*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.
Arek Dvornechuck: What's up branding experts Arek here at Ebaqdesign and welcome to On Branding Podcast. And my guest today is Farzad Rashidi and Farzad is, was the head of marketing at Visme.
And during his time there, he managed to greatly increase their organic traffic, which ultimately led him to branching out and becoming the co-founder of Respona. So Respona is an all-in-one link building tool that helps you do the outreach and get those back links. Because as we all know, when it comes to SEO, that's the primary factor for, you know, increasing organic traffic from Google so Farzad is an expert when it comes to SEO for and using SEO for brand awareness. And so he would love to share with us some tips on that today. Hello Farzad, thanks for joining us.
Farzad Rashidi: Thanks for having me on the show.
Arek Dvornechuck: Thank you very much. So So there are different ways in which we can bring awareness to our brand, right.
And one of them being SEO. So when it comes to digital marketing we can either create content for social media, like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or we can focus on bringing traffic from Google, bringing this awareness from Google and that, and, and this comes down to basically pay per click or organic SEO.
Correct. So I just wanted to you to give us some idea or talk about the benefits of why do you think SEO is the right way to go and it's the right acquisition channel or how to, you know, find out if it's the right for, for our
Farzad Rashidi: business. Sure. Yeah. That is a great question, Arek, because as a matter of fact, Recommend most businesses not to focus on SEO, then the ones that I do recommend them to focus on their optimization for our search engines.
And it all kind of boils down to the type of business that you are and the type of audience you serve to. So if you, and there's normally a checklist of two items that two questions always ask any business owner to first answer before they decide what the true or the right acquisition strategy is for them.
One. Are people actually actively aware of the problem that you are solving. And if the answer is yes, then move on to the second one. How are they actually finding solutions to their problems right now? And if the answer to that question is Google, then it's almost idiotic for you not to focus on your SEO because that's how your customers are potentially finding you.
So let me give you an example. Yeah. So let's say you sell a t-shirt company. Are people actively Googling about buying t-shirt. Probably not. So your best bet is probably gonna be paid ads, Facebook ads, Instagram influencers, get some supermodels to snap some pictures and run some ads and drive some job.
Right. So if you're a special eCommerce and, and, and in a very, I would say in a type of business, that lifestyle probably last year's, is it gonna help you much? Because that's just not that bright vehicle for driving engagement, right. Because
Arek Dvornechuck: people want search for specific. Those specific keywords. Right,
Farzad Rashidi: exactly.
Right. You know, I don't look up t-shirts for, for men when I wanna buy a t-shirt. Right. Yeah. On the other hand, if you sell, for example, expensive medical device company, or your, your, or medical devices each one goes for like a hundred K. And, and you cater to like a specific set of doctors or hospitals.
It's unlikely, they're Googling for that type of company. It's that type, that type of product. Right. So just higher sales people go door to door. So selling, right. So paid acquisition, coal hours normally are very good channels depending on the type of business you are. But when I started my career in marketing, I started a company called vis me.
Have you heard of vis me before? Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. Awesome. Well, you're, you're a brand new expert, so it warms my heart. They've heard of us. So we're a design software, but not for people like you normally for people like me, who can't be trusted with a box of carryon. Right. So I, I can barely draw or, or design anything.
Yeah. So it's, it's a software that's offered us designed for businesses to be able to quickly put together professional looking. Assets visual assets. Mm-hmm on brands within a matter of minutes. So the product price bonus is about $15 a month when we started. So I was the first marketing hire came into the company.
We're like, okay, well, we have a few options here in terms of acquisition channels. One, we can focus on paid ads, but they're getting more expensive by day. They use a bidding system as you know, and so cost for acquisitions, almost doubles every, every year over year. So, and at, at a certain point, it hits a plateau when it comes to ROI, because sometimes when you hit a certain ad budget, when you double it, it doesn't mean you get double the conversions.
So there's a diminishing return on investments. So it's not a very I would say scalable way to get drive, engage. And at the same time we were a bootstrap company, small team, so it didn't have the hundreds and millions of dollars in budgets. So we're like, okay, we can try cold outreach. But the problem is when, when your product is, is affordable it doesn't make sense to go hire us based sales reps to go door to door, sell a $50 a month.
