Podcast: Shopify SEO – How to Nail Off-page Ranking

Dave Granfield:

Guys, I’m back with Josh Rimmington from JR Marketing Group. He blessed us with the opportunity to talk about on-page SEO for Shopify stores in a previous episode. We’ve got Josh back now to have a chat about off-page SEO. So for those that weren’t privy to watching or listening to the previous episode we were talking about on-page SEO. Now the difference would be on-page is everything you can do to contribute to your search engine rank on your actual website, on your page.

Dave Granfield:

But what we’re going to talk about today is anything off-page. So, how do you gain authority and how do you gain links to your website, which then brings more authority in Google’s eyes in 2020 and how everything’s evolved. It’s a lot different now than it used to be five years ago. Josh, what’s your top tips for the Shopify store owner in this day and age, how to gain more authority with off-page SEO?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. [Crosstalk 00:01:18]

Dave Granfield:

Hang on and hi, by the way. Just who are you again and what do you do?

Josh Rimmington:

Josh Rimmington. I’ve been doing online marketing for about 16 years. I got an agency called JR Marketing Group. So we work with a variety of clients around Australia and New Zealand. My main thing is working around Google, so helping with SEO ad words and that side to get more organic traffic from Google.

Dave Granfield:

Awesome, mate. Okay, so back to, sorry to interrupt off-page SEO, what is it and how do they do it for Shopify?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. So off-page SEO, the easiest way to explain is basically your footprint online and everyone that’s linking back into your website from other websites. It’s basically looking at, okay, all the other links and links online are basically what Google uses to travel around the internet. They’re basically jumping from one link to another to look at what everything’s happening online, what people are talking about so that if someone mentions it in a news article and then they link to an article, they’ll jump to that article and then they’ll see who that person is linking to and jump between that one. Yep.

Dave Granfield:

Can I just interrupt there? So that sounds pretty technical. But really it’s not a person on Google going through it. There’s a bot or a machine that just goes through and if it reads a news article and sees that there are five links in there, it automatically goes through and checks what’s on those pages. Right?

Josh Rimmington:

Yes.

Dave Granfield:

And then makes a little note about that.

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. It’s all-

Dave Granfield:

But then that page might have another five links and it’s a wormhole of content.

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. Basically it looks like a spider’s web of all these different lines going out in a lot of directions and bots are basically going out and looking at everything that’s online, and that’s the easiest way to explain as well is how Google finds you if you don’t actually submit site into the search engine. They find it because everyone is linking to each other online.

Josh Rimmington:

So, if they’re not actually finding you online, it’s because no one’s actually linking to you or mentioning you and there’s no way to find them. That’s the easiest way to explain linking. The way that what you’re trying to do to actually create better linking for your website is basically having one, more people actually linking to your website and two, the quality of people actually linking to your website and the quality of the sites linking to your website.

Josh Rimmington:

By quality, I mean actually having stuff that’s actually about the same topic about the same information and also that already have authority on topics. Sites that might actually already be known to Google to provide good quality content. If they link to you, then that’s basically saying, “Okay, yep. These guys obviously provide a good product or service about whatever topic I’m talking about.” So, Google takes basically more notice.

Josh Rimmington:

The biggest why I explained a lot of those, the way that Google looks at linking is a lot of time, it’s a bit of like a popularity contest and Google looks at it as a vote of confidence in saying, “Hey. You guys should check out these guys because they’re all about this topic that I’m talking about.” Then Google goes, “Oh yep, cool. Let’s throw them in the search engine for that topic and let’s give them some extra points. Because so and so said that they’ve got authority on that topic.” That’s the quick explanation on linking online.

