JF1069: Drive More Traffic to Your Website – With Neil Patel

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If you have a website, you can always use more traffic. Neil is without a doubt one of the top people in the world to take advice from when it comes to online marketing. How many visitors per month do you need before focusing on conversion? Neil tells all in this episode! If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!

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Neil Patel Background:
-Co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar
-Assists companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue
-The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web
-Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers
-Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world
-He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama
-New York Times Best-Selling Author of Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, & Momentum
-Has invested in apartment complexes, .com companies, the stock market, hedge funds, and more
-Neil has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives
-Based in Orange County, California
-Say hi to him at http://neilpatel.com/

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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluff. I hope you’re having a best ever weekend first and foremost, and because it is Sunday, we have a special segment called Skillset Sunday where we talk about a specific skill that you can hone or adopt, that will help you in your entrepreneurial endeavors.

With us today, I’m pleased to say we have Neil Patel. How are you doing, Neil?

Neil Patel: Doing good, how are you?

Joe Fairless: I’m doing well, and nice to have you on the show. A little bit about Neil – holy cow, if you need to know how to drive traffic, he’s your guy. One of my favorite podcasts for marketing for sure is his podcast, called The Marketing School, with Eric Siu. I’ve spoken to Eric a couple times; I was interviewed on his previous podcast, Growth Everywhere (I’m not sure if he still does that). But man, your podcast with Eric is phenomenal, and Best Ever listeners, if you want to learn practical marketing tips that you can implement immediately, you must listen to Marketing School.

In fact, Neil, you don’t know this, but I came across your podcast (Marketing School) and it was around 1 AM in the morning, and I started taking screenshots on my phone of every one of your podcast and I was sending them to my team. I sent like 25 e-mails to my team that night from like 1 to 4 in the morning, saying “You must listen to this one, you must listen to this one!” Just great stuff.

Neil Patel: The fun part about podcasting is you crank out information, people watch it – or more so listen – they learn, and they hopefully they take action on it, but yeah, it’s such hard work producing them, and you know better than anyone else… But it’s so rewarding when people listen and they take action and they get results, right? That’s the beauty of doing it.

It’s the same with the work that you’re doing – the moment people start getting results and they’re like “Oh, this is amazing!”, it makes your day; it doesn’t matter if they even gave you a dollar, or it was zero, or it cost you money… It’s just great to see people succeeding from the advice your pushing off.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, it’s a great feeling to get one of those e-mails where someone says “Hey, I’ve heard this podcast, I did XYZ and I’ve gotten XYZ results.”

So one of your blogs earns over 300k a month. The Wall-Street Journal called you a top influencer on the web, Forbes said you’re one of the top 10 online marketers… You know what you’re doing, and I’ve looked at your stuff and clearly there’s one thing that stands out, and that is the single focus that you reiterate time and time again, and that is that you help drive traffic and help others drive traffic, so I guess talk to us about the importance of having a singular focus.

Neil Patel: Everyone’s good at something, even me – I’m good at traffic, but I suck at a lot of stuff, and everyone also sucks at a lot of things, too. You just have to find what you’re really good at, and then focus on it. Because if you don’t focus on it, then you’re gonna try to do too many things, you’re not gonna be the best at them, and no one’s really gonna get any results.

Traffic – I believe every business really needs it; I know there’s a lot of businesses that just truly work off their sales teams and they do well… But of course, if you have traffic, who’s gonna end up turning your down? And whatever you’re doing in life, go find your passion, go find your focus. Usually what you’re passionate about tends to be what you’re naturally good at and what you’re better at than anything else. Focus on it, get even better at that skill, and don’t do anything else in this world. People want experts, they don’t want jack of all trades.

Joe Fairless: As entrepreneurs – because the Best Ever listeners are real estate investors, from wholesalers, fix and flippers, real estate agents, apartment investors, but we’re all entrepreneurs… And as entrepreneurs, we obviously need traffic to our website. Should we be focused more on the conversion of that traffic, so getting e-mails, or should we be more focused on driving the traffic to the website, if we had to pick?

Neil Patel: It depends. If you don’t have a ton of traffic, then you should focus on traffic. If you have a lot of traffic, then focus on the conversion.

Joe Fairless: What’s a ton?

Neil Patel: I usually say if you’re under 10,000 focus on traffic, if you’re over 10,000, focus more on conversion… Unless you’re in a B2B segment, in which each customer is worth hundreds of thousands  or millions of dollars – the moment you’re above 3,000 visitors, focus on conversion.

