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Full Transcript

 

Sari
Welcome to your Food Business Success. This podcast is for early stage entrepreneurs in the packaged food industry ready to finally turn that delicious idea into reality. I'm your host Sari Kimbell, I have guided hundreds of food brand founders to success as an industry expert and business coach, and it's got to be fun. In this podcast, I share with you mindset tools to become a true entrepreneur and run your business like a boss, interviews with industry experts to help you understand the business you are actually in, and food founder journey so you can learn what worked and didn't work, and not feel so alone in your own journey. Now let's jump in!

Sari
Welcome everybody to the podcast, really excited you guys are here! This is a topic that you all are drooling about, you want more of! Today we are talking about SEO and to help us with this conversation, I have brought in an amazing guest. Welcome Chuck Aikens who's joining us today.

Chuck
Thank you for having me, excited to dive into this.

Sari
It's so fun to talk about this. And you are the founder of Tymoo. And actually, I'm going to let you just give a little bit of your background and I was like, oh, my gosh, we have to have you on the podcast, because you're not just like, I'm just a SEO robot. You bring so much more to the table. So tell us a little bit about your background.

Chuck
Yeah, so I was doing SEO before it even had that moniker. I don't want to date myself. But I was doing it as Google came out and became the number one search engine. But recently in life, I had an agency in Denver, Colorado, and the agency focused on SEO and content and social media. And I had that agency up until about two years ago, I sold it to a partner, and I'm now doing my own thing, under Tymoo, which is, it's a really big company, it's me. I know, I know. But there's a whole lot of different things that I have going on. And one of the things that we're going to dive in today is only SEO, but I have been working on a content marketing process that helps with your SEO that is integrated with Gen AI and really helps brands make high quality content for their SEO. So that's where we're going to get to and the brand that I have, it's called Tidal Wave Content. So the idea is that you're going to make a wave of content that takes you to the top of the search engines. We're seasoned tools and templates, and we're going to talk you through it as we go through this in the next step 30 to 40 minutes.

Sari
Just so everyone's aware. Number one, we are recording this as a video. So if you're listening to us on podcast platform, you can also check out the videos, if you want to see our beautiful happy faces and have this conversation on video, you can do that. And I also want to let people know that we're going to have a pretty high level conversation here. And I love that all the things that you're doing and the way you, everybody needs to do this in their SEO, and we're going to have a great conversation today. But we are taking you into Fuel and you'll be our July Fuel VIP Expert. And so members in my program we'll get to, we're going to dive in even more. So it's kind of the top part of the wave. And then we're going to go deeper inside Fuel. So really appreciate you giving us so much of your valuable time. All right, we're going to start with the real basics. What the heck is SEO? Who needs it? Why does everybody think it's so important? Because this is one of the number one things I get in Fuel is like, how do I make my SEO better? What is it? Why do we need it?

Chuck
And if if we had that, I don't know if it's a dime quarter dollar, whatever it is, for every time we got to ask that. I would have retired already. It's not only a question everyone asks, but it's a question that I steer away from a little bit because what happens just like we all self diagnose when we're sick. Everyone is either told or thinks they got to have SEO. And it's not that you need SEO, you actually need something else. And what you're looking for is you're looking for more customers and you know that those customers go to search to solve problems. And you know that your company or brand or service solves that problem. And you want to show up at the top of the search results. Therefore, you think you need SEO, because SEO has the promise of putting you at the top of Google when someone's looking to solve the problem. So that may sound rudimentary, but it actually starts the conversation about how to go about SEO for Google, and I'm going to use Google. When I started in the business, there were 50 different search engines. Google obviously became the Chat GPT that Burb writing on a Google it. But really, when someone goes to search, and they do still sometimes go to Bing, they might go to Yahoo. The brave browser has a search engine, just search in general is the concept of maybe someone goes to YouTube. But the concept of searches, I have a problem, and I'm going to go look for a solution and SEO tries to put you in as an answer. But even for Google, they have 10 things that are their core principles. And number one is focus on the user. And everything follows. So for me, SEO starts not with changing a page title, or writing a blog post, what I talk to people about is it starts with your target audience, your persona, and the problems that they have, the benefits that you can deliver to them, your value props like it. We actually have to start at this level to have an SEO conversation, because then we can figure out what might that persona be searching for? And how could you answer their query and that creates, it's a real lose, but that creates a connection, which could lead to a customer, it could lead to someone of interest. So really, SEO is trying to figure out how to connect your brand with the user's search. And that's what people need to understand. It's about your website, it is about the algorithms, it is about backlinks but really SEO is understanding your potential customer and then delivering an answer to them that is on brand. And that is our starting point. That's the foundation for SEO for me,