Dave Granfield:

So, let’s get a real-life example and I like how you just said it then. If you’ve got an online store and you’re trying to sell cactus and there’s some marketing technology of how you’re growing cactuses. I only say, “Cactuses” because I got a high [inaudible 00:04:57] just there. But if you then go and get a backlink from a really small website that teaches you how to remove the thorns from cactuses and they get two people visited every month, that’s not a very high-quality line. There’s no popularity in that. But if you get a marketing technology website like entrepreneur.com or some big, big website that gets tons of traffic to link to you, there’s better quality or more popularity, or hang on, I’ve got another example which is going to appeal to a lot of our customers because that was stupid.

Dave Granfield:

If you’ve got a woman’s shoe, this one is a Fawn & Finch, Megan, you are an amazing customer of ours. Leave her alone, Josh, she’s ours. If you’ve got a woman’s shoe and you get your Chinese manufacturer to link to your website, which is … The Chinese manufacturer has no domain authority. But you then go to Mamamia, which is an amazing big news website based on your industry and your niche. The Mamamia website link is going to hold a lot more credibility than say a small Chinese manufacturer. Is that an easy way of saying it?

Josh Rimmington:

That’s correct. Google looks at basically the authority of the site that’s linking to you and then actually the content that’s linking to you. They want to make sure that it’s relevant as well. That’s where people just going out and getting random links and having a link relevant to their industry thinking, “Okay. My website just needs links.” But the thing is, Google’s going to look at it and say, “Oh. Well, that’s not even relevant. I’m not going to even give them any basically link juice, any boost in their ranking for that link because it’s not even relevant to their product or service.”

Josh Rimmington:

It’s knowing your industry and actually creating that authority. We talked a bit about it when we were talking about onsite is that trust and knowing that authority of your topic and actually having other people in the industry actually linking back to you. Then that creates extra authority in Google’s eyes to say, “Okay, yeah. You’re definitely an authority on this topic. We need to be showing you for more keywords. More often when you put articles up, we want to show them quicker and easier in the search engine. Because people were actually wanting to read them.”

Dave Granfield:

So, let’s break this down a little bit and what used to work and what doesn’t work and then how can people actually do this. There’s going to be two trains of thoughts here. People can do this a little bit to their own extent. But it sounds like it comes down to a bit of a PR issue and you need to know some relationships to get some articles on some bigger websites or you need to have a connection with bigger websites or you need to have a big enough story to get on bigger websites. How can the little consumer who has a Shopify store get started on this process and when is a good chance or time to hand it over to the professionals to take it to the next level?

Josh Rimmington:

Definitely, at the starting level, anyone can start to do it and all you’re looking for is opportunities to link back to your site. That’s obviously from your social media, you can start linking back to it. If you’ve got eBay listings, Gumtree listings, anything that you’re basically putting online. I normally call it a bit of traffic-jacking on some of those websites that have high traffic and when you can actually stop adding listings, create posts or different things like that, and then be able to link back to your website. That’ll start creating that initial footprint online of people actually linking to your website. Then probably not as high a priority as anything else. But it’s a starting point and other things starting to link to you are things like creating your own Google My Business listing to just start linking GSL, so Google knows that you exist as well as listing.

Josh Rimmington:

A lot of people forget that thinking, “Oh. We’re an eCommerce site, we don’t need that.” But what it does is it creates a knowledge panel when you’re actually got a website. If someone’s talking in your own brand or anything else, it’ll actually give you a bigger Google listing of your actual brand and you can actually add information into that. You can actually add different posts, photos, videos. There’s a post section actually directly in Google My Business now where you can actually add your sales, your specials and different other stuff and link back to your main website from it to actually create a bit of that extra initial one.

Josh Rimmington:

Because what you’re trying to do in the initial stage is just create that initial footprint of being everywhere and actually having that broader footprint online. That’s one that will look better to Google and it looks better to your customers as well. Because when they’re actually searching you and looking for you, they don’t just find one website with all your information, they see you on Twitter, they see you on Snapchat, they see you on Pinterest, they see all this different stuff and it’s creating a bigger brand and look for not only Google but for your customers. So, it’s creating a bigger footprint online of all these different sites linking it.

