In today’s episode, we have Ben Adler with us and he is going to talk about how you can use SEO strategies and organic traffic to grow your online course business.
You will also get to hear how to find easy to rank for keywords with his software Keyword Chef, how Facebook groups can help facilitate a community for your audience, and why creating software is very similar to creating an online course.
In this episode, you will hear...
… how Ben’s personal product became a successful tool for the SEO world.
… how you can use SEO strategies and organic traffic to grow your online course business.
… what a SERP score is and how it benefits your SEO analysis.
… how to find easy to rank for keywords with his software Keyword Chef.
… how Facebook groups can help facilitate a community for your audience.
… Ben’s thoughts on whether a niche can be too big or too small.
… why creating software is very similar to creating an online course.
… Ben’s tips on how to choose and combine the right keywords for your articles.
… why you don't necessarily need to go after the keywords with the most traffic.
… Ben’s best advice to beginners in SEO and keyword research.
What's up everyone, thanks for checking out the show today. I have a very special guest with me. He's become quite a good friend in the online space. We communicate here and there. And I'm in his group and even use a tool that he has created called Keyword Chef.
Which we'll talk about later really helps you to find great keywords online when you're doing SEO and traffic for blogs and different niches. It's a pleasure to have you here today. Ben, how's it going?
Hi, Jeremy. Thank you glad to be here.
Yeah, definitely. I think this is gonna be a really great conversation, we can talk about some of the strategies that you've implemented when creating your tool and how we can actually use your tool maybe to drive traffic to our online courses, which I think is a pretty interesting topic.
But before we get into that, can you just take a minute and tell us a little bit about yourself and what you were doing before you got into the online space.
So I actually have a developer background. I was a programmer, and I was working for a company for maybe eight or nine years, which is a long time to stay at one company. And I was always curious about making money and making it passively.
And I didn't really know too much about making passive income or this online business thing. One day, I was browsing Reddit, and I came across someone who had a vacuum cleaner website. And he was making $500 a month from this crappy looking vacuum cleaner website.
And as a programmer, like I looked at the website, and I didn't think the website looked very good. So I was like blown away how this crappy website was making $500 a month. So I figured out how they did it.
It's called like affiliate marketing, promoting other people's products online for a commission. And you drive traffic to these websites through what's called SEO, search engine optimization. It's basically getting traffic by showing up in the Google search results when people search for things.
So I taught myself this, I tried a couple websites. My first few websites did not work out. But my third one did. And that was like my first real success online is building this review affiliate website.
And then I built a few other websites, I got good at doing keyword research, which is where I built Keyword Chef, based off of that keyword research process.
Yeah, we will dive into a couple of different points here. I definitely want to talk about search engine optimization, and about your tool.
And I think I came to find out about you through your group. Because I was interested in search engine optimization. I actually started a web design company years and years ago with my brother, I mean, I'm talking 15-20 years ago.
And at that time, it was just keyword stuffing, like, you know, just take a bunch of keywords and splatter them all over the page and hope for the best. And, you know, nowadays, Google has become a lot smarter with the algorithm on how they look at Search Engine Optimization and how they show the search engine results.
So I wanted to learn more about it and get better at it. And I was looking at niche websites and affiliate sites and I came across your group. And it was a really great Facebook group, there was a lot of helpful information going on.
You are running these 90 day sprints to see if you could build a website and get it up and running in 90 days. And I did that with a website. And it turned out really well with some of the information you're providing. So I thank you for that.
So, search engine optimization to me is pretty interesting, because it seems like it takes a little longer to get going than, say running an ad or something like that. But I feel like there's much more longevity there.
And I feel like people who are creating online courses or digital products could utilize search engine optimization, because if they were to create a blog and have SEO in it, then they could use that traffic to point toward their course if they wanted to.
So let's talk a little bit about SEO for a minute. What are some of the key factors nowadays that are important for Google and to be found online through SEO?
Probably the most important thing is like search intent, keywords, and then like competition analysis and writing good content. There's other things too like backlinks. And you can get really technical with SEO. But for me, I like to keep things simple.
You know, when I'm starting to work on SEO, the best thing to do is, you know, find what people are looking for online. Because if you find what they're looking for, you can write about that thing, and then show up in the search results, and then those people will see it.
So the first step is, you know, find what people are looking for. So you can write topics around that search term. This is called keyword research. And that's probably the first starting point. And then once you find a keyword, you want to analyze what other websites are also talking about this topic, because those are basically your competitors.