Product's just bad math. So we were like, okay, well, let's say Arek, you wanna create a an infographic for this episode that we're doing. All right. Mm-hmm so, you know, you have a need to create a create infographic. Let's say you don't wanna spend the time to go on illustrator and use Adobe products cause it's kinda forever.
So you wanna put something together quick. What, and you don't already have a solution. Where is the first. Place you start looking for a
Arek Dvornechuck: solution on Google. I'm I'm gonna search like infographic template.
Farzad Rashidi: Exactly. Something like that. Exactly. Absolutely. So we knew from day one, okay. This is how our customers are finding us to know what they wanna do.
And they are actively searching for it online and, and through Google. And we were like, okay. Well, let's start doing the keyword research and finding out what are some of the keyword that people are actively searching for and build, like you mentioned info. So we have three stages of content. So the awareness stage we're building you know, block, post, what is an infographic?
How do I create infographic? Yeah. And in the consideration stage we have infographic templates or infographic I would say samples and then the last step we have. Bottom of the final keyword, like infographic software infographic maker, literally at the point of purchase. So we would create landing pages and pages catering to each one of these keywords.
We'd put it all up there and guess what happened? You got a lot of traffic. That's what we hoped . Yeah. And unfortunately, It was not the case. it was absolutely crickets because if you go look up any of these keywords through Google, there is normally about, at least about a hundred million search results for each one of these keywords.
Mm-hmm . So even though we were creating quality content, per se, as one would. None of these were enough to get us what we were into the top 1%. But when there's a hundred million search search results and you were in the top 1%, you're still the millionth search. Yeah. Search result in the, in the, in the Sur.
So what we had to quickly realize that, all right, how do we get ourselves up in top 10 search results? Because as for nine to 9%, it clicks.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Makes sense. So okay. So as we know, pay per click will work for some businesses more better than for others. Right. But if you're bootstrapping, you know organic EOS, probably the way the way to go.
I've I started long time ago and, you know kind of by accident I just started blogging. Someone told me about SEO and started doing keyboard research. Some of those articles really took off and that brought me confidence, you know, and I've learned more and more about SEO mm-hmm and now my whole business is basically based on SEO.
That's how I get. Customer. That's how I get my clients. That's right. I create content around, you know what I do, logo, design branding. Mm-hmm and this is an example, you know, podcast is one example O of this as well. So, but besides that, I also, you know post articles on my blog and, and do some YouTube videos and, and stuff like that.
Arek Dvornechuck: So, okay. So since we already know what SEO can give us and and. Now let's talk about keyword research how to find those opportunity keywords, because as you mentioned, you know, if, if we target like very broad keywords, like let's say infographic templates, there's gonna be million millions, you know, hundreds of thousands of results for this type of keyword.
Mm-hmm . So if you don't have this domain authority, yet, if you're starting from scratch you, you are not gonna show up. I know on the first page of results and that's right. You know, that's where the most clicks come from. Those, you know, 1, 2, 3 positions or, or, or at least first page. Right. So nobody basically goes to the second page or very few people.
So what to do so how to find those keywords that, you know, we have chances to, to rank for. Early on, you know, when we, when we are just starting
Farzad Rashidi: out that's right. So that, that is a great question. Arek and, and speaking of, I was actually looking at your website and yeah, you're getting, and this based on Agere, you're getting about a quarter million organic traffic every month and that's worth about 170 K or 180 K.
Of ad words that we getting that you are getting for free every month. So obviously it's not free cuz there's cost and well, when it comes to content production, maintaining a website, but you guys are doing great. So congratulations on that. But matter of fact, is that took some years to get here.
Didn't happen overnight. And, and so what we had to do basically to be able to accelerate that, especially when it comes to seven figure traffic numbers, where we had to go on the BIS me side to bring. A large amount of leads. So we're getting about 20 to 25,000 new signups to our platform every day. So the way we sort of had to get to that point has been obviously first starting with prioritizing keywords that were within our grasp.
So there's a lot of tools out there like HFS or cm rush, which one of 'em are using.
Arek Dvornechuck: Uber suggests recently. Yeah. As well, but yeah, HRES and just analyzing competitors as well. That's right. Basically and analyzing, you know, what works and what, what works best and that's how I find opportunities, basically.
Farzad Rashidi: Yeah, absolutely. So normally what we do and, and what we did basically back in the day when we, where we were just starting out was to start off with a parent keyword. So for your case, it would be potentially about branding or about something in our logos or fonts, logo, design, exactly logo design.
