620: Gaetano DiNardi Explains How to Skyrocket Organic Traffic in 5 Steps

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Gaetano DiNardi, VP Marketing at Sales Hacker.

A relationship with the right referral partner could be a game changer for any BBB company. So what if you could reverse engineer these relationships at a moment's notice, start a podcast, invite potential referral partners to be guests on your show and grow your referral network faster than ever? Learn more at sweet phish MEDIACOM. You're listening to the B tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here today with Gaytano. Danardi, is the VP of marketing at sales hacker. Guy To know how you doing it. A man, Yo, James, thanks for having me. Brother. Appreciate I am super starch each out with you. Man, we I saw on Linkedin the other day you posted something about how you guys increased the website traffic at salesaccer from thirty six thousand visitors a month, which to me is are it is impressive. But over the course of last year you increased it from thirty six thousand a month to ninety nine thousand a month over the course of I think, eleven months. So you mentioned that you were putting together at k study on an article on how you did it, and so I reached out was like hey, man, like come on the show talk to us about what you guys did to almost x your traffic, your up traffic, over the last year, and you graciously agreed to do it. So so thank you so much for joining us today, man, are really am looking forward to this. I'm James. Thank you. I've been a fan of the BB growth podcast for a while. I listen to it all the time and now here I am sitting on it as a guest. So I definitely appreciate you. Awesome and thanks so so tell our for the you know, maybe a handful of listeners that aren't already familiar with sales hacker. Tell us a little bit about stales hacker before we jump into having you explain what you...

...guys did to get such explosive web traffic growth. Yes, sir, so sales hacker is a media company in the BB text sales space. And we provide world class thought leadership webinars. We do three major sales conferences a year. The Revenue Summit Conference in California, San Francisco that's focused on sales and marking alignment, and that's happening on March first. We also do the sales machine conference in New York City and in the summertime and then we do a international conference in the fall. We're doing sales hacker London for the second year in a row this year, so we're really excited about that. And aside from all the conferences and webinars and thought leadership, we also do online courses, we do sales training and we offer digital partnerships for SASS sales brands that are looking to increase their lead generation, their pipeline generation and thought leader ship top of the funnel awareness for their brand and get that visibility that they need to kind of penetrate the market and achieve their goals. I love it so so, like I mentioned before, you guys went from thirty six thousand visitors a month to ninety nine thousand visitors a month over the course of two thousand and seventeen you've got some pretty intense goals for two thousand and eighteen. But before we get into kind of the nuts and bolts of what you guys did last year, which I think is going to be outlandishly valuable for our listeners, there's a couple things that that I want listeners to understand about the way you guys just blog is set up. One, you know it's a hundred percent user generated, so expand on that a little bit for us. Sure. So the interesting thing about our blog is that we don't have quote unquote content writers internally that publish stuff for us because we want to hit certain topics or we want to target certain keywords or whatever. All the content that you see on salescacer is coming from the community where practitioner led. So we have...

...a mix of quote unquote influencers, I guess you could. You can say that, but the majority of people who contribute to the salesaccer blog are the people who are in the trenches the Daytoday, folks who are in be Tob Sass Tech Sales and marketing rules at these companies and they contribute their experiments, their case studies. They're learnings from daytoday activity in BTB sales and marketing and the challenge there, obviously, is that we can't say, for example, for the month of like February, that we want to target a specific theme because we have to align to the strengths of the writers. So I think that in itself is like a really big challenge to overcome, especially for like some traditional content marketers that are very used to like having a content calendar where they plan things out for like months and months in advance and stuff. Now we don't do that. We're more agile or more flexible or more lean, but we have more diversity, we have more opportunities to serve different audiences in different ways, especially the different personas that we target with our content. So that's kind of what we what we mean when we say that we're user generating. I love it. Okay, and another thing to know before we get into the nuts and bolts of what you guys did to get that kind of increase in your traffic. You guys did very little manual link building aside from brand monitoring and, you know, guess posting for Thought Leadership. Talk to us about your your thought process behind that. Yeah, so a lot of SEO service providers and Seo strategists will kind of try to strike this balance of like new content creation versus building links to try to boost the rankings and therefore increase the traffic that comes to the existing content on any given website. Our...