Josh Rimmington:

That’s probably the easiest way for someone starting out to start to get the one and you can look at stuff like directories don’t hold as much stuff anymore and especially for eCommerce, there are not as many good directories. But looking at what directories might actually list products or services that you’re selling and making sure that you’re in those and if there are certain sites that people are looking for your products or services that you can get a post on or you might be able to sell it.

Josh Rimmington:

When I first started, I used eBay not only for getting some extra sales but for actually getting the name out there and getting a brand out there and getting links back to my website from my actual profile and my About Me page and everything else. Because you may only list one or two products, but what you’re doing is people will actually look, “Okay, what else do they have?” And they’ll go to your About Me page and see that you’re a brand and generally you want to be something that they can find easily. What that’ll do is create people coming back to our website and looking at it and saying, “Oh yep. They offer all these other services and everything else.” It starts to create that increase in your own profile online.

Dave Granfield:

Awesome. It’s all about page value in the popularity value. Let me ask you this, I’ll give you an explanation, is it quantity or quality? Back in the day, there was this thing called private blog networks and SEO agencies and savvy people used to hold dozens of blogs themselves. They’re usually just cheap WordPress websites are thrown together. They may have niched into some topic like if you were doing SEO for real estate agents, you would have a private blog network of all these random real estate websites and you would have a little bit of page rank on each of these websites in your private blog network. But it was never realestate.com style popularity or page rank. Is it better to go for lots of little links these days or should you be focusing your time on trying to get really good quality, bigger links?

Josh Rimmington:

Bigger quality ones are going to hold a lot more value. Google looks a lot more at the actual traffic and wanting websites that are actually really linking to and how that’s devalued a lot of those cheap and easy blog network styles is that a lot of them didn’t actually have traffic going to them. They may have had previous years ago been a website that had traffic to them, so they might have a bit of authority in different other stuff for them. But they’re not actually ranking for a lot of keywords now, so they’re not actually getting a lot of traffic.

Josh Rimmington:

Google wants to look at a website and say, “Oh. We know that it’s getting this much traffic. A lot of people reading this post and then they’re linking to you. We’ll give it more value.” It really is about that quality of it and actually looking real. Because although that Google is an algorithm, they also want a bit, see, it doesn’t look natural that all of a sudden you’ve had a thousand websites overnight that are all these little blogs linking to your website and they say, “Okay. Well, that doesn’t look right.” It has to look natural as well. That might not look right-

Dave Granfield:

Sure.

Josh Rimmington:

… If it was a press release that you put out and it went out to a look of news sites and it was that link that looks natural to Google. But if it was all these little blogs and everything else that doesn’t look right to have it. So, it has to look natural as well to their algorithm so that it actually looks like something that would happen to a website.

Dave Granfield:

Just a quick little one there, if you have paid the five or SEO person, we discussed this in the on-page episode. But if you have paid for dodgy SEO or if you go into webmaster tools, which is search console, and you find that you’ve got a lot of links that may be Google says they don’t like or that you don’t like. There’s this thing called disavowing links, isn’t there. Right?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep.

Dave Granfield:

So you can disassociate yourself and say to Google, “I’m at an arm’s length to these link. Don’t trade it anymore.” How do people do that if they do have that problem?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. So basically you can go into webmaster tools and basically download a list of your websites and you can normally see ones that don’t look natural. If all of a sudden you’ve got this Chinese page that’s all the content on those websites about [inaudible 00:14:12] and then all of a sudden it’s got one page about your topic linking to you. It won’t look natural to you if it’s that type of one, you’ll normally be able to tell the different pages and the different links that don’t look like they should be and you want good links and good people linking to your website because it is that. It’s your website and it looks bad on your business if you have a lot of those type of websites linking to. So you can go in there, download it, choose all the ones that you don’t want linking to you and tell Google basically they have what they call a, “Disavow file,” and you basically submit it in and Google actually will put it through their system and what they do, those links will still be there but Google will just ignore them.

