Welcome to the eCommerce Marketing Podcast everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson and today we have a very special guest Liam Martin who is the co-founder and CMO of TimeDoctor.com and Staff.com. After working with remote employees for over 10 years, Liam works on furthering outsourcing and is passionate about how to gain insights into the inner workings of how people work.

Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for having me Arlen. Yeah, not a problem. Yeah, you know before we get into the topic of the day, which is using remote teams to assist eCommerce businesses with SEO development. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and how you got into what it is you’re doing today.

Sure. I’m a human being on planet Earth 35 years old. I’ve been co-founder and well, basically we working at two different businesses that I co-founded with my business partner Rob time doctor and those tools are built to be able to manage remote teams better. And also I just recently about a week ago got back from Bali in Indonesia.

Where. Ran the largest conference on remote work ever called Running remote. We had 260 companies coming from 43 different countries all over the world zipping into Bali to be able to learn how to build serious remote teams. And other than that, I just had two coffees and I’m ready to roll. Okay, sounds good.

So you’re all fueled up. That’s great. All right. So, you know the topic of today is is something that. Is um pretty pretty dear to me here at Omni star fully software. We remote employees for for a long time and we understand the benefit to using remote employees, but with respects to Ecommerce businesses, which are you know, the primary listeners out there people that are either e-commerce business owners or people that are dealing with marketing for e-commerce businesses, you know, the main thing that.

These businesses are always struggling with is marketing and SEO and how do you accomplish it? You know, that’s just so much to do and so, you know, you are of course an expert in the field of a remote team building. Why would you recommend building a remote team to improve your website SEO as opposed to you know, trying to do that type of stuff in house and and locally I would say outside of the economic advantages which.

Obvious when you’re able to hire people just anywhere on planet Earth, you’re going to have higher quality talent for lower cost. But second Earley the employees are actually a lot happier. So there’s plenty of data to back this up. There’s quite a few studies that have been done large scale and small scale and on average employees or about 25 percent happier.

Then their on-premise counterparts and they’re also much more effective in their work and they’re also a lot faster sort of higher than their on-premise counterparts. So it allows you to really kind of expand and contract your labor force much more effectively than if everyone was in one place the same time.

Yeah, that’s that’s definitely true, you know, as far as. These employees that you have access to one of the things that I know Rings true is you mentioned a lot easier and quicker to hire, you know, as opposed to just a standard employee. Like what would be the typical process as far as you know, I’m an e-commerce business.

I know I need to improve my SEO and do a lot of things with my site with respect to Google and you know that kind of the whole nine, but I’ve never really dealt with employees would I begin? Sure, so I can actually use a case study which is aqua mermaid. My girlfriend’s uh business. Okay, and she sells mermaid tails.

Okay, so she has she has two things. She has the largest chain of mermaid schools in the world. She has about 15 different locations. And basically she puts on you have these tails you put them on and then she teaches you how to swim around in a pool. Okay, like a mermaid and. I kind of didn’t think that it was a very successful.

Well, I didn’t think that there was going to be that much to that business when she first started but it’s been incredibly successful. Okay, and she used the exact methods that you know that we use at time doctor and staff to be able to build out her SEO strategy. So primarily what she and Essence did is we hired an SEO manager and then we hired one Linker to be able to work together on.

Problem and basically, we we set up on Shopify which you know Shopify is not the best tool for SEO and I got it. I’m gonna kind of shit talk Shopify a little bit but it’s fantastic like they’re right across the street actually here in in Ottowa Canada, which is where where I’m currently at. We have a small office here.

So they’ve been mentors of us for four years, so they have. Pasok platform but there are some genuine drawbacks when it comes to SEO and just basically organic search. Um, their blog is their blogging platform is not exactly the best but they’re absolutely fantastic when it comes to just Ecommerce checkout flow through they’re absolutely amazing at that and they’re very easy to get up and running in to get a fantastic looking website in a very short amount of time.