...approach was this, since we have such a rich reservoir available to us of all this great knowledge from all these amazing practitioners in the community, let's just go the the the high volume approach, but let's maintain quality as well. So we didn't find it a good use of our time to like pick certain articles that we wanted to build massive amounts of links to through, you know, various different link building campaign techniques, and we didn't really set out with our content strategy to build link magnet type of content. All we wanted to do was serve the right and tent to the right audience members and we just really focused on content quality and we were able to attract the natural sort of link acquisition by doing that and we didn't have to, you know, bust our humps by doing all this manual grunt work and outreach and try to secure links. So we invested our time into content creation versus the link building acquisition side of it. The third part that that I want to touch on before we get into the more tactical stuff. The the biggest chunk of your new found organic traffic came from updating or refreshing old posts, which was super interesting to me. Talk to us a little bit, but that and then, and then we're going to jump in definitely. The first thing I did when it took over the content marketing from Sales Acer and early two thousand and seventeen aside from customer research and interviews, was I took a really data driven approach to how I was going to prioritize content opportunities, and what I saw was a lot of content that was ranking on page two of Google, the bottom of page one, that wasn't well optimized and was competing for very difficult terms, but had tons of potential and I knew that all I would have to do is fix those posts with on page optimization best practices, update the keyword...

...targeting a little bit and get some engagement and fresh sort of new traffic to those to those post through means of social media ads and our email list, just to get the engagement up. And that alone was something that was enough to provide incredible results for us without even really that much effort. So yeah, that that was like a huge sort of like revelation for us. As soon as we tried it with a few and saw that the results very fast, it was pretty clear that that's what we needed to do. And you guys obviously have, you know, a bit of an advantage in the size of your email list. How big is your email list currently? Yeah, right now we have grown our list to about Eightyzero and our goal is to double that by this time next year. So yeahs and that an email to to say check out our new updated posts. To eightyzero folks definitely going to help. So so, Guetano, we've got five things that we're going to talk about and these five things are or core things that helped you guys increase website traffic from thirty six thousand a month to ninety nine thousand a month. The first piece of this that we're going to talk about you're actually you're putting together a more more comprehensive guide that. So if you're not already following Guytano on Linkedin or subscribe to this sales hackers email list, make sure to do that so you can get this entire guide when it comes out. But this first piece that we're going to talk about in this interview is customer research. Talk to us about what you what you did here as you were trying to focus on. Okay, how to if we have these audacious growth goals for our website traffic, what do we need to do from a customer research standpoint? Yeah, so, like the first thing I kind of thought of was I have a blank slate here. You know, there was really no content pipeline in the works already when I took it over. It was just like, okay, figure out what to do, and I could have started by doing, you know, any million different things. But if I knew in...

...my heart, based on my experience and and based on like what I know works best for me to be audiences, that you're only going to get the engagement you need if you find out what kind of pains your audience has and you figure out how to answer and resolve those pains through really good quality content. So I basically did interviews, our long interviews with random members of our email list and I put together just questionnaires and try to figure out, like, okay, if you're a VP of sales, what are you struggling with? If you're an account executive, what are you struggling with? If you're a CEO at a mid market company that's trying to move up market, what are you struggling with? And based on that, I was able to figure out like all these different pains and the content ideas started, just like you know, flowing like like a river. After that, and I think even more importantly, I figured out what people didn't like about the content and I was able to put a stop to that, and that was a huge win in itself. So that's kind of how it all started. I love it. So you started with your customer, customer research, and then from from there you guys did and an Seo site audit. What all went into that audit? Oh Man, I think one of the the biggest sort of eye opening fines from that Seo side audit was that the home page was in desperate need of a redesign. We use some some tools that are able to help us basically decipher why wouldn't an audience continue clicking through from the home page to a deeper page into the site? Why would they bounce? What are they confused about? What are they having a hard time finding? And the problem with with the previous home page is that sales hacker was trying to put together...