And there's only 10 spots on the front page of Google search, there's a joke in the SEO world, they say, "The best place to hide a body is on page two of Google search results." So you want to be in the top 10, where you're most visible.
And then you want to include your search term, like in your article. And if you want, we can go more technical about how to do that. But that's the gist of it is, you know, finding topics people are looking for, and then writing about those specific topics.
So we want to make sure the first thing you mentioned is to have good search intent. So we want to know, what people are writing about and why they're writing on that information.
And then you talked about, you know, making sure that you have topics around that search term, and that you're putting those keywords into that content.
So we'll talk about your tool, which makes this process I think, just much more easier, and gives us some great keywords to go off of. But just disregarding the tool for a moment.
If someone wanted to write an article, you know, say they had a passion for playing guitar, and they wanted to create a blog around guitar playing. What would some of the steps be to try to find these keywords or figure out what people are writing about or what keywords they could rank for?
So the first step, like he said, is to find these key words. And there's two ways of doing this, you could use a keyword research tool. Mine is called Keyword Chef. But there are many other keyword research tools out there. Each of them has their own pros and cons.
So you would go into one of these tools. And you would type in "guitar." And the tool will find new keywords, like you know, "how many strings does a guitar have?" Or, "do I need a pick to play the guitar?" Or, "how long does it take to get good at guitar?" Or, "what size guitar do I need?"
These are all questions people are searching to Google. So one way is to use a keyword research tool. Or another way is, especially if you're on a budget is, you can go to Google itself. And when you start typing in a word, you'll often see the suggestions pop up automatically. This is called Google auto suggest.
And basically Google is trying to like help you figure out what you're typing, so you can search for it faster. But all these suggestions that are showing up, those are actually keywords that other people are searching for.
So Google is basically giving you keywords for free, which is awesome. So that's like a free method I was using for a long time. That's how you find keywords. It's either, you know, just browsing Google or using a keyword research tool.
Okay, yeah. And I've used that auto suggest method before. You type in, "what guitar do I need?" And then Google might give you 10 Auto suggests things, what type of guitar do I need for jazz music, for bluegrass music, for rock music.
And then those are, like you said, keywords that people are already looking for. And then you can write an article on those individual topics. And then by writing those articles, hopefully you can rank on, you know, the first page of Google, like you said, and then maybe get some traffic.
And to me, I just I love organic SEO traffic. Like I said earlier. It has long jeopardy if you can get your articles to rank, and could really boost a lot of traffic. I think it goes great with an online course, you know, if you have YouTube, SEO, or Google SEO, and people are coming to your site, and then you can sell your course to me, it's just such a powerful method.
So I'm in your group, and then one day you say, "Hey guys, I'm creating this tool that's a keyword research tool that will help you find keywords." And I thought to myself, "Okay, here we go, another keyword research tool. There's a lot of these already on the market."
And then I tried it out and I fell in love with it. And I was doing the auto suggest feature, and then when I went and use your tool, it really just helped and sped up this process so much quicker, and gave such better keywords to look for to rank for.
So can you talk a little bit about Keyword Chef and what it does specifically to help others? Now, I'm almost scared to promote this tool to people and talk about it. Because once everyone's using it, there's not gonna be any good keywords left.
But I'm sure you've heard that before. But yeah, let's talk a little bit about Keyword Chef, how does this tool make it easier to find these keywords?
Yeah. So instead of using Google auto suggest, and trying out a bunch of different phrases and needing to copy and paste only certain keywords, Keyword Chef already has his algorithms to like, find all these keywords for you. So you don't need to play around with auto suggests.
The real difference between Keyword Chef and other keyword tools is a competition analysis. So like I said earlier, you want to gauge who you're competing with. Because if there's a lot of really competitive authoritative websites on the front page, you might not be able to beat them, just because they're more powerful websites.
What my tool does is it counts the number of weak websites on the front page search results, and it returns a number called a SERP score. So basically, that number is, how many weak sites are on the front page, and higher the number, the better.
This is the only tool that does that, that I know of. Other tools they look at, like the number of backlinks and things like that, which are often misleading, because just because a page has more backlinks doesn't necessarily mean it's going to rank higher. There is a correlation. But it's not always true.
The method that keyword stuff uses is a lot more accurate when it comes to competition analysis. So if you find that easy keyword in Keyword Chef, it's actually going to be an easy keyword, if that makes sense.