Joe Fairless: And when you say 10,000, is that unique visitors a month?

Neil Patel: Correct.

Joe Fairless: Okay, 10,000 unique visitors a month. Alright, so under 10,000 unique visitors a month, focus on traffic; over, then focus on conversion. So let’s say we’re at around 5,000 unique visitors a month. What are some ways that we could increase that?

Neil Patel: One of the simplest ways is go look up all your articles that you have written, or podcasts or videos that you have produced, go put in competitor ones or ones that are similar – you can google to find them – and put in that URL into search.twitter.com. You’ll see everyone else who shared it. Message them and try to get them to share yours. They already shared similar content, why won’t they share yours? Little things like that work extremely well, and if you do those over time, you’ll get more social shares, you’ll get more readers, more repeat visitors, and your overall traffic will go up.

Joe Fairless: So kind of reverse-engineering the process…

Neil Patel: Correct.

Joe Fairless: You’re obviously over 10,000 per month, so are you more focused on conversion? And if so, how do you optimize that?

Neil Patel: I’m focused on more so traffic than conversion, but yeah, I do both. The way I drive conversions is I use tools like Hello Bar, I do e-mail pop-up sliders, modals… I also do things like running A/B tests, I do user recordings to see mouse movements, where people are getting stuck, I look at analytics, but it’s all about just figuring out where people are getting stuck, to see where the drop up is within your funnel, and that’s the area you probably wanna focus on first.

Joe Fairless: Why are you focused on traffic if you have the 10,000 threshold?

Neil Patel: I wanna hit 2-3 million visitors a month within the next 12 months, and then I wanna hit 5-6 after that… So pretty much 12 more months after that.

Joe Fairless: Where are you at now?

Neil Patel: 600k-700k unique visitors a month.

Joe Fairless: And for someone who is listening and they’re starting a blog… They just launched their website, they’ve got some ideas to write about – and I know this is a very open-ended questions, and take it whichever way you want, too – what would be some tips that you’d give them?

Neil Patel: If they’re just starting a blog and they’re not sure what to write about?

Joe Fairless: If they’re just starting a blog, they know what they’re gonna be writing about, but they want to be set up for success as much as possible, with getting traffic and conversions.

Neil Patel: Yeah, so the type of foundation…

Joe Fairless: Yeah.

Neil Patel: I would actually say use WordPress, and make sure URL structures don’t have dates in them; a lot of times WordPress likes putting dates in URLs. With one click of a button you can get rid of that, though. The biggest thing other than using WordPress is just focus on content and focus on what’s popular. You can put in competitor URLs on Ahrefs and BuzzSumo and you’ll see what terms and what content that your competitors are writing are really popular.

From there, what you wanna do is write similar articles, but that are just more detailed and better.

Joe Fairless: A couple things you’ve mentioned is looking at the competition through online tools, and one that you just mentioned was BuzzSumo, and researching what top performing articles they have, and then competing on those grounds…

Neil Patel: Exactly. But the key is if you see what other people are writing, if your articles and content isn’t better or more detailed, you won’t do well.

Joe Fairless: Makes sense, it’s fairly straightforward. You said BuzzSumo – what was the other one?

Neil Patel: Ahrefs.com. Ahrefs shows you what pages that your competitors have are driving Google traffic. BuzzSumo shows you which articles your competitors have that drive a ton of social traffic.

Joe Fairless: Is there one that we should prioritize over the other?

Neil Patel: No, you need them both.

Joe Fairless: Where do you get most of your traffic to your website, where is it coming from?

Neil Patel: Google.

Joe Fairless: And then what are the terms — I was reading through your website…

Neil Patel: Are you in the U.S.?

Joe Fairless: Yeah, I’m in the U.S.

Neil Patel: Like “online marketing”, “SEO”, “internet marketing”, terms like that.

Joe Fairless: So how did you get the ranking for “online marketing”? Because obviously that’s a top one that I’m sure you’ve got a lot of competition for.

Neil Patel: More detailed and better content, and then from there, reaching out to everyone who shared all the other online marketing articles on Twitter and asking them to share mine. Then cross-linking for my own posts. Anytime I reference online marketing, I link to that main “cornerstone” content, which would be that guide on online marketing.

Joe Fairless: Will you say the cross-linking one but say it slower, so that my dunce brain can understand? I wanna make sure I’m understanding that.