And so what, what you wanna do is. That you normally run these through either one of these tools doesn't matter, which one of these tools they use. Uber suggest is more affordable folks who are starting out, probably my recommendation, but if you get a little more advanced, normally a trust SDM, R's a better be.
But a lot of these SEO tools, what they give you is a gazillion number of keywords that you could go after. And some. Higher volume. Some are higher commercial intent, some are higher. I would say in competition, so we have to figure out the system on how we, we able to actually prioritize these. Yeah.
That's in order, there's an infinite number. So here's a little trick we use. And we developed a little formula which are called the opportunity score. So basically you obviously wanna prioritize keywords that get the highest amount of volume possible. Lowest amount of competition possible, but all of them are relevant if there's no commercial intent.
So we want the highest commercial intent possible. So this is like three circles overlapping each other in that, in that middle ground is where the opportunity keywords lie. So in order to prioritize them, is that when you run a parent keyword through one of these tools, they give you. Thousands of suggestions.
Here's what people are searching for. And here are how competitive these keywords are. Here's how much volume they get and here's, and for commercial intent, we use a metric called CPC or the cost for click for that keyword, even though it has nothing to do with organic, but if advertisers are willing to pay for a keyword, that means that obviously, yeah, a higher intent keyword, so on a prioritize those.
So what we do basically is to put 'em to get in a little formula. And sort it on a spreadsheet and we automatically take out the keywords to have a higher domain or excuse me, higher keyword difficulty than our domain authority. So it's a good rule of thumb to basically as a fancy way of saying don't go after keywords that are outta your league.
Right? So start offs, small that some of the longer tail, normally lower volume keywords that are within your graph, that aren't dominated by the big guys. And over time as your domain rating grows. Then you'd be able to kind of go after some of the bigger guys or bigger keywords. So that's normally a blueprint and then we run each one of these keywords through Google and then little Inc a tab and then figure out, okay, what is a user intent for these keywords?
If people are looking for infographic templates, they're probably looking for. Bunch of infographic S they don't wanna read about the history of infographics, right? Yeah. But if someone is talking about, for example, how to make an infographic, or how do I design the logo, right. They're looking look, you know, step by step instructions, maybe a list of tools they can use, et cetera.
So Google already tells you by showing you search results as a user, Hey, here's the type of search list that we prioritize. So once you understand what the intent is, go create a correspond. Post or it could be a blog post. It could be a landing page. It could be a tools page. And then once you have that put together on your website, That's where the work begins.
so that's normally a, a base ground for any sort of website, is that once you put publish that piece of content, that's normally step one. And because now it's gonna get buried in the search results over hundreds of thousands or millions of search results to contain that keyword. And it sort of drops to actually actively promote them to get 'em up into, into.
Arek Dvornechuck: And okay, so this, this was about keyword research. So just to give you, just take a step back and just to give you some examples, you know, maybe for creatives who are listening to this podcast. So for example I can some reveal some, some of my secrets. So for example, you were talking about broad.
Like we shouldn't really go for the keywords that are have high difficulty. Right. So for example, for me, that would be probably. Something like branding, just the word branding or just the work, right? Or just even logo design, you know, that's, that's very competitive keyword. So what I did is I went for a long term keyword, like logo, design process, or even log design process from start to finish.
That's right. And now I have chances. So, you know, I run pretty well for this, you know, number one, usually log design process. And that brought me really a lot of clients. So because, and as you already mentioned, what is the intent of the person who is searching for that keyword? That's really important because I've made a lot of mistakes at the beginning.
I didn't really consider that, you know, I was just, okay, this is a keyword in my space. I should probably be ranked for. Just to give you an example I rank well for keyword, I mean, probably not now, but in the. How to trademark a, a logo, how to trademark a logo. Right. But I don't do trademarking.
I do logo design. So trademark is, is afterthought, right? That's right. You have a logo, right? Yeah. So it was totally stupid because they already have a logo. Right. They wanna trademark a logo. So So, yeah, that, that was just that's just an example. But if someone is searching for, for example, like log design process, they may be, they're looking to find out how designers work or maybe they want, they consider doing this themselves.