So we set up on Shopify. We got our. Manager for and we got a Linker and basic. Yeah, I yeah lost like 20 seconds. You just dropped out totally. All right. What do you want me to start off? Uh, yeah, you mentioned at the point where you talked about you got SEO manager or link Builder and a army SEO link manager and then the actual Linker that’s like s where you left off?

Okay. I lost it. All right. I’ll just I’ll just start from that point. So we got ourselves a SEO manager and one link. And we actually only focused on one major keyword which was the keyword mermaid tails. So that gets about 50,000 57,000 searches per month and I believe she’s around for that particular keyword right now in the United States and um.

What we in essence did is we started reaching out to a whole bunch of people that were that had linked to stuff connected to mermaid tails in the past that was about four to five thousand people and we would write very customized coffee to all of those people saying hey, we would love to be able to chat with you about mermaids mermaids school and we would actually give them an offer.

Which was would you like to have a free class? At the aqua mermaid mermaid school and that was generally I mean I get you probably get this to Ireland because I take a look at your site. You’ve got a pretty Heidi are OSI affiliate. I get a couple dozen requests per I would probably say almost per day to be honest with you at this point.

Yeah people that are just like. Yeah, the standard bullshit one is high insert name. I really like your content on insert website, right? It was fantastic. I particularly liked it. Like you were content on insert subtopic that I would like to be able to be linked to right right. I know those, you know only to its content.

Yeah, if you like this content, then you would really it would really be great. If you could link to my piece of content, would you like to. Would you like me to send it over to you? Right? And those are those work those actually still work which is funny. So they work on like I’m going to use a terminology Dr.

Which is domain rank use a href for all of our SEO and Dr. Is basically their version of domain Authority. And so we I would say Dr. 40s and below this works really well. And above Dr. 40s, it generally doesn’t work out super well, so for above that you need to come up with either some really clear copy that very clearly demonstrates that you’re not one of those cookie cutter people or two.

You need to actually give something really great before you actually get something. So a lot of the times what we’ll do is we’ll actually say. Hey OSI affiliate. We just wrote an article on the top 10 affiliate programs in you know, in the world top 10 affiliate program software packages in the world and we included you as the as the first one on the list and we would love it if we could talk about how we could collaborate because there are a couple of articles that you have on your website that we would love to be included in as well.

Right, right, but I started that email. Saying I just gave you a Dr. 78 link and for SEO that’s like oh sweet. Okay, you are absolutely, you know way above everybody that’s just sending you the same cookie cutter craft every day saying, hey, please link to me, but don’t give me anything in return.

I got to tell you too straight up if you’re a small website. I am not going to link to your website. If you just send me a standard message saying hey link to my stuff, right? However, and you say something like I would love for you. I I really want to get the word out about time doctor. I love the product.

We use the product and here are some things that I’d love to be able to work with you on and I’d love it. If you could also work with me on some of these other things and you need to actually. Do some of those things. I just wrote a blog post about you. Here’s the blog post about you know, the top 5 time tracking tools for remote teams.

And I made you the first one that’s something that really gets my attention and I’ll probably link back to you because you just basically helped us out. Right and that’s something that a lot of these guys don’t underst back to Aqua mermaid. We would just say hey, we would like to give you a free mermaid class the kind of cheat code that we had inside.

Was we’ve only got about five or six cities in the United States. So we’ve got pretty much everywhere in Canada. But only about five or six cities in the United States and sometimes we would send out a message to someone in La as an example. Like we got a link from BuzzFeed about six months ago.

And we said and the said hey, you know, would you like a free class and then they came back saying hey, well, you know actually have a location in Los Angeles and we actually knew that. But and it was just a way to open up the conversation. So primarily from that first email that you send out you want to just get a response.