Josh Rimmington:

So, there’s no way of obviously getting rid of those links. Because it’s their own website. It’s their life on there [Inaudible 00:15:03]. But what Google will say, they’ll put into their system, just ignore them. So sometimes it’s important, especially if someone has all their links are like that, it is important to have a bit of a claim link profile. Sometimes if you’ve got 10,000 links and there are just a few of those bad ones in there, it’s not going to affect you. One, because Google knows it, as well that there are links that they should ignore and they will just ignore them naturally anyway. Because if it was that easy to get someone a penalty, there’d be a lot more negative SEO going on. Other people trying to get all these big brands down by just sending bad links to them. So Google has in their system a way of naturally ignoring it. But you also want to make sure that your link profile when you’re actually trying to do the right thing is looking natural.

Dave Granfield:

Come out. So we just talked about disavowing links. Now we preface this whole conversation with people can start doing this themselves, but eventually, they might need to bring an expert in to do it. The tipping point that they get to where they might have to think, “I need a bit more expert help with this,” is I know I found it. I don’t do SEO, I haven’t done it in our agency for many, many years and it’s not something we’re interested in. But when you start outreaching to a lot of people who you might think your content would be valuable for, you can guest blog for them or they might be able to write about you and link to you. You start having these conversations with people about follow links and no-follow links and Google’s got a couple of other these weird names for stuff. What does that mean and how can that affect all this time and effort that they’re doing on building these backlinks to their website?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. So the two main types of links is a follow and a non-follow link and basically they’re just a bit of code that basically tells Google if you’re actually putting a link into it somewhere, it tells Google whether or not they should follow it. So when the bots there, what the bot will do, will actually follow that link and look at it and then not follow. You don’t want Google to actually follow it to that website. So genuinely, if someone’s linking to you, you want to follow a link. Because you want Google to be following it.

Josh Rimmington:

But it is natural to have not-follow links to your website. A lot of threes will genuinely have not-follow links. Because it’s just how I do it. Basically, when they are linking, a lot of times if you’ve got all follow links, Google can start to penalize it, not rank a lot of your pages. So there, a lot of the directories and things like that will put not-follow code on their A1. So they won’t actually pull them through. So you do want a combination of them. But genuinely if you are dealing with someone that you want to get a link from, you want to get a follow link from the page that’s actually talking about you, directly to your website, so that Google actually gives you that extra link juice and actually follows it through and thinks that your articles on that topic say, “Yeah.” You generally want those follow ones. But naturally, on your LinkedIn profile, you should have a variety of them, from sites like Facebook and different other ones. Because although they’re not following links, Google does still look at those links and see the linking between sides.

Josh Rimmington:

All that’s telling you is that the bot shouldn’t follow it. So it has changed over the years. But the way that we look at it now is that you should have a variety of not-follow and follow links. But generally, if you’re getting good quality links from someone or you got someone to write an article and it’s on a ping, it shouldn’t be your follow link from that page.

Dave Granfield:

Yeah. Cool. Now, what else is the big overarching, glaringly of this thing, the people need to know and then, if they are going to engage someone like J.R.Marketing Group, what’s the telltale sign of if you got a good agency and a bad agency?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. Yeah. So it’ll be more about who they’re worked with and everything else if you are looking at agencies. What their current results are, do they actually know about a lot of the trending stuff? What they actually do, do they use blog networks? Do they use different incs to do it? If they are just saying, “I will submit you to directories or do this,” asking them questions about what other results have actually got from those and everything else. Because genuinely, you won’t get enough of an authority on just having those types of links. So I’d be just asking more questions and start to understand it yourself as well. So start to just do a bit of research on it and actually understanding the general concepts behind SEO and what’s working so that you can make better education and decision yourself. But when you’re actually going ahead with it, the main thing that is working well with eCommerce is actually just building a better brand and product.