So, you know, if I write an article for that, I have a call to action. They can schedule a call with me and that's how I get clients. Okay. So okay. So I just wanted to give this example to our listeners
Farzad Rashidi: And here's the thing, Arek, I don't think that was stupid at all. What you did, you know, it's, it's part of the process part of the game to kind of trial and error through trial and error to figure out what exactly works for you.
Yeah. So listeners who are listening to this show can learn from mistakes, you and I made together. Now they can save a lot of time and months of work by kind of implementing a lot of the stuff that we were talking about.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah. I mean I mean, I I've made some money on this to be honest because I I'm an affiliate, you know, so I work with affiliate, so there's this website, legal zoom.
So, you know, I just, I just send traffic, I just basically have some affiliate links there and I just send, you know, send some traffic there. So, you know, I make money on this block post, but it's not like it brings me clients. So so yeah, so once we've done some keyword research And now we create content and now what's what's next because you know, content is not going to run by its by it, you know, on its, on its own.
Arek Dvornechuck: Like the, as, as I mentioned in the introduction, the primary factor is those back links. So how to find those back links how to do the outreach. Do you have any, any tips. Sure.
Farzad Rashidi: So here's the thing. Arek, so having content pieces that cater to user intent and are actually valuable is not a, a.
It's a requirement. , it's part of the process. So you can't really circumvent that by link building. It's a puzzle. You need to have all the pieces together where for it to work. So the way I look at building a website is kind of like building a house so that the content is stuff that you have is the foundation.
So you don't wanna build on top of a big found of weak foundation. So you wanna make sure you have done go proper cable research. You have created content that are truly valuable cater to the user intent, answer the questions. Doesn't mean they have to be super long or super short means they actually cover everything that there is to know about that keyword.
Significantly better than what's already on the search results already. Right? So that's that's, that's step one. Now the facade of the house, or what you build on top of that foundation is what's gonna actually get some eyeballs on your website. Right? So this is the part that I, we put an proportion amount of focus on.
We spend about, I would say 80% of our marketing resources on content promotion and like. The other 20% goes into content creation. Mm-hmm , which is the exact opposite ratio of what, how most companies. Do content marketing. Right? Exactly. And a lot of people were listening to the show. They're like, Hey, I'm a small team.
I don't have a whole lot of resources from promotion. I'm like stop producing so much content then right. What matters? The allocation or resources, not so much about how many, how much content you produce is about, Hey, produce one piece content a month. That's top notch spend the rest of a month in promotion, actually getting it up into searchable.
Alright. Mm-hmm . What do we mean by content promotion? So, first of all, not every content is a, a, I would say a can a candidate for link building. So link building, just so you guys know for folks who are not really quite familiar with the concept the way Google prioritizes websites in the search results is by a, a system of, I would say mean girls popularity contest.
So kind of how other relevant authoritative sources are talking about your website. In is Google is a vote of popularity. So then not only they rely on the content, your page also see, okay, how other people are talking about you and how basically how popular you are per se in, in, in is Google.
And, and, and that puts a lot more weight increase your chances of getting actually up in, so. Step one is to understand, okay, what is the type of content normally people link to, right? Yeah. How, what is the type of resources we need to create that people actually actively want to link back to. Creating a type of content that's linkable, that's normally a, a, a prerequisite for any sort of average tactic.
So these include like original research and analyzing some survey data maybe creating some free tools, right. That are easy to put together. Mm-hmm . And maybe for you, it would be a logo generator or some sort of logo or business name generator, et cetera, or series of free templates people can use and it can copy paste into their illustrator, et cetera.
So having some sort of linkable asset that's actually worth it. Now, it's very difficult when it comes to building content pieces that are just informational to. Enough, basically background or back, I would say backbone for it to gain some of these links. So once you have that content piece in hand, then it becomes significantly easier to try to find resources of publications to link back to you.
So there's a ton of different average tactics. Wanna get into some of the more advanced stuff. One of the simplest ones that should cover some low hanging of fruit is what I'm doing right now. yeah, Arek. Exactly. Listen, you got a very popular podcast and more popular. Likely you're gonna actually repurpose this episode into a page that goes on your website, and you're gonna guess what you're gonna link to responder's website because you know, that's part of the interview.
That's actually something that adds value. So me coming onto the show, not to say by the way, Arek, that I'm, that's the only reason why I'm here. You know, it's, it's, it's, there's a lot of benefits to being a guest on a podcast. Most important. One of them is building relationships with, you know, publications, which is you meeting smart people like your.