...a picture of all the things they did and kind of just like cram it together in a way that was a little bit convoluted and it wasn't clear what the unique value proposition was. And we figured this out by using tools like hot jar. You can see where users are moving around a lot with their mouths and they're trying to figure out like where to click, but they're not actually clicking on stuff. You can also see like where the clicks are going with the heat mapping technology that they provide, and there's another great tool called what users do, where you can set up scenarios and have like random users test the home page or whatever page you want on your site to extract like findings from doing that. So the SEO Adit uncovered that the home page needed a redesign, that the site architecture in general needed to be fixed, because the site navigation was very, very confusing and there was a lot of like things that just didn't belong in certain subfolders and stuff. We had to clean all that up. We did this process where we aligned the target keywords that we wanted to go after to the key pages that we wanted to rank for it, and we found a lot of disc connection there. So that aided our content strategy as well. And then I think like kind of the final thing that it helped us just figure out was like there was a lot of lowhanging through opportunities that we could capitalize on early by just prioritizing the things that we're going to have big impact with low effort. And that's kind of where it all started, right there with you, audit. Okay, so that's that's super helpful. This third piece that we're going to talk about, we alluded to it earlier in the interview, but it was it's the challenges of Seo while running a user generated blog. Now, I'd asked You offline. I said, Hey, if you were a vendor, if you were a Beb Tech Company, would you advocate for, you know, doing doing a user generated blog as opposed to having internal folks write it? And and you...

...said, you know, you think you would, but there are clearly some challenges there. So talk to us about what you guys found for the folks listening that are maybe thinking about doing a user generated blog. Yeah, so I think, I think the number one challenge of running a user generated blog is you have to give people a reason to want to like contribute to your site. Like what's in it for them, you know, and I think how Max got this started early with salesacker was he built the business off of doing local meetups and there was a genuine sort of hype and excitement around these local meetups because there was nothing out there like it at the time. So the hype and excitement around the local meetups was easily translatable into online content for the website. So I think that's like then number one challenge. Like what if you're like a SASS vendor and you're a brand new SASS that just came out in your start up and no one knows about you? What are you going to do to get to convince people that like they should invest time in creating content for your site, which not that many people know about? So I think that's like the top challenge and the second biggest challenge with it. You know, considering that, let's just say you do have like a great audience built, or somewhat of an audience built, and you feel that you have relationships in your industry and you can get influential people to write for you. Then the next biggest thing you have to kind of deal with is like coaching the writers and and the contributors through the content production process. is a very difficult things overcome, because a lot of sales riders have a tendency to just kind of give you a brain dumpy style stuff. Yep, and like to really have SEO success, it's ideal you would have seo baked into like the strategy and the planning of the content, but what I have to do at sales accer more often than not is take something that somebody gives me and then rework it to where it's more SEO friendly than it would have been before.

And I think those just alone right there like some really big challenges with getting Seo success when you're running a user generator block this. This fourth piece that we're going to talk about, Guytano, is on page optimization. Talk to us about what you guys did from this standpoint, where also you know it kind of in this section. Well, also talk about longtail key words. It featured snippets. So I'll let you, I'll let you kind of elaborate on that. Basically, like one of the biggest problems I noticed as I was like auditing salesackers older content was the fact that a lot of riders try to get really fancy with like mysterious sort of headlines and what you would what you find a lot when writers try to do this is they don't accurately describe what the content is about and it doesn't it just doesn't work. It flops. Like with SEO. What works best is being concise and clearly describing and telling the user what they will learn, why they should tune in, what's the point and like just cut to the meat and potatoes, like the like big fluffy introduction paragraph stuff with all these theory, let radical things like. It just doesn't really work well with SEO. If you look at hub spots content, all the stuff that they're like crushing and their ranking number one, for they get right to the point. There's maybe a two sentence intro and then you'll see like a head or two tag and then they get right to the meat potatoes. You know, don't make people dig for the for the gold. You know what I'm saying, like just lay it out there for them and and make it easy, easily scannable, and get right to the point. So, like in terms of on page optimization, just structuring the flow of information in a way that people book can very quickly scan, pick out and consume was like the biggest thing above all. Believe it or not, you do you have any kind of standard as far as the length...