Yeah, it's really neat. It's such a cool tool, because like you said, all of these tools that are popular out there, they give a lot of information and data. But that data is not always accurate.
So it might talk about how much volume of traffic that this keyword will bring to your site. It might talk about backlinks, as you mentioned, which is how many websites are pointing to this domain, kind of boosting its authority.
And it gives you a ranking. But I've used those tools before and I quit using them, because I just found that, like you said, they're not always accurate. And I felt like I was paying money for things that I just wasn't really using a whole lot. And I would go back to the auto suggest feature.
And then I found Keyword Chef, and like you said it analyzes the competition. And it shows you visually a number and it's color coded, right? Like, what is it? After three easy to rank for competitors it turns green or something like that?
Yeah. And so because based on the SERPs scores, if the sites are weak, that are ranking on Google, and you can write a better article, then the chances of you out ranking them and moving higher up in the search index is going to be better.
And so this tool makes it really, really easy, because in one shot, I'll give you all the keywords. And it will give you how easy all these keywords are to rank based on the competition. It's absolutely brilliant. Like you said, I've never seen anyone else do this before.
And so we can take those keywords, and then we can write articles, and we can try to boost our traffic. Now, how did you come up with this idea? And I don't want to, we don't have to talk about the details of how the software works. But how did you come up with this idea to begin with?
So I was getting good at finding keywords and doing competition analysis. And I thought, you know, this whole process can be automated, because it does take a long time. It takes a long time to Google 1000 keywords, and then check the search results.
But you know, Keyword Chef can do that really quickly. So I kind of built it for myself. I thought this would save a lot of time based on the process I was already doing for my own websites.
Okay. So you're like, you know, scratching your own itch, you said, "I think I could do this better. I have a way that I could create the process that I'm already doing. And I'm a programmer, so why not?" Basically, why not?
Yeah, scratching my own itch. I think when you make a product that you actually use yourself, you can make it really well. There's some tools out there. I sometimes wonder if like, the people who made them actually use them for themselves?
Because sometimes they don't, you know, and they miss they miss a lot of details, I think, if they aren't using their own product. Yeah, one was scratching my own itch.
And then, too, I thought it would make a great business because I already had my Facebook group that I built earlier. So you know, you have an audience and then you sell them something.
Let's talk about that for a moment. I know a lot of people they build something and then they go try to find the audience. How integral was having that Facebook group to getting your software built when it did come along?
Oh, it was a huge part of my success so far. If you enjoy being on Facebook, Facebook groups are tremendously valuable. You can build your own audience, you build a lot of trust.
And when you come out with a product, you don't need to spam people with messages or do anything like that, you know, you can just share your product in your group. And then if it's a good product, people will buy it, you know. So it's like having your own mailing list.
Yeah. I feel like the Facebook group can even be more beneficial than the mailing list. Because you get this built in direct feedback loop from people.
Something I've noticed you do in your group quite often is, you will ask questions, and you will test features. And you'll say, "What do you think about this? Does this make sense?" And you'll show like, a picture of the interface and say, "Hey, I'm thinking about changing this. Is that something you would like?"
I feel like that's super awesome as someone who is more focused on making sure that the tool is working for the community than just out there building and building and building and saying, "This is what it is."
So when you created this, did you test it with people or anything like that? Or did you just put it out there to the market? Like, what did the beginning stages look like?
Yeah, so when I was actively building it, in the early stages, I did create a small private beta group of people I trusted. So there were maybe 10 or so people in this group, not many. And when I was building it, I would just ask for feedback. And I let them test it for free.
That just helped me build a tool better. And then when I got to a certain point, when I felt comfortable that most of the features were there, I told my public group about it. And all I did was just make a demo video, it was pre-recorded, and I just posted it in my group.
So that was my first public launch. It wasn't like this big hyped up thing. And I actually think that's a way to go. I call it "soft launches" versus like a hard launch that has a lot of buzz. Because if something goes wrong in the soft launch, you can you can fix it and then launch it again, you know. So, it's not like as big of a deal if you screw up with a hard launch.
There were two key components of having you on this interview that I thought would be beneficial to the listeners. One is talking about Keyword Chef itself, talking about how we can utilize SEO in organic traffic.
And then the other key point I think that listeners need to take away from this is that everything that Ben is talking about, can be used for an online course also, and really can be used for lots of different types of businesses.
The fact that he started with a community, he built a community, he was talking to them, he was listening to them, finding out what they were doing, doing research, asking questions, then went on to build a small beta group.