Sari
I love so many pieces of that. It's like reinforcing the things that I tell people all the time is you can't just be selling your product to everyone, you need a target customer, you need a persona, that identity. And in fact, we want to niche down maybe sometimes more than we're comfortable with. It's okay that your grandma or your brother likes the product, but is it for them? And in fact, sometimes we want to turn people away, it's to get that niche down so that some people are saying no, that's not for me, so that you can turn on the people who it is for them. And so I love that you're not, because I think when we think of SEO, we just think like all the tactics, the backlinks and blogs, and you know, the keywords, and we're kind of going about it the wrong way is what I'm hearing and we actually need to start with, who's our customer and what problem are they trying to solve? And then everything gets filtered through that.

Chuck
Oh absolutely. And the things you mentioned, you know, and I said on page titles, copy optimization, backlinks, you know, managing your 404, interlinking, these are all important in you can do them. And there's tools that will help you and like we could probably look at someone's website, maybe we'll do this when we're together and in 15 minutes, we can find 10 things that are wrong. But just because you fix those doesn't mean that the strategy is right, that the keywords you've selected are right, that you've identified your niche, and you're delivering something of value to a potential customer. So many websites, they are a brand, they have their product catalog, their SQS and then they might even have a merchandise into collections. Okay, that's interesting. I'm glad you have the product and that you put it you know, and usually there's About and there's a Homepage and you know, there's some links to social media, but like that's not an SEO strategy that's going to do what we're talking about. And I can work with someone to optimize or catalog and build great product detail pages, you know, think about how to add some paragraphs to the beginning and end of your collection pages. That's okay, that's not bad. And that's a good start if that's all you're going to do, but if you really want to have visibility in search, you have to go back to that, who is my target audience? What do they care about? What are they going to search for? And how do I get that visibility? There's actually a framework that you can think about to develop that out. And then there's a way to then without becoming, you know, a copywriter as your full time job. There is a way to go about producing. It isn't as hard as you think even if you're not a great writer or producer of thoughts, even though today's AI is the dumbest AI that we will ever experience, it'll make it smarter and smarter, right? There's so many tools that you can use in search and with Generative AI to help you understand your persona, think up ideas, and even research, you know, and generate some copy that you can work with. So you're not staring at a blank piece of paper.

Sari
So we're going to get into that framework. And I'm excited to do that. But first, I want to ask you, you know, I work with a lot of small brands just getting started, let's say my niche is, let's get you to 300k. So, we're talking to people who are 300k, all the way from just an idea of 300k. Maybe still too big of a niche. But in any case that says listening here, is it reasonable to expect that we're going to even show up in a search engine, like somebody Googling, like I want a hot sauce or a granola or something like that. I know people think like, I got to build my SEO so that people just organically naturally find me. But are we crazy?