...of content? I hear some people saying you got to do two thousand plus words and then and then I look up and it's like, Oh, you do four thousand plus words. Is there any kind of standard that you guys hold your writers to from a Word Count Perspective? No, and I will tell you. I'll tell you why. So let me just step back and kind of pretty face it with saying that generally, longer form content tends to rank better than shorter form content. But correlation is not always causation. It's a famous little line there in the sel world, but it is the case that longer form content just tends to be more comprehensive, it tends to be more thorough, it answers all the different questions that a searcher might have on a given query on a given topic. So, like for a really long tail keyword that's not that difficult to rank for it has low search volume, you may be able to comprehensively answer that query with a five hundred word blog post and it could be the best thing out there because you said it, you said what you needed to say in a very concise manner and you gave the user the answer to what they wanted and they were happy with it and they didn't hit the back button in the browser and go somewhere else. They were done. Boom. Then in other cases you got to go deep, you know, you got to drop a twenty five hundred word bomb. You know, if you want to rank for some of these really beefy head term keywords that are like extremely difficult to rank for and have high competition because, like, I'll give you a good example. One that we were recently experimenting with was the keyword of sales operations. You we wanted to rank on page one for that. We were not ranking at all for it, but we built like a three thousand word long form guide that broke down sales operations in a number of different perspectives. And another trick we started doing recently that really helps us with our with our user engagement and rankings is by adding jump links...

...within post. So if you have like a three thousand word bomb. The last thing you want to do is make it hard for people to find the certain sections within that guy that they want. So we usually put somewhere towards the middle or the beginning of the post a table of contents so that a user can click on a specific section and jump right to that, and that helps a lot with the user engagement and therefore it will help you with Seo if users are happier with your site's content. And then as far as featured snippets, what do you what do you mean when you say that? Right? So this is like the big new buzz thing and Seo, but it actually is making a very big impact in a number of ways. So number one, let me just kind of explain what a featured snipp it is for people that don't know. If you search for something in Google will and you see that little answer box at the very very top and it has like maybe a two to three sentence explanation of what it is you're searching for, with like a little picture next to it. Some sense the graphs. Sometimes it's like, you know, just the image of the blog itself. It depends on what type of query or searching for like if you search for best sales books, for example, you'll see the carousel markup and you'll see like all these sales books, but in that sort of carousel format that Google will put together for you in their structured data markup. But for other queries like, for example, best sales tools, that's another one that we captured the featured snippet for, you'll see that it has like a bullet pointed breakdown of like all the different categories of sales tools, because for that article what we do is we we structured and broke down the tools based on the category of function that that tool does. So, in short, the featured snippet is that little answer box at the top of the results page that is meant to give the searcher a very, very quick answer without forcing them to click into any given article from the search page. That I've always wondered how that, how...