We've talked about beta courses on this program, that you can actually create an online course just like a beta course before you build it, or as you're building it, getting a small group of people in, selling the course, and doing the same thing asking for feedback, just like Ben did with his software.
And then like you said, doing a soft launch. So testing different launching phases and videos and recordings and seeing, you know what, what resonates with people and like you said if you do this soft launch with a pre recorded video before you go do this big launch, and it doesn't work out. It's okay, because you could try it again other times.
So I feel like everything that you're talking about could also be used in the online course space, which is what this podcast in this brand is really centered around. And so I think it's just really brilliant the way that you've gone about building out the software.
And then as we mentioned as time has gone on, you've asked the audience to refine the program and make it better, something else you can do with your core. So I think that's really awesome the way that you put that together.
Now, since the launch, how has Keyword Chef grown? Like, I know that you started outsourcing some of the work, is that correct?
Yeah. So in the beginning, it was all me doing all the marketing and programming and landing pages and everything. I did that for about the first year and a half. And now, I don't want to program anymore.
So I brought on a part time developer from the Philippines. He's working 20 to 30 hours a week, adding new features. So, that's been a big help where I can just like, make the design, give him the design, and he'll implement it.
Right? Yeah. I'm reading a book called The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. And he talked about the role of the entrepreneur is really in the systems that you build.
So that you can work on the big ideas that you are able to look at the big picture and move the company along that you become more of like a shareholder than the person working in the business, which we hear often in this space.
So it sounds like you're stepping into that role, where you're focusing on more bigger picture aspects, the marketing, getting the word out, is that something you would agree with?
Yeah, I like what you said, like in the shareholder analogy, you want to become like more of a mastermind and tell other people what to do. Obviously, you're not like an authoritative sense. But it's like as a leader.
So you want to like start building teams and systems where, instead of doing everything yourself, you're having other people do it for you, and you're more of the brains and the visionary behind where the business is going.
I think it's important because you're only going to get so far, doing all the work yourself. I don't program I know a little bit about programming, my brother's a programmer. And I know that it takes a lot of work to put any type of software together, even the most basic software takes a lot of time commitment, fixing bugs, making sure that everything's working and doesn't break.
And so nowadays, people who started the tech companies, people like you know, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, he's not programming you know, he's he's looking at big vision picture stuff. Steve Jobs, who started Apple and Steve Wozniak, you know, moved into bigger roles as they grew their companies set to focus on big picture.
So I think it's really cool that you are moving into that direction, I feel like you can get a lot more done that way. So going back to maybe the person who's listening to this podcast, and they're like, "I would like to get traffic to my website. I like the SEO, I like the idea of organic traffic or starting a blog and running traffic to my course."
And maybe they want to go check out Keyword Chef, I definitely suggest you do that. What would be the first step, or maybe the first couple of steps that you would recommend to someone who wants to start a blog or a website or niche website?
Would you recommend diving right in and just creating the site? Or would you start with a keyword research? Like what what would be your process if you were starting a new site today?
Nowadays, I pick topics I'm interested in, well, my first website that I talked about that was successful, it wasn't a niche I didn't really care about. So I was very motivated. But you know, I got burned out just because I was talking about the same thing over and over again, I didn't really care about.
Nowadays, I pick topics I enjoy writing about. And I also make sure the niche is like large enough, you don't want to pick a niche that's like super, super small. After I gather a list of niche ideas, I do keyword research, and I make sure there's like enough easy keywords to target before I even start writing about them.
So I usually say you know if there's 30 or 40, or 30 or 50 keywords that I can find really easily in this niche, that's a good sign to go after.
Okay, so you start with the keyword research first. I guess that would save a lot of time just to check the competition and the validity of that niche website. You said that you want to make sure that there's enough of an audience that the niche is large enough and not too small.
Can a niche be too big? Can you start off with too big of a niche?
That's a good question. Like I had a camping website and like camping is a huge niche and I was still able to find easy camping keywords to target. So like, a niche can be big, you just have to find the easy keywords in that niche if that makes sense.
Sometimes I've noticed that you know you have similar keywords, keywords it you might be able to write topics individually articles about or you might I'd be able to combine them.
How do you decide on like, which keywords that you combine into an article versus ones that you would just write independently on their own articles?
So you can have two similar keywords. And it's like, put these in the same article or make two separate articles.
