I’m so glad to have one of my SEO mentors join us this week.
You can fight me on this. But he has built one of the best resources for SEO case studies on the planet…
He interviews top SEOs from HUGE companies like Monday, Animalz and Ahrefs.
In this interview:
- Ben’s creator story
- Struggles running How The Fxck
- SEO tips for creators
- His content strategy
What Was He Doing Before How the Fxck?
Ben comes from the B2B world, working for various SaaS startups like SentiSum and CustomerGauge.
He specialized in Demand Generation with pure organic strategies.
It’s no wonder he went on to share his wealth of SEO knowledge with the rest.
“When I started my creator journey, I was working for a tech startup called SentiSum. I later moved to another startup called CustomerGauge. Both really tough marketing jobs, innovative SaaS software’s with complex sales processes—we had to do a lot of convincing to build demand.”Ben Goodey
It’s one thing to perform SEO.
Doing it for SaaS companies with unique products and processes is a different ball game.
It isn’t just popping in a few keywords in an SEO tool and writing some articles.
- Awareness levels
- Complex funnels
- Marketing and Sales unison
- Thought leadership
These are some of the nightmares that come to mind.
When he says it’s tough. I get it.
But it’s also how he possesses the expertise, skills and network to start How The Fxck.
What Drove Him To Start How the F*ck?
His case study page sums it up…
Both of us are sick of gurus selling basic a$$ courses for insane prices to make a quick buck.
The worse part?
Newbies will gladly throw their money at them for not knowing any better.
“The desire to ask really challenging questions to marketers like Chris Walker and April Dunford. I felt no one was asking what I needed to know. The community has since niched down to focus on SEO (or, as I call it, search-first marketing). Now we hear “how the f*ck” the most successful companies are growing using the search channel—we get the best practices no one is telling you about in courses.”Ben Goodey
Many creator courses on starting a blog hardly cover SEO in-depth.
But that is the foundation of trying to grow it.
You’ll hear things like:
- Put keywords in the title tag, URL, and meta description
- Build backlinks
- Niche down
- Choose Bluehost… lol
- Target high-volume and low-competition keywords
There is nothing inherently wrong. Yes, even using Bluehost…
However, most don’t share the good bits that actually get results.
That’s why I love Ben’s SEO case studies about COMPANIES. He shares their SEO strategies that you can’t find anywhere else.
99% of bloggers are trying to grow like bloggers.
But I’m a blogger that is trying to grow like a company.
What Are The Most Difficult Challenges He Faced With How the F*ck?
It’s no secret that many creators, even experienced ones, encounter Shiny Object Syndrome.
Ben faced the same thing.
“Clarity. I have multiple channels running (podcast, newsletter, premium newsletter, social media). So it’s hard to communicate in a nutshell what we do and the mission behind it.”Ben Goodey
What I found to combat this best is having a main content publishing platform and 1 to 2 secondary social media distribution channels.
In my case, it’s my blog and Twitter.
I have a full-time job, and that’s the most I can handle now.
But if you have more time and resources to dedicate to content creation, by all means, be more omnipresent.
How Did Ben Get SEO Teams of Big Companies To Share Their Case Studies?
Ben may have trouble with clarity…
But you know what he has no issue with?
Getting SEO superstars on his podcast.
How does he do it?
Here’s his secret strategy…
“Just ask :)”Ben Goodey
It’s really that simple. But hardly anyone does it.
Hardly anyone does it RIGHT.
How do you think I got Ben to do this interview?
He dropped me a follow after I commented on another Tweet.
I was surprised and quickly dropped him a DM telling him I was subscribed to How The Fxck.
We exchanged pleasantries, and I asked him if he was open to answering a few interview questions.
And here we are.
All I did was ask.
But here are a few caveats:
- You need leverage. I have a blog with a few high DR backlinks that generate 15,000 new monthly visits. I can provide him with more exposure and link juice.
- You must identify opportunities quickly. Many who receive a follow from a more influential person will just be starstruck. I saw this as a “foot in the door” chance for a topic idea.
- You can’t be needy. You can’t ask for something in return without having given value. I was already subscribed to How The Fxck before initiating the interview idea.
- You must make it frictionless. I didn’t want to do a video podcast and opted for a text-based interview as it’s relatively easy. I created a simple form for him to answer the questions.
How Long Did It Take To Earn His Dollar Online?
Like most creators, we tend to either obsess with monetization immediately or not at all.
He didn’t have a strategy for an entire year.
He was also probably figuring out his target audience. This meant not having a niche.
But he flipped the script once he focused on SEO and got his first paid subscriber within the first week.
He even got Ahrefs to sponsor his podcast for an undisclosed amount.
“I had no monetization strategy for over a year. But once I niched down into SEO everything fell into place much more easily. My first dollar probably came in the first week or so from a premium subscriber. But my first “big whack” came from Ahrefs sponsoring the show—perhaps 4 episodes into it.”Ben Goodey
Personally, I prefer building an audience around my interests rather than restricting myself to just one niche.
It’s unconventional, but I like to think of my niche as me. A niche of one.
And using my content as a fishing net that constantly expands to capture an audience.
