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How To Get More Backlinks, Traffic, and Sign-Ups From Content Marketing
Alan Silvestri is the Founder and CEO of Growth Gorilla, an agency that provides high-quality content promotion and distribution for B2B SaaS companies. Through quality link-building and content, Growth Gorilla helps companies grow their conversion rates. Before Growth Gorilla, Alan was the Founder and SEO Specialist of Black Swan Digital, which helped SaaS companies and profitable startups get more of their dream leads and customers from Google.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [02:05] Alan Silvestri talks about Growth Gorilla, its services, and its ideal customer
- [04:29] Alan speaks about backlinks and why they’re crucial for site traffic
- [08:23] What types of backlinks should you acquire, and what’s the process like?
- [13:50] Alan’s advice for using AI to write and publish articles
- [16:19] The importance of promoting pages that have business potential
- [20:09] Growth Gorilla’s customer success stories and timeframe
In this episode…
For SaaS companies, content marketing is fundamental for growth. But what can you do if your content is not bearing the desired results?
Many SaaS companies have a marketing team responsible for creating exceptional content. This content grows the business to a certain point, but promoting it is what scales the business to greater heights. However, content promotion is challenging since many companies don’t have the time, resources, or know-how. Alan Silvestri recommends using backlinks to promote content and increase conversion. Believing that excellent products need to be found, Alan shares how he helps SaaS companies get more backlinks in their content to increase traffic and sign-ups.
In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley sits down with Alan Silvestri, Founder and CEO of Growth Gorilla, to discuss promoting content through backlinks. Alan talks about Growth Gorilla and its services, what backlinks are and how to incorporate them into content, and the importance of promoting pages that have business potential.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Growth Gorilla
- Alan Silvestri on LinkedIn
- Alan Silvestri on Twitter
- Quiet Light
- Quiet Light on YouTube
- Joe Valley
- Mark Daoust
- Quiet Light Podcast email: [email protected]
- The EXITpreneur’s Playbook: How to Sell Your Online Business for Top Dollar by Reverse Engineering Your Pathway to Success by Joe Valley
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Hi folks. It’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals.
Joe Valley 0:32
Hey folks, Joe Valley here, welcome to another episode of the Quiet Light Podcast. In today’s episode, we’re talking to Alan Silvestri from Growth Gorilla. His company really helps b2b SaaS companies grow their conversion through content and link building and proper link building and things of this nature. And I was hesitant to have in mind because it’s b2b SaaS, and not all of you are b2b SaaS. So we really focused though, on the fact that all of his tips and tactics apply across the board. Whether you own a content site, and agency, I guess that would be b2b, but it’s not Sass, or any commerce, business, whatever it might be. This process for developing content, and ranking makes sense for all of you across the board. So listen into it, there’s gonna be some nuggets and tips that you can pull out of this, if you’re doing your own SaaS promotion, I already questioned him on a few things for Quiet Light’s content development, because we do this all the time. Y’all get newsletters from us every week, updates, we post content all the time. And some of his tips and suggestions are gonna go right to our content team and CMO for improve rankings on our site as well. So here we go. Take a listen. Alan, welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast. How are you?
Alan Silvestri 1:54
Hey, Joe, I’m happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Joe Valley 1:57
Glad to have you here. Can you give the folks listening and watching a little bit of background on yourself and what you do at Growth Gorilla?
Alan Silvestri 2:05
Yeah. So I’m the founder of Growth Gorilla. We are a b2b SaaS content promotion agency. And we specialize in using strategic link-building. That’s what we call it to essentially get the content that’s sitting on page two and page three on Google and try to push it on to page one, to basically get more traffic. But at the end of the day, more signups for the clients.
Joe Valley 2:26
Does it only apply to SaaS companies or b2b SaaS companies, or, in the case of Quiet Light, we’ve got, I want to, say 1000 articles at this point. And we’ve had an entire team working on developing new content. There’s lots of link-building. And we’re always trying to get our, and I’m not in the marketing department. But it’s PageRank. I think we’re always trying to get that up there as much as possible. Will some of these content concepts apply to a company like Quiet Light?
Alan Silvestri 2:52
Oh, yeah, definitely.