Chuck
A little. Let's look at it from a different perspective. Google's goal is to show the best search results. So if someone's looking for a hot sauce, a can of tuna, a beef jerky snack, like whatever it might be. Is your brand, I'm going to say worthy of being in the top 10 for that product search? That's tough, and not even top 10. Like when you do a search like that. It's not all product. Now, if you put the word buy or find or shop, and then it's all product, right? You're getting all kinds of things, because Google doesn't know what you're trying to do. So it diversifies the first 10 results. So really, most of the time, there's only three or four products in the top 10. So the chances of ranking a product SKU or product detail page as a startup is going to be very challenging, but that's what everyone tries to do without understanding how Google would decide to put your product there. There's a concept called random authority that says, it's at can of tuna. Google knows that Star Kiss is a big brand. So they're going to rank, that's ranking on brand authority. But you can also rank on topical authority. So if you topically want to be seen as a brand, that should be in the results of Google. You've got to create topical authority. So in that case of using a can of tuna, what are the benefits of tuna after you catch the tuna? What kind of recipes? Good recipe. How would I make this a dish or a Super Bowl game? Whatever it might be like you have to round out, not just the product detail page about the candidates. You got to show Google that you've covered all of these topics for them to put you into the top 10. Because you need to be useful to the person who searches on Google so they keep coming back. The more times that people come back to Google as opposed to Bing or go to social media, the more money Google makes. So they're using our content that we would make as a small brand to put into the top 10. So how use for you on the topic, right? They actually call it helpful content. Their biggest update that Google did, in recent years happened in February of this year, and it was called the helpful content update. How helpful is your content for someone who is searching to buy a can of tuna? That's the answer. That's how you rank and if you can find a niche, or if you can find something that you can be the topical authority on, then you can have visibility in search, but you cannot do it just by SEO in your can of tuna getting some backlinks to it. That's not how this works. You have to be a topical authority on tuna. And that's not a great example, because we can find topical authority in a lot of different ways. And that's why you think about the user, can you find something that they're interested in? Because you got to kind of go behind it and say, why are they even looking for tuna recipe recipes? Do they need to eat more fish? Or you know, what are they trying to do? But even in that case, this is where you really want to niche down in your topical authority as well. So you got two niches going on. And you segment, I call it micro segmenting your target audience persona, be as specific as possible. And you can do the same thing topically and when I'm talking to a brand owner, typically the smaller you are, the more important this is, I start to see what they're interested in and what they can naturally talk about, because there's usually something inside of the essence and DNA of their brand that caused them to do this in the first place that they're interested in, that their target audience is also interested in. Okay, let's find that, like, let's get to know each other a little bit. So we can kind of come up with a strategy, something that you're going to be comfortable talking about, that your audience actually wants to read. Okay, now we have an SEO strategy of how to make you a topical authority so that your product has more visibility in search.

Chuck
That's amazing. That was so helpful. Great, okay. So that helps us understand the basics of it. And maybe it's even a little bit wild to be like, I'm going to rank number one. And you're also competing against sponsored ads and things like that, but we're just talking about organic. So let's talk about that marketing framework a little bit at a high level, and you've alluded to it already in these conversations, but maybe just get a little bit more, you know, as we think about you talked about SEO strategy actually being an extension of your marketing strategy.