...that works. So I just just get best sales tools in Google and I see, yeah, I've I've been seeing these. I'm like, Oh man, that would be awesome to be yeah, pull up off. So that's incredible. So so this is this last piece that we're going to talk about is something I am very interested in. I know listeners are going to be really interested in it. It's content promotion and distribution techniques. So you put all this effort into your wrangling these these writers, editing it into into a digestible format, one that that people are going to want to engage with. Now, how do we go about distributing it? Obviously you guys have a massive email list, but I'd love for you to give us some other, you know, some other ideas and other things that you guys have done from from a distribution standpoint. Sure. So, right off the jump, right off the bat, you're going to have a major advantage on your content promo distribution if you have a user generated blog, because these people who contribute with you, guess what the first thing they're going to go do is, as soon as they they're done contributing for you, they're going to go share an all their social networks. If they're contributor from like a SASS company that has a big email list, they're going to hit their list. So right off the bat you kind of get that double, that dual double amplification effect right away. So that's the first thing. The the second thing that we've been doing that's been really helpful for us is just crushing it with facebook ads. I got it. I got to give a quick shout out to my man Jack Kosakowski. He is our paid media specialist and he runs all of our paid media and he does a phenomenal job with setting up the copy, targeting the right audience. Is balancing spend really getting us the biggest bang for our buck on the cost per click model. But if you my advice to anybody that wanted to really boost the impact of their content with any paid media channel,...

...it would definitely be facebook ads. I think we just get the best targeting in the Best Bang for your buck there. So we've been leveraging that. And then I think like there's a lot of other things that we do as well. Like we we have like a network of people that will help us share stuff. We have this influencers sort of gaggle amp product thing. So let me just explain with the gaggle amp is. It's this tool where there's like a community of influencers that will all share something as as soon as you trigger that content to be placed within the Gaggle amp tool. So we utilize that. But I think the newest thing that we've been doing that's been having a huge impact for us is that that sort of viral news feedie post strategy on linkedin where you put a little story about the blog post, you give away a little teaser of it and then you put the link in the first comment and you drop a lot of engagement and discussion and people end up clicking through to your article from that. Max and I align on strategy for doing that and also Jack, who will also align with us. So, like, if we really want to put something super hard and super heavy, like, the three of us will align and come up with like a little bit of an angle that we can take from that blog post and put a story out on it on our linkedin feeds and d APP The link in the first comment, and then if all three of us do that at the same time, it creas this little mini sort of like thunderbolt effect and it gets a lot of traction and engagement from doing you guys, do you guys do the same same post, or do you alter it for for each of your profiles? You just write the same kind one three hundred character post and then all three of you use the same one. Yeah, so we don't do that for the same post at the same time like usually Max, like we do this on like Wednesdays or Thursdays because are publishing schedules is like heavy in the beginning of the week and the light towards the end. So they can usually buy Wednesday or Thursday. Will say, all right, Max, you promote this, I'll promote this. Jack, you do something on this, and we all kind of do it on the same day and it creates this little bloom effect, but it's all different. Usually it's very rare that will...

...promote the same thing at the same time because we don't want to see him cheesy to like if we're all, you know, promoting the same thing and it's kind of like all right, I get it. These guys are trying really hard. So it's good to give a little bit of diversity too, because, like Max's connections are more executive sort of be to be in sales. Mine is more of a mix of sales and marketing practitioners, a lot of SEO and inbound marketing enthusiasts, and then Jack is just his network is more social sellers, millennial sellers, a lot of business development, sales development. So I think between the three of us. We get a good sort of well rounded audience exposure by doing that. You also mentioned something get Tono. That's interesting. You talked about leveraging of particular like founders who have really powerful personal branding. Can you talk to us about that? Yeah, yeah, so we get away with doing a lot of stuff because of Max. So, like we can hit up quotable on sales force. They get massive traffic and engagement. We could be like hey, you know, can Max do a guest post on quotable and they're like yeah, done. Max Has Connections with like entrepreneur and ink. You know, he can do a guest post. Therefore, thought leadership that anytime that he wants. And the list kind of just goes on and on and on. We have, you know, connections with hub spot and all these huge authority sites that we can easily go to any time we want and basically do a guest post. We just did like a whole bunch of stuff with intercom drift. The list kind of just goes on and on and we're really fortunate that we have Max, somebody who has published the book. That was a really popular and impactful contribution to the sales world and based on that we were able to unlock a lot of doors for PR and thought leadership. So I'm glad that you mentioned that, Gutno, because the I mean the power of focusing on your personal brand. It's so necessary. Like I was, I was just talking to I had another interview earlier today, or was talking to the CEO of a company and...