Joe Valley 2:53
I’m trying to think, for b2b but not SaaS, necessarily.
Alan Silvestri 2:58
Yeah, we decided to focus on working with SaaS, mainly because we notice that SaaS companies are among the companies that do content marketing the most, and they do it well, right. There’s a lot of sass companies that have a content production team that specialize in doing all sorts of content for all the three stages of the funnel. And this is also what we like to see right that the content is following the funnel that the customers might have to go through. Because we want to do with the link building and the promotion that we do is at the end of the day, to push pages higher that are targeting specific keywords, they cover the whole three stages of the funnel. So we noticed that a lot of e-commerce, for example, they don’t do a lot of content because the sales process is more direct, right? So they might have a 1000s of pages, but most of them is just like product pages. SaaS companies do a lot of content. Some other companies where we’ve been working well is a couple of affiliate websites, but really good high-quality authority websites and so anybody that’s doing a long-form, informational, high-quality content, typically is a good client for us.
Joe Valley 4:11
And link building that you’re talking about, can you get into that a little bit because it feels to somebody that’s been out of it for a long time, I know that’s just one arm of the search engine process. And I don’t know how much weight it carries anymore. You tell me about that?
Alan Silvestri 4:29
Yeah. So there’s a good article by Ahrefs. So Ahrefs is one of the main SEO tool backlink analysis tools out there. So they did this research where essentially came out in 91% of the content that was published didn’t get like any traffic from Google whatsoever. And the three main reasons for this, the number one reason was because the content didn’t have any backlinks. So this is number one reason.
Joe Valley 4:54
Are these internal or external?
Alan Silvestri 4:57
Yeah this is backlinks from sites pointing to the client site, right? So external backlinks coming into your site, you can optimize, like all you want with internal links. But if you’re not getting the SEO juice from other websites, that’s not going to do a lot for you.
Joe Valley 5:15
How do you do that? If you write an article, and it’s a brand new article did go out to the other sites and say, hey, can you link to this article?
Alan Silvestri 5:24
Technically, yes, it’s unfortunately, not as easy, right. So number one, the article should be stellar quality, it should have a unique angle that you can use to reach out to specific people, right. So we do a lot of research, we find those pages where it actually makes sense for them to link to our page, because maybe our, the article that we have is adding some unique point of view, maybe it’s expanding on the topic, maybe we have some, like new data points that they can use, right to mention inside their article. So really have to be a higher quality than everything else that’s out there, basically. So this is very difficult to do.
Joe Valley 6:07
In our situation, we’ll look at keywords that are most searched and what we want to rank on and say, okay, we’re in top of page two. And we write more content with that keyword, as I understand it. And I don’t think we go to outside firms, and have them linked to the article, you’re saying, in order to get to that 9% that actually rank, we should be taking that article and going out to outside websites and saying, hey, this applies to you. Can you link to this article?
Alan Silvestri 6:43
So it really depends on the competition for the particular keywords that you’re trying to rank for. Right? So if you write an article that’s on a keyword that doesn’t have any other people linking between themselves, then you might as well just rank with the article itself. If it’s a super easy keyword, you can just optimize the homepage. So the keywords in the title, those kinds of things, right.
Joe Valley 7:03
All the things you want to rank for are generally pretty competitive, I think.
Alan Silvestri 7:06
Yeah. Nowadays, yes. Especially the ones that can bet your money, those will be competitive. So this is why a lot of people that don’t like think about or they don’t have the time they don’t have the resources, or they don’t know how to do it. And so yeah, this is why it’s quite fundamental. The three main problems that clients that come to us typically have is number one, they don’t know which pages they need to promote to be able to get more traffic and signups because you can work on link building on like on all sorts of pages, but you will never be able to get the results that you want if you promote the wrong pages, right. There’s a lot of people that focus on building backlinks to pages that maybe have a ton of search volume, but that search volume doesn’t have buyer intent. So that’s not gonna bring in any signups for you. So you can rank number one with 10s of 1000s of searches, but the article is talking about funny memes, that’s not gonna bring any business to your company. The second problem that they have is they don’t know the types of backlinks that they need to acquire to be able to increase that like rankings for this specific keyword. And number three, they don’t have the time, the team the resources, or they don’t know how to do it.