Chuck
Absolutely. So I look at it, there's business strategy, and then marketing needs to hit those revenue goals and build the brand and get you in retail. whatever it might be marketing, you got to figure that out. And then you go down, what is the role of SEO and content, and that starts to set up the framework, because when someone goes to solve a problem, you want to have awareness consideration, and, you know, then purchasing and that starts to set up the first framework of what type of content or SEO is informational, you know, the benefits of your product, just like we're talking that the health benefits maybe of tuna, or of protein, or different different things like you have the base informational content, that you kind of need to explain it. Now, what's interesting is even someone didn't find you on search, maybe they found you on social or someone told, you know, they saw you on a shelf, this is still good content for your website. And the more content that you have on your website, the stronger your SEO and authority can become, the more likely somebody will become aware of these things and even start down that consideration. So the first time of SEO and content you want to do is, is this informational content, what do you need? Now, some of this can live it, you always have some about where it goes. Let's say that some of this information, and some of that, that I'm talking about some blog posts, but let's say it's informational about the product. Maybe that goes into FAQs on your product, detail pages, right? So you but you just need to think about in the framework, what is the information that people need? And where do I put it, and there's two real popular places, you can put it in an article or a blog post, depending on if you're in Shopify, or WooCommerce, or whatever. And then you can actually do it inside of your product catalog. Much like you would insert reviews, right? One way or another you can, you simple thing is just to enter, you know, to introduce FAQs, there are short paragraphs at the beginning or end or on a homepage. So the first wave is usually always informational. And we're going to do three different waves. And that was kind of the easiest, it's kind of like table stakes, like you kind of need to do this. So that's number one is just do without all the information on your site. Number two, in this particular case, but it usually does different words in different industries. It's lifestyle. Things like recipes are a good example of this, whether you're an ingredient or a snack, or whatever. How do I actually take your product and use it in the real world? And can I see other people doing that, like there's different ways to do that, but one of the simplest ways, recipes, you can even like you can kind of do that SEO backlink thing too if like you put a recipe on someone else's site, but it includes your, and vice versa, like you know, mostly like little recipe rings if you wanted to get cute trade recipes with different people or have your influencers make recipes and publish them and then you know, like, you can do all kinds of things with just recipes as a lifestyle thing, but lifestyle can also be, I've seen people extended into concepts like best snacks for the soccer team, right? Like how does your product, not information about the product, but how does your product go out there and exist in the real world? That's a second brainstorming wave. That one's a little bit more difficult because you can't just gin up the answers, you can't just create a blog post. Something's happening you know, there's probably some photos like that it's a little more difficult but it actually could be one of the bigger drivers of your inbound search strategy because people are looking for that.We'll kind of come back to that lifestyle piece because this lifestyle and I'm going to say now this lifestyle often can hook into social as well, which the distribution on social media have something like a recipe or best snacks for a soccer team. It does send signals to Google that people are consuming your content. So it's a good connector. The third one's the hardest, but it's really, really important. And it's usually something very specific to the brand. Some people would call it Thought Leadership. How do you activate and connect with your audience, this often becomes the why that somebody buy from a particular brand, usually get that through interviews, testimonials. I get it by talking with you and extracting your knowledge and how you feel. So it's very hard to produce, but it often is why somebody makes the first order or samples the product or tells a friend about it, that that's that type of connecting content is so important. It what truly differentiates you and makes you kind of stand out. And it takes some brainstorming to get there. But there's usually something that can be discovered and used. Sometimes it's very tangential, it's not directly tied to the brand. But you can see it, you know, and you can you can map it backwards. So those are the three types of content informational, and in this case, lifestyle, and then narrative stories that bring kind of the brand to life. Right, you kind of approach because there are different formats and different ways. And you may not even do all three, you may just say, hey, Chuck, I can handle is a little more information. I could do a few recipes. That's kind of cool. And no way am I doing this, but But it's okay. It's the framework and it gets you thinking. And then when you start thinking about these things, you can take the persona, you can take your value props and messaging, you can take your current website content and ideation suddenly flows because you're like, oh, you know, once you get a container and say, okay, what am I building in this wave, we just start kind of rattling through it. And pretty soon you have an editorial calendar of 5, 6, 7, 8 pieces of content. While we're all in we're dropping it all over the website and improving things and putting in the keywords like, wow, we're doing SEO!

Sari
Well, it just kind of starts happening more naturally. But you're not forcing it. This feels very natural, like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. I can handle the product information and the FAQs. Okay. Like it is a layering on process. Okay, I can do that. And let's be really thoughtful about it, and intentional and make sure we're doing it from that place of who our target customer is, really thinking through who they are, and if we're going to use AI to help us having them right from that place. And I was like taking notes, oh my gosh, these are so good. And then I have the lifestyle piece, it makes total sense where you can start layering that on and again, naturally, I would think a lot of the key words you need are going to come out of that, but making sure that they are in there. And then I love what you said, like you could you know, I could see a bunch of members like collaborating with each other that have companion products. And it's like, let's create one recipe that we're all sharing and linking to each other. And we can use, you know, and then share on social and get more reach through, we're always like so one effort, but everybody gets to take advantage of it. And then and then I love that piece around thought leadership. Yeah. So, you know, that could be like you as the brand going on a podcast or contributing to an article or somebody else's, their websites as well and telling your story because it is that why. I mean, I keep telling people you're never going to compete on price in this category. You're doing CPG is never going to compete on price. So why are people going to be willing to spend more money? They want to know about you and your story and why you're doing this and how you're giving back to this agency or this charity or you know how it's changing lives and maybe it's just your own life but you know, they they need to be brought into that story and connect with you a little bit more. So good. And there's like so many questions I want to ask you but we're going to not get too much into this because we're going to talk about it and in the VIP call and I know you're going to help us with some tools to really for people to map this out even more. So then let's shift a little bit to how do we process and create automation and use AI, like AI is here. I did that podcast with Dax Hamman couple months ago on AI and it was like blowing my mind about it. So it's here it's happening how are you harnessing it and what do you recommend so that we can create more waves easily?