Collaborate down the line. Also at the same time, you know, me coming on the. Makes free content for you, right? So now you have a podcast. If it's up, you go. Exactly. So mutual, a beneficial thing. And also at the same time, we're increasing our brand awareness folks who are listening to this show have heard of respond now.
Right? You've heard of us now. You, next time you see it on the se somewhere. You see the name responding. You're like, okay, these guys know what they're talking about. Maybe let's, let's learn more about what they have to say. Yeah. And also at the same time you get these back dimensions. That is a both popularity.
Nice Google. So one of the things also our software helps with is that's how we found you is actually is by looking up, Hey, what are some of the people that we respect in our industry? Right? Jason is one of them who had been a guest on your show. And so he had actually come onto your show as a guest. So that automatically tells you three things.
Podcasts accept guests in the first place, because not on podcast too, to the relevant, to our space, because you have interviewed someone in the EO space. So that means that, Hey, what I have to say is actually valuable for your audience, because you obviously have invited someone else to come on and talk about a similar topic and last but not least, it makes.
Our marketing, team's easier to pitch me because then you can use that episode as a hook to personalize a pitch just to imply to the host, because I'm sure you're getting these pitches left and right, Arek just to imply to the host that, Hey, we're not just blasting all the podcasts. We know we've actually sat down, you know, listened to your show, have done our research and we actually have something of value to provide that would make sense for you to spend your time to, you know, have fires on other show.
So. Having all those basically research done for you, so that, and sort of our platform to help you find you some of these golden podcasts and then finds you the contact information of the host. And then let's you reach out and personalize the pitch. Again, you don't have to have a fancy tool, like respond to do it.
You can do a lot of that stuff. Yourself manually just requires a little more time and manual work. But but that's one out of, of dozens of different strategies on how you can gain back links to your website from authoritative relevant publications in your space without spamming the world.
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, that's awesome.
That pretty, pretty much sum up the topic. And that's a great example as well. So and I also believe, you know, it's as you said, it is a win-win situation, right? So, but it's a lot of work, actually. I know, from, from my own experience, I can speak to that, you know, manually researching you know, either, either blog or podcasts and then finding, you know, The host email and then emailing them and then reminding yourself, you need to follow up and stuff like that.
So that's where respond accounts. Right? So so you basically can automate this and other, you know, processes. So you, you, you can get those links faster, you know, you can build those relationships faster. That's right. And that be, and that's the primary factor for ranking, you know, in Google. That's the primary factor from bringing this brand?
Oh, bring. Awareness to your brand from Google, right? From organic traffic.
Arek Dvornechuck: So, so as we are approaching our the end of our interview, I just wanted to ask you how, how to find, you know, how to connect with you. Of course, I'm gonna link to your website respond, but another way. You want people to reach out to you maybe on social media?
Farzad Rashidi: Sure, absolutely. So the best way to find me personally, my name is Farzad Rashidi and there's not a whole lot of us out on the web, so yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn normally. That's that's I stick out like a store thumb, so , I should be able to you should be able to easily find there, but if you like to learn more about sort of our product, Spana sort of helping you save some time when it comes to outreach.
I can navigate Respona.com. That's R E S P O N A dot com (respona.com) And we have a lot of free educational material there. A lot of those strategies that I talked about today, we have a free on gated resource. You can navigate to our website is called the outreach strategy hub, that the bottom folder of our website, if you wanna navigate there you can replicate a lot of them yourself manually.
Again, if you're a solar entrepreneur, just start. Don't go pay for all these tools. Maybe start out being some average yourself manually kind of get a proof of concept and the respondent's sort of there to help you scale. Once you hit a point that you're like, okay, this is great, but I don't have all the time in the world. So let me, let me actually try to put this on a pilot. Awesome. Yeah. And that's pretty much it.
Arek Dvornechuck: Awesome. And you also, I have to say you have great branding, great logo, great website.
So I can definitely see that, you know, you put a lot of effort in building that brand. So appreciate, thanks for, thank you for coming on the show and for your time and for sharing with us, some, some SEO tips today.
Farzad Rashidi: You got it. Thank you very much for having me, Arek.
Arek Dvornechuck is a strategist and designer who helps brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch
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