory that have generated over a million dollars in sales each.

That’s awesome. Yeah, it really does seem like it’s changed, but in a way, fundamentally, not a lot has changed. It really is all coming down to providing the best possible answers for those customers questions and in the best possible experience. And I think that’s what all of the search engines are looking to do when companies are becoming more aware of it.

And so they’re dedicating more of their marketing budgets toward it. Right. And in that sense, it’s becoming difficult to rank. Like if you’re in the mattress industry and trying to rank good luck. It’s super competitive. It is. There are a lot of other industries that are wide open, though. So it’s all about keyword research and identifying which keywords are going to drive the right kind of traffic to your website and ultimately get you more sales.

So when you’re sitting down with the same e-commerce client and trying to implement your strategies for them, what are some things that are really kind of a must when it comes to implementing that?

You kind of always go to the first thing that we usually start with when new clients come on board is keyword research and competitive analysis, where we do a deep dive on which keywords the website is currently ranking for or which keywords the website is currently ranking for, which keywords we should be targeting with our future content. Also what their competitors are doing, what keywords can we steal from their competitors? What are their competitors doing right? What are they doing wrong?

It’s ultimately like a strategy build out. But when it comes to implementation, if you don’t have that strategy thoroughly built out, your results are going to be mixed at best. So, for example, understanding, search, intent, understanding which keywords are likely to convert and then being able to speak to that in the content itself and provide value. Understanding those fundamentals are really critical when it comes to implementation. And then if you get that down and you implement like if you create one.

Long form blog posts per month for a year, you’re going to see what that does to your own, it’ll do crazy things to you know, that’s something that I think e commerce business owners really, really don’t realize the importance of doing that. You know, a lot of times the focus, of course, is just individually driving traffic via ranking for keywords. And, you know, of course, that can be done with organic listings as well as the pay per click.

And the kind of thought is to you to do whatever you can to arrange for those things. But it’s really, I think with Google and the other search engines, you mentioned writing a long form blog post every month for a year. And it’s like your you have to feed the beast, so to speak. And if you don’t provide that information regarding your particular niche or your particular industry you’re in, you know, it doesn’t have anything to go on as far as if you’re going to be a relevant authority in that particular area.

So you have to think of it like that. A lot of times I think we’re in the past, people would have thought you can do certain things, stop and you’re done. But as you and I know, SEO is not a one time thing. It’s ongoing. Like you said, the group was a great example of writing a long form piece of content for a year is what you got to do.

It can be a one time thing in the sense that if you allocate enough time to the project, let’s say a 10 blog post project, the idea is how do you get the most use for your squeeze? So, all right, you write ten long form blog posts and you rank number one for the keywords that you’re targeting. How are you capturing that content, creating downloadable assets related to the subject matter? So, for example, we add the content factory, have a blog post, the ultimate guide to keyword research.

It ranks for keyword research template and a variety of related search terms. People go to that blog post and they read how to do keyword research. Well, we also have this handy template for you to download in exchange for signing up for our email list. And every single one of our blog posts has a downloadable asset attached to it. And a lot of our blog posts rank and generate traffic for years. So when you think of the cumulative effect of collecting all of these email addresses in exchange for a downloadable assets over years from a one time project of ten blog posts, over time, it can be really significant and also opens up email marketing opportunities and retargeting the Facebook ads.

So there’s a lot that you can do with organic traffic, even if it doesn’t convert immediately.

Yeah, that’s a great example. You know, like you said, it’s a piece where you have these assets. You’re offering a downloadable piece just for the exchange for the email.

And then from there, you can really kind of leverage the rest of your funnel, so to speak, and get those people into some type of marketing funnel where you’re going to continually reach out to them. So that makes a lot of sense in that sense, where you can kind of do that one time thing of those 10 blog posts and then kind of forever leverage that depending where you go after that. Now, I know a big question on people’s mind these days is because there are so many tools out there with regards to SEO and keyword optimization and you name it, there’s a tool for doing it.

What are some tools that you recommend that are really needed to implement these strategies?