Josh Rimmington:

And from that, actually starting to do things like reaching out to good bloggers, reaching out to people that have authority in that topic and actually, starting to work with people like that. Because you’re going to start getting links. So you can actually, genuinely, negotiate to work with bloggers. You can work with different people and one, that starts to get your name out there for a brand away from your products. But two, it’ll start to get those links back to your website. People linking to them from their social media, people linking to them from blog posts and obviously, the quickest way with eCommerce is starting to actually, contacting people and saying, “Can I send you a product as a review or can we work together and do something?”, or “I know that I know that you work for a lot of people in our industry. Can we have a chat about, if we’re ever or not, we can do some sort of promotion together?”

Josh Rimmington:

So it’s really about working with, finding those right people and then starting to reach out with them and that’s something that’s not only done at work in your SEO. It’s going to be beneficial for your social media. That’s going to be beneficial for your brand. Because you’re starting to actually build an overall business around it and not by just looking for these quick easy ways of, “How can I quickly get a link?”, and everything else. You’re looking at the longterm approach and saying, “Okay. What are we doing to build the brand? We’ve got these articles and all that. Is there someone that those articles might actually benefit? Can we talk about someone and can they put the link to them and they might put a link back to us, in one of their articles.

Josh Rimmington:

Is there anyone else in the industry that we have a similar alliance to, that we can actually help each other out?”

Josh Rimmington:

So just looking at the overall thing and not looking for those quick and easy ways out. But looking for the long longterm approach to business and looking at how you can generally build your business and your brand overall.

Dave Granfield:

So starting from scratch. So we’ve got a Shopify store that’s never done SEO. They might be ranking a little bit for their brand name and that’s about it. How long is the process to actually start seeing results in SEO?

Josh Rimmington:

Yeah. So it really depends on what you’re trying to rank for. So obviously, if there are terms, that not many people are going after, you can be there in a couple of months. If it’s longterm stuff and you’re building up to be good terms and everything else, it can take a year to really start to get that higher authority on certain topics and everything else and that’s where way you’re starting to build up and build up a lot of that content you have on-site, build up the people that are linking to you, build up the people that are talking about your business. Because it’s really compounding it every month. It’s like going to the gym and every day, you’re not going to see those results every day and it might feel like you’re not doing much. But you do it every day for a year, all of a sudden you’re really fit and you’ve and you’ve got this amazing body. So it’s really about continuing to do stuff every day towards that end goal of ranking for those terms.

Dave Granfield:

And so guys, if you’re talking to an SEO agency or if you’re vetting a few SEO agencies, thinking about doing this stuff, if they don’t openly have that exact conversation with you and let you know, in full transparency that, I’d be concerned about using them full stop. Or if you’ve got a small, obscure product in a tiny little niche and there’s genuinely not a lot of people searching for it, they might be able to get you to page one of Google fast. But it might not mean any additional sales. It might be that you need to target different products, the market fits, those sorts of things or likewise, if you’re selling a licensed Disney product and Disney’s going to rank all day, every day over you, if the agency’s not being realistic with you and saying, “Well, page one might not be or it might be a long longterm strategy or we think it’s going to be hard, that’s red flags me if, they’re not having genuine conversations.

Dave Granfield:

And there’s plenty of SEO agencies that are just like, “Here’s my agreement. Sign in and let’s get going.” And there’s no transparency on what to actually expect in the delivery process and being a paid ad agency, we don’t touch organic, we don’t touch SEO. But we get so many people that have come to us and have been burnt by SEO agencies in the past, that got sold the dream, got signed up and then six months later, they might be on the precipice of it actually starting to work. They might be nearly there and it just takes a little bit more work. But the communication hasn’t been there. It was over-promised and under-delivered and although they might have nearly got there, these agencies are losing customers hand over foot. Because they didn’t communicate properly the process in the beginning.