The first thing you want to do is figure out the search intent. So like that is, why is the person searching for this keyword? What problem are they having? If the answer for both of those keywords is like basically the same problem, then I would include them.
But if they're like slightly different problems, I might include them in different articles. There's no hard and fast rule. It's just like, it's often a gray area. But if the keywords are really similar, and a person would naturally be searching for the same thing, I would include them in the same article.
Okay. And what about volume? I know that your tool and some other tools will show search volume. And sometimes the volume is very small, sometimes it can be 1000s of people. So if you're starting off, what is kind of your rule of thumb, as far as volume goes for the keyword itself?
In the beginning, I think it's perfectly fine to targets, what are called zero volume keywords. And these are keywords that show up in keyword research tools. And the tool says, "There's zero people searching for this keyword per month."
And you might be thinking, "Why would I write about a topic that nobody's searching for?" So is there a volume, it's not actually zero volume, it's just oftentimes, these keywords can get a few 100 visits per month, but they are on the lower scale of things.
Going after these keywords can be good, because there's less competition. And it's just a good way in the beginning to build your website authority. And let Google figure out what your website is about and start trusting your website.
As your website grows, so you can start targeting more competitive keywords that have higher volume. And I like to mention that the volume isn't necessarily easy or hard of a keyword, you know.
You can have a low volume keyword that's easy, or it can be hard. But most of the time, lower volume keywords are usually easier keywords, but not always.
Okay, awesome. Yeah, I was confused about that myself. You just assumed that if it's got a lot of volume that it's probably going to be more competitive. But it's good to know that that's not always the case.
So this has been some really cool information and really useful. I'm glad that you came on and talked to us and provided some of this information that you have today.
I feel like if anyone is interested in SEO or organic traffic, this is a great way to go about it. And using your tool is just really going to help find those easy to rank keywords and get their site off the ground immediately.
Just thinking about the beginner out there, whether they're starting their own website, or they're starting their own software, or they're starting their own online course, or business or whatever it is.
What would be probably the best piece of advice that you could give someone after the years of you being you know, an entrepreneur and the things that you've learned along the way?
So what I tell people is, when you're first starting out, there's a lot of different business models out there. There's nice websites, there's drop shipping, there's coaching, there's affiliate marketing.
What I tell people is, it's okay to try these different business models out, but you want to find one that you enjoy doing that you're good at, and then stick to it for a little while to get better or better at it.
You don't want to be chasing every shiny object, but it's okay to try things out that might be a good fit for you. That's in the beginning, you know, so you've got to like what you're doing and start getting good at it and start building your own audience.
Like we said earlier, Facebook groups is a great way to build an audience. And once you have an audience, you can sell them products over and over again.
Yeah, definitely. That's some good advice. You gotta love it. You know, online courses might not be for everyone. Nche websites might not be for everyone. Coaching might not be for everyone.
So you've got to find the thing that you're going to enjoy. Because if you want to do this for the long game, you got to be passionate about it or have some level of interest. Because when the days get hard, you gotta love it enough to get through those hard days, right?
Cool, man. Well, yeah, this has been great. And just one kind of last follow up question is just thinking about your business and Keyword Chef and the things that you're doing online? Where would you like to be in the next year, two years or five years from now? Where do you see your business turning into?
I like to build a bigger team, maybe hire a few more people. And that's about it. I haven't really thought about it too much.
Yeah, that question always throws people off a little bit when I ask it and I think it's important to, you know, you can't think too far into the future because we don't know where it's going to take us obviously the past couple of years have shown us that, you know, things can change immediately.
But I think if you have some type of big vision goal that in the back of your mind, it just kind of helps, you know, motivate you to the next steps.
Ben Adler, it's been amazing having you on the show today. I suggest everyone check out his tool, Keyword Chef. And if anyone wants to find you online or Keyword Chef or your Facebook group, where's the best place to go?
If you want to connect, you can find me on Facebook, on the Keyword Chef Facebook group, or you can email me, Ben@keywordchef.com and I usually reply to people, unless you're spamming me. I'm pretty accessible if you have a question.
Okay, very cool. Well, I'll make sure that I put all of the links to your social media profiles and everything that we mentioned in this episode into the show notes. So make sure you head on over to the show notes.
And that was you can find Ben and send him a nice message and let him know what you think about his tool there. It's been great having you on today. I really appreciate you taking the time and I just hope for the most success for you going in the future.
Thanks, Jeremy. It was fun.
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