SDM Russia is one of my favorites. SDM There’s just about everything and in fact I have an affiliate link that I can hit you with, an affiliate link, of course, that will get your listeners every week to check it out. Otherwise, I think it’s like ninety nine dollars a month, but it will track everything for you back links. It will help you find the right keywords to target. It spits out the most beautiful reports you’ve ever seen.

So that’s kind of like a must have if you’re getting serious about SEO. Also learning how to use Google Analytics and Google search console because you need to be able to track the KPIs that matter. And if you’re not first creating a baseline and then monitoring those KPIs on a regular basis, you’re not going to be able to adjust your strategy if necessary in order to achieve the greatest results possible. So it’s so true that Uber suggest is really great. I think that’s even free.

Yeah, it is.

That’s the tool from Neil Patel, I believe. Yeah, believe it. It still is free in it. From what I’ve seen. It’s the fly you can do with it. Yeah.

I mean even typing into the Google search bar and seeing what pops down, those are great opportunities for H2 headers in your long form content to target those. Specific queries or keywords, and that puts you if you create the content correctly, structurally, that’s how you’re able to get that Google featured snippet, real estate at the very top. And the click through on that is surprisingly high.

I’ve seen that. I was just speaking with another expert and he really just raved about the importance of those snippets and how much really. Yeah, the click through rate on those is unbelievable.

I have a complete guide to that. Everything that I’m talking about. I have a guide to is a blog post. I can hit you with links and if you’d like, your listeners can peruse it through leisure. But yeah, we’ve broken all of this down over at the Content Factories blog and we we’ve got an online course, but lots of free resources as well.

That’s awesome. I appreciate that. And we’ll definitely be sure to link to those in the notes. So it really does sound like without even spending a dime, there’s really enough to there’s a lot you can do just doing your own research without paying for any of these tools, either with some of the free tools like Google suggest or just do your own due diligence on searching in Google and seeing what some of the recommended searches are that are similar to keywords that come up for your man.

So, yeah, the you don’t have to go out initially and spend a whole lot to do anything. You can definitely get started just right now immediately with everything that is is currently out there. Now, it’s ready to wrap things up for you. Of course, mentioned measuring the effectiveness of everything that you’re doing is super important. And I know that can be done using Google Analytics. What are some other things, though, that you would suggest as far as measuring the true effectiveness of all of your different SEO techniques and strategies?

So you would be surprised how many clients come to US companies that generate a million dollars plus in sales. They don’t even have conversion tracking set up in their Google analytics. We finally got one of our weighted blanket clients to set that up sense of weighted blankets that are the ranked number one for weighted blankets, which did really great things for her. But until we had that conversion tracking set up, we couldn’t tell her how much money the bugs were driving and how much was coming from any other outlet.

She was running Facebook ads at the time, etc.. Once we got that set up, we saw that the blog content had driven over fifty eight thousand dollars in sales and something like six months just from the point of when we started tracking it. And that content is still generating money for her because she was ranking number one for like waited blanket for anxiety. And those types of high conversion transactional queries is what they’re about.

OK, setting up conversion tracking is really important because then you can see which pages are doing the heavy lifting for you and just the ones that aren’t making sales. Why aren’t they making sales? Number two, you want to track the keywords that you’re looking for. If you used to rank number one for a keyword that you really want to rank number one for, but not your number two or three, maybe through some more internal links to that, add some more content that page and try and get it number to be number one.

Unless you’re tracking that, you’re not going to know which pages need that extra love in order to go from three to one. And the difference in click through traffic on the first result versus a third is quite substantial. I think it’s like sixty five to. Fifteen or something, so you really want to be number one, but you’re not going to know unless you’re keeping track of that. Yeah, with pages or stickiest which pages convert the best. Yeah.

So true. You really can’t fix or optimize, which you don’t track. That’s definitely a lesson that I think a lot of businesses eventually find out because like you said, even some of the larger businesses like you were mentioning, one of that large business, that it’s a million dollar business, didn’t have anything tracking their conversions. And so it’s it’s just not the little guys that are doing that. But it is super important because otherwise you’re just really shooting in the dark.