That’s most important thing that you could possibly do just get a response. Right? We said hey, you know, we know you don’t have a look you don’t have a location here. But do you have anybody in the city? And they actually had someone in Chicago. Okay location. So we said okay. Why don’t you bring your video crew out to Chicago you can do one and it was for the buzzfeed’s woman’s kind of YouTube channel and they link to the you know, they gave us a buzzfeed backlink and that was like a 90 so it was a fantastic link for us and just kind of give you context for Dr.

It’s almost on an exponential scale. So it’s twice as hard. To get a Dr. 90 as it is a dra and then it’s twice as hard to get a dra T then MDR 70 so it goes down in that kind of exponential in those exponential jumps, right? So with a Dr. 90 website, you really have to invest seven to eight email exchanges.

You’re going to have to invest in a phone call, but those actually produce bigger returns for you as a business, right so I could you know, if I could get 100 dr9. Links versus a thousand Dr. 20s, I go for 100 Dr. It’s actually make a much more much more sense for you. And at the end of the day basically the same rules that SEO have for it.

Basically, it’s the same rules as PR right? Did he have to directly Market to your customer? Yeah, for sure. Yeah, and I think the key thing in both of those scenarios that you mentioned are. Okay for one, you know you your. Really established business. You have a decent the and then you’re approaching these other businesses on the Outreach.

You know, you have a little leverage there and then you said, of course you’re mentioning what you’re going to be doing for them mentioning that you can give them a link on your site. It’s a Dr. You’ve listed them in this post where you’re going to list their company first. So immediately you’re telling them what you’re going to do for them.

And then the second scenario is, you know, if you’re a smaller business, you know, you’re just kind of getting out there, you know you. Compete to some of these other larger guys, but you know, you can do something for them. So you are immediately saying I’m going to do this for you. I’m going to write this blog post.

I’m going to feature you here. And I think that’s the key thing there is because you know these days everybody is so busy. If you’ve got to catch them in that first sentence really about you know, rather than asking them for something telling them immediately what you’re doing for them. And I think if you can hook them there like you said, that’s why that first email exchange.

Is the most important thing now one of the things I say I want to go back to real quick is when you creating this team, you mentioned two distinct different types of workers. One being the SEO link manager and then one just the actual link Builder. Um, how would somebody try to find like, what would what type of background with type of person need to be able to be lets say SEO manager?

So if I’m trying to hire a person to manage this Outreach to be the link manager would I look for sure. I think you’re probably looking for someone. Who just has General managerial skills and then also has a background in SEO. Okay, so I would not hire anybody that has no background in SEO. They would have to understand what DRS so maybe in a job interview.

I would say, can you define what DRS? Can you define? What you are is can you tell me how you would get a backlink from this website? What would be your approach those types of questions? And then the extra Edition that I would have for link managers is the ability. To be able to manage those people effectively.

So understanding very clear kpis, and then basically getting those kpis presented because in essence that’s their team that is you know, that’s producing a particular result. So we use something called we came up with this terminology cumulative Dr. Okay. So if you get a backlink from a D20 website and then you get a backlink from a drad website your cumulative Dr.

Is 100 points. So every month we actually have all of our linkers and then they submit their numbers in we find out what their cumulative Dr. Is for each Linker and then we give them out a bonus. Oh, I see the person that gets first place and that’s a really great way for us to be able to allow people to focus not only on really high end.

So it’s going to take you much longer to get a dra T. Yeah than its going to do to get a Dr. But you will get rewarded for that because you’re actually getting 80 points versus 20 points. Yeah, that makes sense. And that actually I’m glad you mentioned that because that actually kind of brings me to my next question and what I was thinking about, you know, once you have these remote people on board the SEO manager the link Builder, they’re doing their thing.

They’re doing their Outreach what you know, really should be the initial goals. I know what you guys said you kind of do. Accumulative Dr. Which is pretty cool because I had never really heard about doing it like that. It would it be would it make sense to set like specific goals for these guys as far as you know in a month time period, you know, you need to you need to get this many links or looking at it from a business standpoint.