Joe Valley 8:16
Let’s talk about number two, the types of backlinks that you want to acquire. How do you go about that process determining that?
Alan Silvestri 8:23
Yeah, so type of backlinks is fundamentally three different, like key areas. Right. So number one is how many backlinks and how fast you need those backlinks. To determine that there’s a couple of things that you can do, you can have a look, first off at the average, for the top 10 ranking pages, how many backlinks do those pages have already, like on average, and then you know that..
Joe Valley 8:47
Do you just do that manually, you look at them and you count them?
Alan Silvestri 8:50
Yeah, you can do that manually, for sure, we do have kind of like a tool that does this for us, we have scripts and stuff. So we can build that up slightly faster. But you can do this just manually, it’s quite simple. Like you don’t have to have the exact average, right? So if you look at the top 10 results in a truss, you will see the referring domains, that’s what you want to specifically look at. And you can kind of get a feel for how they’re doing. So if there’s a page that has 200, and then maybe there’s another page that has five and your page is 20, then you know that you should like do more to try and get closer to the other guys.
Joe Valley 9:26
And how important are those, the quality of those referring domains?
Alan Silvestri 9:31
That’s very important. So that was my second step essentially, once you know how many links and how fast because you can also see how many new backlinks like each of those pages are building every month. Once you know how many you need to close the gap, then you need to focus on the quality. That’s the second aspect. To determine the link quality you can do a couple of things. The first thing that you should do is to remove the digital junk right? So that you can focus the time that you have on just doing the manual check on the absolute best website, you can use the SEO metrics like domain rating, that’s the strength for a website in terms of its backlink profile. So that’s the Ahrefs metrics. It’s kind of similar to domain authority from miles. That’s another tool. So you can use that, for example, we don’t want to get any backlinks that have domain rating lower than 20. Because that’s typically either very new sites or a very poor quality, okay.
Joe Valley 10:35
And the way to determine those backlinks quality or rankings is with Ahrefs, or is there another tool use?
Alan Silvestri 10:43
Yeah, typically, most people just use Ahrefs, you can put the site in there, and it shows you all the metrics. The second metric that we want to look at is the traffic to the domain. So we want to know how much traffic a specific website is getting to the whole domain, right? We typically look at traffic that’s higher than 1000, or 5000, depending on how strict we want to be. So these are the main domain-level metrics, right? So we’re talking about the whole site. And that said, if you think about it, the link they are going to get is going to come from a specific individual page. So a specific URL from that site. So you also want to have a look at the page-level metrics. So page level metrics, similar to DR is UR, that’s the strength of the specific URLs in terms of the backlinks profile that it has. But you can also look at the traffic that the specific page has. Because the good thing that’s about getting a link from a page with traffic is that you can also get some referral traffic. So some people that basically are reading the article, they click on your link, and they get to your page, right, so it’s double benefit, you get the SEO juice, so you can rank higher, but you also get the traffic and people coming directly to the page. So those are the two main things, the domain level metrics, domain rating and traffic to domain a but also page-level metrics. So URL reading and traffic to the page, then there’s a couple of other things more technical, like a topical relevancy. So you really want to get backlinks from pages that are relevant to your topic. Because Google nowadays is smart enough to know that a link from a page that’s talking about like an air salon, that’s going to assess company that’s not relevant, it’s not going to do anything for the page. So you want links from pages that are talking about similar topics that are correlated to your topic. And that’s defined by specifically the anchor text. So the text that’s being used to link to your page, from the other page. So if you want to kind of like do the best possible jobs that you might be able to control the anchor text. So you can go to the blogger and ask them, can you use this text to link to my page, right? That’s going to be more specific, most of the times, they’re not going to let you do that. So you can just take whatever they use. And typically, that’s actually a better strategy because it looks more natural, right? Because otherwise, everybody would just use the main target keyword. And actually, that’s why, like, can have negative effects on the SEO.