...he mentioned, you know, hey, you know, do you know such and such, and I said, Oh, yeah, I know him. We've had them on the show a couple times. He's like, man, he actually used to work for me and he since gone on and, you know, to do his own thing and he's really invested a lot of time in building his personal brand over the last fifteen, twenty years and he's like, I focused on other things and so here I am, you know, now in two thousand and eighteen, and he really wants to make it a focus to focus on his personal brand this year. But he's looking back on it seeing, you know, someone who's working for him, is a peer in the industry who's invested in their personal brand and is now reaping the benefits, because it's not this. You know, Max didn't wake up one day when he was twenty four and and become a thought leader. Like he's invested in that for the long haul, but now he's reaping the benefits of it and he's still incredibly young. And so I think for the folks listening to this, maybe you're not quite at an executive yet, you're serving under a VP of marketing or a CEMO. Start Building your personal brand now. Start putting out home content, even if it's not four or five days a week, get started. Start doing that, because the I love that. You know the connections that you guys now have. I mean who can say like, Oh yeah, I can go to entrepreneur or hub spot or quotable from any time I want and get a guess post. You just can't do that apart from personal brand, right. Yeah, I mean, James, you know that, Mammy, even yourself, you know, like you have over six hundred episodes now, I think, on on podcast, like you know that that should that takes like tremendous, tremendous discipline, consistency and you know, just focus, man, like there's a million things you could be doing with your life, but you've committed to something and you do it and you don't miss a beat and like that's what it takes to get great results.

It's just like we're mentioning like before, like the pre call, we were talking about the aggregation of marginal gains. Like Seo is like built on that. There's no growth hat like I really hate the word growth hack, but like it's buzzing still and it gives a lot of false sense of perception when it comes to Seo. There's really no way to growth hack, you know, three X in your traffic in a year. There's no way to growth hack doubling your email list, unless you pay for low quality leads, of course, but like you're not going to get any value by doing that. You're just going to pay for turn. So, like, yeah, it's just it's just simple as that. You know, starting out with building your personal brand, and the longer you wait, the longer it's going to hurt. So don't wait anymore that. I don't know. This has been phenomenal man. So that so the five, the five things that we talked about specifically that that allowed you guys to just about triple your your web traffic, customer research, you did your Seo Site Audit, the challenges of Seo while running user user generated blog and how you overcame those. We talked about on page optimization, longtail keywords. We talked about distribution and motion and how you can go about promoting the content that you've spent so much time and investing in creating. This is going to be a phenomenal resource. Guy Towno, I really appreciate your time today. If somebody wants to stay connected with you, they want to learn more about sales haccer, what's the best way for them to go about doing that? Oh yeah, definitely. So, yeah, if you want to hit me up directly, you just hit me up on Linkedin. Just search me guys on on Dannery. You'll find me. You could also go to my website. If you're curious to learn a little bit more about what I do behind sales hacker, you can check me out there. I also publish a CEO Thought Leadership Post on my website, official guys on oncom. And if you just want to learn more about salesaccer, what we do, just hit up sales hackercom and you can find us. They're awesome, guy. Tell no, thank you so much for your time today.

This has been again incredible. So I'm really, really excited to get this one love. Yeah, thanks, James, I appreciate you. To ensure that you never miss an episode of the B Tob Growth Show, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. This guarantees that every episode will get delivered directly to your device. If you'd like to connect with B tob executives from all over the world, make sure to join our private facebook community. There are some incredible conversations happening inside this group. To Join, Visit Bob Growth Showcom FB. Thank you so much for listening. Until next done.

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