What’s like a realistic goal? If you’re just bringing on these two people? Yeah, what would you think it’s very difficult to be able to define a very. A goal that’s fair for a link Builder Okay, because the link manager is also going to have to look at on-page and off-page SEO. So on page SEO is just the way that you optimize your content.

So which keywords are you choosing? Do you think you can actually rank for those keywords? Are you optimizing your content for that particular keyword that’s all on page and then link building is basically the off page component. So a Linker. Can really only control off-page right? So if you have a really crappy on page SEO and you and your guys are doing a ton of Link building, but it’s not getting any results.

Well, that’s not their fault. On page person’s fault. So what you need to do is we’ve focused on cumulative Dr. As the best measurement because they really can’t control whether something gets ranked. They can only control whether something gets linked to care not in control of whether or not the on-page person has done a horrible job whether the person that wrote the blog post, you know, it’s a horrible piece of content that people just don’t want to read like it’s it’s very and those all of those things help.

Obviously, so if you have if your content is really good, then people will link to it more right so actually it’s also kind of on the other side. It’s not necessarily the perfect measure because sometimes your content team that are writing the content are producing really good stuff and you’re linking team is really not doing a great job.

But because your content is so good. It gets linked to more often, right? Perfect measure, but that’s the one that we use. Yeah, that really makes sense because you like you said you really have to separate the two, you know, your linkers could be getting all of these links but you know, you don’t see a rankings go up because like you said your on-page content and your on-page SEO just could suck and it’s not it’s not it’s not the linkers fall so you can’t hold them accountable for you know, not seeing an improvement in your ranking.

So yeah that really totally makes sense. So you have to kind of split up the to now. Also have a very specific measurement for the content team as well. So like basically time on site is the biggest so we say we used to say minimum three thousand words blog post. And now we’ve actually upped it to 4000.

Really. Okay. Wow, these are for all of the internal blog posts that you guys do across your site. Yeah. So if we’re writing a blog post, it’s got to be four thousand words. Okay, and then on that we measure time on site. Okay. So each basically content writer gets. The measure of how much time people spend on those pieces of content and we give them a cumulative score.

So we give them a score basically all of your content that you’ve ever written. What’s the average time on site? And then we also have another measure which is what is the last three pieces of content average time on site. Okay, so it shows whether or not people are improving and you always want that number to go up because the longer that someone spends on your website.

Google measures that you have Gmail, you know, if you use Google apps or use Gmail, they’re measuring or Chrome are measuring how long you spend on every single page that you interacted with on Chrome. I know that kind of sounds creepy, but that’s what they do. Right, so they are measuring that and then they’re coming back saying it’s just to mention measures time on site and then bounce rate Okay, so.

If someone comes to your website someone Google’s something like affiliate software. They click on OSI affiliate and they’re on there for three seconds. And then they jump back to the search the serps search engine results page, right? That’s really bad for your website because that Searcher didn’t find what they were looking for.

So then Google basically recognizes that and says, oh, well, I’m going to actually rank you lower that’s a negative cross against you so we try to make sure that. Basically that’s entirely in control of the content team a little bit is connected to the copy that people will uh that you’ll write in your meta title in your meta description because people, you know, sometimes we’ll just have a really good piece of content.

That’s really clicky. Now from a content from a meta title and meta description perspective that everyone will just click on but generally your content team is really going to control time on site and that’s what we measure gotcha. Now, you mentioned that you guys have just kind of up your posts word count to 4 thousand words.

Is the reason for that too? I mean really just to get his okay, that’s to improve time on site. You want more more content. So people are going to be on they’re digesting that material. That’s that’s the main goal for that. Yeah, generally the longer your blog posts the more the longer someone spends on your blog, right?

And that doesn’t necessarily correlate to whether or not the post is better or not. But that’s how Google defines it. So just do. Actly what Google tells you definition of good. There is no definition by like it’s very particularly in dealing in our business time doctor. We were always trying to focus on productivity one makes employees more productive and you could bring in 10 companies and they would each have ten different definitions of what productive means write them.