Joe Valley 13:16
Interesting. What’s going on with ChatGPT right now, and a lot of people I’ve heard are waking up every day and putting in some information to have it read a new article for their website and publishing it. I’ve heard a variety of different thoughts on that. I’m just curious about yours in terms of, with Google being smart enough to determine bad links that are not relevant. Have they figured out is there an algorithm there to figure out that it’s written by a bot or AI instead of human?
Alan Silvestri 13:50
So I think they’re definitely working on something, I don’t know whether it’s already out there and working already, but it’s definitely there. Specifically, if you think about the Google has been using AI for ages to predict the queries, like if you start typing a keyword in Google, then it shows you a bunch of different like related things that you might be able or that you might want to look for. So that’s Google AI, kind of working right. So I’m pretty sure that in the near future, they will have something in place to be able to spot content that’s written by AI. So I would definitely not recommend people to do that. What you can do is to use AI to like shortcut some of the writing process maybe right. So I’ve been using ChatGPT mainly as an assistant in writing but also in strategizing and a few other things. So you can tell it, give me like a few topic ideas that I should be writing about, like this main umbrella topic. So then you can expand on those. You can use it also to get like title variations. That’s really good. So you can put in your title or you can say, this is my article that’s about this topic and I will be covering these five different points. Can you give me 10 different title variations that are good for people to click on Google, and that’s gonna work very well, typically that works very well. We also use it, for example, when we reach out to people to ask for link placements in existing content, we might use ChatGPT to come up with an additional sentence or an additional snippet of text that we can send to the blogger to include with our link. That’s just faster. And so yeah, if you use CharGPT to write just individual sentence or a short paragraph, that’s not going to do anything to the article. So yeah, and there’s a couple of very good use cases for people through that.
Joe Valley 15:42
I didn’t want to go on too much of a tangent there. I’m sure we could though it sounds like you’re using it in what you do. And in your position, so a lot of other folks should be using it as well. Talk to me about the monetization, I find, with straight-up content sites, the monetization, it’s all available to there. But it applies in different ways to different sites, with monetization of your clients b2b SaaS, in particular, is it all about driving traffic? You talked about the three levels of the funnel to a signup page?
Alan Silvestri 16:19
Yeah, it depends on how the client is product work, typically, is driving traffic to a signup page, or a demo kind of booking page, or just like straight up sign up to the software. So yeah, some clients are gonna have a free trial, some others are gonna just have paid straight away some other have a demo, it really depends on the size of the company and what their sales process is. But yeah, that’s mostly what we do. Part of our strategy is essentially, it’s also to help them and to help us come up with the absolute best possible pages that we can target and to work on. We also get the client input from those pages. So we do our whole analysis in terms of like competition, rankability, linkability, all of those kind of SEO things. But then we want to know from the clients, which pages that we have shortlisted that they think, have the most business potential, because that’s something that only the clients know, typically. So we asked them, if they can provide us with some conversion data, maybe they have Google Analytics data of which pages have generated the most signups. So we can put that into the spreadsheet where we’re doing our analysis, and that’s going to help us prioritize and pick the best possible pages. A lot of people, as I said before, they just focus on building links to pages that maybe yes, they are linkable, maybe it’s like a linkable asset, or data, study of whatever, like in their niche, they can get 10 really good, high-quality backlinks to that page, and that’s gonna do quite well for their SEO for the overall domain rating. But that’s not going to bring in much sales. So we want to focus mostly on promoting the pages that actually have some business potential, so that the clients can see some ROI faster from.
Joe Valley 18:08
And who is your typical client that you work with?
Alan Silvestri 18:11
Yeah, our typical clients is, so yeah, b2b SaaS with the team that’s quite small, between, like maybe 10 and 50 people.
Joe Valley 18:22
Can you define b2b SaaS a little bit more for me, please?
Alan Silvestri 18:26
Yeah, so it’s all those software companies. Yeah, we work with a lot of SaaS in the marketing space as well, financial space. So yeah, those software companies that are selling a software from one business to another essentially b2b.
Joe Valley 18:46
Like an inventory management SaaS too?