Neil Patel: With cross-linking, what I mean by that is let’s say you write an article on how to sell a home and make money as a realtor. Let’s say you have a detailed guide called “The Beginner’s Guide To Being a Realtor”, but now you’re writing this new blog post called “How To Make Money Selling Homes.” Let’s say you talk about “Yeah, right when you get your realtor license and you’re just starting off…”, you may wanna link that “Hey, when you’re getting started as a realtor and you just got your license and you’re starting off” – whatever that phrase may be, link it to that guide on “The Beginner’s Guide To Being a Realtor.” That’s an internal cross-linking.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, makes sense. Is there a certain number that you like to have in terms of cross-linking from one article to another?

Neil Patel: Not really… I just link out wherever it makes sense.

Joe Fairless: Do you seek out opportunities to link?

Neil Patel: Yeah, I do. Wherever there’s opportunity, whether it’s someone else’s site, or I go through my old articles and I see if I can link my new piece of content from some of my older articles, I always search for new opportunities.

Joe Fairless: And you said linking out to other people’s sites – how much does that play into your overall ranking?

Neil Patel: Whenever other people have good information, I link out, whether it’s 5 times or 15 times in an article; there is no limit or minimum amount, it’s more so I do it whenever it’s [unintelligible [00:13:02].04]. Let’s say someone is writing an article about real estate law, and there’s different states. Well, each state has their own laws. Why not just link out to someone else’s article that breaks down the laws in California, and someone else who breaks down the laws in New York, and someone else who breaks down the laws in Minnesota etc.? You don’t wanna rewrite stuff that’s already out there, especially if you can’t add anything new. If you can add new stuff, by all means, rewrite and make yours better, but if you can’t, then link out to the existing pieces that are already out on the web, even if they’re competitors.

Joe Fairless: And as far as the Twitter reverse-engineering, what tool did you recommend using for that?

Neil Patel: BuzzSumo.

Joe Fairless: BuzzSumo for that as well? Okay.

Neil Patel: Well, for Twitter, BuzzSumo shows you what content your competitors are writing that are popular on the social web. To see who specifically tweeted out, you just take that URL and you put it into search.twitter.com.

Joe Fairless: Got it, that’s what I was [unintelligible [00:13:58].20] How do you stay up to date with new apps and the different ways to approach staying on top?

Neil Patel: I don’t stay up to date with the new apps, but the way I continually stay up to date with being on top, getting more traffic or doing better in business is by reading and learning. You can’t stay up to date with everything, because there’s so much information out there… I don’t have the latest phone, I don’t know the latest iPhone apps; I do know what’s happening in the business world or in the news or what’s the latest in marketing, because I’m continually reading and experimenting and trying to learn.

Joe Fairless: What are some resources that you go to regularly to read and learn?

Neil Patel: I go to TechCrunch, I go to Search Engine Land, [unintelligible [00:14:46].16] Search Engine Watch is another one, Search Engine Journal… Those sites cover a lot of the industry news.

Joe Fairless: What would you say is a mistake that you see entrepreneurs make when they’re establishing an online presence?

Neil Patel: A big mistake that I’m seeing when people are trying to [unintelligible [00:15:03].25] they expect results right away and they don’t stick with things… The reason being is marketing in general – content marketing, or any form of online marketing – takes time to see results and build that brand. To build that brand you have to do different types of marketing; you can’t just be like “I wanna build a brand”, right?

Whatever you’re trying to do and you’re trying to market, it takes time, and it’s consistency. Most people, when they’re trying to build that personal brand or get more traffic or grow their business, they’re doing it for a month or two and then they just stop.

Joe Fairless: How long does it take – and I know we have to define the finish line for you to answer that, but again, take it whichever direction you want, just to elaborate a little bit more on not needing to see results or not expecting to see results immediately…?

Neil Patel: It takes six months to see some decent results, one year to see good results, two years to really start seeing it flourish and grow.

Joe Fairless: Okay. And as far as how long, you said consistency is also important, so following that same timeline (6 months, 12 months, 2 years), what do you need to be doing consistently to be able to deliver on that timeline?

Neil Patel: You need to be writing content multiple times a week, you need to be sharing posts on the social web multiple times a week, you need to be participating in the community multiple times a week. You can’t do everything; you should do SEO every week, content marketing, social media marketing… But pick one or two channels of those and then go from there. So whatever it is, do it multiple times a week and just pick two or one if that’s all you have time for, and then as you have more time, expand into two, and then expand into three etc.

Joe Fairless: As far as the detailed articles go that you mentioned earlier, is “as long as possible” the better approach?

Neil Patel: Not always. I would say get to the point, but it’s quality. If someone can look at it and be like “Oh, this is amazing”, then you’re good.