So we just kind of say yes, maybe 4,000 words isn’t necessarily like I would love. Actually a 1000 word posts that super clear and to the point and effective. However, Google doesn’t reward you for that type of content. They reward you for a very long winded posts, which is somewhat unfortunate. We actually try to do both which is information.

Rich and very long. Yeah, that makes sense. As you do have to have some posts. Like you said that you know, you just got to get some quick points out there that are easy to digest but you know, like you said, you know, we all have to unfortunately. Bow down to to Google and you know do whatever we can to, you know, make sure our sites rank.

Well, so it’s you got to have to you don’t have to do both now. I know one thing that you know, some business owners may be thinking and part of this could be covered by the SEO manager, but you know Ecommerce business owners are definitely always busy, you know, they’re doing a million things.

They’re managing employees or managing the products and you know the whole nine so. As far as on a day-to-day basis, how do you effectively manage these remote teams without you know being consumed in the day-to-day management without having to constantly look over them and you know daily, you know looking over the shoulders.

Is there any words of wisdom you can relate based on that sure, so. We use kind of three major measures we have the manager. Okay, who is directly responsible for the kpi? So only the manager is a direct report to me all of the linkers and researchers and content team are not. Okay. So the link manager basically provides me a direct report saying here are the.

That the team is you know providing to me and that’s pretty much as far as it goes with me. I will cut a check in we just did our big team Retreat where we flew everyone in for our company Retreat a couple weeks ago. Okay, and I will interact with people at that point but outside of that it’s really not there.

They don’t work for me they work for him and then he works for me. Okay, they’ll have a over what they do with their own team. Yeah. Liam you actually broke up. I lost you for like 10 seconds when you talked about the person that works for you. And then I kind of you dropped out. Okay. Let me just go back to the person that works for me.

So the person that basically works for me that directly reports to me. Is the person that I interact with and then the employees that that person manages they’re not they don’t work for me. They work for him. Ok guys, so that allows me to just very clearly managed just that person’s results and that person that reports to me.

The SEO manager is responsible for all of those numbers. So I give that person a Target and if they can’t hit that Target. Then I say well why haven’t you hit that Target is an issue of resources to you, you know, what’s going on with your team. How can we optimize that team and make them as successful as humanly possible and when you give someone that type of Freedom, they really generally step up to the plate and they’ll surprise you about 95% of the time which is fantastic.

If you’re micromanaging them then they don’t feel like they have ownership from that perspective. I think for me it’s just. Going from the micromanagement to the empowerment kind of side of the table. It’s something that is just been huge. Yeah. I mean it’s a big it makes a big difference on I understand totally and I think the key here as far as making sure you don’t have to constantly watch over people is making sure you’ve hired the you know, the best SEO manager the link manager or somebody that.

You know Rose gonna do a good job overseeing the linkers and um, it’s going to be effective in communicating the results back to you and it’s going to be responsive with that. I think those are going to be the you know, really the main things now for a business that’s you know, let’s say looking to do this looking to use this room or team to improve the SEO from day one.

What’s a I guess you could say a quick win. That any Commerce business could obtain by forming a remote team. What’s I guess I guess you could say a quantifiable quick win that they could easily see sure if they’re already an existing website. So they’ve already got some links going to them. I would probably say doing an on-page site audit is one of the fastest ways to get those quick wins in right away.

Okay, so I would go through all of your pieces of content and figure out which ones are getting traffic. So like as an example of go back to the aqua mermaid example, she’s ranked. Eighth for the keyword mermaid tails, which is 57 thousand searches per month and we went through and analyzed how much content she had on that web page what type of content she had at that web on that webpage whether it was engaging or not.

And then we change the on page components connected to that and we immediately saw a boost in rankings without doing any more link building. So a lot of the time what you can do is just actually optimize your content. Okay, so put and just generally authorizing your content means putting your target keyword in your title tag.