You’re doing kind of wild guesses as far as what the effectiveness of your content is having. And your keywords these days is really no excuse to be playing a guessing game because of the amount of tools that are out there. And that’s also one of the main differences between, I guess you could say now and then. We were thinking about earlier. We talked about the early 2000s when we first got into the game. Yeah, there really wasn’t half as many tools as there are now to do this.

So, you know, if we can. No excuse. Yeah.

I mean, when I first started, it didn’t even exist. I ran a remote team without Slack or Aissata. I can’t even imagine. Yeah, exactly.

I’m trying to think back to those days because I agree that we had a remote team from our early days that you’re a Romney star. And wow, I’m trying to figure out we use some type of messaging tool. It was like you said, Slack wasn’t around. And yeah, it was something I can’t even remember. I’ve been through it.

I am. Yeah. Yeah, I think you’re right. You’re right. It was A.I.M. I guess that was kind of like an offshoot of AOL messaging, I think.

Yeah, those were those were the days. Well, yeah. That’s awesome. Um, Gary, what I appreciate you coming on to the podcast. I’ve definitely learned a lot and hopefully our listeners have as well. So that some key takeaways I think we’ve got with regards to CEO. And I think the main thing is these things can all be implemented today. You don’t have to wait for getting the right tool. You don’t have to spend a dime.

You can immediately get out there and start doing some research and start getting your act together.

But what I can always close out and do and I’m really interested to hear your response to this, because as I mentioned in your intro, you actually have a podcast, the shooting podcast, where you’ve been kind of traveling the world working and vacationing all at the same time. I know how that goes as well. Am I end? Because any vacation I take, it’s always a working vacation. I can’t really leave my laptop at home. Unfortunately, not at this point.

So I know how that is. And so I would like to ask you now just the kind of a final fun fact question this market audience can get to know you just a little bit better. What is one fun fact that you can tell us about so you think we’d be interested to hear?

At the tender age of thirty four, I packed all of my stuff into a ten by ten storage shed and traveled the world for two years while running my business and knocking items off of my bucket list. I flew a plane. I went cage diving with sharks in South Africa and some time in mid-June, Columbia got up to all kinds of great stuff that’s all covered on the vacationing podcast on Spotify, iTunes or anywhere you catch your favorite tracks.

It’s been a fun adventure. It’s still going strong. We’ve been traveling a lot less with covid. Obviously, it’s been more staycation ing than vacationing and traveling the world. Okay, great.

Well, that’s awesome. Well, thank you for sharing that. And I’m definitely going to go over there and check out some of the episodes of your podcast to follow up on some of your adventures. And yeah, I think, like you said, packing yourself, packing all your stuff in a cymbidiums storage shed and then kind of hitting the road for two years is just a testament to the fact that, you know, we can all do anything we want.

It’s just a matter of kind of sitting out there and just doing it so we kind of know restrictions other than what we put on ourselves. So kudos to you for that. And I like to also thank you again for joining us today on the Commerce Marketing podcast. And lastly, if our audience wants to get in touch with you and pick your brain any more about SEO or anything under the kind of digital marketing category, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?

I would like to invite all of your fellow listeners. We take a broad approach to the sister and sisters in Seattle to come join our Facebook group. It’s a really cool, fun environment where women in the industry share their expertise. You can ask questions. You got a squad of sisters who were totally willing to walk you through your journey and everyone can come check us out at the content factory. Content dot com. I will hit you with all kinds of links to guides and tutorials that should be in the show notes.

And if you have any questions, it’s at. On every social media channel, so you can hit us up on Twitter or Facebook instead anywhere at content. OK, great.

Well, thank you for sharing that, Kari. I appreciate that. And definitely encourage all of our listeners to hit you up on those on those different channels. And thank you again for joining us today on the E Commerce Marketing podcast. Thank you so much for having me.

Thank you for listening to the E Commerce Marketing podcast. 

Podcast Guest Info

Kari DePhillips
CEO of The Content Factory