Josh Rimmington:

Yep, definitely and I totally agree and that’s why we openly all say, “Okay. Well, what are our goals? Do we need to get people straight paid solutions? We need to do these different things to be getting people through the doors on day one if we’ve just opened a site. Because we’re not going to be off to tell Google, “Hey, rank us number one for this product or service, on day one of the business.” It’s just not realistic to do it. So you need to make sure that you’ve got those multiple strategies in place and talking about paid strategies, they will have an overall impact on your actual SEO as well. Because Google does look at traffic coming to a website and look at the people coming to a website. They’ll look at the popularity of a website. If people are then going to your website, buying your products or service and then talking about it on social media, Google is obviously looking at all this and saying, “Oh, people are talking about these products or services. Let’s start looking at them a bit more seriously for ranking for different keywords.”

Josh Rimmington:

So obviously, you want to have those multiple strategies and those paid strategies can work really well, hand-in-hand with those SEO strategies. Because obviously, if you’ve got a business and you’re relying on kicking off from day one and being able to pay the bills and make money straight away from it and you don’t have any time on your hand to be able to say, “Okay. We can’t lose money for a year or two years,” you have to have those multiple strategies in place to be able to get those customers through the door on day one.

Dave Granfield:

Awesome. Josh Remington, from J.R.Marketing Group. Where can they find you, if they want to talk about SEO, on-page or off-page for their Shopify store or any other business if they are tuning into this episode?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. So jrmg.com.eu is probably the easiest way. You can do a free SEO audit and different stuff there and if need be, send me an email with questions or anything from there or just search my name online and you’ll find any of my social media. I’m pretty reachable on any of them. Messages, anything like that, happy to answer any questions around any of the … That you might have about any of the sites.

Dave Granfield:

Awesome, guys and Josh, I hope this doesn’t backfire in your business. But I see plenty of people on business groups on Facebook going, “Who do I get to do SEO for me? Who can do this SEL?” And have you literally … And if it’s someone in Sydney, have you literally, go on and talked in Sydney SEL and see who ranks on the first page? Because that’s a pretty competitive keyword phrase. If they’re ranking for it, they’re probably pretty good at what they do. So maybe you should just use Google to its power, to find an SEO agency that’s pretty good.

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. Definitely.

Dave Granfield:

It will backfire for one agency that comes up. Because they are good, but they don’t deliver. I’ve got a bit of a gripe there and I won’t mention who it is. But anyone who’s smart knows. Guys, Josh has given us some amazing time. People will work it out. Don’t worry. I might even cut this out. Guys, Josh has given us some amazing knowledge of on-page and off-page SEO for Shopify. If you’ve got any more questions, he’s just giving you his details. They’ll be in the show notes as well. Mate, you’ve also got a podcast that you allowed me to guest on recently. So how can they find that podcast?

Josh Rimmington:

Yep. So if you search, “Parenting, plus business equals,” on any of the platforms, you’ll find it there. So the latest episode, we had a chat with you about both business and parenting and everything in between. So it was a great chat and there’s a heap of different parents that own businesses on there. So there’s a variety of information and stuff that a lot of people can get out.

Dave Granfield:

Awesome. Josh, I appreciate your time and your expertise mate. Guys, comment below if you want to know any questions and we can get Josh to answer them for you. Obviously, I have to. I feel obliged. If you’re watching on YouTube, like the channel, comment and share and turn that little notification bell on. There’s going to be a little graphic that goes, “Bing,” right about now and I’ll put a link to the first episode, which is on-page SEO. You can click on that just above right now if your watching on YouTube. If you’re on a podcast, just go to YouTube and search for, “Bid Pixel,” and you’ll find both of these episodes fairly current or up there. Josh, thanks very much, mate. I appreciate your time. It’s been amazing to chat with you about something that I don’t want anything to do with.

Josh Rimmington:

Thank you so much for having me.

Dave Granfield:

Thanks, mate.

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