Joe Fairless: What is the biggest challenge that you have in your business right now?

Neil Patel: Getting more qualified leads. We get a ton of leads, but the hard part is filtering those leads to figure out which ones are qualified, and then only giving those to the sales team… Because if we give them the bad leads, then they waste a ton of time and we’re paying reps to not make any money. So it’s just filtering out the junk, which is very difficult to do.

Joe Fairless: What’s one way you’re tempting to have that filtration process work better?

Neil Patel: We tried lead scoring using the existing softwares out there, like the [unintelligible [00:17:34].01] as in like people pick up the phone and then qualify each lead before it gets to the rep, but it’s inefficient. What we’re doing now is we’re building a lead qualifying system for ourselves that’s using APIs from the Alexa.com’s of the world or whatever it may be, where we can get data on our leads and then figure out “Alright, is this a good lead, a bad lead? Pull it from LinkedIn – alright, this is the person’s position; is this someone who could be qualified or not? It’s more about just digging through and trying to automate as much as possible, because there’s so much technology out there.

Joe Fairless: What does a qualified lead look like for your business?

Neil Patel: A qualified lead for our business is typically a Fortune500 company, someone who’s a director of marketing or VP of marketing, or in a business role within that organization that’s manager level, and they’re looking to just grow… Or their company was big and their stock has been tanking and they’re looking for someone to help fix the ship and fix their problems.

Most of our customers tend to be the ones who are extremely large, and then something happened and they dropped and they lost millions of dollars, and then they need help fixing and recuperating.

Joe Fairless: I want to follow up on something you’ve mentioned earlier, just for my own education and perhaps some Best Ever listeners… You said when you’re just starting out you recommend using WordPress. You said “make sure the URL doesn’t have dates” – why is that?

Neil Patel: When a URL has dates — I used to have that in 2016, and when I removed the dates, my search traffic went up by over 50% in less than 30 days, the reason being when your URL… Mine is NeilPatel.com, and then it’s /date/coast-title, Google associates it with the date, so then over time it doesn’t continually rank well. When you remove the dates, they realize that “Hey, this article is related to marketing (or real estate or whatever it may be) and not a specific date”, then you rank better.

Joe Fairless: Great tip, among many other tips that you’ve had. Anything else as it relates to driving traffic for real estate entrepreneurs that we haven’t talked about that you wanted to mention?

Neil Patel: Sure. The big thing if I was a real estate entrepreneur, you can drive leads, but focus on following up with people who are leads. Most realtors suck at following up. Follow within the first five minutes a lead comes in and you’re much more likely to close them, the reason being is every other realtor out there ignores them and may get to him in two or three days, and then they’re like “Oh, why don’t I get any more customers? It’s so hard…!” It’s like, “Dude, pick up your phone. You’ll do well if you just answer your phone.” Most people, gals and men, just suck at it.

My assistant was showing a buddy’s house the other day; he works for me and someone else. And this home this is in the multi-million dollar range, and the realtor was like “Cool, I confirm for Thursday if we’ll go by and I can check it out.” This was for a listing, and they never even showed up. They never confirm, and I’m like… They’re lost. What’s a 3% commission on a four million dollar home? It’s quite a bit,  $120,000. That’s a lot of money.

Joe Fairless: Is there an online system that your team uses for the follow-up process?

Neil Patel: Not really. We just make sure everyone follows up.

Joe Fairless: Got it.

Neil Patel: We check the calendar, reschedule one… We don’t really have people calling us, we more so have people scheduling, and then from there we follow through scheduling. We don’t do it where people just call us randomly; it wouldn’t work out well for us.

Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners learn more about what you’ve got going on, and if they are a marketing director, a VP of a large company, get in touch with you or your company?

Neil Patel: If you wanna keep learning more, you can always go to NeilPatel.com/blog and you can find out my contact information from there, too.

Joe Fairless: Awesome. Neil, thank you for being on the show. Boy, lots of practical tips, from if your traffic is 10,000 unique visitors a month or more, then focus on conversion; if it’s less, then focus on traffic. If we’re just starting out, then the tips: 1) use WordPress; 2) make sure the URL doesn’t have any dates. Your search traffic went up by 50% when you removed the dates in that URL… And focus on content – the competitive URL searching tip is gonna be very helpful. And then you’ve mentioned it takes time to see results, from 6, 12 months to 2 years, in those increments, and you have to be consistent along the way by doing things multiple times a week; pick one or two things, like writing content, posting on social and/or participating in a community online.

Thanks for being on the show, Neil. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Neil Patel: Thanks for having me.

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