Chuck
So what I have found first for myself and then watching what other people do with AI. And I asked everybody that I run into, haven't asked you yet, like, would you use AI for today? In this particular case, what tends to happen is that someone goes to a prompt, and they say, write a blog post, and what you're doing there, and this is why process is important is your starting in the middle. And what we need to do is make sure that we backed up and put a good foundation in place. So when we do the workshop, when I when I, when I started with someone, believe it or not, it's not going to surprise you. The first thing we do is we document the persona. It's the first tool, everyone will do it. I have a persona builder that it takes about 10 minutes, you answer some questions, we'll make your first persona. And you can use it again and again. And again, you need five personas. Great. Now we wouldn't even on a focus group or personas, right? Like it's good, right? Most people need three asked about five, it's getting a little silly, but you know, why don't get you by so it's the process actually starts there. And moves its way forward, by the time that I'm ready to think about producing a piece of content and a content wave, there's a persona, there's a brand promise, there's a voice and tone, there's a quick competitor review, there's keyword research, there's topical ideas that get generated. And then from that, we say, okay, here's three or four ideas that we want to cover. And what happens is in generative AI, now when I go to that prompt and say, write a blog post, I feed it and are able to feed it all of that information. So this is why process is important. If you just sit down on a prompt, and generate something from Chat GPT, Cloud Gemini, whatever you want, it's generic to it sounds like AI and it has no purpose. Someone else could have typed in that question and got the answer themselves. And that will be the utility that takes place. Like I personally use search less and less, because I'm just I'm just prompting AI all the time. So that's why the process is important. And what's good about it in using both automation and AI is that I can I've been able to build workflows so that it's automated, so you can kind of self serve, or I can help people get through it faster. But that's what it does for you too. Once you put his foundation in place. You know, it's kind of like even in the world of creative once you have a brand book and then you've executed a couple of creative things, it gets a lot easier to do this is the equivalent, we got to put your artifacts in place, we got to build this out so that when we go to generate content, it's on brand, we understand your value props, your story, your personas, so that the initial copy that comes out, and it serves a purpose it was meant to do. That's why Process Automation is important. Because what used to take a lot of money, and a lot of time, we can do in one hour. Now. It's C level work. It's intern level work. But gosh, I personally prefer to start with a seven page document than start with a blank screen, right? And I say, look, this is your what I call, this is your base, we're going to build from here, we're going to enrich from here, which is the net part of the process. Because we have to humanize, we have to now work on it. But it sure was nice to start with some information and data on the canvas. And that's why AI is so important. And the process is so important. But people shy away from it. Because they go to the prompt, they see what it produced. They're like, well, this won't work but why should it, right? We need we still have to go through this. But it doesn't have to be elaborate. Like, you know, I haven't put myself to the test. But I would I think I could get somebody to a first blog post in one hour that I hadn't met. And we would have done all that work because of automation process. And it's what I am currently both perfecting and process but also writing into the real simple software platform that I'm putting together a tidal wave content to help people work through this. So they can make personas, they can ideate against that persona, so that they can just start so you know, out of those 10 ideas, 7 of them are crap, and three of them are good. All right, let's roll. That's how this works. Now let's start diving into each of these three topics. Need FAQs? I could probably use in your persona tone and voice and value props. I could probably write FAQs on your product detail page in 15 minutes, that's your base copy. That's the power. Once you put this framework in place, you can write Google Ad headlines, you can do YouTube scripting, you can do all kinds of things, generate AI once you to have your foundational marketing docs in place.

Sari
And you can have different threads where you built in those like here's my customer A and all their information and you can keep prompting it but it has all the backlog and it's just going to get better and better. That example like I was like, how could I you know, explain this if people are like still scratching their head. The example that came to mind was like, imagine I just told AI or Alexa or Google or somebody that was like, hey, write me a grocery shop list and that's all I said, like, I would get a bunch of stuff. But if I was like, I'm going on a camping trip with four adults, and two of them are gluten free, and one of them is vegan, and we're going to have breakfast to dinners and a launch or whatever, right? So you like, really, you get more specific and then you say, write me a shopping list. And you define what your who's, you know, who's going on this trip? And what's the experience you're trying to create? And, you know, and it's going to be a western theme or whatever, right? You build it in. And now you actually have like, a really functional shopping list that you maybe just make a few swaps in and out. Beautiful, right?

 

 

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