How Did He Get People Paying for Gated Content?
I think many struggle with getting paid.
- Gated content
- Selling courses
- Selling template
But Ben has some tips to share…
Give away as much value as you can FOR FREE. And let them explore what’s not.
“Give away so much good value for free that people 1. want to support the community and 2. want to look around the site and discover what’s not free.”Ben Goodey
This is similar to what Alex Hormozi preaches.
Give away everything for free and sell the implementation.
But I think Ben would agree that we shouldn’t give EVERYTHING away.
Share enough to demonstrate:
These will lead to trust.
If these 4 concepts sound familiar, they are Google’s guidelines when creating content for SEO.
It can be applied perfectly to build content that leads your audience down a marketing and sales funnel.
Eventually turning them into paying customers.
Does Ben Think All Creators Should Have a Blog?
Yes, he does. So do I.
We both have blogs, and so should you.
Because it’s your content. It should be hosted on a platform YOU control.
“Yes. Why should Insta/LinkedIn/Twitter own your content? Do they pay ya?”Ben Goodey
Tobias Lütke, Founder and CEO of Shopify, also once said in a tweet,
“There are only two things on the internet that you can own: your website and your email list. Everything else is just temporarily rented.”Tobias Lütke, Founder and CEO of Shopify
Blogging helps with SEO. And that transforms your website into a consistent cash and traffic-generating machine over time.
You write articles around actual queries that have a monthly search volume.
Rather than creating social media posts and hoping they get “validated” before you turn it into a long-form piece.
Don’t shoot and pray, hoping for virality.
There are already endless questions that need to be answered. So answer them.
What Does Ben Think About Creators Republishing Newsletter Content on Their Blogs?
Let me first tell you what I think.
I don’t like it.
I get that creators who employ this strategy are trying to make their content system more efficient.
Here’s the typical process:
- Write a newsletter issue
- Republish the exact issue as a blog post
- Repurpose snippets for distribution on social media
Here are 2 reasons why I don’t like it:
- You’re not optimizing the blog post to rank on Google. That means no traffic.
- A Newsletter should offer readers exclusive content not available elsewhere. Why should readers subscribe if you’re only going to post it on your public blog again?
Ben states you need longer content with keyword optimizations to rank. It can’t be a random thought.
It fails a fundamental requirement for SEO which is called Search Intent.
“I think it’s great. It let’s people read your newsletter and subscribe for future stuff. However, if you want it to rank in Google, newsletter content is typically VERY different to what will rank. You need longer content and keyword optimizations throughout—it can’t be a random thought, because that wouldn’t meet what we call “search intent” (i.e. what people on Google want when they search).”Ben Goodey
Most newsletter issues are only a few hundred words that provide quick actionable tips for the week.
And you don’t need to care about keywords… well, because it’s not turning up on Google.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of creating a newsletter piece and repurposing it as a blog post while incorporating SEO.
Read my SEO Copywriting Checklist.
Ben is one of the few doing it right…
“With some thought, however, I believe people can design for both channels (newsletter and SEO)—if you’re a subscriber of my newsletter, you’ll know I’m doing it.”Ben Goodey
What Are Some B2B SEO Strategies That Can Benefit Individual Creators?
Ben comes from the B2B world, and I’m constantly finding ways to run my blog like companies.
He recommends creating articles like “Best-of” posts for your niche.
Here’s an example of mine on the Best AI writing software.
These are called roundups with commercial intent.
It means people are in the consideration stage and want to get educated on the available options before buying.
It’s a great way to:
- Spark conversation
- Initiate debates
- Start affiliate marketing
“I’d recommend writing a few listicles like “Best podcasts” or “Best newsletters” for your niche. For example, “Best copywriting newsletters”. Those are a great way to learn fit yourself into the conversation and win new subscribers.”Ben Goodey
But how can you stay competitive with these companies when Google’s new AI search engine comes around?
They have the resources to scale content velocity with or without the help of AI to levels you can only dream of.
Well, Ben says to prioritize human-first content.
What does that mean?
- Writing in the first-person
- Unique images
“Invest in human-first content. Make it obvious: first-person, quotes, unique images, etc. Be what AI cannot be.”Ben Goodey
I’ll add a few more:
- Personal anecdotes
- Professional expertise
- Sentence imperfections
- Unique case studies
- Copywriting frameworks
The average blogger would just write articles…
But I found weaving in persuasive copywriting yields the best results.
It makes it way more engaging and compelling to read.
And besides, AI can’t replicate these.
What Are Ben’s Plans Moving Forward?
It seems Ben isn’t deviating away from his love for SEO.
He’s going to continue to pump out insane SEO content. But it’s not for beginners.
He’ll also launch community groups and build an SOP library for How The Fxck.
(I can’t wait for that.)
“Build the most useful resource for intermediate/advanced SEOs out there. I’ll be expanding into community discussion groups and building out the SOP library so How the F*ck is more actionable than ever.”Ben Goodey
Oh, about not having content for beginners…
I lied 🙂
He’s got something in store, but it’s still in the works.
“Also, I have something pretty cool in store for beginner SEOs, but I’ve yet to announce that.”Ben Goodey