Sugar Rae keeps it real (and relevant) at SearchHOU meetup
Do you live in a world of unicorns and rainbows? Rae Hoffman (aka SugarRae) came out with all guns blazing and poked holes through the theory of “If you just follow Google’s rules, then everything will be right with the world.”
Google is not your benevolent leader; they’re closer to Skynet. And Rae was Sarah Connor. The room was giddy as the audience quickly realized this was not going to be your average Internet marketing presentation.
From Jersey to Texas
So let’s back up. Who is Rae Hoffman? In a sentence: A Jersey girl in Texas.
If you read up on her life, you’ll see she’s had some hard learned lessons that made her as tough as any Terminator endoskeleton, but also compassionate enough to lend a helping hand to anyone around her. I’m seeing the Jersey to Texas connection here.
Rae is not a new kid on the block. In fact, Rand Fishkin of Moz described her as “one of the search industry’s brightest minds. [She is] a force with which to be reckoned.” I’m just thankful I live in Houston and get regular access to her and other bright minds in the SearchHOU community.
Rae began discussing some search engine history of how Google made links the currency of the web in the early 2000s. Of course, all sorts of link schemes emerged over time. There was link trading, triangular links, one-way links, etc… But those link strategies games would not work forever.
Profit vs ego
As we dug into links, we switched over to what they point to and what is considered actual content. Content was broken down into two big categories: The kind you want to write, that will get you tweets, likes and accolades, known as “the ego articles”.
Then there is the type that will make you money, which you can measure and improve, known as “the profit articles”. Sure, content for the ego can help build a brand. It can help build fans, but it’s hard to quantify and measure for your clients. At the end of the day, content marketing is really about one thing: getting links on relevant sites.
By the way, if you expected a politically correct presentation, you were in the wrong room. In a New York New Jersey minute we segued into a comparison between content marketing as escorts and link building as hookers. Were you expecting something different?
Is my content marketing working?
That’s the million dollar question: Is. My. Content. Marketing. Working?
Rae says to look for “the bump”. The bump will come if you write an article that matches your target market. The bump will come if your link building efforts matches your article. The bump will come after tweets, pins, likes, etc… have all faded away. The bump in traffic is your legacy.
Look for the following:
- Increased Sales
- Increased Conversion Rates
- Increased Brand Searches
- Increased Average Order Value
- Increased List Sign-ups
- Increased Traffic from Search
- Reduced Bounce Rate
How does Rae bring the hammer down? Through an arsenal of paid SEO tools to make sure she has all the ammo she needs to deliver for her clients. Tools like:
- Raven Tools
- SEM Rush
If you’re new to the world of SEO, there’s no question you’ll need to be familiar with mainstream SEO tools. Nowadays, you have to pay for some of these tools which can rack up an expensive monthly bill. If you’re sticking to a tight budget, Rae suggests segmenting your time per tool. For instance, one month might be dedicated to keyword research. The next month could be focused purely on link building month, etc. Divvying up which tool you focus on at a time can help you reduce costs over the long haul.
Keyword research tips
So how do we know what keywords to look for? Rae likes high traffic keywords with a high CPC that sites can rank for. This helps her craft budgets to determine if a project is a “go” or “no go”.
Here is an example:
Let’s say a site has 10 keyword phrases. Those phrases each are valued at $1.
If those phrases bring in a collective 5,000 visitors. Then, that traffic is worth $5,000. If you can confidently produce a content marketing project for less than $5,000 (with a safety factor of course) then that project is worth pursuing.
Another nugget of information: certain keywords are more popular as videos than text. Certain keywords do better as an answer box, or in schema, etc. Learning that certain visitors prefer to visually see keywords displayed was insightful. Props to Rae for sharing that one.
Last woman standing
Rae quickly covered a ton of information, kept pace at 120 words per minute, and only paused for an occasional sip of water. What was really cool was how she just hung out and talked to everyone after the meeting. I don’t think anyone left with a question unanswered. In fact, I was one of the last people to leave.
Outside in the parking lot there was Rae and some folks from her company Pushfire. I was chatting with her partner Sean Dolan, and in the background was Rae sharing more knowledge bombs. A no-nonsense Jersey girl with a heart as big as Texas, Rae was truly the last woman standing.
Image Source: @_seandolan, permission granted to DFWSEM.