Alan Silvestri 18:48
Yeah, e-commerce, kind of like checkout platform, or a b2b sales prospecting tool that shows you the email of the person that you want to reach out to. We had another one that was a calculator site, for example. We had another one that’s of course, it’s an online course platform player, like literally all sorts of different verticals within the SaaS space. We like b2b more, because for some reason, b2b do a lot more with content, same as I said before, compared to e-commerce, maybe, compared to b2c. But yeah, that’s it mainly, we typically work directly with either the marketing manager, or the director of growth. So they have a small marketing team that’s doing the content strategy, and they’re doing a really good job at that, maybe, but they don’t have the extra support to actually take that content and get the word out. So this is where we come in. So yeah, 10 to 50 people, typically between one and 10 million revenue per year. That’s what we look at.
Joe Valley 19:39
And what kind of timeframe should people think about in terms of getting a bump in both traffic and clustering conversion rates?
Alan Silvestri 20:09
Yeah, depends a lot on the situation when we start, right. So if we start with a company that has a domain rating of 20, this is gonna take way longer compared to another company that maybe already has a domain rating of 60. Right, because the domain is already established, they already have a lot of backlinks traffic and pages ranking, we typically want to work with clients that already have maybe 50 pages ranking between the bottom of page one and page three, right. So then we have a good kind of, like batch of pages and content that’s already doing quite well. But maybe we just a couple of extra backlinks is gonna go into page one. So in terms of timeframe, that said, it’s typically not less than three months for an established company to see some results. And it can go all the way to like six, 12 months for a newer company. We’ve been able with a company that was quite established already with double the traffic in the first three months that they work with us. They had the really good brand, they were already established in terms of like the backlink profile. So that helps a lot.
Joe Valley 21:22
What did you do to double their traffic, was it on page conversion tactics? Or was it something else?
Alan Silvestri 21:30
No, that was like exactly what I just talked about? So defining the best possible pages to be able to increase the traffic in the next 90 days? So we wanted to pick what we call the quick win pages, so those pages are already ranking quite well, then maybe we just a couple of extra backlinks could shoot up into page one. So we pick the best pages that also were able to bring them some revenue. Then number two is we identify the right type of links that we needed to acquire, and how many of those and then we just got to work with the campaigns and the whole end of outreach process that we do.
Joe Valley 22:02
Do you have a team that helps identify those links? And do you do that, I would think with the owner of the company that you’re working for? Because they know their industry better than you do?
Alan Silvestri 22:13
Yeah, definitely. We are 10 people, ourselves. And we do have three different roles within the company, right. So there’s myself, I still do most of the clients marketing sales, but some of the strategy as well. And then we have our Director of Strategy. She’s the one that’s responsible of getting started with a what we call the roadmap, right, that’s picking the best pages to work on. And we have a whole process for that. She does that together with the client at some point when we ask them for their input. So with our analysis, we know that these pages have some potential, we tell to the clients, okay, can you come in and tell us now, which of these 20 pages you think have the most potential, so we can rank them from one to 10. And then we’re gonna get to work on those 10, maybe two slash three pages per month in the quarter.
Joe Valley 23:03
This same process and methodology will work again, for kind of all content-related companies, it’s just that your focus is b2b SaaS, because you can see they didn’t do as good of a job as on pitch.
Alan Silvestri 23:20
Yeah, I can work for anybody that’s producing good quality content. The main reason again, why we like SaaS, it’s also because we have a few different campaign types that are specific for SaaS. So for example, we can get SaaS companies listed in all of those listicles there are like the top 10 tools for this top 10 tools for that. Right. So that’s more of a SaaS unique, specific thing. That’s something our company really like that always works really well.
Joe Valley 23:50
Did you say listicles?
Alan Silvestri 23:52
Yeah, people called them listicles. It’s basically articles that are lists, right?
Joe Valley 23:58
For some reason I went to testicles. All right, well, this has been very helpful, Alan, appreciate it. How do people learn more about what you do and your company and things like that?
Alan Silvestri 24:12
Yeah, so people can find me on Twitter. That’s where I’m most active @alanggorilla, or on our website, which is mygrowthgorilla.com
Joe Valley 24:22
Mygrowthgorilla.com or alanggorilla on Twitter. Excellent. Alan, thanks for sharing your wisdom. Appreciate it.
Alan Silvestri 24:30
Thank you, Joe. It’s been great.
Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light Content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at [email protected] Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.