Okay, putting it in the in the H1 tag at the top of your website and probably putting. That Target keyword within the first sentence or two of your main piece of content. That’s pretty much all you need to do. Okay be able to Mai’s it but a lot of people don’t kind of recognize that if you wanted to go a little bit deeper.

There is something called latent semantic indexing viewers and if you just type in LSI keywords generator, you’ll probably be able to get something like that that pops up and those are keywords that are statistically connected to that main keyword that you want to discuss Okay, so. The analysis keyword mermaid tails would be mermaid school for would be silicone mermaid tails or would be monofin as an example.

So you could use those keywords also in that main piece of content to be able to rank for it. And then basically you just make those changes. You wait four weeks and then you see what the result is. Generally it’s always good. So adding a little bit more content is quite powerful. Another thing that you might want to try which is a little bit more extreme but one that I’ve been convinced of just recently is actually killing pieces of content that don’t do that don’t wreck.

Okay. So if you’ve written an article for I’m just going to choose something interesting here mermaid classes and you don’t rank for mermaid. So you wrote a really big great piece of content for mermaid classes and it didn’t seem to actually hit the mark you can delete that piece of content and you can redirect it towards a page on your website permanent redirect 301 permanent redirect to something that does actually get traffic and the piece that you’ll redirect to usually ends up actually doing much better.

So that’s something that you can do because if you’ve got like 100 pieces of. And none of them Rank and then you will whittled it down to 10 pieces of content that all ranks top three. You’re actually probably going to get more traffic overall. Okay. Wow. Yeah, that’s that’s counterintuitive. But it is that is this is something I never thought about it.

So kind of the bottom line there is you really, you know, even maybe even before even thinking about reaching out there. You really need to look at what you have. You know, if you’ve got a decent blog you’ve written some really good content you you you really should start at that audit. See what you can improve and like you said there’s certain things that you probably can can kill off that are really not doing you any any justice.

So that’s that’s some great advice. You provided a whole wealth of information. I’m leaving. We appreciate you being on the podcast one of the things that I’ve recently done. I’d like to always find a little bit more about our guest is just a quick fun question. What’s one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you.

I used to be a competitive ice dancer really wow internationally for. Stands for Canada. Okay. Okay, I would not have guessed that. That’s awesome. Yeah. So how long were you do? Is that something you still do or how long were you know? Okay. I’ve been put on a pair of skates. I mean maybe I put on a pair of skates once a year, okay, but I haven’t done it competitively for.

15 years. I broke my knee cap. Wow national championships. Okay Canadian national championships and that was kind of the end of my career. Unfortunately, that’s unfortunate. That sounds painful. Um, yeah, I’ve had the issues very much wise. Oh, yeah. That’s that’s a sport that takes an incredible amount of agility.

And uh strength core strength, especially I could imagine you had uh, you know, a quite a bit of a core routine workout routine when you’re doing that. Absolutely. Okay? Great Liam. Well, yeah, like I said, thanks again for being here on the e-commerce marketing podcast. If any of our guests our listeners, excuse me, if any of our listeners out there, I want to get in touch with you.

What’s the best way for them to do it? You know what I feel like Instagram Instagram is just like I’ve recently been very interested in Instagram for anyone that’s kind of looking at. Ecommerce and I might be a little bit late to the party but the data shows that Instagram is just absolutely killing.

It gets a bigger place than Facebook right now and I’m very interested in it. So just find me on Instagram and message me there. Okay, because I’d really love to be and I’m gonna engage with everybody that is on that wants to engage with me on Instagram. I’m basically I’ve got filters everywhere else except for their because I’m so interested in that platform and trying to learn it.

Okay, great. That’s that’s. Awesome. Okay, Liam get starting to definitely be sure to reach out to you on Instagram and thanks again for being with us here on the e-commerce marketing podcast. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. You need to get more feedback and reviews from your customers and improve your customer retention.

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Podcast Guest Info

Liam Martin

Co-Founder, TimeDoctor.com